from abba’s child

There is such an intimate connection between compassion and forgiveness. God calls His children to a countercultural lifestyle of forgiveness in a world that demands eye for an eye – and worse. But if loving God is the first commandment, and loving our Neighbour proves our love for a god, and if it is easy to love those who love us, then loving our enemies must be the filial badge that identifies Abba’s children.

The demands of forgiveness are simply beyond the capacity of ungraded human will. Only reckless confidence in a source greater than ourselves can empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others. In boundary moments such as these, there is only one place to go – Calvary.

Stay there for a Long time and watch as Abba’s Only Begotten dies utterly alone in bloody disgrace. Watch as He breathes forgiveness on His torturers at the moment of their greatest cruelty and mercilessness . On that lonely hill outside the city wall of old Jerusalem, you will experience the healing power of the dying Lord.

The heartfelt compassion that hastens forgiveness matures when we discover why our enemy cries. Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps.

The compassion of God in our hearts opens our eyes to the unique worth of each person. “The other is ‘ourself’ and we must love him in his sin as we were loved in our sin”

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dear lord, give us eyes to see what hurts the people around us. the Son of compassion, the Son of Man, He knows. He knows.

 

 

 

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2018: abundance;

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Guess who found the Bread of Life?

My face when I eat bread. Why do I even?

Haha okay I’m not a huge fan of bread, I avoid them when I can, but guess looking back, I come face to face with the everyday bread experience in Turkey and understand a little better on the biblical phrase of “bread of life” and how bread is such an essential in the lives of the middle eastern people.

So I’ve been asking G and praying about the direction for this season – of this season that I’m so expectant of but yet so unsure about! Because I have zero clue what to expect? And the idea of not being able to hear clearly for some reason, or perhaps the silence or perhaps the uncertainty shook me a little. This was the first time that I couldn’t put a word to this new year. While the rest of the world talked about being really excited for 2018, I’m feeling a little apprehensive ( despite the 1001 exciting things that will be happening – including Israel) talk about our human nature haha.

But the past few days, I’ve been reading alot about scarcity and abundance from my new favourite B Man and sermon yesterday was about Mark 8 which I’ve been pondering about!! (God speaks!!!) haha Walter Brueggemann. Read Enough is Enough !

“In feeding the hungry crowd, Jesus reminds us that the wounds of scarcity can be healed only by faith in God’s promise of abundance.” 

 “But hunger – scarcity – isn’t a one-time experience, and Jesus isn’t in the “symbolic gesture” business. He’s in the generosity business, and that means being constantly alert to any mismatch between the generosity of God and the needs of the people. In this instance, the mismatch moves Jesus “to compassion” – a Greek term that means that his insides are turned over. Jesus has this strange bodily sense of an emergency. He cares about the hungry and knows something must be done.”

Brueggemann talked about abundance through the famous stories of Jesus feeding the 4000 and 5000. He then paralleled the story to that from the Old Testament when the Israelites found themselves hungry and complaining in the wilderness. From days of old to now, some things never change – the fact that we’re constantly plagued with the sense of “not having enough” and hence hoarding up goods for ourselves, no thanks to our individualistic nature that perhaps has been intensified today. I am guilty of this too – this consumeristic and self-centred side. I’m concerned about whether I have sufficient money, resulting in my lack of willingness to give etc. I’m worried that I do not have enough – be it time or money or love etc.

In my world of concerns, I forget that He is the God of abundance. He is abundant in love, in kindness and in all. He is the God who made all things and the one who provides for our needs. He supplies according to His riches in glory. I don’t serve a God of lack. I serve a God of abundance!

And this same God of abundance is one who is constantly on the look out for those in need, those who are hungry, thirsty, weary, heartbroken, suffering. It says here,

But Jesus presents an entirely different kind of economy, one infused with the mystery of abundance and a cruciform kind of generosity. Five thousand are fed and twelve baskets of food are left over—one for every tribe If bread is broken and shared, there is enough for all. of Israel. Jesus transforms the economy by blessing it and breaking it beyond self-interest. From broken Friday bread comes Sunday abundance. In this and in the following account of a miraculous feeding in Mark, people do not grasp, hoard, resent, or act selfishly; they watch as the juices of heaven multiply the bread of earth. Jesus reaffirms Genesis 1.

When people forget that Jesus is the bread of the world, they start eating junk food—the food of the Pharisees and of Herod, the bread of moralism and of power. Too often the church forgets the true bread and is tempted by the junk food. Our faith is not just about spiritual matters; it is about the transformation of the world. The closer we stay to Jesus, the more we will bring a new economy of abundance to the world. The disciples often don’t get what Jesus is about because they keep trying to fit him into old patterns—and to do so is to make him innocuous, irrelevant, and boring. But Paul gets it.

So for 2018, I’m excited to see how G will multiply the little that I have to offer. May we all be gripped by compassion to meet the needs around us – in neighbourly love and in joy.

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turkey;

Procrastination at its best but I figured I want to consolidate all of these that I might look back one day and be thankful for all these wonderful memories! I remember how I thought long and hard about signing up for this Winter Prelude – about clearing an extra module, if I had sufficient finances for the trip, being left out in the trip since I’m signing up for it alone. Man, I prayed quite hard haha and God really provided, in every way possible – my two history coursemates whom I’m thankful to have known better, finances for the trip through funding, confirmation in my creative writing class when I was thinking hard about it and our tutor gave us a photograph from Istanbul to write about heh. Talk about how God speaks 🙂

So here goes! Istanbul – absolutely stunning city with winning sunsets and wonderful company;

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the first sunset when we arrived on the 9th. My first time using a prime lens borrowed from esna’s brother! Fell in love with the 35mm pretty soon. No turning back ever since :’)

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exchanged smiles with these two turkish people! a mother and her son! They were extremely friendly and started chatting despite the evident language barrier. the man offered to take a picture for his mother and I, pointing to my camera and conveying a “me too. photographer”

“Canon or Nikon?”

“Nikon” he replied w a very genuine smile.

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the beautiful town of sariyer! this is 5 minutes walk from our hotel and every morning and evening sky is different! there is such a calming effect to our minds and spirits when we take slow walks along the sea. on certain days, I head out for a run and it’s really pretty safe 🙂

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probably my favourite picture from the trip.

Beauty found in the skies and all around. It surrounds us :’) to be fading into the light of Your glory and to be a silhouette, a shadow, hiding beneath and behind the fullness of glory.

Be still, o mortal
Let the light above
shine brighter
Slow fade now –
less of us, more of Him. 

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a divine encounter. this is my roommate, yuchen! Discovered that her grandma in china is christian and she’s very open to hearing about the gospel and Jesus. We both recognised how God ordained the little things – placing us as roommates that I might be able to comfort her w the love of God in her search for longing and love. I remember the late night conversation that we had when she walked in looking all weary and downcasted. it was so interesting because days before the trip I was praying for G to prepare the way, the people and the conversations and this was one of it! Really saw how He answers prayers and so privileged to be able to partner Him.

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yuchen really is one of the sweetest girls around – taking care of me when I fell, bringing alcohol swab, dressing my wound, sharing moisturiser with me and giving/reminding me to eat fruits and vegetables! such a precious heart! i give thanks always for the 9am walks and the short walks to the supermarket nearby for our favourite ayran :’)

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the morning when yuchen asked about what I was reading and I shared with her from Romans 8:37-39. *takes out youversion bible app to show her the word in chinese* being able to read it together and encourage w her – appreciate the little opportunities given! God you do what only You can!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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again, beautiful sunset outside fuat pasa hotel. istanbul has the best colour palette hands down.

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welcome to taksim square! #squadgoals turkey’s orchard road equivalent! except that it has excellent and quaint european-like architecture and brilliant weather to walk in!

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koc university with my history pals, or my “malay sis” hahaha! they take real great care of me and I love our mad spontaneity to cappadocia on christmas :’) naise la sis!

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mosques; this one’s taken from neurosmaniye mosque, right outside the grand bazaar. Honestly my favourite mosque right after suleymaniye mosque!

light leads home. 

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the lights are hung so low that they might reach to change the lights! patterns and wall art are spectacular!! inside the blue mosque!

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wandering around in the old city!

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early morning before our visit to prince island! taken at besiksta port! this spontaneous trip to prince island was also quite a gamble! the weather had been rather gloomy those few days and I had to ask in faith and declare in faith that it will be worth the ferry ride and early morning to prince island for cycling!

the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. 

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look what we were treated to!! awesome, glorious sunrise. the ferry ride was an hour long and this was the view! this particular morning, on the way to the ferry terminal, i whispered, “show me Your heart for these friends, show me Your heart for me too”

and God did.

the morning skies testify Your sure and perfect love for each one of us – how you are pleased with me and how you love all of my friends. I remember that You paint the morning skies with miracles in mind. I remember that I am made of dust and my songs join with the heavenlies in praising you. My praise and my worship needs to rise up from my heart and then I remember the confidence I have as a Daughter of Yours 🙂 that as a daughter, I need not be afraid of asking, I rest in Your assurance of what is Best.

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blue!!! my favourite :’)

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now this is prince island! where horse carriages and bicycles are the common form of transport – no vehicles allowed! horses wandering about like dogs in a city. i remember passing by a really stinky road full of horse dung heh.

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mad slopes and uphill battles! 6 hours worth of cycling inland and along the coastal route! thankful for the guys that jaga us and carrying my heavy bag and camera! built confidence along the way throughout the cycling process!! MAD SLOPES ARE MAD. steep takes on new definitions and i must say the downhill rides are most exhilarating!

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adventure heh.

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yuchen jamie imran kevin and i! my roomie and fun bridge + hearts buddies!! will always remember how yall said yes to playing bridge after the horrible day my phone died – in hopes that I might be comforted!! true brothers – thank youuuuu 🙂

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fast forward – here’s cappadocia!! crazy spontaneous of which linah, ira and i bought a 240 SGD worth of flight ticket less than 24 hours before the actual flight to fly into cappadocia! #WORTH. no regrets at all!! with the best company of course!!

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drone-liked views of cappadocia!! this was taken from our hot-air balloon as we fly around this ancient city full of caves and underground cities!

wonder. 

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5 minutes walk from our cave hotel! man, this is magnificent. 

I could stand and behold the Creator through this. my first time walking on snow, standing on ancient cities.

We don’t just stand outside and analyse the natural world as a beam, but we let the beam fall on the eyes of our heart, so that we see the source of the beauty – the original beauty – God himself. 

John Piper. 

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this is literally, He paints the morning skies – stroke by stroke.

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and the new-found friends I’ve come to love! thankful for each conversation and memories made!

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here’s the phone that spoilt one week into the trip after a series of unfortunate events in istanbul!! for a moment I questioned the goodness of my Abba Father. But i quickly dispelled them and chose to trust – that even in the midst of weird occurrences, He is still good.

for the record, i fell a grand total of 4 times – one off the bus and ending up with a deep cut on my shin, two clumsy falls and the last – a slip off the steps and cracking this phone!! (time for upgrade- but where got money!?!) hah. Was really just worrying about how to even convey to my parents and the thought of having them use their money to purchase another phone for me is just D: but guess what…

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when in transit at doha, they decided that the flight was overbooked and i was supposedly not registered in the flight. long story short – they sent me to a first class lounge to rest for the next 5 hours w complimentary meal vouchers at Marche. the lounge had free flow buffets, sofa beds and classy toilets haha. I spent the time resting and listening to a sermon – talk about the things G do to allow me to rest!

legit felt like a princess – pampered and well-treated. i do not deserve any of this.

when i headed for the next flight and reunited w my friends, qatar air offered me a 250USD for the flight delay which can be converted to about 338 SGD – of which i used to pay for my new phone that cost me 343SGD. talk about how He OUTGIVES. He delights in providing – knows exactly what I need. praise God.

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“Oh, don’t let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final, great, all-satisfying Sweetness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts a-homing after heaven.”

The enjoyment and delight of everything here in this amazing city of Istanbul is for sure a foretaste of what is to come. May I not forget that!

God has been so good, so so good. Here’s an official closure to winter 2017. Onwards to a season of spring – i’m expectant!

way overdue; 2017.

22nd December 2017.

Finally getting some down time from the rest of the crowd and I figure I better seize this opportunity to write 🙂 I haven’t written in this space or blogged for the past 1.5 months – mainly because semester had been so crazy with the insane amount of writing assignments (that I avoid writing when I can) though I actually prefer writing them down in my diary. This past semester is now finally over and here I am sitting in Istinye Park, one of the biggest shopping malls in Istanbul (think MBS equivalent) chilling in Cafe Nero and waiting for the rest of the people to come back from shopping.

On school 

The past semester has been one of testing and being in the stillness of God. It’s been one of great discipline as well – not just of the mind, but of the body and of the heart and the spirit. Pretty much everything. For one, it’s been one of those semesters where I have to start on assignments last minute, not because I procrastinate but because sometimes I just can’t seem to find the right topic or the lack of time. But thankfully I’ve settled on pretty interesting ones – Chinese modernity, British secularism and the Church of England with regards to the issue of homosexuality and finally also learning about foreign domestic workers in Singapore. The rigour and challenges of history writing in university is definitely there but I sure do enjoy learning about all these topics and constantly seeking to ask God about His heart for such issues. School work is not apart from my faith. My faith spurs me on towards certain topics that I choose to do for school and I am challenged too – to be informed about these issues and to formulate a perspective that is hopefully built upon sound doctrine. As the semester went on, I’ve also really learnt about the importance of being salt and light in the marketplace, in school and wherever we are. Sometimes as believers, there is such a tendency to be cooped up in our cosy circles of comfortable beliefs and friends but there is an urgent need out there for young people to voice out their convictions (not just random opinions taken from someone else but one that has been refined and tested through the fire – one that has been wrestled with) In fact, one of the initially most challenging thing this semester was having to take gender history because I thought that it clashed so much with my worldview. I was afraid really, to put myself out there to learn. But being in gender history class has taught me so much.

  1. Even in the little things like attending class – I need Jesus more than ever. I need the mind of Christ and the compassion too – to understand a complex topic like that – that do not call for condemnation but seeks to understand the perspective of those who stand otherwise.
  2. Instead of being quick to speak, be quick to listen. This module has opened up a lot of room for conversations and dealing with the issue of identity. The more I sit through this class, the more I realised the brokenness of human beings and their longing for a particular identity that they can claim for their own. More than that, the world is pretty much obsessed with finding a label for just about anything. This of course, really goes to the core of the issue of identity and who we perceive ourselves to be.
  3. Be open to different worldviews and anchor yourself firmly in the Word. Allow it to be challenged if it must and always be prepared to give a reason for what you believe in – in gentleness and respect, presenting both solid evidence and the word.

I could go on and on about that but I’m beginning to understand the importance of challenging the mind. Thankful for the conversations throughout the sem also especially the ones that remind me to love the Lord our God with not just our hearts, but our minds and our souls. We can’t just conveniently leave out the other two. We ought to be hardworking students too – not just in school, but of the Word.

On time and physical discipline/rest

Then, there were so many other times I had to discipline my time too – to make sure I was sleeping enough even if I’m waking up at the ungodly time of 4 or 4:30am to do work. Hence I made it a point to sleep by 11 if I’m waking up at 4.  And sometimes, reading the word of God at 430am in the morning can be so wonderful…it really was the grace of God at work to help me stay alive and awake even in the early mornings. By 10am I would be feeling very tired of course, as if I’ve been up awake for super long, and my brain degenerated quite a bit – so physical rest is really essential!!! Please don’t ever neglect that! Physical well-being is not apart from spiritual and emotional well-being! They come in a package 🙂

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

On worship and missions

Another thing the Lord has allowed me to understand is how co-labouring in worship. Worship has the power to break every chain. And I strongly believe in singing the heart of God in the land of Taiwan. The tears poured out over the city, I pray, did not come from me – but comes from a heart of weeping and humility – of seeking You and asking You to do far more than I can imagine. There are so much that I cannot do – not in my own strength but only in Yours.  My heart is ever so grateful for the people that you bring along in the team – to serve you, in creativity and in simplicity. There wasn’t any complex plans at all – but really all with the intention of making known the love of Jesus 🙂

On the economy of God and provision 

Additionally, one cool thing I learnt in 2017 was how the economy of God works!!

All we possessed is borrowed. All we own is to be shared!

In the kingdom of God, whatever’s been given to us is to be carefully managed! And G provides in wondrous ways when we choose to give! A little praise report when N was asking for funding for her trip and I offered to give, not sure how much to give and all. I prayed about it and tried to ask G about how to give and all. Following which, I met my godma in the next week and she passed me a sum of money for my 21st birthday and the 1.5 years (I am really very blessed and thankful for her family!) that was how I knew G provided for me to give to N!! and that’s so very cool! He chooses to use us to bless someone else and use each other to be the answers to each other’s prayers!

On divine grace and appointments

Who would have known that G would provide me 5 other friends heading to Israel, of which 3 of them share similar heart and vision as me!! How we are all connected and have the desire to make much of J in this trip! Then, I see the hand and love of G for His people too – in the ones that I’m going to cross path with! Even meeting one of them in my turkey trip!!

G is so cool like that!!

On mourning and His heart for people

During my transit in Doha, I caught a glimpse of G’s heart for my new found friends. Compassion does not come from me – it can only come from G. And G is always so kind and merciful to share his heart of compassion to me, revealing it to me. it was funny because after a few weeks of being surrounded by crowds and not being in church, I needed to worship proper – just me and J. Thank G for great wifi, I began w ‘I will Exalt’ and that floored me as I began to think and pray for some people and G broke my heart. Suddenly, I was sitting right outside the D27 gate or something and weeping. I took out the bible, most trustworthy and reliable of all and flipped right to Ezekiel 34.

“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on ya day of clouds and thick darkness

I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.”

And I wept even more. Because that was His tender and relentless pursuit for His people. His heart is that of “I will” He will personally do it 🙂 Just when I was worrying and feeling helpless at my inability to do anything – He reassures.

As I took the flight later on (which in itself is another long story), I re-read a screenshot I found in my iPad and it says,

Who then are the mourners? They are the ones who realise that in G’s realm there is no one who fails to see G and who ache whenever they see someone unbelieving. They are the ones who realise that in G’s realm, there is no one without dignity and who ache whenever they see someone treated with indignity….The mourners are aching visionaries.

How great is His love for me and for those around me – that I get to be part of this. To know just a tiny bit of “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

2017 has been a year of His faithfulness and endless pursuit. Alot more could have been written, but I will stop here :’)

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week eleven

There are a great ton of things to be thankful about today and this week.

School has not been easy and in fact, it’s been challenging me A lot and I get bogged down by it quite a whole lot. I find running an escape for me, often trying to get one hour out of the schedule to head for a run that often feels – liberating. When I run, its easy. All I hear is the sound of praise from my music playlist and my heart is always being lifted in those moments. My heart is always encouraged and enlarged – only when I choose to praise. It takes a huge load of discipline to set my heart to do it and I’m thankful for friends who have inspired me to do so!! Thankful for the good light-hearted conversations that we have!

And that’s in the evenings but when I get back home and start on work again, I often find myself whining about the impossible amount of workload ahead of me (which I still think is very true ) really will take a miracle from God to get past this semester. In those moments, I find myself relying a lot on the encouragement of friends around me – you all know who you are – thanks for dealing with all my whines HAHA its really quite bad. It stresses me out so much though I hate to admit it. But as the sem goes on, I realised just how much I try to take things under my own control. I sleep late and wake up early, totally not giving my body sufficient ret (no wonder my brain is degenerating) haha. Just yesterday as I tucked myself to sleep, I find my mind wandering and panicking a little because there is so little time and so much work – it felt so overwhelming to even choose to go to sleep. And I woke up to this,

Don’t let the lesson be lost on you. God wants to be trusted as the Great Worker who never tires and never sleeps. He is not nearly so impressed with our late nights and early mornings as he is with the peaceful trust that casts all anxieties on him and sleeps.

Evidently God is trying to say something haha. And in that moment I had to tell my heart and mind to rest and let God be in control. I have to tell myself that it’s alright to be sleeping a little earlier because rest is necessary. One thing at a time, slowly. Really just need to get past the next two weeks and the third one will be slightly less stressful without school lessons and all – just churning essays. It’s been a semester of 0530/0615 mornings and it’s taking a toll on me.

That aside, today I’m so glad for the mini discussion we had in class about truth. I was growing quite restless during class from settling some admin stuff but I caught myself and challenged myself to speak up when necessary. And it was this moment of feeling like “fire in my bones” except its chill in my bones HAH, I know I was quite stirred when I heard a friend commenting on truth as being a convenient stop-point for people. In that moment, my heart was just beating really fast because I felt a need to say otherwise. Truth is not easy and truth definitely isn’t just a convenient stop-point. In fact, I propose otherwise, in a world where relativism is everything, could it be that our laziness to search for absolute truth and our persistence on our own truths and reality (relative truth) is a convenient stop-point? Haha I was shaking in my seat, (possibly half the cold and half from raring to speak) It was daunting really, to know that postmodernism, relativism is very real in the classroom but at the same time, it was extremely comforting to know that the Spirit lives and is alive in the classroom that we speak – that I do not have to be afraid, but with gentleness and reasoning, voice out the thoughts I have. And haha its so funny I always send “HELPPPP” signals to Hannah and exchange funny looks with her haha. But its through all these that I learn to listen and to reason also. It was also in discussions like today’s that I am reminded about the importance and sometimes the harshness of truth. Truth can be hard to receive and hence we reject certain truths and prefer our versions of truths. Or we find truths too complex and complicated for understanding because we have to uncover so many plausible accounts of truths and take into consideration different people and factors. As I sat in the classroom, I am reminded that truth is simple. And it’s in such simplicity that it becomes profound. That is where the wisdom of God is necessary to help us discern what is truth and what is not, to help us to appreciate and stand for truth.

I admit that I’m not the brightest student around or the most articulate ones even. But I thank God for each opportunity and conversation to share and understand the heart of another. I ask God for opportunities everyday and He sure is gracious with them! I remember a wise friend once said, apologetics is not just for the intellectual but for everyone and invites all to come and learn about engaging our minds to love God. Therefore I cannot be lazy but I must press on – to love God with my heart, mind and soul.

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On the sidenote, there’s been so much on my mind that I need to properly sit down and process but time does not allow for now. So they’ll have to wait!  But really so thankful for the grace of God in the little things and the big ones and providing even for project work!!! God knows I need all the help I can get heh.

my heart is to seek first

God’s time for further revelations of the heart might come later.  Tomorrow was not our business; it was His.  Letting it rest with Him was the discipline for the day, and it was enough.

Elisabeth Elliot

Discipline of the mind and knowing that we have the mind of Christ. Knowing that for from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.

God’s been teaching me so much in this season. And I thank God for friends that share with me in my moments of delight, confusion, uncertainty and stress! Hah.

When I was running on Wednesday, 3 words came to mind: stay the course.

And as I sat to journal on Friday, I am challenged with many questions,

what is the course of purity? what is the course of holiness?

what is the course of humility? what is the course of justice?

what is the course of self-control? what is the course of courage?

Peace that passes my understanding, love that conquers my fear and regret

Joy unending, eternal pleasure. In Your presence, my risen King.

I will seek first Your kingdom. I will seek first Your righteousness. 

Always easier said than done but definitely necessary to wrestle with.

 

 

 

 

 

surrender.

It’s 8:44am right now and I’m enjoying this moment of solitude in the school. Most of my classes usually start at about 0930 or 1030 and I have this tendency to come like one hour before my classes. I just like being early and planting myself somewhere to give me time to get ready for school.

These past few days I’ve been learning how to commune with Jesus all over again, especially on the way to school. It’s always never easy to focus on 1 thing especially when I’m a huge multi-tasker and it just makes me super distracted half the time! hah, talk about self-control. That’s something I’m learning also in this period. The essential idea of self-control that comes with waiting and not giving in. Control has a lot to do with our self-centredness because we want things to go the way we want it – as if our world collapses if they don’t. But truth is, the surrender of control often brings about a lot more clarity. And in the midst of learning how to surrender control and reducing self-centredness, we find ourselves on a road of sanctification.

This morning, I find God putting these words in me,

Help me to love You more than yesterday and sanctify me each day.

And loving Jesus more takes intentional effort and divine interference. I need the Spirit to draw me close to Him and I need to respond to that pull of the Spirit. And loving Jesus is hard, especially when my actions and standards don’t match up. Yesterday morning was tough. I overheard a conversation about ____ feeling upset that only his boss remembered his birthday and that broke me. Because I knew deep down, I was guilty of not expressing what I feel – I couldn’t even bring myself to wish _____ a happy birthday because I felt awkward and I didn’t know how to. At this point, there really were a lot of various emotions inside of me – awkwardness, uncertainty, fear and pride that stemmed from self-centredness. I have struggled with this for the past 9 years of my life and more, and everyday I find myself asking Jesus, what do You want me to do? How do I love in a manner that still keeps me safe?

Jesus sure is gentle and patient, slow to anger and abounding in love. As I made my way to school, helpless and upset with myself, He spoke to me. Haha it was really funny ok because my mood resembled the skies so much. It was a gloomy day, not much blue, but lots of clouds, keeping the sun out of sight. man, Jesus u know me. HAHAHA. But yeah so I began reading and praying and He reminded me through the devotionals that God helps me to do the things I cannot do. I cannot do the loving but in His love, I gain the strength and capacity to. (I know it sounds all easy and all but it really isn’t. It kills me everytime I fail to do it)

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In John 15:5, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” So we really are paralysed. Without Christ, we are capable of no good. As Paul says in Roman 7:18, “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But according to John 15:5, God intends for us to do something good – namely, bear fruit. So as our strong and reliable friend – “I have called you friends” (John 15:!5) – He promised to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.

And with that, I pray. Pray because I surrender my control of what I feel and what my flesh would rather me do. I pray because I so need the Spirit to give me the urge to do what is necessary.  The thought of Jesus speaking immediately to my situation just made so thankful that He is real. God truly does speaks, only if we listen and we ask.

I’m also beginning to realise and learn a lot that love is costly. Love doesn’t just cost me my time, effort, heart, you name it. Love also cost me – a lot of myself. A lot of self-denial and a lot of patience. And I’m not just talking about loving our friends and loved ones. I’m talking especially so, about loving people that’s very hard to love for various reasons.

And then Jesus gently reminded me, “Perfect love drives out all fear.”

Oh guess what, dear friend Claire Carter just sent me a quote in time to end this post. HAHAHA.

“The meaning of our lives emerges in the surrender of ourselves to an adventure of becoming who we are not yet.”

– Brennan Manning

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that same morning :’) The sun still shines through.