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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Romans 8:28 (Part 1)

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.

One of the most loved verses in the Bible, this promise offers such comfort to believers everywhere. It gives us an assurance that everything that happens in our lives, especially the hard and difficult times, will be used by God for our good and His glory. But I wonder how much truth do we really understand regarding this passage. Let’s slowly take it apart and learn more.

And.

The preceding verses of this part of Romans 8 talks about the suffering that we, believers, have to endure at present (Romans 8:18) and the bondage of corruption that the creation is now temporarily captive of (Romans 8:21). Along with these are our responses to these suffering and bondage, that we, ourselves and the whole creation, groan and long to be delivered from it and let the glory in us be finally revealed (Romans 8:18-23). Now the next verses come with the promises of hope, perseverance and help from the Holy Spirit through intercession (Romans 8:24-27) where our verse comes next as an addition and a conclusion.

Yes, we will have tribulations in this life that we need to endure. Yes, we will long to be set free from the evil that our innate human nature has. We will experience pain and suffering, failures and setbacks. But God promises us His comfort amidst all these. He promises hope in Him as we persevere and eagerly wait on Him. God promises that the Helper, the Holy Spirit that iswill aid us through rough and confusing times when we do not know what to pray for and even how to pray anymore. And lastly, He promises that all that we will go thru will be used by Him.

we know that.

To know in a sense is to have the possession of a certain truth, fact, or knowledge as Merriam Webster defines it and most people superficially perceive it as only that. To know is to be informed. But actually, to know goes beyond getting the information. To know means having direct cognition, awareness and understanding of the information given, also as defined by Merriam-Webster. The mind should be able to process and digest the information through the use of our senses. The information will not be left as it is but it will create something inside of the receiver and be utilized and manifested outwardly. It isn’t something of mere passive receiving. It has to be something that is actively perceiving. 

Having said that, this promise that we have in Romans 8:28 should not be just a mere fact or information we know about God, like “Oh, I know God is like this and that; I know He also will do this and that”, but it should be an unshakable rock where our faith and trust in His character as our God should be deeply rooted. This amazing truth should manifest in our daily lives: how we interact with people, how we face challenges, how we fight sin and the battles within ourselves, how we make choices and decisions wherever we maybe. These actions proves that we have a great understanding and perception of who God is in our lives and what He is capable to do.

all things.

Ah! This one made me smile. Usually when we read this part, we right away think of good and bad things. We think of the comfort and pain we have in this life, our successes and defeats, health and sickness, blessings and afflictions, joys and sorrows. But we should not limit it with these.

When the Apostle Paul said “all things“, he really meant it. It includes the big and small events in our lives, from the smallest decision we make to hardest choice we have to choose. Even the things that we think are unnoticeable and insignificant, the implications of our actions, well, God includes that as well.

It also includes the times we reluctantly disobey God due to fear and doubt and also the times we surrendered and willingly  obey Him.

It includes all sorts of people we meet and know and may it be for a few seconds or a few hours or days everywhere.

It includes our past, present and our future.

It even includes the places we have been thru. The sights we have seen. The experiences we have.

It includes our hopes and dreams, our failures and nightmares.

It includes all things my finite mind can think of and cannot think of anymore.

All these things are not out of God’s self-indulgence or compulsion or ignorance. God, with all His infinite wisdom, will have all these things used by Him and not be wasted. All things.

work together.

And everything listed up will work together! HUH?! Really??? Even the times when I failed Him because I cheated? Even the times I got angry and hurt someone? Even when I deliberately disobeyed Him? I mean good and wonderful things, when combine, are meant to produce good and wonderful results. We get that. But to add the bad things, the sour things, the bitter things, even the evil, ugly, gruesome, scary and dirty things? Oh Yes! It’s like God making a delicious meal with a recipe including all that we are and all that we have. Adding mud and manure to sugar and cream! Only He, in His awesome power and infinite wisdom, can mix everything together, no exclusions, and make everything work together in harmony to produce a delightful taste!

 

 

If you want to know more about Romans 8:28, stay tuned for Part 2!

If you want to have all things in your life work together by God for your good in His glory, click here.

 

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Thank You, God for my Distinction!💞

God’s Distinction is His Faithfulness to deliver His promises to His children— favor of God and man is gratuity.  While Distinction in academic is you have to prove yourself for you to get these favors.

Thank you, God for my Distinction from You through Christ Jesus!

Have you ever get a D or HD grade from your report card given by your lecturer or professor in school? D is for Distinction and HD is for HighDistinction. The feeling was awesome at the moment you receive your report card. This was my feeling when I received HD and D from my Post Graduate Diploma in Organizational Psychology in one of the Graduate Schools in Singapore.

Awesome Feeling.

The feeling was awesome because the hard-work, and efforts were paid-off. For me to get these grades in my Post Graduate Diploma, I had to invest a lot of time in doing projects and presentations; sleepless nights as I am working full-time in the morning; and even study harder.

No hard-work; No results; No Distinction. Good to have a decent grades in your report card but Best if you could apply it in your workplace or even in your life aptly. What is the basis of “Distinction”  in your life and workplace if u had not proven as  such?

When you apply for a job for an instance, these grades will just be good in your curriculum vitae, which carries your–a more detailed academic background. It could make you for an advancement in the interview. Especially, fresh graduates. The only basis the HR will look upon,  is your academic background as  you do not have work experience. But still, you have to prove it, in as much as you could prove yourself with your ability. 

A feeling for a Moment.

My feeling of awesomeness was only for that moment. The Distinction that I received, doesn’t guaranteed my promotion. I still need to prove myself that I deserve a promotion, by putting a lot of effort, hard work and commitment to the best of my ability.

Then what is this Distinction in school all about?  Prestige? Respect? Fame? Honour? Higher profile? Better than the other? No. All these things you have to earn work hard for you to gain. Your Distinction in school doesn’t waive your sacrifices, sufferings and commitment to prove yourself to others. That is only academic. You still have to prove yourself. Full stop. 


Blessed Distinction

But God is giving us  a blessed Distinction, which you do not need to invest a lot of time, sacrifices and hard work to get it.  You do not need to prove yourself. It is freely given to us, Christians by our Faithful Saviour.

 “ ‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord , am in this land. I will make a distinction between My people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’ ”Exodus 8:22‭-‬23 NIV

Distinction is a promised of God to His people.

In Scripture, Exodus 8:22-23, the Lord is telling Moses of what God’s divine plan to Israelites to show His wonder and faithfulness to Israelites. That He will make  His Distinction between His people (Israelites)  and Egyptians. To prove them that He will bring Israelites out from misery–that He is omnipotent–that He is the Lord (Exodus 7:5).
The Distinction that speaks Protection and Security.

But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’ ”Exodus 9:4 NIV

The Lord promises His protection over our household– our livestock. That No plague of Hailstorm; plague locusts will ever destroy ours. Our job is secured. Our business is protected. Our finances is covered. 

The Distinction that speaks Favor and blessing. 

Tell the people who men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 

(The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people (Israelites), and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaohs officials and by the people.) Exodus 11:2‭-‬3 NIV

This is the amazing wonder of the Lord to us. We, Christians,  are distinctly  and blessedly favored. The word Favor is a big word for us from God as it defines eternal blessings to us.

His wonder and favor proves His distinction over us, that as He favors us and so with favor of man. “And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.”  Proverbs 3:4 NKJV. 

God’s Distinction is His Faithfulness to deliver His promises to His children— favor of God and man is gratuity.  While Distinction in academic is you have to prove yourself for you to get these favors.

Thank you, God for my Distinction from You through Christ Jesus!

All glory to God💞

Agape,

IAMgoodstar🌟

Find out on how to get Distinction without exerting too much effort, please click here.


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

4959

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

Put Pen to Paper !!!

“I believe, whatever desires we may have in our hearts as Christians, the Holy Spirit has a big role to that. He will implant desires in our hearts–for His kingdom and purpose, but it is to Us, who will discern it and put it into Action.”

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Should I write? Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.    Yes!!!

I am a bit skeptical, when I started to write my first blog. It was just a trial-and-error kind of thing. When I created this blog site, there was a welcome message and it prompted me, with —‘start to write your first blog’-–that had enticed me to share what was in my mind at that moment.

I can’t think of anything, but a  thought came into my mind, was to write whatever satisfies me or urged my instinct to push my finger tips to move on the keyboard of my laptop. It was entitled, “Let me Start👍”; 12 January 2016 was my first ever post.

Blogging or writing a topic, events– and the likes, was one of my long-awaited desires in my bucket-list, and it was mentioned in my first “trial-and-error” blog.  BUT my skepticism was drawn from criticism.

“No one is perfect”, as I told myself. But it would not stop me of doing what is in my innermost  to do. But after a few months– I found myself of not writing. It lingered to my thought that that there were no subsequent article found from my first and last, as I realized.

What hinders me from writing? Nothing.  It came upon my thought that I have the courage to start it off, BUT, I must have the boldness to stay on the course. Boldness is the key for me to continue writing and stay on course, aside from the fact that I have the main topic for my site.

My boldness came from my desire to get the outcome of my goal–from the objective of what I want to happen in this site. Aside from the fact that I want to write, write, and write; I want to share the Word of God. And this desire does not come from  the thought that one day I’d like to share the Word of God.

I believe, whatever desires we may have in our hearts as Christians, the Holy Spirit has a big role to that. He will implant desires in our hearts–for His kingdom and purpose, but it is to Us, to discern it and put it into Action.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9  ignites my boldness to write. That the “One”  who is assuring me to be strong and courageous, is actually, my Creator Himself. He is telling me that “I AM at your back, at your sides and ahead of you” —full guarded. What a wonderful feeling to have a God who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine,  according to his power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20)

The Holy Spirit that implants desires in my heart to write, had made me bold to continue doing what He had started. He is faithful to complete it ( Phil 1:6).  The main thing is, I choose to be bold and write His message. I choose to be a vessel of His Word to explicitly share it through writing. And “choosing” is not my will and power but it is the conviction of the Holy Spirit who lives in me.

I am delighted, that whatever He revealed to me through my devotion or whenever I am soak in His presence, literally, I will “Put Pen to Paper” to let it be shared to anyone who need Jesus. As He Offers Salvation. 

All glory to God!

Agape,

IAMgoodstar🌟

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YOU are an ever-present HELP! 

You know how to remember the promises You’ve made to Your people. Your concern covers all what it takes for You– Your Son, Jesus Christ bears the consequences of our sins just to complete the promise You’ve made to us!
He died and rose again; now, it’s Complete!

You are an ever-present help, Lord.

 In our groanings, You hear us. In our sufferings, You save us. In our inequities, You favor us. In our transgressions, You redeem us.

In times of distress,  You adore to Succour.
In times of sickness, You heal to Vigour. 
In times of trial, You stand to Reinforce. In times of trouble, You resolve to Restore

Oh God, You are Our Living Water –that waters the drought in our lives. The Bread of Life that feed, soul –that mourns. 

Your Faithfulness never runs out. Your plan cannot be Fathom out. Your Love abounds. Your Grace surrounds. 

You know how to remember the promises You‘ve made to Your people. Your concern covers all what it takes for You– Your Son, Jesus Christ bears the consequences of our sins just to complete the promise You‘ve made to us! 

He died and rose again; now, it’s Complete! 



(Inspiration and revelation from Exodus 2:24‭-‬25 NIV, “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. )

Agape,

IAMgoodstar🌟

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Weight Loss and My Relationship with God

“Pumayat ka!” (You’ve lost weight.) This is one of greatest compliment I have received last month. Two months ago, I’ve decided to try shedding some pounds off since my weight gain from 52kg to 56 kg. I made a goal to reach the weight I had when I came to SG which was 50kg. I set goals, prayed for it and disciplined myself to eat a healthy diet in the way I possibly can. One morning as I pondered on my weight loss goal, I started thinking, “How you’re managing your weight now is actually similar to how you manage your relationship with God.” 

“Pumayat ka!” (You’ve lost weight.) This is one of greatest compliment I have received last month. Two months ago, I’ve decided to try shedding some pounds off since my weight gain from 52kg to 56 kg. I made a goal to reach the weight I had when I came to SG which was 50kg. I set goals, prayed for it and disciplined myself to eat a healthy diet in the way I possibly can. One morning as I pondered on my weight loss goal, I started thinking, “How you’re managing your weight now is actually similar to how you manage your relationship with God.” Here are a few similarities:

Setting goals.

We as believers should set goals with our relationship with God. Like asking myself what’s the weight I wanted to reach, we also should ask how far and deep we want our relationship with God to go? Are we satisfied with plainly knowing Him as the great and mighty God who made us and heaven and earth? Or do we want each day to be platform wherein we can see a different side of Him and His glory? He’s God! Our Lord has a lot of ‘characters’ that we have not even grasped. He’s our Lord, God, King of kings, Holy One, Redeemer, Savior, Abba Father, Almighty, Alpha, Omega, Rose of Sharon, Bright Morning Star, Rock, Fortress, Friend, Salvation, Bridegroom, I could go on and on. The Bible describes Him in different ways and He is willing to reveal Himself to whom He wills as Luke 10:22 (NKJV) says,

“22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

Praying for it.

Of course! I prayed for it. Weight loss is hard and I knew that by myself, knowing how lazy, undisciplined, easily tempted and impulsive I could be, I could not do it on my own. I literally cried to God, telling Him that I wanted to lose weight to be healthy. This desire was in my heart. Same goes with our relationship with God. We have to pray for it! Really, really pray hard for it.

Jeremiah 31:3b (NKJV) says,

“..Therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

and James 4:8 (NKJV)says,

“8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Yes, God is the drawing force that pulls our hearts towards Himself but we, while in this fallen world, are easily tempted and distracted with other things. We are easily drawn away from Him with our own desires that this world offers like what it says in James 1:14 (NKJV),

“14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”

We must pray for our hearts to be changed and take delight in Him. He is the only one who can enable us to maintain a relationship with Him and not ourselves. We should pray to Him that He will always graciously bless our relationship with Him.

Discipline.

Ha! This is the one struggled with the most! I looooove to eat anything and any time! I love to cook and eat! And I love the feeling of a full tummy! But I hated the results of gaining pounds. I don’t want to be overweight. I’m not getting younger and gaining weight is not healthy for someone who’s gaining years. So I tracked and counted my calories. I tried to eat on time, three times a day, snacks in between if the goal calories permits.

Our relationship with God also needs discipline. We should discipline ourselves to pray to Him, read and meditate His Word. We should really set out alone time with Him, a date with God as my friend says. Yes, He will prompt us and the Holy Spirit will give us a nudge that we should be talking to Him this time of the day but we should also do our part to really make time for Him. Start by making a schedule early in the morning. God told Joshua to read His word and ponder on it day and night.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)

“8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you [Joshua] shall meditate in it day and night,”

Daniel prayed to God three times a day knowing that doing so might precipitate to his death (Read Daniel 6).

Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

“10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”

Even Jesus Christ set an alone time with His Father when He was here on earth.

Matthew 14:23 (NKJV)

“23 And when He [Jesus] had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”

It will not be easy at first. But as time goes by, as our spirits get full and full of Him everyday as we make time for Him, time would come that it will become a habit, a habit that we cannot get rid of. A habit that we would take delight in and crave for.

Eating nutritiously.

Besides my love for eating, I have a sweet tooth and loved salty food as well. I love chips, chocolates, pastries, cakes, bread, all UNHEALTHY UNSATISFYING foods which will eventually turn into UNWANTED UNHEALTHY fats! So I knew in order to to lose weight and become healthy, I needed to eat nutritiously. What I feed myself will ultimately dictate my future weight and body composition. So I started eating nutritious foods. I said no to chocolates and sweets.

In our spiritual life, we should also say no to a lot of things. What we feed our spirits will dictate eventually its future state. If we don’t feed our spirit, it won’t grow. Try saying no to social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) and games, may it be mobile games or video games. Instead of wasting all our time watching videos in Youtube and keeping up with Koreanovelas in the web, we should try spending our time soaking in His Word. It has tons of benefits! As John Piper points out: the Word of God awakens and strengthens faith, sustains life, gives hope and more. (see Ten Benefits of Reading the Bible Part 1 and Part 2 by John Piper).  We should meditate in the Word of God as it will enable us the bear much fruit as Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) says,

“1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”

We should read books that can help our spirits grow and pray to Him more. We could also read biographies of saints and people like missionaries who can inspire us spiritually.

I’m not saying that doing the former is bad and latter is all that we should do. Rather, we must choose wisely what we feed our spirits and how our time here on earth is spent. The Bible says that we should spend our time wisely like what Paul said to his letter for the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV),

“15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just press on into His love and grace.

There were setbacks during this program and there will still be in the future. I would let myself eat sweets here and there at times. I would overeat. There were days that the weighing scale tells me, “No change today”. Some days it will tell me worse things like “Oops, you gained.” I knew I couldn’t keep up with it perfectly. I felt guilty and ashamed. However, I learned not to be too hard on myself and just let my mistakes be a lesson. After a mistake, I try to press on and go back to the diet plan.

In the same way, we will have setbacks in our relationship with God. We will neglect Him here and there. We will sin here and there, becoming a stubborn child who refuse to obey to his Father’s commands. By the time we realize the mistake we did before our Lord God, it would be too late. It cannot be undone. Shame and guilt will creep in and we would look at ourselves unworthy of His love. The good news is, God loves us and is gracious and merciful to forgive us through Jesus Christ as Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV) says,

“7 In Him [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

Psalms 103:8 (NKJV)also states,

“8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”

We just need to acknowledge our sin before Him and ask for His forgiveness. He is faithful and just and will forgive us as  it says in 1 John 1:9 (NKJV),

“9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Maintaining and sustaining.

From 55kg, I am now 51kg! Finally!Now the real challenge is how to maintain this weight. I have lost and gain weight over and over again and I’m tired of the cycle. I’m now determined to maintain this weight this time by making the change in my eating habits and lifestyle permanent. I needed this permanent change to maintain this weight.

Our relationship with God will be maintained by His grace through Jesus Christ. We can do all of things above but without His sovereign grace, all will be in vain. We are like frail, weak branches getting our needs from the Great Vine, Jesus, and apart from Him we are nothing as John 15:5 (NKJV) says,

“5 “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.”

We need Jesus to sustain this relationship with God. We need to abide in Him and in His Word. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. His gift of grace will be sufficient in our weakness as we go deeper in this relationship with Him as 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) says,

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It all comes down to His grace and His grace alone. We should do our part in this relationship and have faith that we are recipients of His abounding and sustaining grace. We may feel helpless and powerless at time but we must believe and press on that our God is a loving Father who is faithful and able to keep us His chosen ones in this relationship till the very end.

 

I pray that God has moved your hearts through thus article. God is our creator and He loves all of us. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to died on the cross for our sins that ALL who believes in Him, Jesus, will be forgiven, reconciled back to God and enjoy eternity with Him. It is not by accident that you have come upon this blog. God is calling you right now. Let Him save you from your sins and reign lovingly in your life. If you want to know more about salvation and how to receive Jesus in your life, you can click on our ‘Jesus Offers Salvation‘ page. Just come to Him as you are. He will lovingly welcome you as His son/daughter. May God richly bless you! ❤️

 

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