A love worth giving.

” You will never amount to much no matter where you serve in…”

As a non believer back then, who wanted to contribute a little bit more to the church I wanted to call home, this was not something I have expected to hear. And definitely not something that was easy to comprehend and be healed from.

Why then, did you attempt to show me God’s love if you do not believe in me?

I think many times in my walk with God in the later years, I was unable to fully heal from the damage that was placed on me even before I know Him. The ultimate Savior who paid the price for me to know Him. Who loves me and believes in me more than I did in myself. In the ministry that I passionately served in, I knew in my heart there was a stumbling block, right there.

” I see you are doing so many things for God. You signed up for almost everything available, and you are always there for people. What could ever bring you down?”

This exact question became the stumbling block in my heart. I needed to constantly remind myself that serving God, reaching out to people, going to Bible school, attending church weekly was not so I could prove to the ones who told me I could not amount to much. The constant probing in my heart that cripple me was, “are you serving with the right condition and attitude, or do you just have something you want to prove to the world?”

After knowing Christ for the past 3.5years, and serving in a ministry for the past 2.5years, there were still moments in life, that I wished it did not hurt to love Him, to be broken down to pieces, to learn to have a humble and contrite while serving. That my serving was unto Him, and not unto people. But without this brokenness, I would never have empathy for the people around me.

Going out into the world, to see the world, experience the world have taught me much more than any books could ever tell me. That in the bible, when it said love is still the greatest of it all (1 Corinthians 13:13), it really meant that love is the only thing that have the ability to change and move heart. The only one that can still choose to embrace people despite all the times they have failed you, disappoint you or hurt you.

Love is seeing God in every individuals you meet, and seeing Jesus in them because everyone is made in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Love is putting aside our skin colors, culture, race and custom, so as to recognize that we are the citizen of heaven. Love has a new meaning to me now, that in all my encounters with people, I don’t love people for who they are, but He who lives in me. If God can send Himself down on the cross for me, a love filled with so much passion and pain, then who am I to withhold love to others.

That’s the thing about traveling. I found my refuge in it. Travel became my best friend and not only has it helped heal my heart which was once torn to pieces, it has also opened my eyes to new things and made me a better person. Not only for love relationship but it applies to every disappointment I faced in my life. A good Friend who left me, someone who passed on, a dream that died, stepping out to travel changes perspectives and seeing God in every Situation. It helped me love a little more.

The NLT bible best speaks of this verse 1 Corinthians 13:2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If there is only one thing that I can be good at, then let me be the best at loving others. Humans expect something in return for anything and everything, they put into the world. Especially when it comes to relationships. These are dandelions. Stop loving only to feel love. This is not love. Love whole human just to love them. And don’t ask them to love you in return. Some you love may not love you in return. Some may take advantage of the love you give and you may still revoke it at any time.

But keep loving them.
Without expectations.
Give, as He has given.
Drink first then pour out freely.
Thats when we will discover a love worth giving.

 

The cost to follow.

Without God, we cannot.
Without us, He will not.
                                                                           Augustine

Freely receive, freely give.

Traveling has always played a huge role in my life, and recently the new found joy of heading out for missions, and spreading the gospel of Christ. To offer all that I have up to the altar, because all this possession was never mine to begin with. Being out in the field, as much as I can in the recent times, I realized that the major part of being able to go out there was because of the love I have freely receive by the people who is in my life who never fails to love, edify, give and bless me. They have given me courage to lose sight of the shore as I venture out into the ocean. The manifest of God’s love into my life is through their time and constant prayer.

Heading out to the mission field allow my heart to come alive. The devil has placed in me constant self doubts, self hate, and negative self image every time I am prepared to head out, which further assure me what I desire to do is actually is actually in God’s plan. Yet the price to pay for leaving and seeking God was not always easy. There were things that I was forced to let go, and things I had to give up, so as to not lose the chance to seek God first. There were times when I have to learn to let go, but not doing it until I have a battle with God. And like Jacob, perhaps the pain in the hip socket will be the thing that always remind us the faithfulness of God.

The cost to follow will never be easy, but what we have done for Christ will never be in vain. 4 years ago, when I became a Christian, I paid a price of being abandoned by people who I held dearly in my heart. People who left eventually when they could not understand. Yet, this was a price I was willing to pay, because till today, Christ has still been the best thing for me. There were moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. Without sadness, there would be no joy. Without suffering, there would be no compassion.

Afterwards, I had to let go of a toxic relationship which led to betrayal, and hurts. Yet the comfort of letting go back then was know that Jesus has intertwined. The comfort of walking out then and healing from the broken relationship is that God has saved me from even more heartbreaks. It took months to heal, and even days when there was too much uncertainty in walking out. But eventually His big hands have covered me, and there’s joy in just traveling, seeing the world and sharing His love. And some day, this special guy will come through my serving, holding the same verse as me.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant (love slave) of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (an envoy of God’s word), set apart (separated from comfort, lifestyle, sin, failure and pride), for the gospel (call) of God.

Many are called by God, yet only few are chosen. The ones who are set apart are the people who are willing to rise and be separated for Jesus. To be chosen, we need to consecrate our lives, and there is a price to pay. Abraham had to be separated from:

  1. Home country; our comfort.
  2. Father; our custom.
  3.  Nephew Lot; worldly.
  4. Ishmael; mistakes.
  5. Isaac; pride.

The cost to pursue God lies in seeking Him first. And till today, giving freely whether it is possessions, time, and love for the cause of God is something I have never forgotten to do so. Before I am working adult, I am first a child of God. While growing up, people have said that I am different. I do not fit in anywhere but I think it is okay to be different now. I do not have everything, but all I have will always be found at the altar. The spirit of the world has come, but it has nothing on me. And like Romans 1:1 has said, one day, I want to stand in front of the throne, and be someone like Paul, who has given up everything to seek Him first. My priority in life has always been Jesus. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose. Christ is my reward, always.

 

 

2017, soaring w J.

In every season, You are still God

In 2014 (1st year), I wanted to learn to love myself, accept myself, and believe that God is still not done in my life.

In 2015 (2nd year), I wanted to learn to trust others, stand with others and fight with others.

In 2016 (3rd year), I wanted God’s love to manifest out of my life, into the life of others.

In 2017 (4th year), I wanted to recognize the seasons in life, and know clearly i was born for a time such as this.

“4” speaks of creation, separation of night and day, and marking off the seasons. 

And, “Seasons” in the hebrew is “Moed” which meant “appointed times”.

In Psalms 107, “oh, and that men would give thanks to the Lord for His grace”, has this verse appearing 4 times, after 4 different seasons. The garden of Eden has a river that parted into 4 other rivers which represents 4 different seasons. (Genesis 2:10-14).

This 2017 will be my forth year in church, committing my whole life to God, and set in a whole pursuit of Him. And amazingly, I was reading the book of Esther, and having some deep revelations of her life in the story. And the interesting thing that got to me in this morning devotion, was the fact of what the number “4” meant in the bible.The 4 witnesses of God on earth are miracles, wonders, signs and gift of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:4) and 4 gospel accounts of Jesus’s life ministry, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John has gone through 4 different seasons that has a unique aspect of sacrifice and ministry.

The number 17 meant – overcoming the enemy and complete victory.

1 Corinthians 13:13, has 17th mentioned of the word love. And in that verse, it wrote, “the greatest of this is love” and by this love it meant in John 3:16, God’s agape and sacrificial love that have overcome the evil with goodness.

True Christians, however, will gain the ultimate victory over God’s adversaries when he resurrects them back to life (Revelation 15:2; 20:4). One of the major themes of the Day of Atonement, which occurs in the seventh Hebrew month on the tenth day, is the binding of Satan (see Revelation 20). Thus, 10 plus 7 equal the number 17, which testifies to Christ’s perfect overcoming of Satan.

In Romans 8:35 the apostle Paul asks a simple question which is “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” . He extends his question a little more by asking if the following seven things could separate us, which are tribulation, persecution, distress, nakedness, famine, the sword or any other danger. He then tells us ten things that CANNOT get between our God and us, which are life, death, principalities, powers, angels, things present or to come, depth, height or anything created. Thus we have 7 + 10 = 17, representing a Christian’s perfect and eternal standing with God through Christ.

Could it be, that God have appointed me in this season to overcome the devil, through my standing with Christ? 2017, I am looking forward to soar with God. Looking forward to go on missions in the Philippines, more moments of standing in the gap between the living and the dead. To grow in capacity and understanding of Christ.

The time is now. (Esther)

I was born for a time such as this.

Esther 4:14-17 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.


Background: In the book of Esther, Esther was a Jew who lived in the time of Persia. She was brought to the palace when the King was looking for a new queen. Esther won the favor of the king, and became the queen. Haman wanted the Jews to perish, but Mordecai went to persuade Esther to stand up for her people. Esther got her people to pray and fast and stand in one accord together with her. Esther rose up to the time, and made her request to the king and saved the Jews.

Esther is a woman, like all of us here. I pray that whenever I read the story about Esther, I will know that as a woman, I can do great things for God. 

So, here is 3 things I learnt from Esther: 
#1 We need to know our position when we serve. (Esther 2:9,17)

Esther 2:9, And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. 

Esther knew what she needs to do when she was in the palace. She needed to be at the top, to be able to be the queen. Similarly for us, we need to know our position when we serve, and do what we are good at. We must not be envious of who other people is. We are all made uniquely by God. Can you imagine what will happen if Esther was being envious of others?
In Ephesians 4:16 “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Esther knew her position in the palace, and she gave her best when she served. Similarly, we need to know our position, and work together with one another so that God’s glory can come upon us. When we do that, people will begin to see God’s love in us.

In Esther 2:17 “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

Esther won the favor of the king and people by knowing her position.

2. We need to recognize the season of our people (Esther 4:14-16, Esther 5-6)
Esther 4:14-16 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!””
Like how Esther recognized the season her people were in, and she stood with them. We need to learn to hear our people and have a greater heart to empathize with our people. 
So what do I need to hear?
H – heart: we need to hear the things on their hearts that has been weighing them down.

E – experiences: Everyone goes through different experiences in life, and we need to hear the things that people have gone through in the life.

A – agonized: We always think that we understand the pain in someone’s life, but we never really do. It’s like giving birth. I may have given birth before, but I will never know the kind of pain you have gone through, because we are not them.

R – rejoice: we need to learn to celebrate others.

I am chosen by God today to serve the next generation. Do not despise what we are doing because the children will be the leader of tomorrow. The ceilings we are building today are the floor for the next generation. Help can always arise from another place if we fail to hear the cry of our people, but we need to know that God has personally chosen each of us here today, to make a difference by learning to hear the cries our people.

Lastly,

3. We need to stand in one accord with our leaders. (Esther 4:15)

Esther 4:15-17 “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.”

When Esther ask the people of the Jews to fast and pray, they did. Sometimes, we might not see the purpose of doing what our leaders ask us to do. During those times, can we still stand in one accord with our leaders?

We need to know and believe that our leaders are God’s appointed. At the walls of Jericho, the people might not understand why Joshua march around it 7 times, but they stood with him. It is during those times that we have to ask ourselves are we able to stand in one accord with the dreams and vision that God has placed in our leader. Lets me enlarge my heart today, and trust that God has placed them above me for a reason.

A different season (Philippines)

“Break my heart for what break Yours”.

When you have a vision, the problems that come with it is a package. However, the story will eventually tell of His faithfulness, grace and mercy. The story will show of His redemption plan, that a thousand times I have failed, the Lord is still not done with my life. And in all my pursuit of Him, He has left me in awe once again. And if my God can touch and change a life like mine, and put in remembrance the things I have written in the days as a child, I will gladly spent the rest of my days serving the Lord, knowing that my future is secured in the Savior’s hands. The Lord remembers what I have buried deep in my heart, embarrassed to speak about. However, He brought the vision to pass in a way to glorify Him. Who am I exactly that He will call me worthy, and place eternity in my heart? I don’t even feel worthy to wash the feet of my Lord.

I will take up the cross, no matter what the cost, giving it all to follow His way. And truth been told, it was never an easy journey but it had been a meaningful one. I had my fair share of struggles and fears, even till today. I am definitely not called for the stage ministry. Being on stage, to pray and lead, has not been ‘my cup of tea’ but the only thing that could help me put away this fear, is the very fact that I want to obey the voice of God. If there’s one thing that I desire in life, it is being able to go when He calls. 

And being in the Philippines, among the people who thirst and hunger for more of Him, I had only 4 prayers:
#1 I want to live out my life verse
1 Corinthians 9:22 to the weak, I have become weak. I have become all things to all men so by some means, I could saved some.
To the little ones, let me be like them, to win them, to see them, and hear them. To the older ones, who have served God, honour them, encourage them and most importantly love them. Be all things to all men. I can’t change the world, if I can’t change myself. So like the potter and the clay, I will be the clay, for God to mould me, to the needs of everyone, not so I could be taken advantage of, but because I know everyone is an image of Christ. And that the world could do with more love. I hope I could say this in the end, “I owe you nothing but love”. Freely I have received, freely give. It’s easy to give with money, but something more precious is the time spent. Time is the only thing you can give without taking back. And that’s what make time precious. Choose the things you want to invest in, because whatever you invest in grows. The effort spent loving this people will never be wasted, because love has a ripple effect. The very reason I could love freely was because God loved me freely, and my leader had loved me freely too. Love without boundaries. 
Thank you for allowing me to have the most humble opportunity to love you all in my own ways. I am bad at giving physical touch to people, and bad at really expressing myself in words, have a hard time forcing the extrovert side to come out but I do appreciate and love you all. I know God could have raised someone else, to do this work, but I thank God, He has given me the chance to do so.
#2 I want to be acutely more aware of all that I have taken for granted.
Being in Singapore has already put me at the top of the cliff. Not in the position of saying that I’m better than anyone, because God has made everyone unique. But the top, because I am never in lack of material things. I never need to go hungry, or have a certain thing that I couldn’t have. And sometimes the problem with us human is the fact that we have too much. We are never contented with what we have. And I am guilty as charged. I always think that I could have more clothes, that new phone or maybe that handbag. But many times, I asked myself, do I really need it? The value of something is not in the cost, but the sustainability of it. If I can use the cost of that $50 bag to bless the whole Christmas party for the children, the value are infinitely higher and better. There are too many things that I want, but do not need, and sometimes, in my own fallen nature, selfishness, I failed to see things. And being in that environment, where needs are everywhere, I felt like I have lost a battle. The battle of trying to gain possessions and not souls. I breathe, but did not live. And even more sadly, in Singapore, where internet connection is everywhere, I have failed to connect with souls. When was the last time, I ran around in the field, laughing and dancing around, not getting caught up in my phone? When was the last time, I went out to play Basketball with people I love, and not get caught up with replying texts? What good is it if I gained the world but loses my soul. This are the things that I saw, and it came like an double edged sword, piercing through my heart, for the things I have failed to do. 
So thank you, to the people who taught me to live and not just breathe, to connect with people, and not devices, to be contented in having just enough. 
#3 Use me.
I am only as worthy as what God has called me to do. Only am good enough when I have God inside of me. So I told God, use me. In whatever and wherever place we can go to change lives. I am a dolous for Him, a complete fool for Him. Maybe the balloon trick was all I could do, but if that is all that I could do, then use me to connect with the kids. What good is it if I can do everything, but yet not have Christ. Vanity, all vanity. And in my heart I clearly know that the greatest honour in my life is to be used by God. And that is the cry of my heart. Open my eyes to see the things unseen, open my ears to hear the things unheard. I will be the hands and feet. Someone like me who have nothing, but a willing heart. Many are called, but few are chosen has a new complete meaning to me. God has called many, but the only chosen ones are those who will humble themselves at His feet, laying all they had in the altar before God, and follow Him. The rich young ruler had kept the commandments since the days of his youth, but what kept him away from Jesus was being unable to lay down his possessions for Christ. And I know clearly in my life, if I have Christ, I have everything. If I don’t have Christ, I have nothing. And God has been so good to me, because who am I to be able to minister to people unless God is in me. 
Thank you, to the people who have given me the opportunity to be a vessel for God. I am inadequate and still a work in progress, and most times, I don’t even feel worthy enough to serve, but thank you for being so humble and ready to learn from me, and giving me a chance to minister to you.
#4 A heart of gratitude.
I want to live in that constant state of thanksgiving. I am surrounded by people, constantly, and I know that they do appreciate and love me, somehow. And I thank God for that. However, there is a kind of love that transform people, a faithful love, an appreciating one, one that is filled with warmth and of someone being interested in your life. And I have once felt that 8 years ago, when a very good friend of mine invited me to my first ever Christmas dinner with her family. It’s the first time I felt loved, and later on in 2014, when my spiritual Mother brought me out for lunch, to love and know me. This people are God-given gifts to me. And this love from them has sustained me. I prayed to God for another encounter like this, because a love like this has made me seen God again and again, in physical form. To love is to see the face of God. And God heard me. I have never been so surprised in my life on my birthday, by someone whom I know have loved me. More than that, I don’t even remember the time that someone would make their day free among their busy-ness just to bring me out for lunch and love me. I had the best birthday ever. This kind of love just made me tear, because it is just a reminder of God’s love and favour in my life, a reminder that I am His princess. A love that constantly pray, and forgives me even though there were times I am not being nice.

So thank you Papa Johnny, Mama Jessica, Abi & Moses, for loving me, making sure I was happy, giving me the most important gift on my birthday, which is your time. You put in me a larger heart, a greater capacity to love and understand, and a heart of constant thankfulness, because you have shown me first, what a Godly family is, and it gives me a renewed hope that one day, when I have my own family, it will be possible to live like this. Serving God, joking around, sleeping on the same bed, and most importantly going out to preach to the world together. 
This trip has been an amazing one. Serving God may have hardship, but when I stood with the team in one accord, keeping the joy of the Lord our strength, His love has sustain me, sustain us. God is faithful to the dream of a ten year old little girl who did not know Him. 13 years have passed, and when this vision unfolded right before me, reminding me that God is still the same as He has always been. And like Queen Esther has said, could it be that I was born for a time such as this? At the end of my journey, I want to say that,” I have lived for Jesus”. Faith has make a fool of what make sense, I thought it made sense to count what I am able to give, before giving to others, but faith taught me otherwise. It is okay to give, because all that I need to do His work, is ready for me to claim it. Grace has found my heart when logic end, and in that logical mind of mine, I thought that love comes with condition, but grace has shown me otherwise. His agape love has no conditions. Jesus would have come even if it’s for just one of me. And He sent Himself down for a sinner like me. What heart could hold the weight of His love. Thank You, J. Here I stand, arm high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all for me. 

A pilgrim of this world (Sitiawan)

A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place.


I am nothing but a bondservant of my Most High King. Earth, to me, is a temporary home. And I was glad that my cry for God to use me was heard by Him this time, and I was privileged to head out to Sitiawan to bless the community there. Everytime I cried to Him, for Him to use me, there was an uncertainty in my heart for what the future holds, but I know who holds my future, and that has been enough for me. If Jesus loves people, I want to love people too, standing in between the gap to be there for people.


The struggles: Stepping out.

I was never the kind of person who stepped out to make friends first. It takes me more than mere courage to make friends with people. I am an awkward person, who did not mind not having any friends, and stay in my own comfort zone. Trusting people requires effort, and time. And I never felt brave enough to do that, but somehow His grace made it sufficient for me. That when I chose to go ahead with this trip, He opened the way for me, to strive through it.

Praying in a big group always requires courage. Yet, the cry of my heart was for His presence to come down on us every single day. Unknowingly, the presence of God did touch me at the first session of our own prayer meeting. I saw how the team interceded for one another, prayed and fought for one another, and it blessed my heart to be part of them. It just reminded me of the time when my uncle had cancer, and the group of people who were there to intercede for me. 

Doing so many things in so little time, made me feel like we have been through a lot together. Learning to fight & let others fight for me. The greatest comfort thus far is knowing that at any stage of hardship, it soften my heart. To fight, and let others hold on to me, and embrace me when I need it. And in every battle, though I came out wounded, there were people who still choose to hold on to me. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” 16 therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are being renewed day by day.

So thank You Jesus for the lives changing 5 days that I had in my own personal walk with You. Use me, again. 

Crossing Oceans.

What is exactly loving others?

I do not know how to love halfway, or partially. For me, loving someone is crossing oceans for people who might not even cross a puddle for you. Love, to me comes with no return and no expectancy. It is giving off yourself sacrificially. I do not know anything about playing it cool, I would have rather been kind a thousand times, and get hurt, then never to try at all. I would rather love and get hurt than to never love at all.  I would have gone down on bended knees, again and again, just to learn to serve His people, with all my heart. Love is ultimately more than a feeling. It is a choice you make every single day when you wake up in the morning, of being nice. Everyone is somehow fighting a battle, and being nice is the best I can offer.

Yet, stepping out of the comfort zone, requires an extreme huge part of me. The part that I have to forget myself. The self that was so used to people walking out on me, and so guarded that it does not come easy. There are days that I do wish I was better, somedays that I wished I was not that weak, not that needy of my own personal space and time. Even at the attempt of wanting to give my best, there were times that my carnal nature would fail me. Hanging out with people requires an effort that was never easy for me. And I never understood how did people make it sound so easy that I am not trying. Because I have never stopped trying since the day I smiled to someone.

In all effort, my life mission and verse still remain steadfast as 1 Corinthians 9:22. That in all times, I still want to be all things to all man, so by some means, they could see You. Those battles that I fought inside, should have remained in me, and not shown to anyone else. Today, when I stood back for the introvert time, Your presence overwhelmed my heart once again. Your presence never cease to amaze me. And here I stand, in awe and wonder of who You are. Every single time, when I need You, You come like a rushing wind, settling in my needy heart. And that is enough for me.

Truth is, I never exactly needed anyone. I only needed God, and having simple people in my life. For me, I was complicated enough in my own thoughts, and it does not come easy for me to relate to any others. Yet there were days when I drowned in the questions of my own head, God has never failed to put people in my life, for me. And in my heart, I knew God must have known it from the start, who was here to stay.

Sometimes, I still wished I was better. Not for anyone, but You.