Unshakable: Standing Firm in Changing Times

Last May 17, 2014, my family and I attended a one-day conference with Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Krish Dhanam and Dr. Nabeel Qureshi at the CCF Center. It was entitled “Unshakable: Standing Firm in Changing Times”. The humble speakers shared about the principles they have been learning from God’s word, their experiences in sharing God to others, and their testimonies and encounters with Him.

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with Dr. Ravi Zacharias

I have listed down some of the encouraging things they have shared at the conference. May these encourage you too. Have a blessed day! :)

KRISH DHANAM: 

Pray before making decisions.

Learn to shift through life and steer the things that do not matter.

You have to learn to start. Don’t just stand there. Do something.

A half-baked job is a no-no. Swerve. Do your best.

Outlove the people around you. Show them Jesus – who is most powerful in life.

Take one step at a time: Person to prepare, Passion to pursue, and Price to pay.

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DR. NABEEL QURESHI:

God intentionally created you. You are not a purposeless piece of carbon.

Ground yourself and know your Creator. Start fueling your life with what God has designed for you.

God has crafted you to be a world-changer. All things can be done for others. All things can be done through Jesus.

You’re here to produce, not just to consume.

Keep your eyes on the cross.

Taking God’s name in vain: You carry the name of Christ. Live like Christ and don’t take His name in vain.

Bring your shame and your past to the light. And in the light, walk with Christ and He will use you to be a blessing to others.

You have eternity secured in Christ. How are you using your time here on earth if you’re too focused on youself?

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) – Delighting in Him means loving Him with everything that you have, knowing Him, and studying His Word more. Then, God will craft the desires in our hearts.

with Dr. Nabeel Qureshi
with Dr. Nabeel Qureshi

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DR. RAVI ZACHARIAS:

A calling is that position in your life that brings and converges your disciplines, convictions, and desires in life.

Whatever you do, wherever you are, do it in the name of God and treat it with honor.

God is always within reach from wherever you are.

We see the awesome power of God when we understand and see His exactitude in all (our bodies, the earth, the universe).

You are building memories. Make good ones.

Take seriously what God can do through you.

How is your prayerlife?

The way back to any broken relationship is the communion with God.

It is vitally important to choose the right partner. Seek God’s wisdom and do the right thing with the partner you choose.

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Dad and Mom

 

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with tita Jean Geronimo and Ptr. JP & Tita Rochelle Masakayan.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

Eggplant Parmigiana

It is quite a challenge for me to eat and enjoy bitter melons and eggplants. I guess it does take time for some to appreciate these vegetables. Maybe in a few months (or years), I might start to like them. :P

Interestingly, a couple close to our family (Thank you, tito Albert and tita Rosiel Noel) recently gave us a huge plastic filled with asian eggplants and okras from Palawan. As soon as I saw the bag, I immediately felt the urge to cook the eggplants first. I didn’t know why. Hahaha.

And so, I gathered some of my favorite ingredients and prepared this dish: Eggplant Parmigiana.

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Because I wanted to know more about the main ingredient before cooking the dish, I did a little research on the internet. After a few minutes, I learned from Alton Brown (Host of the show: “Good Eats”. Episode: Berry From Another Planet) that purging the eggplants help remove the bitterness and moisture from the eggplant, which allows them to absorb the liquid in the dish more.

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I purged the sliced eggplants by salting them and letting them rest for a few minutes. When the eggplants started to ‘sweat’, I used a tissue to remove the moisture from them.

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After that, I prepared the tomato sauce and fried the breaded eggplants with a tablespoon of oil.

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Layering the eggplant parmigiana was fun and easy! I added the ff. ingredients to the bowl and repeated the process twice. :)

Tomato sauce > a few shrimps > Sliced Mozzarella cheese > Cooked eggplants

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Finally, it was time for us to taste the eggplant dish. I remember slightly cringing while I was getting my share because I didn’t really like eating eggplants. Haha. But, by God’s grace, He continues to change me for the better and help my taste buds cooperate and appreciate more food. Woohoo!

Also, by His grace, my family and officemates got to taste the dish and enjoyed it too! My dad even sent me a text message the next day: “Your eggplant dish is soooo good, anak! I just had a wonderful breakfast… Thanks!!!” Hahaha. Thanks for the encouragement, dad!

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It was a helpful experience for me because God encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things with Him. Even though the eggplant wasn’t (and still isn’t… haha!) my favorite vegetable, He still used it to speak to me and remind me of important principles in life.

Purging the eggplants reminded me of how God’s Word works in our hearts. The salt helped remove the bitterness (found in the moisture) in the eggplants which made them absorb the flavor of the oil and the tomato sauce more. In the same way, God uses the Bible to help us see and remove the unnecessary and unpleasant things that we keep in our hearts, so that we can absorb who He is and the promises and truth that He has for us, and grow into the person that He desires us to be.

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It says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Looking forward to learning more about God through His word this week! Hope this encourages you to do so too. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

 

RECIPE for Eggplant Parmigiana

Estimated ingredients:

8 Asian eggplants

4 cloves of garlic (crushed or diced)

Half an onion (white, chopped)

2 tbsp. oil (1 tbsp. for sauteing sautéing the shrimp; the other for the breaded eggplants)

1 cup of Japanese bread crumbs. (Feel free to use other kinds of breading. We only had the Japanese crumbs at that time.)

4-5 cups (1000g) of crushed tomatoes (in a can). I used the brand: Doña Elena.

McCormick’s Italian seasoning and/or fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, and oregano)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Mozzarella and Parmesean cheese

Optional: 1/3 kilo of your choice of meat (I used some of the shrimps that we had in the freezer).

 

Notes:

1. After cooking the tomato sauce and layering the ingredients, you may heat the dish in the oven or in the microwave. The melted mozzarella cheese is perfect for this dish. :)

2. You may also enjoy this dish with sliced plain baguettes.

Simple Sunday Snack: Pineapple Ice Cream

My Sunday afternoons are usually spent at home with my siblings and our two dogs. Most of the time, we would hang out in the living room, eat, and watch movies together. Of course, to make the experience more pleasant, our Sunday routine always included using the air conditioner for an hour or two. However, since the start of summer, turning it on for an hour wasn’t enough anymore. We would eventually use it for four or five hours straight just to keep us cool in this extremely hot weather.

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Besides enjoying the air conditioners, another thing that I like about summer is that we get to appreciate cool and refreshing drinks and desserts more during this season. I usually am satisfied with a glass of cold water or homemade fruit shakes. But today, I decided to use my eldest sister’s anniversary gift for our parents: Say hello to the lovely YONANAS machine.

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I froze pineapples yesterday and my younger brother helped me prepare the ice cream using the Yonanas machine. It was amazing!! The pineapples from Tagaytay were also affordable (Php 7.00 each) and were naturally very sweet, so the dessert was really delightful!

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I find this kitchen tool very interesting because it turns frozen fruit into ‘ice cream’ instantly! We don’t need to add milk, sugar, or any artificial flavors and colors to it — just pure, awesome fruits made by God.

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It reminded me of how God’s pure and perfect love is more than enough for us. In the same way, there’s no need for us to mix it up with other temporary pleasures and treasures just to try to satisfy the cravings of our hearts. God already gave us the best kind of love through His son, Jesus, when he died on the cross and rose again so we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

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“Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.” –Psalm 63:3

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It’s really refreshing to be reminded of God’s love on a hot summer day while enjoying a bowl of pineapple ice cream. Thank You, Lord, for this simple treat! :)

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Good Friends are like Stars

…You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there. [Christy Evans]

Photo taken five years ago... I think. :)
Photo taken five years ago… I think. :)

After more than three years, we were finally complete! Aina, Angel, Maiel and I first got together at a college retreat last 2008. We enjoyed each other’s company so much that after the retreat, we regularly spent time together, before and after classes, and in our college ministry.

Balboa at the East Wing of Shangri-La
Balboa at the East Wing of Shangri-La

 

Balboa's pretty menu design.
Balboa’s pretty menu design.

However, because we eventually had different priorities and responsibilities, we weren’t able to continue spending time together in college. This went on even after our graduation. But, in God’s perfect time, He made us all available a few days ago and it was really an encouraging night for us to once again share a meal and have hearty conversations with each other.

Buffalo Mozzarella
Buffalo Mozzarella

We took turns updating each other with our lives for the past three years. It was an interesting moment for us because we were able to talk about our past, the lessons we’ve learned from our experiences, our deepest secrets, and even our dreams for the future.

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Prosciutto, Mushroom, and Arugula Pizza
Prosciutto, Mushroom, and Arugula Pizza
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Fresh Spinach Tagliatelle Adriatico

 

By God’s grace, He continues to faithfully work in our hearts and help us grow into the women that He desires us to be. One of the valuable lessons we’ve learned that night is the importance of staying connected to God and being accountable to others regularly. This helps us guard our hearts, minds, and bodies for His glory.

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Beer-Battered Seafood

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16

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Photo taken four years ago.

I pray that we will still continue to encourage each other to grow in our walk with God even if we don’t get to see each other regularly.

Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of growing with these ladies. May You bless their hearts more and more as they know You and grow with You each day.

:)
:)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

By the way, Balboa served us excellent food that night. It’s a must-try! I also loved how well they designed the restaurant!

BALBOA

4F East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong city

(0932) 878-3984