Friday, September 20, 2013

Pass, not pass out!!!

The purpose of trials is to see you pass, not pass out!

James 1:2-4 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Comparison Between Peter and Judas

Among the apostles, the one absolutely stunning success was Judas, and the one thoroughly groveling failure was Peter. Judas was a success in the ways that most impress us: he was successful both financially and politically. He cleverly arranged to control the money of the apostolic band; he skillfully manipulated the political forces of the day to accomplish his goal. And Peter was a failure in ways that we most dread: he was impotent in a crisis and socially inept. At the arrest of Jesus he collapsed, a hapless, blustering coward; in the most critical situations of his life with Jesus, the confession on the road to Caesarea Philippi and the vision on the Mount of transfiguration, he said the most embarrassingly inappropriate things. He was not the companion we would want with us in time of danger, and he was not the kind of person we would feel comfortable with at a social occasion.

Time, of course, has reversed our judgments on the two men. Judas is now a byword for betrayal, and Peter is one of the most honored names in the church and in the world. Judas is a villain; Peter is a saint. Yet the world continues to chase after the successes of Judas, financial wealth and political power, and to defend itself against the failures of Peter, impotence and ineptness. 

Eugene Petersen, in Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 191-192


Monday, September 16, 2013

Let us go over to the other side.

I was spending sometime pondering on Mark’s account pertaining to Jesus Calming the Storm (Mark 4:35-41). I have read the verses countless time and most of the time I will focus on the furious storm followed by Jesus commanding the waves to be still and then He turn to his disciples asking them why they are afraid and still have no faith.

This time around, the Holy Spirit led my attention to verse 35 where Jesus tells his disciples – “Let us go over to the other side.” I am reminded again about the importance of putting our trust and hope in the Word of God.  Jesus told His disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake" (Mark 4:35). At that point, they knew it was His will to go to the other side, and Jesus expected them to believe what He said.

However, after they started their journey they soon found themselves in a fierce storm, and waves were breaking over the edge of the boat, filling it with water. The disciples were petrified over what was happening to them, and finally woke Jesus. Despite learning at the feet of Jesus (verse 34), the disciple demonstrated a faithless attitude. They questioned Jesus whether he cares about them – “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” The storm that causes the boat to rock has made the disciples focus on their present issue rather than recalling what Jesus said “Let us go over to the other side.” He did not say, "let us launch out, get caught in a storm and perish". Jesus told His Disciples exactly what was to come... He was going to take them to the other side, despite what they will face.

The crisis of life has often been compared to stormy seas. They come whether we like it or not. Sometimes they terrify us. They knock us around and threaten to destroy all our stability and security. They bring along fear and uncertainty.  We need to hold on to God's promises - "Let us go over to the other side". Do not let the storms of life blind us from the promises of God.  After all, HE's got the whole world in HIS hand.

Jesus will take us over to the other side!

Be Blessed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Don’t judge a book by its cover

There is an old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The meaning is simple. A person’s appearance, either their physical attributes or demeanor, are no indication of their inner being. While their physical appearance may well be apparent, their spiritual (inner) dimension is not. As the Lord Jesus Christ states (Matthew 23:25-26), the outside of the cup may appear clean and whitewashed, however, inside reveals a completely different story.

Note to myself today:- Lord, search my inner man today. Teach me to walk in your precept everyday knowing that you look at the inner man and not at our outside appearance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The Internship is an interesting movie showing the determination of two guys who lost their sales job to compete in a totally new environment along with other computer geeks and eventually securing a job with Google. I guess the take away from the movie is perseverance.

Every day new challenges come along our way. Sometimes it is overwhelming but the key is perseverance. We persevere not with our own strength but through Christ who gives us strength. Apostle Paul says "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." To understand the context of this verse, it is essential to read the verses that precede it. In the first few verses of Philippians 4, Paul urged his readers to trust God, stand firm, and always rejoice, no matter what their circumstances may be. He then pointed out the hardships he had personally suffered. Immediately following those statements, he clarified that he was only able to endure such things because Christ empowered him to do so. Apostle Paul had experienced all the ups and downs of life and what he was saying was that through the strength of Christ he had come to a place where he was content in any circumstances.

It’s not easy to settle on, especially when the tough things in life are being thrown our way. The only way to get to that place of peace is to find the seat of our identity in God and there are number of practices we can encourage in our lives to open ourselves to the transforming work of God to move us in that direction.

Next time when life gives you lemons, chill out, make lemonade and know that Christ is your strength.  Whatever your situation is today, God knows about it. He sees you and hears the cry of your heart. And if you will give Him your challenges and do what He tells you to do, you will access His overcoming love, grace and power and be more than a conqueror.

Be Blessed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Omnipresence Nature of God

One Sunday morning a lecturer in a theological college was sharing a seat on a train with a small boy as he went to church. The boy was holding in his hand his Sunday School lesson leaflet, The lecturer sitting beside him was interested, and asked - in a friendly way - a question of the young boy. He said: 'Can I ask you a question?'. 'Yes sir, you can'. 'Tell me my boy', continued the man - thinking to have some fun with the lad - 'Where is God? If you can tell me where God is, I'll give you an apple!'. The boy looked up at the theological lecturer sharply, and promptly replied: 'I'll give you a whole barrel of apples if you can tell me where God is not'. Isn't that right? The child had more wisdom!

One of the attribute of God is He is Omnipresence. He is everywhere. God is present everywhere; His presence fills the universe.  In fact, all of His presence is everywhere the same. God is not localized to one place where His power is concentrated while elsewhere it is less evident.  Since God fills the universe, He is not separated by time or space from anything. Everything is in His presence.

In Jeremiah 23:23-24 the Lord says. “ “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD.    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.“  God is with present everywhere. As A.W. Tozer said: 'The notion that there is a God, but that He is comfortably far away, is not embodied in the doctrinal statement of the Christian church'. We do not believe that God is in heaven alone, that God is separated from us, that we are far from God in a geographical sense.

The inspired psalmist David adds “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. “ (Psalm 139:7–12).  To show the amazing nature of God’s omnipresence, the psalmist introduces a series of hypothetical propositions. He suggests that even if he could do the following things — which he could not — God would still be there before him.

• What if one could go to the farthest corner of the physical universe, or what if man could explore the deepest recesses of the spiritual world? God would be there (v. 8).

•    What if one could travel at the speed of light, to the remotest region of the globe? God would be there as well (vv. 9-10).

•    What if a person could be instantly shrouded in absolute darkness? God would see him as if it were broad daylight (vv. 11-12).
What a comfort it is to know that God is with us always and in every place. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Nature is too thin a screen, the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through it everywhere!”  All around us we can see that God is around us in creation - we can see Him.

While God’s omnipresence is a comfort to us on one hand, on the other it should warn us that we cannot hide from God. As the Psalmist said, there is no place in heaven, earth, or hell, where men may hide themselves from God's presence. God is in His creation, God is here in His universe, He is present, He is not detached - 'From a distance God is watching us'? No! God is here!

Be Blessed.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Boldness & Courage

I love Billy Graham's quote on courage that says "Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened".

We can learn something on boldness and courage from the incredible survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Early in the twentieth century, Sir Ernest Shackleton made a voyage to Antarctica. Shortly into their voyage, the ship trapped in ice and remained moored in the frozen sea for ten months before being crushed under tremendous glacial pressure.

Attempting to save his shipmates, Shackleton and his crewmen made what many consider to be the greatest ocean crossing in history. Shackleton and his men marched across drifting ice floes to reach land, and then continued on to the nearest outpost, nearly 1,200 miles away. They hauled whatever supplies they were able to retrieve from their sinking ship into a life boat and drag it by foot. When they reached waters clear enough to navigate, they faced waves as high as ninety feet! They finally reached South Georgia Island, and were told later that the vastness of water they crossed had never been attempted before. Shackleton survived the seas. He rescued his crew and won a spot in history.

Eventually Shackleton and his crew reached their destination, the chosen point for beginning their trek across Antarctica. They were so unkempt that their friends took some time to recognize them.

When asked about the experience, each man said that he had felt the presence of One unseen, who had guided them. Each man had a feeling that he was not alone and that he would survive.

We too can act boldly in our circumstances. We’re never alone, we’ll make it! We just need to take a bold step of faith, and watch what God will do. The author of Hebrews says "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:16

Monday, June 24, 2013

Facing Your Absalom with Right Focus

Psalm 3 was written by David during the time when he fled from his son Absalom. The Psalm itself does not describe the historical account of what is happening but rather it captures the emotion of this ordeal from David’s perspective. The historical portion of this account can be found in 2 Samuel Chapter 15. We learn that David was facing a revolt - his own son plotting to overthrow his father’s kingdom. On top of that, David's close adviser decided to switch camp and joined Absalom to revolt against David. On top of all this, David's own citizen turn their loyalty towards Absalom. As David was fleeing, there were people who scoff and pelted at him.

In the modern day context, we too face our own "Absalom" who may revolt against us. Our Absalom might not be as dramatic as David’s Absalom but it is enough to cause us pain and sometimes the only option is to run away from the situation. Psalm 3 gives the emotional state of David and how he reacted in this crisis that is affecting him. We can learn something from Psalm 3 on how we can react when our Absalom come pounding on us.

One key lesson we can learn from Psalm 3 is FOCUS. In verse 1 & 2 of Psalm 3, David seems to focus on his hopeless situation. I wonder what happen to the past experiences he had on the Lord's deliverance. Seems like the current issue he is facing has overwhelmed him. But in verse 3 & 4, we notice that David change his focus from the issue to the bigness of His God. As David change his focus, the troubled situation went from hopelessness to confidence. We can observe that hopelessness resulted when David had his eyes focused on his situation but confidence arises when he considered the Lord’s hand in the situation. How different a situation looks like when God is seen as a participant! True faith turns to God in all calamities. He’s our shield from danger, the source of any glory we may have, the lifter of our heads in dejection.

Right Focus produces rest and peace. In verses 5 and 6, we see the evidence of God’s answer to David’s prayer. God answered David’s prayer by giving David peace through the trial, as evidenced by the fact that David could “lie down and sleep”. David receives not only peace of mind (evidenced by his sleep), but also peace in the situation (evidenced by his confidence). David’s confidence in the situation could only have come from the Lord. In the eyes of the world, it is a miraculous confidence that does not fear “the tens of thousands drawn up” on every side.

David ends the Psalm with the prayer to the Lord: “May your blessing be on your people”. Though we pass through trials, God’s blessing is still on us. Moreover, it is stated in the Bible over and over that God’s people are blessed because of their trials - “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Let us learn to focus our eyes on Jesus, our source of strength and confidence.

Be Blessed.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

13th General Election - A Christian View

"We are at a crossroads, and there are profound moral issues at stake. I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms." ~ Billy Graham

Being a Christian, we have a moral and civic responsibility to participate in the upcoming 13th General Election. Many of us ask ourselves "How should we vote?".  We must remember that God is not a BN or a Pakatan. We have to prayerfully measure the policies of all parties against a range of Christian ethics and values. We need to pray about who is best qualified to lead our country, in Federal and in the State level. And then, when we vote, we must do our best to choose the candidates/parties who will best fulfill biblical commands for leadership: men and women of good character who are committed to preserving order and promoting justice for all.

Do not vote out of fear but vote for a better Malaysia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Part 1: A Battle Ready Christians knows his source of strength and victory

 Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

Apostle Paul starts the statement on the topic of Armor of God by giving the command to the believer to be “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”. Paul is telling us that the unlimited power and strength of Christ is the source of strength for those who belong to Him. Despite the fact that God has provided the believer with the necessary apparatus by which to withstand the attack of the enemy, the Christian must not lose sight that every element of the armor of God is the creation of God and thus is His provision.

In verse 10, Paul is teaching us that our primary source of victory is only through Christ and His mighty power. Unfortunately when the battle rages, we fall into the trap of relying on our own strength. As Christians, we are to be strong in the mighty power of God. This means that our strength is not our own; it is not human or fleshly. Our strength is not of the world, but our strength is found in Christ — in having a vibrant, dynamic relationship with Him. As Paul tells us in Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

We can trust God's provision for battle, not our own.  God's faithfulness to us has already been manifested in the cross and His power is channeled through the Holy Spirit. Paul in Ephesians 3:16 says “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being...”.

How do we obtain God’s strength? Isaiah 40:31 gives us the key - “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Waiting and spending time in God's presence is the key in drawing strength from above. Knowing our source of strength is one important criterion in spiritual warfare. It is by first aligning ourselves with the strength of God through our total submission to Him that we are able to withstand the wiles of the evil one: “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.   

Total submission is also an act of trusting the Lord. The true source of strength for the believer is not physical weaponry or carnal ability. As Paul saliently notes, the armor of God is only effective if the believer places complete trust in God.

Be Blessed.