Monday, May 03, 2010

How Great Is Our God

Been a long time since I posted. But recently D has been encouraging me. Thank you my friend.

These recent weeks have attested to the verse "My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in your weakness." 1 Cor. 12:9

God is able when we think we have reached the end of ourselves.

God is able when your teenage daughter runs away from home and stays overnight at a strange man's house.

God is able when you don't know if you're coming or going in your career.

God is able when you are so sick you wish things could just end so at least you would be out of pain.

God is able when your finances burn up faster than a lit paper plane.

God is able when you have so much work, and more keeps coming, that you think you couldn't possibly go on another day like this.

God is able.

God cares.

God is waiting for us.

Will I give it up to Him - will you?

Will we commit all we have to do, unto Him?

Will we commit to PUSH: pray until something happens?

Will we recognise our righteousness in Christ and believe God's word?

Will we READ God's word, so we know our rights as His children?

Will we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth all the good things of God?

Will we command the angels to surround our children and keep them from harm?

Let's do our part. God's just waiting to save us and our children and our finances. Yes it takes work, and prayer, and belief and confessing the word.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

"If I have faith like the grain of a mustard seed, I can speak to the mountain, 'Be moved from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for me."

Be blessed. Be faithful.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Lessons from Matthew 16

This morning, I wake up and want to keep to my decision to spend time with God and in His word.

No chance to do so at home — the morning mummy rush is quite mad — but now, before I start work, I have asked God for a word today. Without it this day will pass without my making a difference.

The Lord leads me to Matthew 16.

This chapter is so rich — so many things happen in the Spirit, and the verses are so nuanced, there's so much between the lines.

From Pastor Tan's teaching I find myself trying to look at whole chapters in context. Matt 16 is one of them.

1. Jesus starts by telling the disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees, to beware. Does this happen today? The yeast really is what man wants, not what God wants. It's the rules and regulations man has put in place of true worship. In a weird way it's easier to follow rules, tick them off and count our religious duties done (attended service, tick. Visited old folks home, tick. Said morning and night prayers, tick.) It is much harder to seek God and to follow His timing — He very well might, in the middle of your very important meeting, tell you to go outside and pray. He might tell you, when you are nursing a cold and so exhausted you think you are going to faint, to go and pray for someone. Serving God is rarely convenient. If we follow the teachings of the Pharisees, we will only count our religious duties accomplished. It doesn't mean God doesn't have rules and regulations (helloo??) but that if we set ourselves aside and follow Him, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

2. Question on v 4: do we ask for signs when, if we follow God with all our hearts and minds, we will never miss or need a sign?

3. Then Jesus asks Simon Peter who He is. Why does Jesus ask this? Why is it at that moment that Simon Peter is touched by the Holy Spirit? "Upon this rock" - Christ is the rock not Simon Peter. The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. And the gates of hell will not prevail. Whatever the church looses on earth is loosed in Heaven — what do we loose? Peace, joy, understanding, compassion... What do we bind? Confusion, discord, hatred...

15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

4. Then Jesus predicts His death.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his lifeh]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[h] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

So Peter, who has just been touched by the Holy Spirit and declares Jesus the Son of the living God, in the very next moment says Jesus shall not die and be resurrected. We are all like that - we vacillate between listening to the Spirit and being fleshly. We don't even realise it when we do, till Christ tells us to stop it. How keen are we to the words of Christ? We say what seems to be right in the eyes of man, but not God — because the yeast of the Pharisees has already got to us! Where we are now is, we must recognise it is the yeast of the Pharisees, and we must avoid it. Even the loosest of words we use — they must not just sound Godly, they must be God-inspired, God-approved.

Lesson for me today: Beware what I say - is it something that pleases man or God. How can I speak so that I have favour with both God and man?

Thoughts to meditate upon today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

He Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time

Pastor Tan has been sharing a thread in his messages these past few months, since the mid-year morning prayer meeting. It is about waiting on God, and trusting that God's timing is perfect.

If we feel that the universe revolves around us, then God's timing will not seem so perfect. Why didn't I get that promotion? Why wasn't my daughter selected for the class play? Why did my father die? How come Jesus didn't rescue him?

When my mother had cancer for the last time, I asked that question of God. "Why does your Bible say that you are the healer when my mother is only getting worse?" Of course, I wasn't saved yet, but I sure was seeking. I realise now, we cannot read the Bible and only pick and choose the parts that make us feel good. The Bible is the infallible word of God - it is our job as Christians to know and love the full gospel.

It was only a few months after Mom passed away, after I was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, that the Lord gently but surely revealed His greater purpose. My mother had been praying for my salvation for years. On her deathbed, I had an encounter with the Lord, and the Holy Spirit came over me and suddenly, I knew that I knew that I knew that my Mom was right all along — she was going home, and there was so much to be happy about when you know you're returning to the Father.

My Dad was hospitalised during my mom's wake and cremation. He grieved so deeply the doctors thought he was going to die too. But the Lord sent my cousin Erwin to lead my Dad in the Sinner's Prayer. When he awoke the next morning, Dad asked me, "Who is this Jesus? I feel so peaceful now. Tell me about him." Thus began two years of Bible-reading with my Daddy, who delighted in the Word, especially the book of Acts.

My mother's death precipitated the salvation of both my father and I. Dad died two years later, and I have the priceless assurance he is with the Lord. Human reasoning says, "Why should she sacrifice her life so that you two can save your souls?" But I know my mother would have said, "The body will die anyway, but the soul lives forever."

I know to her, to me, to God - it's all worth it. And I know I shall see my mother where I'm going - if like her, I fight the good fight and finish my race.

My Lord, your timing is perfect. The righteous shall live by faith, and not by sight — I know sometimes, despite all I have experienced, I still need to be reminded that You are sovereign and I am wasting my time pondering and worrying. I thank you that in You, I have my peace, my joy, my meaning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make It Like It Was

God's been talking to me this past year through a series of songs - ie, pop songs.

It's weird but really wonderful. Talk about cultural mandate — it's the living God on my radio frequency.

I think it started with David Cook's version of 'Always Be My Baby' - I felt God sing it to me and had a complete meltdown in the car.

Then as I was researching U2's songs for an article I was writing, suddenly the lyrics became so clear to me. U2 is a modern day David! The pain, the joy, the triumph, the temptation, the sorrow — all the ups and downs of walking with God, they are in U2's songs.

"To God in Heaven be the glory!"

Amazing to me how hundreds of thousands of unbelievers sing that out loud at every stadium show that U2 plays. Awesome! It's Nebuchadnezzar x 1000000.

Then last night, Lord you whispered this tune into my head... I had to sing it out loud. I couldn't remember if it was Patti Smith, Patti LaBelle or Anita Baker. Turns out I was wrong on all 3 counts! Did a quick Google and I found Regina Belle's 'Make It Like It Was', and Lord I knew you were talking to me when I read the lyrics.

Everyday we used to slip away to talk
We would talk about the goodness of your heart
Now it seems a myth that never existed at all
And it leaves me feeling empty
With this hollow call

Make it like it was
The way it used to be
When i hungered for your love
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able
To make it like it was

At a certain time you would find me on my knees
Asking you to supply all my brother's needs
Now it seems the needs are a secondary thing
And it truly makes me wonder
What's really happening

Make it like it was
The way it used to be
When i hungered for your love
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able
To make it like it was

Now when I compare there's really no comparing
I just want it the way it used to be
Just the thought of living without your love
Makes me ask that you make it like it was

Make it like it was
The way it used to be
When i hungered for your love
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able
To make it like it was

This makes me weep because often, when I go on my knees — it's true, I have a whole grocery list of things to pray through, asking God to "supply my brother's needs". But sometimes, I feel it's so empty and hollow because i'm not really connecting with You - I'm just putting in my orders.

"One McSpicy EVM, one Fish Fillet special order no tartar sauce, one cell group member special order no petty problems ..." *DING*

But it was different at the start, when waking up was thrilling because it meant another day I could just sit in your presence and read and drink from your Word. Why is it so hard to do that now? I guess, I am no longer a babe drinking milk, that's why.

Lord I thank you for the teaching Pastors did on the Shulammite woman in Song of Solomon. Because that's me. And for a long time I think I got stuck at level 2 — wanting to just have you, bring you home and keep you at home with me. Yet that's not how You work. You want me to rise up, come to the garden with You, work with You. And my revelation of You would sharpen.

And thank you Lord it's started to happen. I know this quiet time with you is so special - but rarely is it an hour. But I know, I read your Word, I search for it, and You talk to me. You talk to me out of songs, books I read, every newspaper articles.

I feel like a teenager with You Lord. Just beginning to see what my Father wants me to see, how He wants me to follow in His footsteps. I'm learning to understand Your ways. But of course it would help to read and meditate on Your Word even more — it is even more crucial!

I'm not there yet but You reveal more of yourself to me — You are a God who hides Himself (see, You sent me that verse! Isaiah 45:15) One day I will come to the point of Mature Love with You - when I wake up and know Your heart and we go out and have adventures together.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

Breakfast with Jesus @ Starbucks.

Today's menu: Bacon and egg frittata and a tall black coffee.

Food for thought from Pastor Kong Hee's daily devotional (read the full devotion here).

Better Than Sacrifice

16 JUN 2009

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. 1 Chronicles 10:13

Partial obedience is the most dangerous form of disobedience. Like Saul, when you obey partially, you will always try to justify your own actions (1 Sam. 15:9, 19- 21).What God wants is your complete obedience instead of your best sacrifice. There are two types of believers: (a) The immature believer is like a slave that needs to be told all the time what to do. (b) The mature believer is like a son who understands the heart of God (Gal. 4:6-7). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [the mature] sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

A spiritually immature person is childish. King Saul was an immature person. Like a child, he had no control over his moods or emotions. He was impatient and presumptuously offered a burnt offering to God (1 Sam. 13:8-9). Out of anger, he made a rash oath that put his entire army under bondage and weakened the morale of his soldiers (1 Sam. 14:24). He disobeyed God’s command and did not destroy the Amalekites completely. As a result, Saul lost his entire kingdom and died a tragic death.

How terrifying. How often do I hear from God and before I can finish thanking Him for the word He has given me, I'm already bargaining with Him about how I'm going to do His will.

"Can I give 50% first then when I get that cheque I'll give the rest?"

"I will obey! Just not this year. Next year can?"

"Yes I want to buy the tissue packets from that celebral palsy guy on the street — just that I'm rushing. I'll do it when I come back down okay?"

That's totally not obedience at all. It's like the two brothers — one says no when his father asks him to do something, yet later, he goes and does it. The other brother says okay I'll do it, but never does. The second is worse — I know, because my kids do exactly the same thing to me!

Sometimes I get so sick of this fleshly body I'm in (haha yes the fleshY body I'm in too, which refuses to be pummeled into shape ... more cardio!). I can absolutely identify with Paul when he said "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Rom 7:15). Can I just add: "Siannnnn!"

Daily, I must crucify my old man on that cross. One cell leader once said, "You take that old man, and you HAMMER those nails through him. Don't let him off that cross. Crucify him!" Violent, but needed. I realise now that that is the only way Pastor Kong does it — if he at any point gave in to his human whims and fancies, or bargained with God, there is no way he could have the anointing he does. He is uncompromising in his obedience — wow, just how FAR away am I from that!

Think about it — if not for total obedience to God, many of the world's greatest preachers and evangelists could not have changed this world. Mother Teresa would never have given up everything to go to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta to feed, care for, clothe, love them. John Sung would never have left the comfort of Ohio to go and bring God's word to countless Chinese in Taiwan and China. Often, what God calls us to do defies "human logic" — give money to someone when you hardly have any left for yourself; place your hands on someone dying of cancer and declaring she is healed.

Will I obey?
I may not succeed everytime, but I would be the world's biggest fool if I did not try.
With each time that I try, I grow in faith. Each time I obey in faith, and God meets me at that point - I grow a couple of inches spiritually.

How many people get to do that? I'm grateful for the privilege. God, give me grace to obey fully, each and every time, no matter what my eyes and my heart tell me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To Know, and Not Obey

Luke 12:47-48

"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

These verses make me wonder where I am. I don't think I have been entrusted with very much - yet if I'm wrong about that, boy!! 

I know God's will is for me to do what He has called - find needs, meet them, find hurts, heal them. Don't let someone who needs help pass by. Don't let someone who needs a hug leave without one. Don't miss an opportunity to minister and to teach.

Looks like I'm in for a beating with many blows. *gulp*

Yet, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Thing is, I have to be mindful to REMAIN in Christ.

Yesterday I peeped this book my husband has been reading: From Good Man to Valiant Man by Dr Allan Meyer.  Dr Meyer teaches on sexual purity for men — there really ought to be one for women too. 

In it he talks about how to stay out of sin - how to recognise what causes your thoughts to engage in a sexually charged moment, and how to instantly react so that that thought does not take root. Throughout this entire exercise, one has to be so one with and connected to God that it is impossible to fail. 

If we are not joined with God we cannot know His perfect will for our lives.

Lord, bring me back to that point - I once was there, but now... not so much.

Another busy day - be with me.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Being Kingdom-Minded


Once in a while, You would call me back to a state in mind in which I suddenly remember what I'm here for.

1. Go and make disciples of all nations
2. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
3. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And surely You are with me always, to the very end of the age.

Often I am not Kingdom-minded. Often, I am self-centred. Often, it's all about me, my husband and my kids.

It's not wrong but even with my kids - am I Kingdom-minded?

You have given me this beautiful, brilliant trio and am I preparing them to be arrows going into the world, to penetrate it with the goodness of God?

Yesterday we had a discussion about how to protect the Kingdom and all the good works we have put in place. One bad AWARE situation can topple a lifetime of good. Look at how the media has mercilessly torn down Ren Ci and Ming Yi, forgetting - totally erasing - the immense work, sweat, blood, sacrifice this man has put into this organisation at the cost of himself. 

None of us wants to have to waste time battling secular battles that we are not called to engage in nor to win. We are to go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16). We just do the preaching. They have to do the believing. And we're not to do the condemning - that's not our turf.

Instead we are to zealously obey Jesus' commands (see previous post). To love, to serve God. To love, to serve all.

I'm proud of the things we are doing - the MS patients, cleaning up and repainting old folks homes and befriending them, helping the intellectually disadvantaged. I'm proud we have a school that tells kids "You have a second chance and we're here to make sure this time you shine", when all they have heard in life is "You're a loser. Get out of my class."

All these good works can be easily destroyed with a poor reputation. As God's child, I must jealously uphold that reputation. Don't do stupid things. Don't say stupid things. Keep up the good work even if I'm so tired already - must not weary in well-doing for in due season I know I shall reap my reward.

Lord, I'd be crazy if i pretend this is easy. It feels like one long fight sequence sometimes. But ... for You, for Your kingdom, for the world to taste and see and feel and hear and know your awesome, mind-blowing, soul-shredding love for each individual - it's all worth it. I'm glad someone (in fact, many someones) kept praying and working and being rejected just to bring me steps closer to You till I finally fell into Your arms.

I live that I can do that for someone - many someones.