Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy holidays--minus the Christmas decors and festivities

by Al Sabado

Many years ago, I visited a home around this season and wondered why a family of believers did not decorate their house with Christmas decors. As a young believer, the pagan origin of Christmas was unknown to me and so, just like the others, I contended that the season was rightfully celebrated to remember God's gift: our salvation through Jesus Christ. However, I later realized that if paganism is the origin of Christmas, then that is never God's way for us to remember His free gift of salvation.

Many oppose, if not ignore, this notion and so despite their awareness of God's Word and gift of salvation, they continue to celebrate not just Christmas but also other traditions (e.g., birthdays, Valentine's, etc.) of pagan origin. But such a response is nothing new.

We can read from God's Word:
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:5-9)
This Biblical account tells us how people can value traditions more than they do the commandment of God, who tells us:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
Celebrating Christmas, birthdays, and other traditions of men are the patterns of this world. God's Word is clear in saying,
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Obeying God may be unpopular. But God's Word says: ". . . We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

Repotting my mom's orchids that have been stuck in the pots for decades can be arduous. But the process is necessary so that orchids can breathe, grow new roots, and bloom once again--minus the excess of old roots, stems, and leaves.

As a believer, I've also started to remove the excess of my faith since the time I left a physical church. Not many people like the idea. But I've been set free indeed! I've shredded the journals I wrote and kept since 1995--nearly a hundred notebooks filled with my thoughts, combined with God's Word. When I die, I would rather leave behind God's Word--minus my thoughts--to my loved ones.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mama, my dearest teacher and friend

By Al Sabado

Born in 1930, my mom was clueless she'd marry a farmer. My dad, the farmer, was clueless he'd marry a Tondo girl. Today I remember this Tondo girl, my mom.

My parents, the lovely couple who lived their lifetime together as newlyweds.

How do you cook fried garlic rice without it sticking on the frying pan? Mama’s way was classic. She’d use a rice ladle (not her hands) to mush the rice, which she’d do after the heated pan emitted thin smoke from the cooking oil and the chopped garlic browned a little. Garlic rice was Mama’s favorite and our breakfast was never perfect without it.

How do you respond when friends don’t pay your money back? Oh, Mama’s way was never lacking in class. I didn’t see her get mad toward friends who borrowed money and didn't remember to pay back. Mama was just quiet about it, probably because she knew countless ways how to earn money decently. She wouldn’t borrow money from friends but worked hard for the money she earned. She learned the hard way back the time my adorable Aunt Dely (Fugoso) would raise her up during her youth. So in her lifetime, Mama worked as a school teacher. She worked as a topnotch government employee at the Bureau of Customs, where she stood her ground to keep her integrity! (We’re so glad she left the Bureau!) Following her government service, she joined Papa (then farmer turned engineer) in Papua New Guinea and worked as a cake baker and sewer. Back then, she’d bake wedding cakes and sew wedding dresses for the entire wedding entourage. She’d also sew curtains for the parliament of PNG.

How do you raise your kids when you’ve done all you could and the kids are still half as bad? I can't compute a fraction of that equation, really. We’re a brood of five and we’re not that bad. At least none of us used prohibited drugs or stole money or killed a neighbor, nothing of those sorts. But if you’re a parent, you’ll understand it’s never easy raising kids. One is tough enough; imagine dealing with five! 

We're what Mama called the STAAG, which stood for our first name initials: Sol, Teya, Alex, Al, and Grace. Mama would bake us cakes, with or without special occasion. This photo was on my (7th) birthday, which I no longer celebrate not because I'm 42, but because "uncelebrating" birthdays is best. ;) 

So Mama would scold us—this time she wasn’t quiet!—and told us, “Sana mag-asawa na kayong lahat para maranasan n’yo ang hirap ng buhay!” I have no better translation for that, literally and figuratively. But what Mama was just telling us was that we ought to marry so we’d understand how hard life is. My two older siblings married, while the three of us have remained single (hooray!). I still get to understand how hard life is though—just look around!

How do you know you’re dying? Mama didn’t know that. She was a strong woman. She’s like the 711 store that operated 24/7. And so her ways taught me that boredom is a mistake to be included in the vocabulary. She’d enjoy doing work, paid or otherwise. So she’d always find something to do. But I didn’t know either that her life would be cut short. I only knew I’d terribly miss her, now that she’s gone for 18 years . . .

If you still have your mother with you, love her dearly—every day.

. . . forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. (Proverbs 6:20-21)

Mama left behind this garden. I'm still figuring out how to make all her orchids bloom. So for now, ladies and gentlemen, Mama's bromeliads.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Is same-sex marriage the will of God? No, it’s not and it'll never be.

by Al Sabado

I love my LGBT friends, and while I’m aware of their sexual orientation, I refrain from calling them bakla (gay), because I know that will offend them somehow. But I admit . . . I fear for them.

The God of the Holy Bible is sovereign, and He never changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). And so even if the world approves of someone’s marriage to anyone of the same gender, that doesn’t make a personal choice right or Biblical. The pastors or priests officiating same-sex marriages don’t make such choice right either, and God’s eternal judgment will come upon them, just as God’s Word has said of pastors leading His flock astray:
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)
What has God said about His creation? Was there an account of “Adam and Steve” or “Jane and Jill” marrying? None. Corruptible Bible translations may revise God’s Word to be gender neutral, but that doesn’t change the beautiful, unparalleled, Biblical account of Adam and Eve:
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-25 )
Others might have distorted the friendship of Jonathan and David into homosexual relationship, when their friendship was bound in pure, brotherly love (1 Samuel 18). How does God see homosexuality and its practices? God’s Word is clear in saying,
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22) 
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
We can also note how God did not withhold His wrath from destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose men lay with fellow men:
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. (Genesis 19:4-7)
From the words of Lot, we can tell that men knowing (having sex with) fellow men has been an abomination (sin) ever since in the eyes of God. That’s a Biblical account, which stands to this day. But some professing Christian men and women of this generation even defend homosexuality and its sexual practices as acceptable and not abominable. You may search on that online and you’ll be surprised to find out that a number of so-called Christians hold fearless views about homosexuality and its practices. But regardless how boldly they hold their views, God’s judgment upon them will come to pass, according to the unchanging Word of God.

So if you’ve decided to marry (or you’ve already done so) your lover, whose gender is the same as yours, think again. The world may applaud your decision to come out in the open concerning your sexual preferences and embrace same-sex marriage. But the world won’t be there to defend you and your choice before God—come Judgment Day.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
If some people won’t inherit God’s kingdom, which is in heaven, then where will they go? I need not say it perhaps, but I’ll say it like how they say it in the movies: They’ll “go to hell.” Is hell real? Surprisingly, some professing Bible believers say there is no hell. Googling the number of times hell is mentioned in the Holy Bible will show us that the word “hell” appears 54 times in the Bible, with about 23 times of that found in the New Testament alone. What does God’s Word say about hell?
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (Psalm 9:17)
How do we get saved? Salvation is free and nothing in what we do or don’t do will save us. We get saved by God’s grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
But understand that we still don’t get saved until we make a choice. We get saved when we repent of our sins* and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
. . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)
and none other: not even saints, priests, pastors, churches, congregations, good works, global peace plans, worldwide organizational interventions, etcetera—but the Lord Jesus Christ . . . ALONE.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
When I first saw this big snail crawling in our garden, I thought she would consume our plants. Later I noticed that our dog Shatzie would quietly sit beside her. Since then, I started greeting her every time, "Hello, Snail Friend."

I appreciate the courage of people coming out into the open, but I can only remember them
in prayer: May God open their eyes and change their hearts, so that they repent and turn away from sin, fear God, and obey His Word.

*Italicized text added on 9-4-14.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Let no one deceive you . . .

by Al Sabado

Can we trust the media? I'm not sure about that anymore. Are you?

We read and hear how world leaders readily accuse and blame who and what--without solid evidences to support their claim.

We'll read and hear more about that in the days to come . . .

Meanwhile, let's not be troubled.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:6-7)
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. (Mark 13:7-10)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Celebrating Tax Day: "Duh ... celebrate on your own."

Al Sabado

Well, guess what, I did just that yesterday.

After a two-hour wait at the bank to pay my March 2014 percentage tax due on the 20th, I headed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue-Regional District Office 045 of Marikina City. That was nearly 1:00 p.m.

Taxpayer #635 on queue. I just spent a long time waiting at the bank and so I was thinking of a less stressful way to endure another long wait, being the 635th taxpayer on queue at BIR-RDO 045. But definitely, with 265 taxpayers after me, I was left with no reason to complain. Besides, it's my fault to be there, when I could have filed that piece of paper (I mean, three copies of that) earlier.

With a "negative" taxable income, I already filed my 2013 income tax return much earlier, in the lovely Wednesday morning of 12 March 2014 at BIR-RDO 045. The tax filing that day was swift! No waiting. No queue. No hassle. "Done. Yay!" ... So I thought.

Few weeks later, I realized I forgot to file my quarterly tax for the months of January to March, also due today, 15 April, same day as the due date for filing the ITR. So there I was yesterday, concretizing my oath echoed by the BIR slogan: "I love the Philippines. I pay my taxes right."

BIR-RDO 045 was crowded, as expected. The background pop music and the free drinking water made the time worthwhile for taxpayers who awaited their numbers to be called. 

Since the number called was just around 200 something, I thought it best to go window shopping and so found an establishment nearby called Wilcon Depot. Now, bear with me; I probably am the typical modern-day cavewoman freelancer who hasn't been to malls as frequent as the normal kid in town does. But when I do, I make sure I find one that's never close to wasting time. Well, you can call this a free ad--yep, not earning commission here.

Googleable. Wilcon Depot is, I would say, one of Marikina City's best haven of finely accentuated fixtures and amenities for the home and business facilities. From toilet bowls, bath tubs, showers to the sophisticated details of wall decors--you can find them there. I had fun looking around the vast warehouse store and to think I'd been passing by the store even without taking a look at what's inside! Now that I've seen what's inside Wilcon Depot, I'm one of those who now say, "Don't miss it" when you pass by the area (along Marcos Highway in Marikina City). Yes, you may google that.

After an hour or so marvelling at the intricacies of the store, I thought about food--of course. So I left the store and started to look for--uh, Kenny Rogers Roasters was in mind. But the chicken resto isn't in the area, probably not just yet. So I found--jadaaan--Shakey's Pizza. I was hesitant to enter this resto because I once found Shakey's food too salty. Good thing, that wasn't the case yesterday.

With my first Bible, a 25-year-old KJV, I took my time to finish this hearty meal: a single Super Platter Pasta. It's not my usual to eat in a resto, but thought it appropriate to celebrate this way my fifth year as a freelancer-taxpayer. Note that the glass of milk isn't part of Shakey's menu; I ordered it for a similar price of their Super Shakes Choco regular. Why? Well, you're hearing from someone who might be a candidate for osteoporosis. So let's just say prevention is better than cure. 

Degrade, upgrade. When I returned to BIR-RDO 045, the number called was just 320+. So I strolled again and found, to my surprise, a similar object of my film essay (my subject was the keyword "degrade") at the university a few years ago--SM City-Masinag. My objective for shooting an SM mall back then was to convey how an arable land, like what we have in the Philippines, is degraded every time it's transformed into a commercial area within the metropolis. That concern may not matter to big affluent men, I know. But to small men, whose meager income emanate from agricultural land, it certainly does.

On another note, I've bought products sold only at SM, with freebies received for points earned after using an SM Advantage card for every purchase. But yesterday, I purchased an item not covered by this card. At the price of 50% off, I didn't have second thoughts purchasing the last copy (in that National Bookstore branch) of UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, Binagong Edisyon by Virgilio S. Almario. The first edition of the dictionary was released in 2001.

My treasured Tagalog dictionary wasn't spared from the floods of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). So when I came across this Second Editon of Diksiyonaryong Filipino in 2010, priced at around Php2,000 (roughly US$45), I dreamed about it. With a tight budget to consider, I just let it pass. Not so yesterday, when it only cost Php650 (roughly US$15).

Around this time, the number called was 450+. Reading through Virgilio Almario's "Paliwanag para sa Ikalawang Edisyon" (Clarification for the Second Edition) in the prelim pages of Diksiyonaryong Filipino kept me company.

More tolerable than facing tax evasion raps. People endured the long wait when they could just pack up and go home. It must be always easier to just pack up and go in any life situation. But sometimes choosing the easy way out isn't the best if not the right choice. If taxpayers yesterday didn't wait and then failed to return the next day, they'd be fined for not filing taxes (even without income) and that would be another gruesome process to endure.

This is not to say though that paying taxes is such a wasteful time. Not so. What's making the process gruesome, at least in my case, is my late filing of requirements. Had I not forgotten, I wouldn't have to go through a nearly distressing process. But wow, what a distressing process I have just had! That may not happen again, but I won't exchange all that for the usual swiftness you and I probably know. Honestly, I quite enjoyed the unplanned time I spent at the warehouse store, at the pizza resto, at the bookstore, even my time with taxpayers who squarely determined to accomplish what's right in the eyes of man and God: paying/filing income tax.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Peter 2:13-14)

Un-celebrating birthdays, a liberating experience

by Al Sabado

Just because I don't greet people "Happy birthday" (along with "Merry Christmas," "Happy New Year," "Happy Valentine's," "Happy Mother's Day," "Happy Father's Day," "Happy Anniversary," etc.) doesn't mean I don't care. I don't even celebrate mine. :) Why? It began the time I realized the practice (along with the others I mentioned) came from pagan roots, not from the example of the Lord Jesus. Only two instances in the Bible refer to birthday celebration and both pertain to death, not birth. God's Word says,

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (Galatians 4:9-11)

So today I asked, "Who in the Bible celebrated birthdays?" The apostles? There seems to be no account of that. Moses? Nah. Abraham? Neither. The Lord Jesus? Negative.

We can find Bible references to birthday celebration in two instances: one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. The first instance occurred during the time of Joseph, when Pharaoh made a feast on his birthday, an occasion where he ordered the hanging of his chief baker (Genesis 40:20-22, Old Testament). The second instance occurred during the time of King Herod, the man who, on his birthday celebration, ordered the beheading of John the Baptist, the prophet who was to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus (Luke 3:4, New Testament).

Notice such celebrations were occasions for death, not life--quite the contrary to the time when the Lord Jesus was born.

Different sources online tell us that celebrating birthdays isn't wrong. Fine. But--let's answer a not-so-uncommon question, "Why celebrate birthdays?"

"To celebrate our birth?"

OK. But not sold on that idea.

"Uh ... to give thanks to God for giving us life?"

Mmm ... doesn't that sound like the first answer?

Next question, how would you feel if your loved ones forget or fail to greet you on your birthday?

"Damn, I'd feel really bad."

Really? And why is that so?

"Gee, that's MY special day!"

There you go. It's YOUR special day.

So let's go back to the first question, paraphrased this time: "Why do you celebrate your birthday?"

Answer, "It's MY special day."

You see, the me-my-mine mode of this world inflicts certain misery on an individual who, when forgotten, neglected, or not given due entitlement, feels terribly hurt. And that's the kind of hurt that is by nature self-inflicted. As a believer, that isn't something Christlike, don't you think?

Celebrating birthdays is the orientation of the feel-good world that tells you and me to "Love thy self."

For the believers, who may be among those still struggling to survive a discouraging world (whether or not we admit it), it's high time to get past that mode, to diminish instances that focus on self, to eradicate factors that unnecessarily hurt or offend self, to be strong for the times God calls us to do something--whatever that is.

Are you with me?

Strengthening one's character is also about thinking less of self. If you're thinking how that could be possible, un-celebrating birthdays is a way to do that. You become less offended, less sensitive (not easily hurt--uh, yeah, synonymous to the previous one), more inclined to be thoughtful of others (probably not yet but getting there)--throughout the year!

Not to be degenerate or sort of masochist here (just unorthodox), but un-celebrating birthdays is a tried and tested method that makes one stronger--not the type (quietly or loudly) seeking the favor of men, but God. And indeed as believers, may we be unlike them who "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

The author (right) with her sister Grace, kayaking 
in the hidden lagoon of Coron, Palawan.

See related readings on birthday celebration via Google search.

Updated: 25 September 2015

Friday, March 7, 2014

Is it right to use other people's official receipts to compute one's tax deductibles?

Al Sabado

No, it's not and it will never be right.

If you're a believer, will you do the same? Sadly, even some Christians practice it, without being bothered by their conscience.

Using other people's official receipts to compute another income earner's tax deductibles is a brazen way to cheat on taxes. People take this very lightly, but such dishonesty is a form of stealing from one's inland revenue.

The COA commissioner once said that it's not easy to teach people integrity. That's true. But at least, let's listen to this: Stop cheating, be honest, and be brave to do what's right in the eyes of God and man.

If you've decided to use other people's official receipts to compute your tax deductibles, take heed. The inland revenue bureau may not catch you, but God sees what you do. Fear Him (Luke 12:5).

Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A call to fellow believers: Let’s pay our taxes . . . faithfully

Al Sabado

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. (Luke 2:1-3)
Reading through Luke 2:1-3 tells us that paying taxes is nothing new. History tells us also that issues concerning paying taxes abound even to this day . . .

Few years ago, an accountant called me up and sought counsel regarding some delinquent client taxpayers who wanted their tax documents tampered (so they pay small taxes or none at all). I had no other words on the matter but for the accountant to do the right thing. Unfortunately, some delinquent client taxpayers in our discussion involved so-called Christians who read and supposedly practice God’s Word.

This morning, I again had conversation on taxation matters after the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue has released what I call powerful, yet appropriate ads on paying taxes. (The BIR ads are not insulting, as some say, but truthful.) The person I was talking with tried to justify the malpractice of some taxpayers by saying they can’t be blamed because the government isn’t honest about handling tax money anyway. That may be true but we can’t right a wrong by doing another wrong.

The conversation saddened me because the person I was talking with is supposed to be a fellow believer who is vocal about defrauding taxes if there was a way to do it for the regularly employed. (I don’t find it surprising anymore as such corrupt manner may already be the strong influence of attending an emergent church fearlessly compromising God’s Word. Any connection? No doubt about it.)

But God’s Word tells us to be faithful:
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:10-12)

Source: Know your taxes

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them"

by Al Sabado

Today, millions among my countrymen walk barefoot as they join the procession for the Black Nazarene, "a life-sized wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ carrying the cross" [1]. The traditional pahalik or kissing of the sculpture would normally create long lines of devotees who tirelessly await "their turn to kiss the foot of the image" [2]. Catholic devotees touch the sculpture and pray to it like it is indeed alive--when it is not. Despite the fact that the sculpture is a non-living thing, many devotees speak of the miracles it has brought to their lives.


Question--isn't the Black Nazarene an example of a graven image? And doesn't God forbid us from bowing before any graven image, which is an idol in Hebrew [4]? Some might say, "We're just kissing it." Yes, but the significance of kissing the image among devotees is synonymous with bowing to it, isn't it?

My high school teacher even explained in class over two decades ago that images and photos of Jesus and Mary are only representations, not idols. But then, God's Word is clear as He has stated the First Commandment:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (Exodus 20:3-5)
Besides, the Lord Jesus was crucified just once and He was risen the third day He said He would rise again. That means we don't crucify Him every year because the events in His life happened only once. For the same reason, we don't put Him on a manger and call Him "baby Jesus" every December!

Oh, my people, the sculptures and god-saint images standing in our (Catholic) churches/homes, which many of us are praying to, are the very images God forbids us to possess. Let's not harden our hearts. Let's turn away from all these, lest God's wrath be upon us all . . .
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. (Psalms 115:4-8)


[1] Wikipedia, n.d., Black Nazarene,
[2] Manila Bulletin, 2014, Black Nazarene vigil starts,
[3] Photo from Wikipedia, n.d.,
[4] Got Questions, n.d., What is a graven image?

Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'...