mountaintops

On this Tuesday night that seems a little darker than usual, a Sunday School teacher's words during a lesson 3 years ago suddenly come to mind: "Times of spiritual highs are also times when we are in the greatest danger — of falling." The message on Deuteronomy 9:1-17 delivered at the close of our prayer meeting tonight was short, simple and sharp, and it essentially conveyed the same message: great spiritual adventures are followed by great spiritual tests.

In Deuteronomy 9, Moses reminds the Israelites about His encounter with God up on Mount Sinai, which was a mountaintop experience in all senses – Can you imagine being up on a grand mountain in the holy presence of the great God of heaven for forty days and nights? Can you imagine having that sort of experience with a God whom no man has seen before, and having that experience alone; all for and by yourself? God even promised Him that Israel would have victory in their impending battle with the Anakites. How much more awesome, how much more real, and how much more powerful God must've been to Moses on that mountain!

At the end of the forty days and nights, God gave Moses "two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God"; tablets of the covenant that included God's commandments for His people. I can relate so much to this: my greatest spiritual lessons have always come together with the Word of God. Sometimes He wraps up the lesson with a phrase or a verse. Sometimes it is even an entire chapter. However, as the story goes, God immediately followed up the giving of the Word with a reality check for Moses; a test. "Go down from here at once, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have turned away quickly from what I commanded them and have made an idol for themselves. I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they."

What was Moses supposed to do? He who had just freshly experienced a "spiritual high" was immediately confronted with the contrasting, dismal waywardness of the people under his leadership. A spiritual high over forty days and nights, crashing down to the darkest valleys of disappointment at his people in a mere matter of seconds. One could wonder if Moses' throwing and breaking of the stone tablets were acute reflections of a somewhat crushed spirit. 😢

Tonight's message was for me. The past three months have been a wonderful time of experiencing the goodness, mercy, and power of the Lord personally. How awesome, how real, how powerful! Never have I been closer. I, however, did often wonder and worry whether all these lessons and experiences would have to be put to good use someday. Would I be tested, like Moses?

Something is coming, and I am afraid.

Tonight's message seemed to be a validation of sorts that I will be tested in the future near or far, and that shook me to the core. I'm not exaggerating when I say that a chill went down my spine when Kenneth's slides flashed the words "We have to realise that the test will definitely come and in all forms and sizes." For the Israelites, You sent the giant Anakites; what will You test me with, Lord?😕

In that moment, I suddenly became afraid of walking too close to the Lord. It just seemed a bit too dangerous.

But isn't this the biggest irony? When one is walking so close to the Lord, it should be as Dr. Warren Wiersbe writes, "…the future is your friend, and you don't have to be afraid."

We ought to be less afraid of everything and anything that is to come, and more secure in the Lord who knows it all. So I took a good, hard look at my own fear, and here's what the Lord helped me to see:

It was a fear of the magnitude of the test, rather than a concern with the quality of my response.

Would it be a broken leg? Would He take away someone I love dearly? Would it be a debilitating sickness? I was sick with worry about what the test would be, and I was strangely and pessimistically certain that it would be HUGE. Too much for me to bear. I didn't seem to be worried about tests that I thought to be smaller – losing some cash, doing badly on an examination, getting ridiculed by others… Was I confident that I would emerge from these more faithful and strong? I am suddenly reminded of how I almost lost my student card earlier this year, and how that incident thoroughly exposed the lack of faith in my response.

The truth is, the enormity of our trials does not really matter when we have an infinitely great God who says, "Is anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27) and means it more as a statement than a question. What does matter, however, is our response. Do we blame or resent Him? How about our responses as overcomers? When we overcome a small trial by the grace and help of our God, do we respond with the same kind of praise and thanksgiving, as we would with the overcoming of a large one? It is often the smaller victories that I find myself struggling to give Him the due praise for. If I can focus and resolve to respond with great praise regardless of the test, perhaps I would have less energy and cause for worry. Fear would be transformed to focus!🤗

But at the heart of it all, I think my fear really exposes my faithlessness in God's promises and in His very nature. Did I not believe His words through the Apostle Paul, that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man", that "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13)? How about David, who testified to the compassionate nature of our God, "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:13-14)?

He knows. He knows. He knows.

Whereas I find that I don't know: my fear shows that I don't actually know the all-wise, all-loving nature of our God for myself. I know it only in theory ("because the Bible tells me so"), but I haven't made it my reality. Sure, He promises some tests for us, but the Christian who has no doubt about the loving wisdom the Lord would worry a whole lot less. He would rejoice! He would think of the words in 1 Peter 1:6-7, "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Less of grief, more of praise and glory and honour to Jesus. ✨

Our tests reveal our faith and what we believe about God. Genuity is at stake. Perhaps God gives us mountaintop experiences so that we may cling onto them for hope when the tests prove difficult. And more than just hope – He uses the lessons up on the mountains to sharpen our responses to the tests. So how did Moses fare on his test? As I read on, Moses wrote that "once again [he] fell prostrate before the Lord for forty days and forty nights" (v.18) and "prayed to the Lord" (v.26). "Once again"! In the forty days and nights of spiritual highs before the test, Moses had probably fallen prostrate before the Lord too, a natural reaction to His holiness. It was natural for Moses to do it again when He went back up the mountain after seeing the Israelites' idolatrous ways. We see here, how the Lord was grieved and angered by the Israelites' idolatry far more than Moses was, but how He also used it to train Moses' response and to make the lesson He had for the Israelites stick: that victory would not be on account of their righteousness, but on account of the faithfulness of the Lord to keep His promises to their forefathers. It was a test for Moses, and he responded in the manner that his previous mountaintop experience had taught him well to do. 👍🏻

A test is coming for sure, Jud - instead of being fearful, do you think you could remember that it isn't out to break you, but that it is intended to build you? Do you think you could think of it as the best time to be a testimony for Christ; do you believe that it could result in the "praise and glory and honour" that He has already promised?

Remember the glory He has shown you at your mountaintops, and you can! 😊✨

 

sake

Greek:/ ὑπέρ; hyper
1. in behalf of, for the sake of
2. over, beyond, more than
3. more, beyond, over

Merriam Webster English Dictionary:/
1. end, purpose
2. the good, advantage, or enhancement of some entity

Jet-lagging, midnight thoughts: I’ve always believed that language is perspective, which makes it a gift from God – given to help us see and understand things of the spiritual realm in different lights, in different dimensions. The different meanings of the word “sake” that I learnt today made good material for devotion! New discoveries based on old, familiar verses, to keep His love ever new, ever real to me.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

It is a word that tells us a lot: it is an exception, a distance gone for someone special, over and beyond what one is supposed to do. It is pardon… it is grace 🙂

He went to the cross not just on our behalf, but also in our behalf.

  • on behalf of: representing someone
  • in behalf of: for the benefit of, to help someone

The cross was for our sake, in that it is what we deserve (“on behalf of”) and what we do not deserve (“in behalf of”).

I think in all senses, and all means of understanding it, the word “sake” perfectly embodies the spirit of all that Jesus has done for us…

“And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
John 17:19

… and the word perfectly embodies too, the spirit of all that we ought to do for Him – in rightful return 👍🏻

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10

We go through all that we are meant to go through, in order to represent Him on this earth and for the benefit His kingdom✨👑

We do it only for One, only for His sake, but He did it for our sakes – everyone, all of us – all of our sakes. How selfless and full a love! ☺️

all means all

Monday, 31 July 2017
London, United Kingdom

sweaty palms, from gripping the brown paper bag that held my chocolate croissant breakfast a little too tightly, as I hurried to school this morning.

sweaty realisations that perhaps, I may be gripping onto some other things in life a little too tightly as well.

“Lord, how do I love less of something that I love so much?”


“…You shall love Me, the LORD your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”

because

The LORD is your God, the LORD alone.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

there really isn’t room left for much if all of me is occupied by Him, and if all I speak, do, see, and write is all about Him!

“all means all,” as Amy Carmichael’s words suddenly remind me this evening.

yep, all must mean all, and not even a teeny bit less 🙂

tantalised

Saturday, 22 July 2017
London, United Kingdom

to the Christian struggling with a chasm of questions that seem to have no satisfactory answers yet: hold on to the glory you have already been shown 😊✨

The Greek goddess Aphrodite is worshipped for her beauty, but I think it would be quite a shame if I had to worship a god who is found and remembered across history for her naked, cowering posture of shame.

But it is the still the exhibit at the British Museum that I am most fond of, because of its idea: “Tantalising, none is fully revealing”.

That’s the thing with seeing only a part of the whole fabric, no matter how hard you try and look. When the complete picture is withheld, it leaves behind a sense of wonder and fascination, coupled with a certain unattainability that finds its expression in reverence and worship. I think we can think about our God in the same way: perhaps the reasons why we think we should reject Him are the very reasons why we should accept Him. I think about the Pharisees and the blind man whom Jesus healed in John 8 and 9, and their conversation in John 9:28-33…

Pharisees:
“You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”

Man who Regained Sight:
Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.

The very reason why the Pharisees could not accept Jesus was that they did not know under whose authority He had come from – or perhaps they just refused to accept that Jesus was truly from God. Yet to the man who regained His sight, not knowing where Jesus had come from made His act of healing even more amazing, and this strengthened his faith in Him. There is wonder. There is fascination. There is the human limitation that makes miracles unattainable. And when we realise the presence of such power in our midst despite our limitations, I think it really humbles and moves us to respond as the once-blind man did: in reverence, praise, and worship.

Mankind seems to have a tendency to reject things that they do not completely know. As seen from the example of the Pharisees, this tendency really isn’t new, which is why I found it intriguing that something “not fully revealing” like the sculpted Aphrodite could be received with such wonder and fascination instead. This Greek idea is even thought of as a beautiful one – and I think it is too, especially if we use it to help us think about our God. Why do we always need to have a perfect understanding?

If we are to believe that there is Someone greater out there – Someone everlasting in love and wisdom – how can we expect our finite human minds to be able to fathom the ways of that infinite Someone? The Christian does not, and will not have the answers to everything. Some questions are meant to be answered only in heaven, and we need to accept the boundaries of time and knowledge that God has set for us to keep within. We have to trust that the boundary lines are placed in perfect love, wisdom and protection. But even with these in place, God has revealed enough of His glory for us to trust that He exists (think creation, think the Bible, think everyday blessings, think unnoticed miracles). If we have truly caught that mere glimpse of glory, I think it ought to be tantalising enough for us to want to learn more, explore more, and come to love more of the God from whom all glory emanates from.

Ahhh okay I don’t mean to be over-spiritualising a mere sculpture, or even appear to be comparing Aphrodite with our God, because He really has no equal. Our God is infinitely good and wise from all angles, and even if you do not see the full picture, perhaps all you need to do is glance away from scrutiny and think: has what He has already revealed given you enough reason to keep believing in Him?

May we each act in accordance with our individual answers as we pursue the Way, the Truth and the Life, amidst the lives that we have 😊✨

symmetry

Friday, 21 July 2017
London, United Kingdom 

He who came up with the idea of symmetry had a beautiful mind. Not patterns of three, nor four, nor five… but two hands, two feet, two ears, two eyes; all is order. The human body, fashioned across a carefully traced line; all is beauty, all is honour.

But He who came up with the idea of symmetry also had a beautiful plan.

Across the invisible line that separates high heaven from the earth, may my life in the body be the intended symmetrical half of things on the heavenly side;

a glimpse into the Kingdom, a reflection of the King.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

the Potter and His pedal

Monday, 19 June 2017
The Kingdom of Cambodia

It didn’t look like much – at first glance, at least. The school bus dropped us off at a tiny hut raised on stilts, and we crouched beneath its wooden frame where the workshop sat. In the workshop then sat a young woman on an old, sandy wheel that had a fresh lump of clay at its centre. Her pair of eyes glanced up at us with a look that said “Hold your breath!” before her lips curved to a shy smile, and she began.

Our eyes circled in awe as we tracked the movement of the wheel, which turned round after round at the command of the potteress, who was swiftly stepping at a connected pedal. It soon turned too quickly for our eyes to chase, so our attention shifted to the lump of clay on the wheel, on which the potteress now placed her hands while continuing to step on the pedal. Even though the clay was two shades lighter than her pair of tanned hands, it seemed as though they were one: she delicately held the clay, exerted a gradual upward pressure on it as the wheel turned and, like magic, a discernible shape slowly emerged from her hands – a neat, thin-necked jar.

It was beautiful in the most elegant of ways; its smooth, evenly-shaped rim, its symmetry, its curvature. She was done, and with a thin string, she subtly sliced her little masterpiece from the original lump of clay. She beamed with a humble sort of pride at this work, even though her workshop already had so many other jars of clay that were equally beautiful. Every jar mattered 😊

​​“Now you try,” she told us in Khmer, gesturing for us to take the wheel. You have no idea how excited that made me because ah, it was a chance to create something beautiful! And how effortless, how easy it had looked in the potteress’ hands. I sat in front of the wheel and placed my foot steadily on the pedal, while she sat a lump of clay in front of me. I reached out to hold it, and my hands learnt that it was very cool and very soft; how delightful. I stepped at the pedal while my happy hands held the clay without moving. All was good when I didn’t move. 

The trouble came, however, when she told me to start moving my hands and use my thumb. I pressed the lump of clay down its centre to mould the mouth of a jar, and it immediately snapped out of shape. Oops. Wasn’t that easy after all. 😕

The more I tried to salvage the jar, the more hideous it became. You see, moulding a lump of clay using a wheel requires 1. a pair of skilful hands, and 2. a steadily, consistently turning wheel, and this depends on the work at the pedal. I don’t quite know the physics behind it, but I do know by experience: When the speed of the wheel abruptly slowed down, the pliable, soft clay started contacting my hands at awkward angles and with non-uniform forces, affecting its shape. I am a horrible multitasker, so when I tried to salvage the jar with my hands, I ended up neglecting the pedalworks that were equally important, and this made the jar lose the symmetry it originally had. Its opening was also gone. It was not functional, and definitely not suitable for sale.

The potteress let out a kind, gentle laugh, and offered me her hands for help. Now all I had to do was focus on stepping the pedal well, which was more tiring than I’d expected (and boring, I guess). I was quite bummed out by that initially. “Ah, why can’t she just let me do it myself… it’s okay even if I mess up, just let me do it; I want to do it!” But when I glanced back at the clay that had been miraculously moulded into a now functional bowl by the potteress’ hands, my thoughts shifted: “Thank God she took over, I could never have done that myself.” It was a beautiful bowl with wavy edges and petal details, beyond my own imagination’s idea of beautiful. To my surprise, she then placed it in my hands and even though she’d done most of the work, the people around me all said, “Wow Jud!!! Your bowl looks quite nice!” It was worth leaving it in her good hands 😊

I think the partnership I shared with the potteress was a powerful picture of what God does in all of our lives. We humans were not born with the skill of handling this thing we call “life” – we have to learn it, and that’s why as His children we are taught, disciplined and discipled. Yet, more often than not, we who are not skilled want to be in control. We say things along the lines of what I said when the potteress took over the clay that I held: “I want to do it; let me do it myself!” 

But remember the mess I made, when the clay was left to the fumbles of my hands? Contrary to what I had thought, it was not okay for me to mess up with the clay, because it was precious to the potteress. Every lump of clay could be made into a functional jar that could be sold for some money. More importantly, every lump of clay had the capacity for beauty, and she intervened by helping me because she wanted me to have a part in beautifying it too – even if the only work I needed to do was to kick the wheel. But that was important too! If I hadn’t stepped the pedals as she had asked me to or had kicked half-heartedly instead, the result would have been an asymmetrical jar – not because the potteress wasn’t skilful, but because I wasn’t willing.

It is not okay when our lives look messed up either. It isn’t part of God’s plan for us. Every single life matters, and every single life is precious to Him – precious enough for Jesus to give up His own life on the cross in exchange. He did it so that “[we] may have life and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10) and this abundant life does not begin only when we get to heaven; it begins the moment we let Him into ours. Letting Him in means letting Him take control, and we can wholly trust that He will not make a mess of it because He knows what He is doing. He who values our lives more than we do also knows how to handle and run our own lives better than we do, simply because He gave them to us. This also gives Him the right to put His hand on them and shape them, to make them as beautiful as He had intended for them to be – just as the potteress gave that lump of clay to me, and helped me bring out the beauty in an ordinary, dull lump of clay. 🍶

​So, what is the Christian supposed to do? Perhaps we need to stop insisting on our own design, let go of our hands that desire so much to meddle with the clay of our lives, trust what God has in mind and simply step at the pedal. God is our Potter, and He is in the business of making us into functional and beautiful vessels for His work; our job is to move our feet in obedience and diligence by walking in His way ☺️ If our lives don’t look like the functional, beautiful vessels for Christ that we are intended to be, perhaps we need to go back to the pedals and take a hard look: are we slackening, or kicking at it half-heartedly? You see, we have a Potter who is skilful beyond doubt, but He often doesn’t have a willing worker at the pedal.

It is only when we realise and accept the importance of our work at the pedals, that we can leave our design in God’s good hands and become the functional, effective Christian that He intends for us to be. We only need to focus on stepping the pedal as diligently as we can, and watch the beauty of the work unfold; the joy and fulfilment will come. The best Potter in the world has roped me in to step the pedals for Him, and He is moulding me! What an honour and what a delight, to be working with Him while being worked on; it will be worth it when I see the final beauty of the work that emerges from His hands, and as He places it back into mine.

People will look at it and say it is my life – Judith’s life – but I hope that if there be any beauty, it will catch their attention enough for them to listen to my story. I hope to hold it and beam with pride as I tell them that I only stepped at the pedal – the rest was God, with His brilliant, gentle hands. And may they then desire to place their lives in these hands too 🤗

“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” 
Isaiah 64:8

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 
2 Corinthians 4:7

dirt and dust

Wednesday, 14 June 2017
The Kingdom of Cambodia
I remember that evening in a small room of our church, when 7 young adults were brainstorming for activities that would encompass the essence of servant leadership. “Let’s wash the children’s feet!” a voice suggested, and everyone excitedly buzzed in agreement. But as the day drew nearer, I found myself feeling increasingly nervous and worried. Saying “Let’s wash the children’s feet!” is one thing, but actually rolling up one’s sleeves and kneeling down to do it is quite another. I’ve told Jesus that I would serve Him and follow Him, but how ironic that this very act of service exposed my inconsistency, partiality, and selectivity: “You said you wanted to serve me, but will you choose to serve in your way, or in Mine? You said you wanted to follow me, but will you be willing to do the things that I did?” I knew I needed to prepare my heart.

The night before the day when my actions would answer His questions, I flipped to one of the more well-turned pages of my Bible, John Chapter 13, and revisited the moment when Jesus stooped down to wash His disciples’ feet. Jesus, the very person whom we call “Teacher and Lord, and [we] are right, for so [He is]” had bent down to wash His followers’ feet – even though “no servant is greater than his master” (v.13, 16). All along, I thought I understood the significance of this loving act of foot washing, but when He asked His disciples, “Do you understand what I have done to you?” (v.12) my answer that night was a weak, abashed, “No, Lord… no, I don’t.”

And in return, He said to me, “But ‘if I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. ” (v.14-15)

So when the students lined up in front of the four foot washing stations we had prepared, I held on to a clean, white rag, a basin, and those two verses. I smiled, knelt down, asked the student for her name, and looked at her feet. And as I took them up in my hands, I knew I had fallen short of His command to “do just as I have done” even before I’d begun to wash. You see, washing dirty, dusty feet is also one thing, but washing dirty, dusty feet lovingly is yet another. Even though I held them and tried my best to wash them as lovingly as possible, I think the repelling thought of the dirt and the dust kept me from obeying His command fully.

Then I started to think about Jesus, who washed His disciples’ dirtier and dustier feet so willingly, unhesitatingly and lovingly – surely He did not cringe at the sight of the dirt and dust, nor show the slightest tinge of disgust as He washed them! I think too, about how He would not have hesitated to do the same for this girl if He were with us in person. I expressed my shame with a sigh and finally looked up from her feet. Then I saw her smile, and her eyes that displayed a little gratitude, a little awe, and a little difficulty in finding the right words to say, and a warm rush went through me. I felt that I loved her, somehow ◡̈ But it first started with the individual choice to look up and above all the dirt and the dust.
I think my life looks a lot like that on most days – caked with layer upon layer of dirt and dust that are simply impossible to ignore. Repulsion is the natural response to unclean things. But how does Jesus, despite all the dirt and dust He sees in my life, manage to love me still? How does He take me up in His arms and take on the task of personally cleansing me? Why should He reach out to me and touch me, when He is completely clean Himself? Because He chooses to look up and above the dirt and the dust, and see who I essentially am – created in His likeness, and loved by God who loved Him too. “…I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.” (John 17:23)It must be love, that moves one to roll up the sleeve, bend the knee, wash the dirty feet, and look beyond what the eye sees. It must be love, and it must be quite some love, isn’t it?

We have been loved with that sort of love. We have been loved, remember that! May we each love with that same sort of love 😊💖

re-joy-ce

Saturday, 17 June 2017
The Kingdom of Cambodia
Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 1.41.48 am
There has had been much to take in this year, and as we hear 2017 begin its next six-month exhale, I think about several things that I have lost, and think even more about ways to find them back. Today, this young boy ran to me across the sun-warmed courtyard and threw his arms up in the air delightedly as an invitation to be held. In his arms, I realised that he had helped bring back what I had lost, and needed very much.
 
He brought back to me my first joy, which is in fact, everyone’s first joy: it starts with the desire to hold (to know), and the reciprocal joy of being held (to be known) follows. The first ways in which we expressed this desire as newborns were the simple outstretching of a hand (is anyone there?), and a huge cry (what is going on?). The joy  comes when that desire is fulfilled: when the outstretched hand and the poor crying child are being held, taken up into loving arms.
 
On this warm, lovely afternoon, I am strangely yet wonderfully surprised to realise that this first of joys was encompassed in the call for us to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). It is a profoundly simple call, but I think we tend to complicate it as we see more and more of the world – which makes us want, and think we need certain things to be happy in life. We rewrite the verse along the lines of “Rejoice in successes”, “Rejoice in riches”, or “Rejoice in fulfilled desires,” when all the Bible really says is to “Rejoice in the Lord“, and “Rejoice in the Lord always“. It is simple in the sense that true joy is found only in One person. 
 
If He who is the sole source of true joy and all joy is more than willing to give it to us, then I think we can claim it via the simple act of running into His arms. This boy ran to me wanting to be held, and only to be held 😊 I think about little joys like this that he has, and that we once had as children but have since lost. We have been missing out on the many little joys of the every day, especially the sheer joy of running into our Heavenly Father’s arms! 🙆🏼 I took this boy up in mine and beamed.
 
We always say that we ought to have a childlike faith, and perhaps we need a childlike joy too; We also always speak of losing our first love, and perhaps we have lost our first joy too. A childlike joy is the first joy: that comes with simply running to Him, being accepted, loved, and held in everlasting arms. The next time we find it difficult to be joyful, or when we feel that our lives lack much joy, we can dwell on these things and rejoice. As God’s children we already know and have these joys for ourselves – perhaps we need only re-joy-ce. 😊

little and large

touched up a little letter I wrote to myself earlier this year, in case thoughts like these attack again (pray not). to the future me: should you find yourself in a similar situation, i hope this letter slaps you yet again. wake up! don’t deny Him today. 😊Thursday, 2 March 2017
3:11AM

Dear Judith,

It has been a difficult day of losing things and finding them, hasn’t it? Little things, like your student ID, your laptop zipper, and large things, like your direction, your composure, yourself… you even lost your gaze on the cross for a brief moment. You’d allowed the thought “I wish I wasn’t a Christian” to trespass your mind and linger for a while – “Wouldn’t it be easier? Wouldn’t you have no one to be accountable to?” But as the day draws to a close, aren’t you just thankful to have a good God who doesn’t let you go, who finds you – and everything else – time after time, and who puts everything back in good order?

When you count the blessings of the every day – the little and the large – you realise that nothing in life really happens by sheer coincidence. There is no such thing as a pure stroke of luck. No one gets three times lucky or more in a mere day like this. (Neither does anyone get three times unlucky too.)

Someone is out there, and He is in control. 😊

Have you realised that it’s this complete control which makes Him worthy of the title Lord? His quiet hand is at work in the every day. Does it humble you to know that He has chosen to include you, small creature, in His larger scheme of things… that He even considered you? He thought of you, and is thinking of you.

But you were thinking of running away today. It wasn’t the first time, was it? The many insidious, subtle thoughts on other days really aren’t that different. You were thinking about the things that you’ve had to give up in order to say “I’ll follow You, Jesus”. Did you think about how little they are? And did you think that perhaps you think of them too often, too much, that you forget the larger things He had to give up in order to give these little things to you in the first place? Larger, more valuable things, like His own life. 

You asked yourself earlier today, “What would life without Jesus be like?” and you know it. Life without Jesus? What life? What life, when He has said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Life without Jesus would be no life at all! You have nothing to go back to – yet the strange wonder of it all is that everything awaits you. The life awaits you!

So forget, instead, those little things you have had to give up. Forget the life you thought you knew to be so large a deal – You don’t know at all. But you do know Christ – is that a little or large deal? What is that worth?

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8

Surpassingly worth, Paul testifies to it. And this is a man who has been in and out of prison, persecuted and wounded for knowing Christ. 

But what is it worth to you? A personal answer is required. You, on this very night… think about what it’s worth too.

Then, decide. Decide if Jesus is to be Lord of all – the little and the large – or Lord of none at all. Decide now, and stick by it.

Don’t deny Him now, Jud! Just a little longer, just a little while. “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” (John 16:16) It has been worth it, hasn’t it? (Just think about the lost things He has found today alone, including you!) It has been, it is, and it will be worth it. It will be worth it when you finally see Jesus’ face. I promise; He has promised 😊

There will be little moments in life, and there will be large moments. But I pray that you will make the right choice in all of these, right up to the very one when you see Him face to face – my little heart is warmed to think about how pleased and proud He shall be in that day ☺️👍🏻

“Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all.”
Hudson Taylor

Love,
Judith