21 Days: Week 2 and 3

Well, it’s kinda late to post how my fast had been going, because I have ended my fast last week! And the result TA-RA…, I ate lots of meat yesterday. No-no, just joking.

I learned a lot through fasting. I believe when you fast, you seek God more than your regular bible reading or your prayer life. The Bible says in Hebrew 11:6 that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. As you draw closer to God, He reveals things that your physical eyes cannot see, gives you understanding for your problem and strengthens your weakened soul.

During my fast, I asked God which areas I need to pursue, which ones I need to prepare even before I could see the possibility, which ones I need to surrender to God. If you know what it mean, I will try everything I could but I will surrender to God’s way above anything else. So I need wisdom to differentiate those two.

God did answer me about that. But I can’t agree more that I was strongly intimidated during the fast. As I drew near in prayers, on the contrary I felt so defeated. I didn’t know where hope had left me with. The very negative thoughts had hit me almost every time. So many times during my fast I was on the verge of giving up. I felt like giving up on hope and ministry. The attack was so real that I had planned to talk to the leaders that I wanted to quit the ministry. Thanks God, I chose to stay calm and follow a whisper in my heart. Stay faithful! Your God is a faithful One.

I didn’t realize that it was the enemy’s attack until the end of my fast. Fasting is like running a race. The race is long, tiring and tough, but the prize of the race is much more rewarding than the race itself. Sometimes the enemy knows better and believes more strongly than we do. The enemy knows the potency in each everyone of us. He knows if we get into our destiny, we will be people of influence because we are abundantly blessed. And the enemy doesn’t want us to reach our destined place.

To conclude my 21- days fast, I have recommitted myself that I will finish the race no matter what happens. I wouldn’t easily give up because God himself never thinks of giving up on me.

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21 Days Fasting: Week 1

Starting 2011, I have committed myself to begin with seeking God first above all. Before writing down my vision and goals for this, I’ll make sure that these goals are not merely for me but more like what God wants me to achieve this year.

So I decided to join in 21 Days Fasting Movement that is being held by Free Chapel, churches that are pastored by Pastor Jentezen Franklin. I was reading his book about fasting last year and my heart is moved to offer God more than my normal prayers. I decided that I wanted to fast.

So here I am! I began my fasting last Monday and today is my 6th day of 21 days fast. I printed out a copy of commitment sheet, writing down the reasons for fasting, such as: (1) In need of financial miracle,  (2) Salvation for the loved ones, (3) Dreams and goals for 2011 that only with God I can achieve, (4) Walking deeper in Spirit, (5) Ministry (H2O leaders and the congregation, vision and plans)

*Don’t worry about the numbers, they don’t mean the priority of the fasting.

During the fast, God has clearly spoken to me through the reading of scripture and prayers. Amazingly, He has spoken of all the aspects of my life that I have been praying for. Ministry, family, financial, romance and dreams. I can’t wait for His next revelation in the next few days.

God is reaffirming His promises. I feel like Abraham looking at the starry sky and imagining his children becomes God’s chosen nation. I am a little me looking at the sky of promises, believing God is bringing to pass a great purpose that my mind can’t even know how to reach it. There will be a set time when God fulfill every single prayer, every wish and dream, and things that I have never asked for nor heard of.

Lastly, I wrote down those visions that only my eyes of faith could catch. They might look silly for the time being, but trust me, when the fulfillment comes, it will just come natural. I encourage you to do the same. Write down your goals for this year, please! Humans often forget that good things come from the Lord. Some people, including me, tend to think that our great effort contributes mostly to our success. We forget that we had asked for them in prayers. Then when we receive the blessings, we tend to take them for granted.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know –

Jeremiah 33:3

Future Marriage

I was considering to post this sharing of mine or not. But yeah, the urge of posting it is greater than my hesitance. After all, it is an interesting it’s about God’s promises that I want to share.

During the praise and worship time at the church service, God gently confirms me, “Regarding your future husband, I want to make sure he is someone who will love you like I do.”

First, I was overwhelmed. Wow, that’s kinda cool, GOD. I will have such a loving husband =)

But then I questioned Him. How could it be, Lord? I know You are the One who loves me the most, more than anyone else. It’s hard to believe it.

And somehow this verse just resounded in my doubting heart:
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. (Ephesians 5:25-28 The Message)

I can’t say much. I think it’s simply a hope that God has given me. Come on faith, step up!

ESC and God Speaks

Just came back from ESC (Excellent Servant Camp), a camp for every people who minister in my church. It’s a 3 day and 2 night camp, but I gotta admit that it has refreshed my mind and recharged my tired soul. I have been so packed with all the busyness lately, e.g. church ministry, work and other personal stuff. I hate to say this, but I might have been burnout in ministry. I know I felt tired spiritually and drained out. However after the camp, I hope I have walked through “this” stage. I hope I am standing on a higher level of faith.

God is the God who speaks.

In my quiet times, in His presence, God sees my deepest heart. Nothing is hidden. He knows my problems, my fear, worries, uncertainty, my ego, pride, everything! No matter what people see me, there is still little doubt that somehow lies in my mind.

During the camp, we are asked to have personal quality time with God. The 9 sessions also prepares my heart to be taught and formed, to be more like Christ. I know it well in my spirit… when I closed my eyes, I could see me as a little girl running toward her big Father. With His arms wide open, the little girl’s Father welcomed her and was ready to cuddle her whenever the little girl asks to.

Father, I am tired. I never ever want to walk this life without You.

God shows me what He has prepared for me. I know it in my spirit that He has big plans for me. Oh yeah, when I say ‘big’, I do mean it is BIG. This confidence has surpassed my every expectation, every thought and dream. There is no coincidence. Every little thing in my life is not a coincidence.

I might be seeing my life as an incomplete puzzle. I grab some pieces that I understand well where they fit into the big picture. But on my other hand, I am still finding the missing puzzle pieces. Some pieces I understand; others I don’t.

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

You know that puzzle, when it is finished… It forms a beautiful picture. And I will see the connection from one piece to another. Amazing!! God promises to give me answers when I seek Him. God promises me to show the complete puzzle. That verse has been an echo in my heart and a trigger to know my God better.

I face many uncertainties in my life at the moment. After all I have to leave all of them to God’s caring hands and find peace in Him alone.

Amen.

No Fear in Love

I have noticed lately how our past experience affects our life. The other day, I asked my girl friend why she didn’t smile in most of her photos. She then admitted to me that she didn’t like taking photos of herself. She paused for a while before telling her story back in high school, when a class picture was taken.

The picture was printed out, and she somehow didn’t looked good. She looked ghostly white and as you can imagine, she got teased about her ghostly look in that picture. Indeed, that experience has pierced through her heart.

When I looked into my life and perhaps others too, I noticed people could have brought past pains without even realising it. It could be a deep cut in our heart, or simply a small slit. It doesn’t matter how bad the pain was, our heart was once broken.

heart

Those pains might be about our phobia, our failures and disappointments, negative thoughts, or something that we simply don’t want to do without any valid reasons. We are just afraid of being hurt again. Our logical mind is telling us madly. It has happened to you before, and it will happen again.

Honestly, I have fear of feeling hurt to some extent. And I hate to say that I didn’t dare to take a simple step, even though it was as simple as flipping my own hand. It only takes courage, isn’t it? But there was something that had been holding me back. It was the invisible past pain that I had never realised.

In my quiet time, He spoke to me:
You might be vulnerable, Annice
But know that I am your God is strong.

trampled flower

After all this verse speaks personally to me:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I want, and I will trust God when fear is striking me. I have learned not to fight my fear alone because he will remind me of my past. But when I trust God, I am consumed with His love and thus there is no room for fear.

The Whole Package of Gift

It’s been a while that I haven’t posted any entry. Oh well, it’s not that long actually. Only two weeks since my last post. I just had a sudden urge to write something. Even though it’s hard to pick up one topic among many in my head, I’ve finally decided one.

Ok, let’s go straight to the point of this entry. In short, I feel extremely blessed. Since I moved to Japan, before I go to bed, I couldn’t stop thanking God for the chance I have. To be in Japan, and to study abroad (again!). I somehow thank some people saying how badly they wanted to go to Japan. Other people said how lucky I was to be able to experience study abroad. It made me look back at the past of how I desired so much to go on an exchange. It’s still unbelievable that I am in Japan now.

God obviously has remembered one of my dreams. He fulfilled one and He will fulfill another one. I sometimes think that this achievement is just a package of gift that comes along with a life Jesus gave. You know what I mean, God doesn’t want us to have a monotone life, instead He wants to add colours to it.

Imagine…
If you were a painting, you would be the most nicely put colourful painting ever. Not black and white, nor even sephia.
If you were a piece of writing, you would be the most adventurous story ever written.
Similarly your life in God’s hands

As I listened to one of Kong Hee’s sermons, he said that Christians should be the most creative people on this planet. I couldn’t agree more with that statement! A life with God is an excitement! God who created this whole universe has a plan for each of us. Do you think He gave same boring purpose to any of us? Of course not!

That’s why I know it’s not the end of the exciting part of my life story. Yet this is just a start! I know God will add more colours to my life. He will bring me more exciting one.

This life is such a wonderful gift.
I will live a life for You,
I will shine for You brighter than before
All glory goes to You, my Lord

It is by Grace

Yesterday was Good Friday.

amazing-graceThough Good Friday is not a public holiday in Japan, I still strongly feel the essence of Good Friday. All of my Christian friends most likely have attended a Good Friday service, and my church in Perth is holding a one-night camp. And me? I was just staying at home. Churches here do not hold any Good Friday service. Well I suppose it’s because it’s not a public holiday in the first place.

My experiences with going to church in here is totally different from the ones in Perth. I’ve been going to a local church for the first two weeks in Japan. In terms of the number of congregations, I couldn’t compare it with my church in Perth.

I was a little bit shocked when I first came there. Even though I had expected that situation, one question kept on bugging me. Where are the people, God? There are so many empty seats in a pretty small church building. I noticed there was one young girl sitting in the back row of the church. Another question popped up in my mind, where are H2O people (i.e youth) in this area?

I am simply reminded of the very first time when I became a Christian. I remember unexplainable joy filling my heart that day. It’s as though I had found my treasure. That is a life filled with heavenly promises and joy.

Then the hardship came. It was a hard time when I felt like giving up in spirit. I feared many things in life. But in the end I just made it through. At that time I took a commitment for being faithful to Him regardless of the situation in life. Then there were those days when I was so down and felt hopeless. Again, I made it through.

When I am looked back at the past, I know one reason why I’m still here until this very day. That’s because God has never let me go nor given up on me!

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand – John 10:28 (NIV)

Having been living my 4-year Christian life, I have seen many people that seem far from salvation. I mean, for some people their environment, their culture and history (you name it) avoid them to come to Jesus.

Is it hard for them to receive salvation, Lord?

It made me realise that actually at anytime I could have chosen not to follow Him. I might have been in the society that is far from Christ, being isolated from hearing the Gospel, being blinded by many false teachings. But hey, His grace has won it all! I am here being united in Christ Jesus. What can separate me now?

Although my questions remain unanswered, I know it is undeniably grace beyond comprehension.

Have a great Easter everyone!