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.



Journal Entry 182

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

Since Thanksgiving, I have been meditating on this verse. Throughout my life, there are things that I can look at and feel sad or sorrowful and there are things that I can think about and feel happy or joyful. Isaiah 53:3 described Jesus as a man of sorrows, and Galatians 5:22 listed joy as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. There was one of two situations where Jesus rejoiced (or was amazed) in the Holy Spirit in Luke 10:21. I have faith that Christ rejoiced more times then it was recorded.

Firstly, this kind of language does not make sense to the world. It will appear to be a contradiction or a bipolar disorder. Yet, this is the kind of narrow life that Christians lives. The apostle Paul was not simply trying to be poetic; he was being honest. Paul experienced heavy persecution, yet he still had Christ by his side. Nothing could separate him from the love of God! (Romans 8:35-39).

Paul practiced what he preached: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). All of this reality was due to the love of Christ which compelled or constrained him to press on. “And, He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15). 

I liken this reality to a person walking on a tightrope while having his eyes on Christ, the author, and finisher of his faith. There must be a biblical balance of emotions in the Christian life that can only be achieved through by walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Christ was the Man with perfect emotions.


Journal Entry 181

“I do long to be more godly. It seems so sad that the heart should wander from God and want other things. As this is a private and personal letter I want to ask your prayer and advice on, what is to me, a great source of distress and perplexity in my inner life. I find that in prayer wandering thoughts come in, and then in confessing them, often more wandering thoughts come, and in this way often quite a considerable time will be taken up in a desperate struggle to get clear of the various thoughts, and fix the heart and mind in an unwavering concentration on God. Youcan understand how exhausting this is for one’s head, and really now by the time one has been able to pray believing for them all, one’s head is often throbbing, and one is quite wearied. When I see how many are owning up to [the] neglect of private prayer, gross and heavy and more or less bind, I dare not give it up.” ~D.E. Host to Hudson Taylor

I am certainly going through for a while now. I do not know hard pressed Host was, but I do feel the pressure and difficulty of trying to claw my way through this trial. I sense the demons are relentlessly firing at the core of my Christian life. While willingly to be watchful, my flesh has been weak indeed. The fatigue of all the things am I responsible for is making me more vulnerable to temptation and sin.

“Regarding a wandering mind in prayer; I have found more help in pray aloud, and praying while walking about — talking as to a present Lord — than in any other way. I do not think that wandering in thoughts at all necessarily indicates a loss of spiritual life, but it does show a loss of nerve-ton and calls for [rest]…use of measures as will generally give vigor to the health.” ~Hudson Taylor’s Response

May God lead me not into temptation for His namesake and keep me afresh for His love.

Journal Entry 180

As I was riding the elevator to the 5th floor, I was reading Matthew chapter 14. I was amazed by the miracles of Jesus Christ towards undeserving sinners. “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Furthermore, Jesus took five loaves and two fish to bless five thousand people!

After a stressful day of work, I entered into another shift of uncertainty. There are times when I felt like Peter who was sinking and cried out, “Lord, save me.” A well-known phrase for new nurses goes something like, “sink or swim”. There are times when by God’s grace I am swimming, and there are times when by God’s discipline I am sinking.

When the elevator door opens and I enter into a unit of sick people, I desperately bring short petitions to the throne of God because the pressure can be intense. “Lord, give me wisdom from above today!” “Lord, let my speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” “Lord, conform me to the image of Christ; increase my faith!”

In order to count it all joy when I meet various trials, I must see it through the lens of Scripture: “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matt. 8:27). I need to refresh my mind and remember who is on my side. “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). I need to remember the creative sovereignty of Christ:

22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
    at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
    or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.

~Proverbs 8:22-31 (ESV)

May God continue to work with me both to will and to work for His good pleasure for the rest of my days.