Me remembering LKY

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This is the closest I got to LKY. His wax replica in HK.

On this final day as Singapore bade farewell to him, I just thought I penned my thoughts on his legacy and Singapore’s future from a Christian perspective.

Honestly, I’ve many unanswered questions of the real history of the emergence of PAP into power and Singapore’s independence. I do not subscribe “the end justifies the means” reasoning no matter how noble the end might be. However, on my unanswered questions, I believe I will gain more clarity on the accuracy and truth in the future with LKY’s demise.

But for now, I will focus on the present and there’s no denying that Singapore is a miracle. It’s a rags to riches story but one told by a nation and achieving first world status in 1-2 generations! Moreover achieved by a nation that is so tiny with absolutely no dependence of any natural resources to cash in! So Singapore’s prosperity and international status that we enjoy now is most credited to LKY’s vision, leadership and relentless pursuit in making it happen at all costs!

However, I know there’s a God who is sovereign and He determines who rises and who falls, which government gets elected and which gets thrown out. In all, God uses leaders or nations to achieve His purposes just as how He used king Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Therefore, I believe whatever the history accuracy ought to be, that is secondary in comparison to acknowledging and understanding how He is working through people and events to ultimately achieve His eternal purpose!

LKY’s era reminds me of how Moses led the Israelites when they were freed from Egypt as slaves. Like Moses, LKY introduced the rule of law to bring order towards becoming a civil society. He shaped them into a people and gave the people dignity that was lost. And facilitated a new way of life with independence. God was behind all these. He used LKY and is using Singapore for His purpose. No doubt.

So this begs the question why God has prospered Singapore in this season and among Asia? For the last 50 years the vision for Singapore was to secure it’s survival with economic prosperity. Now that has been achieved, what do we rightfully do with all the wealth and resources? Is it just for our indulgence and providing a false sense of security?

I believe that is what we as a people need to find out and chart into the next 50 years. And God to birth a new vision needed to aspire us to thrive as a people over just merely surviving!

The future of Singapore is now in the hands of the next generation. A new era has now open up to new opportunities to write HIS story. And to get a good reference of the future of Singapore and how we move into the next era we should study the book of Judges, Kings and Chronicles to glean on the wisdom through Israel’s tumultuous development as a nation before the exile.

Let us pray that Singapore continues to uphold integrity and righteousness zealously even with the passing of LKY. And pray that we will have a more overtly outward outlook beyond our own lives and beyond Singapore to fulfill our Antioch call for Asia- to be a beacon and blessing in advancing His kingdom of love, peace and righteousness. Amen!

Seek the fruits, not the works

Jesus warned us of false prophets. He said “by their fruits you will know them” (c.f. Matthew 7:20).

I believe most of us Christians have got it MIXED UP between “the fruits” and “the works/gifts” of the Holy Spirit. And we mostly assess the authenticity of a spiritual leader by looking at the works/gifts of the Holy Spirit through their ministry.

For example, we look at the number of followers, or the extend of charitable giving or the many signs and wonders demonstrated etc.. All these are not wrong, but that was not what Jesus taught His disciples to look out for. He told them (and is also telling us today) to assess and identify by their fruits, NOT works or gifts.

Don’t forget that Jesus also said that not everyone who calls Him Lord or prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name and done many many wonders in His name will enter His kingdom. In fact, He will declare, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (c.f. Matthew 7:21-23)

The enemy is very cunning and has infiltrated into our Christian camps. Paul says the devil masquerades as an angel of light. Which means he knows how to blend in and fake it.

Hence we need to be alert and pray. Being close to Jesus and knowing the truth is our weapon to discern and engage the lies to corrupt our lives towards allowing His kingdom to manifest on earth.

Therefore, let us not be confused. Look for the FRUITS of the Holy Spirit to assess one’s authenticity of a spiritual leader. Jesus also said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (c.f. Matthew 7:15). The fruits refer to GODLY CHARACTER.

How is he/she walking in integrity especially in managing finances?

Is he/she anchored and teaching sound and balanced theology?

How is he/her demonstrating humility and love by being a servant leader, even when receiving criticism or feedback?

Is he/she reflecting holiness and purity through their lifestyle?

By the world’s standard, we pay attention to a person’s or organisation’s reputation or accomplishments. But with God’s standard, we are more concern on the character. And that should also be what we ought to be personally pursuing for ourselves- godly character towards fruitfulness.

The greater glory found in Grace

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Contrary to mainstream’s fear or belief of licentious grace, GRACE does not demand any lesser than the law. In fact, grace DEMANDS and EXPECTS more.

Jesus always pointed out that the law focuses on our performance and OUTWARD behavior manipulation, but grace focuses on our heart and INWARD transformation that manifests outwardly.

The law places demands on you and I, we are thus ENSLAVED by guilt, fear, shame and condemnation because of our weaknesses. But grace places that heavy demand on CHRIST, and not on you and I… Halleujah!

For we can NEVER meet the glorious standard of God that the law demands.

But by grace, CHRIST on our behalf fulfills that demand which took HIS LIFE and consequently, sets us FREE. That is a COSTLY demand that allows us through our faith in His Son, to become the righteousness of God!

Putting off the OLD and putting on the NEW

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What do you want to see different this year? Do you want to see change in your life? Perhaps you could do yourself some good by first examining your MINDSET.

Don’t be surprised if you discover limits that you might (unknowingly or knowingly) have placed on yourself (and God) with your OLD thinking.

Old thinking says, “This is how I am and how I have been doing things in the past” or “This is how I’ve been taught to do so all this time”. These kind of thoughts limit the potential of NEW things happening in your life.

This year, decide to change your thinking by the renewing of your mind with His TRUTH and promises for you. When you change your thinking, you change your life!

Reflections for 2013

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1. My unforgettable answered prayer

Coming to Vietnam was never a brash decision I had made. It was a decision compelled by God’s love and call on my life since 2006. Now after slightly more than two years living here, I see His purpose unfolding more clearly. And answered prayer in 2013 would be the covenanted relationships that He has brought in my life of which I’ve grown closely knitted with.

2. My happiest and elating moment

This has got to be the moment when I received a call from my wife that she was pregnant. Unfortunately, that moment was short-lived. After one week, she suffered a pregnancy loss. :(

3. My greatest trial

The second half of last year would be the most trying period for me, and my wife too. Besides losing our first child, my wife’s physical and emotional health deteriorated. My work also suffered a beating with the harsh economic conditions with business not raking in as much as it should. I was pressed on almost every side, but by His grace, not crushed.

4. My most impactful decision 

During the trials of the second half of last year, I was entertaining the thought of calling it quits and to pack our bags to return to Singapore. There were just so many aspects that I was considering. However, I decided to stay on and be faithful, to trust Him and keep doing what I’m doing. And to press on. I believe that decision is paying off. Because it impacts those around us as well.

5. My lessons learnt about God

His grace, grace and grace. It’s all about Him. Although I’m no good and unfaithful, He is good and faithful. His grace never fails to amaze me.

6. My lessons learnt about my own-self

That I can be a better husband by loving my wife more intentionally. As a man, there’s still so much I don’t understand about a woman. And I guess I will never will, but I have to demonstrate love and patience. Haha…

Are you ready for 2014?

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I think you would agree with me that HOW we enter the new year will largely determine HOW better or successful 2014 will be. Before we finally bid farewell to 2013, perhaps we need to take a moment with God to be ready for twenty 14?

The first thing to DO is to LET GO.

Let go of your PAST. This could be a wrong you have done or think you have committed against God or others that you regret. This has caused you to carry guilt, shame and condemnation upon yourself and unknowingly, this has disabled you in living life forward to the fullest.

Let it go. God forgives you. So forgive yourself.

Perhaps letting go of your PAST is forgiving those who have hurt or disappointed you with their words or actions. This has caused seeds of bitterness and resentment to grow like ‘weeds’ in your life. Similarly, I encourage you to let it go.

Just as He has graciously forgiven you, extend that same grace to those that might have hurt you. You are doing yourself more good than for the other party.

Philippians 3:13-14, “…..But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead….”

Remember, LET GO. You do not need to bring excess baggage into your new year. You need to throw the thrash out to make room for new good stuff that God wants to give you in 2014.

4 things NOT to do in 2014:

1. Do not COMPARE. (Galatians 6:4-5)

2. Do not GOSSIP. (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

3. Do not PROCRASTINATE. (Ephesians 5:16-17)

4. Do not BE UNEQUALLY YOKED. (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

I will not elaborate on the first three points as they are quite self-explanatory. These are unhealthy ‘habits’ that can hamper your development. However, please allow me to expound on point 4.

The term “unequally yoked” is usually referred to in finding a spouse, but the underlying principle is often overlooked. That principle is partnering or forging alliance with those with like-minded or similar values and outlook of life.

As we approach 2014, some of us might need to EVALUATE your relationships. The right people in your life add to the focus of what God is doing and the wrong people will become a distraction or even a destruction.

These questions would be useful in evaluating your relationships:

“Who am I allowing to influence (being yoked) my life in shaping my values and destiny?”

“Is this relationship ‘toxic’? Breeding unhealthy consequences?”

“Am I drawing closer to God and discovering/fulfilling His purpose for me through this relationship?”

Please do not misinterpret that I’m suggesting we abandon those relationships that you might conclude as toxic or undesirable. But in some cases, that might be necessary.

What I’m saying is that you might want to reconsider your PRIORITY (time and resources) you give to your relationships in your life.

This coming year, give the right priority to the right people at the right time and season of your life. The wrong people (even  a Christian friend or group) can distract you. Allow God to lead you. He has the BEST for you!

An awesome 2014 is ahead. Get ready. And happy new year!

What do you want Him to do for you?

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your FAITH has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

~ Mark 10:51-52

Most times, we err by misplacing our faith in man rather than in God. We naturally look and trust in what we man can (or cannot) do- our credentials or achievements, our physical attributes, and capabilities. And that misplaced faith causes us to limit God in our lives.

I love how Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you”. He did not say because of your bad or splendid past or because you’re poor or rich, so I healed you. It is the blind man, Bartimaeus’s faith that healed him. And that faith was placed on what God can do (and not what man can do).

Friends, with God all things are possible. Place your faith solely on Him. God loves it when you and I place all our ‘bets’ on Him. He relishes when we fully trust Him. That’s the only condition God simply looks at- our faith and nothing else.

What is it do you want God to do for you today that you cannot do? Approach your loving Abba Father and ask Him to do it for you. And according to your faith (and His will), it will be done to you.

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