BE INTENTIONAL (12): Changes- It Is Time To Recalibrate Our Lives

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I am the Lord, and when it is time, I will make these things happen quickly. -Isaiah 60:22 NCV

It is often said that life is a like a game of chess – a strategy board game where every decision made on each move of a chess piece will impact the entire game. And each move will result in different outcome. 

By the same token, COVID-19 pandemic has effectuated changes in our lives that require us to adapt to everyday situations and adjust our expectations. Changes is fundamental for us to get our acts together.  

So what is God doing right now? It is time to recalibrate our lives and thrive in this season of crisis. We cannot remain where we are and expect to move with God, nor expect Him to move without doing anything.

And to quote someone, ”Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”

We need not be victims of circumstances, though we do not have control over the external, but we have control over what we can do at best, and leave God the rest.

So changes is not necessarily a bad thing- There are times when God need to shake things up to force us to change – He is intimately aware that we will not move forward without a push. So He will put us in situations that will make us uncomfortable (in whatever our area of struggle) to stretch us and make us grow. His ultimate goal isn’t to make our life miserable but to push us to a greater purpose for His higher Glory.

Change, and we be changed too.

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. – Proverbs 16:7 NLT

So hang on tight, and trust that God will eventually bring something good out of it, one day.

I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer. – Micah 7:7 CEV

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.

Look At The Farmer

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See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. – James 5:7 NLT

My journey on entrepreneurship is often fraught with challenges that is beyond apprehension. When times are bad, business gets a slow-down, and prolonged seasons of barrenness can really test faith as well as financial strength, and the next moment, discouragement sets the scene.

While in my usual habit of taking a prayer-walk at my park down the block, I saw a vision of a farmer ploughing the ground, and planting some seeds. After planting the entire field, perspiring from such hard labour, he waited by the side overlooking the field with anticipation…… At that instance, the scene seemed to freeze for the longest time- the farmer was still in the same position, waiting patiently……

This vision seemed to be conveying to me:

(a) The field represents my business and the land is given by the Lord;

(b) There is a time for everything: plowing, planting and harvesting- a time to sow and a time to reap;

(c) The farmer is synonymous to: (a) patience- seeds take time to sprout; (b) stewardship – watching over the field is call of duty; (c) faithfulness – seeds require constant tender loving care (watering, fertilising, pulling out weeds and even pest-control). And do not neglect the little things for the little things is a proof of trustworthiness. (Luke 16:10)

(d) The outcome is never instant, it takes a lot of hard work- it takes years for the seeds to grow into trees;

(e) It takes seasons of faith to trust the Lord to provide, as He determines the outcome.

We are to work hard if we want our field (apart from work, our ministry counts too) to bear fruits: Remember this–a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. (2 Corinthians 9:6 NLT)

Farmers toil with blood and sweat, neither can we have it all easy too, otherwise God will not mention the wise and hardworking ants in the bible (Proverbs 6:6, Proverbs 30:25)! However, God is still the ultimate God of the Harvest, our duty is to just do our best and leave the rest to God. And in His time He will bring about our due in due time. Just trust, and wait patiently.

The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. – Psalms 145:13b-16

That is one thing for sure, God will never let us go hungry.

Standing Firm Under Testings

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Recently, I have been hearing many friends fall away from faith due to disappointments with God for unanswered prayers that leave them with anger and bitterness… It was sad just because we cannot have the things we want, we lost the belief of God’s existence or we simply dismissed that God is not true to His claims of who He says He is. How often when God blesses us (so many times), we forgot to give thanks or praise Him, but how quickly or easily we get bitter when we get disappointed or during times of silence fm God.

How can we guard ourselves and stand firm under testings?

1. Recognise that life on earth do not consist happy times everyday nor be smooth sailing

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

2. Do not forget God’s everlasting mercies and overlook His intentions

… do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?- Romans 2:4

3. Take joy in testings because they are opportunities to better your character

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

4. Emulate Job that he did not blame God for the bad things happening in his life and God rewards his righteousness

“… Shall we accept good fm God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. – Job 2:10b

5. Take heart that God bless those who endure and crown them with life

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

6. Remember God works things out in the end

The Lord works out everything to its proper end– even the wicked for a day of disaster. – Proverbs 16:4

Therefore……

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Rom12:12

Stand firm, and you will win life. – Luke21:19

Take home point: Stand firm against the devil schemes, persevere in prayers, patient in Hope, endure testings, trusting and believing God beyond circumstances and the weaknesses of our flesh.

Half-hearted?

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I was pondering over why many people would share their struggles with hearing God for an answer. Not that we need supernatural powers nor the gifting to hear Him… I was pointed to this verse…

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with ALL ur heart” – Jeremiah 29:13

God promised we will find Him, and the key is “ALL”. The question is, how do we seek God with ALL our heart when we so consumed by the demands of our day, work, ministries, home responsibilities etc., that even our prayers have to be in between pockets of time, remaining time, or by-the-way-quick-pray-and-get-done-with.

“ALL” lies in:

1. ATTITUDE of seeking Him ALONE

Do we really take time to seek Him and spend time with God truly? Or for the sake of doing it or going through the motion? What is the posture or attitude of our heart? Jesus spent time with His Father intently. Jesus had already set an example: (1) We need to come to a place where we are not distracted- Jesus got away to a place of solitude to pray; (2) while it is still dark (likely the time we are all sound asleep), Jesus got up to spend time with His Father before he started His ministries. Morning is the best time when your mind is still fresh, uncluttered and has room for God. We become accustomed to His voice in the quiet and recognize Him in the noise of the worldliness. He wants each of us to hear directly from Him, as our thoughts are made new as we receive a download from God Himself.

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! – 1 Chronicles 16: 11

2. LISTENING

Practically speaking, get in the Word. God’s Word is alive now. He speaks through the bible- our Living Instruction Manual. The problem is, do we listen? Or rather, do we be still and listen hard enough? Or we are deafen by the World?

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalms 46:10a

3. LENGTH

The last key is Patience. Unhurried. Do we spare time for God to response? The hardest part is to WAIT. We all like to do things quick, fast, don’t waste time. But God most of the time says, WAIT.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; – Psalms 37:7a

Take home point: Being fulfilled in His presence changes how we see and approach that which He’s called us to. If we do not first find peace and satisfaction in God’s Presence, then what we do will not be from Him, but by relying on our flesh. Spending time with God is the only way how we gain Kingdom perspective, and it is foundational to all we do.