Showing posts from February, 2016

An Open Door

Whether we agree or not with his “masahol pa sa hayop” (“worse than an animal”) analogy regarding same-sex marriage, there’s no doubt that Congressman Manny Pacquiao brought the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) issue once again to the public square.
Though sadly there was so much vitriol from either sides, I look at it as an open door for us to share our faith. When he was imprisoned, the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 4:3-6, Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (New Living Translation)Now that God has opened the door, we must “make the most of [this] opportunity.” How? We must be wise not only in what we sa…

The War Within

“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself,” wrote the British philosopher James Allen. That’s why when we become impatient, we cannot blame other people or our circumstances. According to Jerry Bridges,  They merely provide an opportunity for the flesh to assert itself. The actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations. [1]When we become impatient, we have no one to blame but ourselves. According to James 4:1, the wars outside are caused by the wars inside.  There is a raging war within!  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (ESV. Emphasis added)
That means we have conflicts within which leads to conflicts outside. The Contemporary English Version translated the second half of the verse this way: “Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body?”We are at war with o…

“Respectable Sins”

That’s the title of the book that Jerry Bridges, the best-selling author of the classic “The Pursuit of Holiness,” wrote. Its subtitle is, “Confronting the Sins We Tolerate.” Indeed, it is “not [about] the obvious sins of our culture but the subtle sins of believers.” [1] That book is not actually easy to read. In fact, it is very convicting. Why? It confronts us with our compromise regarding God’s standards of holiness. Yes, we should be outraged with the way the world tramples upon His norms. However, Bridges asked a piercing question. Why do we not also mourn over our selfishness, our critical spirit, our impatience, and our anger? It’s easy to let ourselves off the hook by saying these sins are not as bad as the flagrant ones of society. But God has not given us the authority to establish values for different sins.… Sin is sin. Even those sins that I call “the acceptable sins of the saints” — those sins that we tolerate in our lives — are serious in God’s eyes. [2] 
Recently, God ha…

“Why Do We Always Hurt The One We Love?”

Canadian pop singer Dan Hill (popularly known for his song, “Sometimes When We Touch”) asked that question in a song with the same title. The Mills Brothers, “an African-American jazz and pop vocal quartet of the 20th century,” [1] also asked the same in one of their songs.  You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all; You always take the sweetest rose, and crush it till the petals fall; You always break the kindest heart, with a hasty word you can’t recall; So if I broke your heart last night, it’s because I love you most of all. [2]
So, why do we always hurt the people we love? In the Psychology Today website, Jewish philosopher Aaron Ben-Zeév answered why. Lovers can easily hurt the beloved without intending to do so. Because the lovers are so significant to each other, any innocent remark or action can be interpreted in a manner that the other person did not intend and hence be hurtful. … The more time two people spend together, the greater the likelihood tha…

Bad Theology Is No Excuse

James was walking with his professor who also served as the chaplain in the university. The professor encouraged the 18-year-old student to read theology. James was not really interested. I explained to him that I would rather not, since theology was bad for one’s soul. … as sad experience shows bad theology infects the heart with misbelief and unbelief… Many who ran well have been progressively paralyzed through ingesting bad theology… ‘Nonsense!’ exploded he, with what may have been the loudest snort in history; ‘theology’s the queen of sciences!’ [1]James wisely followed his professor’s advice. He later on became a theologian. 
When he announced recently the end of his speaking and writing ministry due macular degeneration or vision loss, James Innel Packer, or more popularly known as J.I. Packer, wrote “more than 300 books, journal articles, book reviews, dictionary entries, and innumerable forewords”. [2]
Last February 2005, TIME magazine named him as one of “The 25 Most Influential…