Posted in Inspirational, Living in New Zealand Now

New Zealand Fights Child Poverty Through Campbell Live and KidsCan

At first, it seems unbelievable to me that child poverty in New Zealand is quite serious.  A recent study revealed that about “270,000 live in households where incomes fall below recognised poverty thresholds”.

I heard it from the news.  Then Cambell Live, a popular current affairs programme in New Zealand, took time to confirm what the child poverty study results say.

When the TV show documented what the kids in decile 10 and decile 1 schools were having for lunch, I was quite shocked watching the big difference.

While decile 10 pupils enjoyed the choices of fruits, sandwiches, sausages, bread and biscuits in their lunch boxes, pupils in the decile 1 group had almost none.  Unbelievable but true!

To realize clearly what I’m saying, you’ve got to watch the video by clicking on the link below…

Lunchbox differences in decile 1 and decile 10 schools

As the Cambell live video camera panned the empty tables of decile 1 pupils, I can’t help but be heartbroken for these children.

Also, I can’t imagine how one pupil, even if he or she had only chips or soda for lunch would eat while around him or her had none.

The most common reaction would be to say that the parents of these poor children were remiss of their responsibilities.  However, granting if their parents indeed are irresponsible, will society let them suffer?

I agree with Campbell’s view that something has to be done to address the issue because it’s not the children’s fault when they are in hunger or poor condition.

This viewer’s comment expresses my personal conviction:

“I agree that SOME parents need to rethink their spending but there are so many good parents out there who do care and they are being lumped under the same umbrella. In order to truly understand how these families are living you have to walk a mile in their shoes, until then it’s all just speculation. This is a vicious cycle that just repeats itself from one generation to the next. The only way we can change this is if ALL NZders pull their heads out of the sand, stop pointing fingers at the poor, the government, and anyone else they can blame and instead, offer a helping hand in whatever way they can.”

Read more: Campbell Live and KidsCan present Lunchbox Day

Campbell Live and KidsCan held “Lunchbox Day” on September 28.  Schools, businesses, and communities held fund raising programs.  The event raised the over $300,000 and still counting.

They are aiming for $1.8 million, the budget needed to give school lunches for children in decile one through four schools.

Indeed, the Lunchbox Day became a “celebration of community and kindness” as Campbell Live and KidsCan vision it to be.

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Posted in Inspirational

Bayanihan in Temuka

 

It gives me great joy to have expressed the Filipino bayanihan sprit in Temuka yesterday afternoon. Temuka is 15 kilometers north of Timaru

I and Dennis, a Filipino I met here in Timaru, went there and helped a Filipina and her partner moved their things to their newly bought house.

What was great, another Filipina volunteered to pick up our daughter from school at 3:00 PM because I will be in Temuka whole afternoon and my wife will be out from office at 5:00.

Bayanihan is a Filipino term for community cooperation, where neighbours and friends gather together and help someone or a group in need.

I must testify that our family has availed much from the bayanihan spirit that Filipinos and non-Filipinos showed us in our nine-month stay in Auckland.

So when the president of the Filipino Association of South Canterbury called and requested me to help, I did not hesitate. It is now my opportunity to pay forward the bayanihan that I got from others.

I was dead tired after hauling and lifting furniture and all household things for almost five hours. Nevertheless, my spirit feels happy and proud that bayanihan thrives well in South Canterbury.

Mabuhay ang Filipino!

Posted in Inspirational

Are You Afraid of God? Blessings of Fearing the LORD

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

Thunderclouds

One time, I heard a colleague singing the first four lines of the chorus of “I Am A Friend Of God” with the lyrics below.

I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
HE CALLS ME FRIEND!

The correct word should have been “friend” instead of “afraid”.

Whether my colleague didn’t hear the lyrics correctly or he used “afraid” on purpose, I did not correct him.

I believe the theological meaning of “afraid” is stronger than “friend”.

I realized that when we have genuine fear of the LORD we are bound to obey Him.

Oftentimes, it is easy for us to disagree with a friend and don’t heed good friendly advice.

Some of the blessings we avail when we truly fear the LORD:

  • Wisdom (Discernment of what’s right and wrong)
  • Courage to tell the truth
  • Passionate about what is just
  • Humility

When we are afraid of God, we fear doing things that will dishonour Him.

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Posted in Inspirational

Blessings of Fearing the LORD

 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

One time, I heard a colleague singing the first four lines of the chorus of “I Am A Friend Of God” with the lyrics below.

I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
HE CALLS ME FRIEND!

The correct word should have been “friend” instead of “afraid”.

Whether my colleague didn’t hear the lyrics correctly or he used “afraid” on purpose, I did not correct him.

I believe the theological meaning of “afraid” is stronger than “friend”.

I realized that when we have genuine fear of the LORD we are bound to obey Him. Oftentimes, it is easy for us to disagree with a friend or never heed a good friendly advice.

Some of the blessings that we avail when we truly fear the LORD include:

  • Discernment of what’s right and wrong
  • Courage to tell the truth
  • Passionate about what is just
  • Humility

When we are afraid of God, we fear doing things that will dishonour Him.


 

We welcome your comments. Also, please share this post by clicking the “SHARE” button below and select Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites or like this post by clicking the “LIKE” button below. THANK YOU.

Posted in Inspirational

How God Inspires Me to Play the Piano

I’m very much grateful to God for enabling me to learn how to play the piano.

I started playing a few chords when I was 15 years old. My father accepted the pastorate at Ajuy Baptist Church, Iloilo, Philippines in summer 1983.

School was out and being a new kid in town, I stayed most of the time in the parsonage. To keep myself busy, I transposed the guitar chords to piano format.

The following weekend, the choir leader requested me to play the piano because there would be power blackout on Sunday. The song was “Sapagkat ang Diyos ay Pag-ibig”.

Learning how to play better was a struggle for me because I never had a piano nor even a simple electronic keyboard. I improved my skills through the church’s piano, in Ajuy Baptist Church and Sambag Baptist Church when I’m in Iloilo City.

During school days, I found myself going to Johnson Hall of Central Philippine University. I would ask permission from Manay Esther Teves to play the old piano at the chapel.

Just like any young people, I was fascinated with rock music. The lure of joining a rock band and do gigs was very irresistible.

Two things hindered me from joining. First, I don’t have an instrument to use. Second, the prospect of joining the band members in smoking, drinking and possibly drugs would be inevitable.

I can’t read notes. I play by chords and by ear. Later, I learned how to improve and put embellishments on the music I’m playing.

Looking back, I observed that it was when I focused on playing church music, like hymns and contemporary Christian songs that my piano playing skill improved a lot. I submitted my musical ability to His ministry.

He inspired me to write songs. Composing “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” and many songs then, boosted my confidence and conviction to play for the glory of God.

What great joy and thanksgiving to God for His generosity in giving me the talent to play His music as long as I live.

If you’re struggling to be good at any skill you’re trying to learn, why don’t you ask God to enable you.

Give more attention to how the Lord God Almighty will use you to bless other people and not how you will be popular.

Pray for God’s inspiration. Surely, you will be surprised how you will be gaining much in your talent as God inspires you.

Do you have a talent to share? Tell us how God honed your skill. Write it on the comment form below. Thank you.

Posted in Inspirational, Spring

Songs of Spring to Warm Your Hearts

Spring in Auckland by Karl Hipolito

I know three songs that mention about spring, which I can’t forget. Each time I think about the words or sing it, I am deeply touched and strengthened in faith.

The following song lyrics remind me of the blossom of spring. Just click on the video to listen.


NO DOUBT

@ 3:13

There will be winters in the seasons of our soul
With a cold and bitter wind that chills our lives
But our faith can be building a fire
That will warm us till spring time arrives

This song by Petra is very encouraging. It tells us to hold on and be strong in our faith for help is on the way. Heart-warming, isn’t it?


EVERY SEASON

@ 2:42

Even now in death you open doors
For life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

Nicole Nordeham wrote “Every Season” for a friend whose husband died. She sang this first at the funeral. Nevertheless, I can find an all-season application for this song because I believe that God indeed is re-creating us as seasons change.


PASS IT ON

What a wonderous time is spring,
When all the tress are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

Well, “Pass It On” has been popular in Christian camps. In fact, I could always feel the warmth of this music each time we sing it during bonfires.

I can relate more with the song’s lyrics about spring now that spring has come.

I hope you can feel the warming of your faith as you listen and meditate through these songs.

PHOTO CREDIT: Karl Hipolito

Posted in Inspirational

Songs of Spring I Can’t Forget

I know three songs that mention about spring, which I can’t forget. Each time I think about the words or sing it, I am deeply touched and strengthened in faith.

The following song lyrics remind me of the blossom of spring. Just click on the video to listen.

 

NO DOUBT

There will be winters in the seasons of our soul
With a cold and bitter wind that chills our lives
But our faith can be building a fire
That will warm us till spring time arrives

 
This song by Petra is very encouraging. It tells us to hold on and be strong in our faith for help is on the way. Heart-warming, isn’t it?

 

EVERY SEASON

Even now in death you open doors
For life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring
 
Nicole Nordeham wrote “Every Season” for a friend whose husband died. She sang this first at the funeral. Nevertheless, I can find an all-season application for this song because I believe that God indeed is re-creating us as seasons change.

 

PASS IT ON

What a wonderous time is spring,
When all the tress are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

 
Well, “Pass It On” has been popular in Christian camps. In fact, I could always feel the warmth of this music each time we sing it during bonfires.

I can relate more with the song’s lyrics about spring now that spring has come in Timaru, New Zealand.