Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Hebrews 2:14-15

Image
It's been two weeks into the Advent season and I've really been enjoying going through the short devotionals that John Piper releases on his app - by spacing out my regular devotions and his short excerpts throughout my day I think it has made me more aware of Christ; though I do hope that I would continue to grow in longing and expectation for his (second) return. There were many lessons that stood out, but the devotional I read through on Friday stood out to me because it pushed me one step further to embrace and fully wrap my head around the Gospel all the more, linking a few more fragmented pieces to the entirety of the good news. "since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." - Hebrews 2:14-15 Piper uses and looks at these tw

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

Image
I've been singing this lyric for my entire life, and it wasn't until yesterday that I realized what it really meant.  I was reading an article on Advent , which is known as the season (the four Sundays) leading up to Christmas - a tradition like Lent that I never remember to practice because when it comes up, I'm not ready or I haven't given it much thought. This time also, it wasn't until it was mentioned at church this past Sunday that I began to give it more thought.  Advent means coming -  back then everyone was waiting for the Messiah to come, longing for the salvation that is Jesus Christ. But unfortunately, society has decided to step in and redefine what Christmas is, with red cups, tacky sweaters, reindeer, lights and lattes. In the midst of all that unfolds the second after midnight on Halloween is quite spectacular, an aisle of red and green appears at your local dollar store, BublĂ© and Mariah are heard in every radio station, elevator and shop

Praying Without Ceasing

Image
"pray without ceasing" - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 This week at prayer meeting, we spent time reflecting on how we were doing in terms of prayer. The majority of us shared that we lacked praying constantly and regularly, and wanted to be praying more often. And as a result, we were all spontaneously challenged to put this verse into practice this week, to really pray without ceasing. We even tied on string on each other's wrists as a physical reminder to be praying - which worked extremely well I found.  I've been keeping a simple log of how the challenge has progressed over the week - and though I am still struggling with remembering to pray more throughout my day; there were little gems here and there, little lessons and challenges I wanted to share. Empty Words When I first started the challenge, I did feel that in general, I was praying more, the bracelet (or shall I say, pray-celet) did wonders in reminding me; in class when I was typing, it was there

Our God is a Jealous God

Image
"for shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." - Exodus 34:14 I've always wrestled with the idea of the LORD being jealous - wasn't being jealous a bad thing? Why is God jealous? But recently, as i've been in scripture and have been exploring the importance of prayer - I rejoice that God has shed some light on this subject for me. The Christian faith focuses on the relationship one has with our Creator God. In the beginning, He was perfect, in unity with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - and He didn't need us humans because He was self-sufficient, but He decided to create us so that He could love us. God creates as a manifestation and expression of his love. With the first man, Adam, God had already begun to build a relationship with him as He does with each and everyone of us. We see that with how God speaks to Adam, and how God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden. God made us in the womb, He k

Recalling God's Work

Image
In my prayer journal, i've been making it a habit to record sights of God's faithfulness and goodness in my life and in the lives of others. This past week, He has had me filling up pages and pages as I've been immersed in his goodness. I thank the LORD for revealing himself to me in such marvellous and astounding ways. Operation Christmas Child (10/28/2015) A few weeks ago, GACF (Guelph Asian Christian Fellowship) did Operation Christmas Child - this is a ministry where shoeboxes are packed with gifts to send to children across the world, in hopes that God would use this simple box to demonstrate His love and allow an opportunity for the Gospel to be shared. I was slightly worried about this program because we just started promoting it just over a week before it was going to happen. I was hoping to give people more time than that so they could hit up the stores and shop for the boxes. For a fellowship of about 30-ish people, I set the goal for 40 boxes. The night we

Six O'Clock Mornings

Image
Before this week started, I was in a place where I felt so distant from God, a disconnect spiritually. The weeks prior, God had been slipping out of my mind; things were going as per usual, I wasn't stressed, I wasn't worried, and as a result, my dependence on God just disappeared. I knew that I was drawing further and further away from Him, and though being aware of that and praying about it, nothing really changed. I found myself sleeping in, which ate away at my morning devotional time, whether that meant a rushed devotion, or no devotional at all.  It all spiralled down to a crash last weekend. And in response to prevent it from getting any worse, I took a sabbath on the Sunday, knowing it had to be a weekend of spiritual revival, a time to refocus and reorient myself back to the LORD. Our God is the one who created us in our mother's womb, who loves us so dearly, that even in our weakness and sinfulness, gave His only son to be the redeeming and reconciling sacrif

God Meant It For Good (Genesis 45)

Image
I've been telling myself, I need to be blog more often; it doesn't matter if its a giant revelation or just a small instance where i've seen God, I want to make it a habit to frequently reflect and remember how and where God has been working in my life. I'm not exactly looking back on how God's been working in my life today, but rather in the lives of those in the Joseph Story. Genesis 45 was preached this past Sunday and I was completely baffled that the sermon and the lessons came up in conversation three or four times in the 48 hours that followed. I just wanted to share some quick thoughts and mini lessons that struck me. The Length of Suffering We looked at the suffering between Joseph, his older brother Judah, and his father Jacob this week. Joseph was suffering from being treated unjustly as he was innocently sold into slavery, and betrayed by his brothers (Genesis 37). Judah was suffering from the pain that came from the consequences of his sin,

Nothing But A Jar of Clay

Image
LORD, thank you for the treasure you have so specially granted and put within me - that treasure being the Gospel. I pray that it would continue to overwhelm me, and that I may embrace and be transformed by it deeply day by day. Why did you put this treasure within me? I am nothing but a jar of clay. But you, the potter saw me, you saw me broken, you saw me fragile, you saw me weak, and you said "yes, I will use you, I will refine and renew you, and I will use you to glorify my name." Thank you for choosing me, thank you for using me, for your ministry, for building your kingdom, may all glory, honour and praise go to you and you alone and not I! Forgive me for when I have directed the glory at myself, robbing you of what only you deserve. It is so easy to appear as humble, yet not truly be humble. O LORD, would you continue to teach me humility, the true attitude of a servant. The only "glory" I get, is that I am honoured to be called your

Works in Progress

Image
The LORD taught me a very simple lesson in service today.  We talked a lot about surrender this morning. Surrendering your mind, heart and life to God. It was a convicting message to be thinking about how surrendering relates to worship, the idols I have in my life, the fear of losing and the greed of having. A big statement that stuck with me was "have we become a people of commitment or surrender?" (which I still need to ponder over). I found that I saw the message as if it was a checklist before me with three categories - "what I had done", "what I was doing" and "what I had to do". And many times, I know that I dwell heavily on the "what I had to do" category. What could I improve on? What was I missing? How can I get closer to this goal - in the context of this morning; complete and full surrender to God. I noted that I needed to be in the Word more often to understand God's character and nature more - who exactly was

Conversation with God: The Gospel

Image
my prayer this morning - October 4th 2015, 9:00am O LORD, My Heavenly Father, My God, my Creator. Thank you for creating me. You formed me in my mother's womb; with your hands, You knit me together. Creating me in your image. The image of you, God almighty, God the creator, and God of the universe. It is the greatest honour to be made in the likeness of You, though man can be great, no one is as great as you. And to think and know that you made us in your image? oh, would you put me in awe and in wonder! We were made to reflect you, made to be your representatives on this earth. But because of the fall of man, I come before you a sinner. For all have sinned and have fallen short of your glory. In my nature, my sinful nature, I am broken, and I am wicked. I wrestle with pride, worldly thoughts, selfishness, and bitterness. God, would you reveal to me any sin that remains. I have rebelled against you, I have forgotten about you, I have sinned again

Peace in a Chaotic Week

Image
It's been a crazy week of evaluations. But God showed up in the midst of it all. It wasn't supposed to be that bad at first; I knew I had a group proposal due on Wednesday, an assignment due Friday, and a midterm also on the Friday. At the start of the week, all was well; the proposal was well underway, pretty much completed, the assignment I had almost fully completely was done earlier on in the week and I wasn't expecting to have a lot of studying for the midterm considering that I had already been making notes in previous weeks. But come Tuesday and in class I find out that there was another proposal worth 20% of my mark due the following Thursday (in 48 hours). I've never been so out of my game before, that I would forget about such a big evaluation - but it was a relief to find out that it was a group proposal, and the professors hadn't even put up the instructions/outline for it until later that day. Though tight for time, I now had four evaluations, one

Fascinated

Image
I was absolutely fascinated in my Animal Behaviour class this afternoon - our professor talked about his research on the migration of monarch butterflies. These butterflies start their annual trip in Mexico and this first generation make their way up to Texas to lay their eggs and then die; the eggs hatch and this second generation continues the migratory pattern north and the same cycle repeats - until the fourth or fifth generation which is born way up north in Ontario. In some incredible way, this single generation completes the migratory cycle in September/October as they head all the way back south to Mexico to overwinter for about seven months, and then trekking up to Texas to lay their eggs. Isn't that insane? In all the intricate details of the monarch's migratory pattern, this being only one species of the hundreds and thousands of species that inhabit our planet, I couldn't help but think of God and His creativity, His detail, and His care for all His creation

Summer Blessings

Image
"for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving for it is made holy by the word of God and by prayer." - 1 Timothy 4:4-5 Believe it or not, summer is over - I'm sitting back in my house in Guelph getting ready to begin my final year of my undergraduate career. It's hard to fathom that i'll be taking graduation photos in a few months and that I won't have to "move in" next Labor Day weekend. But just as we did in service today, I think it's important to look back and reflect on all of God's blessings this past summer. There's much to be thankful for! Godly Men If you've known me since my elementary school days, you'll know that i'm not your typical guy - I never liked sports (or any physical activity of that matter), gaming (of any sort), all the usual things and because of that I had a really difficult time making friends with guys because I felt like we had not

My Dead Heart

Image
O great God of highest heaven Occupy my lowly heart Own it all and reign supreme Conquer every rebel power Let no vice or sin remain That resists Your holy war You have loved and purchased me Make me Yours forever I ran into a problem at the subway terminal last week; we were heading to the aquarium downtown, and as my brother and my aunt passed through the gate easy, I went to tap my Presto card to get in, and it didn't work. I tried again, nothing. No response. Later on, I went to troubleshoot and it turns out that my presto card was unresponsive, it was defective, it was dead. As I reflect on how I've been feeling the past few weeks, I thought and paralleled it to this instance; my heart was dead. By dead I meant unresponsive; I found myself not feeling anything, specifically towards God. My prayers were empty words, I found myself singing, but not worshipping at service on Sunday. Why didn't I feel anything? Why was my heart dead? Why wasn't I s

The Father's Love For Us

Image
I've grown up in the church for all, if not, most of my life, and I am grateful for how it has helped mould and build me to be the person I am today. But, at the same time, as I reflect on myself now, I feel that being in the faith since I was a child has potentially caused me to take many things for granted; especially God's love. I learned all the bible stories, I knew all the answers; but knowing it in my mind doesn't equate to knowing and being impacted by it in my heart. I would say I've struggled and have continued to struggle with fully understanding and gripping the unconditional, absolute and unlimited love from God the Father. I've surprising myself by picking up another book already since I had just finished Radical by David Platt, but Crazy Love  by Francis Chan is my current read and I've been loving it so far; I just finished reading the third chapter titled Crazy Love , and it has opened a crack in the door for me to fully take in the Father&#

Leaving The American Dream

Image
I spent most of my weekend in the woods, making friends with different species of bugs, being kissed by mosquitos, and reading Radical  by David Platt. The short book had much to say, and it got me thinking quite a bit. Platt focuses on how the American Dream, being comfort, security and luxury in worldly pleasures has distracted us from living out the full, radical and global purpose God has designed us for; being discipleship and mission. There were plenty of questions and thoughts that came from the read, but i'll share some of the main ones. What is God's purpose for me?  I think many times we hear people talking about "hearing their calling" or reasoning certain decisions because they "have not been called yet".  Radical  addresses this too, and it reveals that we now live in a society and culture where we make it seem as if only certain faithful, and super mature Christians go on missions overseas whilst the rest of us stay here, in the comforts o

Keeping The Sabbath

Image
As I read through the final chapters of Leviticus these past few weeks, the idea of the Sabbath was very prominent, and I am slowly starting to think that it is something more important than what it is perceived to be. The levitical laws talk about taking a Sabbath on the seventh day as a day of rest, holy to the LORD, and it even goes as far as having every seven years be a Sabbath year. Since January, I have been trying to practice a regular Sabbath every sunday, but as I reflect back on the Sabbaths i've taken, I've wondered if I did it correctly because I found that I end up piling all my stuff and to-do's that are not school related onto that day, and it still ends up being busy. So I asked myself, "why is the Sabbath so important?".  This week, I spent some time looking into what the Sabbath really is, and why we should take it. Most of these ideas were taken from articles and podcasts which will be linked below. Here's what I've learnt, The Sabb

Two Steps Backward

Image
This past week, things took a turn at work. If you don't know, this summer I am working as an Animal Handler and Educator in Etobicoke, and it's been crazy to think that God has helped me land what I think could potentially be my dream job. As I began my time there, the goal was to work and be trained towards being approved to be a team lead; meaning that I could go and do educational animal shows all on my own. To me, it has been quite difficult for me to track my progress; I knew that I was entering the final stages of approval where I had to go on a show with the head staff; the two co-owners and a supervisor, and do an entire presentation on my own. But as the summer months kicked in, I assumed that things got a bit busier and I wasn't sure if there was going to be time to get them all to take time out of their busy schedules for one simple approval. But this past Tuesday I got a long message from the head staff as they checked in with each employee to see where