Boast in my weakness

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:30)

Scars are difficult to hide. So I used to hurt myself in places where no one could really see. But by the grace of God the scars, over time slowly healed. We all once were hurt, but sometimes when you are hurting so much, you truly feel like you’re the only one in the world, hurting the most. And I want to tell you that you’re not wrong. You are yourself, and not anybody else, so you cannot compare your pain to others.

I believe you are in a lot of pain, even if no one else does.

We treat weakness like an ugly scar. Trying to hide them on our daily lives, trying to portray ourselves as better person. But I think sometimes, those scars are what makes us even more lovable. I used to feel uncomfortable sharing too much of myself to others, because I believed, deep within, they’ll hate me once they know me.

But when I encountered Jesus, he embraced me, all my scars exposed. He showed me his scars, on the cross. Ripped apart and disfigured. He said by his wounds, I was healed.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

God even started to use my testimony and all of my scars to heal others. I believe he makes even the scars beautiful.

My husband, when we were dating wrote me a letter saying that our lives reminded him of Kintsugi, which means “golden joinery“. It is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Rather than rejoin ceramic pieces with clear glue, the Kintsugi technique uses lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum to join them. Once completed, beautiful seams of gold in the conspicuous cracks of ceramic wares, giving a one-of-a-kind appearance to each “repaired” piece.

We both came from a broken past, and in a way we thought we were both undeserving of love. But God has mend each one of us beautifully with his love and grace.

I still feel as though I am being healed daily. Every time my husband looks at me and says “Hello beautiful!”, I see Jesus in his eyes.

If it weren’t for God, I would never be in this place. I don’t care what anyone say. I will go ahead and boast in my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God, your power is sufficient for me.

Letter to a neighbor

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

I’m gonna tell you about the beef jerky story.

So me and my husband, we have obsession for this one brand of beef jerky, so we ordered some to our place (we usually do bulk orders) and also decided to bless some of my church friends in NYC. (I’m from NY, and I recently left the church there so I can serve at a smaller church in OC as we moved here) It was a farewell gift to all my previous small group members =)

My friends got the jerky in NY but the shipment that was supposed to come to us (in Cali) got sent to the wrong address! So I was patiently waiting and waiting, then I called the jerky company to confirm the address, so they sent another shipment. But again! it somehow got sent to New York again! So we had to do this 3 times, and I was getting a bit frustrated lol. So the company felt bad for us, and sent us an extra bag of jerky. (which melted all my frustration)

But the crazy thing is the boxes of jerky KEPT ON COMING! All the wrong shipments somehow got re-routed to our address and we ended getting 300 dollars worth of beef jerky FOR FREE. So what do we do with this? I felt the urge to share this blessing with others, so I posted under “FREE” category on Craigslist.org and titled it “Free 1 lb Beef jerky with Prayer” LOL

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

I am such an internet troll, but I was in the mood to just do something a little ridiculous today. Of course the Craigslist posting got flagged immediately and taken down after 10 mins or so (I was surprised at how fast it got flagged!) I can’t just offer some free jerky and free prayer in this day and age? But in that short window of time, someone contacted me and said he could come pick it up.

My husband is such an amazing human being, because this was entirely my idea and I didn’t really tell him about it until later. I just told him “A stranger is gonna come to our place today to pick up some jerky, can we pray for him?” And he was SO confused. 🙂 But he agreed after I told him what happened.

I went all out and me and my husband even wrote a letter to him and created a care package including a pound of beef jerky. I truly felt like this person who was about to come and pick up a jerky is someone who stands up for justice and has a lot of courage. I included a verse in there as well.

It was such an awesome thing to bless someone like that. When he got the care package, he blessed US as well and said he was so very touched by what we were doing. He started to recite Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

which was actually the verse my husband gave me when we got married. It’s inscribed in my engagement ring.

How good is our God? Afterwards me and my husband went to dinner, and as we are praying for our meal, I just started to cry, because I felt the overwhelming goodness of God. I pray that I live each and everyday overflowing with the joy of the Lord and filled with thanksgiving. That I’ll be able to love on strangers and our neighbors more than I love myself.

A Cheerful Giver

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Today being the 16th, I logged onto my bank account online to check if my paycheck has been deposited, and every time I do this, I feel a like a little girl getting paid for the first time on her summer job. Now that I’m an adult and earning my own money, I should feel more “meh” about getting a paycheck, but still after 5 + years of working in corporate, I still do an internal happy dance when they come in. I truly feel like I’m getting free-money sometimes. I thank God, because he allowed me to even have a job, and not only that but to let me truly enjoy what I do for a living. (I think that’s why it feels like I’m getting paid for nothing lol)

I have recently made a decision to quit my freelance job (but still keeping my full time gig) so I have 2 more weeks left on my freelance, but today the paycheck for both my freelance and my full time job has exceeded any amount I’ve ever gotten paid in my life LOL it was pretty cool to see how much God’s blessed me especially during this pandemic. In 2 weeks, my income will be cut down to half but I’m still trusting God and his faithfulness in his provision. I never want to stop pouring into his kingdom whether it is giving to church or blessing others.

I pray that I give cheerfully, always.

God loves a cheerful giver, and I think this says so much about who God is. God is literally the God of universe, heaven and the earth. He doesn’t really need our money, but what he’s looking at is our hearts. If you are giving just because you feel the need to, or out of pressure, it wouldn’t mean to much to God. He can see straight into our hearts and see where we are coming from. There was time in my life I gave to church because I thought it was the right thing to do, but over time, God has been teaching me about what a wonderful blessing it is to GIVE.

A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. (Proverbs 18:16)

Generosity, I found out over time, is key to opened hearts. Through even a small gift, I have experienced people coming into presence of the Lord. Through us representing God’s goodness and kindness, people turn back to God. It was never through harsh words and condemnation.

“So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:3-4)

As a Christian, I wonder if we are truly living in the way of the Lord, and being kind and generous to our neighbors, and I’m not only talking about our friends and family, but even the security guards, grocery store clerk, homeless people on the street…

After contemplating this for a while, I had a conversation with my husband on how we can demonstrate such love and generosity to people, and have decided to host a weekly dinner and invite those who are in need of prayer, encouragement, and love. Everything free of charge, because that’s how God’s love is. No strings attached.

Lord, I pray that you give me your heart of compassion and generosity. That I would be filled with your joy as I’m ministering to people who are in need, and is desperate for love. I pray that you bless these people at different dinner gathering and may your holy spirit be present at all of these meetings. Lord, both me and my husband want to be good stewards of the the resources you’ve given us. We love you, Jesus, and we thank you for your kindness and generosity, Amen.

Work at it with all your heart

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Yesterday was the beginning of a long Labor day weekend and people were like TGIF! “Thank God it’s Friday! I can’t wait to just log off work and party” is probably a what a lot of folks were thinking. For me, Friday was just like any other day, because Saturday morning I would jump right back to work. I’ve always be very content with my job, whether it’s waitressing at a restaurant, serving at a cafe, translating, or designing, it was pretty easy and pleasant for me. Perhaps I got lucky throughout the years, but I don’t think there was any point in my life that I truly hated my job.

But there was a moment when God confronted me about my work ethic. I was an expert at being “good-enough”. Pre-Christian days, I was all about cutting corners and just coasting through my work day doing the least work as humanly possible. But one day, he started to speak to me about “excellence” through scripture.

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

This greatly convicted my heart. The definition of “excellence” being : the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, I started to question myself and my behavior. This of course included my work life and work ethics. (not only our church life) Am I demonstrating excellence in my workplace? So much so that the non believing co-workers start noticing / recognizing it? And ultimately having that point to God? Nope, I was not living my life that way at all.

So I started to meditate on this verse, and really go into work with a different mindset. “I want to do the best I can today.” Because everything we do, we do it for the glory of God. so why should I be so complacent?

Meeting my husband also really fueled my desire to be excellent at workplace. He would constantly encourage me that I’m so capable of excelling, and even gave me pointers on how I can even improve the process at my workplace, or manage my projects better. I started having directors/ MDs recognizing me for the work that I do, because I went above and beyond their requirements or expectations. Also with the stressful situations at work, I always prayed and asked holy spirit to give me peace about it. One day my co-worker asked me

“How are you so positive and hopeful ALL the time? I don’t understand”

Then Peter 3:15 came to me : But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

“It’s because I prayed to God. It’s really because of Jesus.”

I still remember the look on her face. 🙂 Everything we do, do it for his glory! Lord I pray that I never forget the fact that even when I’m working for “people” it is you, that I’m ultimately serving. Thank you for even giving me an opportunity to work and I pray that I can represent your love at my workplace everyday, Amen.

The workers are few

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

The word “evangelism” seems to be intimidating to a lot of Christians. Especially during seasons like this, where everyone is “social distancing” we automatically assume it would be tough to evangelize. I think in a way we use Covid as a shield, almost like an excuse to stay in our comfortable bubble and “keep safe”.

Jesus said the harvest is plentiful. So the harvest isn’t an issue. There are so many people in this world that needs to be ministered to and we need to spread the good news of Christ to them. The problem is with the laborers. No one is going out to the field, and why is that? For me, I think it is part fear and part complacency. Evangelism is for missionaries in Cambodia? No, we are all called to spread the Gospel.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. (Mark 16:15)

Me, Brian and couple of the people from the church got together and made these “care packages (covid edition)” filled with all the essentials, such as soap, hand sanitizer, masks, mini bible, tissue and couple of snacks, as well as a hand-written card. We wanted to just reach out to people and spread the love of God. 🙂 It was so much fun making these packages and praying for people we can hand this out to.

I gave my care package to a police officer guy who was working outside a large grocery store today, and he kept on saying “God bless you” and I ended up feeling MORE blessed. You would be surprised the huge smile on him, he looked like he just won a lottery. Many people are dying and the depression is rising, if churches are asleep or hiding, who’s going to be the light and hope that can point people to Jesus? No one.

People are desperate for love. Not just any human love but the love of God.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Here I am God, Send me.