Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. ๐Ÿ™‚

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,โ€ฆ” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). ๐Ÿ˜€

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

โค

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

Consumerism These Days

I am currently hooked on business practices and everything related to it and after I did a couple of research here and there, one thought got stuck all throughout which is the wordย ‘consumerism.’

Business Dictionary defines it as:

1. Organized-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.
2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.
3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/consumerism.html

I’d like to explore items 2 and 3 but first, I’d like to raise a question:

“Is consumerism a negative thing?”

I primarily view this thought as somewhere in-between. I see consumerism as something good as it addresses our needs in order to make our lives convenient and easier (insert innovations in technology here as the forerunners). The downside of it though is accumulation or hoarding to the point of getting more than what is necessary, as far as materialism is concerned.

However, for as long as there is a consumer, there will always be a production of everything that a consumer will need and enjoy.ย Every one of us is a consumer from the clothing we wear to basically everything else we have. Businesses were put up for this very sole purpose. Just imagine if the production of diapers is put on hold and you have twin babies. That sounds like a whole lot of mess and hassle to deal with. ย ๐Ÿ˜€

I just can’t imagine myself living in the Stone Ages. Promise, I’d barely survive. Although the thought of how it all started with our ancestors sounds very intriguing. Theย Survivor game show just sparked my interest on this and other survival shows such asย Man vs. Wild;ย Man, Woman, Wild; Naked and Afraid among others.ย These shows only portrayed how living can be like devoid of all the things that make living easier by reenacting how our ancestors have made it through from the vastness of the wild to civilization.

Consumerism emerged from these needs and eventually more and more innovations and products will come out in the following years as more ideas sprung up out of the need for a convenient lifestyle.

Let’s say for one, the computers. If you were born in a generation like my parents (The Baby Boomers), most likely you’ll view this with a slight contempt (love you Dad and Mom, I’ll teach you how to Facebookย ๐Ÿ˜€). Demands during those times are far different from the demands of today’s generation. But for me who was born in a generation where I saw how it all started, I do get to appreciate how things are running now from how it was before computers got in the scene. Imagine typewriters (no errors, or else, you’d pretty much regret it), a huge waste on paperย (let’s save trees!), everything stored manually (oh dusty library catalogs) and other traditional system disadvantages.

If, however, we decide to stick to what is ‘old,’ย can we still go on living just like the old days? Yes, we may choose to not be at par with all these changes, but we must also consider how this will affect majority of how we do things from paying bills, buying stuff, etc. as every system will align itself to what is the common trend or what is more convenient.

But if you are to ask the older generations, the traditional methods of doing things helped them mostly in two things: endurance and patience. Does this mean though that today’s generation is more impatient, out of focus and unwilling to endure? Personally, I believe every generation has its own fair share of ups and downs and it is all just a matter of bridging those generation gaps. There are those who totally oppose and will continue to oppose these changes though and for sure they have their own valid reasons why. I am, on the other hand, always on the lookout for what is new out there to learn. These new ideas, innovations and discoveries were not meant for the destruction of mankind anyway.

Although I might have to add that in everything, striking the BALANCE is ALWAYS the key in making sure everything is getting and turning out to right where they should be. As they say, too much of everything is not just good for the holistic well-being of mankind. In the Christian context, the same can be applied. The bible has a lot to say about it actually. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

I am currently in a new season career wise and I am praying for sustenance, guidance and instruction in order to meet deadlines, work cooperatively with team mates and provide an excellent output that will honor my God and the organization I am affiliated with. โค

Yes, we are all workaholics and we work hard but PRAY HARDER. Lastly, always KEEP THE FAITH. ๐Ÿ˜‰

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:ย  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

And to the man He said,

โ€œSince you listened to your wife and ate from the tree

ย ย ย ย whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,

the ground is cursed because of you.

ย ย ย ย All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.

It will grow thorns and thistles for you,

ย ย ย ย though you will eat of its grains.

By the sweat of your brow

ย ย ย ย will you have food to eat

until you return to the ground

ย ย ย ย from which you were made.

For you were made from dust,

ย ย ย ย and to dust you will return.โ€ – Genesis 3:17-19

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23

[Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”]ย – Exodus 20: 8-11

Movie Feature: “Homeless to Harvard”

I was browsing YouTube for music videos when I saw this in the recommended list. There were about 3, 903, 503 views already when I checked it out. The first few scenes made me a bit sentimental already but the scenes portray so much of what real life is all about it is such a total miss if I do not watch it – the more realistic, the more interesting and inspiring. It is in actuality a true to life story. ๐Ÿ™‚

I do not plan on making this article as a movie review so you’d watch the whole thing, but I just want to highlight the role/s of the teachers in this film. I can totally relate to them. Though I do not have an extensive teaching experience (yet) in my work background, I do felt that it is my calling to teach and not just teach but teach those who have only smaller chances of making it out to a better and brighter future. It is about giving chances and about the fact that our circumstances can never define our destiny. It is actually our choices that lead us to our destiny.

This has always been my prayer – not for me but for these young minds and young hearts. โค

Ode On Morality

Tin Ginete

Beauty amid the blackness.

In every society, morality is that one thing that makes civilization intact by bringing public order. These are the moral dictates and code of ethics that I, too, was subjected for strict compliance not because I am a teacher but because I am a citizen of a civilized society.

If we are to look closely on all the generations, past and present, and the standard of morality today, can we actually say and claim that it has declined? Or is it all just a matter of generational gaps, adaptability and acceptance of the changing times?

Laws are the social constructs that preserve any community. As a Christian, I only got to know this one fact when I got saved – we are all governed by one law and that is His Word through the bible.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalm 119: 105

“Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.” – Psalm 119: 89-93

Would it be safe then to assume that we actually have no use for our current justice system? What about the laws we are obeying now? They are laws which could be as faulty and imperfect as the one who made them – man. They were made by the leaders of the generations before and the generation now.

Such are the questions that I asked and I was given the answers:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13: 1

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” – Hebrews 13: 7

I used to be a critic of reality to the point that I dare question what is existing or preexisted. But the Truth was given and I stopped asking questions. And I, myself, can clearly attest to this:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The standards of morality may change over time and yet there is this one law that stays true, valid and trustworthy for decades and centuries:

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1: 8

Bible reading and an attitude of prayer will get you that far in life. Because that is what the Law says. Not mine, not yours, but His. ๐Ÿ™‚

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy.” – James 4: 12