Monday, November 19, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Meditation on God's love

I've been quoting FB Meyer unabashedly. His book, Love to the Uttermost, is a compilation of his preachings on the Book of John. It is a masterpiece of good writing and good theology. It has been a blessing to my soul, as it has proven useful material for my daily devotion.

This Sunday I'd like to encourage you with FB Meyer's vision of God's love. This is the concluding statement of his preaching on John 18:4, "Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?'"

If it moved Him to endure the Cross and despise the shame, is there anything that it will not withhold, anything that it will not do? His love is stronger than death, and mightier than the grave. Strong waters cannot quench it, floods cannot down it. It silences all praise, and beggars all recompense. To believe and accept it is eternal life. To dwell within its embrace is the foretaste of everlasting joy. To be filled by it is to be transfigured into the image of God Himself.

I've long since resolved to read Christian literature, especially classic literature, more intentionally. After a year, I've finished John Calvin's magisterial work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, and am also now plowing through Stephen Charnocks's The Doctrine of Regeneration. As I do this, I take to heart my cell servant's exhortation to our Bible study group, "Read Christian books!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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We're now the Philippine Cancer Center

Senate OKs bill on national integrated cancer control program, reported by GMA News:

Voting 18-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading Monday a bill seeking to institutionalize a national integrated cancer control program... 

The bill will establish a National Integrated Cancer Control Council whose sole focus is to implement programs that will not only provide comprehensive, accessible and affordable cancer treatments for all cancer patients, but will also work on minimizing the incidence of preventable cancer cases...

The bill shall also mandate the establishment of the Philippine Cancer Center, under the control and supervision of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), for the treatment and accommodation of cancer patients. The center shall also initiate research, in collaboration with other universities, hospital and institutions, for cancer prevention and cure...

Likewise, regional cancer centers shall be established nationwide for the treatment and care of cancer patients. The center shall also undertake and support the training of physicians, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, health officers and social workers on good practice models for the delivery of responsive, multidisciplinary, integrated cancer services.

This is a step towards quality care of patients with cancer in the country.

Monday, November 12, 2018

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The world's hatred

From F. B. Meyer, "Love to the Uttermost":

It is not difficult, therefore, to go through the world and escape its hate. We have only to adopt its maxims, speak its language, and conform to its ways . . . Ah, how many pleading glances are cast at us to induce us to spare ourselves and others, by toning down out speech, and covering our regimentals by the disguising cloke of conformity to the world around! “If you do not approve, at least you need not express your disapproval.” “If you cannot vote for, at least do not vote against.” If you dissent, put your sentiments in courtly phrase, and so pare them down that they may not offend sensitive ears.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Delivery

My package from Amazon arrived, the first of its kind I've received. It's a pair of chukka boots, my early Christmas gift for Manong. Another one is arriving next week, also a pair of chukka boots (same brand, different leather color) for Sean. I have the same pair of shoes, too. We dress the same way, my brothers and I, and share many interests. Over the years they've become fans of automatic wristwatches, fountain pens, and eyeglasses. When I met the UPS delivery guy at my building's lobby last night, I felt, upon receipt of the box, like it was "Christmas morning." I remember my friend Rac, who calls happy days "Christmas mornings." The chukkas and the wristwatches were due to my friend Carlos's rabid interest in their items, a fascination that infected me throughout these years I've known him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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Pakô salad

Salad greens picked from the backyard

I'm not impressed by farm-to-table restaurants. I suppose that's because I grew up eating vegetables plucked from the farm, our neighbor's garden, and our own backyard, that I find the concept ordinary. For lunch at home, we had the pakô salad—picked from Auntie Lisa's farm—drizzled with vinegar, and to which mother added slices of fresh mango. This wasn't the main dish; for that, we had tuna pangá and a mouth-watering serving of rice (store-bought, not from our farm. The harvest season won't be until a few months).

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

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Books that fit in one's hand

Dwarsliggers–these are called. They are developed in the Netherlands and will be adopted by Penguin, targeting the young. I'm no longer as young, but whatever gets me reading, I will try at some point. The design makes sense, and I'm excited to try one of these books as soon as they become available locally.





Glad to read this quote from Carl Sagan:

“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic . . . It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years.”

It goes without saying that I've been doing most of my reading in my Kindle (I named it John Ames—one has to during device registration) because of storage limitations where I live. I still read paperbacks, especially old ones, because I like how they smell.

Photo credits: NYT

Sunday, November 4, 2018

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November adventures

I took the earliest flight to Gensan. I was at NAIA at 2 AM. Traffic from Mandaluyong to Pasay was light. There weren't long queues at the airport. I read a book on my Kindle, did some academic reading in my laptop, and slept throughout much of the flight. It was the perfect arrangement.

Flying over Cotabato City, dawn

My kid brother Sean picked me up from the airport on November 1 at 6 AM. In my family, apart from my father who had already passed away, he remains the only one who can get behind the wheel. We passed by the fruit stands in Tupi, where we bought papaya, mangga, pinya, and melon, to give to mother.

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We visited Tatay's grave at 8 AM and chatted with old friends and acquaintances. Nanay hosted a party for close family and friends that evening. November 1 felt a lot like a family reunion.

The next day, Sean drove Manong Ralph to Auntie Lisa's property in Banga. Manong spoke at the church's youth camp, exhorting the participants, who used to be in Sunday school (how times flies!), to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Sean and I roamed around Auntie Lisa's beautiful property. Praise be to God for her hospitality and generosity.

Huge dog house

Rice paddies

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I spent my third day at home watching Season 6 of House of Cards. Sean drove us around the city and treated us to afternoon snacks.

Today, we're going to church in the morning. Sean is driving me to the airport for my 3 PM flight to Manila.

Thanks, Sean! What would your brothers do without you?
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