Transforming from the Inside-Out

At women’s ministry, I chanced upon the most unexpected person who would be the inspiration for this entry. Out of respect for her privacy, I have decided to name her ‘China’ because of her nice chinky eyes 😉

China is like any 16 year old teenager. She loves to shop, eat and talk. She is well-read, eloquent, well-mannered and quite intelligent for her age. The only difference is that she is home-schooled.

China says her parents set her and her siblings for home school early on for a variety of reasons. At first, I was a bit skeptical on how a child like her could survive the outside world, literally having been living a sheltered life.

But as we talk more, I observe a calm confidence about China that tells me she is more than ready for anything life throws at her, all thanks to her parents who prepared her for this very day.

Then it hits me: parenting.

Pastor Peter, a father himself, spiritedly said to NEVER delegate parenting to anyone “not to the school, not to the church, not to the media, not to anyone, period”.

China is just one of the many home schooled kids I talk to, and they share one thing: they are not conformed to this world. They stay true to who they are: intelligent, unshaken and confident.

And this is thanks to the parents who take their roles seriously. They mold their children from the inside-out to prepare them for the world.

Today, you can observe the kind of value system people have: an emphasis on status, power, etc. and this is because they let the world ‘shape’ them. Young people start beautifully, and then as life goes by, they are slowly molding themselves to the current. They go with the flow and before they know it, their guards are down. Drinking, drugs, promiscuity, then insecurity and a feeling of worthlessness kicks in, and this is because parenting was delegated. Their materialistic value system is encouraged in society but eventually creates for a weaker individual in the long run. Happy now does not mean happy later.

But you say: “I’ve made a mistake already. It’s not going to happen for me”. Of course it will! Remember, the Lord works from the inside-out. Get to know Him more through Bible reading. Keep being transformed, constantly renew your mind. Undoubtedly, He will change your heart and eventually your life.

As for my young friend China, she is excited to go to college. She has the armor and ammunition to face the world head-on, all thanks to her parents.

Intimacy with God through Example (Watch and Learn)

A reflection on Pastor Jess Lantin’s Message on intimacy with God through example

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

– 1 Corinthians 11:1

As a child, who did you idolize? Athletes, actors and superheroes are just some of the idols we would have loved to become. People idolize and imitate people who they can identify with, and in a sense, are authentic. In reality however, our supposed idols are human, flawed, and make mistakes. Though flawed, it’s that part of their ‘humanity’ that leaves someone with so much potential to be good. But why idolize worldly things, when you already have a perfect hero who died for you on the cross?

As God’s children, we are called to imitate him (1 Corinthians 11:1). Being Christ like is a challenge in itself since it is impossible to do. Be holy as He is holy. Perfection may seem impossible but the ideal is achieved through its pursuit alone.

How does one become like Christ? Through prayer and scripture. Since we are flawed as human beings, the word of God is constant and consistent. Hence, the person is called to rid himself of his old self and be new again. When it came to imitating Christ, Paul reminded young Timothy, “When you talk about Jesus, people should see so much of Him in your life that they desire to know Him. When you talk about faith, the evidence of it should be so compelling that they want to live by it.” Such are the responsibilities, power and influence a hero holds, and in this case, our only hero — Jesus Christ.

On a personal note, we help Christ be known by setting a good example to family, friends and everyone we know. Hence, the three points to consider when living the Christian life should answer the questions: Who is copying you (your audience could be your kids, spouse, co-workers, etc.), what are they copying (your life and character is unfolding right before their eyes) and, most importantly, who are you copying (Is Christ glorified in your thoughts, words and actions?) When people see you and your life, what message are you showing them?

Paul leaves his young steward Timothy with words to live by:

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Tim 4:12)

Our superhero, Jesus Christ, maybe perfect but we are likewise called to be perfect as well. Such are the standards set for those who are genuinely called His children.

The Power Behind Your Name

I have two first names: Maria and Paula

I was named Maria for the very same reason my mom has the same name (plus the glaring fact that the majority of the women on her side of the family has it, too). Whereas my other name, Paula, was given to me obviously for the very reason that it was inspired from a saint.

Most people, especially during my university days at St. Paul (surprise!), would pronounce my name as ‘Poh-la’. However, with family and friends (since I go by the nickname ‘Pau’) they would pronounce it as ‘Pahw-la’.

Both pronunciations work with me. But to be called Maria alone doesn’t, and I’ll reserve that for another (exciting?) story… And if people were to call me Maria, I’d prefer they call me by both names, together (Maria Paula) but that’s just me.

Parents have this unquestionable power to name whatever they want to name their child. However, as children grow up, they will question where their names came from. And I hope some parents have groundbreaking answers as to why they would name their kids ‘Blanket’, ‘Pilot Inspektor’, ‘Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen’, etc.

Why they would want their children to endure a life of torture is beyond me.

Anyway, the reason I am talking about names is to point out we are given the names we deserve. Whether it be Biblical or not, the name(s) we have are symbolic of the people we have to live up to.

I never did fully appreciate the meaning of my name. I always thought, nonchalantly, ‘Yeah, sure from a disciple… so what? Am not him and he’s not me”. But later did I fully grasp the history of how that name came to be.

In my case, I had to recall why He was named the way he was. He was being renewed. And through renewing his name, Saul was later called Paul.

The dark history of Paul covers how he himself savagely persecuted Christians. And only through a miracle was He made to ‘see’ the error of his ways. Parallel to Paul but not quite, I personally have had my share of that ‘dark history’. So in a way, aside from being an educated man of letters, Paul and I have similarities that I can only imagine or dream of. But bearing the same name as he does, it does give me a sense of pride and duty all at the same time.

Pride in sense that I was named after a good and great man, duty in a sense that I have to live up to it.

There was this line from The Gladiator that Juba says to Maximus: “You have a great name. He must kill your name before he kills you.”

Wouldn’t it be great to have your name outlive you? Not because of indiscretion or scandal but because people loved you and looked up to you.

How about you? What does your name tell about you? How can you live up to it?

Col. Nathan Jessep’s take on Integrity

Cover of "A Few Good Men (Special Edition...
Cover of A Few Good Men (Special Edition)


Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said “thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.


Col. Nathan R. Jessep | A Few Good Men


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