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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We’re one year old!

Last month, my wife and I celebrated our first year marriage anniversary. Yes! We’re one year old!

I believe for most of that one year, God had been molding our character and unity as a couple. And He still is.

We learnt to be independent from our parents and at the same time, to be depended on God together; instilling steel into the back bone of our marriage.

Not everything has been ‘and-they-lived-happily-ever-after’ though. We do have our crazy moments where we fall from lovers to enemies in an instant; from hugging to strangling  each other. Haha…

For most parts of those moments, they primarily stemmed from our differences in personality, gender traits and personal habits. For instance, I’m the outgoing and adventurous sort while my wife is more reserved and safe.

So you can imagine how we can unknowingly or knowingly unnerve each other. That’s explosive couple-discovery! Haha…

Fun as it may seems but there’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. There are loads of loving and forgiving to do each day on top of the practical challenges that need to be tackled. 

Nonetheless, I give thanks for an awesome first year (and the latter years ahead)  of marriage. Indeed, God is good!

Time for the Church to Love

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presented his National Day Rally speech.

Strangely, the topic of race and religion dominated his speech.

However, in view of the inevitable force that is changing our social, political and economic landscape in our global world, I reckoned that his speech was somewhat a timely reminder and a wake-up call to us Christians.

That force is that of globalisation which is pushing people together even closer than before. And religion or its fundalmentalists and dogmatists are becoming an opposing and dangerous force that divides and threatens our society’s progress.

“Catalysts” for further globalisation

Back in early June, US President Obama visited Cairo, Eygpt and delivered a groundbreaking message to urge an end to suspicion and discord between America and the Muslim world.

He highlighted that “the relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.”

In a gesture of reconciliation with the Islamic world, Obama further conceded that tension “has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

Even Tony Blair, the Bristish ex-Prime Minister had launched his new inter-faith foundation called the Tony Blair Faith Foundation this April.

What makes the foundation’s work distinctive is its emphasis on uniting people of different religious traditions in practical action – with the eradication of malaria a key priority at this moment.

The Church’s divine appointment

With this backdrop, I strongly believe that if there is a such divine appointment for the Church to represent Christ in His fullness, it is NOW.

For too long Christianity that was founded upon a legacy of love has been tainted with the worst sort of intolerance and prejudice.

Most troubling of all is witnessing how the teachings of Christ has been hijacked by believers who hate in the name of love.

“When people worship Him today – or even speak his name – the object of their devotion is unlikely to be who they think he is,” said Deepak Chopra in his book titled- The Third Jesus, “it seems clearly that He has served to divide peoples and nations. He has led to destructive wars in the name of religious fantasies.”

Even in his rally speech, PM Lee cited the AWARE saga as an attempted takeover “by a religiously motivated group who shared a strong religious fervour to enter civil space”.

I submit to you that if we Christians truly desire to spread the message towards fulfilling the Great Commission, then we cannot afford to be known or driven by a religious motivation.

As a people, we need to be more concerned about what is right than about being right. We need to be love motived, simply because God is love; being the message is more important than us merely spreading the message.

Christ in this 21st century not only needs to be accurately represented, but also re-presented.

Some Jokes about Love and Marriage

With Valentine’s approaching, below are some jokes on love and marriage to set is in the mood amid the doom and gloom:

  • It doesn’t matter how often a married man changes his job, he still ends up with the same boss
  • My wife and I always compromise; I admit I’m wrong and she agrees with me
  • A couple was having a discussion about family finances. Finally the husband exploded, “If it weren’t for my money, the house wouldn’t be here!”
    The wife replied, “My dear, if it weren’t for your money, I wouldn’t be here.”
  • When a newly married couple smiles, everyone knows why
    When a ten-year married couple smiles, everyone wonders why
  • A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?”
    And the father replied, “I don’t know, son, I’m still paying for it.”
  • The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once
  • First Guy (proudly): “My wife’s an angel!” Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”
  • Boring husband: Honey, why are you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger? Bored wife: Because I married the wrong man!
  • When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can be sure of one thing: either the car is new or the wife
  • If you do NOT have a wife – You are missing Some thing in your life
    If you have a wife – You are missing So Many things in your life