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Thursday, October 31, 2013

When was the last time you gave a person a true and meaningful compliment? - Daily Bible Reflections October 31,2013


I will speak my thanks earnestly to the Lord, and in the midst of the throng I will praise him. – Psalm 109:30
I have been married for 31 years. One of the ingredients to our durable marriage is my many ways of complimenting or honoring my wife. Today, she celebrates her birthday and I will do just that — honor her with a verse from the book of Proverbs 31:10, which says: “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.” She is God’s gift to me, a suitable partner and a part bigger than myself.
       Complimenting somebody has a big effect on the recipient. It raises self-esteem, encourages, energizes and invigorates. It brings joy and gladness, it honors a person. The person giving the compliment is drawn closer to the recipient and vice-versa. In the process, a relationship is developed and strengthened. And that is life’s biggest wealth — relationships.
       The person who honors others, honors God because we follow His commandment to honor one another and encourage each other. God rewarded my honoring. I have a wife who makes my journey in life joyful, meaningful and complete. Rolly España (rnespana@nwineskin.com)
Reflection: When was the last time you gave a person a true and meaningful compliment?
Lord, let me be a Barnabas, a person who encourages and builds relationships.
St. Wolfgang of Regensburg, pray for us.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

God sent us His Holy Spirit so He can be with us in every moment of our lives - Daily Bible Reflections October 30,2013


The one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. – Romans 8:27
I was already asleep in my parents’ room but I was awakened in the middle of the night by someone’s controlled weeping. In the dark, I could see my mom’s figure with her arm around my eldest brother, who was then in his twenties. He was hunched and crying. I couldn’t make out what they were talking about but what I knew was that my brother faced a problem big enough to make him cry.
       I’m sure that wasn’t the first time — or the last — that he got into trouble. All of us had more than our share of misdemeanors in our younger days. But thank God we had a mom who was a prayerful woman. I grew up seeing her attend Mass daily, pray the rosary before she slept and went to prayer meetings every week. Now that I’m a mother, I wonder if she was doing all that because she had six children to pray for! We were blessed to have a mom who was also an intercessor and knew what to pray for us.
       Now think about this: the Holy Spirit constantly prays for you and me. And His prayers are perfect because He prays according to God’s will! So the next time you get into trouble and don’t even know what to pray, call on your Intercessor. He’ll know what to do. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: God sent us His Holy Spirit so He can be with us in every moment of our lives.
Holy Spirit, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why is it so difficult for you to trust in God’s promises? - Daily Bible Reflections October 29,2013


But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. – Romans 8:25
I am a singer. The year 2001 was when God revealed strongly His desire for me to use my talent in a massive way. In 2002, I started singing background vocals for “Asia’s Nightingale” Lani Misalucha, and soon after, for “The Concert King” Martin Nievera and “Asia’s Songbird” Regine Velasquez. I now remain a freelance session singer.
       Freelance work is never easy as it tests one’s patience and perseverance big-time. Often, I’ve waited for projects to happen without knowing that they had already been cancelled. Yet, even more frequently, projects that I never even knew were being conceived come my way. There are the sudden free trips to the US, the Middle East and Asia — where I get to sing and earn at the same time!
       It all happens while I just maintain a hopeful disposition believing that my God, who is my Boss, has my entire career planned well for me. Eugene Cailao (eugenecailao@gmail.com)
Reflection: Why is it so difficult for you to trust in God’s promises?
Father, You are my Creator and God. Allow me to believe and hold on to Your words. You have the best in store for me.
St. Narcissus of Jerusalem, pray for us.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

There is a thin line between obedience and trust in everything we do - Daily Bible Reflections October 27,2013


The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites. Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. – Sirach 35:12-13
It is often said that it is easier to surrender your life to God than to surrender your wallet. A person will consecrate himself when he is touched by a moving worship song but may struggle when the love offering basket comes. Just like the rich young man who obeyed every law since he was a child. He couldn’t obey that one thing he lacked to have eternal life: to give up his riches.
       You see, surrendering your wealth is not about obedience. It’s about trusting.
       That’s why tithing is a sacred act. You shouldn’t tithe because your elder tells you so. You tithe because you’re declaring: “Lord, I’m trusting You to provide me with what I don’t have yet by giving you what I have right now.”
       That’s when something becomes sacred — when you turn over to God what is yours. There’s not much return of investment if you are merely being obedient. But when you give because you trust Him, the returns are out of this world. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)
Reflection: There is a thin line between obedience and trust in everything we do.
Abba, Father, let not my trust in You waver or falter when I am in need.
Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza, pray for us.

Nothing can separate us from His love - Daily Bible Reflections October 26,2013


Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1
I was walking along the beach one day and I decided to pick up a few stones to see how far out to sea I could throw them. I hurled one so far that I didn’t even see it hit the water. I was captivated by the vastness of the ocean before me.
       I’ve committed a lot of sins in my life. A number of them, I said to myself I’d never get into — but I did. For a long time, I condemned myself. I walked around with a heavy heart and a guilty conscience.
       One time I went to confession, the priest told me that God allows us to experience failure so we will know His mercy. After confessing my sins, he told me that my penance was simply to be grateful for my blessings. Instead of focusing on my sin, he asked me to focus on the goodness in my life. That helped me a lot.
       Our sins are like a mere drop in the ocean of God’s mercy. God notices them, but He doesn’t focus on them.  He focuses on our potential — on the vast goodness in us that comes from His overflowing heart. He doesn’t want us to be complacent about sin, but He does want us to always remember that His forgiveness is ready and available for those who sincerely repent and return to Him. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: Nothing can separate us from His love.
Lord, I repent of my sin and return to You now. Thank You for Your love that does not condemn.
Blessed Contrado Ferrini, pray for us.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Are you the master of your emotions? - Daily Bible Reflections October 25,2013


Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. – Romans 7:20
I didn’t want to confront her, but I needed to come to my niece’s rescue.
       A 27-year-old woman whacked my teenage niece’s face after a heated basketball game where they rooted for competing teams. Face to face, this hostile stranger reasoned that she had the right to hit anybody she wanted to hit.
          That did it. Hell broke loose.
          No, I didn’t touch her, but I spat fire like I had never done before, so much that she ran out of words to throw back at me.
       Back home, I couldn’t stop crying. My friend Vincent called and asked why I was crying when I had done right by defending my niece. I heard myself say, “This isn’t like me. I was so mean.”
          There are times when anger is the right response to a situation. But there is still a right and a wrong way of showing our indignation. It says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” In angry moments, may we learn not just to exercise self-control, but to unceasingly seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. Nova Arias-Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: Are you the master of your emotions?
Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I was uncharitable to my neighbor. Remind me to be gentle with words when my emotions get the better of me. Amen.
St. Antonio de Sant’Anna Galvao, pray for us.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Where our sins increase, His grace increases all the more - Daily Bible Reflections October 24,2013


But now that you have been freed from sin... – Romans 6:22
As a teacher, I have observed that most students during class are shy to actively participate in recitation and even in school presentations.
       I would ask them why and they would reply, “Nahihiya po ako” (I am shy).
      Every time I would hear this, I remember the saying of one Dominican priest when I was still in college at the University of Sto. Tomas.
       He would always say to Thomasians who were shy, “Kasalanan lang ang nakakahiya” (Only sin is shameful).
    Those words give me a sense of relief regarding my faults and weaknesses — that God is indeed merciful and forgiving.
       It serves as a gentle reminder that in everything I do, as long as it is not a sin and it brings more glory to God, then all the more I should do it.
       Friends, since God has prevailed over sin and death, let us run and have fun... but sin no more. JC Libiran (jclibiran@ymail.com)
Reflection: Where our sins increase, His grace increases all the more.
Lord Jesus, because of You I am free to run and have fun.
St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop, pray for us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We don’t have to fear death when we’re prepared to go anytime and when we know what awaits us on the other side - Daily Bible Reflections October 23,2013


“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” – Luke 12:40
Teachers often say to their students after a test, “Finished or unfinished, pass your papers.” This reminds me of my elder sister who died at the age of 31.
       My sister, mom, brother-in-law and I were talking in the car on the way to get her MRI results. Out of the blue, I told her about the organ donor card I had gotten, just to be ready when my time comes. I even encouraged her to get one before her operation. She didn’t want to talk about death. It was too morbid for her. I told her she didn’t have to be scared to die because we’re all headed for heaven. I sensed the fear in her voice when she told me I wouldn’t understand because she had three small kids to leave behind.
       Two days before our father’s 57th birthday, she had an unsuccessful operation from a benign tumor (meningioma). She passed away unprepared.
       Even though I know that the Lord has me covered for eternity, I am now working doubly hard to buy myself life insurance and memorial plans for practical purposes. I even know what I want to put on my epitaph: Emerald, a simple child of God who searched for love and found it in the arms of her Father. Ems Sy Chan (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)
Reflection: We don’t have to fear death when we’re prepared to go anytime and when we know what awaits us on the other side.
Father God, prepare us for our death. Prepare our loved ones, too. May we be able to say, “We finished” before You call us home.
St. John of Capistrano, priest, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

God’s love is fire; and it is our mission to spread this fire to all His people - Daily Bible Reflections October 22,2013


“Gird your loins and light your lamps.” – Luke 12:35
I used to be a strong distance runner. Life then was all about running: wind against my face, heart rate in an upbeat tempo, lean body and sturdy legs built to run for hours on end. I thought I would be strong forever.
       Until I gradually stopped running. I lost the “fire” and enjoyed vices with wrong friends. Undisciplined days turned into months, then years. Worse, I had the illusion that I was still strong.
       So when friends challenged me to run, I sneered and underestimated every opponent. When the gunshot signaled the start of the race, I ran as confident as a racehorse. Competitors ate my dust. But just as I passed the 100-meter mark, I started panting. I had difficulty breathing, then I got dizzy. I had cramps in my chest and was brought to the hospital. If not for the doctors, I would have been dead meat!
       Pride ruled. I started strong but ended wrong. I repented and made a resolve to follow God. Now I run a new marathon — the marathon of faith. With Him, I’ll finish strong!
       Empowered by grace and the Holy Spirit, all of us can win the gold! Champions, let’s get it on: “Ready, get set, go!” Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)
Reflection: God’s love is fire; and it is our mission to spread this fire to all His people. (St. Vincent de Paul)
Lord, keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in my heart.
St. Peter of Alcantara, pray for us.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do you doubt God’s promises when the dark night is too long? - Daily Bible Reflections October 21,2013


Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God. – Romans 4:20
For more than 30 years, parts of my family life were in darkness, then in semi-darkness. My children and I were in the shadows of violence.
       During that “walk through the valley of darkness,” I did not fear for I knew God was at our side. His rod and staff gave me courage (Psalm 23) to lead the family towards the light of love, forgiveness and understanding.
       I clung to the promise of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called to his purpose.”
       My eldest is now a lawyer. The second works at the United Nations. The third is a doctor. The fourth is a French major and the youngest is in his last year of Commerce. We are all glorifying God in our divine purposes here on earth. The experience shaped me for the work I do for the Philippine feminized labor migration which is sometimes an escape from domestic violence. Grace Princesa ( grprincesa@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Do you doubt God’s promises when the dark night is too long?
Please, Lord, always reassure me that You carry me in the palms of Your hands when life is at its darkest.
St. Hilarion, pray for us.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

BIGGER THAN MY INCONVENIENCE - Daily Bible Reflections October 20,2013


Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:2
It was December 26, 2011 when my family went on an outreach for the kids of Smokey Mountain. We played softball with them, had a dance workshop, and I gave a talkabout God’s love and having big dreams.
       I’m used to giving talks but in English. So my problem was I had to talk in Filipino and I wasn’t good at it. (I got a flashback of my 5th grade Filipino remedial classes.) Although I can speak conversational Filipino, I found it hard to express my thoughts in the vernacular. That’s why weeks prior to the outreach, I started to worry.
       However, I knew that the need for these kids to hear God’s Word for their lives was bigger than my  inconvenience to give a talk in Filipino. So in spite of my limitations, I did it.
       I know not everyone is called to be a preacher, but everyone has a call to share God’s Word and serve, even in inconvenient circumstances. In spite of the challenges, let’s live out His Word and love others. We never know the impact we can make in someone else’s life. Mike Viñas (mikemichaelfcv@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Demand is all the needs in the world. Supply is all of God’s resources to meet those needs. Have you ever wondered what’s in between demand and supply? You are.
Father, I am Your channel of blessing and grace to Your people. May my life be Your satellite to broadcast Your Word of faith, hope and love to others, especially to those who need it the most. Amen.
St. Maria Bertilla Coscardin, pray for us.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Do you remember to honor the Lord through your words and deeds? - Daily Bible Reflections October 19,2013


“But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” – Luke 12:9
Many teens play online games — boys, especially, are into action, sports and war games.
       One young teen I know BDo you remember to honor the Lord through your words and deeds?
Lord, give me the courage to be a strong voice for Your name. Amen.
Sts. John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions, pray for us.

Friday, October 18, 2013

God has a great plan for your life, a destiny to fulfill... - Daily Bible Reflections October 18,2013

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist


But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed... – 2 Timothy 4:17
My toes curled as I read the description before my name. “Relationship expert.” Yikes! Was he referring to me? Bo Sanchez had asked me if I could join him as he launched his OneTrueLoveClub.com. It’s a website that provides support and lots of resources for the single person in search of his or her lifetime partner. Since the success of my first book, Confessions of an Impatient Bride, I knew that the Lord had called me to minister to single women. So I readily accepted Bo’s invitation.
       But I had to contest Bo’s write-up about me in the website. “Me? A relationship expert? I’m the one who gets into snags with my closest friends, remember?” I wrote him in an email.
       Bo simply replied, “The best of us learn the most from our mistakes.” Ay. There he goes again with his simple, cut-to-the-chase wisdom.
       When I think about it, that’s how God is with us. We’re not yet the expert that we’re described to be, but in His eyes, He already sees the finished product. As He pours out His grace upon us and as we respond, we are transformed from glory to glory into the very image of His Son. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: God has a great plan for your life, a destiny to fulfill...Nothing will be able to keep you from becoming all that God created you to be. (Joel Osteen)
Jesus, teach me to cooperate with Your grace that I may grow into the person You’ve called me to be. Amen.
St. Luke, evangelist, pray for us.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What key will you use today? - Daily Bible Reflections October 17,2013


“Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge.” – Luke 11:52
A key is a very simple tool with two basic functions — to lock and to unlock a door.
       In each one of us lies a key that performs the very same functions.
       There is a key inside of us that locks. And this is shown through a negative mindset that we may unknowingly have. It gives in to arrogance, bitterness, hopelessness, worry and hate. Such a key hinders us and stops our growth. It kills our spirit.
       Then there is this other key inside of us that unlocks. And this is manifested through having a positive mindset. It opens countless doors towards having more wisdom, joy, hope, faith and love. It nurtures our growth. It strengthens our spirit.
       Always use the key that unlocks. And be the key that opens the door for others to God’s amazing love and grace. Orange V. Garcia (orange_garcia@hotmail.com)
Reflection: What key will you use today?
Lord, may I always use the key in me that unlocks so that I may open for others the door that leads to You.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What has your knowledge about God made you? - Daily Bible Reflections October 15,2013

Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, virgin


For although they knew God they did not accord him glory… – Romans 1:21
I have said and written about it before. I’m saying and writing about it again. Knowledge of God is important. But it is never enough. (Even demons know God, remember?) At best, it is a means to an end but never the end itself.
       Jesus spoke against the Pharisees and the scholars of the Law in His time. (Read the Gospel today and see how fiercely Jesus denounced them.) But Jesus was not against their persons or their knowledge per se. Being a person of knowledge, especially of Scriptures, should be something good and desirable. But what He spoke against was how they handled that knowledge and what it did to them. It made them arrogant, oppressive and legalistic. They found fault in everything that the other person did (as when Jesus “failed” to observe the prescribed washing ritual before the meal.)
       Yes, by all means, know, learn, study about God, His Word and our faith. But always remember not to stop there. Because knowing God should lead you to love and serveHim more, by loving and serving others more. Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What has your knowledge about God made you? Think about this: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)
Dear God, may I know more about You. But may this knowledge lead me to love and serve You more. Amen.
St. Teresa of Avila, virgin, pray for us.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Have you been praying long for a special intention? Just keep believing - Daily Bible Reflections October 14,2013


Which he promised previously... – Romans 1:2
We prayed incessantly for our son Peevee as we said our goodbyes and left him in New York to pursue his Masters in Business Administration at Fordham. He was going through life-changing experiences all at the same time — living alone in a new place so far from home, being a full-time student once again, and having ended a seven-year relationship. All we could do was pray.
       Unlimited free phone calls through Magic Jack and free video conferencing through Skype made the separation easier but nothing could take the place of physical presence. His home visit on his first Christmas break brought so much joy to our family, especially to his only sister, Trina. But all good things must come to an end and visits were frequent but never long enough. Our prayers remained intense for the Lord to watch over him constantly.
       Two years went by very quickly and the Lord kept His promise. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). Peevee was a straight A student and graduated summa cum laude. He immediately got a job offer from a leading multinational firm in the U.S., doing brand management, which is exactly what he loves to do.
       We serve a faithful God. Mari Sison-Garcia (mari_sison_garcia@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Have you been praying long for a special intention? Just keep believing.
Lord, give us the grace to keep our trust in You, for Your promises are true.
St. Callistus I, pope and martyr, pray for us.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What are you worried about? - Daily Bible Reflections October 13,2013


If we are unfaithful he remains faithful… – 2 Timothy 2:13
My husband, Ed, and I lead the Media Ministry that covers the annual Kerygma Conference, the biggest Catholic inspirational event in the country.
       Covering KCon 2011 was not easy. There were seven streams that happened simultaneously in the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the other buildings nearby. I worried that if ever one or two of our reporters were absent, we would not have a complete coverage. Also, the grand closing event was held outdoors. And my husband, who led our team of photographers, was worried that if it would rain, their cameras would get wet.
       So we prayed to ease our anxieties. As Ed drove toward PICC on the first day of the conference, I sat quietly in the car wishing for a sign that the conference would go smoothly.
       And then, there it was. In the clouds above PICC, a rainbow appeared in all its colors! (In the book of Genesis, the rainbow was a symbol of God’s promise of grace and salvation.)
       Seeing a rainbow on the first day of the conference assured me that God would be with us, as promised in today’s reading, and that the event would be a success. And indeed it was. Cynthia U. Santiago (cusantiago@gmail.com)
Reflection: What are you worried about?
Lord, make me faithful as You are faithful to me.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place? - Daily Bible Reflections October 11,2013


“But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” – Luke 11:20
When I was a kid, I loved watching TV shows of magic and fantasy, with heroes and villains, wizards and sorcerers.
       With just one wave of his hand, the powerful wizard saves houses from being ruined. Poof! With lightning coming out from his fingers, he defeats the monstrous enemy and protects people from further havoc. Poof! Then he waves his hand again and disappears. Poof! He saves the day!
       Our Lord is also like that. No, it’s not because He performs magic or creates fantasies. With His majesty and wonder, He created the heaven and the earth, all that is in it, and man in His own image and likeness.
    By His healing hand, broken hearts are mended, burdens are lightened, fears are dispelled and sins are forgiven. With His infinite wisdom and love, He bought salvation for us. And because He is omnipotent and omnipresent, God can do whatever He wills in the past, present and in the future.
   Definitely, it’s more than just abracadabra! Analiza Obiasca (aobiasca_cute@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place? (Job 38:12). Our mighty God does it every single day.
Omnipotent God, I praise You because You hold all things in Your hands, including the minor details of my life. I entrust everything to You. Amen.
Blessed Angela Truszkowska, pray for us.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The more unforgiveness and grudges we hold, the farther our hearts move away from our Father - Daily Bible Reflections October 9,2013


“And forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us...” – Luke 11:4
“He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness!” Michie regularly posted this as her status on her Facebook account to indirectly assault her ex-boyfriend. It had been months and Michie was still bitter.
       Her best friend Anna couldn’t take it anymore. After one church service, she asked Michie if she prays the Lord’s Prayer with her heart, especially the part that says, “as we forgive those who sin against us.”
       Michie saw this as an attack. But Anna explained, “Remember when we were in college? Billy was courting me. But you made ways to be closer to him. When the two of you became a couple, I died inside but forgave you anyway. I forgave you even before you said sorry. Michie, you’ve been hurting people and you always think you’re the victim. We all don’t deserve forgiveness but it’s through God’s grace and mercy that we receive it — the same way I asked God to help me forgive you, again and again. Your ex is very happy now, but look at you, miserable. Don’t be a prisoner of your unforgiveness.”
       Michie cried and embraced Anna. Carlo Lorenzo (carloflorenzo@yahoo.com)
Reflection: It is not about who deserves forgiveness. The more unforgiveness and grudges we hold, the farther our hearts move away from our Father.
Holy Spirit, help me to forgive. I cannot do this on my own, Help me forgive as to how much You have forgiven me, again and again and again.
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.

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