Apr 25, 2012

Cheng Meng (in Chinese Language: 清明节)

Most Chinese will go to the cemetery during the first two weeks of April each year due to the festival of Cheng Meng (FYI: Cheng Meng has just passed on 4 April 2012). For Christians, we would just clean up the graveyard and probably place some flowers to show our respect to our parents while the Taoist or other Chinese traditional religions will go to offer up prayers or offerings to the dead by presenting paper money, baby pork, incense etc, because they believe that their deceased loved ones are still living in the natural world and are thus able to influence the future and fortunes of the living relatives or as an attempt to portray filial piety. To the latter, ancestors’ spirits are also thought to act as mediators between the living and the Creator. Not only that, the ancestors are believed to influence the lives of later generations by blessing or cursing them, essentially acting as gods.

It is true that the dead are in the spiritual realm but sadly, unable to influence the future and fortunes of the living relatives or loved ones…Refer to Luke 16:20-31, New King James Version (NKJV)
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
You may also want to ask, why Christians should not pray and offer incense or sacrifices to our ancestors or relatives who have passed on? It is simply because the Bible says:
“You shall have no other gods before Me."

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
[Exodus 20:3-6, NKJV].

And the Scripture also says:-
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
[1 Timothy 2:5-6, NKJV]

Thus, if we pray and burn incense or offer food or other material as sacrifice to the dead, do you think the Lord our God will be pleased?

May I challenge you today to find out what is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesians 5: 10, NKJV) and living in His will.

In Him
Yit Mun (aka IP Man)

Images taken from:

Apr 11, 2012

Marks of a disciple

1. Is he willing to serve? This was a repeated lesson that Jesus had to teach his status-seeking disciples, especially when he humbled them dramatically by washing their feet. (John 13; cf Mark 10:35-45)

2. Is he learning to listen? When Simon Peter was full of bright ideas on the Mount of Transfiguration, God told him to 'listen' to his Son. (Luke 9:35) When Martha was impatiently bustling around preparing a meal whilst Jesus was talking, she was gently rebuked for not being like Mary who was sitting quietly listening to the Master. (Luke 10:41f)

3. Is he willing to learn? When Jesus spoke about his coming sufferings and death, Peter blurted out, 'God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.' The stinging reply was something Peter never forgot. (Matthew 16:22f)

4. Is he willing to be corrected? How well does he receive honest criticism, when others speak the truth in love? (Matthew 18:15)

5. How well does he submit to those who are over him? (1 Thess. 5:12f; Hebrews 13:17) Is he willing to do this, even when he does not understand all the reasons why, or when he does not naturally enjoy what he is being asked to do?

6. Can he share his life with others, in open and honest fellowship? (1 John 1)

7. Is he learning humility? Can he rejoice with those who rejoice, and be genuinely glad when others are blessed in some way or other? (Phil 2:3f)

8. Is he learning to examine his own life before criticizing others? (Matthew 7:1-5)

9. Does he know his weaknesses? Is he learning to overcome them through the grace of God? (2 Cor. 12:9)

10. Is he a perfectionist? This will lead him into either self-righteousness, self-condemnation, self-pity, or a judgmental spirit. 'We all make many mistakes' (James 3:2; cf. 1 John 1:8-10). Is he learning to accept himself, as God accepts him in Christ - just as he is?

11. Is he able to forgive? (Matthew 18:21f)

12. Has he stickability? Or does he give up easily? How does he handle discouragements? (Ephesians 6:10ff; cf. 2 Cor. 4:7ff)

13. Is he to be trusted? (1 Cor. 4:2) Is he reliable? Will he get on with a task without constant nagging? Is he willing to trust others, even when they have disappointed him and let him down?

14. Does he mind his own affairs? Or is he always wanting to pry into the lives of others, becoming a busybody or even a gossip? (John 21:21f; 1 Tim 5:13)

15. Does he do little things well? (Colossians 3:17)

16. How does he use his leisure? Does he see that all his time is a gift of God to be used wisely? (Ephesians 5:15-17)

17. Does he aim first and foremost to please God? Or does he seek the praise of others, or gratify his own desires? (John 12:43; 2 Cor. 5:9)

18. Is he quick to obey when God speaks to him? When fishermen Peter obeyed instantly the instructions of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, however foolish those instructions may have seemed to him, there were astonishing results (Luke 5:4-9) This proved a vital lesson (which had to be learned more than once!) in the years ahead.

19. Has he faith in God, especially when there may be no outward signs to encourage his faith? (Luke 18:1-8; Mark 11:12ff)

20. Where is his security? Is he willing to trust ultimately in the love and faithfulness of God, or does he look more for more temporal and material securities first and foremost? (Matthew 6:19 - 34) Is he willing to move as the Spirit leads him on, to make adjustments and changes, or does he resist changes?

21. Has he a clear understanding of God's priorities for his life? (Acts 6:2-4)

(Quoted from Disciples, Making Disciples pg 75 - 77)
- daryl 's u n d a e' heng

Apr 2, 2012

A Personal Testimony (Part 3: More “Press On”?)

More “Press on”s? Yes, God still urges me to press on after He whispered “press on” to me for the first time sometime back last year (you may refer to my sharing on 8 February 2012). The two more “press on”s I heard were the times when Colin Kirton wrapped-up the Residential Bible School (RBS) graduation on 8 March 2012 and when Aunty Bee Lian had a chat with Aaron at Mar’12 retreat. All these really caused me to marvel at how God uses different means and people to speak to me.

I must admit that I’m a very stubborn person, no different from the Israelite (Acts 7:51). It took over a year for God to break me until the recent happening that served as a wake-up call to me. (Talk to me if you want more details).

No doubt now I have to work extra hard as all this while I have been slacking. However, after I have admitted my sins and shortcomings, God’s healing grace amazingly flowed through me. Currently, though I sleep less while trying diligently to carry out my daily routine and other things that I need to work on, yet I did not get sick (usually I will get sick easily). And it encourages me even more to know that my relationship with my sister has improved and so has my temper. Praise the Lord! Below is my dedication to our Lord:-
Song 193: Come to the water –last stanza

Jesus, I give You my heart and my soul.

I know that without You, I'd never be whole.

Savior, You opened all the right doors.

And I thank You and praise You from earth's humble shores.

Take me I'm Yours!
You might pause and wonder what is the reason that causes me to share my scars and struggles. It’s simply because we are called to live a transparent life. Please allow me to quote from the book “Discipleship” by David Watson that mentioned “we are to take off our masks. We are to be real with one another. We are to walk in the light, only in this way can we have fellowship with Him and with each other”. Of course, it also corresponds with what was expounded at “Unpretentious: The Beauty Within” –March 2011 retreat.

And it is biblical too. Please see James 5:16a, New King James Version

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Why wait for your wake-up call, instead of being the initiator to embark on a new spiritual journey with our Lover? =)

Yit Mun
Aka IP Man

Images taken from: