The Perfect Gift

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

I spent a long time researching what to get my husband for the first ever birthday of his we’re celebrating together. When I asked him “What do you want for your bday?” He said, “You are enough!!!:” but then also “But I also like nice things.. lol”

The first gift that came to mind was actually a bible-study kit. Broken down book by book, main summary, bible characters, authors, historical timeline, geography etc. LOL Some might think that’s a gift no one would ever want. (Brian definitely did not ask for a gift like this) But I really wanted him to dig deeper into the word of God, and I wanted to do the same. So I made him 10 binders of bible study books and wrapped it with a pen + a journal. 

What would be “beneficial” for him and his spiritual health, was the utmost important thing to me.

But then again, I also wanted to get him just something that’s “nice” to have. So went on a hunt for the most perfect leather sneakers that would fit him. (and some coffee) 

The whole process of finding gifts for him, I began to understand God’s heart. A lot of times what he gives us as “gifts” are what’s beneficial for us. He knows us best, and he gives us something that we would need (but not necessarily “want” or “asked for”) Just like how God gifted me with a beautiful apartment GYM. (Which I would never ask for in a million years) God knows how much I sit around and need to work out to keep healthy. But also at the same time, he blesses us with just “nice” things as well. These things I call “cherry on top” Like the beautiful honeymoon suite in Ohio I didn’t even book but God just gave to us. 

The best part was I was having more fun in preparing these gifts for him. It was SO joyful thinking about how Brian will be surprised and these gifts will bring a smile to his face. It was not a “chore” to get his gift or a “difficult task” but it was just pure joy. I bet God prepares our gifts with such joy too.

Thinking, “You just wait and see!”

I bet he smiles looking down at us when we find the gifts from heaven. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17)

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.

Rest, dear, rest.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:3)

Few weeks ago, as I was reading through Exodus and Leviticus, God spoke to me about the Sabbath and rest. Genesis 2:3 is such a beautiful representation of “rest” that I had to meditate on this for a while. God has spent 6 days creating heavens and the earth, he created all the plants, animals and even us! But after finishing all the work of creation, on 7th day, he rested. My first, simple question was “Why did he rest?” Did God, after doing a whole bunch of creating for 6 days, get tired? Is that why he rested?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary... (Isaiah 40:28)

No, I don’t think that’s it. He is an all-powerful God, he could have worked 7 days, 70 days and 7000 years if he wanted, but it was an intentional decision on his part to take a day to “rest’. I think there is something so powerful and key in this.

I used to think God “blessed’ he seventh day and made it holy, and that’s why he rested on that day, but actually it was the other way around. He rested, and because he rested, he blessed that day. It’s so interesting that from his day of rest, his blessing came.

A lot of the sermons lately I’ve been hearing about rest was mostly focused on the part of as human, we get tired and weary as we are ministering to others. So that’s why we need to rest in the arms of Christ. That is true, but I started to re-think about the order.

We work hard, and minister to others -> We get tired and weary -> We go do Christ for rest so we can recharge.

What if it was the other way around?

We rest in his presence -> We get filled with his spirit and we are overflowing in love -> We go out and minister to others from that overflow.

What if we rested in his presence more often and not wait until we get burnt out? What if everything we do came from the place of spending time with God? What if God created rest not as a rescue plan from being burnt out but as a way to bless us?

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters. (Psalm 23:1-2)

This is one of my favorite verse in the bible, and every time I read this, I picture myself on this green hill on a sunny day. I hear the water running ever so subtly in the background and my eyes are closed. My Lord, my shepherd, he is the one who made me lie down and he is the one who led me beside the quiet waters.

From the place of rest, he will speak to us. He will fill us with his spirit. He will bless us. Not just on a Sunday, or not only when I’m are tired, but always, I pray I will find rest in him.