Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Defines My Sucess?

“The scripture says, “Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.” Matthew 4:4

I was looking at a high school picture posted by one of my batch mates in FB. I can’t help but smile as sleeping memories awakened inside my head. We were young, hopeful, and excited; we were on the verge of entering the door to the next chapter of our life – college. We were also na├»ve, and clueless of what real life was all about. Way back then not many, if ever there was at all, had foreseen his or her life today. And this included me.

MCCNHS CAT Commencement Exercise

Life is so amazing. When this picture was taken who would have thought that Sonny K will become an Expat in China, that Sonny S will become a professor in Mapua, that Elmer and Lorraine will migrate to the US, that Razel would become a real estate investor, that I would be blogging God’s words, and many more. Who would have also thought that Rommel and Sherwin would join our Creator before I can write this article? Not one among my batch mates, and I except He who knows everything.

The book of Genesis in the Bible says, “God created us in His image and likeness”. What many of us don't realize is that there is a very deep implication to this passage. More often than not, we see in us a quacking duck when deep behind those fluffy feathers is a sharp and powerful eagle waiting to be released. God designed us such that we can do anything we want…if we just believe it with all our heart, mind and soul. It’s not a question whether you can do it. The real question posed to each and every one of us is, “Do you believe you can do it?” It was Henry Ford who once said, “If you think you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Take it from the man who had accomplished so much in his lifetime, and whose legacy lingers until now.

What it takes to succeed in life? I think this is the question that many of us had the opportunity to wrestle with. (There are others who are so busy fighting for survival that they can’t even ponder on this question.) Work hard? Work smart? Stay competitive and outshine the others? Get more education? Cheat your way to the top? Connections? Networks?

This is my belief. Your success will not be defined by money, power, or fame, but by your dreams. Yes, it’s your dreams in life that will define ‘your’ success. The dreams of other people definitely will not define your success. Their success is their success, and your success is yours; you don't have to pursue the dreams of others to become successful. Ergo, if you do not have dreams in life now then you are like a dry leaf floating in a cold lake. You go will where the wild wind will take you. No wonder you don’t feel alive, you’re not truly happy…

When this high school picture was taken, I was a dry leaf. I had all notions of what was success – become a hotshot in a big company, become rich, become famous, collect a horde of beautiful girls, and other usual stuffs. But I had no real dream that I can call my own. Don’t ask me why, it’s a long story. But now I can tell you that I have ‘real’ dreams in life. How did I come to know my dreams in life?

I am an electrical design engineer by profession. I put resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors here and there to get the desired circuit performance and functions. Likewise, when our Master Craftsman created us, he put specific functions into the fiber of our being such that when we finally become a moving, talking and thinking flesh, our being will yearn to follow our designed function. In short, we are designed by God for specific purposes. Your God-given purposes become your ‘real’ dreams.

I found my ‘real’ dreams when I finally understand Matthew 4:4. It means that we are both flesh and spirit. Hence, we cannot live a full life by satisfying the need of our flesh alone. Above all, we have to satisfy the needs of our spirit. The flesh dies and rot, but the spirit lives on.

A few of my batch mates already joined our Creator…may they rest in peace…while the rest of us are still given the opportunity to discover and fulfill our purpose in life. Don’t you think it’s worth your time and effort to discover and fulfill yours, too? Who knows what you will accomplish 5 years from now?

Time marches on; the candle of our life will one day stop burning. And when the curtains of this world will fall upon us there is one basic question that will determine whether we will go in peace or we will go in vain: “Have you fulfilled your purpose in life?”

NEXT "How to know your purpose in life?"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Few of My Beliefs

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."  -- Proverbs 1:7

Our actions revolve around our innermost beliefs. It's like the code in your PC that runs behind the scene. We make or break because of our beliefs; a bug could spell disaster to our application. So the key to sucess in our life now, and even in life after death lies in our belief. The good news is that you can change your beliefs, and hence your future. Just make sure that you are not dumping a rotten tomato for a rotten egg.

Early this month, I joined the Energizer marathon. It was not really a big deal except that I have never joined a marathon in my life before. I was sickly and sluggish as a kid. In every physical sports I joined in, I was either average or below average. On top of this, I haven't engaged in any physical sports or activities like basketball, badminton for the longest time.

On my way to Rox to register, I set my mind for 3K or at most 5K. I thought that finishing 5K was questionable because of my poor stamina, but I took it as a worthwhile challenge. However, when I got to Rox, a friend of mine challenge me to run for 10K. The challenge just blew my mind away. If I have doubts of finishing the 5K in vertical position, how much more finishing 10K? Maybe on a stretcher! That was my belief at that moment. But then another belief of mine butted in, "If I set my mind into a BIG dream, commit my heart to it, give my very best, and ask God for it, if it's good for me, then it shall be given." I figured that the marathon is good for my health, so even with traces of fear and doubt in my heart, I signed for the 10km marathon. And the rest is history. I finished the marathon sprinting towards the finish line. I did not receive any accolade though, but the fact that I conquered my fear and doubt by changing my belief was already a reward in itself to celebrate for. (To read my insight and experience of the marathon from my preparation up to the actual running day, click here.)

Now please allow me to share here a few of my most treasured beliefs in life briefly. Some I acquired when I was still a teenager. Others I acquired just recently. Why I am doing this? It is my hope that you will find these useful or at least it will ignite your mind to examine your own beliefs more closely. But if not, then you can do whatever you like to do with these.

A FEW OF MY BELIEFS

God’s way is always the best way all the time. Hands down." (learned by hard experience)

"If I set my mind into a BIG dream, commit my heart to it, give my very best, and ask God for it, if it's good for me, then it shall be given."  (condensed from many sources)

"I don’t believe in coincidences; everything that happened that are beyond my control is under God’s control." (reflection after reading the bible)

"Do the right thing at all times even if it hurts or even if I don’t like doing it. Do it anyway." (from John Maxwell)

"I cannot control how other people behave, but I can control how I will react to them or to the situation around me." (from 7 Habits of an Effective Person)

"I will not succeed if I will quit. Rest if I must, but never quit." (derived from Winston Churchill)

"I reap what I sow." (from the book of Galatians in Bible)

"I cannot correct a mistake by making another mistake." (from my mother)

"It’s never too late to change for the better." (from a movie I watched as a teenager)

The right beliefs can enable us, the wrong beliefs can ruin us. So pick your beliefs wisely now. Where to get the right beliefs? Start with Proverbs 1:7.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Your Choice

"Don't blame the Lord for your sin; the Lord does not cause what he hates. Don't claim that he has mislead you; he doesn't need the help of sinners to accomplish his purposes. The Lord hates evil in all its forms, and those who fear the Lord find nothing attractive in evil. When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings. he left them free to do as they wished. If you want to, you can keep the Lord's commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not. He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want. You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose. The Lord's wisdom and power are great and he sees everything. He is aware of everything a person does, and he takes care of those who fear him. He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin."   Sirach 15:11~20

I once had an interesting conversation with an American. I asked him, "Why is it that religion is no longer taught in the American public school?"

"To avoid discriminating other religion, and to give the people freedom to choose. God doesn't force His will on the people."

I was taken aback by his last statement. I can't help but agree to it. Indeed God gives us free will, the freedom to choice between life and death. He doesn't impose His will on us, He gives us the power to choose our eternity. To me this is a scary responsibility considering that we are not perfect, and that we have an enemy who is an expert of making us sin against God. But thank God that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Now all we have to do is to choose and follow Jesus just as His apostles and disciples chose to follow Him.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Secret Key to Reaching Your Dreams

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." -- Mark 11:22~25

Do you want to know the key to success? Read this passage from the Bible over and over again until its message will sink into your mind.

I grew up from a poor family. My father worked as a hand in a poultry farm while my mother worked as maid in the house of the owner of the farm. After they got married they built a shanty in a vacant lot owned by someone else. In short they were squatters. Needing more cash to raise a growing family, my father learned how to drive and became a private driver while my mother simply became an all-around woman – she became a dressmaker, a cosmetologist, a hog and chicken raiser, vegetable grower, a full time housewife, and a full time mom. On top of her already incredible resume, my mother was a very thrifty woman. With these credentials, my mother immersed my brother and me with the concept of working hard, of saving, and of being contented with what we have.

Fast forward to many years later. I was already an young engineer working in Amkor/Anam Philippines, a big semiconductor company located in Laguna Technopark. In my 1+ year stint there, I rented together with a whole bunch of guys from Cebu an apartment somewhere in Pilar Village, a middle class subdivision in Las Pinas. Everyday I saw families riding their cars while I was riding a tricycle. Yet despite my rather “economy class” travel arrangement, I always told myself that I don’t want to have a car. I had a whole list of reasons, but the truth was, I was afraid and I had doubts over myself – I believed that learning to drive was extremely difficult, that driving was dangerous, and that I couldn’t afford a car. It was only for the rich. Absurd? Maybe to you, but to me, my beliefs were real. In reality, I was never short in cash (I was still single with a high-paying job), but I was short in dreams…and faith, as well.

Fast forward again to several years later. I was already a full-pledge buffalo with three children. I was short in cash with bills to pay, but I had dreams, and lots of faith. One of my dreams was owning a car (finally!) out of necessity. And last year, my dream was turned into reality; God blessed us with a brand new 2009 Suzuki Alto.

Up to this point, some of you might be thinking, “You’re tooting your own horn, man.” Lexus is something to toot about. My point is, the quality of our life can extend to as far as our dreams, but it’s our beliefs that create our reality. Our belief is the key; our beliefs can make or break our dreams in life. Our belief is the key. There is a saying that goes like this, "If you think you can, if you think you can't, you're right." My personal belief is, "If I will believe that my prayers will be blessed then it will be because Jesus said so." Do I still have to work on my dreams? Of course. My need to protect my wife and children from the natural elements made me dream of owning a car, and my faith in Jesus oschestrated my efforts that concretized my dreams (how it happened is a story in itself). Anyone can dream, but not everyone has the right beliefs. At least not yet.

To believe, you have to have a believable reason. Some reasoned that because they are BS/MS/DR graduate or super smart or savvy negotiators or business-minded or highly-skilled or big shot in their company/industry or MVP, so they believe that they can reach their dreams in life. They are partly correct. I used to be one of those 'some'. But I changed. I don’t know about you, but to me the word "I" is not enough. The name JESUS is all the reason that I need to believe that through His name I can reach my dreams. And I have higher confidence in my belief now than before.

There is one more question we should ask ourselves though before we embark on our journey to success. "Will we be happy when we get there?" Think about that, and choose your dream wisely.

PS1: It’s easier to believe in what Jesus can do to your life if you have a personal relationship with Him just like it’s easier to believe to a close friend than to a complete stranger.

PS2: Dreaming for a material thing is OK as long as you really need this or you want to bless someone who really needs this. But our ultimate dream should be our salvation; things rot or get stolen, but our salvation is for eternity.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Weapons of the Enemy

Accusation
Early this year, the Filipino boxing superstar, Manny Pacquiao was scheduled to fight against the boxing world supervillain, Floyd Mayweather. The media, hardcore fans, and even casual fans were so excited to see the two boxing giants square it off in the ring. Unfortunately, Floyd made a demand – Olympic style blood testing – that Manny believe will put him at a disadvantage, so he declined to the demand. Soon Floyd’s camp fired salvos of accusation upon accusation to the camp of Pacquiao that he was on steroids or HGH (Human growth hormones). Both the boxing fans, and boxing professionals were divided, and both were at each other throat trying to force into the other’s gut that their opinion was the truth. Was Manny on steroids or HGH?

In number there is strength. And Satan knows this very well more than many of us realized. It will be much easier for him to break us down to commit sin if he can isolate us from other good Christians, and most especially from our God. (He will even tempt us into bad relationships to bring us down ever farther, you know.) So how he usually go about this? Accusation. He will accuse God before us. He will accuse our fellowmen before us or us before them. He will whisper accusations or even use other people close to you whose tongue is loose to accuse someone: “God is not a loving God! How can he allow your innocent child to die?” or “God does not answer prayers. How come you still have no work until now?” or “Your husband does not love you. How come he is late again?” or “Your friend is not a good friend. How come he rebuke you?” or “Your parents don’t understand you. They don’t want you to have fun.”

The truth is, we all belong to just one body with Jesus as the head. If one part of the body becomes sick or cancerous, the entire body will have to suffer. Maybe you can’t see it now, and that is what the devil wants you to believe. The devil’s accusation is designed to break a good relationship and create a barrier of indifference, to weaken faith and instill doubt, to destroy love and replace with hate. As children of God, we have to be careful with the accusations that will be brought before us. Teach yourself to ask these questions – “Is this true? Is there a solid evidence of the claim?” – before you accept a claim. And when act, act from the point of love, not from the point indifference or hate. After all, when you hurt someone especially a love one, you’re hurting yourself too. And more importantly, you’re also hurting the head of us all – Jesus.

PS1: Satan wants to divide and conquer. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim of his evil plan or be a pawn of his attack. Guard your heart and mind.

PS2: Did Manny Pacquiao use HGH? I have to say that I don't know. However, I can also say that HGH is not very popular or common among the local Filipinos. STOP.

The Weapons of the Enemy

"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

--2 Corinthians 11:3

If you noticed I kept referring to Satan as the enemy in my past articles. If he is an enemy how does he strike us? In his booklet, One 2 One, Steve Murrell emphasized three main weapons that Satan employed three devastating weapon of destruction – temptation, deception, and accusation.

Temptation
One day you are wondering in Ayala and all of a sudden you see a young pretty Korean girl wearing skimpy attire and displaying a lot of her flesh, as if she is just inside her apartment. Nature dictates that we look and appreciate anything that is attractive to the eyes, and there is nothing wrong with it. But the problem is, the longer you allowed yourself to be hypnotized by her pretty face, and her perfect skin, your imagination started playing indecent images of you and the girl, even without your permission initially. Who flashed those very delicious images in your mind? The truth is, you just been tempted by the cunning one. Now you have to make a decision real quick – to indulge or to flee; to wallow in your lustful fantasy or dash back to reality; to give in to temptation or to choose life over spiritual death.

Satan will do everything to take us away from the protective fold of our loving Father and into his lair by tempting us everyday. But you and I have the power NOT to choose him. As the saying goes, “You cannot prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent it from building a nest on your head.” You and I have inherited real powers, and one of this is our power to choose between salvation, and death. So choose wisely.

Deception
I once read a joke about a politician who died. When he got to the gate of heaven St. Peter told him that he can choose between heaven and hell, but before he will choose he has to stay in each place for one day. First stop was hell. When he arrived he was warmly met by his political allies and enemies. Satan even threw a party for him. The next day he reluctantly bid goodbye, and went to heaven with St. Peter. Heaven was very peaceful with angels singing beautiful songs. Everybody was sharing what they have, and were very friendly with each other. But the politician missed the wild party, the wild music, and the wild girls, so the next day when St. Peter asked him, he chose hell. When he got to hell, to his horror, the place was extremely hot, and the other politicians were screaming in constantly pain and suffering. “What happened?” he asked in a state of shock. Satan replied with a grin, “The other day we were campaigning, today you voted!”

Satan will stop us from pursuing the path to life at all cost by hiding the truth from us. He will sugarcoat a sinful choice with immediate pleasure or lesser immediate pain thereby making it convenient for you and me to choose it. In the long run, it will spell disaster for our body and soul, e.g., lying, philandering, gossiping, hating, taking illegal drugs, boozing, indulging in too much in unhealthy food, etc.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Story of Stanley Villavicencio (Part 3)

Soon Stanley began receiving messages from Jesus through his dreams which usually occurred around 3 o’clock in the morning. The messages were accepted by the local church because every time Stanley had a dream his Spiritual Director Msgr Chris Garcia, a priest with a gift of inner locution (inner telepathic voice) which means he can also talk to Jesus but couldn’t see Him, would be informed by Jesus.

“My Lord, my God, why me? I am a sinner. I am a sinful man,” Stanley once asked Jesus. And Jesus answered him, "You cannot appreciate the beauty of my MERCY unless you experience the misery of sin.”

"Also so many are coming to me, so I ask the Lord: 'My Lord, my God! So many are coming to me and entrust their problems to me, what shall I do?" And Jesus answered: “Just let them pray the chaplet unceasingly and they will be guided.” (The chaplet referred to her is the one given to St. Faustina Kowalska of the Divine Mercy of Jesus.)

"Where ever I go, so many would ask me how soon is Jesus coming back? Or is the three days of darkness really true? Is the chastisement really true? So I answered them. Jesus said to me 'Don't be afraid'. Jesus said to me, 'Don't be afraid because I will take care of your future. Blessed are those taking advantage of My mercy while it is still the day of mercy but beware, because the day of Judgment is nearer than everyone thinks.' " "What are the sins that You cannot forgive?" Jesus said, 'All sins can be forgiven except if you refuse to believe that your sin can be forgiven.' That is the sin He cannot forgive, because Jesus said by refusing His mercy you are also refusing to believe that He is a God. (That is a sin against the Holy Spirit). That is why Jesus said, 'Before I come as Just Judge I will open wide the doors of My mercy'. But Jesus continued that it is also written in the Diary of St. Faustina, that 'he that refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy will have to pass through the doors of My Justice.'"

---

Friends, in John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Today as you receive this wonderful testimony from the life of Brother Stanley Villavicencio, a Cebuano among us, and read portions of the messages he received from Jesus through his dreams, the door of God’s mercy is wide open. Avail of it while you still can. Repent, turn away from your sins, and build a strong relationship with Jesus. REMEMBER, only the living can pray for their own souls, the dead cannot. When we die the door of God’s mercy will close, and the door of His Justice will open. Now ask yourself this very important questions, “Am I ready to PASS this door now? Am I ready to DIE now?”

If you can worry about your career and future now, doesn’t it make sense to worry more about your eternity?

PS: God is just, but He is also love. Enter the door of God's Mercy now, He is waiting for you, before the door of His Justice opens.