“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
What God used for you to overcome, it might be time to put it down.
Try it on first.
Drones are very popular these days, especially in taking photos and videos during weddings. They’re cool, fun and take amazing shots.
But when it comes to parenting, it can become uncool, not fun and unamazing when done in the wrong way.
Drone parenting is hovering around your kids and staying with them as much as you can so that you know their every move and hear their every conversation.
Just to let you know, when your kids are infants, toddlers and grade school, you have to hover over them. They need you to guide, lead and point them to the right direction.
However, when they get older, it won’t be as feasible and practical.
Drone parenting is when…
– You go to every high school party they attend.
– You listen to every conversation they have with their friends.
– You try to read every tweet, sms, Instagram comment, telegraph app message and the like.
– You watch every viral video that they watch on Facebook or You Tube.
– You filter every reading material they come across with.
To be clear, I am not saying to detach yourself from being involved in your children’s life and leave them to figure things out for themselves. But at the same breath, we have to know that we can’t hover over them 24/7.
From 0-6 years old, our kids are in the telling stage.
We tell them what they should do most of the time.
“Brush your teeth.”
“Time to sleep.”
“Eat your vegetables.”
From 7-12 years old, our kids are in the teaching stage.
We teach them to start making small decisions on their own.
“Blue shirt or red shirt?”
“Batman or Superman?”
“Cheese fries or Barbecue fries?”
But obviously in major things, we still have huge inputs.
From 13-18 years old, they are now in the training stage.
We train them to become more and more independent.
“Just take Uber going to your friends house.”
“Study for your exams on your own.”
“Determine how much you’ll save and how much you’ll spend.”
From 19-adulthood, they are in the coaching stage.
Our role as parents is to just coach them when the have a question.
But since they’re adults, they have to be empowered to make their own decisions.
The older our kids get, the less dependent they will be on us.
However, our goal is for them to be more dependent on God.
Allow me to pray for all the parents reading this.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the honor of raising, training and discipling the next generation right in our home. We don’t always get it right and we end up doing dumb things. But, Lord, in our hearts, we desire the best for our children. Teach us to be sensitive to Your leading, obedient to Your Word and teachable in our moments of inexperience. By Your grace, we will be the best parents for our kids and by faith, we will see a generation rise up that will please You with their lives.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Our third child, Ryan, recently turned 13. And for some reason, he had the crazy idea of cycling from Tokyo to the foot of Mount Fuji and then hike up to the summit. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was his passage into becoming a man and my passage of officially realizing that I’m old.
Biking 110 kilometers through several hills and a couple of mountains was not fun. I had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?”
This question came up again as we were hiking up to the summit of Mt. Fuji (3,776 m). We would stop and rest. And when we would, I would end up literally asleep for a few moments. When I would wake up, I would literally think I was in a bad dream… a nightmare, actually.
Because we had a lot of time to think and talk, we came up with a few life lessons along the way. Allow me to share them with you.
1. When you fall, just pick yourself up and move on.
At the summit, the winds were strong. They were as strong as 50 kph. Everyone had to stay low and duck many times as the strong winds would come by.
Walking was even a challenge. So there were times we would be swept by the wind and fall. We can choose to stay on the ground or just pick ourselves up and continue. We continued.
Life’s like that. We get hit and fall. The choice is ours. Will we stay knocked out or pick ourselves up and keep moving forward?
2. Don’t miss on what is happening now because you’re in a hurry to see what will happen next.
Life offers too many beautiful events and experiences. When we are in such a hurry, we miss out on the lessons, messages and the simple joys life has to offer.
3. Preparing is hard work but being ill-prepared is harder.
We trained. We prepared. We got ready.
I read up on a lot of those that did what we did.
But somehow, we weren’t as prepared for what we were going to go through. And boy it was tough.
Preparation is hard work. But it’s harder if we are ill-prepared.
4. Keep your eye on the goal.
We will be discouraged, exhausted and tempted to quit. But as we keep our eyes on the goal, we will eventually get there – one step at a time.
Keeping your eyes on the goal will keep you from quitting.
5. Trust the GPS.
As we cycled from Tokyo to Fuji, I had my Google maps on. I would tell Ryan to turn left when we needed to or turn right as necessary. But there were times he had his earphones on and we would miss a turn because he couldn’t hear me say “turn left.”
God knows which way is the best. He knows the GPS well because He planned it. But because we have too many voices in our ears, we get distracted. Thus, we miss our turn and end up in a place where we didn’t want to be in.
But thank God that, by His grace, He is able to cause all things to work together for our good. As we listen to His voice, He reroutes and gets us back on track.
6. We will face uphill challenges along the way, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
This was what we were trying to convince ourselves about the whole time we were trekking for a total of 8 hours to the summit.
“This will be worth it.”
And it was
The view of the sun rising from the summit was more than amazing.
Life will throw us a few curveballs and get us through uphill climbs. But if we are convinced that this is where God has placed us this season, then when we get to our destination, we will realize that it was all worth it.
7. Don’t just look forward to the destination; enjoy the journey as well.
We so badly wanted to reach the summit that we didn’t even talk to each other. Our legs were hurting and our eyes were shutting due to lack of sleep.
But managing to chat, interact, reminisce, and reflect on these lessons also became a highlight in the end.
To watch snippets of our adventure, I’ve posted 2 videos below of our bike trip and our hike up to the summit of Mt. Fuji.
VIDEO 1: CYCLING FROM TOKYO TO MT. FUJI
VIDEO 2: HIKING TO MT. FUJI SUMMIT
An auctioneer brought out an old, ugly and worn out violin with incomplete strings. No one seemed interested for it looked like junk. But after raising the violin for everyone to see, he mentioned that it was a 17th century Stradivarius owned by one of Napoleon’s generals, Count Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor.
Immediately, you could hear gasps coupled with oohh’s & aahh’s.
When we talk about honor, the sense of respect that brings about that “aahh” is what comprises honor.
The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother.
Here are a few FAQ’s I get asked all the time.
1. WHO DO WE HONOR?
We are called to honor father AND mother. It’s not an “or” but an “and”.
Some will say, “Paolo, it’s easy to do that to my mom. But my dad? Hmmm… I don’t think so.”
Or, “Paolo, my dad is so lovable and was always there. But my mom, she was never there. How can I honor someone who didn’t even care for me?”
The command doesn’t give us a footnote, exception clause or fine print. It just says honor your father and mother period.
When we honor our parents, we honor God.
2. WHY SHOULD WE HONOR THEM?
This command has a promise attached to it, “that your days may be long in the land.” (Exodus 20:12)
There are natural consequences to honoring and obeying; and so does the converse. If we dishonor, there are negative consequences.
Honoring our parents is not for their benefit but it is for us.
But ultimately, we honor our parents for our benefit; we do it for the glory of God. The benefits are merely the by-product of honoring our parents.
3. HOW DO WE HONOR?
We honor them through our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
What are we cultivating in our thoughts?
If we cultivate hatred, disrespect and anger, guess what will come out of our mouths?
Matthew 12:34 says that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
On the other hand, if we cultivate gratefulness, forgiveness and unconditional respect, that is what’s going to overflow from our hearts and eventually through our mouths.
4. WHAT IF THEY’RE NOT HONORABLE?
There are times when one may feel that their parents don’t need the honor the Bible tells us to give them.
But again, the Bible gives us the command and says to honor period. It doesn’t say that we are to honor them when they are kind and exceptional parents. We are to honor them because it’s the right thing to do.
Here are a few practical things to do:
a. Give grace.
Sometimes, we have raised the level of expectations to levels we won’t even meet ourselves.
Cut them some slack.
They are wicked, sinful and flawed sinners like the person reading this blog… that’s you and me.
b. Give forgiveness.
Forgiveness lets them off the hook.
We decide to not allow what they’ve done to hurt us the way it has in the past. We let go of the offense.
Note: Only those who have been forgiven have the power to do the same to others.
c. Give honor.
In the military, there’s a statement that they use – “Salute the rank.”
For more about this point, check out this blog by Joseph Bonifacio.
d. Give an example.
If we live a life that dishonors our parents, we end up setting a pattern for our kids to follow. When we dishonor our parents, we model to our kids how they are to treat us.
e. Give thanks.
There is always something to thank God for our parents. You can start by being thankful that you are alive today. Even just that, it’s a reason to be grateful.
The best antidote to a grumbling heart is a grateful heart.
To hear more about this topic, you may watch last Sunday’s message.
Every year, dads haul their tents and bags and bring their kids to camping to have one of the best times they can have.
This year, we had it at Clearwater Clark Pampanga.
For some dads, it was their first time to camp with their kids. For others, they have come year after year after year. The experience of sunburn (because they didn’t heed mom’s directive to put sunblock), no toothbrush for 24 hours and science experiments aka breakfast/lunch/dinner.
But most of all, times of prayer, worship and learning from God’s Word have always been a highlight.
I love what Bishop Juray Mora said in his message to the dads,
“I believe that our future will be greatly affected more by what happens in our homes than whoever wins in the next few elections that we face in our lifetime. Our greatest contribution to our children is not a financial nest that they can rest in. Our greatest contribution to our children is a home where a relationship with Christ is most valued, a home where their mother is loved unconditionally including them.”
To watch the recap of the recent camp, click the video below.
One of our Victory Group leaders messaged me this morning asking how she should respond to relatives, friends, and even church members who are at odds due to differing opinions and preferences regarding the ongoing election campaign.
It has become divisive and estranging. Families end up not talking to each other, office mates argue, and friends quarrel over who they feel would be the best to lead at this season of our nation’s history.
Here are a few random thoughts I shared with her:
1. What is most important?
I am saddened by how certain people are responding and reacting to all these. The Bible says we are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
That being said, we have to keep things in proper perspective.
Long after this election is over and done with, blood relatives will still be family. Church community will still be our spiritual family. Division or breaking relationship is simply just not worth it.
Some of the candidates won’t even remember us long after the elections are over.
Values determine priorities. And when the priorities are clear, decisions are simpler. It may not necessarily be easier but it is simpler for you know what or who is most important.
2. How about social media posts?
Posting on social media is not the problem. It’s what we post and how we say things are some of the concerns. Forcing, arguing, throwing hate, mud slinging are what makes it unhealthy and problematic.
3. Can I really be sure?
We can’t be completely sure who God has chosen to be the next president, vice president, mayor, councilor, etc. Remember, even the prophet Samuel made a mistake in choosing who the next president was. He thought it was the eldest son of Jesse. David, the youngest son, was who God chose. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.
But this is what I am sure of: GOD IS SOVEREIGN!
He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21)
He is in charge over the affairs of men. He can even use a Pharaoh or Cyrus to fulfill His purposes. How come? Because He is in charge!
4. What should we do?
First of all, go out and vote according to who you feel God has put in your heart.
Samuel had to hear the voice of God.
We all have to go to God, pray and vote according to your conscience.
5. What else can we do?
Pray! Pray! Pray for our nation.
This election campaign has been very divisive.
To reiterate what Ephesians 4:3 said, “Make every effort to keep the unity…”
To make every effort means to do your best within your powers to maintain unity.
“A kingdom divided cannot stand.”
How do we maintain unity? We can agree to disagree agreeably.
When someone shares who they will vote, we can maintain unity by respecting their opinion and not trying to convince them to change their mind. They’ve thought long and hard and hopefully have prayed.
Agreeing to disagree agreeably means respecting their opinion even if it differs from yours.
Remember, we can win the argument but lose the relationship in the process.
To quote Pastor Dennis Isleta, here’s what he said,
“I feel restoration does not begin after the elections but even as early as now. True Christlike character ought to be shown when no one is yet winner or loser. It is easy to be Christlike after one has won, and easy to be less Christlike when one has lost. So is it true about praising God for victory or asking Him for help for the nation when defeated.”
Hope this helps us.
God bless the Philippines!
Now, simpler doesn’t mean easier for many decisions we need to make are difficult. But when priorities are clear cut, choices are simpler.
I read a recent article by Sports Illustrated on Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time NBA All-Star, Most Improved Player in 2002. He helped Indiana Pacers reach the NBA Playoffs 6 times but never got a championship ring.
In 2013, he signed with the Golden State Warriors to play through 2014. But after a year with the Warriors, he decided to call it a career. The year after that, the Warriors went on to win their first championship after a 40-year drought.
When his former team won the championship, he was watching the game back at his house in Southlake, Texas. His 15-year-old daughter, Asjia watched her dad watch the game and asked, “Are you OK?”
O’Neal didn’t say a word.
She knew he was pondering on what might have been if he stayed another year.
But for years, he told his family that they were his priority. His daughter just recovered from an open heart surgery. And while contemplating on signing with the Warriors for another year (the year they won the championship), his son told him, “Hey dad, I need you.”
“Physically, I could have done it. Mentally, no. My son and my family asked me not to, and that was the trump card. That did something to me. I was seeing changes in my son, he became more angry. And for a guy who didn’t meet his dad until seven years ago myself, I understood what it meant not to have a dad there,” O’Neal mentions in his interview with Sports Illustrated.
After she asked her dad if he was ok, Asjia walks up to her room.
A few minutes later, she sends him a text telling him about how happy she was that he was home. After recovering from her open heart surgery, she made it to volleyball team in her school and is now a rising star.
Asjia tells her dad how she appreciates him not only being home but also being able to travel with her to watch her play her volleyball games.
“Dad, you being home is like you being a champion.”
This text made what he gave up all worth it.
“It made me so emotional. When she wrote the text, how much it meant to her, to get that, it cleared up everything. All the emotions I had, missing out on the championship. That did it and I knew right away that my time was over,” O’Neal said.
“Sometimes you can’t be a champion. That doesn’t determine who you are,” he says. “But you can be a champion father, and that means everything. That means everything.”
When values are clear, decisions are simpler.
To read the full article from Sports Illustrated, click here.
Many today misuse the grace of God to excuse their behavior to continue living in their lifestyle of sin.
Yes, the grace of God is available to save us from sin, but it is also available for us to say NO to sin.
Titus 2:11-12 declares: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Nick and Elma came to church after being invited by their children. They have been in a live-in situation for years and had thought that since they’ve been in the same situation for 25 years, God would somehow understand.
The grace of God empowers us to correct whatever wrong we’ve stood for in the past.
Watch their testimony on how God spoke to them to make things right.
Oklahoma City Thunder coach Monty Williams‘ wife was killed in a car accident. And in front of 900 friends and family members, he delivered a moving and speech of love, strength, wisdom and forgiveness.
I want to close with this, and I think it’s the most important thing we need to understand. Everyone is praying for me and my family, which is right, but let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well, and we have no ill will towards that family.
In my house, we have a sign that says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness. That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife. Life is hard. It is very hard, and that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family. And we, as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family, because they grieve as well. So let’s not lose sight of what’s important.
Towards the end of his speech, he thanks everyone who came and said something profound.
“We didn’t lose my wife. When you lose something, you can’t find it.
I know exactly where my wife is.”
Words of hope, security and faith.
On a time of trial, where are our eyes turned towards?
Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Here’s the video of his eulogy.