Let Them In?

Everyone we meet teach us something about life and ourselves.

Someone once said our life is like a train. People come onboard at different stations and some will alight at different stations. Some will alight earlier, while some will stay longer. Regardless of the time we have, each person we met teach us something about life and even about ourselves. 

To prevent the pain of saying, “goodbye”, some have resorted to not saying “hello” to new people. But this is quite a short-sighted thought, isn’t it?

Human beings are created to enjoy relationships and we live in communities. 

In the Lego Movie, the Lego Batman said, “Losing people is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you stop letting them in”.

What a reminder! Don’t close yourself to people for the fear of losing them. Keep loving others. Life is more beautiful when shared with others.

Friendship takes work

Friendship takes work to nurture but wonderful friends are worth the efforts.

I have been blessed with wonderful friends in my life. Looking back, I have not been a wonderful friend myself as when life gets busy, friendships are the first thing I neglect.

As American writer, O. Henry wrote, “No friendship is an accident.”. Friendship needs to be nurtured. Building a friendship takes work — from both people. It is worth it because true friends are life’s gems indeed.

Different friends bring different gifts into our lives. Some bring the gift of laughter, some challenge me to be a better person, some I don’t see often but they are just a text away.

As Maya Angelou says, good friends certainly will make our life extraordinary. To my good friends, a big thank you for being a part of my life.

Wonderful friendships are gifts from God

God gives us friends as we journey in life. Good friends are indeed hard to come by.

Friends are the people we choose to have in our lives. We choose our friends. Our friends choose us. A friendship is based on voluntary association between 2 people who enjoy each other’s companionship.

Researches show that friendship keeps the brain healthy and good friends are crucial in protecting our mental health.

How rare it is to have wonderful friendships that are grace-filled, love of God is shown, boundaries are respected, vulnerability are shared, constructive criticisms are accepted, differences are embraced and mutual encouragements are given.

Life is a journey. roughout our life, we may meet different people. Some will journey with us for a season in life while some will journey with us for many seasons in life. Regardless of their durations in our life, our friends make a sweet impact in our lives.

The Joy of Feasting on “Vegetables”?

“Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17, NIV).

I had a picnic lunch with my buddy, Su Juan, today. We enjoyed the scenery, the melodic chirpings of the birds flying above us, and the soft and gentle breeze blowing on our faces.

As a full-time pastor, I realise what I eat and drink is important to optimise my health for ministry. What we eat and drink are important for our well-being but our attitudes when we are receiving our food are equally important. We may be having an abundant feast with the finest of food and in the grandest of place, but if we are not thankful for what we have, or if we do not get along with the people we are dining with, we will not enjoy the meal.

The next time we sit down together for a meal with our companions, thank the Lord for them. It may be a simple meal, it may be with your parents, it may be with your closest friends, it may be with your colleagues. It is the companionship that counts. Look them in the eyes. Pay attention to what they are saying. Show that you care. Minister to them.  Enjoy each other’s presence.

Life is short. We should treasure the people in our lives and appreciate them while we still can. Don’t take them for granted.

Basking in Nature

This morning after breakfast, my good friend and I decided to roam around the neighbourhood. She showed me the various plants and vegetables the neighbours had planted. It was early in the morning and I was amazed at how beautiful the landscape was! The air was fresh and the view was breath-taking!For three months, the country had been in a lockdown. I had more screen time due to this too. Now that I am back at work, i rushed through the day without really paying attention to my surroundings.But, what a wonderful change of pace this morning! Being in the morning sun and its rays brushing against my skin bring healing and joy to me.Each bird has a song to sing. Each flower blooms in God’s time. Each fruit from the tree tells us that our God is a creative and faithful God. The creation sings of God’s glory! The creation tells of God’s greatness!“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities —- his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV)“for in him all things were created: Things in heaven and on earth, voisible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16, NIV)Praise be to God! His love for us is demonstrated by His creativity in the nature!I am a city girl: born in the bustling city of Hong Kong and spent the majority of my childhood there until my family migrated to Malaysia. In Hong Kong, my family, like most city people, doesn’t plant things. What a joy for the city girl to harvest Ladies’ Fingers (okra), this morning!Being in nature does wonders to my soul. It amazes me to see plants.Why don’t we intentionally slow down our pace and let nature rejuvenate us!

The Joys of Friendships

Recently, I watched on Netflix a movie called, “The Heat”. It is a cop-buddy comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

I am a Sandra Bullock fan and would watch any movies with her in it. I would often replay them for at least a few times.

In this movie, Sandra Bullock played an FBI Special Agent, Sarah Ashburn. She was a workaholic who lived alone, an arrogant police and could not get along with anyone. Melissa McCarthy, on the other hand, played a foul-mouthed Boston police detective, Shannon Mullins. At the start of the movie, Sarah was sent to Boston to bring down a drug kingpin who happened to be followed up closely by Shannon. That was where she met Shannon, and Shannon had made it very clear that she did not like another person to interfere with her case. In order to be eligible for a promotion, Sarah agreed to her boss’ order that she worked together with Shannon to solve this case.

It was a rough start. Both of them bickered and quarreled but as days went by, they learned to watch out for each other and to appreciate each other.

In the end, as with most comedies, it was a happy ending. They cracked the case, Shannon received an award, welcomed Sarah into her family and called her a “sister” which was meaningful as Sarah did not have a family.

I laughed throughout the movie. I loved the natural and dynamic chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy! I loved their teamwork! I enjoyed watching them working together.

I took my phone and WhatsApp my buddy—my Shannon or Sarah, and told her about the movie.Just like Sarah and Shannon in the movie, we were the complete opposite of each other. We had different upbringing, different culture, raised in different cities, liked different things and we didn’t even speak the same dialect when we first met! Somehow, we gelled. We managed to make this friendship work. There were times when we irritated and annoyed each other to the maximum but we knew that whatever we were going through, we would be there for each other. The love of Christ is the foundation of our friendship.True friends are hard to find.

Below are three joys of having friends in our lives:

1. Friends help us to enjoy God

I am an introvert but I can testify that great friends are given by God. Ephesians 5:18-19 says, “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”. Some of the enjoyable moments in life are just having fun together in the Lord.

2. Friends keep us accountable

John Wesley had his covenantal group which held each member accountable. Every time when they met together, they would ask each other a set of questions and they had to be honest when answering them. The purpose of this was to keep each other holy.

Good friends watch over us with love and make sure we are on the right track. Friends speak the truth to us in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”.

In my own life, friends speak into my life and give me rebukes when necessary so that I am living a life pleasing to God. The rebukes are painful but they help me to be a better person.

Good friends will love us enough to continue inspiring and encouraging us to grow as a person, as a citizen in this world and as a disciple of Christ.

3. Friends bring us before God in prayers

Life’s burdens and problems can weigh us down. They are heavy for us to carry them alone. Good friends will not only listen to us when we need listening ears, they will also pray for us. How wonderful to know that we are not alone in our struggles but that there are faithful friends who are bringing us before God in their intercessions.

I would love to hear from you: How had you been blessed by your friends? Leave a comment below!