S’more Cookies and Sticky Situations

Last Thursday, I decided to bake cookies for the Friday Night Light (FNL young singles) team in Laguna. I wanted to give it a twist and because I felt like we were going on a road trip/camping trip, I made S’more Cookies.

S'more Cookies
S'more Cookies
S'more Cookies
Jeff serving the S'more Cookies (Photo by Jill Bantang)

 

I had the opportunity to talk to God while I was baking. “Thanks again, Lord, for this privilege. :) Weee. By Your grace, I will not over bake the cookies. Haha. But, Lord. Wait a minute. I just realized that since I’ll be going to Laguna this weekend, I won’t have time to bake something else for my blog post this Monday! :o I can’t blog about the chocolate chip cookies again. What should I do?” 

S'more Cookie
S'more Cookie

 

At that time, God just encouraged me to keep on making the S’more Cookies and not worry about my next blog post. “Okay, Lord. Anyway, if it’s Your will for me to blog this Monday, I know you’ll make a way. Thank you. :)”

(Fast forward to the FNL teambuilding)

Three words to describe it… WHAT A TRIP! Hahaha. But, really, I’d like to emphasize these three words more: BY GOD’S GRACE! :)

Here’s a little recap of the adventure that we had:

Situation #1: The coaster ran out of gas. Our trip got delayed.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Situation #2: The coaster didn’t have aircon. It felt like we were in a Sauna.

Situation #3: During our stopover, we found out that the coaster had two flat tires. Minor repairs were done.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Situation #4: On the road, there was a problem with the gears of the coaster. We were moving slowly. We decided to have another stopover.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Situation #5: By the time we reached the border of Rizal, Laguna, we experienced another problem involving the transmission of the coaster. In God’s perfect timing, we saw a nearby parking lot that had a P5.00 parking fee. Thus, we decided to park the coaster for the mean time.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Situation #6: After a few minutes of making calls, praying, and thinking about our situation, we decided to rent a jeep so we could go to our destination: Tree Farm, Laguna. After a 30/40 minute jeep ride, we finally got there, by God’s grace.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

HAHAHA! Talk about a crazy adventure!

There was a moment in the jeepney ride where I was looking out the window, enjoying the breeze, and thanking God for His grace and travelling mercies for the team. I prayed: “WOW. Lord. What a trip! We’ve been experiencing hassles and problems on the way to Laguna, but by Your grace, the team has been grateful and joyful still! The team even prayed, helped and encouraged each other (including those who were already in the venue)!”

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

 

I thought to myself: Those were definitely unexpected, crazy, sticky situations. But it’s pretty cool because God gave the team opportunities to bond together; to encourage and help each other; to come together in prayer; and to trust in Him.”

And in that moment, God spoke to my heart: “Exactly, Nic. Sticky situations. :) Sticky like the melted marshmallows in your S’more Cookies, right?”

S'more Cookie
S'more Cookie

 

“WHOA. Oo nga noh. Wow, Lord! Cool analogy. What an encouragement!” I said. It was amazing because two days before the teambuilding, I didn’t really know why God was encouraging me to make S’more Cookies. And there He was speaking to me and encouraging me in the jeep. 

s'more cookie
s'more cookie

So, what’s with the S’more Cookie analogy? Before I share it to you, I’d like to show you how to make S’more Cookies first:

  1. Bake the cookies. (You can go to this link to see the recipe: http://encouragingtreats.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/)
  2. Place cookies upside down on a plate with a big marshmallow on each cookie. Heat them in the microwave for 15 seconds or until the marshmallow explodes (HAHA. Just kidding. Of course, until it expands or puffs).
  3. Immediately place another cookie on top of each heated cookie with marshmallow and enjoy it’s gooeyness.

I know that the marshmallow had to go through the heat and hassle, but, it was really quite a view for me to see it puff and expand. God showed me that the marshmallow needed to be heated and expanded in order for the two cookies to stick together and be closer.

marshmallow
marshmallow

In the same way, I realized that sometimes, God allows us to go through the heat, hassles, and sticky situations in life, so that we could “puff/expand” and grow to be used by Him even more.

s'more cookie
s'more cookie

It was also cool to see the two cookies and a marshmallow become one S’more cookie! Similarly, God used the FNL team’s sticky situations to allow the members to closely bond together and be united. But, more importantly, I learned that God also uses sticky situations so that we could seek Him and depend on Him even more.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

I was so blessed by the team because in spite of the problems we encountered, the team still chose to praise and trust God. I saw the men step up and initiate in trying to solve the coaster problems. Also, the people who were already in the venue really exerted a lot of effort in preparing the place, praying, and offering assistance.

Being able to witness all of these things touched my heart deeply. I know that everything that happened during the trip was only by God’s grace.

s'more cookie
s'more cookie

When I tasted the S’more Cookies at home before the teambuilding, I remember saying “mmm. It’s so gooey. But, this is good. Really good. Thank You, Lord! Only by Your grace.” Likewise, by His grace, I can say that the sticky situations we experienced were good. Really good. And I do want to thank God for allowing us to go through it as a team. :) It reminded me of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things, God works together for the good of those who love Him and those who are called according to His purpose.”

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Maybe God gave us the sticky situations/rollercoaster ride to remind the FNL team that in the future as we serve Him in ministry, we may also encounter similar sticky situations and even sudden changes in our plans. However, I’m learning that sticky situations actually encourage us to focus on God’s grace, faithfulness and love. They are opportunities for us to seek Him more especially as we make decisions. Also, they help develop our hearts and character as we trust in His sovereignty.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

 

This may be a memorable lesson for the FNL team, but I’d like to thank God for it because it is an encouragement for all of us too! Some of us may be experiencing sticky situations (difficulties in managing situations) now, but, at the end of the day, we are reminded that God is God. God is good. God is still in control of everything. And this is such a comfort because we experience indescribable peace and joy when we trust in God. (On our way back to Manila, we again experienced problems with the coaster but I saw the team still rejoice and thank God.)

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

 

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

During our free time in the teambuilding, I was able to read this passage in my quiet time:

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” –Psalm 63:3-4

After reading it, I felt like crying because God was encouraging me to keep on seeking His love and to always have a grateful heart. Throughout the whole trip, I didn’t hear anyone complain and this blessed me. I also witnessed hearts that were willing to know God and serve Him more.

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

Indeed,

“All of my life, in every season, YOU ARE STILL GOD. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship.” –Hillsong’s  “Desert Song”

 

Photo by Moochie de Guzman

 

Did you know that the original name for “S’more” was “Some More”? This is because when the people tasted S’mores before, they constantly asked for more! Similarly, in our teambuilding experience, I realized that although we didn’t ask for more, God decided to give us some more problems and sticky situations for His good purposes. I’m glad He did! :)

Thank God for gooeyness. Thank God for sticky situations in life.

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Dough Not Give Up

Whenever our family would watch Junior Masterchef Australia, our jaws would drop every time a contestant would make the assigned dish. It was amazing to see how, even at a young age, each ‘chefling’ would finish well and produce excellent food. When the kids were assigned to make pasta, Anna, one of the hosts, said “Nothing beats fresh, homemade pasta. Once you taste fresh pasta, there’s no turning back.” I was intrigued by her statement and this actually led me to get my own pasta machine. By God’s grace, I attempted to make my very own homemade pasta. 

homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough

 

Making homemade pasta involves these activities: kneading, resting, stretching, cutting, and cooking. When I was preparing myself for the process, I was thinking: “Really? There’s no turning back? This looks more complicated than just cooking ready-made pasta. Hahaha.” Little did I know, God was preparing my heart for something more interesting than learning how to make homemade pasta dough.

:D

KNEADING THE DOUGH

I pressed the dough down and squished it continuously (for 8 to 10 minutes) until it had a smooth texture. Kneading the dough produces gluten which gives elasticity to it – this helps the cook stretch the dough and eventually make it into pasta.

kneading the dough

While kneading, it seemed like I was giving the dough a really hard time because of all the punches and presses that I did. And for some reason, this made me think about the moments in my life when I would experience painful, uncomfortable, and seemingly unbearable situations; those times when I’d just feel so defeated and discouraged because of the ‘punches and presses’ in my life.

However, God made me realize that the cook kneads the homemade pasta dough for a special purpose (to make pasta noodles). In the same way, God allows things to happen to us for a special purpose. When they happen, we may not always know why, but they certainly are opportunities for us to trust in God.

It says in James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

LETTING THE DOUGH REST

I then sprinkled the dough with flour and covered it with cling wrap for about an hour (this prevents dryness and it allows the dough to rest). This is a crucial step because when you try to stretch dough which didn’t have enough time to rest, it will just shrink back – making it hard for the cook to get a stretched, thin dough.

                In the same way, this step reminded me of how crucial it is to rest on who God is and not to worry about my painful and uncomfortable situations. 

cling wrap
cling wrap

Just like the dough that isn’t rested, when my heart and mind are not rested in God, I can easily “shrink back” to panicking, worrying, complaining, and losing the joy and hope that I have in God.

 “Find rest my soul in Christ alone, know His power in quietness and trust. When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father, you are king over the flood, I will be still and know you are God.” –Hillsong

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” –Psalm 62:1-2

STRETCHING THE DOUGH

My younger brother, Gabo, helped me stretch the dough using the pasta machine. We placed ¼ of the whole dough into the machine and rolled it out 5 times (adjusting the machine each time to make the dough thinner).

It was amazing to see how a small piece of the homemade pasta dough could be stretched long and be used to make a lot of noodles. God encouraged me through this and reminded me that He is also able to use us and bring out the best in us, even during the times when we experience pain and constantly face uncertainties.

It says in Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough

There was also a time when a part of the rolled dough was sliding away and moving to the side of the machine while it was being rolled. This resulted in a crooked and uneven thin pasta dough. And although I had to exert extra effort, I still decided to take the messed up pasta dough, mold it and roll it out again using the machine. I did that because I knew it was worth it; I had a purpose for it.

trying to roll the uneven dough again

Similarly, God showed me that even if I make mistakes or sometimes, am stubborn like the dough, He still would graciously pick me up, mold me, and stretch me to become the person that He wants me to be. This encourages me even more to constantly humble myself before God and seek Him in my life. By His grace, He works in our lives; He meets us where we are; and He uses what He has given us for His will and glory.

“…But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” –2 Corinthians 12:8-9

CUTTING AND COOKING

The amazing pasta machine. :)

After making the dough thin enough, I then used the pasta machine to cut the pasta dough. After letting it dry for a few minutes, I cooked and served the noodles with tomato sauce and meatballs.

homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough

 

Looking back, I realized that in spite of the challenging tasks and discouragements, the cheflings in the Junior Masterchef Australia finished well; they tried their best to prepare the food; and they persevered until the end with the help of the gracious masterchefs who were by their side.

 

homemade pasta dough
letting the pasta dough dry before cooking

 

In the same way, whether or not we experience pain, uncertainties, and challenges in life; I’ve learned that we must choose to trust in God and follow Him even during times when we are being stretched by Him. We must also choose to give Him the best that we can wherever he places us (at home, in school, at work, etc.). Just like the masterchefs, I am reminded that our God is a gracious God and He is more than willing to help us finish well for His glory.

homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough
homemade pasta dough

 

It’s really important to not give up ever, and I’m really glad that I did not give up. – Nick Lieurance (Junior Masterchef Australia Season 1 Top 8)

taken from Google Images

Hang in there, friend. Even though it’s tough, don’t you ever give up. Finish well by the grace of God. He loves us so much. :)

 

RECIPE for the SAUCE: Spaghetti and Meatballs by Ina Garten

RECIPE for the PASTA DOUGH: 3 eggs and 2 cups of all-purpose flour

Thanks to Kuya for helping me edit (hehe); Gabo for helping me make the dough (Gotta love brothers!); Mom for the ingredients :D; and of course, God, for Your grace, for being so awesome and encouraging. :)

 

*Other posts that include homemade dough:

1. Pizza (Thank God I Got Stuck) – http://encouragingtreats.com/god-stuck/

2. Pretzels (Pretzels & Passions) – http://encouragingtreats.com/pretzels-passions/

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

So, You’re Insecure?

A few days ago, my mom handed me a bunch of overripe bananas. Instead of throwing them away, she wanted me to do something useful with them. When I saw the bananas, my instant thought was “Eew… Mushy, slimy, almost rotten stuff. -_-” However, as I examined them more, I noticed that they were still edible and slightly firm.  So, I decided to give them a try and make banana muffins.

mashed overripe bananas

As I was searching for a nice recipe online, I saw photos about muffins. And to my surprise, it was the first time that I encountered this statement in my life:

“Muffins are just ugly cupcakes.”

www.fumaga.com

In the photo, we can see how some find cupcakes to be more desirable than muffins, maybe because of the texture or the frosting. But, even in this simple idea, we can see how natural it is for us to compare things, ourselves, or even the people around us.

banana muffin

Even though it seemed like it was more fun to bake cupcakes, I still proceeded to make a batch of muffins that day. While I was making banana muffins, God reminded me of three things:

1. INSECURITIES & LIES

I first removed the banana peels and other dark spots on the bananas before mashing them in a bowl. The bananas did not look appealing, but, they were the PERFECT ones to use for the recipe because of their natural sweetness and soft texture.

It was so easy for me to look at the appearance of the overripe bananas and show disgust when I first saw them. In the same way, God reminded me of how I’m easily concerned with how I look, what my status/lifestyle is, how much money I have, and other things that last only for a moment. He also reminded me of those times when I’d be insecure. Sadly, I would tend to compare myself to others and choose not to be grateful and satisfied with how He made me and with what He has given me.

www.mademelaugh.com

However, I thank God for His encouragement through His word:

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

-1 Samuel 16:7

“Anytime we look for fulfillment or happiness in anyone or anything other than God, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.” –Nancy deMoss

2. HUMILITY & THE ULTIMATE SECURITY

While I was baking the banana muffin batter, I began to appreciate the overripe bananas even more. The sweet smell of the vanilla extract and bananas filled the air and I found myself enjoying it.  Once the banana muffins were done in the oven, I immediately placed them in a wire rack to cool down.

But then, I remembered a tip that Alton Brown shared in one of his Good Eats episodes. He suggested that the muffins must be cooled upside down on a thin towel for better volume. I tried doing it and was amazed by what I saw. The muffins looked like they were bowing down. They didn’t look “insecure”. They looked humble.

Humble Muffins

God spoke to my heart and reminded me that being insecure and being proud are inseparable.  I’ve had (and still have) my share of insecurities. But, by His grace, He continues to encourage me to see myself and my situations through His eyes. In the process of doing so, I realize that I shouldn’t be insecure because I know that God loves me and He would only want what’s best for me.

Our security is none other than God Himself. –Pastor Peter Tan-Chi

“Rest in what God thinks about you. He loves you. How do you know He loves you? Remember what Christ did for you on the cross.” –Pastor Vince Burke

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

God works for the good. God loves us. God made us the way we are because He loves us. He is our Ultimate Security. :)

 

3. PURPOSE & DESIGN

After cooling the muffins, I decided to put the finishing touches. :) I invited my eldest sister to help out and we started working on one muffin at a time. It was fun! We ended up using different toppings on half of the batch of baked banana muffins.

By God’s grace, they all looked so nice and yummy. And I thought to myself, “These muffins aren’t ugly. Haha.” :)

Some say that the difference between a cupcake and a muffin is the frosting that cupcakes have. But, according to Alton Brown, the difference is in the mixing method. In making cakes, the butter and sugar are creamed first until fluffy; eggs are added; and finally, the dry ingredients are incorporated. On the other hand, in making muffins, the dry ingredients are combined; the wet ingredients are combined; and then both wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.

In the same way, God showed me that He also uses different methods in our lives. He had a purpose in mind when He made each of us and we just have to continue trusting in His goodness and faithfulness in our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

“You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It”

-Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Meant To Be”

The day before I made banana muffins, I was struggling with insecurities again. But, God knows exactly how and when to encourage us. Thank You, Lord!

I pray that we may continue to find our security in Him all the days of our lives. God bless you, guys!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

 

RECIPE: By Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 brown and 3/4 white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
  • 1 cup small-diced almond nuts

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

4. Combine the butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine well, but don’t overmix.

5. Fold the diced bananas and nuts into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

 

*By the way, if you want to read more about cupcakes, you can go to this link: http://encouragingtreats.com/free-cupcakes/ :)

If I Gave You this Cupcake for Free…

…would you still have to pay for it? Or would you simply receive it?

One of the prettiest things I’ve seen in Google Images is a picture of rainbow cupcakes. I guess there really is something about the combination of the colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet that sort of makes me smile. Interestingly, if you do some research in the internet or in books, you’ll find out that these colors have different meanings too. :)

This week, it has been raining like crazy here in Manila. Sorry to say, even though I wanted to, I was not able to see a rainbow after the rain. :( And it’s funny because somehow God told me “Hey, Nic. It’s okay if you didn’t see a rainbow. Why don’t you just make rainbow cupcakes instead? Just like the ones you saw in the internet.”, and boy did I smile. The next day, I went to the grocery and bought the ingredients that I needed to make the rainbow cupcakes.

I enjoyed my time preparing the batter of the rainbow cupcakes because my workplace in the kitchen looked so colorful. I couldn’t believe I was really making cupcakes because it actually seemed like I was just playing with paint. :)

After preparing the multi-colored batter of the rainbow cupcakes, I decided not to bake the rainbow cupcake batter first.  I immediately went to my box of baking ingredients and gathered the following food colorings: Yellow, Black, Red, White, and Green. I did so because these colors remind me of something that was more beautiful than the rainbow; something that changed my life. I’ll be sharing more about these below.

I placed the cupcake paper liners in the baking pan and poured in one color at a time. :)

For the first layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the YELLOW batter.

It says in John 3:16 “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.”

The bible didn’t say “For God SORT OF loved the world…” or “For God WAS FORCED to love the world…”. God clearly wanted me to remember how much He loves me; how much He wants me to have a personal relationship and a meaningful life with Him; and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

And what’s cool about that is He didn’t say “For God so loved Nicole Obligacion only…”, He said HE LOVED THE WORLD, which includes you too! HE LOVES YOU and WANTS TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH YOU. :) 

For the second layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the BLACK batter.

When ate Camille (my sister) went in the kitchen and saw the black colored cupcake batter, she immediately blurted out “WHAT?? BLACK? Why did you use black?” I just laughed and told her “Eh basta, you’ll see. Hehe.” 

Personally, when I see black, God reminds me of darkness, emptiness, and the biggest problem on earth: SIN. Ate Camille was shocked when she saw the black cupcake batter. I guess it’s the same way too when God sees me enjoying or dwelling in sin.

When I fall into sin, it’s as if I can hear God telling me: “WHAT? You know that I love you so much, Nic, and I give you the freedom to choose. But why choose SIN?” Sadly, that’s reality. I admit that I am a sinner. I lied, I cheated, I stole, I did things that did not please God before. SIN. This is one big problem because…

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death…”

Sin separates us from God. As hard as it sounds, the payment for our sins is death. The Bible even talks about two kinds of death: The first is physical (we all know this); but did you know, the second one is actually spiritual death? (This is eternal separation from God :( ) (Revelation 21:8 “…This is the second death.”)

Years ago, when I first heard about this, I started to feel bothered because I knew I’ve done so many wrong things in the sight of God. I just felt so ashamed before God. He has been so good to me and there I was sinning in front of Him. However, one of the many things that I am grateful for is the word “BUT” in the Bible. Why? Because Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God uses the word “BUT” here to remind me of hope and of His grace, which leads me to the third layer.

For the third layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the RED batter.

The color red reminds me of the blood of Jesus when He paid the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross.

When the red batter was poured in the cupcake liner, God reminded me of the hope that I have in Him. I realized that I really cannot pay for the penalty of my sin, no matter what I try to do (good works, religion, other efforts…).

This is because of Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is BY GRACE that you have been SAVED through FAITH – and THIS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, it is the GIFT of GOD – NOT by WORKS, so that no one can boast.”

I thought about it before and realized that even if I did try to save myself and try to go to heaven (after dying) through my own ways, such as doing good works (or others), how will I know when I’ve done enough already to save me? There is no security. There is no assurance. My efforts will not be enough to save me from the penalty of my sin. I really cannot save myself. ONLY ONE can save me. ONLY ONE can save us all. And that ONE is JESUS CHRIST.

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus did not say “I am A way and A truth and A life.” He is not an option. He is the only solution.  Also, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 shows us that Christ’s resurrection proves that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, and the only Savior. It brings me to tears to know that someone took my place on the cross to pay the penalty of my sin, which is death.

Jesus didn’t deserve to die and yet He did because He loves us so much. So, what must we do now that we know: how much God loves us, how we have sinned, how Jesus is the only way for us to spend eternity with God in Heaven?

Photo taken from Google Images

We must choose to be reconciled with God and accept the gift of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus is personally inviting all of us to restore our relationship with Him. Years ago, I made a decision to fully surrender my life to Jesus, I admitted that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself; I believed that He died to pay the penalty of my sin and He rose again; I accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior; and I claimed Jesus free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Taken from Getty Images

If it’s your desire to have a restored relationship with God, I’d like to encourage you to tell God everything that’s in your heart right now. Even before we talk to Him, He actually already knows what we want to tell Him. Just like what I did years ago, you can also let him know the desire of your heart by praying to Him; admitting that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself; believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty of your sins and that He rose again; receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior; and claiming his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

For the fourth layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the WHITE batter.

White represents cleanliness, purity, freedom, surrender, etc.

If you decided to sincerely place your trust in Jesus then I’d like to encourage you because…

  1. YOU are 100% forgiven. All your sins are forgiven – past, present, and future. (Seen in Colossians 2:13)
  2. You are a childof God and nothing will separate you from your heavenly Father. (John 1:12; Hebrews 13:5)
  3. You are a new person! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  4. You will go to heaven. YUP! And you will live with God forever. Eternal life begins the moment you place your trust in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. (1 John 5:11-13)

For the last layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the GREEN batter.

The color green reminds me of GROWTH.

Now that I’ve surrendered my life to Him, I want to be able to maximize what He has given me to love Him and love others more. I want to grow more in my walk with Him. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same too! :)

Here are some of the things that we can do to GROW more in our relationship with Jesus:

  1. Read the Bible regularly.
  2. Talk to God through prayer.
  3. Obey Him.
  4. Talk to others about Jesus and the free gift that He has given us. (Just like what I’m doing now: Sharing it through Cupcakes! )
  5. Join Bible studies or groups of people who also want to grow in their relationship with God.

I didn’t want to let this day pass by without sharing to you what Jesus did and how God changed my life because I really, really, really, really, really, really, want to encourage you to KNOW HIM MORE. :)

I think it has been 5 years since I’ve fully surrendered my life to Christ. I actually grew up exposed to this truth, but I just didn’t really want to absorb it in my life back then. However, God changed my heart and life, and since then, I’ve been experiencing the best years of my life with Him.

singing praises to God during one of our practices

Going back to my cupcakes, after preparing both batters, I finally baked them and placed vanilla buttercream frosting on top.

If I gave you these cupcakes for free, would you still have to pay for it? Or would you simply receive it?

God gave us the FREE GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE with Him through Jesus Christ. Would you still have to pay/work for it? Or would you simply receive it? :)

RECIPE: Billy’s Vanilla Cupcakes (featured in Martha Stewart’s Recipes)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKE BATTER:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake baking pan with paper liners.
  3. Using an electric mixer, combine both types of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined.
  4. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  6. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients slowly.
  7. Beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  8. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full.
  9. Bake (for 17 to 20 mins), rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Use a small spatula or a piping bag to frost tops of each cupcake.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.