Journey with the LORD

Sharing God's LOVE for the mankind

Category: Wisdom & Knowledge (page 3 of 5)

When God Opens and Closes a Door


All of us go through different seasons and have different purpose in our lives. Certain things comes and goes in our lives because they have a season and purpose for time being. Some things we were meant to have for a season, and some things we weren’t. I’m not sure how to explain this without resorting to figures of speech. So here goes.

I found it from my own experience that when God opens a certain door for you, going through that door is just effortless as swimming downstream. Things just seem to fall in place so easily. I’ll give you an example – this blog. As God was showing me many things, I started journaling things down. I just kept on writing and writing and then eventually I stumbled across a bunch of Christian blogs. I enjoyed learning about what God has shown His children and eventually I was inspired to start a blog sharing God’s love with others. It felt like a very natural and easy transition from journaling for myself to writing for others!

And when God closes a certain door for you and you try to enter through that door. It’s very difficult and is like trying to swim upstream. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and effort. Why go against the stream when God intended for you to downstream? Sometimes God closes a certain door because of hidden danger that lies behind it, sometimes it’s just that we’re not ready for it or others are not ready. Or it can be we’re not meant to go through that door. Or it’s for appointed time later on. Or it’s to put us through testing/trials, etc.. So many possible reasons! Remember that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways higher than our ways.

Sometimes we become so conditioned to having a door closed to us for so long that we might not recognize when God opens a door for us! Or sometimes it seems like God has closed a door on us but He wanted us to go through trials/testing first before entering that door. It’s always good to pray and ask God for wisdom/discernment! Remember what we see in natural is very different from what God sees.

Although, some people will insist on opening doors not meant for them. This refers to people insisting on having their ways and continuously asserting independence from God’s way. Eventually God will let them go and give them over to sin for that is what they wanted. This was not what God wanted in the first place.

What do I mean by doors??? Speaking plainly, specific doors can refer to any of the following: Relationship, finances, job, friendship, house, hobby, activity, anointing, etc…

I had God close doors on me from getting closer to certain people in life (usually in friendships). Some of the doors were closed on me quite swiftly and some gradually. I didn’t understand it at first but I realized in hindsight that God was truly protecting me from people who would’ve taken advantage of me. I love being kind and generous toward others in terms of time and attention. These people wouldn’t have treated me the same and thus would have left me with a feeling of being unloved. I am truly thankful that God is looking out for me and protecting my heart! Over time, I’ve learnt how to guard my heart like a prized treasure and not to throw them away so easily like throwing pearls to pigs.

All this is because of God’s everlasting LOVE for us. It’s not to restrain us but to prune us into a beautiful creation we were meant to be!!

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

What’s your relationship with God like?

Earthly relationships can give us some insights on what kind of relationship we have with God. Allow me to illustrate in a bit. There are different level of intimacy and type of relationship we have with other people. Think about how our earthly relationships compare with our relationship with God. As I mentioned in the previous post, marriage is the most intimate kind of relationship you can have with a person. The marriage points to the intimate relationship between Christ and His bride (church). Jesus Christ loved so much that He was willing to lay down His life for us so that we may live. The love of Christ also compels the bride to give herself completely to Christ. It’s a mutually loving relationship, giving their all for each other. Marriage helps us understand the kind of relationship God wants with His children – to love and be loved!

Take a deep look inside within your soul and ask yourself what kind of relationship you have with God. Please don’t think I am judging you! And also don’t judge yourself! Just think about it. My hope is to encourage you to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Jesus. And for you to fall in love with Him!

Are we thinking about God constantly, just as spouses think about each other constantly? To yearn for each other whenever they are apart and to delight in each other whenever they are together? Do we have that same kind of passion and love toward God? Thinking of ways to please God? Not out of obligation, but out of love. A sacrificial love.

Or is God a mere acquaintance to us? A mere afterthought? Someone you ask for help but never giving anything back? Or does the relationship consists of mere knowledge of God’s existence – like a lofty theologian studying all his/her life about God but never really having any kind of relationship with God? Or is the relationship like a rebellious son against his loving father, not wanting to do anything with him despite all he has done for son? Or someone who loves the man-made religious structures/doctrines more than God Himself?

So ask yourself what your relationship with God is like. The good news is that you can come to Him anytime and anywhere, despite all our shortcomings and weaknesses. He’s there with His arm stretched open. Come to Him! Talk with Him =) He is inviting you to an intimate relationship with Him, will you accept? Will you lay down your rebellious arm and come back to your loving Father?

See how much God loves his bride and the mankind?

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16 (ESV)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Song of Solomon 4:9-12 (ESV)
9 You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
11 Your lips drip nectar, my bride;
honey and milk are under your tongue;
the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a spring locked, a fountain sealed.

Truly, God has bestowed so many good things upon us – He is worthy of our honor, our love, our commitment, and our everything! So let us set our mind to please Our Creator!

Marriage as a Sacred Covenant

Marriage is a topic that is close and dear to my heart. I suspect it’s because of the longing I have in my heart, or maybe I just find the idea simply fascinating. Or maybe because it reminds me of God’s immense love for His bride and the wonderful relationship between them. Why am I writing about this? Simply put, I wanted to emphasis marriage as a very sacred covenant between two people and God. I also wanted to encourage people (believers and unbelievers) to treat it as such.

Marriage is a very special gift from God. It creates a safe space where man and woman open up their hearts and connect with each other in a powerful way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Where two flesh becomes one. In addition to this, marriage is a safe environment for raising children. Of course, this special gift comes with a great responsibility and commitment.

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Yes, I realize that there aren’t much fairytale marriages out there but single folks can learn from them, whether good or bad, before making one of the biggest commitment in life. Don’t laugh at me, but I do enjoy reading books and articles on marriage so I can learn from them. So I’ll just share what I’ve learned from what I read and observed in real life =)

Firstmost, marriage involves opening yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually to your spouse. That is a very vulnerable position to be in! Yet it’s powerful and special at the same time.

There’s a good reason why God commands us to wait until marriage before fully committing ourselves to other person. It’s not to take away our joy, but instead to protect us from heartbreaks associated with causal dating/relationships. Seeking love, physically and emotionally without a commitment and for selfish reasons is a sure recipe for painful heartbreaks. Imagine opening yourselves up and then getting rejected. It’s very painful. Our hearts are not meant to broken repeatedly. For each heartbreak, it generally gets harder and harder to open up as in the beginning. Marriage is a safe environment for people to express their love fully. The commitment of marriage protects people from being heartbroken.

Matthew 7:6 (ESV)
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Your heart is a precious treasure just like pearls in the verse. It’s designed for loving one another and receiving love. Take your time getting to know a person, don’t open up everything at once. A healthy relationship consists of respecting one another and being considerate of others’ feeling. Relationship also takes time to grow and develop.

The Holy Scripture clearly states there should be no divorce except on the ground of adultery. Why?
First, let’s look at these two bible verses –

Mark 10:10-12 (ESV)
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Divorcing would mean breaking your sacred oath of commitment to your spouse and to God. It would mean undermining what marriage stands for. If people treated marriage as causal relationship then it ceases to be safe place of commitment and love.

If we hold these above-mentioned verses to our heart then we would give careful consideration before marrying a particular person since we are treating marriage as an once-in-a-lifetime choice!

And simply put, divorces cause untold sufferings and pains to spouses and children. Custody battles. Bitterness. Regrets. Children going back and forth between parents. Spouses and children feeling abandoned and rejected. It’s a ravager of hearts.

Additionally, I’ve put together a simple list of what helps and hurt a marriage as listed below. These traits doesn’t have to be only for marriage, but can also be applied toward any type of relationships – friendships, families, etc..

Things that helps marriageforgiveness, love, being sensitive to your spouse’s feeling, communication, understanding your spouse, faithfulness, commitment, respect, nourishing the relationship.

I wanted to expand a little bit on two things – nourishing the relationship and forgiveness. Don’t stop with nourishing, keep on connecting with each other! Nourishing the relationship is similar to watering plant. If a person neglects watering the plant then it will wither. Give love and time to each other on regular basis! This also applies to friendships and people you meet. As for the forgiveness, that is very important!! It removes bitterness, resentment, and gives you a CLEAN SLATE with your spouse. God gave you a clean slate, so you do likewise for your spouse!

Things that hurt marriagelack of commitment, not considering others’ feeling, contempt, marrying for selfish reason (money, physical intimacy, social status, etc.), not loving one another, rushing into marriage, resentment/bitterness, lack of forgiveness, being unequally yoked (believers with unbelievers).

Rushing into marriage is a dangerous endeavor since you won’t know whether if you are compatible for each other. It requires having a good understanding of who you are and who the potential spouse is. That includes positive and negative traits. Know what you’re getting into, ask questions but in a loving way of course! Compatibility is an important aspect of marriage. Look no further than the Bible. Remember when Israelites married foreign women, prior to entering the Promised Land AND during their ongoing presence there? Believers with unbelievers. And what about when Solomon had many foreign women during the latter part of his reign? What happened afterwards? Foreign women lured them away from the LIVING GOD who gave them everything, to idols who can’t see or hear or walk.

Ultimately, what ties these hurtful traits together is lack of love and it deprives the spouse from the love and respect they seek. It’s very painful. We cannot change other person, but we can choose how we conduct our actions!

Your hearts are precious treasures. God created marriage to protect and nurture our hearts with love. He doesn’t want to see His precious children getting hurt. Marriage helps us understand more about the loving relationship between God and His bride, how immensely God loves His bride, His faithfulness to us, and how He just want to simply spend time with us!

Protecting Our Weaker Brothers

I’ll briefly describe what happened in the video. The wolves chased after the herd in attempts to ISOLATE their prey from rest of the herd. When a bison and a calf were isolated from the herd, they became easy targets to the wolves. Then the wolves proceeded to ATTACK the vulnerable calf relentlessly as the stronger bison valiantly kept on protecting the vulnerable calf from harm. What a fiercely protective LOVE! A wolf attempted to DISTRACT the stronger bison while the other wolf leapt toward the calf to attack. They tend to wait until their prey lowered their defense before attacking. The pack of wolves also HARASSES to wear out their prey, in attempt to weaken them for easier targeting.

What happened in the video isn’t that different from what happens in the spiritual realm. Demons and the fallen spirits are extremely determined to devour us. They don’t play fair and they don’t mess around! Most folks usually dismiss them as mere fairy tales, but that’s quite dangerous thinking! Just because we can’t readily discern evil with our senses doesn’t mean it doesn’t exists. We can’t see, smell, hear, or taste radiation but it’s still very deadly to us.

Like the wolves in the video, they use the following tactics – isolate, attack the weak, distract, and harass – to weaken believers systematically in attempts to devour them. Although it’s not a comprehensive list of tactics they use but I’ll just focused on these four for the simplicity of this post.

ISOLATE – The wolves seek to isolate believers from God because they know believers will become weaker and more vulnerable when isolated. The wolves attempt to deceive us into thinking that God is not there for us, distant and aloof from our lives, thus “isolating” us from God’s LOVE. Don’t listen to this lie! Nothing can stop God from loving us! God is faithful to us and watches over us as a loving parent watches over a child.

Although, there are times when God set us in wilderness in order to develop and mold us into a strong and beautiful vessel for the LORD. In this case, isolation can help us to learn how to be truly dependent only on God!

ATTACK THE WEAK – The wolves know to press hard onto any weak spot we might have. We become vulnerable to evil onslaught whenever we turn away from God and His commandments. Unforgiveness, anger, greed, and sinful behavior are some examples of the weak spot.

Take unforgiveness for example. If we don’t forgive those who have hurt us, then the enemy will press this advantage mercilessly. A thought from the evil one drips in your head – “Look what that person did to you, how can you forgive that person?” Then another thought drips in your head – “Maybe you should withhold your love from that person. After all, that person doesn’t deserve to be loved.” One thought leads to another and another. It eventually leads to hatred, bitterness, and perhaps even murder! Thoughts like these starts to crowd out the good qualities God has given us – love, forgiveness, gentleness etc… See how starting with one small tiniest weak spot eventually becomes a glaring hole in the armor, setting themselves up for a fatal arrow blow! The wolves will keep on pressing on the weak spot repeatedly unless we say “NO MORE!” and allow God to repair our weak spot.

Just as Christ has forgiven us, we should extend that same forgiveness, LOVE, and MERCY toward others. If you have difficulty forgiving someone, ask God to give you the strength to forgive! And then move on with your lives.

DISTRACT – The wolves attempt to lure us with worldly distractions because it can be effective at taking away our focus on God. They will try to lure us with career ambitions, social activities, and entertainments to drown out our precious time with God. Lack of time with God means we are not being built up in God’s word and His love. This can make us weak and vulnerable to others’ notions that are not of God. The parable of sower (see the verses below) mentioned how seeds surrounded by thorns – which represented life’s worries, riches and pleasure – don’t mature. Yikes!

Luke 8:4-15 (NIV)
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Another way for the wolves to distract us is through difficult circumstances in our lives. The wolves are counting on us seeing in the present circumstances only and hope we will forget about God’s promises and His strength.

Imagine yourselves as Israelites wandering around in the wilderness – oppressive heat, sheer physical exhaustion, and lack of food. Their circumstances seemed overwhelming! Doubts start to rise in their mind, thinking, “Did God deliver us out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness”? They only focused on the present and forgot about God’s promises that were yet to come. In the end, God did fulfill His promise, giving Canaan to Hebrew people.

We can learn from their mistakes and have faith in God despite whatever circumstances we’re facing. We can always ask for God’s strength to help us through the difficult circumstances. He is our Comforter and Deliverer!

HARASS – The wolves relentlessly takes one bite after another to wear us down. They intend to discourage believers from pursuing a meaningful relationship with God and following His command. While growing up, I’ve experienced emotional neglect and feeling left out many times. The evil ones had taken advantage of this fact mercilessly and harassed me with thoughts of feeling unloved and rejected. Eventually it deteriorated into self-deprecating thoughts such as “I’m nobody special” or having doubts that people actually cares about me. Then I decided, NO MORE! I refused to yield to these thoughts any further. I am choosing to see myself as God sees me, a precious child in His eyes, beloved and loved by our own CREATOR! The following verse came across my mind.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Whenever I get battered with these negative thoughts, I would remind myself of God’s love and how God has created me fearfully and wonderfully! We are His precious child and wonderful creation. To criticize ourselves is to criticize what God has made! So let us say no to these harassing thoughts and remind ourselves of God’s awesome love for us!

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The adult bison reminded me of a mature Christian – strong, valiant and able to stand against the evil. They have been through the purifying fire and they know to rely on the LORD for strength. They possess fiercely protective LOVE toward their brothers, especially the weaker ones. The calf can be compared to a new Christian or a weaker brother, not fully grown and formed in Christ. We are to help them grow and to guide them to Christ. So if you are the adult bison, then let your LOVE of the LORD overflow to the younger ones, protecting them from harm and guiding them toward Christ. If you are the younger ones, then affix your eyes upon Christ and grow in Him. He will watch over your steps and do not fear! Be vigilant and sober!

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


Reflecting God

Photo taken by me

Photo taken by me

I love photography and taking pictures of what God has created for us – flowers, stars, mountains, forest, etc…

Recently, an interesting analogy came across my mind. I thought about how taking pictures can be similar to how we chose to reflect God’s character, glory, and love.

Camera is a way of capturing what we see out there, so other people can have a little taste of what’s it like to be there and what it looks like. Of course, it doesn’t compare to being actually there. Similarly, just simply knowing about God is very different from actually experiencing Him and being with Him.

Like a camera, as a vessel of Christ, we are able to “capture” God’s character, glory and LOVE by yielding ourselves to Christ! When we die to Self and allow Christ to increase in our lives, we are showing God’s character, glory and LOVE toward others in hope they will come to God and experience his everlasting LOVE.

Galatians 5:22-26 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Any good photographer would know that taking care of camera and using them properly are essential to taking quality pictures. Dust and dirt can get on the camera causing the pictures look bad. A photographer would clean the camera lens with a special microfiber cloth. Comparably, sin (dust and dirt) prevents us from reflecting who God is. Only the blood of Christ can wash away our sin. If we seek forgiveness and repent from our sin, then our “lens” will become clean which allows us to reflect God better in our lives.

Using the manual settings in a camera requires basic knowledge on how they work together to be able to take a quality picture. In the same way, building ourselves in the knowledge of God’s word allows us to apply His word effectively in differing circumstances

Taking this analogy a bit further, suppose we wanted to invite unbelievers to God’s kingdom then we want to make sure we take care to handle God’s word with due diligence. If we took a bad picture of a beautiful landscape (God’s kingdom) then would people (unbelievers) be interested in going there? Perhaps if we took a good picture then there could be a chance that people (unbelievers) would want to visit the beautiful landscape (God’s kingdom) after seeing it in pictures? We are to share His good news and invite everyone to His kingdom. Not everyone will accept, but some will!

Luke 14:15-24 (ESV)
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

Even with a good picture of God’s creation, it doesn’t capture everything God had made and designed. We cannot truly put God in a box, all we can do is to point others to His LOVE and GLORY! Consider a picture of a beautiful idyllic lake surrounded by tall swaying pine forest – there is so much that we don’t see in the picture itself. Examples of what we don’t see in the pictures – animals thriving and multiplying, cycle of precipitations, plants growing under the sun, precisely designed DNA in lifeforms, and finely tuned condition in our universe that allows the right condition for the life to flourish!

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