Aug 31, 2009

Significance

Yesterday, Uncle Yu Chai tabled the motion that we should focus our lives, not on survival or even success alone, but on significance. Significant as defined in the dictionary is ‘having or expressing meaning or import in sufficient quantity’. A life of significance would be therefore one that had meaning, and was important; at least enough to have made a difference or mattered.

We have been given perhaps three score and ten years; some more, others less. The psalmist describes humanity as desert grass and dew; temporal, whimsical, there for a moment and gone before the next. How does one attain significance, when confined such?

King Solomon could be ascribed to be reputedly, the wisest man who ever lived. One would at least concede that in his era, he entertained no competitor. He engrossed himself in the pursuit of the arts and sciences; he was the designer, architect and engineer, an agriculturist cum horticulturist, a skilled farmer of crop and beasts , a man of peace, politics and war. He immersed himself in the study of man, of the mind, of pleasure, of food, flesh and wine. His monumental achievements and wisdom were investigated by near and far. He was resolved and abstained from nothing, in his quest for meaning, for significance. It does strike one as strange on re-examination, that he did not study or dedicate much time and effort in getting to know his LORD. Why did he not shift his focus from the things of this world?

As at today, nothing much has survived, of Solomon’s grandeur. It is ironic, if not deceitful, for man to exposit the glories of yesteryear from amongst the remnant, skeletal ruins. If one as astute as Solomon could not succeed, are we destined or consigned for failure? The Lord Jesus Christ provides the cue in the book of Matthew;

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'(Mat 25:40)

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." (Mat 10:42)

The assurance and promise of the Lord Himself is that ; for anything done for Him or for the least of His brothers, even if it was just a cup of water, it would matter even till eternity.

Significance? Only what is done for Him will matter and last. May our years be marked by acts of dedication to our Lord , His people and for those He came to save.

God bless.



/ckh

Aug 24, 2009

Sharings

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psa 34:8)

Man has been created with an innate need for community. He was never designed to function completely as a solitary individual. Quite remarkably, it is also inbuilt in him the need to share!

We will observe as common incident, the propensity of sharing the latest and current bests ,concerning all manner of subjects; from the latest toys, the best places and foods to eat, the movies and songs to hear, the places to see and visit, and just about everything else under the sun. This sharing is usually most selective, when we will reserve the best for those we deem closest to us.

It does seem a contradiction therefore, that we do not exhibit the same enthusiasm when it comes to our personal enriched experiences with the LORD or with His gospel. Our “silence” in worship and thanksgiving is irreconcilable. Our inertia in heartily telling of the good news invites investigation. In the course of our daily lives, we are guilty of relegating and according Him only brief moments, when we inadvertently remember that He was always there. It is certainly good when our talk matches our walk. We confess that we know Him and His daily blessings, that He is good and faithful, that we hear His voice and follow Him. We call Him LORD.

May our lives and our voices be saturated with praise, thanksgiving and the blessing of sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless.



/ckh

Aug 17, 2009

Keepers

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9)

Cain was found out; he was obliged to fumble for an impossible answer on enquiry by the LORD as to the whereabouts of Abel. He had the unenviable, inescapable position of having slaughtered his brother by his own hand; not quite the usual position we would associate ourselves being entangled with.

There is another brother in the New Testament that we are well familiar with; the brother of the prodigal son. This elder son was by his father’s side, working his fields, and having lived well off the goodness and wealth of his father. His prodigal brother had left, with his fair share of his father’s estate, then squandered his father’s provisions on loose living.

Did the elder son know his father’s heart? Could he sense his father’s loss? Was he totally unaware that the father was always waiting for his brother’s return? It does seem strange that this brother, who was so confident of his own good standing, did not know or care for his father’s heart. Did the question of ‘being my brother’s keeper’ never present itself? And we could wonder why the father did not seem to have posed the question directly to him.

We have many brothers and sisters in Christ; many of whom are not to be found around today. Quite a number have been known to have wandered off and not just lost their way. Perhaps they may have fallen into a ditch, from which they are unable to extricate themselves,a broken leg, ravaged by beasts. Perchance, they have been entangled themselves in some thorny bush, having been enticed to chase some attractive distraction. Some have even departed directly because of matters to which we had contributed. Would we need to be “found out” like Cain, and will we persist in being the elder son, staying comfortably in the Father’s house, not willing to go and search for our lost siblings. Could we profess innocence before the Judge of all mankind? Do we maintain, that we truly care, to know our Father’s heart.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave an explicit view; one that would make the claim for ignorance or deniability, an act of futility. He questioned:

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? (Luk 15:4)

His last qualification makes the task that much more formidable. However, the blessing lies in the promise; that it is He, who will find His sheep, and bring them home upon His shoulders. We would be merely going along together with Him, whom we call Lord. How could our earnest wane, especially for those who we once acknowledged as siblings in Christ? The apostle John ratchets up by calling it a lie; to say that we love God, when we cannot love a brother, even if he would be the most prodigal brother!

We are taught and do profess that Christ lives, in us and through us; how oft we sing of such. But still we would lack vision, when it comes to the immensity and magnitude of heaven’s joy at the return of a repentant . We are His vessels and certainly part of His Body, yet we seem inert and reluctant to move on His behalf. The Marines have an admirable ethos of ‘leaving no man behind’. Let us pray the LORD that we would have a truer appreciation of import and that in His Army, compelled by His love, it is a truism that no one's left behind.

And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luk 15:5-7)

God bless.




/ckh

Aug 10, 2009

Praying Children

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1Jn 3:1)

Is it in our nature to pray? The Lord Jesus Christ, being the Son of God dedicated time towards prayer. In the early hours, despite having worked through the night, when rest would have been the obvious option, He was resolute with His need for prayer and seeking the Father. Yet we, vessels of clay and dust seem impervious to our need for prayer. It does look dubious, if we do not, as children, recognize this incongruence.

A casual observation will tell on our comfit with prayer; if we have to struggle when asked to pray, when our prayers ramble like a runaway train, when our expressions are repetitious stereo-typed clich├ęs, or the mere passing mention of subjects or names. Our prayers will however take on more, only when the Father is seen to be the Arbitrator of last resort. How characteristic, are our dialogs with our Father? Whilst it is true that infants can not immediately have conversations, still, any infant who does not develop speech after years, would be a subject of grave concern. Even babies have been observed to vocalize in their early attempts to communicate. A desire to communicate is innate in every babe. Personal, private prayer is simplistically our own conversations with the Father and as with the personal, form and shape need not be rigid.

To lead in priestly prayer requires schooling and tutelage. The function as "priests" has shown decline over the years. But, it is not that we lack the resources; perhaps we should revisit the prayer books of the past, to consider their liturgy and their content to make comparison and study. Prayer books were written for a time when literacy was not as widespread, but clearly the prayer writers of old had a more succinct appreciation of their duty. The erosion in focus, texts, content, and heart is most apparent when we compare their prayers thoughts and response. Another testament of our ineptitude can be found when we compare contemporary Christian songs with the hymnals of old. We simply do not attend to such matters today, as tediously and meticulously as the saints of old.

Would it then be timely and urgently proper, that we echo the request of the disciple?

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, (Luk 11:1)

God bless.




/ckh

Aug 3, 2009

Making Time

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 English language does stress us somewhat. It is the lingua franca of the world though it lays no claim to having the widest vocabulary. Despite the great use of this medium, one is seldom confident that the grasp of the language is adequate in our churches today. In the use of English, prepositions and nitty stuff like commas, semi-colons and full-stops play a defining role in the mandate and texture of any communication. It is of paramount importance for one to pay attention to the juxtaposition of these ‘characters’. In the practice of legal work, there is much ado with regard to these. Rules and findings are fought over and dictated by these seemingly inconspicuous entries.

Considering 2 Co 5:17; take the word ‘therefore’ followed by the ‘comma’ and then the ‘if’, what is the Apostle Paul attempting to define or mandate? Do his prepositions denote a cyclical requirement attesting to a truth that if or therefore, one be in Christ? He further locked in tandem the ‘is’ and ‘in’; does this fusing confirm as an affirmative, the validating proof, of a presently and active relating, with the Lord? Why must the descriptor ‘passed’ be augmented by ‘away’; was the melding designed to convey more depth by implication in its direction?

The word ‘behold’ is not commonly used today; how would we attempt to translate and decipher accurately what Paul meant? Do we loosely interpret ‘behold’ as ‘look’ or may it suggest, especially with the commas, a grand entrancing, as with a great expectation ? And what about the ‘has come’? Would it not be significantly different, if it was scripted as "is coming" or "will be coming"?

Reading scripture does demand extended time and care. Whilst we would shun the reduction of textual study into a rigid or whimsical exercise, we cannot dismiss the need and importance of rightly dividing the truths. It is essential that we have an appreciation of the discipline of searching, and meditating on the word through the course of the day. The propensity to quickly finish our ‘quiet-times’, if indeed we do have them, is self-realizing. We deprive ourselves, when we hurry through lightly, given our time-schedules. The advice to have these times in the early part of the day is invaluable, considering that we be already drained, dull and tired at the end of the day. The practice of seeking the LORD is reflective of our priority in our daily living and our profession of faith. More suspect would be, the source of our strength and sufficiency, should we neglect having to seek the Father, firstly and foremost. The injunction to seek Him, with all our hearts, is particular. A lack in the plain reading of the holy writ alludes to an even greater scarcity in devotionals. Let us not be careless with a patient Heavenly Father who has given for us, nothing less than His Son. He, most indisputably, is due and is worthy, of much more.

Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. (Psa 143:8)

God bless.



/ckh