Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Tap Away

Now my soul sings
Your love it knows no end
Flowers like these bloom only
twice, both during the
month of February.
 I haven't been able to shake the feeling that provision will soon come our way and that the Lord will do so abundantly. As I thought of that this morning, I remembered the story I narrated to a friend during Thursday’s lunch. I can’t even remember what we were talking about, only that I told her ‘the story’. I refer to it as that because it’s been told and re-told many times. If you are a long-time friend, it may not be new to you, as a reader, for that reason. It’s still a great story so one I’ll write about, today.

One Sunday, I was at a church service while we were then living in the Philippines as missionaries. I just heard and saw what God was doing in that church so I wanted to bless it. Looking in my wallet, I saw that I only had two peso bills: a P500 and a P100. Times were tough then so the two bills represented my total cash wealth. =) I slightly debated in my head about whether I really wanted to get rid of one of them but my better sense made me pull out the P100 and while holding the offering bag, I quickly dropped it in. (Sometimes, when I tell this story, I would joke that I should have pulled out the P500!) At that point, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. Surprised, I turned to see what it was for without letting go of the bag. The lady behind me handed me a folded bill. I gestured my question of whether she wanted me to put it in the bag for her. I was a little puzzled as to why she didn’t wait for the bag to get to her so she could do it herself. She shook her head “no” and pointed with her index finger that it was for me. Completely taken aback, I let go of the offering bag and looked more closely at what I received. It was a folded P1000 bill! I was dumbfounded! How could that happen? I gave away a hundred and before it even landed on the bag, a thousand found its way to me? I felt so awed! Would the enemy (devil) do that? I realized how ridiculous that thought was so I praised God instead and thanked Him. Of course, I also thanked the lady. =) What an amazing truth it is, that if we give to God, He blesses us right back!

Beautiful trees like these can only be seen in Chiang Mai
at this time of year.
Further to that, years later, we visited that same church. During the service, I remembered the story above and in my mind, I thanked God again for that special blessing. Our lives had changed since then and we were no longer financially challenged. Looking in my wallet, I saw that it had more pesos than the P600 that time. Then, I put in a P1000 in the offering and told God that it was my way of thanking Him (How absurd! Like, why would He need a P1000?); I said I wanted Him to have it. When the service was over, I saw the very same lady mentioned in the story above, the one who gave me a P1000 with a tap on my shoulder. After our greetings, she shook my hand and gave me another folded P1000. Surprised again, I told her how awed I was the first time she gave me a thousand and how I shared that story A LOT! I told her it effectively changed my thinking about how God blesses our generosity. I think it was also the first time I told her that I just gave a P100 and how because of what she did, it immediately changed to a P1000. When she later left, the thought occurred to me that I really wanted to give the P1000 back to God (silly me!). I went over to the Missions Box and dropped the P1000 that she just gave. We were then asked to return so we could also share at the second service. We were just visiting that church that Sunday. We were on our way to Davao City where we then lived and worked. Impromptu, when the church's leadership saw us, they allowed us to share a bit about the work we did. When the second service was over, an envelope was given to us to thank us for sharing. In it was a third P1000 in the last 2 hours! =) I thought, "Wow, Lord, you really wanted us to have that!" We kept it! =D

The Lord does amazing and wonderful things as He love and provides. He does so sometimes with such creativity! =) My story is just one of many more. He is so generous and good, and, His ways are truly higher than ours. I don’t know how our current provision will come but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s just a tap away.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


God is love.

1 John 4:8, 16
I don’t even know where to start. Tonight, I sat through a meeting and watched in wonder and amazement. I should probably point out that early in the year, our school’s community was requested to fast and pray. We were given a bookmark which had a list of various groups of people to pray for. It ranged from the city’s officials to the different staff at the school, the students, and the maintenance people. Each day, we were encouraged to follow the bookmark and pray for the group listed. At the end of January, we had a culminating Community Prayer where everyone was invited to celebrate the end of the fasting and praying time. We prayed for the 27 different nations where the school’s missionaries are from and where they worked at. We also prayed for Thailand and our school. That night, declarations were as well made about how the Lord would answer our prayers. I say, indeed, He did answer. =)

Leading to this week which is the Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) of the school, we were encouraged to keep fasting. I know that some of those in the community kept fasting and praying. Last Saturday, there was a 24 hour prayer vigil as well and it was well attended. I don’t know if this was the most prayed for SEW in the school’s history but I’m sure it ranks way up there. The week started with excellent worship and teaching on how to defend our faith in Jesus, our identity in Him, and what we do now that we know who we are. Tonight, the teaching was on love and the encouragement to love one another. Johnny Vermilya, the speaker, explained so well that God is love; He wanted us to love Him, our neighbours, and ourselves. Johnny V (as he is fondly called) talked about how we were caught up in praying about 'not sinning' when God was more concerned about us 'loving'. I’m sure his message resonated in all of us and not just me because when he started to talk about confessing and repenting, we were all ready to do so. He encouraged those with
Johnny V wants the students to know that he
loves being here. He enjoys the diversity so much. =)
misgivings and offenses to go make it right with the person each one needed to reconcile with. It started slowly but soon, there was movement all over the room. And that was when I started to tear up. I saw teens and children deliberate in their steps to their destined person, talked, bowed heads together, and then hugged. Siblings made up with each other, friends to friends, and teens and children with their parents. It was touching to be a witness to it. At one point, my mind seemed so confused at watching such tender moments. Why was I so blessed to witness that? It wasn’t a common sight but I rejoiced as I pondered it. And it was when I saw “Incomprehensible” at the corner of the banner which hung at the back of the stage. The banner was of a humongous “I AM” with the many names and descriptions of Jesus surrounding it. One could say “Incomprehensible” stood out to me because it was red in color. I believe I noticed it though because I was beholding the teary-hugging-crowd in front of me, an incomprehensible sight. I hope I'll see another one like it in my life time. It was such a blessing; also heart-warming, and loving. Grace came down and manifested itself tonight. Earlier in the week, the band leader prayed that our week would all be about God and His glory. I believe that it was exactly so. Thank you and praise you, Papa God! =D

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hearing God

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27
It’s barely six weeks into this year but I narrated the story of how we sold our house in Toronto twice already. Since a remembrance of a great story doesn’t happen frequently, I thought I’d better write about it. The time was 1997 and back then, both Eng and I were just learning to hear God. He felt the prompting to move to the Philippines then and start a business. As we prayed about it, it became very clear that “Yes, we’re to move.” It wasn’t clear what for as I thought it was to do missions work but Eng felt that he was to start a business. We weren’t sure why we were going but we started to ask God questions about what we needed to do so we could go.

I remembered praying and asking God whether we should rent or sell our house. We both preferred to rent it so in case we came back to Toronto, we still had a home. The next day, a Real Estate agent knocked at the door. He asked if we wanted to sell our house. I was surprised because of my prayer! I explained that we hadn’t decided and thanked him. When Eng got back from work, I told him what happened. “How interesting!” was his remark. He didn’t think there was anything to it. “But Eng",I said, "what if it’s God’s answer to my prayer?” I wasn't sure but I really didn’t want to miss the Lord’s answer so I suggested for us to pray together. Our friend Sarah was living with us at the time so we invited her to join us. I remember the three of us kneeling in our carpeted living room floor. “Lord, please make it clear if we’re to sell our house because agents come like the one yesterday did and we don’t know if it’s just by chance. Thank you that we won’t miss it. It won’t be murky; we’ll know exactly what to do.”

The next day, the same agent came back and inquired if I’d spoken to my husband. Did we want to sell our house? I told him that we hadn’t decided but even if we did, we already had an agent in mind. When Eng came home that day, I wasted no time in telling him what happened. “What a coincidence!” was all he said. Neither of us was convinced to sell our house based on what happened so we didn’t act on it.

Weeks later while I visited friends in Bedford, Pennsylvania with our 3 sons, I told the story above. Our pastor friend said, “You’ve been praying to God to know what to do about your home and from nowhere, a Real Estate agent came two days in a row and you don’t know what to do? Maybe you’re looking too hard.” I could feel a bit of conviction in my heart but in my mind, I silently answered him with, “Easy for you to say, it’s not your house.”

The next day, while at their weekly prayer meeting, a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time, walked in. Since our prayers had started, she quietly joined our group. Shortly after, she laid a hand on me and prayed, “I thank you, Lord that their house will sell. I thank you that I see papers being signed. I thank you that it’ll sell for a good price.” I didn’t know how she knew we were praying! When I asked her why she prayed what she did, she said she couldn’t stop the words from coming out of her mouth. She said she felt uncomfortable in saying them because she didn’t even know if we were selling our house but she couldn’t help herself!

Eng wasn’t there so when we talked I told him that I knew what we were doing about our house. He said, “I already know what you’re going to tell me. You’re going to say God wants us to sell our home.” We sold our house months later. It sold for a good price. We moved to the Philippines and lived there for 4-1/2 years.

I know that because both Eng and I wanted to rent our house, it was hard for us to see how God answered us. Thankfully, He didn’t get upset and stop talking to us. He kept answering until we finally got it. If you're trying to hear from Him, I guarantee you, you'll get it, too. He is answering. You too will hear Him.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Being Used

Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
Words on a sugar packet served at Lanna Resort in Chiang Mai. =)
I often look for how the Lord speaks to me and how He uses me. Today, I saw a co-worker and when I delivered what I felt the Lord was saying about her, that she was like a “breathe of fresh air” each time I see her, the smile and the pleasure on her face said it all. I knew she was encouraged and affirmed. It felt just like what Papa God would do. He blesses and ministers to our hearts just because of His delight and love for us. He warms our hearts. =)

A few weeks ago, I was at Lanna Resort for my usual quiet time and saw the two sugar packets that came with my tea order. The first packet had “All things are easy” on the first line and the other one had the line above. Before I go on, I should just point out first that it isn’t common in Thailand to see God’s name on just about anything, anywhere, except at Christian churches or Christian schools. Since it is a highly practicing Buddhist country with less than 1% Christians, very few references to God can be found anywhere. So, seeing God’s name on the packet is the first thing that drew my attention to it. Why, in Thailand, would a packet of sugar have what it did? Secondly, when I read extremity, the first definition that came to mind was the one below:
1. hand or foot - a limb of a person or animal, or the part of a limb that is farthest from the body, especially somebody's hand or foot.
- from the Encarta Dictionary
Amused, I then saw the other packet beside it and how because they were side by side, it looked very much like the statements were meant to be read together, just like on the picture. =) Was my Papa God (the God of the heavens and everything on earth) seriously using sugar packets to say something to me? Sweet! =) (I couldn’t resist writing that! =D) Yes, of course He was! Why on earth not? =D He can use anything!

You may disagree and think my imagination is overly active but it actually made sense to me. For God, all things are easy! He uses our extremities to take us places and literally touch people, do, accomplish, etc., with them. Not just our arms and legs, He uses our mouths just like in my story above. We are the sources of encouragement and hope and it’s actually been my daily prayer! Why should I be surprised if I sensed that I should say something to someone and then it brought on a smile, or even tears? Shouldn’t that be the appropriate response if we were touched or ministered to by God through words (albeit through another person)?

Not just our extremities, everything about us, even our very scents; we are God’s opportunity. We represent Him, should reflect Him, exude Him, and be like Him. So the other night, I helped a community prayer gathering by leading the portion when different nations were prayed for. There was a chunk of work that needed to be done in preparation for it. God provided a volunteer to research some of the prayer requests and to put them in cards so we could hand them out. Without the extra pairs of eyes, hands, and legs, I seriously wouldn’t have been able to do what got done. Yes, men’s (and women’s!) extremities are God’s opportunities. =) In His grace, He uses us to be a part of His work. What a privilege we have! Yes, this week, I got busier than usual but it was FUN to be used. Thank you, Papa God! =D