To Fear or Not to Fear

To fear or not to fear… What are you afraid of? What makes your knee weak with fear? What shakes your composure and keeps you awake at night? Is it fear of sickness? fear of loneliness? fear of loss? fear of death? fear of rejection? fear of financial insecurities? fear of the unknown?

Psalm 112 tells the secret to a life of no fear. Fear the Lord and have no fear. The Christian life is not a pure smooth path of roses. It is not all sunshine. There will be darkness v.4 but even in darkness, light dawns for the upright -for the gracious, compassionate and righteous – these are the characteristics of those who fear the Lord. v. 6 tells us the righteous will never be shaken – they will stood firm and have no fear of BAD NEWS because their hearts are steadfast, trusting the Lord. v.7 This implies that there is bad news BUT we will have no fear even when things are bad.

Sometimes we are tossed and turned by waves of fears. It is so difficult to be steadfast – to be steady, to be secure and to ‘not be shaken’ and have no fear of the darkness, the bad news of life. What to fear? or rather Who to fear? Fear the Lord – not the kind of being afraid – but the kind of obedience – finding great delight in his commands! Turn your fear of the dark into steadfast unshakeable security by fearing the Lord of light. Even in darkness, light dawns. Even with bad news, there is no fear!

Psalm 112
1 Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

#fearless #FearOfTheLord #wisdom #readthebible

The Path from Whiny to Happy.. coping with conflicts

Sulky… Grumpy.. whiny cry-baby? That’s how my fleshy human nature wanna do at times when hubby and I had our arguments. I often had to ‘storm’ out of the house to drive around to vent my anger, frustration, grief etc. I wanted to go pour it on someone – to vent on a ‘sounding board.’

The last time I had such an episode, I was tempted to check myself in a hotel and not go home that night. I also searched my mind who to go to – to cry and gripe about the incident. Sadly, I could not think of anyone I wanted to tell it too. Not even to my one and only sister. I did not want to bother her, she might be having her bible study at home.

And so I drove and drove, not knowing where to go, I parked the car and went into a restaurant to sit in the corner by myself. So alone even in a crowd of people. I ordered food and remembered a couple friends thousand of miles away. This couple is our pastor friends – hubby’s and mine. I sent them a what’s app message to tell them to pray for me. I told them how sad I felt. I narrated not the details of our conversation but the context of my hurt and why I was sad. The lady friend responded to me in understanding with kind words of encouragement. Most of all she prayed. She told me they both prayed for me right at that moment when I needed their prayers. And through the tears and the pouring of sadness and outpouring of prayers, the Holy Spirit worked in such wonderful ways that I felt peace beyond understanding… I felt better. I ate my food, paid the bill and went out and walked some more. Then I went home.

Another time, similar incident happened, again i got in my car feeling the same thing… wanted to not go home… thought of going to someone to gripe… same thing.. could not bring myself to go to anyone.. what did I do? I went to watch a chick-flick movie. After watching, I felt better coz I laughed and cried in the movie. I even learned something from the movie. “Even though our love is not perfect, it is real.” See, there is something to learn even in a romantic comedy-drama, chick-flick! And I applied it to our love story – mine and hubby’s…

What’s the point of these stories of mine – of conflicts and arguments, of being drama-crying queen?

First, this is my way of coping with the trials of marital journey. It is a reality of life. No marriage is pure bliss and no conflict. It is also human nature and woman instinct to want to get out of it asap, to sulk, to complain, and to cry. It’s either to be angry and gripe how wrong he was or to be sad and cry indulging in self-pity how wronged I was.

Second, it is good to go out or get out of the situation to clear my head. It is good to watch a movie whether to cry or to laugh – that is how it often works for me. It is my self-therapy. It is also good to sound it out to a friend who prays for me. Prayer works. It amazes me always how God sends his angels to my rescue at times when I felt like crying or even while I was crying. Either He sent them to me or He let me find them.

Third, for all the friends that I found, I am thankful that none added fuel to the fire. None of them sided with me to comfort me to make me more right and hubby more wrong. Yes, they acknowledged my sadness, they encouraged me and comforted me with prayers. Prayers work!

Bottom line… I know God works out ALL things (good and bad) for my good… so that I learn how to be more Christ-like – humble and patient…. I’m so far from perfecting it – being the submissive wife.. it is not easy. But one thing I know, God called me for his purpose – his purpose to sanctify me and show people how good He is – to glorify Him.

So dear friend, next time you and your hubby/wifey have a fight, go watch a movie or whatever it is that will bring you happy hormones… clear your mind and lift your soul!

The Path of Patience

Do you know Moses disobeyed God when they were about to enter the Promised Land already? God said to speak to the rock to draw water. Moses struck the rock instead. Water still came out. But his disobedience cost him entry into the land of milk & honey. (Numbers 20:7-12)

So close yet so far! Moses obeyed God all through the last 40 years of his life starting with the call from the burning bush to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery. Just one more step of obedience..

Saul waited 7 days for Samuel to come. When Samuel did not arrive and the men began to scatter, Saul offered the sacrifices himself. Samuel arrived just as Saul finished the offering. His disobedience cost him his kingship. (1 Samuel 13:7-14) Perhaps, just a few minutes more! Saul started good. Samuel told him to wait 7 days to be instructed what to do. (1 Samuel 10:8) Saul did not even tell his uncle that he was anointed king. He was silent when some people looked down on him being chosen as king. (1 Sam. 10:27)

At times, to obey is to be still.. waiting some more… being patient a little more…

Noah waited long to get out of the ark. It took him more than a year staying inside a boat full of animals to feed. Paul was on house arrest for two years. Joseph went through a tough time from the pit thru slavery into a prison before entering the palace… from favoured son to servant to prisoner before becoming a prince second only to Pharaoh.. a total of 13 years!

Patience, perseverance, prayer… these are essentials for tough times. When trials come, they are tests for God’s children on obedience and trust… trust and obey for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus.. but to trust and obey.

Whenever waiting is not easy, this is an extended opportunity for us to learn patience, perseverance and prayers.. continuing lessons to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything… Level up practice to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Looking through the eyes of…

The word crisis in Chinese is 危機. The first word means danger 危險. The 2nd word is opportunity 機會. Question, when there is a crisis, how do you respond? Do you focus on the problem, how bad the situation could get? Or do you see it as an opportunity for growth – to learn something new? To grow stronger as a person?

In the Old testament, there was a story about the crisis of the wandering Israelites as they were about to end their journey from slavery and enter into prosperity.

Numbers 13:17-33
Moses sent spies to explore Canaan to check out the people whether strong or weak, few or many, whether towns are unwalled or fortified, soil fertile or not. He also asked them to take sample of fruits.

The 12 spies returned and reported to the whole Israelite community showing them the fruit of the land. It’s really a land flowing with milk and honey! BUT the people there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. (vv. 27-28)

They said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. The land we explored devours those living in it. (How did they know that? Did they see?) All the people we saw there are of great size… We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (vv. 31-33)

God promised to give them a land flowing with milk n honey. And they found that it was just that: a good fertile land with large clusters of grapes – so big they had to be carried on a pole by 2 men. Instead, they chose to focus on the big giants and forgot they had a great mighty God who could take care of the giants.

How often does fear of people, what they might do, takes our eyes off God? We look at ourselves like tiny grasshoppers ready to be stepped on and die. And we think people look at us the same. We fret and dare not go into unchartered territories because we forget God’s promise never fails.

We also choose to look at all probabilities how we could fail and not on the possibilities how God would work. We look at the giants and forget the grapes.