Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Chosen Day 9: Reset

John answered them, "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.-" John 1:26-27
  • Describe a time in your life when you experienced the wilderness. How did God meet you there?
It was when I was heartbroken from a relationship. God then, was only second in my life. Not even second probably. But I knew, He wasn't my first. When I lost that relationship with a person who put on a pedestal, my life was totally devastated. I thought I lost everything. But in those moments of despair, I clung to God. He was the only one I can turn to. There was no human being who can console my wrecked heart—only God. That moment of wilderness led me to know Him deeper, to ask questions I've never asked before. He was there with me all throughout while I lived in the dark. I never left me. He stayed with me. He gently ushered me to the light, out of the wilderness.
  • How do the words "from among you" impact the way you see Jesus?
I am not sure what the question exactly means.
  • What new thing is God doing in your life and heart right now?
With the current social issues going on, God has been teaching me to be more observant, to listen with intention, to think deeply, and to only speak when needed. And if I open my mouth to speak, it must only be words that do not condemn people, but words that will help open the eyes and soften callous hearts.

The Chosen Day 8: Hope

"And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -" Romans 5:2-5
  • What suffering have you experienced that has produced perseverance, character, and hope?
Hopping and living from one family/relative to another when I was at a very young age (because of a broken family). Having to experience such plight at a tender age taught me so many things about life. 
  • What was the evidence of your spiritual growth?
Searching answers about my questions that led me to the arms of the loving Father. Fully trusting that God holds my future. 
  • Have you ever been brought to tears over God's goodness and favor? Describe the circumstances.
Several times. A lot of those times were I watched a sermon about God's goodness and love. My heart got so overwhelmed with how huge His love is for me that my puny heart cannot contain it, I burst into tears. Some other times, I just felt His goodness out of nowhere. Same thing happens—that feeling of being overwhelmed.

The Chosen Day 7: Doubt

"Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.-" Luke 1:11-15

  • What is something you've repeatedly petitioned God for?
To have a business of my own. A business that grows and flourishes. A business that employs hundreds of people. A business that looks after the welfare of its people and the community both local, national, and international. A business that contributes to the betterment of the world. Most of all, a business that is a testimony of God's goodness and love.

  • Do you struggle to believe God hears your prayers?
I don't know. Most of the time, when my prayers are not answered, especially my prayers for the future, I accept it as something that I am not prepared for, that is why it is still not answered. But when it comes to immediate or practical prayers, like healing or financial provisions, God has always intervened.

  • What are some audicious things you can ask God to do in your life?
I will continue to ask for that business. I will ask Him to help me pursue my love for writing the deep issues of the human heart, of life. 

(Done in Strawberry, Arizona)

The Chosen Day 6: Redemption

"The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known.-" John 1:17-18
  • What was the point of God's 1-2-3 pattern in the Old Testament?
I believe the point of such pattern is for people to see how loved they are no matter how they messed up. It's God's way of saying that no mankind sin can take away His mercy and love from them.
  • What does His sacrifice on the cross revealed to you about God the Father.
The message of love from Him to me.
  • How can you live out gratitude for the grace you've already been given for your rebellion?
By sharing my testimony of His sacrifice, His unconditional love, His everlasting grace to the people around me. Sharing the Good News to all and tell them, what God did to me, He will do it to them if they let Him.

(Done in Strawberry, Arizona)

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 5: Renegade

"The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.-" John 1:9-13
  • What is the most striking to you about the way Jesus began His ministry years?
The most striking to me was the power that comes out in every word that He utters. No word of His was wasted. Every word had a purpose, and it's for the good and glory of the kingdom of God. I am also amazed how He showed His deep and close relationship to His Father.
  • Jesus repeatedly extended His hand to all types of people. In what ways do you need to be more like Him? Who do you struggle to welcome?
I struggle to be around the company of conceited people—people who think of themselves highly, who brag so much about themselves. It has been a struggle ever since. However, it doesn't mean that because I personally have a hard time around them, that I'd be indifferent to them. My old self will probably be, but I am a new creation. I did not have to be around them all the time. And while I am away from them, I have to work on myself regarding this struggle through the help of the Holy Spirit.
  • In what ways are you a renegade for Jesus? In what ways do you need to become more of one?
The issue of prejudice and injustice makes me a renegade for Jesus. It's something I cannot stand with people, and I stand for what I believe in by expressing my thoughts and my heart.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 4: Words

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.-" John 1:1-5
  • Describe your first—"Follow me" moment with Jesus.
I don't specifically remember when and how it happened. My journey of knowing who Jesus really is, was gradual. He had to change my heart and the thinking of my mind first. From then, my walk has been to feed on the truth, the Word, even now.
  • Which words of Jesus do you cherish the most?
"Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are? You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.-" Matthew 6:26-27
  • How can you make your own words (particularly on social media) more like Christ's words?
So many times I've been tempted to just rant my feelings and opinions on issues flooding the social media. But thanks to the Holy Spirit who gently reminds me of who I am now, "the old is gone, the new has come." When my emotions are high because of comments I read, instead of responding immediately, I step back, take a break, think, pray. When everything boiling inside me settles down, that's when I respond to comments, or sometimes, I chose not to comment. I have learned that the words I use to express my mind and feelings are powerful. Therefore, I need to be careful how I use them. God used the Word to come everything into being. And because I am made in His own image and likeness, every word that I utter is powerful. It can make or break.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 3: Represent

"If anyone would come after me, let [her] deny [herself] and take up [her] cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save [her] life will lose it, but whoever loses [her] life for my sake will save it.-" Luke 9:23-24

  • Do you find it difficult your testimony? Why or why not?
Depends on the setting. If I am in a group of people talking about our faith, sharing my testimony is very easy for me. Or if I am talking to someone about faith, I normally find a way in to share the goodness of God for me. I find it difficult to "open up" the topic out of nowhere. If I just met a person and we talked for a bit, I normally don't share my testimony about Jesus, unless asked, or the opportunity is open.
  • Be real: Who or what do your words most represent?
After coming into the full knowledge of who I am in Christ and how loved I am by my Father in heaven, I have been more mindful of the words that come out of my mouth. I am more careful of what words to use, especially my posts on social media because I am a representation of who I follow and who I believe which is Jesus. However, there was one incident that just happened lately that I posted a comment on the social media that made a few people react negatively. I admit it was a mistake on my part. I didn't convey my words nicely that made people uncomfortable and defensive.  The topic was about wearing masks on public during this pandemic. I wrote on the comment, "For those who don't want to wear mask, stay home." People don't want to be told what to do. I don't. But the saddest thing about what happened was, one person got so irritated that she went and checked my personal profile, looked at my pictures, and commenting unkind words.
  • Moving forward, what can you say that focuses more on the "after Christ" portion of your testimony than the "before Christ" portion?
I focus more on reminding myself who I am in Christ especially the times I messed up. It's easy to be astray from God's love and presence when things are rough and tough. My flesh would tell to put a wall between me and people and God. But I have learned to do the opposite now. It's a work in progress.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 2: Delivered

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer.-" 2 Samuel 22:2

  • Describe what Christ has delivered you from?
Christ delivered me from myself, my selfish self. Christ taught me how to live according to His Father's purpose which in return benefits me and the people around me.
  • In what ways can you identify with Mary Magdalene?
Being delivered from the things I thought I knew. Selfishness, arrogance, pride ruled my life for years, but like Mary Magdalene, as she continued to abide with Christ, listening and witnessing His goodness and miracles, the scales on her eyes fell down. I once was blind, but now I see.
  • What role has Christ delivered you for?

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 1: Before

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.-" Isaiah 43:1

I want to honor my friend Susan who gave me this 40 days with Jesus book of "The Chosen" series. My prayer is that I will be able to diligently do this without missing a day. It's been a struggle of mine. I cannot do this with my own strength, but with God, who is my strength and fortress, all things are possible. I believe.

  • What parts of your "before" has God redeemed, and which are you most grateful for?
There are too many to mention, actually. I used to get angry easily. I did not know how to control my emotions. I just burst when my feelings told me to. Because of that, some of my relationships, 
suffered. I also had this kind of attitude where I'd think to myself that if someone doesn't like, I don't like them either. Selfish thinking.

There are many more of my "before" that my Father God redeemed, but the one I am most grateful for is "repentance" which is the changing of my thinking about who and what He is. I used to think God as a big guy up in heavens just watching all people in the planet doing their thing, punished them when they do something He doesn't approve of. He was so patient walking with me to understand His very nature as my Father God.
  • How does "I have called you by name, you are mine" impact you today?
This statement from the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God impacts the way I look at myself significantly. It's a deep, personal statement which gives me assurance and sense of belongingness, passionately love, and jealously protected. Him calling me by my name gives my life direction and purpose. It means that my birth was not random nor luck. It means my life here on earth is needed for a good purpose that He planned long before I was created.
  • What do you fear? How does Isaiah 43:1—this declaration made by God to His chosen ones —affect your fear?
What do I fear? My ultimate fear is me and my loved ones well-being. I do not want to die at the early stage of my life, leaving young children without the care of their mother. I do not want my kids, my husband die before me. Death stinks. I believe it's a universal thing that people fear most of all. But thanks be to God who tells me and promises me not to fear.  I have hope that me nor my loved ones will not leave this earth until our purpose is completed. Thanks to the sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ, death is behind me, us. I have eternal life. 

From time to time I need a reminder of what He says in Isaiah 43:1. It gives me assurance. It gives me confidence that my all-powerful God watches me and takes care of me and the people I love.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Bread and Wine : Healed From Severe Allergic Reaction

How can I forget this day?

While observing social distancing with our church families through video chat early in the evening, our daughter, Evie came out from our room and told her Dad that her eyes and throat were itchy. Didn't think of it as something very serious, he gave her go-to allergy medicine. Fifteen minutes later, she came out again and told us that the reaction was getting worse. We let her took a shower. Her eyes were swollen and had patches of rashes on her tummy.

We suspected it was an allergic reaction from the cat. She was complaining how painful her tummy was while in the shower. The warm water was helping a bit. Her throat was still itchy. It was weird to me for her throat to get itchy if the cause of her allergic reaction were just the cats.

Right after she took a shower, she laid on the bed in agony. I told her that we will partake the Holy Communion, so I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the elements. After we partook, she had to go to the bathroom, sat on the toilet. I prayed over her. Everytime I stopped, she asked me to keep praying. Later she said she had to throw up. She threw up most of the food that she ate. Right after throwing up, she said that she felt so much better, especially her stomach of which she dreaded the most.

She lay down on the bed, her tummy still has some pain. All I could do was just pray. Her Dad came in and asked how she's doing and she replied, "I am healed!" He checked her oxygen, and thanks be to God, it's where we need it to be. That gave us a big relief.

I did not stopped praying. My praying gave Evie a sense of peace and relief. She prayed for herself too. It was beautiful to listen when your child raised her hand and exclaimed, "Praise Jesus! Bless the Lord, O my soul!" I rebuked the cause of her allergic reaction to come out of her body. She was sneezing so much and blowing her nose a lot. I believed that was one way God let that thing out of her system aside from throwing up.

Minutes later, her body was covered in welts. Yet she said she felt so much better. Her stomach was not painful anymore. Her breathing and oxygen were perfect. Her throat was not itchy. It's just the welts coming out. And soon, they were fading away.

Holding her with her head on my arm, we just talked. She told me how happy she was that she got healed. Jesus, our Father God, touched her and made her feel better. She said she was glad she didn't have to go to urgent care, especially at this time when people are staying home because of COVID-19. She was very grateful to what God had done to her body that was screaming for healing. We talked about God and His great love for us. She said, "If I have money right now" I told her how God doesn't really need our money. She added, "I just want to offer it to Him."I said that all God needs is for us to know deep inside our hearts who He is as our Father who protects, heals, provides, and that we have this full assurance inside us that He will do what He promised to us.

As we continued to talk about God's goodness, she asked me to wake her up early on Sunday so she can watch both online church that we had been watching every Sunday.

God is good and His love endures forever.

I am thankful of what happened because it displayed the works of God to my daughter. It taught her who He is. The experience she went through, the healing miracle that He showed to her is something that will be embedded in her soul as she matures into a fine young, Godly woman. It's an experience that she will carry with her wherever she goes. When something similar happens to her or anyone she knows, she already know who to turn to, what to do.

And yes, it's the power of the Holy Communion that healed her. It's our remembering what Jesus went through on His way to the cross. By His stripe, Evie was healed. We run to the table that God prepared for us especially in dark times. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Tonight the ingredient on what Evie ate that gave her severe reaction was the enemy. But thanks be to God for the table with the meal that He prepared for her. She received healing.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

The threat of COVID-19 hasn't settled. In fact, it is still rising. Amidst this chaos and uncertainties, who among the living doesn't get scared?

A week ago, fear overwhelmed me. I was scared for myself. I was scared for my family. I was scared for the world. I was scared for the future. Despite prayers being lifted up, fear rested in my heart. I felt like I was a standing log, deeply and tightly compacted with concrete all around. I couldn't move. Fear numbed me. I didn't know where to go. I felt like I was inside a cell and couldn't break free. I did not understand why I felt fear in my heart. I thought I am a Jesus believer. But why do I feel the thing I should not?

As I was battling the darkness in my mind, I heard a voice inside telling me:
"It's alright to feel fear. It's normal. You are human."
"But you keep fear to yourself. You try to fight it your own way."
"Tell me about it. Talk to me. I want to hear. I am listening."

No wonder I felt stiff. No wonder I felt like running in circles that never ends.

I kept fear to myself and fed it with my own hands. I kept it in tight, close fists like a little girl who caught fireflies and doesn't want to let it go. I didn't give it to the One who calmed my many storms—the One who is the answer to my freedom. 

As I slowly disclosed to Him my anxieties and willingly opened my heart to offer to Him what I had been holding on, a revelation was exposed right in my very own heart. The layers of fear faded slowly, like leaves in the fall, each one falling into the ground—and the wind swept them away to nowhere. 

"Perfect love drives out fear." I've seen and heard this verse used so many times but never really fully grasped the totally of its meaning until this experience. It is not my perfect love for Jesus that drives out fear. It is not my believing in Jesus that kicks away anxiety. Rather, it is the perfect love of Jesus "to me" that drives out fear. I just have to voluntarily open myself up so He could pour into me.

After feeding on the truth of how loved, how protected, how provided I am in the midst of this dark time, only then my eyes saw the true meaning of perfect love. His perfect love. When you know in the deepest part of your being that He loves you so much, especially in moments when you feel like everything is crushed and gone, it's when you experience what it is like to be perfectly loved.

Fear will always be there waiting in the corner for you and me. It prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to persecute. There will be days when it gets to me. But now I know what to do the next time it roars at me. I will tell my Lord Jesus about it as He soaks me in His perfect love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Musings on COVID-19: The Light Shines Forth

It's been a week since COVID-19 crept into the spirit of men causing darkness to cover it. The first burst of fear into men's mind showed the worse of individuals. Greed. Greed because of panic. Panic because of fear. Fear because death.

Ever since the fall in the garden of Eden, death has been men's deepest fear. No one wants to die. Why? Because deep inside us cry for life. Men were not meant to die. It was never God's plan. But sin entered, and death found it's way into the flesh and spirit of men.

Hearing about people panic buying in the grocery stores was weird and didn't seem true. Until one day, we went to Walgreens to buy alcohol. We were told they were out. We tried other stores and witnessed empty shelves. The truth sat in, right in front of my very eyes. This is really happening. People were buying alcohol more than they normally use to fight the virus infection. I wasn't too naive to not wanting to get one. It's an alternative for my family to clean hands when soap and water are not readily available when we are out and about. Well, especially in this time of virus scare.

So that night, I went online. If I can't find it in the stores, maybe I can find it online. After all, you can buy everything in the virtual world. But lo and behold, Amazon was out of stock. People selling them on eBay in ridiculous prices. The sad thing was, people were buying them. Out of desperation, people were willing to pay $40 for what used to be $3+ alcohol.

But God was so, so good to me. I found online a local store that sells alcohol by the gallon. Not just 12oz, but a gallon! That's the smallest amount they sell. I ordered online that night, picked it up the next day. Yay! Who would have thought? Well, I do! I believe that I have the God who provides and supplies. Now we have a gallon of alcohol sitting under our sink, ready to grab when needed.

I tried fear to not overcome me. I prayed Psalm 91 over my household. My family took communion more than we normally do. We prayed for the blood of Jesus to cover us. My husband and I talked to girls about what is going on, and how we should not be afraid because God is our protector.

One morning while I took the Holy Communion with my girls, and prayed after for our safety and protection, my older one said, "Mama, I am glad we believe in Jesus." I asked her why. She answered, "Because we are protected." There is nothing I hoped for but for my girls to understand what it is like to believe in Jesus. What she told me was joy to my heart. "Perhaps, I am doing the right thing," I muttered to myself.

When I found out that churches were not coming together on Sunday services, I was mad. I had questions. Why now when you are needed the most? Why now when the people need your light? Why are you hiding church? Why are you scared? I thought we believe in the supernatural God. Then why are we fearful? What will the world think of us?

I didn't understand. I complained to my husband about it. I just could not believe that the church would come into such cowardly decision. Yes, that's what I thought of it. Decision out of cowardice. I felt embarrassed as a Christian. If the government doesn't restrict us to gather together in a church building, then there's no excuse to not do church.

Saturday afternoon, I found out that the lead pastor of Mosaic church, Erwin McManus, announced on Instagram that they too were holding online service streaming. Knowing Erwin, I couldn't believe it. But the local government advised not to gather together with more than fifty people. The government authority had spoken. Everyone must respect. That included me.

On the morning of March 15th, we watched the live streaming of our local church's service. It was actually our church's premier to live stream through a Youtube channel. It was a little weird at first. Totally not the same as when you are actually doing worship with the congregation physically. But God was obviously there in the midst. I felt Him. I experienced Him.

While engaging myself to the newness of this online church service idea (not only with my local church but as well as other churches I follow from other states), the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and made me understand the "why" of this new thing. I realized that my sharing the link of the live streaming to my social media account actually reached people in my circle who are not church goer or who are not believer. In a time like this when the world is full of fear, when people are desperate, when people hit rock bottom, when people asked questions no one can answer, when people feel unsafe, when people lose hope, when the world is wrapped in darkness, the church is there to shine its light as far as it can go. We couldn't do this if we are contained in a building with an attendance of people you can count. Doing church online reaches more peopl. A lot of it. And as a member of the body of church, I can do my contribution by sharing links on my social media to reach the people that God put in my circle. How awesome is that? The wisdom of God! He always, always turn things around for the good of those who love Him. I wouldn't know how many people turned to Him and received Jesus as their Lord and Savior with the very simple gesture of sharing a link. But God knows, and heaven rejoices. And this shall continue until God says it's over. For now, I will do what the church needs me to do—shine my light.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

#ThankfulThursday - Bearing Fruit with Abundance

I finally harvested the fruits from our lemon tree. I am in awe how this small and young tree could bear huge fruits and many of them! This is the year we got this much and this big. I am very thankful for the abundance it gave us this year. Even if I don't take good care of it as much as I need to, this lemon tree is just doing what it's meant to be—to bear fruit.

Aren't we created for the same purpose? Because we are in Christ Jesus, therefore, we bear fruits. We bear the fruit of the Spirit freely given to us. But the question is, are you using them? Am I using them? I can honestly say, not often. Barely as I say.

May we live to be like the lemon tree accomplishing its purpose, bearing fruit with abundance.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Importance of Our Testimony

Unless someone who has witnessed God's goodness in their life, announce to the world (people around us) what he experienced, the world will remain ignorant and blinded about the Truth. One very significant example in the Bible is the story of the Samaritan woman. After her encounter with Jesus at Jacob's well, she went about all over the town telling everyone this man who knows all about her story. 

Then the woman left her water jar, and went into the city and began telling the people, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done! Can this be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?”
John 4:28-29 (AMP)

Because of her boldness to share what she just witnessed, the people in her town became curious of what she said. Yet, it is not only her audacity that made people interested to investigate on what she had spoken. Something beautiful from her inside happened and it's showing on the outside (physical appearance). She just encountered the Messiah. Her spirit just fed from His Word that came out straight from His mouth. Her inner self became alive.

This is what usually happens to us when we first heard about the Good News of the True Gospel (God's grace). It is so good that something inside us is stirred. And that beautiful thing that happened inside us is manifested outwards. People notice the difference. The way we talk, the glow in our face, the inner peace that shines from within. This is what called the attention of the people in Samaria about how the Samaritan woman testified her encounter with Jesus. There was excitement in her voice. There was peace in her being. There was this inexplicable joy in her face, so contagious that their hearts want to have it too.

People believed what she said, so they followed Jesus and even asked Him to stay. He stayed for two days. Within those two days listening to His word, they have confirmed it to themselves who this woman was talking about. Many more believed. 

 Now many Samaritans from that city believed in Him and trusted Him [as Savior] because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked Him to remain with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed in Him [with a deep, abiding trust] because of His word [His personal message to them]; 42 and they told the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; for [now] we have heard Him for ourselves and know [with confident assurance] that this One is truly the Savior of [all] the world.”
John 4:39-42 (AMP)

It all started with one person's testimony. That one testimony spread like wildfire and many people believed and were saved. The world needs your testimony and mine. The world hungers for it. We cannot just hide to ourselves the goodness and kindness that God bestowed on us through His Son, Jesus. It has to be shared. The world deserves to hear it. They too deserve to experience what it is like to be so loved by their Father in heaven. They too deserve to be prosperous and joyful. They too deserve the peace that we have in Christ. 

This is God's will. This is God's heart.