Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Coming clean about one of my biggest failures.

One of the biggest idols that I have worshiped ever since I was in kindy had been my desperate desire for a partner. It's crazy, kindy.. I still remember I always wanted a partner ever since kindy...
In fact how I became involved with Campus Bible Study which God eventually revealed His grace to me through, was because of that, saw a pretty girl who I wanted to "befriend" and happened to be a Christian who was part of CBS (but found out that she had a bf).
So after I came to Christ, it's been on the side, not eating me up completely but comes back to haunt me every now and then. By the grace of God, He withdrew me from that for several periods of time so that I could concentrate and invest my time on more important and urgent things (not that finding a partner is a complete waste of time/effort). In the past few months though, it seems that I am falling for the whole wavering around and moving on too quickly thing again. I still remember I told a good friend of mine back then who loved me enough to get in my face about my flaws to write a short list of things I should work on, one of them was exactly that, "moving on too quickly, dropping them like hot potatoes."
It's wrong, something in me know it's not right, I question myself why I do it, I am about 90% certain that it's because I really really want a partner who I could share life with, to the point where it had became an idol and hence I tend to move on far too quickly, as soon as I find a situation where it was unlikely to have a positive outcome (a form of disordered love - Tim Keller once highlighted that when we put something/someone above God, it may result in disordered love towards them) In the past 2~3 months I switched target 3 times, unloving, ungodly, Christ dishonouring behaviour.
I recently met a nice girl at a church I been visiting in Hong Kong quite often, probably not to any of my close friends' surprise, I fell for her. It's not fair for her, it's not fair for any girl, some part of me knows, perhaps it's the Holy Spirit in me. Going through that many and switching so quickly, sure, most of them are not harmed because they don't even know, I usually stop persevering before I even tell them or God would close doors on it but something in me still know that's not right. As I am wrestling with what exactly is love again, going to 1 Corinthians 13:7, "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres". Before I quoted this I was actually going to take "always persevere" as the highlight, but it seems the repetition of "always" rings an even louder bell at the fact that love is meant to be something consistent, which proves that what I have been doing is definitely far from being love.
Anyway, as I prayed and thought about what it is that I should do about the situation, I can't help but feel that the Spirit is pointing me towards committing to this girl in spite of a distance problem and lack of interest from her, it seems that God isn't stopping me from doing something stupid this time. Even now as I pray, search scriptures, see providence at work and think about it, I really do feel that this is the situation God willed for me to be in. I have no idea why, even when she asked me why, I struggled to find an answer, either I done something stupid or God wanted this situation to take place or both. But this time around, it's something different, I think God wants me to persevere for once and really love someone for once, not love as the world perceives it, but love as God defines it, which will be challenging and I will have to wrestle with it and might fall here and there etc. A verse that kept flying around my mind was Jesus saying "Love them as I have loved you", and I thought about it, the love God shows is almost always one-sided because of our sin, even if we strive to love God, we never seem to be able to fully reciprocate the love He had shown towards us, but that doesn't stop God from loving us to the point of crushing His own Son to redeem us. At the same time, I really did think it was time for the entire switching target thing to stop, so what ended up happening was, I made a commitment that I thought might honour Christ. It's no surprise that no one would believe/trust me to be able to keep something like that, if I thought about it, I don't think I can either, but whenever these thoughts pop up, I tend to be reminded by God that He'll be with me through all of it. Even when I tried to say sorry to God for doing something so irrational and rash, He seems to be trying to tell me that He was the one who purposely allowed it to happen. The way I made the commitment probably wasn't the best way and the conversations that followed were tainted by a lot of pride and self-seeking elements, but it seems that God is telling me, the commitment itself wasn't wrong and that He wants me to hold to it no matter what happens.
I lost self-control and some of the things I said / brought up wasn't loving enough, but I hope that this time, there could be perseverance and constancy which love cannot be love without.
But hey, one thing that's for sure, now I could be less distracted throughout the year by my wavering around and checking girls out =P

Monday, 22 October 2012

A little lesson from a little anecdote

So Thomas went to work today as per usual, he only does chores there daily so it only takes about 60 ~ 90 minutes to do everything. After working for about 2 hours, he finished the usual stuff so he went on and asked whether he could get paid. The manager asked whether the store room had been tidied up and then requested that many things needs to be thrown out and moved around so that they could move around in there. Such a task would take a fair bit of time and it's been around 120 minutes, being quite the Asian, Thomas started thinking about his financial losses. To top it off, the request for the task was delivered in a not-so-friendly way which was not very encouraging at all. Though a lot of selfish, conceited thoughts ran through his mind, God, being faithful, guarded him by the power of  the Spirit against spilling any of those selfish, conceited, dishonourable stuff and responded saying in a not-so-excited tone "Yep, Ok" etc.

After the manager left, Thomas was left the room to himself tidying things up in a very grudging mood with lots of grudging and revengeful/conceited thoughts running through his mind. But the Spirit kept reminding Thomas the Word of God "Do all things without grumbling or questioning," (Philippians 2:14), "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men," (Colossians 3:23), so he started to calm down a bit and repent for grumbling and all the junk that went through his mind. And then Holy Spirit went on to give Thomas joy in what he was doing by reminding him that what he was doing helps serve the people at work letting him part-take in the golden rule "Love God and love your neighbours". So the grudging dissipated in him by the grace of God.

Led by perhaps the Spirit, Thomas went on and thought about it more, "I am satisfied and joyful in doing this now because of Jesus and submitting to His ways even though I was doing it so grudgingly. It's not a good job that makes me happy nor a bad job that makes me sad, it's Jesus who makes all the difference." Then more of the Word of God flew into his mind "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10), "For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16-17)

What if he had a better job? Would that satisfy him? Would his expectations not increase and even little things will make him grumble and irritated seeing that his selfishness will be following him there? This goes for everything in life, whether it be friends, family, partner, money, jobs, car, house, food, the problem is not that you don't have enough or those things not being good enough, the problem is always with you and your sin which destroys your love for God and willingness to obey Him. God created you and the world, He knows what's the best way to live a life, He knows what will satisfy you and what will not, Jesus came to give us life and life in all its fullness, not to rob us of joy and life, sin and people who embrace sin does that, not Jesus. Jesus came to get the stumbling block we created for ourselves out of the way for us.

Embrace Him and embrace His ways, and you will begin to see and receive the good and eternal life that He promised to give to all those who obey Him.

God bless!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Called to be the light

Every now and then I would speak to people of other faiths and worldviews about the living God, Jesus and His great love for us, how He absorbed all our sins on the cross of Christ and became a curse on our behalf then raised from the dead so that He may have lordship over all things and enable the believers to be justified so that we may live with Him and experience Him starting the moment we believe and unto eternity.
It’s becoming more and more clear to me that language, reasoning, evidence or attempt to understand through these things is so very limited, so often I would talk to them for a very long time and many times I do wonder if they’re even going to bother spend 5 minutes alone thinking about the things that I brought to the table. But then when I think about how I myself become a believer, sure it may have started with some conversations that I thought about, but ultimately I only quit my denial when God showed me personally this love that people were going on about.

 I can’t verbalise this love, this unique character and action of God, I can’t show someone this through discussions about creationism Vs evolution, fundamentally flawed approaches to the scientific enterprise etc. All of these discussions lack one thing in common that is the absence of Jesus Christ being mentioned. No one gets convicted by a mathematical equation or a philosophically sound argument, people get convicted by being opened up by God to see Jesus and savouring the completeness and perfection of our Lord’s presence and existence and the necessity, satisfaction and contentment of knowing and being in that.

Words are cheap, even if I verbalise things in the right way, it’s of little value. Anyone could say anything, but here is where I undermine the power of God that's in me somewhere. Anyone could say anything but not everyone could do anything, and everywhere I search in Scripture, it’s about people who could literally do the impossible because of how God loves them and how they love God back that makes all things possible. I was chatting with a friend of mine about evangelism, she mentioned how her church is focused on the living part as a form of witnessing, and that’s without doubt by far more powerful than words, logic, or science or anything that people may deem as powerful in proving that Jesus raised from the dead. The best way would be to just live this life that is crazy and weird to the standards of this world relying on love and knowledge of Jesus our Lord.

And to be honest, I haven’t done much of that, it’s not weird that people don’t find evangelism convincing, just what part of my life shows that Jesus really did raise from the dead? What’s so special about me that could demonstrate to the whole world that Jesus is in control now because He really did raise from the dead? So far, there isn’t much, but some part of me knows exactly the things that are missing, all these convictions and things I know I should be doing not so that I could go and earn my salvation but simply be the lamp that God lit to become light of the world, because it was definitely not His intention to light a lamp and hid it under a basket. If I am really of the light, people wouldn’t be able to let it pass, like a city on the top of a hill, a bit hard to miss or overlooked right?

I undermine love a lot like that, it’s not that it’s wrong to talk to people about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, but it’s not right to use that when there is something so much better that I could be utilising, the power that’s working in me, the very Spirit of God Himself. That means I should just get off my lazy bum ASAP and do some of the things I was called and commanded to do >_>!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

True Love?

Love is without doubt one of the greatest topic to have discussions on, what is it, what does it contain, how do we tell if it's genuine, how do I differentiate love from other less significant feelings? Nevertheless, we know when love takes over and become the centre of one's life, they will without doubt find very great satisfactions. So I think it is important to question and think about what true love is.
Throughout the past weeks, I was led by God to work out what is the kind of love He wants His children to have whether it be in this world or the next. Essentially what happened was - I liked this friend of mine but as per usual, I know it's not going to work out (talk to me personally if you wish for details, but I don't think it is necessary), which was probably a good thing. I was praying about it, earnestly asking God what I should do, and He gave me an answer. Looking back at all the girls I was interested in and wanted to date, I am quite surprised at how God has protected me from dating the wrong girls, I think if I was to write about it, it will be another topic for another blog post. But with this particular girl, God revealed to me what is the best way to love someone and what true love actually holds. So let's stick with the topic I am meant to writing about here, to highlight how God answered my prayer, which effectively addresses the question: "What is true love and how do we differentiate this from everything else?"

A lot of people might not know of this, but the Bible actually discourages romance and marriage a lot especially in the New Testament. Throughout the Old Testament, it wasn't explicitly discouraged but we do get the realistic picture of just how many things could happen within a "romantic" relationship, namely - all the problems and concerns that comes with marriage. I don't think any of the marriages portrayed in the Old Testament was successful or anywhere close to flawless.
Not only that, a lot of people find some of the Bible's teachings very hard to swallow when it comes to marriage and couple relationships, let's take a look why these teachings might be harsh.
In a passage regarding married life it writes:
"What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away." (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

In the same passage it also writes:
"Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)

From here on, maybe even Christians would be wondering (let alone non-Christians), why in the world would Apostle Paul be discouraging relationships like that? Love blossoms in a Romantic relationship (or at least a lot of us would think so), and Christianity is all about being loving, why is it that the Bible would be discouraging it? One should marry as though they have not..!? The unmarried should stay single and only marry as a last resort in the case where they are burning with passion!!!!!!!????????? O___o
Why DD:???

Well, the common explanation for these passages is that God wants passionate Christians to spread the gospel in this world and don't want them to be distracted and devote time and attention to their couple relationship (1 Corinthians 7:33-35) on Earth that is one day going to perish. Which is true, and I bet that's one of the main reasons why the Bible discourages marriage, but I think God revealed to me something a bit different to this common explanation, rather than different, I should probably say adding onto that explanation. There is something a little further than this... as with many other commandments, guidelines and wisdom contained in the Bible, it's not just there to control us, if you understand them and see the bigger picture (which is the only picture God sees and works with), it's in our very own best interest that we follow. It's not there to control us, it's there so we could get the most out of life and to protect us.

These are the verses that stood out to me:
"But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this." (1 Corinthians 7:28)
"I would like you to be free from concern." (1 Corinthians 7:32)
"In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is (staying single)—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 7:40)

As it is, in this chapter with these verses in context, they do point towards serving the Lord with undivided attention. However, I see something a bit more than that when I look at the way how brotherly and sisterly relationships are encouraged so much and so explicitly.

 "that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
 "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:1-2)

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Galatians 6:10)

"Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble." (1 John 2:10)

There are many other verses like that, encouraging members within body of Christ to love and care for brothers and sisters in Christ and to strive for brotherly/sisterly love between one another. Now, it is also important to note at this point - that previously when Paul said married couples should live as though they have not, he added: "For this world in its present form is passing away." in the end. It is evident that not only marriage but this whole idea of relationship status we have nowadays in its present form, is going to pass away and will not be in the imperishable life in heaven. "But why?" one might ask, it's kinda beautiful when you think about it, this whole idea of marriage and boyfriend/girlfriend, would be nice if it lasted forever. This is where I want all you guys who are reading this to take a moment, take a huge step back and try to look at the bigger picture.

Have you ever had that moment in life where you wanted to be with a person but it turned out to be not possible and you were hurt as a result? Have you seen or experienced how much a person could get hurt from dropping out of a romantic and/or 21st century relationship? Have you ever seen or experienced how messed up a family could get if the husband and wife don't work out well? Is there not bound to be some form of envy / jealousy at some point (from 3rd persons) if a couple was in a relationship? Have you ever seen someone you love so dearly, hurt as a result of any of the above reasons? It doesn't take long to realise just how much pains and sufferings marriage or relationship statuses could potentially bring in a fallen world. When Paul told us he wanted to free us from concerns, he meant it, it was actually a very loving thing he did.

Now I would like to ask you, if you loved someone really dearly, would it even matter whether you're with them as a husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend? My honest answer is a no, it is not necessary, when you love someone intimately enough, it simply does not matter. You just want to be there for them and watch them happy and that in and of itself will get you satisfied, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable, I think it might be actually due to some sort of self-seeking attitude - that desire to have that person as your partner.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 draws a very nice picture of what love is and "not self-seeking" and "always perseveres" should definitely be part of it. If we are not self-seeking, I think the pain of trying to be with that person will begin to disappear, and even if there is still pain, perseverance ensures that you are loving for the sake of love, loving someone genuinely despite any negative attitudes or feelings that are trying to get (envy, anger, self-seeking etc) in the way of your love for someone.

Two things seem pretty clear to me:
- You don't have to be with that person, doesn't matter man or woman, to be able to love them dearly.
- In fact, if your love for someone cease when you come to realise that you can't be with them, there is a high chance that it is not genuine love to begin with.

Hopefully I have written enough to get you thinking about what true love is, I hope you are beginning to question and perhaps beginning to reconceptualise your concept of "love". It seems that love should not be all about romance, the Bible does not seem to support this kind of love and seem to steer us towards a more solid kind of love that brings about self-less satisfaction that ensures what you are experiencing is love and not anything else. If you truly love a person, I honestly don't think it matters - whether or not you get to be with them or have sex with them. If it matters, chances are - whatever feeling you are experiencing has a self-seeking motive which cannot be love.

Do go back to all those verses I listed that encouraged brother/sisterly relationships in Christ - the type of love Christians were called to have is this brotherly/sisterly love, a love between members of the spiritual family which is a bit like love between best friends, except they all should constantly be helping one another in their walk with Christ. They certainly should be having each others' backs and share their joys and sufferings together as one, even though they can be many. After the things I went through, it is should no longer be a surprise that true love could actually be shared between many and there is a lower chance of people getting hurt if they could be mindful of what Biblical love is. If they could live out this Biblical love, that is built and dwells on selflessness, the chance of anyone getting hurt would be diminished, even if someone is suffering they would know perfectly well that it's worth it, and will rejoice because it is love in its purest form - fruit of the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:7-10)

This is what God revealed to me after I asked Him for guidance as to what I should do with the situation. He reminded me of what love is and should be, added to my knowledge as to why He might encourage brotherly/sisterly relationship more than marriage:
- If you truly love someone, whether or not you could be with them simply shouldn't matter, if it matters, high chance it is not true love.
- Free us from concerns
- Allow us to devote time and effort to spread the gospel (which is a very loving thing to do)
- The present system of relationship status and marriage brings pains and sufferings one way or another in this fallen world because of sins (too many to name) and this will not be in heaven. "For this world in its present form is passing away."

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”" (Revelation 21:3-4)

Knowing this, I had a sigh of relief and began to rejoice in the fact that I do know this person and I have everything I need to truly love her and love her well. I no longer had a reason to be upset about anything, and if anything, it would be the concern that I might not be able to see her in eternity, but that goes for many many others around me and in the world. So my prayers are that I could defeat favourtism in my love for people and that she'd one day get to know Christ.

Thank You Lord! For answering my prayer and giving me the guidance I needed!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Reflection - salvation by grace through faith alone.

So, it's been so very long since I last blogged about anything. There are a few things I want to write about but can't include all of them in one post so I'll start with a bit of a reflection and update on how things have been these days.

I am overseas in Hong Kong at the moment, it's very nice to have quality time spent with family and relatives, buying things and eating at a relatively very low cost. The weather's nice too but things have not been so great spiritually.

It's only been less than 2 months since NTE but compared to when I was at NTE, I feel somewhat distant from God these days. Sins that I had the strength to stay away from came back to me, failure to do things with love (which makes everything 10 folds harder, what Paul said was really true, you gain nothing if you're not able to do things out of love, no joy, accomplish nothing... it's just not rewarding in any way.), generally failed to live the life I know I should and could live. It was of course no surprise then that I started blaming on all these things like.. I am overseas in HK which is a lot harder to be nice in, I lack encouragement from brothers and sisters over here, I just wasn't made perfect etc. all of which I know for a fact deep down that they're all just a bunch of excuses to cover up my brokenness and throw the blame onto everything and everyone but myself, it never ceases to amaze me how similar I am to Adam and Eve and how we traveled so far down our timeline and did not progress at all.
I prayed for protection and encouragement, and of course, God knows what I need and He'll give me what I need.
From Luke 11:9-13
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”"

That makes me feel terrible because despite Him giving me what I asked for, I continue to be a disappointment. In spite of all though, it is times like this that I get to have a clear look into myself and know how much I need a Lord and Saviour. It might be a huge blow to one's pride to admit that they're just not good enough, but is that not why the Gospel is beautiful and needed? That when you admit you're lost and need a shepherd, dying and need a saviour, you know that what you needed has been given to you as long as you declare Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and have faith in Him. The light was always there and always will, it's just the matter of getting up and following it. During my time here I've fallen many times, God picks me up every time, keeping to His words every time - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for YWHW your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I sometimes wonder whether God would ever leave me or disown me because I am so much of a failure even though He said quite a few times in different ways that it's not something He would do, oh Thomas the doubtful one (Ironic much? -_-") It's too good to be true, but that also confirms what the Bible says:
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
(1 John 4:8-10)
God is love, He defines what love is for me, I thought about what true love meant, I couldn't think of any other shape or form of love that could surpass that of God's. When I wonder whether I would be disowned, I am effectively asking whether God would still love me in spite of me not loving Him in the same way. Which is a silly question because that's why you'd call God's grace "God's grace" >_<!! It was never about what I've done, never will, it was always just about who He is and what He has done and it'll always remain that way. A blow to my pride, but it's the best news I could receive, my failures and brokenness just makes the obvious even more obvious. All of this also acts as a wake up call for me to always go back to the very basic part of Christianity - I am a sinner, I need a Saviour, I need Jesus, love because He first loved us.
It's not about being perfectly righteous, it's about acknowledging you're not perfectly righteous.
I am not going to lie, I can't fulfill all my duties as a follower of Christ but that's why I am very convinced that salvation can only ever be an undeserved gift from God, salvation is only by grace through faith alone.
Is this going to stop me or any followers of Christ from doing good and loving? Of course not, it is only when I come back to the basics that I could truly serve others with love and because of love, not because of fear of punishment, not out of some kinda obligation or trade which makes doing good and being loving so very hard.

wow, a rather negative post, I hope I am not going to scare anyone away DD:!!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Holding up the cross

I have recently been to this Christian conference called "national training event" (NTE for short). Spending 9 full days with God, as God's people, under his rule. The atmosphere was the highlight, it even beats some of the talks, and those talks were REALLY good. I just had this really strong feeling that that was the way things were supposed to be, everyone being loving to one another and willing to serve one another in Christ. But yea, I know that it was not going to last forever and then eventually I'll have to go back to a place where not everyone are loving to one another, living as God's people, under his rule. However, those moments I had really gave me a reason to keep going, it gave me a really good picture of how marvelous things could be if people tried to follow Christ.
Now that I have been back for 5 days, I been trying to hold up the cross, both within and outside of myself. As expected, it was extremely tiring. I was personally transformed and given true life by the cross, I know perfectly well what the cross is capable of doing, and being at that conference just confirms that to be true. There was love and joy in the air, unless you have had that feeling, you know that you haven't truly lived before. The moment when creation and creator unite, is when you understand what life is and how it's supposed to be lived. The cross could provide all these things for people, things people dream of, things you could gain full access to no matter who you are and what you are, rich or poor, happy or unhappy, male or female... it's something I want to share with everyone... something I want everyone to have a taste of... realise what love is, what joy is and what life is.
Yes, it's tiring holding up the cross, but doesn't matter how tiring it gets, I will hold it up and keep holding it even during my dying breath. I have a good reason to.
I sincerely pray that one day... just one day... the people around me could look at me and see what the cross is capable of doing and bringing, not praising me but praising my Father in Heaven and Christ. :')

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Choices, decisions, making a life count.

I visited my friend's church the other day, it was a really nice church with warm, welcoming people.
The message was "making your life count", and before I start writing about anything else, I would like to tell a story that was outlined in the sermon and in John Piper's writing.

There was a couple who decided to take early retirement, both in their 50s and with a fair bit of time and energy left in their lives. They live in Florida, USA, one of the most blessed states in the world in terms of health, education, access to good food, water, you name it. So what they do is they cruise around in their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells from the seaside, but they are essentially just doing what they think makes them happy. At this point, a lot of people would be thinking something alone the lines: "there is nothing wrong with that, they are just doing what they'd like to do, I mean it's only fair that they get to chill after working hard previously."
Retiring early and chill is without doubt, a dream chased by many in this world, especially in the developed countries.

The sermon was derived from a parable - Click here for it! ~~~> Matthews 25: 14-30
Basically a few people were given different amount of bags of gold and they produced different amounts to give to their master. 2 of them were able to be productive with them but there was 1 who did virtually nothing with it and just brings back what he was given, he was scolded by the master "you wicked, lazy servant!". That is not something you would want to hear from God when you finally get to see Him.

Whilst God is an entity that is non-existent for some, mostly because they can't see it, can't touch it, can't see the proof / evidence that they wish to see or what they deem as important to establish the existence of a perfect all-loving God. Have you ever stopped for a moment and play the "what if" game that we always love to play in life? It's kinda a normal thing for any human to do, our brains where designed with the capacity to do it and it helps us with many things in life. However, some of us might not do it when it comes to God because IF a God indeed exists, it's got too many new implications for them in terms of the life they are currently living, they have to put an end to many things that they have been doing and start many new things they have never done before. Jesus did say once, taken out of context slightly but still applies because it's still referring to one's unwillingness to change from the norms they're used to - "And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, 'The old is good.'" (Luke 5:39)

Yes, let's just assume the life one is living or chasing is considered good, what if God exists and you are going to be judged in the end? You can't see it, can't touch it yet, but does that necessarily means He is non-existent? Is suffering for an eternity a price you are actually ready to pay? After all, God doesn't necessarily send anyone to hell, people choose to walk down a path, making their own way to hell, which essentially means the complete absence of God. Friends, you might think you are living a life with the complete absence of God in this world but the truth is - God is always there, watching over you. When you don't acknowledge something, it doesn't meant it's not there.
Moreover, yes, the old wine (living without God) you are used to might be great, but without trying out the new wine (living with God) can you be certain that the new wine wouldn't be something good or even something you enjoy more?

Back to the story at the start and playing the "what if" game, let's say God exists, and in the end you are to present what you have done with this life and all the blessings He has given you. Are you going to say to God "Look at these seashells I collected" ? No, we all know if a God did exist, people wouldn't do something like that. Now again, I come to question you, living and chasing after your independent dreams, without taking God into account, can you really bear the consequences it may hold? Even believers have to think about this, at judgement, are we going to be able to present ourselves as faithful servants of God? Have we been able to love others and glorify God? Ultimately we are all on the same boat really, except believers would no longer ponder over the existence of God and knows what kind of consequences would be waiting for them in the end, according to the path they take. We still need to make choices, still need to think and do things with certain justifications.

As of now, this point in my life, I have already wasted enough time like I mentioned in my prologues. I really need to make my life count, and I find joy in doing it. Money, girls, status, I had a taste of what it's like to chase after all of these things and I don't even know how to compare those things to this. A life lived for God and with God.Watching people smile, making people feel loved, helping people when they need it, it feels good deep down, and on top of that you know God is watching and is happy to watch.

I would encourage any of you who are reading this to taste the new wine if you haven't had a taste of it before, go and find out what Christianity is all about and try to live out a Christian life, because you never know until you have tried, they are not the same type of wine after all, this one brings an indescribable sweetness and gives you a feeling of being content like none other. I really want to encourage you to make your life count because you have been blessed with a lot by God, living in this country and you really wouldn't want to say to God at the day that you finally get to see Him "Look at all these seashells that I gathered"