Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Decision

I am making a decision to love you,
and it is not always easy
You are so far away and I am here,
and I cannot see you but I know that you are there.

I am making a decision to love you
and sometimes I just do not know how.
I want to do my own thing and I do not want to obey...
but God can you hear me now?

I am making a decision to love you
and it is not just a feeling that I have.
My stomach is not filled with butterflies
and I am not floating on cloud nine.
But deep in my heart of hearts,
God I know that this is right!

I am making a decision to love you,
stand by me Lord God I pray!
My knees will buckle, my feet will fail me
and tomorrow I may not remember these words that I pray today.

Strengthen me, my God...
Lift me up from the miry clay.
I am making a decision to love you,
Today, tomorrow and forever always.

"I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake" you so that we may confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me
Hebrews 13:5b-6

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I have always been inspired by Anita Baker’s song, Fairy Tales. Maybe it was because of the title, maybe becuase of the mesage that it gives. My mom used to listen to her when I was younger and misplaced her album somehow. Enjoying it so much, I added it to my collection about a year ago. That was when I really listened to the words of the song, the feelings of disappointment and despair because life did not turn out the way that she anticipated it would. In th esong, her mother had told her countless stories of love and romance, and how one day her own magic prince would come and take her away. Her reality: it did not happen and it was not going to happen. Such thinking, was not life but only, as you may have guessed it, a fairytale.
My perception of life has been the same, not just concerning romance and love, but life in general. That I would fall in love with the right man and live happily ever afer in a beautiful mansion, if you will. That I would have the perfect job that I was good at and enjoyed and make tons of money doing it. That I would live forever, and be free of all sickness and disease, ill-fortune or anything else. But like Anita, my reality too has set in, so with her I can sing
You never came to save me, you let me stand alone. Out in the wilderness, alone in the cold.
I found no magic potion, no horse with wings to fly. I found the poison apple, my destiny to die
No royal kiss could save me, no magic spell to spin, my fantasy is over, my life must now begin
My story end, as stories do, reality steps into view. No longer living life in paradise - no fairy tales
Do not misread the message tha ti am trying to convey here. I have not lost all hope, I am actually quite optimistic, maybe more so than the average person. I have just come to regretfully realize that life is not always fair; it does not always deal us the best hand. We will find that it is full of pain and hurt and the reality is that it is inevitable regardless of how you live your life. The reality is that this is our lot, our destiny.
Some would dare to point their finger at God. Since he is all powerful and all knowing, he must be the reason for our displeasure, our misfortune. How else do you explain innocent victims of natural disasters or even disasters invoked by the hands of other human beings?
As much as you may be tempted to shake your fist at him, and curse his name, wait for a second. Yes, he is all knowing and all powerful, but the root of the pain that we face day to day cannot be the cause of God but of two butt-naked people in a garden a long time ago. These two people determined the destiny of the whole earth with just one single act of disobedience. All it took was a small bite of an animal and all of the earth was cursed forever. I am not just talking about people, but I am even talking about the land, the sea, vegetation and even the animals that populate it. With one single bite of a stupid animal, everything was cursed and death became our disposition, our fate, and as much as it grieved God to lose the very beings that he created, that he loved so much, there was nothing that he could do about it. As powerful, loving, and all knowing as He is, it was our decision to turn our backs on Him and he could not intervene.
Unless, unless, he took that curse upon himself. We were destined for an eternity of death and pain unless he became the curse that we were and so he did. He sent his Son a down to the earth in the form of human form and watched him die an agonizing death on a tree just so that the very people who despised and rejected him would be granted another opportunity to live forever. He became a remedy to this curse, but only for those who trusted in Him, only for those who believed in Him. Like a remedy to Cancer or any other virus, you will only if you take the medicine, the remedy. So it is with the provision that his Son Jesus Christ gave us, there simply was no other way.
Some would question or comment, “what if I do not believe that He is the remedy. What if I do not believe that he is the only way to ensure that my soul is not cursed. That’s fine! Your disbelief or denial in the cross of Christ does not make this reality any less real, any less true. A person’s disbelief in a cure for emphysema, or cancer does not make it any less true. It would be equally foolish to think Tylenol or Ibprofen or Morphine could cure emphysema, as It is to believe that Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, John Smith or any other god could take away the curse of sin from all of mankind as hey did not die for it.
Now I understand the cultural sensitivity that must be taken account for here. What about the people who grew up in different cultures, with worship to different gods and deities? Maybe they would serve this Jesus if they only knew. That is why it is our aim, my aim to go to the ends of the earth and preach, proclaim this message of salvation, this message of healing to every creature everywhere. I find that nothing else matters. Not fame, not fortune, not happiness. Everything else is worthless; everything else is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Outside of knowing the Lord, life just does not make sense. For the person that gets up everyday and leaves home to go to their $100,000 a year job at the cost of their family falling apart, their health failing, and their stress level rising, they must wonder what the point of all of it is. For the person of fame whose in the lime light making the big bucks because they can sing, dance, walk across a runaway, or bounce a basketball? At the end of the day as their head hits the pillow and they begin to question what happens when their beauty fades and their talents grows cold, they have to wonder in their hearts what’s the worth in what they are doing, what is the purpose. No matter how successful or unsuccessful, beautiful or ugly, healthy or ill that a person is, our fate is all the same. Because of that apple, every person when they leave this earth is faced with a startling reality—their place in eternity. It is here where we will find that the only thing that we have done on the earth that will count in eternity is if we knew the Lord or not, and not just for ourselves but if we have told other people about him. The only that God will ever ask us is what we did with his Son, Jesus Christ. Did we know and accept him? Did we testify about him and not just with our words but with our very lives?

Monday, September 11, 2006


I wonder sometimes what my purpose is here, if this is really where I am supposed to be or if I am just not trying hard enough. I wonder if these are the things that really count or if I am missing the mark somewhere, somehow. I know what my passions are...I am not very passionate about this. An atmosphere that is so cold, and so withdrawn; where are all the people, where is all the ministry, where are all the souls? These are the things that matter to me but yet I find myself here- stuck or am I really? Am I truly stuck or or is this just the process and the beauty of experiencing life? Is this ministry? I guess it is not as glorious, spirit-filled or much less intense as what I anticipated ministry to be. Its all about people, right? And if its all about people that means seeing them as Jesus does, filthy rags, hurts, needs, identity and all. So maybe that is the real I truly see people with from God's point of view and with His heart? Maybe if I did, everything would be ministry and every moment would be an opportunity to express His love. Maybe...

This was written as I sat at my desk at TCF, observing and helping my customers, wondering if this was the point.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Sometimes when it is late at night and I am all alone, or when it is in the middle of the day, such as now and I am bored and hungry or when I am happy and full of energy, I start to thinking. I start feeling like I could just settle, settle for whatever life throws at me. I wonder if it would be easier just to give in to the wind, instead of fighting against it. You know, its pretty hard to fight against the wind; it blows aimlessly and knocks out whoever it will. And if by chance, you prevail and it does not overtake you, and you get to the other side, and there is no wind or storms, or hot coals for that matter, who is to say that is what you really wanted, what you really needed to restore your life back to…sanity.
I wonder would it be easier to just lower my standards. Why must I strive for the best and not settle for anything less than spectacular? Why cannot I just give my love, my heart to the next thing that comes along? Who cares if he will lie and cheat, and steal my heart away from the very God I love, at least I would have one. Who cares if he is not everything I hoped for, everything I dreamed of, at least he’s real. At least he would make me feel like a woman, like I am alive, or maybe he would snuff out every breath in this wretched body, and though I go on living, I am dying inside, apathetic and cold to this broken world. Who’s to say…if I would settle? But I know better than that, at least I think I do.
I know there is a better life than heartache and pain and tears and turmoil. Not because I have necessarily experienced it, much less seen it but because I have heard of stories of people who put their faith in a God that we cannot see and honestly a God that we do not always feel. Of people who wait patiently and diligently for him sometimes for lifetimes and though its not immediate, they reap the benefits of trusting, of waiting, and of yielding to him instead of our fickle desires which change as frequently as the seasons, here today and gone tomorrow. I know his promises, I know his commands, but some things they are hard to see, when everyone else around me seems to have everything and more. They are getting married, and having babies, and hooking up, and falling in love and I am here not even close to any of those things because the ones that want me, I should not be with and the ones that I am interested in do not even know my name. (‘Round and ‘round and round we go. Will he ever know?) I wonder sometimes if it is just a cruel joke or if God is just instilling patience and trust in me, knowing that I can handle it, knowing that though it may shake me, I will not break.
As alluring as it appears to be, I know the consequences of settling. I see the effects of it in my family, my culture, my country. Generations of divorce and separation, families torn apart and destroyed, lives accumulating to absolutely nothing because people could not just wait for God to move in their lives and instead choose to play Him or force His hand. You may think that I am being extreme, it is harsh, but it is nevertheless more true. Going to a Bible college, I saw this truth played out in its worst forms. You may think that people going to Bible college would make wiser decisions about who they choose to marry, about who they will spend the rest of their lives with and sometimes this true but often it is not because instead of using their heads and the Spirit of God to govern their decisions, their hormones take over and settle for the first one who shows interest, just because they are saved. And sometimes it works, and sometimes their decisions are lead by the Spirit of God, but sometimes God is not in it even though they claim that he is. Even then God still blesses as His Word says He rains on both the just and the unjust, and he still shows us favor when we make foolish decisions, but just imagine if we waited on him instead of trying to force him to move.
Imagine if Abraham would have waited instead of settling for whatever came along. Abe was a man who lived a long time ago, long before there were cars and carriages, and long before women wore high heels and men wore diamond studs in their ears. He was a man that God called out from his family, out from the land that he knew to become a father of many nation, of many kindred, and of many people groups. And Abe trusted God, he believed that he would fulfill the promises that he had made to him. There was only one problem; Abe’s wife Sarah was barren, she had never produced offspring and chances were slim that she would in her old age, past her child bearing years. And so, Sarah took matters into her own hands, she gave her handmaiden to Abraham to conceive a son, so that God’s promise would be fulfilled. The affects? Well, even though Abe took matters into his own hands, God still blessed, he still fulfilled his promise. Though they were old, 90 and 100 years old to be exact, they still had a son of their own and named his Isaac. And Isaac had two sons, Israel and Esau, and Israel’s sons became the fathers of the twelve tribes of the Jewish nation. God lived up to his side of the bargain and blessed even though Abe and Sarah settled for less than God’s best.
But whatever came of that child that Sarah’s handmaiden bore. Sarah actually became jealous of him and had him along with his mother sent away, not wanting him to share in Isaac’s inheritance. But in the end, God blessed that child too. Ishmael, like Isaac, became the father of a great people. I have heard it said that his descendants are those of the Arabs today, but I find that statement a little too lofty and a little too insensitive. But what if Abe would not have settled? Could other nation’s relations with the Middle East be quite a bit more peaceful if they had? Just a little something to think about.
So this is my struggle, and although I have been obedient, and I have not settled, the battle gets more intense and more severe each and every day. Some days I do just fine, but then there are others when this feeling of loneliness and wantonness creeps up on me and almost overtakes me, and although it does not, I wonder how much longer I can persist and not fold. I know that it is not something that I can handle on my own but that I need people around me to help lift me up. Sometimes people think that they can handle what they are going through on their own when in actuality they cannot, and if they cannot, I cannot either,
The thing about it is that people think it is better to hold what they are struggling with in thinking that it is better to maintain an appearance of superiority and excellence, when those things are only a mask of something that I have come to affectionately call pride. The whole purpose for people, for relationships, for community is that God knows that on our own, we cannot do anything and that we not only need his Spirit but that we need the arms and prayers of those around us to lift us up before him. It requires vulnerability and it requires humility, both of which do not come easy.
As I write this, convicted myself because I was not allowing the body of Christ to be to me what I needed, I shared my struggle, my stronghold with a prayer group that I am in, knowing that if I did, I would surely find healing as a result of obeying God’s Word. As I voiced my concern, I felt utterly stupid, thinking that no one cared and that what I had to say, what I was going through was just not important enough. Sometimes we tend to think that once we obey the Lord, the enemy immediately shuts up, but most often he does not and instead continues to throw accusatory remarks and lies, hoping that there is still a chance that we get sidetracked and disobey.

I have never been a huge fan of the sport or hobby, if you will, of juggling. As much as it is intruging to see clowns or whoever else juggle 3 or more objects between two hands without letting them touch the ground, I have never been so persuaded to try to perform the act myself, at least I was not until recently not because I developed an interest but simply because that was how life happened for me. At first I did not notice because I only had one object in my hand but as I grew older, life added more, something that I guess I expected but was not completely prepared for. At first it was just school, easy enough to keep in the air, then it became school and work, then it became school, work and friends, and then it became school, work, friends, career, family, finances, future, relationships and so much more; all of which made me want to let everything drop and land as they would. It is really quite humorous, rewarding, and stressing at the same time. At one moment I am rejoicing because all of the balls seem to be staying in the air, almost effortlessly. But then one drops and it must cause some type of domino effect until everything is everywhere and I am stuck in the middle of it, wondering if I can really do this thing. I wonder can I really excel in the things that I believe God has called me to even when everything else around me fails. I mean, I see my family falling apart and I see people all around me giving up their dreams; what makes me so special to think that I can reach mine. And as if to make matters worse, things in my life compound on top of one another threatening my sanity, threatening my life.
Sometimes I wonder if fighting this hard is really worth it. Is it really worth pursing things in life in a manner that honors God instead if giving into fleshly desires like everyone else seems to be doing? Is it worth waiting for the man of God that God has created just for me instead of going out and finding whoever I want, knowing that God may see fit not to fulfill that desire of mine. Is it worth doing business well, and deciding not to rip people off, knowing very well that someone may decide to do that to me. Is it worth treating people with love and respect, the way that I myself would like to be treated knowing that when push comes to shove, that is not the way that most people will treat me.
A lot of Christians think that just by serving Christ there is guaranteed happiness, freedom, and prosperity and in a limited sense this is true. I used to be one of those people who thought this way, thinking that everyday would be full of sunshine and butterflies and strawberries and a plethora of good things. If this is the case then, I have to stop and wonder why life does not look like this for people all around the world serving Christ do not get butterflies, strawberries, and sunshine but instead experience famine, darkness and sword. If life in Christ is to be pleasant and roses, then why are Christians in China in hiding and why are students who stand up for what they believe in shot and killed before they are given the opportunity to realize their dreams or why is that faithful mother of five stuck on welfare even though she obeys the principles of God’s Word. Is it because these persons have not truly grasped the truth of the Gospel and so reap the consequences of not doing so, but if this is the case, I must question you about certain persons such as Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekial, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, James, John, Luke, and so many others who not only lived but died for their faith. Did they too miss it, or are we just not getting it. I do not think that I have yet to understand all that this life in Christ means because I am stuck questioning myself if it is worth it or not to relinquish everything that I so desperately try to hold just to follow him. Maybe these things are not what life is all about; maybe they are not the things that truly matter. As sin soaked and disease stricken as this world is, it offers absolutely nothing that we can carry into the next. It is not our home, or goal and so why do we spend our lives trying to make sense and meaning out of something that will never last. With this in mind, for me, fighting becomes worth it, because not to fight would mean surrendering to a world that is not mind to have and a future that I am not guaranteed.