I would have been obedient, but I press on

To be honest, I’m not too sure if what I am sharing is right (I hope I’m not misinterpreting Scripture!) but it encouraged me today.
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2 Kings 2:1-14.
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”
 
4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.
7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
 
10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
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Three times Elijah told Elisha to stop, and he would carry on alone. If were Elisha were to stop any of those times, he wouldn’t have been disobedient. But he wanted more.
And perhaps he didn’t know what he wanted yet at that point, but  he wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to his master. Whatever it was, he wanted more, and he stayed.
In the end, he received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit — something he may not have received if he had not pressed on.
In my daily walk, sometimes I feel pressured to stop “running” after God. There are people, godly people, around me who I might tell me it’s enough.
I struggle within myself too — don’t I need to also focus on my career, my family, even taking time to relax or enjoy some hobby? Do I really need to give more?
How could I turn away? For now, I choose (or try) to press on. Lord, help me to.
Lord Jesus, help us to discern. If it is really time to let go and rest in You, help us to be wise and do so. 
You understand our struggle, Father. We want to please You, but help us understand Your purpose for us in this season.
For those of us who indeed choose to press on in our individual seasons, we believe that there will always be blessing in serving You in the end. 
Thank You Jesus for watching over us, and for enabling us to do so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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As long as you are with Me

Luke 15:11-32
(v31) “And he said to him ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.'”

Spending time with a family other than my own gives me a fresh perspective to  father-son relationships.

This is a paraphrased conversation between a father and a young son :

“Dad, give me money.”
“Why, son? You are always with me. As long as you are always with me, I will always provide all you need and want.”

In the human sense, we all grow up and become independent of our parents. But in God’s family, He is always our Father who we depend on.

Lord, teach us to be comfortable depending on You even if our human minds tell us otherwise. Help us find security in Your goodness and wisdom in knowing what is best for us. Thank You Lord for being a faithful Father who provides. You withhold nothing good from us.

Romans 8:32
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Psalm 37:25
“I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.”

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.

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.

Letter to the Medic CG of Universiti Malaya

               Hi everyone! I’m Li Ann, and even though I am neither a medical nor a UM student, I was invited by Quek to join in on this mission trip to Cameron Highlands. So thank you Quek, thank you mission team members Chenxy, Yaslyn, Shi Shi, Joyce, See Yen and Chee Min, thank you medic CG for allowing me to share our joy with you, and thank you Jesus for being amazing as always.

               Okay I’m totally off script (and by that I mean off-journal) here, so I’m only going to share what my highlights were from the trip. I like to share in stories, because it’s more engaging that way and because that’s how I mentally remember it. I have three stories for you, so enjoy and be encouraged. 🙂

Story 1 – Flaming the passion

               It’s our first day and I just met all the team members who I will be serving with for the rest of the mission trip. I’m super excited for everything and realized (to my embarrassment) that I brought the largest bag out of the entire group. My team members have been nice enough to not bring it up after their initial astonishment, so I conclude that they must be very nice people.

               It’s night time now, and the guys have gone to their own apartment to rest. Yaslyn is still out at a birthday party and Shi Shi is rather tired – she’s curled up asleep on the couch, and it’s only 11pm! I took my shower and sit down at the table where Chenxy and Joyce are having a chat. It is at this table that I got my highlight for the day. Joyce was sharing about the hard times going on in the Middle East, and how she was unsure how she would respond if someone were to say “Leave Jesus or die.” Chenxy then shared about “youthful passions” – faith and passion that’s burning at a maximum one second, and dying out the next. She shared about desiring a constant and faithful burn, over a fluctuating, temperate one.

               Before I sleep that night I read 2 Timothy 2:2 again, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” So that’s what it means to “flame the passion” among a majority Christian kampung, I think to myself. To grow their faith into a mature, constant one for God. (Note: Flame the Passion was the theme of our mission trip)

Story 2 – The heart sinking moment

               We’ve gone through the worst part – the travel. (I get motion sickness on winding roads) I was thankful that I had Chee Min to keep me company all the way and Chenxy’s sour plums helped a ton. As soon as we reached the kampung, we headed to the church and had some time to rest before our first session began. Pastor Chu sat down on the cemented church floor and appeared to either be praying or resting. “Pastor tidur atau berdoa?” I hear a voice say. It’s Quek, who just vocalized the exact question on my mind. Pastor says he’s doing both, and sits up to engage us in conversation. Here he tells us that “remaja-remaja tak balik minggu ni. Mereka duduk di asrama.” Apparently because the week before they had their Hari Raya break, the teenagers would not get leave from the hostel during our time there. My heart sank. All those hours of hard work preparing our “sermons” and activities. (Quek and I were in charge of the youth sessions) I was disappointed but chose not to say too much, as to not discourage brother Quek or the team.

               During our time of prayer as a team, I ask Yaslyn for prayer over this. I tell her, “Please pray that I will be comforted that all our effort did not just go to waste. Please pray that God will still use all that has been prepared in some way or another.” I feel peace after her prayer and believe that God is in control. To cut the long story short, we discover as the days go by that our preparation was to be a blessing for the children’s ministry and our informal meet-ups with the few youth still at the kampung. God did use what was prepared, just not in the way that we thought He was going to use it. Quek and I ask and praise God for flexibility, and I realize that He is in control after all. Praise God.

Story 3 – Ainina’s story

               On our final night, sitting on the tikar-ed floor, Quek and I talk to a group of guys and one other girl who came to our “chit-chat” session with the youth. (So now you know what became of our youth sessions) The rest of the team had gone out to visit the homes with gifts, prayers and ready ears to listen. We try to get the whole group to talk together but soon find out that the guys and are rather awkward and quiet around the girl and vice versa. Quek and I realize this and take another lesson in flexibility as we end up with two circles – one with all the guys and one for the two of us girls.

               As I heard Ainina talk that night about her knowledge of her own sin, and how she is fearful to die because she knows she will go to hell, I thank God that He has prepared her heart long before we met. I tell her the message of Christ – that what she has said are all true, but there is Good News! Because of what God has done for her, she can be made righteous in Him. I tell her of a personal God, a personal Savior who came and lived and walked with us. I sense that she is taking in every word with faith and ask her if she would like to talk to God and accept Him into her heart. She nods. When Ainina opens her eyes again, she is a new creation. Like a baby hungry for milk, she instantly asks how she should read the Bible and continue talking to God. I am amazed at how God has prepared her heart to hear and accept His Good News. I try to answer all her questions and finally we send her home as a team (except Quek, who is still ministering to the guys) and pray for her family as well.

               I pray and encourage all of us to pray that Ainina will continue growing strong in the Lord. Let us also pray for all the other hearts that were reached, touched and sown into continue growing in the Lord. May their faith and passion for our Lord be a constant, faithful one, stable through the fiercest drought and storms because He is carrying them through.

Thanks for letting me share a little of our whole experience! There were lots of funny times too like our final morning when See Yen woke us all up with his accidentally vocalized prayer. (Ask him about it!) I continued the prayer in a half awake, half dreaming and 100% praying mode. (I was dreaming that we were praying for the kampung together)

Maybe we really learned how to pray fervently and continually, even in sleep. Haha! 🙂 I may not ever see those of you reading this letter, but I hope that you are encouraged hearing how amazing our God is and how amazingly He works through those who make themselves available to Him. Keep the fire burning faithfully for Christ!

Lots of Love from your sister in Christ,

Li Ann.

Let my heart be where my treasure is

Here at home, dad and I are going through a transition stage together. I’m moving from fresh graduate to the working world, and dad is retiring soon. Last week, we were both rather anxious about our financial security and were sharing our burdens with each other.
 
Revelation 2:9
“I know your tribulation and your poverty (though you are rich) …”
 
This verse here talks about two different kinds of wealth: physical wealth and a spiritual kind of wealth. As a fresh graduate just entering the working world, I don’t know all that much about accumulating physical wealth, but I do know that there is a kind of wealth that moth and rust cannot destroy, and that kind of wealth is secure with our Father in heaven.
 
Matthew 6:20-21.
“… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
 
Dad and I talked a great deal, and even though our circumstances did not change as we talked, God changed our hearts. There is peace and security that comes with knowing that our true treasures are hidden with our Lord in heaven.
 
Lord, may you grant all my brothers and sisters assurance and peace that no matter what happens to our physical treasures, these are just temporary. Our true treasures are secure with You. May our hearts be where our treasures are – with You. Thank You Lord Jesus.

Doa untuk misi Engkau

Beberapa hari lalu, saya telah menghadiri satu persidangan Kristian. Sebelum persidangan itu bermula, saya duduk diam sebentar dan membaca al-Kitab (kerana saya tiba awal di lokasi persidangan, bukan kerana saya orang yang sangat kudus atau apa-apa). Yohanes 9 menceritakan kisah Yesus mencelikkan mata seorang yang buta sejak lahirnya.

Yohanes 9:16.

“Beberapa orang Farisi itu berkata, ‘Orang yang melakukan hal ini tidak mungkin berasal daripada Allah, kerana Dia tidak mentaati peraturan hari Sabat.’ ”

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Tuhan, saya berdoa untuk diri saya serta saudara-saudari saya. Farisi-Farisi itu tidak sedar bahawa Tuhan di kalangan mereka kerana mereka terlalu megah. Kami bakal pergi ke tempat baru untuk misi kami ini – tolonglah kami merendahkan diri. Kami bukanlah Penyelamat orang-orang asli; hanya Engkau yang berupaya menyelamat. Bukalah hati dan minda kami supaya kami juga boleh belajar dari Engkau serta orang-orang asli yang bakal kami temui. Dalam nama Tuhan Yesus saya berdoa, Amin.

I didn’t recognize his voice!

A few days ago I was texting Joel on the phone when his brother Jasher took his phone and sent me a voice message.
I didn’t recognize it wasn’t Joel.
I mean, on a regular basis I can tell their voices apart, but this time I didn’t. My initial reaction was

“Oh no. I didn’t recognize his voice.”

———————–

Sounds kind of like me and God sometimes. I think I heard Him, and then something happens and I realize the voice I thought was His was actually someone else’s, or my own.

With Joel, I could have reacted by:
1) Feeling bad that I didn’t recognize his voice. (I mean this is my boyfriend of two years that I’m talking about!) ; or
2) See this as more reason to spend more time with him and listen to his voice.

I went with #2. 🙂

Because the more I hear him, the more I’ll recognize how he sounds, what he talks about.

Is it time for you do this with God too? 🙂

Persevere in prayer

Mark 8:22-25

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
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When I read this passage I was so encouraged because so many miracles that Jesus performed were complete and instant. That’s great! Except that’s not always how I see things happen when I pray.
In this passage Mark records partial (?) healing. Jesus is so relevant. He didn’t have to pray twice to heal the blind man, but I believe He was setting an example for us.
Lord, thank You for increasing our hope and faith to put our hands again and pray, when we don’t see it yet the first time around.