Love and Power

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, (Ephesians 3:17-18)

I always envision ourselves as trees. Sprouting from the ground with constant care from God. Right amount of sunlight, right amount of water and right amount of care. When plants grow, they put roots in the ground, and that’s to be firmly standing when a strong wind comes and tries to knock them over.

God is a caring father who pays so much attention to our every little thing, and wants what’s good for us. He wants us to be rooted and grounded in his love. The verse in Ephesians mentions that I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power. Meaning being rooted in love come before having power. Power without love is reckless and can be abusive, even. (Martin Luther King’s quote)

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Without love, it is meaningless. We can evangelize and do all the works and even prophecy and heal people, but is that coming from a place of true love? It is a question we should ask ourselves daily.

I think it is crucial to always check if we are rooted in love.

On the flip side, what about love without power? What if we are rooted in love but we don’t exercise the power of Christ? Love without power is sentimental and anemic. (Martin Luther King’s quote, also) We can sit in our own comfort of home and fill ourselves with God’s love, but what are we doing with it? If we are truly overflowing with his love, then there will be an urge to go out and love on others as well, because that is the heart of Christ. Ministry without power, and especially evangelism without power is not very effective. I’ve seen it happen, I’m not saying it is totally not effective but when you are evangelizing with the Holy spirit guiding you and giving you instruction, it becomes SO MUCH more powerful.

Lord I pray that I always remain rooted in your love before anything else. So that when trials and tribulations come I will not shake, but will be firmly grounded in you. Amen!

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!”

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.

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.

A little sleep, a little slumber

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)

I love sleep, don’t you? I love a little slumber, a little folding of hands to rest.

It is 11:39 pm right now, and I’m racing against the clock to finish this entry because I’m trying to be diligent and faithful in keeping my promise to journal everyday. It’s one of the things God’s been speaking to me about this season, “Discipline and Diligence” God delights the ones who are diligent and blesses them.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)

When I read this the first time, I was like “oh! this is definitely about finance”. I felt pretty good about it being a natural born ‘hustler’ lol I have worked multiple jobs since the age of 15, and made good living out of it. But then I started to meditate on this a little more and thought this could also mean us being lazy with our spiritual walk with God.

How many of us are asleep? Taking a nap? During Covid, how many churches are asleep? I started to think about the fruit and the harvest. What is the fruit we’re producing in this season? Are we truly diligent in with our walks with God? spending time with God each day, meditating on his word, and filling our days up with prayer, and loving on our neighbors and spreading the good news of Christ? Or are we being lazy?

Then the poverty comes.

Poor people are always in “need” and they are not the one who can give to others. If we are not filled with the holy spirit and God’s love, we become the poor who constantly needs other peoples help in order to survive. (When it should be us who are helping others and feeding others) We become incompetent. We become inwardly focused and unable to bless others and die for one another, because we are so busy trying to “survive” We are not just talking about finance anymore.

Only out of abundant love of Jesus flowing through us, we can minister to others. But we cannot get there without diligently spending time with the Lord. In his words, prayer, and worship.

I really think accountability in this area is so important, whether it is a small community of people or close friend or in my case, my spouse (my 24/7 accountability partner) helps a lot! Lord thank you so much for the people you’ve placed in my life to keep me accountable, so that I do not fall into the sin of sloth. And from time to time, I totally was being lazy and I repent for not caring enough. I want to spend my time intentionally.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)

Days are evil and we cannot waste time anymore. Lord help me to always be mindful of how I spend my time, and more than anything I want to be diligent and faithful in loving you and becoming more like you each day! Amen.

p.s It’s already 12:30 and I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, but have grace on me ❤

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!

Give freely

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:24-25)

How things work in the Kingdom of Heaven always seems a bit upside down 🙂 One who gives freely, yet grows all the richer? How does that work? A lot of times when we face financial trouble we try to hold on to what we have left with our dear life. I have several friends from church that always asked me to “pray” for their financial breakthrough. For their promotion, raise, a bonus, a random check in the mail… etc. Money please rain down from heaven. After hearing them out, I always recommended them to try the “upside down kingdom finance method”. Which is basically you trust the Lord for your provision and sow a little you have into the Kingdom and watch God work. And I kid you not, 90 percent of the time, their response is exactly the same: “But I really don’t have money to give, I’m not in a financially stable place to give to church, or the needy.”

In Luke, there is a beautiful parable of a poor widow.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

I used to only focus on the fact that she was “poor” but this time when I read through it again, it hit me that not only was she poor but she was also a widow. Her financial struggle probably wasn’t due to her own fault, but because her husband who’s been providing for her has passed away. If you have lost your husband, and are totally running out of money, how easy would it be to blame God and try to hold onto what you have left? But she did the complete opposite. She put in the last 2 copper coins she had into the offering box and honored God. That was ALL she had left. She did not even have her husband to fall back on. There was literally nothing else in the world she could depend on.

Then Jesus saw her.

He saw her heart, and he saw her faithfulness. People say they’ll tithe or put in offering “when they get wealthy or at least in a comfortable state” but they are wrong. If you don’t have the heart to give on to the Lord when you have little, you won’t do it even when you have more. All things are from from God and also belongs to God, so why are we so entitled to what we were freely given?

I think this not only applies to “money” but also applies to other resources such as time, or effort.

Love always costs something

For Jesus, it was his blood on the cross. The excruciating pain he had to suffer, the persecution he had to endure. What did loving someone cost you? Are we only willing to do what’s comfortable? What’s within our means? Or are we willing to step out of our comfort zone for radical generosity? I want to see my father God work miracles as we obey his word of us being generous people. Lord, I repent for all the times I’ve not been giving to the needy and the poor. I want to serve you and your people with cheerful and generous heart, always!

Depth of the Pit

I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you,

and you said, “Do not fear.” (Lamentations 3:55-57)

I’m a designer, and the latest project I’ve taken on was this children’s book design with illustrations. I’m working with a girl (I think she’s 12 or 13) who wrote a book and gave me hand drawn sketches for me to turn it into a well-designed book that she can potentially publish. There was a part in her book that shocked me at mature her writing was.

One day, I’m gonna escape your clutches and leave this suffocation

And for the illustration, she wanted me to draw a girl crawling out of a pit. I mean is it just me or does this seem super biblical? I don’t think this girl is Christian, but her book made me think that Jesus might already be talking to her.

We all have been in the “Pit” of our own, really. Whether it is self-hatred, depression or addiction that bounds us. But more than that, simply a life’s trial without God’s help, I think that is the Pit. I remember as a teenager growing up, I thought the “Pit” was a cool place to be at. Where no one bothers me, I can wallow in my own sorrow and depression. I wanted to tune out everything so the isolation in the Pit was my choice of coping mechanism. I refused help, refused love, and refused everything good in my life, because I did not know God. There is no water in the pit, (but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14) no life, only a glimmer of light at the top of the pit if you decide to look up.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. (Psalms 40:2)

But Jesus, my savior brought me up and out of the miry clay that was engulfing me whole. He showed me that there is a life that could be filled with joy and love of God. God wants to save us, he wants all of us out of that dark place we’re stuck in, all we need to do is open the door when he knocks, just let him into your heart.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

I said “Come in to my heart” and there he was.

A Good Wife

To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:5)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a good wife. Being a newlywed, I watch my husband daily and am in such an awe, at how Christ-like he is. It feels like I’m looking at a truth mirror, and I begin to see all my shortcomings. NOT because he points them out to me, but by his upright posture and gentle and kind nature, I feel the conviction.

He works out everyday, and not only that, but he wakes up bright and early 6AM and tells me that he loves me a bunch and so does Jesus! He reads his bible every morning for an hour (or sometimes more) journals, and spends time in prayer. He prepares breakfast for me when I’m busy with work (because I work East Coast hour, my mornings are pretty hectic) and prays for me that I have a good day at work! Is this person real? This morning I woke up and found out that he has organized our new apartment meticulously and it looked SO beautiful and orderly, I was just…. in shock. This is what I’m talking about when I feel like I’m looking into a truth mirror and I see all my flaws. Because I’m not so much like him.

  1. To be self-controlled
  2. Pure
  3. Working at home
  4. Kind
  5. Submissive to their husband

This list looks like something I would’ve immediately felt like “That ain’t me.” my pre-Christ days. I was alway so passionate about work, career and the fact that woman are even more capable than man. The word “Submission” made me cringe so bad. Self-control, was NOT my forte, because I was all about FOMO, YOLO, I just wanted to indulge in everything I can now. Purity also, seemed like such a stupid thing at the time, because no one is really pure, right? (but later found out that there is enormous blessing that comes from God if you strive to live pure, and stay as far as you can from sexual temptation)

Meeting Jesus changed me. It changed my outlook on life. I started to understand why God put these instructions in the bible. It was not in a way that he was shoving these “rules” down our throat, but it was his fervent heart for us to course-correct us to save us from our future heartache. (from all the stupid choices we make) His wisdom blew my mind away, because it was actually so much better than my own thoughts and ideals. God started to teach me a lot of these things through my husband. I used to make fun of my husband because he is SO NEAT (he likes everything to be nicely organized and clean) and he was exceptional at managing things in the house. And I used to pride myself in being super chill about everything and being able to find all my stuff in the midst of chaos and mess.

For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (1 Timothy 3:5)

But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

God is not a God of confusion and chaos. But he is orderly. I’m learning daily that I was so selfish and only was focusing on myself, but not God. But I want to learn his ways and his wisdom on how to live our daily lives. I want to model how a good wife should be and try my best to live a life that reflects this verse daily.

Lord thank you for a daily conviction from the Holy Spirit that I may become more like you every day, Amen.