To honor God in my writings

Cute Kitten playing

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In the center of Pasig city is situated the CCF Museum. It is a 7-story high, all-glass building, spanning an area of 1 hectare. Many schools go and have a wonderful fun-filled learning field trip there. One day, Daniel and his friends and family went there as well. Everyone was so excited to see and interact with all the gigantic dinosaur statues.

Closing time came and all the people inside were in a hurry to go home. In the midst of the commotion, his parents assumed that Daniel was riding with his friends. So they drove off with his other younger siblings. Daniel was left behind because he was so engrossed with the real life statues of the dinosaurs. As the clock strike midnight, all the dinosaurs came to life! He scrambled to the auditorium. Suddenly, a horde of triceratops crashed into the entrance. BOOM!!! He called 911 and after 5 minutes, the local police entered the scene with small firearms. They shot, but the bullets just ricochet. This made the dinosaurs furious, it tossed them, crushed them, and eventually, devoured some of them.

Some who escaped desperately called for backup, the S.W.A.T. team. After a while, the S.W.A.T. Team, armed with hi-tech weapons and full body armor, came smashing through the glass windows and rapidly tried to contain the situation. Tanks rammed in the ground floor and blasting on the thick armored triceratops.

In a corner, Daniel was watching the fight astonished! Beside him was an Egyptian casket with a glowing tablet. Because he was knowledgeable with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, which his dad made him study diligently, he was able to decode it and the dinosaurs became statues again. The police and the SWAT team were all so exhausted of all the fighting. They looked and saw Daniel, holding the glowing tablet. They hurriedly went to him, pointing their guns at him, thinking that he was the mastermind to all these mysterious chaos.

However, after investigating and getting his statement, he was honored as a hero by the mayor and was given a medal of bravery and excellence in ancient language.

Lesson: study your lesson diligently, it will be useful to you someday.

Story by my son, Daniel, from a dream that he had a few years back; Edited and rewritten by Me.

My Redemption Journey

May 15, 1986 – My brother shared the gospel to me when I was 8 years old. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I accepted His death on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins. It started my new life in Christ. My brother encouraged me to join Sunday school, to read my bible starting with the gospel of John. As a baby Christian, God made Himself real to me as He answered my prayers and as I talked to Him… He answered my simple request of delaying rain from falling because I was in a tricycle. Since I was young when I became a Christian, my misconduct was not too many, I was a good boy until reaching puberty or early teen years when I fell into homosexuality. It was not that I didn’t have crush on a girl, I did even during those times. It was a series of “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again” and then falling back to the same sin over and over again. It was quite some time until God’s grace rescued me and turned my life around. I was able to break free from it.

In High School, I continued serving God, going to parks and sharing the 4 spiritual laws along with some others. My classmates even called me “Father” like a priest. My quiet time and devotion continued on. As I reached 3rd year, I became devotional chairman and was sharing God’s word in front of the class (maybe once a week or once a month??? I forgot.) As I was in College, I continued conversing with God even when on the LRT and walking home… it was a sweet friendship. But still my life wasn’t perfect, as I struggled with lust of the eyes, and at times falling to the sin of pornography.

Even up to now, new struggles emerges from time to time – lust of the eyes even adultery (as Jesus states it, even in looking at a woman with lust is already a sin of adultery and is the same with committing the act), reacting in anger… Don’t get me wrong… these are not a lifestyle of sin but a struggle that battles within, temptations that come and go… With these, I am constantly in need of Christ Forgiveness. I am constantly coming to the foot of the cross, surrendering my weakness to Jesus, and needing His blood to cleanse me from my sins. I am never worthy to be called His child. I am never worthy to serve Him. BUT HE LOVES ME, and that is what REDEMPTION is all about… I am a serious sinner and yet God has showed me MERCY, He has shown me that His faithfulness is new every morning. He does not count my sin and iniquity against me but as far as the east is from the west so has He taken my sins away from me… promising to remember it no more, and not to use it against me… With this, what can I say? What can I do? He deserves to have my full allegiance. My life is not my own because He has bought it with His precious blood. I am His slave, I am His servant. Yet, He did not treat me as such… By His grace, He has changed my dirty clothes to white, He has purified me and put His righteousness on me, He has invited me to dine in His banqueting table… He has called me to be His son… He has called me to be His friend… The amazing grace of God! The amazing love of God! What can I say except to thank Him and surrender my life to Him. I pray that he may continue to keep my ways pure and blameless as I walk with Him that I may be able to live to glorify His name, to this generation and to the next!

In Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith,

Donny G.

V-day, so what?

Valentines Day – I’m not a fan of this occasion. My wife doesn’t like flowers. She considers it a waste of money as it is expensive and withers in just a few days. However, as I reflected on my own selfish love – the desire of just “get, get, get” and all about me, I decided to not be selfish for this time and show appreciation to my wife by giving her flowers and buying her a gift. I set my plan in motion 2 days before V-day.

I made an alibi that I needed to go to the office that day, so I can be alone and buy these stuff. However, I was tasked to bring my son and daughter to the doctor’s clinic as it is near the office. We went and then dropped by the office to do some things. Afterwards, we hurriedly drove to the flower shop to buy flowers. Not 1 dozen red roses because it was expensive, so I settled for the minimum – 3pcs. This was so that my wife wouldn’t be bothered by the high cost of it and tell me it’s a waste of money. We then proceeded to the mall to buy my wife’s gift. My 12 year old son was also excited and helped me with the choices.

By 12 noon, she was already texting where we were since we’re supposed to have lunch at home. We arrived after awhile and I gave her the flowers and the gift, gave her a hug and a kiss.

What I didn’t know was the effect of this gesture to my children. How would they see a husband loving their wife if I don’t demonstrate it. I decided to ask my daughter about it and she said “I am happy because I can see that you love mommy.” i asked her again, “Why? Don’t I love mommy, if I don’t give her these things?” She replied “You still do.” It was just more visual for them, more tangible rather then abstract.

Cassie Carsten said husband needs to provide emotional security at home and this is done by husband loving his wife, the children’s mother. Celebrating her, cherishing her, appreciating her, and loving her in words and deeds. This is a profound example by which our children learn to love their spouses in the future. A simple gesture and yet has a profound impact through modeling.

#TWNAF-AFatherProvidesEmotionalSecurity

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)

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

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