“To Enjoy More of God”

Outside is cloudy and gloomy weather. Winter season in Melbourne. I’m sitting with a mug of coffee and small candle lit. My youngest is sitting next to me doodling with my vast collection of colorful pens that I keep handy on the dining table (every second or so she interrupts me), while her sister is still peacefully sleeping on my bed after she move from her own this morning before her dad leaves home to work.

School holiday is on for two weeks. The last couples of days I really have a good time with my kids, and I intend to do so for the rest of this holiday. And when the school starts again, it will be a reminder for this mumma to not be so much in a rush that she forgets to slow down and just savor the moment with her children. For now it means I have some time to write.

Earlier in the morning I remember a set of questions regarding my spiritual life I saved in my mobile phone at the beginning of the year. I intended to sit down, meditate the questions and write down my thoughts — and these are only happening now, 6 months later. right. Never too late.

I’m writing this blog entry to answer the one and first question out of many (because after I finish writing I’ve just realized I write lengthy enough already for only one question! lol. The rest of the other questions are actually good way to prompt me to write my next blog posts). So, here is the first one:

  • What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

Before you quickly answer your own, would you take some moment to meditate the word “to enjoy God“? For me, to enjoy God isn’t really about “going to church diligently, not to miss a single week” etc. I feel I’d miss a HUGE bull eye if I thought in that way. When you “enjoy” something, say, a new café, you’d go there not just for the sake of putting your feet at the place. You’d really be interested to taste the food, embrace its surrounding, to really let yourself be present, be there — your heart and your mind (mobile phone camera to capture the pretty food is acceptable, occasionally :P).

When you “enjoy” your time with a friend,  “what to talk about” isn’t really an issue. I have a twin best friends live in Singapore. We’ve been friends since we were in Kinder. Despite our distance, we chat frequently via WhatsApp, and whenever I visit Singapore during a holiday, we talk and share our hearts even more excitedly and never run out of a topic!

What can I do to increase such enjoyment with God?

I usually have my quiet time with God in the morning. When I freshly awake, with a cup of coffee in hand, there is a fine time slot in between after I finish my morning chores with the kids and before I walk to school with them. But lately I’ve been thinking, why do I restrict my time only in the morning with Him? Sure, I can still pray and read the Bible sometime later in the afternoon.

But the thing is, I’d been getting used to use my time at night to “relax and watch TV”. After busy and sometimes exhausting day, I just want my night to be as lazy as a couch potato. Therefore I prefer to do my art works/orders during the day in the midst of multitasking other motherhood duties, and at night I just want to retreat. In front of TV. Even sometimes I don’t really watch it, it just came out of habit. Night time equals with TV time, you get it? haha.

Now why do I not retreat, in God’s presence instead? I feel it is time to break out the habit. Lately I’ve done it several times, and I can say that I find it is satisfying! I’m in no rush to chase the school bell; I’m free to sing any worship songs, reading a book (and not just one paragraph then fallen asleep lol), reading the Bible (following up the morning chapters, or reading other chapters that I feel the Holy Spirit draws me to).

By the grace of God, I feel more motivated to trade off my “TV night time” now with “retreat time” with Him instead.

When you enjoy time with God, “what to talk about” and “what to do” are not really an issue. The creativity will flow in, inspired by His Spirit lives within us.

Don’t let the “how” hinders us to come to Him. Begin our step by giving our time.

God’s given us invaluable gift of twenty four hours in a day. 24 hours that is actually on loan! In any given time He can take them away from us, our moment living on earth ends and we will turn into dust. But our spirit will either go together with Him in heaven, or to hell — both of them eternally. forever. once it’s done, it’s done. That’s why our decision how we live our life now is significant — it is about our life and death!

James 4:8

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world

Here on earth we have the chance to make the decision – God, or the world. Choose one, not both. We live in vanity and lying to our own self if we “love God” and at the same time also “love the world”.

1 John 2:15

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

The good news is, because of how great is God’s love for the world (John 3:16), Jesus Christ has become the sacrifice for our sins by dying at the cross. His precious blood has washed away sins for those who believe and He has risen on the third day, defeating the impossible and the death. For those who believe in Him, they are called children of God and His Spirit lives within them (John 1:12).

With such an amazing grace, how could I not love Him in return? With such a great faithfulness and love, how could I not want to enjoy more time with Him?

Father God,

I pray may you give a heart thirst and hunger after You. To seek you in my hours, to love you with my life. Thank You for everything You have done for me, thank You for being faithful even when I am not. Help me to live for You and not to be double-minded. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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“God Cares”

I prefer not to write or post things related with (sad) issues happening from around the world, but maybe this time can be one of the few.

This morning when I woke up the first news I read is about the death of one of my fave designers, Kate Spade. Worst thing is she committed to suicide, leaving a letter to her 13-yo daughter who was at school.

I don’t know her obviously in person, but this news still lingers on my mind. And my heart goes to countless people out there who had lost hope and thought this would be the only way out…

This week I also need to paint two artworks with sad stories behind it (one of them is at the above pic which is still in progress).

As I prayed to God telling Him I feel powerless and clueless, I was also thinking here I am — who juggling with many thoughts and struggles to overcome sins in my daily life. I feel like these are so far less “important” than the fight others have to endure (particularly with sickness and cancer).

Yet, instead of hearing a condemning voice telling me that I need to be more grateful and my problems are just “nothing”, I heard this gentle voice that simply said, “I understand. I care”. 😭

Praise the Lord that He is not a God who can only sympathise with “major problems”. When you worry about things, when you pray about something — God KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS that they are meaningful to you, and therefore He also CARES!

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about #anything, but in #everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the #peaceofGod, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

— do not be anxious about ANYTHING, meaning that no small or big problems should make us living in worry!

— but in EVERYTHING, meaning that no problem is too small for Him not to listen to our prayers!

Surely His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His ways are not my ways, and the way that “He cares to even care telling me that He cares” — that’s just my moments of GRACE.

We are loved dearly by our Creator,

Draw near to Him and bring our prayers,

Not merely for our own needs,

But for others who need it much.

Prayers of the righteous avails much,

We are empowered to do so not because we are righteous (we are SO far way behind this, right).

But because Jesus Christ has died at the cross for our sins and rose again, He has taken away our old self, and He has given each one of us who believes in Him new robe — His righteousness 🙌🏻

Maybe we feel like prayers not really mean something, but the One who listens to them is the Mightiest! Who is able to do immensely more than what we ask or imagine.

Praise God for that. And now I shall continue again with my art works and leave you with a moment of grace from Him.

Serving God in Motherhood

I am very much encouraged by a revelation from my bible study this morning. From last week I’ve been learning about a specific topic about God’s 3rd commandment “Honoring God’s Name” (from Following God Christian Living Series by Rick Shepherd).

But for now, allow me to share this.

Mark 9:33-37 — Jesus’ disciples been arguing about which of them was the greatest. So who is it?

Jesus sat down instead, and said “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else”.

Then He took a little child in His arms and said to them,

Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes Me..”

Then the following sentence from my study book astonishes me,

“The heart willing to serve a child truly represents the heart of God”.

I, as a mother of two, being reminded that fulfilling my children’s physical needs and nurturing their mind, soul, and faith are opportunities to exalt and honor the name of Jesus!

Honoring God’s name isn’t only about singing worship songs, or not swearing using His name. They are the easiest examples, but what I need His Spirit to continue open my eyes with fresh revelations is beyond worldly wisdom.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the dirty diapers 💩, messy rooms and kitchen💣, screams🎭, nagging⚔️, and cries🔫 (the smaller your child is, the more mess you have to deal with) — but here, at every day, lays my #momentofministry 🌿

My ministry isn’t (restrictedly) at church or cell group, but this — the unseen by people, but seen and valued much by the Lord. Here lays the moments to honor God, to serve Him.

God’s “love” and “grace” by far are invisible to them — and this is my calling as their mother (and jointly together with my husband), that is to make the invisible character of God become visible in our children’s life — WE are the representative of God’s heart.

Does this truth make motherhood even harder?

It is, in a way. Becoming a mother is never easy. A topic often discussed and made jokes about sometimes, but we have huge responsibilities.

Thankfully, a mother who put her faith in Christ never mothering alone.

His Spirit will always renew her strength as she puts her hope in Him.

Let us surrender our life to Him, fully committed to serve and honor His name through our parenting and life as a whole.

Receive this little child the way Jesus does, and let His strength works in our weaknesses 🌿

God bless your hearts mothers!

“Mami, When is Our Last Day?”

This morning before Aimee went to school, she asked me this unusual question:

Mami, is today the last day?

Me (perplexed): “Last day of what? What do you mean?

Aimee: “Is there going to be another day tomorrow? When is the last day?

Me (still perplexed): “From where did you know there is an end to our days?

Aimee: “I just think of it by myself”.

Me: “Well, only God knows the end of our days, Aimee. Nobody knows”.

Aimee: “I wish God let me know, I wish God let me know everything He knows”.

Me: “Human cannot understand everything that God knows

(Then change of topic).

Certainly that isn’t our regular morning conversation!

And now that she’s at school and I come to think about it again, I feel uneasy in my heart.

Even a 6-years old child knows there is an end to our days.

That one of these days on this earth gonna be our “last”. And yet I sometimes live my life on earth like I think this’d be “forever”.

Every moment I spend complaining seems like just a waste of time compared to this “eternity” God has prepared for me and our family.

Every impulse decision I make outside of Him, any resentment, any ignorance towards people — these are a waste of time compared to His much greater and bigger plan for my life!

I cried for forgiveness, and for His grace and help to remind me of this truth the next time I don’t have desires to do His wills.

Life is just too short to prioritise myself, my own agenda, my own dream.

The life I live now is not even “Chapter One” YET.

This is just a “preview”. Exactly like the quote from CS Lewis I post above.

I need His grace to live accordingly. Only by His strength.

Thank You Holy Spirit for speaking through my daughter this morning about Your heart desire… 🌾

“How a Busy Mom Can Stay Consistent in the Word”

Another edifying article I read this morning 💁🏻‍♀️ TIPS on “How a #BusyMom Can Stay Consistent in the Word” 💡 by Courtney Reissig – below is the summary points I learn:

1. See The NEED 🌿

If you don’t see the need in knowing God through His words in the Bible, you will always prioritise something else.

You need to see that you will not make it apart from knowing God through his Word (“apart from Me you cannot bear fruits” – John 15).

Ask God to open your eyes to that need and give you a desire for his Word if you haven’t sensed that in your life.

2. Have realistic expectations for yourself 🌿

We all have different capacities and go through different seasons of life. A mom with young children not going to be able to go back to her times of reading the Word for 1-2 hours like she used to, or having an uninterrupted devotional time.

Be realistic, but not lazy/careless/complacent.

10-15 minutes reading is better than nothing at all.

Expect interruptions.

3. Make a Plan 🌿

If I go for some days without His words, I know what effect it would bring to me, to my heart, to people around me (esp to my family – eg. Mommy becomes less patience and easily offended 🙊).

I have seen that I NEED Him and His words regulary.

When I couldn’t open the bible, listening to podcast or online sermons make a difference. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing the words of God”. It is still nourishing to my soul and spirit rather than listening to the world’s noises all day long instead.

Keep feeding in our spirit MUCH MORE than our flesh.

4. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others 🌿

Mom with younger kid/s may have less time. Another might have kids spaced out differently. Every mother has different capacities and life circumstances.

Run the race that is set before YOU 🏃🏻‍♀️ God will honor that.

5. Trust that God will do his work 🌿

God has promised that his Word WILL NOT return void in your life.

If you see the need for Scripture in your life,

have realistic expectations for yourself,

make a plan,

and don’t compare yourself to everybody else around you,

all that’s left is to TRUST that the Lord is going to work.

God will give you a desire for his Word, transform & conform you into the image of Christ.

It is all a process, a journey, an everyday walk with Him and His sweet Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 3:5-6

God bless you moms! 🌿

“40 Ways of Decrease”

Skipping meal may be the “easiest” way to do fasting (easy in a way coming up with the idea, not so much with the implementation. We are against our flesh desire to eat anyway, esp if we fast on our favourite meals).

I sometimes also fasting on social media (it has so many distractions if it wasn’t used purposefully).

Reading this book #40DaysofDecrease I learn so much more about “a different kind of hunger, a different kind of fast”. It opens my eyes to see more of who I am, the sinful one, needing God’s grace and forgiveness for every single day.

It shows me how my flesh struggles to do “more of Him and less of me”, because naturally this flesh wants more of me and less of anything spiritual or related with God!

Praise the Lord through it all He also shows me how to live by the Spirit’s power.

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.

And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.

These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses”

– Galatians 5:16-18.

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The #personalfight is there every day. After we receive God’s salvation #Christbeliever and become #Christfollower we are not meant to “sit back and relax”.

We are gladfully (well, maybe not all times, cross = pain), relentlessly, and passionately take up our cross, denying our flesh/own wills, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24), which (sadly) has become the “unpopular truth” nowadays.

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The book helps me to identify my downfalls, repent, fasting for it, and surrender to God’s wills.

#moreofHimlessofme has become a personal fight for me, and I am grateful He understands.

“The High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do,

yet He did not sin.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.

There we will receive His #mercy, and we will find #grace to help us when we need it most”

– Hebrews 4:15-16

The book is actually for Lent preparation leading to Easter, but it is applicable in any season in life, and I don’t really rigidly do “one devotion for one day for 40 days” (sometimes I can do 2 readings in a day – depending on how the kids behaving #momlife 😄), therefore my title is the “40 ways” instead of “40 days”).

Each chapter is also accompanied with readings from John, and I am amazed every now and then by the way Jesus lived His life until the final moment at the cross.

He could use His “free will” to do what He wanted, He could choose not to die at the cross – but the fact that He DID die at the cross for the sinners – how can our heart not be touched and our life changed by this truth, if we just let Him to.

Just Give Thanks (full stop).

From this portrait alone you wouldn’t know that the little girl I drew was diagnosed with Achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) at 14 months old, and also suffers early hearing loss.

Now she’s 2.5 years old, but still wearing clothing size 1.

Hospital is a place she routinely visits fornightly for treatments, tests, and therapies.

As today I’ve been tempted more than usual to grumble and complain, I remember how His Spirit gently rebuked me tonight.

Give thanks”, He said.

I stop and think quietly,

and sadly.

How wonderful it would be when #givingthanks is simply in my “DNA”, and #gratitude is just my way of living (and thinking).

How God-pleasing it would be, when giving thanks is done out of heart that not again focusing on my own interests, but on fulfilling His wills.

Because this is what is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18,

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Not “give thanks in some eg. fortunate circumstances, for this is what makes me happy”

(which unconsciously/consciously I often do.

See the significant contrasts: “All” vs “Some”,

“God’s wills in Christ” vs “Me and Happy Me”).

It is my desire to give thanks to God not only when I have the “obvious reasons”. And certainly giving thanks merely out of comparison (to those less fortunate) is not really sincere and genuine.

This is something that only His Spirit can produce through Him who works inside me. Out of my own strength I cannot produce anything good long lastingly.

Thank you for reminding me tonight, Lord.

Your rebuke doesn’t bring condemnation, but it sets me free to see the truth according to Your eyes.

Help me Lord to see the unseen,

Give me wisdom and strength to rejoice in You,

to find my first and foremost reason to give thanks only in You alone 🙏🏻

Good night world.

Follow Jesus for JESUS

When Francis Chan mentioned the above sentence from one of his podcast I listened yesterday, my heart felt heavy.

There’s so much truth to digest, to discuss – moreover, to walk on and live in.

When so many Christians pastors/leaders/churches/friends sending out messages about the comfort we should receive when we believe in Jesus,

and offering more promises of healing and restoration more than the person of Jesus Himself,

and when “Christians” don’t even read the Bible anymore to know what’s written inside and find the real truth,

only hoping for other “more qualified” person to feed them God’s words; truly we are now at the end of time like Timothy wrote in 2 Tim 4:3-4,

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”.

Myth = when you follow Jesus, your life will be full of (earthly) blessings.

There’s nothing wrong with receiving the earthly blessings, but if following Jesus is only about receiving those, He did not need to die at the cross for our sins.

There is fear and worry of the #urgency to remind my own self everyday whether I am the #truedisciple of Jesus, am I only being a #lukewarm Christian, do I really treat Jesus as my LORD (obeying His commands) and not stopping at merely seeing and acting like He is a “good god” (so I can still compromise over so-called “small sins”)…

There after, to instill the truth to my children, to become real living example to them.

Not trying to be perfect,

Because I will never be,

Being weak is good, it is a reminder that we are constantly in need of God’s grace.

There’s so much to ponder indeed, and I pray I didn’t stop only at pondering, but for His Spirit to open my eyes and understand this revelation and ACT on it.

So much of hard truth, but truth is truth. Not comfortable for my flesh, but He won’t change His standard just for the sake of my comfort and leisure.

I don’t even know what’s going on with my mind this evening to babbling over my words on my #onlinejournal here #typingnonstop, but as usual, my head and heart is clearer when I let my feelings out and put them in words.

Now is time to rest, and let His grace speaks and leads.

#crunchynatsjournal

Not Really “Believe in Yourself”

The world encourages one to “follow your heart” and “believe in yourself”, but the Bible contrarily said in Jeremiah 17:5 “This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,

who draws strength from mere flesh

and whose heart turns away from the Lord”.

Our heart can deceive us, our flesh can fail us.

We are only human, created from dust, afterall.

Our heart needs to be transformed by God’s words, our mind needs to be aligned with the truth.

Just like a sailor needs a compass before sailing to lead him to the right destination, one must commit which kind of compass to follow along: God’s words, or self wisdom.

And from time to time he needs to check it to make sure his in the right current.

Putting feet in two boats may be the most versatile way of living, and lukewarm is safe.

But eventually “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21).

Hard truth, but God’s grace is even much more abundant to those who humble themselves, hands up, and simply surrender saying wholeheartedly,

“I can’t Lord, but You can.

I don’t know Lord, but You know.

I am glad that You are my God.

I will trust in You, please lead my boat”.