Sowing seeds

To the Discouraged Sower: Persevere

Articles, General Articles

Imagine sowing Gospel seeds day after day and not one of those people placed their trust in Jesus. On the other hand, a fellow believer has been reaping a harvest.

Does this sound like you? Because that is me. I have not seen a single person get saved from my witnessing despite how many times I sow. A missionary couple I know of, who are serving in the Czech Republic, experienced similar frustration. Days of sowing turned into months and months into years. Year after year, despite sowing the Gospel to hundreds of souls, few were saved and the size of the church barely grew. No one seemed to respond to the Gospel. 

“Maybe the harvest will be reaped after God takes both of you home,” I said, trying to encourage them. “Like how the results of some past missionaries were not visible until after their passing.”

Not seeing results can be disheartening. I was feeling exactly that way during my mid-teens, even to the point of wondering if I was doing it wrong. What about you? Are you thinking the same? These three reminders encourage and direct me to the truth whenever discouragement hits …


Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, heaven is her only home. She desires to love Jesus and sow His seeds. Besides writing, she would be washing dishes, chopping ingredients into smithereens, and recording music. Read more posts from her or contact her.




Want to stay updated? Subscribe to receive posts directly in your inbox!

Rainbow in rain

Updated: Giving Thanks In Everything

General Articles

Dear Friend,

Like the weather, life has different seasons. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 describes the seasons of life in detail, and to categorize them in human terms, we have good and bad seasons. We tend to define good seasons when good situations happen and bad situations for bad seasons. Regardless of the weather, we still need to give thanks in everything.


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV (Emphasis added)



How do we give thanks in everything? Everything covers both good and bad, big and little. Yes, it can be easy for us to give thanks for good things, but it can be difficult to naturally always give thanks for them, let alone the bad things. Humans generally tend to murmur, which is the opposite of giving thanks. Complaining is being ungrateful. Ungrateful to Who? To God. And I’m guilty of this. Because my sinful nature is prone to be ungrateful, God commanded that I must give thanks in everything.


“… for this is the will of God …”



It’s His will that I should be grateful. Do you know what’s hard in giving thanks? Giving thanks from my heart. That is true It’s His will that I should be grateful. Do you know what’s hard in giving thanks? Giving thanks from my heart. That is true thanksgiving.

To truly give thanks to Christ means –

  1. I’m trusting Him wholly,
  2. I believe that God is Who He is,
  3. I’m surrendered to Him,
  4. And I’m submitted to His will.

Whereas complaining shows that –

  1. I’m doubting Him,
  2. I don’t believe that God is Who He is,
  3. I’m not surrendered to Him,
  4. And I’m not submitted to His will.

Ouch. I feel bad from reading the last points. Choosing between giving thanks and murmuring is choosing between acknowledging God and letting unbelief rule my life. However, it is impossible for me to consistently choose the former because it’s against my sinful nature. But


“… in Christ Jesus …”




it is possible because He has freed me from sin. And because I am free, I can give thanks for His salvation, His faithfulness, His words, His grace, His mercies, His punishments, His blessings, my sorrows, my pain, my difficulties, and so on. It is possible because of Who He is instead of who I am and what my situations are. Dear friend, my prayer is that in all of your rain, sunshine, sweet moments, and broken messes, you will look to Jesus and give thanks.

Resulting in the fullness of joy and peace in Him no matter what circumstance I’m in. Then I’ll have two more things to be thankful for.


“To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.”

Psalm 30:12 KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo

P.S. If you have a paper and pen near you, write down each good and bad thing for this day and give thanks to Jesus regarding them. If you want to take a step further, write ten of His characteristics that you’re thankful for.

This article was also published in the private email magazine ministry, The Father’s Kingdom, and was originally published in this site.

P.P.S. Stay tuned for the next post I have exciting news to share with you!

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, heaven is her only home. She desires to love Jesus and sow His seeds. Besides writing, she would be washing dishes, chopping ingredients into smithereens, and recording music. Read more posts from her or contact her.




Want to stay updated? Subscribe to receive posts directly in your inbox!

Join 126 other followers

When We Compare

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Comparing myself to others is so easy. It’s a struggle I’ve faced many times. I know I shouldn’t do that when the Bible clearly says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV). What the Bible tells me to be wary of, is for my good.

So, why is it not wise to compare myself with others? Well, when I see that the other person’s path or what they have is “better” than mine, I want to have what they have or want to be on the path they’re on. And that shows I’m discontented and ungrateful.

On the other hand, when I see that what I have and/or what I’ve accomplished is “better” than what others have, I will elevate myself, thinking I’m “better” than them. And that shows I’m prideful.

Does the above sound familiar?

All of us have fallen into these traps one way or another. In both, we focused on ourselves and what others are doing.


How do we get out of it?   

Shift our focus to Jesus. We must be thankful, content, and praise God for where He has placed us and the blessings He has given us.


“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7, KJV



And quoting from Anneliese Louise, “When God blesses another, do not internalize it as though it were an attack on you. Rather, thank Him out loud for being such an overwhelmingly generous God.” Did a friend achieve something good? Praise God that He brought them there.  

As for pride, we need to humble ourselves. Acknowledge that all that we accomplished and have is because of Him. He is the One who blessed us and He is the One who brought us to where we are.


“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3, KJV



It’s Not A Competition

The truth is, our paths are different, just like my journey in God’s will is different from yours in His. “It’s a personal race, not a competition,” a close friend once told me.

About a year ago, I told my mom I’m reaching my mid-twenties and started writing seriously not too long before that and additionally, I’m an unemployed graduate who needs a salary, how could I catch up? She said, “So? Your dad started “late” in his career and look where God brought Him now … Anyone can learn a skill no matter where they are in life.” What’s important is where God places me right now, no matter “where” I am in life as compared to other writers.

Currently, I’m 24. I am not published and am still looking for a job amid the pandemic. When I compare myself with others, it feels like I’m lagging. However, in God’s eyes, if I follow according to his plans and timing, I’m not falling behind. And being where God wants me to be, close by His side, is more than good enough. After all, He is the one writing my story. Who am I to say that I know it best? 

Thus, every time, I compare myself with other people, I try to remind myself this: 

Focus on Jesus, not on others nor myself. 


“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”

Psalm 105:4, KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. I’ll be participating in the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour! Hosted by Sawyer Marie and Abby Elissa. To follow the tour, go to either blogsite, Sundrop Girls or Abby Elissa from April 5 – 11.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Updated: Challenging the Aspect of Consistent Blogging

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Several weeks ago, I stared at my blog wondering what to write. I had mentioned that I would publish twice a month or alternate weeks. Why? I asked myself. To be consistent, of course. Why do I need to be consistent? At that moment, I challenged the aspect of blogging consistently and discussed it with a blogger friend, Lisa.

I asked her, why do bloggers post consistently? Of course, we both knew the obvious answer was to gain followers. But was this my intention? Nope.

Of course, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. I however didn’t want to vomit content for the sake of consistency because I wanted to write properly for Christ. To clarify my meaning, there’s nothing wrong in posting consistency. The important aspect lies in the purpose.

What’s my intention to blog?


I recalled the moment I created this blog. Actually, I created it on Blogger during high school. It had the similar “Train” concept. I wrote book reviews and rambled about my life. However, I had no vision or long-term goals for it, and it wasn’t His timing for me to blog. I closed it.

Once I started writing seriously, His time for me to blog came. Thus, I created it again using WordPress instead. I wrote about the Conductor’s (Christ) guidance in my writing journey, and what I had learned from Him.

My intention was to share my lessons with other writers. To tell them that this writing journey can be lonely and difficult, but the Conductor is with them every word of the way.


Gradually, this blog changed to include the TCK email ministry, and my writing style changed. Despite those, my purpose remained the same: to write what the Conductor taught me during my personal journey with Him, so that He would use it to reach people.

To reach these readers included having followers or subscribers; thus, I incorporated a form of consistency. I initially posted once every week. (Keep in mind that the number of readers is not my primary goal.) However, my writing projects increased and I struggled to maintain quality content while risking myself to a burnout.

So, I asked Lisa on which she values more:

Consistency or Quality


We both agreed that to us, quality is more important than consistency. I thought of an example of a particular blogger who doesn’t post often, yet I’m still subscribed to her because her articles are high-quality to me. Specifically, they are truth-filled, and they draw me closer to my Lord.

At the same time, yes, it’s possible to publish quality posts while being consistent. But this might not work for everyone, well, it didn’t work for me at least. I could even challenge the aspect of every writer or author needing a blog. Blogging itself is not suitable for everyone; however, let’s not chug off the track, Clarissa.

After discussing with my friend, I prayed about it. Then I decided to post as and when God leads me to it instead of sticking to fixed dates. (To clarify again, I’m not saying that He did not guide me to post each week. I did not have much work back then.) At the same time, I won’t post inconsistently in a way that I publish content once every three to four months.

Rather, I set a general target of one to two posts a month. So far, I’m less overwhelmed than before, and perhaps, just perhaps, I’m improving in quality. But we shall see as I continue. Ultimately, the most important thing is that God is building it, and not I (Psalm 127:1). And that focusing on the number of readers does not take His place in my life because

being close to Him and loving Him is my goal.


How about you, my friend: is blogging consistently working out for you? Are you blogging to increase the numbers of followers or because you love your Lord? And is He building your house?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. You can peek into Lisa’s blog here.

P.P.S. Sarah who wrote the article on productivity also has a Part 2 of it! I highly recommend you to read it because it’s a very important lesson for all of us: Part 2: Has Productivity Become Your Idol? And if you miss Part 1, here it is: Productivity from a Biblical Perspective.

P.P.P.S. Also, should I write an article challenging the aspect of every writer/author needing a blog? Just kidding!



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Sorting My Priorities to be Priorities Again

Journal, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

It seems that many people are swamped with work these days. Be it school or normal career work. As for me, I could not escape my own mountain of writing projects. I’ve always wanted to write a post on priorities; however, the right time for it didn’t come until recently.

A few months ago, I was going through a difficulty, and subsequently took a break from my own writing. After God brought me through my challenge, He eased me back to writing. Weeks later, I found myself buried in the mountain pile. Before I completely lost myself in it, He reminded me that writing should be treated as a job, instead of something that threatens to take His place and permeate every aspect of my life. I wanted to slap myself. How could I forget that?

And a few weeks ago, I told my mother I would do a certain project after I completed a writing task. She replied,

“Your work is never-ending.”

She was right. Just like secular work, my writing doesn’t “ends”. So why was I overwhelmed with it?

The problem lies with my priorities.

It was important that I settle this as soon as possible because they surround my personal walk with the Lord. I prayed, reflected on my priorities, and arranged them by macro (the big picture) and micro (within writing). My list of macro priorities showed what should be most important in my life.

Macro Priorities:

1. God

2. Family

3. Friends and people

4. Work (secular and writing)


I needed to ensure that God is always first in every aspect, that I’m protecting my quiet time with Him, and that I’m trusting everything into His hands. As a result, everything else naturally fell in their place. Then I asked Him to sort out my micro priorities within writing. He then reminded me of the list I wrote right after my difficulty.

Micro Priorities:

1. Letters for Book F

1. Fiction writing once letters for Book F are completed

2. TCK Ministry and blogging

3. Editing lessons, reading to give feedback, and guest writing


My problem was that my mind shifted from Him, and was fixated in completing my projects that they all became equally important. Before they could consume me, I surrendered them to Him, returned to the list He intended, and gave each moment to Him.

I reminded myself, priorities are something that I need to make a conscious effort to trust the Lord with each day. I shouldn’t have taken them to my own hands and assume I could handle them by my own strength. The truth is, I can’t because I’m not perfect. But Jesus Christ is, and I have His Spirit with me.

As days passed, I did not strictly follow the writing list because I was sticking to His leading. At times, He wanted me to rest from my letters and work on a blog article, or give feedback to another writer. Other times, He wanted me to pause from writing and spend time with my family and friends. And sometimes, He wanted me to encourage someone who needed it.

The writing list that He sorted became a reference for me when I have no clue on what to do next. I also found that ultimately, everything on my lists surrounded Him. And currently, I’m not overwhelmed by life anymore because

Christ is in the center of it.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. A friend of mine wrote an article on productivity which encouraged me greatly. It is not what you might expect it to be. I expected it partly because I read several of her writings before. Anyhoo, you can read it here if you’re interested.

P.P.S. I’ve started a small section called Snippets of Truth. A snippet is a bite of the Bible, a simple lesson which you can read from the homepage. It’s also open for anyone who wants to contribute. If you’re interested, contact me.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.