2018, I am ready.

I have reached out my hands and touched the flame of God. I am burning and waiting for the sign. He has come to impart boldness, sensitivity and strength.

2018, a season of letting go.

Recently, the Lord has been speaking bible stories into my heart, like it was a kind of reminder, a season that was new and birthing forth, from a small heart like mine, afraid of seeing my dreams, yet anticipating of the things that are coming forth. The season that if I fail to embrace it, it will soon go to pass, and I will miss the golden time. In the time that I sought after Him, it felt like the tugging of my heart was within this 2 choices:

(1) Abraham (Genesis 12-25)

Abraham, a man who was willing to let go of familiarity, customs, things he knew, his precious son, for a God-given destiny. Abraham, a man who was willing to go through separations for his Lord. Abraham, who inherited all the treasures of his generation. Abraham, a man who desire the Lord more than anything.

Or

(2) The rich young ruler. (Mark 10:17-27)

A man, who was unwillingly to let go of his possessions to chase after God. A man, who value possessions more than God. A man, who sought after world possessions, rather than God.

And in all His audible voice, He told me to choose for myself which way would I go. I have longed set my heart to be a pilgrim of this world, a citizen of heaven and a love slave of God, but that does not mean, it is easy to let go. In a certain environment, a certain job, it might have been seen that it was the right journey to go towards, but it does not mean its from God.

The certain desires in my heart, it seems good enough, but unease will form. And I know in my heart that God has chosen another path for me, and He had repeatedly told me this words,” Be brave” and “I will never let you falter away”. Even if it meant, facing nights of loneliness, of despair, of tears, I should still obey His very words. I have learnt that I was not called to give up. I am called to obey Him and whatever cost. And if it seems like I have hit a hard place in my life, don’t whine, just pray. To come to God in boldness, so I could bring the power of God down.

A trust like Abraham’s. To leave the things I am familiar with to set out on a whole pursuit of God. A faith’s like Abraham’s. To believe that all things will work together for my good, that the Lord will never leave me where I was. A sacrificial heart like Abraham’s. Knowing that the things laid down for the Lord will always be worth it.

The new century, the new age, what is common, and what is a social norm for the society. I may not have to physically leave home or my comfort, lay down my Isaac. But what exactly is the “Isaac” in my heart? The ‘Isaac’ in my heart is not a possession, but the understanding of people around me, the struggles and emotions seen by the few. That, over the course of 2017, while doing my best in recognizing the seasons of people’s life, being there for others, we could still be hurt by them. Will it be then, I lay down my ‘Isaac’ (my emotions) at the altar and choose to still love instead of hurting another with words we will regret?

Maybe, just maybe, the end times death of people caused by war were not physical, but of emotional death. When the new age death is losing attention on social media, is going down to a certain level for a recognition, owning things to show off to the world that you do not care about. John Green’s paper town says it best,

“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”

And I pray, in my 2018, the new season of letting go, my heart will thirst and hunger for more of the Godly things in life. That, in all the separation that I choose to go through for the Lord, all the paths I choose to take, though it might get lonely and quiet, it might get tough, that even when my familiar and comfortable world will shake because of what God is doing, the purification and cleansing, I will come out stronger, and purer for Him to use me.

And I pray that the people God will put around me, will give me the grace to fall, the understanding to be afraid, the embrace I need, when words fail me, when tears filled me, and when my heart is going to continue being broken by Him. And I pray that even when all people fail, God will give the grace to be understanding, the wisdom to know, the understanding to hear, and the hands to pick them up. If I can’t, then let it be from Your strength.

2018, I am ready.

Advertisements

Threading on. [Myanmar, 2017]

” It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller. I’ve been captivated by beauty and grace while threading on in the ordinary”.

Before heading to this trip, my heart was full of anticipation to go. Mainly because I have been broken into pieces by a friendship that would have meant something to me. A friendship that I thought would last for a long time. To come back, saying that, “I am alive” would sound so pretentious. Traveling, it opens up my eyes to the things unseen. It mends a part of our broken soul.

Every culture, and every city, I witness people fighting – fighting to live and to love. The racial conflicts in the country that have left the Muslim-Burmese dead, have pushed them to live in fear. Yet, if we just took the time, to sit down beside them, to listen to their stories, we will know that they are just humans, like me and you. The war torn country has killed many innocent people, and left the people homeless. And it breaks my heart to know and to see that hurtful comments was still hurled on them.

And this verse came to me in 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

I have firsthand witness people with nothing giving much, because they know how it feels to be broken, to be emptied and to love even when it hurts. Living in a first world country, sometimes I can’t help but feel ashamed at myself. How could I live wanting more than what I deserve, more than what I need, more than what I want, when the people do not even have the basic needs met. How could they give so freely, lend a helping hand so easily even when they do not have much. I got lost on my way to a certain shop, and had to seek help. The only person I saw was having lunch by a roadside store. He immediately put down all he is doing and guided me to the place that is 10mins away. And to think that he have used his precious 30minutes break to guide me to a place, made me realised how selfish a person I must have been, how foolish I must have been in the eyes of God.

How could they, smile so sweetly, put down their things to hear my needs, and help me without a second thought. And even after all this, how could I still complain about not having enough, not being understood. The things I felt became insignificantly small, as compared to them. The troubles and hurt I feel became insignificant all at once. The complexity of my own mind became simple gradually. And I thank God for His love that was poured out to me so lavishly. Who am I that You are mindful of me. Its extravagant to know, how far You would go, to say that You love me.

Thank you for giving me the courage to thread on, to love once again. The broken heart, shows that we have love before, teach me to love the way You do. Give me a brave heart, just like the people.

Till I see you again, Myanmar.

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.

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. 

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.