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God calls His people who are called by His Name to be the Light of the world; and to shine as His Light is not exactly optional.
However in reality, many of us may have allowed Darkness- the worldly influences and corrupted state of our environment- to overwhelm us to either the point of conformity or to the point of indifference/status quo.
Therefore, Edmund Burke’s statement that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” does hold alot of truth and explains why the Church is weak (my general opinion).
Light versus darkness
In one of my recent private moments with God, I was gently reminded of the power that light had against darkness. And that darkness is only the result of the absence of light.
When there is total darkness, even the faintest of light will breakthrough and be seen instantenously. Light disperses darkness.
The same cannot be said for darkness. Whether there is a dim or brightest of light, no matter how much more darkness there is surrounding it. Darkness can NEVER disperse light.
Though darkness looks over-powering and hideous, it actually has no direct affect on light. But it can only overshadow light when light fizzles or fades away.
Being the Light of the world
Likewise as Christians, our “dark” or adverse situation can only defeat us or overwhelm us if we choose to fizzle off or fade away to the background. That’s how we hand over victory or the authority to our enemy.
“… Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”
With understanding of the power light has against darkness, this gives us the confidence that we can only emerge victorious IF we believe in His word and keeping shining by stand our ground.
As Christians, we can take heart that despite being the minority in the world; in our marketplace; in our community or family; our light will stand out even more and shine even brighter.
Positionally, we are fighting a sure-win battle, but we need to have faith and claim our victory.
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.
If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV)
Generally, I believe there are many churches around. And it is safe to say that each church has its own distinct characteristic which caters to different groups of people within the Christian community.
For instance, there is the denomination factor such as being a Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc… There is the worship atmosphere factor in whether the church worships in hymns or contemporary music such as Hillsongs.
Let’s not forget that there’s also the preacher factor and that means whether the sermons are engaging or boring. And what about, the people factor-whether if the church is family-oriented, or whether it caters to the elderly, youth or adults and the list goes on.
What really matters to God
Not sure about you, but personally, I think all these factors are not exactly the main concerns of our Lord.
What truly counts on the final analysis is not whether the church performs its religious routine faithfully week in and out or year in or out- regular attendance or doing the “spiritual” things.
I believe that Jesus is more concern whether or not the church is actively living out His purpose as His church; and if His people are obeying His charge in fulfilling the mandate of the Great Commission.
Being the Church in the end times
In my opinion, what ultimately defines the church of Jesus Christ is exhibiting His transformation power and love with the message of His grace of the cross for our sins by our engagement with society and culture around us in our community, city, country and continents.
With all of us living into the end times, there is a serious need of urgency for the Church to be alert and fall into complacency; to be always “operational ready” or face the consequences as described in the parable of the ten virgins.
For this very reason, let us not only be content in merely going to church or doing church. But let us arise and be the Church.
Yet another disaster struck with as many as 700 innocent people in a ferry killed off the coast of Philippines by huge waves caused by typhoon fengshan. I saw the news report on television and was filled with anguish when footage of families and friends were seen mourning over their loss =(
I think it is not uncommon to hear stories of self-made men and women; in how they climbed from “rags to riches” or how they overcame the adverse odds to experience success.
Not sure about you, but I do enjoy reading or listening to such life stories as they never fail to inspire me with their deep sense of purpose and determination to achieve the seemingly impossible.
In fact, I also think that each one of us have that similar potential, but the only difference that distinguishes us from these men and women is having that clear and distinct sense of purpose in life.
Knowing our true purpose
It is safe to say that many of us go through life with no real sense of purpose. We are merely “chasing the wind”.
We chase from one event to another; one life-station to another; one trend to another; one product or gadget to another.
However, in my humble opinion (undergirded by my understanding of scriptures and God), our ultimate life purpose is to make God be known with and through our lives as His workmanship or masterpiece.
Which means whatever little or big successes that we strive to achieve and experience, we do it as an act of worship unto God who gives us the ability and the opportunity to do so.
Being God-made, not self-made
I recalled this tortise on a lamp-post story. When we see a tortise up on a lamp-post, we know someone had placed it there. Cos how can a tortise climb up a lamp-post rite?
It has been 8 years since I have committed and surrendered my life to Him. And I can testify that not I, but He who has been re-building my life from the mess I gave to Him. Like that tortise, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for God and I am still “work in progress”.
Besides salvation, I am certain He wants to give me more and work in me even more than I can ever imagine. And I am looking forward to what He is instore ahead.
I pray that in all the successes that come my way, they will speak of me as a God-made man, and not a self-made man. Amen.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
Continuing where I had left off…
In late 2000, my eyes was drawn to a recruitment ad which was looking for restaurant servers. I felt led and so I called, to which an interview was arranged.
To my utter surprise, I landed the job with Morton’s of Chicago after the interview. I knew that besides having prior experience in the service industry during my school days, God was orchestrating all these possibilities.
Deciding to take the step of faith and now actually taking those steps was scary, yet amazingly thrilling.
It was good to be walking in God’s plan and will.
Adapting to my new job
Shortly, the reality of my new job sunk in, especially when peers asked me what I was doing.
Telling them where and what I was working was challenging as in a worldy viewpoint, I seemed to have down-graded in my profession. However, from God’s viewpoint I knew that He was upgrading me.
Though I didn’t know fully then why God led me to that new job, but I enjoyed it. As a server, I had to embrace humilty and consequently I found my passion in serving people.
Through this phase, my security and identity in Him was truly instilled.
God knows best
Subsequently after a few months in my new job, God led in my decision to study full-time in a Bible Seminary ran by Hope Singapore Church. That was when I realised how much more of the job was part of God’s plan.
Miraculously, Morton’s allowed me to convert from full-time to a part-time. This not only allowed me to have sustainable income, but enabled me in coping with the demands of my 9-month stint as a seminary student.
God knows best and through Him, I completed the seminary course and awaited for His next step for me.
(To be cont’d…)
Picture taken with NG5A1 caregroup during Hope’s Adult Church Camp at Concorde Hotel @Shah Alam, Malaysia from 5 June to 8 June 2008.