Risk, Risk and More Risks

It’s my first official blog for 2017!! Woohoo! I feel like each year, I’ve been writing less and less and less. But it’s okay. It’s not like I have tons of readers. Lol!

This was suppose to be my “a year that was” blog, reminiscing and recalling the great things that happened in my 2016. But, nah… Really, nothing big happened last year for me. No big events, no big travels, well I got a raise, so that’s good, but really, in the definition of this world’s success – it was a plain and boring year. Yes, not even a love life. Nothing. Yes, still single. Don’t ask again. Zip it!

But……. *drum roll* Yes, but. Even if nothing big happened externally in my life. I was changed big time internally – opposite of externally. Internally. Get that? Not my organs, they’re healthy, nothing enlarged. You know what I mean…

Most of you might not know, I am not a risk taker. I never liked uncertainties. But, when you start aging (in a good way), you just really have to do it. Past years, God took me to a lot of uncertainties which really pushed me to just step out in faith. A risk for God’s sake, I must say. But last year, I took a different kind of risk. A risk I never thought I could really do. And by God’s grace, I was able to.

I learned the RISK of LIVING LESS. Since I started working, I always had this conviction that it’s okay once in a while to pamper yourself with “GOOD” things. I realize, I can pamper myself just fine with a good movie or a meaningful time with friends. I also had this must-have to always have travels every year. And I only consider travel a travel if it is outside the country where live. I know… my definition is wrong. Not only that, I also decided to spend less time in social media. Instagram out last year. And hopefully this year, I will start using FB more as a tool for encouragement and less about myself.

I started living less not because I thought those things were wrong but because I have finally grown up (I think *wink* & still growing). It is because I cannot have everything in this world. I always have to give up something to be able to gain the more important things in life. Like, no out of the country travels which let me saved my vacation days and I was able to go home to Philippines and spent time with my family which I had not seen for more than 2 years. Like, controlling my spending (fact: I was shopping-free last year!) for long term goals for me and my family. No social media to get more sleep at night and wake up early for consistent quiet time – very important!! Trust me, there were days when it’s just so tempting to book a flight and go on my bucket list trip. It was not an easy change of lifestyle, but I must say now, it was so worth it.

It’s been a very humbling 2016 for me. It’s pretty hard to live with less. And really, I will say it again that it is truly God’s sustaining grace and joy that has brought me this far. The journey has just started, more risks to take as I continue to desire to pursue the things that would truly bring lasting value in this lifetime and beyond.

The big change in me? Learning, still learning and will continue to learn to live less that Jesus may always be greater in my life. All for His glory.

A Christ-filled 2017 to you!

he-must-become-greater-i-must-become-less

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I want to say something also…

It’s interesting to read and see ongoing reaction of people about Manny Pacquiao‘s statement few days ago about homosexuality. It’s comment after comment on different social media posts. I can’t even wait to talk about this  with my family on our Saturday night video call (Something we can talk about aside from the upcoming Philippines election!).

I’ve been thinking, should I also say my piece about it? Well, it’s not like anyone would read or care about what I say. And, I’m dead tired from work today that I just want to stop my brain thinking about work. So, why not express myself, kill my boredom tonight and write something.

I’m not going to talk about homosexuality or same-sex marriage. I’ve said my piece about that one already months before – (Not Keeping Silent in Love). What really caught my interest and made me realize as I was reading the different views of people is on how we are a bunch of people with so much contradictions in life. We are so contradicting in the belief we try to uphold just to fight for the things we think we deserve.

“Life is not fair.” It is not just a cliche but a reality. A reality that all of us can never accept that is why there are so many laws passed about having equal rights, if possible equal rights in all aspects of life. And I believe that’s our human nature. We want to be treated fairly in wherever we go or whatever we aspire and do. I, myself have my own personal sentiments about it.

However, we fail to realize that what we are fighting for sometimes contradicts the standard that we claim we believe in and stand for. I remembered what our senior pastor said of what are the two types of people in this world. One who believes in God- the Creator, the Author of Life, the Author of the Bible and the other one who does not believe in God at all.

If we believe in God, the basis of the kind of life we want to pursue is what He commanded us to do in the Bible. If I consider someone an enemy, I just can’t ask to pass a law that any person I consider as an enemy even if that person is not doing anything to me, must not go near me within this distance just because I don’t want to see that person. This contradicts to what God said that I should love my enemy. It’s not love. It’s being mean to the person.

We can’t say we believe in Him but consciously accept and do the things that He does not approve of. There is a huge difference between compromising and overcoming sin. Compromising is you know that God does not approve of such act but you still do it and has no intention to repent. Overcoming sin is having the desire to turn away from it but you struggle and fail at times but you allow God to help you overcome until you totally turn away from it.

If we do not believe in God, then, we can choose what ever standard we want to base our life on. A life without God has really no distinction of what is acceptable and not, of what is good and not. A life without God is a life without laws. We can fight for whatever equality we want as nothing can contradict what we are fighting for.We get to choose how we want to live our life based on our own standards – which is based on what? I really don’t know.

So what am I really trying to say? That in this lifetime, we will always have that desire to fight for what we think is right and fair in our own standards even if it contradicts to God’s standards. To compromise is never okay with God. God’s truth is a truth that we can never dispute and argue with Him. We can all argue about it in social media or in our conversations with other people. But it will never change  God’s mind about it. It’s a done deal. We will be judged according to His standards  when the time comes.

But despite of, what is still amazing is God’s standard of equality and fairness.  There is love. There is grace. There is mercy. There is forgiveness. Because He knows that no matter how much He shortens the greatest commandments from ten to just two, we will still fail Him.  That’s our nature. We just want to follow the easy commandments and break the other ones. And because we are bunch of contradicting people who can never save our self from His judgment someday, and because He is a gracious and just God, He gave us a chance to be able to meet His standard. He sent Jesus  who alone can satisfy the standard of righteousness we can never meet. If we believe and love and follow Jesus with all of our being, we just don’t get to meet God’s standard, we also get a bonus of a transformed life. We can never have Jesus in our life and not be changed. He is just too amazing not to be able to do that.

 

 All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” Romans 3:23

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

“When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new!” 1 Corinthians 5:17

 

I didn’t expect this to be a long writing. I hope you didn’t get bored reading.  I just hope that as you finish reading this, you will appreciate more the goodness and grace of God. I pray that you will see that the love God is giving to you is in all fairness and equality. In Him, there is no favoritism, nothing less, nothing more. His love is just enough. Hope you meet Jesus today!

Have a great night!

Sending love,

Stifany (Princess Pepay) ❤ ❤ ❤

Promise that Always Satisfies

Yesterday, you saw someone changing status to just got engaged with a photo of her big diamond ring.

Today, you attended a wedding of one of your college girlfriends.

At the wedding, one of your couple friends shared that they have a baby coming.

Then, you,  a single woman and not in a relationship starts asking, “When will my time come?”  Or, “Will it ever come?”

For the next hours, thoughts would just be filled of what if’s, who and what could be’s. Sometimes, a little longer, days.

Until, thoughts would slowly fade. Life becomes normal again.

Then, another announcement comes in. And it goes the same cycle again.

You can have a lot of different reasons of why it hasn’t come for you yet.

But truth is, there is always only one answer that can satisfy you.

God knows your heart. He knows your desire.

And being satisfied that He knows, you once again resubmit to Him that your time will come.

You once again surrender to Him, knowing that He is writing your story.

Then, you go on living your life for Him, trusting that the best is yet to come.

You hold on to that promise, believing that God is faithful to complete it.

God is writing

Just one thing…

Last night in our weekly small group meeting, we studied one of the attributes of God which is being merciful.

Upon pondering my take home last night…

Justice – you get what you deserve

Mercy – you don’t get what you deserve

Grace – you get what you don’t deserve

Just imagine if God is only just but not merciful and gracious…

How will we be able to live?

There’s no even point living because we will totally be separated from God – eternally.

Why?

Because God being just means all of us are bound for hell forever. We will never be able to live up to His standards.

But because God is merciful, He sent His Son Jesus to take the penalty of our sins.

And because God is gracious, He gives us salvation and eternal life through Jesus even if we don’t deserve it.

Do you want to live not just for now but eternally with God?

Just one thing…

Believe, have faith in Jesus. Let Jesus not just be your Savior but also the Master of your life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Isn’t it amazing how one decision can totally impact your eternal destination? 

 

Sweeter

In my quiet time this morning, God made me fall in love with Jesus much more.

My reading was on the latter part of Luke 5 and beginning of Luke 6 which talked about the Pharisees trying to question all the ways of Jesus – like eating with tax collectors and sinners, His disciples picking wheat on Sabbath and Jesus healing during Sabbath.

How Jesus responded to the Pharisees made me thank God more for who He is. I’m just grateful and very glad that Jesus did not come into this world bringing set of rigid rules and traditions but love, hope and forgiveness which allowed us to live a pleasing life for Him.

Just imagine a life full of strict rules and traditions to be followed so that we could attain perfection and be with God. One – it is very impossible, Second – it would be very exhausting, and Third -it is pointless and useless. We will never be with God for eternity.

God’s love is so powerful and compelling that once we accept it through Jesus Christ, there’s no other way but to respond to it, not out of force but of free will. Not that we don’t do the right things and follow His commandments, but we do it not out of striving for perfection but out of our love for God. It’s an act of obedience resulted from love and not from a scary thought of hell.

Indeed, life is sweeter and better each day when I walk with Jesus even if it gets tougher sometimes. True enough, it is only with Jesus that I am able to experience a full, complete and abundant life – full of hope, peace, joy and love.

Thank You Jesus for a sweeter life. 🙂

This is my song for today! 🙂

Surrender

I thought today would be a very good day. Our living room just got emptied with our extra set of couch, meaning more space. The deployment at work went well with no issues. Things went pretty smooth most of the day until I had a talk with someone.

I don’t know what people think when I put my photos in Facebook or when I make posts about stuff. Maybe, some would think, “She must have a good life. Travel. Food. Friends.” Well, true enough. And I owe everything to God – the good life.  But what you see in social sites are just portions of what the lives of the people really are.

I’m hoping that if you read this, you would realize that you are not alone in whatever you’re going through.

Family problems? Sure, I have those.

Struggles? Sure, I also have.

Financial issues? Ditto!

Career dilemma? Definitely.

Heart matters? Of course.

Attitude problem? I ain’t perfect.

Every day, I have a meeting with any of those, a two or three of them maybe. I wish I can say my life is perfect. But sad reality, it will never be. I’m blessed beyond what I have imagined. But it’s all because of God who is perfect and good.

What happened tonight, just reminded me that indeed, I can’t really do everything apart from God. I wanted to be mad and angry and really pissed. But all I did – cried and prayed and surrendered to God. I really can’t do anything. I can’t force people. I can’t control people. I can’t change people. Despite how hurtful it is that I just want to say mean things, I got reminded of God’s grace.  I don’t have the right. And it is very hard even while typing this.

You see, without God in my life, I can be the most annoying, judgmental, self-righteous, controlling, tactless person. And maybe sometimes, I still am. But only God can tug my heart and say, “Be still. Be calm.”

I feel so much better now just to be able to do this.

So, if you have a very tough day, you’re not alone. You just have to keep the faith and let God. 🙂