United We Stands : We Are Stronger Together

Introduction :

One of the most beautiful trait of humanity blessed by God is our need to socialize with one another. I truly believe we were blessed with this quality to make it easier for us to love one another. Without socializing and connecting, the Lord’s love cannot be expel out and spread from his willing vessels. This is entirely my reason why I’m where I am. I wouldn’t be where I am on my journey with Christ without friends supporting me. I believe them to be reinforcements from God’s righteous and holy army.

The grouped that I became a part of accepted me with open arms. They groomed me to be the best that I could be. They trimmed the fat and kept me lean. When I was low they were there to catch me. I was able to help others when they weren’t so high. They became my family and they supported me through the thick and thin. This is the beauty of the body of Christ. Wherever there are two or three, there is Holy Spirit flowing through the air. My first night with this group was the first time I felt open to making friends in a long time.

 

I Fear :

I struggle with people and I find it difficult to connect emotionally and socially. This weakness started when I was in adolescence and I’m still struggling with it today. I used to call it my steel heart. There was a tendency for me to believe that a heart made of steel could not get hurt if nothing could penetrate it. This is a sad way of thinking. This way of thinking is thinking out of fear and not love. I described how thinking out of fear is detrimental to your relationship with Jesus Christ in my previous post. In my case, I feared love so I used to believe that locking people out would prevent me from getting heartbroken.

I could give you a billion reasons why I struggled, and my psychiatrist could give you a million more. It has been one of the traits that have been holding me back. I use to think that this weakness was going to keep me out of the gates of heaven. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my end of the new covenant. That is, to love your neighbors. I justified my fear by twisting the Word with my humane wisdom. I reasoned with my own interpretation and I was very wrong.

 

Stronghold – Rejection :

I realized that my newly discovered family was going to change this quality of mine. In the beginning, my understanding of the Body and how important it is was negatively poisoned by the stronghold of rejection. Before, I was okay being the lonely person sitting in the back at church. I reasoned that the relationship with Jesus is between two people. The Word states, strong is the one who prays in private and loves Him with all His heart genuinely. The problem with my acts were the reason behind them. The Word says those things to show extreme levels of love with disregard to people’s judgements. I was doing it out of the fear of being rejected and I needed a team to break this stronghold down.

Overcoming this barrier alone is difficult, but with support from other’s, it becomes a ton easier. I, alone, would have faltered. Had it not been for Dominic being the friend I needed, I would not have the courage to share my testimony. It was easier for me because I had a friend and he probably didn’t know what I was experiencing at the time. Prior, the stronghold of rejection wouldn’t allow me to open up.

 

Beginning :

In the beginning, the world had never accepted me in the first place. I was an orphan and was rejected by the world. My own biological parents had rejected me. I had no place in it, and I was deem trash and thrown away with disfigured feet. If there was any way the world could say “F*** Y**”, it would be to put a young toddler in that situation and to tell him to survive in a poverty filled country like China. I was told I was rejected when I was one and by the time my parent’s had found me, I felt so much rejection that it accumulated and transformed into hate and anger. Loving was hard and I never truly learned how to love until I was 18.

The true blessing came with my parents. My parents gave me life, but I had engraved in me rejection and hate already and I never could fully appreciate the life given to me until later. This is the main reason why rejection was such a stronghold on me. It occurred when I was a baby and I didn’t even understand the feelings involved in rejection, but only understood hate and anger. Every time that I would feel rejection, my hate and anger would grow as well.

 

Orphans :

This sense of rejection from the world is the main reason why I have no attachments to anything of this world and that includes people and relationships. I was an orphan to the world and the only value I saw from people and friends was their acknowledgment and approval. It didn’t make me feel good, but it made me fit temporarily in something that I never felt a part of.

God, my father saw something else in me. He saw how much I felt rejected by the world, yet He also saw how much I loved the world. The reason why I love the world is because there were many in the world who were rejected like me but were strong in their will and heart to overcome darkness. Those people’s ability to overcome their strongholds was the part I most admired.

 

Divine Family :

To the core of our existence, we are all orphans of the world. We become a part of something greater when we accept God as our identity and accept Jesus Christ’s salvation. The truth is we become a divine family together with friends and family to support us with our dad to show us the way. I love the world not because of the physical, but because of the spiritual fighters fighting. The physical cannot heal, perform miracles, and transform. It is the spiritual that can heal, perform miracles, and become something greater than anything one can imagine. It is the spiritual that can drive out demons, heal the blind, and breathe eternal life.

Though, this world had rejected me, I found acceptance in the world not from the world but from the One True God that created the world. Nothing from the world can do harm to me if I am accepted by the creator of the world. With the divine family, God’s Kingdom will conquer. This is the time to fight the hardest. We live in an era where it is easy to dismay Christianity, but the fact remains that many people are dieing to the world when they could be living in eternity within God’s realm. I have overcome my stronghold of rejection because of friends and family. You can too, but are you willing to accept a new family even if it means leaving your old one behind?

Reinforcement of the Army : Fighting With Friends To Support Your Victory

Nice Guy Dom :

The first thing you have got to understand about Dom is that he is a clear product of God’s Love. He was not saved when I first met him. I didn’t even know he went to church when I first met him. When I met him at the church on Christmas Eve, he was going through a difficult break with his girlfriend at the time. God had told her that she should not date Dom because Dom was not saved. It was hard because Dom really loved her and she really loved Dom. Dom was saved during this breakup period though, and they got back together. This shows that sometimes things happen for a reason and although we may feel hurt, the truth is that we aren’t and the path is still paved for us to walk to get us to the point of salvation.

Dom is handsome and he dresses nice too. You could say that Dom was everything I wasn’t and I envied that. He was good at singing, played instruments, had really cool tattoos and helped me get my first. He was just ideal. I wonder why Sarah ever broke up with him in the first place but then again, I barely understand myself. None of that matters to me though because striving to be like Dom would pull me farther from Christ and my true identity in Him. God wants us to know who our real identity is and to use our Gifts to make us the best us we can be. We are the engineers who specialize in our skills He has blessed us with.

 

Adoption :

Soon after receiving the invitation I met the first people who I’d come to adore. They were a lovely young couple brimming with an adopting aura of love. To me, Glen and Heather were the mother and father our group. Most importantly there existed a sense of responsibility whom God had blessed them with. They possessed a responsibility of adoption that gave them heavenly rights to raise children who have had no contact with God to be fully embraced in God’s love. I was welcomed and adopted into those two homes instantly and I was happy.

As soon as I walked in I naturally got anxious, but it was relieved as soon as I talked to Glen. Glen is an easy guy to talk to and he was always engaged with you. Anxiety was flushed away. Heather is an incredible and beautiful woman with a good natural welcoming heart. I was so blown away when she offered to make me tea! I’m not sure what I was expecting from these two people but I was beyond satisfied. I was calm and at peace with my cup of chamomile tea.

 

Future Bros, and Pizza Girl Ray :

Two of my closest friends would appear that day. I would not know it because I am afraid of tall people and these were two VERY tall people. Kennen, also known as K-dog, is a great friend of mine and he is my brother in arms. He is knowledgeable and is seeking the Word fervently. That night, I gave my spiritual experience and I remember clearly he was intrigued. I could tell that he understood how real it was to me and got really excited for me. I did not know that day that he would be one of my closest bros.

Nate, also known as Nate Wood, is one who embodies God’s grace honestly. He is fire and fury when it comes to His love. I find this part admirable and I wish to become a leader like him one day. He is also tall. Regardless of their height, Nate and Kennen would become my bros in the future. The strangest thing happened in the middle of the night.

This tiny girl, Ray, also known as Cousin of Kennen, came in with her work clothes on and a Domino’s pizza. She sat down and ate that WHOLE fricken pizza! Incredible. How much does she hunger for the Lord if she hungers this much for pizza, I thought. Ray is really nice and I love the way she doesn’t back down. She is a fierce fighter indeed. I remember thinking to myself, how similar she was in character to Ray from Star Wars. I learned instantly that she loves her Corgi, and all corgis while at that. Also, don’t call her Rachel, she doesn’t like that name.

 

The Message: 

The facilitator was a woman named Courtney and she was the core of the group. No one gives her enough credit for keeping the group together and growing it. She is a great teacher, friend, and communicator. She holds everyone accountable for their attendance and checks up on us if we do not show up. Although Dom was the one who brought me, it was truly Courtney who kept me coming back. She is diligent in this and because of her dedication to God, I know she will find success in whatever she is doing in life. She is a great woman who has started a nonprofit for single teenage mothers.

Sarah, also known as Sarah-I, was the one giving the message that day. She is one of the strongest women I know and her testimony is powerful. She has gone through a lot and her ability to share her testimony with great strength and confidence to strangers is enduring to this day. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. She is the reason why I am not afraid to speak. Her message was emotional and I relate to every bit of it. I was crying underneath the shades of my pride. Her story was so honest I wish I did not have felt the need to hide my crying. I wish I could have shown her my compassion by crying.

 

The Rest :

There is so much to tell about each and every one of these people. I could write a whole article on each of them. All of their stories and testimonies are real and empowering. They are awakening to the spirit and provide a glimmer of hope to those who seek. There are many more people who were that night, but it is these people who made that night memorable. The message was powerful and the night was filled with the aura of Jesus. Healings happened and testimonies were shared.

Metamorphosis : Learning God Through Perseverance, Openness, Trust, And Jesus Christ

Introduction :

At the beginning of my journey, I felt so far from God. Although I knew that He was there, I could not get rid of the feelings of being distance. It can get frustrating when you’re seeking Him, but He isn’t answering you in the way you want Him which leads to feelings of rejection. God is not like that because He loves us. It is us who cannot feel Him, because I guarantee He feels for every one of His children. I learn more about Jesus Christ every single day that I am in covenant with Him. There is no such thing as mastery of a relationship! We can only improve our relationship. The key is to understand that the relationship with Him is a growing process that takes years to develop. With patience and adamancy, the beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ will come to fruition.

 

Scraped Knees :

Like sports, our journey with God always begins somewhere where we are learning and making mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, then you are not learning. We must learn to fall in order to get back up and we must learn to walk before we can run. I remember when I was learning how to walk, I always had these huge bruised knees. I was born with feet not normal, they were put on backward and on their sides. Years of falling on my knees because I couldn’t walk properly was the evidence. Ambitious, I found a way to walk. The key was I never stopped moving. Moving forward and backward because they were like stilts and standing still was nearly impossible. Surely if I can find a way to walk with that, then we can find a way to be in a relationship with Him.

 

Openness :

Honestly, the hardest time for me was at the beginning of my relationship with God because my fundamental concepts were being challenged. It is usually the time where our only knowledge of Him is from other people and from sources. It is difficult to discern heavenly wisdom and your wisdom. Learning about Christ is like drinking tea with a teacher. If your tea is so full, how can the teacher fill your cup with tea? The teacher may overfill your cup with tea, but your tea is still mixed in. If you want the purest tea from the teacher, it is best to empty your cup as to be a willing cup accepting his tea. Then you get the full mighty tastiness of his tea.

 

Trust the Process :

We may arrive at the church because we are hurt and we don’t know what to turn to. When we are hurt we become so desiring of healing that we rush things through with Him. We may not prefer quality time with Him, but rather that He rushes to work his grace. Like a chick who must proceed to struggle in order to gain the strength to break his eggshell. For if the eggshell was broken before the chick was strong enough, then the chick will most certainly die because the chick is not strong enough to survive the real world. Like the chick, we must struggle in the beginning not to feel more pain but to attain the strength we receive when we are fighting every day. Rush it, and when bad times come we will most certainly fall and perhaps fall further.

I am impatient so I really struggle with long-term goals. I was the same way with Jesus Christ and I saw that it was faulty because the relationship with Him doesn’t end. If you are in it for the 15-year plan then you’re in it for the wrong reason! When you commit, you commit not only for this life but for ALL eternity. I felt like in the beginning, the process was going to take ages. The reason many people are not willing to commit is the amount of time required. We worry about our time and whether the effort will be worth it. This becomes extremely nagging when we are suffering and just want that quick fix. I assure you when you have nothing to lose there is no greater investment than in the relationship with Him!

 

Pitfight :

It is so much better to go into this journey with a friend. My friend Dominic had invited me to a group of young adults who were in fellowship with God. I was initially ecstatic, but then old habits rushed back. Anxiety filled me and I became a nervous wreck. I wanted to go, yet at the same time, I figured it’d be easier if I didn’t. I was thinking out of fear, which came from the devil. It was the fear of being singled out and being in a stranger’s place as a stranger that put me off. This fear-thinking reasoned to myself that I didn’t need to go because I would get less out of it than good. It was that fear-thinking that tricked me into believing that I would be hurt and that I didn’t need to be hurt if only I didn’t go.

However, it was being contested with thinking out of love, which came from God. I wasn’t going to be fooled by the devil any longer. Even though my power in Christ was dormant and I didn’t realize it, it was Him who caused me to be ecstatic. It was that little power that enabled me to go ahead and accept the invitation. I was thirsty and I had a friend who was there for me. God had paved the way for me and now it was up to me to go come through.

 

Healing :

I would ask Jordan, the youth pastor, a year later from that point, “Is it that perfect love drives out fear, or that true love leaves no room for love?” He couldn’t give me an answer, but what I can tell you is that when you are thinking out of love you become so preoccupied that fear has no way to creep in. If you condition your thinking to be through Christ then fear cannot take root. Fear is similar to the seed that guides spiritual growth in that it must set and root itself, but unlike the seed of life, it sucks the life out of you. Leave it no good soil for it to take root and you will give fear no chance to take root. I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to fulfill that promise.

I really am grateful for Dom for being there for me. He probably didn’t notice the pain but hiding pain is something that I’ve gotten good at. However, when it comes to these life groups, there is no pain that can be hidden. In order to grow, everything must be put on the table. Healing starts when we expose ourselves and become vulnerable. That was the difficult part because I had already decided at that point that it wasn’t going to work for me. These groups though have a tendency to break you down. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Because ya know, Christianity is supposed to be boring. Right?

Rekindling : True Strength Is In Christ And Following His Way Only

Introduction :

As soon as I walked into the doors of the church you could tell from my awkwardness that I did not fit in. On most days, other peoples perception and judgments would be the first thing on my mind. Anxiety and just feeling like I’m not fitting in would have crowded my mind. Today was different because of two things. It was Christmas Eve and I was there with my brother and his wife and for the first time, I wanted to be there. There were no feelings of obligations, but rather I was desiring something to happen. I expected something extraordinarily to take place and expectations were beyond met.

 

Catalyst :

I was skeptical of church and what it represented. It was very interesting to see the majestic traditional Catholic churches that my parents grew up with and the enormous contemporary churches of the newer age. Stepping into a traditional Catholic church fills you with this sense of humbleness because in it, you were small and everything around you was adorned with God’s touch. It always felt surreal.

The church that I was visiting was contemporary in that it wasn’t like the traditional church. It was very basic and nothing striking and the power came not from the ornaments in the church, but rather the rejoicing voices and spirits of the believers within. This feeling, I thought I could get used to. I’m not a big fan of materialistic goods because goods eventually diminish. To me, things that are not materialistic will stay forever.

I know it was Christmas Eve, but the aura of the church was supernatural and you cannot give credit to a holiday. I felt a sense of acceptance and excitement. Those are words that rightfully describe Christianity. Unfortunately, to those outside the truth, Christianity represents the exact opposite. I felt that way for a long time but there was always something deeper to Christianity that I was attracted to and I grew that something that day.

 

Remembrance :

I’m not sure if my pastor saves the best sermon for Christmas and Easter, but that seriously what this sermon felt like. We sat on the upper balcony and I was crying within 10 minutes of worship. The first song that really spoke to my heart was Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. It called to action for my heart to cry not in sadness, but in happiness. Now everyone seems to have Reckless Love as their favorite song, but this song really did mean something special to me. It was the song that made me realize that it was okay to cry.

Sometimes crying can be seen as weakness in society, but I believe it is a value that is not appreciated enough. Whether it is for happiness or sadness, crying shows extreme amounts feelings. They include empathy, happiness, gratefulness, sadness, and everything like that. It empowers the individual to feel what they feel to the fullest. Sometimes it can hurt us when we are sad. However, when you are happy it becomes the catalyst that propels you to remember the past.

In the case of this service, I was flooded with memories of uselessness, regret, sadness, helplessness, and plain weakness. The tears flowing from my eyes were happy tears. I realized that those feelings were fights that took place in the past that I overcame. The fact that I was alive and thirsting for Him was evident that I am beyond blessed.

 

God’s Way :

From the night that I was called to be his Warrior, I wanted to be engaged with him with one hundred percent effort. My brother was part of a group at the church and he suggested that I find my group. The idea sounded nice but mustering up the courage to actually move forward was difficult. I didn’t know anyone in the church! My brother directed me towards Jordan. Jordan is the youth pastor and is just full of energy. Sometimes, it can be intimidating when you are shy but it is very contagious.

I awkwardly stumbled towards him and introduced myself. Remembering it makes me cringe every time. I didn’t know how to talk to people! Here I was, telling him to set me up with God! The thing is, sometimes we think there are easy and set ways to meet Christ but there isn’t. I’ve come to believe that you must trust in Him to allow Him to set you up with Him. That is not saying that you don’t have to be proactive. I’m saying God’s way will be different from your way. Trust in that. It turns out that when I gave Jordan my phone number, he never contacted me. I was waiting for the call but it never came. Something greater happened.

 

Destiny :

As soon as I made my awkward exchange with Jordan, I actually saw some very good friends from work! I was so excited to see them at this church that I was called to go to. It would be this man, Dominic, that would bring me to the arms of a new family. This was a family centered around God. It would be a family that I could call upon when times are weak and when I could be called upon when my siblings were weak. Even though Jordan had never called me back, there was another brother in arms who did more than call me. He brought me hand in hand to the gates of his Kingdom. He was the brother who helped me overcome my anxiety to bring me to fellowship with Him.

I do not know what would have happened if Jordan would have called me back. It could have resulted in something amazing or it could result in nothing. What I do know is that my destined meeting with Dominic meant more to me now than what could have happened with Jordan. I would have it no other way to come into fellowship with Jesus Christ. The path set forth by the Lord for you to follow is unknown to us but our God knows it very well. This is the path that I trust. If I were to force my “path” it could have been detrimental to our relationship. I may take the opportunity for God to work in my life.

 

Pray, Receive, Carry Through :

We all fall victim to believing that our “path” is right. Sometimes we may be confused and believe that our “path” is the path being told from God. Worse, sometimes we are tricked into our “path” and we justify it. This confusion will usually lead to a dark place. The only way to really know our path is to ask and to keep asking for more. Not only ask, but to listen and to listen deeply. Then when we have listened to Him, we have to act and to act always with Him as our purpose. It is a process of molding you into His helper, but it is a cycle and it becomes easier with experience. I have found that when we act for him, it is easier to then ask more from him. Through Jesus Christ, our tapping of his power and usage of his Love is only limited by our own actions.