Surprise!

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7)

How many times have you told God “God, I don’t understand what you’re doing!”?

I find myself being impatient from time to time asking God, what. is. happening! But Jesus said, later we will understand. There is only one who can see the big picture, everything from the beginning and the end, and that is God. He knows everything, and therefore he knows what’s best for us, and what’s not.

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. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Not only does he know everything, but he also has a plan for us. Plans to give us hope and a bright future. But contrary to what the scripture say, we often say “Why GOD! Why!” We blame God and we question his goodness.

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? (Matthew 7:9)

Will God give us a stone instead? Absolutely not. He is our good father 🙂

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:11)

My husband’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been racking my brain day and night to think of the most perfect gift. And because we live together and our packages get delivered to the same spot, I was afraid that he might pick it up and find out what it is before his actual birthday. And I had to do some prep work and wrapping the gift without him knowing or seeing! So I told him if he can just go somewhere for half a day LOL! He asked me “What’s wrong? why?” I said “I need some space!” Hahahahahah (and I never say this kind of stuff) and he was puzzled and also seemed sad/disappointed. But I know that he will be more surprised that way!

I wonder God does that with us sometimes, he only reveals so much to us at a time, but save the best for the last.

Once we enter through the gate of heaven, he’ll be standing there with his arms wide open welcoming us back with the most radiant smile and say

“Surprise!”

A New Heaven and a New Earth

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Rev 21:2)

In a past couple of days, I’ve been hearing and reading about this “New Jerusalem” A new heaven and a new earth. I am a pretty visual person so whenever I read a part in bible that’s described in detail, I picture the image in my head. It was actually pretty magnificent how it was described in the bible, city like a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband. I bet more than anything that city is full of purity and holiness.

source : Google

It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Rev. 21:11-12)

The reason why this city is so marvelous is because it was shining with the glory of God. Of course there it was built with all these jewels that sparkle but the only way to make any jewel shine is with “light” without light, even a jewel becomes an invisible dull stone sitting in darkness.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Rev. 21:23)

And this particular city did not even need the sunlight or the moonlight, but the light of the Lord was shining through, making all gold and jewel sparkle in it’s brilliance. I started to imagine the New Jerusalem not just as this future city to come, but as every one of us, after we’ve been born again and sanctified.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)

God’s dwelling place is now among us, he is living inside of every single one of us, and he becomes our God. My God, my father, my comforter, my Lord. We don’t have to look for New Jerusalem too far away because we are being sanctified into becoming his holy temple. His light will shine out of each of us, that we sparkle like the true gem. Pure, holy and transparent like glass. In his perfect glory, there will be no more pain. He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and it will be us going from glory to glory.

Yes, it is true that we live in this fallen flesh and body, but we also have holy spirit living inside us renewing us daily. Could it be possible that we get so close to God and empty ourselves daily to fill the space completely with God? Could we experience the New Jerusalem here on earth?

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Rev. 21:6)

He says it’s possible. Jesus has paid the price on the cross so that we may be victorious through him.

It is done.

Powerful Scripture Verses : Sin & Freedom

Here are collection of verses that I think could really help us to experience FULL freedom in Christ 🙂

  • No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
  • Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
  • “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
  • and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalms 50:15)
  • Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
  • It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, (Titus 2:12)
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
  • You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
  • “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
  • Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
  • For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

Love & Pray for others

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV)

Today’s Daily Bread was this verse, and as soon as I was reading this, my friend sent me a DM on Instagram.

“Hannah I need prayers

I was like God is always so timely! I totally felt the holy spirit was encouraging me and leading me to pray for her. (If you are reading this, love you Sandy!) This morning was so good, because my husband and I worshipped and prayed together for a lot of things. Everything from our friends and family who are struggling, to ministries we are supporting. We prayed for leaders in our church and for every single member in our church to be filled with holy spirit and passion for Jesus. There is such power in prayer & intercession.

In 1 Thessalonians, it talks about these 4 things.

  1. Warn those who are lazy or idle.
  2. Encourage those who are disheartened.
  3. Help the weak (care for them tenderly)
  4. Be patient with everyone.

Are we doing this in our daily life? I wonder if we are only so focused in ourselves and our problems that we don’t care to look around. Whenever my life feels busy or hectic, I lose sight of what’s really important. Spending time to love on our neighbors and the Lord. Someone once said this quote to me, and it really made me think.

“If the devil can’t make you sin, he will keep you busy.”

Enemy will throw things your way, all these busy-work to keep you occupied from advancing God’s kingdom. Lately I had to check myself a lot and make sure that I’m not just filling my day up with busy work. That I may have time to help, and encourage others. Or even gently rebuke the ones who are idle. It was such a great reminder this morning to do more of that.

Lord, thank you for reminding us daily, to love you and love others. We sometimes get so caught up in our own life, and focused on “me” and not you. No matter how busy our day is, we want to prioritize you as #1 and then spend time helping and loving on others. Forgive me for being so selfish from time to time. Help me to become more loving and patient with others, Amen.

Everyday Thanksgiving

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

For days, I never questioned why my hairbrush was so clean (when every time I brushed my hair I shed like a golden retriever lol) Usually my hairbrush looks like a furball.

One day I saw Brian (my husband) cleaning my hairbrush in the bathroom. He’s been doing this all this time so that I can have a clean brush!

My hairbrush Brian cleaned

I never knew there were so many things he does that I wasn’t even aware of. He just did them quietly even when I failed to recognize them. I am always humbled by the way he is, and his huge heart of serving. I bet this is how God is like too, we fail to recognize so many things God has blessed us with, because they are just trivial things. But regardless he continues to love us.

If you really think about it there is thousands of things to be thankful for, yet we just take them for granted. I just wanted to take some time just to sit and be thankful for everything he has blessed me with😊 (Since it’s a day off)

I am healthy, and have all of my limbs, I have enough money to buy my favorite brand of yogurt from time to time, I have both of my parents who loves me very very much, and I have a roof over my head, the air I breathe and I get to see beautiful sunrise and sunset with my husband. I have a voice, so I can sing, I have vision so I can read, and see the ones I love. God even made cute animals like Alpacas and Capybaras. I am thankful for a million things! For my church, my friends, my husband, my family, my job… THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever. (Psalms 106:1)

I held on to my hairbrush and started to cry, I hugged my husband and asked him “Why didn’t you ever tell me that you were doing this! I’m so sorry I never recognized it. I’m so sorry that I never said anything He smiled and said because I love you! Then he was busy wiping my tears away saying why you cryin’ lol

Lord, I’m so sorry I never said anything, I took many things for granted, forgive me. I want to spend every day with joyful heart of thanksgiving, 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.

What is love?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Today on Sept. 2nd, I got “legally married” to my husband Brian. Because of the Coronavirus, we had to get married over video call to the state of San Mateo, CA. It was a terribly un-romantic way to get married because the very first thing on this video call the lady who was “officiating” the wedding said was, “It’s gonna be 80 dollars for wedding and 60 dollars for marriage license, we accept VISA or Mastercard.” LOL 😀 I started to chuckle, because I just found it so funny that this is what my legal marriage would look like lol.

Love is a wonderful thing, and we talk about it all the time. But if someone were to ask me what I think love is, I still have a hard time answering that question.

What is love to you?

The famous verse about love in the 1 Corinthians is probably the most cited verse for any marriage ceremony, and also happened to be part of my daily reading today. (Our Daily Bread) How timely is it? That on the day of my legal marriage ceremony, God gave me this exact verse to meditate on?

Interestingly enough, the very first thing this verse said about “what love is” is that love is patient.

Let’s be honest, when you think of love, is “patience” the very first thing that comes to mind? For me, whenever I think of love I think of passion, elation, and excitement. All the butterflies in my stomach. But the bible says otherwise. It talks about how love endures, is not proud, is not easily angered and keeps record of no wrongs. Not exactly all the “giddy feelings” and “having fun” but this is what mature love looks like.

God is Love.

When I read 1 Corinthians, I think of God, and his very nature. God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. God honors us and he is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How can I love others well? was always a question in my heart, but I think my answer to this is becoming more like Christ through having a close relationship with God. Because he is the source of love.

Lord, I want to be more like you, teach me your ways of love, not the way of this world, but your way. Fill us with your love daily, that we may love others from the overflow of your love, Amen!