Work and Play

Walking the dog

I love learning from you Father! I do take my walk with you very seriously but also at the same time, I love having fun together with You! A pleasant combination of work and play =) Thank you for everything, I am grateful for your LOVE!!

Stumbling Less and Less

As we grow more in Christ, we tend to stumble less and less. Don’t feel discouraged if you have stumbled! Just learn from it, rebuke the evil/sin, repent and move on! As we yield more to Christ, our fleshly/earthly desires will decrease.

No one is perfect like Christ for all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Jesus Christ came to the earth to give HIS LIFE so that we may live! Out of His everlasting love, He has shed HIS BLOOD to atone for our sin. We just have to believe in Him and have faith. We don’t have to be “super-christian” or anything like that. Remember how Peter kept on stumbling, when he was sinking after trying to walk on the water toward Jesus and when he denied knowing Jesus at the time of his trial. Yet Jesus loved him dearly and kept on guiding him. Peter kept on growing spiritually as He continued to have His eyes and love affixed on Jesus! In our walk with God, we are continuously being molded into His likeness as long we continuously yield to Jesus in our lives. Praise Jesus! He is very loving! Let us run toward Him =)

Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

This verse has helped a lot whenever I felt like I’ve failed or stumbled:

Psalm 94:18 (ESV)
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.

Also, this scene (see below) came across to my mind. It involves a bit of spiritual warfare and a bit of how we can deal with setback/obstacles.

An experienced and battered warrior came under a constant barrage of arrows (temptations, sins, defiling thoughts, doubts, etc..). He was able to deflect most of them. Although because he wasn’t fully armored, an arrow pierced small opening in his armor (vulnerabilities). It wounded the warrior, but he quickly took out the arrow and asked for healing (confessing the sin and asking God for forgiveness). He knew how to deal with the wounds for he was quite experienced. The warrior knew if the arrow stayed in the body it would kept on spreading the poison further (unforgiveness, bitterness, self-pity, etc..). Best to take out quickly and then patch up those small vulnerabilities in the armor (repenting, turning away from your sin, letting God heal us).

And remember, apart from God we can do nothing on our own. It is only with God’s strength that we are able to do many things!

The Bride Who Waited

A beautiful bride,
Sitting on a rock amidst the stream,
All dressed up and ready.

She had been waiting for a long time,
Turning her head in excitement for every sound in the forest,
Anticipating her Groom to come anytime.

That must be Him!
No.. just rustling leaves.
Is that Him?
No, just a deer lurking about.

Doubts rise up in her head.
What if He had forgotten about me?
What if I’m not worthy?
What if…

Shaking her head,
No! I won’t doubt!
He will come. I know He will
Because He loves me
And because He promised!

I won’t chase after other things,
Things that I can see and hear.
No, I’ll wait for the best!
I’ll take it in faith that you’re the best!
Yes, I will have faith…

And I will keep on watching and be ready!

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
Marriage by Kumon licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

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!

Sharing God's LOVE for the mankind