Tuesday 29 January 2013


Get off the beaten track in search of food that truly satisfies.

The eyes of some people immediately light up when good food is being mentioned. They wouldn’t hesitate to get off the beaten track in search of mouth-watering, tantalising culinary delights. And, in Malaysia, the availability of an amazing variety of cheap and delicious food makes resistance futile.

The apostle John makes some interesting references to food which have deep spiritual connotations.

My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Jesus made this startling statement after chatting with the Samaritan women at the well.

His disciples had earlier come to him, urging him to eat. I can imagine them saying: “Well, Master, you’d better eat. It’s time for meals already.”

But Jesus deflected their thoughts away from physical food by telling them there is something else that truly satisfies and fills our deepest longings. *

Now there is nothing wrong with delighting in delicious food (Ecclesiastes 5:18). But are our minds constantly thinking only about food to tickle our palates and fill our stomachs – like the disciples?

Jesus asks: “How about deriving the same degree of pleasure from doing God’s will as we would take delight in a sumptuous meal?”

Next, John moves on to record Jesus challenging his disciples to eat his body and drink his blood (John 6:56). This sounds incredible. Anything which hints of cannibalism is certainly too much to stomach. It is not only repulsive but may result in indigestion.

However, this symbolic act of eating and drinking means believing in Christ. Believers periodically do this when they partake of the holy communion.

We not only embrace, by faith, the benefits which Christ availed for us at the cross – salvation and the power to live a righteous life. We also identify with his mission and purpose. Just as food and drink, when consumed, break down and become a part of us, the very essence of what Jesus stands for – his passion for a lost world – gets assimilated into our souls.

Finally we turn to another reference on eating – this time from the Old Testament. “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:3). 

Here Ezekiel was urged to eat God’s written word. God’s message has to be internalised by the prophet before he could release it to the people. It is also implied that it is sweet to do God’s will.

God’s word is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10). But are we feeding on it and availing ourselves of its benefits?

So at last we've come to the end of our food trail. Hope you have had a truly satisfying gastronomic adventure. Just to recapitulate:

  • Do we delight in doing God’s will as much as we enjoy delicious food?

  • When we partake of the holy communion, do we identify with Christ’s mission apart from enjoying the benefits of this symbolic act?  

  • Do we have a healthy appetite for God’s word – not only seek that it might be incorporated into our souls but that we might be empowered to live by it?


 *    Unless we know God’s specific will for our lives and seek to live it out, we will not be fulfilled:



Monday 28 January 2013


Does 'feel good' teaching prepare believers to face trials?

If children are taught from young that life’s going to be easysuccess requires little effortthey will grow up with an entitlement mentality. Later, this worldview that they embrace will be put to the test. Sad to say, when they face the harsh realities of adult life and workplace challenges, they will not be able to cope. http://bit.ly/193JhkO

Similarly, in the spiritual realm, 'feel good' teaching—that God will always bless us with success, health and wealth—works beautifully during good times. But the crunch comes when believers who embrace such doctrine face crisessuch as retrenchment, incurable disease, failed marriage or persecution. They may then become disillusioned; some may even leave the faith.

They are likened to the seeds which fell upon rocky ground and among the thorns (Luke 8:13-14). As the challenges and perplexities of the spiritual journey have not been emphasised to them, they often lack the ability to endure trials (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).

Sometimes, we don’t like to admit that trials are an integral part of the Christian experience as much as blessings and victories. Indeed, there will be times when even fervent believers begin to doubt. They feel as if God has forsaken them (Psalm 77: 8-9). http://bit.ly/1graob4

But the truth is this: God will never leave or forsake them (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6).

The process of growing into maturity involves learning to persevere through our trials and doubts, and arriving at a place of unshakeable faith (James 1:2-4, Hebrews12:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-17). http://bit.ly/1imb1GN


“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).

“Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (Psalm 77:8-9).

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James1:2-4).

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

Friday 25 January 2013


C'mon, this anointed prophet is in town. You needn't be confused anymore when you come to life’s crossroads. Don’t miss the opportunity. Get a personal prophetic word direct from heaven’s throne.

Not many of us can resist this kind of invitation. After all, who wouldn’t want quick answers to perplexing life issues such as finding God’s will?

In a world of quick fixes, what with 3-in-1 coffee and microwave TV dinners, getting instant answers on personal guidance seem quite logical.

But when prophets are treated like psychics and soothsayers, offering instant solutions on guidance, then something is seriously wrong with our faith.

Didn’t Jesus, the chief Shepherd, say in John 10:27: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” It follows that, if we are His sheep, we will be able to recognise His voice when He calls us.

Undoubtedly, prophecy is one of the five important ‘offices’ in the church. And some have been endowed with prophetic gifts to build up the body of believers so that they attain maturity (Ephesians 4:11). Also, God does nothing without revealing His secrets to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7).

That said, we should not allow a prophetic word to replace (or take precedence over) times of deep intimacy with God when we seek to discern His will. He has promised that He will reveal His plans to us if we earnestly seek Him:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 19: 11-13).

We should not treat God like a vending machinepress a button, and voila, out comes the personal prophecy we need. Merely running after prophets will make  our “spiritual muscles” become more and more flabby.

God desires to show us His will and reveal His secrets to us because we are His friends (John 15:15b). So let us boldly approach Him (Hebrews 4:16) and let His Holy Spirit reveal His plans and purposes to us (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit endows us with spiritual discernment; we are able to judge all things as we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

A personal prophetic word should confirm what we already know in our hearts, not replace the ‘inner witness’ God has placed in our hearts as to the direction He wants us to take in life His will or calling.  It should merely undergird and confirm — not replace — what God speaks to us in a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).

When the Word, inner witness and peace, circumstances and prophetic word all line up in a straight line — like the runway lights that help a plane land safely at the airport — then we know that God has said, “This is the path I would like you to take.”

I still remember, about two years ago, a lady prophet gave me a personal word which was accurate right up to the dot. She gave me a ‘word of knowledge’ which confirmed what I already knew — just like what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well.

I have no doubts concerning the significant role of personal prophecy in the lives of believers. But we also need to work out our faith — study the word, seek Him in prayer, worship and meditation and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us directly.

Let us not forget His promise to lead and guide us:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you” (Psalm 32:8-9).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).



Should we run after signs and wonders?


Believers who care about cultivating a deeper inner life in Christ should have a “secret garden” experience.

A voice in the wilderness in a world gone crazy about prophecy

Tuesday 22 January 2013


The poet Robert Frost penned that “all you really want in the end is mercy.” I think he was spot on there with this one-liner. We also need plenty of grace.

As we look at our own lives, weigh our brownie points against our sin, we will definitely conclude that a fair judgment on God’s part at the end of our lives here on earth would be this – ‘guilty’.


For we have all sinned and fall short of God’s standards. If not for God’s mercy, where will we be?

But Jesus changed everything by dying on the cross for our sins. That’s God’s mercy at work for us, provided we believe in what He has done.

There is nothing wrong with a teaching that emphasises ‘mercy’ provided …
  • it (mercy) leads to transformed lives.
  • it (mercy) is not misused as a licence for sinning. *
  • personal responsibility is being emphasised to the same degree as mercy.

Most of us are familiar with the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11). The crowd gathered around her and wanted to stone her.

But Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

Finally, when the crowd dispersed, Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

This short account has deep theological implications. The recipient of God’s love and mercy ought to show evidence of change in thought and behavior. In other words, the sinner has to repent. Unfortunately, “sin no more” has not been given the same prominence as “neither do I condemn you.”

We tend to emphasise God’s love and mercy towards sinners. The need for sinners to bear fruits that befit repentance – personal responsibility– is often not emphasised to the same degree.


  * What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1-2)? 

Monday 21 January 2013


What are these two different vacuums in our lives?

Blaise Pascal, a French scientist, objectively studied the concept of vacuum, invented the syringe and created the hydraulic press. Yet, as a philosopher, he recognised this truth: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

We have a vacuum in our heart which cannot be filled by good things or people. But when we believed in Christ, this inner void was being filled up.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the water she drank from the well can only satisfy her physical thirst. She needed to drink of the living water of eternal life that only Jesus could provide; this will quench her spiritual thirst unlike any other type of water (John 4: 13-14).

After receiving Christ, we experienced a dramatic turnaround. We who once followed our fleshly passions and were dead in sin have been delivered from Satan’s stranglehold and empowered to live a life pleasing to God (Ephesians 2:1-6).

But our journey does not end there. Though we know that we have been called to be holy (1 Peter 2:9) and to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), we still have an aching void in our hearts.

It is related to this thing called identity. Doing good works is just the general will of God for believers. We need to know His specific will for our lives — or we might call it our destinySo we seek to discover God’s purpose and calling for our lives.

God’s plan for our lives dates back to the time we’re in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5) but all remains dormant until God gives us a revelation of who we are in Him — not just the logos but the rhema word.

When we receive a revelation from God as to who we are in Him, we are on the threshold of fulfilling our destiny.

Are we called to be a teacher, evangelist, pastor, doctor, musician or writer?

Are we called to the marketplace? Have we been called into what is often termed “full-time” ministry?

When we seek Him earnestly, He will show us His plans for our lives:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

He is not only willing but able to lead and guide us if we trust in Him:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you” (Psalm 32:8-9).

Thursday 17 January 2013


Let us not confuse the issue. Let us be clear in our minds the bone of contention. I believe we are saved by faith, like most believers (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are on the same turf on that matter. What I disagree is thiswhen someone tells me that there is eternal security for believers ie. once saved always saved (OSAS).

Just by considering Jude 1:5 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (please see below), we can reject straightaway OSAS. If you subscribe to OSAS, you will have to take a pair of scissors and cut out Jude 1:5 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 from your Bible. And what is the consequence for tampering with God’s word (Rev 22:18,19)?

Paul states that the lessons from Israel’s history * is to warn us; it is for our admonition. It is not something irrelevant to us as we are apt to thinkjust because it happened during Old Testament times.

If the above references are not sufficient for us to reject OSAS, then we should also consider the following: 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Timothy 2: 11-13 and Matthew 24:9-13.

I believe that the above references are one of the biggest bugbears for those who believe in OSAS. They are like thorns in the side for them.

To be complacent and rest on our spiritual laurelsto believe in OSASis dangerous as we may reap grave eternal consequences.

*  Lessons from Israel’s history—saved but later destroyed

“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 1:5).


Is there eternal security for believers if they deny God or continue living in sin?

Eternal Security or
Conditional Security?

One of the best links to the perplexing issue of once saved, always saved (OSAS).http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/eternal-security.htm


Why it is wise to be proactive. #

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.


Instinctively, we exhibit some proactive traits when we decide to travel abroad. We make sure that the following items are ready way ahead of the day of departure – a valid passport, cash, credit cards, medicine and toiletries.

Some of us proactively check our car for road worthiness before embarking on a long journey. Among other things, we ask ourselves whether the tyres and brakes are in good condition.

Being proactive means we act in advance of an anticipated event or difficulty in the future. We do not just react to something when it happens.

By being proactive, we avoid this negative tendency – being reactive to a situation when it crops up.

Though the word ‘proactive’ is not found in the Bible, there are many instances where this important principle of ‘being proactive’ is being alluded to.

“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3, Proverbs 27:12).

Who would have been so “silly” to build a gigantic boat on dry land? But Noah was being proactive when he built an ark and so was saved from judgment. “By faith Noah when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

Being warned by Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean cows, Joseph as the Prime Minister of Egypt instructed grain to be stored during times of plenty so that the Egyptians will not have to starve when famine struck. By being proactive, he also saved his own family during famine (Genesis 41: 25-36).

The ant forages for food during summer so that, when the ground is covered with snow in winter, it will not starve (Proverbs 6:6-8). Do we believe in financial planning for our retirement? Or do we believe that having faith means we do not need to plan? 

The wise virgins who carried extra oil for their lamps were ready when the bridegroom arrived whereas those who were ill-prepared were left out of the marriage feast (Matthew 25:1-13). Are we prepared for Christ’s second coming? http://bit.ly/1BUqF3G

The dishonest steward used his position to gain favour in the eyes of those who owed his boss money. He was being proactive; in the event he got retrenched in future, he could seek help from the debtors. Though Jesus did not condone his actions, Jesus used this parable to teach believers how to be wise in managing their money to achieve eternal goals (Luke 16:1-13). “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11).

We should not think of venturing into a project without first counting the cost; otherwise we will face ridicule if we cannot complete the task due to underestimation of the cost. By the same token, before we decide to follow Christ, we must be aware of the cost involved (Luke 14:27-30). “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”(Luke 9:62).

We need to recognise the fact that, one day, we will have to give an account to God for the way we have lived our lives on earth. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” 

“BE PROACTIVE”  – the first habit in the best-selling book, “THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE” – is not only relevant in the field of management and personal effectiveness.

This all-important principle, BE PROACTIVE”, is also relevant in the many other areas of life:

1. Financial planning.  *  
2. Stewardship of our gifts, talents and resources.
3. Setting our house in order before we leave this earth.  ** 
4. Counting the cost of discipleship.
5. Preparation for Christ’s second coming.

Like the word ‘Trinity’, the word ‘proactive’ is not found in the Bible. However, the concept BE PROACTIVE” – is being alluded to in many instances in the Bible. Let us take heed by meditating on  and practising  this all-important principle and, as a result, become wiser.

Biblical insights on financial planning for retirement

How many of us prepare ourselves to meet our Maker?

 #   Note:  
Stephen Covey in his best-selling self-help book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, lists the first habit as “BE PROACTIVE”. That means we have to take the initiative, be personally responsible for the decisions we make. We do not just react to circumstances.