Candor vs Tact

What kind of friend do u find most likeable on FB? Mine… a friend comes into mind for her candor.. I like her posts because she can be candidly funny.

What kind of inspirational speaker do u find most inspiring? Mine.. two friends come to mind: one speaks of all her achievements and how she achieve them; the other shares her success stories and candidly tells of her not-so-successful ones. Of these two, i prefer the latter.

And so I want to talk about candor. What does it mean to be candid? To be candid is to be honest, frank and speaking the truth without a facade. For me, the word seems to carry a sense of happiness and brightness. I searched for its origin. In latin, it is whiteness. Words associated with candor are integrity, sincerity, fairness, guilelessness and naiveté.

To be guileless and naive is to be childlike – without deceit. How does a child do that? At times, to the point of being rude, right? But we know that behind his truthfulness, he did not mean to hurt. Let me illustrate an example: I was embarrassed when my young daughter candidly told a friend that her gift was too small to fit her. She answered in reply to the friend’s asking. She was too young to be tactful about it.

Tact is sensitivity, understanding and thoughtfulness in dealing with difficult situations. Its Latin origin is to touch, or sense of touch.

I appreciate the candor of my adult friends and I observed that my child needs tact in her candor. What is the difference of their candor? The candor of my friends is illustrated when they shared truths about themselves – even their own weaknesses or the not-so-good stuffs in their lives to share lessons they learned. Candor is authenticity. On the other hand, I teach my child that she needs to be tactful even as she is honest.

The Bible sums it up nicely: Speak the truth in love. (Eph. 4:15) Paul taught the Ephesians to grow in Christ. To be mature in Christ is about integrity and about love. How? We need to be honest with each other and we need to be sensitive to one another. Candor with tact – speak the truth in love.

Musings from the Garden

The parable of the sower is a familiar one for many: 4 kinds of soil with 4 results. Only 1 seed = gospel (good news of Jesus) yet there are two categories of the results: the saved and the unsaved.

Matthew 13
18 “Listen then to the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown with seed beside the road.

20 The one sown with seed on the rocky places, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution occurs because of the word, immediately he falls away.

22 And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the anxiety of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

23 But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.”

I used to wonder a bit about what is the difference between soil 2 & soil 3. One thing is similar: both are affected by the concerns of the world = affliction, persecution (v.21) and anxiety of the world (v.22). The difference is soil 2 falls away. The person received the good news with joy but he turned away from his belief when hardships come. Soil 3 becomes unfruitful. This person is like the plant that grows with the thorns. The cares of the world prevent him from bearing fruit:1) fruit of the Spirit; bearing fruit like 2) sharing the gospel to make disciples of people.

To be like soil no. 3 is to be like a believer of Jesus yet not bearing the semblance of Jesus. To be unfruitful is like having no joy, no patience, no love, no peace, no faithfulness, no gentleness, no goodness or kindness and no self-control. To be an unfruitful Christian is because his focus is on the “anxiety of the world” and the “deceitfulness of wealth” not on the ‘Power of the Word.”

To be fruitful, I need to ‘hear’ (really listen, read and study) the Word, ‘understand’ (really live and apply it to my daily living). To be fruitful is to bless my neighbor as I obey God’s command to love him with all my being. How do I bless my neighbor? I love them like Jesus loves me. I forgive as I am forgiven. I give as Jesus gives. I multiply the gifts and make more givers out of my giving = that is making disciples of all nations. That is the great commission of being a fruitful follower of Jesus. So help me God.

Today is another day to bear fruit and be fruitful, dear friend.

A Love Letter to Hannah

What does a mother say to her child who bravely left her family in the pandemic to get married thousand of miles away from home? How does a mom feel when she could not be with her in the journey ahead? Would she be lonely? What if she catch the virus? etc. I guess I chose not to dwell too much on the sad possibilities. Instead I thought of how to embolden and empower her for the journey ahead. God is good. He was with her all the way.

So here’s my love letter to my child – 3 days after she left home. She flew out of the nest on 6/12/20 – literally to be independent as it’s independence day of a country in lockdown! Today is 1/5/2023. I woke and it’s 4:15am. I looked in my files and found this letter which I need to read for myself. I need to apply the lessons for myself this time. As I share it, dear reader, I pray the Holy Spirit touch your heart to be brave and realize what matters most in life!

My dear Han,

You are my first born. You are God’s gift to enroll me in the school of motherhood. A new lesson for me today is letting go of my child and setting her free.

Today as you enter a new milestone in your life, I let go of your hand even as I hold you always in my heart. I pray that the Holy Spirit empower you to be a wife of noble character that God intended you to be. Just as God created Eve to be a helper to Adam, you are to be a helper to Jensen.

I ask that the Lord enable you to bring him good, not harm, all the days of your life. May our almighty God strengthen your arms and hands to work eagerly. May His loving kindness touch your heart to be generous to the poor and needy. May His presence embolden you to step out in faith amidst life’s challenges. May His Spirit grant you a heart of wisdom to make good choices in word and deed. May you laugh at the days to come as His peace covers you in strength and dignity.

Remember charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. May you yearn and work for the words of your master: “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter your master’s happiness.”

Remember to be humble always for
This is what the LORD says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jer. 9:23-24)

Love as God loves you. Forgive as God forgives you. Be gracious as God is gracious to you. Take delight in the things that the Lord delights in. Boast that you know the Lord God who is kind, just and righteous.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Thank you, Lord for listening to the prayers of my heart. I let go and entrust my child into the palm of your loving and righteous right hand. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Danny’s Flashlight

Light of the world, a lamp in the dark, a city set on a hill.. These words remind me of my friend, Danny. When? When he was fighting and dying of cancer… How? Let me share an excerpt of the eulogy I wrote for him some 10 months ago.

On 4/9, Danny said: I’m stable but in pain. feels like a dog w/ sharp teeth biting my right chest n wont let go. I’m surviving thru much prayers esp at night I cant lie down. God is good. He makes me sleep when I’m exhausted. I’m truly thankful for that.

From 5/25-27: Scan results out, no good. He said: God knows what’s next. Don’t worry. I’m totally at peace. Pray for less pain. I don’t want my family to be affected when I whine or cry in pain. Thanks. I cannot explain the peace that I feel now.
“it’s not as bad as it sounds. God is good no matter how this progresses. I’m totally at peace. No worries. Thank you for prayers.”
“Let’s hope the med works. God is good. I’m not a bit worried.”

8/25, “I’m not afraid to go. I just ask God for another chance to share w others how good He’s been to me.”

Danny’s words testified that in all things (good n bad) God is good. He loved God and was devoted to Him amidst hardship. He loved people. He was dying and still thinking of God and neighbor. He wanted to donate whatever useful organs he’s got left. He asked for more time even in great pain to tell his stories.

Danny taught me lessons on dying bravely and living brightly even in the deep dark pit of pain. God enabled him to be a light shining in the valley of the shadow of death.

God took him first even though he was the youngest in our barkada. He was strongest when he was weakest because God’s grace was sufficient. Danny shone brightest when it was darkest because God was his light. Today, his voice resonates loudly because God’s Word was the only voice he heard and held on to. His life mirrored his Savior and Lord Jesus.

Today, Danny still speaks to me. Yesterday, his wife told me Danny gave me permission to share his stories whenever possible so people will know his God of grace. I miss Danny often especially when I have questions about the Bible, about things to write, ideas to share. He was a deep thinker, great teacher and fine writer. He’s witty, funny, silly, naughty and many more. Most of all, he’s my friend who loved me and whom I loved dearly. Tears falling as I write these words.

Around 1am today, I woke and could not get back to sleep. I watched some video clips on FB and chanced upon the Red Table Talk of Jada Pinkett Smith with the parents of Ms. USA who committed suicide earlier this year. Near the end of the talk, Jada shared her grief story about losing a dear friend. My takeaway from her lesson: Memories of our loved ones who passed on may fade. One sure thing remains: love.

How true the words from the Bible:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Why’s and How’s of Foot-washing

John 13:1-5, 12-17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
1When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

In Jesus’ time, it was customary for people to have their feet washed by servants of the house when they eat together. They wore sandals and their feet get dusty walking from place to place. It was a hospitable gesture for the host to prepare that his guests would have clean feet before dining.

When Jesus had the last supper with his disciples before going to the the cross, they had no servant to wash their feet. So Jesus took off his outer garment, put on a towel around his waist to wash and dry his disciples’ feet – 24 of them. He was their Master. They called him Teacher. Yet, the teacher washed the students’ feet.

Jesus knows who he is. He is the Son of God sent to earth with a mission. He is secure in his identity, his power and purpose (vv. 1, 3). A person of esteemed status who knows his worth does not mind doing the job of the lowly. The Master became the servant because He loved his disciples. He wanted to teach them to love one another. Humility and servitude are essentials to authentic love.

It’s been more than a year that we are without a maid at home. Hubby, our kids and I share house chores. We serve one another in love – taking out the trash, washing dishes, cleaning the toilet, doing laundry. There is one job I do not relish – disposing of dead cockroaches or lizards. 😃 But I love my family. I realized, practice makes perfect. The more I love, the more I get better at serving my family.

In the pandemic, we (our neighbors) decided to take turns giving food to our guards to keep them safe from Covid. And so this gives us (my children and I) opportunities to serve our security guards by preparing and bringing them food.

Today, I might be a mom, an elder sister, an employer or someone in higher authority and status than others. I can imitate Jesus – serve others in love. Feet-washing is humbling. What lowly acts of love do I offer to people around me? How can I brighten a face with a smile and lighten a load from the heart of someone who needs love?

Feet-washing is more than a physical act of service. It comes from a heart of love – love of the Father and love for others. May the love of God and man compel me to serve in humility. I pray the same for you, my friend. Let Jesus inspire you to wash the feet of another today.

A Heart for God

King Saul did not follow instructions. God wanted him to kill King Agag and all the Amalekites. Saul excused himself saying he offered the best of the bounty from the war to sacrifice to the Lord. What was Samuel’s reply to Saul’s excuse?

1 Samuel 15:22-23
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

God only wanted complete obedience. To disobey God is to rebel against Him and disrespect him. To rebel against God is basically a sin of arrogance – the evil of idolatry. Idolatry is worship of anything else above God. Arrogance is worship of the ego – thinking that oneself is better than God.

God does not want my offerings and sacrifices given with a proud heart. He wants an obedient heart – a humble heart willing to listen to His instructions and follow through in complete submission.

David was called a man after God’s own heart. Acts 13:22a. What does a man after God’s own heart do? He will do everything God wants him to do. 13:22b

David and Goliath is a familiar story. This story reminds us of David’s wholehearted devotion to God. He asked 2 questions when he heard Goliath’s insults and taunts. 1 Sam 17:26

“What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? This question is not so much about the rewards for killing Goliath but more about the act of removing disgrace from Israel.

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Here lies the important issue of identities. The uncircumcised Philistine insulted the Living God.

When Saul questioned his ability to fight Goliath, David again pointed to God. God enabled him to kill lion and bear to protect his sheep. David believed that God would help him to defeat Goliath.17:34-37

David was just a shepherd boy sent on an errand to bring food to his brothers at war. He did not expect to kill a giant. He was no soldier. But he had a heart for God – a brave one. He was brave because he experienced God’s presence in whatever he’s been tasked to do whether as a shepherd, an errand boy or an avenger for God.

Today, whatever I do, whether to care for my family, cooking, cleaning, washing, mopping, praying, or to extend a helping hand to someone in need, to listen, to hug, to encourage, to comfort, to celebrate or to grieve, to be present with an open palm of generosity… do I do all these with a heart for God?

God said “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7

How is my heart?

To be like a Child

King David does not strike me as a proud man. So I was intrigued when he said: My heart is not proud, Lord. My eyes are not haughty. (Psalm 131:1a). It does not seem like a humble man to say of himself as being not proud, is it? I used to believe that humility is something one loses when he thinks he has it.

But wait, he said something else after this first statement that helps to explain the context – where he’s coming from when he said he’s not proud. He said: I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. (131:1b)

In v. 1, David prayed: Lord. That he addressed God as Lord, showed his submission before a greater person. David was not ‘ambitious.’ In simple terms, he did not strive to understand great matters – things that are beyond his understanding… things too wonderful for him to comprehend.
v. 2 gives us further context – that of contentment. Contentment of a weaned child. What does that mean? What is a weaned child? Why did David use that metaphor?

What is the significance of weaning a child in the Bible? Gen. 21:8

Answer: According to Jewish custom, the time when a child is weaned is cause for celebration. A weaned child has survived the fragile stage of infancy and can now eat solid food rather than breastfeed from his or her mother. (

To be weaned like a child is to be off the needs of this world. To be off the need for significance, for affirmation, for self-righteousness and self-reliance. A weaned child is content in his mother’s arms. He knows he will be given solid food instead of his usual milk.

There are four significant themes in the 3 short verses. First is that of pride. David confidently prayed that he is not proud – not in his heart nor in his eyes. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34b) When I read haughty eyes, what comes to mind is looking down on others. Haughty eyes imply that I am better than you are. David was neither proud nor haughty. He was the humble shepherd boy who fought Goliath in the name of his God who helped him fight the lions to protect his sheep. He was the humble servant and musician of King Saul. He spared Saul’s life time and time again even when Saul tried to kill him.. even when he was already anointed by Samuel to be king to replace Saul.

Second word is ambition. David does not think important to know all there is to know, to understand things that are beyond him. He neither had ambition to fight a giant nor to become a king. Why?

Contentment: Because he is content like a weaned child. Godliness with contentment is great gain. When has a weaned child ever sought to be wise, all-knowing, powerful and influential? There is calmness and quiet in the soul when there is contentment… no striving, no struggling, no contentious spirit.

Pride is at the heart of man. We are all proud by nature. Even in our good works and ministry in the name of God, even as we know the value of God’s approval, perhaps we seek more the approval of men. We might even think more of ourselves than what God thinks of us. Adam was lured into wanting to be like God. Pride and ambition often get us into a state of dissatisfaction, of anxious striving and chasing after the wind.

Contentment is being at peace like a weaned child – getting satisfaction and peace from knowing that his needs are taken care of. As God’s children, we are called to dependence on God for all our needs and wants. We trust and we rest.

Finally, we declare our hope. We know it is possible to attain such state of complete peace. We call on others to go on the road with us in hope… hope in the Lord who provides us with everything that we need and call us to be everything that we hope to be.

Psalm 131
A song of ascents. Of David.

1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

Seeing Truly

In John 9:1-23, Jesus healed a man born blind. This miracle story is not only about physical healing to see but also an eyeopener; the spiritual lens and insights on life and living.

John recorded many “signs” that Jesus did in his presentation of the ‘good news.’ This particular sign was narrated in much details – from the ‘perspectives’ of the different people who witnessed or heard of the miracle.

I remember our seminary professor had our class role-play this story in groups: disciples (v. 2), neighbours (v. 8), Pharisees (v.13), Jews (religious leaders) and the man’s parents (v. 18).

I realised that our professor wanted us to present the story through the ‘eyes’ of each group of people.

1) The disciples were interested in the why. They asked Jesus, why the man was born blind, was it because of his sin or his parents’? Their question implied their understanding of suffering and sin. The man was born blind because he was being punished for his sin or because his parents sinned.

Today, many believe the same. It is sad to hear people telling friends who are suffering or sick to repent and be healed. While it is true that sin has disastrous consequences, not all deformities, diseases or sufferings are God’s means to punish sinners. God ‘allows’ sufferings to transform his children to be more and more like Jesus. Sufferings are God’s means of ‘sanctification’ in his children for his glory.

Jesus answered his disciples: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (vv. 3-5). Jesus gave lessons to gain from the man’s blindness – for God’s works to be revealed – so that people would see and gain spiritual inSights. Jesus is the light of the world – those who know him will see clearly.

2) The neighbours focused on how. How was it possible that this blind man got healed? Is this really the blind man? How was he healed? “How were your eyes opened?” (v.10) Their question showed that their focus was on the physiological – what is doable, how things are done. They were like reporters seeking to find out the truth – the veracity of the miracle.

3) The man was brought (he did not voluntarily go) to the Pharisees. (v. 13) The Pharisees’ concern was the legality of the act of healing. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. It was illegal to work on that day. v. 16 This man is not from God because he violated the law of the Sabbath. The debate came out of it: How can a sinner do such signs? The blind man said: He is a prophet.

4) The Jews (v.18 – referring to the Jewish religious leaders) called the man’s parents to verify that the man was really born blind. The reason was because they did not believe the miracle happened. The parents’ answers tell us that their concern was being put out of the synagogue if they were to admit their belief in Jesus as the Christ. (v. 22)

Unbelief: that is the cause on all the issues raised by these people… neighbours, Pharisees, Jews. They did not know Jesus. They could not accept and did not believe He could heal because they could not see Him for who He is.

How we live life and how we overcome challenges we face each day are affected by our perspectives: a point of view. What you choose to focus on determines how you respond and solve a problem.

Pastor Johann Lai once preached about perspective on suffering in life. Many pondered on ‘WHY’ God allows sufferings to come into their lives. Why Lord am I sick with cancer? Why Lord do I have to bear the abuse? Why me? The important take-away I got from that sermon is: Instead of asking why, ask ‘HOW?’ How, Lord? Help me to go through this suffering. How can I grow from this trial? How will I surpass this crisis? “How” directs our focus to the source of our strength and wisdom – the Creator who made us in His own image… we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

It is not easy when we cannot see the future. It is also not easy even when we do see the present. But when we look back to HOW God see us through all the challenges of the past, then we can move forward in trust and hope.

HIndsight: understanding of a situation after it happened… synonym is wisdom learning from the past.
Foresight: ability to judge correctly what will happen in the future… synonym is wisdom planning for the future.

The Holy Spirit gives wisdom when we ask. James 1:5 says
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Today is another new day to ‘see’ better. We don’t know what’s for tomorrow. We can ask God for wisdom to live wisely. The Holy Spirit is our guide and counsellor. We pray that the Spirit grant us discerning eyes to see clearly – to focus on the important things – things that matter to God.

Dear Lord, all-wise loving Father, I praise you for you are gracious and merciful. Enable me today to see what you see so I may live wisely. Amen.

Peace in the Pit and Prison of Life

From the pit to the prison to the palace… that about summed up the life of Joseph! Is that it? Nope… not quite…

He was 17 tending his father’s flock and sent to look on his brothers when he was thrown in the pit then sold to be a slave. He was sent to prison because he was falsely accused for sexual harrassment.

He regained his freedom at the age of 30 to be the 2nd in command of all of Egypt in the palace of Pharaoh. There was none like him – he had position and power, wisdom and wealth, fame and family.

At that point in time, we see how he felt when he named his sons: Gen 41:51-52 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said,

“It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

He saw God whether he was glad or sad; in both suffering and blessings.
It was said that life begins at 40! Joseph at 39, finally found peace and reconciliation with his brothers. He wept so loud everyone outside the palace heard him. It was such an emotional reunion. How did he feel to finally see the people his own blood, the very ones who sold him into slavery? How could he still hug and kiss them? How could he forgave them for all they’ve done? Because at the end of it all, Joseph sees God’s hand in everything. Joseph said to his brothers:

Genesis 45
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

An abundant life does not consist of roses without thorns, smooth highways without valleys. Even a thorny life is beautiful and deep valleys are not total darkness when see behind the lens of a loving God.

Joseph at 40 saw and lived life as more than just places of pit, prison and palace. He lived his life in the presence of a loving God. He saw God’s hand moving and guiding. He witnessed God’s presence and share this presence with the people around him. He acknowledged God both in the good and the bad.

Where are you now in life? In a deep dark pit? Lonely, afraid, worried? Or perhaps in prison? Enslaved by pursuits of things that bring temporal satisfaction? Or maybe in a palace of the good life? In spite and despite every circumstance or whatever you are going through right now? Are you at peace? Shalom – the ultimate word for well-being.

Shalom is more than just simple peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony.

According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means health, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid.

Jesus fully paid the price for peace – peace with God and peace with man. As Joseph lived a life of peace, let us live shalom because Emmanuel, God is with us… even in such a time as this.

Peace be with you, my friend.

Being a Comfort in Discomfort

1 Samuel 22
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

David was fleeing for his life. Saul wanted to kill him. Yet, he became the leader of 400 men – not 400 influential men of wealth or position to help him out of his bad place. These were men in distress, in debt or dissatisfied with their current circumstances.

When one is in distress or in a hard place, is it natural for him to take on more load – to lead a band of people perhaps in worse condition than he is in? What strength enabled David to help other people when he himself needed help?

It must be his deep relationship with his God – his constant link to open communication about all that is in his heart – his fears, his tears, his triumphs, his defeat, his joy and his praise. All these he poured out to God in his prayers and praises in the psalms.

And it is not a one way street. God constantly sent people to minister and help David. David had the prophets like Nathan and Gad (to rebuke, encourage, direct and guide him). He had friends and allies like Jonathan and these 400 men to accompany him through the journey.

When I am in hard place, is my attention on my own small confined world of concerns? Am I attentive to other people in harder places that God sends to me? Am I aware of God’s presence in each detail of life? Do I hear and heed the still small voice of the Holy Spirit? What am I doing in response to this voice? Staying put in my ‘comfortable’ discomfort? Am I obedient to this call of Jesus?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 NIV

To deny myself is to get out of the self-focused, selfish indulgence of the flesh. To deny myself is to turn my back and fight against this mortal morally weak body – with its sinful desires and take up the cross of Jesus – the cross that takes on these sins – to crucify these sins and let them reign no more. It’s a one-time thing yet a daily dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome my weak body… to follow Jesus – to be his disciple.

Today, the world around me is suffering, dying, in pain, in grief, anxious, fearful and sad. Am I getting out of my comfort zone to be a comfort to those who are crying? What am I doing to mourn with those who mourn? How do I reflect the suffering Christ who gave his life because he loves and obeys God, the Father? What can I do to be his mouth, his hands and his feet to be his messenger of hope and comfort even when life is not easy?

I keep writing. I persist to share God’s message of hope, peace and love. I tell stories of God’s amazing grace and mercy in my uncomfortable places in life. The greater the pain, the louder the message – God is good. He will never leave me or forsake me. This is my hope and assurance.

Let it be yours too, my friend. Read the Bible. Know Jesus and experience God’s wonderful plan and purpose for you in the uncomfortable places of your life.