[COVID 19 Diary] Genuinely Grateful

Before writing this, I was sitting on the carpeted floor of my room, facing my window with some sunlight coming in and reading a book, while an instrumental music is playing on the background. Then, it dawned on me.  How blessed I am that I can just be in so much comfort and peace even if the world is going in chaos.

I have nothing to feel but be very grateful because not everyone can have this comfort. There are some people who as much as they want to stay home, do not have homes to stay. There are some who may have homes but they could not even do social distancing because they only have one room. There are some who would want to be home with families but are risking their lives out there helping those who are sick and dying.

Before this pandemic happened, I went through my own “pandemic” in life also for some months. That taught me to take care of my self just like what all health organizations are telling us right now – stay home & be healthy. I’m grateful that God allowed me to go through that because it helped in renewing my mind.

It’s so hard these days not to fear & worry, not to complain & be angry. There are moments in my day that those would try to creep in, but then I always remind myself of who God is and who I am. He is GOD – powerful, all knowing, sovereign, in control. I am weak – will always need God.

All I can do today is to choose to be thankful of every little blessing I have in my life right now. I try to live one day at a time, pray for what’s needed today, do what I can for today. From a message I watched this week, it was a reminder that the mercy God gives to us for the day is only enough for the day. That’s why His mercies are new every morning. He will give based on what’s needed for our day. And so, I should learn to live my day that way also, trusting that His provision is sufficient for my day.

This historical event will leave a mark in my life until the end. The one thing that God has been using this difficult time is to teach me to really be grateful. At some point, I’ve forgotten how to genuinely be grateful. It should be a default in one’s heart. Because a thankful heart delights the Lord.

I’m so glad that in God’s kingdom, status is not required – no rich or poor. God’s love is extended to everyone. And that’s really what I am truly grateful for. And so I pray that even those who are not in comfort right now, those who are suffering that they will know the Lord, experience His Love and receive Jesus in their lives.

Thank you Abba Father.

 

 

Because He is…

“We underestimate the power of our own will.”

That’s what struck me from a sermon I just finished listening few minutes ago. It is somehow a good intro of what I want to share on how my 2019 turned out to be.

I must say 2019 was a continuation of my 2018 journey.  Though really, our journey is not bounded by end or start of a year. It just keeps going.

2019 was a very humbling year for me. God helped me discover things about myself that I didn’t know were happening to me. What I went through during the later part of the year is hard to explain. It’s really true that only God knows the deepest of our heart. When I share it to people, it would seem petty and just really a normal struggle anyone can go through. But from my end, it was a battle. I struggled with anxiety and deep fear that paralyzed my faith, took away my joy and shattered my peace. No matter how hard I fought it, I would find myself back into the pit. It’s like quicksand.

As a child of God, the only way to overcome the battle was to continue reading God’s Word even if it was hard holding on to it. I kept asking myself what was really the cause of all of it. I thought it was my stressful work. I thought it was certain circumstances that didn’t go the way I wanted it to be. God eventually made it clear for me. He showed me that I’m weak. Not that I didn’t know I am weak. I for sure am aware that I am weak – on certain areas in my life. But God showed to me the kind of weakness that I wasn’t aware has slowly been crawling into my life.

I am weak in allowing myself to be slowly swayed into the comfort and “good” of the world without being aware of it. I am weak that I was becoming self-entitled and demanding in a very subtle way without being aware of it. I am weak that I was becoming ungrateful when things didn’t turn out the way I thought it would be. I am weak in thinking that when God provides, it will always be smooth and easy. I am weak when my focus was starting to be about myself and what I want and what I deserve. I am weak that even just little difficulties, I would just want to give up.

It is so true that most of the time we underestimate the power of our will. We don’t realize the little things we feed into our mind will eventually change the way we think and the way we believe. I’m still in that battlefield, letting God continue to renew my mind and transform my heart. Fear & anxiety would try to creep in from time to time, but Jesus helps me overcome. His peace is undefeated.

People who know me might think that I am always okay. When people see me at church, they would probably think I am doing well with my walk with God. That those I mentioned above never manifested when they see me or when I serve. All I can say, despite my weakness, God’s work will continue to move. And that’s what amazes me. In the midst of my struggles, His work doesn’t stop.

The biggest blessing for me in the midst of this struggling time is to experience God’s presence and to see how He can continue His work through a season of brokenness. Every time I would find myself going to church, being at work, serving in ministry, meeting my discipleship group or cleaning my room – I know that it was all Him. My own will would just be in a depressed state, in my bed and just be thoughtless. But His grace was working during the time my own will just couldn’t. 

In my almost 15 years as a follower of Christ, I was never in this state of deep anxiety and fear. And somehow, I have understood how those people who really struggled with depression, on how hard must it be for them especially if they don’t know Jesus. What’s the source of their hope? What are they holding on to keep going?

Please include me in your prayers and pray for your loved ones who are probably going through difficult times right now.

If there’s one thing I would like you to take from this is that to remember that we have a sovereign and powerful God. Because He is who He says He is,  even if I am weak, His work will prevail. I may be defeated, but Jesus is not defeated. And that’s the truth that I am holding on. That even if there were days that I have failed, Jesus has already overcome it for me.

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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:10-13

 

[Sermon/Podcast] Midst of Suffering

All of us go through suffering on different times of our life. I was reminded today that it is not about how to escape suffering but how we can be ready when suffering happens in our life. And it is really a question of what is the foundation of our life? Is it a strong foundation or is it something that will sink when trials come?

Hope this sermon will give you hope and help you stand on a foundation that will sustain you on times of suffering & pain.

Click here to listen to the sermon.

Waiting Ends.

I don’t know how to start this blog. I just want to share how my walk with God has been since the beginning of this year. Since I became a Christian, “waiting” had been a common season in my life. Waiting for a change in career, waiting for a new direction, waiting for an answer, waiting for God’s best. Just a lot of waiting. It’s part of God’s pruning and discipline so that I become more dependent on Him and it increases my faith also.

However, just recently, God wanted me to stop waiting. Are you that kind of person who likes to plan things ahead? Who sets goals and works so hard to achieve that goal? Since I started working, I’ve mastered the skill of planning ahead being an integral part of my job. And I have brought that into my personal life. And even with God, I tried to set deadlines. On my next job… on getting married… on His answers to my prayers. Yup, that’s me. So when God asked me to stop waiting, stop planning and start learning to live one day at a time, I struggled. I realized I don’t know how to live one day at a time. I always think of what tomorrow would look like.

Right now, I’m learning on how to live in obedience to God one day at a time. I’m learning to focus on what He wants me to do for the day. It’s not like I don’t plan anymore. I just don’t set goals for my own agenda anymore. I am learning right now to surrender and make Him create the plan for His agenda.

I had so many plans since I moved here in Canada. I wanted to have my own start-up and business, I wanted to bring my parents here, I wanted to keep working as a contract (consultant) so that I can achieve the salary I wanted, I wanted to go back to school, I wanted God’s confirmation this year if He wants me to get married, I wanted to get married. All of these things I set were with good intentions – to help, to have a ministry, etc. But it was becoming tiring. I got too focused on the future that I fail to see what God has intended for me for the day. And so, I dropped everything. I have to stop waiting.

What matters now is I am learning to enjoy God’s presence each day that He allows me to live. How my future would turn out doesn’t matter anymore because I know that the ending would be with God.

Surrender is a continuous act of obedience until I finally meet the Lord someday. As the verses below say, I just want to know God more so that I can love Him more. His love is so much better than the life I live. Because apart from His love, my life is empty. Without His love, our ending will be a sad one.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.

Proverbs 63:1-3

 

I am so grateful that I worship a God who is not about performance but who cares more about my being and my relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus.

If you are in a waiting season, I pray that you will also learn to focus on what God has in stored for you for the day and let tomorrow worry on its own. Don’t miss out on what God has for you today.

God bless!

Through It All

I can’t believe that it is already March. For nothing much happening in my day to day, time is indeed going fast.

It’s been an interesting journey since I quit my job last December. I had hopes & prayers of how my next career would turn out to be but none of those happened. God usually honors the deadline I set, but not this time. I was hoping I could go back working by February, but as you see, it’s March already and I’m still in a place of uncertainty.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly grateful for this break that God is giving me. But of course, reality sets in when you have bills to pay. It makes me wonder for how long will I wait? Will my finances sustain the remaining days/weeks/months before I find another job? Then, I start asking question – was it a mistake that I quit my job without having another job waiting for me? But then, I always find myself back to the same decision I made. Truly, I am glad I made that decision.

This isn’t the first time that I have to wait on God on where He would want me to go. We’ve been on this journey for so many times already. And when I look back on how He sustained me during the season of waiting & how He provided work for me, I’m always in awe. Because it was all His doing. I always receive the unexpected. Something I can never take credit for. And I know, He will do it again.

So how has the journey been so far? It’s amazing how much God has changed me and made me grow in trusting Him. It is only by His grace. I am bored yes. Totally bored. I miss working, no denying on that. But, I have peace. I am not anxious. Even if my timeline does not match with His timeline, I know that He knows better. Being in a place of surrender, it is really because of Jesus that I can just take the back seat and let Him take the wheel.

This is a growing season in my life. It’s more than just finding a new job. It’s really walking with God and once again experiencing His transforming power in my life. There are so many things God is working in my life – humility, content, satisfaction, gratefulness, patience, etc. List just goes on.

I don’t know what’s your season today. But, I hope that I could encourage you that there is no waiting in vain in the Lord. Of course, we do our part. Just like me, I have to send in a lot of applications. But, I leave the results to God. It’s just so comforting when I know that I have a God who knows what is ahead, what’s the future. Because then, I know it will be a good one and I will not have to worry.

So, if you are in a season of waiting like me, whatever you are waiting for, I hope that you don’t grow weary, that you don’t lose hope. Enjoy this journey of God molding you as you wait. I really believe that we become better not during those smooth, easy times of our life but on those times that we got out of our comfort zone and took steps of faith.

But of course, as I said, I can never go through this season of uncertainty without Jesus in my life. He is my assurance, my source of hope. Apart from Him, my world would really go crumbling down.  I can rejoice, through it all!

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my d

So, if you haven’t entrusted your life to Jesus, this is the best time to do that. Best decision ever. That’s how I get to face difficulties with peace & joy. All because of Jesus.

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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  — Jesus (John 10:10)