Posts

Showing posts from September, 2013

God as a Cleaner!

What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? - JESUS
That statement is from Luke 15:8. Actually, my answer to the Lord's rhetorical question has always been no. I do not know such a woman. Not one who does all three things as stated. I can see why the woman lights the lamp (it is dark) and seeks diligently until she finds it (it is worth something). But I can't see why she decides to sweep the house in the middle of searching for a coin! And clearly late in the day or more likely at night!
As someone who grew up in a village, I struggle to even imagine these three actions taking place at once! The reason is obvious. Sweeping takes time and distracts from the purpose of searching. But not only that if it is not done properly, depending on what we are looking for, it even leads to mistakenly throwing away other things!

Are you currently praying for someone?

Then read carefully this priceless advice from Charles Stanley from his book Handle with Prayer:  When praying for others, we must be willing to be part of the answer if necessary. If we aren’t willing to be used to answer our own prayers, we aren’t cooperating with God. As a result, He won’t cooperate with us; He won’t answer our prayers. Why? Because these are prayers of isolation and separation. We are saying, “God I don’t want to get mixed up in anyone’s problems. You take care of that.” Can you imagine Jesus doing that? “Sorry, Bartimaeus, I don’t want to get My hands dirty.”
God will not hear our prayers of isolation. If we aren’t more interested than that, then He’s not interested in our prayers. As long as we ask and do nothing, He will listen and do nothing. If it costs us nothing, we can expect little in return. Don’t pray for more missionaries unless you’re willing to go yourself or are willing to send your children. Don’t pray for another’s financial need unless you’re w…

Are we worth saving?

Image
In the famous film The Fifth Element, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) poses a challenging rhetorical question to Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) : What's the use in saving life when you see what you do with it? (Watch here).She is speaking 250 years in the future, where life as we know it is threatened by the arrival of Evil. Only Leeloo (the "Fifth Element") can stop Great Evil from extinguishing life. Leeloo is the vulnerable but "supreme being" that comes as human being to save humanity.
To accomplish her task she has to activate the four elemental stones of earth, wind, fire and rain, with her self in the middle as the "fifth element" that is forged into the ultimate weapon against Great Evil. It is at this point of salvation, inside the temple of stones, that Leeloo becomes disillusioned and unwilling to perform the role. She comes to realise that human beings are themselves so evil that they are not worth saving. Any “salvation” will be temporarily at bes…

Jesus Never Fails

Many a times in my life, the words of this childhood hymn has been a tremendous encouragement. I pray this may encourage you too. Keep looking to Jesus!
Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your mother will let you down Your father will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your husband will let you down Your wife will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your brothers will let you down Your sisters-will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your church will let you down Your work will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your friends will let you down Your country will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your wealth will let you down Your health will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Copyri…

Leadership Lessons from Liu Bang

I have just finished reading 'A Thousand Pieces of Gold: A Memoir of China's Past Through its Proverbs' by Adeline Yen Mah. Ten years on since my first read, I am even more impressed by how Yen Mah weaves an engaging account of the life and times of the First Emperor of China as recorded in China's Grand Historian Sima Qian's book Shiji and seen through her eyes. Here is how she describes the leadership of warrior Liu Bang : It is amazing that a man like Liu Bang, who came from a low-class background and maintained the habits and behaviour of a peasant, should have succeeded in capturing the people’s imagination in such a short time. By all accounts, he was lazy and feckless as a young man. Even when he became chief of a ting, he was always squatting down on his mat like a peasant, something considered undignified by nobles. His language was uncouth. Scholars and officials alike looked down upon him and, with the exception of Zhang Liang, all his followers were co…

Are you suffering from spiritual amnesia?

When Christians gain different forms of social influence (e.g., economic, political, educational), we tend to get them tangled up and confused with spiritual forms of authority. Unless one is careful, spiritual resources can be co-opted by social power and we can become dependent on the latter for our sense of well-being. - Steve Wilkens & Mark Sanford (Source : Hidden Worldviews)
This is a very helpful observation. Increased social influence always carries the risk of diminishing our spiritual influence. The more popular we become through our personality and skills, the less influential we might become spiritually. The reason is that we can come to easily rely on our social influence to change things rather than on God.

What does it mean that Jesus lives in me?

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-20) I have read these verses so many time but Paul David Tripp has just blown me away with them how incisively he explains them in his latest book. Here is what he says : Paul reminds us of something that we must always remember as we deal with the relationships, pleasures, and temptations of this here-and…

Its All News to Me!

I recently finished reading BBC journalist Jeremy Vine's book 'It's All News to Me'. It has very useful insights on news, journalism and life in general. And filled with lots of jokes. Like this famous interview between presidential candidate George W Bush and a journalist (Hiller), which shows that the art of journalism is asking the obvious : Hiller: Can you name the president of Chechnya? Bush: No, can you? Hiller: Can you name the president of Taiwan? Bush: Yeah, Lee. Hiller: Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan? Bush: Wait, wait, is this fifty questions? Hiller: No, it’s four questions of four leaders in four hot-spots. Bush: The new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected – not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that’s good news for the subcontinent. Hiller: Can you name him? Bush: General. I can name the general. Just general. Hiller: And the prime minister …

How good is your eye sight?

During my daily travel I come across some bizarre sightings which usually sends my heart wondering. I have learned that nearly everything is telling us something about God and the nature of man.
Recently, I saw a Chinese man with his newly wed wife standing in the middle of the road in London with traffic in both directions. I know they were newlywed because the man was dressed in his suit and the woman in her bridal dressing!
Alongside the couple was the camera man. Somewhere along the way the two had decided that they wanted to remember their wedding against the backdrop of London’s historic builds and heavy traffic.

Salvation Explained!

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (Revelation 1:5, 6) Four important truths we can learn from these verses. 
First, the love of Jesus is foundational to his shedding of blood on the cross for my sins. It was love that sent Jesus on the cross.
Secondly, the aim of Jesus' shedding his blood on the cross was to free me from my sins. His goal was freedom for me not merely forgiveness from sin (very important)!
Thirdly, the blood of Jesus does not just save me from sin but it brings me into a family of believers with a common Father. So I am no longer alone!
Finally, the outcome of a person who has been loved and freed and welcomed into God's family is service. I am saved to serve as a priest before God.
To these truths I am tempted to mention other major truths about adoption and open access to God. And of course the important point that a heart that…

Anti-Social Media

Janet Daley recently wrote in the UK's Daily Telegraph on the inherent anti-social nature of 'social media': Where has all this absurd, unfathomable rage and hatred come from? Has it always been there, lying beneath the surface of an apparently benign national life, just waiting for its chance to leap from the dark? I doubt it: I am more inclined to believe that there is something about the isolation of computer-based activity (and this includes online pornography addiction) that breeds deviant, narcissistic, almost autistic, attitudes to the outside world. Which may be another reason why obsessive participation in “social media” is not really social at all: why it can so easily become detached, insular and, in the end, deeply anti-social.. She is definitely onto something by noting that the nature of social media leads to living isolated lives. And that such isolation inevitably breeds dark deeds. As King Solomon warned, whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he …

Is human justice enough?

Ariel Castro was recently sentenced in the USA for forced kidnap and rape. The judge said he was too dangerous to be released. He duly sentenced him to life without parole plus 1,000 years. The infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer received a 1,000 years and the list goes on.
Why impose an additional 1000 years when the offender will never serve a year of it given he already has life without parole? A key reason according to American legal expert Franklin Zimring is that it serves the purpose of "symbolic denunciation" which is often influenced by media coverage and public outcry. It is a message to the offender and the public that the person is really evil and deserves the harshest punishment.

How Good is God?

Image
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7) The USA's Barner Research Poll asked, 'If you can ask God only one question, and you knew he would give you the answer, what would it be?' The overwhelming response was, 'why is there pain and suffering in the world?' In other words, just how good is the God we worship in the middle of so much pain and suffering?


God’s people in the Old Testament during Nahum's time faced similar questions. Nineveh had overpowered them and were left wondering where His goodness was amid their broken lives. To comfort them God gave Nahum a vision. In the verse quoted above we learn three things about the goodness of God.