Knowing God

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Photo credit: /foolme

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others—not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

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My 24th birthday candle

 

Natalie Langenderfer

So, I wrote this quote on my friend Fritzie’s wall a few monthsss back to encourage and affirm her. Guess what? On friday (my birthday) Fritzie tagged me on this post that her friend posted, quoting me! I was so shocked! Imagine! My wall post inspired and touched Natalie such that she felt the urge to share it and again, inspire at least 15 of her other friends along they way. I need to add that Natalie is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and she met Fritzie when she previously came as an exchange student in Singapore.

How powerful can a few kind intention and modern communication channels are, huh? How far these thoughts of encouragement have reached! I am not even gonna start on how long ago Kubler-Ross wrote this. And the wonderful thing is how my intention have pervaded time, distance, continents, and have gone one full circle and returned back to me. What goes around really does come back around, huh?

It was even more special to find out about it on my birthday, on top of so many birthday greetings I have received. I believe that it was God affirming me and showing me His love, a thing I’ve been praying for. It was like the whole universe was conspiring to tell me how much the world appreciates having me around. All those greetings, especially this post, affirmed me that my actions can make a difference in the world. It seemed like He was showing me the people who I have touched in one way or another and the potential I had if I were to do more with what I have.

And, it reminded me of Matthew 5:13-16,

13 ‘You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people’s feet.
14 ‘You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.
15 No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.
16 In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.

And, it hit me. To at least try and pay Jesus back for all the things He gave me and glorify His name, I need to spread the love (more) and shine my light. I need to stop hiding, questioning myself, and diminishing my value. I need to make myself “salty” and spice things up. I am God’s daughter and he created me to be a light for the world. So, this little light of my life, I’m gonna make it shine. (:

Keep your arms wide open

Always keep your arms wide open and welcome people as they walk into you life.

Some people may only walk in once and stay forever. Open your arms and hug them and never let them go.  They will be with you through good times and bad. Keep your arms wide open to always be ready to receive and give much love.

Some people may walk into your life momentarily and then, leave forever. Open your arms. You’d want to experience their purpose in your life so let them. Similarly, give them as much love as you can. Open your arms and hug them before they go out of your life. That’s the best souvenir or token of appreciation for someone who ain’t coming back.

Some people may just be on the sidelines. Open up your arms such that it says, “Welcome! Please come in.” Hoping one day they will so that they can also experience your love. Otherwise, it’s just always nice to let people know that love is all around.

Some people may walk in and out of your life. Open your arms and continue loving them still. They might have fallen along the way due to some heavy burden. They need no judgment or persecution but your understanding and love. Give them the benefit of the doubt and be welcoming. Realise that there might be something about you that keeps drawing them back.

Sometimes, you may feel like a swinging door with people constantly walking in and out of your life that it starts to hurt. Keep your arms wide open still. Love was not meant to be easily angered. It perseveres. Even the sinners love those who love them, but only the children of God can turn the other cheek and continue to love those who’ve hurt, crushed, and trampled on one’s heart. Love was not meant to be measured. You just give all you have in hopes of receiving them back too.

So, keep your arms wide open for anytime someone would need them.

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Photo Credit: thisisdiana

Showing your faith through charity

“As it is, these remain: faith, hope and charity, the three of them; and the greatest of them is charity.” – 1 Corinthians 13

Subsequently, “believing in charity calls forth charity.” If one really believes in God, it should manifest in their actions. Their actions should show love and grace just as how He loves us. “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16), I observed that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction … Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us” (Deus Caritas Est, 1).

And, if we are able to give charity to everyone and anyone around us, that is the greatest work of evangelization. No words and preaching can be much stronger than actually extending out charity to spread His love and glorify His name. We need to continuously reach out to those who continue to grow in faith, to those who yet to accept the faith, and to those who are distanced from the faith and the church. Set your life as an example. Open up to those who feel left out. Understand those who need support. Listen to those crying on their own. And with every act of charity we commit, we improve upon the faith of the church but within us and beyond us. Isn’t that just wonderful?

To spread charity, we need to things: to stay connected to the church and to be courageous and bold.

If you think you are not ready yet, perhaps, it is time to strengthen your relationship with God. Because if you truly open up to Him and establish a close relationship with Him, I’m certain that you will be so touched that you would want to share the good news with others. You would want others to experience what you have. You would want others to feel His mercy, love and grace too.

Now, it will be scary so you have to be bold. People will question you. You will be like sheep being sent to the wolves. But, spread the good news of the Lord either way. As written in Sirach 34:16, “Those who fear the Lord will not be timid.”

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Photo Credit: Prowriting Aid

The Holy Spirit

Of the Holy Trinity, I believe that the Holy Spirit is an entity that needs more credit for His work.

I mean, He is part of the holy trinity who is always with us. He is our constant companion. He is the one who enables us to recognize God and His presence in our lives. He is the one who helps us through times of difficulties. He is the one who tries to direct us away from sins and grievous mistakes. He is the one who equips us with courage and strength.

Even when we don’t understand the Father’s power or the Son’s sacrifice, He is the one who never leaves us on our own. Even on days when we don’t see ourselves in the image of God, at least realise that the Holy Spirit is that little piece of God within us. That even in our darkest days, there is hope; we are not alone because He is with us.  He is within us. He is a part of us. We can choose not to listen to Him but His voice will always resonate in the deepest recesses of our souls. Even when we feel like heaven’s too far or the world’s too damaged, by remembering that the Holy Spirit is within everyone around us, isn’t that like a little piece of heaven on earth as well?

Well, at least He can do all that. The question is, do we allow Him to? Do we welcome Him into our daily lives? Do we let Him dwell and grow well in us?

Knowing that we have the Holy Spirit within us, having God always a part of us, how do we take care of Him? “Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that The Spirit of God dwells within you?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16) And, if we really value the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we keep our body pristine and pure? We should try our best not to damage it. This goes from eating healthily, exercising, not smoking, not cursing, to not using our body as an instrument for gossiping or lustful activities. Would you want your Father to feel unwelcomed in the body of his own creation? Would you want your Father to be living in a rubbish dump filled with garbage, bad thought, and malicious acts? Instead, we should aim to make our body worthy of a place where God can reside. We should ensure that our body is always ready to accept and welcome him. We should be able to hear Him while He should be able to do His miraculous works in us.

To strengthen our relationship with God, we need to learn how to communicate and channel the Holy Spirit more. I mean, He’s already within us. How difficult can it be, right? With just a little more prayer and meditation, we can stir a stronger relationship with the Holy Spirit within us. We can ask Him and allow Him to always guide our thoughts, words, and deeds. Let Him always be is our conscience, our morale compass, our inner light.

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Photo credit: All Voices

A Prayer for Employment

God, our Father, 

I turn to you seeking your divine help and guidance as I look for suitable employment.

I need your wisdom to guide my footsteps along the right path, and to lead me to find the proper things to say and do in this quest.

I wish to use the gifts and talents you have given me, but I need the opportunity to do so with gainful employment.

Do not abandon me, dear Father, in this search, but rather grant me this favor I seek so that I may return to you with praise and thanksgiving for your gracious assistance.

Grant this through Christ, our Lord. 

Amen

jhkPhoto credits: The Post and Courier

 

God-centric Partnership

It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by stable loving couples with a God-centric relationship. Not only does it show that it’s possible, it’s also shows that putting God as the foundation of your relationship makes it that much stronger.

I used to like “bad guys” because I thought they’re the ones “with balls” and be more able to protect you. But I’ve been realising that God’s our protector and having a God-loving guy with God in his side would be the greatest coolest thing ever. So, find a man who loves God before he even knows that you exist. A man who falls to his knees, with tears in his eyes and hands held high, without a care to the world watching him. A man who knows that God is the best foundation in your relationship. A relationship that brings you each other closer to Him.

Imagine! The man who loves Jesus will respect you. He’ll pursue you and treasure you. He won’t pressure you or control you, but gently walk beside you and lead you. He will appreciate you as the gift and beauty you are, and remind you of it every day. He will worship with you. He’ll pray for you and pray with you. He will lead you with strong hands, stand up when you can’t, but remind you that God will always be there. That would be an everyday reminder that God loves us! Since he learned how to love from God, he’d love you according to 1 Corinthians 13. He would love you as God loved us.  He’d draw his love from God and that love would be genuine and overflowing. He’d offer your love to God by spreading it to others, especially your children. God is love – that’s where love should begin and end.

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Easier said than done huh? To begin with, how do we even find such a person? Imagine when you’re in a dance, what do you do to finally get that perfect dance? Would you dance around in search for the one? How tiring that might be! According to my friend, dance with God instead. Spend your time getting to know Him. Some people may approach and ask for your hand along the way. But, with God there, He’d ward off the “wrong boys” until the right one comes along. Then, He’d let him cut in and take your hand. Subsequently, you’d always put God in the middle of the relationship and always run to Him, for good times and bad. Together, you’d fulfill God’s purpose and do things that glorifies His name. Isn’t that a wonderful love story to tell your future children and the world? (:

Henceforth… for now, until further notice, God is my boyfriend. (:

Photo credits: Alycia Teo

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where were you?

I was there. I remember. I was quietly sitting on the newly varnished brown pews of this all-too-familiar church. I remembered mumbling, “thanks be to God.” There is no awkward silence here. With only one man speaking in front of a massive congregation, the silence is very calm and serene. –in today’s gospel– almost like a lullaby. –from the book of- Everything here is done in a well-rehearsed routine to glorify the Lord. –talks to us about repentance– Okay. I shall pay attention and not fall asleep today. –we go for confession-Oooh I like that girl’s dress. That guy is not bad. – we ask for forgiveness– My attention shifts to those low v-neck tops on well-endowed ladies, –to cleanse ourselves– those short skirts parading some girls’ long limbs,   yet, humans are fallible- those men glancing at their eye-catching neighbour. – all of us are sinners -It was interesting to look at how people stare blankly to the altar. -each and everyone of us– While looking at those familiar faces, there’s a sense of comfort in me –no matter how convoluted– It is amazing how a church is called a community. You mean, I’m supposedly connected to those -or self-serving– strangers I’ve never talked to before?. –your sin was– You mean, I share something –because He loves us– with these people other than me faithfully –He saved us– observing them weekly? –He gave his life for all of us – My gaze shifts to the windows. –the worst punishment– The sun was barely shining onto the colour-tinted glass. –crucified on the cross-  It will probably rain today. –For God so loved the world- Hmmmm… Can I go for a swim today? Maybe I’ll go for a run, instead.-He gave– Damn. I was supposed to go cycling with David. -His only begotten son– But, it’s such a nice day to sleep in.. Hmm. What movie can I watch? –Jesus sacrificed Himself– I’ll probably rush my school work next week instead. –He never leaves us- Oh no. I have presentation due tomorrow. Why do I have so much things to do? Oh God. Can I just have a break please? I’m so tired from all the things I need to complete. I feel like there’s so much burden on my shoulder. Dear Lord, can you please help me? Then, out of nowhere, the priest concluded, “God is always with you. The question is, are you with God?” OH MAN!!! What did the priest say for homily?…..