Keeping Faith (by Jodi Poccult)

I’ve recently embarked on a reading journey again after quitting my job of 3 years. I am not entirely jobless, but I have the privilege of doing something that I love – being a stay-at-home wife … literally “working for my husband” and teaching English part-time (my favourite subject in school, and it’s still is). And oh, I get to start writing again. I am hoping to bring my writing to the next level someday. My reading has taken me to this book which I got at a book fair for a pretty good deal. Quite frankly, I bought the book because it has the word “Faith” on it. I had the impression that the entire book was literally about how to keep your faith intact in any circumstances you are going through or are about to go through.

Being a Christian, the word faith means a lot to me, though I have trouble keeping it each time something majorly difficult hit my life. And I thought this could be just the book for me. So I read the synopsis … briefly. Without giving it much thought, I bought it! Turns out after reading it, the content of the book was not what I expected, but it reveals something much more compelling … and inspiring at the end of it.

The story was about a 7-year old Jewish girl (Faith) whose parents were undergoing a messy divorce. Her mother had depression and suicide histories (much thanks to her dad who had gallivanted more than one woman behind her back). Life was very complicated for the little girl who had to endure so much, hoping so badly that her family would not fall apart.

Jesus appeared to the little girl one night to offer her comfort. Why her? Well the Scripture said that Jesus expects us to have childlike faith – one that does not question, does not doubt, but has the confidence to listen, obey, and follow, wherever He leads us. Faith was not exposed to how Jesus actually looks like. She did not attend Sunday Schools nor read children’s bibles with pictures like most Christian children do. So the very first thing that came to her mind when she saw the ‘apparition’ was she had a ‘guard’ that came in the form of a ‘woman’.

In her loneliness, she finally had someone to talk to, to protect and guard her against the painful circumstances that surround her. She had a ‘friend’ whom she trusts, or so she thought. To add to her encounter with Jesus, Faith also experienced ‘stigmata’ – the real-life experience of being tortured and crucified like Jesus on the cross.

Faith’s ‘imaginary friend’ had kept her mother on her toes most of the time. The media and religious fanatics were hovering over their lives, depriving them the privacy they so badly appreciate Then came the lawyer’s letter issued by her father, seeking custody over Faith, because he thought that Faith’s mother (being a once a mental health patient) could not take care of her, and purportedly exposing her to the media to gain public attention. And the battle was on. Almost 45% of the book’s content revolves around the court scene. When I read this book, I read it like I was watching movie, and I could imagine the scenes at the court, the hospital, the love-making between her mother and her newfound boyfriend, etc.

One would take pity of the little girl who had to go through so much – the stigmata, the media attention, the divorce, etc. but would you have thought that God has a reason for bringing these ‘suffering’ unto a little girl of a tender age of 7? And the stress and mounting pressure Faith’s mother had to cope with – going through custody battle; finding her grounds to believe her story that she’s seeing ‘God’ even though she does not believe in a Christian God;  proving to the community that all allegations and accusations made against her for not being able to take care of her child are false; and having to deal with a cheating husband. Was there any hope left for both Faith and her mother?

Seeing God is not something unusual for us Christians. We only see God when we are faced with the life’s dangers. This is because when we let our own ‘guards’ down and bring our faith to surface only can we come close to God, so close we could almost feel and touch Him with our bare hands. Indeed, this is a book of how God appear to those who needs Him.  What might seem like a lost hope, turns out to be a hope that has been knocking on one’s life’s door, waiting for the one to open and embrace into his/her life. So, who won the custody in this story? It is the one who believes

I hope you will enjoy reading the book as much as I did and find a reason to believe that, when you believe in God, God will show Himself to you. In whatever circumstances you are going through, I pray you will seek God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

 

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The Best Gifts in Life …

I’ve always thought that my life is incomplete, especially during the Chinese New Year and I met up with relatives – cousins with children they are proud of … and I have none. I always wondered what is taking God so long to bless me with a baby? I never knew His plans for me simply because I often fail to listen to Him … but somehow I know that God knows what is best for me. That is the best reassuring thought I can come up with to overcome my negativity. As I dwell deeper into His word, as I continue to hold on to His presence and to know Him better, God is someone who will never disappoint us. My life may be incomplete in the world’s eyes, but it is always perfect in God’s eyes. Without a baby, I can focus on doing something that I’ve always wanted to do – writing and traveling. Maybe God wanted me to do something that a baby will hinder me from doing it. Maybe God wants me to continue doing missionary work year after year. The world may think that I am not getting any younger and having a baby at a later age will be risky. But if God wants to give me a baby, he will give me a healthy happy baby no matter how old I am! This I want to continue to believe … But as I read today’s message from God, it gives me the reassuring thought that God’s gifts as follows are always the best we can have in our present life in this world:

1) His forgiveness (Romans 3:24) – and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

During the Chinese New Year, the Chinese visit temples to offer their prayers for a good year ahead. Some prayed for money, some prayed for good health, some prayed for happy family and some pray for offsprings. These are all very normal. Everybody would want some blessings in their lives. But how many actually prayed for forgiveness of the sins committed in the past few years?  The Chinese believe that by doing good deeds, they will earn their way to heaven and if they did anything bad (getting angry included), they will be doomed to hell. But this are all through our humanly efforts and how much we can we do to earn our way to heaven? And does this mean that everyone is doomed for hell since we aren’t perfect? We get angry all the time because we are emotional. We commit sins/crime that are unforgiveable. We are greedy and jealous by nature.  But God sees us as imperfect right from the beginning of Adam’s and Eve’s lives. We are indeed doomed for hell but God gave us a way out – that is through the forgivness of sins in Christ Jesus. Many do not believe that there is someone who is willing to die for our sins and give us a way back to God. But even then, there will be some who believed and then fell back to the temptations of this world and never got back on track. But God loves us nevertheless. He will always want to receive us in his arms. The only way to get back to God is to repent our sins and follow His ways to repentence. We are merely humans … we can never be perfect. We are born to make mistakes and not to fake perfection. Forgiveness and a chance to “live” again in God’s wonderful life is something that we hope to have after we have committing a sin. Many times we fail to get back on track and the only way back to God is through constant prayers and belief that our God can save us through forgiveness. We needed’ pray for it through offerings, we just need to ask and it shall be given unto you.

2) Continual presence

(Heb 13:5) – God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”

In my previous blog, I talked about overcoming life’s challenges and the only way to do so, is to focus our eyes and have faith and trust in Jesus. Jesus promises us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. Though we may not feel his presence when our our hearts are covered with fears and worries and our minds are full of thoughts on how to overcome them through our humanly efforts. Many times we failed to just trust that Jesus can take care of things for us simply because we are impatient (especially in my case!) I just want to get things sorted out quickly so I can move on with the next task in my plan. I tell you one thing, men may plan his pathways, but God will be the one who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Though I think that my plans will work out, God thinks otherwise. I often get myself into trouble because I always think I am right. But when God intervenes to tell me that I am not, I retaliate. After that, God will reason with me as to why he puts a stop to all my ways. I tend to view that as negative – and I will fall back to my old self of bashing myself up for not doing things right. But as time goes by, I begin to understand my failures. I begin to see that failures may not be something bad all the time. It is a sign that God has planned out something better for me. I’ve been in and out of troubles – you should have read them in my previous posts. But throughout all these troubles, God was there wth me to bring me out from the rumbles and to make me a victor in His eyes. If it wasn’t for all these troubles, I will still be lost! I’ve gained wisdom and I’ve gained faith. But one thing I often lack is my confidence in God. Despite this promise, I always doubt myself. Pray that I will forever be confident in God because He has promised to be there for me in all circumstances. This is one promise that you and I will want to hold on to.

3) Hope

(Romans 15:13) – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope is something that we often thrive to hold on to in times of trial. We often long to see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel which seems to have no end to it. Have you ever had that peace that as you walk in the dark tunnel, you will see the bright shining light at the end of it? What if you don’t? Will you lose hope? There will be times where God will not grant us what we what, will not heal our illnesses as we hoped He will, but God’s will always remain good. When you think that God is not healing you or not giving you anything, what do you do? The most natural thing a human would do is to retaliate and question God constantly. It’s like a hungry cat getting all flustered whenever it is not given any food. I am definitely one of those who would whine and complain till the sky drops down to the earth until at one point, when I don’t get what I wanted, I will just stop naturally. I don’t know how I could come to that stop but I think the hope that the Spirit gives in me overcomes every desires of mine. Hope though may sound very trivial, but it is something that most people hold on to in times of need and hope is one of God’s gift to us as Christians to continue walking down the dark tunnel until we experience the joy and peace in trusting that He will lead us to the bright shining light at the end of the tunnel.

4) Peace

(John 14:27) – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid

Peace … what peace is there when your heart is torn into pieces and your mind has too much things to think about …I did not experience much peace in the past few weeks resulting in frequent anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. I was worried … overly worried about my current job when my boss leaves. Yes, my boss is deciding to leave her current position as well, my boss and this devastated me for a while. When God brought me to this job, I thought I have the best job … finally, after all the troubles and trials I’ve been through in my previous jobs. My boss is a wonderful boss. She’s caring, understanding yet objective, respectful and practical. How often do you hear people praising their bosses like I do? And yet, our work relationship in this present office has to come to an end. I’ve asked God why, why did he put me in such a good job and then take away the security I’ve enjoyed so much in this job. But I did not realise that I’ve been putting hope into something of this world … which is not what God wants us to do, because this world will disappoint us and cause us to fall in our faith. Our hope should be built on nothing less but Jesus Christ our solid rock. When this situation hit me, I went into frequent anxiety attacks often resulting in breathlessness, sleepless nights and nightmares. I did not realise that I was so fearful of the unknown future. I have been bottling up my stress to hide my fears and worries. I’ve tried to stay focus on the job, but I still felt very insecure and afraid most of the time. I became disorientated and agitated. Every little things irritated me. Due to my anxieties I literally skipped bible study sessions for quite a long while. I could not bring myself to study God’s words. I was so confused and angry that I don’t know how to relate to God anymore. Then you know what … something miraculous happened! God spoke to me! And it was so real that I could not fathom the reality of that. The leader of our bible study group has decided to use Rick Warren’s study on “Everything is Possible with God” which focuses on 6 phases of faith and it comes with a video and a handbook. The 6 phases emphasised in the study are (1) Dream, (2) Decision, (3) Delay, (4) Difficulty, (5) Dead End and (6) Deliverance. I went through all phases and I have no one to thank for but God who has brought me out of all these phases and gave me the strength that I could never thought I could master in this lifetime.

 5) Forever future in His presence

1 Thess 4:17 – After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever

 Yes, it is truly uplifting to hear that we will be with the Lord forever after life here on earth. As crazy as I may sound, I’ve prayed fervently for the day I can meet the Lord in heaven because I was literally given up on this world. I just want a perfect life free of sorrows, pain and miseries, and heaven is where I wanna be. However, before we could meet the Lord in heaven, we need to do something for Him – that is to spread the news that heaven exists and that He wants to meet ALL of you, YES ALL OF YOU in heave if only ou will accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. I once asked God (when I was doubting myself that I could ever have children to take care of me when I grow old) and He said:

Isaiah 46:4

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime—     until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you.     I will carry you along and save you”.

I yearn for nothing less but Jesus Christ and righteousness. I am blessed with these gifts from God, gifts that the world has shunned, gifts that the world thing it is of no material wealth and values. But I think otherwise. They are exactly what we need to sustain us in this world that will soon wither away. We need comfort and salvation and the only person who can give us all these is none other than God …

Giving it all to Jesus…

I could feel that my walk with God has become stronger ….. and more scary than ever. God is bringing me up to the next level of faith which requires another round of testing (and bashing as I have known it to be) and that is the scary part. I am not sure if I can withstand those testing that comes to me .. but like Jesus has said and promised in His word that He will come when the time is right. Does this mean that He will come to my rescue when I am falling under? To me, it doesn’t sound that way and it certainly doesn’t sound like the nature of Jesus to just come for the sake of rescuing me. I believe He comes so that we might believe in His power, might and presence in this world. Ever since I came out of my previous “bashing” from God, I could feel that I have been raised from ‘dead’ just like the scenes of cruxification and ressurection of Jesus some 2000++ years ago. Then God explained in His word that this is a process of ‘crucifying’ our old self (which is sinful) with Jesus so that my body which is ruled by sin will be done away with and that I should no longer be slaves to sin and that Christ lives in me (Romans 6:6, Gal 2:20).

It’s funny because in my whole life as a Christian, I never really grasped the meaning of cruxification and ressurection until I experienced it myself. It’s not that I am physically hung up on the cross, but my sins in which Jesus took from me to be placed on the cross that we might live once again in Him. It might sound strange to you, but once you believe in it, you will find that your life is somewhat uplifted and peaceful knowing that you are secured in God’s hands and His kingdom when you leave this world one day. This is the first step into believing that Jesus is Lord. The next step, is to love and obey Him and to give it all to Him – your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Ever since I received the message that God is bringing me nearer to His kingdom, my messages have been all about following Him and obeying His plan and this is His plan for me – to pull myself up, spend some time alone with God and to make the moral decision of identifying my sins with His death until I know that sin is dead in me. I believe God has a reason for this message to me, and this is what I reckoned (from Steve Troxel, God’s Daily Word Ministries):

Our earthly nature is home to all our sinful desires, but it is also the source of all the ambitions and dreams not formed by God.  When we tightly hold to our dreams and are driven (or drive others) by our own ambitions, we choke what God desires to accomplish and never see the full potential of Christ – never see the abundant life God desires us to live. We have a tendency to dream and make plans, and then spend our time and energy pursuing the dream rather than truly pursuing Christ.  Our dream may even appear very Godly – we may strive for a dynamic ministry or children who love and follow God – but until we allow EVERYTHING within us to die and be replaced by the love of God, we will never experience His very best or witness His most beautiful fruit; “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

In other words, there are still many “sinful desires” in me that have not been exposed and cleansed by God. Until I identify them with God, only will I be set free once again. I admit, till today I still feel shortchanged. No matter how much I tried feeling grateful and happy with the blessings that God have given me, I still feel shortchanged. The reason for this unhappiness is the tendency to compare myself with those who are better off around me. One of which is the ability to conceive. I don’t like to sound like I am blaming, but I think I have myself to blame the most, that whenever I log on to Facebook seeing news of people who have sucessfully delivered their newborns, or who have managed to conceive, I could feel my heart skip a beat or just completely drop to my stomach. I often tell myself that I ought to be grateful because I still have the opportunity to live a free life – free of commitments and free of hassle from taking care of babies. I often remind myself that in time God will give me a baby as I have envisioned it to be. I want to believe that God will, but the pulls of the worldly desire tend to distract me. And this is why God is telling me strongly that I should just “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Colossians 3:5). For if I hold on to those thoughts and desires, I will not only pull myself down, but I will fall into the pits of self-destruction mentally and spiritually.

But I thank God that no matter what happens, He stood by me, encouraging, reminding and watching my every step, every move and every beat of my heart, to steer me back to the right bearings of my spiritual walk with Him. Until I ‘put to death’ this sin of mine, I will never be able to walk in a straight path with God till the day I see Him in His kingdom. That is why, His command to us is to give our all to Him so that He can direct our paths to righteousness without any distractions from our sinful nature. Sins and God can never coexist. That is why in the bible, it was mentioned that at one point in Jesus’s life, God has abandoned Him because He has chosen to take our sins in His body and put it on the cross for us. Likewise, in order to remain holy and just, we (or rather I) need to ‘crucify’ my sins so that God can raise me up again once more. Pray that I will find peace and joy in fulfilling God’s plans. It still sounds quite scary to me and it takes alot of faith to just trust God that everything will turn out fine. Pray that I will trust Him. Have a blessed day!

The Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance

I never know how strong the words of “spiritual perseverance” mean to me until I read this message from Oswald Chambers yesterday on Feb 22. It just brings light to darkness and it certainly brings hope for those who are in despair. God is great and there is no doubt about that. In this message, God told ALL of us that in times of trials to just let our hearts, souls and minds to be STILL before Him – “Be still and know that I am God …” (Psalm 46:10). This is what the rest of the message entails:

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for – love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men – will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with the certainty that God will never be defeated.

If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere … ” (Revelations 3:10).

Continue to persevere spiritually.

Battlefield of the Mind (Chapter 8: When is my mind normal?)

After such a short break, I am back at writing what I read from Joyce Meyer’s book; this time, continuing with the next section of the book which talks about the conditions of the mind – how best can we alter/adjust our thoughts to right thoughts that is pleasing and right before our God. The first topic discussed in Chapter 8 is about having a normal mind before our God. What does a “normal mind” mean in Joyce’s perception?

The first paragraph of this chapter starts off with a discussion on how the mind and the spirit (which is the eye of our hearts) work together. Taken from 1 Corinthians 2:11, Joyce summarized that the Holy Spirit that dwells in us when we received it through Christ’s salvation, knows the mind of God and its function is to bring God’s wisdom and revelation through His word to our minds. This is so that we can have spiritual communication with God in which we hear and understand God’s message sent to us (Ephesians 1:17-18). And what about having a normal mind? What does that mean?

Normal or Abnormal Mind?

According to Joyce, a normal mind is a mind that “is at rest … [and that it] should not be filled with reasoning, worry, anxiety, fear, and the like. It should be calm, quiet and serene“. On another note, a mind that is too busy to receive God’s wisdom and revelation. As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs of the chapter, the mind and the spirit work closely with each other to reveal to us the message of God, but “if the mind is too busy, it will miss what the Lord is attempting to reveal to us through his spirit“.

I often experienced abnormality in my mind especially when I come before the Lord in prayer. As I pray (whether alone or in a congregation of worshipers), my mind tend to stray from the focus of the prayer, to the thoughts of my worldly lives – what am I to eat later? What am I to do later? … etc. It is rather disturbing to me because I feel humiliated by my thoughts that are not fixed on the prayer and on God. But that is how my mind works. When I read this chapter of the book, it just hit on me that often I do not know what am I praying about. I pray and I doubt at the same time. Praying and doubting is indeed displeasing to God. I do not know God’s power and what He can do. I do not trust that God can help me with my prayer request. This is truly upsetting. It upsets God and it certainly hit a blow in my heart causing me to feel guilty of my actions. And that is what satan often tries to do. Joyce warns her readers that Satan enjoys attacking our minds first because he knows that our minds are very vulnerable to wrong thoughts. When we are engaged in wrong thoughts, we will lose heart and when we lost heart, we lose hope and trust in God and thus, crushing the Holy Spirit that resides in our “temple”.

Joyce has forewarned in her earlier chapters about having the right thoughts. I admit that I am very vulnerable to wrong thoughts. Whenever I am displeased with my surroundings or when my expectations are not met or when I am caught in situations that leave me in doubts and fear, satan, as how Joyce puts it, “will start waging against me on the battlefield of my mind … filling it with all kinds of wrong thoughts so it cannot be free and available to to the Holy Spirit“. Staying on the right things about God, knowing that He hears us, trusting in His power and glory and keeping a peaceful mind will free us from this “war”. But God knows our every struggles, especially our struggles with the evil ones and He promises never to leave us nor forsake us, giving us comfort, peace and hope and renewing us with His strength to keep us going – stronger and better in faith and in life (1 Chronicles 28:20; Isaiah 42:16; Joshua 1:5).

Therefore, I urge each and everyone of you whose belief and trust is in Christ, to stay on to Christ should you encounter any circumstances that wages against your rightful thoughts about God and the like. It is important for you and me to bow down in prayer and ask for God to deliver us from wrong thoughts whenever we are caught off guard with satan’s attacks. I pray that this will be kept as our daily devotion to God – to look to Him and not to anyone or circumstances around us for it brings Him great joy and glory that we are following His ways and not the ways of the world to bring us peace, deliverance and joy. Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for the next blog on the chapter that talks about “A Wandering, Wondering Mind”.

There is none like You …

Truly, there is none like God as it is said in Genesis 17:1 (“I am Almighty God…“) and profoundly repeated in Isaiah 45. Isaiah 45:5 reads “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me” and it is repeated in Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all of you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is NO other“. This is the ultimate proclamation that God wants from us as we walk in the right relationship with Him in our Christian lives. Many times, Christians (me included) fail to acknowledge the one fact that has kept us strong and alive – that is the power of God to save and to love. We often fail to acknowledge this because of the burdens that we carry in this world with our efforts that eventually wear us out. We fail because we pursued the greed of this world instead of seeking Him to carry us through our hardships and difficulties. For LORD, you are good. You have never failed to lift us up nor give up on our transgressions.

On Jan 19th, God sent me a very strong message about the vision that he once gave me – a vision that I had in my dreams of me carrying a baby boy. The vision was so clear that I could still remember how I carried the little baby in my hands. I would gladly regard this dream/vision as God’s promise to me and hubs that He will give us a child one day in His perfect timing. But over the months/years my yearning has distant me from God, which sent me into waves of doubts and troubles that I could never comprehend. I finally came into realization that, only God can do all things (Isaiah 45:7), and that I ought to pray for a child in His will and not mine.

It may seem very hard to comprehend for most of you who are reading my blog, but what transformed my thoughts and prayers are the words of God telling me that, we ought to look to God first before all things because He gives and creates all things. This message was first sent to me by a pastor at the church I am attending, and at that time, I couldn’t quite get the message – or maybe I was ignorant. But the message was not sent out in vain. The message I received on Jan 19th appears like this (taken from My Utmost for His Highest):

  • Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen.
  • When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait.
  • God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing.
  • Those years of darkness/silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure.
  • We just need to wait upon God and be grounded on Him, and not rely on our own common sense(Isaiah 50:10-11)
  • The big questions we need to ask ourselves are “Do we trust in the flesh? Or have we learned to go beyond our confidence in ourselves and other people of God?” (this literally means do we trust others’ advice more than God’s?) and “Or have I placed my confidence in God himself, not in His blessings?”
  • The ultimate reason why we are being disciplined is that we will know that God is real.
  • Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God (This message came as a resounding gong that rang deep in my heart, mind and soul reminding me that I ought not to rely on others or my own strength, understanding, common sense and efforts to make things come my way, but to build my trust in the Lord, the giver of all things)

As I read the story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16, of how Abram resorted to his own common sense to fast track God’s plans for him which ended in a disaster more than a blessing, I felt a sense of fear that I may end up like Abram if I continue to rely on my own impatience and strength to set the paths right for me. And the amazing thing is, I was about to see a Chinese practitioner that day when this message came flashing on me. A day before the plan to visit the Chinese practitioner, I was stricken with a weird kind of illness which I cannot define – gastric, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness. I was literally drained out the very next day (the day I was about to visit the practitioner) and I could not bring myself to take the LRT and walk to the practitioner which was situated in the heart of KL town. And then, everything made sense to me when I came across this message. God just wanted me to wait! But being a stubborn ox, I was very reluctant to follow the message and was determined to visit the practitioner at whatever costs – including my deteriorating health!

But somehow, there is this strong tingling sensation which I believed came from the Holy Spirit residing in me, prompting me not to go. I became more tired and I slept throughout the afternoon which of course, made me missed the appointment I’ve set with the practitioner and the most amazing thing was, instead of fretting over a missed appointment, I was at peace with God. You see, I had an interview the very next day, and if I hadn’t listened to God and went ahead with my plans, I would’ve missed out on a great interview that God has set for me (that is of course, a different story altogether). How great is our God! He has made me lie down in green pastures and assured me of the vision He gave me. Though I am not sure what will happen next in my life – will I have a baby this year or not? I could only think of relying on God’s timing than my own to make it happen. I will strive to enjoy every minute of my life with Him and my hubby and in fellowship with my dear sisters and not dwell on my own worldly desires to make me happy. With God with me, what other joy is there to savor here on earth? There is truly none like God.

Battlefield of the Mind (Chapter 7: Think about what you are thinking about)

Chapter 7 of Battlefield of the Mind comes with a very long and what may seemed to be, a complex topic – but it really isn’t at all that complex. This chapter basically tells us to think or to ponder on the words of God we read or heard and to meditate on God’s precepts, and when we do this, “the more revelation knowledge we will have about what we have read or heard”. It requires some effort and devotion on our part to read and meditate on God’s words, which most Christians (at least I) failed to do most of the time.

It is not just about reading the word of God, but to delve deeper into its meaning and letting our hearts, minds and souls be led by the Holy Spirit as we read them. Joyce also warned us that we should never be just reading God’s words or hearing sermons for the sake of hearing/reading them. The message from this chapter that says “the flesh is basically lazy, and many people want to get something for nothing (with no effort on their part)” came as a big slap on my face for me. I must learn and commit to devote myself into reading, enjoying, appreciating, internalizing and utilizing God’s words in every parts of my life. I started by writing down bible verses which come as a message God sent me in my daily quiet time with Him. This habit of writing has become an enjoyable activity which I will not want to miss for the day. In fact, it helps me to start the morning – fresh and renewed. Writing bible verses helps me to keep track of God’s messages for me and to be at a covenant with Him as much as I can.

Apart from writing down the verses, I also started blogging about it especially messages that truly touched me and prompted me to share them out with others in my blog. This form of writing activity has really kept me going in those darkest moments that I experienced and I must thank a sister who has taught me the art of writing and remembering God’s words in my heart. This is what this chapter is about as well. As we delve on God’s words, we will start to think about them more and more.

Psalm 1:1-2

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

Indeed, I found it rather delightful to be reading God’s words daily, to delve on it and to appreciate His presence with me as I read them. I could not wait to start the next day reading God’s words and talking to Him. It is like a new found hobby that I enjoy so much and it delights me to hear Him day after day to keep me afloat. Reading God’s words and thinking about it in all circumstances will help us embrace the difficulties in life and enjoy life more. God’s words are like the shield of our faith and the sword of the Spirit that will protect us from all evil schemes (Eph 6:10-17).

By reading Battlefield of the Mind, I realized that the miseries I have been suffering in my life sprouted from the negative thoughts that I have harbored all these years. Realizing the problem is one thing, but to take the necessary actions to get rid of it is another. I cannot deny that there are many times where I relented to my old thoughts and ways whenever I am faced with the same troubling situations that I have faced in the past. Joyce’s words in this chapter reminded me that all these miseries/negative thoughts came not from God, but from the evil one. How we think of the situations/circumstances that hit us will determine if we are on the road to further self-destruction or freedom, for “our thoughts affect our attitudes and moods.

As for me, I know that it will be a tough road ahead of me – facing more anxieties, worries and fear in life, and at the same time, fighting to claim the victory of Christ by the renewal of my mind and thoughts towards positivism. But I know that, with the shield of faith, belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation, I shall fear no evil, though I walk through the valley of shadow of death for God is with me and with you as well.

Till we meet again in Chapter 8 which comes as Part 2 of Battlefield of the Mind that talks about the “Conditions of the Mind”.