Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Adventure not to be Missed!

Another person whom I would take my hats of for the year would be my dear friend Liz Mah. Liz was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer back in June and not long after that, she started a blog called “Liz’s Adventure”!

If it were up to me, I would call mine “My Suffering Journal” or “My Last Words!” But, to call it an adventure!? Who in their right mind would classify cancer as an adventure! However, Liz knew exactly what she was on to. This was God’s adventure for her and she took it up with great faith! Now, nearly 6 months on, the tumours in the rest of her body such as the skull and liver, had miraculously disappeared. The main tumour in her lungs has also reduced in size significantly.

Throughout this period, she has been an inspiration and encouragement to many. Her perception of God had prompted me to ask God for the impossible, like healing my sinus!

Indeed, He is our Creator and our Healer. Whether we perceive it or not, He has our best interests in mind. To be totally drenched in His love and words during such challenging times have made Liz to be a stronger person. I felt so privileged to be able to witness her journey with God.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2)

The Prodigal Husband

As the year is coming to a close, I can’t help but think about the people who had made a significant impact on me during the year.

A few months ago, I attended a talk organized by the ladies of Canning Garden Methodist church in Kampar. Pastor Lee Choo shared about this sister in her previous church who had a wayward husband. Her husband started cheating on her not long after they were married. In fact, when she had a miscarriage, her husband was with someone, somewhere else. The infidelity lasted for more than 18 years! Over the course of time, pastors and friends had advised her to leave him, seeing no signs of improvement in their marriage. This lady however reminded her confidents that what God had joined in marriage, let no man (including herself) separate!

I felt heartbroken for this godly lady, and at the same time gasped at such faith and perseverance. If I were her, I would have thrown in the towels, years ago. Afterall, God cannot change an unrepentant heart, no? After many years when their children have grown up and left home, the prodigal husband returned! He had finally come to his senses and sought his wife’s forgiveness, who in return, willingly accepted him again!

This is incredible! What a miracle! But God, why did you only answer her prayers after so many years? The poor wife has wasted so much time and shed so much tears on him! But wait a minute, it was not only the wife who was waiting, God was waiting too. His heart was broken to see someone whom He dearly loved, strayed away. God was weeping alongside with this lady. I felt inspired by His love and at the same time, ashamed by my judgmental views. I may not be an adulterer like this man but surely, I led a fallen life before coming to Jesus too. The turn of events would only occur when we allow Him to work in our lives.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (1 Corinthians 4)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lion's Tail

One of the amazing lessons that I have learnt from Clarissa is: “If something is aggravating you, keep away from it!” Not long after Lion was diagnosed with “eating its tail” syndrome, Tiger began to show similar sign as its beautiful tail was spotted with a small hole. Immediately, Clarissa separated the two fish and banned them from fighting.

As a cynic, I said “You know, you have to accept at some point that Lion may have a permanent half eaten tail and is unlikely to stop chewing its tail. Maybe, I have to buy a new fish for Joseph soon and forget about this one.” “What is going to happen to Lion?” she asked curiously. “Maybe I will just throw him into a drain…” I said, tailing off, not knowing whether immediate or slow death of a one inch fish should be explained to a 7-year old.

However, Lion’s tail began to grow. After 2 weeks, its tail is only one-quarter incomplete (as opposed to half eaten). Clarissa had been faithfully and dutifully changing the water in the tanks and feeding them every day. Lion now has a small tummy while Tiger’s tail is fully healed. I was amazed that under a child’s care, the fish were doing much better than before.

This same lesson is applicable to my life. If I had allowed anger to build up, not only does it affect me, it also affects people around me adversely. On the other hand, if I had made the choice to distant myself from anger and embrace reconciliation, healing will take place, both externally and internally. Ultimately, healing requires supernatural intervention, specifically, God’s intervention. Only God can take away our hurt and angry hearts and replace them with love and trust, so that we are whole and complete again.

I appreciate the simple lesson behind these 2 fighting fish. If they could recover under a child’s loving care, how much more for us, when God our creator, began His surgical work in our hearts?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fighting Fish

Clarissa had been pestering me about getting a fish for keeps but my answer had always been negative until recently. “Mum, you need to get a fish for us, for performing in the VBS concert…please?” she asked with an angelic smile.

From memory, I recalled that there is a newly opened pet shop near my office. When we reached the shop, our eyes were glued to the multi-coloured, graceful fighting fish. Colours that I would have difficulty in blending for my boomerang project weeks ago, could be seen on an-inch long fish, looking splendid and natural. Their dull, lethargic bodies would be transformed into rainbow coloured with numerous tones, while their heads doubling in size when the barrier between the fish tanks is lifted. Within minutes, Joseph had selected an off white body matched with red fins, named Lion; Clarissa settled for a dark red fish with a tint of purple and blue, named Tiger!

As soon as we got home, Lion and Tiger were placed next to each other to display their hidden glory. After 2 days, Clarissa came to inform me that Lion was sick. His tail was showing signs of being damaged! Despite the torrential rain outside, I drove to the pet shop seeking for advice. “Your fish is eating his own tail” came the prompt reply. “What? Why? What do I do?” I asked in surprise. “Your fish is overly aggressive and angry. As a result, he ends up eating his own tail!” He said. “In fact, you could throw him away and get a new one! Its unfortunate that your fish turned out this way, but I assure you, not all fish behave the same way.”

I was amazed that for a small creature like Lion, his anger could be uncontained and may consume him! When I went home, I told Joseph that Lion must rest and should not be aggravated by being next to Tiger. Although we are much more complicated compared to fighting fish, we are no different when it comes to anger. If our anger goes unchecked, we could also do some serious damage to ourselves and others. Unresolved issues may slowly eat into our soul, edging bits by bits away, just like Lion is slowing losing its tail.

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4)

We need to rid ourselves of anger, including issues leading us to that. Else, Satan would end up having a foot hold in our lives. God is able to turn our anger into something positive, let us turn to Him. I would like to echo what my nephew, Isaac, shared today, after his recent church camp: “God took away my baggage of anger! I felt liberated!”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where is God?

“Mummy, I can’t see God, how can I believe in Him?” exclaimed my 4 year old in his usually loud voice. “But you see, God lives in our heart. He answers our prayers, makes us better when we are sick, helps us to feel better when we are sad” I replied, using as many simple words as possible. “Where? Where? Tell me where is God?” came the insistent questions.

“Ok, from now onwards, I will pray that God will reveal Himself to you!” I told him, hoping that he will change his conversational topic. My brain was cracking hard to think of some relevant analogies, suitable for a 4 year old but it was completely blank! Clarissa had never asked me that question before although I have no doubt that she had the same question in her heart. However, after years of attending Sunday School, daily prayer and miraculous healing (Big Miracle for a Little Girl), she KNOWS that God exists.

After praying for a week, Joseph and Clarissa attended the VBS at First Baptist Church. As Joseph was only 4, he went to the nursery class. Amazingly, he did his dances at the concert without rehearsal on stage. The best part was, after the event, we went out for ice-cream one day and while parking my car, he said “Praise the Lord! We found parking!” At first, I didn’t realize what he was saying until he exclaimed louder “Praise the Lord! Mummy, why are you not praising the Lord?” What a transformation! Somehow, during VBS’s week, he has met up with God and he knows what praising means! He knows that God exist!

Thank you Lord for revealing yourself to Joseph.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'"(Acts 17)

Judas Iscariot

I have always had difficulty in understanding why Jesus had recruited Judas Iscariot to be one of His disciples, especially when He had FULL knowledge that Judas would betray Him. I truly wonder how it was like to live with someone whom you knew would betray you.

Sometime ago, I had the privilege to catch a glimpse of such emotions of betrayal when someone I trusted did something that was detrimental to the company.

When I found out, I was amazed at the string of emotions that flew through. My heart which was once filled with respect for this person was then replaced with disappointment, resentment and to a certain extent, hatred. I couldn’t understand myself in this respect as afterall, he was just a colleague.

At that point in time, I was gently reminded by the Holy Spirit of what Jesus had been through. He was with Judas 24/7 and yet he had chosen to show love to him, hoping that he would choose the right path in the end. Showing love under such circumstances involved taking risks. I wondered what Jesus would have done if He were here now.

I need to abandon my ideal that people around me would behave as I had expected them to. In fact, I have to constantly remind myself not to impose my own ideals on them but to allow God to work in them. There is no guarantee that this “Judas” would turn over a new leaf, but I know that God is in full control of his life and there is nothing “Judas” could do that is “out of God’s radar”. I take comfort in this thought immensely as I know that Jesus understands exactly how I feel.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blessing in Disguise

As VBS drew nearer, I noticed that the committee members, teachers and helpers were falling sick, one after another. On the other hand, I have managed to escape from the devil’s radar thus far, which was worth rejoicing for.

On the Saturday before VBS, I had a tummy upset, followed by diarrhea the next morning. In fact, I felt both weak and feverish. “So much for my presumption!” I said to myself. After calling Ray to pray for me, I rang Wee Lee, the leader of our VBS class. To my dismay, Wee Lee shared that she too had been unwell: she had heart palpitations the night before and had to go to the hospital to stabilize her heart beat. Then I realized that we were indeed engaged in a spiritual battle, one that is very real and powerful.

Sunday night, one day before VBS was due to commence, we went to a “back-lane” restaurant off Jalan Raja Laut. Apparently, this place was famed for its steamed fish head and oysters omelette. As I was still recovering from my tummy bug, I refrained from taking the oysters; if not, I would have treated myself to two big bites!

Come Monday, I had fully recovered and was glad to learn that Wee Lee was well too. God is good, healing us just in time for the big week. However, I was informed that my brother-in-law had severe food poisoning resulting from the oysters the night before. In fact, he was kept up throughout the night with vomiting that was stopped only after a visit to the hospital. Then I realized how God had used the “minor tummy bug” as a blessing for me. If it were not for the mild diarrhea, I would be lying on my back on Monday.

How am I to see that my present illness is meant to protect me from a more severe one? Only God is able to see that. Thank you God for protecting me, showing me that Your are more powerful than any of the devil’s schemes and most of all, turning a supposedly “bug” into a blessing!

Joseph, Humble, Kind & Thoughtful

Today, I was in the car with my sister in law CY.  She commented she will be running out of petrol in car soon. "Joseph will remind me ...