Jesus is Alive

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  – John 15:13

It’s Easter Sunday. We celebrate.  We believe that Jesus lives.

Though my eyes cannot see Him, my whole being knows He is here.  No explanation is necessary.  I just know.

There were times that I thought Jesus was so far away.  When I sin.  When I despair. I couldn’t feel His presence.  Not that He was, but because I chose to look away and ignore Him. 

Through it all, Jesus remains faithful.  He never gives up on me.  No matter how bad and stupid and stubborn I could be, He still loves me. 

I don’t know what He sees in me.  All I know is that He didn’t had to, but He died on the Cross to save me.  So too He is risen to love me.  For all eternity.

It is my fervent prayer that I may be worthy of His sacrifice.  So that His pain and suffering shall not be in vain, I pray too that I be able to carry my own Cross for the sake of others. 

Glory be to God forever!

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The Good Saturday

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10

It was supposed to be on the altar in the living room facing the main door.  But while we were still sorting out where to put what when we moved in a month ago,  the crucifix with a rosary hanging around it was temporarily placed on our kitchen counter backed against the wall.  

It never made its way to the altar because it is meant to be where it is now.  

That crucifix is a constant reminder that Jesus is always there with us in every family meal. 

I was alone for breakfast this morning, but I realized that I was not really on my own.  Jesus is there in front of me.  Indeed, today is Good Saturday. With Jesus, it is always a good morning.  It is always a good life. 

God is good all the time!

It’s All About Jesus

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
   that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
   and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”  -Philippians 2:9-11

The first time I watched the movie “The Passion of the Christ” a few years back, I was shocked by how the events were presented.  The scenes from the agony in the garden to the moment that Jesus breathed His last, were just so detailed and yes, bloody.

Today I watched it again.  The experience is now entirely different.  It is personal and profound.  I almost ‘felt’ how Jesus suffered and died.  Every time the camera focused on His eyes, it was like Jesus was actually looking at me, so lovingly and forgiving.

It is the same movie that I watched, but on each instance, the experience is entirely different. What changed?  Life did.

In between both viewing, life have been teaching me lessons that make me ‘see’ clearer. I realized that no matter how weak and flawed I am, Jesus never gives up on me. His willingness to forgive is always greater than my desire to be forgiven.

Jesus proved that I am worthy to be saved, but unless I truly believe that indeed I am worthy and sin no more, He is patiently waiting for my complete turnaround.  He is faithful even when I am not.

Today is Good Friday.  It is a day of reflection on the passion of Jesus Christ, of gratitude for His sacrifice and repentance to be worthy of His perfect love.  Today I changed my site title from Angel119 to Everyday with Jesus.  Because I realized life is not about me, it is all about Him.  With His mercy, I shall carry my cross to remind me everyday that Jesus carried His because of me.

What Easter Means to Me

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. ”  Luke 24:30-35

Today is Thursday after Easter Sunday. In the Middle East, it was a working Easter. That day being also the deadline for submission of month end reports, I struggled to keep my focus on the image of the risen Christ as I battle emails and phone calls, in between entering data to finish the tasks at hand. To top it all, my colleagues were on holiday and so my work load was multiplied like the bread to feed thousands.

By end of business hours, I was really exhausted but nonetheless, the Holy Spirit helped me through the day. So it happened that we were able to attend the 7pm Easter Mass. The smell of tires being burnt on the road leading to where Sacred Heart Church was located, dominated the festive atmosphere. That did not stop the hundreds who were inside the church compound to pray and praise God. And that was my Easter of 2015.

If the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a one day affair, I would really, really feel bad that a great number of hours on that day was taken up by my earthly duties. But as I continue to “follow” Jesus after He left the tomb, my eyes were opened.

Easter is our daily reminder that Jesus is alive and one day, we shall see His face when He comes again. My eyes were opened, that it is alright to fulfill our earthly duties when it glorifies God and the greater good comes out of it. My eyes were opened, that as we go about our daily lives, the Holy Spirit is ever present. Just like Jesus was, with Cleophas and his companion on their way to Emmaus.

Between life and death, we choose life. Easter is the life after Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross. We also died from our old selves during Lent and were renewed on Easter, forgiven of our sins when we repented sincerely. So therefore, let us celebrate Easter everyday so that the sacrifice of Jesus, the sign of His infinite and eternal love will ever be worth it.

The Journey Continues

“But take care, as you value your lives! Do not forget the things which you yourselves have seen, or let them slip from your heart as long as you live; teach them, rather, to your children and to your children’s children.” Deuteronomy 4:9

On February 27 of this year, our Christian Life Seminar was finally over. The “travelling angels” from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and from San Diego in California, USA noted that it was the longest CLS in the history of CFC-FFL.

Tito Cris and his wife, Tita Poochie began with the first talk in March 2014. They went home to the Philippines in summer. Thereafter, they encountered difficulties in securing visas to enter Bahrain. So that it was only in early November that we were able to meet again. In February of this year, we were introduced to Tito Froy who was temporarily assigned to Bahrain. And before our dedication, came his wife, Tita Belle. During the Feb Fridays that we gather in Jesus’ name, Guadalupe, a two month old baby girl, together her parents Bro Seneth and Sis Joy, joined our family, Bhoy, Megan, Miguel, and Mac in our praise and thanksgiving to God. And so our CFC-FFL family was complete, just as the CLS was completed.

That was the chronology of the CLS events as I recalled- one year summed up in one paragraph. Yet the substance of each single moment that we have shared together in the love of God is so profound that it will take a lifetime for me to share. It is pure joy to know God and love God. It is divine to share His love.

As the purpose of the CLS is evangelisation and spiritual renewal, it is now our life’s purpose to fulfill the will of God.

We will be forever grateful to our “travelling angels”, Tito Cris, Tita Poochie, Tito Froy and Tita Belle, for their valuable time, perseverance and effort to enable us know God and love God better. May the Lord continue to shower his blessings upon them.

Our CLS may have come to an end, but the journey continues. We, who are called, together with Bro Seneth and Sis Joy, have a lot to do. May we not be weakened by the world’s distractions. But rather, call upon the Holy Spirit day by day for the constant renewal of our faith, while we carry our own crosses together with our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the path towards the eternal kingdom of God.

 

 

 


Labor Pains

“Martha, Martha” the Lord answered, “you are upset about so many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

It’s the first day of the new year!!! It’s time to write a new book in our life’s story.
But first let me remember how I got this far.

If asked to describe 2014 in just one word, I choose “meaningful”.

From day one of 2014, the scene in our home where we just moved just days before, was absolutely chaotic. Except for that spot where we sat for the obligatory family photo, everywhere we look at were boxes upon boxes of stuff that were yet to be unpacked and sorted out. It took us about a month to put order into our new home.

Since I grew up where New Year’s Day is the gauge to which the whole year could be predicted to become, we made sure that on every New Year’s Eve, there was bountiful media noche; a clean house down to each cabinet drawers and shelves; pockets full of coins and bills; among other handed down traditions that somehow shape the way we think and live.

But traditions or not, regardless of the disorder in our New Year’s dwelling, 2014 was one that’s full of trials, challenges and difficulties. A year which one with a weak heart and spirit could not endure. The pain was excruciating to say the least. Though not physically, the pain nevertheless pierced each and every part of my being to the very core. But then with each surge of pain, there was always an anticipation so great it momentarily made me forget I was hurting.

Like I was in labor after months of carrying, not a bundle of joy, but a load too heavy to bear. I finally heaved a sigh of relief when a couple of days before Christmas of 2014, my prayer was answered. God once again gave me a gift of hope, like on that first Christmas when Jesus is the “gift” for our salvation.

I cannot recall ever praying so hard like I did those dark days in 2014. And when I saw the light in my answered prayer, the more I felt God’s presence in the here and now. Nothing compares, even those two times I gave birth to my children. The labor pains I had to endure became flickers of memory. The pain disappeared into the wonderful sight of a baby. Now into the sight of a rebirth to a second chance.

It never stops at giving birth. We had to nurture the life that was entrusted to us until it grows into its own fullness in Christ. So should I not stop after receiving the gift of answered prayer. This new year 2015 and for the rest of my life, I have the responsibility to follow through my promise to fulfill the will of God in me; a humble way to express my endless gratitude and praise for His unconditional love for me. I don’t expect the labor pains to go. I’d probably give birth to a new hope over and over again until I grow into full spiritual maturity. Until then, I look forward to this journey to more New Years to come with the Lord in my heart. As that first way of Jesus to the Cross, the pain would be worth it.

So please do not be discouraged. All of us has battlefields to go through at some points in our lives. God will never leave us, if we only let Him fight our battles for us through constant prayer. We have to acknowledge our weakness and believe in His power over all things and in all things.

Let It Go

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

My office mate have been singing “let it go, let it go” since I came to work this morning until now that work is over.  I love the song but to hear only those three words over and over (she hums the rest of the song), annoyed me. Until I realized it may be an angel’s way to get a message across.

My patience is on a limited supply usually on the first week of each month, with all the deadlines and the cramming.  God knows i try so hard to be nice.  But there’s a lot going on in my life too.  The personal stuff, if you know what i mean.  And it’s causing my patience meter to do a roller coaster on me.  So it’s hard to flash that smile.  The way to go for my face now is blank.  Like no expression at all.  Like i’m on an out-of-body trip to the nearest exit. Like i’m frozen or something.

Finally before the day is over, I get it.  Tell that to me again… LEt it go.  Let it go. Let it go.  And I say, alright! alright! alright!

This is synonymous with sacrifice because I have to part with what I have.  Apparently, no one ever lets go of what he doesn’t have. So let me see, what do I have now?  I have negative vibes. Worries. Stress. Pain. Insecurity. Sadness. Darn! I didn’t realize how much I have until now. These I don’t really need in my life. So yes, let them go.

It is probably the best way to partake in the suffering of Christ.  To let go of our own.  and focus on His Cross.

He stirs my venti!

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.”  Joel 2:12-13

after my surgery,  from the recovery room onto my hospital bed where my kind kabayan nurses gently laid me, my anaesthesia started to wear out.  the images were still a blur.  i could hear them vaguely, but the tone of their voices were clear.  they were amazed at how i could still smile despite the pain.

it was not an inherent trait of mine.  i was a cry-baby.  as a girl, i was impossibly stubborn that my pout has been my trademark long before angelina jolie became mrs. smith.  then as a teener, my temper kinda mellowed when i began to read about personality development books.  that was when i learned that a smile matters.  that it could actually set the mood for the day.  and that the smile that you give away is contagious.  and it is free.

practice makes perfect.  now, even when i cry i still have that tendency to smile when someone else sees me.  smiles lighten burdens, hide the pain, ease suffering.  now even when trouble is way over my head, or when longing for my children almost kills me, no one would ever know.  because if there is anything else that i don’t ever run out of – guess what else? smile, smile and some more…

among many things that could bring a smile to my face, a cup of coffee is definitely on the list.  or should i say, cups of coffee.  i love coffee so much, that it is what i gave up this season of lent.  since ash wednesday, i tried my darn best to refrain from having my usual early morning cup, as well as the other cups throughout the day, and that final cup just right before i sleep at nights.

the best part of the coffee ritual for me is after i stir it. that is when the aroma and the flavor is at its peak, it almost takes over my senses. 

so do i miss my coffee cups?  yes i do! yet i still manage to smile.  because the Lord never runs out of ‘sugar’ and ‘cream’ to pour on my cup of life.  He also continuously stirs my heart, to prevent complacency from setting in. 

my coffee sacrifice is nothing compared to the Lord’s sacrifice when He gave us his life for the forgiveness of our sins.  as i feel the pain from the consequences of my own sins, i surrender my cup of life to Him with complete trust and utter submission. 

for as long as i live, i know He will go on stirring my cup.  but i won’t mind.  the Lord blessed me with a venti 🙂

 

   

spring cleaning for body and soul

“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning;  and rend your hearts, and not your garments.”  Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and repents of evil.  – Joel  2:12-13

spring cleaning is the season of the year when we focus all our energy into cleaning our house, top to bottom, room to room, corner to corner.  the purpose is to put order where there is disorder.  simplify the complicated.  eliminate clutter. give up excesses.

the first step is to stop and take a closer look of what had accumulated over the year.  then plan up a strategy on which stuff stays and which should go.  organize whatever is left.  then it’s time for the main task.  

to execute the strategy, it’s helpful to assemble an army of tools (vacuum, dusters, rags, trash bags…) and products (baking soda, vinegar, polisher, glass cleaners…) to carry out the job easier and faster.  after all is done,  it’s almost like you just moved to a new and better home!  and we all know how that feels like, right?

our body and soul need spring cleaning too.  and today, ASH WEDNESDAY, is the best day to begin.  stop and take a closer look at ourselves.  we would find beneath the surface all the negativity that had accumulated over the year – anger, frustration, despair, jealousy, envy and more.  they are the clutter that need to be eliminated.

deep inside we also find dreams, hopes, drive, anticipation, compassion, inspiration.  these we need to organize and put into their rightful perspective and at healthy doses.  in this process of introspection, we discover what we had become.  and to what extent we need to clean up. 

when the home is clean and clutter-free, it is always fun and refreshing to live  within.  so with the body and soul. 

today is the first day of Lent.  Ash Wednesday reminds us that By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”  Genesis 3:19

and because we are just guests in our earthly guesthouses, might as well make the stay worthwhile and the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross for our salvation worth it. 

Albert Pine once said “what we do for ourselves die with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

why hurry? (choosing life over death)

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

this morning as we start our day with breakfast and news, CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported how children died from diseases which could have been prevented if their parents gave them due medical attention. but because of a literary misinterpretation of a scripture passage, the followers of this certain congregation believes that drops of olive oil and prayers were enough to heal their sick. 

a related subject also tackled how doctors would want to be spared from being prosecuted and sentenced to secondary manslaughter, if their terminally ill patients chose to overdose from the drugs they prescribed, in the premise that they did not end lives, but only the suffering.

still another HIV positive patient who suffers from hepatitis reiterates his right to die without prolonging the suffering that his illness would eventually bring about.  and this, they all believe is to die with dignity.

this reality disturbed me because i believe otherwise.  who are we to choose the exact time and date, or in which way we are to die?  even Jesus, who is the Son of God, did not.  instead He obeyed the will of the Father until the end.  He could have chosen not to be crucified.  He is God anyway.  but He did not.  did that make His death less dignified?

my daddy died of cancer.  he was in pain all throughout the ordeal.  he fought and suffered too.  but that did not make his death any less dignified.

my aunt had brain surgery.  thereafter, she depended on life support to survive.  my uncle and cousins did not stop to seek only the best medical care for her.  but she died anyway.  that did not make her death less dignified too.

one may be diagnosed with life-threatening disease and be given only a year to live by the doctors.  but a car may run over him the same day and die on the spot.  who can tell?

so please,  if you are one of those who feel hopeless and desperate because of your pain and suffering, and you wish to end it all now, or sooner, please stop and think again. 

 

please just stop and look at the Cross of Christ.  is there any pain and suffering that could ever surpass that which our Lord had to endure?  He could have passed on that chance, but it was an opportunity that the Father gave the Son to save us.  so that we, sinners, may overcome death and have eternal life.  it was an opportunity that He chose not to miss. 

whoever contemplates to die with dignity by ending life in his own terms is making a big mistake which can no longer corrected.  life is a gift from God, only He shall take it away; when He wills it and how He wills it.  and because it is a gift, we must own it to treasure and cherish.  not to throw it away.  otherwise, Jesus’ death on the Cross would be in vain.

when it’s our time to go, yes let it be with pride and honor and dignity.   no matter how and when.  and if our lives were full of love and compassion; of  faith and hope, then it would be so…  in God’s perfect time.