Being “IN”-style

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

Following a famous celebrity? Adapting a famous Koreanovela in your life? Thinking to sink and absorb the way society goes today? Desiring for a white skin tone? Aiming for a slimmer and fitter body?

Our values and spirituality are easily infected by the ‘world’. It is like a ‘cancer cell’ being ignored after detection, and letting it spread in the system.
You can always examine the food before you eat, even chew it before you swallow. And spit it if it is not good. Most of the time, we look into the packaging because it is attractive, but have we ever asked questions like:

  1. Is it good?
  2. Is it pleasing?
  3. Is it perfect?

‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ by setting your sight to the things that are in heaven. The world may rebuke us thousand times, but whats the value of those rebukes when we are standing for the truth in Jesus?

When I Am In Troubled Water

I see myself as a swimmer,

I jumped, I dipped into the water.

The feeling of soaking and getting wet,

Addressing  the rage of the troubled sweat.

When I am in troubled water,

I am trying to swim faster!

Looking for something to hold on,

Persevering to carry on.

For an unknown way, I am so worried.

Swimming is an edge, yet so afraid!

In the surging waves, 

I am hopeful! I will be saved!

But shouting was no use,

Grasping for air is my excuse.

So I continue to survive,

In a life that strives.

When I am in troubled water,

I asked myself further,

“Why do i fear?”

Because no One’s near?

But I know that I’m like Peter,

“LORD, I will come to YOU in the water”

The wind blows wilder,

And I begin to sink deeper!

But JESUS is gracious,

When I call, HE come and rescues!

HE immediately stretches HIS hands

HE pulled me up so I can stand.

I of little faith,

Saved by GOD who’s too Great.

The LORD who always saves me, 

Is not a lifeguard nor a nobody

But in the water HE walks

As HE saves an ordinary folk.

Oh how mighty are YOU my LORD,

In the surge of a storm YOU can’t afford

To lose a sheep YOU are caring,

Gave YOUR life, continuously saving!

What can I offer back to YOU?

I can only offer my heart YOU knew.

It might not be pure, it’s broken, untrue.

YOU still accept it, I have nothing to argue.

In YOUR mercy I became pure, anew!

Delicious

Fasting. I’ve done it so many times before. In different ways. And in different durations.

And I said it was easy. I said, no big deal, because I am not new to starvation. Feeling hungry is not a new sensation for me. Food had never been a priority.

But even in this, God finds new ways to keep His commands fresh and new for me.

Because I am fasting again now, and it feels… different. It feels burdensome, and challenging. I feel hunger pangs, that familiar clawing in my stomach that arises from intestines twisting against each other with nothing to digest.

And yet three words come to me right now. Three surprising and borderline ridiculous sentiments to be having at a time like this:

cevicheDelicious, delightful, and delicate.

My tongue, which at this very moment is craving for something to physically taste, is somehow being sated in the midst of its lack. That was a very clumsy sentence, but I know no other way to describe it. Something about all this “nothingness” tastes delicious.

And it is all so delightful. It brightens my heart to realise that this long in the game, I could still be given this singular experience. For something that I have done countless times before, God is still giving me the wonderful gift of His presence.

To be honest, the third word was more of my mind forcing a rhythm. But when I found it, it fit. If I am not careful, these feelings that I am having can be ephemeral, not because God withholds, but because I can be easily distracted, easily tempted. I have to continue seeking after His presence, His essence, His Spirit; I have to remember that all of these are within my grasp only if when I fast, I hold fast to Him.

Testify, Magnify, Glorify

pathI see you in the beauty of the day
In every blade of grass
In the whisper of the breeze
The swaying of the trees
I see you in the blue of the sky
In the shapes the clouds make
They spell out Your name
They draw out Your face
They cry out Your majesty

I want to testify to Your goodness Lord
I want to magnify Your name
I want everyone to know
Everyone to sing
Everyone to glorify

Singing out, crying out, calling out to Your goodness
Every fiber of my being crying out for You

I want to fly, if I can, go straight to heaven

I close my eyes and everything fades away
Leaving only me and You

And I can’t help but cast my eyes down
I can’t look at You directly
But You take my hand in Yours
Enfold me in a warm embrace
And Your goodness overwhelms
And I feel strong, I feel whole
I feel healed
Unbroken
Released
You raise me up, put a halo on my head
And I am like a child
Finding favor in my Father’s eyes

How I long to be near you Father
How I long to be in Your presence always
Without You I am nothing
With You I can be everything

September 26, 2009

Praising in Prison

prison1

“A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:22-23‬a NLT‬‬

Regard our characters. They are black and blue from having been stripped and repeatedly beaten. With wooden rods no less. And with not even the protection of clothes on their bodies.

Also, by this time the crowd had turned into an angry mob. Most probably the soldiers who captured them are also caught up in the negative energy. The violence must have been amped up to an unreasonable scale.

And all for what? For worshiping Jesus. For preaching His Name. For spreading the Word of God. In a very peaceable, uncompromising manner.

Have you been through such persecution while doing the work of God? Have you ever experienced such vehement opposition in the name of Jesus?

prison3

“The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:23b-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The scene is set. Imagine a dark and dingy jail cell. It must have had stone walls. There must have been bars made of thick, sturdy wood. Or maybe iron. It is somber and imposing.

And it was an inner dungeon, so double up on the hopelessness of the situation.

It must not have been very large, but floor space doesn’t really matter right now. Because our heroes are clamped with irons at the feet, and trapped in an agonising position.

What is your prison right now? In what ways have you found yourself bound, and unable to move?

prison5

“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If we take this verse on its own, without the context of the rest of the story, it sounds completely reasonable and makes perfect sense. Praying and singing hymns to God — how divine! How utterly in line with ministry work, and Gospel sharing.

But consider the situation. They were doing these even as the bruises were still bright on their flesh, even as their bones still ached from the fresh beating.

And the Bible said, the other prisoners were listening. I have no doubt that some among them were laughing and mocking as they heard those songs. Who would sing in a dark dreary place such as this?

I like to think they were using their chains to make music, clanking their irons in time to the beat, setting a rhythm that went with their worship.

For they must have been praising. They must have! Beaten black and blue, chained with irons in an inner dungeon — they weren’t expecting this at all. So whether it was for relief and rescue, acceptance or redemption, they *must* have been praising God.

Have you ever tried praising God in the midst of your sorrow and pain? How did it go?

prison6

“Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:26‬ ‭NLT

‬‬Then suddenly, an earthquake.

I will not be surprised to find out that this region of the world isn’t even on a faultline.

This earthquake was so powerful that the chains of every prisoner fell off. The doors fell off their hinges.

And all the prisoners were set free.

Think about that last part. Every prisoner, those who listened, and those who mocked.

God doesn’t discriminate. You can be a sinner or a saint. God will save you no matter what.

Has there ever been a time when you felt that you weren’t worthy of salvation? Or when you felt that God was blessing you even though you didn’t deserve it at all?

prison4

“The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!””
Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:27-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I wanted them to run! In the words of Gandalf the Grey, “Fly you fools!” For prisoners such as these, especially innocent men, escape must have been the ultimate objective.

But they didn’t.

The jailer expected them to run. So much so that he was ready to kill himself over his certainty.

I’m sure all the prisoners expected themselves to run. Saint or sinner, when you’re in prison and the doors open, you run!

But something stopped them from leaving.

Despite what must have been their most basic responses (fight or flight! Kill or be killed!), they stayed.

In defiance of their own personalities, of what the world dictates that they should do.

Has there ever been a time when you did something completely opposite to how you would normally react? When you felt the Spirit moving so tangibly that you just obeyed despite yourself?

prison2

“The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:29-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And there it was. The Word of God will not be imprisoned. The Great Commission will not be held back.

I wonder how big the jailer’s household was? I wonder if they are good or bad, rich or poor? They lived in or near the jail. It’s safe to say the majority of them must not have been living very good lives.

Regardless though. Salvation is free and is meant for everyone.

See how God put all the pieces into play for us to hear this message? It was a roller coaster ride right from the start. An angry mob! A scary jail! Beatings, and chains! Iron and wood and stone! Singing and praising!

And then an earthquake, and a not so great escape. A suicidal jailer. An entire household saved.

And then, there’s us. Christians, hundreds of years hence, who are able to read this story and know, beyond doubt, that praise is powerful, and God is great.

Amen.

Yes and Amen!

Likewise with God’s promises. It is alive. It is living. It is His Word. It has its meaning to us. Though some of His promises was spoken according to the history, was to the people of Israel, God will make it sure that He will make it happen to us as well. His promises will never be in past tense. It will always be in present and future tense. That is how faithful He is. 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV

These words “Yes and Amen!” are commonly heard from Christians. You will hear them saying all God’s promises are Yes and Amen. 

How are we able to hold firmly to God’s promises without wavering? 

God is sovereign. God is omniscient. God is omnipresent. God is omnipotent. These are all God’s characteristics. These powerful  words  of characteristics are more than enough to grasp the understanding by a human mind. But sometimes people are to over think of a simple phrase or words therefore, words became difficult to comprehend.

God’s promises is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever. 

God’s promises are made to fulfill to all God’s children may it be to Israelites or to Gentiles. But some of us will say, that we are now living in the New Testament. Whatever God promises written in the Old Testament that is for Israelites only. Only?

We must to understand that God is a faithful and just. He is fair. He made NO distinction over His children. May you live in Old Testament or now in New Testament. He is forever the same.

“God is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrews 13:8

 

Hold on the meaning of His Promises

God speaks to us through reading the Bible; Through the passages of each chapter, there comes a revelation to us; has its meaning according to our situation. That is how magnificent His words are to us. Because God’s Word is alive. It is God’s breath.

Likewise with God’s promises. It is alive. It is living. It is His Word. It has its meaning to us. Though some of His promises was spoken according to the history, was to the people of Israel, God will make it sure that He will make it happen to us as well. His promises will never be in past tense. It will always be in present and future tense. That is how faithful He is.

In Jesus His promises are fulfilled in us.

God loves us so much, that He gave His only begotten Son–Jesus. His Agape love to us is tangible and as crystal clear through Jesus. We don’t deserve our Salvation but He freely gave it all to us through Jesus.  Now and forever.

So for so many,  God had said His promises. Promises had mentioned and declared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to Israelites–though were mentioned in the past in history. Its meaning, its effectiveness, its revelation, God will make it happen to us. As long we believe in His Son, Jesus. We have His Blessed Distinction!

Because the Bible says, that God’s promises is always “Yes” in Christ Jesus. And  so through Jesus, God’s promises is fulfilled and we say “Amen“, God gets the glory.

These “Amen/s” from us,  as we utter it is a song to God’s ears, because it is a sign of hope, trust and dependence, and looking forward for the future. That God is faithful to fulfill His promises in us through Jesus!

God, thank you for Your Son, Jesus, because of Him, I have life, hope and a future. I have Your promises. I will hold on to it!

Hey friends, if you want to know more of His promises? Click God’s promises to find out more about it.

All glory to God💞

Agape,

IAMgoodstar 🌟



Acceptance

tree.JPG

““He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭17:24-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God is sovereign — this must be taken as fact. He is in all and above all, and nothing happens without His divine knowledge. His wisdom is beyond human comprehension. Infinite, omnipotent, everlasting — we try to describe it, but we probably do not even have the right words that encompass such greatness.

That’s why staunch unbelievers, those that oppose the reality of God, can lay down their arguments all day long. They can rationalise and insist that they have the data, and they have the logic, and they have the science; that they have everything necessary to “prove” that God is not who He is. They can do that until their lips turn blue. But as long as they don’t believe in God’s sovereignty, they will never understand, nor even come close to it. All their arguments float away in the wind; their words do not have power. God is more powerful than any reason that anyone can come up with.

And so the first step in a relationship with God is to accept. To admit one’s inferior status as a sinner. To acknowledge God as Lord over all. To accept this God in one’s heart, and in all humility, submit to His power, surrender to His love.

There are two ways of looking at this:

  1. This is the easiest thing in the world to do.Think about it. All you have to do is say ‘yes’. All you have to do is concede to the age old belief that God created the world, and that He loves us. All you have to do is to believe that Jesus Christ, a commonly accepted part of human history, spent a part of His life on earth, and at the end of it, died for our sins. And that the Holy Spirit is a part of God that He sent so that everyone who receives Him will always have a spirit guide and counselor.All you have to give up is your pride, and what did that ever serve you in the first place? Your happiness, contentment, sense of security, self-worth — all of these remain intact. If you do it right, they are even amplified.You have nothing to lose, and all the heavens to gain.
  2. This is the hardest thing in the world to do.Accepting God implies that you have given up the notion that you have, or have ever had, a hand in the creation of the universe. Or, at the very least, the current state of the culture and environment in which you are living. For control freaks, this is an anxiety inducing reality.Accepting God’s rule also means that He has total control over your life. Of course, this acceptance is inclusive of the fact of His love, so it doesn’t equate to Him allowing bad things to you happen to you. But it does mean accepting that the bad things that happen to you might be a direct consequence of your own actions, and not just a random quirk of an uncaring, faceless and baseless universe.

I’m biased of course. Because both of those perspectives really only point to one ultimate unquestionable reality.

“God’s rule is complete. He is sovereign and high above us all.”

So either way, whether you think it is the hardest thing, or the easiest thing, why don’t you just go ahead and take that first step.

God Speaks

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God speaks. Not in the way that we hear people speak, with sound waves vibrating through the air, forming patterns that we recognise as speech, and then interpreted in our brains as words with meaning. God speaks in a way that is more amazing than that. In a way that is more supernatural. In a way that is almost unbelievable.

God speaks, and He does so through His Son. He does so through the words in the Bible. He does so through preachers and teachers, through like minded brothers and sisters, through shepherds and mentors and elders. He speaks through the testimony of other people. He speaks through stories shared that bring Him glory.

God speaks, and we hear Him in prayer. In quiet times, when we do our devotions. In times of extreme hardship, and in times of extreme joy. He speaks in our learning experiences, through the revelations shown to us, through triumphs and breakthroughs.

God speaks. We don’t have to put our hope in signs and wonders. We don’t have to look for where he seems to show himself the most. He speaks to us every day.

The question is, do you listen?

Love, Grace, and Forgiveness

These were my notes from a preaching done by Pastor Simon in February 21, 2010.


* We should rise up to follow God’s standards and Biblical principles

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

LOVE
1 Cor 13:4-7

  1. Love is the bond of closeness and sensitivity to each other that you continue to feel over the years
    – Love matures with age; age matures with love
  2. Love is putting other people’s interests above your own
    – Love in its purest form is giving
    – One has to make the necessary changes and adjustments over the years
  3. Love must have certain boundaries
    – Love must be applied in common goals
  4. Love must end up with proper teamwork

Apply love in:
a. Number of children/parenting/home building
b. Sex
– how often
– exercise self-constraint; God honors us when we practice self-discipline
c. Parents and in-laws
d. Career demands
e. Money/expenses/investments
– God always provides because He is a good God, but He will help us when we help ourselves
f. Ministry/spiritual matters/Kingdom living
– God will not bless selfishness
– Marriage should encourage us to bless the Kingdom of God
g. Responding to conflict

GRACE
Eph 2:8

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

  1. Grace is undeserved, unmerited favour that we show to one another
    – Without grace, the marriage relationship becomes very legalistic
  2. Grace is allowing room for each other’s imperfections
    – Grace allows each person to be themselves
  3. Grace always seeks to restore
    – Even though we sin, God allows us grace to change
    – Grace is to be patient, waiting for the imperfect to be perfect
    – Grace must establish standards and values

Apply grace in
a. Leadership/followership
– encourage men to take the lead
– men can take extreme pressure better than the ladies because God made them that way
– men can bring great stability in a relationship; stable relationships produce stable children
b. Life standards/values
– character values
– skill and education development

FORGIVENESS

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:15

  1. Forgiveness is deliverance from penalty
    – Unquestionable, complete
  2. Forgiveness is pardon given and the person is set free
    – Forgiveness should be fleshed out in transformation, and should be accompanied with improvements

Apply forgiveness in:
a. Mistakes made
b. Struggles/challenges


If you call within the next five minutes, you can have all three of these for the amazing all time low price of ZERO DOLLARS and ZERO CENTS! Call now!

The Spirit of Servanthood

servanthood

These were my notes from a seminar in October 2009. These nuggets of wisdom are timeless, and are as valid now as they were back then.

* There should be a pleasant working relationship between all levels of leadership

* Always ask yourself: is your ministry for the Lord, or are you looking for the recognition of the people? Make sure that your service is pure and authentic before the Lord.

* True servanthood is manifested when you do the same thing you do in front of other people as you do when you are alone.

* We are righteous in God’s name, but our integrity can only be upheld by our own personal decision to do so.  Excellence and empowerment comes from the Lord, but we have to acknowledge this and receive it in our hearts, so that it will show up in our work, flow through our hands.

* When we are _secure_ in ourselves we are also effective as leaders; we become leaders who are able to impact and affect others. Insecurity brings about jealousy, anger, and dissatisfaction, which are all hindrances to our service.

* Leaders should know that they are not serving for the title, but for the glory of God.

* We should aim to be low-maintenance, high-impact leaders.

* Leaders should make an effort to grow in their ministry.

* It is more commendable to achieve something in a field which is not natural to us, rather than achieve something that we are so used to doing.  We should be open to the idea of going outside our comfort zone.

* Whoever aspires to be first shall become the last, and whoever is the last shall become the first.

* In whatever role you are in, make sure that you aim to be the best that you can be.

* Everyone has the opportunity to be used by God, but only those who receive Him and make the conscious decision to serve, and take their guidance from Him, will succeed in their service.

* Behind all our works, God is the one who is moving. It is His good work, done through our human hands, and so the glory is His alone.

* Sometimes some things get lost in the translation.

The nature of our ministry is to serve.
The motive of our ministry is love.
The measure of our ministry is sacrifice and submission.
The purpose of our ministry is for the glory of God.
The tools of our ministry are prayer and the Word.
The power of our ministry is the Holy Spirit.
The model of our ministry is Jesus Christ.


Click here to understand what it means to be a servant leader.