How God Works

God is a creator who works in the material world, who works in relationship, and whose work observes limits. We have the ability to do the same. (via)

What God did, and the outcome of it. Note the relationship with the man.

the LORD God

  1. formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and
  2. brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and

whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:19

Redefining Mission

Today’s chat with Wan Yueh reveals a new perspective to think about God’s call for my life at this current moment.

What if, my mission is here and now?
What if, I’m right where God has called me to be?
What if, ‘here’ is the ‘there’ that I had imagined?

Instead of seeking to go, be. Be, right here, right now.
Instead of doing, focus on my being.
Cultivate a personal intimacy and reliance on God: less of myself, more of God, even when it doesn’t look like what I had imagined.

My mission field looks like this right now:

  •  Private tuition students
    1. J
    2. R
    3. G
    4. M
  • Playground outreach kids
  • Building teams:
    1. Hope Tots
    2. El-Sadai
    3. Intercession

These are likely to last the entire year of 2017 — a year of focus and dedication to the work at hand.

Then I ask myself, what about my vocation (as in job)? Other than taking a pay from private tuition, what is God’s direction and leading for my career?

Vocation: what does it even mean?

screenshot-2016-11-20-15-40-19

Let’s study it in light of God’s word. Here are some notes from the study:

    1. Everyone is called to belong to Christ and to participate in his creative and redemptive work.
    2. Everyone is commanded to work to the degree they are able.
    3. God calls us to a whole life, not just to a job.
  • Work is not limited to paid work; the work God leads us to may be unpaid work
  • Any given activity could be work — paid or unpaid — for one person, and leisure for another
  • Even if God leads you to a particular job or profession, you will need to set limits to that work to make room for the other elements of God’s call or guidance in your life
  • The distinctive work of the Holy Spirit is to guide and empower people for the life and work to which God leads them
  • God has given everyone the ability to recognize something of what the world needs. He seems to expect us to notice it and get to work, rather than waiting for a special call from him. There is no biblical formula for translating the needs of the world into a precise job calling. That’s why you need to seek God’s guidance in the various forms of discernment available to you
  • Frederick Buechner writes: “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
  • These three considerations — the needs of the world, your skills and gifts, and your truest desires — are guides, but they are not absolutes
  • Whatever your job, God’s gifts enable you to work for the common good, to find more contentment in your work, and to overcome or endure the negative aspects of your situation. Most importantly, God promises eventual liberation from work’s toil, sweaty labor, and thistles.
  • Your capabilities should grow with your experience in serving God. He may lead you to bigger tasks that require you to change jobs. “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21)
  • In every job, you have at least some opportunity to meet people’s needs, to employ your gifts and skills, and to express — or discover — your deepest desires. Your decision every day to serve God today is more important than positioning yourself for the right job tomorrow
  • The true aim of work for the Christian is to serve the common good, not to advance his or her own interests. Over a lifetime, serving the common good comes far more from doing each day’s work to the best of your ability in Christ, than it does from finding the best job for yourself

Further reading for the next time:

  1. More on Vocation
  2. Discerning God’s Guidance to a Particular Work
  3. Balancing Rest and Work

The Ascent

The Ascent

Holding on to the open vision that God gave to me through a worship leader at church:

There are some of you who are like a hiker at the top of the mountain. There is a storm coming, but do not let your eyes be districted by the oncoming storm and worry what will happen. Instead, keep your gaze transfixed on Jesus so that you do not miss out on your mountaintop experience.

No wonder it didn’t feel like a valley-low period of time for me though I’ve been seemingly hit by something major in my life. The fact is that it is not. Just look at the incredible amount of favour I have been receiving! I cannot even comprehend it anymore.

Yet at the same time, there are nasty areas in my life that have come into my attention through people who love me enough to gently rebuke my ways and correct me (e.g. PJ). And the masses that these tips of the iceberg uncover are so huge and so deep I cannot overcome them on my own. I need my Saviour.

In these deepest moments of fragility, I taste and see the depths and sweetness of God’s grace. I cannot fathom how God has been loving me and pouring forth His grace and mercy boundless as the seas, over and over, over and over, abundantly, as much as I have need. His kindness leads me to repentance.

What next after repentance? The practical steps to actively change from my old ways of thoughts and actions remain as a challenge. Just as the challenge of scaling a mountain is incrementally steeper, every step of progress is going to take even more intention, determination, and a lot more of surrender to the Holy Spirit to conquer.

Faith in the Fire

Faith in the Fire

If I would allow myself to be honest, I am afraid.

This feisty young lady who is often unfazed by the things around her and believes that all things will eventually be overcomed, she is afraid.

Min shares with me that she has been learning to walk in step with the Lord, which also implies that she disciplines her mind and imagination such that they too, do not run ahead and worry unnecessarily. This, I find easy to do when it is a potentially good outcome, with negligible impact should the outcome turns out otherwise. (Case in point: my wait for an overseas Academic Fellowship.)

But this is new. I had never imagined that my body might have problems too. Immediately, my mind fumbles for the worst case scenario—chemotherapy. (Just discovered that death is not on my list. Why?) And I wonder, would I be okay with that?

I would be lying if I said that this preliminary assessment of my health does not cast a shadow on the glorious riches of the things I’ve seen God do in Myanmar, and the favour that He has poured on me for my work. Yet, I do believe that the conversation I had shared with Hannah last night still holds true: that I am deeply graced and favoured in this season of my life, and that I MUST record these down, as faith stories that would help me to fix my eyes on Jesus, my source of Love and Strength, in troubled times.

Mum pleaded with me to stop being so involved in serving God, “Go once a week to receive the message will do, won’t it? Why make yourself so busy? What do you think your body is? When it is down, do you really think Jesus will be able to save you?”

This is the real test of my faith, isn’t it? It challenges if I truly believe the theology that I’ve subscribed to and believed for the past 7 (going on 8) years of my life. It challenges if I truly believe Jesus to be who He said He is. He is Healer, He is Provider, He is Strength, He is Refuge, He is Joy, He is Salvation, He is Peace, and so many more. Do I really believe?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. —1 Peter 1:3-9

I believe. And I will wait.

While waiting, I will discipline my mind to remember that my God is alive, my God is trustworthy, my God is the Promiser. I will hold on to God, I will allow God time to work my faith in this waiting, knowing that this wait will strengthen my faith.

My God is who He said He is. He is my Healer, He is my Provider, He is my Strength, He is my Refuge, He is my Joy, He is my Salvation, He is my Peace, He is my Covenant, He is my Strong Tower, He is my Hiding Place.

They stirred up the devout and honourable women against them. They could not make any considerable interest themselves, but they applied to some ladies of quality in the city, that were well affected to the Jewish religion, and were proselytes of the gate, therefore called devout women. These, according to the genius of their sex, were zealous in their way, and bigoted; and it was easy, by false stories and misrepresentations, to incense them against the gospel of Christ, as if it had been destructive of all religion, of which really it is perfective. It is good to see honourable women devout, and well affected to religious worship: The less they have to do in the world, the more they should do for their souls, and the more time they should spend in communion with God; but it is sad when, under colour of devotion to God, they conceive an enmity to Christ, as those here mentioned. What! women persecutors! Can they forget the tenderness and compassion of their sex? What! honourable women! Can they thus stain their honour, and disgrace themselves, and do so mean a thing? But, which is strangest of all, devout women! Will they kill Christ’s servants, and think therein they do God service? Let those therefore that have zeal see that it be according to knowledge. By these devout and honourable women they stirred up likewise the chief men of the city, the magistrates and the rulers, who had power in their hands and set them against the apostles, and they had so little consideration as to suffer themselves to be made the tools of this ill-natured party, who would neither go into the kingdom of heaven themselves nor suffer those who were entering to go in.