choose

will you be remembered for the song of your heart or the screech of your life?

we all will leave a legacy that is determined by our daily emotional choices.*


pause right there.

pause, and think through what you’ve just read.

over the past month or so, i’ve been going through the “holy emotions – Biblical responses to every challenge” 30 day devotional plan on youversion by just joy ministries, and today i did day 30.

it’s a sobering thought – that the little emotions that flicker through me every moment of the day is building up a legacy. my legacy. but what’s beautiful about a relationship with God is that for every sobering thought, there is beauty that goes with it- comfort, truth, peace, joy… and the list goes on.

i’m reminded of laura story’s “grace”, where she sings of how God’s grace reigns despite discouragement, and how we are ultimately perfectly imperfect through His grace.

at times i may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
for who am i to serve You?  i know i don’t deserve You.
and that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

i ask you: “how many times will You pick me up,
when i keep on letting You down?
and each time i will fall short of Your glory,
how far will forgiveness abound?”
and You answer: “My child, I love you.
and as long as you’re seeking My face,
you’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”
You are so patient with me, Lord.

as i walk with You, i’m learning what Your grace really means.
the price that i could never pay was paid at Calvary.
so instead of trying to repay You, i’m learning to simply obey You,
by giving up my life to You for all that You’ve given to me.

– laura story, grace

one of the passages that came with today’s devotional was romans 8:26-39, and verses 37-39 stood out to me.

no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. for i am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – romans 8:37-39

i have the power to overcome the negative emotions that satan tries to convince me that i’m deserving of. i have the power to strike down the lies that make me feel distant from God. i have the power to lay claim to the promises He has given me through His word, and to take hold of them as weapons in this war of powers and principalities.

i have this power, because i am more than a conqueror through the One who loves me and died on the cross for me.

this goes beyond the emotions of disappointment and discouragement- it reaches even to anger, frustration, and hatred. i am more than a conqueror against the giant of anger – i choose not to lash out in anger against someone who has provoked me. i am more than a conqueror against the giant of frustration – i choose not to hiss and pop when things just aren’t going right. i am more than a conqueror against the giant of hatred – i choose to love when things are hard, and to love when i’m the victim of hatred – because i’m not a victim, i’m a conqueror.

more than a conqueror. it’s been my mantra for the past two months or so – using it in balance, of course. another truth i’ve been loving is that satan is the true enemy – not an authority who’s hurt me or a peer who’s offended me or a circumstance that has discouraged me. the true enemy is satan, but greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

today, i have the power to choose between laying claim of God’s truth and dwelling in His joy amidst circumstances that may not be ideal, or yielding to satan’s lies and wallowing in self-pity, unforgiveness, or frustration. i have that power because i am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.

and so do you. you, too, have that power. you have that victory already won.

will you take hold of it?

today, choose joy. choose a heart of praise no matter your circumstances. take heart and find confidence in the triumph that the King of your heart has already won. choose a life of praise and glory to His name.

will you be remembered for the song of your heart or the screech of your life?


*”holy emotions – Biblical responses to every challenge” – 30 day devotional plan, day 30, from just joy ministries

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Are You Blessed?

Are you blessed-

Hello world!

I’m so sorry I’ve been practically absent for the longest time! Y’all are going to need to bug me for posts! Like, seriously!

So, on to trying to put thoughts into words…

(sidetrack: I really really wanted to call this post “Looking for Trouble”- and you’ll see why pretty soon- but decided against it :D)

This post has been sitting in my drafts for eternity now, though it really is just a simple thought I’d like to share.

Think of your greatest achievement.

It comes with sacrifice, doesn’t it?

Now think of the greatest blessing you’ve received.

You probably see where I’m leading up to now – blessings and trials come hand-in-hand.

They say that God’s light shines brightest in the darkest hours – just like stars – and it doesn’t differ with blessings. The greater the fight, the greater the struggle, the greater the blessing.

Often, when we feel dry and seek His blessing (although He has been blessing us all the while!), it’s a signal of some rainy days ahead.

Quite some time back, my pastor preached a sermon on blessings, and it really struck me when he said something along the lines of this: “Be careful when you seek His blessing, because when you’re looking for blessing, you’re really also looking for trouble.”

So, yes – live life fully and embrace the blessings – knowing fully that this walk with God is also going to be one where we seemingly look for trouble.

Salt and Light

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Today’s devotions brought with it some pretty cool thoughts.

Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth, but if we lost our saltiness, we would be fit only for throwing out. There are two things I noticed here – one, is that we would not be fit for Christ’s Kingdom if we didn’t have His flavor in our life. The second one is that the world really does see as fit to be thrown out, because we are different from them.

Jesus continues to say that we are the light of the world, and that a city on a hill cannot be hidden. The world rejects us, but they cannot ignore us when we have Christ’s light shining in and through us.

Therefore, we are to shine this light, so that those around us will see and turn to glorify God.

One thing my family has been learning about both in real life and also through one of our homeschool curricula is loving our enemies. This light we have is like a torchlight. Picture yourself on a campground at night. It’s dark, but you have a torch and you turn it on to help both you and your companions to find your way. This is like God’s light in us- we are not the source of the light, but we can control how we shine the light. We shine it, and anyone can see it, whether friends or enemies, and that connects to loving our enemies too – we help them just the same way we would a friend. Through these, we can turn those around us to glorify God because, a) people wouldn’t say we are producing the light, but that we have a torch – we have Christ- and, b) when we love our friends and enemies the same way, that stands out and turns people to the One who gives us strength to love as He loves.


What has God been showing you through His Word recently? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Living in The Past Part 2

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This post is part 2 of a 3-part series on living in the past. Stay tuned for more!

Are you someone who “lives” in the past? Someone who is sustained by memories of the past?

If so, you are not alone. Today I’ll be sharing more of the verses I found regarding living in the past, along with some quick insights. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, I highly encourage you to go ahead and read that as well!

And now for today’s post!

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As Christians, we sometimes view sorrow negatively, because we’re supposed to have the joy of the Lord, so why are we sorrowful?

I used to think like that too. I would hide my sad feelings when I was around others because it would make me a “bad” Christian girl. I still catch myself thinking that way. But during a recent meeting with some friends, we had a discussion on what it meant to mourn, and concluded that mourning can actually be good. But how so?

Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Think about that verse, then put it with 2 Corinthians 7:10. We realise that when we mourn for the same things that God mourns about, we are brought to repentance, salvation, and joy. However, we must be careful in discerning God’s heart, because unGodly grief brings death.

This is true in many contexts, and a literal example of unGodly grief resulting in death would be in the area of relationships. I have been conducting some research in the area of dating, and found that there is a high percentage of people who commit suicide (literal death) due to the grief caused by disappointments and hurts in relationships. Isn’t that tragic? If only we were to take a step back to prioritise God and seek and desire His will in our lives, we would be able to discern His heart in a clearer manner and not have to suffer from the wrong type of grief!

The importance of discerning God’s heart is further emphasised in 1 John 2:15-17.

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Discerning God’s heart and prioritising Him helps us to keep our eyes on Him, rather than lingering in the past. Something I’ve been learning recently is that sometimes, God takes things away so that we can focus more on Him. He takes best friends away so that we can learn to love them with a Godly, sisterly/brotherly love, and to teach us to rely on Him.

At church today, the pastor spoke of how sometimes, God withholds things because He loves us. John 11: 5-7 says this, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Notice that John is saying that Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, and that’s why he stayed two more days. He has a divine perspective that we don’t have.

Don’t dwell on the past. Live in the present, but look to the future. Be encouraged because God has something better in store!

I’d like to share a final passage- a timeless reminder to myself of who I am and what I’m living for.

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And here’s a short excerpt from a journal:

When what was my life got taken away, God tried to show me that my life is Christ. I rejected it for so long, but now I realise that’s the lesson God wants me to learn. He wants me to focus on Him. Oh, how hard it is!

– C.C.

It’s not easy. But all things are possible through Christ Who strengthens us!

And I repeat:

Don’t dwell on the past. Live in the present, but look to the future. Be encouraged because God has something better in store!

Much love,

Szen ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in The Past Part 1

This post is part 1 of a 3-part series on living in the past. Stay tuned for more!

Are you someone who “lives” in the past? Someone who is sustained by memories of the past?

If so, you are not alone.

About a week ago, a friend and I had a chat, and our conversation led to us being people who use memories to drive us on, or in other words, living in the past. What does God say about living in the past? I wondered.

So, for the next few days, I looked up verses about remembering the past, and what I discovered was truly thought provoking for me!

The first passage I came across was Isaiah 43:18-19:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

God doesn’t want us to dwell on the past. He’s doing something right here, right now, and even though we might not be able to see it, He wants us to focus on what He is doing. We may be in a rough patch, struggling to cope with something, trying to cling on to what little hope there is left. Or maybe things are going great! What I find comforting about this verse is that God is saying that no matter what’s happening now, He’s has a greater plan and He’s going to make something beautiful.

Something else I discovered was that living in the past limits us. It holds is back from doing God’s will. It keeps us tied and doesn’t allow us to live to our full potential. Now, people have told me before, that you just need to put things behind you and keep going, or you will never get anywhere. But to find it in the Bible- that was a hard pill to swallow…

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

I realised that by living in the past, I was allowing myself to be distracted from discovering God’s plan for my life!

Today’s verse took me quite a while to understand.

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.                               Ecclesiastes 7:10

Why was it not wise? I decided to look up the Hebrew word for wise. 

The Hebrew word for wise is chokmah.

חָכְמָה

It means piety towards God (Job 28:28). When we ask why things used to be better, we are -and I won’t mince words- essentially not being grateful. It is disrespect towards God because we are not obeying His will and plan. Now, why do I say we are not obeying His will and plan? Simply because obeying requires cheerful willingness. 

And, I’ll say, I’ve been guilty a thousand times over of not obeying God’s will for me, going over how good things used to be, trying to manipulate things to go better, and wondering why God seemed inexistent at times. I’m trying hard to change.

It’s really hard, yes.

But I guess that’s why I need God’s grace 🙂

– Szen

What are your thoughts? Are you like me, someone who lives in the past? What do you do about it? Comment below⬇! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tried and True

This post is a continuation of last week’s post, In the Storm. You can read it here.

That conversation with my friend got me thinking. In order to pray that prayer, “God, let me see You IN the storm,” I need to trust Him and believe that He has His plans for me. 

Growing up in a Christian family, something I’ve always struggled with is having a real relationship with God. My birth certificate says I’m a Christian, but does my life say that I’m a Christian? Does the way I relate to people say that I’m a Christian? Does the way I respond to trials say that I’m a Christian?

For years, I contended with myself over the issue of whether or not I was a real Christian. I went to God when I had problems and didn’t know what to do, and that worked, but when I tried to do my devotions I never had the energy to hold through anything longer than a week.

People said that when they became Christians, they were so full of joy, they were changed, their mindset underwent a paradigm shift, they were energized with wanting to know God better, and sought Him with a hunger and thirst that I never seemed to be able to experience. What was this? I had the desire to know God but my efforts seemed to simply vanish.

Other times, God just felt so inexistent. My prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and fall back down. I would wonder if my prayers went unanswered because everything was just a coincidence, and I would wonder about why Christians seemed to go through more sufferings than others. I wondered about which “religion” was really telling the truth – all religions claim to lead to heaven, so what if I had chosen the wrong way? 

Now, even as I share this with you, I continue to have my questions that have yet to be answered. But something that I have discovered and decided to cling onto is this: Faith is not feeling that something is true. Faith is choosing to believe that something is true.

When it comes to trials and difficulties, I’ve come to realize that they, like the Bible says, are all a part of God’s plan. God is our Father, and like most earthly parents, He wants the best for us. Sometimes, our parents allow us to make mistakes, get into trouble, or experience challenges. Why? It’s not because they couldn’t care less, but it’s because they want us to learn. Likewise, God allows trials in my life because they will teach me lessons that can’t be taught from textbooks and lectures. 

In Psalm 34:18, the Psalmist writes, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” and that’s a comforting thought to me. I often find it hard to believe, that God actually understands what I’m going through. But when I take time to slow down and think, if He created me and all my emotions and everything else in between, why should He not know how I feel? 

In Jeremiah 31:3, God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” 

God’s love for me is everlasting – it’s never going to die down. He’s never going to get tired of loving me. 

So, if He’s not going to give up on me, I can trust that He will bring me through my storms. 

Sometimes, I think that when I face storms, it’s God saying, “Hey, girl. I’m here. Your storm is meant to show you that I’m real.”

And I think that’s true. Through the storms I face, God is giving me a way to make my faith real for myself. Love is not a feeling, it’s a decision. So is faith. I don’t need to feel that I’m close to God to be a real Christian. I only need to make the decision to entrust my life to Him and to seek Him as I walk this journey of life. 

It’s easy to seek God and feel close to Him when everything is going well – after all, He’s the One Who provides all that goodness right? But when the storms come, that’s when my faith is tested. And I know, if I can trust Him and seek Him by asking, “God, let me see You IN the storm,” one day, my faith will be found to be tried and true.