Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

WE FOUND KITTY KITTEN!


 

 

Sophie has two favorite soft toys that sleep with her – Windy, a teddy bear which we got from Auckland on the way back to Singapore the first time and Kitty Kitten, a really soft kitten that I got for her when we came back from Vanuatu the second time. I thought she did so well in Vanuatu that she deserved a present. They have been significant companions for her marking different milestones in her life.

 

But on our last trip home, we lost Kitty in Bintan! ARGH! She (Sophie, not Kitty :)) fell asleep on the bus and we hurried down the bus, didn't realise that we left it on the bus until much later! She grieved for a night and was totally fine after that. She never really asked for another but James and I were distraught because it was such a nice stuff toy and we knew it meant so much to her.

 

My mum and dad wanted to buy her one but we were quite determined to get the same one back here in NZ.

 

When we returned, James looked EVERYWHERE. We got it from Warehouse the last time and we looked in every Warehouse around the area – Cambridge, Hamilton, Matamata etc… but couldn't find.

 

Until last Sat………………… James found it in a bin of stuff toys in another Warehouse at Hamilton! He dug and dug, almost gave up and then found a similar one (the colour is slightly different but everything else is the same)! Sophie was SO HAPPY!!!!!!!

 

To me, it just showed the love of the father…. how far he would go….. to find what his child loves.

 

The bible says in Luke 11:10-13

"For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

 

Ooo the love of the Father…. :)

Great Expectations

We all have expectations. We deny it but it’s true and it’s there. It seems like it is non-existent until an expectation is not met.

 

I’ve been meditating on the outreach, kinda like debriefing with God and the passage that He’s given me over the outreach which is Galations 5. It talks about the law and the Spirit.

 

Having an expectation is like having a law. We all have laws, whether good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable written on our hearts – my teacher should be this this this, my parent should be this this this, my husband should do this this this and then, they’ll be right.

 

My question is, should there even be a good or reasonable law for others or for ourselves? King David says I have hidden your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you, not I have hidden your word in my heart so that I can make sure others don’t sin against you!

 

Even if there is a law written in our hearts (which is true), Paul says in Galations 5 that "it was for freedom that Christ has set us free… you who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace…", which simply means that the law serves to judge us and steer us towards what we should do but it’s not to beat ourselves up about and get all stressed up because Christ has come to set us free! If we continue to beat ourselves up according to the law and trying to be right all the time, we are "alienated from Christ"  – that’s so sad! And "fallen from grace"! Yucks! Who wants that!?!

 

I’ve always known this but since coming out of Singapore, I’ve felt it and realised it even more than ever – as a Singaporean, I have a terrible sin – I need to be right ALL the time! I am so afraid to lose and I hate to be wrong or fail. Worse of all? I put everyone around me under the same "law" or judgement! Esp James and Sophie! Eeks! How awful is that?!? (Btw, we all cover this up real well as in we don’t go around telling people directly why they are wrong, it is uncovered in our best when we complain, gossip or worst, SULK. We are terribly good at that.)

 

Anyways, back to what I was saying, if operating out of the law is opposite to operating out of grace referring to Galations, then, that explains why as Singaporeans we are struggling so hard to be a gracious society! Personally, I struggle to show grace and my carnal instinct is to judge and complain when things go wrong (but I only complain in my heart k… see I’m so righteous, I don’t complain what!?!, I just complain in my heart only… ok sometimes to my husband… ya right right… :)). Need to grip it at the thought life.

 

I need to understand this – the law is governed by God and God alone. The law that we hold for ourselves/others which I equate to expectations here in this reflection, might not always be fair or holy. Only He alone is the judge and ruler of all. He gave the law out out of love to set the boundaries for relationship with God and men so that men will not "bite" and devour" each other (Galations 5:15). He is perfect (bible calls it holy) so He alone can demand perfection and keep to perfection (not me). Because He is love and grace, he alone made it possible for man to be free from the judgement of the law through His son’s death and resurrection.

 

Note to self:
I cannot keep the law. I can only say sorry and move on. Even trying to do the right thing doesn’t work. In my study bible, it says "the burden of the rigorous demands of the law as the means for gaining God’s favor – an intolerable burden for sinful humanity." No way I can keep the law and I must stop making other people keep the law. Need to eradicate expectations. I have no right to expect. I am the receiver of that love and grace. "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE." The New Testament parables that Jesus told all pointed to this – stop pretending to be all righteous, stop judging, stop throwing stones at others, LOVE, GIVE, SHARE, even to your enemies. Because you can’t keep the law, you can only receive of love and grace and freely give of that.

 

How would I know if I’m showing grace and love? – "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is NO LAW!… Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." I need to move in the opposite spirit.

 

Oh wait, btw, need to remember I would probably complain and judge again so at the heart of it, I must learn to say sorry instead of justifying myself. So, at the heartiest heart of it? It’s all about being humble. How hard is that for a Singaporean? Hardest of hard. Lord, help me.

 

P/s: Scary thing? So many countries are trying to be like Singapore just because we’ve done so well, seemingly. Oh Lord, pls help. I love Singapore but we really need help here. We need a change of heart.


P/ss: Erm, this reflection might not be all theologically sound so pls take it with a pitch of salt and it’s more a personal reflection. I’m not really good at talking it out so it helps me to process my thoughts if I write it out. And I’ve gotten all lazy with handwriting (maybe I should do Handwriting without Tears with Soph!) and it’s much easier typing. And since I’ve typed it out, I might as well post it out. Haha!

Intercession with the kiddos

 

The great thing about this particular YWAM base is that we try our best to involve the kids in all that we do. I’m finding myself leading quite a bit of the family events e.g games, intercession, worship etc. I’ve not really done these things before with children coz I used to work with youths more. It’s really quite different working with young children and some don’t even speak English well. But I’m really enjoying it – singing Who’s the King of the Jungle?, pretending to be able to play the guitar (hiak!) and being silly… secretly loving it!

 

Last week, we had class intercession and we made prayer posters (making collages of prayer items) for our outreach locations and had a time of popcorn prayer (one sentence prayer).

 

If anyone has more ideas of how to involve the families in prayer and worship, I’d really like to learn more! Pls email me!

Balancing on God’s love

Oooo how I love the mornings… :) (Surely that’s a verse from a psalm??? :))

 

Anyway, thot I’ll share this with you. Something which I read in Henri Nouwen’s book on Christian Leadership which btw is an excellent read, thin but extremely loaded.

 

James always talks about relativism in our beliefs wherelse I’m more conservative and prefer to think in absolutes. It’s just one key difference in our characters. Hee. In this I think HN managed to put it well into words to find a balance:

 

"Thru the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen again and again to the voice of love and to find there the wisdom and courage to address whatever issue presents itself to them. Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject. But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative."

 

It’s only when we know ourselves in Christ and is secure, we can be anything he wants us to be without going to the extreme to protect ourselves. Wow!

 

This is what i’m meditating on today.
 

Jesus is with me

Our conversation this morning when I went to get Sophie when she woke up:

 

Sophie: Mummy you outside?

 

Me: Yes I’m always outside waiting for you to wake up k? You don’t have to be scared when you sleep. (She sleeps in her own room)

 

Sophie: Jesus is with me? (ok she said something to this effect. I can’t rem her exact words)

 

Me: (Wow!) Yes yes! Jesus is in your heart and you don’t have to be scared.

 

That really really made my day! Last night we read about the Lost Sheep, about how God loves us so much, He would do anything to look for us, even dramatised it by looking for her sheep. We ended off the night singing

 

"Be bold Be Strong

For the Lord thy God is with you

I am not afraid

No no no

I am not dismayed

Coz I’m walking in faith and victory

For the Lord thy God is with you"

 

She remembered!

 

 

Treasured words

"But his mother treasured all these things in her heart." Luke 2:51

 

The desire of my heart is to write about the things of God but somehow writing about them superficially doesn’t quite cut it. Sometimes with all that is happening within me, it can be pretty overwhelming. I can only sit, wonder and pray. Today is one of those days. It can snowball into being worrying and depressive but thankfully reading from another source and of course leading me to read the main source (the bible) brought me back to "Do not worry…" Matt 6:25. At times, all else fails, only the Lord understands that we worry. But yet he says, "Do not worry… because your heavenly Father knows…."

 

I’m held by your love… upheld by your strength. This I treasure.

Impulsiveness or Discipleship

This is from yesterday’s My Utmost for his Highest. It’s beautiful and a timely reminder. It really tugs at my heart because I know the Holy Spirit says this is what I have called you to:- Holiness in daily dish washing, diaper changing and joy in the managing a little one who is starting to show her tantrums. If you can excel in this by My grace, you can excel in the darkest of places and times.

 

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . —Jude 20

 

There was nothing of the nature of impulsive or thoughtless action about our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into a panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman—an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.

 

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he "followed Him at a distance" on dry land ( Mark 14:54 ). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.

Spiritual Mentoring

For the past two years, we have been part of spiritual mentoring group under Tony Horsfall. Tony who lives in the UK, is the author of "The Call to Intimacy". The group is made up of people from different churches (we are the youngest in the group!) and we meet up once every 3 months when Tony is in Singapore.

 

As part of the course, we had to do readings, reflections as well as spend a quiet day/retreat each time Tony is here. The focus of this programme is to position us to draw us closer and experience the deep love of the Father.

 

I emphasize position because a lot of times we are unable to hear God because we’re so caught up.

 

Every retreat has been precious because it is such a luxury to be able to spend extended time, away from the constant noise and just to sit at the feet of the Father. To listen, to talk, to fellowship with Him. At each retreat, the revelation has gotten deeper and deeper.

 

Tony has been such a real representation of the Father heart of God. It just feels so good to be around him. James and I have been really privileged to be cared by him. I say cared because it is just so much deeper than being mentored or even led. Thank God for you Tony (I hope you are reading this! :)) Oh yes! And the group has been amazing company in this journey too. Everyone has been so humble and it’s great learning together.

 

YEP! We’ve graduated (even though we’ve been so bad at handing up assignments, thank you God and Tony for the grace extended) from the programme and we’re moving onto the next stage!

Passage of the Season

Psalm 1

BOOK I : Psalms 1-41

 1 Blessed is the man
       who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
       or stand in the way of sinners
       or sit in the seat of mockers.

 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
       and on his law he meditates day and night.

 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
       which yields its fruit in season
       and whose leaf does not wither.
       Whatever he does prospers.

 4 Not so the wicked!
       They are like chaff
       that the wind blows away.

 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
       nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
       but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

My current problem: I meditate on what people say/think more than what God says/think. Worry = Meditate :)

People who norm pray for me, pls keep me in prayer that I will get a breakthrough in this area. Thanks. :) I see breakthru coming coz God is faithful!!