Many a times I’ve been asked why don’t I drink. The answer I always reply is because I’ve quitted drinking. Completely.
However, that is just half the answer. The actual full answer is God had told me to quit.
I was an alcoholic
Before I allowed God into my life, I allowed many vices into my life and alcohol was one of them.
I can say that I loved drinking. I needed to have at least a glass, a mug or a can a day. And it is usually in the late nights just for me to get into the state of sleepiness for a deep rest.
Drinking was very much in my lifestyle, especially so as I was working in the entertainment industry. So my 2nd home was literally the clubs and pubs where booze was free flowing.
The dark side of being an alcoholic
Most times when I drank, I would need to hit my threshold to be satisfied. So usually, I never stop at one or two.
More than often, I would overly exceed my threshold. When that happened, I would frequently erupt into a violent rage.
On more than a handful of occasions, I had gotten into fights with strangers and even friends over trivial matters.
But the most horrific incident had to be the one I badly injured my ex-girlfriend. Till today, I shudder when I think about.
Alcohol turned me into a brute and a monster.
Being saved from alcoholism
I consider myself fortunate that I was still in the initial stages of alcoholism when I got saved.
When Jesus Christ came into my life, He did a lot of cleaning up in my life. He rid me of all my vices almost immediately. My drinking problem was the last one.
After a long tussle with Him over my drinking problem, I finally relented and asked God to tell me if I should stop drinking or not. If He said so, I would do so.
That prayer was made before I had turned in for the night.
The next morning as I was opening my eyes, I saw a vision. I saw a silhouette of man that told me sharply, “Stop drinking”
I jolted up totally awake and tried to make sense what had happened. And it was clear to me that God had answered.
That was how I decided to quit. God told me so.
Now in my sober days
The decision to quit was made in 2000. Since then, I’ve not drank nor got drunk. Not even a social drink. By His grace in me.
Do I miss it? I have to admit I do. Especially now living in Vietnam where drinks cost cheaper than water! Ha ha…
But I know that I’m better off without drinking. And I never want to slide back the slippery slope of being hooked on alcohol again. My sight is on the future that God has for me.
And being sober this long, I understood how I was using alcohol to mask my hurts, resentment and emptiness inside of me. Now I’m fully reliant on God for making me whole.
I love God more than alcohol. I will choose Him any time. Cos His love has got a grip on me. Amen.
1. My unforgettable answered prayer
There were many moments that God came through for me in answering my prayers. But one prayer did stood out- an increment after being confirmed and affirmed at work.
It was not just about the additional cash, but the timeliness of it happening as I wasn’t even expecting this. Especially so since my wife was leaving her job to join me.
This was an unforgettable prayer answered and milestone for my wife and I in being assured us that where God leads, He provides.
2. My greatest trial
Since relocating to Vietnam for work, this was the full year cycle that I went through. I was tested on all fronts as a newbie.
I had to learn about the business climate and environment in this new market; understand the advertising industry; know the agency and the work I was tasked with; learn to lead and manage a team; personally adapt in a new culture, language and a way of life; ensure that my marriage adjusted to this city and new way of life; and being able to anchor, express and engage my faith relevantly in this culture.
So to sum it all up, the greatest trial is not just in adjusting to life in Vietnam, but in adapting culturally as a Christian of which my biblical beliefs, values and trust in God were hugely tested.
3. My greatest breakthrough
This has got to be the moment when God re-confirmed and re-affirmed His call on my life in the second half of 2012. After that, “doors” that were shut opened. And now I’ve observed how the Spirit of God is moving in advancing His kingdom.
4. My most impactful decision made
My wife and I decided to move to another apartment in October after the rental lease of our former apartment expired. The move was not just a move in terms of location or better environment, but it had spiritual implications.
Since the move, we have been richly blessed with not only more, but stronger meaningful relationships. The new place is more conducive in hosting family and friends. And last year, we had our first Christmas party with church friends at our home.
Praise God for providing this apartment. Because in normal circumstances, we would not be able to afford the rental, but due to the bad property market conditions we got the rent at an unbelievable steal.
5. My happiest and elating moment
My wife finally joining me in relocating in Vietnam in April after an 8-month long separation due to her work and studies. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this right? Haha…
6. My lessons learnt about God
My God is faithful. Throughout the ups and downs, and the trials of 2012, He has stuck with me. His love, grace and goodness followed me in every situation. And so He will do the same in 2013. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
This is long overdue. I had crossed my first year in Vietnam in three months ago. And I was blessed to mark the first year by contributing an article to City News.
This is evident with the countless overseas missions that our local churches embark on annually.
This not only speaks of our readiness to spread the love and good news, but it attests to the rich resources which God has provided His people in Singapore.
Hence, we ought not only to be thankful that we are home to many strong churches, but as a small nation, we can serve as a blessing to those around us.
Read the full article here>>>
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? ”
Haggai 1:3-4 (NIV)
In the days of Haggai, the people of Israel had neglected the rebuilding of the House of God. Instead, they were preoccupied with their personal opulence.
God was not against the Israelites lapping up in their prosperity. But He took offense that His people were unaffected with the state of His House laying in ruins. This reflected the condition of their hearts and love for God.
In their pursuit for worldly comfort and security, the Israelites had forgotten their true identity as His people of the living God. The very reason that they existed as a people and nation.
Similarly, we can neglect the Church as Christians; choosing our worldly identity over our true identity and purpose as His children. And as His children, we have an obligation to our spiritual family.
Whether it is the Church as the Body of Christ or a home church, it’s state or health ought to be our concern. Not only should we have an obligation to be part of this family, we also have an obligation to serve and build up the Church for His glory.
So whichever country or whatever place God has planted us in, let us not only see it fit to live in a godly manner. But also take it upon ourselves to join hands with fellow believers in building His Church where God can be rightfully and accurately represented in our communities.
What is this? This is a teacher’s handbook from my home church.
It is an aid for conducting bible studies for the purpose of empowering and equipping Christians in walking fundamentally right with God.
I’m excited because it is my prayer and desire to encourage and help others in getting started proper and strong in their faith.
And that can only be achieved with revelation and understanding of His word. Right believing will lead to right living.
I’m equally excited too because this also signals for me in getting started the work He has prepared for me ever since He called me.
God is good!
Unbelievably, my wife and I got to meet Singapore’s newly elected president, Tony Tan and his wife, Mary Chee during his visit to Vietnam in April.
Not only did we exchange a firm handshake, but we also had a considerably lengthy conversation before posing for the camera. I think if I was in Singapore, I can ‘tan gu gu’ (wait long long in dialect) to meet him. But I did, in Vietnam. Haha…