The Joy Of Obedience

by Sunday, December 30, 2012

During this year, I remembered there was a season where a curfew was given to me, requiring me to be back home by 8pm. I believe everyone would agree here, that having a spirit of rebellion is never going to lead anyone to obey. Obviously, I didn't obey.

I felt the test of faith came when I was given ministry leave for 3 weeks (I was like on MC for 3 weeks and I wasn't required to go to church). Initially, I didn't understand why it was given to me. Back at home, every Saturday for those weeks, when the clock strikes 6, I would always question God why the leave was given to me when His desire was for me to go to church and grow closer with the Body of Christ. I wanted to be in church, and no one could stop me from being there, but in the end I chose to obey and stick to the leave that was given to me. I was quite frustrated once actually and I popped the question to God, “So God, do you want me out of this whole thing (No more going to church, leading the life the way I wanted to)?”

Now, when I look back, I'm actually quite thankful for this curfew period (imagine me saying this when I kept ranting to some of you in the past haha). I understood that God was working behind the scenes, and He was teaching me some of the most valuable lessons, like obedience, the grace of God, the importance of being real, and the most important of all, the Person of the Holy Spirit (I'll cover those in my next few posts, so stay tuned).

Touching on the topic of obedience, having experienced that curfew season, this was what God taught me about obedience in Him:
1) Obedience begins with taking that step of faith, believing that whatever God has commanded you to do is for a good cause. When God desires you to obey, it's not so much of Him asking you, “Do you understand the work of My hands?” Rather, it's more of Him asking, “Do you trust My heart?” 
2) Obedience requires humility on your part, being able to willingly say, “God, Your plans are better than mine. Even though I may not understand, because I know that You love me, I'll choose to obey.” 
3) Obedience brings you to uncertainty in the seen realm, sometimes thinking it's impossible that God could change the situation for the better, but in the unseen something exciting and good is taking place. Sometimes we have the tendency to forget that God delights in working the impossible in the most difficult of times.
My heart is brought to thankfulness because of the patience God has toward me. I'm thankful that God has placed different ones in the church that has encouraged and spur me on to rely on God and learn how to obey Him. Obedience ain't easy, but it isn't a bad word either. Obedience commands a blessing upon your life.

Thank God for all the lessons He taught me through all these days in the year of 2012, and, as much as this post will serve as a reminder for me to obey God in everything I do in the days ahead, it's my prayer that this post will bless you guys who are reading this too, and you'll be able to put these into application, finding the joy of obedience. Thankful that God has placed the Holy Spirit as my loving Teacher too (Don't stop teaching me Friend haha). God bless, and wherever you may be, have a happy new year! :)
Psalm 1:1-3 - Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

Worthy Of The Highest Praise

by Monday, December 24, 2012
Scripture Passage: Acts 16:16-40
Paul and Silas were severely flogged and thrown into prison. Even when they were in pain, they still prayed and sang hymns praising God. When I was in the midst of reading these verses, a spontaneous thought came to me, “I wonder how their voices sound like when they were singing and being in physical pain.”

Being in the condition where both of them were stripped and beaten, severely flogged, placed in the inner cell and having feet fastened to stocks, I don't think that's a good situation where they can have any nice singers' voice. If I was in a situation like them, I think I'll feel very cold, shivering like mad, in great pain, and constrained of my movements. That's seriously the best time for me to recuperate and rest mann.

If I was one of the other prisoners hearing Paul and Silas praising God, I believe (even though it's not written in the bible about that), I will be like, “Woah are these dudes nuts? Singing in that condition?” I think I may even laugh at the way they sing, because I can imagine that their voices ain't sounding nice.

I don't think Paul and Silas cleared their throats, making sure they had a nice voice before they started singing. They didn't care if they were embarrassed or being looked at. They didn't let their natural circumstance change their supernatural praise.

Even if their voices were reaching to the heavens, sounding ugly, God wasn't looking for a nice singers' voice; God was looking at their hearts.

Now, it's not this point that I'm bringing across, to “take heart - even if your voice sounds ugly, praise all the more louder! (Haha)” Outward appearances count to nothing if the inside of you isn't really praising the way you are showing on the outside.

I believe God is looking for true worshippers - those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Those who sing praises that are more than a song. Those who eyes are fixed upon Jesus, and worship Him for who He is.

Even if your conditions are extremely bad - even when you go through harsh suffering periods and you can't bring yourself to praise God, your circumstances shouldn't shift your praise, because if worship is about yourself, wanting to feel good about the way you worship, you missed the point. Worship is about God - you praise God because He is worthy of your praises. Even if your situation feels like it's going against your praise, God remains worthy to be praised.

Praise God! For He is worthy of the highest praise!

The Faith Walk

by Monday, December 10, 2012

A week ago I had a pleasant night, with a nice dream accompanying it. Even though I couldn't recall the details of the dream, I remembered significantly that I saw this words on a white canvas in my dream:
And God is sovereign. Even though something looks to be in defeat at first, in the end you are walking towards victory.”
And I woke up with God speaking to me these words:
“Look upon Me - call upon My Spirit, and tap into the unseen. For the seen is temporary, but the unseen is eternal.”
Accompanying those words was a verse from Hebrews 11:
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 
From that day on,  I was led to read Romans 4 and Genesis 12 onwards. From those chunks of chapters, God has been using them to speak to me about my faith in Him.

From the time Abraham first received the words from God that he'll become a great nation and great blessing, all the way till he got a son from Sarah, he waited 25 years (He was 75 when God first spoke to him about the promise). 25 years of waiting! At that time, Sarah was already 99! Bearing Isaac? Haha I think I’ll also laugh like Abraham and Sarah if there’s any time I got that word from God.

I made an initial comment about Abraham, thinking that He was crazy because I can’t believe Abraham was so quick to leave at God's command even before the promise wasn't fulfilled. And the verse that wow-ed at my face was Genesis 12:9, when “Abram kept moving, steadily making his way south, to the Negev.” How can Abraham keep moving when Sarai (before God named her Sarah) was still childless? In natural and human’s perspective, it’s totally no way that Abraham and Sarah would have kids at such old age.

God began to change my perspective by shifting me to Romans 4. Through these verses, these spontaneous thoughts came:
If faith is all about you - what you can achieve and do with your own natural abilities, you've missed the whole point. 
Faith goes beyond yourself. Faith is all about learning to lean and trust in God - trusting and obeying in what He wants to do in, through and with you. Sometimes it seems foolish or impossible in natural eyes, but that's the whole point! God doesn't have the word “impossible” in His dictionary.
Even Moses looked upon his own flaws and kept stating those as excuses that God will never use him as His instrument for the Israelites. But God still did extraordinary miracles through him- the Red Sea parted, water came out from the rock, etc.

And I do fall prone to become like Moses sometimes. When I look at myself, I'll always give God the natural, human reaction - “God are you sure it's me? (Not that I'm making God to be a liar, but because I keep looking upon myself)

But this was when God made me realise:
“Faith is not about looking towards yourself and seeing how much you can do in the natural; faith is about looking towards Me and seeing how much I can do through you in the supernatural - a naturally supernatural lifestyle. Having faith in Me shouldn't constrain your life; it should expand your life!”
What’s so great about God is that He doesn't call us to be a superhuman. When you begin your Christian faith, He doesn't expect you to zoom all the way and demand you to have faith that can perform signs, wonders and miracles. He doesn't mock and laugh at you, and He doesn't compare you with other people, saying, “Wah that person has more faith than you, loser.” Sometimes we are the ones who call ourselves losers when God didn't even call us that. We don’t realise that God is patient with us – we just can’t be patient with ourselves sometimes (we go hard on ourselves).

Faith is a process and an adventurous journey that God desires for us to walk together with Him. When God asks you to go to step one, He doesn't expect you to fly to step 10 when you haven’t even begin moving towards step 1. Faith may cause you to step out of comfort zones, like Abraham who couldn't see the promise that He became a great nation after his death but yet still have to choose to head over to that land. But you aren't meant to walk the faith walk alone – God is and will be with you. So just believe in a Big Daddy God that lives inside of you and really know who your God is.

Hope this will bless your hearts and encourage your faith walks with Him too! :)
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