Category Archives: Pains

May include failures, frustrations, sins, and brokenness.

It takes more than that

26 OCTOBER 2016, 02:09 PM

I really thought I would be successful that time. But I was wrong. My efforts were not good enough.

For some weeks already I was planning to have a fasting in a place far from home – an ideal haven where I could have a full hold on God. Though my determination still falters on the last few hours, I still believed I would finally have it.

It made me think then and have a deeper introspection. What contributed to my failure? Or more blatantly, am I that far from God already that I could not fast?

Maybe it would help more if I say first my reasons for fasting.

My first reason is the feeling of utter helplessness. I have become so desperate in my situation that I needed something powerful just to meet my spiritual needs. I was actively pastoring a Church for the past few months, and the time has come that I would like to be the sheep now and not the shepherd. I would like to be fed and led, and be strengthened. I need the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, to heal my dying soul. I was like a deer panting for water (Psalms 42:1). The whole Psalm Chapter really says my condition.

Secondly, the ministry demands it. The last time I fasted about two months ago the gift of healing flowed powerfully everytime we prayed together. I do not mean that I receive more of God’s power when I fast; His miracles and healing are released by His grace and not by our good works. But, by fasting God is more able to prepare me first for His great works. Still I could not say that fasting is my little contribution, because I became successful in some of my fastings only because of His Grace. In God’s mysterious design, I fast and pray, and He moves more — yet I have no part in that. Maybe it is because God exalts the humble (James 4:10), and that fasting is basically the humbling of the soul before God (Psalm 35:13).

The third reason is that I really miss my intimate moments with the Lord. Since the advent of the wi-fi connection at home, my habit of long time spent in praying died with its coming. Much worse happened when I bought this Android cellphone. I am inclined into technology and it consumes my time heavily. I have to fast to break these addictions. I have to separate from the world and be silent to once again hear the voice of the Lord.

Lastly, I need guidance and answers. Does the Lord really want me to pursue my teaching profession while pastoring? My logical mind says no, for teaching will take much time from me — some quality time that I should spend with God and with the members of the Church.

Now let us return to the first question, why did my efforts to fast fail?

One reason is that I lacked all the necessary preparations. Before you fast, you have to prepare yourself spiritually and physically. I lacked both. I rarely prayed for it, and for some weeks already I was staying late at night then woke up late in the morning. Fasting demands that I saturate myself first in fervent praying, and that my physical body is prepared for it.

The second reason for my failures is that I have to make some things right first. Of course I know I will fast to ask for God’s help me to fix the wrongs in my life, but I do sense that I have to fix some of them now before I meet the Lord in prayer. Fasting is a sacred time with the Lord and for sure it has the spirit of repentance, but we will be able to show that our repentance is truly true if we start making amendments in our life now before the time of fasting comes. After all, my shortcomings in the family and Church really take the issues right back at the heart of self-denial and obedience. If I would really deny myself now and choose to obey, more than half of my shortcomings would be resolved now even before I fast. I hate to approach God in fasting with fake repentance, and much worse, to fast with no real intent of changing my ways, just like what God saw in Israel when they fasted in Isaiah 58. They fasted hypocritically with no repentance in their hearts.

To fast before God with a right heart is not a complicated thing, but not an easy one either. It takes more than sheer determination. It takes more than a simple sacrifice. It takes more than the usual planning. It will demand your everything — because you will meet your Holy God.

Broken Fellowships

By the term broken I didn’t mean having fractures. I only meant inward brokenness, or the brokenness of the heart.

I and my friends in the ministry and faith gathered as we were celebrating a birthday party. Our conversations however were mostly contrary to the usual ones that you’ll likely to hear during like events. We were happy to see each other, but we were also open to hear and learn from the wounds of the past.

In fact, I recall a particular passage in the Bible where God promised destruction as His discipline for His erring and stubborn children but also the rare privilege of being excluded from His anger upon hearing some who were talking of their sinfulness before God. Truly, God is near to them that are of a broken heart, and saves those who are contrite (Psalm 34:18).

I will go on to say that being broken and repentant in heart is something that pleases God, a sacrifice or a gift that God never takes for granted (Psalm 51:17). That is a lesson we learned from David when he was on the act of repenting to God after he realized his sins of adultery and murder.

Truly, it delights God to hear our praises. But often, we become hypocritical of concealing our weakness and sins and just choose to tell our good side – our ministry, sacrifices, and everything good that we do for the Lord. These good things are not bad in themselves, but God desires too that we reveal who we are truly before God – weak and always in need of help. This kind of spirit should never leave the Christian – it is a sign of continuous humility before God.

I observe that as Christians we are all in danger of feeling strong in ourselves. We often look on the outward things: the results of the ministry, the number of our members, our sacrifices, the amount of money that we contribute, or spiritual gifts at work, and the list could go on. But are these things really the measure of our true spirituality and condition before God? I am afraid that often, it is not.

I am saying this because we could choose to hide our flaws and sins behind our ministries and achievements. But deep inward – the part that sometimes only God could see (because we hide it from others) – we are filthy, weak, and in need of help.

Let true humility and repentance be in our hearts. It is never a shame to be honest before God. And by being broken, we could allow God to cleanse and mold us so we can be a blessing to others. By being tried, we could be a source of strength to others (2 Corinthians 1:6).

Saying Sorry

Saying sorry means you are acknowledging that you are wrong and you are ready to change your ways. Sometimes it means that if given the chance (like to turn back time), then you will undo your actions. Saying “sorry” means a lot to heal a broken relationship. Saying sorry is the first half — the second half is the forgiveness of the other party.

What if sorry is given but the mistake is repeated… again and again? Two reasons why that happens: 1.) The “sorry” is not sincere; 2.) The sorry is sincere but the person who said it suffers from a weakness that he could not overcome, which results in the mistake being repeated.

The question is: How much can you forgive?
Tougher questions: Does forgiveness has boundaries? Does forgiveness means having adjustments?

At the ridge of despair – turning into a zombie

Hope matters – always.

The heart is the seat of the soul’s power, and a weakened heart makes a person futile and weak. One thing that gives strength to the heart is hope. Without hope, the heart and the person is robbed of any strength.

There are times when a soul is so saddened by a failure that it will take some time to recover. The mustering of strength to stand up again depends on the level of pressure and the overall strength and tolerance of the heart. But continuous failures – a series of repeated falls – with each fall hitting the person before he/she could even recover from the previous one/s – will kill any trace of hope left in him/her. The result – a zombie – though manifesting a degree of life on the outside, is really dead on the inward parts.

A zombie walks but without any noticeable degree of intelligence. He may speak but only with short nonsense growls. All that he wants to eat is – brains.

 

 

 

 

This Physical Body

This physical body often puts me down
Tired and exhausted for virtually everyday
How could I do things
That I naturally would want to
If this body pulls and puts me down

Read that, these, and read those
Eyes going teary
Mind shutting down
But I should go on
Yes go on as long as there’s
Something left to hold on

Continue little soldier,
There are still many enemies
Press on student,
Requirement still go your way
Go on preacher
Souls are hungering for truth
Don’t give up Christian,
Your race is not yet done

Where is Grace
I need it more now
Please strengthen me
I do not want to die
Lead me on
Empower me
Fill me up
To the brim
I pray, yes, I beg

Just Continue Hoping

If I were to ask you something that would reveal the weakness of your human heart, would you still dare to admit it?

This early afternoon we held again our Bible Study at the BSEd building. To be honest, my heart was not ready, and I have not prepared something to share. It is because I am experiencing spiritual flaws and I thought we would not have the Bible Study that afternoon because we were supposed to have our Science Elect class.

I shared about hoping in prayer – despite of the fact that as Christians we are suffering from spiritual lapses.

Could we still hope and pray boldly? Could we still ask for the most wonderful things even if we know in our hearts that we are not pleasing Him?

Yes, the Bible tells so. Psalm 50:15 tells of the heart of God that pleases to answer prayers. Of course sin is always an obstacle against our prayers, as Isaiah 59:2 says. But, crying out to God to get us out of sin that entangles us is something that God would surely answer – God would love to rescue us from sin.

We will continue to hope and ask desperately for God. We are weak. If we were strong, why should we put our hope in God?

I will keep on coming

Trials!
They are all over around me
Whistling noise
Calloused hearts
Allover follow me

Putting me down
Trampling over me
Handing me over
To my enemies behind

What can I do
But to fight back
With my little strength
Yeah, with tiny force I got left

Back me up!
Yeah, You support me up
With You I can do this
And even more

Do not leave me behind
For I will not survive
Yet with You this is possible
And very much attainable

No matter how many setbacks
I have endured and will suffer
I will keep on coming
For His force is pushing

Forward, yeah, forward
And step towards victory
For I am not alone
You are with me!