Category Archives: Footsteps

Walking Daily in Christ

Bible Study Fellowship

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This is my 2nd year of attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). In Singapore, BSF men’s fellowship is available in 6 locations at host churches. What I like about it is that BSF is non-denominational, hence there are no factions here and everyone is part of the body of Christ. So we have Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Pentecostals etc all sharing the Word of God and our life experiences through class participation sharing our views towards questions about each chapter (each class about 15 pax – men’s fellowship are separately conducted from women’s fellowship).

Last year we studied the book of Genesis. We met every monday for the whole year except for the school vacation periods. My cohort this year seemed to grow even bigger and our hall where we gather for the Teaching Leader’s message is filled up with about 500 men. The notes that accompany each week’s bible study are fantastic and they point and cross reference us to other relevant parts of the bible. My BSF journey has opened my eyes to reveal God’s Word even more richly and it comes alive to me. I liken myself to a child hungering to learn more words to speak.

This evening, as I am relaxing at home, I was thankful that God gave me a deeper revelation to my questions regarding Repentance and Sin.

The word “repentance” (Hebrew teshubah) comes from the verb shub, which means to turn. However, repentance means more than simply to turn away from evil and from disregard of God.
Many people recognize the problems that sin brings into their lives and are sorry. Some, through sheer self-effort, “turn over a new leaf.” I myself realize that this is not sustainable. However, true repentance is much more than a moral life. Repentance does not mean “try harder”. It is a turn in the opposite direction, so your whole life turns toward God as its central goal. This was the call of all the prophets. “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” The prophet Hosea said, “Take words with you and return to the Lord.”
Again I was prompted to look at the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7 about struggling with sin.

Romans 7:14-25 (NLT)

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

After reading through verse 7, it reveals that the answer to our struggle lies in Christ.

Without Christ, no changes that we seek to make will be effective. With Christ, His Spirit will enable us to begin to live for Him and with Him. Will we choose to depend upon the Holy Spirit (living in all who believe Him) in all areas of our life? As the Holy Spirit did for the Lord Jesus Christ during His life on earth, He will also enable us to live a new life of love and obedience.

Life in the Spirit

Romans 8: 1-17 (NLT)

8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

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All or nothing

I’ve lost many things in this season of my life.

I lost my health – I was hospitalized recently for the first time in my life due to a bout of kidney stones.

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As a result of that I’ve lost my pursuit of the love of food – I have a new list of dietary restrictions and may only permit the occasional “once in a blue moon” whiff of sparing indulgence, if there was ever such a phrase.

I lost my fitness, due to an injury sustained on my foot while I was training during the IPT session in maju camp earlier this year. That cut down the high impact cardio workouts that I could do while I rested my foot.

I sort of lost my momentum in closing sales during the 3 month dry spell earlier this year. That really knocked me off my ride as I was building more and more speed. In fact, it took me a while to jump start my engine.

I’ve lost a relationship very dear to me, second only to my relationship with Abba Father.

But this morning, I gained an understanding, a revelation and a peak into the window of God’s plan and purpose for my life.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect,” but “we preach Christ crucified” and I believe that God orchestrated all these series of events in my life to wrestle me away from every other thing so that I could be fully transformed in Christ.

This year’s bible study fellowship was also focused on the book of Genesis and somehow I can identify closely with the life of Joseph, from his betrayal by his brothers, to his fall in status from being the favoured son to a slave in Egypt and then worse still, condemned as a prisoner for years. Joseph was forgotten by men for a period but all the while he had God’s presence with him in all that he did and God blessed Joseph with the favour of people around him so that all the work of his hands was blessed greatly, in spite of his dreary circumstances. God did not change Joseph’s circumstances, but I believe that God was transforming Joseph and preparing his heart for the bigger stage to save lives.

I can only continue to pray and ask God for strength in my trials so that I can look away from the pain of the present and find joy in the future glorious purposes of God.

As one of my current favourite authors John Eldredge points out succinctly, man was designed by God to passionately pursue His adventure set out for him in this life.

Like what my pastor Ps Yang said in the first sermon I ever heard him preach – black is black, white is white. There is no middle ground. There is no sitting on the fence. We were born into a world already at war. There are two sides and God has spared nothing, not even His only Begotten Son.

I lost everything, but gained everything.

It’s all or nothing for me.

Kari Jobe’s Beautiful Songs

This morning during sunday service, I was compelled to find out the music video that was played during the offering. After service I almost forgot, then I remembered and went to ask the media guys. So here’s Kari Jobe with her beautiful vocals and lyrics:

We Are

You Are For Me

Book Review: Falling to Heaven (4/5 stars)

This is the first book that I’ve bought and finished reading within the same day.

It’s really an easy and captivating read because of the author’s conversational style- it’s as if he is right there telling you his story, and believe me he is one great storyteller in person, I heard him speak live.

What’s written on the back of the book:

On August 15, 1968 a strong and handsome young skydiver flew upwards for a few moments of pleasure. But within seconds, a fiery plane crash melted his face, multilated his body and forever changed the life of Mickey Robinson.

This book isn’t just an ordinary story of tragedy and recovery. This book is about resurrection. Falling to Heaven is not about a burned man getting better. It’s about a dead man coming to life!

Since his transformation and his second chance at life, Mickey Robinson has been a public speaker nationally and internationally. His message of hope and encouragement inspires people in every walk of life. Mickey is a gifted communicator and teacher. His passion is to help people get activated and engaged in their gifts and purpose in life. He and his wife Barbara have four grown children. They reside in Franklin, Tennessee.

For more information, check out www.mickeyrobinson.com

Enjoy your Coffee!

I’m enjoying every single page of this book I’m reading, “The 5 Minute Miracle”, by Dr Ed Delph, and so I’d like to share this chapter with you:

I am a coffee lover. The stronger  the better, especially in the morning. Recently, I was in downtown Seattle, standing in front of the original Starbucks at Pike Place Farmer’s Market. Now that’s good duty! Being a coffee lover I couldn’t help but notice this story that came through the Internet.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit one of their university professors. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. After offering his guests refreshments, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups. Some were porcelain, others were plastic, glass and crystal. Some were plain, others were expensive and quite exquisite. He told his guests to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, he said, “If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were chosen first, leaving the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, the name-brand and exquisite cups just makes things more expensive and in some cases, even hide what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup. Yet, you all consciously went for the best cups. Then you even began eyeing each other’s cups.

“Now consider this. Life is the coffee – jobs, money, position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The type of cup we have does not define or change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided for us.”

That’s a good lesson for us all. We have all played the comparison game. We have to have a better cup than someone else. We try to outdo others and become undone in the process. Sometimes when you try to possess the best cups, the best cups end up possessing you. Why not just enjoy who we are, who they are, and enjoy the coffee of life.

Sometimes people are like cups, they don’t look or act like the fancy cups you prefer, but if you enjoy the coffee in the cup, life gets better!

It’s what is inside the cup that counts to God.

God brews the coffee, not the cups. So, enjoy your coffe – you’re a special blend!

Peace starts with a smile – and good cup of coffee. Make mine strong and dark. I’ll be glad to take it in a paper cup!

A Pheonix Rises from the Ashes

Just last Wednesday, I heard my CEO’s personal story for the first time. He shared about our company’s battle-scarred history and how it rose like a pheonix from the ashes (go to link for story)

http://www.hsr.com.sg/about/index.aspx

I was extremely inspired, and found great encouragement from his experience and attitude towards dealing with adversity.

“What’s his secret formula?”, you might ask. It was just one very simple four-letter word.

L-O-V-E.

God’s answer and solution to his problems. So he obeyed and started telling everyone, as well as genuinely doing acts of love to his staff, without ever asking for anything in return.

Miraculously, in the depths of a downturn, with many ex-staff and associates leaving a mess as well as a bad name and huge debts for the company, it found favour and grace to turnaround and prosper.

And now the whole company’s ethos is centred around love, our core values being to Build a Warm, Dynamic and Caring family. It even sends an E-Love letter every 1st of the month to all staff and associates.

And love muliplies and spreads from the staff and associates to customers, suppliers, friends and family and even the larger community.

So I’d just like to share with you this thought, and I believe whatever unsurmountable circumstances you face, practise love and walls will break down.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – excerpts from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Interview with Rick Warren

This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, ‘Purpose Driven Life ‘ author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California                                                                
                                                                           
 In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:            
                                                                           
 People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, 
 life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and   
 God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.                                    
                                                                           
 One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body–  
 but not the end of me.                                                    
                                                                           
 I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of 
 years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God     
 wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.        
                                                                           
 We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t
 going to make sense.                                                      
                                                                           
 Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just      
 coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.        
                                                                           
 The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than 
 your comfort.                                                             
                                                                           
 God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your 
 life happy.                                                               
                                                                           
 We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life.
 The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.                     
                                                                           
 This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the         
 toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.                              
                                                                           
 I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark   
 time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that
 anymore.                                                                  
                                                                           
 Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like
 two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good   
 and something bad in your life.                                           
                                                                           
 No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad 
 that needs to be worked on.                                               
                                                                           
 And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something  
 good you can thank God for.                                               
                                                                           
 You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.        
                                                                           
 If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness,’which  is my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid
 of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.        
                                                                           
 We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of         
 thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for    
 her.                                                                      
                                                                           
 It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her      
 character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a      
 testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.                         
                                                                           
 You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.         
                                                                           
 Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For         
 instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million  
 copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.                                
                                                                           
 It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with      
 before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or
 for you to live a life of ease.                                           
                                                                           
 So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety  
 and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide    
 what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72                                 
                                                                           
 First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our       
 lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.                            
 Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the
 church.                                                                   
                                                                           
 Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan  to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and 
 educate the next generation.                                              
                                                                           
 Fourth, I added up all that the chu rch had paid me in the 24 years since  I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able
 to serve God for free.                                                    
                                                                           
 We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? 
                                                                           
 Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or  
 am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?                  
                                                                           
 When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if  I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You  better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more
 interested in what I am than what I do.                                   
 That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.                   
                                                                           
 Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.                                                
 Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.                                              
 Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.                                               
 Painful moments, TRUST GOD.                                               
 Every moment, THANK GOD.                                                  
 God’s Blessings on you today.