Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Your Hands

1 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret — it leads only to evil.

9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.

11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy great peace.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the LORD laughs at the wicked, 
for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy, 
to slay those whose ways are upright.

15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts
and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;

17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, 
they will vanish — vanish like smoke.

21 The wicked borrow but do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;

22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be cut off.

23 If the LORD delights in a man's way,
he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.

26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be blessed.

27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.

28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be ut off;

29 the righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks what is just.

31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
seeking their very lives;

33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Wait for the LORD
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,

36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
there is a future for the man of peace.

38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
the future of the wicked will be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in times of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, 
because they take refuge in him.

~ Psalm 37


Today I fasted 12 hours - believing for LY's husband to slide back to you, and to hear clearly about my move...

I went to buy my gym shorts. As I was returning from the ATM to the store to pay for my purchases a young girl stopped me and I gave her a nasty look. But she persisted. It was a fundraising effort for High Point. Holy Spirit spoke "Give her $50." I thought "That's nuts, I'm trying to save money!" I tried to shut off the voice - I let her keep talking. The name didn't grab me - till I looked at the address and it was in Geylang. I looked closer and I saw Daniel Jesudason's name - and remembered we met at UNIFEM. He ran a church that reached out to prostitutes. That was you, talking to me about WMD again - third time in a row. I know it is my destiny. So I gave her $50, and we chatted about High Point, and about her waiting to go to NJC.

Lord - you made a point. I know I've stopped giving - I know I give grudging to you now, in church. I'm defending my giving "$80 - Lord it's okay right?" I know I haven't really sought out who to help - been a long time. I remember the days I had a couple of hundred to my name, and I had your Spirit and I gave, happily, joyfully, knowing it went to someone You cared about.

What happened? Why, when I have more now than I have ever had - a great house, a stable job - am I scrimping? Why am I running scared? I had prided myself on the one area - I thought I'm the best giver ever. But my motives have been wrong. Lord, I repent.

I have not given in love. I have not looked for someone to give to, to bring Your love to them... Lord, I'm sorry.

Father please accept my offerings. All I have is yours - I've said it, now I want to mean it. I have $15000 in the bank again ... it's all I have. I have to pay my bills, which are now substantially more... But Lord, You said in your word, do not worry about food or what I am to wear. I know you will provide - I believe it, I confess it, that You give me the power to get wealth, and I shall use that power, and I will get wealth.

But Lord YOU are my precious. You have given me everything else -I don't want everything else to be my precious -I want YOU.

Lord, draw me close to You. Never let me go. You're all I want. Bring me to the next level - closer, closer to You. More of You. I want to know You the way You know me...


Friday, January 09, 2009

Talent Time

(Originally blogged by mistake on 7 Jan)

To one he gave give talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master' he said, 'you entrusted me wiht five talents. See, I have gained five more.' 

His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
~ Matthew 25: 15-21 (NIV)

Funny. This morning I was thinking about money (or rather, experiencing that panic-inducing train of thought when one's bank account goes from 6 to 5 to 4 figures). I was thinking, should I take my husband out for our 14th anniversary and spend that money? And, I need to colour my hair - should I just do a bottle rinse and forget the nice hair? And, I know I need to get to the gym - but maybe I should postpone, I need the money...

Pastor always says, "God doesn't have a problem with us having money. He has a problem with money having us."

Have I got to that point? But then again, I know I need to be prudent, for Bible does say the wise grow their money by saving, little by little.

All this comes at a point when I am thinking of moving on and leaving my "stable" job. I should be wise and save this cash. But each seems a necessary expense. Does every necessary expense have to be in the hundreds. And I haven't cleared my credit card bills yet.

*throat tightening, breath growing shallow and rapid*

But GOD reminded me, as I searched for verses containing the word "money" this morning, what He told me at the end of last year, and what He said at the beginning of this year. I asked, Do I deserve $15,000 a month? I have been stuck (actually, gone backwards) at the same amount of salary for the last 10 years. But we are expected to go from glory to glory, so obviously, I am not fulfilling my full potential. And is what I am thinking of doing - creating multiple streams of income that could potentially be very exhausting! - the right thing to do?

The Lord told me tha tI have been given five talents. So far, I have only been trading one - that's why my income is so low. I HAVE these other four talents, time to make them work.

One day God's going to come back — Payback Time! — and what will I have multiplied?

Multiplcation — another intriguing concept. Am I to turn my talent into money — I know I am to "put my talents to work". By multiplying, is that just money or am I right to think, by exercising what I do have in my brain, I am growing my repertoire. Practice makes perfect, after all.

The feeling of panic hasn't fully subsided, but I shall put all my trust in my God, my Jesus. I pray today for wisdom — should we do that celebration, or perhaps just go for dinner? I pray for all the money owed to my agency to be paid in 2 weeks, so that I can have some income from there as well.

After all, Father, all I have is yours. I am only the steward. So I ask for Your wisdom, how to spend, how to apportion my money, how to save. Help me keep better records, help me be prudent, help me to save. I don't want to use Building Fund as an excuse — so help me gain back all the money I did to pay for Building Fund, so I'm not taking it out of my savings.

I shall walk this day in victory. I shall have You by my side in all that I do today. I pray for Your favour in all I do. 

I do not have a spirit of fear — but POWER, love and a sound mind. I have the POWER to get wealth because You have given it to me. I receive it, and I will put that power to work.

Thank you Lord.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

That's What Words Are For

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,
and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart.
For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.
~Luke 6:45 (NIV)

The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.
~Psalm 37:30

My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
~Psalm 49:2-4

Words. I have made them my life. Since I was six, when I wrote my first song, till the 42 years I am now, words have been what has given me voice, framed my world, determined what I have been, given me a career, allowed me to touch hearts, been used to cut people down (bad!), and to give God praise.

That the utterance from my heart should give understanding, chastens me.

Lately I have been so annoyed at work that my words have been negative, mocking, and basically making my world more and more miserable. Instead my words should be positive, turning around what is bad - for I know there is power in the tongue.

This morning, waiting for the school bus with my friend and her daughter, we talked about a cancer patient who is feeling worse and worse - because she's feeling sorry for herself, saying things like "nobody cares about me" etc. Whatever you say, you get. My mom got better when she started helping others with cancer. Her cancer came back when she said it was going to.

What about me? How are my words framing my life in a good or bad way? My negative confessions about the boss are making things worse for me - she really does seem to have it in for me now! So - it is good in the office, my work is appreciated, I will be zai, I will be helpful, I will have fun for however long I remain in this place. I will be the salt and light, not the bitter pill.

I shall be the worldwide best-selling author of a fiction series.

I shall capture the exciting new world where West really meets East.

My heroes shall be righteous.

I shall be able to serve City News and Harvest Times effectively.

I shall be anointed to come up with a great campaign for Reborne.

I shall make $15,000 a month by the middle of this year.

I like these words :)

Lord, thank you that You have given us the power of the tongue - just like you, we have the ability to speak life or death into a situation, and help me to always speak life.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Perfect Love

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
~ 1 John 4:18

This verse has captivated me and confused me for a very long time. For a season, I totally forgot about it. Too busy with work, too caught up with kids... 

But now this is a period that the world is in fear. Yesterday my 10-year-old son made such an astute observation. He read the papers for 3 minutes, then came up to me and asked, "Why is the news in the newspapers always bad news?"

Isn't that true? Our pastor mentioned yesterday that there seems to be more "value" in bad news than good. As if people wake up eager to pick up the papers and read Bad News. *LOL* It's true. I personally think it's the whole "misery loves company" adage come alive - the very reason why gossip is so attractive.

But perfect love casts out all fear. How does that work? If I know God's perfect love, then I have no fear. But since sometimes I do feel fear, then does it mean, I don't know God's perfect love?

That must be - to some extent. I do know that when I first fell in love with Jesus, I was not afraid of anything. I wasn't even afraid of dying. I understood with every fibre of my being what he meant when Paul said, to be away from the body is to be with the Lord. 

This love carried me through five very very tough years - when my mother died, God's love was what carried me supernaturally, filled me with such unspeakable joy at the knowledge of my mother in Jesus' arms, where she had longed to be for the many years she suffered from cancer. His love carried me through the death of my father and the two exhausting years that followed during which I had to clear our my parents' home, all 42 years of memories. What do you do with a keychain that is so ugly you can't believe it can exist but which you know your father spent a truckload of money on because it's trimmed in pure gold?

I admit I have not felt love at that fiery level for a few years now. Even though when the presence of the Lord fills my room I am reduced to tears, even though when I think about heaven, I want to be there soon, to be with my Lord, to see His face with my eyes, to hear His wonderful voice, to dance with Him, I feel for a moment again, I could die for Him. I miss that fullness of knowledge of His love for me.

So I pursue this perfect love that only God can give me. I pray it doesn't take a tragedy to feel it again, but that by faith I decide God's love is my peace. I shall not want, I shall not fear. Sure, I will walk through the valley of darkness - not to be flippant but, been there done that - but I choose to remember no evil will befall me, because He is my shepherd. Even right now, He prepares a table for me in the sight of my enemies — I don't have to fear any harm at all.

Father, let Your love flood me, my mind, my heart, my spirit, my mouth. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I repent of my lukewarmness - I also repent of my impatient behaviour at church today - bless that driver from that church! I repent of wishing I could run over his toes.

Let Your love guide me - guide husband, guide children.

Love you Lord


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Diligently Seeking His Face

This morning as I sat reading the Psalms (21, 22, 23, 24, 25) I came across a verse I had highlighted 4 years ago. (I have one of those Bibles with a wide margin for notes, so I'd scribble revelations or just observations and date them)

"The Lord confides in those who fear Him,
and makes His covenant known to them." 
~Psalm 25:14 (NIV)

Imagine - the Lord God, Elohim, El Shaddai, confiding in you. Telling you stuff that's on His mind. The very mind that created the heavens and the earth. 

How much must God love me and want to be with me and have meaningful conversations? Do I want to be with Him as much as He wants to be with me? When was the last time I had a meaningful conversation with God?

In my pride of course I said, Well I'm doing my quiet time, aren't I?

But that struck me - reminded me of something I read a long time ago. Often, I think I 
seek His face and an intimacy with Him. But in reality, I seek His hands and a gift from Him. 

Back in BSF classes we learned, always seek the Blesser, not the blessing.
To be honest, I want both. But yes, always seek GOD first... and the rest will come naturally.

So will God confide in me today? How will I hear Him?
Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, who says what He hears from the Father.

I have an answer about a new freelance job I am about to begin. I know how to calculate my wages, and I know it came from God, because the amount is remarkably fair for both my client and I, and the hours are reasonable.

The flesh comes in, of course, and reminds me that my baby's playschool fees will already suck up 1/4 of what I take home. And what about Building Fund - that's totally not accounted for. Will I have to take it out of my savings again - for the 4th year? 

BUT GOD said, "Do not fear." I have a spirit of power, a spirit of love, a spirit of a sound mind. I reject the spirit of fear - it has no place in my universe. Let's not waste time.

Lord - I want to seek Your face. I long to be in Your embrace. To hear your voice like a
 thousand trumpets whisper into my heart, You love me, You care for what I care for. To feel You draw me near, to see what You want me to see. To have visions and dreams of You again - it's been too long.

I found this picture of the Shroud of Turin. Back in my Catholic days this was one of the things that I found most fascinating - that there was physical proof Jesus lived and died and was buried, and most excitingly, escaped his burial clothes without unravelling this piece of cloth over his face! WOW! Of course, my life was transformed later not just by the idea of the Shroud but a very real, life-shattering encounter with Jesus ALIVE. And my life has never been the same again.

But still, that Shroud. That face. (Check out shroudofturin.blogspot.com - fascinating argument)

Love you, Lord.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Renew My Strength

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

~ Isaiah 40:31

It's the second day of 2009. I made a pact with myself, I shall take my prayer journal online this year. Been very lazy updating my personal handwritten prayer journal - not helped in anyway that my handwriting looks like werthyilwthesthese days.

Lord God - I'm standing on a cliff. I feel like I have two choices: I can stand here rooted, not moving, going nowhere fast; or I can jump and trust that You have prepared much better things for me beyond what my eye can see.

Vanilla was a great break. After five years of furious freelancing, spending time with my two older children, having time to do stuff with WMD and attempt to change lives - Vanilla came like a 13-month-long movie that I sat down to watch with a year's worth of popcorn and Diet Coke.

Taking a break can sometimes make you blinded and weak-kneed at the prospect of coming back out into the daylight.

But the Vanilla movie is over now, they're sweeping up the popcorn from the floor. I'm sitting in this seat kind of just raising my knees as the cleaners do their job - feeling like I should be leaving, but I'm so comfortable.

Who wouldn't be - monthly pay. Season parking. Transport and mobile allowances... nice gig. But the work - if that's what you can call it - the work is intermittent and the purpose opaque. My "calling" has long hung up on this one. And as far as I can tell, my bosses have no real plans for me, apart from plugging holes and fighting fires. I'm the Amah-On-Wheels, on call.

Not what God has purposed for me to do, and just this past week I have come to realise it. My God has this very gentle way of waking me up. Holy Spirit never shouts - He uses "dawning of realisation" to great effect. Very subtle and stylish.

Instead I am called to pick up my plough where I last left it. "My burden is easy, my yoke is light", said my Lord. I will do whatever He tells me. I just pray, He WILL tell me and I'm not so ear-waxed I cannot hear clearly.

Circumcise my heart Lord. Make it yours, consecrated, set apart for you. That in all I do, all that matters is Jesus. 

I go off today to 1) spend my last day off with my lovely spouse and buy the TV for our bedroom, 2) make my plans, 3) set goals with my kids, 4) set my own goals.

As Solomon asked for wisdom I also ask. But I ask for the heart of his father David - who, when he sinned, fell at your feet and asked forgiveness from you first. Forgive me for being so slow to obey. Thank You for Your patience and kindness. Thank You for asking me to trust You. 

I shall soar like an eagle, my youth shall be renewed. This is the year I get back in shape: spiritually, writerly, physically.

Love you Lord.