One day, I was preaching about expressing our love more.
After the talk, two grey-haired gentlemen walked up to me.
The first man said, “Brother Bo, in all the years that I’ve been married, not once have I have ever told my wife that I loved her. I was never trained to be expressive.”
The other man added, “Bo, I don’t feel a need to say ‘I love you’ to my wife. What other proof does she need? I’m still here married to her, am I not? I guess I want my actions to speak more than my words.”
I studied the men in front of me. And I understood them.
Because I realized what epoch they came from. Let me give you an idea of how old they were: I was wondering if they were classmates of Jose Rizal or Emilio Aguinaldo.
They were as old as my father.
And that’s why I understood them.
Because I understood my father.
Dad’s Favorite Word
I loved my father.
And I know that he loved me so much.
Everyday, he would spend time with me. He filled my heart with love.
But he wasn’t perfect.
Like those two older men, I remember how Dad didn’t speak much.
His favorite word was a grunt.
He had this special grunt language that I learned to decipher through the years.
Here’s a typical conversation I had with him as a boy…
Little Bo: “Hi Dad!”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Blank stare.)
Little Bo: “Where’s Mom, Dad?”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Slightly jerks his head towards the kitchen.)
Little Bo: “Can we go to the toy store this Saturday?”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Shrugs his shoulders.)
Little Bo: “Will you buy me a Voltes V robot?”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Frowns.)
Little Bo: “Can you explain the theory of Relativity?”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Blank stare.)
Little Bo: “Wow Dad, everything makes sense to me now.”
Dad: “Mmm.” (Blank stare again.)
Did They Teach This in Fatherhood 101?
I think Filipino fathers of that generation were trained in this special “grunt” language. When they took up Fatherhood 101, they were taught how to be strong, aloof, and stoic as a grey wall.
Don’t get me wrong. I repeat: My Dad loved me. Very much.
But he just wasn’t good with his words.
In my entire life, I don’t remember my father telling me, “I love you”. Not once did he tell me, “I’m proud of you” or “I’m happy that you’re my son.”
Looking back, I wish he said these words to me. My spirit hungered to receive that blessing from him.
If you’re a parent, don’t hold back simply because you’ve never done it before.
You might be saying, “But Bo, my kids are now adults. I guess it’s too late.”
No, it’s not. It’s never too late.
You can pick up the phone and tell them how much they mean to you. Honor them and give them the blessing.
Remember: You’re the only one who can do it. You’re the only one who can give them this special blessing.
As a parent. As a spouse. As a friend.
I know this from personal experience…
In His Strange Way, He Honored Me
I was eighteen and already preaching.
But I was receiving so many invitations to preach, I was turning them down.
So one day, Dad scolded me. He said, “Bo, you have a gift to preach! I don’t have that gift. I wish I had it. But I don’t. You do. If I were you, I’d say yes to every single invitation. Because you need to use your gift. If you won’t use it, God may take it away from you!”
There was anger in his voice. But in the process, words of honor slipped out of his lips. In a tangential way, he was praising me. And my spirit was rejoicing. Though he didn’t say it, I got an inkling of how proud my father was for me. Those words meant so much to me, because I still remember them today—after 20+ years!
A Deep Desire In Every Human Heart
There I was, getting applause from everyone in the planet.
My audience admired me. People were praising me.
But all that wasn’t enough. Deep inside, I still wanted my own father to praise me. I wanted my Dad to honor me.
I believe that in every human heart is a deep need to be honored by one’s parents. All of us want to hear these words: “I’m proud and happy that you’re my child.”
Friend, honor your loved ones today with your words!
Don’t say, “Oh Bo, I’m too old to learn.”
Don’t be stuck in your old ways. For the sake of the children, you can change. Use your words to bless others.
Remember: When you honor a person with your words, you’re not just making that person feel good. Because words have power. God has imbued our words with immense creative power. Your words can create life. Your words can perform miracles. Your words can heal wounds. Your words can refresh the spirit.
But I know some people do the very opposite: They use they’re incredible power to curse.
You Have The Power To Bless Or Curse
One day, a woman came up to me and asked for prayers. She said a mangkukulam cursed her. She’s been sick for a year, suffering terrible pains in her body, but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her.
It was probably true. Because when our prayer team prayed for her, the healing was instant. She never suffered pains again.
Mangkukulams are feared by everyone. Because these witches have the power to kill or harm simply by cursing their enemies.
I’ve got news for you: You don’t have to be a mangkukulam to have this power. All of us have this power.
When Parents say, “Buwiset ka! Wala kang kuwentang anak! Ang tigas tigas ng ulo mo! Ang bobo mo!” (You’re worthless, You’re dumb), they’re cursing their kids. They’re prophesying doom to their children. They’re acting exactly like voodoo witches.
Yesterday, I was reading about J. Paul Getty. He was a billionaire. He owned 200+ companies. He was a total success in business but a total failure in family.
He was married five times and divorced five times. He had six sons. But he was so busy building his empire, he never really spent time with his children. He was also very critical.
For example, his son Paul Jr. would write letters to his father. The letters would come back with the spelling and grammatical errors corrected—but there was no reply from the father. Paul later became a heroin addict.
His other son, Gordon, dealt with his father only through the court, fighting over money.
His other son Ronald went into filmmaking, and his father ridiculed him.
Another son worked with the father in the family business. But he took his life, stabbing himself in the stomach and taking an overdose of pills.
In one sense, J. Paul Getty cursed his kids.
You too have the power to bless and curse people with the use of your words. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Let me share a very weird story from the Bible.
A Very Weird Story
Isaac had twin sons—Jacob and Esau.
When some Filipinos hear “Esau”, they automatically get hungry. (Focus on the story, please.)
Isaac and his wife Rebecca played favorites. With disastrous results. Daddy Isaac favored Esau while Mommy Rebecca favored Jacob. (Parents, don’t play favorites. The Esau-Jacob conflict continues to this day in the Middle East, about 3000+ years later!)
When Isaac was old and blind, he called his son Esau and said, “I’m going to die soon. I want to give you my blessing. Go and hunt a wild animal for me, cook it the way I want it and serve it to me. Then I’ll give you my blessing.”
But Rebecca was outside the tent, eavesdropping.
Quickly, she cooked a goat from their flocks. She then told Jacob to bring the meal to his father and pretend that he was Esau, so he could get the blessing.
Isaac, being blind, was fooled. He thought Jacob was Esau and gave him his blessing. He said, “May you have abundance, may the nations serve you, may all those who bless you be blessed, and may all those who curse you be cursed.”
When Jacob left, his brother Esau came in. Isaac was so surprised. And he said, “Sorry Esau, I gave the blessing to Jacob. I can’t take it back anymore.”
What Were These Guys Fighting For?
What’s weird? The brothers weren’t fighting for their father’s gold, or their father’s cattle, or their father’s land.
They were fighting for their father’s words.
They were fighting for an old man’s blessing.
Because in Bible thinking, words aren’t just meaningless sounds. Words aren’t just noise. Words have creative power. Words define our reality.
When I tell my son, “I’m so happy that you’re my son. I know you’ll be very successful in all areas of life and everything you touch will prosper,” I’m not only honoring my son, I’m also giving him a supernatural blessing.
When I tell my wife, “I love you. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” I’m not only honoring her, I’m also giving her a supernatural blessing.
Part of this supernatural blessing is a prophecy…
People Will Rise To The Level Of
What You Prophesy
You’re a prophet.
You can shape the destiny of your children, of your friends, of your loved ones by your words.
Here’s what I learned: People will rise to the level of what you prophesy. People will adjust to your prophecy.
Remember, if you don’t tell your kids who they are and what their destiny is, someone else will. The television will tell them. The internet will tell them. Bullies in school will tell them.
Don’t let that happen. Honor your kids!
This is the story of my life.
Once upon a time, I was 13 years old who was a poor student in school. I didn’t know what to do with my life.
But one day, this woman came up to me, prophesied to me and said, “Bo, you’ll receive the gift of wisdom. I believe in you. You’ll preach God’s Word to many people.” She then asked me to give a talk to our prayer group. She did it again and again.
From a nobody, I rose up to her prophecy.
“But Bo, My Parents Didn’t Honor Me!”
Perhaps your parents failed to give you the blessing.
Then here’s what you do.
Go to God and receive that blessing directly from Him.
When the Father introduced Jesus to the world, He said, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.” What was the Father doing? He was honoring and blessing the Son.
I believe God says these same words to you. “This is my child whom I am well pleased!”
You may have a difficult time swallowing that. “No Bo, I’m a big sinner. I’ve failed God. I’m sure He won’t say that about me.”
But that’s Grace. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your mistakes. He sees the goodness He created in you.
Last Thursday, I listened to Fr. Cantalamesa preach.
Who is he? Fr. Cantalamesa is the Retreat Master of the Pope. Whenever the Pope goes on retreat, he’s the guy who gives it. For 30 years, he’s been the Preacher to the Papal Household.
Fr. Cantalamesa said something that blew me away. He said he likes saying to God, “Father, look at me… and rejoice!”
Friend, God delights in you.
He doesn’t only love you, He rejoices over you. When God sees you, I believe He’s so happy, He sings, jumps, and dances for joy.
What Do You See In The People Around You?
Once upon a time, I was a “negative” spiritual leader.
My most predominant question was, “What is wrong with my flock?” I focused on their faults. I looked at their weaknesses. I’d say, “They lack commitment,” and “They’re so hard headed…”
So I preached fear, hoping that people will get scared enough to change their lives. I looked down at my listeners. I told them to shape up or else…
But one day, my leadership changed.
Because I changed.
I believe I changed when I became a father.
Because I learned that focusing on my children’s weaknesses only multiplied them. I learned to focus on their strengths, and by doing so, their strengths increased. The good news? Their strengths spontaneously pushed out their weaknesses!
So I became a “positive” spiritual leader.
Now, when I look at my flock, I ask, “What’s wonderful about them?” Today, I’m amazed at how committed, generous, and loving they are. I can’t ask for a better spiritual family!
Today, I preach love. I can’t help it. God has filled my heart with so much love, it overflows.
Let me tell you my last story …
You Are My Sunshine
I love this story so much.
One day, 3-year old Michael wished for a baby sister.
So when his mother got pregnant with a baby girl, the little tyke was delighted. Everyday, he’d rub his mother’s tummy and sing to his baby sister, You are my sunshine, You are my sunshine, You make me happy, when stars are grey…
But when the baby was born, there were complications. The baby was in critical condition.
Little Michael waited at home, wondering why his mother and his baby sister weren’t coming home yet.
A few days later, the doctor told the mother that the baby may not last long. The mother decided to bring Michael to the ICU and see his baby sister before she died.
She knew it was against the ICU rules, but she knew she had to do it. She brought in little Michael and let him stand beside his very sick baby sister.
That was when the Head Nurse saw Michael and shouted, “Children are not allowed here!”
But before they could pull him out of the room, little Michael sang to his baby sister, You are my sunshine, You are my sunshine. You make me happy, when stars are grey, You never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away…
Immediately, the baby grew calm. Her heart rate, which was abnormally fast, slowed down.
The Head Nurse noticed what was happening and said, “Little boy, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. Something is happening to the baby!”
Michael kept singing to his sister. And everyday, she got better. Until she got totally well.
Because little Michael used words of honor to bless his sister.
Friend, you too can heal others.
You have the power of God in your tongue.
Use your words to bless others.
May your dreams come true,
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