Thursday, 1 April 2010

How Great is Our God

So I've been dragged back to Xanga today. >_< I've always liked xanga, but I don't really use it. It took me a while before I figured out how to post a blog. I'll try to post more on xanga and blogspot. I just want to share what I have been learning over the past few years and my time at UCSB.

Over the past few years, I've been through highs and lows...going through different seasons. I have questioned why this or that has happened in my life. But even through all this, God has always been with me. As I am writing this, I m reminded of the footprint poem:

One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

"Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I'm aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don't understand why, when I need You most, You leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."

I have always had trouble trusting in God 100%. I will always say that I trust in God, but did I trust in him fully? No. Did I worry about my future? A lot. However through various events and just studying the bible at BSF, God has taught me a lot about trusting in him. His providence never fails, He has plans for our lives far greater than the plans that we have for ours. God never leaves us, He carries us through our troubles. Why? Because he loves us. God loved us so much that He was willing to send his one and only son to die for us, so that we can be redeemed from our sins and be able to have a relationship with him. We did not deserve salvation because of our transgressions and disobedience, but yet He sent Jesus to save us. His love, mercy and grace is so great and it lasts forever. This year's theme at ACCF is "Seek ye first the kingdom of God...". This has been very encouraging. We should seek God FIRST in everything we do, in our classrooms, on the sports fields, when we hang out with friends etc. and then everything else would be added unto you. We should be spending time with God and giving our best times to God. Recently, I heard this from two different talks and I feel that it is very applicable as we are called to give our best for God. We should set out our best time of day for our devotional time with God. This could be in the morning, afternoon or even in the evening. You see, I'm not a morning person and I'm not very awake during the morning, and I do my devotionals during the morning. However am I giving my best to God? In the same way, are our conversations with a half-awake person beneficial for them or to us? No, because I wouldn't be able to remember what had happen.

Over the past months, I feel that God has been teaching met alot about and given me a heart for mission. Often we feel that mission is about going to a place thousands of miles away to a foreign country to preach the gospel. This is true, that God calls people to foreign countries to do his work. However mission does not start in that foriegn country, it starts everywhere you go. It starts in your home town, in your schools, on campus, on the streets, or even in your own house. We are called to love our neighbours. The greatest commandment that Jesus taught us was "Love your God with all your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength and the Second is "Love your neighbours as you love yourself". These two commandments are interlinked. In order to love God, we must love our neighbours as well. Our mission must be intentional as well. Over the last couple of months, the story of Jesus visiting the Samaritan woman at the well has popped up everywhere. I had learnt a lot through this. First, that God's love is sufficient and it is for everyone. His love and salvation is for everyone. The Samaritan woman was the "ultimate outcast" during her times. She was a Samaritan, she was a woman and she had had five husbands. However Jesus still extended God's Love and Grace to her. In the same way, we have to extend God's Love and Grace to those we consider outcasts of this world. Secondly, mission must be intentional, we must go to those who are lost. The Samaritan woman did not go to Jesus, Jesus went to her. Jesus crossed all social lines of the day to reach to her...He went into Samaria, He started a conversation with a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman. These were all social no-nos during those days. In the same way we should reach out to those who are rejected by this world. The church must go to them. One other thing that has been challenging me over the past couple of months was my prayer life through talks, bible studies and events that has occured. A lot of the time, I find myself praying for myself, for my needs. But how often do I pray for other people? Not often at all. God calls us to intercede for other people. Moses did it for the Israelites in te desert when they sinned against God. Jesus constantly did it and continues to interced for us. So shouldn't we intercede for other people?

Having said all this is useless without action. I feel that a lot of the time we say all these things, but do we act it out? Why are we so afraid to express our faith, to reach out to people about the good news of Jesus and the salvation, love and grace that He brought us. Why do we treasure our earthly things so much when they are just so temporary but the treasures in heaven last forever? Recently I have seen how short and how fragile life on Earth is. So why are we putting off God's work when we should putting it first? I struggle with these questions and many more. Recently I have been reading Francis Chan's "Crazy Love". A chapter he had was about the "lukewarm christian", I found myself ticking off all the boxes as he explained the criterias for being a "lukewarm christian". Is my life living out for God first or am I living for myself first and God second? Even with all these failures, God still loves us the same through eternity, His love never changes.

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