A New Season

As I wait for Keet as he goes through the interview, I can’t help but reflect all that has taken place last 3 years for my wonderful hubby.

It was a transition phase for him no doubt. New job, new place, new family, I can’t imagine.  Yet, in spite of all his struggles, I witnessed, time and again, his humility in keeping his head down and doing all that was required of him.  No matter the job,or the responsibilities, menial or major, he stoically kept his feet on the ground, walking  one step at a time.  Even though at times I felt he could have been able to do so much more if placed in a different place, a different position, yet the hand of God continues to be undoubtedly there.

I admire his humility greatly.  He will definitely challenged that, uttering how proud he was so many times, yet I saw a man transformed by God’s hands slowly but surely, a man I grew to respect so much, not because he is great, but because through it all, all he wants us to serve and love God unreservedly.

I look forward to the wonderful things God has in store for him, for us.

Amen.

Random

Random is good, especially for someone like me who likes everything in its place.
Reflection.

The last 2 weeks have been such a wild ride.  Praying, reflecting, consolidating, and then it’s the same process all over again.

Proverbs 3:5-6 proves itself yet again.  God is powerful, awesome yet merciful in the face of our weaknesses and fraility.  With ever changing circumstances, only God is our Rock, the eye of our storm, the ever present refuge, our redemption, our Savior.

I still do not know what the final outcome may be, but with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm..

And walk on water.

Love the thought!

Lilian

Genesis 23

Who doesn’t like freebies?

I just confirmed a catering order.  Besides the quality of the food and the reasonable price, one thing that make it stand out among their competitors are the freebies they offered.  I noticed it, aced it and with calculated deduction, decided that they offer a far better deal the others that we are considering.

Who would not accept freebies?

Abraham.

10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!”

12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”

Abraham is an upright man in every way.  He may not be perfect, but he came across someone who would do things right.

It would seem that Abraham was well respected and revered by the locals in the land.  He could have accepted the offer as a gift.

Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, “Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”

I do not have adequate knowledge of ancient burial customs and mindsets in biblical times;   However, it seemed vital to have a family burial property owned by the deceased or their family.  This was to ensure long term ownership for a permanent family tomb.   Abraham was determined to do what was right, and not take the short cut or easy way out.  He paid the price that was accorded – four hundred shekels of silver.

This is a very significant moment.  First, Abraham continued to stand as a testimony and example of godliness among his peers who did not know God.  More importantly, Abraham actually owned his first piece of property (cave of Machpelah) in the land of Canaan.  It became the family burial ground from generations to generations (Genesis 49: 29-33).

Then he charged them and said to them: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33 And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

If I take a broad latitude with interpretation, this would be like putting his stake down for his descendants, who was later enslaved in Egypt for 430 years, to return to Canaan and re-possess the promise land again.  The promise land given by the Lord many years ago was taken possession first by a man named Abraham, through a piece of humble burial ground.  This small decision later become a significant beacon for the Israelites to find their way back to God.

I am taking liberty over here.  But drawing closer to home, I do believe in sowing the right seeds for the right harvest.  Righteousness will in turn reap righteousness, and longevity of legacy that may become the cornerstone to bless many.  I know how it can be frustrating at times, to do the right things when our culture advocate the exactly the opposite way.

But friends, I could only say, accordingly to 2 Thessalonians 3:13, taken from the context of not living an idle lifestyle and being an example to others in productive living, just like the apostles:

13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Never underestimate the little choices that we made.

Lilian

 

 

Genesis 22

Jehovah Jireh.

Was a little bit disappointed today.  Something that we had prayed a long time did not materialize according to timeline, though it was not unexpected.

Then I read this all too familiar chapter, the Lord provides.

Abraham was enjoying the blessing that God gave him and Sarah in the form of a child, Issac.  One day, the Lord instructed him with the inexplicable:

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Abraham’s faith did not waver as he trod on this journey of trust in the Lord, no matter how absurd it seems.  I am sure thoughts crossed his mind as he traveled to the mountain with his companions.  Coupled with heart ache perhaps, even doubt, but his steps did not seem to waver till the last part of the journey, when he placed his son on the altar.

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

God marvelously intervened, we know the happy ending, God provided an animal as the sacrifice in place of Issac, and proceed to bless Abraham as the latter demonstrated unwavering faithfulness towards God.

I think my sharing of this chapter is more prayerful than just words.  In so many ways, the familiar story resonates within my heart the same message of yearning for God’s miraculous intervention and provision.  The fear of losing what we held dear so much is so real, mirrored by Abraham stepping out to the mountain to sacrifice his son.  However, I now see that as we  remain steadfast in our trust and faith in God, we will see Him and His manifestation.  We may not understand God’s ways, timeline or sometime plans, but we can place our faith in His word, goodness and mercy.

Looking forward to see Jehovah Jireh manifesting His glory in our lives.

Lilian

Gen 22:1-24

Genesis 22:1-18 is an account that deserves much meditation and reflection. Just as God tested Abraham, whom the Lord considered a friend, God will, in His good grace, tests each one of us insofar for us to ascertain the strength of our faith and our determination to love Him, follow Him and obey Him with all that is within us.

What then is the “son” that the Lord may place before the furnace of sacrifice? The word of God gave us a clue. He said in verse 2, “…your only son, whom you love…”. The subject of our love will be tested. The Lord does not forbid nor punish us for having love, or loving someone or something. For love itself is a characteristic of God Himself. But what we love, needs to be subjected to the ultimate love we for Him. Only God is worthy of all of our love. He alone deserves our hearts and lovingly reciprocate love back to us.

Today a thought dawn on me, that throughout my life, I have yearned for recognition. I longed to be accepted, to be honoured, to be loved. That others would recognise me even if through my hard work, sacrifice or pretence of knowledgeability. Sincere compliment and genuine appreciation could go a long way in motivating me to do more – even to the extent of foolishly pursuing them like an addict. Who cares whether I am a people-pleaser? What mattered is that people were pleased with me more than someone else, or compared to sometime ago. Yet how that pride fell me. Because I failed to make God the whole subject of my devotion and love, my faith became rootlessly superficial and I, hopelessly vulnerable.

This was a small test. And as Abraham prophetically pronounced, “God himself will provide…”. God provided a way out. In my failure, He provided a way for me back to Him.

I was so glad to read that Abraham passed the test! What unspeakable joy to learn of the unsurpassable blessings that God bestowed upon Abraham and the affirmation of the covenant that was set in the beginning of Abraham’s journey of faith. As for me, it is my prayer that God will give me strength to please Him alone. May my walk of faith be centered on Him, His mysterious presence that abide with me wherever I am, and the confidence to walk in obedience no matter the fear or cost. All these, that I may become a simple, lowly, God-fearing Christian all the days of the rest of my life, till the colours of this earth fade at the dawn of heavenly reunion.

Gen 21:1-29

Most Christians know that there is nothing impossible for God. Many of us have said those very words to encourage ourselves or to other people. Most of our struggles, however, is with time and how it will come to pass.

Abraham was promised posterity. But it was only at Sarah’s old age that God gave them their first son together called Isaac. Abraham had wished that God will somehow make a way for Hagar and Ismael to stay with him. God made a way instead for them to be preserved and for Ismael to be a great man and father of a nation.

God has promised every believer that He will be with us, even until the end of days. He has promised to be our refuge and stength, and will not allow any temptation to overcome us. Yet as frailed vessels we struggled in trusting God’s strength when ours fail. It was not easy to lean on the Lord when our safe haven no longer gives us security. We may turn to past victories to assure us that God will not fail. Or focus on promised scriptures that He will come through for us in the end. We sought faith, surrender

I believe that every trial that comes our way has two main purposes. The first is to mold us, and the second is to test us. God desires to mold our character and our faith.

How we respond to challenges and trials thrown at us many times reveals our weaknesses and areas of growth. I think when we evaluate honestly, we can identify areas of our lives that needs greater discipline and submission to God. If we seem to be experiencing a certain type of trials repeatedly, that may be a sign that God is not done with us yet.
As we grow in our faith and holiness, there will come a time when these trials become a test from God to see if we are ready for the greater things He will do through us. God endows to us His will and destiny only when we are ready. This does not mean we become immune and will not fall, but it does mean that we have everything we need to succeed. To me, this is God’s way of protecting those whom He loves.

Genesis 21

Nursing a cold.  But in my half hazy mind, I saw the title in my reading – Issac is born!

Hallelujah!  Finally, after all the drama…Or so we would think.

What followed after this extremely happy occasion was even more melodramatic.

From 21:8-14, we see that Sarah demanded that Ishmael be cast out with Hagar (his mother) as he was seen scoffing at Issac (some translations said that Ishmael was poking fun at the child).  Abraham, under God’s instruction, sent both mother and son away into the wilderness.

One would think, after all these waiting, trials, things would look rosier for the Abraham household.

This is the reality of life, our choices brings consequences, God’s intervention may or may not necessary negate the effects of such.

For Abraham, the fact he listened to his wife (and not God) first time, produced a son with Hagar, that would be his cross to bear for the rest of this life, and the generations to come.

For Sarah, the constant nagging feeling of insecurity and unhappiness over Ishmael and Hagar tinted the joys of receiving God’s blessings.

I will not explain the rationale of the Lord’s instructions to Abraham in letting go Hagar and ishmael, which seemed heartless.  However, in the grand scheme of things, God had them covered nevertheless in honor of His friend, Abraham.

17 And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. 20 So God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

God protects the fatherless, and cause them to grow and flourish even when all odds are against them.

We also see that Abraham’s obedience was tested both ways, but because he listened to God, he was able to avert a potential outbreak of conflict in his household.

I guess I can take home one lesson – listen to God no matter what, and learn to let go when all else fails.

God will honor our faith, and take care of that which is beyond our control.

Lilian