The material things that we need and want are helpful to us unless abused. By God’s grace, we all love receiving gifts and having that kind of desire also gives us the joy of giving to others. One of my top love languages is gifts :) I almost always give people stuff. They may seem random but they really aren’t. I give with a purpose. Most of the stuff I give are affordable and/or cheap and most of all — useful. I love giving book marks! Haha. There are several book marks that have Scripture on them and they’re worth it. Helps encourage ❤
This year, the price of everything increased and that means not being able to spend much on the gifts. Praise God for His helpful ideas :) I’m sharing with you today Gabe’s gifts for his classmates:
- Boys: space rocket (small) coin bank with PhP20 in each
- Girls: a pink notepad with Scripture on it
All of those cost less than PhP200. It’s waaaay less than all we’ve spent for their Christmas gifts last year. Why did I go for them?
I got the boys coin banks because I noticed that this world influences the kids to demand for so much. I hope for them to learn to save up before spending. The world is full of temptation and lies about shopping. This habit will help them see the value of saving up, not buying everything they want, and waiting for the best choices. They can also choose to share what they’ve saved :) I hope they appreciate it. Gabe started this habit months ago and he’s doing fine. He has spent some for our commute to church and have shared some for us to buy treats ;) Train the little ones, it works!
The notepads are perfect for Gabe’s girl classmates because their moms encourage little ones to keep writing and esp. writing to loved ones. They have lovely girly moms! It’s also something I grew up doing and until today, writing love letters to family and friends is awesome.
Both gifts really are necessary because they’re mostly 3 years old and up. Gabe and his other classmates will be meeting more kids from different schools. I hope for each of them to be models of the joy in having discipline :) They have great parents and I pray the best for the coming new seasons ❤
What makes a gift extra special is how you wrap them, too :) I enjoy wrapping any kind of material gift and that makes the Christmas season even more exciting! To help the kids be excited for what they’ll receive, I added ribbons this year :D
Since Gabe can’t read yet, I’m sharing with you my gift for him :D Sorry, it’s already wrapped so no picture of it. It’s a book (less than PhP300) that will help him spell excellently :) It has cards of both pictures and letters that he has to bring together to spell the words right.
THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON…
Remember what your priorities are before jumping into the flow of shopping for gifts :) Use cash carefully and only buy gifts that are truly helpful. Let go of pride and pursue a truthful relationship with family and friends through gifts that are thought of and prayed for.
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT)
Make this 2013 Christmas count, lead others to Jesus ❤
Our church family practice the habit of discipleship in accountability. Our d-group’s now called a D12 because we’ve grown into being d-group leaders, too. This is our 2nd December being a D12 and here’s how the celebration went :D
The group started the day with the 1st Sunday service at 9am and had lunch and talk at ate Arianne’s home. While those were happening, I was with the family at my grandmother’s home :) By God’s grace, we got home early, ate Arianne and the group picked me up at home around 5pm. They got to see Gabe!
We went to the 14 Four Cafe for an outdoor movie experience. It was a project by GCF East to help the Yolanda victims :) The pictures below aren’t enough to show how pretty the place was. Perfectly set for an outdoor movie event. The owners and staff did great with the place.
I’ve seen the movie (Pitch Perfect) the girls were watching so I kept myself busy over food :D Took me a long time of waiting and glad the food eventually arrived. I had a basket of nachos, 2 bowls of Mac & Cheese, a big burger, and a tall cup of lemonade. The wait made me starve more :)) Eating all those means having to sit down, too. I ended up LOL-ing again over Fat Amy and the Trouble Makers. Haha
Right after the movie was our trip to the BGC. We went there to pick up one of our sisters :) It’s cool to have all 7 of us in one meeting! We hoped for this and God is good to grant us a night for it ♥
What we were most blessed with at The Cab was the 1 guy serving there. He stayed with us till around 11:30pm. He saw that we were catching up, sharing praise reports, and more. Praise God for kind servants! I really hope he’s a consistently diligent man and may God reward him for it :) He was all smiles throughout our stay there.
By God’s grace, while the 7 of us were there, we got to talk and be enlightened. Laughter and lessons. It’s another beautiful year ♥ The Lord Jesus is so generous to allow me to see the blessings of this year through another blessing (that evening). Praise God for discipleship and Christ-centered leaders!
My take home lesson from that night was just 1: obedience to God. With everything that happened to their lives and mine, what helps us best is obedience to God. The little things matter and any amount of compromise will not help us. It speaks loud for my walk with the Lord Jesus and I’m blessed to always be reminded of how much God desires for me to be holy and that the Lord Jesus is enough to make that happen :’)
For 2014, we continue to walk with our discipleship group’s verse:
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3 NASB)
THE LORD JESUS ALWAYS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE ♥ Our Redeemer lives!
We wake up, we realize we have a lot to pray for, and we thank God we can actually pray to Him :’) Lord Jesus, You know best than we do. Thank You for touching us to pray, to submit our worries, and to trust Your sovereignty. You can turn any burden into blessing, Lord. Have Your way as we pray. Thank You!
How’s your prayer life? :) Prayer is how we openly communicate with God. It’s when we speak with our hearts and mouths to express both our praise and needs or others’ needs. Prayer is when God hears about us directly from us. Prayer is where we grow to practice being still, honest, and being hopeful before our merciful, sovereign God. Praying puts us in the presence of God as we humble ourselves in the truth that we all need the Lord Jesus.
The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. (Lamentations 3:25)
Pray today, while there is time to make time :) We all need His guidance and God loves you.
Have you ever seen a girl and just thought to yourself, “Whoa…” ? Did it get so intense that you had to hold yourself from laughing or saying something awkward or too intense that you eventually said or did something? Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of girls who I thought were ugly and I really did things about it intentionally and unintentionally. There were times I just held my breath, kept thoughts to myself but there were many times I have stared them down, laughed, and even told them how ridiculous they look to me. Please notice that these about me are in the past tense. God has rebuked me about this in several moments through different ways. Yes, we praise God for that :) But the question remains…
WHY DO SOME GIRLS LOOK UGLY?
This question and post needs clarity. First of all, this is dedicated to girls/women as I am one — I can’t speak for the boys/men but some points might apply to them, too. Second important thing is that I am not saying
some girls ARE ugly — we are all beautiful — but some LOOK ugly. I’ll share more about that with this post :) Third is the definition of ugly. My understanding of the word ugly is it is being unpleasant/distasteful to the eyes, looking less than others when compared, an adjective for the physical appearance. Fourth: We are not here to have a pity party. Unfortunately, I have mocked other girls and have been insulted over my looks, too. Right now, we’re here to face reality and we can be truly pretty at it ;)
Fashion, I believe, was invented for physical protection, comfort, and style in appearance. I also believe that using fashion incompletely/not making use of all its 3 purposes together only brings out 2nd rate results and even the worst of it, making some girls LOOK ugly.
The biggest tool that influence us about fashion and its latest updates is the media. We have the internet available almost everywhere and we live with it every day. When we travel, billboards are everywhere. When we go to highly developed areas like where the malls are, we see a lot of posters, we get flyers, and we see videos of fashion advertisements. Fashion has 3 important purposes and all those 3 make fashion look really attractive to the eyes, encouraging viewers to protect their bodies in comfort and style. To want fashion is a natural and even a wise response. But there is a problem… Or is it really a problem?
We have differences and that’s the reality of it.
- How we were/are raised - culture and tradition
- Our circle of peers at home, school, work, neighborhood
- Body types. We may look the same but each of our built is wonderfully distinct from our foreheads to the shape of our toes.
By God’s amazing grace, you and I, we are beautiful. With all that I’ve observed, our problem is we don’t understand the reality of what we have in common and what makes us unique. Don’t take this is a lesson of comparison, no. God didn’t create the eyes for vanity, He gave them to us to see His work and our path. I’m speaking to you, to all of us girls, in a reminder that we are so distinct that even with our physical appearance God declares a certain kind of His work. Our blinding mistake is we look for physical beauty according to the definition of this world (a creation) and not for its real meaning through God (the Creator).
With all of our big differences, we have an important factor in common: we live in the same world. A reality we should not forget. I’m pretty sure that you and I know the same updates about fashion because of internet, international television, magazines, and news. Some or maybe even most of us are after the same kinds of top trends. Why do some girls look ugly? They try to fit into a certain kind of crowd that does not highlight God’s design for them. They wear clothes are were designed for a certain body type, pushing their weight or color to the limit. They put on makeup that works for others’ features but not theirs. Some even use makeup to intentionally change their features. They accessorize with items that show the personality of their celebrity idols. They buy or borrow and use shoes they can’t even walk with. They also try to walk in a manner that they have seen on videos, the style that works for other girls. They try very hard to use the fashion that looks good on others, depriving their own bodies of real protection, quality comfort, and lovely style. From my experience and the experience of others, we know that it does not work for us but we prefer to insist. We try so hard that we push aside the reality of what we were born with and often miss out on the radiance we were made to have in this life-long aging process.
Fashion isn’t really the biggest factor here. It’s influential to our decisions but the biggest factor of how we present ourselves is our understanding of how beautiful we really are and why :)
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
This prayer of King David shares with us how precise God was and is in bringing man to life. What encouraged me to share this to you today is God’s Word in the Old Testament through Moses:
“Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. (Deuteronomy 10:14-16)
I am a 24-year-old single mom of countless experiences I wish you will choose not to go through with. These are the experiences that are foolish, unnecessary, and avoidable. Mistakes that honestly have no excuse to exist.
I have been in thousands of pictures I demanded to have. I have gone through different kinds of style. I’ve tried to be goth and then tried to always look like a cheerleader. I’ve bought expensive clothes to show how much I can afford. I’ve tried to dress less, show more skin. I’ve tried to not care about how I look, too. There were times I was rudely under-dressed. I’ve battled with myself, my lifestyle, and my loved ones just so I can fit in to the kind of crowd I want to be a part of. I succeeded, by the way. I did look like the personalities I wanted to turn out to be. I got compliments for my figure, features, and clothing. But the joy was absent and all I continued to have was a desperate hunger to be noticed in such a way I would feel complete. The heart break of insecurity is real, I know how it feels.
By the grace of God, I stopped looking ugly since 2011 (but before that realization is a collection of obvious embarrassments).It was months after I made the conscious commitment to follow the Lord Jesus as my Master and Savior. Through those early months, my eyes were fixed on God that I eventually forgot about vanity. I was slowly turning into the lady He designed me to be — physically protected in comfortable clothes that are not out of style :) I became comfortable with the clothes that I have available, I was no longer price conscious, and my style varies but its statement is just one: I am God’s daughter. Knowing more about God through a relationship with Him helped me see what looks ugly on me, what deceit I hold in my heart, and who I am to Him and for this world. Through the Lord Jesus, I got to finally experience the joy that completes all longing :’)
Online friends and sisters in God’s family, being raised differently or having gone through different strong experiences does not excuse us to blend in and suffer in the flow of insecurity. We are all beautiful by default because we are created in God’s image. How we make use of that gift is an inward miracle, a heart work that transforms us and opens our eyes to what we really have + what we should let go of.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Give your heart to God today esp. about your security on physical appearance and how you can get to know the Lord Jesus more :) Like King David, you can pray and trust that God will answer.
Let us also remember not to judge other people about how they look. We can address the obvious kindly, in ways that edify the person and your relationship to that person. Don’t be quick to laugh or look down on anyone who you know is struggling. God knows their hearts and yours, too. What should we do for ourselves & each other, girls?
- Don’t judge or gossip about each other or even the people who don’t know you.
- Pray for others as if we’re happy biological sisters :)
- Dress in such a way you will not confuse others of your belief.
- Behave in a way that represents what you are trying to show. It means if you don’t want to look like meat, you won’t do what makes women look like meat. It also means being intentional as we share, respond, and walk.
- Keep calm and keep your relationship with the Lord Jesus real, the rest follows :)