Sunday, May 27, 2012

Doesn't Matter! Have Grace!

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I'm fresh from the 8th Philippine Blogging Summit, aka IBlog8, at the Malcolm Hall of the UP College of Law in Quezon City. I came there without any idea that an IPad 3 was at stake at a raffle draw sponsored by TV5.
I may not have won the IPad 3, but I got the greatest gift of all.
Recall: I lost my laptop last January, and I have been praying for four months now to get a new one. I took the opportunity. The winner has been drawn, but unfortunately, the winner is not named Ivan Saldajeno.

I really want that IPad 3 (well, at least the voucher that certifies the winner that she [the winner is a female blogger] will get one once Apple officially release the new tablet). I really prayed hard for that. But I guess the Lord said no for the meantime. Instead, he rebuked me. God touched me and said, "You don't need that IPad. You need Me." Then I was reminded of Daniel's BFF's, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These guys were about to be thrown to the fiery furnace when they didn't bow down at the statue King Nebuchadnezzar built. They even said, "...the God we serve... will deliver us... BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT... we will not serve your gods." (Daniel 3:17b, 18b) These guys stood too firm to their faith that even if they were to be burned alive (with the uncertainty whether the Lord will deliver them in an instant), they remained confident because they set their focus and affection on Heavenly things, something Paul reminded to the people of Colosse (Colossians 3:1-2). In the end, with the furnace set at a 7 times hotter temperature, God saved the three. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar even saw a 4th man that was in the furnace. In the King James Bible, the king recognized the 4th person to be the Son of God, that would happen to be Jesus Christ.

Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God's will always prevails. They knew the Lord is allowing some things for a purpose. They just let go and let God. That's grace. Our natural tendency when it comes to trials and nos from God is to be upset and impatient, but thanks to grace, which is God's gift, we're able to hold on to His promises no matter how long He will turn those promises into reality. Aside from that, it is by God's grace that we are saved. Because of our sins, we could have been all dead by now, but because of His grace that was exemplified by Jesus' sacrifice, we are now living a life that is fun and colorful.

Maybe the Lord did not allow me to have that IPad 3, but it doesn't matter to me at all. What's important is that He already gave His most precious gift, which is eternal life thanks to His grace. I will still hold on to His plans.

Monday, May 21, 2012

GG-Gaming and God

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Are you sure you're pleasing God with online games?
I don't know if Pastor Adrian Acosta's guest post on Pastor Kyle Eusebio's blog was (partly) inspired by a recent satire of "news" site So, What's News?. I'm pretty sure, though, that my new post on my new blog is inspired by both articles. Let's get straight to the point. We'll not just talk about Diablo 3 here, but also in all computer games you know. So here's the jackpot question: Is online gaming a sin?

It's a sigh of relief that So What's is a satirical site. If not, then I would have been fearing that the CBCP will crack down on me because I played some and still playing some more "prohibited games" like Cabal and Warcraft 3, aka DOTA. If the "news item" is for real, I would have been in jail right now and not jotting this down. Yet, I'm still at large. However, whether you're playing a violent game like Cabal or a "wholesome" game like Tetris Battle and Doodle Jump, take note of these:

1. Make sure you honor God with your gaming.

Online games are not sins, but playing them, including the likes of Tetris Battle (believe it or not) can cause you to sin. Often times, I get frustrated every time I am losing a match or the internet connection is lagging. But I'm making sure that I will not sin in those upset moments like what Ephesians 4:26a says. Furthermore, I'm also applying the second part of the verse (Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.). It's just a game. There are still more opportunities to win to come. Also, if you want to honor the Lord with your online gaming, don't join the trash talking, especially in Garena, an online gaming platform for Warcraft players, where taunting and trash talking (even to teammates) are rampant. You have two options, either you remain mum or reply, but I would suggest the first option. Like what Adrian said, if you think playing online games can worship Him, "then do it by all means!" But here's something I learned recently. I tried playing Doodle Jump because it trended after the Los Angeles Lakers lost in Game 2 of their NBA quarterfinals match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder. While playing that, I read the So What's article on Diablo 3, where an outbound link led me to a sad CNN report on Filipinos eating "pagpag" or leftover chicken. Then I wanted to quit playing Doodle Jump 'coz I believe God is touching me to look at the poor communities today. Simply saying, if God asks you to stop playing online games for a thing He wants you to do, then turn off your PC's.

2. You can make disciples through online games.

I have been playing computer games when I was 11, the time I accepted Jesus Christ to my life. I find myself happy every time I play those games, especially when trying new ones. But when I came to Los BaƱos, specifically when I started attending my current church, I find out that it can be a channel to make disciples. Well, we all know that online games can make new friends, enemies, and even frenemies, but making disciples is a higher notch than that. You can jumpstart introducing your friend to Jesus by playing online games with your Christian friends. However, you must be responsible in doing so, because if you're not careful, it might pull you away from your cause. The best thing to do is to read The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). If you think online games can win a soul to Christ as what He says on TGC, do it by all means.

Adrian's own words about the two points above ended with the similar sentence. "If you find yourself trying to justify, then I don't think it is worth it." It means that if you think playing computer games with your friends can help you win their souls, then just do it. If you're just trying to say it, then better keep mum. There are still other means of sharing the Gospel to people. If you're doubting playing with your friends will make it easier for you to share God's Word to them, then better do the better means: inviting them to church, inviting them to cell groups, or making yourself available if they have a major problem.

Ecclesiastes 12:13b-Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thank You Mom

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It has been 24 years of your motherhood.
Yet for me you're still the best woman in the neighborhood.
You endured being a mom all by yourself.
You have to sacrifice everything just to come to my help.
You have to work hard just to supply me with all
from childhood to even today that I'm old.
But for this special day, it's time to let me run my mouth.
This spoken word for you I will declare from north to south.
Just wanna say thanks for waking up even at night
just to meet our needs with all your might.
Despite the hardships and trials, you still look upon the Lord.
Now, I'm praising you for doing everything even if your body is sore.
With this simple yet beautiful poem, I am honoring you.
I really do hope you like it too.
Just like everyone, I call you blessed.
I'm gonna shout it out from east to west.
Thank you, mom, for being a part of my life.
"Happy Mothers' Day!" That's my greeting with all hype.