Write It Down!

1. The prophet must write the vision, Hab. 2:2. Thus, when St. John had a vision of the New Jerusalem, he was ordered to write, Rev. 21:5. He must write it, that he might imprint it on his own mind, and make it more clear to himself, but especially that it might be notified to those in distant places and transmitted to those in future ages. What is handed down by tradition is easily mistaken and liable to corruption; but what is written is reduced to a certainty, and preserved safe and pure. We have reason to bless God for written visions, that God has written to us the great things of his prophets as well as of his law. He must write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, must write it legibly, in large characters, so that he who runs may read it, that those who will not allow themselves leisure to read it deliberately may not avoid a cursory view of it. Probably, the prophets were wont to write some of the most remarkable of their predictions in tables, and to hang them up in the temple, Isa. 8:1. Now the prophet is told to write this very plain. Note, Those who are employed in preaching the word of God should study plainness as much as may be, so as to make themselves intelligible to the meanest capacities. The things of our everlasting peace, which God has written to us, are made plain, they are all plain to him that understands (Prov. 8:9), and they are published with authority; God himself has prefixed his imprimatur to them; he has said, Make them plain.

More here.

 

It says in Habakkuk 2:2, the Lord answered:

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
    and make it plain on tablets
    so that a herald[a] may run with it.

May we be faithful with the revelations that God has graciously given to us by writing them down! Sometimes these revelations might be passed on to other people. Some days I would imagine that one day when I die, my journals and blog entries would be passed down to the next generation to show them God’s faithfulness and the unchanging nature of God.

God Hears Our Prayers

12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.

17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

— 1 Samuel 1:12-20

 

I was stuck in QT. I didn’t know what I want to read, I didn’t know if I want to play the guitar and worship or not, I really don’t know what I want man. Then ok, I just prayed and ask God to help me know Him better. Was led to 1 Samuel and after reading the first chapter, I think there’s quite a lot of things we can glean from this passage:

 

1 / Pray as you are. (v15 – 16)

Being honest with yourself is very important as talking to God would require you to be as honest as you can to Him. As God is honest in His ways and speech, we shouldn’t do any less as well. Perhaps, honesty isn’t the issue for you, but denial  — denial to pray about certain issues because of the fear that when you pray about it, hurt will surface.

Hannah didn’t just present her prayer and petition to God, but she presented her soul — “I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” — but how? Praying as you are would be as though you are laid bare before God and recognise the fact that God is all-knowing.

Nothing can be hidden from His sight.

No breath can whiff past His nose.

Absolutely nothing.

It’s having that full awareness of “since God knows me so well, inside out, from my inmost being to my outward appearance, let’s just talk it out God.” Be willing, just come.

 

2 / Believe in Who you pray to. (v18)

Overtime we have tainted the image of “prayer” by thinking that praying to God is like sending letters to the post office and there are letters that didn’t get mailed.

It’s different for the things of God. I believe that His ears are so big, His ability is beyond the “walls have ears” and more importantly, His heart is for us. If not (oh gosh, my heart is beating so fastttt while typing this.) why did He made us?

We need to believe that God works. God works for the good of those who love Him. Anchor our belief in God and trust Him!

 

3 / God does answer our prayers. (v20)

“So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

 

Prayers do come to pass! But we must know that prayers that are according to God will come to pass. You wouldn’t want to be praying for something which will backfire or cause you regret if it does come to pass… Whatever is in line with God’s will is sure and good — for whatever reason we might or might not know — He hears us, and He will do it swiftly and surely.

The Idea of Weakness

2 Corinthians 12 — Speaks to me about struggling powerfully.
Often we see weaknesses as a bane and land ourselves in a pity party. Or we speak “faith-filled” words such as “God, do whatever you want in me.” when in all honesty, we couldn’t care less anymore. Do you even believe in that statement? Would you really want God to do whatever He wants in your life?

When I read that verse again – “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”‭‭ (2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬) – it disturbed me because we often take it out of context.

We think that the meek, the weak will be glorified in the way we think about how Prince Charming will come and save his damsel in distress. We don’t recognize the awesome power that lies behind the “for my power is made perfect in weakness”. It means that we have that ability to really (fall down seven,) “stand up eight” because of His grace IN US.

It was never about “I am weak, therefore I will sit back, relax and let God do the rest.” It is required of us to be humble (remember, in the previous verses Paul said that he had a thorn in his flesh to keep him from becoming conceited) and still continue fighting, continue praying, continue serving, continue seeking, continue loving, continue growing.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

– ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬

Why I Do What I Do: Faith

It’s the time of the year again: Christmas.

As a Christian, it means “outreach more”.

I think it has been quite a rollercoaster ride with God in this 4 years of faith. Going in and out of church, despite knowing God since I was kid — even going to Sunday school with my neighbours every week, Mom would teach Carina and I worship songs in Bahasa *omg* and we did sing it even though we didn’t really understood the language — I don’t think all these made me a mature Christian.

Indeed, our maturity comes in how much we are surrendered to God. [quotes Ren Hao, we were sharing across various campuses in our ministry family meet yesterday]

I was very disappointed and annoyed at myself during Uni LGLM on Saturday, while Tim was trying to amp us up for Christmas harvest and all that events coming up for our own ministry — I was disappointed and annoyed at the fact that I think I know it all. I think I know what’s coming. How come my perspective is still the same as 2015, 2014 … and I am still doing what I need to be doing? I don’t want to serve God out of some religious duty, but I really want to experience God in a fresh way.

Be it in outreach, my quiet time, in worship, in the way I handle business, in the way I handle money, in the way I serve people.

I want to have that kind of shamelessness — since, I am so shameless in my jokes, why not… — in my faith, in sharing Christ to people, or at least be more aware of God in my life.

Seriously, I think having that constant awareness of God starts with the fear of the Lord. If not, you wouldn’t live your life in a godless manner/ in such a “free, #yolo, I just want to do whatever I want” way. Only when you have that awareness of God in your life, then it will be easy for you to find things that you can be thankful for!

The World As We See It

Boredom has finally kicked in and I decided to watch W because I’m curious about all that rave. To be honest, while the plot does not make any sense but it did reveal a lot of things about the idea of “God” to me.

A lot of times the webtoon artist thought that since he was the Creator, he would have knew best about his creation. That can go extremely wayward when we let our pride sink in. Similarly, when we create — as artists, performers, designers so long as you are a maker — we should never ever think too highly of ourselves that this is our masterpiece. If we truly know to Whom we belong to, as we often sing this:

For from You are all things, and to You are all things…”

 

Then indeed, You (God) deserve the glory.

Another revelation came towards the end of the drama when Kang Chul mentioned that the artist only managed to create the main characters, how could he possibly create the entire world and the other extras?

Which brings to my mind about how we often see and know God as our Ultimate Creator — we know that He created the Heaven and Earth and thought of us, thus He created us through Adam and have life through Spirit, through Jesus. We know that He created light — when in Genesis, all there was is darkness; but when Light comes in darkness has to flee. — God didn’t create darkness nor evil; they just exist when there is no Light, no Love, no God.

When there’s no God in the hearts of man, there can be no Love. How can a person claim to love when he or she does not walk in the light?

1 John 1:5-7

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.

The drama is too cool in terms of revealing all these ideas of “God” to me. We can either choose to serve God, allow God to be our Writer and we just trust that He knows what He is writing/ drawing/ crafting out in our lives. Or we can choose to be god over our own life.

The Thorn In Our Flesh

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12: 7- 10:

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

He called the “thorn in my flesh” a messenger of Satan. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away, God did not. What is God’s purpose for not taking this thorn away? In verse 7 it says,”in order to keep me from becoming conceited,”

I had a strange dream yesterday night. I dreamt that I got a staple on my thumb. As I tried to remove it, by squeezing it out, was going to reach out for pliers to pull it out, it just kept sinking into my thumb all the more. To the point where I couldn’t see it, then I woke up.

As I was sharing with Laurence about this strange dream over lunch, I didn’t think much about it until something reminded me of Paul’s experience also.

Perhaps I have a thorn in my flesh — whether I know it or not — we all have it too.

This thorn in our flesh keeps us humble; no matter how much we want to try to be perfect and saintly, we fall. We have sinned. Sometimes we sin without knowing. Sometimes we sin when we choose to dismiss what God has spoken to us — that is already sin, disobedience to God.

“Whether the “thorn” we struggle with today is physical, emotional, or spiritual, we can know that God has a purpose and that His grace is all-sufficient.”

Source

 

Psalm 42 

The Message version:
“A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it— arrive and drink in God’s presence?” I’m on a diet of tears— tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?”
These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving— celebrating, all of us, God’s feast! Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then GOD promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer.
Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?” They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, Taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?”
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.”

—‭‭Psalm‬ ‭42:1-11‬ ‭

Perseverance

In this season, I want to build my perseverance. Once that is unwavering, that will not falter when I am struck with criticisms or opposition. This can only be done so if I set my eyes on the prize.

Hebrews 10:19-25

A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

caravaggio_-_the_incredulity_of_saint_thomas

Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

John 20:24-29

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 20:24 Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin.

We all have our “Doubting Thomas” moments. Being in the present and our shortsightedness causes us to derail from God’s will all the time. As much as there is a need for doubt in faith (doubt and faith are not complete opposites; it’s fear and faith.) I pray that I will learn to have more faith than doubt. (cause doubt is bloody waste of time and emotions HA.)

Reading: If God is Good, Why Do We Hurt? by Randy Alcorn

Huhuhu, decided that I should go back to do some reading to refresh and update myself. Seems like the process of learning has to be a constant one and you must be really intentional about what you want to learn. And delegating time for it too, if not it’s just a saying…

I have read this book before, during the first time when I bought it. While the second reading does ring certain familiarity in my current situation, I would say that it brings me back to the bigger picture (with God). So important to get the right lenses on if not all our work, walk and talk will just be futile which we, humans of this century, cannot stand.

We constantly seek meanings and answers, and resolutions to our problems as soon as the season is over. But sometimes, even when the season is over or the conflict has been resolved, it does not mean that you immediately get what God is trying to do in your life right away.

Another takeaway that I have gotten from this book is that it affirms a Ted-Ed video which I watched recently. (How To Recognise Dystopia) The reason why we cling onto utopia because our current reality is a dystopia. Or, it might be utopia for you right now and it takes a taste of dystopia for you to realise that the world isn’t all that it seems.

A lot of times I find myself questioning — why did this happen? why me? why at this point in time… — but as Randy Alcorn suggests, ask yourself “Why did You do that for me?” (referring to the act on the Cross)

 

Why did You do that for me?