Wednesday, June 25, 2008


What fun it is to have cousins, siblings, or relatives close in age! Carter is blessed to have many friends at church, but his cousins, Ivy and Gabe, are each around a year of his age. In addition, we all live close by, so we have family get togethers often. They have so much fun together! It will be a joy to see all the wonderful times they have together in the future. God blesses us all abundantly--even those who are only two!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Dad

Every year, my dad has to celebrate his Father's Day and birthday together, since they are usually only a couple of days apart. He never complains, though. He just enjoys having the family all together. This year, I thought I'd help celebrate by sharing some special memories and explaining what a blessing God has placed in my life through my earthly father, Mike Padilla.

My dad is a dentist ("Painless Padilla" was the joke), and this job fits him well, as he is a very personable guy. He can talk to just about anyone, and he always puts others at ease. Anyone who meets him comes away smiling and saying how nice he is. For years--before I was born until a couple of years ago, so over 31 years--my dad was a dentist in the Veteran's Administration in downtown Los Angeles. This might not seem very signifigant, except that we always lived south of Irvine in Orange County. My dad would get up at 4:15 or 4:30 and head off to work when it was still dark every morning. He would commute up to Los Angeles and back every day. Getting up early allowed him to be home early too, and he would walk in the door between 5 and 5:30 every day when I was growing up. I don't have many memories of him walking in and talking about his day. He would enter the door, give big hugs, ask all about our days at school, and help my mom finish up the details of dinner.

In fact, he spent his weekends working hard too. I remember well helping him wash the cars, work in the yard, paint, run errands, etc. on Saturday mornings. He would often save Saturday afternoons for family time, and we would all go to the pool, park, movies or somewhere else fun.

Sundays were always about church. My dad set a good example of always going to church. He set attendance at church as a priority above other things. In fact, growing up, he also urged me to be highly involved in church activities such as AWANA, youth group, worship singing, etc. The foundation he laid for me in learning about God was very important. The years he invested in my spiritual health helped me to better understand my need to become a Christian years later, when God called me to repentance.

My dad also taught me some good habits I still have (or strive to have) to this day--being on time, sticking with a commitment you make, working hard with a good attitude, balancing your life with hard work and a sprinkle of reward here and there, being kind to others, and taking the ups and downs of life with hope and trust in God. Of course, I picked up some quirks from my dad too--a love for anything sugary and sweet, a love for television and movies, and the thought that if something is in a neat pile--no matter how many piles I have--it is organized. Ha!

I am so blessed that we live very near my parents. Carter thinks grandpa is hilarious. I think Carter has my dad wrapped around his finger, too. You might see my dad biking around, working out at the gym, gardening in his amazing yard or ushering at church. If you meet him, you will smile and think, "That Mike Padilla is a really great guy!" He is! I love you, Dad!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

But You Can Please God

I was born a people pleaser. I hate to have others unhappy with me, which caused me to live a fairly obedient childhood. I was always getting behavior awards at school, but, obviously, for the wrong reasons.

We have been wrapping up a "Gospel Crazy" series at church. Time and again, we have been faced with the blaring truth that we either fear displeasing men or displeasing God when we do not choose or choose to share the gospel with others.

My nature is to fear displeasing other people. I remember being a little girl in Brownies/Girl Scouts. I dreaded the cookie sales each year. I would put on my uniform and timidly knock on people's doors, PRAYING they wouldn't be home. If I were rejected face to face at a particular house, I felt the sting for hours. I took it as a personal rejection. However, every year I sold cookies because I also dreaded displeasing my troop leaders and troop. I wanted my merit badge, and I wanted to do well.
However, as I have matured in my faith, I have realized that the focus is not my feelings, but the focus is obedience to God and the salvation of others' souls. Long ago, when I became a follower of Christ's, I had to give up living for myself and submit to God and put others first. Because of this, the idea of someone dying and facing an eternity in Hell and punishment should be more horrible than my dread of someone rolling their eyes at me behind my back. The idea of facing my sovereign GOD and CREATOR one day should inspire me to find courage in the face of my nervousness at sharing the gospel. God also promises us that the "merit badges" we will get in Heaven are far beyond any reward we have gotten here on earth.

As I have posted before, I am reading a book called Pleasing People, by Lou Priolo. I thought I would motivate myself and my readers further by listing reasons why we can never fully please others . . . But we can please God. This list is taken from chapter 5: You Can't Please All of the People Even Some of the Time.

Reasons why trying to please men is useless:

1. It is fruitless to try to please men because each person is different and, therefore, by pleasing some, you will inevitably displease others. (page 84)

2. It is unrealistic to try to please people because selfishness distorts their thinking and raises their expectations above that which you can reasonably fulfill. (page 86)

3. It is futile to try to please people because most of them are unregenerate and believe you to be "foolish" and strange." (page 88)

4. It is unreasonable to try to please people because, even among Christians, judgmental attitudes and critical spirits are still present. (90)

5. It is futile to try to please people because even Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man, did not please everyone. (91)

6. It is useless to try to please people because they are fundamentally incapable of being pleased by anyone or anything other than Christ. (92)

These are just a few reasons given and explained in the book as to why we shouldn't focus all our energy on pleasing men. However, we do know that what makes God happy and pleased is clear and unchanging. Humility, obedience, thankfulness, holiness, and redemption in Christ are all some ways we can please God. When it comes to the gospel, we please God when we step out and share with others. It is a command we need to obey. We can never please every person all of the time, but we can pursue obedience and holiness to please God. What a wonderful inspiration to someday hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"