Thursday Tune #26: Like I Am by City Harbor

A few days ago, a family friend posted a status on Facebook and encouraged his friends to share a line from their favorite praise and worship song that inspired them a lot. I added a comment and shared a few lines from Steve Green’s song “He Who Began a Good Work”. It is one of my favorite songs because it reminds me of Philippians 1:6 and how God continues to be gracious and faithful in my life despite my weaknesses and struggles.

song

The past two weeks have been quite difficult for me because I struggled with different things. One of the similarities that I noticed among my struggles was how I believed in lies and not in God’s Truth. Unintentionally, I allowed my mind linger on my insecurities, pride, past mistakes, failure in different aspects, and a bunch of other very discouraging thoughts.

It was crazy! But in spite of these, God encouraged me to draw closer to him especially when I don’t feel like doing so because I know that He is the only One who can make my heart right. Every time I got zapped by lies and negative thoughts, I humbled myself before God and lifted up my concerns and struggles to Him. In the process of doing so, He reminded me of a verse in the bible where it says:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

It was such a comfort to know that even though we may be attacked by our struggles constantly for the next days, years, and decades, we know that we are already victorious because of Jesus Christ.

“Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:34-35,37-39]

Now, THAT is TRUTH — Truth that I need to hold on to moment by moment. :)

beach

I’ve been listening to a song lately that best captures what was going on in my heart these past two weeks. I hope that you will be encouraged by it too.

“I am not my failures, I am not my flaws
I am not defined by my mistakes, Only by Your love.
But it’s a constant battle to believe what’s true
That Your love is unconditional no matter what I do.”

[City Harbor – Like I Am]

Encourage yourself one tune at a time. :)

Encouraging Tea :)

Chilled milk tea with chewy, black tapioca pearls is definitely one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve had in my life. Interestingly, there are numerous milk tea stores in Metro Manila, which makes it more convenient for me to acquire such comforting beverages. However, last weekend, instead of buying from a milk tea store, I decided to make a couple of milk teas at home. I knew that it was the perfect and simple treat for me because I was sick and feeling physically weak at that time.

God sure does speak to us in different ways and last weekend, He reminded me of how we can be a blessing to others. :)

1. We become a blessing to others when we respond to them in a way that pleases God… no matter what.

I went to a supermarket to buy wintermelon, uncooked black tapioca pearls, and strawberries. Unfortunately, when I got there, I found out that they weren’t selling the tapioca pearls. To make things worse, when I asked one of the staff members in the fruit section if they had wintermelons, he rudely told me “Wala kaming wintermelons!” (In English: “We don’t have wintermelons!”)

Stunned by his response, I was tempted to talk back because it was his duty to respectfully assist the customers in the supermarket and his attitude was unacceptable. But before I could even say a word, God stopped me and helped me to realize that maybe that guy was just having a hard day at work and he unintentionally poured out his stress on me. The last thing he needed was a rude response from me too.

I was reminded of Ephesians 4:29, where it says:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

By God’s grace, I smiled instead, told him “Ohh, okay. Thank you!”, and left the supermarket with peace in my heart. I realized that it brings much joy to God when we choose to honor Him in the way we respond to others. It makes our hearts so much peaceful too!

2. We become a blessing to others when we consider their interests too.

Hoping that I could still find tapioca pearls in our area, I went to another supermarket the next day. However, they also did not have the pearls. I was already thinking of my Plan B for the treat when I found myself walking near the fruit section. Since I was already there, out of curiosity, I asked one of the staff members if they were selling wintermelons and he replied “Ah, yes, Ma’am! Please follow me.”

My eyes beamed as we slowly approached the pile of fruits. “Wow! Thank you!” I told the employee who assisted me. Before I left, he even gave me instructions on how to slice it properly and warned me that the juice of the fruit may feel sticky too.

Later on, I found out that the fruit he handed me wasn’t wintermelon… it was yellow watermelon. Haha. But nonetheless, I was blessed by the employee’s response and I was inspired to be an encouragement to others too. He could have just led me to the fruit section and continued to do his own thing. But, I saw how he selflessly took the time and effort to try his best to assist me with my concerns about the fruit (as compared to the other supermarket guy :) ).

Do I intentionally reach out to others? Do I sincerely spend time with them and help them out with their concerns/struggles? Or do I just stay in my comfort zone and hope that they won’t ask help from me? Do I pray for others?

 

It says in Hebrews 10:24:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

3. We become a blessing to others when we help them draw closer to God and give Him the glory.

Desperate times indeed call for desperate measures!

After buying the watermelon and strawberries, I knew that I still needed to get the black, tapioca pearls. Surprisingly, there was a milk tea store (Chatime) nearby and I thought of buying the cooked pearls instead. I asked the person at the cashier if I could buy tapioca pearls and she slightly laughed and smiled at me. But, when she realized that I was serious about buying only the pearls, she eventually assisted me and happily gave me my order.

I couldn’t be happier! :) I thanked God that the cashier lady helped me out because I really thought she wouldn’t allow me to buy only pearls from the store (since it wasn’t allowed in other stores). She was a blessing!

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Do we encourage others to know God more or do we cause others to go farther away from God?

I went home that day smiling because I saw how God was in control of my situation. After preparing and drinking these two drinks: Watermelon Milk Tea and Strawberry Milk Tea, I was pleasantly refreshed. But more importantly, I realized that in spite of my weak body, the hassles I experienced as I looked for the ingredients, and even the “rude” employee that I encountered; I still praise God because through these, He reminded me of how I can honor Him by being a blessing to others. By God’s grace and strength and with His guidance through His word and the Holy Spirit, I know that we can be blessings to others. We can bless His Name. :)

So, what are we waiting for?

Encourage others one treat at a time! :)