May You Be Blessed Forever, Lord

A prayer by St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for not abandoning me when I abandon you.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for offering your hand of love in my darkest, most lonely moment.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for putting up with such a stubborn soul as mine.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for loving me more than I love myself.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for continuing to pour out your blessings upon me, even though I respond so poorly.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for drawing out the goodness in all people, even including me.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for repaying our sin with your love.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for being constant and unchanging, amidst all the changes of the world.

May you be blessed forever, Lord, for your countless blessings on me and on all your creatures.

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

The prayers of St Teresa of Avila 
(1515-1582)

Boundaries

I was not someone who is good at setting boundaries; I would bend them at my friends’ plea or persuasion. Inwardly, I would feel resentful because I was afraid to say “no” to the things I wasn’t interested to do. 

As I grew older, I began to appreciate the beauty and the necessity of having boundaries. 

Dr Brene Brown defines boundaries as, “what is okay and what is not okay.” 

She says we can make clear what our boundaries are while still being loving and generous.

If we are not sure what boundaries to set, she probes us the BIG question: “What boundaries need to be in place for me to maintain my integrity and make the most generous assumptions about you?”

Dr Brown also said, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” 

Boundaries teaches others how to treat us. Rather than harbouring resentment when we are too shy to say “no”, boundaries tell others where we stand. We can have boundaries and yet still be loving.

What is the Good News?

The Gospel in a Nutshell

What is the “Good News” or the “Gospel”? The “Good News” or the “Gospel” refers to the same thing.

Apostle Paul wrote, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures “ (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

The Gospel is this: Sin has separated us from God. God loves us and wants to save us from sins. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ, who was without sins, to die on the Cross for us. The blood of Jesus washed away our sins. Nothing else can do that.   

Jesus had paid the price of our sins —with His own life.

In our sinfulness, we are rebelling against God. We reject Him as our God. But Jesus died on the Cross to reconcile us with God.

Three days later, by the power of God, Jesus rose from the dead. He is in Heaven now, preparing a place for us so that when we leave this world, we will be with Him in Heaven.

This is the Good News: no one is so bad and so unlovable that God can not save.

Do you have room for Jesus in your life?

When Jesus was born, there were no rooms available for Him. Are there room for Him in your heart this Christmas season?

“22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:22)

2000 years ago, the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary and said to her that she would be pregnant with a Child through the power of the Holy Spirit. It was something unheard of. It had never happened before. The Baby was to be called Emmanuel, which means, God with us. No matter how bleak the circumstances you are in, God is with you. He will not let go of you.

Christmas is a time for us to pause and remember that God chose to came to earth for us, mortal humans. He lived and dwelled among us. This is the greatest expression of love, that God did not spare His own Son but sent Him into this world for us (John 3:16).   

Baby Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem. There were no rooms at the inn for baby Jesus to be born. The Son of God come into this world in a shabby, smelly, lowly manger, a place where animals lived in, ate and rested.

As we reflect on the meaning of Christmas, may you invite God into your life. May you experience the hope, joy, love and peace in your life that He alone gives. 

When Dogs Have Wings

As with most good things, he came into my life unexpectedly. A photo of him was circulating in the group chats: he was abandoned by his owner(s). My mum and I talked about it. Perhaps it was love at first sight, we decided to bring him home.

And that was the beginning of an adventure together. He became my best friend. Whenever I am home from work, we would be spending all our time together. In the evenings, I would nap on the sofa and he would be napping at my feet. While having meetings on Zoom, he would lie next to my feet. Before his bed time, I would cuddle him. He loved that. In the mornings, we would go for short walks around the neighbourhood. I love him so.

Unfortunately, tick fever took him away too soon. I wish we could have longer time together. There were so many adventures I was planning to bring you along. May be we will save our adventures in heaven.

I miss you everyday, my boy. Thank you for coming into my life, though just for a brief moment.

A dog came unexpectedly into my life and he became my best friend.

First Advent 2022

Advent is a 4-week of anticipation leading up to Christmas as Jesus was born into this world for us. It is also a time of waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

On the First Advent, we light the first candle, which is the purple candle (purple symbolises repentance and prayer). Jesus Christ, the Light of the World has come. He came to give us Hope.

When you have a Crush

I have been tossing and turning on my bed for the 3rd consecutive night. I would wake in the middle of the night, involuntarily. Thinking of this person makes it hard for me to fall asleep.

What is a crush? A crush refers to being attracted to someone. It is a strong attraction and an intense admiration for someone. It can escalate into a deeper friendship or it can be short-lived and temporary.

The cycle of crush i went through:

Butterflies in the stomach

In crushes, love hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine play a part. When I see this person, my heart races and I was in a good mood—initially. 

Distracted and moody

Is having a crush a distraction? Oh, definitely! I found myself day-dreaming about this person. Even when I was with my friends, I was feeling restless.  

Really nervous!

When I see the crush, I was really nervous! My tongue was tied. My brain was jammed — I couldn’t think properly. I became clumsy. I couldn’t even move as my normal self and I was slow in my reactions.

All of us have experience crushes before. Having crushes is not a sinful thing. However, it is the extent of our obsession and how it interrupts our daily lives that may cause us to fall into sins. The most important thing to do is to, “guard our hearts” (Proverbs 4:23). We guard it because it is the wellspring of our life (Proverbs 4:23). Build a guard around our thoughts about this person.   

What does the Bible say we should do about our crush/infatuation?

  1. Focus on Jesus (John 10:10)

Crushing on someone/infatuation can send us through turbulent emotions. May we have peace in Christ Jesus. May He open our eyes to the wonders of the world around us. Having a crush can easily made this person the center of our lives (our hearts and universe!) but let us not lose ourselves in the process.      

  • Guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23)

The heart is a well-spring of life. Feelings and emotions that come from infatuation may cloud our minds and make us do things before we think them through. Guard our hearts so that our actions will not cause hurts to others and to ourselves.

Let us guard our hearts and minds so that we will not be overly obsessed with this person.

  • Guard our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)

If our thoughts are only consumed with that person, it is not healthy. Let’s think of things that are pure and lovely. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)    

  • Guard our relationships with others (Psalm 16:6)

Some of us may be single by choice or we are single for a season. Let us also remember to set healthy boundaries in our relationships with others. 2 Tim 2:22 reminds us the importance of purity in whatever we do. We are to pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace in all that we do. Don’t lose what is most precious to you in a moment of strong desire.

  • Trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 27:14)

Let us not be preoccupied in making things happen our way. Or to use unrighteous means to seduce someone we are interested in. God knows what we are going through. We can tell Him what is in our hearts. He is not tired of hearing the same thing again because He cares for us. Let us take all our thoughts to God. What we share with Him can be a spiritual exercise for us to explore our human condition, with its many complicated emotions. Take captive of our thoughts and give them over to God (2 Corinthians 10:5).   

Having a crush on someone means we are only human —we can be attracted to people and admire them. However, how we deal with our crush is another matter. It will be unhealthy for ourselves and others if we fail to guard our hearts, minds and emotions. Let’s ask for the grace of God as we navigate through experiencing infatuation.