Move on

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 42:18)

When I first got saved, I had these nightmare almost every night. In my dream I was the same girl who slept around and did not have a single care in the world. But ever single night the enemy was taunting me with all the guilt and shame that I was struggling at the time. When I got saved, and God told me I was a new creation, I believed it.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But night after night I would be having these dreams and think to myself, maybe I am not saved. Maybe I am not free from this. Maybe I am just the same lost girl I once was. It was a blatant trick and a lie from the enemy trying to stumble me into thinking that I was still the lost sinner I once was, but it took me a while to realize it.

God makes all things new. Once we have been saved through the blood of Christ, we become a brand new creation. God forgives us for all things we have done in the past. But there comes a time when the enemy tries to make us believe that we have not changed. That we are still tied to our past, and make us dwell in the past mistakes rather than moving on to new things that God is doing. We need to stand firm in God’s truth and recognize our new identity in Christ. We are sons and daughters of the most high God.

One day I woke up from the nightmare and did something totally opposite of what I usually do which is to be downcast and dwelling in shame.

I started to praise God

For he is the one who set me free and made me into a brand new blameless creation. I was no longer that old past self in the dream but I was a precious daughter of the most high. I kept on saying Thank you Jesus for setting me free. Thank you so much for your blood, and sacrifice that I am no longer that person I used to be.

Surprisingly the more and more I started doing that, the less and less the dreams occurred. It went from every night to 5 days a week to 3 days a week to only once a week. Then once a month, once in 3 months… Praise God but he truly set me free.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

I bet the devils were like “Crap! every time we give her these dreams to guilt trip her, she wakes up and praises God even more!!! This is not working!!!”

Lord, I thank you for making us into a new creation. Old things are gone, and we want to move forward with you. Let us be firmly grounded only in your truth so that nothing will shake us even if we get attacked. Thank you for second chances, thank you for your blood and forgiveness. Amen.

Die to ourselves, live for Christ

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Galatians 2:20 – when I read it, my first impression was

“Huh?”

Bit of an oxymoron: I’m dead (I no longer live) but still I live. I live by faith in the son of God. The whole upside down principal of God’s Kingdom always was a bit of an enigma to me, until I started experiencing them in my own life. For example, Loving your enemies. (Instead of hate)

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)

Why do we even have to care about the enemies, when we can’t even love our own neighbors? But Jesus loved and prayed for the ones who persecuted him. Even when he was on the cross, he uttered “Father Forgive them” It’s almost a mind-blowing concept, especially if you don’t know the person of Jesus. I remember the first time I loved on the person who was cursing me and hating on me, I think I was half-curious, if I can even do it. The key here is never using our own strength but using the strength of Christ to love them.

Day after day, loving on someone who has something against you isn’t the easiest thing, but you will see softening of their heart as Holy spirit works on them. It’s pretty fascinating. If you haven’t tried, please go ahead and actively try loving the ones who hate you. They’ll think you’re crazy, you’ll think you’re crazy, and probably everyone will think you’re crazy. But the Lord will see your heart, he will reward you.

What does it even mean to be crucified with Christ?

We talk a lot about dying to ourselves and our flesh daily. But I wonder if we really put that into action. When we are dead to ourself and our flesh, would we ever argue with others and fight? Would we throw fits and complain about how we are being mistreated?

When something’s dead, there is nothing but silence and stillness. (If you are dead, you usually don’t talk back)

It seems like my flesh is always talking back at me yapping and going “I don’t like this, and I don’t like that and I’m so frustrated and can’t believe so-and-so did that, blah-blah-blah..” It’s nuts. I want to know what it is like to truly die to self and to live ONLY for Christ. I want to empty myself of me and all my selfish thoughts and start living only for Christ.

God does not only want a part of ourselves, but whole. 100 percent of who we are. He wants full ownership because we belong to him. When we give him 99 percent but decide to hold back that 1% God cannot really use us. Whether it is an idol or secret sin. He is waiting for us to fully surrender ourselves to him. I need to search my life and see if there is even a small thing I’m holding back from him. “God, please you can take everything but this one thing” This will NOT work.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139 23-24)

Lord search me and test me. If there is anything that is offensive to you, please point them all out to me. I want to truly learn what it is like to die to myself and live for you and your glory only, Amen.

Power of the Gospel

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. (John 8: 3-6)

Our pastor shared a story yesterday to demonstrate the power of Gospel. It was about this woman who was caught in adultery. When I read this verse a while back, I remember just nodding my head and going ok, and not giving it much thought. But I spent some time meditating this verse and the more and more I chewed on this story, I started to realize the true power of Gospel of Christ.

This woman, all she did was sin, and her sin was exposed to the world to see. Out of all the things, she got caught in the act of adultery. They (pharisees) basically dragged this woman (and the men she was having this affair with was not even in the picture, she was all by herself with no one to defend her) out into the crowd. I never really imagined this scene in my head before, but this might be the most humiliating thing you can ever imagine. She was probably half naked, absolutely mortified and filled with shame.

The Pharisees then ask Jesus, the Law says to stone her, now what do you say?

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  (John 8:6)

The first thing Jesus did was to bend down. Instead of answering their “trick” question, He lowered his posture near to the ground, and started to write something on the ground with his finger. I bet all the people who were staring at this half naked woman filled with shame with disdain, diverted their attention to see what Jesus was writing.

By doing this, people’s focus was no longer on the woman and her sin but on Jesus, and what he was doing. Jesus took her sin, her shame, and he consumed it. He took it away.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  (John 8:7)

and then crickets…

Is there anyone pure and blameless in this world? Not a single one. Even the Pharisees and whom they called the “Teachers of the Law” clearly had sin in their lives. (Some say that Jesus was probably writing down their names and their sins on the ground with his finger)

Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (John 8:8-9)

The second time he stoops down again, the one and only one who’s truly blameless and righteous stoops down. Instead of standing on a high pedestal, he comes down and lowers his position in humility.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10)

Probably in the tiniest voice shaking with shame, she said “No one, sir,”

Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

At the part where he said neither do I condemn you, tears welled up in my eyes. The gospel isn’t about you coming to God all holy and righteous after cleaning up your act to ask for salvation. The true Gospel is even in the midst of your sin, and you covered in shame, Jesus saying “I don’t condemn you.” I took your sin away at the cross, I paid the price for you, because I love you. Now Go and sin no more.

I bet her life was forever changed.

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.

Who do you surround yourself with?

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

When I was in high school, my mom always used to tell me to stop hanging out with my friends, that they were a bad influence in my life. But of course, being stubborn little brat I was, I ignored her advise. In fact, I moved out of my parents place so I can freely hang out with my ride-or-die friends. I would go out drinking, smoking and shoplifting whatever I wanted with them, we were truly just a bunch of idiots.

It is very true, that if you look at a person and their close circle of friends, you’ll be able to figure out what kind of a person they are. Who you surround yourself is very important, because you will eventually become like them. (If you are not already)

In 1 Corinthians, it says bad company “corrupts” good character, and following verse says to come back to your senses so you can stop sinning. At the end, not only the bad company will corrupt your good moral, but also when that happens, it easily leads you to sinning, or a lifestyle of habitual sin.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

It is so important, especially in the beginning of your Christian walk to surround yourself with a good Godly people, who are passionate for Christ. Learn from them and have them keep you accountable, just like how Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) I’ve seen countless Christians fall away from their faith or backslide because they were lacking this.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)

When I first got saved, I was still dealing with a lot of sin issues I’ve been living with all my life, but I held on to my spiritual mom’s advise and counseling for dear life and surrounded myself with many Christian sisters. (I had to actually cut contacts with many friends) Of course my primary counselor was the holy spirit, but having good company really did help a lot, because I was immature and lacked wisdom.

But then, do we just avoid people who seem like a “bad company” and hide out with “good people”? Is that what Jesus did? He spent a lot of times around his disciples but he actually went to the sinners and fed, healed, delivered, and loved on them as well.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

This is one of my favorite verse in the bible, and every time I read this, I get chills. We are not to be conformed with the worldly patterns, but we are called to be the atmosphere shifters and salt and light of this world. Not only surrounding yourself with a strong community, but to actually be going out into the world to make an impact.

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.