THOUGHTS FOR TODAY.
Have we asked ourselves, what we like to do in church? God gives everyone something to do, through spiritual gifts. If you can play guitar, that is what God wants you to do in church. Are you are a teacher, then God wants you to teach the people in Church too. If we do something that we are good at, helping the church in those things will not be a burden at all. In fact, we will find it enjoyable. Many of us are doing things that are a burden to ourselves because we are doing something outside our gifts. It is time to identify our spiritual gifts and enjoy serving God.
Since last February, I was asked to teach in Malaysia Evangelical College on every wednesday for 1 hour. I was asked to teach the students gospel songs and they really enjoyed it. Beside, it was something that I love to do…praising God. So you can imagine how happy I was, helping our future pastors about singing for God. It enables me to share my experience in praise and worship ministry to the college students.
How big is our love? Love is like a fruit. Being fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is the the greatest. Paul considered it as supreme. If we have a small fruit to share with other people, how many people will get a piece? If the fruit of love is too small most likely we are willing to share it with other people. But if we have so much love, many people will get some and experience it. As Christians, we need to have a heart full of love or overflowing with love. When we have our heart full of love, we will be able to help others, and be kind and generous. We will do a lot of good deeds. We will shine because of the love that is overflowing in our life. If we have not been helpful and generous, most likely we have not enough love in our hearts. God must be in our hearts because God is love.
After ending my service, I find retirement very interesting and would like to explore more of my new found freedom. Now, I can give myself time to refresh myself and do what I want to do. My sermon last Sunday have brought new ideas and course of action, that is doing beautiful for God. It is true, that when we have the right attitude in the faith, we will make beautiful things in our life for God. We normally do beautiful things when we have love and good thoughts about others. But if we dislike others we would curse them or discredit them in front of others. Which will destroy our good relationship with them. Fill our hearts and mind with good things of God and we will do beautiful things for God.
More often than not, we are often forced to do something due to our temper. Hot temper would be worst, because it leads us to say something that we will regret later. Such temper will cause me to say angry words, profane words or shameful words to at a slightest provocation. A slow driver in front of us will make us fume with anger. A mistake made by someone will cause us to shout with anger perhaps. You see, we are control by our temper if we are not careful. A careful thought will help us to control our emotion, especially our temper, which is so damaging. So if we are easily irritated, we might do something which will make us regret later. People shun us if we have such temper. We won’t make a good example of a Christian. It is the good, peaceful and kind character that attract others to us. So let us not be controlled by our temper.
Many people look toward retirement, including myself. Having served for so long, we just want to be free from the rules and regulations of the job, of the bosses and stake holders. Imagine, as a teacher, I have to wake up at about 5am so that I can enter the office at about 6am. Then coming back home almost at 6pm. You do that for almost 38 years and all you want is to wake up naturally and do what you want to do, and not what others want you to do. So I am really looking forward to it. Another thing about retirement is we are nearer home. In fact at the edge of life. Or almost at the exit door. But some people forgot about that. They get a job and continue to search for wealth. So they are not preparing for the after life. That would be quite sad. Getting ourselves right with God and getting ever closer to God is the most important in retirement. This is the most important decision to make. We can earn our living but it is to maintain but not to derail our attention to God.
I am now 15 days away from my 60th Birthday and most importantly my retirement from Government service of 38 years. What is in store for me? I know, God has His plans for me, the remainder of my life and all I know is to wind down and give focus to the Kingdom of God. So I see myself into ministry for the rest of my life. A number had asked me to head some educational institution but my heart desire is to immerse in God’s work. Do pray for me.
If we do some kind of reflection in our life, we will be able to discover that our desire or desires are controlling us. That is why, previously I mention that we need to free ourselves from desires that could lead more troubles for ourselves. A desire to smoke will lead a person to spend his money on the item. Then a lot of things will be done by us just because of the cigarette. For instant, we will have a budget for it. We have to think of where to smoke because not many people want to smell the smoke. We will live in fear of the risk. So if our life is spent just to do this over and over, then that is not what life is suppose to be. If we love God, we will be doing something that reflect our belief in God. People will see us go to Church or live the life of a believer. People will expect us to be full of love, generous and kind and forgiving. So really, we need to find out what is really controlling our everyday life. If not, we might be heading towards something that would be hard to avoid.
Contentment in what we have is achieving freedom from our desires. We desire many things and we think that if we get what we want, we will be satisfied. But that does not seem to be the case. Every time we get what we want, we desire more. We want to increase the figures, the quantity, the quality and size, the appearance etc. People commit a lot of their time to pursue things that will not satisfy. When Jesus said that He can give drink that satisfy and we will thirst no more, He is also telling us that once we have found Him, we will need no other. Our search will end. We want peace, He has the peace. We want joy, He is joy. We want love, He is love. I look at the people in the country who has very little but live a contented life. If you ask them to do something to earn more, they will tell you they have enough. Jesus will quench our thirst.
I believe many of us have our up and down in life. May be when we first know the Lord, our experience with God was so wonderful and sweet. But over time, that experience began to diminish and now perhaps, it was just a memory. Now it is time to go back and redig our own well back. We need to revive and refresh ourselves with the living water, which we can only get at the bottom of the well. Over time, the world had filled and stopped up our well. Sin had returned and covered the well already. We need to come back and look for the water again. Obedience to God’s will and the reading and meditating upon God’s word is just like digging back our well. Psalms Chapter One tells us that reading and meditating upon God’s word is like a tree planted by the streams of water, where it will yield its fruits in season and its leaves will not dry out. Whatever he does prospers.
Belief is one word that could be quite deceptive if not understood by us. There is that thing like ” make believe ” or trying to think that a person is believing in something if can show that he or she can do something. So that is pretending to believe. If our belief does not make any positive changes in our life, then, that belief is just knowledge about some truth but it has not yet being received by us. Which means, we haven’t really believe. True belief will change us. True belief lead us to have faith.
Geography is an interesting subject in school. I used to look at the maps and physical nature or features and vegetation. Where there are rivers, there will be forest or trees. The taller trees grow by the rivers. In Psalms 1:1-3, those who read and meditate God’s Word day and night is like a tree planted by the streams of water. They will yield its fruits in season and their leaf will not wither. Everything they do prospers. We talk about spiritual transformation, bearing fruits and to sustain in our faith. Without reading and meditating upon God’s Word the spiritual transformation we want to happen will be just a dream. Our spiritual growth, our bearing of fruits and our strength depend on the Word of God. Drinking and eating from the Word of God will enable us to grow and bear fruit and will sustain of faith.
The book of Proverbs said that we should discipline our children so that when we are old, we will be happy because they would not cause sorrow to us. Issac’s children did not take heed to his advice and they married from the tribes not belonging to Israel. Therefore, they brought them tremendous sorrows. We have seen people suffering because their children are causing a lot of troubles. Whatever our children do, the parents will be held responsible too. Because of this, parents must discipline their children from the moment they were born. We must not pass such responsibility on others because at the end of the days, the children will return to their parents. The Bible advises using the rod. I often used rottan but with care. The cane is mean to frighten the children and after that it must be followed by an act of love on the part of those who uses the cane. The Bible says the rod will chase away evil from the heart of the children. It will teach the child not do repeat a mistake, because a mistake, if not taken care of will take root and will be hard to uproot.
When I was a student I joined a martial art club- Taekwondo, which trained us in fighting skills and also hoping to discipline us. It taught us to defend ourselves against those who would like to hurt us, physically. Besides, we are able to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Nowadays, we have to defend ourselves in different ways, that is we have to defend our mind and heart, which require no physical defensive moves as in Taekwondo. The punches we hope to evade is in the form of ideas, opinions or words. These go through our eyes, ears or even mouth. When we see too many things, many things will enter our mind and heart. When we hear too things, these could influence us too. So how to defend ourselves? If we do not want to to be harmed by bad people, we stay indoor. But nowadays, everything are at home, such as internet, or all form of media. They are right there in our rooms. What we want to hear and see, are at the tip of our fingers! So how can we defend ourselves? They already had infilitrated our homes. That is why people keep on saying, “hear and see no evil”
Engaging our children in good discussion on many matters are very important. These will be the first shield needed by them. We want to teach them to shun all kinds of evil when they are on their own. I used to tell my children, when they were just a toddler about smoking. I will point to them people who are smoking and then ask my children what they thought. From there I will tell them slowly the dangers of smoking etc. If they know the dangers of smoking at an early age, that is enough to protect them. My children had not touch even one eventhough their cousins tried to persuade them. Engaging our children in good discussion on critical matters will help to protect their minds and heart too.
I have met many lawyers and they almost have the same attitude, determination and character. Like all the other professions, there are many who are able to profess the faith in their lives and have examplary behaviour. There are some lawyers who are very nice people too. However, there are something that we must be very careful about. Our secular training should not control our behaviour and the way we think. One dangerous area is in the area of always judging people… that we assumed that a person is this because he or she did it. They become too rational and must produce evident etc. They loved to be called ” bad guys” because they will point out the bad things that people do, and many will say that before they say their points. Their excuse to rebuke is ” let them be the bad person” by saying the wrong thing that the others do. Sometimes, the wrongs are just an assumption. If you are a lawyer, do not think that people do not know the truth or the wrong. If you are a teacher, do not think that the others have not learned something. If you are a doctor, do not think that have the answer to health. Miracles happen and is often against the law of nature and the rational mind. Love can defeat a judgmental attitue and character and heal the heart. When we have love as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13, the rational mind is under its control.
Being a school principal, I had come across many sad incidents involving parents and their children. Some just neglect their children due to job committment or priorities. Some were due to marital problems too. On one occasion, a man almost took one of my students because of debt owed to him. There are cases where the parents remarried and the child with their former spouses were neglected. Some put priorities to their job. The most important aset in the house is our family, our children. It is not possible to be with our children all the time but we can have quality time with them that they will hold dear and looking forward to. Going for holidays with them is a must, to cement relationship among family members and to prevent our children from being attach to their friends. To speak to our children during weekends are very important so that we are always in touch with them. Not through Hp or telephone but in person. Buying gifts or celebrating their birthday are important events to remind them that they are remembered and loved. Whatever, we will need anybody to be around us when we are old. So the most important people would be our own children. Others will have no reason to look after us when we are old.
We have a very exciting teachers Day celebration in my school today. One of the first thing that I did was to ask the prefects to roll a red carpet for the teachers. They borrowed a red carpet from a government department which was normally used for head of state or the Chief Minister. The main purpose was to get the students to respect their teachers and honour them. They must be told to value the advice of their respective teachers. It is very important for students to love their teachers. Once they respect and love their teachers, they will be teachable.
Doing good is not something that comes automatically to people. We must plan something good for the children to experience and do in order for them to do good. For instance, to inculcate the habit of giving, teach our children to give by asking them to put some money in the offering bag as it is being passed around during sunday service. When my children were still very small, I would give them some money for them to give to a beggar sitting by the street. They would be symphatic to such people as they grow up. Asking our children to clean their room or wash the plates would give them some experience too. They build self-confidence in the children if they learn to do things on their own. Even they way we speak to other people needed to be taught to the children too. That is why we go to school, that is to learn what is being taught.
Someone was taken aback when I told them that there are pastors or deacons who would lie. He said that it was not possible, but I insist that there are quite a number who would purposely lie due to pride. It is quite true having been used to mix with pastors and church leaders. One areas why some would lie is to deflect accusation of misconduct, incompetence, delay of getting something done in time. Because they cannot meet certain date line, they will say they did not receive any letter at all, or they receive the letters late. Some even say they had not been helped at all, even though they receive assistance from some sources. Some even say they are starving eventhough they get more than an ordinary farmer. When they say this and that to different people, these people will give innocently. The family of stealing is lying, deceit or pretense or not truthful. The Christian faith is about truth, nothing but the truth and to hold to the truth… Jesus is the way, the TRUTH…
It takes courage to admit our weakness or wrong. No one will be penalised in the ministry for such weaknesses. In fact it will strengthen the ministry when we become humble. The more we read the Bible, the more the truth will take over us and the less we will lie. A life of holiness is when lie is no longer the norm.
Experience tells how our conscience is pricked the moment we lie. We are very conscious of any form of sins. It is like, we can smell sin for far. The Christian faith is towards purity and holiness. God had made it very clear. Without holiness no one can see God.
Have you witness people walking out during service or prayer meeting? I had on a number of occasion seen friends leaving while the prayer leader was sharing. They just leave when they disagree with what people says. There are certainly many things we do not see eye to eye with others because basically we do not see things the same way. We are different, only united by friendship, love and the faith. The Holy Spirit unite us through faith in Jesus Christ. We still think differently in certain areas but in faith, we are united by the Holy Spirit. That unity is due to love of God. When we love God, we want the body of Christ to be together, and hence we are able to be patience, slow to anger, avoid confrontation and be kind to one another. So even when we disagree with our brothers or sisters, it won’t cause us to just walk out and do not want to be part of the team. If we do that then we need to search our hearts to find out where the love of Christ is in us. The growing of the believer is to mature and more and more like Christ in character. Walking out in disagreement is like a person who insist on following his own idea and not others. He will think that others must agree with him or her or else he is not in. That is why God wants us to be patient, to be humble so that for the sake of unity, we learn to tolerate others.
Not many people tolerate proud or boastful person. When i say proud here, it includes not listening to other ideas, shooting down someone ideas before the person finish speaking, boasting of what the self has done in the past or referring repeatedly the weakness of another in front of others. These acts are from a proud heart. No one like to be in such company because the Christian wants to be surrounded by peace and love. When such things happen, people will just leave us or avoid us. That is why, sometimes we find that we have few friends. We have become unattractive to others. If we have been talking bad about others, we are acually comparing ourselves with them. Love understands and builds up. It does not destroy or seek to redicule or hurt others. Love brings humility to life.
During my hunting days, there were a number of things that I must be aware of once in the jungle. I have to be on the look out for dangerous animal such as snakes or leapord. There will be some throny plants so have to avoid such plants. Thorny plants are often a nusiance to us. So we try to avoid or cut a path through if we cannot avoid it. Not many people want to be associated with difficult people who are often causing nusiance or inconvenience to them. As for me, i will try to avoid the thorny plants. The same to life situation, we will try to avoid people who are ” thorns ” to us. If we experience situation where people try to avoid us, perhaps we need to make a self reflection on ourselves. Could be that we are causing difficulties in the life of others. Not many people could stand the words that we speak. Some although do not agree will either keep quiet or just avoid us some other times. When I mention about “thorn”, i am talking about hurting others with all kinds of things such as the words we speak or hindrances we cause to other people. A thorny branch can suddenly catch your leg or arms as you walk through the jungle. It will scratch our skin with cuts too. We could be a thorn to others.
Jesus told the people that the woman who used a very expensive perfume on him did something beautiful. When Jesus transforms us, He creates something beautiful in us. The beauty is experienced or seen by other people. Jesus mentioned about being light and salt to the world. That is what Christian ought to be, to do something beautiful to others no matter what the cost would be. To love others is more than just words. Are we doing something beautiful to those around us. Or are we a problem to others, a torn in the flesh to others or an inconvenience to others. Are we making life miserable to others. Are we causing others to fall. I read about King David asking,” Is there anyone left of the house of Jonathan that I can show kindness?” King David did not wait but think of doing something good or beautiful. We ought to have such a character because of what God had done in our life.
Touching on temptation, we often think that temptation is connected with money, sex and power. So we forget other things. Not many have the opportunity to do the above things. But in life’s journey, we might still stumble over little things, due to pride, self interest or family ties. We are tempted to look down on others when we start to make comparison with others. By thinking better than others, we say something to belittle others. We are tempted to use our ability to redicule or look down on others. Our self pride provoke us to be easily angry, which is exactly like being tempted to exert ourselves over others. That is why we must not be self- seeking. When we have godly great love, we will not have feeling of jealousy when others are better than us. We might be led to talk bad about others because of differing views, or we dislike the people concern. Our dislike of other people can make us treat others unfairly. Family ties or interest can sometimes tempt us to choose or nominate family members over other more qualified people if we are the one who will make decision. So many things can really stumble us. That is why, we are to do things in love.
Giving careful thoughts before we decide to act or do something will keep us from a lot of troubles. I had lost considerable amount of money because I was easily persuaded to join all kinds of financial schemes without prior consideration or consultation. Nowadays, people are working very hard to cheat others of their hard earned cash. The same to the devil, he is working over time to destroy us, that is to shame us, to lead us to commit something bad so that our ministry or testimony for God is finished. Usually, the devil used proxy because he is a spirit. Taking things for granted will also lead us into trouble. Thinking that other people will think the same as we are is quite dangerous. I had heard of someone who said he will go to the ISIS and try to reason out with them not to kill innocent people. He himself thought that they will be kind enough to consider his proposal. He went and got himself killed. Our training is no longer enough nowadays. We need to give careful thoughts to our ways or before we commit to do something.
Have you ever come across people who will always say something against any decision made by their leaders or committee members? Sometimes, certain people will always disapprove of what you do or what others do. Some people keep on reminding us of their disapproval or disagreement. It is not a good habit because we appreared to be less tolerant of others’ opinion, mistakes or action. When Paul said that love is patient and kind, the Apostle is telling us that there are people who cannot meet our standard or expectation. We have to have to learn to understand and be merciful to them. If other people keep on doing something different than what we do, can we say they are not good? We are never the same and we see things differently. In all circumstances, we must be humble, patience and full of understanding. The Apostle said we must not be rude or jealous. Many people are still waiting for the day that they are tempted like what the devil did to Jesus. They forgot that we are tempted everyday, to loose our temper, to discriminate others, to be rude to people or to be easily provoked. We are tempted to commit adultery or to cheat our way. In fact we are facing all these today. Listening to the advice of others is also an act of humility.
Not every one will be president, prime minister, manager, engineer but everyone will be good in something that they like best. It is better to do what you are passionate about then to dream of some posts or positions that does not suit us. Doing something that we like make us more successful because we tend to be satisfied with what we can do well. If we are good in playing the guitar, you will enjoy it more. That is very important,we need to enjoy our work or our job.
To get rid of a problem is not that easy. Many people thinks that to solve a problem, we must get rid of the problem. It would be like, in the jungle, you try to get rid of the thorns so that we will not step on any thorns. If we kill all the thorny plants, then it will affect the ecosystem. For instance, in school, you have many indisipline students. If we expel all our problem students, there will not be any more students left. How to solve problem is not to get rid of the problem but to turn it into something good. SOMETIMES we could be the reason for the problem too. Enabling people to face problems would be a lot better. The world will always be full of sins, so we need to ensure that we are able to prevent sins from overcoming us. We should read more of the Bible to give us strength to face temptation.
I just got a letter from my superiors that I had been awarded excellent service certificate. This would be the third time I was given this sort of recognition by HQ and these give us some good feeling too. But my earning this has a lot to do with team work that had brought successess, and therefore not entirely because of me. There are others who contributed to my success. That is what happens when we work in organisation of which we are the head. Due to the hard work our staff, the boss will get the name. My point here is to be thankful to all those people that support us and that contributed to our success. Without them, we might not be able to receive any recognition at all. The same to matters of faith. We are nothing without Christ. But with Christ, we will have everything. To be thankful to God is what we must have each and everyday.
Most of us have life insurance, to cover us while we are citizen of this world. A friend of mine, who is an insurance agent recalled how he was opposed by a Christian brother for selling insurance. It was good that I took a medical card ( insurance medical card) before I was hospitalized and being operated for apendicitis. Without that I would have to look for money to pay for the high cost. It would have been difficult for my family if not for the insurance. I did not have to pay anything to the private hospital. At least the monthly premium that I had paid for the past years save the day. It was a good use of the money that I had earned, to prevent my family from having to look for a big amount of money. To me there is nothing wrong to invest because it was mentioned in the Bible. While in this world, do something good that will bring benefit to us. Spiritually, we need to receive Jesus as our Lord and saviour as our insurance of eternal life. Without Christ, we will not be covered by His blood. There will not be a new life in Him. So we need to invest in eternal life. The only way is to have Jesus in our life.
After being hospitalized for 3 days( Apendicitis operation), I was unable to do anything for two weeks! That of course was a big disappointment for me. However, I look at it as something good, getting rid of something bad in me and having a medical check up the vital organs in my body. Tomorrow I will resume duty. Thinking of it all, God wants us to be healthy to be able to do something benefitial in life. That is why, what we take into our body should be the right thing or food. We have to be careful with our own health so that we do not experience pain or suffering at our own doing. A simple lifestyle like those in the countryside is in fact ways to ensure that we are healthy. God gives us the freedom of choice but we have to make the correct choice too. Wrong choice is still our choices so no one is to be blame if we meet with trouble or difficulties. Spiritually, we can also be very sick too. We cannot do much for the ministry because of sins. We need to get rid of such problem so that we are able to impact society by the way we live.
One of the most important things in life especially on earth is health. If we do not look after our health well, then once we get sick, we will be quite disappointed with life because not being ready. No matter how rich we are, how big our houses may be, we have many friends, if we are lying on our bed sick, those things will not bring any comfort or ease our suffering. That is why, health is the most important to look after; not our pride, not our wealth, not our enjoyment etc. Once we get sick, we simple cannot enjoy anything. So really to look after our health, examine our lifestyle first, what we eat or take in our bodies. Get advice from doctors. These things are to me something very important. Before anything happen, always prevent it from happening. Prevention is better than cure.
Has been very dry weather for the past months. Depending on the rain for water would cause problem because if the rain doesn’t come, then we would be in big trouble. Any soil can crack or be parched dry if drought prolongs. Cracked soil will affect the plant life. The roots of plants could break too. Most trees dried up and eventual die if there is severe drought.
But any tree growing by the river will not dry up because its roots can always draw water from the everflowing river. That is why the psalmist said, trees planted by the river, its leaves will not dry up but will remain fresh and will bear fruits.
In our spiritual journey, the Word of God is the ever flowing streams. The word of God is the food and water for our spiritual life. We cannot go without the Bible. That is why many Christians become dried up and become disillusion. They no longer get the necessary nourishment from the Word of God. Of course they go to church and church activities but they do not read and meditate upon the Word of God. They get information from the Bible but second hand information. It is different when we read the Word of God ourselves. The more we read, the more we thirst for the truth and hunger for the bread of life. Lets be attached to the vine for Christ is the vine and we are the branches.
To many, life is doing this, doing that, running here, running there and there appear no rest for the soul. In our doing things, we tend to set up target to achieve. So life seemed to project towards a target. When we can’t achieve our target, we become disappointed or angry, and soon we look for the blame. Sometimes, we seemed to be in a competition, with others, so the struggle to be better, richer, stronger, more beautiful, more powerful etc become an everyday activity. So in our homes we have certificates, we have trophies and gifts. In the pursuit of power, wealth and fame, it will involve other human beings too. So this is the life that we are living in. However, if we go deep in the jungle, or sit at the top of a mountain, stay at a remote village or stay away from the city, we will have a different perspective to life. Even without such busyness or competition, we actually can survive in this world. Even without big homes or expensive cars, we can still live a normal life. One of the greatest spoilers of a happy life is an uncontrollable desire. A life of contentment is what we need to seek and if we have enough love, the desire to be better than the others will soon disappear. Love dispells fear and is not proud, not selfseeking nor arrogant. It is kind, and does not keep records of wrong. It is quick to forgive. Enough love will make us love life and be conteted with even the little that we have.
The prophet Jonah was biased towards the people of Nineveh. He was influenced by the evil that the people of Nineveh did to Israel when they attacked Israel. He wanted God to punish them and not to tell them to repent. So Jonah tried to run away from God’s command. But God also have mercy on other people including our enemies. Our enemies or the people we dislike belong to God also. God does not want them to perish. So we thought that God must help us. Some people are so wicked because they were not told about God. We should be the one to tell them. Helping even our enemies will bring reconciliation. God wants us to reconcile and have peace with all men. Praying for those that dislike or hate us will see a lot of changes in our own life. Knowing that God forgive all people should make us want to build bridges with those who hate or want to make our life difficult. It would save us from all kinds of worries or anxiety.
Many believers only sing praises unto God during worship service on Sunday or during other corporate worship. On a personal basis, we rarely open our mouth to sing to exalt His name. This is where we are not worshipping God on our own. We need to worship God in songs alone too like we pray or read His word on our own. The main reason for us to sing alone is to be more personal and not to be influenced by what is around us. Approaching God alone is something that we need to learn to do. God’s power is revealed during this worship moment. Some of my songs came during these personal moments with God. Not necessary we must know how to play the instrument.
When we hear of marriage ending in divorce, we are sad. Lot of questions will be asked. For all we know, such marriage is between the opposite sex. However, we are shock to learn that marriage for some nowadays is between person of the same sex, ie man with man or woman with woman. This is totally out of what marriage was suppose to be. Marriage in the first place was God’s made institution, not man. He took the left rib of Adam to create Eve. So it was between Adam ( a male ) and Eve , a woman. Not between man and man or woman and woman. So we altered God’s way based on our own desire. We say it is our right. Going against what God had instituted is not a good thing to do. Sure, when we leave this world, we will be facing God. That is not a good prospect at all.
Everyone wants peace in the heart. If we really think about it, we will know that the issues that trouble our hearts are often the feeling of guilt, fears of all kinds of things and worries about what others would think of us. When we feel guilty, we need to get God’s forgiveness and make amend. The blood of the lamb cleanse us including our guilt conscience. That happens when we are forgiven. We will know it because of the peace that enter our heart when we are forgiven. Human pride is often that makes us clash with others. Human pride wants to be better than the rest, or do not want to be criticize, ribuked or advised. Humility and patience in very crucial here. If we let go our position of pride, and let ourselves be second best or second place and be happy when others are praised or elevated, bitterness and jealousy will not take place in our hearts. The fears associated with that will go away. Sometimes we are so worried about others. We must not keep the wrong of others in our hearts. These are the things that will prick our heart. Forgive others is one way to get rid of bitterness or bad feelings about others.
I had observed a mother accompanying his son who is an asperger’s sydrome child. Seeing her in my school helping her child remind me of how strong mothers are. Mothers are given special love for their children so that inspite of what, they will always be with their children. This should be noted by all concerned especially the male community. The husbands must give due recognition and support to their wife so that they are not burden with dealing with husband’s irresponsible behaviours. Sometimes the wife is so stressed with work because their husband are not playing their role as head of the family. Fathers of special children must give extra support to their wives to enable them to cope with this special challenge. Looking after special children really need plenty of support, physically, mentally and emotionally. Spiritual support is really needed to.
Love is not understood until we experience it. For instance, I will know a person has love when the person help someone unconditionally, speak kind words or give you something when you are in great need. Action speaks louder than words. What people see in our deeds, words or reaction will represent the real us. So the proof of love is in our giving or our deeds. Where our treasure is, there is our hearts also. Most people who are concern will show up in any activities they think are important. People who does not show interest will not show up, or they will find excuse. Love is an issue of the heart. It touches the heart. Love touches the heart.
Misunderstanding is one of the reasons that make people not happy with one another. Until we understand ourselves, we will always have misunderstanding. By understanding and knowing ourselves will make us feel how others feel too. For instance, as we are easily hurt with certain type of comment about ourselves, others will also feel the same way too if we give similar comment to them. The best way to avoid conflict is to prevent oneself from creating it. Another way is to make friends with people. When this happen, we will be able to understand one another and protect each others’ feeling. The more we meet people, the more we will understand other people.
Thinking about difficulties of life, no one is exempted. These will cause us troubled hearts, doubts and anxieties and of course pain and broken hearts. Some break us down and really beat us. Such are storms of life. But if we have Jesus in our hearts, there will be peace and quiet. Because Jesus is God and creator of all things, the waves and winds listen to Him. Likewise, If Jesus is in our Boat, whatever storms that we face, He is there to help us weather the storms and make our journey safe and secured. The sources of our storms are many. It could be created by us. Our disobedience causes things to come against us. For instance, we should not take drugs, but if we do, it has adverse effect on us. Can we blame others for the effect of the drugs will take? Samson and the prodigal son are example of storms started by people themselves. God has put in place laws of nature. We will reap what we sow. So sometimes we might create the storms in our life. The only way out is to be humbled and return to God.
Seeking the audience of good parents is one that young married couples need to do in order to start a family. Parenting is no easy matter if we do it on our own. Children are not for experiment of all kinds of methods. We want to do it right first time. The only way to do it is to ask for advice from successful family in the community. Again, we might ask, what do we mean by successful? We must look at character, spiritual upbringing and education. Spiritual upbringing is mandated to us by God. Good spiritual upbringing will help with the development of the character etc. But we can get the advice from those whom we think had a happy family to start with. I believe, by seeking advice, we have a rough idea of how to be good parents to our children, to avoid future problems.
Many parents are very worried about their children’ behaviour. Of course who are not worried if our son is caught stealing in school? Who is not worried if our children are caught because of doing something that is not good? We will be very worried if they do not perform in school. Sometimes we over react when our children did something bad. We hit them, scold them or penalized them as a result. But actually we need not over react and do something negative upon our children. Mistakes, error etc do happen all the time and we need to understand that so that when such things happen to our children, we are prepared a plan b or c. Having alternative plans will prevent us from loosing our cool. When our children behave in a bad way, they have learned it from somewhere. They are being influence, either by what they see and experience at home or outside the house. The reason why we need to be patient is, we could be the source of their behaviour. If that is the case, we have not been a good parent. We need to rectify and improve. Another source could be their friends ( peer ) whom they spend a lot of their time with. Another source will be what they see on the TV screen or media. Parenting is not that easy you see. We need others to help us if there is a great need.
Many things happen in school. School is a place where we will learn a lot of things to prepare for life. We learn to read and write so that we can and are able to read and write. We learn to speak so that we can communicate. There is opportunity to mix with other people and learn to interact, lead and help. So the character is further developed. We have extra co-curricular activites, more of character and basic skill training. Different parents have different ways of bringing up their children, so in school we will need everyone to follow a standard set of curriculum etc However, what we learn in school is not adequate. Parents must help their own children outside the school. House chores, gardening, going for holidays and practising their faith are opportunities to develop a person to be more holistic
Misunderstanding is often the main cause of confrontation between individuals, people or group. Our perception are sometimes not correct because what we think of people might not be true. We can easily be influenced by other people or by our own personal experiences. Sometimes, its like interpreting a dream. We can never be so sure. Someone may say that a particular person is not good and that actually is his or her personal view or opinion. Between us and that particular person, things might be different. Someone once told me that so and so is not a good person. I found out, that the person concerned was a nice person. That is why, the Apostle Paul reminded us to be patient in tight situation so that there is time for us to understand a situation or person more. If we are not patient, we might accuse someone wrongly. If that happens, it would make the situation worse. Being patient gives time for healing or for things to cool down.
Life needs some control in certain areas, especially when it comes to natural desire. What we want might not be necesarily good for us. Winning in any quarrel or fight might not be good for us too. In any quarrel or fight, no one wins and be free. Deep hatred or anger remains in the heart of the ‘loser.’ What we desire to do might bring us more harm than good. I might like to eat prawn but I must control my craving due to health reasons. Uncontrol desire for wealth too will lead us into evil deed or temptation. Sometimes friends will remind us to control ourselves too. The Scriptures talk about contentment and simplicity which leads to a joyful and peaceful life. A lot of quarrels can be avoided if we control ourselves and be patient. It saves friendship and improve relationship.
A mother came to see me this morning. She requested that her son be exempted from extra curricular activities. Her reason, he cannot control himself. She even told me, she had slapped him sometimes. I told her not to and find other ways to understand him and make him like to mix around with more friends and not one. I suggested, she bring her children for holidays just to take him away from his friend. He also can do things like playing music since he can play the keyboard. From my conversation with this mother, she was really unhappy with the behaviour of her son. I told her to develop his music ability and get him to be involved in church music etc. In that way, he will make friends with some good young people who can play music. These people can help him to develop his character too. If we cannot really reach the heart of our children, we can ask others to help us, especially those whom our children befriend. Those friends can show him who they treat their parents or family.
We make a lot of decision in life. Some good ones and some bad ones. I had made decisions that will give some impact too. This is where we need to be bold to make some changes in life. Many years ago I decided not to go for reelection to head the Lun Bawang Association. I was able to free myself from many things after leading that association for 10 years. It would be good for some people but for me, we cannot overstay. Some other people can assume responsibility better than ourselves if given a chance. Many people were not happy that I did not continue but I had to make the desision for myselfand my family. Many of us are keeping old things eventhough these were no more of use. As a result, our house is congested for lack of space. We can remove the irrelevant ones, we will be more comfortable once we have enough space. The same to our hearts. God, family and friends should be priority in life. Don’t put our hobby first or our treasures first. God must be first followed by our own family.
With the oil price going down rapidly, many oil and gas companies have retrenched their workers and now, they, who had been earning high income and enjoying life are unemployed and finding life difficult. Imagine, those who had commited on houses and expensive cars are unable to make the next instalment. On the contrary, those villagers in the countryside and in the highlands are least affected because their lives revolved around their farms, gardens or land. They plant and harvest their own effort. If they want fish, they look after their fishpond and they dont have to go to the fish markets. They can survive without even having much money in the bank. So life is based on contentment with what you have. If we have some vegetables, rice and fruits, we can have a good life. That is why, I suggest we look back at what our parents before did on their plot of lands and make some efforts to do gardening, plants fruit trees and have fish pond. Nowadays, people can plant vegetables in pots, bags or tins.
What do the Christians face everyday? If there is no persecution, they have to face with all kinds of temptation. One of course is our fleshly desires. Another one is our pride. Is our pride being tested everyday. Lustful desire is one common temptation but what about pride? Temptation is to get us to do something against what we are taught. So pride is the same. We are tempted to boast and be seen better than the others. Humility prevents us from being tempted to be proud. One way to fall is to be easily provoked. The Bible teaches us to be patient and have self control. While discipline is required to restrain us not to fall into temptation, we need self control so that we do not fall by way of provocation. Many Christians have bad tempers- because they are easily provoked. Bad tempers easily protray lack of peace and joy in our life. Our faith is often questioned when we display such wild manners. Besides, a lack of love and mercy make some intolerable to even a little error or mistake. So we become modern day Pharisees. When Jesus told the poor thief that he will be with Him is paradise, we see the heart of God, which is a heart of gold. Let us shine so that people know that God is in control of our life.
Our desires need to be controlled just like we need to control our temper. Infact, our old desires are the ones that will get us into trouble if we are not careful. Our lusts, our greed are some that will want to subdue us each and everyday unless we are prepared for it. Our thoughts will keep that pressure on us to either submit or not. Lusts come as a result of the desire of the flesh. There is always a battle raging in our mind trying to get our attention and consent. Once we comply or we agree, that’s mean we will do it. It is not easy to get rid of these fleshly craving because they are part of us. However we need God in us to enable us to beat the temptation. Putting God’s word and godly thoughts will eliminate the evil thoughts or push them away. Renewing our mind with God’s Word is to get rid of these old desires. That is why meditation is so important. Being prepared for these temptation will help to enable us to make some kind of defence too. Once we know when such desires emerged, we will be able to prevent it from getting out of control. With Christ in our vessel, we can smile at the storm.
In ancient times until now, the work of darkness is still there now. In the old days, people kill using spears, bow and arrows, but during our time, we use weapons of all kinds. Nowadays people can be killed in large numbers. The items or weapons used were different but the condition of the heart has not changed. The Bible mentioned that the heart is full of wickedness or darkness UNLESS it is born again in Christ. God must dwell in to bring the light or else, the heart is where deception or wickedness dwell. So actually there is no different in the deeds of the heart, although we are living in modern times. That is why, we need the Holy Spirit to sanctify our hearts, or else we are under the influence of a dark heart. People in the old days steal, or rob. There is no difference today. So never think that the Christian faith of old is irrelevant today. Never think that heaven or hell are no more today. We need Christ more today than before.
Parenting is not an easy responsibility but we cannot pass it totally to someone else . The reason is, the child will still come back to where he or she comes from. In other words, before a person marries, he or she better learn some basic responsibility of child care or rearing. Otherwise, we will have a trouble life brought about by difficult children. Worst still, nobody will really take care of us when we are old. Basically, we take good care of our children. Then they will learn how to take good care of us. If we scream at them, they will scream at us. Why? Because we taught them. If they make mistakes? Do we punish them? They will make mistakes, so don’t be to unreasonable by acting too intolerant. Prevention is better than cure. So to lessen mistakes, tell or teach them early and in a stable temperment. When my children were very small, i will purposely point to some people who smoke. Then will tell my kids nicely why we should not smoke. They will know the negative effect of smoking at a very early age. My children are grown ups already. They had not touch a cigarette. The best teaching is our life. To be close to our children is the most important- that is to play and talk with them. To bring them to do some simple work together. They will treasure that very much. It is important to be with our children from the day they were born to their schooling days. When they start working and have a family of their own, they will not be able to be with us anymore. So before they fly from the nest, make use of every moment with them.
Parenting is no easy job, especially if the child is neglected between the day the child is born to the age of 7. During these learning years, where the child is absorbing anything that he or she heard or experienced, be it good or bad. During these years, a child need to learn how to speak politely by watching his parents or sibling talk or interact. He need to learn to be responsible by doing simple task in the house, such as sweeping the floor, cleaning or washing. He learns how to behave by just observing and experiencing life in the family. He learn to love reading when he sees everyone reading or his parents teach him or her to read. This interest will pick up if the parents can tell interesing stories from the book. The heart of caring is nurtured by acts of caring within the family. The child learn to go to church if the parents bring them to church. So you see, the real teachers are the parents themselves. Are the parents thinking of the near future? If we do not prepare the kids like what I had mentioned, it is the parents who will suffer for the rest of their life getting into trouble by the action of their children who will be adult later. If the children were not taught to care, then frankly speaking…the parents will not have anyone who will really take of them when they are old. That is why parenting is so important. Don’t blame the children if they do not look after us when we grow old.
Over the years, we are often confused by many well meaning Christians on the Christian life. The issue of salvation are often very confusing to many because teachings on spiritual gifts, deeds and others were often appeared more important than the love of God and issue of salvation. The conversation at the cross, between the criminal and Jesus is something that we need to meditate so that at least we know the true love of God that we so really needed to understand. The prayer or wish of the poor suffering thief ” Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom” is a simple request, using words that were used in some of the Books of the Bible and Jesus replied that the thief will be with Him in paradise. If deeds were a condition to enter heaven, the man has none. If lofty prayers is a condition, he has none either. If spiritual gifts must be had, I don’t think this poor man can enter, for he has no opportunity to exercise them. It is God’s mercy, forgiveness and kindness which are the component of this great love of God that made it possible for us to be saved.
It is really sad if parents try to defend their children from being discipline by the school. Disciplining a student is a normal process of character development. This happen in school and at home. Everyone are not angel but a person can be change from bad to good through proper discipline process. Discipline is not canning, doing some task or fine only. If you give advice, talk or warning, that is the process of discipline in itself. If the teacher scolds a student for wrong doing, let it be because that will teach that student to be more careful or not to repeat his mistakes. We need to be told if we are doing something wrong because if not, we will doing something that can spoil or destroy us. Every person has a blind spot. We cannot see but others can see.
I had a problem with a students who had been playing truancy, stealing is school and taking drugs. When the authorities recommended the child to go for rehabilitation, the parents refused. The student dropped out. A few days ago, I received a police report saying the boy was caught stealing in a shop. The parents have to go to the police station to go through all kinds of procedures. They have to go to courts too. That boy is just a 15 years old. Imagine the parents could go in and out of courts because of the boy throughout their life is the boy is not disciplined.
This is what we want to avoid isn’t it. That is why, we need to cooperate with the school if the school informed us. A problematic student can only be really helped if the parents are involved.
What happened in Paris, Beriut and in the African continent is a result of the devil activities. Killing innocent lives are evil and to use the name of God in such barbaric acts is blasphemy, according to the Pope and that is is true. Our God is a merciful loving God and not a murdering God. He created life, not destroy it. The Scriptures pointed out that the unvelievers eyes are blinded by the evil forces of this world. Their minds are locked or closed and only the love of God can open it. Many people who had locked minds and eyes had been delivered by the vision oF Jesus in their dreams, otherwise, we try to tell them about God, they will be mad at us. The best way is to pray for God to show Himself in visions and dreams, otherwise it is not easy to remove those blindness which is from the inside.
How can I help in the ministry? I don’t have the money. I don’t have the ability. I am not qualified. The reason why we say that is because our perspective is clouded by what is going around us. We start to compete, who is the best. We start to compare, can I do it like that fellow? Why are some members moving from one church to another? Because they are looking for what they are looking for a church that will meet their expectation. So they keep on searching because, when we focuss on the created, we will forget the Creator. When we focus on the Creator, then anywhere will do. Comparing our abilities with others will discourage us. We feel that there are some who can worship lead, preach or do something better than us. So, comparing abilities will definitely make us not willing to take part. We let others take the lead. So sometimes, those who are actively involve in church work are those elected or in the council. In fact, God has given us special abilities by which we can serve Him. He gives to each one base on our abilities. What is that special ability or abilities? We should find out… especially one that most won’t be able to do except ourselves.
Something done less often, we will eventually forget or not good at it. If we play the guitar often, we will get better and become more skillful. The same to thinking, remembering or gaining knowledge or skills. A person becomes more skillful because he does the work regularly and therefore gain more experience. Experience teaches us that knowing theory is not enough. Head knowledge is not enough either. We need hands on knowledge, which requires doing things regularly. Why we need to do something important regularly is to prevent it from slipping away from us. Reading God’s word will prevent our knowledge and love of God slipping away from us. Stop reading the Bible and soon our knowledge of God will decrease. Once the knowledge of God is very little, our love for Him will be affected. That is why, we must hold on to the Bible, because we do not want to be lukewarm in our love for God. We do not want to grow cold in our faith. Whether we like it or not we must hold on to God’s word by reading it and by praying and praising God regularly.
I dreamed of walking barefooted last night. Walking bare footed could mean something that would reflect on our own personality. Returning to the ground of things, which will give us a new sense of freedom. Spiritually it suggests a life of humility, where people will recognize and respect. Thinking of it, dream is just not dream. There is a message be it from our self or from the divine. So when I look at the meaning of this dream, I sense that my next course of action will give me a sense of peace and freedom, which will be good for me and for other people. It will untie me from things that I struggle to do. Many of us want to hold on to many positions which we could not really handle. We boast about it but actually we have done very little. We could have been better of if someone else can handle those and then we will be free from anxiety etc. We will be more focus on fewer things and would be able to give quality attention as a result. So resignation from some responsibility is not that bad.
A father was not very happy with me for not acting fast to take back his son to school. His son had been absence from school for about 60 days, and through out his absence, we had tried to reach the father but to no avail. Now he was blaming us for going through so many procedure in enrolling his son back. And i asked him why he had not acted on our reminders to him to send his son to school. We have given him 3 reminders about his son’s absence and all were ignored. When I asked him that, he became quiet.
Sometimes we forgot that we are the source of our troubles. We need to look ahead so that we can make better decisions. For instant, if we see in the distant of heavy clouds, we better check whether our umbrella is there. Disciplining a child is the same. When they are young we can guide them so that they are of good discipline. If we ignore leading them, somebody else will teach them ahead of us. We need to cooperate with the teachers to discipline our children because in the near future, when the child leave school, he is going to stay with the parents for life. If he is of bad character, the parents would not be able to live in peace for the rest of their life. That teacher that we scolded will be some where.
Disciplining our child is for the near future. Therefore, we must be wise and act accordingly. Do not ignore the discipline of our children so that we would be able to live in peace. I believe, when we are old, we need a responsible and loving children to be around us.
The first will be last and the last will be first. Jesus, I believe, is mentioning about backsliding and complacency. Those who received Jesus early in life might backslide due to complacency and pride. They, who earlier on laugh at the ” tax collectors ” and sinners could be last when these “tax collectors and sinners ” turn from their ways and receive Christ. I had seen many people turned to Christ from difficult life. And when they receive Christ, they became transformed, far better than those who have been attending church all their lives. This is what is happening these days. Many left their wild life and receive Christ, showing great passion for God in comparation to the others. So how to sustain and increase our passion for Christ so that we will not be left behind? Constant Fellowship with God through His word and with the other believers are critical for victorious life. Reading God’s word and meditating upon it and obeying it is what will make us more and more like Christ. Obedience matters most. Remember the parable of the two sons? The father asked his son to go but even though he refused at first, he still went. The other agreed but in the end, didn’t go. The first one, eventhough he refused at first, went and obeyed his father. Jesus commended him for obedience. Eventhough he went grudgingly, he still went.
We always take for granted of many things based on our experiences and form human point of view. One of course is to claim that God is in us. God certainly is in His believers. There is no doubt about that. Those who receive Jesus as Lord and saviour will have the Holy Spirit in the person. In other words, God is dwelling in the person’s heart. The issue is, if God is in us, why are we yet to be transformed in our minds and heart. God’s presence in our hearts would bring changes or transformation in our lives. God’s presence bring love and godly influence in our lives. Day by day we grow into maturity because the presence of the Holy Spirit enable us to bear fruits. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? The evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit is the fruits. If our lives does not show or bear fruits of the Holy Spirit, then we better examine ourselves really les we get stopped at the gate of heaven, like the 5 foolish women. Not all those who say,Lord! Lord will enter the Kingdom of God. A life that pursue holiness or righteousness and love for God and others are sure indication that we are moving in the right direction and not in a situation of ” make believe.” Some other indication that God is in us is our relationship with God and with others. The letters of John says those who has God has love. At the same time, the believers cease to sin. We will be very conscious of sins and will avoid it. Whatever our thoughts are, we know God will lead us unto Himself and we surely will do things that please Him. We must live a life worthy of Him.
When I was a child, it was not easy to share what I like most with others, including my brothers or sisters. It would take a lot time for parents to persuade their children to share with their siblings. After being persuaded, we will share. But when we are old, we might not have anyone to advice us to let go what we have. In fact, when a person is old, some of the habits will really stick and therefore difficult to go. Old habits die hard some people said. And its true. Have we kept any old things that are quite irrelevant at home? Some took a lot of spaces. When we are already grown up or at an old age, we have to learn to live for today and the future. We have to accept things that come our way and listen to others so that we are at peace in our heart and with people. We do not want others to say, ” That stubborn old man etc ” do we, and they may be right. So friends, we need to let go many things that are of the past so that our heart will be a lot lighter. Do not insist we are right and try to overide others no matter what. Sometimes listen to others or accept others’ idea. Sometimes we may think of when we have listen to others more against how many times, in any meetings, we insist others to follow us. We might be that child who do not want to share even little things.
We cannot stop the birds from flying over our heads but we can stop them from building their nests on our heads( Andrew Murray). Our mind is a battle ground where temptation flashes through in our thoughts, through what we see, hear and feel. We cannot help it at times but we can choose to prevent them from settling down in our minds. We can divert our attention or thoughts on something else such as on things of God. That is why, we refrain from going to certain places so as to avoid being tempted or being hurt. We associate ourselves with the wise or the skillful if we want certain skills because we do not want to be too idle. Idleness is the devil workshop, somebody said. something longer in our minds, if not good will bring no good to our soul or heart. The reason is our old nature is neighbour to the new life. The old nature is enticing and trying to get our attention. That is why the Apostle Paul reminded us to think of things above so that we might focus more on God and not the things of the world. So really, we need to be more alert so that we are not lured into something which will trap us. Normally when we do something good, our minds will be thinking of doing something good.
Praising God is a command. We will find that in many verses in the Bible. God asked us to praise His Name and to PROCLAIM His good deeds among the nations. He also reminded us to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and with praise” which we often sing. But not all love to sing praises and perhaps understand the meaning of praises. Even to sing, many said that they cannot sing. The main reason why some refuse to sing is we always compare ourselves with others who are good at singing. Infact, everyo