God


Have you ever been through a situation that was too painful to face? Painful enough to make you want to stay in bed, hide away from the sun. Blinds closed. Eyes closed. Hands gripping the comforter over your head. You want to fall into a coma. Remain unconscious. Because there is nothing to get up for. There is nothing in you, no cell in your body, that wants to live because there is nothing to live for. Important relationships are severed. Your dreams are dead. You are weak. Defeated. Flatlined.

I have just read David Bonifacio’s blog entry, written to a fictitious/future daughter to help her remember who she is in Christ. Today he is helping her remember that You Are Strong. It reminded me about the season when I flatlined.

They say that every season has a blessing. I can now look back and see the blessing of not having anyone to talk to and completely lean on. It meant that God was the only one I could lean on 100% of the time. He was the only one who could completely comfort me. Yes, family and friends were there to offer prayers and words of comfort. Their kinds words and encouragement were priceless. But they couldn’t be there for me all the time. They have lives and challenges of their own. They couldn’t save me from wanting to fall into the pit of darkness and self-pity. At the end of the day, through sleepless nights and sunny days when all I wanted to do was hide in the dark, the only one I had–completely, totally, utterly–was Christ. His presence dominated my life and literally lifted me out of my emotional pit.

I would read His Words over and over again. Claim them. Speak them in the first person. Until they penetrated my stone heart. And slowly, ever so slowly, His words began breathing life into me again.

Here are some of those words He spoke to breathe life into my heart and the verses that they are based on–

I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Where I am weak and I cannot do anything about my feelings or situation, You are strong. All I have to do is surrender everything to You. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

The Lord is fighting for me. The only thing I have to do is be silent. So don’t say a word. Shut up and let His Spirit do the work. (Exodus 14:14)

God is now healing me and binding my emotional wounds. I can literally picture this happening. (Psalm 147:3)

The Lord has only the best plans for me. I want God’s best. Nothing else. He’s my Heavenly Father and He’s working out my future and giving me hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you find that you’ve flatlined, pray. Read His Word. Listen to Him with your mind and your heart. He loves you. Where you are weak, He is strong. And know in your heart, that this is the season when all He wants is to be first in your life. No one else. Nothing else.

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It’s been a month, or perhaps two or three months, of transition. It’s a season of uncertainty. It’s a season where curve balls are being tossed amidst a time where you have to make life decisions.

It’s also been a season where I’ve clung on to my anchor – God. Yesterday, I read a blog entry by David Bonifacio. He imagined himself with a daughter in a world with many demands and opinions. He’s in the middle of a series where he wants his future/fictious daughter to remember who she is in Christ.

It made me remember who I am. I’ve been meditating on Deuteronomy 28:1-14. It’s made me remember that no matter what happens, I am His daughter. He is generous and wants to bless me in every single way.

Will I obey Him? Or will I do my own will? Will I be swayed by others’ opinions? Or will I open my ears and heart to what He says, and trust that He will give me the grace to follow?

Here is what I’ve been declaring every morning based on His word–

Lord, you are first in my life.
You are my Heavenly Father, I am your daughter.
I want to obey You every day and follow Your commands.
I have faith that You are blessing me in every aspect of my life.
I am blessed in the city and in the country.
The fruit of my womb will be blessed.
My family is blessed because You are at the center.
Every thing I touch at work will succeed because of Your power.
People who are against me will always be defeated. They will flee.
You will bless the land that You will give me.
I will lend and never borrow.
You will make me the head and not the tail, so I can bless others.
I will continue to obey You and believe in Your promises.
I love how Your word is coming alive in my life.
I continue to be excited to see how Your promises will come into fruition in my life.
I love you, Lord. Amen.

Two preachings. Same message. One Sunday. Today.

One by Lynette, Pastor Kevin’s wife. The other by Pastor Mick in B’s church in Cortland through an audio file.

Yesterday was a day of confronting one’s imperfections, damage, ravaged heart and mind. There are things that one strives to change but cannot. Therefore the shame.

Today, Lynette talked about five women in the bible: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.

These women were imperfect. Some of them outcasts, damaged, living colorful lives that weren’t acceptable to their religious communities. Tamar deceived and had sex with her father-in-law to survive. Rahab was a prostitute who lied to save Jewish spies. Ruth was a Moabite, a non-Jew, reviled by sticklers for the law. Bathsheba committed adultery and had a child with her lover, David. Mary? Who in this day and age would believe that a virgin could be pregnant with God’s son?

Yet these women were handpicked by God, chosen and celebrated in Jesus’ genealogy. God didn’t care about their social status. He didn’t care about their colorful pasts. Mercy triumphs over judgment, Lynette said over and over again.

God was merciful towards their sin and damage. He gave them a blank slate and used their lives to impact others’. Ours. Mine. Mercy triumphs over judgment, words that are being written in my heart.

When I got home, I listened to a preaching in B’s church–Would you just let God adore you?

Towards the end of his message, Pastor Micks talks about a film he saw called Happythankyoumoreplease. There’s a woman character who is in search for the perfect man. She meets this man in her fifth floor office and they’re on their second date. The man is homely and bald. She is attractive. He asks her if she wants white or red wine and she says, Chuck, we need to talk.

He responds–

I know what’s coming. This is the conversation where you say it’s not me. It’s you. You tell me that I’m too good for you. You tell me that I’m just too wonderful. And I’m not any good and I can’t be in this relationship with you. Now would you like red or white?

Chuck, we need to talk, she continues.

No really let me tell you. What if I know better than you what you need? I want you to close your eyes. You know why I come to the fifth floor? Coz the first time I looked at you I said, ‘Wow!’ That woman. I come down just to be in your airspace. I come down just to be near you. Will you let me adore you? I am totally up for loving you, adoring you and being totally everything to you. I know your problem. You don’t think you’re good enough to be loved by me. You don’t think you’re lovable enough and you keep looking in places so you can make yourself feel lovable coz you think if you’re standing by this person that’s why you’re lovable. But I love you for who you are. Please. Let me adore you.

Pastor Mick closes, Won’t you please, just for a moment, let God adore you?

Last Sunday, I attended church service at Every Nation in St. Andrew’s, Colaba. I know that many people are skeptical about God speaking to us in this day and age. I understand. I used to be skeptical too.

At this point, all I can say is when you’ve had a personal encounter with God, and I mean the hair-raising, transformative kind that you can’t explain with logic, after all, it is an affair of the heart, and when you have that personal encounter, if you choose there is no turning back, scales falling off eyes. Only a way forward. Forward, pushing into deeper peace. Deeper security. Gone will be your days of emotional neediness, black holes, confusion, swirls, lost, striving. And you know that whatever happens, with a security that refuses to be shaken, storms, blizzards passing, than in this life, the next life, you know you always belong to Someone. You always have a home.

Last Sunday, Pastor Conrad, Pastor Kevin’s brother, a guest speaker at our church, he shared a powerful message about spending time with God and listening to Him. He looked at me, his words cutting my heart. I haven’t been listening as much as I should. Pastor Conrad shook a notebook up in the air with notes from God. He wrote down God’s words, words jumping off pages. Words coming alive, writing life. That’s how passionate Pastor Conrad was, as he generated story after story about God’s power, His plot, His story, His love for us.

One day, I will also listen as much. Listen as long, in quiet space, capturing every word. Listening to His every song. And story. Like now, perhaps, one more second, one more day at a time, sitting at His feet, trying to shut ears from the world, attempting to listen.

I video-taped the beginning of the sermon. I hope you are as inspired as I am.

2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

Prayer and fasting ended a couple of days ago. An “aha!” moment was during Sunday service when Pastor Kevin talked about planting a seed, which bears fruit, and in turn, produces more seed. It was a very encouraging message because I know that just as long as I plant seeds that are led by the Holy Spirit, they will grow, flourish and multiply. This also helps me focus and say “no” to doing things that aren’t aligned to planting seeds.

Here are five seeds I’d like to plant, and five hopes I’d like to reap:

Seed 1: Praying to God and meditating on bible verses.
What I hope to reap: A deeper relationship with God.

Seed 2: Spending quality time with B.
What I hope to reap: A deeper and more joyful relationship with honey šŸ™‚

Seed 3: Writing, taking photographs, blogging, giving constructive feedback on blogs and learning HTML.
What I hope to reap: Inspiring, uplifting others and improving my craft.

Seed 4: Eating healthy and exercising.
What I hope to reap: Good health!

Seed 5: Tithing, saving and exploring investing.
What I hope to reap: Financial abundance.

How about you? What seeds would you like to plant this year? What do you hope to reap? Would love to hear from you!

Taughannock Falls, New York State

Last night, I writhed in bed from hunger, my belly on fire. I struggled, fought. Kicked. Turned. Prayed, darts shooting off my head, as I tried to sleep and shake off unforgiveness.

Today is my fifth day of prayer and fasting. Today is a new day, a new day to decide to forgive, orange sun bursting at dawn. And today I found my place, the restlessness and boredom withering, and a joy inside replacing, bursting with orange light, hope anew. And I find myself happy once more, just living every moment, every millisecond, without craving, striving, wanting more.

Like I said in my last two posts, today is a perfect day.

I know that many people who read this are skeptical about messages from God. And I don’t blame you. I’ve been on that same boat. But once I started letting go of my skepticism, once I started opening up my heart to Jesus, and once I started allowing Him to do good things in my life, every day has been an adventure for me, an opportunity to walk on water, and opportunity live out my dreams.

But, this story isn’t about me. This story is about my friend, K.

K outside Lion Gate, South Mumbai

K and I went to church today and I asked Pastor Kevin to pray for her. He didn’t know anything about K. All I told him via text was, “She needs prayers for getting work in the U.S. and a U.S. visa”.

After church, Pastor Kevin started praying over K. My hand was on her shoulder, and how I wish I had recorded what he said. I can’t recall his words verbatim, but here are some key words–

You are experiencing a new season, a new life. You seem to have a lot of burdens in your life, I’m not sure what’s holding you down, but there are a lot of burdens. You will experience freedom from these burdens. You will have open doors, divine doors and clear directions. I pray for peace and that God will reveal Himself to you.

The hairs on my arms were standing, and I was tearing up, because Pastor Kevin doesn’t know anything about K, but he confirmed many things that K had been experiencing. When he spoke to her, it reminded me of the time Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman. The only one who fully knows K is God, and at that moment, He spoke directly to her.

K, God is calling you, and He’s calling you now. Now is the time to get off the boat.

And walk on water.

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