Crash into Me

 

Crash into Me lullaby

There was a point in my life when my dream, my only dream, was to become a rockstar.  I fell in love with Wency Cornejo of After Image and with Dave Matthews of DMB.

That phase is a goner.  Replaced by other wishes, in some instances, by mediocre decisions on what to do and where to go.

But today, I remember my teenage dream.  And I’m sharing a wonderful lullaby of Crash into Me.  May it also make your day!

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Stand in the Gap

Today I shared the Word in the church service and the topic given to me, by God, was Standing in the Gap.  The main text is found in Ezekiel 22: 30 that says, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have destroyed it, but I found none.”

Gaps or breaches are cracks that separate.  To stand in the gap is to expose one’s self for the protection of something or someone.  It is to make defense against any assailing danger, to take the place of a friend.  The requisite is WILLINGNESS to STAND in the GAP BEFORE OUR LORD.

It is a sad day when in the history of Israel when God looked for one person to declare against sin and to intercede to God on behalf of the people and He found none.  He did not see anyone, no one said, “I’d like to bargain on our behalf, Lord.”  It is all the more sad when the Lord said He looked for one person, I sought for one man, yet I found none.

Throughout history, God has been mercifully listening to brave men and women who intercede on behalf of the people.  It was sad in the account of Ezekiel because He found none.  But there were times, Praise the Lord, when He did.

Let us walk through the men and women in the Bible who stood in the gap:

MOSES stood in the gap in Exodus 32:10-14.  Moses stayed with the Lord in the mountain for a long time and the people got bored.  With Aaron’s consent, the people built idol made of calf.  The Lord got angry and He said “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people.  Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.” “BUT MOSES SOUGHT THE FAVOR OF THE LORD His GOD.”

MOSES said “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?  Why should the Egyptians say, ‘it was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains to wipe them off the face of the earth?’  Turn from your fierce anger, relent and do not bring disaster from your people.  Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”

In Psalm 106:23 Moses was affirmed, “so He said He would destroy them had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the gap before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them.”

In the same Psalm, another man stood in the gap.

PHINEHAS stood in the gap when the people despised the land given to them.  In Psalm 106: 28-31, it says, “They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they provoked the Lord to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked.  This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come (Numbers 25: 1-13).

Women of faith stood in the gap too.  They were ultimate mediators.

In 1 Samuel 25 a lady stood in the gap on behalf of her husband the good for nothing Nabal.  The story, to cut it short, is this.  David was running from Saul.  He was already anointed king by the prophet Samuel but there was still a king who had become unpleasant to the eyes of the Lord, Saul.  The king was chasing David and he went to Maon with his soldiers and stayed in the desert.  Nabal owned sheep near the desert and when it was sheep-shearing time, David asked his soldiers to request for food from Nabal.  After all, it was a festive time and Nabal did not lose any sheep because David’s army was more or less protecting him in the desert.

But what did Nabal do?  He refused David’s army and insulted him.  Surly and good for nothing talaga.  When David learned Nabal’s answer, he told his men to put on their swords for they will kill Nabal.  You might ask, is this just?  Well, yes it was during this time in the custom of Israel.  You see, David was protecting Nabal.  And his response to David seeking a favor from him, during a festival, was to insult him.  Surely, if I were David, I will be angry.

When a servant learned about David’s plan to kill Nabal, the servant reported to Abigail, Nabal’s wife.

ABIGAIL lost no time (1st Samuel 25: 18).  She took food, wine, sheep, cakes, etc and loaded them in donkeys.  She did not tell Nabal but she went out to meet David who was on his way to kill Nabal.  What did Abigail do and say?

When she saw David, ABIGAIL quickly got off her donkey and bowed down to David with her face on the ground.  She pleaded, “Lord, may the blame be on me alone.  May my Lord listen to me, pay no attention to Nabal.  He is like his name and his name is “fool” and as for me, I did not see the men my master sent.  Now since the Lord has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands…”

In verse 28 she asked David, “Please forgive your servant’s offense…  When the Lord has done to my master every good thing He has promised, concerning him and has appointed him as leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having to avenge himself.”

David told Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord who has sent you today to meet me.  May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day…”  In 10 days time, Nabal was struck by the Lord and died.

ESTHER stood in the gap on behalf of the Jews who were about to be killed because of the edict that was produced by an anti Jew official in the palace (Haman).  It says in Esther 5 that Queen Esther interceded to the king on behalf of the Jews.

In the New Testament, there were people too who stood in the gap.  PAUL, in one instance, asked Philemon to forgive and accept back Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway servant.  He told Philemon to charge Onesimus to his account.

But do you know who among the Bible characters made an ultimate intercession by standing in the gap?

JESUS stood in the gap.  He went down from heaven, carried our sins to the cross so that the Father will not cast judgment that is rightfully ours.

Look at yourself, carefully examine yourself, if God were to judge you today, will he bring you good tidings or will his Just Judgment would be to bring you to hell?  As for me, without God’s salvation and grace, I am certain that if I were to die today, I will not have a favorable judgment. Kasi nakakainis ang ugali ko.  I’m irritable when I’m hungry (eh I’m always hungry), patience is not my virtue.

Ikaw?

But the Lord Jesus crossed the breach between heaven and earth and made the ultimate sacrifice.  He became the lamb that was slain and so He became the great mediator.  As stated in 1 Timothy 5-6, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.”

Just like God the Father in the Old Testament who was looking for a person, someone to stand in the gap, Jesus looks for companions in the gap.  He is looking for men and women who will:

  • Launch out into the deep – Those who will soak themselves in the word of God and cast nets deep into the sea.  They are those who looked to Jesus and went further down the bay to go fish.  They immersed themselves in the word of God who told them to launch out into the deep.  Esther launched out into the deep, literally, when she fasted and prayed before she went to see the king.  Jesus had many travailing prayers before the day He faced His cross.
  •  Intercede – To stand in the gap is to intercede in prayer.  It is to plead to God for a soul, for healing, for grace, for salvation, for joy, and strength of another person, another life.  It is to beg God not to cast judgment on another life even if such a life is worthless (Nabal).  Abigail begged David not to kill Nabal.  Esther begged to king to spare the Jews.  Moses and Phinehas begged God to spare Israel, they pleaded for a nation.
  •  To go to missions, to do good works so people will know God and go to Jesus.  Standing in the gap is not only to intervene so that will not cast judgment.  It is also to CROSS the people across to the holiness of God.

Standing in the gap is difficult.  It is to belabor.  It is to risk yourself out there.

But you know what?  There are sure rewards for standing in the gap.  And it’s clearly written:

  • “But Phinehas stood and intervened and the plague was checked.  This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.”
  •  Abigail married David (you know how it is to be a widow back in the days, to be a widow and suddenly a handsome incoming king asks your hand in marriage, aba ay para syang nanalo sa lotto.  Mula sa frog prince to a handsome king in waiting ang napangasawa nya.
  •  Esther gained Haman’s property (Esther 8:7).  Pinayaman sya.

So stand in the gap.  Let us all stand in the breach so that others will be saved.  Let us join Christ who stood in the chasm for our sake.  When the Father looks at us, will He see us launched into the deep, interceding, doing missions, doing good works, pleading Him to not to bring judgment but to bring salvation?  Or will it be a sad day like in Ezekiel’s story when He looked for ONE PERSON, maski ISA LANG, and He found none?

Stand in the gap 🙂

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MRT Adventures 2

May mga nakalimutan akong isama sa unang MRT adventures kaya merong part 2.  Sabagay, sa dami ng mga nakakatawa, nakakainis, at nakakamangha sa MRT, pwede sigurong umabot sa 100 parts ang blogs ng MRT Adventures.

Sa kabila ng kasikipan ng tren, kayang kaya ng ibang kababaihan na mag make up sa loob.  Kaya ko rin namang mag lipstick ng walang salamin at minsan ay kaya ko ring mag blush-on maski nasa loob ng umaandar na sasakyan.  Pero ang ibang girls ay kayang mag foundation at mag concealer habang nasa MRT.  Kayang kaya rin nilang mag eyeliner sa kabila ng alog ng choochoo train.  Kalain mo, eyeliner!  Ako nga ang takot para sa kanila, baka bigla na lang silang mabulag.  Baka ikamatay pa nila ang paga eyeliner eh di sila na sana ang nasirang (ilagay ang pangalan dito).

Pagtapos makapag full make up ay nilalabas na nila ang kanilang mataas na shoes kasi kung ating mapapasin, naka tsinelas pala sila.  Yamang naka stockings na sila, one big fight na.

Masaklap pag punong puno ang tren at hindi makalabas ang mga babaeng napasiksik sa gitna.  Habang pahinto pa lang ang tren ay nage “excuse me” na silang palabas.  Tapos lumalakas ang kanilang “excuse mee” at “excuse meeeh” dahil sa kasikipan.   Pag nag teeeeet na ang pinto at nakailaw na ang dilaw sa door ay nawawalan na ng poise ang mga girls.  Sumisigaw na sila at nambabalya habang nagsasabi ng “EXCUUSEEE MEEEE!!!”  Pakiingatan na lang ang inyong buhok kasi may kakilala ako na sa hair nya kumapit yung isang muntik nang mapagsarhan ng tren.

Sa ngayon ay hindi na ito ganong ginagawa pero dati ang isang misteryo sa akin ay kung bakit sa bawat istasyon ay standard naman ang voice over o ang ina anunsyo ng driver, “approaching Ayala station, o approaching Buendia station, please take care of your belongings and watch out for the gap between the train and the station” pero pagdating sa Cubao ay ito ang madalas na sabihin, “approaching Cubao station, please take care of your belongings and watch out for the gap between the train and the station.  Mag-ingat na rin po sa mga mandurukot.  Cubao station, Cubao station.”

Hanggang sa part 3.

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Stranded

I don’t ask for grand things.  I don’t have a huge sense of entitlement. I don’t demand for many things just to make my life convenient.  And I don’t say these because I’m a card-carrying do-gooder.

I think these are not too much to ask:

I don’t want to walk on flooded waters.  I don’t like to be stranded for 6 hours.  I don’t want to see school children huddling with their parents under an umbrella somewhere in EDSA because passenger vehicles are too full.  It hurts my eyes to see them dripping in the rain near midnight.  I don’t want classes to be suspended when it’s no longer raining and the reason we are suspending them is because the students were so tired and so high with fever due to their previous day strain.

Surely these are not entitlements and luxuries.  Surely I have a reason to be frustrated.

Why did we not suspend classes earlier today?  The rain did not stop and judging by our roads’ capacity to absorb water, we could have already estimated that the continuous downpour even sans a storm signal is dangerous.  And so come rush hour and Manila is almost 8 million, the students were also going home and they were stranded just like the adults.  Why Dep Ed?  Why Mayors?  Why school principals and authorities?  Why?

Why can’t we have better weather forecasting?  For a country that’s raining for half of the year for at least 2011 years, why can’t we master the craft of predicting weather behavior?

Why can’t we have better roads?  Why do we keep repairing roads that can’t stand day-long downpour?

While enduring five hours of being stranded, I thought of several suggestions to make our country a better Philippines.  Some of these are ideas of genius friends who, like me, are so Philippine pedestrians.

First, I suggest that government officials enroll their children in public schools.  Even at least for a year.  In that way, they’d have key informants for social issues like what does the road fronting a public school look like under heavy rains.  Chances are it’s flooded.

Second, I suggest that public officials commute.  Even at least for one day a week.  In that manner, they will have crucial information on how hard it is to get a seat in the trains or the jeepneys especially during rush hour of a rainy day.

Having first hand information, I think key officials will squeeze their heads and be creative and come up with appropriate solutions.

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Correlations

All evening I was looking at graphs and charts it felt like graduate school.  Unhappily, I have to understand the inputs in small fonts, around midnight, through various accents, and via webcon.  Worse, where in school I’d just allow my mind to do its usual response to anything mathematical (it shuts down), I have to be attentive in this teleconference as I was seated beside The Boss.

It felt like seating beside the dean while doing Math 100 or Econ 102.

Various correlations were made in the presentations: climate to agricultural GDP, rainfall with pests, income with program A, agri yield with program B, name it, scientists could correlate it.

Sometime last week, in his usual academic inquisitiveness, Jun suggested that I note down the days when mass actions would occur outside of the Department of Agrarian Reform.  He was serious when he said the result might be useful (or at least interesting).  I laughed at his suggestion.

But this evening I figured correlations and tabulations could make me look mathematically intelligent.  So, why not?  I could do graphs too.  I could point out curves and outliers too.

However, instead of locating mass struggle patterns, I think it is more useful to look into the relation between road repairs at the QC Circle and other variables.  After all, road repairs (due to various reasons like Manila Water issues, graveling, cementing, flood control) at QC Circle have become more frequent than rallies.  Hence, I’d ask the question, “Under what conditions do road repairs happen?”  Specifically, do repairs relate to – –

Particular holidays? – Do they happen during red letter days like June 12 or Dec 25 or the CARP Anniv?

Specific days of the week? – Do repairs happen on M, T, W, Th, F, or the weekend?

Size of the moon? – Do repairs occur during full moon, half moon or perhaps during summer solstice?  If yes, why?

Showing of particular movies or start of telenovelas? – Do repairs coincide with, or possibly directly related to, the commencement of new shows like Amaya?

Specific distance of planet earth from the moon? – Malay natin?

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High School Reunion

Our batch had our first ever high school reunion. It had been 17 years since we last saw each other. Well, for others it was shorter for they continue to live or at least they lived longer in Sta. Ana, Manila than me. I went to college in UP Baguio and at that time when cellphones were a wave of the future, the moment we left our rented home and our telephone number behind, nobody was able to track my whereabouts.

But thanks to Internet in general and Facebook in particular, our reunion was held last Saturday in Makati. It had all the ingredients of what reunions ought to be like: happy shrieks and screams, long embraces, reminiscent songs, reunion shirts for everyone, photos, games, and a tear here and there. After all, we were quite close in high school even if ours was one of the biggest public schools in Manila.

I needed the quintessential “quite” as we were close then as classmates but “quite un-close” as batchmates. You see, public schools have a nasty segregation scheme based on standard “intelligence” parameters and this division based on “sections” is one big divide. Section one students (whether hidden as Section Einstein in 3rd year or Section Diamond in 4th year) were perceived as the best students. This is helped in no way by Section 1 students knowing and feeling the privilege of being crème de la crème.

Not only is high school separated between sections, it is also divided on other artificial walls like beauty, talent, and to an extent, financial capacity. The last one is probably the least of the divides as all of us are poor. It’s just a matter of who is poorer or poorest among all of us. To an extent, wealth or the lack of it only matters if it could make someone prettier because s/he has better uniform, school shoes, and school bags. So the only time poverty will be an issue is when it has implications on beauty.

But this reunion blurred the divide between sections. The committee that prepared the event was composed of people coming from different sections. And so it was able to reach out to as many batchmates as possible. Likewise, this reunion made a conscious effort to blur the wealth divide. The organizers, to their big credit, thought of asking all the attendees to use the same reunion shirt so that fashion would be a non-issue. The result did not just hide the well-off, it also contributed to a sense of unity and to better photo quality (choosing black, the shirt did not show our real state of fat).

Speaking of baby fats, it was funny to note that many, if not all of us, gained weight. Those who used to be slim and tight and fit now have bellies. Truly, time equalizes all of us. Those who have not seen me since high school commented on my trimmed down size. Classmates shriek, “pumayat ka” and “ang payat payat mo na” when they see me. This is often embarrassing as waiters would look to me and seem to ask, “Hah? Ano na lang sya dati?” I glared at the waiters and silenced my classmates.

It had been a short, sweet, and memorable reunion. It is nice to note that despite our lack and our challenges back then, batchmates, classmates, and schoolmates are better off now. Our batch artist is now a draftsman. A schoolmate who used to bully younger schoolmates now manages an aircon business. I have classmates who are now engineers, accountants, human resource heads, and who’s who in the world of sales.

Chances are, those with family now have better means to raise their children than we were in our time.

And we had one thing in common. We were products of the public school system with all its benefits and flaws. We were almost 50 in a class and there were around 18 sections in a batch. We were loaned books at the start of the school year and we needed to return the books, in good condition, at the end of the year. We cleaned our classrooms and corridors (sweeping, floorwaxing and scrubbing). We made do with fresh air and that small electric fan by the blackboard. We wore our school uniforms and school shoes until they were too tattered a new one (or a hand me down) was sorely needed. My Dad had a policy with my brother and I: we were not to buy new shoes during school year. We could only have new shoes when school started in June. Wear and tear simply needed to be repaired by good old rugby. When it can’t be remedied at home, then we had to go to the neighborhood sapatero.

But in spite of, if not because of, these difficulties, we’ve become better off. While a lot of factors surely contributed to this improvement, I am certain that our school – Mariano Marcos Memorial High School – had something to do with it.

And for that, I’d like to say thank you. To all the teachers, not just our teachers, but to all public school teachers who continue to teach young minds in public schools. Some of you were nasty then, but most were jewels. Our generation is wiser and wealthier because of heroes like you. May this new school year find you in peace, good health, and God’s grace. Salamat po.

And to my batchmates, classmates, I’m sure I can say, “kita kits!”

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MRT Adventures

Masyadong puno ang MRT kanina.  Yung bag nung babae ay nakadikit sa tagiliran ko.  Yung isang babae sa gilid ko, walang mahawakan kaya pa sway sway sya.  Pag malapit na syang mabuwal, kumakandirit sya at nakakaapak ng paa.  Pag ang motion ng tren ay papunta sa akin, pinapasan ko ang kalahati ng bigat nya.

At medyo may kabigatan sya ha.

Pero ang malupit sa lahat ay may babaeng natutulog.  Habang nakatayo at habang siksikan ang tren.  Tulog na tulog sya habang nakasabit ang ulo nya sa kanan nyang braso na nakakawit sa hawakan ng MRT.  Pag naaalimpungatan sya, nasisipa nya yung babaeng nakaupo sa harapan nya.  Magso sorry sya sabay matutulog muli.  In fairness, di naman umaangal yung nasisipa nya.  Nauunawaan nito na patas lang ang lahat ng commuter sa Pilipinas.

Sa gitna ng siksikan ay merong nagpabango.  Nag spray sya ng paikot habang nakataas ang leeg na parang commercial model ng pabango.  Dahil sa effort na yun ay napabanguhan nya ang lahat ng nasa 5-mile radius nya.

Tiningnan namin ang babae ng medyo matalim kasi amoy bulaklak ang cologne nya.

Ano kayang adventures ang maaabutan ko sa isang Linggo?

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