I couldn’t believe it is almost November already! Only two months left in 2016 ~ am getting older by this end of the year #Decembergirl 😄
Speaking of month of November, in US they celebrate thanksgiving day on the 24th. In Australia we don’t celebrate it as much as they do ceremonially in the States, but let’s take a purposeful step by taking up this challenge “30 Days of gratitude”!
I found this image from Pinterest and have printed it into a cute size to have it handy on my working desk as a reminder. If you’d also like to join in just print it out too and/or journal it somewhere 😉
I will be posting the answer/challenge for each day on my Instagram @crunchynat and will be using a hashtag #my30daysofgratitudejournal because I like to refer it back in the future and simply count my blessings! 😊
Well that’s it I guess for now ~
1 Thes 5:18
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
People say that persons closest to you (in smallest scope: family) are the easiest one to hurt your feelings.
Not because they don’t love you, but because they don’t have to put their guards up, nor any mask on.
This is the place where we can just be who we are. It’s as if we are prone to “speak first and think later” and becoming less considerate when it comes to their feelings compared with our treatment to our friends/acquaintances.
But we know this shouldn’t be.
The place where we are most accepted and can become genuinely ourselves – this should be the MOST precious place that deserve our foremost love, care, and priority, right?
Then again, other than our own family, there is the Greatest Person who loves us mostly for who we are, simply because He created us, and we belong to Him.
No condemnation, only grace.
Shouldn’t He become the most treasured Person above all, who deserves our most life dedication…?
Just an evening pondering when I frame my artwork with the written quote 🙂
“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?..” – Gal 3:3
My pastor gave a truth-revealing analogy yesterday, about (let’s call “an unprofessional”) who’s trying to reach the mountain top of Himalayas 🗻 by using readily available helicopter 🚁 from the headquarter, but in the midst of his journey he forced the helicopter to drop him off to the ground so that he could continue his (hardest!) journey end to the top by foot.
Do you call this as heroic, or simply foolish?
For the professionals, they may get sense of satisfaction and achievement from climbing to the top without any help other than their own tools. But when we’re talking about “being saved and going to heaven”, can we say that we are all “the unprofessionals”, and this act is, like what Paul said, “foolish”.
Adding some good works, some extra commitments, some extra sacrifice out of mere human efforts on top of God’s grace to “finish the race well” won’t help us anywhere far from spiritual tiredness and boredom and exhaustion.
Faith + work does NOT equal to salvation. But faith = salvation + good fruitful works.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” – Phil 2:13
Nothing to boast.
Very blessed by the sermon yesterday indeed, so much to chew on and praying that Holy Spirit will reveal more and enable me to live on it.
I’m not a 100% perfectionist but I tend to try to make some things as “perfect” as possible, esp for things that require huge leap of faith before I decide to jump into.
Problem? It’s called leap of faith – FAITH – it’s something unseen and uncertain in some ways. No matter how hard I try to make things go perfectly, I will not know until I make the actual step (and things can still go wrong!).
So, I decide to write this quote to go along with my artwork I’m working on for somebody’s birthday gift this time as a special encouragement to my own self who still needs lots of assurance over certain things that need me to surrender my fear and worry totally to God, and I hope the person gets this will also be encouraged in the same way.
Some of you may experience the same worry or fear over other matters that require you to make important life decisions and major leap of faith, let us hold on tight to God’s grace (and this is what I’m gonna do).
Grace allows imperfection and rooms for error, but I believe grace isn’t about being idleness nor stationary either.
Pray to God and talk to Him all the way and I believe He will bring us through to that point of whether we should, or should not, say “yes” to the decision/s. He is with us and in us, and He also cares.
Yesterday felt like no ordinary Wednesday bcos there were some great news happening, one of them was we won a grand prize of family annual pass to Sealife Melbourne from a competition I entered throughh Instagram (Aimee really love going there) so yeah it will save us some money in future lol.
Then this morning when I read the above verse, there is a soft voice from the Holy Spirit in my heart telling me (not in exact words but more or less:) “Nat, press on to win THIS heavenly price” 👑
Then I feel a glimpse of sorrow somehow in my heart, thinking how I (human nature) easily become happy and overjoy with worldly things, rewards and promotions I receive. They are not necessarily wrong, surely they are also precious blessings from God the loving Father to His child.
Perhaps the ache more relates to how I should be overjoyed even more for this heavenly reward that God has prepared, to keep obeying Him and treasuring Him above all else in this world. Everyday we just have to fight for these worldly things to not having the 1st place in our heart..
But I believe this life quest shouldn’t be an unhealthy pressure to my spiritual walk in Christ. Instead, His perfect love and help from Holy Spirit are there to support me along the way.
Maybe the key is to just (look at the word I wrote from yesterday’s prayer journal):
Sometimes I wish I had more money in order to be able to bless others financially, or to be more thoughtful to bless others emotionally, or to be more available to bless others physically. But through my past experiences, I don’t need to wait until I have that “more” to become blessing to others.
Of course, priorities have to be set well. Can’t assist others yet forsaking my own family’s needs. But when there’s a will, God always provides the way. And even the desire to bless others without personal gain only comes from Him alone, so nothing to boast at all in the end.
I realize God can use me with the way I am now, I don’t need to wait until I have that “more”s.
This particular verse really gave me strength and continues to whenever I have to give (bless) others despite of my feeling of lacking:
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” – 2 Cor 9:8
By His grace alone, we can bless others and be abundant in good works.
Have a blessed hump day 😇
So here I am… Sitting on a black stool, newspaper in front of me, a cup of coffee, and… typing my thoughts on my iPhone, updating this blog through the mobile app to be exact, and the surrounding background: car service place with free wifi loll.. Yeah it’s pretty cosy here, waiting for our regular car service with my hubby and daughter :p
Today is November already, and just couldn’t believe it’s only another month left (or two actually) before the year ends! Meanwhile, some things in my to-do-lists (and THAT new year resolutions) are still left ‘postponed’ (haha..) such as that necessity of obtaining driving license (huge procrastinator…) *ugh :p
Some important lessons are well-taught and well-learnt too, particularly related to friendship.. Yeah, not all people calling themselves as “friend” are genuinely friend (not a suprising fact anymore I suppose hehe), and still have struggles here and there in motherhood and life in general (who doesn’t *wink), but I am SO thankful for a big progress that my daughter has made in terms of her character and obedience as she entered her 3rd birthday in September. For this, I know the credit goes to God and His Holy Spirit; who else can change someone’s heart, not excluding my 3-yr old kid 😉
Anddd… We have moved to our new house recently! I think no words could describe how I and my husband are very amazed and grateful by God’s goodness and grace… So yes, we are very thankful for our faithful God, and this sentence still can’t describe to the degree of how much we are truly, well, thankful to God.. 🙂
I think all the problems I’m facing or have had are actually quite “ordinary”. Beating that insecurity that sometimes creeping in, challenges in motherhood and marriage life, financial, ministry, personal growth in Christ, facing some emotional challenges etc etc.. Indeed Jesus said here in the world we will surely be facing troubles in whatever forms.
John 16:33 ~ “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
So I really thank Jesus for He’s always there for me through all stages of my life. He knows all of my thoughts and feelings and I can have my rest, feeling secured to tell all to Him having nothing to hide because He judges me nothing and loves me unconditionally. He empowers me to do things that I think or perceive as impossible or too difficult just so I know that when they do happen, they are definitely not by my own will or effort – only by His grace.
So hmm yeah I think that’s just a quick update from me in this blog.. The more I see how crook I am, the lesser I need to judge others, the more I am thankful for His grace that continually forgives AND changes me. I am indeed the justified sinner. Yes, am not ashamed to say that I am a sinner, because I am and that’s why God found me 🙂
Romans 5:8 ~ “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
I wrote the above verse on my journaling card to place it on the wall against where I usually sit whenever I’m reading my bible, writing, or even when doing my craft (basically I’m going to see it very often okay lol). I found this particular verse couple of months ago and it really inspired me. The concept of “frugal living” is surely not the most popular in the world we’re living in. For example, I find those who have more (usually random) followers in Instagram are usually those who often display their interesting trinkets and branded items collections. They’re surely pretty things to see and get us (or in particular, me :P) to wonder where they can get those ‘endless’ budget buying those branded stuffs lol. Or for more particular example, because my hobby is craft and card making, those who have thousands of followers are usually those who purchase the latest stamp release and embellishment (other than of course, they can produce so many beautiful creations out of them). Well, I’ve started to picking up this kind of ‘pattern’ as if like I was ‘studying’ them huh!? Because I am also one of the followers (in terms of I follow those who can create pretty inspiring cards and seem to have plenty of budget buying the kits and stamps!) hahaha… Well, these pleasure worldly thing is surely eye catching not only to our eyes but also to our heart.
So, “consumerism” is clearly the more popular concept than the “frugal living” and how easily I can be entangled by it too! Now, frugal isn’t mean same thing with being stingy. Frugality (I quote this from Wikipedia :P) means “the quality of being prudent and economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness, or extravagance”. What this author (Denise Glen from “Wisdom for Mothers”) wrote was really inspiring for me the first time I read it, even until now,
“Jesus didn’t worry about His food, clothing or shelter. He didn’t stay up at night anxious over the future. He lived simply but had all of His needs supplied. He worked as a carpenter, and then went into a full-time ministry. He did not worry about money in either vocation. He did not indulge Himself nor did He hoard and live in fear“
“Moderation” sounds like the key. I don’t blame people buying branded stuffs if they personally like it. I personally also like branded bags because I know the quality is at its best and will always be ‘trendy’ (for a classic piece in particular haha). But I don’t force myself (or worst, my husband) for having one especially when this household needs the money for better things (paying mortgage and bills! lol). When I do have branded bags, they are mostly gifts from my extended family or gifts from my husband on my birthdays (what a privilege, right!) – mind you, this was before now we have mortgage lol.
Well, I’m writing this without intention of being judgmental whatsoever. I can ‘confess’ that now my ‘craving’ is not on branded things anymore, but can be as simple as craft supplies (how fancy huh :P). The thing is, these kind of ‘things’ can really consume my mind and hearts and making them becoming “treasure of my life”. Matt 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” and I’m trying (maybe still not as my best) to really put this God’s words into life.
But I am grateful because God gives me His Holy Spirit staying in me, who patiently always ‘alarm’ me whenever my heart has turned into these many idols. “Many times I fail, still Your grace remains“, just like the lyrics from one of my fave songs “From The Inside Out” by Hillsong.
In practical side, I was really inspired by an episode I watch in Channel 9’s Current Affair, about how this family managed to pay off their mortgage ($100,000) within 5 years with single income of $40,000. I’m not sure whether I can go to the length of making my own detergent and cleaning product like how the wife showed us how in the television (hihi) but I’ve started become wiser in my grocery spending, for the most basic practical step I can put into practice. I’m really inspired by this! Yes, I choose to pay off our mortgage earlier than we should have (within 8-10 years?) rather than enjoying ‘unnecessary indulgence’ and have to bear with this loan ‘until the rest of our life’ hahaha… oh Lord, let Your grace enable us 😛
Along the way I have battles with ungratefulness (eg. always wanting more ‘stuffs’) but once again it is to Holy Spirit I must give credit to. Somehow, after His discipline and rebuke, He always gives me comfort, joy and strength to go further doing what is right. For now my husband is the sole provider and I can’t put any more burdens with my selfishness, so I choose to “bring him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:12). Some things that I can still get to enjoy now are far way more than a privilege (eg. enjoying good food, trips, and yes, craft supplies (in moderation) lol). I’m afraid due to its regularity, I may have forgotten that they are actually have been a life privilege rather than “necessity” and then become ungrateful and complaining when I couldn’t have what I want (and this often happens, forgive me Lord).
Oh well, this is just what I feel like I want to share. The world that we’re living in surely has plenty to offer, however, be careful to which side we’re actually putting our hearts into. Care to share some thoughts? 🙂