Sunday 31 May 2015


Christ became sin so that we might be made righteous, and became a curse so that we might be blessed. As an extension of this exchange principle, can we conclude that Jesus became poor so that we might become rich?

The sinless Christ bore the sins of man at the cross, thus enabling believers to be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Christ also became a curse on the cross so that believers might receive the blessings God promised to Abraham (Galatians 3:13-14).

So, for our sake, Christ became sin that we might be made righteous, and became a curse that we might be blessed.

As an extension of this exchange principle, can we conclude that Jesus became poor so that we might become rich?

Some say that Christ became poor so that we might become rich in terms of material wealth. Their understanding is based on this verse: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

But it's dangerous when we pluck a verse out of context to support what seems to be a ‘feel good’ prosperity gospel.

The following is an attempt to refute such thinking:

In 2 Corinthians chapter 8, the apostle Paul was encouraging the believers at Corinth to excel in the area of giving. The context here is the subject of giving, why the haves should give to the have nots.

What better example of self-sacrifice is there than Jesus—whom Paul quotes—who set aside His divine privileges, glory and power when He came down to earth.

Jesus became “poor” by setting aside is His glory and power. It does not refer to material riches. Consequently, we become spiritually rich when we believe in Jesus for we are saved from the penalty of sin, get to enjoy a relationship with God now and later gain access to heaven when we die.

As a man, He was subject to place, time and many other limitations. He did not give up His divinity but He set it aside for the sake of man—that man might be saved through his death at the cross.

This verse, 2 Corinthians 8:9, should be correlated with the passage in Philippians 2:5-7how Jesus, being the supreme example of humility, set aside His divinity when He became man. He did not give up His deity; he was fully man and fully God when He walked on this earth.

While it is true to say the blessings of Abraham upon believers include material wealth, we must not get carried away and get entrapped by a desire to be wealthy.

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6: 9-10).


Balance is needed when we approach the touchy subject of prosperity. On one hand, we must not think that poverty is a virtue. On the other hand, we must not be mesmerised by money. Those who are wealthy need to be humble and understand that true riches are not found in the here and now.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).


A prominent leader teaches that Jesus operated only as a man and not God during His earthly ministry. But did Jesus set aside His divinity when He came down to earth?
Here are nine reasons why Jesus was not a mere man when He came down to earth.

Is money the root of all evil? Or is it the love or the lack of money which drives people to commit all kinds of evil?

Is it God’s will to prosper all who place their faith in Him?
Among the various points advanced by proponents of the prosperity gospel is this greeting by the apostle John: “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2).


For a full exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:9, please check out “THE POVERTY THAT MADE US RICH” by John MacArthur:

Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.
Jesus died our death that we might receive His life.
Jesus was made a curse that we might enter into the blessing.
Jesus endured our poverty that we might share His abundance.
Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory.
Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance with the Father.
Jesus was cut off by death that we might be joined to God eternally.
Our old man was put to death in Him that the new man might come to life in us.

One Sunday morning, a wealthy man sat in his balcony enjoying sunshine and his coffee when a little ant caught his eye which was going from one side to the other side of the balcony carrying a big leaf several times more than its size. The man watched it for more than an hour. He saw that the ant faced many impediments during its journey, paused, took a diversion and then continued towards destination. At one point the tiny creature came across a crack in the floor. It paused... for a little while, analyzed and then laid the huge leaf over the crack, walked over the leaf, picked the leaf on the other side then continued its journey.
The man was captivated by the cleverness of the ant, one of God’s tiniest creatures. The incident left the man in awe and forced him to contemplate over the miracle of Creation. It showed the greatness of the Creator. In front of his eyes there was this tiny creature of God, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to analyze, contemplate, reason, explore, discover and overcome. Along with all these capabilities, the man also noticed that this tiny creature shared some human shortcomings.
The man saw about an hour later the creature had reached its destination – a tiny hole in the floor which was entrance to its underground dwelling. And it was at this point that the ant’s shortcoming that it shared with the man was revealed. How could the ant carry into the tiny hole the large leaf that it had managed to carefully bring to the destination? It simply couldn’t…!
So the tiny creature, after all the painstaking and hard work and exercising great skills, overcoming all the difficulties along the way, just left behind the large leaf and went home empty-handed. The ant had not thought about the end before it began its challenging journey and in the end the large leaf was nothing more than a burden to it. The creature had no option, but to leave it behind to reach its destination. The man learned a great lesson that day.
Isn’t that the truth about our lives? We worry about our family, we worry about our job, we worry about how to earn more money, we worry about where we should live – 5 bedroom or 6 bedroom house, what kind of vehicle to buy – a Mercedes or BMW or a Porsche, what kind of dresses to wear, all sorts of things, only to abandon all these things when we reach our destination – The Grave. We don’t realize in our life’s journey that these are just burdens that we are carrying with utmost care and fear of losing them, only to find that at the end they are useless and we can’t take them with us.


For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).

Wednesday 20 May 2015


Just as each part of the physical body has a role to play so that it functions well as a whole, each member of the church has a part to play for mutual edification.

It’s good to hear out what others have to say before forming an opinion on a subject. Let everyone contribute his or her piece so that, eventually, we all can benefit.

No one has the monopoly of truth. Neither can anyone lay claim to the fact they are infallible. That is why before presenting a comprehensive discourse on a controversial subject, it is worthwhile to seek the views of others through research and/ or social media. Once we have sought various viewpoints from our Facebook friends, we are able to give a more well-balanced, less biased, less parochial view on a subject.

For example, before I wrote on the earthquake in Nepal (, whether the disaster is NATURE’S WRATH or GOD’S JUDGMENT, I knew it was important to tread carefully as I may miss some important perspectives which others might have; or I may carelessly step on some sensitive toes.

Everyone tends to be opinionated by virtue of their upbringing—family or religious background—and exposure to different schools of thought. We think we are right until another viewpoint is presented: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).

So it’s good to hear out what others have to say before forming our opinion on a subject. Let everyone contribute his or her piece so that we can all be mutually edified.

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up” (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Apollos, a Jew, was a learned man, well-instructed in scriptures. He fervently preached in the synagogue. However his message was incomplete. He knew only the baptism of John—nothing about Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection or the power of the Holy Spirit that fell on believers at Pentecost. When tentmakers Priscilla and Aquila heard him preach, “took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-28).

Though Apollos was a teacher, he was humble enough to be corrected by the unassuming tentmaker couple. Surely there was little evidence of this attitude: Who do you think you are to point out my weaknesses?

Undoubtedly, each member of the body can teach, edify and encourage one another.

  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

  • “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

  • “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

This is the essence of ‘body life’. Every believer who recognises the enabling of the Holy Spirit is able to minister and impart life to others within the body (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

Letting others air their views also reflects open-mindedness and impartiality. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).


Do you think the recent earthquake in Nepal is God's warning to its people?

More than ever before we need to be like the Bereans in our approach to understanding the truth. Like a parachute, our mind works only when it is open.

How can we be positive about disagreement?
An issue can be seen from so many different angles. No one can possibly see eye to eye with another on every issue. As such, those who are saved by God’s grace ought to demonstrate grace towards those who disagree with them.

Monday 18 May 2015


Do you think the recent earthquake in Nepal is God's warning to its people?

Some believers echo the stand made by “prophets” that God's judgment is on earthquake-hit Nepal. This erroneous, simplistic belief needs correction. Truth be told, natural disasters can happen anywhere to believers or pre-believers alike.


Consider these seismically unstable regions with recent earthquakes: Indian Ocean earthquake (with tsunami, 2004), decimating hundreds of thousands in East Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka), the earthquake in Haiti (2010) and the earthquakes in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (with tsunami, 2011). Has God been angry with these countries and spared our country, Malaysia, because we are more holy? No. Being in a relatively stable zone does not make us more holy in God's eyes than the above countries or Nepal, which is also seismically unstable, thus accounting for its recent earthquake.

When evil befalls another, we should not think that we are more holy than the afflicted just because we have been spared of sorrow. We are all sinners—not only those hit by calamity—and will perish unless we repent (Luke 13:1-5).

Though earthquakes have been in existence since time immemorial, its frequency has been escalating in recent times. This is in keeping with the massive shaking that is coming upon heaven and earth, warning all men everywhere to repent, not only the nations affected by earthquake (Hebrews 12: 26-29).

Jesus warns his disciples in the Olivet Discourse that, before He returns, there will be increasing turmoil and upheaval in the world. Together with wars and famines, earthquakes signal the ‘beginning of the end’ of the age (Matthew 24:7-8). These ominous portents are like birth pangs, which must occur before we enter a period of greater horror than anything the world has ever seen or will ever see—the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24: 21).

We live in a fallen world where many things can go wrong. Whether we are holy or sinful, bad things can happen to anyone. We may be robbed and fatally stabbed while walking to our parked cars in a shopping mall. Over 300 perished when a tornado swept through the Bible belt of the United States in 2011. Not long ago, many church members from an Indonesian church perished when the plane they were travelling in crashed into the Java Sea. Is it possible for us to figure out everything that happens in this world? Some events just don’t make any sense.

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12).

The purpose for writing this article is to promote greater dialogue and understanding through social media so that people do not simply accept “prophetic voices” without critical thinking. Furthermore, Christians need to embrace a worldview that reflects God’s heart of compassion. Otherwise, the whole Christian community might be demonised as insensitive and uncaring by others, especially those afflicted by the earthquake in Nepal.

Whenever catastrophe strikes, we must not immediately conclude that the affected nation must have incurred God’s judgment. Among the afflicted are many innocent children who are most unlikely candidates to incur divine wrath. Who can be absolutely sure that God’s heavy hand is upon this or that earthquake-hit nation?

Why burden the afflicted in Nepal with false guilt by making ‘holier than thou’ pronouncements? What they urgently need at this moment are tangible support—such as food, medicine, tents—and empathy, not sermons. The "prophetic" voice about God’s judgment on this tiny, land-locked, impoverished nation at this time of mayhem is uncalled for and inappropriate.



To live soberly and purposefully during these perilous end times, we need to arm ourselves with wisdom and discernment.

Can believers rest in the security that we will be raptured before the Great Tribulation? Let us re-examine first-hand the passages on rapture.

A popular teaching tells us that Christians will not have to go through the Great Tribulation because they will be raptured first. But is such a 'pre-tribulation rapture' view valid? Is it true to say Christians will be airlifted to safety before the Great Tribulation begins?

When we spend a lot of time watching, we tend to forget to be watchful. What does it mean to be watchful?

Repent or Perish
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
(Luke 13:1-5)
(It is thought that some Galileans, while offering sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem, were killed by Pilate’s soldiers and their blood was mixed with that of the sacrifices).

Tuesday 12 May 2015


Is spiritual discernment directly proportional to the number of theological degrees one has under one’s belt?

Please watch this video and you will find out the answer:

Pay particular attention to a distinguished leader of the charismatic movement and the head honcho of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Peter Wagner, endorsing Todd Bentley, the man behind the Lakeland Revival.

(you may want to fast forward to 4.50 min to go to the relevant part).

It is easy for believers to get carried away by spiritual gifts, supernatural experiences or manifestations. Many are so fascinated with anything that gives them a spiritual high. .

However, believers must be vigilant and discerning. The Bible warns that during these end times, deception will be a prominent feature. This means various spirits will arise and mimic the Holy Spirit, causing confusion.

Deception is as old as the Bible. When Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, it became a serpent. Similarly, the magicians in Pharaoh’s court were able to produce a counterfeit miracle.

And, today, because the counterfeit is hardly distinguishable from the original, even the elect—supposedly mature leaders—can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?

May God grant us the discernment to know that NOT all supernatural experiences or manifestations are of the Holy Spirit—even though it may be happening in church. Just as not all that glitters is gold, not everything supernatural is of the Holy Spirit.

Coming back to the original question, Is spiritual discernment directly proportional to the number of theological degrees one has under one’s belt?

I hope you have found the answer.

In my humble opinion, the one with many theological degrees under his belt may not necessarily have spiritual discernment.

Who or what then makes us competent in discerning whether a particular supernatural manifestation is of divine origin or otherwise?

The Holy Spirit grants to believers spiritual discernment:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, 15, 16

Unfortunately, in these perilous end times, deception is so prevalent and discernment is so lacking. Even mature leaders can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?


"Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit. Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching."

                     A W Tozer, Theologian


Is there a rationale for pursuing signs and wonders?

Can we attribute the following scenarios in church to the work of the Holy Spirit? A person slithering on the ground like a snake?  A person barking like a dog? A person crowing like a cockerel? A person fidgeting non-stop and jumping around like a monkey?

Excessive preoccupation with signs and wonders has its dangers.
When teachers like Bill Johnson exalt signs and wonders to the extent that doctrine, scholarship and the use of one’s sound mind are all downplayed and even the deity of Christ is denied, red flags go up.

What do you think is the true measure of a believer? Does it rest solely on how much anointing or power he or she has? Or how many spectacular feats he or she can perform? Are there not other more important considerations such as an abiding relationship and intimacy with God, obedience, self-denial and faithfulness?


By J. Lee Grady, Charisma Magazine

By Holly Pivec

Friday 8 May 2015


How to distinguish between the important, non-negotiable characteristics of a disciple and the less significant traits.

Our fingers can serve as useful mnemonics to help us remember five important marks of a true disciple:

Thumb: This finger forms a stable grip with every other finger of the hand in order to pick up objects, an action called opposition. Thus, the thumb acts like a SERVANT of sorts, in touch with the needs of everyone else.

Index finger: This points the way, a fitting description for the WORD, a lamp to our feet, a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). It also tells us that teachers are to be honoured for they point the correct way for others to follow (1 Timothy 5:17, Ezra 7:10).

Middle finger: Because it is the longest of them all, it reaches out in LOVE to others, bears all things, and hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Ring finger: A ring signifies a union between a man and woman in holy matrimony. What comes next after marriage? Children. So this finger is to remind us to be FRUITFUL. Not only bear fruit, but much fruit (Luke 8:8).

Little finger: This is the shortest and most diminutive. So it is a symbol of SELF-DENIAL. He must increase, I must decrease (John 3:30).


For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10: 45

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8: 31-32

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
John 15:8

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9: 23

Now that we are acquainted with the five important attributes of a disciple, what are the other qualities that are good to have but not so essential for a disciple?

Eloquence, charisma, magnetic personality, ability to perform miracles, interpersonal and relational skills are some of these helpful—and much sought after—but less critical qualities of a disciple.

A believer with all the thunder, "bells and whistles", crowd appeal and miracle working ability might eventually be shut out from heaven, being told “I never knew you”:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
(Matthew 7:21-23)

By the way, would we fault a believer if he or she is more like Mother Teresa, if she does not have the qualities found in charismatic leaders who are able to mesmerise the crowd and perform miracles?

Why do we continue to clap, cheer and absolve a leader who embezzles church funds just because he has charisma on stage?

Why do we put on a pedestal those qualities that pale into insignificance without the key element of love? 

“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Finally, what do you think is the true measure of a disciple? Is it based on his eloquence, public image or popularity as judged by the number of followers and ‘likes’ he gets on social media? Does it rest on how much anointing or power he has? Or how many spectacular miraculous feats he can perform? Are there not other important considerations such as character, intimacy with God, obedience, self-denial and faithfulness? The foregoing does not imply that charisma and spiritual gifts are unimportant. The moral of the story is that we must not put the cart before the horse.


At the end of our lives when we stand before the judgment seat, what do you think are the qualities that matter most?

Charisma may take us places but it takes character to keep us there or prevent us from falling. When we attain fame, fortune and power, will we be able to hold on to the values we once cherished as dear?

 Leadership lessons gleaned from Nehemiah’s life—the six S’s
Imagine a “nobody” with the courage to lead a group of people to rebuild a city wall in a faraway land. Few among his peers—whether they were somebody or nobody—would ever dare attempt such a great exploit. That’s why Nehemiah, a king’s cupbearer, never fails to inspire me when the subject of leadership crops up.

As leaders are the key people who make or break an organisation, they certainly deserve our respect and support. But we should not “idolise” them to the extent we think they can do no wrong even in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary. Like all men, they too are weak and fallible.