Sunday, December 30, 2018

Living Life Well

This year my Mom turned 90 years old. Certainly this is a gift from God. No amount of clean living and vitamin supplements can guarantee you to live to 90. But if you are going to live that long, Mom is showing us how it is done.

I remember many people warning me, “don’t get old” but not Mom. Oh she has some health struggles and aches and pains but she never lets them get in the way of real life. She is always going to meetings, luncheons and trips with the several clubs she belongs to. She recently joined the chorus. She is constantly redecorating her home. Recently while she was planning her next decorating project, Frank said to me, “When is she going to stop? She acts like she is going to live forever.”

And I replied, “So far, it’s working for her,” and it is.

A few years back we discussed when a woman should let her hair go gray, as both of us have hair as white as snow. I asked when she would let her hair go gray, at age 80? Or at age 90? At the time she said 90 but I guess not. 
Yes, I am inspired by Mom’s example. She is going to color her hair, apply her makeup, slip on her high heeled shoes, wear her red dress, attend every party and eat the dessert until Jesus calls her home.  

But even better than her outside beauty and vitality, is what is on the inside of Mom, in her heart. With Mom, we were always confidant of her love. It was never because of what I accomplished, whether I agreed with her or not, or if I was being naughty or nice. Mom loved me because that was her way. She loved us because love came naturally to her. She forgave us because that was what love demanded.

Our pastor recently talked about raising children and how we have them for only 18 years. Mom would disagree. Mom said once you are a mother, you are always a mother and never stop teaching, encouraging, giving to and serving your children. And that’s what Mom did for her children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. Her one regret is not having more of them to lavish her love on.

Thank you, Mom for showing me how to live and love life to the fullest. May Jesus help me to be just like you when I grow up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Babe, the God-Hero

Christmas Morning.

My life totally changed 31 years ago. I woke up that Christmas morning and the nurses brought me a beautiful baby with a red cap in a large Christmas stocking.

And then six months later, You came, Beloved and invited me into Your love. You change everything.

2000+ years ago You came in the dark of night, to a far-away land, hidden and yet in plain sight. Humble, poor and helpless, yet mighty and glorified.

A Babe lying in a manger.

But You would not stay hidden, You would come out of hiding to heal and teach and serve. You would die for us and be raised because death could not hold You. You brought peace and yet also a battle that still rages.

You are invisible again, except through us, we must proclaim You.

Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His Name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

We must not give up our hope in You to heal us, our family, our nation, our world. You will continue to build Your gathering of followers and the gates of hell will not prevail against us!

You will prevail, our Jesus, God-Hero, Prince of Peace!

Give us courage to continue to praise and proclaim Your Holy Name, Your Kingdom, Your Peace! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Asleep on the hay

Precious Baby Maya and Gio 
Away in a manger, no crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

You left Glory to be lain in a pile of hay. You trusted a poor teenage girl and a young man to carry You, feed You, bathe You, care for You in every way.

You could have came to us in any way You wanted but Your choice was to become a poor helpless baby born before indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and cell phones.

You were God. More powerful than a hurricane. Wiser than anyone who ever lived. Holy and perfect in every way. Yet You laid it all down, left it behind and trusted Mary and Joseph, knowing they were frail and flawed.

You are more precious than the thousands of dollars I carried clutching in my pocketbook last week to pay cash for the car repair. More precious than the big party I fretted over as the last guests called requiring the altering of my carefully crafted seating plan. More precious than the millionaire houses that burnt in the recent raging fires. More precious even than the sweet sick friends I am praying for, although they are so very precious to me.

So precious, Holy God, Savior of the whole world and yet You trusted Your very life to them. You entrust Your gospel to us.

Why can’t we trust You then, dear Beloved? You showed us how to trust. Let me remember You did it first, You did it for us. You trusted us when You knew we could not be trusted.

Let me trust You because we know we can.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Road to Our Peace

Written by dear sister-in-the-Lord Ekko Luo, the day after our Liquid Church Group.
She often send us inspiring messages, this one was a must-keeper!

What is peace?

Racial, economical, political conflicts divide our nation. All sorts of illnesses, violence, prejudice, and loneliness plague our society. Unmet expectation, future uncertainty, money and health concerns, broken down communication, chores calling for attention occupy our homes and our minds.

What is peace in the midst of it?

I was driving home late last night from Women's Group. The gas tank indicator was very close to empty. But the dash board said I had another 75 miles on the tank. My house is 60 miles away. I didn’t want to stop at any gas station. First, it’s late, I was tired. Just wanted to make it home. Secondly, It’s my husband’s car. He is particular on what gas to put into the tank.

For the entire journey, I was split between believing the dash board, which showed I had enough gas to make it home; and the gas tank indicator, which was pointing to empty. I had no peace, right after attending a meeting about peace. I couldn’t concentrate on driving, couldn’t redeem my commute time mentally, and I started to let all kinds of thoughts getting into my mind.

Half way through, I stopped to get gas. Wow, that feeling of relief!! Knowing you have a full tank of gas to go anywhere within 300 miles!

The road to peace often has a fork,
will we choose His way or ours?
All of sudden I realized, that is PEACE. Even if my gas tank indicator and dash board both malfunction and warn me of no gas, but I know that I just had gas put in and I can go anywhere I want!

In our journey, if the gas in our tank is Jesus, then we have peace. And we can go places!

We can go anywhere we want, or we can go anywhere He wants!

And we know if we head to the place He wants us to go, He will continuously fill our tank and we will have peace and strength.

But, if we insist to go where we want to go, we may find ourselves in situations where we are out of gas: lack of peace, nothing works, everything irritates and upsets.

When we are filled with Jesus, His way, His truth, and His hope, we are muscled up to do good, to go places.

How do we get this peace? Charge it through prayers, His Word, godly gatherings, lots of practice on putting aside our fleshly self, and do and say what Jesus says it’s good, and lifting up our problems and our society’s problems to God, and trusting He will work all things together for the good of those who love God.

Praying for you and myself to welcome this November with increased peace and go on our life with full tank of Jesus.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I am His

Jesus' creation is beautiful
and He came for me!!
He made all things
He upholds all things
He is heir to all things
All things express His glory.
He is superior to the angels
So much better than we can ever imagine
Jesus. He is God.

And Jesus, the God of the universe, King of kings and Lord of Lords
Came down
Became flesh
Humbled Himself to be a baby, born of a women
Took all of our sins
Past present and future
Onto His own body, His perfect body
He allowed Himself to be
Nailed to a tree
So that all justice could be upheld
And by His mercy we could be freed, sinless, adopted as children of God.

He came to save us but because love must be free, we get to choose.
Yes or no.

What will you say to Jesus?

Will you side with His party? Or will you turn away to side with your own?

As for me....
I am not republican or democrat.
I am not liberal or conservative.
I am not right or left.
I am not pro "this' or anti "that"

I am His. I belong to Jesus. He paid the price for me not to be a slave to anything or anyone, but for me to be free.

What He said is truth. His truth is the real and only truth.
What He commands us is good. Good for us, good for all.

I said YES,

What will you say?

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of his power. 

After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 

(Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beans and Veggies and Open Hearts

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. (Daniel 1:8)

Daniel was far from home, taken captive by a powerful king, to be assimilated so Daniel could be of service in his kingdom. Daniel was a young man in a desperate situation with a choice to make. Would he hold onto the spiritual roots of his conquered county or would he conform to make the best of the evil nation that was his new home?

Daniel resolved but he did not rebel. He only spoke up and made a request. But the Lord gave him favor with his captors. And thus the name of the fast, the Daniel Fast. For 40 days, our church has called a fast.

As I reflect on Daniel's plight, aren't we presented with the same choice? As followers of Christ, we find ourselves in a nation filled with evil, children killing children, relative morality, selfish pleasures, pervasive drug use, divisive politics. Even social media platforms, where friends should meet, are contentious and filled with hateful dialog. How can we resolve to not defile ourselves? How can we not conform but be agents of change for good and God's glory? How can we help God's kingdom come to to this evil world that is our home?

And can we do that by eating beans and veggies for 40 days? Seriously?

I guess that is the point. We can't do it at all. Only God can. So we humble ourselves to fast and pray.

As I considered the purpose of my fast, my mind went immediately to my lack of self control. But You, my Beloved Jesus, want me to focus on Your heart and to depend on You for control. I want a stronger relationship with You, but You want to connect even more than I do. I want a spiritual renewal for my daughters and extended family. You, Lord, want a spiritual renewal for me. 

In our culture, we avoid hurt and even discomfort at all cost. As I prepare for the fast I feel Jesus saying to me: I died for you, an emotionally and physically excruciating death so that you would not have to die. Are you willing to turn away from what your sinful culture says is good and satisfying and life-giving so you can see that I am good, I am satisfying, and I am life-giving? Are you willing to be uncomfortable and even hurt in order to be closer to Me and to become the woman I always intended you to be?

Yes! Yes! And so I will be eating beans and veggies. I will pray. I will open my heart. Because God is good, Jesus is satisfying, the Holy Spirit is life-giving. As we allow God to change our hearts, one by one by one, He can change the world.

Are you with me?

#FAST40 Black Bean Soup

  • In a large pot, saute 2 chopped onions in olive oil. 
  • Add 2 chopped red peppers, 2 chopped stalks of celery and 4-5 peeled and cut carrots. 
  • Saute and stir often until the veggies start to wilt. 
  • Push veggies to the side and make a well in the middle of the pot, add more oil if needed.
  • Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the center of the pan. Cook about a minute then stir to blend. 
  • Season with Goya Adobo (or salt is fine), pepper, and cumin (a scant teaspoon)
  • Stir well.
  • Add 3 cans of black beans and their liquid plus a half can of water.
  • Add 8 oz tomato sauce.
  • Stir and cook about half hour.
  • Taste and correct the seasoning. 
  • Serve alone or with brown rice. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


There are some who suggest instead of New Years resolutions, to pick one word for the new year. This year the word came on me like a flood and  I can't turn away from it. It has grabbed a hold of me.

The word for 2018 is listen.

Listening is something I struggle to do. Instead I am all about trying to convince others my way is right. And after all I am very busy working and driving and scrolling and swiping and eating and cooking and cleaning and exercising and writing emails and letters and tweets and texts. And snapchatting, of course, don't forget that.

But listening? No. Not to you. As if to listen to you, to really hear, would be to open the door to discover that I may not be right. I might have to consider your point of view. My heart may be expanded to see your heart, to understand your story, to empathize with your plight.

And that is exactly what I need to be doing. Hearing you. Listening not just to figure out where you are wrong and how to make my point and where to straighten you out, but just to connect, to relate, to enter your world. To incarnate.

Love that word. Incarnate. That's exactly what Jesus did. He wanted to listen to us, but in order to do that, He had to risk. He had to leave paradise. He had to suffer our world, our flaws, our cold and heat, our danger and hunger and pain. He wanted to touch us, and hear us, and walk in our sandals and hear us in a way to truly understand.

I want to do that. Listen. Embrace the risk to touch another's soul by feeling each pain, crying each tear, carrying the weight of your burden. To be open to be wrong, to changing my mind, to giving more grace, to judging less. To be able to confess to each sinful desire, each doubt, each fear expressed by you: me too.

Listening is power. It is like a balm. As Al and I do marriage mentoring, the best gift we give our couples is to listen to them, allow them to speak, help them to know we really care about them: what they think, how they feel, their hopes, dreams, fears and disappointments, all of it. It is like being Christ to them, to enter into their world, allow them to feel valued and loved. And in this, Al and I do learn to love them. I want to do this more, to give this to others and in return, we get so much!

Mom was a interested patient listener

Rose, my dear mother-in-law, spent the last few years of her life without speech. I used to wonder how my brother-in-law Joe managed to live and care for her alone when she never spoke. Now that she has passed, he told me how much he misses her presence. Although she could not speak, he could tell she was listening. And that meant so much to him, even without any feedback from her.

I want to be more like her.

Father, help me to learn to listen better, to desire to listen better, to not rush to hang up the phone, or switch the topic, or get up and do the next thing, but to intently and passionately listen to these others You have given me, be it my family or friends, clients or even strangers. Teach me to listen to them. Teach me to listen to You.

Everyone should be quick to listen... (James 1:19)