Special Blog Series: Mental Illness Struggles – Introduction

Brecon Beacons the last big climb #dailyshoot #Wales

 

I wanted to start up a special blog series on my own struggles with mental illness and to testify about how God has remained faithfully with me despite my deep struggle and how far God goes to save even one of us and to help us in our struggles. It is crazy LOVE. God wanted me to be transparent with others about this. I will share my experiences as I blog about this and what I’ve learned on this journey so far. I feel God has showed to me that He is taking me on a healing journey to be healed and wanted to share this with my readers so they may have hope and be encouraged and hopefully to be set FREE!

My hope and prayer for people suffering from their inner torment/struggles is for them to learn about the LOVE God has for you and that you can rest in His infinite love. And also for folks to feel that they are not alone in suffering and KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD. YEP, YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD! Even if you have been abandoned or forsaken by friends or family because of your struggles, GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE YOU! His loving arms are wide open for you to come and rest into! Come and thirst for Jesus.  

Isaiah 41:17 (ESV)
When the poor and needy seek water,
   and there is none,
   and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
   I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

John 7:37-38 (AMP)
37 Now on the last and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out [in a loud voice], “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 38 He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’”

My heart goes out to folks suffering from mental illness and folks taking care of loved one struggling with it and I truly want you to feel cared for and loved and for you to know that God cares very much so. I realize there are a heavy stigma associated with mental illness and folks are afraid to talk about it or might’ve been abandoned by friends/family because of the illness, etc.. You are not alone, I am also reluctant to talk about my inner struggles with other folks around me in life. But with God, He knows our inner struggle! And still loves you regardless! THERE IS HOPE!!! Check this verse out –

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)
 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Please take everything I write in prayer and to check with the Bible and MOST IMPORTANTLY… CHECK WITH GOD!!!! (Good rule of thumb in general) I am only a mere man but will strive my best to keep it in line with what God wants me to say and to be real as possible. God is the one that deserve GLORY AND HONOR. God knows EXACTLY what each of you need, I do not, man do not either, BUT GOD DOES!!!! Everyone is different and might need one or different combination of things to help with your struggles. Allow GOD to lead and guide you as you journey in your life.

 Without Him, we are nothing but dust! With Him, we can do all things and be all we can be in Christ! I also pray for the readers to be able to enjoy God in an intimate relationship – to live and thrive in Christ! Not just simply knowing about Him or just simply going to church BUT A REAL AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!! A LOVING RELATIONSHIP!! For Jesus Christ is loving and tender. He is VERY REAL!!!

I plan to have special contact section soon in case you have any questions, or want to talk about your issues or ask questions about God, etc.. related to inner struggle/torment. I realize this is a very sensitive and challenging topic about real struggles and will do my best to be considerate and understanding and helpful. I might not be able to know or answer everything but I can certainly try and I will ask God to help me =). I will announce when that is up and completed.

 Just wanted to cap up this introduction with a little background on my mental illness since I brought that up.

 Growing up, I’ve struggled with severe anxiety, obsessive thinking, irrational thoughts, and overthinking in everything including over-interpreting and over-analyzing even a simple social encounter. I also struggle with lack of confidence many times. On the outside, people may or may not notice but on the inside it’s a totally different world since I try to act/appear normal on the outside, hiding my own inner struggle. I have suffered through many rejections throughout my life, being misunderstood and left out from folks and I also have misunderstood folks’ intentions/actions many times.

 I will explore different topics in depth as we go through this special blog series. So I wanted to give you a preview on this struggle and how God has led me along on a journey. My goal is to share God’s WORD and to open up about my struggles just like how David poured out his heart unto God. I will use the term mental illness and terms commonly used for the sake of shared vocabulary and understanding. But I want to focus mainly on the spiritual application of this struggle and to provide specific spiritual tools to help fight the inner struggles that we have. That can include specific verses that can help with specific situations you may be facing.

 I will end with several inspiring verses to show that God is calling us to have a relationship with Him and that He is faithful always. Let us go to Him and start our journey of healing!

Psalm 27:7-14 (ESV)
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

FIRE AND WATER

 

Canadian campfire

God reaches out to each of us in a unique way, just like how each of us are able to reach out to others in a unique way. God gave each of us different gifts to use, if we chose to. Serving God doesn’t mean we have to become a pastor or a missionary to do so. Who said that you have to be one of these to serve God?

Each of us have our own unique contribution we can make and don’t think for one second that you are not valued!

I wanted to emphasis this verse – 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 (ESV).

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Each one of you are valued in a different way with a different purpose in this life. Now, even though we all have different gifts, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other or acquire additional gifts.

Behold – our differences are what helps BUILD up the body of Christ and advance God’s kingdom. The old saying, “iron sharpens iron” applies to the fellowship of believers. We all have something to learn from and contribute to. When one lacks or is weak in one area, other can contribute from their strength and plenty. THAT is building one another up in love, which binds us all together.

Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV).

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Also, when we serve our brothers, we also serve God. Ponder on that, helping our brother is same as if we helped Christ himself!

Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV).

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Fire and water don’t mix, right? But they each are important for their own purpose. One brother in Christ has a fiery style when it comes to sharing God’s word, sharing His worth with great burning passion. His FIRE is able to alight others, even to those who only have embers remaining.

Yet, FIRE is not always appropriate for all circumstances. There are times when folks need the soothing cool WATER to heal and comfort them through difficult times. Other brother has this style of calming WATER, having the compassion and understanding to stand with other brother through difficult time. To continually uplift and encourage him.

But yet somehow, God was able to mix these two brothers together, FIRE AND WATER – something that no man can do. The FIRE brother infuse fiery passion into the WATER brother and the WATER brother uplift the FIRE brother with encouragements!

God knows exactly what each of us need, whether if that’s FIRE or WATER or something else completely! He knows in some season, we need that FIRE and in other season we need that WATER. And He brings along the right folks in our lives to accomplish God’s purpose. Each of you have your own unique gifts that God gave you and don’t forget that you are valued! You have your own unique story and God loves to write a unique story for each of us. Will you let God in your life and allow Him to use you and write a story for you?

God’s Long Awaited Promises

my father told me that....

As I was speaking to my dear friend and brother in Christ about having more questions than answers. I exclaimed that sometimes that’s the fun part, and of course sometimes it’s not so fun. I don’t think God intends for us to put Him in our small box of understanding. Proverb 25:2 comes to mind

Proverb 25:2 (AMP)
2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

Later that evening when I couldn’t fall asleep so quickly, I decided to flip through the Bible, starting with the Proverb but that didn’t feel right with my heart, then my heart pointed me to the New Testament. I said to myself, I feel like spending time with Jesus! So I casually skimmed/read through the book of John, stopping in various places with brief intent focus before moving on the next. But when I came across this verse

John 3:8 (AMP)
8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

At that moment, my heart stirred once again and I remembered my conversation with my friend from earlier. I thought to myself – BINGO!

And then out of blue, I started writing down what I presume to be Holy Spirit guiding me as I write. I didn’t know if it was intended specifically for me, or my friend or even someone else reading this. Or even a combination of these. The message stayed on my heart until I sent this to my friend the next day. This is what I wrote down –

A man tries to plan,
tries to have it his own way.
Whether if good or ill-intended.
Our preconceived notion, ideas, plans doesn’t necessarily always line up with God’s grand master plan.

How can we constrain God’s way with our own limited way?
How can we constrain God’s way of thinking with our own limited thoughts?
If God says He will deliver, then He will deliver.
Even if it’s a long time coming.

Remember Abraham?
When he waited for so long to receive his long-awaited son,
he thought it was a good idea to try to “help” God.
But God already had this handled,
Already taken care of,
for His Holy Hand isn’t bound, nor is His arm too short.
Yet by Abraham’s flesh, he produced an Ishmael.
Yet by Abraham’s faith and God’s promise, a promised son was born nevertheless!
An Issac!

I remember a while back when God wanted me to go down a particular path in life. He showed me the end destination as for where I was go but I didn’t know all of the details yet. Like Abraham, he didn’t know how and when his promised son would come. I just took it in faith that God will deliver on His promise to deliver me to where He wanted me to be. My flesh also tried to “help” God by planning specific details in order to accomplish where He wanted me to go. I thought this was the specific path and how God would deliver into the next stage of life but yet my preconceived notion wasn’t spot-on! Despite my “help”, God’s plan was still proceeding precisely on schedule, so nothing had been lost nor delayed. Remember my previous blog entry about God opening and closing doors in our life? In my case, I went to the wrong door but fortunately God had it closed so I can go through the correct door. God will deliver on His promise for He is able to!

John 3:8 is so powerful since we are born of the Spirit. We can feel the wind, and know which direction it’s blowing in but yet we cannot hold/contain the wind itself. Our flesh prefers the idea of being in control and yet wind is something we cannot control. So when we’re born of the spirit, we’re essentially giving up our control in life (or at least trying/learning how to do so) and allowing God’s Holy Spirit to guide us. The process might be a bit unpleasant but necessary for our growth!

Looking beyond past and present circumstances

Mauritania

Isaiah 43:16-19 (NIV)
16 This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

Oftentimes God calls us out of our present and familiar situation and thrust us into new situations. That can include leaving behind our past and present relationships, jobs or places. The Bible shows a common recurring pattern for people called upon to follow God’s divine plan. This pattern can occur multiple times throughout a person’s life. Although this doesn’t mean everyone go through the exact same pattern since everyone is unique and different. Nevertheless it is still beneficial to learn from observing this pattern in others’ lives. These people usually go through the following pattern:

1. Deciding on whether to accept or reject what God has planned for them.

Taking that first step can be difficult sometimes because in some cases, God is asking us to give up familiar attachments we have (including relationships, jobs, places, lifestyle, etc…) before we can start our journey. Not everyone choose to accept this. One verse illustrates this point quite well –

Luke 9:61-62 (ESV) 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Another verse illustrates God’s invitation to partake in His shared blessings, notice that not all accept His invitation –

Luke 14:15-20 (NIV) 15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

Sometimes accepting what God has called us to do take a huge leap in faith, not knowing why or how they will accomplish what God had planned for them.

2. Undertaking what God has called them to do.

After accepting what God has called us to do, we enter a period of transition and change that comes with much uncertainty. Sometimes we second-guess ourselves or God on whether if we’re on the right path, if we have heard correctly, etc… Sometimes we longingly look back to the old days because that was familiar (and less painful) compared to present wilderness. It’s is not always easy in time of transition and test our obedience and faith in God. The question is, will we rise up to the challenge or dwell over present and past circumstances?

3. Reaping what they had sown, whether good, bad or both.

What we do throughout our journey determine what we will sow for ourselves in the end. Our previous choices and how we respond to God’s plan has very important consequences. For some, we receive the long-awaited blessings and for some others, punishments. Don’t take this the wrong way, He is extraordinarily patient with us and our weaknesses. He truly desires that all come to repentance, for us to grow and prosper in Christ.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV) 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

An example of this pattern comes from a book of Exodus and Numbers. In the first verse below, God has declared His plan to rescue people from oppressive slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 3:7-9 (NIV) 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

He had declared His promise that His people will settle in Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. We can see that God was acting out of His endless love for His people and wanted to remove them from negative circumstances and lead them to a better place (among many other reasons as well!). He wants this for everyone and He knows that the journey is not always easy! That’s why God guide us. That’s why we must depend on God’s guidance, not our own, for He knows the best path that lies ahead.

Later in the Exodus, we read about how God sent miracles after miracles, putting His plan in motion. God divided the waters of Red Sea to make way for Israelites to escape! He also provided them with heavenly manna and water to sustain them in barren wilderness. He also guided them by pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire during the night. How amazing is that? Despite numerous miraculous displays, some people still grumbled and complained about their present circumstances, thinking it was better to die in Egypt than in the wilderness.

Exodus 16:2-3 (NIV) 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Then prior to entering the Promised Land, Israelites sent out twelve spies to scout out the land. When they came back, ten out of twelve spies gave negative report and casted doubt that they could conquer the Promised Land. Only two spies had faith and believed that they could conquer the Promised Land, despite the giants in the land. The assembly still doubted and grumbled. They looked back to ‘better’ circumstances in the past rather than having faith that God will deliver them and lead them to better place.

Numbers 14:1-4 (NIV) 14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

The Promised Land was theirs to seize, all they had to do was to act on that faith! Moses interceded on people’s behalf for their lack of faith. God forgave them. But nevertheless still punished them for their rebellion by not allowing them into the Promised Land for 40 years. Only their children will set foot in the Promised Land. Ten spies who gave bad report died by plague. The other two spies who gave good reports received God’s blessing of being able to set a food in the Promised Land.

This pattern doesn’t have to apply only to specific chapters of our life, but can apply broadly to our entire life. God has called on everyone to follow Him, bestowing each of them with unique God-given gifts. It is up to each individual if they want to follow God and use their gifts to advance His kingdom. The second part of this pattern consist most, if not all, of our life. We make series of choices that determines what we will receive in the end. The last part of this pattern happens when we die. We will either receive a blessing of eternity with God or a punishment of eternity without God. Remember, God desires that all come to repentance and follow Him. If we continue to keep faith and believe that Christ shed his blood for our sin then truly God will bless us with an eternity in Heaven.

Just keep chasing after Him and God will truly bless you! Just remember that journey will involve some sacrifices, ups and downs, and trials. But in the end, it will be worth it! Rest assured, God has your best interest at heart, and His kingdom as well! He is not doing this to torment us or to make our lives more difficult for no reason. It is simply part of our journey. He truly wants to see you succeed and prosper. He is breaking down what is not of Him and to build us up in Godly character – such as love, peace, joy, patience, etc…

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) 5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What does that mean for us? For some of us, God might be calling us to come out of our present relationships, jobs, or locations. It might not make sense at first. Just like how Israelites looked at the bleak wilderness and longingly thought of ‘better’ place in Egypt while the true blessings was in store for them in the future. As we saw, it was up to them to accept these blessings or not. As we read, many did not accept their promised blessings and chose not to go through grueling wilderness before receiving blessings from God. By looking to their past and present circumstances in a negative light, they actually hindered the blessings God had planned to give them in the present and the future. God didn’t withdraw his blessings from these people. Instead, they chose not to receive His blessing!

Some of us might be clinging onto old and unhealthy relationships (friendship/romantic/family) thus preventing us from opportunities for new relationships to emerge in our life. Perhaps God wanted to bestow us with something much better than what we have currently?? It could be just a simple character/personal development. It could be a new helpmate. It could be many other things. It’s not always an easy or pretty path to take, but nevertheless God will never forsake or abandon His children. He is continuously guiding us to a better place. Will we take a leap of faith? Even though it might cost us dearly?

By God’s own leading, not our own.

Arastradero Open Space Preserve

What does it mean to follow God’s own leading rather than our own? How do we know if our action is God-led or man-led? Where do we even start?

Earlier on the other day, I decided to set aside some time to write a post, not knowing what topic to write. So I grabbed a cup of water, set up my laptop, and sat down ready to type.

Then I sat there staring at a blank Word document… and nothing was coming to my mind. I waited a little bit.

And… still nothing.

So I took out my personal journal containing small tidbits of anything related to God (my own walk with Him, shortcomings, concerns, what I’ve learned, etc…) I looked through them, and it was refreshing to look back on what I’ve learned so far. I thought that might help jog my mind but then I looked back to a blank Word document again and was still getting nothing to my mind.

So I’ve concluded that it wasn’t the time to write a posting. I said something along the line of, “Okay God, I will wait then.” I realized that I was attempting to do this by my own leading, by my own predefined schedule. That’s not how it works with Holy Spirit!

Then later in the day, as I was busy fixing up my dinner and formulating an email to my brother in Christ, God chose at that moment to show me something simple but yet profound. Everything clicked in my head with earlier attempt and experiences in the past. I did find the timing to be funny (as in how God’s timing just happen to fall in a timing I wouldn’t choose) so I had to stop momentarily to collect my thoughts. I realized my experience earlier that day was a lesson by itself! God was showing me, in a very simple manner as my mind could understand it, that I was to follow by His leading, not my own leading. Despite how simple the lesson seems, it has a very powerful implication for the believers and those who profess Christ as their savior.

What God showed me in my heart, was the modern day churches I’ve experienced and read about, how man tries so hard to build effective programs that reaches out to people in order to increase their attendance. Many try to apply business model or man-made thinking to their churches, thinking that it will help further God’s kingdom, or in some cases their own man-made kingdom. Out of what I’ve experienced at churches throughout my lives, I never sensed or felt much of God’s leading in there. Everything seemed to be planned by man – one or two hour of church service at specific time with preplanned agenda (scripture reading at specific time, pre-planned prayer for you to cite, etc…) Even while growing up, that aspect always felt strange to me, as if I was being given a set of script to follow rather than trying to seek God and discover Him for myself. Looking back on this, I realized this hindered and constrained my spiritual growth and relationship with God. It took someone special to encourage me to seek God for myself and realize the inherent God-given gift I had within me all along.

Modern day churches are typically so busy and concerned with following their own man-made agenda, that they lose sight of whom they should really be following – their very own Creator! In doing so, they lose sight of what it really means to follow God and natural thinking increases as thinking in the Holy Spirit decreases. What happens is that people in man-made institution becomes so used to thinking in the natural and begin to view supernatural as strange occurrence (such as God leading or encouraging them personally). Folks like that think that God’s personal involvement or miracle *doesn’t* apply to them or *doesn’t* happen anymore in present-day. They think it’s strange that God would speak personally in their lives. But this kind of thinking reveals their lack of faith in what God are capable of. If you’re one of them, please don’t be alarmed or discouraged! Perhaps, the Holy Spirit is convicting you in this area and hopefully to provoke you to shift your focus toward God so you can start thinking in the Holy Spirit and seeing things from God’s perspective! God is very loving and patient, He desires that all come to Him. He awaits you with His arm wide open!

So that brings us back to this question – how do we go on with being led by the Holy Spirit?? Remember what I wrote about *striving* to attain by our own hand. We cannot *strive* to make Holy Spirit do something. Each person is different and God has a different way of helping each person. I believe if you truly want to be led by the Holy Spirit then ask God for His wisdom and His leading then He’ll help you along the way! Then believe it with all of your heart! After that, just relax and keep an eye on situations, circumstances, people, writings, or anything that might reveal God’s wisdom/leading in your life. He has a wonderful Divine plan for each of you, intricately designed and tailored to each unique individual. Will you come and follow Him? He only wants the best for each of you!

Sharing God's LOVE for the mankind