Shakeable Or Unshakeable? - Part 2

by Monday, October 31, 2011

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God has great plans for your life. All He wants you to do is to trust, believe and rest in faith. Sometimes, in the process of fulfillment to this plan, God may want to shape you so that we can be prepared for greater.

Initially, you fully believe: “Yes God I know You have great plans for my life. Whatever it takes, I will obey so that we can see this plan fulfilled!”

All set and ready to go. Initially the walk was smooth. You had great faith that you will be able to finished walking the journey.

Halfway through, you began walking on rough paths. The walk was so hard for you to handle, and you struggled.

Then, the devil started to whisper into your ears: “Aiyah if God was really planning to prosper you, why is He letting you go through all these hardships? You fool, look how tired you having suffered all these. God doesn't mean well for you at all!”

In the end, you begin to doubt God's intentions and His goodness. Just by the lies of the enemy, your faith began to shake. You have been tricked to believe that God was not so good after all.

There is always room for faith to grow. Whenever you doubt, as long as you learn the truth about God, your faith will rise. But why are we constantly letting the devil trick us over and over again, even though we know that He is a father of lies (John 8:44)?

Here I look at Jesus when He was being tempted by the devil. With the fact that Jesus is God in human form, some of us may say confidently that He will be able to stand against those temptations.

But, if you look closely, Jesus was tempted straight after He fasted for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11). Wasn't He like us, tired and hungry, tempted in weakness? In the end, He overcame temptation, because of His unshakeable faith. And it was all because Jesus recognised who God the Father was, thus leading to His unshakeable faith.

Even at the cross, while the soldiers were all mocking at Him, telling Him to save Himself if He was the Messiah, He could have thought it this way: So Father, in the end you are not coming to my rescue. You have deserted me.” Instead, He chose to stand in faith and believe that His Father in heaven had a greater purpose for His life (Matthew 27:27-54). The pain He was bearing on the cross did not blind Him from His knowledge of His Father in heaven.

If your parents will plan and save money for your future education, what makes you think your heavenly Father won’t do the same (Matthew 7:11)? If God can fearfully and wonderfully create you (Psalm 139:14), why will He want to destroy His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)? Recognising who God is will allow you to trust in His goodness and intentions. Remember, God has a great plan for your life!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Shakeable Or Unshakeable?

by Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“You don't have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

Once I thought to myself that my faith will never waver and believed that when I have faith in God I can command the mountains to move and it will move. But how many of us actually are aware, deep down in our hearts, that sometimes we may pray and believe, but in some point of time, because we thought this prayer request is too big and impossible, we doubt.

Faith does not merely believe at that instant when in prayer; faith is about believing all the time: at the time you started praying, to the time you finished praying, all the way till the time when your prayers are fulfilled. Because you never stop praying, you never stop believing.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV)

True, unshakable faith believes in God 100%. You may sometimes question God: “God, I believed for breakthroughs, but why it was not fulfilled?” Why not question yourself: While in the midst of the wait, are there any points in time that your faith wavered? True faith leaves no evidence of doubt: not even a minute or a split second.

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6 (NLT)

Perhaps you may be waiting for healing, financial or family problems to be solved. But it has been many years ago since you started praying and believing.

You may have been waiting for 30 years to be able to stand from that wheelchair or want to see your friends around you come to Christ. Then your situation turned uglier. Your illness began to hit the worst climax, your friends’ heart hardened to the extreme and you have heavier debts to settle. So what now? You decided to give up?

A few months ago I heard this webcast sermon by Pastor Matt Sorger. In His sermon He made a statement that I will never forget:

“Your greatest warfare will be before your greatest breakthrough.”

We tend to start strong in faith. But the more we begin to see that this warfare is getting fiercer, the more we feel like giving up. Don't you realise now that your greatest breakthrough is right before your greatest warfare?

The more the warfare gets fiercer, the more our dependency on God shall arise. These fierce battles should never give us any excuse to self-declare that the war is over, and then give up completely. The more we feel we can't stand to fight, the more we should count on Jesus for strength. For whatever that may seem big and impossible for us, nothing is too hard for Him.

Your breakthrough is right at the corner. Will your faith be shakeable or unshakeable to stand in this war? Remember, you are not alone.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

Wisdom Beyond Horizons

by Thursday, October 20, 2011

Before you even start reading this, I hope you can take some time to think about this: What is wisdom all about?

Wisdom is defined in the dictionary as the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight. To me, wisdom means the person is able to see far beyond what others are able to see. The person possesses the ability to allow another person to change their perspective of what they usually think because of their great understanding. Also, he or she is able to discern truth.

However, is this what wisdom is really more about? Is there more to the wisdom we usually thought about or defined?

Reading this verse:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
James 3:17 (NLT)

This verse set my mind thinking. Is wisdom all about being smart in thoughts? There was more than meets to the eye. It brought my mind to this statement: what would Jesus do (WWJD)?

When we define wisdom as being able to act smart, God goes beyond and states that wisdom is all about love and peace. Wisdom in man's definition means acting right, but wisdom in God's definition means acting right, in love, gentleness and purity. God's wisdom is pure because it does not allow any impure action to take root. This is when you act in God's love and when the person becomes transformed by the love of Jesus, you're doing a good deed.

Put yourself in the shoes of a parent. What will you do when your child does something wrong? Will you cane him because he deserves to be punished? Or will you discipline the child by advising and telling them that this is not what they are supposed to do? When you act in wisdom, you discipline in love; not subject the person to a penalty for the offense that they have committed.

In some point of time I asked for God to punish me because I have done wrong. But I realised that God will never punish me, but discipline and correct me in love. This was when I recognised that God is a God of wisdom. If He kept punishing me because of every sin that I have done, most likely, overtime, I will grow to hate Him because of the punishments induced upon me. Since He chose to discipline me in love, I began to appreciate the way that He works, and I grew to love Him more and more each day. This is what Jesus will do.

"Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
Job 5:17 (NIV)

There are so many situations which we can act wisely. Like what James addressed to the early church, they could choose to overcome their mouth instead of quarreling. However, will you take that wisdom beyond horizons: not merely because you want to act right, but because you want to express God’s love and transform others?

--Special thanks to Valerie for triggering this thought! :p--

Giving Everything - Part 3

by Friday, October 14, 2011

Having big loads of problems at hand, sometimes it is hard to focus on God. Worrying will always be the first thing that comes to mind. Gradually, I realised that I became so weary about having to worry. There are bound to be cramping of negative thoughts, dashing all hopes for solutions. Soon, I would find myself becoming a professional escapist of problems.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Complaining would be another thing that I will sometimes do. I don't blame God that problems are happening, but I will complain and constantly ask when the end will come. Soon I realised that complaining won't solve the problem.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT)

God didn't place problems in our life to bring us down or to train us to become professional escapist of problems. Thinking deep, worrying, complaining and blaming ain't any solution to solving problems, for it will still knock at your door, waiting for you to solve them.

These problems are placed there to reshape us, let our faith arise, and to teach us to be totally reliant on God:

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NLT)

"But God, if I fully depend on You, I won't be able to prove to You that I can solve this problem myself." Sometimes I long to prove to God that I can walk through these myself, and I found myself rejecting the help of God. However, it was only until later that I knew that I cannot depend on my own strength, for the strength that I have is just so limited.

I need to fully surrender myself to God and die to self daily. Stop having to struggle with that heavy load of burdens and problems. Cast them all upon God. Give Him everything today!

Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

“Don't tell God how big the storm is. Tell the storm how big Your God is.”

Giving Everything - Part 2

by Tuesday, October 11, 2011
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.
Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.

For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Luke 21:1-4 (NLT)

I was reading these verses and I was amazed at the widow’s action. She gave 2 small coins: all that she had to live on. Didn’t she think beforehand that these 2 coins that she was giving were going to be used for other needs?

On the other side there was the rich who gave much more money than the woman, perhaps thinking that someone sitting near the temple’s collection box would look and be impressed at the great amount of offerings they were presenting.

Then Jesus steps in and gave this statement: This poor widow has given more than the rest of them.

Jesus was not looking at the great amount of offerings presenting by the rich individuals. He was looking at the percentage of the abundance that they had given.

I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 (NLT)

So what shall I say? This old woman knew Jesus more than the rich people did. What about the amount? For, if the rich knew Jesus more than the old woman, they would have placed all their possessions in that collection box. However, it was not the outcome.

The widow knew Jesus more than those people. Without caring about the little amount that she could give, or her needs, she instantly gave her all. She knew that God is worthy of her everything, therefore she gave her everything to Him.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Give everything to God, for He sacrificed everything for you first…

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)

Giving Everything

by Friday, October 07, 2011

I always regard giving as a blessing. The more I give to God the more I will feel happy because I know that God always gives me more than what I always give to Him. Often, when I think about the great things that God had, has, and will give me in time to come, it blows my mind away.

“What can I give in return to the King?” I know that, no matter how much I give, it shall never surpass the things that He has done for me. Though small, never able to outshine the gifts of God, the only thing I can give to God is my life.

“Small… Small… Small” This word kept dwelling in my heart. How small is my life that God can use? To what extent can my life be of great impact? Though I may be small?

Later, as I read these few verses, I began to see my life in a whole different perspective:

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”

So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”
John 6:9-14 (NLT)

Though that young boy had 5 loaves and 2 fishes, only enough for his meal consumption, he gave it to Jesus. If I was in that boy’s position, maybe my initial thought would be identical to his disciple Andrew’s: “But what good is that with the huge crowd?”

Little will I expect that the little food for my meal would be able to feed 20 people, let alone 5,000! But Jesus performed the miracle: there were even leftovers!

It taught me one thing:
My life may be small, but if I would just give Jesus everything, He can use me and multiply everything for His great and big purpose.

Therefore, never belittle the capacity of your life. All it matters is this: Will you give God everything?

Sympathy vs Compassion

by Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Most people, unless cold-blooded, will have a heart of sympathy. But when it comes to having a heart of compassion, not many people possess this.

For instance, you may be walking on a street and you notice some random, shabby guy lost and badly injured. His face suggested to you that he wanted to ask someone for directions to the nearest clinic. Most people may walk pass him, or feel that he is pitiful. Less people will go all the way to help him and make sure he gets to the clinic.

There are so many situations that most people can show their sympathy towards a person, but how many people will ever show their compassion?

How many people will stretch out their hands to help someone in need? How many people will help someone who has a problem and make sure their problem is solved?

The bible differentiates the outcome of those who stretch forward and lend a helping hand, to those who merely empathize over that situation:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?

When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)

For those who possess a heart of compassion, God allow them to inherit from the kingdom of heaven. For one of the least of those brothers, God still regards them as precious in the family of God.

For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.

I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
Matthew 25:42-45 (NLT)

But for those who refuse to help when the least of those brothers are facing with problems, merely stating to them that they feel with their situation, they were going away to eternal punishment:

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:46 (NLT)

I rather desire to possess a heart of compassion so that when anyone is in need, I will never turn them away…
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