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.

The Great Unknown –  My “Awesome” 2014

Who would have thought that I will be part of a church-planting movement in Vancouver?

Who would have thought that I will start a discipleship group in this side of the world?

Who would have thought that I will work for a big retail company this year?

Who would have thought that I will meet more people from different countries and make new friends?

Who would have thought that I will be sitting here in my room, watching snow falling from my window as I look back about my 2014?

God knew. Even before all these things happened, God knew already. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.

Those are only few of the tangible things that I never thought would be part of my 2014.

As I wrote in my journal  at the start of 2014, I was totally clueless of how things will be.

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God made me leave my job but He did not open any new doors for me right after, as I thought He would.

You know, that confidence that you feel like everything will fall into place just as you expect them to be?

I thought that I will work full time in a ministry in 2014. But, God had a different plan.  Much bigger plan.

You might not know, but I really wept when God shut all doors for my ministry application. I could not understand why when my desire was to serve Him full time.

And that question still remains half-unanswered until now. Half- answered was because He wanted me to move here.

Still, I believe that’s not just it. It’s something I look forward to be answered in the coming years.

Anyway, so 2014 turned out to be a big surprise for me. That’s what God is so good about – making us in awe of Him.

For the first 5 months, I had no job. Then, God made me move to another country after 5 months of no job. Thus, no sufficient funds for it.

But God said so, so I just had to obey. Those 5 months were life changing.  It was a very special walk with God. I had nothing but only Him.

Most difficult part was when you feel you can do something but God just keeps telling you, “Sit down, stay put, be still.”

God really did a perfect job of sustaining me. Apart from Him, I would have gone a different way.

The second part of my 2014 was the overflow. See, God had to prepare me first before He blessed me.

It wasn’t an easy journey at the beginning. Again, I wept in desperation as I was looking for a job.

As I didn’t have enough funds, I was praying so hard that I can find a job after a month since I arrived here.

Slowly, I saw how God had been preparing things for me here. Right time, right place.

What’s also amazing was that when I learned my visa got approved, my home church also announced that a church will be planted in Vancouver.

I got really excited! Right time, right place.

I may not have worked full time but God opened doors for me to be able to serve Him in this side of the world.

I can never take credit for all the things that had happened to me last year.

God’s faithfulness in my life overflows not just in me but also through me that I can share the blessings to others. Such a privilege!

If I summarize my 2014, I can do it in 2 parts – preparation and overflow. God had to mold my character first, before He reveals His great plan.

God is sovereign. He was in control. He is truly amazing!

My 2014 theme verse truly spoke how my year turned out. A time of surrender and loss for the sake of knowing, obeying and following Christ.

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TO GOD be all the GLORY for my awesome 2014!!!! Thank You Lord!

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