Archive | August, 2012

The Fighter

25 Aug

Isaiah 41:10

The FighterMost of us in our life have experienced the joy of having our own dreams, plans, and hopes. Most of us, also have experienced the disappointment that comes when our dreams, plans, and hopes are shattered, or at the very least, things did not go according to what we had hoped for. What do you do when faced to a situation like that? Do you try to think of a way to fix the situation? Or do you blame God for putting you in a tight spot?

In my previous post, I shared about the truth that there is always something better that God prepared for us. Sometimes we have to change our mindset, sometimes we just need to be patient. But sometimes, we have to fight. The devotional that I am going to share today is concerning on the last bit: the fighting part.

Being a fighter is never easy, especially in this modern world where everything is an instant, where everything can be served right up your nose. I have to admit that I also have dreams, plans, and hopes that did not go according to what I had envisioned. Sometimes things happen out of my hands that can overturn even the very best situation into one of the worst. And it is not easy to keep on fighting to reach the same dream once you have been put into desperation.

But I want to tell you something: do not give up. God wants us to keep on fighting. He wants us to see the very end of the path that we are walking, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am going to share a few things that, I pray, will motivate you to get up and go back to the fighting arena.

  • A fighter keeps on fighting until the very end

You have to admit, a lot of us when it comes to fighting and struggling, we tend to just give up and leave all the rest to God at the second time we are hit with the problem, or in our best days, probably three times. I want all of us to take a look at Isaiah 41. This chapter contains many words of encouragement from God to Israel, and in many times God said that He will help them. My particular favorite from this chapter is verse 10.

 In verse 10, God specifically said I will strengthen you and help you (NIV). I want to stress the word help in here. If you search and open a dictionary, it will tell you that help means giving aid, assistance. Help is also a word that is frequently used to appeal for urgent assistance. Now this means that, God, even if you have surrendered all your problems to Him, does not want you to just sit back and relax. He wants to help you, not replace you. He wants to work with you, not work for you.

 In our times of trouble, it is alright to give ourselves to Him, to surrender and let Him do the rest, but only after we have done our best.

  • A fighter sees an obstacle as an opportunity, not a dead end

When you see a multitude of problems that separates you from your goals, what do you think of it? Do you think of it as an opportunity, or just another reason for changing lanes? Do you think of it as something that can help you train better, or a dead end?

 In John 6, we see a story where Jesus fed five thousand men (not counting women and children). Most of us knew this story very well. But I want us to take another look at this story. At that time, Jesus was quite famous for His miracles, and as a result, there were many people who followed Him, either hoping to see miracles from Him. Jesus asked His disciples what they should do to give these people who followed Him something to eat.

 His disciples answered Him negatively, comparing half a year’s wage to buy bread for those people. But then one of His disciples brought forth with him a boy who had five loafs and two small fishes, and Jesus performed miracle that very day. Jesus sees those five loaves and two small fishes as an opportunity to glorify His Father in heaven, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, rather than seeing it as impossibility.

  • A fighter uses prayer as his weapon to stay strong

I think it is very clear from my posts that I am strongly in favour of praying, and I personally can testify that prayers do bring miracles, and that prayers do have powers. I just want to remind all of us again that it is not the way we pray, but rather to whom we pray that matters. Prayer is about building an intimate relationship with God. I admit, I am still struggling in this area myself, but I have to keep on fighting until I can get past the struggle.

 Prayer is built upon faith and hope. As Christians, hope in the Lord, as Hebrews 6:19 says, is the anchor of our soul, firm and secure, as the basis of believing His Word and His promises.

  • A fighter fights for his future wins, and not dwell in his past losses

For a lot of us, we cannot seem to let go the past. Sometimes we think if we did something differently then we might be in a better circumstance. Sometimes we think if we chose the right thing, we might not be in a mess that we are currently facing. However, I believe God does not want us to dwell in our past. I believe God wants us not to forget, but to choose not to remember the past mistakes that we have made. And God has made it clear that we should focus instead on our future.

 Take for example in the Bible, there is a story of Lot, whose wife turned into a pillar of salt simply because she turned her head back and looked at her city. Now, many have speculated as to why she turned into a pillar of salt, including some seeing it as an act of disobedience towards God. I personally believe it was because she did not want to let go her possessions in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. It signified a longing for the past, something that she wished she could have done.

 The apostle Paul specifically said in his letter to the Philippians 3:13-14 that he forgets what lies behind him and straining towards what is ahead, towards the goal that God has set for each and every one of us in Christ Jesus. It is easy to be tempted to look back and wished that we had done things differently, and stuck in our past, but we need to get up and prepare for what lies ahead of us.

Brothers and sisters, I pray that these four points can help you in times of struggle. I know that there are other qualities of a fighter that we can add, but I believe these four are already hard enough to actually apply in our lives. Just remember that whenever we are in a struggle, be it financially, in a relationship, emotionally, or even other aspect in our life, remember that God has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. So, brothers and sisters, when the going gets tough, do you get going?

Stay blessed.


In preparing this devotional, I have visited various devotional websites and I found a very good, in-depth devotional and sharing website. Some of the points here were also taken from this website.

Behind that Closed Door

4 Aug

Revelations 3:7 – 10

Closed Door

In our life, we are always faced with challenges. Sometimes we are able to face the challenge, other times, we tried to negotiate or compromise ourselves to make way for the challenge, such as giving up our hobbies, for example. But sometimes, there are challenges so great that it seemed like it is very much impossible to overcome, and more often than not, we, as Christians, assumed that this must be a closed door.

From Revelations 3:7 we can see that God has put a promise that “he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open”, and it is true. The problem starts when we, as Christians, only take a look from one perspective, instead of the other. Often times, we only pray that God may open the door that no one can shut, and sometimes we forget that He also shuts the door and no one else can open it but Him.

During our hardship, be it financial problem, academic problem, family problem, or any other problems that seems “impossible” enough, like for instance, the permanent residency requirement, sometimes it is easy for us to think either God has closed the door, or we need to try even harder. However, the truth is that, closed doors are actually blessings, or more accurately, postponed blessings.  If closed doors are really blessings, what made God close the door for us?

  1. God closes the door so you can learn to have more faith in Him

Many of us have taken for granted what it is like to be put a wall on our face. We have forgotten what it feels like to suddenly stumble to a roadblock. We are so accustomed to it that we only feel that we forgot we had so many doors opened for us until the time we are hit with a closed door, and then we suddenly realise that we need God. A closed door is not punishment from God that we take Him for granted, but rather, a nudge that we should trust in Him and have faith in Him more. A reminder that we should surrender ourselves to Him, and let Him does His part; to let Him does the rest.

Take example of Joseph. If I had to draw a parallel, Joseph’s story was like a painter who fell down, got hit by his own ladder, splashed by his own paint, and on top of that, ruined his work. Each and every chapter of his story is like a series of unfortunate events, linked one after another. But what’s amazing was that he kept his faith to God’s promises that was shown through his dream, many years ago, and kept doing his part.

  1. God closes the door so you can change your direction and your mind

God certainly has better things in store for us. Sometimes, as we do our daily chores, working or studying, and in the same time contributing to the ministry in our church, we tend to be sitting on the same comfort zone. We tend to accept things the way they are meant to be. We tend to “go with the flow” and meddle with our own business. And that, my brother and sister in Christ, is not good (Revelation 3:16), and for exactly that reason God slams the door shut right in front of our face. So that He can finally have your attention, and actually listen to what He said.

Take example from the exodus of Israelites. The Bible stated that Israelites spent a generation to trail the desert, and if we actually look at some of the maps available online, the Israelites could actually went to Canaan much faster, but God did not do that. There are various reasons, but I believe one of the main reasons was the way Israelites think. The Israelites of the Bible, even though they were brought out from Egypt, but their minds were still lingering and longing for Egypt, that often times they said to Moses that they regret coming out of Egypt, much to the point that God Himself made sure that the first generation of Israelites, save for Caleb and Joshua, would not enter the promised land.

The second generation of Israelites, though, was different, and trusted God. This may be due to the fact that they were born in wilderness and saw the pillar of cloud and flames each day, and truly lived in God’s caring hand. Even when they were faced with the wall of Jericho, they had no doubts that God was with them.

  1. God closes the door so you can prepare yourself better

Would you cross the railroad crossing when the gates are closed? Sometimes we could not see the train is coming, but we know for sure that the train is coming. God knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows our character; in fact, He is the one who created us in our mother’s womb. He knows our limits, and He knows our qualities. Therefore sometimes, He closed the door simply just because He wants you to prepare yourself better on what’s to come.

I want to take example again from Joseph, this time from another perspective. Do you remember what Joseph did when he first learned that he was going to be the ruler of his family? He bragged to almost everyone in his family. While one can argue this might be a simple act of naivety from Joseph as he was a child, but it showed his arrogance, his tendency to brag. Now imagined what would have happened if Joseph finally became the vizier of Egypt without all the process that he had gone through as slave? We probably would not have the story of Moses. In fact, most of the Bible would be moot.

I believe one of the reason why God closed so many doors in Joseph’s life, was to better prepare him, to be a humble and wise ruler. Like a pottery, it needs to be meld again and again until it reaches the desired shape, and even then, it still needs to be burned.

I admit sometimes when I see a closed door, I am very tempted to think that God does not want this, or even sometimes, I just stopped dead in the tracks, pushing the door as hard as I can, where in fact, God actually wants me to stay still and believe in Him, and let Him take over (Revelation 3:8). Isaiah 30:15 said “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”. Next time we face a closed door, take a step back, pray, have faith, and listen to what He has in store for you.

Stay blessed.