Sleeping through the storm

Could you sleep tightly during a storm? One episode in the Bible shows how Jesus Himself absolutely could. He was so chill, so unalarmed He didn’t mind that the boat He’s sleeping right on was close to sinking, while everyone else could have had some sort of cardiac arrest while the chaos unfolded. Let’s read this passage and reflect on how and why  this anecdote from Jesus’ life is and should be of great significance to us.

(Read Matthew 8:23-27)

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Thoughts to ponder:

  • This passage paints a picture of Jesus’ humanity–He did get tired and need some sleep. He was absolutely human like us who felt the same feelings, who had the same physical needs. This fact validates His qualification as our intercessor between us and God the Father (Hebrews 2:17).
  • The disciples who were with Jesus in the scenario were scared to death as the waves broke into the boat. Even if they knew Jesus was with them, they were consumed by fear, and overwhelmed by anxiety that they seem to forget who they were with. Even after seeing Jesus perform miracles and supernatural things, they lacked faith and entertained fear before anything else.
  • This is a reflection of us, our humanity–it’s so easy to worry and doubt, to be frightened of the troubles and challenges that confront us day by day, even the ones that have not come our way yet.
  • Jesus had to wake up to rebuke His disciples, “You have so little faith!” Notice that He rebuked the disciples first before the actual storm. Many times in life, we must first be reminded that God IS ACTUALLY with us–He is our Lord who is always able, He is faithful and mighty to save, His kindness and mercy lasts for eternity; and we can trust Him.
  • We fail to remember how God has already shown His faithfulness and kindness to us in the past, how much He’s blessed us, protected us, delivered us and cared for us. We tend to not believe that He can do it again; that He can rescue us from our daily storms again. And again. And again.
  • Jesus knew a storm was coming; He wasn’t even shocked or panicked about it. In this life, God did not promise that we will not go through stormy weathers; in fact, Jesus told us to expect trials and sorrows in this life (John 16:33). All He ever promised is that He is and will always be with us amidst the difficulties, and He will neither fail us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
  • This passage also captures a vivid picture of Jesus’ deity, His divine and supreme nature that “even the wind and waves obey Him”. Sometimes, God uses man’s extremities as an opportunity to perform His supernatural, to work His miracle, by just one word, in a heartbeat. We just got to believe that He is the Lord, and He is able. Wait and watch in awe.
  • Because of this we can lie down in peace and, like Jesus, sleep through the storm.

#HeCalmsMyStorms
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New Clothes

Want something new to wear? Check this out.

(Read Colossians 3:12-14)

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Thoughts to ponder:

  • Holiness is a sign of belongingness to God. If you are in Christ and has accepted Him and His love, you are changed from the inside out, and you become set apart to live an honourable life before God.
  • It is the Holy Spirit’s job to sanctify us and help us be conformed to the image of Christ. Our job is to surrender to Him, and actually obey God by heeding His Word, and following the examples of Christ.
  • We must wear the Holy Spirit daily, which means being clothed with His virtues and fruits (See Gal 5:22-23). As God’s children, we must radiate the beauty and goodness of our Father and Creator so we can bring Him honour and glory.
  • Learn to forgive. Sometimes it is hard work, sometimes it seems impossible. But just think of how you have personally experienced God’s forgiveness and deliverance, of how God must have saved you and pardoned you from a myriad of things, which you know you don’t and won’t ever deserve. He must have been so patient and long-enduring with you. Learn how to seek His help when you know you are struggling to forgive past faults and troubles some people caused you.

#newclothes
#dirtybibles

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Old vs New

This passage is meaty, confronting and simply straightforward, containing glorious truths. Let’s go.

(Read Colossians 3:4-11)

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This passage is meaty, confronting and simply straightforward, containing glorious truths. Thoughts to ponder:

  • Christ is the real source of life, whose fullness and total glory will be revealed to us in due time. The concept of life that we have now is nothing compared to the “real thing” in Christ.
  • When we finally meet Him, we will be changed, perfected, and become like Him in glory, communing eternally with our incomparable God.
  • God simply hates sin. He is both loving and just. He disciplines because He loves. He is love to begin with, but will never be unified with sin. Sin is death.
  • As we look forward to our future glory, God wants us put our sinful nature to death (as mentioned within v5-9), and constantly strive to live pure and holy lives. He Himself is holy and He wants us to abide by His righteous nature.
  • Die to be born again (in spirit). Let the flesh be crucified with Christ, let your sinful nature die daily so you can find the life that Jesus has brought through His resurrection.
  • Christ has given us a brand new identity that we must learn to put on and cultivate. We are the saved ones, the redeemed, the forgiven. This new nature is continually renewed as we grow in knowledge of Him; this is divine maturity nourished by the Holy Spirit within us
  • Jesus looks beyond our racial and cultural backgrounds. He establishes who we are, and who we become in Him, and the future that we have with Him as God’s children and citizens of heaven.

#OldvsNew
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25 Prayers

(Written earlier in June 2017)

Prayer is essential in a man’s life. I think the Bible itself simply cannot emphasise that enough.

Jesus Himself needed to pray constantly, and always sought the Father in everything. He would breathe and speak it. His life is a perfect demonstration of complete dependence on God in prayer.

Is prayer a constant thing in your life? Or is it something that you’ve been missing all this time?

Has it been just a tedious religious routine? Or an actual expression of your faith and devotion?

Has it been your source of strength and encouragement? Or just a last resort when all else have failed?

We will never run out of things to pray for. There are always so many matters that you can and must pray for–your family, your job, your relationships, your dreams and goals, bigger opportunities, etc.

With the recent happenings, where people are ruthlessly killed after enjoying an amazing concert, or even while driving on a highway, you would want to pray for safety and protection. With the things happening in the economy, whether you understand it or not, you would want to pray for financial stability.

We need help. We need God. We need to seek His will more than ever. We need protection from the works of the enemy. We need our hearts and minds to be ready for the things ahead of us that we do not and cannot know about.

We need to increase our faith. We need to believe that God is with us to strengthen and comfort us (Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23:4); that through the wars and storms, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is God who is in control; we can trust Him.

God is faithful. God is loving. He commands us to pray instead of worry, and He promises that He will give us His peace when we do so (Philippians 4:6-7).

And so I borrowed a list of 25 things that we all need to be praying about more from this amazing blog. When I saw this list, I knew I had to share it. It reminds us of the most significant life aspects that we must always take into account, including the areas that need God’s power and providence.

  1. Our government

  2. Our nation

  3. The community you live in

  4. The homeless

  5. Children without parents (orphans)

  6. People who do not know Christ

  7. Those that have run away from God

  8. Those that are struggling with addiction

  9. Being a better parent

  10. Being a better spiritual leader

  11. Becoming a more active member of the body

  12. Your enemies

  13. The house you live in

  14. Your children

  15. Your preacher/ministers (or priests/bishops)

  16. Your congregation

  17. The hungry (impoverished nations)

  18. Missionaries

  19. Those dying for their beliefs

  20. Our military

  21. Your spiritual life

  22. Widows/widowers

  23. Those that have recently lost loved ones

  24. The spread of the gospel

  25. Opportunities to reach those that are lost

So please, find the time and motivation to bring these supplications and petitions to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you know how to pray for each matter, to intercede for people and life scenarios. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us everything (John 14:26), and He is able to intercede for us in accordance with the Lord’s will (Romans 8:26–27).

Jesus can

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This one’s from a little story in Mark 9 where a dad approached Jesus and asked Him to free his son from a demonic spirit. Read Mark 9:14-29.

Let this be your prayer for today.

Jesus simply can. Jesus can turn any situation around. He can heal your sickness. He can take away the pain. He can bring you peace. He can bring breakthroughs. He can perform astounding miracles. You just got to believe and not doubt His matchless power. Pray even that you learn to not doubt the Lord’s power and authority, just like what the dad did in this passage. Believe and give your battles to God, from the smallest ones to what seem to be insurmountable. He got you covered! You just have to place your faith in Him and not doubt His sovereignty!

#DoubtNot
#Heispowerful
#NothingisimpossiblewithGod
#dirtybibles

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Do it unto the Lord

(From Colossians 4:23)

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Serve others like you’re serving God. Work hard for others like you’re working hard for God. Let everything you do be done unto God. Let everything you do be done in His strength. Let everything you do be done for His glory. He promised us a reward for sincerely and tirelessly serving Him, and all His promises are Yes and Amen!

#doituntotheLord
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Where He strengthens (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:5-7

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God is our strength. He is the source of real and true strength. He is our mighty and all-powerful Creator who gives us the strength to live, to have faith and believe, and to endure difficulties along our journey. And He blesses those whole rely on Him for strength.

I believe this pilgrimage to Jerusalem is symbolic of our own walk with God. And in this personal pilgrimage, the psalm says that we will pass through valleys of “weeping” (Baka); perhaps, referring to valleys of struggles, doubts, confusions, serious troubles and even more.

But because we placed faith in God and set our hearts on Him, we can walk through these life areas in His strength and grace. It is His presence amidst this long, eventful walk that gives us strength, and actually turn these dark, complicated places into places of refreshing springs, where His love and blessings will rain down and flood upon us.

Because He is present with us, we will go from strength to strength until we see Him face to face at the time and place He’s set for us.

Make Him your strength today. Obtain true strength by:

  • Accepting our weakness and relying on Him – “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
  • Trusting Him – “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬)
  • Hoping in Him – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Seeking Him always – “LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Believing Him – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 3:14)

In what areas of your life do you need His strength today? God is still sovereign and faithful. Pray that He strengthens your faith, and enables His strength to dwell upon you daily.

#Strengthlikenoother
#dirtybibles

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Where He dwells (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:1-4Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

For a true believer, God’s presence is everything. Spending time alone with the Lord enables us to feel His peace, joy, comfort and pure love. You feel complete in His presence; you feel security, satisfaction, and calmness you can’t get anywhere else. You don’t feel the passage of time when you’re with Him. His presence is like no other.

The Psalmist praises the goodness of where the Lord resides. This may refer to heaven, of course; but wherever the presence of God dwells, becomes like heaven. His manifested presence in our lives becomes our heaven on earth, and it’s only a tiny glimpse of the real thing!

The Psalmist hungers to enter His presence–he yearns for a communion with Him (v2), to stay in a place blanketed by His security and protection (v3).

And anyone who dwells in His presence worships Him and gives Him joyful praises inexorably because of His uncontainable beauty and grace (v4). It’s kinda like a sneak peek of our lifestyle in heaven, where we’d just speak and breathe worship all day long!

Have you ever been in His presence? Have you experienced the love and comfort God’s manifested presence brings?

Find some time alone with God daily. Just sit down and call upon His name, Jesus. Come before His presence with praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2). You can even play some worship music, and sing praises to Him. Read the Word, and His in-dwelling Spirit will reveal His truth and glory to you. He promised that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

His presence makes us whole and vivifies our spirits. In His presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Welcome Him in your room, in your household, in your workplaces, wherever you are. Believe that His presence goes with you everywhere you go.

#Hispresenceiseverything
#dirtybibles

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25 Promises

What is one supposed to feel when he realised he’s just turned twenty five? Twenty freakin’ five. Right now, to be honest, I’m still in a huge state of denial. Because the reality is, this number carries with it some inescapable truths and implications that would just rock me to the core, for sure. And that’s for a different blogpost.

See, I was really keen to share something on my blog like I’d always do when there’s a special occasion. Maybe make a list of some personal stuff like “25 things to do before I turn 25”, or “25 facts about me”, or maybe “25 life lessons” (which I sort of already did on my 24th last year with this blogpost). But really, I didn’t feel like any of these would be useful or fun or engaging anymore.

And so I had to stop and reflect, “What is really in my heart lately? What matters to me the most in the last few months?”

The answer didn’t come to me like an aha moment or an unexpected mental surprise. The answer was simple. The answer can be precised in three letters: G-O-D.

The Word of God (His promises, stories, precepts, wisdom) has become my lifeline. In fact, now I read it like my life depends on it. And the more I get to read His Word, the more I get to know God; the more I get to meet Jesus personally. And I tell you, I can’t get enough of Him.

Now, the Bible records thousands and thousands of God’s promises He made known to humanity, in many different areas of life (i.e., faith, guidance, supplication, protection, family matters, etc.). And God’s promises are always a Yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20).

I believe we need to cling to these promises, especially now that everywhere we look, there are horrendous things that are happening in our world, one after the other, because of people’s wrong decisions and evil choices. But in the middle of it all, let’s choose faith. Let’s choose to seek God, and trust Him and His written Word.

And so, I am citing 25 of the most inspiring and empowering promises that God has given us in His Word. He’s been faithful to me for twenty five years, whether I have been aware of it or not. I am making a choice to stand on His promises, and declare these over my life day by day, in any season, in victory and defeat, in my highs and lows, whether I feel good or when I don’t. I encourage you to do the same.

1) Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2) Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they will run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.

3) Mark 10:27

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God, all things are possible.

4) Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

5) Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

6) Matthew 11:28

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

7) Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

8) Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

9) Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  

10) Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. 

11) 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

12) Galatians 5:16

I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 

13) Proverbs 1:23

Turn at My rebuke; surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you.

14) Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

15) Malachi 3:10

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts,“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

16) Proverbs 3:5–6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

17) Isaiah 65:24

It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

18) Jeremiah 33:3

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

19) John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

20) Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

21) Isaiah 40:29

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

22) Isaiah 54:17

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

23) James 4:7

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

24) Lamentations 3:22–23

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

25) Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD  “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

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I joined the #WalkForFreedom!

And the day finally arrived. The third annual Walk for Freedom had taken place in Sydney last Saturday, 15th of October, and almost simultaneously in 270 other locations all over the globe to raise a massive shout for freedom.
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Registrations. I just love this scene! And I just love the colour black!

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It was my very first walk, that is why I find it significant.
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Hundreds have come to take part in the stand against slavery to let more people be aware of the viciousness of human trafficking and how we can be a part of the solution.
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Folks warming up for the event! We even did massages. Again, an unbelievably awkward and uncomfortable situation for me.

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This is one of the many steps we take to fight against modern day slavery, to stand up and speak up for the millions who have been silenced by it.
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The weather was on our side that day. It was bright and sunny, and pretty windy, too (which is a bonus). And the vibe was fantastic! The crowd of supporter was very wildly diverse! People of all colours and races joined in!
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The huge pack was divided into at least 5 queues. I was in the queue that first walked off and led the walk.

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The walk took about an hour and a half just around the metropolis. Crossing streets was one of our struggles. I mean how would you take 500 people to the other side of the road without rapidly breaking apart? So as expected, there were a few times we had to stop and wait until everybody got through.
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It was a silent walk, to resemble the people who are silenced by slavery. And this “rally” breaks traditions somehow. We didn’t need to hurl up a barrage and be disruptive to make a statement. We just got to walk in silence. I was even expecting that we were gonna walk with our mouths covered with a strip of black tape like in the other walks. But I guess I missed it this time.
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I witnessed some members of the walk team being approached by random passers-by asking what this long terrain of people in black was about. And I could just imagine the possibility of being able to share with them about our the cause that we support, and grab the opportunity to be involved, educated and equipped as an individual regarding the issue.
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I honestly think I took better photos. These are the best ones I could share! #Backfest

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I’d like to emphasise that I am not directly affiliated with A21 or any group at all, but I believe that God has put in my heart the desire to support this initiative, to echo this dialogue, and help to eradicate slavery.
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Honestly, I believe that you don’t need any label to be able to help. You don’t need to have a big name to contribute. You just gotta offer some time to get to know about human trafficking, make people aware of this horrific crime, donate to the funds, and try our best to eliminate the problem in our own spheres.
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This was after the rally, time to rehydrate and take more photos!

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Nobody deserves to be enslaved. Nobody deserves to be trafficked. Nobody deserves to be sold. Humans are not commodities, but people who have life and goals and aspirations. We all have a right to be free.
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Because I had to have one.

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I feel very thankful to A21 for giving me a chance to help even in such small, comfortable ways. And I feel privileged and humbled to be with hundreds of people, thousands around the globe who choose to be a voice for the victims, to raise not just funds but most importantly awareness about this horrendous problem.
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I’d like to express my gratitude to every single person who supported my fundraiser, and believed that this cause makes sense and is for something notable. My fundraiser, High Five to Freedom is still active and alive even after I have met my target of $500. I knew I could make it before October!
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Visit www.a21.org to get to know more about human trafficking and how the A21 campaign is working towards setting people free and helping them rebuild their lives and identities. Find information on donating, fundraising, getting involved and other relevant things as well.
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Now, what?

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While on the train today, I pulled out my daily devotional. And everything that’s written there has astonishingly validated what God has been putting in my heart the past few days.

I’ve come to realise that lately, the Lord has been teaching me an important lesson: how to live one day at a time—how to prioritise nothing but the now, and just live in the moment.

Present tense

It’s great to be futuristic and always think ahead, but the future will be no good if the quality of the present isn’t well taken care of.

I believe that focusing on the now also helps us develop and strengthen our trust in the Lord—that He will be there from top to finish, that He’s in the beginning and in the end of every chapter, ’cause that’s what He promised.

Failures vis-à-vis Victories

I also learned that the mistakes of today do not define you solely for the rest of your life.

Your everyday triumphs help establish your identity and validate your goals, so do your mistakes. They’re both essential in the process.

Today’s mistakes are tomorrow’s learnings. Today’s victories are tomorrow’s benchmarks.

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R.

Timeout!

The start of the year has been pretty rough for me. I know, we’re only in Day 8.

Well, there are just things that are beyond your control, even your knowledge sometimes. Your limitations as a human being become utterly exposed no matter how hard you fight it and pin down the problem.

In all angles and views, you are weak. And nothing that you have can make you any stronger or wiser. The issues become incremental and remorseless; the issues just keep on piling up without the previous ones being resolved. And you’re caught in the middle somewhere, confused and distressed.

But if there’s one thing I have learned, experienced and practiced in the last few days, it is to seek God and His peace continually–to just sit down with Him and rest in His presence; to lay down everything: your pride, your fears, anxieties, inhibitions, your bare self before Him, and just take a break in His comforting presence.

I know to some that might not make a lot of sense. But it simply means that you call upon the Lord, and cast everything up on Him, good or bad. Bible says to cast our cares upon the Lord because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and He’s always ready to sustain us (Psalm 55:22),

Be honest and bold before Him, keeping in mind that you are loved and forgiven and that He knows you from the inside out.

And the most important part of it all is to trust Him and hope in Him, give your complete dependence to Him, and His will and plan for you. Give to God what only God can handle. I always remind myself of Proverbs 4:5-6 that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

When our thinking minds fail, when our weak hearts collapse, when our plans just don’t work out in these tough situations, there’s nothing we can do but rely on God and wait for Him to move, wait for Him to look after everything with us. Psalm 27:14 says to “wait patiently for the LORD; be brave and courageous.”

Our problems are designed to put us in our mettle immensely. But I believe that God allows this sometimes so we would know our selves a lot more, our strengths and frailties. And more importantly, so we would know Him a lot deeper, too–that He is God, He is almighty and powerful, and He knows us, loves us and cares for us, and is able to rescue us from the quicksands of life.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” And that exactly what I have strived for–to sit quiet, trust God and wait on Him.

Isaiah 40: 31 is also well embedded in my heart: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

And so, the Lord has become my lifeline, my nourishment, my counsellor, my psychologist and physician in all of these. Nothing and no one else but Him.

Resting in God

I have come across this article by Joyce Meyer that spoke to me in the middle of the chaos and confusion I’m going through. I’m sure Joyce wouldn’t mind me reposting this for the people who happen to be reading this post. If it is your preference to go directly to her site, find the article here.

But here it is. The article is called “Living in God’s Rest” :

God wants us to enjoy our everyday lives. John 10:10 (AMP) says that Jesus died for us so we “may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”. But it seems so many people who say they believe in Jesus are not really enjoying their lives. It’s tragic to think that Jesus paid the price for our sins, that He suffered to make that sacrifice, and yet there are Christians who are struggling just to get by and make it through each day.

The key to having abundant life in Christ is living by God’s grace through faith. Because grace is His power working in us that enables us to do whatever we need to do in life.

When we try to do everything in our own strength and leave God out of the equation, we just get worn-out and frustrated by our mistakes and failures. But when we lean on God, we actually enter into His rest and can enjoy our lives, no matter what our circumstances may be.

Hebrews 4:9-11 (AMP) says, So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; for he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors…. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves]….

Now the rest of God is not a rest from work—it’s a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is calling you to do by His grace, and leaving the part you can’t do in His hands, trusting Him to do it. Hebrews 4:3 says it this way: We who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest…. So we start by believing.

When I’m trying to believe, I haven’t entered God’s rest. But when I do believe, I have complete rest in Him. Living by faith is not a struggle—it’s rest. And you can enter into God’s rest in every area of your life.

I’ve discovered that the stress in my life is caused by the way I approach my circumstances and the attitude I have toward them. It was a turning point for me when I realized that the world will probably never change, but I could learn how to change the way I go about handling situations that are challenging.

One key to this is knowing that as believers in Christ, we are partners with God—we have a part and He has a part in everything He calls us to do. When we don’t do the part we can do and we try to do His part, that’s when we live stressed-out with worry, fear, anxiety, frustration, no peace and no joy.

The reason this happens sometimes is because we think God needs our help. We meditate on the problem—rolling it over and over in our mind, worrying, trying to figure out how things should work out. It’s like we’re telling God, “I kind of think You need my help, and I’m not sure You can take care of this situation, Lord.”

We need to realize that worrying is useless! It’s like sitting in a rocking chair, rocking all day, wearing yourself out and getting nowhere. Trusting God means we give up worrying, reasoning, and anxiety and we enter into His rest with simple childlike faith—we live by grace through faith!

Ephesians 2:8-9 is a great scripture that says we’re saved by grace through faith. And we walk out our relationship with God and His plans for our lives the same way we receive salvation: by grace through faith. This is possible because Jesus made the perfect sacrifice for us when He gave His life, taking our guilt and condemnation and paying for our sins. Through a personal relationship with Jesus, we access God’s grace so we can do what He’s calling us to do.

It’s so amazing to know that God is always with us, giving us His grace for everything we need to do in life. Trust God’s unconditional love for you today. Do what you can do and give Him everything else. And when you find yourself getting frustrated or feeling overwhelmed, like you just can’t do it anymore, remember to stop, get your focus back on Him and enter into His rest once again.

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Original photo can be found on WallpapersCraft.com.

R.

Let’s start from the top

It’s 2016! I know that everybody’s Facebook newsfeed is filled with greetings and cheers, photos of fireworks and sparklers, lots of food and extravagant celebration. Of course it’s a huge festivity, and we want to celebrate all the accomplishments and successes of the past year, and move forward to a bigger, better one.

Phrases and sayings like, “Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!” or “New Year, New Life” have infiltrated the home page of all my social media accounts. And I wonder what these really mean to them.

(Heads up: This going to be an “I” post so bear with me.)

When I woke up this morning and reflected a bit on how I’m going to face this year, and how to plan it out basically, this phrase just hit me right away: Renew your mind. I remember it being drawn from the Scriptures, which goes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Renew your mind.

This verse can be explained, deliberated and integrated in many ways, I believe. But one thing is certain: it’s making that conscious effort to renew your thinking, to change your perspective of things; trash the old and/or ugly way your mind works, and start again, start afresh.

But I believe that there is nothing you can do perfectly or excellently without the help of our Lord. I think it is Him, His Holy Spirit that will do the job of “renewing” us from the inside out by seeking Him, listening to Him, communicating with Him, obeying Him, collaborating with Him, and always sticking with Him in all sorts of season.

2015 has been the toughest year so far.

Even up to the last few hours of it, challenges have simply punched me in the face, and on all sides of my body. It was consuming, it was tiring. I was in distress. I was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. It was awfully hard.

But one thing keeps me up and fighting: it’s God’s grace. My hope does not run out because I have it, I understand it. Even if I am not deserving, I have been graciously gifted with that.

I just had to keep reminding myself that despite the ugly, unpleasant things around me, I have a God who loves me, cares for me. I do not need anyone’s approval. I do not need anyone to define me, characterise me or validate me.

His grace is enough.

My Father’s love is enough. The identity that Christ gave me is enough.

I am saved. I am loved. I am a citizen of heaven. I am His. And nothing, NOTHING can ever change that.

I know we live in a very challenging world; we are exposed in a battlefield everywhere we go, and there’s already a grand one situated inside our minds. It is not hard to get blinded, to get derailed, to get lost. We are naturally weak, and we got to recognise this inherent flaw.

I am not gifted with a strong character, or a tough heart. I think everyone who knows me knows that. I would need so much support, encouragement and nourishment so I can build a stamina, some sort of defence mechanism. And I would need a lot of time to soak them all up.

One of the best things happened to me this year. I have developed the courage to come face to face with all my weaknesses amidst the adversities. I have learned how to look them in the eye, and identify them one by one and even provide a name for each one. I have tried my best to study how each one comes into existence, grows, and dies, or even resurrects.

And while I’m being pressed down, tortured and strangled by these things, I’ve found myself in a place where I am in need of some big time saving. I became more desperate for God, more thirsty for His presence and help. I would always be stuck in some way, and would always cry for rescue.

And in all those tribulations, I believe that God has never left my side. He has truly become my strength, a strong protective shield. I have always run to him for peace and comfort, which He has generously offered.

I have come to know Him, and got closer to Him on a different level.

I have recognised and accepted like never before that without God, I am nothing. I am no one. I am trash. That without seeking His grace and mercy, I am in complete destruction. Without Him, I am helpless–I am hopeless.

Christ is Hope.

This hope does not run out. This hope is abundant. This hope is available to me 24/7, and is only waiting for my go signal. This hope works. This hope revivifies. This hope renews. This hope sustains.

And so my battles continue this new year. Perhaps, we can say that there might be nothing new in the environment I’m living in, or in the situations I’ve got myself into. I have no control whatsoever in any of these things.

But I have control over my mind.

I have control on how I would react on these circumstances.

I have control on what direction I’d like to steer my vehicle to.

I have control on when to say what, and why and how.

And when I lose any form of control or direction in my body, I know that there’s one that will remain constant. One that will cancel out the noise and clear the skies ahead. One who will breathe life and bring light to my pathways. One who will remind me what I am, who I am, and where I am bound to go.

My Maker. My Captain.

As long as I have the ability to think properly, change and declutter my thoughts, I am hopeful and I am sure that my God will remain faithful and He will never let me down.

He has amazing plans for me. He has changed me and continues to refine me.

The assurance of His love is all I need to face the days to follow. I will remain grounded in that, and wait on His presence.

I will listen and allow Him to take over, and become Messiah in all aspects of my life as He’s always been.

So, to whoever’s reading this, partner with God this year, and see how things will change. Well, the may not, but you will!

Here’s to the new year!

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R.

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Fantastic news!

I am in seventh heaven right now. And it’s all fun and amazing up here! LOL. Just kidding.

Today, I’ve received one of the best news of the year. And that is the release date of the long-awaited and highly anticipated Hillsong Worship album, which we’ve learned today has the title, “OPEN HEAVEN / River Wild.”

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On their Facebook page, Hillsong Worship dropped the news that reads:

We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of our new album ‘Open Heaven / River Wild’ recorded live at #‎HillsongConf in Sydney! Available worldwide on 16th October! We pray this album will reach and impact the lives of many as they worship under an #‎OpenHeaven!

I mean, I know there’s still less than 2 months to wait. But it excites me so much to have Hillsong’s new music finally accessible any time of the day. We’ve had a good taste of it during conference. Also, the worship team has slowly introduced some of the new tunes during church services.

Can I just say that this new pool of songs is just simply irresistible (?). It makes you crave worship so much more. It makes your access to heaven and to God’s throne so much more dynamic and inexorable. The heartfelt and rhapsodic songs seem to make God’s Spirit and presence so much more palpable. In other words, it makes people worship and frolic in God’s love and presence in a powerful and extraordinary way.

The album is actually available for pre-order on their website. The track listing is already released as well.

One of the songs I’m very excited about is the one that goes “Holy is the Lord revealed before my eyes and my burning heart can scarcely take it in…“, which I believe is entitled “Transfiguration” (I’m still not so sure. I could be wrong).

Then there’s “Oh, what grace I’ve found in You, my Jesus, that my soul should entertain Your greatness…“, which I believe is called “What A Saviour.”

I am just incredibly happy because Hillsong Worship has done it again. Props to the brilliant team of God-inspired, Spirit-filled creatives! I mean, I thought it would be very hard top their previous album, “No Other Name.” But then I’ve realised, it’s not about which has better songs, and/or production and marketing components. It’s about the experience–both the musical and the spiritual aspects of it. If it’s music that speaks to the soul, and opens up the heart, mind, and soul to God’s voice and to His Word, then that’s IT. This album’s got IT.

So I’m looking forward to the release of this album, and to the fresh experience that it has to offer. And perhaps, the new revelations God has in store for His people, that I pray will be delivered strongly thru music. To God be the glory!

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R.