Itty Bitty Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Reflection

A simple and quick C3 recipe for you. It takes 20 minutes tops! Depending on how you bake them, they can be either the size of a quarter or about 1  inch in diameter. If you like the chewy thick cookie, put the dough balls in the oven just as they are. However, if you like them flatter like in the picture above, flatten the dough balls a little bit before sticking them in the oven. 
The only bad part is that you’ll justify eating about 20 of them because it really only adds up to about 3 cookies. No big. Great way to start of 2015 right?IMG_9474

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Here is the link for the recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
Reflecting on the abundance of 2014
2014 zipped by. I still remember last year in the half asleep household of ours watching the ball drop in Times Square on our 26-inch TV. Guess some things never change because we did the same exact thing this year! New Years always brings bittersweet feelings because I know I’m going to start hearing “New Years Resolution” here and there, and will be forced to analyze my life to see what needs improvement. It’s always hard when you’re in a society that aims for perfection when none can even reach that point…ever! So here we are, writing lists that start with A and end in Z, literally bullet points of everything we could possibly hope to be, and fail to achieve every year (ahem weight loss!). And the lists repeat for the rest of our lives.
This year, I did give in and make a New Years Resolution list, because I think it’s rather good to take sometime to really look at ourselves to see what we may be missing or ignoring. This year, instead of things like losing weight and eating healthier, I wanted to include things that I really thought would change me inwardly. These include things like:
  • journaling and reading more often
  • taking sermon notes in my said journal
  • being bolder in evangelism
  • being more modest and self-controlled in spending
  • being less selfish and going the extra mile for people
God has been extremely gracious to me this past year. As a whole, what a year it’s been where I’ve really grown to KNOW the Lord so much more through His powerful Word, to personally understand and see the work of His perfect, precious Gospel daily, to be bolder than I’ve ever been in my faith, to be more intimate with Him, to see and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit every single day, to desire to pray and dedicate my life and every waking moment to Him.
One thing He has answered is my prayer for a solid community at school and church. The first year in LA was rough but God used it to bring me back to Him, my first love. To know that He is the first and only One I needed and He is the One who relentlessly pursued me even after knowing all my ugliness within. Then, He reminded me that I also could not live as a hermit :p . I realized how much I need community, accountability, and transparency with others. And then He provided abundantly; so much so, that my schedule became busier than ever. Weirdly enough, I didn’t feel tired or drained like I always would back in college.
Life is different when you’re living in His abundant grace, and though it may be harder at times, it’s no doubt better. I’ve learned that life will never be easy. It may seem easy or comfortable at times, especially when God, by His common grace, allows us to enjoy things like vacations, nice dinners, good grades, and Christmas bonuses. These are all things we don’t deserve, but the Most High One who is ruling over the earth allows it. The worst thing about hell is that those who never allowed God to rule their lives will be living in eternity under eternal separation from God. Here on earth, everyone is under God’s common grace, and He is still present. In hell, He no longer extends that grace to those who rejected Him! I don’t think there’s any feeling on earth that could be worse than that.
Despite all of these things, I’ve also discovered that I am not as disciplined as I hoped I was. Over the break, I found myself slipping, once again, into my busy yet mundane routine of holiday hectic-ness. Lists of things to get done, Christmas shopping, and baking frenzies piled up each day, and the easiest thing for me to do was to forget God. That’s what Satan is best at…he really doesn’t have to make us robbers or murderers, he just needs to make us forget God. We forget our past seasons of total reliance and desperate need for Him because we can fool ourselves for about a couple of weeks that our own strength is enough. After those couple weeks, in my experience, things start to go downhill. As humans we can’t possibly live with peace and joy in highly stressful situations without being sustained by the One who never tires out.
During Christmastime, it’s comfort and distractions that really get me. My own flesh is too strong, Satan is too sly, and he takes advantage when the opportunity arises. It’s crazy how I can easily forget that God just brought me through finals- 11 finals, that is– and then neglect Him for a day or two. I know that living in His promises is the best way to live, but I can’t seem to stay put there. After reflecting on this past break, I was overcome with a heap of guilt and conviction for not stewarding my break well. Just because I had three weeks off didn’t mean I got a break from my relationship with God too. Then I came upon this verse, and as He always does, the sweet words of the Lord reminded me that there is no more guilt left for us if we are living a new life with Christ. Instead of living in my mistakes, I accept that who I am is so much better than I once was, only by the grace of God, and that I now must persevere through the low seasons and rejoice in the high seasons.
 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  {1 Corinthians 15:10}
Paul knew that he had persecuted the church. There was always something that burdened and physically ailed him as hard as he pleaded to get rid of the “thorn in his side.” He sometimes thought his past deemed him not worthy to be called an apostle. But then there was Jesus. By God’s grace, because He loved us so, He sent His Son to die and that grace allows us to be his disciples. He doesn’t need us but He allows us to be a part of His work here on earth!
We offer filthy rags to the Lord and are mere slugs compared to the Holy One, and the Lord accepts our rags and then turns them into breathtaking beauty. 
During our 5-day turned to 6-day trip down to Baja California over break, God reminded me that He is still there even when we don’t give Him the attention and adoration He deserves. The rude awakening came when I realized half of our team was spared when the power steering and brakes went out while Dad was parking the bus back after a whole day of work out on the road. Had the mechanics failed us even an hour earlier, we would’ve been in a lot of trouble, may even dead. Not to sound depressing or grim, but God was there, protecting us and guiding us, even when we didn’t realize it or pray for it. I realized I was not in prayer enough, even for such a simple thing like safety on the road, and by God’s grace, we were still spared. Praise be to the One who gives us life and each new breath!
This year I hope to find rest and joy in Psalm 46. These passages are a wonderful peace to my soul because they let me rest in the fact that God is present in trouble, though everything in the world around me may be falling through, He is always beneath with His everlasting arms hovering over me with a blanket of grace.
God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

One last thought from The Godward Life by John Piper:
“Our task today is not to have the strength needed for tomorrow’s burdens. Our task today is to live by the mercies given for today, and to believe that there will be new mercies for tomorrow. Today’s mercies do not include strength for tomorrow; they include faith that tomorrow’s unseen mercies will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
Today’s mercies are for today’s troubles and those mercies are just enough, but only for today. Tomorrow’s mercies are for tomorrow’s troubles! 
Looking forward to His abundant mercies in 2015,
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