Friday, December 31, 2010

Worth Waiting

10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” 11 The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. 12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[a] to see that my word is fulfilled.”

(Jeremiah 1:10-12)

Life certainly moves fast in this era. Where did the months go? It’s been almost half a year since I had time to blog. As God’s people I am constantly reminded to slow down and catch my moments with our Father. Easy? Definitely not. Many circumstances stormed into my life like uninvited guests. As much as I would love to push them off and say, “NO”, they came right at my doorstep seeking to rob my joy and peace. God arose in my midst and held all things in his mighty hands! Col. 1:17.

As I step back and look intently at all the happenings, the turns and curves of life’s journey I am grateful for God’s presence and providence. The rough edges smoothened by his grace. The tears wiped when I sought his face. In the midst he threw in some sweet surprises. My eyes have seen the fulfillment of many of his promises.

His words of affirmation that he is a God who will perform his word spoke into my heart again as I read Jeremiah 1:10-12. I am excited as I wait eagerly to watch his word being fulfilled. He can be trusted. It is worth waiting.

At this juncture of crossing over to a brand new year, I am wrapped in his immensity, and to stand in this season seeking to get a better glimpse of his greatness and goodness; and to embrace EMMANUEL – God with us!

What has God spoken to you?
Remember to wait and watch intently as he fulfill what he said.

Happy New Year and blessed waiting…

Heavenly Father, I know your word is truth. Waiting is a tedious process but surely waiting on you will never lead to disappointment. Let my eyes see the fulfilment of your word in my life in this coming new year. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What An Honour!

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15, NIV

Friends come and friends go. Today, Facebook, Twitter and many other IT technologies has done us a great favor of linking people and helping us stay connected wherever we are in this planet earth. I am amazed at the multitude of friends on our pages. Some figures seem outrageous. Hmm, perhaps we all know their names and added into our lists but how many of these friends do we really know?

Friends. We can’t do without them. Can we? Some people claimed they don’t need friends. Loners. I can’t quite imagine that, as friends are such a crucial part in my life apart from my family. As I reflected on the many friendships I share in this journey of life, I am so grateful for each of them who had contributed in my growth as a person – for their love and accountability. Memories of these friendships flooded back. Then I remember a very special one – my ever faithful friend. How I met him and he pursued me till I opened the door of my heart to receive his friendship. Jesus Christ is his name.

Isn’t this Jesus the Bible talks about Lord and God? It began that way as I thought of our first encounters. As I learned more of him each day and responded to his invitation to draw near, I began to hear his voice in a different way. He isn’t the God who proudly lord over me but he calls me his friend! The Greek translation speaks of this as “friend in the king’s court”. Indeed an honour to be invited into the king’s presence and listens to him. What more into the fellowship of the King of Kings! The privileges of being his friend is endless but this one highlighted in the verse tells us we are been let into his secrets. Servants are been ordered. Friends – given the knowledge of his plans. What an honour to be called a friend of God!

Let’s hang out with this friend who promised to be faithful and true. Have a cuppa with him today and listen to what he has to say – maybe just a gentle whisper of his love, maybe a command, maybe a rebuke in love, maybe a comforting word, maybe an affirmation, maybe no agenda…but just enjoy his loving presence.

I am a friend of God. Are you?

Lord, it is an honour to know you and be known. Thank you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who Am I?

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

(I John 3:1, NIV_

In the attempt of going green, we chose to support the effort of the Friends of the Penang Botanic Gardens Society last weekend in their project, Recycling Craft. My girls and I joined the team of mostly retirees with excitement of learning a new craft and meeting new people.

The lady in charged gave us a briefing and showed us the materials needed which was lots of papers from various sources namely flyers which come into our mail boxes as junk mails and magazines.. Apart from that, were wooden sticks a.k.a. satay sticks, old wires, cardboards and glue. Yes, glue being the only non-junk items. The rest were in line with the 3 Rs of a green environment – Recycle, Reduce and Reuse. The facilitator showed us some displays and we were excited to get to the end result. But every good thing requires some good work. So we set our hands and hearts to follow all her directions. Clumsily we rolled our first paper straws till we got it right before we were given a pile of ready made paper straws. Then we got to the interesting part of constructing a strong base for the baskets (our first item) we were making before weaving tediously. All by papers! In the midst of our deep concentration, the journalists from the newspapers came. Snap! Snap! Snap! Oops, we were on camera.

The journalist interviewed some people. The usual question is “What is your name?” and “What do you do?” My name? Simple. I just introduced myself. But I paused for a short moment before I responded, “I am a homemaker”. In my mind, I thought, “Should I say – homemaker or pastor since I am doing both?” It doesn’t really matter. However, we somehow picked this issue up in the journey home. My girls had a debate of who their mum was! A homemaker, a pastor? Cheeky Chrisa said, “Mum, you should have told the guy that you are a homemaker-pastor.” And he would probably asked, “What?” Then you could say, “A homemaker-pastor-teacher.” Then he would asked again, “What?” And you could say, “Homemaker-pastor-teacher-nurse.” He would then be more confused and asked, “What?” Then you could say, “Homemaker-pastor-teacher-nurse-cook-driver-playmate.” And the list is endless. We all laughed. So “who am I?” Yes, indeed the list is endless as I thought of the different roles I play in my life.

All of us find our significance in the name we carry and the vocation we have. That basically forms the picture of who we are. But is that all? Or is that the basis of our significance? The whole week God captured my attention and whispered to me, “You are my child. All these people you are ministering to – they are my children.” Being children of the Great God we are loved dearly and deeply. What a privilege to called children of God! Note the exclamation marks twice in one single verse. That’s how important.

Heavenly Father, What an honour to be Your child! Write on my heart your promises and remind me of your deep love. Thank you for lavishing your love on me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Ultimate

“…here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
For this is the whole duty of man.”

(Ecclesiastes 12: 13, NIV)

Each day is a brand new day. A new opportunity to grow. New mercy received. Knowledge to pursue. Wisdom to gain.
But with each day, it has its own challenges. Added responsibilities. Increased workload. New visions come before my old dreams are pursued. Issues to think through. Problems to solve.

Days lead to weeks. Weeks lead to months. I still have to embrace each day with the grace of God, welcoming the gift of time with gladness and hope while juggling the balancing act of life.

It is a season of sowing. Though I see nothing, I keep watering. I keep nurturing. I keep loving. I keep trusting. I keep believing – that one day…yes, one day, soon…I will see the fruit of my labour.

While I work in this garden of life, I’ve asked endless questions, but often left unanswered. I seek to understand better different issues, people, situations and even myself, but to find the wise words of King Solomon ringing back to my ears, “…here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

In the closing of the Book of Ecclesiastes, it reinforces the whole thrust of the book – that everything is meaningless apart from rooted in God. The ultimate is to fear and obey him, and be kept in his will. How true is that old saying which goes like this – Do your best and God will do the rest! How clearly and cleverly the writer concluded the book by stating the truth, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Though I may not understand nor gain further insights to some life issues and difficult people, but I know God is in control.

Have we done our part in this life, to the best of our knowledge and wisdom? And focus on the ultimate – to fear God and obey him? Then the rest is up to him!

Heavenly Dad, take charge of my days. Teach me to always revere you and obey all your commands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chill Out!

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

(Proverbs 24:3-4, NIV)

Chill out! Every yuppie knows this term very well. After a hard day’s work or a week’s stress, it’s chill out time. There’s endless ideas for every individual or group to chill out. This word fades gradually, sometimes instantly when we step into this crazy world called parenthood; and especially for stay home mums.

Every day is a cycle to beat the clock. There’s neither day nor moment when work ceases. It’s a 24/7 duty. No pay. No leave. No glamour. The irony is instead of receiving, this vocation seeks to give, give and give. How that always reminds me of our Heavenly Father. The fact is we cannot deny the frailty of mankind and the limitation of energy we possessed.

It was Labour Day over the weekend. It is a gazetted public holiday. I used to get triple pay when I was working in the hospital. Was I fantasizing of money? No. All I wanted was to chill out! Perhaps I could get a bit of it since my girls were away with grandparents and aunt. The toddler – another set of grandparents graciously took him for shopping. My awaited moment had arrived. Once I finished all the work needed attention, I could chill out. My choice of chill out – a good book, a hot drink in a cool air-conditioned room…complete silence to help me reflect and declutter my mind and refresh my spirit. The inventory began… a mountain of laundry folded and kept, house straightened up, emails replied, phone calls returned…there were more (like mentioned housework is endless – bottomless pit) but that should be suffice for now. Then I heard the car. The boy was back. Soon, another car. The girls were back. The silent mode in the house was instantly switched back to high volume of all sorts of noises. Excited chatters of their weekend which I was trying to keep up with three impatient girls attempting to share all that had happened. In the midst of it, they alerted me, “Mum, we are hungry.” These all happened within the few minutes they stepped into the house, before I could lock the door!

I promised to get dinner ready soon. The boy was excited to see his sisters after being separated for a night and almost a day. A joyful sight to see their reunion. Did I enjoy? Of course, I did. But what happened to my chill out moment? Probably after they drained their energy and knocked off at bedtime. Perhaps. Bedtime routine is always long – cleanup and change, story, prayer. When their energy is drained, mine would too. Most of the time, I beat them to it. Chill out? Hmm…this term was far from reach by then.

Lights out. The girls snuggled by my sides to get their goodnight hugs and kisses after our prayers beginning with the toddler uttering his most sincere prayers with the cutest voice and increasing vocabulary. The sweetness of such moment could only be captured in the memory to be cherished. Many times, I pray I will not be senile in my old age so I can recall these precious moments with smiles and joy. I had thought it was the end of the night. Perhaps there’s still a teeny weeny bit of time left to – chill out. Oh, was I determined or what?! The dark room did not deter the little one from cracking up jokes and doing silly stuff to make us laugh. The soothing atmosphere broke into laughter upon laughter. We were having such a marvelous moment that I didn’t mind we passed bedtime.

Finally when all were ready to plunge into dreamland, they were ushered into bed with joy and peace. As they close their room door and I sat quietly on my bed, I felt a gush of joy and peace leaping in me. I was refreshed in my spirit. My heart was cheerful. Indeed I chilled out. Not the way I intended but God had his way of meeting my need through the rare and beautiful treasures he filled my room with...indeed, we need wisdom and knowledge in building a home, and seeking to understand our position and situation will put things in order. This is such a priceless chill out.

I am building a home, not just a house. What about you? You can’t find time to chill out being a busy mum? Pray for a creative outlet which will make your heart sing and leap with joy; and be energized for a new day.Or perhaps you are not a mum, but you still need to chill out as you build…whatever that you are building – an education path, a career, etc. Make sure you welcome wisdom, understanding and knowledge of the Lord and watch him fill your rooms with rare and beautiful treasures. Enjoy!

Heavenly Father, establish my life with Your wisdom, understanding and knowledge and fill it with rare and beautiful treasures which will glorify Your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In His Time

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

(Mark 5:36, NIV)

He pushed through the massive crowd. In his desperation, this father made his way right in front and threw himself down at the feet of Jesus. This is the man he needed to see. He heard of his incredible reputation of healing the sick. His only hope. This anxious dad pleaded Jesus to go to his house and heal his ill child. Although Jesus agreed to his plea, they were drowned in the sea of people pushing to get a touch of Jesus. The anxiety of this dad increased with Jesus’ relaxed composure. Jesus did not seem in any hurry at all. He even stopped to attend to other people along the way.

Soon, the worried dad received news from home that his precious daughter died. His only hope – Jesus, was not a hope at all?! Now all he could see and hear was a numb silence in his own spirit. Is there really hope? As he struggled to think rationally, he could hear the commotion around him. “It’s too late.” “Don’t bother Jesus.” “Your girl is dead.”

The message rang in my head and heart throughout this week since I read this familiar story of Jairus running after Jesus to heal his sick daughter to my toddler. Although the words are simpler in his small illustrated children’s bible, the Spirit spoke to my heart with clarity and hope.

How many times we look at our hopeless situation and are left numb?
How many times we see our vision die?

Jairus was standing with his living hope. He was face to face with Jesus. He pleaded. Jesus heard him. But his girl still died!

Have we thought we found hope but to see it slip through our fingers?
Have we screamed at God for deliverance and waited with anticipation, but He seemed to be silent? We thought it’s urgent but He seemed relaxed.

Jesus ignored the commotion and spoke with authority. He said, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

It calls for courage to keep believing which seems hopeless. When we encounter God and hears him, he empowers us to be brave and to continue to trust him even when we are face with impossibilities. As long as we are with Jesus, we are safe. Just believe…

As soon as Jesus reached Jairus’ home, he turned the overwhelming sadness into unspeakable joy. Jesus ordered the girl to get up and walk. Indeed she did!

…when we continue to believe and trust God, he makes all things beautiful in his time. When we wait and trust with believing heart, he turns a bad situation in which we mourn into a ball whereby we can dance. He turns our begging into banquet. He resurrects dead dreams and recover vanished visions.

So, don’t be afraid, just keep believing! A room for miracle to make God famous.

“Heavenly Father, give me strength and grace in the waiting. I know there’s nothing impossible when we are together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stop and Bless

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

(Isaiah 61:1, NIV)

We grabbed our groceries and rushed to the cashier with the shortest queue. It’s the usual peak hours at the store with consumers coming in after work to do their shopping. We just needed a few items to fix a quick dinner before the man of the house shoot off for an evening meeting in church.

At the payment counter while I was watching closely the cashier keying in the prices and shuffling my stuff away for packing, Chrisa tucked on me and whispered, “Mum, can we do the 2010 Blessing with her?” There was an old lady right after me at the line. We had exchanged smiles earlier. She was very old and I found out later she was 85. A strong and steady 85. A sweet lady with a neat presentation. I thought I would really like to be like her when I grow old.

In my hurried mode, I gave Chrisa a quick reply, “We’ll see…” but the little girl was persistent. She pestered me again. I threw the question back to her, “Would you want to do it?” She gave a quick nod and said, “Yes.” Her respond was quite a surprise to me. Our church had launched the 2010 Blessing during Easter. It is a 3 month community project to bless 2010 people from all walks of life with prayer. Being a young and small church of about 20 odd people, we prayed for this radical move to reach the city with God’s blessings and then watch God unfold his wondrous acts. No doubt just touching a small drop in the ocean yet we felt this intentional effort will compel us to reach out with God’s compassion and propel us into action…to move and bless friends and new contacts.

My gung-ho lass targeted her first receiver with such compassion and urgency. I couldn’t say “no” no matter how hurried I was. So I paid and waited for the old lady to finish with hers. We exchanged smiles again. Then I strike a brief conversation with her and gave Chrisa the opportunity to ask her for a chance to bless her with prayer. The old lady was delighted and agreed immediately. I stood beside my little girl as she prayed for the old lady right there along the corridor of the store.

She taught me to stop in the midst of inconvenience to say a prayer for someone. She doesn’t know the person waiting in line behind us, but she was filled with compassion which propelled her into a simple act of love. She was urgent about her mission.

Is there anyone in need of God’s touch today?
Are we too busy to notice anyone in need?
Or is it our fears which cripple us to move into action?
Pause…in the midst of our busyness and reach out with compassion.
Don’t wait for a convenient time. It may not come by.

Heavenly Father, as You bless me so abundantly, I seek to bless others too. Open my heart to contain Your love. Open my eyes to see beyond every pair of eyes I meet everyday. Let me see what you see. Let me love as you love. Let me move as you lead me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What A Wondrous Work!

For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord. I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts.

(Psalm 92:4-5, NIV)

Nine people. One cave. And a sunny day. It was barely 10 ’o clock. It was very warm, as usual, I was sitting in the morning sun.

At 10:30am we would enter the mouth of Gua Tempurung. As we were waiting, I thought to myself, “Bother! Time sure passes s-l-o-w-l-y when you are waiting!" If only 10:30 would come just a bit quicker.

Finally when it did, I joined the rest of the group, standing around a guide who was briefing us on what we were going to be doing and what to expect. I was so excited! Even though I had visited this cave before. The guide was speaking in Malay so I couldn’t understand much but I knew what to expect anyway. We saw another guide gathering some stuff that he would need to take us around in our tour inside the cave.

When we were inside, dim lights guided our path. We saw all sorts of natural sculptures, like an elephant’s head, people sleeping, and hands reaching down from the ceiling. Different shapes of stalactites and stalagmites grew in every direction. Although I have to admit it was rather stinky, it was beautiful!

I thought, “Wow! Isn’t that amazing!" I thought to myself how great God is, that all those sculptures are natural and that God made them just the way they are. I figured and saw how awesome He is and what He can do. If God can make rocks and caves look so beautiful and special, surely He can shape me to be beautiful too, right? 100%, absolutely, positively sure He can!!

So today I pray, that God will shape my life and every one of your lives to be a beautiful attraction to many people, and that they may know that He is really the One who made us all the way we are.

God of Majesty, I praise You for Your wondrous works. Thank You for making this beautiful world and me! Continue to shape me according to Your will and let others see Christ in me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(This week's devotion contributed by Ashlynn Lim)

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Clean Up and Clean It Out

The pile of papers sitting on the table was stacked up neatly.
The toys lined up all ready to welcome a new play.
The miscellaneous stuff all boxed up.
The cleansed fan propelling at high speed sending a cool sensation in the room, circulating the air well. It didn’t give its optimum effect prior this.
Curtains drawn. The bright sun shone through the glass door panels and windows giving a fresh start of the day.
At any glance, anyone would notice the glass and window panes had been given a meticulous wipe to expose the clarity of vision through them.
My feet touched the flawless floors and it felt good walking on the dust free ground.
The ceiling’s natural decorations were taken off – the cobwebs.
Everything looked back at me with a shining stare.

Housekeeping is a challenge when one tries to excel in homemaking. So is a mum a housekeeper or homemaker? Oh, that’s a great difference, isn’t it? Although I enjoy both but I must admit housekeeping is an endless chore. It doesn't make me laugh nor cry whereas homemaking is about people. The mechanics of housekeeping is so routine that many times I am left exhausted trying to keep up with it. I never did and will never, I guess with another five – big and small very active and creative people under my care. The constant activities in the home will definitely not leave things in order for a long time. Hence, 24 hours a day is not going to be ever enough to maintain the standard of a clean house as I thought should be before the nest grew. Nevertheless, I still enjoy and welcome the freshness of the air which greets me whenever I achieve this task, and stared back at the shining floors and orderly environment with sheer delight. My heart seems lighter. My spirit free as I walk through the decluttered pathway of piled up things through the days, weeks, and months.

Ooh, I am not a super clean freak but I certainly love to clean up and clean it out periodically. The space once occupied with clutters and dust sure give a sense of freedom of mind when it’s cleansed and dejunked.

Our spiritual home needs cleaning up and cleaning out all the time all the more.

Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel, “If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he’ll save you from Philistine oppression.” (1 Samuel 7:3, MSG)

Father of All, please spring clean this heart so it will be a comfortable home for you to dwell in. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Call and Colours of the Morning

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.

(Matthew 28:20, NIV)

The song of nature came to my ears as I read the portion of scriptures in the late morning after the house switched to silent mode. It’s always a welcoming change when there’s a constant buzzing sound of children running in the house. They’ve been whizzed off to the botanical gardens with the grandparents.

My ears couldn’t ignore the birds’ songs. Some gentle tweets. Some harsh callings. The various pitches and whistles made a sweet melody.

As my eyes sought to trace them, I caught some beautiful colours against the usual green backdrop. I noticed the changes in the trees. One looks pretty barren in the hot weather with leaves falling all the time. I watched the dry brown leaves descending as they floated in the air carried by the gentle wind and touched the ground. The barren tree has a certain beauty even standing next to the one which still flourishes. Both radiate with elegance in the bright sunny day. Different colours splashed in to cheer these earthly tones. Bright red and blues streaks. Bright yellow with blacks. The kingfisher flew low and perched on a branch briefly. Two orioles were flapping from one tree to another. My eyes were actively following their flight and observing their movements while being entertained by their unending song. In the low were the white butterflies fluttering to and fro gently. On the different divisions of this natural display were the usual mynas, sparrows and crows. The norm of the seemingly ordinary trees was disturbed by these creatures’ activities. As I observed the constant flow of changes taking place this morning under the bright sun, I received a renewal of strength and peace to face the inevitable changes and challenges of life.

Life is a process of change. It is changing all the time. Seasons change. People change. Circumstances change. We need to welcome changes – good and difficult ones with the strength and grace of God. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”

Do not look forward to changes and chances of this life in fear. God will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. He will silently plan for you.
- E. Mary Grimes

Just like my morning observation of the trees – one flourishes and one almost barren. Both are beautiful in their own rights. The quiet and painful changes (if the trees could talk) shone with certain loveliness in the bright sun. Their beauty being magnified with the changing colours that splashed in between and the disturbance of noises of the creatures.

What kind of changes are we going through? Or potential changes coming soon? Welcome them with God’s grace and spot the beautiful colours and sweet melody in the midst of trials, difficulties and pain. Let his glorious beauty shine in and through us to achieve his kingdom purpose.

Thank you, Lord that I can welcome the changes in my life, not in fear but in faith because You promised to be with me all the appointed days. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mummy, Milk… Mummy, Mummy, Milk!

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

(Psalm 42:1-2, NIV)

Time out is good for me. It is necessary. Whenever I return home, I can see and hear an excited child running to greet me. “Mummy, mummy…” The child will jump on me and snuggled up under my arms. Next, he will burrow his way through while giving me a smile, “Mummy, milk.” Grandparents will always laugh and tease him that he needs his fix. The moment he latches on, he will be contented and enjoy his moment nursing in the warmth of my arms. A typical picture of our home for the past years. This has been the normal experience of nursing four babies till toddlerhood, and one till preschool. The best antidote to soothe a distress baby or wounded child is to nurse him.

The child finds immense comfort and contentment nursing in the mum’s arms. The intimate bond brings forth unspeakable joy. Here in the secure and loving arms of mummy, the child receives gentle whispers of love, assurance and affirmation of his identity. The eyes of the innocent child meet the loving eyes of mum. They exchange smiles. My little one even hums and dances during his feeds. He purely enjoys his moments while being satisfied with nature’s best food. I remember how one of my girls told me, “Mummy’s milk is the best” after tasting cow’s milk for the first time!

One of the greatest joys of motherhood is that God has designed the woman’s body not just with attractive curves and aesthetic assets, but with a higher purpose. To nourish her young! It is an excellent and enriching experience for both mother and child. Along with it is a great analogy of Psalm 42:1-2. Here the psalmist pants for God like the deer pants for the water. It is so similar to the nursing child’s longing after mum’s presence and milk for they satisfy like no other, we should long after God’s presence and living water. Truly none can satisfy like the Giver of Life.

My child would chase me down if he doesn’t get his milk. Are we God chasers?
My child would plunge into my arms once he gets hold of me and he won’t let me go till he is being satisfied and full. Do we hunger and thirst after God and cling on to him till we are satisfied in his presence?
My child will look at me and wait for me to whisper to him my love as he nurses. Do we wait on the Father and hear his whispers of love?
My child has learnt to say, “Thank you, mummy” after he is done. Do we say, “Thank you, God” after we are done for that moment.

O Loving Father, here I come running to You…receive me into Your arms of love and satisfy me. I am hungry and thirsty, for You, the living God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Follow His Footsteps

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:25, NIV)

As I entered Gua Tempurung, a cave in Gopeng, Perak, I was amazed at how God created this magnificent sculpture. That caused me to be very excited.

We climbed. We slid. We splashed in the water. Soon I found myself enjoying the adventure tremendously. But, at one point, the rocks were steep and I was a little nervous. Dad, who was right in front of me, reassured me, “Just follow my footsteps.”

So I copied every position he moved, following him closely. I managed to pass that level!

Just as we follow our elders, parents, leaders or people we truly trust, we must first and foremost, follow God’s footsteps so that we may go in the right way in life. Thus, we will never fall.

Are you keeping in step with his Spirit?

Dear Lord, let my eyes study you and follow your steps closely. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(This week's devotion contributed by Nathalynn)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don’t Get Stuck in the Old

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 3:13-14, NIV )

The lunar New Year celebration is one big deal for most Chinese here. Whether you think it is significant to celebrate the occasion you can’t escape some traditions. Nevertheless visitation serves as golden opportunity to meet up with family and relatives whom we don’t normally see throughout the year due to our busy culture. As we got ourselves ready for another day of meeting people and sharing the joy of the occasion, the usual call for mummy was heard.

This time one of my daughters whispered to me, “Mum, I need you to help me.” She gave me a serious look. Under her towel wrap, she said again, “Mum, I can’t get this skirt out. It is stuck!” “Stuck? What do you mean?” I gave a puzzled look in return. She undo the towel wrap and truly I was so tickled to see the bright colourful pair of skirt stuck on her. It just couldn’t be removed. We both giggled and thought it was the joke of the year. She had attempted to wear an old skirt which she had outgrown. She has grown. That’s definite. She knew that full well. Somehow that moment, she said she thought she could still give it a try and forced that beautiful skirt up her hip. Horror greeted her when she couldn’t zip up neither could she take it off. We laughed over her silliness as we tried our best to pull off the garment. I reminded her again the stack of appropriate size clothes she has and wondered why she reached out for a smaller alternative. Perhaps it was pretty and she could not let go of it. She took her chance and got stuck!

We yelled for daddy. I needed the extra help. So both of us worked with tremendous effort to remove it while laughing all the way. By then the girl felt awfully silly and a little troubled in case the skirt would not come off. We prayed. We continued the task with all our might, working carefully at every angle and seam till we finally succeeded. We burst into the loudest laughter, and reminded each other “not to get stuck in the old”…leave the past and move on. Put on the new wineskin.

The lunar New Year is a season of newness. Traditional Chinese welcomes new things for the new year. Perhaps some of us are not particular in having new clothes for the season. But it is a good reminder that God grants us newness everyday. A new beginning. A new journey. A new life in Him. A new hope. A new season. No matter how good or beautiful the past season was we need to move on and take hold of better things in the present and even greater ones in the future. Let us echo Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians to forget what is behind and look ahead for the prize.

Welcome the freshness of his spirit and doing in our lives daily.

Heavenly Father, help me to move on and not stuck in the past. I cherish the good memories, but I look forward to the new everyday and move as the Holy Spirit moves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Intentional Eating

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.

(Ezekiel 4:9, NIV)

Less sugar. No sugar.
No preservative.
No articificial flavour and colouring.
Low salt.
Low fat. High calcium.
DHA enriched.

These are some very common health phrases highlighted on grocery packages. Eating right is talked about so frequently over table conversation but generally, people are feasting with all sorts of food now that makes me wonder what are we putting into our body each day. While food and health companies are luring consumers with all their advertised goods, I realized we had gone so far from God’s original plan of eating right. Now we are trying to go back to the naturals and his original plan. He provided all we need when he created the world. Pharmaceutical companies boast of their natural products which give optimum health and aid healing process. Consumers pay through our noses to feel good and have a sense of security that we are in a good state. While some of us need certain supplements for specific reasons, a huge percentage of today’s urban population have neglected good eating habits and many times try to compensate with these health goods. Where have we gone wrong?

All of us need to be responsible for our own diet. It is worship unto God. Daniel was intentional in resolving not to defile himself with the royal food (Daniel 1:8-16) and chose to be nourished with vegetables instead. He proved to be healthier. As God’s child we need to be intentional in eating right. Instead of being succumb to commercial gimmicks, and trying to use short cuts in obtaining good health, let’s evaluate our food diary daily and ask God to help us take care of our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Worship is not just singing some hymns and praises to him on a Sunday. Eating right is worship too.

If we are so used in feeding on junks, let’s ask God to change our taste buds for healthy alternatives.
Yes, I know what you are thinking…it is truly challenging nowadays to maintain constant healthy meals having to take into consideration time and money. But we still need to give our best. Let’s begin with being intentional. Intentional of what we eat which will glorify God as a good steward of our body. We will not be spared from falling ill and death one day due to sin, but while we are living, we are responsible for the food and drinks we consume. Let’s ask God to teach us to be creative in planning our meals.

The Maker of my body, thank you for giving this body. Forgive me for abusing it through unhealthy eating. I resolved in eating right as worship unto you. Help me to plan my meals and not ignore this basic need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shh…Look at the Mynah

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

(Matthew 6:26, NIV)

Looking out the glass door…against the usual natural backdrop of our little porch is the mighty old tree which stood strong for ages. Its simplicity never fails to give me calmness and serenity. It’s a home to many birds and the source of the morning music. Oh, I love the chirpings. My ears have been attuned to this natural alarm clock. Ashton loves it too!

A mynah flew over and perched on our black gate. Its movement very quick yet gentle. I moved over to Ashton and softly whispered into his delicate ears, “Shh…look at the mynah…” He mimicked me. We watched the creature intently, following every movement. From the gate, it flew down to the ground inside our compound. It looked to the right, then to the left as if being very careful not to be caught. If only it knew it has been watched.

Slowly it took a step forward. Halted. Looked around again. This same process repeated a couple of times.
Ashton stayed very still and quiet giving full concentration to his lesson for the morning. A natural provision for his curriculum - bird watching. Isn’t it cool to let God be our Teacher and his world is our classroom?! The boy learned to be still, attentive and patient as he followed the bird’s moves. He listened. He watched. Suddenly the mynah bent down and pecked on the remnants of bread left on the floor. “Oh,” The boy exclaimed at the highlight of nature’s show. It ate to its satisfaction before it flew off. “No more,” Ashton called out declaring the end of the wondrous display.

How many times God nudges us and whispers, “Shh…look at the bird…”?
If the Loving Creator provides for these creatures and care for their needs, there is absolutely no reason he won’t care for us, his beloved children. We can count on the immensity of his love to be concerned of all our needs. Perhaps you argue, “I don’t want the ‘remnants of bread’…” The Creator of the Universe knows exactly what (and when) we need. Whether it is scraps of bread to fill our immediate hunger, or a piece or two to make us full, or a big sumptuous loaf to lavish us, the Father is always wise to give accordingly. We are definitely more valuable than the birds.

Shh…pause…take a moment and watch the birds…
Soak in Matthew 6:26 and be full today!

Heavenly Father, Teach me to watch and learn. I trust You will provide all my needs as I seek You daily. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, What Big Hands!

The time ticks away.

Time waits for no man, so they say. How true!
Take it easy. Relax. Slow down. What common phrases. Most of us live lives as though there aren't any hand brakes. We just have to keep going. The feet is on the accelerator all the time. Too many things to do. Too little time. Some dawdle. But some sincerely work so hard yet still can't seem to find enough time to accomplish all the tasks. Perhaps just too much. Is this balancing act an art? No wonder I always see life liken to a dance. Its movements vary but there's a constant flow. Some pauses in between but never too long.

I am wondering how others cope while others are wondering how I cope?! Perhaps it is a disease of post-modernism. Too much work. Too little time.

It is only a week past the new year. My eyes see the dreams and desires my heart contains. A little anxiety as I caught glimpses of potential challenges. My hands may not be strong enough, big enough, and careful enough to hold all. I haven't stop telling the Father all of my concerns. There seems to be silence. It's as though He is listening and smiling in between my talks, nodding in agreement with full understanding. But He is still quiet. My heart beats faster waiting for his response, hoping to tick off every concern with an answer right away. He still didn't say anything. But I sense his quiet presence. While I struggle to comprehend the how(s) and what(s)...I am determine to stay contented knowing my hands may be incapable of handling the all that's to come (and the ones which are already here), yet He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

When he holds all things together, and goes before me, I can always rest assured all things will work out for the good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). Perhaps the Father has pleasant surprises in store for me. I will wait patiently as I await each of them to be revealed.

What about your state? Excited. Anxious. Worried. Carefree. The year always starts with good dreams which our eyes may lose focus as time ticks away into the months...but let's remember the Father is listening to our needs and concerns; and work is already in progress even as we ramble to him. Our days are securely held in his hands. Nothings slips through his fingers.

Some may still stay put in the old. Still riding on the regrets of the past year and rollerskating on the guilt trip. Stop! Pull the brake and cease it. Step into the new and welcome a fresh breath of the Spirit.
Isaiah 43:18-19 proclaim, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Thank You Lord for Your big and mighty Hands. I trust my year into Your big Hands which all power flows. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bring the Best Gift with You Into the New Year

Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart.

Jingle jangle, jingle the music till ringing in your heart? The Christmas do is over. We have crossed into a new year. Time waits for no one. Whether we are ready or not, it is here - a brand new year! A fresh beginning. So where is Christ in this new year? How true many remember him, talk about him, sing of him during the hyped up year end holiday each year. I hope we haven't packed him into the closet together with the Christmas tree and ornaments.

I can't forget the moment Ashton swiftly grabbed the gift from my opened palm as I showed Nat the pretty little bronze earrings I got for my sister. He cheekily ran off with excitement as Nat ran after him. I was sure Nat would do the job well in returning me the gift so I can wrap it up nicely for a dear one on Christmas. She took the boy back to me but we only found one side of the pair. The frantic search began. The boy couldn't had possibly lost that earring. I looked high and low. Then I walked the trail from one room to the next. The anxiety increased. I crawled through the path again looking intensely for that tiny thing. Every now and then, I asked the boy, "Where is it?" and he would replied, "There!" There? Where?

You bet. I did pray. I asked God to help me find and I was pretty sure it would be found. Simply because I knew God answers prayers. Afterall, this is a Christmas gift for my sister. It is important. It is not a selfish prayer. As I searched and prayed continuously, a small voice broke through and rang in my heart that there is one gift I need to treasure most - Jesus. I should pursue Jesus endlessly like I embarked on this frantic search. And that I should present this Gift to as many people as I can because this is the best. Through this Gift comes many gifts. What you want him to be, He will be because God is "I AM WHO I AM".

I still haven't found the earring. A friend joked that she should do a treasure hunt. If she finds it, she can have the gift. My sister insisted she takes the other side anyway. So I gave it to her and I prayed she too will find the fulfillment in Christ every time she looks at the incomplete pair.

Do you have the Gift? Where is your Gift?
I hope you didn't leave him under the unkept Christmas tree or tugged in a box in the closet. Or confined in the Christmas songs, or even the Christmas story and sermon you heard.

Bring the best Gift with you into this new year and experience the fullness of his indescribable love, peace and joy.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV)