My Spiritual Life Ramblings

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Millions took to the streets all over the world to protest after the United States pushed for a resolution at the United Nations for military action against Baghdad. Why do these people take to the streets? Similarly, why do people want to write a petition? Simply because actions with volume and quantity speak of strength. There’s immense strength in numbers.
It works the same way in the spiritual world too.

A friend was lamenting to me about where her spiritual gifts lies and was contemplating on which ministry to join in the church. She does not have the time or patience to join the children’s or usher ministry, can’t sing well enough to join the choir ministry, can’t dance well enough to join the dance ministry, can’t act well enough to join the drama ministry…
I say, there’s a gift or a ministry everyone of us is well qualified to do.
Pray. Act as an intercessory role.

“..You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Act 28 :26-27

It was a natural thing for me to believe in God. I never questioned why. I just believe.
Hence there was a period of time in my naivety, where I just do not understand why people are so resistant to the gospel. Till God showed me that I was lucky enough to be blessed by His grace with open ears and open eyes and an open heart.
Most people have been masked and blinded by satan to hear and know and understand the good news. That’s why they are resistant and mock it. It’s hard to get them to cross over to this side.
The only power to break Satan’s mask in these people lives is prayer.
As mentioned earlier, there’s strength in numbers. And there’s immense strength in large numbers of prayers.
Yet, sadly, many Christians don’t spend much time praying. Even if they do, they spend praying about their own personal lives, about their own needs and wants. Let’s pray for these people whose eyes are blinded by satan’s mask of deceit.

"Cast your burdens to the Lord." If God takes our lives’ burdens away, shouldn’t we help to lift His too?
Let the Holy Spirit guide us to listen to the Father’s burdens.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I recently came back from a mountain climbing trip.
Had a really arduous time climbing up as I had altitude sickness due to the thinning oxygen levels. But once at the peak, all thoughts of hardship were forgotten as we marvel at God’s handicraft of nature.

In my own walk with God, I have been through several valleys and mountain top experiences. The mountain top experiences felt great and wonderful. Simply utopia.
The valley experiences though were dark and boding. My life was stagnant, nothing seemed to be moving. Depression seems to beckon sometimes in midst of solitary.

Whenever I am forced into the valleys, I get a whole new perspective on life. Things I once desire no longer hold the same value. What I once deemed important, no longer holds any significance.

It was impossible to appreciate any valley experience while I was in it. Only upon reaching the top of the mountain, I was then able to appreciate and marvel at the terrain or the beauty of the experience I have passed through and lay aside the sorrow and pain it may have produced.
The valley of the shadow of death has yielded more than I ever thought possible.

Those who have walked in hard places have an affinity with others who have walked there also. They need no explanation, they can look to each other with mutual respect for their common experience, knowing that death has worked a distinct thing in them because of the valleys God has taken them through.

The hard places have allowed me to empathise with the sufferings of others instead of having only a shallow view of the hardships of others. Those with no experience of such trials often judge others who have had such hardship. It is a superficiality of Christian experience that permeates shallow believers.

Death works in us for a greater purpose. If you are there today (which I am today, again stuck in one!), be assured that God is producing something of much greater value in you. Just learn from it and God will move you out ever so gently and lovingly in His own time.

“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
(2 Corinthians 4:12)

Friday, February 07, 2003

“If you love Me, you’ll love My people too.”
These were the exact words God spoke to me during one of my dark periods in life.

One of the first few areas He worked in my life was on the area of pride.
God has certainly put a few people in my life to test the limit of my fuse.
Especially people who have hurt emotionally, but He actually taught me to love them.
I mean, how could you love someone who probably has bruised your pride, ie the lecturer in school or boss at work that is totally unreasonable and mean and speaks cutting words that deflates your sense of ego tremendously.
Or an annoying guy/ girl in school or office who keeps on bragging about himself and putting others down.
I’ve cogitated though, if you love God, you’ll learn to love his people too, no matter how unpleasant they may be.
It’s just difficult, that’s all.
Ultimately, our ability to love is limited by our pride.

Pride is an attempt either to:
1.To add to our personal worth or
2. To verify our personal worth by something we do/ say or refuse to do/ say.
Pride makes you the final authority in life.
It does not however necessarily involve a haughty attitude.
Fundamentally, it is placing yourself above God and/or others.
Pride also damages your relationships with others by unconsciously seeing them as threats, and constantly justifying yourself in your behaviour and actions.
This insidiously also puts a limitation in one’s ability to love and receive love.
The answer to pride is to remember that God loves all of us infinitely and equally.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "Pride is the mother hen under which all other sins are hatched."
This statement certainly agrees with those by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, who held that "pride is the very essence of sin."

The original sin of Satan was pride, who falsely proclaimed:
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the
mount of the congregation . . . I will ascend above the
heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High."

The saddest consequence of pride is that a person refuses to receive Jesus as his Savior.
Due to the reason that he won't believe what God has revealed to him concerning salvation.
Or, even if believing, refuses to receive His free gift of eternal life. Instead, believing in his own good works or the assumption that he’s not any worse than the other person on the street, he thinks God ought to save him.
That is tragic for he doesn’t know what his is missing out on.

God moves in totally unexpected ways.
Don't you think so?
It's really a challenging day everyday with unexpected but pleasant surprises and gifts from our Creator!