Believing in what we do

31 March 2014

Many things that we do in life are based on a type of belief. We believe good manners and etiquette matters, so we express them in our interaction with other people. We believe living a certain way, eating a certain way, speaking a certain way, dressing a certain way or being with certain people will be good for us. Some believe in their work because they believe they are doing something useful or good – or at least that something good will come out of it eventually.

But when that belief is broken, what we had done can suddenly become utterly meaningless. No matter how sincere the belief, how hard we worked toward that belief or how long we held onto that belief, if it so happens that one day, it is shown to be false, then everything ever done and worked toward that belief is almost meaningless. We can feel completely disillusioned when our strongly held beliefs are shown to be misconceptions or wrong.

When i put my belief in Jesus, i am either going to be shown to be a fool, or shown to have made the best decision in my life. Only time will tell. But i know that if Jesus is real and Jesus is the cornerstone against which all my other beliefs are grounded, i am building my life upon a very solid and unshakable truth. One that will never disappoint. One that will never disillusion or count for nothing.

Isaiah 28:16
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.

Father Lord, may my decisions and beliefs be based upon the gospel and life of Jesus. May i build my life upon your words and take the assurance of your promises as my refuge in times of doubt.

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Joy in the heart

30 March 2014

There are days when joy fills my heart in the morning because of the goodness of God. This joy is not related to any immediate specific circumstance but is a lightness in the heart from the knowledge that Jesus had forgiven me of my sins and gave me new life.  It’s a joy that comes from knowing my Father is looking down at me with love and adores me and delights in me, even when i know i have let him down before and may even do so in the future. It’s a joy because there is hope in each day, there is love in my life, and there is freedom in Christ.

But days like these do not always come automatically. Sometimes i need to choose to spend the first few minutes of the day in God’s word or in quietness – praying in my heart, thinking about God and just preparing myself spiritually for the day. It’s usually this initial act of inviting God into the first part of my day that gives me a head start into enjoying the day. After all, without joy, how can others be attracted to Christ?

In this joy, i am present before God, i am tuned to His voice, i am alert to my surroundings in a completely different light. Perhaps we can often overlook the power of joy in the Lord. It is written:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

May joy fill our hearts today. Not the joy that the world gives, which is fleeting and temporary, but the joy of the Lord, which flows from His throne in eternity into our lives on earth. Blessed is this joy.

Thank you Lord for giving me this joy and lightness in the heart which can only come from you. Blessed be your name and your holy presence. May this joy be my strength and power to do your will and be a contagious blessing to others. I love you Lord.

What are you chewing on?

29 March 2014

Being a Christian is not easy. When we first come to know Jesus, the spiritual food that Paul speaks about us taking is compared to milk. Like infants we crave spiritual milk. It’s simple, easy to consume and quickly digestible.  But then the bible also talks about the mature Christian needing solid food, and not always depending on milk to sustain him or herself.

But when you think about solid food, the options are VAST! You have different types of meat, different ways of cooking the same thing, you have healthy food, junk food, comfort food, different cuisines and all.

“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13

The more time i spend as a Christian, the more i am aware that being a Christian is sometimes very very confusing. There are different philosophies, different teachings, different ways of living life toward and for Christ. Sometimes we need to discern what is spiritually immature food or junk food, what is healthy and what is not. Sometimes it is also packaged so well that many believe the wrong thing and live the wrong way.

It’s not easy, it’s very hard. But we do what we can, and we stay focused on the goal of living less for ourselves and more for Jesus and others. If we hold on tight to that principle, then the chances of us choosing good spiritual food will improve.

I don’t think we need to be too obsessed with what we “eat”, although it is useful to be conscious of what we take in spiritually. For there is also freedom in Christ, and there is also the Holy Spirit, our good counselor.  May they guide us in our thoughts and choices in life and how we live our our faith. My conscience in the Holy Spirit will guide me. This verse speaks exactly my thoughts now:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ” 1 Corinthians 10:23

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

My Father Lord, guide me in your ways through the secret heart. May my conscience always be open and bare before you. Whether in purity or impurity, i lay it out before you because you see everything already. Only may you keep no record of my wrongs Lord and forgive me in your kind mercy. Then i shall be white as snow and learn to keep your ways in love and make you proud of me.

What my future holds?

28 March 2014

We pray many times for God’s will to be revealed to us. Many pray and ask if they should move to another country and start a new life, and some of us hope to have the year and future years shown to us so that we can prepare and gear toward that goal which God has shown us. I do all that too.

But rarely does God reveal the destiny of the year ahead, rarely does God inform us ahead of time to prepare for something or to work toward a specific projectile. But we like to worry, we like to be sure, we like to be certain. We are anxious about the days to come and get even more anxious because God doesn’t seem to reveal it to us even when we pray earnestly to Him.

But Jesus said: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Following God’s will is a matter of taking every day and every hour as His will and purpose. Nothing i believe is wasted, for God can redeem anything and everything. No course mistakenly walked cannot be corrected, and for that matter, God also pursues us when we falter and wander off in the wrong direction.  I know that too, and i have experienced it myself.

God is probably more interested in the time i spend being conscious of His presence and enjoying it, than He is in giving me a set of instructions and directions to navigate my life (all i need to know is already in the bible).

It is in His presence when i can put aside my anxious heart about wanting to know what i should do with myself in the future, and let God tell me, “It’s OK, I got your back, i’ve already prepared the way, I’ve already drawn up your life plan before you were born. I was the one who created you for my purpose and i will direct your steps so long as you keep near to me.”

I can only be near to God when i am not thinking and pondering over the future and what it holds because i realize that by straining to see what is ahead, i cannot know the peace of God and assurance of His voice that tells me to be still and that He will establish my footsteps because He is God.

Lord God, I will be still and trust that you are my Father who knows everything before it happens. You are my guide and i need only look at each day as it comes and establish my daily life in your presence. One step at a time, each step sure and steady, nearer and nearer to the destiny you called me into.

Wonders of God

27 March 2014

I think it’s so interesting how God made a man and a woman in His image. Two very similar and yet very opposite beings to be a representation of God.

I also think it is interesting how the woman was chosen to be the one to carry the baby in the womb for several months before giving birth – that God chose the woman to have the most intimate connection with the baby, and also how the woman would share part of her health for the sake of the baby in the process. There is a definite and unavoidable sacrifice of the mother in child-bearing and child-birth. And yet all of that begins in love between the father and mother, and increases in love between father, mother and child.  Then throughout childhood and parenthood there is an inseparable cycle and continuation of sacrifice and love. Without sacrifice then, perhaps, there can be no love. Without love, there maybe, can be no sacrifice.

Thinking about the Trinity of God  – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and how all three were in a loving relationship, it then seems only to follow that sacrifice would also eventually become part of the whole equation.  And sacrifice did come, in the form of Jesus, the Lamb of God, for the sake of us. And as a result of that sacrifice, we have become able to love God and come into a loving relationship with him. Love has been increased as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice.

My Lord and God, your mysteries are perplexing but so fascinating. You are intriguing and also so beautiful. You are our God. The one and only true God. Blessed be your name, blessed be your glorious name.

There is no one else who loves like God

26 March 2014

I wrote once that God uses a lot of symbolism to point us to and explain the truth. In the Old Testament, the repeated animal sacrifices symbolized the final sacrifice that was to come in the form of Jesus.

But two of the most powerful symbolic acts that God showed through his people do in the Old Testament to demonstrate his love for us was in the account of how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son Issac on the mountain (Genesis 22: 1-19). It was a test of faith but more importantly it was showing us the searing pain that God chose to undertake by sacrificing his one and only beloved son, Jesus, for our sake.  God stopped Abraham just before he killed Isaac and pointed Abraham instead to the ram stuck in the thickets. God spared us the pain by substituting the pain we would have needed to endure by eventually giving up his own son, Jesus. We can identify with the pain that God endured as he watched Jesus being executed on the cross because we know how impossibly painful it must have been for Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Then there is also the comfort and relief we (Abraham) were to receive when a substitute was found. I find it hard to think of a more painful experience and a bigger relief and comfort.

Then we have the account of how God told Hosea to take back his unfaithful wife Gomer despite the complete unfaithfulness. God showed the depth of his love for us and also the raw state of hurt, pain, anger and rejection he felt when we rebelled against God. Our rebellion against God pierced his heart as an unfaithful wife pierced her husband’s heart. But despite the betrayal, God told Hosea to take back his wife as a sign and symbol of the depth and extent of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Without the contrasting accounts of Abraham and Isaac, and Hosea and Gomer, it is difficult to understand or perceive God’s love, mercy and grace toward us. He used these symbolic accounts to remind us that there is no other love more powerful than his love for us. There is no other person more jealous over us than God, and there is no other person more willing to forgive, shoulder our mistakes and redeem us as his bride, than God himself.

Lord, there is none like you. There is no one else who loves like you do. Thank you for loving me and creating me to be loved by you. May i never hurt your heart and may i never forsake the grace and mercy and love you have shown me.

Death is swallowed up by Life

25 March 2014

This year we are met with the tragedy of MH370. Grief over death will be experienced by everyone on earth. There is no person who can escape death. This is something we learn to live with and can only hope to live a longer and healthy life followed by a peaceful and dignified death. But death itself is not the end.

In Isaiah 25, the bible speaks about God swallowing up death forever:

In verse 7 and 8 “And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”

Someone once said, if ducklings yearn to paddle water even before they touch or see water, behold water there is, and if a young infant knows how to reach and cry for milk, behold there is also milk. So even in our lives, as we yearn to extend and prolong life and grieve over illness and death, behold there will come a day too when death will be no more, and life will be with God eternally.

May the hearts and souls of the family members and friends of MH370 be comforted. May the Lord God’s grace, mercy and compassion be with them all. May our hope be in the life to come.