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“Of Parents and Children”

2 Corinthians 12: 14, 15: “For children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. And I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls.” Throughout this epistle we see St. Paul’s perspective that he is to provide for his flock, and not the other way around. He had a right to shear his sheep; he just didn’t want to be misunderstood as a prophet for profit. But mostly, he really loved the believers...

“I Know a Man”

2 Corinthians 12: 2, 4: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago … was caught up to the third heaven … into Paradise.” For two thousand years people have been speculating about where St. Paul went, and what He saw and heard there. But he would not, could not, say – he was strictly forbidden to do so. However, there’s one thing we can say: whatever he saw or heard did not change his message or his ministry. His experience did not cause him to write to any church and say, “Hey, about my letter before: I need to fix some things.” In other words, his revelations in Paradise gave first-hand validation to everything he had written before.

“Macho Man?”

2 Corinthians 11: 28, 29: “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the Churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” The book of Acts depicts an apostle going through a hellish litany of physical assault for the sake of Christ and His Church, and here and in several other places the man of God reveals that it barely scratches the surface. But for St. Paul, this is nothing compared to the vicarious suffering he undergoes for the believers. Contrary to his opposition in the Church who boasted of their exploits, he saw true strength as being willing to suffer for and with his flock; thus, “When

“Matchmaker”

2 Corinthians 11: 2: “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.” St. Paul was passionate about pure doctrine, and protecting his flock from the speculations (10: 5) and deviations to the faith that were, even at that early date, endangering the Church. He not only knew what the faith was, he knew what it wasn’t, and he was ever ready to confront those “savage wolves” which he foresaw attacking the Church at Ephesus (Acts 20: 29), and were now rising up in Corinth. All this was to ensure that on that day when he presented his flock to Christ, they would be what every bridegroom expects: without s

“Building Program”

2 Corinthians 10: 8: “For even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not destroying you, I shall not be put to shame.” Any authority at any level in the Church has to understand one thing: this authority is not a weapon, but a tool – a tool for building. The divinely powerful weapons of our warfare (v. 4) are not to be used against fellow believers, flesh and blood, even those we think are in error. The following of this one principle would terminate 98% of church factions and splits.

Walking in Kingdom Ways

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Oh come on, God must be joking, can this be this done? How can you love your enemies when everything had been taken from you: your life and your dignity (niyurakan ang iyong pagkatao) and all that belongs to you? Our natural reaction is to fight back and take what is ours. Human behavior naturally has a defensive reaction if there is a threat to safety and security. We would say “lintik lang walang ganti,” we will do whatever it takes to fight back. But God says differently and because God created us, He knows it is possible to do so. One vivid example

7th Sunday After Epiphany: “Walking in Kingdom Ways”

Genesis 45:3-15 Psalm 37:3-10 1 Corinthians 15:42b-49 Luke 6:27-38 God is so good! We have nothing to complain about. He is overflowing with goodness and love. I have been away spending time with the Lord and I have the word of the Lord, “Thus saith the Lord: love one another.” It is a new commandment, but an old one; and it becomes old because we have not perfected it. We need to understand this commandment, hear it over and over again until its fullness is a reality in our hearts and in our lives. During the time of Nehemiah, Ezra read the Law to the people for several hours. What he read to them was something that they have heard before over and over, Sabbath in, Sabbath out. They w

“This One’s for You”

2 Corinthians 4: 15: “For all things are for your sakes, that the grace that is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” Summing up all this week’s Office Memos, St. Paul shows us why Jesus trusted him with the Gospel to the entire Gentile world. The guy knew whom he was serving. He went through all kinds of hardships, when he could have very easily gone back to his life of Pharisaical selfishness, for the sake of all the believers he had met and those whom he would never see. Like Ruth clinging to Naomi, St. Paul clung to his ministry and his flocks, for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. Nowhere in the equation was there

“How Cheeky!”

Matthew 5: 38, 39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” This is where people usually say, “Here’s what Jesus really meant …” No, what He meant was, turn the other cheek. Look at it this way: has anyone ever been converted from evil to good by receiving an eye for an eye? It just makes them madder and more evil, and it makes us seem just like them. If we want to show we are different, and something our enemy would want to emulate, we must be different - and nothing accomplishes this like a good old fashioned cheek turning.

“For the Sake of the Many”

Psalm 133: 1: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Unity doesn’t come by accident. It takes lots of personal self-sacrifice, caring to the needs of others, and looking at things from a perspective different from your own. Unity is born when people serve one another - when it’s convenient, and when it’s not. Like it or not, that’s where the Father commands the blessing of life forever.

“Baho o Galing?”

2 Corinthians 2: 15, 16: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” In sports, some are known as impact players: you know when they’re in the game, because their skill and dedication make things happen. This is St. Paul’s point here. Your odor - skunky to the skunks, divine to the divine - should make it impossible for you to be inconspicuous. In the lives of others we should be an impact player, they should smell the life of Christ coming from us. How they interpret it is up to them.

“Please Pass the Salt”

Matthew 5: 13: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and be trampled underfoot by men.” Salt doesn’t live unto itself. Its sole purpose is to make other things better, and lose its own identity in the process. It makes food taste better, it preserves meat and cheese, it makes streets less icy and thus safer, and the list goes on. But if it ever becomes about the salt, the whole benefit is ruined. Jesus said we are to be like that: to be ground up and shaken, to lose ourselves in the service of others. Is your life about you being the salt, or about you making others

Sixth Sunday of Epiphany: “Walking in Kingdom Understanding”

Jeremiah 17:5-10 Psalm 1 1Corinthians 15:12-20 Luke 6:19-26 Do we want blessings from God? How can we get something better than blessings from God? Maybe, last Valentine’s Day, some people got blessed with flowers, candies, teddy bears or love notes from someone special in their lives. But when the blessings come directly from God, and it is from Him to us, how can it get better than this? We all love blessings! Does anyone of us not love divine blessings? If it is coming from God, it’s got to be good! I love blessings from God and they are great, and this is what makes life so interesting and worth living! Some people would say, “Oh, we shouldn’t chase God’s blessings and focus on the

“Too Clingy?”

Ruth 1: 14: “And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clung to her.” Most people today would congratulate Orpha for “moving on” while reviling Ruth for being “too clingy,” all coming from the popular contemporary root of “You gotta look out for number one.” Orpah was giving Naomi a parting kiss; she would go away and never see her again. Her relationship with the family had been for her benefit only. In contrast, Ruth clung to Naomi for the benefit of her mother-in-law; her aim was to support her to the end. Guess which approach reflects the teaching of the Gospel? If you don’t know now, you will by Saturday; it’s the core of the Offi

"Walking in Kingdom Understanding"

Have you ever felt a certain drought in your life wherein you are so occupied with your work, chores, family matters, talking to a lot of people, and being tasked to finish a project by the deadline? I have felt that. When I feel there is something missing in my life I call for a retreat, back off from all these things, and sort out what has gone wrong. Thank God He still gives us wisdom and discernment, because we know deep inside that we are doing things on our own, even pleasing people, and all this affects our decision making to the point that we start compromising. When I take this pause, I ask God for forgiveness, then carefully sort out things by asking Him if I may touch the hem of H

“For Whose Sake?”

Mark 12:40: “… who for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” Have you ever heard a prayer that ended, “We pray all this for Jesus’ sake,” but you were thinking it would be more accurate to say, “We pray all this for appearance’s sake”? Yeah, God didn’t hear that one, either. (See Tuesday’s MDR). We know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 1), so it must be that under special circumstances, to the abundantly hypocritical who only pretend to be in Christ Jesus via their lengthy ‘intercessions’, condemnation is merited.

“And Now, for Something Completely Different”

Isaiah 65: 17: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” Remember ‘His will’ discussed last Monday? Well, this is it. This is worth rejoicing over forever! And yes, when this day comes in its fullness our prayers will be answered before they are prayers, but this day isn’t here yet. God may have created all in six days; recreation is taking a bit longer. But it will be worth the wait; when God finishes His work on this ‘new heavens and new earth’ there will never be another fall.

“A Heart for ‘Heart’s Day’”

Psalm 105: 3: “Glory in His holy Name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.” Nowadays it is common to refer this as ‘Heart’s Day’ or simply ‘Valentine’s.’ Neither is correct. This is the ‘Feast of St. Valentine,’ or ‘St. Valentine’s Day’; without the good saint, this day is like any other. And as the verse says, the heart that loves the Lord is the happiest of all. Celebrate that!

“Sez Who?”

Mark 11: 29, 30: “And Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from Heaven, or from men? Answer Me.’” These guys had seated themselves in Moses’ seat, and were already rewriting and replacing his commandments (Mark 7: 9-13). They came to Jesus asking for His source of authority for one reason: they thought they were the source of all authority; so Jesus asked them a question that, however they answered it, would revealed this pomposity. But His seceding parable reminded them, and everyone: you can pretend that God has placed no authority over you, but eventually He will prove

Fifth Sunday After Epiphany: “Walking in Faithful Obedience”

Isaiah 6:1-8 Psalm 138:1-8 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 Luke 5:1-11 Wow! Many times this is the only expression we can say when we are with God. God is in the business of continuing to work in our lives, as His people. It is so good that we belong to Him. It is so good that we have a God who is faithful and Almighty, and now, He invites us to walk with Him. Psalm 138:8 says, "The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me.” In another translation, it says, “God is committed to my fulfillment.” This Sunday, and for the remainder of the Sundays of Epiphany, we are invited by Jesus to walk with Him and become witnesses of the miraculous life which Christ desires and intends for us to walk in. The

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