Tuesday, December 30, 2008

See Good Days in 2009

Every year-end for the past few years, I have always looked forward to the last sermon of the year by Pastor Joseph Prince.  This is because I honour him as a man of God who listens to the heart of God and I want to hear what God has in store for us in the coming year.

Last Sunday, Pastor Prince told us that God said 2009 is the acceptable year of the Lord.  I will leave the details of the sermon to Terence to post on his blog but the scripture reference is Luke 4:17-22 which is the passage about Jesus reading from the scroll at the synagogue, Isaiah 61:1-7.

Jesus read this:
18 “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
       Because He has anointed Me
      To preach the gospel to the poor;
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives
      And recovery of sight to the blind,
      To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
       19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”


However, Isaiah 61:1,2 actually says this:
1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
      Because the LORD has anointed Me 
      To preach good tidings to the poor; 
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, 
      To proclaim liberty to the captives, 
      And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 
       2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, 
      And the day of vengeance of our God


Jesus closed the scroll and stopped reading after "to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord".  He did not continue with "and the day of vengeance of our God".  

The Amplified Bible gives a clearer picture of the "acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:19):
19To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.]

Jesus says He is here to only proclaim God's free favours profusely abounding on us, only salvation and not vengeance. Amen!

But why is 2009 the year?  Well firstly, Pastor Prince said this is God's message to our church that 2009 is the year when His salvation and free favours profusely abound on us.  You can choose to believe or not believe.  I choose to believe because I believe that Pastor Prince hears God (again, you also have the right to choose to believe or not believe that Pastor Prince hears from God).

Secondly, in Luke 4:21 Jesus says ,"Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."  I choose to believe what Jesus says. I will tell myself everyday: "Today, I receive God's salvation and free favours profusely abounding on me. Amen!"

During his preaching (in the first service), Pastor Prince spoke in tongues and prophecied that 2009 will be a turning point for us, there will be a turnaround which I claimed in faith by saying "Amen!".

2 Corinthians 1:20 (New Living Translation)
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

Do you want to see good days in 2009?  Then speak good things and not evil over your life.  Say "Amen!" to God's promises. Say "Amen!" when a man of God proclaims Good News to you. Say "Amen!" to the acceptable year of the Lord in 2009!

Psalm 34:12-13 (NIV)

12 Whoever of you loves life 
       and desires to see many good days,

 13 keep your tongue from evil 
       and your lips from speaking lies.

 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who's Your Neighbour?


Last night, we had a very enjoyable fellowship night at Owen Seafood Restaurant in Turf City.  The conversation and sharing was great, and the food (graciously sponsored by Joshua Lye, Jeffery and Malcolm, thanks Josh, Jeff and Mal!) was delicious.  Some of us were meeting each other for the first time though we have been communicating via our blogs.  I'll leave it to Malcolm to report the night in detail.

One brother who came was Kevin (see pic, tallest Indian brother at the back row 4th from left) whom I (see pic for the handsome guy in red, ok I forgive you for puking) first met when Jeffery came together with him to my stall months ago, or so I thought.  Last night after dinner, we were chatting a bit and talking about walking out to the bus-stop together since we both live in the Bukit Batok area. 

Kevin told me he lives around the CDANS clubhouse and I said,"I used to live around there too, at Block 402".  Kevin said that he actually lives at Block 402 too!  I said,"Don't tell me you live on the 7th floor?"  Kevin said,"Yes!"

Kevin and I were so amazed because 15 years ago, I actually lived next door to Kevin for 5 years before I moved to my present home.  I know Kevin's parents (not well but we have chatted before at the lift lobby) and have even talked to them when they happened to pass by my stall some months ago!

I have already met Kevin 15 years ago when he was a teenager and not known it until last night. Our God truly has a sense of timing because 15 years ago, Kevin and I would not have connected because we were in different stages of our lives - he was a teenage student while I was just married and getting ready to start a family.

But now, we share common ground since we are both adults and also touched by the grace gospel.  In fact, after we reached the Bukit Batok bus-interchange where Kevin had to catch a feeder bus home, we decided to fellowship some more at a nearby coffee shop until 12.30am!

Right People, Right Place, Right Time - only our God can plan like that!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Love's Come Down



New Creation Church (NCC) recently contributed $100,000 in support of Celebrate Christmas In Singapore (CCIS) 2008. This included sponsorship of a float, Love’s Come Down, for $30,000. Deacon Matthew Kang and Deacon Anthony Lau represented our church on board the float as it travelled down Orchard Road as part of a float procession on Friday, 19 December. The event was graced by guest of honour Mayor Amy Khor. (source: www.newcreation.org.sg)
In the third picture, you'll see Deacon Matthew Kang (in red), Mayor Amy Khor, and Rev Oh Beng Khee, the CCIS chairman (in orange) and his wife (in white).

In one of Pastor Prince's sermons, PP talked about how he (when he was a student) passed by a church and went in for the healing sevice and was healed even though that church's pastor, being a short man, could not quite touch PP's head (because of the many people crowding the stage) but his hand just merely brushed against PP's hair.  Rev Oh is that short pastor.

I, together with my mum and brother and sisters had attended his church since we (excluding my mum) were little kids.  Rev Oh was the senior pastor until the 1980s when he left to be a missionary.   Rev Oh and Mrs Oh still remember us.

About a year ago (I can't remember the exact date), Rev Oh and Mrs Oh attended New Creation Church's Sunday worship service because Rev Oh's preaching engagement at another church for that Sunday was cancelled.  They were exiting the Rock Auditorium after the service and saw my mum in the queue (for the next service) and came over and chatted.  He said he enjoyed the service and had bought several PP sermon cds to listen.  We were so happy that he has encountered and was willing to listen to the grace gospel.

A few months after our divine appointment, we heard that Rev Oh and Mrs Oh were in a traffic accident in Indonesia.  We heard that the Indonesian pastor and his wife who were with them in the same car passed away but Rev Oh was badly injured while Mrs Oh suffered only minor injury.  Thank God that Rev Oh made a quick recovery (see here and here for Rev Oh's video messages filmed in the hospital to reassure all who know him). 

I believe that the accident was an attempt by the devil to take out a powerful servant of God who has been touched by the grace gospel.  Rev Oh is already a humorous and powerful speaker, especially anointed in reaching the Cantonese speaking congregation.  When such a man of God starts preaching the grace gospel, can you imagine the impact on the Cantonese speaking church?  You can already see that impact on NCC's Hokkien congregation which is now the largest Hokkien church in Singapore after just a few years.

I believe God preserved Rev Oh for the gospel revolution and look forward to hearing great news about his ministry in the days to come.  God's grace be upon Rev Oh and Mrs Oh, amen!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blessed Christmas!

For unto us a Child is born, 
      Unto us a Son is given; 
      And the government will be upon His shoulder. 
      And His name will be called 
      Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, 
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Break



Hey guys, I am going to Malaysia today with my family (plus my mum, bro-in-law, sisters and nieces = 11 of us) for a few days ... you guys enjoy your Christmas season too ...  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jesus Christ The Heretic

Pastor Joseph Prince has often been called a heretic by people who do not agree with his teachings.  There is even an article written by a blogger entitled,"Joseph Prince the heretic".

What exactly is a heretic?  Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines it as follows:

1: a dissenter from established religious dogma ; especially : a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who disavows a revealed truth2: one who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine : nonconformist
Looking at the definition above, it seems that Jesus Christ himself was a heretic!  What Jesus preached and did during his ministry on earth went against the accepted belief or doctrine of the religious authorities of his time. 

The Sabbath
Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of breaking the law of the Sabbath by healing on the day of Sabbath.  Jesus challenged them by asking,"Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" (Luke 14:3)  They refused to answer him but Jesus healed the man before him anyway.
Jesus then exposed their hypocrisy by challenging them:
"If one of you has a son[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" (Luke 14:5)
"You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" (Luke 13:15-16)

"Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?"(John 7:23)
This tussle with the Pharisees and experts of the law over the Sabbath is recorded in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew 12, Mark 2 and 3, Luke 6,13 and 14.  
Jesus shed new light on the teaching of the Sabbath: 1. It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. (Matt 12:12)2. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)3. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (Luke 6:5)

Adultery
Jesus also shed new light on the law: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt 12:12)

When Jesus said "you have heard", he's saying that the people have been taught by the religious teachers.  Jesus taught that, contrary to what the religious teachers say, it is not just the physical act that constitutes adultery; in fact it is your heart which determines you have sinned.
Murder
Again, Jesus challenges the teachings of the religious teachers about the law of  "thou shalt not murder" by starting with "you have heard".
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matt 5:21-22)

Again, Jesus is consistent with his teaching of the heart determining you have sinned, not just the physical act.

Ceremonial Washing Of Hands
The Pharisees and teachers of the law accused Jesus: "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"  (Matt 15:2)
Again, Jesus answers that it is the heart that determines sin.
"Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' "  (Matt 15:17-20)

New Light On Traditional Teaching    Heresy
My point is this: when a preacher sheds new light on what has been traditionally taught, it does not automatically make him a heretic.  We have to study carefully the "new" teaching with the help of the Holy Spirit and determine in our hearts whether it is correct or not.  
If you feel it is not right, then put up your detailed arguments against it and let others judge for themselves. However, it may be the case that you are actually the one in error, so it is not wise to call a preacher a heretic when you disagree with his teaching.
As for me and my household, we have determined for ourselves that what Pastor Prince is preaching is right and our lives have been transformed by the Word he is preaching.
Thank you Jesus for Pastor Prince and his ministry.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is New Creation Church A Cult?

Yesterday, I had a conversation via sms with my dear friend, Kat who was upset over the question her friends asked when she invited them to visit New Creation Church: "Are you sure NCC is not a cult? Everything seems to be about only one man, Joseph Prince and his ministry, and some members even hero worship him."


Definition of "Cult"

Before I discuss further, let me show you this article at


In our modern world of the new millennium, the word "cult" has become largely overused and is now a catch-all for any group, religion or lifestyle which someone doesn't understand, or with which they happen to disagree. This is a dangerous trend, as many of the organizations labeled a cult by dissidents are truly legitimate groups. Once the taint of the term "cult" is applied to a particular group, it is often difficult to change that image to the public.

To avoid careless labeling which could be harmful to a group and its adherents, it is important to know just exactly what a cult is, and how it is defined. A cult, by modern standards, is any group that incorporates mind control to deceive, influence and govern its followers. Although most people think of cults as being religious, they can also be found in political, athletic, philosophical, racial or psychotherapeutic arenas.

The mind control, or brainwashing, exerted by cults often take the form of at least several of the following elements:
 
A totalitarian control over the lifestyle and time of its members - Many cults tend to dictate exactly what its followers should read, eat, how and with whom they should spend their time, and even what they should do in off hours. This totalitarian control is necessary for the leaders to indoctrinate the followers in everything they do, and is also an attempt to separate them from anything not associated with the cult. This is why cults often live together in groups.

A charismatic, self-appointed leader with complete authority - Cult members are taught not to question the teachings, practices, or ideas of the leader. Many cult leaders truly are charismatic people, and are able to influence people to believe them. It is common that a cult member is not told everything up front when joining the group, but that they are taught increasingly controlling ideas and teachings as they go. In the case of some of the more well-publicized cults that have come and gone, it is also common that the leader's ideas and demands evolve over time, becoming increasingly controlling and restrictive. One very clear identifying element dealing with the leader of a cult is that the leader will always focus the attention and veneration of the members upon himself or herself. At the heart of a cult usually lies a very self-centered and self-seeking person.

A focus on withholding truth from non-members - Many cults teach their followers to be completely open and truthful within the group, while at the same time they are encouraged to be secretive and evasive when questioned by people outside of the group. This is another form of mind control-instilling guilt in the members if they hold anything back within the group. The members are taught that outsiders wouldn't understand or that they would only make fun of the ideas and practices and requirements for living within the group. Only specially-commissioned members are appointed to recruit members from outside. New members are usually encouraged to keep silent or even lie, especially to their families and close friends.

The three elements listed above are very successful ways to create a group mentality, an us-against-them way of looking at things. This is essential for any cult that wants to keep its members. The more afraid of the outside world the members become, the more strongly and faithfully they will keep within the safe fold of the cult.



New Teaching False Teaching
By questioning whether NCC is a cult, Kat's friends were implying that NCC members might be a bunch of brain-washed fools blindly following and being controlled by Pastor Prince. No wonder she was upset! She was trying to share the Good News with them but they suspect her of trying to recruit new members for a cult.
If you go by the characteristics listed in the above attached article, then certainly you cannot label NCC a cult. However, nowadays people tend to use the term "cult" loosely and label churches whose teachings don't seem to be in line with the teachings of traditional churches as "cults".
I agree that we cannot simply disregard the teachings that the traditional churches have been teaching over the centuries but we need to understand that knowledge is built upon knowledge, and as new relevations break forth, they cast new light on the old and in the process show us what we hold true in the past may not be true after all.
Instead of casually dismissing these new teachings as false or cultish, those who are serious in finding out the truth need to sit down and properly listen to them firsthand from the preacher's sermons.




Armchair Critics
There are critics of NCC's teachings who have never really sat down to listen to Pastor Prince's sermons (many sermons, not just a few in order to see the consistency of the preaching). Some of them base their criticism on hearing snippets of sermons or their interactions with some NCC members or hearsay from non-NCC members. 

I suggested to one critic of NCC's teaching on tithing to listen to Pastor Prince's sermon CDs on tithing and he replied that he will never pay money for Pastor Prince's false teachings. So we have a critic concluding that NCC teachings are false although he has never heard them firsthand and doesn't want to.

There's another critic doing a "review" of Pastor Prince's book "Destined to Reign". However, this guy has already made up his mind that Pastor Prince teachings are wrong and set about doing his "chapter by chapter review" by concentrating on digging out little details that he disagrees with and highlighting them as "Caution Points". It's like he ordered a KFC meal and instead of enjoying the fried chicken, he is relishing tearing out all the bones.

Sad to say, there are many such armchair critics around. I do not mind that people disagree with NCC teachings but what I do mind is that they don't take the effort to listen before making their conclusions and shooting their mouth off.

I admire one couple who did take the effort to listen because they were worried for their son who told them he wanted to join NCC. This is their testimony published in our local newspaper, The Sunday Times:

Keep an open mind even if you live by thou-shalt-nots

I refer to the letter by Mr Winston Chin, 'I'd rather live by the thou-shalt-nots', published last Sunday. In it, he referred to a piece titled 'Church pastors like none other', published in The Sunday Times on Oct 5, which had featured the founders of two of Singapore's so-called megachurches: New Creation Church (NCC) and City Harvest Church.

I find it sad that Mr Chin felt the report had confirmed his observations and views of the two churches.

Just as it takes time and effort to get to know a person, it takes time and effort to get to know a church, its pastors and the doctrines they expound. An open mind and a non-judgmental attitude are also prerequisites.

Let me state from the outset that my husband and I are members of a traditional church. However, for the past few months, we have been visitors at NCC. We wanted to observe the services first-hand, so we could establish if the doctrines being expounded were biblical. This was because our son was keen to join NCC as a member.

We had obviously heard disturbing talk about NCC and Pastor Joseph Prince. However, we did not want to rely on hearsay. Instead, we wanted to make a fair and objective assessment.

No church or organisation is perfect - not NCC nor the church that my husband and I belong to. What mattered to us was which doctrines were being taught and who was being glorified.

We are sorry to disappoint the critics of NCC.

Over the past few months, we have not heard Pastor Prince glorify himself. His bible-based messages constantly focus on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

In one sermon, he noted that he would have failed in his task if NCC members went away saying he was a great speaker. He considers his job done only when they say Jesus has been glorified during his sermon.


Mr Chin's letter does, however, serve a very useful purpose for the two megachurches. It warns of the perils that can surface when large, successful churches let their guard down and lose their focus.


I challenge those of you who really want to know the truth to come to NCC and listen to the sermons for yourselves for at least 3 months. Do not put any money into the offering bag being passed around at the end of the service. There will be no loss to you at all since no money is involved, just your precious time and effort. After that if you find anything wrong at all, come back here and tell us how and why, shine your light on us.



Listening to Charimastic Preacher ≠ Hero Worship
There are also critics who accuse NCC members of hero-worshipping Pastor Prince. I agree that there may be some who do that but it is unfair to generalize this to the whole congregation. Personally, I love Pastor Prince because number one, he is the shepherd whom God appointed over us and number two, because I find Pastor Prince's preaching biblical, Christ-centred and life-transforming.

Just because Pastor Prince is a charismatic speaker does not mean that those who enjoy his preaching are hero-worshipping him. Many listen to him because they want to learn from him. Hillsong Church has invited him to speak at their annual conference for the past few years and Pastor Prince has also preached at various other conferences all over the world. The conference attendees want to learn from him (not hero-worship him), and we NCC members are privileged to be able to learn from him week in week out.

As an analogy, a Chinese fund manager bid US$2.1 million in a charity auction to have a private meal with renowned investor Warren Buffett. You think this is because the fund manager hero-worships Warren Buffett? For US$2.1 million, of course not! The most compelling reason must be that he is hoping to have a "private tutorial" on how to make more money. This guy wants to learn from the best.

Now please don't twist what I am saying into Joseph Prince = Warren Buffett. No, I am saying that many come to NCC to learn from Pastor Prince because he is able to teach the bible in a brand new perspective resulting in life transformation.

You don't know what I am talking about? Of course not! You have to listen to the sermons for yourself!
(NCC services schedule)




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Faith = Believing + Speaking

I had wanted to share more in depth about the sermon on faith that Pastor Charles Nieman preached in New Creation Church last month. However, "King David" has beaten me to it with his excellent article on the sermon (you can read it here).

Another brother from NCC, Jimmy has also written an excellent article on it (read it here). He also expounded on the Chinese word for faith, and I have received his permission to reproduce it below:

Bonus revelation (not taught in the sermon)

This morning, the Lord showed me that the Chinese word for "faith" or "belief" actually conveys the meaning "believing and speaking"!


xin4 (meaning "faith")

(Picture courtesy of http://www.living-chinese-symbols.com/chinese-symbol-for-faith.html)


The word "xin4" means faith.
This Chinese word is made up of 2 parts or characters.
The left part "ren2" means a person.
The right part "yan2" means speech.
Hence, together they form the meaning "a person believing and speaking"!

For more information about chinese characters and the Bible:
http://bibleprobe.com/chinese.htm
http://students.washington.edu/cbsf/cool/Chinese.swf

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Poor CANNOT Help The Poor


News report from channelnewsasia.com (13/12/2008):
Boys' Brigade Sharity Gift Box project falls short of target by about 60%
The Boys' Brigade Sharity Gift Box began its delivery of presents on Saturday to more than 18,000 beneficiaries.

Delivery was done in style this year with a convoy of 28 Rav4 cars led by four Harley Davidson motorbikes.

Fifteen youths from Beyond Social Services, a charity organisation, also joined in the delivery of food hampers to needy families.

The youths are hamper recipients themselves and wanted to pay it forward in spreading the Christmas cheer.

But this year, there may not be enough food to deliver.

At this time last year, 60 per cent of what was needed was already collected from the public.

This time round, only half that amount has been collected and the project is just six days away from closing.

Churches like the New Creation Church are responding to this call.

The church is holding a one-day collection for its 18,000 members to donate daily essentials to the Gift Box on Sunday at Suntec City.


Yesterday morning, I went bright and early (to avoid the weekend crowd) to the NTUC Fairprice supermarket near my home and happily bought some instant noodles, cereal and biscuits in preparation for our church's charity drive today.

This morning, I brought the groceries to the counter set up outside the overflow room at the Suntec Convention Centre and I am happy to report that there were already many shopping bags collected when I got there.


It is a joyful experience to be able to render help to the needy. The poor cannot help the poor. I don't understand why some Christians are so opposed to our church preaching about prosperity. They think that we are being worldly.

However, Jesus himself said in Matthew 6:31-33 that our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things (food and clothing), and all these things will be added to you when you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This is what NCC has been teaching us all this while, seeking God's righteousness and prospering the bible way.

We are taught it is God who gives us the power to create wealth (Deut 8:18). We are taught that we are blessed to be a blessing. We are taught that wealth flows through (not into) us. Anything wrong with that kind of teaching?

There's still 6 more days before the Sharity Gift Box closes. Be a blessing, it's still not too late!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Great Is Your God?

There is this old hymn "How Great Thou Art" which I have been singing since young. Carrie Underwood sung it so beautifully in this video. There's another song which I like very much: "How Great Is Our God" written by Chris Tomlin, performed here by Hillsong. Every time I sing these songs, my spirit gets lifted up praising my great God.

However, let me ask you, "HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?"

My God has forgiven all my sins. (Psalm 103:3)
My God has taken away all my diseases. (Psalm 103:3)
My God protects me and my family from all danger. (Psalm 91: 3-7)
My God answers my cry for help. (Psalm 91:15)
My God crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. (Psalm 103:4)
My God satisfies me with good and renews my youth. (Psalm 103:5)
My God blesses me with a long life. (Psalm 91:16)
My God prospers me. (Jer 29:11)

WHAT DOES YOUR GOD DO?

Have you been told God forgave only the sins before you became a Christian are forgiven?
Have you been told after you became a Christian, God forgives your sins only when you confess?
Have you been told God will disown you (i.e. you can "lose your salvation") if you continue sinning (i.e. "sin wilfully") after you become a Christian?

If that is true, HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?

My God says He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deut 31:6,8 , Joshua 1:5, Heb 13:5)
My God says He will never ever remember any of sins in my entire life because they have ALL been forgiven when Jesus paid the price for me on the cross. (Heb 10:8-10, 15-17)


Have you been told God doesn't perform divine healing anymore?
Have you been told God sometimes heals and sometimes He doesn't because it is His sovereign will?

If that is true, HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?

My God says that Jesus healed ALL who came to him when he was on earth, and he is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Luke 6:17-19, Heb 13:8)
My God says that Jesus has borne ALL my diseases. (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24-25)


Have you been told accidents happen, that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord"?

If that is true, HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?

My God says He did not say that; Job was the one who said it. (Job 1:20-21)
My God says He sends His angels to protect you. (Psalm 91:11-12)


Have you been told God did not promise that He will make you materially rich?
Have you been told it is ungodly or worldly to think of getting rich?

Is that is true, HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?

My God says that it is He who makes us very rich. (Deut 8:18)
My God says that He made His friend Abraham very rich. (Gen 13:2, Gen 24:34-35)
My God says that He made Abraham's son, Issac very rich. (Gen 26:12-13)
My God says that He made Abraham's grandson, Jacob very rich. (Gen 30:43)
My God says that He made us very rich through His Son, Jesus. (2 Cor 8:9)


Have you been told God can't do this or God can't do that?
If that is true, HOW GREAT IS YOUR GOD?

My God says He is El-Shaddai, GOD ALMIGHTY! (Gen 17:1)
There is nothing my God cannot do.

HOW GREAT IS MY GOD!

How great is our God .....
sing with me How great is our God .....
and all will see How great ...
how great is our God .....

Name above all names ...
Worthy of all praise ...
My heart will sing
How great is our God .....

Everlasting Life Now

Many Christians seem to think that our everlasting life or "good life" starts when we die and go to heaven.  Meanwhile, here on earth we try to survive as best as we can.  If that is the case, what is the logic of staying on this earth after we become a Christian?  We should immediately kill ourselves and head straight to heaven to enjoy the good life!

NO, my friend!  Our everlasting life starts right here right now.  Yesterday, I showed you all the benefits of being in Christ.  Let me ask you this: "Are those benefits meant for you to enjoy here on earth or up there in heaven?"

Christ has blessed us with all these benefits so that we can prosper and be in health on this earth.  We are the living epistles of Christ.  Most non-believers are not going to read the bible (heck, some Christians don't even read the bible except on Sunday in church).  The only way they are inspired to find out more about Christ is when they see your life, when they see how special you are in Christ.

Jesus said in John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  The Amplified Bible describes the abundant life as life to the full, till it overflows.

You might say,"If that is true, then why is my life not abundant?  In fact, it is not even adequate, never mind abundant!"  Well, in the first part of John 10:10 Jesus did say "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy."

The devil is always trying to make life miserable for you, to convince you, based on what you see, that God's Word is not true.  We are supposed to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) but let's face it, most of us tend to walk by sight which gives the devil the opportunity to cause us to doubt God and His Word.

Last Monday, it was raining all day long but do you know that the sun was shining even during that time?  You say, "But I didn't see any sunshine! It was just rain and more rain."  Yes, but actually the sun is shining all the time, even at night, right in the centre of our solar system.

Similarly, God's Word is true despite what we see in our circumstances now.  But know this, circumstances change but God's Word does not.  Jesus promised us an abundant life, so let's claim that for ourselves and speak that word over ourselves.

God is watching over His Word to perform it (Jer 1:12).  Through faith and patience we shall inherit the promises (Heb 6:12). 
     

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Membership Has Its Privileges

Do you remember the famous tagline of an advertising campaign by American Express? This line always appears at the end of the Amex advertisement: "Membership has its privileges".

The Amex campaign was trying to sell the message that the Amex card is not merely a charge card; being an Amex card member entitles you to many benefits and privileges that are far superior what other cards offer. In other words, being an Amex card member makes you special.

My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know that you too enjoy benefits and privileges when you become a member of the Body of Christ? Do you know that you are special when you are in Christ?

Many Christians do not realize that membership in Christ has its privileges. They think that being a Christian is all about sacrificing or suffering for Christ. NO, my friend! Christ is the one who suffered and sacrificed so that you can enjoy the benefits!

Benefit 1: All your sins are FORGIVEN.

Benefit 2: All your diseases are HEALED.

Benefit 3: Your life is REDEEMED from destruction.

Benefit 4: You are CROWNED with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

Benefit 5: Your mouth is SATISFIED with good.

Am I making all this up or is it just my wishful thinking? NO, my friend! This is all written in the membership handbook! Haven't you read it?

Psalm 103:1-5 (NKJV)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:

3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,

4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Membership has its privileges and don't you forget it!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Thou Shalt Love Me

Do you know what is the second most trickiest question that a wife can ask a husband?

"Do you love me?"

What's a sane man gonna say? "Of course I do!"

Then comes the trickiest question: "Why?"

"Because ... er ... erm ... you commanded me?"

Guess where's the hubby gonna sleep that night ...


Many Christians accept the Ten Commandments without question and even condemn those who dare say that they are not meant to guide our lives under the new covenant.  But God actually also gave one more commandment that usually escapes the attention of many Christians:

Exodus 6:5 (NKJV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.



Have you wondered about the logic of that commandment? How can love be commanded out of you?

God commanded us to love Him because He knows there is life only through Him and He wants us to choose life (Deut 30:19).  But love can only come from the heart, so He loves us first so that we love Him willingly out of our heart, not out of fear.

1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV)
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.  


Have you noticed that the first nine of the Ten Commandments (Deut 5:6-2o) are all about your actions, not your heart?  The tenth commandment (Deut 5:21) is all about the heart and that is what catches most people out, even Paul (Rom 7:7).

Actions can be seen outwardly but not the heart.  Man can see actions but not the heart. Only God can and does see the heart.

Man tends to judge the heart by seeing the actions.  Therefore, God through His action makes you see His heart and makes you love Him.

How? John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.