2010 Reflections

This may not be the post you would love to read because it’s not something that will warm your heart. But still I encourage you to read it.

I’m not going to talk about achieving your goals in 2011, releasing your maximum potential, you name it. Trust me, I don’t even like the topic I am about to write. But I just simply challenge you to pray about your calling, to pray that God will use you in any aspects of your life.

Praying to use us is indeed a dangerous prayer. I am not scaring you, but I believe those prayers will eventually bring you to the place God wants you to be. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t regret anything because all’s worth it.

As for me, I know that God is preparing me for a bigger task, and serving His purpose. He is training a willing and faithful heart. Sometimes I wonder how I could say that when everything doesn’t seem right. 2010 goals are not even half achieved. I don’t even have anything to be boast of. I remember on one occasion, I was asked to name the blessings I have received this year. People came with something that you would have wished for. Thinking hard to name the blessing that will wow people, I found none. Eventually I named a few (after all what is good is God’s blessings, isn’t it) and  found some courage to say, “It’s blessing in disguise.”

For those who have read my blog post from the beginning of the year, you will get bored if I have to say it again that I am currently waiting on the Lord. Some of you might ask, what are you talking about, Annice? Let me briefly explain that it requires you surrendering all things to God and trusting Him that His plan is the best and it will be revealed at His perfect time.

But I have learned the waiting concept, which I believe it’s not easy. Moses was waiting for 40 years in the desert before he was finally appointed to lead Israelites out of Egypt. Caleb was at 85 years old when he finally conquered Canaan. And he was 40 when he represented the tribe of Judah to spy the promise land! Then, David! He was not even considered as one of the King Saul’s armies even though he was already anointed at that time! (No, no, I am not saying that there will be 40 years waiting period to finally reach your God’s given dream! In olden days, humans lived longer, but we don’t)

So many men and women of faith in the bible that have to wait. What makes me so special that I reject the waiting period? What if God is preparing me for a bigger task in this short life?

I honestly want my problems or my waiting period quickly over. Doubts, disappointment, pain are not the things you want to face every day. But realising that through them, God can be so close to my heart and He shapes your heart beautifully. I think that’s all worth it.

Now about 2011, I haven’t made any goals nor resolutions yet. I will make ones, but honestly, they don’t matter much to me. Next year might not be easy, but who cares. What matters is that I walk deeper with God and stand stronger than before. What matters is that I’m still faithful like Caleb did in the 45 years waiting for God’s deliverance. I pray that I don’t lose hope when every dream seems to fade away. I want to have a stronger faith not merely a positive thinking for a better future. I want to see God and His plans as I have kept my heart clean before Him.

After all Romans 8:18 and Ephesians 3:20 are the promises that I have received to end 2010 and to enter 2011.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…  Ephesians 3:20

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Waiting on the Lord

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him
Isaiah 64:4

Posted something about waiting a few months back. And yes, the wait is not over yet. But who cares about the ending result? I mean I do care about it. But the essence of waiting on the Lord is not only the end result, but knowing that my heart is always renewed and my daily walk with Him is just so real.

Do you know that when you are on top of the world, you’ll easily see God’s goodness and love? But when you feel like you were in the valley of nowhere-to-find, you’ll trace the depth of God’s love and faithfulness for you even more.

These past few months, I’ve been struggling with this question: Where do I want to go from here? Leave Aussie or stay? Take the challenge or not? Expect (knowing that you may be disappointed) or not to? I had expected an instant answer from all of these, and blame me, it didn’t work well for such a person like me.

In my quiet times, I often close my eyes seeing in my eyes of faith many things in life come to pass. Family, business, marriage, ministry, heart’s desire. God seems to have spoken to my soul take courage. I am able to bring them to pass. As for me, it is not easy to lay aside heart’s desire and trust His goodness at the same time.

After all I know that it is a season to walk deeper with God. And those who experience the same, I encourage you to rejoice in the Lord. We are not waiting for a situation to change. We are waiting on Him. Waiting on Him to act on our behalf when we have tried our best in every situation.

Yesterday in my prayer, God asked me this question, “When you are in glory, will you still walk your walk of faith, Annice?”

As tears were coming down, I said, “Yes Lord, test my heart.”

The very same question that God will ask each of you. Do you really love Him? Even in the times when He seems silent? Will you still love the One who has given the dream more than your own dream? Are you waiting for the blessings or waiting on the Blesser?

I hope that this writing will bless those who read. And if you are in the stage of waiting on Him, I pray that God’s love will be revealed even greater to you. I learned that when you have confidence in His love for you, you could trust His goodness more easily.

Amen.

When God Says WAIT

Do you know what it means to wait upon the Lord?

Apparently the word “wait” here is not simply “just wait”. It means to hold on and to put all your hope in God alone. I once felt screwed up, and didn’t know what decision I had to make. And yet God said to me… Wait!

It could be so frustrating at times. You are dying to know the end result by a certain time, but you don’t have the remote control to preview the ending. You couldn’t just fast forward through the dull part of life. You still have to go through the waiting period.

Waiting is not easy. It gets too long and you might get so bored. To wait needs the other party to take an action. Your effort wouldn’t make a significant progress toward the results. It is like synchronizing my iPod to my iTunes. I have to sync my mind with God’s mind. My iPod shouldn’t play songs that I don’t have in my iTunes. Similarly, I shouldn’t play my own life scenario while God himself has written down my life scenario long before I was born.

“Wait on the Lord” simply means that I trust my God completely. When I think something is GOOD enough, God might not agree with me. He picks the BEST for me. When my clock ticks ON TIME, God says “I am rushing”. Interestingly, when He says WAIT, I will simply have to wait. I am not good enough to convince Him to change His mind nor to rush Him. God is sure His way is higher and His time is perfect.

After all God knows me inside out. The Scripture says that every moment of my life was laid out before a single day has passed. One day when I reach my destination, I will look back and testify how God has fulfilled my heart desires.

To wrap up, I am not saying all of these from a mere optimistic point of view. I am more than being optimistic. I am claiming God’s promises in my life.

When God says WAIT, I will wait patiently,
When I have to WAIT, I will do it joyfully.

2010: my faith, hope and love

I am obviously not a good diary keeper, nor a faithful blogger. See, how long I have abandoned this blog!! Gosh!!

It’s March 2010 and time passes so fast. Many things have happened this year. I am a graduate and begin to understand the struggle to enter the workforce. I was also entrusted with bigger responsibility in ministry. I was chosen to be one of the H2O’s service coordinator.

faith hope love
Well, it’s been quite a highlight of my life so far.

This year will be a challenge for me. I have written three things I expect to see by the end of this year. One of them is to settle in job. But… yeah, none of them hasn’t yet been fulfilled.

I guess I am in the waiting period. I have to learn and relearn to embrace God’s way and believe in His timing. And yes, hope is still the answer. Hope does not disappoint me. It’s like the scripture says, those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.

Often I feel tired of waiting. I feel weary of trying. But in my quiet times God’s words have always strengthened me over and over again. When I read the bible, it’s just full of God’s promises. I can’t say much but to believe in it and learn to totally surrender in Him.

A friend of mine reminded me of this fact yesterday. When things in life seems so frustrating, I nearly forgot about it. If my earthly father loves me so much, how much more does my heavenly father love me?

I admit that it’s been hard to cling on to hope. I know sometimes I become a daughter who doubts her Father, yet it’s true that Father’s love undoubtedly could overcome it all. His love is enough to quiet the storm inside me. I guess why it is said that love is the greatest of all.

What Friends Mean to Me

Many beautiful quotes are on friendship. But I am not a kind of person who simply believes all of them without experiencing it myself. What friends mean to me? Who are my friends? Those questions were looming in my mind, as I was editing an article about friendship for my church’s website.
friends
I believe most of us unconsciously make differences between friends and close friends. To me, friends are those I hang around with. We share common interests, talk about a lot of interesting things and do some activities together. They are friends to me. But I realise that even though they are my friends, it doesn’t necessarily mean I can talk my problems with them.

My close friends, on the other hand, are those whom I can always share with, whom I turn to when I am faced with challenges. Their existences affect me as a person. In other word, I do consider their opinions in decision making, and their lifestyles can easily influence me.

To be honest, I do choose my close friends. I don’t mean to boast, but it is true that you can easily be my friend but not be my close friend. You need to gain my trust to be one. And that’s the reason, I do hurt when I realized those whom I thought close friends were actually not.

What I am saying here is actually the reflection of H2O’s value, Accepting. I accept everyone to be my friends but I don’t accept everyone to be my close friends.

It sounds harsh, huh? But even the bible warns us to choose our friends carefully (Proverbs 12:26). If I translate the verse into my daily life, it says to me that I am supposed to choose my close friends, who can influence me with their thinking and lifestyle.

On the other hand, accepting means to accept everyone inside out. I am learning how to accept everyone completely as my friends. What I mean by inside out here is that I don’t want to smile to a person but I actually curse him or her in my heart.

A word “curse” simply means the opposite of “bless”. If you don’t bless a person, the other only possibility is that you curse that person.

But how about those who do not accept us? Those who are not worth of our acceptance? Do we still have to accept them? What if they even harm us? Stabbed behind our back?

One amazing part of Jesus’ teaching is to love your neighbours, including loving your enemy. Again, if I translate it to my daily life (I’m not a bible scholar though =P), enemy includes those who reject you, those who you thought friends but they had stabbed behind your back, and even those simply hate you for no reasons.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43)

love_thy_neighbor
Now consider why Jesus would want us to love others even if they persecute us! The answer is as simple as to practice God’s love. Weren’t we once God’s enemy? Yet He accepts us! Were we actually worthy of God’s acceptance? No! What do we have to offer when we were living in our sinful lives? Nothing!

We have received love from God, and that should be our power to love others.

Yes, I choose my close friends. But I don’t have a choice to choose my friends. Because by His love, it is enough for us to even love our enemies. He wants me to change my enemy attitude inside me to be a friend attitude.

Yet, when you realise, it is not a mere God’s command. Because to do God’s command, it does take faith. It is by faith that we see God is taking care of everything, including our heart, disappointment and anger. It is by faith that God’s love is able to change our situation, even to change from an enemy to a friend.

Pursuing God’s Promises

Too many of us as Christians have been in the stage that we specifically question our dream, vision or life purpose. I’m no exception. I know that my life is to glorify God. But the next question is that how do I glorify God? And that’s what I have been thinking of. God’s way in my life, my dreams, my ministry. I asked Him which things in life I should pursue.  Which things does God want me to do? Which things does I myself want to do? The difference between them is a simple fine line, isn’t it?

As I prayed and looked for an answer, I was reminded of one word. P R O M I S E. I shall pursue His promises in my life!

promise2

When I first settled into my apartment in Japan, I started with arranging some stuffs that were left behind by the previous owner. The apartment seems to have been reserved specially for exchange students. I suppose there were 2 or 3 people before me having stayed in my current apartment. So I was quite lucky that they left some useful stuffs behind. I didn’t need to buy new ones.

A couple of months after the new semester has started, I was browsing my small bookshelves for a book to read. Unexpectedly, I found some new note books which I had put into the bookshelves last time. I’d forgotten! I didn’t know I had them. Well, I knew I had arranged them, but I forgot! So instead of using the new note books, I had been taking notes in an old used book. Well, I did tear up the first few written pages, and started writing on the blank page, but still it was a book that someone had used it!! (now you know how stingy I am >___<).

See how silly I could be! Those new books had been sitting all along on the bookshelves! And the fact that I stay here only for 1 semester means that I won’t use them at all, if I don’t use them now. Getting so agitated, I plan to rewrite all the notes for half of the semester! For the sake of using a new notebook, why not? My ego really challenged my logical thinking.

Now you might be thinking what God’s promises got to do with a boring story of mine. Well, I simply see that God’s promises are like those new note books.

I remember about Abraham being a father of Israel, Joseph’s dreams about him being a ruler of his own brothers and David’s throne that reigned over Jerusalem. I realized that all started with God’s promises to them. God remembered and fulfilled them. It starts with God’s promise which then works together with man’s obedience and faithfulness, and finally leads to the fulfillment of the promise. Amazing, isn’t it?

notebook

Similarly, we can find God’s promises in our life. The very first place would obviously be the Bible.  I do not mean the bible’s functions are like those of tarot card or perhaps Chinese face and palm reading. But what I mean is that the Bible itself contains promises. God’s promises are all written there, and if we simply have a heart that pursues His promises, we will have them. Isn’t it written in the Scripture that if you seek with all your heart, you will find it?

Too often we read the Bible because we feel we have to. Your cell group leader asks you to do so, it’s your daily check list, or perhaps it’s just another a must-to-do routine.

There is also a case where we read verse after verse, chapter after chapter, and yet we don’t see any relation with  your life.

I’ve been through it, and even until now I am struggling and seeing it as a challenge. Why didn’t I ask Holy Spirit to guide me? To help me relate the verse I read to my life. To make me see God’s promises in my daily devotion reading. Isn’t the Spirit my Counselor? He does know which option I should take. And I believe He longs to reveal His ways to me. Doesn’t He help me pray? He knows my prayers before I say them out! He is the One I totally rely on. He Himself even pray for me with groans that words cannot express.

I don’t want to find myself  one day knowing that I have missed God’s promises for me, as I missed out the new note book. I don’t want to find myself keep using the old notebook all along while actually the new note book was provided for me. I don’t want to live in the old “me” while actually I could live in a life of promises.

I don’t want to miss out God’s stored up blessings. Not even one! Especially if I miss it in a place where I’m supposed to know! In an obvious place like the Bible? I wouldn’t want to.

Value ‘All’, not ‘Some’

I came across a reading in a Christian bookstore today. I’m not sure what the title was, it was pretty much about wholeness and broken-heartedness. There was an interesting line that caught my eyes, it said, Value All Relationship. I kept on reading the passage, and to be honest it speaks personally to me.

Most of us unconsciously do value more our relationship with people that we are close to. Nothing’s wrong with it! Nothing’s wrong with spending quality time with right people. But there is another thing we do need to realize.

Did you know that there is a chance to share the love of Christ to people that you are not really familiar with, to people that you don’t even care about? But the fact is that God has put the right people at the right time in your life.

Don’t you know that it’s not a coincidence that you meet your uni friends, your co-workers, your boss, those people that you often meet but you hardly think of, or anyone that you can even think of but you had never thought of before.

I don’t know how you would put “value all relationship” into action. But Holy Spirit speaks to me in a specific area, that I don’t need to argue or bargain anymore. Just spend time with them as you do with your close friends.

I don’t know about you guys. Does God lead you to someone you know today? Don’t ignore the calling. I pray that He will remind you of someone that is in need of His love today. Amen.