Displaying result(s) for "Faith"

My Life Lesson on Learning to Lean on Jesus

26 January 2023

I was born into a Christian family, with my parents and even most of my direct relatives being Christians. I had considered myself to be a Christian since I was born into it and I made a decision to invite Jesus into my life when I was around 7 years old. Even then, my life didn't seem like it changed drastically.

At 17, I felt like lost direction in life and as with any post-schooling student, there came a pivotal point in life to pick a college/university and the undergraduate course that would "determine the my future". Of course, I stressed over moments like this - big decisions that could altar many things I may not see in the present. On another note, I was involved in a toxic relationship and had struggled with some "friendship issues" in school, which added to the pressure.

However, through conversation and sharing about my struggles, I realized that my peers in church were going through a similar problems as I am but not all were "pulled down by it" or ""struggling the same way I was" because of how close they stayed to God and clung unto Him through tough situations.

I realised the relationship I might have had with God was just not real. I finally turned back, ran towards God and recommitted my life to Jesus again, 10 years after I had first invited Him into my life.

It was then that I learned what it meant to "lean on God" and I could feel many of my burdens wearing off, to the point that I physically felt my body was lighter and not being weighed down. Now being in my final year in university, I praise God that I am still learning and leaning on Him to overcome tough obstacles of life, not by my own strength but God's.

I thank God for the experiences He has brought me through so that I can now share with my peers and others how to trust God even when there are periods of anxiety and stress. Jesus is our refuge and He is faithful!

A Front-liner's Reflection on the Pandemic

02 November 2021

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will never be shaken.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

(Psalm 62: 5-6,8)

“Matron, I have little baby, I can’t work in Covid ICU”
“Matron, I had Asthma, I can’t work in Covid ICU’’
“Matron, can I change ward because...”
“Matron Tan, we need to open Covid ICU.”
“Matron Tan, can you go and set up another Covid ward now?”
“Tan, you’re on call, right? Please go hospital now, need to discuss and set up another Covid ward and rearrange staffing” 

All these requests often spelled my late return home or my abrupt return to hospital on a Sunday morning. 

Never in my 30 years of service. as a nurse and superior in ICU, had I received so many panic messages and phone calls for a change of ward and even change of departments as I did in the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia. However, due to the high demand of ICU beds, I couldn’t grant every single request. Daily, I’d ask the Lord Jesus for wisdom and words of encouragement as I counsel my nurses. I prayed also for God protection over the healthcare workers in my workplace, my family and myself.

The uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, the absence of a definite treatment, lockdown, vaccinations, and church being unable to have physical gathering all caused me to get on my knees and plea with the Lord Jesus for mercy for our nation. In the midst of it all, I was also connected to a few prayer groups. Yet, the more we pray, the cases only increased further and the situation in our nation worsen. I started to lose focus on God as I looked at the situation of my surroundings. Fear creeped silently into my mind and caught me unguarded. But my God is a faithful God, even when I was faithless. 

One day as I was praying, a gentle voice whispered “I see, I hear, and I care. Turn your focus unto Me.”  

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Tears flowed down my cheek and joy entered my heart. Since then, my faith was strongly anchored on Jesus and continued to stand on the promises of God. I was reminded that He will never forsake me nor leave me. He promises His peace to be with me always. 

That passion for prayer sparked when I had returned from my trip to Sri Lanka in 2016. Since then, I desired also to see churches and God’s people come together and pray as one body in Christ. The problem was, I didn’t know people outside HighPointe LIFE. It seemed impossible for me to connect with churches from different denomination in Klang, what more other parts of the country coming together to pray! Little did I know that these verses would soon ring true.  

“He grants you your heart's desire and fulfil all your plans.” (Psalm 20:4)
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5)

One day, brother Anthony sent me a link to an AOG prayer group and in 2018 God led me to attended Women Prayer Conference in Sibu, Sarawak. Through the WPC group, I was connected to Malaysian United Prayer Wall and 24/7 Praise and Worship group. Praying for the nation WITH the nation was no longer impossible. God was sovereign, loving and all knowing. He is always there waiting for His children to come to Him. Ask, He will answer. 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

As I look back, I thank our Lord Jesus for His protection and the power of His blood that has shielded me, my family and the nurses form Covid-19 viruses. Even though a few of them were infected by the virus all were healed without any complication. Praise be to our Lord Jesus, for answering many of our prayers. We saw many turned to the Lord. We witnessed seeds planted, churches united and lives transformed. 

“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)

Experiencing The Miracle of Healing and Salvation

12 October 2021

I was born and raised in a Hindu family. I am the eldest of three brothers. I had a tough but good childhood, with loving parents who were always earnestly seeking God. This led me to my own journey and search for God. 

I searched for many years, seeking the truth through religion and different spiritual experiences. Every result of this journey led to more hurdles and left me without the peace and assurance I was looking for. I wanted to know God and ask Him many things. 

I eventually got married and had kids, but the questions kept troubling me: What did all the years of seeking sum up to? Did I want my kids to face the same experience - without assurances and without a clue of where to find God? 

In November 2020, I believe God encountered me and answered so many of the questions I had been asking for years. It all happened through a simple divine appointment with my neighbour, Pastor Daniel. We were just catching up, talking about work and life at the local "mamak" (Malaysian cafe). 

In our conversation, I brought up how I had a bad knee injury that had been troubling me for almost 18 years. (As a former national athlete, I had been tormented by this injury. I was unable to play the sport I loved, and it affected me very badly. I had put on a lot of weight and with the injury, lost my vibrance and my sense of peace). Pastor Daniel, then, offered to pray for me and I experienced God's healing power on my knee almost immediately.

In all my years of seeking treatment and alternative remedies, this had never happened. This was a miracle! I was able to walk without limping. I asked myself how this "God" could be so simple, yet so magnificent. I was taken back by this instant relief. 

Pastor Daniel then shared about God's love and how I was healed in the name of Jesus. He shared how God had died for my sins to save me. My heart just knew that this was the answer I had been searching for all my life. I surrendered my life to Jesus on that day, and a huge weight was lifted off my heart. I felt new, and I felt blessed. 

Since then, I've gone through a time of deliverance where Jesus set me free from many demons and strongholds from my old life. I have also received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The transformation I've been feeling in my life as I continue to encounter God through his work, power and love is truly amazing. 

God is still teaching me so many things about Himself and my new faith. I truly thank God for this new faith I have found in Jesus and for saving me and showing me His love. I pray that each of you will encounter God's love in the way I have and that God will use you to share his love with the many in need around you.

Hope Through Tears And Questions

14 September 2021

It has been a year since it happened and today I finally found the courage to give voice to the struggles of many women. Miscarriage is not something uncommon but it’s something not openly and commonly talked about, especially when society deems it a taboo topic.

Yes, we experienced it exactly a year ago. It was (and still is) a difficult part of life to make sense of. Many questions that still remain unanswered. The words of Romans 8:28 and the song Tenang by GMS has been something I have been reflecting on this day.

Reflecting on this poem titled, 'Glimpses Of Rainbow' sums up the deepest thoughts and feelings to our journey thus far:

Recalling this day last year,
Unexpected experience, unwanted encounter.
Reminded of our little Rainbow’s departure
And the sight of rainbows You brought near.

As she parted away from us,
There were many nights of tears.
Rolling uncontrollably down our cheeks,
With questions, thoughts and frustrating weeks.

Limited understanding, hurting hearts,
Knowing His will is an art.
Fears crawl in, doubts deceive
Enticing us to disbelief.

“Affirmed”, “Acknowledged”, “Delighted” and “Love”,
These are many assurances from Him who is love.
Calling us to cling to Him,
Carrying us in the midst of dim.

Riding with Him on this journey call faith,
Trying to take little steps of faith.
Allowing the One to restore us again,
In the midst of all these painful terrains.

Though the valley was(is) dark and the journey is long,
Yet the Lord is near and His ways are not wrong.
Even when we can’t understand His weird and mysterious ways,
We will embrace this obedience to His calling and ways.

The God Who Won't Give Up

07 September 2021

Not everyone in Jesus’ world gave him a warm welcome. Not everyone received him with grace. And many didn’t just ignore him, they rejected him.

Isaiah prophesied his reception like this: “He was despised and rejected by men” (Isa. 53:3 NIV).

John summarized the rejection of Jesus with these words: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:10-11 NIV).

How did Christ endure treatment like that? At any point he could have said, “I quit. I’ve had enough.” Why didn’t he? What kept him from giving up?

I wonder if Lee Ielpi understands the answer? He is a retired firefighter, a New York City firefighter. He gave twenty-six years to the city. But on September 11, 2001, he gave much more. He gave his son. Jonathan Ielpi was a fireman as well. When the Twin Towers fell, he was there.

Firefighters are a loyal clan. When one perishes in the line of duty, the body is left where it is until a firefighter who knows the person can come and quite literally pick it up. Le made the discovery of his son’s body his personal mission. He dug daily with dozens of others at the sixteen-acre graveyard. One Tuesday, December 11, three months after the disaster, his son was found. And Lee was there to carry him out.

He didn’t give up. The father didn’t quit. He refused to turn and leave. Why? Because his love for his son was greater than the pain of the search. Can’t the same be said about Christ? Why didn’t he quit? Because the love for his children was greater than the pain of the journey. He came to pull you out. Your world had collapsed. That’s why he came. You were dead, dead to sin. That’s why he came. He loves you. That’s why he came.

That’s why he endured the distance between us. “Love…endures all things.”

That’s why he endured the resistance from us. “Love…endures all things.”

That’s why he went the final step of the incarnation: “God made him who had not sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV).

Why did Jesus do that? There is only one answer. And that answer has one word. Love. And that love of Christ “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7 NKJV).

Think about that for a moment. Drink from that for a moment. Drink deeply. Don’t just sip or nip. It’s time to gulp. It’s time to let his love cover all things in your life. All secrets. All hurts. All hours of evil, minutes of worry.

The mornings you awoke in the bed of a stranger? His love will cover that. The years you peddled prejudice and pride? His love will cover that. Every promise broken, drug taken, penny stolen. Every cross word, cuss word, and harsh word. His love covers all things.

Let it. Discover along with the psalmist. “He…loads me with love and mercy” (Ps. 103:4). Picture a giant dump truck full of love. There you are behind it. God lifts the bed until the love starts to slide. Slowly at first, then down, down, down until you are hidden, buried, covered in his love.

“Hey, where are you?” someone asks.

“In here, covered in love.”

Let his love cover all things.

Do it for his sake. To the glory of his name.

Do it for your sake. For the peace of your heart.

And do it for their sake. For the people in your life. Let his love fall on you so yours can fall on them.

(published with permission)

I Saw Visions Of God

09 August 2021

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
Ezekiel 1:1 (ESV)

Ezekiel 1:1 is probably a strange verse to ponder on. In fact, the verse did not hit me at first. However, as I continued reading the chapter, it struck me how magnificent the vision really was. It was not just a simple sentence at the beginning of a book. This vision that Ezekiel saw showed the glorious splendor of God’s majesty (Ezekiel 1:4-28). Ezekiel was so awe-struck by it that he bowed before the Lord God. Then, in chapter 2, God spoke and ‘commissioned’ Ezekiel to speak His word to the rebellious people of Israel. Ezekiel followed without question. 

The first two chapters of Ezekiel stayed with me the most. I wondered how Ezekiel had so easily accepted God’s ‘mission’ for him. Especially, after hearing such a description of the people’s stubbornness and hardheadedness (2:3-7). If I were in Ezekiel’s shoes, I would definitely find it difficult. In my very human mind, I would have had so many questions for God. Yet, the vision that Ezekiel saw kept me thinking.

It occurred to me, that the revealing of the vision here to Ezekiel, this young priest that was taken in captivity in Babylon (also known as Chaldea), was not only to display the glorious splendor of God’s majesty. It was to show Ezekiel that although God’s people were in exile and their nation was about to be destroyed, God was still on the throne and able to handle any situation.

Perhaps the reason why it was that easy for Ezekiel to accept God’s mission for him was because his ‘vision’ has now been set on who God is. Thus, no matter the message God gives him to preach nor the opposition that would arise from the people (which will be plenty as a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah), Ezekiel would be encouraged and strengthened because he had seen the mighty throne of God in all its glory. 

I think about my own life. How often had I fallen into despair at the current happenings in the world and in our nation? Too many times have I allowed circumstances to grip me in fear and anger; and disappointment to move me (or stop me). Maybe I had forgotten just who our sovereign God is?

The first two chapters of Ezekiel is a good challenge for me (or us) today! It challenges us to reorientate the ‘movers’ in our life. Ezekiel was not moved by the circumstances of the people nor the reality of his mission. Rather, it was the reality of who God is through the vision that was given to him. Perhaps, this is why the book of Ezekiel began with a vision from God. Let us be like Prophet Ezekiel, who moves solely by focusing on the vision of our enthroned, sovereign Lord.

May the lyrics of this song ‘You are God alone’ by Phillips, Craig and Dean be our respond today. 

Once A Pawn, Always a Pawn?

20 July 2021

What is the least valuable piece in a chess set? The most common assignment of point value system esteems the pawn at one point, a far cry of the queen’s score of nine. It’s common knowledge that the pawn is perhaps the weakest piece in the chess game, hence the assigned number. Why wouldn’t it be? If quantity reflects the quality — the lesser the amount, the more valuable it is — the pawn is miles behind. Even if all the eight pawns decide to gang up together, they are still one point short of the queen.

The positioning of the pawn reflects its value significantly as well. Forming the frontline of all the pieces, they are the first ones ready to be sacrificed. Any player will be more willing to sacrifice a pawn, more than any other piece. Owh, the insignificance of a pawn when it’s given freely! How about the limitation of movements? A queen moves horizontally, vertically, diagonally at any number of boxes at any time. The rook is allowed horizontal and vertical moves, while the bishop diagonally, but still at any distance they wish. The knight, the most unique one of all, gets L-shape directions. The pawn? Only a step forward. With grace, two steps on your first move. Isn’t it clear that the pawn is indeed the weakest and least valuable piece of a chess game?

Here’s where I stop the train of thoughts to prove you wrong.

First, the pawn forms the frontline. In other words, the defense. Have you seen any player move all his/her pawns up on the first stance? Not even Beth Harmon in the Queen’s Gambit does it. You don’t do it because you’ll leave the backline exposed and vulnerable. A smiling opponent waiting to prowl like a lion, ever thankful to attack. They might not be attacking-minded, but a good strategy does not consist of attacking only. Using the analogy of a different sport, the great football manager Sir Alex Ferguson once said, “Attack wins you games, but defense wins you titles.”

Secondly, a pawn is ever willing to sacrifice himself. A pawn lost for a battle won. They are the most courageous ones, the bravest lots, and the most loyal soldiers. To sacrifice oneself for a better cause speaks nothing but faithfulness of the highest kind to the long term goal, to win. Here you have, though not the most powerful piece, but the one that’s first to raise his hand, one you couldn’t find in any other. I present to you, the most faithful Sir Pawn.

And if you ever noticed, there are two characteristics found in a pawn that are in no other.

A pawn only moves forward. A queen has the free pass to motion front and back. A rook retreats when being attacked. A bishop swirls up and down. A knight gallops in random directions. But the pawn, he only steps forward. Even with the risk of death, he marches forward. He never ever in a battle withdraws backwards. Talk about being single-focused, unswerving commitment, unyielding vision and uncompromisable mission. And he treads forward with one goal in mind, to reach the other end of the battleline.

Because unlike no other piece, a pawn can be transformed. A promotion, you may call it. A queen remains the pompous queen throughout the battle. The rook stands its shape as big as ever. A knight stays on his horse. A bishop can forget about being the pope. They endure their roles until they die. But a pawn? “Neh, boring. I’m different,” he said. A pawn can be changed into any other piece upon reaching the other end. Anything, even a queen? You bet. How about the king? Don’t go overboard.

A pawn will never exist as a pawn forever. The due reward for his faithful courage, willingly standing his line, and forcefully moving forward in the thick and thin of the battle. Towards the end of the battle, you’ll begin to see the importance of the pawn. When every other piece falls along the way, the player tries to keep his pawns in the combat, striding them forward until the end. Because he knows one thing, a pawn can metamorphosize like a butterfly. And what a change it can do to the contest. The one who seemed the weakest at the beginning, is now the strongest.

Once a pawn always a pawn, until you make it to the other end.

A Christian's Response:

Which one do you want to be? The prestigious queen? The rugged rook? The handsome knight? The cunning bishop? Or the lowly pawn? I know what I want to be.

A piece that guards the gospel and defends the very cause of my life. To form the defense line of the Christian faith. (2 Timothy 1:8–14)

A piece ever faithful, ever loyal. To be able to share in the suffering, to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3–7)

A piece that moves forward. To stand firm in Scripture in perseverance against the grains of the world. (2 Timothy 3:14–17)

A piece with a goal in mind — to reach the end. To complete the Christian calling as I run the marathon journey of life. (2 Timothy 4:6–8)

A piece that one day will be transformed in God’s glory.

A piece that says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

(published with permission)

Helping Someone Through Hard Times

13 July 2021

As a pastor for more than three decades, I’ve heard more than a few stories of heartache and hurt. Health scares, financial woes, relationship valleys: everyone I know is going through a hard time to some extent, and probably everyone you know is as well.

So what should we do when people share their turbulent times with us? Here are a few dos and don’ts:

Do tell them they’re not facing this time alone. Offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Be available to run errands, care for kids, or provide a meal.

Don’t make the situation about you. It’s tempting to share your personal story—or that of a loved one—but this makes the conversation all about you, not about the person facing turbulent times. Focus on the person who is hurting.

Do urge them to make a plan. Hard times are a petri dish for brainless decisions, so help make a plan for getting through. And then help them stick to it.

Don’t enable foolish behavior. If your friend is in debt, a shopping spree won’t help the situation. An affair won’t mend a struggling marriage, and you can’t fix a drug addiction with more drugs. Stupid won’t fix stupid.

Do encourage forgiveness. Forgiveness can take time, but it’s the key that releases us from a prison of bitterness. As long as someone’s trying to forgive, they are forgiving.

Don’t advise revenge.  If someone’s been wronged, the desire for retribution can be hard to ignore. Revenge can feel sweet for the moment, but then what? The after effects of lashing out won’t help anyone get through the pain. It will only prolong the hurt and break more hearts.

Don’t promise a quick resolution. While we all wish a cancer would go into remission tomorrow or that pain would vanish next week, that may not be the case. Remain positive without being naïve.

Do look for the hidden good. When the time is right, look for positive outcomes that might be found in the mess, like restored relationships, a renewed zest for life, or wisdom for the future. All are possible effects of turbulent times. Help a friend focus on these silver linings when they appear.

(published with permission)

Nuggets from Ephesians

06 July 2021

Like most other HighPointe LifeZones (ie: connect groups), we “picked at nuggets” through the book of Ephesians over the last six weeks. The lessons from “Connected” by Thom Rainer, have truly helped me appreciate the church at a time when we are all missing each other after sixteen months of isolation. As I share my own thoughts from our lessons, I pray you be encouraged and spurred to actively seek building yourselves and the Kingdom of God. 

Lesson 1: Connected in Christ (Eph. 2:17-22) 

Despite being unable to come together as a church for almost a year and a half now, I am still thankful to God daily that I HAVE A CHURCH FAMILY! I belong, both to God and a spiritual family! I can still connect through technology. I can still do little things for my church family and the people around me. I am still able to speak into the lives of others I come into contact with. 

Lesson 2: Connected in Unity (Ephesians 4:1-6) 

Despite not being able to meet in-person, there are still ample opportunities to connect and to encourage one another through a phone call or a text message simply asking how each other is. I have received little delightful surprises that were sent to my home, like cakes, plants, Tealive deliveries and snacks. I too, have sent little gifts to others. These may seem like small gestures, but they connect us with each other. They remind us that we BELONG and are a family! 

Lesson 3: Connected in Growth (Ephesians 4:11-16) 

I am so glad I am in a home group. While it connects me with others, it does so much more! I learn from the input, the thoughts and the experience of others as we discuss the lessons. I realize that part of the growing process, is learning OFF one another! And together, we build the church and take positive steps toward maturity. 

Lesson 4: Connected through Words (Ephesians 4:25-32) 

I learnt that our words matter! I look for opportunities to use words to encourage, motivate, give hope, provide guidance or even to make someone smile! We need to avoid fake news because fake news only brings dismay and fear. As children of God, we need to propagate truth because truth sets us free! Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” 

Lesson 5: Connected in Service (Ephesians 5:15-21) 

I love the fact that I belong to a church that isn’t inward looking. We are not all about ourselves! In fact, the church’s budget report indicates that at least 37% of our income is re-routed for missions and the community! This is what church should look like – a people united in love through Christ, serving each other and the community around us in the fear of the Lord (Ephesians 5:21). 

Lesson 6: Connected through Prayer (Ephesians 6:18-22) 

While prayer does unite us, more importantly prayer grants us access to the power of God. It invites God not merely into impossible situations, it also ushers God into everyday situations! When we truly believe that “I’ll pray for you” is a solemn responsibility and a life-changing promise within the Body of Christ, we will start to see life-changing answers in our lives and in our church! 

In closing, I’m amazed at how rich God’s Word is! How powerfully transformational it can be, if we allow it to! It is my prayer that we not just open God’s Word, but allow God’s Word to open us! There are always precious nuggets of truth that can bring refreshment, revelation and revival to parched spirits. May God continue to bless us and use us as His connected people! 

In This Unprecedented Season

16 June 2021

18th March 2020 will forever be etched in my mind as the the day that Malaysia and the WORLD went into a lockdown just because of a minute virus. The whole world was turned topsy turvy. This was the first time in my life experiencing a pandemic!! Our emotions ran high; fear, uncertainty, anxiety and impatience, frustration etc.

Conversations have centered around these topics; numbers, masks, temperature, social distance, sanitiser, online shopping , zoom, roadblocks, vaccine and working from home.

15 months have just flown by and are things very much different now? 

Not really, but I suppose we’ve adjusted pretty well (some better than others) and are coping a little better than last year, having “accepted” this as the norm for now at least, not knowing how long this will last. We know this WILL come to pass, for all of us...soon we hope. We so long for normalcy again. 

One of the most challenging things that I experienced was the inability to meet physically . It was terribly strange to me because I’m a very people person. I just love meeting up with people, I love having people around, I love catching up with my old friends, visiting people who are shut-ins, the sick , ministering to ladies on a one to one at a kopitiam (not always the best choice though), doing  bible study in a small group. I just love PEOPLE. 

It was so wonderful to be able to host the Lifezone (cell group) meetings at our home each Friday and subsequently on Sundays for about 3 months! 

All these came to an abrupt halt when the pandemic struck and there were times that I’ve felt like I was living in a cave or an island except with connectivity.

Now, the I.T dinosaur like yours truly have had to learn to use Zoom, video call, Messenger call and Google Meet so that I can be connected with PEOPLE. I would grab every opportunity to have these meet ups when the restrictions are lifted!

As I look back at the past 15 months, I choose to thank God for these very good things; our family altar that I so treasure, precious family bonding time, the opportunity to be part of a Singaporean and Malaysian intercessory group specifically covering the COVID 19  situation in Asia, the multiplication of the LifeZones (cell groups) in our church from 3 to 9 groups, the unity of all the Malaysian churches standing so united in prayer combating the pandemic together and personal urgency to share the gospel to my neighbors by first sharing my testimony.

Amidst the gloom and uncertainty, I choose to see the GOOD that has come out of this crazy and unprecedented season and I echo the lyrics of the songwriter, Don Moen: "God Is good all the time!"

Do I Applaud What Is Right

20 May 2021

The summer before my eighth-grade year I made friends with a guy named Larry. He was new to town, so I encouraged him to go out for our school football team. He could meet some guys, and being a stocky fellow, he might even make the squad. He agreed.

The result was a good news-bad news scenario. The good news? He made the cut. The bad news. He won my position. I was demoted to second string. I tried to be happy for him, but it was tough.

A few weeks into the season Larry fell off a motorcycle and broke a finger. I remember the day he stood at my front door holding up his bandaged hand. “Looks like you’re going to have to play.”

I tried to feel sorry for him, but it was hard. The passage was a lot easier for Paul to write than it was for me to practice. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15 NASB).

You want to plumb the depths of your love for someone? How do you feel when that person succeeds? Do you rejoice? Or are you jealous? And when he or she stumbles? Falls to misfortune? Are you really sorry? Or are you secretly pleased?

Love never celebrates misfortune. Never. I like the way Eugene Peterson translates the passage: “Love. . .doesn’t revel when others grovel, [but] takes pleasure in the flowering of truth” (MSG). J.B. Phillips is equally descriptive: “Love . . .does not gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it shares the joy of those who live by the truth.”

You know your love is real when you weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. You know your love is real when you feel for others what your heavenly Father feels for you. Remember, love “rejoices whenever the truth wins out” (1 Cor. 13:6 NLT).

Excerpted from A Love Worth Giving
(published with permission)

Book Review: The God Who is There

17 May 2021

Genesis, the Exodus, the Gospels, the epistles and then Revelation? How do all these different genres of books fit into one theme?  

In this book, ‘The God who is there’, D.A. Carson takes readers through the entire narrative of the Bible, beginning with Genesis, and then the gospels, and ending with Revelation – giving a glimpse of how the Bible comes together to tell a single unified story, God’s story, and how we as God’s people fit into this story. 

In each chapter, D.A. Carson unpacks an expounds certain passages from the Bible, drawing connections with the context in order to show how it all ultimately converges in Jesus. I find this book to be unique, however, because it is theologically rich and would, I think, be as enjoyable a read for the academician as it can be for someone who knows nothing about the Bible at all. In fact, at the very start of the book, D.A. Carson gives an introduction of the Bible itself, and even how one would flip the Bible to find certain books. 

There was one excerpt, in particular, that struck me. 

“Christian faith and thought are not helped by angry preachers whose tone almost suggests that they take a kind of vicious glee from the tragic end of others. For a start, we Christians will be the first to acknowledge, as Paul understands in Ephesians 2, that we are all by nature children of wrath – starting with us who have become Christians. If we have come to experience the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the living God, it is only because of the grace of the gospel. We are never more than poor beggars telling others where there is bread.”

This is the truth and basis of our Christian faith – not that we are any better than others, but it is only because of God’s love and grace. This book has helped me grown in deeper reverence of the God I worship and serve and the Bible that we all hold in our hands. 

And so I would echo Timothy Keller’s words, “By all means, get this book!”

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