BE INTENTIONAL (7): Let it all out, lay it all down, leave it all behind.

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Every morning you’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on Your altar and watch for fire to descend. – Psalm 5:3, MSG

Hello 2020! A new year often signify changes that can make us apprehensive and uncomfortable— Seasons change; plans change; people change; feelings change; and things change— Ways we cannot see; times we cannot control; events we cannot comprehend; and things we cannot understand. Undeniably, changes are inevitable and unpredictable, but God is still in the center of it all. As the calendar turns another page, each day comes with a God-given Gift:

  1. Gift of a NEW day. 

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:23

Each morning is a new day, new beginning. It is a chance given to start over or make the best out of it. It is a loving reminder how God has sustained us the night before and bless us with a gift to live another day. He carries us through day to day. What greater gift can there be to live another day? So, treasure each day and live for His Glory.

  1. Gift of SURRENDER. 

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:7-8

Do we want to carry baggages from the past year(s) to the new year: Insensibilities. Sensualities. Guilt. Mistakes. Wilderness. And whatnots. Lay them down; let them go; and hand them over. Each day is a call, a chance to humble ourselves and surrender all that is in our heart, our mind and on our hands. Breakthroughs take 100% God and also 100% man- to let go and let God – God can’t do any thing if we withhold any thing. Let God have the key, He is way far better in handling our lives (and messes) than ourselves.

  1. Gift of MERCIES. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:2224

The God who is slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness, is ever so gracious. His Grace unmerited and given, therefore we can hope in Him to see us through the seasons, whatever we are facing.

  1. Gift of RENEWAL.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Day by day, continuously, God makes us new every moment, and each day brings a fresh beginning.

  1. Gift of LOVE. 

His Love endures forever.  – Psalm 136

God is love. No matter how faith less or faithless we are, He will always be faithful. Since God has already given His All which demonstrated the extent and the depth of His Love, no good thing will He withhold from us.

  1. Gift of BLESSINGS. 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19

The crux is- what do we “see”? His blessings are actually everywhere— it is a matter of perspective— they may not come in the package we expect, they may be the little things we often dismissed or overlooked. Look around, and count our blessings, and we will realise we have actually forgotten to be grateful. 

  1. Gift of the HOLY SPIRIT.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

The Holy Spirit living in us is an Overcomer – that with Him and through Him, we can do all things.

  1. Gift of ASKING. 

Ask of Me, and I will give you… – Psalm 2:8

Ask and you shall be given (Matthew 7:7)! What would we want to ask God for? Call upon Him and He will answer and tell us great and unsearchable things we know not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

  1. Gift of EMPOWERMENT.

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. – Psalm 28:7

What is the center of our lives? And this centre will drive us. Chase feelings and feelings will bring us on a roller coaster ride with highs and lows; follow our heart and our heart will bring us go places with heartbreaking zig-zag turns; chase the world and the bible warns that we will lose our soul. Make Jesus the centre, and life will be back in the balance. 

BE INTENTIONAL (6): Change Yourself First

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Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. – Romans 12:2 NLT

I once observed my two young nieces, a pre-schooler and a toddler, jostling with each other over a toy. The robbed child, indignant with sourpuss grumpiness, would then howl in anger and attempt a scratch or a snatch. At this juncture, I would intervene to parry the blow. “No, no, no! You can’t do that…” This incidence reminded me that our gut reaction to lash out doesn’t change as we age.

I once asked a friend this question- can a person who struggle with anger a patient person? I think, a person who has issues with anger may not produce evident fruits of patience and gentleness, as opposed to a person who is patient and gentle. 

It is innate that we all are quick to respond, whether in christlike manner or otherwise. Sometimes we spew out senseless drivel and hurtful speech when tempers frayed. Unmet expectations. Unresolved issues. Unsettled disappointments- Every pet peeve writes a check on our joy account. And bitter roots start to weed…

But, God’s grace is immeasurable, His mercy inexhaustible, His peace inexpressible. He can empathise with our human idiosyncrasies. He knows that for us to well and truly grow up, we must learn to grow out of our past and grow into our future. 

So instead of changing the other person, choose the way we respond.

Instead of seeking power and control, choose to response to needs.

Instead of pursuing perfection, learn from mistakes, acknowledge them and rectify them.

Instead of focusing on unmet expectations, choose to be realistic that men will fail and accept that only God can fulfill that void.

Instead of pointing finger at anyone, turn your negative emotions to God and let Him have the final say.

Instead of retaliating, leave your vengeance to God and let Him give the verdict as the Judge.

Have a brake on your tongue; hit the throttle on your ears. Pray this simple prayer,

“Without You, I am nothing.

Apart from You, I can do nothing.”

Partnering God and working with Holy Spirit will be rewarding. Let Him surprise you that the outcome is far beyond what you can apprehend. For God is a God of Miracles.

BE INTENTIONAL (5)- Be Grateful and Contented

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Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. — Ecclesiastes 7:12

As my company book closes for the month, it is also the time of the year for me this day to review about life- June has been my most stressful month where my brain usually launched into overdrive and my soul seems trapped in an undercurrent of discontentment:

I cannot count the number of gripes I grumbled and the many complaints I mumbled; 

the mistakes I fumbled and the fall I tumbled; 

much less to track the sins that had me crumbled and the pride that called me to be humble.

June is the month to account for the state of my finances, whether healthy or unhealthy: my brain crunches numbers each night long after I am supposed to be asleep, accelerating my pulse. Issues at work jab me from the right, shove me from behind and punch me square in the nose. As the adage goes, it never rains but pour!

In our rapidly volatile and uncertain present-day economy, money matters and work can drastically elevate our stress. And the double whammy of living in a consumerism culture where instant gratification is celebrated, mankind of the fallen nature categorically do not like to wait: We want instant gratification; we want life’s knottiest dilemmas to be dissolved immediately; we want everything chop-chop.

I guess I am sane, for I am not alone… 

During such challenging times, when my strength wanes and peace eludes me, the thoughts of I-don’t-know-what-is-the-heck-I-am-doing assailed me relentlessly with discontentment gnawing at me ferociously. Temptations of calling quits or running away beckoning… I got real last Monday, coming to terms with my inner struggle, my Spirit started singing away Don’s Moen’s song, “Take Me Deeper”,

‘There is a longing only You can fill,

A raging tempest only You can still…

My soul is thirsty Lord

To know You as I am known

Be in Your Presence 

Forever satisfied…’

Indeed, there was a very deep yearning I had not felt from time immemorial. My soul has been very parched as I got distracted by the cares of this world… And I can’t seem to hear God very much recently, but I knew my spiritual antenna isn’t working well. Interestingly, past online devotionals touched on money matters. And God spoke with a Rhema word, “Continual”:

His continual Presence will be my comfort and strength;

His continual Guidance will direct my every steps;

His continual Infilling of the Holy Spirit will empower me;

His continual Protection will be a canopy over me wherever I am;

His continual Healing will be a living testimony of His Power over my weaknesses;

His continual Faithfulness will be reminders of His never failing Love;

His continual Forgiveness bears the hallmark of His Grace;

His continual Provisions are wrapped in blessings, big or small, each day.

I am very thankful God rein me in. Since I can’t change my circumstances nor ignore my emotions, it takes greater wisdom (since we are more inclined to trusting our own “smart aleckness” and relying on our own strength) in knowing who is the Ultimate safety net to fall back on, and trusting God to bring us through.

The reward for perseverance is – God is faithful- I have received much surprises this week that made nice birthday presents today. I am learning to be grateful for the big and small alike, and count my blessings so that I can cultivate contentment.

BE INTENTIONAL (4): Seeking the Only One True King

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Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst. – John 6:35

At this time of the year, a king would stay over at my place for a few days. And my family look forward enthusiastically to have a big feast with him, except me, as I struggle to be hospitable, due to his overpowering body odour. Not long after, the entire house would stink heaven high for hours! (And yes, I should have a deodoriser on standby!) 

Only Singaporeans would know what I am talking about – yes, the durian season with the ever familiar stench of the year is here again, and it is time almost the entire Nation would go ga-ga over the king of fruits. They would even travel the miles just to lay hands on this smelly fruit. And whenever I passed by roadside stalls selling durians, I would never failed to see a single soul craving to polish off the seeds without gesticulating KFC’s famous slogan, “Finger Licking Good”.

If only Singaporeans can turn the same passion in seeking after a one true King, who is the King or Kings and the Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16), whose Fruit* will always satisfied:

Jesus Christ is the true life-eternal-giving Bread, whose Word is life-saving and have the divine power for supernatural intervention. He is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports spiritual life. Those who come to Christ, believe in Him, and eat of this spiritual Bread of Life shall be filled and be satisfied in every need. It also sustains the spiritual life in strength, and refreshes the weary.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.” – John 6:51

Just as our physical body need food every day, our spiritual body need to be fed daily too in order to grow and live well. May this durian season be a great reminder to seek the One True King whose flesh will always satisfied. 

P.S.

Good news for the diabetic, since the sugar content found in this spiritual Fruit* is very healthy. And for those who have sensitive nose, this Fruit* only release sweet-smelling aroma. 

BE INTENTIONAL (3): RESTART- Get Up, Get Out And Get Going

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When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

Not too long ago I upgraded the tank for my swimming pets (Wonder shrimps and water snails) so that they will have more room to manoeuvre. I had also made a special request to the shop owner to change two of the decorative shells on the sand bed to rocks instead. Rocks to me is a great reminder that Jesus is my Rock, and on this Rock I can stand on solid ground where I will not be shaken! 

As the tank sits on my desk, I can steal glances at my pets any time. From time to time, I notice that some of the snails will hide in the crevices of the rocks, and some seem to be lodged in there for a very long time. 

This sight brought to my mind that many of us are like those snails, refusing to budge- We burrow deep into our own valleys, wallow in our self-pity parties, sink into a seemingly bottomless abyss of emotions and refuse to get out of the mud. The snails probably thinking it is safer to hide in the crevices, but how great is that darkness that enshroud them! Isn’t that more frightening not able to see any light at all?

Many of us are deceived while ensnared by the traps of the evil ones and enslaved by the devil to derail our faith by blindsiding us to the Truth. As a result, we get veered off course in the wilderness and rendered us asunder in the spiritual chasm. 

But the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord- where God directs, there is safety. When overwhelmed by our own anxieties, we often forget that we have a powerful weapon in our spiritual arsenal that provide powerful ammunition against all evils (unless we are rusty in using it).

Nobody have it altogether in order to get right with God- God can take our broken pieces, exactly what we are, and made us whole. And building our lives on the solid bedrock of God’s Word, we will be able to stand strong on this Rock of Foundation, no matter what life tsunamis hit us.

The key is, our choice has to be intentional – we must want to be set free, decide to break away and not turning back. And that has to start with the mind to make that choice and follow through no matter what, then the rest of our action will follow – So get up first, then get out, and get going! 

BE INTENTIONAL (2): REFUEL- Hope, Moment to Moment

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Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed. – Isaiah 49:23

Broken homes. Broken dreams. Broken relationships. Debilitating diseases. Devastating news. Crippling fears. Looming darkness. Relentless pain. Despaired tomorrows. Bleak future. Robbed lives. Tough 2018.

Tough life. Yes, it will be, if we live without hope. The Bible did warn us that without hope, we will be like living zombies (1 Chronicles 29:15; Proverbs 13:12). That is life on earth in a fallen world – the inescapable passage of time, with inevitable phases of suffering. 

But just one simple Truth will change our lives- put our Hope in God who never fail- Our flesh will fail, men will fail and things will fall away but only God, who is Omnipresent and Omnipotent, can transcend all things.

God knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), and He promises that He will be our portion (more than enough), therefore we can put our hope in Him, for the Lord is good to those who wait upon Him and seek Him. (Lamentations 3:24-25). We also have a Living Hope in the power of the resurrected Christ (1 Peter 1:3), and with Christ living in us, we have the Hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27). We can take heart too that hope that is seen is not hope at all; for why do we still hope for what we can see? But if we hope for what we do not see, we will then eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Romans 8:24-25).

We can draw near to God who offers better Hope (Hebrews 7:19) This Hope serves as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19). Now may the God of (all) Hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

Hope has to be in the moment – be intentional, live moment to Moment. And we will find renewed strength.

Right Here Waiting

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This old popular secular song originally penned and composed by Richard Marx, has been playing like a broken record of late in my spirit for quite sometime, which I was inspired to modify the lyrics to remind us that no matter what we do and where we are spiritually, God is always “Right Here Waiting”.

 

RIGHT HERE WAITING

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Distance apart day after day

And I slowly drift away

I hear God’s voice a whisper

But it doesn’t soothe my pain

If I see God next to never

How can I stay on longer

 

Wherever I go

Whatever I do

God will be right here waiting for me

Whatever it takes

Or how His Heart breaks

He still be right here waiting for me

 

I took for granted, all the times

That God always there for me

He knows my struggles, He counts my tears

But I can’t get near Him now

Oh, can’t you feel it Father

Life gets me broken-hearted

 

Wherever I go

Whatever I do

God will be right here waiting for me

Whatever it takes

Or how His Heart breaks

He still be right here waiting for me

 

I wonder how I can survive

Lost and tried 

But in the end God is with me

I’ll keep the faith

Oh, can’t you feel it Father

Life gets me broken-hearted

 

Wherever I go

Whatever I do

God will be right here waiting for me

Whatever it takes

Or how His Heart breaks

He still be right here waiting for me

Waiting for me