Who do you say I am?

This very question was asked by Jesus to Peter, in the book of Matthew.

Probably many Pastors and Christians with the knowledge of Christ written in the Bible will be able to answer the same way as Peter did, as his reply to Jesus was, “You are Christ, Son of the living God.”

What we hear from the leaders in Church or even read from the bible or books about God is termed as Knowledge. To put it simply Knowledge is the information or awareness gained through experience or education.

While Understanding is defined as knowing or realising the intended meaning or cause of something, it can also mean an intepretation or view of a particular thing.

It is said that Knowledge is greater than understanding, and one without another is incomplete.

I think this concept of Knowledge is greater than understanding can be applied over many things. However I realised that when it comes to making sense of this thing known as life, understanding is just as important.

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How do we apply knowledge and understanding to our own lives?

Case in point, when it comes to difficulties we experience through life, knowledge is not enough.

I might know that I am experiencing some form of difficulty or problem or even what caused it, but understanding will be more crucial here; why I am going through it?

Often we just see on the surface why we have to encounter a difficulty or trial in life.

When we analyse the situation from a logical perspective, it may be a consequence of an earlier decision we made. Also surrounded with well-meaning friends or relatives, who will remind us constantly, saying “It’s your own fault, you did this and that, you made the choice.”

Or it might be that we are participants of decisions that others selfishly make (i.e., in a family unit), or a victim of circumstances (we are just placed in that situation without any intervention of our own action).

If I take the regular church-goer Christian perspective of, “I am experiencing this, as God wants to humble me. Or that I need to count my blessings…” I would have just skimmed the surface of something deeper.

When I look deeper, I believe there is a purpose for difficulties and trials to change us to be a better person.

 

What if, it is more than just ME?

But what if, we took it a step further and see things from God perspective, everything we encounter a difficulty and trial, and ask this same question. “Who do I say He is?”

If I choose to see it simply, I think trials and difficulties fulfilled these 3 things;

1. Refine our characters

2. Build a greater revelation and understanding of God in our lives. This means to know God personally, as He can and will speak personally to address our problems and trials (this includes the solutions). Not just what is preached in the pulpits, or shared by others.

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3. Help us develop an identity of ‘who we are’ and ‘Whose we are.’

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It all comes down to our relationship and understanding of who God is; which translates to developing our identity of ‘Who we are in Christ’ and a greater revelation of God.

If we can seek God to refine us, and also come to an understanding of these things every time we face any difficulty. The purpose of these difficulties and trials would have fulfilled its purpose in our lives, and that’s when it will usher in the breakthroughs.

A life journey walking with God is not rocket science, it’s religion that complicates it. It is actually very simple, yet profound. I know this works, as I have experienced it in my life.

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It’s often our quest for knowledge that complicates, as I don’t need a theological degree to share all that. All it takes is time seeking Him.

Don’t resent your difficulty or trial either by shaking your fist towards God, and feel resentment towards Him for allowing the trial.

Instead, start asking yourself this question, “So who do I say He is?”

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It’s worth spending that 47 minutes of time to listen to this and think about how much of these Names of God you truly know and understand.

Click on this video below and listen to the lyrics in this song ‘Names of God’.

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A Walk of Gratitude down Katong Road

There are certain places that we go to that will bring back memories, and often we don’t have to travel very far.

Just early this afternoon, despite a sweltering hot day, I took the opportunity to park the car at 112 Katong, to take a stroll to Katong Shopping Centre to visit the Optometrist, then walk back to 112 Katong. This short walk evoked plenty of memories and feelings.

It brought back memories just barely 4.5 years ago when I was a regular in this neighbourhood and used to take Photo-walks. Katong have gone through some changes in that short 4.5 years.

In April 2013 the tired looking Red House Bakery was undergoing major refurbishment…

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Now, it seems to have been restored its former glory,

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The glimpse I had of the shophouses from the overhead bridge of Roxy Square in 2013 were deserted, looking dreary and old..

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Now, these shophouses have been given a new lease of life and likely are occupied by new tenants;

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Seeing these changes take took place these 4.5 years, is very much like a metaphor to how things have changed for me since the day that I took those photos in April 2013. My state in life in 2013 was rather similar to these old and tired buildings.

Taking this walk down Katong Road, I found my heart bursting with gratitude to God, as I knew that I have so much to be grateful to the Lord for. Life today is drastically different from my life in 2013 or anything before 2015 for that matter.

Life then in 2013 was a struggle, our family have sold our first home the year before and had to stay in alternative arrangements, which we had to call home for that season. It was hard to lose most of what we own. In retrospect, we needed to experience losing almost all that we own, to come to a point of trusting God wholeheartedly, and letting Him fully take over our lives and our will.

Spending these time in the ‘pit’ was necessary as it has been God’s training ground for me. What I chose to focus in the ‘pit’ helped to bring the breakthrough. I chose to minimise complaining and worship Him instead, to reflect, ‘What does God want me to learn out of this?’

Seeking God first and the Kingdom of God was pivotal during this time, as it is only through putting Him above all these things (providence, faith, security), these things will be added to me. It was a difficult choice but I decided that I needed to surrender all to Him fully, everything will be His will and none of mine. He can do what He want with me, just take care of my family. I really did not have any more expectations during those difficult times.

God really went out of His way to prove to me even in my doubt and unbelief, He will be faithful and He is a good God.

God knew the deep desires of my heart, as He has taken care of everything in my life. It is only when we come to a point of losing everything in our lives, before He is able to restore it fully for us. And when He does, it will be above and beyond what we can ask and think of!

September 2015, it has been the start of the turnaround for my family. And my family is totally bowled over by His great love and faithfulness time and time again. We have been staying in a rented home these past 2 years, and it has been a comfortable and peaceful sanctuary for the family.

Prophetically, 2017 in the Hebrew calendar year of 5777, is the year of Jubilee when all inheritances are returned and people are set free from everything which has bound them. Indeed, I can attest to this, we may have lost our home in 2012, but in mid 2017, we have officially bought a new place we can call our home! Something that I never dared to dream of since 2012, but only made possible by God.

2017 is indeed a year of restoration for my family.  On a personal note, I am reminded and restored to my calling for intercession as well.

What I have learnt during difficult times of my life, it is important to seek Him, stay in His presence daily, stay obedient to Him, stay humble always, and always chose to do the things that honour Him. Seek and Focus on His Kingdom and He will surely take care of all things for us. He is a good and loving Father, who like to give good gifts to His Children. If He cares for the birds and flowers, how much more will He care for us!

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So naturally, after sharing this happy milestone on this blog, I will be starting a new series in the next couple of months on the topic of Home Renovation and decorating my new home 🏠

And definitely more write-ups on Spiritual Walk and Faith in the coming days, as the Holy Spirit leads!

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Church is not a physical building, but an Ekklesia.

I know that it’s time to blog about Faith when I get emails from readers about a post.

Since the time in 2014 that I blog about the topic of Church, namely this post, The Search for a Church. There have been some personal updates on my end.

I have stopped searching since September 2015, after being in a new church for one year. Not that I have found the church where I finally feel that I belong but rather, I have decided to move on (again).

There is this disconnect that I feel from churches, all churches that I have attended so far. With this latest one, the people are nice, the leadership in church are genuine, the sermons from the Pastor are good.

But there is something deeper that I hope to get from church, in terms of deeper fellowship amongst Christians, and I am not getting it from church, any church.

After being a veteran of Church-search the last couple of years, I have decided to throw in the towel from January 2016, to be officially free from attending ‘Institutionalised Church’.

I have decided that I rather not be tied to the cultural or religious stigma of belonging to any church.

It’s ok for you reading this to assume I am now less Christian or have fallen away from the faith, just because I choose not to attend church weekly on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t mind being judged 😛

Church is still a good thing, I never said it was bad.

Just that it’s not working out for some people…and I believe I am not the only one. I truly believe there are more people who are feeling the same disconnect from church as I do. Indicated through a random post that I wrote in 2014, which started a conversation with a fellow sister of Christ whom I don’t know personally, who shared with me that she feels the same disconnect from church. And she is courageous to acknowledge it.

Would getting involved in some ministry or a cell group in church help to ease that disconnect?

When we get busy enough with activity, getting into the motion of doing things does help to convince one that you are a key part of a group or gathering of fellow believers, make most feel good about yourself, believe that you are doing good and feeling that you are contributing to the Kingdom, all through the activities of a church.

That’s not a bad thing.

I have tried attending cell groups over the course of the churches I have attending the last 15 years. Coming together with the same subset of the people whom I am meeting on Sunday, just don’t cut it for me.

In some gatherings, it becomes about the potluck or the spread of food that the host generously provided for the gathering. Maybe I am just the weird one out, who struggle with having to be open and vulnerable to share my current challenges in my life to that few people in the group I just can’t seem to be comfortable with, for the fear of being judged.

So does all that activity, bring true Ekklesia amongst a group of believers? Maybe. It might work for some people. Just not for me, or this other lady who I have been conversing with.

So what does people like me feeling this disconnect do?

Quitting church temporary then seeking God fervently on your own helps. It’s crucial to come to a point to ask yourself, ‘What do I really want from attending Church?’

Some people attend church to listen to sermons. While some others attend church to ensure that their spouse or their child get some exposure on the ways of God.

Another young lady wrote to me recently to share that attending church for her was necessary, as she feels that it helps her to be more aware not be sinful or fall into the world’s ways of doing things. I think attending church is beneficial when it brings about conviction for a change of heart and a change of ways to be walking closely with God.

Have we asked ourselves, is that truly working out for me? I did. And I realised church-going doesn’t make me a better person. The conviction of the change of heart only lasts for a few days after listening to a sermon, and after a week, I am back to my rotten old self.

What made the difference for me was the time I set aside seeking God daily on my own. Reading the bible, listening to sermons online, meditating on the word from the bible, spending time in quiet reflection and in prayer.

Having an accountability partner, also made a difference. Someone that you can meet weekly to share about your spiritual walk, life struggles and being there for one another for constant edification and encouragement.

 

 

Church = Ekklesia

Have we asked ‘What does God want for me?’ or Christians knowing what is God’s will for us, when it comes to church.

The best way to find out what is God’s will for Christians, is to read the bible. So what is church exactly?

In New Testament, church actually means Ekklesia. So what is Ekklesia anyway?

Ekklesia is a Greek word which definition is “a called-out assembly or congregation”. In the New Testament, Ekklesia is translated as “church”. Ekklesia is definitely not defined as a membership to a physical church, but a called-out assembly of people.

What does it mean by ‘called-out’?

Does attending a specific church or calling yourself a Christian automatically makes a person part of the ‘called-out’ assembly?

This verse from 1 Peter 2:9 gives a very good explanation of what God called us out from;

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‘Called out of darkness into His marvelous light,’ what this means, is that being ‘Called-out’ ones have to be different from the world.

If you belong to a church or a gathering, that looks to the world, or encourage you to embrace worldly principals. Then in order to walk with God truly, you need to run, run far far away from this church or gathering.

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This site have addressed this to-the-point, ‘God has called the church to be separate from sin (1 Peter 1:16), to embrace fellowship with other believers (acts 2:42) and to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). God has called us unto Himself, “Come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

So Ekklesia can mean any form of gathering of people who are called to be separate from sin, embrace fellowship with one another and be a light unto the world.  Not just a gathering of people who believes in God, who are gathered weekly in a physical building which is commonly known as ‘a church’, and then go on to behave like a non Christian on a regular day when there is no church to attend.

There is a common assumption amongst Christians these days, that one has reach a certain level of maturity spiritually, if you are actively involved in some ministry in a specific church, or even better, be some kind of leader at church.

Learning about the definition of Ekklesia has changed my paradigm of what I used to think church was about.

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One can find Ekklesia beyond the walls of a physical church and definitely need to be walking the Christian life daily to be a light unto the world. Christians are called to be the Church, and not just religiously go to a church weekly, or keep ourselves busy with church activities.

Ekklesia can be found anywhere, even in coffee shops, where 2 or more believers gather together to have coffee and just talk about God, share their walk with the Lord and encourage each other in the faith. Or it can be even found in homes, something that I have been doing with a dear friend for some time now. While Ministry or Kingdom work can be found beyond the walls of a church.

 

Is church truly working out for you?

If you are already finding that deep connection and fellowship with a fellow believer in your church who can consistently encourage you to walk closely with God and can give constant spiritual support, and someone whom you can openly share your heart with. Then I am glad for you. Keep at what you are doing.

But if you have experienced the same disconnect from church.

Maybe looking for another church and getting to know other believers in a different church gathering might solve the issue. But once you feel the disconnect, you will find that the deeper fellowship that you may be looking for cannot be found in churches, and have to be sought after some place else.

If you are one of those who feel the disconnect. Could it be time to acknowledge it? Is it time to take that courageous step to find that deeper fellowship amongst Christians and support for a deeper walk with God that you are looking for.

Stop being focus on just going to Church and keeping yourself busy with activities in church, but BE the church, everyday of your life.

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