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Lent 02: the slowest start to anything, ever.

It’s not too far-fetched an idea to suggest that my Quadregesima is best experienced only if I am unemployed.

But alas, I’m not.

With responsibilities, obligations and duties demanding my time, it becomes increasingly challenging to spend time with God and even more so to think about Christ at all times. Something has to go. Something has to give in. I need discipline.

And as I had expected it, I gave in to something I wanted to give up – entertainment. It sounds trivial but I couldn’t resist reading the Naruto manga today. Ha-HA! The new release was out yesterday and my futile resistance lasted all of 24 hours until Keith Yeo mentioned it over a chat. Okay, I’m a drama king, but hey, at least I’m honest. Well, next week I will pass the test.

Without social media vying for my attention, I find myself with more time at hand to pursue what’s more worthy of my time. However, without coffee, I find myself fighting to stay awake and alert. In times like these, I keep challenging myself to depend on God’s strength to be strong in God, but that’s easier to say than do.

And as I’m keeping off all kinds of sugared drinks (only water and green tea), anything naturally sweet becomes something I look forward to – be it cereal with milk in the morning or a late night honey mango. Now if only I pine for Christ like the way I pine for pleasure in my taste buds…

On a separate note, I cannot imagine mentoring others without the help of the Holy Spirit. May I continue to depend on Him for knowledge and wisdom as I invest into people’s lives – I desire to say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.

Argh, I’m incredibly restless and impatient. I want to see results now. But I need to be still first. This is an incoherent entry.

In the same breath of the excellent play I watched tonight, called “Tahan” (thanks Stella Cheung, for blessing me), I’ll sign off with…

“Emotional lah.”

Lent 01: lend me Your strength // Psalm 119:25-32.

I struggle to pray, not just today, but everyday.

It is impossible to stay on the path of holiness unless I have the enabling grace of God; and yet so often I depend on my strength to become strong in God – what a tragic paradox. Perhaps my carnality compels me to do that instinctively because I do not understand the grace of God intimately and experientially.

The psalmist beckons me to depend on God to:

  1. Give me life
  2. Teach me His statutes
  3. Make me understand
  4. Strengthen me
  5. Put false ways far from me
  6. Teach me His law
  7. Let me not be put to shame, and
  8. Enlarge my heart

Perhaps this is only possible if I:

  1. Tell Him my ways
  2. Meditate on His works
  3. Choose the way of faithfulness
  4. Set His rules before me
  5. Cling to His testimonies
  6. Run in the way of His commandments

Holy Spirit, please help me to quicken my spiritual senses; I need You to help me pray unceasingly. I desire to seek the Lord before I embark on every task so that I can regularly reorientate my focus. I boldly ask You to help me by reminding me, so that I may respond by remembering to pray, and eventually relying on You becomes a required routine of my life.

***

No Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? No problem. No Football Manager? No problem. No unedifying words? No problem. No air-conditioning? No problem. No meat, sugar, snacks and tidbits? No problem. But no morning coffee? Oh I felt its absence as early as the second hour into the lecture.

I have three lists: start doing, stop doing and still doing. It’s easy to stop, hard to start but hardest to be consistent.

I know it’s only the first day, but I’m ultra-Sanguine about what I want to achieve and I need the Lord to still my heart in pacing myself. Am I disappointed because I failed to do what I had set out to do today? Perhaps. But what I want to be disappointed about is that I didn’t, couldn’t and haven’t met Christ today. I am reminded that it’s not about accomplishments for Christ but about alignment to Christ.

God is faithful – what I had contemplated upon this past week was confirmed in the first lecture on spiritual direction; I am certain that my maiden Quadregesima will alter my spiritual life forever. I go to bed tonight with a plethora of expectations soaked in optimism but littered with potentially prideful intentions. Oh may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing unto You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Jesus, I’m here to meet with You, won’t You come and meet with me? I want to taste a morsel of Paul’s experience when he said, “For me to live is Christ!” May You be centralised in my life all over again.

there’s always a first for everything.

QUADRAGESIMA

Quad·ra·ges·i·ma [kwod-ruh-jes-uh-muh]

Also known as Lent.

Noun.

(Latin for quadrāgēsima, or the fortieth.)

In my pilgrimage as a believer, this will be my most serious observance and longest period of a spiritual discipline thus far — though prayer, fasting, penitence, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial — to imitate the example of Christ.

Starting today and ending on Easter Sunday.

I will have limited access to just about anything that might prevent me from being in the presence of God.

Lent has historically been seen as a time of serious self-denial. In denying ourselves we are able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic self-denial made by the second person of the Trinity for the salvation of mankind… …[T]he 40 day period has been influential in the lives of countless saints to redirect our affections toward our Savior. Lent predates every denomination. In whatever way your local church celebrates Lent; let this season break you, wound you, destroy you, and humble you so Jesus can be the center of your life and not you. — Tim Kimberley

Can’t wait to meet and hear from You, Lord. I need Your help through this.

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