Every afternoon after church I’m always at Oliver Brown with David to study, and to wait until David has work and finishes. This often constitutes hours. The best part is that the internet there is dodgy at best, which really forced me to take time away from technology. I know I have a technology problem. It makes technophobes really awkward to hang out with sometimes.
Anyways, I spent some time in reflecting on my walk with God in the recent year or so. It started out well, I think. The beginning of the year was still filled with friends and drive, but since moving to Sovereign Grace and being relieved of a lot of leadership positions, it is like everything slowed in terms of my motivation to continue to serve and apply myself in studying God’s Word and so getting to know God better.
This has been a very revealing year. I wonder how many others would share the same. If they dropped all their ministry that they were currently doing, would they still be as diligent in their commitment to dwelling in God deeper in all truth and love?
For me, quitting a lot of serving opportunities because of the nature of church transition was a clear indication in where I had anchored a lot of personal motivation, which was in the sight of others. As the sight of others fell away, so did my motivation – it is such a grace of God that He has flagged this in me, and already got to work building up a more genuine and secret relationship with Him.
It’s not like I didn’t resent Him at the beginning for it. I went through weeks of hopelessness and constantly threw up to the skies, “Why this? Why me? I did so well!” Today at church we were doing the Prodigal Son parable (Luke 15:11-32), and it hastaken me years to understand why the older son was just as wrong as his younger brother. To be fair, he DID work a lot for his dad, and his dad really didn’t give him what we seemed to deserve. But in the sermon today we were shown how the eldest son really wasn’t after the father as much as he was after the father’s stuff.
So humbled. I’ve been chasing my own greatness within ministry spheres for such a long time, and whenever I work really hard and don’t get the commendation I want I get really upset, standing outside the doorway and unwilling to join in the party my Father is throwing for His recovered sinners because I’m angry I haven’t received my own reward. Rather, my Father IS my reward.
Praying that I can only grow from here, where my understanding of reward moves forever away from His blessings to His Person only.
After all, all glory to God alone.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28)
In Piper’s daily devotional, Solid Joys, he teaches that that this verse says three things about how to live with things. the first is that you can steal to get, the second that you can work to get and the third is to work to get in order to give.
What a humbling devotional to have been shown to me on a day like today. I was feverishly looking at wedding reception quotes, fantasizing about moving the reception away from where we had originally planned it to a prestigious and highly coveted place instead - Glass at Hilton perhaps, or ARIA, or Quay. $200 a head, but that’s a small price to pay for a good night right? Once in a lifetime, right?
You know what makes this even funnier? The fact that I am constantly stressing about having not enough money after we do get married. Why is there such a disconnect in the way I think about this? I think it’s because I have a desire to live luxuriously, which is why I could have justified a 25% over budget expenditure on changing the reception location, but didn’t want to spend $3 on a piece of fruit because I had to “save for marriage” (blueberries <3).
It’s my prayer that God can change this side of me. I’m thankful for Ephesians 4:28, the reminder that God hasn’t given money to me that I could live more luxuriously, but rather than I can give more to others. I love this quote from the devotional:
The issue is not how much a person makes. Big industry and big salaries are a fact of our times, and they are not necessarily evil. The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six-digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle.
I remember awhile ago I met a young couple who had recently married and lived entirely off Centrelink because they were both studying full time. This was hugely humbling to me, particularly because they told me, “We’re thankful for this time, because we really learn how much we need to live, and everything we have on top of that is a luxury, and we know to give that away.” I have a feeling that my first few years with David as a new family will be similar.
I’ll end with this from the devotional:
God has made us to be conduits of his grace. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do. Copper can carry unbelievable riches to others.
I’m going to give this video-making thing another go.
Today was a blessed day. I woke up to Aaron whistling to get the dogs of the house, lowering his voice and shouting, “MOCHA!” to hustle the fluff monster out of the living room and into the garden.
I rubbed my face into my new pillow pet to wake me up a little, pushing aside the memory that it was originally wrapped in newspaper, which everyone knows is dirty. After my shower, I sat down before my slightly oversized Kikki.K diary and scribbled down somethings I wanted to get done:
Following suddenly urgent thoughts, I procrastinated with perusing journals that I wanted to buy. Decided it was too expensive. Looked up how to make my own journals. Decided that was also too expensive. Felt gangster listening to Lecrae, when really all his “vodka shots” were metaphors for pride and “drugs, sex and girls” were accusations of societal disrepair.
Started and finished an assignment. Felt euphoric and trundled into the kitchen for a celebratory cup of tea, instant noodles and cut orange. The oranges burned my overladen stomach. Watched YouTube and thought about becoming an internet sensation, before I got distracted by the mess on my table.
Oh crap, 3pm. Jumped into the car and drove to some celtic themes in Sovereign Grace Music before reading and rereading the news at my workplace. The kids arrived. This asian kid would be so smart if her mother knew how to speak English. This kid is going to grow up as a gangster. How can they still not know phonemic combinations at 6? This job is tiring.
6:50pm left, 7:15pm arrived at home. Ate too much, lectured JZ on his fail learning styles, seriously considered buying a sewing machine, perused more Instagram. Visiting David at 9:30pm.
One of those days when you start and FINISH an entire assignment in a matter of hours.
No matter what I seem to do for the rest of the day, it will feel productive. :D
I am currently racing through a seemingly impossible list of administration for the upcoming study camp. Just so humbled that I’ve even been able to do this.
Doing admin used to be a favourite for last years’ camp, but I realise that this year motivation has hit an epic low, and these past few days in particular have been harder than the preceding months. I was just praying this morning as I saw this list of administration rise and rise that God would get me through it.
Thankfully, a lot of it has been done, and time has flown. I don’t know yet why my heart so hates productivity. But I am thankful that just because I’m weak it doesn’t mean that His work won’t be done.
There are few places that torture me more than deep in my own mind. I mean it. There is so much chaos, endless questions. Soon the lack of understanding and sheer confusion in my brain trickles down to my heart and my heart begins to fret. Constantly I am tempted to fear man and life rather than God. (In fearing God I am referring to the way Christians consider God with reverence and awe, motivating us to surrender to the Creator of the universe)
I remind myself of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, how he saw Jesus walking on water and asked Jesus to call out to him, which He did. But when Peter was walking on water - already a great miracle! - Peter was still afraid the moment he looked on the waves and the wind - so much so that he began to sink. That’s so me. There are times when I do things that remind me of the presence and power of God, but the moment I begin to walk in faith I look on the things coming against me and my faith wavers just like that. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus must wonder that a lot about me.
Yet despite the bigness of God, the way He is able to command the wind and the waves, He is also intimately involved in the individual man. My journey recently in reading Proverbs has been such a comfort in the midst of my doubting; particularly when I am feeling small, unworthy and insignificant. It’s notable how often man’s ways are established by God, and that has taught me that God is intimately involved in every man’s ways - whether they be the righteous man or the evil man. We realise then that the reason that there are even consequences to our actions is because God brings them about in His love and care for His people, all according to His will. Our God is sovereign as much as He is imminent.
Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” I am reminded therefore that I can trust Him even when I am tempted to fear (and so be restless) and tempted to trust in other things for my safety because I am already in His care.
Proverbs 16:6 reminds us that “by steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” Nehemiah is a great example of this fear of God and resultant turning away from evil. In Nehemiah 5:14-19 he had the opportunity as governor over the Israelites to charge them a high tax as the past governors had done, so much so that, “even their servants lorded it over the people,” but Nehemiah did none of that and even committed to being generous in giving the people food that was given him, all “because of the fear of God’. He asks God in his fear, “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.”
God’s steadfast love for me was displayed in Christ’s work for me on the Cross that my iniquity has been atoned for. In the every day journey for sanctification therefore I am called to fear God, where His reality would turn me away from evil. Even in the face of indescribable earthly gain, I reminded that nothing is worth more than pleasing Him. I notice though how it isn’t me that decides to turn away from evil. Rather, it is in fixing my eyes on Him and fearing Him in my heart that can prove to be the only way of persuading my heart to turn from all the evil this world will tempt me with.
Recently I’ve noticed growth in my own bible reading and understanding of God’s Word. I spoke awhile ago about how I gave up journaling because it was like a totem, a superstition that I was more “holy” at the end of every reading or journaling. I think I missed the point of what it means to commune with God, to approach Him and to listen. The emphasis was growing in that my actions made a difference to how my walk with God was going.
At a Twelve meeting Nate lead us to reflect and consider our relationship with God, and how it was going by rating our thoughts about it from a 1 to a 10 (being the best). James however reminded us that our salvation in God and “how we are going” in Him is always a 10 because our relationship is being kept in Christ rather than our own thoughts and actions. It made me question however what exactly I was measuring then when I said that I was a “4” then, and now I felt like I was “improving”?
To improve is inevitable as a Christian as we recognise the promise God made to us in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” I am always growing and always improving but as I “feel” like I am slowly ascending the mountain to meet with God myself, I realise that indeed it is “HE” that is God that “began a good work” and “will bring it to completion”.
Think about that for a moment. That every time you sit down and read the Bible - regardless of how you feel about it - is by the great grace of God. That you would understand anything that you read, let alone allowing it to comfort you and to guide you in your every day life is a process that is empowered by the same Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead.
Don’t we realise that every quiet time to which we commit is a divine one, supernatural in that it is empowered by God? Every time you defeat a sin, every time you flee from temptation, every time you extend a hand in obedience to God, that is because by His grace you would know Him and that He would lead you and empower you to live a life larger than yourself.
I am humbled in knowing that every time I am encouraged, every time I know that I am not “going well” in Christ, when that conviction brings me to my knees before my God, that it is a grace. I could be sprinting down the wide and easy path, totally missing the turn off to the narrow path that God has marked out for His people, and just not know it. But God in His grace and love will always guide His children forward in our walk with Him.
Next time therefore, when people ask how I am going, I want to say “Good!” in faith that God has indeed planned “Good” for me, and that I am continually growing in Christ.
It’s been quiet going recently on this site, and I feel that’s okay if you’re a tumblr stalker because oftentimes people’s newsfeeds are filled thick and fast with reblogs of things that are amusing and interesting. It is with great joy that I share that I haven’t really been keeping up with a bunch of things like YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram because I feel like God’s been changing my focus.
I am convicted that my time with my family is limited. When I was younger my dad would always say, “you better appreciate these holidays/games/experiences with your family because soon it will be gone,” and I am definitely feeling that. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had dinner with my whole family, let alone go on a family holiday with them. Saying goodbye to my family in less than a year, there’s an undeniable longing that I wish this season wouldn’t end, but also hope that my future family with David would also be so good that our kids wouldn’t leave us without some sorrow too.
I am convicted that I should not be giving my mind over to worldly things. At church and lifegroup recently we were talking about holiness, and even at church retreat Kauflin reminded me that “if your mind is not being renewed by God’s Word then it is being renewed by something else. We can’t forget that this world is constantly trying to conform us to itself” (paraphrased). This was such a timely word as I was continually sinking time into social media! The time in God’s Word ratio compared to the time I spent scrolling newsfeeds just didn’t look good. It was then that God really drew me away to spend more time with Him, particularly in Carson’s devotionals which have been an invaluable tool in reading His Word to a greater volume.
Lastly, I am convicted that I was made for more. I don’t think my existence is really pursuing God enough to a degree where I know I’m living a life that pleases Him and that sets me more on the path He has carved out for me for this limited and fleeting life on earth.
Thanks for reading (: It is a joy to share with you my current walking with God. I hope it encourages you in some way. I sometimes think I need to take rad pictures or write theological articles to encourage others, but just normally sharing with my brothers and sisters shows me otherwise. It’s my prayer that God would show you how He draws alongside His beloved children even in the ordinary every day.
Contrary to popular Tumblr culture, it is unwise to aimlessly vent about your problems on your blog. It is not healthy to type up complains or rants with the sole purpose to vent. Instead, seek out comfort and help of friends (even ones you’ve met on Tumblr) and talk about it. Use your blog as a…
When you receive the type of bad news that makes everything else in your life seem like white noise.
You know you’re fast approaching a new stage of life when you add “Wingback armchair” to your wish list.
But seriously. How else does one read a book comfortably.
Sometimes sin grabs a mirror and thrusts it in our face, showing us for a moment how truly disgusting and corrupting sin makes all men, especially you, and soon enough the image you see in the mirror is so compelling that you begin to think that that’s the real image of who you are. The devil is cunning in his attack on your identity.
But be reminded of Galatians 2:20 I times like these.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”
The danger of over-generalization is real. If you’d like a general response to such a question there are countless other websites that offer some answers from any perspective - reformed, charismatic, liberal, etc.
The truth is that there IS space in the church to talk about it, and that is what I’m communicating here. I am part of the church, as are many others and I am open to speaking about it. It’s true, some in the church find it hard to talk about, and we should respect that they’re not open or ready yet. It reminds me of when I first started talking about spiritual gifts and how confronting that was for me, because I was brought up thinking they didn’t manifest in the way I was witness, etc.
Either way, I am communicating that I am open to dialogue in a safe place. These issues have real identities and real people who are hurting. What’s more, I myself am learning to have compassion and understanding with lots of different people, and I refuse to speak whilst making a thousand assumptions, especially when it comes to something so personal.
But I get where you’re coming from. We both want to care for people, it’s clear. I guess the way we are expressing it is different. I personally explain better when it comes to relating with people directly. I’m not so good at offering sweeping explanations. It’s an area I’m genuinely trying to grow in. I’ve had deeply negative experiences with sweeping overgeneralized and half-baked perspectives, and I’ve learnt the potential that these statements has to hurt others. I’m not going to run that risk, anon. That’s just not on.
For this reason, I realise that having anonymous people asking me questions is counter-intuitive to how I relate with people best. I’m going to turn off anon asking questions. Thanks for messaging though, it helped me understand another perspective and consideration better.