the promise of life eternal

death is a disintegration; a dissolution of the principle of life that holds it together.  it is most unnatural; but it is the result of a necessary response of God to the evil of sin.

spiritual death is the dissolution of the principle of spiritual life that holds our human spirit intact, that is, the dissolution of that loving, cordial fellowship and communion man had with God, as made in his image.  in place of this, the wrath of God abides in every man; this separates man from God.

spiritual death is accompanied by the subsequent dissolution of the body — the abode of the human soul.  once the body expires, the soul leaves and separates from it; thus, disintegrating what was man.  death is an inescapable bondage; a race no one wins: death catches up with you in the end.

man is thus disintegrated in the highest level, that is, in his spiritual relation to his maker; and in his lowly existence, in the dissolution of his soul’s earthy abode.

this is unnatural; this was necessitated because of sin; but this is reversible in jesus christ.  jesus christ is the resurrection and the life.

his own bodily resurrection is the guarantee that if you are “in him” you too will rise again bodily from the dead, and live again: your soul reunited to your body.  death will no longer have power over you.

he gives life to the spiritually dead: he restores the loving, cordial fellowship and communion with God that man lost as a result of sin — he takes away the wrath of God: he is the only propitiation for sin.

this is the promise of life eternal.

how did john know ? solution.

if peter saw that james and john both had white hats on their heads, he would say, “i know the color of my hat — black.”  but because he couldn’t know the color of his hat, seeing james’ and john’s hats, it must not be both white.

if james saw that john had a white hat on, he would say, “i know the color of my hat — black.”  james already knew, from what peter said, that his and john’s hats cannot be both white; so if john’s hat was white, james knew that his was black.

it’s as simple as that.

how did john know ?

i have five hats in my bag which you cannot see — two white and three black,” andrew said, “and i will put a hat on each of your heads.”

peter, james, and john stood on a single file, one in front of the other — peter at the rear, james in the middle, and john in front.  andrew put a hat on each of their heads and said, “can you tell me the color of the hat i put on your head without looking at it?”

peter (who was at the rear) said, “i can see the color of james’ and john’s hats, but i don’t know the color of my hat!”

james (in the middle) said, “i can see the color of john’s hat, but i don’t know the color of my hat!”

john (in front) said, “hmm… i cannot see the color of peter’s and james’ hats, but i know the color of my hat!”

how did john — without looking — know?  what is the color of john’s hat?

prove it!


here’s how (i suppose) it all went down…

eve took of the fruit and ate.

suddenly, an overwhelming feeling came upon her — a chill.  she felt exposed and withdrew herself into a squat, her back towards adam.

“what’s wrong?” asked adam.
“nothing,” answered eve.

“are you sure?  you don’t look okay.”
“it’s nothing, really…”

“okay, if you say so,” said adam, “but i’m right here if you need me, just holler, okay?”

eve gives a loud sigh, drops her jaw, stares at the ground, and shakes hear head.

“alright, what is it?  what is it you’re not telling me?  obviously something’s bothering you.”
“i really don’t want to talk about it,” eve replied, “not right now.”

“i insist!”
“fine!  i ate the fruit!”

“wha-?  you ate the fruit?” adam replied.
“that’s what i just told you,” answered eve, “do you have to repeat everything i say?”

“yes, i know, i’m sorry,” adam answered, “we should tell father about it.”
“go ahead!”
eve glares at adam.

“what will happen to you now?” asked adam, “you will die, oh no!”
“to me???” asked eve, “thanks a lot!”

“what am i gonna do?”  adam was visibly perplexed.
“it’s really your decision,”  eve said.

“it’s okay,” eve added, “do you love me?”

adam was long silent, trying to wrap his head around what had just happened.
“see!  why can’t you answer me?” 

“you don’t love me!” eve starts to cry.
“you know i love you,” adam replied, putting his arms on eve’s shoulders.

“prove it!”

and eve gave the fruit to her husband with her, and he ate.

faith and assurance

faith and assurance are cousins.  faith is coming to christ, assenting to the truths (the evidence) recorded in the bible; and claiming the promises of salvation and forgiveness of sins in christ, for oneself.  assurance — although not of the essence of faith, ie, faith can be genuine without assurance — is coming to christ, with full-bodied and complete, confidence and joy.

i went inside the children’s sunday school room, one sunday morning.  as i entered the door, i saw a familiar little girl — a dear friend — walking across the room, with her arms around her younger cousin’s shoulders.

“where’s my hug?” i said.  assurance ran towards me — leaving her younger cousin — she leaped and threw her arms around my neck, and hung her legs around my waist.  she’s given me this “monkey hug” twice before, when i had been to their home, and she saw me walking through the hallway.  i gently hugged her back.

“will you give uncle a hug?” i asked her younger cousin, faith, who was looking on.  i bent down a bit, dropped both hands and leaned forward.  faith looked at me, glanced at assurance who is now standing beside me, then looked back at me.

“you can do it!” assurance said to her younger cousin.  faith had witnessed how assurance had hugged me, but because she wasn’t very familiar with me (she’d seen me often before, but not close enough) she walked very slowly towards me, glancing back at her cousin.

“you can do it!” assurance said a second time, as faith was about a foot away from me.  faith slowly reached her tiny arms around my neck, and i softly hugged her back.

“i love you, faith!” i whispered.  “i love you, assurance!”

travel once

when you die, what do you believe will happen to you?  or where will you go, if you believe there is anywhere you will go to, at all?  but how sure are you?!

“pack your bags, we’re going on a trip!”
“uhm, i don’t know exactly!  but the guy at the travel agency said it was a good place.”
“travel agency???  how sure are you about this travel agency.”
“pretty sure!”
“have you tried them before today?”
“uhm, not really.  but i know it’s the right one!”
“uhm, but shouldn’t we sit down, and talk about this first?”
“what else is there to talk about, come on, let’s go!”
“what’s the name of the travel agency again???”
“travel once, last trip.”

make sure where you are going after you die.  will you entrust your vacation to “travel once, last trip” travel agency, to a place you don’t even know is there, on their sheer assurance that where they will take you is a good place?

make sure where you are going after you die.  make sure you are going to a good place… to abraham’s bosom… to paradise… to be present with the Lord.

the cradle of my being

my mom passed away four years ago, almost two weeks ago today, on jan.9, 2011.  it would have been her 81st birthday a couple of days from now, on jan.24, 2015.  all i have left is a memory.

i wrote these words — the tagalog verse — days after she passed away; and when my sister read it, she requested me to translate it in english.  so there are two versions of this poem.  i am dedicating these words to the memory of my mom.

hindi ko alam
ano ang gagawin
marinig mo man
ang tinig ko
marahil mahina
at tila malayo
tulad ng panaginip
laho na
bago muling magunita.

dahil sa pamapatulog
na bumabalot
sa katawan at isip mo
upang di mo maramdaman
ang bigat sa dibdib
at kaskas
ng mga tubong plastik
na isinaksak
sa hingahan mo.

mga luha kong alay
di mo na pansin
ng pusong di-papipigil
kandilang tunaw sa panlalambot.

nakagapos ng lubid
di makakilos
sa malubhang sakit
sa matinding hinagpis.

sa huling sandali mo
tanging magagawa ko’y
ang korona mong kupas
idaan ang palad ko
sa noo mo’ng
may init pa
ng nalalabing buhay
maipadama ko lang
na kahit katiting
ay nasuklian
pag-aruga mo sa akin.

the (loose) translation:

i am like a child lost for words
with nothing to say
yes you might hear a voice
a small voice far and distant
as in a dream when one awakes
and none but a fading memory lingers
like a mist soon vanished.

because of the drugs
that made you sleep
enwrapt you body and mind
so you won’t feel
the heaviness on your heart
and the abrasions
of the plastic tubes they stuck
deep in your airways.

the tears i shed like candle melting
the painful sighs of a heart inconsolable
pass unnoticed.

bound by cords of rope
helpless, immobile
you in mortal sickness
me in indescribable anguish.

m-i-i-i-i-i! i groaned
bowed down on your face with grief
my eyes drenched with bitter sorrow
the channels from my gut to my eyes gave way.

my fingers brush your faded crown
my palms caress your temples
gently, tenderly
still warm
with the touch of life past
you were the temple of my life
the cradle of my being.

the house is empty now
the windows shut
you left it in silence.

the two interacting principles

your personal relationships are built on the balance of two interacting principles within yourself: your desire for the other person vis-a-vis your commitment to a set of principles.

you are a composite of the set of principles you hold on to; and you relate to people, bearing those principles in mind, as a second skin.  “birds of the same feather, flock together,” says the old adage.

your desire depends on what you see in that other person; it depends a lot on your need.  and at every step of the way, you choose the people you go with, you talk with, you socialize with, and keep; depending on how they satisfy your needs.

these two principles sometimes come on a head-on collision course, that is, when your desire for the other person comes in conflict with a set of principles you dearly uphold.  it happened to friends of mine (and my wife’s) — she was chinese and her parents strongly wished she would marry a chinese guy; but she loved this non-chinese guy.  she loves and respects her parents (her set of principles;) but wishes to marry this non-chinese but godly man (her desire.)

yours may not always be as close a call and as drastic a decision as that.  oftentimes, it is merely a matter of sacrificing your tastes, preferences, views, or perspective; and not insisting that yours is the right one or the better one; in order to keep or sustain a cordial relationship with the person you love.

writing out my thoughts

depression — feeling down — is a malaise of the spirit that isn’t easy to shake off.  it affects the motivation of the mind and saps away any strength of purpose or drive one has.

bob’s mind goes blank whenever he is under the influence of depression.  his mind doesn’t want to think of anything.  his eyes often just stare blankly into empty space, without a meaningful thought or a purpose to move or be active.

the resulting inactivity causes bob to get more depressed.  his mind further loses motivation and purpose; leading to further inactivity.  it becomes a vicious cycle, a downward spiral — though in bob’s case, it hasn’t reached a tailspin dive into hard concrete.  if only my mind can stop thinking of those things that bring me down! — he says.

a certain vague dissatisfaction gnaws inside his gut; as if wanting to break out and scream — a feeling bottled up inside.

it is taken for granted that bob prays.  he does — he is a christian.  but prayer is not the solution to depression; though (he believes) it is a means to find the solution.

picking up work that needs to be done — however routinely — helps distract the mind from morbid introspection.  it helps bob’s mind focus on something else other than its own miserable condition.

exercise in the form of a sporting activity also helps ease bob’s mind of depressing thoughts; listening to music — rock music — sometimes also does.

family and friends — their love, humour, and mere candour — refreshes bob’s mind out of its miseries… sometimes.

i told bob, writing out my thoughts helps.

happy birthday

nabigla kami ni jane, kagabi, pag-uwi namin galing sa maynila.  pagbaba namin sa bus, sasakay kami ng trike (pedicab) sa pila.  eh, walang trike na nakapila, ang mga kasabay naming bumaba sa bus, nagsipaglakad na papasok ng village.  maaga pa naman, wala pang alas onse (hanggang madaling araw may masasakyan kang trike dito, siguro nasa loob pa lahat.)

may nakita akong tricycle na nakaparada sa gilid (eh, dala namin ay isang trolley bag, dalawang bakpak, isang paper bag, bukod sa shoulder bag ni jane; galing kasi sa byahe si jane).  namukhaan ko yung tricycle driver, dati syang namamasada ng tirke, kaya’t tinawag ko sya.

“magsasakay ka ba?” tanong ko.

“sige,” sagot nya.  kwento sya ng kwento (ang daldal, naka-inom kasi) tungkol sa bunsong anak namin habang minamaneho nya kami pauwi.  alam nya kung saan sya nag-aaral, at binanggit nya na kauuwi lang kani-kanina.  kilala nya sya, kasi kilala nya ako.  (alam ko) kumpare sya ng kapitbahay naming namamasada rin ng trike, na paminsan-minsan ang ginagawang kama ay yung gutter sa labas ng bahay nila.

nang magbabayad na kami, ang sabi nya, “wag na!”

“ha?” nabigla kami pareho ni jane.

“bertday ko ngayon!”

“ganun?  happy birthday!  e di eto kwarenta, bertday mo pala!”  eh, bente lang ang bayad.  idiniin ko sa braso nya yung dalawang tig-bebente, di ko maipilit sa palad nya, hawak nya kasi manibela ng motorsiklo.  “o eto!”

“hindi!  bertday ko ngayon!” pilit nya.

“sige, salamat!  happy birthday!”

salamat at may ganito pa!