Saturday, February 28, 2009

Verses of the day - In All Circumstances

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Consider It Pure Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers[and sisters], whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.- James 1:2-4(NIV)

This song is Michael Card's "Joy in the Journey."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Missionary - Bruce Olsson

A remarkable story of a teenage missionary 48 years ago who left his family and friends in Minnosota at the age of 19 to go on a journey into uncharted jungle in South America. The missionary...Bruce Olsson

Monday, February 23, 2009

As a Servant and Witness

'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' - Acts 26:16-18 (NIV)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

God's Plan

Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He didn't stop him. He could have summoned twelve legions of angels to help Him, yet He didn't call them. Under the weight of our sins He cried from the cross, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" That's because He understood it was all part of God's plan for Him. His words, "God, where are you? teach us that: (a) You can be in God's plan yet at times feel overwhelmed and alone. (b) When God doesn't answer you must stand on the Word He has given you. (c) The pain of this season will eventually give way to the joy God has waiting for you on the other side of it. So stick to the plan; that's what disciples do.

The word 'disciple' means to be disciplined. It means sticking to the plan when you're under attack. It teaches you how to function when you don't feel it. The enemy will come against the plan of Go in your life, because that plan is like a hedge of protection around you. As long as you stay in God's plan, nothing that the enemy does can destroy you.

So, when you feel like you've reached the end of your rope and can't go another step, do what Jesus did - Pray, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46 NIV). Give it to God! Look up and say, "Lord, I'm trusting You to do what I cannot do. Bring me through this. Here it is; I'm turning it over to You. My life, my future, and all are in Your hands!"
Bible Reading:
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"(Matthew 27:46 (NIV))


Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Inheritance

"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " - Acts 20:32-35 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Verse of the day - Our Sins

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.- 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Choose for yourself

Our lives are like icebergs. Only 15 percent is visible; that's reputation. The rest, our character, is below the surface, hidden. Character is what we think but never share. It's what we do when no one's watching. It's how we react to everyday aggravations. It's how we handle failure - and success. The thing that has made us what us what we are is our choices. At the end of a successful career, Joshua challenges the people of Israel: "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." So the choice is yours!

French writer Francis de la Rochefoucauld asserted, "Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we think up to hide them." Ever notice that people with the weakest character tend to place blame on their circumstances? They talked a lot about poor upbringing, financial difficulties, the unkindness of others, or other circumstances that have made them victims. Your circumstances may be beyond your control but your character is not. You can no more blame your character on your circumstances than you can blame the mirror for your looks. Developing character always your choice. Every time you make a character-based decision you take another step forward in your Spiritual growth.

Take a moment and jot down times when you have faced temptation and adversity. Next to each, note your choice: escape, capitulation, avoidance, perseverance, or victory. What problem areas do you see? How will you learn to do better? If many of the things you list are due to circumstances beyond your control, then choose to take greater control of your life.

Bible reading - Joshua 24:15

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. - Titus 2:1-15 (Today's New International Version)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Verse of the day - THIRST

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." - John 4:14

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spiritual Dangers When We Are Blessed - Article

Short articles written over a few decades, addressing the need of that hour.

Spiritual Dangers When We Are Blessed - Zac Poonen

When the blessing of the Lord comes upon our life and labours, we face many dangers.

Spiritual Pride

The first of all dangers is spiritual pride. Whenever God blesses us, Satan will tempt us to compare our spiritual growth and ministry with that of others. God opposes every proud person - believer or unbeliever. So we are safe only if we keep our face in the dust before God always.

Pride will make us lose the grace of God, even if we do not lose our gifts. We may still have a ministry, but the grace and anointing of God will be absent from our lives. When Lucifer sinned, he lost his anointing, but he did not lose his supernatural gifts. He has those gifts even today. This should be a warning to anyone who glories in his gifts or ministry. Immature believers (who cannot distinguish between grace and gifts) may flatter us and tell us that the "anointing of God" is still upon us, even when "Ichabod" ("the glory has departed") is written all over our life and ministry (1 Sam.4:21). The danger is that gradually the voice of those flatterers can replace the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

There is actually only one infallible mark of God's blessing on our lives - that we become increasingly Christlike - for that is what He predestined us for (Rom.8:29). God did not predestine us to go to heaven or to have a great ministry. He predestined us to be like Jesus.

We must not confuse oratory with the anointing. An anointed ministry will always draw people to a deeper devotion to Jesus, to a greater brokenness, and to a greater hatred for sin. Oratory, on the other hand, will only draw people to admire us and to be more attached to us. Many politicians are great orators and they can hold audiences spellbound for hours and stir them emotionally. But they draw people to themselves. Orators are proud, whereas anointed preachers are humble.

Unwillingness to Receive Correction

A second danger is an unwillingness to be corrected. When God blesses our ministry, it is easy to begin to think that we can never be wrong. We cannot then be corrected even by older brothers. We will justify ourselves in the face of every correction.

When Judas Iscariot was corrected by the Lord, he was offended and went out and betrayed the Lord immediately (Compare John 12:4-8 with Matt.26:10 and14). Thus he destroyed himself. Peter however humbled himself, even when Jesus called him "Satan". Thus he saved himself.

The Holy Spirit always shows us the glory of Jesus. And when we see that glory, we will see our own need and our lack immediately. If we are godly, we will then judge ourselves. The promise of Scripture is that "if we judge ourselves rightly, we will not be judged by God" (1 Cor.11:31). The following verse goes on to say that if we do not judge ourselves rightly, then God Himself will be compelled to judge us - by disciplining us. But He disciplines us only in order to save us from being "condemned along with the world" (1 Cor.11:32).

Exalting Ourselves

When God blesses us, it is easy for us to exalt ourselves over others. We can gradually build up a "fan-club" of those who admire us - especially among the youth - just like the filmstars do.

Solomon's son, King Rehoboam sought popularity with the young people in his land and did not listen to the counsel of his elders. This was what led to the division of Israel.

This is how many divisions come in to Christendom too. Divisions and splits are produced by strong, uncrucified people who exalt themselves at times when God is blessing His work.

Consider two examples from the book of Acts.
Ephesus saw one of the greatest revivals and some of the most amazing miracles mentioned in Acts (Acts 19:11-20). But three years later, Paul warned the elders there that a split was looming ahead of them (Acts 20:30). Paul warned those elders that after he left Ephesus, some of them would "draw away disciples after them". They would seek their own name and ministry, and split the church, without being concerned about how their actions would dishonour the Lord's Name and would "give occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme"
(2 Samuel 12:14)

Look at another instance: Just after Paul and Barnabas had an immensely successful ministry, they broke up (Acts 15:39). They separated from each other over the issue of John Mark. But this time God produced something good out of the split. He used it to produce two teams of workers (one led by Paul and the other led by Barnabas) instead of just one - and thus the work of evangelism was furthered even more!! John Mark also became a useful servant of the Lord later, writing the gospel of Mark.

Why was God able to produce something good out of this latter split? There was a reason. It was because, unlike the Ephesian elders, Barnabas conducted himself in a spiritual way. Barnabas did not split any church. Neither did he drag away any believers after himself. He did not interfere in Paul's sphere of work but went away to a totally new area and worked with John Mark there (Acts 15:39b). Barnabas was a godly man who was more concerned about the Lord's Name than his own ministry, and so he conducted himself as a true disciple of Jesus. Thus God could bless this latter split. But men like Barnabas are rare to find in Christendom.

1 Corinthians 11:19 tells us that "there must be factions (divisions) among you, in order that those who are approved may become evident among you." God uses divisions to expose the ungodly and to remove the weeds (the proud and the haughty) from His garden, the church.

Many milleniums ago, a "split" took place in heaven itself. That was how God cleansed heaven. He allowed the chief angel Lucifer to drag away with him, all the other angels who were even slightly proud and rebellious (Rev.12:4 with Isa.14:12-15). Thus heaven was cleansed. That work of cleansing continues even today in the church, wherever God is at work.

The Lord says, "I will remove from your midst your proud exulting ones, and I will leave among you a humble, lowly people and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord." (Zeph.3:12). The remnant left in the church will have one characteristic: "They will do no wrong and tell no lies" (verse 13). Only then will the Lord find delight in the church and "exult over it with joy" (verse 17)

Note one characteristic of those who leave the presence of the Lord: They begin to tell lies. They start by telling small lies but gradually become "liars who have seared their own conscience" (1 Tim.4:2). In contrast, one mark of those who follow the Lord will be this: They will cleanse themselves of all lying (Rev.14:4,5).

Good And Bad Examples

God has given us many good and bad examples in the Scriptures, in this connection. A wise man will learn from all of them.

Abraham never grabbed the good land, when there was a conflict between his servants and Lot's servants. He allowed Lot to choose first. Lot immediately grabbed the better land (Gen.13:10), but suffered greatly as a result. Abraham gave up his rights. So God gave Abraham all the land. "The meek will inherit the earth".

Jacob unfortunately, never followed his grandfather's example. He kept on grabbing things - the birthright from his brother Esau, the blessing from his father Isaac, the daughters and flock of his uncle Laban etc., It was only when he stopped grabbing those earthly things and grabbed on to God, that he finally became Israel (Gen.32:26)..

David followed Abraham's example and never grabbed the kingdom from Saul, even though God had anointed David as king. God tested David for many years, on this very point. But not once would David grab the kingdom. He waited for God to give it to Him. And God gave it to him, at the right time.

Absalom however was different. He was jealous of his father David's popularity and worked shrewdly and cleverly behind his back and "stole away the hearts of the men of Israel" from his father (2 Sam.15:16). Then he drove his father out and became king. But God brought his kingdom to a quick end.

Our ministry must be God-given - not something that we have grabbed for ourselves. "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven" (John 3:27). What we grab for ourselves can never be from God.

It is very easy to understand all this. It is also easy to preach it to others. But if we don't live by these principles, then we will be disqualified, even if we do understand it and preach it (1 Cor.9:27). Jesus said, "If you know these things, you will still be blessed, only if you do them" (John 13:17).

Jesus never schemed or grabbed. He never flattered people to earn their support. He never compelled people to join His group. His attitude at all times was, "All that the Father gives me SHALL come to Me" (John 6:37). He did not have a lust to disciple large numbers, or to have many people in his "church". He was satisfied with the few whom the Father had given him. All of us too should be satisfied with "those whom the Father gives us".

Jesus drew people. He never dragged them or grabbed them. He said, "If I am lifted up, I will draw men to Myself" (Jn.12:32). We too are called to lift up the crucified Christ and thus to draw people to Him. But only a crucified man can lift up a crucified Christ properly. A man whose hands are nailed to the cross cannot grab or drag anyone!! He can only draw!! The problem in Christendom today is that uncrucified people are trying to lift up a crucified Christ.

May the Lord help us to keep our faces in the dust and to learn His ways.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear

© Copyright - Zac Poonen
This article has been copyrighted to prevent misuse. It should not be reprinted or translated without written permission from the author. Permission is however given for this article to be downloaded and printed , provided it is for FREE distribution, provided NO ALTERATIONS are made, provided the AUTHOR'S NAME AND ADDRESS are mentioned and provided this COPYRIGHT notice ["Copyright by Zac Poonen"] is included in each printout.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Control Your Anger

A bad temper is not something to be proud of, but prayed over. When you blow your top, you just reveal your contents. And which of us hasn't done that, and regretted it? The Bible says losing temper "leads to harm" (Psalm 37:8 NLT), because God knew we'd be dealing with:

(1) Stress: By cramming too much into too little time, you set yourself up! Like violin strings that are pulled too tight, you end up snapping, then feeling guilty because you're not 'Spiritual' enough. "Have a sane estimate of your capabilities" (Romans 12:3-4 PHB). In life there's always something that happens so anticipate and allow time for the unexpected. (2) Frustration: Defined as 'someone or something that upsets you all the time'. A recent news story told of a man who went hunting on his mountain bike. When it broke down he shot it to pieces. Crazy! It makes no sense, but as Robert Green Ingersoll said, "Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind." (3) Perceived violations of our rights: When you walk around feeling angry it clouds your judgement, because when the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. The bottom line is, it's not always about you! This is especially true in marriage. Jesus said that in order to receive you must first learn to give (Mark 9:35). (4) Things that challenge your values: Sometimes 'enough is enough' and you need to speak up. When Jesus got angry in the temple it was because of dishonest practices and people being mistreated. In this case, 'it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not to do it" (James 4:17 NLT).

Bible Reading

Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm. - Psalm 37:8 (NLT)


You Are God's Letter of Recommendation

1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. - 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NIV)

1. Introduction.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. Verse 2.

2. You are God's letter of recommendation. Verse 1-3.

3. You are a letter written by God's Spirit. Verse 1-3.

4. Conclusion.

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Verse 3.

Questions to ponder and meditate:

1. What is the importance of a letter of recommendation?

2. Since you are God's letter of recommendation, how does this truth impact your lives?


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Verse of the Day - I write to you

I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you have known the Father. - 1 John 2:13 (NIV)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Having it all is not enough

Romans 1:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

A wonderful testimony of SingaporeTV artiste, Jacelyn Tay.

Jacelyn Tay entered the 4th bi-annual Star Search Competition organised by MediaCorp while in her freshman year at National University of Singapore in 1995, and won the female category of the competition and the top prize of an acting contract. Her big break came when she played He Xiangu in the Singapore TV series "Legends of the Eight Immortals" in 1998. Thereafter she acted in various roles ranging from girl-in-next-door, to a member of a hotel staff to a psychiatrist. Tay's screen performances in period dramas were so well-received that she won the coveted award of Taiwan's Most Popular MediaCorp Female Artiste in Star Awards 1999. She also performed theme songs and intermediary songs for several drama serials and released a compilation album with Mediacorp Music.

When it seemed that her success had no bounds, a twist of fate took away almost all that she had worked for. She was forced to declare bankruptcy after owing $300,000 to a stockbroking firm. This event tarnished her image and made many sponsors shy away from her. Instead of letting this get the better of her, she worked hard to put her finances back in order. she then went on to produce a magazine show, write 2 books an hosted a health and beauty show entitled A New You in 2005.

In 2006, she became the founder & current chief executive of The Health Club, a medical spa that holds the vision of restoring the body's natural ability to heal itself and bringing health to greater heights. She is presently studying to become a nutritionist.

You were rising in your career when you
became a Christian. What led you to
consider Jesus Christ?

Before I knew God, I only believed in myself. I believed that all gods were the same. Handling pressure was basically part and parcel of life.

I am a very strong person. I thought I didn't need God and I could survive very well. A lot of people think that somebody becomes a Christian because he is weak or has problems. In my case I found God when everything was going well. My career was fine. My relationships were fine, but there was still an emptiness in my heart which I didn't understand. I was actually pretty lost when I had everything.

At that time I was actually a staunch Buddhist. I had my 'Fai Ming' (a Dharma name acquired during a Buddhist refuge ceremony, traditionally given by a high ranking Buddhist monk.) and the black and yellow-coloured robes. I was 'baptised' into Buddhism. I even prayed in the Japanese temple. I also believed in Feng Shui.

You would think I had no need for all that since I was doing well. But as a celebrity, you depend on so called luck. When you have fame, you have money, but you are also afraid of losing what fame you have. How do get fame? Hard work alone is not enough. It's by luck. You are dependent on luck, so you pray to all the gods, in the hope of becoming popular and famous.

"...I found God when everything was going well...... but there was still an emptiness in my heart which I didn't understand. I was actually pretty lost when I had everything."

In January 2006. I was injured during a Renci Charity show. I took that opportunity to speak up for the performers. We should not have to do dangerous stunts to get the funds or donations. There are better ways to raise funds.

As I was recovering at home I received a letter from a lady, who wrote that she had a dream of me. She said she was not a fan, but on her 57th birthday, she dreamt of me. In her dream, her husband tapped her on the shoulder during the altar call in church and asked her to pray for the person in front of her. Since she didn't know who that person was, she was a bit shy. After she woke up.. It was about 3 am. She felt very guilty that she hadn't prayed, so she asked God to reveal who the person was and what to pray for. When she went back to sleep she saw my face! She began praying for me and continued to do so until the day that she wrote the letter. But to me, she sounded like another preacher and I threw the letter away.

After that, I kept meeting people telling me about God. The first one was my friend Ricky. I asked him, "So, you are a Christian? But why? Why do you believe that there is only one Almighty God? He explained to me and somehow I could understand it; I could accept it as logical. From then on, God brought many people to me. Everyday I would meet people telling me about God.

It also happened that the father of the chiropractor who treated me was a retired Bishop worshipping at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, which is my church now. I wanted to go there to challenge him. I wrote a long list of questions and told my chiropractor, "I am going to ask your father questions and see whether he can answer me." I went to church not looking for God. I am quite stubborn. When everybody was standing up, and instead, remained seated and disrespectful. I took the Bible from the pew and it opened to Revelation chapter 12 about the woman and the dragon. I suddenly realized I had dreamt about that before, even though I had never read the Bible. How could it be?

In my dream, Revelation chapter 112 was actually in three parts. I dreamt of the first part one night, and two weeks later the second part,, then three weeks later the third part. that is not normal! In my dream I was chased by the dragon. As I read Revelation 12, I realized the scenario was similar to my dream. It was impossible. There must be God. How could I have dreamt of something in the Bible that I had never read before? That was 19th February 2006.

That night the retired Bishop led a prayer, saying, "If you decide to receive the Holy Spirit and accept Jesus Christ, then you should say these words."

In my heart I said, "Okay, I don't want to decide now." But after I went back home, I thought about it and was convinced there must be a God. So I said the sinner's prayer.

What is the biggest change in your life since you became a Christian?

The biggest change is that God is above everything. So, in my life, God is the most important. God is more important than my mother, and even my future husband or anybody else, anything on earth. God is number one. This is my choice. I choose to commit and be faithful to God because He is really faithful to me. He has been really good to me. Good as in, I have gone through rough patches, but it always turns out to be good. Those rough patches are for me to learn. When something bad happens I know it is another test. It is to sharpen my character. So I don't see bad things as bad things any more. Before I knew God, I was actually very lost. You don't know why you are here. You do everything and everything is meaningless. but since I came to know God, I know why I am here and I know everything is meaningful. Even when I just bump into somebody, I know it is not by coincidence. It must be God's arrangement. So, I am always looking forward to each new day.

"God is number one. This is my choice. I choose to commit and be faithful to God because He is really faithful to me."

How did you overcome the objections you have to face over your conversion?

My mum is now a Christian. But I wanted to get baptised in April, which was two months after I receive Christ, she objected. Everyday she would call me, cry and threaten me, saying that I was not filial, that I was deserting her, since I was not going to pray to her after she died. She didn't want me to get baptised, and forced me to speak to a monk, saying, "You must speak to Shifu(Master). If you want to be a Christian, that 's fine, but you cannot be baptised."

I replied, "If you want me to speak to Shifu, I shall. But if he cannot answer some of my questions, then I'll go ahead and get baptised."

The monk called me and said, "Christianity is actually something lower than Buddhism." He believes in the wheel of reincarnation. The six levels of the wheel of reincarnation are: hell, all the lost souls, the animals, human, deity and the Buddha. You have to work hard for millions of years. For instance, if you are a pig, then in the next life you become a human, and then in the next life you become something else.

I replied, "Okay, as Buddhist, I have to work very hard. I have to do good so that I can earn the points in my report card, hoping that my next life i may be able to become a Buddha. And then as a Buddha, I have to work some more because I want to go to the world of nothingness' - Nirvana. If that is the case, who decides what I have done so wrong? Who decides my first life? What did I do to come into this world? Where do I come from?" He answered, "From the world of nothingness." But if I come from nothing, which is the ideal state, what wrong did I do to fall into this wheel of reincarnation? He could not answer me. So, everything is meaningless. I came from nothingness and I have to work so hard to go back to the world og nothingness. Because he couldn't answer me, he told my mum to let me become a Christian.

The night before I got Baptised, my mum was still crying and threatening me. Although the monk had said "Let her go", I think she was controlled by some satanic force. She was like two totally different persons. My mum has never been an aggressive person but during that period she was not being herself. It's a little strange. My sister who has been a Christian for the past 20 years advised, :"Don't listen to the devil, just go ahead. It will be fine." So I went ahead. After I was baptised, she became normal again.

How did undergoing the financial troubles strenghten you as a person? What helps you face the inevitable ups and downs of being an entrepreneur?

I have gone from 'plus' to 'zero' to 'minus'. When I was a 'plus', I experienced the life of a 'plus'; I was 19 and had more than 100 thousand dollars. Suddenly I was popular. And then after that, I became a 'minus'. I owed people money. And I realised I could still survive as a 'minus'. So, what else was there that I couldn't do? What actually strengthen me was that I didn't think was anything that was impossible, as long as you are positive.

But that philosophy was before I became a Christian. That is why I told you I didn't believe in anybody else but myself, my own strength. Now when I think about it, I thank God. By my strength., I actually climbed from 'minus' to 'plus' but I was still lost. Everything was still meaningless without God. I used to say, "If you have money, if you don't have money, it's still the same. You don't know why you are here and where you are going."

How do you face challenges in the marketplace, for example, deciding on what type of products to sell as the competition involved in it?

When I first thought of opening the health club, it was supposed to be just a slimming centre. My father died a sudden death in 2004. But two weeks before his death I had a dream that he was going to die. I told my mum and so she prayed and got him to drink burnt talismans, but he still died. The death certificate stated that he had died of heart disease. That prognosis is so general and I couldn't understand it. I started to study more about heart disease, wanting to know why my father had died so suddenly.

I met a Chinese physician when I was in the process of opening a slimming centre. He was actually treating a lot of stroke patients and those with cholesterol problems. I found out that actually heart disease can be prevented and there are good Chinese herbs that can help. I wanted to help people to have healthier bodies and help those who are very depressed about their figures. They needed some counselling. So I decided to incorporate this into a health club.

When I started the health club I wasn't a Christian yet. After I became a Christian I changed my plans because God gave me new direction. In the marketplace, everybody just wants to make a sale. It is not easy to train the staff to sell something that people need and not sell things that people don't need. It is still a challenge now. Whenever there are new staff members, we have to retrain them.

The way I do business, I am not answerable to people, but I am answerable to God. I always tell my staff that if they don't care for their customers, if after selling them something they just say 'bye', then God will not bless them. That is something that they probably don't understand right now. They don't care if God will not bless them, but they care whether I will fire them!

What advice do you have for people considering becoming entrepreneurs?

From a business point of view, I could give you alot of answers but because I presume I am talking to Christians, I would tell you to do whatever God palns for you to do. Some people do business and succeed, but some people fail because God never intended for them to be entrepreneurs. For some people it is clear that God planned for them to be entrepreneurs. I have no answer to that. Only God knows. He will provide all the resources for whatever He wants us to do. Just to give an example of myself, I am not a doctor. I am not yet a nutritionist. I don't even have a degree but I have opened a clinic with two physicians, two dieticians, two Chinese medicine physicians, a microscopist and several therapists. God provided all these people. How do I get all the herbs? you know our herbs are not all Chinese herbs. We have other herbs from elsewhere. God enabled me to meet the right persons, so that I could find out which herbs cures what. I have faith that it will just happen. If God asks me one day to close the Health Club down, I will close it. I just want to do what God wants me to do.

Judging Others

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:37-38 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Please Excuse Me

The Parable of the Great Banquet

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."

Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'

"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'

"Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'

"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'

"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

" 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'

"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' " - Luke 14:15-24 (NIV)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Be Doers of God's Word

19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. - James 1:19-27 (NIV)



1. Introduction.

-Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Verse 22

2. The descriptions of a Doer of God's word. Verses 22-25

3. How to be doers of God's Word?

- Practice scriptural holiness. Verses 19-21, 26-27

4. Conclusion.

The greatest challenge as a disciple of Jesus is to be a doer of God's Word.

Questions to ponder and meditate.

1. What are ways we can practice scriptural holiness?

2. Imagine how practising scriptural holiness can transform our nation.


What's Choking You?

In the parable of the sower Jesus said, "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the Word, making it unfruitful" (Mark 4:18-19 NIV). Notice, the problem is not the sower or the seed, it's the soil. Jesus said they "hear the word", so we're talking about churchgoers with a pre-existing mindset that chokes every Scriptures they hear, read, or try to apply. Jesus describes these thorns as: "The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things" (Mark 4:19).

Do you remember the time when you thought the house you now live in, the career you now enjoy, and the investments you now have, would make all your worries go away? But no, the more you have, the more you have to lose, to protect, to maintain, and to worry about. That's "the deceitfulness of wealth". If your significance as a person or your sense of security is tied to anything other than your relationship with God, worry will choke the life right out of you. True happiness lies in trusting God for what you need, knowing if it's right He'll provide it, and if not He'll give you something better.

Chuck Swindoll writes, "We live among thorns because we've a quiet, respectable, secret love for them. I know. I've got the ugly scars to prove it. Each one a mute reminder of years trapped in the thicket; periodically I still have to yank a few." How about you - do you have thorns you need to pull?


Mark 4:19 (NIV)

but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.