Sunday, June 24, 2012


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Despite without their key players, the San Beda Red Lions proved to all that
they can beat the odds when their 6-man crew dropped a bomb on the Arellano
Because of a controversial brawl last December, a majority of the members of the San Beda Men's Basketball Team were suspended for the Red Lions' season-opener against the Arellano Chiefs in the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament earlier at the FilOil Flying V Arena, leaving only 6 players available for the game. Being the lone non-televised game of the season, your resident sports blogger trooped to the stadium to what everyone thought was a mismatch. The Chiefs, now under former San Beda coach Koy Banal, boasted a complete roster, even parading AJ Serjue, who I believe is ahead of schedule. Here's what happened...

Arellano started way too hot, burying triple after triple, and they led, 28-21, after one. In the second, however, San Beda began to get their game going, and the Chiefs's lead was down to 2, 44-42. The rampage continued, and everyone began to believe. San Beda was on the driver's seat after 3 quarters. Anton Bonsubre, however, fouled out with 7:19 to go, and Coach Ronnie Magsanoc had no more reserve on his bench. Yvan Ludovice and Francis Abarcar began to suffer from cramps. Arellano, who were hot from the perimeter in the 1st half but gone cold in the 2nd, pulled a late charge, and the lead was down to 6. Abarcar did not give up. He carried the game to his own hands, and it worked. San Beda kept Arellano at bay, 81-71. Six defeated 15! Although I'm from UP (I'm cheering for UP alumni Coaches Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras), I was teary-eyed. It's just like seeing Gideon and his 299 comrades beating the Philistine army of more than a hundred thousand.

Speaking of the story of Gideon, it was not the 300 who were victorious then. It was God. Despite Gideon's fears, the Lord assured him that he and his army will win He will win the battle for them. Despite God further filtering the 45,000 people Gideon brought to Him to just a mere 300, he trusted the Lord. Despite getting the instruction from God to bring the most awkward of weapons--torches and pitchers, Gideon obeyed the Lord. Guess the headline of the news the following day. "Three Hundred Crushes 145,000". Oh! I did not even mention mankind's biggest victory yet: when God came to earth as a human to win the battle against sin for us on the cross.

All it takes is to believe. If you believe God will turn a seemingly impossible scenario to reality, all you need is to claim the victory in Jesus' Name. The apostles Paul and Silas even added, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you and your household, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sadness Better Than Happiness?

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When Queen's Park's Jamie Mackie scored a goal that gave the Rangers the
lead, the Manchester City fans were in deep despair as the championship was
slipping away from then. Little did they know that Jesus Christ was about to
perform a miracle in Manchester.
What would be your reaction if someone tells you that it's better to be sad than be happy? Kinda weird, right? But the seventh chapter of Ecclesiastes tells you so. Ecclesiastes 7:2 even adds that it's better to go to a building full of crying people than in a party place. Why better be sad than happy?

You may find the verse an awkward one. Of course, God wants us to be as happy as we can be. The Lord wants us to go on a pandemonium like how the people at the Etihad Stadium celebrated after Sergio Aguero blasted the game-winner for Manchester City against Queen's Park last month for the Barclays Premier League championship, but God sometimes allows the bad news to come upon us for a reason. When two of my classmates died, I was really anxious, but He was there to comfort me. When my laptop, cellphone, and even my wallet were snatched, it was God who made me move on.

It's just like the ManC-QPR (R is for Rangers) game mentioned above. You may be as super festive as Pablo Zabaleta when you received many breakthroughs, like when he scored his one and only English league goal in that game. But here comes a time of defeats and hardships, and you are on the verge of giving up. You are depressed, anxious, sorrowful, simply the saddest man in the world in your view, like how the City fans felt when the team conceded two Queen's Park goal later and cross-town rivals Manchester United, who were also chasing for the Barclays championship, were winning in another game elsewhere.

Ecclesiastes 7:3, however, tells us that it's OK to be sad. In fact, the verse says it's better to be frustrated than having fun and sadness is, guess what, GOOD for the heart and even gains wisdom (Ecc. 7:4). Now you may be doubting, "If the Bible is God's Word, then why He is telling us that sadness is better than happiness?" Again, He wants us to be happy, but He's saying here that you can learn more in defeats than in victories. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest athlete ever lived, even said in an interview that if not for the buzzer-beating game winners that he missed, he would have not been the best player ever. And the most important thing of all, God wants to reveal His power to us. When my registration matters this semester had gone mad, I was really depressed, but He promised me that He will do the mighty works, and indeed, He made possible the impossible. Now, from someone who's thinking of moving to another school, I got a chance to graduate in my current school (in two years, hopefully). It's just like scoring two goals in a span of 75 seconds to steal the win like what Manchester City exactly did.

God does not want us to be sad, but He said that it's OK to be sad. Why? To sum it up, He means that if we want happiness, as in TRUE HAPPINESS, all we need is to come to Him. In the end, what you think are the times that He's miles away from us are actually the cases that the Lord is just at pointblank range from us. All we need when we get sad is to accept His comfort and entrust everything in Him. God is our true source of happiness.

In this world you will face trouble, but take heart. [Jesus Christ has] overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Know God's Will?

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Despite the loss, Manny Pacquiao remained composed and optimistic on God's plans for him.
Asked on her husband's controversial loss, Jinkee Pacquiao uttered these words, "Maybe this is the Lord's will." It made me wonder, "Is Timothy Bradley's still the talk of the town upset over Manny Pacquiao really God's will?" Let's make this general: How can someone know the will of the Lord?

First and foremost, it's God's will for us to win in all of our battles, whether it's a boxing match, a soccer game, a basketball shootout, or even in our daily living, but God sometimes allow the trials, the defeats, and the setbacks to happen in us so that we'll gonna realize that all of our successes come from Him. I liked Manny's positive attitude upon hearing the controversial (How many times am I gonna type this word all over again?) announcement from renowned boxing announcer Michael Buffer. I felt his aura last Sunday as if he knocked out Bradley right in the 1st round. His rejuvenated relationship with God mattered a lot. In fact, I liked the positive comments I read in Facebook, Plurk, and Twitter saying that Manny won a greater victory, which is victory over sin. Kinda reminded me of Job when he lost virtually everything yet his faith in God became even more deeper (better read the entire book of Job for that). The promise Job held on was what Jesus taught us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

Usually, we realize that God moved in our midst in the end, like in the case of Pacquiao. But we can actually find out God's will right at the start. How? By praying to Him reading His Word, the Bible. Praying is our way of communicating with God. We ask for Him to reveal to us His will and ask for the things we need and want with agreement to His will. Reading the Bible is our way to know His answers. There are thousands of commands and promises in the Bible that will inspire and encourage us. One example of that is when I got into some academic trouble that made me fear that I may not be able to enter school again. I leaned on to His Word that He did not give us a "spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)" Despite the fears Satan is continuing to infuse on me, I remained firm, prayed to God, and guess what: my appeal to enrol again was APPROVED!

My pastor's favorite (Or should I say trademark?) quote is always on my mind: If it's God's will, it's God's bill. The Lord's plans will always prevail. If He allows something good, He knows you're doing it right. If He allows trials, He's reminding us to turn to Him. To encapsulate all of these, here's a quote from Rocksteddy's lead vocalist and Showtime host Teddy Corpuz. "My pastor told me, 'Don't merely believe everything I had preached, but find out for yourself. Read, ask, and seek Christ!' That's confidence in the Holy Spirit!"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hand of God

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We may not see God's hands, but we can feel Him reaching out
to us.
After watching the 2006 Korean movie "200 Pounds Beauty" last Saturday while having a sleepover at my friend's apartment unit, the phrase "Hand of God" that the surgeon who made possible the transformation of Kim Ah-Jung's role as Kang Han-Na from an obese to a sexy lady uttered (thanks to the subs) in the final scene keeps on running in my mind. Well, that was not the first time I heard that phrase. In the sixth episode of the 1987 Japanese action series Maskman, a predecessor of the Power Rangers, the kid was so amazed by Takeru's (Michael Joe in the Philippine broadcast), the Red Ranger, punching power that the boy thought Takeru has the "Hand of God". Those are just fiction. Reality has its own dose of the "Hand of God" thing. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals game between Argentina and England, Argentine soccer superstar Diego Maradona punched the ball to the goal as the English goalkeeper chased the ball too. The referee thought Maradona headed the ball in that the official did not whistle for the handball infraction. Even his teammates knew it was handball. But Maradona celebrated so everyone thought it was legal. That controversial non-call proved fatal as the Argentinians marched to the Final 4 with a 2-1 with Maradona scoring the other goal for the South Americans. He initially denied that he used his hand, but in 2005, Maradona admitted that it was indeed a handball and in fact intentional. You can check out the controversial play below.
I'm pretty sure God has hands. The question is where I can find it. The answer: in us! We might not see God's hands, but we can find them in us, God's people. How? Firstly, we can find it in our close peers. From our relatives to our friends. A classic example of this are the friends of the paralyzed man in Mark 2. He wanted to walk again, and upon learning that Jesus was in town, he wanted to go near Him so that he may be healed. If not for his friends, who needed to drill a huge hole at the roof of the place where the Lord was so that the paralytic will glance upon Him. Jesus Christ healed the paralytic and was able to stand up and walk. (Read Mark 2:1-12)

However, you can feel the Lord touching you through others, as in the people that you don't know. When Paul was blinded in Acts 9 after seeing Jesus, the former Saul didn't know what to do. Here comes a certain Ananias, went to Paul's place, and by the power of Jesus Christ healed him. Oh, have I already mentioned that it was only the first meeting between Paul and Ananias? Have I already mentioned too that Ananias was hesitant of going to Paul's crib because of the latter's background as a persecutor? Yet, Ananias followed God's command and groomed Paul to become one of the greatest apostles of the Lord.

Lastly, God's hands can be seen through Jesus Christ Himself. God knows we have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and He knows we must deserve a penalty (Romans 6:23a), but He also knows our need of getting saved from the bondage of sin. So He Himself came to earth, take the form of a human, and made Himself the One to be crucified and not us. If not for the Lord, we might have been suffering in hell right now, but thanks to His sacrifice, we can now receive eternal life (John 3:16, Romans 6:23b) and get the right to be called God's children (John 1:12). Hence, we, as God's heirs and co-heirs of Jesus (Romans 8:17), can receive the blessing the Heavenly Father gives to His only begotten Son.

To conclude, we may not physically see God's hands, but we are secured that He is reaching out to us. All we need to do is to grab His hand and let Him lift us out of our troubles.