24 July 2014
We know that all who have stood before God or even His angels in the bible have been stuck by fear and reverence – even to the extent of casting themselves face down onto the ground in the presence of the Holy One.
As Christians, we believe that having a relationship with Jesus is key to living a righteous life before God. Jesus who came to us in human likeness was far different from the overwhelming presence of God because Jesus was like us. But we should also remember that Jesus will look very different when He returns. Revelations 19:11-16 describes Jesus on his return as:
“Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that’s known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as “Word of God.” The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords.“
At the return of Jesus, we would be standing before God and the description and thought of that already provides both a sense of fear and self-reflection. How will i measure up? What would i say? Will Jesus say to me, “Good and faithful servant” or “Away from me, for I never knew you.”. These two sentences alone are enough to keep me cautious in not taking my faith too lightly. Whilst faith does encourage and God does comfort, the life of a Christian should not dwell only in such coziness.
Let me be ready Lord, let me stand before you in confidence on that day. Prepare my mind, body and soul to meet you on the appointed day. May i not slip into spiritual complacency but dutifully serve you in gratitude and reverence. May love motivate me and establish my actions.
23 July 2014
I believe the character of a person is more important than the ability of a person. A brilliant mind can achieve many things alone, but character that can inspire the masses may achieve far more.
It’s important to cultivate both godly character as well as an eye for judging the character of people around us. We don’t live in isolation from other people but live in a community. It’s therefore crucial to know who we can depend on and who we need to keep a closer eye on. It’s a fine balance between not judging someone and being shrewd in our dealings with other people. Jesus called his disciples to be as innocent as doves but to also be shrewd when dealing with difficult people or dangerous situations.
There may come a time in life when we need to depend on someone else and a proper assessment of who we can and should not depend on, may mean all the difference.
Father Lord, you created me not alone but with a community. Yet let me be careful in my dealings and be a good judge of character in a person. Just as the apostles themselves also needed help from other people in their ministry and life, so will i. And may you open my eyes to choose wisely those i can trust and depend on when i need to.
22 July 2014
Being useful to God is always better than being blessed by God. I believe that God does want to bless us and many occasions I find myself recalling all the things I am grateful for. I know my wife, parents, home and job are all gifts from God which I am eternally indebted to, not to mention my new life and forgiveness in Christ!
But I also realise that these worldly “blessings” can also be the things to hold me back from answering the call of God. Because the thought of losing any one of them is devastating and unimaginable. To jeopardise the security would not be easy. Yet I must not forget that the higher calling of Christ is not just to live to ourselves but to live for Christ. I must be ready like a soldier and I must remember that my duty is always to serve God first.
2 Timothy 2:4 “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
As much as I enjoy the gifts from God, I pray that I never get entangled in them that I forget about my first love – my Lord and my God.
Lord, I pray that I am ready in my heart to listen to your wishes and to move in the direction your Holy Spirit desires me. May I give allegiance to your instruction and may I not become too comfortable with civilian pursuits. May I be useful to you Lord.
21 July 2014
It is quite common for Christians to reach a “plateau” of sorts in their faith. When people first come to faith in Jesus, there is often a marked change in their way of life, but over the years, the initial passion and enthusiasm can wear down.
I often wondered if this is a natural and normal occurrence or if this is something we need to pay more attention to. To be honest, i find my faith walk this way too. But i also feel it is not aligned with what God intended us to be.
Perhaps, we are sometimes not looking into creating new ways of keeping our faith alive and alert. I believe that no one can ever “master” faith and the message of Christ. There is revelation after revelation that i believe God intends for us to have in our walk with Him. Maybe, if we only intentionally seek His divine revelation and for him to give us new spiritual eyes and alertness over the course of our lives, being a Christian can and will be much more of a roller-coaster ride.
There is always something new that God wants to teach us. It may be something about ourselves, our family, our surroundings, or globally. God is not static and until the return of Christ, God is at work in carrying out His plans. Perhaps we need to also pray for this divine revelation so that we can partake in His plan for us and this world.
Lord Jesus, may i not be complacent in my faith and understanding of scripture. May you awaken my senses and keep me spiritually alert to the things you desire for me to learn. May i grasp each opportunity that you provide for me to catch a glimpse into what You desire for me to learn and how you desire for me to live.
20 July 2014
Visionaries like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and the likes are all celebrated persons and an inspiration to many. They saw an alternative way to a system that needed improving. They met a need or provided a solution in creative ways, and they also had the tenacity to see their vision materialize.
Spiritual vision can also make an immense difference to a believer. If we only focus on keeping our spiritual discipline in check by observing the laws, we may be missing the plot.
Matthew 19:16-30 speaks about a rich young man who came to Jesus to ask how he might inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he had to obey the commandments, to which the rich young man quickly confirmed his constant obedience. Yet the young man knew there may be something else missing – and prompted Jesus further as to what that was. Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he should sell all his possessions and give to the poor – then go and follow Jesus. At this point, the young man became sad and walked away from Jesus. The young man had great wealth he was not willing to forsake.
Why could this story be linked to vision? Because the young man was concerned only with obeying the commandments in order to save himself and could not see the bigger picture to which the commandments were pointing toward. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and there Jesus was, standing before the young man.
But vision is also about seeing beyond our everyday troubles. Vision is agreeing with God to see further. Sometimes, God will want a believer to see wider spiritual truths to mature the believer so that the believer can participate in God’s vision at a higher level. Without higher spiritual vision, we may be even missing God’s calling in our lives, and like the young man, rejecting God’s calling into something far better.
Lord Jesus, widen my spiritual eyes and capacity to take in all that you are preparing me for and toward. As i grow in my faith, i pray you lift my vision and help me see your bigger picture and how you want me to participate in your divine calling. Let me not miss the bigger picture.
19 July 2014
It is common to see parents give the very best to their children and I would imagine I would also want to do the same for my child. But when Jesus came to us in the flesh, the Father had sent Jesus to be born in a time of great danger and in the arms of a helpless and relatively poor couple.
Jesus did not grow up in royalty or rise up the ranks in society. Which leaves much to be thought about for the disciple. Some disciples believe following Jesus therefore means we must be like Him in this life in all respects. In terms of money and properties, some believe nothing should be owned and quote scripture to support the requirement that all disciples should sell their possessions and give to the poor.
I do not know what exactly a disciple should do with his or her possessions and money, but I do not think our positions of influence, whether in terms of money or authority are given to us just so that we can give it all away or give it all up to be “nothing”.
Rather I think there comes the responsibility and duty of every believer to use his or her talents, possessions, influence and authority given to them, in the best possible way so as to serve the common good of others as well as to take care of themselves and their own families. At the same time, we should not expect God to always bless us materially since material blessings are not necessarily part of God’s plan and are not necessary to accomplish His will to bless our lives or use us. Material blessings if given need to be weighed with care and godly prudence. It is not a consequential result of our faith or good works, it has nothing to do with being more blessed than another. It’s about responsibility.
Father Lord, I know in my life I tend to take material possessions for granted and may even be wasteful and careless in how I use the things you have given me. May I not be self seeking or hoard what you have given me to bless others. I want to be responsible in how I use what I have been given, be it time, money, influence or authority. May I be faithful and proud to meet you face to face on the day of your return.
19 July 2014
There are times in our life when we have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes it may be a choice between hiding or covering up a mistake versus confessing it. It’s easy to come up with reasons that relieve us of some responsibility. We instinctively find something or someone to blame for our mistakes. But deep down, we know it was something we had responsibility for.
Besides our conscience, the Holy Spirit also spurs us on in revealing the secret ways of our heart. When we are not aligned with the truth, our conscience may play up, but it can be easily persuaded and we can convince ourselves that it isn’t all that bad. But i believe the Holy Spirit can take us a step further, by giving us the courage to also confess to our mistakes or to own up for our actions and where we fall short.
And we also have the grace of God and the forgiveness ultimately found in Jesus. Although not all mistakes may be sin, there is a difference in the person that owns up to ones own mistakes and the person who finds a way to hide or pass on the blame elsewhere.
Holy Spirit, may you lead me in courage to meet my mistakes or inadequacies head on. May i not hide from my responsibilities and may i also find solace, forgiveness and another chance to make things right again. I believe that you can restore and redeem and i pray that i will walk in this faith and not be afraid to own up to where i have fallen short.