Loving God Through Fear

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It’s been a crazy six months, that’s for sure.

It’s been almost a month since I had an issue with my bite. It has somewhat fixed itself now that I’ve been wearing my retainers full-time.

Before the issue with the bite happened and it felt like my teeth were on fire, I remember praying to God and just asking Him to heal me. He sent me this verse:

LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.

Psalm 30:2

I thought I was finally going to be able to feel normal again soon after the issue with my wisdom teeth and my bite were fixed.

Long story short, I had a few red bumps pop up where my impetigo had been months prior. The impetigo I had was rather severe and seeing it really worried me.

Itchy, upset and afraid, I knew that I could go a variety of routes. I could do what I usually did, which was freak out and withdraw from God for a few weeks. Whenever a random health thing would pop up, I would stop studying God’s word, stop writing in my prayer journal and stop praying.

But this time, I decided to run to God and change the course of doing what I was used to doing. I felt that God had allowed those red suspicious bumps to pop up again because my heart was still not changed to the way He wanted it to be. And it made sense.

For a while, I’ve been dealing with a lot of pride and competitiveness and discontent in my spirit. I think we all have a little bit of a control freak in us and for a while, I let mine run free.

Since I’ve been out of the “spotlight” for over a year now, I failed to see the sliver of pride and conceit that still lay buried in my heart. It was distracting me from God and causing me to turn into a snob. There are little moments that escape me during the day. Maybe when I see someone do something that I don’t approve of and I judge them for it. Or maybe judging someone by the way he or she looks. Maybe thinking I’m ‘too good’ to associate with certain people.

So just when I thought that I could reach the end of the tunnel, God presented me with yet another dark path.

I saw this horrible doctor on Amwell and he had no tact at all. He took one look at my face and said, “yup. that’s impetigo.” I asked him questions and he didn’t really answer any of them. He shrugged off any questions I had and looked like he was ready for the conversation to be over.

Thankfully, I called the company for a refund and they are processing one for me right now. I had to follow up with a quality control specialist and everything but she was very sympathetic as I told her what had happened. As someone who works in client service and will be having a full-time career in it soon, I think that this doctor really needs a lesson in learning how to deal with his patients especially when they’re worried and upset.

I saw my physician the next day and she said it did not seem like impetigo but it looked more like acne or another type of infection. Regardless, the ointment she prescribed me helped. I think I got my impetigo from my yoga mat which I had stupidly not washed since December, when I had impetigo…

I’ve been getting sick lately so I have not been able to exercise and haven’t really used my yoga mat since then. I’ve wiped down my mat with lysol wipes and also a disinfectant spray.

Anyway, the day after the impetigo issue I started getting pain in my teeth again. This made me feel really upset and I wondered if I was cursed. I even looked up “am I cursed” on Google.

“If you experience health incidents continually, you may be cursed,” the internet said. “Curses tend to ebb and flow.”

A chill ran through my spine. Could it be?

I prayed to God and I asked Him, “Lord, am I cursed or is this really all coming from You?” I closed my eyes and just prayed for Him to answer me. I went to a random Bible verse generator and the first verse that popped up was Psalm 39 – a psalm where the psalmist is dealing with sickness and is crying out to God to heal him.

Every single verse in that Psalm touched me.

I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
    my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Psalm 39

This confirmed to me that this impetigo  might be God’s way of taking my hand and bringing me back to Him. Before this, I had never realized how much pride and contempt was in my heart. I did not realize how far and how quickly I was drifting away from Him. I was not surrendered to Him in the least. It’s going to be a long journey.

Everything that’s happening to me is from God and God only. He doesn’t allow His people to be cursed but He does discipline them. And this is my discipline. This is my hard lesson to learn.

And even if it seems foolish to the world, I’m going to wait on God and put all my trust in Him and let Him change and mold my heart.

An now, strangely enough, I’m growing closer to God in a way that I have never been before.

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Reaching For Righteousness

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So far, so good. It’s been a few days since I’ve finally started feeling normal again. By normal I mean less itchiness, swollenness or infections. I am very, very grateful that I feel normal (at least, for the most part). Apparently, the swollen gums from my last post were from a weakened immune system so I’m really glad I’ve been taking these probiotics lately. I really do feel a difference!

I’ve also had more time these days. Studying for the Audit section of the CPA exam has been chiller than studying for FAR. I study more efficiently now so I’ve been able to save more time and retain information better than when I first started. I’m on track with studying with time to spare.

Now hat I’m feeling better, I’ve noticed something important. I’ve realized that I’ve been staying at home quite often. Although I do take walks in the morning and play tennis sometimes, I feel like I should be doing more.

There are moments when I feel worried that I’m not doing enough or that I’m not challenging myself as much as I should. My track-record says somewhat differently. I’ve been able to mentor a lot of other students, profit from a hobby that I enjoy, get a job offer with a great firm, be super involved on campus and help make a change but now I’m floating in momentum.

It feels like the train’s come to a slow and steady stop.

That’s because I don’t start work until September and I put freelancing on hold so I could study full-time. Besides a few good friends, I haven’t really talked to anyone since graduating and I don’t plan to walk. In those moments of worry, I’ve been praying and asking God ways that I can really pursue a righteous life. Maybe not a fast-paced and exciting one – but at life that really pleases Him and where I can have the assurance again that I’m helping Him make a difference in the world in some way (even if it’s a small difference).

I asked God how I could pursue righteousness and I knew that this started with reading His word regularly again. And I felt Him lead me to the book of Acts. And what an experience that has been. I’m seeing all these ways that the early apostles and the early church served God, boldly preached His good news and gave to all who were in need. Although I’m not yet at the point where I can sell all my possessions to give to the poor, I want to serve God step-by-step more-and-more each moment of my life. I want to serve God and be proud of my faith and not be afraid to share it with others even if it risks me getting ridiculed or outcasted.

It seems that it’s best to start with smaller steps at first. So – I’ve decided to give going to church again another try. I’ve visited many churches in the past two years and have never really made a connection with any of them that made me want to stay. BUT I’m going to start trying again and see where that takes me. In the meantime, I’ll keep you all updated and please let me know if you have any tips for fellowship or anything church-related. I’d really appreciate it! 🙂

Reflections on Micah 6:8

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 

There was a time when I felt guilty for not ‘doing enough’ for God. Whether it was not reading the Bible enough, going to church enough or donating enough money, I just felt guilty and, for lack of a better term, unworthy to follow Him. As I reflect on this passage, I realize that following God and having a relationship with Him is more simple than I thought.

Micah 6:8 is the prophet’s answer to the Israelites’ question of simply what God wants:

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Micah 6:7 

In the words of Henry and Richard Blackaby in Experiencing God, “At times, we try to make the Christian life far more complicated than it is.” Maybe following God is more simple than one thinks.

When I was praying and asking God to show me how to live a life that honors Him, Micah 6:8 came to me. I realized that at the heart of it all, I need to walk with God day-by-day. In order to do that, I am called to live with integrity, give mercy and have humility.

To seek justice means living with integrity. Whether I’m studying for a test or working on an order for a customer, I should do each of these things with integrity which means not to cheat or plagiarize. To love mercy means praying for the strength to be patient with others and giving them a second chance.

Until recently, I used to enjoy gossiping and finding out the latest dirt. Then I realized that even if they may not be there to hear it, I’m hurting another person by gossiping about them and encouraging that negative word-of-mouth. I’ve been the subject of gossip before as well and it can be pretty discouraging to know that people are talking about your business.

And to walk humbly with Him means living life with humility. As Blackaby says, “God does not ask us for spectacular acts of service – He asks for humility.”

When I started to pray regularly again, I asked God to reveal sins in my life that He wanted to bright to light. Soon, the issue of pride came up and I realized that for a very long time, I’ve been walking around with a chip on my shoulder. Instead of treating everyone the same, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought I was ‘better’ than some people just because of my status or accomplishments. I took myself way too seriously.

After God brought my pridefulness to light, I worked on being humble. I decided to actively work on treating each person equally, letting things go, and taking myself less seriously by not getting easily offended.

In his memoir, “Born Again”, Charles Colson writes about how when we are prideful, we tend to look down on others so we never look up at God. So if I want to pursue a close relationship with God, I have to recognize my pride for what it is and crucify it for His sake.

And so, even though this verse is thousands of years old, it has helped encourage me in my walk with God. It reminds me of the three elements that are crucial to join in His work, to hear from Him and to live a life that glorifies Him.

Pasadena International House of Prayer

I went to the Well at PiHop today. It was pretty awesome. It is a prophetic prayer ministry and I found out about it through two lovely friends at church!

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I went there two times in the past. The first time I went, I ended up crying because what they said really touched my heart. The second time I went, it was my very first semester being involved in a big student organization (over 700 members) that ended up changing my life! There, the people praying for me didn’t know anything about me except my name and the number on my sticker but one of them prayed that God was about to do something very exciting in my life.

She saw visions of me about to dive into a pool and said that He was going to open doors for me. Another added that she saw a vision of me behind red curtains and that the curtains were about to open. A few months later, I was holding three new board positions in this organization and then later went on to become even more involved to the point of actually helping choose people for those board positions. I also helped to introduce new measures and programs that really benefited people.

Even now, I’m completing my summer internship with PwC and it’s been quite an inspiring experience. Whatever God has in mind for me, I’m excited to do it and to follow His will.

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This time, I left feeling full of joy. My dear friend and I arrived early for our individual sessions. When the 8pm session started, a man came up to talk about some of PIHOP’s programs. However, before he started he said that he sensed God was showing him that there were a lot of people with strong faith in the audience tonight. He looked around and said brightly, “I feel strongly that whoever you are in the audience, God wants you to know that He’s going to give you what you want. He’s going to give you faith.”

This was important to me, more so than my individual session later on. I made a big mistake last week and one that got me obsessing over it a lot. I woke up thinking about it today and I went to sleep thinking about it last night. It’s a weird mistake that doesn’t feel ‘like’ me, but my friend said that if I did it, it IS me. And so, I’m facing this monster in my life right now called my tongue… and it’s been a rough battle to say the least.

However, this mistake, which we’ll call Balcony Gate, is definitely going to change my mindset on everything.

I feel like God was speaking to me in that moment and showing me that He would help me overcome this mistake. Things will be okay. I can only put my trust in Him and hope.

My prayer session was interesting. What stood out to me the most was what one of the prayers shared about how God isn’t evil or someone who enjoys testing me in weird ways. He’s my partner and He will give me the resources I need to achieve what He wants me to achieve. So that was really encouraging. I have a lot of plans in life but none of them mean anything if it doesn’t correlate with what He wants for me.

After PIHOP, my friend went to go get her essay done and I went to have some dinner with my mom at JJ’s Diner in Monterey Park. Gotta get that quality time! :]