God, thank you so much for walking with me for 7 good years :)
O Lord, You have brought me out from the pit of darkness and have brought forth the light of truth and salvation into my life. My God, I can never thank you enough for how much You have done in my life. O God, You are awesome, mighty, wonderful and everlasting! Amen :)
2001 is the year that I always remember. It was that year when my life turning point here began.
So for a start, a brief history of me:
I was born and raised in Christian family.
I have attended 2 different kinds of denomination, namely the Charismatic and the Baptist.
I was baptized in a Baptist church in 1997. Prior before the baptism, I have to attend the baptism class every Sunday. And honestly speaking, I dreaded it the most because I have to wake up early in the morning to attend church.
At home, most of the night our family will have a devotion together and we will revert back to the Charismatic practices. It's quite good in a way because it livens up the atmosphere during a worship together as a family. I still enjoyed those moments with my family as we worshiped together. My dad would be playing his guitar and lead the worship..
Despite of all the hype of worshiping which can bring myself closer to God, I still find myself alone in my faith. Although every week I attended youth night or Sunday service to listen to the sermons, I still find my faith and love for God is not genuine. I merely do it to please others and to hear them praising me. Man... I was indeed very prideful! In addition, I am usually a timid person and often shy away from people. In short, I am good at masking and pretending.
However, each time the more I pretended, I felt cheated towards other but also to myself. I couldn't bring myself to think or to confess what kind of person I am. But due to my pride, I still continue to live this part of brokeness in me. Sometimes there were times I came to a realization that I needed to change and be repentant of it, but I can hardly find the will in me to do so. Perhaps I couldn't really find the right support among my friends because we were too in the same ship - always talking craps and nonsense. In short, I am not a true follower of Jesus.
After finishing my GCE 'O' Level examination, I went to Miri to do my engineering course. Campus life was like a freedom for me because it's my first time to be away from my family. I could do anything I wanted. However I still keep myself to be holy and righteous by mixing around with some Christian friends to keep myself from becoming wild. I attended the church regurlarly every Sunday but again my life have never truly find the true purpose out of it. Sin easily crept in because I was so enticed by many things there. I had a relationship with a girl and my academic got worse and worse because I am not putting concentration to study. In the end, I failed so many papers - just because of a relationship. When my parents found out about it, my dad was so furious! The next day, I was kicked out from the house and told to look for a job on my own.
Eventually I found a job, working as a computer technician in Brunei. I worked for 3 months. During the 3 months stint of working, I stayed with all my colleagues as they were all foreigners from India, Pakistan and the Phillipines. My roommates were all from India. Each time I am with them, I am reminded of my own home and often feel saddened of the thought when my dad kicked me out from the house. I vowed to God that I will repent and not to repeat the same mistake ever again. It was a painful experience in my entire life. After 3 months later, my mom came to look for me and asked whether I would like to continue my study or not. I quickly agreed and I finally came to KL.
KL is another place, far more happening than in Miri. But the painful experiences reminded me again and I really kept to myself to give my best to study hard. My grades improved significantly and I continue to do better and better. I also began to choose my friends carefully so that I won't mix around with bad companies. Friends were good to me and were helpful whenever I needed help, especially those from China (and my Mandarin improved alot too).
September finally come. And the whole world witnessed the 9/11 incident. Many were so grief stricken. And I watched helplessly as the video footage showed 2 planes crashing the tower... It was Tuesday. On that particular Sunday, I accompanied my housemate to a church located at Sungai Wang. He actually asked me to accompany him because I am a church goer and he felt insecure going there alone. It was my first time to meet Je Wei who would be my "pokok". The church service was great but the worship is not to my liking. I am still very attached to band and playing musical instrument just like any Charismatic church do. After the service over, I saw so many people came to approached my friends and I. They were all so friendly and warm. I saw how they gave a side hugs to each other and I wonder why this church is so warm in their relationship with one another. I have never really seen such kind of church before.
One of the guy asked me whether I am interested to study the Bible and I quickly agreed, since I thought that I needed some spiritual guidance as I have not going to church regurlarly as per usual. My first study with Haris and Kien Woon was great in a McDonald at Leisure Mall. I was caught by surprise that they can be so boldy open the Bible in the public. And praying and reading the Scriptures. They taught me so many things which I have never taught before. So simple. So straight to the point. So warm. And indeed so touching as I feel God is telling me, "Daniel, it's time to get back on track. Come on."
One of the study that deeply impacted me is the discipleship study. The contrast of my own so called Christian live is totally different from the biblical ways. I felt alot of stings in my heart as I saw myself clearly how I am so far off away from being called a true follower of Jesus. The expectations is high but I know it's godly and God did this in such a manner we can place our faith in Him no matter how big the challenges it will be. After the study, I got back into the habit of doing my quiet time and prayer which I have not been doing for the longest time. For the first time in my life, my heart was so opened to understand the Bible and I started to appreciate God's word more and more. Eventually I learned about sin and started to repent of my sinful nature, repenting my pretentious heart, repenting all kind of immoralities and all that can stop me from having a relationship with God. It was my first time to confess my sin to people and I really felt refreshed about it at the end. I thanked God for the brothers to speak the truth in love to me and helped me to overcome it. The cross study even furthe convicted me as I saw the pain of Jesus going through the process to die for me and everyone. I have never been taught such crucifixation. My former churches taught very lightly and so shallow and I was never able to appreciate but simply just understand it intellectually. But that time around during the cross, I was even more deeply cut and grateful for someone who died for me.
And at the end, I couldn't wait to be baptised as I saw the biblical way to baptism. I knew I was baptized in my former church in 1997 but I disregard it now because the baptism was not valid due to my unrepented heart. So the day came... no, it's the night came as I waited at the swimming pool at Vincent's condominium. I waited till almost 10pm because there is one girl was counting the cost to be baptised on the same night with me too. Finally both Esther and I got baptized on that day which I will never forget for the rest of my life when I found God and got back with Him, September 29, 2001 :)
Those memories still lingering now. But now, I am celebrating this spiritual birthday with God alone. Esther no longer around with me as she have left. Of course, there is a part in my heart that I still feel saddened when she left but I know God will bring her back one day.
For such a longest time, I am grateful to God and to the rest of the rest of the brothers and sisters who helped me along to grow maturely. I am still happy to see my "pokok" still faithful and serving God in the church. I am happy for many close friends that I have and I will always continue to treasure all of them. God have brought me so far from where I used to be. He has changed my life. He gave me confidence. He gave me strength when I needed the most. He was with me when I am down. He gave me assurance when I am at loss. He caused me to feel other when I see others in pain too. But most importantly, God have brought me out from the pit of darkness and gave me a new life :)
In closing, I can only imagine...
I can only imagine what it will be like, when I walk by Your side...
I can only imagine, what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!
I can only imagine, when that day comes, when I find myself standing in the Son!
I can only imagine, when all I will do, is forever, forever worship You!