The world we face tomorrow 

I recently had a talk with my colleague about her kindergarten-going daughter who whispered in my colleague’s ears that she has a boyfriend in class. We were amused at how this young girl was so upfront about it, and I quipped, “Thankfully, she said she likes a boy. If she said she likes a girl, you would be in a much difficult position!”

“Actually, I will be okay if she likes a girl. But if my son tells me he likes another man, I don’t think I can take it well.”

“Are you serious? So you will be fine if your daughter has a girlfriend?”

“Yup, I can understand if she likes a girl. It can be quite normal. I will support her. But for a man, I am not so sure. Unless, he is the ‘man’ of the relationship, then I think I can accept it.

Our conversation was cut short by me having to leave the train for my stop, but it made me think hard about the world our future generation will confront. Increasingly, many places are legalising gay marriages, with the most recent being Taiwan. 

Having been brought up to understand that the norm in marriage is between a man and a woman, I was stumped. If my peer can be so open about it now, I can only imagine that marriages can be so different in future and how if one were to speak up against gay marriages, one could possibly end up being prosecuted.

The more I thought about it, the more I feel this wave is unstoppable. My future generation will see that norm marriages can be between two men or two women, apart from between a man and woman. How will I explain to them about this other “norm” of gay marriages, and that they should not go into it because it is a sin to God? It’s like telling them to stop spamming Harry Potter movies (to the extent that you love it more than your life or God) but the rest of the class is doing it or endorsing it. Ok, this may be a bad example but I can’t think of any better ones now at 12.30am.

Then, I realise, it’s not about telling our future generation what they should or should not do. I remember someone related to me an incident that happened many years back where children in church were made to throw away their Pokemon-related items in front of everyone. I am not sure of the thought processes, but this person shared with me that she felt scarred by this incident. It left her disillusioned as a child in her faith. This sharing showed me that renouncing something that a child likes very much in their lives, something that is a norm to all other children, without helping them to understand properly or helping them see in their hearts why they had to do so, can have a reverse effect. 

Hence, before I share with my future generation the do’s and don’ts, I must first ensure that they fully understand God’s sacrificial, merciful and unconditional love for us, His purpose and His character. Which I myself must live out. In doing so, I want to teach them to love, fear and honour our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then, will they dare to make a stand in their beliefs, for God, before men.

Having said all these, I am assuming perfect conditions in life, ceteris paribus. That my child can listen, that I can teach well, that my child has a strong will, that … etc. But we all know life is not like that. I am not sure of my own abilities to bring across these points to my child eventually… I can only trust that God will give me wisdom to teach and my future generation to have the will and strength to face the issues of tomorrow. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34

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When the worship song that you sing does not resonate with your heart

There are good days when your heart is bursting of joy, gladness and thanksgiving. On such days, oh, you worship with all your strength and conviction. 

But there are times your heart just feels accused and lousy. And when the worship song you sing is about loving God with every inch of your soul, and loving Him beyond everything else, deep in your heart, you feel that it is not true. That was what happened one Sunday morning – I felt like a hypocrite singing that I love the Lord with all my being when I know there are still things I care a lot about, things that I am unwilling to let God take over like my emotions, my fears. The struggle of sin was real.I felt accused. 

But that moment, I knew I needed to tune myself to God’s word. Romans 8:1-2 came to mind. God promised that He has and will set us free from the sin and death – I need the Holy Spirit to help me. So at that moment, I prayed to the Lord. I told God I needed the Holy Spirit to help me, to help me relinquish the control I wanted to have, and to help my heart yield to Him.

Then, I worshipped our Lord, knowing that I can stand before the Lord in the righteousness of Christ. 

On believer’s freedom

The notion of God giving us the freedom from sins through Jesus has been discussed many times. When face with an issue about practices that are seemingly ‘un-Christian’ (e.g. can we eat food sacrificed to idols? Can we get a tattoo?) we often fall back to the verse on believer’s freedom in 1 Corinthians:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
1 Corinthians 10:23‭-‬26 NIV

The conclusion after the discussion of these verses is that if it is not constructive or may cause another brother or sister to stumble in their faith, we should not do it.

However, here in Galatians chapter 5 verse 13, the apostle Paul tells us more vividly and actively how we should use our believer’s freedom – that we use it not for self-indulgence, but through love, become slaves to one another.

Slaves to one another. So, the freedom we have is not for our personal benefit, to do anything we want since Christ has made us right before God. Instead, we use it to serve one another deeply.

How can we desire God? – Explained through bak chor mee craving

“How can I desire God?”, a young girl asked me recently. I see her yearning to have a deeper walk with God, yet she does not know how to create this desire. The heart is willing but she doesn’t know where to start.

Instead of answering her, the Spirit led me to ask this question, “What will make you desire a particular food?”

“We all sometimes have a deep craving for a particular kind of food, let’s say bak chor mee (a local pork noodle dish) – so how does this come about?”

  1. We keeping reading and hearing about how good the bak chor mee is. I read food reviews which describe how springy the mee kia were, how the fragrant lard and vinegar coated the noodles and how fresh the pig liver and pork were in the dish; this is when I know I got to have it. In the same way, we need to keep hearing from others who have also experienced God. We need to read and listen to testimonies, listen to the sermons to know how mighty, how generous, how lovely, how magnificent, how strong our God is. When you keep hearing His Word, you will want to know Jesus better and taste His goodness. This is why fellowship is important – we read and hear about how good God is through our pastors, brothers and sisters.
  2. We have tasted bak chor mee before, and know that it is good. In the same way, when we personally have experienced God and tasted the goodness of His many promises in the Bible and witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (e.g. seeing how your bad temper can be controlled), we will desire more of God.
  3. You haven’t had bak chor mee for a long time, and although you had different kinds of food during this period of time, deep down, you know only bak chor mee can satisfy you. This applies when I have been overseas where they serve almost the same food to me for more than one week, and all I can think of eating when I land in Singapore is bak chor mee. Much as the food I have tried overseas were novel and I really like some of them, I know my first love is always bak chor mee. In the same way, sometimes, we want to try many different kinds of things, away from God, away from the “holy moly church stuff”. But deep inside, we know only Jesus can satisfy our souls. Hence, in the same way, a desire for God, to be with Him will come, interestingly, when we are away from Him. When a desire for Christ rises in such a situation, pray that it will increase and cling on to Him; and go on to #1 and #2!

The above is my simple, personal view of how I think we can create and sustain a desire for God. Would like to hear from you on other ways for us to sustain a desire for Christ 🙂

The many views of Sengkang Riverside Park

Here are the views of Sengkang Riverside Park at different times of the day. Photos taken by yours truly and DR from our home.

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At the break of dawn

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At around 7am

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Bright early morning at the park

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Clear, windy day at about 4pm

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Early evening

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Nightfall

And the last look of the park…
……..

…………
In the haze. Lol!

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When God hears our prayers

As Sunday School kids, we know that Jesus still had to carry the cross, bear the shame of being spat on and the anguish of being abandoned.

So, I was taken aback when I read this verse:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

– Hebrews 5:7 NIV

The last part of the sentence puzzled me. Jesus “was heard because of his reverent submission”? We knew in the gospel books, in Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with God, with sweat dripping down like blood, to take away the suffering he had to bear. But in the end, Jesus still had to bear the heavy load of the cross. “But why? Didn’t God already hear Jesus’ prayers? Why did Jesus still have to go through the suffering”,  I thought.

Here, in Hebrews, I see God’s response. God heard Jesus’ prayers, and only because of Jesus’ reverent submission.

This epiphany from Hebrews corrected my flawed thinking that: heard prayers = answered prayers. It also taught me two things:

1. God hears our prayers when we bring them to Him with reverence and in humility, not in a demanding, defiant manner.

2. God is an almighty and sovereign God. Even when prayers are heard, it does not mean that God will answer them according to what we ask for. It does not mean that God will remove us from the suffering we are going through. Things will turn out as He wills, not as we will. But at the same time, as we entrust the suffering we face into His hands, God shows us that He can turn it into good, into something far glorious, far better for the future.

What great hope we have in Jesus and in our almighty God, as we go through this challenging but short journey we call, ‘Life’.

A breather

Finally, I could rest today (1 May) without waking up with dread or nausea. Have been feeling this every morning for the past month. It’s so bad that I just have no energy to do other things, so I end up taking cabs because I could not drag myself up. Thank God for bringing me through day by day, and for my supportive hubby who was there to encourage me and put things into perspective for me in those tough days. I realise how wrecked my whole being was due to work and a particular discouragement I faced.

Nonetheless, things have to go on despite such mentally exhausting times. My new house still needs to be planned, work still needs to be done, bills still need to be paid, responsibilities still need to be fulfilled. Really relying on God and His mercies for each day. Anyway, on my house – we are going to go into renovations soon. First, we bought the hob and hood (i.e. the stove and the machine that sucks up the smoke from the food) as well as the kitchen sink. These are two things you need to buy first before kitchen renovation can start so that the contractor can integrate them as part of the kitchen top and cabinet. Along the way, we have also bought many other things like the dining table, fridge, washing machine.

After this house is ready, one thing I definitely need to do is to take a break and have a review of my current life to understand how I can better move on. Can’t just do the daily grind anymore.

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