Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ask and RECEIVE!!

“I bless you.” “God bless you.” “May you be blessed!” “God, please bless the food that I am going to eat.”  We even say this when our friends sneeze!

We say this all the time. No wonder the meaning of “BLESSING” gets watered down like “have a nice day”

And no wonder we are NOT desperate for blessings from GOD!

In Biblical sense, to bless is to ask for or to impart supernatural favor.

When we ask for God’s blessing, we are not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We are crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or to give to us.

There is a guy in the Bible who radically asked God for BLESSINGS: It is JABEZ!

Have you heard of Jabez’s prayer?

Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
And enlarge my territory,
That Your hand would be with me,
And that You would keep me from evil.

Jabez requested for God’s blessings. He did something RADICAL! He left it entirely up to God to decide what kind of blessings would be and where, when and how Jabez would receive them.

I for one always have in mind what kind of blessings I would want to receive from God. Grant answers to my prayers! LORD, please say YES to my prayers! As I examined myself again, I realized that the blessings God want to grant me is to glorify myself. Not to glorify HIM!

Today I stand here corrected by GOD: the challenge I take is to leave entirely up to God to decide what kind of blessings it would be for my life!

There is a short story I would love to SHARE with you all:

Mr. Jones Goes to Heaven
What if you found that God had it in mind to send you 23 specific blessings today, but you get only one? What do you suppose the reason would be?

There’s a little fable about Mr. Jones who died and goes to heaven. Peter is waiting at the gates to give him a tour. Amid the splendor of golden streets, beautiful mansions and choirs  of angels that Peter shows Mr. Jones. He notices an odd-looking building. He thinks it looks like an enormous warehouse – it has no windows and only one door. But when he asks to see inside, Peter hesitates. “You really don’t want to see what’s in there.”

Why would there be any secrets in heaven? Jones wonders. What incredible surprise could be waiting for me in there? When the official tour is over, Jones still wonders, so he asks again to see inside the building.
Finally Peter agrees. When Peter opens the door, Jones dashed inside and almost knocks Peter over. It is an enormous building that is filled with row and row of shelves, neatly with white box tied in red ribbons.

“These boxes all have names on them,” Mr. Jones muses aloud. Then turning to Peter he asks, “Do I have one?” Peter answer “Yes, you do.” Peter tries to guide Mr. Jones outside. Peter said, “Frankly, if I were you…..” But Mr. Jones is already dashing down the ‘J’ aisle to find his box. Peter follows, shaking his head. He catches up with Mr. Jones just as he is slipping the red ribbon off his box and popping the lid. Looking inside, Jones has a moment of instant recognition and lets out a deep sigh like the ones Peter had heard of so many times before.

Because there in the Mr. Jones white box are all the BLESSINGS that God wanted to give to him while he is on Earth… but Mr. Jones never asked!

Matt 7:7 Ask and it shall be given to you.
James 4:2 You do not have because you do not ask.

God BLESS you! J

Monday, December 5, 2011

What is in a NAME?

Hi, I'm A. What's your name? :)

All of us have an identity through our names. That is how we first introduce ourselves to new people that we meet. Our names were given by our parents. Many parents have hope that one day we would live up to our names. They choose great names that we may live in the future to the meaning of our name. That's our parents hope for us.

A name is more than a label. More than just a title. But is something we can call our own; the treasures our parents had left for us to live by. A name tells more than just a statement but an interesting story of life.

In Biblical times, a man and his name were so intimately related that 'to cut off the name' of an individual amounted to the same thing as killing him. A name was often taken as a wish for or prophecy about the child's future.

For example, Solomon means peace. He was the first KING of Israel to reign without having to go to war. When I remember Solomon, his name was more than peace. He made a difference! He was the first to set the record of being KING without war involved.

My name is Caroline, which means womanly, given by my grandma. Sometimes, many friends of mine called me Carol, which means joy. My parents gave a beautiful Chinese name; Wei Jun. Wei means 'en hui': grace. Jun means king. My grandma and parents gave me the most priceless give: my name.

To live out my name is something I am practicing out everyday. It's definitely not easy. But, with His grace I pray I can do so. I don't want to leave behind a name without a story. I want to live out my name with an interesting story in it.  


Do you know what's the meaning behind your name? Are we living up to it?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lonely


Have you ever feel alone walking on this road? There is no one that can understand what you are going through.

I am here to tell you, “ YOU ARE NOT ALONE, MY FRIEND." 

What you have been through, there is another person out there who had also go through the same thing as you.

Besides, there is ALWAYS someone who is just there to wait for you to talk to Him. He is God. He understands and He knows.

What can we do when we feel lonely?

Be still and know He is God.Sometimes we just need to be still. Don’t worry. Don’t over-think a situation. Just calm your heart and know He had it all in control

·         Remember you are not alone.
Matthew 28:20 Lo, I am always with you always
Deutronomy 31:8 Be strong and of good courage

The phase you are going through will not last. Be courageous my friend!

·         Give THANKS!!
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not at the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

You must think I am crazy to urge you to give thanks at times of loneliness and feeling down. When we give thanks especially in moments like this, our attitude will change from negative to positive. We will start looking at this moment in a new light and with a different perspective.

God had allowed you to go through this phase in order for you to learn something out of it. Take this lesson at heart that the Lord is disciplining you as a father disciplines his son/daughter. Be thankful, my friend.

·         Refuse self-pity!
SELF-PITY: self-indulgent attitude concerning one's own difficulties.  (Dictionary.com)
The definition of the word says it all; indulging in your own difficulties. It’s not good for the soul. REFUSE IT!

·         Accept your loneliness
It’s one stage and only one STAGE! It will not last forever. It’s a journey to bring you closer to God.

·        Offer your loneliness to God. It’s a material for sacrifice. This very longing can be offered up to Him who understands PERFECTLY.

We need to ‘die’ to self in order to live. Just like a seed that falls on dark earth and dies. Out of its death comes multiplied life.

·         Do something for somebody else
Be an instrument of God’s peace, that where there is loneliness you may bring joy.

We all have choices to deal with this.
a) Rebellion: if this is the will of God for me now, He doesn’t love me.
b) Rejection: If this is what God is giving me, I won’t have any part of it.
c) Faith: God knows exactly what He’s doing.
d) Acceptance: He loves me. He plan good things for me; I’ll take it.

I had chosen choice c) and d). I pray you will do so too. :D


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Transparent

When I think of the word transparent what comes in my mind? ‘See through completely’. So, it’s like you can see beyond my flesh and bones and organs altogether. Imagine! I can see you but you can’t see me. :D That would be freaky!

Being transparent in a relationship gives us REAL fellowship with one another and also with God.

The way we relate to people, we also relate to God. First and foremost, we need to be TOTALLY TRANSPARENT before Him. He knows EVERYTHING. He knows the good and the bad experience we had. There is nothing we can hide from Him.

Let me tell you this, it is not an easy process to be transparent before God. The moment I knew that He knows it all, my mind wondered and thought whether will He ever forgive me?  Usually it’s the bad experience I would want to HIDE. But, God is a gracious God. He forgives! No matter how big and bad the sin is He still will with arms open wide receives me as His child. His amazing grace that I never once deserve He freely gives to me. This grace had given me a FRESH brand new START.

Being transparent with God will lead to being transparent with the people around us. I had enjoyed true fellowship with people around me. I thanked God for that.  

It takes so much energy to hide my real self with people. It’s tiring! Why not we convey the energy to just be truthful and transparent to people around us? It is relaxing to do so and we gain so much more from the relationship we have with people. Result we will be HAPPY PEOPLE! :D

It takes practice and courage to be transparent at first. Slowly it will be a lifestyle. Take courage my friend! Take the giant step to be transparent about your thoughts with God. (God is not scared of you being transparent and honest)

Spurgeon once defined the basis of fellowship is the willingness to know and to be known.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stewardship!

Perfect: entirely without flaws, defects or shortcomings.


When it comes to my material stuffs, I always wanted it to be flawless and perfect. I cannot accept a tiny small bits of imperfection at all. If I can, I want all my MATERIAL items to be PERFECT as long as I lived.

That is a wish I may not be able to achieve in my life. Materials do not last forever.


In this few recent months, I have dropped my 2 months old phone for a total of four times. I had became paranoid when my smartphone starts to lag. Even more paranoid when my phone off by itself all of the sudden. Because of the lagging of my phone, I had stayed up till wee hours in the morning searching on the internet to find the cause of the lagging. I even asked my friend who owns the same phone as me whether he had the same problem with his phone. My mind kept thinking will my phone spoil.. will my phone spoil??? So, all of this had added to my anxiety.

With all this worries and anxiety, my friend reminded me that the materials God had given to us we should govern it with a steward's heart. All that had happened to my phone, I should not worry rather allow this to be a lesson for me. Let me learn to govern the materials God had given me with a steward's heart.

I am grateful for all the things God had given me. In return, I should be a steward to take care of the materials He had given.

However, I should also be careful on where I laid my interests in. How much time am I spending in the materials God had given and how much time am I spending for Him. Sometimes, I fall lope-sided to either one extreme without even knowing it.

So, it is best to always self-check and reflect my day I had lived through.


Materials will pass. Materials will fade. Where are you and I investing our interests at today? Are we being stewards of our materials given by God?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Psalms 23

This is one passage that has been speaking to me lately and bring another new meaning in my life.

PSALMS 23
The LORD is my Sherpherd
A Psalm of David

1 The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want 
(LORD here represent the same true GOD that we see in the early of the OT in the Bible. He is my shepherd. Shepherd is someone who watches and guides you. 'I shall not want': I have never ask God to be my guardian but He chose to)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures
(MAKES..He chose the best for me. Green pastures: a place of comfort, a place of relaxation, a place of beauty and also a place where you learn to overcome your difficulties and troubles. Who say green pastures do not have stones or pebbles hiding in between those greenary)

3 He restores my soul. He leads me in path of righteousness for his name's sake
(He always gives new hope and joy to my soul. He never choose to forsake me when I walked the wrong path and sinned. He took the extra mile to guide me back to path that is right. Like a parent, He will always want the BEST He can give to His children. In return, we as children will bring glory to His name.)

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me
(I will not be afraid when I walked through painful and tragic moments in my life. For I know, You have lead me there and You are by my side at all times. Your presence and warmth comfort me from within)

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflow
(In ancient New Eastern culture, at a banquet it was customary to anoint a person with fragrant oil as a lotion. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. God offers protection for us when enemies are around us ~ NIV Study Bible)

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever
(All the days of my life, be it in good or bad times His goodness and mercy shall follow me forever wherever I am. I will dwell in His house; not just a physical house but His presence for as long as I live)


I saw this picture of this soldier in Iraq who had written this passage on his helmet. Imagining his life as he goes to war, his life may be the extreme of what we go through in our normal daily life. 

We go to 'war' also as we face our everyday challenges, from studies, work, family and personal struggles. Rather than just focusing on the STRUGGLES we go through everyday lets give it GOD and let Him be the pilot of our life. We may take so much energy to steer our life to the right direction but GOD just want us to surrender and allow Him to guide us. 

The WORD of the LORD had spoken and tells us to put our life in HIS hands.

Stop being a control freak and let Him be our PILOT!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Decisions, decisions…


Decisions, decisions... Finding the will of God in a complex world
Lawrence and Diana Osborn 

Another good book to read especially when you are in a situation of deciding what would you want to do in the future.

How do we find the will of God in this complex world? How our decisions affect others especially our loved ones? How do we know that is what God had called us to do? What is required of us?

After reading and digesting the perspectives of Lawrence and Diana Osborn, I find that our Lord is like a shepherd who actively looks after us in every decision we make. How do we know that? First of all, we must know Him personally through prayer and reading of His words. He is always faithful in leading and guiding His people in the Old Testaments as we read. Even in the New Testament, He continually affirmed His people to continue to walk with Him by following Jesus’ examples. God gives and respects our freedom in our decision (He does not point a gun to our head and tell us to do what He tells us to do).

We also ought to listen expectantly. Reading the Bible daily also allows God to speak to us. We do not pray and open the Bible randomly and read a verse. Then, conclude that God wants us to go into ministry. It is a process. As you read daily, God would speaks through the words and allow you to response towards it.
In every decision making, it is important to KNOW YOURSELF: your passion and your gifts. We are all gifted in different areas so that is also why we are all called to do different works in this world. Everyone is unique in their own ways. 

We must also fill ourselves with information. Being informed is more than just listening passively but it is to avail ourselves with information that can be obtained from media. I would like to highlight that “THE NEED IS NOT A CALL”. There are a lot of needs around, but there is only so much we can do. We can take the need into consideration to our decision-making. 

Personal advices from people who know you are very important as they see different ability that we often overlook ourselves. Remember to keep your people who you asked small in numbers. Advices from family, friends and spiritual leaders are valuable in our decision-making. Prayerful decision is time-consuming. Yet, in our society time is scarce. On top of it all, we must allow God to intervene and influenced our decision-making.

Decision-making is a very personal matter, not mechanical. So, we must give time to let it sink into our mind. Seeking God’s will is like giving birth to dream, IT TAKES TIME! Being silent gives space for us to listen to what God is SPEAKING to us. 

To confirm one’s decision, always remember NO SECOND BEST. Always gives God the BEST in everything that we do as an individual. I should not only look at material blessings. Instead, as I lived out the decision that was made, how I have grown as a Christian. Moreover, being at PEACE with the decision that was made is important. Peace plays a significant part in the process of seeking God’s will.
 
In our decisions, our attitudes should be a beloved child rather than an anxious servant.

One mark of a good dancer who dances to God’s will is precisely a capacity to response creatively to the music. So it is with God’s will: what God expects of us is not blind obedience but the kind of voluntary self-abondonment that creatively interprets the tune he is playing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are we missing the point today?

With all the big commotion about the church raid in Damansara Utama Methodist Centre (DUMC), are we missing the real point beneath all of this?

Are we disillusioned with all that is put out in the media for us to read and updated?

Remember the one Malay lady who stood up and testify that she seeks help from the government but she gained none. So, she went to DUMC which has a foundation  for single mothers. She GAINED help for her family.

As a single mother living in today's world, it is not an easy task. The people in DUMC has showed that we can help people who are in need and helpless. They gave help when they saw a need.

So, we ought to learn that we should come together as ONE to help who are in need. Do we need to see who is converting who. Isn't saving a life more important than all of the others?

Take time to think. Who are we fighting for? What are we doing? What we ought to do actually?

We are all taught to help each other regardless of our own faith. Let's go back to the basic.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Circumstances did not stop him


Have you heard of Ludwig van Beethoven? He was gifted in playing the piano at a very young age. When his alcoholic dad knew of this gift, he knew that Beethoven can be his money source. Thus, he is force to be a SLAVE to his piano. He did not enjoy a memorable childhood like many of us do. His mom was also bound to work. The greatest encouragement his mom gave Beethoven: “Be strong, my son. Be strong. Some day you will be great.”

Then, at young age Beethoven compositions were not received well by the high-class society, even though he had received a lot of praises and applauses. 

Besides, Beethoven also suffered from losing his hearing. Beethoven first began to lose his hearing at his twenties. At 40, he was totally deaf. He declared “I will grapple with faith, it shall never drag me down.” When he no longer could play for the public, he focused his total energy in composing music. 

Illness-near constant gout and growing rheumatism too have taken a toll on his health. He continued to say “Courage…my spirit shall rule."

In all, he had composed 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonates, 5piano concertos, 10 sonates for the piano and violin, a series of string quartets, vocal music, theater music, and much more. All his compositions had greatly influenced later composers such as Brahms, Wagner, Schubert and Tchaikovasky.

Near death, he knew that the world had not understand him or his music, but with a happy smile on his face, he whispered, “I shall hear in Heaven.”

How great is this man. He indeed did leave a legacy behind. I am amazed that though there were many hurdles that were laid in front him still he strived on and continued to express his God-given talent. He had learned to be happy and grateful in whatever situation he was in. Such a great lesson we can learn here.

Be thankful and content in whatever state we are in.

World changers refuse to allow OUTER CIRCUMSTANCES to stop the expression of their God-given talents.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Called and Obedience


All of us may be called but how many of us obey? The latter is the harder step.

This may also be another reason why many are not happy with what they are currently doing in life. Some may say the other person has a better life than me because he/she is living with higher expanses in a bigger house and eating nicer food. 

I say when you honor God, He will honor you. When He call you, are you going to obey? Because He will satisfy your soul and every need.

I remembered that my dad told me how he was prompted to open an aquarium shop after his pencen year. He shared that God had prompted him to do so. The journey to open the shop at the beginning was not easy. His fish died, my siblings and I were still young and he had no help from anyone. But, God was faithful. God had brought kind souls into my parents’ life to teach them how to run the business though at hard times. They learned through their mistakes and successes. It was also through this shop, my siblings and I had learned the hardships of my parents. Their hardships had provided comfort, shelter, food and love for each of us. 

The other story was about my mum. My mum has a learner heart. She is willing to learn anything that was given to her. That was her strength. So, God has used that skill of hers and taught her to give BM tuition although she is Singaporean who does not speak the language (She was learning the language at the same time), sell tupperwares, drive a car, raised three kids and many more. Her willingness to learn had allowed our faithful God to continue to entrust her with many things. 

Indeed, my parents' need had been fulfilled. God continue to shower manifold blessings onto their life. Yes, they worked hard for it. When God entrusted you with something, God also hopes that you work hard in it. One thing is that my parents’ obedience towards God’s calling truly had inspired me.  

When we are willing to be use by God, He will use us to show His love and faithfulness in our lives.

DIFFERENT PEOPLE DIFFERENT ROUTE


As two air-conditioned men came and fixed my brother’s shop air-conditioner, I thought to myself how diverse and how different everyone jobs were. They skillfully fixed the air-conditioner in a jiffy. Then, as I looked around and fixed my eyes on the mamak store. There were so many skillful people and all from different walk of life sitting down and sipping hot drink or having a cold drink. Then, I wondered if ever there was no one that had decided to take this path to open a mamak store. Then, there will be no mamak at all. 

Then, if ever everyone were to decide to be a doctor, then there would not be public servants who willingly throw and clean the rubbish we throw (we should be grateful for them). It’s like a body. If all our body were eyes, then we would not function well or even look like human.

Every job a person does give equilibrium in the society; from cleaning the sewage to public transportation and also to white collar working society. Every job has its own importance.

I wondered how they knew that the job was something they would want to do. There must be a master plan behind all this. How in the end we are interlinked with each other and helping each other subconsciously. I know it is God who is the master plan. He had planned it all along. He is far more a genius than we are. His ways are higher than our ways. 

We are all skilled differently. We all have different strengths and also different weaknesses. The skills that we possessed are all God-given. This is the reason that all of us may be called to different walks in life.