first of all, i wanna say, i'm so so glad for the precious time and opportunity to grow closer to my (real) sister, spiritually. my sis and i have always been pretty fine, if not finer than the usual, once i got over my lower sec trauma. true, there've frequently been times we'd squabble and stuff, but still, we'd rally together in times of need and support. but when it comes to faith, i've always sort of felt a barrier to sharing what i really truly feel, and what really truly touches me. yes, we do share and stuff, but i never really give the full extent of it, and sometimes at cell group, i'd feel more restricted, 'cos here's someone who knew me from the time i threw our piano scorebooks out of the window downstairs... have i really transformed from the naughty age of six to this person so anxious to please God now? i shall pick up on this again at the part about the holy spirit.
but anyway, on to other stuff first, our small group caught the sunday 12am passion of christ. even if the film didn't follow word for word of any of the gospels the way gospel of john did, and it had plenty of artistic licence, i thought it did bring out certain things very clearly. for one, i thought, was the reality and the ever presence of the evil one -- he is constantly lurking out there -- we must be ever aware and alert of that. i am afraid, but we know who has triumphed over him, and who has the final say. secondly, i think it really portrayed Jesus as the Son of Man. the temptation of satan right at the beginning, flashbacks to the days before his ministry, stumbling with the cross on his back... my personal fave was during his carpenter days when he washed his hands and splashed the water at mary; they looked so happy. my sister's was when mary rushed from the sidelane to help a stumbling Jesus, with the flashback to when he was a kid, and then when he said "behold, I make all things new". a third thing... it is horrible to watch, when the people were throwing stones at him as he came with the cross, and then the flashback to just a couple days ago (?) when these very same people waved palm leaves at him shouting hosanna as he came on a donkey... we are a bunch of hypocrites, us humans. at that time, i really couldn't stop thinking, i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm so so sorry i'm so so sorry that it was precisely for us this bunch of people that he had to die.
now let's fast-forward to the next morning after breakfast. here's where His grace was at work again. well, actually this part happened last night already... sq originally had to leave early the next morning to sao mu with her family, but God made it so happen that her family actually decided to do it that night so she didn't hafta leave after all... which is so wonderful or she'd have missed what i feel was the most most most important thing of the entire weekend away! really, thank You Lord so much so much for Your everlasting grace.
so it was after the talk about the holy spirit that nicky gumbel in the video led the sinners' prayer once again. i think this is the second time since when he did it on the third week. and then i noticed gab's sis' bf, one big guy whom i thought never seemed particularly interested, he was sniffing and sniffing and taking the tissue... at that time i remembered how gabe said he was really glad his sis and bf were attending, and i just thought his joy would be complete to know albert has accepted Christ, i'm sure he has. and gab's dad calling albert "that little boy" some sessions ago; and my sis' impression that he might just have thought that it was simply a matter of time before he accepted Christ, yet now that he has experienced it, i'm sure he knows. really can't thank You enough, Lord... He really touched many people today...
although i know a lot of people already know that i'm somebody who really really dislikes crying in public, i think it's worth mentioning it again here. i actually usually hate it to hell. in a way, i kinda think it's like a betrayal of a certain weakness, some vulnerability. i know this might seem kinda weird espcially for a girl to think this way, but some times i'd much rather seem very independent, and if possible, emotionless too, and i can really say that this poses a barrier to my sharing (as from my second paragraph). today, even up 'til after they had prayed to us individually, even though i was "intellectually touched" and all, i had more or less managed to remain relatively dry-eyed. it was when we turned to the screen and the guy was playing the song and the lyrics were there, and though no one was singing it yet 'cos they were still praying, i just opened my mouth and sang, and the lyrics were exactly what i needed, it was the spirit song, by the way. i think God very often uses His songs to touch me, to work in me... i think, for me, it's really very easy access... i don't hafta cry, i don't hafta pray out loud, i don't hafta use my own words and seem so emotional and stuff. all i had to use were the words of His songs, and i would really mean them, and He would answer, and He would come. and that was actually when i first started breaking down, because i so wanted and needed Him to come, and fill me. then when the next song came on, it's called there is none like you, but it's the first part of the medley version, not the usual one we always hear, and the very short lyrics go something like that,
There is none like You
I worship You, O Prince of Peace
That is what I long to do
I give You praise
For You are my righteousness
I worship You, Almighty God
There is none like You...
at that time, i was just singing and i really can't give a proper explanation as to how or what exactly i felt, but when each time we reached "there is none like You", i just cried. i think i was just very touched, and i think i really knew, i really know, that there is really, really none like Him. this comes after so many happenings these past weeks, people telling me things, saying He's not The One, people not understanding, and saying things, just things. it's not even that i had any doubt that He isn't God, but when the Spirit comes, i already knew, but i'm re-convicted, reassured, strengthened, and God knows i needed it. so i just, like sq said in relation to herself, cried uncontrollably. i really don't need the understanding of others, i understand, heart mind and soul, that He IS Lord.
and after most of us had dried our eyes and stuff, it came to breaking up into our small groups, this time for sharing, not discussion. i say, i really had dried my eyes (and nose) thoroughly. and usually once i stop, it's not all that easy to start me again. at that time, i was still mulling over "aiyah, why i cry" in my mind. when it came to my turn, all i wanted to say was something really short, and that i eventually did, of course. i wanted to say "it's not like i never believed, but today i am all the more convicted that He is the One and Only, that He IS Lord". something to that extent. but i really really don't know why, when i reached the part about being convicted, i seriously don't know where all the tears (and mucus) came back again, and all at once, at that. maybe a simple way to put it -- when i declare that He is real, He is the One and Only, He is Lord of my life, He is Lord of heaven and earth and all that bind, He is King, He is Creator, He is God, when all that happens, the Spirit of God is overwhelming. i'm glad i didn't pass out at His power (yet), haha. anyway, i'm pretty unaccustomed to breaking down in front of them all, guys and girls, and senny had to go say "oh, she's not usually like that..." blah blah blah, i think they were really all pretty shocked, haha. i am so not guilty of emotionalism! and later they were all making fun of me. i mean, it's seriously alright lah, in a way i feel released, i'm so glad i confessed He is Lord... and what was all the more significant, is that it is the first time ever that i managed to say something like that, with my sis present, she was even seated right beside me. it's a breakthrough.
i feel so relieved of everything. i mean, not about the tears, but about everything in life. i'm so glad to have You in control, i'm so glad i surrendered my life to You. i don't care about controversies, whether You chose me, or i took a step in choosing You, my life is Yours. i might have been christian all my life but i feel so rejuvenated in You. i never want to sin again. i know i will fail, time and again, but You will be here to sustain me. no holds, no bars, set free from my countless egypts time and again, i will run in the path of Your commands, i will worship You for eternity. You know my heart. i see my life transformed; i see my life being transformed. into my life, Your kingdom has come. that they may know You are God.
you don't know how many people have been praying for this, how many people have been praying day after day, week after week for the alpha, for transformation, for His kingdom come. for the alpha weekend alone, while some of us were still snoring away, while we were happily breakfasting early this morning, the leaders were praying for us; even as we sat through the talk, even during the time of prayer and ministering, the congregation back in church were praying for us. tim was right, whoever the daniel guy in campus crusade was right, they were all right -- all this, even for one single soul, He will do.
i think tim wasn't wrong regarding his broken leg last year too. i remember him hobbling 'round on crutches. the same thing (tho' relatively minor) about my cramps last week teaching empathy. (senny, remember?) He doesn't punish us just so to punish us; He wants to keep us safe and from harm! here's a cut-and-paste,
The title Jesus uses most often for himself is the "Son of Man". Can anyone tell me what is the metaphor he uses most often to describe himself? The Good Shepherd. He described himself as a shepherd and his followers as sheep more often than any other illustration. Let me share a little about shepherding. When a wolf wants to attack and kill a sheep, he will always look for a straggler out on his own away from the pack. He wants a lone sheep he can pickoff quickly and quietly. He doesn’t want other sheep around that will bleat and alert the shepherd. Thus, when the shepherd saw that he had a stubborn sheep that was always going off his own way, he recognized the danger. Left alone, that sheep would sooner or later become wolf buffet. So, in order to save that sheep’s life, the shepherd would seize the sheep and break its leg so that it could not wander off. Then he would carry the sheep on his shoulders until the injury was healed and the lamb could walk on it’s own again. That lamb would ride on the shepherd shoulders for weeks. When it regained its freedom, guess where that sheep would stay? Right next to the shepherd's side which was the safest place it could be on that hill.
look, the exact same thing here, it's so direct! He broke tim's leg last year the same way He'd break his precious little sheep's legs to protect them! i must tell you, this article was only found and read by my sister and i just today. we never knew the story behind tim's experience last year, we never had this article stored up in our computer before the weekend away, we never knew allan'd bring up what he brought up about the loving versus the punishing God issue, and just last week i was indeed thinking about it after the horrible onset of cramps through what senny mentioned. the wonders He works through His people... you see, God wants us to know!
I used to wander off until you punished me; now I closely follow all you say. The punishment you gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws. -- Psalm 119:67