Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Faith and Spirituality

Running Out of Options

Who are you voting for next year as president?

Honestly, a couple of days ago I was thinking of voting for Miriam.

When Miriam Defensor Santiago decided to run for president, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had announced he was not going to run for the highest position in the land. Since then, almost everybody who was supporting the iron handed leader from Mindanao, shifted towards the good senator, whose credentials and merits are beyond any shadow of doubt.

I was really waiting on Duterte to declare, but when the final second of the deadline for filing lapsed, it was the end of the waiting for me. And like most others, I looked on MDS as an option.

But then Senator Santiago made some ill-sounding comments about the family of the late president Ferdinand Marcos, whose son Bongbong is her running mate. Her statements left a bad taste in a lot of her supporters’ mouths, which prompted them to withdraw support from her, and worse, totally boycott voting for president.

I would have actually let her comments about the Marcoses pass, and still give her my support. After all, supporting her isn’t an automatic count for Bongbong.

But this interview really killed all my admiration for her:

Before I make any comments that may spark a battle of words here, let me state a couple of things: I understand the context where she drew those statements. The death of a son is beyond compare to any pain a living soul will endure on this earth. Not even the most agonizing of physical infirmities can match the hurt that a mother or father would feel if it was given to her or him the task of burying their own child. And we are not taking away from the senator to hurt or continue hurting even after years since her son died. She can continue on refusing to come to terms for all we care.

But to call God an underachiever?

To claim that if she was God she could do a better job?

To conclude that God does not exist?

That’s too much, lady.

I’m still hoping there was something fishy with how Korina Sanchez’s team of editors did the splicing of the full interview, which came out the way we are watching it. Otherwise, then it is nothing else but the good senator accusing God of unrighteousness and injustice.

But like in the movie “God is not Dead,” how can you be indignant against someone you believe does not exist?

Madam Senator, I may not have the brilliance and intelligence that your mind has. I may not be as decorated with credentials as you are. I may not have reached the pinnacles of successes you have reached.

But I don’t think even a million versions of you combined can do a better job than my God.

So, like the rest of you out there, I’ve ran out of options on who to vote for president next year.

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XXX

IMG_1275Three decades. Wow.

Yesterday a churchmate-friend gave me a DVD copy of all the pictures that I had with my former congregation in Cavite. It was a 16-minute presentation of all the snapshots the members over there had of me. As I was watching I saw several pictures that I myself was surprised to see. It kind of reminded me that time passes by so fast you forget how much wonderful memories you have made along the way.

Memories that, for the most part, remind you of God’s goodness on your life.

And indeed, God has been very, very good to me. All that I have in this life are undeserved, and it is only by His mercy and grace that I was made a recipient of it all. From having a wonderful family, a fulfilling ministry as a full-time staff, the fellowship of fellow believers, the sweet company of my friends from everywhere, to the material blessings I have, which I’d have to say is the least of God’s blessings, I should say I can never ask for anything more.

But actually, I do.

On this third decade of my life, I pray that God would use me to be a bigger, better channel of blessing to other people. I pray that as He continues to mold and make me after His will, that I will always be a yielding clay, acknowledging that He alone knows what is best for me. That, I believe, would be a good wish today.

So, once again to everyone who may have found it blessed to have me around as a part of their life, thank you. And may God continue to allow me to be a blessing to you… today and for the rest of my lifetime.

 


XXIX

Try looking for a full bundle of yellow pad. Divide it length-wise into two. On the left, try writing down all of what you need or want in life. On the right, try writing down all of the things you can be thankful of.

Now, before you do this, start on the rightside first.

You’ll find out that not only will the list of thanksgivings outnumber the list of wants and needs, but you’ll also learn that the more things you are thankful to God for, the less you think of the things you would want to ask of Him.

And at some point of your growth in life, you might see yourself just writing on the right-side of the paper.

I know this to be true.

For indeed God has been so good to me and my family. He has blessed me despite my unworthiness. He has blessed me more than I can even imagine. And he has blessed me, to teach me that nothing can replace the success that comes by way of humility and submission, especially to His will for our lives.

I thank the Lord for all of the things that He has given me. Looking back at the last 29 years, I know for a fact that He has not, does not, and will not ever fail, just as I know for a fact that many times I have done so to Him. And yet He’s been and will always be faithful to me.

This day marks the 29th time the Lord has seen fit to lend me this gift of life, and all the blessings and challenges that come with it. By His grace, I’ll try and do my best to make each day lent to me to count for Him.

And to all the people God used to be a channel of blessing to me–my wife, daughter, my parents, my Senior Pastor and father in the faith, my fellow-laborers in the full-time staff, church family, closest friends, acquaintances, students, and every one else I had the chance of meeting–thank you all for being a part of my life, some in small ways, and some in very big ways. Surely, I will not be who I am because of God and all of you.

My prayer is that God would continue to give me a teachable and pliant heart and spirit, that I may continue to grow more and become a better person. Like every one else, I am still a project of God under construction. And I am enjoying every moment of Him teaching me His Word, will and way in my life.

I always say this, “If ever you still wake up today, that only means God isn’t finished with you yet, and the best has yet to come for you!”

God bless you guys!


Three-mendous! Our Blogsite Turns 3 Years Old

(Preface: It was a fully loaded day yesterday, and so we actually missed one day blogging, and right on the very day that this blog turns 4. I apologize for that, folks. Nonetheless, here we are, with a few minutes of this day to slip a moment of blogging. And so we fire away.)

rcandcess.wordpress.com turned 3 yesterday! It was in 2008 when I started blogging from a gasoline station somewhere along Aguinaldo Highway in Imus, Cavite. And since then, we have served out 538 posts under 16 categories and 222 tags, received 425 comments, and spammed by 9,024 unknown identities (I wanted to include this figure for fun’s sake). Amazing!

Here now is a rundown of all the top posts and other figures for the past year:

The most viewed file for this year is:

Earthquake Safety Precautionary Measures » earthquake-next-one-photo-rtre2o5-sw

This is actually a link connected to a photo from the National Geographic on a devastated highway during an earthquake. It got 5,792 views the past year.

The most viewed blog post is:

UAAP Season 74 Finals Preview: Ateneo vs. FEU

One of our most followed blog items are those for the UAAP. In fact the second most viewed blog post to this one is a UAAP post from season 72!

The word EARTHQUAKE brought in 4,885 views to our site for the past year. Funny, the second most searched word that brought viewers to our blog was the word PANGET.

Now with a way find out where in the world are our viewers coming from, our blog has been viewed in 45 countries in the world. Aside from the Philippines and US, our other viewers were from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Brunei Darussalam.

Still, our top commenter of all time is our fellow blogger and fellow rusher Specialist Joe. Please check out his blog as well!

I don’t know how it happened, but even with only four blog posts for the month, the month of September 2011 was the busiest month in the past year. One reason could be the championship game between Ateneo and FEU for UAAP S74.

As of today, rcandcess.wordpress.com has been viewed 57,066 times since it was born!

Once again, thank you everyone for patronizing this humble blog.It is always a joy to see our stat charts telling us that we are bringing people insightful and inspiring bits that have been helpful for them. We look forward to more years of joy and happiness through our blog!


The Six Things You Should Be Thankful Just By Reading This Blog Post

I remember the story of a preacher who asked one of his kids during devotion time to share something he was thankful about. The kid, with childlike faith, began enumerating the ingredients of the pizza he ate, and said that he was thankful that not one of them was spoiled, moldy or awfully tasting so as to make his dinner experience a bad one.

Even with this, we are reminded of the truth that indeed, in everything we should give thanks unto God.

In fact, even just by reading this blog post, you can find reasons to be thankful.

Let me prove to you that just by reading this post, there are already six things you should be thankful about.

First, the fact that you are reading this post means you are still alive. Be thankful for this day.

Second, the fact that you are reading this post means your mind is working properly. Be thankful for your brain.

Third, the fact that you are reading this post means you still have clear vision. Be thankful for your eyes.

Fourth, the fact that you are reading this post means you have a gadget to use for this. Be thankful for your material blessings.

Fifth, the fact that you are reading this post means you have a signal that comes across. Be thankful for technology that does good work.

And…

Sixth, the fact that you are reading this post means you are allowing someone to share his blessings. Be thankful that you are a channel of blessing.


Land Of Sand: Men First… Then With The Ladies

For my second week of stay in UAE, and the start of my official tour of duty here, we decided to change the old cliche.

Men first, then the ladies.

I had the opportunity of representing our beloved pastor in ministering to the ACTS Preachers and the Few Good Men of our Al Ghusais Congregation. Pr. Nonoy and I talked about what would be a good series of lessons to give to our men, and so after a few discussions over it, we decided to come up with a preaching workshop for the men.

Around 25 men came that Monday night, December 5 (in the picture it says December 6, because the date on the came is still adjusted to Philippine Standard Time). We had a great time learning from God’s word about the art and privilege of preaching. I shared to them the very lectures that I took from the homiletics class which I attended. And no other than our beloved pastor, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr., was my instructor for homiletics for 4 semesters (two semesters during my actual enrolment as a student, and two more semesters as a sit-in during his lectures together with the preachers). As part of the workshop, I asked the men to use the Apostle Paul’s sermon on Mars’ Hill as a common template for their preaching. I picked out some of the men randomly, and had them come up in front to deliver the sermon. Pr. Nonoy and I gave a few constructive comments on how to further improve their preaching skills.

The lecture, personally, was a refresher’s course for me, especially as I was prepping up for the next 55 days of preaching and teaching schedules across our congregations here in the UAE. I was able to bring with me my preaching compilations, edit and revise a few of them to make it more relevant to the intended audience, and be refreshed once more of the blessings I have received from them when the Lord first gave them to me. I would always pray that as I have been blessed by the Lord’ message through these preaching outlines, He would also use them to bless and encourage our men.

And then Wednesday of that week, we had a joint Bible study at the villa, this time including the ladies. Pr. Noy and I were going through the list of topics I brought with me, and we decided to have the message on Servant Leadership.

The outline that I have was largely taken from our beloved pastor’s message on Servant Leadership. I then included a few studies of my own, as well as a few insights from books like “Spiritual Leadership” by Richard Blackaby, and a book that the BP left with me, entitled “How To Lead And Still Have A Life” by H. Dale Burke.

More than anything else, I needed to hear that message again. So earlier that Wednesday, I had enough time to myself to just re-read and review the whole outline and just ponder upon it. And for sure, I was being rebuked by the outline as I reflected on my own faults and failures on the aspect of leadership. I wish to reserve the things God has allowed me to see for my own, until I get to see these truths officially realized in my life. But this much I can say–I have been truly blessed and I am hoping to see them all come to pass.

We had a great time together with the workers of Al Ghusais Congregation, and that was just a fill-in slot for that week. By Thursday that week I was headed for Abu Dhabi, where our BP had instructed me to represent him as the speaker for our Abu Dhabi Congregation’s 10th Foundation Day.

More on that story on our next post.


Twenty Eight

Some people would like to spend their birthdays the extravagant way. Others, they’d want it to be the flashy, fashionable celebration. Still, for some, they prefer to have their birthdays spent adventurous and high-octane.

For someone like me, I’d like to spend this day thanking God.

The Lord has been very gracious to me and my family. I have seen His mighty hand guide me in ways I cannot explain. His protection, provision, promotion and preservation has always been there for the last 28 years. He has given all my needs, and some of my wants. He has surrounded me with friends and loved ones who has made my life a lot more colorful and meaningful.

He has given me a loving, understanding and supportive wife, and a daughter who has provided a new source of joy in our home.

I have parents who did the right thing to bring me up in church, and siblings who also share my dedication and commitment to serving God.

I belong to a church led by a senior pastor who has been my mentor and greatest intercessor in my ministry.

I have fellow laborers who encourage me in my service for my Master.

I have been entrusted with dear ministry and congregation partners whose faithfulness to the Lord is a joy to behold.

I have the best of friends, here and abroad, who accept me for who I am, warts and all.

 

 

What else can I ask for at 28?


Oo Nga Naman 46

A little nine year old girl was in church with her mother when she started feeling ill.

“Mommy” she said “Can we leave now?”

“No” her mother replied.

“Well, I think I have to throw up!”

“Then go out the front door and around to the back of the church and throw up behind a bush.” In about two minutes the little girl returned to her seat.

“Did you throw up?” her mother asked.

“Yes” the little girl replied.

“Well, how could you have gone all the way to the back of the church and return so quickly?”

“I didn’t have to go out of the church, Mommy” the little girl replied, “They have a box next to the front door that says ‘for the sick’.”