Insights, lessons, and advice about life

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Nothing But Love

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate being lonely. Like, hate it. Can’t stand it. It’s my worst fear.

Which is how I found myself dreading, for the first time, going to church camp. Because sometimes when I go there, I feel alone. The crowds of laughing friends just make it worse.

So this year I braced myself. I mentally prepared myself for the loneliness, the hurt. I steeled myself against the possibility of being ignored. I was so ready to smile and love and give and serve that God completely caught me unaware when He gently wrapped His arms around me Labor Day weekend and affectionately told me that not only does He want me to love others, He loves me.

Those three days I never once sat by myself during lunch, I didn’t ever have an empty seat next to me during class, and during free time, I was surrounded by hugs and comfort.

I came to God fully prepared for rebuke but all I felt was love.

In GPS We Trust

Which GPS do you place your faith in? The Global Positioning System or God’s Plan of Salvation?

Both take you where you want to go. So I guess the question is, where might that be? Where should it be?

I’ve got lots of stories and experiences with both. My mother actually just learned another lesson about this yesterday. We didn’t have a GPS (the Global Positioning System kind) until the last couple years because it didn’t feel like we needed one. But then a job internship came about and my mother and I went to Houston, Texas for a summer. It was fun. It was hot. It was crazy. The road system was absolutely insane – but as tempting as it was to get a GPS, my mother felt like God was telling her not to get one. So she didn’t. And we survived. For a while.
But that got hard, you know? It’s nerve-wracking not having complete control over where you’re going – not having a voice guiding you through every step. It’s so tiring constantly doubting directions and wondering if you’re going the right way without affirmation. So eventually we gave in, and got a GPS.
It worked for a little while, I guess. But sometimes it led us nowhere. Most of the time it led us berserk. It gave us the power to trust in mankind instead of God and so it led us away from Him for a little bit.
But by His grace, He led us back.
Yesterday my mom was coming home from visiting one of our former church members that had moved to Iowa and was going back to China for good later this year. It was likely her last chance to visit her close friend, so she left right after a wedding at our church this weekend. And every road the GPS told her to try led her to this main street that was being fixed that day. Needless to say, she might have panicked. Just a little bit. But she remembered again God’s faithfulness all those years without a GPS and trusted in her heart that no matter what happened, she would get home. So she prayed. She pulled into a small store’s driveway and recommitted her foundation onto God and cast her worries on Him, knowing that He is bigger than roads and streets and getting lost. That behind it all, He was there, taking care of it already. After that, my mother went in and asked for directions and slowly but safely made it back home. Because she trusted in God’s Plan of Salvation.
Her companion told a similar story of a time she was in a new city and had to get to school but didn’t know any streets or landmarks so she closed her eyes and said, “God, tell me where to turn and I’ll turn.” He led her right to the school doors.

I’m not saying that the Global Positioning System is bad. I’m not even saying it’s a sin to use it. It’s just that no matter what happens – even if you have a GPS or know the way by heart – your safety, the road conditions, the people and drivers, the surroundings you pass, are all dependent on God’s constant sustainment and faithful care. In the end, everything depends on God’s Plan of Salvation. Will you?

Life-sickness

Are you sick of your life? Does it feel like there’s just wave after wave crashing down on you? Just like it is with motion sickness on a boat, staring at the water and waiting to drown will not make you feel better. Neither will closing your eyes and trying to ignore the sway and unsteadiness of your feet. So what’s the cure?

As all fisherman know, it’s staring at the steady horizon. And as most Christians have learned, in life’s hardest times you’ve got to keep your eyes on Jesus and trust in Him – He’s the only constant thing you can always count on.

So you got life-sickness? Will you go back to the Life-Giver, Creator, Healer, and King of All for the one and only cure?

Crushin’ on Jesus

“O Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God,
your judgements like the deep ocean.
You save people and animals, O Lord.” 
-Psalm 36:5-6

You know how sometimes you have a crush on a guy and you cannot stop talking about Him? Well, how about God? What do you love about Him? Do you tell Him that?
So.. I was always a dreamer and a romantic right? I used to always try to imagine the guy of my dreams – often times as a person with a blank space. Now as I’m growing older and a lot of my friends are dating, I’m trying to fit different guys’ that I knows’ faces into the picture. And they kept not fitting.
So I just sighed and doodled hearts in my journal and wished that I had someone to hold me close too – when I heard God speak to me. He asked “Am I not holding you close right now? Do you not feel me holding your hand through every day? My hand brushing your face when you cry or smile? My arms embracing you every night?”
A lot of times I hear people say “but He feels so distant…” and I want to challenge you guys if that’s you (and even if it’s not) to draw Him in. He’s there. Draw near to Him cuz He will draw near to you (that’s in the Bible and it’s a verse somewhere but I don’t remember where right now but you can look it up if you don’t believe me – He promised. And He doesn’t break promises.). And He’s not distant – I wish all of us could feel that! If He does feel distant, think of why He might seem that way – do you have something blocking God’s voice out? Is there something distracting you from Him? It’s spring cleaning time guys! Throw it out because He’s better than anything! And He loves you.
Celebrate it!

Focus

It’s a command, a verb, something very often used by people of all ages, gender, and race. You hear it from teachers, parents, friends, elders – basically, everyone. And my challenge for you guys this holiday season is what you will set your focus on.
Now I teach the 3-5th graders at my church and when I asked them about Christmas, many spoke of Christmas trees, presents, decorating the house, etc. – and I believe that many of us have that same image. But will Christmas trees change our lives? Do Christmas lights save us? Will we die without presents?
What about the cross on which Jesus died – the tree He was crucified on? What about the light of the world that pierces through the darkness of our hearts? What about the greatest gift that has ever been given – the fact that through Christ we are reconciled to the creator of the Universe and the God who never stops giving?
What will you focus on this holiday?

The Secret of Happiness

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Recently in my daily devotions, all of the passages have been on thankfulness. Give thanks with a grateful heart, God favors those who give thanks to Him constantly, give thanks constantly, give thanks with a joyful heart… etc. Eventually, I became very tired of giving thanks – like when my mom yelled at me. I looked up and I was like “thank you for giving me a cranky mother?!” I didn’t understand how I could be thankful at all times without being sarcastic about it. Especially after people explained it’s not about ignoring all the bad things in your life, it’s about acknowledging that we live in a fallen world and not letting that dampen your joy. We even watched a video about it in school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg but as touched as I was when I saw the video, I didn’t know how to bring that joy in to my life. Until a light bulb went off in my head and I remembered a poem that I read a while back (and probably posted before but oh wells):
I Asked
By Anonymous
I asked God for strength
that I might achieve
I was made weak
that I might humbly obey
I asked for health
that I might do greater things
I was given infirmity
that I might do better things
I asked for riches
that I might be happy
I was given poverty
that I might be wise
I asked for power
that I might have the praise of men
I was given weakness
That I might feel the need of God
I asked for all things
That I might enjoy life
I was given life
That I might enjoy all things
I got nothing I asked for
but everything that I had hoped for
Almost despite myself
my unspoken prayers were answered
I am, among all,
most richly blessed!
God only gives us what we want – if we were smart enough to want it. He knows what we need because He made us that way, and all things do happen for those who believe in Him – cuz He said so! Even when it doesn’t look like that to us! He gave us weaknesses that we might know Him and rely on Him more – how nifty is that? And let me personally testify, that while I was making all those thank you vids on facebook, I became so much happier. It works. Give thanks cuz Paul was right – it really is the secret to happiness.

It’s Worth it.

I’ve been having a lot questions about Christianity (or rather, even more than usual). There’s seems to be so many things that contradict each other – like we’re supposed to die to Him so that we don’t do anything but all that we do is for Him but we’re not actually supposed to do nothing – and everything we do must be in His name but since we’re sinners not everything we do will be good and if you do bad in His name, well you can’t do that. It’s not cool. My cousin is here from China though, and since I want to be a good witness to her and everyone in high school, I tried to get my act together. But how was I supposed to answer all of her questions when I had the same ones? So I shared ’em. And guess what? I found out a few things about being a Christian. (Well, I knew them before but…) It’s hard. REEAAAALLLYYY hard. And it’s confusing, sometimes makes no sense, frustrating, and many other things I can’t describe but most of all —> It’s worth it. Always.