Monday, May 30, 2011

Do you know what your heart desires?

From the book "Desire" by John Elridge:

"I believe Desire is a gift from God. After all, the Psalms say things like, 'May he give you the desire of your heart' (20:4) and 'Praise the Lord, O my soul...who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's' (103:5) and 'You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing' (145:16). Clearly, God is not opposed to desire....far from it. He gave us a heart that desires deeply, and He uses those desires to draw us to Himself and to the life He created us to live"

"What we need to learn is how to listen to desire, how to INTERPRET it. Desire is speaking to us, all the time. It is one of the deepest voices of the heart. A voice many of us have never been taught to understand. Desire can lead us to the life we were meant to live. It can shape our hopes and dreams, fill them with passion and determination. It can sustain us in times of distress and suffering too. It can lead us to God, IF we will listen closely"

Yesterday, I had a great conversation with Gil about what our heart desires. I was so happy to say that I know exactly what my heart desires and it's to have a family with him. I can understand that it might be a challenge for me to become a mother because we don't know what will happen. It will also be a challenge to be a mother with children because anything could happen. Challenges like this usually makes me want to turn the other way but instead it makes me want it even more. That's when I knew - family is what my heart desires.  I love the concept of family closeness where we all bond and support each other. I even want to be part of the community and help out too. 

Gil feels the same way, he also feels that his heart desires to have a good career to be a good husband and father to our family. He feels that it's important to find the right job so he doesn't get burned out or affected by the job negatively where it can affect the family. I agreed with him and was so happy that he is listening to his heart's desire and interpreting it. We went through so much with our family that we know exactly what we were talking about. What our parents do for a living has always affected us as kids. If they are not happy, we are not happy. 

It's sad that many confuse with heart's desire with competition. I honestly don't care about what others are doing and if they already have a house with kids. OR what type of house or what neighborhood they live in. If they have nice cars, etc. I'm not interested. I'm interested in finding the right place and the right time to raise a family. I am going at my pace where I'm following God's timing and plan for us. 

Competition is healthy where it helps us survive. Competition is not healthy when we overdo it that we can't survive spiritually. Competition is good for hospitals, military, etc. It's the survival of the fittest. Wasting money on luxurious cars like porsche, bently, or anything that costs over 50 Grand!!! Those money could go towards to people who need it around you. 

Unecessary competition like this can cause people to be impatient and unappreciative. It was interesting because that night, Gil and I went to the Bible Church for a night sermon. It was amazing. We were reading the first chapter of James. Let me give you a background information here. In the book of James,  you will find practical ways to live as a Christian. James describe the evil of a tongue out of control, showing favoritism towards the rich and boasting about plans for tomorrow. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord, he is double-minded man, unstable in all he does. " (1:2-8)

"My dear brothers, take notes of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteousness life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you" (1:19-21)

Listen to what your heart desires because that's where God is, He will give you wisdom to live the life that he created for you.  Make sure you LISTEN and DO. He is the author of our life.   :)

In Jesus' name. Amen!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Faith Hope Charity

Faith is believing in God and in all God has said and revealed. Hope is longing for the Kingdom of God, an eternal life in heaven. Charity is loving God above all things for God's sake and loving our neighbor as ourself.

What is the virtue of hope?

1. It comes straight from God: Hope is called an infused virtue - a direct gift from God, which is a pretty good source. It isn't a feeling we conjure within ourselves, simply a positive attitude. It comes from God.
2. It goes straight to God: there are many lesser things we might wish for (I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow) but the virtue of hope is outrageous in its expectations. God gives us the gift of expecting everything and God tells us that we can have everything.
3. It is grounded in God right now: Hope isn't hanging somewhere out there in the future. It is based on the living experience of God, now, because God exists now and I can experience God now. Hope is the enjoyment now of what God has done and is doing for us and the anticipation already of what God will do for us.

Hope is not something wishy, faint or shaky. Hope is something real, full, rich, rugged, strong. Because hope comes from God and goes directly to God and God is real right now.

 --- From the little white book.

Sometimes people take faith for granted. Faith is a gift of God, but it takes personal courage and conviction in order to believe. You have to take a risk. You have to think about your faith and reflect on it.

Lately, I have been feeling angry, resentful, confused and exhausted. I have let those feelings get the best of me. It's a shame because I need to remember to take one thing at a time and not deal with all of them at once. I eventually felt numb afterwards because I keep pushing my feelings away until I felt nothing. I realized that for those feelings to go away, I have to forgive those who drives me crazy. Then I would become hard on myself for letting it get the best of me sometimes, then I saw this on facebook and I was like WOW, this is interesting and it relates to what I have been thinking and reading about faith.

true faith flowers from and through doubt.
Message from God
If you never questioned your beliefs, - you are just a puppet dancing to somebody's strings. If God had wanted your mindless obedience, you would've been created without mind and without free will. But you have both so you can come to God of your own accord. Just look at the lives of saints, - most of them had gone through a dark night of the soul, and that's why their faith was so strong. The path to true faith always goes through doubt. So ask those questions you've always been afraid to ask, and find the answers, and then your faith will become unshakable. 

God has showed me who my true friends are. I have learned to trust two people this year. I have taken the time to get to know them and be able to trust them. I always hold it in but I realized that it is healthy to talk to someone especially those who are my age and are women. They understand how I feel and just feeling heard and understood means the world to me. It doesn't make me feel alone and it doesn't make me feel out of place. I feel like I belong. I thank God for my friends. They are wonderful.

I hope for a lot of things - I hope that my husband and I will have a nice house with healthy children and cute dogs. Have a lot of opportunity to be part of the community and be a family with everyone. I have a lot of hopes and I have faith that God will provide it for me. It's a risk that I'm ready to take on.

It takes a risk but it's worth it. God will only bring us to places where we will see grace afterwards.

Psst....rapture doesn't happen when we expect only happens when we don't that's the whole point of it. Be ready no matter WHAT.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Where did we come from and Why are we here?

After Easter, I reviewed my blogs and I thought that I need to summarize of all of my thoughts and feelings. It seems like in some of my posts, my thoughts and feelings are all over the place and I know that serves the purpose of writing a blog where we are allowed to do that. I love how I feel complete after writing the post. I keep the lesson that I have learned and applied it for my daily part of my life. All of my lessons come from God, Jesus, the Bible, Church, My family and friends.

First, God created us for His Glory

Isaiah 43: 7

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory whom I formed and made

We were created for a reason and that is for His Glory where He could love us and where we could love Him back. God created the garden of good and evil for Adam and Eve to live in. Many of us wonder why would God place the tree where they could be tempted by evil? This is how God test their "devotion", how can you truly love someone if there's no option where you can go against Him? If God sees that you chose Him over evil, then He knows you love him back and it's not a robotlike-command.

We all know the result of what happened. It would've been nice if they could have a manual handy to help them make a decision carefully in the garden. Humans like explanations, we are always looking for an answer. God saw this and that's why he created the Bible for us. Many even joke that they wish when they were born, that there was an instruction that came with it on how to live in this world and understand people or when they give birth to someone, they wish there was an instruction on how to raise their child.   There is an instruction and that's the Bible.

The Bible keeps it simple for us. It even repeats itself over the important things that we need to know - God is love and God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and fight against evil so we can be with Him in eternity. And there are thousands of pages that tells us HOW to do that.

Since we are not in the garden anymore and that we are in a place where both GOOD and EVIL are in. Think about this, Heaven is where all good and love is and not one single drop of evil is there. In hell, not one drop of good is in there. It's amazing how we are on Earth where we have BOTH. If you think about it, it looks like it's impossible especially that the devil can't enter Heaven and that the angles can't enter hell. Both of them are on Earth and we are right in the MIDDLE of everything!!!

That's why, it's very important to understand our purpose and which direction we want to go in. Do we want to follow God or Satan? Of course, I picked God. I want to spend eternity with Him because love is the most beautiful feeling in the world that I have experienced on Earth and I want to hold on to that forever.   It's simple, so I followed the Bible and realized that the only way to follow God and His plan is to confess my sins to Him because after all we were born with original sin and we were banished from the garden so naturally our nature is to sin FIRST. After confessing my sins to Him, I ask Jesus to be part of my life - everyday and become His solider. That's why we don't naturally feel this way at first because we were born under Adam and Eve's sin. We still believe what the devil made Eve think that we have power and control. We are not really in control - that is a facade and that's what the devil wants us to think. The only authority we have is the free will to choose which side we want to be on after we die.

When you're a solider, you're always going to have to be ready to fight. Our parents are usually our trainers, they are not the boss but God is, our parents are God's helpers. The Church can also be our trainers too. That's where we go for "technical support" haha. Now that I am in Jesus' "army", I am a threat to evil and they will try to attack me as much as possible and it can be very very sneaky. So we are having to fight them off constantly, it's exhausting and it is scary because it can turn our lives upside down if we are not careful. If there's a specific problem that we are having, like communication, trust, marriage, etc. We can always refer to the Bible and pray. That helps fight against evil. Hope and Faith are very important thing. As humans we believe through our five senses - seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. God is much bigger than that and powerful. It doesn't mean we are limited with our five senses, we can sense Him beyond that. God will even come through our five senses, he will show us sunrise/sunsets where we can "see" Him.  Hope and Faith helps us to find Him.  Faith/Hope is a word created by God and not the word "coincidence"  ;) 

That's why God says we are blessed if we suffer for doing good. Sometimes our expectations or dreams can crash and burn and it's devastating but we also have to make sure that it doesn't get the best of our souls and spirit because that's where it's going to Heaven.  God has given us clues about what Glory means. Think about it, I suffered through college - stayed up late, failed some tests, studied very hard, etc. and that can be very discouraging but you know what? In the end it paid off, I graduated with a degree that led me to a very nice paying job where I can support my health and my family to live on this Earth in a good position where I am  not vulnerable to be tempted by evil. If I didn't do well in college, I would've been lost and I probably wouldn't have a job so that means no housing and no food and depending my parents will drain both of mentally, emotionally and financially. This is where evil can come in and take advantage of our tough time to divide us from God and conquer.   Basically, God is saying that if you're suffering for a good cause, we are blessed because at the end our reward will be His Glory in Heaven.

It's nice to reflect and organize my thoughts every now and then. But this doesn't mean I have everything all "figured" out, I still love the big mystery and I will wait until He decides when it's time to reveal it to me. Meanwhile, we should set up a support system with family and friends and with the Churches that share the common goal - Love and Honor God. It's like deciding which military you want to join - the Army (Catholic), Navy (Presbytarian) , Marine (Protestant), and Airforce (any Christian church). They all serve the common purpose - to defend our country just like the Church. All of the Christian Church have the same purpose - which is to honor God through Jesus.  We want to defend our soul.

Is there a path we can follow? Can we find a code book that will give us the key to our dilemmas? Is there any source of authority to which we can turn? Have we just been placed here by some unknown creator or force without any clue as to where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going? 

Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. To him be glory evermore.
–Romans 11:36 (TLB)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Suffering for Doing Good

First, I want to say Happy Mother's Day!!! Every year on her birthday, I thank God for creating my mom and every year on Mother's day, I thank God that He made her my mother. There are no words to describe our bond, just like there are no words to describe God's unconditional love for us. I have been married for two years and been in the "real world" for two years, it is not easy to be yourself in this world and it's very hard to be not to be selfish when you are surrounded by things that tempt you to want everything. The older I get, the more I appreciate my mom for being who she is and for being a wonderful and devoted mother to me. Not every mom can do this job as well as she does. God has blessed me with her grace and I hope to be just as wonderful as she is when I become a mother.

This past week and weekend has been the toughest week in a long time. It has been emotionally draining. Everything happened at once. And everybody has been coming to me in confident and asked me not to share things with others. So many things I have to keep to myself has been very hard. It was from work, it was from home, and it was for a friend, etc. Usually it happens ONCE in a while but this time it was all in ONE week. It was very hard because I felt like there was nothing left for me to share or was allowed to share. Also, there are some things that I want to be honest with everyone but then there's a time and place for it too. I'm not going to share the details that has happened for this week. It's hard to do the right things when we don't want to. But I will share with you the lesson that I've learned from this. My husband found this in the Bible and shared this with me.

1 Peter 3:13

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscious, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it's God's will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trail you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted in the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

One night, I had a meltdown and I screamed and cried and said things that should not have been said. I was so grateful that my husband sat with me patiently and was there for me. He comforted me and wanted me to let it all out. I asked for forgiveness because I felt that I did not deserve what people have said or did to me. I should've let it go and responded in the most compassionate way as possible and not think about what I deserve but to think about doing the right thing and let God take care of that individual.

I am following God's plan and sometimes I don't understand it and there are times where I just want to get up and leave. Go fly to another country and just start all over. Sometimes it's not easy being a woman too with all of the unecessary raging hormones that I wish never existed. I want to speak my mind and sometimes that is not always a good thing. It is very important to have an outlet. It is good to be vulnerable, we are not perfect so we have to surrender to God, He is our outlet and He wants us to cast our burdens on Him and then let it go. Once we let it go, we can respond in a compassionate way and do the RIGHT thing.

Isaiah 43: 7

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory whom I formed and made

With God, we can "turn from evil, do good, seek peace and pursue it" Psalms 34:14 and we will see the glory that He has for us. We don't understand His love unless we go through the tough times and be vulnerable. Sometimes we have to sacrifice for this Glory. It's worth it.

When I found out about Osama Bin Laden, I thought ...good they got him but that's for the Old Testament - an eye for an eye but in the New Testament, we want to forgive and let go. Forgiving can be the hardest thing to do as  Christian for someone who did terrible things to us.  I forgive Osama Bin Laden for what he did to our country and I want to thank God for our soldiers who fought and died to protect us from evil. They made sacrifices that I will always be grateful for. There will always be a war and I wish that our weapons would be love, compassion and peace instead of guns.

My mother wrote this on Facebook and I love this....

1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given. ✝

Sometimes we get what we want and it's not always what we need. Only God knows what we need and He will provide. At the end of this week, I've learned that He always provides and I love Him more and more everyday. 

To the mothers out there - Have a blessed day and thank you for being wonderful.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter is still going on!!!

Hello!!  It's been a while since I've written a blog. So much has happened. I had to go to the job fair in DC two times a week before I went on a trip to Alabama. It was exhausting but God was with me every step of the way. I did not feel nervous, I was actually concerned about myself not being nervous!!! I was like ...this is not like me. Can you believe this? I was actually nervous about not being nervous enough!! Typical.

I would like to review. I was reading my first postings and I remember I said I would do this blog everyday for 40 days for Lent. I didn't do it though but I'm glad I started this blog, and I can see the difference from what I've learned from the beginning to now. It's amazing how much more you can grow from this, there's so much room for it. This blog gave me the strength to discipline myself at work and I didn't go on Facebook as much until my birthday week came!! :) I think I will try to keep that habit anyway. I have learned how to keep looking for the positive and that no matter what happens, life will throw us a curveball and it's going to be hard to be "ready" for it but that's why its so important to keep talking to Jesus to maintain a relationship with Him that we know He will be there when the curveball comes. Everything makes more and more sense now.

I have a lot that I would like to share with you but first, let me explain to you what I mean by Easter is still going on!!

I was given this white book that my mom got from the Catholic Church and I love it. I've been reading it every night and would like to share it with you too....

"Records show that Christians, besides celebrating Easter Sunday, celebrated a continuing Easter season as far as back as the beginning of the third century. Outside of Ordinary Time, it became the Church's longest season  - a 50-day stretch from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. It was not a time for penitential practices. Fasting and kneeling were not permitted. It was a time to exult in God's goodness.
Why is the Easter season so long?
Because Christians believed that the Resurrection was just too big and too important to be celebrated for only one day, or even one week.
Why 50 days and not 10 or 20?
Because there was already in place a Jewish feast called "Pentecost" (a harvest festival) which took place 50 days after the Passover. When Pentecost became a Christian feast celebrating the descent of the Spirit, Christians turned the time between Passover and Pentecost into the "Easter Season".

After the Sabbath as the first day of the week was drawing
Mary Magadalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb
And behold, there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord descended from 
Heaven and approached, rolled back the stone and sat upon it (MT 28:1-2)

At times like Easter there is something within us that wants to be hopeful. Yet, we are afriad to let it out, particulary when we have seen so many hopes dashed. Hope is a tender feeling, easily bruised. When you hope, you are vulnerable. YOu can make a fool of yourself especially when your hopes do not turn out. When the pessimist turn out to be right, then you appear foolish, naive. To have hoped and lost often makes us more guarded. 
In the Bible, even those who suffer are able to hope because their hope is based on upon what God can do, not what they can do. 

Perhap this Easter season, I should allow myself to hope. There was the reality of Good Friday which means that I accept the fact of suffering and failure. But Easter is also a reality --- it shows what God can do and it offers me hope no matter the situation." 

Amen ! :)