=746= Word: History

I think generally after retreat, I kinda got some insight on the Bible in general. Like, don’t you sometimes feel that there is this disconnect with the Bible? Like it seems a bit mystical and quite crazy how certain things happen. When did Israel’s priests began to prophesy about the Messiah? When was the promised and promised? Therefore, I learned the history of the Covenant.

The word covenant has always been used in church, but exactly when did this covenant take place in the Bible? There are a few really.

*Covenant to Noah*
This is the covenant after the flood. God promises to not destroy all life on Earth with the same flood again.
The Rainbow as a sign of this covenant.
(Genesis 9)

*Covenant to Abraham*
Make Abraham a great nation, bless those who bless him, curse those that curses him. All people on earth will be blessed through Abraham
Promised the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants.
God will always be the God of Abraham’s descendants.
Circumcision is the sign of this covenant.
(Genesis 17)

*Covenant to Moses*
Make the Israelites his treasured possession among all people, a kingdom of priest and a holy nation, if they follow God’s commandments.
Ten Commandments were given here.
The Sabbath is the sign of this covenant.
(Exodus 19)

Came the time of judges. Then Israel rejected God as their king and wanted a physical king. Hence King Saul became king. Saul didn’t follow God, hence God rejected Saul as king and chose David.

*Covenant to David*
David wanted to build a temple for God, but God told him he wasn’t the one that will build it.
God will raise up one of David’s descendants and make his kingdom strong. That descendant will build a temple in God’s name and he will secure his throne forever. God will correct and discipline him, but his favour will not be taken from him.

When Solomon took over as king, he asked for wisdom and God blessed him. He built the temple of God and praised God. God told him that if he follows God with integrity and godliness, God will establish Solomon’s dynasty over Israel forever. However if he disobeys God, God will uproot Israel from the promised land.

Of course Solomon turned away from God even with all his wisdom. So God tore the kingdom away from Solomon’s household except for the kingdom of Judah.

That is when there was a divide in Israel, Israel became two countries, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. You can see the kings failing to keep God’s command.

As we know the temple got destroyed, Israel got uprooted from their land as prophesied. Then with Nehemiah and Ezra’s efforts, the walls of Jerusalem and the temple was rebuilt.

Then of course we all know Jesus’s new covenant. Illustrated with the Last Supper. His body given for us, his blood poured out for us, for our sins. Jesus is the lamb that is the sacrifice for us. Hence by grace we are saved!

It was just really insightful that we don’t serve a random God. We are serving a God that exists through history. That we aren’t just blind people following what we were told. There are reasons to why people hold on to the words of the Bible. There are promises that are given to us as God’s people. I think it is important to know why we follow our God in the first place! ๐Ÿ™‚

-Kelvin-

Oh, if you were at retreat and heard Pastor T’s sermon, you will be amazed at how God moved through the years! ๐Ÿ™‚

=745= Word: Soft Spot

This term has been coming up in a few conversations.

It basically describes an issue that has been repeated too many times and it starts to hurt. Like a bruise you know, it doesn’t exactly get me angry, but it does irritate me.

I think that sometimes we don’t realise how slight teasing, though unintentional, may touch a soft spot and get the person riled up. We do this with friends all the time. We joke about a person’s height or their vanity on using hair products. Perhaps jokingly match two friends together.

I think a common reaction is that once the person burst out, you will find it strange that he/she got angry with something so trivial. There is a need to realise that such bursts are not just because of one thing. It is usually a build up of things.

Perhaps they had a bad day in school and so when you do your usual teasing, they are just too tired to deal with it. Perhaps you are not the only person that gave that comment, perhaps 10 other friends had already gave the same comment.

I think there is a need to be sensitive to the situation. The ability to sense emotion from a person is so critical. Don’t tease someone when they look tired or pissed.

I used to say that I need two types of friends. One type that will not ask anything and another that will ask everything.

It doesn’t mean that one type is less valued than the other. It just means that there are days when I don’t feel like explaining the situation. After the C incident, I was so thankful that my clique did not ask a single question about it. I enjoy my friends’ company of course, but it was a soft spot that I really did not want to talk about.

I guess soft spots are not just things that are repeated, I think they are also areas of stuff that people are running away from.

Unspoken but always on a person’s mind. Such painful things really do fester. The heart is deceitful, who can understand it?

Days haven’t been great emotionally before the retreat. Many opportunities came up of course, but I guess my heart was in pain and I was really depressed over an issue. There are things that are just out of our control.

I love Pastor T’s analogy. He said that his sister was 3 years older than him when he was born. After so many years, she is still 3 years older than him. No matter what he does, that fact won’t ever change. While certain things are in my control, I need to accept that certain things are not.

Pastor T talked about Hannah and how she got Samuel. She asked God for a child for many years. Until one day she asked God for a child and made a promise that she will dedicate this child to serve the Lord and she got Samuel.

Pastor T made several really good points that night:

  • You want something from God,
    you don’t go to the house of God empty handed.You want something from God, bring something to Him.Bring a solemn promiseYou find your gift when you do what God tells you to do!
  • You want something from God, bring something to Him.Bring a solemn promiseYou find your gift when you do what God tells you to do!

When Pastor T spoke these words, it really struck my heart. I have no idea how wise my young self was. My young self was simply a boy that wanted to serve God with whatever he could offer. I entered CAMY when I was secondary 4 because God asked me to. I had all the reasons not do it. It was an important year of examinations. I wanted to join vocals as well. I haven’t even tried cell leading. My young self simply wanted to serve God. I went, flopped the audition, went on a year of constant failing, humbled myself, tried again and again, today I am amazed at the gifts he has given me.

I now play drums, do sound, record music, write songs, photography among many other gifts that he has given me. Truly, God has blessed me with so much because of that simple obedience as a kid.

Despite of all of that, I am bitter today because of a promise I made with God almost 5 years ago. A decision that I knew was wise and good, but this promise caused me great pain. Without truly knowing the price, I made this promise with God. I don’t regret it of course, I just grew tired and frustrated with myself. I see my peers that did not make such a promise and I just envy them. It did not help to have known about the other issue.

S mentioned that my promise sounded like Jephthah’s vow. Perhaps it really is similar. I too did not count the cost when I made this promise. When I found out the price, it was really painful. Perhaps it was foolish of me to make such a promise in the first place. Truly it is better to not make a promise than to make one and break it. However it is better to continually try to keep the promise than to give up on fulfilling it altogether.

It was as if Pastor T’s sermon had brought some insight into my situation. You want something from God, you don’t come empty handed, you bring something; you bring a solemn promise. Honestly, I did not ask for anything in my promise. It was simply a wise decision, perhaps a dedication. God was happy with this dedication and he blessed me with much.

I was just thinking about Hannah, I am certain she would have some struggle on bringing Samuel to Eli. It was her only son. Perhaps she was thinking, “Maybe God won’t take my words seriously!”

“Surely a Good God will let me keep my son!”

“How will my son survive without a mother by his side?”

Oh how hard it must be for Hannah to see her 3 year old cry when she walks further and further away from the temple of God. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for the both of them?

Perhaps Hannah did not know how much pain it would cost her to keep this promise to God, but it is so impressive that she did. God then blessed Hannah with more children. Oh Hannah, how I wish I had your dedication.

God, thank you for encouraging me to continue with this promise. I am really so done with it, but Lord, you are good. It is a soft spot that I really don’t want touched.

Help me go through this O Lord. May the journey shape me into a man that is after your heart. Thank you Lord! ๐Ÿ™‚

-Kelvin-

=744= Word: Spiritual Battle

It is quite scary, the first spiritual battle happened right after retreat.

I just decided to take a nap today. Then, the dream I had was a nightmare. I dreamt that I was in my house and my sister and her boyfriend was fighting. My dad and the boyfriend looked very fat. My sis was explaining to me why the boyfriend was in the wrong. She kept asking me if she was correct to be angry. I felt so helpless. The worse thing was this, my voice seemed to be gone. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t speak. I tried to shout “Jesus” but only a hoarse dry sound came out, you can barely hear me. It was very scary. I kept trying to shout Jesus’ name, but almost nothing came out. I knew that it was a dream and I wanted to get out desperately. However, I couldn’t. It was as if at that point in time, my body did not belong to me. It did not belong to God either, it belonged to the devil. It was as if he was demonstrating how much control and power he had. In his world, he can even stop you from having a voice. People are not allowed to speak, if they are, they would call Jesus’ name.

After straining my voice for quite a bit in that horrible nightmare to shout Jesus’ name. I woke up. Unlike a really scary nightmare, I did not wake up afraid. I was shaken of course, but not afraid. It wasn’t the first time I had a similar dream.

The previous time I dreamt about exorcising one of my cell kid. He started having strength. I panicked and ran right into him and prayed “In the name of Jesus, come out!” Repeatedly.

Another encounter wasn’t a dream. I prayed for a friend that was going to Israel. Then afterwards I left for the toilet. I simply decided to go up one floor to the roof of the church. Up there I heard this clicking sound. It seemed to get louder and louder. I was afraid and I went down quickly. When I was praying for my friend afterwards, the clicking sound started to click again. I felt so uneasy and uncomfortable. Once I got out of the building, I immediately texted my mentors for prayer. I was so rattled that the attack came in the church.

Sure this time, I did not freak out, I did not feel scared, but I felt so weak. There is just this tired spirit. Like I felt more tired after the nap, after a spiritual battle, I am exhausted.

Though I must say something. Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. Indeed you are amazing Lord. Lord, please give me a good night sleep tonight, I don’t want to be exhausted. Thank you Lord.

-Kelvin-

=743= Word: Youth

The youths have such fervour for God. They are young with energy, they are brave and genuine.

The youth cry out for God unlike any other because they have yet to learn to depend on anything else.

Though I always joke about clichรฉ stuff we do in church worship. I must say that what happened today with the youths was real and they have such love for each other, it is really remarkable.

Lord, why can’t I remember much about my youth? Time passed so quickly and the youths have no idea how blessed they are.

May the Lord bless the youths. May they grow up with a strong dependence on God. May their lives change the world.

Thank you Lord.

-Amen-

-Kelvin-