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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Take stock of your habits and traditions. Is it a bane or a boon? - Daily Bible Reflections December 31,2013

ADDITION TO OUR TRADITION

 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
 
The celebration of New Year’s Eve is filled with tradition. People wear polkadots, serve 12 kinds of round fruits on their tables and light firecrackers to usher in prosperity and drive evil spirits away. The traditions have a more commendable side to it— it makes the evening colorful, it brings families together in emotional reunions and many other good things.
       May I suggest an additional good thing to add to our traditions? May I propose that we dedicate the first hour of the year to worship and prophecy?
       At the stroke of midnight, my household would worship and raise our voices to honor God in an attempt to drown the “noise” of the world. Instead of driving away spirits, we invite the Holy Spirit to join us in thanking God. Then we open our Bibles and receive a verse as a guide for the New Year, even as we consult Scripture again and again throughout the year.
       This additional tradition has brought me closer to God’s Word and has taught me to be guided by it. It makes my every day a New Year’s Day — a celebration of the Word! Rolly España (rnespana@nwineskin.com)
 
Reflection: Take stock of your habits and traditions. Is it a bane or a boon?
 
Father, remove all my bad habits and replace it with good ones that are led by Your Spirit.
 
St. Sylvester, pray for us.
 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Don’t wait for calamity to strike or accidents to happen before you simplify your life and show your loved ones how much you love them - Daily Bible Reflections December 30,2013

A SIMPLE LIFE

 
Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. – 1 John 2:15
 
“Live simply so that others may simply live.”
       This had been one of the memorable lessons I learned in my RELSFOR (Religion 4 – Social Responsibility) course back in college.
       Although I relatively led a simple life prior to one of the biggest setbacks in my life, supertyphoon Ondoy (a.k.a. Ketsana) taught me to let go of most of my material possessions and the mundane things in life. It taught me the art of giving up trivial stuff.
       The deluge that inundated my entire house on my 28th birthday taught me to prioritize storing riches in heaven instead of accumulating material wealth on earth. It taught me to prioritize relationships more than career. It taught me to be humble enough to accept help from other people. It taught me that in the face of calamity, loved ones matter most, and God sends angels along my path. I only have to cling to His promises. Ems Sy Chan (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Don’t wait for calamity to strike or accidents to happen before you simplify your life and show your loved ones how much you love them.
 
Father, thank You for Your wonderful gift of life. May I spend my borrowed life wisely by building strong relationships and storing riches in heaven.
 
St. Egwin, pray for us.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How is your relationship with the persons in your family right now? - Daily Bible Reflections December 29,2013

Feast of the Holy Family
 
BRAD
 
Kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sin. – Sirach 3:14
 
I was not very close to Brad. Being the youngest in a brood of seven, I didn’t find it easy to understand his ways, his words and especially his temper. I was oftentimes thrown off by it so I chose not to speak to him at all. We were so distant and different.
       Ironically, I, of all my brothers and sisters, would spend most time with him. At home or outside traveling, I found myself being in his midst the most, allowing me to experience him in his truest form, imperfections and all.
       October 2009 was when God called Brad to join His army of angels in heaven. My mom and I were by his bedside when he was gone all of a sudden.
       Then I finally understood the reason why things were so with him. Because all along, I totally loved, cared for and honored Brad, my father. Eugene A. Cailao (eugenecailao@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: How is your relationship with the persons in your family right now?
 

Father God, please allow Your Holy Spirit to come upon me that I may honor my parents the way You want me to. Let me establish peace, love and healing with them and my brothers and sisters. May my family be in Your presence all the days of our lives.
 
St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr, pray for us.
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Are you at peace right now? Check your homing instinct - Daily Bible Reflections December 26,2013

Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr
 

HOMING INSTINCT

 
“Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God…. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” – Acts 6:56, 59
 
My wife, Dinah, loves to doze off in the passenger seat while I’m driving. All throughout the trip, she’ll sleep. But without fail, whenever we arrive home, she miraculously wakes up. I call it her homing instinct. Somehow, her body knows when she’s home.
       The words above are the last words of the martyr saint Stephen right before he was stoned to death. All his life, his eyes were fixed on the prize of heaven. He was determined to stand up for his faith even at the cost of death, perhaps because he knew he didn’t belong to this earth in the first place. He was a temporary visitor, as all of us are, too. Because of that, he confidently knew he would go to heaven — his home, where he truly belonged.
       The Philosophy term a priori refers to a prior knowledge embedded in the deepest recesses of our being that we belong to God. That’s why when we sin, it doesn’t feel right. It may bring momentary pleasure, but in the end, we somehow know that something is wrong. It’s our homing instinct. And although we often go astray in this life, I believe our inner compass will always lead us back to Him because He is our true home. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Are you at peace right now? Check your homing instinct.
 
Lord, when I stray away from You, may You always lead me back home to Your heart where I truly belong.
 
St. Stephen, Protomartyr, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Today, make yourself aware of Jesus in every endeavor that you undertake - Daily Bible Reflections December 25,2013

Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
 

THE BELEN

 
… and made his dwelling among us. – John 1:14
 
For me, Christmas is best celebrated in the Philippines. Here, we play Christmas carols as early as October. We put Christmas decors in our homes way ahead of anybody else. But a favorite custom we have that I really love is our tradition of having a belen (créche) at our homes.
       A belen is a set of images that we place at a designated part of the house depicting the Nativity of our Lord. A makeshift barn with animals, shepherds, the three kings, a bright star, Mother Mary, St. Joseph, a manger filled with straw grass and Baby Jesus lying on top of it.
       Some families I know have done some innovations for their belens. Everything is complete except the grass straw where Jesus is supposed to be lying on. Then for every good deed or sacrifice they will make as an offering to Jesus, a grass straw will be placed underneath the Baby Jesus. On Christmas day, the manger is filled with grass where Jesus is laid, signified by offerings of good deeds and sacrifices that the family members have done for others.
       I love this tradition. Because in this way, every member of the family is aware to prepare their hearts for Jesus to make His dwelling among us. Marisa Aguas (jojangaguas@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Today, make yourself aware of Jesus in every endeavor that you undertake.
 
Lord Jesus, I pray that You make Your dwelling in my heart not only today but for every day of my life.
 
St. Eugenia, pray for us.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Today, offer all your eves to the Lord—whatever it is you’re waiting and praying for—and let your detours work for you - Daily Bible Reflections December 24,2013

ENJOYING THE EVE

 
“And to remember his holy covenant.” — Luke 1:72
 
According to my grand timeline, I would go to law school straight from college graduation, become a lawyer and work for humanitarian causes from there on out. It was the normal, noble thing to do.
       Because I didn’t plan for detours, I grew bitter when my parents asked me to try living in another country after college. I was so attached to my comfortable life that leaving it all behind — the support system, house help, the grand plan —seemed like an unjust weight on my shoulders.
       Only when I let go of my timeline and enjoyed the detour did things fall into place. Soon, after learning how to earn and seeing a little more of the world, I was right where I wanted to be: a student of law making her dream come true.
       Waiting is one of the hardest things we must deal with. Often we fluctuate between hope and despair, tension and anticipation, especially when what we’re waiting for isextremely important to us. But God’s  promise is that our deepest desires will bear fruit in His perfect time, regardless of any detours and road blocks that come our way. Ria Macasaet(ria.macasaet@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Today, offer all your eves to the Lord—whatever it is you’re waiting and praying for—and let your detours work for you.
 
Lord, may I learn to enjoy all the eves of my life, especially tonight, as I await the gift of Your birth.
 
St. Adele, pray for us.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Let your prayers seed the clouds until they rain down blessings upon you - God Whispers December 23, 2013

 
Let your prayers seed the clouds until they rain down blessings upon you.
 
Good morning,
God
 
P.S. The problem isn’t the shortage of blessings. The problem is the shortage of prayers!
 

Are you excited to share with others how God has blessed you? Or do you hesitate? - Daily Bible Reflections December 23,2013


ASAP

 
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. – Luke 1:58
 
“Do you already have a boyfriend?” My relatives would often ask me whenever they’d see me. They kept asking me that question for many years. They would advise me to find a boyfriend fast, get married and start a family ASAP because I was getting old. They were afraid I would have difficulty conceiving, or worse, I wouldn’t have a child. Actually, even my neighbors, officemates and some of my friends were worried.
       Then, I had my first boyfriend at 31. We got married the following year and, in a couple of months, I got pregnant. My parents, relatives, neighbors, colleagues and friends shared my joy. We praised and thanked God for enabling me to conceive right away even though I was a bit old and had polycystic ovaries. As of this writing, I have just given birth to my second baby, Mateo. His birth brought much joy once more to many, not only to me.
       God has shown me mercy repeatedly and I eagerly share my story at every opportunity, even through a magazine and a TV show. It’s just one way I show my gratitude to God so that others may rejoice when they learn that God shows mercy to those who trust in Him. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag (teregmps@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Are you excited to share with others how God has blessed you? Or do you hesitate?
 
Teach me, Lord, to boldly proclaim the good that You’ve done in my life.
 
St. John of Kanty, priest, pray for us.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Let’s re-spell Christmas not just in a song but in our lives!, Be good and he’ll bring you everything in your Christmas Alphabet - Daily Bible Reflections December 23,2013

CHRISTMAS IS…

 
“She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21
 
“C is for the Candy trimmed around the Christmas tree.
       H is for the Happiness with all the family.
       R is for the Reindeer prancing by the window pane.
       I is for the Icing on the cake as sweet as sugar cane.
       S is for the Stocking on the chimney wall.
       T is for the Toys beneath the tree so tall.
       M is for the Mistletoe where everyone is kissed.
       A is for the Angels who make up the Christmas list.
       S is for old Santa who makes every kid his pet.
       Be good and he’ll bring you everything in your Christmas Alphabet.”
       The more you sing this, the more you discover that this alphabet doesn’t really spell out Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. I love this song. Yet subliminally, the definition above spells out the modern-day view of Christmas: commercialized. Harassed. Rushed. Irritatated. Swamped. Trapped in traffic. Money-wasting.Apathetic. Stressed.
       Merely two days to go. Let’s bring back the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is Christ + mas = Christ + His people = Emmanuel = God is with us. Christmas is the birth of our salvation. Heaven born to earth. The Birthday of Jesus. Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Let’s re-spell Christmas not just in a song but in our lives!
 
Jesus, You are the Reason for the season. May You be the center of my celebration.
 
Blessed Jacopone da Todi, pray for us.
 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy people make happy marriages. - God Whispers December 21,2013


A single person who is miserable and says, “If only I’ll meet my perfect match and get married, then I’ll be happy,” is in for a big surprise. He’ll be one very miserable married person. And worse, he’ll make someone else as miserable as he is! Because the fact is obvious: Happy people make happy marriages.

Loving you,
God

P.S. You can’t give what you don’t have. Find your joy in Me and you can share it with others.

There is no such thing as a bad day. Just bad moments we choose to carry with us all day long - Daily Bible Reflections December 21,2013

DO NOT FEAR — 365 TIMES

 
The sorrows for the appointed feast I will remove from you: they are a burden and a reproach to you. – Zephaniah 3:18
 
The words, “do not be afraid,” appeared 365 times in the Bible. It’s as if God is telling us not to fear each day of the year that comes with a heartbreak, a struggle, failed dreams, unsuccessful plans or loss of money, loved ones, health, etc.
       A long time ago, I had more than 365 days of sorrow. Each day that came would bring me tears and fears of the unknown. And when the night would come, I would laymy head on the pillow with more fear for the darkness and what it would bring. My problem seemed insurmountable, and there seemed to be no rainbow at the end of the storm.
       Today, as I look back on those dark days, I realize that my God was there for me and my family all throughout that time — even on those days when I didn’t want to talk to Him at all. He was faithful even if I was not. And when the time came, He moved slowly, through situations and events, peeling off the hurts and sorrows, and replacing them with joy and gladness.
       Really, we should not be afraid, for He will remove the burdens in our heart. Chelle Crisanto (ellehcmaria@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: There is no such thing as a bad day. Just bad moments we choose to carry with us all day long. Take a deep breath and let them go. Have faith that everything will be OK. (Author Unknown)
 
Lord, I cast my fears and doubts on Your shoulders and accept Your love. And as I hold Your hand, bravery, strength, trust, love and faith shall flow from You to me. And all these will be my shield.
 
St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Worship happens not when you’re singing praise songs or attending worship services. True worship is when your life begins to be patterned after Mine - God Whispers December 20,2013



Worship happens not when you’re singing praise songs or attending worship services. True worship is when your life begins to be patterned after Mine.
 
Let’s commune,
God
 
P.S. Transformation is a concrete result of true worship.

Are you tired of using your own strength? It’s time to turn to God and let Him handle it - Daily Bible Reflections December 20,2013


LOST TICKET

 
“For nothing will be impossible for God.” — Luke 1:37
 
I was about to go home when I realized that the parking ticket was missing from my pocket. Wah! A P20.00 ticket will turn into a P200 charge plus all the hassle of accomplishing registration documents!
       “Lord, nothing is impossible. Please let the ticket be returned to me,” I prayed. I went back to the mall with no idea where to start. I hummed a worship song, eyes on the ground, until… voila! A tiny folded paper from afar. Could it be my ticket? I picked it up and yes! It was my ticket! Thank you, Lord!
       A year later, just as I was sharing this incident, it happened again. It could have slipped from my pocket. I smiled and prayed “Sorry, Lord, it happened again, but I know we can find it.” I went back where we dined, and there it was! Amazing!
       When I ask God if He will love me no matter what, He gives me a promise, “If you can find that very small folded paper in the middle of a very large mall, I will always find you no matter how big the world may seem to you.”
       Nothing is impossible for God. He who created everything can do anything. Dreus Cosio (andreus.cosio@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Are you tired of using your own strength? It’s time to turn to God and let Him handle it.
 
Lord Jesus, I lift up everything to You. I open myself to Your greater plans for me. Amen.
 
St. Dominic of Silos, pray for us.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Waking up in the morning is not a privilege. It’s My gift to you every single day you are alive - God Whispers December 19,2013

 
Waking up in the morning is not a privilege. It’s My gift to you every single day you are alive.
 
Count your blessings,
God
 
P.S. Let your first waking thought be, “Thank You, Lord, for my life!”
 

Where is God leading you? - Daily Bible Reflections December 19,2013


DIRECTOR’S CUT

 
“How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” – Luke 1:18
 
Sabi nanga ba eh!”(I knew it!) You will hear this every time my family watches a movie. With a know-it-all tone, someone will narrate the next scene with conviction, as if that person wrote the script.
       This is my personality even outside the movie house. I always need to know everything so I can control everything. I plan ahead. I see to it that everything’s fixed. Uptight and restless are my traits. But eventually, I got tired.
       The Lord threw in challenges in my path that reminded me that I’m not the director of my own life. He is. I can’t control everything that happens: I can’t bring my mom back to life nor could I dictate what people think. The Lord assures me that all I need to do is to sit back and trust Him, even if I don’t understand as of the moment.
       Our faith in God starts when we concede to His plans. It may be difficult now, but a life lived in total dependence on God, is a life of comfort and peace.
       Make God the director of your life and, rest assured, it will be a box-office hit! Pia Angelica Suiza (piasuiza@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Where is God leading you?
 
Jesus, make my faith in You grow bigger than all of my worries combined. Show me the way to You. Amen.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

If you’re truly happy, wealth magnifies your happiness - God Whispers December 18,2013

 
If you’re truly happy, wealth magnifies your happiness. It enlarges it. If you’re miserable, wealth will make you even more miserable. Wealth will make you happy only if you have learned how to be happy without it.
 
Grow,
God
 
P.S. Need I remind you that your True Wealth is Me?

Be like Joseph who acted immediately at what the Lord had told Him to do - Daily Bible Reflections December 18,2013


OBEY NOW!

 
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. – Matthew 1:24
 
Through the years, I’ve read and heard Bo Sanchez talk about investing and entrepreneurship. As part of his advocacy on financial literacy, he has been coaxing his readers and listeners to have their own business, to get into real estate and the stock market, and not be afraid to fail.
       I have to confess that I have not been quick to follow his advice all the time. But I know someone who is.
       When Bo says, “Start a business,” she looks for a franchise and starts a small food chain. When Bo says, “Invest in real estate,” she goes out and buys properties. When Bo says, “Invest in stocks,” that’s exactly what she does. Because she is quick to obey, she immediately harvests her profits. Her food business is doing well. She now owns a number of properties. And she has been earning from her stock investments.
       Now I understand why the Lord wants us to be quick to obey His commandments. We don’t realize it, but when we take our time in doing what He tells us to do, we miss out on blessings that could have been already ours. But the minute we obey, we reap blessings that we didn’t know had just been there waiting for us. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Be like Joseph who acted immediately at what the Lord had told Him to do.
 
Jesus, let me hear Your voice and be quick to obey You.
 
Blessed Anthony Grassi, pray for us.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oftentimes, your blessings come disguised as trial, difficulty or pain - God Whispers December 17,2013

 
Oftentimes, your blessings come disguised as trial, difficulty or pain. When it’s not obvious where the blessings lie, look harder.
 
Love you,
God
 
P.S. Don’t be discouraged at the form that your blessings take. All you need to do is strip away the packaging and its true nature will emerge.

When the song says, “Let all who come behind us find us faithful,” how true is that in our own lives? - Daily Bible Reflections December 17,2013

A PEOPLE MADE PERFECT

 
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. – Matthew 1:16
 
When we read the genealogy of Jesus, there are two things that stand out. First, it is full of imperfect people. As we go through the list, the stories behind each name is sometimes grim. Jacob was a liar. Rahab was a prostitute. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Solomon worshiped idols. Rehoboam was a tyrant… and the list goes on. But in all their imperfection, God continued to bless them according to His will.
       There is a Spanish proverb that says, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” No matter how sinful or unworthy you think you are, you are unique in all the world and you have been placed here for a mission that no one else can accomplish but you. God has blessed you to see it through.
       Second, the story ends in redemption. At the very end of the genealogy, buried in all the names, titles and positions, we see the reason these ancestors were redeemed. In fact, we see reflected in this list our own story of redemption and salvation. Because at the end of it all, everything rests on the Messiah; everything comes together in Jesus. Rod Velez (rod.velez@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: When the song says, “Let all who come behind us find us faithful,” how true is that in our own lives?
 
Master, I was born for a reason. Enlighten me to know what that reason is and equip me with strength to accomplish it. May I always reflect Jesus in my life.
 
St. Lazarus, pray for us.

Monday, December 16, 2013

God is the only authority of what is right and true. Don’t listen to what this world tells you - Daily Bible Reflections December 16,2013


SPEAK OUT ANYWAY

 
“By what authority are you doing these things? — Matthew 21:23
 
“What you will do is not right,” I told my friends who were about to cut classes to watch a movie. The reactions I got were some laughs and stares as if they were saying, “Killjoy! Who are you to lecture us? You are not our parents.”
       In a statement, the Pope said that same-sex marriage is a threat to the future of humanity. He was branded as a homophobic. His authority was criticized with comments like, “The leader of the Catholic Church is not in tune with the times. He is discriminating against homosexuals. He has no right to say that. If that is where they will be happy, he has no reason to criticize and say it is wrong.”
       It is hard to justify yourself to people whose perspective of right or wrong changes with the season, with what’s in or what’s out.
       We live in a very relativistic society. Ultimately, the future of humanity will rest on God and on God alone. He is the standard by which everything will be measured.
       When you speak out about things that are against God’s will, you will encounter resistance that will question your authority. Speak out anyway. God is on your side. Jun Asis (mabuting.balita@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: God is the only authority of what is right and true. Don’t listen to what this world tells you.
 
Lord, many ideas and people undermine Your authority and clamor to get my allegiance. Help me to always hear Your voice and follow it.
 
Blessed Honoratus Kozminski, pray for us.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What you do is important. It will be more significant if it reflects the glory of God and make way for Jesus to be seen - Daily Bible Reflections December 15,2013

FRONT ACT

 
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you.” – Matthew 11:10
 
I love John the Baptist. He’s Jesus’ “front act.” He knew when it was his time to shine, and knew when to fade out. No wonder Jesus said, “There has been none greater than him.”
       I am used to being introduced as someone who was once a front act of the legend, Freddie Aguilar. And I usually quip that as a front act, I’m the one who performs while there aren’t many people yet. And when a sizable audience has gathered, it’s my cue to exit so that the main act, the real star of the show, comes in.
       When I began preaching as one of Bo Sanchez’s Kerygma preachers I would always get the question, “Where is Bo? Is he coming?” It was as if my role was simply to make way for him. Yet, even now, after decades of preaching and teaching about God, I do believe I really am and really should “simply” make way as an “advance messenger.”
       Because when you’re in the limelight where people look up to you and applaud you, it’s very easy to fool yourself that it all stops with you. Thank God I had good practice as a front act so that I would always remind myself, “Hey, what you do is important. But in the end it’s not about you. It’s about Him – the Real Star — Jesus.”Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)
 
 
Reflection: What you do is important. It will be more significant if it reflects the glory of God and make way for Jesus to be seen.
 
Dear Lord, thank You for the blessed privilege to make my work a reflection and message of Your goodness and love. Amen.
 
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, pray for us.
 

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