:: the solution is life on God’s terms ::

It’s Day #17 of U-Turn. I’ve failed in doing what i willed in my heart to do a few times. Spirit is willing, but flesh is weak. Trying not to feel condemned. The heart is deceitful indeed. God, i repent. Right thing, wrong time, is still the wrong thing. Surrendering afresh. Isaac needs to stay on the altar. No angel has told me not to slay the lil’ fler.

Here’s another story for you :) From Romans 8, one of my favouritest chapters since i accepted Christ.

1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

5 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them-living and breathing God!6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.7 Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.8 And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

9 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about.10 But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells-even though you still experience all the limitations of sin-you yourself experience life on God’s terms.11 It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

12 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent.13 There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life.14 God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”16 God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.17 And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us-an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.19 The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.20 Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in21 until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.23 These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

It’s gonna be a winning and victorious week ahead!

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:: space ::

There’s much to learn.

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
Still looking up.

-I Won’t Give Up-Jason Mraz-

“Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Next level experience of His Word. I’m praying :)

:: He does not shortchange us ::

Good day.

I have a story for you. Original excerpt from the Holy Bible. Book: Romans. Chapter: 5.

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us-set us right with him, make us fit for him-we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.2 And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand-out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.5 In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

6 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.7 We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice.8 But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.10 If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!11 Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

God will not shortchange me. 

:: psalm 40 ::

I’m ready. Take me where You want me to go :)

*****

1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.

You’ve set my feet upon the rock. I cling on to Your promises. I say Yes, and Amen :) Blessed be Your Name.

:: be still my soul ::

I’m praying.

Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain

Be still my soul, thy best, thy Heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake
All now mysterious will be bright at last

-Fields of Plenty/Be Still My Soul-Amy Grant-

He always shows up when i most need Him. Sometimes, i make decisions that may not seem like the crowd favourite. It may even seem petty to you. But, little things do matter. It builds.

I could have fell.

10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. 13-14“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

I know i won’t be disappointed :)

:: the discipline of waiting ::

I did a bit of reading today. And this is what i learnt :)

An excerpt from Quest for Love, by Elisabeth Elliot:

The cross in Roman times was an instrument of torture. Jesus took it up gladly – in obedience to His Father and for the love of you and me. If He asks us to take up our cross daily, He is asking us to be willing to suffer. What else can the cross mean?

Except for those far ahead of most of us in sanctity, waiting is a form of suffering – the difficulty of self-restraint, the anguish of unfulfilled longing, the bewilderment of unanswered prayer, my flesh and my heart failing, my soul breaking. These are indeed tribulations, and tribulation is the curriculum if we are to learn patience. We want answers now, right now, but we are required at times to walk in darkness.

Nevertheless, God is in the darkness.

10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

I don’t need to know the why, the when, the hows. It’s a nice-to-know. But not a must. Guarding my heart, and keeping my silence.

I trust You. Let that be enough.

:: sealing the deal #1 ::

Hello.

My name’s Ellie. And i’d like to share with you my story. I hope even as i share my TIP (Testimony In Progress) on how to get my (your) family saved, i pray that you’ll pray WITH me and be encouraged. Be inspired by this BIG God i serve :) He deserves all the glory as i share this.

*****

Part 1:

Ok, so i’m from a non-Christian family. Am the only believer and HAVE been the only believer since Good Friday 2005. I attend and serve in Acts Church. It’s an awesome church. It’s my 2nd home, 2nd family. I love it :) Come and visit us if you can :) No one can deny the fruits that have been borne and the fruits that will come to be. God is definitely growing THIS House, physically and spiritually and i hope that even as i share my story, you’d like come visit and partner with us one day :)

Since i became a Christian, and since i started becoming more involved in ministry, things hadn’t been working out so great with my family. They didn’t understand why i’d sow so much time in ‘God’, in ‘campus students’, in church. They just didn’t believe in what i believe in and i guess i don’t blame them. Maybe i didn’t know how to explain what i do well. Maybe…i got so frustrated in wanting to explain which always ends up into a draining fight, that, i just gave up sharing altogether.

‘Ah, they’ll never understand’ was the lingo in my head. ‘Let me do what i can do since you won’t listen to what i wanna say’ was the words i chose. Keeping mum was a norm. Not talking back instead of standing up for my faith, well, what can i say? Regrets, i definitely have a few.

I had to deal with a lot. Being a leader, i wanted so much to be an example. Pr Dave, my Campus Pastor, recently challenged us to have our own testimony. One that we can share, and i realised, i never had..that in-your-face testimony where people could get saved with. I wanted that. I asked for it. One thing i DID do, however, despite my so-called ‘rebelliousness’ of just doing what i knew was right, serving and being in church, growing and discipling others, was to pray for my family. I prayed every day. I prayed for their salvation. And i claimed Acts 16:31.

*****

Part 2:

My dad got admitted to the hospital 2 weeks ago. He spent 6 days in SJMC where he was being tested for different illnesses. But basically, the medical report that we got back was that his kidneys is only 27% functioning. His blood pressure was really high. He had apnea, which caused him to wake up in the wee hours of the morning gasping for breath. Basically, he ain’t doing too good. Oh, and he’s been a diabetic for 20 years. Why he finally went to get his checkup was because he had water retention, and other stuff that happens when you no longer have a fully functioning internal filter.

During that whole week, i was challenged to visit him every night he was in the hospital. And i went. Albeit reluctantly 2 out of the 5 days i went. I wasn’t too keen on being alone with my dad. I don’t really know what to say to him when i am. It was more of a ‘How’s work?’ ‘OK.’ That kind of conversation. But i had leaders, homies, friends praying with me and i figured, it ‘can’t be that bad’. So i did. Went pretty well too. Got to hear his heart on certain matters when my best friend visited him with me. Finally understood why he did certain things. He even said he believed i was a good Christian. And i praise God for that :) God was definitely doing something in my dad’s heart. And He got me to overcome one fear. What’s next, Lord?

*****

Part 3:

After my dad got discharged, he went back to work as usual. He didn’t have to go on dialysis yet but he DOES have to change his eating habits and watch his lifestyle. Exercise. And for one week, everything seemed alright.

Then came one Sunday evening after church…i was JUST about to sit down and order dinner with some friends, and my mom called me to go home urgently, saying my dad was talking ‘nonsense’. In other words, he was talking a lot about dying. About giving up. Nothing positive.

I came home to a crying house that night. My mom and 10-year-old brother were just in his room crying and just telling him to stop saying what he was saying. And i honestly, freaked out. This has NEVER happened before. I mean, my dad’s been sick before, but this? This is new. This was scary. He made me feel like he was going to die any moment. And i was holding his hand…and i started imagining life without my dad, and that scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know what to do…so i the only thing i knew how to at that time. I cried out to God. I prayed. Out loud. Holding my dad’s hand. I think i screamed a prayer.

And my dad cried. We started talking, crying. Talking. And i finally, told him to just go sleep. I prayed for God’s peace over him. ‘Everything would be OK in the morning’. I think i was telling myself that, more than i was telling him. I prayed for dad OUT LOUD, WITH HIM for the very first time in five years. Breakthrough #1.

*****

Part 4:

I was completely messed up after that. How could i do all that i was doing unto God when my family didn’t even know Christ? I had a lot of questions i couldn’t answer and I broke down. I called my leaders. Pr Dave came by with a few others, and i just cried and cried. Possibly 5 years of pent-up ‘what i could’ve done’s’ just flooded me all at one time. I thank God for leaders and friends who care. Care enough to make that journey to my house to pray with me. To make sure i was alright. To have the grace to encourage and yet, the law to not spoil me by leaving out the challenge of stepping out in faith.

Pastor challenged me to pray for my dad every morning. With him. Not for him. Another fear. Was tempted to give up, give in. ‘It’s not possible’. My dad will not speak to me again. Lies. Don’t let the devil tell you what you can and cannot do. God can do what YOU think is impossible. He did for me :)

*****

Part 5:

I took the challenge. I prayed. I asked for courage. I asked for boldness. I asked for a sound mind.

This whole week, i couldn’t run away from praying with my dad. I was tempted to, i don’t deny it. I was afraid to, very much. But i also knew that i couldn’t leave the house for work without praying. The Holy Spirit nudging was far too…strong. So, i just blurted out to my dad that i’d like to pray for him before i leave for work while he was taking his blood pressure and stuff.

Guess what? He held out his hand to me and allowed me to pray for him. This was breakthrough #2.

I went to work that morning, crying while singing to A3’s “Always Good”. Texted my leaders and friends at the same time to share the good news and told them to keep praying. I felt that it was time to invite my dad to church again.

God is indeed..so, so good.

Yesterday was Saturday. We had SALT and Pr Kenneth shared about ASK-ing (Asking, Seeking & Knocking) for our breakthroughs. We could be just one question away. We need to ‘seal the deal’. All these words hit like a brick. I texted an invitation to my dad to come to church with the rest of my family at 4.12PM.

I got a reply at 8.13PM.

*****

Part 6:

Today is Sunday. Well, 9 minutes past. My Mac’s battery is at 14%. But i know i couldn’t go to sleep without giving glory to God for all that He’s done and will be doing.

My dad came to church today. With my mom and brother. For a FULL service. From pre-service prayer, all the way to having delicious bread-thingies from Actspresso. They have not accepted Christ YET, but, hey…from my dad who says “No i’m not going to your Hallelujah church. You know i don’t agree with what you do”, to coming and actually ENJOYING service and saying that the message was practical. Well, i’d say that was a 360 degree turn.

I praise God. And i thank every single person who’s prayed with and for me :) I really do appreciate it. I’d appreciate even more of your prayers as i continue to share my TIP for this is definitely not the end.

More to come, definitely. I’m praying they’ll come to church again this COMING weekend. Challenged to buy a bible for my dad and i’ll be doing that tomorrow. Today, really.

Won’t you believe with me? :) God’s gonna seal the deal. I know He will. I pray i’ll be obedient to Pray, Listen & Obey.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

His promises are Yes & Amen. I claim every one of His promises.

:: law & grace ::

Snippets i caught from today that prolly needs more thought.

Grace is an exception, not a general rule.

How many times have we taken that for granted?

Don’t just give people what they deserve (law), give them what they NEED (grace).

I find myself having a lot of examples coming to mind when it comes to this one. Have we found the balance between law and grace? I’m learning.

Why do those who preach about grace are the ones who are the last to show it?

Ah, ouch. X marks the spot eh? :)

Many times, people quit something…or quit ‘someone’, it’s because :

  • …it’s no longer satisfying.
  • …they’ve found something better.

I’ll leave you to your own thoughts on this one ;) I just have to say that ‘better’ can be very subjective to the beholder.

Word for the season : Acts 20:22-24

22“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Let’s do this. I sure don’t know HOW. But perhaps, living life knowing that ‘lo, You are with me always’ would help more than just a ‘lil’ bit.