Love Someone You Find Hardest to Love

It’s always easier to love those whom we find loveable. But Jesus teaches us (or dare I say “challenges” us) to not just love those whom you find loveable.

We’ve all heard it. Love thy neighbour as you love yourself. Even when it’s hard.
Challenge yourself and see how your heart, mind and soul grows!

20160307_LoveSomeoneWhenItsHard

Isn’t it so easy to love that cute baby who’s cooing and giggling?  But it’s not so easy to love him/her the same way when he/she’s screaming in the middle of the night for ‘who-knows-why’ when you’re already sleep deprived.   Parents out there, give me a ‘yes’?!

And this, was a gentle example.  Need I go in deeper?

You are built with love, to love, for love and in love.  So, it becomes a perpetuating cycle if you hold back on loving someone even if they are hard to love.  In fact, the most liberating thing is to love, even when it’s hardest.

LOVE and FORGIVENESS go hand in hand.  You were created to be able to do both.  Now go ahead and do it.  Make it today.

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Christmas. Pain Beyond Imagination

 Today is Day 7 of the #PrepareOurHeartsForAdvent Holy Yoga devotional.

It’s a busy Sunday and truth be told, I didn’t really get the still meditation time I would have liked to have. Running around with two boys and HoYo Sunday class to teach, life has never a dull moment on Sundays! But in this time we prepare for Advent, every day I make time to think about Jesus’ coming. Here, my son and I do it together. We both love Jesus. We say our prayers together. He is my blessing. I love my son.

I know God loves His son and to send His son to bear our sins for us, planned to be crucified on the cross from the moment He was born… It’s pain beyond imagination.

Thank you, Lord for your mercy. Thank YOU for Your grace.

Embarrassed by My Name

20151121_天愛SkyLoveThis month, Holy Yoga Ministries asks us all to dedicate a post to introduce ourselves.  It has been great learning more about the 1300+ community of HoYo teachers worldwide.  Founded by Brooke Boon, in her obedience to God’s calling, she has helped hundreds and a rapidly growing thousand(s) of us Jesus and Yoga lovers to bring the word of God to all corners of the world through Holy Yoga.
My name is Josephine Lau, more often known as ‘Jo’, living in Sydney, Australia.  A mother of 3 boys (including my eldest, aka my husband) currently training as a HoYo Therapist.  I have the honour of bringing HoYo classes 4 times a week to my community around me.  Combining my HoYo lifestyle, motherhood and my profession-by-trade as a Digital Marketer,  my life is filled with busy-ness but also peace in Christ Jesus.  I find joy in all things I do in Him.  Some days are great, some days are average.  But let’s just say, every day that I live to serve Him is a blessing.  If I ever forget that one day,  I only need to look at my Chinese name.
My mother gave me this name that I had been embarrassed for years, as a child.  In Chinese, this is a very literal and obscure name.  It reads ‘Sky Love’ and means ‘Love from above’.  I’ve grown to love this name.  If I ever forget what my life is about, say my name, say my name….

You Heard It. Stop Compartmentalising Your Life …

  Possibly one of the hardest challenges for the modern-day 1st world Christian is to stop compartmentalising his/her life. By that, I mean that we live a Christ-like way of life within our comfortable circle of church friends. And the minute we step away from the comfort of those brothers and sisters, we enter into the world without the same boldness that we have amongst our church friends. Why do we do that?

Inherently, I suspect it is our fear of rejection. 

Humans are built to be in community, regardless on where you land on the extro-intro-version scale. Isolation and abandonment is the one of the worst forms punishment. Hence why we fear rejection and isolation. And in this modern, secular world (or city that I) that we live in, being outwardly Christian may mean you risk the abandonment or isolation.  

Personally, I haven’t experienced much ‘abandonment’ per se. That would be a strong word to use. However, have I been faced with awkward situations where my faith has been questioned and I was compelled to stand on the opposing side of a spiritual view with a good friend? Most definitely. 

Did that make me uncomfortable? Absolutely.

Did I fear judgement from my friends who do not follow Jesus, even though I know the only judgement I should fear is God’s? (Especially those who are like, “Comon’, Jo. You? Christian?”) Yup, sometimes I still do. 

Did that make me waver and live a ‘compartmentalised’ life, where I only speak of the Gospel to my family in Christ whom I am comfortable with? Yes. Often. 

Nonetheless, over time that ‘often‘ became a constant nemisis and shame for me . Openly taking up Holy Yoga as ministry work has been a huge step forward for me. As a results of this,I have observed five important phenomenons:

1. With practise comes more strength and steadfastness

By living out Word and Deed in every aspect of your life through God, He powers you with strength. By law of the 10 thousand hour rule; by practising, it gets easier. There is absolutely NO reason to live a compartmentalised life. Do it afraid and with courage from Him. 

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is by the power of God that brings salvation to those who believe, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles.” Romans 1:16-17

2. People can’t actually repel Christ-likeness. So, don’t be discouraged to live out Word and Deed.

What I’ve learnt over the years is the Truth of salvation. Jesus’ teachings cannot be faulted. If only I can be more like Him! People love Jesus-like people. People are just attracted to kind, compassionate, loving, patience people.  Folks, why would we be afraid to live out a life that others love and frankly, need?

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬

3. Good friends will appreciate that you practise what you preach. There is no false pretence. 

One of the worst things you can do IS TO COMPARTMENTALISE your life. Either you believe you have been saved by Grace and live it out in joy or you don’t. It is counter productive to be selective in who you rejoice with. Live it out! Spread the Good News! 

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” ~‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:3-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

4. Your non-Christian friends will respect you and come to an acceptance. (so long as you remember that you don’t dial the call from God! They will be called in His time. Don’t annoy your friends by playing God. Just pray for them.)

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” ~ ‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

5. When all of the above is established and becomes the norm, there will be a sense of true liberation. Pleasing God is a command and He will protect us on our journey. Stop compartmentalising your Christian life today! Make your every day a ministry life. 

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” ~‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

May this encourage you to seek Him. It’s not an easy road but it is a joyous and deserving one. The gift of salvation is precious. Be thankful. 

Be. Very. Thankful. 

The Ultimate Healer | Holy Yoga

As my Holy Yoga students will know, this week has been a little challenging for me to speak/preach during class as a result of a canker sore that has grown in size right on the tip of my tongue. God does great things though. He gives me wonderful students and friends who pray for healing and by His grace, I manage to teach through the pain. It gives me true joy to live out the Word and give Him praise while teaching yoga.

“However I am physically bound, I still look up to YOU, Lord. In You, I find freedom“.

Thank you to all my students for your grace and love for me. Thank you for coming to class even though some classes are not as ‘fun’ as others. Thank you for just being a part of this journey. May God continue to bless you all and bring salvation to ALL one day.

Open  Side Angle Bound

Open Side Angle Bound

Sad Day for Australia & really, for Every One | Lindt Café Siege

I woke this morning to the breaking news…”Lone Gunman dead at siege and…..two other innocent lives lost.”

Only yesterday, my friend Isabel sent us a Whatsapp to say that Ryan’s colleague’s sister was one of the hostages.  This morning, I am shocked to hear that this 2nd-degree connection fell victim to the siege and that her 3 young children have lost a beautiful, successful mother while trying to save her pregnant colleague.

As a Christian, you question God.  You question why God would let that happen to the lives of happy, innocent children of His with such a bright future ahead of them.  It’s not just two lives that are lost, but the family and loved ones of those victims that have to bear this loss for the rest of their lives.  Why, oh why?  And to think that this could happen to any one of us. It does raise confusion and even anger….and how do we deal with those emotions? Pray more and ask God?  Get angry with God?

And while all of this sadness was going through my mind today and while I continue to scroll through Facebook’s Newsfeed with a variety of different posts and opinions on this topic, I can across this one.  This one that put me at peace.

Lastly, I will end with this: Remember to give your loved ones a kiss before you leave the door.  Every day.  Yes, EVERY DAY, no matter how busy you are or how much of a rush you are in.  Because, just because, you may never know whether it will be the last time they hear you tell them that you love them.  #Cherish

http://www.southwestccc.org/acts11/churchnews/lindt-cafe-tragedy-pastoral-letter/

Lindt Cafe Tragedy – A Pastoral Letter to the Church

Dear church family,

No doubt you have heard of the terrible events that have happened over the last day. In the space of a short 18 hours, an armed siege at Martin Place by a lone gunman had turned terribly tragic. Now three lives have been lost – two hostages (Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson); the gunman himself (Man Haron Monis) – and at least three others injured.

We are all different and we all process tragedy differently. Some of us are okay and will experience no noticeable impact in the aftermath. Others, however, may be more shaken and upset. Neither reaction is right or wrong. But your elders and pastors would like to take the opportunity to write to you a short note, in the hope that it may minister to you at this time, whatever you feel or don’t feel.

Now of course, we are still processing the tragedy ourselves. The points below are going to be a bit rough, slightly rushed, and they certainly won’t be our final word. However, we hope they’ll be a helpful first word from us to you:

In this time, let us encourage you to:

1. Feel

Give yourself permission to feel: sadness, confusion, pain, loss, fear; even anger, indignation, or rage.

The Bible is full of ‘laments’. Not a few of those laments also contain feelings of anger, indignation, and even rage. Take for example, Psalm 139.

It’s ok to feel. The uniqueness of the Christian message is that we have a God who feels. And isn’t Christmas about how this God stepped into human life in order that he might feel even more deeply, understand even more thoroughly, and in order that might be our sympathetic High Priest? (Hebrews 4:14-15)

2. Pray

Let the brokenness of the world drive you to speak to your Heavenly Father – openly, candidly, honestly. Pray even if words are hard to express. Pray even if it carries with it questions that you don’t have answers for. Pray knowing that the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).

And of course, as sons and daughters of the One who holds all things in his hands, pray prayers of intercession for those in particular need at this time. Pray for the victims and their families; pray for the Muslim community who are especially fearful at the moment; pray for our law enforcement officers and agencies; pray for our politicians; pray for our city.

And pray that this will drive more people to seek hope where hope is found and repent before it’s too late (Luke 13:1-9).

3. Cling

It’s times like these that the hope that Jesus brings becomes even more tangible and real. In times of tragedy, the angel’s words announcing the coming of the promised ‘Saviour’ at the first Christmas all of a sudden doesn’t seem so cliched does it? (Luke 2:11)

It’s so easy to forget that the message of salvation implies we need to be saved from something. Perhaps yesterday’s tragedy is an apt reminder of its true meaning. We need rescuing from the brokenness of our fallen world. We need deliverance from the brokenness that we as a rebellious humanity have brought into God’s perfect world. We need salvation from sin; from its consequences both now and on the day of Judgement. We need saving from ourselves and the evil one who holds the world captive to do his will.

Jesus is the promised Saviour. By his death and resurrection he has dealt with sin once and for all as our representative and substitute. By his resurrection he has opened up God’s new promised future and has brought it into the present. And he will return again to make all things new (Revelation 21-22).

This Christmas, cling to these gospel truths with a tenacity that you have perhaps forgotten. Cling to them even through tears and taste just how sweet these truths can be.

4. Talk

Find opportunities to talk about these things. Talk about your feelings. And even if you don’t feel strongly about what’s happened, talk about it with others who may be trying to process their feelings.

In our Heavenly Father’s sovereignty, perhaps he will use this tragedy to awaken a sleepy world. While others may be processing it in their own way, God’s people can truly act as priests to our grieving society, speaking hope where hope cannot be found.

And parents, don’t shy away from the opportunities to speak to your children about these events, as is age appropriate. Use these times to bring your family closer to each other and to the Lord.

5. Love

And finally let love, which covers over a multitude of sins, be the balm that heals our hurting city and country. This is an especially opportune time to love our neighbours, and even our enemies.

Love our Australian Muslim neighbours  who may be feeling threatened and fearful. (#illridewithyou is a great example.)

Love each other enough to take time to mourn with those who mourn.

Love the world enough to speak of the hope that Christ truly brings this Christmas.

And keep loving and trusting our Saviour. Even in bad times. Especially in bad times.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Your brothers in Christ,

The elders and pastors of SWCCC.