Tag Archives: God

Word of the Year: Sacrifice

My Word of The Year 2017 was Responsibility and as if that wasn’t dreary enough, this year’s Word is Sacrifice.

Last weekend I was scheduled to serve as usher in church. I had the day planned out in the morning, then I watched Netflix longer than what I planned for, grew tired from lying on bed whole morning and decided to take a nap 10 minutes* before getting ready to go out. I snoozed till I either get up rightaway or missed my reporting time. I chose the latter, continued sleeping and woke up too late to report for duty but, to alleviate my guilt, made it to church. That day, one of the sermon’s key message was “The price you pay for worship will correspond with your breakthrough”

Ouch.

I have been coming to God asking “why am I not having the same level of intensity that I had for you?”. The problem is I come to Him whenever it’s convenient; the leftover of my time, when I’m waiting in line and had nothing to do, or when I’m bored. It cost me nothing to spend time with Him.

In 1 Chronicles 21:18-30 King David wanted to purchase a site to build an altar to the Lord. Araunah, the owner of the site, offered him for free yet King David replied:

“No I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

King David (1 Chronicles 21:24)

Jesus died for us. He showed us the ultimate sacrifice out of His love. He doesn’t demand anything in return but His act of love caused my heart to stir and bring transformation to millions. That’s what a sacrifice can do.

What Sacrifice Isn’t

A sacrifice has to be sincere. It cannot come with strings attached. If you sacrifice something with the mindset of gaining something else, then that’s a bargain not a sacrifice. Lent is starting soon and we’ll hear many people giving up something till Easter. It is an admirable practice but I hope those sacrifices are not mere tradition or a “by the way” (e.g. I’ve been meaning to lose weight hence giving up sugar).

We sacrifice to set our heart right before God. When you love someone, don’t you want to spend time or buy gifts or write letter for that person even if you have to inconvenient yourself to drive to where he/she is, set aside time to shop, research on nice restaurants, etc? (P.S Valentine’s Day is coming – this is a hint how to treat your girl/boyfriend)

This year I want to learn to be a good lover of God; to give Him 1. My time – which could mean less time on Netflix, 2. My finances – not getting another pair of sneakers and giving to Mission Trip instead, 3. My attention – abiding in Him and listening. Stop treating Him as my Psychiatrist, 4. Myself.

This year may (you and) I learn to truly live a life of sacrifice unto the Lord.

X,
Mel

*There’s no such thing as a 10 minute nap.

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2018 New Year’s Resolution

Finally done drafting my resolution! I take New Year’s Resolution seriously because I’m one of those unmotivated and easily distracted person so if I don’t have a list of goals, there’s high chance I might go wayward and meander through the year. Last year I am pleased that I did well against my resolution for the first time since I started making resolution list. So let’s kick start 2018 with a new set of goals! I’ve categoried them in no particular order.

1. God

I’m re-cultivating the habit of morning prayer as a symbol and reminder to start everything with God.

2. Health

Last year I wanted to be healthy and I’ve done so by going for crossfit and signing up gym membership (also actually use it). This year I wanna be healthier and fit by exercising 2x a week (I just wanna make the most out of my membership fee) and watching my diet. Reduce sugar and rice. Hopefully lose 2kg in the process.

3. Finance

The aim is to be financially prudent or to quote my company’s expenses policy – “X is committed to ensuring that all expenditure incurred is prudent, reasonable and reflects sound judgement and decision making.” Do I need a cat butt tissue dispenser? No.

4. Relationship

Make time to develop relationships. Be aware of who and how I’m spending my time. Accept that I am not be able to keep up with everyone because if I do I will burnout and lose track of people who matter.

5. Self-care

On top of making time for others, I’m setting aside me-time. This includes pampering myself (manicure, creambath, go to salon) and doing the necessities like an overdue visit to the dentist and my doctors!

6. Writing

Starting with 1 post per week to gain back the momentum. The post need not be extraordinary or meaningful as long as they are published.

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7. Career

I am grateful for the new job and now it’s time to take it up a notch – be aggressive and proactive. Do the obvious. E.g. Don’t understand? Ask! Need to cut the meeting and excuse myself? Speak up! Need to chat? Call!

8. Community

Continuing from last year’s resolution on being more involved with Toastmaster and Cell group, this year I want to be more present. To be part of a community means I don’t just receive from the group but also contribute my knowledge, experience, skills and time.

Alrighty. 2018, we’re ready for you!

Cheers,

Mel.

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Are you open for Jesus Monday to Sunday?

You’ve heard about Sunday Christians. You see them on Sundays. They don’t get too involved with the church and if you bump into them on a weekday, they behave like a different person. You’ve also seen Devout Christians – people who follow God wholeheartedly and the familiar faces who show up at almost every church events.

Then there are Christians like me who are a little harder to distinguish. I attend service and small group, serve in church, read bible, and do whatever I can to inch closer to God. Yet when my leader texted if I’m coming to the church’s monthly Prayer Meeting on that very day, I hesitated. I’ve always thought Prayer Meetings are for the holiest members of the congregation because the people who attend are usually the devout and it falls on a Wednesday night. The latter might not sound like a solid reason but you see, I’ve planned God’s activities to be on Sunday and Friday – the days I attend church and small group.

So I started having a mental debate whether I should come to the meeting. The argument centred on the questions if I don’t go to church tonight, how will I spend my evening? Will it be more useful or meaningful? I’d spend time with my family at home which is a strong case because I don’t spend enough time at home, and I would be reading this book called Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. Then I began to see the irony. I was about to choose to stay home and read about the evidence for God when I could be in church experiencing the evidence for God. I decided if I can get off work on time, I will make my way to church. And yes, God made it happen.

SURRENDER MY DAYS

Standing in the church hall that night made me feel out of place. I was not used to worshiping God in church among the “stronger” Christians on a Wednesday night. Sure I listen to sermon at home on weekdays but it’s not the same to seek God on your own time and comfort versus rearranging your schedule to be at His altar. I clapped and lifted up my hands during praise and worship like I usually do on weekends but deep down I was wondering if the awkwardness of being in God’s presence that night will go away. Finally I did what I need to do. I prayed and invited Jesus to be Lord over my life Monday to Sunday.

LIVE ON GOD’S TERMS

I wake up to pray and listen to sermon every morning, read a Christian book on my way to work, and read the bible at night. On the surface it seems like I have my spiritual life figured out. I even prayed for God to enter every room of my life but I didn’t realize I only hand Him the keys on Sundays and Fridays.

Is God a guest or is He the owner of your life? When we choose to live for God it means He holds the keys and has access to every room in your life. Matthew 16:24 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  It doesn’t say to follow Him on a specific day because following Jesus is a 24/7 commitment. Jesus is not a counsellor or therapist whom you schedule your time with. He is the leader of our lives and He has the privilege to rearrange our schedule. We live under His terms and not the other way around.

OPEN WHEN HE KNOCKS

If I had said ‘no’ when my leader asked me to come to the meeting I wouldn’t be writing this. It wasn’t the first time my leader asked me to a church event, few of which I declined but there’s one thing I learn – I can keep saying ‘no’ to man, but I can’t say ‘no’ to Holy Spirit forever. Every time you say ‘no’ to God, you’re distancing yourself from Him and disobedience will eventually dull your spiritual senses. Unless you’re ready to live without God, don’t let yourself slips into a place where you’re no longer bothered by Holy Spirit’s prompting. The fact that you’ve read my writing to this point, I hope means that you have the desire to live out the life that God calls us to have and so let your heart be open to Him 24/7.

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Put up this sign for God. Photo Credit: Pinterest, Etsy.com

X,

Mel.

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2/365

I ended 2016 and began 2017 in the house of God. At first I had apprehension it’s gonna be quite draggy with hours of praying and listening to sermons, but it turns out to be exactly the contrary. I mean yes, we spent time praying and listening the message and direction for the church in this new year but God’s presence was so palpable and spirits were high. Every worship is a resounding declaration of how God has been so real to the 4,000 strong congregation that packed the room. I had no idea celebrating New Year in church could be so refreshing.

The pastor shared his vision for the church in 2017, titled “Decade of Expansion”. He encouraged us to break out of the limitations we have physically or mentally and expand the horizon for our vision. This is especially important since we’re facing what the economists are predicting to be a slow year ahead. We need to discern the fact from God’s truth. Bad economy is a fact but the truth is God is still our provider and in control.

As for my personal direction for the year, the word I have is Responsibility.
I know it doesn’t sound sexy. In fact it sounds like impending hard work. But as I prayed over the word and seek God’s direction, I know this is the year that I need to rise up to the opportunities and be responsible for my own growth be it spiritually, career wise, etc. Events in 2017 are pre ordinate, but how I respond to them will determine the outcome of 2017 for myself. With that in mind, I want to be deliberate in being responsible and doing things as an example for others instead of finding the easiest way like there’s no one following.

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While it’s easy to say how I want to do this and that because it’s still the holiday season, tomorrow my conviction will be put to test as the first work day of the year commences. I’m stepping into the new era of my life in faith for good days ahead (or at least God’s days) and not dwelling on former things.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

X,
Mel.

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Reason For The Season

Like most churches in Singapore, my church has 2 big events each year and the congregation is encouraged to invite their family and friends; One of it is Easter and the other is of course Christmas.

It’s been a long time since I sincerely invited anyone to church. I remember telling my leader that I felt I’m not gifted in that area and I will sound like a salesperson who doesn’t really want the job. Then my leader challenged me with this verse:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

We, as believer, are called to be salt and light of the World. If we hide the light under a bowl instead of using it to show the path for others then what good is our light? Living is not about getting the best deal for ourselves, but it’s about sharing the light, joy and peace to all especially in times where terrorism is rampant and the World could definitely use a hope.

I decided to invite my friends to the Christmas event. I had a name dropped in my mind when I was praying but I did not know how I should invite this person and thought it’s better that I invite as many people as possible, cast the net as wide, since I’m expecting a stream of polite rejections. True enough there were last-minute cancellation or non-reply but the person whose name was dropped in my heart, came and through that I see the depth of God’s love for His people and the deliverance of His promises.

I volunteered as an usher this Christmas service. Technically my leader asked if I could do it and I just said yes. There was a lady who came alone. She came early, smiled at me and chose a seat somewhere at the corner in the front rows. I assumed she was a church member, but later she stood up when the pastor asked for first time visitors to stand. Everyone exchanged greeting and the 2 hours musical presentation started. At one point I was bored (maybe because I had been standing for 3 hours straight) and wondered will people come to know Jesus through this? But I was reminded that this event was not created to entertain Christians, but to bring Jesus to others and I trust that God can touch people’s lives through whatever method. At the end of the presentation, the pastor came on stage and spoke about what Christmas is all about and having Jesus as our hope for the season. Then she asked everyone to close our eyes and for those want to invite Jesus into their lives to raise up their hands. Usually I would be very abiding and closed my eyes, but just this time I lowered my head and out of the corner of my eye, saw that lady who came alone raised her hand up high.

It takes courage to lift up your hand at a service even when no one is looking. Sometimes I felt God is tugging at my heart but I struggled to lift up my hands because taking action requires boldness and commitment that follows. I was truly touched by how God has moved this lady’s heart to respond to the call. Truly He is working in people’s lives.

I’m sure there are many others out there who needs Jesus in their lives just like this lady. God might prompt them to come to church alone, with no escort. But most of the time God wants us to partner with Him and be His mouthpiece. I pray that my heart will break at the lost souls and it will propel me to take action. Even if people reject me, at least I want to pray for them. I wanted to approach that lady to bring her to the First Time Visitor lounge just to make sure she doesn’t leave the place not knowing the next step to take but I had to leave the hall. So I said a quick prayer for her in my heart and trust that God will guide her. You never know if a stranger is praying for your life right now.

It’s been a truly amazing Christmas for me, a reminder that Jesus was born to die for our sins so we can have eternal life. It is because of His love for us that He came to Earth. We are indeed the Reason for this Season.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

I wish you a Merry Christmas and may your heart be blessed.

X,
Mel.

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I forgot to put a title

One post ago, I wrote “I don’t feel empty. I feel broken. It’s like a throbbing sense of being punch in heart. Does that makes sense?”. I now know the term for what I was feeling; It’s called Inner-brokenness.

Inner-brokenness: A state of deep emotional turmoil and damaged perspective of self that result in disharmony of emotions and thinking. There is a sense of inner pain and misalignment of emotions and thinking – your thinking and your emotions are not congruent or having the same expression.

Source: PN15: DEW Ministry Weekend (Learner’s Copy) page 30.

I am attending a counseling course in church. It was recommended by my cell leader to everyone as it helps to uncover what’s hidden within (that sometimes we don’t even know) and release whatever it is so we can step forward and grow in our spiritual walk with God.* However, the more sessions I go to the more I realize I might have deep-rooted issues that needs to be dealt with.

One thing, crying can be so therapeutic. I used to think it’s weird of me to feel like crying for no reasons, but after the counseling session I began to wonder if my past issues could be the reason why I wanted to cry. Although they don’t affect me now, they had affected me in the past and life moves on so fast I didn’t have enough time to grieve. Seriously. Time waits for no grieving man.

I’m grateful that my church has such ministry. People pay so much to go for counseling and this is free. Woot! Anyway, on a serious note, I thank God for loving me and softening my heart to come for this course. He knows how many times my leader has asked me to go but I declined for fear of having to share my secrets or that I’ll manifest because of all the demonic spirits I might be housing. He knows what’s best for me and when I’m ready for it.

X,
Mel.

*Sometimes I wonder how a non-spiritual person feels when reading such sentences. #randomthoughts

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Based on true story.

People watching is one of my hobbies. I love observing people live, how they tell their stories, and when they speak I’d analyze their thought process. I’m constantly fascinated by how each person has their own traits and are wired differently.

While I think this is a generally good hobby because it keeps your mind open to new cultures and ideas, I’m beginning to see a downside for myself. People watching is like going to the movie. I come to this Earth watching a film played out by everyone around me while I sit back and observe. Some days I feel emotionally attached to the movie but most days I’m detached because I’m not part of the story.

I can’t quite put my finger on when exactly I started drifting away from life, but somewhere along the way I got used to being a watcher and analyzer, and keeping all in. But we’re all called to be the salt and light.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:13-16

Life is not a cinema. It is the movie. You’re not an audience, you’re the character. There’s a story you need to tell, action you need to take. Sitting and taking all in is not the way to go. We need to give back because life begins when your purpose gets bigger than yourself.

At least that’s what I think.

X,
Mel.

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