The Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. ” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. ” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

On a Vacay Mode

A rich man went for a vacation in a remote town.

His first stop was a sari-sari store, the only one that he saw around.

“Excuse me,” said the rich man. “Is there any good restaurant out here where I can eat?”

The lady of the store gently smiled at the rich man saying, “Good morning, Sir! It is so nice of you to viait our place. Welcome!”

The rich man was not pleased. He expected a straight answer . “This lady is wasting my time,” he thought.

“Did you hear me?” The rich man asked again the same question. “Is there any good restaurant out here where I can eat?”

The gentle lady said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I just wanted to welcome you first. Yes, there is a restaurant here that can serve you a simple but warm meal. What would you like to have?” The gentle lady smiled beautifully to ease the rich man’s stress.

“Where is the restaurant?” This time the rich man’s voice was higher as he became irritated.

The gentle lady answered, “You are in the right place, Sir. I will cook for you whatever you please. I am the only cook in this place.” The gentle lady spoke softer and very apologetic as she felt the discomfort of the rich man.

“What? This? How can I eat here?” He looked around and he sized up the gentle lady from head to toe.

Unsatisfied with what he saw, he started to leave. He got back in his car and sped off the dusty road.

The gentle lady just smiled and prayed, “Dear God, another lost soul came by. Please guide that soul, Holy Spirit of God.”

The gentle lady continued with her daily chores, humming that familiar tune which connects her to God.

Little Children

Trusting, Appreciating, Loving fun, Enjoying

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Trust among children is not as difficult to earn than trust among adults. The issue perhaps lie in the experiences adults may have through time.

Children are easy to appreciate others. Adults may have uncertainties and boundaries.

Children love fun and they freely express their joys. Adults may be more reserved and conservative.

But Jesus wants us to be like little children when we approach him, when we respond to his invitation, when we follow him.

We re-learn to trust, to appreciate, to be fun-loving, and to enjoy life; while we can.

The Air I Breathe

You are the fast wind that slowly lingers in my ears.

You are the cool breeze that warms my heart and soul.

You are the painter that colors my rainbow after every storm.

You are the sculptor that chisels God’s marvel in every rock.

You are the air that I breathe; I need you.

Please come in moments; I love you.

He Speaks

When Jesus was preaching, He quoted verses in the Old Testament to affirm God’s Will.

When Jesus was praying, He talked to God from His Heart about His situation, pleading His cause, and affirming God’s Will.

So when we walk with Jesus, in Jesus, and like Jesus –

1. We preach by quoting the Words of Jesus because He came to fulfill the Will of God.

2. We prepare for our encounter with Jesus just like how Jesus prepared Himself in the desert with the Holy Spirit, by

a) Asking the Holy Spirit of God to cleanse our hearts, mind, and soul and thus create a renewed person with a passionate heart, an open mind, a listening soul.

b) Allowing the Holy Spirit to clothe us with the Jesus’ character of Humility, Obedience, Perseverance, and Enthusiasm.

c) Acknowledging the promptings of the Holy Spirit to remind us of Jesus’ teachings thereby setting the mode for our moments with Jesus.

3. We pray and converse with Jesus by knowing how He feels, what He wants us to do, and where He wants us to be.
a) It is Jesus’ mentoring time.
b) It is Jesus’ affirmation time.
c) It is Jesus’ recognition time.

It is all about Jesus and never about us.

Freedom of the Soul

Looking back on those days when my body was like the punching bag for someone who just hated life, I can only let a cry in my heart thanking the Holy Spirit of God for making me strong for each punch that I took.

Oh yes, being a battered wife is not an easy life experience. It took me 26 years to finally say to myself, “Enough is Enough!” 

With fear in my soul and with a very heavy heart, I went to church one fine morning.  I poured all my tears to Him who created me. I asked, “Why are you letting me experience all these things? What have I done to deserve this?” I cried and cried alone in that church. 

Then like the bolt of a lightning, this message from Him came to my mind, “Everything I do, I do it for you!” As if it was not enough, the music from a Karaoke in a store near the church, glared loudly this song, “Everything I do, I do it for you!”

More tears flowed from my eyes. “Help me!” I said. “What should I do now?”

I know the way out from being a punching bag. But I was not ready to face society and what others would think of my family; a broken home. “Will you allow me to do this?” I asked.

The voice was clear, “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit! Preserve yourself!”

Tears when shed in God’s presence serve as a liniment for a hurting soul. The cold heart slowly warms up with God’s mercy. Yes, it is mercy that awakens the soul.

Slowly, I left the church and drove to the Hall of Justice. “I must seek help from my Cousin-Judge or else I may die in the hands of the man who hated life and used me as a punching bag,” I thought. So I asked my Cousin-Judge to go with me back to our home. 

Upon arriving in the house, “the man who hated life and used me as a punching bag” did not see my Cousin-Judge at first. So he was already determined to inflict harm upon me again. But when he saw my Cousin-Judge, his demeanor immediately changed. He acted like a kitten who could not spill milk. But my Cousin-Judge went straight to the point. He told “the man who hated life and used me as a punching bag” to leave the house and never come back. My Cousin-Judge said “Girlie needs peace. Leave her alone and do not ever harm her again.” 

After 26 years of being a battered wife, that day was the day when God liberated me. I became free. I had no more fears when I went to bed; afraid that I may die during my sleep. I could now pray in the silence of my room without being harassed, maligned, maltreated, or even despised. 

God works in mysterious ways. He listens to those who are crushed in spirit.

The Unworthy

Dirty rugs, foul-smelling shit, or a mountain of trash are always unsightly and abhored by man. I say that I may be filthier than all those; a sinner.

Man sees the face, the fancy clothes, the flashing cars, the big and manicured lawns, the fat bank account, the ladder of success, etc. Man judges by these standards. 

But God, the God of Mercy, does not look at our sins. He sees our hearts. He does not judge. When I returned to Him, God said, “I have thrown away your sins; Sin no more!”

One day, after my personal and closed-door prayer with God, He asked me to go to a church. “Go there because I want you to do something,” he said. The church that He wanted me to visit was at least an hour-ride from our home. Worse, I had no means to travel. I only had a Hundred Pesos in my wallet. I just resigned from my job and I had no other means at the moment. So I complained, “How can I go with only this?” But He persisted in His instruction saying, “Go and trust Me!”

Obeying His words and trusting Him, I went to the terminal where Jeepneys plied that route. I only had Ninety Pesos left of my One Hundred Pesos. I rode in one and timidly asked the Conductor of the Jeepney for the cost of traveling to that Church. “Fifty pesos is our fare,” he said. So that would be a hundred pesos travel with the Jeepney. But I still needed two more rides from the terminal to our home. My money was not enough. Again, I asked the Lord, “How can I go home? Should I walk?” 

The Lord listens to our prayers. 

Right at that moment, the Jeepney stopped in front of a store that sold slippers. I was in a high-heeled sandals. If I wanted to walk, I definitely needed slippers. My eyes almost popped out from their big sockets. “Dear God, I am only joking!” I said. I could not walk that far alone. True indeed, the jeepney speeded off.

I told the Conductor of the Jeepney that I needed to stop in that Church. After almost an hour, with all the stop-overs for more passengers and the going-down of other passengers along the way, the Jeepney stopped in front of the Church. 

The gate was open. The lawn was well-trimmed. Flowers were blooming. Obviously, someone took care of the garden. The front door was closed as it was already almost ten in the morning. So again, I complained to the Lord, “I am here, Lord. But, the door is closed!” 

God listens intently and we have to listen to him, too.

“Go to the side of the Church; there is another door that is open,” the Lord said. 

And so I went. Indeed, there was a side door. And lo and behold! In contrast to the well-manicured lawn, the Church inside was dirty and pieces of paper and newspaper were scattered all around. And there! There were two big dogs tied to two pews. 

“Lord, what do you want me to do?” I quivered. “Clean my Church!” he said. As if my Lord was not satisfied with the order, He said, “Look up!” I looked up and I saw that while the entire church was newly painted, the part directly above the altar remained unpainted and dirty. 

“What do you want me to do, my Lord?” I asked again. 

“Have this part painted,” my Lord said. “But my Lord, I do not have the money to buy for the paint and for the labor cost that may be needed to complete the job,” I answered. “You can ask someone to help you and you need to finish that before the start of the Holy Week!” He added. It was only three days before the start of the Holy Week then.

“Go, call your friend whose work is just infront of this Church. Ask her to clean the Church with you. You can also ask her to tell her Superiors to paint this part of the Church.” Then I remembered that my Lady Friend was working for this company in this town. So I called her. She was also shocked when she heard my voice and my story. Immediately, she came over. We had goose bumps and we were both crying while praying. Still crying, we started cleaning the Church. We got the brooms and the rugs from the Church Staff who was doing something in the Church Office.

My Lady Friend and I finished the cleaning of the Church at around twelve o’clock noon. My Lady Friend said, “Ma’am, why don’t I treat you to lunch.” I did not tell her that I did not have money to buy for lunch. Her generous offer was a blessing. So we had a simple lunch with tears rolling down because we could not understand what we went through. 

After lunch, my friend reached into her pocket and handed me her one hundred peso bill. She said, “Ma’am, thank you for cleaning the Church with me. This is for your fare back home.” I cried! God knows what I needed at that moment. I did not even have to ask my Lady Friend to help me. I did not even ask God anymore. God knew that I needed something.

I thanked my Lady Friend and I told her the truth that I did not have money to bring me home. She cried. I cried. We were both crying when we parted.

When I got home, I prayed and I thanked God for inviting me to participate in His acts of generosity. 

I thought that was the end of that journey. But no!

The next morning, after my morning prayer, my Lord said, “You have to go to your Aunt and ask help for the paint and the labor cost.” I was shocked because I had never in my life asked help from that wealthy Aunt of mine. “Lord, would not the company of my Lady Friend paint that part of the Church?” I asked. He said, “They did not believe in your Lady Friend. They even think that you are nuts!”

So off I went to my Aunt’s house. I did not know how to start my solicitation. But I prayed and boldly, I went straight to the point. I narrated the story to my Aunt. She was in awe and somehow she doubted. She wanted to give me cash for the paint, perhaps thinking that I was only making up a story and was trying to coax her to give me some money. I told her I would not accept any cash. She could let her Driver buy the paint and I would bring the paint to the Church. 

God knows what we need. 

On that same day, I was able to collect a small amount from someone. I had two thousand pesos in my wallet. 

So with the 4 gallons of paint, I asked someone to go with me to the Church. We rode the Jeepney and after an hour we were in the Church. I directly went to the Church Office. The Staff already recognized me. He said, “Ma’am, the Parish Priest was asking for your name so he could thank you for cleaning the Church.” I told the Staff that there was no need for that. I gave him the 4 gallons of paint and I parted with my one thousand pesos to shoulder the cost of painting that part of the Church. The Staff wanted me to wait awhile so he can call the Parish Priest. I told him I did not want to be known. I told him I was nameless.

After praying inside the Church with tears freely flowing, I thanked God for blessing me in this mission. 

The God of Wonders and Mysteries would always give us the opportunity to feel His love through deeds. It is when we experience His love that we would love Him more. 

I am an unworthy servant but God does not choose only those who are spotless to become His soldier. He can also send the filthiest for His cause. 

Uprooted and In The Pit

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Matthew 7:19

Everything seemed alright. Lights, camera, action! Life was ablazed; full of excitement and enjoyment. Everything seemed alright until…Everything flashed with just the flick of the finger. No premonitions. No preparations. No turning back!

Everything was under control but suddenly, with the bat of an eyelash, everything has fallen apart.Everything…everything has fallen apart.

It is very hard to understand when things do not go the way we wanted them to be. It is very difficult to accept failures. It is very stressful to handle the sails when the boat has taken a different course. But life is like that. I believe so now. It has always been like that. I realize so now. It will always be like that; and so we pray.

During the times when we are at our lowest, we are still left with two options, actually. One is to continue to fall down the pit full of regrets. The other is the opposite. We climb and we struggle to get out of the pit. 

Joseph, the Dreamer, was in the same circumstance when his brothers threw him in the pit. But Joseph pursued his dream and he came out victorious from the pit onwards.

Getting uprooted is always with a reason. There is someone bigger than our plans; someone bigger than our dreams. He uproots us when we have gone astray from our journey. Getting uprooted is a blessing in disguise. It may seem unfair at first but then in the end, a blessing is a blessing.

God is always fair!It is how we get replanted from the uprooting. It is how we get out of the pit and be healed from the fall. It is what remains in our heart after each fall that matters.

Uprooted. Yes, for a purpose.

Into the pit. Yes, for a reason.

Whatever it is, anything… everything is a blessing. It is how we look at things in life and how our heart responds that is essential. After all, we do not own our hearts. God does.