Fast Forward

( God I don’t quite know how to start this blog post. I submit my fingers to you – may they prance on this feeble keyboard to bring life to my limited words so that you may have the utmost glory )


This is only my second (or third if you count the introduction to my blog) blogpost, and it’s gonna be a really hard one for me to write. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

Phew. Here goes.

It’s been 41 days since the 16th of January. Nothing much significant about that date, no special occasion whatsoever, t’was a simple Saturday after the powerful Kingdom Invasion conference 2016. 41 days since that humble day where my friend, Beatrix, and I decided with fully convicted hearts that there was more to earth than whatever we were currently facing and dealing with. 41 days since we decided that we were so done with our fragile lives and limited hearts. 41 days since the fast begin. 

Yes, some of you may be thinking, “WOW. 40 days fast. Can die sia. You girls are amazing, strong and convicted for God, respect for you (yada yada)”. Yet some of you may also be thinking, “Didn’t the bible said to not let others know about your fastings so that your treasures will be in heaven and not found here on earth, in the hearts of man?”

To clarify those thoughts, no, I am not a superhuman. It is the complete grace of God that brought me through this entire period. Fasting for 40 days will not kill a normal human being, but do note that those with certain medical conditions do need to take extra precautions before going on certain fasts. Fasting and praying is DEFINITELY (and I can’t even emphasize this further) a part of a normal Christian life, and although sometimes people do get specific convictions to go onto fasts, it can sometimes be taken upon as a way to intensify your hunger and longing for God and the food of Heaven. Click here for a really good book I read that enlightened me significantly about fasting and praying.

Secondly, I was texting my pal Jade in the morning of the 40th day and she asked me if I was going to blog about it. Honestly I wasn’t considering blogging about it because I wanted to keep this fast between my Father God and I. But a series of events happened throughout the day and I decided that I had to share my experience with you f0lks. So it begins. 

(Side note: This post isn’t particularly about my entire fast, but if you’re interested in what the whole experience of a 40 day fast is like and you’re being a bum or just don’t feel like googling and reading an internet stranger’s opinions about it, you can check out my pal Beatrix’s post about it – Jesus syncs our hearts and minds and stomachs so much (we both had gastric problems for ages even before going into the fast!) that our experiences were similar, if not almost identical throughout this entire journey.)

Throughout this entire fast, there has been trials, temptations, even days where we’ve broken the fast on terms of God’s grace (instances like Chinese New Year, where we had to eat during reunion dinners and gatherings in order not to cause tensions or worries to arise amongst our relatives). Those moments were totally understandable, we talked to Jesus about it, we ate with joyful hearts and the peace of the Spirit that came in the knowledge of knowing that Jesus didn’t love us any less when we broke the fast for the sake of keeping peace amongst our families.

39 days flashed past, though each hour in every day that we were in seemed to trickle away as slowly as the rates that we sipped on our fruit juices and waters.

Then came the last day.

Most of you may not know this, but I’m currently working part-time in an events company. On this particular last day of the fast, I was situated in a really ~fancy~ event where I knew there would probably be posh foods available for us to snack on as we slack take breaks during work. The day started really early, God woke me up at 5am. I prayed, submitting the day to Him. But deep down in my spirit I knew that I was so tempted by the choice morsels that would be available at the event. The lust for food is real.

On most days, I’d start with a glass of fruit juice to provide me the adequate energy to function throughout the day. But on that day, somehow, I decided against the fruit juice. And I decided to hold on to the hope that food would be offered to me so that I would be able to say that I broke the fast because I didn’t have a choice and had to eat the food cos it was offered to me and blah. Bam. First step out of line. (You know those days where you save stomach space because you know that you’d be going to a buffet later on in the day? That was what I was doing.)

Begin work as usual, but well not really as usual because I was definitely not fixing my eyes on Jesus that day. Then came the million dollar question.

“Have you guys eaten? There’s food in the room, help yourselves.”

I can’t lie- I got pretty excited.

Headed straight to the room, ‘checked it out’, “mm not bad, there’s a rest area and all, and oh look food. I reached out without a hint of conscience in the Holy Spirit.

“Thank You Jesus for this deliciousness. Food is a gift. Amen.” + 🙂

And a voice in my heart said, “No. This is not for you.”

“Hmm, a voice telling me not to eat. Must not be God. Food must be good, after all, it is a gift. Thanks God!”

A couple minutes of clearly disobedient indulgence went by, and when I decided I was done with stuffing my face, I headed back to my colleague and squealed over how exquisite the food was, in a valiant effort to push the call to repentance aside.

Lunch time came, and another session of blatant ignorance of the Holy Spirit went by. Still no attrition in my stubborn self. The event passed by and away I went, tummy bursting and smile frozen on my face to mask my remorseless heart.

My stomach was so full from choice food, but my spirit was… just not right. Something was amiss (clearly).


With all distractions and temptations gone, I felt so empty. And I had to face the truth.

I had disobeyed the voice of God.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Luke 6:46 ESV

That knowledge broke me. At that moment I knew that every moment I was scarfing my food, that every moment that I was seeking satisfaction from the food that was around me and that every moment that I had kept my eyes off Jesus, His heart was breaking for me. I had broken my Father’s heart, and all this time He was out there, rooting for me, satisfying my every need and hunger, and I had failed. God wasn’t angry at me, He wasn’t harsh, His love for me didn’t change. But I knew that I had disappointed Him by going against Him – I felt like Eve.

To make matters worse, I chose unrepentance as a follow up to that disobedience.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 ESV

God was there at my point of disobedience, and my agonizing response to His patient nudges at my heart to turn my eyes back to Him was a silent but deafening “not now, God”. I had allowed the devil to gain a foothold in my heart, to harden it towards His whisper. I practically had an affair with disobedience in front of God, then refused to even turn to Him.

To do that to the One who has nothing but love for you, it’s beyond cruel.

My heart was rent with the weight of this painful truth, and I broke down in tears under the weight of my sin. I cried out to God, my soul contrite.

“God, I’m sorry! Forgive me, for I have sinned and even became unrepentant for my sin. Punish me if you choose to, I know you are a just God. But one punishment I ask that you’ll never inflict upon me – never take your presence from me, without it I don’t know how to live. I accept any penalty apart from that, God! Holy Spirit strike my heart with repentance, that I would be filled with godly grief for my sins.”

-Pause-

Again I compose myself into a position fit for surrender to God, bowing low to my Jesus, allowing myself to be arrested with the guilt of my sin. I cry out the same prayer once again, but this time a tide of grace rushes into me and amidst my pleas slight hiccups of laughter bubble out. Waves after waves of joy flood into my heart as the spirit of His grace blanket over me.

-Another pause, and slight confusion at my current state-

“God I don’t to be laughing, punish me! I have sinned. I want to grieve, I want to be torn apart and broken and be overcome by sorrow. Punish me, but take not your presence from me. “

And this time the reply I got was,

“Why are you still crying, my child? My son’s blood has covered and washed you- you are now whiter than snow.”

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

His grace is CRAZY.

I’m overtaken by His grace. His tender mercy.

My soul is now filled with rhythms and pulses of joy from the depths of realisation that His grace truly covers it all.

Every breath that I have seems to be another opportunity for my refreshed spirit to say “Thank you Jesus.”

Oh what love! What grace! That He would save a wretch like me.

He is our beautiful, beautiful God. My simple words will never be able to verbalise the depths of His character, the wonder of His mercy, the vastness of His love.

“My heart extols the Lord, blesses His name forever, He has won my heart, captured my mind, and has bound them both together. He has defeated me in my rebellion, conquered me in my sin, He has welcomed me into His presence, completely invited me in. He has made Himself the object of my sight- flooding me with mercies in the morning, drowning me with grace in the night. But if there are words for Him then, I don’t have them. 

But what I do have is good news. For my God knew that man made words would never do. For words are just tools that we use to point to the truth. So He sent His son Jesus Christ as The Word, living proof.” – Kari Jobe (Forever)

Only God’s grace enables us to fall forward into His loving arms.

Hope has a name.

Love has a name.

Peace has a name.

Grace has a name.

That name is Jesus Christ. Praise be to that name forever.

Thank you my Jesus.

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Thanksgivings in February

Thanksgivings in February

“Life.”

I hear that word coming out of the mouths of people more often than not, as a sigh.

“ah.. Life.” “Life is so hard.” “Why isn’t life working out like I want it to be?”

 

While praying, worshipping and meditating with a beloved pal yesterday, I came to two major conclusions that I figured could change our perspectives towards life and all it’s gimmicks.

1: Gratitude is the key to joy

2: We always have had and always will have more than we ever need.

 

Seriously, think about it.

Living in this clean, green, safe Lion City is a privilege. Beyond anything.

I look into world news and I see countries going at each other’s political throats. Bombings and death scares everywhere. North Korea is still under some weird “democratic” rule. Africa going through the worst El Nino they’ve ever had for the past 3 decades, leaving an estimated of 14 million starving people.

I mean, come on. What have we not to be grateful for?

I just had a warm shower (even with soap), I just brushed my teeth with this piece of synthetic rubber and plastic with bristles on it, I even had time to check out my reflection and complexion on this shiny surface we call a mirror. I wonder if most people in the rural areas of the world even get a chance to see what they look like, to see the beauty of the likeness that they were created in.

I get a chance to walk out into my dining room, check out the wide array of red-capped plastic containers filled with a mouth watering selection of Chinese New Year goodies. I get to open my fridge up (oh our precious fridges) just out of sheer curiosity and some strange form of satisfaction, to see the mounds of fruits and vegetables and various snacks we store away for the “rainy day” that never seems to come, because we always have more than enough food. And even if we do run out of food in the refrigerator, we get to run out of our house and purchase food from vendors just 10 minutes away. Either that, or we can be really lazy and have people send food to our very door, while we continue to sit and ponder about “life”.

I look all around me and all I see are blessings. The very bare minimal standard of living, He has got me covered. A perfectly functional body (do you even know how blessed you are to be a normal person?!), a roof over my head, safe drinking water, fresh food, cutlery, a bed+room, proper toilet sanitation, wood tiled floors, education, glasses to help me see, a laptop and even internet (God bless the internet). We are so immeasurably blessed! Don’t you see?

We only become dissatisfied when we count the things we don’t have. And that is so easy to do. Pity parties are “fun” for most of us, in a really odd and sad way. We sigh about not being able to satisfy our expensive and insatiable appetite. Whine about not having enough money to see the world, to do whatever on earth we want to. Mull about how we seem to always be alone though the contact list on your smartphone is screaming out that it clearly isn’t so. (Though there’s nothing wrong with feeling alone, or wanting things. If you truly feel alone though, or if you really are struggling to make ends meet, trust me – You have my utmost respect and empathy.)

But when you count the things you do have, fundamental ‘entitlements’ as human beings, and even the privileges, as basic as they may be, maybe you’d stop being as unhappy with your life. Maybe you’d start living in thanksgiving, gratitude. Maybe you’d start figuring out how vast life is, and how much life has to offer. Maybe you’d even find life itself, as Life and Love continues to pursue you and seek you out.

Sometimes it’s just hard to be thankful because you’ve forgotten how to. It has to be a habit, build it up. Don’t you want that joy of contentment to fill you up in all the crevices of your heart and overflow, instead of your constant never ending list of wants?

Start giving thanks today. Put away your phones, social media and all its facades. Count your blessings (even if you can only remember that one time today where you sneezed and someone said “bless you”).

 

 

I know my greatest thanksgiving will always rise to Jesus –

Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me, for the person reading this post. Thank you for facing death head on, for breaking the powers of hell that I may be free, free from the hurts and sins that once haunted me. Thank you for being my greatest source of refuge, my comfort, my strength.

You are good, You are faithful, You are love. And Your love endures forever.

 

I have more than anything I could ever ask for, more than anything I could and will ever need, because I have Jesus.

Jesus loves you. Beyond your wildest comprehension of any expense of love. He loved you before you knew how to say your own name, before you even knew his.

Jesus loves you. You are loved beyond measure. You will never walk alone.