Wednesday, November 26, 2014
On my way to work this morning, reading the Bible and silently praying, it reminded me of what I'd call my "Adam and Eve" days as a young, carnal Christian. When I sin, I hide. In my guilt, I couldn't come to the Lord. When my spirit knew that I've sinned against my Lord, I would sort of voluntarily bring myself to a penalty box where I'd sit guiltily. I would try to be a goody-goody until I'd feel "worthy" to go to the Lord again and be accepted. Oh how small my faith was and how minute was my knowledge of the Lord back then!
God's unconditional, everlasting love. The Blood of Christ and His grace. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and His dwelling presence. These have become so precious to me. That when I sin, even in my shame, instead of hiding, I now find myself running to the Lord and clinging to Him as my only lifeline. Clinging in faith that His Words are true -- that I could come because my sins have been paid for by Christ on the Cross, that I could come to Him because I've been justified by the Blood of Christ, that there is no longer condemnation to those who truly belong to Christ, that I could come boldly in repentance and be certain I will be forgiven, that I would not be judge in wrath but rather be disciplined as a child whom the Father loves. And Oh! How He truly loves!
I praise and thank God, the Holy Spirit who continues His transforming work in my life. He is making the Word of God true and alive in me. He pointing out my sins, stripping me off my wordliness, and changing the desires of my heart, aligning them to God's will. The process is sometimes excruciating but He is also my Comforter. He is the breath of life that resurrected this dry, dead bones. He has made my heart secure that I am truly God's and He is mine.
All glory to my Triune GOD, Who Was, Who Is, and Is to Come!
This is my praise. This is my thanksgiving! Amen.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I once dated a man who seemed to be very godly and I thought he was really into me. He'd text and call me several times a day, follow and like my posts in Facebook, etc. He was kind, sweet, caring, and seemed to be concerned with my spiritual growth and would even pray for me. He made me feel special. He awakened emotions from me until I came to a point that I knew I've fallen for him. And then he stopped. The text messages and calls became seldom - from once or twice a day, until it became once or twice a week. I asked him about it. He apologized, saying he was just busy with ministry and work. I forgave. But nothing changed. It actually became worse.
Confusion. Hurt. Doubt. Depression. Bitterness. Fear. Insecurity. All these negative thoughts and emotions came crashing in. For months I've emotionally struggled and prayed to God for wisdom. As I felt this chapter of my life was about to end I began to ask -- there must be a purpose for this pain.
That's when my prayer changed, asking the Lord to not let me leave empty-handed, but rather with lesson learned and character changed. "Teach me what you want me to learn from this, Lord." And that's when the Lord graciously gave His answer:
I am most confident when I KNOW I am loved. I felt what I did towards this man because his "love" (or at least his attention or attraction) was inconsistent, wavering, unreliable, or worse, unreal. I felt insecure because I found no security in his affection towards me.
"Hey graceless heart," I preached to myself, "you do know of a much greater love than this!" That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him and what He had accomplished on the Cross, will not perish but have everlasting life (paraphrasing John 3:16). This love is eternal, consistent, and unwavering! This love was what I am unworthy of as a sinner but was unconditionally bestowed upon me, through Christ, not because of anything I've done to acquire it, but because love is who God is! It is by this holy love, with the precious Blood of Christ as its seal, that I have the right to be called a daughter of God, the right to come boldly to Him in prayer and have fellowship with Him. It is the love that accepts me for who I am and changes me -- regenerates and sanctifies me through the work of the Holy Spirit, preparing me for eternity to come.
Through Christ, I am certain that I am loved by the Lord! In God's love there's fullness. In His love I am secured. In His love there is no fear. And in His love there is healing. Yes, I am confident in This Love!
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
At a point when I've become stagnant in faith and felt so sick about it, I began praying for the Holy Spirit to break through and revive me. And He graciously did, leading me from one step to another.
He inspired me to read the Bible systematically (have finished reading the entire Bible for the first time and rereading it). He led me to read a book called "The Normal Christian Life" by Watchman Nee that thoroughly explained Romans 1-8, which led me to finally understand the true Gospel of Christ, giving my heart the assurance that I am really saved!
From Nee's book, I've began reading Christian classics like the works of CH Spurgeon, AW Tozer, DL Moody, and L.Ravenhill and listening to preachers like P. Washer, D. Platt, M. Chandler,and T. Conway -- all of whom teach/preach/write purely what is Biblical.
And it has been so amazing, to begin to know God and be awestruck by who He is and what He has done. How can I not love Him back now that I've begun to understand the extent of His love?
God is so good and He is gracious. And I pray right now that your hearts would also have the same desire to truly know Him. My friends, God said "you will seek Me and FIND ME when you seek Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13). The invitation stands now, but it won't be forever. May the Lord give you the desire you seek Him now.
Isaiah 55:6 "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near."
Just a thought (and I feel I’ll start having haters soon… hahaha): As I go through the Old Testament I took note of one particular theme: GOD’s Holiness. God is holy and because we are His children, we ought to be holy too (Lev. 19:2), to be set apart for Him. God detests idolatry, in fact, it’s what stirs His wrath and judgment. A holy God cannot and will not stand the sight of unholiness. Not then, not now, not ever.
It’ll be too long to sum up everything here, but here’s something I deem to be very important: When Israel was about to go and conquer the land God had promised them, the first command was to DESTROY ALL THEIR IDOLS, destroy all the places where they worship their gods, completely erase the name of their gods and “Do NOT worship the LORD YOUR GOD in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods” (Deut. 12:2-4). 2 Kings 17:24-41 particularly caught my attention. It was when Assyria captured Samaria, and brought in foreigners to replace the people of Israel, “(v.25) But since these foreign settlers did not worship the Lord… the Lord…(v.26) has sent lions among them to destroy them because they have not worshiped him CORRECTLY… (v.28-29) So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria returned to Bethel and taught the new residents how to worship the Lord. But these various groups of foreigners also continued to worship their own gods…” In other words – this led to MIXED/ADULTERATED WORSHIP.
With this in mind, I am truly baffled as to why some “Christian” churches are adapting/incorporating eastern religious practices (e.g. yoga), new age mysticism and other pagan practices in their worship....
I've known people, believers and unbelievers alike, who have questioned or doubted the sufficiency of the Bible. They would commonly say something like: "well you know, it's old, it could be outdated, there are many manuscripts being discovered out there that could be part of the Bible..." I've read articles and watched debates about this topic. But I get to know God more, as I get to know more about His attributes, as I meditate more on His Word, I ended up with this thought:
If GOD is powerful enough to inspire godly people to write the books in the Bible, (for them to be written in such a way that, even though they were hundreds of years apart, all are connected, from Genesis to Revelation) wouldn't God be powerful and sovereign enough to preserve it exactly the way we have the Bible now? Wouldn't God be wise enough to preserve only these 66 books (even after years of bloody persecutions of Christians throughout history and in spite of the manuscripts that people claim should be included) simply because the Bible IS already perfect and complete, and that in it we have all we need to know about God, and with the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have all we need to know on how to live lives that is pleasing to our Holy King?
With everything I am, I believe in the sufficiency of the Bible simply because God says it so in His Word, and the Holy Spirit confirms it in my heart to be true.
I marvel at Queen Esther's relationship with the great King Xerxes. Even though Xerxes crowned her his queen, that they knew each other intimately as husband and wife, and that she had the king's favor, with the privilege to boldly come to him, Esther would still approach her king in reverence and ask, "If it please the king..." And then I'm reminded at how characters in the Bible commune with our Almighty God. Like how Abraham, even though God had considered him "a friend" and had been given the opportunity to bid with God with regards to Sodom and Gomorrah, humbly and reverently said, "Lord, please don't be angry with me if I speak one more time..." It made me ask, "How should I talk to God?" Although I know, through Christ Jesus, I have become a child of God by adoption, and that I can come boldly to God with my praises, prayers and petitions, should I come to Him callously and irreverently?
Oh, that I would come running to the throne of the Lord, with confidence, delight and love. But that I do with highest and most careful regard for my God IS the King of kings and Lord of lords and He is holy, holy, holy!
In my spiritual stagnation I cried out to God to help me, for Him to reveal Himself to me, to know Him more so that I could love and worship Him as He ought to be loved and worshipped. I was so sick of my spiritual condition that I really wanted Him to change me.
God answered. And no, there wasn't any psychedelic frenzy or a shining-shimmering-splendid, lightbulb moment where I'd hear God's booming voice calling out my name. Instead the Holy Spirit began changing my heart and leading me back to Word of God. I grew up
in a Christian setting but it wasn't until last year that I've read the entire Bible. Then I've come across preachings and books that teach sound doctrine, preachers who focus on Biblical truths (not those who teach a cocktail of various religions). Prayer started to become a delight to my heart. Reading the Bible has started to become more enjoyable than watching tv. I found the Holy Spirit helping me to train for godliness, encouraging me to wake up early in the morning to pray and read the Word (even though I really, really love sleep). I've started to know the attributes of God, how He demands to be worshipped by His children, and how to live a life that glorifies Him.
God has began to radically change my heart and mind (and continues to do so). Things that used to be pleasurable have become bland to my taste. Christ Jesus has broken the chains of sin that once had a firm grip in my life, chains that I've once lost hope of being delivered from. My anxious heart has learned to rest upon God's love, goodness and sovereignty and revere in His holiness. His discipline has become a comfort rather than hardship because I know it is done out of love, sanctifying me, making me holy for He is holy! My heart is satisfied, for in everything, my heart knows Jesus is better.