What If Today Is Your Last Day? 

Have you ever thought that your time could be up anytime?

The truth is the moment you were not thinking of it, it suddenly comes.

While the people of his time said, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” the Apostle Paul’s way of thinking is different. “I face death every day,” he says.

Do you have the courage to speak like that?

Here are some major ways you can face the reality of death.

1. Make Clear What Death Really Means to You.

For many people, death means many things. But what comes to your mind when you think of death matters in life.

Is it the end? Is death something you’re afraid of? Or are you in denial?

There’s only one problem: The moment you deny or don’t think about death, it could still come anytime.

The ancient Teacher once said, “There is a time to live and a time to die.

So whether we like this or not, death is a reality in life. Whether one believes it or not, death does not change. It is the great equalizer of all humanity, rich or poor, healthy or not, young and old–a common destiny for all mankind.

2. Believe in God’s Revelation or Human Speculations.

There are thousands of human speculations anyone can believe in about life and death, heaven or hell, etc. But God’s revelation shows there is hope beyond death.

The Bible says, “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

From the Judeo-Christian perspective, death entered into this world through Adam. His act of disobedience resulted in both physical and spiritual death to all his posterity.

However, the story of God did not end in hopelessness. While all humanity would eventually die physically, Christ conquered death when he was bodily resurrected. Through him, there is hope also for the spiritual life that conquers spiritual death.

This is the same Christ who said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” That is a spiritual kind of death, totally different from the natural process of the physical death.

3. Begin With the End in Mind.

The truth is, I lead as if I have a hundred years to live, but I live as if I’ll die today or tomorrow.

You might have heard that it is not on how long you live, but how well you live the life that matters. But I think it is better to have both the quality and longevity of life.

However, since there is no way for us to know our own end in this world, it is better to begin thinking seriously about life and death today.

The goal is to live, think, and act every day believing this could be the best of days of our lives with God.

What made me to do so?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

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Why Excellence Is the Best Way?

Do you see someone skilled in their work?” The Bible says, “They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

The truth is, excellence is your ticket to success. 

If you want to succeed in anything, you need to consider the more excellent way.

1. Define What’s Excellent.

“If I’m going to give you my best,” someone may ask, “will you also give your best for me?” But each person has his own definition of what’s best. The same with excellence. 

Let me propose that being excellent is doing your best for God and others based on your combined knowledge, experience, training, and ability. 

Knowing that God is the God of excellence, He deserves nothing less than our best. And that should be our main motivation in being excellent and doing things in an excellent way.

From my experience, giving your best is an act of honoring the ones whom honor is due. Honoring God, our mentors, and our co-leaders. 

Likewise, being the best is also a way of honoring ourselves. (That’s why there’s such a thing as “dishonoring yourself.” Try to be sloppy and soon you’ll find out.). The fact is, sloppy people may seem to succeed but only for a moment. It can’t be sustained. 

Be excellent even if no one is watching. God is the only audience you need. Seek His approval. Let him measure your success. 

2. Develop a Mindset of Excellence.

Doing your best even if others won’t give you back what you deserve–even if something you don’t deserve–is not totally useless. It should not stop you from being excellent.

Your best might not be good enough for others. But that’s what obscure people do to others. 

I remember a company supervisor who was asked why for all those years, someone they know remained obscurely stagnant. “Bro, he’s just a man with money,” the supervisor replied, “but he’s nobody and so ordinary.” It means nothing excellent went on.

Being excellent in what you do starts from within. Think excellent, you’ll do excellent things, and get excellent results.

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to fail. Failures may be God’s tools to teach us how to succeed. The man who’s mindset is afraid to fail is most certainly also afraid to succeed. Why? 

Because both failure and success will reveal the true nature of the heart. But the man who does his best is not afraid of both. He only does what His Master asks and demands of him. Whatever the results are, these are all in the Master’s touch.

3. Do Your Best.

If you want anything to be done for you, do it first to others. This way, you are not passive to wait and not do anything, but proactively do the best that you can. 

Doing your best opens up doors of opportunities you’ve not dreamed about–even bigger than your dreams and goals. 

Do you best and you’ll soon find yourself working with the best people.

Excellence will lead you to excellent people who will maximize your mutual potentials, prospects, possibilities, and prosperities. 

God has His own special ways in rewarding those who serve Him through and with others. You’ve got to realize, you’re serving the King above and His domain is abundantly blessed. 

How can you fail if God is working and is pleased with you? 

What the world consider as success may be failure to God, but what is success before God remains a success regardless how the world sees it.

God is not unjust. He knows how to reward His workers. It pleases Him to see His servants prosper. If you think you’re bound to fail, you’re right. But if you believe and do your best, He will take charge of the rest.

The place of God’s promise is so great in that it’s too wide for people with tiny dreams or small faith.

Why be a slave in Egypt if you can succeed in God’s promised land? 

Why cry over spilled milk if God is leading you to the land flowing with milk and honey?

Take massive action and get massive results. Do you best and you’ll get the best out of this life. 

The world may fail you, but God never will. 

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

What to Have Before Taking Your Final Journey?

Here’s my top 10 Ultimate Traveler’s checklist.

1. Passport

The traveler seeking entry to the ultimate destiny must have proper documents in their proper name. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done….And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

2. Information of Your Final Destination

If your intended final destination is heaven, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Hence, the Apostle Paul stated what must be done. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Don’t rely on a guess or speculation, but the truth.“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

3. Petition for Visa

Thinking to become an immigrant in heaven? “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

4. Tickets

Either you have it or not, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

5Money

The currency of your ultimate destination is faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

6. Luggage

It’s not an absolute need “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world

7. Clothing

The best clothing awaits upon arrival like the prodigal son’s father who said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.”

8. Departure Time

Just be prepared anytime as Apostle Paul puts it. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

9. Customs and Immigration

In your life journey, you only have two entries. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Admission to heaven is very strict. “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

10. Accommodation

Time changes to eternity. But the destination is first class all the way. Jesus assured it.

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Glenn Plastina © 2017

 

 

 

What Are the 4 Pillars of Enduring Leadership? 

Endure or injure: Why do leaders don’t last and fall?

We all have seen casualties of war. The same is true on the spiritual battlefield.

Many leaders do not last because of many reasons, like moral failures, marriage problems, money matters, etc.

In times like these, St. Paul’s words are timely. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:5)

Let me share the 4 pillars of well an established leadership.

1. Elevate Your Awareness.

Keep your head in all situations.” Like a watchman on top of a fortress, it means to look up in order to see possible dangers, threats, and warning signs around.

While others cling to paranoia for survival or self-actualization for success, spiritual awareness is a must for enduring leadership as a practicing Christian.

It means you have to be aware of where you are standing, your beliefs and behaviors. It also covers watching out for wrong teachings that could destroy you and your people.

Be aware of the emerging trends that are unbiblical, even demonic in nature. For a leader who feeds his people with poisonous teachings would someday reap his actions.

2. Endure Hardship.

Nobody said being a spiritual leader would be easy.

Some amateurs desire to lead with full of idealism. But experienced leaders know that it’s a battle out there. It’s less than ideal.

Endure hardship.” Take time to train. It’s better to bleed during training that has yourself killed on the battlefield.

Be tough. There will be trials and testings that would toughen your guts as you deal with various people.

The leader who is not willing to endure will soon be injured–if not, he would become a casualty.

3. Evangelize.

In the age of information, evangelists refer to enthusiastic techno advocates. Originally, it simply means someone who proclaims the good news and persuades people to become followers of Christ.

As such, the command to “Do the work of an evangelist” is to spread the news of God’s love for all people, hatred for sin, and hope of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Winning people for Christ is the utmost duty and privilege of any Christian evangelists.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the greatest honor to spread and speak God’s love to all people.

4. Empower Other Leaders.

True leaders empower others.

One best way to empower potential leaders is following this instruction. “Discharge all the duties of your ministry.

To become an enduring leader, one must learn how to let go of his roles, functions, and responsibilities to others.

The person who cannot delegate could be someone who is insecure, fearful, or too proud to acknowledge that others can be developed and be able to do it as well, in fact even better.

The truth is, there is no real success without a successor.

Soon you’ll realize that real success means to be able to discharge–not some or few but–everything you’ve got to others.

A spiritual leader might not be able to transfer his or her calling to others, but certainly one can multiply himself or herself through others.

So don’t be afraid to train others. As I’ve always believed and done: If I train you and you become ten times better than I am, I would be happy.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

How to Apply the Vision of Multiplication in Your Life and Leadership? 

Do you have the vision of multiplication? Or you only see yourself as the end of the line?

A stagnant leader is subtractive. A divisive leader divides. While a shallow leader focuses on adding one, the smart and successful leader multiplies.

Imagine if Jesus did not have the vision of multiplication through His 12 disciples, will the whole world hear the gospel?

Instead of focusing on teaching thousands and proclaiming to millions, Jesus prioritized discipling His small group of individuals and demonstrated the power of multiplication.

A classic summary of this is captured by Apostle Paul. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Here’s how it works.

1. Exemplify Your Life and Leadership. 

Based on what Apostle Paul learned from Jesus’ life and leadership, he applied the method and made it his own. That sense of ownership in catching the vision of multiplication is crucial in any powerful growth.

In this case, the vision was caught and restarted for continuity with Paul as the “me” who modeled the lessons he shared. He both taught and trained his students and leaders.

The late Dr. Luis Pantoja once said, “A teacher educates, but only a practitioner trains.”

The critical point is the example that Paul demonstrated to his disciples and trainees. He is not just a teacher but a practitioner. This I also learned from my mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Lepasana, the author of E12 intentional discipleship.

The effective and efficient leader is always an example to his followers. The same is true for someone who desires to disciple and raise leaders. Be a model.

2. Equip Selected Leaders.

When the Apostle wrote this letter to Timothy (implied in the “you“), it does not mean he is alone. Actually, this is the same principle that works for the other leaders that Paul personally mentored, like Titus, Mark, etc.

Just like Jesus did when he chose a small group of his disciples, Paul also chose his own disciples and leaders to be Christlike. He personally selected them, spent time with them, and shaped them into Christ-centered multipliers.

As Paul caught the vision of Jesus’ vision of multiplication, he also made it sure that his disciples and leaders caught that vision too in order to ensure continuity, succession, and exponential growth.

3. Entrust to Empower Quality Leaders.

You might think this is merely methodological, but actually, it is not. This is more than just style without substance.

If you closely analyze the approach of Jesus and Apostle Paul, it is content-based. It’s indicated in “the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses.” These include the teachings and life of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and ministry applications.

Such “things” contain the power of God and authority of Christ that Timothy (as the second generation from Paul) should “entrust to reliable people” (the third generation).

In order for the Christ-centered content to spread, reliable Christian leaders are needed. They must have the qualities of teachability, credibility, initiative, and integrity. They must be learners and able to teach and make disciples. That’s competence.

4. Expand Exponentially.

The greatest asset of a leader is to be able to build other leaders to do the same.

It’s an endless pay-it-forward direction, but it’s not merely a conspiracy of kindness and altruism. It is driven by a Christ-centered mission and mandate. That’s the big difference between method only and mission driven-content.

You are not just influencing the “others” as the fourth generation (or level as in the case of multi-level marketing or corporate hierarchy). You are actually perpetuating the vision of Christ to exponentially grow to innumerable people.

That’s why Jesus did not bother preaching and teaching to millions of people. In just three years of total commitment, focus, and endeavor of discipling the ordinary apostles, he turned them into extraordinary influencers–not based on coercion and control but–compassion and content of the Gospel.

One major reason why I love investing my time in leaders and leadership training is this: leaders multiply.

But what motivates me the more is this: leaders who caught the vision of Jesus for multiplication are the most successful and significant ones in the history of Christianity.

Who knows? That could be you.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

Why Godly Parents Should Teach Their Children About Sex?

This is my warning–and I’m not excluded. If parents won’t teach their children about God’s design for sex, they will get it from the wrong people at the wrong places. 

A recent stir alarmed non-religious parents and disgusted the Christian community. Teen Vogue, a magazine with a niche audience of 11 to 17 years of age are teaching anal sex. It even provided a graphic guide, glorifying anal sex without telling its dangers.

1. Wake Up, Parents! 

If you’re a responsible, especially a Christian, parent, you’ve got to wake up. We are now living in the last days where sexual perversity escalates and even glorified amorality. 

There is nowhere in time where immorality and so-called sexual freedom is celebrated and admired without inhibition. 

When the nihilistic Playboy philosophy prevailed in winning the culture war, all hell broke lose. The media worshiped it, politics legalized it, and business profited unaccounted billions from it. Sex sells, indeed.

Even many churches are plagued with sexual scandals. Schools are intentionally targeted for sexual reorientation and experimentation that are blatantly dismissing the intention of God for sex. 

Sex education at schools are humanistic without moral foundation and compass. Condoms are openly given for teens to explore their sexuality and not wait for marriage. If it feels good, do it–without thinking of the ramifications. 

Wake up! “The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

2. Watch Out Or Be Swallowed.

The progressive social engineering in education is often based on humanistic philosophies, bad science, and biased medical studies. It is often designed to abhor the idea of God as a moral giver and steer away the person from His divine purpose.

As Paul aptly–and prophetically–described, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie.” 

Parents, are you aware about this? If not, you will be swallowed by the furious tide of times. Of course, the Christian world cannot expect anything good from this intentional perversion and destruction of young lives. It will even get uglier.

Understand what Apostle Paul further emphasized. “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Take a close look around. Are these realities alive and more blatant today?

3. Warn Yourselves.

I’ve seen young people who worked in call centers and became “liberated” toward sexual freedom and left churches. Interestingly, it is evident that STDs and AIDS are on the rise on those workplaces. In my resident city, data shows teenage pregnancy is all time high.

Have you observed that atheistic media and secularized education hate the idea of God? It’s because it inhibits the perverted ideas of human lust even if it is committed to young lives like children and teens. Such acts of sodomy will soon be forgotten as merely a conservative norm. 

Even if there are medical consequences to such sexual deviant practice, it is simply covered up and denied. But God’s point of view stands.

As such, parents should be warned. Teaching our children about the biblical truth on sex and other related topics is part of our sacred parental duties. 

If parents fail to educate their children about the biblical sex, they’ll be able to get pornographic materials on magazine stands, department stores, and the ever-available Internet. 

The Rev. Franklin Graham cautioned parents regardless of religious affiliations, “Warn them against what the socialist progressives want to push on the innocents. This issue of Teen Vogue tells them the lie that, ‘There is no wrong way to experience sexuality and no way is better than any other.’ Schools will not teach the truth, the media will not teach the truth—it’s up to you to raise your children in truth and knowledge.”

Do not be deceived,” the Apostle Paul warned about those deliberate practitioners, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men…will inherit the kingdom of God.” 

The truth is this. No one who is truly a believer of Jesus Christ will continue to live in sin.

If you care for your family–and I’m pretty sure you do–teach your children on the biblical truth of sex and spirituality, empower your young people to love with purity, and commit to prepare for their marriage with sanctity. Read the book of Proverbs and you’ll soon find out the sacred duty of parents in teaching their kids about sex.

Moreover, teach them to be compassionate to those who are struggling with any forms of immorality and not be judgmental. Instead, as opportunities arise, be like Christ who encouraged the adulterous woman to “leave your life of sin.”

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017 

Why Your Lifetime Friendship Matters?

Are you enjoying FB’s “friendversary” reminders?

One thing I learned about friendship.

When you got good friends, life is great.

It’s interesting to observe. People will have a window to your self by the kind of friends you keep.

1. Choose Your Friends Carefully. 

You don’t choose who you parents are, but you can choose your friends. Do it with discernment.

An ancient proverb says, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

In fact, elsewhere it also says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person.

Why should everyone be cautious in making friends?

It’s because friends have immense influence in shaping a person, even one’s destiny.

You become who you spend the most of your times with.

As my close friend says, “Birds of the same feathers”–not just flock together, but they–“are the same birds.”

When you’ll learn their ways, friends could lead you to personal development or destruction. In fact, the phenomenon of peer-pressure and its consequences are self-explanatory.Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 5.52.03 PM.png

2. Commit to Your Friends.

I know of some who I thought were my friends. But this particular person has notorious longtime friends. When I found out we have nothing similar. The person is actually more like his friends. We have to part ways.

Why do I have to let go of them? It’s because they could be ruined together or I would be ruined by them.

Have you observed the truthfulness this adage? “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

While there are false friends pretending to be true (as long as they can use you), there are genuine friends you have to commit into.

I got very close and trustworthy friends who stick more than brothers. In fact, I consider them as part of my spiritual family.

These true friends were there through thick and thin. They know–and keep on knowing–me inside out. I cherish and commit to our friendships as they did too.

3. Call Your Friends.

True friends know you well–they also let you know when there are great moments for you to know where they are.

Do you have friends who visited your town and didn’t even called you? When you have the so-called friend who doesn’t bother to call you when she is just somewhere nearby, think again!

Friends let their friends know whatever good there is to know.

Interestingly, Jesus treasures friendship. When he chose his disciples, he developed that depth of friendship between them. For him, the disciples were not just his learners and students.

Instead,” Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Are you grateful for God’s gift of friendship in your life?

Are you building relationships where Christ is at the center and God is glorified?

As for me, friends are not only great gifts for life but demonstrations of God’s unconditional love.

May our friendships be an expression of God’s love for one another.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

Who’s Watching You?

Security cameras. Spy cams. Monitoring devices. Voyeurs. The Big Brother. Who’s watching you?

Today’s privacy is a major concern. Someone is watching someone somewhere.

But don’t you know there’s an all-seeing eye that watches over you? It’s not a super spy camera, but surely it’s better than anything in this world could do.

1. Warn Yourself in Times of Trouble.

Are you in trouble? I know of someone who is really bothered with cameras almost everywhere in their workplace. They doubt it was not just for security reasons. It’s like a voyeur’s constantly watching everyone.

Even a warrior like David was in trouble many times and needed someone to watch over him. And God did.

My help comes from the Lord,” David sang, “the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

When things and circumstances get slippery, God watches over you 24/7. He remains awake and gives you discernment. That’s for you to know the dangers and keep your integrity intact.

Since God already knows everything about you, He’s not there to do surveillance or simply observe but to let you know He is ever-present and awake, willing to keep yourself safe and sound.

2. Watch Yourself Under God’s Protection. 

Be always alert. Satan and his ilk are constantly looking for someone they can devour and destroy. As such, your security is God’s concern.

It is God’s duty to safeguard His children like any earthly father would. God keep His family under His protective care and would not want to see any of his children be placed in harm’s way.

As David learned in his life. “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”

Under God’s watch, every moment is in God’s control. Nothing escapes from His protection. If you’re His child and servant, He is your refuge and fortress in times of danger.

3. Wake Up Everyday Assured of God’s Care.

It’s such a comfort to understand how God watches over His people to care for them until the end. Being under God’s watch is to be followed closely and nurtured in His love.

As ordinary fathers like me would love to watch our growing children, also “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

The truth is, the Lord won’t let go of you. He has His eyes fixed on you.

Every time you feel that you’re alone, remember that your Father in heaven is watching over your whole life. Wherever you are and wherever you’ll go, the Lord promises He will constantly be with you.

How does it feel now that you know God is watching right close to you?

Do you now realize that you need to live the real you especially when no one is watching?

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

What’s Your Perfect Selfie? 

I know we are living in the age of the selfie generation.

We open the camera phone, focus on ourselves within the frame, find the beautiful angle, emote, and click for the ultimate selfie of the day. In fact, FB is not complete without selfies.

Is the social media affecting your self-esteem and confidence?

1. Take a Picture of the Inner Person. 

Have you observed that a person’s pictures manifest a lot about one’s self-esteem?

Today photo labs are constant friends to edit and remove the blemishes, wrinkles, and dark textures. Except that it cannot remove the blemishes of the inner being.

Most people try to look good. We take several shots and sort out our pictures and post only what reflects the beautiful us.

There’s nothing wrong with our appreciation for beauty. It’s the obsession with it that’s creating problems, like the teenager who constantly compares his or her self with the beautifully photoshopped people in magazines and social pages.

Don’t put your legitimacy on your Instagram, but on God. Like the Psalmist who sang, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Take a close up picture of your inner person. You’re God’s unique and intricate design. There’s none like you.

2. Tell God What You’re Really Feeling About Yourself.

People often have unhealthy concept of their own self. As such, many succumbed to insecurities or overconfidence. What I’m asking is only for a healthy level of confidence.

When the Psalmist said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” it shows a sanctified boasting that declares God’s intelligent design in us.”

Now don’t misjudge this to say that people should be fearful of your appearance or dread your face. It actually says God extremely made you with utmost details and care–and is delighted to have done so.

Life is more than photoshoot. People take pains to edit their external appearance and feel good about it. But once you find your real worth and value before God, His new version of you matters.

Start praising God for who you really are and have a renewed view of your self.

3. Trust God’s Wonderful Picture of You.

Well, at least, thank God for the technology. We can take better shots for our families, capture memories, and not just for our selfie.

Through social media, we can express ourselves, connect with more people, and build a community (and hopefully, not lose touch with reality).

But as these technology, gadgets, and apps did not appear without a maker, we too have to take a close look at our Creator and trust His intelligent design.

God designs for a purpose and it is good. As the psalmist said, “your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” So get to know more of yourself–how God designed your body, experiences, and ideas.

Stop comparing yourself with others–and avoid focusing too much on yourself.

As for me, my perfect selfie is taking a close look within and seeing myself in the lenses of God.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

Have You Passed Your Self-Test?

From time to time, I take personality tests. I loved it since there are no right or wrong answers. These tests, like Enneagram, DISC, etc., give me further awareness and insights about my traits.

However, there is an exam that I consider critical in our lives: a spiritual test.

When I was a teenager, I had to face the reality of these two diagnostic questions my teacher asked:

The first is this. Have you ever come to appoint in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you’re going to heaven?

And the second is, suppose you were to die today and God would ask you, why should I let you into my heaven? What would you say?

Here are apostle Paul’s advices for your consideration: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test.”

1. Think About What You Really Believe.

What you say could be separated from what you believe.

I once met a person who got the answers to the diagnostic questions right. But then I soon found out somebody taught her how to answer, even without believing in what she has to say.

As such, I really encourage you to answer with all your heart.

It’s a tragedy of life when someone is trying to fool someone—and that someone is one’s self.

Apostle Paul admonished Christians to thoughtfully and purposively “examine” (Greek peirazu) themselves. In fact, it does not only mean “to test” but also “to tempt” or “to trap,” depending on the intention.

For this reason, Paul specified the motive: “to see whether you are in the faith.

2. Test Yourself.

If you would ask someone “Are you a Christian?” a lot of people, especially Filipinos, would answer, “Yes.” But if you make a follow-up question, “How did you become a Christian?”

You’ll probably hear things like, “I was born a Christian,” “I’m not a Muslim, that’s why” “My parents are Christians,” or “I grew up in a Christian home.”

Today’s lack of self-examination has led to a massive but thoughtless Christianity that used spoon-feeding of faith to make co-dependent followers.

Apostle Paul used the Greek word dokimazu for his encouragement to “Test yourselves.” Like testing the purity of metals, it means to test your faith, scrutinize what you approved, and examine your beliefs.

Whatever people tell you to believe in, test it if they are from God—and that includes what I also say. I often instruct the people I influence to be mindful of what they also believe.

“Whatever I say, if it is consistent with God’s Word, think about it. Apply it. But if it is not, then forget it. You have nothing to lose. What matters most is that you reflect about what you believe based on the Scriptures as I did for mine.”

3. Trust in Jesus Christ Alone.

If you profess to be a Christian, think about this.

No one is born a Christian because it is a conscious decision to become a follower of Jesus.

Being a non-Muslim doesn’t make one a Christian as you would a non-Hindu or non-Buddhist.

Yes, your parent may be Christians or that you grew up in a Christian home. But still you have to own your faith and make a personal decision to really believe and follow Christ.

As apostle Paul says, “Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test.”

The problem with assumptions is this. It’s not an assurance. Assumptions can’t pass the test. A person must certainly know and understand what beliefs he has, lest he fails the test.

Believing in the sufficiency of Christ Jesus the Lord and Savior is the core of the Christian faith.

Are you afraid that your belief systems would be tested or not?

You should not be.

The truth is not afraid of scrutiny. Neither should you—if you want to know and hold on to the truth.

Glenn Plastina © 2017