A New Job During COVID-19 Outbreak – A Testimony

The news about COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore (where I am working) and whole world spread and caused great fear to everyone. It has a lot of implications in the economy that can caused work retrenchments up to closing of small businesses. A low economy may mean a hard time to get pass approval in Singapore. But I was surprised at how God moved in the middle of all of these things happening!

In the beginning of 2019, I have been praying for a job that will not just be a source of provision but a place where He will let me “sit beside quiet waters”.

I can vividly remember the day when God dropped me a date “March 17”. During that time I was asking God about the significance of the message I received and His reply was, “Trust Me and wait patiently.” March 17, 2019 came and nothing happened so I told myself that maybe the message was not supposed to be for me but was meant to be released on other people.

Days passed by until the calendar flips into another year – 2020. I received a phone call from an HR Manager in another company and was asking me if I am available for an interview. Right at that very moment, I was so puzzled because I cannot remember sending any application to that specific company. What puzzled me even more was the remark of the HR Manager when I asked where did she get my number and she said that someone recommended me to them for that position. That elevated my wondering even more!

So I prayed and asked God during that lunch time if I should go for it. There are a lot of worries and hesitations deep within me that time, and it seems to be that I cannot hear God at that very moment. “Old Comfort” was so resounding that a new opportunity should not be considered. But there is a big urge inside of me to go. It was very timely that our Pastor Christie [our dear Pastor in HOPE Filipino Congregation] was sharing about Joshua and Caleb spying the promise land which God promised to be “flowing in milk and honey”. When they return to the wilderness after seeing the land, they brought back good news! It was the first confirmation.

Pressing on prayer, God reminded me that I have been praying for a job last year but passively turning it down because of some obligations I have to meet for my family – so any chance to be jobless should not be an option for me. Then, He reminded me a memory of me praying for a new job during the teaching about the prayer of Jabez during the Leaders Camp 2019 – He has heard my prayers.

January 16 – I went down for interview. I was excited and full of expectation. I was like Caleb marching towards that office expecting what God has promised. After the interview, the HR Manager told me that she will call me if I have been short listed and set schedule for the final interview. The office ambiance was very peaceful and the people are cheerful and very welcoming. The receptionist even asked me if I want a cup of coffee while waiting for the interviewer.

The news about COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore (where I am working) and whole world spread and caused great fear to everyone. It has a lot of implications in the economy that can caused work retrenchments up to closing of small businesses. A low economy may mean a hard time to get pass approval in Singapore. But I was surprised at how God moved in the middle of all of these things happening!

January 23 – The HR Manager called me and asking for some details because she has been processing my pass application. I was so surprised about the news! I cannot describe that moment but I was so thankful to God and merely laughing at how silly I was not to trust His words.

February 3 – The pass was successfully applied and pending for MOM approval.

February 16 – The pass was approved by MOM. I tendered my resignation the following day.

February 25 – I officially signed the contract. I will be working Mondays to Fridays (office hours) with a favourable salary and allowances, with sufficient number of annual leave for family time and mission trips, with sufficient benefits to cover me as an employee. I underwent medical check up.

February 27 – The result of medical check up was released and I am fit for work.

March 17 – My last day at workplace. For me, this was the promised date of the Lord. The same as when He promised Joshua and Caleb that they will step into the promise land.

March 23 – I will report for work.

The Heart of the Father

“Communication” or “the way we interact with someone” (this is done by talking, facial expressions, hand gestures, and in our generation today we do communications through Facebook, sending SMS, voice call and even video call). The way we communicate with someone determines how we value them.

Examples:

We can talk freely with our friends and laugh about funny and silly things.

When we talk to our parents, teachers or someone older than us we always talk with respect.

When we talk to God, we talk through “Prayer”

“Prayer” is the way on how we talk to God when we thank Him for good grades, nice toys, and all the blessings He has given us. In the same way prayer is the way when we ask God for something that we wanted.

“Prayer is the way on how we talk to God”

We can learn through the Bible that Jesus talks to God the Father through prayer. In fact, Jesus taught us how to talk to God the Father in our prayers. Let us all read Matthew 6:9-13

A. God’s Word

Matthew 6:5-13

9 “This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.

B. Teaching

As we talk to Father God in our prayer, we are looking into the good heart of God who hears all our prayers. By knowing His heart, we get to know His character as our Father which Jesus revealed by teaching us how to communicate with God through prayer.

Today, we are going to get to know the character of God the Father by looking into His heart through our prayer.

1. Key Point 1: God the Father is Powerful

“Power is the capability to do something.”

Who among you watch Marvel movies? Alright, the characters in different movies have their super powers that enables them to fight the bad guys. (Side note: But among them there One and Only Super Hero that saved the World, and His name is Jesus)

Most kids consider their father as “super heroes” or “super daddy” because of the strength that they can see from them. Our fathers are strong. They can lift us up and carry us in their arms. We often ride on their back and ask them to run around while they are carrying us.

What does the Bible teach about Father God’s being Powerful?

9 This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 NLT)

Have you noticed how Jesus addressed God the Father as “Our” this means that we share one Father (with Jesus) who is in heaven.

Father God is so powerful (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV “But God used His power to make the earth”) that by His spoken words He was able to create everything. In Genesis 1:1-2 NLT it is written “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

“But God used His power to make the earth” (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV)

There are a lot of stories in the Bible where God showed his power. God even parted the Red Sea so that His sons and daughters, the Israelites can escape the chasing Egyptians.

Guide Question:

1. We all know that God is powerful, and He created everything that we can see around us. Name 3 of God’s creation which you like the most. Share why you like it.

2. God the Father is Provider

Can you still recall a moment when you ask something from your father? Like a new toy, a bicycle, a chocolate, or even a day in an amusement park?

We all grow up knowing that our father wakes early in the morning because he prepares to go to work. But have you ever wondered why he is doing all this thing? It is because he needs to provide for you.

Jesus showed how praying to our Daddy God connects us to him not because we need something but because we know that is our Great Provider (Jehovah Jireh)

10 Give us today the food we need (Matthew 6:11 NLT)

I remember another story in the Bible when it was evening, and there were a lot of people following Jesus. So, Jesus told his disciples to look for food, but they said that there were no nearby store and even if there is, they need to spend big amount of money to feed the people. Until one child offered his 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Let us look into the Bible what happened.

20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of left (Matthew 14:20 NLT)

Guide Questions:

1. Can you still recall the time when you asked from your father something? What was that thing? Did he give it to you?

2. What are the things you are asking Father God right this time? Share it to your life group and find a partner to pray for it.

3. God the Father is Protector

Our father is our life time protector. A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

This photo of the father protecting his son went viral because of the great love of the father to protect the son from getting wet because of the rain.

This is the same love is what God is giving to you.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13 NLT)

Whenever King David is in trouble, he writes a Psalms to God to show how God protects him despite there are a lot of troubles. In one of his Psalm, he wrote:

2 “The Lord is my protector; He is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and in Him I am safe…” (Psalm 18:2 GNT)

Guide Questions:

1. Your father loves you so much that’s the reason why he protects you. What are the usual things that your father protects you from? Do you follow him? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What are the things that makes you sad or worry? Share it to your group so you can pray for one another.

C. A Short Story About Father

Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, “My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it poem, and they give him 50$”

The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100”

The third boy says, “I beat both of you. My dad inspired other men to write down on pieces of paper. Those pieces of paper is what we now call “Bible” – His name is God!

Father God is a Forgiving Father

God’s character does not stop in just being a Powerful Father, a Great Provider and an All-Time Protector but He extends His love by forgiving our sins through Jesus Christ who save us all by dying in the cross for our sins.

12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12 NLT)

Looking into the heart of the Father, we can see that His Power, Provisions and Protections are not because He is able but rather to keep us in dwelling in His Presence to satisfy us. Satisfaction is knowing who He is and His plan for our lives, especially His salvation plan for us.

My Silver and My Gold

“Silver and Gold” were used by the ancient civilizations for trade and commerce. Having more of these denotes that someone is powerful, coming from a wealthy family, and with great authority. Because of it’s significance it is highly valued.

What are your silver and your gold?

A. Priorities: My Silver and My Gold

“Silver and Gold” apart from jewelleries which we may be wearing either in a day-to-day basis or in an occasional basis, it can also symbolize to our priorities in life.  As people during the ancient times work for silver and gold, this means that it is of great importance. We will not set something as a priority if it is not important. In a day-to-day life we categorize priorities as either – high, medium or low. We as humans have our “free will”. The Bible teaches us that we are called to be free but we should not use our freedom to indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:13a)

“Indulging in the flesh” means satisfying our personal, worldly desires over that will of God in our lives. Sometimes we indulge in our flesh to easily resolve matters that bothers us without even consulting God.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh”

Galatians 5:13a

B. Achievements: My Silver and My Gold

In the Book of Exodus, the Lord said that He will send the first plague to Egypt which will set them free from captivity (free from bondage), the Lord also instructed them to ask for articles of silver and gold. (Exodus 11:1-2).

Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.  Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbours for articles of silver and gold.”

Exodus 11:1-2 NIV

The first thing I asked was “Who will freely give his/her silver and gold to his/her neighbour?” Our silver and gold may symbolize our achievements in life. Most of the time we take the glory for ourselves and we tend to become so forgetful to our Jehovah Jireh. Why? Because it has been our bare hands who worked, it is our minds that strategized, and it is our passion that drove us.

But wait! Who gave the power to our hands so we can work? Who has given us the wisdom to strategize? Who puts empowerment in our hearts to continue? Only God! 

What was the origin of this order?

In Exodus 3:21, the Lord said that He will make the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the Israelites so that when they leave Egypt, they will not go empty handed.

“And I will make the Egyptians favourably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.”

Exodus 3:21 NIV

Everything is God’s perfect plan! As it is written in the book of Prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” God always looks after our prosperity, hopes and future. This implies that even before we worry over matters, God has already provided an answer!

How did the Israelites managed their silver and gold?

In Exodus 32, when the people no longer see Moses they asked Aaron saying (in verse 1), “Come make us gods who will go before us”. The next day they sacrificed burnt offering to the image of the golden calf.

Despite all of God’s supremacy and sovereignty over the matters that troubles our heart, we still seek to find answers and see the answers by our own eyes, personally. We have embraced “To see is to believe” nature. We tend to set our personal, worldly priorities as a high priority and we even set our achievements as something attained out of our own capabilities.

I pray that we will always look after the gracious state of God which shall drive us to make Him as our silver and our gold. Jesus is the true vine, keep yourself connected to Him and you will get a kind of silver and gold that last for eternity.

The first step in making Jesus as your silver and gold is to accept Him as you personal Lord and Saviour. Come to Jesus with a willing heart that sees no fault nor flaws but love. He was not sent by the Father into the world but to save the world through Him – He is our salvation.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:5-8 NIV

Reflection Question: What are your silver and gold, and what are you doing with it?

Why Choose To Forgive?

Were you offended by someone? Either intentionally or unintentionally? Did you choose to forgive, or you are still carrying on the burden of offense brought by the incidence? If you do, this Bible-based blog about choosing to forgive will surely encourage you to choose forgiveness over unforgiveness.

Offense means annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself. An offense is part of an everyday experience, in schools, in workplaces, in our circle of friends, in our family and even in social media – the most common and noticeable way is through “bullying”.

Alexander Pope mentioned that “to err is human, to forgive is divine” in one of his creation entitled “An Essay on Criticism”. Humans’ initial reaction to an offense can be described in Newton’s Third Law of Motion whereby it states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. As we get offended, we jump into a state where we get angry! This can go deep down into our senses for some time if we do not know how we should handle such situations in life.

In the book of Genesis, God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27). This means that we also possess the characteristics which God has and God expects that we will imitate the same – such as “forgiveness”. We will be able to live out the life with forgiveness as we continue to walk with God, read and meditate on His words, and praying.

As God wants us to live a forgiving life, He always serves as the best example.

  1. Adam and Eve

God created the first man and woman in Adam and in Eve. And He made them rulers in everything which He has created (Genesis 1:28). But the Fall of Adam and Eve happened when they were not able to overcome the temptation brought by the serpent (Genesis 3:1), and they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:17). This made them know the difference between the good and the bad.

God got disappointed with the situation and gave His rightful judgment to the serpent, to Eve and to Adam (Genesis 3:14-19). But one noticeable event after God made His judgment is when He “made garments for Adam and His wife and He clothed them” (Genesis 3:21) God remains to be a good Father to His creations, especially to Adam and Eve whom He created from His own image. God chose to forgive.

It is written in the book of John saying that If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

2. Jesus at the Cross

Being crucified at the cross can be considered as the worst way to die for a criminal during that time. This feeling is magnified towards the crucifixion – from the moment when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus over thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14). Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:34) and it all happened.

Jesus was mocked, insulted. His blood flowed in every stripes He received. He is God. He could have summoned the angels to fight back. But Jesus is “forgiving”.

Through Him we entered a new covenant of grace that will surpass all the laws. The Bible says that we have been saved “by grace”.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

In a day to day basis, I always sing the song entitled “Build My Life” every morning:

Holy, There is no one like You

There is not besides you,

Open up my eyes in wonder

Show me who you are and fill me

With your heart and lead me

In your love to those around me

This psalm is very powerful to me as it declares the sovereignty of God on the wonders that He alone can do. And as we really dig deeper into the revelation of who God is in our lives, there is faith (assurance) that God will fill us with his heart that is compassionate to other people – a heart that chooses to forgive and love.

God wants to bring back the relationship with us and restore our identity as His sons and daughters. We may think that God will not care for us for so many times we have offended Him through our sins. But very truly I tell you that Jesus is a forgiving God and apart from it He wants to give us the assurance of salvation.

The Noble Job Post

Job position, scope of work, pay and schedule – are the top consideration when people look into job posts. Human being by nature focuses on looking after the title, what we need to do, how much we can get, and how much of our time will be spent in terms of doing something from our job, our social life, and on something which we are called to be by God.

Are you in leadership right now? Or being challenged to be a leader? It is not coincidence that you are reading this blog.

The Nobility of Leadership

Leadership is noble. If so what does the Bible wants us to know about nobility? The Bible says in Isaiah 32:8 “But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand”

The 4 Humble Reminders

1. Job Position

Remember that being a leader is a noble job, it is not about the title but must focus on why God has called you. In Acts 20:28, leaders are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be overseers and shepherd of God’s church.

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28)

2. Scope of Work

Leader comes from Indo-European word “leit” which means “the one who holds the flag in the front of an army”. Followers of Jesus are all considered warriors, but a group of warrior must have it’s God-lead leader in order to guide the way where the team must go to conquer. Otherwise, each warrior would have to fight without direction.

We do not lead to impose laws of man-made origin but to draw the people closer to God (Psalm 145:18, Psalm 73:28). We need to set as a modest example from the inside out, with the true representation of Jesus – Spirit is caught not taught.

3. Pay

As we keep our submission to God and continue to obey His direction, God as what Paul said as encouragement to the people of Corinth on his second letter, will surely keep His covenant with us. In 2 Corinthians 15:58, Paul says

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”The same thing was addressed to Galatians.

“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)

4. Schedule

Proper time scheduling should be exercise in order to balance ministry, family life and personal life. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:15-17 to “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Congratulations! You are “Hired”!

Faith is the main currency used in the Kingdom of God. As early as now, exercising how to use this can help us win any spiritual battles we might encounter. As we work more for the advancement of His Kingdom, know that more distractions and trials will be faced ahead. Keep in your heart that “God has given us gifts and His calling is irrevocable” (Romans 11:29)

Created “Perfectly” By God

A personal experience has inspired me in writing this blog. When I was in grade school, I was often bullied so I tried to fit in and be a ‘somehow’ bully-type student. This continues until secondary school, subconsciously until I reached my university days. I carried this until my first job in Philippines, I was working like I was competing for superb applause and praise from the people around me. I even came to the point where I skip lunch just to accomplish a deadline, seeking for pleasing recognition from my immediate supervisor. But when I met Jesus, He showed me that I was indeed created perfectly by God. That no one can turn me down, I am His son, I am precious, I am chosen! Daily revelations from God by meditating in His words have given me clear directions where to put my focus, energy, resources and time.

According to a study, a cold hard data shows that narcissistic disorder has been found in population with ages starting from 20, to be three times higher than those that are 65 years old and older. Narcissistic disorder is the pursuit of gratification for vanity or egotistic admiration of self-attributes. The term was derived from Greek mythology of young Narcissus who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Everyone has been very conscious with everything about themselves. From their head to toes, from the food they eat, how they look, the manner they speak, having latest gadgets, being into the latest fashion trends or hairstyles. There is nothing wrong with all of these. But unconsciously, this level of consciousness has been the result of our desire to conform with the world, to be liked, to be loved, to be accepted and to fit into the world.

“And do not be conformed to this world (any longer with its superficial values and customs), but be transformed and progressively changed (as you mature spiritually) by the renewing of your mind (focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His plan and purpose for you).

Romans 12:2 (AMP)

A personal experience has inspired me in writing this blog. When I was in grade school, I was often bullied so I tried to fit in and be a ‘somehow’ bully-type student. This continues until secondary school, subconsciously until I reached my university days. I carried this until my first job in Philippines, I was working like I was competing for superb applause and praise from the people around me. I even came to the point where I skip lunch just to accomplish a deadline, seeking for pleasing recognition from my immediate supervisor. But when I met Jesus, He showed me that I was indeed created perfectly by God. That no one can turn me down, I am His son, I am precious, I am chosen! Daily revelations from God by meditating in His words have given me clear directions where to put my focus, energy, resources and time.

  1. You are God’s masterpiece

He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity (a sense of divine purpose) in the human heart (a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God)—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)

We are God’s masterpiece. An art done by famous artists can be imitated, yet it cannot be valued the same as the original copy. It is the same thing with us, we are unique masterpiece of God, no one can replace us. At the same time, we cannot imitate someone nor pretend to be someone and live our entire lives pretending.

In a recent interview to a YouTube-star turned celebrity in Philippines who underwent physical enhancement, he said that he is very happy in achieving what he wants (good physical looks) and with this (new look, new him) many people will love and like him.

Our happiness in life should not be dependent on other people. The Bible says, “He has made everything (including “us”) beautiful and appropriate in our time”. Man can fail us anytime, anywhere, but God’s love never fail, it never runs dry on us. “He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:23 NLT)

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man.”

Psalm 118:8

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” We are God’s masterpiece and He is the only one who knows us, our purpose, and prepared the plans and ways for us even before we were born.

For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14

Henry Ford once found someone down the road fixing his car engine. He stopped and extend a help to a man. The man looks at him believing that Henry Ford cannot do anything. Suddenly, Henry Ford asked the man to start the engine and it worked. The man asked, “How did you know how to fix this car?” Henry Ford answered humbly, “It was me, who created that car”.

2. You Are Created For A Purpose

When I became a Christian, I learned by heart that I was created by God for a purpose. God did not allowed Moses to be adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter for no reason, but to set free the Israelite from captivity. Through pursuing Christ above all of my insecurities in life, He is making a holistic change (change from within) in me.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a (special)people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies (the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections) of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

I cannot imagine that God has put me into leadership in our life group, being entrusted to do things that will usher His presence to the people. I can say that now, I am far from a shy, self-centered, me-myself-and-I me. But God put more compassion in my heart and love for God and His people.

3. Nothing Can Separate You From The Love of Christ

Pastor Steven Furtick emphasizes that we have been attached too much to the praises that we may get from others that even from time to time we check our social medias for the number of “likes”, “shares” and even ‘comments”.

As humans, we tend to seek tangible love from the people around us through their appreciation of us. We sometimes neglect the love of God because we can not see Him. A common saying says, “What you see is what you get”.

Not because you do not see God means He does not love you. He loves you and nothing can separate you fro the love of Christ.

As a conclusion, God created us perfectly for a purpose of showing how much He loves us. Despite how much we saw our imperfections, Jesus took all our infirmities so that we might be the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.

Being “IN”-style

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

Following a famous celebrity? Adapting a famous Koreanovela in your life? Thinking to sink and absorb the way society goes today? Desiring for a white skin tone? Aiming for a slimmer and fitter body?

Our values and spirituality are easily infected by the ‘world’. It is like a ‘cancer cell’ being ignored after detection, and letting it spread in the system.
You can always examine the food before you eat, even chew it before you swallow. And spit it if it is not good. Most of the time, we look into the packaging because it is attractive, but have we ever asked questions like:

  1. Is it good?
  2. Is it pleasing?
  3. Is it perfect?

‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ by setting your sight to the things that are in heaven. The world may rebuke us thousand times, but whats the value of those rebukes when we are standing for the truth in Jesus?

When I Am In Troubled Water

I see myself as a swimmer,

I jumped, I dipped into the water.

The feeling of soaking and getting wet,

Addressing  the rage of the troubled sweat.

When I am in troubled water,

I am trying to swim faster!

Looking for something to hold on,

Persevering to carry on.

For an unknown way, I am so worried.

Swimming is an edge, yet so afraid!

In the surging waves, 

I am hopeful! I will be saved!

But shouting was no use,

Grasping for air is my excuse.

So I continue to survive,

In a life that strives.

When I am in troubled water,

I asked myself further,

“Why do i fear?”

Because no One’s near?

But I know that I’m like Peter,

“LORD, I will come to YOU in the water”

The wind blows wilder,

And I begin to sink deeper!

But JESUS is gracious,

When I call, HE come and rescues!

HE immediately stretches HIS hands

HE pulled me up so I can stand.

I of little faith,

Saved by GOD who’s too Great.

The LORD who always saves me, 

Is not a lifeguard nor a nobody

But in the water HE walks

As HE saves an ordinary folk.

Oh how mighty are YOU my LORD,

In the surge of a storm YOU can’t afford

To lose a sheep YOU are caring,

Gave YOUR life, continuously saving!

What can I offer back to YOU?

I can only offer my heart YOU knew.

It might not be pure, it’s broken, untrue.

YOU still accept it, I have nothing to argue.

In YOUR mercy I became pure, anew!

The Linkbridge of Matthew

“Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with such scum?’ When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.'”
– Matthew 9:10-12 (NLT)

June 24, 2017 – Changi General Hospital Staff Lounge served as our huddle for Our Matthew Life Group. Matthew Life Group is a kind of life group in HOPE Church Singapore which relates to the bible when Matthew knew that Jesus and His disciples were coming to have dinner with Him, he invited the other tax collectors and other sinners.

Matthew Life Group intends to invite the the people in the network of the people inside the life group. But we did it “intentionally” this time. Instead of inviting them over, we decided to reach out to those people who may be complete strangers to some of us in the group and share the love of God to them in simple, thoughtful ways – through good foods, laughter and prayer.

We are move with what the bible says:

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” –  Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

A “linkbridge” is built to serve as link and connection between two structures. The concept of linkbridges started when people see the importance of shortening the time in transferring from one place to another.

Matthew may have not decided to invite other tax collectors and sinners, for the Pharisees may see as inviting Jesus to eat together with them inappropriate. But what moved Matthew to invite other tax collectors and even sinners into his house for dinner?

In Matthew 9:9 (NIV):

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him.”

The bible clearly portrays a scene where Matthew, without any hesitations, doubts, nor second thought “got up and followed Him” – it takes a willing heart to obey Jesus over seeing yourself as a “ready” person.

Matthew saw great, immeasurable and indescribable measures in Jesus! With this comes his love towards others who were like him before he had an encounter with Jesus.  He was changed by Jesus. You may have come to know Jesus but it must not stop from just having the relationship with him, on your own.

As what is written in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV), “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Aside from obedience, what are the other things that God is trying to develop in us?

1. Genuine love for others

Aside from loving God, He also wants us to genuinely love others – our neighbors, as much as we love ourselves.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” – Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

One way to show this to bring them closer to Jesus and to tell them about the gift of salvation.

2. Joy in serving

In inviting other people in our own home, it takes a joyful, servant heart to really entertain them and attend to their needs. And even having the eagerness to invite people as much as Matthew have done. He opened His house not only for a casual social gathering but for the purpose of “Making Jesus Known” to the people who are yet to receive Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.

Be joyful in sowing the seeds! Paul emphasized to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” In our little ways and joyful effort, God uses it to magnify himself by empowering the seed of faith that has been planted in you.

3. Peace

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” – Romans 12:14 (NIV)

Believers of Christ faces persecution. Matthew on his time may have faced similar experience as a consequence of his belief towards Jesus. But inspite of this he managed to live in peace by walking the path less taken, living in the truth and being in a new life in Jesus.

Instead of fearing persecution, Matthew peacefully invited other tax collectors and sinners

4. Patience

Patience is a by product of trials. In our works for the Lord, sometimes we are losing “patience” whenever it seems that everything is not falling on its place. But the Lord said, “Take courage!”.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” – James 1:2-3 (NIV)

The Biblical definition of perseverance came from the Greek word “hypomone” which means “waiting on“. This preseverance gives us the patience to joyfully wait for the things that are yet to come as we continue to strive patiently for the kingdom of God.

5. Kindness

The bibles says:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrew 13:2 (NIV)

Matthew at that moment exemplifies kindness not only by inviting others for a dinner but to usher and set himself as the ‘linkbridge’ towards the people to know Jesus.

Taking bigger steps beyond our comfort zone and standing between the gap for the Kingdom of Jesus is one of the best way of ahowing kindness – giving more than what the physical body needs, but goes deeper into the spiritual needs of others.

6. Goodness (Gaining a Constructive Attitude)

‘“I have the right to do anything,” you say but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” but not everything is constructive’ – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

As followers and believers of Christ, our footprints on Earth surely will never be kept. We are temporary. But what to do with a time-bounded life?

We have the right to do ‘anything’ that is possible with our strength, resources and time. Paul on his epistle to the people of Corinth, encouraged everyone to do good things, not just things that can be considered good but ‘constructive’.

Do things that will encourage others, that they follow and do the same, or even greater things. Matthew started the act of setting as a good, constructive example – that a sinner can be forgiven by the grace of Jesus and become a disciple.

7. Faithfulness

As we do more for the kingdom of God, out of our obedience, we become more rooted – at first we may have a faith that is ‘as small as a mustard seed’.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus told His disciples about the faith as small as the mustard seed saying, ‘”… Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”’

What more if our roots dig deeper into God? Expect your faith to do more, not for your to gain the glory of doing more. But it is for the Glory of God.

8. Gentleness

My mentor always reminds me that “The spirit is caught not taught”. It is always passed on to someone. A gentle spirit shows love, overpowering the weakness. It speaks the truth in Jesus, encourages, understands, and inspires.

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” – Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, indeed, the Lord is near! He is in you and in everything that you do. Continue to persevere with the works that yiu have started that you may reap what you have sown, overflowing and exceeding in abundance.

9. Self-control

Self-control applies in every aspect of our lives. From our speech, our conduct, our ideas, and our works.

a. Facing Temptations

Everyone, everyday faces tempations of cetai degree. Through God’s empowerment He will develop self-control in us that will enable us to endure it.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

 b. Spiritual Discipline

Athletes are among the most discipline group of people. From the food they eat, sleeping time, stress management and training – disciplined. They follow a structured formula to win the game.

Some attributes the Christian journey as a ‘race to finish’ rather than ‘getting a crown that will last forever’ – Eternal Life with God in heaven.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Self control? It encompasses our daily living. It avoids division but promotes union among the body of Jesus. It creates a true, free spirit that relies on God.

In being the ‘linkbridge’, the first step is for you to have a sincere and fairhful relationship with Jesus, and to accept Him as you personal Lord and Saviour. It does not require you to be righteous. Because we became the righteous people by Jesus. Come to Jesus with a willing heart that sees no fault nor flaws but love. He was not sent by the Father into the world but to save the world through Him – He is our Salvation.

Knowing God: Choose Willingness Over Readiness

 

 

 

 

 

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14)

 

We are taught in school about principles, laws, and even theories in order for us to gain an understanding about many things. While trainings and hands-on activities give us better perspective on how things happen in reality.

Julius Ceasar recorded the earliest version of the proverb, “Experience is the teacher of all things”. Experiences may not be favorable all the time. The bible says in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”.

Therefore, to know something better, it is best for us to experience it and have personal encounters – this involves “willingness” not “readiness”. An anonymous quote goes “How much knowledge you gain depends on your willingness to learn”

In our relationship with Jesus, we need to be “willing” not “ready” – to suffer, to feel intimidated by other’s comfortable life, you will be troubled. No one will be ready and accept being on suffering, intimidated and troubled.

But the Lord said, “You are blessed”

Why do most of us perceive “readiness” as an important factor in knowing Jesus Christ?

1. Most think that competence is a requirement.

Therefore, we desire to prepare ourselves to be competent for Jesus. But the bible says, “Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Our relationship with God is not like an employer-employee set-up wherein competency in our field of work is the top requirement to be in, and if we fail to meet competency requirements we can be terminated.

We should be like a child that performs in front of the crowd without fear but with gentleness, our performance may be not as excellent when compared with professional performers, but we must remember that our parents’ love never decline and because we are willing, we make them proud and happy. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (1 Corinthians 8:12)

2. Most think that they must be deserving for God.

It is written, “For many are invited but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We are invited by God for a personal relationship,  only few were chosen. Why? Many of us thinks we do not deserve being into such relationship because of our ‘sins’.

Most have the concept of sin which boils down from arguments over right and wrong. Biblically, it is defined as something that falls below the perfect standard of God.

As we receive Jesus as our personal Lord and savior, we must take baby-steps and soon bigger steps as show of reverence to him. It is doing something out of the grace that we receive from God – we must choose to be willing not ready.

Paul is clear with his message to the people of Ephesus about being deserving. He said, “Walk in the manner of calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). Same with the Colossians and he said, “Walk in manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10).

3. Most focus on ‘status quo’

Status quo is defined as the status on which we are now. We used to conform to the norma of this world, whereas the bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Millenials are now living in a fast-paced, perfect-seeking world to feel the sense belongingness in their outermost being, but full of voids from within.

Most of us think that we can do great things for God by becoming great first on our own. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

Apostle Paul pleaded three times to God to remove the spirit of being conceited.But this is what the Lord revealed to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We must be “willing” not “ready”. God used people who are ‘incompetent’, ‘undeserving’ and ‘ordinary’ for His greater glory:

1. Abraham was old but he is “willing to wait on the fulfillment of God’s promise that he will have a son, and he will be the father of many nations”;

2. David was a young sheperd but he is “willing to show that His trust is in God”, because of this he killed Goliath and became the King after King Saul;

4. Jonah ran away. He was not “ready”. But as God called him, God’s calling will remain still. Isaiah 46:10 says “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” He will make us roll over to be “willing”.

5. Peter’s up and down discipleship journey showed that being a disciple is a matter of the heart. But despite this, Peter has been a “willing” disciple – from having shortcomings he became a strong church foundation. When we look at the situation when He encountered Jesus, he may not be “ready” – but who can say know to the Messiah?

6. Matthew persecuted church.
But despite of all their being less, they have one thing in common – they are “Willing” to be used by God for a purpose that will give glory to Him and Him alone.

Will you be willing to know more about Jesus, and have that personal relationship and encouters with Him? Pastor Simon Eng said in one of his preaching at HOPE Church Singapore, “We cannot rely on historical faith and encounters alone. We need to have own fresh, encounter with God”

The first step in having a relationship with Jesus is to accept Him as you personal Lord and Saviour. It does not require ‘readiness’ where competence, being deserving or anyone’s status is being looked up. Come to Jesus with a willing heart that sees no fault nor flaws but love. He was not sent by the Father into the world but to save the world through Him – He is our salvation.