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Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category

​Foolishness Redeemed

Have you ever done something stupid, foolish, and very embarrassing? 
My family was blessed to be able to attend a family weekend retreat at Sto Tomas, Batangas, about 60kms from Manila. It was a fun time with the kids and great learning for us – husband and wife. We learned about Roles, Conflict Resolution, Communication, Forgiveness, and so on…

After the retreat, some friends were going to ride with us back to Manila, about 5 of them. So in order to make space in our car, my wife suggested that I put the stroller, which is bulky, in the car of one of our friend. What a great idea! I packed all the bags hurriedly and stuffed them in our friend’s car, along with our 2 older kids to ride with them. Amazing! And so I thought. Our car was spacious to accommodate our guests so they can be comfortable. My friend and kids went off earlier while we stayed for a few hours more, relaxing in the room waiting until it was time to go. What is it with men and listening? But that is a different topic altogether.

As I was on the way to the parking lot, a thought came to me – I HID MY CAR KEY IN THE BACKPACK. OH MY GOODNESS! This is the most stupid thing I have ever done so far, next to leaving the house key in our house, where we can’t get back in. Frantically,  I called my friend. They were back in Manila. How in the world can I get it back? I felt hopeless and in despair. Shocked and ashamed of my foolishness.  Finally, one of the staff suggested that there was a shuttle that was coming to our place but not for 4 more hours. But so be it. My wife bonded with her friends who were still there at the venue. She didn’t scold me this time. Thank God for her spiritual breakthrough. I suggested to her to extend for another night (Sunday) but it was expensive and I was leaving for a trip on Tuesday. So I highly encourage families to join this event next time – FAMILY BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND. Just be mindful of your car key. 😉

My friend and his wife decided to bring the key back to the place. He drove around 200kms just for me. WHAT A RARE AND TRUE FRIEND. He was a blessing. I was tired when I got back to Manila, how much more him, driving non-stop. I can’t thank him enough – Thank you Garrick and Karen for helping us: get my key back and taking care of the kids.

How can i ever get my key back? It was not impossible, there were several ways but it will take a long long time to be able to get back. And I didn’t know how to go back if ever I went to get it. “How can I get to heaven?” A question most people are concerned about. In this case, it is impossible for us to get there. Neither religion nor good works can take us there. But because of GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay for our sins and after 3 days, was raised back to life. I do not deserve it, a wretched sinner that I am. He did it so that I can receive forgiveness and adoption to His family. If this is your desire, you can pray to God from your heart something like this: “Dear God, thank you for your love for me. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross to pay for my sins. Please forgive me of all my sins. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. I surrender my life to you. In Jesus name, amen.” If you prayed that prayer, let me know. Welcome to the family of God! Your journey with a new life just began. Once I was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

God bless y’all.

The Greatest Commandment for Gamers

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.

Life’s Purpose in 10 seconds

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.

My Confession

​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.

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.

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

“The Christian Life is not difficult, it is impossible.” A statement i often hear from Pastor Peter Tan-Chi. And from the recent leadership conference speaker Pastor Edmund Chan saying “I CAN’T!” We cannot live the Christian life, especially not on our own strength. That is why we need the promised Holy Spirit. We are sealed by the Spirit when we put our faith in Jesus but it is another thing to be filled by the Holy Spirit day by day, moment by moment.

Paul commands us in Galatians 5:16 to walk in the Spirit so that we will not satisfy our sinful desires. A quick prayer of asking God to fill us moment by moment may help and is necessary in the situations of our lives. However, it may not be sufficient in itself. It goes hand in hand with a constant Quiet Time, one of the spiritual disciplines.

Being godly and spiritual cannot be established or attained by a busy, fast-paced, hectic life – running here and there, full of activities and programs, meetings, stress, and overtimes. We need to set aside time everyday to spend time with God, reading His words, praying, listening, worshipping, meditating on Him. This allows us to experience His presence and puts us in a place where He can fill us, mold us, and transform us from the inside out. This changes our perspective, our values, our priorities, and our behavior as stated by Ptr. Peter in his recent message.

Without reading God’s word, how can you know if a voice that you hear is of God or not, if an angel that appears to you is of the light or of the darkness. We believe in a speaking God but it comes to a lot of abuses these days. You can hear people claiming “God told them…” But it contradicts the Bible. Pastor Edmund shared a secret in listening to God in 3 words – “HE HAS SPOKEN!” The Bible is essential. Read it again and again, year after year. You’ll never hear a mature Christian saying i stopped reading the Bible because i already know it even in their later years in life. So knowing God’s will and hearing God’s voice starts here.

You can see my previous blog for more on Intimacy with God.

Mrs Potiphar

Luke 11:34 your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy,your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also will be full of darkness.

In Genesis 39, we can see the story of Joseph and Mrs Potiphar. Verse 7 says that she TOOK NOTICE of Joseph and made advances. She was very persistent (v10). She had her eyes on Joseph, a person whom she is not meant to have any relations with because she was already married. Her eyes sets her desires aflame and wanted to have an affair with a handsome man even if it was illegal.

Let’s take a look at another example in 2 Samuel 11, the affair of David and Bathsheba. Verse 2 says from the roof she SAW a woman bathing… His eyes ignited his heart with a desire for her. He inquired about her and even sent for her. As the story goes, she got pregnant and plans of cover up and murder followed.

In this modern world we live in, we are bombarded with billboards and ads of almost naked women. Women flaunting their sexy body parts with the belief of “if you got it, why not show it.” Pornography is everywhere in the web even in social media like Facebook, video site like YouTube, even search engines like Google, which we thought were safe. You can read my previous article for more on the effects of pornography.

As the verse in Luke says, our eye is the lamp of our body. If we are not careful with what we look at, sin will start growing in our hearts, arousing our desires, and soon we will fall into sin and actions that will lead to death. It is not a sudden occurrence but a slow downward spiral, which you wouldn’t even notice until it is too late. It is also known as the process of hardening of the heart.

Just like Joseph, we need to use evasive action – RUN. We need to run away from these temptations. Jesus said “if your right eye or hand causes you to sin, gouge it out, cut it off.” We need to take sin seriously in order to deal with it because when we play with fire, we will surely get burned.

Aside from physical avoidance, a more efficient approach is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to spend time with God, get strength from His presence and His word. We need to be conscious of God moment by moment.

In the past, I filled myself with pornography. It degraded my view of women, viewing them as objects to consume. Even my family life was affected. I easily burst into rage with my children and was often selfish in my thinking and desires, especially when it comes with my wife. Reading the bible became a ritual, and my spiritual walk with God was dry. My desires of listening to His direction and following Him dwindled. But thank God for His mercy that He doesn’t treat us as our sin deserved, His grace and love ever steadfast and unchanging, His arms always open to welcome me back and waiting for me to repent and turn away from my wickedness. As David said in his Psalms, blessed is he whose sins are not counted against him (Ps 32).
God gives us a fresh start, reminding us not to live in our past sins and mistakes, to move on and look ahead. As the song goes – forgetting what lies behind, setting our hearts on the price, laying down every sin that would seek to hinder us. Let us be faithful to our calling because He is faithful to finish the work that He began in us.
Another passage that God reminded me with is in Romans 6:11-13 “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies so that you obey its evil desires.
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master…” I had to stop reading my Bible and memorize those 3 verses and commit it to heart. I made several action points on how i can obey those verses and not give parts of my body to wickedness – my hand and my eyes.

As another new year starts, i practice avoiding looking at women that are wearing sexy clothes and I do not intentionally look for women to look at. Instead of using my cellphone to watch pornography, I play worship songs and listen to online messages. Most importantly, i turned my heart from being temporarily satisfied by sexual desires to being filled by the true Living Water, the only one who can satisfy the inner most longings, Jesus Christ. I pray for His Holy Spirit to fill me moment by moment, to totally surrender to Him my life and my all. I pray that you repent of your ways and turn to Him too. May God empower us to live in purity for His glory. God bless you all.

Tune in next time for more on being filled with the Holy Spirit.

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