Journal 189

Hebrews 13:20-21: “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

I am going through multiple books/epistles in the Bible, which includes the book of Numbers. I feel like I am going through the wilderness similar to what the Israelites went through. Today my pastor, Tim Conway, preached and the fear of God was emphasized: “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1).

I needed to not only the fear of God to renew my mind but also the gracious promises. I do not remember if Tim referenced a passage in Hebrews 13, and I do not remember what I was thinking when I turned to that chapter. There had to be a connection with what the preacher was saying and what Hebrews 13 had to say.

My bible is marked in such a way that if I turn to a particular verse I will notice the surrounding verses with a glance. The Lord gave me such precious truths to cling to. Firstly, Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'”

Then I noticed Hebrews 13:20-21. What a glorious passage to bring to the throne of grace through prayer to the Heavenly Father! Christ was raised from the dead! I am owned by the Great Shepherd. What can my enemies do to me as I journey through the valley of shadow and death? If Philippians 4:19 is as real to me as it ought to be, there will never be complaining.

Lastly, Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

 

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Journal Entry 188

Lord willing, I will start my training for the Emergency Department this week. However, I am more focused on my school since I have an exam in less than 48 hours that I cannot fail anymore or else I will fail out of this graduate program. I do not feel as prepared as the previous one, and I want to be consistent. By God’s grace, I scored a 96.5% on the last exam, so I feel like I need to match that or score higher. The Lord has given me such a mindset to strive for excellence. Yet, I was humbled and reminded that I cannot do anything apart from Him.

After graduating from undergraduate nursing school, I knew I needed to take a break from school for a year. I did so, and it was a good time to rest, but the time flew by so quickly. Now, I am placed back in the Refiner’s fire by the sovereignty of God. I have been thinking much on 1 Peter 1:6-7:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 

I remember that the Lord chastens me or discipline me to mold me into the image of Christ because He loves me (Hebrews 12:6). I recently listened to a short sermon or excerpt from Charles Leiter about trials. Brother Charles emphasized His love for the redeemed manifested in the trials that He puts them through. It is comforting to know that the Lord is infinitely wise and all-knowing.

I can only think of encountering much difficulty and anguish when I think of working in the ER. Yet, the Lord commands me to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4), especially when I meet various trials (James 1:2).Others may live a more relaxed lifestyle but I cannot right now. May God help me to persevere in this anxiety and depression-prone season of my life.

 

Journal Entry 187

Over the last couple of months, there has been continuous sprinting from one goal to another. Of course, I am overwhelmed. I told one of my pastors that I feel like an old, weary man. Yet, I have two full years of graduate school left. I have to work full-time by this Fall before I can request to switch to part-time. My orientation for the Emergency Department will start in a couple of weeks, and I am honestly nervous. I rather focus more on my education to become the best Nurse Practitioner that I can, but I also have to devote a lot of time and energy into becoming an excellent ER nurse. Then there is the pregnancy center that my church is starting up. Before I fell asleep, I was contemplating the sacrifice of my grades for the time and energy to invest in this ministry. I feel flooded with tasks and responsibilities all the way up to my nose where there is hardly any breathing space. I have to look up at the Son in order to, as He is holding onto me.

I don’t have a human helper to get through, but I have a Spiritual Helper. There are no earthly fathers to guide me through this season of fiery trials, but I have a Heavenly Father who will comfort me in times of depression and distress. There are no mentors as consistent and faithful as the Son of God, who will be with me wherever I go until the end. If the Triune God does not keep His word then I will melt under all sorts of pressure, and the demons will rejoice over me. But, God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For am I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”–Isaiah 43:2-3a

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” –2 Corinthians 1:20

Journal Entry 186

I was once asked by a Christian man what separates Christianity from all other religions after I shared with him about my Buddhist background. I was visiting Monterrey, Mexico at the time, and we had a friend who was translating. In my response, I constructed three main points that absolutely separates Christianity from all other religions, which are man-made.

First of all, Christianity is centered around Christ, Jesus of Nazareth who resurrected from the dead after three days of His crucifixion. Men in their spiritual deadness are simply too proud to write construct statements like:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).

It takes the work and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order for men to write such things about Christ in reverence and worship (2 Peter 1:20-21). Men blaspheme Christ by making him second in their life as if He can be an accessory. Carnal men can say that He is their Savior but not their Lord. Counterfeit Christs will never disagree with the sinful lifestyles of men who produce them.

Secondly, the one triune, holy God satisfied His wrath while demonstrating His love towards hell-deserving sinners on the cross of Christ. The propitiation of sins was made possible for sinners who fell short of the glory of God and are justified by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-26). This is not of men’s own merit or doing; faith and repentance are a gift from God. Salvation is not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). False religion always has a systematic way of crediting themselves by their own deeds in this life. It gets trickier when men will confess that Christ died on the cross for their sins then turn away from the cross and say that their salvation was due to the addition of their baptism or even their ability to believe. Yet, true faith in Jesus Christ is denying oneself in the realization that a sinner can never please God through the Law (Romans 7:7-12).

Thirdly, Christianity involves Christians who believe in these truths and live accordingly through the power of the Holy Spirit. God not only saves the sinner from hell, the punishment of sin, but the Lord also saves from slavery, the power of sin. Christians will not continue in sin and use God’s grace as a license to practice sin. Every single Christian has been buried and resurrected with Christ. (Romans 6:4). God not only justifies a man, but He also makes him righteous. The Christian’s righteousness will exceed that of the Pharisees! (Matthew 5:20). The Christian is born-again (John 3:3); He made Christians alive together in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). In contrast, Buddhists are striving to become a better version of themselves as if they can replicate God’s promising sanctification. They may be able to abstain, discipline, and isolate themselves from the world, but the seed of Adam still remains. In sin, they were conceived, and their sinful nature has yet to be dealt with. Is this also true for Roman Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, or even those who claim to be justified by the work of Christ but not sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit?

Therefore, Christianity cannot be replicated by carnal men and demonic forces. The gospel is pure and authentic. Any deviation from these foundational truths proves to be a false gospel. There have been counterfeits throughout the ages, but God is preserving His bride until the Bridegroom comes back to finish the work that begun (Philippians 1:16). The sufficient and infallible Word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword, is what going to provide discernment for it is the lamp to our feet and the light to our path (Psalm 119:105). God, who is omniscient, will show what is true from what is almost right.

The Bible proves itself to be true and does not need finite men to defend it. May God help me to persevere until the end by faith and not by sight.

 

 

Journal Entry 185

I recently ended my four back-to-back shifts of wearisome labor with sick people. The longest shift I had was actually the first shift where I clocked out at around 11pm. That was about 17 hours of being in the hospital. The Lord gave me the tremendous grace to endure grueling work while handling many responsibilities. It was disappointing that I could not fellowship with the brethren much for I worked on Christmas Eve and Christmas. I spent the holidays with the sick and needy who could not be home with their family. I enjoyed being doing good for God’s glory, but I do not want to go too far to the point of neglecting the body. The last couple of days has been very difficult, spiritually speaking. It is taking me a couple of days to recover from the stress, lack of sleep, and the lack of spiritual nutrients from the Word. My communion with God has truly been diminished, and I need to take advantage of the days I have off to make up for it.

Additionally, I have a wedding video to finish editing, and it has been putting much pressure on me. May God help me to finish this year strong, as I prepare for the next school semester.

Journal Entry 184

Today my pastor preached on 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” John Piper once said, in his Questions and Answers podcast on this issue, that Christians are either influencing others or being influenced by others. There is no neutral ground. One is either going against the current or being thrust in its own direction. It is quite amazing how others or myself can be deceived into thinking that the person next to me may not have a bad influence on me. That is why Paul wrote this part in his epistle to the church in Corinth and why God has preserved this inspired portion of scripture for the modern Christian to read, to believe, and to apply.

However, it starts with our minds and what we believe in the hour of temptation. “I need thee every hour” The gospel truth will set me free from any demonic deception. Paul dealt with the false idea that there was no resurrection of Christ.

  1. Paul’s reference Scripture as his source of authoritative truth is noteworthy. “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with Scripture…He was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with Scripture.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
  2. “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,” -Acts 17:2 And, he that here also. He presents this strong, logical argument about how the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith. (1 Corinthians 15:12-30, 35-49).
  3. There was a sense of urgency. Believing in a lie is like having a bad infection; the longer it rest in the soul the more damage will be done. It must be hastily dealt with at the source. “Do not be deceived…Wake up from your drunken stupor…”, Paul said.

I am thankful to be around God’s people who will stand for the truth and expose lies. Wherever there is sin there is deception. May God help us as my church continues to purge out known sins and deceptions in the church lest a little leaven will leaven the lump.

Journal Entry 183

The conference in Monterrey, Mexico ended today, and I am thankful to be part of the worship with the fellowship there. I appreciate the men who preached the word, and I recognize that they are just vessels used by the Lord for building the church and equipping the saints.

I am thankful to see Mack Tomlinson again and to catch up with him. I made some new friends and built on current friendships. So far, the time here in Mexico has really stirred me to want to become fluent in Spanish, and that was one of my purpose of going here for a week. However, pride can creep in and cloud my vision of God’s will.

No matter how ambitious I can get, I am always confronted with the reality that God has already called me to do much right now. I feel stretched, and the standard Christ has set is perfection (Matthew 5:48). Many times I feel like I am walking a tightrope and taking the wrong step is very costly and damaging. Yet, Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

I can only continue to strive after becoming the best nurse (as I can be), while maintaining the love and faithfulness to my church, in addition, to evangelize my community, serving in the Pregnancy Center Ministry, study Vietnamese, study the bible/theology, and now study Spanish by the grace and power of God.

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” –Romans 12:11

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” –Psalm 127:1

We read through Ephesians 5 and 6 today at the church. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

May God help me to know and to do whatever He wills. I asked Mack Tomlinson what are some of the most important things he has learned over the decades of walking with Christ. One of them is how important the preparation stage in his life is. He confessed how he wanted to preach so badly when he was young, and he felt that he could have spent more time preparing for that ministry. He saw some areas in his life that needed maturity before stepping on the pulpit. That was a tremendous help to my soul to see how critical this stage in my life is in determining how God will use me until the last days.