When A Simple Shot Reveals So Much More

FullSizeRenderI couldn’t resist snapping this picture of my youngest, Anna Joy, at her desk.

The seven year-old is usually the first to get up each day. And without fail, like clockwork, she washes up, dresses up and starts her homeschool schedule. Yes, all by herself.

Serene and I have been asked many times how homeschooling is like. Is it all about freedom, being able to do what we want, when we want? Well, to a certain extent, we do enjoy that latitude. However, school is still school. And all learning, in whatever form, requires discipline.

Anna Joy has grown up in this environment of homeschooling all her life. Having watched her older siblings go about their routines, she began to establish one of her own too. Each day, in the Lim Tribe household, that’s pretty much the scene. Every child knows what he or she needs to accomplish, and each can be found at their own workstations, diligently completing what has been assigned. That doesn’t mean everything runs perfectly. Once in a while, you will still hear Serene’s voice ring out, “[insert name], you still owe me lesson number …!”

As I observed Anna Joy that morning, I couldn’t help but beam a little as a proud daddy. Yet, more than just a father who is pleased with the development of his children, my heart was filled with gratitude for a very hardworking wife and mother in Serene. To be sure, there has been much pain and sacrifice along this journey of homeschooling. Many tears too. And you can also add frustration and anxiety to the list. No one sees these at all. At times (and there have been many), even I miss the tremendous load that Serene carries, neglecting to be there with and for her, causing the journey to be a lot more difficult than it already is.

This picture of Anna Joy brings a smile to my face. In a while, the other workstations would fill up, one by one. Yes, it’s a lovely sight to behold. No, it didn’t happen by chance, or that we were somehow blessed with perfect, sinless, super-obedient children. It took diligence and discipline, a lot of hard work with consistency over the years. And a whole lot of GOD as we experienced His strength and grace over and over again.

An award-winning shot this is not. But it has caused me to pause, to reflect and to give thanks. I am so proud of Serene. I am so proud of each of our seven children. Thank you, dear Lord, for these awesome blessings You have allowed in my life!

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No Worries, My Dad’s Got My Back!

Father and Son on KeyboardsEver since David, my eldest, had a chance to jam and play with the worship team at the tender age of nine, he has always done well and held his own. Gifted with a musical talent, today at 16 years old, he writes songs, arranges music, and plays the guitar, keyboards, bass and drums.

I can’t remember when this photo was taken … perhaps 2006 or 2007? But when I saw this photo again just the other day, it brought a smile to my face. Yet, more than the cute little boy grinning at the keyboards, it was the message in the picture that really warmed my heart and greatly encouraged me … that of a father supporting his son from behind.

I believe it is also like that with our Heavenly Father. He is always giving us the opportunity and exposure to excel that we might bring Him joy and pleasure. He allows us to think that we are doing really well on our own, but in truth, He is always there looking on and looking out for us. For sure, He never leaves nor forsakes us. Should we miss a note or a beat, we can be certain that our Abba Father will more than make up for our shortfalls and mistakes.

This is the grace we enjoy and the assurance we carry in our hearts as we serve Him in the assignments He has given to us. We just do our best and leave the rest to Him. No worries, my Dad’s got my back!

 

Pedophilia Officially Classified as Sexual Orientation by American Psychology Association

Pedophilia Officially Classified as Sexual Orientation by American Psychology Association.

Hands up, those who agree that this it is utterly, totally, absolutely, shockingly, horrendously, deplorably ridiculous! And yet, the time has arrived where insanity and foolishness are the order of the day 😦

The headline of this Charisma Magazine article says it all, doesn’t it? You don’t even need to read the full article to be sickened by such an announcement.

Without doubt, we are living in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil 2:15) where people call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).

Indeed, every parent needs to pray like never before — but make sure it is done with eyes wide open; don’t let your children out of your sight.

NOTE: Since posting this yesterday, some astute readers have checked the American Psychology Association website with attempts to verify the report. Also, Charisma News has added this paragraph to the above article: “UPDATE: The AFA cannot substantiate its research on this issue, though many agree with its interpretation. Please click here for an updated story with new facts. The AFA is a trusted source in Christian media, but some are disputing its claim. We reached out to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for an official statement and have not yet received clarification. We will update the story if the APA responds.” Regardless, this does not alter the fact that we do live in challenging and interesting times, one that calls for Christian parents to be very aware of the present environment our families are exposed to.

Can We Stay Silent On Such Issues Any Longer?

City of Venice to ban ‘mother’ and ‘father’ terms on official forms | LifeSiteNews.com.

This article left me speechless and at a total loss for words. And yet, deep in my spirit, this is not the time to stay silent on such issues and matters.

This may be taking place in a city quite a distance from Singapore; but in today’s globalised context, it is not at all unthinkable to expect a similar attempt or move here.

The LGBT Agenda is a global phenomenon. It is gaining momentum and it will do anything and everything it can to convert all spheres of society.

The question is, “Do I read and sit idly by?” Or will I take a stand by speaking for what is right in the eyes of God?

10 Reminders for My Parenting Journey

9G7A6561Hands up, all who agree that parenting is not for the faint-hearted.

We’ve all been told that we have an awesome responsibility to train and raise our children in the ways of the Lord. We may start out with zest and enthusiasm, but it doesn’t take very long to realise the challenges and distractions that come against us every day; and sometimes, every moment! We determine to take these in our stride. And then we discover that the battles are not necessarily always against the external influences but some of the toughest ones are found right at home, in the hearts of our children and in the issues we each personally grapple with.

Like the winds and waves that come against a seemingly solid rocky cliff, our resolve to be great parents can be slowly eroded as fatigue and discouragement set in, slowly but surely. If you have been there, you know what I’m talking about. You know the feeling, and it’s not a nice one. All you have are questions but no answers. And worse still, the loudest questions are those that taunt, accuse and condemn your ability and credibility as a parent.

I’ve been there too — many times. God may have blessed and graced me to be a father to my seven children, and indeed, I know my roles and responsibilities as a steward of these blessings. That said, how I view parenting and what I expect of myself may not always be accurate, even though I strive to be as biblical as I possibly can. And that’s why I need to be reminded of the following over and over again.

1. I am not a perfect parent. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I desperately need to remember this and not beat myself over the head each time I fail. But my perfectionist streak gets the better of me, time and time again, and I feel really lousy when I mess up or am told that I have overlooked something again. But perfect I am not, and the truth is, I will make mistakes. I can be aware and learn from them, or I can wallow, be condemned, and give up.

2. I do not have perfect children. Another obvious point, but don’t we all wish that they are perfect? I know that my children all struggle with their sinful natures, and yet, my idealistic streak keeps hoping that I will wake up one day and suddenly discover children who are always cheerful, polite and obedient. (Interestingly, as I am writing this, there is a whining and crying child in the background.) Oh, how my countenance falls each time my expectations of them are not met! But they are not perfect, and it is utterly foolish and unreasonable of me to consider otherwise. Remembering this enables me to understand their struggles, as I do mine, that I may be patient and compassionate in my dealings with each of them.

3. I cannot monitor every activity my children engages in. I will be as involved in the lives and activities of my children as I possibly can. But to be present physically 24/7 and to know every detail is simply not practical. The biggest irony is that often, children break the rules right under the parents’ nose, right in the home where boundaries are clearest! What about when parents are not around? You can set up an entire tracking system but there will come a time when their own schedules will take them out of the house and they will have to make decisions on their own. Admittedly, this is toughest as we watch our children grow. We know there is a need to let go. We just don’t know if we are doing it too soon or too late. My prayer is for knowledge not just to be lodged in their heads, but that godly wisdom would rise and rule in their hearts.

4. I am not responsible for my children’s sins. As parents, it grieves us when our children sin. When they are little, it may be lying or throwing a tantrum. But as they grow, they may read books, listen to songs, watch movies that are just not right. We tell them, they know and yet there is a curiosity in them that needs to be satisfied. We pray they wouldn’t sin, and yet they do. And we feel as if we have failed miserably in our instruction and training. I am reminding myself that my part is to teach and impart. But if they choose to disobey, to sin, it would totally break my heart, but the responsibility remains theirs — and the consequences too.

5. I am not the one to meet my children’s every need. Today, just being dad is not enough anymore. You must also be friend, coach, mentor and teacher (did I mention pastor and counsellor too?). And every parenting talk and sermon adds another descriptor to the already endless list of who you are to be and what you should be doing. In short, we are never doing enough and we are the one to blame for any dysfunction our child may display. Hey, I will watch out for my children’s needs. Yes, I will be dad, the best that I can be. But if they hope to have one that never fails them, man, will they be disappointed. My prayer is that they will quickly learn and find sufficiency only in Christ, and Christ alone.

6. I do not have all the answers. By now, this statement should not be a surprise at all. Yes, it’s ok to say “I don’t know.” I don’t know why things are happening this way. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know when the children will love the Lord passionately and serve Him wholeheartedly. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What I do know is that God is faithful and His Word is true. That is who and what I will cling to, regardless how my children are behaving or responding, and especially when I don’t know what I know anymore!

7. I am not the one who provides for my children. At some point, every parent struggles with needs and wants of our children. With seven children, this is a very real point! Just this week alone, I have been advised (warned) that certain expenses have increased and that I should not faint when the next statement arrives. Sure, as dad and head of the household, it is my responsibility to provide for the family. That could be a huge burden for me if I do not first understand and then remember that it is the Lord who provides as we serve Him and Kingdom faithfully.

8. I do not have to worry nor be anxious. I am not joking. I know that you think this is totally impossible. After all, we love our children and that is why we will always worry for and about them. That said, let us be reminded that there is an extremely fine line between loving concern and anxious worry. I am concerned for my children, and rightly, I should be. However, when I dwell on that and all the unknowns, it begins to eat me up from the inside out! My focus on the Lord shifts to my own inability to comprehend nor resolve the issue. It turns to worry and before long, I am taking it out on myself and my children. This reminder is for me to always trust the Lord, regardless. He has great plans for each child and only He can bring it to pass in His time.

9. I do not have to journey alone. Sometimes, parenting can seem like a very lonely journey on a very long road. Allow this to stick in your mind and you will soon be having the biggest pity-party ever. Unless you are a single parent, always remember the partnership of your spouse. Discuss and pray with one another often. And don’t forget the extended family through the Body of Christ. At times, the same point I have been making, when made by another may bring conviction in the hearts of my children. Ouch! That just dented my pride. Precisely, for often, it is our pride that restricts us from sharing our challenges with others, or learning from them. This only leaves us stranded and alone.

10. I do not have to take everything so seriously. If I can remember the above, it would be much easier to remember this. Then again, this might be the first and most important reminder to heed. Serene and I say this often, “If we don’t laugh about it, we will go crazy!” Most definitely, we could do with a lot more of that when we parent. In most cases, it is not the end of the world. Don’t let our uptightness, our pride, our need for control, our worry, our ‘face’ rob us of the joy of loving and walking with the children God has so graciously blessed us with. I know this is more easily said than done, hence, the need to be reminded over and over again. Not only will this be good for the parents, but also for the children. After all, who wants to live in an environment where there is only stress, anger and anxiety? Stop frowning. Smile more. Laugh.

Oh, how I need to revisit these points often in my parenting journey. You may have more to add but I would be happy if I can remember these for starters, consistently. And most importantly, that the Lord is enabling me by His Holy Spirit to achieve what He has called me to do as a father. May He enable you too!

AMKMC Church Camp 2013: Running into the Father’s Arms

It was the final session of Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church Camp 2013 where I preached about PRESENCE, about how the journey of transformation is not to be made alone but with God and in His presence. An altar call was made and the people promptly responded, making their way to the front. What followed was a meaningful time of prayer and ministry.

After I prayed for the last person, the pastor asked me to wrap up the session with some closing remarks. And so, I made my way up the stage again, took the mic and proceeded to share a few final points.

My youngest, four year-old Anna Joy, heard my voice over the speakers from the back of the hall. Seeing me on stage, she started her run down the aisle towards the stage shouting —

“D-a-a-a-a-ddy-y-y-yyyyyyy!!!! I want to hug you-u-u-u!”

Oblivious to the attention she had drawn from the crowd, she headed straight for me. As she approached the steps of the stage, I knelt down to welcome her with outstretched arms. And in a few steps, Anna Joy threw herself onto her daddy and gave him a huge hug!

Anna Joy Hug AMKMC

After that surprising but spontaneous embrace, Anna Joy bounced off the stage and back to her seat. I stood up, looked at the people, and said, “How many of you know that that was totally arranged by the Lord?” It was such a beautiful picture of a child running into her father’s arms. In line with the topic and message, it is also an open invitation for us all to run into our Heavenly Father’s arms and presence. And He is all too ready to embrace us.

Later on, some shared that they were so touched and moved to tears by Anna Joy’s spontaneous act. Truly, no one could have orchestrated that at all, except God. I am so thankful that He used the innocence of a four year-old to drive home such a powerful message of His love and grace.

Related Post: AMKMC 2013: Choices

Bearing Fruit In Old Age

Dad Testimony

I took this picture of my father when he came forward to share at the end of Covenant Vision Christian Church‘s (CVCC) Camp 2013 on 5 June.

As I thought about how he has journeyed in his spiritual walk, I was reminded of another post that was published back in 2009. In “The Fulfilment of a Vision“, I shared how the Lord had shown me earlier that my father would respond to an altar call and this was fulfilled on 19 April 2009. In that post, I wrote, “I strongly believe that God has begun a new work in Dad’s life, and we will see new things in the days ahead.”

Since then, Dad has enrolled for Covenant Vision School of Ministry and subsequently completed the Certificate in Practical Christian Ministry. The following year, he served as Camp Chairman for CVCC’s very first church camp, Kingdom Alive!, in Batam. It wasn’t all that smooth sailing and Dad encountered a few hard knocks as he experienced church life and ministry afresh. Then, early last year, he discovered he had prostate cancer. By God’s grace, he was led to South Korea where he received Proton Therapy treatment. Through this episode, Dad drew so much closer to the Lord and returned with renewed fervour and passion!

At the camp, my father led morning devotions and facilitated a discussion group. Having invited three of his friends to camp, he also played host to ensure they were well looked after and having a good time. To top it off, he participated in the talent show, teaming up with his grandson, David. Together, they shared my father’s testimony in song and performed that original piece, outfitted in wigs and togs in keeping with the 70s theme! All this, at a hale and hearty age of 73!

That said, I should be quite used to it, having seen him always on the go for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a little boy. And yet, something’s different this time 🙂 Truly, the promise in Psalm 92:12-15 describes it so well:

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”