Tag Archives: spiritual

Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

I work in the central business district and it’s common to see TV crew (mostly from news TV stations) stopping passerby for opinion on current affairs. Last week I was rushing to meet a friend for lunch when I was halted and shoved with a question:

“A man and his son got into an accident. During the operation the son died and went up to heaven. The surgeon said Don’t take him! He’s my son!
Who is this surgeon?”

I may not have recalled the story exactly but that was the gist of it and the first answer I had in mind was “God!” and then I paused and thought is it weird to mention ‘God’ on TV? Can I think of an alternative answer? So I asked her to repeat the question to stall for time but nothing else come to mind. In the end I just replied “God?” and she gave an expression which made me think I wasn’t the first person who gave that answer and she said “The surgeon is the mother!”.

That was a very random question and I still don’t understand the point of it. I wish I was asked about the recent tax hike instead (though my reply would very likely be edited out). But anyway, I walked off wondering “Why am I so hesitant to say ‘God’ in front of the TV?” Am I ashamed and embarrassed and why?

I think a part of me wanted to fit in with the World. We don’t talk about religion in public. In Toastmaster meetings, we are discouraged (or may even be prohibited) from speaking about politics and religion. These are seen as taboo topics that could potentially incite arguments. However people are getting more vocal about their political stand especially since Trump became president. Politics is now an everyday topic – Even mentioned at the Oscar. So why haven’t we start talking about religion?

Part of the reasons I think is because we don’t know how to disagree well when it comes to religion. When we talk about religion with someone of different belief it could turn to an argument of who is right and wrong, my God is better than yours and escalate into attacks very much like what we’re seeing around the World today (one of them here). When we speak to someone with a different belief, instead of seeking to enlighten the other party of what we believe in, listening to understand their viewpoint, we just want to bulldoze them into adhering to our beliefs. It’s our way or no way.

Pray

Coming back to the question in my title. Maybe I was afraid of proclaiming the gospel, maybe I fear of being seen as too holy or speaking of God would make me an outsider. But if I say that I am a believer of Jesus that means I have a duty to speak of the gospel – not to argue who is right or wrong but to give everyone a chance to have what the gospel carries.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

Romans 1:16”

You may not agree with what I believe in but that doesn’t make us enemies. Honestly, sometimes my fellow Christians are the ones driving me nuts but that’s another topic for another post.

X,
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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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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Psalm 23

I had cell group today and it could be my last cell group session. Not that I am leaving church, but my cell group is transitioning into a family zone and I, the unmarried one, decided not to transition with them. So now I have to look for or be assigned to another cell with similar demographic as myself; unmarried, confused and enjoying the freedom, denying that we are thinking of getting married soon or maybe unsure of it. Like I said, confused souls. Nah, I’m just messing around. I’ll be in a cell where I will be rooted and grow together through the life journey. :)

Anyway, we were reading Psalm 23 in cell. I know it’s a common verse and we, Christians, have heard the verse many times. I bet you can even recite part of it after seeing the first line “The Lord is my shepherd….”.

When I read this verse I would usually think of how God is a good shepherd and that in Him I can find rest, but today I was drawn to David. This Psalm of David shows the kind of relationship David has with God. He began the verse by saying “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” and verse 4 said “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” David said he lack nothing although he might be facing the darkest valley of His life.

If David was the average human on planet, the verse would go like this:

If the Lord is my shepherd, why am I lacking in so many things?
He makes me lie down in green pasture, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. On weekends.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff I hope they’ll get rid of my problems so that I can be comforted.
Please prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows with sweet revenge.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life (BEST PART!), and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever as long as the blessings keep coming.

-Psalm1’s nonsense.

As human going through life, climbing one mountain at a time, it’s so easy to complain and blame God when things don’t go right. I think many people, myself included at times, see God as wish-granting genie that we go to when we have a request. Today my eyes are opened to the kind of relationship that I want to have with God. David isn’t perfect in his walk with God, but one thing that is consistent throughout His journey is that He is a man after God’s heart.

My spiritual KPI this year is to be able to say like David, “I lack nothing” because I am contented in the Lord and even through the darkest day, I will not be fearful because I learn to trust in Him. Lastly, I want to dwell in God’s house forever and be thankful for His goodness and His love doesn’t matter what comes my way. Rejoice!

I have just set myself an idealistic KPI that probably will take a lifetime of polishing to achieve. Nonetheless, achievable. The first step I’ll take? To be intentional in setting aside time to build that relationship with God. It’ll be tough but it’s even the most stubborn heart needs will be humbled before Jesus.

Background Image by Paul Taylor (flickr).

Background Image by Paul Taylor (flickr).

Cheers,
Mel.

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[#spiritualsunday] Battlefield.

My feeling exactly.

My feeling exactly.

This sucks. It sucks to feel defeated and struggling to face every day.

As children of God we are called to live as a conqueror. The King of kings died for us and we should live in a way worthy of that. Yet, the reality is that we are still tormented with the daily struggles, opposition or negative thoughts. The reason I feel so tormented is because I haven’t got the Word of God nailed in my head, so I took the initiative to listen to a sermon (If you’re having a battle with negativity or feeling troubled, unfit, etc, this sermon is for you):

The mind is a battlefield and I’m gonna win it.

Some of the thoughts that I need to erase:

1. I’m not competent enough to do this.
2. I’m always making mistakes.

The rest have been erased as I’m typing this.

Let’s get into agreement with God and not the devil. Believe in what God says about us and not what the devil says. Learn who we are in Christ and stop caring about what people think about us. God has a good plan for our lives. Carve this in our heads.

Cheers,
Mel.

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