To honor God in my writings

Posts tagged ‘idolatry’

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.

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.

Jeroboam 2

In Jeroboam’s life, we saw how he led the northern kingdom of Israel to idolatry. He made a bad decision in order to secure the kingdom for himself and did not put his faith on God’s promised blessing.

Despite of his mistake and disobedience, God gave him a second chance by sending a prophet with a powerful message (1 Kings 13:1-3) – He gave a prophecy about the future and the altar broke in half as the prophet said. But instead of falling prostrate to God’s power, he ordered for the arrest of the prophet which in turn displayed another miracle – his hand shriveled up.

At this, Jeroboam decided to plead for mercy and restoration which the prophet of God did and so his hand was restored.

Could this be the act that would call him to repentance and turn back to the Almighty God? Sadly, no. He still did not repent nor put his faith in God. He even tried to bribe the prophet by inviting him to his house and offering him a gift.

Could have the king forgotten about God’s promise or call to him because he was busy with his career? Again, no. In chapter 14 when his son became ill, he sent his wife to Ahijah, the prophet who prophesied about his kingship. So he knows and is again reminded of God’s call and God’s sovereignty in making him the king. He was given another chance to make the right choice. Yet, he did not heed God’s word or God’s mercy. He hardened his heart and continued with his idolatrous ways.

Chapter 13 ended with “Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways…This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall…” (verse 33, 34).

What are the things that we can learn from this episode?
1. REALIZE:
God is a God of second (and even n-th) chances. He is merciful. He is patient with us and He desires that no one perish but for everyone to come to repentance. God used bad circumstances to wake us up and call us back to him. We are reminded that when we are living in sin, God disciplines those whom He loves.

2. REPENT:
When we encounter God’s rebuke and mercy, let us not harden our hearts and continue on in our sin. Turn back to His loving arms and receive His forgiveness, accept his restoration and be made new again. Just as in the scenario of the prodigal son, returning with rugged clothes and dirty body.  He was received with open arms, restoration of sandals, robe, and ring. He was accepted, cleansed, and restored to his position as a son.

I appeal to you to stop hiding, stop running, and come back to God’s loving embrace. So you will be able to live with joy that overflows from within.

3. ABIDE:
Abide in Him. Start doing what is right. Obey His commands, follow his laws and decrees. Read His word and learn about them, His promises, and His will for you – A plan not to harm you but He desires to prosper you and bless you, and give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Thank you God for your mercies that never ends. Thank you for the unending love that you have for us. We praise you because you are the Almighty God and you are in control. Yet you take note of us, you care for us, and love us that you desire that we draw near to you.

Holy Spirit move in our hearts, soften it and make it tender again. Far be it from us that we harden our hearts and continue with our foolish ways. Convict us of our sins and help us to repent and break-free from the bondage of sin. Help us to desire to learn about You, your truths, your ways, and your promises.

We thank you for Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sins, rising again from the dead after 3days. It is through You that all things are made possible. We surrender our lives to You, make it whole and new again. In Jesus name, amen.