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Archive for February, 2016

We discovered on our way to work the other day that a house around the corner has been demolished overnight – here one day gone tomorrow.  Just a tractor and a couple of hours, brick and mortar is reduced to a pile of waste.
Compare that to the building of a house, brick by brick and layer after layer, it takes ages before a piece of vacant land is occupied by a nice looking liveable structure.
Not dissimilar to human character, we work hard to build virtues but it wouldn’t take long for vices to take root.  It takes years to build confidence in an abused child but too easily is that confidence taken away with the slightest of rejection sensed. 
Such a fragile being are we!!!

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Today’s sermon is on we are the salt and light in this world, Matthew 5:13-17.  By being salt and light of this world, we are to be seen from afar, displaying Christ-like charateristics so that the world knows hope, peace and joy God has for all.  The really interesting thing is when the pastor mentioned that when God is visible, we are no longer visible – when salt gives its saltiness, it is dissolved and is no longer there; after a match gives out its light, it “dies” – so we are no more but God is exalted.

Wait.  I’m what???  No more, you said?  Why can’t it be about ME?  I’ve put in the hardwork, put up with unreasonable people, but yet it’s not about me?  You had better be joking.

While battling this thought all day today, feeling miserable because no one’s looking my way and nothing seems to be going right, I received a text from a dear buddy.  She’s been reading this blog and she claims that the words had encouraged her.

My God, yes, my God’s words had encouraged her, not mine.  That’s what the sermon meant, if we bring light, then we bring out Jesus, Jesus’ love, peace and joy.  These save, not me.  So it’s never about me, but Jesus, and I’ve gotta learn to accept that. 

Lord, satan has laid in my heart to look within myself and feed my desire to self-exalt.  Help me to recognise this early instead of giving satan a foothold in my heart.  His way leads to darkness, as we’ve seen in Adam and Eve’s decision.  I do not wish to be separated from You, so keep me on track please.  Amen.

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God, help me to lay aside the weights and sins that amplifies the giant before me; but choose to fix my eyes on Jesus, to complete the race you have for me here on earth.  Amen.

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I often hear people referring to hardship as persecution.  Not wanting to belittle tough situations others go thru, but I sometimes think it’s more of God’s nudge, telling us something is wrong and it’s time to re-focus.

The past 12 months had been nothing but eventful and trying.  On top of our personal strives, work has been extremely hectic.  (Too) Much of my energy and focus had been channelled towards work, so much so that my personal life and mental health has taken its toll.

My first incident of persecution-like feeling came when I started to feel unappreciated at work.  Nothing I did was gaining me the recognition and fruit deserving of a champion.  I began to harbour ill feelings towards my supervisor.  It took me awhile to realise God’s message to me, ranging from “do not build your hope on earthly treasure,” to “be grateful for what I have blessed you with so far.”  There was much joy and humility to think that such a holy God would be bothered with someone like me!

It’s funny when life is well I wouldn’t be so sensitive to God’s voice, and I would quietly return to the straight and narrow after revelations such as these.  But just like the Israelites, I would soon forget my lessons and start going back to my earthly treasures…. forgetting God and what He had done.  Not for long though…. another obstacle and again I am brought to the throne of grace….. lamenting my stiff-neck and the pain I had to endure.

The Lord’s discipline is wonderful, it brings me closer to Him; it shows me how much He cares and how much my straight and narrow means to Him.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t get a medal at work, because I know there’s much treasure awaiting me in heaven, if I follow His lead.  Even if I do get a medal on this earth, it is Him that is glorified, not I.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace, your love and your forgiveness.  I’m sorry that I have left you out of my life, trying to control and win the world.  My purpose here is to bring you glory and I want to do so.  Please help me, and I shall follow you.  Thank you for your discipline, please keep me in the straight and narrow, for your name’s sake.  Amen.

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I’ve had a while to ponder on yesterday’s reading in 2 chronicles 29:3-31:1.  In this passage, King Hezekiah had taken over the reign from his father, Ahaz.  Ahaz had shut down God’s temple but King Hezekiah ordered the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves, in order to cleanse God’s temple, as soon as he became king.  King Hezekiah resoluted to put things right with God (2 Ch 29:10).

The outcome was unbelievable and very encouraging – it talks about our responses to God, His provision and how we ought to worship Him.

First, the leader commands the people according to God’s calling (2 Ch 29:15b).  I don’t know how King Hezekiah could have known the Lord, given his father led a Godless life.  But God called, he recognised the voice and he heeded.  I thought that itself was pretty amazing.

Second, there was elaborated preparation before worship even began.  The priests and Levites consecrated themselves, cleansed the temple (that took 16 days), then all the offerings came before the alter (a lot of slaughters and blood throwing happened there…. I’m awefully glad I don’t live in the old testament age….), THEN worship and songs of praise began!  How seriously do I take my worship?  We don’t need the animals anymore so that’s a big load off; but we should really take the time to confess our sins before coming face to face with Him.

Next, God provided for the people to come worship Him.  In 2 Ch 29:36, we see everyone rejoiced because though the whole affair came at “short notice”,
God had provided all that was required.  Remember that Ahaz had removed and destroyed a lot of the temple, but yet it was restored in just 16 days!  We also see in 2 Ch 30:12 that God’s hand was on “whole of Judah”, maybe to strengthen them as they were scorned and sneered at when they had invited the Israelites to come to worship at Jerusalem.  We really need God’s provision to do God’s work, to reach the lost, otherwise our effort is in vain.

Lastly, God’s mercy and believers’ joy.  In 2 Ch 30:20 we see the Lord healed the people, because their hearts were set to seek God.  In God’s presence and with healing, the worshippers were made glad (see verses 21, 23 and 26), they had such a good time that they extended the worship!  I cannot remember the last time I had been so revived while worshipping our Lord, what’s missing?  They knew they were with great sin and they truly sought God; so they could truly savour God’s mercy and be made glad!  We are in the age of entitlement, so much so that God’s mercy has come cheap and lost its flavour.  God help us to be constantly mindful of the price Christ had paid for our salvation, so that we may find great joy in God’s presence.

Thank God for His revelation and help in my daily life.  Amen.

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Today’s memory verse is Psalm 73:26, but I thought verse 25 is excellent too and there’s in fact a Chinese worship number based on these verses!

http://youtu.be/SUPG_iKMpFs

It’s been a hard day at work, dealing with personality crashes etc. is tiring.  I also discover that I’m not good at accepting those different from me – I begin to judge them simply because they react differently from me!  How evil is that?!

Just like the psalmist, besides God, my strength and what I will myself to do would fail.  But with God, I can do what He wants me to do.

Lord, help me to love those around me, be the salt and light you’ve tasked me to be.  With your might, I can!  Amen.

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