Jul 27, 2009

Tipping the Cart

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Co 5:17)

The above text has recently been a challenge, a continual affront to my profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Many of us profess to be in Christ, and if this be true, then we are all new creations; to say that the old has passed and that the new has come seems superfluous. We can readily attest to a change, a leaning towards the better good. We can heartily testify that the old has passed and that the new has come.

In our present day to day living, we meet all sorts of people, in sundry circumstance. We socialize with people who are clearly different from ourselves. Quite a few can and will drive us up the wall. What becomes a very prickly issue at these interactions is my reactions ; a driver overtakes from the left, an arrogant wannabe turk hijacks a parking lot I had been waiting some, a snoot in front of my vehicle, busy on the hand phone when I am already running behind, a bangla teller who is busy talking to his friend and not attending to the task before him, some lady who cannot or will not restrain her hyperactive and clearly vocal child, people who have no sense of timeliness, loud people, to name a few. Our fathers have taught us that the best way to read a person’s character is when the person is either gambling or intoxicated. Christians would scarce be seen doing either but two plausible alternatives present themselves; driving a vehicle and sports.

The test really arrives when we get tipped. It is then that I am queried on my claimed position in Christ. So often when angered, I would revert to and react with my old ways. The propensity to get really mad and then retaliate, albeit with the proper camouflage of making a justifiable stand and championing for what is right. Making my stand rises so quickly as the option. It is not infrequently that I would wonder; if I am really a new creation, or quite possibly a whitewashed sepulcher. Tip the cart and see, if it truly bruised skin, or just veneer. Have the cart overturned, then reassert that the old has passed away and behold, the new has come? What happens when we really are hurt? What restrains us from lashing out, especially when we can! And wait the chorus of voices who are ever ready to chastise one for being so ‘unchristian’ if we ever do . A catch-22? Not if we are truly new creations.

A truth that Paul shared, as chief of sinners, provides the compulsion for forgiveness. The Lord reminded a pharisee that she, who was forgiven much, also loved much.

Perhaps the test lies with our perception of our guiltiness.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. (Psa 103:10)

Sinners saved by grace, the LORD has not dealt with us according to our sins. May we learn , and be constrained, to deal with others as we would have the LORD deal with us.

God bless.


Jul 20, 2009

Our hope

From time immemorial, the hope of every generation has always been in the youth of that age. No right-thinking society would ever ignore the duty and importance of investing in their youth. Every parent desires that their children develop surely and soundly for their time.

Youthfulness is characterized by exuberance; it is a time of blossoming. Sometimes it is apt to strain in flamboyant spunk, with words and deed punctuated with brashness, innocence, gullibility and derring-do. Youths are known to demonstrate their individuality in seemingly rebellious, even zealous attacks on established norms and limits. Unbridled creativity and questioning often pushes the envelope, the then establishment against or off the wall to inject their “new” signatures designating their times. Our youth should with temerity, validate and claim as their own, and for themselves, the truths we share.

Our hope is in our children; the well-being of tomorrow’s church rests with the youth of today. We will pass the baton and it will be up to the youth of today to then care and attend to body of the church. We need our children to be appreciative of examination and testing. There is no room for novices.

King David in his youth was known to be of ruddy complexion. His brothers complained of a cheeky inquisitiveness. Elihu, a young man rebuked Job and his friends that ‘Great men are not always wise and that aged men not always understanding judgment”.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1Ti 4:12)

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15)

The apostle Paul advised Timothy to ‘let no man despise your youth’. It seemed to me that the elder Paul would provide in his second letter the necessary dove-tail to ‘study to show thyself approved’. From a historical perspective, we often forget that Paul’s instruction to ‘study’ then was actually quite an onerous assignment. We overlook the reality that for Timothy, the written texts and the scriptures were not complete and/or readily available.

In our time, a well-watered young tree, planted by a river, though not in the season for fruit, will show luxuriant foliage. A silent, demure, submissive demeanor does not necessarily forebode well-being; it could well camouflage a careless disinterest whilst flowing with the stream.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (Luk 2:46)

The Lord Jesus Himself, at twelve years of age, was found, sitting amidst the teachers, hearing and asking questions, in the temple. We solicit becoming more and more like Him; perhaps this would be a good place to start. King Solomon’s advice would also be timely.

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (Ecc 12:1)

God bless.


Jul 15, 2009

The other half of the pictures are with Uncle Lay Seng... Will upload it next week

Jul 13, 2009

A Psalm of David

A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psa 139:1-6)

The Psalmist describes an intimacy, a relationship that is enviable, sublime; an intimacy not quite appreciated, seemingly beyond our reach and human understanding even if one could have attained it !

I would hesitate to declare that the LORD, “ have searched me and known me”; at least not at my invitation. And we would wonder if the LORD is really that intrusive, to go where He has not been invited. There are many places, secret places, where I would rather not subject to open access and enquiry . Maybe that is why I have failed the extent of this intimacy. But it does seem a wee absurd, that the LORD would not be admitted to some places, if He be LORD indeed.

To think that the LORD “have searched” is also something just beyond grasp; why would He?

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Psa 139:13-18)

Consider, that the LORD would want to search and know ! What is man that Thou should consider him ? To up the ante, He planned and even wrote down; “every one of them, the days that were formed for me !” Tis not just me having some spot or relevance in the history of man, but that the days were formed for me. Should not this alone ignite our hearts and cause us to return to our first love.

We love because he first loved us. (1Jn 4:19)

God bless.


Jul 6, 2009

Mirror, mirror,

“The session was scheduled earlier today. A lot of time was expended in preparation for the barber-shop harmonics. Prior to coming, much care was given to sound checks and vocal chords. Our spirits attuned, our singing became invigorating. We could lead into heights and come down valleys; we could challenge, affirm, admonish, encourage and console. In song, we shared in all the shades of emotion; we would capture and release, solicit and pour forth. Music and song can be even more intoxicating than wine. It can make us glad, draw tears from stony hearts, bolster weary souls, draw from nostalgia and relive the past. It was a wonderful session; we will do this again, at the next karaoke meet.”

“There are no written terms and conditions. We promote a wholesome community and therefore there are minimal standards and decorum; of life-style, incomes and accoutrements, no tobacco please, since we are adverse to smoking, no coarse language, for we have our ladies and kids, and no drunkenness. We encourage friendliness and consideration. We would aspire to be a large extended family but as with the human race, we make proviso for friends and acquaintances. There are those with whom we will relate well and some who affect us adversely, with the vast majority somewhere in between these. But none the matter, we fit where we belong. It works quite well, really; within our inner circles, there is genuine love and sacrifice for each other. We enjoy each other’s company; have meals and holidays together even. In good times we celebrate, our successes, our birthdays, and our lives together. When times threaten, we will circle the wagons and provide support and consolation. If need be, we will mourn together. Not bad; for a community club”

“We sit in the congregation, sing “Hallelujahs” and say “Amen’s”. The hall resounds with “Praise the Lord” and “Bless you, brother and sister”. We raise our hands and bend our knees, we speak in tongues and the language of angels, we command “in Jesus’ Name”. The speaker makes an impassioned plea, after discoursing with sublime ardor a skillfully treatised exposition of a ladened text. The language was simple, succinct, the delivery inspired to a tee. It was with skillful composure, imbibed with myriad emotion and articulated with appropriate tenor. The summation made the atmosphere as dense as before an incoming storm. We sit in the congregation; a herd of sheep and goats.”

Sheep and goats are genetically different. A sheep can not be like the goat, and the goat, would need a miracle, to be turned into a sheep.

My sheep hear My voice, AND I know them,AND they follow Me
(Joh 10:27)

God bless.