I want to write…

But I feel I shouldn’t so I better not… 

Exam tomorrow.

Three days ’til it’ll be over.

Then a week in Sydney to be drenched in the manifest presence of God.

Then two weeks of internship and application-writing.

Then it starts all over again…

Note to self: try not to jam-pack your ‘holiday’ next time.

♥ Ames

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hmmm.

Radiant kindness is hard to forget.  Somehow I feel like this is not a good thing.  I’m in two minds about the whole situation.  Do I give in and just let the mind wander where it will or do I just brush it off and read it the way it (most likely) is…?

I keep turning things over and over in my mind and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it (or maybe this is just the mind’s way of procrastination…hmmm).  He was just so nice to me… almost too nice, but maybe that’s just the person he is.  I was taken back by the ease in conversation and then just the willingness to assist.  Even though I was a mere law student, I felt like I was chatting to a friend rather than a person already in my chosen profession.

It’s all just silliness really.  Shake it off, girl.  You’ve got an exam to smash in two days.

Yikes, and this was me thinking I’d begun to detox this blog from these types of musings ha.

♥ Ames

flying with eagles

“Be faithful in small things, then you will be entrusted with more.”

The parable of the three servants entrusted with varying amounts of talents (money) was the key passage in today’s devo (Matt 25:14-30).  Then I heard it referred to in a CD message that my dad had popped into our car.  I heard it again when I switched on ACC just before… three times, in one day?  He must be trying to tell me something :P.

There have been so many changes… leaving my home church being the biggest spanner in the works.  Looking back, it really was time to move on – such a God-Thing.  There’s a saying that, “If you are the biggest fish in the pond, then it’s time to find new waters to swim in.”  It’s not a reflection on the group of people we left behind but on the season that we are all in… we had to leave to do what we were called to do and in doing that, we gave room for others to step up and grow.  I rejoice now when I see the status updates and photos of activities that have been happening over at the place I had once called home… they are flourishing beautifully and I’ve been released to grow in other areas of ministry.  Our temporary home church is pretty much half the size (if not smaller) and there’s no one my age BUT, I get the opportunity to mentor and minister to teens every week in a way I never would have been able to if I had continued where I had been.  Instead of being exhausted after every Sunday, I feel so invigorated and encouraged by their response and the privilege I get to speak life and truth into young lives who will in turn, be the future of The Church.

I’ve also just come back from a Semester 2 planning meeting with a Christian campus group that I’ve been affiliated with on and off for the last 5 years.  I finally have the time to get actively involved in ministry that can directly impact my uni friends and being amongst like-minded individuals was just so refreshing… there’s something really different when you are flying with eagles ;).

“Sometimes we must cut off some things to focus on the main thing.”

♥ Ames

refocus.

An excerpt from Satan’s world conference address to his minions:

When Christians are close to God, we are powerless against them.  So here are my top 12 strategies to get them away from him – then we will have the upper hand again.

  1. Keep them busy with non-essentials
  2. Tempt them to overspend and go into debt
  3. Make them work long hours to maintain empty lifestyles
  4. Discourage them from spending family time for when the home disintegrates, there is no refuge from work
  5. Overstimulate their minds with TV, computers and video games so that they can’t hear God speaking to them
  6. Fill their coffee tables and newsstands with magazines, newspapers and novels so that they will have no time to read the Bible
  7. Flood their letter boxes with sweepstakes and get-rich-quick scheme to keep them chasing after material things
  8. Put glamorous models on TV ads and magazine covers to keep them focused on outward appearances that way they will be dissatisfied with themselves and their mate
  9. Make sure married couples are too exhausted for physical intimacy so that they will be tempted to look elsewhere
  10. Emphasis Santa and the Easter Bunny so it will divert them from the real meaning of the holidays
  11. Involve them in ‘good’ causes so they won’t have time for eternal ones
  12. Make them self-sufficient, keep them busy working in their own strength, so that they’ll never know the joy of God’s power working in them

(paraphrased from an illustration used in a Turning Point broadcast)

————————————————————

I find that I struggle at times with 1, 5, 6, 11 and 12 if I’m not careful.  It is so easy to get distracted by little non-essentials that we lose sight of our purpose in life.  Why do we waste hours surfing YouTube or watching pointless comedy shows and then spend <1 hour per day speaking to our Heavenly Father? Or sometimes, we get so consumed by the people around us that we forget what’s really important – our relationship with God.  When we’ve realised what’s happened, it’s time to get quiet, get away if you need to and be still… and then, get refocused.

There’s a difference between being busy and being successful in what God has called you to do.  ‘Busy’ can sometimes equate to ‘Being Under Satan’s Yoke’ (from the sermon above hehe) so perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate how we are spending our time.

Lord, please forgive me if I’ve put TV, movies, books, friends, relationships, cooking, photography, restaurant-hopping, my own selfish desires above seeking after You.  Remove all that’s in my life that will keep me from fulfilling the plans You’ve fashioned for me.  Make me more like You and draw me closer to You everyday.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

♥ Ames

no nest here!

“Many of us struggle with constant thoughts of worthlessness, discontentment, resentment, or fear. Those kinds of thoughts are merely temptation from our enemy – he is tempting us to believe lies about ourselves, others, or our King. Martin Luther once wrote, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” We may not be able to keep the thoughts from entering our mind, but we can keep them from staying in our mind—by kicking them out the moment they arrive! Giving in to those thoughts and allowing them to linger in our head allows them to take root inside our heart and begin to control our life. Remember that protecting our inner sanctuary is not just a defensive action; it is offensive as well. And one of the best offensive moves we can make is to set up a guard station at the entrance of our mind. Instead of passively allowing any and all random thoughts to saunter right on in and hang out for as long as they want, we must actively begin chasing away any thought that is not a reflection of Jesus Christ.”

– taken from set apart devotionals by Leslie Ludy

Now I finally understand why I was so up and down all the time.  It was so silly… I think there were times when I just got too confident in myself, thinking that I was so over it all, that I let my defences down and hence, the negative thoughts came and I just let them stay there and grow into something ugly… before finally coming to my senses and clearing out the junk.  However, after a few weeks of cruising, the cycle would start again because I just wasn’t being careful.  The difference this time is that I’m actually aware of the fact that I can be on the offensive when it comes to my thought life.  I don’t have to just let the thoughts consume me each time they enter my mind.

I can feel the difference.  I’ve woken up the past two days with this sense of… difference lols.  It’s a hard feeling to describe… there’s just such a contentment with having everything out in the open, having taken responsibility for my actions and been truthful to those closest to my heart.  But, at the same time, I’m being alert to the fact that the S dude is looking for opportunities to trip me up again so I have to be careful with how I spend my time.  And constantly depend on God for strength and wisdom.

All is well… The confident, life-loving single gal pre-Oct 2009 is back, baby! lols, but a better version and she’s here to stay.  Praise the Lord.

♥ Ames

How could it be

What an awesome thing it is to come home from church completely refreshed and full of joy!  We sang a new song today (well, it was new for me) and though it was in Chinese, I belted out the translated version displayed underneath the lyrics…

With a truthful heart,

Lord, I come before Thee

Open my eyes, so I can see.

With a grateful heart,

Lord I come to receive Your spirit of humbleness and grace.

 

How could it be, that You would care for me?

How could it be, Your blood was shed for me?

How could it be, You’ve crowned me with Your grace and glory?

O my soul, sing praises to the King.

 

You have removed my bondage, my chains.

You have removed, my burdens and shame.

You have removed, my sorrows and pain.

O my soul, sing praises to His name.

– How Could It Be, Eric Hsieh/Sandy Yu (Streams Of Praise)

Last night I found my freedom.  Secrets that I’d been holding onto for nearly two years were finally disclosed and the incredible burden was finally lifted.  Never will I forget that moment and never will I cease to be grateful for the strength and courage He gave me to really let it all go.  I taunted the S dude back, ‘Ah ha! That’s it, you got nothing left on me now.  I’ve won, I’ve won, I’ve won!’

Lord, let me never be so proud that I can’t see the errors of my ways,

Let me never be so self-righteous that I forget to sing your praise. 

Lord, please keep me humble for the rest of my days, 

Please let my light shine for You tonight, tomorrow and always.

Amen.

♥ Ames

the face off

S: You’ve stuffed up big time.  Your dreams have been crushed and there’s nothing you can do about it.  What a disappointment you must be to the Father.  You are such a horrible fake of a Christian.  You deserve to carry this burden for the rest of your life.  You’ll never be free from it.  You are not worthy of His love.  How could anyone love you ever again?  

A: Yes, I’ve stuffed up.  Yes, my dreams may have been crushed and there is nothing I can do about it.  BUT, my Father can and has already done something about it.  In His mercy and love, He sent His Son to take all my stuff ups and replaced them with His perfections.  I am made righteous by Christ.  When my Father sees me, He doesn’t see my stuff ups- He sees the blood that has washed me white as snow.  I WILL boast of my mistakes and weaknesses because it highlights the goodness and grace of my Father.   Christ set me free when He traded places with me and took the penalty on my behalf.  He shouted, ‘Abba Father, why have you forsaken me?’ so that I could shout, ‘Abba Father, why have you so blessed and loved me?’  I was never worthy in the first place and He loves me in spite of it all because He is the Great Author of Love.

And there is nothing that you can do to convince me otherwise.  There is no more record of my sin, you cannot condemn me anymore.  I am made whole through His suffering.  He will give me new dreams as I’ve laid my burdens at the cross.  So stop lying to me.  Go away, leave me alone.  This is the last time we are going to have this conversation.

———————

I’m not going to pretend that nothing happened – that’s just living in denial.

I’m not just going to avoid it – that’s just running away.

I’ve realised that the S dude had the upper hand all this time because I had not dealt with my mistakes properly.  I gave him a foothold in my life so he kept poking me where it hurts and toying with my mind ’til I could not stand it any longer.

I feel like this is a mental battle that I’ll have to keep fighting but I’m more equipped now – correction: I was always equipped but I just kept forgetting I could hit back :D.  I know he’ll try to trick me again into believing his lies but hopefully, he’ll realise that it won’t work anymore.  The ending has already been decided and guess what?  I win- because He is on my side.  ‘Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.’

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
And His joy’s going to be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
I’m trading my sorrows.
I’m trading my shame.
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.

Trading My Sorrows, Darrell Evans

♥ Ames