INSTANT vs. DELAYED GRATIFICATION

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Blog Banners.001“I want some Skittles! And I want them now!!!”

Many of us have had this situation in the grocery store check out line. Grocery stores are very smart. They strategically position the candies and toys right when we’re about to pay… at the time when the kids are tired, hungry, cranky and impatient after tagging along with mom and dad at the supermarket.

We live in a world where we can get things in an instant.
Information can be downloaded in a few seconds as compared to going to a library going through a card catalogue to get to the specific book we need.
Preparing dinner is now quick and easy through a microwave oven as compared to lighting up the stove, heating up the pan and cooking your meal.
Communication moves in lightning speed. Sending a letter is now as swift as blinking your eyes compared to getting an envelope, sticking a stamp and going to the post office send your mail.
Reading news is no longer through the paper bought from a newsstand but via Twitter that gives an update every minute.

It’s a completely different world. But unfortunately, it also has rewired the way we approach life. Because we are used to getting things quick, we feel incomplete and unresolved when we don’t.

And teaching our children to wait has become more complicated and arduous.

Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward based on a greater value.

Psychology Today wrote an article last year that explained it this way.

“In 1970 psychologist Walter Mischel famously placed a cookie in front of a group of children and gave them a choice: they could eat the cookie immediately, or they could wait until he returned from a brief errand and then be rewarded with a second. If they didn’t wait, however, they’d be allowed to eat only the first one. Not surprisingly, once he left the room, many children ate the cookie almost immediately. A few, though, resisted eating the first cookie long enough to receive the second.

Interestingly, the children who were best able to delay gratification subsequently did better in school and had fewer behavioral problems than the children who could only resist eating the cookie for a few minutes—and, further, ended up on average with SAT scores that were 210 points higher. As adults, the high-delay children completed college at higher rates than the other children and then went on to earn higher incomes. In contrast, the children who had the most trouble delaying gratification had higher rates of incarceration as adults and were more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.”

We need to help our children learn this trait. The earlier they get this, the less heartaches they will experience in the future.

One of the most effective ways to distract our kids from a tempting pleasure is to focus on another pleasure that is based on a greater value.
As Roy Disney said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

By not eating one cookie before dinner, I can have 2 after dinner.
Because I did not spend my money impulsively on a cheaper yet flimsy toy, I can buy a nicer and better one.
If i discipline myself to wake up early to exercise rather than sleep in, I feel
better physically and emotionally.
By keeping my purity before marriage, I end up enjoying greater intimacy with my future spouse without the unnecessary heartaches.

Presenting a greater value to the one that is right before us may seem abstract at the moment but once we wrap our heads around it, we will realize that it is a way better choice.

—–

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geracg/

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GRACIOUS CONVERSATION SEASONED WITH SALT

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You and I have met people who are curt and abrasive with their words that leave people wounded and hurt after a simple conversation.

On the other hand, we also have been with people who is all grace that it has become mere tolerance of sin. And THAT is  not biblical grace.

I recently was talking to a young person from church who had a bad experience. She looked up to this person because of her admirable leadership qualities. But with her strength came certain weaknesses. She was quick to cut conversations and swift to make conclusions. Most of the time, she was actually right. But the way it was done was offensive.

Many times, it is not what is being said but how it is said.

The other extreme is to merely listen and remain silent to the point of tolerance. I met with someone with a similar experience. His friend was clearly in sin. But since he wanted to stay connected with his friend, he didn’t want to say anything. It was borderline tolerance and condoning.

The Bible says that “wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6)

Paul says in Colossians 4:6,Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 

May  know when to speak and when to listen, what to say and how to say it, and be a friend rather than an observer for open rebuke is better than hidden love.

PRAYER:

Lord, remind me that I have been given two ears and one mouth so that I may listen more and speak less. And when I speak, may I speak with truth combined with grace. You came, Word made flesh, dwelt among us full of grace and truth. May we live life as well filled with grace and truth. In Jesus name. Amen.

___

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manuel_atienzar/


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IMPARTING WISDOM TO OUR CHILDREN

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Blog Banners.001Wisdom is seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.

Our children today are very smart. My eldest son actually has an IQ of 160. My second son can solve a Rubix cube in 30 plus seconds. My daughter’s musical ability is stellar. And my youngest son who is 6 years old is genius at being funny.

Kids these days can know a lot more from their parents because of Google and You Tube. The information they can gather over the internet is just limitless. (Read a recent blog I wrote about it.)

But as parents who have been entrusted with these amazing brains, how can we even help them if they know more about us? Well, they don’t (know more about us). Smart doesn’t necessarily mean wise. Wisdom comes from experience. Wisdom is applied knowledge.

Here are a few things we can do:

Teach them God’s standards from an early age.

Proverbs is a great way to impart wisdom. Since there are mostly 31 days in a month and 31 chapters in Proverbs, going through one chapter per day with them may be a good start. You may not need to read the whole chapter but simply choose a proverb or two that may apply to something they’re going through at the moment.

Remember that the goal is to train them to become fully functioning adults.

Our desire is to wean them off from us and get them connected to God. The trajectory is that as they become less dependent on us, they will become more dependent on God.

Dependence DIagram

Teach them to seek God through His Word, through prayer and through the counsel of godly mentors.

Remind them about the ‘best question ever.’

Andy Stanley proposes that once we’ve met Christ, the major question is no longer “is this sin?” or “is this legal or illegal?” or “is this moral or immoral?” Many times, we know the answer to these questions. But it’s the little decisions that lead up to that one big fall is what gets us.

He proposes that the best question ever is no longer “is it moral or immoral?” but “What’s the wise thing to do?” It may sound very simple but when we teach our kids this question, it will be incredibly helpful in making the right decisions.

Is it wrong to be in the car parked in a dark area of the village past midnight with your boyfriend? It’s not sin but it’s not necessarily wise.
Is it wrong to watch You Tube seven hours a day? It’s not wrong but it’s not necessarily wise.
Is it wrong to surf the internet all by yourself locked in your room past midnight without internet porn filters? It’s not sin but it’s also not wise.
Is it sin to eat ice cream every meal, every day? Not necessarily but it’s also not wise.

It’s the small decisions that lead up to that one big fall that gets to us.
This question is a good one to teach our kids.

May God give us discernment and lead us as we parent the next generation who rises up before us. I know we are all busy but I pray that we would be able to invest time in imparting wisdom to these precious ones that we’ve been entrusted with.

———

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thearkev/


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“SHOULD I SHIFT CAREERS?”

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My wife and I were in a wedding recently.  Jenn was asked by a friend on wisdom what to do with her current situation. This friend of ours was in a great company with substantial compensation, working in a beautiful city abroad.

But she felt unfulfilled, unsure and dissatisfied. Jenn was asked what our friend should do.  My wife who has great wisdom gave an insight that I thought was worth sharing.

Invest your life in something that will yield eternal dividends.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.   (Matthew 6:19,20)

Does that mean she should get into ministry? Was Jenn suggesting that our friend get into church work? Did she imply quitting and become a missionary? Absolutely not.

Investing our life in something that yields eternal dividends entails finding what God is doing and contributing to accomplishing that goal in your own little way.

To some, it may be earning beyond what they need monthly so that they can help ministries that reach people who haven’t heard of Christ. For others, it may be using your talents to advance the kingdom of God through arts, media, athletics, music, and others. For certain people, it may be staying where they’re at and finding God’s purpose for the platform they have at the moment.

But the most important thing is to find out what God is doing and then fling your life into it.

I love what Steve Murrell said,

“It doesn’t matter how we will be remembered.  What matters is if we did what God told us to do.” 

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord for putting me where I am today. Show me if this is where I need to be or if there’s a better place You’d be able to use me to share Your love to the people I encounter. May I understand the purpose of my season and discern when my time is up so I can move on to Your next assignment for me. The most important thing is that I am in the center of Your will, doing what You’ve called me to do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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TRUTH ABOUT LIES

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Sarah, a 4-year old girl was given a clear directive by her mom not to get cookies from the cookie jar for it was almost time for supper.   But since Sarah loved cookies so much, she was tempted to sneak into the kitchen and try to get at least one piece.  But as she was sneaking one out from the cookie jar, her mother comes in the kitchen and asks, “Sarah, what are you doing?”  Quickly putting both hands behind her back to try to hide the cookie she said, “Mom, what do you mean?  There’s nothing in my hands.  I don’t have a cookie behind my back.”  Of course, her mom confronts her and tells her that she was caught in the act.  To this, Sarah replies, “But mom, it’s really not my fault.  Really!  I was just trying to smell the cookies but it got stuck between my teeth.”

How can kids come up with these kinds of stories?  Who taught them?  How did they get this “creative”?  Here are three truths about lying that would help us understand our kids better.

TRUTH NO. 1:  LYING CAN START EARLY

Do not be surprised when your young child comes to you one day with a story that is completely not true. Our eldest child was only 4 when he told his first lie. Of course we couldn’t believe that our cute, sweet and adorable son would be capable of doing such a thing!  But after talking to other parents with far more experience than us, we learned that our son was not an isolated case. Children as young as 3 or 4 years old are capable of lying.

Proverbs 22:15 says that folly is bound up in the heart of a child.

Basically, there are four reasons a child lies: To keep their parents happy, to stay out of trouble, to avoid embarrassment often related to low self-esteem, or because they want attention.  Children may fabricate a story about something good they did in school to please their parents. Or if they know they had done something wrong, they may give you another version of what really happened to avoid the punishment. They may also say some things about themselves that are not true so they can belong or be accepted by other kids. Or simply children may lie because their parents haven’t been spending time with them and this is the only way to get their parents to listen to them.

TRUTH NO. 2 LYING SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY

Children will lie whether we like it or not. That’s how deceitful our hearts can become as Jeremiah 17:9 declares.

How we handle their lying will determine how honest and truthful they will grow up in the future. In our house, we have established clear boundaries we expect from our children to follow strictly.  One of them is, “You have to be truthful at all times.”  While our society and culture might justify some amount of lying, we cannot tolerate it in our home. We want our children to learn early in their lives that lying has serious consequences.

The foundation for every relationship is trust. Lying breaks that trust. Lying damages our relationships. We want our children to grow up enjoying healthy relationships with others that is why it is one of our priorities to teach them the value of truthfulness and honesty. People who lie think that lying will make things better for them. But actually lying can lead to bigger, and more serious problems if not dealt with properly.

TRUTH NO. 3    LYING CAN BE UNLEARNED

If your child has developed the habit of lying, the good news is it can be unlearned. Our kids can be taught how to be truthful.  If we start early and constantly emphasize honesty and truthfulness in our homes, our kids will eventually learn that lying doesn’t have to be the only option.

There are two ways we can train our kids to be truthful. First is to reward honesty.  We have to make our children realize that it is always better to tell the truth. Whenever they honestly admit some things to us, we need to appreciate them for it. Verbally affirm them for telling the truth (“I’m so proud of you for telling the truth!”).  And at times, even reward them with something tangible like additional allowance or a small toy. This constant reinforcement will encourage them to always be truthful.

Some people would say they don’t like giving rewards. But remember, Hebrews 11:6 says that God rewards His children. It’s perfectly ok to reward as long as it becomes the result of good work rather than a motivation for it.

The second way to train our kids to be truthful is for us parents to exemplify truthfulness. Set a good example for your children. Be truthful and honest in your own everyday behavior. Asking your children to lie for you (“Tell him I’m not home”) is a a way to show them it’s ok to lie. Let your children see you go out of your way to be honest.

If a clerk gives you too much change, point it out and return it. Admit your own mistakes and let your children see how you rectify them. Parental example is very powerful.  If we expect our children to be honest, we must show them how.

Remember, our children are learning from us all the time.

What we do today will make a great impact tomorrow.

___

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7518432@N06/ 

 


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DON’T GO BACK TO SLAVERY

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When Christ saved us, He saved us not just from the penalty of sin but also from its power.
We don’t have to give in to temptation for sin is no longer our master but Jesus.

But is it possible that sin creeps back in so that it begins to master over us? Absolutely.

When building a garden, the gardener needs to get rid of the rocks and the boulders that will choke the life out of the grass and plants. When Jesus came in our lives, He has given us the ability to put off the old self so that we may put on the new self as Colossians declares.

After many years of walking with Christ, it’s no longer the boulders nor the big rocks you and I are concerned about. It may be the little pebbles that may slowly accumulate that may choke the spiritual life in us.

From our words to how what allow our minds to absorb; from what we watch to how we relate with the opposite gender, these can cause us to get back on the road of slavery again.

Paul says in Galatians 5:1, For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

He understood that slavery again both to the law and to sin is possible. By His grace, we can say no to sin and yes to Him every moment.

PRAYER: Lord, help me examine my life to see if there’s pebbles of iniquity that might get me back in the slavery of sin – from what I allow myself to watch or listen to how I relate with others; from my business practices to how I treat our house help; from what I allow myself to dwell on in thoughts to how I blow off steam when I’m upset. I have been set free for Christ has done so at the cross. May You, by Your grace, continue to give me victory. You are my Victory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

——–

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/15929026@N06/

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ALCORN-ISMS

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I realize that I’ve been tweeting lots of Wayne Alcorn one-liners that I’ve flooded people’s news feeds. Before people start unfriending me, I just decided to post the “Alcorn-isms” I picked up throughout the Ignite Every Nation Campus Conference.

Here goes…

Before change happens around you, it first has to happen in you.

Self awareness is a leadership gift. When we know who we are, we are able to lead from a place of security.

If you were charged due to being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? 

When you understand the “why”, every other “what” makes sense.

Why do preachers want to sing and singers want to preach? Just be comfortable with who God made you to be.

Horses reproduce horses. Ducks reproduce ducks. Leaders reproduce leaders.

Be the leader you want to reproduce. What you are is what you’ll reproduce.

God invites us to call Him Father the moment He created us.

If we are going to change the campus or change the world, we need to be changed by a radical revelation of the Father heart of God.

There’s a difference between delegation and abdication. #leadership

You eventually become who you relate to. #friendships

Excellence is not a program or a budget. Excellence is an attitude.

Atmosphere – faith = no miracles. (Commentary on Mark 6:5)

Legacy is giving of yourself sacrificially into a crop you may never see.

 

PS. Please feel free to add more “Alcorn-isms” below.

———-

PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook Ignite Conference Photo Album


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“CAN I EVER BE FORGIVEN?” (PACO’S STORY)

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Forgiveness is a valuable commodity these days.

Offense. Pain. Hurt.
But whatever might be the cause, forgiveness is something of a great need.

In today’s Day 1 of Ignite 2015, Pastor Wayne Alcorn told a powerful story on forgiveness.

Ernest Hemingway wrote a book entitled Capital of the World. He told a story of a father and his son named Paco had been estranged for some reason.
As a result, Paco ran away from home. No one could really say why he ran away. Perhaps he didn’t, but was kicked out of his home by his father for something foolish that he said or did.

Either way, Paco found himself wandering the streets of Madrid, Spain hoping to enter into a profession that would most likely get him killed – bullfighting. Those who train under a mentor have a good chance of surviving this profession, but Paco’s memory of his mistakes and guilt over what happened blindly drove him to this one way street to suicide.

But that was the last thing his father wanted, which is why he tried something desperate which he desperately hoped would work. There was little to no chance that he would be able to find Paco by wandering the streets of Madrid , so instead he put an announcement in the local newspaper El Liberal.

The advertisement read,

“Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday.
All is forgiven!
Love, Papa.”

At the time of the meeting, when Paco’s father got to the Hotel, he wasn’t prepared for what he was about to see. Because Paco was such a common name in Spain (a nickname for Francisco), the next day at noon, there were 800 young men with the same name waiting for their fathers – waiting for the forgiveness they thought they would receive that day.

If we needed education, God would’ve sent a teacher.
If we needed finances, God would’ve sent a businessman.
If we needed technology, God would’ve sent a scientist.

But God knew that our greatest need was forgiveness.
That’s why He sent His Son.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Thanks be to God that forgiveness is available through Christ.

If you’re reading this and you’re saying, “That’s me! I’m that Paco. And I have walked away from my Heavenly Father,” know that He will never turn you away. He said that a broken and contrite heart, He will never turn away. (Ps. 51:17).

You can pray this prayer now…

“Heavenly Father, I know that I have disobeyed and walked away from You. I now realize that You love me and continue to love me in spite of my disobedience. I am sorry and I repent from my ways. I hear your voice inside my heart and I am responding to Your call to come home. I receive You into my life. Please by my Lord, Master, Savior, Redeemer and Forgiver. I give my life to you. Help me to live for You from this day forward. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.”

 

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PHOTO CREDIT (blog banner): https://www.flickr.com/photos/47444383@N06/6105349915/

Here are a few of the photos for Ignite Day 1.

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Pastor Wayne Alcorn

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Photo Credit: Ignite Facebook Page
More photos here.


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10 TAKE AWAYS ON DISCIPLESHIP AND LEADERSHIP FROM IGNITE PRECON

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Today marks the unofficial start of our Every Nation Campus Conference dubbed as “Ignite. We had 3 amazing speakers starting with Pastor Wayne Alcorn from Hope Centre Australia followed by Pastor Jeff Dacumos from Victory Metro East and Pastor Ferdie Cabiling of Victory Ortigas.

Here are my 10 take aways from today’s sessions:

1. Before change happens around you, it first has to happen in you. – Wayne Alcorn

2. Self awareness is a leadership gift. When we know who we are, we are able to lead from a place of security. – Wayne Alcorn

3. If you were charged due to being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? – Wayne Alcorn

4. When you understand the “why”, every other “what” makes sense. – Wayne Alcorn

5. Why do preachers want to sing and singers want to preach? Just be comfortable with who God made you to be. – Wayne Alcorn

6. Horses reproduce horses. Ducks reproduce ducks. Leaders reproduce leaders. – Wayne Alcorn

7. Be the leader you want to reproduce. What you are is what you’ll reproduce. – Wayne Alcorn

8. Pastor Jeff Dacumos told a powerful story on discipleship and leadership development. Michaelangelo, when asked about he is able to work on sculpting his famous work, “David”. How was he able to see a sculpture out of a plain old big rock. His answer?

“I just take out the parts that don’t look like David.”

9. Pastor Ferdie Cabiling was his usual fiery sermonator that he is.

God uses different personality types to reach people for Christ

1.Confrontational
2. Intellectual
3. Testimonial
4. Relational
5. Invitational
6. Serving

But whatever personality you have, God can use you to tell the greatest story ever told.

10. Sharing your faith doesn’t have to be complicated. Just share how Jesus changed your life. – Ferdie Cabiling


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STEPH CURRY AND HIS FAITH

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A decade ago, the Golden State Warriors were regular cellar dwellers. 

These days, we hear that team often mentioned in ESPN. Coupled with the team is a name that is consequentially mentioned – Steph Curry

The son of a 16 year NBA veteran, Dell Curry, has made it big. But in spite of his athletic success, he forgets not the reason why he was given this platform. 

In the website of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he had this to share: 

I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I gave my life to Christ. I was in fourth grade, and I recall hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ and walking down the aisle to give my life to Him. My parents continued to pour into my faith from that point on, making sure I understood the commitment I’d just made. Starting in middle school I attended Charlotte Christian School, which allowed me to hear the gospel on a daily basis. Looking back, my childhood was filled with the Lord’s presence.

Some of us might have seen him thump his chest and point his index finger upward after making a shot.  In an interview with Decision Magazine , he explains that it was a trademark he and his mother came up with as an outward sign and internal reminder that God gets the glory for his success. 

Steph explains furthermore. 

“Obviously, there’s a lot of hoopla and fanfare that follows you wherever you go, but I know where my talent comes from.”

“I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on. I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”

In a column last year for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes website, Steph wrote that he loves to point people toward “the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.”

“I love to play the game, and I love when good things happen,” he said. “But when I get home, it’s about my family and just enjoying the blessings in my life without letting [basketball] define my personality or my character.”

May of this year (2015), Steph received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award.   He started his acceptance speech saying: “First and foremost I have to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game, with the family to support me, day in, day out. I’m his humble servant right now and I can’t say enough how important my faith is to who I am and how I play the game.”

One Q&A session, Curry spoke in detail about his faith after one member of the media asked him about the meaning of the 4:13 that he made sure was placed at the bottom of some of the sneakers’ tongues. Inside the tongue reads, “I can do all things,” which comes from Philippians 4:13 which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“It represents a Bible verse I wear on my shoe,” Curry explains to the press, according to Rapzilla reports. “Philippians 4:13. It says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.”

His life reminds me of James 4:6  that says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

May we all be encouraged to use whatever platform God has given to ultimately bring praise and honor to His name and His name alone. 


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