Sunday, June 30, 2013

GOOD OUCH FOR YOUR KIDS

Para sa buhay na hindi sabog, disiplina ang kailangan. 

Putting one's life together is no laughing matter. One may be a scatter-brain and forget what he did a while ago or where he placed something. But to be a scatter-life? That's a recipe for not merely slight bumps, but a lifetime of heartaches. 

New Life Center's Pastor Allan Critchett preached on disciplining children recently, directing his message especially to fathers, they being the head of the family. 

He quoted an end time prophecy from İsaiah 3:4&5 when "capricious children will rule... the young rising up against the old..." so he cautioned parents to "train up children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). 

Come to think of it, a baby doesn't come out of the womb with his hands on his lap or a smile on his face. He's simply a screaming, kicking and shrieking bundle! But so adorable! 

But not when he's a bit bigger, and you realize that this cute and cuddly nino-bonito, has somehow learned to wrap you around his little finger, manipulating you with even a whimper. 

Charge that to man's sinful nature. Proverbs 22:15 says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. So if one is allowed to carry out on his own, he will inevitably crash and burn---because he has not been trained to navigate life's situations wisely. 

The bible cautions parents, especially fathers, not to provoke their children to wrath, Ephesians 6:4. Ain't it tempting to hurl venom-infused words especially when your kid intentionally rebels? 

Without a fairly good dose of self control, a parent may severely lash out either with bruising words or a paddle, so a child gets mangled both inside and out. That's child abuse. 

Bringing up children involves discipline and instruction, adds Pastor Critchett. He used to wield a spatula as his rod to discipline his daughter---not so hurting if you come to think of it. But even when he was just getting ready to use it, his daughter would already be wailing and contorting like she was already being spanked. "İ'm sorry, İ'm sorry, İ won't do it again, waaaah!" 

My daughter disciplines her son by barking, "Go to your place!" He would cry and agonize as if he'd been flogged a million times, screaming the same line, "İ'm sorry, İ'm sorry, İ won't do it again, waaaah!" 

Don't discipline your kid when your blood is still boiling. Simmer down first, cautions Pastor Critchett. And balance discipline with instruction so he understands the need for discipline. 

Discipline and instruction cushion children from the ouch of God, he says. As they grow into adulthood, they will be disciplined too inside as they commit their lives to the Lord. 

A little ouch is like band aid. Once plastered, it will give your child such relief, he wouldn't want to part with it.

(Originally published at CBNAsia.org)
Photo credits: elizabethpulie.wordpress.com

Sunday, June 16, 2013

LOVE GROWN COLD

İ surf TV channels a lot, oftentimes coming across reality shows on animal lovers and their pets. 

A recent program featured animal hoarders---their lives turned upside down by unlimited numbers of pets which have made their once houses-of-humans, landmines of stink, barf, poo, pee and even animal corpses.

Analysts say animal hoarding is a disorder brought about by the sufferers' traumatic relationships with humans. They turn to animals like cats and dogs which, according to one, "are more loyal and won't hurt you." "Pitiful" and "sad" were the only words that came to mind. 

İn our country, on the other hand, we see children roaming the streets like stray cats and dogs, with not much of us paying attention to them. They knock on car windows but are most of the time shooed away. 


Count me guilty. Sometimes İ gave. Other times İ didn't, especially when İ'd realize giving to pan-handlers was against the law, or that behind these children were syndicates and lazy parents making these kids their palabigasan (source of livelihood). 

Why all this erratic behavior and our indifference? God's startling and all too piercing answer: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold," Matthew 24:12. So many unfortunate things happening around us have caused even believers to remain quiet or afraid to be involved. 


Somehow, we've gotten used to just staying on the sidelines even while tragedies march in front of us. Isn't that the equivalent of a heart grown cold? 

Ah Lord God, forgive us. Let the Holy Spirit search our hearts. May we be sensitive to those who are alone and abandoned, and have turned to creatures or things to fill their emptiness. 

Help us not to slip into the same kind of defeatist or dysfunctional attitude. May we invite not just the animal protection agency to come into their situations, but to ask Jesus into their lives along with your compassion to help see them through. 

More important, may we be filled with love and compassion for helpless street children who have been abused by their parents and others who have lured them to a life of sin. 

We surely cannot solve all the abuse and poverty around us, but we can do something about every situation we encounter everyday. We can either turn a deaf ear or we can turn our head in their direction and have bread ready for them, along with a prayer for Jesus to save them. 

May we have the wisdom to do whatever little we can do with the little that we have. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48a) 

Or you can plan on having a more profound and lasting impact. Operation Blessing and World Vision are two of the more trustworthy organizations you can support to make sure your help for children, needy families and communities reach their intended beneficiaries: 

http://obphil.com/v2/  http://worldvision.org.ph/

Originally published at CBNAsia.org

photo credits: twolittlecavaliers.com, theseedoflife.wordpress.com, www.bluenc.com, deepwaters82.wordpress.com

Friday, June 7, 2013

THE APP THAT MATTERS



“I want to design apps,” my grandson Joaqui recently told his mother Lucci.

Joaqui  earlier declared he’d be designing cars. Quite smart—excelling in both Math and English (he devours books), he’s a ten year-old fifth-grader who’s determined to win.  

He could fly to the moon if he wanted to. Of course, that’s me, Lola (grandmother) speaking! Believe sa apo!

But when Lucci shared Joaqui’s new dream, this Lola’s brain started pole dancing with dollar figures.

Well, because I recalled this recent UK news that 17-year old Nick D'Aloisio created an app which was reportedly bought by Yahoo for a cool £18m: “Nick’s app provides bite-sized summaries of content from news and other sites. He joins an elite group of teenagers who have become internet millionaires.”

If Nick can do it, so could my apo!

App, for the uninitiated (grandmothers like me), is “application” abbreviated. In compu-speak, apps are software to make computing tasks easier—meant to make ordinary mortals’ lives like moi rosier.    
If you ask me, the more apps I’ve needed to use, the more confused— hilo—I’ve become. And the more confused I’ve become, the more thankful I am that I’m old—no longer working full time, needing to keep up with nerdy stuff.  

But my old soul grieves. Young people nowadays are so smart especially with techie things. Yet they’re reading less and less, or interacting superficially with others, and spending more intimate time with their unfeeling companions—social media and games. 

Oh yes, they’re fast and agile with their cellphones and computers, sharing more photos, videos and ha-ha stuff.  But why are so many young people disconnected? Why their seeming lack of vision and direction?
I’ve been teaching college students for many years. Every year, I seem to be facing bigger roadblocks trying to reach them. I get more blank stares and empty minds—not a sign of empty hearts I hope. But I’ve sensed that too.

As parents, we should give our kids a daily dose of the apps that matter.  Just like the vitamins you give them regularly for good health. I’m glad Joaqui and his sister Charlize get a lot of them.

The Word of God, the greatest app of all!

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deutoronomy 11:18-19

The app to success? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Proverbs 1:7. All other apps follow suit.  

Joseph, in Genesis, rose from slavery to be Egypt’s second most powerful man—because He feared God, so He always went with him—even when trials seemed inevitable.

His Word alone, revealed in Christ, ensures greater victory over life’s many glitches. Did I say Joaqui loves this app better?

(Originally published at CBNAsia.org)
Photo credits: digitaltrends.com, blog.wordofgracechurch.com

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LETTING GO


Nick Vujicic blew into town recently, drawing SRO crowds where he spoke, with audiences chewing his every word as he testified of God’s amazing grace. 

Without fail, this handsome and charismatic speaker  just let rivers of tears and conviction flow simultaneously from people who realized that if this guy without arms and legs can do it, so could they; because they have a God who enables—exceedingly—no matter how insignificant, down and out, or trash-worthy they think their lives have been. 
  
I won’t add anymore to the reams or bytes of e-texts, written about Nick.  Most of them have been deeply inspirational and life changing.

I’ve attempted this little message though for every mother currently struggling with feelings of condemnation, inadequacy or guilt that they have brought into this world a baby just like Nick.

No one could fathom how a mother’s heart dies when she is told that the baby she just gave birth to has been diagnosed as either missing or having some extra body parts, with a hole in his heart or a dextrocardia (heart turned to the right), blood abnormality, or has Down’s syndrome or any kind of disability. 

“What sin have I committed that my baby came out this way?”

“I can’t—I don’t know—how to deal with this.”
“Is there ever a way out of this? Will my baby ever be like a normal child?”  

“How can we cope with this? Financially? As a family?”

Guilt. Worry. Blaming yourself or looking for someone to blame, even blaming God. Helplessness.  Anger. All these come on you like a heavy ceaseless downpour, blurring everything; and sending you a downward spiral toward depression, even thoughts of, “It’s probably better to just end it all.”

And it may take years to extricate oneself out of it.


And what about mothers who have decided to abort or given their unwanted babies for adoption because they were simply not ready for the responsibility—then find themselves eternally hounded by their seemingly unpardonable sin? 

One such mother’s life-altering ordeal eventually led her to Jesus Christ. In the same way that Jesus became the answer to Nick’s helpless situation, this mother found her answer only in Christ. As she started to trust Jesus, she found hope in His promise to heal, to provide and to do exceedingly great on behalf of her baby.

What has happened has happened. We live in a fallen world where all sorts of tragedies occur. There are so many things we can’t explain; and we won’t know the answers until we see God face to face.

But Jesus is the only answer. Let the past just be a memory, something we learn from.  As you humble yourself now before God, let Jesus wash away all guilt and condemnation. He makes things brand new!

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans  8:1-2)


As you walk free from the past, believe too that Jesus will turn everything in your child’s favor. “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Mothers who have come to Jesus have never been disappointed. Ever!


Originally published at CBNAsia.com
(Photo credits: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org, paintingsbycynthia.com, paintingsilove.com)