Saturday, May 4, 2013

121. Inner Fountain

Hi all,

I was really inspired at GG ESSC to start sharing what I receive again. And perhaps it's time to start a new blog. I warmly invite you to follow my new blog (only 1 post because I just started it):

God bless,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

120. Sweetness

You know the feeling of when you're praying, and you don't want it to end?

Haven't had many recently. Most of the time after my alarm or the bell rings, I feel "Oh, it's about time", "Not bad", or "I should have concentrated more." When my spirituality is lower, I'd think, "Ah, so hard to pray, but I know I have to." 

Today, I felt some sweetness in prayer. A very sweet sweetness. Sweeter than honey from the comb you might say. It was quite different from the recently typical prayer where I would have a list of requests and may or may not feel the Holy Spirit interceding. It was a sweetness where I honestly felt, "I want to keep praying." 

Maybe it's because I needed comfort. After all, blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

119. Sermons 2

In church, there seems to be the idiosyncratic idea that one can be edified through any given sermon no matter the topic, content, or speaker. However, I seem to only find sermons edifying (or touching) if the speaker is very sincere and into it (probably as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit), if the topic or material is new, or if the speaker goes deeper (or offers a new perspective) on a familiar topic. And yes, these types of sermons are many, and I do often find something interesting in a sermon (thank God!).

However, sometimes sermons don't offer any of these things. The speaker may not seem sincere (maybe they're into it, but more in a speechy or didactic manner), the topic is not new, and the material does not go any deeper beyond what has been recently repeated. For example, let's take "instructions about baptism." Say the speaker mentions things like "head bowed down" with appropriate verses and canonical interpretations (Rom 6:5, John 19:30). He mentions 5-10 similar items in a 45 min sermon. If you listen to this sermon, you feel instructed if you never knew it. You underline these verses and memorize. However, after a few times, if the speaker keeps giving the same information, you don't gain anything, especially if there is no exhortation with feelings/sincerity. Okay, if the sermon had something deeper about each item like a new testimony, then you gain something. If the speaker is sincere and pleads with you, then perhaps you are touched. But, if there are none of these, you're just listening to something you can also recite (at least, if you were paying attention in the past).

And then poor you. You feel like you know this stuff. Are you supposed to feign ignorance to humble yourself? That's unnatural and fake. I guess you just practice patience and hope others are edified, right?

Now, if you keep not getting edified from a variety of different sermons and speakers, then perhaps there may be some sort of personal obstacle/sin/pride. (Either that, or there are some even sadder issues.) However, I've experienced that in a single day, I listen to one really touching/edifying sermon, but then afterwards, I listen to another sermon that is completely unedifying. So, when we say that it's our own fault for not being edified by the sermon, can that really always be true? Why isn't it because the sermon contains no new material? Why isn't it because the speaker is not filled with the Holy Spirit? If they were, I'm sure there would be undeniable power.

Anyway, this post may sound like some sort of rant or complaint. But, the takeaway, I hope, is that we shouldn't find it too strange and beat ourselves up for not being edified in a sermon (although in some cases we should). Instead, we should pray all the more so that God's workers can be powerfully cultivated, so that their sermons can truly be edifying, powerful, and touching by the power of Christ's Spirit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

118. Something More

During a Bible Study Prep workshop, Pr. Liang said that as a Bible Study leader, you need to make an effort to prepare good questions that are relevant and lead the group to a desired destination, instead of just going around and asking everyone to share something, which can take up the time as well. When he talked about how some people only go around and have everyone share, all I kept thinking was "Wow, that's what I do."

Although this is both funny and true, I think the same goes for anything in life. We have this limit of time, and we can fill it in any way we choose (to a great extent). Do we just do the minimum and get by? Or do we plan and try to do something more for God? Either way, we take up the time, right?

It's often tempting to take the easier way. And when we're very busy, that may seem like the only way. But there must be something more we can offer to God. Something more we can do to please Him. 

Saviour, Thy dying love Thou gavest me, 
Nor should I aught withhold, dear Lord, from Thee:
In love my soul would bow, my heart fulfill its vow, 
Some offering bring Thee now, Something for Thee. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

117. Harmony

During this past Winter Spiritual Cultivation at Elizabeth, Preacher Hwang gave a testimony about how a Gentile friend phoned a TJC sister and heard her family singing hymns in the background, harmonizing with voice parts and instruments. The Gentile said she admired the warmth and wished she were in that family. Then, Pr. Hwang made a punny point about how harmony in the church can bring about growth in numbers. The pun was unfortunately lost in translation; nonetheless, that's when I decided I would name my daughter Harmony (if I ever encounter such an occasion).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

116. It's You Again

"It's you again!" said the doctor, as he opened the door to find Carlos sitting in the waiting room.

"Yeah, I burned mys--"

"You burned yourself using the oven. Again. Why am I not surprised? I knew you'd be back."

Carlos looked down in a disappointing silence as he held his arm.

"Carlos. You can't keep doing this. Do you even care about your own well-being? It seems like you just do whatever you want, whenever you want. There are people who care about you. But obviously, you don't seem to care at all! I thought you said you were going to change."

"This was an accident."

"Which could have been prevented... You know your issues go beyond this silly burn. Admit it. And change. How can you expect things to be different if you don't do anything different?"

Friday, January 13, 2012

115. Standing Firm

"All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mt 10:22)

There's enough verses in the NT to know that we'll be hated for our beliefs, but Mt 10:21 puts this hate into the context of those who are close to you--those you care about.

You know, it doesn't even have to be someone that close to you. Many people already care about what strangers and acquaintances think of them--not to mention those in their own social circles. Because of this, when others disagree with what you've done or how you've done something, you will naturally want to know why so that you don't repeat the mistake.

And this is where standing firm comes in. If people you're around consistently disagree with something about you, you'll likely change it. This is often good. But what if that something were a manifestation of your zeal in servitude or a result of your desire to adhere to the word of God? The fact that someone (even a consistent worker in church) has a problem with it may make you question if you were right to act that way. And we become very different from Paul who didn't change in zeal even when opposed in and out. We are gradually crafted into mellowed-out, lukewarm workers who fear and avoid conflict (and are even taught to do so).

However, this dampened zeal comes at a cost too high to pay. So, let us carefully examine our ways and intentions every time someone shows direct or indirect disapproval (no matter how reputable they are in church). What is their reasoning? Is it based on the Bible? If so, is that the correct interpretation? On the other hand, if they're right and our actions are based on an incorrect interpretation or based on personal opinion, preference, or stubbornness, we may need to change. Conversely, how may we be affecting others? Is it for the better or for the worse?

Only if we stand firm to the end in the unwavering truth can we be saved.