Living life for your own sake is futile. But a life lived in service for others and honoring God brings fulfillment, joy, and eternal rewards.
Matthew 15:21-28 tells about a Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. I just realized that this passage demonstrate a mother’s persistence and sacrificial love.
The mother showed persistence even when she was initially ignored and a nuisance to the surrounding, being scandalous (v23), which is so embarrassing. That is how we parents feel when our children does a tantrum in public. Afterwards, she was noticed only to be rejected (v24 “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel”). Laying all pride aside, she knelt down before Jesus, begging him again. She replied in humility and desperation (v25-27 “Lord, help me! … Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”) Finally, her request was granted by Jesus (v28 “Woman, you have great faith! You’re request is granted.”) Her daughter was free from the suffering inflicted by the evil spirit.
What amazing sacrificial love that mothers have for their children. They do everything in their power to meet the needs of the family. Relinquishing their own comfort, they go out of their way to aid, guide, rescue, provide, and serve for the good of all.
My third baby isn’t easy to feed. So for me, I quit on her and I leave her hungry. But not my wife, she patiently take her time, delaying her list of things to do and feeds her. She does it time and time again, day in and day out. So imagine if both of us have my characteristic then our children would die of hunger. Thank God, He has given us mothers, who nurtures and care for the family.
As I always hear in parenting seminars, mothers are most important with kids aged 0-7years old. That’s why my wife gave up her work and went full-time 9years ago. It was a tough decision to make but God provided and she is still productive in many areas like helping in social organizations as we also homeschool our kids, in the church, and so on. So moms, if you really can afford to give it up and stay with the kids, I strongly urge you to do it. It is the best thing you can invest in and it will impact the next generation too.
To my amazing wife, to my wonderful mom, and to all the mothers – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Where will we be without you. May God bless you more with strength for the days to come. Praise God for your persistence and sacrificial love for your family.
1. Lower expectation, higher appreciation
I am easily disappointed when my children makes mistakes or makes a mess, when they are irresponsible with tasks given to them. It makes me wonder if my expectations are just too high for a 6 and a 10 year old. My normal tendencies is to give a sermon that goes on and on, repeating again and again. They end up getting frustrated and exasperated.
The same principle applies with our spouses, we often nag them for the things that they fail to do or their short comings, focusing on the negative. But what is helpful is to count our blessings. Do not focus on what we don’t have but on what we do have. Appreciate our kids and spouse more rather than criticize them for their short comings and misgivings.
2. Resist the urge to lecture NOW.
From my earlier example, as we all know, lecturing during or after the crisis doesn’t work. So it is wiser to take note of the issue at hand and address it at a later time. I so need to work on this.
3. Teach principles in a creative way.
When things cool down, aside from just talking to them directly, we can do artwork to get the point across, have an object lesson or a story telling session. We must adapt our teaching to the learning style of our children. My son is a visual learner, so what can you expect him to learn from hearing my 5-point sermon.
As we are called to be intentional, we have to plan how to communicate the principles to our kids, patiently and gently. I often get frustrated when they don’t learn it the first time around. Having a project about the character we want them to learn will be more effective like singing bible verses, watching cartoons with such lessons. However, it will really take time to mold a character. So we need to take it 1 at a time. As they say, more than 3 criticisms breaks the spirit, it is too much to bear. So APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE; PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.
God bless y’all.
I love playing Clash Of Clans. It is a very dynamic strategy game. First, You have to put your mind into it. How? You have to educate yourself, watch YouTube and learn from the best. Adapting new warfare strategies and base layout is a constant endeavor. The moment you stop adapting is the time you become obsolete and ineffective. Timing, efficiency, and optimization of upgrades are also something to ponder on. You can’t just upgrade anything you want and achieve productivity and excellence. Your mind keeps on thinking what to do next, when will the upgrade end and what resources do I need to be collecting so my builders and laboratories won’t be idle.
Second aspect is time and strength. You have to constantly go on farming for resources, also known as looting or “stealing” from the weaker villages. Some are so addicted to it that it disrupts your sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night because the upgrades will be done by then. Exercising will be at the bottom of your priority since playing keeps you busy and requires constant work and attention.
The third aspect is Heart. In pursuit of victory and excellence, to earning a lot of resources and helping your clanmates win clanwars – you give it your all. You devote yourself to it – Analyzing battle strategies, guiding and teaching them how to be more efficient in their farming and attacking. It evolves to a passion that consumes you.
This is the greatest commandment – to love with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. However, it was given not to gaming, nor business, nor work. It was directed to a person and that is God. I don’t know if you can relate with me but the PASSION, the LOVE that we put on to our gaming, whatever game it is, should be the same PASSION AND LOVE that we must give God. Actually, it should be to God alone. We cannot serve both God and Gaming, either you will be devoted to one and despise the other. I mentioned this is in my other article that I have realized I have sinned Idolatry against Him because of gaming. COC has become my life pursuit, my priority, my passion, the virtual in place of the tangible, the digital in place of reality and even eternity. It is really difficult to admit it but may God’s Holy Spirit be the one to enlighten you, free you from the bondage of addiction, and from the sin of idolatry. God invites you to come to Him. He loves you and welcomes you with arms open wide. He wants you to humble yourself and confess your sins to Him and He will forgive you through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay for our sin and to bring us redemption and reconciliation to God, our Father. He will give you purpose and an abundant life when you surrender your life to Him. Wake up to the people around you, love your family, restore broken relationships, help the people in your community. Use your skills and talents to bless others. Fulfill your God-given calling and purpose. Do not work for things that will not last but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Again, the greatest commandment – to LOVE the LORD, your God, with ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND, AND STRENGTH. God bless you.
We live our lives not just to earn money and enjoy life for ourselves and our family. But in the midst of it, we live life to serve and bless others. Above all, to glorify God by fulfilling His purpose in our lives – tell people about Jesus and make Christ-Committed Followers who will make Christ-Committed Followers.
January 7, I’m in Cebu on a business trip, so I attended worship service at Ccf (Christ Commision Fellowship). They sang the song EVERYDAY by Hillsong with this lyrics:
Everyday, Lord, I’ll Learn to stand upon Your word
And I pray that I, I might come to know You more
That You would guide me in every single step I take,
that everyday I can be Your light unto the world
Everyday, it’s You I live for
Everyday, I’ll follow after You
Everyday, I’ll walk with You, my Lord
God used this song to speak to my heart, followed by a video message by Marty Ocaya, a youth pastor for Elevate (ministry for high school and college), about ABIDING IN HIM and His Love. It has been 1 year since I have fallen to idolatry. What is my idol? It is very difficult to admit and realize – I LOVE CLASH OF CLAN. I have justified that I am not addicted to it because I still finish my responsibilities at home, in the office, in my trip, and even in the ministry. I only play it when I’m free like when I’m alone on a trip waiting, and every chance that I get, so I say. Edric’s son is wiser than me when he told his dad that he didn’t want to play a game because he can’t stop thinking about it.
I love the game because it appeals to my analytical mind, the strategy development, the optimization of upgrades, the craving for victory. I devoted time to study it in youtube, watching videos of how to do it properly and great strategies to attack and defend. I was parsing it down to teach my brothers who already played it longer than me. I really love to learn and teach and optimize how things should be.
However, there are draw backs and here’s the bitter reality:
– At night, I play the audio Bible to put my kids to sleep while I was playing the game. (About 30mins to an hour) No wonder i finished the Bible so fast last year. I even repeated Psalms and Proverbs several times.
– I am spiritually dead. I’m a dead branch. I don’t bear fruit for God anymore as i was not spending time with Him. Revelations 2:4 says “You have forsaken your first love.” I still do pray at times, involved in church activities, listen partially to the Bible. I even won on a Bible trivia last Christmas party. But I was merely going through the motions.
– I have become irritable and angry at home maybe due to the fact that I wanted to play but I can’t because I was hiding it from my wife and kids. I have relinquished my role as a dad and a husband because I enjoyed my ga”ME” time.
– I do not have any plans for the future because my mind is already so preoccupied with the things I need to do in the game. Hey, guess what??? I know how to plan after all.
– A controversial point would be, is there a spiritual forces that was keeping me in bondage??? Nobody can prove it, but I believe it so. I thank the people who were praying for me. I thank God’s grace, His mercy, and His patience to me. He didn’t give up on me. Message after message (from Edric to Peter Jr, bro. Jimmy), He was speaking to me. I knew what i needed to do but I didn’t want to, as I said, I was justifying it. So I still didn’t delete it.
Last week at the INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP CONFERENCE, pastor Peter mentioned about stewardship – We are not the owners of our time, not even our SPARE TIME AND SPARE MONEY. Finally, I surrendered my heart back to God. I confessed my sin of idolatry – loving COC with all my heart, mind, and strength. I have decided to delete the game once and for all and never install it again. A foolish thing to even start with. Once more, I pray that I will ABIDE IN CHRIST (from our series last year in Jesus unboxed, the Gospel of John – https://youtu.be/kwaECcI6lNA ) . Great year to start a fresh, renewing the soul, the mind, and the body. To God be the glory.
Sunday service was about Luke 18, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. For the first time in my life, God revealed my heart to me – I am a Pharisee. Subconsciously, I am self-righteous and critical of others. I do not have the heart of compassion for people. It is true that I want to help people get better but LOVE was missing. I have been doing rituals for the past years but my heart was far from God.
I have fallen in the sin of idolatry to my game, coc. I have loved it with all of my heart, mind, and strength. I have pursued intimacy with it. I have neglected my family and God because of it. But by God’s AMAZING GRACE and His LOVE and MERCY, His patience and constant gentle proding, He has reached my heart and I finally obeyed His call. A call to delete it and return to Him, to my first love. Oh, how awesome and great is His Love for me, a sinner, a wretched man that I am… He has forgiven my transgressions and my iniquities. He has restored me into His loving arms once more and I just can’t stop but be grateful, as tears of pain and joy roles down my cheeks as I sing my praise to Him. Glory and Honor be to my God, amen.