My Top 5 Entries Since I Started Writing

It’s that time of year when things have started to pile up. The B1G South ministry is in the middle of planning for November’s retreat, I have a couple of speaking engagements coming up, and there’s just so much work that needs to be done. It just goes to show that when you’re busy, time just seems to fly by so fast. I can’t believe that it’s already been a year since I started writing this blog. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to write about, I honestly didn’t have any specific niche in mind. This is the reason why I decided to call my site assorted ideas – I just wrote whatever came to mind.  But as my relationship with the Lord grew, I was moved to write about Him and His impact on my life. It’s been a year and I thank God that with his spirit, He has inspired me to write powerful entries that has been a blessing to others.  To recap, here are my top 5 entries since I started this blog last September 2012.

5th Place – Prayer and Fasting Testimony 2013

It was a wonderful experience just writing what I have learned and how God has really just spoken to me during the prayer and fasting week last January 2013. I remember I was all alone in my room and I was writing my thoughts down while feeling intense hunger. It was a moment when the Lord felt so near and the hunger to know Him had become stronger than the hunger for food. This entry stands as a testimony that if we draw near to God he will definitely draw near to us.

4th Place – 3 Ways How to Manage Your Emotions

Singles love to talk about matters of the heart. This entry is an excerpt from my message at B1G Connect last July 6. Why am I including this in my top entries? Aside from the fact that this entry got the most number of comments (will reply to them one by one soon), I believe the message really hit the spot for a lot of singles. It is only through God’s word that we will be able to add logic to our emotions, and not be carried away by it. It’s only through His word that we’ll be able to really manage our emotions.  I know this entry spoke to a lot of people and I praise God for that.

3rd Place – 3 Things I learned while I was not using Facebook

If you love logging on to Facebook or any form of social media, this entry is for you. Upon posting this entry, I immediately got a high traffic of views for my site. This entry helped others rethink their Facebook habits. That anything blown out of proportion will never amount to anything good. And yeah, someone naturally linked to this entry as well so it means it was worth sharing. Amazing!

2nd Place – The Shadow I want to run away from

I can still recall the feelings I had when I wrote this entry. My heart was really heavy when I wrote this. I was just a couple of days away from preaching and I was feeling really discouraged. At that moment, I just felt that strong need to write and this is what came out of that. It took me just one seating to get it all out. I haven’t always had that much confidence in my writing because I tend to mix up words and letters when I write. But this entry made me realize that somehow, with God’s help, I’m able to write. This was the start of it all. This entry really holds a deep sentimental value in my heart. Try reading it and let me know if you come across the “shadow” I was referring to.

1st Place – Let’s do 8!

And the best entry goes to…*drumroll*…my B1G8 Retreat Experience – the most viewed entry. I’m not sure if it’s because there are a lot of people who are still interested in B1G8 or if there are people just looking for retreat ideas (according to my analytics). Whatever it is, I hope my experience has provided them with the information they need. This was one of my longest entries. I actually had to cut this entry short since I was afraid that I might end up boring my readers. This entry contains so much learnings. This retreat not only confirmed that I was serving in the right ministry, it also helped grow my love for my discipleship group. It has taught me valuable lessons about God and the overall experience proved to be such a blessing for me. I think one section of this entry that drew quite a strong interest from readers, was the part where I wrote down what happened during fellowship night. I can still remember it – my hopeful love story ending in failure. Haha.

Indeed, time flew by so fast. At this point, I’m just glad that God has lead me to write and I want nothing more than to glorify His name and bless other people through my humble entries. It’s been only a year but I have a feeling that I will continue to write as long as I can. Who knows? Maybe even write a book someday. To Him be the glory alone!

How about you? May I know if there is any article that you liked or would want me to write about?

Prayer is Worship

There was once a man who found a bottle and started rubbing it in hopes of finding a genie. And true enough, a genie was awakened after 500 years of sleep. Everyone knows that when a genie appears, a wish naturally follows. So the genie asked the man what he wanted to wish for. The man shared his experience about his recent date when they ate at her favourite risotto place. It took them 3 hours to reach the place because of the traffic, so the man wished for a bridge that would allow them to get to the place faster. The genie felt insulted. He was capable of giving the man anything, everything he wanted and the best the man could wish for was a simple bridge. He told the man to rethink his wish and make another wish that would be worthy of his power. This time, the man then shared that when they were ordering, he asked his date what she wanted and the woman responded that she would just go with whatever he will be having. So he ordered a Pizza. But he was surprised that things started to go sour after that and they ended the night not speaking to one another. This lead the man to wish that he had the ability to understand women better. The genie in desperation responded, “Let’s just go with the bridge”

I don’t know if you understood the joke behind the story (I hope you did J) but when we relate this story to prayer, do we see God as a genie rather than who he really is? When we listen to our prayers, what is it that we hear? Do we hear ourselves usually saying, “I need this”, “I deserve that”, or “I want this”? Do we have an “ask and you will receive” mentality? Have our prayers become too self-focused? Is prayer worship for us?

I would like to share a quote from John R. Rice, one of the most influential fundamentalist pastors, who wrote a best-selling book in 1942 entitled Prayer – Asking and Receiving

”Prayer is not praise, adoration, meditation, humiliation nor confession, but asking. . .  Praise is not prayer, and prayer is not praise. Prayer is asking. .  .Adoration is not prayer, and prayer is not adoration. Prayer is always asking. It is not anything else but asking.”

This type of mentality is wrong and a far-cry from what God expects from us. Prayer is not merely asking. Prayer is worship. How far have we walked from the truth? How far have we twisted the truth just to get what we want? It’s disappointing. This is why we should look into Jesus’ modelled prayer for us.

Matthew 6:9-13

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

(1)   Prayer is about the person we are praying to

Take note of these words: Father, your name, your will, Give us, forgive us, do not lead us, delivers us, and for Yours. These are all words directly pointing to God and not us. A successful prayer is a prayer that is centralized on God alone and not on you.  That’s why you start with adoration – a praise that will help you understand who you are approaching. Then you turn to confession, which leads you to understand your sinfulness and nothingness. Once you realize your sinfulness, you understand that He has blessed you with so much that you respond with thankfulness. Again, it’s not about you but about God who was gracious enough to still bless you despite of your pride and shortcomings. It’s his will, not ours. This is clearly expressed after adoration in verse 9, which is verse 10. Through prayer, we need to firmly establish that God’s will be done and not ours as we present our request.

(2)   A prayer of supplication, with the proper perspective, will lead to worship

Why are you praying? Usually because it’s out of your control.

Philippians 4:6 – 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we pray, we worship God by presenting our request but at the same time, understanding that He is a God we can trust whether He will answer it or not. This is faith in action. This is where peace comes in. The peace that tells you, it is not in your control now, but God’s. That God is good, faithful and you can trust Him no matter what the answer to your prayer may be. This in turn, makes you worship God even more, as you realize that your supplication is now entrusted to the hands of our sovereign great God.

To sum everything up, remember this point from John McArthur when you pray: Prayer is first and foremost an act of worship. Think about it. Ponder on it. Let it change the way you pray. And let me know through the comment section below what you think about this.

It’s your choice

God or freedom. This is a statement that I have heard before, although I can’t remember exactly when. When we talk about God and our freedom, doesn’t that relate to free will? Now if there is no freedom in choosing, why should we include the word “free” in free will? It’s called free will because it’s true that we have the freedom to decide.

Free will and God’s sovereignty can go in a lot of different arguments. One article is not enough to clearly explain it. There are really things that are of God and will be hard to understand. But I just want to share one thing that I have realized in the process of thinking about free will and God’s sovereignty.

Let’s establish one thing first: we have free will. There is the free will of man. I have always believed that God has never forced us to love him. It has always been our choice to love him back. Because despite us not responding to his love, there is one truth in the Bible.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Our response was never dependent on whether He will still love us. It was just our choice whether we will love him back. The choice was always ours. And that is the beauty behind this, in our decisions and free will, he just wants to partner with us. He loves us, and now it is up to us if we will respond. We have the capacity to make decisions and He just wants us to decide on our own based on how we know him. Because that is what being in a relationship is about. That is what makes living with Him, by our side, wonderful. We are not robots without any capability to think and decide on our own. We were created to have a relationship with Him, to experience Him. I still believe though that if God wanted something to happen, He can make it happen. With his unlimited power and strength if He willed something – it will come to pass even though in our decisions we didn’t want it to happen. But mostly in our daily decisions in life, He just wants to guide us to make the right decisions and have the free will to decide based on how we know Him.

When I wrote the article about Moses and God’s response to him before they crossed the Red Sea, he had the same situation. Moses had the liberty to decide on their course of action, and God was there to just partner with him on his decision. Let’s take marriage as another example. When looking for a partner, God has clearly stated in the Bible how He wants us to decide. You should be yoked with someone who loves God the way you do and if you are a man, you should look for a wife with the standards set in Proverbs 31. The “one” that is meant for you is still dependent on your decision, but let your decision be firmly guided on God’s word so it will be the best for you.

I’m not here to argue about free will and God’s sovereignty. If you want to share anything about this topic, feel free to leave a comment below. I just want to point out how much God wants to be involved in our lives. He wants to, in the plainest sense, have a relationship with us. And when you begin to realize that this amazing God longs to guide you and have a relationship with you, you respond like the psalmist.

O Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him? Psalm 144:3

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