Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Trust Me on this" - God

Isn’t this so much alike life. We assume things will fall into place naturally, it becomes an eventuality. It’s merely the question of when.
“The next hand will be a flush,” we comfort ourselves.
“We’ll catch a break soon."
“Lord, please gimme a break. I’ve been faithful. I obeyed you. I 'deserve' it."
“This is it finally, I've found it. I just know it,” I thought, as I smiled to myself at that all-too adorable laughter.

I got confident. Things were progressing well. There was much enjoyment of mutual company and seriousness on where it was heading. My eyes were not half open in a total state of limerance, but fully aware of someone so amazing, with a good side and yet-to-be-discovered bad walking alongside. Walao this must be it liao, what could go wrong here, I thought. I prayed a lot about it. Together with a promised new job coming up, it looked like I’ve finally deserved this break!
What. 
Could.
Go. 
Wrong.
How funny that human perception is so fundamentally flawed. Sin has so clouded our entire being; and being a descendant of Adam, more often than not our judgement is faulty. And with this double whammy of events, God often has peculiar ways of showing that His ways are higher than ours.

["No son, not now. The time is not for you to know. If you really obey Me as you claim, then trust Me, commit it into My hands and let go."]


"Lord, why? I wanted to honour you with it, you know my heart. Why Lord, why not now? Why was there so much fear coming from her side? I've always demonstrated respect to the best of my knowledge. I didn’t demonstrate enough to assure that I won't leave and I'm here for the long run, maybe that’s it. Maybe I wasn’t spiritually mature enough to lead. Maybe I didn't involve my friends. Maybe it was this one time when I got a bit impatient. I suck at the oogly-googly-ness side of it, maybe I missed out on the little things and didn't evoke feelings of special-ness. Maybe I should have told her that it was the first time in my life that I gave anyone flowers. Maybe it was just the plain straightforward reason of timing. Maybe…” 
So many self-crippling maybes I found myself indulging in. It's so natural and easy to nestle in self-blame and question God, but these negative voices belong to an unrighteous, doubting heart that fails to trust in an omniscient God. A heart that has room for 101 questions of 'why', but barely enough room left for faith.
Honestly, I was really disappointed when things started to stutter, but I tried to hide my feelings of 'weakness’, because men have to be tough, right? Cracking under emotions were weak, a strict no-no, right? 
Not exactly. 

"But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.’ “ - 2 Corinthians 12:9


Here I am reminded that this demonstrates who I thought I was - strong enough. I was made to eat humble pie by the Almighty. I thought that if I obeyed God with everything, I was 'entitled’ to a good ending. Since I trusted God with it, I thought things will go according of how I thought it to be.

I am never strong enough. In my moment of weakness and helplessness, I cling to the One who has been with me all these time, watching with loving and knowing eyes. I fall at His feet in reverent awe, knowing that I can never outguess Him. My lips praise Him, for I know that He has plans for me, far greater than I can ever imagine. His grace and mercy knows no bounds.
These days of intense reading and delving into many biblical articles into God’s will and why God doesn’t seem to make sense has so encouraged me. Sometimes the more we reflect, the more it doesn’t seem to make sense. Trying hard on my own to make sense of situations only serve to reinforce the counter-intuitive fact that situations doesn’t have to make sense.

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then, we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully even as I am fully known." - 1 Corinthians 13:12 


God doesn't have to make sense. To our puny minds, things don't and won’t. And God reminds that it’s perfectly okay. He has everything in the palm of His hands. His plans are way higher than we can ever try to imagine. He chooses not to reveal his plans for reasons only He knows; and even if He does, it is always just far enough as He knows that we will have to cling onto Him every step of the way. And once we do that, His peace that transcends all understanding will begin to flow, over-pouring till it encapsulates us.

Through the camp, I've been so blessed to know that God's hand upholds me in times of weakness ('blessed' is not a word I normally use lightly). To know that He reaffirms me through so many ways, as sharp as the piercing of a knife, really causes me to take a step back and be amazed at how He works to bring His message across to those willing to hear Him.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those, who are called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28


This season is a tough one, characterised by so many instances of trusting and patience. These few weeks I have encountered so much more longing than my past 20 years put together. I have never been more spiritually fervent in God's word and wanting to draw closer to Him. It is an awakening that I never did expect. 
Moreover in the past I have been stingy on words of praise, reserved only for excellence determined by the one-member jury of me. Throughout this year, I have seen the amazing effects words of affirmation can do. Words, when used correctly are so powerful in helping to build others up. And I really want to do that more often now. 
Sometimes God dangles different sorts of carrots in front of us to get us to places only to take it away, leaving us with indecipherable signs at a fork in the road. Maybe it is so that we may see His glory and lead us closer to His plan that is perfect for us.
His plan for me might be to wait and see, or it might be leading me to new experiences elsewhere. But whatever it may be, one thing I can trust is that my God has always been faithful, and so He will always continue to be.
And in time, all things will be made beautiful.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talking about a Change.

By Rick Warren.

"If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Most of us are interested in change. Moreover, God wants us to change. A life that is never willing to change is a great tragedy — a wasted life. Change is a necessary part of a growing life, and we need change in order to remain fresh and to keep progressing.
But often the new ideas we gain from books or seminars just don’t seem to last. Maybe we will be different for a while, but then discover that the new methods do not have a permanent effect. The main reason for this is that we work on the exterior, our outside behavior, instead of on the interior, our motives. Any lasting change must begin on the inside, and that is a work of God.
In the story of Jacob we can see the process God uses in helping us become the kind of person we have always wanted to be. The situation recorded in Genesis 32 was a turning point for Jacob and serves as a dramatic example of how God can change us.
God Can Change Us

The Four-Step Process

Jacob was a somewhat shifty fellow. Even his name means “cheater” or “schemer” in Hebrew. But a life-changing experience transformed him into a new person, and he became Israel, the man after whom the entire nation of Israel was later named. After that experience Jacob was never the same again.
In this story we have a clear expression of the four-step process God uses to help us become the kind of people we want to be. It is a truly encouraging message — a message that says we don’t have to stay in the rut we are in, that God will help us to change, to overcome that weakness or sore spot in our life. We just have to let him. So how do we let God do that?
Genesis 32 relates that while Jacob was alone one night, someone (an angel, according to Hosea 12:4) appeared and wrestled with him until daybreak.
When the man [the angel] saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak. - Genesis 32:25-26
You may be asking, what does a wrestling match with an angel several thousand years ago have to do with changing me today? There are some important insights in this incident that show clearly the four steps required for transformation.
These four steps or phases are crisis, commitment, confession, and cooperation.

Crisis

The first step is crisis. Jacob had a long wrestling match with an angel, and the angel was struggling, but it was a no-win situation for them both. By daybreak the angel was getting tired of the struggle because he saw that he could not win. It was a situation beyond his control.
The lesson we see in this is that when God wants to change us, He starts by getting our attention, by putting us in a frustrating situation that is completely beyond our control. We cannot win, and we just keep getting more and more tired in the struggle. God uses experiences and problems and crises to get our attention.
If we are experiencing a crisis right now, it is because God is getting ready to change us for the better.
We never change until we get fed up with our current situation, until we get uncomfortable and discontented and start feeling miserable. When we become uncomfortable and miserable enough, we finally are motivated to let God do something in our lives.
We won’t change until our fear of change is exceeded by the pain we are experiencing.

Commitment

The second step in being changed by God is commitment.
When the angel asked to be let go, Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Jacob was committed; he was persistent; he stayed with the situation until he worked it out. He was in a situation he didn’t like. It was frustrating and it was getting him down, but he was one hundred percent committed to staying with the situation until God turned it around for good.
Here is the lesson we learn from this: After God gets our attention with a problem, He does not solve it immediately. He waits a little longer to see whether we really mean business.
Most people miss God’s best for their lives because they give up too soon; they cop out; they become discouraged. When God allows a problem in their lives, instead of hanging in there and saying, “God, I’m not going to let go of this until You bless me, until You turn it around,” they give up and end up missing God’s best.
Even if we really want to change, we need to remember that we didn’t get into our present mess overnight. Our attitudes and actions and habits and fears and weaknesses took years to develop, and sometimes God has to remove them layer by layer.
Usually it takes a while for God to change you.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. There is hope. Hang in there. Be committed to getting God’s best for your life.

Confession

The third step in being changed by God is confession.
The angel asked Jacob, “What is your name?” And he answered, “Jacob” (Genesis 32:27). What was the purpose of the angel’s question? It was to get Jacob to acknowledge his character by stating his name, which means “cheater” or “schemer.”
Jacob remembered the heartache he had caused by his scheming against his brother Esau, so when the angel asked, “What are you really like? What’s your character?” Jacob’s reply was saying, “I am a cheater. I am a schemer.” Jacob admitted his weaknesses because even though he was a cheater and a schemer, he was also honest with himself. When he identified himself as “Jacob,” he was admitting his character flaws.
This is an important part of God’s process for changing us, because we never change until we honestly face and admit our faults, sins, weaknesses, and mistakes. God will not go to work on our problem until we first admit that we have a problem. We need to say, “Lord, I’m in a mess. I have a problem, and I admit I made it.” Then God can go to work.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to make excuses for our problems? We become experts at blaming other people and may say something like “It’s not my fault, you know. It’s really the environment I was brought up in — my parents caused it.” Or we might say, “The situation I’m in right now is caused by my boss at work.” Why do we act and talk this way? Because it is hard to admit fault in ourselves. And it can be scary to ask for help.
Why should we confess our faults to God — to let Him know what’s going on? No, He already knows. When we tell God we have sinned, it is no surprise to him; He knew our problems all along. We confess to him because he wants us to say, “You are right, God, I have a problem. I’ve blown it.” It is humbling to admit our mistakes, but once we do, God gives us all his resources and power to help us change for the better. At this point we can start becoming the persons we have always wanted to be.
If we don’t learn the lesson now, we will have to learn it later, because God is going to teach it to us one way or the other. We can save ourselves a lot of trouble by responding properly when the crisis first comes along.

Cooperation

The fourth step in being changed by God is cooperation.
God began changing Jacob as soon as he admitted who he was and began to cooperate with God’s plan. Jacob called the place where he wrestled with the angel “Peniel,” meaning “the face of God” (Genesis 32:30). Jacob had come face to face with God.
Every one of us must eventually come face to Face with God, and when we do that, God can change us.
God said to Jacob, “Now we can get down to business. I want you to relax. Just cooperate and trust Me, and I will make the changes that you want made, and I will bless you.”
God didn’t say, “Jacob, try real hard and use all your willpower to become perfect.” That doesn’t work, and God knows it.
Willpower simply does not make permanent changes in our lives.
That is attacking the outward circumstance. It is the internal motivation that makes the permanent changes, and that is what God works on.

Let God Do It

God always knows how to bring out the best in your life, and He knows how to do it better than you do. If you let Him, He will use whatever is necessary to accomplish this goal, because He doesn’t want you to waste your life.
Do you want God’s blessing on your life? Take the situation that is making you miserable right now, commit it to God, and say, “God, I am going to commit it to You. I am going to hold on to You until You turn this problem around for good.” Then confess the errors that you need to confess, and cooperate with God.
The Bible says, “The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip” (Genesis 32:31). While they had been wrestling, the angel dislocated Jacob’s hip, and as a result Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life. This is significant, because that thigh muscle is one of the most powerful muscles in the human body. When God had to get Jacob’s attention, he touched him at a point of strength. When we start thinking, “This is what I am really good at, this is what I am really strong at,” God may have to touch that very thing to get our attention.

Don’t Run, But Stand

Jacob often got himself into trouble because he was a cheater, and he often reaped what he sowed. But every time he got himself into a mess, he ran away from it. He just copped out. Finally, God said, “I know how to take care of that temptation — I’ll put a limp in his walk.” Never again could Jacob run away from a difficult situation. For the rest of his life he would have to stand and face his problems — not in his own strength but in God’s strength. God often puts an obvious weakness in people whom he blesses, and often the weakness is some kind of physical problem.
Do you want God to change your life? He will — in His own way. He will use the processes of crisis, commitment, confession, and cooperation. And when He does the changing, it will become permanent. You will not have to worry about your willpower and staying with it because you will be cooperating with God, relaxing and trusting Him.
Maybe you have been limiting God by making excuses, blaming other people, or rationalizing. It is hard to drop your mask and say, “God, I have a weakness. I have a problem.” Until you do this, things will just stay the same as they are now. When you do this, you are changed for the rest of your life.
The good news is this: Beneath all those things you know about yourself that you do not like, God sees an Israel. He sees the prince or princess in your life. He sees what you can become. He sees your potential, and he wants to change you from a Jacob to an Israel.
Let God do His changing!"

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blessed are the...

No one can serve two masters. -Jesus (Matt 6:24)






No one can serve two masters. -Jesus (Matt 6:24)


No one can serve two masters. -Jesus (Matt 6:24)

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

why do bad things happen to good people

To the question "why do bad things happen to good people?", the most profound thing I read:

We can be thankful that God does not remove all evil right now. If he did, would he not remove you? 
Suppose he said, "Ok, I will do just as you request. I will take away all evil right this minute!" Do you think that you would be spared?

Sigh.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

You have Your ways O Lord. Let it be as You have planned. And let it be as a starting point to make things right again.

This simple prayer I pray, amen.

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