Giving Up Donkeys and More

Luke 19:28-34

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
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And just like that, the donkey owners gave up their unridden colt to be used by the Lord. As I read this I feel so challenged. I wonder how the donkey owners had so much faith.

What would an unridden colt be in this day and age?
A brand new car that has never been driven, maybe?

How would I feel if God took something of so much value away from me? Would my heart be stilled when I hear His words “The Lord has need of it”?

God, I pray that You increase our faith and sensitivity to hear from You. What You would have us give up for the sake of Your kingdom, let us not hold on so tightly. Help us to love the Giver, instead of being distracted by the gifts. Thank You for using us, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Learning to love right

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads towards heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”

 Job 2:11-13. (emphasis added)

I never really realized how much Job’s friends loved him. What I always remembered was how wrong and insensitive I thought their message was to suffering Job. But when I think about it now, I realize that when they told Job that he must have sinned for God to allow such calamity to happen to him; when they told him he must repent — that came from good intentions. The message was wrong, but it came from good intentions.

It humbles me to know that I have made such mistakes before so many times. I offer advice, but sometimes I don’t stop to think “What would God want me to do/say in this situation?” And I end up pushing my friends away from God, instead of allowing them to see His love for them.

Lord, thank You for Your grace to my brothers, sisters and I. Sometimes we forget, we immediately offer our most intuitive advice without really considering what You would have us say. Help us to love, and to love the right way. Thank You God, for your grace covers our wrongs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Struggling with (and for) those we have not met

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 

Colossians 2:1-3 (emphasis added)

On Easter Day, I found myself watching World Trade Center, the movie (2006). I remember watching the movie earlier when it was first released, but at that time I had not yet been to the States. I was sad watching the movie the first time, but things were different this time around. Having now had the experience of living in the States, I felt much more connected to those affected by 911.

But in these verses Paul addresses the church in Colossae — a people he has not met, a church he did not plant — out of sincere love, care and concern for the people who have started to become confused with false teachings. I pray that God will continue to increase His love in us and so stretch our limits to love others even more; to those we have not met, to those who seem so different and far removed from us. Because He loves them.

Lord, thank You for making us more like You every day. Let this change come from inside out. Let our concern be genuine, not forced. Let us rejoice in our brothers and sisters’ successes, and mourn and intercede with them in their sufferings.Thank You in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Humbled

Job 42:3

“… I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know.”

As I grow older I realize certain things. I realized today that my mother does not know how to “Save As” a pdf file. It took us a lot of time (and laughter) and I finally ended up just sharing screens over Skype and letting her read the document while I scrolled. I realize my father’s stamina in hiking has decreased, but I still remember that when I was younger, dad would carry me up the hill when I was too tired to hike any further.

I miss the times when I could truly say “Mum and dad can do everything!” with conviction. I was confident that they knew best, and that they would always provide for me and be there for me.

And sometimes I feel the same way with God. I am disappointed because I feel like God is not able to do everything anymore, the way I used to believe He could. “You just don’t get it, God,” I say. I wish I did not have those feelings.

Reading this verse today struck me that I have uttered what I do not understand. God is not a parent the way our earthly parents are. He does not “grow old” or weary. He is the same powerful, amazing, awesome God as He has always been, and He will always be.

Lord, I come to You humbled. I acknowledge that I do not understand many things. Your ways are too wonderful for me, and I do not know or understand it. Help me to have faith to believe that You are not bounded by earthly principles of growing old, weary or weak. Forgive me God when I question You and think that I can comprehend all of Your ways. Thank You for Your grace and love for me despite all this. I love You Papa. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Give Him what’s rightfully His

Revelation 19:9-10 (emphasis added)

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

I love the honestly in this passage. When the angel explained to John the meaning of his visions, John fell down at his feet to worship him.

When I was younger, I “fell away” from the faith when my church experienced a split. I thought to myself that if the pastors and leaders could fall, then what hope was there for me? I wrongly placed my hope and trust in people, not God, and the people failed me while God cannot.

Sometimes we do that. Without realizing it, we start to “worship” the very people who lead us to deeper understanding of God. Maybe it’s a pastor, or an elder, a brother or sister in Christ who mentored us. Or maybe it’s a respected Christian author or even the church.

Let’s take a moment before we start our day today to give God what’s rightfully His – 100% of our worship.

Generosity produces thanksgiving to God

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2 Corinthians 9:11
“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

This encouraged me today. I am by nature not a very generous person, but God has been teaching me to give. This verse says that through our generosity, others will thank God. I pray that that friend of mine and yours who receives an act of generosity from us will thank God and come to realize that God loves him/her. Thank You Jesus for blessing us so that we may give.

Also, since my phone camera was not working for the past week and I somehow felt a nudge this morning during devotion to take a picture of this verse, I have received (God fixed my camera), therefore I give (by sharing this with you).

Direct application! 🙂

Last month at work

I have officially 19 days left of work in First Solar (and Kedah!), including today. Knowing that I’m going to be leaving a place does weird things to me. I start to distance myself because every time I get to know someone more, I remember that I have to say goodbye and that’s hard.

I’m also halfway through Cecilia Ahern’s novel “P/S. I Love You”. Gerry, knowing he was going to die wrote a series of letters for each remaining month of the year to help his beloved wife cope with life without him. But I’m not like Gerry. Knowing I’m about to leave doesn’t make me want to write letters. It makes me feel lonely, distant, afraid. Instead of waiting for the goodbye, I’d rather leave now.

But reading John 14:23 gave me peace. “If anyone loves me, He will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

God has come and made His home with me. No matter where I go, as long as God is with me, I am home. Lyrics from a Rachel Lampa song, “Always Be My Home”.

Your heart will always be my home

No matter where I go

No matter what may come

You’ll be my shelter in the storm

A harbor safe and sound

Where only true forgiveness can be found

Lord, thank You for being Emmanuel, God with me. Even though things may shift around me, I know You’ll always be there, constant, unchanging. Help me to focus on what YOU wish to accomplish in the lives of my friends and colleages before I leave. Thank You for Your peace that surpasses all understanding. I love You.

The why of purity

Because there was a time that I didn’t know what I know now.

1 Corinthians 13: 11. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.”

I’ve shared before that as Christian girl in a Christian family raised with Christian teachings, I knew purity was important. But over time I’ve grown to understand that purity is not a physical parameter to be measured, but a matter of the heart. Purity doesn’t just mean no sex before marriage. If that were true, every married person shouldn’t ever have to worry about impurity again. “Phew, done with that test – glad I passed it?” No, purity is something to strive for even beyond marriage. Purity is a matter of the heart.

But what I wanted to share today is about the biggest reason why purity is important to me. Here are some other great reasons:

4. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and it’s great that we get to worship Him by keeping our phyiscal bodies holy.

3. I love my future spouse, your future spouse and you, so I am determined not to cause anyone to stumble.

2. Great emotional benefits – spouses find it easier to trust each other beyond marriage because they know they have a track record to refer to before marriage. 

But my biggest reason to the question “Why should I strive to be pure?” is this.

1. Impurity separates us from God, likewise purity draws us closer to God.

Lord, I pray for my brothers, my sisters and myself, that we will understand your heart more every day as we continue to seek You. Help us not only glorify You with our bodies but with our hearts and minds as well. Thank You for the privillege to worship You with all we have. We love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Kepada saudara saudari saya yang menerima Yesus dengan penindasan yang berat

1 Tesalonika 1:6-7

Dan kamu telah menjadi penurut kami  dan penurut Tuhan; dalam penindasan yang berat kamu telah menerima firman itu dengan sukacita  yang dikerjakan oleh Roh Kudus, sehingga kamu telah menjadi teladan untuk semua orang yang percaya di wilayah Makedonia dan Akhaya.

Kamu yang menerima firman Tuhan dengan sukacita menjadi teladan kepada kami semua.

When we undergo discipline – blessed are we!

Job 5:17-18. “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”

God used this word to convict me for a situation where I thought what I had was rightful anger to a situation where I had been wronged. He opened my eyes to see my wrongs that led to the situation as well – it was so humbling.

Lord, thank you for loving us enough to discipline us. Father I pray that you open our eyes to see things the way You see. We don’t want to just blame others and not realize our part in it as well. Make us humble and teach us God. I thank you for the comfort that You give – for worldly grief brings guilt and death but godly grief brings repentance which leads to life. Let us always be like little children before You Lord, dependent on You, humble and teachable. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.