Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beware of False Teachers in the Last Days!!!

We are indeed living in the last days. The Scriptures tell us that there will be many "false prophets" in the last days. Sometimes I call them the modern day Pharisee. If we are not careful in our way, we maybe easily entangled into their traps and may even compromise our faith in the Lord. Unfortunately many today run after "great speakers"/pastors. Some go for conferences and always attempt to get the well known speaker in the conference to pray for them. Sometimes we become Pastor Chaser rather than God Chaser. I am not saying that being prayed for by great men/women of God is wrong but we need to check our intention. Sometimes we look at men rather than God.

Jesus warned His followers, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). The warning was important because Jesus later said to them: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matt. 10:16). The apostle Paul, with a deeply troubled spirit and in tears, penned a similar warning: "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock" (Acts 20:29). Throughout church history these warnings concerning professing Christians who deceive even the elect have seldom been taken seriously.
Jesus teaches us that the way we identify them is by observing their fruits (Matt 7:16-20) and not by their appearance. This is not a call of being judgmental but a call of exercising wisdom. One of the ways is to observe the way they behave - whether demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. We are told to look at their lives and see if these fruits are predominant in them and examine if they are living the crucified life. Of course, we must allow for imperfections that have not been overcome yet; but we should readily see the fruit of the Spirit in more abundance than the imperfections. One way we can check this is to notice the words that a man speaks

Secondly observe whether they are exalting God or themselves in their preaching because true ministers will always reflect on Jesus. Examining the conversation of these ministers can quickly reveal who they serve. Do they speak of God's kingdom, His righteousness, and His love; or does their conversation center on the things of this world and life? Are they peacemakers, sowing mercy and love? Do they walk in faith, or are they continually looking to other men for their needs to be supplied? Are they always pressuring people for money, or do they simply receive those gifts of money as unto the Lord? Do they have the joy of the Lord, or do they minister out of duty? Are they truly joyous with that joy spilling over to others, or do they continually complain and gripe over all the things that are not pleasing to them? Is goodness evident in their lives instead of evil? Do they put people in bondage by always threatening them with the wrath of God, or is freedom of choice extended with the warning of the penalties of sin? Jesus came to set us free, not to bring us under the bondage of men.

Thirdly, check their lifestyle. Their lifestyle speaks a lot of their heart condition. Their lifestyles are far from being temperate, reflecting the most expensive and extravagant clothes, diamonds, homes, cars, etc. This is not referring to well-dressed men and women, nice homes, and quality things but the extremes which reveal anything but the nature of Christ. Of course, neither is the other extreme of poverty the nature of Christ. Men of God should live temperate, moderate lives, overcoming poverty and avoiding extreme wealth. Jesus always went about giving to the poor. He never stored up His wealth even though He apparently handled a lot of money, thus the need for a treasurer, Judas (John 13:29). He gave away the things He could have used on Himself, yet He never lacked as He went about ministering. He should be our example today. The affection and lust for the things of this world do not portray the Spirit of Christ. Some are out there just to make use of you and your resources a.k.a. they are only interested in your money - to put it point blank.

One word of caution - examining lives by this standard we must be careful not to go to extremes ourselves and expect total perfection of all ministers. There are many godly men and women who are called of God, who have overcome in many areas, although they still have some weak areas. I am sure they are believing God to perfect this area of weakness. We need to be patient and loving towards them.

One of our major faults as Christians is that we tend to quote men on certain subjects instead of referring to the Book God gave us. Sometimes we tend to evaluate men according to the size of their ministries, their popularity with men, or their endowment of certain gifts, etc. The best way to guard ourselves against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth - the word of God. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who "correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Therefore, it is crucial for us to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the word of God because He is the Spirit of Truth.

To share the gospel is a great responsibility, because the way we present it and live it will encourage people either to accept or reject it. Whether we speak from a pulpit, teach in a classroom, or share with friends, we are entrusted with accurately communicating and living out God's Word. In the same time, we also need to beware of the false teachers in the midst of us.

Be Blessed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Principle of Lending

Few days ago I shared with you on the principle of gleaning that I have learned over a cup of cappuccino (with soy milk :-) ) and latte with Ps. Steven Teo. Here is another principle that I have learned - The Principle of Lending. In comparison with the principle of gleaning, the principle of lending seems to be something that is very common yet many times we fail to realize the truth behind this act of giving.

Do you know the best investment in the world according to the Bible is to help the poor? It is so because helping the poor is lending to the Lord. This is stated in the book of Wisdom - Proverbs 19:17 "He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done". I love how the Living Translation rephrase this verse in a simple sentence - "If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD--and he will repay you!"

Proverbs 19:17 states clearly that "You are lending to the Lord." What is so awesome about this is that the poor will not be the one to pay you back. You can be sure to be paid back because it is God who will pay you back. So in other words, if you give to the poor, feed the poor, help the poor, God will see it as a loan to Him and He will do everything in His power to pay you back. Isn’t God’s Word amazing!

Jesus speaks on how important to help the poor when he says in Matthew 25:35-40 - "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' "

When you are generous and truly help those in need, you are actually doing so to Jesus. When you do it to the least of these, it is as if you’re helping Jesus Himself! Let this be encouragement to you the next time you see someone in need. When you help those who most need it, you are pleasing God.

Be Blessed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quote on Racism

"Racism goes against the heart of God - He reaches out to every tribe, every nation, color, creed or race. Anyone who is racist, even if remotely held cultural bias, does not even begin to know God, let alone speaks in his behalf! " - Ps. Steven Teo

Crucifying Racism

But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" - Luke 23:21

Today's devotion is not one of political correctness, or even one of encouragement... instead today we need to take a serious look at our own views, and how we perceive others. While racism is not something we like to talk about, or even think about, it is something that we can ALL fall victim to... regardless of the color of our skin... we all can find ourselves falling to irrational stereotypes or our fears of those things that appear to be different.

What becomes even more dangerous than allowing ourselves to fall victim to these irrational feelings however, is when we try to justify them... when we try to tell ourselves we are right for feeling anger or hatred towards another person simply because of their affiliation with a group, if only by race.

One of my favorite subjects is history, and so today I would like to look back on the facts. I would like to look back and remember the unjust abuse, the physical abuse such as beatings and whippings along with the psychological abuse and humiliation. I would like to look back and remember the abuse we caused, beating to near death... ripping and tearing skin away with each strike of a whip. How we unfairly persecuted, jailed, and even killed the most innocent out of our own prejudice.

I would like to look back, and remember how we nailed this man to the cross, nearly 2000 years ago. How we took God's only son, and mocked Him as we pierced His side or burrowed His head with the crown of thorns... as we cursed Him while ripping the hairs from His beard.

Jesus suffered one of the most inhumane and most merciless punishments of all time for our sin... an innocent man who did nothing wrong except to teach us about God's love. And yet, despite doing all of this, Christ left us with a message of forgiveness. Despite doing this to God, He gave us eternal life with Him. While nailed to the cross, Christ called for our forgiveness.

Today think about how you feel about others, and why you feel that way. Do not limit yourself to race, but think about those who have persecuted you, hurt you... and ask yourself if Christ has forgiven us, should we also forgive them? Should we put aside our pain and anger, to live with the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ?

And above all, we must remember that Christ died for the forgiveness of all, and in Christ there is not race, social status, gender, etc... we are all of one body, one that we are all guilty of betraying. (Galatians 3:28)

Note: The article above is taken from All credits go to the author(s) of this article.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Principle of Gleaning.

It has been a great two weeks for me and Sathy as we spend our weekend hosting our Pastor friends who are ministering in Penang. We count it a joy and privilege to take care the men of God while they are here fulfilling the great commission that God has given them.

I use the world "privilege" above because as we spend our time with the man of God, we begin to learn a lot on new insight of the word of God and begin to draw more wisdom and knowledge. Last night, we had dinner with Ps. Steven Teo, who is on his way back from ministry in Alor Setar and Kangar. He spends the night in Penang with us before going back to Melbourne.

Ps. Steven shared with us the four principle of giving. He shares about the principle of Tithing, Offering, Gleaning and Lending. Often time we hear sermons on giving that touches the concept of Tithing and Offering but Gleaning and Lending is something we never heard off especially in the context of giving.

In today's posting, let me share with you what I have learned with regards with the Principle of Gleaning.

According to Webster's Dictionary glean means to gather grain or other produce left by reapers. Gleaning has been around since Biblical times when Jews didn't harvest all the crops in order to leave some for the poor (Leviticus and Deuteronomy). Deuteronomy 24:19 says "When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all your undertakings."

We see an instance of gleaning in the story of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz was a rich farmer. It was harvest time for his barley. Ruth, with the other poor, worked the fields behind his servants. Whatever they dropped or missed belonged to gleaners like Ruth. In fact, Boaz even commanded his servants to purposely drop and leave some behind for Ruth. By gleaning, Ruth was able to collect enough grain to bake a couple of loaves of bread.

So what is gleaning in the modern era? A simple act of gleaning that Ps. Steven shared was tipping. That is gleaning in its very raw format. It is basically giving extra that someone will be blessed. It can be feeding someone who is hungry as my friend Ivan always do. There many more areas that we can allow others to "glean" on the blessing that God has given us. Let's us be the channel that God can use to bless someone. As the Lord blesses us, we will leave something behind that someone can glean on it.

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

Be Blessed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Be Willing To Start Small

For who hath despised the day of small things?...Zechariah 4:10 KJV

DL Moody became a spokesman for God and a changer of nations. But if you'd met him early in life you wouldn't have thought it was possible. Although he was raised in church, he was spiritually ignorant. When he moved to Boston he began attending a Bible-preaching church. In April of 1855, a Sunday school teacher came to the shoe shop where he worked and led him to Christ.

A month later, when he applied to become a member of that church, it was clear that he knew nothing about the Bible. One of his Sunday school teachers later wrote, 'I've never met anyone who seemed less likely to become a Christian of clear and decided views, much less fill any place of public usefulness.' So they asked him to take a year of Bible study.

During his interview with the membership committee a year later, his answers were only slightly improved. He was barely literate and used atrocious grammar. Nobody on that church committee thought God would ever use him. But they were wrong. And the people who say you will never amount to anything for God, are wrong too!

Every oak tree starts as an acorn. Jesus began in a stable but He didn't stay there. David was a shepherd boy with a slingshot but he became Israel's greatest king. Joseph was a prisoner but he became prime minister. Understand this: you are a seed capable of producing a harvest for God. So take all that you have and all that you are, place it into God's hands and be willing to start small.

Note: The article above is taken from daily devotion email from The Word for Today brought by TheVine in association with The Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc, New Zealand and UCB International Ltd

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Humility & Christian Leadership

Leadership has been one of my favorite topics of discussion and I really love to observe the various leadership styles used by both leaders in the corporate world and also in the Christian circle. There are a lot of good things that we can learn simply by observing and then apply it on our own leadership style......not forgetting stuffs/pitfalls that we need to avoid. In my course of work and Christian life, I had the opportunity to come across various personnel with a variety of leadership styles.

I believe HUMILITY is one of the core principles of Christian Leadership. It is reflected on the servant leadership style of Jesus Christ and energized to action by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, God's Son, was the ultimate example of a leader with humility who took on the form of a servant and humbled himself even to death on the cross in order to fulfill His Father's redemptive plan for humanity. We need to apply Philippians 2:5 to our lives: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Christian Leadership in its core is humility and service and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:13 states, " is God which work in you both to will and do of His good pleasure." God is the only One who can enable truly successful Christian leadership and He is the only One Who can make it possible for us to deny ourselves in order to appropriate the leader's quality of humility. Unfortunately, today's fast-paced, self-oriented world does not value the timeless quality of humility and can misinterpret it for weakness.

In Christian Leadership, we either come into leadership position by virtue of being a full time pastor, laymen (i.e. ministry head in the church that is appointed by the pastor/leaders) or being elected into a position (deacon and elders appointed through election process or others). In whatever capacity of leadership, humility need to be exercised in the use of authority and power entrusted to us. I have seen people who walk "high and mighty" once they are in a prominent leadership position. Sadly, they fail to realize that Christian Leadership is all about having a heart of a servant.

Sometimes they bring in their secular leadership style into the Christian ministry. Secular leaders often seek to develop their status, power and influence. Position, and the power and status that goes with it is vital - the chairman's large car, privileged parking space, top-floor office with expensive furniture and so on. Such position, power and status is the very opposite of the humility that Jesus modeled. Christian leaders are not immune from such temptation. We need to be able to identify the initial signs of power and status causing improper feelings and actions. This is particularly important in a culture where the pastor, minister leaders may act high and mighty in their course of serving our one only Master, Jesus Christ.

Recently, I spend couple of days with one Christian leader whom I admire a lot. Being someone who once had high profile job and giving it all up for the Lord and serve the Lord, he imparted some good principles and values in me. Ps. Steven Teo has been good role model and ever ready to share his life with others. One thing I have learned from Ps. Steven is humility. That is Christian Leadership in Action!!!

Be Blessed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

In Agreement.......

I completely agree to what YB Hannah Yeoh uttered in her Facebook posting - "time to stop building church building and focus on building the people where fire can't destroy". It is timely call for all of us - that we spend our resources (a.k.a. money and effort) in building lives rather than building a "cathedral".

Please don't get me wrong. I believe the opinion here is not to discourage the church on having their own premises but rather stress on where the focus point should be. Building should always be secondary compare to lives. It always fall back to the question of priority. When we start to put the church building above every thing else, then our focus has started to deviate in comparison to the great commission given by Jesus.

Our good Lord looks at the condition of our heart rather than the condition of our physical building. Remember, heaven only rejoices when one soul is brought to the kingdom of God and not when one Mega Church building structure is constructed or a new high tech sound system being deployed. I like what Tommy Tenney said in his book The God Chasers...."The burial of man’s glory is the birth of God’s glory"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Placing God's plan ahead of your own!

Joseph [Mary's] husband, being a just man...Matthew 1:19 NKJV

Joseph's role in the Christmas story teaches us two things:

1) your character matters to God and

2) doing God's will is not easy.

Jesus' earthly father was a small town carpenter living in Nazareth, a single-camel dot on the map. Why Joseph? Doesn't God have better options? A major part of the answer lies in his reputation, which he's willing to give up for Jesus.

'Then Joseph [Mary's] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.' The phrase 'a just man,' recognises Joseph's character. He'd earned respect through a lifetime of honesty and hard work. We'd probably view him as we would an Elder, Deacon or Lay Preacher.

But Mary's announcement, 'I'm pregnant', put it all at risk. Now what? On one hand he has the law; on the other hand he has his love. The law says, 'stone her'; his love says, 'save her'. Joseph is caught in the middle. Doing the will of God is rewarding, but seldom easy! Even after the angel explains to him the miracle of virgin birth, he still faces a dilemma. Make up a lie and preserve his place in the community, or tell the truth and kiss his reputation goodbye.

He makes his decision, 'Joseph… took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son… ' (Matthew 1:24-25 NKJV). Joseph swapped his teaching and his preconceived ideas for a pregnant fiancĂ©e and an unplanned son. In so doing, he made the big decision of discipleship. What's that? Placing God's plan ahead of your own!

Note: The article above is taken from daily devotion email from The Word for Today brought by TheVine in association with The Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc, New Zealand and UCB International Ltd

Thursday, January 7, 2010

God can turn winds of adversity into showers of blessings.

This morning many was shocked to hear the news of few churches in KL being torched by some unidentified people. Many relates this to the latest tussle on the usage of the word "Allah" but again this are just speculations. What ever it is, we as a Christian need to be calm.

Being a human being, it is so normal for anger to sip in when we read such act of violence especially in places of worship. My feeling is mutual towards all place of worship. I would personally get pissed if someone torched a mosque, temple, gurdwara and etc. No matter what different opinion we have over another faith, we still need to show respect to one another. For me this cowardly act is uncalled for. Thank God there is no life lost in this incident.

As I was reflecting on this , I am reminded that God can always turn winds of adversity into showers of blessing. I guess the only reaction we Christian should take is to go on our bended knees and pray. Pray that the Lord will give wisdom to our Governmental and political leaders and pray for peace to reign in our nation. Luke 6:28 teaches us to pray for those who mistreat us.

It is really good to hear that some political leaders from both the ruling party and opposition have come out and condemn this act of violence against the church. In fact a fellow Malaysian Muslim urges people to donate towards the repair of Metro Tabernacle. Dr. Rafick Khan through his blog site wrote a good article on this and started the ball rolling in collecting the fund.

This incident also reminds us, Christian, especially the church leaders and pastors to be wise on how we spend our God given funds. Instead of building mega churches (many times for our own pride and glory) and constantly upgrading our facilities (many times for our own comfort), we need to always remembers our calling is to glorify Jesus through helping the needy and the poor. We need to be reminded that we are not in a business of building exclusive clubs. We are in the business of bringing hope to the world that is so lost and blinded. I pray that we will learn to view our church as a hospital for sinners, rather than a club for saints. Jesus said "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

We as Christian need to go our knees like never before and intercede for this nation and set our priority right.

Be Blessed.