Innocence

12 11 2009

I saw two young girls at the bus stop sharing a garlic bread and looking at them reminded me so much of the innocence we have lost in the process of growing up. Today it seems climbing the corporate ladder, or the pursuit of money and financial gain or the cares of life have all taken the innocence away and it is a tragic loss. The implications are far and wide and deep in the very depth of our lives and in how we see the world and how we treat each other.





Heroes

1 02 2009

This morning, I got acquainted with a true hero, his name is Samson. Not Samson of the bible, but this man is better in many ways. He prayed and fasted for a friend’s salvation, and today when I saw Eric standing on the stage testifying of God’s grace and his friend, Samson, and what he had done, I felt like I have met a true hero, one who has been an instrument of God, a willing channel, a vessel for His glory.





Remember all His goodness!

28 11 2008

The message for this year in my life is easily summed up in the last two weeks of my life, from faith to walking in an attitude of heart felt gratitude to God always.





The Sovereignty of God and Prayer – John Piper

3 11 2008

I am often asked, “If you believe God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11) and that his knowledge of all things past, present, and future is infallible, then what is the point of praying that anything happen?” Usually this question is asked in relation to human decision: “If God has predestined some to be his sons and chosen them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4,5), then what’s the point in praying for anyone’s conversion?”
The implicit argument here is that if prayer is to be possible at all man must have the power of self-determination. That is, all man’s decisions must ultimately belong to himself, not God. For otherwise he is determined by God and all his decisions are really fixed in God’s eternal counsel. Let’s examine the reasonableness of this argument by reflecting on the example cited above.

1. “Why pray for anyone’s conversion if God has chosen before the foundation of the world who will be his sons?” A person in need of conversion is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1); he is “enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:17; John 8:34); “the god of this world has blinded his mind that he might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (II Corinthians. 4:4); his heart is hardened against God (Ephesians 4:18) so that he is hostile to God and in rebellion against God’s will (Romans 8:7).

Now I would like to turn the question back to my questioner: If you insist that this man must have the power of ultimate self-determination, what is the point of praying for him? What do you want God to do for Him? You can’t ask that God overcome the man’s rebellion, for rebellion is precisely what the man is now choosing, so that would mean God overcame his choice and took away his power of self-determination. But how can God save this man unless he act so as to change the man’s heart from hard hostility to tender trust?

Will you pray that God enlighten his mind so that he truly see the beauty of Christ and believe? If you pray this, you are in effect asking God no longer to leave the determination of the man’s will in his own power. You are asking God to do something within the man’s mind (or heart) so that he will surely see and believe. That is, you are conceding that the ultimate determination of the man’s decision to trust Christ is God’s, not merely his.

What I am saying is that it is not the doctrine of God’s sovereignty which thwarts prayer for the conversion of sinners. On the contrary, it is the unbiblical notion of self-determination which would consistently put an end to all prayers for the lost. Prayer is a request that God do something. But the only thing God can do to save a lost sinner is to overcome his resistance to God. If you insist that he retain his self-determination, then you are insisting that he remain without Christ. For “no one can come to Christ unless it is given him from the Father” (John 6:65,44).

Only the person who rejects human self-determination can consistently pray for God to save the lost. My prayer for unbelievers is that God will do for them what He did for Lydia: He opened her heart so that she gave heed to what Paul said (Acts 16:14). I will pray that God, who once said, “Let there be light!”, will by that same creative power “shine in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). I will pray that He will “take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). I will pray that they be born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God (John 1:13). And with all my praying I will try to “be kind and to teach and correct with gentleness and patience, if perhaps God may grant them repentance and freedom from Satan’s snare” (II Timothy 2:24-26).

In short, I do not ask God to sit back and wait for my neighbor to decide to change. I do not suggest to God that He keep his distance lest his beauty become irresistible and violate my neighbor’s power of self-determination. No! I pray that he ravish my unbelieving neighbor with his beauty, that he unshackle the enslaved will, that he make the dead alive and that he suffer no resistance to stop him lest my neighbor perish.

2. If someone now says, “O.K., granted that a person’s conversion is ultimately determined by God’ I still don’t see the point of your prayer. If God chose before the foundation of the world who would be converted, what function does your prayer have?” My answer is that it has a function like that of preaching: How shall the lost believe in whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach unless they are sent (Romans 10:14f.)? Belief in Christ is a gift of God (John 6:65; II Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 2:8), but God has ordained that the means by which men believe on Jesus is through the preaching of men. It is simply naive to say that if no one spread the gospel all those predestined to be sons of God (Ephesians 1:5) would be converted anyway. The reason this is naive is because it overlooks the fact that the preaching of the gospel is just as predestined as is the believing of the gospel: Paul was set apart for his preaching ministry before he was born (Galatians 1:15), as was Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, to ask, “If we don’t evangelize, will the elect be saved?” is like asking, “If there is no predestination, will the predestined be saved?” God knows those who are his and he will raise up messengers to win them. If someone refuses to be a part of that plan, because he dislikes the idea of being tampered with before he was born, then he will be the loser, not God and not the elect. “You will certainly carry out God’s purpose however you act but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” (Problem of Pain chapter 7, Anthology, p 910, cf. p 80)

Prayer is like preaching in that it is a human act also. It is a human act that God has ordained and which he delights in because it reflects the dependence of his creatures upon Him. He has promised to respond to prayer, and his response is just as contingent upon our prayer as our prayer is in accordance with his will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (I John 5:14). When we don’t know how to pray according to God’s will but desire it earnestly, “the Spirit of God intercedes for us according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27).

In other words, just as God will see to it that His Word is proclaimed as a means to saving the elect, so He will see to it that all those prayers are prayed which He has promised to respond to. I think Paul’s words in Romans 15:18 would apply equally well to his preaching and his praying ministry: “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles.” Even our prayers are a gift from the one who “works in us that which is pleasing in his sight” (Hebrews 13:21). Oh, how grateful we should be that He has chosen us to be employed in this high service! How eager we should be to spend much time in prayer!

By John Piper





How God can use anyone if only…

10 10 2008

How God can use this man, so he can use anyone if we only give ourselves to His purpose.





When God draws near.

9 10 2008

It was a sense of great honour to be in the presence of great people, and I personally have a few in my memory. But never a time that I was in the presence of great people that i do not deserve, or that I was drawn into the presence that’s based on the air of hostility except one.

Today, after weeks of intense struggles, that I’ve decided the course I would have to undertake. I was offered help, but at the course of another debt that i cannot hope to repay. The business I have set up unfortunately hasn’t really taken off, with many problems that i seems to be helpless with – like dealing with people in office that is wholly incompetent and getting backstabbed by that ingrates. Lack of appropriate financial compensation from the business really puts my faith to the test, but it was in reality the knowledge that my burden will be tripled when Mercy goes off to the mission field in Jan. I find myself unable to trust God to be the Jehovah Jireh, and in fact, i find Him to be far off; hence my christian walk suffers that i cannot come to Him in confidence.

On top of the business problems, financial problems, in personal life, i found myself emotional drained and unstable. I need a long break, I need a reason from God to why i need to go through all these, or that if this is in His will? Getting involved in the youth, in discipleship, which i would love to, but i won’t because i cannot commit when my mind and heart are telling me otherwise.

Under my care was one brother in Christ, Boon Wan. He hasn’t been attending church and i messaged him asking how he is doing, and the reply was that he wants to lead his own life, making money, taking care of his birds and managing his house etc and he is not inclined to come to church. Not that i am shocked by this, cos i have already in mind why he has been absent from Church. But it was my response that i am shocked. It is not the righteous that Christ came, in fact if i am so good, there wouldn’t be a need for God’s grace and mercy every day. It is not that i need to go to church daily or the length of my prayer that justifies me, but it is my conscious need for God that God is pleased with. i can’t live a day without His Grace and Mercy for indeed it is His faithfulness and loving kindness that sustain me. One thing is that i told him, the Church and the family at Paradise of God will always welcome him and will always be there in prayer for him. I think the Church might not be perfect but we can at least love, not just that, but love each other deeply in the Love of Jesus.

I reflected on that incident, that through my words, i began to realize the shift in my theology; now not that i am a gnostic and paganistic cult guy, but i am seeing the world through the eyes of God, and isn’t that theology. Theology in itself is merely a scholastic pursuit of the assumption to know God, but that is wrong. Theology ought to be tickled with knowing God through His Eyes, and His heartbeat for i have learnt to know someone, is to know His heartbeat and to see the world through His Eyes.

I am not perfect, like what Ryan would have inferred, i am far from perfect. But i hope it is my little steps to change, to walk rightly before God is what matters to Him, and if i really believe God is God, and Jesus is God, and Jesus is real and everything that’s written in the bible is real, then i must believe He can take a -10 and a -10 (total -20) to be a million for His glory. Ryan said I am a -10 in terms of financial, and Mercy -10, so how can a -20 touch the world? Yes it is true in Man’s eye, but now, i also see how a boy with 5 loaves of bread and 3 fishes fed the multitude that day.





Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis

29 09 2008

Mere Christianity Part 1

For the whole series of Mere Christianity on Youtube and easy listening, click to Christian News Press Daily

I have always view Mere Christianity one of the most fundamental and prominent Christian literature since the early works of the Church Fathers. I encourage everyone to listen through these 2 videos and to get the book, and keeping it as part of your book list.