#94-95r & DS Manual

by jha on 09/4/2013

Dear Joy,

Since I finally found a seat in a relatively quiet spot at Istanbul airport with 4 hours to burn, with no wifi or lounge privilege, I think it’s best to write this as promised and then upload it when I reach your place.

Thank you for posting 94 & 95 and for offering gems for my own application as well, such as God making the first move to say He loves you before inviting you to do likewise for people.  He doesn’t ask us to do something He hasn’t already done to and for us.  Yes, it is a daily challenge and a constant fight over our fleshly tendencies but it’s something we cant do without.  Yet when we do obey Him in commitment, we still run the risk of things getting horribly out of hand and being unappreciated. Perhaps this is why we feel that our journey with God is arduous and torturous.  Because we realise we’re stuck at Duty in the Desire-Discipline-Duty-Delight loop. When will Duty become Delight?  Will it ever?  And then when things don’t work out even when we fulfill our so-called duty, we wonder why we bother to do it in the first place. SLLTT is that tool that keeps us from wandering off the straight path – so what are your answers to your own questions you posted in 95 and what is God saying to you?

And now on my end, after 15 months in the making, I’m finally here.  I still remember it feeling like it’s never going to happen any time soon but it did.  And now on hindsight, it actually is rather short and quick.  In fact, the cruel thing about Life is that Time is going to fly by even more quickly now and before you know it, my time with you here will be over and we’ll be back at our stations. Ground rule #1: don’t put off to tomorrow what we can do today (cos if we like it, we can always do it again tomorrow)

There’ll always be some level of apprehension in me when going on trips apart from mission trips with people because if my recent non-mission trip experiences were anything to go by, they have the potential to make or break relationships.  So it’ll help to look out for and be attentive to miscommunication, misplaced expectations, second guessing and unaddressed emotions.  Tension will surely happen and its’ okay as long as it isn’t allowed to fester overnight into frustration. Thank God, nothing irreversible happened previously and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again here.  But even if it does occur, do anything but sweep it under the carpet. Ground rule #2: don’t let the sun go down on anger or unhappiness.

This is also the start of my official grieving process.  So thank you for having me even though I may not be in the best of shape.  I wish I could have come in happier times, but I think God wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Had it not been for my parents’ double promotion, I don’t think I could have gotten 3-months paid leave to come here either.  Ground rule #3: If you see me emo all of a sudden for no apparent reason, it’s okay to not feel the need to “switch channel.” I could be having one of those grief waves, which comes and then goes off.  I hope the waves will stop coming when it’s time for me to return to Singapore.

  • Time-out: a lady sitting across me came up to me to ask me how to use her android tablet to type the symbol “@”  Good thing I managed to help her on her  English/Hebrew keyboard.  -.-“  She asked me for my name and then told me she’s Martha! Okay, just met my very first Jewish aquaintance.

Of course not everything about my stay is going to be centered around making full use of time, communication and grief.  I wish I can also say that I’ve always wanted to come see the holyland so this trip kills many birds with one stone.  Actually I’m only looking forward to “killing” 2 birds – (1) spending unhurried, undistracted time with you without much agenda and (2) getting reacquainted with God through this grieving period. Finally getting to be on the other side of the Facetime screen and watching your daily routine TLV life as it unfolds is a novelty for me.  Glad to be your added company in an otherwise alone environment.  We should have regular pow-wows too, something we haven’t done in ages.  God reveals Himself to us in the everyday human-to-human-to-nature interaction and it is from here I reckon my reacquaintance with Him will happen.

Battery dying and time to go sit at the boarding gate.  So much for now.  See you soon.  Real soon.

 

As ever,

Janice

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#95

by xi_le on 08/11/2013

Dear Janice,

I can’t sleep so here I am writing #95. You knew the 2nd half of my day and I haven’t shared the 1st.

Today, Brian preached about 1 John 4:1-6, which is about discerning the spirit, and this is what I gathered inspite of feeling sick. It’s pretty interesting too, as it gelled with my conversation with Chloe.

I titled it “what exactly is following after God?”

There are always 2 perspectives: the world and God.

#1 To say we follow God is to acknowledge that God came in flesh and died on the cross to atone for our sins. We accept Jesus Christ as the savior of our lives, and there is no salvation except through Jesus Christ.

The world will say otherwise and coincidentally, I was looking through the review of a book, “Zealot”. It’s one of the best selling book. Content? The autobiography of “Jesus of Nazareth”. I almost wanted to buy this book, but decided against it. It prompted me to think how sure am I of Jesus Christ? After today, I am sure. He answered my doubts without me probing further.

#2 There are things we do not indulge in, as much as the world says otherwise. Someone mentioned Grace is free but not cheap. It cost Jesus His life, and it surely will cost us something. We need to discern the voices speaking to us. The world may say its ok to fulfill the desires of our flesh. But truly, following God is not about the pleasures of the body and neither is it easy.

Like what Chloe mentioned, it takes so much control to focus on God but just 1 second to lose it.

#3 as mentioned in #2, there is no easy way. No wonder, Jesus said take up the cross and follow Him. He did not paint a rosy picture for us. He was totally honest it’s not a walk in the park. As we take up this cross, there will be times our body will start aching and we might want to give up.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT)

Every morning, we lift up that cross again and continue the journey. The promises and the end goal keeps us focus on carrying the cross. Slowly, lifting the cross becomes easier because we know who we trust and follow.

#4 Truth may not be pleasing to others’ ears sometimes, but we still need to speak it, with love. If His words says left, we do not say its right because its modern society or times have changed. The bible is the truth & the guide to follow Him.

Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:47 NLT)

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NLT)

The questions that I brought home are these:
“Have I gotten easy & comfortable with the world?”
“Am I going along with the world and is less resistance towards its views, ie going downstream?”
“Am I getting lukewarm?”

I wonder if God is speaking to me after the vegan talk and hearing about “rebirthing”, getting in touch with nature and seeing sexual healing leaflets.

Brian ended with this:

As lukewarm Christians, satan will not come. To follow God, let’s be ready with perseverance and be overcomers in trials. (Mov)

After reading what I’ve written, I wonder if I’ve made life with God sounds like a arduous & torturous journey.

Cheers,
Joy

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#94

by xi_le on 08/1/2013

Dear Janice,

Today, I decided to stop struggling, and said yes to God. I know without a nod, I will not have peace going back. Saying yes doesn’t mean I know what to do and not fear. Quite the opposite. P

I am writing this down for reference next time, like how I read thru the entries since going to TLV. The call is still the same since a year ago, love His people.

On the first day here @ Kamari, He said Joy, I love you. Taken aback by His profession out of nowhere, I said God, I have done nothing to warrant this love. So prideful, indeed. I read Acts 13, and the verse that stood out was

You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. v33

Though it was meant for Jesus, I thought God is trying to drive into something. Like what I said I did nothing to gain this, not like Jesus who died on the cross to save us.

Then He said:”look back and remember how much I’ve done and love you.” I surely hope that wasn’t my own voice. Hence, it was a day of reflection and then came next was “love My people”. God, you kidding right? I am already incapable of loving 1, and now the masses? Apologies, I love myself more than others. How should I put it? I love so that I can have something in return. I prey more than I love.

Unconditional love is beyond me. Commitment out of loving is frightening. This led to the topic of visa. I love the arrangement now because I belong to nowhere. I have the perfect excuse to get out of TLV or SG. Contradictory to the perfect situation, I lamented a few months ago of not being rooted.

So I continued with Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas stayed at each place a long time. Sigh, that was my confirmation. As much as I tried to reason within and out, He said love His people and therefore commit. You said too.

Truth be told, if I am not given maximum time this time in TLV, visa application has to start. If I am given the maximum, then I am stuck there for another 3 months. Given or not, it seems like He has His way.

“Checkmate” – God

cheers,
Joy

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#93r & the Kiddo Turns 4!

by jha on 07/15/2013

Dear Joy,

Lousy track record aside, I had a hunch there would be a post today. For once, I got it right!  Thrilled to know you’re finally connecting and enjoy connecting with friends in church. I may not have met them, but I feel like I already know them. Thank you for sharing.

You’re right about satan wanting to break team unity by casting doubt and rousing insecurities within us to shake our trust in God and in one another.  We’re not fighting against people, but evil forces and mindsets at work.  So your lunchtime prayer and fasting for the team is a very timely move.  Am sure Ah Pa is pleased to take your requests.

Okay, let’s get down to celebrating this day with a super hearty:

HAPPY 4th KIDDODAY!

Today is really my most favourite day of the year. I love to revisit and recount this memorable day in the opit when you made that decision to leave the trashcan.  I can remember the office layout too.  Marnee Manikam was still sitting upstairs at that time.

Actually, 15 July 2009 by itself wouldn’t have carried so much significance had you not followed through and kept up with the journey inspite of the pain and discomfort.  You are the reason why that day continues to hold so much meaning and magic for me.

Year 4 is basically a year of change.  Top on the list is your move to TLV.  Being away from home, living alone and adapting to a new culture, new language, new work role, new friends, etc. surely isn’t easy.  They say the first 2-3 years is usually the toughest, but once you brave through this rough patch and find your equilibrium, things will definitely get easier.  Another big change is fewer reflection papers.  Although I do miss reading them and getting a fairly comprehensive picture of what you’re facing and thinking, I feel it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Some level of autonomy is needed to stretch one’s muscles and develop skills.  You have what it takes to make it and are grounded enough to fly solo by now.  As for the level of accountability and its regularity, I’ll let you set the pace and I’ll keep the line open.

Thank you for the tremendous journey these past 4 years, Joy.  It’s been 48 months of tears and thrills, screams and spills!  We’ve had our fair share of heartwarming moments, nasty silent anger and a few mulberry dances along the way. Wouldn’t exchange it for anything else. You’re the only one I’ve ever spent this much time and effort on and you’re by far the best learner I’ve had the privilege to walk with.  Of all the precious lessons I’ve picked up from you, thank you for teaching me what it means to love.  I don’t know what we’ll face in Year 5, but it really doesn’t matter as long as we all keep SLLTT-ing.

 

As ever,

Janice

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#93

by xi_le on 07/15/2013

Dear Janice,

I guess you don’t expect #93, anyway here it is. I told you I went to work with grappling fear. I do not know what to expect. Everyone wants to move on, but Vstitcher seems to keep holding back all of us.

Fear aside, I was assured God will take care of it all. When will Vs be released? I have no clue. I thought today is DA day, well apparently not. I finally started to head to the conference rm for while to pray during lunch. I am fasting lunch but no one understands why. Everyone is concerned I am not eating, but it’s for a greater cause, no? I don’t know how to explain.

What do I want to say? Hmmm…

Today, insecurities crept in. When I heard Joy & everything else in Hebrews, I reckon someone out there is taking negative about me. My first reaction was to find out the content or defend myself. This is so not healthy, and obviously a lie. Thank God He sent the Holy Spirit to snap me out of this quickly.

I sensed the devil really trying to break the unity among all of us. Maybe we are going through the adapting period after the honeymoon. Maybe I am over sensitive. I don’t know. I wish someone more in tune with God is here, not me.

On the other hand, I am starting to enjoy the fellowship with people from Calvary Chapel. Takako, Gerd, Robin, Priscilla, Bros, and even the 2 kids, I thank God He sent them here. Amazingly, I look forward to the Sat now. I wish you were here to know them.

Joy

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Superhero #92r

by jha on 07/8/2013

My dear mulberry dancer,

Thank God you aren’t a superhero and there’s no corresponding vacancy in the Trinity. The world has more than enough megalomaniacs making a mess today.

I discovered this morning that there was a post and a corresponding “r” exactly one year ago.  Went to read them and then realized that my dad was also baptised exactly a year ago. I already know today’s been 2 months since mom’s promotion, so all these things converging and adding up is giving me goosebumps and making me a tad melancholic. -.-“

Okay, I know you may not be expecting an “r” but I’m still going ahead with one because every post deserves a response, if I can help it. You said a year ago that

  1. I am afraid of…
  2. I am overly concerned about…
  3. I am too uptight over…

One year later and you’re still afraid, overly concerned and too uptight over things.  Not surprising and it’s not just because you’re a good mulberry dancer. Life, like you so rightly pointed out, is like a cycle. Yes, it looks like dejavue today and it can be tiring and trying. We all need constant reminders with multiple chances and you’re no different.  Whenever you feel like quitting, I’d like to quote what you said in your 7 August 2012 post:

I want to “…assure you that the regime does work. Maybe not at the speed and way you like it to be, it does work because God is not letting me go.”

Thank you for not quitting, kiddo.

 

As ever,

Janice

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Superhero #92

by xi_le on 07/7/2013

Dear Janice,

It’s been a long hiatus. I admit I was distracted, with adapting, with work, with work, with work, with work… You get the drift.

Watching man of steel reminds me of my childhood ambition, to be a superhero. Deep down somewhere, I want to be that superman/xmen/batman to beat the bad guy, save the city and get the girl. Too bad, I will not be one. It proves so dearly, with that 2 clashes with the twins recently.

Reacting to questions and comments I don’t agree/understand has become justification and defense to my mistakes and ignorance. I placed too much emotions in work, which is the only thing I am proud of in this world. I placed much time and effort to shield the people I love from harm, hurt, insults, troubles and inconveniences. What I get is you are not thinking about users or you should think twice, or you should rest. No, that is not how a superhero will end up.

I recalled we talked about this before. I will not be a superhero, face the truth. Only God will be. Yet, the little desire in me keeps burning and jumping every opportunity to become one.

I don’t save the city, neither do I get the girl. Truths are harsh.

Today, I talked to a ABC, visiting the church and shared my testimony. God has been faithful, really faithful. It reminded me why I love what I am doing

—————————————————————————————————————–

Just realized I am still talking about me, I and myself. These few weeks after the melancholy were reminders not to seek humans’ affirmation but only His. And precisely that, I started speaking up, but seems like a really wrong move. From today onwards, I am going to practice slow to speak, quick to listen. I am going to be like Jesus, clam and cool always even during storms.

I will fail, no doubt. If God didn’t give up on me, why shld I? Today, during Dim Sum lunch before guitar lesson, Takako and I had a revelation. Why are we always so quick to believe the devil’s lies but so hesitant to trust the truth God says? Salah, right? truths are supposed to be easier to believe.

The devil is trying to break the unity in the team, and I am letting him. Tsk, fell into his plot again. Thank God the twins are more rooted in Him than I am. Thank God I am not God.

Humility, broken and contrite spirit He does not despise. I guess it’s back to square one,a broken and contrite heart.

Thank you for your big ears ever.

Ur mulberry dancer.

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Protected: #91 & 91r

by jha on 02/10/2013

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Protected: #90 & 90r

by jha on 02/9/2013

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#89(+Lazarus)r

by jha on 01/13/2013

Dear Joy,

There’s a special bonus post on top of 89?  Wow – thanks for typing out what T preached today and last week.  You get my 2 thumbs up because you really caught the gist of it.  Good job!  It IS an awesome sermon.

Interesting that you posted Lazarus here for Chloe.  Is she a regular reader? (*Pause: Let me say “Hello” to her now, in case she’s reading this)

Hello, Chloe! Have you been following these reflection papers?  I’ve not forgotten you, especially the part where you have yet to let me kiss your toes in gratitude!  Like everyone else, our hearts get tested on a daily basis.  Woody Allen said, “To love is to suffer.”  And I think to myself, “To live is to love, therefore to live is to suffer.”  Joy mentioned something poignant from the Lazarus sermon – we obey. We’re not the only ones who find it hard to obey.  Even Jesus did and had to (*gasp*) learn it.

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Heb 5:8)

When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died…(Phil 2:8)

I appreciate what you wrote in 89 about how you’re making it a point to be aware of how you felt when reading work emails and what made you respond in that manner. Nothing like the good ol’ SLLTT to get our perspective, beliefs and actions realigned with God.  Indeed, your need to persistently turn to God is what will keep you from sinking into the waters of pride & doubt.  Afterall “Turn” is the last letter of SLLTT.  The drill ain’t worth a penny without it.

Actually, with a sermon like that, who needs to say anything more?

 

As ever,

Janice

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