Monday, October 16, 2006

Having been born into and brought up in a Christian family for all these years, going to sunday school and now attending cell group and serving in church and all... it's a big shame that i've not read the bible once through cover to cover. I'm not saying that length of time is equivalent to how many times i've read the bible or how well i know it.

But when i bring that up, i'm saying that i realize that at some point along the way, surely i should have been convicted to read it because the simple truth is that it's God's word, and if i really do love God, i'd be hungry in my soul to know, to learn, to do, be and to live.

Being completely honest with myself, my confession is that i've never felt an urgency to read it because i was too tired and jaded to read a book that although looks deceivingly small (at least my NKJ version looks small), it's filled to the brim with tiny words all compressed together in a brain numbing lump... What with the selection of stories of certain individuals and empires in history, and a lot of other bizarre events.

The devotional (a guide book that brings one through verses and to learn lessons) that i was also using for years didn't really give what i was "assigned" to read for that day much meaning, as each day's "lesson" was so distant to me, too deep, too shallow, too fleeting. I saw it all as mundane, excruciating, boring, impersonal.

My walk was often a tiring mountainous one, with sudden high and lows. It was soaring and dipping too much that it became painfully difficult for me to handle: Heartbreaks would happen all too often. I often reached peaks that never lasted and that i knew would not, and those expected times when i crashed and burned, turning my face away angrily, becoming cynical and bitter.

I'm not sure if i've mentioned this in the blog, but i've mentioned this to close ones:

Things have since changed because i've learnt, that the walk isn't meant to be that way. We don't run on emotions, signs and wonders. We run on faith, trusting in and living out God's word.

Life may be the one that throws us around pretty rough, but it is the walk that remains constant, a steady and stable trek. Our walks can only get better when we keep persisting and pursuing. God already promised never to leave us, so it dwindles only when we choose to allow it.

Assimilating this understanding through ministry and my own experience, i have come to finally receive a sense of peace and confidence in God. It feels as if a code has been broken, and that i've gained a precious treasure that i now possess. It settles deep inside my being for safe keeping, and for good. And because of that, i've come to learn about and experience God in ways that i could never have done in the past.

And so, I no longer doubt like i used to. That was one of biggest barriers in my walk, and it has now been overcome. If you were to throw me intellectual debates about my faith, i'll be honest and say that i can't answer nor account for all of history's controversies and questions about God and his ways. (I don't like theorizing on God's behalf and spreading what i think is true.) But yet, i know that my faith in Christ Jesus, in God, will not be shaken.

I wonder if God's trying to gently tell me something at the moment...

For months (it began somewhere at the beginning of this year), i've been having something tell me that i need to read the bible once through. I wouldn't say that "duty" is the motivation, rather it feels more like a gentle but persistent beckoning.

I've not heeded this feeling, and while it has not exactly escalated through the months into a jo-you-better-do-this-right-now threat, i've now begun to feel a sense of holey (or "holy"? haha...) emptiness borne out of an unmet desire and yearning. I'm actually... Beginning to feel an additional WANT, a DESIRE, an INTEREST in reading that wordy book. (new king james version leh. *gulp* Think i'll read my new international version student's bible instead)

I find this all very intriguing because for those of you who know me, you'll know that i don't like reading very much since the days when academic reading killed my patience for reading.

During the times when i open my bible to the new testament, i would encounter the words in red ink (the words that Jesus spoke personally) and find that i hang onto every word he says and delight very much in them all. Not that EVERYTHING he says convicts my soul and breaks me down into tears like some rhema effect thingy but it's more like he's speaking out to me, and to us all, transcending space, time and history with his loving (and sometimes loving rebuke) words that are still refreshingly relevant and filled with wisdom and truth.

I guess this is going to be a new phase i'll be going through, for God to mature me and my walk with him, to teach me stuff. I had better listen and obey. So exciting... :-D

As the bible says, God will continue to mould those of us who love and live for him into the person he wants us to be and he will complete the good work that he chose to begin. Isn't that just beautiful? He cares about tiny little beings like you and me among the billions. In fact, he cares for every little one that make up the billions. :-) Sweet.

20 comments:

Ambrose said...

Hebrews 12:2. Focus on Him. for anyone, n in doin all things, one muz have focus. for us, we have Him :) well.. that's what i learnt on sunday =p wahaha >.< call me if u wanna chat, else have a gr8t day girl -grinz-

joline said...

ambrose:

Yeap, the verse is right on. And i'm glad that though we run the risk, and have also lost focus every now and then (especially when we feel burnt out from running on our own strength and knowledge), God gives us that gentle nudge we need to keep running, and at the same time to learn something about Him.

Pope @ David said...

oh nuuuu~
where'd your tagboard go? :(
Hmm, wonder if they'll ever be back running or u might wanna consider getting a Cbox @ http://cbox.ws/
free registration & basic usage too~

******

Lovely pic from previous post too.. Esp the "toothy-grin" ones & the 2nd one which shows Jed's bright happy wide eyes tt seem to say, "Whatcha lookin' at, Smiley-Boy?" hehehee..

Pope @ David said...

oh, in the pics with Jed un-leashed, I can just imagine the classic oldie "Born Free" being played in the background as he "gallops" in the open field~ XD

GeRmAiNe said...

thanx Joline for ur uber-long entry..i must say i feel a certain sense of comfort reading it..knowing that i'm not in this alone..and inspired that God will "continue to mould those of us who love and live for him into the person he wants us to be and he will complete the good work that he chose to begin". AMEN!

chelsea5manutd0 said...

oh jo! i can WHOLLY understand how u're feeling, but it is part of making your christian walk more HOLIstic if u could read the bible once thru. but even if u don't, i've often found that memory of simple verses can serve as important guiding principles to all kinds of events and issues in life. u can also rely on these verses when the need arises.

joline said...

pope @ david:

yeah, tagboard kinda left like countless bloggers in the lurch. ha. well, i would sign up for another one if i wasn't hesitant about giving my particulars to potential dubious service providers.

***

heeheeehee. I always like to read your analyses on my photos. the smiley boy one was anyhowly taken actually. I was sitting at the front co-pilot seat and just stuck my camera holding hand behind to the backseat where jed was in his crate and snapped, hoping to capture his face.

HAHA, yeah, now that you mentioned it, that's so apt... and comical. i'm seeing everything move in slow-mo...

Germaine:

My dear germie friend, despite the problems you may be facing, it already warms my heart (and God's!) to know that you made the conscious and brave decision to choose to take that step of faith to believe and give your life to Christ. The walk is not easy when events in our lives can be so unforgiving, so yep... we are in this together! :-) All of us face certain stages in our walk and it's part of maturing and thus growth.

I feel most privileged to know that the uber long entry (heeheehee) has brought you comfort and assurance. I guess we need to be honest about the reality and truths about ourselves so that it can be the open avenue through which we can encourage and spur one another on. I'm here for you should you need to talk or if you need prayer. :-D

Apart from moulding you throughout your life, the Holy Spirit lives in you and you have all the authority being God's child and the assurance of His promises. So, in those times when you're physically alone and feeling lost, depressed... Take heart that there's someone else who's with you 24/7! And he happens to be The Most High King. How grand, comforting and cool, huh? ;-DDD

joline said...

chelsea5manutd0:

WHAHAHAHHA. Oh boy, here we go again! Punniness rules lah.

Yeap, i do agree with you on that. I guess i've been surviving on too few verses though, and sometimes it's hard when i don't know the full contexts and other stuff that can be related. Ha, i probably won't be able to remember everything anyway, so yeah, i'll be keeping more (to come) close to my heart (and memory) like you have mentioned.

Eliss said...

i gotta say u guys are very ehhh how to say...involved with ur religion. not me! i very bochap abt such things only go temples when i have problems. then i nv pray to my gods in the sense that i dun burn incense n put food offerings at all. only my mum does. sumtimes she dun.....i guess it is always good to have a religious side...good for u guys!

joline said...

Eliss:

:-) I guess it's because we're convicted about who and what we really believe in. And like you said, to us our faith gives us a lot of meaning to and reason for living. How about yourself?

Eliss said...

i like to think that i believe in a God. When i have troubles, i will think in english to god. But the problem is can my chinese gods hear me in english?
but i do visit temples and try to eat vegetarian dishes on impt days. when i go to temples i donate money too

joline said...

Eliss:

So do you believe in one God, or various Gods? With all due respect, i was just wondering about how do you view your God(s) in a personal way?

Eliss said...

i believe in many gods. I believe in Buddhas and Goddess of Mercy. But my religion stated in documents is taoism not buddhism. Last time i lived in front of a temple and i grew up with the religious events right infront of my doorstep. I really like the smell of incense burning. i know this sounds weird but i am one of theose pple who finds it oddly familiar,maybe cos i grew up smelling incense burning. hmmmm

joline said...

Eliss:

:-) Guess your childhood days are linked to the smell, and probably invokes the (nostalgic?) feelings of those yesteryears... Are your beliefs a personal decision that you made or was it something that you grew up with?

Ambrose said...

hehe. i grew up w a temple near my place too ^^ but didn't really like incense burning haha. didn't like crowds either =p
what i did remember tho, was when my parents brought us to visit n pray during the normal days w/o the crowd. those days were nice, peaceful, n tranquil. it soothes the soul i guess. mayb that's y buddhism is a way of life: it guides u to lead a "tranquil" life? w/o conflict n stuff. my grandparents tho r taoist. some parts of a taoist temple strike urm.. alittle fear =p mayb that's y my parents r buddhist ha =p
religion is a personal choice, but i feel for our sake, we should never confine ourselves to one religion n give ourselves the opportunity to explore others. =)
i'm still exploring religions!
but i've committed myself to one, that's all =)
the beauty of the freedom of the human will. ^^ damn i think i'm blabbering too much =p
nice topic tho. this can go on for quite awhile muahaha. like politics =p *evil laugh*
HI ALL!

joline said...

Ambrose:

I think that the topic of religion and faith can drag on and an because they address the very personal convictions and beliefs of an individual. Challenging the philosophy or basis of the religion is like issuing a directly personal challenge on the individual.

Hm... Do you mean "exploring" to be "learning about"?

I agree that religion/faith is a personal choice. I'm not sure about what the philosophies of other religions advocate on whether we can have "more than one religion at a time" or "we are free to explore and possibly be converted to other religions", but personally, once i am convicted and committed (which i am), there is no turning back. But i guess that's because i believe that what i believe in is the truth, although i respect that others might beg to differ.

While i'm committed and also do not limit myself to finding out and learning about other religions like you do, that said, i'm no longer on that quest to find out "the other truths" while holding onto the possibility that i may converted when i find something else that overrides my current beliefs.

Eliss said...

my beliefs are shaped by my personal experience. I went to 2 christian schools and always get posted to work in christian schools. My colleagues at work are also christians. so i have always pray to my "God" in english. Now is like ambrose also, discovering and exploring religions. Then my friends in sec schs are indians(sikhs) which agn create more chances to embrace diff cultures and diff religions. I have even been to pray in A Sikh temple!

joline said...

Eliss:

That's interesting... All of what you said. I remember there was once when er, Daniel accompanied you to a methodist church? Hm... Not sure what happened, but perhaps one day i could have the pleasure of having you visit mine? :-D

ambrose said...

YaY join the queue! LOL

we all are dued a visit to yur church =p

newayz yeah i meant 'exploring' as in 'learning of'. u can't discuss n debate religion unless u KNOW what u're talking about. n by that i dun juz mean your own faith.

that's one reason y many non-Christians shun overzealous evangelistic Christians. (speaking from experience. ie. my mum =p) coz they're too pushy n usually know nothing about other's faith, hence coming off as arrogant n untactful. lack of respect comes to mind as well.

wuu!! i've never been to a sikh temple! no idea what their religion's like! hehe... i've lots to learn =p

urm jo... we NEED to get ourselves a tag board. well.. u 1st. my blog is.. urm... neglected atm =p

p.s. sorry if i'm too chatty ^^ bad habit =)

joline said...

Ambrose:

Heh. Er, i feel no hurry to get one leh. But ok, i'll work on that when i have the enthusiasm to look at html codes. Anyways, i don't like silences in comment boxes! They're meant to be filled with voices from people! So, talk away and be as chatty as you like!

HAHAHAHHA... Right. I now know that you made me a promise (4 years ago) and now a re-promise. ;-)

I agree with you definitely, about having to know about other religions and faiths. It is only respectful and responsible, and not only that, it would probably enable us to understand and see life from someone else's point of view and convictions. Which can in turn, can well, help in how we share the good news when the time is right.