To honor God in my writings

I DO, Cherish You

It was a blessed time yesterday at the Before and After I Do 2018 seminar. Despite hearing these topics for numerous times (at least 8 times). God broke me yesterday and showed me all my sins: #1 Pride (from the transparency and authenticity of the speakers, sharing their struggles and life testimonies), #2 He showed me how distant Maggie and I were and how far we have drifted apart. I was reminded of how she was my best friend and how she became an enemy (Topic on Communication). I was humbled by God and that night, I repented to my children, my wife, and especially to Him, with whom I have sinned the most. I had a wonderful intimate conversation with my wife that night. I have hidden my thoughts from her because I was afraid of being judged and conflict might arise. I admitted to her of how she was right all along and I just didn’t want to listen to her because of my pride and insecurities. I ended the conversation with a renewal of my marriage vow to her – “I promise to cherish, nurture, and love you as Christ love the church. You are the love of my life. ”

Today is a new beginning for us as a family. I accepted the fact that I have drifted away from intimacy with God and my wife because of gadget (games and social media), my insecurities, view differences, hurts, and so on. I chose to forgive and let go of the hurts (Topic 3), asked her for forgiveness: for being a lousy husband. I have not loved her as Christ loved the church, which is unconditionally and sacrificially (Topic #1). I was selfish, self-centered, and self-absorbed.

But in all this, I go back and thank God for the hope, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His steadfast love through Jesus Christ my Lord. Praise Him and glory to Him alone for the Nth chance that He has given me.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45 (NIV)

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Digital Multitasking

You are working on a project, when suddenly, “Ting!”, a viber message. You answer it and go back to what you’re doing. After a while, another interruption – an email notification, a text message, a phone call… You deal with it then resume your project. This is called Digital Multi-tasking.

A lot of people justify – “Multi-tasking, I can do it and I’m good at it.” However, Neuroscience has learned that our brain cannot multi-task. We only task switch. When we do this, it decreases our productivity by 40% and causes us to overlook and misinterpret crucial meaning and details (Nicholas Carr) . It also dampens the ability to be creative and even drops the IQ by 10 points according to the Institute of Psychiatry.

Daniel Levitin, the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal explains: “This multi-tasking and all this task switching depletes glucose in the brain, which causes us to get cloudy-headed and tired. We feel depleted because we’ve literally depleted these chemicals” In addition to that, Dopamine is also fired from the brain which makes us feel good and causes the addiction to it.

Another form of multi-tasking is Hyperlinks found on our webpages, ebooks, Kindle, etc. Nicholas Carr explains “Evaluating links and navigating a path through them involves mentally demanding problem-solving tasks that are extraneous to the act of reading itself. Deciphering hypertext substantially increases readers’ cognitive load and hence weakening their ability to comprehend and retain what they’re reading.”

So when we use our digital devices for reading, we must establish the discipline of not switching task. We can do this by turning off notifications or disabling wifi on our devices.

We should retrain ourselves to Uni-Tasking. Some practical suggestions are:
– not having devices during family time, nor in the bedroom
– do one subject or task at a time
– not listening to music while doing homework (except in doing visual art)
– silent and disable notifications during meetings
– put a do not disturb sign

#DigitalCocaine (Chapter 2) #DigitalMultitasking

I’m blessed to have gotten a copy of this book. I would like to share some of the things that I have read:

Dark side of technology

DST#1 – TNT
Together but NOT Together

All of us are in one room and yet everyone is busy connected to their own social circle, online. Their is no emotional connection and meaningful interaction.

Scene 1: Friends goes out together to play bowling. One of them bowls first, she scores a strike! She cheers and turns around to friends who are engaged in their mobile devices…

Scene 2: Everybody is having dinner and all of them are on their phones – dad’s on Netflix, mom’s on Facebook, brother is on Minecraft, sister is on YouTube, baby is on cartoons…

DST #2 Easy access to Pornography

Dr Jeffrey Satinover – “… Modern Science allows us to understand that the underlying nature of an addiction to pornography is chemically nearly identical to a heroin addiction: only the delivery system is different, and the sequence of steps… ”

One of the world’s largest porn sites, which receives 14.7b visitors in 2013… Reports that in the US, mobile phones are now the most common way that their online pornography is viewed.

If we are not careful with our phone use, it is an easy gateway to addiction. This is a serious warning specially to us parents who have teenagers.

DST#3 Facebook Addiction
Does this need more explanation? Get an app tracker that logs our cellphone usage, it will easily show us how many hours we are spending on social media such as messenger, viber, texts, and Facebook.

A cybersecurity and technology journalist, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai reveals – “as it turns out, receiving and answering a notification results in a hit of DOPAMINE, a chemical neurotransmitter associated with the motivation and reward response in the human brain. Dopamine is also released in high quantities when we consume drugs or have sex. Social media notifications can have the same addicitve effect.”

China, Taiwan, and South Korea have long accepted Internet Addiction Disorder as a psychological diagnosis. They have setup 200-300 counselling centers and hospitals that offers treatments. We have advertised that drugs are harmful but this is not true with digital technology – Facebook, gaming, texting, etc, are much socially acceptable even though they are just as chemically addicitve as hard drugs.

DST#4 Gaming Addiction

Caught in the Net: How to recognize Signs of Internet Addiciton author Dr Kimberly Young explains to WebMD.com – “Can a game truly be an addiction? Absolutely. It is a clinical impulse control disorder, in the same sense as compulsive gambling.”

Addiction is defined by the article as:
1. The person needs more and more of a substance or behaviour to keep him going.
2. If the person does not get more of the substance or behaviour, he becomes irritable and miserable.

Dr Young says compulsive gaming meets these criteria, and she has seen severe withdrawal symptoms in game addicts. “They become angry, violent, or depressed. If parents take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.”

By these definitions, I have to admit that I was a gaming addict with Clash Of Clans. I started with a few minutes, then progressed to hours upon hours. It has consumed my thoughts and energy as I studied to be a better player. My wife disapproved of it, so I played in secret in the bathroom and when I’m out. Because I can’t play openly and we’re homeschooling, I became easily irritated and angered by anything. My mind wanted more and more of it. Every victory and perfect attack I do makes me feel good. I quickly raised my level with effeciency and was becoming the advisor for our clan. “They need Me!” is my battle cry. They are complete strangers, except for my 2 brothers, who were already there before me (not to brag) but were playing below my level due to my diligent study in Youtube… When I’m alone in the province, I play till my hearts content, maybe 6-8 hours a day.

Looking back, this probably triggered my high blood pressure because of the constant excitement that I am in with all the actions and wars, the quest for victory and glory. With the researches in this book, I guess I can conclude that it was due to gaming. Thank God’s grace I was able to stop it after 2 years plus of playing. Side effects??? We’ll get to that part next time…

From the author – the goal is not to ban technology and go back to the Stone age but to raise awareness and to bring back the balance in life.

Steps to Freedom:

1. Admit

2. Repent

3. Turn to God’s grace through Jesus Christ. He offers us a new life and a new beginning. (1 John 1:9)

Stay tuned for more…

#DigitalCocaine (Chapter 1), #BradHuddleston, #iBalance

My wife worked at a big company, enjoyed a significantly high paying job. But because of her promise to God, she gave it up and opted to stay with our then 2year old son. We were afraid of the lifestyle change that will be coming with it. However, last 2008, she obeyed the call. We have seen God’s faithfulness and provisions for 10years now – The blessing of obedience.

I like to share how my Home-Maker wife help me in the finances even without an income.

1. SAVE
I am blessed with a wife who is excellent in handling our finances. True to her Ilocana lineage, she is very thrifty, even to the smallest detail. No Peso ever goes to waste.

We use credit card with Cash Rebate, every month she monitored it to the last centavo, allowing us to earn rebates of up to 12k a year.

She doesn’t keep on buying anything she wants. She thinks about them thoroughly. No impulse buying like me. I’m learning from her but still fail at times 🙂

Her simplicity in fashion saves me a lot of money. I think it is because she has found her significance and value in God rather than in external brand of clothing and accessories. I’m not saying that this its wrong. The Bible encourages us in 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Lessening our expensive purchases will significantly help in our family budget.

2. Buy STOCKS (literally)
She is always in a lookout for SALE. She invest our money in stocks, not the stock market but real stocks like detergents, diapers, which the baby needs a lot. So during the Lazada sale, she bought several boxes since we save more than 50% and it’s even cheaper than the groceries. Our money’s spending power grew by 50% or more.

3. BUDGET travel
A benefit of Homeschooling is, traveling during non-peak season. She look for budget airfare and cheap but nice and accessible accommodation (c/o Airbnb). There were times that she also uses credit card points and air miles that we have accumulated to get plane tickets. Therefore we are able to travel many days at more than half the cost of luxurious travel. The most important of all is it includes the whole family.

I’m really proud of her, an example of a Proverbs 31 woman. I thank God for giving me such a wife whom I do not deserve. I hope that her simple example of being a good steward can help inspire other families as well. As the saying goes – Behind a successful man, is a WOMAN.

Encountering God – QT

Quiet Time – One of the most important spiritual discipline of a Christian. Ptr Peter Tanchi tells us, you can’t have a buffet meal once a week and not eat your regular meals everyday. So it is with our spiritual lives, we can’t just attend worship service on Sunday and not indulge in the word of God from Monday to Saturday.

From my experience, not having my quiet time with God for several days shows tremendous impact. I become selfish, angry, easily annoyed, self-absorbed, and walking in the flesh, following it’s sinful desires. Quiet time is more than just reading or listening to the Bible. I can read my Bible and still not have my quiet time. I would like to share 5 things that I think can contribute to have a meaningful and great quiet time experience.

1. JOURNAL – Write down key verses that tells you about God, his character, his promises, his commands.
2. MEDITATE – Meditation is not having a blank mind but reading and re-reading the words of God and who He is from your journal.
3. INSIGHTS – write down the principles / teachings based on your interpretation or on what God tells you like God doesn’t say life is perfect and without problems but He is in control. Writing down wonders and miracles from your own life. (example from Psalm 105)
4. PRAYER –
a) Write your own prayer, confession, thanksgiving, adoration, that God puts in your heart.
b) pray for others.
5. WORSHIP – This can be done anytime, before, during, or after your Bible reading.

These are some of the things that I did to have a meaningful and great quiet time. No wonder 1 hour seems to pass by so fast and is even not enough. However, it is easily neglected because of our busy schedules and the hurly-burly of our hectic lives. I myself have fallen short many times but when I am able to do this, my soul just falls in awe at the wonder of God’s amazing love, His abounding grace and forgiveness that He continually pours out in my life. I cannot stop but sing praise to His name and worship Him, the True and Living God who deserves all the honor, glory, and praise.

I encourage you, try it and make it a habit. Surely your life will never remain the same. God will transform us from the inside out and He is eager to draw near those who seek Him with all their heart. He will be found by you and you will have an awesome encounter with God. God bless you all.

Millenials Revolution

Millenials 1980-2000, you are not the church of tomorrow. YOU ARE THE CHURCH OF TODAY. We owe you an apology when other generations, including mine, have labeled you – spoiled, entitled, uncommitted, and lazy. Please forgive us for this wrong that we have done to you.

In reality, you are looking for mentors/people who are AUTHENTIC – people that are open with their lives sharing not only their successes but their stupidity, mistakes, and failures. You are CAUSE ORIENTED – you desire to have a positive impact to the world even if it is a low paying job. You are PASSIONATE – addressing and correcting the problems that are inherited from past generation. You view the world with IDEALISM, a positive outlook, with hope of a better future. You have a BALANCED VIEW of ministry – you ask the right questions, and you can say that the issues of past generations were illogical and are no brainer problems. Example is the church history splitting over spiritual and physical ministry. Your view: there should be no split because Jesus did them both, we didn’t have to choose from them.

Just like King Josiah in the Bible, 2 Chronicles 34. He too is a millennial, when we look at his age during his service. God used him as a CATALYST for change and revival in their land. With God’s word in your hand, you can carry hope to this dying and lost world. God is the God of your generation. God is the God of Hope. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. God bless you.

Reference: Revolution – Seminar by Rev Phil Tuttle

How Do I Love Thee…

Do you love your wife? Or do you love your children? Yes, of course I love my wife! That’s why I married her in the first place. Of course I love my children. And so I thought…

At one point in my life, I wanted to be a doctor. Since it takes a very long time to be financially stable and to marry, I opted not to. I wanted to marry at a young age so that I can get what most men desire, sex. Because of this “expectation”, I have given my wife the power to make me happy and make me unhappy. I will treat my wife nicely, give her flowers, bring her on a date… For what purpose? That same purpose in mind. I do something for her so that I can get what I want or need. Don’t get me wrong, we need to treat our wives like queens of course. So as we explore my real motives – I DO NOT LOVE MY WIFE, I LOVE MYSELF. My love is selfish. I loved for me – to get.

As I learned this from the seminar, I broke down… I realized why I was so angry at home lately or most of the time because I love myself. I went home, I talked to my children one by one. With tears I said, “I’m sorry, I have been selfish… I loved myself that is why daddy has been so angry with you…” My daughter first, then my son. After they slept, then to my wife. I have given them the power to make me unhappy because of my selfish love, my unmet expectations. My expectations were high and so my disappointments and frustrations were many too and that made me irritated and annoyed with a single mistake they make.

In contrast to my love, God’s love is unconditional, uni-directional, and has no expectations. HE LOVES ME. HE LOVES YOU. He loves us no matter what. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He didn’t tell us to be good first before He would die for us. He didn’t die because we were righteous. He died because HE LOVE US, you and me. Despite of our past, despite of our sins, and despite of our failures, God’s love is unconditional. He doesn’t love you because you are talented. Your talents are nothing to him. He can make the rocks and the rivers do His bidding. There is nothing that I can do for God that will make Him love me less or love me more. His love is not based on our performance so we can relax in His love. Doing His will in our lives is important, but you can be rested as you do it because He tells you “I love you, my son.”, “I love you, my daughter.” Nothing you can do to make Him love you less because He has given you His Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us from sin and slavery. He has set us free to receive this love of His. GOD LOVES ME unconditionally. And that is how we must love: un-expecting, unconditional, uni-directional.

We cannot love like this apart from God. Do you want to have His kind of love? If you like to receive it, you can do so today. Just pray from the bottom of your heart something like this – God, thank you for your unconditional love for me, sacrificing Jesus to die on the cross to save me. Forgive me for all my sins. Thank you for your forgiveness. I need your love in my heart. Come Lord Jesus, be my master and my Savior. Help me be the person that you want me to be. Fill me with your love, so that I can love my family as you do. In Jesus name, amen.

Welcome to God’s family. May God’s peace, joy, and love rest in you and your family. For the rest of us, may God continue to fill us so that we may be able to love our wives and children selflessly, and serving them with joy. God bless.

#TheWorldNeedsAFather – A Father Provides Security part 1

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