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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Dark Side of Technology / Digital Cocaine

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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How my Homemaker Wife Helps with our Finances even without an Income

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.

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

The Symptoms of the Heart

I suffered from high blood pressure starting last March, ranging from 130/90 to 150/100. As i met people, I often hear them say “lifestyle change”. It became a bit annoying because the word itself was so ambiguous. However, the honest truth was that, I don’t want to change. EATING IS ENJOYING LIFE. As my dad says, If you don’t eat delicious bad food, you still die (Translated from Chinese). Truth really hurts. If you don’t accept it, you wouldn’t be able to go above it. Love for life and love for my family cried out within me, the will to survive – I have to overcome this for my family. I HAVE TO CHANGE!

What is this so called “lifestyle change”? The practical things I did were:

1. DIET – I removed sweets, junk food, fried foods, and food high in carbohydrates like pizza, pasta, adjusted rice (just ate 1/4 to 1/2 cup), ate more vegetables, and chicken or fish for protein.

2. REST and RELAX – slept early around 9:30 to 10pm. I noticed when I lack sleep, my blood pressure increases. Do not worry as the Bible says in Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Context 6:25-34) Who of us by worrying can solve the problem? God knows we need all these things. He is our provider so instead of worrying, PRAY to God, lift it up to Him.

3. Exercise – I joined my children in swimming and sometimes walking. But it has been awhile again that we haven’t done this.

4. SUPPLEMENTS – The easy way out to treat high blood pressure is to take medicine. Drink it, and everything is fine, so we can continue our old unhealthy eating habits. Thank God I was introduced to products that worked for me. It is a bit expensive because its networking items. But it was worth to try since I was desperate. 

5. LISTEN AND PRIORITIZE – I am a person who likes to get things done fast. I don’t want to leave things undone. And that can give me stress. It also gives me pressure when I think of what I need to finish because I’m rushing. But now, I have to listen to my body signal. If my body is sleepy and tired, I have to slow down and rest. If we keep on with the pressure, our bodies will fail us as our bodies age. In my trips, I often watch movies, even when i woke up early for the flight. Last time I did it, my bp went up 130/90 because of tiredness. So this time, instead of watching, I opted to go back to the hotel and rest. We need to prioritize. As the saying goes , health is wealth. 

Before i started taking these supplements, I had my blood test so that I can have a base line.  In a week or 2, my blood pressure started to normalize. After a month, I went to have my blood test again. My triglycerides, my VLDL, and cholesterol ratio all improved. From the networking product, my wife tried looking for cheaper products available in the market that had the same function but for a fraction of the price. After a month of trying it out, same good results – higher HDL, lower uric acid, others are normal except for the remaining cholesterol which is still high. However the cholesterol ratio is good. 

As a result, I started out with a weight of 175lbs, now I’m down to 158-160lbs. I still continue my diet, though have a little freedom to enjoy some treats, sometimes. 🙂 My blood pressure at home is 110/70 to 120/80. Praise God for His grace.

CHANGE is never easy. It comes from within. A lot of us desires change but we are unable to. We want to stop an addiction but we keep on going back to it. Why? Because by our own will power, change is impossible. We need to change from the inside out. How can we do that? The Bible says in Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” We have a sinful heart and we need a savior. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We need to go to God through Jesus. Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled with God. It was through His Death on the cross, and His Resurrection. Matthew 11:28 He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In Ezekiel 36:26 God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” And in the new testament, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” If we accept Jesus’ invitation to come to Him, to put our faith in Him, to surrender our lives to Him, because without Him we can do nothing. We can be sure that He will change us from the inside out and give us a heart that is new, a heart that will last for eternity.

If this is your desire then you can pray from your heart something like this: “Thank you God for sending your only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay for my sins. Forgive me for all my sins. I desire to change and I need a new heart that comes only from you. I accept you into my heart, be my Lord and Savior. Help me be all that you want me to be. In Jesus name, amen.”

If this is your first time to pray this and you know God did something in your life, let me know. Your wonderful journey has just begun. A new heart! Praise God.

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.

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