Christ: self denial and dying to one’s self

To be like Christ, to die to one self is to accept the lordship of Father God in one’s life and to place an immense urgency to honor and obey whatever His will is without any regards to self and other people.. no ifs, no buts..

Self denial and dying to one’s self..

I thought I had a different understanding of what self denial and dying to one self means..

To be like Christ, to die to one self is to accept the lordship of Father God in one’s life and to place an immense urgency to honor and obey whatever His will is without any regards to self and other people.. no ifs, no buts..

Dying to onself is to be like..

Samuel who was the faithful priest who did all according to what is in the heart and mind of God (1 Samuel 2:35)..

David who was regarded to be the man after God’s own heart because he did all of God’s will (Acts 13:22)..

And

Jesus whose food was to do the will of God and to finish His work (John 4:34)..

So I urge you brethren, when we pray, let’s take heart and mean (with a humbled, accepting heart of submission) what the Lord’s prayer said:

Matthew 6:9-10 NKJV
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Unhindered, unopinionated
Absolutely good and infinitely wise will of our sovereign God

Psalm 115:3 NKJV
But our God is in heaven
He does whatever He pleases.

I pray that the LORD God Almighty bestow upon you the grace to desire to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Here’s a prayer for you.

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The Heart of the Father

“Communication” or “the way we interact with someone” (this is done by talking, facial expressions, hand gestures, and in our generation today we do communications through Facebook, sending SMS, voice call and even video call). The way we communicate with someone determines how we value them.

Examples:

We can talk freely with our friends and laugh about funny and silly things.

When we talk to our parents, teachers or someone older than us we always talk with respect.

When we talk to God, we talk through “Prayer”

“Prayer” is the way on how we talk to God when we thank Him for good grades, nice toys, and all the blessings He has given us. In the same way prayer is the way when we ask God for something that we wanted.

“Prayer is the way on how we talk to God”

We can learn through the Bible that Jesus talks to God the Father through prayer. In fact, Jesus taught us how to talk to God the Father in our prayers. Let us all read Matthew 6:9-13

A. God’s Word

Matthew 6:5-13

9 “This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.

B. Teaching

As we talk to Father God in our prayer, we are looking into the good heart of God who hears all our prayers. By knowing His heart, we get to know His character as our Father which Jesus revealed by teaching us how to communicate with God through prayer.

Today, we are going to get to know the character of God the Father by looking into His heart through our prayer.

1. Key Point 1: God the Father is Powerful

“Power is the capability to do something.”

Who among you watch Marvel movies? Alright, the characters in different movies have their super powers that enables them to fight the bad guys. (Side note: But among them there One and Only Super Hero that saved the World, and His name is Jesus)

Most kids consider their father as “super heroes” or “super daddy” because of the strength that they can see from them. Our fathers are strong. They can lift us up and carry us in their arms. We often ride on their back and ask them to run around while they are carrying us.

What does the Bible teach about Father God’s being Powerful?

9 This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 NLT)

Have you noticed how Jesus addressed God the Father as “Our” this means that we share one Father (with Jesus) who is in heaven.

Father God is so powerful (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV “But God used His power to make the earth”) that by His spoken words He was able to create everything. In Genesis 1:1-2 NLT it is written “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

“But God used His power to make the earth” (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV)

There are a lot of stories in the Bible where God showed his power. God even parted the Red Sea so that His sons and daughters, the Israelites can escape the chasing Egyptians.

Guide Question:

1. We all know that God is powerful, and He created everything that we can see around us. Name 3 of God’s creation which you like the most. Share why you like it.

2. God the Father is Provider

Can you still recall a moment when you ask something from your father? Like a new toy, a bicycle, a chocolate, or even a day in an amusement park?

We all grow up knowing that our father wakes early in the morning because he prepares to go to work. But have you ever wondered why he is doing all this thing? It is because he needs to provide for you.

Jesus showed how praying to our Daddy God connects us to him not because we need something but because we know that is our Great Provider (Jehovah Jireh)

10 Give us today the food we need (Matthew 6:11 NLT)

I remember another story in the Bible when it was evening, and there were a lot of people following Jesus. So, Jesus told his disciples to look for food, but they said that there were no nearby store and even if there is, they need to spend big amount of money to feed the people. Until one child offered his 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Let us look into the Bible what happened.

20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of left (Matthew 14:20 NLT)

Guide Questions:

1. Can you still recall the time when you asked from your father something? What was that thing? Did he give it to you?

2. What are the things you are asking Father God right this time? Share it to your life group and find a partner to pray for it.

3. God the Father is Protector

Our father is our life time protector. A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

This photo of the father protecting his son went viral because of the great love of the father to protect the son from getting wet because of the rain.

This is the same love is what God is giving to you.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13 NLT)

Whenever King David is in trouble, he writes a Psalms to God to show how God protects him despite there are a lot of troubles. In one of his Psalm, he wrote:

2 “The Lord is my protector; He is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and in Him I am safe…” (Psalm 18:2 GNT)

Guide Questions:

1. Your father loves you so much that’s the reason why he protects you. What are the usual things that your father protects you from? Do you follow him? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What are the things that makes you sad or worry? Share it to your group so you can pray for one another.

C. A Short Story About Father

Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, “My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it poem, and they give him 50$”

The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100”

The third boy says, “I beat both of you. My dad inspired other men to write down on pieces of paper. Those pieces of paper is what we now call “Bible” – His name is God!

Father God is a Forgiving Father

God’s character does not stop in just being a Powerful Father, a Great Provider and an All-Time Protector but He extends His love by forgiving our sins through Jesus Christ who save us all by dying in the cross for our sins.

12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12 NLT)

Looking into the heart of the Father, we can see that His Power, Provisions and Protections are not because He is able but rather to keep us in dwelling in His Presence to satisfy us. Satisfaction is knowing who He is and His plan for our lives, especially His salvation plan for us.

Romans 8:28 (Part 2)

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called
according to His purpose.

 

Let’s get back to the rest of this wonderful promise!

for good.

Now here, most people have many misconceptions. When we think of our good, we think of our benefit, our convenience. But most of us don’t even have a slightest clue on what is good or if it will turn out to be for our good. It’s like when I buy clothing. I usually buy something because it looks nice on display and I think it would look nice on me. I put it on and test it in inside the fitting room and sees that my decision to buy it is correct. When I wear it to an event, that’s when I would unfortunately realize that it is too fitted or too big or have a too deep neckline or the straps are falling off my shoulders or even the fabric is too sheer which is a big disaster. It’s like when I buy heels that make my legs look slimmer and sexier and ended up arguing with the same heels and throwing them out because of the many many blisters it gave my feet all the time I wear them (true story btw).

The truth is we don’t know what is good for us. We are completely ignorant of what will give us the greatest benefit. We desire for a lot of things thinking they will be good for us. We think that we know better when in both sides of reality, only God does as He is omniscient. The only way we can be assured that what we choose will be for our good is only if it is in line with His will. Not something pleasing to the eyes, not something other people said is good, but because it is His will.

Then what if I mistakenly or intentionally go against His will? We, the children of God, the eternally secured in Christ. In these times when we become wayward, He, as omnipotent and sovereign as He is, is still able to change and fix things up, not His will, but all things around it, including us, so that we will realize that we are going the wrong way. He will let us undergo a very very painful learning process, which we can actually avoid, until we surrender and say “Thy will be done” because He knows it will be for our good. In time, when mature in our walk with Him, He will enable us not to live our lives according to our will but according to His.

to those who love God.

Well this promise is for everyone who loves God and entrusted their lives solely unto Him through faith in the salvation and lordship of Christ Jesus. We cannot simply say that we love God and go on with our lives.

The Bible says in Matthew 22:37-38 says, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” Loving God demands our everything: our heart, our soul and our mind. He is to be our greatest treasure, cherished and delighted into, desired above everything else. (See the article: A Treasure Found). 

This will only be possible once we received Jesus in our lives as our Lord and Savior (here is how). The reason behind it is it is impossible to treat God as your most treasured possession as humans. Humans, because of our sins, cannot come before a Holy God. In ourselves alone, our eyes are veiled and blinded from the beauty of His grace and love in Christ Jesus. We maybe able to see and know God the Father but it will extremely difficult to obey Him and surrender unto Him if we rely only our own. We all are sinful by our innate nature, selfish and foolish beings in rebellion who think highly only of ourselves and want to take control of our own lives and would never relinquish it to anyone else.

But once we repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become born again and a new creation. We will have Christ living in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Now with Jesus living in us and convicting us through the Holy Spirit, we will be able to really treasure God for who He is whom is above everything else just like Jesus did. We will desire for God and a deeper intimacy for Him. We will  be able to keep His commandments because we love Him through us abiding in Christ.

to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Lastly, we, the beloved children of God, are here on earth not just to enjoy the blessings of the abundant life He bestows upon us but we are the called according to His purpose. His purpose is not according to our terms and condition but His terms which is for us to be  transformed from glory to glory and become Christ-like. We are to be changed and conformed to the image of Christ. Why is that?

Christ as we all know is God-incarnate, the image of God. He is the greatest manifestation and revelation of God’s love for the world. As John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God willingly gave Jesus up for the undeserving world to save us from our sins because of His love. Jesus willingly died as His obedience to the Father. As a result, we who received Him will have eternal life. Jesus is the glory of the grace of God.

When we are transformed to the likeness of Christ, we will be  able to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. God’s love will have a physical vessel in this cruel world, us loving other people thorough Christ. Just as Jesus laid down His life  for us, in Christ, we are enabled to selflessly and lovingly lay down our lives for all sorts of people all over the world. We can be a poured out wine and broken bread with joy as we grasp God’s purpose for our Christ-likeness reveals His heart: His glorious outrageous love for people and the world.

 

I pray that whenever we are reminded of this marvelous promise God has for us we will really use it to convict us and direct us on the great truth it contains. May we be able to believe in our hearts that:

 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

 

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ARISE

HIS CHILD.

HIS BELOVED SON.

HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER.

‘Tis a wonderful and great moment when the Christian understands and firmly believes his/her identity in Christ as a CHILD OF GOD!

Once he/she takes hold of it and its implications, he/she will be irrepressible!

There will be no fear, no doubts, no worries.

No lies from the enemy will be able to deceive him/her.

The enemy cannot have a foothold on him/her!

For what the Bible says about him/her, it is so!

Not buts, no ifs, only, I AM A CHILD OF GOD, PERIOD.

So dear brothers and sisters, KNOW AND BELIEVE that YOU are A CHILD OF GOD.

HIS CHILD.

HIS BELOVED SON.

HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER.

YOU are GREATLY LOVED by the SOVEREIGN KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS.

YOU are HIGHLY FAVORED by the GREAT ALMIGHTY CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.

YOU have the HOLY SPIRIT IN YOU who is GREATER than he that is in the world.

Set and fix your eyes on your FATHER GOD and CHRIST JESUS!

Dwell on it each and every moment!

Preach it to yourself!

Live it for it is the amazing truth about YOUR BEING IN CHRIST JESUS!

Step up! Arise!

Don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise!

Arise!

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I urge you, if you want to know how you can have an identity as a Child of God in Christ Jesus, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still

Jehovah Shalom – God is Peace

During the very first Hope Church retreat I attended in 2007, my then care leader asked me what my objective was, my purpose for going to the retreat. I was brand new, I didn’t know what he was asking exactly. To be totally honest, my first reason for coming was because it was my first trip to Batam, Indonesia. It was a short vacation. I just wanted to go to the beach.

Just to get him to stop talking, I said the first thing that came to me. I said I was praying for peace of mind. And then I walked away.

But God moves in mysterious ways indeed. What I thought to be just a throwaway statement became my personal theme for that retreat. It turns out, I really, truly did need peace of mind (and heart, and soul) at that time. He knew the exact thing that I needed even before I knew it for myself.

I felt He led me through the rest of that retreat, and prepared everything just for me, so that I would receive and understand the personal relationship that He wanted to have with me.

It was the very first time I encountered and was touched by this favorite verse:

“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10a NIV

It tied in to His message for me right then. Through these words I realised all the things I had to let go of: my anger, my pride, my resentments, my personal slights both real and imagined. I had to let go of all the “my”s in my life, and replace it with what is “His”.

His love. His grace. His faith. His Word.

In the same retreat, they played the song Still, by Hillsong United. After hearing the words, I was shattered. It was the last straw. I wept. I shed tears I didn’t know were inside me, for reasons that I didn’t even understand completely.

All I knew was my need for the peace that only He could bring. Mind, body, heart, and soul — I wanted all parts of me to be filled with His peace.

(I found out later that it wasn’t even part of the lineup. A guitar string broke, and the band had to switch to a song that had more keyboard parts in it. So they played a song that became my anthem for a very long time in 2007.)

Fast forward to today, and I have to teach on Jehovah Shalom. God is Peace.

And in making the lesson, I was refreshed with that memory of my new believer self, all of ten years ago.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7 NIV

Peace that transcends all understanding — this is true. It’s been a decade, and I’m certainly not a new believer anymore, but until now I still hold to the indefinable, awesome quality of God, the wonderful reality of His peace.

If you want to experience a peaceful retreat without ever needing to go on a beach vacation, click here.

Take My Life and Let It Be

Take my life
And let it be consecrated,
Lord, to Thee;

by Ernie Rettino & Debby Kerner Rettino

Take my life
And let it be consecrated,
Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands
And let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet
And let them be swift
And beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice
And let me sing always,
Only for my King;
Always, only for my King

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my life,
Let it be consecrated,
Lord, to Thee!

Kids Praise! 7
Arr. © 1988 Rettino/Kerner Publishing. – www.psalty.com
All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.

If you want to know more about the Lord and how you can offer your life unto Him, click here.

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Blessed is She

Glory she will not give to another,
Only unto her sovereign King.

Blessed is she who depends on the Lord.
She neither sees nor knows her future;
But peace rests in her heart
That in deep unfamiliar waters
She lifts up her eyes
Upon her loving Father.
He takes her by the hand,
Leads her and directs her path.
He takes her to the very purpose
He had for her.
There she will walk in His wisdom
And depend on His grace.
Then she will be filled with praise!
Her joy will overflow!
She will stand in awe
In amazement
As she beholds
The glory of her Savior.
Glory she will not give to another,
Only unto her sovereign King.

 

If you want to find out who is this King and Father, click here. He wants to be your father too. 🙂

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Picture by Eleonor Tan

Life of a Christian

We can’t blame people who tagged Christians as hypocrites. They don’t even know what they are saying. Love them anyway. They do not understand that Christianity is a life-time process. It grows. It blossoms. It functions. It is an organism. Life of a Christian mature.

To be a Christian is not an easy way of living; it’s not a trademark to be famous; Or even a superior status quo. Christian not even a brand to look for and get it. It is being quoted as hypocrite(s). It may have been off for those Christians who will read this article and may even not to accept it,  especially the latter. But this is true which perceived by some non-believers and even the socalled professing christians—But! Read through.

Many at times, people around us, if they knew you are a Christian, they will  assume–you are gentle, kind and easy-to-believe. If these were not seen from your gesture and action. Judgement is served—you are hypocrite; and these were only a few of their criteria.

It’s true that it is difficult to have it said and done. “I am a Christian”; “I am a Christ follower”; “I am a Believer”. We are all attune to have these identity. That when you said it, you have to display it.

Come to think of it. Do they have sense in that saying? Yes. I believe so. It is time for us to wake up in our slumber, Christians. Rise up and Walk. Christians who say it by mouth must have it in his heart. We are tagged how Christ did here on earth. But isn’t true? We proclaim that we are Christ Ambassadors. But, what we say is different from the way we live.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.  

Matthew 12:33‭

Jesus speaks about the tree and its fruit. It is how we, Christians identified. We can’t run away from it. It is difficult to commit to the standard of God because we are only human; and if we tend to rely in our own might and power.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John 15:5 NKJVwp-image-1457337255

But if we will abide in Him, and He abode in us, it is now the work of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. It is not by our might nor by power, but it is by the Spirit of Lord,  Zechariah 4:6. This how He worked in our Spiritual life.

If we will allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we will realize His amazement. The normal things that we used to do when we are in our own might will not be normal anymore. You are more careful as the conviction is prominent whether it is aligning to God’s will. The reality is clear to you, that you are no longer in a physical realm but  in spiritual realm.

That’s where life as a Christian mature. When we understand that our physical body is in a spiritual encounter. It matures when his faith became child-like. When he give his full dependence on Him. Trusting on Him. Relying on Him. 

We can’t blame people who tagged Christians as hypocrites. They don’t even know what they are saying. Love them anyway. They do not understand that Christianity is a life-time process. It grows. It blossoms. It functions. It is an organism. Life of a Christian, mature.

Let them understand that Christianity is a relationship; a relationship to our Creator. The deeper we establish our relationship to our Creator; the deeper we know Him; the deeper we will walk in Spirit and in Truth —and that is His amazement.

Let us continue to walk in His presence. As the road in this world is rocky. Even turmoil is present along the journey of our faith. But we will conquer it, because in Him, we are more than Conquerors – Romans 8:37.

All glory to God!💞

Agape,

IAMgoodstar🌟

If you want to understand deeper how to become a Conqueror? Click here to find out.

Knowing God: Choose Willingness Over Readiness

 

 

 

 

 

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14)

 

We are taught in school about principles, laws, and even theories in order for us to gain an understanding about many things. While trainings and hands-on activities give us better perspective on how things happen in reality.

Julius Ceasar recorded the earliest version of the proverb, “Experience is the teacher of all things”. Experiences may not be favorable all the time. The bible says in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”.

Therefore, to know something better, it is best for us to experience it and have personal encounters – this involves “willingness” not “readiness”. An anonymous quote goes “How much knowledge you gain depends on your willingness to learn”

In our relationship with Jesus, we need to be “willing” not “ready” – to suffer, to feel intimidated by other’s comfortable life, you will be troubled. No one will be ready and accept being on suffering, intimidated and troubled.

But the Lord said, “You are blessed”

Why do most of us perceive “readiness” as an important factor in knowing Jesus Christ?

1. Most think that competence is a requirement.

Therefore, we desire to prepare ourselves to be competent for Jesus. But the bible says, “Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Our relationship with God is not like an employer-employee set-up wherein competency in our field of work is the top requirement to be in, and if we fail to meet competency requirements we can be terminated.

We should be like a child that performs in front of the crowd without fear but with gentleness, our performance may be not as excellent when compared with professional performers, but we must remember that our parents’ love never decline and because we are willing, we make them proud and happy. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (1 Corinthians 8:12)

2. Most think that they must be deserving for God.

It is written, “For many are invited but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We are invited by God for a personal relationship,  only few were chosen. Why? Many of us thinks we do not deserve being into such relationship because of our ‘sins’.

Most have the concept of sin which boils down from arguments over right and wrong. Biblically, it is defined as something that falls below the perfect standard of God.

As we receive Jesus as our personal Lord and savior, we must take baby-steps and soon bigger steps as show of reverence to him. It is doing something out of the grace that we receive from God – we must choose to be willing not ready.

Paul is clear with his message to the people of Ephesus about being deserving. He said, “Walk in the manner of calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). Same with the Colossians and he said, “Walk in manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10).

3. Most focus on ‘status quo’

Status quo is defined as the status on which we are now. We used to conform to the norma of this world, whereas the bible says, “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).

Millenials are now living in a fast-paced, perfect-seeking world to feel the sense belongingness in their outermost being, but full of voids from within.

Most of us think that we can do great things for God by becoming great first on our own. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

Apostle Paul pleaded three times to God to remove the spirit of being conceited.But this is what the Lord revealed to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We must be “willing” not “ready”. God used people who are ‘incompetent’, ‘undeserving’ and ‘ordinary’ for His greater glory:

1. Abraham was old but he is “willing to wait on the fulfillment of God’s promise that he will have a son, and he will be the father of many nations”;

2. David was a young sheperd but he is “willing to show that His trust is in God”, because of this he killed Goliath and became the King after King Saul;

4. Jonah ran away. He was not “ready”. But as God called him, God’s calling will remain still. Isaiah 46:10 says “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” He will make us roll over to be “willing”.

5. Peter’s up and down discipleship journey showed that being a disciple is a matter of the heart. But despite this, Peter has been a “willing” disciple – from having shortcomings he became a strong church foundation. When we look at the situation when He encountered Jesus, he may not be “ready” – but who can say know to the Messiah?

6. Matthew persecuted church.
But despite of all their being less, they have one thing in common – they are “Willing” to be used by God for a purpose that will give glory to Him and Him alone.

Will you be willing to know more about Jesus, and have that personal relationship and encouters with Him? Pastor Simon Eng said in one of his preaching at HOPE Church Singapore, “We cannot rely on historical faith and encounters alone. We need to have own fresh, encounter with God”

The first step in having a relationship with Jesus is to accept Him as you personal Lord and Saviour. It does not require ‘readiness’ where competence, being deserving or anyone’s status is being looked up. Come to Jesus with a willing heart that sees no fault nor flaws but love. He was not sent by the Father into the world but to save the world through Him – He is our salvation.

God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.

Whenever I read this verse, I always imagine myself trying a new flavor of ice cream. The moment of that first bite and then sweetness and creaminess comes right after. A burst of wonderful flavors in every spoonful, I could taste chocolate chips, almonds, cookie dough. Oh yes! What a pleasure to my palette! Then a signal to my brain will be sent saying “This is really good! I will definitely buy again!” This scenario is the simplest way I could express how this verse means, well, generally speaking.

2859Taste and see that Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him

Psalms 34:8 (NIV)

Whenever I read this verse, I always imagine myself trying a new flavor of ice cream. The moment of that first bite and then sweetness and creaminess comes right after. A burst of wonderful flavors in every spoonful, I could taste chocolate chips, almonds, cookie dough. Oh yes! What a pleasure to my palette! Then a signal to my brain will be sent saying “This is really good! I will definitely buy again!” This scenario is the simplest way I could express how this verse means, well, generally speaking.

To taste the goodness of the Lord is undoubtedly inevitable but the devil has his ways of making us become blind. Unbelief has always been a part of my daily spiritual battles and to tell you frankly, it has contributed a lot to make me spiritually paralyzed before. I saw myself being tempted with what the world could offer, “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world; 1 John 2:16”,  and it occurred not only to me, but this actually happens to all of us, even our beloved Jesus Christ was tempted. In Matthew 4:8-10, it says that Satan tried to tempt Jesus, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”. Do not get me wrong, God created the world and everything in it displays is glory (Psalms104:24-25; Psalms19:1), but when we put God out of the picture, we give birth to desires leading to pride, greed, self-glorification, and lust that causes us to take pleasure in sin.

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

Ephesians 4: 18-19

 

BUT DO NOT WORRY! This is temporary. We were never made to stay in darkness. Tests and troubles will always be here in our midst (John 16:33) but God will ALWAYS provide a way for us to see Him. We just need to do our part. Let me share my devotions about this wonderful word of God.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16


Taste and See



Then God said “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the Earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that He made, and it was very good. And there was morning–the sixth day.

Genesis 1:29-31

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I think it is safe to say that it is IMPOSSIBLE for us not to have tasted the goodness of our heavenly Father. In creation itself, the whole Earth was purely made for the our benefit and in our daily lives, we see God providing everything we “need”, may it be asked for or not. Every single thing is orchestrated by God himself so we could see His glory, resulting to our hearts being humbled and admitting that “apart from God, WE ARE NOTHING” (John 15:5)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Matthew 6:25-27


The Lord is Good



There are no words to express how good our God is. Most of the time, we see His goodness at every successful job interview,  in sickness that has been healed, in times of reconciled relationships, in celebrating a new birth and of course, Christmas bonuses. YES! This defines the human perception of “goodness”. It is everything that makes us feel happy, secured, loved and every nice feeling you could come up with. But what about those times when you lose someone you really love or in failed relationships especially in marriages and families, during times of abandonment and betrayal of a friend. Can we consider this a part of His goodness?

In typical movie plot, there will always be a character living a problematic life. His parents are separated, and he lives with his father whose always drunk every single day. He has no money for school, therefore he makes a living through selling drugs. Eventually, he gets involved with the wrong people and because of this, he will live out of shame, then he blames his parents and questions, “GOD! If you exist and if you truly love me, then why do you let these things happen to me?” It is a question that most of us have thought of. I did for sure. I never lived a perfect life. I had those days when I felt like, because I did something, SO WRONG, that maybe God is punishing me. I experienced those sleepless nights where I would cry my heart out to God just so He could take away my pains. Everybody hits rock bottom. No man is an iron man, we all feel pain.

Human nature may never grasp how He works in our lives but by knowing God, we can be assured that in whatever circumstances we are facing, He is always in control and He is always good. What He is doing is MEANT FOR OUR OWN GOOD, therefore, we just need to obey and TRUST Him.

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“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 58:8-9

The life of Jesus Christ is a perfect example of obedience in times of pain. He never questioned the will of God. He obeyed fully even if He was hated, persecuted, and crucified. It is not because He had superpowers not to feel pain, or that He is invincible and fearless. The bible shows that during the night before He was put to captivity, he was in great distress because he knows how excruciating his crucifixion will be.

And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

Mark 14: 33-34

Further more…

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Mark 14: 35-36

If you and I were in that situation, we would be begging for the same thing. Worse, we will be overcome by our emotions. I may have escaped from that garden and run for my own life.  This is where “unbelief” and “lack of faith” comes in. It is hard to believe that situations that break and hurt us could be seen as something good. And if we do not know God, the devil comes in like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) He bombards us with so many lies and deceitful words, we get devoured by our own emotions that lead to depression and anxiety. It causes our heart to turn away from God because we have doubted Him. This is unbelief.

Having said that, it is very important for us to know how to combat unbelief by genuinely knowing the God we serve. It is important for us to know Him as good and perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful and loving Father.  We should do our part as His sons and daughters, to know Christ by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior and by equipping ourselves with his word.


Blessed is the one who takes his refuge in Him


After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Genesis 15:1

What makes you feel blessed? Great health? A successful career? Sixty years of marriage? Seeing your sons and daughters to graduate? Having your own house and a car? Luxury? Being able to travel? All these things, we consider them blessings. But do we count having God as a blessing? The answer is WE SHOULD, and as matter of fact, Him being our refuge is the cherry on top of every blessing we have received in our entire lives.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines refuge as “a shelter or protection from danger or distress; a place that provides shelter or protection”. So what does it mean when we say that God is our refuge?

I’ve always seen God as my parent. This is how I make Him my refuge. He is my loving Father. A parent loves his son or daughter no matter what (including of all the headaches and problems caused by his child) and I could say that God is my perfect refuge. Here are some reasons why:

  • He never changes and He is always present. I call to my heavenly Father anytime and anywhere. He is everywhere. 

 

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:13

 

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:23-24

 

  • He is Faithful. I have lived 28 years, 336 months and woke up to 10,220 mornings and not one of those days where in God did not renew His love for me. Praise God! Hallelujah!

 

The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassion never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

  • There is nothing He could not do. He has no limitations. He is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, strength and power. He makes everything new and beautiful.

 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

 

  • He loves us unconditionally. I could give countless testimonies of His goodness in my life. You may or may not agree with me but this is what I chose to believe, that the God I truly serve did not deserve a daughter like me because I am sinner, but that did not stopped Him from loving me first.

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

This is the most significant reason why we are blessed to have God as our refuge. It is because of His unconditional love, and this explains my faith. Jesus loved us so much that he took our place to die at the cross. It brings me to my knees when I think of what He has done for me, despite me being a sinner. I praise Him because He has met my heart and I have come to accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I could not live this life alone. I am weak and fragile and I’m not smart enough to know what’s best for me. The need for a refuge is a must and maybe you are like me. You need someone to rely on, someone who could save you from all the confusion, worries, problems or you just need someone to save you from your own-self.

I would like to share the love of Jesus Christ to you. In Him, we are equal and there is no need to pretend. He sees everything even our deepest darkest secrets, knows our weakness, he keeps track of every tear you have shed and he feels your pain. He will turn you to something new and in His eyes, you are more beautiful than the glorious sky. Genuine Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.

“He himself  bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2: 24

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6