February Resolution: Check In #4

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It’s telling that I haven’t posted this update until a week after it was due. For March, so far, I haven’t done a daily reading challenge. For the final week of February, I ended up reading only 3x again, on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

I’d been feeling ‘off’ for a bit now but that feeling really heightened starting a few weeks ago, to the extent that I became practically paralysed from doing many things. I knew something was wrong but it wasn’t until on Friday night, by God’s grace, Jacky and I really spoke about it that I began to realise what was happening.

Jacky was able to bear my burdens and pray for me, and I was able to confess my sins to him and trust in God’s promises delivered through the words of James:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16, ESV

It had been such a long time since I’d suffered a spiritual attack that I’d really started to let my guard down. I was almost feeling guilty about not having had one, since they tend to come on fast and strong whenever I’m trying to work unto the Lord. The absence of them almost made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Almost. Thankfully, I know that biblically that is just simply not true, but the thought has crossed my mind a few times. I am not feeling relieved that it turns out I have been spiritually attacked, but I am thankful that Jacky and I have prayed about it together and I feel like an oppressive weight has been lifted from me.

I thank God for still working in me during this time, and for granting me victory over these recent attacks. I thank God that it’s not due to my merit or power or ability, but it was all His. It relieves me of a burden I’d never be able to bear, a truth from which I derive much comfort, but it also means that all glory rightly belongs to Him.

God is awesome.

SDG,

Crystina

Reflections: “That’s Not Very Christian Of You.”

Someone said this to me yesterday. To be honest, I was a bit shocked. I wasn’t sure how to respond, and in my heart my first thought was, “That’s really harsh.” I felt like if someone wanted to attack me where it really hurt, that’s something they would say. I felt defensive, and even like that was a below-the-belt comment.

However, upon further reflection, I don’t believe that comment was unmerited. Perhaps it was said in jest as I would consider us to be friends, but even such an offhand comment comes from a deeper place, so at the very least I should conclude that I must have inadvertently hurt them.

The background is that I joked that a male celebrity/public figure looked “…different” in a recent photo. As in, he clearly had put on some weight, and as a result was accused of fat-shaming. Initially my thoughts were that, could I not even make such an observation without being shamed for the comment? The last time I saw a photo of him, he looked significantly slimmer.

However, my joke clearly did not come from a place of love, and even if I wished to argue that I was worried for his health, that isn’t really the thought that I had. To be fair, a major part of me was just thinking that he must have been eating really well, so good for him. Heck, I was even a little envious that he had the means to just jet off to any country and eat the best of foods at any given time.

But I can see how the circumstances under which I said it, coupled with the arguably judgemental tone I said it in, were all inappropriate and should have been kept to myself. In fact, I shouldn’t have thought like that in the first place. Shortly after, I apologised in a way that I hope came across sincerely. But today I am taking the time today to reflect on myself, my words and actions.

“That’s not very Christian of you” – this stung and cut me deeply. However, she’s not wrong.

Christian means to be “like Christ”. Have I been acting very Christian lately? Have I been thinking very Christian lately? I know that God will use whomever He pleases to convict me, why shouldn’t this be an act of His, working along with the Spirit to remind me of who I am/ought to be? I have sinned. It is appropriate for me to ask God, too, for forgiveness.

I have been toiling unto God’s Kingdom, but have I been reflecting Christ in my words and actions? How’s my relationship with Christ these days? How much devotional time have I had? Yes, I have done Bible reading. Yes, I have prayed. Yes, I have had plenty of Bible study. But if I consider how much quiet time I have had, it’s not nearly enough.

So let me make that a priority again, so that my heart can be in the right place. I thank God for His unconditional grace, endless mercy and forgiveness through Jesus. I thank God that He doesn’t count my sins against me, but, in love, sanctifies me to grow.

Because of Jesus, I am a sinner saved by grace. Because of Jesus, my unrighteousness is accounted to him, and his righteousness is counted to me. Because of Jesus, I am unashamed. But unashamed does not and should not mean unapologetic.

“That’s not very Christian of you” is a wake-up call. Wake up, Christian, and start being Christ-ian.

SDG,

Crystina

February Resolution: Check In #3

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I did read 5 days this week, as originally intended. But I did not read on all the days that I thought I would. I ended up not reading on Wednesday, and reading on Sunday instead. The other reading days were as I had originally planned.

I try to spend more time meditating on the chapter when possible. Jacky and I had a couple of mornings where we ate breakfast and read/did our devotional together, which I enjoyed a lot. I haven’t really begun to commit the passage to memory but I am starting to naturally be able to remember parts of it.

It’s just occurred to me to do a devo on the passage daily, or at least each verse, throughout the month – one verse per day or something. I would definitely have it committed to memory by the end of the month. However, it feels like there are a lot of things that I want to accomplish and I must find time to prioritise them all.

Since I work now, it’s not possible for me to do all the things I want whenever I want anymore. I will pray about it; perhaps it’s something I can consider doing from next month onwards.

Blessings,

Crystina

February Resolution: Check In #2

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The week’s reading did not go well. I wish I had a good reason for it? But I don’t. There were multiple times during the day, or even in the evening, where I’d thought, “I should read.” But I just didn’t do it.

I ended up only reading on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Again, it wasn’t that I didn’t have devo time on other days, but it does show an issue with my heart that I did not prioritise something as simple as reading an additional 21 verses at some point during my day.

It shows an idolatry problem. It shouldn’t be a burden to read an extra chapter, but rather an opportunity to spend more time with my Creator and He who should be my first love. There is nothing more I can say to this, it is sin. But, thankfully, God does not hold it against me, for my sins have already been paid for by the precious blood of Christ.

He remains faithful, even when I am faithless, and thank God that His love for me is not dependent on my behaviour or who I am, but because of who He is. What’s more, equally thankfully, God’s not finished with me yet, and He does not leave me where I’m at. May God work in me, that He should take His rightful place as King.

Blessings,

Crystina

February Resolution: Check In #1

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I decided to read Romans 12 after all :) It’s a shorter chapter than 8, so it works out well that I have fewer days to read it in for memorisation. I did my reading of it 4 times this week: I did not read on Friday and Sunday as previously decided, but unfortunately also missed reading it on Tuesday.

It was my bad for not prioritising it. It is a wonderful chapter that I am not as familiar with as I’d like to be, so I’m glad I have a chance to read it more this month.

This week I managed to get a lot of my to-do list complete, which I’m thanking God for. But I do notice that a lot of my faith-related to-do’s (i.e. record and upload, reading, evangelism) remain incomplete. There are some reasons for this – most relate to being really tired and working more, but I really could have gotten them done if I wanted to. It shouldn’t be a comparison, but a lot of personal things that I wanted to do were also neglected due to lack of time or energy.

That said, Jacky and I discussed some of the things that were eating into my time that was also causing me to become more tired than usual, and we’ve already made changes to combat this, for which I am very grateful.

Next week, I shall make it a priority, as it should be.

Blessings,

Crystina