Thursday, February 21, 2019

Walk in the Spirit

What does it mean to "walk in the Spirit?" Why do I have the desire to walk in the Spirit? My answer is simple. It is because of the assurance that comes with it: that I shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. What are the lusts (works) of the flesh? Adultery, fornication, uncleannes, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, revelries, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, and the like (Galatians 5:19-21).

"Shall not" in the Greek translation is a double negation. That means I will never ever. Who wouldn't want to be free from the bondage of the flesh? I for sure do not want to be held captive by the demands of my flesh. It is tiring. It is suffocating. It is dry. It is lifeless. It is fruitless.

"Walk," Paul said. He did not say "live" but "walk." Why? Because the moment I made the decision to accept Jesus in my heart, immediately thereafter, I live in His Spirit. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. - Galatians 5:25"

However, I cannot just live in the Spirit, I must also walk in the Spirit. Walk is an action word. It's not passive. It's moving. It requires constant motion. Paul also said "in" the Spirit, not "with" the Spirit. "In" and "with" may sound like it's the same thing, but these two words totally have different meanings. "In" emphasizes inclusion, being contained in a place, not alongside, and obvioulsy not outside. "With"on the other hand indicates a participant in action, partnering, doing an action with another person.

I appreciate how Paul carefully chose and used the preposition "in" instead of "with." He knew the importance of walking inside the power of the Holy Spirit than just partnering or working with the Holy Spirit. If I only make myself a partner of the Holy Spirit, without question, I will fail, leave, or betray Him. It's because I am depending on my own effort which is futile and weak. But being inside and under His care, I will have success.

When I make conscious, intentional decision each day to abide and tread in the Holy Spirit's realm, I am assured to enjoy the freedom that is promised. When I walk in the Spirit I will bear His fruit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Now the question, how do I walk in the Spirit? I walk in the Spirit by humbling my heart in prayer. I pray for help. A very simple, "Holy Spirit, help me." especially when I feel that the lust of my flesh is overpowering my heart. I've tried it many times. And in those times I cried out for His help, the Holy Spirit never disappointed me. He always pulled me out from the pit of bondage and gently ushered me to freedom.

On the other hand, there were also times when I allowed myself to wallow in my paralyzing emotions. Those were the times I granted my heart permission to be prideful. I was so full of pride that my mouth could not open to say "help me." However, in those times, my Father God remained faithful. The Holy Spirit never left me even when I neglected Him. He was always there in the process with me, so patiently prodding, lifting, pacifying. He never let go until I was free.

How awesome. How faithful. How magnificent is the God who created, loves me, and never leaves me.

Father, in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, I lay down at Your feet my weaknesses. I offer to you the selfishness of my flesh. I ask that You help me to humble my heart especially in times the enemy attacks me. Help me gain the strength and humility to call the Holy Spirit to help me walk in Him in my waking moments and give me shalom peace when I'm asleep. Amen.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody: Poem of A Lost Son

My heart aches. As I write this blog, my heart feels like it's being stabbed, it hurt so much as my tears are racing down. I don't know where to start or how. But I guess I have to go back to what happened minutes ago. 

I was reading Psalm 13. David started this Psalm with a question, "How long, LORD?" (NKJV)

My heart and mind have been diverted to my deep appreciation and the feeling of profound grief after my husband and I watched the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody" last weekend. I never knew how much I love this band (specifically Freddie Mercury) until that moment. These past days, vibrating speakers were blasting Queen's songs consumed our house. I was soaking in Queen's nostalgia.

I grew up listening to the Queen's songs. Love of My Life was my favorite karaoke song, 'til to this day. Bohemian Rhapsody was my most favorite song for many, many years. It became the theme song of my life as I discovered and learned the world around me as a teen and in my early adulthood. I didn't really care to find out what the band members looked like. I just loved their music. Never heard or know anything about Freddie's dilemma as a private and public profile. Never seen videos of him performing. None. Everything to me about Queen was pure audio. I embraced their music.

The capacity of my admiration of Queen soared a hundred times after I watched the movie. But this time, it's more of the people involved than the music, Freddie particularly. There was a scene in the movie where I was not able to suppress my tears. Tears just kept flowing when Freddie told his bandmates that he has AIDS. It was heartfelt. It was pure. It was brave. It was a moment that seemed like a colossal defeat, but it actually was the opposite. It was a moment of triumph for him as he exposed to the people who matter most in his life what he's going through. It was a moment of victory where love knitted back together the once was broken friendship. Love in that moment has won. Love was victorious.

Music had been embedded in his veins even before he was born. He was one of a kind. He knew it and lived on it. As a person, he was gifted with a divine heart that his friends cannot turn their back at him even after he messed up.

It broke my heart to know and see such a beautiful human being oozing with passion, talent and heart had to go so soon. I have my "why" and "what if" moments until now. Why nobody has introduced him to the love of the Father God for him? "Father wound." That's what I think is the major reason why he got sidetracked along the way. If only he knew that only His Father in heaven can fill up the void he felt in his heart, things would have been so different. What if he is still alive today and has already received the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior? I bet every time he opens his mouth to sing are words of praises to Him who loves him the most. Can you imagine "the" Freddie Mercury singing songs about God's amazing grace? I totally can! Millions and millions of hearts are impacted. 

I love Freddie. His passion, his talent, his personality, most of all, his heart. I didn't know I have this kind of admiration for him. I never thought I could be impacted this much after all these years being oblivious to his career. It's weird to feel this great loss. It feels like I lost a family member or a very close friend. It's painful. I even asked God why am I having such deep emotion?

As I read Psalm 13, I told myself, "If only Freddie has read this as he was experiencing emptiness and brokenness. If only. We will still have him to this day enjoying the gifts given to him." After I read the passage, I was overwhelmed with this sense of urgency and burning passion in my heart to pray for all the amazing talents in the music industry. There's no time to waste. I obeyed. I prayed.

May there will be no more talents lost because they feel that life's gift to them is emptiness despite of the deafening praises of men. May they all find themselves wrapped in the love of the Father God. May they all know how loved they are by the One who fearfully and wonderfully created them. This world cannot afford to lose one more amazing person because of feeling unloved, unwanted, not enough. Doesn't matter if one lives in the limelight or in the dark corners of the streets. Everyone needs to know and experience the kind of love that each one of us is yearning for. When we allow the love of the Father to cover us from the imperfections of the world, all wounds of the past will be mended and perfectly healed. In the Father God's arms, there is no father wound, only the Father's perfect love.

Love live the Queen!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

And the Spirit of God...

The Spirit is life. The Spirit gives life. The Spirit is the breath of God.

The first mention of the Spirit in the Bible is found in Genesis 1:2 —"The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

Before Elohim spoke the first words, the Spirit manifested its power—create and give life. The moment God released His breath on earth, life commenced. The chaotic, ugly, gloomy, dark, dead earth came into being. Immediately after, His mouth uttered, "Light be!" And the rest of creation followed through in pursuit of every word that came out of His mouth. There was no stopping until completion was accomplished. Everything was perfect, good, and very good.

 The life of earth started with the Spirit.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Worth More Than Many Sparrows

It doesn't matter when people are too busy to take notice of you. Accept that they too have their own pursuits. I acknowledge that tingle in your aching heart. I too had been there, many times. It is okay to feel that way, but only for a few minutes. Do not dwindle and soak your soul in the bitter pool.  You cannot continue this misery because of feeling unwanted. Ignored. Rejected. Behold your Father in heaven. Every day, He cares about the number of your hair. Each one falls without being noticed. Each one grows and does not escape His vigilant eyes. This is the truth. Be still. Taste and see how valuable you are to Him, that even the smallest detail of your being, He takes time to care. You are loved. Deeply.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Following New Blue Prints Devotional: Day 4 - I Choose to Work in Unity With God's People

Theme: I choose to work in unity with God's people.
Study Book: Nehemiah Chapter 3

Personal Reflection

Chapter 3 portrays a group of committed and dedicated people working together to rebuild Jerusalem. They are composed of family, friends, neighbors from different backgrounds and professions, men and women together. They come together for one purpose, laboring in one accord, helping one another.

This chapter records a long list of people's names which many are hard to pronounce. Honestly, reading their names was tedious. At the same time, I knew that every name mentioned has a purpose. Every name has meaning. Like for example, the name Eliashib, the very first name mentioned in this chapter. Eliashib in Hebrew means, "God restores." This chapter starts with the message of "God restoring" the Sheep Gate (which has a deeper meaning that I hope to dig later).

Camp Application

Feeling tedious of reading the names, I went back to my study guide. I read something that the contributor mentioned which totally changed my outlook in this long chapter which is full of names and list of repetitive words of the kind of work they did.

As I read the names, I envisioned the faces of the people that I will be serving with at camp. I visualized us, volunteers, working in our respective cabins, decorating, preparing logistics, and most of all, supporting each other in sowing the seed of God's truth and grace in the children's hearts. Like the people in this chapter, we came from different backgrounds. We have different temperaments and personality. Yet, in this five-day period, I make a personal decision to set aside my selfishness, my pride, my privacy, my comfort. Doing allows me to give what my fellow volunteers the support they need from me. 

"Following New Blue Prints Devotional is created for RFK Camp volunteers in preparation for RFKC 2018. Images used in this blog is a personal choice."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Following New Blue Prints Devotional: Day 3 - I Choose to Trust God

Theme: I choose to trust God amidst opposition.

Study Book: Nehemiah 2:11-20

Personal Reflection

Nehemiah went to inspect the places affected by the destruction by himself. Seeing Jerusalem in total ruin encouraged him more, to move forward with what he intended to do—rebuild his beloved hometown. Nothing was going to stop him. When he came face to face with his brethren, he gave a speech that motivated their spirit to do the work. Nehemiah ensured his people of God's goodness and how God approved of their desire to rebuild Jerusalem. He also told them about how the king supports them all the way.

However, bullies came and downgraded their plan. They were right on their faces, throwing all the negative words they can say. Yet, Nehemiah was not threatened. He knew whom he stood for. He had so much confidence in his God, his detractors' words mean nothing.

Camp Application

When I told family and friends about my plan to volunteer for RFKC this summer, I do not know if there were people who thought in secret that it's a ridiculous idea. For someone who doesn't know these kids in distress, and what could happen during camp, some people may think  it's a "suicide." But like Nehemiah, I do not care what they think. What I care is the whisper of God in my heart. When He put that passion in my heart for it, I took steps to walk in the journey that He wanted my feet to tread. What I care is this exciting moment of my life that God opened for me. What I care is the love and the hope I can give to the kids God handpicked for me to have an impact on. God already prepared the way for me and these kids. Everything is ready for all of us. The oppositions' words and thinking have been silenced. Like Nehemiah and his people, we win. Our God made it so.

"Following New Blue Prints Devotional is created for RFK Camp volunteers in preparation for RFKC 2018. Images used in this blog is a personal choice."

Friday, July 6, 2018

Following New Blue Prints Devotional: Day 2 - I Choose to Trust God

Theme: I choose to trust God.
Study Book: Nehemiah 2:1-10

Personal Reflection

Nehemiah must have been looking depressed for months (from the time he heard the news) while serving the king, that one day the king asked his cupbearer the reason behind his dejected face. The king couldn't take it any longer. The happy Nehemiah doesn't look like the Nehemiah he knows. This sad face has been going on for months. The king sensed that his servant is going through a deep emotional struggle.

I love how Nehemiah responded. He didn't have any reservations. He did not let his fear stop him from telling the king the very truth behind his sorrow. Because of his boldness, the door to work out an answer to his concern was opened. However, his audacity was coupled with trust in his God through prayer. He didn't just thoughtlessly give the king a long list of what he needs, he started it all with a prayer. He is fully aware that anything he plans to do, will not be successful without involving God and putting Him first above everything.

Nehemiah is a man of great faith. The Holy Spirit included the story of Nehemiah's unwavering faith in God as a vivid illustration of what it is like when I put all my trust in Him. God never disappointed Nehemiah in his talk with the king. The king gave all that he requested. He even sent captains of his army and horsemen to accompany Nehemiah, to ensure the safety of his journey. He gave him a great success in all his endeavors because, in everything he did, he put God first. When I follow Nehemiah's example, God will surely do the same for me.

Camp Application

I've never been to RFK Camp before. I have a few pictures in my mind of what it will be like, but these are nothing compared to the actual scenario. I need the grace of God to remind me to put Him first in everything that I do or say. Doing this will bless all the people that I will be with especially the kids that I will be serving. I should not depend on my human efforts for they will bound to fail. But with God, I am bound to succeed in blessing the lives of the children and the volunteers.

"Following New Blue Prints Devotional is created for RFK Camp volunteers in preparation for RFKC 2018. Images used in this blog is a personal choice."