Exchanging doubt and fear with His purpose

27 September 2014

It’s not easy keeping out doubt from our heads. Doubt creeps into us in so many different ways. Through a word we overhear, through an image or through the observation of difficulties experienced by other people. The thought goes – will God look out for me here? Will i also suffer the same fate as this or that? What will happen to me? What will i do?

Jesus reminded us not to be anxious about tomorrow, for He says, enough are the troubles in a day. Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow.  And He told us to seek first the Kingdom of God, and all else will be added to us.

The trouble is, it isn’t the most natural thing for me to seek the Kingdom of God when i feel that my circumstances are being threatened. I have the tendency to look out for my own skin first before i look out for other people or God’s Kingdom. But i must persevere at least in leaving the worries and anxiousness of life for tomorrow and deal with each day as it comes. And following that, i must persevere in at least asking God what He would want me to do for His glory. And ultimately, i must give up whatever i am holding onto in fear, doubt or insecurity to God, because His purpose will prevail and His purpose will not be stopped.

I can only hold onto one thing at a time, if I hold on too tightly to doubt, fear and insecurity, i will lose grip over God’s purposes. Should i let these go, i will be able to avail myself to Him more fully and wholeheartedly.

Lord, help me to persevere through doubt. May i cling onto the hope of your goodness that will be the silver lining in the clouds encircling me. Keep the enemy’s lies and schemes to discourage far away from me. May i be reminded of your goodness and grace. May i continue to keep my head and eyes lifted up to you. May i seek Your purposes and not my own. May I give you these doubts, worries, anxieties and fears because they do not belong to me. May i exchange these evil things to receive Your purpose and Your will to light the way in which i should walk.

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Still small voice

26 September 2014

I tend to view God as juggling many things at the same time. Although i know God is omnipresent, my mind struggles to comprehend how God can be in more than two places at once. I cannot fathom how God can feel both pain and joy at the same time since there is always both running at the same time around the world.

Yet my God is that impossibly able and true. He is bigger than all the problems and tragedies in the world, His joy is not limited by any of that because He is the Redeemer, the Comforter, the Saviour, the Prince of Peace.

My Lord is also the one who has intimately knitted me in my mother’s womb and knows every thought and every word even before it is spoken. He knows the desire of heart and He knows my every need.

I may not be able to comprehend or imagine the vastness of the Lord, but i believe knowing the Lord is more about seeing Him in every detail of our lives and responding to His intimacy, and less about trying to understand the grander ideas of God. When the Lord chose to speak to Elijah, He chose to speak in a gentle intimate whisper instead of an awesome and grand way.

1 Kings 13:11-13: “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

Lord God, let me hear Your whispers, let me recognize your intimate presence with me at all times. May i know You are here with me to stay at all times. In the busy fast-pace world that i live in, may i find stillness to know that You are God.

One small step in the right direction

25 September 2014

Faith in God grows when we exercise faith. Faith is not zapped into a person or handed on a silver platter. It requires training, dedication and experience. Jesus once said that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we would be able to command a mountain to move – meaning, nothing would be impossible for us.

I believe the key is not in the size of faith but how we use our faith. Taking small steps of faith in the right direction is important in growing and strengthening our faith. If we put a mustard seed on a plate, it would not grow. But if we put the seed in soil, it would begin to take on life. If we place our faith in our own strength, jobs and money, our faith would not grow. If we place our faith in Jesus, we start to put it in good soil. When we exercise our faith, even in the smallest way, in how we make choices, we begin to water this mustard seed of faith. The mustard tree does not grow overnight, but over time. With continuous care and attention, it will grow into a large strong life giving tree. So it is with our faith. And when testing times come, our faith will ride us through the storms of life.

It all begins by trusting in Jesus, putting our needs in His hands, choosing what would please God and believing He is good.

Lord God, i trust in You. My every need is taken care of by You. You keep me in Your sacred place where no enemy can harm me. You build me up as i bolster my faith in You by choosing right over wrong. Your burden is light and Your yoke is easy. Help me to put my faith into practice in every way, taking small steps each day, building it up as time goes by.

Not an orphan

24 September 2014

There are times when we can feel abandoned by God. It could feel as though He had forsaken us, left us and deserted us to our enemies. When something very unfair happens to us, or when there is a series of mis-fortunes, it can seem like we have been orphaned by God. But that is never true. Jesus told us that He will not leave us as orphans or abandon us.

In Genesis, we see how a slave girl, Hagar was asked to bear Abraham’s son because his wife Sarah was barren. After Hagar was pregnant, Sarah despised her and Hagar had to leave whilst pregnant. Hagar wandered in the wilderness as a pregnant woman and cried out to God, and God heard her cry and send an angel to coax Hagar back into the safety of Abraham and Sarah to bear her child. Even though Hagar and her son were not the promised line of God, God had mercy and heard Hagar’s cry for help. And even the second time round, when Hagar was asked to leave the family, God came to her rescue again and made Hagar’s descendants a mighty land.

In all this, we know that God never abandons His children, regardless of who they are. There will no doubt be things we cannot explain and unfairness, tragedies that seem to fly in the face of this promise. But I believe God is always near and holds each child dearly in His heart.

Thank you Lord that I am your beloved son. Thank you for your care and watchful eyes. May i rest in this knowledge, may i rejoice in this and may i draw strength in this promise also when things go wrong.

Not of this world

23 September 2014

Being in the world but not of the world is a common Christian struggle. We cannot be too removed from what is going on around us and hide in a holy bubble. Yet we are to keep ourselves uncorrupted by this world and its tendencies.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil after fasting for 40 days in the dessert, the devil led Jesus up to a high place to look down on all the kingdoms of the world. The devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms and wealth of the world if only Jesus would bow down to him. But Jesus refused because Jesus knew He was not of this world and would only serve the Father.

In another account Jesus was asked by Pontius Pilate whether Jesus was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 

In these accounts, we know that being in the world but not of the world is always going to be a challenge. If the devil had tempted Jesus with this, the devil would tempt us also. Jesus remained faithful to His Kingdom – choosing to forsake not just power and authority in the world, but everything else and even His life. From one extreme to the other, Jesus felt the full brunt of temptation and damnation on earth. He of all, knows our struggles too as we sit somewhere in between temptation and damnation.

May you Lord Jesus guide my thoughts, reel me in when i stray and remind me that my home is in eternity with you. You have said that You have gone to prepare a place for me with You in heaven. That is my home, that is my eternal reward where nothing can take away. Keep me true to You, keep me on guard to the snares and temptations of this world.

Desire

22 September 2014

If i were to try explain or rationalize why people fall in love, or even at a more basic level, why men are attracted to women, i would not have any logical explanation. There just exists an attraction and a pull toward that direction. The writer of  Proverbs 30:18-19 had this to say:

“There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman”

This mystery is also linked with marriage and the sacredness of marriage. It is one of the most recognized institution and practice transcending ethnicity and even cultures. Indeed this mystery is also used to describe Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as His bride – perfect and without blemish.

If only our attraction and desire for Jesus was also this strong and powerful. I must admit, it is not as natural for me to feel pulled and swayed toward Jesus – as much as He loves me, i often feel independent and self-sufficient without Him. Only going to Him to meet my needs when my strength and ability cannot deliver. I pray that i do not only seek to remain faithful, but that my journey with Jesus will blossom into a full blown love relationship that will be stronger than any human relationship or desire i can have.

Lord Jesus, you are the lover of my soul. My heart knows that, but it also sways easily to the temptations and distractions of this world. Forgive me Lord for idolism in my heart. I declare that there can be no other but You as my God. I pray for my relationship with You to be ignited and to sparkle with the strongest desire. Keep my heart alive and alight with desire for You Lord.

Perfect peace

21 September 2014

There are moments in our day that will be frustrating, stressful and difficult. In all these moments, Jesus is there right beside us. No problem is too small or difficult for Him who sits at the right hand of God. When we try to focus our perspective on our problems by remembering that these are only momentary troubles in light of eternity with God, there will always be a glimpse of peace. But this peace is easily knocked away by the next anxious thought or distraction.

So we must continue to claim this peace in our minds, which transcends all understanding. It is not the peace where everything is calm and serene, it is the peace which is anchored in the person of Jesus. Because we know that He will provide a way and He will make a way for us in our troubles. It is not the peace of nothingness and a blank state of mind, it is a mind directed back to the unchangeable and sovereign God who watches over us. May we not fret and let our minds scatter all over the place when we are faced with problems, but may we pull our minds back to the person of Jesus who never leaves us.

I shall fear no evil, i shall fear no trouble, because i have the Prince of Peace living in my heart. The One who is faithful, the One whose Name is above all names. Lord Jesus, give me your peace, not the peace that the world gives, but your perfect peace that transcends all understanding, transcends all situations, all troubles and every worry. I will rest in your arms and your perfect peace will refresh my soul and my body. Thank you Lord Jesus.