Here I am

Oh! give me Samuel’s ear,
An open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy Word;
Like him to answer to Thy call
And to obey Thee first of all.1

I finished reading Bill Hybels’ The Power of a Whisper.  The primary reason why I started my daily devotions was due to forgetting what God’s voice sounded like.  Months would go by and I still couldn’t recognize what His voice even with the daily devotions.  I felt my distant from Him felt even further during this period of trying to get closer.  When I read the first chapter from Bill Hybels’ new book, I knew I had to pick it up immediately.  What caught Hybels’ attention (and mine too) is the story of Samuel as a young boy hearing God’s voice.

Here I am, you called me. […]
Speak, for your servant is listening2

Just thinking that God felt He would get to a little boy’s ear while asleep caught my attention.  God didn’t try to get little Samuel’s attention once but 4 times!  And the response that Samuel gives Him, “Here I am, you called me,” and then, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  God did and he still does speak when you’re willing to listen.

Daily, I end my prayer with that.  I ask Him to speak because I, a servant of His, is listening.

  1. “Hushed Was the Evening Hymn” by James Drummon Burns []
  2. 1 Samuel 3:9-10 []

In God I trust

Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God; trust also in me (John 14:1)

The following was originally written on May 23rd in a Moleskine I keep with me for taking notes.  Every once in awhile, I’ll write a stream of thought.  This piece has been duplicated on this post without alteration to the stream of thought.

Mark 6:25-34

I am told not to worry about the details of this world.  He says not to worry about tomorrow.  I should not need to worry about the food I need, the clothes over me, or whether or not I am provided shelter.

Abandon these things of the world—not personally, but quit searching for it. Seek God first, not these little details of the world.  God promises He will provide.

What’s really stopping me from walking in faith?  He is there by my side.  He pulls me forward in the direction I asked for.  He’s feeding me the knowledge I need to understand that this is what I need to do—where I am going—what worldly things I need to leave behind.

Despite my current worldly struggles and sins, I don’t feel Him abandoning me now nor forever.  He is implanted in me.  Trust Him.  Walk forward in faith.  He will provide every need.

This was my first step in trusting God.  The second step was to Job’s story.  In case you haven’t read Job, here’s the gist of it.  Job loved and feared the Lord and because of this he was blessed with a fruitful life.  God allowed the devil to take away anything and everything important to Job.  He didn’t understand why and cried out to the Lord why these horrible events has happened to him.  At that point the skies opened up and God reminded Job his awesomeness of God (beings in Job 38).  Don’t forget, God is and always is in control.

Once I realized I can authentically trust God that my life is clearly in His hands, I moved on to the next step: planning.  When I’m planning, do not ever forget to put God first.  If the Holy Spirit is truly moving in you, you can and will make every decision that crosses your path with the wisdom provided by God through the Holy Spirit.  You are still making the decisions (make no mistake that you will always have your free will), but the Holy Spirit will guide you appropriately.

To man belongs the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue (Proverbs 16:1)

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

God’s will becomes yours.  Pray. Speak. Listen, carefully.

In love with falling in love

I have this problem.  It might have occurred when I was younger.  Maybe I didn’t get enough hugs or something when I was a kid.  Growing up, I always had this yearning to “be with somebody”—to be loved (using the term loosely).  I just had to have a girlfriend of some sort going through school.  Of course, me being as dorky as I am, I wasn’t very popular with the ladies.  Not surprisingly, I wasn’t on any girl’s radar.  I did my best to be noticed, but my personality never allowed me to stand out.  I was shy and a daydreamer.  I planned my approach and hoped for the opportune time to execute said strategy.  Rarely did I ever go with my master plan.  Even when I did, it never panned out after its approach.  But still, I insisted to keep daydreaming about how everything ought to happen.

The problem with the whole daydreaming thing is that you have to make assumptions on how the other person would react to what you are doing.  This would generally work if you knew who the person well enough to predetermine her reaction, but I never knew who she was.  I daydreamed how she would react openly and accepting of my approach.  I’m essentially putting words I want to hear in her mouth.  Eventually one thing leads to another, and I win the girl, right?  No, not really.  But I kept reiterating this daydreaming process for the girl in elementary school, junior high, the girls in high school, local college, the one girl I followed to a university, the one I went to church with, and finally the girl that shares the same hobby.

When I reiterate this process for the new girl, I don’t really ever get to know her.  I’m essentially taking the girl—her features and mannerisms that attracts me—but wrapping the personality and character I expect and want of her.  That eventually leads to this infatuation where I become heartbroken when she doesn’t match to what I dreamed.  Pathetic, right?  I mean, this kind of emotional distress should be kept on the elementary playground.  Seriously, dude, grow up.

With that bit of background out of the way, I wanted to write about the approach on the newest girl that caught my attention.  Of course, like all girls of interest, she’s pretty (obviously).  She’s a gamer.  The fact that she’s really pretty and a gamer is what really caught my attention.  When I saw pictures with her and her (then) boyfriend, I had to step back and ask myself, “People looking this good really shouldn’t be playing World of Warcraft—they’re usually going out and doing cool things with other good looking people.”  Yeah… like that.  I’m keeping further details about her sparse for obvious reasons.

Despite the fact I am attractive to her and that we share a similar hobby, I honestly don’t think it would be wise of me to pressure on with a pursuit.  Maybe I finally grew up and recognize the mistakes of the past.  Maybe I’m supposed to discern a higher purpose that is in alignment with God’s will.  I honestly don’t know.  I do, believe, I received affirmation about what my approach ought to be after spending some time at the driving range with a friend of mine.

I haven’t seen Mark in awhile.  We occasionally run into each other at the same church service, but for the most part I wouldn’t see him because he’s busy with work.  One Sunday morning , we went out to the Glen Oaks golf course in Glendora.  I haven’t picked up a club since my golf class more than 5 years ago.  I brought Mark up to speed with the whole I-think-I’m-done-with-life-in-SoCal-and-I-want-to-move-back-to-Hawaii story.  He also felt that my next move is probably going to be away from California.  Even he thought Hawaii sounded like an advancing move.  By thew way, since Mark was a former World of Warcraft addict, I gave him our guild’s progression status and whatnot.  At that point I had to tell him about her.

I told Mark pretty much every personality trait that attracted me so much to her.  And in the end, he came out to remind me, “As great and fun as she may be, do you really see her as being your helper for God’s will in your life?”  (See Gen 2:20b ff)  No, I cannot.  Mark didn’t need to go into further detail because at that moment I remembered what Paul wrote in his second letter to the people of Corinth:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NIV)

Paul finishes by writing,

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, […] touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinithians, 6:17-18, NIV)

I associate that piece of scripture with marriage.  It’s pretty tough for me to associate it with all relationships just because I believe we’re called to make believers of all nations, and my method to sharing the gospel is by creating authentic relationships so that my friends (hopefully) will see the glory of God through me.  Anyway, if someone could give some insight what Paul meant by “yoked together” that would be awesome.  (Who knows, I might be completely off the mark on this one.)

With that in mind, that’s the reason I see her differently.  I’m not sure exactly what it is.

I need to remind myself so that I won’t repeat these bad daydreaming habits.   In the event I do fall into the same cycle, I must not forget that she can never be mine.  She belongs to God.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV)

Anyone can believe and acknowledge the existence of God, His Son, the crucifixion and the resurrection.  But believing is not enough.  Even the demons believe (James 2:19).  What do I need to do to separate myself from just a believer to an actual follower of Christ?

I, personally, needed to ask myself, “If Jesus were to walk in my shoes, would He really do what I do?”  I cannot live life in a way where I do what I want and pray that God will always forgive my sinful decisions.  That is not the way to live as a Christian. Do not live by grace alone.  Just because we will be forgiven, it doesn’t mean we should keep sinning (Romans 6:1-2).

I can no longer be just a believer.  I need to fully devote my life to His teachings.  I need to be committed 100% to God.  But I know I cannot do this alone.  I need God to work through me.  The actions I take should be directly from Him—inspired and worked through by the Holy Spirit.  This requires me to give myself up for Him that way I can find the life worth living for (Matthew 16:25).

From this day forward, I will commit my life to Jesus Christ.  Let His will be done through me.

So… exactly where do I begin?