Today Is The Day! :)

•March 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Today is the day, I will rejoice and be glad in it”

Yesterday, I just had a test for one of the subject I’m taking this semester. I’ve spent a few days to study for that test because I really hope that I could score well for this subject. However, what I hoped turned out to be the other way round. In the test, there were two questions that I had to answer. And yet, after that one hour test, I was very disappointed with myself that I couldn’t manage to get the right answer for BOTH questions. >.<

As I wake up this morning, I still felt quite regretful that I had not done well yesterday. And furthermore, being a final year student in NTU, everyday there’s always worries about my present (e.g. whether I can pass my exam, my relationship problem with others, etc) and my future (e.g. the difficulties in finding job, the struggle in looking for direction to where I want to go and what I want to do with my life). And often, I wake up and complain to God why this and that happened in my life.

But before I started my morning bible reflection today, I suddenly remembered one of the Praise and Worship songs used during the CPG prayer meeting last Tuesday. This song was already on my computer desktop for quite long, and somehow this morning I had the urge to click on it and listen to that song again.

I’m casting my cares aside
I’m leaving my past behind
I’m setting my heart and mind on you
Jesus

I’m reaching my hand to yours
Believing there’s so much more
Knowing that all you have in store for me is good
Is good

Today is the day, you have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
Today is the day, you have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
I won’t worry about tomorrow
I’m trusting in what you say, Today is the day

I’m putting my fears aside
leaving my doubts behind
I’m giving my hopes and dreams to you
Jesus

This song really touched my heart at that moment. It felt like God was directly talking to me and remind me to be like the person singing this song, to leave the past without any regret and to trust Him that all He has in store for me is good.

This was affirmed by the first reading today from Genesis 17:3-9 about God’s promise to Abraham to make him the father of all nations. The reading reminded me about Abraham’s faith in following God’s will and how God then blessed Abraham for his faith. (I ought to have faith like him! :))

And I guess I should learn to stop complaining too much and stop taking my days for granted. Instead, I should rejoice because God has given me a new day this morning! I can’t imagine if I can no longer wake up this morning. There are still many things I want to do in my life. And I praise God that He gave me a new day, new opportunities and new challenges every day, so that I can grow to be a better person. Thank You, Lord! 😀

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Christ has no body now on earth but yours

•March 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area…

“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

(John 2:13-25)

On last Sunday, the Gospel reading was about Jesus who was angry because there were many people who disrespected the Temple in Jerusalem by turning it into a marketplace.

And in the daily reflection that I read from Word Among Us, it quoted a very powerful sentence by St. Thomas Aquinas,

“He, who is not angry when there is just cause for anger, is immoral.”

Why? Because… anger toward injustice is not sinful; it’s even appropriate! Expression of anger are acceptable if they arise from a desire to restore justice and order…We just have to be careful not to let our anger to overpower us or overshadow the call to love and forgive. — WAU 11 March 2012

When I reflected on the Gospel and those words above, I was really struck. I suddenly realized that in my life, I have often been so ignorant to many things that have happened around me. There are so many times when I have seen that there are problems with my community or with my friends, but yet, I never do anything. Well, I probably love peace too much until I become afraid to speak out my thoughts. And sometimes, I’m also afraid of making conflicts and I’m scared that people will not like me if I say bad things about them.

Besides, in this time of Lent, I started to realize about the sins I have done. They are not only sins, in which I disobeyed the 10 Commandments, but also the sins of omissions that many people also tend to overlook.

“Omission is the failure to do something one can and ought to do. If this happens advertently and freely, a sin is committed.” – Catholic Encyclopedia

There are many times when God has given me opportunities and the capabilities to do good deed to others. There are many times when God prompted me to help someone who is in need. And there are also many times when God showed me times when I should speak out and be angry when I see something is not right. But yet, I stayed silent and do nothing.  =(

Therefore, Lord, please give me the courage to follow You and to be more aware of your prompting. Help me Lord, so that I will be confident enough to do what Your Holy Spirit is asking me to do. And may I be able to always remember what St. Teresa of Avila said during her life:

 

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

No hands but yours,

No feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion

is to look out to the earth,

Yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good

and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.

 

~St Teresa of Avila~

Being grateful

•April 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

These past few weeks have been very busy and hectic week for me…Even after I added ‘complaining’ in the list of the things that I want to abstain from during this Lent season, I still cannot resist the temptation to complain….be it about the uncertain weather, the subject that I dislike, the quiz that was so difficult, the lab report I had to write, the 2 quizzes that I have next week, the exam that is so near with the limited time left as compared to the amount of work that I need to catch up…etc etc… (the list goes on)

Then this morning I listened to this song…a very beautiful and easy-to-listen-to song.

Thank You

by Jayesslee
http://youtu.be/8LbWPClATrc

Just a little while longer I wanna pray
Can’t get You off my mind so I came to say
Thank You Lord just for loving me

Many times as I do forget
Every need that You have met
Oh thank You Lord, I know You’re showing me

You are there when I am down and out
You’re holding me, Your love is so amazing
Oh it changed me

Chorus:
Here I am with all I am
Raise my hands to worship You
I wanna say thank you, oh thank you
For everything, for who You are
You cover me, You touch my heart
I wanna say thank you

I could have died in my sin but You saved me
Didn’t have any hope at all
You gave me peace divine, strength to carry on

I should have been the one to pay
But instead You took my place
My Jesus, words cannot explain
Even though I don’t deserve Your love for me
You look beyond my fault and You showed mercy

I wanna say thank you for the sun
I wanna say thank you for the rain
Everything You do is beautiful
I’m so grateful for Your love

When I spent some time to reflect on this song, I was reminded again of what Tommy shared during the Praise and Worship session two weeks ago: sometimes we are too focused on the problems that happen in our lives, until we often missed out on the good things that He has blessed us with. Yes, “many times I do forget, every need You have met”

And as I dwelt in the lyrics, I realized that there are just so many things to be thankful of. The fact that there is someone up there who love me so much (I often take this for granted) even though I keep disappointing Him with my sins and ungratefulness… and the fact that I’m still alive to be able to see the sun and the rain that filled the sky today…Hmm…maybe I need to learn to say thank you and be grateful before I start complaining.

Well, my problems are still there, but I guess He is there when I am down and out. And He is holding me, So let me just do my best and surrender the rest to Him.

Thank You, my Lord =D

The True Test of Relationships

•January 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

While I was looking through my old files, I came across this notes written by one of my seniors, who have often inspired me with his writing. I really encourage you to read this..and reflect on it… and I hope it can answer some of ur problems or give you some new insights. God bless! 🙂

————————————————————————————-

 

The True Test of Relationships

by Stephen Nathaniel Gunawan

 

“The true test of relationships is not only how loyal we are when friends fail, but how thrilled we are when they succeed.”

Do I enjoy and root for the success of my friends? Think again. Many of us would say, “Good luck” or “All the best” to our friends when some hurdles are to be expected. What would you do, if your friends do better than you, in an examination, in a contest, in the workplace? Think again.

However, there is one experience in which I went the extra mile to keep rooting for a friend. Celebration is how I defeat jealousy. This is a story which I have after forging a close friendship for 10 years, through many ups and downs. And just because of this single success, I will share the vital key of my principle in life, that you may also find valuable.

 

The Joy of the Accomplishment is Diminished When No One Celebrates with You

As a kid, I always thought that “A burden shared is a burden halved, and a joy shared is a joy doubled.” But too often, the second half did not come to light. In fact, I encountered sarcastic smiles, sneers from familiar faces when I shared joyfully the things I love, the things I accomplished. Have you ever being sneered of being too happy? It really deflated me emotionally. Oscar Wilde once said, “Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”

After my experience, I decided that I would never let others’ lack of enthusiasm hinder my own. And I became determined to celebrate with friends when they succeeded – and sometimes even more enthusiastic than they are! That is why, for people whom I have come across and shared several things with me, thank you for your trust, and the very reason I spend so much of my time with people is to give me another chance to celebrate your success – and to champion them. I want you to feel encouraged and continue to fight for your dreams. Because I believe there’s no telling what you might accomplish with the knowledge that others want you to succeed.

 

Many People Identify with Failure; Fewer People Identify with Success

What I’ve discovered over the few years of studying people’s behavior is the following: you may be able to impress people with your successes, but if you want to influence them, share your failures. Everybody has failed, so it’s a great way to connect.

The problem is that because people so readily identify with failure, they sometimes have a very hard time connecting with success. And if they don’t identify with success, they may resent it.

 

What Hinders People from Success Often Keeps Them from Celebrating Others’ Success

Frequently, the very same qualities that prevent people from achieving success – emotional insecurity, a scarcity mindset, petty jealousy, etc. – prevent them from celebrating others’ successes. They constantly compare themselves to others and find themselves wanting. As a result, they have a hard time getting beyond themselves.

When I was a kid, some of my friends didn’t believe that I could sing to a large audience. Thanks to my dad for putting so much confidence in me, and I did something about it. I went out and find me some new friends! Well, I did manage to sing at Sentosa Musical Fountain in 2003, in front of more than 800 audiences, very much because of the new friends that believed I could. It’s sad, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

When I reflect on the value of community, many thoughts come to mind:

My success can be achieved only with others.

My lessons can be learned only from others.

My weaknesses can be strengthened only by others.

My servanthood can be tested only under others’ leadership.

My influence can be compounded only through others.

My leadership can be focused only on others.

My legacy can be left only for others.

So I should commit myself to and celebrate with others!

The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you. Don’t look at your friends, family, and teammates as competition. Be the rare kind of person who is happy when others succeed.

 

The Task

•December 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My friend sent me this inspiring article, written by Paulo Coelho (the author of The Alchemist).

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2010/11/03/the-task/

This reminds me of the verse that Andry shared during his talk a few weeks ago, when he shared about suffering.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” – Romans 5: 3-5

O Lord, help me to learn the importance of discipline and training in my life. Teach me to persevere more and not to give up when I feel burdened, because I have You, whom I can put my hope in. Through all the difficulties I experience, may I be able to grow much and may my abilities now surpass that which I used to have. Amen.

 

When Things Didn’t Go According to Our Plan

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Panic!!!!! How????”

Yes, ‘panic’ might be the best word that describes my feeling yesterday when God suddenly surprised me with His plan.

Yesterday was supposed to be our last prayer meeting for this semester. Hence, we, the CPG Coreteam, wanted to make it special by inviting a guest speaker to talk about Advent and Reconciliation. And we really thanked God that Fr. Gerard from St. Francis of Assisi Church, who stays pretty near to NTU, agreed to be our speaker.

So everything seemed to be going well at first. Our teaching team, including myself, went to meet him the night before, to discuss what he was going to share during the prayer meeting. And I could imagine that the talk would be fun and enriching with the knowledge and the down-to-earth approach that Fr. Gerard has.

However, just a few minutes before our praise and worship session started, suddenly Thobi asked me and Vina to go out of the seminar room (I was supposed to be the singer for the PW Session, but since he said that it was urgent, so I left my mic on the table and went out of the room)

Thobi received a phone call from Tommy, who was supposed to fetch Fr. Gerard from SFA, saying that he was still stuck in a traffic jam around Serangoon area, and the heavy rain really made the traffic even worse. Hence, he won’t be able to make it for the session.

“Oh noooo! This is bad,” I said to myself.

“What to do??? How should we continue the prayer meeting without him?? Many people are expecting to hear from him and now he cannot come! Oh God, what are you doing to us?”

We tried to think of alternatives to replace the talk, while the rest were having the PW session inside. We became even more panicked when the PW was going pretty fast. So we finally decide to just do a longer public testimony session. Vina and I would then do a sharing on what Fr. Gerard shared with us the day before. After that, we planned to have small group sharing session (and we quickly tried to think of what sharing questions to give).

I was hesitant at first. This was like giving a teaching session without any preparation at all. “Should I do it? How if I forget what I’m supposed to say?” However, there was a voice inside me saying, “Irma, just do it…Irma, just do it…just do it!” (maybe God also loves Nike. =P) Somehow, I felt that God was calling me to do this.

And when we prayed before we entered the seminar room, I was reminded of the talk in Emmaus a few weeks ago, titled, When Things Don’t Go The Way You Want Them To” that one brother shared with me. And also the time when last year, I asked Tommy to be speaker one day before the prayer meeting to replace another speaker. Through them, and also through the prophecies, God was asking me not to be afraid, but to trust Him instead, that everything would be fine.

So with that conviction from God, and by only carrying the 1-page printed outline of Fr. Gerard’s talk, I gave the teaching with Vina, in a sharing style (all of us sat on chairs, forming a big circle). Amazingly, everything went pretty well! I could feel how the Holy Spirit supplied me with the words and ideas when I was talking. I was blank at certain times, but suddenly inspiration came to my mind. And I could see people enjoying the session! Oh, praise the Lord! =D

After we finished sharing, some people asked questions and again, thank God, He also sent people to answer the difficult questions.

In the end, we didn’t have time to carry out our original plan of having a small group sharing, but oh well….maybe that was how God wants it to be. =P

Then when I get back to my room and opened my facebook account, I was again surprised with the affirmation from God, through the ‘Message From God’ application that I used. It said:

On this day, God wants you to know

… that it’s time you let go. Yes, of course, you want to control so everything happens in just the way you want it. But at the end of the day, we control nothing, – it’s all in God’s hands, – has always been, and will always be. So, do what you can, and then let go, and let God handle the rest.

How true it is!

Now, I’ve learned that when things doesn’t go according to our plan, actually God has a better plan for us…It is all in His hands…
So, I thank You Lord, for You had cast all my fears and taught me to surrender and place my trust in You when things didn’t go according to my plan! =D

His Presence Within Us

•November 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Where is God? Why can’t I feel Him? Why can’t I hear Him?”

“I’ve tried very hard to pray, I’ve read the Bible, I’ve attended Mass, but still, I just cannot feel His presence. Is He real? Is He really alive? Why is He not speaking to me anymore?”

Many of the times, when we search for Him, we are unable to find Him.

Mother Teresa also experienced this ‘interior darkness’, which she mentioned in her autobiography, “Come be My Light”, as ‘a common phenomenon among the numerous saints throughout Church history’. It is a time when we feel ‘darkness, pain, dryness, emptiness and when we feel rejected and abandoned by God. One wants only God and loves Him greatly, but is unable to recognize one’s love for Him.’

This morning, when I read the daily meditation from http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov26.htm, even though the bible reading itself didn’t really speak much to me, but there’s a line that struck me,

“…we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved…”

I realized that actually, in every action that I do, it is where God can be present in my life. Sometimes I wonder, why can I be patient with people who irritate me, or disappoint me? Why am I willing to sacrifice my time to help other people? Why am I being generous to people who never give me back anything in return? Why am I still trying to do my best in my service? Why am I still trying to endure in my studies that I do not like? And why do I still go to Church even though I cannot feel Him?

It must be the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, in me that has moved me. It must be Him that has kept me going in the ups and downs of my life. It must be Him who has spoken to my hearts to do all of them, often, without my conscience.

So I thank You Lord for dwelling in my heart, a heart of sinner which You are purifying through the work of the Holy Spirit in me. Let my unconscious mind continue to listen to Your whispering as You guide me in my life. Amen.