Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Before I added this chapter, I had three separate confirmation with today the being the strongest one. In fact, while typing out these lines, I was asked to do something that a person could have done on his own with the proper help. While seeking the confirmation from another person, I had to decline and just continue with what I was doing. As it turned out, the help sought was really not necessary and did not require my assistance.
Abraham – God Needs Our Help
Terah had three sons; Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran died and not long after, Terah took the entire household out of Ur their ancestral dwellings, on a pilgrimage to Canaan. In a place coincidentally called Haran, Terah did not to proceed any further; perhaps he was unable to deal with the grief over the loss of his son. The journey ended while Terah was at the helm in Haran. He expired at 205 years.
God then commands Abram to leave Haran to go to a place where He would eventually reveal. Immediately Abram brought Sarai, their possessions and Lot their nephew and embarked on an adventure. Lot was brought along because they were childless and wanted an able bodied, trustworthy kin to accompany them and perhaps they had a fondness for him. After all, Lot’s father had died in Ur and Abram would serve as a mentor to his brother’s son. However, in His conversation with Abram, God told him that he will be made a nation. Already 75 years old, Abram could have brought along Lot as a backup because the couple was were past their fertile years and had no inkling as to the plan God had for them.
When famine struck the land where they tarried, they made the decision to divert to prosperous Egypt for relief. Abram loved his wife without a doubt and Sarai was still beautiful despite her age and together they were a handsome couple. With this knowledge, Abram instructed Sarai to declare their relationship as siblings in the fear that someone in Egypt may take Abram’s life to covet his better half. Again, they under- estimate God’s hand in their lives. True enough, not just any Egyptian, but the Pharaoh’s prince fell headlong for Sarai and took her in his care. The prince compensated Abram with livestock and servants, like a dowry. Soon Pharaoh’s household experienced plagues and he understood the cause and confronted Abram. Not wanting to have anything to do with them anymore, the Egyptian ruler sent them off with everything they had, in a hurry.
Throughout the journey south, Abram and Lot increased their flock but the anointing was with Abram and his nephew who came for the ride, was enjoying the blessing radiating from his uncle. This cements the fact that when one walks with God, He bequeaths His increase and influence, one of the many blessings anyone can expect. It came to a point where there were insufficient grazing land to feed both men’s animals and their herdsmen were at constant fights over this lack. Abram gave Lot the choice of a new location to resettle and to end the dispute between their workers. This was a wise decision as Abram knew eventually their relationship will sour and it would not be good to risk that family bond over such small matters. Abram’s example also demonstrates the need to move away from situations and people in order to keep the peace, for the greater good. So Lot having the first choice, selected the plains of Jordon which was on the outskirts of Sodom to set up camp there. Abram was now set apart from Lot and God could now steer him towards the promise land. He also set an example of moving away from comforts in life and embrace challenges and change that allows one to grow.
Many things happened in between but God reassured Abram in a vision that God is his Shield and his reward would be immensely great. But trying to be practical, Abram clarified with God regarding the heir from which a great nation would transcend. He wanted to confirm if perhaps Lot was this heir that would fulfil God’s promise. Abram must have been very disturbed when God confirmed that it would be Abram’s own flesh and blood. God then told Abram to count the stars knowing well Abram could not. This was to demonstrate the likeness of the number of descendents he will be blessed with.
In their eighties some married couples would be spooning advice to their children on the finer points of parenting. They would even be relating past experiences or spending waking hours tending to their second or third generation. Abram was not one of them, and was restless as he was already an octogenarian. Abram would have had countless thoughts on God’s promise of an heir. Sarai too may have wondered how she would realise the dream of being the mother of a generation.
As always in the case of lack of activity, in this case God’s activity, Sarai offered her Egyptian maid who was in her child-bearing age to Abram. Sarai made this decision to help God along in His plan. God didn’t need anyone’s help and it was the other way around. Of course this initiative was a disaster waiting to unfold. Over time, Hagar the Egyptian was carrying Abram’s son and soon was giving the cold shoulder to her mistress Sarai. This lead Sarai to banish Hagar from their dwellings and Abram let his wife deal with her maid as how she pleased.
Taking matters into one’s hand and negotiating with God on the wanted outcome, we become disillusioned with the direction of our lives and Abram and Sarai must have been in that quandary. They now have a chance to “fulfil” God’s promise but with the drama unfolding, one could only guess what would take place next. Out in the wilderness, Hagar was confronted by an angel and was instructed to return to her mistress’s side in obedience. The angel also instructed her to name the child in her womb Ishmael. When the baby was born, it was obvious only Abram and Hagar were the happy ones and Sarai would have been left pondering at her inability to conceive. She would have been comparing this to Hagar. But the word of God is clear and the fulfilment of His promise is absolute. Both Abram and Sarai were to be responsible for the creation of a nation that would be innumerable. There would be no “outsourcing” of this function. Never mind Abram was 86 years old.
When Ishmael was 13, God appeared again to Abram and this time, the purpose and instruction was clear. It was distinctly different as God purposed to His servant several instructions that would stand till this day among His people. Abraham will be his name from henceforth while his wife will be called Sarah instead. God also instituted the law of circumcision upon Abraham’s household to signify His covenant with His people. Upon reaching the eight day, an infant son must be circumcised and failing to do so, will incur the consequence of God’s desertion and being cut-off as His people. At this time, Abraham was already a hundred years of age while Sarah one year shy. A very troubled Abraham sought to confirm God’s promise of an heir but God knows what He’s doing. Having lived a life without the joy of their own true son, Abraham now a centenarian and 99 year old Sarah will be blessed with Isaac by God. Years of holding on to a promise will now be fulfilled on God’s terms. Isaac is to be the manifestation of God’s promise.
Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord accompanied by two angels stopped by for a visit where Abraham and Sarah dwelt. This party’s stopover was to confirm God’s promise of an heir and to permit Abraham a chance to save Lot who was still in Sodom. At first, the Lord announced the news and when Sarah heard it, she smirked to herself having resigned to the fact that she would not be able to give birth at such an advanced age. But the Lord who sees the heart enquired of her scepticism and Sarah denied it. The Lord declared that there is absolutely nothing that He would not be able to do. God’s promise became flesh when Isaac was born.
During one of their journeys, this one in particular where they were heading south, they came upon king Abimelech, the ruler of Gerar. As before, Abraham declared that Sarah was his sister. Being captivated by Sarah’s beauty, the king relieved him of his “sister” with the intention of matrimony, naturally. A warning appeared in Abimelech’s dream to return Abraham’s wife to her rightful place. God spared the king’s life because he did not touch her. Upon confronting him, Abraham replied that he did not believe that the land where they were dwelling was not under the grace of God. Such dire underestimation by a man who had had many personal conversations with God. In fact, God sends out the rain to the just and the wicked as a sign that he loves everyone despite their divergent beliefs and faith. He wants nothing better than to have all His children to be with Him. He is fair to all. Startled by Abraham’s revelation, Abimelech sends them off but not without gifts, making Abraham’s possession a tad larger than it already was.
As Isaac grew, Abraham proved his worth as a man of faith when he obeyed God’s command to sacrifice his only son. Though Isaac was not harmed, the act of obedience displayed by Abraham surely strengthened his bond with God. He had unwavering faith in God even though he was to sacrifice the only son he had. The one blessed to him after decades of wait.
Ishmael and his half-brother Isaac grew up together and being 13 years senior, he was often seen bullying Isaac. Finding her son losing the coveted position in the great plan of God, Hagar may have approved this bullying from the beginning. A fair man, Abraham could not let this unfair treatment go on and for the second time, Hagar was told to leave with Ishmael and this time for good. Nevertheless being of Abraham’s seed, a nation will be made out of Ishmael as promised by God. Ishmael’s lineage would not be deserted.
Many years lapsed and soon Sarah died and Abraham mourned her. Life had to go on and this led Abraham to make arrangements for his son’s marriage. Abraham re-married and Keturah bore him six children but Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. Blessings from the Lord can be manifested in many ways and fruitfulness was one of them and Abraham of course knew of this. He kept concubines even in his ripe age but despatched them to the east, away from his son Isaac. At 175, Abraham breathed his last and the brothers Ishmael and Isaac buried their father in the same cave where Sarah was laid. Hagar’s son lived to a good age of 137 years.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
And so God gave me the ability and I wrote what was led by Him. Even the title of the book was His leading and idea of course. Soon it became a book and with grand ambitions to profit from it, I thought of publishing it. He led me completely all the way but I started to take ownership of it.
Long story short - I'm just releasing it for all to read, in 7 parts. Each month I will publish a chapter.
Finally I will put them all in a Adobe PDF format and well, give it away.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
New International Version (©1984)
It took God five days to create the world and there was a purpose for it. He instituted the separation between day and night, dry land and the waters. God was setting up a template where all other creations henceforth will live by. With its diverse geography, flora and fauna thrived, each in their appointed area. Having completed that, He specially created a lush garden that we came to know as Eden. God could then showcase all that He had made to His most valued creation: Man.
The learned speculate we evolved over millions of years ago from what crawled out from the oceans and eventually walked upright. In spiritual truth, man descended from Adam. God formed him with His own hands and breathed His breath into Adam to give life. No other creation had God’s personal involvement such as this. All other creation came into existence through God’s utterance except for man. The first thing Adam saw was the face of God and what a sight it must have been. He would have been comforted also seeing God since it was from the same mould and Adam was not staring at an unusual Being or Form. It took many millions or even billions of years less for this to happen unlike the popular hypothesis. It is far brilliant than looking at some zoo exhibit that usually clambered trees and to try hard to link them to us
The sixth day was the point where God introduced Adam to the rest of His work. On the seventh, He rested so that He could have fellowship with man. God did care for Adam and it must have been boring if man was created earlier. He would have had to contend staring at a lifeless and formless place and wait till all of God’s work was completed. No can do! God decided the He would complete all His work and then show it to man for him to savour and enjoy.
Living in the Garden of Eden in utter bliss, Adam was given all dominion and authority over it. Every living creature we know of today, were named by him. But Adam was bored and God knew that. So out of his ribs, Eve was created as a worthy companion. Life was absolutely beautiful for this first couple as they did not have to worry about anything at all. Food was abundant, they just had to pick any fruit in the garden and it was theirs. Clothes did not matter either as their ignorance was bliss. They even spoke to animals. Adam made a statement that stands till today. As he gazed upon Eve his wife, he declared that the union of a man and woman was in marriage when they left their parents and form one flesh, essentially a family. It is also profound as Adam and Eve did not have parents, they were both created. Here the first seed of man set the correct standard for all men and women in forming a relationship.
In the midst of the vegetation of Eden, stood the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God gave them every imaginable plant life to eat from except from this particular tree. It was not placed strategically to tempt them but was a simple trial to evaluate the intellect God gave. After all, they already have the ability to discern, otherwise Adam and Eve would be gnawing at rocks or tree barks for food. God’s prototype was fully functioning and did not lack a thing.
In all the creatures God created, Satan took the form of a serpent. If you were going to alter the history of man, you needed to be captivating or at least presentable. Perhaps the serpent at that time would have been a sight to behold. Eve must been wowed at it to have given it time to persuade her to pluck the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A speaking, walking serpent with such guile and cunning blinded her eyes to the instructions of God. Satan persuaded Eve that she and Adam would be like their Maker, essentially knowing all things. Having bought the idea of becoming like God, Eve took a bite and must have had some expectation besides the taste. Nothing spectacular happened. She decided perhaps on the strength of two persons, they will be just as the serpent had foretold. She quickly forgot the both she and Adam were made in the image and likeness of God. Satan skewed that knowledge to make them feel inadequate. Instead of reprimanding Eve’s disobedience, Adam condoned it by eating the forbidden fruit. Was Adam trying to disprove Satan’s theory or was he trying to just play along with Eve’s foolishness? Could he be thinking that the Godly powers can only be discovered by him eating it and not his partner? After all, God created him first, put him in charge of the garden and was entrusted to name all living creatures. It is such an important position; he must be the key to open the lock that secured all those things uttered by Satan.
Indeed Adam was the key. Like a faucet, God’s anointing flows through the head of the family first and by his faith and conduct, other family members share this blessing. That was the lesson Adam learnt at that point. Eve’s bite of the fruit may have filled her tummy and very little else. But when Adam ate, disaster struck immediately. The two were suddenly aware of their nakedness. They were also acutely conscious that they have committed something wrong. Soon God would come to visit them. What will they say or do? Earlier, they needn’t anything for food, shelter, warmth or modesty. Now they were forced to sew fig leaves as coverings and for the first time, the trees that provided food for them, became their first wardrobe collection. There were no barrier between them and God but since they gained knowledge of good and evil, sin became the dividing line. Feeling ashamed was the result of sinning, just like being caught in a prohibitive act. It was already an unpleasant feeling the two would have felt at that point and then God stopped by for a visit in the cool of the day. Though God would not be affected by heat or cold, He came by when it was comfortable for Adam and Eve. A sadden and hurt God had to clothe them and they witnessed physical death for the first time. God showed them how to cover themselves properly through the use of animal skin. Whatever animal that was destined to romp in the Garden of Eden had to be killed to protect the naked couple. Blood had been shed for the first time too. God’s original plan was to make man the master over what He had created and occupy the planet with his fruitfulness. Being self-centered caused man to question the very purpose he was put on the Earth. He was swayed by lies that made him feel inferior and believed there was something God was hiding from him. Having created us in His image and likeness meant we were virtually unlimited in our potential. It was also a case of trust and the lack of it that caused Adam and Eve to feel they were short-changed. After distrusting God, Satan gave them nothing. They were relegated from their destiny of an unimaginable future to enduring hardship. This small battle was won by a cheap shot but the victory of the war is a foregone conclusion. For its part, the serpent that walked on legs was cursed to crawl on its belly.
One problem still persisted; the tree of life was still there. By eating the fruit from the earlier tree, they disobeyed God and they were consumed with sin. No matter what romantic definition it goes by today, sin is disobeying God, just plain and simple. The consequence of eating of the fruit from the tree of life meant sinning eternally. A never-ending life in sin is just too much for God to accept. For that reason, they were driven out from their first home, the Garden of Eden. From then on, life that God had intended in His plan when He made the entire world had to be put aside. There are no accounts of the Garden of Eden being destroyed and it is still on Earth somewhere. At the east of Eden, cherubim with a flaming sword guard the tree of life. After all Adam and Eve knew where it was and this measure was necessary to thwart any future attempts to re-enter the paradise undeserving.
An educated mind would reason that it was God’s fault to allow Satan to sway Adam and Eve from their appointed life on Earth. Some question the true power of God to put a stop to the entire episode from its infancy. But when one looks back into this account, one will remember that God gave them dominion over the entire planet and told them to take control and manage it. Eden was the training ground for them before governing Earth. One problem came along and they failed. How could God let them take charge of the entire expanse of the Earth then? Instead of spoon feeding us all the way, challenges are placed strategically to measure our growth and reliance on God. Overcoming each block enables us to develop ourselves in certain areas of our lives. A lesson learnt, a degree of faith and spiritual intimacy gained. In our lives today, we are placed in our own “gardens” for a purpose. Taking control and managing it is essential not only for our personal growth but also to determine our place in the coming Kingdom of God. However taking control over every situation or personal “gardens” is not what God intended. There needs to be order and submission to authority just as Adam and Eve acknowledged God as their authority. We are to respect those placed as leaders because in dispensing our duties under that authority, we grow to become better leaders. God does the rest.
Adam lived up to 930 years old, a norm for people of those times and lived to see many of his children. Together the first parents recounted their tale of what could have been and the price they paid for their mistrust and disobedience.
Saturday, 7 January 2012
I remember I was strolling in New York mid-morning where I saw the blitz in the computer store near 5th avenue and was so consumed that I vowed to upgrade my older system as soon as I got back to Singapore where I was residing. Come to think of it, nothing needed to be fixed with my current setup and I was rather satisfied with the 14Kbps dial up offered by SingTel then too. It was just so alluring that I just wanted it.
Today, I am driven by a different want. But it’s not what I want, but what the God who made me wants. At an age where life is set on auto cruise towards retirement whilst avoiding road blocks, icebergs, turbulence and other nasties, I chose the path that was designed for me in my mother’s womb. It essentially means reformatting your OS to the Holy Spirit’s OS . Remember, our Father in Heaven has a path He has set aside for each and every individual from the very roots of one’s ancestors to the day the world ceases to exist. In taking that route, one will face many adversities and challenges, bringing that person to the very breaking point. Many will disagree when I say that we are all equipped to face such challenges. Looking back at the incident in the Garden of Eden, God created man and blessed them and said all His creation was good. He gave a distinct instruction to man to be rulers over the entire creation. Adam being the first human created was bestowed with the leadership mantle but chose to lay it aside and blamed Eve for his bad judgement. In Eden, God dwelt with the both of them but it was the man whom God ratified as the spokesperson and head of the family. Adam took the easy way out of indulging in the weaker vessel’s whims rather than arresting the waywardness. It was no easy task being the head; a God-given right now often mistaken for a privilege. Men, who are still the heads of their family, today dump that role lazily to their wives and point the finger at her for every fault from his loft.
When He sent His Son to topple the grip of sin over man, Jesus didn’t just do that alone. He followed up with the action of dispatching a Helper, the Holy Spirit. But nowhere in the scriptures did it mention that the Holy Spirit would linger for a short time and depart. To this date, the Helper our Father has given to us is very much the “still small voice” that is very much prevalent and the same one Elijah heard when he was in refuge from Jezebel.
If that “still small voice” or the Holy Spirit or the Helper is very much in our midst, why do we begin each day focused on our goals, KPIs and dreams when the work of our Father remains undone. That is why the arrival of our Father’s Kingdom is sluggish because men and women offer their hands and hearts to God at their retirement age where the flesh and soul is weary. Those who actively do the bidding of our Maker set up ministry of this and that, rarely enquiring of God if their ministry is on the right track or if they should just drop everything. God would rather have ministries closed to ensure parents spend time with their own children rather than their congregation’s children. What a terrible situation to be when leaders of a church neglect their very own flesh and blood and spend time doing charities elsewhere.
In this ever connected civilization we live in, we are all but connected to the God who gave us the true Cloud Computing! His storage space is immensely vast than any media combined from every since and to the next billionth Terabyte storage combined. No fee, no contracts, no restrictions and available all over the Earth with absolutely no roaming or hidden charges. It’s free! But we rather pay for a tangible and be tied down with ridiculous contracts don’t we? The ancients fully understood the need to be plugged into the Spirit as the Helper lights their paths and makes their way straight though mountains lay before them; even soar like an eagle as it were, just to overcome the problem.
Letting the Helper manage one’s life in realigning to the will of the Father as per His promise to enrich our lives, is a personal and custom made journey every individual should embark upon. Many may recall the rudimentary task of writing during the early days of childhood. One needs to see what it is that one should write and copy it. Often, templates are provided to trace the lines of alphabets and number before the child can write by rote memory onto a piece of paper. Soon and over time, cursive writing may be learnt to exhibit higher levels of writing mastery. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Little by little, we are led to move into the template God has laid upon our lives and trace our steps before we display the very nature of God in our lives. It is rare to hear anyone today say, “I attained all my success by seeking the will of God”. Rather, man attribute the success to their heritage, education, opportunities, hind and foresight but no mention of the One who is the sole source of man’s prosperity in all facet of his life as per His blessings at the dawn of creation.
The Holy Spirit, that “still small voice” or Helper; whichever one chooses to refer to, is not confined to the realms of the believer’s alone. Our God has sent Jesus to mankind at large, that everyone should gain salvation and not suffer eternal death of their soul. His sacrifice freed all man and that is valid to the seven billion plus inhabitants today as well. If only man tried for once to stop all activities and shut off all noise and distractions around him and just listened.
Like every learning experience, the student must pay attention to the teacher. As time goes by, first day of school experience will soon wear off and the senses now tuned to the lesson, heightened. It may seem hard but in reality it is dual in nature. Unlearning the corrupt worldly ways while immersing one’s self into the will of the Father through the Holy Spirit. It will become second nature rather quickly. That is why Apostle Paul admitted that he could do all things with Christ within him. How blessed and wise this man who once sought to destroy the faithful, now leading them into the salvation Jesus guaranteed through His resurrection.
As a personal experience, it was typically difficult to let Him lead in every facet of my life. I started small; what to wear, which route to take or which particular restaurant to dine in. As I practised, I sought confirmation from like minded, spiritually led friends. Soon I leant to discern what His voice sounded like versus the inner desires of the spirit man. Next phase was to wait for the computer to boot up fully while at the same time asking my Helper to prioritize what’s to be done even though the all email screamed for attention and action. Very soon, I graduated to what to speak and to whom. From that point on, my day isn’t complete without asking my Father to order my steps according to His plan, completely engulfing my flesh-led desires. I did many weird things like changing my hair style as I had combed it in the usual conservative business like fashion. One day, through my close friend, the Holy Spirit led me to comb my hair back and almost sporting a spiky look. I shivered and cringed for the longest time before I agreed to do it. Upon reaching the office, I ran to the toilet and locked myself in it while I saw the very un-business like mop I had on my head. After wiping the tear of fear, I put on my brave face and walked into my office areas. I could not recall how many comments I got that day and 98% of them were positive. Two months on, I still got smiles, kind words and support. I have been living with a case of low self esteem and was a bit of a traditionalist when it came to my very person. All that changed when He who made me, changed me!
Along with my better half, every selfish ambition, goals and dreams we had, we have left it at His feet the He may jump start His best intentions for us according to His plans laid out during our embryonic life. We have had many, many pleasant and wonderful surprises because as we were led to do His work, we were granted the very aspirations we have forgone in the first place. That is the unfathomable brilliance of God who sees the heart and rewards ever so swiftly! We always seek confirmation in all our affairs and we recommend this new way of life to you. With every new thing, take small, slow steps before running because when you start to run, it very difficult to stop and consider that fact that you have very little time to make error corrections. So again, crawl, walk, gambol if you like, and then run if you need.
What Do You Want Me To Do Today, Father?
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Right versus Privilege
Being a father is a privilege and with privilege comes great responsibility. Our Heavenly Father knows all about this and He has instituted this sacred responsibility to men. If ever a father needed a role-model, he just needs to flip through the pages of the Bible to discover the immense love, patience and the very heart of God; the Father of all. Having made men fathers, God has never abandoned them; He continually seeks to nurture all men who are fathers, to provide for their family in their own special way. He seeks because He grants us the right to choose, never forcing anything down the throats of His people. This very evident throughout the ages where His emissaries speak His will, warnings, covenants, law and blessings. God can never have His people programmed like mindless androids and run algorithms and programming scripts to fulfill what God had intended from the very birth of everything. All He asks is for us to wholeheartedly obey His instructions for the betterment of our lives, no matter how obscure it may seem that we prosper and in turn prosper those around us. Every individual's progress in accordance to God's blueprint is measured by the achievements and blessings manifested in their lives. Man must never entrap themselves by equating these with fiscal success and subsequently compare. Health, peace and joy are some of the intangibles that cannot be procured.
Position of Sanctity
Fathers hold a sacred and special position in a family in the eyes of God. Genesis 3:6-7 says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings".
When Eve ate the fruit, nothing happened until Adam did. They became aware and as the bible states, their eyes were opened! Not that they were groping about Eden in hopeless blindness but Adam's violation of the only law given to him caused the decline of mankind's special position with God. This serves as the first indication of the Spiritual authority God has ordained in men. God never tempted, mislead nor tricked them. Follow one law, the only law, and be masters of the Earth. Do fathers seek God's will in their dealings on a daily basis? Or do we scan our memories for that special childhood prayer we once said to conjure the speedy response from God in those desperate and hopeless times? Our Heavenly Father has equipped us with the highest possible wisdom as illustrated in Genesis 1: 26-27 but He can only let us decide for ourselves based on that wisdom. Similarly God has put fathers in an esteemed position of holiness to decide for those in his charge what's best. A spiritual position in a family ordained by God is not to be taken lightly! A father is considered a priest of his household to God and a leader who takes up the responsibility over the daily operations of a family. Priestly according to the Levitical order – those select few who sanctified themselves for worship to God. A role not to be outsourced, delegated or relinquished.
Through Father to God
God is concerned how the father operates in a household because when you learn to obey your earthly father, you learn to obey your heavenly Father. If you do not recognize your father's authority, how can you recognize God's? Wives and children are to recognize the authority of a husband and father if they are to recognize God. Our Heavenly Father has, over the course of history, ensured widows and the fatherless were protected and cared for. Relatives and other social figures that are able, must provide and shelter the unfortunate ones without a father or husband.
What a father does, the child will follow to a very large extent. Coming to the end of the first day of school, my son was bored and to amuse himself, he took out his pencil and started playing with it. I was watching him very curiously. Then my heart started pounding when I saw the way he played with his pencil. It was exactly how I played with my pencil at precisely the same time of the school period and that was just before the final bell rang. I could not imagine how this could reoccur 33 year later! In biblical terms, Isaac told King Abimelech that Rebecca was his sister. Abraham did the same. David had more than one wife, Solomon broke the record. This generational discrepancy is what God wants to put right through fathers so that he may impart Godly qualities to his children through his conduct. We had a new regional boss recently who had previously worked in the U.S. During one of the small talk sessions, he said that in some parts of the U.S., children grew up without knowing their fathers or any other male figure because a large number of the fathers were imprisoned. People had or knew someone who were either in prison or were once locked away. Consequently the children resort to a life of crime and they end up incarcerated like their fathers. A horrible testament and a vicious cycle!
The first 4 of the 10 commandments, God establishes Himself, His sovereign authority, His Holiness and rules of worship. Next comes our duty as children in the 5th commandment, "Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you". This is the only commandment that comes with a promise. When one of His disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus began with: "Our Father in heaven…". Clearly even Jesus understood the authority and the absolute need for obedience to our Heavenly Father. Jesus lived His life as an example and honouring God was second nature to Him, a definitive proof of the importance of fathers.
Fathers to Children
From a father come children as God said in Proverbs 23:22, "Listen to your father who begot you (gave you life), And do not despise your mother when she is old". If fathers are sacred and special to God then children are extremely precious. So precious were children to God that He sent Elijah to stay with a widow and her son because they were planning to die after having their last meal. The lack of an able husband and father would have prevented this so God intervened to preserve two lives. God spared Nineveh because the king and his people repented. Even the animals were clothed with sack cloth as a sign of mourning. Seeing this God was moved to mercy but Jonah was angry. But God used the example in Jonah 4:11 to move this prophet with compassion. "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?" In some bible versions, it states children. Because of the Ninevites' repentance, God aborted destruction but Jonah was not amused because of the hard journey he took to preach the word of God. In justifying His love for innocent young lives, God spoke to His prophet to induce pity upon them. Apparently that stoked the flames of compassion in Jonah.
What's Different Today?
Practically nothing. Blood is still red, the sun is still hot, water quenches thirst and God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The father's role has never diminished though it has gotten slightly complex but in an ever changing world, always refer to the infinite wisdom God has imparted from the dawn of the world. Men and fathers are so bogged down with the trappings of the secular world that they have become slothful in their duties at home. No one can replace the presence and role of a father in the family and if you examine a little longer, you will discover the distractions, unnecessary activities and pursuits that are robbing, yes literally robbing, their time with their family. Wives and mothers are now taking up the mantle thrown by the wayside by men but as much as the maternal instincts comes to the fore, God's rule are not to be bent. Balance between work and family is no longer in harmony and family decisions are done without consulting fathers. Either they are too tired, occupied, detached or just lazy of another responsibility. All the essential ingredients for a destructive life of children and families. These are spoken out of personal experiences.
My son and I were parted when my ex-wife and I separated that resulted in a divorce. It was not an easy decision and a lot of prayer and seeking God's will was constant. However, God assured me to grant her wishes for the sake of my son and at that time, I could not understand it. Ben was barely four. In that space of a few years, she kept moving from one location to another and it was hard to keep up and it is said that my son celebrated his birthday each year in a new house. Finally she packed his bags and sent him about 300 kilometers away north to her parents' house. Now I had to apply vacation leave to visit my son. All the while I remembered God's promise.
There were many advice and suggestions from many quarters to get closer to my son including finding work in that location where my son was. Some even suggested I bring him back and let God show the way. Not one of these gave me peace and so I just let God do His thing while I waited.
When Ben was eight and the health of her parents failed, she decided to bring him back. Not only that, the house they lived was a mere six minutes away! Ever since then, I volunteered to send my son to school even if it meant I had to sacrifice my rest and sleep. Today, I get up before six in the morning to make sure I am on time to pick my son up from his home to school. I get to pray with him every day in the car and I spend quality spiritual time with him. We have conversations and I try to answer his questions and I can only thank God for what He has done. We get to spend alternate weekends together and that's an added bonus from the legality of the divorce. Recently, I have been asked to take Ben with me to church every Sunday to "put him in a routine". But we all know who's in charge of this arrangement. This is a personal testimony on the importance of fathers in the lives of children and how God ensure I had access to my son despite the circumstances.
God is our Heavenly Father who is a living example of what a father should be and He will ensure His people live in a life according to His will. This will also mean moving things about or causing changes in environments to achieve His goal. God is good and though we cannot fully understand Him, He understands us to the core. His concern over the family unit and the governing roles of a father is very evidently demonstrated in my life. Never underestimate what God can do nor the capacity He has put in everyone of us to succeed. Praise God for His faithfulness and for being a promise-keeper!
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Some years back, a friend coerced me to attend a "meeting" at a shopping mall to hear about the virtues of a product. I cringed at the prospect of meeting people at an unfamiliar place, more so when it was under duress. It was a typical setting I would assume at any multi level marketing meet where members brought friends to venue with the hope some will become members and in turn be the recruiter's recruiter. Seats were arranged neatly before a stage and at the appointed time, the speaker did what he did. Reinforcing the wonderful properties of the wares were the users and they went at great lengths to testify the healing powers or the ailments that were cured when using the product. This is obviously a deliberate attempt to bring credibility and heighten the audience's trust. I was not convinced but picked up some pointers for my marketing pitch.
A testimony always brings credibility. The marketers have exploited this very human emotion and have been successful for some time now. In days long ago, men brought nations and communities closer to God through testimonies. God always reminded His people of His track record of His work and it serves as a testimony to those who are under threat, doubt, fear and ungodly subjugation. An inward activation of faith is prerequisite. In one duel at Mount Carmel between Elijah and the false prophets, when faith was lukewarm, God acted to fortify His supremacy. Faith was awakened within the people and subsequently, acted righteously in disposing of the imposters who peddled other gods. Our Lord never ceases to defend and fight the battles of His people, no matter what race or creed. The very least we as the benefactors can do is to proclaim His work and share with other what He has done. This was common practise after Jesus' ascension to Heaven, in the days of the apostles, as recorded in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Mere men stirred up by the Spirit of God, brought the word of God to the masses.
In the reign of King Hezekiah, Isaiah was the resident prophet in the kingdom of Judah as documented in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles and in Isaiah. The king was steadfast in his spiritual connection with God and implemented reforms and returned to the worship of the one true God. He led his people to observe sacred feasts to honour God, a form of testimony to what his Maker has done for his ancestors. Judah was constantly harassed by heathen nations but God had delivered them through the instructions and exhortations of His servant Isaiah.
Not long after, Hezekiah was on his death bed overcome by an ailment. Isaiah visited the king and delivered the grim news to him: He is about to breathe his last (Isaiah 38). The ruler faced the wall and pleaded for his life and God instructed Isaiah to comfort the king as He has heard his pleas and will allow him to live for a further 15 years. The prophet announced the good news to Hezekiah but he asked for a sign. The king could understand that death was imminent by looking at the state of his body and acknowledged Isaiah's words as a confirmation from God. As god had delayed his demise, what would the sure sign be, the king enquired. This was not a test of God's ability but a man who just received literally grave news needed comfort at that hour. Isaiah who was God's spokesperson at that time gives Hezekiah a choice: To move the sun 10 degrees forward or backward. He chose the latter and marking the movement of the shadow cast by the sun, all could see God's work and confirm the longevity of his servant's life. A life spared and a celestial body's movement altered to the pleasure of its Maker.
In the east, Merodachbaladan a Babylonian prince noted the 10 degree aft movement of the sun. He learnt of Hezekiah's healing and the awesome confirmation from God. He sent congratulatory letters and a get-well gift for this servant of God. Upon Merodachbaladan's visit to Judah's king, Hezekiah was flattered and wasted no time in reciprocating this seemingly goodwill gesture. Every single riches, treasures, weaponry and stores were shown to the visitor's entourage, not sparing any details. Hezekiah was overjoyed and wanted to share this sense of euphoria.
Isaiah, alerted by God, confronted Hezekiah and questioned his overwhelming courtesy. Yoking with an ungodly and hostile nation is not in Judah's best interest, not even for the sake of good neighbourly and diplomatic relations. Hezekiah had let the enemy seen the prosperity and possibly its weakness in that act of friendship. Most importantly, he had missed out on the opportunity to testify the good God has done for him. He did not give glory to One who healed him and extended his life and to afford an opportunity to share this miraculous account with an unbeliever. This was betrayal and God who made us in His image, was hurt. Yes, He rejoices and can certainly be saddened.
Again Isaiah had to share unpleasant news to Hezekiah and this time, it was absolute and irrevocable. Everything that was showcased to the prince will be carted away to the eastern kingdom and his offspring will be reduced to eunuch in those foreign palaces.
Being a noble, the king accepted the judgement and acknowledged it was meted out fairly according to his brash conduct. The harsh lesson Hezekiah learn was to recognize a good deed and to speak of it unashamedly with the humble hope more of such supernatural intervention will prevail throughout his reign.
Today, we as subject to our King must be exemplary in our ways and give glory where it is due. If we can compliment our spouses, subordinates, pupils, children and those around us, what is stopping us from being a good testimony to the One who is the source of grace and blessings? What does it take for us to encourage other through our sharing?
Never miss an opportunity to be the one that extols the goodness of our God for He longs to shower His love and the more we have the attitude of gratitude, the more He blesses. You will never know when your ingratitude may be your very last!
Testify today, He will act.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
This is a favourite scripture used by couples as their theme for their wedding and is often found in their invitation card. Some give prominence to it by placing decorative motives of the scripture on a backdrop at their reception. Quite frankly, it captures the essence of a God-centered marriage. The two distinct individual now becomes one. It also gives a warning to others not to interfere or cause a destruction to that blessed union.
Personally, this word came to me at a time when I was going through a tough time relocating to a new home. Three months earlier, my landlord informed me that he has sold the apartment I was occupying and I would need to give him vacant possession soon. I was distressed and know the problems associated with moving. I barely lived here for a year. But God was working in the background because I found out that the buyer was the brother of the tenant living one floor above. So I had to wait for that guy to move out and I move in, easy!
Silent months passed by and nothing really happened. My soon to be ex-landlord gently reminded me of the imminent date and I tried to focus on God's work in my life. I had confirmed with the guy upstairs and indeed he will move out at the appointed time. In fact, I was waiting to speak to the guy and wondered when was the most opportune time. One day as I just returned home from work, God told me: Now, go now, he's upstairs. Lo and behold, he was just slotting his key to open the door! So that's settled for now.
In another casual meeting, I got the number of the prospective landlord and I found out this person was an old friend of mine whom I had lost touch about three years ago. Long story short, I had his consent to move in only weeks before I had to.
The buyer and seller of my apartment were involved in a tiff over petty issues. The buyer wanted to store some things in my home and I did not object but my landlord did. He quoted legal issues and genuinely he was concerned because the full payment for the house has not be settled by the buying party. This caused the buyer to be upset with me for revealing this to the seller.
But I did not have a choice as this is not my house and I had an obligation to my landlord. The word that kept propping up in my mind was: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). I decide to intervene to keep the peace between both of them and I explained to the buyer that the seller had all the right to deny any request from him. I also told him that it would not be good to argue over petty things and it would be better to move into a new home peacefully. Somehow he agreed and cooled down and told that he lived in another state and it was difficult to take time off. So in the end, he appealed to the seller and both of them came to a peaceful conclusion.
All this time, I was worried though I should not, about the timing for my shift upstairs. The new landlord was slow in response and when he did asked for some time to inspect his property before he let it out again. The buyer kept moving his shifting plans and I did not know if it was ever going to take place. My current landlord who is a flight steward, was another hard to catch person still held on to my deposit. God I pleaded, is this ever going to take place? I have no where to go if this thing falls apart!
God told me the very word that is the theme of this blog: What He had put together, let no man put asunder. God had already ordained this entire episode to fall into place and His timing isn't much to our liking. We want things our way and when there is silence, we get worried and agitated.
While this was going on, my ex-wife said she had to go overseas and wondered if I could house my son (she has custody) and the maid. Immediately I refused due to the ongoing saga of house shifting - if you could call it that. I was not pleased as well as her timing is always out of whack. In actual fact, it was my pride that got in the way. I could have said yes and let them stay and the maid could help in moving. Adjustments are minor. But I refused anyway.
Then God spoke to me again and said, say yes and use the maid for your move (well not in that whole sentence anyway). So I swallowed my pride and told her the situation and she said the the maid can help in packing my stuff and in the moving. I had been looking for time off to pack and move anyway. But the work schedule is too great and was difficult to get away.
What I learnt was God's solutions are not typical of ours. His causes things to happen that transcends our emotions or mental state. He has organised things according to His way and it is the best solution. We should not let our thinking get in the way. If you let Him do His work, you will be amazed at the very details He has looked into. He has put things together, who are we to put asunder?
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Proverbs 20:3. It is honourable for a man to stop striving. Since any fool can start a quarrel.
Quit fighting because even an idiot can draw you to a fight. Instead of having the last word in everything or speaking the loudest, choose to avoid it all cost. God has commanded the blessing when we walk and live in unity. Don't miss out on His hand working in our lives when we choose to walk in love and not strife.
II Corinthians 4:13. "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke,' we also believe and therefore speak.
With the seed of faith implanted in every believer, they need nurture it and allow it to grow from strength to strength. One way to do it is to declare it. That's why it is said, "Let the weak say I am strong. Let the poor say I am rich." It is an affirmation to the faith seed plated by God to grow. Why uproot it by convincing yourself you're not worthy of His blessing? Make it a habit everyday to declare the workings of His blessing in your life.
3. All Things Are Possible.
Luke 18: 27. "What is impossible with men is possible with God"
There would be many things playing in our minds such as the state of the economy, fuel prices, inflation etc. The papers sells bad news every day and we are so consumed by it. Read the bible, its all Good News. With God, all things are possible! He has not stopped helping His people, people stopped seeking Him. Have an attitude of gratitude for what we have and declare everyday that with God all things are possible. Expect Him to pour out his favour and be amazed at His work in your lives.
4. He Meets Your Needs.
Philippians 4:19. "God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus.
Sit back and relax for He has promised to supply our needs. How much more clearer can this Words be? Which part of ALL don't we understand? In fact in Malachi God has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out His abundant blessings. Remember its just a window and it also says we will not be able to contain it. Can you imagine if God had opened the doors of Heaven instead? This entire universe would be straining to hold back His provisions. Have that faith and praise Him always, He's waiting to demonstrate His faithfulness toward His people.
5. Willing Obedience
Isaiah 1: 19. "If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land."
Not only God is seeking obedience, He's looking for our willingness in our obedience. In other words, He seeks our sincerity in our submission to His authority. Yes, He sees the heart and it matters to Him if we are obedient because we have to or we want to. He promises the good of the land or in other words, abundance and prosperity.
6. Love The Word
Psalm 119:165. Great peace have those who love Your law and nothing shall causes them to stumble.
Absolutely all our needs in life is found in God's Word - Healing, Peace, Joy, Provision etc. However our life may be in right now, He gives peace to those who love the law; God's law. Applying His laws in our lives and heart, we will be rewarded and not depressed or restless. After all, when the world goes one way, believers go the opposite way, according to God's way.
7. Perfect Love
I John 4:18. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.
God's love is perfect and there is no fear. Because we are special to Him, we don't need to do anything more to make Him love us more. Jesus demonstrated His perfect love by dying for us. God is telling us today and everyday to receive His perfect love and to live our lives in happiness.
8. Don't Worry
Matthew 6:27. "Who of you by worrying can add a single cubit to his stature"
In other words, don't worry be happy! Worry steals precious moments in our lives that cannot be lived again. It robs the peace and happiness. God tells us not to worry because He wants us to live in peace. Before His peace can flood our lives, we need to stop being anxious about anything. Be comforted by His Word and live our lives in faith, happiness and peace. Let God do His wonderous work in the background.
9. His Grace is Enough
II Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness".
Those are pretty strong words. Especially when we realise that grace is His favour that is not earned. He sends the rain to the just and the wicked, He loves us all. Therefore, He says His grace is enough to sustain us. All He asks is humility, to acknowledge that He's the boss and He knows exactly what it is He does. And His grace is goodness and is meant to radiate from us to all. When we allow this to happen, we will see a phenomenal change in our lives because we are letting His grace flow through and with this steady stream, expect more goodness.
10. He Knows Our Works
Revelation 3:8. "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My work, and have not denied My name."
God's work in our lives is of course governed by the way we live our lives. He has not stopped caring for us and is always present. As we are steadfast in Him, uphold His laws and proclaim Him, He will intervene. The doors that God opens, no one can close. Not ever and in any situation! Be true to Him always for He sees our hearts and the way we live. Let him open door upon doors of opportunity everyday as we strengthen our faith in our God!
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Job's wife saw the agony he was going through with no apparent end, asked Job to curse God so that He will take away Job's life and end the misery she was witnessing. Hence the harsh instructions to Job. After all, at that point, Job was a pauper and was using a piece of pottery to scrape his boils.
Earlier, God compared Job to no one on Earth, a man without sin, fearing God and keeping himself far from sin. Was this a just reward? How could a God who is full of compassion, benevolence, love and kindness make the very servant He praised in front of Satan, endure such extremes? Not only that, the very children and wealth Job had, vanished. All thanks to the fallen angel, who of course had the approval from God to carry out such atrocities!
If we read the start of this account in chapter 1, we understand that Job was indeed the very testimony God had recounted. Unfortunately, his children the 10 of them, were the opposite. In fact, we find that they were fond of feasting and were cursing God in their hearts. Job spoiled them as he cleaned them after every party sessions and offered God sacrifices soon after.
Now here's the problem: God has repeatedly sought out our way of life and faith. By offering sacrifices to God, Job was trying to appease God for his children's wrongdoings. In modern times, we call it bribery. That faithful servant failed to exercise his fatherly duties in setting right the paths of his children.
Look carefully and we can find where the fault lies. Squarely on Job and no other. Everything he had was taken away. Except his wife. God gave Satan the go-ahead to do anything to test Job's faith but spare his life. Satan kept the missus for a reason, to tempt Job to renounce God and to prove his faithlessness. We know Satan failed.
When we look around any given day, one will find adversities in all forms and manner. We hold on to the promise of God and yet wall upon wall meet us at every turn. Doubt floods the mind and our carnal nature screams in protest at the challenges. Our mind searches for every conceivable reason to throw our hands in the air and say, "I give up".
However, God wants overcomers. Not whiners. It is simple for me to conjure these words, I will not argue. But the coming Kingdom of God has no benchmark, no comparison. One can only wonder in awe at the magnificence and glory of that Kingdom to come.Take this life as an interview for the Government our Lord God. He, in His absolute authority and judgement is selecting His candidates. I have interviewed many aspiring workers and I as a mere human was very picky, even for clerical or administration position. What about our Maker? What is His criteria? Look it up, the qualities are strewn all over the old and new testaments.
Back to Job. He went through severe hardship, considering the fact Job was wealthy and had a brilliant life. In the end, Job held to his faith and God doubled whatever possessions he had before the time of his trials. Indeed, Job had seven more sons and three more daughters, he was fully restored. His daughters were described to be so beautiful like no other women. Thus the reward of our God for one's perseverance, faith and humility.
The coming or our Lord Jesus one one except the Father alone know. It is anytime now. And when that happens, it will be a world-wide event and all alive will not miss to witness it. He will call upon those who are dead in His faith first, followed by believers still alive. The interview is ongoing, the result will be announced soon. Watch the skies and keep the faith. Take the stand today and not wait for any new year or birthdays or Christmas. It could be tomorrow for all we know.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
What if I tell you to tell your boss to outsource the department where you work, under your care because you are capable? Convince him with all the strengths you have. But knowing that your boss is brick wall, I tell you that he would NOT give in easily. Would you still do it? Would you risk your employment? You'd probably give me a verbal diarrhoea or walk away briskly or perhaps both. Some of us may cause bodily harm, even the combination of all three and not in that particular order.
Believe it or not, Moses was in that situation. 40 years living like an Egyptian royalty he exiled in the desert after taking a life of an Egyptian slave driver, reduced to a goatherd for his father-in-law Jethro for another 40 years. We all know that well documented story of this great man of God through the old celluloid and lively animation recently. But what has this got to do with Obedience and Perseverance?
In Exodus 6: 28-30, God tells Moses to confront Pharaoh and Moses admits he has an uncircumcised lips (perhaps a stammer or stutter). But God reassures him by letting Aaron to be the spokesperson for Moses.
Exodus 7:1 elevates these two brothers to a lofty position and though Aaron was three years Moses' senior (Exodus 7:7), God chose the younger of the two as the lead position.
Now that was sorted out, God tell him of his challenge in Exodus 7:3.
Can you imagine what Moses would be thinking at that moment?
The easy part is over, now he has to face the proverbial brick wall.
In actual fact, there are more than 11 times in this saga where God said that He will harden Pharaoh's heart. This the point where one would walk away at the insurmountable task ahead thinking of cutting one's losses and leaving.
Moses soldiered on, with Aaron at his side. Stop for a moment and think: Here are some 80-odd desert-dwellers marching towards Pharaoh's palace to tell him to let the Israelites go, just like that. These Octogenarians were about to instruct the ruler of Egypt to release his cheap labour. Or rather his slaves. The land of Goshen where the Israelites called home were easy picking for the Egyptian masters.
Performing his first miracle empowered by God, the rod Aaron throws becomes a serpent and is mimicked by the court magicians and sorcerers (Exodus 7: 11-12).
At that moment the silence would have been deafening! Moses and Aaron would have been feeling a bit sheepish when they saw what had happened and perhaps (I am speculating here) would have doubted their mission that day. Never mind Aaron's serpent swallowed the others but Pharaoh was not impressed. What a dilemma to be in! What embarrassment!
Next God tells Moses to meet Pharaoh at the river bank for their second supernatural act from God. Aaron waves his rod and the waters turn to blood but the magicians do the same. Ouch! What is happening here? Is this what is in store for them every time they confront the Pharaoh? Twice they obey God only to be shown the same act by the very people they were trying convince. Again they go empty handed and perhaps with bruised egos.
All this time, God was testing them even when He blessed them. Even when they were given the elevation of God and Prophet-like status (Exodus 7:1). God had to evaluate His messengers and ascertain if they were obedient and humble. They indeed pass the test, these anointed men of God! They persevere!
The third and final test came when the swarm of frogs engulfed the land and the Pharaoh's men did the same. Moses and Aaron unperturbed, went again and struck the dust according to God's instruction and brought forth lice all over the place. And God gave the sweet victory to his messengers when the magicians and sorcerers could not do the same and admitted defeat by saying to their ruler that it was God's finger.
From then on, Moses and Aaron were steadfast in their duty to seek release of God's children from Egypt even though their master negotiated terms with them. They stood firm: Every man, woman, child and livestock were to leave the land, God's chosen are destined for the Promise Land!
Through the many hardship Pharaoh and his people endured, he hardened his heart, just as God had told. However, none of the inhabitants of Goshen were affected, much to the bewilderment of the Egyptians.
Finally, when God establishes His Passover through the slaying of every first-born of man and animal, Pharaoh relents but at such cost. God punished them for dealing harshly with His people, something He will do again and again. If only we sought Him to intervene instead of taking matters into our own hand.
At the shores of the Red sea, the Israelites were trapped. Some confronts Moses with stinging words and remarks that there were graves where they came from. In the distance, an army of 500 chariots manned by the captains, lead by Pharaoh himself were drawing close. Many would have broke into cold sweat or soiled themselves. After all, these were slaves. They ate, slept and worked under strict instructions from their masters, like all slaves do. That authority was thundering at them in the distance.
Moses reassures his people of the imminent salvation that is about to take place. Verse 14 of the chapter 14, illustrates what God the Almighty does in our time of trials. In fact, God urges them to go forward. The remaining details are well known to many, otherwise read it.
In times of great tribulations, God draws closer and asks us to leave it in His hands. But the condition is that we need to have faith in His work, no matter how great the obstacles are in front of us. He tells us to obey Him and encourages us to go forward despite our troubles. He tells us that His yoke is light and His burden is easy.
How many times have we decided to use our worldly knowledge to solve problems instead of drawing upon His wisdom? If only we had the faith!
A teenager moved from a northern state of Malaysia to the capital city and was unsettled in her studies due to the difference in the syllabus. She said that she would not be doing well as she could not cope. However, I felt in my spirit to tell her not to under estimate our God. And I gave a good shelling as well for doubting. The results of her exams were quite good despite the problems she faced. In fact she was overjoyed and my eyes welled with tears feeling God's work in her life.
Obedience & Perseverance, little effort on our part but a huge victorious result! Courtesy of our Jehovah Jireh, our provider!
Sunday, 30 March 2008
How did I embark on this relationship with Jesus? Actually by default, I was born a Catholic ( up to a few years ago). But the Jesus in that church was as accessible as your local politician. Many layers in between, normally people and hierarchy. That's a story for another episode all together...
Fast forward to today.
With all the jobs I have done in the past, I never felt I belonged. But I did excel. Something was missing..something deeper..more meaningful. I knew what I did was right (mostly) but there were no real governance, no real direction or an operating manual. No, I do not like to be told what to do all the time just like anyone else. I felt that as an adult, I could do most anything. And the question of morality became an non-issue due to the fact that I was way over 21 years of age.
Fast forward again.
One day while attending a disciplining session at Ronald's house, he asked me to read the book of Jonah. He had read that the sign of Jesus being a Messiah that He would be dead and be risen again on the third day, similar to Jonah's turbulent episode in the "great fish". Feeling irritated ( because Ronald could read it himself), I read it. I laughed a lot because of Jonah's behaviour after God's proclamation that He would save the city. While being swallowed in his temporary watery grave, Jonah prayed to God to have mercy and let him live. When the people of Nineveh repented and God wanted to spare them, Jonah asked God to take his life. Twice! Read the book of Jonah..there's a lesson or two for everyone!
Pause to right this moment.
While I was the main character in a play depicting Jonah, I was acting out my future role in the God's plan. I had endured hardship, loneliness, depression, poverty and lack, much like Jonah's experience in the "great fish". I learnt obedience and trusting God's plan, even though it did not make any logical sense. I understood through His words that His ways are not ours. His plans are not comprehensible to us because we see the scene of the play not the whole play. We are short-sighted and are not equipped or skilled to solve our problems. God has not lied. So believe Him when He says He knew us from the womb. And that His has magnificent reward for those who are faithful to the end. The end is not far off....
I received prophetic words today about the future directions I am to take. In fact, I have been "renamed" Jonah. I was humbled to told this as it is a tremendous responsibility, especially when I think how inadequate I am. But God has given many talents to me ( and you too, I'm not the special one) and I have been asking Him to give me an avenue to use it. So here it was, the avenue that is. But I keep in mind, all things happen in His time, not ours. In the mean time, I have devoted more time to read His words and to study the many resources that are available on the web.
In many advanced countries I read and hear about the evil in forms of sexual immorality, pleasure-seeking, dishonesty, theft, murder and a host of other alarming trends that are on the rise. We in the developing countries are mimicking every single sin and cannot get enough. The whole world is getting rotten by the day, nay by the minute! With time running out, He wants us as His labourers in His vineyard; the world that is.
God has called on the few to reach out to the many. I am learning every day to be His servant. I just want to serve Him because of His coming government that Jesus will lead. There is an awesome time ahead of us. This is not God's earth, it's satan's. He is the ruler of earth right now. But you and I will be inheriting a glorious kingdom, with the present one being wasted away with Jesus' second coming. He will come again, yes He will.
Do not believe me? Good! Prove me wrong by reading the book of Revelation. It has a blueprint of the calamities, disasters, diseases, violence, price hikes etc detailed in it. Want immediate proof? Read your newspaper, it corresponds to what the bible is saying. Go out in the web and find resources about the book of Revelation. Read it. It is the best thriller ever known to man and the best part of it all is that we are in it. No, it was wrong to label it as a thriller, instead it is a a real-life situation. You may say that it is a depressing book to read because your life may be in the pits or living in want for basic necessities. God never intended His people to suffer but He wants us to have abundance so that we can be a testimony to others. That is the most lop-sided trade off ever! We are the beneficiaries, mind you.
If you trust Him to lead, He will lift you up. One condition: Learn To Be Humble. After all He created the very universe we live in, He is not impressed with the work of our hand. He resists the proud but listens to the poor and the contrite in spirit. That does not mean we ought to be broke all the time. In those days, a poor man was often seen as a humble man. If you are blessed with abundance, thank God for it and be humble to Him because He is the provider. Be humble and have a child like innocence, we are His children. Many times I wished I could throw it all away and run to my father and ask him to solve my problems. If you had felt that, how much more our Father God is waiting for you to run to him and to cry to Him like a child. How did you feel when you see a crying child being comforted by the parent? How did you feel the child would have felt when the father or mother hugged, comforted and assured the little one that it going to be okay no matter what. How different do you think our Father in heaven would react? We are similar in many ways to Him. After all, we are made in His likeness.
Stop for a moment and examine where you are headed. Time is a precious commodity, use it wisely! Your Father is waiting...He wants to talk to you.
Sunday, 16 March 2008
And so it came to me one day in 2007, when the above equation was the first to greet me when I looked at myself for the very first time that morning in the mirror. Not that it had bothered me before but this time, I could not see anything else. Can there be anything more in life than to live to pay people, debtors and taxes? Would there be a alternative to this destructive lifestyle if I could call it that?
And then the nudge prompted me to examine the very circle I was in and how the same old stuff was poison to my life and family that have drifted away. I drove them away, no doubts about it, no excuses. The blame game had to stop. I had to take my life back and fulfill my purpose on this big blue marble. But what was my purpose, to begin with?
I was very religious during my early days. Now here's the catch-word: Religious. That was a problem to begin with. Did God intend us to be religious or develop a relationship with Him. Notice I avoid spirituality here. The 'R' and 'S' words are often a long drawn conversation about God and not with Him. Yes, I found God and in the very pits of my life. Its funny when you realise you have no where to turn to, you actually do. But it takes faith, in God and in yourself.
I left a large-denominational church without much fanfare a couple of years back. It began during my days as a medical sales representative, when a surgeon devoted about two hours of his time and explained a heck of a lot about what was going on in the world. And all this took place minutes after I had visited a chapel located in the hospital. I guess I prayed for some breakthrough and it did. And from then on, I look at major religions at a very different point of view. All this organised, orchestrated, communal sit-down-kneel-bow moves had me thinking for the first time in my life. What did it amount to. I have done all these, memorised hymns by heart and tried my best to observe feast and fast days. It took me further and further away from God and closer to human traditions, hierarchy and human politics within the church. In actual fact, not a single passage in the bible was dedicated to large and grandiose structures in praise of our Maker. After all, God declared that He is not impressed with our works, as He has the Earth as His footstool. Now before you decide that God is very hard to please, He states however, He looks on the poor and the contrite in spirit. He is moved by one's humility not worldly gains. More of that in another episode.
So what is it that I am saying? Nothing out of the ordinary, other than I have embraced Jesus as my saviour and that I believe and have full faith in Jesus' death have caused a sinner like me and you reading this, to be saved from everlasting death. We all know the famous verse: John 3:16. Just read it, blow the dust from you bible if you have one and READ IT. If you do not have one, what is stopping you from getting one? Would you feel ashamed or ridiculed? Would your friends, colleagues or family ask you uncomfortable questions? My answer to you is this: Good for you! You would have embarked on a journey going against the grains of this world! The Kingdom that is about to come if far glorious and greater than the world's population put together can imagine. Do not take my word for it, look it up in the bible. Understand one thing though: Its not a Sci-Fi or a comic you can cover chapter upon chapter a day. It is the living word of God. More of this in coming episodes.
One might say they're too much into the world or beyond help. Do not forget, God has called upon murderers and prostitutes and they in turn have become greatly blessed personalities in the humble service of God. If there were a chance we could meet Rahab and Paul (Saul), they definitely would give all glory to God and not take an ounce of credit.
And so, this has been my mission from now on to share my life experience to you as it unfolds. Jesus is coming SOON! Possible in our lifetime and while the world is partying out there, He will come, riding on the clouds. What would you be doing at that appointed time?
More updates soon.....
Sunday, 22 July 2007
For those would like to create a 225 fully typed page with 178,200 words and 200 paragraphs in less than 10 seconds, read on. The only catch is you cannot choose the words or phrases.
Just type the following on you MS WORD:
=rand (200,99)Have fun impressing the easily impressed.
Friday, 13 July 2007
Anyway, the school bell had rung and we diligently waited for the music teacher to arrive. He was a scruffily bearded guy attempting to divert attention from his well advanced male pattern baldness. I could say we never really liked him and some of us feared him due to his short fuse. He would always fold his sleeves mid way between his wrist and elbow and stroll in with his bell bottoms and just-legal belt buckle. It was the 70s, he had to be hip you see. A good 10 minutes passed and he was a no-show. Put 40 kids in a classroom without supervision and you know the outcome. We had our restrained fun knowing full well of this teacher's talents for destruction. Someone started tugging me and till today I don't know who it was but it felt funny so we had this test of strength of sorts. I did not know the name of the game and probably there wasn’t one but it was fun so a few others joined in as umpires. If it was a co-ed, I'd put all muscles into action.
A contender joined in and started pulling the other arm. Wait a minute! Is this supposed to happen? Maybe this is the rule I forgot to observe, I rationalised. Two fully-fed billy goats tugging at a chihuahua. I was a small framed boy, you see, but I didn't mind the roughhousing as it was fun.
By then half the classroom took interest. And just then, the familiar bark froze the festivities. The teacher, face red and eyes wide with terrible anger. I inherited his colour in fear and embarrassment. And without warning, he picked the smallest student in the whole class, pulled back his arm in an 'L' shape and unleashed his fury in a fist into my stomach. Silence; sickening and sterile. I was trying hard to breathe. My head felt as if it had rolled away right after the punch and it could see the rest of me in white shirt and blue shorts, trying to locate my seat in obedience. The more I tried to straighten my body, the harder it felt to breathe and the pain was so intense, I had tears in my eyes. I did not know what went on after that but all I could remember was that I had one hand on the desk to rest my forehead and the other to rub my tummy. I heard the bell rang and I remembered the next teacher asking other students about incident and how he left me alone during the rest of his lesson.
You can never and I repeat never underestimate the maternal instincts of the one who carried you for nine months. They ought to be employed to oversee the interrogation and intelligence work in every possible organisation in the country. I usually enjoy my ride home in our Toyota KE-10 and usually my mother picks me up. If my dad drove, it would be he's in a tremendously good mood. She noticed I was pale and in visible discomfort and confronted me, I denied any wrong-doings, whatever she was conjuring in her mind; I did not want a part of it.
Thinking that was the end of it, I went about the usual after-school activities that would not amount to much but I was confronted again about something that must have happened in school that my mother was convinced about. This time the Gestapo used the correct sentence: "Did a teacher punch you in school?” leaving me dead in my tracks and set off a chain reaction of melt-down. Remember the intelligence posting I mentioned earlier? How she knew I don't know but the whole matter got escalated and the headmaster, Mr. Jeyarajasingham, our family friend was notified. My eldest brother Mohan and his son, Allen were of the same age, studied together etc.
I did not go to school the next day which was a torture because my mother fired Scud missiles to my general direction, convinced I was at fault. But I knew better, she was very fond of me and was very upset over the whole incident. My dad was hunting for a reason, any reason to expel me from this life. He left to my school to investigate the whole matter at around 10am. I remembered the time because he'd "slip away" during his tea breaks from the office where he was a chief clerk at the welfare department. Anyway the office was walking distance to our house but come to think of it, everything was near to our government quarters that was, in the middle of Raub town.
I dreaded the footsteps leading to our wooden house late that morning as the verdict was about to be delivered by my father. "He is very naughty at school," Mr. B. George started. I looked down on our Linoleum floor of our living room, seeking new designs not previously discovered. "But the teacher cannot punch a student like that and he apologised" What is this? My dad is on my side, defending me? Mr. Jeya will suspend him, I remembered my father said. Suddenly I was no longer considered a victim and was order to school the next day. I really was not looking forward to make a star appearance since the last boxing bout but orders were orders.
A week lapsed and guess what? Music class again and the same teacher again. I expected a tongue-lashing and a defiant show of fist from him for my role in his suspension. He was on time that day and ordered everyone to line up outside the class, two-by-two, you know the drill. I could feel daggers on my back from the glares of my mates. Everyone is going to pay for what had happened, never mind I was at the receiving end. We were marched past other classes, students and teachers alike turned their heads towards this band of eight year olds in curiosity. Our class was the first one right after the flag poles near the entrance of the school, parallel to Mr. Jeya's office.
It was a quiet parade with the teacher leading the way. This was good as it allowed the boys to chit-chat without having to be punished. Yes, it was very regimental but that was school then. We were walking towards the toilets and could almost smell the whiff of blinding acidic urine left unflushed and uncleaned by the school janitor. We took a left towards the arts and craft room by the school field. I loved that place because of the sports shed hiding many sport equipment and other interesting stuff and the large trees surrounding the area. It was also very quiet. Perfect place for an execution I thought. The teacher made us find a place to sit under this big tree and we found places on the protruding roots. We could see the bright blue sky and the dance of clouds. He was quiet for a while and we mimicked. He quickly looked at me and then looked away. Can I pee now, I thought? Right now, in my pants. It’s due to be washed anyway, we have a new washing machine. He was saying something but unlike the confines of a classroom, only the ones sitting closest to him understood.
Later, we were singing, just like any other music class only this time it was outdoors. We sang song after song, under this big tree. For that moment, I felt free and happy. It was such a wonderful feeling sitting with my friends in the evening atop gargantuan roots without a care in the world. I never wanted the bell to ring, never wanted this moment to end, and never wanted to go home. Suddenly the sun that was hiding behind the clouds broke free but the tree stole the glory. Streams of golden rays poked through leaves and painted our faces. Some squinted, others turned away but it was the most beautiful sight if there ever was one.
After that tree serenade, I never saw the teacher again. I felt we made our peace of sorts. Music class was a free lesson after that episode that left us more time to goof around. I really missed that outdoor session and was pining to do it again. I guess that was his last gesture to us and especially to me before his departure. In fact none of us ever saw him again in our small town. Life went on, but the ache of that last music class near the sports shed, lingers on decades after.
Can you believe the audacity of that girl, masquerading in a school uniform? The picture shows an adult (presumably little missy's mama) re-enacting the scene, making us look like we have never watched a single episode of WWE. The victim put on a well rehearsed sullen face as though her hand phone took a swim in the school's toilet bowl.
Okay, granted the teacher completely lost control of the whole situation. Yes he had not right whatsoever to harm a student no matter what the crime. Why did he punch the student twice? Did he miss the sweet spot the first time? Or was she still standing? By the way, little missy's mama (assumption) should go for some Tai-Chi classes to improve the punch delivery re-enactment, looks kinda painful when you try to hit someone with your knuckles.
I think the reporter / editor was irresponsible in article's caption and should have highlighted the crime of a minor before the punishment of an adult. It gave a slated view to the readers and most article scanners (like me, not reading the full story), would shake their head in disbelief over the teacher's action rather than the cause of the incident.
Don't even as me to preside over the matter and come up with a verdict. But what the heck. Honestly the teacher should take two blows himself and the student show get a vulgar response from her father the next time she asks for allowances. Then both of them are even, knowing how the other felt.