Rest in God’s Promises

All I wanted to do after a tiring day at work was to relax at home, have my quiet time, and eat really good food. However, when my sister and I got home tonight, we were welcomed by an unpleasant aroma. We traced the smell and eventually, we realized that it was coming from our exposed garbage bin in the dirty kitchen — the bin that contained our trash from last night’s cooking and dinner. Immediately, we started tidying the place up and used our air freshener to somehow make our evening more relaxing.

While I was cleaning the dirty kitchen, I thought about what I originally planned to do tonight (to relax) and realized how funny it was that I ended up spending my first hour and a half at home washing the stack of dishes in the sink and cleaning numerous lock & lock containers in the kitchen.

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But God, in His perfect timing, used that moment to speak to me. After removing a bunch of the containers from the table in the kitchen, I noticed that there were a few pieces of okra and chili underneath. My brother and I used some of those ingredients last night when we made Sinigang and we forgot to put the leftovers in the refrigerator after.

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What caught my attention was a distinct red-orange colored chili in the middle of all the other green chilis! Last night, they were all green, but because we didn’t store them in the refrigerator, one of them ripened fast. It had a lovely look to it, but what made it even more amazing was that it matched the color of the chili’s brand: “Jeremiah 29:11”. (Yes, this Bible verse is one of the brand names of the produce in the supermarket near our place.)

When I saw how beautiful it was, God reminded me of how beautiful His promise is too in Jeremiah 29:11. It says: “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.”

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I was reminded of God’s love for us and how He desires that we experience Him and His best. Often times, I find myself comparing what I have and don’t have with the people around me and honestly, it gets tiring and discouraging. But by God’s grace, He always gives us hope through His Word and I am encouraged to trust that he made me the way that I am because it is for the best. And if He calls me to do something for Him, He will equip me and provide all the resources I will need. Moreover, even though I may go through very difficult and challenging times in the days to come, I am reminded to trust His heart and thank Him moment by moment.

Originally, the first thing that I planned to do at home was to rest and relax by not doing any work. But just like what Peter Tan-Chi said in one of his messages before: “Rest is not in the absence of work. It is in the presence of God.”

Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to rest in You and in Your promise (Jeremiah 29:11) even while I do chores at home tonight.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Words in Cookies

When I was in highschool, one of my classmates opened up to me and said: “Nicole. You know what? You’ve changed – in a good way. I don’t know if you still remember this, but when we were in the 4th grade, you used to tease me because I was chubby. But now, you’re so nice to people, including me, and I really appreciate it.”

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At that time, I really couldn’t believe what she just shared to me. I honestly couldn’t remember bullying others verbally before, but by God’s grace, He changed my heart through the years and restored my friendship with my classmate. I told her that the change happened because of my desire to honor God in my relationship with Him. After she shared, I also asked for her forgiveness. I even remember getting teary-eyed while hugging her that day.

 “Words can build you up. Words can break you down… Start a fire in your heart or put it out.” –Hawk Nelson

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It’s truly amazing how our words can instantly strengthen or discourage the people around us. This is one of the aspects in my life that I really need to improve on. But despite my past mistakes, my careless words and weaknesses, it’s encouraging to be reminded of God’s grace and the new opportunities He gives me to honor Him with my words and heart.

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Also, God has been faithful in teaching me to tame my tongue by guarding my heart. By His grace, the more I spend time reading, memorizing, studying His word and soaking my heart in it, the more I am able to honor Him with my mouth and encourage others too.

Matthew 12:34 says: “…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

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A few days ago, I tried making Fortune cookies again and instead of putting fortunes in them, I placed some of God’s promises (from the Bible) that are close to my heart. After making them, I shared them to my family and we all broke our cookies and read the promises. God graciously uses moments like this to encourage my heart to dwell more on His word (even while I’m in the kitchen baking treats).

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All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

It doesn’t matter if we read and study one verse or one chapter per day. God looks at our hearts when we spend time with Him and He graciously speaks to us through His word wherever, whenever.

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“God, Your voice is the only thing we need to hear.” –Hawk Nelson in “Words”

It is my prayer that I would grow more in my walk with God this year. God says in His word that nothing is impossible with Him. So, I believe with all my heart that I can improve in this aspect and honor Him with the heart and mouth that He has given me.

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If you want to make fortune cookies too, you can try this recipe. :)

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NOTE: Making the fortune cookies wasn’t easy. In fact, after baking and folding all of the cookies, you’ll probably have sore fingertips (especially if you don’t use gloves or other things to cover your fingers while folding them). But, the experience is exciting because you’ll only have a few seconds to put the strip of paper on the HOT cookie, fold it in half, fold it again with the help of a mug, and let it rest/ harden in a cupcake pan.

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)