Mar 27, 2012

Respond through the Spirit, don’t react with the flesh!

As I was washing the car earlier this evening, there was a particular stain that seems impossible to come off no matter how hard I scrubbed it, and as I scrubbed, a thought came to my mind about stubborn stains.

I suppose some of you’ll be thinking “Ah, must be thinking about the stubborn sins in his life that sometimes stick to us for a long time..” Well….maybe you’re not thinking of that, but I’ll come straight to the point of what I was thinking. It struck me that not too long ago, there were some individuals that just couldn’t release their hatred and bitterness on me and my brother.

Why do I say that? Well, the conflict that happened between us and them took place about more than 2 years ago. Even after not talking at all for such a long time and my brother even took to the first step to apologize, they all ignored him except for one of them. But you see, they knew a common good friend of mine as well and I was commenting on his post on facebook, out of no where the entire gang of them came and started to talk extremely cynical and with loads of sarcasm which the post; in the first place, has entirely no relevance to their comments. They just decided to drop by again and pour out the bitterness they’ve been containing all these years.

The flesh immediately reacted, but the spirit decided to respond instead. What do I mean? Well men are very infamous for reacting with their flesh, when one person decides to shout at you, your flesh reacts by shouting back. But, if you allow the Holy Spirit to govern you, He will govern over your flesh and respond; Biblically. So instead of reacting by resorting to sinful spite and revenge, the Spirit decided that its best to keep quiet - trust me, it wasn’t easy.

Can you imagine you’re humiliated for no good apparent reason and they decided to do it because they just can’t let go the past? (The past in our case was fault on both side, they just decide to get “even” where in the first place, there’s nothing to be even about). And now, the Spirit urges - keep quiet and let them have it their way, even at the cost of your own pride and feelings. Burning inside and having the thoughts of throwing them words of cynicism as well (Because the philosophy of hating and loving someone is actually very simple: One hates according to the capacity of the hatred of one’s life, likewise one loves according to the capacity love in one’s life, now you know why Christian can’t stop loving? ;) ) I was very tempted to say words that would point them that it’s such a pity that they are living in their own hatred and using such low methods to console themselves.

Then the echoes of angry voices chanting in my mind “Crucify Him, Crucify this blasphemer!”
Mark 15:13
“Crucify him!” they shouted. (NIV)
Carrying the cross He did not deserve, spat and smacked from people He healed and who called Him their Saviour. Much worse, these were just dust that vanishes with a blow of wind yet they were constantly challenging His authority and feelings. All Jesus did was to kept quiet and having this goal in His mind; the very people that are spitting at Him, chanting at Him and slandering Him will be saved because He sees through the need instead of their fault.

Luke 23:34
“Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots” (NIV)
My heart gave in, I must follow my Master even if my flesh cries out otherwise. As Christians, I never failed to be reminded by Him that all emotions and intelligence are fleeting moments in life, but what is Spiritual I must cling on for that is eternal. And so, just like an extremely tiny step I did what I can to emulate my Master, I left that post without a word replied neither did I went around ranting it to everyone else about it.

But may I just share that not in every situation, you should keep quiet when you’re slandered or accused of something that you never done. Use the spiritual wisdom to know if you should speak up or keep quiet, in my case I knew if I were to speak up, it was never out of love but of selfish motive to defend my own pride while losing the opportunity to allow the Spirit to win them over.

May I challenge whoever is reading this, when the next time someone speaks to you in a very unjust manner; would you react or respond biblically? Even at a cost that you feel that you need not pay at all? If you know you have a particular weakness of reacting quickly with your emotions, bring it to God unceasingly and I’m very sure He will transform that weakness, truly by His Grace.

- Gary Heng

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Mar 20, 2012


Greetings from Munchester! The Student Fellowship organized by my church here is currently going through a series of parables and I thought I would share an analysis of one the parables discussed with you guys.

Okay so the Parable of the Good Samaritan taken from Luke chapter 10. The parable starts with an expert of the law asking Jesus, “what can I do to inherit eternal life?”. So the “expert” asks Jesus of what HE can DO to SAVE himself. Can you earn eternal life? Maybe, if we were perfect. Sadly, we aren’t. Beware of this kind worldly thinking that screams, “YOU are in charge of things” because in reality, we really aren’t. If you have ever been in this state, you can notice the methodology and purpose for “serving” is negatively affected. A good question to ask yourself, especially in times of “busyness for the Lord”, is, “why are you doing what your doing?”. Our motive should be love, for God, for men, nothing more nothing less.

Moving on, the expert of the law ask Jesus, “who is my neighbour?” and then the parable begins. So basically there is this guy who gets robbed, beaten up and left to die and 3 people pass him by.

The first passerby was a priest. Okay, priests back then in Jewish culture were the respected, the holy, the looked upon. They were the spiritual people of the Israel, learned in Scripture and the people who stood before God to offer the animal sacrifices. You would expect him, definitely, to lend this beaten up guy a hand but no, he walks on the other side and ignores him. The second was a Levite. Alright Levites were God’s chosen tribe amongst the Israelites, separated to be holy. Basically the Levites were temple workers. They performed the daily rituals/ceremonies and are likened to today’s people who served in the church regularly. As the priest, the Levite walked on over the other side as well.

Now wait a minute, these were people of God. They worked in the temple, served in the temple, read the word in public, prayed in public, fasted in public. How could they do all that and still have it in their heart to leave this man to die? Nah, no way, this parable of Jesus is terribly hypothetical. It’s the extreme case, the outlier case, the one that cannot possibly be my case. But is it?

Lets make some assumptions now. Maybe the priest and the Levite had some evangelical meet/ church duty to attend, thus they had no time to stop over and save the man. They might have already planned their day and this man was just not in it. Fair assumption? (leave your comments in the chatbox if any). The irony of “church activities” preventing us from the real church activity. These guys were fixated on their plans that they could not have been flexible enough for this man’s needs. Be it church plans, my plans, don’t we sometimes just get caught up with plans? Too caught up to even notice the need around us… and then we ask God for opportunities, pfft. Don’t get me wrong, these plans are usually in itself good plans like gyming, studying, spending time with your loved ones, hanging out, going for a church activity, etc, but we are called to be wise Christians.

Assumption number two, Both these groups only served in comfort. At that time in Jewish culture, sick/diseased people were deemed unclean. They were separated from society, outcasted even. The priest, Levites and “normal” people of society were the clean ones. For the priest and the Levites to help him, was to go against the norm. What if someone passed by and saw them mixing with this “dirty” person, who was in fact a Jew (one of them). Mind you when your beat up, bleeding and dirty, you look pretty diseased. They did not want to serve God when it would cost them something. Sure they fasted in public and put sackcloth and all that, but did that really cost them anything? Adding to that, they also might have been just not used to the idea of showing love in such a situation.

Their regular work was in an environment where people were “okay” all the time. There were no beaten up people hanging around priest and temple workers. They were just not ready to get down on their knees, bandage his wounds, spend money and time on this man. It was too difficult, it was not them.

You might be thinking, alright that’s definitely not me, I’m willing to sacrifice. Really? At times, we do behave like the priest and the Levite. We are good people. Grew up in church and all that jazz but when it cost us something to follow God, we back away. We say, “that’s not for me, that’s too hardcore, I was definitely meant to do something else”. The irony of that is we end up praying to God for our calling, jokers. If your finding serving God becoming easy and cost free then something may be wrong. During Jesus’ ministry, He faced all kinds of problems. He got ridiculed, rejected, chased away and ultimately crucified. No Christian walk is easy and breezy, none. If yours is, you might be in a dangerous trap of comfort and complacency. Another inference might be that our service is within the comfort zone. Serving in church is almost, costless and may even be a bit glorifying. The chances of you getting praised for whatever your doing in church is way higher than that of getting ridiculed/ shun upon.

So to conclude, Jesus tells the “expert” to go and do as the Samaritan and the story ends there. The Samaritan displayed all the necessary attributes of a Christian. Firstly,he was flexible enough to attend to the jew’s needs, mind you they were enemies. Surely the Samaritan had some business to do as well in Jericho. Secondly, he loved the man wholeheartedly. He cleaned his wounds, put the man on his donkey, meaning he had to walk, and also paid for his accommodation. On top of that, he came back after his business in Jericho for a follow up.

Lets not be Christians who go eeeww when the need is tough/uncomfortable but love God and his people wholeheartedly.As it says in Deuteronomy 6:5,
“love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”,

- Alex Tan

Images taken from:

Mar 5, 2012

Who God is?

Isaiah 44:24-25:

"This is what the Lord says -
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,

who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,"
Paraphrasing from a TED video that I just watched not too long ago with Gary, Alain de Botton on his talk about "A kinder, gentler philosophy of success", he mentioned that we're living in times where we start worshiping ourselves as men as comparing to how it was back in the olden days where people would worship a god, force or the universe for the matter.

I sure can agree to that statement to a certain extent - after experiencing and considering the events that took place recently. While they structure and express themselves in a seemingly "intellectual" manner, God clearly says "who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,". I'm in no position claiming that I'm a "wise" person per se, but only would to draw back to the basis of:
Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
I always seek to understand first and place whatever that person mentions before the Word of God. Because at the end of the day, I don't intend to proclaim that whatever I say is "the way of life" but rather what Jesus proclaims in His very own divine words - do we as His followers carefully guard the very cornerstone of our hearts?

It always hit upon me of how hastily they would set up a wall of saying that - "I'm sure God will not judge me, seeing that I've done nothing wrong in a .. BIG way, like murder or theft." or "There are so many gods, if I say I believe in one god, then surely it cannot mean that the other gods are wrong?". No doubt, if it's anyone who's talking about "putting yourself in a box", they've inevitably put God "in a box". To put things into perspective, if there's any offense "bigger" than murder or theft, the ultimatum would be placing oneself above God Himself below his/her own prideful existence.

How can a person claims that he/she know who God is when that person hardly spends time finding out who He is?

Nonetheless, a careful reminder to ourselves as well, to constantly check to see if we allow our own "achievements" and "knowledge" to puff up our hearts and believe that we have every right to condemn another. Do the way we live our lives present God as a God of love? (1 John 4:8)

Because certainly, at the end of the day, be it debates, heated quarrels or just a mere discussion, it still boils down to preaching His love through deeds. I would like to encourage all brothers and sisters in Christ to obey fervently in love and carrying of the Cross daily so that in hope of a wretched world, His light may shine through us.

1 John 3:18
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
- daryl 's u n d a e' heng

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