Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jesus is No Genie!

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genie
Do you tend to relegate Jesus to a genie? I admit to that
and it's wrong.
I was born in a Christian family, so I don't have any idea of what the Catholics feel if they complete the "Simbang Gabi" from December 16 to 24. But myths have it that if you make a "grand slam", then your wishes will be granted. However, I got inspired to do this article thanks to the latest installment of the Youtube series "Tales from the Friendzone". The latest webisode is about a girl who's in love with her bestfriend and wished that he would tell his feelings to her too. Looking for a sign, she completed the Simbang Gabi. Although she got what she wanted, the advice to her from the host Ramon Bautista is for me the key here. He said, "Grabe ka naman Cleverlyn (not the protagonist's real name)! Magsi-Simbang Gabi ka para humingi ka ng wish. GINAWA MO NAMANG GENIE SI JESUS."

Emphasizing on the sentence in all caps, it's a reality we're in right now. Even I am guilty of this. We sometimes relegate the Lord Jesus Christ to a wish-granter. I even remember what my pastor once said, "We tend to fit our big God to a small box." Let us remember that Jesus is definitely not a genie. He's our Lord, our Master. If He's a genie, he would grant all our wishes, even those that He doesn't like to be granted. That's where His Lordship comes. He knows what everyone REALLY needs. He sometimes says no to some of our prayers because He has a better thing in mind for you.

About Simbang Gabi, it's OK if you have a prayer request, or in this case a "wish", but Ramon is right about it. Simbang Gabi is not really meant to grant wishes. It's a channel to give thanks to the Lord for what He did to you the entire year. With even the Protestants like us also having our own Simbang Gabi, I make sure that I will be there to listen to what God has to say for the Yuletide.

In the end, Jesus is everything we want Him to be. He is the Almighty God, and He can do everything. But all He asks for us is to let Him take the driver's seat. Let's put Him at the center of our lives and we should not try to turn Him to a mere somebody. Let His bigness consume us, and you will experience something awesome. Merry Christmas again!

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)-For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is for Us!

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Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is God's ultimate gift to us.
Although Pastor Robert Hern of Victory Pioneer was not feeling well voice-wise, he was still able to preach a short but powerful Word of God to us during the Christmas service last night. The summary of the preaching is in itself a preaching: Christmas is for us!

Christmas is one example of God's grace to us. We don't deserve this holiday, but God gave Christmas as a gift to us. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." He loves us so much that He will not allow us to stay under the curse of sin. That's why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us. As the angels told the shepherds in Luke 2:9, this is a good news of great joy. We should be happy that Jesus cleansed us from our sins.

It doesn't matter if you received gifts or not, but you should remember that Christmas is in itself a gift from God. In fact, Jesus is the greatest gift we have received.

Celebrate Christmas with a Smile

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Smile
After reading my high school friend's latest blog post, I can't help but observe how we should celebrate Christmas. A recent SWS survey showed that almost 60% of the respondents think Christmas this year is indifferent from last year. Only a third of the respondents find Christmas this year will be more festive, while rest think Christmas was better last year.

Nothing wrong with the majority who find this year to be as good (or bad) as last year, but the 30% who find optimism that this Christmas is something to celebrate is a testament of how we should look at the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of the situation, whether your town was devastated by storms like the case of the Typhoon "Pablo" victims, you have a relatively not-so-good year (all of us had bad moments this year), or this year is a topsy-turvy one, we must celebrate Christmas (and Boxing Day too for the British readers) with a smile. God gave Christmas to us (more on this in another Christmas post) so that we could celebrate the coming of our one and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who would free us from the bondage of sin.

Luke 8:48 (NIV)-And Jesus said, "...your faith has made you well. Go in peace."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is Tomorrow Really the End of the World?

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end of the world
Will the world end tomorrow? Only God knows the answer!
Today is December 20 (as of writing), the day before the Nostradamus-predicted and media-hyped "doomsday" on December 21. I know this end of the world issue has flocked social media so much. Now, even a Youtube video is linking the "doomsday" to Park Jae-Sang aka Psy's smash hit "Gangnam Style", which already has more than 988 million hits as of writing (unfortunately, the video was deleted)! So you may ask? Will the world end by tomorrow?

Here's my honest answer: I DON'T KNOW! Now you're getting confused, uh? Actually I am hoping that the world will not end tomorrow, but I'm not the one who can stop it. The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:35-36, "Heaven and earth will pass away... But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son (that's Jesus), but ONLY the Father (which is God)." Emphasizing the word "only", it's our Lord God who has sole total control over what's going to happen tomorrow. The only thing that is sure about "doomsday" is that Jesus will return like a thief (Matthew 24:42-44). For those who don't get it, Jesus is not and will never become a thief, because He doesn't sin. It only means that the Lord will return by surprise.

So what should we do? Firstly, don't believe on the rumors, as told by the Lord in Matthew 25:4. We should not be deceived by the false predictions. Secondly, "...keep watch (Matthew 24:42a)." I'll just remind you again that God is in control of everything. Simply, be on guard, for you'll never know when He will come. And lastly, hold on to the only thing that will never pass away, God's Word, the Bible (Matthew 24:35b). Read your Bibles so that you will not anticipate Christ's return in fear, but in faith. To wrap it up, I'll share the thing that I will do if the world ends: Worship God for all He has done. Again, only God knows when "doomsday" will come. It may be tomorrow; it may be not. Does that mean we'll not worship Him because we don't have an idea when? No! It actually means that we should worship Him every day of our lives.

PS: I don't know why people call it "doomsday", but it's better to call that day Worship Day.

Another PS: If you're reading this by December 22 or later, you can shout "I survived thanks to the Lord God Almighty!"

PS no. 3: For more on what to expect come Jesus' second coming, you should read the book of Revelation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Is Manny's Retooled Faith a Losing Factor?

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Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
Manny Pacquiao may have lost to Juan Manuel Marquez, but he won a big-
ger fight--the battle against sin.
We all know what happened yesterday. Manny Pacquiao lost for the second straight time after succumbing to a right hook by Juan Manuel Marquez just before the end of the sixth round of their fourth meeting at Las Vegas. After being out cold for a minute or two, Manny stood up as if he's the winner and congratulated JuanMa. But I already expected a flux of tweets, Facebook wall posts, blog articles, etc. saying that Pacquiao's revitalized relationship with God is to blame for his two recent losses. What I can't believe is that even Dionesia Pacquiao blamed the pastors for "letting JuanMa put on a show". So is PacMan's revitalized relationship with God a factor behind his losses?

The question has slowly become how an athlete or sports analyst should ask the question "Can religion save us?" For a sports blogger, a basketball player, an "ultras guy" (Ask a soccer-crazy friend about this... Wait! Is it the right time to call myself that?) who miss playing soccer, sometimes an ultimate player, and most importantly a Christian for more than a decade now, I'm firm in saying that religion DOES NOT save us, but having God in your life as written in Acts 16:31. Now, to answer the sporty version of the controversial question, Manny Pacquiao's newly-refurbished relationship with the Lord HAS NOTHING TO DO with the losses. Winning and losing (and even settling a draw) a sporting event, whether it's boxing, basketball, soccer, or even a simple DOTA tournament nearby, is according to how the Lord wants it to happen. In winning, God is telling us that we succeeded because of Him. In losing and even in drawing the game, God is reminding us that we should leave everything to Him.

In fact, because Manny Pacquiao put his full faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, he won the biggest prize... Oh wait! It's not a prize, it's a gift from the Lord! That's eternal life. For me, seeing someone having a personal relationship with God is the biggest bacon ever. No championship is better than being saved from the bondage of sin and being with the Lord. Maybe Manny Pacquiao lost a fight, but he won the war! Hats off to you, Manny! May God bless you more!

A lesson learned after the fight: the Manny Pacquiao loss may have given us a crushed spirit, but we should still be joyful that there's more to come for Manny. Proverbs 17:22a (NIV) says, "A joyful heart is good medicine..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Take on the LRT 2 Station Incident

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It all started at an altercation at the LRT 2 station along Marcos Highway in Pasig City. A 23-year old girl named Paula Salvosa argued with a security guard about a certain incident not caught on cam by Gregory Llamoso, who posted the video on Facebook. It was being spread throughout FB, Twitter, and various websites.
Paula Salvosa
The altercation between a 23 year-old
ex-student DJ and a security guard at
a train station sparked an online out-
rage.
As of this writing, the hashtag #AmALayer (how the viewers heard Salvosa pronounce "I'm a liar.") is trending worldwide. Social media people also expressed their two coins on the event. Some praised the lady guard for staying put despite Salvosa's outrage. Some bashed Salvosa for what she did. And some more just trolled Paula. As a result, Paula Salvosa deactivated her Facebook account (although her Twitter account is still active as of today).

Here are my two (actually three) coins on the event. For the guard, I salute you for keeping your temper from flaring up after what happened. Your ability to settle the issue in such a manner that you will end your conflict with Salvosa peacefully is worth praising. Hats off to you, ma'am!

To Paula, I don't know why you had that heated argument with the security personnel, but I just want to say that you need not to be hysterical to air your side. I found out that you were an intern at a radio station and also auditioned as a VJ for Myx. Those facts alone assure me that you're girl enough to handle errands professionally. Like what Bob Guerrero told me when I got reprieved for grabbing his picture in my article about Pachanga without formal permission, you need to be more cautious next time. Still, cheer up! I know God has a reason why you're now on the social media limelight (although in a negative manner). I believe God is telling you that you need to fix some things in your life. I'm not gonna bash or troll you for what you did. All I can say is stay positive. Good thing you apologized to everyone for what you did. Also, here's God's Word for you (thanks to fellow blogger Shekinah Armenta via her sister Aileen for this; I'm also moved here) "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)

Now, to the thousands of people who condemn (for the lack of more appropriate terms) her for what she did, let me ask, "Are you sure you will not do the same thing Paula did if you got into a similar case?" Well, after watching the video, you will pick up something, so let me rephrase that, "Will you not shout at the security guard if both of you have a disagreement if Gregory did not post the video online or if you were Paula herself?" I remember one time during high school that we were playing a Bible drill game at a certain youth fellowship. Out of frustration after failing to answer a question, I slammed the Bible (I really did that). The pastor, during the preaching time, told the attendees, "You may not slam the Bible here, but maybe you're doing it at home." It goes the same in the case of Salvosa. I know some of you cursed at someone in authority before. I admit to that. About the "Am a lier", you made fun at how she uttered "I'm a liar" as if you "deed dent lie a tall". I lie, you lie, all of us lie. As often as we mispronounce some words like how you understood Paula's pronunciation, we also make false alibis if we do something wrong, and I attest to that. Man up, people! I admit I could do the same if I was on Salvosa's shoes. Good thing God is in my life, and He will pacify me if frustrations come in the way. He's the coolest of the cool heads who will prevail in verbal tussles.

To sum this very long article up, we commit the same sins as Paula Salvosa's. Before we bash someone for his wrongdoings, reflect on yourselves first. Just like how Jesus challenged the leaders in John 8 when they're about to render a judgment on the woman, let's ask ourselves, "Is it worthy to bully him online?" before bashing someone for his mistakes. Remember, it is only Christ who can judge us, and He has forgiven us for our sins. All we need is to surrender our lives and our frustrations to Him, and He will give us rest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Some Things You Don't Know About Madaling Araw Mahabang Gabi

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Madaling Araw Mahabang Gabi
I was invited to a bloc screening of the indie movie "Madaling Araw Mahabang Gabi" at the Ever Cinema along Recto Ave. in Manila City. Shot entirely in Puerto Princesa City, the movie was a brainchild of renowned "Ploning" director Dante Garcia. I never thought there's a story inside the story until Direk Ga pointed them out.

It all began when Direk Ga, a devout Christian, was invited by a church to teach a group of young people in Puerto about basic filmmaking for two years. He asked this question to them, "If you are given permission to steal something from someone else, what would it be?" It was when he got the answers of his students that he began conceptualizing MAMG. Direk Ga struggled in finding those who will help him in the production. He got a breakthrough when AKTV commentator Erika Padilla offered her help. Soon after, the people began to come.

A little spoiler (if you have not watched the movie yet, read at your own risk): The setting was at various places in Puerto, from a bar to as far as a forested area during the Halloween season. The bar owner (Angelica Panganiban) dared everyone to steal something to be offered to the dead, something being done in the Filipino tradition pangangaluwa. As the teams went off, their individual stories were revealed. Believe it or not, the objects that were targeted to bring back were some, if not all, of the answers of Dierk Ga's students. In the end, no one was able to return to the bar to give their loots

One of the common critiques of the social media people is the curiosity of not giving each character a name. When Direk Ga stood up to give the synopsis, I found out that each character represents each of us or at least a facet of our life. From the bar owner's ex-boyfriend (Rocco Nacino) trying to court her again to the band's lead vocalist (Karel Marquez-Oops! I thought she was Erika Padilla there haha), a Christian, who weirdly teamed up with a gay waiter (Dominic Roco), they represent a sector in the community. It's like "If you're him/her, what will you do?"

Speaking of Karel, she's the carrier of the film storywise. Maybe the Kean Cipriano-Cherie Gil kissing scene is the carrier (and the most awkward moment) of the film, but if you look to the plot, Marquez's dialogues are the words you should hear to clarify things up. Many think the development of the film is so messed up and that the plot is so vague, but, believe it or not, it's actually sharing the Gospel in a comedic manner. Karel's sharing of God's Word is the real point of the movie. The vagueness of the plot represents our current state. We are directionless. Our lives are completely messed up. But if you put your faith in God, everything will be cleared up.

If not for the screening, I would not find out that Glaiza De Castro and brother Alchris Galura are followers of God. Their willingness to do their part in doing the movie to serve the Lord was more than enough to give my applause to them (That might silence you, new Glaiza haters because of Temptation of Wife hehe).

As of writing, I read from the Philippine Star that the movie is not performing well, earnings-wise, but I believe God will give each cast member and creative team member a greater reward in Heaven for this one. In the end, MAMG is a motion picture illustration of Romans 6:23--For the wages of sin (the reason why our life is vague and without a clear picture) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. I was moved by the movie. I may have been a Christian for over a decade now, but there are still unclear parts in my life. But I know the Lord will clear things up for me if I follow His directions. If you want to watch the film, you can drop by at SM Cinemas near you. Let's give it a Kamown!

PS: Oh! If you feel awkward about the film, this is just Part 1 of Dante Garcia's "The Hashtag Movie" franchise, so expect more fun-filled movies to come. In fact, he's about to start doing the errands for the production of the second "hashtag movie".

Friday, October 19, 2012

What I Learned from Tito Jim

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Just today, I heard rumors around my crib that there was a jeepney accident that happened last night. I reside at a stone throw distance from the place of the accident, so I presume it was true. Little did I know a good friend died there.

Perhaps I am among the last to find out that one of my churchmate and good friend, Jimmy Galang, aka Tito Jim, had a heart attack leading to the accident last night. He was rushed to the hospital, but he passed away there. When I read Kuya Jon's (one of my pastors here) status update posted just before 2:00 AM (and it was before 6:00 PM when I read it) as suggested by another churchmate, I got stunned, got chills, and totally forgot I am watching Calvin Abueva's celebrated PBA debut! What has just happened?

I will totally miss him a lot. His life is already a lesson to me. I will not tell the full details of his life, but I'm telling you that you would not gonna believe me in saying that he had a very miserable life prior to knowing God first. Many would say, "Nah! He will not change." But no, his life changed when he gave up his life to Christ. Because of his passion and the new life, he became active in the ministry. He helped in starting an outreach program for the poor and needy every Saturday which continues until today despite him not being able to come frequently because of health matters. He was also an usher during the mid-morning services and befriended almost everyone in the church.

I agree with what Pastor Dennis Sy said, that we should make 1 Timothy 1:15 as our status update. It was exactly his story. He may be among the worst of sinners, but when Jesus Christ came to his life, everything changed. His sins are now forgiven. He is now a son of God. He is a brand-new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is not just a churchmate and friend, he is a role model to me. If he was changed, so am I. His death may be untimely, but God reminded us through this event that everything will be fine. Tito Jim is now with the Lord. Thanks for the memories. See you up there. As this song goes, even if the bad news come, let's hold on to God.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Hardcore Editorial

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The Palawenian
As a news writer, I always make a point to
make my article impartial.
I was the sports editor of our high school paper and is now the current sports editor for an emerging online news site, so I always get a glimpse of the editorials my EIC's (shoutouts to JB, Aya, and Carlo) write, but I've never seen such an editorial as this. The Varsitarian, UST's official school paper, posted the editorial for its new issue on its website, and all who read it, even the Thomasians, are like, "Whoa!"

The article calls the attention of the professors and students of Ateneo and De La Salle who express their support for the Reproductive Health Bill. In a shocking manner, the editorial called them "lemons and cowards". While the editorial says UST still supports the call of the bishops to repeal the bill, I never thought that the article writer (although it's the EIC who usually posts editorials, I don't think it's the EIC who posted it) would inflict a direct hit to the Ateneans and La Sallians. He even calls the Thomasian profs who are also supporting the RH Bill to resign if they continue to do so.

The editorial was obviously not made to get back to Ateneo after spotty officiating cost UST the UAAP Finals Game 1 win (the editorial was made before September 30, when the latest issue was made available), but saying that Ateneo and La Salle have lost their minds is more painful than Coach Pido Jarencio crying foul for what happened in Game 1. I am supporting the RH Bill, but I will never ever throw a sucker punch to the anti-RH people online. Each of us has a reason why we support the bill or want it dropped, and we respect each other. Even Coach Pido will not go beyond basketball about what he thought is "too much Ateneo-favored" officiating and blast Ateneo for letting its community speak in favor of the bill.

Now I understand what my homie Alex Castro posted regarding freedom in his own blog. According to the article, allowing our feelings to take over the internet doesn't mean we're free. Now, social media goes abuzz about the Varsitarian editorial. You may be free to post everything, but get ready if people don't like what you posted.

All I can say is that it's OK to post your sentiment regarding an issue, but we should also respect the people in our surroundings. Jesus Christ even told us to love them as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). If you're about to post something similar to this, and you still don't know how to do it in such a manner that you will respect your Thomasian and your friends who are opposite your stand in RH Bill, seek God. In fact, you should seek Him first, and everything will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

I may be from UP, but I have Thomasian, Atenean, and La Sallian friends, and I know this article could test their friendship. I hope that the friendship of the Thomasians, Ateneans, and the La Sallians will not be hampered by this hardcore editorial.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Take on the Cyber Crime Law

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black
The black pictures on Facebook and Twitter symbolize the death of the free-
dom of speech after the passing of the Cyber Crime Law.
It doesn't mean that I'm not in favor of the Cyber Crime Law, I'm not in favor of every word that is written there. In fact, I'm glad that the common cyber crimes like cyber pornography will be tackled there and cyber bullying will be at least minimized. However, the libel clause, the most controversial part of the law, puzzled me a lot.

I agree with what everyone said of this "takedown" clause. It's too broad and vague. Now, everyone will ask, "Do you consider this article that I'm about to post libelous?" "If I add this word, will it make my article libelous?" Now, even if you think your article is no way libelous, as long as someone finds your article offensive, he can sue you. Every time I open TLIMC, I'm aware that non-Christians can access my article. While I still hope someone gets touched by my article, I'm also ready to answer the questions of the Agnostics, Atheists, and those from the other religions. Now, no more questions asked. "I find it against our beliefs. I will sue you for libel." The irony: the same people can sue each other if they post something that the other groups think is libelous. We don't want that to happen.

Another glitch of the clause is that someone can still be sued for libel for an article he posted ages ago for the reason that they only read it today. In my other blog, Sporty Guy, I posted my disappointment to SM Tickets for the problems they encountered during the mall-wide ticket selling of the Samsung UAAP Cheerdance Competition. While I know it's just their first try of managing the ticket selling, it's no doubt even more atrocious than 1995, when the competition began, or even the 1st NCAA Cheerdance Competition in 2001 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, whose ticket selling is controlled by TicketNet. While the article was dated September 21, which according to a lawyer Sam Gogna, Tony Bueno, and Rick Virata of Magic 89.9 called up during their radio program Boys Night Out will not fall under the jurisdiction of the CCL, SM can say they only read the article today, the time the effect of the CCL starts, and they can still sue me for libel.

I'm aware that libel is not a joke, but freedom of expression is also not a joke. I know I'm free to write, but I also make sure that my posts will not be too offensive to the other side. This is the reason why I at least want the CCL to be amended if not completely turned down. My UAAP Cheerdance Newbie Gaming post and my UFL post about the AFP soccer teams became battlefields for those who didn't like what happened. Although I now have the power to sue them, I don't know who to start. They're named "Anonymous". Most, if not all, of the websites allow anonymous commenting. Another thing: I have no plan of suing the commenters, because it's their right to express their own thoughts. If not for the commenters, I would not finish my UAAP Do the Math article.

There are still a lot of ways to post our articles online. Let's be creative, dynamic, and strategic. My homie David is right when he posted this, something I missed out. And one more thing, let's ask God (Allah for the Muslim readers, Buddha for the Buddhists, or the Hindu gods for the Hindu audience) for the wisdom to be responsible online users. This Cyber Crime Law, despite not liking it, gives us a reminder that the computer and the internet are not to be used for too much fun. We may be of different religions, but let's be united for our freedom to express our own thoughts. Peace out!

PS: I just wanna share this verse (with all due respect to the people of the other religions): Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Some Things We Can Learn from Katz Salao

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Katz Salao
What happened to Katz Salao last Saturday can remind us of how we can fully
accept the full gift of the Gospel to our lives.
It was September 22, 2012.  It was at the Mall of Asia Arena. It was the Samsung-UAAP Cheerdance Competition. UE's courtside reporter Katz Salao wowed everyone with a grand entrance to pep the Red Warriors hopefuls... Oops! Of all the events, this unlucky thing happened. Salao, a graduating Broadcasting Communication student at UP Quezon City, confused her alma mater for the school where she was assigned to while starting her spiels. Despite being able to prepare the UE fans for the performance of their pep squad, Katz became a hot topic for that error. Despite the criticisms, Katz stood tall and inspired everyone who commits similar mistakes.

There are some things we can learn from Salao. One of them is knowing your role. She may be from the University of the Philippines, but once Katz steps into the hardwood, she's now Katz Salao the UE Red Warriors reporter. This is not the first time ABSCBN assigned a non-UE student at the helm. In fact, the assigned reporter for UE before Salao, Nikko Ramos, is himself from UP Los Banos. Speaking of Ramos, he has a tougher task. Once he steps to his office at the 9th floor of the Paragon Plaza in Mandaluyong every Sunday, Nikko is the DJ Tyler who handles the Magic on a Positive Note program on Magic 89.9, but if he turns on the mic at the FilOil Flying V Arena in nearby San Juan, he's now Nikko Ramos the NCAA broadcaster. In certain situations, you must know your role in tackling the matter, whether you're alone or you're in a team.

The cooler thing about Salao, however, is her professionalism. We know our respective roles, but sometimes, even if we think we do it correctly, we still commit untimely errors. Salao's slip of the tongue was definitely out of timing. But instead of taking things emotionally (talk about being humiliated in front of 19,505 people on the spot and of millions watching on TV), Salao continued on, made a pretty good alibi to soften the effects of the error, and finished her spiel. That's what you call grace under pressure.

But if there's one thing I liked about her after what happened, that was her acknowledgment of the mistake. Here is her comment on a meme on UAAP-NCAA Memes regarding that shoutout error:

"... unbelievable din ang pangyayari my gosh.... To every Red Warrior here, I apologize so much for that huge fail. Being a UP student isn't an excuse cause I was UE's reporter this time, not UP's. :( And I've been flipping for a while, for my highschool and for UP, but please believe that that all my frontflips [last Saturday] were genuinely for UE only!! Thank you for still cheering with me! :)..."

It's just like our scenario with God. We are bound in this big error called sin, and we fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23). But like how Katz was supported by her UP and UE friends and virtually everyone from both schools, the Lord still loves us despite our nature. That's why it was no less than Himself who came to earth and took what should have been our penalty, death (Romans 6:23). So like Katz, we can get that love Wait! God already gave His love to us and all we can do is to accept that gift. We only need to acknowledge our mistakes, repent from all of them, let the Lord come to our lives, and let Him cleanse our impurities (1 John 1:9).

In the end, what happened to Katz Salao reminded me that God still loves me in spite of my errors. I will let go of my own pursuits and let God direct me so that I will not err.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Being a Parent is Different from Being a Mere Supporter

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Carmelo Afuang
Melo Afuang's mom's actions on Roider Cabrera reminded me of my mom.
While everyone was anticipating the UAAP Board's decision regarding the controversial FEU-NU game, there was another matter that was actually tackled. In another game between Adamson and UST won by the Growling Tigers, the mother of UST's Melo Afuang did not like how Adamson's Roider Cabrera played roughly against her son. Mrs. Afuang, presumably sitting at the back of Adamson's bench, reportedly hit Cabrera at the head after Coach Leo Austria decided to give Cabrera a rest. The board decided to ban the lady from attending the rest of her son's games.

That was not the only time this year that the parents of a player got disgusted during a college basketball game. In the NCAA, former Alaska Aces head coach Joel Banal reportedly exchanged words at San Sebastian's Calvin Abueva during the Golden Stags' game against the Mapua Cardinals, where Banal's son Gab and nephew Tan-Tan are playing. Ironically, Abueva was drafted 2nd overall by the Aces in the recently concluded PBA Draft. 

Just recently, the dad of Ateneo's Nico Salva got into a verbal tussle with FEU Tamaraws assistant coach Ronald Magtulis because of Tamaraw Arvie Bringas' unsportsmanlike foul during their game against UP. Bringas did an even nastier act against the Blue Eagles, including spitting on Justin Chua. The UAAP Board gave Bringas a one-game suspension, while the school board added another single-game ban on him. As a result of his manners against UP, however, Bringas was slapped with another 2-game suspension.

I learned one thing from these incidents. There is a huge difference between a regular fan and a parent. For a regular fan, whether he's a loyal supporter or just a bandwagon member, he will just let things go if there's something unpleasant to his favorite athlete. But being a parent goes way beyond that. Even if you don't support the team his son is playing for, he would still come to the stadium to support his son.

I don't blame Mrs. Afuang, Mr. Salva, or Coach Joel for being involved in such altercations. They are there to protect their sons' (and even their families') welfare. I respect them for loving their sons so much that they don't want their children to get hurt or get involved in heated scenarios.

I made this in time for my mom's birthday. I want to thank her for protecting me and providing for me even if she gets upset every time I ask for more. But most of all, I want to thank my Big Daddy, the Lord Jesus Christ, for everything. He will continue to give us the love that He already showed to us ever since. He provides for my mom, and He does the same to me too.

So how can we return the favor? The Lord instructed us, "Honor your father and your mother..." (Exodus 20:12a). What's so cool about this? It has a promise: "...that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord your God has given you." (Exodus 20:12b). So where to start? Paul said, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord..." (Ephesians 6:1a). However, if you think your parents are instructing you something that is not according to what God is saying to you, just say no and explain to them why their command is not right according to Him. I admit. There are times that I am not apprehending to my mom's commands, but I make up on that by thinking about her more and reflecting how to get it right. Like what my boy Alex said in his blog, we're still works in progress.

In the end, let's look back at how our parents protected us, provided for us, and everything else. And think on ways on how to get back at them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Awesome Dream

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Just earlier, I had an awesome dream.
A good start to the day it seems.
I found myself in the church one day.
In my mind I shouted, "They..."
"They're my high school friends, worshiping God!"
I was so extremely glad.
It was a dream in a dream came true.
Who brought them there? I'd no clue.
Exciting Sunday on a Tuesday
Hope it's the same everyday.
worship

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reality Check

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Jesus' ministry
Think about this: Are you ministering through your daily chores like Jesus did?
Just when I thought I was doing fine in blogging, a message from God through the pastor of a budding church came. He read us Matthew 4:23, and he let us make our reflection to the verse. I was definitely shaken up.

After their cell group meeting (or since there's worship time, I'll call it a mini-worship service), I was moved by God's Word. I realized that I may have just used blogging (whether on my sports blog or here) for my own happiness when in reality I'm doing this for the glory of God.

Just as Jesus taught in the synagogues, preached the Gospel, and did miraculous work, we Christians, whether bloggers or not, should do the same too. We need to teach the life principles we learned through Him. We need to tell them of God's love as well. We should also make an impact in their lives even if we don't have the miraculous power of Christ. Seeing our friends knowing God is already a miracle, and all the other miracles they will claim will follow.

So before you embark on another life journey, reflect whether it will glorify the Lord or not.

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Instrument of Change

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Me (L) with my fellow journalists/bloggers (Sorry! Still don't have a cam)
I decided to take my sportswriting talents to my hometown and teach 4th-6th graders about some things they should know about sportswriting. Turned out, it was God's way of delivering to me what He wanted me to hear from Him. That's exactly what I heard from the pastor at Victory Quezon City who preached when I and two of my students came there.

God wanted me to become a modern-day Nehemiah--an instrument of change. He wanted to start making an impact in the nation's change through what I am today. I may be just a student, a mathematician, a blogger, and a budding online sportswriter, but the Lord wants me to use my current me to bring change. If God used Nehemiah, a mere cupbearer, to reform Jerusalem to what it is today, so is His plan for me.

I also got touched by a story of a town in Venezuela, where crimes, violence, and everything you don't wanna hear are rampant. All it took were prayers from the Christians there. Now, 80% of the people there worship God. Most night pubs were closed, and the bad guys became the role models. God continued to bring blessings to that town to this date.

I realized how God can use me despite my dark past. He has already forgiven me, and is now using me as a tool for change.

For more, read Nehemiah 1. Better yet, read the whole book of Nehemiah.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fishers of Men

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Jesse Robredo is a man of God. He served his country according to how the
Lord wants him to do.
It's a sad story that a man of God, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, died during a plane crash last Saturday off the shore of Masbate. However, some unconfirmed reports came in that Robredo was "saved by fishermen" moments after the crash. Although it was already considered false after DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas confirmed that Robredo was found lifeless at the crash site, that news gave some light to his family, friends, and the entire nation.

If Robredo was indeed saved by the fishermen alive, we would have called them heroes and overnight celebrities. Either way, I will still post this calling by Jesus Christ to us. Those fishermen reminded me of my calling. If those fishers can save a high government official from drowning, we can do so too. Our calling is to save people, whether ordinary or prominent, from drowning in the ocean of sin. The Lord even gave us a moniker: fishers of men.

In Luke 5:10, He sent a message to 4 fishermen to fish for men. Although they hesitated at first because of their sinful nature, Jesus insisted, for He had already forgiven their sins. Maybe some of us are hesitating because our past experiences will remind us of our sins, but Christ forgave us already through the cross. Now, He's sharing the same word to us. Jesus wants us to fish for men and save them from drowning into sin. All we need is to acknowledge our sinful nature, let Jesus come into our lives, and let Him direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8/7/12

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As God remembered Noah during the Flood,
He remembers us in most devastating
times.
I just checked my Twitter, and I became curious on one worldwide trending topic. It's a passage in the Scriptures. Genesis 8:7-12 is the 2nd top-trending topic right now on the social media site as I write this. The ironic reason is that the numbers are exactly in the same order as the date of the worse-than-Ondoy storm in month-day-last 2 digits of year numeric form (8/7/12).

I looked up at Bible Gateway, a website full of Bible verses, and read the verses. In the Scripture passage, Noah sent two birds, a dove and a raven, to check out if the floodwater have subsided. The dove just wandered in the sky until the water dried up, while the dove, because the trees were all drenched by the Great Flood, decided to return to the ark Noah built. After a week, he brought the dove out again, and the bird returned with a leaf, signaling that the trees were re-appearing. One more week past, and Noah sent the dove out again, but it never returned. It meant that the flood has completely subsided.

I actually read the entire Chapter 8 of Genesis, and at the first verse, we are given a promise by God. The verse says, "But God remembered Noah (and his family) and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded." As He remembered all the people and animals in the ark, He remembers us too. As my former cell group leader quoted, "The times you think that God is far from you are actually the times God is just near you." Also, like what He said to Noah's descendants Moses and Joshua, the Lord will not leave us and even forsake us. He said that a number of times in the Bible.

The final verse of the chapter is also a promise to us. God said there, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." The Lord is saying that we may experience storms, trials, and everything not that pleasing to us, but be assured that He will bring a new day full of breakthroughs and blessings to us. God showed that when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to overcome the biggest storm in our lives, the storm of sin.

Again, this storm is just temporary, but if we hold on to God's promise that He remembers us, we will get lasting breakthroughs and reliefs. For further Bible study, read Genesis 6-9. I hope that as we praised God during the times we were devastated by Ondoy, we continue to praise Him during the wrath of Typhoon Haikui.

God is Our Refuge

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As I am writing this, the mainland Southern Luzon is being devastated by thunderstorms due to the tropical cyclone Haikui (international name). Although the storm is outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it enhanced the southwest monsoon that is bringing rains to the Philippines. As of now, the provinces of Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Rizal are tasting the wrath of the storm that will also wreak havoc in Taiwan and China.
De La Salle University as of this morning
Some people trying to bring a rubber boat to the other side of EspaƱa Blvd.
Even the 2nd floor of the UST Hospital was drenched by the floodwater
Some areas have even been flooded at beyond-human-height depth.
Even athletes practicing for a future competition were not
spared by the monsoon rains.
And so is the North Luzon Expressway
Although we're affected here, I am confident God will not leave us alone in the storm. In fact, His Word to me today made my stormy day. Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every Word of God is flawless; He is a Shield to those who take refuge in Him." In this time, many are stranded, many others have their homes washed by the floodwater, yet I know the Lord will save us. He is our Solid Rock, the Safe Ground, the Shelter we need. Even King David wrote that "God is our Refuge and Strength, an EVER-PRESENT Help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)."


The Lord is always with us. He will never ever leave us in our current state. All He needs is for us to hold on to His promises. Continue to read the Bible. Pray to Him for protection, comfort, and provision. All He wants is to see us seeking Him at this stage. Let's continue to pray for the Philippines, read God's Word, and hold on to it.

By the way, the Lord will be even happier if we help our fellow countrymen. A prayer is one key tool, but you can also give money, beddings, new or used clothing, and food. You can call the GMA Operation Bayanihan at (02) 981-1950 or send cash donations to their Metrobank account with Account Number 3098510347 under GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. You can also donate through Dakila's Ride Rock Relief at (02) 435-4309 or through their Banco De Oro-Loyola Heights Berkeley Residences Branch savings account with Account Number 003570047800 under Dakila-Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, Inc. For non-cash donations, you can bring them to their office at Unit 3A, VS1 Building, 34 Kalayaan Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila. You can also donate to various Victory Christian Fellowship churches in Metro Manila. Click this link for more details.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some UPCAT Tips

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To become a UP student, you need to jot down these tips.
With the University of the Philippines College Admission Test Weekend approaching, I want to share you some tips on how to survive the biggest college entrance exam in the Philippines.

1. Don't get nervous right on your exam-Think positive as if the UPCAT is easy. Actually, without any arrogance, the UPCAT is not as hard as you think.

2. Take your time-A style in answering the questions is that you answer the easier questions first before taking on the harder ones. Although the UPCAT is relatively easy (without boasting), time is gold there, so you need to use the allotted time for the part properly.

3. Write your essay neatly and in an organized manner-The new feature in the UPCAT starting tomorrow is an essay part. While I don't have an idea of how the essay part works, all I can say is that make your essays as precise, informative, simply, neat and organized.

4. The most important thing, pray-Prayer works. Ask the Lord for His guidance and to give you wisdom come the exam.

5. Be strong and courageous-The main point of this post. The results will come as early as late January or more likely by February. While waiting for the result, you must stay strong and courageous. If you think you'll gonna fail, drag that off your mind. God told Joshua to take away the fears of failing to lead his countrymen to the promised land. The Lord told him to be a strong leader. God told Joshua to continually meditate on the Bible, so that he will prosper and succeed. Read Joshua 1 for a deeper understanding.

For the UPCAT takers, don't forget to lean on the Lord. Read, understand, and internalize His Words, and I'm sure you will get that breakthrough of becoming the student of a premier educational institution in Asia.

For those who took the UPCAT, feel free to post your tips on how to survive the test on the comments.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stay in the Path of Purity

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How can a young man stay on the path of purity?
By living according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:9, NIV)
I just read Psalm 119:9-16 last night, and it clearly pierced me a lot. It made me wonder, "Am I still in that so-called 'path of purity'?" But God has a clear answer to that, "You must continue to live according to My Word (v. 9b)."

I admit, there were times that I was somehow veering away from His Word, thinking I can be kept purified on my own. But it was only to no avail. It is clear: we need God to be purified. Let's ask the Lord for forgiveness if we commit impurities. Don't worry. He has forgiven us already through His Son Jesus Christ. Let us also keep His Words in our hearts, so we may not sin against Him (v. 11). Lastly, we must neglect His Word (v. 16b). Let's internalize what He has said, and we will not be making a wrong turn.

If you want to stay on the right track toward purity in Christ, we must take note of His advice, His rebukes, and His life here on earth. Live according to His Word, and God will meet us at our faith.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Continuing on What You Have Learned

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When you continue on what you have learned on God's Word, you will ex-
perience peace of mind, worship Him for what He has done, and gain wisdom
to help you in your daily living.
Having a relationship with God does not make you storm-free. In fact, there will come a time that you experience something worse than your situation before you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There will be more persecutions that may come even from your family, your friends. You will experience more trials that will test your faith in God.

The Apostle Paul experienced all of that, even worse than what we may experience. The former persecutor became the persecuted. He experienced the worst from the same people who was with him when they persecuted the early believers. Yet, he did not regret knowing God and making Him Lord. In fact, he even shared the secret for him to endure all of them to his disciple Timothy in Paul's second letter to his protege.

The secret: "...continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of..." (2 Timothy 3:14b, NIV). Paul encouraged Timothy, who was not sure if he can lead a church at his place in spite of being too young to preach and fearful of rejections and persecutions, to continue living based on the Word of God. God's Word, the Bible, has everything we need to make us "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (v. 15b, NIV)

Paul even told Timothy that "All Scripture is given by...God..." (v. 16a, NKJV). Meaning, it was God Himself who gave us the Bible. We can find all of the answers to our questions to the Lord in the Bible. The Bible is also God's instructional guide for us to make us understand the scenario we're into and get through it. It can also be used to help someone in need, whether for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness..." (v. 16b).

To continue on what you have learned means to hold on to what God says about the current state of our lives. Why not grab a Bible and start reading it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Should a Son of God Do?

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Now that you experienced freedom through Jesus Christ, what should we do
to fully optimize that freedom?
One time, I read a tweet from my comedian/blogger friend Stanley Chi. I presumed he is now working on the third installment of his Suplado Tips book series. Here's what a suplado (someone who snubs often) should shout out according to him, "I'm a son of God! I can do whatever I want!" We all know that he's a comedian, but instead of laughing too much (it made me laugh in a way), I began to wonder, "Can I really do whatever I want as a Christian?" Then I remembered what Jesus Christ said in John 8:11b, "Go now and LEAVE your life of sin."

The highlighted word is not spelled L-I-V-E. It's L-E-A-V-E. To leave means to depart, to go away, and to stay away. It's very clear that the Lord wants us to step out of our old lives and live according to what we are now in Christ: new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). So how can we maximize the freedom Jesus gave to us?

There are so many ways so that we can fully optimize the gift God gave us through His Son. First, buy a Bible and read it. The Bible is our guide on living according to how the Lord wants us to live. You can also find there how Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins and brought all of our sins to the cross. Prayer is also a powerful tool in our relationship with Him. Because we are now children of God, we can ask whatever we need and even want, and be assured that He is willing to give them at the proper time. If He says no, however, be assured that He has another plan for you, so keep in faith. The best way to have a good communication with God is to allot a certain time of the day (and place if you want) when you can seek God and listen to what He wants to say.

But of course you can't do it all alone. Along the way, you will encounter trials, questions, and schemes Satan, our sworn enemy, will do. We need the help of fellow believers of God. The best way to do so is to join a cell group (in our church, we call it a Victory group). There, you can share what you learned, how to apply it, ask questions, and encourage one another if there are concerns. I'm happy to be part of one.

Simply put, don't shout "I'm a son of God, and I can do whatever I want!" But shout "I'm a son of God, and I will do whatever He wants!" He wants us to have a constant communication with Him and fellowship with other believers. Do what is according to His will, and He will meet us at our faith.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coincidence

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Sa Legend o sa Youtube Sensations? Sa'n Ka? Kampihan Na!
Last night was one of the most confusing nights I have on Twitter. It started when a fellow blogger tweeted that Rodolfo Quizon, more popularly known as the Comedy King Dolphy, passed away at 8:34 PM. "It came from an anonymous source," I said. "Maybe he received a hoax." Then a tweet from ABSCBN newscaster Karen Davila came. "We will miss you, Manong Dolphy." Now we became sad. That came from no less than a renowned broadcaster. Then Yahoo Philippines stunned the Tweeps (Twitter People) when they tweeted, "Don't believe on the tweets. Dolphy's still alive!" Kim Atienza, another ABSCBN newscaster, told his followers not to believe on the feed of a fake ABSCBN Twitter account. Karen reiterated that she got the news from Dolphy's wife Zsa-Zsa Padilla. I didn't know what to do. Should I finish up my new The 10 Electrifying post on my sports blog? I waited for GMA's news instead (with Dolphy affiliated to ABSCBN and TV5, I would rather get the official news from GMA, a neutral side). Then it was official. Dolphy Quizon died half a month shy of his 84th birthday.

But it so happened that it was Michelle Linggayu and Jam Sebastian's 50th monthsary (Wow, ah!). The real-life couple, popularly known as Youtube sensations JaMich, posted that it was a mere coincidence and said their condolences to the Quizons. Curiously, instead of getting sympathy from their fans, it created a buzz because many thought that's unethical for a tweet. Some even called the pair famewhores.

I don't stand here to support JaMich. I'm here to tell all of you, from the newborn haters to even the likers since the start of their road to fame, that you should have not taken the coincidence as a big deal. Of course we all mourn Dolphy's death, but should we even get to a point where you want JaMich dead too? OK. Maybe they're wrong to include the coincidence there; I also understand that you (mis)interpreted the tweet in that way, but that doesn't mean you turn your sadness to anger. In fact, there are other occasions nationwide that coincided with Quizon's death--birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Of course they would tweet about it. They might also say, "Sad day. My (occasion) coincided with Dolphy's death." Would their friends rant about it? More likely, nope.

Here's Jam's latest tweet: "If we think about worldly ways, we would have been so upset. We lift them up to You, Lord. I hope they will know You." They admitted his fault on not further reiterating his tweet, but he, instead of throwing back words at the commentators, he let go and let God. Sebastian let the Lord enlighten the haters. The actor, a Christian like his girlfriend, kept the promise of Philippians 4:7 (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus).

If you think this is all about JaMich, I also have a touching story on Dolphy. I attended a church service 3 years ago, and his son, Rodolfo Jr., aka Dolphy Jr., was the guest preacher. The younger Quizon shared his story from a riotous showbiz career to how God transformed him. But the conclusion moved me, even now that his father gave his final bow. It was at a restaurant somewhere in Quezon City, according to Dolphy Jr. He brought his dad along, and the younger Quizon was the keynote speaker. He shared the Gospel along the way, and the best part was about to come. Dolphy Sr. was touched with the Word, and right there Rodolfo Quizon Sr. came to know God. Right now, I'm pretty sure Dolphy Sr. is up there together with God. THNKS FR TH MMRS, Pidol. See you there!

PS: Do not judge others. Try always to encourage them. If you rebuke, rebuke in LOVE! Be gentle with them as Christ is with you. Love one another. -Jesus#Followers (@Jesusfollowsu)

Another PS: It's not an accident that someone's death came at the same time as another's celebration. God allowed such events to coincide so that we could realize that we need to live our lives to the fullest. Dolphy lived his life to the fullest by using his acting skills to make us laugh.

Here's one of the greatest Dolphy scenes. Grab your popcorns, and prepare to laugh out loud.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jesus Asks: Me or Them?

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As early as three years ago, an indie rap track was released on Youtube, and it became viral among the youth. The song tells of DOTA players to choose whether the game or their girlfriends. Here's the video of the song (Warning: Explicit Content).

Then teen rap artist Aikee (if he sounds familiar, he's the kid rapper in the cast of former GMA sitcom Idol Ko Si Kap) released a DZRH Radio on TV (simply known as RHTV) exclusive track entitled DOTA vs. GF It also became a hit on Youtube that it reached more than 13,000,000 views as of today. Oh! Have I mentioned already that the video was uploaded just 10 months ago?

Before you think this is a sequel to GG-Gaming and God, I am telling you that this falls under another topic. OK, maybe count this as GG Part 2, but this post is about prioritizing. Choosing between online gaming and being with your loved one was somehow the similar case when Jesus came to the house of Mary and Martha (read Luke 10:38-42). Although they are sisters, the girls chose different tasks. Martha, the older sister, decided to do her chores, but Mary (different from Jesus' mother) sat down with Him and listened to His Word. Overwhelmed with her tasks, Martha asked the Lord to bring Mary to her so that she can help. Christ's answer, however, touched the heart of both Mary and Martha and I hope will touch yours too. "...you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed--or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her. (Luke 10:41b-42)"

In this time that errands are too much for everyone, Jesus is extending His help to us. Although she had to help her sister in preparing stuffs for the Lord, which was their guest then, Mary decided to listen to Christ. His Words energized her and will energize us as well. Martha, on the other hand, realized that she was focused too much on her work rather than being with God, that's why she got tired, overwhelmed, and upset. In the end, of course, Mary and Martha would finish all their errands, but now with full of energy because they listened to Christ.

If we allow Christ to speak in us, He will rejuvenate us. In fact, He even told us, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:27)" Also, He already won the battle against haggardness as quoted in John 16:33b, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." And the biggest battle that Jesus won is the war against our biggest burden, sin. When He died on the cross, Christ brought all our sins with Him there. Now, we have the opportunity to surrender our chores, whether easy or hard, to God because our relationship with Him is restored. Let's pray to the Lord that our minds will be renewed, that we and our friends will be seen based on His perspective, and that all our burdens right now will be surrendered to Him. Let's allow the Lord to bring us to His promised victory. To end this, true joy comes from prioritizing Jesus before Others and You. Don't just put Christ first; make Him the center of your life. So if Jesus comes to you and asks, "Me or them?", which will you choose? Here's what Pastor Ryan Tan has to say, "Prioritize/value the presence of God more than wealth, properties, comfort, achievements, title, reputation, etc."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Starting to Seek God

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A pastor went to a barber shop to get a haircut and have his beard shaved. The barber and the pastor had a good conversation until they reached the topic of God's existence. "You know what? I don't believe God exists," the barber began. "If He really existed, then everyone would have been rich. Everyone will have food in his house. There will be no war. But why are there still starving people? Why are some homeless? Come on, sir. There is no God." Then the pastor replied, "What if I tell you that barbers and hair stylists don't exist?" "I'm a barber," the earlier uttered anew. The pastor asked, "Then why are there still people out there with long hair and long beard as if they haven't got a cut before?" "They are not coming to me," the barber again. The pastor cited, "That's the point! Many still suffer because they don't seek the Lord. If they seek God in faith, He will truly bless them." The barber was inspired with the conversation and believed in God.

The story above tells that everyone can actually seek God. Jeremiah 29:13 gives us an inspiring promise from the Lord. "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. (NIV)" If we begin to seek Him, Jesus Christ will meet us in our faith. So the question is, "Where do we start seeking Him?"

All you need is to grab His Word, the Bible. It contains everything you need to build a strong relationship with the Lord. Many suggest for new Christians to read Mark or John first. I encourage you as well to buy a devotional book. A good start is Our Daily Bread. The contributor's notes there are very insightful and will inspire you to read the Scriptures listed there. Come to Him in prayer as well. He delights every time we're praying. God will answer our prayers according to His will. All we need is to wait and read the Bible. Also, try connecting with a cell group. It may come in different names (our church has its own name for it), but there everyone of you will share your thoughts about the Bible lesson being taught and will encourage one another to apply the Word to their lives. I'm proud to be part of one of them.

You see, it's not that hard to seek the Lord. All we need is to come to Him. The Lord has another promise to us if we seek Him. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)"

Remaining in the Vine

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I'm done with the first of three devotions that I'm meditating on as I start a mid-year prayer and fasting. I believe the Lord has a powerful Word for me when I read these Scriptures: Psalm 73:28, John 15:4-10, and Hebrews 12:2.
  • (Psalm 73:28) As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my Refuge. I will tell all of Your deeds.
  • (John 15:4-10) "Remain in Me, as I also remain on you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither you can bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; Apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love."
  • (Hebrews 12:2a) [Fix] our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
All these verses tell us that we should hold on to Jesus Christ. In times when we think there is no solution to our problems, all we need is to remain in the Vine. The Lord tells us to still be in faith. He is encouraging us by telling us that everything is under control. All we need is to keep His Words and fix our eyes on Him. If we continue to be faithful, rest assured that God will provide a breakthrough to answer our needs. To summarize it all, continue to get a grip on Him, and He will make us bountiful. Without God, everything is impossible, but the Lord makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Outnumbered?

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Despite without their key players, the San Beda Red Lions proved to all that
they can beat the odds when their 6-man crew dropped a bomb on the Arellano
Chiefs.
Because of a controversial brawl last December, a majority of the members of the San Beda Men's Basketball Team were suspended for the Red Lions' season-opener against the Arellano Chiefs in the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament earlier at the FilOil Flying V Arena, leaving only 6 players available for the game. Being the lone non-televised game of the season, your resident sports blogger trooped to the stadium to what everyone thought was a mismatch. The Chiefs, now under former San Beda coach Koy Banal, boasted a complete roster, even parading AJ Serjue, who I believe is ahead of schedule. Here's what happened...

Arellano started way too hot, burying triple after triple, and they led, 28-21, after one. In the second, however, San Beda began to get their game going, and the Chiefs's lead was down to 2, 44-42. The rampage continued, and everyone began to believe. San Beda was on the driver's seat after 3 quarters. Anton Bonsubre, however, fouled out with 7:19 to go, and Coach Ronnie Magsanoc had no more reserve on his bench. Yvan Ludovice and Francis Abarcar began to suffer from cramps. Arellano, who were hot from the perimeter in the 1st half but gone cold in the 2nd, pulled a late charge, and the lead was down to 6. Abarcar did not give up. He carried the game to his own hands, and it worked. San Beda kept Arellano at bay, 81-71. Six defeated 15! Although I'm from UP (I'm cheering for UP alumni Coaches Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras), I was teary-eyed. It's just like seeing Gideon and his 299 comrades beating the Philistine army of more than a hundred thousand.

Speaking of the story of Gideon, it was not the 300 who were victorious then. It was God. Despite Gideon's fears, the Lord assured him that he and his army will win He will win the battle for them. Despite God further filtering the 45,000 people Gideon brought to Him to just a mere 300, he trusted the Lord. Despite getting the instruction from God to bring the most awkward of weapons--torches and pitchers, Gideon obeyed the Lord. Guess the headline of the news the following day. "Three Hundred Crushes 145,000". Oh! I did not even mention mankind's biggest victory yet: when God came to earth as a human to win the battle against sin for us on the cross.

All it takes is to believe. If you believe God will turn a seemingly impossible scenario to reality, all you need is to claim the victory in Jesus' Name. The apostles Paul and Silas even added, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you and your household, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sadness Better Than Happiness?

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When Queen's Park's Jamie Mackie scored a goal that gave the Rangers the
lead, the Manchester City fans were in deep despair as the championship was
slipping away from then. Little did they know that Jesus Christ was about to
perform a miracle in Manchester.
What would be your reaction if someone tells you that it's better to be sad than be happy? Kinda weird, right? But the seventh chapter of Ecclesiastes tells you so. Ecclesiastes 7:2 even adds that it's better to go to a building full of crying people than in a party place. Why better be sad than happy?

You may find the verse an awkward one. Of course, God wants us to be as happy as we can be. The Lord wants us to go on a pandemonium like how the people at the Etihad Stadium celebrated after Sergio Aguero blasted the game-winner for Manchester City against Queen's Park last month for the Barclays Premier League championship, but God sometimes allows the bad news to come upon us for a reason. When two of my classmates died, I was really anxious, but He was there to comfort me. When my laptop, cellphone, and even my wallet were snatched, it was God who made me move on.

It's just like the ManC-QPR (R is for Rangers) game mentioned above. You may be as super festive as Pablo Zabaleta when you received many breakthroughs, like when he scored his one and only English league goal in that game. But here comes a time of defeats and hardships, and you are on the verge of giving up. You are depressed, anxious, sorrowful, simply the saddest man in the world in your view, like how the City fans felt when the team conceded two Queen's Park goal later and cross-town rivals Manchester United, who were also chasing for the Barclays championship, were winning in another game elsewhere.

Ecclesiastes 7:3, however, tells us that it's OK to be sad. In fact, the verse says it's better to be frustrated than having fun and sadness is, guess what, GOOD for the heart and even gains wisdom (Ecc. 7:4). Now you may be doubting, "If the Bible is God's Word, then why He is telling us that sadness is better than happiness?" Again, He wants us to be happy, but He's saying here that you can learn more in defeats than in victories. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest athlete ever lived, even said in an interview that if not for the buzzer-beating game winners that he missed, he would have not been the best player ever. And the most important thing of all, God wants to reveal His power to us. When my registration matters this semester had gone mad, I was really depressed, but He promised me that He will do the mighty works, and indeed, He made possible the impossible. Now, from someone who's thinking of moving to another school, I got a chance to graduate in my current school (in two years, hopefully). It's just like scoring two goals in a span of 75 seconds to steal the win like what Manchester City exactly did.

God does not want us to be sad, but He said that it's OK to be sad. Why? To sum it up, He means that if we want happiness, as in TRUE HAPPINESS, all we need is to come to Him. In the end, what you think are the times that He's miles away from us are actually the cases that the Lord is just at pointblank range from us. All we need when we get sad is to accept His comfort and entrust everything in Him. God is our true source of happiness.

In this world you will face trouble, but take heart. [Jesus Christ has] overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Know God's Will?

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Despite the loss, Manny Pacquiao remained composed and optimistic on God's plans for him.
Asked on her husband's controversial loss, Jinkee Pacquiao uttered these words, "Maybe this is the Lord's will." It made me wonder, "Is Timothy Bradley's still the talk of the town upset over Manny Pacquiao really God's will?" Let's make this general: How can someone know the will of the Lord?

First and foremost, it's God's will for us to win in all of our battles, whether it's a boxing match, a soccer game, a basketball shootout, or even in our daily living, but God sometimes allow the trials, the defeats, and the setbacks to happen in us so that we'll gonna realize that all of our successes come from Him. I liked Manny's positive attitude upon hearing the controversial (How many times am I gonna type this word all over again?) announcement from renowned boxing announcer Michael Buffer. I felt his aura last Sunday as if he knocked out Bradley right in the 1st round. His rejuvenated relationship with God mattered a lot. In fact, I liked the positive comments I read in Facebook, Plurk, and Twitter saying that Manny won a greater victory, which is victory over sin. Kinda reminded me of Job when he lost virtually everything yet his faith in God became even more deeper (better read the entire book of Job for that). The promise Job held on was what Jesus taught us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

Usually, we realize that God moved in our midst in the end, like in the case of Pacquiao. But we can actually find out God's will right at the start. How? By praying to Him reading His Word, the Bible. Praying is our way of communicating with God. We ask for Him to reveal to us His will and ask for the things we need and want with agreement to His will. Reading the Bible is our way to know His answers. There are thousands of commands and promises in the Bible that will inspire and encourage us. One example of that is when I got into some academic trouble that made me fear that I may not be able to enter school again. I leaned on to His Word that He did not give us a "spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)" Despite the fears Satan is continuing to infuse on me, I remained firm, prayed to God, and guess what: my appeal to enrol again was APPROVED!

My pastor's favorite (Or should I say trademark?) quote is always on my mind: If it's God's will, it's God's bill. The Lord's plans will always prevail. If He allows something good, He knows you're doing it right. If He allows trials, He's reminding us to turn to Him. To encapsulate all of these, here's a quote from Rocksteddy's lead vocalist and Showtime host Teddy Corpuz. "My pastor told me, 'Don't merely believe everything I had preached, but find out for yourself. Read, ask, and seek Christ!' That's confidence in the Holy Spirit!"