Who Controls the World

Is “GOD”, “human” or “Satan” in control of everything in this world? Let me share you this slippery-slope-kind-of-questioning-we-encountered today.

Along our usual afternoon track, we stopped at a nearby bench at the beachfront to quench our thirst and eat quail’s eggs. Suddenly, two young adults holding familiar pamphlets approached us (Of course, this idea of Christian Protestants is no longer new to my sister and I because some of our acquaintances do the same kind of mission).

“Do you mind if we get a short hold of your time?” The young man asked. A young woman was beside him, smiling, sweetly.

I was thinking of a tactful way to answer them “NO” so as not to offend them. As a speaker, I can feel the same pang of hurt when rejected.

“No, of course, not.” My sister, always, hospitable, answered.

NO! I didn’t even have the chance to say that. Truth be told, I don’t want to immerse myself, again, with vague interpretations of Bible verses. I’ve had enough. That’s why I committed myself to carefully picking the right references to deepen my faith while holding on to what is true. Our charismatic community speaker advised us to refrain those kinds of short conversations, if possible, because they detract us from the true faith – the Catholic faith. These kind of evangelization can’t attain its purpose because interpreting the Bible by portion, just like any other law, is not right. The Bible must be interpreted as a whole. However, our archbishop said it’s okay to entertain them if we are strong enough to make wise comparisons in order for us to stay faithful to our Catholic faith. Yet, since my sister already acceded, then, I had no other choice than to be polite and welcoming, too.

“Well, you can. We will not mind.” Then, I smiled.

“There’s this question I want you to think about and answer: WHO IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD?” He handed me a pamphlet while he asked this question.

“Hmmmn…”

It took me a long pause because I was trying to collate everything I’ve learned in my every day Bible-reading, Church teaching, prayer meetings, and conversation over the dinner table regarding God’s provision no matter how imperfect the world is. On the array of choices, only “GOD”, “human”, and “etc.” were included. Satan wasn’t included. So, I trimmed down my number of choices into those provided.

“Uh…I think, both God and human. Because…ah, sorry. I was supposed to answer a single question.”

“No, you can. You can explain why you chose those.”

“I answered them because I believe God created everything – the heavens and the earth so He is in control. However, part of what God provided humans was free will – to choose what is right or wrong.”

“That’s right. Free will. You can find that in the Bible. But can you reconsider this: If God is in control, then, why are there crises, crimes, imperfection in this world? Maybe, it is not God. It’s…”

Satan. This thought lingered my mind due to the slippery slope I was put onto. And because somehow, Satan is the father of all lies, I partly and temporarily believed.

“Right! I thought of that, too. Because it was also said, ‘To be friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4).’ If we look closely to this kind of argument, we can see loopholes:

First, if Satan is in control of the entire world, then, we are succumbing to the final conclusion that we cannot do anything anymore. “Control” connotes “power”. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,ย control is to have power over.ย Hence, are we saying thatย we are slaves over Satan’s power?

Remember Job. God “allowed” Satan to test him (Job 1:12). It was said, “God allowed…” That meant, it was, still, God who took control over the testing of Job. Not the devil himself because the devil hadn’t and will never overpower God (Luke 4:5-8).

Second, the increasing evil attacks in the world even bolster God’s unending power. Why? Satan had to maximize all his efforts, work restlessly all day and night only to deceive both the faithful and the unfaithful – his ultimate job. When God’s voice and power become stronger, that’s when he deafens the world with his tempting and empty promises. When he does this, that means, God’s power is, really working (Job 9:4).

Third, this evangelizer’s reference, “We all know that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil (1 John 5:19)” could be right, but it doesn’t coincide with the question they posed.

According to Christian Community Bible Commentaries on 1 John 5: 19 (THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN EVIL), First Edition by Claretian Publications, “As has already been mentioned, this world belongs to God who made it good. Nevertheless, this world is not simply a building site wherein we work. It is first the place where the evil one competes with God. The evil side does not side with any group, atheist or materialist or whatever else, but everywhere transforms the best things into destroying idols – even among those looking for a more perfect life life: keep yourself from idols (v. 21).” Hence, the devil, always, competes with God. He is the source of all that envy and jealousy, putting into human’s mind the urgency to win out of vain. Let us all remember that Satan wanted more than what God gave him. He wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14: 12-15).

Lastly, upon Jesus’ resurrection, it does not only mean “to return to life” but to begin a new and transformed life (Christian Community Bible Commentaries on John 5:19 and John 6:60). To say that Satan, is, still, in control of the world, makes it pointless Jesus’ passion, death, and RESURRECTION. When he was raised from the dead, he has proven that sin and even death had no power over him. Hence, we, as members of Christ’s body, can conquer anything with him – even the stings of sin and the horrors of death. There is nothing that we cannot do because our hope, Jesus Christ, is alive! He is alive! Death as a consequence of sin had no authority over him because he himself was not subject to sin. Satan, then, is now overpowered by Jesus, our only hope.

“Thanks for your time, Samantha and Ming,” said the young man who also happened to be a government employee. The young woman, again, smiled.

“No problem.” Then, we vanished.

As we rode our way home, I kept thinking about this incident. Since I’ve already undergone few confusions in the past regarding false ideas, I prayed before for God’s discernment and wisdom to know what is true or false not only through Bible verses, but through God’s communication in a language that we know and through the circumstances that surround His people. After all, God does not only communicate with us through Bible verses. He does it in human experiences. Furthermore, it is not apt to base our interpretation from verses of the Bible. It must be interpreted according to passages. You can download this Bible guide for the year 2017 – it was made by Bible scholars all throughout the world through thorough research and study of what transgresses time. It can be seen that our Bible readings are uniform; the 1st reading, 2nd reading and Gospel in Philippines are the same in all countries because the Catholic Church is ONE, holy, and catholic. Plus, the passages were well-chosen and they correlate with each other.

To conclude this post, I just want to make it clear that I am not against any religion or sect. I am just striving to protect the one true faith. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for stopping by! I’ve got more to share to you.

๐Ÿ’Œ,
SAM

Position Paper: Suspension of Barangay Elections

Where are we now? As promised, I would go back to writing. This paper was, originally, our assignment in Legal Forms. I waited for summer vacation before I publish this to avoid plagiarism. Here it is:

I highly oppose the suspension of barangay elections for this year.

“Suffrage as conferred by the constitutional provision is not a natural right of the citizens, but a political right intended to enable them to participate in the process of government to assure it derives its powers from the consent of the governed (Pungutan vs. Abubakar, L-33541, 20 June 1972).โ€

To suspend the election is to deprive the Filipino citizens of their political right to choose who will govern them. Last yearโ€™s suspension was justified due to amendments on the qualifications of body politics of Sangguniang Kabataan, which can pave way to a more efficient election. Apart from this, the fear of having to elect leaders despite the drug parlance in the country was considered, for drug money might be used by candidates for their campaign. But does Philippines need another suspension to delay these envisioned prejudices? Are we, again, depriving the nation to choose its new leaders and the citizens, themselves, their privilege to run for public office? A single suspension was enough. We need not to enslave our minds from fears of the unknown.

First off, the ongoing issues in illegal drugs are being tried, unlawfully. Extrajudicial and vigilante killings have become an โ€œacceptable, โ€œspeedyโ€ way to eliminate who they thought were scraps of society [when in fact life is in the highest in the hierarchy in Sec. 1, Art. III of the Constitution] Life was less valuable than that of an animal in a slaughterhouse. I submit that this remedy of the present administration increased even the number of crimes that the nation needs to address โ€“ Murder and Homicide. After all, they are also heinous crimes, arenโ€™t they? Do they differ from the felonies in the Revised Penal Code just because a public servant does it in one way or another? Absolutely, not. Hence, using illegal drug parlance as another justification to suspend the barangay elections is inutile, a mere repetition on the delay of the administration of justice.

Secondly, to suspend the barangay elections is to extend the service of the incumbent officials. Some, if not all, have been using their bestowed duty and power to propagate their evil motives. It cannot be said that the present elected officials are not amiss in their duties to the people. Not only drugs, but graft and corruption continuously affect the growth of the nation. These leaders can aid the facilitation on the flow of drugs in prisons and camps, using bribes to favour or persecute. Thus, if the government really wanted to cleanse itself from all impurities, it has to start looking to whatโ€™s in-front of it before stepping into whatโ€™s next. More aptly put, the government needs to sterilize itself from abusive leaders in position, first, by conducting an election [to give electorates the option to lawfully remove them in position or to retain those who need to be retained in position] before stopping the inflow of coming leaders. This way, we are following the dictates of justice and equity guided by the Constitution.

Lastly, suspending the barangay election would deprive the grassroots levels of decentralization. Leaders are bred in the smaller governmental institutions. It is in the barangay level where the seemingly miniscule proposals sprout and drizzle the far-reaching ideals of the larger institutions like the National Government. Ergo, to stop the aspiring citizens to serve his people is also putting an end to the free exchange and advancement of leadership.

The 2017 barangay elections must forego. Let our voices be heard. Speak and act, Filipino. I now rest my case.

๐Ÿ’Œ,

SAM

On Fire

Yes, even the Church is at war.

It was my first time to witness an electricity brownout while the Mass was ongoing which started right in the middle of the readings. Of course, everyone was anxious. As for me, my heart skipped a beat and silently prayed for the current to come back for the Gospel. There it goes. Lectors had to doubly increase their voice…I can also see our parish priest wiping his forehead. He seemed to be in deep thought, but, still, confident that what was gone would come back. My mother closed her eyes while praying. And I, I was doing the same thing.
When the moment came for Gospel reading, a servant brought a battery-operated speaker. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Whoa. To much of our surprise, the electricity came back in full force when our priest would be reading the Gospel. So I whispered to Mom, “It’s so amazing! Bumalik n’ong Gospel reading.” My mind says, “The Lord is so powerful. He can work miracles. If this was the devil’s work, God can show to His people that He never loses His battles.”ย 

During the Homily, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villegas’ Message was, instead, read to us. It’s about the Church’s standing to the restoration of Death Penalty.

“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” is no longer at hand, it says. When Jesus came to this world, He had overpowered this brutal punishment of early church leaders. Not because He violated Moses’ law, but He has given life to God’s immense love. For even Moses is subject to Jesus. He took all our iniquities, He was nailed on the cross, and He gave us eternal life. As Christians, we are among those people who value the sanctity of life. We don’t need capital punishment to avenge ourselves from our brothers and sisters who had wronged us, no matter how grave it was. For they, too, are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is better to have them change, instead of killing them and forcefully erasing their existence into this world, like an oblivion.

The restoration of the Death Penalty in the Philippines is contrary to the avowed duty of the State to comply with a treaty obligation. Philippines is one of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which prohibits the imposition of capital punishment because it recognizes life as a basic human right. Hence, in Section 19, Art III of the Constitution, it stresses that the Constitution already completely abolished death penalty from the statute books.

Last Ash Wednesday, the lower house has approved the bill restoring death penalty on the third reading. The lawmakers’ voice was softened by fear of the unknown, particularly the iron-clad hand of a not-so-mighty-ruler.

One senator who claims to be a Christian is skillfully-sidestepping the Bible by saying that since capital punishment was in the Bible, it’s rightful to impose it. Wow! It’s as if New Testament never existed at all. He has based his argument on a wrong premise. Just because a thing existed in the Bible, it is justified to bring it back? All crimes also existed in the Bible but the point is, these were written to warn the next generation. He should have read the Bible by NOT cutting down verses, but read it as a whole. Seriously, man, I regret voting for you. WALA KANG SARILING DESISYON. You had disappointed your fellow Christians for going with the flow. You are not a Christian at all because you submit not to Jesus, but to a human authority. Tsk, tsk…

The letter concluded with (if I can remember it right) a statement of continuing Church’s battle with death penalty. Until I got home, I couldn’t wait to encourage and awaken other Christian-Catholics to be aware and fight for life. I hope this post would somehow help.

It is not, yet, too late to stand up for life. The bill will, still, be reviewed and amended by the upper house, the Senate. And so long as Jesus’ life lives in us, we will continue praying and urging our lawmakers to be in line with God.
Thank you for reading!

๐Ÿ’Œ,
SAM

A Humble Confidence

Do you have that inner passion to try something new? Come on. Ask for God’s guidance. He will give it!

Dahil naniniwala ako na ang lahat ng bagay ay natututunan. At lahat ng bagay ay nagmula sa Panginoon, walang bagay ang hindi ko kayang gawin.” ๐Ÿ˜Š


Here’s my second attempt to pencil-sketch a portrait. Truth be told, I thought sketching was not for me. As a child and until I reach the age of maturity, sketching has never crossed my mind. For I had conclusive presumption that this a NATURAL-BORN SKILL. Artists seem to stroke, effortlessly, and maybe, I couldn’t do it.

Summer 2016 ๐ŸŽธ. I asked God to teach me guitar. After a boon if giving me one, I learned the basics. So I can now play and sing songs. Honestly, I made a promise that I would dare not try guitar because as they say, “Masakit sa kamay ang gitara. Nakaka-kalyo (Playing guitar is painful to the hand. You can grow calluses).” But I dismissed these comments and tried.

Early 2017 ๐ŸŽจ. I became interested with watercolor painting. When I started mixing colors and applied them on the canvas, I just couldn’t stop to taste the goodness of the Lord!

The thing is, all the impossible things I once believed I could not do, I can now. And all these things came from Him. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s just a balance between confidence and humility. As Peter Chin wrote, “I CAN BE CONFIDENT BECAUSE GOD HAS QUALIFIED ME, BUT I REMAIN HUMBLE BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE WORK FOR HE’S QUALIFIED ME IS NOT MY OWN. IT’S HIS!”

Let us discover more of the talents and skills we can learn!

๐Ÿ’Œ,
SAM

Elf-ing and Eat-ing

I have been frequently having “late uploads” everywhere. Reason? Well, planned activities are unpredictable. Things have to fall to the right timing to play their perfect rhythm.

Tonight’s blog mirrors a sudden, unplanned date with my Law buddy, Ate Raquel. She had to meet me for a footwear, yes. And since it was Christmas, of course, police officers enjoyed their pay, too! This was a share of the blessing. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜

Tartan Cafรฉ is located at Brgy. Poblacion, Binmaley, Pangasinan. It’s a solitary place to catch up with your distant friends, HS and college buddies!

There’s an array of choices from hot to cold drinks.

I like how this photo depicted a frosty atmosphere outside, when, in fact, it wasn’t.

Throw pillows. If you plan to get serious with your “chika” and you accidentally hit your buddy.

Hey there, Elf!

My first slice of caarrot cake, I supposed.

Nachos at Tartan Cafรฉ is crunchy and tasty!

Green Macha Frappe.

The flatlay of our orders.

During our stay, we talked most of how we were braving Wills and Succession. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

It didn’t show but we relinquished this moment of spending time together without Law matters clouding up our minds.

We stated for two (2) hours or so.


The Sweet Police Officer who does not give a second thought to cosmetics or selfies! I love you, Ate! Thank you for being my confidantรฉ in this oh-so-ruthless-and-deceiving-world! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ‘ฏ

More posts, soon.

๐Ÿ’Œ,
SAM

Why Not?

You dream of becoming an astronaut? ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿš€Go, because WHY NOT? You want to be a lawyer? ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš–๏ธGo, because WHY NOT? You want to be a public servant? ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐ŸปGo, because WHY NOT?
Let us not be defined by how people see us. After all, their vision and opinion would not matter when we go around flying with zero gravity, defend a thousand people with ease, and serve our hometown 24/7. Nothing we do is ever useless for the Lord! (1 Corinthians 15:58).


Ilford HP5 / Why Not

๐Ÿ’Œ,
SAM

Filmborn: Kodak P800 / Kiwi

ย Kodak P800.

After my Saturday classes, I was tasked to buy Fuji apples. Somehow, along the lane of fruits, kiwi stole my attention. I don’t pay much regards to this fruit which has more vitamin C than orange, until we complied with the New Year custom – complete all the 13 round fruits on the table.

Little did I know, we used to ignore it. For who’d realize it’s a kiwi? Truth be told, I know how kiwi looks, but with the bare fruit itself, I have no idea.

Anyway, to stop beating around the bush, I included kiwi in my shopping list. And ta-dah! It tastes better than it looks.

P.S. I am looking forward to shooting more of film photography. How cool is that? ๐Ÿ˜„

๐Ÿ’Œ,

SAM