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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How Do I Know This Is God's Will for Me?

"At Veronica's Kitchen, everything is prepared with LOVE!"
Just two weeks ago, I was emailed by a friend asking me to join a baking contest that was looking for participants/contestants.
"Frozen" Cake

Minecraft all-edible cake
[I am by the way, the part-owner and baker of Veronica's Kitchen. My husband helps me in decorating our cakes, but I am the baking "master/mistress" of our kitchen. ;) ]

A veteran at oncamera work (I have been a TV broadcaster for more than a decade as an adult, and a children's TV host before that as a young girl), but a bundle of frayed nerves for baking deadlines, I said, "Thanks for thinking of me, but I do not think I am cut out for that kind of contest. I don't think I can come up with recipes on the spot! I will surely panic!"
Pictured here with former President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whom I interviewed with nary a quickened heartbeat, but when I have baking deadlines, I almost ALWAYS lose my cool and my poise! - Feb 2008



After baking some cupcakes in my FHO apron - 2010

A few days ago, another friend emailed me to join this same contest, since its deadline had been extended. I told my husband Dong, "Honey, this is the second time, a friend thought me to be perfect for the said contest. The first time, I said ;'NO'. Should I take this as a "sign" and now say 'YES?' "

 Vanilla Cake with Pastry Cream Filling
and Meringue Icing
And so, I looked into the internet and clicked on the links that my second friend affixed in her email. Prizes included a hundred thousand pesos, a chance to star in your own cooking/baking show, and a whole lot of other glitzy stuff!

Boy, did my heart beat faster and I became quite excited!!!

Cheesecakes assorted :)


But, whereas before, when I would have just immediately pounced on the opportunity (any opportunity actually -  "Seize the day!"; "The world is my oyster!"; "Carpe diem!" were my mottos), this time, I held back my initial reaction of sudden excitement, and kept still.

I prayed.

   Then, I read the Bible.


And this was what the Lord told me:

Sirach 11:10

10 My child, do not undertake too many activities. If you keep adding to them, you will not be without reproach; if you run after them,                  you will not succeed nor will you ever be free, although you try to escape.
Another version read:

Sirach 11:10

Common English Bible (CEB)

My child, don’t be busy with many things;
if you multiply pursuits,
you won’t be held guiltless.
If you pursue them,
you won’t overtake them,
and when you flee, you won’t escape.

* * * * * 
That was as CLEAR as the Lord can get.

I was to NOT undertake too many activities and NOT multiply my pursuits.

I searched my heart for hidden sins, and in it I found again (?!?), the desire to be esteemed, to be popular, to be famous, to be a star!  Desires that I've been "killing" each and every day since the Lord changed me and recreated me on September 1, 2013.

I searched my heart further, and in it I found sadness over:

 1) being away from my children and our home for a long stretch of time (if I did join the contest) because it would take three whole months and then some from me, if ever; AND

2) being away from my children and my husband because the said contest would entail traveling which I am so not a fan of.

More than that, just thinking about what was to happen made me suddenly feel "tired" at being over-busy! I mean, I've been there and done that, and I am now in this season of my life, wherein the Lord is asking me to please, please, BE STILL ( and know that He is God -- Proverbs 46:10)

There is a time and place for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3


There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:



And this season of my life, is one that entails a LOT of STILLNESS and a LOT of SILENCE and a LOT of LETTING GO. 

And so, I told my husband, (who was willing to corroborate on a script with me on what I'd be saying in the demo reel, and who was willing too to be my cameraman) that: "Honey, I prayed last night and Sirach 11:10 was what God divulged to me. I don't think it is His Will for me to join such a contest."

He said, "Okay. Whatever you decide on, I am okay with it."



 * * * * * * *
HOW DOES ONE KNOW IF SUCH A DECISION OR MOVE IS GOD'S WILL FOR YOU?

Well, for starters, one really has to:

1) Be in constant communication with God through prayer. We are not designed to live independently from God and so ALL decisions and actions must be asked and lifted up to the Lord in prayer.

Borrowing the words from my favorite author Nancy Leigh de Moss of "Lies Women Believe":


"If satan can get us to try to "live the Christian life" without cultivating an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus , he knows we will be spiritually impotent and defeated. If he can get us to do a great many things "for God" without consciously seeking the will of God through His Word and prayer, we may stir up a lot of religious dust , but we won't do satan's kingdom any real damage."


2) Immerse oneself in the Word. God spoke to the prophets and the people of old through Scripture, and He will still talk to you TODAY through His Word, that is, the Bible. Seek the Holy Spirit's Help in discerning just what He is telling you about particular instances that need your decision, as you come across verses and Bible stories that seem to be "speaking" to you, or jumping off from its pages.

Joshua 1:8 
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

3) Know your priorities. It is a LIE to think that one has TO DO IT ALL in order to "please God". I fell for that lie for many years. Even Jesus only had three years in His Public Life to perform miracles, heal the sick, and spread the Gospel. He did not cure ALL, nor was He able to make all the blind see, the lame walk and the deaf hear... but at the end of His Life, He was still able to say:

John 17:4
4  I have brought you glory on earth by finishing 
the work You gave me to do.

Says De Moss:

"Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy, and fruitfulness come from seeking to determine God's priorities for each season of life, and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and abilities to do everything that He has called us to do."


4) Do not take on each and every opportunity. Yes, we only live once. Yes, sometimes what you turn down today may never be offered to you ever again. But, know too that NOT ALL that seems "good" at first glance, is actually good for YOU.

Quoting De Moss again of "Lies Women Believe":

"The Truth is that I don't have to do all these things. All I have to do is the work God assigns to ME. The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities not on His Agenda for me. When I establish my own agenda or let others determine the priorities for my life, rather than taking time to discern what it is that God wantes me to do, I end up buried under piles of half-finished, poorly done, or never-attempted projects and tasks. I live with guilt, frustration and haste, rather than enjoying the peaceful, well-ordered life that He intends."


5) Search your heart. Why are you deciding on this particular option? Is it to gain prestige and power? Is it to be able to provide for your family? Is it to advance your personal agendas and ambitions? Is it to be able to send your child to school? Weigh the pros and cons, and always look deep within for SELFISH reasons. If it is to inflate the EGO, be wary. Too much SELF means too little GOD. And too little God is exactly what the ruler of this world, satan, would rejoice about!


I am reading this book bought and sent to me by my sister, Erica and her husband, Heikki, all the way from Finland (It took nearly four months for it to reach me, thanks but no thanks to our "efficient" postal service in the Philippines!), "The Bondage Breakers" by Dr. Neil T. Anderson and in it, he wrote:

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life -- and his ultimate bondage is the attempt to live as though his lie were truth. Satan is out to usurp God's place in your life. Every temptation is an endeavor by him to get you to live your life INDEPENDENT of God. Whenever you focus on yourself instead of Christ and prefer material and temporal values over spiritual and eternal values, the tempter has succeeded. The message of this fallen world is to INFLATE THE EGO while denying God the opportunity to take His rightful place as Lord. Satan could not be more pleased  -- that was his plan from the beginning." 

________________________________________________________________________________

How I wish God really SPOKE to me the way my husband speaks to me: in the flesh, with a real audible voice and in direct terms, but since that is not the case, I would really have to search deep within my soul, and listen not with my ears but with my mind and heart, what it is He is really TELLING me.

Does it happen that He really talks, as in, with an inner, calm, and gentle voice? Yes.


Does it also happen that I have no idea what He wants me to do because He seems silent? Yes also.

In the first instance, I still have to discern whether "the voice" is really from God or from the enemy. Just because it appears initially "good", does not mean that it is indeed good and that it is from God. Remember satan is the father of lies and deception!

Proverbs 19:21 
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

2 Corinthians 11:14


14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.


In the second instance, when God seems quiet, I really have to look at the events of my life, and carefully and prayerfully discern what road to take.


If I have already done all the necessary steps to:

- seek out hidden and apparent sins and motives in my heart

- pray for God's Guidance, Wisdom and Discernment

- identify my God-given priorities 


... I can now decide and discern if it is indeed God's Will for me.

Like in this baking contest thing, God's Answer was a
BIG FAT "NO".
Selling our Angry Birds goodies at a hotel,
with my daughter Therese - 2011

I was fine with that. I felt so much peace with my decision! At this point in my life, it just is not aligned with what God is training me now and what He wants me to do which is to KEEP STILL. :)
[Something I've not really done nor practiced in the past. ;)]


In cases though when I miss the mark and make "bad decisions", what happens then to me?!? I sure made a LOT of that in the past. :(

 Let us hear out what this Christian man has to say on the subject, taken from Christianity Today:

Making a poor decision doesn't mean we're forever out of God's will. That's part of the beauty of Scripture: It has story after story of people who make bad decisions, but God still uses them mightily. Just look at Abraham and David. They both did some things that were clearly wrong, but God worked through them to accomplish great things. God can use all of our decisions, whether they're right, wrong, or neutral.
Also, we need to remember God is our Father. God is not here to condemn us, but to help us become more like Christ. If we are focused on Jesus, and on holiness, some of those other things will fall into place. God is not a cosmic trickster who only gives us one shot to get things right.
 —Dr. Shawn Holtgren Dean of Leadership and Spiritual Development at Bethel College (Indiana)


And, I also believe that no matter how off we may be, how wrong we "get" God's signals, He will still manifest His Will in our lives, because we are His Children. In short, no matter how much we mess up, our Heavenly Father will always be there to clean up the mess, and make beautiful treasures out of our yucky trashes! Isn't God amazing?! :) He will give us beauty for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)
I made this topper from scratch using Gumpaste. 
This is the Barasoain church, located here in the Philippines. :) - 2011

The real church and the gumpaste church.

Along with two other Filipina Homebaker Online sisters/bakers, we won the 3rd place in  
Resort World's Manila Cake-off Challenge! Here I was posing with our winning masterpiece. :)
- Dec 2011
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.


May we all be richly blessed! :)

4 comments:

  1. Thank so much for this post. It has been exactly what I was pondering recent time, submerged by too many activities which I am struggling to handle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise God this post spoke to you. May you find the work and purpose that God wants for YOU to do. May you be able to discern what it is He wants you to carry out for Him and be able to sift through all the activities that only cause distraction or unnecessary burdens.

      God bless you, Paule! :)

      Nikka

      Delete
  2. Hey Nikka, I know you from April's blog but I followed this link from Always Learning. So glad I did! There's so much good stuff here. Thanks! Also, your cakes look beautiful and delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz,

      Glad you came over. :D

      Thanks for the compliment. God bless you, sis.

      Nikka

      Delete

Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)