An eventful lead-up to being 30

So, here I am, writing as a 30 year-old. I have finally reached the milestone of being 30 recently. But boy, from the last post to my current one, so many things have happened all at the same time.

Anxiety, fear, grief, loss, joy, hope, strength – all in the past one month before my 30th birthday.

11 August – the passing of Ah Ma and hospitalisation of my dad.

15 August – the passing of DR’s aunt after a 3-month fight against a rare brain disease.

These were just one of the few major things during this period that made me shed tears, made me realise how important family are, and how precious our lives are.

God has been so gracious to me and our family. He is our good Father who comforts us and gives us hope and strength. I believe that as I enter into the next season of life being in my 30s, God wants to remind me that He is my help, my strength and my hope. I really cannot stop marvelling at how God had placed angels to sustain me during those trying times.

Dad was discharged on 21 August. And he is regaining his daily functions. For that, I thank God for healing him, and giving mom the strength, patience and love to help him, even as she is dealing with her grief of losing her own mother (my Ah Ma). I truly thank God for making these trying times short, and helping us along the way. In the future, we don’t know what will come, but God is there, and He is the unchanging anchor we can always trust.

 

 

 

 

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The modern day medium

“The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.””
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭28:4-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have been pondering about Saul seeking a medium when God refused to answer him on what he should do when he saw a huge threat in front of him. How can this situation be reflected in our lives today?

Then I realise, we could have been "seeking mediums" too. The "medium" we could have been seeking in our modern day is the Internet and the "how to" articles — "10 ways to overcome your fear of talking to people", 5 steps to make people buy your idea". Sounds familiar eh.

Today, I received a piece of news which I made me feel lost and scared. I quickly Googled and sought out what people said on forums and did not seek God. Fears and nightmares clouded my mind… aren't I guilty of faithlessness and my lack of reliance on God? Like Saul, haven't I sought a "medium" to know what to do when struck with fear?

Tonight, I confess my sin to God. By the blood of Jesus Christ, I seek God's forgiveness, and by faith, I receive it. Let me focus not on what others say, but I pray for focus and faith on God, our Creator, our almighty and merciful Father.

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

Week before Good Friday

It is the week before Good Friday. And I am thankful that this week, I have some space to breathe after a packed, non-stop action week (was even called back for a work meeting on a weekend). Space to think and remember that this week, we are approaching a special day that is central to our faith — having Jesus die for us on the cross for our sins, as the ultimate sacrifice, that we may see God once again. 

It has been a beautiful week. Serene. Calm. For one of the mornings, I saw this beautiful sight from my window. As if God is inviting me to be with Him and stay in Him.

*bliss*

Lord, show me your glory

I was trudging my way back home on Friday evening after work. My day was mundane, my soul was down, my relationships were not exactly rosy and I felt unaccomplished in so many aspects. It was one of those days when you feel, you know, sian. I was dissatisfied.

So I requested to God, “Lord, show me your glory. I know when I see your glory, my soul will be filled once again.”

God replied, “See my glory in the cool evening breeze that you are feeling on your face. See my glory through you breathing and walking right now. See my glory in the house that I have given you. See my glory in your parents – I have kept your mother safe from an accident she met earlier this month.”

And joy and hope filled me. Because the Lord has shown His glory and love to me.

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.

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