Journal Entry 197

As a follow up to my previous post, my biggest concern was to not be misled in the future. I thought I was led by God to pursue a certain woman, but it turned out to not be God’s will. In the broad sense, I am meditating on how Christians are led in all sorts of direction. There may be times when a person was going to do something but changed directions into doing something else. An example would be Jude. In verse 4, he “found it necessary” to change his course and write to them something totally different from what he “was very diligent to write” to them before. God sovereignly open and close doors all over history, present-day time, and He will continue to do so in the future as He pleases. Another great example is when the Apostle Paul, one of the earliest missionary, felt led to preach the gospel in Asia and Bithynia, but God prohibited him from going in that direction. There was no record in scripture of God’s rationale, but Paul was walking by faith and believed that God knew what is best. Paul’s life was filled with trials and suffering, but it was God’s promises and faithfulness that could lead him to describe his lifestyle “as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10). 

Jesus Christ even allowed Himself to be led into the wilderness for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11). Interestingly, it was the Spirit that led him to that temptation, though God Himself did not do the actual tempting (James 1:13). It was clearly the devil (Satan) that was tempting Jesus. But, God is sovereign where He can purposely lead His beloved into a trial or test so that righteousness can bear fruit. Christ demonstrated His righteousness as a man through the power of the Spirit. He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4). He endured the temptations by deflecting the fiery darts of lies with the shield of truths (Proverbs 30:5).

I am learning that I was not truly misled by God for He does not operate in that way. God is not in the business of deceiving His people. Rather, I am exhorted to count it all joy when I meet various trials for I know that the testing of my faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2). Furthermore, I am thankful for a High Priest who is able to sympathize with my weakness rather than telling me to “just get over it”. Jesus has been tempted in every respect as I was, yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

This trial has brought me closer to God through the Word and prayer. This trial has taught me greater humility. This trial has brought clarity to my relationships with the Christians in my church. This trial has tested me on how I would react to such a situation. This trial is teaching me patience. This trial is stretching my faith in God to provide for me a wife one day. This trial led me to begin a list of God’s promises. This trial has made me an example for other believers. This trial is reminding me of the sovereignty of God. Ultimately, this trial is bringing more glory to God.

May God help me to endure this trial in obedience to His Word and Spirit, while counting it all joy.

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Journal Entry 196

“…sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…” –2 Corinthians 6:10

Paul provides a brief description of what he had to endure as an apostle, one who was sent by God, in proclaiming the gospel. Living for the gospel is certainly costly. Though there are varying degrees of suffering and sorrow that comes along with following after Christ, there is also much joy to claim. This is not an attempt to promote bipolar disorder. The world may balk at this attitude and experience. I believe this can only be truly achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Working in the emergency department certainly puts me in numerous positions to be sorrowful towards my dying patients and their family members. Then there were times when I came home from a 14-hour shift to get a call from a friend who was suicidal and needed help. When I visit my family I see souls that are spiritually wasting away and walking on a path of destruction. The list goes on. I share some of these things to not get pity from my readers as Paul was not seeking pity from the church in Corinth. We are attempting to exalt Christ in the midst of our suffering, and I will redeem my sorrows by doing so.

The latest sorrow is being rejected by a Christian woman that I have been praying for. Ironically, she too was recently rejected by someone she was praying for, so now we both know how this feels. Her father broke the news to me today that she is not interested, and he did not tell me why. By God’s grace, I will not sit around trying to figure out what went wrong. I will not attempt to probe for her rationales. I will try to not be very introspective or compare myself to this guy who she was interested in.

I will just keep my eyes on Jesus Christ, and trust that He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. I will keep focusing on my school work and try to be the best nurse that I can possibly be. I will keep using my time wisely to minister to others and serve others well. I will keep using my singleness to know more of Christ in a very special and unique way. I will rejoice always because I trust that the Lord is on my side, and He will give me whatever I ask in His name. I asked for Him to give me what is best, and He is infinitely wise. Furthermore, He promised that He will give exceedingly, abundantly what I asked or thought.

I am not entitled to have the things that other believers have. Others can enjoy the good things that the Lord has brought to them, such as marriage, but I may not right now. I may not even live long enough to have the opportunity to be married. In other words, the Lord may have me to be single for the rest of my life, and I am ok with that. I mimic the words of Christ, “not my will, but Yours be done.”

May God help me to endure.

Journal Entry 195

Vacation Bible School (VBS) 2018 at Grace Community Church (San Antonio) just ended and I believe the Lord has helped us all, who were willing to do the Lord’s work. I initially volunteered to imagine myself having a small role, and it turned out that God gave me a bigger responsibility than what I expected. I did not put too much thought into whether I should participate in VBS or not. I did not spend a week of prayer and fasting to determine if it was the Lord’s will for me to help out in it. It was nearly spontaneous. I planned my work days the way I normally do: have the middle of the week off for school, fellowship, and church-organized activities. The Lord just worked it out that way for me to be able to participate, and He supplied me the gift and power to help the kids memorize scripture and know what they are memorizing (by providing a lesson).

I knew this was a test for me to see whether I can teach or not. In the end, there was confirmation from others (including the mothers of the children) that God has gifted me to teach the word (at least to children). I was humbled, and a healthy fear of God came upon me. I knew that there will be a stricture judgment for me now (James 3:1). However, God has been maturing me in the realm of fear. There is a godly fear of being scrupulous and of handling God’s word with carefulness. The fear does not disable me from doing His will. Rather, the fear enables me to accomplish His will! If I went into this thing with a small view of God’s judgment then I may cause damage to these kids’ souls rather than be a help to them.

Over the year, the Lord is teaching me to take appropriate risks to do His will. By working as a registered nurse in the ER, I put myself at risk for a host of transmittable disease. By teaching the kids at VBS, I am making my judgment stricture. But, God has supplied much grace and power to endure it all.

A missionary expressed a strong desire to have me go over the other side of the planet to help out with their VBS in December during my month-long break from school. I told him this Summer will prove what God has gifted me. In other words, I will know if I will be useful vessel over there until I have gone through the VBS here in San Antonio. And, it seems that the Lord is equipping me to go back over there to help out with the VBS, along with the medical needs. I am excited to possibly go back to the mission field for a month. This time, I will also come in with more medical knowledge and experience. More importantly, I will come in with greater spiritual maturity and humility.

I want to be an honorable vessel for the Lord! I want to be useful to the Master and be ready for every work (in season and out of season). Whatever the Lord wants me to be faithful in I will do it by His grace. Whatever He has gifted me in and whatever He will give me I want to use it for His purpose. As a preacher once put it, we ought to be at God’s disposal. There is sufficient satisfaction of being used by God to not care about the popularity it. This is how I will ” flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22). May God help my soul.

Journal Entry 194

As time is continuing, I come to the realization that the timing of asking a father if he will allow me to be in a relationship with his daughter and if she is interested in me is very crucial. I am almost near finished with the first volume of Hudson Taylor’s biography, and I read the chapters where he discussed his love interest. It seems very providential of the Lord that I am reading this about him during this season in my life. I was not expecting this at all. The more I seek the Lord in my personal interest, the more I see that I the clearest way to know if this woman is interested in spending the rest of her life in me is if I ask the father.

I know and believe that this is the best approach in pursuing this particular woman in my church: consult with her Heavenly then ask the earthly father. I do not intent to make this into a love story. These are the realities of my life right now. I spoke with a seasoned Christian, married man, and he told me that God will give me what is best. “He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly.”

If the father disapproves then that is what I need. If the father approves but the woman is not interested then that is what I need. If the father approves and the woman is interested then that is what I need. If God wants me to be single then I will run faster in this Christian race. If God wants me to be married then my future wife will help me run faster in this race. There is nothing to lose on my part.

I have been burdened by this issue ever since I was first saved. I grew up desiring marriage so much because I saw how my older siblings had serious companionship, and 2/3 married at a young age. They were not Christians by any means, and my view of marriage was a corrupted view and not of the one upheld by God. Nonetheless, I strongly for marriage after I got saved, but I was only 15 years old.

God swiftly let me knew at the time that I was not ready for marriage, but I could start preparing. That is what I did. There were times of major setbacks, but there were much more time of advancement in the sanctification process and maturity. At 24 years old, I am in my 9th year of being a Christian. It is amazing how the Lord has gotten me this far. However, I do not believe God got me this far just to get this far. I believe a prudent wife comes from the Lord. I have a list of characteristics and quality that I am praying and being watchful for. And, if God wants me to wait longer then I gladly will. I will not allow rejection to discourage me and to slow me down. I have gone through much emotional pain in this life and in the Emergency Department, a place filled with tragedy. The Lord has prepared me for this moment.

Now that my church is heading into a weak of prayer and fasting, this issue will definitely be dealt with. Then I will wait for more clarity from the Lord. There will be VBS next week, and we will minister together. Perhaps, the Lord will answer more prayers by then. I do not want my burdens to be a distraction from the week of prayer and fasting and from VBS. As of right now, I believe it is best to wait afterwards. I trust the Lord will give me boldness to speak to her father about this matter.

 

Journal Entry 193

Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. The grave could not keep Him. Therefore, His was death unique, compared to all of the deaths I witnessed in working in the emergency department for over 3 months now. I still the image of some of the patients who died while I was working. There is not much time to process the very matter in the midst of a chaotic environment. People are evidentially facing the natural consequence of sin–death.

The Lord has put me in this environment for multiple purposes. One reason may be that He is preparing to handle more tragedy and bear more burdens. This may sound pessimistic, but I prefer to be realistic. In about 7 hours, it will be 24 years since I was birthed into this world. In sin my mother conceived me, and I too will face death one day. I have a feeling that I will die young and it will not be a good death. Regardless, there can only be one destination for me–heaven/home.

I certainly do not deserve to live as long as I am living right now. I almost drowned to death when I was 5 years old, but the Lord sent a young boy to dive into the pool and to pull me out of the water. I never saw him before the incident, and I thought I was alone when my brother was busy lifting weights in another area. Then I was depressed as ever at the age of 15 years old, and I wanted to die. I would never attempt suicide due to the very fear of not knowing what happens after death at that time. However, I provoked God to take my life away when I was in a moving vehicle because I knew He could kill me. But, God saved me from the power and the punishment of sin instead! All glory be to Christ!

Journal Entry 192

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. –Ephesians 3:14-19

The Lord has my church chewing on this text each Sunday for the past couple of weeks as Brother Tim preaches a series of messages, pulling out multiple nuggets in this rich passage. We are now at the end of this section in Ephesians, and Lord willing, there will be at least one more message. I anticipate the emphasis will be on verse 18, 19 or both. I messaged Brother Tim last week with two verses that are profound about knowing the one true God. This was also an excellent example of Scripture answering Scripture. The Heavenly Father is growing me knowing Him, that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit by the means of systematic theology–scripture interprets scripture.

Job 11:7-9 says, ““Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.”

God allowed humankind to know His invisible attributes through the creation of the world (Romans 1:20). Men today know that their creator is beyond their finite comprehension through the examination of natural creation. But, even current science and technology cannot cover the vast knowledge of God for He is infinite. Then there are the Scriptures, which has been preserved over the millenniums. However, millions posses the Word of God, but they do not possess the deep knowledge of God. The majority of religious people in this world do not truly know God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 says,  “10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” 

If Paul was at the interrogation scene between Zophar and Job, that may be his response. This is one of numerous “But God”‘s in the New Testament that ought to cause believers to shout, “Glory, glory, glory to the almighty God!”. This is one of the distinguishing mark of a genuine Christian–the factual and relational knowledge of God through Jesus Christ,the Son, by the Holy Spirit. Christians have true treasures that the world is utterly blinded to. This reality is magnified in America as many people possess a bible containing glorious truths that has turned the world upside, yet it is truly invisible to them. But God, in His abundant mercy and grace, has revealed to some undeserving sinners the “deep things of God.”

May God help me to know more of Him and to remain in the inner circles of Jesus Christ  for the rest of my days.

Journey Entry 191

Psalms 121:1-4

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—

From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;

He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel

Shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

Often times people boast about their relationship with a celebrity or a well-respected individual. Sadly, this happens too often in the Church. I confess to have fallen into this form of idolatry. It wasn’t blatant, but there was an internal excitement of personally knowing someone “famous”. Shouldn’t I have a much greater level of excitement for knowing the Creator of the heaven and earth? Can Christian “celebrities” help me the same way the Lord does? Man must have their strength rejuvenated, but the Word says He shall neither slumber nor sleep! I can look at a mountain such as Mt. Everest and say I know the one true God who fashioned that! “All things were made through Him, and nothing was made that was made.”

I do not just know about Christ; I personally know Him! Therefore, my help ultimately comes from the Lord! When a Christian goes through the valley of the shadow of death or the darkest valley (per other translations), he can look at the surrounding mountains in his life (i.e. trials and tribulations), and trust in God’s promise. As he walks through the valley and sees the mountains of challenges besides him, he can lay hold on Matthew 21:21: “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.'”

My help comes from the God who sovereignly place these mountains in my life. He is a big enough God to cast them into the sea. Even the winds and waves obey Him! Therefore, I can rejoice in this reality: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

No matter how hard this like can be, eternal life has already begun. I don’t have to wait to pass into glory to start knowing Christ. All glory be to Christ! May Christ continue dwell in my heart through faith that I may know (personally experience) the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and be filled with all of the fullness of God. And, may God strengthen me with might through the Holy Spirit that I may not lack this kind of faith.