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Mother’s Sacrificial Love

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.

​How to reduce stress in the 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.

What is there with Computer Games and Men?

Men just love playing computer games. It doesn’t matter how old they are, young and old alike loves them. Why do men get hooked at playing computer games? I think it has to do with the hard-wiring of men psychologically. Games boosts our ego, raises our self-esteem, and gives us a sense of pride when we experience success and victory in the stages and levels we go through. It gives us the opportunity to use our brains to strategize, analyze, and execute the plans that we developed. The nice thing about it is, nobody judges us when we fail. We just try and try again. The challenges and competitions that are built-in it just appeals to our ego – to be number 1, to be the very best.

In reality, these qualities are the instincts of men. These are the very foundations which men use in daily life – looking for jobs, executing our careers, finding a girl, marrying a spouse. Everything revolves in these life skills – analyze, strategize, overcome challenges, competition, triumph, success, and achievement. Games has appealed to these skills that is why men are easily hooked, or should i say addicted to these games.

With these facts, i wish i could end on this high note but sadly to say I cannot. The downside of gaming is “IT JUST ISN’T REAL.” The digital world we live in, is not the reality that we perceive it to be. Being number 1 there doesn’t have a bearing in our “real” standing out here. It will be foolish for us when we trade the physical world for the digital world.

The disadvantages are as follows:
– For the youth, it will be in their skills/talent development.
– For the adults, it can be distraction from fulfilling their full potential.
– For married men, quality time with their wife and kids.

Because games take up our time, we can’t practice our sports or music skills. We are not able to use our creative skills in arts and literature. We cannot spend time with people and our families, with our wife and kids because we are busy in isolation, excelling in the digital realm. You can be the best at NBA but don’t even know how to catch a ball in real life. You’re a great sniper but don’t know how to fire a gun. Games has the deception of making us feel good but in really is nothing. Instead of spending time, reading story books, playing board games, playing imaginative role playing stories, leading devotions, modeling prayer, we become contented with everybody busy with their own technology – watching YouTube, doing Mine Craft. Recently, I am playing Clash of Clans and it allows me to converse with my son but what about? – the levels of the city, the warriors involved, and so on. We talk, yes, but is it deep conversation about spirituality, about deeper relationships, and important life issues? No! So i wouldn’t call that real conversation. It’s not even quality time. I may reason with myself that I’m still in control, I still get my responsibilities done, i still spend time with the kids, and even be in denial that I’m not addicted. I have it under control… Since my wife doesn’t want me to play, i play when she’s not around, and even play in the bathroom. It has become a secret, modeling lying to others. Despite of being allowed to play by your spouse, the concerns I mentioned earlier still is true.

I hope you can agree with my prayer and pray it from your heart.
Our Heavenly Father, I pray that you open my eyes to see that I am in bondage. Remove my desire and interest in these games. Let me be bored with it. Help me to know the truth about the use of my time, the talents you have given me, and the purpose of my life. Allow me to obey you radically. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may be set free and empowered to live a life of freedom and productivity. Our lives are yours, may it bring glory and honor to you. In Jesus name, amen.

What will be the best thing to do? Delete it and never open it again. Replace the old habit with new habits – spend time with your family and friends, enhance your skills, read books, engage in sports, and so on. If you have other ideas do let me know… God bless.

OFW

OFW (Overseas Foreign Workers) is the Philippines’ best asset. It bring in the buck and helps our economy. However, after attending the seminar, Pastor Cassie Carstens, founder of The World Needs A Father movement, this view was challenged. He has been dealing with South Africa’s problems for a very long time. They have found that the root of the problem was fatherlessness, which comprises 90%. He showed many statistics to prove the disastrous path of children having no fathers especially during the age of 6-11 and 18-21 years old. These age bracket called the Father Impact Years is very crucial.

Nationally, He suggested that the government should provide work for our countrymen so they don’t need to go abroad. Locally, he recommended families to SPEND LESS – “It is better to be poor and happy then rich but unhappy.”  Families need to cut and manage their expenses that will be within the income that they earn. It will be a choice between material things or the intangible things such as relationships, memories, laughter, and life stage experience.

For single parents, he suggested for them to find suitable male role models like uncles, neighbors, and godly mentors who can be involved and fill the place of the father.

In the long run, it will be a higher price to pay when the family unit is destroyed. The key character is to be contented with the simple things life has to offer then our families will be whole. Our God is a provider, He will meet our needs according to His riches and glory, for those who obeys His will. Aside from that, fathers will need to rise up for the challenge and embark on a journey to their soul. To be continued…

Fatherhood

I became a father 9 years ago. I’m blessed to have a son and a 5year old daughter. Initially, I had been very eager to attend seminars and read books to learn more about parenting. But as time went by, I became complacent and felt everything is well.

Last night, my wife and I talked about discipleship of people and the family… It was a really tough time. The truth is really uncomfortable and hurting to hear, accept, and process. What makes it difficult is knowing the problem and not knowing what to do and how to change.

I’ve tried different ministries in church.  I found myself drawn to teaching kids in Sunday School and enjoyed doing it. So when I am home, I continued to be a teacher. Since we are homeschooling, I teach my son history and science. I train him how to be orderly, responsible, and a good steward of possessions… I help him in his violin and drum lessons, even swimming lessons. I tell him his mistakes with how he bows, how he hold his sticks, how he should behave and act… From being happy, i became impatient to irritated to annoyed to grumpy to angry. It became a way of life. He doesn’t listen to my advice. “Didn’t i tell you so?” I often sigh in frustration.

After the conversation with my wife, I asked God to change me… But how? I surrendered to Him and a thought came to me. I am a mediocre in everything and yet I advice and teach him like a professional and expect him to be perfect. “Your children doesn’t need a teacher nor a coach nor a drill sergeant. WHAT THEY NEED IS A FATHER.” That was a profound thought. It shook me to the core. All the while, I thought I was being a dad to them by being there and teaching them everything they need to know about life. But the truth is, they won’t learn everything from me. As I asked, “How can I be a father to my children?”, I realized I didn’t have much of an experience having a father around.  My dad was always out of town. I have no idea how to be a good dad. The next day, I apologized to my son about being too hard on him and about not being a father to him. It’s the start of a new day.  With this new realization, i changed my gear from being a teacher to a father. 

I thank God for an upcoming seminar by Cassie Carstens – “The World Needs a Father” on October 27-29.  Amazing timing! I’m so excited to attend and learn from this 2 and a half day seminar at the CCF Center.  Admission is free with a ticket to Counterflow, a whole day parenting seminar for different family types, happening on Oct 24.  My prayer is “Lord, My cup is empty.  Fill me and renew me.  Teach me to be the father that you want me to be.”

God bless and hope to see you there, DADS.

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Fathering Flaws from Great Men of Faith 3

Eli served as a priest of Israel. He was the representative of the people to God. He had 2 sons, Hopni and Phinehas, who were also serving as priests. However, they were wicked and treated the sacrifices of the Lord with contempt (1 Samuel 2:12, 22).

We can see in their lives that when we serve God with the externals, all we have is religion. We can be doing things for God, doing ministry in the church, helping the poor, and yet live unholy and wicked lives. The Bible tells us: “they honor me with the lips and yet their hearts are far from me.” and Jesus said to the  people claiming to know him and serve him in his parable “I do not know you, away from me you evil doers.”

We can see from Eli’s life that religious leaders are not exempted from family problems and struggles. There are many pastor’s children and children from Christian homes that wander off from the faith and rebel against their parents. 1 Sam 2:24-25 tells us the action the Eli took when he heard the sins his sons were doing. He rebuked them and gave them a lecture. But his children didn’t listen.

Modeling is a strong teacher. There is a great urgency for us to take on the responsibility of training our children and instilling on them godly principles while they are young. For when they reach their teenage years, their values are internalized and they have their own minds. If we don’t have a close relationship with them then our influence on them will be a weak link. Their friends will easily persuade them with their values. Moreover, if they see us as hypocrites – teaching them principles that we do not abide by and we don’t practice, then they are more likely to move away from the values that we want them to adopt and apply. So modeling is of utmost important.

Eli’s children were taking the meat while the fat was still in it. They don’t want the fats to be burned because fat is delicious. but God as our creator knows what is best for us. From my point of view, i think Eli also had part of this because as the bible says he was fat. So if he corrects his son, they’ll say “Hey, you’re eating it too.” Ungodliness slowly crept in to their lives. First, contempt for the sacrifice then no more regard for God’s laws leading to wickedness and immorality just as stated in Romans 1. Instilling God’s word to our children’s hearts is valuable but it can easily become head knowledge or even a plain subject or vocation. What we need to achieve is for them to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We must show them that God is real in our everyday circumstances – praying and trusting in Him. Our faith and trust in God is displayed through our reactions and how we deal with our circumstances. Do we react in anger or in sweet surrender? In thanksgiving or in grumbling and complaining? In prayer or in anxiety and worries?

Amidst our imperfection, it is by God’s grace that our children will thrive. Let us continue to pray for them and for ourselves. Never stop learning and changing for the better. God’s Holy Spirit will help us change from the inside out as He is in the business of transforming people and making things new. He who began a good wok in you will be able to complete it (Phil 1:6)

Perspective on Anger

From the previous article, i shared about my anger with my son for his disobedience with a simple and easy command that i asked him to do.

2 Truth about Anger
1) Anger doesn’t make them Realize their mistakes
2) Anger doesn’t make them Resolve to do what’s right

Jam 1:20 (Esv)
20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Anger only aggravates the situation, and shifts the focus to a different thing. What are some constructive way to deal with the situation? Here are some suggestions: 3Rs
1) Reflect on their attitude and actions – we should stop what we’re asking them to do, whether studying, assignments, or a chore, and give them a time out. Let them go to a place so they can think and deal with their issues in the heart and then come back when their ready. With a  calm voice, we issue a command once, if they don’t follow – time out. So do not need to get angry before you give them a time out.

2) Reassure them of God’s and your unconditional love – when they come back from their time out and have regained a better perspective, we can now communicate with them how much we love them and how we want to develop their character – responsibility, diligence, and so on. Reassuring them that we love them no matter what. We love them not only when they get high grades or when they are well behaved. If God loved us like that then all of us will cease to exist since we’re so hard headed ourselves, stiff-necked as the Bible puts it.

3) Restore them to their true identity – criticisms whether constructive or destructive are hurtful and painful. Truth hurts. That is why we need to elevate them and encourage them to be all that God want them to be. We as parents want our kids to excel and achieve what God has purposed for their lives. First, we need to share God’s love to them through Jesus’ finished work on the cross so that they may receive forgiveness and adoption as sons of God. Secondly, as heirs of the promise, we need to teach them to act in a worthy manner of their calling. We can never be there with them 24/7, that is why we need to lift them up to God in prayer. Pray for their heart, their character, and their future. God is our partner in raising our kids up. We need to do our part in instilling His words in their hearts so that when they grow old , they will not depart from it.

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