My usual question to any customer who comes to me to pay for their groceries is: “Do you have any AirMiles?” I know that each country has their fair share of lockdown rules. But now that some have gotten the vaccines, at least their first dosage, what do you think will happen next? Are we getting back to our normalcy of life’s routine like before this pandemic? Several customers replied with a confirmed no.
Many store sole proprietors had lost their businesses because of this pandemic lockdown. Only the fortunate who had the essentials as their primary business stuck around. Those who kept with the news became aware of the surmounting lives lost, regardless of the help. Third-world and modest-sized countries received their supplies from populated ones. Let me remind you that around eighty years ago, many countries were at war. So, although they were willing to receive the help, this reason to trust is almost there. If we take the war out of our history, that would assure us peace. Then the tower of Babel era might still stand. We were once flourishing on earth and in one language.
At least, we see hope now that the vaccines are working. But are we to rely only on this from now on? Anyone whose hope is in the world has a temporary one. Nothing lasts when we refer to the things of the world. So we must cling to the Only Eternal I AM through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When we cling to God and His Word, we have more than just hope. We have God Himself. He is the Creator, the mediator, the Comforter.
Once a person gets baptized, the journey to a new life must begin. The view from the unbaptized self cannot make illusions of the once known world. God’s power and Presence have made it almost impossible for this saved soul. God’s love surrounds the believers with His promised Holy Spirit. Again, God does not put chains on us. His “grace reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
“Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law but under grace.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 - 6:23 NLT)
Now back to my question. I am not here representing AirMiles. It was not the actual question I wanted to ask here in this vlog. Yet, it is whenever I am at work. The thought of travelling and rewarding oneself with worldly riches should not be the primary goal for any Christian. Once a person is baptized, a change must occur for the heart. This soul cannot remain unrepentant. This world does not allow it. Pandemic or not; the way the world is suffering, you have no other routes to go but to God. The question here is, do you want eternal life with God or away from God? This answer should be clear. When you do, pray to God with humbleness and a relinquished heart.
God is still in control, as He was when the flood came during the time of Noah. But now, He is reminding us of Christ’s return. Washing hands and wearing masks are not only for averting viruses. They are the reminders of the sanctification of His people. When Moses returned from Mount Sinai, he called out to the Israelites: “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” (Exodus 32:26) God is forever faithful to His word: It is His promise no matter what goes on in your world. He will set up this new heaven and new earth once this old world of sin will die. He will do this. My question to you is: Are you ready?
Do you get the feeling that someone is watching you? I had five more minutes left before quitting time. Then this lady with an overflowing grocery cart rolled into my aisle to pay. I figured I could scan her grocery items quickly enough to punch out the time clock. She did not like anyone misplacing her things. She told me that she had everything in its place when she put her groceries away in the bag after scanning. As she placed each food item on the conveyor, she dug into her cart pile to find what is next in line. She was taking her time. As I pass each food item through the scanner, I noticed her subtotal was already over $400. Her cart, on the other hand, was far from being empty. Today is Monday, but my schedule tells me this is my Friday. My work schedule changes weekly. I don’t know what next week’s schedule will be like. I could be working the closing hours and then the opening hours the following day. I suggested that my working days and hours should be consistent each week. But it fell on death ears. At least, I am grateful that I have a job.
As I placed her scanned groceries on the other side for bagging, I could see that side of the table piled on. There was no more room. So I stopped scanning and watched this lady taking her time. I can understand she may be buying some for her family, her parents, her neighbours. There are a few who do that for others because there are those who feared catching the virus. I don’t hold this against them. I became an online grocery shopper first before I worked as a cashier. I enjoyed it for a short time before I changed to another department. So, I told myself someone must be watching, waiting for the right moment to spring this on me. Does this sound foolish?
God is always watching us. Even those who don’t believe in God, He still knows. That is His nature. He cares for His creation. He sees everything. He also records everything because He is The Judge. If you are a baptized believer, don’t think you can sin and get away with it. Don’t think that because God is merciful, you can still obtain heaven status every time you sin. Don't think you can whisper secrets and scheme against another and still get redemption when Jesus returns. Remember that God records everything for Judgement. The Bible tells us, baptized believers, we are to continue in this new life now that we are free from the bondage of sin. We are not to return to our old way of life. As it says in the book of Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20)
So you can understand that it is crucial to walk with Christ rather than to strive for the world. God has the final say to where we will end up eternally. All you need is a little humility and a willing heart to believe and follow Christ to set you in motion down the right path. "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Gal 5:16-18, 24-25).
Only the careless and foolish Christians think the world is their oyster. They believe baptism has saved them. These people don't read the Holy Bible, and they only pray when necessary, which is to say at the last minute. Do not doubt God. Do not think that He has forgotten. He can see the lukewarm hearts in this group. But, of course, we need to make a living while we wait for Jesus' return. As Christians, we are not to love money more than God. We cannot lean on our income as the prime giver for life. We exist because God exists. God does not depend on us because He exists before us. Therefore, it is essential to rely on God wholeheartedly and not on bread alone. He wants nothing less from us. So what if someone is watching me? I will not fear because I obey my Lord. "The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29) I know my Creator is watching, and I can easily say, "Praise the Lord! Please come. Amen."
I am writing my first vlog regarding my working experience in the grocery store. Exciting things were happening while I was working as a cashier today. Okay, a cashier's job might not sound as exciting, but I did find something interesting. You cannot just stand around waiting for the next customer to walk up to you with their cart of groceries and not think about what lies ahead. First, the whole electronic register system was slow, but I was glad that the customers were patient and kind. Secondly, the paper bags fell apart at the seam, so we had to throw them out. No one could use them. Can you imagine people bagging their groceries in that, carrying them onto their cart and into their vehicles? They would need that monster tape to hold them in—a sound metaphor of a girdle for groceries! Thirdly, this morning a customer paid his grocery with a hundred-dollar bill. It was remarkable that I could give him his change, seeing that I just opened up that cash register of the day. In the end, my cash drawer looked far emptier except for that one one-hundred-dollar and some coins. I was so relieved to see people with their debit or credit cards. What will humanity do without those plastic cards?
Okay, this isn't an exciting day but a mundane life of a frontline cashier worker's vlog. I could talk about seeing two horsemen riding on such magnificent creatures trotting by one day, but that was in the past. Unfortunately, they did not return.
As a Christian, I noticed other Christian lives who found their lives mundane or even simply, "Bah! Humbug." They tried to spice it up but haven't given the slightest thought that the spicing came from the world and not from God. As true believers in Jesus Christ, we are to be in this world but not of this world. We are to mingle with others and let them know of Christ through us. However, that line over the decades seems to fade. Christians become more like the world. They lie, cheat, and complain. They seek worldly pleasures and think nothing of it. It is no wonder that more and more non-believers question our faith when we don't even obey His word. We make Jesus Christ our Saviour but forget that we must also follow Him as our Lord? We have to remember the Holy Bible still rings factual no matter the centuries that passed. When God, the genius, created the world and everyone in it, made with one purpose in mind.
"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
"Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-- and in one day, twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did-- and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel.
"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
"I have the right to do anything," you say-- but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"-- but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." (1 Cor. 10:1 - 13; 23 - 24)
Let's return to my testimony. It isn't mundane when Jesus Christ is with me. We can find many things to fulfill us, but the best is in our Lord and Saviour Himself. If we continue on the path with His Word in us, our lives will be a blessing to others. "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13 - 14). Praise the Lord.
We are experiencing summer-like weather from the start of spring. This temperature deceives us into thinking about our sanity base on the month. I don't believe that we had seen our last wintery snow day before getting hit by the warm summer-like air. I had seen people wearing t-shirts and sweaters even before the snow all melted, rather than windbreaker jackets and jeans. Is this our new Canadian normal? The upside is people are coming out as the percentages of vaccinated citizens rise. The downside is people appearing to return to their "before the pandemic" daily routine far too early for my liking. Some of these people's mental states aren't all there.
Since I have been working a second job to keep up with the monthly bills, I see a better future now that my nephew is back. Although he isn't working full-time, I am glad he is earning an income. It isn't easy for me to fill my working hours at a grocery store and to come home working on my book. All I wanted to do is to get some food in my stomach and fall asleep afterwards. It has been exhausting some days. Thank God I work in an air-conditioning environment. Now that I think about it: this travelling back and forth does have its perks as well.
I have been listening to five nonfiction audiobooks to help me write my book. I realized I needed to remake my table of contents. I have some thoughts on the necessary changes. I noticed the growth of the sermons and the teachings coming from some of the known ministers. The branch on the subjects they discussed was noticeable because they learned this spread of sound knowledge in their theological seminaries. As I continued to research for things that were related to my case, this "spread" became evident to me. I cannot just pick a paragraph from what I read and plug it into my book. This branch must flow logically and scripturally accurate, and fitting. What is taking me so long to write is that I must understand their thesis first before pulling it out from their books to back up my statements. I get inspired every time I hear from a popular minister's sermon. Thank God for His scriptures to back up for a theological sound doctrine. It must also follow His Divine Will. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! God is the only eternal who we can rely on for what is true and just.
March spring break was over. That week that followed had proved our fears of the breach we had anticipated in Canada. We were in nervous expectation. The good news was that Canada had accepted both the Johnson & Johnson's and AstraZeneca's vaccines, which totalled four vaccines obtained. These, I had hoped, were good news to us who were patiently waiting for them. The problem was the vaccines were coming in ripples, distributing according to each province's population. Most of us spent time in front of the screen or the computer monitor, waiting for excitement or dread. Have the other citizens forgotten what Italy had experienced since its overwhelming pandemic inception? Should we have expounded their callousness in our daily news what they thought would end their sufferings? Was it too late? The fortunate, even those who claimed as Christians, had turned their eyes to their comfort on either weed, alcohol, money, or television. Some had no thought for, let alone bled their hearts for the poor. The sin of greed had affected them. The love of the world had blurred their vision. Is this what Christianity had evolved over the last twenty-one hundred years?
We are in April, and the news of the spring season was supposed to have brought showers, then May flowers. The season typically gives thoughts of warmth, youth, light, and lovely smells. April was supposed to bring us hope; However, what came in was that one of the vaccines might be the bearer of bad news because its side effect would result in death for some. We expect to live and endure this "new normal" condition now that the vaccines are underway in distribution across the country. Is this what God was telling Daniel from the Old Testament what this pandemic would come in the course of the world's events? I believe so. God has always been straightforward to us. His providence is ever providing knowledge, truth, and His glory on the foundation of justice. God's plan showed His faithfulness to all who believe and to come to Him, regardless of the world's situation, including this pandemic. Man's perfection, on the other hand, tends to oppose God. His idealism seems more like fiction than the truth. Since Adam's fall, their ideas of heaven do not rely on the sole source of life. They work according to their lusts. These times only proved that the gap between the faithful and the fallen is more expansive than those who did not come. Didn't those who claimed to be Christians ever wonder that an all-knowing Supreme Being would be aware of this virus and the effects it caused rather than blame a specific race? Wouldn't they be aware that God allowed things to happen, as recorded in the Bible? (see Judges 1:19, 2:1-3, 2:14-15)
"Then he said to me, "These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. That is why they stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. for the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Revelations 7:14b - 17, NLT) Glory to God for His brilliant foreknowledge!
The weather is usually the first to come to mind when I don’t have much to say. Fortunately, there have been many things happening since my last posting. I just don’t want to start with the weather. I’ve been listening to many YouTube church services researching for my book. This book has taken over a year now, with most of its time spent in research. I hadn’t even begun the backbone of the primary branching. So far, they are almost a mismatched of ideas being put together, although most do have their merits. I hadn’t thought it would be easy to write my second book seeing this will be my first nonfiction. I had read numerous nonfiction books, not including school books, of course; I hadn’t thought how much this can take a toll on my time, my efforts, and my Bible knowledge. I understood perfectly well when I remembered reading a page from one of Dr. Billy Graham’s books when he mentioned it. There had even been thoughts about changing my theme title at one point in time, then I started gathering ideas on how I would write that. Afterwards, I wanted to pinpoint the mannerisms of the book. Should it be a list for beginners or intermediates? Should I make one similar to a daily reading like a Bible study or a devotional? Or should I just stick to a daily reading like a Bible Study or a devotional? Or should I just stick to what I wanted this book to be: a theme study book or self-help information? It was hard to decide, seeing I had all these options. I suppose I can imagine all those hours, days, weeks, months, and years that I will be researching for each of them. I don’t know how those nonfiction writers do it. I guessed this snowstorm had helped a bit.
This is New Year's Eve, and all through the house, only one creature is stirring--That would be me. In all of the New Year's Eve evenings of the past, I remembered vividly one when my sister was sleeping because she had to work on New Year's Day. My nephew and I watched for the New York City famous ball of lights to come down with Dick Clark hosting that television show special. It was supposed to be a quiet evening while my mother was preparing for sleep until she called me from the bathroom. Then things started rolling downhill. We ended up spending New Year's Day in the hospital. I remembered the weather was freezing rain that night. My nephew had to drive us there, his first time doing it at night. That was more than fifteen years ago. How time flew by so fast! They missed the pandemic.
December's numerous snowfalls have kept our city covered with a blanket of white wintery wonderland. Despite the seasonal and dreamy marshmallowy world outside, stress has finally come into our home, unlike the past years. My nephew is experiencing anxieties, and I don't blame him because of his burdening situation. I wish I could help him out more; however, this year, I had gotten my share of the anxieties--and then some! This anxiety-and-sleepless-nights experience is not what I want at all. It is an unfortunate activity that burdened even the best of us. Although I prayed, I can see he is doing his best to get through it day-by-day. I just hope God will spare me from such a circumstance. I am thankful to God that there is Jesus. Whatever our troubles, only Jesus is the answer. I also prayed that my nephew will take notice and pursue this opportunity to accept Him into his heart. Then, he can lean on God and His Word without the daily fret.
This virus vaccine has become known recently, which is why the number of cases and anxieties are rising astoundingly. Record highs in most provinces and states are posted by the TV journals, the newspapers, and the internet. This pandemic--(or should I say, this Great Tribulation)--has run its course. Praise God who knows everything! Those who have been listening and heeding to His Word are blessed. Festive holiday decorations may be hung sparsely across the city, even on our front door. Still, I'm afraid many are experiencing nightmarish Christmas rather than their usual jingle.
I know this isn't the month of August. I had been busy trying to survive. There are updating my YouTube channel, typing and keeping up with my Bible reading for more inspired ideas, and working a second job for payment of my next publishing. I still don't have a title that would catch the readers' eyes. I just hope all this sacrifice of time and money isn't a waste. My non-fiction is still in its first draft because there is so much info out there that I know I can add. At the moment, I'm on my bed typing this away, which means to me that I've slept in: no coffee yet; no breakfast. September used to be so beautiful. The air is crisp and cool in the mornings. The schools are open. I saw pumpkin pies on display in the grocer. Signs of autumn are starting to show. The season of warmer sweaters, harvested fruits, and a cornucopia of root vegetables to bring in the Thanksgivings of the Fall. All this talk about winter preparation takes my heart back to the days of old. They were sweet memories with the people I loved dearly...and I missed them so much. I am aware of the importance of waiting, waiting for the return of my beloved Lord and Saviour. This opportunity does have its advantages but most people take it another way. That is when lives are being ruin by sin. To them, August is still present. I had already felt the winds have changed. Hand washing and mask on are always on my thoughts.
November is supposed to be a month of cooler weather, even cold, I might add; however, for the past several days, we have been experiencing warm temperatures. It looks like spring is about to start. If that is the actual case, then we are not in Canada but Australia instead. One can imagine that God may have turned the earth upside down to check if all the parts are still intact and in working condition. Similarly, a mechanical engineer had to take everything apart to fix what's not working, then reassemble, even turning it upside down to put back the parts. We know that God doesn't think like this, but it is a funny yet strange idea thinking that God does this to fix what's wrong in this world. A person who does not know God well enough will come up with such an imagination, when in reality, the fault comes from the hearts of men and women who still reside in sin, pumping that beat endlessly. This pandemic lives on around the world. The virus, however, is just an avatar to remind us that sin is an actual thing that is killing us, taking us away from God.
If you haven't carried your cross or know its full meaning, then God is helping you do that. Many stores are closed--some are even permanent--while other parts of the social aspects of the capitalist world remain open to risk the spread of this enemy. If we think the way God would want us to think, we would even say that the actual enemy isn't the virus but the sin that lurks so prominently in the hearts of worldly men and women. He can see and hear the suffering of "Christians" who are calling out to Him to take this virus away to the outer darkness, like billions of years in space distance where no man will ever enter. He can see these "Christians" are blind to His point of view and His Word. The church-goers' presences filling the pews won't help if their hearts aren't with God and His Word. Only the believers' application of God's commands are necessary for a better life and a closer relationship with the Creator Himself. Carrying the cross of the worldly life will not hinder a believer's action toward holiness; Instead, it will only promote it. A holy life will and can accentuate the eyes with 20-20 vision. A wise man will understand what the Maker's hand is doing, whereas a fool will only think of himself and nothing else. If we are to see God's vision, we must carry our cross. How far and how deep you want this vision of life will depend on how bruised your knees and how contrite your heart before an Almighty God. Only your passion for the Lord our God can sustain your part of the covenant. Jesus Christ had already done the rest. Glory to God for this!
I wish you blessed with His Word.
Another month is here and gone. Canada's and United States' birthdays have recently passed. I am certain that some people celebrated them, unlike last year's kind of celebration because of this present social distancing issue. While the world carried on, I spent my week in my comfort writing something for my YouTube channel this time. In addition to this, I am still researching for my non-fiction book. There were a few inspirational phrases and ideas but not enough to make a full chapter yet. At this moment, while listening to The Summit Church sermons on YouTube, I became happy, given the enthusiasm the way this pastor pour out his contents. God has made me felt elated while absorbing all that He wanted me to learn. His Holy Spirit tingled my heart with joy, and I became hungry for His Word again. I am surprised by this. I don't know why I am surprised because God knows me just as he knows everyone else whom He created on the planet. I do not know when will my book be published. I hope there won't be any disappointments. I hope God will bless me this time.
Diana s.f. ng
I love reading, writing, cooking, baking, and pets.