The Reason I Live

When I’ve found the joy of reaching Your heart
When my will becomes enthralled in Your love
When all things that surround become shadows
In the light of You

I worship You, I worship You
The reason I live is to worship You
I worship You, I worship You
The reason I live is to worship You

Drawing Near In The Storm

What is your storm?

Every storm is different – some are ripples, some are whirlpools that threaten to throw us overboard.

For all of us, the storm is very difficult. Many of us want to be left alone, and many of us want to handle the storm on our own.

Tonight, I was reminded that Jesus beckons me to draw nearer to Him, even as I labour through the storm. And again, I was comforted by the assurance and certainty that I have in Him. It reminds me why I am a Christian – not just a Sunday church-going Christian – but a Christian with a personal relationship with a God who cares and communicates with me.

It reminds me why I still hold on to Christianity – because apart from the hope I have of salvation, I have a hope and anchor for my whole life. Every step is a step with God, and each trial leads to a stronger, more faithful and trusting relationship with God.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith

She Laughs Without Fear Of The Future

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.

This was a verse that was given to me by a dear friend over Christmas, and I am thankful that I was reminded today of this verse.

As the pastor in my church said on Sunday, I am a full-time Christian, and only part-time university student/future solicitor.

When I remember that my fulfilment is in Christ, then my day job will pale in significance to my true calling.

My Blog’s First Year Anniversary!

I just received a wordpress notification – ‘Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com one year ago! Thanks for flying with us.’

How time flies! Within this one year,I have learned and grown so much. As much as I have not been consistently blogging, I feel like it is a little part of my life now and I am ever thankful that I get to pen my thoughts, songs of the day and reflections.

My blog has had over 5000 views (not much, but I am thankful for those views!) I pray and hope that in some little way, God was able to touch the heart of each viewer through what He has encouraged me to write. Be it my daily struggles, my Christian walk, my testimony or just the songs that I post, I hope that you have been able to see the God that I see, and love the God that I love.

With this, I leave you with three points:

1. Update on Lent

It’s the second day of Lent and as promised, I am trying to give up pessimism. Today didn’t start out too well, given that there was an essay due, I still don’t understand land law, and exam preparation is looming. It reminded me of how difficult it is to give pessimism up. I realise that there are days where I literally live for pessimism. I thrive on pessimism and the worries of my life. If there are worries, I worry. If there are no worries, I worry more. Thus, it has been hard to hide the clouds and bring the sunshine out in my mind.

Also, there is a fine line between pessimism and being realistic. I suppose that I first started out being realistic, but that evolved into pessimism. But then again, I think the key is relying on God, because that reliance will allow me to be realistic about God’s outcome and optimistic about His plans in my life.

2. Live the YOLO life, live the Christian life

Having just come out of the Christian Evangelism week run by Durham University, I have been encouraged by the searching, curiosity and exploration by so many non-Christians. Yet, I also sense a lot of hesitation. Of course, there is a need to come to a coherent and reasoned decision to become a Christian but if this decision takes a long time to reach or think about, it eventually dies. It eventually becomes a decision not to become a Christian not because there was a clear decision not to, but rather because the interest waned.

I believe that every important decision in life should be made after much contemplation, and not through the waning of interest through time.

Besides, what have we got to lose? It’s like bungie jumping, take a deep breath and jump! It’s about the experience, the adrenaline, the excitement, the emotions.

If hypothetically, God does not exist, what have you got to lose? You lived your life with hope, assurance and love. And if God exists, even better! You made the right choice! You only live once, so don’t waste chances.

3. God loves you

If you haven’t already gotten the feel of my blog, it’s about His love. It’s about His guidance and relentless love.

There has not been a day that I thought a god could actually truly love me, my darkness and weird habits. Yet, in the bible, Jesus dwelt with the tax collectors, the poor, the prostitutes. I was all of them combined, but God chose me. I have been purified and lifted up as His princess.

You may not think He loves you, but that definitely does not change the fact that He loves you. How do I know that? Simple. Because Jesus saw everything you did and are doing now, but chose to die on the cross for you 2000 years ago. He looked into the future and saw you, and wanted to take your punishment. It’s like the song I used to sing as a child and I slowly began to understand the weight of those words:

You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Above all

The greatest love of all of one that is willing to die for another. I cannot imagine a greater love.

And if you don’t feel it, well the best love is one that is reciprocated. Let Him into your life and let Him show His love. 🙂

So PTL for the blessing of blogging. Throwback to nights when I’ll run for the laptop to post a song or verse. Or those half an hours trying to type out a whole excerpt from a book. Or those emotional posts where I poured my heart out.

It’s been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to write more.

In His love,

Isabel

John 6:20-21

[Jesus] said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

—John 6:20-21
Sometimes, it’s not about asking God to calm the storm. It’s about asking Him to be in the boat with you, so He can calm your heart.

思想 – Si Xiang

Last night at iClub as we were reading 1 Peter 3:18 –

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit

A Masters student from China came up to me and said, ‘I still cannot understand the 思想 (concept) of grace. This whole idea of Christianity is so new and unfamiliar to me.’ The idea that one man can take the whole sins of the world upon him. It’s like going to court for a crime, and your friend, who did nothing wrong, comes in to take your place, so that you can walk out free. No catch, no chains, no guilt. All grace.

He used this word –

思想

And this word made me linger. Christianity is a paradigm shift. It’s a new mindset, a revolutionary thinking.

Our Crosses

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:24

The first time I heard this verse, it was when a person close to me apologised for losing his temper.
He told me, ‘I tend to lose my temper and patience, and that is my cross.’ Back then, I was too young to understand.

Many people assume that when Jesus said ‘cross’, He was referring to a burden in our lives – a certain circumstance or status. I wish to offer two interpretations to this –

1. Your cross refers to the thing that stumbles you

This refers to the thing that tempts you, your sinful weakness. For that person, it was losing his temper. He lost his patience easily when things frustrated him and He knew that that was not the way God wanted him to live. For another, it might be gambling. It is the thing that puts you to the cross. It is this thing that makes you sinful, guilty and deserving of the punishment for your sins.

When Jesus says that you are to take up your cross, it means that you are to carry this burden. You are to restrain yourself from doing the things that you love but know will hurt and disappoint God. Sometimes, the temptation and the urge doesn’t go away, which is why Jesus describes ‘carry’ in the present tense and not the past tense.

That is not to say that this is a bad thing. It does not mean that just because you are a Christian, all your worries and temptations will fade away. However, the reminder that you are struggling means that there is an inner conflict, an awareness of what is right and wrong, and an acknowledgement that sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

For me, I love to dance and started dancing ballet since I was six. I was never allowed to dance hip hop, which I loved and that made me want to dance even more. I love the beats, the moves and the loud music, and at one point in my teenage years, I was attracted to the environment in the clubs: music, dancing, rhythm – nothing like ballet. But I learned to understand that the environment in which this dancing took place was unhealthy and detrimental. That is my struggle, and in a sense, that is my cross.

And Jesus tells me ‘I know your struggles. I know your burden. I know that that is your cross, and I love you in spite of it. But to follow me, you have to lift that burden upon your shoulders and walk with it for the rest of your life. It’s not easy and it is not light, but please do it for me.’

Everybody’s cross is different. For some, drinking causes them to stumble (even if it’s a glass of beer) so that is their cross and to some, it isn’t.

2. Taking up of your cross is not so much about the cross, but the journey that you take with the cross on your shoulders

Jesus carried his cross on the streets on the way to the place of crucifixion. On his way, people ridiculed Him. People laughed, accused and mocked Him. ‘Who does He think He is?’ ‘Healer of many yet helpless in the face of His own death’

These were the very people who had welcomed Him with palm leaves. He had healed many but now that they were healed, they had forgotten who it was who had healed them. They rejected Him and put Him to His death.

You see, when we take up our own cross, we follow the same route that Jesus took. We have to go through that path of shame and self-denial. We have to be willing to live our life entirely for Him and face the embarrassment and mocking. We are called to be servants, the lowest of the lowest for those who have yet to hear about Him.

Have a blessed Tuesday,
Isabel