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.

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.

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!