Thursday, February 28, 2008

INVITATION: Study the Scriptures

2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work."

Hi. This is an invitation - just an invitation. You have your own choices to make. I do not intend to mislead or negatively influence any human mind (or heart if you would insist). I only want to share what I can impart with everyone - scriptural knowledge (which I must continue to acquire as well). And it is still up to you to examine the facts and the underlying principles. Religion is a choice, belief is a choice, and everything is a choice for us to make.

People sometimes say that they don't have choices; but the truth is they always have. We often close our minds to the right choices because they are difficult; and justify thereafter the wrong choices that we have chosen. Free will is a gift which we must exercise with great care. Knowledge and skills are special things which we must prove and utilize. While we must make use of our minds to prove and conclude things, we shall never "completely" rely on it. And what of the heart? Jeremiah 17:9 states: "Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed."

Nearly everyone believes in what the Bible says - that it is the "Word of God" and must therefore be looked upon for guidance. It is seldom to find a person who is an atheist. In fact, even atheists and other religions agree to "some" of what the Bible says. But here lies exactly the problem. Many people have learned to believe only on those which they personally find favorable. Okay, it is definitely a sin to murder, it is wrong to commit adultery, ETCETERA. But there are more to Scriptures than these very things. There are more to Scriptures that, like most of the right choices we avoid, are difficult to follow and believe in. But we must never turn our backs on these truths, because they are truths. And the key to a truly wonderful life is acquiring "accurate knowledge" in as best as we can.

History attests to the Bible's accuracy and integrity. A historian would be a great witness for the fulfillment of many scriptural prophecies - the fall of Babylon, the fall of Jerusalem, the birth of Christ, etc. Even the shape of the earth is already revealed in the Bible long before man was able to prove it. I hear a lot of people saying that the Bible has so many inconsistencies. With little knowledge, one might easily say so. But the Scriptures contain different laws. Mosaic Law (from the term "Moses" and which can be found in the Old Testament/Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures), for example, is definitely in contradiction with some of the laws which Jesus Christ gave, and which can be found in the New Testament/Greek Scriptures. Stoning is an example of some of these laws, including provisions on clean foods, etc. (the law on circumcision was also revised some time later after Jesus Christ's death). But this contradiction is not an inconsistency. In the Bible, Christ changed some of these laws. You may check Hebrew 7:18 as well. So, when you think there is an inconsistency, try searching first whether you missed an important scriptural detail. Other scriptural accounts may also appear questionable to the human mind (ex. Lot offering her virgin daughters to the wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah just to protect his visitors, etc.). Yet one must know and understand that the Bible sometimes expresses details in "what-the-eyes-see perspective". It sometimes does not convey the underlying thoughts and motives of the people involved in its stories. Thus, while we find later accounts to be questionable, it is only truly God who knows of the entire truth - and He alone can rightfully judge.

"It is up to you on how you understand the Bible" - this is a very sad statement - although we must understand the people who have this notion. When you write a book and found that its contents are being twisted, or discovered that your messages were differently understood, would you be happy? The Scriptures were written for our benefit. But we definitely would not benefit if we do not grasp its accuracy, and make ourselves believe that we know when we actually may not know. Search - this is the key. Study the Bible and see for yourself. God does not want human beings to just keep on believing every inspired expression that is presented to them - that includes this blog. Instead, test these things whether they do originate from God (I John 4:1). Prove whether your beliefs are indeed right and do not be a victim of apathy.

John 4:24 states that we must worship God with TRUTH. And 1 Timothy 2:4 says: "This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and COME TO AN ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH."

It is, of course, your choice. ;-)

Note: Image from:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Satan and Demons

Angels and Demons. All demons are angels; but not all angels are demons.

Humans' conceptual image of Satan is literally a fake. No, he isn't physically frightening. In fact, Satan is an extremely charming angel that he became so conceited to the point that he thought very high of himself.

That was when he became ugly - inside! (on the second thought, the use of "he" is actually a big question - as angels do not have sexes)

Say goodbye to nightmares that feature demons with horns and tails (and that stupid fork!). They are only fruits of the imagination which were probably used to illustrate how dreadful these fallen angels had turned out to be. If you examine the Scriptures, there isn't any information that match these characteristics. Demons continue to exist with similar appearances as righteous angels (Wait, are they not angels too?). Exactly, demons are angels who chose to follow Satan's path in rebellion against Jehovah. They were totally swept away from heaven and thus inhabited earth together with human beings. They still have supernatural powers. And who knows if they probably have categories too? - just like the archangel, seraphs, and the cherubs.

Lesson learned: do not judge a creature based on outward appearances.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Five (5)

5 Things Found in my BAG
  • mobile phone
  • wallet
  • pen
  • notebook
  • keys
5 Things Found in my WALLET
  • bills
  • IDs
  • cash card
  • reserved pics
  • CTC
5 Things Found in my ROOM
  • clothes
  • toiletries
  • sleeping stuffs
  • bible
  • magazines
5 Things I’ve Always Wanted To DO
  • help my family
  • take a course in Psychology
  • acquire material possessions for security
  • improve my spirituality
  • cure myself from all imperfections
5 Things I am Currently INTO
  • WORK... WORK... WORK (secular)
  • saving money
  • plans for a house renovation
  • never ending analyses of life and the self
  • work (spiritual) ---> small caps :(

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lucid Dreams

Lucid Dreams. The human mind is truly a wonder.

I've been trying to figure out this gift (?) which I seemed to have more control of just lately. And, recently, I did find its technical term - 'lucid dreams'. Wikipedia states that "during lucid dreams, it is possible to exert conscious control over the dream characters and environment, as well as to perform otherwise physically impossible feats" (2008) - which is exactly what I'm capable of doing while asleep (sort of). Lucid dreams are also those dreams in which the person is merely aware that he is dreaming. I've had many of these as a child and I remember forcing myself to wake up in one of them, sensing that there's an impending doom. Dreams to me are like lives in a different but similar dimension. You are the same you, with the same fears, same weaknesses, same longings, although I do notice that I tend to be weaker in dreams - crying over things which I never would dare cry over in reality.

I used to fear that I have this terrible illness (I actually think I have a lot) which manifests itself only when I'm sleeping. It began when I was a working college student and I had to sleep late on evenings due to tight schedules. Being a service crew is definitely not easy especially when you care about school grades, and when you had to drink with some workmates right after work (yes! it's wine!). I remember waking up in the middle of the night (this was the very first - I wasn't even sure if I was really awake) and my body just couldn't move no matter how hard I try ("rutoy!" hahahaha...). The feeling was truly eerie and I was close to feeling panic - it was like struggling for something unexplainable. It was also the time when I realized one of the disadvantages of sleeping alone in a room. Nevertheless, I remember being able to utter "Mama" (goodness!) in my futile attempts to call attention; until I finally was able to attain full consciousness.

Then similar evenings followed. But the next times were a bit different and these were what led me to my present diagnosis of my case. The 'couldn't move body' was gone and this was completely replaced by a clear 'conscious unconsciousness' (confused? that's exactly lucid dreaming). But what's really alarming was the presence of the same eerie feeling I felt at first. Until I read this:

"During the actual transition into the dream state, one is likely to experience sleep paralysis, including rapid vibrations, a sequence of loud sounds and a feeling of twirling into another state of body awareness, 'to drift off into another dimension'. Also there is frequently a sensation of falling rapidly or dropping through the bed as one enters the dream state. After the transition there may be the sensation of entering a dark black room from which one can induce any dream scenario of one's choosing, simply by concentrating on it. The key to success is not to panic, especially during the transition, which can be quite sudden" (Wikipedia 2008).

This exactly was the closest to what I felt. Hmmm... so there's a treasure (speaking of controlling what things to dream about).... I also read that mastering the art of lucid dreaming is like having a genie in a bottle with you as its master - all wishes, all dreams, granted!!! - in dreams. And so I learned that I must embrace the eerie feeling instead of trying to struggle to be awake. And I did. I did many times to the point that the eerie feeling was already lost (maybe it's still there but I had learned not to feel it as 'eerie'), and transition from consciousness to dreaming is no more difficult to achieve. It was, I should say, truly one of the wonders of living.

But humans as we are, I must admit that I have abused the craft. It's sad that when you can control your dreams, you can't control yourself from dreaming about the right things. I remember the coming 1000 years when all men will be trained to achieve perfection, and the following release of Satan to test humans for one last chance. This has been always my fear. I used to complain to my Bible teachers before that if there ain't no assurance that I would not fail as Adam and Eve did - despite their perfection - then I don't want to be resurrected and relive life (that is if Armageddon comes after my death). If my dreams were tests, then hell, or maybe even gehenna, will certainly be my future (FYI: 'hell' means death, 'gehenna' is second death or total destruction - Jehovah is not that mean to torture us forever in fires). But hey, I'm still imperfect so maybe it's not that bad (hehehe... excuses... excuses... excuses).

Anyways, life is wonderful and dreams are healthy for the mind (scientifically). It's nice to wake up every morning and be surprised that we still got chances to improve ourselves. While dreams may serve as sources of wonders, we must always learn to distinguish one from reality. We may be weak when we're asleep; but being awake should create a lot of difference.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wonderful Days: December 21st to 26th (Journal Entry)

December 21st to 26th were truly wonderful days. We had our 3-day District Convention from 21 - 23 and I was an attendant in the mornings of the first two days - I already focused on the talks during the third/last day. It was, admittedly, a bit exhausting as I had to stand all throughout the morning and welcome and assist oncoming brothers and sisters, and guests (I found a bit of consolation thinking that if the soldiers at Luneta could stand like statues all throughout, then I possibly can do it as well - hehe). But I never regret anything and I really enjoyed it. Being with fellow JW's has always been priceless. Sunday was a sad day when the convention finally had to end.

On the 24th, we visited our grandparents. More than a year has passed since I got to visit and it was great to be with them again. Unfortunately, it took probably only around 4 hours for me as I couldn't stay for the night (I had some important things to attend to for the following day - which I planned to start that night). I also first finished some call of duty earlier in the morning which only released me around 2:00 PM. Mama and the rest went ahead and I just followed - with a cake (Choco Fudge) as present for everyone (don't misunderstand me - I don't celebrate Christmas). I look forward to visiting again but I wonder if when's that gonna happen (sched is but just so so loaded). The dogs were wonderful - all three of them very big and playful. What made it more amazing was that they could be fed with just rice and "pancit" and they happily feast on it. I also noticed some portion of the "bakuran" covered with moss, seeming like soft touches of body hairs of the land - really beautiful. Around 6:30 PM, I left with my younger sister and brother, and with a gift cheque from Auntie - wow!

December 25th was an ordinary day. I stayed home all throughout the day preparing for my speech (and watching TV) which I shall deliver the following day. The topic was "How Can We Prepare for Persecutions?" I browsed through my stock of publications again for some quotations, the Bible, and my list of some Biblical texts. My cellphone was sick again and I had to borrow my sister's for the timer (it has to be only for 4 - 5 minutes). I was looking for Mama's Bible (Today's English Version) as I find it easier there to look for the right quotes that I need, but to no avail. Anyways, I decided to stop before 10:00 PM (forget "Hwang Jini" for the meantime, job starts at 6:00 AM the following morning and I don't want to wrestle with myself just to be awake) - "bahala na". I will rehearse the flow of the discourse again when I come home from work the following day - at around 3:00 PM.

It was 26th. I made it!!! The speech went well although I forgot to state one biblical text which I originally intended to share with everyone. Anyways, everything went well and many went shaking hands with me after the meeting. The speech took more than five minutes - I think I can be sure on that (so many added words which were not part of the original plan). But it was great and I really am grateful for Jehovah, so much. Also, another great news was that Jelson was formally made a ministerial servant - wow!!! I am truly happy for my friend and I am sure that Rose-Lynn (Jelson's wife, my closest friend) and I are ever more inspired to improve our spirituality. Such a great day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Entry: Persecution from the Self

The Self. The hardest enemy could be that whom you always look at in the mirror.

I'll be delivering a speech in the next six days. Honestly, I wouldn't want to stand in front of many people - again. I was an extemporaneous speaker from high school to college and I realized years later that I was actually being trained for some very very important tasks which I shall attend to in the future. Standing in front of my spiritual brothers and sisters, delivering a 4 to 5-minute discourse on a certain scriptural topic (and that's with notes if I want to use any), is both near and far from what I used to deal with. There's just but a really gigantic difference.

Speech competitions are, of course, tougher and are much more nerve-wrenching. I was a freshman high school student when I first had a taste of extempo speech (in Filipino). Back then, I didn't realize how hard it could be. I was (probably) just a proud kid who thought that he could make it since he seemed to be the most intelligent in class (and had other achievements). I didn't even realize that I could have ended up having to discuss a topic which I totally do not know. Fortunately, I was able to pick the theme of the occasion on that event (which was what I've been rehearsing) and so I won. The next year they made me the contestant in the English category; and it went that way until I graduated in College.

I remember one competition (freshman college - I'll never forget) when I got to pick the question "Of all the things that were taught to you about God, which do you believe is true and which is false?" I was a very complex person before and I even debated with myself whether I should tell everyone that "I do not believe I should be saying 'Amen' after every prayer" - as I do not know what it means (goodness!). But I did not end up saying that. I pointed out two factors which I used to believe to be false - that (1) God can be jealous, and that (2) we should not worry for tomorrow. I bluntly said that God can never be jealous and that he'll always understand (failing to realize that there are terms such as idolatry and Godly jealousy), and that we were given the minds and hearts to worry for tomorrow (back then I didn't know the boundary between "think" and "worry") so that we could help ourselves and others. That was gross. I may not be able to convey how exactly everything happened but I suddenly felt a need to have a private session with a priest (who was one of the judges) after that. The people were all staring at me and I was almost sure that some of them were astounded for listening to how a proud atheist (well, not really) bravely spoke of his ideals in front of a very religious audience. I was then still a Roman Catholic.

Well, that was before. A lot has changed and this time it's speech time again. It's not like a grand speech which takes for almost an hour but I still treat it as very highly important. The thing is, speeches like this require not just brains. Talking about scriptural matters calls for one who really deserves to stand in front of very God-fearing people and to carry Jehovah's name. It's been a time ever since I participated in the field service (evangelizing) as I was a failure when it comes to time management. My monthly reports range from 2-4 hours for months now . . . all garnered due to my sole Bible student whom I visit every Saturday (We'll almost finish the book "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" but I see no desire from him to attend any of our spiritual meetings). I also am very silent during meetings even if I really could give nice and faith-strengthening comments - because I'm shy and I feel like I don't deserve to do it. Yes yes yes, it's wrong - Satan has always wanted us to feel that we do not deserve to do things which could glorify Jehovah. And yes, this is also a form of what I would be talking about this coming Wednesday: PERSECUTIONS. Only that mine is a persecution from the self.

Well anyways, I should always strive for a change. I shall have it done in as best as I can, and with Jehovah's help. Truly, the most wonder of all wonders of living is knowing and counting on the true God.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Beautiful is Nighttime

Beauty in Darkness. The night possesses a grandeur that manifests truly only in darkness.

There is much to evening that we never can find during daytime. Yes, beautiful is nighttime. The eyes may be more capable of witnessing beauty during the day but, regretfully for those who couldn't see well in the dark, there is so much beauty that lay amidst darkness. I myself could see beauty inherent in darkness itself. While white remains a fundamental which transforms to a rainbow of colors when striking droplets of moisture, black simply is black. But that's just it. We never know what's really hidden. And when you see something that glows, it really glows. The night gives grandeur to things which are rather simple and bland in bare daylight.

I suggest reading "In the Moonlight" by Maupassant to realize what beauty really manifests only during nighttime. The pale-faced night brought about by the soft radiance of the moon, the serenity, the solemn songs that emanate from chirping nightingales, "which brings no thoughts but dreams" - these had all awaken in the priest (the main character of the short story) "a great desire to sit down, to pause right there and praise God in all His works." There might be things which would forever exist as opposites as beauty and ugliness, but for a day and night, there surely is beauty in both. And what of the million stars that seem to shimmer like precious gems spread widely in a carpet of blackness? They can only be best witnessed during nighttime when the world is asleep, as if it had been brought to a glorious enchantment so that only the persevering could gaze at the beauty of its possessions.

Nocturnal animals are, of course, remarkable features as well. Nightingales, crickets, the owls, the chirping and humming of which blend with the soft blow of the wind that makes the trees sway so gracefully, the leaves brushing and falling with that crisp, refreshing gentle sound - these are all features of the night. Dreadful as how others might view it, but the howling of wolves (we really don't have wolves here - just an imagination) is truly breathtaking. Another wonder would be fireflies, flying flickering lights that adorn trees on some evenings. Unfortunately, these evenings are getting less and less that it's probably already a year ever since I saw one single firefly gracing the night.

I once said: "Mornings are wonderful for they give us the sun and start us the day. Evenings, I like better; they make me yearn for daylight, and make me hope for the following day." There surely is a different message on that. But really it's an another great feature of the night. Although I couldn't live without a day, I certainly love evenings over any time of the day.