Perpetual List

Are you like me who likes creating lists and relying on a list to accomplish daily tasks?

Lists of any kind (notes, post-its, calendars, memos) can be helpful in our daily lives; to-do lists for home, to-do lists for work, grocery lists, travel lists, lists of birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth – these are all good lists. It is a wonderful tool that helps us to remember all important things that require our attention.  And don’t forget, the list of people who we pray for and lists of our own personal intentions that we bring to the Lord, most high – do you have a list?

God should not be just on the list. He should be in us and with us – the focal point of our existence – on our conscious level, in our words, and actions.  Our mere existence comes from Him. We are on His list of creations. But we can not put Him on a list of our to-do things. 

Every action, every thought, and every word that comes out from our being must bring honor and glory to His name.  Our character must be built based on our true foundation in Him. Every expression of love and reverence belongs to Him. Our list will not exist if He did not give us life as His expression of love for us.

When you pray, you do not need a list to present to Him for He knows our desires, struggles, and needs, even before we speak. You need to praise and glorify His existence in your daily life. To tender your thanksgiving for all He has given you – and yes, including those challenges and struggles, for those, are the precise motivation that brings you back to Him.  It is when you remember that there is a loving God who is consistently there in your life, who understands you and knows your pain.

God is never a part of any list. He is the breath of your life.

©fm1 8.12.22

“What is the focus of our life? What do we think about all the time? Are we preoccupied with goals and ambitions and the desires and appetites of this world? I am not asking whether we simply think about such things but rather what our minds are set on. What is our focus?”

R.C. Sproul. Romans – An Expositional Commentary

Food for the Soul

I came across a very interesting article “Your Intimate Relationship with Food.” It explains the intimate connection between what we eat and how we feel. Wow! Quite insightful – it connects the nutritional components in food to power not only our body but also our mental state.

We often focus on maintaining the balance of our mind and body, but we leave out the part of our soul. We follow all kinds of fads on diet and practice all different styles of exercise for our body to keep it in shape, we also dive into modern books to activate the critical thinking of our minds. But the truth is if our focal point is only on these two parts of our wellbeing, our character remains stagnant, our maturity becomes stale, and boredom continues to grow in us. Then we look for other things to challenge us, not realizing that it is our soul that is hungry and needs to be fed. Our soul is craving for the real food from the “Spirit”, for real knowledge, and the practice of living a more “Christ” life.

Peace and Hope written in Romans 5:1-5 provide us a better understanding of embracing suffering and fostering our character from inside our soul to the outside manifestation of our being; mind and body. In one of my favorite books written by R.C. Sproul “The Righteous Shall Live By Faith” a book that is centered on the Book of Romans in the Bible, he wrote –

“that faith looks to what has already taken place, and we put our trust in it. Hope is merely faith looking forward. Hope is created by the Holy Spirit within us. Tribulation puts muscle on our souls. Tribulation makes it possible for the people of God to persevere rather than to give up. The result of character is Hope.”

He also wrote “When God enters into a peace treaty with His people, it is a permanent peace. He may be displeased with us, and we may grieve Him, but once we have peace with God through the work of Jesus Christ, that peace is ours forever.”

His sentiment is beautiful, profound, and “true.”

What our being requires is more than the physical food that we take or the rigid exercise that we submit our body to.  We need Jesus Christ to be our source of life. For the “death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God [Romans 6:10]”

Jesus is the main component that connects our soul to God.

If you ask yourself, where do you find your inner peace? What brings inner joy to your daily life? Why is it that even when you follow the structural routine that you have set for yourself, you still fail? You still want more and never reach a point of satisfaction?

The supplemental source of all your emotions foundation is set on the tangible things in life.  Our spirit is not designed to rely on what is set in front of us. It is not something we see and touch – it is what we desire in our hearts that feed our souls. Therefore, the question is, do you desire to be in the presence of our Creator? Is He the foundation of your life?

©fm1.7.20.22

“Dear Lord, set my heart on you alone. Be the foundation of my life and lead my life according to Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen”

It’s always been YOU

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live and, in your name, I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips, my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. ~Psalm 62: 1-8

What is with people, that we always romanticize love?

And yet when we think that “this is love” we still feel that it is not what we thought it would be? We crave for something that seems impossible and yet in our minds, we know that it does exist?

How do we even know it does?

In our quest for something that seems unknown, the feeling and the belief that “it” is there. We tell ourselves that “someday.”  Someday? What is that even mean? And when is that someday ever come?

We lose track of time; going through many mishaps in life just to find out that the “someday” has actually – arrived? When did that happen? And who was that?

Through the journey of our lives, we missed the important and beautiful moments that are right in front of us.

Life has its ironic way of presenting petty stuff that creates confusion. An illusion of things that blurs our mind. We forget to laugh off those silly mistakes and disagreements.

Hours that we spent on rationalization and trivial conversations.

With YOU –

There is no, someday.

You are here now.

You are always here right beside me.

You are there before me.

And always there with me.

You have always walked alongside me in all my journeys in life. Still is!

No need to go through unsettled discussions, sleepless nights, abandonment, and uncontrolled negative emotions.

I can remain silent and still know that you are there; that you will always stay – forever.

Lord Jesus, it has always been YOU.

I love you with all my heart, my mind, my soul…. forever more.

© fm1 6.4.22

In Silence

Watching you while waiting, sitting on the folding metal chair, listening to the noise of the cars go by – I wonder what is in your mind? How you are feeling knowing that your time is closing in and soon you will no longer be a part of the only life that you have known.

Would you have done something different in life? Your mind wanders off and as you gaze at the people on the street – I can not help but continue to watch you as you go deeper in your thoughts.

Each minute that passes by…the tick-tock of the clock seems to get louder – thoughts that drift you back to the past.

The future seems invisible, the present feels so short, and time becomes limited.

What else is there? What more to say? Listening to the sound of the beat of your heart and then….silence.

In Memoriam – Dr. Arthur S. Chin (12/12/52-4/03/2022) a husband, a father, a friend, and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ

Heartbreak

As I sit here listening to the instrumental music of Tim Janis, a whirlwind of thoughts kept pouring. The pictures of devastated buildings, elderly who are fleeing, and faces of innocent children keep appearing in my mind. The news of war in Ukraine and chaos in other countries reflecting the images of suffering, poverty, and pain is difficult to bear.

I started giving up eating sweets and desserts as a sacrifice for the lent season. I figured that a small sacrifice is not so bad. One of our colleagues at work was teasing us about this Bundt cake that he loves so much and even posting it today in one of our slack messages enticing how good it looks. He said today they have a BOGO (buy one and get one free) – wow! I thought that is pretty good. We started teasing him about it.

Then I thought to myself, I can go back to eating sweets on Easter! But the more I think about it, the more I want to deprive myself. I have thought about how there are so many things I used to spend money on – ticket shows, restaurants, gifts for families and friends, and other miscellaneous stuff. Lately, increasingly, I feel that depriving yourself of certain luxuries is not a dreadful thing. Every time I look at my debit card planning to spend, my thoughts go out to those images of people suffering. The pain that they must be feeling every time they wait for medical and food supplies that comes in delivered to them, they wait in line to receive a small plastic bag of essentials. What’s inside? who knows what. I am sure not a lot. And yet, the waiting never bothered them. They are simply happy that they receive whatever is handed to them at that moment.

There were parts in my life that I went through hunger and abandonment. Ironically, at that time, I did not feel that I was missing anything. I accepted the situation as is, never questioned life, and never spoke to anyone about my circumstances. In my teens, I was just with my mom – prayer is all that I know and simply living one day at a time. Hunger was something that my mom and I never talked about. Isolation at its worst and yet I was fine. Happy? Not sure what that means. I am sure it was not a happy time for my mom. All I have seen was her perseverance and hoped that things will be better.

Seeing the people in Ukraine, it breaks my heart, to see the faces of the children for they do not understand why they need to leave their homes behind, why they do not go to school anymore or why they cannot play outside with their friends. The elderly need to walk miles to get to a safe shelter. These are the things that are difficult to explain. What they know, is that they just need to keep on going and follow what seems like anybody else (their neighbors, family members, friends, and even strangers) are doing. Not even knowing when they will ever return to the place, they have known all their lives. Accepting the situation presented as is – they cannot question life and cannot speak to any one of their circumstances. Perseverance is all they know and all they can do to survive with the hope that the situation will be better.

Thinking of going back to eating desserts? I have a feeling it will not be the same sweet taste. Staring at my debit card – for sure it will remain tucked away for a long while.

©fm1 3.25.22

Examen…

Lent is the season where we reexamine our lives in accordance with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Whether you are a devout Christian or just beginning to know Christ, we are taught that Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” to the Kingdom of God (John 14:6-7). His life and teachings are the fundamental way to live our lives.  

Reexamining our lives – our actions, our thoughts, words that were spoken are simply not performed just during lent. If we really want to connect with God, it is essential that we practice examining ourselves at every end of each day. You would be surprised how much you have missed or have forgotten the true message of Christ when He said that the greatest two commandments are (1st ) “Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (2nd ) “to Love others as we love ourselves”  ( John 22:37-39 ). Why do you think Jesus summed up the ten commandments into two?

If you have been watching, listening, and reading the current events, you are aware of the global pain and suffering of mankind – from sickness, violence, injustices, environmental destruction, and war. You wonder sometimes, will this ever end? Will this ever stop? Is this how it all ends for us?

Most of the evil events that we are experiencing in life are the result of our false beliefs, carelessness, and stubborn character. Instead of pursuing the teaching of Christ, we pursue our desires, and we rely on what we know (or what we think we know).

Revisiting your thoughts allows your mind and spirit to seek for the truth – the truth that our submission to Christ does not mean that we are restricted from the “free will” that God gave us as His gift but understanding and accepting that we need the Holy Spirit to guide us on how we should use that gift to pursue and have a life with Christ with contentment.

Not to seek power over others, not to store wealth in this current life or to establish a name for ourselves, but to build our character through Spiritual Discipline of fasting, silence, prayer, solitude, chastity, and sacrifice so we can serve God with our utmost love for Him.

Surrendering to Christ is to find true joy amid suffering, to appreciate the blessings that we have, and share those blessings with others. Submission is not surrendering to our selfish desires but submitting to the Love of God.

Therefore, the question should be “Would you rather know and wait for an answer to come, or would you start living your life for Christ and be prepared for His coming and live with Him eternally?” We are only given two paths to follow – which one would you choose?

Matthew 7:13-14

“Almighty God, in the busyness of our lives, we have fallen to the trap of complacency. We get so wrapped up with our daily concerns and desires of this world and have forgotten that you are our Father, creator of heaven and earth, that you have given us your only begotten Son, Jesus as our redeemer that through Him we receive eternal salvation. Help us Oh Lord to reflect on our daily lives and grant us the strength to fully surrender to you.  In Your name, we pray, Amen.”

© fm1 3.7.2022

What lies within….

Recently, I was into a deep conversation with someone on how God speaks through our hearts. How he surrounds us with the right people, at the right moment, at the right time. How he protects us and leads our lives if we allow him.

During my conversation, the discussion went on as to how God chooses people as surrogates to conduct His blessings. It is apparent how he employs us to deliver to those who need his grace.

Jesus reminded his disciples to love others in John 13:34-35 A teaching that was passed on to Christians and so shall we abide.

However, he also warns us where we should entrust our minds and hearts. That we must remember that it is because of his great love for us that Jesus surrendered his life to bring us salvation and lead us to Abba, our Father. It is only through Him, we can have eternal life and be reunited with our Father in Heaven John14:6-7.

Colossians 3:1-4  reminds us of where we should set our minds on. Yes, I concur that we appreciate the people who bring us blessings, but our hearts and mind should be set only to God, our Father, and not on people, for they are only representing the teachings of Jesus, conducting his works, and sharing the blessings they have received from God. Just as we, the receiver shall too, pass on the blessings we received to others who are in need.

It is truly what lies in our mind and our hearts how we magnify God in every thought and action. We must check in with God when we help others – are we doing it to satisfy our happiness and desires, expecting the reward that we have set in our minds? or are we doing it to bring honor and glory to Him?

“Heavenly Father, guide our minds and our hearts to do things out of our love for you. Remind us that every good thing we have comes from you. Help us to set aside our personal desires when we do good things for others, remove our selfish pride, and transform our spirit so that our intentions will always remain pure and holy.

We pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen”

©fm1 1.26.22

Winter Hope

Beyond those tinsels lies, an empty heart longing for the love once knew.

Beyond those smiles are tears… lost…looking back on those memories of winter gone by, hoping for a joyful future Philippians 3:13-14

Each step in the present brings us forward to a new life, a life though unknown, lives by faith, trusting that beyond those showers of rain is a ray of sunshine pointing us to a brighter, joyful path.

Weary body, heavy heart, endless pain….

Lift up your eyes and your heart to the One who carries you throughout life Matthew 11:28-30

Where there is suffering, there is joy awaiting… Isaiah 30:18

Lost and ye shall be found in Him Philippians 3:9

Gentle soul let not be preoccupied in the crowd of false pretenses. Let your spirit soar in the hope that your future lies in the love of the One who loves us Psalm 31:14

In the midst of chaos, loneliness, and cold winter…” fear not ” Isaiah 41:10

©fm1.12.22.21

What is In a Name?

I have been called different names. My name has been mispronounced several times by people. So, I always give out the cut version to make it easier for people to say it. Besides, it sounds better to hear it said correctly.

Why is our name important to us? What does our name signify?

Back in 2011, I was visiting Italy with my daughter. As we entered St. Peter’s Basilica and looked up, my daughter said “mom, your name is up there. No wonder the locals can pronounce your name correctly.” I looked up and there printed in Latin “HINC VNA FIDES MVNDO REFVLGENT” that translates “From Here a Single Faith Shines Throughout the World.” Wow! I said to myself I knew my name in Latin means “faith” but seeing it written out that way gave me a distinctive perspective of the significance of my own name – it was beautiful and meaningful. I never thought of its meaning that way.

When we pray, we say, “In Jesus’s name or Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord…” God’s name in Hebrew in the Old Testament is Jehovah. We give reverence to His name.

This season of Advent, we celebrate and commemorate the birth of Jesus and the significance of His name as written in Matthew 1:22-24 and prophesized in Isaiah 7:14.

Immanuel “God is with Us” is the fulfillment of God’s promise that He will send us a Messiah (God Himself) in Jesus Christ. His name will be praised and glorified. It signifies that God is always in us and with us when we foster a relationship with Him.

On our best days, our worst days, in every moment, and through highs and lows, He is Immanuel. He never changes – He is as in the beginning and in the end. The ALPHA and OMEGA.

His name transcends every other name.

As we celebrate with family and friends this holiday season, let us be reminded that in the center of our lives God is “THE” only name that we shall find Love, Peace, and Joy.

©fm1 11.30.21

I Am Thankful for….

Each year in the western world, Thanksgiving is a well-celebrated holiday. It is the beginning of seeing joyful faces, the glow of hope, and the time when families prepare to visit their loved ones across the miles.

This year is even more exhilarating – when families were confined in their homes due to the 2020 pandemic and Zoom and Skype were overloaded with virtual gatherings. This year, everyone is subsequently enthusiastic to see the faces of their loved ones – to kiss them and hug them close to their hearts. Those moments of long hugs are certainly undeniably incomparable to virtual moments.

As I ponder and look back, I cannot help but feel so grateful for the difference of what a year can make. To watch people, gather in places again with smiles and excitement on their faces (even with a mask, their eyes just glow). When old and young alike celebrate their moments of love and joy together. When the sick still find courage in the middle of their health crisis…

It is such a wonder that we have an amazing God! His love and mercy are overwhelming. When for a moment our world stops – He is still working in the background crafting things to show us His perfect love. That hope – is on the way!

“There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.”     ~ Psalm 86:8-12

©fm1 11.11.21