June 24, 2012

The Winning Faith


Being a winner (or a loser) is entirely self-proclaimed.

God the Son says, "Become what you believe."

(Otherwise translated as, "Let it be done to you according to your faith.")

The power belongs to God,
but we can choose to ask for it
and claim that it is already given.

I've often asked God for His will to be done in my life
without bothering to name the details
It sounds very obedient and sacrificial
But how about lazy
Or even faithless?
Because I don't want to take the risk of not getting what I prayed for...?

Jesus prayed, "Father, not my will, but Yours be done."

Okay, so maybe something like this:
     "Lord, this is what I want, and I pray that You grant it,
     But ultimately I bow to Your will
     Which may not be what You want..."

Hmm... But the Bible says, the double-minded one can't expect anything from God. (How can God answer contradicting prayers?)

"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

Indeed, Jesus says, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

So my prayer would now go something like this:
     "Lord, this is what I want, and I believe that You will grant it,
     Because ultimately I know that You want the best for Your children
     And I am asking in Your Name,
          with the right motives (hopefully!),
          and in complete faith that You will answer.
     Thank You."

And it shall be done, according to how much faith we have, in the One who can get it done.

Do we have enough faith to win?

June 23, 2012

Leader or Prophet?

From my brother's bookshelf: "Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders.

Sometimes we come to a fork in the path, and both ways look good and true. For example, a preacher with gifts of leadership faces a decision whether to be a popular leader or an unpopular prophet. A.C. Dixon faced such a dilemma:

Every preacher ought to be primarily a prophet of God who preaches as God bids him, without regard to results. When he becomes conscious of the fact that he is a leader in his own church or denomination, he has reached a crisis in his ministry. He must now choose one of two courses, that of prophet of God or a leader of men. If he seeks to be a prophet and a leader, he is apt to make a failure of both. If he decides to be a prophet only insofar as he can do it without losing his leadership, he becomes a diplomat and ceases to be a prophet at all. If he decides to maintain leadership at all costs, he may easily fall to the level of a politician who pulls the wires in order to gain or to hold a position.

Situations develop in which a leader must choose between a spiritual ministry and a leadership that would prevent the highest exercise of that ministry... Dixon wrote of [Reuben A. Torrey]:

The thousands who have heard Dr. Torrey know the man and his message. He loves the Bible, and believing it to be the infallible Word of God, preaches it with the fervor of red-hot conviction. He never compromises. He has chosen to be a prophet of God rather than a mere leader of men, and that is the secret of his power with God and men.

June 19, 2012

In one peace


"No more drama," sings Ms. Mary J. Blige.

Well, I love dramatic twists and turns in stories and in my own life... And I don't have control over the main source of drama: when people and things don't go *my* way.

But, I do have control over how to respond to conflicts, worries and fears.

"Peace I give you," Jesus tells us. Not the "security" of the world, that is based on endlessly getting more, getting even, getting better.

"The peace of God transcends understanding," says the Bible. There are a lot of things that won't make sense, including being at peace in the midst of confusion. But there it is: that peace is available.

This peace doesn't mean complacency nor laziness. It is good to want to be better and do better... But the focus of one's security shifts away from self, others and things.

One's security starts being placed in God Himself. The One who says He will never desert us. The One who loved us before we were worthy of Him. The One in control of past, present and future; whose will is good, pleasing and perfect.

So this is me --- resting peacefully in the midst of deadlines, tasks and activity. "Resting" in peace but all the more alive. *Matters* clamoring for attention but still in one piece, with One Peace.

God says His followers are in this world but are not of this world. They still have to eat, sleep and take a ride to work. They still need to do the same tasks as everybody else... but there's something different inside.

There is only one security that is truly secure. There is a peace that can only come from God. Would you like your heart to rest, finally, in the only Steadfast One?

June 17, 2012


We want this:

Diamond on black background

but not really this:


We want this:


but we don't really want this:


SHINE means:
     1. To emit light.
     2. To reflect light; glint or glisten.
     3. To distinguish oneself in an activity or a field; excel.
     4. To be immediately apparent
(from The Free Dictionary)

To shine means to be bright... at the cost of being bruised all over or burned from the inside.

Am I willing to pay the cost to achieve the rewards?

My family name is Pulido: Spanish for polished. Like elegant floors or sparkling gems that don't just happen. There's a lot of work, pain and sacrifice involved.

Jesus says that if anyone is tired in and of this world, come to Him. HE will carry the burden, HIS power accomplishes the work. I'm still in the process of trusting Him while getting off my bum... still learning how to balance being at peace while making sure I accomplish my tasks... still trying to understand how He can work "through" me. Many questions remain: Which part is Him and which is me? Would it matter as much as long as I get my work done? What if I don't get my work done --- is this still His will?

The Bible also talks of being pruned to be fruitful and of everything being shaken to the core. That's happening to me right now --- every matter being challenged and refined. These past weeks have been craaaaazy. People might know a thing or two but only God knows how much SHAKING I'm going through right now.

But I do want to shine. Don't you?

Then let the polishing, the pruning, and the shaking continue.

Burn, baby, burn... Shine for God, by God. :)

June 3, 2012

Wait till you read THIS!

Can a good tree bear bad fruit?
- Jesus

I'm sick of being gossiped about.

Especially by Christians.

You know, people who read passages like "Love one another," "Don't lie," "Whoever is sinless can cast the first stone," and of course, "God hates gossip."

Sister Mary Martha has a fine, practical article on how to identify and handle gossip.

Also, the Four-Way Test of our friendly neighborhood Rotary Club reads:
    1. Is it the TRUTH?
    2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
    3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
    4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Let's go back to the basics:
  • Speak the truth. Is this a fact or just speculation?
  • Love others. Assume the best, not the worst. Am I acting in concern and respect for others? Is it my business? Is it the business of the person I'm telling it to?
  • First parties first. If there is a dispute, the first approach is to talk to the parties directly involved (Matthew 18:15-17). If the issue is not settled, take a few witnesses; if not, involve the entire church. Yes, in that particular order, not the other way around.
  • Forgive as God has forgiven you. For most of my life I've been the gossiper, not the target, so it's easier to understand and (supposedly) forgive those who are now doing the same to me.

To be honest, I'd rather not see the people I think are gossiping about me, and I'd rather not hear them. But I don't want to assume anything. I can confront each one to get the facts straight, but that's too draining, physically, emotionally and socially. I'll just go ahead to the forgiveness part: Forgive them if my hunch is right, ask and claim God's forgiveness if I'm wrong. 

And ask and claim God's forgiveness for my own gossiping ways.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 
For this is the will of God,
that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Live as people who are free,
not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil,
but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.
(1 Peter 2)

June 2, 2012

Light rising from the east (On the Corona impeachment)

The Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines was impeached by the Senate last Tuesday in an unprecedented 20-3 vote. GMA News gives a comprehensive overview here.

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona was perceived to be allied with the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and therefore in conflict with current President Benigno Aquino III. So how tricky to have a trial of Executive vs. Judiciary, as presided over by the Legislative branch, and where everybody in an ideally fair trial could be seen as partisan.

I wasn't able to follow this trial at all except for the final day itself, where each senator gave his vote and an explanation thereof. I was impressed and enlightened in particular by Senators Drilon, Escudero, Lapid, Legarda, Osmena, and of course the presiding officer, Senate President Enrile. More memorable moments here.

The main reason for Mr. Corona's impeachment was non-disclosure of properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. The fascinating thing is, the prosecution won despite itself. They lacked evidence and they were ill prepared. Many senators simply pointed out the facts: a "lowly" court employee dismissed from government service for the same act although on a much smaller scale, and a simple pie chart showing the amount of Mr. Corona's undeclared assets compared to those he did declare. Other senators were convinced to convict, ironically, because of the witnesses of the defense: Ombudsman Carpio-Morales and Mr. Corona himself.

The trial was smoothly concluded but questions lingered about the lack of due process. In my humble opinion, the technicalities of the law were overruled but justice and truth prevailed. Our country has already gone through two peaceful "extra-constitutional" revolutions in the past quarter century. This could mark the third. I believe we're maturing with each revolution; that we're getting the spirit and the letter of the law.

Also, every now and then I hear my Christian brothers and sisters declare (yes, prophesy) righteousness in this land. President Aquino was elected on a platform of righteousness and reforms are certainly being instituted now. For example, the dispute pitting Aquino's own family versus the farmers who tilled their land is now settled. Moral accountability is now demanded of our public servants. 

Of course, there is still much to be desired. Some analysts see a darker future after this trial: quite possible. But a brighter future is equally possible. At the very least, the resolution of this very trial evokes hope in me. That we are already on the road to moral and economic recovery.

Politics and public affairs. (To use our latest tourism slogan:) It's more fun in the Philippines  :D

P.S. More lessons from the impeachment trial here.
P.P.S. It might sound like I voted for President Aquino last 2010 but I didn't. I'm just an eternal optimist  ;)
P.P.P.S. I'm optimistic but not blind. P-Noy needs to lead the people in righteousness and not just boot the people who aren't. On the same note, I should stop talking about righteousness and get back to my appointed duties (i.e., schoolwork). Toodles!

The Maturity Climb

How immature am I, still? :) Here's a good "checklist". 

The original and much larger version of this poster is found in Viruscomix. Thanks also to my brother for showing this to me. God bless us all, and may He enable us to live and be more mature with each passing day. :)

June 1, 2012

Free to work :)

"The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work."
(Proverbs 12:24)

This is me. Well, this is supposed to be me:

Where are you in this graph?

I believe fulfillment in work is not just based on skills and challenges. Whatever our reasons are, below is a useful guide:

Maybe I'm just ahead of my time? Excuses. Surely I can adjust to the present!

The clock is ticking, I keep telling myself. Work is not a matter of life and death. JESUS already dealt with the real life-and-death-and-afterlife issue. All I have to do is walk in His footsteps, in the much less dramatic but still significant arena called the workplace.

And remember: Work, like everything else, presents many challenges that we can use to honor God. :)

Thank You Lord, for giving me work that I love to do. :) Amen.