Philippines is the BEST in Southeast Asia in Triathlon!

December 1, 2019 will be remembered for a very long time here in the Philippines specifically with regards to the followers and enthusiasts of the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) as the Philippines won two gold medals and two silver medals of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) triathlon events for men and women held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. As I write this, the triathlon victories continue to generate buzz around the nation through social media and the news media.

Specifically, John Chicano won the gold in the men’s triathlon (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) with a time of 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds! Literally speaking, he upgraded from the silver medal he won in the 2017 SEA Games (2nd to then gold medalist Nikko Huelgas) to gold medal. The silver was won also for the Philippines with the 2nd place finish of Cebu’s prized triathlete and 1st time SEA Games participant Andrew Kim Remolino who clocked in at 1:55:03. Indonesia’s Muhammad Ahlul Firman won the bronze after coming in at 1:57:10.

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Philippines’ Andrew Kim Remolino and John Chicano won the silver and gold medals of the 2019 SEA Games men’s triathlon event at Subic Bay on the morning of December 1. (source – 2019 SEA Games Facebook page)

Among the ladies, the event of which started around 2 hours after the men’s race stated, Marion Kim Mangrobang proved once again she is Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete as she won her 2nd SEA Games gold medal with a time of 2:02:00. The Santa Rosa, Laguna native now has a grand total of three SEA Games medals. She won a silver in the 2015 SEA Games (Claire Adorna won the gold back then) and her first gold medal in the 2017 SEA Games (Adorna meanwhile got the silver).

Mangrobang’s teammate Kim Kilgroe won the silver medal finishing 2nd with 2:05:02. She said to the reporters that she felt so great and happy with her achievement. Like Remolino, this was her first SEA Games performance.

The women’s triathlon bronze medal went to Indonesia’s Nethavani Octaria who finished the race in 2:16:33.

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Kim Mangrobang of Santa Rosa, Laguna won her 2nd straight SEA Games women’s triathlon gold medal! She previously won a silver medal in the 2015 SEA Games and the gold in the 2017 SEA Games. (screenshot of CNN Philippines video)
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Teammates Kim Kilgroe (silver medal) and Kim Mangrobang (gold) during the awarding ceremony. (screenshot of CNN Philippines video)

Notable details

Chicano’s gold medal performance was very notable given the fact that his time of 1:53:26 is noticeably faster than the 1:59:30 Nikko Huelgas achieved in 2017. In an ABS-CBN report, coach Melvin Faustino said that Chicano previously timed 1:56:00 and they were aiming for 1:55:00. Of course, things turned out even better with today’s race and Faustino claims that the 1:53:26 time Chicano achieved is a Southeast Asian record for men’s triathlon.

For the newcomers reading this, the Standard Distance (AKA Olympic Distance) for triathlon is set at 1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run. This is the same distance of triathlon implemented in the Asian Games and the Olympics.

For her part, Kim Mangrobang stated to the reporters that her achievement was meant to inspire youth to get into sports and also contribute to the growth of triathlon here in the Philippines.

With the single-day haul of two gold medals and two silver medals in the two SEA Games triathlon events, the Philippines got boosted in the medal standing. Medal competition aside, rewards from the national government will follow soon.

According to Section 8 of Republic Act Number 10699 (RA 10699 or “AN ACT EXPANDING THE COVERAGE OF INCENTIVES GRANTED TO NATIONAL ATHLETES AND COACHES, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, REPEALING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9064”), SEA Games gold medalists who won in individual events will be rewarded P300,000 each while the silver medalists will receive P150,000 each.

Gold medal victory in Mixed Relay (December 2, 2019)

The triathlon glory continued for the Philippines on December 2 when the team composed of Chicano, Mangrobang, Claire Adorna (2015 SEA Games gold medalist and silver medalist in 2017) and newcomer Fer Casares won the gold in the Mixed Relay triathlon event of the SEA Games.

Thank the Lord for His blessing of victory!

Let me stress to all of you reading this that these major victories of the Philippines in the SEA Games would not have been possible with God’s blessing.

Before the two triathlon events happened, I made a public call to viewers on my official Facebook page to pray for the SEA Games victories of not only the Philippine triathlon team but also the duathlon team. I also reached out to my church mates to pray as well.

And the Lord answered our prayers! The blessings in the form of twin gold and twin silver medal victories of the two triathlon events plus the gold medal of the mixed relay team triathlon event of the SEA Games prove that the Philippines is the best in triathlon in Southeast Asia and take note that the next SEA Games won’t happen until the year 2021. Apart from being congratulated by many, gold medalists Chicano and Mangrobang, and silver medalists Remolino and Kilgroe will be remembered for many years to come not only among the triathlon enthusiasts of the Philippines but by Filipinos in general and among people all over Southeast Asia!

On her official Facebook page, Kim Mangrobang acknowledged the Lord!

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When it comes to victory, God is the source of it apart from the blessings, opportunities and progress He provides to His creations who are faithful to Him. The Lord rewards the faithful abundantly and there is no denying that!

In closing this, here is a scripture from the Holy Bible.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4: 13 (NKJV)

For continued triathlon and multiport updates, come back here.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: Thank You, Lord

God is our creator, our father and our source. The Lord is our provider (Jehova-Jireh) as it was written in Genesis 22: 14 in the Holy Bible: And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

Truly the Lord is the ultimate source of opportunities, blessings, progress, prosperity and so much more. God makes His way through the world’s economic systems to provide us with the money and other essential resources we need to survive and grow.

Ultimately, in return to receiving provisions from Him, we the creations of God are meant to thank Him in return deeply.

This brings me to a wonderful Christian praise-and-worship song that was played at our church by the very talented band – Thank You, Lord.

Thank You, Lord is a song from the Hillsong Worship album “God Is In The House” which was released way back in 1996. It was written by Dennis Jernigan. Below are the lyrics.

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You

For all the You’re going to do

For all that You’ve promised

And all that You are

Is all that has carried me through

Jesus I thank You

And I thank You

Thank You Lord

And I thank You

Thank You Lord

Thank You for loving and setting me free

Thank You for giving Your life just for me

How I thank You

Jesus I thank You

Gratefully thank You thank You

It is truly a very beautiful song and a very ideal song to sing when thanking the Lord at church. Beyond the beauty of it, it is important to take note of the key parts of the lyrics.

Here’s a look at the opening section of the lyrics.

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You

For all the You’re going to do

For all that You’ve promised

And all that You are

Is all that has carried me through

Jesus I thank You

That section reminds me of the holy message in Psalm 107: 8-9 (NKJV) which goes as follows:

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

In reality, God created us all to worship Him and serve Him while living our personal lives with holiness under Him. He did not create us to be evil. As His creations, we are not meant to be consumed by poverty, darkness and frustration. For as long as we are faithful to the Lord, He will take care of us and provide for our needs in ways that go beyond our understanding while we live in the flesh. God always keeps His promises and we all have to be patient for the promise to be fulfilled because whatever turns out is always worth the wait for it came from Him.

As we are blessed and loved by Him, we should give thanks. Look at this scripture from Psalm 95: 2-3 (NKJV).

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, And the King above all gods!

God is great and the ultimate provider, the ultimate father and the ultimate justice! He is always the greatest no matter where you live in and no matter how many deities or idols there are in the culture of the place you live in. If we resort to idolatry worshiping people, the false gods or whatever, life will be hollow, sad and filled with darkness. But with God, we will be blessed and taken cared of by Him for as long as we remain faithful to Him. God is real and He is watching us all. All the more reason for us to thank God, give back to Him and honor Him! The above scripture relates well with the song’s line: For all that You’ve done, I will thank You.

Now let’s take a look at the scripture in 1 Chronicles: 34 (NKJV).

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

God is not only the ultimate provider, He is also very generous and kind to the faithful ones. It is a fact that the Lord rewards the faithful abundantly. The mention of His mercy enduring forever is related to His forgiving of those who repented to Him and submitted themselves to His authority. This alone is another great reason we have to be thankful to Him.

Going back to the song Thank You, Lord, you can clearly see now why it is a great and holy song to perform when thanking God for the love, the care and provisions He blessed us with in return for being faithful to Him.

Of course, while you are free to enjoy His blessings, don’t be too focused on yourself (avoid covetousness, greed, selfishness and the like) and never let your wants dominate you. Being blessed, remind yourself to give something back to Him (note: at least 10% of your income through tithing) and become a blessing to others. Without God, none of the blessings would happen and our existence would have been hollow.

In closing this piece, watch below the official Hillsong YouTube video of their 1996 performance of Thank You, Lord.

Enjoy it and always be faithful and thankful to the Lord!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For other Christian Music Appreciation articles related to Hillsong, click the highlighted below.

You Are Holy

The Potter’s Hand

The Stand

 

 

Your Past Does NOT Define You For As Long As You Believe in God and His Plan For You

Some people out there cannot do anything but be stuck with the past, be panicky, be fearful, be frustrated, be trapped by religion or by unbelief and, even worse, drag other people down with them. It comes to show that we live in a physical world that is screwed up and chaotic. There are so many distractions (examples: politics, movements, entertainment) happening almost all the time people are being separated from Lord Jesus and God the Father.

And then there are others who say that for as long as you made mistakes in the past, you are automatically unworthy of God’s love and care.

That is not true! While it is true that none of us can change the past, we can live on to be better people for as long as we have faith in the Lord, trusting in Him and applying His Word for the rest of our lives. The truth is God wants us to have not just a future but one of peace and hope! Pay close attention to the holy scripture below.

For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, say the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV) 

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Nobody has a perfect life. In varying degrees, people drift away from the Lord, knowingly or unknowingly, because of how society moves and affect its members. What is clear is that the more distant people are from God, the harder and more problematic their lives become.

The more people remain hurt or frustrated about their past – with the mistakes they committed, the bitterness they carried towards others, living with the mindset that there is no hope for divine change – the more they suffer.

I myself had frustrations over my past. I had religion which made my life directionless and frustrating. Later I lived with unbelief and even became antagonistic towards the Lord. Eventually, I met a very special friend who invited me to her church and there I saw the light from the Lord. A short time later, I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, repented to Him, received the Holy Spirit and became Born Again. My faith in the Lord is stronger than ever before and my true purpose as a child of God has been realized and I now have a true personal relationship with Him. Christian Living, not religion, is my path for the rest of my life.

My past cannot be changed nor could be erased. My sins, however, were washed away by the Lord because forgiveness from Him is true and I repented to Him plus I have forgiven others who hurt me. Forgiveness works three ways: be forgiven, forgive others and forgive yourself.

PART 1 – Forgiveness in the Holy Bible

Forgiveness from the Lord is real. Forgiveness is an act of kindness that helps people get healed under God’s light. Forgiveness also comes with responsibilities that are part of living with holiness afterwards. Forgiveness is not to be taken lightly and does not serve as a license to commit sin repeatedly with the expectation that you will be forgiven again. To be forgiven requires admitting our sins and there is no point of hiding them from the Lord who can see through us all.

For You, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 86: 5 (NKJV)

But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent – not to be severe. This punishment which was afflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven the one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

2 Corinthians 2: 5-10 (NKJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 1: 9-10 (NKJV)

Within the Model Prayer cited by Lord Jesus (Matthew 6: 5-15) are key references on forgiveness.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6: 12 (NKJV)

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6: 14-15 (NKJV)

Receiving forgiveness from the Lord should be valued deeply and remind you to change yourself for the better and refrain from committing sin again. As mentioned above, forgiveness is not a license nor an opportunity to commit sin again and again expecting to be forgiven again and again. Sin no more after being forgiven by Him, leave your past behind and move forward with holiness and strong faith (not religion) in Him. As such, there is a need to become Born Again.

Remember that God is a just creator. Clearly it means that sin, wickedness and evil have no place in His Kingdom. Evildoers will not go unpunished under the watch of God. As such, if you are wicked, constantly sinning, doing evil and you intend to abuse the Lord’s forgiveness thinking you can fool Him and sneak by Him to enter His Kingdom, then you will fail and you will be punished by Him in due time. Did your religious leader or a friend blinded with unbelief fool you? Read the holy scriptures below.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. Nor shall evil dwell with You.

Psalm 5: 4 (NKJV)

Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.

Psalm 34: 21 (NKJV)

The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The LORD laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.

Psalm 37: 12-20 (NKJV)

PART 2 – Letting Go and Moving Forward

It is naturally difficult to let go of the past, especially the errors you made, the acts of foolishness, being shortsighted and the like. This is why there is a need to become Born Again (read Jesus’ words in John 3: 3), repent to the Lord to receive His forgiveness and allow yourself to be led by Him (and not by the people and society around you).

Take note of this holy scripture.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12: 2 (NKJV)

Reforming yourself to be better requires the Lord’s involvement. You cannot rely on any single person or an object or any man-made inspiration to better yourself. Do not even think about engaging in idolatry (looking up to someone or something followed by worship) because that is a sin (refer to Colossians 3: 5, Isaiah 45: 20, 1 Corinthians 10: 7, and 1 John 5: 21). To change for good requires looking up to the Lord, worshiping Him, praising Him, trusting Him and glorifying Him. Once you achieve those, then holiness, positive reform and blessings will come to you. This is how you can move forward from your past! I know, because it happened to me.

As you pursue holiness, never ever fall for the constant lie that your past mistakes or disappointments disqualify you on your future under the Lord. Satan, who has been defeated long ago when Jesus redeemed humanity, continues to fool and deceive people with that lie. Satan, whose evil values influenced religious teachings and practices (note: idolatry is just one of them), does not want you to know that hope from the Lord exists. Satan does not want you to achieve salvation under the Lord who truly cares and loves us, and is merciful. Satan wants you to be stuck in this chaotic world we live in and he wants you to be apart from God and Jesus (and the enemy prefers to manipulate you to be rebellious, defiant and unholy). Satan does not want you to know the truth from the following holy scriptures – including Lord Jesus’ own words in John 16: 33 and John 3: 16-18.

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2 Corinthians 7: 10 (NKJV)

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147: 3 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16: 33 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have an everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3: 16-18 (NKJV)

Clearly, to move forward from your painful past, you need to be Born Again and no less than Jesus Himself declared it.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”

John 3: 5-7 (NKJV)

Once you are Born Again, you become a new creation under the Lord, a true child of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NKJV)

For as long as you are willing to submit yourself to God and His Son Jesus, you can reform yourself to be better, holier and be more blessed than ever before. By becoming Born Again, you can break the chains of the past that made you a prisoner of darkness, sadness and frustration. I myself have gone through these and left the past behind me as I persevere under the Lord. He has a High Call for me to live up to and a plan for me to follow. You will realize these and relate with these once you become Born Again.

Christianity is not about religion at all! It is about having an established personal relationship with God and living with holiness with the Holy Spirit in you and the teachings of Jesus always present in your mind. The Holy Bible – God’s Word – is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it. You will learn eventually that you will not only understand the Bible but also apply it on your life (read: living with holiness).

Don’t let your past define you and trap you. Never let religion and unbelief dominate you. Move forward with Father God and Lord Jesus! Follow the Lord’s plan for you!

Have faith in the Lord and praise Him always!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Reject Halloween, Stand With God

In my old life, I used to be fond of celebrating Halloween. Having been Born Again, I realized my true purpose in life under God the Father and His Son Jesus. That being said, I realized how wrong it is to celebrate which is essentially evil and unholy for any Christian (including those who practice idolatry which itself is sinful). Halloween will take Christians away from the Lord and that alone is reason enough to reject it.

Halloween’s origin is Celtic by nature and it is connected with observing the sacrifices to gods under the Druidic culture. There is also Samhain, a dark lord who sends out evil souls to attack humans can only save themselves by disguising themselves with the images of those very evil souls.

Sounds familiar? It is because there are these modern day Halloween practices that are linked to the evil rites and superstitions of Halloween. In the modern world where Halloween gets celebrated, people (including many children) go out and around their local communities wearing costumes of horror figures like zombies, demons, monsters and pop culture-related villains (examples: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers). These costumed Halloween participants, looking horrific, would visit any household that offers candy for trick-or-treat. Wearing “non-horror” costumes like superhero attire or fantasy attire (example: dressed like a princess) does NOT reduce the evil that comes with Halloween. There is no such thing as an innocent way of celebrating Halloween.

And then there are those multimedia-related ways of celebrating Halloween like watching horror movies back to back or playing video games that carry strong horror themes. There is also the business aspect of Halloween as food retailers promote the season by linking it with selling candy and chocolate (clearly to take advantage of families or groups that intend to give away the sweets during trick-or-treat Halloween celebrations in the local communities).

Halloween trick-or-treat here in the Philippines even made its way to local government units. In October of 2016 and 2017, the City Government of Parañaque organized trick-or-treat at City Hall which attracted kids wearing costumes (including horror and superhero attire) who visited varied offices that give away candy. During those times, the City Government even organized special events at the nearby city sports complex celebrating Halloween which I find rather disturbing.

In my old life, I enjoyed celebrating Halloween and I used to ignore the claims that it was unholy and evil. While I never went out for trick-or-treat as a kid, I helped out in giving candy to costumed visitors. I also hiked around the local area photographing the Halloween activities flocked by participants, and then uploading those pics online for social media users to view. I also took time celebrating Halloween by watching horror movies.

Looking back, I honestly admit that celebrating Halloween was indeed wrong. Now that I’m a saved soul and a dedicated Christian with a living relationship with the Lord, I declare that Halloween is wrong, unholy and evil. Halloween is a popular tool used by Satan to take people away from God and Jesus. Halloween definitely should be rejected always and we Christians must always be with God. Let me discuss the following points.

“Is it okay for a Christian to celebrate Halloween?”

The answer is a definite NO. Let’s take a look at the Holy Scripture below.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (NKJV)

And now the Amplified version.

You cannot drink [both] the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons. You cannot share in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons [thereby becoming partners with them].

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (AMP)

Very clearly, there is no room to worship both the Lord and evil. If you want to be with the side of God and Jesus, you really need to purify yourself and free yourself from whatever form of evil thrown at you by Satan. Satan is a loser indeed, however he still exists because Adam gave him dominion (read about Adam’s Rebellion) and as long as he exists, he will do anything to take you away from God, to prevent you from worshiping the Lord and will use anything (including religion and idolatry) to prevent you from making progress with the Lord. Halloween is one of Satan’s weapons against Christianity. Halloween is also a long-time tool of the enemy to embrace evil.

If you sinned by celebrating Halloween and committing other sinful acts in your past, you can still be saved (note: you need to be born again to be saved. Heed the words of Jesus in John 3: 3) because God is merciful and you need to be willing to repent, submit to Him and dedicate yourself to Him with an established personal relationship with Him.

Be aware that goodness comes from God and evil comes from Satan. It’s as clear as night and day. If you are a saved soul, then it is clear you should stand with God and His Son Jesus. Being dedicated to the Lord will spare you from evil, and that takes willingness and decisiveness from your end.

Learn from this Holy Scripture.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2: 1-10 (NKJV)

Each and every one of us was created to be loyal, faithful, loving and dedicated towards our Heavenly Father God and His Son Lord Jesus even as we were granted the freedom to think, act and decide. Even before we were even made, God established a plan for each and every one of us. Worshiping Satan, embracing evil, celebrating Halloween and living a life full sin and wickedness are obviously NOT part of God’s plan for us all.

By realizing the true purpose of your existence under God, you will realize that it is your destiny to be saved and to be faithful (not religious) to the Lord. Satan used a whole lot of tools to prevent God’s creations from being with Him. Satan used not only Halloween but also religion, idolatry, money, power, destruction, secularism, atheism, agnosticism, entertainment and a whole batch of other tools to bring Christians down and make evil stronger.

Going back to Halloween, that celebration of evil includes witchcraft which is an abomination! In our world, it is too easy for people to go out wearing costumes to look like witches and this alone spreads the influence of evil around. There are also filmmakers and other creative people out there who made witchcraft look cool or even a good custom to practice. The 1996 Hollywood movie The Craft is one such example of spreading Satan’s influence to the public and I personally recommend to you readers to avoid watching that movie (note: destroy whatever physical or digital copies you have of it) at all. Witchcraft and related stuff like sorcery, necromancy and magic are abominations as written in the Holy Bible. Read the Holy Scripture below.

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”

Deuteronomy 18: 9-12

Those abominations that look good in entertainment media are all made to deceive you and prevent you from achieving progress and purity with the Lord. From time to time, there are media reports about real life people who practice witchcraft, sorcery and other unholy customs that make this world a terrible place under the eyes of God. That is, obviously, very unfortunate because it proves how screwed up our physical world really is.

Even appearances can add to the influence of evil. You think going out in local community Halloween celebrations dressed as a witch, or as a magician or as a sorcerer (or even cosplaying as Marvel’s Doctor Strange) is okay with the Lord for as long as you don’t practice witchcraft and the like? Wrong! Imagery or appearances of evil spread evil and deceives others. Such imagery also will influence people to embrace idolatry which itself is a sin. Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Rejecting Halloween Effectively

You might be wondering: how are we Christians supposed to reject Halloween and its evil effectively?

First, we must realize our purpose as Christians from the following Holy Scripture.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in this world.

1 John 4: 4 (NKJV)

And the Amplified version…

Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].

1 John 4: 4 (AMP)

With that Holy Scripture in two versions, it is clear that as children of God, we are victorious for we believe in the victory of Jesus over Satan. With God on our side, nothing is impossible and we have the power to reject fear, reject evil and reject Satan ultimately. It is by faith in the Lord, not religion and not idolatry, that Christians are special and holy. Stronger than Satan too.

With God on our side, Halloween’s global popularity can be wiped away and its influence of evil on others can be removed and be replaced with the goodness and the biblical truth emphasizing the holiness and victory of Jesus.

If you are looking for practical ways to reject Halloween (and Satan), I would suggest the following:

Instead of watching horror movies or anything that carries the influence of evil, go watch YouTube videos of Christian praise-and-worship songs like the following below.

Instead of going out on Halloween trick-or-treat, pray to the Lord in your room with the door shut (refer to Matthew 6: 6 in the Holy Bible) and be aware that in this way, the Lord is in a secret place and when He sees in secret, you will be rewarded openly. If your church is open or has a holy activity at the same time as Halloween is being held on October 31, make an effort to go to church with the Lord in mind.

Instead of looking at evil images or reading materials that are related to Halloween, better read the Holy Bible or a Christian book.

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Christian books that you must read.

By now, it is clear that as Christians we must always maintain strong faith, trust and dedication to God and His Son Jesus. It also means we must be pure in holiness and there definitely is no room for us to accommodate evil in all its forms. As such, Halloween must be rejected always and its evil presence only means we must persevere more to meet God’s high call. We are all God’s creations and He made plans for each and every one of us even before we were even created. Obviously we were NOT created to worship nor magnify evil at all! We are destined to be saved (be born again) and live in holiness following Jesus. We pray to Him, serve Him, thank Him and dedicate ourselves to Him for the rest of our time.

Let me end this with one more Holy Scripture.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Colossians 1: 13 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: The Stand (September 22, 2019)

Hi everyone! I got something nice to share to you in this latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series.

Recently while attending Sunday worship service, our church musicians (who are very blessed by God with great talent as each of them is faithful to Him) performed a song that really engaged me and my fellow Christians. That song was The Stand.

Written by Joel Houston and released in March 2006 as part of the United We Stand album of Hillsong United, The Stand is a lively reminder that each of us was created by God. As His creations, we truly have a purpose to honor Him, serve Him, worship Him and keep on being faithful to Him. Along the way, the Lord loves us and He is so generous and merciful to us. Don’t forget how long and how much God has blessed the faithful. God is the source of all prosperity, opportunities and progress!

For your reference, here are the lyrics of The Stand.

The Stand

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll walk upon salvation

Your Spirit alive in me

This life to declare Your promise

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

What could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

(So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours (Oh Lord I will stand)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

So I’ll stand

(With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

Before the song was played during Sunday worship, the Passion Translation of Romans 12: 1 was displayed on screen and emphasized by the lead singer of the service. It read:

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

This particular holy scripture is related with the lyrics of The Stand. Truly, we should humble ourselves and submit to Him. We who have been saved should not let ourselves be dominated by religion and its idols (note: do not worship people, images, those carved figures and many other elements that keep you away from the Lord) so that our respective personal relationships with Him will not be affected negatively. Each and every one us should be mindful as to why God created us and we really have a purpose to live in holiness under Him.

Those who are unsaved (or even lost as souls) can be saved and the good news is that there is still time for them to willingly decide to be born again. Anyone who has sinned a lot before can still surrender themselves to the Lord directly for His forgiveness and acceptance. Anyone who does not want to remain an unsaved or lost soul anymore can still reach out to Jesus and make the major decision to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Truly to be born again means becoming a new creation of the Lord with a purpose to live in holiness.

If you are already a saved soul living with the Holy Spirit in your heart, try to reach out to the many unsaved souls out there and invite them to your church to the best you can. Saving the unsaved and the lost souls is a goal worth achieving again and again all for the Lord. Those who will be saved will not enter religion (which itself is unnecessary and deceptive) but have a genuine personal relationship with God. There is more to the relationship with the Lord than religion.

Back to the song, there is a clear message about gaining salvation through God who sent us His begotten son Jesus to save us all. We all struggle with sin, temptation, frustration, darkness and challenges before realizing that we were all created by the Lord who had been watching us all the time. These were emphasized in the first three paragraph of the lyrics of The Stand.

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

As I mentioned previously, Adam’s rebellion towards God recorded in the Book of Genesis marked the fall of humanity and in the many generations that followed, people struggled and sinned until Jesus came to spread the good news (as well as God’s love), died for everyone’s sins and returned from the dead. Jesus ascended to Heaven with a promise that He will return to us.

Clearly, as creations of God, we are destined to be saved and that can only be realized by believing in the Lord willingly and by practicing faith by the heart (not the mind). As I learned from our pastor, we have free will (which God gave us) and we can decide to authorize Heaven on Earth.

There is still time and hope for any unsaved soul to be born again (refer to Jesus’ words in John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses) to become a child of God, to stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the Lord, and truly be His. Now that you’ve read this, I encourage you to read the Holy Bible and apply what you learned into your life, listen to The Stand and let its holy lyrics flow in you, reach out to the Lord, pray to Him always and follow His plan for you!

In concluding this article, embedded below are YouTube videos of performances of The Stand. Enjoy these and move forward the Lord! 😊


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Suicide Awareness Emphasized in Seminar

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Resource speaker John Santos led the discussion about suicide awareness during the seminar of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK).

On the afternoon of September 14 at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City, a seminar focused on the top of suicide awareness was organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) for fifty local youth (aged 15 to 30) who attended.

John Santos, who serves as the head of Information Technology (IT) at Paranaque City Hall, conducted a lecture about suicide awareness and engaged with the attendees directly. BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang and SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen were present to closely observe the lecture.

Early on, Santos mentioned factors that contribute to leading young people into thinking and even losing their lives by means of suicide such as peer pressure, broken hearts (due to the end of a romantic relationship with someone), confusion, fear, depression and the like. The resource speaker recalled during his youthful days when he had one friend who tried to take his own life but he ended up in the hospital due to a miscalculated attempt. That friend of his made a personal decision for suicide due to a heartbreak over an ended relationship and, as such, he did not go to his family for guidance.

“Real life incidents of suicide that happened from my past motivate me to speak out and help prevent youth suicide from happening,” Santos said.

Santos added that running away from the family and the community will not solve personal problems at all. He also advised attendees to be cautious when talking to troubled young people who are already leaning towards suicide as a final option of their lives. Even jokes or lighthearted words can push the troubled one to proceed with suicide.

With regards to the wide popularity of social media, Santos shared that he noticed that the youth are very expressive on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. At the same time, the vast amount of information, images and videos that the youth are exposed to make them vulnerable to being distracted and being influenced. Bad influence online can worsen the suicide situation.

“This seminar related to mental health awareness is our latest project in our effort to prevent youth suicide from happening as well as to keep suicide off the minds of our constituents,” BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang said.

Before the seminar was conducted, the BFSK organized the Zumbarangay which was a series of physical exercise (with stretching) that include dancing to music. Pretty much the same people who exercised attended the seminar.

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Youth wearing blue t-shirts (provided by the BFSK) follow the moves during the Zumbarangay session.
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A view of the youth attendees from the other side.

Before the Zumbarangay started, BFSK chairperson Tumang announced local events happening such as the Satellite Voters’ Registration process (to be done by COMELEC) on September 21 at the Pergola Mall, a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced that 400 kilograms of rice grain has been released throughout the local communities via the Waste-for-Rice project.

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Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang with the SK Kagawads on stage.

The Zumbarangay and the seminar were special projects of the BFSK supported by Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Idolaters Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God Unless They Repent, Disregard Their Idols and Submit To Him Willingly

I am a faithful Christian who got saved by Jesus through His Holy Instrument just over a year ago. I am no longer a prisoner of religion and no longer am I a lost soul. I am free to worship Father God and His Son Jesus. I left behind the useless acts of worshipping people, worshiping man-made objects, following rituals (that have little or nothing to do with the Holy Bible) and doing repetitive prayers.

Truly, the Christian life specifically requires reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons in life, praising the Lord, seeking and following His plan which was written even before the beginning of time.

We live in a screwed-up world. A world so divisive, there are many people who drifted so far away from the Lord and the sad news is that those people do not even realize they are spiritually lost. I’m not just talking about the non-believers but also the people who are trapped by religion.

Religion is mean and frustrating. It comes with a whole bunch of rules, traditions and rituals that truly hinder a person from establishing true faith and a true relationship with the Lord. Among the many hindrances that come with religion is idolatry.

Idolatry, in its simplest form, is the act of worshiping an idol. In the context of the Holy Bible, idolatry is the worship of an image or a created object or someone (a person). Truth behold, idolatry is a sin and no matter what religious leader would say to defend it, it is truly a sin and there is no exception for it!

The people who commit idolatry are idolaters. You worship a picture or a statue or a person you find charming? That makes you an idolater and also a sinner in the eyes of God whom we should all be worshiping directly and trust fully. Consider the following scripture.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Now this is not the first time I discussed how idols hinder people from establishing faith and trust in the Lord. The purpose of this article is to go even deeper about idols and why they are not only worthless but are elements that lead to sin.

In this messy world we live in, there are still many people who are trapped by religion and its rituals and that means they believe that God is not approachable. These unfortunate people have been misled and oriented by their religious leaders into believing that worshiping idol (be it a handcrafted object or an image or a person who is supposedly holy) is necessary to connect with the Lord. It’s simply not true!

The worshiping of a statue, or a painting or some man-made object is unnecessary. And then there is the religion-based belief imposed on people that they should see God in their worship leader which requires them to worship that particular mortal person just to connect to the Lord. This one is also unnecessary and not true.

The truth is God is approachable and He does not require believers to worship an object nor a person just to connect to Him. Worshiping the Lord should be direct (with the guidance of a worship leader who does NOT require worship of him) and free from the obstruction of idolatry!

Apart from worshiping the Lord, people (whether they trapped by religion or unbelief) are vulnerable because they easily get charmed by people whom they find charismatic, heroic and capable of making reforms happen for their benefit. A person trapped by religion who thinks he’s worshiping God through idols, can always fall for the charm of another person whom he perceives to be a carrier of hope and change that would feed his selfish desire. Above it all, these acts of idolatry make one a sinner in the eyes of the Lord!

If you are someone who had to look up to idols to worship God, be aware that you’ve been moving down the wrong path all this time. Learn from the following scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4: 3-8 (NKJV)

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20: 3-6 (NKJV)

Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19: 4 (NKJV)

Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Isaiah 45: 20 (NKJV)

Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.

Jonah 2: 8 (NKJV)

See? The holy scriptures I just shared above are clear and definitive. We don’t need idols at all! We don’t need to do any idolatry! We don’t need to worship people to connect to God who is truly approachable and we are truly free to not only worship Him directly but also repent to Him directly, thank Him directly and converse with Him directly. We don’t need those statues, statuettes, paintings, drawings, and all those other religious ornaments that are truly unholy.

On the topic of idols, an idol is not limited just to man-made objects, images and people. Even things like alcohol, drugs, sex, a relationship, a vehicle, a computer, a smartphone, a very immersive video game or computer software, a highly interactive artificial intelligence and a home can also become idols in the sense that they will take you away from the Lord. You prioritize playing a very immersive video game like Fallout 4 (where you create a character and literally live a 2nd life within the game) over praying to the Lord and reading the Holy Bible? That is offensive already to Him. As God Himself said, He is indeed a jealous God and that means we must prioritize Him with our time and attention!

To understand this, take time to read this scripture.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying ‘Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen tor incline to their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.”

Jeremiah 44: 2-6 (NKJV)

Those were God’s words above. That was His anger against His own people because even though His prophets did their best, the people refused to listen and ultimately, they disobeyed God. God’s wrath is not to be taken lightly and we can all avoid it by destroying the idols! No more worshipping objects and people! No more spending ourselves on vices or hobbies that take us apart from the Lord! We need to reform ourselves, change our lifestyles, repent to God for the idolatry committed and then dedicate ourselves to Him.

Along the way, there is the need for each and everyone of us to be born again. To learn about becoming born again, read the words of Jesus in John 3: 3 and follow the subsequent verses. Take note that in order to receive the Holy Spirit from the Lord and become a new creation, becoming born again is essential! You can also refer to the prayer on becoming born again at the end of my previous article about trusting God and disregarding idols.

So it is clear once again that we do not need religion, we don’t need idols and we don’t need rituals. Idols are clearly unholy! What we need is faith and a relationship with the Lord who is truly approachable. To be born again, one must willingly accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Along the way, reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons on our respective lives is essential.

The path with the Lord is clear! Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. The saved souls will.


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com