23 03 2009

A simple favour. Requested by my parents, to my sister, on behalf of me. Something small that wouldn’t take too much of her time, or effort, or anything at all – definitely within her convenience. Something that would help me alot without being much of a problem to her.

I listened from upstairs as my parents spoke to her. Her reluctance was obvious, and out came various excuses and attempts to worm her way out. My dad was obviously reigning in his anger with her, at one point his volume went up. I knew she was reluctant because it is me. Because that’s just the way she treats me. Nice when she requires stuff from me. It was just last week that I told her she didn’t need to replace my property that she had broke while using, without my permission. Yet when I make a request, it’ll be met with an instant disagreement. She won’t even bring something downstairs for me when she’s headed down. That’s why I don’t even make requests to her anymore – my parents do it for me when it’s something important.

But that’s not the point. I have learnt coping mechanisms and ways of making myself scarce, and it doesn’t usually bother me too much. Yet today, I feel so downcast in my soul, because this incident really adds on to all the burdens that have been weighing me down in the past week. The thing is, my sis is 5 years older than me, and a church leader as well. She holds a post in church that is to be respected, and many youths look up to her, and learn from her. I sometimes hear church friends telling me of what a great person she is – and I can only smile weakly, for only I know the truth that could entirely ruin her reputation. Years ago, in rage I typed out a letter to her to tell her blatantly what a hypocrite I felt she was. But it wasn’t right with my conscience to deliver it, so I never did. At that time, I thought that if this was the life of a church leader at home, I wonder about the other leaders in church too. I wanted to quit church.

And now a similar kind of feeling is returning. This merely adds fuel to the fire that has been burning inside of me. Or perhaps fire is a wrong metaphor, because it is more like an emptiness. I have been seeking and searching and trying to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who God really is and what He really wants of me. It stemmed from learning about false prophets and increasingly discovering that not every single thing I learnt in church may be right. I watched videos of exposed false prophets who caused people to be ‘slained’, believe they are healed, speak in tongues, and give their money believing that they will be blessed, while behind the scenes, the false prophet (who, by the way, does not even believe in God) happily pockets it. The church scenes looked stunningly familiar as those I witness. Increasingly I find that my view of God and Christianity is distorted, and I don’t know if everything is an emotional hype. It is hard for me to distinguish God’s voice from my voice, God’s word from my thoughts, God’s presence from my emotions.

And so I’m searching again, learning that organised religion may not be everything good, and striving to discover God for who He really is, beyond the rituals of singing songs, giving tithes, speaking in tongues and smiling in church. I have questions like “why does God not heal amputees” building up inside of me, and I am confused. I can tell you for sure I am absolutely certain there is a God – but I’m just not sure that the way the church is today is the way that pleases Him. I don’t want any more emotional hypes as we sing exciting or emotionally-stirring songs, don’t want to hear that I’m going to hell if I don’t give 10% of my income, don’t want to blabber out syllabi in the intensity of corporate prayer while wondering if anyone in Heaven actually understands what I am saying. It’s not that I’m against worship or tithes or tongues or anything like that. I just need to know they are real, for me, and not my emotions playing tricks on me.

And then there comes my sister. For someone who’s been in church since young, served for years and years mentoring others, taken on important church positions, responded to altar calls, prayed for many, and gained the respect of many as a mature Christian to turn to, I find it rather odd that she does not seem to possess an ounce of love when at home. It makes me wonder whether church is but a Sunday feel-good facade.

I’m lost.

Shift of posts

25 02 2009

Dear readers,

If you noticed that some posts have suddenly disappeared from my blog, it is because I have shifted them to another blog, one which is open to the people who know me. This blog will remain for the more personal posts and my deepest struggles. (Sorry too if you see only rants here!)

This life is much too tough

9 02 2009

Perhaps it’s because I’m a pessimist. Perhaps I just don’t handle stuff easily. But as time goes by and as the burden of adulthood begins to fall upon my shoulders, I feel increasingly melancholic.

Life when younger was simple and carefree. Perhaps I didn’t think it as simple nor carefree then, but somehow things always look different on hindsight. Perhaps in contrast to the kind of life I experience now. I guess the past was simple in being one-directional – get the best grades, get into the top schools, and get the university course I desired. Now that all that is over and done – now what?

I could put it this way. I’m losing my interest on all things worldly, but yet I have not sufficiently filled up the space with all things eternal. I find the world’s endless rat race senseless, I no longer crave to fly high or earn much. I want my life to be set out for God. I know that God should be my number one priority, and that my entire life’s perspective should be eternal. Yet, I find myself feeling hopelessly lost on what I could do. I see little special purpose for the rest of my life, and I certainly do not want to be just another one who lived as a believer and not a disciple.

To be honest, I sometimes wonder if God gives life direction to those who die young. Since they would die young, does that mean their life needs no long-term plan? Or if they had been given a long-term plan, wouldn’t their dying young seem contrary to God’s plan? And… does that mean that since I don’t see a long-term plan for my life, I could just possibly die young? But I guess that’s just part of my own over-imagination.

But I also know that God wants me to be faithful in the small things, before He entrusts me with the big. Whatever I am doing now, I must make sure I am doing it to my best for His glory. Be it my church ministry, the girls I am mentoring, and even my school work, I must handle these things well before He will lead me into bigger things. I guess I am a person who struggles with staying with the same thing with no end in sight, but I need to learn what faithfulness entails.

Actually, now that I’ve poured out my thoughts in this blog post, I think that life isn’t that tough after all. God really tends to speak to me as I type out each blog post. I have an amazing hope in my Lord Jesus Christ. My joy shall have to come not from worldly means but from the Lord – and when the worldly pleasures fade away, I see how He can then be the sole provider of my joy! What I have to do is to take off worldly glasses and put on the eternal ones… and taste and see that the Lord is really, really good.

What is Faith? (Part II)

6 02 2009

It’s amazing how God answered my question last night, after having typed the previous post and prepared to sleep. I took out my Life Application Bible for some night-time Bible reading. Having finished Acts that morning, I began on Romans, intending to read 1 chapter. And there, near the end of chapter 1, was a section with a title that read “What is Faith?”. I trembled when I saw it!

I learnt that other than the Confident Hope definition I had mentioned earlier, faith had these other meanings in the Bible – faithfulness (Matthew 24:45), absolute trust (Luke 7:2-10), or even a barren belief that does not result in good deeds (James 2:14-26).

I also read of how faith is not just another deed towards salvation, but it is a gift that God gives to us because He is saving us, out of His mercy. Finally, it said that “we must accept His gracious offer with thanksgiving and allow Him to plant the seed of faith within us.” I then realised that rather than striving to have faith and pondering on whether I had made my faith strong enough, I am to embrace the faith that God gives to me, and yes, have faith in this faith.


Have you ever heard about the guy who walked a tight rope across Niagra Falls? Many people watched him do it. To them he asked, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls?” They all replied, “Yes.” They had already seen him do it.

Then he pushed a wheel barrow on a tight rope across Niagra Falls. When he completed the feat, he asked the onlookers, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls pushing a wheel barrow?” To that they replied unanimously, “Yes.” Because they saw him do that too.

Finally, a buddy of the tight rope walker climbs into the wheel barrow and the tight rope walker pushes him across the Falls. Wow, what a daring feat! When they finished, the tight rope walker asked the crowd, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls pushing a wheel barrow with a person in it?” To that they exclaimed, “Yes!” For they were now believers in this guy’s awesome abilities.

Then he looked at the crowd and asked, “Who’s next?”

There you have it… Belief vs. Faith…!


What is faith?

5 02 2009

It’s a simple question but it perplexes me.

I read in the Bible of how Jesus emphasized faith so much. Too many times He said the phrase “what little faith you have!” and in many cases, the lack of faith stopped miracles from occurring. He said that if we have faith like a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible. I’m utterly convinced that faith is of great importance, but it is so hard to perceive something intangible.

I searched the Bible and found a definition: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

My worry is that I claim to have faith, but at the end of the race I am found faithless. How do I know my faith is true? What am I hoping for?

I probably need to have more faith in my faith. Does that make sense?

Rushing Water

26 01 2009

As I was worshipping God on Sunday, a thought came to mind.

I saw my life as a dirty and dingy back alleyway that was filled with heaps of rubbish. Not just that, it was dark, dirty and grimy.

I was the lone excavator trying to remove the rubbish. Bit by bit, I scooped up the rubbish and dumped them away.

After I had finished scooping up the rubbish, the place was somewhat cleaner.

But all I had done was to remove the largest and most obvious of the rubbish. The place was still filled with dirt and grime, and leftover debris which my excavator could not pick up. The place didn’t appear dirty, but yet it was dirty. Then I knew my own efforts to clean up my life were not enough.

But then in came the Lord, as rushing water. With a strong gush of wave that swept through the back alley, everything was instantly clean and made new. Even the smallest bit of dirt could not escape the cleansing.

Lord, cleanse me.

Struggling with Sin

21 01 2009

On the many occasions that I ask for forgiveness for the same type of sin again, I feel so guilty. Was I asking for it one time too many? I know God is most willing to release forgiveness, but sometimes I feel like I’m taking too much advantage of that benefit. I am embarrassed when I come before God. I’m apologetic and repentful, and thinking that if He didn’t want to forgive me anymore, I deserve it.

Sometimes I wreck my head in frustration at why my flesh is so weak. In my mind I determine to live a righteous Christian life, but things like my anger, pride, harsh words, and other forms of ungodliness can creep in.

I’m always reminded of the following verses:

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

-Romans 7:14-25 (NLT)

When I first read this months ago, I was in tears because it was as if Paul took the words out of my mouth, and I knew that God knew the exact situation I was going through. I’ve come a long way since then, but there’s an even longer distance to go before I dare to even think that God would consider me righteous.

I’m so appalled at my humanness. If God plays favourites, there’s probably not even room for me on the waitlist. I am so sinful and so wretched, so terrible in asking for forgiveness again and again, and yet doing again what I told Him I would not do. I would be quick to point fingers at anyone who was forgiven by human and yet does the same thing again, yet I am too foolish to realise that I am doing it to not just mere man, but to the Almighty God.

Where is my respect? Where is my Holy fear? Where is my adoration for the Holy God? Why am I taking his forgiveness for granted? Why, just why am I so human?

The verses tell me that the answer is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such mercy and love I cannot comprehend. I can only beg for His patience and guidance as I respond to His overwhelming love.