Rm 203 Fernando’s Hotel ( wi-fi available in the room)

10:59 PM ( EG and Orly fast asleep as I type this in the dark…)

Lord God, it is almost a month now.  The painful saga is just about to close, but not yet.  Lord please hasten the day when all things will be back to “normal” for us.  I do not even know how normal would look like.  But I pray for your healing, for the sympathy and love that is most needed.

May we learn to forgive even if the person who have wronged us do not even acknowledge in our presence the pain that have been caused.

May we learn to forgive even if circumstances are not changed.  Rather, change our perspective Lord and teach us how to love.  The kind of love that is divine, and the love that is unconditional.  Love that is not dependent on what it can offer as change, but love that can give and nurture inspite of and despite the lack.

We can love because you have loved us.

We can forgive because you have forgiven us.

We can reached out to someone because someone has reached down on us.

Would you look at us now with your divine compassion.  Would you search our broken hearts and shed in those fragmented pieces, your love that can transcend our broken-ness.

Let me sing to You Lord, this beautiful hymn that captures my prayer in behalf of my family.  Thank you for the healing grace that is possible through You alone. Thank you for this song that so amazingly captured the words from my heart as we go through these difficulties.

Take care of my loved ones – and touch them all as we lay our heads to sleep, wherever we all may be at this time.

HEALING GRACE

Merciful God and Father

Loving us like no other

Hear our prayer

The cries of our hearts as we come to You

We acknowledge our transgressions

We confess to You our sins

Show us mercy and compassion

Touch our lives with Your healing grace again….

BRIDGE:

Release us from our past

As we seek Your face

Wash us free at last

We receive Your love

We receive Your healing grace

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” Would I Be Enough?”

January 7, 2009

Driving home late one evening, about 2 weeks before Christmas 2008, I felt a stirring within me.  I was having a quiet driving conversation with the Lord and I was telling the Lord how Christmas has become a season for self-centeredness and consumerism.

How it was easy to lose the real reason of the season when the preparation of the heart involves looking at physical gifts, expensive gadgets and awesome parties, to name a few.

Since I was talking with the Lord, I asked the Lord what gift He would give me.

I started naming those gadgets I had been salivating for quite some time now:

Xperia – yes Lord, that is such a nice phone and wow all the features are really good.

OMNIA – wow Lord that is also nice..

iPhone – that one too… wow just one of those cool nifty gadgets and I knew it would be a real awesome break!

But then I felt the Lord asking me a question:  ” If I were to come wrapped in a present, WOULD I BE ENOUGH AS A GIFT?”

There was a pause.  “Am I Enough?”

The following morning, I shared this conversation with Wifey over breakfast. It was a very powerful reminder that the real reason for the season is not those cool laptops, cellphones, parties etc… the real reason is JESUS HIMSELF.  He is the gift.

Little did I know that when the Lord asked me that question, He was already preparing me or giving me what I would need as we experienced what I have called “the bleakest period” of my life in recent years.

The huge problem is still not over.  I can already begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was asked by a friend how I was doing and that simple question became such a profound question that it literally hurt inside as I tried to answer the simple question.

On the eve of Christmas day, I found myself staring at the horrors of pride and un-forgiveness.  Pride does hurt and makes the righteous fall. Unforgiveness makes one sink deeper than what is imaginable.

I remember driving home with Wifey a little past midnight… with tears literally blinding my eyes.  And as I drove, I heard the question “Am I Enough? Am I enough?” being asked of me.  It was not asked in a condemnatory way but I knew that answering that question would give me the strength to make it through the deepest valleys.

As each day slowly progressed, as each painful moment was slowly played out – I found myself answering “Yes, you are enough!  Yes, you are enough!

I didn’t want anything else. I didn’t long for the parties and the sumptious dinners.  No I did not want anything else – not even the solution to our dilemma. I only wanted Christ.

On Christmas day, like a bruised reed, I got up from bed and with no schedule for the day, just watched FOX news as they showed the Christmas sermon of Ptr. Rick Warren.  I briefly smiled when he started using Hebrews 11:6, a passage I had used for one of the retreats I had conducted recently.

But what really struck me was when he said ” Do not exert too much energy focusing on the solutions to your problems… focus on WHO HE IS. FOCUS on CHRIST alone…”

It was definitely a message for me.  I was too weak and too hurt to find any solution – and that was the perfect state to just seek Christ alone.  Lord, yes you are enough. You are more than enough!

We are almost there, but not quite.  The other night I felt like I went through an extensive open heart surgery.  It was clearly needed – and the heart can only be healed through such an extensive heart operation.  I even praised God for allowing it to happen.  The “heart stitches” have been done – and in its most fragile state, utmost tenderness must be done to ensure its proper healing in the days to come.

Yes… our healing is on its way.

Yesterday as Wifey and I went to the mall to get some of our groceries, I was very surprised to hear the Christmas songs still being played in the mall.  I missed Christmas.  It all just came and went.  It was a long vacation here in this country – made longer in our anticipation to see the end of what we were going through.

I found myself humming the songs “O Holy Night…”, ‘Come All ye Faithful…”

I was singing again.  My wounded heart is able to sing again – and it was my wife who quietly pointed it out to me when she said “Hubby is singing again…”

I smiled quietly.

Yes Lord… thank you.. You are the only Christmas gift I would ever want in this lifetime.

Lord, you are more than enough.

Serenity Prayer

January 4, 2009

This is my first post for 2009.  The Christmas break is ending soon and it seemed like it just came and went.  Now the Christmas lantern needs to be taken down and other christmas decors need to be put away.  I had barely enjoyed the lights and now it is back to the usual grind.

Let me share with you this Serenity Prayer.

May it usher peace in your hearts during those dark and discouraging moments.  I read this again and again tonight, and the more I did, the more I realize its simplicity and its profundity.

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time:

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;

taking, as Jesus did,

this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it:

trusting that You will make all things right

if I surrender to your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with you  forever in the next.

AMEN

Reinhold Niebuhr

Watching CNN at 3 am today, I was startled to see that the number of babies affected by the tainted milk produced in China had ballooned to 13,000!

The figure could still rise in the coming days.

There are no words enough to describe my outrage.  I could feel for the parents who are struggling to make sense of this right now.

I pray that the Chinese government, after that impressive display of the OLYMPICS would also show an OLYMPIC-SIZED efforts in treating these babies for free.

God, take care of the precious little ones.  Rescue them. Those babies who may be very far from medical facilities and whose parents do not have any means to have them treated.  Lord God, perform your miracle in China.  Hear the cries of the parents and the little ones.

Forgive the people whose greed significantly affected the innocent ones.

Dear God, you know each one by name.  Reach out to them as a FATHER, that only YOU, our Divine Father ever could. Embrace each one and whisper your healing words to them.

In Jesus’ name

AMEN

You Are My Healer

July 28, 2008

I came across a very powerful song composed by Mike Guglielmucci and is about to be released by Hillsong (This Is Our God cd.) Powerful testimony of how God just gave him the words as he started to worship God after coming from a routine medical exam, where he was later on informed that he has a progressive cancer.

Powerful song. From one moment “how long Lord? How long Lord? to a declaration of “You are faithful, you are faithful….” I loved what his friend Joel Houston said “I saw Jesus in that declaration…”

I was just going to check my email. It turned out to be a time of private worship with the Lord. He definitely holds every moment…

Testimony portions:

Mike Guglielmucci singing in the midst of his pain….

Song: Healer

Words & Music: Mike Guglielmucci

Verse1
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You

Chorus
I believe You’re my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my Portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need

Bridge
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

May the words and the song minister to you as you ask the Lord for the healing you need in your life.

Thank you Lord for the healing that you promised.

Heal our afflictions.

Heal our unbelief.

Heal our fears.

Heal our broken relationships.

Heal our insensitivities to the suffering of others.

Heal our painful memories.

Heal our past.

Heal our broken dreams.

Heal our finances.

Heal our thoughts.

Heal our pain.

Heal our broken-ness.

Heal everything in our lives, that we may be to You, what we are not, and cannot do for ourselves.

Thank You Jesus.

Through the power of the blood that was poured out by the stripes You bore for us.

AMEN.

You woke up one beautiful morning and you noticed how awesome the sunrise was. The morning was cool and there was dew on the grass. The fog was slowly lifting up from the horizon. It was perfect. You could even hear the birds greeting you with their melodic voices. Ahhh what a beautiful morning.

Then suddenly, you remembered something. Something that was said about you in the office. Maybe you did not turn in the report on time. Maybe you remembered the argument you had with a friend. Or that long list of things-to do which to this day is still simply a list. Maybe you remember the bills were piling up. Or the thought of answering an email from a person you disagree with…

Then suddenly, the beautiful morning is gone. The peace and quiet were replaced by anxious thoughts that are becoming more regular than they had been in the past. The stillness of the morning was replaced by the erratic, toxic thoughts. That my friend, is the tyranny of intrusive thoughts.  You see nothing has changed, the morning is going on beautifully, but your mind has started to churn with its troubling and sometimes bitter thoughts.

It has been said that the power to master our thoughts is considered a moral victory.  Irrational thoughts are oftentimes the culprit in how we feel and how we look at our world.  These irrational thoughts are the foundational filters through which we process our thoughts and emotions.

For our well-being, it behooves all of us to discipline our thoughts. Just as a musician would practice for hours. Just an an athlete would prepare for a sports competition, the mastery of our thoughts would take concentrated efforts done many times.

How about you?  Are you suffering from the intrusion of irrational thoughts?  The Bible says we need to “cast down all imaginations” – which means to even surrender our thoughts to Christ. Snap out of the intruding thoughts in the beginning process.  Do not let it sit and be comfortable and have its unhindered access in your mental thoughts and processes.  We can redeem the control and master our thoughts as we bring every thought into captivity to Christ.

“For every virtue we possess,

And every victory won,

And every thought of holiness

Are His alone.” – devotional by Morrison ( Pocket Sword)

I pray that you would be free from the tyranny of intruding thoughts.

I was about to unlock the car doors for my wife and friend when my phone received an sms. “My flight schedule is on August 4th..” We were about to have a relaxing dinner (my wife and I with our good friend Tess) in Antonio’s Grill in Tagaytay, and somehow, the SMS surreptitiously invaded my private thoughts for the evening.

I remember weeks ago blogging about how I felt when my sister first informed me about her signing the contract to work overseas.

https://compassionateconsiderations.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/i-signed-the-contract/

It used to be an idea. It used to be an anticipated distant fact. But now, we are just counting the nights and for me, I am counting the sleepless nights as I ponder and pray for my sister and nephew.

On August 4th, my sister will be joining the more than 3,000 people who will leave for their overseas work. On August 4th, her son, my nephew Joseph, will be joining the millions of young people who have been physically “orphaned” because the parents need to work overseas to provide for the family.

My sister is going to Abu Dhabi, UAE. I googled the country for the first time – and because the website could not really tell how life is like over there for a non-national worker like her, there was nothing left to do but to agonize in prayer.

Becoming an OFW ( Overseas Filipino worker) would be for the most part, and for millions of my Filipino brothers and sisters would for the most part, be considered a great blessing. Money is expected to come in and with a much higher rate, it would be more than enough to provide for the college education and many needs for the family left behind ( GREED isn’t factored in the previous sentence.)

Under ideal circumstances, I would have also been delighted to see my sister go. But frankly, I wish there was another way for a single mom like her, to provide for her only child, Joseph.

I worry for them both. I worry for my 16-year old nephew who will suddenly be thrown into the world of harsher realities. Of being alone, coping alone in an environment where there is not much love that surrounds him at this critical stage in his life. I worry about other influences giving him time and affirmation. I think about those nights when he would be alone in his room trying his best to muffle his sobs. I think about the un-prepared breakfasts and the un-eaten dinners. Joseph would really need to grow up fast. At the age of 16, Joseph would be contending against something which I did not have to even face when I was his age – being physically “orphaned.”

What any young people need would be the Matthew 3:16 experience. To know that they belong somewhere, that they are loved, and that they are a source of significant pride. But I guess for millions of people in this country, those needs would need to give way to the fulfillment of the more basic survival needs: money for food, clothing and shelter.

I feel really sad about this exchange. Someone said “Money cannot buy happiness, but it certainly can buy some degree of freedom…”

But come to think of it, ” some degree of freedom is considered happiness” for millions of people around the world. Some degree of freedom, of not having to go to the Middle East, of not having to leave a son by himself, for me right now, for the most part, is happiness.

And then I started thinking of my sister Joy and how brave she has been. I have not known a braver soul after my mother’s heart. They are both alike in many ways – and it is quite sad to see their fragmented relationship, is still unable to move beyond the catalyst that shattered it in many ways. I cannot imagine what she is thinking and feeling right now as she takes care of the last minute details of her departure.

What thoughts come to her mind when she goes to bed. Does she count the nights and days with excitement or does she try to hide her tears and fears?

2:51AM Prayer for my sister Joy and only nephew, Joseph

Lord God, have mercy. I present my sister Joy to You. I know that you love her more than we ever could. Lord God, she is leaving for the Middle East to work so that she would be able to send Joseph to school and even afford him a college education starting next year. Being an OFW is already a common phenomenon here in the country Lord. But that may be so, but not in our family.

I cannot imagine that time would come when she would need to go Lord and brave it out there in a very foreign land. Lord forgive me when I get really anxious – but thousands of stories about abuse and threats to personal safety, would really make one count the cost. But many times Lord, we do not even have the luxury to count the cost because we are already bleeding from many sides.

Lord, protect my sister from harm. Protect her from evil-doers. Protect her from evil. Surround her with your peace and comfort on that particular day when she leaves the country. This is her first overseas trip – and I could only imagine a host of concern as I recall my first overseas trip. But the difference was, I was going not because of a financial need, whereas my sister is going to the Middle East for that.

Lord God, please honor her desire to provide for her son. This was not how you have designed families to be – and someday, all of these things will be reconciled back to you. Lord, there have been so many like my sister, who is braving the world out there for the sake of their children.

Remember them Lord.

Hear their cry.

See their afflictions.

And I pray for Joseph. I pray that you will comfort him as well. I pray that he will totally find you in the alone-ness he feels at the situation. Lord, my sister requested that I spend more time with Joseph so that he will not need to find an outlet for his frustrations and sadness. Lord, use me now to minister to my nephew, and where necessary, to become a loving source of paternal love. He has never known the love of a physical father and my heart is grieving that he will also be paying a personal, high non-financial cost for a brighter future. Protect him from the world. Protect him from the evil influence of this world. Give him the passion to seek YOU most of all. He is an “orphan” in the coming weeks and months and perhaps, years. Use us all Lord to surround him with your love.

When I look at him, I still remember vividly, the first time I saw him when I arrived from the US in 1994. I was too excited that I immediately kissed him and carried him. But it was too much for a 2-year old handsome nephew, and he cried and looked for his mom. I remember how he would drink his milk in regular intervals and I would ask him “are you drinking your beer?” and he would smile and nod at me. I remember the time inside the bus from Mindoro when he would look at me to check if I was sleeping or not, because he felt like throwing up, yet did not want his uncle to see. Or that night as we were being rocked by the huge waves crossing the Mindoro Straits and he was really afraid, and he turned to his mom sitting next to me and asked “Mommy, I am afraid, is it okay for me to cry?” I heard him asked that question and I immediately hugged him and said “sure, it is okay to cry…”

Lord, maybe he will do a lot of crying when his mom leaves. They may not be physical tears because many times, young people do their cries tear-lessly. Lord I pray that You will be His source of strength and comfort. Thank you for being the Father him and to us all.

Lord God, I surrender them to you. I love them both very much and I wish I could afford both of them a sense or degree of freedom. It breaks my heart that they will need to be separated because many times they feel, they only have each other. Let them know Lord, that they are included and loved and that You are fond of them as well.

Thank you Lord. I know you care for them. This may not be your design but you allowed it to happen. You are the sovereign God and Your hands are not limited by our circumstances. Thank you for taking care of them. I also ask for your provision of time, money and energy to become an influential mentor, friend and uncle to my nephew.

In your hands I surrender this prayer through the precious name of your Son, Jesus.

Amen.