Saturday, June 30, 2007


In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)

I want to live my life in such a fashion that I can never be accused or condemned for being mean, rude, or inconsiderate. I want my life to reflect such love that no one can ever point their finger at me and say that I didn't care or I wouldn't help. I want my life to bare the marks of humility and sincerity and integrity. I want to be completely free from self and lust. I want to never ever be an example of a bad christian. I don't ever want there to be evidence of stupidity or wickedness in the things I do. I want my life to be completely separate from anything in this world.

I want to live a life worth living, don't misunderstand me, but I want to live it for the right reasons. I don't ever want to forget who I am living it for. I don't ever want to forget because people are always watching, and I want Him to receive the glory.

Friday, June 29, 2007

undivided heart.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86)

An undivided heart is one that is whole and completely devoted to one thing. A broken heart is anything but that. A broken heart is shattered and undecisive. It has no direction and no devotion.

I wonder if God purposely allowed my heart to be broken into a million pieces so that when He pieced it back together it would be whole and undivided. Of course He had a purpose, but I wonder if it was just that.

When one is in excruciating pain, when loneliness is heavy, and when darkness evades, it is time to turn to God. It's really hard to worship Him when we're so completely involved in this world, but when everything is taken away, its worth and its value, then we can return back to Him.

In these vulnerable times, we will surely fear Him in wonder and awe.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

he did it!

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2Timothy 4)

Paul is so lucky; here he states that he HAS fought the good fight, he HAS finished the race, and he HAS kept the faith. He made it. He did it. He seized the prize.

In our lives, it sometimes seems like it's impossible to continue. In my life, definitely, there are days I try to think about what's going to happen to my family and I despair; there's nothing I can do to change things. I wonder if I can even go on. But it is not as if Paul's life was easier than mine or yours; it's not as if his life was a walk in the park. To get where he got, to finally arrive at his destination, Paul had extreme difficulties, to say the least.

We read these passages forgetting the long waits, the moments of darkness, the times of fear that Paul experienced. Yes, he suffered immensely, but we can skim over these parts in the Bible so quickly that we neglect to realize these events occurred over a sufficient time period. He knew what pain was. He knew what it meant to be lonely. He knew fear and agony and suffering. And he was only like us, a mere mortal. And yet, he DID IT! This should give us supreme hope, knowing that Paul was able to do it with God's help. Surely, we can do it also with God's help.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

weak-willed women

6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (2 Timothy 3)

This verse is in reference to the people of the last day who have no regard for anyone but themselves. They are also the ones who will deceive and manipulate others into falling away. Interestingly, Paul mentions their ease at swaying women, weak-willed women, to be specific.

In these very last days, our society, I believe would consider or maybe just wishfully think that women are strong and independent. On the surface, they are depicted as free-willed; they can do whatever they want; they can do what men do; they can do more and will do more. Women liberation of the centuries before didn't seem to imply liberation of morals or discretion, but somehow it has been equated to such.

Paul says, "7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth," which seems like it is a total reflection of certain women today. Does education really make one wiser?

To choose sin does not mean to be strong. To become demoralized does not imply independence. To make education an idol does not translate into enlightenment. On the contrary, these things of the world will only weaken the soul and mind. On the outside, one may seem strong, independent, and wise, but on the inside one is dying. Only God can make us strong! Only through Him can we find freedom! Only by Him can we be wise!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


8 "Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Jonah 2

I think I am sooooooooooooooo much like Jonah. He worships God; He believes God; He respects God; however, within the deepest crevices of his soul, perhaps not even known to him, he secretly doubts God in a very subtle yet dangerous way. He does not understand the compassion of God nor does he want to accept the extent of God's grace. In this verse, Jonah makes it apparent that grace is for those who trust solely in God; however, it doesn't necessarily imply repentence or grace for those who turn away from their sin. In this sense, Jonah doesn't feel it's just or right or even realistic for the Ninevites to repent.

I guess I am like Jonah because I expect the grace of God in my life, so long as I follow Him, but grace for a sinner right now? For someone who has wronged me personally? I despair in thinking the person could repent and be saved. I cringed at the notion that God could have compassion on their soul. Afterall, they have grieved me, and I can't even imagine God being nice to a former enemy of mine!!! (It sounds wicked, but hey, I'm being honest! :))

Well, a further reading of book of Jonah will reveal that Jonah is somewhat immature. Here's a passage from the fourth chapter (After the Ninevites do repent; Jonah is infuriated; God responds):

4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"

5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."

9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"

"I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."

10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

Jonah is somewhat selfish. He's a little dramatic. He's just like me! :) But God, God is good. He's compassionate, kind, and gracious. I need to stop being like Jonah, and start being more like God. Everyone...and I mean EVERYONE needs God's grace, and I have no right to determine who doesn't!

Monday, June 25, 2007

rending our hearts.

13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2)

In desperate situations, anxiety overwhelms us; we do not know what to do, we do not know what to think. Hope has been extinguished, and the pain filters out any effort we could ever exert to forge ahead, discarding it by the wayside. We feel like we can't move on, and we don't want to look ahead. Our eyes are constantly kept closed, and the darkness evades our souls. When we summons enough courage to open them, we only see what lies behind: the annihilation and destruction of our lives.

In these bleak moments, it is natural to rend our garments, in anxiety, pain, and suffering. Our woe is too much to handle. However, in Joel 2, the prophet proposes that the people stop whining and complaining, feeling utterly sorry for themselves, and instead, to simple feel sorry. He suggests that they rend their hearts rather than their clothes.

In our lives, we need to stop justifying our pity parties by claiming injustice or maltreatment. We just have to consider the state of our hearts; perhaps, there's something there that needs apologizing for. Perhaps pride? selfishness? lack of love? jealosy? Joel says to return to God...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

pursuit of happiness.

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1Timothy 6)

As the Declaration of Independence states, we are entitled to "life, liberity, and the pursuit of happiness." Sadly, people take this right to heart, their evil, wicked, and defiled heart, to chase after meaningless things in life; they are constantly mistakening the pleasures of sin for happiness. Even Solomon in Ecclesiastes wrote about the futility of searching for contentment in earthly venues, as it all fades away.

Fortunately, in Paul's letter to Timothy, he gives a clear guideline of how to gain this happiness: it's godliness with contentment. It sounds redundant, to be happy is to be content, but those two concepts are wholly different. Contentment is a choice. One chooses to be satisfied by what is allotted to him. Happiness is a feeling, often times fleeting, but surely it is an emotional response. To choose, willingly, to be content, and all the while being full of godliness, will result in bouts of happiness. Realistically, a christian will not always be happy, but a christian should always be content.

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. These are the things we are to pursue. No where in here does Paul mention happiness. Happiness is a nice feeling, but it can never exist in a permanent state on this earth. Instead, we are to pursue things that are eternal. Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness will inevitably lead us to happiness, but they will also help us keep our eyes on the heaven, and subsequently to be fully content.

Friday, June 22, 2007


20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one's regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not, in the tombs of the kings. (2Chronicles 21)

What a sad, sad legacy. No one even cared that Jehoram had died; actually they were probably relieved to hear the news. Jehoram was evil, very likely that he was simply young and conceited, selfish and ruthless, and so his death was to "no one's regret". When we pass, how will are legacy be? Will people be relieved at our passing? Or will they care? Will they even notice?

We don't have to do anything famous, outrageous, or newsworthy to have a legacy. We don't have to aspire, fight, or accomplish anything great to gain people's attention. We only have to love and live such a life that is pleasing to our Father, and that will surely establish a legacy that is desirable. How we treat other's is key.

Had Jehoram cared about what God wanted, had he had shed a tear for the poor and down trodden, had he helped those striken with disease and famine, people would miss him. In our lives, we need to care about others, not because we want a great legacy, but because we want to be faithful to our God. Our legacy is simply a reflection of a life's work and worth; if we live our life as we should, our legacy will clearly depict it as so.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

opened eyes.

17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2Kings 6)

I am hesitant, reluctant, trembling, and totally frightened by the future, which is contrary to how I was a long time ago. When one is young, the prospect of growing older and becoming more independent seems completely exciting; however, one never really takes into consideration the heartache, pain, and tragedy enfolded in those days ahead. When I look ahead with everything I know and see right this moment, I only see more tears in the near future.

To emphasize again, my fear is distinguished by what I see at the moment right now, presently. If anyone saw what I saw, I am sure they would likewise be shaking in their boots. However, what we often times see is not really what is out there. Our perspective is limited, to say the least.

In 2Kings 6, Elisha and his servants are surrounded by an attacking army. His servant looks at the window and sees the apparent; he sees his life flash before his eyes as the army approaches. Obviously, they are no match for their opponent. However, what the servant sees at that point is not the complete picture. Elisha prays that God would open his servant's eyes, and what he then sees abates his fear.

We are totally foolish if we think what we see is everything. Our eyes are hardly open in this world. If we are for God, who can be against us? If God is on our side, there are armies fighting for us. We just have to trust in Him, just like Elisha, and then the future won't seem so bleak.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

wanting more.

After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, "My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him." (2Kings 5)

It is so easy to justify greed; it is so easy to be selfish. Gehazi saw all the gifts Naaman had offered Elisha, and coveted. There was so much of it! Now, as this thought of getting some of the goods was conceived in his mind, his justification was that Elisha was wrong; Elisha was "too easy on Naaman."

Surprisingly, Gehazi didn't ask for much. He only asked for a couple tunics and a couple of shekels; at least he showed some reservation. Or perhaps this was a more convenient way of hiding these items; Elisha would never suspect it. Regardless, Gehazi, the servant, didn't trust Elisha's decision and he was only thinking about his own needs.

It is easy to justify sin, even if it is the smallest, most minute compromise. I sometimes...okay, often times, think that I am entitled to do something questionable because I was mistreated or I didn't get what was fair. Sometimes it's just because I am plain selfish. I want, and therefore, I get. It all starts off in a thought, a justification, which then births itself into sin. And as we all know, sin progresses into worst sin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

unlimited patience.

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1Timothy 1)

There is hope for the worst of us. Despite our flaws, our mistakes, and our mishaps, God is able to redeem. We should never consider ourselves unsaveable, unreachable, unredeemable... because of what we are and what we've done, though we should always remember that we are undeserving of anything good. Jesus' very purpose was to save sinners; there is no exception because His patience is unlimited.

I get easily irritated by the reckless mentality of this world; I become annoyed by the blatant selfishness of the people I encounter; I am vexed, angered, and tired of people making stupid choices. However, a clear look in the mirror will show me one of the worst people in the Why am I so bad? I think it's because I know and I still do.

Anyway, I am so glad God isn't like me; He's patient beyond all measure and thus He is able to love me. May our love become more like His, enriched with abundant patience.

Monday, June 18, 2007


"Should you help the wicked and love [a] those who hate the LORD ? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. 3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God." 2Chronicles 19

Jehoshaphat really did seek the Lord; he advised the leaders to seek God's counsel before making any decision; he took measures to rid Judah of certain pagan rituals and devices. Yet, in his life, there were, unfortunately parts that were questionable. There were exceptions. There were anomalies. There were deviations. Jehoshaphat was not perfect. He made mistakes.

His work probably got in the way. He was probably so consumed with the desire for success that he neglected to seek God fully, completely, and wholeheartedly. The relationships he maintained and established in terms of the nation and foreign affairs seemed practical, but in terms of what was righteous and holy, they were nothing short of being compromises. Perpahs he justified what he did. Perhaps he tried to weigh the good and the bad. Perhaps he just overlooked what was questionable.

In my life, there are parts that are in the grey. I can honestly say that I want...I desire...I truly long to seek God and His ways. But like Jehoshaphat, I sometimes make compromises. I think the problem lies in the fact that I fail to see the whole picture; my humanity and stupidity refrain me from seeing the entire situation; I am restricted to the present and immediate. That does not, ,however, entitle me to base my decisions on what I see. I am, rather, asked to trust, believe, and have faith that God will deliver me.

Perhaps Jehoshaphat didn't have enough faith, sufficient faith. When we're in this world, it's hard not to look at every day with human, common eyes. However, in every day situations and especially in tough situations, we're not asked to simply look at the situation, at face value, we're merely asked to look up, and trust God.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

called to peace.

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3

We are not merely offered peace or suggested to accept it as followers of Christ, but rather we are called to peace. It is not optional. And this is not just a peace with fellow believers but a peace that should resonate within our souls. Yes, it is important that we forgive as Christ forgave, and thus maintain a peaceful relationship with others, but just as imperative, we are to let the peace of Christ dwell within our hearts.

To be thankful, to do everything in the name of Jesus, to let His word abide in us, are steps to allowing this peace to enter in our lives.

Thank you, Jesus, for everything.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!" 1 Kings 17

Elijah is helped by a widow, and despite her faithfulness, tragedy befalls her family. Elijah feels responsible; the widow finds fault in him; the story seems to be confusing. Elijah even questions why God would even allow the widow to suffer.

Despite any doubt Elijah might have, regardless of any uncertainty he might feel, and overlooking any questions that seem unanswered, Elijah takes a step of faith, sheer, unadulterated, complete, and magnificent faith. He takes the boy and prays that God would resurrect him.

God answers his prayer, and the boy lives...once again. In all the tragedy, the heartache, the pain, and suffering, there was a reason. The purpose was hidden beneath the uncertainty, but it was there all along:

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."

Finally, the woman believes, truly. Even though she was obedient to Elijah, even though she accepted him and helped him, even though she had witnessed the miracle of the never-ending oil, God knew that in her heart, she still reserved doubt. Now, through her tears of hurt and then through her tears of joy, she realized who God was and how much she needed Him in her life.

There's always a reason. Always.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philipians 4)

I've been conflicted lately, well actually, for the last couple of years with a certain circumstance that is rather painful. I think I carry the burden of its dismay with me every day, and even though I want to let it go, it seems to hold me down anyway. I walk and stumble; I cry and mumble; I want things to be different; I want change for this day, but it just doesn't work that way. Life is not that clear or easy.

Yesterday, I wrote about forgetting everything in the past, looking ahead, and fixing my eyes on Jesus. Really, it needs to go in that order. But I think I try to mix it up sometimes. For instance, I look ahead and then think about ALL the damage my past is going to cause the future. Looking ahead, therefore, is rather bleak, and oft times it just makes me want to crawl back into bed.

Today, however, Paul discusses the necessity of thinking about true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things. That definitely excludes things from the past...suffering, betrayal, hurt, jealousy, hate, bitterness, abandonment, fear, anxiety, and all the like. I can't really expect things to look brighter if I keep thinking about such things! Honestly.

And as Paul's finale: "put it into practice." I just have to, got to, really try to think about everything holy and perhaps I can finally let go of everything that is not...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3

It is hard to forget the things that have been done to me. And even when the daily routine of life distracts me momentarily, there is always a tugging pain upon my heart, a distant, but distinct memory of tragedy and destruction. Here, Paul tells us he looks ahead, forgetting everything behind, in order to become perfected.

I will myself to forget. I busy myself. I try to dream and hope for better days. However, Paul doesn't merely forget. He doesn't simply look ahead. He presses toward a goal, meaning his eyes are fixed on the prize of Jesus Christ.

This devotion was important to me because in the depths of my despair, God blessed me with this very verse nearly two years ago. Yesterday night, I went through some definite doubts about whether or not I made the right decision. And lo and behold, this morning He used this verse to remind me that this life is not about the immediate, the present. It is about heaven; it is about Jesus. And, I need to be confident that God will perform His work in me as long as I fix my eyes on Him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out[c] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." Phil 2:14-16

Paul instructs us to do everything, everything, and he means everything without grumbling and complaining. Everything implies a lot; it includes more than one can even fathom. Surely, there has to be some exception. It seems nearly impossible to hold one's tongue in the toughest of situations without letting out even the smallest mumble.

Frankly, complaining is fun. Finding fault, listing gripes, and holding grudges is a sport. We feel vindicated. We feel exonerated. We feel vented. We feel we have the right to do so, especially in the light of injustice. However, complaining will only make us more like the "crooked and depraved generation." To give up one's right to complain will make us more holy, more pure, and more like Jesus.

This life style has been proven to make one shine like the stars. Look at Paul's life, for instance. He was living evidence that circumstances could not deter his joy. But even more recently, consider Corrie Ten Boom. Obviously, even though she was only human, her mentality to not complain caused her to shine in her life time.

To not complain takes practice...even in the most minor instances of our lives, we could just resist the temptation to complain, perhaps we will not only save someone from hearing our pitiful cries but we will also become more joyful and kind.

Monday, June 11, 2007

dust collection.

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Phil 1:6

Yesterday morning, my pastor asked us to put up the number of fingers to show how many uncompleted tasks we have awaiting for us at home. Needless to say, some of us had to use our toes as well. There is just so much to do that sometimes, actually most of the time, we neglect to finish what we need to do. Our attention is diverted to other activities, and our projects just sit there collecting dust.

To be quite honest, I feel like my life is just being covered in dust, as I wait. What am I waiting for? Sometimes I don't even remember. I guess, I just want all the pain to go away...but each day I am anticipating change...and when it doesn't happen, disappointment is inevitable.

However, I think I might be waiting for the wrong thing; in this very chapter, Paul is in chains, and he regards these chains as an encouragement to the other disciples. How could Paul still hold such joy in his heart even as he was a prisioner? Here I am wanting and hoping to be free from all that devastation in my life, but I lack that very joy.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that these chains in my life, in your life, have a purpose. We can't continue mourning over them, when we could use them for the glory of God. We just need to be assured that God will finish all the things He has started. The staleness and dust we feel is our fault, really. It's our job to get up and shake it off, in hopes that it affects others. We not only need to be patient, but we need to be willing.