Friday 31 May 2013


Sin is like a beast crouching at the door, waiting to pounce upon us. “Taming the beast” involves learning how to control our emotions—such as anger—and impulses—such as unbridled sexual desire. By doing so, we do not give satan any opportunity to destroy us.

In the Genesis account, two brothers brought offerings to God. Abel’s offering which was an animal, a blood sacrifice, was accepted by God. However, Cain’s offering, a fruit from the ground, was rejected by God (Genesis 4: 4-7).

Abel brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”


It is not exactly clear why God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected that of Cain's. Perhaps they had been told of the necessity of a blood sacrifice but only Abel took heed.

Cain was not only angry but jealous when his offering was rejected. When God pointed out to Cain his jealous anger, he could have corrected it or given in to it. It was a matter of choice. Cain could have repented and returned with an animal sacrifice but he did not.

Cain was tempted to sin when he was angry his sacrifice was rejected whereas his brother’s offering was accepted. He failed to recognise that sin was crouching at the door, desiring to have him. He failed to rule over his anger.

From jealous anger which was not nipped in the bud, evil continued to fester in Cain. From anger it progressed to a vengeful spirit. And, when he could no longer control himself, he murdered his brother.

Anyone can get angry when provoked. However, we must not allow anger to develop till we become reckless and irresponsible. That is why Paul wrote: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4: 26-27).

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control” (Proverbs 25:28). This verse highlights the need to control not only our emotionssuch as angerbut also our impulses—such as unbridled sexual desire


Once we lack self-control, we become defenseless against “foreign invaders” and give Satan a foothold in our lives. We may move from temptation to sin or move from a wrongdoing to a more grievous sin.

Satan is likened to a stalking lion, waiting to devour the naïve: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Taming the beast” involves learning how to control our emotions—such as angerand impulses—such as unbridled sexual desire. By doing so, we resist Satan; we do not give the evil one any opportunity to destroy us.

The Bible uses the highly instructive allegory of a stalking animal waiting to strike, not once but twice—Genesis account of the two brothers making their offerings to God and the warning given by the apostle Peter to be vigilant against the wiles of satan. 

How do we become overcomers? For the answers, please check out the following related posts.

The Lord said to Cain: What’s wrong with you? Why do you have such an angry look on your face? If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don’t let it! (Genesis 4:6-7, CEV).

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragoncontinues to be hailed as one of the greatest and most influential foreign language films in the United States, especially for a film originating from China. 



A clear understanding of the ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit is essential before we can walk in victory.

How to be victorious over temptation by wielding the sword, the Word of God

It all starts with the eye, the gateway which allows evil to creep surreptitiously into the mind.


Monday 27 May 2013



King David had one consuming desire. He wanted to continually dwell in God’s presence and gaze upon God’s beauty.

 “One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.”
(Psalm 27:4)

What exactly is the “beauty of the Lord”?

Since God is invisible, what can we possibly appreciate when we “gaze upon His beauty”? Is there such a thing as “beauty of the Lord” in the first place?

If anything, God is not beautiful, judging by externals. The prophet Isaiah described Jesus as having “no form or majesty that we should look at Him and no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2b).

If Jesus were to present Himself before us today, He would not appear rugged, macho, handsome or dashing. He will not make heads turn. The ladies, especially, would not be going gaga after Him.

What then is so beautiful about God?

When we consider God’s wondrous creation in nature, we are simply awestruck by its beautywhether it is the sun setting on the horizon or the majesty of the Iguazu Falls.


When we consider man, we marvel at the beauty of God’s intricate design: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).

Apart from God’s beauty in nature and man, we can also appreciate the beauty of the Lord in three areas:

First, it is remarkable that God chooses to dwell in the hearts of believers. Dispelling the image of a cold, distant, over-judgmental celestial Beingever ready to whip us into submissionHe is a personal God. In fact, He is like a father to us.

“To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).

He is so personal that He calls us His friends: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). 

Secondly, God’s beauty lies in His incomprehensible love, grace and mercy and humility towards us. His favour towards us who believe is immeasurable.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
 who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
(Psalm 103:2-5)

“Jesus made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Thirdly, what is so beautiful about God is His power which can accomplish incredible things for us, within us and through us.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive” (John 7:38-39).

Let’s pause for a few moments to consider these incredible truths concerning God’s power. Though Jesus’ miracles are great, believers can also perform such great actsand much more because the Holy Spirit is working in and through us. Isn’t that mind-boggling?

When David was spending time in God’s presence, what struck him concerning the “beauty of the Lord” were certainly not superficial and external things. It’s all about the attributes of God, His unchanging promises, mighty acts and favour towards those who are faithful. All these things make God beautiful.

To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord is to contemplate the glorious excellence and perfection that can only be found in God.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
(Psalm 77:11-12)

When we gaze upon His beauty, we are filled with a sense of awe and gratitude. Such an attitude results in praise, thanksgiving and service.

Getting ourselves immersed in worship is so important. For worship brings down God’s presence and paves the way for effective service.


To gaze upon God’s beauty is positive. To attempt to give God a makeover is not. It is dangerous when we insist on modifying God’s image and making Him more agreeable and acceptable to us.

Thursday 23 May 2013


Childlike faith is commendable. But there are dangers when we are trustful and naïve like a child.

When it comes to appreciating spiritual truths, intellectuals have no advantage over anyone with childlike faith. Having the intellectual prowess of the likes of Bertrand Russell or Stephen Hawking is futile. It cannot bring anyone any closer to a state of personal intimacy with God. To touch God we merely need to believe that Jesus died for our sins and let Him take charge of our lives. *

Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

The disciples rebuked the people when the latter brought children to Jesus that He might touch them. But Jesus was indignant and said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16).

When we seek God, we are to be like little children. We need humility and an attitude of dependency. If we are proud of the fact we know a lot, we will fail to appreciate the many blessings, promises and revelations that God has prepared for us.

Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children" (Matthew 11:25).

Being childlike implies a lack of corruption. We start off in life with a “clean slate” and along the way we get corrupted by the world, bad company and our flesh. Adam and Eve lost their innocence after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. And we inherited Adam’s sinful nature. Ideally, we should maintain our childlike innocence even as we mature: Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20b). But, of course, this is easier said than done. **


Having touched on the virtues of being childlike, let’s now move on to examine what childlikeness should not be like:

Firstly, being childlike does not mean we should be naïve—not aware of the potential dangers or pitfalls that might happen to us. Murphy’s Law states that “if anything can go wrong, it will”. To think that everything in life will turn out well so we do not need any backup or contingency plan is being naïve, to say the least. Doesn’t God make the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45)?

“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3). This axiom may be true of a breadwinner who needs to buy disability or life insurance to provide for his family’s needs in case he is disabled or he is no longer around, respectively. Or it may mean planning, saving and investingstarting from the early phase of working lifein order to build a retirement nest egg. People who fail to be proactive may suffer the consequences later in life. As they say, “People don’t plan to fail. They only fail to plan.” 

Secondly, being childlike does not mean we become so trustful that we fail to be vigilant against deception. The apostle Paul declared that we have to be vigilant so that we are not outwitted by Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11). The apostle Peter cautioned us to be alert and sober as Satan, the roaring lion, is prowling around waiting to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Only those who are mature—those who have outgrown their childishness—won’t fall prey to the devil’s devices. ***

Believers need to progressively grow towards maturity. If we choose to remain like little children, despite having clocked many years in the faith, this sad commentary might become true:

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Being childlike has both positive and negative connotations. We should have childlike faith, innocence and purity. But we should not be naïve like a child but be vigilant against the wiles of Satan and prepare ourselves for various contingencies. We must not let our guard down. 

Childlikeness is a virtue to be cherished and appreciated. However, we need to progressively mature in our journey of faithand grow out of our childish ways.


Man cannot know God through the rational process—no matter how great his intellect. Faith, the means by which man comes to know God, is not against reason; it transcends reason. Reason may help to build faith but it (reason) can never ultimately bring a person to know God.


How do we overcome evil in our lives? By choosing to ‘walk by the Spirit’, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. What are some of the practical steps involved?

Be aware, be warned. It’s already here. We should wise up by preparing ourselves against deception. Jesus warned that deception will be a prominent feature during these end times.

Monday 20 May 2013


Getting ourselves immersed in worship is important. For worship brings down God’s presence and paves the way for effective service.

We need to sit at Jesus’ feet, enthralled by His presence and not asking for anything. His presence, in itself, is the reward. And, out of this intimate relationship with God, good works will spring forth. We need to be like Mary first; and then, spontaneously, we will be able to serve like Martha (Luke 10:38-42).

Jesus told the Samaritan woman he met at the well that they who worship God must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23). He stressed that the place of worship is not so critical as compared to worshipping God correctly (John 4: 21).


What then is true worship?

Worship is a reflection of man’s attitude of humility and submission. Man responds to God’s majesty, love and mercy with reverence and adoration.

The New Testament Greek word most often translated to “worship” is proskuneo which means “bow down before” or “fall down before”.

Though posture can assist us in worship, we can worship God whether we are sitting, standing, supine or prostrate. Of course, when we bow down or fall down prostrate, we better reflect submission and dependency; adoration and reverence for God become more spontaneous.

Whilst a congregational setting facilitates worship, every believer must, first of all, see himself or herself as an individual coming before God in worship. An ability to sing, play a musical instrument or compose music may help us to personalise worship. The accompaniment of recorded or live music may lift worship to another level.

However, we need to recognise the fact that true worship is possible even when all these “frills” are absent. Even if we are tone deaf or are stricken with hoarseness due to a throat infection, we can still worship God. It is not about the music, ambience or our voice but our heart’s attitude.

A majestic sunset etched against the horizon or a gigantic waterfall like the Iguazu Falls can leave us in awestruck wonder. Such fascinating sights in nature prompt us to spontaneously worship God the Creator.

However, to worship the personal God, we have to believe Christ died for our sins and choose to obey Him. When that happens we are “born again” and receive the Spirit of Christ into our lives. Our ‘spirit man’ become sensitive to God. We are able to call Him, “Abba Father.”

If there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we need to repent first. Sin breaks our fellowship with God, rendering our worship to mere words and songs without any substance.

If we have not sorted out our priorities in life, having one foot in the world and the other in God’s kingdom, then our worship becomes shallow. Our mind needs to be renewed (Romans12:1-2) before we can worship God with an undivided heart. A carnal man who wants to have the best of both worlds will not be able to experience true worship.

The image of God that we hold in our mind must also be correct: God is loving and merciful as well as holy and just. Though He is quick to forgive our sins, He will hold us accountable if we take abuse His grace and continue to live in sin. If we only entertain half-truths about God—that He is always gracious and loving, no matter how we live our lives—then we are worshipping a “God” we have created ourselves, not the true God. Worshipping a ‘God with man-made attributes’ is tantamount to idolatry.

Derek Prince, the famed Bible teacher, taught that, out of the six wings of the seraphim (a type of angelic being), only two were used to fly. The rest of the wings merely rested—two covered the face and two covered the feet (Isaiah 6:2). That is why, he stressed, we should emphasise worship much more than service.

Sometimes believers have misplaced priorities. We get restless, wanting to flap our wings. We want to serve Him with little or no worship in our lives.

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM. To glorify God through service, man has to first enjoy God’s presence in worship.

Worship must precede service. To serve before worshipping God is like putting the cart before the horse.


One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4).


“I Just Want To Be Where You Are” by Don Moen

I just want to be where You are,
dwelling daily in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are