Loving one another as Christ commands

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“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

~ 1 John 4:19-21 (NIV)

I’ve learnt over the years as a Christ-follower that God’s love is redemptive in nature. He never tears down or condemns even if we’re wrong. This revelation is from my own fair share of personal failings toward others and experiencing His grace.

When we are wrong or even sometimes not, He chides and disciplines as He loves us. However, His ways are always with the intent to draw us closer to Him, never to chase us away from His presence. 

Hence, the approach may seem harsh or cold from our perspective, but the intent is redemptive, not judgmental or condemning. And I guess that is where we as the Church are confused. How do we love?

It is clear that appropriating His love in our lives or situations is never easy since we are still more flesh and His love is not easily comprehended unless encountered from glory to greater glory. However, loving each other remains the key command and action we need to uphold regardless of any situation. 

Apart from the above scripture, the apostle John also penned the new command from Jesus in the gospel of John in 13:34-35- Love one another so that everyone will know that you’re my disciples. From this, we can conclude that it is not theology or doctrines or righteousness that will lead people to recognize Christ and the Church. It is firstly His love. 

Although the truth- theology, doctrines and righteousness are also building blocks to our faith, but they need to be built upon LOVE and expressed from LOVE. For example, righteousness without love becomes self-righteousness. 

So brothers and sisters, let’s obey the call like never before in this end of days where the world is looking to the Church for answers and solutions to an evil and corrupt world. 

Let’s arise and demonstrate true love that is OF the Father, not for the Father. Loving the GOD of the word over the word of God. Our world needs to know WHO we know rather than what we know. And this begins with us, the Church. Amen.

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Building His house

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.

Faith activates a response from God

Most of us would have read or heard about the miracle healing of the woman who was bleeding for 12 years from the gospel.

For those unfamiliar, this story is about a sick woman who believed that she would receive her healing by merely touching the cloak of Jesus (c.f. Mark 5:25-34).

She did just that when Jesus passed by her and true enough, her bleeding immediately stopped.

Faith touches God

What is interesting about this miracle was the response of Jesus. He turned around in the crowd and asked,“Who touched my clothes?”

It is interesting because there were many others around Jesus who were touching him. Even his question caused his disciples to be puzzled.

But strangely enough, no one else but that sick woman received her miracle. And we can safely surmise that there were others possibly needing a miracle of some kind.

So why did Jesus responded only to her touch? And what made her so special? FAITH. It was her faith.

Have faith in God 

Similarly, many of us may pray to God just as many in the crowd were touching Jesus. But are our prayers made with faith or out of a religious habit?

Therefore, when it comes to answering prayers, it is not our needs that activates a response from God. It is our faith.

And in particularly, God responds in a real and powerful way to those who have the faith to believe in Him and expect results.

So today, are you in need of a miracle? Or is there a prayer that has not been answered for a long time?

Remember it is our faith that will get God’s attention amongst the crowd and activate a response from Him. So have faith and believe for your miracle.

We need His power

I’ve started driving recently and learnt something from this new experience.

It is instinctive for drivers to search for a petrol kiosk for a fill-up when the car indicates that it is running low on fuel.

Naturally, drivers do so because cars rely on petrol for power and to operate.

Without power, cars are almost useless.

Holy Spirit is our source of power

Similarly, we humans need power. And as Christians, we’ve acknowledged and embraced the Holy Spirit as that source.

We draw power being in His presence; renewing our visions, purposes in life and reviving our souls as we basked in the love of God.

But how many of us can truthfully say that we instinctly approach the Holy Spirit when we feel dry or low in our ‘fuel tank’?

And unlike, a car which has an fuel indicator to precisely alert us, we do not have such a mechanism in place.

Hence, many burn out and crash spiritually before even  realising that they are low in power.

Drawing power from the Holy Spirit

Today, make it a habit to plug into the presence of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis to draw power and to avoid any case of a burn out.

Equally important is for us to recognise our personal tell-tale signs of a low ‘fuel tank’ in our lives. So when the signs appear, instinctively we will look to Him for a fill-up.

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 

All of us, regardless if we believe in Him or not, need His power for a successful and purposeful life. Without Him, we are almost useless.

And the amazing truth is that His power is ever readily available and accessible anytime and anywhere.

So what are you waiting for? Get your power up today.

Saluting a true champion

After his team was defeated by a sensational Barcelona team during the recent European final, many expected Alex Ferguson to throw in the towel and retire.

But he did not.

Instead, this 70-year old manager has been busy getting his team ready to mount another challenge in the new season.

“You shouldn’t be afraid of a challenge. We’ve got better and better. We want to improve. Of course, next season, we must improve even more,” said Alex Ferguson after the defeat.

Indeed, champions are not those who do not fail but they’re those who do not quit.

It is safe to say that Manchester United are the champions they are today because of their manager’s winning mentality.

Alex, is one person that readily admits that he does not enjoy being second best and his team not only understands that but adopts his winning mentality.

If his 24 years at the same club and winning 12 championship titles is not convincing proof of his insatiable appetite for winning, I do not know what is.

I truly take my hat off and salute this true champion of a man.

Top 5 regrets of the dying

A lady who worked with the dying for years posted a list of the top 5 regrets she has heard from people on their deathbeds. I’m reproducing parts of the post here and hope it encourages you just as it has for me; to take action in living a life without regrets.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.

Read the full article here>>>.

GE 2011: What is God doing?

This year, the general elections in Singapore looks to be a watershed one!

Since independence, this is the first time all (87) seats are contested except 5 seats namely from Tanjong Pagar GRC. And this was due to a controversial incident.

Nonetheless, this remains a significant progress for Singapore’s political scene especially with majority of Singaporeans voting for the very first time after countless walkovers.

From the last election that happened in 2006, I’ve observed two key factors that are distinctive in shaping this election.

First is the increased numbers of young voters or Gen-Ys who are eligible above the age of 21 years old, and the other is the influence of social media, in particularly Facebook that is shaping the opinions of Singaporeans.

These two are inter-linked because it is the Gen-Ys that are more savvy or in tuned to such online social media platforms. And together, they prove to be a lethal force to be reckoned with.

It has contributed in addressing the general lack of apathy among the average Singaporean towards political issues and appealed to more citizens to join the opposition parties.

Because information is now no longer just confined or belonging to the higher echelon of society or baby boomers. The Internet has levelled the playing field where vital information is easily accessible and shared among people.

That said, amidst all the buzz and excitement, I’m trying to discern what is God’s agenda or move in this overall political situation.

I strongly believe that He’s taking Singapore to the next level where this nation and the Church can fulfill its full potential towards advancing His global redemptive plan.

So in this elections, let’s pray and vote wisely.