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.

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New found identity (Gen San)

Was it really me that Pastor invited to General Santos?
“It can’t be me. I am not good enough. There are people much better than me”.

When my Pastor first invited me to General Santos with her, I could not contain the excitement inside of me. Yet, there were lots of self doubt inside of my head. I written down the words,” I want to be a missionary”, inside my tiny notebook when I was just a 8yo girl. Not knowing God back then, and not knowing the cost of this exact words. But I know, I want to serve the people, and to me that has always been enough.

I am not exactly the girl you invite to big parties, or even a big hangout. I am not the girl you invite to any events, or have a clique that I could form up too. And I definitely can’t fit into the expectations people have of me, or fit into a clique. That would have require too much of me. But I have friends, people whom I can turn too, press into their lives, and just love them. I am the girl-next-door. Nothing impressive, or special. But God has been mindful of someone like me. 

At 18yo, I heard of the man, Pastor Bill Wilson, in a Christian seminar (I wasn’t even a christian back then) and my heart has been stirred and have wanted to go General Santos since then. But I have a feeling, if that reckless girl went to General Santos back then, I would not have kept the fire burning within me.  Many things happened the past 6 years, I fell, and stumbled. I got my heart broken, became suicidal, depressed. I dropped out of school, left home, ran into hiding. Like Jacob, I have been hiding from people my whole life. At 21, I gave my life to Christ, with hope that things would turned better. But guess what? It did not.

I became even more suicidal than before. My heart was so hardened that it could no longer feel. I would cut my wrists, just to make myself feel. Yet, there was this little voice, whispering hope into my ears, and into my heart. This dream tarried, but God was faithful to the 8yo girl back then. My nervousness and excitement was knowing that I am at this tip of the iceberg. My self doubt became consciously stronger. Because it matters to me that this dream was coming to pass, but who was I that God has been so mindful of me.

To take this step of faith, and traveling to General Santos has shown me so much more. It is exactly the place I have dreamed of. And it felt right to be there. And what matter most was that in God’s perfect timing, I was there. The place captivated my heart and soul all at once. Above it all, I was there with my pastor, serving the people and my leader all at once. My heart was overwhelmed. Many times, I had to fight my tears. And standing at the slums, playing with the kids, hearing their worship to God made me realize that this is the purpose of my life. That in all my inadequacies, my smile, would just show them a little of God. I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.

It took 16 years to come close to being called a missionary, and 6 years to even step into General Santos. There are many places that I would like to go, but nothing beats being exactly in the place, and exact time, doing what God has called me to do in this exact timing. As weird as it sounds, living in a slum with the little ones has probably brought me more joy than this world could have ever offered me. I am scared to have this qualified-dream from God, for an under qualified me. But the Lord is good, and He has always been. What good is it to have all the possessions in the world but loses your soul. There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. And in that moment, I wished time stood still.

I found myself in God, in Christ. Now that I have seen His faithfulness manifesting out of my life, I don’t think I can stand not believing, and not having faith in this dreams my Lord have for me.

 

 

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.

The City of Colors, Bangkok.

Bangkok.

The land very well known for the riots that have been happening recently due to the elections. But my trip to Bangkok opened up my eyes wider. To me, this city was a City of Colors, a City of Vibrancy.

From the start of my trip to the end, I met up with so many people, made friends with so many people. This country has a way of making people feel so welcomed. The hotels in Bangkok, or rather The Grand Alphine hotel have one of the most friendly, warming staffs. Wherever we go, we were greeted with warm smiles. And that was something lacking in my own nation. The smiles of the people there, brightened up my day every single day. And if any nation should be sulking, it should be them, yet they lived their lives to the fullest, and not forgetting the cheapest form of happiness, SMILE.

There were a few particular incidents that really touched my heart. The first was meeting the man who cooked Tom Yum beside my hotel. He was the only guy cooking, with a business full of people, he ought to be very stress. Yet, he took it in his stride to sing, dance and entertain his customers while cooking the Tom Yum, and catering to all our needs. The second was the really friendly staff, who delayed her own going home time to help us with our phones. To be honest, it was really late. Yet they spared no effort and making sure that they have helped us before leaving. The third was sitting on tuktuk and talking to this really friendly man who broke into a genuine smile when we complimented him.

They told me Bangkok is dangerous, yet I beg to differ. I saw how it was possible to change the mood of someone by smiling, how warm they were in helping us and being friends with us. How someone would spared no effort to make sure they were helping us.

This is the City of Colors. Not in terms of physical needs. But the hearts of this people were colorful. It touched my heart. It did because I saw how genuine people could be, something I am pretty upset to say that it is missing in my own country. The people were always supporting and helping one another. They were so ready to lend a helping hand to the outsiders. This City, more than shopping and good food, was a city of Colors. A city that I will definitely go back too, for a longer stay. And perhaps one day, learn to cook from the guy who cooked Tom Yum. It is worth the visit.

Bangkok, you are the city of Colors, City of warm and vibrancy. Thank you for showing me that in the midst of making a living, its possible to be warm and full of vibrants. Thank you for showing me that a simple act of kindness is by smiling. Thank you for showing me that kindness and happiness is simply a smile.