Top Stories

Sign Up for our newsletter now.

Relationships

In grief and hatred, I wanted to change my surname

by Jennifer Tan | 17 September 2018, 2:23 PM

I hit rock-bottom when I was 17.

That was when I stood in front of my father’s niche, silently ranting at him for not being around to protect me and my mother in the legal mess his extended family had gotten us into. I didn’t even know the man: He passed away when I was only 18 months old, but I knew right at that moment, in that dreadful season of my life which I felt no agency over, I hated him.

I hated the fact that he was absent. I hated the life I had to lead for the last 17 years because of his absence. I hated the blood that ran through my veins. Most of all, I hated the reality of living the rest of my life as a fatherless child with no family support whatsoever.

In that moment, a rash thought popped into my head as I stood in front of the niche. Why don’t I change my surname?

I thought that if I could just drop this one syllable that was causing me so much pain and tears, life would be easier.

Ultimately, I didn’t follow through on the rash impulse to change my surname. Instead, when I cried out to my earthly father that day – it was my Heavenly Father who responded.

We are all probably familiar with the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 17-year-old me had mistakenly thought that I had meandered my way through all the stages and was finally at the stage of numb acceptance.

But as I stood in front of my father’s niche, the Lord opened my eyes to see that I had simply been floundering within the pool of denial and anger. Wanting to change my surname only reflected my desire to escape. I was still grieving immensely for my father, and I was on the verge of dishonouring him in my grief.

Thus began a long and painful season of understanding and accepting God’s claim of daughtership over me (2 Corinthians 6: 18). It was a season of vulnerability, one that left me no choice but to confront the open and deep wounds of my past.

Most importantly, it was time to let my Father heal them.

That season was painful but necessary, and I emerged from it convicted that the Lord is my Father and Provider.

Yet that didn’t mean I was no longer grieving. In fact, the grieving intensified because I was now struggling to reconcile the truth and reality of my life. The truth was that I could always turn to my Heavenly Father for the fatherly love I desired, the reality was that the circumstances of my life still reflected the consequences of fatherlessness.

While I no longer had the desire to change my surname, I still faced a lot of family issues. The lies and schemes my extended family surrounded me with could rival that of a Hong Kong drama – but I still needed to waddle through all of it justly, lovingly, mercifully and humbly (Micah 6:8).

The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel still seemed as far away.

Things with my extended family were eventually settled about a year ago.

I’m not proud of how I reacted towards them in many situations, but I’m certain that the Lord had enabled me to do my best. I know He was at work making my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The Lord also guided me through all 5 stages of grief in the last few years gently. And lately, I have been sensing Him impressing a new stage upon my heart – reconciliation. I also feel these words upon my heart: “Jen, this chapter of your life has not ended.”

That leaves me quaking in my shoes for a lot of reasons, the largest one being that I am unwilling. After all, why would I willingly turn back towards the people who hurt me so deeply – when my scars still feel so raw?

But every time I think like this, the image of His nail-pierced hands enter my mind immediately – Jesus died for us to be reconciled to God even while we hated Him.

So while I don’t yet understand why I was chosen to bear this surname, because I know God’s Name, I can trust Him in all that He’s leading me to.

He will never forsake those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10).


The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality. 

Conversations

We Recommend

Faith

When churches unite: Got hope?

by Joanne Kwok

Faith

What if Christianity was a lie?

by Leslie Koh

Work

What I learnt from my internship

by Lim Junheng

Culture

What is being missional?

by Pastor Alvin Lim, Grace Assembly | 13 September 2018, 1:33 PM

I was at a shopping mall recently and was surprised by the huge number of people standing around, some holding two phones at the same time, charging them with portable chargers.

Then I realised that they were playing the Pokémon Go mobile game and were on a mission to catch Pokémon. I was surprised that they were still passionate about the game even though it was released more than two years ago.

See, we were all made with a mission in mind. But as humans we tend to run after small, man-made missions when there is no God-sized mission around. Without a revelation of God’s mission – men perish (Proverbs 29:18).

What is the mission of your life? What drives and consumes you? What is worthy enough to spend your lifetime pursuing?

God, the King, invites you to join Him on the most worthy and exciting mission ever embarked called Missio Dei – the mission of God.

In 1952, theologian Karl Barth recovered the concept of Missio Dei as the Trinity leading in mission rather than the Church.

This theological theme gave rise to Darrell Guder’s Missional Church, a classic book addressing the questions of who is God and who is the Church, in the context of Western Christianity’s huge decline. Since then, the book’s revolutionary insights have inspired more than a thousand books on what and how to be missional.

Guder defines mission as “God’s initiative rooted in God’s purposes to restore and heal all creation.” This mission is more than the redemption of the spiritual souls of man, but includes the restoration of all creation as seen in grand narrative of the Bible.

Being missional is not a new church growth methodology but a returning to Scripture on who God is, leading to who the Church is – before jumping to what the Church does.

The Church is conscripted to participate in this mission by caring for humans and the world holistically. This means that the Church does not have the “task” of mission – but is missional in her identity and origins. Missional is the adjective that describes someone or something that participates in this mission.

Being missional is not a new church growth methodology but a returning to Scripture on who God is, leading to who the Church is – before jumping to what the Church does.

Missional theology seeks to create four main paradigm shifts which I will explore below.

 

FOUR PARADIGM SHIFTS IN MISSIONAL THEOLOGY

1. God is love. God the Trinity is a missionary God (John 20:21-22).

God the Father initiates and leads the redemptive mission of all creation. God the Son is the biblical model and redeemer of humanity. God the Spirit is the empowering teacher in us for the mission of God.

Is your heart constantly captivated by the grace of the Holy God who came down to pursue us to Himself? Are you hearing, seeing and joining God in what He is doing now in the world?

… the Church does not have the “task” of mission – but is missional in her identity and origins.

2. Being missional is more than a task – it is a way of life.

The missional disciple is a beloved child of God, transformed by the Gospel to increasingly live out the reign of God in every aspect of life (Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:17, 23). The missional disciple embraces the posture, thinking, behaviours, and practices of a missionary in order to serve and reach others with the message of the Gospel.

Who are you serving today? God, the world or self?

3. The greatest witness of the Gospel isn’t found in just missional individuals – but the Gospel lived out in “life-on-life” missional communities (John 13:34-35).

The world is looking for communities that live out the many “one another” commandments found in the New Testament church. Jesus did life for three years with twelve disciples in close community, modelling and teaching them how to love God, one another and the lost. This is still the strategy to reach the world today.

Do you belong to a Christian spiritual family that laughs and cries together with you? One that also overflows with love for the broken beyond the church?

4. The missional church is not contented with mission being just church-based (attractional), events-based (evangelistic programs) or geographical-based (local or overseas missions).

The Church is the people of God bearing the image of the missionary God, birthed to be the primary agent for the mission of God (Matthew 28:18-20).

This means that that the Church exists not for self-benefit, but to reflect the reign of God for the sake of redeeming the world. The Church gathers to be strengthened as a community of love and truth before dispersing to embody the Gospel and Christ in the context of our community, workplaces and the world reaching the least, the lost and the lonely (1 Corinthians 12).

Are you gathering to be strengthened before dispersing to be the salt and light that the world desperately needs?

Are you secretly jaded and disappointed by the man-made mission that you have created for yourself? Get ready for the ride of your life.

Say yes to God to join and establish God’s Kingdom here on Earth and see lives transformed.

Conversations

We Recommend

Faith

I struggled with feeling inadequate and worthless

by Shawn Lee

Faith

What if Christianity was a lie?

by Leslie Koh

Work

What I learnt from my internship

by Lim Junheng

Relationships

Help, I think my professor likes me

by Carmen Lee | 11 September 2018, 3:30 PM

“Hi Carmen, I was wondering if you would like to come down earlier before your consultation? Perhaps we could go for lunch?”

My already furiously beating heart raced even faster and I could feel my stomach turn itself inside out as I clutched tightly to my phone. After I hung up the call, the friend whom I was lunching with asked concernedly, “Are you alright? You’ve gone pale, is this some guy you’re trying to reject?”

But this wasn’t just any guy, this was my professor.The circumstances I found myself in with my professor felt like a Korean drama, except that I did not enjoy it one bit. It started out with an innocent mistake in my first semester of university – he had called my name wrongly in class and I had corrected him sarcastically.

From then on, he paid special attention to me, whether in class or out of class. He would greet me in every lecture and tutorial, he complimented my appearance, and occasionally made inappropriate comments about me in class.

I was 18, with zero experience and expectations in the relationships arena, so to have a slightly older, intelligent and articulate man give me so much attention made me freak out.

I spent the next 2 years of my university life avoiding anything related to him, even taking detours in my route so that I wouldn’t have to walk past the building his office was housed in.

In hindsight, it does seem silly of me to have panicked to such an extent. My conscience was clear, and it was (and is) after all, an offence in the university’s code of conduct for professors and students to have romantic relationships with each other.

Whilst I remain unclear of his intentions till today, I realised that I needed to relook the way I perceived and maintained boundaries with the other gender, even if they were older and in positions of authority. Here are 3 thoughts I have on responding to ambiguous attention.

3 WAYS TO DRAW BOUNDARIES

1. Check your heart

Even as I was careful that my responses to my professor’s actions did not disrespect his position of authority over me or encourage him further, I needed to search my heart and be very clear of my feelings and intentions surrounding the situation.

There was a pressing need for me to distinguish between feeling truly uncomfortable and the unfamiliarity of feeling flattered from the attention he paid me. I grew up without the presence of a father and was thus not comfortable with older men in positions of authority.

These emotions are, of course, not mutually exclusive, but there was a need to discern and possibly, admit to them before they misled me any further.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Once I was clear about the distinctions, it helped me take captive of my thoughts: Did I really dread having to go to class or was I secretly anticipating his interactions with me?

While I was very clear that I did not want a romantic relationship with him, I needed to be as clear that I was not attracted to him. He was after all, still very much an eligible bachelor.

Being clear of my emotions set a healthy standard for the types of actions and responses I had towards my professor, and could also hold towards my interactions with other guys.

2. Clarify, if not, seek help

Clarifying anything ambiguous in relationships of any kind is always the best move. But honestly, I lacked the guts to approach my professor to do just that. But if you have the courage to speak politely but firmly with the other party, it would definitely be beneficial for both of you.

I am thankful for a group of friends, both girls and guys, Christians and non-believers, whom I could confide in and give me perspective on my situation. Some of them even walked me to classes or consultations I had with him (and waited for me) just so that I had someone who could help me if needed and keep me accountable.

However, if the situation is highly uncomfortable and have no other means of assistance, you can approach your school’s student welfare office. They do take such cases seriously and will ensure that your identity is protected in the process.

3. Protecting your heart

Checking my heart earlier helped me protect myself emotionally in that season. It was also a catalyst for me to begin considering and noting the qualities I would like in my future spouse so that until I met him, I could protect my heart and purity.

(I think you start knowing what you want when you know what you don’t want!)

Beyond surrendering that list of qualities I had drawn up to God, more importantly, I had to surrender my heart to Him as well and it allowed me to experience Him as my heavenly Father as well.

Protecting my heart allowed nothing to take the centre position He had in my life, even if it was a momentary attraction.I eventually bumped into my professor in my third year of university, and I’m thankful that we received each other with warmth and courtesy. The peace I felt while speaking to him informed me of my own emotional growth.

This reassured me that my heart was the safest in the hands of its Creator, and I was allowing myself to be moulded such that I would eventually be ready – both spiritually and emotionally – to one day be in a committed relationship with the man He has set aside for me.


The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality. 

Conversations

We Recommend

Studies

What’s the point of education?

by Jonathan Pang with Ai Luan and Chong Tee

Culture

You could say nothing – but that says a lot

by Wong Siqi

Faith

How to really read your Bible

by Jonathan Pang, Tan Ai Luan and Goh Chong Tee

Culture

Who are you dressing for?

by | 10 September 2018, 3:14 PM

My generation is driven by the need for relevance.

The wow factor is also crucial. Our fingers are always on the pulse of what the latest trends are in any industry, whether it’s technology, entertainment, food or fashion. And we consume it readily, almost greedily and sometimes even beyond what we can actually afford

As a female tertiary student, I am aware that the latest fashion trends from Paris and Milan will not make it into my wardrobe. Yet there is a human desire within me to appear in public spaces as looking beyond presentable … I want to look good.

I didn’t even mind if dressing up would make me late. I wanted to be satisfied with how I looked before I stepped out.

With modesty taken into consideration, I know what styles and cuts flatter my body shape and I play to that. Similarly for cosmetics, I know what can sharpen my rounded jaw and what can hide my hooded eyelids.

I set aside a considerate amount of time for dressing up before going out, even to the point of ensuring that the accessories and make-up worn would compliment the entire outfit. I didn’t even mind if dressing up would make me late. I wanted to be satisfied with how I looked before I stepped out.

After all, looking good is also a form of respect for whoever I was meeting right?

But my wardrobe was already full, and still there was a mountain of new clothes on the floor which I had picked up over a summer sale.

Similarly, I could no longer fit all my cosmetics into my drawers. There were so many pieces that had to remain outside the drawers that they frequently off shelves and broke.

Around this time, my mother had also been catching me lingering at my reflection in mirrors and shop windows pretty often, and she was concerned about it. All of these were signs that I had lost the plot, blurring the fine line between looking good and being vain.

Vanity is an even bigger problem in the present generation.

Think about social media, where #OOTD (outfit of the day) pictures abound — so many of us are caught up looking for affirmation from friends and followers.

Personally, while I enjoyed the occasional compliments from friends on my clothes, I was ultimately dressing to boost my own ego — to assure myself of my attractiveness. But that in turn, revealed the  deep insecurities I had surrounding my identity even as a Christian.

Vanity is taking pride in one’s appearance, and pride is a gravely dangerous place to be in to the Bible. Pride is deceiving (Obadiah 1:3), self-seeking (Psalm 10:4) … Pride is something to be hated (Proverbs 8:13).

Ultimately, my confrontation with pride revealed to me that I hadn’t been turning to the Lord for meaning and satisfaction in my life. I had been looking at everything else; things that did not honour or glorify Him.

Pride is something to be hated (Proverbs 8:13).

So, what does it mean to dress for an audience of One?

Well, it doesn’t mean that I will no longer wear the nice clothes I already have or ever put on make-up again.

But now when I look at clothes and cosmetics nowadays, the one thought I hold on to is that beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30).

And whenever I look at a mirror to check on my appearance, I’m more conscious in keeping my vanity in check. I now prize tidiness and being presentable over being a slave to attractiveness.

Crosswalk has good guidelines on this issue which I’ve condensed into 2 main questions I personally ask that help to check my heart:

1. Do my clothes reflect surrender to the Lord, and a commitment to holiness? Holiness doesn’t mean I need to dress plainly or wear loose-fitting garments. My clothes should be respectable, worn with modesty and self-control (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

2. Do I exercise discernment when it comes to buying clothes? Is this blouse a need or a want? Am I able to deny myself and bless someone in need with this money instead? (Philippians 2:4)

Questions like these help push my change in lifestyle beyond just clothes and cosmetics. In truth, I must shift my entire perspective from the treasures of this earth (Matthew 6:19-21) to Jesus’ face.

God is the only one who will fully satisfy our hearts.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

My love affair with pornography

by Mark Yeow

Culture

What is Section 377A, and why should it matter to you?

by Thir.st

Relationships

Help, I think my professor likes me

by Carmen Lee

Faith

Tokens and relics: Lessons from my pilgrimage to Jerusalem

by Eugene Lim | 29 August 2018, 2:32 PM

Spending my first few days around the Old City of Jerusalem while on exchange felt absolutely surreal.

The very earth I walked on seemed to pulse with history, and the stones walls of a great many number of walls and old buildings seemed keen to whisper age-old secrets to me, if only I stopped to look and listen.

It was my first time in Jerusalem, and yet it didn’t feel at all so. Having grown up in a Christian home, I remember being beguiled by tales of Old Jerusalem. These were the same stones King David had used to build his first city almost 3000 years ago, and these pavements once bore the weight of Roman chariots that coursed through the streets while Jesus Himself roamed the town.

It felt like being at a party and finally meeting that one person that all your friends told you about, an overwhelming sense of familiarity coupled with the taste of something new about to unfold. But little did I know what I was asking for.

I signed myself up for an Old City tour immediately the morning after I had set foot into the city.

When the guide led us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ’s tomb is said to be, I found myself confronted with a face of Christianity I had never actually experienced.

Back home I was used to stories of Christianity as a somewhat abstract religious experience. The walls of Jericho that came tumbling down in the Book of Joshua only seemed to exist in a collective imagination of the congregation, as did the Garden of Gethsemane, Golgotha and the Tomb of Christ.

“They are looking for Christ in the Tomb when He isn’t there.”

Being halfway across the world in Singapore, many of these monuments only served as important symbols and illustrations used in Sunday sermons.

The walls of Jericho served as a hallmark of what unbridled faith could achieve in the midst of adversity; the Garden of Gethsemane was often used to express Christ’s obedience at the final hour, minutes before His capture and crucifixion. And of course, Golgotha – this horrible hill on which unimaginable pain was endured by Christ bearing the sins of the world.

But there I was, standing before the hole in the ground where the cross stood. No longer could it remain this mental picture I so carefully curated in my head; a picture personally beheld in worship and adoration countless times. I could see the curve of the stone, feel its coolness on the tips of my fingers, as have countless other pilgrims before me.

But I had a nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away. As I completed the tour and revisited the Old City countless more times in the course of my 6-month stay, I began to pinpoint where my discomfort was coming from. Many pilgrims seemed to worship the monuments rather than the God who had shown Himself through them.

A friend’s mother couldn’t have said it better: “They are looking for Christ in the Tomb when He isn’t there.”

I witnessed many believers pressing handkerchiefs, pendants and photos of loved ones onto the laying stone on which Christ’s body was embalmed, all the while kissing and crying onto it. I remember how my hand would smell after touching that stone – sweet with earthy frankincense because so much perfume was poured on it daily.

Many would break down in tears simply touching the groove of the cross on Golgotha, unable to withstand the sheer emotional impact as they experienced what the cross meant to them.

But what didn’t resonate with me was the fact that many seemed to overlook the omnipresence and omniscience of God, in their fervour and obsession with physical religious artifacts.

As I spent more and more time in the Old City, walking among crucifixes, carvings of Biblical scenes, countless purportedly “genuine” relics and even handmade crowns of thorns, I realised that I had begun to remind myself that God was not just the God of Jerusalem’s Old City, nor is He only the God of the Crucifixion.

He is God, period.

He does not need a pendant pressed onto the laying stone of Christ to heal the sick and wounded. He does not need a candle lit in the Tomb of Christ to hear our prayers and He does not only hear the prayers from the Holy City. It is hard to explain such revelations especially to pilgrims weeping at the monuments, and even harder still to tell them that the monuments they believe to be real – are in fact disputed and sometimes even archaeologically disproved.

The fact that some of these “monuments” that were marked were actually archaeologically proven to be made up (as with the Via Dolorosa) also presented a huge question in my mind: What other parts of my faith are made up?

As we spent more time in the Old City and as I learnt more taking an archaeology module in the university I studied in, it seemed more and more that many pilgrims had been misled as to the location of certain relics and historical occurrences. And yet, no effort has been made to correct these incorrect stories.

As with the Via Dolorosa, many scholars believe that Christ actually took a different route than the one currently marked out by the 12 stations leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – that even the paving stones Christ walked upon are some 2 feet below the actual street level of today. Yet many seem to still walk the Via with the same religious fervour and passion, some pilgrims even taking up a physical cross and a crown of thorns in trying to show their dedication to the faith.

What then of these people and their faith? Does the conflicting existence of these facts invalidate their religious experiences or indeed their faith?

As I grappled with these concerns, I eventually came to rest knowing that even in the Holy City, where physicality intersects with the spiritual, symbols still hold their meanings.

So what if the Via was not the actual path of Christ? And so what if the laying stone in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was possibly never touched by Christ? We may never know with 100% accuracy the location and integrity of many of these historical artifacts and monuments.

I’m saying that if we believe in an ever-present, all-powerful and loving God, relics and physical representations of the faith shouldn’t matter as much as our faith in Him.

What is important, however, is what they mean to believers and their faith. I’m not saying that we should discard historical or archaeological accuracy. I’m saying that if we believe in an ever-present, all-powerful and loving God, relics and physical representations of the faith shouldn’t matter as much as our faith in Him.

Exercising our faith in a God who transcends physicality, honours His omnipresence and omniscience even more. I don’t mean that we should not revere or cherish relics of our Christian heritage. Indeed, these great and wonderful things did happen and we should strive never to let disputes over the exact location of a certain relic or occurrence faze us.

So if you eventually go to the Holy Land (or have been to the Holy Land before), don’t just hold fast to the hope that lies in the relics, monuments or crucifixes that you see.

Always remember that ours is a faith that stands without the help of wood, gold, ivory or precious stones.

Conversations

We Recommend

video

THIR.ST TALKS: Life and death in a morgue

by Nicole Chan

Culture

What is Section 377A, and why should it matter to you?

by Thir.st

Culture

My love affair with pornography

by Mark Yeow

Studies

What if I’m bad at my major?

by | 20 August 2018, 10:17 AM

I don’t know what I am doing here. I think this is not meant for me.

If you’ve never uttered those phrases yourself, it’s likely you’ve heard it from those around you in school. After all, we live in a country that emphasises academic excellence as a means for future financial security.

The disappointment of not doing well despite having studied hard, or the anxiety that arises from not understanding what’s being taught, only add to the convenience of us claiming that a course is “wrong” for us – simply because we do not excel in it.

As a lover of books and reading throughout my entire life, literature was the obvious choice for me when I entered university.

I especially loved to daydream about the storylines and characters within the books I devoured. I had also consistently done well in the subject prior to university, so choosing to major in it seemed to be a foregone conclusion. In fact, I felt destined for it.

So it came as a shock to me in my freshman year, to learn that my work was only considered mediocre. Literature turned out to be a far more complex and difficult field that I had ever imagined it to be.

… I had wrongly expected blessings in the specific form of good results from Him just for walking with Him.

I tried so hard in the first two years to understand what was even being taught. I strived to write eloquent and insightful papers, but would be invariably crushed by disappointing and lacklustre results.

It was very easy to say that literature was not for me because I wasn’t doing well or enjoying myself. It was even easier for me to doubt and question God, because I had wrongly expected blessings in the specific form of good results from Him just for walking with Him.

God, if You placed this course in my heart, why am I not excelling in it then?

When I think of someone being in the “wrong course,” my mind goes to Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10).

His occupation as a tax collector was socially and religiously “wrong”. Jewish tax collectors were excommunicated from their synagogues because they worked for the Romans and were viewed as traitors (it didn’t help that they would overcharge the Jews for their own profit).

We also know that Zacchaeus was excellent in his work, as he was the chief tax-collector in Jericho. Ironically, his name means “pure one,” yet he chose a career that was considered tainted. But Zacchaeus’ name also reflects how God had chosen him even before he became a tax collector. Zacchaeus took his first steps to becoming a pure one when he climbed that tree to see Jesus.

Although we do not know if Zacchaeus remained a tax collector after his encounter with Jesus, we do know that he viewed his occupation with renewed perspective: “Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).

The Lord is sovereign, He knows the plans He has for all of creation truly and fully, but He is also a gracious God that allows us to make choices.

Though Zacchaeus chose to be a tax collector, God brought Zacchaeus from a wrong course back to Him. God didn’t have to, but He did. That’s mercy.

And just as God allowed Zacchaeus to excel despite being in the wrong place, He can also allow one to fail while being in the right place.

Because nothing will get in the way of God’s plan, and He will never fail.

It took an entire summer break for me to surrender my expectations and ambitions for being in literature at the foot of the cross, where I really made Him the centre of my life. It was only then that I got a fresh perspective on things.

Now as I finish my third year, I see how He’s been calling me to choose literature for a completely different reason. I’m called to more than just personal interests and academic excellence – my imagination and skills are being honed to bring Him glory through my writing.

As long as we turn to God, there is no place He will not bring us out from, to display His sovereign grace over us as His beloved.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

How my view on mental illness changed after I saved someone from committing suicide

by Collin Lee

Culture

Speaking with my eyes: Living out loud in a silent world

by Isabelle Lim

video

Speak up: You don’t have to be charismatic or extraordinary

by Nicole Chan

Relationships

Loving Jesus didn’t make me straight, but He made me whole

by Noelle Yip | 16 August 2018, 4:49 PM

Coming from an all-girls school for 10 years, it was normal to admire other girls, especially our seniors. I had several relationships with boys in my secondary school days, but I realised around the same time that I was attracted to girls as well.

Back then, it felt like a lighthearted trend – raving about how cute another girl is wasn’t considered a declaration of one’s sexual orientation. In my school, many of us – including myself – had “girl crushes”, but rarely did people openly identify as lesbian or bisexual.

I knew I wanted to have a husband and my own family when I grew up, but I still found myself attracted to girls throughout my teenage years. All this while, I’d started attending a new church and for the first time, was discovering what Christian community was like.

Despite the newfound accountability to my friends and leaders, I never confided in anyone from church about these emotions and I brushed them off as a phase that I was going through.

When I was 18, in my second year of poly, I met a girl while studying in school and quickly became friends. Things escalated really quickly, we started going out, and she soon confessed that she liked me. Two weeks later, she asked me to be her girlfriend.

I was conflicted and felt like I had no one to talk to about this. At this point, I was attending cell regularly but I was afraid of being judged and did not want to become an outcast.

Eventually, I said yes to her. So much of it felt wrong, but I told myself and God that this was just an experiment – my faith and my love life were two separate things to me. Plus, she knew none of this was serious for me; we’d agreed to “try this out” even though I’d told her it wouldn’t last long.

For a whole of two months, we were just like any loving couple, though I was struck by how this relationship was different from the ones I had with guys. Since we were both girls, it was easier to understand each other.

But things started going south when I found myself frequently upset and frustrated in the relationship. We were very dependent on each other, but as the “stronger one”, I often had to support her emotional needs.

She told me that whenever I went to church on Sundays, she was scared that I would decide to break up with her. The irony was, I was always afraid to attend church because I felt like a hypocrite leading a double life. What if someone from church should see me together with her when we were out?

Very few people knew or suspected, and if they asked, I would simply deny the relationship and claim that we were really good friends. Only my non-Christian friends were supportive of us and said that Jesus would still love me, that my happiness was the most important and I needn’t feel bad.

However, I wasn’t happy at all; I felt guilty, unworthy of God and dirty. It was tiring to lie and lead a life of deceit too.

One weekend, our youth pastor preached about same-sex attraction. I don’t remember the content of his sermon, but I still remember the emotions clearly. It was horrible because the conviction was gripping my soul and I couldn’t bring myself to look anywhere but down.

I really wanted to cry, but a part of me still didn’t want to listen. I knew something wasn’t right about how I was living; the experiment was slowly falling apart. I felt so far away from God … But would returning to Him mean leaving what I cared about behind?

Things took a turn when I told God that I would end the relationship if He called me to leadership. In hindsight, it sounds stupid and immature; I was spiritually still very young. And yet, He took me seriously and a leadership call soon came.

I took up the leadership position – but I didn’t end my relationship.

One day, my pastor texted me out of the blue to schedule a meet-up. I didn’t know him personally and there was no reason why he would have contacted me. I panicked, assuming God had spoken to him about my relationship.

In the silly hopes of lightening my “punishment”, I replied him saying that I needed to share something important with him as well.

The day of our meet-up arrived, and as tempted as I was to bail on him, I knew I needed to confess and seek help in ending the relationship. When we eventually sat down, I was stunned when my pastor opened the conversation by asking if I could help him write an article.

After I spluttered out a confused “yes”, he then asked kindly, “So what would you like to tell me?”

The tears started flowing from my eyes as I told him everything. He listened patiently, and when I was done, his first words to me were neither angry or condemning. He simply advised me to speak to a female leader, who later became my mentor.

With the truth now out and someone journeying alongside, it was still very hard to face my struggles and be held accountable. But my mentor hardly mentioned my relationship, instead, she spent time correcting my perspective of the Christian faith and encouraged me as I sought to make God the center of my life.

Things slowly fell into place as I let God in to do His work in my life. I still had my moments of weakness, as I didn’t have the courage to make a clean cut with my girlfriend, but I could tell I was growing steadily in my relationship with Him.

It took me quite some time before I finally ended our relationship, a painful process that involved a lot of wrestling and putting my heart back into God’s hands. A verse I clung onto during that period of time was Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The days that followed were also a struggle: I kept wondering if I should find a boyfriend to affirm my heterosexuality. It was such a real consideration although it was clearly not the right way to handle things. I would’ve just been digging another hole for myself.

Inherently, this revealed a reliance on romantic relationships, instead of God, to determine my worth and identity – something my head knew, but my heart struggled to truly accept.

My flesh was undoubtedly weak, but God was faithful in His redemptive work. As I chose to trust Him and place my security in Him instead of human relationships with boys or girls, it got easier to walk away from my desires and into the fullness and peace He promises His children.

Today, my boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years and are hoping to get married.

You may be asking: Does every journey of same-sex attraction end with the person “becoming” heterosexual? I would say no. I think many will still experience such attraction – as with any temptation of sin – and that is not wrong.

What is wrong, in any situation, for anyone who professes to follow Jesus, is an attitude of “It’s my right to have what I want” and wilfully acting on our desires with no consideration for what God has to say. He desires our holiness and wholeness – lives that are oriented to Him in every way.

If you know someone who’s struggling with same-sex attraction, please don’t be insensitive. I remember how scared I was of being judged when people who weren’t close to me came to know about my situation.

God desires our holiness and wholeness – lives that are oriented to Him in every way.

If someone speaks to you about their struggle, treasure their trust and support them in prayer. You may not be able to fully understand, but respect him or her: It isn’t easy to come out to anyone. Encourage them, be a safe place for them and please don’t try to change them or treat them differently.

Nobody is defined by their struggle. What I really appreciated was how my leaders didn’t talk about my same-sex attraction all the time after I came out to them. They saw me the same way – for who I was as a person and friend, and showered me with godly love throughout the journey.

For those who are struggling, it may be difficult to confide in someone about these thoughts and feelings, but church community is meant to be family that loves and protects. I encourage you to find someone whom you can trust, preferably a leader.

When I look back, confessing to my pastor still seems crazy, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if God hadn’t found me where I was all those years ago.


*The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality.

Conversations

We Recommend

Faith

I don’t even know anymore. Now what?

by Dawn Seow

video

Speak up: You don’t have to be charismatic or extraordinary

by Nicole Chan

Relationships

My journey with insecurity

by Judah Koh

Studies

Are you a 5% student?

by | 13 August 2018, 10:47 PM

Being a 5% student is one of the running jokes I have with my friends whom I serve with in church. The reason being this: We don’t spend much time in school during the term. And even when we’re in school, we’re usually attending meetings, having meal appointments, or planning for church ministry.

It’s only in the final weeks of the semester, with impending essay deadlines and exams, where we pull all-nighters as we scramble to cover one semester’s worth of content within a couple of days.

But as I approach my fourth and final year in university, my friends and I recognise that while we may responsible leaders in church, we’re certainly not the most model students around. And therein we have a problem.

Granted, it’s hard. Most of us, whether we’re involved in church ministries or not, are part-time students and full-time jugglers.

We juggle all the expectations we have of ourselves and those that others have of us – be it parents, friends, university, extra-curricular activities, and as we proceed, we just hope that we don’t drop anything.

I’m always thankful for the flexibility of university life because not only do I get the freedom to attend classes that I am interested in, I’m also in control of my schedule and should be able to plan for the amount of time/effort required for each t0-do.

But with a college student’s schedule that fills up so easily and quickly, the time/effort allocated for each item is often far underestimated. What happens then?

Most of us end up constantly arranging and living our lives according to our shifting priorities – myself included. What demands my attention now? What is the most pressing issue I must settle?

And who else gets me when I say that studies very easily becomes one of the last priorities throughout the semester, simply because nothing is due that urgently? The stack of recommended readings only ever seems to increase in size.

Chasing priorities in life, however, leaves us drained and physically exhausted quickly. And to replenish our energy, we “borrow” time from yet another priority. Again, it’s usually our studies that take a further hit.

It seems understandable to skip a couple of lectures or tutorials here and there – we will catch up on the work eventually, right? Yet we only have a finite 24 hours a day, so whatever time is lost, is gone, never to be seen again.

Each of us is a multitude of identities: We are students, we are leaders, we are team-mates, we are sons and daughters, we are brothers and sisters. But how easily we forget that we are also, most importantly, bearers of His name.

Wouldn’t it be alarming if our classmates looked at our indifferent attitude towards school and asked, “Does this mean that as a Christian, you will have no time to study?” Perhaps we must consider that our testimonies as people of God must measure up wherever we go – from church, to family, to school.

There just might be a need to take a hard but truthful look at your school work to evaluate your attitude – and corresponding efforts – towards this station of life that you’re in. Are your mediocre results because of a lack of revision? Did you write this paper the day before the deadline because of poor time management?

Here’s a big one for many of us: What is your class attendance like?

As Christians, we have the privilege of grace that surpasses our weaknesses and inadequacies even in school work, but we also have the responsibility of bearing a good testimony for the sake of Christ (1 John 5: 10) – in the school as much as we are in the church – or all the more so!

God is just as present when we are in school as when we are in church.

Bearing good testimony therefore involves honouring the standards of the educational institution we are in because that honours God as well. God is just as present when we are in school as when we are in church. Why else will be given this sphere of influence with this group of people – for such a time as this?

He will not waste any means – yes, even the least exciting classes we’re stuck in week in and week out – that He can use to save some. That is, those who cross our paths because we are where we are.

In the new, upcoming semester, my challenge to you, whether you are a freshmen or a returning student, by all means possible, is to be a good testimony for Christ in your schools.

Hopefully from there, you will find it easier to plan a schedule that honours God through all your commitments: A 100% student, 100% Christian.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Relationships

In grief and hatred, I wanted to change my surname

by Jennifer Tan

Culture

In the aftermath of a suicide

by Eugenia Chuah

Faith

What if Christianity was a lie?

by Leslie Koh

Culture

The burn is real

by | 6 August 2018, 2:47 PM

Last week, I made a sarcastic joke at my colleague’s expense and instantly felt horrible.

The joke was the savage kind that the Internet would have celebrated, but honestly, just because it was funny doesn’t mean it wasn’t hurtful. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough – the pun left my mouth the moment it slipped into my mind.

I apologised immediately, and thankfully, my colleague graciously forgave me. Despite my multiple apologies and my colleague’s extension of grace, I felt horrible every time it crossed my mind for the rest of the week.

It reminded me of my younger, nastier self – a person I thought was well behind me.

just because it was funny doesn’t mean it wasn’t hurtful.

Growing up, my love language was always words of affection … But words were also my weapons.

I could convey my appreciation for others with words just as easily as I could bring them to tears. It was arguably a result of my circumstances: Coming from a single-parent family, I often felt that I had to protect and look out for myself.

So I fought to be loved and would speak pleasantries when I wanted someone to like me. And on the other hand I fought to be respected and would not hesitate to deliver stinging barbs to that same person if I felt threatened.

When I rededicated my life to Jesus a few years ago, the Lord revealed to me how much hurt my words had caused to those around me, when I read about the mockery and physical violence Jesus experienced before He was crucified (Mark 14:55-65).

Jesus experienced the most painful rejection. He was rejected by those He came to save, and as He carried the weight of the world’s sin – even Father God. Though He knew that such suffering was a part of the Father’s plan for salvation, the burn must still have been real.

Through that chapter, I saw the wisdom behind holding my tongue. Death and life are in the power of the tongue!

Coming from a single-parent family, I often felt that I had to protect and look out for myself.

In today’s digital world, we loose words like arrows without impunity – as if there isn’t a real person behind the username. We read of netizens taunting each other callously, even to the point of applauding and encouraging a stranger’s attempt to commit suicide.

Unlike online comments which can be edited or deleted – spoken words can’t. They either encourage or destroy. The tongue’s power is reiterated in the Bible as well, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21).

The words that leave our mouths leave an impact on the listener’s heart. We get to decide what kind of impact that is. I remember being stunned and ashamed when my mother recounted the hurtful words I said to her years ago in childish spite.

“How about the tender words I’ve written in your cards?” I sputtered in defence.

“I don’t remember those exactly, but I do remember the heart behind it,” was her casual response. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. What do our words say about what’s in our hearts?

Reflecting over the weekend, I realised my shame was also mingled with disappointment.

I was disappointed because despite my genuine attempts at living life with God at the centre and actively restraining my tongue, I still succumbed to the impulsiveness of my heart. I was convicted of the complacency that had set in.

So what if I was a cell leader in church or serving in a Christian organisation? Simply daily things like the content of my conversations reflect my faith and heart more than the positions I hold.

But my heart remains a work in progress. I’m still being pruned and refined each day. So as much as I “burned” my colleague, the impurities of my carnal nature are being burned away as well.

And I’m thankful for that.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Culture

Caught between 2 petitions, I could no longer choose indifference

by Audrey Hau

Relationships

Help, I think my professor likes me

by Carmen Lee

Will you be the answer in humanity’s most desperate hour?

by Jess Shao, All Nations House of Prayer

Faith

I’m a female leader and my cell group is full of NS boys

by | 1 August 2018, 6:31 PM

I have the privilege of leading a young adult cell group in my church, and it has been a very fulfilling journey with them so far.

The cell is mostly made up of boys serving their National Service (NS) in diverse vocations. Each one’s NS journey is unique and as a female leader, it’s refreshing to hear different perspectives of NS from each of them.

Although they’re not new to the faith, they are very new to each other. My co-leader and I had to be intentional about building a community and thankfully, the NS experience is a topic that has bonded the boys easily.

It has been very encouraging to see those who have been in NS longer, guiding the recruits within the cell and giving them advice. My hope for them now is that this support goes beyond the needs of NS — that they will disciple each other as well.

Just before they enlist, I always pray over them to enter the army as a boy — but leave as a man and warrior.

Having a cell that is primarily comprised of NS boys does come with its difficulties.

As it’s a challenge for them to attend cell and service, I’m always comforted when I see them try because I know they are making sacrifices to be there. It’s natural that they are physically and mentally exhausted from the week in camp and want their precious weekends. Furthermore, life’s other priorities like family and friends also come into play.

But I’m not merely concerned with their attendance in cell and service attendance. My greater concern is whether they are walking with God as they serve the nation. And as mentioned, the exhaustion and fatigue they experience are unrivalled, so they may be more vulnerable to the temptations they face in the NS context.

So that’s been my journey of late. If you’re a female cell leader of NS boys like me, or would simply like to better support your friends in NS — I can offer two practical tips.

TWO STEPS TO WALK WELL WITH SOLDIERS

1. Learn about NS sincerely

BMT, JCC, Cat 1, OCS, SCS, PES and PTE … The list of acronyms was almost unending. These are just some of the acronyms we would hear regularly, and it was really confusing for us girls in the cell.

And yes, it can get tedious after a few weekends of hearing them share the same things or rant about their platoon and superior officers. But honestly, the same goes for many of our own stories and testimonies! As much as their experiences may seem distant, they bear a lot of similarities to the journeys in our own lives — just in a different context.

I’m sure our cell’s sharing could just as easily have been dominated by the “struggling with studies” narrative. A working adult may repeatedly share about a difficult boss at work. The point is, cellmates still listen, encourage and pray for each other earnestly — that’s how community is fostered.

Don’t let an unfamiliar situation deter you from getting to know your cell members better!

… listen, encourage and pray for each other earnestly — that’s how community is fostered.

Beyond listening to them share, there are other methods of understanding their experiences. I found Youtube videos on the NS experience by the Ministry of Defence particularly helpful. They helped me to have a better understanding of what Basic Military Training (BMT), Officer Cadet School (OCS) and the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) looked like.

Granted, they don’t show everything that will happen in the army. Seeing how they get tekan-ed by their superiors in an environment where there is no room for mercy and grace helps me understand some of the frustrations they carry into the weekend. And it pushes all of us at cell to extend mercy and grace towards them as well.

2. Cover them!

Prayer is the key.

Just before they enlist, I always pray over them to enter the army as a boy — but leave as a man and warrior. It’s a prayer of expectancy for them and for myself, the hope is that they would let the Lord challenge and grow them exponentially in the army.

It also pushes me not to take on a passive role of listener but also to point them back to Christ as they are challenged physically and mentally. So instead of simply listening and asking generic questions about their week, I find questions like, “Where do you see God in this situation?” or “How is God challenging you then?” a lot more productive.

Responding sensitively and clearly does mean you must take the time and effort to intercede and pray for them during the week. Making time to meet them outside of church whenever they can, to minister to them, also helps keep them accountable as well.

I also encourage them to find mentors in church. I know there are limits to the insight a female leader can provide for them. NS challenges them physically and mentally but it also brings aspects of freedom they might not have had as teenagers. Until they acknowledge that true freedom is found in Christ and live with the peace and wisdom the Lord pours into their lives, they may be easily swayed by the thrills that come with army life.

To enter the army as a soldier and leave as a warrior for Christ. Let’s back our boys up — those at the front-line need our support from the base!

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Work

What I learnt from my internship

by Lim Junheng

Faith

How do we see people the way God does?

by Mark Yeow

Culture

Caught between 2 petitions, I could no longer choose indifference

by Audrey Hau

Culture

Introverted or just passive?

by | 27 July 2018, 4:26 PM

Every time I am asked by my church to go out for street evangelism, a little part of my soul plunges.

As an introvert, I don’t even want to approach strangers for help if I need it – let alone stand on the street and witness to them. Even in the familiar context of ministry in church, it takes a lot of effort on my end to address the community or individuals on ministry-related issues and expectations.

Often, I wish I can just let it all slide and have someone else who I think is better-equipped do it for me. And there have been times when I’ve dropped them despite overwhelming evidence not to.

I’m not engaging enough. I’m not nice enough.

Awhile back, I saw the need to bridge the youth and young adult ministries in my church to minimise the number of youths leaving church when they transited over.

I got confirmation from leaders within both ministries that there was such a need, so I set aside time to pray and brainstorm for a solution. I had a working plan but I lacked the energy and momentum to put it in motion, as well as like-minded individuals for the mission. I chalked up the great inertia to my introversion and let it slip away from my priorities.

I only remembered my dream for a bridging space when I reconnected with a friend who had fallen away from God and church during her own transition. As I listened and encouraged her, one thought kept repeating itself in my mind.

How many more slipped away because you were passive?

“I cannot do it because I’m an introvert” is an excuse.

Successfully creating the bridging space was by no means a guarantee that my friend wouldn’t have backslid. But it would surely have given the community another opportunity to engage and journey with her.

It was not my introversion that prevented me from fulfilling God’s call. My passivity came from the insecurities I had for being an introvert.

I’m not engaging enough. I’m not nice enough.

These insecurities were rooted in the fear of failure. I feared that my leaders would look upon me with disappointment or that my peers would gently suggest that I let someone else take over if I was not successful in starting this. Yet the only person I need to please in ministry is God Himself.

Introversion may be a part of your personality, but passiveness shouldn’t be. I differentiated my introversion from passivity by asking questions: Am I stalling because I don’t know how to engage? Or am I stalling because I don’t want to engage? If so, why?

… the only person I need to please in ministry is God Himself.

Passivity is the result of unfounded fears, allowing ourselves to hide behind excuses. Passivity is what the priest and Levite showed when they did not stop to help the wounded man. Instead it was the compassionate Samaritan – a supposed enemy of the Jews – who stopped (Luke 10:25-37). Both the priest and Levite were fearful for their lives.

Passive is the “wicked and lazy” servant who hid the bag of gold his master had entrusted him with, instead of working and investing them like his colleagues (Matthew 25:14-30). Laziness can often be found in passivity – a fear of the effort required in hard work.

I can do it even though I’m an introvert.

Beyond just showing how God judges the passive, the Bible also tells us how God singles out characters who fulfilled His call upon their lives – people who didn’t let their character traits get in the way of their calling.

The kings of Israel in the Old Testament were summed up based on their reign – whether they did was right in the eyes of the Lord. People in the New Testament were singled out for their willingness to follow the Lord.

I want to be one of them.

Paul’s analogy of the human body as the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) reminds us that every one of us has a part to play. We can fulfil God’s calling for us uniquely.

We don’t know what Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality Jesus had. We know He would often retreat to quiet places to pray (Luke 5:16), but was also capable of flipping tables in the temple (Mark 11:15-17) to stand up for righteousness.

Whatever the Lord requires of us, He has equipped us for it regardless of our personality type. You are first a follower of Jesus Christ, then an introvert or an extrovert.

Don’t let your personality determine what you will do for the Kingdom of God.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Relationships

When you’re single but not by choice

by Christina Wong

video

Speak up: You don’t have to be charismatic or extraordinary

by Nicole Chan

Faith

I don’t even know anymore. Now what?

by Dawn Seow

Faith

Don’t retreat after a retreat

by | 22 June 2018, 4:49 PM

June is the month of holidays, rest and recuperation but for the typical Singaporean Christian, it’s also the month of the highly-anticipated Church retreats!

As my camp was overseas, we enjoyed incredible fellowship as a community in a refreshing setting – as well as affordable food and shopping. Unsurprisingly, Church camps and retreats are a highlight in most calendars and many of us block out these dates in advance.

It’s always a blessed experience. There is physical and spiritual space for an extended time of prayer and worship, which means more time to linger in God’s presence. With time for ministry, we also get to witness chains breaking within individuals and rejoicing alongside them.

The hours in the afternoons between the sessions were great for rest and relaxation (my friends went to Sunway Lagoon while I napped or shopped) and the nights remained as young as we wanted them to. Indeed, retreat is a beautiful medley of encounter, fellowship and rest.

But what happens when we come home?

If you’re sentimental like me, perhaps you’ll hang up your retreat lanyard in your room like a prized possession to reminisce over fondly in the days to come, thinking that it’ll be another full year before you get to experience something similar.

But that’s not true!

Instead of looking at retreat as an extraordinary, one-off event – what if you really let it shape how your daily life looks like? Just as we made sure we left none of our belongings behind at the hotel, we must also make sure we brought home the posture and experiences we learnt at retreat.

But if I really say I belong to God, how can I let these little weeds take root in my life?

By the time you’re reading this, June will be coming to a close and it’ll likely be a few weeks since your retreat ended. The hope is that the posture of humility and anticipation we had retreat would still be present in our lives mere weeks on.

Maybe by now you’re not as persistent in prayer. Maybe you’re allowing yourself to stroll into weekend services late. Or maybe you’re not giving your best effort in your area of service. I’m not sure about you, but I am guilty of all the above.

But if I really say I belong to God, how can I let these little weeds take root in my life?

Renewal. Realignment. Refreshing. Revival. We may not realise it, but the kinds of words we use to describe retreats tend to be words which imply continuation.

When Elijah retreated to Mount Horeb, fearful of Jezebel’s death threat after he killed the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19:1-9), the Lord met him there and assured him: “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

Elijah descended from the mountain, reminded of his calling as the Lord’s prophet and even anointed his successor, Elisha as well as future kings of the nations. All that Elijah did after his retreat points to a rejuvenation of his spirit by the Lord which he lived out immediately despite Jezebel’s threat still hanging over him.

Most of us don’t have the weight of death or depression hanging over us – but Elijah did. When we return from retreats, there have to be indications that we met God there, there has to be growth exemplified in our everyday actions – decisions which reflect renewed faith and hope.

Live in His freedom, love as He does and walk as His child. Don’t retreat from where retreat left off, allow it to flourish in your daily living.

/ samanthaloh@thir.st

Samantha is a creative who is inspired by the people and stories around her. She also loves striped tees and would love to pass her collection down to her future children. Currently level 1127 on Candy Crush.

Conversations

We Recommend

Relationships

Should couples “test the water” on staycations and vacations?

by Wong Siqi

Culture

My love affair with pornography

by Mark Yeow

Faith

The fight to fight on

by Amanda Teo

Article list

In grief and hatred, I wanted to change my surname

What is being missional?

Help, I think my professor likes me

Who are you dressing for?

Tokens and relics: Lessons from my pilgrimage to Jerusalem

What if I’m bad at my major?

Loving Jesus didn’t make me straight, but He made me whole

Are you a 5% student?

The burn is real

I’m a female leader and my cell group is full of NS boys

Introverted or just passive?

Don’t retreat after a retreat