Thursday 21 April 2016


What we truly cherish determine how we live our lives 

Recently, a man obsessed with superbikes had an accident. In his dying moments, as he was gasping for breath, he uttered, “Is my superbike alright?” It was surprising that he did not leave any parting words for his loved ones.

What do we truly cherish in life? What is the one thing that grieves our heart most if it is lost or taken away? How do we invest our time, talents and resources? To be honest, what do we think about most of the time?

A man is literally the product of his thinking. Based upon this important truth, author James Allen wrote his acclaimed self-help book, “As A Man Thinketh”.

Indeed, we become what we think about most of the time. This view concurs with what the Bible says in Proverbs 23:7: “As a man thinks in his heart, so does he become”.

How we live our lives depend on what we value most. Do we merely live for the ‘here and now’? Or do we live out our earthly lives in light of eternity?

If we choose to renew our mind with God’s word, our values and worldview will primarily be shaped by the truth—what truly matters when our earthly life is over.

If we continually sip at the springs of Living Water, God’s Word, we will embrace the mind of Christ, filled with humility and humble service (Philippians 2: 5-8). Furthermore, we will be imbued with heavenly wisdom, characterised by purity, peace, gentleness and good fruits (James 3:17).

Since we are in Christ, heavenly goals should be foremost in our mind.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

As our bodies are degenerating day by day, our citizenship on earth is not going to be permanent.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself”(Philippians 3:20-21).

We are merely pilgrims on a journey passing through the earth.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

Things invisible outlast things visible.
“For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18b).

James warns us not to be presumptuous about our earthly pursuits for life on earth is transient and uncertain.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
(James 4:13-15).

We are all “leasehold” though we may have freehold property.
Those who are wise must finally die,
    just like the foolish and senseless,
    leaving all their wealth behind.
The grave is their eternal home,
    where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
    but their fame will not last.
    They will die, just like animals.
(Psalm 49:10-12)

The glory of our achievements is like grass that fades away.
Peter reminds us that, one day, heaven and earth will be destroyed and they will be replaced by a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13). King Nebuchadnezzar, who prided himself concerning his achievements, how he had built the great Babylonian empire, was immediately was judged by God. He later turned into an animal that fed on grass (Daniel 4: 28-32).

In the final analysis, how we live out our lives is determined by our values and perspective of time.
  • If we believe life is merely about the ‘here and now’, then we will just look forward to what the world has to offer and what our earthly toil can achieve for us.
  • But if we think that time transcends our earthly existence, then our goals and aspirations in life will be determined by eternal values.
Caveat: It is not implied that hard work is negative, that productive human endeavor is to be discouraged or that we should not enjoy the fruits of our labour with grateful hearts.

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19).


Realising that life can be so transient and uncertain should force us to reassess how we live out our lives on earth.
How many of us prepare ourselves to meet our Maker—even when death isn’t looming on the horizon?


Do you ever search your heart,
As you watch the day depart.
Is there something way down deep
you try to hide?
If this day should be the end,
And eternity began,
When the book is open wide,
Would the Lord be satisfied?

Is He satisfied? is He satisfied?
Is He satisfied with me?
Have I done my best, have I stood the test?
Is He satisfied with me?
When my Lord shall come again,
When He walks and talks with man,
What if every friend He had
were just like me?
Would He feel welcome here?
Or would He go away in tears?
Am I all that I should be?
Is He satisfied with me?

Feeble is the lamp of fame,
By which man inscribes his name,
On the walls of time for other
men to see.
Though he boast of wealth and power,
None can help him in that hour,
When the angels hear His plea,
Is He satisfied with me?

Is He satisfied? Is He satisfied?

Monday 11 April 2016


How would you respond when someone says he has been miraculously healed? Do miracles still exist today? 

If I may venture an opinionif God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and the Holy Spirit lives within believershow could miracles ever cease today? The assertion that miracles, signs and wonders have completely ceased is erroneous. It is like trying to put God in a box. It is akin to the clay telling the Potter what He ought to do.

Thus, miracles are still happening today because spirit-filled believers allow the living God to work through them.

However, the signs and wonders we see today cannot match that of the early church in its scale, quality and impact. In the fledgling first century church, miracles were not only instrumental in its phenomenal growth but accounted for its resilience amid severe persecution. 

For example, in the book of Acts, people were raised from dead and healing by means was possible through the shadow or handkerchief of the apostle. How often do such miracles occur today? Though the same God is at work throughout the ages, the dispensation differs for each era.

As we consider the subject of miracles, we must not forget that false signs and wonders are going to be a prominent feature in these end times that we are now living in. This is consistent  with Jesus’ end time warning: “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:24).

When the apostle Peter healed the crippled man at the temple gate, did he preplan the act? (Acts 3:1-10). Did he tell the crowds to come and observe him as he healed that man? Were there marketing teams to publicise the event? Did he become rich and famous out of his special anointing? Were there lights, camera, special music and ambience to “prime” people to receive healing?

Even so, when genuine servants of God perform signs and wonders today, they usually do not hog the limelight. Their motives are pure; they do not use their gifting or anointing to pursue money, fame and power.

In contrast, false miracle workers often perform their “miraculous acts” in a “controlled environment” filled with many seekers and spectators. People are naturally drawn to the miraculous, thinking that anything supernatural must be from God. So the former exploit people’s needs (eg. sicknesses) and fascination with the miraculous, using them as springboards to fame and fortune. After all, it takes two hands to clap.

Of unscrupulous miracle workers, Jesus has this to say:
  • “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
  • “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”(Matthew 7:21-23).
While some believers think miracles have completely ceased, others earnestly pursue signs and wonders. Both viewpoints, which are on opposite poles of the ‘signs and wonders’ debate, are false. One is too conservative. The other, obsessed with and captivated by miracles, seems to be a move of the Holy Spirit but is not. The truth is to be found in the middle of the spectrum.

People who assert that miracles have ceased draw conclusions merely based on intellectual arguments and their limited experience of the supernatural realm. The truth can only be grasped by those with spiritual discernment and experience apart from knowledge and wisdom. Who do you think has better understanding—the former or later?

While we should keep an open mind with regards to miracles, we must not be mesmerised by awe-inspiring signs and wonders. A person who is miraculously healed of an incurable disease will, one day, still have to die. What constitutes the greatest “miracle”? It is the new birth—when people are translated from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light (John 3: 5-8, 1 Peter 2:9). All men are sinners by birth. But, by faith in the sacrificial death of Christ at the cross, they become children of God.

To reiterate:
  • Miracles certainly have not ceased today though its scale and quality probably cannot match that found in the early church.
  • When we consider miracles today, we have to be vigilant against deception—because false miracle workers exploit people’s needs and obsession with miracles for their own fame and fortune.
  • The greatest miracle is not that someone gets healed of an incurable disease; it’s the miracle of the new birth.


A lady lawyer’s amazing recovery from coma shows us that there is hope amid the worst of circumstances. Once again, it underscores the power of faith and intercession. God can do far more than what we might ask or think.

Doctors treat but God heals. As a Christian for forty years and a practising doctor for thirty years, I have seen people being healed in so many different ways—through supernatural means and medicine/surgery. Yet, I have also seen many who have not been healed, irrespective of their denomination or the strength of their faith.

Thursday 7 April 2016


Which is a more accurate representation of a believer’s journey in life? Sit back and relax till we attain eternal bliss OR press on and persevere till the end?

During my school days, my teacher used to chide those students who adopted a laissez–faire attitude towards studies: “If you’re lazy, you’ll become garbage collectors and road sweepers in future.”

Similarly, if we are complacent about our Christian walk, what will happen? It is something like this: We’re rowing upstream and, suddenly, we decide to stop rowing. We will not remain still but will be swept downstream.

John Piper in his article, “To Spiritually Float Is to Dangerously Drift”, warns that Christians who decide to “float” will find themselves drifting off course.

If we take it easy—opine that since we’ve bought our ticket to heaven, we can afford to sit back and relax, and we’ll surely get to heaven because God does the rest—we may drift away and fail to arrive at our intended destination.

Is the viewpoint that we need to press on in our Christian walk supported by scripture? You bet.

Peter exhorts believers to be diligent to confirm our calling and election (2 Peter 1:10). How do we confirm? By practising the qualities spelled out in the preceding verses, we will never fall. “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

While salvation does not depend on good deeds, it must result in good deeds—as evidence that our faith is genuine. Professing believers who fail to bear fruit befitting of repentance will be cut off (John 15:2, John 15: 6, Matthew 3: 8-10, Luke 13:6-9). Fruit-bearing is the expected and normal result of regeneration.

If we are not diligent in confirming our calling and election, we are described as unfruitful (2 Peter 1:8) and spiritually blind (2 Peter 1: 9) and may run the risk of falling away, led astray by sins or deceived by false teachers, who are introduced in the following chapter. 

Next, concerning falling away, Peter issues a solemn warning to believers who willfully choose to live in sin: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2:20-21). This passage on apostasy  refutes the premise that those who indulge in wanton living were never really converted in the first place.

Bought your flight ticket, still must confirm your booking? Yes.
Bought your ticket to heaven, still must confirm your election. Yes.
Your ticket booking may be void if you do not confirm. 

Thought: If everything is set—we will get to heaven no matter what happens—why is there a need to confirm our election?

Paul compares the Christian journey as a race in which an athlete must exercise self-discipline in order that he may win the prize:

“Don’t you realise that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Note that the word for ‘disqualified’ is ‘adokimos’, in Greek, which is also translated as rejected or reprobate, and is similar in meaning to other New Testament passages (Romans 1: 26-28, 2 Timothy 3:8, Hebrews 6:8) where it refers to unregenerate people, whose sins have separated them from Christ.

Thus, believers can miss out on heaven—not merely get less or no rewards—if they are complacent and do not exercise self-discipline.

Paul, claiming he was imperfect, saw the need to press on in the Christian race towards the heavenly prize:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14).

The writer of Hebrews echoed Paul’s call to persevere—despite our imperfection—as we have the perfect example, Jesus, who has gone ahead of us:

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and finisher (perfecter) of faith” (Hebrews12: 2).

Furthermore, Hebrews chapter 10 highlights the fact that our faith needs to endure in order that we may remain saved:

But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
(Hebrews 10:38-39)

So which is a more accurate representation of a believer’s journey in life? Sit back and relax till we attain eternal bliss OR press on and persevere until the end? Of course, it must be the latter.

Despite the fact we need to press on and persevere in the Christian “marathon race”, we also need to remember that:
  • God empowers us in times of difficulty (2 Corinthians 12: 9)
  • God who began a good work in us helps us complete the race (Philippians 1:8)
  • He is not asking for sinless perfection (Philippians 3:12)
  • He invites us to rest and rejuvenate ourselves in His presence (Matthew 11:28)


What does it take to be a winner in the most important race of all?

Some believers may lose their eternal rewards BUT eventually they are saved. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, did the foolish virgins merely lose their rewards or much more?

“It would not be difficult to point out at least twenty-five or thirty distinct passages in the Epistles where believers are plainly taught to use active personal exertion, and are addressed as responsible for doing energetically what Christ would have them do, and are not told to “yield themselves” up as passive agents and sit still, but to arise and work. A holy violence, a conflict, a warfare, a fight, a soldier’s life, a wrestling, are spoken of as characteristic of the true Christian.”

― Dr Michael L. Brown

Monday 4 April 2016


False teachings or heresies are making inroads into the church today and many are caught unaware by the wiles of satan.

How do false teachers infiltrate the church? They worm their way, slither in unnoticed and surreptitiously enter the church (Jude 4). These heresies, like leaven, progressively spread its destructive influence among church members (2 Peter 2:1).

Some think that I enjoy taking up the task of ‘heresy hunting. I do it with a heavy heart. Realising that so many believers have been deceived by a different Christ, a different gospel and a different spirit, it has to be done

I make no apology if a large proportion of my posts include themes that many Christians would not like to hear or expect to hear. I have a burden to discharge and it weighs heavily on me if I do not keep on doing the job. Even if I wanted to, I can’t stop.

We can see in the final days of Paul’s life that he had this burden to confront false doctrine.

Paul was apprehensive that—amid the infiltration of false doctrine—both the church he founded at Ephesus and the church he was about to leave under young Timothy’s care would not be able to endure when he (Paul) was no longer around.

Before he left the elders of the church at Ephesus to go to Jerusalem, Paul shared with them a poignant farewell message:
  • “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.  I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.”
  • “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.”

          (Acts 20: 28-30, 32)

Paul’s last words to Timothy have a strikingly similar tone. The former, holed up in a dark and damp dungeon, charged the young disciple to preach sound doctrine and defend the truth amid false teaching.
  • “I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
  • For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
  • But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”

         (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

We can glean precious lessons from the two passages above, which record for us Paul’s parting words.

Firstly, it concerns the paramount importance of preaching the truth, the Word of God, irrespective of the season. The flock needs to be fed the solid Word, especially when there is false teaching (heresy) that it is so enticing; it tickles and soothes “itching ears”. People are naturally drawn away from truth to distorted versions of truth because the latter give them the “feel good” sensation.  There is a great need not only to teach and encourage (positive) but also to correct and rebuke (negative).

Secondly, Paul wanted to impress upon the believers the importance of unwavering faith and the need to hold on to the gospel so that they will not be swept by every wind of doctrine that blows across their path.

That is why he had to entrust the church at Ephesus to God and the Word (Acts 20:32) so that their faith might endure and they will finally receive their heavenly reward.

Similarly, Paul told Timothy to endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist and fulfill his ministry. Earlier, Timothy was reminded to endure suffering as a soldier of Christ, an athlete and farmer (2 Timothy 2:3-6).

We need to hold on to our faith till the end if we do not want to miss out on the eternal rewards promised to all who love Him.
  • “When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds” (Ezekiel 18:26).

  • If we have one foot in the kingdom and the other foot in the world, we will not inherit God’s promise: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

On one hand, we need to watch our lives—how we live. On the other hand, we need to watch our doctrine.

  • “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

  • “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

The success of any minister lies not only in his ability to impact lives when he is around. He must be able to pass the baton to chosen ones so that lives continue to be impacted when he is no longer around. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

It is imperative for leaders to confront false teaching during these perilous end times. If they can identify with Paul the seriousness of the task they have been entrusted with—to feed the flock with solid teaching from the whole Word of God (Acts 20:27) as well as to correct and rebuke heresy (2 Timothy 4:2)—then people will not be so easily led astray from the faith.

"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
(Jude 1:3-4)


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When red flags go up at popular beaches, it means there are dangerous undercurrents that endanger lives. Stay out of harm’s way. Don’t swim. It’s too risky. Similarly, in the spiritual realm, we need to raise red flags whenever there are dangerous false teachings so that impressionable believers will not be entrapped.

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