Day 2. Love that Provides

Psalm 34:10

10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.


I am truly blessed beyond measure. I never experienced having little (except probably when I was a kid and my parents were poor – so poor they didn’t have utensils or a bed).

I am blessed that I don’t have to contribute to the household expenses because I can never outgive my mom anyway. So blessed that even if I no longer have a job, I am still earning in stocks. So blessed that I can travel locally and internationally several times a year. That I have enough to support missionaries and NGOs. But mostly, I am blessed because, at an early age, I was taught to be wise with money.

I attribute everything to God of course. He alone provides not just the capacity to earn but the wisdom and opportunities as well. But I’ve never really experienced living by faith – that must be scary and exciting at the same time.

I know I have to give more but it’s also difficult to let go of money because money equals comfort, right? Actually, more than food, I am fasting from checking my trading portfolio. It’s the one thing I do first thing in the morning. I wake up and at 9am, I eat breakfast and watch the Bloomberg news for an hour, then watch another news late in the afternoon about the economy again. It’s what drives me. So fasting from this makes me uneasy because I know that there are opportunities this week to buy and sell stocks. But I also remind myself that what is one week of missing these opportunities? I want to show God that I trust Him to provide even if I don’t “work” this week.

So looking forward to 2018, I wonder where I should be giving more aside from the tithes? I have given more in 2017 than in 2016 but I know that I should just be giving more and more.

I am also learning it a habit, from Marc’s message, to immediately set aside whatever I get (even from the sale of the tandem bike).

Even though I am well provided now, it isn’t a guarantee that I’ll still have these things in 2018. So I’m still praying, fasting, asking for His provisions in 2018. To have the skills and wisdom in making business and financial decisions and ultimately to be satisfied and thankful for whatever He gives me this year.

Praise God for a God who provides all our needs and comes through just in time. He orchestrates circumstances and moves people to provide for His children.

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Day 1. Love beyond the cross

It’s kinda difficult to think how much God loves me. I mean, I know of the cross. I know the sacrifice Jesus did and I know the beauty of heaven with its golden streets and gates of pearl. But I also know that I cannot limit God’s love for me on the cross. For if I say that that is the maximum and ultimate love, then it wouldn’t be an everlasting, infinite love.

Ephesians 3:18-19

18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,

Truly, it surpasses knowledge.

I see the deep love and sacrifice of the people around me. I know I am well loved by my family and friends. But I know it doesn’t compare a tiny bit to how much God loves me. I cannot try to put words to describe it. It’s like grasping into the thin air without grasping anything. Infiniteness is incomprehensible.

But perhaps I can share a glimmer of God’s love for me (other than salvation).

By my own choices, I set myself lower and lower for someone to keep him, bending at his whims and requests so he would stay for a while. My life is literally the song “I bought the world and sold my heart”. I did things I never knew I was capable of doing, for someone I thought was staying. But God, by his grace and love, took me out. In the midst of my stubbornness, He orchestrated all circumstances to make me broken and alone before Him. It’s the best thing that happened to me.

 

2017 Recap

2017 has been a pivotal.

Half of the year was spent at home because my mom and I didn’t have work , after our company was acquired. I still don’t know what I am supposed to do the rest of my life – or at least the next chapter. I am still praying for the next steps, but my heart is leaning towards social entrepreneurship, or something like urban agriculture that should ease poverty and be environmentally sustainable.

On April 7, he stepped up and laid down his intention for marriage. On June 7, I gave him a yes to courtship. On December 7, he told me he loves me with his eyes red from crying (we had a big fight).

The admin team has grown after much prayer, then it dwindled again as I struggled to intentionally build a relationship with each member. Conflicting schedules on Saturdays and the lack of initiatives both from me and the members have strained the initally growing ministry. And also my lack of firmness, I suppose. But I found a friend in Regine, who is so much like me.

Joy and Nej stepped up and have started discipling. And they couldn’t be happier, especially Joy who I feel is more like Ef with how she takes care of her group. Jamie, Grace, Chart have all stepped up in their ministries as well.

Here’s the view from my lounge seat at Belle Maison in Hoi An. But never really finished writing this until January 8, 2018. Hehe.

The Man Behind the Rose

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

I’ve always received big bouquets in different forms and shapes. I don’t particularly love roses ūüĆĻ as they easily ūü•Ä wilt. But tonight I got a white rose and I love it.

I love it for what it represents –

The sacrificial love, leading me to Christ daily

The quest for purity. Not asking for sex, or a kiss or even a touch. That stolen gazes and smiles are enough

The patience for everything, never rushing or forcing. Always waiting

The humility to say sorry even when he’s not at fault, and the promise to love better

Opening all kinds of doors and carrying all kinds load – no, not just boxes and books, but my emotions and burdens too

The promise to be my Leader, Provider, Lover and Protector and proving his readiness for the role every day

I love it because it’s just one stem but it has proven more love than the countless bouquets I’ve received

I love it for the man behind it

Serving God is a Privilege

While I was coordinating the reg booth manning this morning from Tagaytay, Joy’s mind seemed so scattered. She didn’t know where to get the cashbox, reg box, keys. I already cascaded all these info repeatedly on Viber and email. Annoyed but restraining myself, I asked her, “You seem to be all over the place today. Are you ok? ūüė¶ Are you going through something?”

Before our company was acquired, I held a key role that allowed me to tap CCF’s Workplace Ministry and start a Bible Study. I was able to distribute Bibles, books and bring people to church.

Now that the company is not ours and I am unemployed, I realized how God has opened another door for me when He tasked me to be the ministry head of the Registration Team a few months ago. So while I lost one area of influence, He has opened another. For some reason and out of His grace alone, God chose me to serve in B1G South in this manner.

My leadership position allows me to influence the lives of six beautiful women and contribute to the direction of B1G South – affecting the lives of 100 regular attendees and their own circles of influence.

In the past months, I have been serving God with a mental checklist. I focused on perfecting tasks to the detail and creating efficient schedules that would help them not get burned out physically. But I know that I could have been more intentional in discipling, serving and loving them.

Joy answered me, “Yes, I am going through many things at work, in my family and I am not okay. I am overwhelmed and tired.”

Had I taken time to check up on her, I could have helped her and prayed for her sooner.

So while I am in this leadership position, I will exert more effort to love and serve them and impact them spiritually.

I came home tonight from the Core planning with a renewed sense of passion and joy in serving God. It is a privilege to serve Him.

When Bad Counsel Achieves God’s Good Will

2 Samuel 17:14

For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

When David’s son, Absalom, was pursuing David to kill him, David’s friend Hushai was spying for David. In an effort to kill David, Absalom asked for two counsels: Ahithophel’s and Hushai’s.

The advice of Ahithopel was wise: gather 12,000 soldiers and Ahithophel himself will only kill David. There would be no collateral damage. And he will bring all the people of Israel to Absalom peacefully.

The advice of Hushai was the opposite: they needed more than 12,000 soldiers. In fact, Hushai wanted to gather all the Israelites as numerous as the sand, and Absalom himself needed to join the troops to kill David. An appeal to his pride.

Though Ahithophel’s advice was wiser and easier, Absalom chose Hushai’s advice.

Why? Because God answered David’s prayer in 15:31: “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithopel into foolishness.”

2 Samuel 17:14 says that “the¬†Lord¬†had determined to frustrate¬†the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster¬†on Absalom.” ¬†In other words, even the good advice was doomed for a reason – God himself had already determined to defeat Absalom through Hushai’s bad advice.

When my ex’s parents forced him to break up with me because of weird reasons, I questioned why he would even listen to the dumb reasonings. Looking back, I know that God has used his parents and those influencing them, to achieve God’s purposes in my life.

Know that when people make bad choices and you are at the receiving end, God’s hand is upon you and He is working behind the scenes to achieve His purposes.

God delights in blessing us

‚Äč‚ÄúThe LORD will again take delight in prospering you.‚ÄĚ (Deuteronomy 30:9)

And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.  (2 Samuel 12:8, ESV)

While I was having dinner with my mom, she shared how she never expected our business to grow. When my dad passed away 10 years ago, my mom had to handle a business she had no idea how to run. Every night, she would pray for wisdom and ask for the next steps. She didn’t aspire for the business to boom, just survive. But God has proven faithful to our family.

Indeed, God is a God who delights blessing His children. 

Almost everyday, I pray for wisdom for God to direct our steps. I always tell God that the business is His, not ours, and allow Him to do whatever He wishes to do. 

While I hate the prosperity gospel theology, I also cannot dismiss how God delights in blessing us in various ways – mercies, faithfulness, grace, love, peace, health and even material things. 

The verses above which I read today and last night, are reminders of God’s character:

  1. He delights in prospering us
  2. There is no limit to what He can give
  3. He is the source of all blessings