“My Child, I Believe In You”

by Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I was just taking some time to reflect on how I actually thought about myself. Given the way I normally react on the inside of me when people tell me things like, “You can do it. We believe in you,” that kind of conversations lead me to doubt my ability and capacity. I find that I am a person who is not confident of myself. I always ask myself, “Am I that great for people to believe in me?” Subconsciously, occasionally that would be the way I react when God calls me.

It was not that I didn’t believe God could use me. It was not that I didn’t want to obey the Call. It was just that I was just too doubtful of myself. But it was also through these times when I question my ability that will lead God to correct and teach me, “Joy, the moments when you are fearful of the things that I have called you to do, these are the same moments you are maximizing your weaknesses and minimizing the grace which I could let you rely upon. People may believe in your potential, but some of them are not even aware: they believe in you because they are looking at Me in you!”
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Isaiah 11:1-4 (NIV)

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
Daniel 11:32 (NKJV)
For those who think they are not wise, knowledgeable or eloquent enough to do what God wants you to do, God says that when you ask for anything in His name, according to His will, you will receive (John 16:24). God is going to equip you with supernatural boldness and faith to enable you to not fear and doubt in your potential. He is going to give you an understanding of His reality that He wants to use you for greater works.“The devil knows how much you want to serve Him, but he knows your weakness, and most of the time he will lie and lead you to doubt in your own capacity. But know who I am!” says the Lord. “Lift up your faith and believe!”
But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!
Acts 5:39 (AMP)
“I will pour out a spirit of fearlessness and boldness upon My people. They will stand strong and do the works I have commissioned them to do, for they will have an understanding that I have opened a door that no one can shut. Their works no one shall be able to overthrow – not even the devil. So take heart child. Do not fear and stand strong!”

Friend, you who are reading this now, I don’t know if you had the same occurrences as I had, but just like how God encourages me, I too want to encourage you with this, “God believes in you, and He wants to use you.” All you need to do is this, “Be open and let God work in, through and with you.” Let this be your checklist for identifiable moments when you doubt in yourself. Hope that as you read this it will challenge you run for what He has called you at all costs! :)

To Fight; Not To Quit

by Monday, June 18, 2012

These few weeks have been a rather rough week for me. Just as I felt screwed up at the earlier part of the week, God told me that He wants to continue moulding and shaping my character. “My beloved Joy, be faithful in the little now, and staying faithful means continuing on to fight your battle and not give up. I want you to stay on in your battle. Don't quit!”

During my devotions God brought me to the book of Job. These particular verses stood out so much for me:
Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. Your words have held firm him who was falling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon you, and you faint and are grieved; it touches you, and you are troubled and dismayed. Is not your [reverent] fear of God your confidence and the integrity and uprightness of your ways your hope?
Job 4:3-6 (AMP)
Before this battle came blowing at me, I wondered how God has used me to strengthen the people around me, but now when it came to me, I wanted to give up so badly. I thank God for telling me to stay strong. God will never place me in a trial just to mock at me when I keep failing; He wants me to rely on His strength and emerge strong. Fearing God should be my source of confidence.

Also, God asked me to hear the sermon preached by Pastor Philip Mantofa, titled “Jesus - Before 30”. After hearing the whole sermon, I felt so strengthened because of what God spoke through him:

“Joy, I want to use your youth to prepare you for a greater calling I have for you in the future. Respect time, identify teachable moments and stay highly focused. It's only when your eyes are fixed on the greater calling I have placed upon your life, and then you will begin to spare yourself and others from unnecessary pains and failures. Take heart, my child, for you are in my safe hands.”

Thank God for believing so much in me. I believe it's time I take a stand: to fight; not to quit. God I pray that you’ll grant me the strength to stay on in my battles. Use me mightily, Lord in Your hands.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV)

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG)

“I Will Step Out!"

by Monday, June 11, 2012

If not you, then who? If not now, then when? - Hillel

In the past, I came to a conclusion that I was actually afraid of being placed into a new environment and having to attempt doing things I had never done before. I remembered having thoughts of not wanting to go to class whenever the semester changes because it meant that the class would re-shuffle, and it meant having to meet new faces. When I am called try something new, or do something out of the ordinary things I will do, I would not dare to try out as I didn’t know what to expect.

Isn’t that sometimes how we react to God also? When he commissions us to do something, we can come up with 1000 excuses. I remembered giving God a whole load of excuses over the times when He asks me to do things, but He will always say something that I will never be able to rebut back:

1) Excuse: “But I don’t have enough time. I got other things at hand.”
“If you will spend 5 minutes procrastinating or slacking away, why not spend 5 minutes doing what I have called you to do?”
Matthew 6:33 - I may need to finish playing my game, but when I realise the more important task I should be doing first, time won’t be an issue to me anymore.
- Time is not an issue; your commitment is the issue. Make yourself available! - 

2) Excuse: “But I am shy / But I have stage fright.”
“If you will spend 5 minutes analyzing and listing down your weaknesses, why not spend 5 minutes praying, resting and relying on My grace?”
2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13 – I may regard myself as weak and powerless. I may not be able to do things with my own strength. But when I realise God’s strength and grace is more than sufficient for me, my weaknesses are no more excuses.
- Never let weaknesses crumple your Call, for grace got your back! -
3) Excuse: “But I am only a kid.” (Confession: Used to be the most favourite excuse I will use to tell God…)
“If you will spend 5 minutes telling Me all the disadvantages you have being a kid, why not spend 5 minutes digging into the Word and changing your perspective, that I can use you no matter how young you are?”
2 Corinthians 6:11-13, 1 Timothy 4:12 – I may see myself as small. I may just be a kid. But when I realise God desires to work in me and through me, age doesn’t matter anymore.
- Age is not an issue; your level of openness to God is the issue! –
4) Excuse: “But I don’t know what to expect.” (My most recent excuse which required God to correct me)
“If you will spend 5 minutes listing down all the possibilities of the worst case scenarios you may expect, then begin doubting and worrying about what will happen, why not spend 5 minutes just resting in this promise that ‘your future’s in My hands’?”
Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 31:3-5 – I may not what to expect. The future may be unknown to me. But when I realise who holds my future, I will stop desiring to know what to expect.
- Don’t fear not knowing what the future holds; Rest in the strong arms who’s got your future in His hands. –
5) Excuse: “But I have failed in the past.”
“If you will spend 5 minutes counting the times you failed, why not spend 5 minutes just shifting your focus back onto Me?”
2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 2:15 – I may have failed in the past. But when I realise Jesus has cleansed me of my past, and He could even triumph over death, what excuse I got now not to try again?
- Your past failures don’t define you. When your heart is set upon Jesus and you start to take steps of faith, watch what God will do! –

God spoke this into my heart, “If you can come up with tons of excuses, why not come up with tons of reasons why you should not answer the Call. What you have to fear? Aren’t I with you?”

God is looking for people that will stop giving excuses when He calls them. God is looking for open vessels that will say, “No excuses for me; I will choose to step out in faith.” God is searching for people that are willing to step out of their comfort zones and tell Him, “Here I am Lord. Use me and have your way in me.” When He calls you, will you be the one choosing to boldly say, “I will step out”? Or will you be the one who tries to boost your creativity juices to let God change His mind and choose someone else?

C’mon who is with me to stop giving excuses and tell God that “I will step out!”?

A relationship with Jesus will always lead to an “I can” on the inside of you.
- Pastor Sergio De La Mora, adapted from the book 'The Heart Revolution'
“No one shall be able to overthrow the works that I have commissioned you to do. My child, do not fear! Stand bold and be strong! Stop counting the cost; start running for the cause!” 
 - But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:39 NIV)

Lord I Can't, But You Can

by Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

These 2 verses have been speaking deep into my heart these few days, strengthening me in the midst of the trial. Currently I’m facing this particular nerve-wrecking / energy-sucking trial and I felt that this trial was going nowhere because I wasn’t really depending on God but on my own strength. Thank God He shifted my perspective and kept me running again.

God spoke to me through these 2 verses, “Joy, in every battle you face, the victory has been won. It’s only a matter of time that you will see it, but through the process of waiting and walking out from this trial, you’ll see the devil launching attacks to bring your faith down. He’ll make you think that you’re fighting a losing battle. But behold! The battle has been won!”

Previously, I wasn’t facing this trial with much joy as I thought that it was an energy-sucking trial. I thought I have become skinnier in the midst of this trial (Ok just kidding haha…). But now I know that I should be rejoicing because God is building my character. I should be persevering on because I know this is a test of faith. I don’t really ask the question that some people may ask, “Why God allows suffering?” but I know that because “God believes in me, hence the trial.” Perseverance, hope and joy were the keys to stay on and not give up my trial.

This is the reason why sometimes I ask God, “God why are You so crazy to believe in me?” I failed in the midst of the trial. I did not do things that were pleasing to Him. Knowing that God believes in me, and there were leaders behind my back that have been supporting me, I feel I have let them down. What more, in the first place, I didn’t even believe in myself, that I could pull through this trial. But He always picks me up and says, “Regain your strength mighty warrior! You can do far better than this. Don’t be afraid of failing, for you may fail a thousand times, but My mercy remains. You’re never handling this trial alone. Rest in My joy – for the joy of the Lord will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Stop focusing on what is temporary, but on what is eternal – the victory that has been won!”

Also, God reminded me that He wants to build up my character through this trial:
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

“The deeper the roots, the higher the plant can grow. Deep roots take time to be grown into the soil. Similarly, I will plant deep roots in you– roots that will enable you to have that capacity to carry what I want you to grow and release. Right now, you should be able to notice that there are some elements that is not edifying towards the growth of this deep character, and I am going to remove these impurities away. Endure, my child, for your character is going to be refined and matured. I’ll bring you through the refiner’s fire and make you pure so that you can advance in the greater calling I have destined you for. Trust and rest in who I am, for I love you and I am faithful.

3 nuggets for takeaway:
1) Look towards Jesus! – Let the joy of the Lord be your strength
2) Look to what God is looking at! – The victory that has been won
3) Persevere and never give up! – Let God refine and build your character

Special thanks also for the people that have been keeping me in prayer: Jesus (my best intercessor), church leaders and friends. Thanks for never losing hope in me and for all of your constant encouragements. Thank You God for not looking and counting the times I’ve failed, but at that one time where I’ll walk out conquerors from that trial. Lord, I cannot, but You can, so I'm resting and trusting in You alone. Let not my will, but Yours be done...
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