Choose faith, not fear

How does walking by faith looks like?

Recently, I participated in a high elements course. There were a couple of obstacles, but all from about 4-5 storeys high. And I had to cross over with nothing but a safety harness.

In spite of the fact of being secured to a safety harness, many including myself were overwhelmed by the fear of falling from that high place. There were some who were crippled by fear and failed to cross over.

However, once I decided to shift my focus on the fact that I would be safe even if I were to fall, I grew confident and  was able to walk across with ease.

So faith is trusting in Father God as your safety harness. He is faithful and is with you. That is a fact. It’s the truth.

Our God will not leave you nor abandon you (even if you fall!). And whatever the situation you’re in, you can rely on Him and walk through it. He’s got you in His mighty Hand!

Having faith does not mean that there is no fear. Fear is real. So faith works not in the absence of fear, but in the midst of it.

Everyday, choose faith over fear. We have a choice. That’s walking by faith. God is bigger than your fears and He will give you the strength to overcome each one of them.

Finally, if you’re wondering, yes that’s me in the photo. Haha…

 

Does Jesus know you?

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You know Jesus, but does Jesus know you?

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

It’s interesting to note how many will say, “I know Jesus!” or “I serve Him” but in turn Jesus says, “I never knew you”. It’s like me saying, “I know Lee Hsien Loong, my prime minister… I serve my national service and pay my tax”… But I’m sure, he will say, “I don’t know who is Andrew”.

There is no personal relationship.

I’m concern how many of us, the Church especially in this day and age have equated our attendance or involvement with church events, activities or programmes as having a relationship with Jesus.

The reality is our relationship with Jesus is forged and deepened mostly out of the four walls of the church and in real life, not sheltered (but not apart from His Church).

For ie. How we obey Him in our sufferings? How we are surrendering to His will in challenging circumstances? How we remain faithful in the mundane humdrum of life? How are we extending grace to those around us?

However today, we people pay a lot of attention on the form and not the power. We want to DO more, we look for what to DO next, and we are engross in what we can DO. We are missing the plot.

Doing doesn’t mean you know Jesus. You can do a lot and accomplish a lot but find out that you do not know Him a lot or none at all. And that’s a horrific reality. You know that you know Him or He knows you when you bear His fruits; you BECOME like Him. Now that’s power!

We become like Him only because we are communing with Him. When we bear His fruits, it’s evidence of His life living and working in us. So today, don’t confuse form with power, and pursue His power and not the form.

So you know Jesus, does Jesus know you?

 

 

 

This day, choose Christ

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My friends, Jesus came to draw us into a RELATIONSHIP and to destroy RELIGION which cannot save us from the dark influence of sin. Only through CHRIST, do we have the power to overcome sin in our helplessness.

So how do we know we are in a religion called Christianity and not in a relationship with Christ?

One word- FEAR.

1 John 4:17-18
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Are you living or practicing your Christianity out of fear or out of love? For ie. do you feel fearful or guilty when you do not pray / read the bible / evangelise / attend your church service / tithe?

I’m not saying we should not have these practices in our walk with God. But the question is “why do we do what we do?”. We are saved by grace to do good works. We do not do good works to receive grace to be saved.

The good works that we do ought to flow from the grace of God in our lives. And that produces faith and TRUE obedience that has power and not just the form.

How do you and I keep our relationship with God strong? 

Seek to know the truth (through the bible) as it reveals the character, thoughts and plans of God. With the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints, He puts the truth into an encounter to experience His tangible love and know His GRACE. This takes place from glory to glory.

As you grow deeper in His love, what you do won’t be determined (or coerced) by rules or law as you understand the principle and flow with His spirit. What you do will be driven or compelled by His love for you.

Religion is cold. It’s about following rules and presents a false sense of salvation and righteousness. What you do (including the good works or church work) is driven by fear. There is no life in religion but death. More importantly, you won’t find LOVE in religion. And certainly, you won’t experience GRACE in religion.

This day, choose CHRIST. Experience His love and know His grace for you.

Galatians 2:19-21
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Church, we’ve messed up

Today in His presence I wept.

I felt the anguish and deep grieving of the Holy Spirit from the aftermath of the recent development of the Supreme Court in making same-sex marriage legal in America.

Truth be told, the grief I felt is not so much because of what Obama did or the Supreme Court or even the LGBT. Because the legal law has never been the answer to address the matter of homosexuality.

The grief I felt is because the Church has messed up. Instead of manning up, we have shifted blame and looked at all the possible perpetrators except ourselves.

God have always reminded us that judgement will fall upon His people first as the custodian of the Gospel who are responsible to shine His light in our dark and fallen world.

So we, as the Church have messed up.

We were (and still are) the answer but we never did provide the answer in being the light for the world.

We had and have the authority to define marriage which is based on truth; to accurately represent and strongly defend this institution. But we messed up.

How can the Church have authority when people in general perceives “Christians divorce are at the same rate as non-Christians”?

How can we defend the sacredness of marriage between man and woman when the Church is constantly afflicted with scandals of adultery or sexual abuse?

Clearly because we have failed to firmly define marriage in society that other people groups are stepping in to redefine marriage according to their own pleasure rather than God’s pleasure.

We’ve messed up. Forgive us Lord. We repent. Please heal our land.

At this point, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He is Immanuel- God is with us. He is with us even in the midst of darkness. That’s His promise.

As long as His light shines,there is Hope. Unless the Church stands in agreement on His truth, we cannot reflect the fullness of His light to disperse darkness.

Without light, people will remain in darkness. And currently, the world is not able to see the Light through the Church.

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

God knows you

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.”

Ezekiel 28:13

I have been reading the book of Ezekiel for my daily devotion. And this verse intrigued me for quite awhile.

You see I don’t even know the specific names of every gem stones. When I see one or more or another coloured one, to me they are all the same. For sure, I won’t be able to name them.

But interestingly, God knows the names of these gem stones! He created them and named them. He knows how each one is different from the other.

Similarly, the Holy Spirit showed me how God knows each of us by name. He created us and He calls us by name. If He can name and call out each gem stone, how much more precious are we?

Although we might be the same species called humans. But like gem stones, to God each of us are different from one another. He designed each of us uniquely with our own individual characteristics.

So if you think you’re not special, think again. And if you think God doesn’t pay attention to you or doesn’t love you think again. These are far from the truth, you are precious to Him and He knows you by name.

Remember there is only one YOU. If you’re a diamond, don’t try to be an emerald. You will never be an emerald. And you will never be truly fulfilled as you are not being you. He created you to be YOU. So love YOU like how God loves you!

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.

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!