To honor God in my writings

I Love Clash of Clan

​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.

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.

​My dad just passed away August 5 afternoon, at the age of 79 (1937).
Last month, he was admitted in the hospital for feeling weak – low sodium, runs out of breath when going up a flight of stairs. His creatinine was high, there was water retention in his body and in his lungs. After a few days, 2d echo results came out. His heart pumping strength was down to 16% from 70% (April). Doctor immediately recommended a proactive approach – dialysis, andiogram, andioplasty. The other option was the passive one which we just wait for his time. We opted for the first one. 
3 sessions of Dialysis was good, andiogram was done. There was a blockage in the left main artery. The crossroad was given to us – by the book it should be a bypass procedure but for his age, a lot of complication might arise after. Second is andioplasty but with a 50/50 gamble. Success will mean he will live, fail then it is the end. Third, we wait for his time. Very, very tough choice.
We decided to stop with andiogram, get second opinion. He was not just ready to die that day… he was expecting to live after andioplasty, not come out as a corpse. For us, his eternity was uncertain. 
Dialysis sessions continued, his appetite was back – drinking softdrink or juice, eating sandwiches, which he hasn’t done for a very long time because of his high creatinine levels, which makes him vomit and reduces appetite to zero. All he eats is quaker and congee… so this is a good sign… Doctors gave him clearance to go home if no procedure is to be done… He just went back for dialysis sessions. We started giving him nutritional supplements to nourish his body. But his heart grew weaker and his body too.
After the andiogram, we kept on sharing the gospel to him everyday. We called chinese friends to share with him. I tried my best to translate verses in English to Chinese.  I told him:

– the story of Lazarus and Jesus (John 11). Lazarus died because Jesus delayed going to him. In verse 25, Jesus told Martha “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. Anyone who believes in me will LIVE, even after he dying…”

– John 14:2-3 ” My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

– John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

– John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins BUT after 3 days he rose again from the dead…
All he needed to do was say a prayer from the heart that goes something like this – Our heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sins. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me. I need you in my life, come into my heart. I accept you to be my Lord and my Savior. Amen.
A simple prayer and yet so profound when said from a heart of faith. John 1:12 says “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD.”
 I told him how I was thankful for him: for being the provider of the family, for mentoring us in the sales field, going along side us, helping us find new customers in Mindanao. I told him, I can not give you money, or travel, or food, but all I can give is what I have – this life is temporal, but eternity is found in Jesus alone. After that, I prayed with him. That was the last time I saw him as I left for the business trip, not knowing it was our last. No regrets when all is said and done.
I just wanted to acknowledge my brother Bobby for all the sacrifices that he has done being with dad at the hospital. You’re the best care-taker ever. My dad commended him being alert, for waking up in the middle of the night to help him when he will go to the toilet, escorting him to prevent a fall. God bless you brother.
My dad, though he was not perfect, was generous, helpful, wise in counsel, wonderful father, and a great fun and playful Grandpa. Thank you God for your grace in his life. A wonderful 79 years here in this world. I hope to see you in heaven as I was told you received Jesus in your heart the other day.

GOD BLESS.

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.

1 City, 1 Nation

I was reading through the book of Psalms and I saw the prayer of distress of the author – they are left deserted, humiliated, ridiculed, and scorned. The oppressors have taken over their cities, conquered their nation, and destroyed their precious temple, where God is enthroned. They were waiting for God’s salvation to come. Has God forsaken them? Is God sleeping?

All the grievous and terrible things that happened to them was as God declared through His prophets – Sin will be punished. Wickedness will reap its wages and that is destruction and death. God is just, He cannot leave the guilty unpunished.

In the midst of all these horrific circumstances are the righteous, God-fearing people, who has their faith in God. It seems that God is distant, that God has abandoned them. He would not hear their prayers or hear their cries. The righteous suffered with the wicked for it is 1 city. It is 1 nation.

When evil prevails, the righteous can not stand and do nothing. The righteous can not keep silent because it is 1 city and 1 nation. The righteous has to act NOW!  We can not let evil and wickedness prevail. We can not let corruption and injustice be the way of life. We have to rise up and make a difference!

UNITE GODLY PEOPLE! Forge your bond and strength. Stand as 1 people for our city, for our nation. We will change our families, our communities, our nation for God’s glory. Let His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let justice reign, help the poor and needy, reach out to the orphans and the fatherless. If we do not act then we will reap the wrath of God in our cities, just as Israel was destroyed because of the wicked and idolatrous people. We will suffer if we are passive and indifferent within the communities we live in. Fight the corrupt system of governance. Expose it and let reforms be made in each branch of government. We can not just accept it and say “That is how it is.” Those system must STOP and it can when we STEP-UP.

God is our King, He is our fortress and strong tower. We will not be shaken, we will not be moved because God is our strong foundation. He is with us. We will bring heaven to earth when we live our lives according to His principles. Sacrifices has to be made. Do not wait until it is too late. The time to act is NOW! Make the difference! 1 City, 1 Nation. God bless you all.

Good Mourning

In a business trip in Iloilo, i had a customer whose son died of a gun accident 2 months ago (Suicide is not sure because the magazine of the gun was not there so there was only a bullet in the chamber that caused his death.) There was an eery feeling, I didn’t want to visit their store because of this.  Going around the city, looking at the time, there was nothing left to do but to go and pay them a visit. Reluctantly, i went.

Smiling, I went in the store greeted the siblings who were busy selling and preparing things, went to the cash register at the end of the room where aunt (we call clients uncle and aunt) was sitting. The store was busy even at around 4pm. I sat there on a high chair to let the busyness subside a little so we can talk. A little exchange of conversations transpired, they brought me soda to drink as usual. There was a feeling of sadness, sorrow, and pain in the room. Aunt was counting money for deposit to the bank, as she was almost finish counting, her tears started to fall and she started to sob. I didn’t know what to say but just to sit there and let her grieve and let it out. In the midst of this, phones were still ringing, inquiries and business still going about. One of her daughter came near to give her a pat on the shoulder.

When she settled down, I offered to pray for her. I don’t know what to say but i started praying in chinese then in english because i don’t know the other translation of the words and how to say it in chinese. Anyway, I prayed for God’s comfort, peace, healing to be with her, for His presence to fill and satisfy her sorrow and pain. I assured her that God was near and knows about all that she is going through. I prayed for God’s love to overflow her.

When my prayer ended, she started to pray in straight chinese: lifting up her son to him, the problem and bottled emotions that went on in his heart – the secrecy, the question about evil in the world, the oppression of the weak. She prayed for the family that was left, how they should cherish one another and spend time with each other while they still can. She was in deep anguish as she prayed through. I held her hand as she prayed… I continued to ask God’s Holy Spirit to come and fill her, draw near to her, let His healing flow. “We surrender all these sorrow and pain onto Jesus’ feet. May your comfort and peace come.” I prayed for protection with her mind from the lies of the enemies and negative thought that would come and may God’s love fill her once more. Then we ended, she thanked me for praying with her. After a few more minutes of chat, I said my goodbye and left.

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

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…

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