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Archive for December, 2010

In the End

The year is going to be over! First, just a note to my readers, I will not have access to a computer on weekdays for the next two weeks, so please don’t expect anything new to appear on this blog. I’ll still be posting on the weekends though! I’ve had lots of inspiration over the week and can’t wait to type!

Reflecting on my life this year, it has been a good and fulfilling year. Personally, I have grown much, and I must admit, from training in the army. It has taught me to be stronger; to stand up, speak up and fight for what is right. With the very little personal time I had, I have also grown to be desperately dependent on God, and on the time spent with Him. These are perhaps, the two things that I am most thankful to God for.

2010 has been a year of learning how to deny myself for Christ. Again and again, throughout the year, I was repeatedly tested, especially with the things I did in my little time. It was to choose to do the things that last forever, instead of the things that do not. It was not easy, but God always had a way for me to overcome. By bringing me through these things, God has become so much bigger to me, and a lot closer. When I thought I had lost, I had actually gained even more.

These are just some things that I would like to share with all of you. I would encourage you to reflect too! See how God has been good to you, and then strive for a greater adventure with Him next year!

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Abounding Love

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’ve had a great day with the cell group today, good food, fellowship and sharing. When we come together in the spirit of God’s love, we are living the life that we should, sharing what God first gave to us- His amazing love. We must also not forget those who have yet to know our God. For they are the reason Jesus did all that He did, out of love. Let us love them also, giving them the best gift we could, sharing with them the love of God.

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This is often a major stumbling block to our relationship with God- pride. However much I dislike it and want to remove it from myself, it is grown like a thorn in my flesh. Some part of my attitude or intention would be to draw personal glory. I can sense the slightest bit of it, and sometimes don’t even recognize it.

John 3:29-30
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

I am only to draw people to Christ, not to myself who might exhibit Christ-like character. His character is perfect to learn from, and I may only be an example in part for the people I disciple. When we teach, we are to point to Jesus, for He is the author and perfecter of our faith! That is the purpose that we have- as children of God and friends of Christ already, we are to bring people to a closer relationship with Him, proving nothing of ourselves to men, but doing all things for God. He must increase, and we must decrease.

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Victorious in life

But what would we have left? We have a charge, a commission, a purpose to work out that must not be hindered by the personal matters of our lives. We have eternity to look to.

Romans 8:31-32
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

By grace we have been saved, that we may have victory over sin and death. The death of Christ brought us forgiveness of sins, but the resurrection of Christ gave us the right to be victorious over our lives. And we should want every bit of God’s love and grace to help us with this. If we reject help, we are rejecting the love of God for us, or denying the power that His grace can have in our lives; we will be preventing God from interfering, when in fact we should be doing all we can to present our lives to be part of His work.

This must first be understood, and that is all I’ll say, as it is not the point that I’m trying to bring across today.

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

As we look towards eternity, we will start to have this urgency in our hearts- an urgency to give every bit of effort and time to the will of God. But many of you who are in service will agree with me that it is not so easy. As much as we are human, we will have problems and troubles, distractions and emotions to take care of. We will want to break off from society and wallow in self-pity over the things we never deserved.

But you see, being a part of God’s ministry, we cannot afford to be like this. Many times I have felt spiritually dry, like I was walking through a desert with no end. Or stumbling around in an emotional wasteland, when relationships don’t go well. Each time, I would know exactly what was happening to me, and what needed to be done to be restored (don’t we all know this so well :D), but it was not easy to decide to want to do it. I knew the power of God’s love, but was rejecting it. Then, I would think of the ministry, and the sheep that I had to look after. In order to carry out my duties in the ministry, especially that of discipling and teaching, I must be in the right state of mind. More importantly, I must be right with God. If I rejected the love and the power of God, how could I love His people? How would I speak and teach with power and authority?

The purpose that we decide to strive for should not be to conquer worldly troubles and stress. They are conquered already! Shall trouble or hardship, persecution or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword separate us from the love of Christ? Definitely not! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Every bit of purpose in our hearts must be to persevere in God’s work.

Revelation 2: 26-27
To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.

Let us be spiritual infants no more. When we received grace, we strived to keep ourselves free from sin. When we grew older, we strived to be obedient to God’s instruction, perfecting our spiritual lives. Now, we strive to fulfil the will of God, not once, but till the end. And again, it is by God’s grace that we may present ourselves holy and acceptable, presentable to Him for use. Since grace is never deserved, every one of us has a part to play in the advancement of His kingdom, every one of us have received grace to be empowered for service.

I know perhaps you might be wondering about the authority over nations mentioned in Revelation. There is a little controversy over the occurrence of the end of times. As I would rather keep this blog neutral towards all denominations and perspectives in the Christian body,  I would rather not talk about it here.

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Prayer of Saint Francis

A beautiful prayer I have loved since I sang it in choir.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

If we may all live to love perfectly like Jesus did.

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The Call of God

So how do we know when God is calling us to minister, and when He is not? Remember, if we decide serve in an area in the church, outside of God’s instruction, it will only be burned up on the day of judgement. For fire is the representation of judgement. It purifies the gold and silver(our works in obedience to God), and destroys the wood and hay(those that are not).

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

Therefore, we must always be careful about the things we are doing. Examine ourselves to see if they are truly what God has commissioned you to do for the advancement of His Kingdom. Let us begin.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light on my path.

I never fail to emphasize again and again, the Word of God is the word of God. When I am interested in a girl and want to get to know her better, I will find all ways and means to spend time with her, talk to her and listen to her talk. Then, I will start to have a clearer understanding of her personality- how she talks, behaves, what values she believes in, and how she will react in various situations. I would say that she too, will gain such an understanding of me. Now this is how a relationship works. If we want to hear God and know His call, we need to have a deep, personal relationship with Him, that has already been enabled by grace. We will know the way he talks(speaks to us), and thus recognize His voice. We will know how God behaves, as He did towards many people in the Bible, and thus understand His nature. We will know the moral standards that God has set, and thus be able to discern our intentions and actions, to see if they are in accordance to God. And finally, as we go about doing the things in our lives, we will know God’s response to our actions, and know the right from the wrong, the things that God desires of us, and the things He doesn’t.

And that is exactly the importance of the Bible! It is, if I may quote my mentor, a love letter from God. In no other book can we find the Words of God to us spoken so directly! Thus, if you want to have a relationship with God, read His letter to you. Don’t just read, but meditate on it. See how God speaks to people, how he responds to their call, what values and principles He expects of us. Then, when you are close to God, you will know His voice when He is calling you.

John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

Now I did imply that a relationship with God is very much like the relationship we have here with others. Besides God speaking to you, God wants you to speak to Him too! Not that He will learn anything from us or anything about us, as He is all-knowing; by continually speaking to God, He will change your attitudes and desires to be more like His. Praying brings us to this heightened level of spirituality where we are in touch with the Holy Spirit. Then, we are changed by the spirit of God. Do not be afraid if your intentions or your desires are wrong, the whole point of praying is to present these things in our hearts to Him. We are telling God, “take my desires and my intentions, I place them before you, mold them to be more like Christ’s”. By acknowledging that we are poor in spirit, God will fill us with His spirit of spiritual wisdom and discernment, that we may discern our hearts. Examine it to see if your intentions are  to glorify God and advance His will, or for selfish motives and self-glorification. See if your attitude is one that does all things because you love your God. Then you may pray and ask in faith, with the right attitudes and intentions.

Luke 11:9-10
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Must I say more? If you want to know if a certain decision is in accordance to His will, or want to know His will for you, ask Him, and He will reveal it to you.

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The Israelites had been wandering around for many years, and they probably felt like God had left them, with no purpose. But God did have a purpose- to inhabit the promise land, flowing with milk and honey. So God told them He had plans to prosper them and give them a hope and a future(in the earlier verses). But if they would just call on His name, and seek Him with all their hearts, then He will be found by them. If you would desperately like to know what God’s will for you is, and seek this knowledge of God from Him with all your heart, He will answer you.

Colossians 1:9
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

You see, Paul knew this truth, and prayed for God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will. And Paul never stopped praying for them! So don’t stop praying, keep seeking God.

God may also use others to speak His will to you, though it is a pity we often ignore these pieces of spiritual advice because of our pride. I currently have a decision to make regarding my university studies. I have little idea what God wants me to do- to stay local or to study overseas. But recently, I had a remembrance of two different people who expressed to me a long time ago that they would have me stay to study here. Coincidentally, their reasons had to do with taking part in ministry in the church. Of course, be sure to ask, and hear from the right people- those who lead godly lives and are close enough to God that they may speak to you in God’s wisdom and revelation.

Perhaps you have already made that decision, and are wondering now if it was the correct one to make, whether you should continue with your efforts or stop. God may sometimes be speaking to us in our circumstances. There was once I was extremely hyped up about my service in the cell group, and made many plans- birthday celebrations, house visits, gatherings, and so on. But when the planning and implementation came, I faced many barriers. People couldn’t make it, locations were not available.. And then I realized that I had not prayed about my plans. They were not God’s plans for the cell group, and I was not acting on obedience. These barriers to my efforts were God’s signs to me that I should stop before I build more wood houses that would be burnt up on the day of judgement. Therefore, be discerning of these signs that God may be showing you, and take heed to them.

There are many other ways that people have heard God, and ways that God is speaking to people today. But lights out is soon, so that may be God’s sign to me to finish up this post. When you examine the ways I have introduced to you, you would realize that in the end, everything leads back to knowing God’s Word and praying and seeking God. God doesn’t just want to talk to you in indirect ways. Not just songs or quotes or other godly people. You have been saved by grace and God wants to speak to you directly! So start reading and praying, that you may

live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:10-14


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