Thoughts from July 2002

July 30, 2002 - power
The 1 Kings 19:1-18 passage reminded me how sometimes when things don't happen the way we want it to -- when it doesn't seem like God is in it, He really still is. See, Elijah was freaked out & depressed b/c Jezebel was coming after him with her whole army. He was about to give up & wanted to die b/c he was wondering where God was & why wasn't He saving him "after all he had done for Him." EJ didn't understand. But God made him understand by showing him that though He could speak to him through a powerful wind, earthquake or fire, sometimes He chooses to speak through a gentle whisper. Sometimes God doesn't DO something powerful like we think He should, but that doesn't mean that He still isn't powerful, it doesn't mean that He's NOT in it, that He's not moving. The fact that He chooses not to manifest Himself in something is His prerogative -- it is His prerogative as an Almighty, Powerful One to choose to or not to. And that's the amazing part. He's got a different, more magnificent plan up His sleeve. I guess sometimes when things don't go the way I want and the way I think that it should -- when God isn't moving CLEARLY or LOUDLY in something, I immediately (somehow) want to assume that it's because God simply can't, and that's why He's not doing it. But that's not true. Just cuz He isn't doing something visible, doesn't mean He's not doing something. I guess that's why I liked this passage so much. It was a great reminder of the great truth of God: that God doesn't have to demonstrate His power to be powerful. :)

la. i love Scripture.

July 24, 2002 - deceit
Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

It's true. Sometimes our hearts can be so deceiving we deceive even our own selves. I am so deceitful! I am a manipulator! I am a schemer. I am dishonest! I am a wicked sinner. A wretch! I have been deceiving myself and you and everyone else around me for so long without knowing it! These have been my realizations in the last few days. Ouch. How I have pained my God.

Psalm 19:12, "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults." Oh Lord, forgive me for the sins that I have perpetuated so cruelly all these days without even knowing it. Help me stop thinking about myself more highly than I ought. Invade my mind with sober judgment.

July 19, 2002 - rivals
I should have no other gods but the Lord God. Gifts are lovely, but they should never take any sort of rank or precedence that rivals my King. I am ashamed of myself because I know friendships often set themselves up as rivals. Not as much in consuming all affections in my heart as in consuming my "time." I make sacrifices for people all the time, but do I make sacrifices to be with Jesus? No, but the sacrifices I make to be with people rob me of the time I could've been with Him. And as I give myself over to these times with people, I have, in essence and without meaning to, said, "Lord I'd rather be with this person over you. Lord, I love this person more than you." Ouch! That is the opposite of what I wanna say.

Lord, I don't love anything more than you. Help me to always choose you.

July 18, 2002 - the ultimate good
Ultimately, God desires to give us the ultimate good. Yes, He delights in giving us good gifts and in making us delighted in receiving special gifts, but sometimes He must hold himself back because He longs to give us the Ultimate Good -- which is Himself. He longs to give us a greater undestanding of Him & the sanctification of our self (oh, to make us more & more like His Perfect Self & to be more fit for Heaven!).

This explains the problem of pain. I came to this realization as I read the second half of Luke 7. Just reminding myself again that JESUS MEANS what He says LITERALLY. So when He said, "Just believe and she will be healed," that promise still applies today. Why? Because Jesus hasn't ceased to be all-powerful, nor has He ceased to be all-loving and all-compassionate. He still wants to heal and He still has the ability to heal. Well, the question came to me - why, then, sometimes when we ask, people don't get healed? That is how I came to the realization that He has plans for the ulimate good in mind. Yes, He is still so utterly compassionate for our troubles, but sometimes His way of having compassion on us does not mean immediate relief of pain or resolution of problems the way that we long for. Our good health is a trifle to Him compared to us being purified. Making us more prosperous and comfortable on this earth for 80-some years pales in importance when compared to His projective thoughts for us about Eternity. He wants to make us prosperous and comfortable for all eternity. And so sometimes He does allow us to continue on in our pain in order to draw us deeper to Himself - which is what we really want and need though we don't know it. He is the Ultimate Joy & Satisfaction. Oh, how He longs to give us the ultimate good! What a thought!

July 17, 2002 - "no reserves, no retreats, no regrets"
so, God gave me a message this morning when i woke up. "no reserves" he said. that phrase is part of a three-part phrase that i heard in a message almost 5 years ago. "no reserves, no retreats, no regrets".

"no reserves" - meaning that i must plunge into reckless abandon in obedience to Him -- without any reservations, without reserving any part of myself, without holding back at all whatsoever. the core of Luke 9:22-25. wowee... and THAT was my birthday message from Him. if i obey, who knows what this year could mean... =)

"no retreats" means no going back.

"no regrets" means no looking back. (if i were to throw myself into reckless abandon in following Him, how could there be any regrets? there won't be any!) :)

It's an amazing message that once you're on God's path, you can have confidence that His way is the Only Way... so therefore, fling yourself in reckless abandon, throw caution in the wind and don't ever turn back. amen.

July 15, 2002 - "i hate you!"
Luke 7:36-50. It wasn't that the woman's sins were worse than the others but that she realized how awful her sins were. Someone else who did what she did (especially in this day) may not count it as big a deal, but in light of God's holiness and perfection, she recognized it as a big deal. All sin is rebelliousness to God; they are acts which say, "I hate you!" OUCH!!! -- it is that painful to Him when we sin!! Even the things that we consider as little sins are just as bad as the things we consider big sins, because in the sinning, we are saying the same awful thing. Whether we commit fornication or use His name irreverently (as part of a phrase of exasperation), we are still saying, "I hate you!" to Him. And if we knew the full depth of His majesty and holiness, we would be able to understand better why these actions are so spiteful to Him. I need to get to know Him better if I am to know and understand what He is like and why the things He calls "sin" cause Him so much disdain, hatred and disgust.

Lord God, help me know you better...

July 10, 2002 - the wrong and then the right "secret choice"
when you sense that God is trying to draw you in a particular direction to teach you something and you resist His prodding, you are making the wrong "secret choice." that resistance will mean that you are refusing an opportunity to go deeper with God. even if pressing into what He's drawing you toward seems painful or overwhelming, it's worth it. it is more worth it to follow His leading rather then to live outside of His desires for you. whatever seems painful, it is not as painful as being outside of His will. this is what i realized this morning when i finally submitted to going where He has been drawing me to go for the last few weeks that i have been refusing to go. oh, it is so good to finally submit!!

July 9, 2002 - sharing my life
Being "in Christ" is very much like being "in love." (my friend Colleen first made this statement in May). I've been thinking about that concept for the last few days - especially in relation also to 1 Thess 2:8, "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." When you are in love with someone, you want to share your life with them. All your hopes and dreams and thoughts. And you want to hear all theirs. You want to know the deepest depths of their hearts. And you value their input in your life. That is what life in Christ ought to be like! Sharing, revealing, seeking, searching, listening, responding... :) Always, there is a need to continue to search out His heart and to reveal your own heart to Him. That is what true companionship is. The mutual exchange and the mutual sharing...

July 8, 2002 - being wanted
All my life, I have longed to be wanted. I always wanted to be wanted. It amazes me to realize again & again that God wants me. And He wants me to want Him. And He would actually wait for me to want Him. That's how much He wants me!! Amazing.

July 5, 2002 - seeking God in the day-to-day
seeking God in the day-to-day is of the utmost importance, and today i marvel at this truth.

in life, we will always have struggles, issues and questions. we will always have moments of impatience, of almost losing it, of sinning and making mistakes. in those moments, we do have a choice of whether or not we will stop and listen to Jesus. will we seek Him in it by asking, "what are you trying to teach me in this, Lord?" or will we hastily move on to the next thing, go to sleep and forget about it?

it's interesting because when we press into these things and ask Him to reveal truth to us, we learn amazing things. He gives us the secrets of the knoweldge of the Kingdom. Which is excellent in and of itself. But even more so, when we seek Him & walk with Him in the day-to-day like that, we build a catalogue file full of testimonies that can be shared with others. We gain true lessons and stories that are real from our lives that can be used to encourage others along the way when they face similar issues. It's not that we've sat down to set aside things that we want to use to teach others. It's just that God will use EVERYthing in our lives. So when we struggle, let's keep seeking God for the deeper truths.

July 4, 2002 - everything
Lord, I pray that you would give my friends everything that their hearts desire. Give them everything that would make for their happiness. But, Lord, I pray that you would give me nothing. Give me nothing, so that in the nothing I would know that I have everything because I have you.

July 2, 2002 - to fast & pray
I have been thinking about and praying through Isaiah 61:1-3 for myself and for others. Especially for my friends who have devoted themselves to being with the poor, brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, those who mourn & grieve and live with a spirit of despair. I have been praying over Pam who is in China with poor, abandoned orphans; for Joann who is with some poor villagers in China; for Adeline who is with the poor in inner city Atlanta; for Amy who is with the poor in inner city L.A.; and for Bernard and Colleen who are with the poor in the Tenderloin District of SF.

I was reading Luke 2:36-38 and was struck that this widow (who was essentially "single" for over 60 years!!) spent night & day worshiping, praying and fasting. I am "single" just as she was -- so I can be singleminded & devoted like she was. Reading over Isaiah 58 after these meditations brought about the following prayer/poem:

I will worship
night and day.
I will devote myself
to fast and pray.
I will honor You,
not go my own way.
Come quickly, Lord;
do not delay!

How I long for the Lord to set the captives free. They are trapped and suffocating under lies, rejection, dejection, pain, suffering, injustice, oppression, helplessness and hopelessness. Mostly, hopelessness. Oh, that spirit of despair because there is nothing to live for and nothing to die for! They need Jesus, and I pray that Jesus would come and break through their world with His Light, bringing Hope that will last forever. Yes, to turn their mourning into dancing...!!!

I pray that He will hear my cries as I fast and pray.

July 1, 2002 - writing
I used to write to "escape." This world seemed so bleak and empty. There was a void in my heart, and the circumstances surrounding my life were unideal. So I would weave together stories of ideal families and ideal romances...

But Christ has turned my stark monochrome world into an amazing, brilliant technicolor reality! No more void... Life is a continual ideal romance with my Lover who never disappoints. So I no longer create worlds to escape to.

I used to write with a flourish, with exaggerated words.... loving how stringing words together can create such a magical symphony of harmony... even without any stringed instruments to accompany it. Yes, my writing had flourish, but it dribbled all over the pages with meandering aimlessness...

I now write with purpose. Purpose that has the purport of eternal impact. My pages and pages of scrawl may not just disintegrate with time and age or fire or moth. They bring forth truths that will last forever if the readers will take them to heart and act on them in obedience to the Eternal King.

I used to write in order to make myself famous. Now I only write to make Jesus famous by my writing...

Less of me, more of Him. None of me, all of Him. May I decrease that He may increase in my life. Amen.

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Copyright 2002, A Lil' Ladybug Production.
Mary Ann Nguyen. All Rights Reserved.