Monthly Archives: July 2006

20 minutes of Solid worship

I hadn’t plan on blogging for the last few days as I have been really tied up with work plus I’ve been under the weather as well. But last night something tremendous happened, something so profound that I just had to write about it and share with you all.

 

I had been working last night till about 8pm and after watching some TV, I decided to read Tommy Tenney’s book The God Chasers. I was reading on a particular section on how we need to be “dead” in order to seek God ; dead meaning brokenness in spirit and repentance within the soul.

 

I thought about it for a while, and I suddenly decided to start praying. I am sincerely convinced that this was definitely a move/nudge by the holy spirit in me.

 

How about we seek God right now?

 

I didn’t want to at first because it was already getting late I had work tomorrow morning.

 

Nevermind, lets just seek him, lets put all our work worries, our sicky feeling, our happy thoughts, our plans for the next day and just come and worship before Him.

 

And I prayed. I started off by quietly calming my mind from all my humanly thoughts and boy was it a abit of tough effort in the beginning. I just had so many thoughts buzzing through my brain ; praise songs going blaring through the inside of my mind, but I was persistent and patient. Eventually after praying in tongues for abit, I could concentrate better.

 

I then begin by crying out to God for mercy and for forgiveness. I don’t know what made me do this because I usually start off by heaps of praises before God. Even though I felt I didn’t commit any major sin over the last few days, I still cried out before God. I was then reminded of the verse Found in Ps 51:17. The Lord desires a broken spirit, a broken spirit, the Lord will not despise.

 

I went on crying out to the Lord for mercy, and for forgiveness…and half way through I started asking God to show me His glory. I begged God to come down, and just show me His glory. I think this is one of the hardest plea I had ever cried out to God. I just wanted to see Him, and though I’ve always gotten some experience, nothing really matched to what I witnessed last night.

 

As I prayed really hard for God to show me His glory, suddenly I had this vision of this super bright light. Its radiant light was far stronger than the sunlight and it was so strong I just begin to tightly shut my eyes and immediately I went flat down and just begin to worship Him, crying out Truths about Him. I begin to cry out in my heart all the glorious names and titles of the Lord. And as I was flat down, I could still feel the light’s strong presence and it was such a surprising experience for me till I couldn’t open my eyes for some minutes. I just literally couldn’t open my eyes! I tried but they wouldn’t seem to come up. I am convinced that God was presence, He came with a powerful light and He blinded me for a moment there. When I felt I couldn’t open my eyes, I knew I was in His spirit, I knew that this is what I had wanted…and so sitting cross-legged on my bed with my head face down, I just assumed that position for some time.

 

By the time the whole experience was over, only 20 minutes had passed, but boy that 20 minutes had to sure be one of the best thing that had ever happened to me!

 

All it needed was just some effort on my part to concentrate on God and submission to His Spirit.  Now if 20 minutes can do so much…I wonder what 45 minutes can do?

 

I really don’t know, but I’m pretty sure He knows 😉

Sex, Lusts and the Holy Spirit!

I probably had one of the most insightful and thought-provoking discussions with my group of friends over the weekend. These friends are actually my work colleagues, whom I had previously spoken about in my earlier entries (Read Pilot Part 2: My New Found World).

The topics I brought up were ones which affect many young Christians today – lust, one-night-stands, cheating on your partner and so on.

It was interesting yet scary to see some of the response I heard. I began by asking my group of friends a question:

What would you do if you’re in a bar, and you’re a litte tipsy and you notice a really beautiful and sexy girl at the corner and you go up and talk to her and because she is friendly and nice (she’s abit tipsy herself), you both hit it off really well and half way through, she asks you to come over to her place, would you go, would you have sex with her?

One of my friends, Adam confidently answered,

Well it depends on the situation. I can’t tell right now whether I’ll do it, even though I know it’s wrong, but you can’t really say what will you do at that moment”

I began to counter his argument

Yeah but you can always try to prevent yourself from going that far, there are steps you can take to avoid that from happening

Another one of my friends, Simon answered:

But dude, it’s easy for you now to firmly say all this, but it could be a whole different thing when you’re in that sorta environment…for a split second there you’ll think there’s no harm in going over to her place, after all she asked for it”

I wanted to answer back, but he continued on:

The same goes with masturbation and pornography. You know it’s not a good thing and yet you still do it, whether you watch just 5 mins of it or 50 minutes, it doesn’t matter…but again at that point in time, you don’t see it “as being wrong”. Your mind is more focused on what’s happening in front of you.

I kept quiet for a moment.

And I began to once again restate my claim:

Yeah I know what you mean, but you can always prevent it from happening, for example not go on looking at an attractive girl that passes by you and start forming lustful thoughts in your mind

Then finally Adam told me off:

Dude you live in an idealistic world, you haven’t been in those tough spots, I have and from experience I am telling you, it’s not as simple as you think. Maybe one day you will learn it. It’s only when you’ve gone through it you’ll be able to fully understand.

I gotta admit I was abit taken back by that statement. “Is God’s law idealistic for today’s world? “ I began to wonder on my drive back to my home. No, it did not rattle my faith in God, but it just made me realize that I’m living in a tough tough world.

And I’m sure that the conversation I narrated just now is just a glimpse what young Christians out there face in their daily conversations with their peers. In one hand, they want to be seen as “fitting” with the current culture, but in the other hand they also want to be part of God’s chosen ones.

I for one had such a hard time trying to balance the two, to till the point that I just literally gave everything up; I gave up my “previous” lifestyle that was filled with filth, lust and everything bad that a young man could possibly do.

Let your will be done Father – Matt 6:10

Clearly what my friends were talking about was perfectly legitimate…in today’s context. In today’s world, sex is just like eating, it’s a human need.

I had once a friend trying to convince me that sex is important and that pre-marital sex is crucial to test sexual compatibility.

And the fact that “it could just happen in the moment” is also understandable. I mean you have the booze, the loud music, the attractive girl who is more than willing, the location, what more could stop you?

My answer is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The holy spirit wasn’t simply given to us just for God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit guides us EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY! Yes it’s true that at such a situation depicted above, your human-flawed-moral conscience might fail you, that’s why we have the Holy Spirit, to guide us when we are not ourselves, why do you think some people tell you to pray when you get angry? Because the spirit of God can take control and put you in the right path.

Similarly, when you begin to lust over that cute hot waitress while sipping your Espresso at Starbucks, the Holy Spirit mode kicks in and nudges you to look away. No there is no time to even recall any scripture verse, the first thing the Spirit will do is to draw away your attention. Then slowly it will administer to you.

I say all this because it has happened to me one to many times. And most of the time, the spirit of God has been able to successfully divert my attention, but yes sometimes I do ignore the prompt of the Spirit of God and knowingly indulge myself. That’s wrong, a big no-no!

lYou wanna know how to overcome this? You wanna know how to take heed the guidance of the holy spirit? The answer can be found here and here

You need to endure it! You need to overcome, to persevere it. And yes it’s gonna hurt so so much, it’s gonna make you unhappy, make you miserable, but endure it, pray, ask God for support, tell God you want to serve him but you’re too weak, remember it’s in our weaknesses we are made strong by God’s amazing grace and power.

No one can serve to masters, and no one says going through the narrow gate is easy. But for what it’s worth, (you’re getting God’s grace, God’s love, you’re drawing closer to Him), I think it’s honestly worth giving it all up and following Him.

As for your friends; take comfort by reading this and this:

Have a blessed day!

Calling Satan’s Bluff Part 2

I don’t have any point form facts to illustrate how you can call Satan’s bluff, but I can speak from my own little experience and faith.

 

Know that Satan Exists

 

I can’t stress this point much more. One of the biggest deceives Satan has ever pulled is convincing the world he never exists. Ironically many people know this phrase, but few realize how deep this meaning is. 

 

Knowing that he exists creates an initial awareness, and this awareness is extremely important in the first step.

 

Know that Satan can’t make you do things

 

Satan can only tempt, he can only suggest, that’s all he can do. Why most people end up doing sinful things is simply because they allow themselves to take an action that has been suggested by satan. Satan tempted Jesus but yet he couldn’t “control” him physically. He couldn’t push him down the cliff etc.

 

If your faith in Christ is strong, you can always shrug this off. That’s why it’s important to ask God’s spirit to dwell in you. The Holy Spirit helps you discern what’s right and wrong…yes I know for a fact all of us know stealing and cheating on your girlfriend is wrong, but at that moment, your human reasoning and judgement somewhat gets jammed and that’s why when temptation arises, we need to switch to Holy Spirit mode.

 

Read the Word

 

Reading truthful scriptures is probably one of the strongest “medicine” to counter the devil. I was just reading Jesus’ encounter with Satan during His 40 days in the desert and I noticed he rebuked satan with scripture. He didn’t tell Satan to go away at the first attempt. He always began his counter-arguments with “it is written”… i.e referring to the Holy Book.

 

You see when you use God’s word against Satan, he becomes mute and leaves you. Yes you may have heard cases where people use God’s word against Satan during trials and temptations, but I honestly think that’s because Satan knows that these Christians are not strong in the faith; that they’re merely quoting scripture for the sake of quoting. There is doubt in their minds and Satan leverages on that. I know this, simply because I’ve done it before. You need to believe wholeheartedly and with strong conviction that the God’s word is the absolute truth.

 

While they are many truths in the bible that addresses this issue, I just want to highlight a scripture verse which I think is important:

 

….and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it…” 1: Cor 10:13

 

There are 3 significant meanings in this one sentence.  First, God is faithful, and because he is faithful he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your temptation limits and third, he has an escape route for you.

 

So if God does not allow us to be tempted beyond our limits, why do we sin then? Well that’s because we fall prey to Satan’s lies.

 

There’s no harm checking out that hot waitress

 

You’re just gonna steal this once, so why fret over it?

 

These are all common suggestions that Satan puts in our heads and we just fall for them flat. If we have enough faith in Him who is the truth, such thoughts would just hit a brick wall 😉 and to top it off, there’s an escape route for you! Mine is always to start singing a praise song, or just read a book to clear it off. Sometimes I also pray. A word of caution when you pray though; do not pray to ask God to deliver you cuz I find it than more often than ever, your mind starts thinking about it again and this time the urge becomes stronger! So just say a general prayer, or just sit quietly with the Lord and just blank your mind. Don’t worry, God knows how to calm a sea ;), he’ll know how to calm your heart without you needing to ask for it.

 

There are more scripture verses on temptation here

 

Choose your friends wisely

 

 

The bible mentions many times that we need the support of the people around us to help us journey through our life in faith. That’s why it’s very very important you choose with who you mingle with.  

 

I’ve learnt this the hard way. It’s not that I did not have any chrisitan friends or anything like that, but I just hung out with people who looked normal, friendly, easy-going and helpful on the outside and later on, as you get more acquainted with them, you start finding out how they think and how they view life, and by then, there will be a chance that you might compromise your beliefs just to “fit in”. I did that during my student days and honestly, I didn’t know what I was thinking.

 

So choose your friends wisely. Be with those who can have a positive impact in your life and those who walk with faith. I can’t stress this enough, but it’s really crucial especially we younger folks to have a circle of friends that believes in God and have faith in Him.

Calling Satan’s Bluff Part 1

Once again this is a 2 part post!

 

Satan is real you know; yup he’s as real as God is. And lets face it, we don’t live in an easy world today. The whole notion of conforming to being “open minded” and liberal has caused many to fall and lose track of their faith and belief in Christ.

 

For the young people, I have to point blank admit, we are having it really tough. We were raised and continue to live in a culture where we think that God is a superficial being. Even during my university days, my best friend who was a strong Christian would tell me how much he struggles in his classics and English class when it comes to discussing issues like faith and God. He tells me how students, while they were raised in a chrisitan background and know about the bible do not believe in the existence of God. And to further fuel it, we have some professors bringing their beliefs that “God does not exist” to the classroom.

 

Scary, I mean all this are literally Satan’s lies. I’m intrigued yet frightened to see how Satan’s schemes have crept into our society for so long. Yes you may not see pentagram graffiti on the sidewalk or a cartoon illustration of the “Goathead” in newspapers.

 

But yet, just look around you, Satan’s works are just about everywhere. From placing high value on materialistic possessions and having “self-centered” goals to porn shops and strip clubs, we are indeed living in a dangerous world.

 

And you know what the worst part is? We don’t even know it. And we’ll never see the danger of it if we’re constantly pressured to have an open mind and be encouraged to “change with the times”. I know this first hand because I was a victim myself. I thought pornography was fine and while I didn’t totally accepted it with open arms, I would often just shrug it off whenever I would hear someone talking about porn.

Ahh…just normal guy talk!

 

But can you see how dangerous that thought is! I didn’t see that for years until now. I thought pre-marital sex was totally acceptable and indulging in “self seeking pleasures” were fine until lately when I began re-examing my faith.

 

Yes satan is as deadlier than you can imagine!

 

However given the way things are, there is still always hope. Despite the fallen world we live in, there is still a God and no He hasn’t left nor given up on us.

In part 2, I’ll talk about simple steps that can be taken to call Satan’s bluff. 

Pilot Part 4 – Turning To God…and the journey thus far…

I don’t know whether labeling me as a prodigal son seems fitting. I have always had much love for the Lord, even though I was involved in a couple of “ungodly” and sinful things.

In fact since last year I’ve always had a yearning to lead His people into worship. Music is something I truly enjoy and He has given me the gift of singing. Even right now too, despite all the nonsense I’ve done, and the guilt and shame I am often reminded of, I still long to worship Him and be an instrument for him.

I remember during those jobless months, I would pray diligently to ask God to make me to be His instrument so that I can serve Him. I prayed so much for the Lord to pour out His spiritual gifts so that I may use them to serve and minister to people for His greater glory.

But alas, my job temporarily blinded me. Swearing, dirty talk, cursing, lusts, temptation, self dependence all crept in and I became oblivious to His spirit. It didn’t bother me at first, but later on it became clear, I was missing something… I was missing His love and presence.

 

I knew I had to change my act, I had to pull up my “faith” socks and I needed to turn over a new leaf.

 

However I know this time, I can’t, not even for a single second do it without His strength. I’m far too vulnerable; I know that for a fact, though my faith in Him is strong, I can easily get caught up with the way of the world.

 

But in the midst of all of this, I still can’t understand why God has been extremely kind to me. Not only do I have a secured well paying job with one of the best companies in the world, I live just 5 minutes away from my catholic community church, I have a comfortable home which I rent and it’s just 5 minutes away from work and I also have a kind and wonderful landlord. To top it off, I’m blessed and thankful to have a supportive and extremely loving family ( they’re the ones who actually helped me buy my car!!).

Yes you can somewhat see now how my life is shaped. Indeed I’m truly blessed, despite my humanly flaws, God is extremely wonderful and has given me a number of gifts in the form of talents, and blessings and some of these “ talent gifts” are not even opened yet.

Perhaps maybe God has given me all this blessings so that in turn, I would bless others by bringing them to God. Perhaps maybe this is God’s way of using me as an instrument; an instrument to reach out to the younger generation of today’s world? I don’t know honestly, but I’ll just let him determine my footsteps 😉 (Prov 16:9)’

 

 

I guess what I want to say is this: While I deeply want to further commit myself even deeper with Him, I personally want God to touch others around me just as He has touched me. I want people to know God in a more intimate way just as I have known Him and continue to learn more about Him. (Heh, learning about God is a life long journey!)…

 

 

Why? Why all this interest in God? Because I honestly know firsthand and from experience that God is the answer, the source of truth. I’m convinced that while we are encouraged to succeed in life and accomplish our life goals, we were still made to depend on a source greater than human strength. We were made to depend on Him. And no do not thinkg for one moment you can be smarter and stronger than God.

 

Eve hoped to be smarter and mightier than God and looked what happened to mankind?

 

Thus I know that God is THE WAY. And you need not be in a poor, miserable and desperate state to come to Him. I really feel that you can be extremely successful in your own life, be a happy and cheerful person, be really good at what you do while at work and yet still be close to Him by sending up your sincere, heartfelt praises…

St. Paul said “in everything, give thanks!”

 

 

Thus this is where my journey begins. I am honestly a little scared sometimes to go deeper with God, cuz I know I can’t “turn back”… you can’t serve two masters at the end of the day.

The journey is gonna be tough, but I find hope and courage this verse in Sirach:

 

Son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials. –Sirach 2:1

I sincerely hope my own reflections will not only help deepen my own faith, but will touch your life, I know for a fact I’m not a very good writer, nevertheless I hope through the intervene of the Holy Spirit, you may be able to experience His wonderful promises, His unquestinoable Truth, and most of all, His Amazing love.

I also hope that in my journey I find strength from you. We need people to help us build our faith, to help carry our crosses, to remind us to return back when we drift off..and to keep us in close touch with Him.

god bless 🙂

 

 

Pilot Part 3 – The Turning Point

I continued struggling. I tried to fight off the temptations, the lusts, the desires, the bad habits, but it was hard. I would be fine for 1-2 days but things would revert to normal. I would also sometimes justify myself by saying “there’s nothing wrong with cursing and swearing”, Eric, my group member was using it every other time during the day, Chloe, my female team colleague who also a Christian like me would occasionally swear.

Joe, who was the “women expert” would talk to me about sex and how he thinks pre-marital sex is totally fine and was shocked to hear that I was a virgin, despite having spent almost 3 years in North America.

 

Honestly I was struggling. I wanted to fit in with my friends, I didn’t want them to think that I was some weirdo. I mean seriously how many young ambitious people do you know who do not swear?

 

But at the same time I wanted His righteousness. I knew how amazing it was to be in His light (those 3 jobless months, even though it was tough for me, I learnt to depend more on Him and the relationship I had with him was just awesome!)

But I had to make a choice. I couldn’t follow both paths.

Pilot Part 2 : My new found world

But somewhere along the way I got cocky. I thought I was king of the world, I thought that this was it. What more could I ask for? Fantastic job, a fantastic accommodation (I live in a room just 5 mins from office!) and soon a fantastic car.

 

You could sure bet that I thought I was ready for it all. Yes off and on the sudden worriness of whether I’m really fit for this job would haunt me but with the help of my trusted colleagues, I could always shrug it off.

 

Oh let me tell you about my colleagues. They were wonderful people to hang out with, you would just love them. They worked hard, they partied hard, they joked around and life was good. They were there when you needed guidance and direction in familiarizing yourself with the company. They often made it a point to go out to pubs on the Friday nights and they would persuade me to tag along. They would discuss about all their past relationships, the sexual encounters they had, oh man pretty much all the guy talk.

I for once felt accepted. I felt comfy. I momentarily forgot about a lot of things. Family, hometown buddies, and most of all…I forgot the One who gave me this job. I felt like I didn’t need Him anymore, well at least for now.

 

My relationship with Him became like how a patient is to a doctor. Only when I had problems I would approach Him; with a repented heart, with distress spirit I would approach Him to help me get by my training program (It was intense on some weeks).

 

And I don’t why He did. I honestly don’t know why He even bothered to help me during those times. Despite my indulgences with a lot of ungodly things, He still came to my aid.

 

Was this the same God who struck down, cursed and destroyed countless people who disobeyed him?  Why did God help me despite my recent behaviors?

 

This thought really lingered on me. As my training came to a close, I became confused, lost and often feeling unhappy. I wanted God’s light back, but at the same time I wanted my friends too. I wanted to live a Godly life, but at the same time I wanted to have the freedom the flesh could offer.

 

For a few weeks I really debated. I would often sin, then repent and get back to God and then only finding my self sinning again and then crying out to Him for mercy. It was like a cycle and the more I was going through the cycle, I felt that a part of me dying.

 

I used to be strong spiritually, especially during those 3 jobless months. I could quote biblical verses, I could even write my own customized prayers with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, I could not even sincerely thank God for the day or just open up to Him. I found no meaning absolutely in sinning repeatedly and being close to God. For once I felt a fake. I would swear and entertain my colleagues at the expense of ridiculing other colleagues and the next thing you know I’d be listening to Praise and Worship Songs. I would talk dirty with my friends over a couple of beers and the next thing you know, I would be holding the bible and reading some of the passages from the gospel.

 

It was so fake. I was struggling. Mr Confident was now becoming lonely, more unhappy with life and with himself and basically just scrapping through by the day without any purpose.

 

Of course on the surface everything looked beautiful. Nobody sees the worms and the bacteria that are inside the ground of the earth. Nobody sees the lungs of a beautiful girl who smokes everyday. That was the case with me. Nobody knew it. Folks were always pleased to see me, friends thought I should win the “entertainer of the year award”, and me…well I was always happy when people were happy with me.