thebeautitudes

Mathew 5:3-11


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Raising Funds, Raising Hope

Blog Post from Pearl Bautista

It is almost universal to feel compassion whenever we hear of remarkable stories about people who persevered and did everything to change the course of their lives no matter how difficult. Whatever background we come from – nationality, race, belief, or faith – we feel touched, moved, and at times in awe of how some people can have so much persistence despite having the odds stacked against them.

Try watching this video from igivetolife.com https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XwWyFNPUAXo
which features some of the most heart-wrenching life stories of Real Life Foundation scholars. Their struggles will help you understand what I mean.

Such scenarios are particularly special to me as I, for one, had a taste of how it was to struggle with the thought of not being able to go to school the next day due to financial issues. Coming from a big family, I have witnessed how my parents worked so hard to try to make ends meet just so they could send me and my four other siblings to school all at the same time. Like the students in the video, our hope to make things better on the financial side lied on getting an education.

Looking back, I can’t imagine what kind of life we would be facing had we not pursued our studies. Apart from my parents’ love and dedication, my only indication of hope that things will be better was the fact that I was still able to go to school everyday and together as a family we are overcoming our situation. It was this experience that made me not hesitate to help those who are struggling with the same situation as I was.

This brings me to four years ago when myself and a bunch of very good friends were given the opportunity to sponsor a student via Real Life Foundation. We started a yearly fundraiser for Melody – our adopted scholar. For three years, we were organizing dance sessions we entitled “I Wanna Dance for Zumbady”, where we sold tickets and donated the proceeds to the scholarship fund for Melody. Year after year, we would be totally awed by people’s generosity to give to the fund. Not to mention, participants had fun dancing and of course meeting new people.

Last year, apart from Zumba, we partnered with Dee Capulan of Souldeelight to provide Calligiving sessions or calligraphy workshops for a cause. It was certainly deelightful (pun intended) to witness a new group of people get involved in this benefit, and at the same time, see them enjoy this wonderful art of hand lettering taught by the ever passionate Dee. And if you must know, it was our best year yet in terms of total funds raised.

This 2016, we are excited to put together two Calligiving sessions to raise funds for the fourth and final year of Melody. It’s weird, but we feel like parents extremely looking forward to sending a daughter to her last year in the university. We couldn’t help but feel amazed at how her once impossible dream of getting a university degree is now becoming a reality.

With this, I humbly invite you to experience the joy of doing something not for yourself but to make someone else’s life better. Your giving is more than sending the scholars to school, or providing them with lunch money; it is an act of love and of shedding hope so that they may face a brighter tomorrow.

 

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Gods Surprising Plans for Your Good

God's Surprising Plans for Your Good

The Sovereignty of God

Why does God allow trouble to plague his people? How can it be considered loving for him to permit trials to run wild in our lives?

I gained fresh insight into these questions while watching a spellbinding four-minute video called “How Wolves Change Rivers.”

A slightly-too-exuberant, yet-delightfully-British narrator recounts the changes that resulted from the entrance of a pack of wolves into the eco-system of Yellowstone National Park. It turns out that deer overpopulation had left massive portions of the park barren. Constant grazing had turned valleys into wastelands. The lack of vegetation had caused soil erosion, which destabilized the banks of the river, slowing the flow of water. The lack of sufficient water and vegetation, in turn, forced wildlife to move on. In short, life was fading from the park.

Then a pack of wolves moved in.

Do you think it would be life-enhancing for a pack of predators to be released into a national park? I imagine your initial response would be, like mine, “No, that sounds terrible.”

But it turns out that it was the best thing that could have happened.

Wolves and a World of Good

The wolves predictably killed a few deer, thinning out the population. However, that was not the most significant change. The remaining deer were forced to move to higher terrain and abandon the grasslands of the valleys.

These areas that had been mown down for so long then began to regrow at an accelerated rate. Aspen trees quintupled in size in less than six years. This growth brought back birds to nest in the branches and beavers to eat the wood. The return of the beavers meant the return of beaver dams, which created pools that allowed for the repopulation of fish, otters, ducks, muskrats, reptiles, and amphibians. The wolves also cleared out some of the coyotes, which caused rabbits and mice to return. This change led to the return of hawks, weasel, foxes, and badgers.

Yet the most amazing impact occurred in the river itself. Because grasses were allowed to regrow, the soil collapsed less, allowing for firmer riverbanks. Which gave the river flow greater direction, which reinforced the animal habitats.

In short, the entrance of a few wolves created a whole world of good in Yellowstone National Park, transforming wastelands into lush valleys teeming with life.

So it turns out that the best thing to do to promote life was to release a few wolves into the valley.

Difficulty Brings Blessing

Why mention all of these phenomena? Try for a moment to imagine a board meeting where, after hearing desperate pleas for help to save the aspen trees of Yellowstone, a park ranger responded by saying, “I’ll tell you what will ensure reforestation: a few more wolves around here!” Would anyone have taken him seriously?

In the same way, I think we would accuse God of being insane if we heard him respond to our cries for greater intimacy with our spouse, greater fruit in our ministries, or greater intimacy with him, by saying, “You want more life? I’ll tell you what will give it: a medical emergency. Or losing your job. Or a car accident.” We would think he’s out of his mind.

But search your past and tell me if it isn’t true: Often the introduction of something difficult, and even dangerous, into our lives by the hand of God results in unanticipated, yet undeniable growth. Difficulty brings blessing. Hardship brings joy. Wolves change rivers.

This reality does not mean we should court danger. What it does mean, however, is that we should pause before we accuse God of injustice or indifference when he allows hardship to enter our lives. It just might be the best thing for us. In fact, for those who love him, and are called according to his purposes, it will be his working to produce his best for us.

Count It All Joy

James certainly thought so. In James 1:2–4 he went so far as to say, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James was so certain that the introduction of difficulty into our lives carries the potential to bring blessing that he calls us to rejoice, not only after the trial has ended, but even while we are still in it.

Which does not mean we need to pretend that difficulties are pleasant. They are not. Nor does it mean we should not pray to be delivered from, or seek to remove, hardships from our lives. Both are permissible.

However, we gain much hope from this realization: Often our loving God sees that bringing something unpleasant into our lives will lead to a thousand good consequences. Therefore, as a good caretaker of our souls, he will allow wolves to enter for a season.

So when hardships come, we can cease shaking our fist and yelling at God, and instead lean into him and listen. He is good. He does care. He works all things together for the good of his children — even the arrival of wolves.

~Desiring God (Ben Stuart)~


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There Is Always Sunshine After the Rain

Don't confuse your path with your destination. Just because  it's stormy now doesn't mean you aren't headed for sunshine.

Don’t confuse your path with your destination.
Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine.

“But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then don’t be afraid. I will provide for your children.”

~Genesis 50:19~

Why did God Allow Bad things to happen to Joseph?

By Joseph’s own testimony, the sufferings of Joseph—physical, mental, and emotional agonies—had been allowed by God so that Joseph could accomplish God’s plan: to save many lives.

As Joseph responded to suffering with faith, meekness, and humility, God molded and shaped a leader. And that leader would not only end up saving his betrayers’ lives, but he would fully forgive them and provide abundantly for their needs. Such is the potential when a man chooses to reject the empty revenge of bitterness and instead to embrace the benefits of suffering.

God had a purpose for allowing Joseph to suffer.

  • To enable him to overcome a prideful attitude and learn humility (See Proverbs 15:33.)
  • To teach him how to serve (See Genesis 39:4, 22-23, 40:4; Matthew 20:26-28; and Mark 9:33-35.)
  • To train him to be faithful (See Genesis 39:2-6 and Matthew 25:21.)
  • To test him in moral purity (See Genesis 39:7-20 and Matthew 5:11-12.)
  • To prepare him to comfort others (See Genesis 50:21 and II Corinthians 1:3-5.)
  • To prepare him to lead his brothers to repentance (See Proverbs 16:6.)
  • To teach him patience (See Genesis 40:1-14, 23; and I Peter 5:10.)
  • To enable him to see God accomplish His purposes and fulfill His promises (See Genesis 37:5-11, 41:32, 42:1-5, 45:4-7, and 50:20.)
  • To teach him how jealousy can cause suffering (See Genesis 37:3-4 and 17-36.)
  • To save many lives (See Genesis 50:20.)
  • To let him experience the blessing of God’s favor (See Genesis 39:2-6 and 21-23.)
  • To place him in a position to tell Pharaoh of God’s power (See Genesis 41:15-16, 25, 28, 32-33, and 38-44.)

 *My Thoughts*

Sometimes bad things, disappointments, and sufferings happen to us, situations or circumstances that are painful to accept and difficulties to deal with.

God allows those things to happen in our lives for our own good, or for his divine plan that are predestine to happen in our lives.

We might not understand nor comprehend on our own capacity as human, but eventually we are able to thank God for allowing it to happen in our lives.

We should always trust him, and depend on him in every situations that we are into.

In every season of our journey that we are into.

I thank God for continuously pruning my character, by allowing suffering and trials on my journey.

I thank God for unceasingly moulding me to the person that he wants me to become.

* I will talk about the Pruning process in my life on my next blog 🙂 *

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you”

~Deuteronomy 31:6~

We Can Choose to Trust God, Even as Joseph Did

We are not to regard suffering as a strange occurrence, but rather as a sign of God’s work in our lives. (See I Peter 4:12-19 and Romans 9:14-24.) “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

"My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

“My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”