Why does man allow so much evil in the world?

Amen!

Wisdomforlife

Does God care about how bad things are on this planet?”

In the wake of tragedy, it’s common for people to ask why God allows so much evil in the world.

But I think we should ask a different question — one that shifts responsibility on ourselves.

How would it change our perspective if we asked, “What have we done to God’s good earth that He gave to us for our home?” Or  “Where is mankind in the face of so much evil?”

Review the facts

  1. God originally gave humans responsibility to “fill the earth and govern it.” To “Reign over” or “rule over” the sub-human order (Genesis 1:28). 
  2. The repeated phrase, “I give you every…” (in Genesis 1:29-30) revealed that the earth was originally God’s gift to us for our benefit.
  3. When originally given, the earth was (in God’s own words) “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
  4. So the…

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Generation 268

Amen! This post reminds of The Purpose Driven Life.

Wisdomforlife

“Unique among living species, human life is aware of itself, yet we find ourselves in a world that doesn’t explain itself. So we’re impelled to ask why things are as they are and how we fit in.”

Viktor Frankl

“This will to find meaning is ‘the primary motivational force in man,’ according to psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.” (Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search For the Meaning of Life,” Os Guinness).

“Meaning is not a luxury for us. It is a kind of spiritual oxygen that enables our souls to live” (Dallas Willard).

Abraham Heschel wrote: ‘It is not enough for me to be able to say ‘I am’; I want to know who I am and in relation to whom I live. It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?’” 

3 necessities in…

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How should we think about God’s control?

Wisdomforlife

Many people feel that life is a matter of good luck and bad luck. “Que Sera, Sera” — “whatever will be, will be?”

  • Are we really victims of a fate without purpose or design?
  • Or, is there a God who is the ultimate and final power controlling all things?

According to Christian Scripture, God is the supreme being of the universe. God is the only sovereign authority.

The God we encounter in the Bible does whatever he chooses; whenever and wherever he chooses, and He involves whomsoever he wishes in what He does. 

  • “The Lord works out everything for His own ends, even the wicked for a day of disaster” (Proverbs 16:33; Ephesians 1:11).

The sovereignty of God answers the question, “Who or What is in control?”

How does God description describe His sovereignty?

“… I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning…

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Discipline Vs Abuse (To Spank or Not to Spank)

With the numerous resources out there these days on how to discipline our children, it is no wonder that many parents today are quite unsure as to how indeed they should raise their children. Moreover, we now live in a time where instant gratification, self-absorption and consumerism drive most of our choices and decisions, where children who are barely able to read have gadgets of all sorts to keep them ‘busy’ and ‘stimulated’ and family communication even in a simple daily routine as family dinner is barely present. No thanks to our gadgets here and there. On top of this, our children today are spoilt for choices when it comes to how and what entertains them. Add to this the sheer amount of information available to them in internet – many of which aren’t exactly child-friendly. There are a thousand and one options out there competing for our children’s attention and yes, we find and realize that even as parents, we have to compete for time with our children as well. Time and yes, that word everyone dreads to hear, ‘discipline.\

And sadly, despite the resources and self-help books out there on parenting, many parents today still have a hard time knowing the difference between discipline and abuse. In fact, many parents think that some form of abuse is necessary and some even believe that it is the most effective way to convince or force the child to listen to them and have a better understanding of right and wrong. Proverbs 13:24 in the Bible states, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Parents who truly love and want to raise our children the right way by constantly and diligently disciplining them and yes, giving them a good spanking or two WHEN it is necessary, is good parenting supported by the Bible, God’s word. This is what Proverbs 13:24 means. On the other hand, if we don’t spank our children, does it mean then that we don’t love them enough and don’t want them to realize and understand their wrong behavior? I believe so. Any parent who ignores or tolerates a child’s misbehavior and attitude problems (eg: meanness, selfishness, tendency to physically hurt others, being openly defiant to authorities, constant disobedience to rules and more) is heaping on himself/herself a whole lot of troubles and heartaches as the child gets older. Using the ‘rod’ as Proverbs 13:24 says does not literally mean an iron or wooden rod. It simply means that at times, as parents, certain situations in our children’s recurring misbehavior require a firmer discipline, which I also call tough love. And this means a spanking or two preferably on the bum with one hand – firm and strong enough to hurt but NOT to debilitate or cause serious injury or one that leaves a nasty bruise or mark. It has to hurt enough so that the child fully understands that SIN – that is, his wrongdoing, has a consequence and as parents, we only know too well that sins – our wrong actions, attitude and behavior ALL have consequences – often mostly painful, extremely unpleasant and yes, at times life-altering! The spanking hurts enough so that the child becomes truly repentant and sorry for having misbehaved or disobeyed and the painful memory of the spanking will DETER the child from repeating the undesirable behavior.

It is far from physically abusing our children. It is tough love. Moreover, the spanking should not be the end of the discipline session. It’s important for a parent to set the boundaries first and make it clear to the children that once the boundaries are violated, consequences follow. The consequences should also be discussed and explained to the children. Thus, the children are fully aware that they are given chances and choices but once they go beyond the boundaries, both parents and children know that there are consequences to be meted out. This is why a sit-down dialogue assuring the child that the spanking is done out of love should follow the spanking. It’s important to tell our child that our action is motivated by love – because we truly care about the character that he/she becomes and attitude that he/she develops. It’s always best to end the session with a warm tight hug. It speaks a thousand words! The child then feels loved, assured and still accepted instead of humiliated, hurt, betrayed or insecure. The end goal of the necessity in spanking is to make the child a better person and feeling loved and whole, not broken and abused as is often the case in an abusive and hurtful kind of discipline, far from what the Bible says about disciplining out of love.

What then is the kind of discipline that can be considered as abusive? Below is my personal take on this kind of discipline.

Yes, I am for spanking IF and WHEN necessary. If it can be avoided or if it is completely unnecessary, then I certainly forego that choice. In my personal experience with my eldest and only son, I have had to resort to this one on rare occasions. Most often, a sit-down and heart-to-heart dialogue and other consequences worked effectively for him. His personality is such that doing a sit-down dialogue and explaining to him was all that’s needed. He was never into any serious trouble as a kid, as a teenager and yes, especially now that he is a young adult. What worked for him probably works with other kids with similar personalities but it is also a reality that many kids out there need a stronger hand as they say.

One very important thing we must remember is to NEVER discipline or spank a child in ANGER. This is not the kind of discipline we want for our children. This is where the difference between discipline and abuse lie. Whenever we spank a child in anger, it is not loving and nurturing discipline. It now becomes a form of abuse because we hit out in ANGER, not in love. We are responsible and accountable for every spanking we give and it should ONLY be done out of love, not out of ANGER or FRUSTRATION.

Again, personal experience taught me a valuable but hard truth as a parent. I had serious regrets about this and doing so hurt me more inside than my son, at a time when I did hit out in anger and frustration. It broke my heart to realize that I had been hurtful and mean – I saw it in his tear-streaked face and eyes. He felt betrayed and thus hurt. He was also bewildered. He just did not understand why I did what I did. It was unreasonable and un-called for. Hurtful and yes, harmful to him. It hurt me that I had wrongly and unjustly gave him a spanking because I got so angry and frustrated with myself and I took it out on him. That was clearly a terrible mistake on my part as his mother. I learned a precious lesson from that incident and vowed to never ever do it again.

How else can discipline be abusive? Does it only involve physically hitting or spanking our children out of anger and frustration and leaving it at that? Well, there are other kinds of abuse in discipline. With a drug or alcohol-addicted parent, the physical hitting can be so much worse since they are under the influence of substances that control their actions and thoughts. They become terrible physical beatings and serious blows. These are then serious cases of physical child abuse. But abusive discipline isn’t only confined to the physical blows. A more serious and life-damaging abuse are hurtful and demeaning words, shouted or not. Words that belittle and humiliate a child, mocking and making fun of him/her whether in private and worse, among his/her friends, classmates and peers. Since young children are very vulnerable to hurtful words in just as much as physical blows, constant verbal abuse (name-calling, cursing, etc) result in a much more deeper emotional trauma that often lasts a lifetime. Most often, the labeling and name-calling haunt a child well into his/her adulthood and also wreak havoc in his/her future relationships.

At the end of the day, the question we need to ask ourselves as parents is this: How do we affect our children’s lives and their future in the way we discipline them now?

 

Embracing Teaching

Hi to all my fellow teachers!

It’s been awhile since I last wrote a personal essay or reflection but yes, I’ve missed it. A LOT. So when the opportunity to do so came up, of course I volunteered!

The topic? Teaching or Being a Teacher….anything related to these as long as it’s inspiring and enlightening.

As the deadline for the articles approached, I’ve been thinking really hard as to what to write about. I was told as long as it’s anything about teaching or being a teacher and I thought to myself, well, it’s going to take a lot of nitpicking on ideas since there are a thousand and one things a teacher can write on ‘teaching’ and ‘being a teacher.’ Meanwhile, my daily schedule kept me preoccupied but at the back of my mind was: I need an inspiration about this…and fast!”

Experience has taught me that our students are our invaluable sources of inspiration! It is because a child’s heart is still at best, innocent, untainted, bursting with dreams, exuberant with enthusiasm and full of idealism.

And as I was doing one class after another last week, true enough, my students came to my rescue and on that particular night, out of that very ordinary and usual question that we teachers ask our students, “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” came unexpected answers from 10-11 year olds that literally made me sit up from pure joy! Teachers inspire their students, you say? But that night, a few special students came to class to inspire me! Let me share with you how my online students inspired me that special night. Then together, we learn precious nuggets of truths about WHY we teach and WHY we do what we do.

Student A related to me that she was quite sickly when she was young and had been in and out of hospitals and had different doctors. Then she continued, “While I was sick, the doctors there were all very kind to me. They always tried to make me feel better. They wanted me to get well. I want to be a doctor and go to Africa. I want to be a doctor for the people there.”

Student B told me that he wants to be a policeman because he wants to help make his place a safer place for everyone. He said that he doesn’t want any “bad guys” to hurt children and old people. “I want everyone to be happy. If we are safe, we are happy. If I become a policeman, I will do that.”

Student C said that she wants to be a teacher. When I asked her why, she replied, “I like being with children, like my teacher. I want to help children to be good students.” “Do you think being a teacher is good?” I asked. She responded, “I think being a teacher is the best thing. My teachers in school are all very kind and helpful to us and I want to be like them.” Now teachers, aren’t they truly inspiring?

As with every day in our virtual (or face-to-face) classes, our noble aims are always to inspire, encourage, motivate and challenge as we teach our subjects and share our skills and expertise. But little do we know that yes, our students are by themselves, walking inspirations and source of honest-to-goodness kind of wisdom. They are tomorrow’s dreams and the world’s future.

Let’s ask ourselves these 2 questions. WHY do you teach? WHY do you do what you do day in and day out? The beautiful truths came right from our very students. I thank them for reminding me again why I wholeheartedly EMBRACE teaching as my calling.

1) IMPACTING our own ‘small’ corner of the world – Someone once said, “Doctors heal the sick, engineers and architects build sturdy roads, bridges and lofty skyscrapers, lawyers defend the poor and exploited but TEACHERS, because they are NURTURERS, SHAPE & MOLD the MIND, HEART and SOUL and by this, they IMPACT our society and the world at large. Theirs is the highest calling.”

2) MAKING a DIFFERENCE to each student we have been ENTRUSTED to. For my fellow teachers who are parents themselves, you very well know what this means. Parents ENTRUST their precious child/children to us. To ENTRUST means to give FULL CONFIDENCE to that someone we highly respect and whom we know to be CONSTANT learners themselves, teachers who are lifelong learners. They have every confidence that we will NURTURE their children as a loving and tender gardener would nurture his plants.

As a former principal and mentor of mine once said, “These are THE 2 core qualities and from these 2 spring all other valuable and admirable qualities of a teacher.” She further explained, “The rest of the qualities are something we can learn but these 2 will tell the difference between one who teaches because it’s a job that pays the bills and one who teaches from the very depths of her/his heart.”

Three (3) students: A doctor who will someday bring healing to people from a faraway country, a policeman who will protect his community from any danger ensuring that it is safe for everyone, a teacher who will someday impact the world by making a difference in her students’ lives. Three and multiply that by as many students as what we shall be ENTRUSTED to, and we hold in our hands the very future of the worldtheir dreams, hopes, ideals, aspirations and successes yet unfulfilled! The question that remains and one we ought to ask ourselves EVERY DAY of our teaching life is, “How am I NURTURING this young mind and soul who will someday IMPACT the world?”

If my students impact the world someday in various ways that make it a better place for everyone, only then shall I be truly thankful that my passion and love for teaching has done this world some good.

A Woman of Substance (19 April 2010)

It’s said that sugar and spice
And everything nice
Is what little girls are made of…
And yet,
Beneath that sugary icing
Lies a heart stronger
Than any storm could ever test…
A heart too that heals,
And cries for the wounds of her friends,
One that delights in the joys
And triumphs of her dear ones
A heart that never gives up
No matter how long and dreary
The road may be –
Strong yet tender,
Unyielding yet gentle-
Uncompromising
And yet forgiving,
A heart where flows
Such unconditional love,
One that reflects
Her Father’s love.