I Love Israel: Exchange of scientists between Israel and the Philippines confirmed

As I was browsing the latest and most relevant news at the Philippine News Agency (PNA) recently, I spotted the latest development about Israel-Philippines ties and it is about the exchange of scientists. Very recently, Israeli health experts provided valuable advise to Philippine authorities on dealing with COVID-19.

For me, this is significant because I observed that Israel itself has made lots of advances in the field of science and this was confirmed by the Bloomberg Innovation Index wherein Israel finished as the fifth most innovative country in the world for the year 2019. Israel also has its high-tech industries and excels in green science or agriculture feeding the world along the way.

To put things in perspective about the Israel-Philippines exchange of scientists, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

Israel and the Philippines will be sending scientists to each other’s countries as part of capacity building and trainings, an official of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Tuesday.

“The specifics such as the number of the experts, duration and date of the visit will still have to be further discussed. While we want to proceed with the activity as soon as possible, we also need to consider the current situation, including travel advisories both in the Philippines and Israel,” DOST Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation Leah Buendia told the Philippine News Agency.

She said the Filipino experts going to Israel will be trained on drip irrigation, medicinal chemistry, Israel’s drug discovery, and artificial intelligence (AI).

On the other hand, the Israeli scientists going to the Philippines will meet with Filipino researchers.

“One of the agreements during the (Philippines-Israel joint committee meeting on science and technology) is to conduct a workshop which will serve as a platform for Filipino and Israeli experts to discuss their works, and identify potential collaboration. During the meeting, our Israeli counterparts said that they want to visit the Philippines,” she said.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the meeting with Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) chief scientist, Avi Domb, and other officials of both agencies was held virtually last June 30.

He said they talked about the potential joint initiatives to be implemented on the identified priority areas that include agriculture (water management); AI (robotics); and health (biomedical engineering and drug discovery).

The discussed priorities were guided by the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Scientific Cooperation signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his official visit to Israel in 2018, he added.

Israel is a valuable partner for us. It is part of our 20 priority partners for STI (science, technology, innovation) international cooperation, recognizing their strengths in STI and considering the pronouncements of engaging with non-traditional partners,” Buendia said.

She added that the DOST officials are happy that they finally had the meeting to lay out their plans for the collaboration.

De la Peña earlier reported that capacity building activities include scholarships, visiting professors, and trainings.

The conduct of joint conferences to discuss the respective researches and projects of experts shall also be expected, eyeing the development of AI applications for government/public service and emergency response, among others.

And here are some videos to help you know Israel better…

The latest exchange between Israel and the Philippines regarding scientists is a reflection of the stronger ties between the two nations. We Filipinos should be grateful to the State of Israel, no matter what happens and no matter who are leading as national authorities both here and there. We Filipinos can also give back by supporting Israel in more ways than one. We can pray for Israelites and provide varied support for them (note: refer to the Christians United for Israel reference near the very end of this article below) knowing that there are still terrorists (sponsored by Iran) and other forces of evil that are obsessed in destroying Israel.

Before I end this, here is a holy scripture for you all…

Now, this is what Yahweh says:

    “Listen, Jacob, to the One who created you,

    Israel, to the one who shaped who you are.

    Do not fear,

    for I, your Kinsman-Redeemer, will rescue you.

    I have called you by name, and you are mine.

  When you pass through the deep, stormy sea,

    you can count on me to be there with you.

    When you pass through raging rivers,

    You will not drown.

    When you walk through persecution like fiery flames,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not harm you,

  for I am your Savior, Yahweh, your mighty God,

    the Holy One of Israel!

    I give up Egypt as the price to set you free,

    Cush and Seba in exchange to bring you back.

  Since you are cherished and precious in my eyes,

    and because I love you dearly and want to honor you,

    I willingly give up nations in exchange for you—

    a man to save your life.

  I am with you now, even close to you,

    so never yield to fear.

    I will bring your children from the east;

    from the west I will gather you.

  I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’

    and to the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!’

    Bring me my sons from far away,

    my daughters from the ends of the earth!

  Bring me everyone who is called by my name,

    the ones I created to experience my glory.

    I myself formed them to be who they are

    and made them for my glory.”

Isaiah 43:1-7 (TPT)

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

+++++

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. 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 more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

The Xbox-exclusive game Contraband

Until now, there is still a lot of positive reactions and discussions about the huge impact the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase of June 13 left on gamers. While not perfect, it was a great showcase with lots of Xbox-exclusive games coming and among the newly announced exclusives was Contraband, a new game being developed by Avalanche Studios (Just Cause game franchise) in cooperation with Xbox Game Studios. It is being developed specifically for Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PC and it will be added to Xbox Game Pass (XGP).

Here again is the video…

On June 14, Xbox Games Marketing General Manager Aaron Greenberg wrote on Twitter: Excited to announce big new AAA Xbox Games Studios exclusive game we are making in partnership w/ the talented team at Avalanche Studios (team behind games like Just Cause). Contraband, a co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by Contraband game director Omar Shakir. Some parts in boldface…

Three years ago, we started talking with our partners at Xbox Game Studios about what a co-op smuggler’s paradise would look like and how we could bring it to life together. Today, at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, we finally announced what our team has been working on, Contraband.

Contraband is a co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan, and our most ambitious and spectacular game to date. We’re taking everything that we’ve learned from 18 years of being at the forefront of creating beautiful, vast open game worlds filled with stunning vistas and incredible emergent gameplay moments.

To fully deliver on our vision for Contraband, we have an amazing team at Avalanche Studios that are pushing the boundaries with the next generation of our Apex Engine, the technology behind all our games, including the Just Cause series. We built the engine to unlock the creativity of our developers and we’re excited to take full advantage of the unique capabilities of Xbox Series X|S.

What caught my attention was the name Bayan as the fictional setting of the Xbox-exclusive game and it could be a veiled reference to my native Philippines. For us Filipinos, “Bayan” or “bayan” is a common term in reference to a nation or to a local region/province and down to a local community. In the Filipino culture, when someone meets a different person who comes from the same province he/she originated from, that said person is referred to as “kabayan” or “kababayan”.

And there is something I noticed in the captured screenshot below. Please pay close attention to the captions I wrote.

The interior design and furniture in the background were pretty common here in the Philippines in previous decades.

Going back to the general description of Contraband, it will have an open-world environment (which Avalanche Studio specializes on) with co-op play and with an emphasis on smuggling. What is not clear is whether or not it will share key technical aspects with the Just Cause games and the 2015 Mad Max video game such as having a 3rd-person perspective with an option to switch to 1st-person view in key sequences in the game. How much realism can we expect from the developers? Will they be able to come up with new action sequences and brand new gameplay features that they have yet to do?

Even without gameplay footage shown during the Xbox-Bethesda game showcase, I can say that I am very interested on Contraband and I look forward to the eventual release of new information and gameplay footage in the months to come. I am also happy that even though Team Xbox has 23 game studios, they still pushed through with making deals with 3rd party game developers to produce exclusive titles. Remember, Team Xbox today has the full support and financial backing of Microsoft which itself continues to be very profitable as a corporation! For the future, I don’t expect Team Xbox to slow down on making exclusive-game deals with 3rd party game studios.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited about the Xbox-exclusive Contraband knowing that the same team behind the Just Cause games are developing it? What is your favorite of all the video games made by Avalanche Studios?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

In closing this article, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

+++++

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. 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

I Love Israel: Israel sending experts to the Philippines to help with vaccination against COVID-19

So much has happened to Israel in recent times. They defended themselves from the many rockets launched by the terrorists in Gaza (supported by long-time terrorism sponsor Iran) using the Iron Dome defense system which prevented massive deaths and damage from happening.

On the diplomatic arena, it is highly unfortunate that the Philippines voted in favor of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) investigation of the so-called human rights violations and abuses in Gaza which added to what I believe is the latest coordinated international attack against Israel. For the newcomers reading this, the terrorists, the anti-Semites, the Satanic Left (Marxists, socialists, Communists) and other kinds of people who hate Israel have long been using the United Nations as a global weapon against the Jewish state.

Even with these hard developments, I still believe that the State of Israel (whose founding in 1948 is a genuine miracle under the watch of God) is essential in this ravaged world as it is the light against darkness, and they have the undeniable right to defend themselves. With regards to the Israel-Philippines relationship, I still strong believe in it even though my nation committed a major blunder supporting the people who hate Israel at the UNHRC. In accordance to God’s Word (the Holy Bible), I will always love Israel and keep blessing it and its people.

While it has been working hard on defending itself on all fronts, Israel still stepped forward in assisting the Philippines by designating three experts (from their Ministry of Health) to enhance the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination operations.

To put things in perspective, here is an excerpt from the article of Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

Three experts from Israel’s Ministry of Health will help the Philippines to further enhance inoculation efforts against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., also the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer, said in a statement on Sunday that the experts are set to arrive on June 20, 2021 to discuss strategies on vaccine deployment, transition to the new normal, and addressing vaccine hesitancy.

The government, he said, is targeting to adopt Israel’s interventions on increasing public uptake, which is to provide incentives for vaccine recipients and restrictions for those who are yet to get coronavirus jabs.

Galvez said Israel’s method allows people who have received the jabs to increase their mobility and slowly return to normalcy, while those who have not been vaccinated will still need to follow quarantine protocols.

Israel’s vaccination program has been “highly successful,” according to Galvez.

Israel has officially dropped its outdoors face mask policy on April 18, after inoculating more than half of its population with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

It has also reopened schools and revived economic activities.

Israel’s success in having a majority of its people vaccinated for COVID-19 is undeniable and it is indeed a great model for other nations (still struggling with COVID-19) to follow no matter what their politics are. The hatred towards Israel, the false accusations of apartheid thrown against them and the wickedness of the socialists (as well as the Marxist racism-driven movement Black Lives Matter) with siding with the terrorists are nothing more than garbage for everyone witnessing global events through the distorted news and views channeled through Leftist news organizations.

Israel is leading the way in the fight against COVID-19, in helping people getting their respective lives back to normal, and helping nations with much bigger populations to save themselves from COVID-19. In fact, Israel has been providing much-needed assistance to India which has been suffering a lot from their own COVID-19 crisis.

With Israel’s dedication on assisting the Philippines confirmed already, this is great news that Filipinos should be very happy about and become more aware of. For months already, COVID-19 vaccination programs have been going on nationwide and there is still a long way to go before even half the population gets vaccinated fully (2 doses for each patient).

Not only are there not enough vaccines arriving here in the Philippines, there are also Filipinos that I observed are hesitant of getting vaccinated for reasons such as phobia towards needles (injections), the fear of side effects with vaccines, fear of waiting too long in line at vaccination sites due to overcrowding or disorganization (look at the disastrous Pfizer launch in Parañaque City), the inability of certain people to register (the DILG called for additional help for non-techie senior citizens while Las Piñas City recently launched a 3rd option of assisted on-site registration), and more.

How the Israeli experts will help the Philippines solve the above-mentioned factors, we will find out soon enough. What is clear is that the Israel-Philippines relationship is still living and the recent setback at the UNHRC is temporary. Eventually by the end of this year, direct flights between the Philippines and the Jewish state will be established and that means golden opportunities for Filipinos (especially those who got fully vaccinated) to visit the Holy Land.

Before ending this article, posted below is a holy scripture…

“I will plant Israel in their own land,

never again to be uprooted

from the land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

Amos 9:15 (NIV)

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

+++++

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. 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

I Love Israel: Israel opening up on May 23, 2021 to foreign tourists who got vaccinated for COVID-19

Israel (population 9.3 million), which recently celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, announced that it will welcome foreign visitors who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 (China virus) starting May 23, 2021. The opening of the borders for foreigners will be done gradually (by stage). Filipinos or Philippine passport holders may enjoy visa-free access into Israel for up to ninety (90) days.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the recent news article published through Philippine News Agency (PNA). Key parts in bold…

Israel is opening up its borders to foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting next month.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism said the initiative will begin on May 23, starting with a limited number of groups that will be increased based on the health situation and progress of the program.

Individual travelers will be allowed into Israel in its “second stage”, with health considerations determining the timeline.

All visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding the flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination, upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport” it said.

In the meantime, discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to cancel the need for the serological test.

Israel’s vaccination program has been successful, outpacing much of the world in inoculating its population.

“After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner. Opening the tourism is important for one of the fields most hurt during the COVID year. We will continue to look at easing regulations in accordance with the health situation,” said Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Health.

This is really great news! Personally, it is my heartful desire to visit the Holy Land in Israel where I can discover places Lord Jesus had been to, realize what I’ve learned in the Holy Bible and deepen my faith in Him even more.

I also strongly value the friendship between Israel and my native Philippines. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation had a groundbreaking visit to Israel. The friendship of the two nations was clearly reflected during the Networking Night of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) of 2019 which I personally attended. It should be noted that Filipino caregivers in Israel were vaccinated for COVID-19 for free. Truly the Israel-Philippines relationship should be treasured forever! For insight about the many Filipinos who got vaccinated in Israel, watch the video below…

For all Christians reading this…if you are looking for spiritual tours of the Holy Land with a credible tour organizer, I suggest Behold Israel. You can check out their Holy Land tour packages online. For those who have yet to know Behold Israel, it was founded in 2001 by Amir Tsarfati who grew up and lived in Israel all his life. After the end of his military service, he studied at Israel’s School of Tourism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worked as a licensed tour guide for Sar El Tours and Conferences, and was eventually promoted to CEO (Chief Executive Officer). While guiding dozens of church groups from around the world, God convicted him of the great need – particularly within Evangelical Christianity – to explain Israel and its role in God’s plan. Since 2013, Behold Israel became a major provider of the worldwide, real-time access to reliable sources of news and information about Israel from within the powerful context of Bible history and prophecy. I encourage you to visit https://beholdisrael.org/ and for insight, I recommend watching the videos below (one of which was Amir Tsarfati’s online interaction with my fellow Filipinos).

There is also the organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which now has over 10,000,000 members worldwide who are dedicated to defend Israel and fight against anti-Semitism. CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and is the foremost Christian organization educating and empowering millions of Americans to speak and act with one voice in defense of Israel and the Jewish people. The organization is committed to confronting indifference and combating anti-Semitism in all its forms wherever it may be found. CUFI was founded in early 2006 and since grown tremendously. They are accepting donations online and if you believe in protecting and empowering Israel, head on to https://cufi.org/donation/donate/

Going back to Israel-Philippines relations, there is also the online presence of the Israeli Embassy in the Philippines (Facebook page: Israel in the Philippines). Check out their web page welcoming message below…

We will never forget how President Manuel Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe during the Holocaust.

Israel has a great deal of admiration for the approximately 30,000 Filipino caregivers who are working in Israel and have an integral, cherished and respected part of Israeli society.

Israel is considered global high-tech power and a leader in cyber industry. I’m also very proud of the long agriculture cooperation between our two countries. We are excited to promote cooperation in these areas.

Ambassador Rafael Harpaz

On the Facebook page Israel in the Philippines are lots of useful updates related to Israel and its ties with the Philippines. They also publish videos about Israeli culture, cuisine, places of Israel and more. Important or special events are also announced. As such, I recommend you to visit and follow Israel in the Philippines.

In ending this, here are videos related to Israel from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and from Hagee Ministries for you to watch. Love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

+++++

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. 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

Idolatry is Foolishness

There is no doubt that idolatry makes a person (a creation of the Lord) unholy and unworthy of becoming part of God’s kingdom. Pay close attention to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in different translations below (key words in bold for greater emphasis)…

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

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)

Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TPT)

Knowing the truth in the above scriptures, you definitely would not want to become an idolater. Idolatry is truly unholy and anyone who practices it becomes unrighteous. Idolatry has no place whatsoever in Christianity, no matter what the idolaters, the unsaved souls and lost souls around us say. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is a holy scripture that many idolaters (along with the homosexuals, the greedy, the perverts and others deemed unholy) are very afraid of because the truth goes against them.

Idolatry is not limited to the worshiping of statues, statuettes, paintings, relics and people. It also includes prioritizing human acts of addiction (examples: addiction to illegal substances or the Internet), prioritizing materialism and prioritizing other worldly matters over the Lord! Many people don’t know it but they should know the truth that idolatry must be rejected and they should always worship God our Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Learn from the following scriptures below…

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)

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)

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

Leviticus 19:4 (NKJV)

As it is already clear that idolatry is unholy, there is also the truth that idolatry is also foolishness! The truth is recorded in a very specific holy scripture from the 44th chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Pay close attention to the details…

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,

And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the First and I am the Last;

Besides Me there is no God.

And who can proclaim as I do?

Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,

Since I appointed the ancient people.

And the things that are coming and shall come,

Let them show these to them.

Do not fear, nor be afraid;

Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?

You are My witnesses.

Is there a God besides Me?

Indeed there is no other Rock;

I know not one.’ ”

Those who make an image, all of them are useless,

And their precious things shall not profit;

They are their own witnesses;

They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.

Who would form a god or mold an image

That profits him nothing?

Surely all his companions would be ashamed;

And the workmen, they are mere men.

Let them all be gathered together,

Let them stand up;

Yet they shall fear,

They shall be ashamed together.

The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals,

Fashions it with hammers,

And works it with the strength of his arms.

Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails;

He drinks no water and is faint.

The craftsman stretches out his rule,

He marks one out with chalk;

He fashions it with a plane,

He marks it out with the compass,

And makes it like the figure of a man,

According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.

He cuts down cedars for himself,

And takes the cypress and the oak;

He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest.

He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.

Then it shall be for a man to burn,

For he will take some of it and warm himself;

Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread;

Indeed he makes a god and worships it;

He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.

He burns half of it in the fire;

With this half he eats meat;

He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.

He even warms himself and says,

“Ah! I am warm,

I have seen the fire.”

And the rest of it he makes into a god,

His carved image.

He falls down before it and worships it,

Prays to it and says,

“Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They do not know nor understand;

For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,

And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.

And no one considers in his heart,

Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say,

“I have burned half of it in the fire,

Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals;

I have roasted meat and eaten it;

And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?

Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”

He feeds on ashes;

A deceived heart has turned him aside;

And he cannot deliver his soul,

Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Isaiah 44:6-20 (NKJV)

As seen above, the prophet Isaiah issued a warning against idolatry. Emphasized were the absurdity of idolatry when compared with the worship of the Lord who is the true God of us all. Simply put, idols are not only unholy, they are worthless and do not respond to the idolaters (who in turn are too blinded to realize the truth in the Holy Bible).

Pay close attention to what our Heavenly Father said: 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. (Exodus 20:4-5 NKJV)

Idolatry is absolutely foolish and it is a violation of God’s Word. The problem with humanity is that when people are unfaithful or got blinded by religion or got consumed by unbelief or other worldly influences, they violate the Lord by making idols in the form of statues, statuettes, art pieces, relics and substances that they dedicate themselves to. They don’t realize it but those idols became their top priority, while God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not. They are too blinded to realize that man-made idols are abominations that actually please Satan because those idols keep them away from the Lord. Learn from the holy scripture below…

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

The work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they do not speak;

Eyes they have, but they do not see;

They have ears, but they do not hear;

Nor is there any breath in their mouths.

Those who make them are like them;

So is everyone who trusts in them.

Psalm 135:15-18 (NKJV)

The making of idols is a centuries-old problem in this world. Here in the Philippines, idolatry is part of the status quo of the people and their culture. Way back in the year 1521, the Spaniards arrived here in the Philippines and brought with them a distorted form of Christianity in the shape of religion along with idolatry, traditions and rituals. Think about it. For the following centuries of Spanish influence, countless generations of Filipinos were trapped by religion, lived in bondage and were really held back from realizing the truth in the Holy Bible and also held back from accepting Jesus as the definitive Lord and Savior.

Along the way, countless statues, statuettes, images and relics of religion were made and a lot of families wasted their money to buy them and place those idols in their homes, not realizing that those are an abomination to the Lord. Imagine for example someone praying to a statue or a statuette of Lord Jesus. This is unfortunate because the idolater does not realize the truth that Lord Jesus NOT in the statue/statuette but is in Heaven and His Spirit is in the hearts of Christians who got born again.

Think about a religion-led church (living with distorted Christianity) organizing a procession or parade with idols displayed from start to the finish in full view of the people around. Such unholy events continue to happen here in the Philippines and it shows that there are still a lot of lost and unsaved souls among the Filipinos still trapped by idolatry and religion.

Think about the other people who rejected our Lord because they believed in the secularists, atheists, Leftists, humanists and other non-believing people, and looked up to them as walking idols not realizing they are unholy and doing exactly what Satan wants them to do. As I am writing this, there are lots of youth here in the Philippines who did not truly believe in the Lord because they decided to believe in the Leftists whose loudmouths became idols to them. Instead of Christianity, the unfortunate youth believed in socialism, homosexuality, Communism, humanism, Marxism, unbelief and other unholy influences. Clearly, they have been fooled by these forces of evil which involve idolatry.

Also think about the other people who have this very casual way of idolizing people in rather worldly ways. People who idolize public figures involved in the world of politics, entertainment, sports, social media, dishonest news media, Internet influence and the like. What these kinds of idolaters do not realize is that there is no such thing as an innocent way of doing idolatry, and the Holy Bible itself – with lots of references about idolatry – is very clear about that.

Thanks to our Lord, true faith-led Christianity was realized worldwide in the 20th century and today, here in the Philippines, there are lots of Christian churches that are dedicated to the Word of God, the direct worship of the Lord, and prioritize faith and the personal relationship with Him. The truth is religion is not essential, faith in the Lord is essential. Religion is not essential, the personal relationship with God is essential. Unbelief will lead to eternal suffering and damnation, being faithful to the Lord will lead to salvation. Idols and idolatry are unholy, the Lord is holy. Reject idolatry for it is clearly written in the holy scripture below…

My cherished friends, keep on running far away from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:14 (TPT)

As it is clear the idolatry is foolishness and idols are unholy, we Christians can help our Lord save the lost and unsaved souls around us by praying for them and by preaching the Word of God (verbally and through digital methods) so that people will realize the truth, analyze and make their decisions. We can help the idolaters and all other sinners get saved before it is too late for them. Pay close attention to the words of Lord Jesus below…

“Again, heaven’s kingdom realm is like a fisherman who casts his large net into the lake, catching an assortment of different kinds of fish. When the net was filled, the fishermen hauled it up on the shore, and they all sat down to sort out their catch. They collected the good fish in baskets and threw the bad away. And so it will be at the close of the age. The messengers will come and separate the evil from among the godly and throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will experience great sorrow, pain, and anguish.”

Matthew 13:47-50 (TPT)

The idolaters and other sinners still have time to stop sinning, and come to the Lord who only requires submission from them to become His children. To the idolaters and sinners reading this…you can still save yourselves. You can reject all those idols (both the man-made and the walking) and free yourselves from both foolishness and sin to come to Him, repent to Him and allow Him to reform you fully. It is not too late to get born again. Learn from God’s words in the following holy scriptures below…

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”

Ezekiel 14:6 (NKJV)

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and [a]follow My ordinances. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 36:25-28 (NASB)

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Are you frustrated with religion? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the atheists and secularists fool and abused you? Were you victimized by a religious fanatic? Have you been living as a homosexual? Are you fed up with being promiscuous? You spent an entire life worshiping statues, statuettes, paintings and relics? Are you an anarchist, a toxic person or one of those modern-day Leftist activists who has had enough with darkness? Are you addicted to something for so long? All of that darkness can end! How? You can save yourselves bysubmitting to the Lord willingly and realize He is the Light! No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now and gain salvation, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from a pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Father God,

I thank You. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and redeemed me from all of my sins. He took my sins and, Father, thank You for loving me and You demonstrated Your love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I open my heart to You. I welcome You to enter into my heart. I confess today that You are now my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiveness. I receive forgiveness. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me from all of my sins. I will follow You, Jesus. Thank You for Your plan. I receive the Holy Spirit. And Holy Spirit, help me to follow the will of God in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church near you and find your place in the spiritual family.  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there. Remember the truth that God rewards the faithful abundantly  and continue to be people of the Word. Declare your love for Him as well!

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it for it is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

+++++

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. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there. 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: Go Beyond

Hey fellow Christians! Welcome back to my latest piece in my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series and we are about to take a close look at another Christian praise-and-worship song and then examine how its lyrics related to the Holy Bible.

The song to be featured now is Go Beyond, composed by Benjie Alipit and musically arranged and recorded by the COG Worship Band. It is an original song of Church of God World Missions Philippines.

Before we take a look at the song, let me explain that Church of God World Missions Philippines is a Christian church (main venue is in Dasmariñas City, Cavite) that strives to connect all of its COG churches around the Philippines and bring God’s Word outside the walls of the church and into the communities online. They are dedicated to evangelize and minister to every lost soul in the name of Lord Jesus. When it comes to social media, they heavily use the hashtags #BornAgainPilipinas and #COGPhilippines.

With the explanation and done, we can finally start with the lyrics of Go Beyond posted below for you all.

Intro:

Woah oh woah oh (6X)

Verse1:

Never failing God

All Your promises make me relentless

With Your unending grace

I receive the love that I don’t deserve

Pre-Chorus:

There’s no stopping now

Though I walk to the darkest valley

I will still go on

Chorus:

I will go beyond the mountain

Beyond the farthest distance I can be

I will tell the world how much You love me

I will go beyond the highest praise

For the things You’ve done are priceless

I will go beyond my capacity

To tell the world of all You’ve done for me

We will praise You

Verse 2:

Overwhelming peace

Fear is gone when you’ve overtaken me

With Your undying mercy

Now I’m confident that I am saved

Chorus:

I will go beyond the mountain

Beyond the farthest distance I can be

I will tell the world how much You love me

I will go beyond the highest praise

For the things You’ve done are priceless

I will go beyond my capacity

To tell the world of all You’ve done for me

We will praise You

Coda:

No walls

No fear

Can hinder me

I declare Your goodness and mercy

To analyze the biblical relevance of this song, let’s start with the early lines Never failing God All Your promises make me relentless. Those words from the lyrics show that we Christians all reasons to be excited or to be totally dedicated to God knowing that He always keeps His promises to us. When His promises come true, they are indeed very well worth the wait. Remember also that God is truly faithful to us. Check out the following holy scripts below starting with God’s promise to Abram.

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 12: 2-3 (NKJV)

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

Hebrews 11: 11 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3: 16 (NKJV)

Whatever God promises, whether it’s prosperity, happiness, justice, recovery, rebirth, positive reform and blessings, He truly keeps them for those who are faithful (not religious) to Him. This alone should inspire us all to go beyond with the Lord. Genesis 12: 2-3 marked God’s promise to Abram who was already faithful and in due time, after traveling far following His instructions, Abram and his wife Sarai got blessed. Even though she was already 90-years-old, the faithful Sarah (formerly Sarai) gave birth to Isaac (Hebrews 11: 11) which itself shows that God sometimes decides to wait before fulfilling His promise. The fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (formerly Abram) and Sarah with Isaac as their offspring together marked the beginning of what we in the modern world refer to as Israel (both country and people).

Going further into the New Testament, the arrival of Jesus (John 3: 16) marked God’s plan to have humanity redeemed from the curse that started with Adam’s rebellion towards God which gave dominion to Satan. This shows that God Himself promised to have His creations saved with Jesus (God in the flesh) as His ultimate instrument to make it happen. As such, we the faithful can always look forward to God fulfilling His promises, and truly go beyond! With God, nothing is impossible!

From the chorus are the following lines: For the things You’ve done are priceless I will go beyond my capacity To tell the world of all You’ve done for me We will praise You. To put things in perspective, once we get blessed by the Lord, it is only right to be a blessing to others. We all live in a very screwed-up world and there are lots of people who did not really know the Lord because they were consumed by unbelief, religion, idolatry, politics, greed, covetousness, evil and the like. That means that there are indeed a whole lot of unsaved and lost souls around the world! We are surrounded by the unsaved and the lost! Being Born Again (refer to Jesus’ words in John 3: 3) and getting reformed with the Holy Spirit, it is only right that we spread God’s Word to others, share to others how the Lord changed us and blessed us, and why God is the true Heavenly Father and Ultimate Creator who deserves all of our praise! With the Lord, the unsaved and the lost can be saved, and once they submit to Him and become new creations, they can go beyond as well. We the faithful can help the Lord save the unsaved and the lost! Check out the following holy scriptures.

I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him. I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones! I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power,

Ephesians 1: 17-19 (TPT)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 (NKJV)

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Acts 3: 19-21 (NKJV)

And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2: 4 (NKJV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, will all your mind, and with all your strength.

Mark 12: 30 (NKJV)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (TPT)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2: 9-10 (NKJV)

Now we can proceed with the next lines from the lyrics: Overwhelming peace Fear is gone when you’ve overtaken me.

As written in the Holy Bible, peace from the Lord is undeniably real and powerful. When one gets born again and becomes a child of God, he or she will get reformed to be holy (with the Holy Spirit in the heart), to study the Holy Bible and apply its lessons in real life, and find true peace that will last. Along the way, fear becomes nothing. In fact, fear has no place in Christianity and very certainly fear will NOT help you become part of God’s family and kingdom. The sad reality about the screwed-up world we live in is that fear is common and hindered the many unsaved and lost souls from becoming Christians. Fear is part of religion, unbelief, traditions, rituals and idolatry. Even the unsaved and lost souls who think they are fearless don’t realize their arrogance and ignorance about it. It is only by submitting to God that fear will be truly thrown out and peace will come in.

Apart from the Lord’s peace overwhelming it, fear will also be replaced by courage that comes with being part of the spiritual family…the Lord’s family! Here are some holy scriptures for your reference (the final verse is about being fearless, aggressive and protected with the Armor provided to us by Him).

I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!

John 14: 27 (TPT)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5: 23 (NKJV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NKJV)

Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.

Ephesians 6: 11-13 (TPT)

With the above scriptures, the lines from the song – Overwhelming peace Fear is gone when you’ve overtaken me – make sense with the Holy Bible! In fact, John 14: 27 emphasized peace from Jesus and His instruction for us not to yield to fear is so clear!

Now that it is obvious that the song Go Beyond is, indeed, a holy song, let me take the opportunity to describe the music. As performed by the COG Worship Band, Go Beyond is pretty energetic and the way it plays, it is an ideal song to play early during Sunday worship at church and get all the spiritual family members energized for further worship!

In ending this CMA, embedded below is the official music of Go Beyond (note: my thanks to Church of God World Missions Philippines for referencing their song) Enjoy it and always remember to thank, honor and praise Lord Jesus! Always be the fearless and aggressive church of the Lord and help Him save the many unsaved and lost souls around the world!


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. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved souls out there.

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: So Good

Planetshakersmusicians and pastors really know how to motivate people and help enable them to really worship the Lord. As I wrote previously, their song How I Praise is an excellent worship song that will surely energize people to praise God, and its title is a nice reminder of how we Christians should praise.

Recently I got to spend time listening to Planetshakers’ other song titled So Good. Like How I Praise, So Good is very energetic and motivating. Its title should remind you that the Lord is always good and His goodness is undeniable.

Before I emphasize the holy scriptures confirming God’s goodness, presented below are the lyrics of the song So Good.

 

A kind of explosion

It happened inside me

The moment You came in

Into my life

I felt Your power

It lifted me higher

Now I’m on fire

Burning for You

– 

No, I’m not mistaken

In who I’m praising

You are the reason

That I’m alive

Jesus You came in

And everything’s changing

So I am praising

And lifting You high

– 

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

– 

There’s nothing better

Lord, than Your presence

I wanna stay here

All of my days

It’s so releasing

Here in Your freedom

So I am praising

And lifting Your name

– 

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

– 

Say Whoa

Whoa

Say Whoa

Whoa

Say Whoa

Whoa

– 

There is no one like You

There is no one like You

– 

Say Whoa

Whoa

Say Whoa

Whoa

Say Whoa

Whoa

– 

There is no one like You

There is no one like You

– 

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

God You’re so good

God You’re so good

There’s nobody like You

There is no one like You

There is no one like You

The opening lines of A kind of explosion It happened inside me The moment You came in Into my life I felt Your power It lifted me higher Now I’m on fire Burning for You relates with becoming born again, receiving the Holy Spirit and turning into a new creation. For as long as the new creation keeps on living in holiness under Lord Jesus (which includes living by God’s Word – the Holy Bible), he or she will be blessed, experience the Lord’s greatness in multiple ways and have a new perspective on life. I personally experienced significant changes since getting saved. For as long as you are a faithful Christian who constantly pursues holiness, the Lord will bless you, protect you, guide you and help you realize that He made a plan for you even before you were born. These are confirmed in the following holy scriptures below from the New King James Version (NKJV) and The Passion Translation (TPT).

Jesus answered, “Nicodemus, listen to this eternal truth: Before a person can perceive God’s kingdom realm, they must first experience a rebirth.”

John 3: 3 (TPT)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (TPT)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8: 28 (NKJV)

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

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV)

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1: 5 (NKJV)

Next are the following lines from the song to discuss: God You’re so good There’s nobody like You. God is truly good and His goodness to His faithful creations (Christians who got born again) is undeniable. Also there is nobody like God and certainly all those idols (those man-made objects, images and the walking people that get worshiped) here on Earth are NOTHING compared to Him. To get a clear idea of God being so good to His children, read the following holy scriptures.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Psalm 34: 8 (NKJV)

For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.

John 3: 16 (TPT)

And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.”

Exodus 34: 6-7 (NKJV)

Now, may the God of peace and harmony set you apart, making you completely holy. And may your entire being—spirit, soul, and body—be kept completely flawless in the appearing of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. The one who calls you by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete his work in you. Now, beloved ones, pray for us. Greet every brother and sister with a sacred kiss. I solemnly plead with you before the Lord to make sure that every holy believer among you has the opportunity to hear this letter read to them. Grace from our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!

1 Thessalonians 5: 23-28 (TPT)

There! God’s goodness is undeniable, unlimited and always available for Christians who are faithful (not religious) to Him. Next we discuss God’s presence in our lives as reflected in the song’s lines: There’s nothing better Lord, than Your presence. Now here are some holy scriptures about God’s presence in our lives.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up.

James 4: 8-10 (NKJV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Psalm 23: 1-6 (NKJV)

There you have it! Planetshakers’ So Good is truly a holy song to worship the Lord with. As it is a highly energetic song (like the other Planetshakers song How I Praise), I recommend playing So Good as the opening song to be performed by your church musicians whenever a Sunday worship service is organized. It is an excellent song to energize and strongly motivate your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to connect to the Lord together at church.

Be aware that So Good is part of the Planetshakers album Glory Pt. Two. The album is available for ordering via Amazon, Apple and the Planetshakers store.

In closing this piece, embedded below for your enjoyment is Planetshakers’ live performance video of So Good which contains footage from their January 2020 special event held here in the Philippines complete a very large audience! Clearly Filipinos loved the song and it helped them praise 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. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved souls out there.

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

Tumang: BFSK is already compliant with JMC Number 1

Even as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued an order to all Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) units nationwide to use their respective budgets by following the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) of January 2019 designated as JMC Number 1 (issued by the Department of Budget and Management, the National Youth Commission and the DILG itself), Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang confirmed to me today that their SK achieved compliance before the DILG’s September 17 order was published.

IMG_20190417_105303~2.jpg
Barangay BF Homes chairperson Mariel Tumang.

“We have complied with all the requirements needed. These include the opening of bank account, doing the fidelity bonding, making the three-year plan, the annual investment plan, and the annual budget for 2019,” BFSK chairperson Tumang said. “We now have our independence using the SK funds. Already we have started disbursing the SK budget since this past August.”

The BFSK head added that, right now, they are waiting for the mandatory training that the DILG and the NYC are supposed to organize. The training is designed to provide guidance to all SK units about utilizing the SK funds properly and in accordance to existing laws.

This latest development is not the first time that the BFSK’s compliance has been acknowledged. Recently the SK Federation of Parañaque City acknowledged the BFSK for the said achievement.

As Tumang told me previously, more projects and activities will be organized by the BFSK in the near future now that they have achieve independence from the barangay and now have access to the SK funds.

Speaking of activities in Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City, there will be a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced these on September 14.

The technical stuff

DILGlogo

In the order of the DILG, it was stated that JMC Number 1 (Series of 2019) provides guidelines on the appropriation, release, planning and budgeting process for the SK funds.

Jonathan E. Malaya, who serves as the Undersecretary and Spokesperson of the DILG, stated that pending the issuance of the Commission on Audit (COA)’s guidelines on SK financial transactions, the SK may start using their budgets “provided they comply with the requirements of the DBM-DILG-NYC Joint Memorandum Circular.”

“The development agenda for the youth sector cannot be further delayed. SK officials in every locality should now get the ball rolling so that they can already carry out projects that are meant to promote the interests and welfare of the youth,” Malaya said.

The spokesperson added that there is no need to wait for the COA guidelines because the commission has given the SK the green light to use their funds in accordance to JMC Number 1 which in itself details the procedures on how they can disburse their respective budgets.

In order for SK funds to be disbursed, a current bank account under the name of the SK must be opened (by the SK chairperson specifically) in a government-owned bank, apply for fidelity bonding (with the SK chairperson and the SK treasurer as the accountable officials), and a 3-year rolling plan called the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan (CBYDP) must be formulated.

Beyond these, SK officials are required to undergo training programs conducted by the DILG, NYC, and the authorized training providers in accordance with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2018-48, as well as continuing training programs on the Government Procurement Reform Act, Manual on Financial Transactions of the SK, the proper utilization of SK fund, the accounting and auditing rules and regulations and any other relevant trainings which will help them carry out their functions effectively and efficiently.

When it comes to the funding, 10% of the general fund of barangays shall be set aside for the Sangguniang Kabataan which shall be appropriated in lump sum and distributed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes in accordance to the SK Reform Act.

The law further states that the SK shall have financial independence in its operations, disbursements and encashment of their fund, income and expenditures.


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

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Chairperson Mariel Tumang

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Chairperson Mariel Tumang

IMG_20190417_105303~2.jpg
Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson Mariel Tumang.

For much of the day on June 30, 2019, the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) led by its chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang visited different developing communities of Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City and implemented their special project called Waste Wise for Rice.

The project emphasized the trading in of Eco Bricks for kilograms of rice grain. According to chairperson Tumang, local community residents each hand over to them the Eco Brick(s) (plastic bottle containing wrappings of snack products) and in return the SK gives out a kilogram of rice grain. Tumang and her kagawads (youth councilors) Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre, Stephanie Sebullen worked hard that day.

According to the Facebook page of the BFSK, the SK collected 900 Eco Bricks and they released over 900 kilograms of rice grain. The SK emphasized that their June 30 project was environment-friendly and a good provider of food for the residents. Here in the Philippines, rice is staple food.

Before that special project happened, I got to interview BFSK chairperson Tumang (who is also the Vice President of the Parañaque SK Federation) and here is my exclusive feature of her for you all.

Who is Mariel Tumang?

Mariel Angela Tumang was born in the late 1990s. She recently graduated at the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA with a BS in Accountancy. Her entry into the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes came at a time when the SK got reformed. In short, she and her fellow councilors are pioneers for Barangay BF Homes under the new SK system.

To put things in perspective, the SK or youth council was a decades-old system in Philippine society that, from its 1975 beginning, developed a poor reputation. Critics called the SK a system that politicizes young people, a failure on implementing youth development programs, a breeding ground for corruption and the like. People who don’t believe in the SK stressed that young people are not ready for early public service and that they are better off focusing on their academics. Also it did not help under the original SK system that youth leaders who were not even of legal age (below 18) got to sign contracts between their council and other organizations.

In early 2016, Congress approved Republic Act Number 10742 which was called the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law. It saw some notable changes like raising the age of the council to 18-24 years-old (versus the previous 15-17) and implementing an anti-political dynasty rule.

This brings me back to Tumang and her kagawads.

In the summer of 2018, a team of youth candidates under the umbrella of former Barangay BF Homes chairperson Florencia “Beng” Amurao was formed and Tumang was the candidate for BFSK chairperson. As it was the first SK election in some years, as well as the first-ever election under the reformed SK system, there was hesitation along the way for Tumang.

“Actually, I did not want to join the election because for me, politics is dirty,” Tumang said. “My friends inspired me especially Tita Beng (Amurao). My mother worked for her previously. Tita Beng said she wanted me to be her group’s candidate for SK chairperson and I said that I was still studying and was unsure about the idea of running in the election. After some more talk, I got inspired a lot and decided to run.”

When I asked her if she had thought about uplifting the status of young people of the many communities of Barangay BF Homes as part of her decision to run, she confirmed that it was indeed her intention all along. She also had insight.

“Before entering the SK, I was a student leader and during my days at Masville National High School I was the SSG president. I also received an award for leadership of students when I graduated high school. I was also a Girl Scout and along the way we got trained with leadership skills and values. A lot of my friends told me I have leadership skills,” she said.

In the reformed SK election for Barangay BF Homes, Tumang and her teammates under the Team Amurao banner ran against their counterparts from the group of then Kagawad Paolo Marquez. As the competition between the two teams was intense, the campaigning was, unsurprisingly, very challenging.

“It was really hard for me personally for I was not really an outgoing person. I spent my time mostly at school and at home. We were somewhat known in Masville but not that much in other communities of the barangay,” Tumang recalled. “At the same time, I took summer classes along the way which was a requirement at school. I had to skip some classes just to campaign. When I was able to attend to both (campaign and class), there were days we went house-to-house campaigning in the morning, then I go school in the after and attend campaign meetings in the evening.”

All the pain, the lack of sleep and hard efforts to win the voters’ trust ultimately paid off for Tumang as she defeated her election rival Aira Besana (Team Marquez) for the BFSK chairperson post gathering a total 2,672 votes. The seven SK kagawad posts were split between Team Amurao and Team Marquez candidates.

“I was so glad and I cried when I learned that I won the SK chairperson position. My friends and family really supported me during the COMELEC counting of the votes. It was a nerve-wrecking experience and many of us, including my teammates, stayed at the Phase 1 gym for a very long time without any sleep,” she recalled.

Mariel2
Tumang (middle) with her BFSK kagawads and a few others on June 30, 2019. (source – Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Bf Homes Facebook page)

Since taking office as chairperson of the Barangay BF Homes youth council on June 30, 2018, she and her councilors organized several projects and activities on developing youth of the local communities despite the fact that they lacked funds. Along the way, she and her councilors participated in some seminars and out-of-town activities related to youth development and leadership development. Of course, leading the BFSK made life more challenging for her since she was still finishing her studies.

“It’s really difficult,” Tumang remarked on balancing her personal life with academics and SK duty. “There were times I really cried because I could not manage my time. When we started, we lacked direction on what to do so I asked my mother for guidance since she served as a staffer of the barangay before.”

Tumang added that being a student and an elected youth leader forced her to make hard decisions when barangay matters conflicted with her academics. While missing out on class was costly, being absent from a youth council meeting or session would mean getting left behind on the latest developments.

On the aspect of legislation, Tumang serves as the presiding officer of the youth council. She coordinates with the SK secretary over the agenda for each session which is held only once a month. Already some resolutions have been approved by the BFSK most notably their budget which is in the millions of pesos.

As the reformed SK was so new, Tumang and her kagawads started without a real budget at all and had to depend on the barangay’s youth development fund. Along the way, they had to make hard adjustments by learning the processes, learning how to do proper reports, practice of ethics, and more.

As of this year, the BFSK is inching closer to completing the system for the receiving and releasing of funds that are needed to realize their youth development projects. Tumang and her team had visited the banks, coordinated with the barangay and secure several requirements. They were delayed somewhat because of an election ban related to the May 2019 national and local elections.

While there were lots of hassles and challenges, Tumang still is focused on serving the youth of Barangay BF Homes and with what the BFSK has achieved so far. She and her kagawads are striving to do much more to make progressive and positive impact on developing the local youth.

“The feeling is so pleasant whenever I see someone smile as a result of the projects we at the SK have accomplished,” she said with a smile.

Message to the Readers

Mariel3
Mariel Tumang handing over rice grain to a donor during the Waste Wise for Rice activity on June 30. (source – Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Bf Homes Facebook page)

“I wish to share to you all that the Sangguniang Kabataan is really a good thing because we can talk to youth who are naturally hesitant to communicate with older people or share their concerns. Young people are always struggling with some sort of personal or social problems of their own as they grow up. From peer pressure, to insecurity, mental problems and suicidal thoughts, the youth are struggling and they need help. We are willing to help them. Here in BF, we are very willing to help implement the very promising programs from Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez designed for the youth. Problematic youth are very welcome to visit barangay hall for assistance and we are very willing to provide it. The BFSK is caring and we aim to develop local youth socially, academically and morally. With seminars, outreach and enlightening group discussions already done, the reformed SK system is truly about nurturing youth and it is no longer limited to organizing sports events.”


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

 

 

My Observations: Filipinos Urged To Participate In May 13 National & Local Elections

Here in the Philippines, the stage is set for the organizing of the 2019 National and Local Elections set for May 13 and already Malacañang urged Filipinos to participate in it.

What will happen is that voters will select up to twelve candidates for the Philippine Senate to serve for the next six years. With regards to their localities, voters will choose who will serve them at the House of Representatives for the next three years. For the provinces, voters will get to choose the governor, the vice governor and members of the provincial board.

Moving further local, voters will choose who will be the mayor, the vice mayor and councilors in their respective cities or municipalities. The elected officials will serve three years.

“We enjoin all Filipinos who are eligible to vote to participate in this healthy democratic exercise as we call on all candidates across the political spectrum to ask their supporters to observe an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections reflective of the people’s genuine will,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press statement.

While it makes sense to encourage eligible voters to take part in the democratic exercise, Philippine democracy has its flaws. Flaws not limited to the electoral system being imperfect nor limited to voters being divided between the educated, the less educated and the uneducated.

Regardless of education, there are voters here in the Philippines who easily fall for the charms of the candidates (especially the incumbent public officials) who in turn exploit them. When a voter gets charmed, he/she tends to forget about the social and political issues that matter and gets manipulated to vote for the candidate he/she finds charming.

How do city government-level candidates and/or incumbent public officials charm the voters? Pose in front of photographers pretending to be busy; give a beautiful smile; stand beside a beauty pageant winner; lead the oath-taking ceremony of new officials of a homeowners association (note: such a ceremony carries NO LEGAL WEIGHT whatsoever as the city government official has no right to step into the jurisdiction of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board which is the regulator for HOAs); deliver an inspirational speech filled with lies or exaggerations; pretend to be smart and all-knowing in front of people; etc.

Sad to say, there is an element of acting in public service. As if that was not bad enough, there is also the illegal activity of vote-buying. If voters were more educated and/or had a stronger common sense as well as a strong mental defense, then it could change the trends of election campaigning which, for the most part, strongly relies on charming voters, exploiting the ignorant and tempting people with money.

I chose not to be ignorant which is why I do private research on the candidates in each election and pray to the Lord directly.

In addition, I can clearly say that I don’t get charmed and I don’t get fooled by candidates. I don’t allow the charmed ones to influence me as well.

Charm is pretty but it is a risk factor for Philippine democracy. There should be more focus on integrity, credibility and capabilities on the parts of the candidates and incumbent officials.

If you intend to vote at all, I would suggest preparing yourself to not only be wiser (and be resistant to charm gimmicks by the candidates) but be edified spiritually. How? By praying to Lord Jesus for guidance, enlightenment and peace to name a few. I would also suggest to pray for whichever candidates win because any new or re-elected public official should be aware that high above him/her is the Lord. Definitely no public official can ever match the authority of God!

Pray also for your local community, your town or city and the nation as well. If you feel uncertain about whom to vote for, ask the Lord! Remember that whoever gets elected, the future and the welfare of the people get affected. Public service comes with lots of temptations and power can be abused.

Before voting on Monday, be sure to worship the Lord on Sunday at church. Pray to Him even further in the privacy of your room. Be inside your room, shut the door, read the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to the Lord.

Take note that a nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Never mind the rants of the secularists because the truth is written in the Holy Bible, specifically Proverbs 29: 18-27 (NKJV).

Next is this holy scripture from Psalm 33: 12 (NKJV). It’s a very powerful scripture.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Don’t let the pretentious, the ignorant and the devil manipulate you. Always be connected with the Lord and be faithful to Him. Democracy means nothing without the Lord. Remember that.


Thank you for reading. If you find this game review 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