You matter to God

You matter to God

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nanay !

Ephesians 6:2-3

New International Version (NIV)
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

I am immensely blessed to have someone whose life gave me a strong foundation that helped me navigate this complicated world. She is the epitome of Proverbs 31 woman. She is a formidable prayer warrior.  She is my mother!

It is always comforting to know that there is someone who will always unconditionally love you no matter what. I have witnessed her grace and inner strength in all of life's challenges in her own story.  Our family went through so many ups and downs, twists and turns, battles to fight, dreams to follow and through it all Nanay stayed firm and collected, joyful and grateful, with complete trust in God and unwavering faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Just a few hours ago, I was on the phone talking to her.  We are halfway around the world apart from each other.  The recent government controversy involving my sibling was another prayer item in her list.  She shared with me how she felt watching  one senator questioning her child's credibility and integrity in the  Senate hearing.  It was a painful scene seeing your son being discredited and deserted.  As a mother myself, I could feel that pain, putting myself in her shoes.  She told me it reminded her of the time when my father's business got bankrupt and almost all "friends" were never friendly all of a sudden. I thought this was not unfamiliar.  Even Jesus was deserted by everybody when He was arrested and eventually led to be crucified. Leaving the Senate building that day, Nanay had only one thing in her heart and mind, our One and True Judge will make the truth come out.  And indeed God answered in a mighty way.  She never wavered.  She prayed unceasingly, as expected of her.  This is just one of the many difficult circumstances Nanay went through.  I have so many memories of how she handled her trials with confidence and with a humble and loving heart. Her inner strength showed especially when our father passed away three years ago after his battle against cancer.  The ordeal itself of seeing your husband in pain is unthinkable to me.  But Nanay was a rock for all of us because she clung to a much bigger Rock and fortress, our Great God. Her strong unselfish commitment and love for her family kept us all grounded and bonded with the same love and commitment to one another especially now that Tatay is gone.

I am specially close to Nanay.  People say that I look a lot like her.  When I was little, I would always tag along with her when she would go to town for some errands. She's a very friendly person, very entrepreneural and my father would tell her she had a strong PR (public relations).  Once she was voted the "Mother of the Year" in the Grade School we went to. She's always moving, never lazy.  She had flower and vegetable gardens, put up a small piggery, had a store, my father's secretary in his own business, etc.  But the one thing that I always love is that when I feel alone and lonely, I have my mother to go to.  Even when I was already living on my own after college, I would always go back home on the weekends to be with my father and mother.  When I had problems with my own relationships, it was always comforting to know that I have my mother and father to talk to and vent out my wounded heart or share my joy.  For me, our home was a place of rest and a harbor in time of storm.  And now that I am a mother myself, I always call her to get inspiration and encouragement and prayers for my own marriage and  motherhood journey.  She raised all eight of us and she was immovable.  I am raising just one and I get overwhelmed.  When I am going crazy and dazed, I just think of how Nanay handles her days.  Now at 74, she actively leads a Bible study group, a very brave evangelist (she always has her way of sharing the Gospel to every soul she encounters) and enjoys all her grandchildren.

We celebrate you, Nanay!  We honor you and love you so much!  Happy birthday and more blessings from our Lord Jesus in all areas of you life!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

For Such A Time As This

Esther 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Since that Sunday few weeks ago at our church when the story of Queen Esther was preached, it surely penetrated my thoughts and my circumstances lately.  What am I called for for such a time as this?

When I read the Bible, I always ask myself "what if I was born in that particular time?"  What would be my response in the message that God was telling that generation?  What if I was born on the time of Noah?  Would I believe a flood would be coming or would I be one of those who mocked him and the message of God?  What if I was born during the time when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?  What if I was born at the time Jesus was here on earth in flesh and blood? Would I have been one of those who believed?  What if I was Queen Esther; would I speak up for God's people or just kept silent in my comfort zone?  But I was not born on those past generations.  God chose to put me right here, right now, in this generation, in this time of history for a reason.

What is my purpose in this generation that God decided for me to live?  God has an assignment for each of His child to accomplish.  He gave each believer spiritual gifts for His Kingdom purposes (Rom. 12 and 1 Corinthians 12).  It is necessary that we should know the gifts that God has entrusted to us and use them for His glory.  We are entrusted with talents and one day He will hold us accountable of what we have done with those resources.  We are where we are because God placed us there for such a time as this.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Matthew 25:10-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Jesus told the story of the ten bridesmaids, five were foolish and five were wise, waiting for the bridegroom to come for the wedding.  In the Jewish marriage custom, the groom and his friends leave his home and go to the home of the bride where the marriage ceremony takes place, usually at night.  After this, the whole wedding party returns to the groom's home for the wedding celebration banquet.  The lamps they used for walking outside are large dome-shaped torches, fueled by rags in oil.  These torches need to be refilled regularly.  It was an individual responsibility to be prepared to go with the bridegroom to the wedding banquet. 

In the story, while waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, the five foolish ones ran out of oil.  They begged the other five wise bridesmaids to share some of their oil with them.  But they did not want to share or they themselves would run out.  So the foolish ones got out to buy oil and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  The door was then locked.  When they came back, it was late.  They were not allowed to join and celebrate this momentous event!

One day, the world will witness the greatest world event!  The coming of Jesus Christ.  Nobody knows exactly what day or hour He will return.  Jesus Himself said this.  So don't believe anyone who gives exact date of the coming of Christ.  But one thing is for sure, He will come!  Whether we are ready or not!  Jesus commanded us to keep watch, to be alert.  He gave the signs of His imminent return in His Word.  We need to daily watch and fill our lamps regularly with oil so even when he tarries or he comes sooner than we expected, we are ready.

How do we get ready and keep watch?  Just like the lamps need the oil to keep their flame, we need the oil of the Holy Spirit to fill our lives and keep us focused on what lies ahead.  Consistent communication with God in our quiet time, being sensitive to His promptings, meditating on and applying the Word of God in our daily walk, total surrender to His will, committed friendship with God.  But sometimes, people get distracted by the stuff this world offers: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life.  Possessions and positions use up our energy.  We feel at home in this world already.  We tend to forget that this is not our final destiny.  For those who believe and made Jesus their personal Lord and Savior, this is not our home.  We are just passing through here.  Our hearts should be laser focused on matters that have eternal impact and value.  A lot of people are mocking the truth of the coming of Christ.  It reminds me of the time when Noah was building the ark.  People made fun of him and thought he was crazy. But the flood  came, whether they were ready or not!  In this post modern world, the same attitude is apparently happening especially when false prophets predict dates of the coming of Christ, with all the media hype and then the prediction does not happen.  But for us who believe and experience the reality and the truth of  a personal relationship with Jesus, we wait with joy, with the oil ready to fill our lamps, so when the bridegroom arrives, we will celebrate and enjoy the banquet!

Friday, June 22, 2012


"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." (Mt. 16:24)

Being a Christ follower is not a couch patato lifestyle.  It is living in an active form.  First, as Jesus said, there is a turning point.  We need to turn away from our selfish ways.  This means getting our focus out of our self and be Jesus-focused.  We need to die to ourself and let the new life of Christ rule the way we live.  It's not about "me and my" anymore.  It is a counter-cultural lifestyle.  If we look at the way the world operates, it will tell you to focus on yourself, satisfy yourself, do what will make you feel good.  But in the world of following Jesus, we go the other way, set our self-focused life aside and turn to what will benefit the Kingdom of God.  It is a bigger world with a wider perspective and eternal impact.

Secondly, there is a taking to be done.  Just as Jesus Himself took His own cross, a person who decides to be a disciple of Christ has a cross to carry.  Each of us has our own assignment from God.  What is the specific task and purpose He wants you to do?  What is the vision and mission God has given you to accomplish?  God has given each of us different measures of gifts and resources.  The story of the three servants in Matthew 25 illustrates this well.  One was given five bags of silver, the second was given two and the third was given one.  The boss then went away for a trip and when he came back he checked out what the three servants did to the bags if silver he entrusted to them.  The one with the five earned five more, the one with two earned two more.  But the third one, came back with the same one given him and said, "I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth.  Look here is your money back."  But the boss was furious and replied, "You wicked and lazy servant!  If you knew I harvested crops I didn't plant and gathered crops I didn't cultivate, why didn't you deposit my money in the bank?  At least I could have gotten some interest on it.  Then he ordered. 'Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with ten bags of silver.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.  But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."  Christian life does not thrive in the world of fear and laziness!  It's a daily taking of the cross He has entrusted to us.  There will be a time of accounting in the future.  We will all face our Master and present what we have in our hands.

Thirdly,  being a disciple of Christ is following His leading.  It is going where He leads, learning what He teaches, living the way He lived.  It is all about Jesus.  Our life is all for His glory.  It is actually what gives us true satisfaction and joy!  It is how we are wired.  Only in Jesus can we be fulfilled.  We are created in His own image and likeness and He sure knows what is the way of life that will bring us the best!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers!  How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me." (Mt. 23:37)

"Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions." (Ps. 119:136)

Two different verses, two different people, two different generations, one heartache, one passion!  Today, in my quiet time with God, these two passages in the Bible struck such emotion inside of me. 

Two different people.  In Matthew 23:37, Jesus Himself was the one speaking.  I could feel the pain and the frustration of His heart over the people's rejection of God's message.  People missed the blessings of God's visitations through His messengers, the prophets and most importantly, the visitation of God the Son Himself.  They wouldn't open their hearts to what God was doing.  They didn't understand His Word.  They didn't discern God's presence.  God reached out but the people wouldn't let His love enter into their lives. Jesus agonized and grieved.  The same feeling of pain was evident in the words of the psalmist.  Tears gushed out from his eyes as He saw how people disobeyed God's instructions, His Word, His message.

Two different generations, one the same attitude of rejection and rebellion against God.  I am in a totally different time.  But I see the same condition of the hearts of men.  The post modern era definitely shows how the things and the unchanging message of God are abhorred and mocked and abolished.  I have to check my heart.  In my own generation, in this time of history where God planned for me to live, am I discerning His message?  Am I letting Him in total control of my life as I confess with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, my One and Only true God who came here in flesh to reach out from generation to generation?

God is constantly reaching out with His unfailing love to His creation, the ones He made in His image and likeness.  But history tells us how our rebellion and disobedience leads us away to God who only wants the best for us!  We go our own way, do our own will, ignoring anything about what God has to say that only leads to our own destruction.  If only we recognize that great love and care, the very heart of God to reconcile us to Himself, like a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, we will know Him and love Him and experience the joy of being connected with the One who made us.  I don't want to miss God!  I don't want to miss His message in my own generation, in my own time. 
The ache in God's heart, the tears in His eyes and those who know Him are for people to come back to Him and be reconciled to His awesome love.  One day, Jesus will come back for those who have recognized and accepted His invitation to come in the Name of the Lord!