Feb 28, 2012

Good times?

We are no longer living in good times. Good times to me is not defined by having all the materials and comfort but knowing you are ready when hard times come. Why do I say that?

The other night I attended a dinner that is hosted by one of the political parties. More alleged truths are coming out from them, whether they are 100% true or not - it has a lot of evidences implying that it is. What are they? Money being “stolen” by the government, goods at KR1M (Kedai 1 Rakyat Malaysia) using ingredients that breaks the law and could be harmful to people and the most disturbing of all, our country is purportedly heading for bankruptcy by year 2019. That idea was also supported by Idris jala, a Minister in the Prime Minister Department.

These are not claims by politicians who sit down and do nothing, to control the people by giving out a lot of half truths, lies and propaganda in the newspaper, tv and radio. These are true politicians who work day in and out to ensure transparency in the government and to uphold justice and freedom for the betterment of all our of lives in Malaysia.

What am I trying to say? We only have only so few years to work on this and even then, we are only merely reducing the damage that will still definitely happen.

What then? As Christians who are not dependent on God but on the materials we own, what will life be from there? Instead of being the very “salt” and “light” for others who were blindly led by the government stories and lies, do we also become one of them and as though without hope?

I find that extremely ridiculous myself and have always planned to live my life in accordance to what is only needed and not what is desired. If I were to deny myself and to follow Him with the cross, there will be a tougher time that requires all of us to stand firm for the Lord’s Glory and love to be known in our own world of friends and relatives. I do admit that sometimes it can be very hard and I do succumb to the temptation of what may not be necessary at all but one thing I know for sure, I’m going to keep trying my best.

Because by doing so, I'm being prepared. Then again, that's only the physical aspect, the harder part will be our spiritual health.

As soldiers in the spiritual battlefield, never be the wounded soldier that never recovers. What do i mean by that? When the big trials and obstacles come and you're unprepared, you become the burden instead of the light that all hopelessness surround you when the time comes. Sometimes it is not the physical injury that leaves us stagnant in self pity and pain, the pain that is left lingering in the soul is often proved more fatal.

My question is, are you ready now? If you are, how are you doing it? Are you starting to switch your series to more important political news? Are you starting to read more important books instead of gossip magazines? How about your baggage that you have left aside for many years in your life? And many more alike of such areas that need to be worked on. Do not deceive yourself in thinking that you can do it when that time comes, this preparation doesn't come over night. Just like an athlete who prepares to run the race wouldn't be able to win it without the intense training he has placed in prior to it.

Time is ticking and the days are evil, I urge all who are reading this, start preparing yourself and be the salt and light continually, even in hard times that are about to come. I don't think we should condemn ourselves if we feel like we're so far from reaching where we should be in the hard times to come, we should only make sure of one thing in all things, that we give our utmost best in each and everyday. Even if the hard time never come, we know one thing for sure that we certainly did our best until the Lord returns (or we go to Him first!)

- Gary Heng

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Feb 13, 2012

Forgetting what is behind - on forward!

I know that I’m a little late in doing this, but I thought I should take this opportunity to share about my meditation during last years’ youth camp for the benefit of those who did not attend. The theme for the camp was “Amazing Race: Family Edition”.

The focus of the camp was to teach us about our lives being an “Amazing Race” - that we are running for God while “Family Edition” represents the fact that we are running this race together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The moment I found out about the theme of the camp, the first verse that came to my mind was 2 Timothy 4:7 in which Paul writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This verse has been regularly quoted in church. Prior to the camp I had thought that I understood the meaning of running the race but I was wrong.

Before we left for camp, I was struggling with my thought life that had been compromised with many distorted and perverted things that I thought I could filter out. This was primarily caused by the excessive hours I had spent watching television throughout my life. I had been warned by my family and prompted by God many times to stop watching television but I ignored it thinking I could handle the information and images that I was receiving.

Until one day, I woke up and realized how desensitized and distorted my thinking had become and not to mention the many unproductive hours I had wasted spending my time in front of the television. I immediately asked God for forgiveness for my ways and for the sinful thoughts that have gone through my mind. However, I felt so much guilt for allowing my mind to be compromised to that extent and I started crippling myself with fear that God will not forgive me.

While I was going through this, I felt God telling me time and time again that He sent His one and only Son to die for me on the Cross and because of His ultimate sacrifice my sins are forgiven. Despite all the prompting, I still felt very guilty and I could not forgive myself.

During the meditation at the youth camp I finally understood the truth. The passage we meditated on was Philippians 3:12 – 4:1.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Philippians 4
Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
The verse that struck me the most was verse 13 and 14 which says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I was meditating on this verse while facing the swimming pool and it suddenly hit me that when Olympic swimmers swim, they never look back. For that matter, you will never see any athlete being distracted and looking backwards while they are racing on the racecourse. I never thought about the “Amazing Race” so literally before but it makes so much sense now. How can I run this race for God when I’m so distracted about my past? There is no way you can press on toward the goal while looking back. Therefore from that moment on, I told myself to let go of the guilt but to never forget the lesson.

To be honest, lately I have been slipping a little in my endeavor to totally cut out the television. We are such forgetful people and I am starting to find myself tempted and failing to resist temptation sometimes. So when I realize that I am slipping, I remind myself once again about the pain of going through that lesson and I ensue to switch off the television. Resisting temptation is not easy but I pray that all of us will continue to seek God’s strength to resist the temptations in our lives that take us away from Him.

On the other hand, if any of you are feeling the guilt of past sins, bring to the Lord in prayer and seek the help of a matured brother or sister in Christ so that they may be able to pray for you as well. After all, we are a family and we are in this race together.

- Xin-Yi

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Feb 8, 2012

A Personal Testimony (Part 2: Press On)

Philippians 3:12-14, New King James Version (NKJV)
Pressing Toward the Goal
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
These verses would be familiar to those who attended the Dec’11 Amazing Race – Family edition camp at Kundang, Rawang and those who memorized the verses (For your information, the whole meditation verses for the camp was Phil 3:12-Phil 4:1).

When I meditated on those verses during camp, not much thought came to me and I was rather anxious during the sharing after that as I have nothing to share! However, the word “press on” suddenly came to me as my sister shared all her job search and working experience and how God spoke to her. I never expect God to speak to me during our sharing as it was the period of time that daily I spent an hour or two searching for a job. Again, I would like to stress that I am not that kind of person who likes to job-hop but have no choice at that moment.

Perplex and confused, I swept the thought aside and took my sister’s advice to still do my best at work. After a few days of serious attempts at work, lo and behold, my senior who saw my slight improvements commanded (really!) me to stay and cancel all my leaves that consist of about 8 back-to-back interviews (one of them is a second interview). I was of course deeply overjoyed as it means that I am capable of change.

The incidences above have happened more than 3 weeks already but I am still seeking a confirmation from the Lord that the “press on” means?
i) Press on at current job
ii) Press on for change
iii) Press on for job search till I can find one that suits me
iv) Press on item i) & ii) above

As I meditate and ask God for the confirmation, this song came to my mind:-

God Will Make A Way (Song 612 in Spectrum of Praise)
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness
He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today
And it has miraculously tied in with my quiet time passage. The verse is
Isaiah 43:19-20, NKJV
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

The beast of the field will honor Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I give waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My people, My chosen.
To my amazement, in the 4 chapters of Isaiah that I did and still in the midst of my quiet time, assurance like these came to me again and again to help me to have more confidence to face my unknown future.
Isaiah 41:10, NKJV
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:14, NKJV
“Fear not, you worm Jacob,
You men of Israel!
I will help you,” says the LORD
And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 43:5, NKJV
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;

Isaiah 44:2, NKJV
Thus says the LORD who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 44:8, NKJV
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.’”
{Background to my sharing: As you can see from my sharing dated 7 November 2011 and 5 December 2011, you will be aware that I’m in God’s breaking and refining process now. Via this process, I saw an appalling numbers of my sins and shortcomings and all these sins and weaknesses has caused myself a lot of trouble at work – to the extent that I was asked to resign}

If today you’re at a crossroad, do allow God to speak to you. When you pray, meditate and fast about your direction in life/career/studies, ask God! (Matthew 7:7-11, NKJV) though God is not the genie in “Aladdin” who will answer your wish when you rub the lamp, but He will definitely answer you, as I do, though still waiting for more to come.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

In Him,
Yit Mun
Aka IP Man

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