My Christmas 2008

Despite the fact that Christmas day (25 December) is not exactly the date that Jesus Christ was born, Christmas still remains to be an extraordinary event that is celebrated world-wide.

My first Christmas

I recalled my first Christmas after receiving Christ. That was 12 years ago. I was in my prison cell.

During Christmas, all prison inmates who were Christians were served with a special dinner.

“Special” meant our normal serving style would be spruced up from white rice to fried rice and additional meat dish. That meal also included a slice of butter cake.

Today, I don’t just celebrate Christmas by treating myself with some special meals. I  celebrate by remembering His grace to me and the Hope He has given to me in living my life to the full.

Towards 2009

This year’s Christmas, I am thankful that I was also given an opportunity during a pre-Christmas gathering to recount my experience in prison where I had encountered God. Hopefully, it had inspired others to know our living and loving God.

In the past, that part of my life was a shame that I hid from others. Now, that part has become a banner that is raised for His glory. Unbelievable.

Like how the Jews observe the Pass Over to remind them of their roots, Christmas never fails to connect me back to His love for me . It serves also as timely annual reminder of the Hope I have in His Son, Jesus Christ as I enter the new year.

On this note, I like to wish everyone a BLESSED CHRISTMAS!

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6 thoughts on “My Christmas 2008

  1. Inspiring. Glory to God in the highest & not to any man.
    Perhaps one day you will inspire those still held captive in prison cells overseas…Seek the LOrd!

    But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke5.30-32(NIV)

    Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. Mat21.31-32(NIV)

    The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
    to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of gladness
    instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor. Isa61(NIV)

  2. Go Where the Reward Seems Least Likely
    ——————————————————————————–
    Prophetic Word Given to Jane Williams
    December 12, 1996

    “I am telling you things so that you will act quickly. I do not want delay. I would have you step out and see what I will do. I would have you press Me in some areas that have been prophesied about. I would have you go to people and seek them out.

    Go to the prodigals. God to unbelievers. See what I will do. Many are practically falling off the trees. Go – the time is now! I would not have this fruit drop to the ground and rot. It’s time for you to pick it.

    Go back to places you’ve been before. Speak to those you’ve been in relationship with but recently neglected. I will help you find the words. I will help you say just the right thing. Few words will have to be spoken, for now is the time. Today is the day.

    Are you afraid too many will come and you will not be ready? Are you afraid you have too few programs in place? Oh, I say when I bring them in by the Spirit, I will join them in the Spirit as well. I will make ready the hearts to receive them and knit them in Myself.

    Would I do an untimely work – a premature gathering? Would I tell you to gather before the barn is built? And you say, ‘The barn is standing but it doesn’t look too sturdy. There are a few holes in the walls. The roof is leaking and the door won’t latch securely.’

    And I would say, I am not going to bring in only those who will take and need, but I will bring in givers and gifting as well. I will bring in carpenters and roofers and locksmiths to repair and restore – to add on and expand. This harvest will be quite unique because those brought in will add much strength. Oh, they will need discipling, but their hearts will be so full of gratitude that they will eagerly pitch in. Expect great resources to come in with the harvest.

    Test Me in this particularly by going to the poor. For I will delight to surprise you by raising up helpers from those who appear to need much help. If you go to the poor when it appears you will get nothing in return, I will come and ensure your prosperity Myself. What better offer is there than that? You go to the poor and just see what I will do. You go when your mind says your efforts will only make more work for yourselves. You go and I will show you My work. I will raise up laborers from the poorest of the poor, from the most downtrodden and desperate. I will raise up what you need from the very places you thought would represent only more sacrifice on your part. There is a harvest waiting to be had, and all the future harvesters you need right in the midst of it.

    You go where the reward seems least likely and I will reward you Myself. I will ensure you have all you need and even more than that. There is treasure where you would least expect. Haven’t I always made it so? For I want you to have opportunity to lose yourself. There is the greatest possibility for gain.
    I am telling you the things that will give you the greatest rewards. Urging you toward the very acts that will profit you most eternally. I am helping you take the road that will lead to the greatest glory. Can’t you see how I am urging you to go low so that I can take you high? Act unselfishly and I will respond with unrestrained generosity.

    There are heavenly rewards mounting up which you have little understanding of. I am trying to direct you to the very things that will bring you the most gain. I am trying to direct you to areas that will benefit you here on earth but in heaven as well. I am trying to purify your motives and encourage you along the most humble path. I am trying to help you accomplish much both here and in heaven above. Listen to My leading for I will direct you to the most beneficial acts. Consider that past events of your life, even current circumstances have been arranged to position you for maximal eternal gain. Have you known humbling or disappointment? Perhaps it was for your eternal good. Have you suffered here on earth in some way? It may have been in order to give you opportunity for heavenly reward. You see, I am gracious enough to order your lives here to give you the maximum opportunity for heavenly gain. I am constantly giving you opportunities to store up
    riches above. I am forever trying to draw your attention to that place.

    Forget earthly scales and measures. You have no idea how inverted heaven’s measurements are compared to earth’s. For when you feel least rewarded here, you are often storing up the greatest reward there. When you feel you have suffered the most on earth, you may have gained the most in heaven.

    Why did I give you opportunity to turn down that high-paying job to serve Me? Why did I give you that handicapped child or allow illness or pain? Because I am more concerned about your heavenly reward, your eternal inheritance than I am your comfort and ease on earth. I have long-range vision – it extends way past your life here on earth. It extends to a glorious eternity with Me. Won’t you join Me in looking past this earth, looking beyond your life here? For this is only the very beginning. The first steps of our life together in love.”

  3. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written:

    “Those who were not told about Him will see,
    and those who have not heard will understand.” Rom15:20-21(NIV)

  4. Andrew, aye-men. 🙂 It’s always such a joy remembering your testimony… tis’ truly a glorious banner indeed… yes, I love Christmas Day… it’s good tidings of great joy that shall be for all the people! =D MERRY (belated) CHRISTMAS…

  5. I recently saw Kelvin Soh’s testimony in the video “Starting Over” and was reminded of you.. He never received any formal training in music but by God’s grace, became able to play the guitar and compose many songs. E.g. ‘Hold My Hand’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-H9EHa19Kw&feature=related sung by a different person not Kelvin Soh.)

    “Kelvin Soh shares his journey
    from darkness into the light:
    I grew up in a broken family and
    was raised single-handedly by my
    grandmother. My father, an odd-job
    worker, was addicted to drugs. When I
    was nine months old, my mother hardened
    her heart and walked out of our family, as
    she could no longer tolerate my father’s
    wayward lifestyle.
    Growing up in such an environment,
    I took to many bad habits at a very young
    age, such as smoking, drinking, gambling
    and stealing. I still remember the day I
    returned home from school and caught my
    father and his friends taking drugs. Out of
    curiosity, I stole some of their drugs and
    started smoking like they did. I was only
    11 years old then.
    This one puff led me into a bondage that
    lasted for more than 20 years. During those
    years, I was arrested more than 10 times,
    and found myself going in and out of prison
    and the drug rehabilitation centre. I spent 20
    years of my youth in prison.
    When my grandmother saw that I was
    into drugs, she gave up hope on me and
    finally drove me out of her house. I never
    blamed her, because I had indeed broken
    her heart.
    However, I was tired of continuing
    such a lifestyle, and was also feeling very
    despondent and helpless. I tried many ways
    to change myself, but failed.
    I wanted to start my life over again, but
    no one could help me. My relatives and
    friends did not trust me anymore, and there
    seemed no one I could turn to for counsel.

    Thank God, He did not forsake me.
    Actually, I had heard of the Gospel in
    1989, but was not repentant then. The last
    time I was arrested, I was sentenced to fi ve
    and a half years’ jail and given three strokes
    of the cane.
    One day, a Christian visited me in prison
    and shared the Gospel with me. He said,

    “The Lord Jesus Christ can change your
    life.” At that moment, I could not explain
    why, but my heart was greatly moved.
    When I willingly opened my heart to receive
    Christ as my personal Saviour, God’s love
    began to transform me.
    One day, I was feeling bored, and tried
    to borrow a gongfu novel from a Malay
    prison officer. Amazingly, however, the
    officer brought me a Chinese Bible. Greatly
    touched, I thought to myself, “This must be
    the hand of God.”
    When I flipped the Bible open, a
    particular verse struck me deeply:

    “My son,
    do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when He rebukes you,
    because the Lord disciplines those He loves,
    and He punishes everyone He accepts as a
    son.” (Hebrews12:5-6).
    This verse really woke me up. A year
    later, I was transferred to another prison,
    where I started attending Bible study class.
    I also began to share enthusiastically with
    others about the life-changing power of the
    Gospel, and testified about the forgiveness
    and peace I had received from Jesus. During
    that time, I led 13 people to the Lord. All
    glory be to God!

    When my jail term was over, God led me
    to Breakthrough Missions to further equip
    me. At the centre, I read the Bible diligently
    every day, led a disciplined lifestyle and
    encouraged and helped the many brothers
    there who were still struggling with their
    addiction to drugs.
    Every time I refl ected on and counted
    God’s blessings in my life, my heart would
    be overwhelmed with thanksgiving, because
    Jesus had indeed changed my life. God had
    also given me many opportunities to witness
    for Him through songs and testimonies in
    different places.
    Because of Jesus, my relationship with
    my family members also changed. When
    my relatives saw the change in me, they
    accepted me back into the family again, and
    even invited me to have meals with them in
    their homes. These were the kind of family
    ties that I had not enjoyed in many years.
    As I visited various churches to give
    my testimony, God also led me to my wife
    – Xing Xiu Yin. She not only accepted my
    past, but was even willing to marry me.
    I finally got to taste the sweet wonder of
    having a complete family.
    All these would not have been possible if
    not for Christ’s love. I had been imprisoned
    for nearly 20 years, had no CPF savings
    and hence could not afford to buy a house,
    and had no career or savings. But I have
    Jesus Christ, and so I already own all of
    these things.
    Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom
    and His righteousness, and all these things
    will be given to you as well.” (Matthew
    6:33).
    I was living in hell when I was into
    drugs, but God in His mercy gave me a new
    life, so I want to praise and thank my Lord. I
    am willing to offer my whole life, and pray
    that God will continue to lead me, so that I
    can use my songs to share the Gospel and
    be a blessing to many others.
    With man, this is impossible, but with
    God, everything is possible (Luke 9:23).”

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