Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love Hurts

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Last Sunday was a very heartwarming service. Some were teary eyed, some were bursting into tears. Pastor Simon explained that love really hurts, all of us have experienced being hurt and hurt someone in the name of love. Love, as emphasized was not only about romantic feeling, in the Christian life, it is about how God disciplines His children. The sermon evolved in the verses from Hebrews 12:4-13. As per Ps. Simon, there are three characteristics of tough love.

1.) Tough love is a sign of caring concern (Hebrews 12:4-8 - "4) In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5) And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6) because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son". 7) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8) If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons") Discipline is the main word for this characteristic, as sometimes we take discipline as a matter of punishment and not a sign of love. We might experience superb ways of discipline from our parents, we forgot that what they are doing could be a way of showing their love. In our work, the boss might have higher expectations from us maybe because they want us to be prepared to a higher level. In our part, if we really love or care someone, sometimes we have to be tough.

2.) Tough love will earn us genuine respect (Hebrews 12:9 - "Moreover, we have all had human fathers who discplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!") We should also be reminded that if we become tough to others in showing love, we should implement it correctly, we shouldn't execute it out of anger. There are three areas on how we can exercise tough love: a) teach them how to think / b) encourage them to make a change - God disciplines us for our good / c) challenge them to be submissive and to obey - learn how to be obedient as submission helps us to accept a "NO" answer and helps us accept disappointment). If others were able to obey us, respect will come next as respect is being earned and not being requested.

3.) Tough love focuses on the long term benefits (Hebrews 12:10-13 - "10) Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. 11) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12) Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13) Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled but rather healed.") The disciplines that we have experienced may mold us to be a better person so that in the future, we know how to handle things. We should also admit that we have some unrighteousness in our hearts and minds and we should face possible disciplinary actions from others. As to generalize this characteristic, short term pains will lead to long term gains.

Love Indeed

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I always say that it is better late than never, this post should have been published during the valentines season but because of many reasons (I know I know, excuses!) I couldn't find a perfect timing to write this. Anyway, it was a blessful preach from Ps. Christie last 13th of February and she constantly saying that love isn't just a romantic feeling. There are many forms of love such as love to parents, siblings, friends or even country (nationalism???). But the main point of the discussion was looking for someone to share with your passion, dreams and future.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14 (Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?). Ps. christie said that if we have a relationship with non-believer, we shouldn't judge them or make a distance from them. Instead, we can still love them and we should lead them into the path of true love and happiness. Also in 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 (To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.), a couple shouldn't divorce if one of them is not a believer.
Ps. Christie also pointed out two major guidelines in waiting for that "someone".
1.) Look only with marriage in mind. - Of course if we want a relationship we should also consider someone who has plans for the future and true to commitment. He/She should have a stable job and financially stable. But of course, look for someone who is emotionally and spiritually stable. Just remember that we are complete and whole in Jesus.
2.) Wait for God's time. - He has the best and perfect timing for our lives. He knows when is the correct day on which we will face that someone and share the love with for our entire life. Let Him do the work and don't jump into someone immediately if you just feel that you need to get married the soonest. If that someone davalues you, then run away from that one.

The best of all, I think we should put these three important standards in looking for someone: (a) there is a growth in spirit / (b) servant of God / (c) one with a kind heart. Also, always remember this verse: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;), in short: No SEX before marriage. But what is true love? It's in 1 John 3:16 (This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.), it is the sacrifice of Jesus to save us and not thinking only about Himself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Love & Tongue

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Yeah, the title seems to be confusing but this post is pertaining to the major topic of our group devotion. It was really nice sharing thoughts and exchanging views and understanding of His words. On 2nd of February, we discussed about LOVE since the Valentine's day is about to come that time (it was kinda early actually). Main verses we used were:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Many views were revealed but what really spoke to me was "it keeps no record of wrongs". When you really love someone and caused you pain, you can forgive them but can we really forget? During conversations or some angry moments or confrontations, we sometimes look back into the past mistakes so we can't move on. But if it is true love, we should forgive and forget as love is kind. Love is a very simple word but with a broad and wider meaning. We should also have a longer patience so that we can avoid to be mad easily, prayer is the best tool to garner such characteristic. Love is such a wonderful feeling but shouldn't be only about romantic instances. Love should also be provided to your loved ones, parents, siblings, relatives, friends or even enemies.

Meanwhile, last 4th of February, during our Bintan trip, we also had an early morning devotion, outside our hotel room with fresh air and great view of the sea. It was really great spending with your friends and share the words of God during that time, it was very refreshing. Anyway, the main topic was the taming of the TONGUE. We used the following verses:

James 3:1-12 - 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

As a Christian, there are expectations and traits that others are looking into us. We share His words, explains to others and we ensure that they understand it. But sometimes, it is unavoidable to say such words that might hurt or offend others when we are in the situation of pressure or anger. Our tongue is very powerful as every word we say might affect others whether positively or negatively. Tongue is being used for praising and worshipping Him but sometimes being used to do face to face assaults and/or behind the back attacks. Gossip and slander is also a wrong doing that we sometimes commit. We can avoid this by communicating to Him and seek for assistance and guidance, ask for forgiveness and learn to control anger. How can we praise Him if we also curse or hate others and speaking unnecessary words. Before, I use the "F" word a lot but have managed to control it and gave a new code for it, I now say "Farm" or "Firm". He is a forgiving God, ask for forgiveness and learn from our mistakes and ensure that we live a healthy life by reading His words and put it into our daily lives. It will be a continuous struggle for us to tame our tongue but it will be a lot easier if we are with Him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seize The Day - Today is the Day

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On the 6th of February, Pastor Christie gave a moving and very inspirational teaching. It was about moving on, forgetting the past and embrace the future that waits us by starting "today" and do the necessary. Every year, we are doing this new year's resolution but sometimes we were able to do it for the first few months then will get back to old doings. We can always start a new beginning and ensure to be strong and hold on to it. Seek His power and feel His love to us.
1. How to sieze the day to live a more fulfilling life? (John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full) Jesus Christ died on the Christ so that we can have an eternal life and live it to the fullest. We shouldn't be wasting our time thinking of the past, let's enjoy it by praising Him and do His ways. We might be abused physically or mentally on the past but by praying everything will be forgotten. Don not live on the past.

2. How to live life abundantly? Pastor gave this keys: a) forget the bad / b) Do not dwell on the past to wrap your future - In our every decision, don't look back to the past instead, plan it by visioning the future as the past may hold our hearts and can't move on to embrace what awaits to us / c) Let Go and let God - Let put Him in control, let go of the past and forget those painful days, just pray and believe that He will guide us into His path / d) Live the life of Jesus in You - We should be living a life based on His ways and how He wants us to be the leader of our lives. Obey His commands and be inspired by His power and life.

Isaiah 43:18-19 - 18) Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Luke 23:43 - Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


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I think it was last year that I posted these words in my FB account: "It takes true courage to avoid retaliation". It is indeed true! Well, if you ask me, I was known as the king of revenge since high school and college days or even in my previous works. It was very hard not to take revenge after someone caused you pain. My ideal before was very simple, I will not stop until I caused that person same pain or even double or triple. But now, I am proud to say that I have managed to control my anger and not to take retaliation anymore. Instead, I just pray for that person. Eventually, in one of our caregroups, my CL told me she was thinking of me when was about to send our topic, yes! It was my favorite topic as I have a lot to share.

Matthew 5:38-42 - 38) You have heard it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth' 39) But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40) And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41) If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42) Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

During our discussion, we have enumerated three steps or ways on how to handle retaliation.
1. Learn to give up my rights when facing personal insults. Even Jesus Christ faced insults (Matthew 27:42 - "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israle! Let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him) But what did he do? He just prayed for them and take all our sins and He was the one who asked forgiveness from God for our sins (Luke 23:34 - Jesus said, "Father, forvie them, for they do not know what they are doing" And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.) In our daily life, we cannot please everybody, someone will strike you with insults and bad words that will make you anger but what should we do? We just need to forgive and pray for them because if you take negative actions against it, you will just commit sin, we should be more understanding and pray for that person and give them forgiveness that comes from our heart.

2. Learn to give up my rights when facing unreasonable demands. This portion is mostly about submitting to our leaders. For sure we have experienced overload in work and our boss continues to give us more work even if we have not yet done with our current assignment. But Jesus told us to follow your learders as they are the chosen one. No matter how bad they are, just pray for them as they will be the one answerable to Him. We should also pray for more wisdom and strenght in facing challenges of superb demands and expectations from us. Just continue to do the best that we can and try work harder and seek God's guidance and help.

3. Learn to give up my rights for taking revenge. (Romans 12:19-21 - 19) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20) On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.) In this way, we were taught to love our enemies. 21) Do not take revenge but instead, learn to love them and give them what they need. They need more understanding and encouragement so give them what they lack of.

Truly, isn't it a great feeling that you are loved by everybody and caused no harm to anyone? That everyday we face the morning breeze all is positive? I believe that avoiding revenge is such a big challenge for all of us but if we try harder and put more effort and always thinking His lessons, we can overcome this. Let's continue to pray and seek his guidance and take His leadership and make Him the center of our life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Whole City, Whole World

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Last month, senior Pastor Jeff presented this year's ministry theme, Whole City Whole World. The first thing came into my mind was globalization or going international. I was kinda correct but the question was why? Why did he choose such theme? He gracefully explained it and everybody seemed to grasp the main idea.

Acts 9:4-6 - 4) He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5) "Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. "I am Jesus whom you persecuting," he replied. 6) "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

As explained by Pastor Jeff, city is like a magnet on which lot of people wanted to come to and experience an urban living. 42% of Singapore's population are foreigners, this city was also described as a cosmopolitan city. The purposes of this year's theme are as follows:

1. Qualitative Growth (more than just an organization). Romans 8:37-39 - 37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, 39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2. Quantitative Growth (increase of number of believers) 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.

3. Ethnicity Growth (more nationalities and culture to be shared). Revelation 21:27 - Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Pastor Jeff wanted us to participate to these purposes and this theme by doing three simple things: First is "Discipleship and Outreach", we need to share His words to others, encourage everyone to live a life that is according to His will and teachings. Second was what he called as "Going Going Gone", on which we should also help globally and do the work of Lord to other nations. Third is to "Give" as per Malachi 3:10 ("Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty). Lastly is to "Pray", believe and trust His power and be confident to his love.