The Hezekiah Year

In light of recent developments with NS I might need to go to Tekong some time in April, and this definitely had got me thinking about the year I enlisted, 2016, and what went well in that year which we can hopefully bring over to 2018.

By and large, 2016 was by many counts a “successful” year. I made many new friends, I had a large positive influence on the people around me and things were, on the whole, going great for me. Unfortunately nearing the end my thoughts started to shift priorities, prioritizing self over Christ as I always tend to, which was a set-up for the awful 2017.

I looked back at 2016 and saw that things changed in April. Here’s the story. I was due for enlistment in April 2016. That meant I had 3 months of freedom to cherish. I used the bulk of this time to give tuition and help out my juniors during CCA. We grew close, at least close enough given the amount of time I had. A few days before enlistment, however, I received a letter that told me to not enlist and wait until they have fully sorted out my medical status.

That was when my mentality shifted. I shifted my focus to the few friends I did get close to in my CCA. I went in initially with the goal of uniting the CCA, but due to enlistment differences that has changed drastically. My goal turned into growing close with this specific group of friends. I still did mingle with the others, but I knew in my heart that wasn’t the main goal anymore, unlike pre-enlistment-delay.

That wasn’t good, but it wasn’t that different. I still gave tuition and went to school to help and celebrate. This wrong mentality did however eventually lead to the compounded emotional attachment issues I struggled with in 2017. Nevertheless God still blessed 2016.

It seems like 2016 was my Hezekiah year. Things in 2016 went well before and after I screwed up. 2017 was a nightmare, like Manasseh’s reign after Hezekiah’s, but at least 2016 ended on a good note. 2016 was a year of God’s blessings given to me, whereas 2017 was the year I squandered them away using my self-efforts.

The lesson to note in 2018 is to keep my eyes on Jesus, saying ‘no’ when necessary even to things or people I like, and see God bless me richly and abundantly with His riches (which, let me tell you, are really good blessings that move you to love Him even more, and less of the flesh). If He is the treasure of my heart, then I really am blessed in any and every situation.

—Joel Kindiak, 18 Jan 18, 0713H


Flashback on 2013

When I entered 2018, I knew from the onset that the problems created in 2017 won’t immediately die out, and that every now and then I will still be challenged by them. This morning was one such morning. The Year of His Glory doesn’t mean that all my problems magically disappear, rather, that the grace of God causes me to overcome these problems, unto His glory, step-by-step.

Today I’m going to flashback on 2013, the best year of my life so far. I have faith that 2018 will surpass 2013 in glory, so I want to take a look at the glory moments in 2013 and how God really blessed that year with His unmerited favor.

Ministry-wise, 2013 was the year in which I was most active in serving God. I had been in the dance ministry since 2011 and continued in 2013 up till the Easter performance, after which I left the ministry. I was also involved with the usher team in the children’s ministry. In fact, it was from this group I got to know Faith, who till date is still one of my closest friends of all time. And I have no doubt out serving has been incredibly encouraging to the children who do attend the children’s services on Sunday.

I pray for even more spiritual prosperity with serving in church in 2018, that whatever prosperity has been given in 2013 will double in 2018.

In school I was not idle. Once I preached about the burnt and sin offerings, and how because of Jesus we can have fresh fellowship with God, and the other was an awards presentation for a Math challenge a few schoolmates and I were a team in, to which we got first…runner up, causing everyone to laugh. In May that year a few friends and I started a cell group in school, and we would meet every Friday afternoon to fellowship and learn from God’s word. Some time in August I got drunk in the Holy Spirit and stood on the teacher’s table to preach the gospel to my classmates, to which no one actually walked out on me even though they had all the right to. My school cellmates and I even did classroom evangelism and about five people made a decision to follow Christ. (Our follow-up was terrible though, so that’s an area to improve in 2018.) My reputation in my batch was “the attention-seeking Michael Jackson”, but my reputation in the batch after me was “the guy who preached during morning devotion”.

I pray for even more spiritual prosperity with the bible studies and the spontaneous evangelism in 2018, that is, serving God outside of church, and that whatever prosperity has been given in 2013 will double in 2018.

Academically I was prospering, and with every test came fresh grace and diligence to work hard and smart, that I may excel for His glory. My results got better and better, and in the O Levels I could choose practically any JC I wanted to go.

I pray for academic prosperity and prosperity in my workplace as I work for His glory and excel for His glory, empowered and directed purely by His grace. May whatever workforce and academic prosperity given in 2013 double in 2018. May the math sessions be a blessing to both my students and myself, as they learn to work hard and smart and therefore excel in their Math papers.

Friendships-wise was very interesting. For the first 6 months I had no friends, but due to intimacy with God I was incredibly happy. For the last 6 months I got to know Daniel and Jonathan, whom I’m still incredibly close to till this day. In fact we’re meeting once a month for bible studies: a testament to God’s faithfulness in drawing us close to Him and to one another. 2013 was the best year ever even though I did not have many friends.

May 2018 double that of 2013 in the department of joy, with or without friends. Also may 2018 be the year my friendship with my best friend last year be restored to closeness and godly intimacy, that is, knowing, loving and cherishing each other that points us to God’s intimacy with us, just like with Faith, with Daniel and Jonathan, with Ting Wei, with Shun Xian, with Samuel and Bryan and so on.

This brings me back to the present of 2018. I look at other people and wonder how is it so easy for them to make close friends, whereas for me it is so difficult to even hope to start one. This morning was one such moment of inadequacy, and while it was a lot more manageable than 2017, it still hurt. Though we saw the beginning of this new friendship in the end of December last year, I’m still not ready to fully reconcile, and this emotional wound has got to first heal up before I can interact with her again and work on rebuilding the precious friendship that I destroyed.

May I experience complete healing in the area of friendships and feelings of unworthiness that arise from a relative lack of close friends. May I be made completely whole whether with friends who are close or not, whether with girlfriend or not, because the Lord is my hope.

May 2018 really be the Year of His Glory in every area of my life, surpassing the glory in 2013.

-Joel Kindiak, 11 Jan 18, 0841H

No More Close Friends

Joel Kindiak will have no close friends.

He may have friends who are close, but he will never have close friends.

This is because Joel is learning something that many have learnt much earlier: many friends will come and go, will let him down, and will not fulfill his expectations of the people he calls his close friends.

Joel is in the process of learning that some people will be in his life forever, and many others for a short time, and that the latter should not be damned in favor of the former. Both have their purposes in his life, and while he could call the former his “close friends”, he doesn’t know for sure.

Thus, Joel has concluded that he may have friends, but no close ones, save for Jesus. He will enjoy the friends who happen to be closer to him than others, but he will also accept that sometimes the very same people cannot remain in his life forever.

And that best friends forever is a fantasy. Enjoy the friendships for as long as they last, but don’t force them to last. Let them take their natural course. Don’t force people to grow close to you, but let your Christ-likeness draw all men to yourself, that you may build them up and point them to Christ.

I am first and foremost a child of God in Christ, and then a friend. That is the priority, and as such I won’t bestow on others the glory that only Jesus can receive.

I shall no longer have close friends, but will cherish every friendship that come my way, close or not.

—Joel Kindiak, 31 Dec 17, 1723H

God Wants You Happy

Everyone has heard the phrase “Jesus loves you”, but I bet few ponder to realize what that means. When I love someone, I want them to be incredibly happy every day. Them being happy makes me happy.

And what makes us think God doesn’t feel likewise?

Sure, He is God. He is sovereign and knows why we go through what we go through, and has a grand purpose at the end of it all, be it for maturity or to be a blessing. But with that being said, have we forgotten that God really wants us to be happy?

God delights in the delight of His children, and mourns when His children mourns, for He empathizes with our pain.

For the last year, from the very first hiccup with my first friendship to the repeated misunderstandings in the second, I had made one very fatal assumption in my thoughts. I had wrongly assumed that God deliberately resisted joy from me.

When in reality, His desire is that I be happy all the time! In Him!

I had assumed that because God isn’t immediately restoring my life, that He doesn’t want to. In fact, looking back, I realized that I wrongly believed that He doesn’t want me happy. He just wants me to be a holy goody-two shoes.

That sounds like pre-saved Joel if you ask me! That sounds like the Joel who had a religious concept of grace instead of actually knowing the Person who embodies grace. In the course of the last year, I had fallen from grace and back into law, where the more I looked at my awful state, the more I condemned myself, leading to the endless cycle of defeat.

The Lord reminded me that He wanted me to be happy. He wanted me well. He wanted me to succeed in life, that He may be glorified in every area. He reminded me that what changed my grades in Sec 3 is in believing that God wanted me to succeed in my studies. I choose to believe that God wants me happy, and that He wants me to succeed in my friendships. He desires that I reign victorious over my over-sensitivity, to rule over it and not to be ruled over by it. And victory in the name of Jesus, since this victory ultimately belongs to Him.

God wants me happy. He wants you happy. In Him. And get ready to see your life turn around to reflect His glory. May your life reflect the glory of God, and may your year too be the Year of His Glory.

2018 is off to an incredibly strong start, and I can’t wait to see how this will continue in the days ahead!

-Joel Kindiak, 3 Jan 18, 1918H

Glorify God

To ‘glory’ in something or someone, in the original meaning, is to ‘place weight’ in that thing or one. To glorify God, by definition, is to place weight on who He is. When we say ‘To God Be the Glory’ we are effectively saying that He alone deserves the most glory, or rather, the most weight in our lives.

This means that we take heed not to glory in anything else other than God, or rather, make any matter more weighty than God.

Should we celebrate success? Absolutely. Celebrate those perfect scores upon receiving your results slips. Should we glorify our studies though? The reality is that we do, to some degree, place importance in our academic success. Thus, there is some glory. The first challenge is to make God weightier than success, and the second is to eliminate it completely. All the importance that remains in success is a desire that God be glorified through them.

Likewise should we mourn failure, be it academia or friendships? Definitely. Should we give failure glory? We will give it some. Yet, the challenge is to give God even more weight than our failures, followed by transferring all the importance in failure to God, so that what remains is the desire for God’s grace to be magnified in the midst of failure.

Ecclesiastes makes this clearer. All these experiences are good gifts of God, if and only if God is the one who receives maximal glory in them all. Otherwise, all these experiences are but smoke, a chasing after the wind. God wants us to rejoice and grieve and express righteous anger and experience the full range of emotions, so long as God is glorified in them, more than all of them combined.

Every once in a while, I look back on my life and miss the close friendships I’ve shared with different people. If only I had not been impulsive our friendship need not make a turn for the worse. And as such I do grieve momentarily, though far less frequent and for much shorter periods of time, since God has given me new dreams and desires and goals. But ultimately, I want these moments of pain to glorify God, that the Person of God is far more important to me than the pain I’ve experienced.

I remember all that He has done for me, and the plans He has for me in 2018, which I will probably detail in an upcoming blog post, and am incredibly excited about. I also remember that these plans are His, and I will not hope in them but in the Lord to bring them to pass. I also remember that they will take time to grow and produce fruit, but when they do, it will be massive blessing to me and the people around me.

May we learn to glorify God in every area of our lives, good or bad, so that when the world sees how weighty God is to us, they will desire to make Him their Rock as well. May 2018 really be the Year of His Glory.

-Joel Kindiak, 27 Dec 17, 1430H