Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh


Questioning about the Messiah’s divine origin is something I considered a misguided query, not even necessary. It is only indicative of someone’s ignorance to the words of God which is the Holy Bible. But since not everyone was more than willing to read and study the Holy Bible, or if having read so but also misinterpreted, allow me to give you a short refresh about why Jesus Christ was a God and not just a human being. In the book of John chapter 10, verse 30, Jesus was quoted as saying, “I and the Father are one.” It was a clear statement from Jesus Christ declaring himself a God. This declaration of divine identity by Jesus has angered the Jews of his time so that they were quoted in a reply as saying, in John 10:33, “we are not stoning you for any of these but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

If Jesus is not God, then he was lying about what he has declared about himself. Some people believed he is a prophet, a good teacher, while there are those who even labeled him as the first communist. But who do you think he really is?

The answer could be found in the Holy Bible, plain and simple. Jesus is God in the flesh. John chapter 1, verse 1 was clearly saying that “the Word was God.” It was confirmed in verse 14 of the same chapter about the Word becoming flesh.

There are lots of Bible verses to quote from to support about such a claim that Jesus is God. In John chapter 8, verse 58, Jesus clearly announced to the Jews who asked for his identity using the Old Testament name for God to reference himself with, “before Abraham was born, I am!” God revealed his name to Moses in Exodus chapter 3, verse 14 as “I am who I am or I am.”

But while the belief of the Christ to be God is to know of the truth, it is also important to have a deeper understanding about the concept of the “trinity” which is about God existing in three persons. The word “trinity” is not literally mentioned in the Holy Scriptures yet such a concept could be found from beginning to end. In John chapter 14, verse 23, Jesus explained to his disciples about making a home for those who obey his teachings; the work, which will be carried out both by him and his Father, would be possible through the Spirit of Truth (John chapter 14, verses 16 to 17).

One of my favorite descriptions about the divine identity of the Christ came from Apostle Paul when he said, in the book of the Colossians chapter 1, verses 15 to 17, about Jesus being “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creations: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,  whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finding God in everything


How would you be able to find God in the midst of suffering, injustice, hatred, and violence; in a becoming more corrupt, chaotic, and cruel world that you are in right now? You turn on the TV or surf for news on the net and you’ll find out how these bad and, sometimes, horrible things becoming just a part of the daily life. Lots of people nowadays are getting more selfish, materialistic, and indifferent toward their fellow human beings. It seems like, for some reasons, these people have found a way to ignore the existence God.

I remember a classmate of mine way back in college telling me that “God is dead.” He was probably quoting from the late German philosopher Fredrich Nietszche, one of the advocates of existentialism philosophy. “You might be kidding,” I said. “No, I mean what I said,” he insisted. I tried to refute about his claim by using what may be just a simple twist of logic. “Your claim is weak,” I told him. “Elaborate your answer,” he said. “Your claim is weak in a sense that, from what you have said about God being dead, he existed. But only he was dead,” I explained. What followed was a heated exchange of arguments which has caught the attention of our fellow classmates who have chosen sides between us to whom they would cheer upon. Knowing it would be pointless to argue with a guy willing to play villain just so he could make fun out of it, I let someone in to debate on my behalf.

Finding God in trying situations and in the dark corners of the world is not an easy task. It requires faith, and as, in itself, a test of such a faith as well. When all else failed to suggest the existence of God, it is your faith that will make a difference. Find God first in yourself, and you'll be able to find him everywhere you go.

Life has a lot to bring your faith to the test and the world will not always go by your side. But “these trials,” as what 1 Peter 1:7 in the Holy Bible states, “have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  

Faith, like a seed, must be sown and nurtured so it will grow into a tree. It is one of the hardest of things to possess by anyone but also the most important. For without it, as what the Holy Bible said in Hebrews 11:6: “it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pacquiao defeated Bradley in a rematch via unanimous decision

Photo credit: Chris Farina of Top Rank

There’s no doubt about Manny Pacquiao becoming the better boxer after 12 grueling rounds of trading leather with undefeated American prizefighter known as the “Desert Storm” for the take two of their first encounter two years ago. Pacquiao outclassed Bradley in a fight many were expecting the Desert Storm was supposed to carry out instead against the rumored declining state of the Filipino champion. Pacquiao won by wide margins on all three score cards; it was a unanimous decision. The Pacman has now become more of a refined, smarter fighter that even without pulling a knockout for the win, which was supposed to happen, was enough to expose the Desert Storm hyperbole which did not even belong to his level.

Manny has now his controversial loss, two years ago, to the same man he has just cleanly outpointed inside the ring, avenged. Bradley will sure bounce back from that loss but not against Pacman again. A rematch with the Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov would be one best option for him. He must take his time, he’s only 30. Besides, that was only his first loss no matter how controversial the result of his first fight with Pacquiao has become. Marquez is longing for a rematch with him also, so why not give the Mexican “Dinamita” a chance to redeem a loss and clear things out between them.

Pacquiao will have a lot of options waiting for him next if he still wants to continue fighting, and that could also mean he will become a hundred million dollars richer. A fifth fight with arc nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Floyd Mayweather junior, will be good for the sport. Floyd Mayweather junior should be fighting Pacquiao before he decides to hang up the gloves because if he won’t, there’s always a question that would link about him not fighting the best of his era.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3 scenarios for the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch


As the much anticipated rematch between 8 division boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao of the Philippines and undefeated American Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley nears, predictions about the outcome of the fight also surfaced as boxing analysts share on their insights which are to base from a lot of factors. But it could be narrowed down to, more often than not, these two important things to ponder: 1. What will these fighters bring in the table which is also to ask what they are still capable of making inside the ring and, 2. The performance they have shown in their last fights. It is quite disrespectful to underestimate the ability of any fighter as anything could happen inside the squared circle. But then, that’s why there are boxing analysts so we would be given a better pre-fight look of the fight. I would like to share to you my own take for the Pacquiao-Bradley 2 matchup in Las Vegas this coming Saturday, April 12, 2014 (Sunday, Manila time). I categorized the fight into these three scenarios:

Pacquiao by TKO 4
Pacquiao stormed on Bradley from the opening bell. Bradley refused to engage and instead used his jabs to keep the Pacman whirlwind at bay. Pacman chased the Desert Storm and landed his combinations at every mistake Bradley was making. Pacquiao took round 1, being the busier and more aggressive fighter. The same thing happened in round 2, except that in the last 10 seconds of the round the two were locked in a crowd-pleasing exchange of power shots. The Pacman obviously won round number 2. Bradley started to get more active in round 3 and landed some of his combinations at a stalking Pacman. Pacman raised his two hands as if to say “C’mon hit me more! Is that all you can do?” Bradley ignored the bait and back to where he is best at--pure boxing. Round 3 belongs to the American. Round 4 started rather slow but, when the undefeated American made a mistake by engaging in a toe-to-toe battle against the Filipino who stood stationary with his back upon the ropes in the corner as if to invite the Desert Storm to come in, Pacquiao connected with a solid right hook to the face of Bradley followed by a left uppercut. Bradley fell down on his knees, his arms he braced against the canvas. Although he was able to beat the count, the referee did not waste any time to halt the fight as the Pacman went on for the kill. The crowd went wild with excitement and roared. Bradley was then taken to his corner to be checked by a physician.

Bradley by unanimous decision
Bradley was dominating every round with his boxing skills. He was able to make Pacquiao look like an amateur. The fighting congressman from the Philippines tried his best to catch Bradley but the Desert Storm was just too slick of a fighter than what Pacquiao was expecting. Bradley has evolved to become one classic example of a sweet science fighter--to hit and don’t get hit. Frustrated Pacquiao announced his retirement right after the fight.

Pacquiao by split decision
The whole fight was more of like duplicating their first encounter two years ago except that, this time around, the verdict was given to the right person. Bradley’s corner wanted an immediate rematch as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum also expressed his side that a trilogy happening between Paquiao and Bradley would be a nice idea. Pacquiao considered taking a long rest after the fight and to contemplate on making a possible fifth fight with arc nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.

The Christ: Humanity's only hope


Next week will be the Holy Week for the Roman Catholics all over the world in commemoration of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The question as to whether or not he is a man or God was no longer important or needed. This is not the time to question about the validity of his divine origin, but rather to focus and reflect on the life and teachings of the man considered as humanity’s only hope. Christ’s introduction into the human concept was never without a foe. Satan, the Devil, was moving heaven and earth to prevent the infusion of the divine being into the system of a doomed-to-extinction species.  

Right after the fall of man in the garden of Eden, when the Devil successfully lured Adam and Eve, humanity’s first parents, into the trap of sin, God’s plan for salvation was already underway. The sacrificial lamb, which was to come from one of Adam’s descendants, shall crush the Devil’s head (represented by the serpent) while the latter will be able to also bruise the former’s heels (Genesis 3:15). It was to be expected from the Devil to do everything to keep the Christ from coming and the best way to do that was through the hybridization of the human race.

Genesis chapter 6 told us about the intermarriages that have taken place between the angels (sons of God) and the daughters of men. The result was that there was a generation of giants during that time (before the Great Flood), and also in the generations that followed. These giants were cruel and they began to dominate and bully their human cousins. They were only given each up to 120 years to live, though. As these giants began to multiply in the face of the earth, they as well spread their evil cause. Hence, God decided to destroy the Earth that He has created. But Noah found grace in the eyes of God, so that through his family the human race was preserved.

During the time when God’s chosen people, the Israelites have finally been freed from the clutch of slavery in Egypt, were wandering in the wilderness to reach the promised land, Canaan, the giant race was already well established in the place ahead of them. But God ordered Joshua, Moses’s successor, a total destruction upon them and not to even spare one. The Devil was making his one final attempt to kill the Christ through the Roman client king of Judea, Herod the Great, when the prophecy about the coming of the Messiah has been fulfilled who was to be born of human parents in the city of David. He was able to successfully penetrate through Herod’s head that the king has ordered the slaughter of all children in Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Messiah. But the angel of God was there to protect the young king and guided the Holy Family for a safe escape route towards Egypt.

Christ’s birth marked the beginning of a new age, his life--for us to emulate, his death on the cross conquered death itself, and his resurrection--the manifestation of a divine glory. Christ restored us to where we once were of a divine connection. He was humanity’s only hope; the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A song about finding yourself and chasing your dreams


Willie Nelson’s acoustic version of the song Rainbow Connection has always been my favorite rendition by any singer for the song. Originally written by the gifted singer-songwriter Paul Williams in 1979 for the Muppet Movie which was sung by Kermit the Frog being played by no other than the Muppets creator himself Jim Henson. But while the original concept of the song was meant to please and educate children, Nelson successfully brought it to the next level by adding some elements to make it more of something like we adults could also relate with at. It was actually, in my opinion, a song intended not only for the little ones but as well for anyone who looks to find for some comfort for what the song can actually best offer and impact.

The song begins by asking perhaps, in my opinion, one of the most honest, innocent of questions: “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, what’s on the other side?”  The answer could be found in the lines of the song itself which said: “Rainbows are visions, but only illusions and rainbows have nothing to hide.” Rainbow Connection is a very hopeful song which encourages you to dream, to keep stargazing.

But while dreaming is something to keep you apart from reality, it is through the feeling and the belief in yourself that you were able to connect to it. As what the song says: “The lovers, the dreamers, and me.” It is to imply something about creating who you are destined to be.

Rainbows could be a best metaphor for your dreams, wishes, and desires as you journey through life. And until such time when your spiritual purpose--that familiar voice inside your head kept telling you to believe in yourself and chase your dreams--would be realized in the physical world; when the physical and spiritual connect in a state of joy, peace, and harmony, then that’s when you call it a rainbow connection.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Honoring our heroes


The ninth day of April, which is marked red in all Philippine calendars, is a national holiday to honor the brave Filipino and American soldiers who perished during World War II (most particularly in Bataan and Corregidor areas) defending the Philippine Islands against Japanese invasion.  It is called Bataan Day, or what is now known as the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). The Philippines then, under the protectorate of colonial America, was under attacked by the occupational Imperial forces of Japan, shortly right after the surprise attack in Pearl Harbor by the Japanese which prompted the Americans to declare war against. The rest is history.

But history, like a scenario in a novel where the writer finds it exciting to surprise his readers, applied a sudden twist to the plot. America and Japan are now not just close friends, but mutual allies as well. Filipino and American relations almost collapsed when the Philippine senate voted against the Philippine-US Bases Treaty back in 1991. But divorce is not an option for the love-hate relationship these two nations have gone through. The Philippines remained a loyal ally to America, though.

To honor our fallen heroes requires a deeper sense of understanding for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom, liberty, and ideals. They all died an honorable death; some of whom were not even recognized or known. They all deserve our sincerest admiration, respect, and tribute.

We must not also forget, as we honor our World War II-era freedom fighters on April ninth, to recognize our living heroes of the present time in the same level we have given our great fallen ones. Time has changed and new enemies emerged. We now have a bully, land-grabber neighbor to deal with, corrupt government officials, traitors, and destabilizers of the state.

To our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), defenders of a nationalistic cause, honest-to-goodness workers (in private or public offices and institutions), brave soldiers who risk their lives fighting for the country, the small contingent of marines stationed in a dilapidated Philippine navy commissioned ship BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin shoal, and to all the Filipino people who made a difference in their lives, Mabuhay po kayo

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