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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 29, 2011
bounce back!

“The clever you have revealed to the merest children.” – Luke 10:21

One of my earliest childhood memories happened when I was only three years old. My family was watching television one night when my dad noticed that something smelled odd. He turned to my mom and asked if she noticed it, too. They traced the odd smell to an infected ear lobe — mine! And it hurt like crazy because my earring was stuck underneath skin and pustule.
With a first aid kit ready, my parents held me down, yanked out the earring and drained the infected ear lobe. Of course, I cried, kicked and screamed my lungs out through the process. But can you guess what I did immediately after my parents got the earring out?
I asked, “When can I wear earrings again?”
It’s amazing how quickly I recovered. But I believe God created us all this way — resilient to pain and able to bounce back from any trial. We just tend to forget as we get older. Pepper Bruce (pepper.bruce@gmail.com)
29
REFLECTION:
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” (Bernard Williams)

Lord, let me not forget that You have given me everything I need to overcome any trial that has or will come my way. You created me strong and nothing can keep me down.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 28, 2011
SAY THE WORD

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But say the word and my servant will be healed…” – Matthew 8:5-8

Lord, only say the word, and our baby will be healed.
As I write this, I’m watching my 11- month-old baby sleeping in her hospital bed. What we thought was a harmless cold turned into a stubborn fever and eventually into mild pneumonia. As a first-time parent and this being our daughter’s first sickness, you can imagine how extremely anxious and sad I am. Seeing her listless and uninterested in play — the sparkle in her eyes gone and replaced by distant gazes, hearing her inconsolable cries for help, and feeling the unusual heat from her tight embraces, all make me wish I could take her place and go through the sickness for her. I hate seeing her suffer.
I believe God doesn’t like seeing any of His children suffer either.
So why all the sickness and pain in the world? Well, because it’s an imperfect world. I’ve learned that these instances are part of life and are not what God desires, but they are opportunities for us to pray and stand in the gap for others — to come before God in faith, knowing that when we ask and believe, we will receive the healing He wants to give us in the first place. Geraldine G. Catral (teachergeegee@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
With boldness and faith, we can stand in the gap for others. Who will you pray for today?

Lord, only say the word, and Your servant will be healed.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 27, 2011
Waiting

So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1: 7

Gina and I got married in 1997. We still had no baby in 1998. The following year came and went. In 2000 she finally tested positive. We were going to have a baby! Arrangements and provisions were made: bedding, clothes, room and paraphernalia. We researched about pregnancy and babies. We made sure that Gina and our coming child were healthy.
But these preparations were nothing compared to our anticipation of holding her, seeing her face, watching her sleep, kissing her, hearing her laugh and cry and play and do all sorts of baby stuff. We couldn’t wait for her to be born!
Advent is a time of waiting, too. We celebrate God’s redeeming love but we also look forward to God’s blessings for the coming year. What will God reveal to you this Christmas? Can you picture how the Lord will manifest His love for you next year, how He will bless you?
Think of the best things that God will do for you. You will be surprised that He will exceed your expectations. You will surely not wait in vain.Jun Asis (mabuting.balita@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
Advent is waiting with joy in our hearts, anticipating the wonders the Lord has in store for us.

Lord, I can barely contain my excitement for Your coming. You bring good tidings and true happiness to my life. Come, Lord Jesus!

Daily Bible Reflections

November 26, 2011
ABIDE IN HIM

“Stay awake...” – Luke 21:36

One starry night, inside a manger in the town of Bethlehem, God stepped down from His throne and became human. It was an event that had been foretold and expected by thousands of Jews. Yet no one was there, and very few recognized our Lord.
Years after, in the city of Jerusalem, an innocent man was sentenced to die. He was mocked, tortured and put to a shameful death. As His chosen ones gazed at Him while He hung on the cross, hardly anyone recognized the Messiah who came to save the world.
Now I wonder, if Jesus is still among us, would we recognize Him and be ready to welcome Him?
I think that the only way we can identify Jesus is if we know Him in an intimate way. We have to abide in His presence every single day. We need to stay committed to the tasks assigned to us and strive to be loving, forgiving and humble, and always praise God with hearts full of gratitude.
By being constantly aware of God in this way, I hope that I will recognize Him when we finally come face to face.Cecil Lim (cez_lim@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
“Can You see that as soon as the day breaks I think of You? As evening comes, I am near You. I am near You at every moment. I love You, Jesus!” (St. Gemma Galgani)

Lord, grant me the fortitude to be faithful until the day that I can behold Your face.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 25, 2011
GOD’S WORD IS AT WORK!

“Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” – Luke 21:33

I was giving a talk in a Catholic Community in Greenhills where the attendees were still beautiful in their golden years. An author said that a beautiful woman is a work of art but a beautiful elderly woman is a masterpiece.
From the “masterpieces,” one stood out. She resembled a famous actress known for her beauty and acting prowess, Perla Bautista. (Your familiarity of her will reveal your age, he, he.) Her way of listening encouraged me so I planned to honor her after the talk. But she approached me first and said, “Great talk, brother. I’m Perla Bautista.”
I was star-struck! We chatted and I noticed that she was holding an album of papers. So I asked, “What’s that?” She answered, “A script.” I inquired, “Do you memorize everything?” She laughed and said, “Well, memorization is not that important, what’s important is that you internalize it!”
That hit me. Because the Lord is like the director in the big movie called life. He shouts, “Lights... camera... action!” The Light is His love. The camera is His omniscience. The last item is all up to us: ACTION!
Internalize your Script-ure friend, and He will crown your efforts with success. Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
Are we just avid fans of the Word or living witnesses to it?

Let Your Word, oh God, come alive in my life. Amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 24, 2011
sure proof

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand.” – Luke 21:20

Want proof that God’s Word is true and it will come to pass? Just look to the nation Israel.
In 587 BC, the Babylonian army captured Jerusalem, destroyed its Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon (modern-day Iraq). From then on, Jews lived as exiles around the world for over two and a half millenia. Throughout that time, they managed to preserve their language, culture and religion, but even more amazingly, their desire to return to their ancient homeland.
Just that alone is a wonder to me. Because I know Filipinos who’ve lived abroad for a few decades and their kids no longer speak Filipino, much less imbibe our values and culture, and have the longing to return to our islands.
Add the incredible fact that in 1948, Israel was reestablished as a sovereign state in its original homeland by the United Nations. Some scholars see this as fulfillment of Bible prophecy where God promised to gather the Jews again.
While exegetes argue whether this event was actually referred to by a specific prophecy in the Bible, there’s one thing I’m sure of. God’s Word can be trusted. Even if it takes millenia for His promises to be fulfilled. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
“The carrying out of God’s promise is as certain as if it’s already in the past tense.” (Unknown)

Lord, I put my trust in Your Holy Word today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 23, 2011
HOLD ON!

“By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” – Luke 21:19

The pressure is getting heavier. Projects are not turning out as they should. Deadlines pass by unmet. The boss calls you to check the status. Operations people call to follow up. Team performance leaves much to be desired.
These are the situations when I just want to say, “Enough is enough!” When I feel like packing up and going home.
As a worker in a foreign land, I face many challenges. So I’d call my wife back in Manila to intercede. And she’d pray and give me bible promises that strengthen me to go on
“Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you” (Isaiah 41:10).
“I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Philippians 4:13).
And because of these powerful messages from the Lord, I am able to patiently endure and carry on. I remind myself, “Quitting is not an option!”
I persevere in my work, constantly asking the Lord for help and guidance. And yes, each day the Lord unfolds a blessing, a victory in my workplace! Danny Tariman (danny@dtariman.com)
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REFLECTION:
Are you on the brink of quitting? Don’t. Hang on. The Lord will give you a breakthrough!

Lord, I am sorry for the times that I have weakened in my faith. Please strengthen me to keep on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 22, 2011
HIS SECOND COMING

“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! “– Luke 21:8

One time, during one of my out-of-town trips, I chanced upon a preacher on TV who claimed that he is God’s Chosen Son. He said he is Jesus’ second coming and that the world is undergoing the tribulation days.
My reaction? Of course, I sort of freaked out! How can anyone claim that he is Jesus? Last time I checked, the Second Coming was supposed to be Jesus Himself.
However, looking at this from another angle, I asked myself: “Am I a reflection of Christ’s coming into the world? Does my life provide evidence that He has come?”
One priest friend told me that in this day and age Jesus is truly here among us — through the Eucharist — and here to provide grace for us to truly be sons of God.
I pray that we may all become the reflection of the Lord’s coming in our world. Ariel Driz (adriz77@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
Am I a reflection of Christ’s coming?

Lord Jesus, I pray for the grace to reflect You in all areas of my life. Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 21, 2011
AN EMPTY POCKET FULL OF GOOD

“For those others have all made out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” – Luke 21:4

A few years ago while stuck in traffic, I saw a street child selling candy from a wooden box that she offered to people who passed her by on the sidewalk. When a man paid her money for gum, the child counted the coins in her hand, placed them in her pocket and began packing up her things to go home.
Suddenly, a small boy walked up to her, tugged on her sleeve and put both palms out with a pleading look on his face. I was amazed to see the older child put her hand back inside her pocket with little hesitation and watched as she selflessly gave what she had just earned to the little boy. As he skipped away in joy, she slowly picked up her wooden box and once again began calling out for people to buy her candy.
That child taught me that true giving meant more than just random acts of kindness. Generosity should be an inner habit, one we must form by constantly sharing our blessings with a full heart and with the deepest faith that God will continue to provide. Eleanore Lee (elyo.lee@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
When you give wholeheartedly, God rewards you with the smiles of those who have benefited from your goodness.

Lord, constantly remind me that You brought me into this world with Your love as my sole possession. Any blessing in excess of that belongs not just to me but all of Your children.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 20, 2011
Solemnity of Christ the King
RECALCULATING

“ The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back…” – Ezekiel 34:15-16

It was our first time to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) to help us navigate as we drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. My husband didn’t know how to use the handheld GPS but it was supposed to tell us where to go given the destination we typed in. For one hour we followed its voice commands until we realized that it was directing us through in-roads instead of the freeway. When we decided to ignore its instructions, it kept saying, “Recalculating,” as it plotted a new route to lead us to our destination. It was annoying!
Days later, we learned that our GPS was set to pass only pedestrian lanes. (Pedestrian lanes from LA to LasVegas?!) When we finally used the right settings, it gave us directions with pinpoint accuracy and it became an indispensable tool!
God gave us a GPS to guide us to our final destination: heaven. But often we don’t take the time to read the manual (the Bible) to make sure we’re on the right track. We listen to too many voices in the world telling us where to go instead of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus clearly said He is the Way; no one goes to the Father except through Him.
If you are lost, reset and listen to the right voice. God always allows U-turns! Ronna Ledesma(ronnaledesma@email.com)

REFLECTION:
Are you lost? Just follow Jesus. He knows the way.

Thank You, Jesus, for seeking me out when I was lost and for bringing me back to the right path.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 19, 2011
ORDINARY DAYS

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living...” – Luke 20:38

Yesterday I was struck by an article on the Sunday Missalette entitled “Finding Grace in Ordinary Days.”
After Pentecost and before Advent are ordinary days in the Catholic liturgical calendar.
We always aim for and reward the extraordinary. We pray for miracles, expect great things to happen and rejoice in the overwhelming grace or blessings we receive. But yes, there is grace and blessing in the ordinary.
When we overlook the ordinary — and we often do — we miss the grace and blessing that the everyday “normal” brings. But if you think about it, that’s where most of our blessings abound. That every ordinary breath of ours brings life. That we can do the things normal people do. That the sun rises every morning. That the daily tasks and routines get done.
After all, ordinary isn’t so commonplace when a disruption happens. Like when you lose a yaya. Or you get sick. Or you lose your job.
No, nothing is ordinary or normal in a Christian’s life. Everything is a miracle and a grace. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
It takes an exceptional soul in an ordinary Christian to see God’s blessings in the daily grind.

Lord, thank You for everything that is “ordinary” and “normal” in my life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 18, 2011
FILE DELETED

Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things... – Luke 19:45

A male officer in one of my previous employments was busy doing something on our department’s laptop. He was surrounded by our other office mates who were gawking at his monitor. I learned from my friend that they were watching an X-rated video, which came from an employee of another department and was stored in the hard disk of our laptop.
I was scandalized with what I learned and resolved to do something about it. Since my friend was more knowledgeable about computers, I asked her to locate the X-rated file and delete it permanently. My friend borrowed the laptop from this male officer and got to work. Later, she informed me, “Mission accomplished.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus entered the temple area and drove out the merchants and money changers. He was angry at them because they made God’s temple a place of extortion, and thus it became a “barrier” or obstacle to Jews who wanted to worship.
Jesus didn’t mind what other people would think or say of Him. He became angry but did not sin. His anger was directed toward the right issues — sin and injustice — and stood against them. We need to do the same. Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
Do you have the tendency to just “go with the flow,” not wanting to rock the boat?

Lord, grant me the courage to go against the flow when the need arises. Be with me as I stand up for what is good, right and just.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 17, 2011
A MAN FOR JESUS

“We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.” – 1 Maccabees 2:22

My friend and I had just finished a morning run when a car parked beside us. A man alighted and walked towards us with a pamphlet in hand.
After brief introductions, the man handed over the pamphlet and proceeded to share his faith in Jesus. You can immediately sense that this guy was enamored with Jesus and was only too eager to let everyone know about it. He was surely persuasive, to say the least, as he invited us to attend a Bible study.
I told the guy that, like him, my friend and I have also accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and that we were actually part of a community where we also share and learn about God’s Word. He looked surprised and pleased at the same time. After a few more exchanges, the man left.
My friend and I were encouraged by the man’s boldness. We both surmised that he may not get the same favorable response as he did from us when he speaks to other people. But we knew that it would not deter him from proclaiming the best story ever told.
Would we do the same? Erwin Roceles (erwin_roceles@yahoo.com)
17
REFLECTION:
Do you look for opportunities to share Jesus to others? Does your conduct reflect the image of Jesus?

Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 16, 2011
FAITHFUL IN BIG MATTERS

“Well done,” he said; “you are a good servant! Since you were faithful in small matters, I will put you in charge of ten cities.” – Luke 19:17

Albert de Guzman has an inspiring story. His dad passed away when he was only eight years old. His mother had to work as a maid for them to survive.
He wanted a better life for his family. He was ready to take on any job. He worked as a houseboy, salesman, waiter, OFW and even a lifeguard. He was always a trustworthy and hardworking employee. Because of his excellent work ethic, he was trusted with more responsibility every time he transferred employers.
After several years of working as an employee, he had the desire to manage his own business.
God eventually answered his prayer. He was able to find the right location and right partner for a food franchise. Through borrowed money and God’s grace he was able to open his first outlet in a mall.
Albert now manages more outlets and is able to provide for his mother and siblings. He was able to achieve the better life he wanted. He is a living proof that those who can be trusted with small matters will be given bigger ones. Alvin Fabella (alvinfabella@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
Have you been faithful and wise with the resources that God has given you? Today is a good day to start evaluating how you have been using these resources.

Jesus, make me a faithful and farsighted servant. Amen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 15, 2011
extra care

Jesus said to him: “Today salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost.” – Luke 19: 9-10

I have been blessed by leaps and bounds. There are even times that instead of being thankful, I tend to ask, “What did I do to deserve this?”
It’s not like I’ve been a model Christian. Um, I used to skip Sunday Mass — among other things. Still, Jesus makes me feel so loved and sends blessings my way. And His strategy of unconditional love works! I take extra effort nowadays to hear Mass.
Love and acceptance are indeed powerful and gentle ways to bring those who are lost back on the right track. Jesus takes extra care of those who need it most. Anne Macalino-Santos (annemac.santos@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
Do I only give attention to those who are easy to love?

Dear Jesus, help me to have a bigger heart and to give more love, especially to those who really need it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 14, 2011
NO HARM IN ASKING

Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” – Luke 18:40-41

When I was in grade school, I failed in many quizzes. Sure, I listened to the lectures intently, but I never really comprehended them. While my classmates raised their hand to ask questions, I chose to remain silent, fearing that if I asked, I might be accused of being inattentive.
As I grew older I learned to raise my hand in class to ask. Then, better grades followed. I realized that to ask is a humble thing to do because it’s as good as showing a weakness or a lack. But it gives us a benefit — a new learning, a thing desired, an awaited answer.
In prayer, I have also learned to ask even for the silliest things from God — as silly as, “Lord, can You please make this guy call me?” After all, Jesus did ask the blind man in today’s Gospel what he wanted from Him.
I believe that Jesus asks us this question every single day of our lives. The mighty God that He is still remains to be the humble Servant to us, His people. We just need to humble ourselves, too, to seek His assistance. Nova Arias (nova.svp@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
What do you want Jesus to do for you today?

Lord, thank You for granting the blessings that I asked You for, and thank You for the ones that are yet to come.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 13, 2011
THE BREAKTHROUGH HURDLE

But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. – Matthew 25:18

The major breakthroughs in my life happened because I decided to break free from my comfort zones. I was a teenager when I took the challenge of giving my first talk in a prayer meeting and, through the years, eventually grew into an international conference speaker. When I decided to leave the security of a regular job to tread the unknown waters of becoming an entrepreneur, I prospered. When I took a chance on a nearly improbable scholarship, I ended up being one of this prominent school’s top scholars.
I’ve learned that:
1. God has put talents in me waiting to be discovered and unleashed.
2. Every time I took the challenge and overcame a major hurdle, my talent went up another notch higher.
3. Everything I wanted is just outside of my comfort zones.
Imagine what great tragedy it is for people who simply dig a hole, bury their talent, pass up the opportunity to break free from their comfort zones and miss out on God’s best. The “joy of the Master” is being the best that I can be, as He created me to be. Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
Do you have a tough hurdle now that challenges you to go beyond your comfort zone? Friend, maybe it’s time to break free towards greater heights.

Father, You desire me to prosper and grow beyond my wildest imagination. Give me the courage and the will to work hard to go beyond my comfort zone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 12, 2011
SING! SING UNTO THE LORD!

Sing praise, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds! – Psalm 105:2

In 1992, my cousin, Belle, gave me my first Didache – a tiny booklet that changed my life big-time. So inspired by the reflections there, I wanted to be a Didache writer. But she knew that only community members were invited to write. “I’ll gladly join the community!” I replied. “Not possible,” she said, “you’ll need a husband first.” They were then with LOJ’s Homes for Christ — a couples group. Yeah, right, my husband just died. Where in heaven’s name do I buy one?
With the desire to serve the Lord awakened, I became a hanger-on — an LOJ member wannabe. Belle brought me along to many community activities, urging me to keep signing the attendance sheets. “They might get so fed up with seeing your name, they’ll finally accept you,” she said. In 2003, LOJ South finally opened its doors to singles.
I read the above verse fondly because today I sing with the South Feast Music Ministry (even got the chance to join the Kerygma Conference chorus). I also edit the South Feast bulletin being the secretariat head. And I’m a Didache writer! The Lord truly does wonderful things for people who love Him. Lella Santiago (mirellasantiago@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
Are you losing heart because of unfulfilled dreams? Praise the Lord and wait on Him. His plans for you are more glorious than you can imagine.

My joyful heart sings praises to You, Lord, my wonderful Savior!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 11, 2011
WHEN THE END COMES


“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage.... Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” – Luke 17:26-27


The end of the world is something that I don’t reflect on. It scares me just to think that there is actually an end to all life. And what I fear even more is I don’t know when this is going to happen. Only God knows when He will put a period to the last sentence of this generation’s life story.

Come to think of it, when I recall the devastation brought by calamities, the wars all over the world and the diseases that threaten us daily, I ask myself if our generation still deserves to live in the world we have abused and failed to love. God was justified in cleansing the world with the flood during Noah’s time and there’s no telling if He will choose to do it again. Maybe the old life has to end for new life to begin — a life that is lived in faithfulness to God’s design and will.

Although I am powerless to stop the world’s demise, I realized I can trust God’s infallible wisdom and mercy to carry out His will for us. More than destruction, the second coming of Jesus will bring a new beginning, a new life and a new hope. I just pray that I will be prepared and worthy to witness His glorious revelation. Dina PecaƱa (dpecana@yahoo.com)
11
REFLECTION:

“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:16-17)


Jesus, may You find me faithful and prepared when You come again in glory.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 10, 2011
IN ME


“The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed... For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” – Luke 17:20-21


My friend said once, “Why do we always look up when we pray? Is heaven really up there? Or is it something we’ve just
been accustomed to because of movies and books?”

This thought struck me. And I must admit, it makes a lot of sense.

When God made man, He was the only one among all creation of whom God said to be made in His image and likeness. God, being invisible, has made Himself visible through the people around us. In that sense, His kingdom is among us.

I often give people great books or cool Christian CDs or invite them to prayer gatherings. But I’ve realized that before they read, listen to or attend any of those things, they should be able to see, hear and experience God through me. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Are you aware of God’s presence in the people around you?


Lord, let Your kingdom come in me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 9, 2011
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

ALWAYS with you


“See, I am with you and I will keep you safe wherever you go….” – Genesis 28:15


My youngest daughter Mae had always wanted to pursue her masteral studies and work abroad. So as soon as she earned her bachelor’s degree here in the Philippines, she explored various options. She was barely 21 years old then, and we, her parents, discouraged her, using financial constraint as the reason. But the truth is, how can we let her live all by herself in a faraway land where we have no relatives or close friends? Obedient as she is, she relented and opted to work here. Three years later, she brought up the subject again, saying she could take in part-time jobs to support her studies and somehow lighten our burden.

This time, we yielded to her desire and gave her our full support. She finished her studies with flying colors in a year and a half and is now legally employed in New York.

What made us give in to her request? We remembered and trusted God’s promise that He will always be with her and keep her safe wherever she goes.Bay Cabrera (baycabrera@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:

When you travel to unfamiliar places, do you sometimes feel danger lurking at you? Do you call on God to protect you?


Lord, give us the grace to believe that You will always be with us.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 8, 2011
MEET LALING, A SERVANT


“We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” – Luke 17: 10


We treat our maids like they were members of our family. We always ask them to join us at table during meal time. But one time, we had Laling (not her real name). She would not join us during meal times. She said she would eat after we finished eating.

We were not comfortable about that. My husband, particularly, thinks it’s unethical to serve leftover food to anyone. So, we had a better arrangement: Laling ate ahead of us.

As I reflect on today’s Gospel, I surmise there are different meanings of the word servant. Laling might have belonged to that generation who thought maids should be, well, slaves — meant to do whatever their masters commanded them to do.

In my prayer community, we work in various ministries and call ourselves servants. But we are not like our household helpers who work because they need the salary. What we need is to express our love for God, and how do we do this? We take the position of servants ready to do what God, Our Master, wants us to do. After all, rather than be a Master, He said He came to serve us. Yes, after all, He is our Head Servant. Cynthia Santiago (boses2go@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:

Who do you serve?

Lord, purify my motives in working for You.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 7, 2011
Faith Forgives

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” – Luke 17:5

Do you know exactly when the apostles asked our Lord for an increase in faith? Right after Jesus taught them to forgive. “Even if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry’ you should forgive him” (Luke 17:4).
I don’t know whether these two verses are directly related. But one thing’s for sure. You need extraordinary faith to forgive. Especially when someone does you wrong “regularly.”
I know about justice. I believe in correcting someone who does wrong because as an educator, I know that discipline is vital to learning. But you don’t need to be a Christian to practice justice and discipline. Even the pagans do that. I believe that if there’s one thing that will set us apart as Christians it’s forgiveness. Justice — yes. Discipline — yes. But forgiveness — above all! Because forgiveness is the ultimate expression of love.
Easy to say. Difficult to follow. Forgive people who wrong you? Seven times a day? Nonsense. Well, that’s why you need an increase of faith. Because with extra faith — and a mega dose of love — forgiveness may still not make sense. But it’s all worth it. Alvin Barcelona (kpreacheralvin@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Do you want to forgive someone but find it difficult to do? Ask an increase of faith from God now. And with that, forgive and follow Jesus!

Dear Lord, grant me an increase in faith that I may forgive and be like You. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November 6, 2011
A CHANNEL OF GOD’S HELP

She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men’s desire. – Wisdom 6:13

As I write this, I am amazed at how God has continued to use me in unexpected ways — mostly to meet other people’s needs.
At a time when there was not even a hint of publishing non-book products, the idea of an inspirational perpetual calendar popped into my head. A few months later, the idea was put to good use when our company president asked us to think of other products to sell. With Bo’s approval, the idea turned into reality.
Another time, I got a call from one of our counselors. A counselee wanted to apply as a writer in our publication. We weren’t hiring, so I just told her to let the person send in her resume. A few weeks later, I overheard our events organizer and her boss discussing about a need to hire a marketing person. Suddenly, I remembered the person, whose redentials met their needs. Last I heard she’s about to start working for our events group.
There have been numerous instances of this kind in my life. Call it serendipity, but I believe the Holy Spirit knows what God’s people need even before we’re aware of it, and uses other people to channel His help. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
How open and sensitive am I to the leadings of the Holy Spirit?

Lord, make me more sensitive to Your promptings in my life. I offer myself to be used as a channel of Your help for other people.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 5, 2011
IN MY DEFENSE

“You justify yourselves in the sight of others…” – Luke 16:15

Being a part-time student, I miss out on a lot of school interactions — both official and the ones organized by my classmates. This also means that I do not get to hang out often with classmates (other transferees but full-time students) whom I got close to. Many times I cannot relate with their discussion because I already missed out on most of them already.
Once, we were asked to group ourselves and I had to join another group because the number of members per team was limited. Though it made me feel let down and overlooked, I had to convince my classmates (and myself) that I was OK. I even rationalized the situation by just thinking that I didn’t even expect to be part of the team from the start. My rationalization enabled me to participate in my assigned group and the feeling of being left out was gone by the time our task was done. In the process, I made new acquaintances.
This is only one of those instances when, I must admit, I mask my true emotions just so everything seems OK. It may not seem the most honest thing to do, I think it is necessary to do that at times, so that we can move on and not remain disheartened. God knows our intentions and He can still make us emerge better persons in trying situations. Mae Ignacio (maemi04@aim.com)

REFLECTION:
Do you have feelings that you keep from others? That is OK; lift them to God. He knows best how to make you feel better.

Father, You know my deepest desires. I lift them all to You.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 4, 2011
BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS

As the Scripture says, “Those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” – Romans 15:21

I’ve been a member of the Light of Jesus Family for three years now. I still remember my first few chapter meetings. Inherently taciturn, I was hesitant to attend the meetings without someone accompanying me.
Less than a year later, I handled my first care group (CG). I thought I was a failure because I was having trouble establishing rapport with my members who were new to the community.
Little did I know that it served as a venue to practice love and acquire the patience of a saint. My second care group reached almost 15 members because of the eager servants from the Children’s Ministry who were searching for a sense of belongingness through the CG. Most of my members became close to one another because they’re serving in the same ministry and finding joy in what they do.
I’m now handling my third flock as a coordinator. It’s very inspiring to see my fellow CG heads and the number of their members growing. Indeed, the Pasig Feast is serving its purpose of reaching out to the unchurched and has grown by leaps and bounds.Leeanne Sy (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
Hesitant to accept a big responsibility in your prayer group? Say “I will” to God first, then allow Him to bring you through it, and your group will grow by leaps and bounds.

Cast away all the doubts, fears and apprehensions in our hearts, Lord. Remove our pride and counsel us on what to do so that we do not solely depend on ourselves.

Daily Bible Reflections

November 3, 2011
who ’s the judge?

Why then do you judge your brother?... For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. – Romans 14:10

“We live below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile.” This is one of the portraits of the American millionaire found in the book, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. The book profiled actual millionaires in the US based on focus group interviews and questionnaires that they answered. The authors said that actual millionaires won’t get a primetime spot on TV since they live dull normal lives, far from what we think about them.
In the same manner, the Church has all sorts of canonized saints. While there are St. Therese of Lisieux-types, who was said to have never committed a mortal sin, there are also saints that had a history of sin like St. Augustine who said, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.”
What am I trying to say? That it is better for us to give others the benefit of the doubt. People don’t necessarily fit a pattern. Besides, the only pattern that we need to follow is Jesus’ example and command to love others. After all, the final judgment is His. And we, too, will be judged. Joy Sosoban (jsosoban@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

Lord, help me to see with Your eyes so that I will not easily jud

Daily Bible Reflections

November 2, 2011
Solemnity of All Souls

WHAT STORY DID YOU HEAR?

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:4

I was seven years old. My classmate made unpleasant remarks, and in rebuke, my math teacher told us a story about the end of the world. She said we will not know the exact day and hour. And when the end comes, we will be separated into two: on the left will be the goats and on the right, the sheep.
With eyes as big as an owl’s, she scared the wits out of us in saying that “bad” boys will go to hell unless we become blameless and “good” like sheep. I didn’t understand the analogy at the time, but the idea that I could die anytime and go to hell frightened me so much that I couldn’t sleep for many nights. Talk about a bad bedtime story. In my adult life, I’ve had my share of “emotional deaths” — relationships that have crushed my soul and left me empty, and hopeless like a seven-year-old.
But St. Paul tells us a different story. He says that through Jesus, death, in whatever form, is now a temporary reality to attain eternal union with the Father. Today, God raises us to a new, refreshed life and invites us to walk the path that He laid out for us with gratitude and hope. Reden Cerrer (redcer@yahoo.com)
2
REFLECTION:
“For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died in Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:7)

Jesus, let me live for You every day of my life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

November, 2011
Solemnity of All Saints
A BLESSING MAGNET

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

Many of my friends lost many things in the major floods that hit our country two years ago. They lost homes, businesses and properties. With tears, my auntie said, “Bo, I lost all the material things I’ve collected over the past 50 years of my life!” Some friends said that the most painful was losing all their photographs — the memories of a lifetime.
Many years ago, I, too, lost a lot of money in a business venture. At that time, I lost almost my entire net worth. I was tempted to mope, sulk and carry a heavy burden for a long time. Actually, I allowed myself to grieve for a while, which was healthy. But I decided not to grieve for too long, or I would be stuck forever. After some time, I declared, “God has something better for me.” I chose to believe that better businesses would come my way. I even began declaring the unbelievable. I said, “I’ll earn 10 times what I lost!”
And that’s what happened. With my loss, God was able to create room for something better to come my way.
Better things happen when you become grateful for what you still have. When you become grateful, you attract more of what you’re grateful for. And gratitude is a blessings magnet. Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)
1
REFLECTION:
Have you experienced some loss lately? Focus on what you still have.

Lord, grant me a grateful heart — to be thankful for what I still have despite my losses, and for the blessings that are yet to come.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

October 31, 2011
ULTERIOR MOTIVES

“Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” – Luke 14:14

Dodong and Boyet are both account executives. They handle the promotion of different products including shows and launches. During lunch breaks, Dodong would often sit with the bosses, sometimes even volunteer to treat them. But he was cold to the utility personnel. After all, what could he get from rubbing elbows with them? Boyet, on the other hand, was pleasant to everyone. He would even treat the utility men at times.
When the performance evaluation came, Boyet scored a lot higher than Dodong and qualified for a raise. Both didn’t know the bosses consult even the utility men when evaluating. During events, it turned out, Boyet was more efficient, the great working relationships he had with everyone established a better productive atmosphere.
Today’s Gospel spoke of Jesus’ message to the Pharisees who invited people to dine with them because they had ulterior motives. They wanted to impress them and benefit from them in some way. Jesus told them instead to invite those who couldn’t repay them for their reward would be in heaven. That was true for Boyet who didn’t have to wait for heaven for his reward. Carlo Lorenzo (carloflorenzo@yahoo.com)
31
REFLECTION:
Are my kind acts tainted with ulterior motives? Am I being sincere or is there something I expect in return?

Holy Spirit, search my heart and whisper to me if my good deeds for others are done with a conscious or unconscious motive to gain.

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