Friday, December 30, 2011
"There is no such thing as mere coincidence. God's sovereignty over men's affairs is not comprised even by the reality of sin and evil in the world. It is not limited to the good acts of men or the pleasant events of nature. The wind belongs to God whether it comforts or whether it kills (Psalm 135:5-7).
In the end, one must finally come to see that if there is a God in heaven, there is no such thing as mere coincidence, not even in the small affairs of life: "the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). Not one sparrow "will fall to the ground without your Father's will" (Matthew 10:29)." Desiring God, John Piper.
a small part of me wishes i could say that coincidence happens all the time, that certain occurrences are nothing more than luck (or lack thereof), misdirected signs, meaningless dreams or happenstance. if this were the case, then i can easily write off "destiny" or "fate" or even phrases like, "meant to be" as terms only eternal optimists or naive dreamers would use. sigh. this was me once upon a time...okay, maybe that's still me :) as a girl who could very well make a career (not a very successful one) out of a lifetime of reading into signs, some that aren't even there, i'm afraid i've become slightly cynical and jaded- as much as i'd hate to admit this. my fragile heart would rather have me believe that i simply made it all up, it was just imaginary. "it" being whatever my heart hopes for. given my past and history of upsets, failures and broken hearts, my initial gut reaction is to go ahead and assume that i'll end up right where i started- unfulfilled with diminishing hope. wait, am i being punked again? but the point here isn't whether i believe in coincidence or or not. the heart of the matter is, do i trust in the power of God that He is in control of my life and ultimately, of the universe? yes. does His goodness and light outweigh all of my dark seasons? yes. do i really have faith that He works things out for the good of those who love Him? yes. am i secure in that i've already given my whole heart and life to Jesus, therefore i have nothing to fear? yes. i would love to claim that i never waver from these truths but when i notice anxiety and doubts creeping up again, i know i still have a long way to go. thank God His mercies are new every morning. thank God He hasn't forgotten about me and He's transforming me. i am not that insecure little girl anymore. i'm reminded of a particularly fine day in july when i gave Him everything. with my voice trembling, nonetheless assertive, i died to deepest longings of my heart that were threatening to become idols. now i reflect on those dreams and desires. there is no pulse. they are dead. the only thing remaining is faith in a completely loving God who is not only able but willing to resurrect our sacrifices and give them back full of His power. with faith like this, how can i not be joyful? how can i keep from singing His praise? as running has always had all the right elements to bring moments of clarity for me, during my jog yesterday i thought about if i had absolutely nothing, i would still have my voice. if everything was stripped away, i could still sing and offer up my thanksgiving and worship Him in a way that only i can. no matter what, i can proclaim with my lips hope and testify of all the amazing things He's done in my life. i believe this is what He's calling me to do now. with our tongue, we have the power and authority to speak life! so i say it's nonsense to believe that the random guest at mom's company's holiday party last night who happens to be a m______ in ** was just a funny coincidence. it's foolish to think that all the visions and confirmations i received this year were all wishful thinking. i will speak of His faithfulness that brings hope and joy. aaaahhhhh. my heart is full :)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
for those finding it difficult to die to certain desires and yearnings or lay down and deny bad habits and strongholds, i've heard on numerous occasions that we ought to pray to God that He simply take them away from us. i acknowledge that this advice is dished out with the best intentions and on the surface, it sounds wise and like something i might encourage for others. i confess i've even prayed this prayer recently, for God to take away the longings in my heart and if He doesn't, i'll take it as a sign that it's from Him and therefore it's good, meaning it's a keeper. what in the world? i missed the point entirely. i'm finding that i'm always so quick to give up all the bad things- my heavy burdens, my past failures, the junk inside my head, my faults, my fears and worries, etc. on the flip side, it's a struggle to sacrifice and loosen my grip on all the good & fun things- marriage, future, money, security, time. the Lord has been convicting me to lay down the best parts of me, the things i treasure, the first fruits. and the delightfully strange thing is, i want to. i want my sacrifice and worship to cost something, especially when it's to the Lord. and if that's the case, then it should be expected to cause some degree of pain and discomfort. i'm supposing the world would call this borderline masochistic or foolish, but that doesn't really concern me. each time i choose to gaze at Him instead of myself and my "needs", i feel His immense pleasure and delight over me. plus, i have enough promises from His word and history with God to know that He won't ask me to lay down the deepest desires of my heart so that i would be left barren to suffer in vain. i know i'm trading up.
for the joy set before us...
and again, how true it is that all roads lead to the cross.
Trading anything for more of God really is the greatest deal ever offered to mankind. What could I possibly have that would equal His value? - Bill Johnson
If the yearnings went away, what would we have to offer up to the Lord? Aren't they given to us to offer? It is the control of passion, not its eradication, that is needed. How would we learn to submit to the authority of Christ if we had nothing to submit?
It is easy to make a mistake here. "If God gave it to me," we say, "it's mine. I can do what I want with it." No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of- if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life, if our hearts are set on glory. - Passion and Purity, Elizabeth Elliot.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It was Abraham's response to God's invitation for relationship that qualified him to receive the tremendous favor by which God made a father of no one into the father of a nation. Face to Face with God, Bill Johnson
i long to have faith like abraham's. before asking for substantial evidence that He'll provide or solid proof that what He has for me is good, i want to choose to believe simply because of the intimate relationship i have with God. without first seeing with my eyes, without a favorable probability, and even with all odds against me, i desire to have the kind of faith that will say yes and choose God above all else. what type of faith does it take to be considered a friend of God, the kind of friend that He actually speaks to face to face? i yearn for that special friendship with God. i confess, my controlling nature needs answers, detailed plans and results. in almost all cases, i'll play it safe and not risk much of my time, energy or heart unless i'm fully confident i'll reap the benefits. i realize it's only when it comes to love and relationships that i'm quick to give all of myself. in the past, my motives and desires were misdirected because i didn't know my worth or my identity. now i'm ready and so willing to surrender everything i am for the only one who will never disappoint or leave me empty. no regrets and no reservations. He has an amazing calling & exceeding good promises over my life and i feel Him inviting me to step out in faith- before possessing a blueprint or clear view of the future. sometimes i can't help but wonder how different the world would've turned out if abraham wasn't obedient, if he lacked radical faith because of his reasonable doubt. but God knew who He was choosing and He knows what He's doing now. that's the point. despite our weak faith, there's always a "but God..." the author and perfecter of our faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
i've always attributed my resilience and ability to overcome major adversities as simply just my personality. i'm strong. i'm a fighter. the more i ponder at this trait, i'm discovering it's not me at all. it's the Lord making me whole, giving me strength to endure hardships and pouring out His pure, untainted love. i blogged back in july when i first arrived in hawaii about His patient love.
each time Jesus reached into my heart to mend the broken pieces, i was so quick to give it to another lover, one that would never satisfy. He was so gentle with me as He waited for me to notice that it was Him all my life. i'm embarrassed and disgusted with myself for throwing my heart and affections far away from the only one it truly belongs to for so many years. but i know He's now longing for me to step into my identity as His bride. i've never had trouble relating to God as my heavenly Father and maker, the Holy Spirit as my helper and guide, or Jesus as my lover and friend. but i don't recall ever seeing myself as a bride of Christ. i guess i just never understood or fully grasped that reality. during a monday morning worship set sometime in august, as my eyes were closed and hands were raised to Him, i felt for the first time that i was His beloved bride. i saw myself wearing a beautiful white gown as He reached down from the sky and put a ring on my finger. what does one do with that kind of revelation?? the only thing i know to do is fall deeper in love and become radically desperate for more of Him.
as i'm reading the word, particularly the old testament while i'm living in Jerusalem, i'm receiving such crazy insight into His heart for His people, as if He's speaking directly into my ears. His pursuit is relentless and His love is absolutely furious. this morning i asked for wisdom and understanding before i began reading through hosea. after only reading the first couple chapters, i had to pause, raise my hands in worship and just get lost in His presence again. i'm in awe that He invites us to a life of enjoying Him forever. i'm humbled that He wants to marry me offers me every pleasure from His very hands. i couldn't stop repeating, "i want more of You, God. i want more of You, God..." this is more than just a desire, it's the most profound and consummate yearning in my spirit. i want to avoid coming off as overly dramatic or exaggerate my vocabulary for affect. but however it's conveyed, my sentiments will be lost in translation and words will never suffice. i have eternity on my mind.
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.
Hosea 2:6-8, 14-16, 19-20
Saturday, November 12, 2011
disclaimer: i feel like a bit of a broken record as i'm blogging about this again, an issue that rears its ugly head at me more than it's ever welcome to do. even still, i've never been one to shy away from confrontation, even & especially when it's internal, a matter of the heart.
with that, there's a perpetual battle raging inside of me that constricts me from courageously coming before the Lord with the pressing matters on my heart. subconsciously, i believe i've convinced myself that He can't be bothered with my silly desires when there are widespread famines and preposterous injustices that need to be tended to first. i've noticed that i oscillate from this place quite often. so i keep these desires at bay, even from my own heart, denying their authenticity or even the possibility that He might have given them to me in the first place. i tread ever so carefully making statements such as this, or even thinking it, because i never want to claim that my thoughts are His thoughts. and that's where the real wrestling kicks in because i believe, with much caution & hesitation, that these desires are not solely from my own flesh, but that He placed these desires in me for a purpose. i realized i fervently pray for other topics with full faith that He'll answer yet attempt to hide what's burning on my heart, as if i could ever really keep any secrets from Him. if i'm honest with myself, i know this resistance is fear. it hurts as i'm being stretched as He's daring me to trust that He actually is
this good- that He longs to be faithful to all the desires on my heart. so i'm faced with a predicament. i can either choose to believe, risk disappointment and the possibility of misinterpreting the Lord's voice, or i can dismiss these desires as just my own. to be frank, i'm very drawn to the idea of laying it all down before God mainly because it frightens me. i'm afraid of my heart taking offense, i fear losing faith in love, and i'm mostly just terrified that i'm not hearing God's voice. so of course i'd take the first opportunity to give this back to the Lord. i couldn't take control of this even if i tried.
this morning i began to think about my relationship with my dad again. i'm
confident in who i am in him and i'm familiar with his character well enough to know that i can come to him with anything, without fear of judgement or doubt that he'll provide. there is nothing i could ask my dad for that would ever compete with my love for him or become an idol in my life. furthermore, i know that if my dad could see my hesitation that was keeping me from standing before him as his daughter, it would deeply hurt him.
so what's keeping me from asking God? do i simply not know Him well enough? am i still living with the orphan mentality? last night i reached a point in my walk with God where i decided to lay it all out before Him and boldly ask. it was partly due to frustration & not wanting to struggle with it anymore but mostly about committing to trust that He's faithful to my heart's desires, and regardless of what happens, He will never cease to be so good. His character is not circumstantial. there are the type of requests that we bring before God daily, again and again, until he relents and our prayers are answered. i knew right away that this wouldn't be one of those prayers. i was only going to ask once but til the end contend to believe that God is better than we could ever hope for, greater than our hearts could ever dream. one thing that brings peace of mind and intense joy in my spirit is that it's all about Jesus. even through this difficult lesson in trust in Him alone, He's drawing me closer to Himself and revealing more of His heart to me.
in the end the heart longs not for any of God's good gifts, but for God Himself. to see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul's final feast. beyond this there is no quest. words fail. we call it pleasure, joy, delight. but these are weak pointers to the unspeakable experience. -Desiring God, John Piper
i ask only one thing from the Lord. this is what i want: let me live in the Lord's house all my life. let me see the Lord's beauty and look with my own eyes at his Temple. Psalm 27:4
You will not let your holy one rot. being with You will fill me with joy; at your right hand i will find pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11
enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you what you want. depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you. Psalm 37:4
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
each morning the sun rises to awaken the earth from slumber
more faithful than my next heartbeat
more reliable than the air i breathe
half the world is still asleep but all arise when its light comes
breaking through the darkness
revealing things hidden in secret
ice melts with just one touch from the sun millions of miles away
giving warmth to cold hands
breathing life & color to the gray
although we can't look straight at it because it is too bright & great
we trust it will always be there
the only sun we will ever wake up to
regardless of our location, appearance or beliefs
we all look up to the same sky
the same sun shines upon our faces
and such is the one who created the sun & the heavenly skies
the one & only begotten Son of God
the Son who awakens our hearts
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the LORD;
in its time I will do this swiftly.”
Isaiah 60: 1-3, 19-22
Monday, November 7, 2011
i was lost & didn't know who i was
You awakened my dead soul
You called me by name
i cried out to you empty & broken
You healed my wounds
You made my heart whole again
i forgot how to hope & hunger for more
You dared me to dream with You
You poured out extravagant love
i let go of my doubts & all fear disappeared
You pursued me til i believed
You made me desperate for your presence
so i gave you my life & my desires
You took me by my hand
You told me you want to marry me
i said yes
The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62: 2-5
Monday, October 31, 2011
my dad absolutely adores me. i am the apple of his eye. i'm not trying to be obnoxious or conceited when i say these things. i just know them as fact, like gravity. when he greets me each morning, he acts as if he hasn't seen me in years, asks rhetorically, "how can you be so beautiful?!" in korean, and runs over to kiss me on my cheek. every single morning. i know without a shadow of a doubt that he would give me everything that was in his power to give. when we had nothing, he never let us know it because he still provided just the same, leaving scraps for himself. he will follow me anywhere God leads, to the ends of the earth. his love and devotion is constant and so accurately portrays the heart of our heavenly Father. but as good as my dad's affections and love may be, it's not perfect. there are flaws in the way he loves simply because he is human. so how much more could God possibly adore me? how much more is it on His heart to want to provide for His beloved daughter? He has the universe in the palm of His hands and the riches and kingdoms of the world at his disposal. how could i fail to believe that He will be faithful to my heart's desires? He knows my deepest thoughts and faintest whispers before i even have the courage and faith to bring them to Him. nonetheless, if i never receive another blessing from His hands or revelation from His heart, it would still be more than enough. He already gave it all for me- more than i will ever be worthy of on my own and more than my praise and thanksgiving will ever attempt to catch up to. but He doesn't leave us on our own, without hope for more. He graciously pours out His presence over us daily and it never ceases to overwhelm and transform. this blows my mind. how is it feasible to be in constant communion with someone who never changes yet still learn, experience, see new facets to who they are everyday of our lives? this is our God- infinite and always leaving us hungry and thirsty for more. You're my sweet, sweet obsession, Jesus :)
You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
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.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalms 139: 1-6, 13-18
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Where "the Gospel" is shared, it comes across something like this: "God accepts you just as you are. God has unconditional love for you." that is not biblical Gospel, however. the Gospel is better than unconditional love. the Gospel says, "God accepts you just as Christ is. God has 'contraconditional' love for you." Christ bears the curse you deserve. Christ is fully pleasing to the Father and gives you His own perfect goodness. Christ reigns in power, making you the Father's child and coming close to you to begin to change what is unacceptable to God about you. God never accepts me "as I am." He accepts me "as I am in Jesus Christ."The center of gravity is different. The true Gospel does not allow God's love to be sucked into the vortex of the soul's lust for acceptability and worth in and of itself. Rather, it radically decenters people- what the Bible calls "fear of the Lord" and "faith"- to look outside themselves.
Jesus says to take up our cross daily, dying to the false gods we fabricate, and learning to walk in fellowship with Him who is full of grace to help us. Receptivity to God's love- "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want"- is the absolutely necessary prerequisite for any sort of active obedience to God.
Let the Kingdom be always before you; and believe steadfastly concerning things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this side of the other world get within you. Set your faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.
[We] remember, amid hard combat with world, flesh, and Devil, the Celestial City which is [our] destination, and the Lord Jesus who beckons [us] to life.
-Idols of the Heart and "Vanity Fair." David Powlison.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31
Thursday, October 20, 2011
i was watching August Rush this afternoon and was reminded of five months ago when the Lord revealed to me so intimately that He knows me. i was desperate to be found and i didn't even know i was lost. but He called me by my name, spoke tenderly to me and said i am fully known and perfectly loved by Him. it's as if He removed my blindfold, opened up my eyes, and let me see for the very first time. looking back now, i'm forever grateful for this massive revelation that radically transformed my life. this was not a casual, everyday occurrence. it was pivotal, crucial, and probably the most significant event in my walk with Jesus since becoming saved. i kept claiming then that this would completely change everything but i had no idea how or what it would look like. i would've never imagined this for myself- living for months in hawaii and israel, more restoration than i could have dreamed of praying for, and my heart to be whole again and so secure in love. and to think, it was just one particularly fine day and one essential truth that set me free and gave me life again. all it took was one glance into the heart of the Father to rock my world and make me fall so much in love. Jesus, thank you for letting me be found by You.
You called my name
Reached out Your hand
Restored my life
And I was redeemed
The moment You entered my life
Christ gave that day
My life was changed
When from my shoulders
Fell the weight of my sin
Consume my thoughts
As I rest in You
I'm now in love
With a Saviour
Bearing the marks of His love
Wizard: What do you want to be in the world? I mean, the whole world,
what do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that.
August Rush: Found.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
there's a fine line between having faith in the goodness of God and equating the good things of God with who He actually is. when the lines are blurred, we run the risk of stepping over the boundary into being offended at Him when we don't physically see the goods in front of us. don't misunderstand, i have faith for the fulfillment of the prophecies and promises over my life and i press on to believe that He is faithful to my heart's desires. i trust that they are good and true and i claim them to come into fruition in His perfect time. but what if those things never come to pass or they look different than the way i initially perceived them to be given my limited perspective? will my heart turn away from the Lord if they don't look exactly the way i hoped and prayed for? am i so insistent and already set on my own agenda that i don't give the Lord free reign over my life? even worse, am i treasuring the fulfillment of my desires more than i seek His presence, more than God Himself? i know even beneficial and pure things run the risk of slowly taking the place of God in our hearts. we can take our calling & destiny dream that He has imparted to us and allow it to become our identity and security. we can take ownership to the point where it's not His plan for us anymore, it's just mine. to be on the safe side, i know what i need to do. i need to lay it down at His feet, let it die and trust that He will resurrect it when i'm ready. there is nothing i want to compete with His Lordship over my life. so i'm dying, once again, to the desires in my heart even though i am confident they are from His heart. i'm letting go and killing it before it threatens to consumes more of me than it was ever supposed to do. there's nothing i hold onto, my hands are wide open.
from Tozer's The Pursuit of God-
Abraham was old when Isaac was born, old enough indeed to have been his grandfather, and the child became at once the delight and idol of his heart... The baby represented everything sacred to his father's heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hopes of the years and the long messianic dream... It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love...Possibly not again until a Greater than Abraham wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane did such mortal pain visit a human soul... He would offer his son as God had directed him to do, and then trust God to raise him from the dead.
"I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love."
The sense of possession which they connote was gone from his heart. Things had been cast out forever. They had now become external to the man. His inner heart was free from them.
We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
i'm living in a completely foreign land. i don't know the language. there is no target or mcdonalds in sight. everyone looks different than i do. nothing is familiar. so as i'm sitting alone at breakfast (without my morning coffee...oh, i miss coffee), i'm awestruck once again at how insignificant i am given this new worldview perspective. do i even matter, this face in the crowd? it's easy to get caught up in this mentality that life is all about me. too often than i'd like to admit, my mind is consumed with ME- how i present myself, my future, my comfort, my desires, even my Jesus. during college, i had a bit of an epiphany one day about life. i remember it well because it really depressed me and also i recall writing a blog on xanga about it (omg, remember xanga?). it started with just thinking about the board game LIFE. the more i thought about it, the more upset i got. what was going on before the game started and what happens after it's over? it's as if out of boredom and with a snap of a finger, these make believe lives were created, and the next minute it was over. so meaningless! what's the point? i paralleled it to my own life. i'm here for a second and then i'm gone. the problem with this bunny trail is finding the way back so we're not stuck in a funk. the only comforting remedy is discovering love in the midst of feeling so small. love gives purpose. it's the reason we were created. WE WERE MADE FOR LOVE. stop and let that really settle in. how utterly magnificent and beautiful is that? our sole purpose is for love, and not just with someone as finite and limited as we are, but first and foremost with our perfect creator God. He existed before the world began and He'll still be here when everything and everyone fades away. this is the life we are called to live. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But above all things, a story about love. A love that will live forever.
The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. -Moulin Rouge
i was made for this
i was made for pleasure
to gaze on the one i love
to live in sweet surrender
and by your precious blood
now i may boldly enter
into the beauty of your heart
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
"We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more." Federick Faber
how is it possible that the pure goodness of our Lord has no end and even our greatest, wildest thoughts of Him still fall short of who He really is? we behold our Father based on our own ideals and the limitations of our fantasies. we think He's awesome, but He's even better than we could ever begin to imagine. my definition of "good" is constantly being ruined and redefined by His overwhelming faithfulness in my life and as a witness of Jesus at work in others' lives. those secret dreams we keep sacred in our hearts are crying out to be fulfilled. but oftentimes we deter from dreaming so big in fear that we're just simply being foolish. distrusting our God, we convince ourselves that it's too good to ever be true. and then at just the right time, Jesus breaks in and dares us to believe that He's willing and able to give us our heart's desire- and more! abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness! as we step out with arms wide open in surrender and expectation, He satisfies the hope we carry into completion because He himself is our hope. the crazy thing is, i actually have faith that He is that good. as i see His plans for me unfold one layer at a time, i'm experiencing His beauty and glory afresh that it commands my soul to respond in worship and thanksgiving. in the midst of yearning for more of His presence, His desires become my desires. so why would He withhold Himself when He is actually the desire of our hearts? He longs to invade our lives and take us up in His story. so i say, YES. over and over again, YES. i want more of You, Jesus.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11
Thursday, September 15, 2011
there's something massive stirring up inside me lately that i can't appropriately or sufficiently put into words. i'm finding that the only proper way for me to convey what's going on inside of me is to look up to heaven, raise my hands, and just get lost obsessing about this man named Jesus. i'm slowly unveiling what it means to live in extravagant love for a King who gave it all for me- not just in theory, but walked out in faith and action. driven by this desire to gain what's eternal, i'm asking God how to deposit into eternity and bring glory to His name. it's funny because whenever i ask God a question, He's so quick to provide a revelation or an opportunity for me to respond in obedience. i want to waste my life breaking alabaster jars at His feet, just worshiping and loving Jesus. but if i profess with my lips that i long for Him to be exalted and lifted high in israel and for the chains of injustice to be broken in NK, how am i living out this cry in my heart? there has been a literal aching and longing in my soul to bring His kingdom to earth, to the hardest and darkest places. giving my all is the only option, so i'm investing my prayers, my future, my desires, my finances and my whole life. i'm forsaking everything and trading all i have in reckless abandonment because i need to see His face. i can confidently do this because i have ridiculous faith in a ridiculously good God & trust that He'll take care of the rest. but that deserves a whole blog of its own which i'll save for another day.
Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
i've been reflecting back at my life, particularly the past 10 years, quite a bit lately. i feel like God has been highlighting certain memories, heartaches and victories, to remind me that he was always there, even when i failed to recognize Him. to be really honest, for a long time i had difficulty accepting a lot of the things that happened. subconsciously i think i was always somewhat envious of those people who never went through extreme hardships and dark seasons. there were plenty of moments when i wished i could trade places with someone with an easier life and more favorable circumstances. but now i look back at my journey and see so much beauty every step of the way. He really is so faithful to the end and my heart is just being destroyed over and over again as i'm witnessing His redemption. especially during the most hopeless situations when i couldn't see an end to the suffering and had no outward reason to be joyful, it all mattered to God and it was not in vain. when our family literally had nothing else to cling onto or rely on but God, He never failed or disappointed us. all the times my heart was broken seemingly beyond repair, God was weeping with me and holding my hand. when the last of the locusts were done eating away at the little that was left, even then, my eyes have been opened to see God's fingerprints everywhere. it was all perfect because it has brought me to where i'm at now. i'm thankful for parents who are madly in love with the Lord who chose to praise God regardless of how bad or frequent the storms. i'm forever indebted to them for always putting God first and inevitably showing me and sis to do the same. after 10 years of sowing prayers and believing in His goodness, we're reaping the fruits and discovering that He restores tenfold what was initially lost. i came to realize very recently that i absolutely adore and treasure my story because Jesus is smothered all over it. it was only through experiencing utter brokenness and desperation that i'm able to confidently say there is genuinely nothing that compares to Him and no one else i want to give my whole heart and life to but God. this is no sacrifice. i know true joy- not defined by circumstances, possessions, or status- but by the simple fact that i'm fully known and loved by Jesus. in sweet surrender accompanied by deep hunger, i've found the one thing i've been searching for my whole life- true love. the creator of the entire universe is also the most intimate lover of my soul. i haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what this means, but i'm going to spend the rest of my life unfolding the weight of this mystery. it's become my obsession- i worship God as i sleep and wake up to all my thoughts being wholly consumed and captivated by Him. and i've never been happier. there's something so liberating and peaceful about giving total control to a perfectly trustworthy God. in my own story, there has been a recurring theme of restoration and His crazy, passionate, unrelenting love that has defined me and given me a purpose and calling- to bring His restoration and love to those who live in hopelessness and darkness, specifically in NK. but first things first. God, all my delights are in You.
One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
there are quite a few random regrets and hidden ambitions from my past that i've completely forgotten about until just recently when i realized that God remembers even our tiniest, unspoken desires. ever since i attended design school in new york city, i always regretted not attending a university with an actual campus, complete with the dorm life, cafeteria food and community atmosphere (i lived off campus). when i arrived at YWAM in july, i was reminded of this wish from so many years ago and just smiled to myself, thanking God for providing exactly what i longed for. several months ago, i shared with my small group at church that my dream job would be to travel and blog. and here i am, blogging from hawaii, on the brink of heading to the middle east next month and who knows what country i'll be blogging from after that. 10 years ago when our family went through the darkest and most painful season- chapter 11 bankruptcy after 9/11, hopelessness and deep depression, failure after failure- it was nearly impossible to see God in the midst. years later when i was even more broken and desperate than ever before, i started to proclaim joel 2:25-27 for myself and my family. The Lord says, I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. 10 years later, and i'm witnessing the overwhelming goodness of God's restoration and His extraordinary favor. as i reflect back on even just the past couple months, i'm seeing His ridiculous joy, crazy love and legitimately supernatural provisions for my family. He is faithful, even when we neglect our requests that we've been bringing to Him for years. He is better than we can ever imagine, greater than we could ever hope for. a couple weeks into DTS, someone approached me during a ministry time and simply said, "i felt like God just wanted me to tell you that He is faithful to your desires. He sees all the desires you have in your heart and He'll be faithful to them all." honestly, given my limited scope, my initial disposition was that this word was only about my future husband and family. so i kind of just brushed it aside and didn't think much about it. last week, i really felt like the Lord was giving me a destiny dream for NK. i was excited but still wanted confirmation that this was indeed God calling me. while i was praying one day, psalm 37 was highlighted to me and i was so convinced that God was speaking to me about NK- the wicked being destroyed and the innocent possessing the land and receiving an everlasting inheritance. although it took me about an hour to notice, i was floored as i read the beginning of the chapter in verse 4, Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desire. it brought me back to the prophecy a few weeks earlier. He is faithful to this desire in my heart to be sent to NK. this is just one of many ways He's been speaking to me specifically about my dream. i confess though, last weekend, i struggled so much as i took this calling on as a burden. i felt completely inundated with unhealthy fears and sadness. i couldn't shake off unsettled anxieties and just felt weird and restless about it all. then the past couple days, it's as if God has been calling me by name, speaking powerfully & directly to me through others. it's not about my plans. it's all about His presence. i forgot to keep the main thing, the main thing. life is just about being loved by God, remaining in His presence and enjoying Him. the rest of life is lived through revelations of His love as it overflows to everything else. this truth released so much light and peace into my heart. all i have to do is delight in His presence. God, can it be that You are this good? it's true. You are so good. be my everything, Jesus.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
although i typically sleep soundly throughout the night, i was awakened last week at 2:30 am with an urgency in my heart to pray for NK. i felt like God was specifically impressing on me to intercede for repentant and God-fearing leaders and open doors into the country. there was a desperation in the deepest part of me that longed to be used and sent out to the children in NK. this is nothing brand new. being korean myself, i grew up with the knowledge of the propaganda & lies, extreme depravity & inhumane living conditions. it was nearly impossible to not weep & be broken for them because after all, north or south, we are korean. in the past, i subconsciously dismissed my inclination and responsibility of sharing God's heart by substituting my burden with a monthly donation to organizations that help to bring liberation in NK. but it's not enough anymore that i just simply give financially. my heart has literally been aching and i believe i'm getting a tiny glimpse into the heart of the Father. the following couple of days, i was wrestling with this idea of being called to full-time missions. my motives were seriously questioned and i thought perhaps i prematurely reacted out of my over-zealous emotions and hype. out of fear, i started planning out how i could secure my safe and comfortable life back at home with my family. i asked myself straight up if this could actually happen- if i was positively ready and willing to give up everything to pursue this invitation and calling to be sent out to the nations. all in or all out. as i closed my eyes and continued to wrestle within myself, i saw an image of me standing outside in the middle of a dirty village, holding a malnourished baby in my arms. i knew then that this is real and claimed in faith that i will serve the hopeless and neglected in NK one day very soon. there's no turning back. before i came to ywam in july, my parents asked me where i would like to go for outreach. without hesitation, my first response was NK. they weren't exactly thrilled with my answer but still somewhat reluctantly supportive. mom and dad were born in the same year that the korean war ceased, 1953, and left the separation between the north and the south. i have just recently begun to grasp that the only thing that sets me apart from the north koreans is a border. something as trivial and yet extremely significant and consequential as a border separates us. that is it. a border is the reason why my entire family lives in freedom. a border is the reason my sis, friends and i are alive and healthy. the fact that my mom and dad were born on the south side of a border is why i'm here today. this revelation just destroys me.
God, send me.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
Hope in the LORD
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
Psalm 37: 9-11, 17-19, 33-34
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
who am i that Jesus would love me and call me His bride? i am His beloved! i'm so utterly convinced that the ruler of the universe is enthralled by me and captivated by one glance of my eyes. and although this makes me blush when i put it in writing, i'm aware that i absolutely ravish His heart. i can't help but smile and even laugh out loud when i attempt to grasp how outrageous and extensive His love is. actually, i think we crack up at each other because of our mutual radical love for one another. Jesus spins around violently, dances with pure delight and sings His love song over me. it's ludicrous. and it's real. His love for me doesn't make sense because i'm so undeserving of something so extravagant and passionate. nevertheless, He calls me worthy and He died to rescue me and give me life. if i spent everyday for the next hundred years just responding to the revelations of His love for me, it still wouldn't be enough. but God, now You have my heart. i can't believe i get to waste the rest of my life in this beautiful, reckless abandonment to You. let my highest affections, all my strength, and my greatest hope and joy belong to You alone. let every other lover pale in comparison to You. i am devastated by Your love, Jesus. You make my soul sing.
1. spending much more than is necessary or wise; wasteful: an extravagant shopper.
2. excessively high: extravagant expenses; extravagant prices.
3. exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions.
4. going beyond what is deserved or justifiable: extravagant praise.
5. Obsolete . wandering beyond bounds.
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
Monday, August 1, 2011
if we're really honest with ourselves, most of us are guilty of limiting God and the extent of his power and love. we factor in our flawed past, miserable failures and endless shortcomings and immediately disqualify ourselves for greatness. whether we realize it or not, we diminish the authority we carry that we received when we became adopted sons and daughters of the Most High and our identity as a royal priesthood is lost somewhere in the midst of the mediocrity we imprison ourselves in. the enemy stunts our minds to only see with our eyes and judge by experience so that we neglect to include God in the equation. what dreams and aspirations that remain are then only attained by our striving, all the while tirelessly building up our credentials and self-worth. we so easily forget that we serve the almighty King of Kings who makes the impossible possible. so we settle for much less than what God is desiring to give us because we don't really believe in His restoration and redemption. i confess, even as i died to certain areas in my life, i still let doubt creep in and trample on my faith on a God who is mightier. so i silenced what was happening and chose to fight instead for His promise specifically for my family. the more i interceded and asked for His heart for our situation, He began to show me how jealous He is for our love and devotion and that we needed to forsake every other lover. with profound revelation of His love, i was able to surrender various parts of our lives and i had faith that as we died, God would resurrect us by His grace and power alone. the answer i got while praying a few weeks ago was simply "yes," but that this was more than just an advancement in career, prestigious reputation, or for the sake of a secure future. He wants to use us to carry His light & hope, bring revival to the lost and glory and honor to His name. we got the call today. the answer was "YES." JESUS. You really do make all things beautiful just in time. it's perfect. and once again, i'm incredibly humbled and in awe of You.
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death and in life I'm confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there's nothing that can separate my heart from your great love
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
like so many little girls, there are particular dreams and desires deep in my heart that i've held onto so securely, complete with a fairy tale ending and of course, a prince charming. my perception of these ideals have been shattered and bruised, remolded and transformed along the way, nevertheless, ever present and increasing in my pursuit. as shallow as it sounds, my greatest passion and source of satisfaction and identity was to be the most amazing wife and mother. it's almost as if i had a consuming obsession for these goals but never considered it a hindrance or stumbling block because they are essentially good and harmless. i didn't realize that my relentless grip on them were actually taking the place of God on the throne in my life (really scary!). i was unable to give them up in fear that i would be stuck with second best if i didn't take control of my own fate, like God would make a huge mistake or forget about me (yes, ridiculous, i know). i had my future all planned out, already claiming it was mine, unwilling to budge or divert and imprudently asked God for His blessings and provision. subconsciously, i was ready to give God everything, so as long as he provided a husband and kids. my hypothetical sacrifice was conditional and half-hearted. whenever i'm faced with the challenge to give up my future and self-seeking desires for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, i'm always hesitant to lay this specific part of my life down. but today was different. i just couldn't stand to live with these limitations on God anymore because it was slowly suffocating me. as i let the truth and gravity of what Jesus meant in His word when he calls us to take up the cross and lose our lives resonate in my heart, it awakened a desperate yearning in my soul to finally give them up completely. as i raised my hand in response to this costly call and eventually stood up in surrender to God, i could hear my voice shaking as i said the words for the first time audibly, "i give up my right to a husband. i give up my right to having children." i could barely make it through the sentences without freaking out quite a bit inside. but the hard part was over now. it felt like whatever was inside of me that was aching to be released for so long finally experienced freedom. then the panic was replaced with an overwhelming peace and i could breathe normally again. who am i to plan out my life based on my limited view of God? i'm dying to these desires, rights and everything i call mine in order to gain what's eternal. Jesus, i'm Yours.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Matthew 16: 24-26
Sunday, July 24, 2011
truth be told, being sick absolutely sucks. i'm losing motivation to leave my room, getting nauseous at the sight of food and falling asleep every half hour. and what's even more frustrating is that i'll sporadically have good days where i feel almost completely better, only to crash again the following day. what a tease! (ok, maybe i shouldn't have gone cliff jumping yesterday. NG). as i was laying in my bed last week, wishing i had the strength to just make it to the prayer room, i realized how swiftly the enemy was to attack me while i was physically so weak. i began to doubt all the convictions from the first 2 weeks of DTS, started worrying about my future again, and felt foolish for thinking that God would actually call me to something greater than the limited ambitions i have for myself. just as i was convincing myself that i will probably end up going back to my comfortable and stable lifestyle at home in december with no real transformation, i caught onto what the enemy was doing & immediately restrained myself from believing the lies. i stopped feeling sorry for myself and reclaimed the truth and the real work He is doing in me during this season. as difficult as it is to proclaim when i don't tangibly feel it, i know Jesus is my healer and He's renewing this weak spirit in me everyday. my desire now is that there will be be less of me and more of Him & He'll literally be my strength in my weakness. thank God He's stronger than our viruses, stronger than the doubts that creep in uninvited, and stronger than the enemy who'll do anything to steal our joy. even in the silence that accompanies being sick at home alone and although i tend to focus on what i'm missing out on, Jesus, could it be that you are wanting to speak to me? far away from all the distractions and voices that cloud up my head, in the clarity of this moment, God, i just want You. yeah, i want Your restoration, Your strength and Your voice, but most of all i just want You.
Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You
Take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You
All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing without You
Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You
All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing
But I love You
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my might
With all the strength that I can find
Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing,
I am nothing without You
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
cease from striving.
so i had this amazing date with Jesus last night. we walked downtown to the pier right around sunset, sat on the ledge by the rocks and listened to the crashing waves together. there was no music. no wrestling with God. no struggle to find an answer. i just felt like God saying i needed to be quiet and listen- even though He didn't say anything. the longer i pondered on the vastness of God and soaked in the endless ocean before me, i couldn't help but feel incredibly small. like, who am i that the God of the universe, the creator of heaven and earth, would know me? but even in the midst of acknowledging the magnitude and enormity of God, i knew i was so thoroughly and entirely known by Him- that we can share inside jokes just between the two of us and even a tiny glance toward His direction moves His heart. to be honest, yeah, i still struggle with entrusting my future plans and ambitions completely to God and i worry about finding a spouse and having children. this next part is pretty scary to admit, but in that place of being still with Jesus, none of it really mattered anymore. my calling, direction in life, career path- God's loosening my grip and control of it all and teaching me to surrender, not due to legalism or conviction in itself, but because faith is rising up in me and i believe with my whole entire being that God is faithful and good and has amazing plans for my life. what do i have to be afraid of?? so in the quietness and stillness, when it seems like nothing is happening or i should be striving harder, i'll wait with eager expectation to hear You. oh, JESUS.
i want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand. lay back against You and breath, feel Your heartbeat. this love is so deep, it's more than i can stand. i melt in Your peace, it's overwhelming.
Monday, July 18, 2011
i had this intense yearning in my heart last night that i didn't know what to do with. at one point while i was watching Jesus Freaks (documentary film on the DTS in boulder, co), this desperate hunger in me just got to be so overwhelming that i couldn't stop crying and i had no idea why. then i realized that for 28 years, i've allowed my soul to settle and be satisfied with so much less than what i was created for. so i went to the prayer room and asked God if it was possible to have an intimate love relationship with Him that lasted forever- that instead of fading through the years after the honeymoon phase, our love would only grow stronger and deeper. then this gentle peace came over me. i stopped crying and the rest of the questions disappeared. i felt Jesus reassuring me as He said, "jini, you have no idea." there were times in the past where i thought i knew all there was to know about Jesus's love. i was sure it was as good as He gets, as if i reached the maximum capacity to receive His love or something. oy vey. ever since i stepped off the plane, God has been blowing me away with His furious love for me. can it really be possible that we're invited to live in this perpetual discovery of the goodness of God? this has to be real. i thought about all that i gave up to be in this place- my lukewarm affections & offerings, financial security & stability, worldly luxuries & pleasures- and concluded that He is worthy of it all and so much more. not to sound extremely cheesy or anything, but i went on the sweetest date ever today. we didn't have an agenda. i just wanted to go on a walk with Jesus and ask Him to reveal how He felt about me. for the next 3 hours, i could tangibly sense God's delight and joy over me. i seriously felt like a giddy, totally smitten little girl, falling crazy in love yet so safe and secure. with cars and people passing me by, i couldn't help but constantly close my eyes, lift my head to the sky and raise my arms to my side and say out loud "Jesus, Jesus," with the biggest smile on my face. yeah, crazy, i know. & so worth it. just a little while longer til i see You.
i'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the one who gave it all. i'll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered. all i am is Yours.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
is it possible to have breakthrough and revelation every day? because it hasn't even been a week since i've arrived in hawaii and i already feel like God has done more in these past few days than in the past 28 years. during lecture this morning, in the most gentle and ravishing way, i felt Jesus telling me to just let Him love me and hear and believe what He says about me. i've been exhausted and i didn't even know it- trying so hard to make things happen on my own strength, even my pursuit of God. but Jesus is making the first move, like He always does, and waiting for me to respond and say that i choose Him, above all else. He's revealing that i was meant to be pursued so passionately and embraced so purely. i was reminded that despite what lies i've convinced myself of in the past, He calls me worthy of this extravagant love because of what He did on the cross for me. how true is it that all roads lead back to the cross. and as we remember the cross and His sacrifice and ultimate display of love, we're able to live through His resurrection. i came to hawaii so rejected, defeated and broken, desperate to see the face of God and have a calling and purpose for my life. and today, i know Jesus's purpose for me is that i would be loved. so while i'm still a long, long way off, i'm letting Jesus run to me and just embrace me. Jesus, i'm falling so hard for You all over again and it's seriously ruining me for everything else. to a God who paints sunsets just for me and speaks so tenderly to me, i'm choosing You and saying yes- to all that you have for me, whatever that may look like. this is just too good.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
there are various seasons in our lives, specific people, dire needs, or certain issues that God will burden our hearts with in order for us to enter into intercession, to stand before God and cry out for until we have breakthrough. i'm experiencing that through coming to Jesus, repeatedly with the same request, my heart is being molded and conformed to fit His desires and purposes. i'm seeing with my own eyes how God's been unveiling glimpses of the glorious things he has in store for us but it's up to us to take those small steps forward and choose to keep believing in His promises and faithfulness, especially when it's so difficult and we're tempted in every way to just give into doubt. it's easy to throw our hands up in defeat and lose hope when there's delay or rejection. i think the whole point is trusting and proclaiming that God is more committed to the things on our hearts than we are. from the moment we lifted up the first prayer, God already answered. so even when i don't see a solution or get an immediate answer, i know He's still faithful and teaching me to be patient as i learn more of who He is. on this journey of persistent and continued petitioning, i'm knowing God and believing i'm so loved and being pursued by a really, really good and perfectly loving God. He's revealing what's on His heart and in the process, stripping me of my self-sufficiency and self-righteousness, even as i'm interceding for others. the transformation comes from simply spending time with Jesus. the one person i love the most in this world, besides my parents, is my sis. i would give everything i have for her and suffer on her behalf. lately when i pray for her and present her requests before God, my heart literally aches because as much as i love her with my flawed and lacking love, i know Jesus's love for her is infinitely greater and stronger. His affection for her just blows me away. it's deeper than the ocean and wider than the sky, i believe this. God knows how desperately i want for her to be satisfied of every desire and deepest longing, even the things she doesn't say out loud. but now i'm seeing that God's dedication and faithfulness to her compared to mine is worlds apart and He'll make everything beautiful. until then, i'll keep contending for the fulfillment of Your promises, Jesus.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8: 27-28
we were made for God. we were created to love God and our hearts belong to Him. so it's no wonder that when we're so quick to give our hearts away to another, it leaves us more broken and emptier than before. because He is jealous for our love and is a relentless lover, He'll put barriers and obstacles in our way. He'll come after us, passionately, wholeheartedly, patiently, until we're fully His. i've been reflecting back at all my failed attempts at love and realized i was always so eager and willing to hand my heart over to anyone who asked & even those who didn't. each time it didn't work out and i needed healing, God was just as quick to repair, restore and make my heart fully whole once again. even still, i just gave it away to someone else. again. and again. i missed the point. i didn't see that God was restoring my heart for Him alone. God, i didn't know. how did i miss this for so long? now i see. all the times i fell and got hurt, God, You were right there, redeeming me and wanting so badly for me to give my heart fully to You. but You were so patient with me because You just love me. You were luring me back when i didn't recognize You. now i'm ready. now all i want is for you to take my heart. take everything. i found where i belong and it's right here, in Your presence. there's no place i'd rather be.
first let's fall in love. then we'll change the world. first let's fall in love. first things first.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
one of the hardest things you can ever do on your own strength is attempt to love someone who has no idea how to receive it, certainly doesn't deserve it, and does nothing to reciprocate. instead, they treat you horribly and say awful things to push you away, daring you to hate them. it seems like the logical thing to do in such cases would be to just cut the losses and run as fast as you can in the other direction. so why do i still feel compelled to extend love and show grace? why is my heart heavy and burdened to pray for those who hurt me repeatedly? sometimes i hate that i care as much as i do and i wish i could just turn it off like a switch. i regret giving the benefit of the doubt or seeing the good in people despite what they believe about themselves. in moments of deep hurt and anger, i wish i could take back all the hope, prayers and love i put into someone who treats me like garbage. to be quite honest, i know i have an unhealthy tolerance of permitting myself to be treated so disparagingly, putting others' desires and even faults above my own principles. sporadically, i have to genuinely question if i'm a masochist because it's not right that i'm the martyr in every relationship, always the punching bag. i admit, i have a savior complex that i need to shake off, fast. (God, help!) but when i examine why or how i can quickly forgive every offense and truly see others the way Jesus sees them, i know it's only because i'm aware of how profoundly i've been forgiven. i love Jesus but i break His heart more than i'd like to admit, more than i'm even aware of, and i know i can't hide all the shameful and disgusting junk that's inside of me. nevertheless, i know he shares my every pain and heartache each time i fall so hard. and every morning when i wake up and God still allows me to feel His mercy and grace over me, despite how miserably i failed the day before, i'm humbled and utterly grateful to have a God who is that devoted and patient with me. in these instances where i really let His truth seep in, i recognize that i would be completely hopeless if i didn't have someone like our God who is constantly fighting for me and believing in me. isn't it ironic that when we crush God's heart, He's still so quick to restore ours and make us whole again? it's not fair at all if you really think about it. it's extravagant and ridiculous. but that's grace. and that's Jesus. God, i'm so undeserving.
Monday, June 20, 2011
despite being a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic and wildly optimistic, i have bouts of skepticism that i struggle to fight off until i'm ultimately faced with either extreme joy or quiet disappointment. there can be (what i believe to be) a hundred confirmations, all signs pointing to YES, seemingly undeniable conviction and still, i'll hold onto that sliver of possibility that, yet again, i won't get my happy ending. as hard as it is, i use all my might and faith to silence those doubts as i choose to believe and fight for my promises instead, no matter what the predicaments or how long the delay. then once in a while, right when it really counts, God surprises us with supernatural favor and provision to the point where we cannot ever second guess His direction or His hand over our lives anymore. in the midst of upset and rejection, this tiny glimmer of hope turns into one of the greatest opportunities that we would've never experienced had everything gone according to our original plan or even our backup plan. we hold our breath and beg for something good and God replies, "no, i'm going to give you something even greater. just trust me and wait." somehow every blow from the past is redeemed in this one moment when we finally hear God say yes, against all odds. if there's anything i learned these past few weeks is that you really can't control God or attempt to figure Him out. He is God & i am not- plain & simple. i can't explain why certain things happen the way they do and i'm learning to stop demanding a reason. there are no bribes or magic prayers, no elite connections and name-dropping with God. but there is something to thanking and praising God in every season, especially when it goes against our emotions or what the world dictates. it releases us from being bound by our circumstances and frees us to worship anyways. in all this, we're reminded again and again that it's really not about us at all. God, i am so humbled & amazed by You. You are still good.
God makes miracles out of what seems insignificant: fragile faith, a little kindness, and ordinary people. —Julie Ackerman Link
In all the setbacks of your life as a believer, God is plotting for your joy. —John Piper
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
whenever negative things happen in our lives, i think we all potentially run the risk of becoming angry at God. somehow the bad occurrences are attributed to God and we either take credit for the good or simply forget to thank Him for his provision. by nature, we become easily offended by trials, setbacks and rejections to the point where we might actually even blame God, as if he stopped being good or changed his mind about loving us. i can't say it's exactly easy to avoid believing this atrocious, yet admittedly alluring, lie. in light of this, i'm realizing more and more these days why faith is such a gift and why it's so fundamental and necessary. it takes genuine faith to see beyond a crappy situation and see God's perspective. i'm not referring to an abstract faith in an elusive and mysterious higher being or just a fairytale concept that makes me feel better about myself. this honestly brings no comfort to me when i'm desperate to be rescued and need to see the light. but when i really think about who it is that i build my faith on, a God who is love, there's no way i can convince myself that he wouldn't want the very best for me. as if He'd take away something good only to replace it with something worse. so even the disappointments in life, the many "no"s and situations when i don't exactly get what i prayed for, the painful instances when i swear that God must be so angry with me and is punishing me, even in these times i can still believe that God is for me and will always be good. when i gain the wisdom and strength to take a step back and ask for His perspective, it's only then that my eyes are opened to see what else He's doing. but it means letting go of the past hurts, regrets & my control and really allowing God to take over. during the past few days, i've experienced, and now i'm fully confident, that the course of our lives is never set on plan B just because things don't go as we planned. i witnessed that as we die to insisting on our own way or trying so hopelessly to make our lives work or fit a mold, God will sometimes literally call us with a better offer. in His timing, in this case the very next day, His plans will be revealed with His undeniable fingerprints all over it. as events and situations unfold so effortlessly, we come to find that this is exactly right, just perfectly the way things were supposed to be all along. it's so true that the "no"s really become a huge YES to something so much greater. redemption is so sweet. :)
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
Joel 2: 25-27
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
i'd be lying if i said i'm not sad about leaving NY/NJ to live in hawaii for 12 weeks. i think about all the important events i'm going to miss out on: 30th birthdays, thanksgiving with family, playing football, weekends partying with friends. as far as i'm aware, this is as good as it gets with minimal fluctuations. i consciously have to stop myself from filling my head with all these regrets in order to attempt to comprehend what's waiting for me on the horizon. i'm simply not used to desiring so much or wanting more than i have. it's hard for me to hope for more than what i can see or what i can even imagine. but when i first signed up for this, i know for certain that God was wanting to rock my world and turn it upside down. with only 30 days left until i leave everything that's routine and familiar, i still can't grasp what to expect or prepare for what's to come. i'm just holding onto this great expectation that still overwhelms me like nothing else has ever had the power to do.
"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
Friday, June 3, 2011
like anyone else, there are times where i get caught between doing the right thing and taking the easy way out and chalking it up to one of many excuses. how is it that the right thing is often the hardest thing to do? it's tempting to not ever risk being vulnerable for the sake of others. and yeah, sometimes i'd rather be comfortable in my own world- walls and guards up high- not letting anything that might disrupt my peace to seep in. the danger is, given enough time, this is when our hearts grow cold and numb. we stay silent, become passive-aggressive, cut off relationships way too easily and forget how to really care for others. the easy route, never allowing ourselves to ever feel sad or any hint of pain, only perpetuates the cycle because we inevitably end up hurting those around us. we choose our pride and fake confidence over being vulnerable and weak. when i look back at all the times i felt deeply hurt, i couldn't wait to snap out of it. i would pray for time to pass by quickly or that God would literally erase my mind of certain memories (confession: i actually prayed for this just yesterday). i convince myself that i will always choose to stay safe from now on than risk ever feeling this way again because it's not worth it. that's usually around when i hear this loud voice inside that tells me to choose love instead- even if that means i don't do anything but allow myself to receive real love & deep healing. maybe even through the pain and time that passes so slowly God wants to reveal something so spectacular that i couldn't even imagine in my wildest dreams. i'm holding onto that maybe.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.
Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
i had the most vividly disturbing dream last night. all of my teeth were loose and one by one, i was effortlessly spitting out giant, bloody teeth in total dismay. as you can imagine, i woke up with the most unsettling anxiety. any former presence of peace and confidence was replaced with doubts and fear. how did this happen so quickly? and more importantly, what am i so stressed about? (i heard teeth dreams have to do with stress). i have no qualms about the future- hawaii, outreach, even coming back home in december after almost 6 months of being away. when i'm honest with myself, i know this restlessness stems from whatever unresolved issues i have now. oh gosh. i thought i was over & done with this. i'd hate to be the type that hides ugly scars and failures with colorful band-aids & fake smiles, with only temporary relief and superficial fixes. and now, on the heels of a blissful and amazing past 2 weeks, i'm reminded once again that the enemy is never too far from trying to steal my joy & deafen my ears to hear God's voice. i'm also made starkly aware that this really is not about me at all. i confess, i subconsciously convinced myself that this calling & decision was accredited to me being "good" (whatever that means) or useful, whereas before i wasn't. as if i'm eligible & qualified now and can do God this big favor or something. twisted logic, i know. i'm just learning as i'm going & taking notes along the way. so what do i do now? fight or flight? even if i chose to fight, i don't even know what i'm fighting for; i just know i don't want to do it anymore. so, i guess it's convenient that there's a flight option just around the corner. as much as it seems like a cop-out, running away can be the right answer at times, especially when i'm actually running TO something. when it comes down to it, we all just want someone to stand up and fight for us. when we have nothing left to give and we're fresh out of ideas and strategies and we're one small straw away from giving up on it all, whether we acknowledge it or not, we need someone stronger, someone able, and someone incredibly loving & beautiful to tell us we're worth fighting for. the last thing i want to be is weak and needy, but i confess, i'm desperate for You to take me by the hand and tell me that You're still fighting for me.