Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Secret Place

I was supposed to write this article almost immeditely after my previous article, but have been procrascinating because I'm an awful procrascinator, and also because I got a bit sick of writing after the 11 pages article in 8 hours straight. It was not until last night when I decided that I'm going to write what God wants me to. I don't know why but recently I had wanted to write articles of normal length (1-2 pages), but will always end up writing at least 3. A bit annoying but yeah..haha.

The Secret Place discusses about how important God's dwelling is. I do struggle a lot to spend time in the closet, probably more than most of you. And yet I realised how important it is as it was where I found my healing, rest, and shelter.


2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. Psalm 23:2-3a

What is a secret place?

The word ‘secret’ means secluded, sheltered, or withdrawn. Rest means refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor; relief or freedom, esp. from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs; a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility.

A secret place is a place where we take time-off from the hustle and bustle of life, away from the concerns, worries and demands of the world, and even a break from ministry and church work; to spend time simply resting in the presence of God.

This kind of rest is not simply a get-away from activities, nor is it done by ‘emptying’ our minds. Resting in God is simply being still and knowing that He is God (Psalms 46:10). It is allowing ourselves time to commune with God and to hear His voice, to refresh and recharge our spiritual lives, and it is often also a place to safety. Without constantly spending time in the secret place, our lives will be full of chaos, and we will eventually suffer a burn-out.

Importance of being in the secret place

Much as rest is needed for our physical bodies, it is even more important for our soul, mind and spirit. Many people rest after a long day of work, but they fail to rest when their soul is weary. Their minds continue to work and work until it runs down. And then, the next thing they realized is that physical strength seems to be slipping away too, even without much physical work. Often we have time for every other thing, but have no time to spend time in the secret place.

God wants us to rest. In fact, many verses in the Bible, especially Psalms, instructs us to run to the secret place. God knows how much we need to set our minds and souls at rest, and so does the devil. In fact, rest is so important that it is one of the main deceptive tools that Satan uses to keep Christians off-track - to work and serve all the while thinking that they are making God happy. But what God wants is for us to have an alert mind, a sensitive spirit, and a well-replenished soul.

There is also much security in that secret place. Just a sense of knowing that God is there, just to know that His presence is around can bring a lot of peace to our turbulent souls. So often when troubles come we rush to the phone first instead of the throne. We seek help from others first before going to God. When in actual fact, God is the one who is always ready for us, with open arms.

As Christians we need to realize that there is a secret place that we need to constantly go to. It is a place of shelter, a place of strength, a place to be filled again with His spirit, and a place to rejuvenate. The effectiveness of our ministry for God is very much dependant on how much time we spend in the secret place.

A Hiding Place

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

Psalm 91:1-2

A relationship breakup. A sudden loss of a loved one. Someone came to threaten or intimidate you. A good friend has turned his back on you without warning.

When things like these happen, what do we do? Often we are caught by surprise. And surprises like these are often not easy to be dealt with. In fact, we often make hasty decisions which we will regret later. Things may seem to be going so well in one minute, and the next minute everything just explodes.

Life is never without chaos or turbulent waves. There are always things that happen that will shake our faith and rob the peace from us. Sometimes we think that the day is going go smoothly only to be caught unaware by the storms. When we face these sudden, abrupt changes in life, what do we do? Where do we go to? Who do we look for?

God always pictures Himself as our Protector, but do we receive His protection? He provides us with a place where no evil can harm us. It is total security. He gives the assurance that no matter what the enemy tries to do, we shall not be harmed. At the same time, it is in that secret place where He binds up our wounds. It is where all the hurts inflicted during the battles of life are being taken care off. It is a place of absolute trust in God, knowing that He will take care of our needs.

A place to receive Strength

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

The secret place is a place to rest our weary souls. After fighting a tough battle, we need to find enough rest. We need to replenish the strength by resting. But why is it that there is only rest and strength or our souls in that place? What makes it so special? What has joy got to do with strength?

“Don’t be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the Lord is your STRENGTH!” Nehemiah 8:10c

And so here we see a connection between joy and strength. Nehemiah exhorts the people of God not to be dejected or upset because the walls have been ruined, for sadness and depression only drains our strength. When joy is absent, strength is lost. That is the reason why often when we feel upset, worried or depressed about something, we will actually feel very weary not only mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. The truth is, depression sucks the strength out of us.

Because the joy of the Lord is our strength, and that there is fullness of joy in the presence of God, therefore it is important for us to spend time in that place. A weak Christian is a vulnerable Christian. Satan knows that the moment he gets us over-worked, that is when we gets the hold of us. We must realize that we need the strength that comes from God. We need to learn to rest in His dwelling, and to allow joy to fill our hearts again.

A place to refill our cup

You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Psalm 23:5b

The Shepard Psalm is an amazing psalm of total rest and reliance on God. Here, the Psalmist literally revealed all that one can receive in the secret place where God is in total control.

It is in that place when we receive that anointing to serve God. Often we try to prove our worth to God by serving in one ministry after another, but we have forgotten or are completely ignorant of our most important ministry – our ministry to God. God did not call us simply to serve Him only. God has called us as worshippers. Serving God comes as a result of our love for Him. But that does not exclude us from our main duty.

When we keep giving and giving to the ministry without allowing God to fill our cups from time to time, we will come to a point where we have nothing left to give. In the end, we become so burnout that many Christians have quit ministry because of that. They put the blame on God saying that God is unfaithful when in actual fact, they were the ones who have failed to come to have their cups filled. You cannot give what you do not have.

Many men and women of God in the Bible know the importance of rest. King David, Elijah, Elisha, and the disciples take frequent time-offs to spend time with God in order to be more effective in their ministry. Even Jesus will always retreat to the mountains after a long day of ministry, to spend time with His Father before continuing to minister to the sick. If Jesus had to have His cup refilled, what more to say us, as His followers?

A place to seek directions

There are many times in our lives when we will need to know what God wants us to do in a certain situation. We need the wisdom of God. There are decisions that we need God to help us make.

When we need an answer, that answer is often found in the secret place. We must understand that when we come into His presence, it is no longer our will, our thoughts, or our desires. We need to get our spirit connected with His, so that we can hear clearly from God.

There are many biblical examples whereby kings came before the Lord before a battle, to seek for direction. One of such examples is King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:1). And each time when God’s directions are heeded, the battle is won. But should they fail to seek God’s advice, they are at the losing end.

It is very important to know God’s will for our lives, and what He wants us to do. God’s plans are always bigger than ours. It is only our choice to choose between His will and ours.


We will always have reasons why we do not have the time to go into the secret place. As long as we will continue to give excuses, the world’s voices will always be louder than God’s call into His presence. We all need to make a commitment to get away from the busyness of life and go into His presence.

Whatever that you are going through, no matter how fierce the storms are, there is always a place where you can find security, rest and healing. He is waiting, will you meet Him there?

*All verses are quoted from the New Living Translation unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Important note: All 'In moments of pain' articles are partially adapted from sources here.

Winning the Battle Over Guilt And Condemnation
Don’t keep looking at my sins.Remove the stain of my guilt.Create in me a clean heart, O God.Renew a loyal spirit within me.Do not banish me from your presence,and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalms 51:9-11
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. It comes when a person realizes the wrong that he has committed. Guilt is a kind of self-inflicted wound.
Many people handle guilt by punishing themselves. They cannot forgive themselves for what they have done, and so therefore they try to atone their sin through self-punishment. When we do something wrong, we walk ourselves along the path of self-judging, self-criticizing, self-condemning and self-hating. The result of this process leads to hopelessness and despair, helplessness, depression, and possibly suicide.
Condemnation is defined as strong censure; disapprobation; reproof. It is actually a form of rejection and being cast aside for no apparent reasons. Unlike guilt, you do not have to do something to be condemned.
Condemnation is merely an act of disapproval. When we feel that we do not measure up, when we see our shortcomings instead of our abilities, when we fail to understand that Jesus loves us for who we are and not for what we do, condemnation begins to creep in like a thief. If it is left unattended, it can slowly consume our lives.
Guilt always brings condemnation, but condemnation is not always the result of guilt.
Dealing With Guilt
The pain that come as a result of guilt can be very destructive. To add on to the pain, we receive even more condemnation from the people around us, even Christians. They may be well-meaning people trying to point out where we have gone wrong, but they just did it the wrong way.
It is one thing to show a person where he has gone wrong, but it is even more important to help him get out of the mess and restore him to life. When someone knows that he has sinned and has repented, there is no point bringing up the issue again.
I remember an incident when I made a careless mistake, and someone pointed it out. She is (or was) someone who I had looked up to. And while I appreciated her efforts of pointing out to me where I have gone wrong, she really did not help much by constantly telling me what is wrong and not doing anything to help me get back on track. And because she was a person of authority, I felt so guilty and dirty even though it was not a very big mistake. To make things worse, I did not thing that she was doing anything wrong until someone pointed it out to me. Till today, this person still thinks that she was helping me by making me feel guilty. As a result of that, I suffered with immense guilt to the point of giving up.
The bible has actually warned against the reinstatement of guilt over a person’s life, or else he may be so overcome by discouragement (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).
If you are ever overwhelmed with guilt, remember that no matter what you have done, God still forgives you if you repent. All you need to do is to come before God, admit your wrong, ask for His forgiveness, receive it and move on. Many of us stop at asking for God’s forgiveness and we repeat the whole process over and over again. We never get our breakthrough because we have never received His forgiveness.
Let King David be our example. He did an amazing thing after learning that the son Bathsheeba had born to him has died as a result of the sin. When the baby was ill, David was fasting and pleading for the child. But when the baby died, King David got up, washed himself, put on his clothes, worshipped the Lord in the temple and I believed that was when he wrote Psalms 51), and ate.
King David knew how to receive God’s forgiveness and move on with life. God did not disregard him simply because of that sin, because God sees the heart.
It I also important that we apply the principle given in James 5:16.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Because guilt brings so much damage, confessing them can bring a lot of healing. It’s like taking a huge burden off your shoulders. However, what is very important is who we should confess to. The verse says that the earnest prayer of a righteous person produces wonderful results. In other words, that person must be someone who we can really trust, and is walking closely with the Lord. If he truly walks closely with the Lord, he will be able to accept the sin graciously without any condemnation, and work to pick that person up again. He will not reject the person for their mistakes, neither will he spread the story around and cause further damages.
Our sins cannot be cleansed by feeling guilty. We cannot pay for what we have done by feeling dirty and beating ourselves up all the time. It is only the blood of Jesus that cleanses us.
Dealing With Condemnation
Paul says in Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It means that the very moment we accept Jesus into our lives, there is no need to feel condemned. There is no need to feel disapproved and lowly. If God has accepted us, why can we not accept ourselves?
Remember that Jesus has bought us with His blood. We, the redeemed, are supposed to lift our heads up high without feeling condemned. If ever you do feel condemned, remember who you are: a child of the Most High, an ambassador of Christ, a part of God’s perfect workmanship!



When Words Poison

“Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

The Tameless Tongue

The tongue is one of the smallest member of our body, but it is also the wildest. The Bible clearly says that out of the tongue can either flow fresh or salty water (James 3:10-12). You cannot speak good of someone at one moment and speak evil at the next. That is hypocrisy!

The tongue can be used to build up and exhort people; and on the other hand, it can also be used to crush a spirit. It can be used to bring life, and it can also be used to destroy. James calls the tongue a ‘fire which sets a forest aflame with a small spark’, ‘a world of evil among the parts of the body’, ‘a restless evil, full of deadly poison’.

It was by words that came forth from a tongue that the world was created; it was by the tongue that the sick were healed and the dead were raised. It is through the tongue that brings hope and encouragement; it is the tongue that brings forth prophecies. And yet, it is also the tongue that kills and destroys.

Unfortunately, many people, even Christians have misused the tongue that God has given to us. Instead of using to bring life, we bring death. Instead of using our tongue to build up, exhort and encourage, we crush people’s spirits.

Here are some of the most painful destructions a tongue can do:

Degrading Remarks

All of us have, at some points in our lives, heard negative and degrading remarks spoken over us. These remarks can be painful especially if they are spoken by the people of authority over us, such as our parents, elder siblings, teachers, spiritual leaders, or best friends. If these words are spoken continuously, they can have the ability to mould and shape our lives.

Many of us have a distorted image of who we are because of what has been spoken against us. Over time, we begin to believe the things that people say about us, even though we know that they are not true.

I have heard many cutting remarks, and sadly, most of them were spoken by the people in authority over my life. I can therefore identify the pain and destruction such words can bring.


“As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!” Proverbs 25:23

Ever known someone who is so foul-mouthed that each time she talks, it would be about somebody’s business? They dig into other people’s affairs, and spread whatever little that they know to the whole world. It does not matter if what they say is true or not; so long as it is about other people, it is their business to spread it. They do not bother if what they say will hurt the person involved, they do it so long as it satisfies their itch. They do not care if their listeners will want to hear about their gossips, or if they are spreading truths. They take joy in gossiping, so long as the gossips are not about themselves.

Oh, we love to gossip, don’t we? At some points in our lives we have all fallen into the trap of gossip. And though I am not totally against occasional ‘unintended’ gossips even though they must not be tolerated either, habitual gossipers can actually bring far more damage than you can ever imagined!

Even if what you gossip about is true, bear in mind that it is still not your responsibility to spread it around to others. God is the only one who will deal with each person, and you do not have to ‘help’ God by spreading it beforehand.

When we hear of the gossips that were spread about ourselves, it can bring a lot of damage. What was initially spread may be so innocent but the innocence can be marred with a twist of the story. Before long, we are hearing a totally different version of the same story!

Truth is, we can never control other people’s tongue. They are responsible for the gossips that they spread, but we are also responsible to hold our heads up high in the face of false malicious gossips or rumours. Remember that vengeance is God’s, and it will only take time for Him to reveal the truth.


Back-stabbing is appearing friendly on the outside, but stabbing you from behind. It can happen with someone being totally nice with you just to get some information to be used to stab at you. Back-stabbing is, in fact, a blend of betrayal and gossiping.

Therefore, backstabbing can actually be very painful. One stab in the back can be all it takes to destroy a person’s spirit. The sting from the wound can stay there for such a long time.

I do not want to go through this topic a lot because it is a complete blend of gossiping and betrayal. Add those two up and you will get back-stabbing.

My Experience

Not too long ago, I had been backstabbed, gossiped about falsely, and shot with degrading remarks all at one go. It has been very, very painful and the healing process is slow. It was even harder for me when some of the people involved were people of authority. There were many times when I had wanted to give up, and I can truly say that it is by the grace of God that I had made it through.

How To Tackle It

Like I have said earlier, we cannot control other people’s tongue. And sometimes these wounds can come so suddenly that we are left in shock. In times like these, we must always remember the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness can never be easy, and healing can be quite a tiring process.

Also, it is also wise to maintain a distance from the people who have gossiped and back-stabbed us. This is simply to allow ourselves time and space to heal, without peeling off the 'scab' before healing is complete; and at the same time, prevent ourselves from being hurt the same way during this time. When you are over with it, then you can open up your heart to those people again.



When Something is Lost

“You have taken away my companions and loved ones.
Darkness is my closest friend.” Psalm 88:18

Losing something dear

All of us have something or someone that hold a special place in our hearts. They give us satisfaction and pleasure, and make us feel complete. These can be our parents, siblings, a life partner, a close friend, material possession, a job, or even a pet. We love them so much, that losing them is like losing a chunk of our own flesh.

Much as we will want to hold on to these precious things in our lives, there will be times when they will be snatched away from us. While some cannot be avoided, there are losses which could have been avoided, and thus adds on to the pain that we are already facing.

Coping With A Loss

It is never easy to lose something precious. The pain of losing something or someone can be so intense that we may feel as if there is no reason to live on. Our lives are so much acquainted with it that losing it seems like losing the meaning of life. This can be even more painful if the loss is a result of violence, injustice, or recklessness. In short, it need not have happened.

Our initial reaction in the face of a loss is to retreat into our own world. We disconnect ourselves from our normal routine in life, from friends, and from activities that we used to love. Most losses cause depression to a certain degree, and for a certain period of time, depending on the person and its severity.

While it may be necessary to give ourselves some time and place to heal and deal with our loss, it is never a good idea to live in isolation for too long. A prolonged time of isolation and withdrawal can cause us to do foolish things, because this is what happens when we allow our minds to go idle. We will need to slowly re-connect ourselves with the world and people again.

Putting The Loss Behind

While it is always very tempting to hold on to what we have lost, we must realize that we will probably never get it back again. Therefore, no matter how much we grieve over the loss, it is already gone. Though it is healthy to grieve when we are supposed to instead of suppressing the pain, it is not in any way healthy to continue grieving over time.

We must remember that we may have lost something precious, but God has got a better future ahead of us. Even though things will never be the same again, God still has the best for us. Job lost everything – his home, livestock, children and health, but because he persevered God restored all that was lost and not only that, He gave Job twice as much! Though things will never be the same again; Job will never have the children that he had lost before, he has learnt to put the loss behind him.


One of the most common and destructive loss is the lost of trust, or in layman terms – betrayal. Betrayal is when you have trusted someone with something so much just to have him misusing that trust.

Betrayal destroys friendships and relationships in a very drastic way. In mutual friendships, betrayal can happen with the leaking of secrets. In relationships, it can be giving your love to someone else other than the one you already have. At home, betrayal can happen by abusing one’s role in the family through abuse. In short, betrayal is an abuse of trust.

Victims of betrayal will find it very difficult to trust again. And it is no wonder, especially when he is betrayed by someone he loved a lot, or someone whom he had looked up to and respected. In cases like this, the betrayed may find it very hard to trust other people again. And to rebuild this trust, it will require a lot of time and effort.

It is Not Your Fault

People who have suffered a loss can sometimes internalize their pain by believing that it is their fault. They come up with a lot of ‘if onlys’. ‘If only I had taken care of him better, he would not have died’. ‘If only I had not told her this secret, she would not have let it out’. ‘If only I had done this or that, I would not have lost my job’. ‘If only……...’

However, most losses are beyond our control. We can do nothing to prevent the loss. Putting on the blame on ourselves only adds on to the pain that we are already experiencing.


It is always important to know how to carry on with life even after a loss. Yes, your life may never be the same again; yes, many things would have to be left undone; yes, there are a lot of things that you do not have the chance to say…but can it be undone? Can you recover the loss?

The pain of losing something can take a long time to heal, but healing is not impossible. The memories that you have for that person will still be fresh, but you will need to be determined that life goes on.



Victory Over an Orphan Spirit

“Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10

“No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” John 14:18

An Orphan Spirit

The orphan spirit causes one to live life as if he does not have a safe and secure place in the Father's heart. He feels he has no place of affirmation, protection, comfort, belonging, or affection. Self-oriented, lonely, and inwardly isolated, he has no one from whom to draw Godly inheritance. Therefore, he has to strive, achieve, compete, and earn everything he gets in life. It easily leads to a life of anxiety, fears, and frustration.

I struggled with an orphan spirit

For a very big part of my life growing up as a child, I had lived with an orphan spirit inside of me. It was only later that I realized what the problem was. It was not my sister’s fault to be sick half of the time, and neither was it my parents’ fault for giving her more attention. But because I did not understand what is happening as a child, I grew up feeling abandoned and neglected. I was rather distant from my parents, and there was a growing jealousy and rebellion inside of me. I did not understand why I was reacting that way, but the revelation which came at the later part of my childhood explained it. Nevertheless, I had continued to suffer from an orphan spirit until much recently.

The orphan spirit has left me paralysed in friendships and other mutual relationships. I could not receive love, and could not give love, because I do not know what love is like. And like real orphans, I had learnt to be independent. I learnt to take care of myself and protect my own heart. As a result, I was cold and hard. Independence caused me to deny and hide my pain through controlling my relationships with people through anger, passivity and isolation. My relationships with people are often superficial, meaning that people often do not know the real me. I kept my distance from the people who may be able to provide me with the love, acceptance and comfort that I need.

Living with an orphan spirit has robbed me of my ability to trust. I could not risk myself to be vulnerable to hurts. As a result, I did not only prevent myself from being hurt, I had locked myself from receiving love and acceptance as well. I was defensive and harsh, and I had a hard time submitting myself to receive love and comfort from people.

And because I had nowhere to run to for love, because there was no safe place for my soul, no one to protect me, I had resorted to counterfeit identity and comfort. For some people it may be substance abuse, immorality, addictions, ministry titles etc. but for me, food was my way out of my problems. The very year when my sister came into our family picture, that was when I started comfort-eating and it continued on until now.

And orphan spirit has caused my relationship with God to suffer a lot. My view of God’s acceptance for me is always based on performance. This belief of conditional love has caused me to often withdraw from the very person who is able to love me for who I am – GOD.

The reason why I am sharing with you the signs that I had with an orphan spirit is to help you to identify with your own life. If you find that you have one or more of those symptoms, I pray that this article will help you.

When I realized that I am His child

The orphan spirit within me has generally affected my relationship with God. Theologically I know that God is my Father and I am His child, but it was never a revelation. And because I do not have that revelation, my heart was not changed. I continued living as an orphan.

We can call ourselves children of God, and yet live like His slaves. For many years, I had lived in fear and uncertainty of the future. For a long time I did not experience the love and rest in a father’s arms. I did not know what true acceptance is like. And therefore it is difficult for me to grasp hold of the trust that I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).

When I fully realized that I am a child of God, when I had the revelation that God’s love for me is unconditional, when I had finally gave Him all the years of pain as a result of living like an orphan, there was a tremendous release in my spirit. I am still in the healing process, but I know that I am getting somewhere.

From Orphans to Sons

An orphan spirit is not something you can cast out just like that because it is like a part of us. In order to uproot this false belief in our hearts, we must recognize the root of the problem. Can you remember a time when you feel neglected by your natural parents?

The only person who can remove the orphan spirit in us is God. On our part, we need to spend our time knowing God. When we know God, we know unconditional love. When we receive His unconditional love into our lives, then a major part of our lives will be reconstructed.

You may require time and space to develop that trust. One of the things that an orphan spirit does to an individual is the inability to trust others, even those in authority. That fear of being rejected, the feeling of being alone, the fear of having nowhere to run to be safe; all that will require time to heal.

As you allow God to take over His place as your Father, begin to open up your heart to Him, slowly. Let Him fill the void in your heart. Remember, you are now a child of God!

In moments of pain -- part 1


Overcoming loneliness and rejection

“My close friends detest me.
Those I loved have turned against me.” Job 19:19

Complete and yet missing something

There are many people in this world who seems to have it all together. The looks, the talents, the brains, the fame, they are doing well in their career, and they have a wonderful family and lots of friends around them. In short, they are an example of envy for many people. However, some of them do actually feel very lonely inside their hearts. Things may seem to be going very well for them, but there is an emptiness in their hearts that cannot be comprehended.

Loneliness and rejection can cause far more damage than anyone can ever imagine. Imagine living in this world with people all around you, yet you are unable to find your place in it. The right human companionships can do far more than just wealth or talents. We all need healthy relationships in order to be able to function properly; but the truth is, that is just what many people are lacking.

Loneliness can attack anyone

Loneliness and rejection, like depression, knows no bounds. It devours people of any age, of any gender, of any position. A child can experience rejection if his parents are too busy or if favouritism is an issue in the family. A teenager may experience loneliness because she cannot fit in the normal crowd. A married person can feel the pain of rejection caused by marital problems. And likewise, an elderly person can feel cast aside. If we are to be honest, we can actually remember times in our lives when we had to battle with loneliness and rejection.

While some incidents of rejection are temporary, there are many who live their lives feeling lonely all the time. The devil knows when and how to attack us. Many children who have experienced rejection in their homes actually grow up with the inability to relate to other people. The fear of rejection can actually leave them so paralysed that they cannot function normally and sustain lasting friendships. Other incidents of trauma such as consistent bullying, or a failed relationship can cause severe scars in people’s lives as well.

We are created to be accepted

Deep inside every human being is something so creatively engineered by our Creator, and that is the need to be to be heard, loved and accepted. This need is like a switch which controls many other functions. If the switch fails, then the other functions connected to it will fail as well.

Many people go about their lives with a malfunctioned switch. They learn to cope with it and act as if they can function the way they are. Some may be able to smile, talk and work like any other people, while others will retreat and withdraw. The only thing that they have in common is that they are incapable of sustaining quality relationships. They are actually very fragile people, and a trigger can cause them to break down.

Many people who have experienced painful rejection and loneliness from a group of people will continue to expect the same treatment from other people. This is why it is actually a very effective tool to attack a child. The fear of rejection has had such a grip on their lives that they will rather not take the risk of intimacy.

It is not your fault

You do not have to struggle with rejection and believe that you are at fault. Many people who feel rejected actually believe that there is something wrong with them, and that is why people do not like them. If this is true in any way, then tell me, did Jesus do anything to be rejected?

The Bible specifically highlights many incidents of people who feel rejected. Hagar was rejected by her mistress, Sarah because of a mistake that Sarah herself has made. It was Sarah who suggested to Abraham to sleep with his maidservant so that he can have a child. And when Ishmael was born, Sarah could not stand the ridicule from Hagar and subsequently from Ishmael that she made Abraham drive out the mother and son.

Leah was rejected by Jacob because she was not as beautiful as Rachel (Genesis 29:14-25). It was not Leah’s fault that she has a sister who has a stunning beauty. The Bible never did mention that Leah was ugly; it only mentioned that Rachel was beautiful. But even though Jacob rejected Leah, God did not. She may not have the beauty that her sister has, but God gave her something equally precious as looks; He gave her children.

In the New Testament, we know about the woman with an issue of blood. She was rejected and shunned by society because she is ceremonially unclean (Mark 5: 25-34). She had to press by the crowd secretly just to receive her healing. When Jesus healed her, He did not only heal her physical problem, Jesus actually removed her rejection and loneliness, and restored her to society.

God accepts you

If you ever do struggle with rejection, remember that God does not reject you. In fact, I believe that for many people, God has kept us from the normal crowd because it is God’s plan to set us apart. God does not want us to be normal, even among Christians. Men’s rejection is God’s protection.

Remember that in due time you will see His deliverance. Just like how God raised David from being a shepard boy to being a king, he can do it for you too. All of his brothers are in the army, and they are obviously of higher status than a shepard boy. But though he may be rejected by the prophet and even his own father, he was accepted by God.

God is all that you need!

In moments of pain - introduction


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:18

There are a lot of places in the Bible which touches on the heart and compassion that God has for the broken-hearted. Unlike most people who will generally shun the emotionally wounded with all kinds of excuses, God very specifically mentions that He is close to the broken-hearted.

This is actually a very important revelation and for those who have been very badly wounded before, you may be able to agree with me that such an assurance is actually very comforting. In times like these, we need someone to be there for us, and we need to know that someone can truly understand how we feel.

In this series I am going to touch a lot on spiritual, mental, verbal and emotional abuse. Abuse of any kind can do a lot of damage to the soul and spirit of a person. I am going to share on issues that many people struggle with. And I will also share about the hope that Jesus has for those crushed in their spirits.

All of the issues that I am going to touch on have a great potential to bring so much depression and pain. And unless these people receive the healing love of God, many of them are going to continue living with those wounds.

The things that I am going to share are solely based on my own experiences unless stated otherwise. I believe that it is important to let people know that I have been through it, and that I do understand what it is like.

One thing that I will want to clarify before starting on this series is that no one has to go through all these. All of these are results of living in a fallen world. And I also want to make it very clear that none of these signify spiritual weaknesses. People hurt not because they are weak or because they do not have a close relationship with God. No wounds can be healed solely by reading the Bible, praying, and going for bible studies.

Please bear in mind that there are going to be people who will find it hard to swallow in what the Lord wants me to share. If this is the case, I will suggest that you go through it very slowly. Do not rush through the process; rather, let God bring you through it at your own pace. What I am going to do is to slowly uncover many things that we long to sweep under the carpet and forget, but living in denial will never do any good.

It has always been my prayer and hope to reach out to the hurting with my experiences. And I pray that this article will open your eyes to see many things.

Poem -- Tears in a bottle

This is my first poem, written during a session of tears. I was sleep and tired after a long day, and so this is solely my personal encounter with the Lord.=)

Tears in a Bottle

The vase laid on the ground,
broken and shattered.
What was once beautiful to behold,
was now left to be forgotten.

Pain have been my faithful partner,
and tears have been my food.
Oh, how I wished that night was day,
that winter was spring.

How I longed to hear the birds sing,
how I longed to see the flowers bloom.
When will the skies show its glory,
the sun shine its light?

But all I saw were the overwhelming waves,
all I knew were the dark, gloomy skies.
The storms of life were too much for me to bear,
O Lord, where can I run to?

And so I built my own shelter,
a place where I can lock myself in.
Oh, now I can be safe,
safe from the storms.

Lord, where were You when it hurts?
Why didn't You come to my rescue?
Why didn't You protect me from the storms?
Why did You allow my heart to bleed so?

Lord, did You not care?
Have You not seen my tears?
O Lord, Where are You,
please....answer me, Lord.

Then, I felt LOVE surrounding me.
I looked up, and saw Him.
Oh, it can't be You, Lord.
It can't be You.

And I saw a bottle in His hand,
a bottle filled with something precious to Him.
'What is it, Lord?' I asked.
'My Child, these were your tears.

For I've stored your tears in a bottle,
they are so precious to me.
Like golden drops they were made of,
like precious diamonds they were shaped.

These are tears of brokenness,
they are tears of worship.
I will turn the ashes into beauty,
and I will wrap the garment of praise over you.

Now look up and see the day dawning.
Yes, for winter has passed,
and spring has come
See, the flowers are blooming again.'

And the Lord bent down,
and gently picked up the broken pieces.
'I will make you whole again,
and I will make you stronger than ever.

You were broken so that you will know,
that I can fix those broken pieces.
For I know your every tear,
and I will wipe them all away.

Now go and tell other broken vases
to bring their pieces to Me.
Tell them that I will mend the broken pieces,
and make them even more beautiful.

Let them know too,
that I store their tears in a bottle.
None will be wasted,
because I love you so.'

You are special


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-15

To knit means to ‘weave something into being’. It is making something from nothing. Weaving (or knitting) involves much attention and care because a slight mistake will distort a potentially beautiful piece of artwork.

Picture this: Even before your parents planned to have you (maybe they did not even planned it at all!), God already had in mind that He wants you to exist. God begins to draw his plans, going right into your future, finishing His perfect plans for your life, and then comes back to the beginning and starts to work. And for the next nine months that you were in your mother’s womb, God carefully knitted you into His perfect plan. From your looks to your personalities to your talents and giftings right to your ministry, God begins to knit them all into being. Then you came into the world, and your Creator looks at you and with one satisfied look and said :”That’s a perfect piece of work I have done today. This child is set apart and s(he) will never be snatched away from My palm.”

So many of us do not realize how important we are in God’s eyes. We think that the very fact that we are here on this earth is just another accident or coincidence. We forget that we have been so carefully and passionately brought into this earth, totally set apart for the Lord.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

God said that before we are born, He had already known us. Even before anyone knows about us, God has already reserved in His mind a perfect plan that is going to unfold in our lives. That plan is special because God has created you to be unique. When God says that He ‘knows’ us, He did not say that He ‘knows about’ us. God knows us in such an intimate way, better than anyone else.

It is time we embrace the truth. For too long we have believed in ‘truths’ which are nothing but lies. When God sets someone apart, the devil is all out to launch an attack over that life. You see, the devil does not want us to enjoy the fullness of our destinies in Christ. The devil knows that he has to start while we are young and vulnerable, so that that will shape our future and thus aborts God’s plans for our lives. But always remember that we are always safe in God’s hands.

“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29

That is God’s assurance. No matter what the devil can do to destroy us, God will never allow it to happen. But we need to know and accept ourselves just as God does. If we are so valuable in God’s eyes, if God cares so much to carefully dictate our lives, if God will care so much to protect us and preserve us against all harm, then there must be something in us that God is trying to bring out.

But you see, so many of us fail to enter into the fullness that God has for us because we fail to see ourselves as God sees us. We fail to realize the beauty and perfection in God’s creation – US. Perhaps people have told you that you are ugly. Perhaps you have been told by someone in authority over you that you are dumb and you cannot amount to anything. Perhaps you have been singled out by your friends because they think that you are weird. But remember, no one is weird, and yet every one of us is unique. Note the difference: God made us unique. But as these words begin to plague our lives even at a tender and vulnerable age, it begins to shape the person in us. The child in us is damaged. Inferiority begins to set in and devours the destiny that God has for us. We begin to think that if that is what people think about us, then we must be not worth loving at all.

But have we forgotten about what GOD says about us? Who is bigger – God or men? It is high time to get into the truth about who we really are. There is so much that God has in store for us, only waiting for us to embrace it. It really does not matter what people think or say about you, because when they see the work of God in your life, they are going to turn to you. Yes, the very people who have insulted you and despised you will be put to shame.

We need to take a step of faith to believe that we are precious in the eyes of God and He has got something wonderful in store for us. That is the truth. If God loves you enough to die for you, then He must have loved you enough to bring you through every circumstance. It does not matter if people approve of you, because God is delighted in you.

So stop believing that you are nothing but trash. Stop believing that you are second best. Stop settling for the inferior because you believe that that is only what you deserve. God says that you deserve the very best from Heaven because you are His child.

You have got so much potential in the Lord. Begin to see yourself as God sees you. Be free to be the person that God has created you to be, and not trying to be like somebody else. Repent and ask for forgiveness from God because you have believed in the lies of the devil. Then ask God to reveal to you His plans for your life, and embrace it. You will be amazed at how God can use you to shame the wise.

The desert experience

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

A desert is a dry and hot place. It is a lonely place, where no one in their sound mind will ever want to stay there for long. There is barely any life in the desert as nothing can survive without water. The weather in the desert can be extremely hot in the day and cold during the nights. Sometimes travelers will get sand into their eyes and it can be painful.

At seasons in our lives we feel as if we are going through a desert experience, and we are. It is a time when it is as if we are so far away from God. We try hard to get connected with God only to find a huge wide vacuum between us and our Creator. We strive so hard to get a breath of His presence but we just cannot get to the surface of the overwhelming waters. We get weary of struggling and slowly, we decide to quit. We try to convince ourselves that we do not need the presence of God anymore, but in reality, there is still this deep longing and emptiness that only God can fill and satisfy.

A desert may not be a fun place to be in, but it is a place where many life’s lessons are taught. The desert is in fact a transition between our past and our future. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt (the past), He had to bring them to the wilderness before they entered the Promised Land (future). The desert is not the end of their journey, and they are not meant to stay in the desert forever; but it is a prerequisite to enter into Canaan.

When it was hard to find food and water in the desert, the Israelites complained to Moses and demanded to go back to Egypt where there is at least some food. They did not mind being under bondage; they just want to eat and drink. But had they forgotten the God who brought them out of Egypt? Did they not know that if God will go all the way to bring them out of slavery, He will provide them for their needs as well?

Physically we may never have to stay in a desert, but if you ever want to go far with God, you will have to go through a spiritual desert. The wilderness can be a very difficult place to be in, and like the Israelites, you may sometimes wish that God has not delivered you from the past. But it is during your ‘stay’ in the desert that you realize how important it is to have food to eat and water to drink. We always take the word of God (food) and His presence (water) for granted but you will learn to treasure them while in the desert. God will not let you die in the wilderness as He will definitely provide for you as He did for the Israelites.

The lessons taught in the desert are unique and cannot be learnt in other seasons. When there is nothing else around you, when the weather is hot and dry, when the nights are cold, when your eyes hurt, and most painfully, when it seems that you are all alone, it is not easy to hang on. The temptation to quit and go back to your Egypt is very real and that is why not many people can sustain the desert experience, and they miss out on God’s promises.

The desert can also be a very painful experience. There are times when the sun gets too hot or the wind gets too cold, and you thought how you can ever survive. Trials and circumstances just seem to drown you. And yet, it seems as if you are all alone.

How long you are going to stay in the desert depends on two possible factors: God and you. Maybe God has a bigger promised land for you and so your desert will be bigger. But your attitude while in the desert greatly determines how long you are going to stay there. Are you going to moan and murmur like the Israelites did, or are you going to give thanks to God and decide to make full use of this experience? The Israelites were not made to stay in the wilderness for forty years, but God made them wander there because of their attitude.

But if we will hang on, if only we will continue to worship when it seems as if God is not there, if only we will stand upon His promises, if we possess a right attitude while walking through the desert, I have got good news for you: the Promised Land is within your reach.

If you are in a desert, make use of this time and spend quality time with God in your closet. Continue to praise and worship God even when He seems silent. Thank Him for the promised land that is yet unseen, and He will bring you through it.

The exchange

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3

Jesus did not die on the cross solely for our sins, though His main purpose was to save mankind. He died to set us free, to bring healing, to break the curses, to reconcile man to God, and the list goes on.

Something significant happened on that cross. Though a cross is a common instrument of torture for the Romans in those days, this cross was (and still is) special. It was a cross which was an instrument used to demonstrate God’s love to mankind. It was because of what was done on that cross, that we may have life, and have it to the abundance.

The prophet Isaiah says that Jesus came to give us a divine exchange. First, He came to give us beauty for ashes. Ashes are the leftovers after everything is burnt. Going through the fire may be painful, and it does produce ashes. Ashes are not beautiful, but God promises to give us beauty for ashes. This is the beauty that comes forth only from brokenness. This beauty is attractive. It is the beauty of the Lord which draws people to Him. There is this anointing that brings forth fragrance, but only when the alabasters jar is broken. You cannot plead for the beauty of this anointing without being willing to be broken.

Jesus also exchanges the oil of gladness instead of mourning. The oil, again, speaks of the anointing. The oil is usually poured from the head, and it flows to the toe. Anointing speaks of a new level of authority. The anointing changes lives. So many of us have been mourning, and God says that enough is enough. In the presence of God there is joy, peace, freedom, and love. It is time to decide whether we want to continue mourning or to receive the oil of gladness that He so freely gives.

Lastly, Jesus came to exchange our garments. Garments speak about identity. It is who we are. It is what we clothe ourselves with. How you dress can more or less describe the person you are. Jesus has come to exchange our spirit or garment of despair for the garments of praise. The truth is, you do not praise only when everything is going well. Like it or not, true praise and worship comes from brokenness. It’s so easy to sing praises to God when all is well, but will you praise when you feel that everything is against you? What many people do not realize is the power that lies behind this powerful tool – praise. Whereas despair gets us deeper into depression; praise will get us OUT of depression and into the victory that God has for us.

Whatever that God does in our lives, the ultimate purpose is always to glorify His name. When God chooses to use us in any way, it is never to build our own platforms. When God allows us to go through difficult times, it is so that people will know that He is a miracle working God. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He did it so that the people may know that God has sent Him. (John 11:40-42). Similarly, when God offers us something much better than what we have, it is for the display of His splendor. The bible says that we will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. It simply means that we will be firmly rooted in God, displaying the handiwork of God through the fruits of our lives. But first, we must be sure in what we are rooted in, and the condition of the ground. Are we rooted in God, or in our own emotions and will? What kind of a tree are you? Remember, no good tree can bear bad fruit and vice-versa. Is your ground good soil, or among thorns and rocks?

Whenever we trade in something, be it a car, a mobile phone, or anything, we trade in something of value. Though it may seem as if God does not know how to trade in things of value, what God rejoices most is to see His children living in victory. That is why He is so willing so take in something which seems so worthless in the human eyes for something priceless. God knows how to trade in alright. In Hebrews 12:2 it is said “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It is the joy of saving many sons through the cross. It is the joy of seeing hell empty and heaven populated. It is the joy of seeing God’s original plan restored. God’s plan is to trade one Son for many sons. Will you be one of His sons today?

Removing the mask

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. (Psalm 139:2)

A ‘mask’ is described in the dictionary as a ‘disguise over a true feature’. In other words, what is portrayed on the outside is different from what it really is. For whatever reasons, many of us have put on masks so that our true self will not be made known to others.

When circumstances have destroyed our lives, we try to put on masks to make us appear strong and OK on the outside. We try our best to drown ourselves in work and relationships. We try to achieve success in different areas of our lives to cover up our pain. We try to laugh, work, talk, and even go to church like other people. But deep inside our hearts, we’re breaking. When that hard shell is broken, the yolk inside will flow out.

So many of us are perfect in acting that we’ve never been hurt. Some feel ashamed of their pain, while there are others who simply do not want to bother other people. However, no matter how much you can try to hide and deny your suffering, your eyes will always show it, for your eyes are the windows of your heart.

We even try to hide from God. We try to cover up our emotions when we come before Him, not realizing that God knows exactly (and maybe even better than we do) what we are going through. He saw the tears that you tried so hard to hide. He saw the sadness behind that smile.

The first step to receiving our healing is to remove that mask. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). I used to wonder what this meant (I mean, we are all sinners, not one righteous among us), but it did struck me when God revealed this to me: it is only when you admit that you are sick that you’ll go to a doctor or take your medication. A man suffering from cancer but does not admit that he needs medical attention will not consult a doctor.

In the same way, the first step to healing is to quit denying. Stop hiding and acting as if you’re OK when you are actually not. Admit to God that you are hurt and you need His healing. Allow the Lord to begin that process of restoration. Remember, God is not surprised by what we tell (or are going to tell) Him because He already knows what is happening; He just wants you to bring them before Him.

Healing can never begin if you keep pretending. Jesus will never force you to receive His healing. Nevertheless, the price has been paid over 2,000 years ago. By His stripes we are healed. The only thing now lies with us: are we going to receive that healing?

I understand that after putting on that mask for so long, it will be difficult for us to remove it and expose our true conditions. We may feel vulnerable. We may be afraid at what other people will think, or rather, what God will think. But God will never despise our pain, nor will He reject us when we hurt. In fact, the Lord is closed to the broken-hearted, and He binds up their wounds (Psalm 34:18). And from Isaiah 61:1-3, most of what Jesus is anointed to do is to minister to the brokenhearted.

Do not live in denial any longer. Receive the healing and wholeness that God has for you and start living a victorious life. Remove that mask!

Beauty for ashes


“to bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

There was a season in my life when people kept coming to tell me that they could see beauty and fragrance coming out of me. Initially I did not take much notice of it but when more and more similar words came, I began to ponder and asked the Lord what it really meant.

There is a kind of beauty and sweetness that arises before the throne of God. It is not something which can be bought, nor something which can be obtained or created anyhow; but that beauty and fragrance only comes out of brokenness and worship.

Lets look at how the woman came to Jesus in worship.

“…a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.” Mark 14: 3

“….and the house was filled with fragrance from the perfume..” John 12: 3

The woman, supposedly Mary the sister Lazarus and Jesus’ close friend, gave her best to the Lord. She came before Jesus in worship, broke the alabaster jar, only then the perfume poured out and filled the house with fragrance.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35 and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. Exodus 30:34-35

We all have brokenness in our lives, and we can choose whether to allow the brokenness to remain bitter, or to allow it to be released as sweet incense. Incense is made out of bitter ingredients, but when it is offered before God in worship, it becomes sweet incense, and what’s more; everyone present can smell the sweetness. When the sweetness of that fragrance rises out from your lives, the people around you can see it and that is what that attracts people’s attention.

It is definitely not easy to worship out of brokenness, but it is not impossible to do so. In fact, it is this kind of worship that really attracts God’s attention. God wants to give us beauty for ashes. He will not reject you because you have been broken by life’s circumstances, for

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

Perfume stored in a perfect jar or vessel is only hold within the jar, and poured out only by choice. But when the vessel is broken and seemingly useless, the perfume in it will have to be poured out into other lives. Brokenness allows God’s love to be poured out to those we will not pour to. The more we give to others, the more God will refill our lives.

This sweetness and fragrance does not come easily; It comes from brokenness offered before God in worship. Do not allow your heart to remain bitter. Present your brokenness before God in worship, and you will see that fragrance and beauty coming out of you.

Being an overcomer

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3

Trials, tests and temptations are inevitable, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. God does not cause the trials in our lives, but He does allow them to happen. Many of us want the good things that God has for us without being willing to pay the price for it. We expect God to give n give and all we do is take and take. But what God wants to do is to shape us and mould us into our eternal purposes.

What many people fail to realize is that God always has a reward at the end of a refining process. It is after we have been through the fire that we can be finer than gold. It is after we allow the Potter to shape us that we can be made into a beautiful vase. But we can choose to either allow the fire to refine us, or burn us. We can choose to allow the Potter to shape us, or to continue being an ugly lump of clay.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

We all want to be conquerors and through God, we can indeed have the victory. But remember, there can be no victory without an obstacle. You cannot be a conqueror without going through a trial. Imagine if a person announces that he is a winner but in actual fact, he is a winner of nothing. What do you think of such a person? He is a liar! In fact, the greater the obstacle, the greater the winning prize! To share a testimony is to share what God has done in our lives, not only how He saved us, but also how He brought us through the tests. Remember, there can be no TESTimony without a TEST; neither can there be a miracle without a need.

King David’s first real victory was when he defeated a giant named Goliath (1 Samuel 17). He could not have gained such recognition had he been afraid and withdrawn from the giant. But instead of being afraid and backing off, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him (1 Samuel 17:48). David was not interested in being famous; he was furious because Goliath had defiled the name of God (1 Samuel 17:26).

David was bold in facing his enemy because he knew that God is with him. Though he was just a small boy with a sling and five pebbles, he defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17:50) who was well dressed and armed (1 Samuel 17:4-7), with one single pebble. The truth is, it was not David who fought Goliath, but God. We must remember that the battles that we face are not ours to fight, but if we will surrender to God, He will fight for us (1 Samuel 17:47). And because God is fighting, our victory is guaranteed.

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5

The reason why many believers cannot withstand a storm is because they do not understand the fullness of God’s love. The moment we have that revelation that God truly loves us, hope is instilled. We know that God will not abandon us in the midst of the fire. We know deep inside that no matter how difficult things are, God will bring us through victoriously. We know that at the end of it all, there is a reward waiting for us. We know that all things will work together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). There will be such a deep sense of security and assurance.

God wants us to know that though we may face many afflictions, He will deliver us from them all (Psalms 34:19). He will never leave us nor forsake us. His plans for us are always good and pure. We need to lay hold of these promises because they will sustain us through our trials. Learn to respond correctly in the midst of trials, and always remember that we are conquerors through Christ Jesus.

Do you want to get well?

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition a long time he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" John 5:5-6

That seems to be such a ridiculous question to ask an invalid. Imagine, for thirty-eight years this man had not been able to do the normal things that other people can do. He is attached to his bed all the time. What's more, Jesus knew that he has been suffering for a long time. Isn't it obvious enough that this man will want to be well?

The reason for Jesus' question is to see how desperate the man is for healing. Thirty-eight years is so long, long enough for him to be accustomed to his condition. Has the man given up hope and resorts to spending the rest of his life as an invalid? Or does he want to experience a miracle?

Often this is the same question God is asking us. We may not be crippled physically, but emotionally. Being an emotional cripple means that we are not able to function like people with healthy emotions do. We are afraid of intimacy and close friendships. We isolate ourselves for fear of rejection. We build walls to protect ourselves, but at the same time locking out people who genuinely care. We are unable to give and receive love.

Many of us have decided to 'live on' with the pain. We have got so used to it. We've learnt to cope with a tough and painful life on survival mode. For some we choose not to expect too much so that we will not to be disappointed. For others we choose to expect disappointments.

But the truth is, it does not matter how long you have been struggling, or how bad your circumstances are, because that does not disqualify you from receiving total wholeness. Delay does not mean denial.

For some people, or pain becomes our shame, just like in Mephibosheth's story. King David had purposely asked if there is anyone left in the house of Saul for David to show mercy, and the only one left was Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was a cripple since young when his nurse fell while carrying him. The reason of his condition was not his fault, but look at his response.

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" 2 Samuel 9:8

To describe someone as a 'dog' in the older days is most despicable. But Mephibosheth called himself a 'dead dog'. His self-esteem was at the lowest point simply because he was suffering from something which was not his fault. But David did not look at him as a cripple, but as someone worthy to be given mercy. David invited him to eat at his table and live with him!

You may have despised yourself for not being able to function as well as other people. The circumstances that has happened to you because of other people's mistakes does not make you less significant than others in God's eyes.

Even though people may despise you because of your infirmities, God loves you more than ever. All you need to do is to accept God's invitation to dine and live with him.

The same question that Jesus had asked the invalid is extended to you now. Do you want to get well? Remember, God can do exceedingly above all that you can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He can heal you just as He healed the cripple. Just reach out and receive it.

What the devil meant for evil

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God has sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5

When Joseph’s brothers sold him to be an Egyptian slave, they did not do it so he may become Egypt’s Prime Minister. It was out of jealousy that they what they did, and they had meant to never see their brother again. And for the next 13 years Joseph was kept in prison for something that he was innocent of. And yet, despite being falsely accused and having to spend 13 years in the prison, God’s favor was upon him. He was put in charge of the other prisoners. God gave Joseph the gift to interpret dreams, and it was because of that did Pharaoh released him and made him Prime Minister overnight. The devil had meant to destroy Joseph and make him the lowest of the lowest, but God has other plans.

The devil has one plan for our lives which will never change, and that is to destroy us. Sin brings destruction. Sin done by ourselves brings guilt and condemnation and that can be very, very destructive. Wounds inflicted on us as a result of others’ sin bring in hurt, bitterness and resentment. And because this world is a sinful world, the devil is out in full force to seek our destruction.

Sometimes we just do not understand why all these has to happen. It seems as if each time after God gives us a promise, an attack will immediately be launched against it. Prior to his handover to the Egyptians, Joseph had two dreams of being someone so much respected that even his parents and his brothers will have to bow down to him. He was so confident that it was from God and it will come to past.

Then, things went absolutely wrong. Joseph’s brothers decided to, out of jealousy and fear that they will one day have to bow down to their brother, sold him off as an Egyptian slave, hoping that they will never see him again. At first, Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar, but it was short lived when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him for being sexually immoral simply because he chose to do the right thing. For more than a decade, he spent his life in the dungeons. The dreams that God gave him seemed to just vanish in thin air. It seems that God is a liar.

But despite all that has happened, Joseph’s faith in God was never faint. The Bible says that ‘the Lord was with him, and showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden’. All throughout Joseph’s darkest times, God was with him. In fact, God was preparing Joseph for the palace even while he is in the prison.

When things get tough, do not be disheartened. Know that whatever word that proceeds from God’s mouth will never return to Him void. He will bring it to past in due time. Like in Joseph’s life, God prepared Joseph in the prison for the palace. Joseph was promoted from the lowest of all Egyptians (prisoner/slave) to the second man in the land, with a high authority given by Pharaoh.

When you have the favor of God, it cannot be taken away. Joseph’s dream was finally fulfilled when his brothers bowed down to him when they came begging for food. They did not realize that he is their brother, but Joseph recognized them. God has used Joseph to bring prosperity to the land of Egypt, making it the richest land at that time. Famine hit the land, but because of the wisdom that God has granted to Joseph, not only the people of Egypt have enough food, but people from neighboring lands come to Egypt looking for food.

In all these, Joseph was never bitter towards his brothers. When he revealed himself to them, he broke down as healing took place. Joseph restored his brothers and forgave them. He saw that God was behind all the ugly things that have happened. Joseph understood that God has sent him to Egypt not only to preserve its land and its people, but also those from neighboring regions who came looking for food. God is always true to His promises, though at times it may seem as if He has forgotten all about them. As in the life of Joseph, despite all the 'effort' his brother put in to stop themselves from bowing down to him, God's promise still prevailed, even after all the years.

The devil never wants the promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives. He will do anything to discourage and cause us to wage war against God. But remember, God is always faithful.

When things get hard, know that you are in the exact position for promotion! Remember that the lower you are, the higher you will go. All you need to do is to surrender everything to God and always believe in His promises.

What Jesus came to do

“ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;” Luke 4:18

We all know that Jesus came to save mankind from our sins so that we may be united with God, and that is true, but that is not the end. In this verse which Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus further explained what He is called to do, and amazingly, many of them are for our emotions. Let us look at them:

Jesus came to:

  1. preach the gospel to the poor. Good news (or gospel) brings tremendous hope and relief to those who need them. Imagine if you’re sick and the doctor tells you that there is no hope for you, but God comes and tell you that by His stripes you are healed, how will you feel? The ‘poor’ people referred to here are those who are in need. And so Jesus came to bring hope to the hopeless. Hope brings strength. He has come to revive life’s purposes which were once lost. He has come to turn all disappointments and failures around. Jesus has come to present not only the good news of salvation, but also the good news of wholeness.
  2. heal the brokenhearted. Broken hearted people are people who have been suppressed and crushed. They have gone through immense pressure and heartaches and pain, and have been very much damaged by life’s circumstances. Often we do not know how to deal with these kind of people, and more than often we simply brush them aside or ignore them because they simply suck the life out of you. But Jesus has come to heal the brokenhearted. In Psalms 147:3, Jesus said that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”, and in Psalms 34:18, David said that “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. You see, Jesus never rejects broken people, but He is in fact very interested and willing to restore them, because no one in this world, despite the advancement of technology, can heal a broken heart. No amount of counseling can restore a person completely if Jesus is not in it.
  3. proclaim liberty to the captives. Liberty means freedom. In Galatians 5:1, Paul said that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”. So many people are not only bound by sins, but also emotional bondages of rejection, hurt, bitterness, resentment and fear. You see, when Jesus comes into our lives we are free, but the thing is, we do not live as free people. Because we have been a slave or captive for so many years, we have a slave mentality. Though yes, outwardly we are a new creation, the old still affects us. We do not experience the freedom that Chris has died for. Like the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, they continued to live like slaves, talk like slaves, act and think like slaves. They do not enjoy total freedom despite the fact that they are no longer under bondage. But Jesus has come that you may enjoy total release from your past.
  4. bring recovery of sight to the blind. Sight is so important to everyone. A blind person is an aimless person. They do not know where they are going. Similarly, a spiritually and emotionally blind person does not have a sense of destiny. Without a vision, the people perish. Many of us are blinded towards the life that God wants us to live. Many cannot see how much God loves are cares for us. But Jesus wants to open up our spiritual eyes to fully comprehend His love and compassion.
  5. bring divine exchange. Later in the chapter in verse 3, Prophet Isaiah continued to say that Jesus has come “To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..”. Jesus has come to give us a divine exchange. He does not only exchange our sins for salvation, but He also wants to give us beauty, joy and praise to trade with our ashes, mourning and heaviness. And so if you are wishing that someone can take those junk for you and give you something better, I have good news for you; Jesus will take all that. In the book of Ezekiel 36:26 God says that He will give us a heart of flesh for our heart of stone. This is another topic altogether, but a heart of stone is a hurting heart; it is a heart which is hardened in an effort to protect itself from further hurts, it cannot receive love and neither can it give love. A heart of flesh, on the other hand, is a tender heart; it is a heart which can feel the emotions of both pain and love, it is allowed to be vulnerable, and it can give and receive love.

And so, Jesus does really care for hurting hearts. Most people usually find little patience for the hurting, but Jesus is very interested in bringing hope and restoration.

What is your heart like?

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

In this verse, God describes two different conditions of a man’s heart; one is a hardened heart of stone; and another, tender and soft heart of flesh. A heart of stone is obviously a hard heart. It is a heart which is quite impossible to be penetrated. A person with a hardened heart will not allow himself to be hurt. He builds up protective walls and is very defensive against people who will try to move beyond the ‘boundaries’. He cannot receive love from people, and at the same time, he cannot give love also, because he has got no love to give. He does not only lock himself behind those walls,

A heart can become stony as a result of many things, often a collection of events which have happened over a period of time. If a child faces rejection, he is going to grow up building walls which disallow people to approach them, for fear of further rejection. If someone has been constantly receiving negative words and pronouncements, it will not be easy to be teachable because he believes that everyone thinks badly of him. And so therefore, a stony heart is a very lonely heart. You may think that a stony heart is a protective one, but you are actually missing out a lot of good things as well.

People with a stony heart appear tough on the outside. They try to appear strong and brave on the outside, and they seem to be emotion-less. Despite all that they are going through, they try not to get emotional. They have a very strong character, and can at times be very hurtful and harsh. This is especially true to guys who believe that macho guys should not cry.

Meanwhile, flesh is soft and tender. A heart of flesh is one which is capable of giving and receiving love. Yes, it is vulnerable to pain as a person with a heart of flesh is willing to take chances to cultivate friendships, but it is a receptive heart. A heart of flesh is a healthy heart. They are willing to take the chances to expose themselves to the uncertainties of relationships.

God wants to give us a heart of flesh because He has given us emotions. God has given human an ability to feel and respond to feelings; not to be overcome by our feelings, but emotions is a gift. A compassionate person is an emotional person. A fleshy heart can express its emotions freely towards God. If you are an intercessor, you need to be able to feel and hurt for the dying world. If you are a counselor, you will need to have a heart for the hurting world. All these cannot be done if you have a heart of stone.

God wants to exchange you heart of stone for a heart of flesh. Do not be afraid of being hurt, because often we miss what God has given to us by being defensive. We need to receive the gift of emotions once again and allow ourselves to enjoy the emotions that God has given.

Turning your mess into a message

“And we know that all things worked together for good for those who loved Him and are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28

Have you ever lost something and then try spending all your energy and resources to try to make up for what you have lost, and hopefully, gain something even better? We always spend so much of our time mourning over what we have lost in the past that we did not even realize that we are losing our future in deep ashes.

It is OK to mourn and grief over what has happened, but get over the mourning period as soon as possible and make up your minds that that is the last time you are mourning over that! We cannot afford to waste another half of our day mourning and regretting because we woke up late and wasted the first half of a day.

You may have made a mistake and we all do, and the devil always loves to see us regretting over our mistakes instead of getting on with life. Whenever we make a mistake, we don’t have to feel guilty and condemned or even give up, because it is not the end yet. When you have made a mistake, ask for forgiveness from God and the person(s) involved, and if you can make restitution, then by all means do it, receive the forgiveness, and move on with life. I remember doing something stupid and felt so ashamed of myself after that, and for two whole days I wept till I had no more tears left, and at the end of it I decided to give up on everything, even God. But God was so faithful, He preserved my life and put me back on track, but even though people have accepted me unlike what I had expected, I spent months until recently, hitting myself hard and regretting over what I have done.

Now look at two perfect examples of these two disciples of Jesus—Peter and Judas Iscariot. Both have committed an equally grievous sin in God’s eyes. One had denied that he ever knew Jesus, and the other, out of greed, had agreed to betray Jesus for a sack of silver coins. But look at how they both responded. Peter, upon being consumed with guilt at the rooster’s crow, wept bitterly, while Judas, on the other hand, hung himself. Peter grieved for a while and then decided to leave the past behind and continued to become a powerful minister of the gospel, while Judas allowed his guilt to consume him so much that he decided that that is the end of himself.

I believe that if Judas were to give himself a chance, or rather, to allow Jesus to give him another chance, Jesus would so willingly forgive and restore him.

Well, maybe you have been hurt, bruised and battered in your past. Things have been so bad you have no idea how the verse above can fit. You have no idea how your life can bring out anything good.

You cannot, but God can. God can turn your mess into a message. Only when you have gone through all the experiences that you have gone through, can God use you to minister His love to the hurting world. And only when you’ve been hurt will you know exactly what it is like to hurt. You can understand and not minimize another person’s pain. Maybe, it is even a blessing in disguise. Maybe God wanted to protect you from further damages. You might never know.

You may not understand what a relief it was when people began to speak prophetically over my life that all that I have gone through will not be wasted; all the experiences will be redeemed. After having gone through so much, I was determined not to waste a single pain. I wanted to get back more than I have lost. God has promised to not only restore what the locusts have eaten, but restore back seven times more. And I know that the only way is to allow my experiences to help others.

You can have your mess turned to a message, but only if you will surrender the whole thing to God. This verse says that God can work ALL THINGS for good. Yes, some of the mistakes may have been avoidable, but no matter what it is, God can still turn the situation around for our good. However, the choice is ours—to surrender everything to God or believe in the lies of the Devil. Do not just give up on everything when the devil told you that it is over.

Looking at my life, I’m beginning to see God turning my mess to a message. I can never understand what others go through unless I’ve been there myself.

Satan loves to tell us that we’ve messed up and things will never be the same again, that we cannot get back on track and so we had better give up. He wants us to be so consumed with guilt and pain and bitterness that we cannot get out from the heap of ashes.

But God says otherwise. No matter what you have done, no matter what has happened in your past, you still have a future. God can restore your life and put the pieces back in one piece, but you must allow Him to do so.

Yes, it may seem as if you have lost half of your life, but do not waste the other half mourning over it and not doing anything else. Instead, be determined to let God use the half that was seemingly lost into a brighter future.

One way that God can do to redeem your past is to turn your mess into a message. And you will be surprised at how that message is going to minister to people facing that same problem.

You can look back at your life one day and thank God for redeeming your past, or you can look back in regret that you have given up because the devil tells you to.

The choice is yours. You have to decide.

God loves you and to him, your future is so bright that you’ll need sunglasses to look at it. In God’s eyes nothing has been wasted, nothing that you have gone through has been in vain. He is willing to turn your mess to a life-changing message, but are you willing to let Him have it? Let go and LET GOD!