Tag Archive | God

A Bundle of Joy

Children (1).jpg

To some extent, I do agree.

Last week, I was browsing my Facebook account and saw a very touching video about parents’ sacrifices for their children.

After watching the said video, I wept discreetly.

I suddenly missed my mom. As you all know, I am here in Bangladesh to support my husband in doing what God has called him to do. It is inevitable that I get homesick at times and it hits me out of the blue.

My daughter came to the room where I was, minutes later. She noticed that my eyes were wet with tears.

Joanna (my daughter): “Why are you crying Mom?” 
Me: I just miss your Lola (grandma). She’s so far. 
Joanna: (hugged and kissed me).

My daughter ran to the open window and started shouting.

“Lola, Mom kande for you.” (i.e. Grandma, Mom is crying for you.) She thought that her grandma can hear her.

She came back to me and sat on my lap. She said with all her innocence and sincerity.

“Mom, don’t be sad. I’m here. Don’t be problem.* Don’t be silly.”

I got so moved by my daughter’s effort to comfort me. I know that her grammar is not perfect since her first language is Bangla. What she said, though, made me realize is that she’s, indeed, a bundle of joy.

I guffawed at the end because it’s true that I shouldn’t “be silly” anyway. Someday, in God’s time, I will see my mother again. I just need to trust God as He shows my family the perfect timing to visit her again.

If you, like me, have a daughter who is there for you when you are despondent, rejoice! Remember that God has blessed you with a very loving child!

It’s undeniable that children are reminders of God’s love and comfort. They are indeed, a reward from God (Psalm 127:3).

What are the funny and yet moving conversations you had with your child? How many times has God comforted your soul through him or her?

I hope that you can appreciate God’s reward (i.e. your children) to you daily. You are blessed. 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

P.S: I think she meant, “Don’t think about your problem.” (lol!) Isn’t my daughter funny? 🙂

 

 

Book Review: “Fan the Flame” by Joseph Stowell

Click the image for more info.

How are you doing as you walk the journey God has called you to pursue? Have you been weary? cold? just going through the ebbs and flows of life?

I found a very special book which is about as old as me. It was published in the year I was born.

I found this book quite engaging and indeed, soul-inspiring!
I got a copy of this book all because I tried to dig up some books to read from my father-in-law’s library.

One of the most interesting books I discovered was this one by Pastor Joseph Stowell called “Fan the Flame.”

I decided to write a review because it’s too stellar not to be shared about. I believe that this book will definitely ignite the fire in your heart toward God, which might have become cold because of too much familiarity with the Christian routine you have been doing.

I hope the following details will persuade you to get your personal copy or borrow the one I read.

1. Price on Amazon: It’s only $0.01. Isn’t that a great deal? It’s almost free! Click here to get your own.
2. Length: It’s only 138-page long. It should be a great read during your breaks in a day. 🙂 I read it during the holiday break. The point is whether you are busy or not-so-busy, you can afford to read a chapter or two in your spare time. It’s definite that you will find the words in this book truly encouraging!
3. Quality: It’s full of stupendous illustrations from the life of Pastor Joseph Stowell. It’s filled with encouragement from the Scriptures on how to keep your love for Christ alive. I assure you that you will have so much indelible takeaways from this book!
Here’s a sample for you:

What’s the latest book you have been reading aside from the Bible to help you to continue your spiritual journey? Let me know what that is in the comment box and I will try my best to get my own copy or borrow from one of my friends’ library when I can.

May God inspire you to remember your first love for Christ as you read this book. Keep moving as the Holy Spirit leads you. Have a wonderful journey! God loves you unconditionally.

Leaning on Jesus,

5 Life Lessons from Pain

The fact that I am able to write at the moment is a tremendous blessing! I had thought that I would never be able to pen my musings again.

In fact, holding a pen has never been this uncomfortable but I see this as a great privilege to trust God’s sufficient grace as I continue to be His mouthpiece in the form of writing.

As a writer, I couldn’t but reflect upon what I am going through (i.e. healing my injured thumb.) Different thoughts, both positive and negative, run through my mind at times.

I am definitely sure though that it is God’s will for me to saturate my mind with thoughts that are virtuous and praise-worthy (Phil. 4:8) and to remember that this trial of mine is meant to bring forth patience (James 1: 1-4).

Now, what are the other lessons that God is teaching me from this point of my journey?

5 life lessons from pain

 

  1. God has a purpose for this. (Romans 8:28)
    What is God’s purpose for allowing me to go through this pain? To be very honest, that’s beyond my understanding and I have to take this as from Him. I have to trust that He wants His glory out of this experience of mine.
  2. He uses pain to make me appreciate health.
  3. He is the source of health and recovery!

    “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:1-3

    If you are like me, going through a healing process, please remember that your other body parts are working normally. Praise God for that! 🙂 Also, remember that our full recuperation may take time but one thing is definite–it will happen in God’s time.

  4. He wants me to move on from this point of my journey continually relying on His might and keep on encouraging others to do the same. Just like a portion in a traditional marriage vow, I must continue to put my faith on my loving God “In sickness and in health.” 
  5. He uses this opportunity to open my eyes and let me see how many people from around the world sincerely care about and pray for me.

For that reason, let me take this opportunity to let you, my dear friends, know that your prayers are greatly appreciated. I have been able to work around my home and write again. My desire is that God will continue to bless you for your prayers for me. Thank you so much. In Bangla, we say, onek dhonno bad. 🙂Thank You!

What are the things that you have been going through at the moment? What are the life lessons you are learning from your spiritual quest? I hope and pray that the five life lessons I am learning from my journey at the moment will be a blessing to you as well.

Leaning on Jesus,

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quick Ways to Enjoy Reading Your Bible Daily

Someone has succinctly said to this effect–“the best way you can express your love to someone is by giving him time.”

Wives love it when their husbands give them time. Kids love it when their parents spend time with them. And you know what? God loves it when we spend time listening to His Word.

What are some quick ways we can enjoy reading the Bible?

5 Quick Ways to Enjoy Reading Your Bible Daily

1. Read your Bible out loud. 

Narrate the story to yourself. Not only will you be able to understand God’s word better but that will also keep you awake. 🙂

2. Listen to an Audio App while reading your Bible.

In my case, I either use an app from Faith Comes by Hearing Ministry or I go to Bible Gateway. I love the fact that God’s words come alive as they are narrated with some background musical sound effects and different voice tones of the characters in the story.

3. Find an accountability partner. 

In my case, my husband is my accountability partner.

I can remember also when I was not married yet how our church effectively encouraged our church young people to read their Bible through point system. Of course, they did that to motivate us, young men and women of God to be in the Word all throughout the week.

Each Sunday, we had to fill out a form and state whether we read our Bible or not. We had to fill it out with all honestly.

Gone were the days when we had to fill out these forms but doing these over and over, we had developed a habit to seek God early in His word.

If you think you can ask your best friend, your husband, your sister or your parents to be your accountability partner, then do so.

3. Add a devotional book to your assigned Bible reading each day. 

What are my favorites?

You can easily subscribe to some online devotionals too! I highly recommend Daily Proverb and Faith’s Checkbook by Charles Spurgeon. Subscribe to their mailing list and they will deliver their messages to your inbox everyday.

Reminder: Devotionals, just like vitamins, cannot replace the Bible. They are just supplements and I encourage you to do your own digging each day when you read the Bible. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you personally. Ask Him to convict or encourage you and He is more than willing to do so! 🙂

4. Use colored pens and multi-hued highlighters.

This is one of the things that makes me thrilled in reading the Bible. I find it encouraging to see my Bible highlighted with different colors. 🙂 Seeing the highlighted verses on my Bible never fails to make me encouraged or convicted.

5. Keep a journal

I like using old notebooks or spare planners I was not able to use. Journals are also tools to encourage and remind you of the lessons God has taught you.

Review them when you are discouraged to open your Bible and see how that simple act can make you long to seek God in His word again.

What are the ways you do that help you enjoy your Bible reading on a daily basis? Share them with me and our other friends. May God bless us as we express our love to Him through reading and living out His word! ❤

Leaning on Jesus, (2)

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges
If I were to be asked about my favorite Bible book–one of the last books I would answer is the Book of Judges. That was prior to my in-depth study of this book.

What is the Book of Judges all about anyway? It’s a book filled with stories of how God called and raised up judges for the apple of His eye–Israel. 

As I read this narration of Israel’s history in this particular book, I realized how God’s peculiar people lived a cycle of repentance-sinful-living-repentance-type of lifestyle. 

Again, I realized, we are no different from them! We have the same sinful human nature as the people of Israel and so reminders are necessary to help us maintain a consistent walk with God. 

Now, what did I learn from the book which I thought would be one of the books I like the least in the Bible?

First, idols can make anyone forget God’s word and godly moral values.  (Judges 2:11-12)

This is a cue for me personally.

Whenever I find myself prioritizing something or someone over my personal study of His Word, then I recognize it/him/her an idol.

Whenever I fail to obey God’s will because of anyone or anything, I consider it or him an idol.

Needless to say, whenever I find myself in that situation, I confess it to the LORD and find His same faithful forgiveness of my sin (1 John 1:9). Praise His name!

Second, God allows us to be enslaved by our enemies and “idols” when He sees unrepentant attitude in us. (Judges 3:12-14)

King Eglon ruled and controlled Israel for eighteen years! It’s all because God was disrespected by their worship of Baal and Ashteroth–two prominent idols of Israel in that period (Joshua 3:7).

This part of Israel’s history was not included in the canon of the Bible in vain. This is written for us to learn from the past. This is written to remind and warn us. 🙂

If we want to live a victorious life, God is calling us to love and serve Him with all our hearts and forsake idolatry. Here’s a detailed antidote to idolatry.

Third, God gives victory to those who love, trust, and obey Him. (Judges 4-5)

You might be familiar with the story of how Deborah, the only woman judge in Israel, courageously delivered her people from the hands of their enemies. She knew that Barak was supposed to lead them in fighting. Since he was hesitant to do so, Barak forfeited the honor of leading Israel’s victory. Instead, God gave victory to Israel through Deborah’s valorous leadership.

Fourth, peace is the mere fruit of obedience to God’s word. (Judges 5:31)

When Deborah led Israel, they “experienced 40 undisturbed years.”

Here’s a practical application for us: if we want a peaceful nation, we need leaders who will be brave enough to take a righteous stand in leading his people–someone who is not afraid to offend those who are disobeying God’s revealed standards of living.

Let’s pray for God to raise leaders who have such a reverence in Him that they will not be in favor of what God calls detestable.

Fifth, when God calls us to do His will, He gives  us His promise of presence and peace.

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” Judges 6:22-24 (NASB)

Sixth, it’s but natural to doubt God’s calling to serve Him but He is more than willing to prove and manifest His omnipotence. Yes, despite our fears and weaknesses! (Judges 6:37-40)

Who is our example in this passage? Yes, it’s Gideon. God encouraged Gideon to trust Him by granting his request to show signs.

Seventh, God sometimes commands us to follow a seemingly awful battle plan so He can get the glory when we obey Him. (Judges 7:7)

Do you remember how Gideon and his 300 men conquered the Midianites–their enemies? Yes, with trumpets and pitchers. Please don’t smirk. That’s how they won simply because they trusted God’s wise battle plan.

You see?

Trust God's Wisdom

Isn’t it a glorious thing to see victory led by God? We, believers, must fight our battles, not by might or swords but by faith in God’s Word!

There are many other lessons I have learned from the book of Judges but I guess the ones I wrote above are the ones time has permitted me to do so.

What are the lessons that you have been learning from your Bible meditation time? Share them with us. We will love to be blessed and challenged by what God has been teaching you as well.

It’s my prayer that God would continue to glorify His name in our lives as we live for Him, bearing His word in our hearts and mind.

Why We Should Not Rainbow-fy Our Profile Photos on Facebook

Why I Would Not Ranbow-fy My Profile

Today at lunch, I checked my Facebook account to see if I have messages from friends I got in contact with lately. I checked a few posts and saw that many are saddened by the news that the US Supreme Court had affirmed Gay Marriage. It’s heartbreaking, I know.

Then there’s something else that caught my attention–the rainbow-fied profile photos of some of my friends. My first thought was why this is the new trend from today.

I searched for the answer on the internet and this explained why everyone is changing their profile photos into a rainbow-fied one. What I found was shocking.

Friends, did you know that rainbow-fying your profile photos means that you are celebrating the affirmation of gay marriage with pride?

I may get bashed for what I am about to say, but I am persuaded that rainbow-fying profile photos on Facebook is not for us, Christians who claim to love and worship a holy God. If we know that we have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ, then we should make a difference by not being conformed to whatever is trendy. 

This reminds me of one beautiful quote by Albert Einstein–

“What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”

Here’s a few verses that we also have to keep in mind:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~Roman 12:1-2 [emphasis mine]

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ~1 Peter 1: 14-16 [emphasis mine]

I may quote many other verses that urge believers of Christ to abstain from all forms of ungodliness but here is my loving plea, let’s be careful with our simple choices. These careless choices may cause people to think that we are in favor of what God calls abominable. If we care for and love the souls of the unsaved, we should not rainbow-fy our profile photos on Facebook.

Leaning on Jesus, (2)

Precious Jewels from the Book of Joshua

Do you love jewels, my friends? Here is another confession of mine–I do love jewels!

Just the sight of them makes me so high-spirited. I don’t normally care if they are genuine or just imitations. I just know that I am fascinated with the simple beauty of crystals and stones.

Today, I brought a box of jewels but I want to tell you that they are far better than the most expensive jewels in the world.

I hope you’ll open your jewellery box (your heart) and feel free to take whichever you want to keep for good from this box of precious jewels from the book of Joshua.

Precious Jewels from the Book of Joshua

These are practical lessons that the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart when I studied this book of Joshua, a book which I would personally describe as the book of battles’ stories.

I’ll try to keep my list short and simple. I hope that you can check these truths for yourselves by highlighting the verses I will mention here especially if you are a new Bible explorer.

Here you go:

1. God is sure to go with us as long as we follow and do His will (Joshua 1:6-9).

The key to any spiritual success is meditation upon His word. The Bible will surely keep us sane as we face our daily battles.

2. God is more than willing to save anyone, who has the darkest past, as long as he or she professes faith in His deity. 

You can guess who I am talking about here from the second chapter of the book of Joshua. It’s Rahab the harlot. She, upon hearing God’s deliverance of Israel, allowed the soldiers of Israel to hide in her house (Joshua 2:1-14). These soldiers spied the land of Jericho since they would have to conquer this land at the command of God. Rahab’s assistance to these soldier is the proof her faith in the God of Israel. She said,

“For the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11 (NASB)

Our unsaved loved ones with a seemingly dark past has the hope to be saved through the blood of Jesus. Needless to say, our personal spiritual victories can lead to his or her salvation so let’s keep on sharing the gospel with them through our lips and our lives. We cannot do that on our own so we have to prayerfully depend on the grace of God.

3. Our personal spiritual victories over struggles are for the sole purpose of making His name known to the pagans (i.e. unbelievers). 

“On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life….For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:14;23-24 [emphasis mine]

4. God warns us of covetousness since it can lead to our failure to follow His will (Joshua 6:18).

God’s warning is for our protection from misery and all forms of defeat.

5. God cannot give us His full blessing if we conceal any sin in our hearts.

Who is our example in Joshua 7? Yes, it’s Achan. He exhibited covetousness which prompted him to lie. Sadly, that seemingly simple disobedience led to a fatal punishment from God–his personal and family’s death.

In light of his experience, we can see that our personal sin today can inflict trouble to our descendants tomorrow. That’s why we need to ask God to continue giving us His special grace so we can make righteous decisions for the better welfare of our future generation and most of all, for His glory.

What did you learn from your recent meditation upon God’s Word? Kindly share them with me on the comment box and let’s continue encouraging one another to dig God’s Word daily. Consequently, we can find more precious jewels like the ones we discovered today from the book of Joshua.
Leaning on Jesus, (2)

The Gift of Life

It’s my birthday today!

So my wonderful husband wanted to pretend that he forgot about my birthday until this sassy moppet of ours excitedly told me, while I was working on my lesson plan, that there's a

Midnight of May 13| So my wonderful husband wanted to pretend that he forgot about my birthday until this sassy moppet of ours excitedly told me, while I was working on my lesson plan, that there’s a “happy birthday cake” in the fridge. It was a few minutes before midnight, to be precise. I cannot but praise God for the gift of life!

I woke up to a morning birthday greeting and a kiss from my husband! My dear loving moppet also did her share and hugged me tight and gave me a bunch of kisses. I got both virtual and personal greetings from friends and relatives. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

God, indeed, has been making me feel loved through my family since the day I was born until now. I am in awe of His faithfulness and goodness despite of my unworthiness to receive any of His blessings. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

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Our small Bible College threw a short yet surprise birthday party for me. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

He has planned from the beginning that He would like me to see this physical world and eventually know Him not only as the Creator of this world but most especially, as my personal God. Since then, I learned and am still learning to live life according to His Word. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

Today, all I want to do is rededicate my life and my all unto the glory of His name, since I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life.

It’s Never Wrong to Learn Wisdom on April Fool’s Day

It’s April Fool’s Day! I believe that many pranksters are bursting into laughter after seeing their friends’ reaction about their Facebook posts or any form of mischief.

Well it’s never wrong to make pranks once in a while. Laughing is good for the heart anyway. 😉

While many are getting fooled, I thought that it’s never wrong to learn wisdom on April Fool’s Day.

Who doesn’t like to be wise? Everyone does!

Now, where can we learn wisdom? Many people learn it from experience while many learn it from reading books.

I am sure that one of the exigent situations one can have is being faced with a tough decision to make. But what do we need to do to make a prudent decision? I am persuaded that you know the answer–yes, it’s the Bible.

Here are the common factors where we tend to base our decisions on–people’s opinion, circumstances, feelings.

What’s the problem with the said factors though? You are absolutely right! They all change!

I didn’t intend to discourage you if you, just like me, tend to make some of your decisions on the things I mentioned. I am writing this to give you hope that we can make decisions by doing the following:

1. Ask God to give wisdom.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Here’s the good news! God gives wisdom to those who request him to do so and He does in a generous way. Not only that. He also munificently provides wisdom without reproach (i.e without mocking and disapproval).

2. Seek godly counsels.

“Without counsel, purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22

Many of the prudent people I know did not make wise choices because they are naturally prudent. Most of them have sought the wise counsels of the godly authorities they have.

Now, who are the qualified people who can give us godly counsels? Those who have set a good example of wise choices in the past. They can be our pastors, our parents or our godly friends who earnestly seek God’s will in His word everyday.

3. Follow God’s leading.

As God shows you His will through His Word, godly counsels and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, do your part and leave everything in God’s hands. His will may not be as pleasant as our own choice but we have to trust God’s best.

If He asks you to wait, wait. If He asks you to do it, do it now. If He shows you that it’s not His best for you, surrender.

Here’s a familiar verse you can print out and post on your fridge to remind you to trust His leading in your life.

Trust His choice for you!

Trust His choice for you!

That’s it for now. I did not mean to make your day so serious today but as I said, it’s never wrong to learn wisdom on April Fool’s Day.

What Makes a Woman Beautiful?

“Beautiful!”

That’s one of the English words I learned as a child. It was one of the challenging words for me to spell back then too! 😉

Kidding aside, this word is one of the most encouraging words anyone could hear. Consequently, becoming beautiful is what most of us strive to be–we want to be beautiful in and out.

Women, especially, even invest in becoming physically attractive.

According to a survey done by Worldwatch Institute, $8 billion are spent on cosmetics ALONE each year by American women.  Please note that cosmetics ranked second in American’s top commodities. I am sure that it’s the same way in Asia or in other parts of the world.

One report even stated:

“If you look at the entire worldwide cosmetic industry, sales reach about $170 Billion dollars a year. It’s distributed pretty uniformly around the world with ~$40 billion in the Americas, ~$60 billion in Europe, ~$60 billion in Australia & Asia, and another $10 billion in Africa. The Western world spends a bit more per person but India and Asia are quickly catching up.” -Worldwide Cosmetic Market

Please refrain from thinking that I am against make-up. No! I also love buying a few cosmetics. Nothing wrong with that. 🙂

By now, I am quite confident that you can agree that ladies place a high value on how they look before others. I am sure that you, just like me, are also one of those women who endeavor to keep yourself physically clean and beautiful. That’s wonderful!

It’s also part of being a good testimony to those unbelievers of Christ. Besides, even one preacher once said to this effect, “If the barns need painting, paint it!”

“If the barns need painting, paint it.”

The question though is “What really does make a woman beautiful?” Is it just the cosmetics and variety of beauty regime that beautify a woman? Is it surgery? How about shoes, accessories, and apparels? To some degrees, the ones I just mentioned, indeed, can affect how one looks. I don’t want to sound too dogmatic.

One popular celebrity, Audrey Hepburn, ascertained beauty this way though,

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman’s reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

She also worded one indispensable beauty tip,

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

This is quite an inspiring encouragement, isn’t it? How much more pertinent it is if we can learn about the kind of beauty that pleases God, the Master of Beauty. What does He think about beauty? I am persuaded that God, as our Creator, knows how to teach His creatures to REALLY be beautiful, not only before men but most importantly, before His eyes.

1. A surrendered and submissive woman is beautiful.

Paul wrote,

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)

This is an encouragement for all women, whether single or married. It is God’s desire that we surrender our whole being to Him.

Being submissive and surrendered to Him doesn’t always mean leaving one’s career and being in a full-time ministry. It just means being sold-out for God!

In addition to that, surrender and submission entail dependence on God as we try to make a difference in this world.

It means trusting His word in every decision we make.

It means displaying our recognition of His thoughts to be better than ours even if taking a stand for Christ leads to our persecution.

Needless to say, it also means doing the tasks He has called us to do in our field with a cheerful spirit. (I need to work on this myself!)

Only then can we be beautiful in His sight.

2. A woman who speaks kindly is beautiful.

 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 (NASB)

It is one thing to speak kindly to lovable people and another thing to speak words of kindness to people who don’t deserve our benevolent treatment.

King Solomon describes that a virtuous woman who is also beautiful in God’s eyes utters words of kindness.

It’s challenging I know, but God’s grace is enough to enable us to choose words kindness over nasty ones when we face difficult people.

“Did you mean that I have to speak words of kindness to people who criticize me day in and out?” Yes, we must if we want to please our God. Again I say boldly, “Yes, we must do so.”

One key to keeping our speech sweet is by saturating our mind with teachings of God’s word.

As it has been said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

What would come out of our mouth is rooted from the things we allow to run through our minds.

3. A woman devoted to God’s Word is beautiful.

What is our priority in our life? What priority in life would make us beautiful and commendable in God’s sight?

Jesus Himself commended Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, for not keeping herself busy with the work of the Lord but with the Lord of the work. Mary thought that there is only “one needful thing” in this world –to spend time at the feet of Jesus Christ.

Being a woman, I guess, entails the curse of being crazy over details (or maybe that’s just me). When we think of projects, we think of details. When we think of wedding plans, we think of details. Many women are perfectionists and detail-oriented because that’s how our brain works.

Admittedly or not, we tend to focus on work too much when we are tasked to do something. Consequently, though, we SOMETIMES forget that “one needful thing” God expects from us–a quality time of conversation with Him which includes Bible reading, meditation, and prayer. 

Perhaps you say, “I’m busy. I can’t afford to do that. I need to cook breakfast early in the morning, prepare my kids’ lunch and clean up our home. I also have to do an eight-hour job. I have no more time.”

You are not the only one who struggles with this. I do and everyone else! BUT God wants us to lovingly spend time with Him every day consistently.

Only then can we reflect the beauty of God that stems from a heart that is right with Him. I assure you that when we start our day right with God then He will give us a joyful countenance. It is a joyful countenance that comes from knowing that He will help us as we fulfill our tasks daily and face our trials with an assurance of His help. He will give us songs even when our heart is heavy.

I remember one little notepad posted on my friend’s office desk which says something to this effect,

“God stretches our time when we give him the first part of our day.”

I have proven this myself and I am sure you did too. Let’s pray for God to help us do this consistently until He comes.

4. A modest woman is beautiful.

Yes, remaining modest is one of the struggles women have in this generation. Why? I’m sad to say that Satan tempts women to compete in showing as much as skin as they can.

Unless we are surrendered to the authority of God’s word, we will always fall into the pit that Satan has put before us to make insipid (i.e. immodest) fashion style.

Remember this important verse:

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

The verse is clear enough. God desires that the beauty we portray in public radiates, not because of our dresses and accessories but rather, because of the good works resulting from our worship of Him.

Now, I may have written much more than usual but I believe that we need to hear these reminders from the Bible.

Every day is a challenge to reflect the beauty of God and we can only do that by His grace. It’s one thing to be beautiful in people’s eyes and it’s fully another thing to be beautiful in God’s sight.

 

Our Engagement Story: “Do You Know That Guy?”

Love Month is coming over and many couples are getting engaged. It is inevitable that some young girls turn to me and ask, “How about you Ate Nance? Tell us how Kuya Joseph proposed marriage to you.”

Soooo….here’s our engagement story:

Just like any other couple, it is but common for us to talk about excitement to grow old together. Of course, prior to that long commitment is marriage proposal. All the while, I knew that my husband would give me our engagement ring but the question was how and when. 🙂 My mother and Joseph’s parents, our ever-loyal love team fans, had given him their blessings and so did my pastor.

rana & nance

Upper Left, Right & Lower Right: A usual visit of Joseph to our house means my mom would cook special dishes which she would not cook for me. That’s how special he is to my mom–I’m jealous. 🙂 Lower Right: A shot from our Bridal Shower.

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“Did you know that guy?”

Last New Year of January 2010, it was expected of my first and last boyfriend who is now my husband (Joseph) to come over and celebrate New Year with us. His family is in Bangladesh so we got used to having him over during special occasions.

He then came over to see my mom and me. A few minutes after our chitchat, he called my mom and discreetly talked with her. Clueless, I just stayed quiet in one corner.

A few minutes later, my mom was blushing so much in excitement that she told me that Joseph is finally giving me my engagement ring in a restaurant. She’s also invited! She said though that she wants us to go by ourselves. I took a deep breath and acted as if I don’t know what would happen next. 😉

Joseph then invited me to go to Dencio’s restaurant. The stunning view of the Taal Volcano and the cool breeze of Tagaytay made our day very special.

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Taal Volcano View

During our meal, he asked me whatever I would like to eat so, thinking of our limited budget, I ordered stir-fried shirmps and adobong kangkong. Please don’t laugh. Those were delectable for me! 🙂

Next, he asked me to order whatever drinks I would like to have so right away, I thought of having Buko (Coconut) Juice in its shell. Of course, while eating, we talked about many things. In the middle of our conversation, he asked me to look behind and asked me, “Do you know that guy?” I said, “No.” So he added, “I thought he is from your church, isn’t he?” I laughed and said, “Of course, not. There’s no one who looks like him from our church.”

After that short “out-of-the-blue” interruption, we kept on eating. The food was so enjoyable and to end our meal, I sipped my favorite Buko Juice up until it was finished.

To my surprise, there was something in the Buko shell!

Eventually, I learned that my husband mischievously dropped the lovely gold engagement ring into the Buko shell. After finishing my coconut juice, he initiated to take the ring out of the shell and put it into my ring finger.

I think he was so nervous that he forgot to ask “Will you marry me?” He said from his heart “I love you so much Sona.” Later, he told me that the ring was made from his childhood necklace. His parents had it made into my engagement ring.

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A personally customized engagement ring from my husband’s childhood chain.

I was so touched with what he and his parents did just to be able to give me an engagement ring.

On March 6, 2010, we had our pre-nuptial arrangement in my church with my pastor, my mother, two of our Bible College professors and their family.

Prior to that pre-nup arrangement, my fiance and I, along with our American college professors, climbed up the mountain beside Taal Volcano. The funny thing is, a week later, people were prohibited to hike that mountain for a while since it was showing signs of possible eruption.

hiking before our pre-nup arrangement

Sweaty and yet more than happy after an hour long hiking to the top. Taal Volcano is the smallest volcano in the world. Glad to have made that memory with my fiance. ❤

Anyway, it was decided that our wedding day would be on April 9, 2011, a year, three months and three days later. I praise God for giving me a wonderful engagement! The lonely part is that we lost all the pictures in the restaurant due to the virus on his old laptop. 😦

All we have is the memorable moment of being engaged in our hearts. ❤

Rerouted by God: Must We Follow or Not?

Joanna, my young tot loves adventures. Just like any other kid, she is extremely independent and is always wanting to do things by herself even without asking my permission. More often that not, she ends up regretful after doing the things I have prohibited her to do. She does not fully understand yet the value of my warnings–she does not fully appreciate yet that the reason I redirect her most of the time is I want her safety. I want her full happiness.

Now, just as I want my daughter to be spared from trouble, God also redirects us and even if the reason is obvious,  let me share with you what He impressed upon my heart through His word.

As I read through Exodus 13 this morning, God powerfully spoke to my heart. It says:

“17 Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” 20 Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

Here is what I realized:

As God leads us upon our submission, He sometimes reroutes us. Undeniably, the ultimate reason for that is He has our welfare–our best interest in His mind. He does so not to hurt us, but rather to spare us from danger and discouragements. It may be challenging to understand the direction He shows us, but all we need to do is trust Him and see how He will provide “pillar of clouds and pillar of fire” along the way. This is also taught in a hymn which was penned many years ago. There is no other way to be “happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

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I know in myself that there are still things I need to surrender to God. I need to trust His redirection just like how my daughter needs to trust my orders so she would be safe. It is my prayer that God would give me the grace enough to trust His leading and see His rescue from disappointments and troubles.

Now my friend, do you see that God is rerouting you as you follow His will in your life? Are you having second thoughts whether you must follow or not. That shouldn’t be! Indeed, there is no peace more perfect than the one brought about by submission to the God who only desires what’s best for you. Pray hard. Seek godly counsels. Read His word. Follow His leading. Without any doubt, you will end up victorious spiritually. Consequently, when you are victorious in your spiritual life, you will see that all the pieces of your life coming into their right places.

Rerouted by God? Yes, we must indeed follow by faith and He will provide all that we may need as we do so.