Monthly Archives: April 2009

Become Epaphroditus

With regard to Epaphroditus, my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister in my need, I consider it necessary to send him to you. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy and hold such people in esteem. Philippians 2:25,29

Jhune, I am honored to have known you since your college years. I have seen you hold on to God all through these years we have come to live the way of life He has provided for us. And it is an opportune time for God to give you more as you have been faithful with less.

Today, as you take the service God has appointed for you, I exhort you – become Epaphroditus.

Be a brother. Go out with the brothers and sisters after the meetings. Share your time with them. Speak with them in their triumphs and failures. Laugh with them and cry with them. Feel their hearts. Think their minds.

Be a co-worker. Take each brother and sister as your equal. Understand their limitations. Affirm their strengths. Work in their work.

Be a fellow soldier. Be there in the front line. Be a comrade rather being a commander. Fight with the brothers and sisters. Struggle with their battles.

Be a messenger and a minister. Be quick to encourage. Be lavish in bringing light. Show the path to righteousness. Aim always for God.

Lingkod-Angeles, welcome Jhune, who is your brother, co-worker, fellow soldier, a messenger and a minister. Welcome him with all joy and hold him with such esteem.

Let us thank and praise God who raises up men and women for His kingdom!

PS. This blog was written for Jhune Marin on his installation as the Branch Leader of Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon-Angeles City.

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Stephen Sleeps

Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60

They threw him out. They stoned him. A young man approved of his execution. And yet after all the persecution, after all the beating, after catching the stones with his body- Stephen sleeps.

The author of the Acts could have written Stephen is dead. He could have emphasized Stephen’s breath is no more.  He could have boldly printed that it was Stephen’s final day. But the author did not. Instead, he described, Stephen fell into sleep.

He faithfully served a living God and this living God does not reward with death but with life.  Stephen did not fall into death. Stephen did not lose his breath. Stephen eyes closed but not for long. God does not bring him into finality. God does not bring him into terminal. God does not bring him into an end. God brought him into continuation. More so, God brought him to rest which is not fatal.

God does it to us too. We serve a living God who gives life. We may be experiencing persecution, trials, difficulties, problems, recession, sickness, suffering and maybe execution. Amidst these things we do not walk into a dead end. It’s a stopover but not terminal. There is no finality in living for the living God and in serving our living God. God brings us into our own continuation. We rest in God, we do not rest in peace. We rest unto Him and it’s a spring of strength not venting of vigor.

Stephen sleeps. We step into sleep.

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Iron Shop

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

I have an iron shop. This is the place where God commissioned men to bring their lives and wisdom to buff up my life into its fullness and purpose.

I thank God for the gift of men who in many ways have influenced my life. These are imperfect men whose words and actions motivated me to rightness.  I give gratitude to Jesus for using these men for bringing me where I am now and where I am going.  I may have missed some and in the future I will continue to search my heart for the real men who shaped my life.

Mr. Rowaldo Del Mundo – You said “Theoretical is practical and practical should be theoretical.” Those words awakened my sleeping electrical engineering career.

Mr. Hilario Lulu – When you were still my instructor I thought; simplicity while being effective in what you do is grandeur. And that continues to instruct me.

Mr. Rolando Bacani – Integrity, selflessness and excellence can be mixed with government service; you practice it more than you preach it.

Mr. Arnaldo Agapito and Mr. Ronaldo Suarez – You vouched for me even if you know that someday we will be competitors as Professional Electrical Engineers. You are truly professional.

Mr. Enrico Viray – The career ladder is two ways; one way going up and the other way going down. You have shown me that there is pride and dignity going in either way.

Mr. Reynaldo Abadilla and Mr. Gregorio Jasareno – I can say you are Batman and Robin. You may be divided on something but you are united in one purpose, to get the job done and get it done well.  Thank you for more than four years of watching you do just that.

Mr. Francis Iturralde – I remember when you appointed me to a service, you wrote something like this – his words are my words and give him respect as you are giving me. Your confidence in me put me to put my confidence in God. Thank you for being a leader, a brother and a friend rolled into one.

Mr. Jake Yap – You words and works shepherded me thru my college days up to now. Your rod and staff I maintain to hold.

Servants of the Word (Philippines) – I may have caught the whole proportion of your passion in loving God and living for God by just being with you. May God bless me with the grace to keep it.

Engineering brothers of Christ’s Youth in Action-Holy Angel University (CYA-HAU) circa 1990s – I was sharpened with your real brotherhood through the years.  This sharpness still cuts through by the grace of God. I am indebted to all of you for all your support and my instinct tells me, there have been passing of batons but we have continue to run this noble race.

Lingkod-Angeles brothers circa 1990s – You served with hearts after God and that’s all what was and what is needed.  You taught me reckless abandon. In my heart lingers, look back to what you have started and look forward to what you can finish.

My brothers Jun, Ely, Lito and Emil – We did not have similarities. We did not have the same interests. All we have shared is a sleeping mat on our living room at night. Five heads on the same level. We are bonded especially when the hour calls for it.  Thank you for the love and protection.

Mr. Eleuterio Cano – My father once told me, “Ing sasaka mung ditak a gabun manibat keng kulkul, ali na mibalik kapilan man.” (The small amount of dirt you take out from the pit will never come back).  Small steps for big dreams.  Small words yet big impact. Thank you for being my father.

I am a work in progress. I need camaraderie of various men. I look forward for the days when God will unwrap those brotherhood in order to maintain and expand my iron shop.

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God’s Buffet

……………my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5

Ever since we came to the US, the places where we always eat are the eat-all-you-can Chinese buffet restaurants.  After attending mass every Sundays, we go there. During birthday celebrations, we go there. After a walk with some friends, we go there. And why not, you pay a minimal charge, lower compared with other fast food joints, yet you have a buffet of variety of food available for you to take.  Chicken, pork and beef – name it they have meat.  If you want seafood, they have shrimp, fish fillet and squid among others. They also won’t run out of veggies and fruits. Desert like cakes and ice cream flood the tables. And you can’t you miss the traditional Chinese cuisine. It’s all for you to eat. Even if I want to eat the most out of it, I can’t. The amount of food I can eat is not equal to the food they can serve or cook. At this buffet, food is limited not by what they can offer but by what I can eat.

God’s grace for his people is similar to this except we did not pay but Jesus paid for our charges. His grace overflows and abounds. His enormous blessings are offered for us on His table. And when we come to Him, we ask for more. We ask for further. We ask that His blessings to go beyond.

Yet we can only manage much. We can only be effective stewards with few or some. Why embrace what you can’t? Our cup can only handle much, otherwise it overflows. God is ever willing to give us His enormous grace and blessings, on the other hand, are we ready to handle more than we can handle? Faithful with less will be faithful with more.

In God’s buffet, the limitation is on how much we can receive and not how much God can give.

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Filipino Seeds

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Matthew 13:23

The parable tells us that the sower scattered seeds. The seeds were distributed among different kinds of ground. Same kind of seeds but different kind of grounds.

Filipinos are scattered all throughout the world.  From the east to the west and from the north to the south, you have a Filipino in place. They were scattered, as they say, because of finding greener pastures.

I believe it’s beyond that. God scattered Filipino seeds for a purpose. He brings them to different places; to different soils to bear fruit.

Last Sunday, our family went to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Flocks crowd the shrine coming from different states and different races. I told my wife about maybe fifty percent of the shrine pilgrims were Filipinos. More than having to say “Kumusta po kayo?” about tens of times in that day, I sensed the gift of faith we have as Filipinos given by God. Filipinos of different age levels, maybe with different work backgrounds, coming from different provinces in the Philippines, walk in faith where God scattered them.  They pray the rosary, they come in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, they line up for confession and they come with family and friends. Filipinos bring what they have from the Philippines, it’s not their skills and it’s not their hospitality, it’s their faith. One tent for the day is the International Office where they displayed country flags acknowledged for their devotion. We may cite our proudest moments in our history as a nation but seeing the Philippine flag shown among other flags gave me an insight – scattered Filipino seeds bear fruits.

divine-mercy-2009-028

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Slow of Heart to Believe

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Luke 24:25

I remember my mother told me my name is Edwin B. Cano, I quickly believed.

I remember when my parents told me I have seven siblings but not equally as cute as I am, I quickly believed.

I remember when my parents told me their names, Elena and Eleuterio, I quickly believed.

I remember when the legendary elementary science teacher Rosalinda Cordero provided lessons on how the butterfly comes to be, I quickly believed.

I remember when Professor Ruby Henson proved the value of sine of 45 degrees, I quickly believed.

I remember when Prof. Henson discussed the Pythagorean Theorem, I quickly believed.

I remember when my economics professor spoke about supply-demand balance, I quickly believed.

I remember when the great Hilario Lulu gave us a lecture on electromagnetic fields rotating in three-axis, I quickly believed.

I remember when my ex-girlfriend, she is my wife for ten years now, told me I am good looking, I quickly believed.

I remember when I heard a catholic preacher speaking about how God loves me and how God forgives me for my sins, ooooops….. let me think……I was slow to believe.

Get that?

Why do we quickly believe simple or complex facts but not what we heard and read about God? What do we have in our hearts that allow us to have some time before we believe in what God can do or what God will do? And when the discussion is all about God, why do we have all sorts of questions? Simple answer – we are foolish.

He was born in a manger. He walked the earth. He healed. He tiptoed on water. He multiplied bread and fishes. He suffered mockery. He died. He is risen. Everything works for good for those who love God – Romans 8:28.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God – Romans 8:39.  He will complete the work began in us – Philippians 1:6.

Be wise. God give us the wisdom to quickly believe. God change our hearts to quickly believe.

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Rolled Back

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. Mark 16:3-4

His death on the cross defeated sin. His resurrection defeated death. The stone is rolled back.

Our lives have wandered from the ways of God.  We have plundered the freedom He has given. We have received much from Him but we have given less to Him. We have chosen and live for the night rather than the day. We have showered ourselves with ourselves. We tend to pretend we are on the right route but coupled to the wrong roots.  We have separated ourselves from the One who is always by our side.  We have rolled away from Him.

He is still constant as our lifestyle varies. He is still after us as we walk away. He still thinks of us as we have forgotten Him. He still longs for us as we run short.  The faultless One consistently loves the flawed ones. He rolled towards us.

And when we are hopeless, He comes with hope. And when we are lifeless, He comes to give abundant life. We see the sun arise, yet we can’t come into the light thus the Light came to us. His illumination overcame the darkness of sin and death. He died and rose, we live and believe.

His death on the cross defeated sin. His resurrection defeated death. Our lives are rolled back.

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