Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Care for a Slice?

Do you ever ask God why this happens or that happens to you? When you go through trials and you feel stressed because of it, you feel abandoned, left to rot....
Heres a little story that i received through an email

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'
'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
'Yuck' says her daughter.
'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'
'Mom, those are all yucky!'
To which the mother replies: 'Yes , all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! '
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

Believe it or not... all these things that are happening to you that you think is very negative, and horrible is all part of the smaller picture. God definitely has a bigger picture, a bigger purpose in store for you no matter how low things go.

" In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." Ephesians 1:11

All God asks is for you to believe in him, to follow him, to obey his commands to 1) love God and 2)love your neighbour

"... i ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." 2 john 5-6

And when i say that all God asks is for you to believe him, im not saying all you have to do is say ..."yup.. i think God exists" or "i go to church, that means God i know God exists" or "i know every single bible story so i know what Jesus did and I know God exists".

If you think about it, even the demons that were mentioned in the bible knew that God exists (James 2:19)

So what does knowing God mean? Knowing God means reading the bible, setting some time out of your busy life to do your devotions, follow God's commands.. love others like Jesus did and just KNOW GOD on an intimate level.. search for God, Taste and SEE that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) Did I master all these things... by all means.. NO!..like i said in an earlier Blog.. im playing this game with unlimited levels and im like at level 10.. I still have a million mountains to climb!

Why am i telling you that Knowing God is important? Because if you don't know God.. you wont be able to see the bigger picture... you wont be able to see that all the negative things are small things that are trying to build you up to be ready for something on a bigger scale.. Dont believe me? even the bible says so

" The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. " 1 Cor 2: 14

So this is an encouragement to all of you... don't sweat the low times..because in the end, God will use all those small yucky, tasteless ingredients and bake you up a HUGE, delicious Cake (which I wouldn't mind having a slice of a cake right now) .. also search for God as best as you can so you can understand why I enjoy writing these blogs... even if its 2 30 in the morning - You re gonna have to just trust me on this one.... i guarantee it will be worth it!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why stop before we Begin?

Here I am in the middle of another busy week, writing this blog. So why am i writing it? Because God is Goood!! A lot of the past year has been a struggle with my career path. As a lot of you who know me, i was wait-listed for optometry school at the University of Waterloo. And when I found out, i was reading the book of James at the time and the first thing I saw was

consider it pure joy , my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you maybe mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

And after talking to a friend, who didn't get into their school of choice, he said that his 4th year was actually very fulfilling as he did many things that he wouldn't have done if he did get into his post undergrad school.

So i began to think.. maybe God really wants me to do my 4th year and become complete, mature and not lacking anything... this was pretty much reaffirmed when off of the wait-list, 13 people got into the school of optometry at UW and the end of August, and guess what? I was number 14!

But all Said and done, this year i finally Got into Optometry! Praise the Lord! and once again i say that God is good. But i definitely believe that God put me through my 4th year to teach me, to mature me and to make me complete. But i will share that that stuff with my brothers and sisters at CCF during sharing night before i write a post on it (Mainly because i haven't processed anything yet! and also because i need something to share about during sharing night!). But i Do want to say thank you to those who have been praying for me and support me all this time!

So where do we go from here? I got in. What now? Just coast and do whatever until September starts up again? (Which im NOT going to do [for my mom's comfort]No worries.. im still competing with my roommate for marks haha)

Im going to use this part of my life as an analogy for something that ive been thinking about recently. That is, when Christians get baptized or come to accept Christ, we tend to believe that since we re saved, we re automatically saved and free from everything, that we just have to wait until we die and then God will just let us into Heaven?

I mean if it were that easy, why not just go into Heaven directly after we accept Christ? The fact is that we are on this Earth to be witnesses to others who do not yet know God. Also God gave us some jobs we must fulfill. The greatest commandment, Love God, love your neighbours and also the great commission: GO forth and make disciples of ALL nations.

The fact is that after we ve accepted Christ, the Journey is JUST beginning.

We still have to go and Live like Jesus, doing all we can to show people that you dont have to conform to the patterns of the world (Romans 12:2), but we can break free of any sort of expectation or stigma that society has put on us where if someone does something to you, one would usually retaliate or why do something if it doesn't benefit you?

In Ephesians 4:1-2 it says:

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Is it not harder to live a life of a Christian? To do the "Good" thing? To wake up extra early on a weekend day to go to church? To set aside time in a society that is always on the GO to read the bible and to devote some time to God. To have society's eyes on you, watching every step of the way pointing out every that isn't "Christian like". Doesn't it seem like you re walking through a pathway of knee deep snow where no one has shoveled and you re making the first footprints? Why am i encouraging you to take this path?

I am going to try to use a part of my own personal testimony as a source of encouragement.

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is Good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him

Just last year, i made the commitment to daily search for God and live my life the way God wanted me to live. And I can say that i've tasted and seen that God is Good. Everything that i've gone through, i've found joy, happiness and peace. I can say that in the past year, with God in my life, even when times weren't looking great, i was still able to find joy in my life through God.

What more can I say... its been just pure awesomeness! How can i not share this goodness with whoever i can share it with! And my journey is STILL not over yet!

Whats even better is that when you come to know how Good God is, you just keep wanting more... i would say its a GOOD addiction then!

Theres so much to learn about God. I like to compare it to a game with unlimited levels.. and no matter how long any one of us has lived, we re like at level 10 or some low number like that...

SO my encouragement to you is to not to stop searching for God, no matter how tough the journey it may seem! There is no level of seniority and there are no experts out there.. all there is, is people full of sin who are in need of healing and forgiveness, something God can only provide. There will never come a point where someone will experience all of God's goodness at any point of their lifetime so KEEP SEARCHING and good things will happen!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Take off that MASK!

When you talk to your friends, maybe even people you just met... usually you get the impression that they re normal people living out their normal lives, generally happy and generally enjoying their life whether it be school, work or retirement. Don't you find that when you re going through tough times, it seems like everyone around you is having the time of their lives or at least they are doing ok. Then you ask yourself, how come everyone is doing well except me?

Chances are that those very same people are going through their own struggles. Lets face it, who Doesn't go through their own struggles. Its like a daily, weekly, monthly thing, but either way.. we ALL face our own struggles. We are just really good at putting on masks. These masks make others think that you re doing fine in life and everything is going OK.

The funny thing is that even though We cannot see through these masks, God can. God can tell when you re sad, happy, depressed, Overjoyed... everything. He can see right through that mask, so why hide it? In fact the best way to go through a tough time is to talk it out. Have you ever experienced just talking about something with a friend and then you feel better about it after you've taken the weight off your shoulders?

So what if you don't have anyone to talk to, or you re too embarrassed to tell anyone about your struggles? Why not talk to God? A lot of people think prayer is this structured essay or speech you need to prepare before hand. I actually think that's funny.. imagine writing a speech for God haha. But no.. its not like that. In fact, The way I pray is as simple as a little conversation with God; just like how i would talk to any of my friends. Just carry out a normal conversation and share with God about your struggles.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21: 22

For the skeptical people out there, if you do try praying... do you sincerely, earnestly.... FOR REALS! believe that God is ready and willing to help you through your struggles? And for those believers out there... when you pray...do you doubt? as in.. do you ever have second thoughts whether or not God will be there for you or not?

"But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1: 6-8

DONT be that person who is double minded and is unstable in his/her faith. Strive to be one minded and stable. For example, if you were going to donate money, how would you feel about donating money to an organization who dont really know what they re going to use the money for? What if God was that person donating the money to you for your organization to help the needy and the poor, but you yourself arent committed to that and may use that money for your own purposes? How do you think God feels about double mindedness and unstableness!

Then when you pray, how many times should you ask God for what you desire or for what he desires for you without making it seem like you re doubting?

Of course i don't have the answer, but it is a good topic to reflect about!

If you really want to know how powerful prayer is, i have some really good stories... personal experiences that i can share with you.

Its been said that the people turn to God when they re most desperate. Because we have so many options in this developed country, we usually turn to other things like the internet, books, etc... but Where God is their only option... you actually see miracles at work in the developing countries.

Whether you want to believe that or not isn't up to me, but my challenge to you all is to just take some time...even 1 or 2 minutes every day,and have that little conversation with God with sincerity and without doubt. give it a try!

Here's a quote that inspired me during the sermon today from J.I Packer from the book Knowing God

"I can hide my heart and my past, and my future plans, from men, but i cannot hide anything from God. I can talk in a way that deceives my fellow-creatures as to what I really am, but nothing I say or do can deceive God... He knows me as I really am, better indeed than I know myself... Living becomes an awesome business when you realize that you spend every moment of your life in the sight and company of an omniscient, omnipresent Creator."

And another inspiring Quote.... "Live before an Audience of One" Meaning live like God is watching you. Do the things that God would want you to do.. a lot of people wear those What would Jesus do Bracelets... why just wear it? LIVE IT OUT! Do the little things that other people care about, opening doors for strangers, throwing things in the garabage instead of dumping it on the street, and just live a joyful life. I'm pretty sure it will make the world a better place one person at a time!