Monday, March 09, 2015

Serving through the Night

Behold, bless the LORD, All you servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! (‭Psalms‬ ‭134‬:‭1‬ NKJV)

Night time speaks of a time of challenges, in its own uncertainties and doubts. During the day, we can be distracted with our busy pace of life. But at night is when reality strikes -- my feelings amped louder than life. 

All of us have night seasons; though it may come in different forms -- disappointment, failure, insecurity, etc. My natural reaction in difficult season is to isolate myself away from people, from reality, from life. In that, thoughts of condemnation starts to strike: you are a Christian, plus you're a leader in Church. Why do you still bother to serve if you cannot even set your life straight? 

Too many times I felt unworthy to serve -- because I felt so weak. I didn't feel like going to Church, let alone serving. I felt so dry that I don't feel I have anything to give unto the Lord and His People. And this verse 1 explained just that -- servants who by night stand in the house of God. 

So what does the Lord have to say about this? 
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. (‭Psalms‬ ‭134‬:‭2‬ NKJV)

It is as if the Lord completely disregard our state. He speaks not of our weakness, not of our works, not of our disqualifications. And He does not even demand us to serve Him, or give our best to Him. Nope, no mention about us nor our works. He simply says: "Lift up your hands -- the same pair of hands that you look down at and thought they amount up to nothing. The same hands that you felt that your work wasn't enough -- lift them up. And lift up your head, look at Me." Bless the Lord, O my soul. Focus on His goodness, His unfailing love, His unmerited grace. On the time that we deserve it least, that's precisely when He desires to lavish on us the most -- just because He loves us.  

The Lord bless you out of Zion, even He Who made heaven and earth. (‭Psalm‬ ‭134‬:‭3‬ AMP)

As if His love wasn't enough, the Lord extravagantly blessed us with all the richness of Heaven and Earth. It is as if He's saying "I'll command the Heaven and earth to just bless you." His heavenly best resources are poured upon our life, and we are provided for with Heaven's finest resources. Nothing can ever beat that. 

The Lord bless you out of Zion. In the Hebrew, the root word of Zion is tsiyah -- which speaks of a barren, dry, drought, solitary place. So yes, even in our place of isolation when we try to hide against the world.. He still pursues us and hunts us down to bless us. Not that we will remain in the barren land, but so that He could deliver us from there.

What a God! What a Saviour! 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Launched into the Deep

Toiling all night and caught nothing? Involve Jesus in your work and allow Him go launch you into the deep! Once you are launched into the deep --- you shall receive your net breaking boar sinking load of fish!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Restoration of Ruins

This morning, I was reading the book of Ezra, from which the song Glorious Ruins was based on. 

From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, although the foundation of the temple of the LORD had not been laid. (‭Ezra‬ ‭3‬:‭6‬ NKJV)

"Worship has been restored to Jerusalem" - that's the title of this passage. Wow it made me to pause and ponder of our priorities. Do we wait for our ruins to be rebuilt, or do we WORSHIP first. Whatever forms our worship are, be it with our giving or with our mouth (songs of praise), our worship represents our acts of honoring the Lord who has begun the good work in us and will be faithful to complete it. Worship lifts our eyes above the ruins and the rubbles that met the eyes, and focus our vision to be on the One who is rebuilding and restoring our ashes. 

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD,  they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off. (‭Ezra‬ ‭3‬:‭10-13‬ NKJV)

Fast forward to the time when the temple was rebuilt by first laying the foundation. Interestingly there was two distinct reaction of the people: weeping aloud vs shouting for joy.  This illustrates our two reactions when we are expecting our restoration from the Lord. We can either weep because we're stuck in the past, thinking that our glory days are over. Or we can choose to shout for joy, because we know that our greater days are ahead and that we are confident that the Lord is able to restore so much greater in quantity/quality than before. 

As we are waiting on the Lord and trusting Him for His restoration in our lives, what will our response be? Let's be counted among the ones who worship even before our miracle happens, and shouts for joy when His restoration work begins in our life! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Led by the Spirit

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭18 NKJV)

This verse jumped out at me that I end up reading it over and over again. So simple and yet so rich. 

What does it mean to be led?
- To be led = àgō = to be led by accompanying into a place; to bring forth, to carry; to lead with one's self, attach to one's self as an attendant. 

Sometimes we refer to the leading of the Holy Spirit by just the indications in our heart through the promptings (which sometimes we felt and sometimes we are less aware of). But hey, when we are led by the Spirit, the Spirit is attached to us to accompany us! There is this sense of assurance and intimacy between us and the Spirit. We are never alone and we are never lost! 

We are used to be praying in the Spirit when we serve, before we pray for people or share the Word. But are we only spirit-led in our ministry on Sundays? The Holy Spirit is resident in us and is attached to us 24/7; means that we are led by the Spirit 24/7. Then what?

This brings me to my next part -- being led by the Spirit results in a life that is not under law. Pastor Prince has taught us well that law = demand. Law insists on perfect fulfillment, to which our strength have none. What good news is it that eversince we are filled by the Spirit, we are led by the Spirit, and thus we are no longer under law (demand). 

So be it in our work, our studies, our ministry, and all areas of our life; we are no longer under the pressures of those demand! It is not natural (coz our eyes only seen the visible which highlights all the legit lacks in our life). But know that we are invited to the King's table continually, where we can eat and eat and eat without reproach. We are brought into the land of Goshen, where we draw near and have all our needs being provided for. If only we are conscious of that 24/7. 

 So let's take the time today to be reminded that we are led by the Spirit, we are where we're supposed to be - right place at the right time meet the right people and do/say the right things! And whenever we start to feel the shaky heats of our demand, be reminded that those demands have no hold of us because of our Ever-supplying God. Supply > demand.

See you at the King's table! 

For sin (missing the mark) shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law (demand) [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy]. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭14‬ AMP)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

His Perfect Restoration

"I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. (‭Job‬ ‭42‬:‭2‬ NKJV)

Jonah has been a recurring character that was mentioned in the recent sermons I listened to. And yesterday, Pastor Prince talked about it briefly but it was something that struck me. 

Jonah tried to flee from the presence and the purpose of God, but the Lord hunted him down and even used the fish to swallow him. Why? because Jonah is his people, his prophet whom he called.

"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." (‭Jonah‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬ NKJV)

This was the Lord's first instruction to Jonah. But he then chose to flee, and all that.

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you." (‭Jonah‬ ‭3‬:‭1-2‬ NKJV)

But look what the Lord spoke to him in the second time, it was the same msg, the same calling, the same destiny that the Lord has called him to do. And the Lord did use him as a prophetic voice to save Nineveh.

Often we thought that our present circumstances, our disobedience, or our bad decisions can keep us out of his destiny. Did Matthew revoke his calling by being a tax collector, or Ruth because her first husband died? But nope, I'm glad that the Lord is relentless in his pursuit. and there is NOTHING that can withhold the Lord from realizing His purpose in our life. I'm glad that the Lord is faithful that He chose not to give up on our life, even when it may take longer for us to fulfill our irrevocable calling -- but beautiful in his time! 

If there's any area that we felt we've messed up, let's trust God to restore sevenfold! The Lord can restore unto us a fresh sense of calling and the burning in our hearts. The Lord can restore unto us lost time and whatever that entails. He restores, and He restores perfectly.

For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] (‭Romans‬ ‭11‬:‭29‬ AMP)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to the Start

It's truly been a long while since I actively blogged years ago. Honestly, I have no idea for now whether I will be back here to post regularly. This blog has definitely gone a long way, with its first post dating all the way back to July 2007 -- wow it has been more than 7 years eversince! Prior to writing this post, I had a lot of thoughts of starting a new blog afresh from scratch,  partly because my outlook on Jesus, relationships, life (and my grammar and writing skill) had changed so much compared to when I was 13. Seasons come and go, and I'm not asking you to look back to those early days' drafts. But I know for sure that the Lord has been faithful to continuously increasing all of us in our very own special portions.

Blogging wasn't part of my 2015 resolution, in case any of you are wondering. It was just a desire rekindled after one of my highschool juniors texted me asking about my blog, to which I replied that I have not been posting anything for the past couple of years. The natural assumption was that I have been busy -- to which I would not deny. Yes, life has not been the same eversince I came to Singapore, studied in SMU, and got involved in serving that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Those busy schedules are legitimate excuses, but I know that blogging was not an option for the past period of time. I went through a lot of seasons, some mountain highs and valley lows, that I know was meant to be taken with just me and Jesus. It took manny Adullam cave moments (refer to King David's story) for my soul to be restored and I found myself first being the beloved of my Daddy God alone.

I do believe that writing is an overflow -- and I do not want to run on empty. So am I saying that I'm so full now that I'm back to writing? Not really. But I just sensed a release in my spirit, to be able to embark on reviving the blog yet again. Thus, I titled this blog to be "back to the start". I started the blog not to gain personal recognition or fame. But all for the glory of Jesus to the readers (whoever you all happen to be -- friends, acquaintances, or any netizens for that matter). Thus for the most parts, I will be posting on something similar to a daily devo on the verses/sermons I was meditating that day. Other than that, we'll see where the Spirit leads!

It's been an unspeakable honour to be reminded how much has this journey gone through, and I'm definitely looking forward to what the Lord has in store in the seasons to come. Feel free to drop a comment and say hello if you happen to be reading this and would like to get connected!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When God Ran

I sit there amidst all the foods, music, and dancing. I'm not exactly sure what just happened. It seems to good to be true. I pinch myself awake, and ouch it hurts. So is this all real?

Earlier today, I was sitting by the pavement, staring down at my muddy hands and feet. The sun was shining too brightly above my head, but it seemed that I couldn't care less. A couple of birds were chirping loudly, flying and hopping to the trees around. But, I was sure that my stomach growled so loud, that even the two birds flew away. Man, I was THAT hungry. I rubbed my used-to-be-round tummy, telling it to hush a bit. But my head couldn't deny it. I was too hungry. And i literally could eat anything and drink anything I could find, just to fill this tummy.

It occurred to me. Had i made a wrong choice? Would my life be much better still if I had not utter to daddy that four dreadful words: Give Me My Share. Right after, I told myself it was the best decision I could ever make in my life. It was like living the dream, to have friends around at all times, and to be able to get anything, simply anything. It made me look and feel rich.

But it did not last long. Soon after, those "friends" left me alone. Where were they!!  Those scornful empty promises, gahh it even hurt my head to think about them. Apparently, they were never my "friends" to begin with. After I lost everything, I did try to come and beg them for money. I never thought I would kneel and beg, but i did. But guess what they did? They gave me nothing but a disgusted "I-dont-know-you,-get-out-now" look. Sheesh.

Well, the birds had flown back on the trees now. I saw them happy all year round, living a carefree life yet still all so well. I would work all night just to get half of that bird's happiness! Oh wait, that kind of happiness sounds familiar -- in that place I used to call home.

BUT NO!! i couldn't even imagine myself going back. Those four words that I have uttered to my father, i couldn't possibly take them back. There's no way my father could even allow me to step into the gates. Maybe he would send his guards and his slaves to kick me out first. Will he even want to look at me? or will he treat me just like those friends?

Sigh. I can try. It's like i've got nothing to lose anyway. If my father reject me, then well, I could just.... reject my life. Okay come, brain, think of something to say to daddy. "Draft 1: Hi Dad. You remember me?" oh no, it sounded too much like a pen pal letter. "Draft 2: Dear Mr..." Cannot, cannot. I can't take it that way. "Draft 44: Dad, i'm hungry *show tummy*. Spare me some food?" What's wrong with my brain!! Wait, I wasn't even worth coming in anymore as a son right. What if... I came to be his servant. Yea, i think that will do. Just consider me as a hired servant, at least his hired servants are fat and happy. Silly me, why didn't i think of that earlier.  "Draft 45: Dear Father, I have sinned against you, and against the heaven. I can't even be called yours anymore. Hire me as your servants." Alright, that sounds fair.

So, I got up and could hear my bones cracking after sitting on the pavements for too long. I didn't even remember when was the last time I got up. I tried to tidy up this messy hair and straighten up as much as possible the crumpled rags I was wearing. I couldn't even look fashionable nor sharp for the least bit, but at least it must looked like i was up and ready for the job, right. Then, I head towards what used to be my home address, maybe I should get used to calling it a workplace. It was quite a distance to walk, and with every step I took, I could feel my flimsy body to be trembling. I blamed it all on the hunger and the sun, but I felt a pang inside my chest. It was a feeling of fear and uneasiness. Can I even see my dad's face again? Will I be able to look into his eyes? Will he even go to slap me on this used-to-be chubby cheeks? Should i even continue to walk there? I paused for a while, took a deep breath, and told myself "just walk." So, I walked further. I was quite amazed at myself for even remembering the directions all so well still.

Turn left, turn left again, go up the hill, then turn right. Yeah, almost there. I can see my house sitting beautifully up that hill. After I tried to walk a few more steps, I began to notice a figure facing my direction from afar. He seemed to be looking out for something, *shrugs* maybe dad just lost one of his pet cats or something. "Don't bother, focus on the goal," I kept on telling myself. Then, I see a familiar silhouette running towards me. Never before have I seen my father run before. I glinted to see his face, determining if i should run the other way. But no, there wasn't even a face of anger in him. I got a quick glimpse of his smile, wider than ever.

The next thing I know, it was dad who stretched his arms wide open, embraced me so tight and kissed me like never before. And there i was, standing awkwardly stiff, and not to mention, smelly. After I came to my senses and realized what happen, I quickly pulled myself away. I fell on my feet, I didn't dare to lift my head up to look at him. I'd rather see his knees on my eye level. I tried to utter my well-rehearsed Draft 45 speech in my shaky voice. "Dear Father, I have sinned against you, and against the heaven. I can't even be called yours anymore. Hire me as your serv..." I felt him lifting me up  as he put his finger on my lips. He didn't let me finish my sentences, and instead interrupted mine with his. At this point, I started sobbing.

As daddy was wiping my tears, I can see His eyes for me. These were the eyes that speak volumes of love, that said "No, it's okay. Now, welcome home." He told his servants to bring out all the best celebration for me. He gave me a robe over this filthy rags, he restored a ring that I used to have as I was still his son before. And he told his servants to put on sandals on my calloused feet. I had truly forgotten how comfortable it was to wear a pair of sandals, after such a long journey. Best of all, Daddy told his servants to also kill the fatted calf. FOOD! the very thing that drew me to my daddy's house, indeed he give that to me. but he didn't only give me just that, he gave me all that I needed, even those that I didn't realize I need them.

So yeah, that's what just happened today. As I sit there at a party done just for me, I couldn't help but think, what have I done to receive this. Or what can I ever do to repay my father for everything i had done to him. I realize there is only one answer to both questions, and the answer was "nothing." It's simply out of the father's love that he rejoiced on my coming. Knowing this, will I ever runaway from home to think that there will be a welcome-back feast anyway? No! my heart couldn't afford to think of breaking Daddy's heart yet again. I felt warm and fuzzy knowing that here in my Daddy's house, there is acceptance, there is forgiveness. I can just be who I am, and enjoy being his child regardless of my mistakes.

Now I know how much he loves me, why would I ever think of doing anything that stupid ever again? To think that he ran towards me just to hug me and to lavish me with love, even when I was at my worst point and had done not a single thing right; why would i ever run away from him again?

This video has blessed me yet time and time again:

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Glory of the Lord is my Rearguard

Isaiah 58:8 (AMP)
Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

I’m glad that this verse begins with a promise of shining light and receiving our healing. Whatever healing we need, be it a miraculous physical healing, a restoration of relationship, or a supernatural restoration for our academics, or a provision of finances; behold that the restoration is coming SOON! It shall spring forth SPEEDILY!

The verse continues that it’s our righteousness, the fact that we have a right standing with God, will go before me to prepare everything for us and show us our future which is so, so good. Knowing this brings a sense of assurance and peace in our heart, and prosperity is a fruit we couldn’t help but enjoy in our life. This affirms what Pastor Ben shared in Romans 14:17, that the Kingdom of God is about His righteousness which will lead to peace, and then joy.

This last part is currently my favorite part when meditating on it recently. The Glory of the Lord shall be my rearguard.  Jesus has got our backside covered, and He is our defense. I’m still learning that I don’t have to worry and wish I could change my past in one way or another.  Thinking about “what if I didn’t do that” and “If only I do it better” are nothing but energy-zapping. Rather, we can just let go and move forward with Jesus, and let Him takes care of the rest. The glory of the Lord will be our defense, covering all our past mistakes and shortcomings; so that when others or even when we ourselves look at our past, we couldn’t help but see the glory of God wrapping all our mistakes in His light and power.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

to be disappointed ...

"To be disappointed with yourself is to have trusted in yourself."

- Pastor Joseph Prince. (New Creation Church, Singapore - Oct 14, 2012)

[photo taken in Perth, Australia - July 2012]

This quote my Pastor said last week has been resonating so much in my heart for these past days. It's when what we think we've done all we could, but the result did not reflect so. All our tendency is to get irritated and disappointed with the outcome. However, still even if our results are good, we know that in and of ourselves, we could not. It is the power of Christ working in us. If it's only our own effort, it's nothing more but dungs. Thank You Jesus, that despite my weaknesses, my shortcomings, You are stil able and willing to come to the rescue. You abound so much favor in my life, to a greater measure that the world can tell it wasn't Natasha doing it. All glory, recognition, and honor is unto Jesus who does all the work for me. I am restfully secure, that even I'm not good enough, He is perfectly enough to turn everything around for my good.

It's a powerful assurance I found last week as the Word said about Joseph: "Because God was with him; whatever he did, God made sure it worked out for the best." (Genesis 39:23 MSG). I got so comforted in hearing that as I heard the Lord speak "Sit still, my dear Natasha, just rest in Me, and I will make sure that everything that you do, it shall be well with you and even work out the best for you. No, you don't need to compare yourself to other people, I have made you beautiful, wonderful, and glorious. I love you, and I care about you." I'm thankful I am that deeply loved.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Daddy's Beloved

I am always comforted every time I hear my DaddyGod saying to me: "This is My beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased." This isn't just a statement, yet it's such a multi-faceted term of endearment to show His affection for me. This statement contains the facts that:
1. I am HIS.
2. I am His DAUGHTER; not a slave nor a mere acquaintance.
3. He loves me and calls me His BELOVED.
4. He is WELL-PLEASED with me, not because of what I do but because I am His daughter.

Some might have been wondering what verse I have been quoting. It's from Matthew 3:17, when Jesus came out from the water during His baptism, and God the Father said those words. We are rightful to claim these words into our life because "as Jesus is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17) When we are made righteous, God has given us the rightful access to be in Christ and receive His Inheritance, His Identity. ain't it beautiful! [ah yes, I changed the 'son' part into daughter coz I'm a girl, so apply it to your own situation accordingly yea haha.]

Furthering a bit more on the statement again, 2 Peter 1:17 says that Jesus received honor and glory upon hearing that exact statement. So, not only we have the 4-pointers God-given identity, we also receive honor and glory from the Lord! What the Lord has given, no one could take it away. He made us so glorious, so honorable in His Image, all for the utmost glory to His Name. :)

I just want to share this precious revelation with you all, coz this has been strengthening and edifying me to be able to go through life with rest. Le us live our day-to-day life knowing that we are accepted and loved by our Daddy. :)