Friday, 6 February 2015
As I reflect, I am reminded of how God has blessed us in simple ways like the supply of food on the table. Ever since Mum fell sick, we have had food cooked by my Grandfather's maid daily. I never had to worry if there would be food on the table since Mum would not be cooking. And I don't have to worry if there's food in the fridge because they always seem to be well stocked.
I also think back on those days when I was cooking dinner and on some days I underestimated (unplanned) the portions and ended up having lesser food. God has shown me that he does indeed supply us our daily bread. I remember a few occasions when some of Mum's friends came to deliver soup to us and would happen to bring extra food for us. And it truly is daily bread because God does provides us with food on a daily basis. The food which people give are not just adequate but more than enough. And I think this also gives us a glimpse into God's resources and gifts. He is more than enough and he will supply us our needs and according to His riches in glory.
It's amazing just as I was thinking about God's blessings and here I am reminded again that God's blessings come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Even in little, ordinary seemingly less dramatised ways. They are also gifts and are also God's way of telling us how he loves us so.
Thursday, 31 July 2014
All of God's promises are a Yes and Amen! Paul doesn't say God says yes to some of His promises, or say that these promises are only valid once, in the past. But all His promises are available for us in the present and for the future.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
In this chapter, John Piper compares faith in future grace with pride.
Pride is the essence of unbelief. Piper compares faith with pride and connects unbelief and pride. Unbelief is when we turn from God and believe or find satisfaction in something else. Pride is when we turn from God and believe in self.
We get anxious about the future and become self-sufficient, so we do try to do things by our own strength. Pride says we can boast in our achievements and don't need God in our lives.
Probably something I've never thought about was how self-pity could also be a form of pride. Self-pity is a form of self-exaltation and says "look at me, I've suffered so much and deserve recognition".
I suppose it's really easy to fall into the sin of pride. It's an ever important reminder to ourselves, that everything belongs to God. He gave us intelligence, strength, talents which without him we are nothing.
Yet there is another spectrum to avoid - false humility or self-pity. May our only boast be in Christ alone. He must increase, and I decrease.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV
Thus says the Lord : “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord .”
Thursday, 3 July 2014
The chapter uses the experience of the christians in the Macedonian churches (2 Corinthians 8:1-4) who gave generously, despite the poverty and trials they were facing. It's really encouraging to see how these christians lived by faith in God's future grace, and were filled with abundant joy which overflowed in rich generosity.
How then can I/we experience that joy and generosity in the midst of suffering on earth? The following verses as pointed out tell us that the answer is through the grace of God (2 Corinthians 9:8). And this key is able to unlock the door to give generously too. By knowing that we live moment by moment from the strength of future grace, it gives us the hope and assurance that if God is able to sustain us daily, He is more than able to bring us through future needs or difficulties. Thus, we are able to love and give generously.
Grace is the air we breathe.
I remember we were discussing about selling and sharing our possessions from our Bible study from Acts 4 last Sunday. During our discussion, we talked about what hindered us from giving and I said a selfish spirit and a lack of faith in God's provision for the future. I guess one of the things that hinders us from giving is that feeling that when we give, we will make a loss because we have to give up our own comfort and treasures for the benefits of others. Plus we sometimes give according to whether we think the other party deserves it and thus make a mental judgment?
Anyhow, through my devotions I seem to have been hearing a lot of things regarding giving and money and faith, so I believe God is prompting me to examine my heart and see where my real treasures lie - whether on earth or in heaven. I've never thought of myself as materialistic, but after reading that line "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be", it has sort of awaken me to realise that if I don't see Jesus as my ultimate prize or treasure, my heart will drift away and seek other things to try and find satisfaction.
I guess one of the best tell tale signs of whether Jesus is one's treasure is to see where one spends their time, energy and money on.
This chapter has been really helpful for me in understanding God's grace and how it unlocks the key to love and generosity towards others.
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Take giving of our tithes and offerings as an example. We give God because we are commanded to do so. But the moment it becomes something that we do out of gratitude, grace somehow becomes nullified. We should instead, give out of faith, trusting in God's future grace and know that He will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory.
We don't live our life in gratitude to God, but we live our lives by faith
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Yet, John Piper argues in his book 'Future Grace' that gratitude is not the biblical for Christian obedience. Rather, faith in future grace is.
I'm currently reading that book and it's 31 chapters, so I hope to finish the book within a month and pen down my thoughts daily as I read it.
Apparently the book has received lots of praises from well-known Christian figures like J.I. Packer, Kevin DeYoung, C.J. Mahaney etc. saying that apart from the Bible, this book has had the most impact in their lives and it has changed their thinking. Got to live up to its expectations, right? So I'm delving in and reading, hoping that it will challenge me the same way A.W Tozer's 'Pursuit of God' has done for me.
And it has.
The first chapter goes straight into the debtor's ethic - whether we should try to pay God back. Gratitude has he puts it, is good because it exults in grace. The problem with it though, is that gratitude has sometimes lost its spontaneity, and we are tempted to pay it back on the basis that someone has done something good for me, so I should reciprocate. The gift then sort of loses its real meaning.
I suppose it's true, because as Christians we say things like "God has done so much for me, and what have I done for him?" The thinking or motive behind it is probably good, but the Bible as John Piper points out, doesn't show that gratitude is the way we obey him.
Rather, he argues that the reason why we sin is because of our lack of faith in God's future grace, not ingratitude. Faith in future grace is the missing ethical power to overcome rebellion and motivate obedience.
"It's this faith in future grace that channels the power of God into obedience" - We obey, because we fear the Lord, and fearing the Lord involves us trusting in Him, and trembling that it would be an insult to God if we do not have faith after seeing all the signs and wonders he has performed.
Besides, we can never repay God's gift of love for us so the motive for us to obey/please God is driven by faith. Indeed, "without faith, it is impossible to please God".
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
I'm currently reading this book by Timothy Keller called "Every Good Endeavour" and so far, it's been a much needed and helpful read on why and how our work matters to God.
Unfortunately, these authors who write on Christians at work aren't from Singapore so it's a bit hard to understand where they're coming from. I mean, they aren't from Singapore and they don't understand the need for survival and practicality. I somehow wish there would be a Singaporean Christian to give a balanced perspective on work.
Nevertheless, this is what I've inferred from reading the first few chapters of the book:
1. Work gives us an opportunity to identify our strengths, weakness, talents, what we are good at, so that we can be equipped with this knowledge and of self and use it to better serve the church and others.
2. We work, to earn, to give. When we work, we earn money and we can use these money to contribute purposefully to missions, church funding and evangelism.
Still reading and still learning.
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
This is all too a familiar scene in our everyday lives as working adults. I too find that I have to motivate myself to get out of bed and it gets harder with each passing day. After all, working life is tough and we abhor to think of the endless tasks that would greet us with sly grin everyday. Pressures, stress and long hours take a toll on us. Bosses and managers have high expectations of us and little time to complete them. And sometimes just when you think you've happily ticked off the checklist of your to-do-list, you get a ton more. There goes your chance to go home on time. Is there ever an end to this all?
I don't ever think there is.
In such a performance-based society, you have to make the cut or you'll be cut off. It pushes us to strive harder, and sometimes its demands have adverse effects on us. It's been a month since I've started work and I'm learning new things each day, both in life and in work.
Most recently, I've been working on a project that has been rather challenging for me. And I'll be honest -- I couldn't cope. I learnt that I can't be the best (or at least not so soon), but I can be the best stewart to God. Being faithful to our bosses and authorities and eventually to Him.
Thank God that in His Kingdom we don't have to be the best to be loved by Him. He loves us unconditionally, unwaveringly and abundantly. At the end of the day, he wants us to be good and faithful stewards, making the best use of our time, talent and treasure on earth for Him.
Thursday, 23 May 2013
I heard funny stories of missing items during Oktoberfest. Among the usual suspects like wallets and room keys, there were funny ones like false teeth, clothing of all shapes and sizes, missing children and the funniest - a wheelchair?! Someone obviously got too drunk and believed he/she could walk...
Munich's predominantly catholic so you see lots of churches around (often with onion shaped domes, quite a trend really). And I present to you Asamkirche! I kid you not. It's incredibly lavish and rich and such a masterpiece. Story has it that two brothers promised to build a church if they survived the shipwreck, which they did obviously.