July 2010


There was once i asked a group of children, what type of help would they expect from God? There was many strange suggestions from them, and they are always expecting something out of the ordinary.. like.. God speaking from heaven.. telling them what to do.. God answers their prayers (Irregardless of what they ask for).

But, does Gods help always come in such huge packages? It reminded me of 2 illustrations that i have heard before.

1. The Great flood
There was a Christian who stayed in the village and one day, there was a flash flood that hit the village. He was caught in the middle of it and was unable to escape.. so he climbed up a tree.. and prayed to God for deliverance.

Not long after that, there was the local police boat looking for survivors. The sheriff ask him to get on to the boat, he rejected, he said he is waiting for God to save him.. So after a long time, the sheriff gave up.. and left.. Onward came a civilian raft.. the man tried to persuade him to escape.. but he did not want.. saying God will deliver him.. Finally the floods got higher and higher.. he is almost drown.. Then onward came a fisherman with a boat.. He still held on to his faith, and refuse to get on… Finally, the Christian died in the flood.

When he got to heaven, he saw God on his throne.. He asked God, “Why did you not save me from the flood?”… God calmly replied “I did tried to save you. I sent 3 boats to you, but you did not wish to board it…”

2. The Mountain trekker.

There was a mountain trekker that wanted to climb the highest mountain.. and he willingly gave it his all.. and he put in all his effort to climb. It was getting dark, and he was halfway up the mountain.. at this time, he should have taken a rest, and continue in the next morning.. but he refuses.. and tried to move up in the darkness. Suddenly as he was climbing.. he slip and fell down.. his safety harness got hook onto a huge tree branch. He cling onto the harness with all his life… At this time, he started to pray, silently in his heart.. “Dear God, please help me… I do not want to die now”

This time, God spoke to him directly saying “Do you want me to save you?”, so the trekker replied “Yes my Lord” .. Then God replied “Cut your harness off” . But the trekker was stunned, God, I do not think This is a good idea, I am not sure what will happen if I cut it.. So.. he held on tightly and refuse to listen. Slowly, the coldness of the night sent shivers down him… and the blizzard took his life away.

The next day, there are some trekkers who found the body of the man.. and they came across a pretty unusual sight. There in front of them, is a man, who died holding on to the safety harness, And only 5 meters above ground… They are still wondering why didn’t the man cut his harness to get down.

The Lesson for us

Sometimes in our lives, we seems to hold on to many ideas, and we seems to only view the situation that we are in, and we forgot that God is actually above our problems.. Alot of times, we expect God to send in “divine intervention” like great miracles, or God speaking to us in person… This is actually nature.. Think about the time where Elijah was threatened by queen Jezebel.. (1 Kings 19:1-18).. when we are distressed.. we tend to just focus on our problem like how Elijah talks about the people rejecting God.. and only he alone is left.. and they wanted to kill him.. But remember.. God only spoke in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12) .. The only question is can we hear it?

Gods still small voice came in many ways.. IT may come from a counsel from a concern brother (yes sometimes even from “Good advice from good brethren”) , a sermon that you have listen.. and also a hymn that you have sung… The H/S moves u to remember bible stories.. and also teachings from it… The H/S reminds u of words in the bible. The main factor behind how much we can hear, depends on our closeness to God.. and that Closeness is achieve by us learning the word of God and constantly mediating on it. (Ps 1:1-3, Jas 4:8)

Besides the story of Elijah, lets look at another interesting person that God helped. He is none other than Lot (Gen 19:1-29) .. This story happens just before God destroyed the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God listened to the prayer of Abraham, so being a just God that doesn’t allow the good to perish with the wicked.. he sent 2 angels to the city of Sodom.. Lot invited them to his home and took care of them.
Just when the people in the cities wanted to Sodomise the 2 angels.. They proclaimed the judgement of God onto the City, telling Lot to take his family to run (Gen 19:11-12) .. .Lot tried to talk to his sons in law, which did not believed him.. Lot did not listen to Gods speaking to him immediately… he tarried in the city, until the Angels need to drag them out (Gen 19:15-17) . I guess its kind of a interesting help God gave him.. when they are outside the city, the angels gave them specific instructions, Run for his lives, do not stay in the plains, go to the mountains.. Yet at that moment.. Lot tried to bargain ( Gen 19:18-21). finally, Lot wife became a pillar of salt when she disobeyed God again.

The reason why Lot failed to get help from God… was not a fault by our Lord.. He tried all he could to instruct and tell Lot.. but it was Lots worry for the things that he had .. the many concerns of his possession int he world.. that dulled his hearing to that still small voice of God.

On a final note.. sometimes we tend to rely on our own gut feel and reason.. to help ourselves.. that is when.. as a conclusion lets read (Prov 3:5) . ” Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding”. Sometimes when God gave us an order that seemingly doesn’t seems to be logical.. That is when we should consider the story of the mountain trekker… We should trust that God is ahead of our problems and he knows what its he best thing to do… All he needed was us to be willing to follow him.

I hope God will grant us all the wisdom to trust him.. and a sensitive ear to listen to his still small voice.. Let us continue to spiritual nurture ourselves, and let us be sensitive to Gods calling.. May God help us all.

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I was listening to the Albums of Corrinne May and suddenly i realise she was singing about the story of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes.

Lately I was very concern that i feel that, I am not doing what I planned to do ever since i landed in this place.. In fact, I am plague with so much problems, logistically, and practically. Sometimes I feel so helpless in my situation… Especially when I reminded myself of all the “Mission Objectives” that i have taken upon myself when i touch down to this place.

Almost all my objectives returned with a huge failure (Although not all is lost, I still think, the chances of success is so low… that I am not even sure why am I trying to fight a lost clause).. If its was the hesitant prize fighter back in his old world.. he would have packed up and pursue a new prize.. Yet, now he is gathering up his last troops and making a last stand. Hopefully God will be merciful and turn the tide to his favour once again.

Ironically, Corrinne Mays song, really captured every feeling i have about my situation.. and .. I decided to reread the story of the boy and the five loaves and two fishes. Interestingly, the four gospels all had an entry of it.. Only John talks about the Lad.

Five Loaves of Bread and Two Fishes ( Matt 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-16, Jn 6:1-14)
So… Jesus was going to a deserted place near Bethsaida. He went by a boat, near the sea of Tiberius. The passover is near… But the crowds needed Jesus so much, they took pains to find out where he is, and came to Jesus… Jesus, having compassion to them, started to teach and heal them.. At this time, the little child must have passed by.. and join in the crowds to listen (I am not sure if he is 13 or not ūüėČ ).

So .. the time slowly passed till the night, and the crowds still has not dispersed. This is when the disciples wanted to send the people away so they can get food. But Jesus said no, he wanted the disciples to provide food for people. According to John, Jesus gave this problem as a trial for Philip.. So Philip identified the logistical nightmare of providing food for 5000 people… But he is not sure what to do, while the young boy came to Andrew, and offered his 5 loaves and 2 fishes.. Andrew brought it before Jesus.

Actually Jesus has long knew what he is going to do, so he took the bread and fish.. given thanks, and broke them and pass them to the disciples (Note that the miracle has not happened) . The disciples got the people to sit down in group, and they distributed the food. Strangely as they are breaking the bread, and the fishes.. they get more and more fragments.. and 5000 are fed.

In fact, the Miracle only started when he disciples trust God, and broke the food.. if they were to be faithless, and not break it.. the miracle will never happen..

Alot of emphasis was place on Gods test to Philip, and Andrew, as well as the work of God.. no one really paid attention to the little lad who offered it up.. It is no wonder that Jesus said, unless you become like little children you would never be able to enter heaven (Matt 18:2-3)

This little child has complete trust that Jesus will know what to do, and although his little bit of bread and fish may seems nothing to everyone.. but before God, this offering is never too small.

Basically, i learnt the following from him
1. Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves that we are not superman, we cant do everything. We are just offering our insignificant 5 loaves and 2 fishes to Jesus.. and Jesus is more than willing to use it to take care of a huge number of people.

2. He is willing to give it away to Jesus.. while he is sure that if he ate them he will not be hungry. So.. the question whether Jesus could use us as his vessels to comfort and help others, lies on how willing we are to give up our significant 5 loaves and 2 fishes which seems so small to everyone.

Therefore, I was comforted about my predicament… and I trust that God treasures my insignificant 5 loaves and 2 fishes.. and he is ever willing to work with what we have.. to provide comfort and support to those around. Jesus treasured my offering just as he look highly upon the widow and her two copper mites.

And all God wants from us is our willingness to offer. for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7)

Let us hear what Corrinne had to add to what i say.

Title: Five Loaves And Two Fishes
Artist: Corrinne May

A little boy of thirteen was on his way to school
He heard a crowd of people laughing and he went to take a look
Thousands were listening to the stories of one man
He spoke with such wisdom, even the kids could understand

The hours passed so quickly, the day turned to night
Everyone was hungry but there was no food in sight
The boy looked in his lunchbox at the little that he had
He wasn’t sure what good it’d do, there were thousands to be fed

But he saw the twinkling eyes of Jesus
The kindness in His smile
And the boy cried out
With the trust of a child
He said:

“Take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender
Take my fears and my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all to feed them all”

I often think about that boy when I’m feeling small
And I worry that the work I do means nothing at all

But every single tear I cry is a diamond in His hands
And every door that slams in my face, I will offer up in prayer

So I’ll give you every breath that I have
Oh Lord, you can work miracles
All that you need is my “Amen”

So take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender
Take my fears and my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
I hope it’s not too small

I trust in you
I trust in you

So take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender
Take my fears and my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
No gift is too small

After repeating that rededication statement, .. I started to remind myself why Jesus means so much to me.. As I was thinking about that.. the lyrics of this hymn float back to my mind…

Title: Lily of The Valley
Lyrics: Charles W Fry
Music: William S Hays

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.

Refrain:
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tower;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His power.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.

(Refrain)

He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessèd will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessèd face,
Where the rivers of delight shall ever roll.

(Refrain)

Lately, I have been pondering about, the things that we view as valuable, .. and as I ponder over it, 2 parables spoken by Jesus came to my mind…

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(Matt 13 :44-45)

It seems to me, that when something is valuable, you would treasure it just like the merchant and the man in the parable.. Who sold off all that he own to acquire it. On the contrary, if there are things that are not valuable to us.. we would definitely take it lightly, and sometimes even we wont mind losing it just to get something that we want.

So.. may I ask all my readers… what is the thing that is valuable in your life? what would you give up in order to receive it? Over here are some example of people from the bible and the things that are precious to them

1. Abraham
As we had discussed sometimes ago, Abraham is the father of faith.. He left Ur of the Chaldean in order to have a relationship with God.. He spent many years sojourning in the Land of Canaan, waiting on the promise of God as he said, he would give him this land. In the end, Abraham died, and was buried in the land that God has promised him.. in a field that he bought from the Ephron the Hittite (Gen 23:1-16) .. Most people will find this an irony, as he was promised this land by God, yet he died without getting it.

What is precious to him?
Abraham treasured the relationship he had with God, he knows that the most important thing for following God, is to enter the heavenly rest, a much better country compared to what God has promised him on earth (Heb 11:13-16)… This is precious that he is willing to give up his comfortable life in Ur and Haran to follow God…

2. Jacob and Esau
Esau was the grandson of Abraham, he was suppose to be the firstborn, the one that is suppose to inherit the promise of God given to Abraham his grandfather… He is a wild man, and once he return from the field and was hungry, Esau saw Jacob his brother had a pot of red pottage.. He wanted it so badly.. that he traded his birth right, to Jacob.. allowing Jacob now then to be the guy that inherit Gods blessing (Gen 25:29-34)… later on when Esau wanted the blessing, he can never receive it anymore.. Although he sought it with tears.(Gen 27: 34-35)

What is precious to them?
To Esau, having physical comfort, enjoyment is very important, it can be seen in how he handled marriage (Gen 26:34-35, Gen 28:6-9).. To him, God was not important, and the heavenly country is too far away compared to the physical comfort that he had… so ..he willingly traded away all these

To Jacob, although he was unable to get everything.. he treasured God inheritance and blessing more than anything else, which prompt him to deceive to get it… Although he deployed devious matters. God still loved him .. (Mal 1:2-3)

3. David
David was no doubt the most legendary king in Israel, famous for his exploits , his killing of Goliath, as well as his many psalms and hymns written all over the old testament. So.. what is precious to him? Lets us see some extracts from the poems he had written

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”” (Ps 122:1)

One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. (Ps 27:4)

What was precious to him?
To David, all his enjoyments in life are insignificant compared to a chance to visit the house of God.. Which he view as very precious … much more valuable than all the perks he will receive as the King of Israel. He is indeed a man after Gods heart (Acts 13:22)

4. Paul
Well, how can we missed out Paul, one of the main contributors to the New testament bible, the precious in his life is echoed very clearly in his epistles to the Philippians

“though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ ” Php 3: 4-8)

What is precious to him?
Initially in Paul’s life, his status as a Pharisee, a Jew of the Jews, a persecutor of Christians are precious to him, because he innocently believe that he is executing judgement on behalf of God.. But after Christ touched him on the road to Damascus, the only precious thing in his life, is none other than Christ Jesus himself.

5. Judas
Judas was¬†the infamous disciple of Jesus whom betrayed¬†the Lord …¬†Judas was the disciple in charge of the money box of Jesus and his disciples.¬†In fact, he started hs path to sin by taking money from the box periodically (Jn 12:4-6).¬† Slowly, his sin started to grow, and¬†he¬†needed more money to statisfy it¬†.. slowly it grew to 30 Pieces of Silver¬† (matt 26:15). which was the price for Jesus. , Jesus still loved him to the end, washed his feet. and Jesus even pointed out that he is the betrayer.. (Jn 13:25-26, Matt 26:25).¬† But he still did not repent and until finally, the devils caught hold of him.¬†
 
What is precious to him?
Judas started by taking small amount of money, slowly his desire for money got¬† stronger and stronger. Finally, Jesus loses his¬†significance in the life of Judas.. and Judas ¬†literally exchanged Jesus for 30 pieces of silver… When Jesus finally was nailed on the cross.. Judas realised what he had done . but yet it was too late for him to turn back… so¬†when guilt finally¬†caught up to him.. and he finally used the money, buy a field and hang himself.¬† (matt 27:3-10, Acts 1:18-20)

6. Jesus Christ
I guess, i do not need to introduce my greatest friend out to everyone isn’t it? So.. to cut the story short… What is precious to Jesus?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:7-8

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matt 9:12-13

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Lk 15:7

What is precious to him?
I guess the verses speaks for itself, do not me to tell you much isn’t it?

So what is precious to us?
Lately, this question is bugging my mind very badly..There was a mother who was so eager to leave the church, saying that she had this on and that on… although her children wanted to much to sit in the church and have fellowship with the brothers and sisters it went to an extent that she must drag her kids out.

There was another , Where it was so hard to come churchand listern to the word of God for an hour, yet for something else that is precious to him is willing to go all lengths and all effort, just to secure it, includes going for extensive lessons, flying all the way to another country … Includes leaving God for good..

Is God still the Lord of our lives? When we address him as Lord, do we say this with the bottom of our hearts and with conviction? Is he really the Lord of our lives? if yes, why do we simply trade him away for something else? Is that thing really that precious to us, so much so that this finite life seems to be longer than eternity? So once again in my life, I would make this same declaration as Paul

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?As it is written:
” For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8: 35-39)

Will you also make this same declaration with me? May God help us all..