About Me

This blog is dedicated to the glorification of my King Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 26, 2011

an ocean of love

as i was standing by the ocean admiring the calm tides melting in and out of the mass body of water,
i felt the lord telling me
"my love for you is more vast than the ocean"

and i tried to visually picture what that meant. my eyes began to scan the waters and search the ocean to and fro, to try to measure the length of the ocean, to try to fathom the depths of the sea, to grasp my head around the amount of water that must lie in just the pacific ocean. and as i searched the ocean, i could see the waters dominate for hundreds and hundreds of miles on end; so vast was this ocean that the towering moiuntains just faintly rose from behind this sea of goliath.

wow. how far even just this body of water stretched i do not even know, nor can i fully grasp it all. there came a point as i was examining the ocean when i could no longer see it anymore. perhaps that was where the ocean ended, or perhaps that was the point where my limited peripheral vision could no longer see any further. whichever the reason, god reminded me that yes, no matter how immeasurable and immense the ocean may seem, there is a point where it ends, and where i wont be able to see it. but there is no shore to god's ocean of love. its waters continue on and on, stretching millions and billions of miles on end. there is no boundary line of his love where the land meets the sea, where the waters stop rising and falling. and even when i cant see it with my own limited mind and eyes, even when i think it has stopped after a certain amount of enormousity-- gods love still continues, even when i cant see it or even when im not aware that its there. even when i think that god has loved and given enough to me -- no, there is still more love that god wants to pour out, more of himself he wants to give because there is no limit.

it amazed me that at the moment when i was marveling at the utter vastness of this ocean, the lord would tell me that love is even greater than this. how much more unsearchable, unfathomable, and unlimited his love for you and me must be!

lord help this limited mind grasp the full depth of your limitless love. i confess lord that my view of you is still so narrow and small, and i do not know if i still fully understand this revelation of your love... but please, help me to really know your love, beyond what i knew growing up, beyond what little i know of it now. give me eyes to see when i cannot percieve and give me ears to hear when i cannot understand.

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
-(1 cor 2:9-10)

Monday, August 22, 2011

cry in my heart

theres a cry in my heart
for your glory to fall
for your presence to fill up
my senses.

theres a yearning again,
a thirst for discipline,
a hunger for thigs that are deeper

could you take me beyond?
could you carry me through
if i open my heart could i go there with you?
cause ive been there before
and i know theres still more

oh lord i need to know you.

for what do i have? if i dont have you jesus
what in this life could mean anymore
you are my rock
you are my glory
you are the lifter of my head

wow. as this song was running through my head, i shockingly realized how much the words paralled exactly what i was going through in my life, word for word.
i had listened to this song 4 years ago and it was one of my favorite songs back then, but i didnt really understand it. the chorus was the most catchy to me, as it resonated with how i felt about having jesus mean the world to me.

but now listening to this song, i realize that its a song that most depicts the prodigal son. how the son left the father in search for his own desires and riches but after dabbling in these worldy pleasures, he relizes that he has nothing and is nothing without the father. the son returns to the father in search for a life more than what haswhen he was living as he pleased. he realizes everything he once had and everything hes lost through the cry of his heart to be once again in the presence of the father.

and after trying to live life my own way,
i am exhausted.
there is no joy in following the things that i please, in placing more gravity on the ephemeral rather than the eternal. i want to return back to the father--and there is a cry once again in my heart for his intimate presence, a thirst and a hunger for things that are deeper, for things that cannot be found by merely searching in the physical. i realize that this need cannot be satisfied through the people i surround myself with, the things that i buy, the identity that i try to create, the love that i find, or even the amount of "holy" things that i do. this ringing yearning for more-- only god himself can satisfy.

could you take me beyond? can you carry me through? if i open my heart, could i go there with you? lord, i want to go to a place beyond that is more heart-penetrating, more wholesomely-satisfying, more thirst-quenching than the shallow waters that i have been setting foot in. but at the same time im scared. i dont really know why... i dont want to hold any of myself from him but i feel hesistant to pour everything i have. i feel as if a part of me is scared to let go of the things that i have because i am too focused on the death of self, the sacrifice, than the resurrection and exceeding life that follows. lord could you carry me through, because i dont know if i can ever make this on my own. lord, if i open my heart, could i go to that sweet, secret place with you? can you take me there once again, even if the attempts of my heart are still so feeble?

for surely i have been there before, and i know that there is so much more. i know in the deepest deep that there is so much more than the life that i am living now. lord, i remember. i remember those times when i would go so deep with you, when i was filled with exhilirating joy at every word of the living scriptures, when i would gaze at the sky with love-struck wonderment and daze at the beauty of your majesty, when i would wake up every morning afreshed and awakened by the overflowing love that you poured into my heart.
when all i wanted was to be intimately and deeply in communion with you.

oh lord... i need to know you.

for what do i have, if i dont have you? what in the whole universe could possibly replace you? what in the whole world could compare to you? what in this life could mean more than you, could hold more weight or significance than you? if i dont have all of you lord, i have nothing. no amount of intelligence or beauty or glory or talent or relationships or possesions or passion would be sufficient enough to even come close in worth.

oh lord, i need to know you.
please take this wandering heart of mine and fulfill the cry of my heart.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the lost will be be found

i have experienced the joy of knowing what god feels when one sinner repents, when one soul turns to jesus and all of heaven is rejoicing and celebrating over this seemingly small, but truly great victory.

in japan i had the amazing oppurtunity to share the gospel to three people, and out of the three, one of them accepted. although the numbers are so few, i felt god's heart and his love when i was sharing the gospel to that one individual who accepted the gospel and wanted to receive jesus christ as his personal savior and lord! hallelujiah! and as we prayed together for the first time (his name was shogo), i was moved to tears to see how his heart was so open to Jesus, and how he was asking God into his life. truly, all of heaven was dancing and celebrating because the stronghold of hades has been broken from his heart, because of this small but truly life changing and significant decision to follow after Jesus. even though he was just one person i know god was pleased.

a lot of people call japan the missionary graveyard. coming out of japan, i can understand and see why. i was told that it takes an average of about 10-20 years for a person to truly accept christ into their life. No doubt, japan is definately hard soil to toil in, and i dont know if i can explain all of their social, cultural and religious barriers by just blogging about it here. it was personally very hard for me as well, but one thing i am thankful for is the oppurtunity to share the gospel with a few people in japan, because even getting the oppurtunity to share is more difficult.

even though it seems like god's spirit is moving slowly through the country of japan, i know it doesnt have to be. i know that the lord has the power to turn hearts and transform lives in an instant. i know that once a person encounters the living love of christ, their life will never be the same-- because god's love is that strong. oh holy spirit, would you truly enliven and enlighten the japanese's hearts to the knowledge that there is an amazing father in heaven who loves them beyond what they could even fathom, that there is a love greater than what they could ever hope for or imagine. abba father would you encounter your japanese sons and daughters with your love in a way that is life changing--and in a way where they cannot deny surrendering all of their past for the sake of following after you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When we are weak, He is strong

god chooses the weak to shame the strong,
the foolish things of this world to shame the wise,
the despised things of the world to shame the glorious and glamourous.

why was Israel, out of all the many various tribes and nations, chosen to be the channel of blessing in which all the world might be saved? Why was Israel picked to be the most abundant, overflowing, and victorious nation, the one whom god gaurded, protected, and blessed? Why was Israel privliedged to be the people who would see God's glory and majesty displayed like no other, set apart since the very beginning of time to be a holy priesthood and nations for the manifesting glory of god?

because israel was the smallest and most despised tribe at the time.

no one would ever suspect that such a small nation would be strong enough to defeat the hittites, the amaelekites, the egyptians. but that is the beauty of god. he loves to exalt the lowly and bring down the haughty. He loves to use the most unexpected people, the most foolish things to bring him the most glory so that the world will know that it cannot be a result of humanly strength, wisdom, or power--but only through God and God alone.

and even though the churches may be small here in Japan,
even though there may be few believers,
even though it may seem almost impossible for the nation of Japan to come to to the genuine saving knowledge of christ,
even though it may seem like japan is the most unlikely country to truly love you because of so many hardened hearts,

lord i believe that you have great plans for the nation.
Something that I've noticed here in Japan is that the believers and the missionaries here have great endurance, for the pastor stated that the average believer takes about 10-20 years to fully make the decision of accepting christ. But the chritans here are true believers, for they do not take christianity lightly. The missionaries and Christains here know what it means to be patient and long-suffering. I see a certain humility in the japanese church's hearts. Because they are small they know they need to lean on Him for strength.
Lord i believe that you will use the small churches here in japan to bring you the utmost glory, to usher in a reviving of the peoples hearts. I believe that you desire to pour out your spirit and Your love upon this nation like new wine, revitalizing the nation's heartbeat after you once again. I believe you will change and break this nation to be one who shines in the darkness-- and you will do it through the few believers and the small churches here in this land, through the meek and the lowly. For when we are weak, Lord You and strongest.

and that is all we need.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

japan update/ prayer request #1

It is currently 2am in japan, and this is my 5th day here. All my teamates have already gone to bed, but I feel compelled to write for a bit. god has been definitely been challenging me and stretching me so much, but he still knows how much I can handle and what I cant handle. I feel like I am a rubber band being stretched out to what I think is the farthest it can go, but since rubber is elastic, there is never an end to how much more it can be stretched. i keep on thinking and asking god, how much more must i endure? Even though I felt that I was being stretched beyond my limit, I have a feeling that God is telling me that he wants to stretch my wineskin more so that there will be more room for him to pour more in. the intense stretching and the breaking of my outer man has definately been an excruciatingly painful process, but i want to hold on to the the hope that at the end of the fire, i will have a heart, a passion, and a faith that is as pure as gold.

One thing that im struggling with is hearing god clearly here in japan. I don’t know if its because theres something wrong with me, whether it’s the environment that im in, or whether its god choosing to be more silent so that I could learn how to trust him more…but not clearly being able to hear him when I need him most has been definitely a challenge to me. I was struggling with the spirit of fear as I was coming into japan… fears and doubts about this missions trip. I must confess that I was questioning god’s plan for my life—questioning him calling me to japan, questioning why i was put in this team, and questioning whether or not it was truly worthwhile to come here for only three weeks. will me being here for such a short period of time be enough to bear fruit? i am definately so far from being perfect, as i realize that my trust in god is still small.

Something that god showed me when this year started was that this would be the year that he would grow me in stature and character, and i was so excited when i first heard this. Little did I know though, that growing in stature meant the stripping and pruning of the things that are ungodly—desires that are not of him, my habits that are not of him, different mindsets, my sins....its definately not been easy though, but i know that this discipline god takes me through will in turn reap a harvest of righteousness. a verse that comes to mind that has been so comforting in this time of testing is hebrews 12--

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? ... Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our certain good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
- hebrews 12: 7-11

god disciplines us becasue he want us to be more holy like him, to bear the fruit of righteousness when we have been constantly trained and refined. this fruit of righteosness that we bear will result in a conformity to gods will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with god ( taken from the amplified bible). i definately feel like god has been disciplining me and training me to endure during this season of growing in stature and character. . i can see the ways in which he is shaping me to be more perservering, to be more patient, to be more loving, and to be long-suffering. all of these qualities and characterisitics goes hand in hand with the building of stature and charater... and will probably take you through the most painful journey to learn and obtain these characteristics. perhaps this japan trip will be the ultimate test of my character, a place where god wants to refine me even more quickly because he wants my life to bear a greater harvest of righteousness and holiness. During this time in japan, i have been clinging onto this praticular verse for comfort--

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight

-(Proverbs 3:5-6)

lord help me to see with your eyes and love with your heart. not by my power or my own strength, but it is only by and through your spirit oh lord that these people in japan will be changed. oh lord i want to trust that your ways are truly higher than mine and your thoughts so much deeper than what i can even begin to fathom so i will not lean on my own understanding, on what i see and hear through these human eyes.

to go where you go
to say what you say
to serve how you serve
to love how you love
to do what you do

i will follow you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

lost dreams

I feel as though I have lost my ability to dream.
I used to dream big dreams , believe in big things, but now things have changed
why is that? what has changed? is it because I have stopped believing that God has wonderful plans for my life? Is it because I am scared to dream? Is it because I don’t believe god can use me in that wide of a scale to bring many people to know him name? or maybe its because i don’t care as much anymore?

I know that God has taken me/is taking me through a season of humilty. Before this year, I would constantly dream of conquering the world for christ. my one mission in life was to go to the hardest, darkest, and most unreached parts of the world and reap a harvest of souls there, see millions saved and come to Christ, and usher in a new revolutionary movement. “god use me to create the next big revival movement!” would be my cry. looking back now, i see how filled with self-pride this dream was, and how i wanted to do big things for Christ because I wanted to be great, to be the most revolutionary missionary there was in all of history. however, this entire year has been a season of continual humbling, of being taken from the high places down to the low so that I could be broken and learn how to truly look upon myself with sober judgment. over this year god has been so gracious in highlighting and emphasizing and giving me insight into one particular aspect of his character—his humility. through his gentleness, through speaking to me in his still small voice, through revealing his love to me in the humble, little, and lowly ways, he has truly been completely redefining how I see him and how I interact with him. truly he came to be in gentleness because he wanted to teach me how to be gentle, and he is showing me his humility, his love for the weak because he wants me to learn how to be meek and humble.

it was not until this year that I was able to fully let go of these big dreams. before, I could not accept the possiblity of not doing “big” with things with my life, of not being at the forefront and center of revival. now as I sit and reflect some more, i am wondering whether i had let go of these dreams as an outcome of this humility training (of learning how to be meek and lowly, instead of dreaming to be great), or if I let go of these dreams as a result of lack of faith, an inability to hope and dare and dream.

as I was again reflecting a few days ago, I came to another conclusion—
I have lost my childlike faith in god.
its been very interesting because as i read the word, god continually shows me/brings me to passages that talk about children. and through this I have gained more insight into what it means to be “childlike”—

a child has a simple mind with few worries and little agenda,
a child is vulnerable and humble
a child is pure and innocent of heart and mind, untainted
a child is constantly fascinated and curious with the world around him
a child has a very tender and malleable heart
a child finds his primary identity in what his parents tell him
a child is completely dependent upon his parents and absolutely trusts and believes his parents

and as i was thinking about all these characteristics of being childlike, I realized how I lacked most, if not all of them. some thing that particularly grieves my heart is that ive lost my utter fascination and awed-struck wonder of god. i am not as captivated by him as I used to be, not as fascinated when he would tell me secrets or show me different things. I realized how my heart has lost its tenderness, how I have grown more calloused, more tainted.
before, following god was so easy because that’s the only thing I cared about, but recently, it has been a struggle to want to desire to seek god. I want him... but I also want to desire to want him because I feel that my heart isn’t always 100 percent there.

granted, I am doing a lot better than I was last month, and I know god is slowly restoring me but still i realize that i do not know how to love god rightly... how i am so far from correctly loving god. God has been so gracious to me though. I'm not sure how long i will be in this dry season, but each day i am more convinced that god is with me and hes holding my hand. tonight (just a little before this) i was crying out to god and asking him to help me love him more, and help me to break my hardened heart. and as i was crying out to him i kept on asking him to show me why my heart was so hardened, what unconfessed sins were in my life, and what i needed to change about my life. a little while later my friend called me to catch up, and i began to share with her this issue and she gave me more understanding into my situation when she said--"do you think god is bringing you into this season of dryness so that you could better relate to the people around you and in your church?"

wow! so true... many people who have always grown up in the church, sadly, have the most hardened hearts of all. perhaps god wants me to understand not just my church, but america more. I never have really experienced a lack of desire for god before this point and therefore could not even begin to understand how people could be passive with god. i think that actually going through this season has really opened my eyes and my heart to be more sensitive to the needs of the people at my church, and the people around me who are also struggling with a hardened heart.

battling through with a calloused heart is not easy. but i believe god will redeem it for his glory, like he redeems, restores and renews everything, even transforming what was bad and meant for harm into something good and beautiful.
please god, take me back to the beginning with you, to that day you won my heart and completely captivated me with your love. oh would you tenderize again this calloused heart of mine again, and make it malleable and shapable in your hands.
and if god is big and limitless, then truly anything is possible--and i do wish to dream again.
i want to dream so badly,to hope and believe and soar in the boundless skies with him again.
I want to dare to dream big dreams, and have big visions... because our god is a big god.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Call to Japan

When I first felt that God was calling me to go to Japan a month and a half ago, I was shocked because it was so contrary to what i had thought god wanted me to do, and what i had already planned to do. I was already set on taking summer school and staying at home because God had been showing me the importance of loving the people around me and being faithful with the little. He’s been putting an immense desire in my heart to love the people closest to me with all that I have and to faithfully steward that one ‘talent’ god has given me (as in the parable). In my mind, loving the people around me meant staying in Irvine in the summer. although I have always been a "go-go-go person, the lord has been teaching me the reward of stillness and so I had surrendered my desire to go to the nations, believing that in the right season, God would allow me to go.

It was during one of my prayer times where I was moved to pray for japan because I heard from a friend that they weren’t getting as much help as they should be, and even some people are scared to go to Japan right now because it was too dangerous.
“How can this be?” I thought. Japan is at its pinnacle of chaos right now and they are the ones that need the most help. why is that god’s people are not being his hands and feet, his salt and light to a people who are desperately seeking help and answers? I prayed, asking God to bring more laborers in the field, for His glory to shine bigger and brighter....and it was then during this time where I felt that God was prompting me to go to Japan--that I wouldn’t just pray for laborers, but that He wanted me to be the answer to my prayer.

A part of me wrestled with God even when he prompted me . I had already adjusted my mind and was set on staying in Irvine this summer, to be comfortable and to take classed in order to catch up on my double-major. To be honest, prior to this incident Japan was one of the farthest countries from my heart. Never in my life would I ever want to go to Japan. I wanted to be far away from countries that were immersed in materialism and technology, and I kept asking God if he would let me go to Africa or India for missions, or a small remote village where life was simple.
So during a missions team meeting I told God,
“lord you know my heart...but if You want me to go to Japan, please give me a supernatural heart for them so that I can know how much You love them.” Right after I finished praying this prayer, I started to weep in the Spirit and my whole body was shaking under His power and His love that was pouring into my heart. I began to feel God’s heart for them and how he longed to bring restoration and redemption into their lives. From then on God continued to move my heart more and more for the country.

****I want to make a quick distinction between being overcome with emotion and being in the power of the spirit. When I say that I am “weeping in the spirit” it means that this is a conviction that is prompted by the spirit. It is not merely a feeling engendered by my own human means or effort—it is a heart revelation directly given by god. it is supernatural and cannot be created by our own natural means. My heart was moved supernaturally by the Holy spirit, and this weeping in the spirit is the same experience that I had when God called me to stay in my home church; against my own will and heart, I literally weeped in the spirit for an entire week over my church and its people, and this was the first time I actually knew and felt how much god loved my church.****

However, despite the fact that God had showed me his heart for Japan, I was going through a season of incredible dryness and darkness (as written in my previous blog). The past month has been the driest period I have experienced in my entire life, and I was faced with so many different temptations. I had lost all the joy I used to have in Christ, lost my desire to pursue Christ and began to question if I truly did wanted to go to Japan and if God really did call me. a thousand doubts and fears seeped into my mind, and I felt exactly like Moses when God commissioned him to go to Egypt to set his people free.

--But lord, I’m not right with you right now, and my heart isn’t in the right place. I am so hard.
---but lord, how can I share your gospel when I’m not fully living it out?
---but lord, I am so not ready...i think I might be more of a hindrance to the team and I don’t know if I can even be effective
--but Lord, what about my parents? what would they say about me wanting to go to japan?
---but lord, I don’t know if I heard you correctly. What if this is my own desire to go?
---but lord, I have back and health problems..
---but lord, is this the right season and the right time to go?
---but lord, I really cant do much... theres already other people going to japan that
you could use

needless to say, I felt like the most unqualified person alive, and didn’t believe that God actually wanted me to go to japan, nor did I fully believe he could use me. I was swarmed with fear and doubt, and in the midst of this darkness I forgot what it meant t o trust in Him. But even as I told God that I couldn’t go to Japan, my spirit did not feel at peace.
As the deadlines were approaching and the missions trip was coming in a month in a half, I had almost wanted to give up any prospect of going to Japan, deeming it safer and easier for me to just stay in Irvine this summer. I knew I had to make a decision soon and quickly.


this past Thursday I went to KCCC, and we were having our missions send-off night. It was here that I told him, Lord if you do not show me today what you would like me to do clearly, I will decide not to go.
But oh how God is so faithful, and when He opens a door, truly no one, not anything, can ever shut any door that He intends to open.
It was at this night where he spoke to me loudly and clearly, breaking my heart again for what broke His. After weeks of being completely unfeeling, unmoving, and completely passive towards God, he put in me a fresh fire and burden, reminding me again of his heart to see every peoples of every nation come to know him, that they might also be saved!
and as he was speaking to me, he gave me a grave urgency to share his word, and it was then that I realized the necessity and the importance of the gospel is so much more important, so much greater than any of my inhibitions and fears. It was here that God opened up my eyes to see that the root of all my problems was my immense lack of faith— I felt chastised by God because I remembered that one cannot please God without faith.

I told him,
“Lord you know my heart... and you also know that I have never been in this lukewarm state in my entire life, and this is the driest season that I have ever been in... lord im sorry that all I have to offer you right now is my broken worship. But if you truly want me to go, I am willing to lay aside all my fears, my inhibitions, my feelings of doubt and insecurity... for the sake of your gospel lord. because you are greater, you are worthier and i want to trust you. Right then when I made that final decision, I knew in my spirit that this was the way God wanted me to go. finally, after a month of wrestling with Him, I felt at peace.

Things turned out well with my mom as well, as I called her after this and asked her again for the third time if she would let me go to japan. she told me that although she did not personally want me to go because it was dangerous, if god wanted me to go she could do nothing to stop it, and that I was old enough to make my own decisions.


the righteous shall live by faith.
although I am still slowly learning exactly what it means to live by faith, I want to go to Japan with wholehearted trust in God’s perfect love, timing, and nature.
I want to be able to walk by faith, and not by sight. In my natural sight it seemed so improbable for me to go, but faith is not seeing; it comes through hearing. And God quieted my soul, allowing me to hear his whispers and his promptings and his heart, thus, I want to respond in faith.
lord to go where you go and say what you say,
to be your hands and feet, a jar that is emptied for you to use and fill however you may see fit.

here I am Lord, though incapable, though broken, though weak
Here I am lord, ready to do your will
here I am lord,

send me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

in the wilderness

when god first showed me that I was in a season of wilderness, I had merely thought that I would be spiritually dry.

but oh, how I was so wrong.
the wilderness encompasses so much more—
for when Jesus was taken to the wilderness, he was alone; there he was tempted and tried-his season of all the possible temptations. it was there were he battled, took his sword of the spirit and shield of faith to ward off satan’s lies and temptations. it was in the wilderness where he became refined, where he learned obedience. it was also after he underwent his trial in which he emerged full time into hid calling and into his ministry of openly preaching, teaching, performing miracles, and proclaiming that he was the Son of God to all men.

This season for me is more of a wilderness than I realized. for I am overwhelmed with temptations that I had never knew existed inside of me. suddenly the desires for worldly pleasures has crept into my heart, seeped in ever so slightly and poisonously that I wasn’t aware of it until I started to fall into it. a lie had entered my mind... I wanted to sin, to even fall into extreme sins so that I could understand more fully the depth of my depravity and the magnitude of God’s sacrifice and grace. I wanted to be that ex-druggie or that ex-prostitute who was radically saved by Christ and who experienced God’s grace in a way that was unimaginable. There was one time this desire took hold of me so strongly that I wanted to hurt myself... please bear with me.

I don’t really know what to say or how to even explain what is going on. I am speechless. I don’t even know if i should be writing this on my blog, but I want to be open and vulnerable. but I will try to articulate these scattered and indescrible thoughts with as much clarity as I can...so heres my story. For the past 3 weeks I felt like I was walking in a cloud of darkness. I felt as if I had lost my satisfaction from god. His presence felt void in my life. Depression was looming over me—and because my relationship with god wasn’t right, nothing else was right. I had no joy... I didn’t even feel like I was living. I felt dead.

Bizarre thoughts would enter into my mind, and I would give way for these thoughts to take root. For a time I would constantly try to fight. At night I would battle certain temptations and wrong mindsets that I knew the enemy was seeping into my mind. other nights I would be too tired to fight—all I wanted to do was to ignore the reality of my problems and these newfound desires that started to take hold. I found myself worn out and weary of being in constant battle, not knowing fully how to use my sword. I began to question god—Lord, are you truly the best thing this world has to offer? Lord, are you truly the greatest satisfaction? Is knowing you truly the greatest joy? Truthfully, at times i didnt care about God, what He felt when I would choose not to pray or couldnt read the word. other times i would even ask God if i could go my own way, to see what life was like on the other side for a while and then come back to him. I was so cold.

being in the wilderness—is also a season of loneliness. in the wilderness, everything is the same dry, flat plain stretched out miles and miles on end. with a ground-view, from a human perspective, it seems impossible to see past the vast dessert of sandless nothing. I think for a while now ive been feeling like my life is the same...normal, routine. not that its bad for life to be a flat ground. but for me... I realized that it is quite unbearable, to be in this state of flatness, of dryness. it would be better if I went through extreme suffering so that god could show me his extreme glory. honestly, I do prefer the valleys and the mountains in my life, for those are the times I cling onto Christ harder, with more determination. I think maybe even this desire to experiment with extreme sin came from a loathing of normalcy, of passive consistency.


Today during bible study as I was reading Revelations, the passage where god tells the angel to write to the church of Laodecia, I realized the condition of my heart. I was lukewarm. it had never really occurred to me... but I realized—Luke-warmness is ultimately not being completely content in god. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him. I began to realize the true condition of my passivity, and my desire to find satisfaction outside of god, to experiment with different and new things.

And I was sharing with my discipler, telling her that,
for me, to suffer is to be lukewarm, to not care of God’s love.
Because... in my eyes, it would not matter so much if I were to undergo physical affliction, torture or persecution if I was madly and deeply in love with god. Nothing that I could go through would matter because God would be my only passion, and that love would burn away everything else. What does suffering matter when one is deeply in love?
But when one is lukewarm... all of a sudden even the slightest problem in one’s life seems like a bigger giant.

and I came to the horrible conclusion...
that for the first time in my walk with jesus, I actually felt how it was like to be lukewarm. as I began to reminisce and tell my discipler how in love with god I used to be, I began to tear because I realized how cold and calloused my heart had become. How my once beating, pulsing, living heart of flesh has changed to a cold, unfeeling, unpenatrable stone. Last year whenever I would hear the gospel it would move me so deeply to tears. But now, I merely acknowledge what Christ did on the cross, no longer fully convicted by his love. Back then, my only only truly only desire was to know Him more. I wanted to share with everyone that crossed my path the love of God that transformed me inside and out. All I wanted to do was be intimate with God, and I desperately wanted everyone I knew to have the opportunity to experience the greatest love in the entire realm of history. jesus was EVERYTHING to me. he was my greatest desire, and nothing, truly nothing mattered more. I was ready to take this precious gospel with me unto death.

but now...
sadly, I cannot fully say... that god is my greatest desire. I want him to be. what has become of me? Sometimes when I pray, “lord I want to know you more, I want to be with you” –it is because I want a desire to hunger for god, I want a desire to want to be with Him. But is this a prayer that is truly from my heart? Do I truly desire more of him, or do I just know that i should have more of him, which compels me to pray this prayer? I am realizing more and more the true conditions of my heart. I feel so disobedient, so unworthy, far from him. I have lost my child-like youthful innocence and simplicity. I have become tainted with the experiences of life, tainted with my disbelief, with lies--so hardened, oh so hardened.

How should I end this?
Well, all I can say is that I am glad that when God rebukes the church in Laodecia(Rev 3), he doesn’t merely leave them nakedly exposed in the wretched condition that they are. He doesn’t just rebuke them for their hardened hearts, for their deceived minds and their self-indulgence and self-dependence. No.... he extends an offering of intimacy to them—

“I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with me.“

(Rev 3:20)

Here God shows us that HE is the one knocking on the doors of the hardened believer/ lukewarm heart. HE is the one who is pursuing them for a deeper relationship. And if we open the door, if we give Jesus permission to come into our hearts, he will then come and eat with us, and we with him (a place of intimacy where what we have is Jesus’ and what He has is ours, a place where things are shared). The lukewarm believer need not remain in this condition if he were to just open his heart!

After giving this invitation, God furthermore extends a promise—
“ He who overcomes, I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”

I think I am slowly coming out of this dryness. But how long I shall be in the wilderness, I am not sure. In this time of darkness, I want to cling on more firmly to God’s promises and truths. I do not want the spirit of disbelief to reside in me any longer, but I want the holy spirit to shine upon the word and illuminate these truths to me, so that I can cleave onto God’s promises and believe with all my heart that God will see me through, and that He is faithful to help me overcome.

please... brothers and sisters if any of you are reading this, please intercede. thank you so much for sharing my burdens with me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Broken at the Altar (poem)

Cross, oh cross
Why have you abandoned me?

From the depths of despondency I desperately cry out to you.
No response.
Engulfed in the fire of pain and iniquities.

Cross, I need you!
Yet your perfect figure stands atop the altar emotionless, lifelessly staring back at me--
With no sign of acknowledgement or consolation,
You lifelessly stare back at me--
Silent, ignoring my pleas and cries for healing.

Cross, oh cross
Why do you not answer?
Why do you choose to leave me so?

Alone, I stand.
My cries reverberating piercingly across the sanctuary.
Alone, I come to you at the altar of consecration, sanctification
The weight of all my iniquities,
The burden of all my shame flowing through my veins.
Piling onto me like the chasms of chaos,
Onto me like stone bricks, each one heavier than the one before.
Feeling entirely exposed and vulnerable to everything within me and everything against you.
Fully aware now, of my desecration, my violations.
My sins.

Forsaking everything I am and everything that I once was,
I took a few steps closer until I was directly below you.
Completely and utterly broken-
I threw my knees down to the carpeted floor,
My head bowed down before you until I could scarcely breathe.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me, Lord, for my deeds and my actions,
For my impure mind and my unclean lips.
For my deceit and conceit.
Forgive me, Lord, for everything I have done against you-
For all the times I have turned away, forsaken you-
For all those times I pushed you aside and put idols before you.
Forgive me Lord, for I am such a sinful and wretched being, so undeserving of everything you have given me and showered upon my feet.

Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.

Weeping uncontrollably and broken on my knees,
You embraced me into your abounding arms of grace and mercy.

I still love you, my beloved child,

I still love you.


I had written this poem 3 years ago, during my junior year in highschool. I remember first writing it because I had become so overwhelmed with the depth of my sin... I cant really recall what was happening at the time, but I do know that it had been a rough week and a tough time in my life, and I kept seeing uglier and nastier sides of my heart that I hadnt even known ever existed. My skin was being stripped away, layer by layer, and i felt utterly naked and depraved. This was the first time I saw myself for how bad I truly was. I was undone. Out of the depths of my heart, I strung together this poem, hoping to bring reconciliation between me and God. After going back to him and recieving grace and seeing for the first time how utterly wicked my heart was, yet learning that God still embraced me in my uncleanliness --compelled me to write this ending. I had cried out to God in my depression, and he came and comforted me. I called, and He answered.

Looking back, now I would write this poem with less focus on my sin and more focus on the cross and how I am made completely whole and completely new in his blood. However, I still want to preserve the authenitcity of this poem, because it was and still is one of my most cherished writings because I had poured my whole heart into writing this. So here it is... my raw poetry. Not the best poetry, but written from a sincere heart that was longing for God's redemptive love.

And so I thought it would be appropriate to share this poem with you all since today is good friday. The day that Jesus bore all my and your sins upon his shoulder and gave us his holiness and his righteousness. Even though He knew no sin whatsoever, he became sin for us, so that we could be righteous, and so we could then inherit His own right standing and perfect relationship with God! I was reflecting upon the fact that the the God of the universe would come on Earth TO die. He came to Earth knowing he would die, he came to live for the purpose of dying. So many times in the gospels Jesus warns his disciples over and over again the death that he would undergo for the sake of the world. He walked on the earth already knowing His destiny on the cross--YET he did NOT shrink back from the most devastating pain ever known in the history of mankind. He would not even alleviate his pain one centimeter less by drinking the wine given to him by the soldier while he was on the cross. He took our sin and the suffering to the fullest and most extreme extent, all the way onto death, onto the very end.

Our extreme sin calls for an extreme solution.
And this solution is through Cgrist Jesus's extreme sacrifice and suffering on the cross.
That, my friends.... this is extreme love, love in the rawest form, poured out and lasvished upon us.

May you let his love and sacrifice wash you anew this weekend. :]

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The only language is Love

His name was Giuermo.
He was a dark hispanic, probably around the age of 55 with long white curly hair and eyes that could light up the night sky. His clothes were a bit soiled, but overall, it was in decent condition considering he had been living on the streets for a while now. His face multiplied in wrinkles when he smiled, the creases on his face more defined on the meat where his mouth and his cheekbones met, wrinkles also forming near the edges of his eyes. His face crinkled with excitement and his eyes twinkled with joy and his teeth sparkled with the secret of paradise whenever he smiled.

We had met him last week at skid row,to put it plainly, divinely. In short, we saw him walking down the street and since he was too far from us, we decided to get back in the car and chase him down because we felt led to talk to him. His initial reaction was one of surprise and mistrust,but when Brian ran after him with a sandwhich in his hand, Giuermo turned around and greeted us with a big smile. he ran to us and gave us a hug, elated that we had brought him food. We also gave him a sleeping bag and he instantly looked towards heaven and clasped his hands, thanking jesus over and over again. His insurmountable joy for having God provide the simplest things was overwhelming. Although he literally had nothing, he had everything in Christ; even his homeless situation did not hinder him from clapping and singing praises of jubilation and exultation to God.

We knew he was of the christian faith, and when we tried to talk to him, he could only reply back in Spanish and a few English words. Miraculously, we still understood what he was saying with his hand gestures and his few English words scattered here and there. After praying and imparting blessings onto him, we told him that next time we came to visit him we would try to learn more Spanish so that we could communicate with him.

yet he replied back with a response that was both surprising and touching.
he said,
"in Jesus, the only language is love. I love you guys."

wow. so simple, yet so profound and so true.
What Gieurmo had said struck a beautiful chord in my heart, as I knew that this simple truth was so real. Love is the only language that can bridge social classes, racial differences, and cultural distinctions. Love really is the only language that everyone, no matter what you are or where you came from, can understand. Love does not raise walls of distinction or emphasize differences in background, culture, or intellect, but instead love looks past differences and strives for commonality, blurring the lines and bridging the gaps that would cause man to separate. Love has no boundaries. Because love is also an action, when you show someone an act of kindness, it is understood and received and known as love.

In our case, our commonality is Jesus, who is Love incarnate, the I AM who IS love.

And Jesus is the one who came down to earth to be the ultimate mediator between God and man. He is the ultimate bridge builder who bridged the greatest gap. He is the one who made an eternal way for man to be able to reach god, to have unlimited access to the Holy of Holies, into the most intimate place with the Father now and forever more. There is nothing that can ever come in between God's love for us now, no height nor depth, nor angels nor demons, nor things in the past or in the future that can ever ever ever separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Saviour.

wow... and surely Jesus' love has no boundaries. And because of Christ Jesus, the boundaries of culture and society are no longer in place, for we are all brothers and sisters in one body, in one Church, under one god. In Christ, we can look past all these physical boundaries and limitations and acknowledge each individual as they truly are-- a precious soul, God's cherished creation. For in Christ there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, male nor female.
And at the end of the age, ALL peoples from EVERY nation, tribe and tongue will worship god and we will all come together with one mind and one joy, having love as our centrality as we all worship our lord and Saviour Jesus!

Love came down and rescued me,
Love came down to set me free,
and now I am Yours, I am forever Yours.

Friday, March 18, 2011

There is a faith worth more than gold, so refine me lord through the flames

An act of faith is a heart of praise.

As i was struggling with my sins a few nights ago and I felt helpless to ward it because I'd been having to battle this certain struggle for a time now, God reminded me of this simple truth.

wow.... I had almost wanted to go to bed, not willing to fight, and desiring to simply close my eyes and ignore this feeling that had come upon me. But as I was saying a short prayer, the lord simply reminded me what faith is.

and truly, isn’t faith simply trusting god despite whatever hardships and pain and struggles that we go through? and so then is giving praise not the highest form of faith when one is being put through the fire of trials and circumstance? Doesn’t thanking god for the struggles that we face demonstrate a strong trust in Him--in his perfect and pleasing will, in His path laid out for us, in His ability to deliver us from our sufferings?

And so when god spoke this to my heart, I was overcome and I started thanking God for my situation, for truly God placed this struggle in my life for my good. Thank you lord, that you gave me the privilegdge to struggle through this, because I know you will deliver me because you are mighty to save. Thank you Lord for giving me this burden because when I fully overcome this by your grace, I can then help others who struggle with this sin as well. Thank you Lord, for putting trials and suffering in my life because I know that they only draw me closer to you, to depend on you more. Thank you lord, thank you...

As i began to thank the lord, the burden on my heart started to lessen. and so I asked God,
Lord, please give me a verse that I can read so that I can hold on to your promise. Lord I want to hold onto your truths...

He then led me to Luke 11--
"So I say to you: 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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
-(Luke 11:7-13)

And as I was reading this, the lord spoke to me and said,

joyce, when have you ever asked, and never received?
when have you ever sought me, and never found?

At this realization I began to tear, for the Lord started bringing to my memory of all the many answered wonderful prayers, all the miracles he’s done, and the matchless, unconditional love and grace he’s poured over and over and over again onto my life. And everytime I sought, I have always found. Evrerytime Ive asked... god really has given... even though I really don’t deserve it.

Lord... I really cant recall a time where you left me, remained silent, dealt with me with impatience, or did not provide for me everything that i needed and asked for...
you have even given me so much more than I have asked, so much more than i even deserve! and lord... I believe you are faithful to see me through and deliver me, because you have always been more than faithful to me, and you will remain faithful til the end.

today god confirmed to me again through a verse that truly thanksgiving is the best way to break any stronghold in my life, and even in the lives of others.

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
(romans 5:3-5)

wow... to think upon this paradox--we rejoice when we suffer. when we actually do this, the problem isnt a problem anymore, but is instead transformed into something that can bring more glory and more honour, something that is welcomed and accepted, not spurned and despised. The suffering is actually beautiful now in light of this, because when we share in Christ's suffering, we share all the more in His surpassing glory.
Truly, it is a blessing to suffer, for it is the only way to go from Glory to higher Glory –by overcoming one trial to another. The bigger the trials, the greater the glory.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

this is my prayer in the fire, through weakness or trial or in pain

This week is byfar one of the weirdest/ hardest weeks ive had thus far.

I don’t really know where to start…
So I guess ill just begin with last week…for some reason I was having suicidal thoughts. I know this sounds morbid and scary, but I don’t know how to describe what im going through without telling this part as well. I had come back from a worship/ prayer time at PIHOP, and all of a sudden I was consumed with dark thoughts… I wanted to die, and didn’t want to live anymore, I hated the people around me, I just wanted to be alone. And I thought, “why am I feeling this way? This doesn’t make any sense…” I really didn’t know what was happening and I was too tired to fight so I went to sleep asking god to take these thoughts/ feelings of bitter negativity away from me. I woke up the next morning, still not feeling refreshed, a sense of heaviness still weighing upon my heart. The whole week was just… weird. Battling daily, fighting, being wounded by the devil’s sword, praying, and not knowing what was wrong with me, being overwhelmed with emotions ive never felt before.

Last weekend I stayed in Irvine because I needed to do a group project, so I couldn’t go home (which I usually try to come home every weekend to attend my home church and see my family). Whenever I am in irvine, I visit this church called Blessed, and every time I have went I truly have been blessed with the Lords love and presence, and just by the people there. Then during prayer time, the pastor came up and said, “I sense that some of you are struggling with the spirit of death, and that it has been plaguing you over this past week. If you need prayer raised your hand.”

And when he said that, I thought to myself, “omygosh… so that’s what ive been battling through this whole week… a spirit of death.” With the new clarity I had received, I raised my hand to receive prayer.afterwards I met up with my friends from vegas (they had come to visit cali and came to Blessed as well) and I told Ron how the prayer really touched my heart and the how pastor was spot on. Ron then received a word of knowledge from god, in which he told me that the reason why im struggling with his is because I was advancing in the spirit, and Satan felt threatened so he is trying to hinder my relationship with God. But more importantly, my friend told me that the main reason why I have a spirit of death is because someone around me is struggling with this, and that they are unable to pray so God gave me this burden so that I can intercede on their behalf. When ron told me this, I was struck. a few people came to my mind, so afterwards I prayed for them, not really knowing what to do.

The next day on Monday I was still trying to grapple with my thoughts when my friend called me to tell me she was coming to pick me up to go to JHOP (Irvine’s house of prayer, J stands for Jericho). Right after I got off the phone with her, I was overwhelmed with an intense feeling of unrest; my spirit was not at peace at all. I tried to pray it off, but I couldn’t shake the feeling off of me and I was thinking, Lord, why am I feeling this?? This doesn’t make any sense… God is there something wrong with me? What are you trying to show me? Later when my friend picked me up and I got in her car, I told her what I was struggling with, and about my weekend and how God was trying t help me feel other peoples emotions in order for me to better intercede for them. If I can feel the spirit of death from other people, then perhaps people’s emotions transfer onto me and im able to feel them as well? After I finished talking, she looked at me and was completely silent.
“omg jamie… what are you feeling right now?”

“im sorry joyce… I think youre feeling my emotions right now. I really have this spirit of fear, and ive not been at peace because its overwhelming me”

So after this car ride it became more obvious to me that perhaps a lot of other weird thoughts ive been having might not actually be of me, but God trying to help me become aware of other’s emotions. When I stepped into Jhop, I wanted just to rest in his presence and have the Lord’s peace wash over all the anxiety and weariness that I had been wrestling with that day. But when I tried to worship God, I couldn’t. There was this extreme pressure on my chest, and I couldn’t find it in my heart to bring myself to worship Him. I tried to pray it off, but surprisingly, I found that I couldn’t even bring myself to pray, much less speak his name out loud.

“okay Lord… something is definitely very wrong. God I don’t know whether this is my feelings/ something wrong with me, and attack from satan, or someone else emotions.” I sat there for a while not knowing what to do, feeling a bit helpless. “lord… please help me… I don’t know how to pray at this moment…”
just pray
“but I cant lord, I cant even open my mouth to pray to you”
just pray”
“okay, alright god… If I pray and this thing goes away, then that means that this someone else’s burden”

After this I prayed for a while, and when I stopped praying I noticed the pressure on my chest was completely gone. At that moment I realized that someone in the room was struggling with the inability to worship God, so I asked the people around me if they needed prayer.

All this took place Sunday/ Monday.

The rest of my week started going more downhill… for some reason I just didn’t have any desire at all to spend time with god. I didn’t want to talk to him, and I just wanted to ignore him. It was completely bizarre. I did not even touch my bible this whole week, much less pray. My prayers were basically… measly ten minutes, prayers to the air, a prayer “just to pray”… if that makes sense. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on, and why my heart was so hardened. It was so horrific... i felt as if my spirit was literally dying inside of me.
The thing that scares me even more is that sometimes its really hard for me to discern whether the things im struggling with/ the emotions im receiving is really of me or someone elses’. And when I receive things that I normally don’t feel, my first thought is, “ something must be wrong with me.” The lines become blurred and suddenly, someone else’s emotions really mistakenly become mine, and I become overwhelmed with these weird thoughts/ feelings that im having. As my friend was praying for me a few days ago, God was giving me a lot of clarity concerning my situation and told me that what He has given me—the ability to literally feel what other people are feeling—is a gift to bless others, but that satan has been putting a lot of fear into my heart and trying to confuse/ distract me.

So on Friday, God showed me who exactly was struggling with the spirit of death.

That’s a whole other story but I think for now… if those of you who are reading could pray on behalf of my friend-- she is really struggling with so much...-- that she may come to the full revelation of the depth, height, width, and length of God's perfect love for her, and to believe that God is still with her.

and also for me, that god may give me a spirit of wisdom, discernment and love so I can really properly use this gift to reach out to others in the way that God wants me to. Im still not sure why I have such a complacent/ hardened heart right now but I think god’s clarity is so crucial so that I may not be overwhelmed with all these different thoughts and emotions that are invading me, but that I may be able to utilize this gift so that i may intercede on behalf of others with all my heart, mind, strength, and soul.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Set the captives free

“ ....I don’t care.... ill curse god as many times as I want to! Let Jesus die 5 more times on the cross... and die 5 times again! Keep dying!”

“No, no don’t say that, you don’t want to keep crucifying Christ with your sin... please! just repent, god will forgive you. Lord...lord! have mercy Jesus have mercy!”

“No I don’t care about Jesus! Look at my eyes, do you see God in them?? That’s right... because I don’t worship God. I worship Satan. He protects me and he keeps me alive.”

“Satan wont help you, he’ll only hurt you... that’s a lie! God is the one giving you the grace to live each day.”

“God doesn’t give me grace, the demons give me grace. You don’t know how many demons I have living inside of me. woman, you don’t know what ive been through. Ive been raped twice, abused, beaten, mistreated my whole life, and been livin on these damn streets for years! youll never know what its like.” * lifts up her shirt to show us her abuse marks on her stomach*


at that moment I realized—wow, she’s right. I really don’t know what its like... lord.... oh god.... please help me understand lord. my heart completely broke because I realized how much emotional trauma sherrie had to endure. Not having a place to live and having to sleep out in the streets with no shelter or comfort every day is bad enough, but being mistreated and abused on top of all the other junk, and being manipulated against her own will... must be so painful. These homeless people aren’t just home less—they are emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually afflicted severely. I cant even imagine what its like to be tormented by demons... but the whole atmosphere of skidrow reeks of them... at skidrow, truly you begin to realize how much Satan is like a roaring lion, preying upon people to devour. he walks the streets of skid row as if he owns them... skid row is his territory.


Right then we saw the urgency of her situation and all encircled around her to pray to cast out any demons that were inside of her and she began resisting us and fighting god. but after 1 minute of prayer she completely broke down and started crying on her knees. The hard calluses of her heart had shattered and she realized not only how broken she was, but how great her need for redemption was.
Tears were streaming down her face like a river.

and god told me ,
“she just wants to be loved”
and my heart felt so overwhelmed, because I began to feel the excruciating emptiness that gnaws inside of her heart every night she needs to sleep on the streets, the pain she experiences for wanting to be loved but feeling unworthy of true love and respect—
and so I came to her and I hugged her.
“Sweetie, you know you don’t have to live like this. those demons, theyre tormenting you. they are not helping you at all, and this is why you feel so oppressed because you weren’t made for satan.”
she looked at me, still with tears in her eyes but her eyes were softer now . “youre right...they are tormenting me...”

“you were made by god and for god. the holy god is supposed to live inside of you, and you are supposed to be a holy temple for god. not for demons. they don’t belong in you, you know that? and the God that made you, Jesus... he loves you. he loves you, and that’s why he created you... so that you could experience his love”

“he loves me...?”

amy then took her hand and said,
“shout jesus is lord! shout jesus is lord! confess that he is king!”

and sherrie all of a sudden said,
“Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Jesus, I love you!”

and she looked at us and asked, “ does this mean that... im saved?”

“yes, if you have accepted jesus in your heart and you believe in Him, then you are saved!”

“ I am? I am saved!! I am saved! when I said that, there was such a burst of joy in my heart that ive never felt before... the pain is gone... just so much joy... I am saved!”

and she began to cry and cry and hugged each of us and kissed us, telling us that she loved us.

praise god! this is our king! our god is mighty to save! I cannot express the overwhelming joy I felt seeing Sherrie come to the lord.
Jesus. this is the reason why I live. to see your kingdom come, to see your will be done, to see your glory revealed. Jesus. there is nothing else id rather do, and no place id rather be—than to know you and to make you known.
wow.... this is the life. this is truly life in its abundance-- to know you deeper and deeper lord and to make you known to the ends of the earth, all the days of my life!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

True Love Waits

(org. written on Mar 28, 2010--In the process of transferring some old stuff i wrote in my xanga to my blogsopt ;])

I don’t know what it is, but God definitely has a weird way of telling me things through rings.

Maybe its because He knows my tendencies to fantasize about my future husband (like most girls do) :P

Maybe it has something to do with the symbolism of the ring, and what it ultimately represents—a lasting covenant, an eternal bond, a committed love filled with the depth of intimacy and long lasting years until the day of departure.

Whatever the reason may be, I would like to share a little bit of how God is/ has been using rings to communicate his message to me.

Please bear with me because I know this blog is very very long, but I assure you that it will be worth your time to read it through... so if you are willing to spend fifteen minutes to read through, please do! :]


So flashback to 2 years ago, my junior year in high school...

During this time, me and my boyfriend were dating ( about a year and a half). But then when junior year hit, I felt God tugging at my heart and telling me that it wasn’t his will for us to be together. However, I ignored God’s prompting because I was selfish and stubborn, unable to let go of the foundation that I had built for almost 2 years, not willing to let my dreams come to a halting crash, and reluctant to let my well-built relationship with my boyfriend and best friend just die. Why God, why?

Then one night my boyfriend and I had a long, strenuous conversation. We were struggling with each other, and during our talk that night we slightly ventured upon the possibility of breaking up. We ended our conversation frustrated and depressed, and I sat in the shadows of room crying, extremely distressed. God, what do I do? I know what You want, but I don’t want to Lord, I really, really don’t want to let him go. Please help me.

Sometimes when I pray to God to help me and provide an answer, he will show directly me from his word. So I took out my bible, asking God to help me, and he brought me to Jesus’s sermon on the Mount.

...Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted...

Okay god, I know you’re with me. I know you’re comforting me in my time of distress. Please God, Please show me what to do. Show me your will.

However, I prayed this prayer in my heart, already sensing what God wanted me to do. This was more of a plead for god not to take him away from me. I urged for God’s will, yet I wasn’t completely open to it. Still God looked past my sin and remained ever so faithful, meeting me in the time when I desperately needed Him. I then flipped the bible open a second time, and surprisingly, he brought me to one of my favorite passages...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 cor 13:4-7)

Oh my god.

No way did you just bring me to this verse god. No way.

And as I was reading 1 Corinthians over and over, I felt Him telling me—Joyce, this is true love. Do you have this with Anton? Does your relationship exemplify this love? I realized God had brought me to this passage to remind me of what the essence of true love was, and to help me to see that Anton and I were so far from it.

Okay god, okay, I get it.... now I realize that what we had may not even be true love, therefore it cannot last.... But God, please confirm your will with me. I am still not sure of what I should do.

But of course I knew. God had shown me plainly, yet in my blindness I didn’t want to see; I was still searching for more answers even when I knew that the answer had already been revealed to me. But I went to sleep in a state of relaxation, reassured from the knowledge that God wanted to comfort me and guide me. The next morning I woke up and went to the bathroom to wash my face. The horrors of last night’s conversation had just started to make its way back into my memory, but God’s love covered me in reassurance. I then looked over at my counter and saw a necklace neatly set aside. How strange, this necklace looks so familiar (little did I know that it was the same necklace my cousin had bought for my sister 5 years ago; it was one of those necklaces with a ring dangling from it.) So I picked up the necklace, trying to remember why it looked so familiar. Then I looked at the ring more closely, trying to see the words that were etched around the edges. What I saw etched on the ring brought me in total shock, I stood there literally staring at the ring for minutes without moving.

True love waits.

That’s what the ring said.

True love waits. I hadn’t seen this necklace for years, yet there it was, sitting on the counter. And without a doubt, this was a sign from god. I was now convinced that I needed to wait....for true love, for god’s perfect timing, for God’s perfect will. Indeed, it is good to wait on the Lord.


Now flash forward to a few weeks ago...

I was walking aimlessly in the Student Center one day when I accidently kicked something on the floor. I looked down to see what it was, and there it was—a ring. A very simple but elegant ring to say the least, but when I picked it up I felt like it was a ring given to me from heaven. When I slipped the ring on (which was the perfect fit), I felt God telling me that He gave me this ring to remind me that His covenant with me is lasting, and that his promises are very real. His love for me is eternal, and nothing can ever separate me from his love for our relationship is everlasting. I am His and He is mine, and I am His beloved that He died for and sacrificed His life for, and he holds my hand and leads me beside still waters and beautiful green pastures.

And as I was admiring the beauty of the ring and its message that god conveyed to me through such a simple act, I felt Him telling me—


Not only does true love wait (the ring I found 2 years ago), but

I Am your True Love.

Wow. That was deep....

God knew.

He knew my tendency for my heart to stray away from him in search of “the one” , a “true love” because I didn’t completely trust Him and his sovereignty, I didn’t have faith that He would bring the right person into my life at the right time so I felt the need to look for a man myself. But oh how God is so good and oh how he knows me so personally, knows the depths of my heart and all my thoughts even before I realize them myself. God, you are amazing. And I know you want to remind me of your love. I remember asking Him to constantly remind me of His love for me, and lo and behold, he provides a ring of assurance for me so that every time I wear it, and I reminded of God’s love for me and where my heart truly should belong—to Him and Him alone.

Thank you Lord for this precious reminder. I thank you because you are such a personal and detailed Father. Lord I know you are my True Love because no one under heaven or earth could ever, ever love me the way you do, or even come close to how immense your love is for me. A million words would not even be sufficient to express your love for each of us. Abba, Father, I thank you for always bringing me back to you.

Thank you, Lord.

Thank you.

What can take a dying man, and raise him up to life again?

God is so amazing. for the longest time I was asking god,

"Lord, why is it so hard for me to accept your love?”

I want to accept his love, but everytime I hear that he loves me, I always cringe inside and shrink away. When he tells me that I have a pure heart, that he loves my voice, or that I am lovely, that he is proud of me... I have such a hard time accepting what he says... I almost want to deny that it is true (or I actually do). This feeling of rejection is partially imparted or self-instructed because I feel unworthy to be loved, that I shouldn’t be loved and that there is nothing about me that God should love. All I can see is my sin and the ugliness, the darkness inside of me—and knowing the chaos of iniquities inside my heart convinces me that I cannot be loved, that I should not be loved. When I see my sin unfold in my life, I do not come to god—I hide away from shame because I do not want to be loved. The magnitude of my sins overwhelms me to the point where I am drowning without cognizantly recognizing that there is air to breathe where the surface of the water breaks. For a time I had been aware that I was making my sins to be too great, and making the cross to be way too little... but I didn’t know how I could change that and fully live the truth of the gospel out.

I had been asking the Lord that question for quite a while now... and he had been revealing the answer to me little by little, never giving me the full revelation behind my question. A few things he had told me was—I had lost the child-likeness I had before where I would trust and believe whatever he would tell me. I have lost the longing expectancy I used to have for him as the bride waits for the bridegroom, even fallen out of love with him, my eyes no longer fully set on Him and Him alone...
one night he told me,
Joyce you want to love others and you want to love me more, but how can you do either when you do not let me love you first?
I was broken.
how Lord?? How do I let you love me god?

I know I build a lot of walls around my heart...because my heart is so inclined to want to be loved—and because I am fully aware of this—I try to harden my heart so I wont always feel the need to be loved. consequently, hardening my heart in that way and rejecting love and wanting to feel independent from anyone or anything also hardens my heart from the ultimate Lover, the one who lavishes so freely. I cant really pinpoint specific points in my life where my heart was hurt, but perhaps I also hold offense towards God as well?


whatever the reason, this past weekend God showed me why he didn’t fully reveal to me why the condition of my heart was that way. But he came to me in such quiet humbleness, in sweet tenderness, in loving kindness and told me that it was not up to me to change myself... he told me that he would to give me new garments to wear, that I didn’t need to live in the identity of the old that I had been clinging on to. He gave me the solution, he didn’t point more to the problem. He didn’t accuse me, didn’t charge me for rejecting his love, didn’t even resent me for wanting other things, didn’t even give me the full blown in-your-face anaylsis of the hardened condition of my heart and why I cant accept his love. No... all he told me was that He would give me a deeper revelation of the Lamb, the lamb that was slain for my iniquities.

He reconfigured and realigned my identity in him... that I AM his beloved, I am his princess. He took off my rags of unworthiness and sorrow and clothed me from head to toe in glistening white garments of praise and purity. I may still not know why I had such a hardened heart, but I am convinced that the Creator of heaven and Earth can take any heart of stone and melt it so that it becomes a heart of flesh.