Seek Him

heard this, “community, then calling.”
then when I thought on this, a verse came to mind…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

His kingdom includes others, but for the context of my situation, I just felt it’s seek Him.

Seek Him first, and all other things will fall into place, be it community, finances, etc.

Seek Him first, and you will obtain Godly wisdom and not human wisdom.

Note to self, good God’s advice for somebody else are sometimes recycled as cliches, used often in the church halls until they become blanket advice for all.

But someone once said,
“Do you agree in spirit – of the interpretation of dreams or advice given?”

This past month, I’ve been praying much for wisdom and discernment.

Get godly counsel, they will hear from God with you.

Is there any around?

x

p.s just some _general_ thoughts. YA  i appreciate your well-meaning advice! 

Rudder of a Ship

You want to have a close and chummy relationship. You like to hear what goes on in the deep recesses of my heart and mind. You want me to share those secret things with you.

Yet, I am hesitant to share my heart with you, for fear of you crushing it with your words. So, I have put up shields around my heart, to protect it from you.

But I lowered them down, thinking, probably this time it will be different.
But once again, caustic-negative-criticism came shooting at me again.
I don’t need another bucket of acidic cold water to pour over me.
It just pushes me further away.

I need the freedom that I can be who God made me to be.
I need encouragement & words of affirmation.
I need love.

1 John 4:18
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.

Perfect love in God.

p.s. not Mr S in context. not bgr. sth else.

Poetic Tune For The Soul

John Mark McMillan – “Future / Past”

“You hold the reins on the sun and the moon
Like horses driven by kings
You cover the mountains, the valleys below
With the breadth of your mighty wings

The constellations are swimming inside
The breadth of your desire
Where could I run, where could I hide
from your heart’s jealous fire

All treasures of wisdom and things to be known
Are hidden inside your hand”

#lyrics #poetic #worship #music

God’s faithfulness

Heard April 2014 is going to be special. Heard prophecies of blood moons on Passover (rare occurrence, thus with spiritual significance), and of breakthroughs into a new season for many people.

Hearing these, I tried to believe in faith, but there were just too many false hopes and breakthrough for me in the past. But I take comfort that I am not alone – Joseph in the bible went through as such (favor, accused, favor, forgotten) before His breakthrough.

Will this time be my breakthrough? …or not?

March was a month of intensified spiritual warfare for me – day and night. And the mind was one big battlefield. The spiritual warfare continued into April, discouraging thoughts and reports continued to bombard me. And I really, really, really felt like giving up. Never had the feeling been sooo strong any time during these past 4+years (since I quit my ‘stable’ job). Edge of the cliff.

But then again, one week into April, I already had some pretty interesting encounters. Had a few divine meetings in the past week – unplanned by me, but planned by God.

And recently, the rain showers had brought flower blooms in different parts of Singapore. Even though I do have sightings of flower bloom and ‘sakura’ falls in the past, never had Singapore felt so spring before. SPRING IS HERE.

“For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12

………………….

And last night, I felt led to write or list down all that I have done in the past season (4+yrs) without a stable income and security of a full time job.

Phew I really did a lot of things. Learned quite a bit of stuff – taught by God, others or myself. Definitely a steep learning curve picking up various skills. And as I went through many lonely, heart-wrenching, breaking and molding moments, I saw God doing a deep work in me.. and drawing me close to Him. I don’t want to go through those moments again, but I treasure them. Necessary birth pains. Necessary growing pains.

And as I read through the list of all that I’ve done and the friendships that have come and go, I saw God’s faithfulness through it all. His grace supplies all my needs.

God collected all tears in His jar.
May the tears sowed be reaped in songs of joy.

“You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

Inside, Out

“Look to the cross, and God will take care of our backs.”

Apt reminder by the Pastor on Sunday. Perhaps God impressed this on my heart, because He knows I needed to ‘practise’ this truth today, just to survive Monday. Nothing external, but an anxiety attack on my heart & mind. Sometimes what’s going on the inside has a greater repercussion on our whole being than what can be seen.

Darkness flows from the inside, out.

But…

Love also flows from the inside, out.
Joy flows from the inside, out.
Light shines from the inside out.

Learning to let go of my past failures and disappointments. Learning to trust in His provision. Learning to know that my identity is not how well-liked I am (in real or social media life).

Focus, focus, focus on God.

……….

“Joogo”

Have you heard about the juice cleanse craze recently? Or are you thinking of doing it, but are held back by the prices? Here’s a more affordable brand you can consider.

www.joogojuice.com

Bringing the colours of God to people – in any way – aesthetic, words, taste.

Just to bring about a change in people,

New Creation, Inside Out.

Waiting for the better

Posted on my Facebook, Saturday, 22 Mar 14

Sometimes, the greater glory God promised us doesn’t come in ways or the times we imagined them to be. We usually expect good results to come quick. But that’s not always the case. It might be a painful, long and heart-wrenching process before His greater glory manifest in our lives.

Think of the Lazarus story (John 11) – Jesus didn’t come immediately to heal Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha. They might think that Jesus didn’t care or love them enough to come heal him. But because Jesus delayed, people got to see (and Lazarus experienced) His power of resurrection instead of just His healing of the sick.

Think of Jesus crucifixion – When Jesus died on the cross, what were the disciples feeling and thinking? Lost and hurt for the 3 days before He resurrected? Wondering if they have believed wrongly that Jesus was sent from God, the Messiah.

Sometimes our circumstances casts doubts about God’s love and truth, but they stand true yesterday, today and forever. His thoughts and plans are higher than ours, and always good.

#saturday #musings #forthesoul #greaterglory
…………………….

Excerpt from John 11, “So the sisters, whose brother Lazarus was ill, sent to Jesus, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus LOVED Martha and her sister and Lazarus. SO, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. (He didn’t go immediately). Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.””

New wine

Are you ready for it?

History shows that leaders of previous revivals usually became the heads of opposition against the next. And so now people of the recent past revival know this ‘mistake’ and thus stand alert or open to what’s to come. But interestingly, I’ve seen some who are praying, waiting and expecting for the next revival opposing to what I think are drips from the new wine. If I am right, then we really need to wait upon God to help us un-learn and re-learn things to recognise the new wine coming from God.

Anyhow, quite a long while back, I heard this preacher who was taught by a Jewish Rabbi, and the way Jews read and interpret the text is really quite refreshing. They understand the text based on their culture and history. Anyway, one thing that stuck in my mind was the following:

In every new or fresh revelation of God, there’ll be a radical shift of our understanding of God. And usually the respected leaders, or well-learned ‘Pharisees’ of that current times will become the opposition of this new revelation. Sometimes, it takes hundreds of year before people accept these ‘radical’ teachings.

Our physical proximity with God

God is above men: God used to be a stately faraway, authoritative figure. Law.

Then…

God is with men: Jesus was God who came down to live among them and die for them.
(Opposition: Impossible for a mighty God of heaven and earth come down to live with men.)

Then…

God is in men: God sent His other third, the Holy Spirit, to lived in them.
(Opposition: How is it possible for God to live in sinful men?)

From above men to with men to in men, God slowly revealed that He’s closer than we think He is! ;)

It seems impossible that an almighty God who was distant will come close to our level and be with us. Imagine the king or president of your country who came to you in disguise as a servant, stooped down to wash your feet. And when someone told you who he really is, would you have believed them?

* * * * *

Our relationship with God.

1) God-Servants: Almighty God and us His servants, to

2) Father-Children: Father, and us His children, to

3) Lovers / Husband and Wife: God is our lover.
The church, meaning us, is a bride of Christ. Marriage between us and God.

By each of His revelation, our relationship with God seems to be closer and intimate than we think.

But at each stage, as God revealed greater intimacy He has with mankind, it seems too radical for those taught and brought up in former concepts. They usually resist it, because that’s not how they knew God. Everything had to be re-centered and re-wired.

* * * * *

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

It’s just different degrees of revelation to us at different times of man’s history.

God used to walk the earth with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. What will Eden look like in the end times?

O, His Grace!

Wanted to post my inkling I got from God for 2014… but I procrastinated. Oops. And today during my QT, I got such revelations that I’m excited to blog about. Well, you may or may not hear it before; agree with me or not, but with all things you hear and read in life, bring them before God to test. :P

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5b

Does God only give grace to a selective few – the humble?

Are we humble all the time? If not, does that mean God’s grace fluctuates with our humility? His grace dependent on our humility?

But I thought Jesus died for us all, and thus grace available for us all, all the time? Is it only because we are humble that God gives?

Or rather, only the humble can see God’s grace given to them.

* * * * *

Reading on…

“Be sober-minded; be watchful…devil prowls around like a roaring lion to devour. Resist him .. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:9-10 (Summarised)

We are asked to be vigilant to resist the devil. Law helps us to see where he is prowling around. Law highlights our lack/shortcomings for His grace to fill. So when the day comes, the GOD OF ALL GRACE will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

All grace? I reckoned it means the fullness of grace. Meaning there could be different measures of our understanding of grace? God gives all of us, all of His grace, whether we receive or understand it in its fullness.

As I learn more about grace, I started to see how different Christians have varying understanding of grace. Usually a mixture cup of grace and law – one more at the expense of the other. Most people who argue for a need to balance law and grace usually sounds rooted in law or judgmental. Probably I had the idea there can never be a balance, for grace will always abound or be more — “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20

I once thought I had already grasped the concept of grace. But the more I know, the more I realized there’s so much more to experience and understand. I am naturally a judgmental person… so it might take a while for grace to seep through my life and overflow. But an understanding of grace can be radical – it shifts the way you understand the bible, and see yourself and the world. You become a more… joyful Christian!

One thing I know for sure, all Christians know and experience His grace and love when they receive Christ, whether they have forgotten it or not.

Thanksgiving of 2013

I’m a future oriented person. Looking into 2014 is much more exciting than reminiscing 2013. But ironically, dwelling in sad past is also a bad habit of mine. So in 2014, I need to learn how to live and be thankful for every present moment! :)

Anyway, I had wanted to brush off a post of 2013 reflection. But seeing so many blog posts… my reflective mode got instinctively turned on. I didn’t think my 2013 was as eventful as others. And things I had prayed hard for years didn’t seem to come to pass…yet. But as I began to look back, I realised there were much to thank God for. And God had been inching me through open doors. And my whole year was basically unplanned.. but God gave me so many pleasant surprises that I took for granted and was unappreciative… until now. Oops. Better late than never. Thank You God!

Home: Mr S and I chose a BTO unit in March and we signed the lease in May. A place to call our own. :)

Travel: Won first prize! A pair of air tickets to Taiwan. We decided to change the tix to Aussie, and topped up a little for the change…and spontaneously went for a 2-week-free-and-easy-road-trip-holiday in less than a months’ notice. Awesome trip! Love the sea, trees, spaces, etc.

‘Lucky’ (blessings) Draw: Before 2013, I hardly win any lucky draws.. none i recall, even mini prizes. So I don’t really bother entering them. I would think that good things don’t happen to me. But under Mr S influence, I joined. And God started blessing me with prizes! And I must say, God knows exactly what to bless me with. :) (1. Brooks Sports Shoes, 2. $60 La Barra Voucher (Star Vista), 3. $20 Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill Voucher (Star Vista), 4. Spa Artisan massage at Fullerton, 5. $20 Chili’s Voucher, 6. Asience hair care hamper) (Joint winnings with Mr S: 7. 1st prize – A pair of Taiwan air tickets ($1500); and 8. $100 Harvey Norman voucher). And for Mr S, he’s a movie goer, but I don’t really like to spend money on movies, so God simply blessed him with many free movie tickets! Hahaha. And also other vouchers and events too. Keke. Thank You Lord for Your providence.

2013-06-29 12.56.12The Proposal: It was our 2nd year anniversary. But thought Mr S had to work and so we’ll just settle for a simple dinner. Didn’t know I will have a morning surprise of breakfast and roses, followed by a fun day at USS. Good choice of venue, because I’ve never been there before! But since morning, I was already suspecting a proposal, but I just played along! ;P At night, Mr S brought me to this romantic restaurant (Coastes Singapore) where we can dine in, while snuggling our toes in the sand. Then we went to a more secluded part of the restaurant/beach to just ‘chit chat’. After a few awkward and nervous gestures from Mr S, he went down on his knees (on the sand) and popped the question! Hehe.

Change of Church: Then we visited this particular church that very Sunday after the proposal. Was a bit apprehensive about the church because of what we have heard from people and pastors. But we went because we were wondering why so many of our God loving friends planted themselves there. They are not young Christians, but discerning enough in my opinion. So we went to just look look.. and tested what the pastor preached with the bible. Biblical leh. We decided to visit 1 or 2 times again.. and then it became many times. But of course, like other pastors, there are times his teaching points can get controversial. Most of the time, the pastor’s perspective is not recycled from other people’s teachings, and I really can feel it’s from his own meditation and time with God, IMO. Well, at least Mr S seemed to be on fire for God once again. Haha. It feels like that the teaching of grace, liberates us – once again, enabling joy, peace, faith and hope of God to flow into and out of our lives. No longer are we striving to meet some mark or standard, but to behold on Jesus, and enable Him to cleanse and renew us.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””John 8:31-32

2013 didn’t start off too well for me, or rather very bad. The year started off with a conflict arising from a lack of grace from both parties. Friendship soured. But interestingly, God led me to a greater understanding of what grace is at the end of 2013. Of course, I still got lots of room of improvement towards my family. >.<

This is a milestone post for me to look back and give praises and thanksgiving to God. In remembrance of how God has been faithful and loving to me all these while. :)

Hope keeps us going

I am quite amazed at myself. After 4+years of false alarms and closed doors, I’m still able to dream and hope for the ‘impossible’. The season has been long, cold and dark. Yet, the idealistic me is toned down for only just a bit. There’s such a tension going inside me – part of me still hope for the sky, but part of me is cynical, rolling eyes at those idealistic thoughts, even to the point of suffocating them. 

But God always knows when to lift up my spirit. He always gives timely encouragement to push me a little forward.. to keep me moving. 

But today is an exception. My emotional/mental state wasn’t in a very bad shape.. yet He blessed me with encouragement. I think, instead of pushing me forward, He’s making me accelerate with joy and thanksgiving in my heart. Ah, His love. <3

Early this morning, God sent a (human) angel to encourage me in both my business and this blog! I know God’s affirmation is above all. But who doesn’t like a sweet dose of affirmation from fellow human beings? 

And and and……there’s something S and I have been praying for, and today we got an (almost) answer. Well, the door is unlocked, but the question is, “Will God provide us with enough finances to fling the door wide open?” Anyhow, there’s a glimmer of hope.

Full of uncertainties, but I’m excited of what the future will hold. The only way to go from the bottom is up! :) 

Grace for the humble

James 4 6

This picture reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend about grace and law. This verse succinctly highlights the crux.

It takes humility to just receive the gift of grace. You can’t do anything to earn it, but to just receive it. It takes the humble to let go of his control and efforts, and to acknowledge that he can’t redeem, sanctify, justify himself with his own good works, ministry, etc.

If we think that by trying to be law-abiding, meeting the mark of each and every commandment, we are being holy, we are not. We are being proud. Proud that we can carry the weight of the cross. Proud that we have the control to make ourselves walk in perfect holiness and righteousness. For it’s only through His grace that we are make more like Jesus. When it’s all about Him helping us to be renewed and not us helping ourselves. Christians yes. But we still sin daily, but always renewing to be a better self for the time to come.

 I know it’s tad controversial here, but Jesus carried the cross, so we wouldn’t need to. He asked us to give Him our burdens, not the other way round.

A Wedding

I had wanted a church wedding in a traditional church venue – wooden pews and stained glass (optional). I wanted a place where my non-christian friends can come into God’s presence.

But it was closed door after closed door. :( High prices, unavailability and the reason “members only”.

This search for a church to hold my wedding made me wonder if the churches forgot the verse 1 Cor 12:12 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.“?!?! The privileges one only bestows to their own clan, no, i meant denomination made me wonder further. Ah, segregation.

I know they have their reasons… oh well, I guessed God has His reasons too.

Then one day, God asked me, “Where’s the first wedding ceremony held?”

“GENESIS! At the GARDEN! Adam and Eve got married, and God, you are the witness!”

God also reminded me that His presence is not contained in churches, He is everywhere. And His love and words can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Church building is man-made structure. Garden is God-made nature. Woah.

This morning I read the book of “The meaning of marriage” by Tim Keller, and he said this, “There in Genesis 2:22–25 we see the first marriage ceremony. The Genesis text calls what happens “cleaving.””.

So is an affordable but nice garden wedding venue coming our way soon? :)

God & Money

Business, housing, wedding all requires money. Hence, my headaches and worries.

One day, God led me to a part of the bible that’s been quoted so many times by devotionals, pastors, etc. And I thought I knew all about the treasures of these words. But God led me to read these bible verses in a new light!

Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” 

This verse is followed by the heading or section of “Do not be anxious”. But God asked me to read the verses as if they are continuous and not in sections. i.e. verse 25 is a continuation of His teaching in verse 24 and not a start of another section. Reading in context of the chapter.

Matt 6:25-32 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air.. Consider the lilies of the field… will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

God knew that most of our worries and what we are anxious about have their roots in money. Worrying means we don’t trust God but money to provide for our needs or desires. In this case, we serve money rather than God. Money is such an unreliable master, hence we will start to worry when the money will leave us. But God is faithful and loving. If we serve God, we can trust that He is able to and wants to take care of us… even if we don’t have the money.

Conclusion:

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Thank You God for the gentle reminder/rebuke. :)

Only one chance at childhood

Written by a friend,

“I’m sure 20 over years ago, when [x] was still a baby, they must have been that proud parent. The one who would only dream the best for their precious daughter. The joy and pride of the parents would be so evident. A little smile here, a little standing on her own there and the parents so immensely proud of her. And they should be. After all, this is their flesh and blood and the future for her is… limitless.

But what changed along the way? The birth of a second child? The busyness of life? A rebellious teenager?

Only the parents can answer these questions. But what I think I know is.. 天下父母心, no parent wouldn’t want the best for their child. The expressions of that expectation might not be the best, but I’m sure the intentions are there.”

Grace Reigns x Righteousness

I am a free and victorious woman, a woman freed from the punishment of her sins, because of this –> John 3:16-18For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

After I came to know Christ truly and not superficially, I started to sin less in this and that – e.g. one day, i realized my bad temper miraculously went MIA for quite some time. My flesh is completely crucified! I became more self-righteous - frowning as people cross the lines and pointing out the right things to do. My perfectionist streak put myself and others on high moral grounds – but did i become a pharisee unknowingly?

Then suddenly, it’s the revenge of the flesh. This and that sin that I thought were out of my life and no longer have a grip on me, came back to me fast and furious. Arghhhhhh. So frustrating! ‘Not again,’ I thought. Haven’t I overcome all my sins in the blood of Jesus? Aren’t all my bondage broken when I accepted Christ?

Why why?  

Yes, that part of being an overcomer in Christ is true. But I am just a man in this fallen world. I sin because I still live in the flesh. Flesh VS Holy Spirit.. a choice to be made by Christians every day, to walk in the spirit or flesh –> Galatians 5:16-18,24 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law… And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

How how?

Many times, I want to stop doing this and that sin by my own efforts. But soon I realised that the efforts were futile, worse still, they are making the sinful me give up from being righteous and flee from the righteous God (dark flees in the light).

But thank God for the teaching of grace in church, reminding me that it’s not by my own strength to stop sinning and be righteous, but by HIS GRACE. The best that I can do in my effort, is to pray hard, and graft myself to Jesus to be more like Him.

GRACE reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus –> Romans 5:18, 20-21 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men…Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

BitterSweet Wait

I read a poignant personal post by Waijia and found myself nodding.. more and more profusely as I read through. She wrote out things I found too painful to write. Thoughts peppered across my blog are well consolidated in her writing.

It reminded me of my exciting anticipation as I started out this journey with God – the step of faith. Yet as time passes, the destination or point of breakthrough became more and more blurry or uncertain to me. And this waiting for the uncertain future turned from days to months to years. Every time I thought I was at the point of breaking down in shambles, God pulled me through; or thought I was at the point of breaking through in miracles, God stretched me a little further.

How people applaud that faith of leaving behind a well cushioned job for … *shrugs*. Now looking back, I realize that that faith back then wasn’t even as big as a mustard seed. It has been growing little by little since then. But a bittersweet process to me.

Anyway here’s the part of Waijia’s article that aptly describes my situation. We have different callings, but similar refining process. Same same, but different! Those in brackets and coloured wordings are modified/added in by me.

START // “It began like that. It really did. I was so excited. (When I make drastic and deliberate decisions to forge my path towards the calling God has for me), the sense of glowing anticipation made me scared, happy and giddy all at the same time. Leaving my (well cushioned job) because of the call God was leading me to (everybody’s call is different- so don’t misunderstand me that following God means giving up your specialisation, though it could mean so).

It was so much fun.

But when there is no certainty of the event ever actually taking place, in spite of all your elaborate preparations, that is painful. Waiting, in its raw form without the sweetness of certainty to make it anticipatory, is excruciating.

It’s time to come clean. Days became weeks and weeks became months. As time passed, things looked bleaker. Here we were, with the elaborate preparations and painful sacrifices made, only to find ourselves lost in the in-between, not knowing if we were actually coming any closer to God’s call for our lives. People offered us many places to serve in… but none boldly convicted our hearts through God’s Spirit.

God, are you there? Are you actually real? You’re not playing us out, are you? Not now, not after everything we’ve done? You’re not calling off the wedding and Christmas after all we’ve put into this, are you?

As these times of questioning and seeking became more frequent, this soliloquy became more isolating. Against a silent God who is attentively listening and watchfully waiting, we can mistake Him as being absent.

It did not help that as these moments with God became more lonely and desolate, the moments before men became more frenzied and frantic in comparison. Where are you going? What will you be doing? What about your job? What about your house? What about kids in future? about your career?  Who’s going to support you financially? (Are you writing another book?) So what’re your plans? 

As the same questions came pouring in like a drowning waterfall, repeatedly from different people, and the times alone with God became more and more lonely and bewildering, a cold, cold night settled over my heart and made it its home. I became tired, resentful of these grating questions, which had a searing effect on me, like a warm hug over a fresh abrasion- filled with good intentions, but completely insensitive and wounding. It was a friend who shared with me, “Everyone is fascinated by the next steps you are taking. It’s no wonder everyone is asking you.” (When I read this line, it reminded me of something RJ told me in the car the other day. I felt that it is probably not all negative vibes from people. It’s like a testimony – to testify that a life in God is not boring, in fact, it’s exciting!)

I started avoiding social gatherings where I knew these questions would be asked enthusiastically- first unconsciously, and then more and more consciously I noticed myself extricating myself pre-emptively from these situations; I started to grow disillusioned; I found myself repelled from conversations and events which involved people talking about their careers- taking exams, getting promoted, going overseas… When I did not do so, I found myself in tears afterwards at some point, struggling to reconcile the frenzied present with an uncertain future, wrestling with a supposedly benevolent, omnipresent, compassionate God who seemed to have abandoned us and put all my prayers on the waiting list or worse, into a spam box.

It was then, when certainty became less and less visible, that discouragement set it. After discouragement, came depression, and then my fear of becoming consumed by it. There were times where tears would come on unpredictably, after a conversation which triggered some emotional switch, or after treading through some old thoughts. The most insensitive questions would come from the people I least expected, and issues which I thought I had crucified and put to death would resurrect with a hateful vengeance.

I was angry with waiting, angry at God, angry at there not being an answer with a blueprint for so long. I had let go of so much, only to find myself before a huge question-mark. I had been patient and trusting for (years) and right there and then, I had had enough and decided it was too much.

Waiting is a funny thing. It need not be painful if one is patient. But God has His way of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g  our patience, as He moulds our characters. He has a way of putting you, a piece of silver, out in the open fire like a blacksmith, purifying you under high heat, but watching ever so carefully to ensure its done properly, only letting up when He sees His own image in the shiny metal- you; He has a way of applying pressure on you, squeezing you like a grape, until it becomes poured-out wine, ready to refresh others. In the midst of all of this, I admit, I questioned His goodness, I interrogated His intentions. And slowly but surely, learnt about God’s nature, and the purpose of waiting.

Waiting purifies our intentions, sieving the good from the tainted; waiting stretches our patience further and changes our character, and most of all, waiting throws you into the wilderness such that there is nothing to sustain you except God Himself.

I am learning, that Waiting is a necessary pain, and life without pain is desirable, only if you are willing to accept the leprous consequence of stagnation and death. Pain pushes us closer to the heart of God, especially in the face of uncertainty, and develops a necessary dependency on Him that is essential in the mission field. I am learning, that the only way Waiting becomes bearable, is when through the pain and intimacy of dependency, trust and certainty in His promises is developed and sweetens it to become Anticipation. I await that. // End of Waijia Article

The best thing that came out of all these pain and anguish, making it all worthwhile, is my growing relationship with God in both my heart and my mind – my understanding in God and my intimacy with Him. On one hand I complained about the stinging pain from His refining fire, yet on the other hand, this fire is pushing me into the comforts of His arm’s embrace. 

Glory be to the Lord. Amen.

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

Different folks, Different strokes

Excerpt of my reply to someone, slightly modified:
Looking back, I realized God has been undoing some religious expectations, practices or beliefs placed on and in me. I started to unlearn and learn what it meant to be in His body.

I grew in many ways while serving in the church – both in handling relationships and discovering/developing the talents He has placed within me. But because of certain decisions I made as steps of faith, my gears slowed down. During this journey of resting, I get to spend more time with God and dwell deeper in His word – not in a bible school, but in the school of the Holy Spirit. Then, I realized that I didn’t know the Word much during my 2-3 years of serving the church. I was quite surprised by my lack of knowledge of God. I didn’t know His word is so much more – deep, rich and satisfying. Yet my serving took priority over knowing Him then.

I used to ‘judge’ people who didn’t serve in church, thinking they were backsliding. But now being in such a situation, I started to see how different people have different callings. Some are called to be a blessing in church, but some are only to receive in church to bless the world. And for the latter, church is where they rest and recharge to go out to the dark world to shine. (Subsequent to this reply I sent, God spoke to me about being the light in the world for the next few days. Shall share more with you in the next post! :))

Moreover, I also see how different people are in different seasons in life – some doing, some waiting. My season of waiting has been long, and I’ve met with disapproving looks and misunderstandings. Hence, I became more closed up to protect the treasures God has deposited in my heart, sharing these with only selected people.

I fear I stray from not being in a lifegroup/cell group (because it’s the right thing to do in church), but I know God is preserving me, He will lead me back to the narrow path if I go wayward. Somehow all the lifegroups I joined (3 formal, 1 informal) – disbanded because of re-organization or leaders stepping down. I should take it as God is trying to tell me something.

I also see how ‘informal’ gathering of God loving people to worship, pray, etc can be more empowering (can’t think of a better word) than a ‘formal’ gathering of people just eating and drinking all the time. I know fellowship is important, but isn’t it important for fellowship to point our hearts to God too? I have been praying for like minded people to be a part of as well…

I’ve been crying to God for His vindication in His presence. It’s true we are greater blessed when we bless others. But I realized in my season of waiting – God is teaching, rebuking and healing me. It will be shortchanging other patients if a healing/recovering patient like myself become a nurse to others. Of course we are all (healing) work in progress, but at least God is doing such a deep surgical work in me now that I am not ready to be sent out yet.

So I believe God wants relationship before our doing – because this will make our serving joyful and effortless.. The holy desire and passion in us will burn. Serving out of love and power as in disciples in Acts, and not from religious laws like the Pharisees. I think God knows how and when to move us.

It’s a season I feel solid food teaching is very important. Having a right perspective of God and knowing His love for us is like truth that sets us free – free from all the bondages. And this freedom will move us into serving God naturally.

Right beliefs, lead to right thinking and thus right doing.

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

God Pursued Me

God planted a seed of faith in me when I don’t know Him – when I was a child.
God pursued me after years of wandering around – when I was a teenager.
God brought me back to Him after I backslid – when I was a young adult.
God’s grace led me back to Him time and again.

God gave me my vision and destiny when I wasn’t actively seeking for it.
God’s mercy shows that I am going to do something great THROUGH HIM.

False pride thinks I can’t do great – because I see how i can’t handle it with my own human strength.
Humility in God think I can do great – because I see myself doing it through Him.

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

Waiting…

Saw this article by Payden Hall. The ‘she’ in the article sounds like me,  she who hugs her knees.

She hugs her knees to her chin and sways gently, wordlessly. I can see the questions in her mind pace back and forth like a caged lion.

“I’m lost, but I haven’t gone anywhere,” She says through tears that water her cracked lips.

Eventually, though, even the lion will stop pacing.

The same hand that has halted her wild heart has half-conquered me. I blink and say nothing. I sit against the wall, motionless.

I know only purity and passion beat in this woman’s heart. Willingly, she offered it as a sacrifice, but it was not accepted. Seemingly, it was trampled, ignored.

Slowly, she empties her enthusiasm on the steps of desolation. Her God did not take her; He did not use her. She sits in the corner, abandoned by God

She looks to me for comfort, but she knows. She knows the truth.

How can I offer her hope, when God has offered only silence?

I know this supposedly-silent God of hers. This voiceless God created voices.

He’s the One who separated seas. His Son raised a widow’s son from the dead. He made a virgin have a child. He flooded the earth. He made an ax-head float. He stole Job’s ten children. He gave a ninety-one year old woman a son. He raises up kings and destroys them. He enabled a child’s meal to feed over five thousand people. He sent His own Son to the grave.

In a word, He is God.

Suddenly, I see.

He is there in the corner, but not only in the corner. He is a God of corners, but He is also a God of galaxies.

My dear friend sways back and forth, silent and questioning.
He sits there, waiting for the wounded woman to raise her eyes to Him. To see Him, not just to sacrifice to Him. The dear, beating heart was willing to suffer, but not to wait. Not to see.

I should not expect Him to behave a fixed way. I cannot touch Him in His majesty. He is grander than me.

He does not send her wild heart to faraway places, as I thought.
Why?

Well, He is God. He is mystery.

I open my mouth to speak, but no words come. It is still silent.

How can I speak before God?
Like a watchman waiting for dawn, He stands over her.
With the familiarity of an old friend, He is still silent.

***

And so I reckon I should wait, and raise my eyes to Him… when right after I read and pasted the article above..I saw the following article.

WAITING ON HIM by David Wilkerson

The prophet Samuel’s command to King Saul was, “Go to Gilgal and wait . . . I will come and you will get directions” (see 1 Samuel 10:8). Saul’s only responsibility was to wait! God wanted to hear Saul say, “God keeps His word: never once has a word from Samuel’s lips fallen to the ground. God said I should wait for directions and I will wait.”

But pride reasons, “God must not have meant it. Maybe I heard it wrong.” Instead of standing on God’s word, we start trying to figure out things on our own. Lying in bed in the late hours we say, “Lord, here’s how I see it can be done.” It is wicked to do something very logical and reasonable when it is not God’s clear word of direction. If you want to prove anything to God, prove you will patiently wait for Him to act.

1 Samuel 13:11-14 / And Samuel said, “What have you done?”

Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”

13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” /

Saul waited seven days—but that wait was unholy. He was impatient, angry, fearful and pouting. We must wait with faith, believing that God cares for us and loves us, that He will be there on His time. This matter of waiting is so important that I must show you some Scriptures to prove it.

“And is shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him (Isaiah 64:4).

***

I’ve forgotten that God shows amber light sometimes – instead of go and stop, there’s the wait.

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

hustle while i wait

Been distracted much during my QT these days.

Feel so upsetting without a solid time with God. Feel no connection to God.

Having spiritual asthma.

Breathe in . Breathe out.

~*~*~

Many things, many questions, many thoughts in my mind.

So many possibilities. So many desires. So many ways, so many plans.

Carnal nature rushes and plans. Flesh forces open the doors.

Wisdom of God said to seek Him out and rest for an increase.

As I wait for doors to open, I hustle to know more of God.

~*~*~

Like the mechanism behind the clock, the nuts and bolts are working to bring me to where God wants me to be.

Like the backstage of a play, the hustle and bustle in the heavenlies is bringing forth a glorious show to the dark and silent world stage.

Like a boat passenger on a rushing river,  I rest, but I will flow… flow to places I wouldn’t have planned, and flow to open doors I never have imagined possible.

Endnote: Doubt sees the silence and stillness of the obvious. Faith sees the behind the scenes and undercurrents actions – all working to bring forth His glory, majesty, mercy, grace  and love – in a time we all wouldn’t know, but the anticipation is there.

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

His Faithfulness & Timing

The other day, I was scrolling through LovePinkie instagram’s feed. I came across a photo and my eyes opened wide! My friend’s baptism photo! I was excited to see it because I used to invite her to church (many times), but she rejected or gave many reasons not to come. Though I lack the eloquence or boldness in sharing the gospel, I used to pray more fervently for my friends’ salvation and invite them to church. But my passion to have them know my faith is snuffed out by the rejections and fruitless days.

But in God’s timing and faithfulness, He sees things through. The seed I have sown, the seed I have forgotten, He has in His time made it bloom into fruitfulness. And in His grace, I got to see/reap the fruit and in turn get encouraged. Encouraged that it’s all in His timing. Encouraged me to keep on doing whatever I’m doing now, I may not see the fruits ….yet, but all has its time. And everything we do has His purpose. It’s really amazing to see someone you know coming to faith, and even baptized! =)

baptism

Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).

Singing Over Me

When the failing spirit proves too weak to write, some lyrics bring out the depths of emotions found within.

KARI JOBE – SINGING OVER ME

When I waited so long, when my tears were my song
With my hope nearly gone You held me God
To believe in the face of the dry, weary place
When You felt far away You held me God

Oh, there is freedom in surrender, oh I know it

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing, always singing over me

The chaos in the cause teaching me to see Lord
The beauty in the storm so I believe
When I see through Your eyes through the testing of time
Every cloud silver lined ’cause You’re with me

Oh, there is freedom in surrender, oh I know it

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing

Give me faith
Give me strength enough to wait
To stand in faith
And listen for, listen for Your melody

Your songs have never stopped
Your songs have never stopped

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing, always singing over me

Someday, I’ll Fly…

Victoria Boyson:

I’ve not been myself lately or for sometime for that matter.
I’m not sure who “myself” is anymore.
I feel like a caterpillar inside the cocoon.
I’m neither a butterfly nor a caterpillar anymore.
I’m not what I used to be nor am I what I’m going to be.
I cannot go back to what I was,
or what was familiar to me.

I can’t rush forward and be what I have not yet become.
It’s a miserable place to be.
It’s much like a baby in the womb;
you have to wait it out and stay where you are.
I hope every day will bring the end;
I know God is almost done working.
I rejoice because the end is near,
but still the pain increases.

It’s become too easy to not be anything, just a cocoon.
I want to give up, but You won’t let me.
I’m not the caterpillar I used to be
and I’m not the butterfly I know I am becoming.
Becoming a butterfly is scary, painful and exhausting.
I guess I don’t want to remain a nothing,
so I’ll endure the torturous path out of this cocoon.

And I know, someday, I’ll fly!

His Presence

Been pondering on some sensitive questions and trying to look at the issue from different perspectives. Didn’t write out my thoughts because they are a bit jumbled. And some people might get offended and then defensive about some opinions I seem to be concluding.

But I came across a post that seemingly wrote out what went through my mind! So requested for her permission to post.

His Presence in the Surprising and in the Simple

I write this because I want to see what I really think about this issue. And sometimes within my mind and heart, my thoughts are in jumbles, that I cannot pull out any coherent threads just thinking. I need the help of writing to help me see.

Must we always sense God’s presence tangibly to be right with God? Or is sensing His presence, becoming undone before God, the highest ideal in a Christian’s life?

What if God had created some people to become easily undone or during certain periods in their life they can, but others are not the easily undone type (By undone, I mean becoming very high and free.) or they are not just broken down by God to that extent. Is it a bad thing or just a normal thing?

Has becoming undone got anything to do with intimacy with God?

I have hesitations over emphasis on emotional experiences and linking the spiritual life fully to it.

Like all good arguments, like me give my caveats. What I am not saying is that a life in Christ in a dry, boring, purely intellectual exercise.

But what I think is that God’s presence is always with us and never leaves us. If not, we do not believe Him when He said He will never leave us nor forsake us. If that is the truth, does it matter whether we feel the heavy weight of His glory fall on us or not? Should our faith be based upon whether God chooses to manifest His tangible presence before us or not? What if He just wants to manifest to us through a gentle whisper? Or what if God chooses certain people or timing to manifest Himself to but not to everyone? (Like the mount of transfiguration)

Do we overrate certain things? The big and surprising things? But underrate the small and simple things?

“Who is saying it and what is left out.”

I’m not saying Christians are dumb people, who cannot critically assess each statement or experience he or she experiences, but if we expose Christians to a form of spirituality that is not under-girded strongly by truth… what we do not say is as strong a message as what we do say.

Another caveat. I’m not against emotional experiences. In fact, I become Christian because of them. God gave me a very amazing experience. As I kept thinking back to that experience, I can remember the great joy that I had that I kept laughing and I saw and felt something heavenly. That experience changed my life. But what ruined my life was that heavy reliance upon that experience. And when I could no longer “feel” it. I felt very bad about my life, my self, my God. I was very bitter towards Him.

I just want to pre-empt or pre-vent anyone having to go through this misconception that the highest ideal in a Christian’s life is being able to live each day feeling his presence so strongly, by sharing this.

One more question. Does living in the Holy Spirit, walking by faith means you always feel the weight of His glory before you?

1 Kings 19:9-14
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

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.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Is it possible to become addicted to emotional high experiences with God that when God chooses to reveal Himself to us in another form, a still small gentle whisper, we miss it completely?

What I also do think is that God made us differently. Some are more mystical. Some are more intellectual. Together as a family of God, we complement and help one another see a picture of God that more fully represents Him. So I’m not happy when someone throws apologetics or systematic theology out of the window, as unhappy I am, as whens someone throws the spiritual experiences of a Christian out of the window. (Cross-sectional view)

I also think that people can change over time. Michael was sharing with me that the balance between being intellectual and experiential is a hard one to find. But I think people who are on either extremes can grow to a more balance position as God and other loving (we must never put down one another even if we don’t agree with them! Putting others’ belief down in a nasty fashion will not help them towards Jesus Christ) Christian guides them. (Longitudinal view)

Personally, I think intimacy with God is an emotional experience. But, as in all relationships, I think there are ebbs and flows? Are there? Or is the ideal a forever 100% emotional experience because it means we have matured to that extent that nothing can sway us from intimate fellowship from God?

Please correct me if I’m wrong or you have an insight that can shape my thoughts into truth, that I may sift truth from a close counterfeit.

Written by Shuyi, posted with permission
Christina Siew (www.christinasiew.com) is the author of the book, ‘Love, Pinkie >.<’ (www.lovepinkie.com).