Tag Archives: Grace

What Christianity Is All About

it is grace that we can count on. it is His arm that we can fall back upon. despite our failures or mistakes, whether or not we make the right decision, God never fails. He is there to catch us…to bring us back up. Yes, we will have to bear the consequences of our decisions. but Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”. nothing can separate us from His love.

you may contend that if we let Him be the center of our life, if we read His word and pray everyday, we will not stumble. how would that be possible, right? yet we must admit that we fall. we make mistakes. we let our parents down. we break promises we made with friends. we misunderstand His will and follow the wrong path. we sin in our hearts and deeds. despite our intimate relationship with the Lord, we are prone to faults…because we are imperfect.

in those days when our attempts to get life back together are futile, when we realize that we have messed up and things are beyond our reach to amend, Yahweh is there. His almighty power…His sovereignty…His omnipotence…His sweet grace…His love…and His holiness shield us from the forceful darkness. and His truth liberates us. when we compare situations of our life to His power, everything fades…is meaningless…purposeless.

when we submerge ourselves in His love, trusting that this God we worship does know what He is doing, we will experience the revival of our soul. we believe. we love. we obey. we trust. we proclaim. and we wait for the miracles to unfold.

along the way, though, anxiety and worry may overpower us. remember in those days the two men of God who prayed similar prayer to God; argur and paul, asking Him for and being content in His provision.

“give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. otherwise, i may have too much and disown You and say, ‘who is the Lord?’ or i may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (proverbs 30:8-9)

paul said, “i am not saying this because i am in need, for i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. i know what it is to be in need, and i know what it is to have plenty. i have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (philippians 4:11-12)

let us be strengthened, dear ones, by His daily bread. humble our selves and repent of our ways…everyday. be joyful for how He blesses us. be thankful for His sustenance and give all we have to Him and those He loves…so that, in the end, His glory will be like the banner all across the heaven and the earth.

while journeying heavenward and battling off evils, we need to remember His promise…that God will always stand by our sides whatever our circumstances are. we need to hold on to His unfailing love despite who we are. allow ourselves to be accepted, valued and loved by the Friend who doesn’t care about our past. trust in Jehovah Jireh who provides just enough for us to move on…

…so that, ultimately, God Almighty…Lord Jesus will be glorified through the end of the earth. and this living…this glorifying God…is what christianity is all about.

“the cross is not just a symbol of love or a fashion statement. the cross is your daily decision to deny yourself, your rights, your wants, your dreams, your plans, your goals, and deliberately, wholeheartedly, unreservedly live out your commitment to God’s will and God’s way and God’s Word and God’s wisdom. the cross is your decision to live for Him” – anne graham lotz

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Wounded People With Hope

i have this desire to write something…to capture my feelings…and let them live through my words. but i cannot find any vocabularies suitable…or…worthy enough to describe myself at the moment. i am in a state of…mixed colors. i am in awe, confused, peaceful, excited, sad and curious. every time, change brings shock. but all you can do when change comes knocking on your door is to brace yourself and welcome it as best as you can…although you despise it.

the rain still patters hard against my porch outside. but in a little while…or a few hours…it will stop. and the cool breeze will tuck me tight and warm in my soft blanket. the dark night will wrap around me and sing lullaby until i close my eyes and drift away in endless dream.

with my soul being still, God will come and heal me. i am bruised. my nation is wounded. this world is injured. we have weathered through droughts and storms. we cry ’till our bones ache…’till scarlet turned dry…’till wounds turned scars. 

but change will come…for the better…like the rain. it may cause flood but we witnessed brotherhood, friendship and christian love. when storm sweeps everything away…when its power made the earth churn…it cleanses the soil of filthiness.

yet while we hold our fort, when clouds hover above us and hope is dim, look to the Lord and remember His unmatchable power and unfathomable grace. and come to Him…with the humility of heart…for when God gets a hold of us, He never lets us go.

“Jesus, we are broken people. no one is perfect. no, not one. we drown our sorrow in bottles. we hide fear in our cage of self. and we continue to do so with our stubbornness. forgive Your people, Lord. the truth is…if You chose to do so, we would be dead. You don’t need us. but You want us more than anything. and You love us. and i want to live a life worthy of Your love.”


Grace Found In Bathroom

when to-do list snakes down my journal’s page; when thoughts entangle my mind and when tears threaten to fall, grace is found in a lady’s bathroom.

a small woman she may be but her heart is bigger than a box of christmas present i ever received. she held out her arms and embraced me when i felt like i could fall and shatter on the bathroom’s floor. she asked “what was wrong?”. “nothing. it’s just busyness”, said i. without a second thought, “can i help  you with something?”.

i didn’t expect her to do me a favor. but she insisted. with this kind of grace, i knew i can keep moving on.

this lady cracks jokes when everyone else buries their nose in front of computer screens. she is someone you will feel awkward being around with at first. if you ask her “how are you?”, be sure to stop and listen to her answer. on her desk sits a teddy bear, a toy belonging to a 2-year-old baby of her foreigner-learning-thai student. she is someone who goes to the bathroom to brush her teeth if she knows she has said something offensive to her friends, just because she doesn’t want to have a “foul mouth”. and never dare her anything…because she will do it…as crazy as it may be.

this friend of mine exemplifies grace and kindness. in the grey moments of life, one just needs a friend like this to keep moving on.

one of a kind


A Living Sacrifice

this evening, as i was riding in a red truck to the mall, i saw the moat canals were brimming with water. it reminded of God’s faithfulness and provision. 2 months ago, all of us in chiang-mai were complaining about how dry it was and how late the rain came this year. but for these past 2-3 weeks, we have been blessed by the refreshing rain almost every day. and now, admittedly, a bit afraid that the city might be flooded soon from the look of the river level right now.  

the water got very high. picture taken on august 14, 2010.

 

sometimes we feel like He seems so late at making things happen. but no, His hand is evident in every occurrence on earth…just like this year’s rain…or like me waiting on different things in life to happen.  

the Lord has taught me another great lesson today through romans 12 – how to be a living sacrifice to Him. often, we view things through our eyes and see problems, long waiting line and hopeless circumstances. but we have to keep this in mind – our time to serve God is so short and quickly passing…30-40 years from now on at the max. for some, it may be less.  

so what can we do to live life to the fullest and let ourselves be the pleasing aroma to God? how can we step across the fear, pain and struggle we are facing right now? 

paul’s letter is very practical and clear in instructing on how to do that:  

1. do not be conformed to this world BUT be transformed by the renewal of our mind (2)  

2. do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to, but think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned (3)  

3. use our spiritual gifts to glorify the Lord and edify the members of His body (4-8)  

4. let love be genuine. hate evil, love good. (9)  

5. love and honor one another (10)  

6. be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (11)  

7. rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be faithful in prayer (12)  

8. show hospitality (13)  

9. bless and do not curse (14) – lesson of forgiveness  

10. rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. in another word, share the moments sincerely with those around you. be there for them. (15)  

11. live in harmony (16)  

12. give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. be an example to the fallen world. (17)  

13. live peaceably with all, if possible. (sidenote from my esv bible says: “paul recognizes it is not possible to be at peace with everyone, even when one makes the effort.”) (18)  

14. never avenge for ourselves. the revenge is God’s, “for it is written, ‘vengeance is Mine, i will repay, says the Lord.'” (19)  

15. love our enemies. overcome evil with good. (20-21)  

although christianity is about grace, we must do our parts and contribute ourselves to the cause. we need to start with submitting, surrendering and accepting that Christ reigns within us. trying to do all these on our own, we will achieve nothing and begin to feel exhausted.  

let our focus be fixed upon Jesus.  

then, slowly, we will begin to hear Him speaking softly to our ear – “child, draw near to Me…for in Me, there is abundance. in Me, you will find your heart’s desire. in Me, you can be a perfect living sacrifice…come.”


A Bush of Flowers And the Unexpected SMS

this morning was an episode of woes after i stepped out of my rooms. my bicycle’s brakes were loose…and i never noticed it. as i was gliding out of my apartment’s gate, i almost ran into a few motorbikes that were lining up on the street. i pushed the brakes real hard but it wouldn’t stop still.

it was a morning horror. i thought i’d get hit, injured and sent to a hospital.

then as i rode along the main street, there were a few more mishaps – a car uncarefully zoomed past my turtle-speed bike and almost threw me off the seat, a motorcycle driving in the wrong lane and wouldn’t let me in and rain drizzling down.

my spirit was drenched with frustration. i didn’t think i would bloom bright today. “it’s gonna be a terrible day for sure”, i thought.

just then, a bush of purple-blue flowers caught my sight. they were dancing in the wind joyfully…uncaring of what might or might not go wrong. they were made to be beautiful and were proud to show to the world that they are.
 
 

(didn’t take this picture by myself but it is similar to what i saw)

with that small encounter, my heart was already lifted.

later on, i got a little text message from my friend, who normally wouldn’t call or text unless he or i had something to work on together. that one sentence of “feeling better yet” suddenly switched the light on. surprised, yes…but more so…grateful.

 i wasn’t feeling well the other day but now i’m all up and about, excited and strangely content. 🙂 have you ever had that moment when you suddenly feel like the weight you’ve carried for so long is lifted and you can trust in the Lord wholeheartedly for whatever might happen to you…doesn’t matter if it’s a fatal accident, a severe disease or an unforgiveable failure? 

sometimes we wonder if life’s gonna be better; if the rain will ever come; if our parents will ever talk to us again; if our financial situation will be resolved; if the world will ever be peaceful; if this heartbreak will ever stop; if our child will ever behave; if our spouse will only listen to us; if..if..if…

“if” is just a word of imagination. we can’t solve any problems or turn things upside down with “if”. rather, we look at life, people, circumstances and the world as it is with no prejudice and presumption.

then we will realize that we are broken humanity. as we embrace our brokenness, we tear down the bar that puts people on different sides. no more you or me. it’s you and me

grace enters the world.

give someone today a bouquet of flowers or a random message. you might just make his or her day. 🙂

“whatever the circumstances, whatever the call, whatever the duty, whatever the price, whatever the sacrifice – God’s strength will be your strength in your hour of need.” – billy graham


For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong

never again will i drag myself so far from God. it hit me hard this morning that i’d been trying to do things on my own without asking for His help. God has been only a concept of a religion to me this past week. and i hated every single moment of it.

“without relationship, nothing in christian world is done.” said dr. john bond, the board chairman of compassion australia i got to meet today.

with no interaction with God, i’m just a soul-less person walking this earth with no purpose.

i was so caught up with my own misery and other stuff that was on my mind that i kinda let my work go a bit. the result was a chaos this morning. my team leader had to print out booklets and brochures for the tour i’m hosting for me. she had to send a “very important” email to another coworker on my behalf to get the information needed for a sponsor visit. she had to keep reminding me about things i should’ve thought ahead, but my mind was so clogged up that there was no “thinking ahead of time” for me today.

yui was so gracious that i felt so shameful. how could i let myself be in such situation where i caused my co-worker to do things i was supposed to do. worse, she was already so busy with her own responsibilities.

i have gone on without God…and now my eyes are unveiled. without Him, i’m hopeless. 

how do i go about reconciling with my Father? shame and guilt fill my heart. but i know He isn’t a least bit surprised. He knows it all…and He isn’t disappointed at me. He knew this was gonna happen…and He let me go about on my own so i could learn my lesson.

anyway, i won’t be blogging until sunday as i will be spending time in chiang-rai hosting a tour. my health isn’t so good and my heart isn’t quite ready. but that’s good because now God’s strength can be made perfect in my weaknesses.

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

apostle paul, 2 corinthians 12:9-10


Into the Light I come

 it takes a great fall for someone like me to be repentant of my sins and come back with meekness to God. i must admit that i appreciate failures and all the bad things in life more when i realize that i can’t keep on alone, not with the Lord’s help. when everything seems good and going well, it gets scary. self-reliance and pride quickly get in the way. and i push God to the edge of His throne and squeez myself into His place.

sin has entered into human’s life since the beginning of the fall. it has continued to ruin the relationship we’re supposed to have with each other and with God. as i was reading genesis 4:7 this morning, i found that the Lord gave a clear warning and a stern command for cain and all of us:

“if you do well, will you not be accepted? and if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

satan is very cunning. it uses our weakest points to fulfill its desire. when we are lured into its dominion, we forget everything else for our carnal desire is being deliciously fed. we are deaf to the voice of the Spirit and enslaved by its power. when we allow satan to come near us, we are in danger.

that is why it’s so important to fix our every desire to please God and let Him rule over us. when He is the center of our life, we are empowered to wage war against the principalities and powers of this earth.

everyday of my life is a battle ground. not a day passes without me struggling with temptations. some days, i conquer. but some other days, i fail. instead of hiding in the bush, although still burning with shame, i’ve learned that it’s better to immediately  come out, confess my sin and deal with it straightforwardly with God. it’s not always easy doing that, though, because i feel like i’m robbing His grace…and i’m such a hypocrite… i do what i want although it’s wrong then ask for His forgiveness. i’d rather leave it unspoken, blame myself and leave a good distance between me and Him.

but john 1:16-17 says,

“and from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. for the law was given through moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

there is no sin in this world that God’s grace cannot cover…even when you lie to your parents, cheat on your spouses, leave your baby in a garbage dump, stab your friends from the back, steal and murder for money, etc, Jesus said this before He breathed His last, “Father, please forgive them for they know not what they do.”

all we must do is to come out of our closet, confess and repent of our sins before God and accept His forgiveness. of course, forgiveness doesn’t mean that there is no consequence of sins but it allows God to have more territory in our hearts as He is conforming us into His image, despite our faults and mistakes through the blood of Jesus.

this song came to my mind while i was writing this. it’s called “marvelous light” by charlie hall. i hope you enjoy the video and be assured that the Lord God is the conqueror of death. though our days may be long and our fight seems hopeless, as long as we are in Him, we have VICTORY.

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” john 12:46