AO#2: Women at the Well

(Me, MJ, Marj, Ate Beth, Ate Don)

I was thinking what I should call these lovely women… I like Women at the Well. Each of them has their own story of how Jesus met them at their own “wells” of life. And if not for Jesus, I will also never get to know these women. He is the reason why we are where we are.

Today is a reminder of the Good Friday that happened more than 2,000 years ago. And because of that, I am able to celebrate this season of my life with these ladies.

I truly appreciate the love they show through enouragements, prayers, time, blessings and just being there to listen. They get busy at times but they always make time. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Love you ladies! ūüėė

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As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click ->¬†Here’s why )

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AO#1: Papa & Mama

As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click ->¬†Here’s why )

I start my Appreciate One (AO) per week with the people whom God has used to bring me into this world – MY PARENTS. Meet Rodolfo and Susana, aka Bonjing and Bebe ūüôā

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You would agree with me that a page in a blogsite will never be enough to appreciate our parents. But don’t worry, this will not turn out to be a novel ūüôā

My parents are not perfect. They are flawed just like all of us. But one thing that they really showed to us which I truly appreciate about them is they choose to accept each other’s weaknesses. That is very important to us, their children. And, I’m just grateful that in the midst of¬† “crazy” & “chaos”, my parents choose to love. Being single and still waiting for my own time of hopefully being married someday, I need that example. Papa & Mama – thank you for not just loving us your children but also showing to us what love should be through your commitment to each other.

It was when I started working and left home that I have understood the depth of the love of my parents for us, their children. I know my parents love me, I never doubted that. I just did not really realize how sacrifical and unconditional that love is until I started living on my own.¬†There are days at work when I just felt like giving up. Or, I would complain of being tired. But then, when I look at my parents who until this day never stopped working so hard, I feel shameful and ungrateful. I’m just glad that Papa & Mama would always keep telling us when we were younger about how their life was during their time. It was never easy. I always tell myself¬† – “Just imagine if Papa & Mama would just give up because their tired and quit their job?” But because of their love for us, they kept going no matter how hard the days were. Papa & Mama – thank you for showing to us your love through your hardwork. Thank you for not giving up on those difficult times. Thank you for choosing to give what is best for us. I truly appreciate that you have all brought us up in a family where laziness is intolerable. Because of what you have shown us, I have learned to value hardwork as well.

One of the things I enjoy in our family is our meal times. Mama loves to cook for all of us even up to now. We all love to eat. I am glad that my parents showed to us the importance of having good meals on the table. Good meals mean that we are well provided. And the reason I enjoy and appreciate food everywhere I go is because of that. It reminds me of the good meals I had growing up. It reminds me of family. Papa & Mama – thank you for all the delicious food you always provide for us on the table. Thank you for showing to us your appreciation for food – all the grilled, the raw and the greens. I truly appreciate that you always made sure we don’t go to school on empty stomachs.¬†And because of that, we all learned to cook & prepare our own meals.¬†

The most important that I am most grateful to my parents is for forcing us to go to church every Sunday when we were young. There is no escape. Our family today has differences on the church that we are a part of. However, I am still grateful that my parents introduced to me who God is. That became the starting point of my faith today. Papa & Mama Рthank you that you brought us up in the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus. I truly appreciate that you have instilled to us the importance of having God in our life. Because of that, I have learned not to walk in my own ways but have been learning daily to abide and depend on God.  I may have not understood everything you asked us to do before, but now, everything made sense. 

As I say, there are so many things I am truly appreciative of my parents. However, these few I mentioned are the ones that truly had made an impact in the adult years of my life. I am always grateful that my parents never stopped being parents even if most of the time I don’t ask their help, seek their permission or consult them anymore. However, they are just there, keeps reminding me like a 5-year old of the do’s and dont’s in life. And, I have learned to appreciate that also. They have always been supportive in my decisions no matter what.¬†My parents keep me grounded. And, I thank God for giving me parents who love us, never gave up on us and continue to stay with us.

 

 

 

 

A Conference to Remember

From a worshiper to a worshiper:

Just this weekend, I attended the Worship Central Conference.¬†I wasn’t really planning to attend as I thought the conference was just for the worship music ministry of the different churches. However, some of my friends who planned to go needed a closer place (which is my place) to stay for overnight as they will be going home late. I was thinking, if I would be staying up late to wait for them, why don’t I just go with them. And, good thing I didn’t have a plan for the weekend. I checked the conference details and I realized the plenary sessions and workshops were actually applicable to any Christian believer. So, I went.

I attended with no expectation but just to meet God in that conference. And indeed, I got what I needed and more.

There were so many sessions and workshops that I needed time (which was the whole afternoon today!) to digest, chew and absorb everything that God has reminded, revealed, rebuked, taught and spoken to me.

The theme of the conference is: “STEP IN”.

Here are my reflections/take-aways/action points from the conference:

  • The story of the Samaritan woman (John 4) reminded me of how Jesus steps into our life, not to make us feel guilty of our offenses and sins but to have a personal relationship with Him. He exposes our sins to us but He does not leave us in that situation. He offers love, hope, redemption and forgiveness. And importantly, He wants us to be aware of our sins but He gives us the assurance that He still loves us. He does not want us to doubt of His love, ever. And that’s what the Samaritan woman experienced at the well. It changed her life and influenced other people.
  • The story of the lame person (Acts 3) since birth sitting at the Beautiful Gate asking for alms rebuked me of how I respond to the homeless people I see on the streets.¬† In all honesty and I’m not proud of, I always have the feeling of fear when I see homeless people on streets. I feel compassion and really wants to help in my own small ways however, fear precedes more. And this has been a struggle that I’ve been praying for a long time. And God just broke my heart. The words that really etched in my mind were – Fear Less, Love More. I have to stop seeing them as what the society sees them (homeless, addict, etc.). I have to start seeing them as people whom God also loves and whom God also sent Jesus for. ¬†Just like me, they are people who need Jesus to set them free¬† and save them from their brokenness. And I really pray, that I will be able to find ways to reach out to them.
  • As I was reflecting on the story of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), especially on these verses: “The hand of the¬†Lord¬†came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the¬†Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it¬†was¬†full of bones.¬†¬†Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold,¬†there were¬†very many in the open valley; and indeed¬†they were¬†very dry. “… God opened my eyes to a very relevant truth. I am standing on a valley of dry bones. God did not just bring me here to Canada to start a new life. He “set me down in the midst of the valley”.¬† For almost four years, I still keep figuring out why God put a desire in my heart to come here and why He brought me here. There could be so many different reasons, but I believe His revelation this weekend is one of those reasons why I am here. I just don’t pray for this nation, I need to break my heart and weep in prayer for this country. God seeks people He can use to breathe into so that through them, He can give life to those dry bones. I must become the hands, feet and voice of God. Where? In my families, in my circle of friends, in my neighborhood, at my workplace, on the streets.¬†
  • Another comforting reminder also was the importance for us believers in understanding and in knowing the authority that we have in Jesus Christ. Even if I was at the conference, there were those moments that I would think about my Monday meeting at work. You see, I’ve been doing meetings with senior leadership for so many times. However, I would still feel nervous. And because I am just new to the company, all the more I feel more nervous. I don’t want to mess up and leave a bad impression. But those words from the conference, “AUTHORITY” in Christ put a peace in my heart. God brought me to that new workplace not to be defeated by my own self-focused worries. God brought me there because He knows that I can be a platform, for Him to do something in that workplace. He has given me the authority to speak blessings, to encourage, to be a light, to excel, to influence – not to FEAR, but to LOVE.
  • Greatly reminded of what the true heart of a worshiper should be. As the speaker Pete Greig said (in the context of worshiping in songs)…

“Worship is not being excited about the music or making music. Worship is being excited in meeting Jesus through the music.”

And my longer version that I need to keep reminding myself daily…

“Worship is to be excited not on the things that God has prepared us to do

…not on the music or making music

…not on the outcome of circumstances

…not on the answers of our prayers

…not on the provisions & victories

…not on the ministry work or task

…not on the people we encounter.

It is to be excited on the presence of God

…on meeting God

…on knowing God

…on experiencing God in every detail, in every moment of our life.

Worship is being excited on Jesus!”

We must be like Peter, always ready to plunge!

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‚ÄúIt is the Lord!‚ÄĚ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on¬†his¬†outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. (John 21:7)

The most amazing thing in that conference is to see, feel and experience the presence of God in a very tangible way. And I pray that all of us who attended there – singing songs of revival and surrender, nodding¬† and saying Amen’s to the messages, have responded not just within the halls of that building but have responded beyond those walls to our God who is seeking worshipers that He can send to valleys of dry bones. May we Step In.

When we step into the presence of God, we just don't chill out.

 

It doesn’t matter

One thing I am grateful for social media is it allows me to see the world. I see vacation posts, heartbreaking stories, inspiring stories, government updates, economic news,  parenting tips, etc. You name it.

Though, whatever I read or see triggers different thoughts and emotions in me. I would wish I can go for a vacation also. Or, I wish I could help. Or, I get disapppointed. Or, I want to encourage too. 

But when all of those thoughts and emotions pass, I would ALWAYS be reminded of God’s Word. “Set your mind on things above and not on earthly things.” I always ask the question, “Does it really matter to God?”

…if I go or not go for a vacation?

…if the whole world does not know my own little acts of kindness?

…if I live in a country with economic problems?

…if I can only inspire one or two compared to others who can inspire the world?

…if I don’t ever become a parent?

God’s answer to me, ‚ÄúThe Lord DELIGHTS in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.‚ÄĚ‚Ä≠‚Ä≠ Psalm‚Ĩ ‚Ä≠147:11‚Ĩ

That’s what matters to God. How I honor Him, fear Him, love Him. The condition of my heart is really what matters to God. I should never measure the worth of my life by earthly things. And I can only do this if I have Jesus in my life, His Son whom He is well pleased.

#thoughtsbeforeisleep

It is FINISHED.

This weekend, I got reminded of one important thing. You see, every year, I always have a list of goals that I want to accomplish. It’s already half of the year and I only have one thing crossed out from my list.¬†I felt like I haven’t done enough for the past six months. I was starting to be hard on myself.

Yesterday, in my quiet time, I read the story about the woman with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume who used it all ¬†up for Jesus (Matthew 26:7-11). Of course, she got an indignant remark from some of the people who were there. They thought she just wasted it when she could have sold it for a high price. However, Jesus was pleased with her. And that’s what only matters to her.

¬†Aware of this, Jesus said to them, ‚ÄúWhy are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” (Matthew 26:10)

As I was reflecting on it, it made me ask the questions – “What is important for me?”, ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“Why am I getting anxious of not being able to accomplish the things in my list of goals?”, “What does that make me if I won’t get them done?”.

I got too caught up with a checklist that I forgot the one main important thing.¬†I forgot that no matter how long my list would get and no matter how much I have or have not accomplished from that list, neither can increase nor diminish God’s love and view of me. God does not really care what I have today and what I don’t have tomorrow.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED.” ¬†With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

I forgot that Jesus already finished the one thing I can never do for myself. To save myself from trying to accomplish a lot of things when He already promised that He will give me an abundant life as long as I have Him in my life (John 10:10). The events in my life do¬†not define the kind of person I am. Who I am becoming is what matters to God and because that’s what only matters to Him, I only want¬†to be defined through His Son, Jesus.

The three words – IT IS FINISHED are such comforting words knowing that what I need to do in my life is just really to please God on the kind of person I am becoming. I want to become that same woman from the story who does not live a life defined by her accomplishments ¬†but a life that Jesus¬†would say, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

I’m Princess Pepay. A Work In Progress!

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Utterly Grateful

Throughout this birthday week, God has reminded me of how blessed I am with relationship. In all¬†honesty, I am never used with people who are not my family in going out of their way just to show me how much I mean to them. I am humbled and grateful. Learning from the past, I’ve learned to lower my expectation on people to avoid being hurt and disappointed. I have to learn and re-learn how to give without expecting anything.

Probably that’s the reason why I always feel overwhelmed on any gesture (nothing is little or big for me) of goodness and kindness from people. It’s a blessing you can’t contain.

“It’s the thought that counts.” That¬†is so true for me. I may not be able to express it properly, but I truly appreciate the time, the prayer, the thought, the present, the encouragement, ¬†the greetings, the conversation, and even just checking on me if I’m doing okay. Every time someone blesses me, I always think of ways on how I can pay it back.¬†I just feel like I don’t deserve such blessing. Then, God would just remind me that I have to learn as well to accept and receive with humility. That I should also allow people to bless me as it is a privilege for them as well. Same that to bless others is also a privilege for me.

Thinking about all of these, I am also reminded of how GOD as a GIVER is. Everything He provides, He does not expect anything. Indeed, we can never out-give God. We think that we are giving back so much to Him – our time, our resources, our wealth. But the truth is, the amount of blessing He gives to us is immeasurable. All we need to do is to open our two hands and receive His blessing.

And do you know what is the greatest gift that He can give us? His Son Jesus. I owe my life to Jesus. He is the ONLY ONE who can never disappoint me. He is the ONLY ONE who can live up to my expectations. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who saved me from all the pits that I have fallen into without expecting anything in return. He is the source of my joy, my peace and my strength. He is a GIFT none can compare.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10

If you want to know more about Jesus, feel free to message me ūüôā

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A recap of my 32nd birthday

THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your kindness and goodness! You know who you are ūüôā I can’t believe my mom prepared so much food on my birthday even if I am away from them!! Family Love is the best! ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ And yes, I got a hair cut and for the first time have highlights on my hair! *winkwink*

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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‚Äôs 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) ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧