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

 

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!

Growing Together

I’m so blessed to be a part of other people’s lives by seeing them grow in their walk with God. As we say we are Christian, we must then believe that we are also commanded to make disciples just like what Jesus did with the chosen twelve. And to be a disciple and to make disciple is a privilege in our Christian walk. It must not be a burden for us but a joy as we experience God’s transforming power in our lives.

And being part of a discipleship group is never boring. It’s a great time of knowing the Lord deeper, knowing one another deeper, encouraging and praying for each other. It’s a venue where you can be yourself without fear of being judged. You get to travel together, do fun things together. And the other best part – there is always food! Haha!

I’m glad to be a part of a discipleship group. If you are not part of any, I hope you would start stepping out of your comfort zone and start reaching out. As our senior pastor said, (reason for not joining a discipleship group) if you think you don’t need help, then, be the one to give help. And I totally agree! Today, someone might need your encouragement, your blessing, your prayer. Don’t miss out on such a privilege!

Throwing Off What Hinders (Giving Up TV)

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I am currently doing a year-long fast on TV series and movies.

It took a long time for me to acknowledge that I’m addicted. I need to take back control.

I actually do not watch TV at all. But sometimes, if I find a series that I really like, I get hooked. I would watch a whole season in one seating. I would do this until I finish all other seasons. After finishing the series, I would return to my normal life. Be responsible again, be faithful in my quiet time, and be a “good Christian.” Some time would pass before another good series will come out so I did not think much of it early on.

Eventually, God showed me the cycle. I identified that at the beginning of every period of discouragement or time of coldness towards God was a movie marathon. Watching TV series was Satan’s “beachhead” in my life. On one hand I thank God that it was something “small” like entertainment, yet this seemingly subtle form kept me from calling it sin.

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.” (Susanna Wesley)

I knew it was harming my relationship with the Lord. That was clear enough. I also felt that God wanted me to give it up. But I could not imagine doing that. I felt that it was too extreme. To do so is to stop being a normal person. Maybe I did not want to seem “too radical.”

Maybe I just need to limit my media exposure, I thought. So I limit myself to 1 movie per week. It worked for a while. However, as I have discovered, it is not a good idea to expose a recovering addict to the things they’re addicted to. I had the right intention, but my partial obedience did not help me.

God used a recent event to tell me loud and clear that if I do not shape up, I risk missing out on His plans for me. My “God’s best”- the life God wants for each of His children. When I finally surrendered my “favorite sin,” I felt His presence more, heard His voice clearer. I had not realized that I had been grieving the Holy Spirit that whole time.

Today is the 20th day since I made my commitment. It already feels like it’s the best decision I have made. Haha! It does not even feel like I gave up anything. I have become more productive and I perform better at work. I have time to help my cousin with his school work. Most of all, I know I am at the triangle of God’s blessing. I know I am obeying Him.

Come to think of it, TV shows, movies (& other forms of entertainment) are made to distract. And they are a welcome distraction from the stress of work or the boredom of life.

However, if I know my purpose, if I’m in a crucial mission (for which I’ll be greatly rewarded), and if I know Him who asked me to do it, DO I REALLY WANT TO BE DISTRACTED?

 

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” -2 Timothy 2:4

Thanks Ann San Pedro for sharing this story. A struggle that most of us are also going through. Such an encouragement!

I got everything I need, I don’t need God…

As I ride the sky train or walk in the mall, I see a lot of lost souls.  And it really breaks my heart.

I keep asking God, “How can I tell them about Jesus?”

In this era of materialism, most of us define a life of meaning and success based on what we have – wealth, career, fame.  And if someone has all of those, then really, why would that person need God?  If everything is going very well, then, what is God for?

It’s a point missed. BIG time.

If God allowed me to be born in this lifetime to survive, be successful and accomplished, do whatever I want, but then die eventually , if death will just make everything in vain, then what is really the point of living?

We missed the point. Truth is, until we truly know who God is and His great plan for all of us, we will realize that our life here on earth is not just about living a “good” life. No matter how great our life here is, if our mindset is only focused on what is temporary, we will never realize how much we truly need God in our life.

Nothing wrong with having a prosperous life. But everything becomes meaningless when we only live for this life time. It’s like watching a movie that has no ending. All you can say is, “That’s it?”

I don’t want to live that kind of life. I want to be excited for the life after this lifetime. I want to look forward to that “eternal life” that God said in the Bible. Jesus said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in His Son will not perish but will have eternal life.”

Life becomes purposeful when you accept the truth that this is not just it. There’s more. And we can only experience that through the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son.

If you haven’t experienced God in your life, I pray that you will be able to open your heart to Him. I pray that you will not miss out what lies ahead. I pray that you will live an abundant life in the presence of God.

If you want to know more about God, let me know and I would love to talk about it with you.

God bless!

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