Monday, October 08, 2007
Interestingly now, after just reading the Bible for a couple of days, I'm starting to feel a better connection with Abba. Personally I think it's nothing really to do with comprehending the Bible. That is important, no doubt, but better not as important as first understanding and recognising your Father's voice. I'm still sinning, but I hope you're not expecting people to jump out and yell I'M FREE immediately. You're in for alot of disappointment I fear.
Today I want to talk about something I received from the Lord yesterday. I couldn't sleep (what is UP with the weather now?) so I tried to wait upon the Lord "for my portion". Now if you've got eyebrows raised, firstly I've never been good in waiting upon the Lord. To put it bluntly and in worldly terms, there's only so much I feel I can trust in the invisible. But that's about to change, in Jesus' name. C'mon everyone say amen.
And as for my portion, for a long while I've been feeling like I wasn't receiving as much as I should be getting. I cry, I laugh, I jump in the auditorium, but once I leave, it feels like nothing has happened. Now if you aren't in any ministry at the moment and you feel like that, that's already a signal to start feeding more. But as a server, I feel like it's almost a responsibility, my responsibility to be sure that I'm full and overflowing in the Word before I even think about giving back. So I took a step in the dark and told my ministry leader that I thought it would be good for me to chill out a couple of months to concentrate on receiving the Word in season. And she didn't deny me it, but nevertheless asked me to go to the Lord and ask Him what my portion is. Because, she said, I don't believe you don't receive anything while serving. And I couldn't agree more. Gee, it's because of that that alarm bells are running off in my head in the first place. Where is my double portion?
So there. I'm asking for my portion. I was asking my friend about all this lack of receiving the other day (bordering on whining...), and he asked, "Have you tried just keeping quiet and waiting on the Lord for an answer?" Well good point. I might have unconsciously been whining whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhyWHYWHYWHYWHY when actually the Lord's been trying to speak but hasn't had the chance with all that racket. So I took a couple of meditative breaths and then whispered, "Lord, what do you want me to see? ...... What is Your Word for me? ... What is my portion?"
My eyes flew open. Jeremiah 2:22... was there even such a verse? I got up and felt around for my glasses, my LED torch, and my Amplified Bible. Well I put my glasses on the headboard when I sleep, my AMP Bible is always on there too, and the torch was there because I was reading my Bible in the dark a couple of days ago. Whatever, you don't have to know. God provides, ok?
Jeremiah 2:22 (NLT)
No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. You are stained with guilt
that cannot be washed away. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!
Wow, you think. What's with that condemning tone? He must have done some big-time holy crimes to have had the Lord snap at him like that. Well let's disassemble this verse.
The second sentence, You are stained with guilt that cannot be washed away, clearly explains that whatever you tried to do in the first sentence (we'll get to that in a minute, hold tight) never could and never can save you from your sins. And that's that. That's final. The Lord has spoken, now stop arguing.
That, brothers and sisters, is the inflexibility of the law. And consequently that was how the Lord had to present Himself, as Chief Justice. Yes, or no. Two simple options. And an equally simple answer -- no.
What can wash your guilt away? No prizes for guessing Jesus Christ, our Savior King! It's the only option on the list anyway. You can't get it wrong. Whatever Jesus went through is the antithesis of what we have today as children of God. His flesh was lacerated that ours may be spotless. His sinlessness was turned into sin epitomized that we may have a slate whiter than snow before our Heavenly Father. He bled and bled and bled that our sins may be washed clear of us, dislodged, displaced, and dismembered. And if He has bled for us already, why should we bleed? It's unnecessary. Unnecessary and unfair.
So. Jesus can wash your sins away (1 John 1:7). Fundamental concept. Now, let's look at the first sentence. No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. What in the world is lye? Turns out lye is the cleansing agent attained by running water through ashes. In fact, it's none other than everyone's favourite alkaline in the lab, potassium hydroxide, KOH. So I looked up the symbolism of water and ashes. In the Old Testament, in other words in the Abrahamic tradition or covenant, water symbolized grief or fertility. Ashes symbolize mourning and penance, as well as purification (hence Ash Wednesday). So the equation goes grief + mourning/penance = cleansing. Or K+ + OH- = KOH. I do think the first equation fits this post better though.
After abit of pondering, I came to this awesome conclusion. Not because I thought it up at 2 in the morning, but because it brings the message across in no uncertain terms.
No matter how much you may grief and mourn at your mistakes, you'll never ever be able to cleanse yourself of your sins and your mistakes. The law makes doubly sure of that. Instead, only Jesus can wash it away, and make you totally clean and devoid of sin in the Father's eyes, so that He need not judge you, but instead embrace you with love.
You think I'm gonna stop here. But I'm not. Ahh just kidding. Take your time in feeding. Don't bite more you can chew, because you'll just spit it out anyway. Or even worse, vomit it out along with the other stuff that could have been digested and put to good use had you stopped at the appropriate time.
How does this apply to me? I'll share with you, and hopefully if any of you are experiencing the same problems as I am you will find this useful. Many times I sin and then I start bashing myself. Do it, then ohhh God why did I have to do that? That was totally unnecessary. This just happens everytime. What is wrong? Lord stop me please I'm sick and tired of it. I cry, I moan, I try to gnash my teeth even though I never really got the hang of it. But why do it? Why bemoan your fate under law when you can do nothing to change it? Plead hug threaten to kill yourself, nothing's going to happen. Ecclesiastes 6:11 (NLT) says, "The more words you speak, the less they mean. So why overdo it?" No matter how much you bash yourself, you'll do nothing to wash those sins away, much less change the habits that cause you to commit them. Instead, why not look to Jesus and His finished work, and see yourself clean? See him bleeding, pouring blood, disfigured FOR YOU. See His finished work, a work so powerful that even when you fall, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry along as if nothing ever happened. When you bring yourself to such a place, the devil or demons cannot plant emotional seeds that will send you spiralling out of control. That happens when you choose to let them grow and fester by thinking about them. But don't even give it a chance. Look up, don't look down.
Look to yourself and you'll only find sorrow and disappointment. Instead, turn your eyes upon Jesus, and see yourself clean, pure and dazzingly, blindingly white. And when you walk knowing that the eternal score of sin has been settled on your behalf, you can walk with your head high, and bad habits, evil barriers and crippling thoughts will come crumbling down as you breeze past them. Peace be with you all.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Rewind. Restart. Play.
After 9 months in hibernation (yeah my baby. Heh heh hur hur buhhh...) I decided to start this blog again. I was lazy to do so earlier because of my masterplan for my own domain site, which would decidedly be more Web 2.0, but since that seems to have sunk a little further back down the horizon, I figured I might as well make some use of this space.
These few months I must say have been terrible for me. After the spiritual high described in the earlier posts of this blog died down, as all good things do, my life went back to crappy status, and then fell even lower than before. I cried, yelled, cursed, shouted at God at my computer and at Satan, and if anything worked it was only awfully temporal.
I keep bemoaning my fate to my brothers and sisters in Christ. And each time I keep realising hey, I haven't been reading my Bible. Well that's it isn't it?
No it isn't. It's so hard to keep up the habit of listening to sermon recordings, let alone conduct a full quiet time routine everyday.
I told my friends that I couldn't feel God in my heart, and that His perceived absence was making a loud sickening echo in my heart. Today our Father prove Himself present and watching when a brother and a sister told me the exact same thing.
Quiet time. Everyday.
Many doubts have assailed me over these months, ranging from easily dismissable doubts, to cold nagging ones, to downright blasphemous ones. Doubts are still hitting me like the wind whether I'll really be able to start and keep a habit of worship/sermon listening, prayer and Bible reading everyday. But I will choose to dismiss that in the supreme name of my Savior, my Lord Jesus Christ. After this I will be studying a chapter or two of Ecclesiastes, followed by some prayer. I ask you to stand in faith with me that through the overwhelming grace of our Lord, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Whiter Than Snow
I went to the church camp expecting nothing, giving God moving space to work in me. I came out of the camp shouting and proclaiming that I would witness to everyone under the sound of my voice. Since then I've fallen short of the glory of the Lord countless times... daily...
For lack of a more apt description, I felt shitty to keep sinning, and sinning, and sinning. Praying for wisdom and strength to overcome my sins, sin again. Pray for a spirit of determination, sin again. Here's the best part - sin WHILE listening to a sermon.
No doubt I would have fallen into depression. But just moments before I had heard Pastor Prince say, 'You can feel sad, but not for long. Something is uplifting you.' Similarly, I find I cannot feel put out for long when I'm always being reminded of no condemnation (Romans 8). The Spirit is always silently encouraging me, and I can feel that dreaded swimming feeling in my heart that tells that I'm not at ease, but behind that, I feel a deep sense of peace that says, 'Beloved, be of good cheer, for I am with you always.' You know sometimes we must learn to ignore our flesh. In fact, more than just sometimes. Just because I don't feel it, it doesn't mean that I am not benefitting spiritually from the message I am listening to. It doesn't mean that I am not ministered to. On the contrary, if I were to focus on my lack of feelings, I would then constrict the flow of blessings and benefits freely given by the Lord.
I've wondered why Hillsongs United chose to title their CD Look To You, when it's the third track in the album. I guess our walk with the Father is just that - looking to Jesus and no one else. As Pastor Prince said, it's not What Would Jesus Do?, it's Watch What Jesus Does. Our flesh will always end us up in failure; the Lord is Jehovah Jireh, THE Provider.
Now, I've been just flowing in the Lord, which probably explains my jumping of topics here and there (or for those who listen to them, between sermon examples). So I will trust that through my writing the Lord will speak to whoever is reading this. Remember, you have been led to this blog and this post by the Lord.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Hillsong United Worship Concert
Well except for that time I attended Singapore Metal Fest '05. But that's a metal gig. This is a rock concert - ear-shattering volume, screaming all over, jumping.
Prior to the start of the concert they played some videos of United overseas. At the slightest hint of action though, people would start screaming, which Bao and I found a little disturbing. But they played a pre-start video... something about the time has come... where worshippers will... worship as God intended... I forgot la. But the effect was amazing. The staging was also orchestrated very well. The lights swimming around, flashing, strobing, color change... And the volume was at that magical level where if you weren't part of the concert you would be plugging your ears in total agony, but if you were into the music, you would be going wild right about then. I tell you, the albums are so so soooooo watered down.
Interesting that the youth pastor did his whole sermon and altar call in the middle of the concert. And 55 souls got saved. Real cool. Although... we prepared for 200. Haha, so... but what the heck. 55 souls after an hour. Interesting indeed.
At one point I realized my folly of not bringing water into the show. And after singing (yelling) at the peak of my vocal level for so long, I was gasping for air and itching, literally, for water. And with none, I just looked up and said, 'I refuse to believe that praising You with all my effort will bring me a parched throat. Lord with my
After that we sang one more slow song, then the lights went down. We could barely see the singers taking drinks, then Joel Houston started strumming his acoustic (can't hear lor also dunno for what) and singing 'God above all the world in motion...'
We. Went. Wild.
After that we were more or less shouting the lyrics all the way. In some songs I was so wheezed out from jumping that I just gave up on singing.
Yet you know, after all that... When Bao commented that was a good concert, something suddenly jumped inside me, and I realised that after enjoying all that (and I don't just mean the music), I didn't walk out of The Rock feeling any different. It's sad, really sad. But well, that's that. Guess I'll just move on now.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Praise and Worship
Father, we may never fully understand Your love for us. Yet Lord, show us that little bit that we do understand.
Today, as Pastor Lian preached, I slowly re-realized His love for me. I know His love, but today, I realized it again.
Pastor Lian shared this story in closing about this boy who was granted his wish for a bicycle for a birthday present, on condition that he be responsible for and take good care of it. After a whole day of cycling around the house, he left the bicycle outside and went in to collapse, happily exhausted, on his bed. When he woke up the next morning he found that during the night a storm had ripped through his area. His bicycle, left outside, was muddy all over, and a huge branch had fallen over it. Remembering his promise, he tried to clean off the mud as best as he could, then tried to lift the branch off the bicycle. But the branch was simply too heavy. Seeing his father returning in the distance, he pushed at the branch with all his might. The branch lifted, but because he couldn't sustain his energy, came crashing right back down again.
When the father approached, the boy broke into a flood of words, saying, 'Daddy daddy I'm so sorry daddy I promised I'd take care of the bike but I was too tired and I forgot daddy I tried to clean the mud off and used all my strength to try to push the branch off but it just wouldn't move daddy I'm so sorry.'
The father looked at the son, and said, 'No. You didn't use all your strength.' He then lifted the heavy branch away and pulled the bike from under it. 'Now,' the father said, 'you have used all your strength.'
As Christians we see our Father watching us in the distance, and we are so concerned with keeping promises and just being right with Him that we start using our own strength to try to conquer our adverse consequences, then start apologising to Him and saying, 'Sorry, I did everything I could, but I still failed you.' What our Father really wants us to see is that among other things, He is there for us to depend on Him to remove the troubles that are oppressing us, troubles that are laying on top of our spiritual fruits and hindering us from getting closer to the Lord. The Lord is my ally, and a powerful ally He is! The next time you wield your celestial Sword, are you using your own strength, or harnessing His power? The Lord has everything but put His strength and power at our disposal. Why aren't we using it?
I was touched by the love of God today, and I feel it's because after awhile into Praise and Worship I just decided to give my all to glorifying him through song. I think releasing your soul to Him, opening the doors in your heart, is important. People, and especially face-conscious Singaporeans, are afraid to open up because they think people beside them and around them will stare and either go siao, or begrudge you for being so onz. But listen. You are in church, where you are supposed to glorify our heavenly Father and come together to feast on His word. If anything, you're only doing the right thing by opening up to give Him the praise He deserves.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us not worry about trivial things such as this. For glorious is the Kingdom of God our Abba Father in heaven, and glory be to those who choose to abandon all cares and worries to give Him praise.
It's not a verse from the Bible, if there are any younger Christians reading. I'm just sounding Paul-ish. Haha~
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Hello my bruddas and sistars in Christ, I'm back at it again. Going emo hoo0~!
Yesterday, Friday, I wanted some time alone with Padre Mio. There was an hour left to the start of class. But gee in SIM, there's hardly a place private enough. Maybe the 5th level space, but even I cross that part sometimes to get to the other side of the floor. And since I'd be closing my eyes for the most part, I really won't be amused to open my eyes to see 3 people gaping at me in fear.
And I'd be speaking in tongues too. Not funny.
So I did what I thought was the next best thing and immersed myself in worship songs. Got this playlist in my MP3, my only playlist - I normally navigate by albums - of slow worship songs. Complete, At the Cross, Awesome God, Deeper, I Will Run to You... classics la. And I was just... feeling shitty and blahhed out.
If you haven't already figured, blahhed out gains its root from blah, a common expression of teens nowadays expressing off-ness and down-ness.
I can't even explain properly. Blah...
ANYHOO! As I was doing that (immersing myself in worship, not blahhing), Maria came up to me and rattled my shoulders, because I didn't react when she said hi from across the room. Actually if I reacted to anyone outside of my range of touch, you should become an orator. You have a loud voice to have gotten past my noise-isolation earphones.
When Maria asked me how I was, I didn't even think about it. Everything just started tumbling out... How I thought I'd finally found footing on my relationship with God, that intimacy and joyful love that I so yearned for. How I found myself back at that dreaded place where it felt like God was nowhere to be found. How I'm thinking, half the time, how to get back, where I'm going wrong, and how it's not helping in the least. Even though I was struggling to put my troubles into words at times, I never did worry what Maria would think of me, how this would affect our friendship, does she really have to know this... What you might think are silly uncalled for questions and doubts but that's how I usually think.
Is this the meaning of kingdom friendships? Frankly, there're easily 5 people who, in all other aspects, qualify as a 'better friend' than Maria. I don't even really hang out with Maria and Lirong. And yet, there's something supernatural indeed when we converse with each other, an understanding that transcends familiarity. And I think that was because we got to know each other only because Lirong introduced us. And Lirong only did because the three of us attend New Creation. Even though we are by all means great friends now, with Maria edifying me and me occasionally doing the same for her, the basis of our friendship was our Father, and church. Maybe that was instrumental in our unique friendship. And I'm really grateful to Abba for that, and of course to Maria! If she hadn't bothered to ask, I wouldn't have bothered to talk. And the three of us during break later prayed for a cloak of protection around each of us, among other things. I didn't feel extra good after that, nor was I glowing in the Lord's love like I wanted to, but somewhere inside, I know it's not too far away.
O [the] depth of [the] riches of both [the] wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable [are] His judgments and unfathomable His ways! ------------------ Romans 11:33 (ALT)
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I haven't been blogging here because I've not been experiencing the joy and peace of the Lord, at least not as much and constantly as I'd like.
I think I've just pulled myself out of a rather bad state. In the previous week or two I found myself unwillingly returned to my previous life, filled with doubt and depression. But before I go on, I believe two things that helped me out were 1) choosing to praise God even when I didn't feel like it. Second was the perseverance to just keep going at it, praise praise praise praise. Praising in advance greatly pleases the Lord because it displays great faith in Him handling your life, and the Lord will reward you with things to really praise about.
So thank God if I'm really out of this nonsense, but perhaps the devil is giving me a break, a fake sense of peace, to fool me into invigilance. Do pray for me. And pray for me to pray for myself. I always forget to do that.
Ok enough about me. Today's topic isn't much of a revelation, I don't think so, but just something that spoke to me while I was (finally) spending time in the Word and something that I just feel we could all use a reminder of - causing fellow Christians to stumble.
In 1Cor 8:11 NLT, Paul warns that 'because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed.' Very strong word, destroyed. v12 goes on to say we are 'sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong'. Now see, it's not what you believe in, it's what they believe in. This is discussed back in Romans 14:22 - '... If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.' In other words, going against one's conscience.
Just so you know, by main Bible is an NLT, so unless stated, all verses will be NLT. I say this now but my compassion for irregular readers will force me to put NLT again, in the future.
As much as I wish I could assume that readers of this blog will be mature enough, both worldly and spiritually, not to say 'I believe adultery is fine, so I'll do it then.', I'd rather not leave anything to chance. Rather, the Lord kindly corrected my assumptious thinking. These issues that seem to be causing confusion are that of changes in the transit from old to new covenant. Many truths we take for granted today (say grace and gobble) were radical back in Paul's days, and took time to be accepted, especially in light of the strict Jewish customs. There are some things expressly forbidden by God, however, and unfortunately for you my smart-alec friend, adultery is one of them.
I have, I think, I great modern example of this. I actually scheduled a blog post about my personal views on metal music, how I feel it is ok and not detrimental for Christians to listen to it as long as blahblahblahblah. Now this is also precisely the reason why I still have yet to publish the post. I still can't be absolutely sure that God is ok with metal music as long as he who listens knows where to draw the line(s). It's just that even as I listen to this form of music I still find myself getting closer to the Lord, so I thought there probably is something going on here that many aren't quite catching. Through writing that post, by experiencing difficulties in explaining it myself, I have come to realise that it is in fact a tricky issue to navigate. Certain truths I know I hold deep in my heart to guard me against the numerous bad effects of metal music, yet I have trouble articulating them. And even before I had read in 1Cor about stumbling a brother or sister, I knew that I absolutely could not publish an article that I was not satisfied with myself. Not even with people of the world, and definitely not with Christians. Because what they would see is basically 'It is ok to listen to metal because...' and then some half-past-six excuse of a reason. I don't want people to listen to metal because I, a Christian, say it's ok. Honestly you know, I study Persuasion now. If I actually bothered to I probably could assault you with so many hidden fallacies that you wouldn't even know that anything hit you. But what would result from that?
'Why do you listen to metal?'
'Renhao is a Christian. Renhao says it's ok. I am a Christian. I guess it's ok.'
Then you are doing something that you don't believe is right yourself. You are doing something I believe is right. I don't really wish to be responsible for that. Now listen, you may have the urge to want to try metal music, and yet you feel in your heart your inner self saying 'No no no no.' For goodness' sake listen to it. Stay far away from metal music. And don't come back until you are sure that you are sure it's ok. No, it's not a typo error. Same for anything else. Listen to your heart. If when you think about it your heart knots up, dismiss it. Because that indicates that your conscience does not accept it as kosher, so to speak. And if just because someone else say it's ok, you go against your conscience to engage in it, you are not honoring God. Your conscience is your guide to honoring God by doing what you know is right, and consequently going against that is simply dishonoring God.
Long-winded, ok. Paul says weak Christians, what we'd call baby Christians today. But I think you don't have to be a baby Christian to be missing out on certain liberating truths. Hey, we are in the age of re-discovering the Gospel. We are all king-priests, we can receive new truths, profound or otherwise, but nonetheless powerful I believe. God reveals such things to you so you can share it with others. But people are used to such-and-such, they've heard that message all their lives. And now you come along and tell them the exact opposite, and you expect them to believe?
Example: Paul felt liberated to eat anything he wished to eat as long as he thanked the Lord for the food. If another new Christian had seen that (because Paul in reality would never have eaten un-kosher food if there was a chance of a nonbeliever in say-grace-and-gobble being around), and went 'OMG PAUL THAT'S PORK STOP STOP!' Do you think if Paul, licking his fingers, turned and smiled and said, 'We are Christians now. It's ok.' Do you think the previously nonbelieving Christian would sit and eat with him? He'd probably get firewood to clobber Paul on the head to bring him back to his senses. And that was why Paul chose to refrain from eating as he pleased in the presence of baby Christians, and let them get the revelation themselves. Then they can all eat bak kwa together.
I think what is sadder than sinning as a Christian is sinning unconsciously as a Christian. I won't pretend that such a truth as keeping in mind not to stumble weaker Christians (I don't really like the word 'weaker', honestly) is easy to remember all the time. And really, until you learn to grasp the whole truth, how can you be fairly blamed for stumbling your fellow Christian? Yet it comes with the high price of sinning against Christ himself, something not all that easy to do given our 'clean-slate' status in Christ's righteousness.
Let us therefore keep an extra eye open. Be conscious of our actions. Consider your company - as a representative of the God you have entrusted your faith to, what should you refrain from doing in the presence of unbelievers? But even they are not as important as brothers and sisters in Christ. For unbelievers until they are saved are condemned to suffer the terrible fate of Hell. But Christians who go against what they believe to be right are committing a great sin that may well destroy them! And you, you will take the heat for having led them astray from their personal path of rightness with God.
And now, all that is left is for me to pray earnestly, that in time I will come to practise what I have preached. God bless.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
It's rather huge, but that just means I can dump my whole room inside.
It was Saturday night after Campus when I first entertained the thought of saving for one after my friend told me about how he did so. It's roomy, the bag, but still $179 is quite the fortune to pay for a bag.
On Sunday my cousin Sandra and my parents were walking at the Raffles City Marketplace when we walked past the Crumpler shop, and I slowed to scan for prospective models.
Immediately (it was quite alarming actually), Sandra looked where I was staring and said, 'You like it? You like the bag?'
'Um... well I was thinking of saving for one, yes...'
'But you like it? YOU LIKE THE BAG??'
At which point my father jumped in.
'You like it? You want it? You like the bag? Come! I buy for you! You want or not! You like the bag?'
Isn't it nice to have people fawn over you once in awhile.
As much as I am grateful to my father for splashing such money on me (yes. it is splashing) I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the conversation he held with my mother. My mother was quite naturally appalled at the extravagant prices, and my father said 'Aiyah it's ok la. I'm not spoiling them la, but at their age, they need identity...'
Honestly, I like the Crumpler more for the space and the uber sweet shoulder strap. The cushion is damn comfortable can.
It's nice to have branded goods, but I'm not exactly insisting that all Christmas presents if any have to be Bvlgari and above.
Actually as I am typing this in school, I realise that apart from my specs, which happen to be quite good quality stuff, just about everything else I have is branded. Half of the stuff are things people blessed me with. My phone (in part anyway), my hoodie, my watch, my shoes, my bag, my Nike t-shirt, my Dockers pants.
You don't have to be rich to be blessed with material people.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
You feel stupid, but thank God His truths are retardedly simple. Well most of them anyway. All the easier for us to understand.
Out of desperation, see previous post, I finally took my huge CD wallet out and flipped to the Sermons section. Sandra had burnt quite abit for me, the best of her collection, and well they've been happily tucked away in slumber for close to 2 years now. So when I got to the Sermons section the first CD that caught my attention was the 3-CD series The Awesome Love of our Father, from NCC.
It probably was God (I wanted to say 'It must have been God' but something's preventing me, so I'll just go with that feeling) who led me to feel the need for sermons, but as the sermon went on, I was quite mortified to realise just how much I was missing out on. I do still have abit of difficulty reading the Bible, so I guess this is a good alternative. There's a place for reading the Bible systematically, but sermons give you what you need. Guess you can say that sermons give you weapons; reading the Bible armours you.
When the glow dies
No matter what I do, I find myself moving away from God. It's terrible. All the joys you've found in the glow of the Spirit disappears, and for me, I'm back to where I was two weeks earlier. Someone who calls himself a Christian, when he can't even feel God's presence when he calls out to Him.
Today I didn't attend class. Instead I stayed at home. I listened to worship for one and a half hours, calling and calling for Jesus to bring His presence into the room, into me, that I may be comforted. That I may know He is still with me, still beside me. And I went to pray. I asked God all sorts of questions, even when I knew the answers to half of them. Where are You God? Where are You when I need You? What's going on in my life Lord? Tell me! Tell me, I need to know what is going on!
Again negative thoughts overwhelm me. When I appeal to Jesus to please take them all away, please just fill me with Your peace and love instead, there is no answer. No relief. And the more I try to move myself away from it, the more negative thoughts come in. The more they attack. The more they feast on my depression. The more they try to kill me.
I feel abit better now. Is it because of Jesus? Or is it because I poured it all out here? I need to take control of my life, and yet it is spiralling out of reach. All I need is You Lord. Yet, where are You?
Lead me to You. Please.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The Journal of Influence, on the other hand, isn't seeing too much of a business.
Anyway today I attended my church's 3rd service. In the main auditorium. Sian Hwa, for those who know him, was right. The acoustic experience in the audi was very different from overflow rooms. And I realised, in all its clarity, that the drummer uses a trigger. Never heard that one in the overflow.
I was kinda asking the Lord for one of my favourite songs to play during worship, but worship today was not too good - I didn't know half the darned songs. But it's alright, I thought, doesn't matter all that much. So we went through communion, the service, the post-service standards...
And just as I got ready to leave the auditorium, the drummer clicked his sticks four times, and the beginning strains of Salvation Is Here began to play. I froze where I was for awhile, and then seeing a row of empty seats, bundled myself into the first couple of seats, threw my bags down, and began to worship.
And just as I had wanted, just as I had asked, I enjoyed releasing my life to the Lord, right there right then.
God isn't deaf, nor does He pretend to be. He hears and He gives.
God is good. Amen people?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Angie, my Web Team superior, so to speak, from NCC, predicted that as we grow in the Lord we will look back, and we will be surprised at how much we have changed. When I entered Buffalo I called myself a Christian. I attended a church which I loved. And yet compared to now, I seemed like crap then! I observed to Ryan that I actually said Awesome God was a boring song.
H a h a ??
I read what seems like Ryan's earliest post (yes he has a blog. no he's not in my links. yes he will be when he starts updating. regularly.) and I was waxing about it to him. And do you know what he told me? According to him, he related the exact same thing to me a year ago.
And apparently in all seriousness I asked if he was alright, whether he was sure he wasn't possessed.
I actually asked that.
That is assuming he wasn't remembering wrongly, or... lying. o.0 He isn't an angel in disguise after all.
How do you know that for real Renhao? Ah shut it. Lol...
Anyway praise God huh? See now! Christian blog. Who'd have thought that my Christian musings would have gotten too much for my main blog? Seeing me back then, a Christian post would probably have made you think 'Did he ask his pastor to write this or something?'
And yet Lord, help me to change even more. Change me to be in line with Your holy will. Amen.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Blessings Flow Forth
So I beat my alarm clock to waking up, and slowly got changed. As I strolled down I was just about to press play on my Zen when the explosive start to my phone's ringtone startled the crisp morning silence.
Hey. Where are you?
Oh I'm... walking to the station actually.
Oh ok. I'm getting a cab I'll come pick you up.
Where are you ah?
K. See you.
You know, I thought that getting to school in a cab was a bomb. Bloody hell. Morning charge 2 bucks. ERP I dunno how in the world we travelled to amass 3 bucks. We managed to chalk a $20.30 cab fare.
And I paid um. 30 cents.
Well ok, Bao wanted to see whether we could claim from the $3000. She already forgot the receipt for the condoms (24!) and well they don't come cheap, even though they chose the cheapest, Okamoto.
When you are in the Lord, when you are in sync with Him. Blessings will chase you.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Campus itself filled me with a huge sense of shalom. For these past weeks I have been alternating between just ok, and bouts of negativity and slight depression. And I was right when I thought to myself, Campus is what I need to rejuvenate my love for God, my fire for Him. Oh and Ryan came too! And witnessed the glory of Lam Baoyan. Haha~
Not that that was worth anything as far as fire was concerned, although I enjoyed myself immensely...
All I saw, on the train, walking back, preparing for sleep, was just God, Jesus, Father, the Holy Spirit. Even now as I write, when I close my eyes I can see the invisible glory of God. Yes it's ok to read again until you get it.
When I settled to do my QT, here was my plan:
15min: tongues, + abit of silence to hear God, if He has anything to say (He did lor)
15min: Prayer in English + abit more silence till I'm satisfied/fall asleep.
Almost everytime I struggled to keep the flow of tongues running. I wouldn't break the flow, but it was still an effort to keep it going without lapsing into distractions. This time it came so freely, and to an extent, so articulately, not like the usual mmbldibmboldulmdhv I speed through. And when it felt right I stopped. Stopped and rested peacefully in silence. I remember asking God what is it You wish to tell me o Lord. And this He said.
'I love you Renhao. More than anything in this world. I want you to know that.'
Wow. Wow wow wow. Don't you feel extra extra special when the very Being who created the land you reside on, the flowers you enjoy, the air you breathe, declares His unfailing everlasting love for you? So thank you God, I said, and when I felt that He'd said all He wanted (it's more than enough already for me) I went on to listening to worship songs. I said 15min right? Turn out half an hour lor.
As I turned my Zen off to proceed to the English Prayer part, I immediately thanked God for the fire within me, and I asked that Lord, let this feeling, this desire, never leave me. Let me feel so hot every day, every night, for You. And on to other things, but it was quite some time before I realised just how heavy the presence of God was in my room. It was very very saturating, as if He'd put as much of his presence as He could have into the room. It was pressing on me from all sides, from everywhere, and yet I felt no oppression, just calm and peace and love. And you know, not to boast, but I started saying and praying things that sounded so powerful to me, so... whoa, you know?
Brothers and sisters in Chirst have shared about these things with me, how they cry with joy in His presence, how they cannot stand but kneel in His awesome glory, and I always go 'wow', 'Praise God', 'Is that so!'. But let me tell you even as I recount this experience to you, that you are feeling NOTHING of it until it actually comes upon you, like it did on me. And I'll tell you this too. It will totally leave you wanting more. You will never want to stop. Such is the power of the experience.
I don't know who will read this. But you who are doing so, if you haven't already had such an experience, this prayer is for you. That when you truly believe for such an experience, just as long as you do, it won't be long before the Holy Spirit comes knocking for a cuppa with you. And when He does, you just take your time to chat with Him. Just take your own, sweet, time.
-I have to learn to capitalize without having to run through the post a second time-
Friday, October 13, 2006
Even as I ask You now to help me love You more, Lord I ask You also to remind me to constantly ask that of You, O Lord, that I will grow each and every day in Your favour.
Give me divine strength, dear Father, to overcome temptations, evil thoughts planted in my mind. Grant me prudence and strength to rebuke them in Your mighty name instead of dwelling on and finally submitting to them O Lord, for You are my chosen God, not them.
Lord I thank You Your divine favour is and will always be surrounding me Lord, that people may take notice, and see, that I am a son of the most high God. Help me always O Lord to do the right thing, to see situations objectively and fairly, and O Lord to forgive those who have wronged me, for that is what Jesus did, even as he suffered in anguish on the cross. Help me Lord to forgive as He so graciously did.
I put my trust in You Lord, and I thank You that all things will in the end work out for good. When doubts enter my mind, Lord remind me that you are in total control Lord, and to trust in the Spirit and not the flesh. I hereby commit myself, and this day to you, in Jesus' name O Lord...
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Calling to Jesus
This has happened countless times to me before, and I usually wait till it goes away. Or if I'm lucky my friend would ask me what was wrong and my God I would spill every species of beans you could possibly think of. Wait!, you say. You're a Christian what the hell. Can't you pray?
Sure I can. I can even give you a good fright by seizing your head in my hands and firing off in tongues at the top of my voice, commanding the demon latching itself to your neck to be gone while hopping on one foot.
It doesn't work for me. You may wonder what sort of Christian I am, when I can't do something simple as clearing negative thoughts with prayer. I tell you, I can go on in tongues for two eternities, at the end I will just sigh and fall back into my sad sad thoughts again.
Today I gave up trying to dispel my thoughts, sighing and whispering 'Jesus'.
Suddenly I remembered when Sandra told me about her friend whose knees promptly gave way when she saw a demon. Sandra was there, with a few other friends, and no one else saw it. But her friend did, and she was sitting on the floor, nearly sobbing. One of the others, not knowing what else to do, told her to say Jesus' name. Just keep saying it. Jesus. Jesus.
The demon left.
I closed my eyes and composed my mind as best as I could, letting my thoughts, like dust, settle. And then I began.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
Like a tide receding my thoughts left me one be one, the depression in my heart lifting like morning mist evaporating in the heat of the glorious Sun. And as light overcame darkness inside, I cemented it by putting a slow, careful prayer, in between muttering Jesus Jesus, to grant me shalom peace.
There was no need for joy to overwhelm me. There was no need to smile. But as I stepped off the train to what turned out to be a wonderful day, smooth as it could be, I felt like I was wearing an invisible smile beneath my expressionless mask, the smile a son usually wears after hooking his last finger with his Father's.
Brothers and sisters, when you are in a loss, when the world fails you, your best Friend is here for you. There is nothing wrong with tongues, but next time you find yourself in such a situation, try calling out to Jesus. He is with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt 28:20). So call out to Him, and feel His love and peace flow through you, and wash all your worries and troubles away.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Christian Cults - Foreword
Now, imagine the souls out there who truly want to know God and yet are harvested by these people. Are we not leaving them to walk down the wrong path? What about those already in the cult, who are working so hard for a God they truly love, evangelising 24/7, WHAT IF they did NOT make the deliberate choice to join this sect knowing full well that sections of their doctrine are erroneous, what if they believed this was the genuine path to eternal paradise without a clue of the twisted facts behind the curtain?
I don't know about you folks, but I find this disastrous. Heck, I'm frowning even as I type this. Maybe it's because I used to be a real patsy, a total idiot who would lap up whatever was thrown at me (well I still do that occasionally but it's so much better compared to last time). And thinking how easily I would have been taken in by any of these misled speeches worries me. I'm glad the Lord has placed the tremendous (tremendous doesn't begin to describe it) blessing in my life in the form of my cousin Sandra (some of you know her as Ms Guitar... please just remember that she's called Sandra). I cannot perceive how I would have gone too far before she would have learnt of it and dragged me back handcuffed and straitjacketed, if that was even necessary. If she wasn't in my life, I could have left home to do missionary work in Alaska. For 18 months. For twisted beliefs.
Velcome. Velcome to Trannsylvania... wuhahahaha.
Let's try that again.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, welcome to my Christian branch blog. It is here that I intend to record insights and revelations our kind Father has provided me with, that you may hopefully be blessed with it. I also hope, though I am not sure how, that through this I will become a better Christian. Perhaps motivated by the habit of regular posting I shall want to seek more and more from the Lord to share with you all.