September 2014


My wife showed me a very interesting song, which is known as “Hello Vietnam”. It was a song well liked by Vietnamese community. It was sang by a Vietnamese Belgian Singer known as Quynh Anh Pham.

I understand that Quynh Anh was a Ethnic Vietnamese born in Europe, and the song was written for her by French-hit singer Marc Lavoine  who was touch by the feeling of a small girl who had never seen her homeland.

Some interesting facts that I would like to share
1. The Movie by Coppola mentioned in the Lyrics is “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

Interestingly my first impression of Vietnam was taken ironically from the musical “Miss Saigon”. Later on in my life i discovered  that it was really inaccurate and stereotypical in its depiction of Vietnam

When I visited Saigon in 2013, I tried hard to find the old American Embassy (where the infamous helicopter scene was based on) only to realise that it was demolished. The closest I got to the scene was the rooftop of the Independence Palace.  I used to think that Vietnam was full of floating markets..and ladies wearing Ao Dai (most likely due to much travel shows that depicted that).

Later on I realised that the real Saigon is so much different from what I expected.

This song can be sang in 3 languages, English, French and Vietnamese. I have always been interested to find song that could be sang in more than 1 language. Therefore I would like to present this dedicated to everyone who is far away from home.

Personally i think the lyrics is very well written. I guess the song is best felt by people who live away from their home. I have decided not to try to link the lyrics and the translation as French and Vietnamese are all not my language of expertise.

 

Title : Bonjour Vietnam  /Xin Chào Việt Nam/ Hello Vietnam
Singer  :Quynh Anh Pham
Music :Marc Lavoine
Lyrics: Lavoine and Yvan Coriat

French Version:

Raconte moi ce nom étrange et difficile à prononcer
Que je porte depuis que je suis née.
Raconte moi le vieil empire et le trait de mes yeux bridés,
Qui disent mieux que moi ce que tu n’oses dire.

e ne sais de toi que des images de la guerre,
Un film de Coppola, [et] des hélicoptères en colère …
Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à ton âme.
Un jour, j’irai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam.

Raconte moi ma couleur, mes cheveux et mes petits pieds,
Qui me portent depuis que je suis née.
Raconte moi ta maison, ta rue, raconte moi cet inconnu,
Les marchés flottants et les sampans de bois.

e ne sais de toi que des images de la guerre,
Un film de Coppola, [et] des hélicoptères en colère …
Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à ton âme.
Un jour, j’irai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam.

Les temples et les Boudhas de pierre pour mes pères,
Les femmes courbées dans les rizières pour mes mères,
Dans la prière, dans la lumière, revoir mes frères,
Toucher mon âme, mes racines, ma terre…

Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à mon âme.
Un jour, j’irai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam (2 fois)

Vietnamese Version :

Bạn hãy nói cho tôi biết chăng, về họ tên mà tôi đã mang,
Về miền quê mà tôi ngày đêm luôn nhớ mong.
Lòng tôi mong biết đất nước tôi, đất nước đã có bao đời,
Được nhìn bằng đôi mắt của mình được trở về cội nguồn của tôi

Và qua phim Coppola,lòng thấy xót thương quê hương.
Bầy trực thăng bay trên cao, tàn phá xóm thôn nhỏ bé.
Ước mong về thăm chốn thiêng,Mong sao quê hương dang tay đón tôi.
Mong ước đến ngày trở về,
Lòng tôi yêu mến, Việt Nam.

Bạn hãy nói tới mái tóc đen, tới đôi chân nhỏ bé,
Và màu da đã ngày đêm cùng tôi lớn lên
Và mong sao đôi chân sẽ bước lên,Từ những nơi tôi chưa từng đến.
Để được nghe bài dân ca êm dịu lướt trên sông.

Và tôi mới biết, về đất nước tôi qua phim.
Người dân quê hương tôi cày cấy, vui trong lời hát.
Ước mong về thăm đất nước tôi.Quê hương bao năm tôi đã cách xa.
Mong ước đến ngày trở về,Lòng tôi yêu mến Việt Nam.

Tôi sẽ theo cha về thăm làng quê, tổ tiên.
Theo những giấc mơ bay trên mênh mông đồng lúa.
Tôi thấy bao thân thương nơi đây quê tôi.
Như cây có gốc, tôi yêu,vđất nước tôi !

Ước mong về thăm đất nước tôi,
Mong sao quê hương dang tay đón tôi.

Tôi sẽ thăm những dòng sông,
Đồng quê xanh mát Việt Nam.

Ước mong về thăm chốn thiêng,
Mong sao quê hương dang tay đón tôi.
Mong ước đến ngày trở về.
Lòng tôi yêu mến Việt Nam.
Lòng tôi vang tiếng Việt Nam.
Lòng tôi xin chào Việt Nam.

English Version:

Tell me all about this name, that is difficult to say.
It was given me the day I was born.

Want to know about the stories of the empire of old.
My eyes say more of me than what you dare to say.

(Chorus)
All I know of you is all the sights of war.
A film by Coppola, the helicopter’s roar.
One day I’ll touch your soil.
One day I’ll finally know your soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Vietnam.

Tell me all about my colour, my hair and my little feet
That have carried me every mile of the way.

Want to see your house, your streets. Show me all I do not know.
Wooden sampans, floating markets, light of gold.

(Repeat Chorus)

And Buddha’s made of stone watch over me
My dreams they lead me through the fields of rice
In prayer, in the light…I see my kin
I touch my tree, my roots,my begin

One day I’ll touch your soil.
One day I’ll finally know my soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Vietnam.
One day I’ll walk your soil
One day I’ll finally know my soul
One day I’ll come to you
To say hello…Vietnam
To say hello…Vietnam
To say xin chào (Hello In Vietnamese) … Vietnam

 

French Version

Vietnamese Version

English Version

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Introduction

Jesus once said

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the
  gate and broad is the way that leads to
  destruction, and there are many who go
  in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and
  difficult is the way which leads to life,
  and there are few who find it.” – Jesus (Matt 7:13-14)

Verse 13 talks about the way of the world. It is a way that leads to destruction. It is broad,wide and easy to tread on. That is a way that is sensual where one can do whatever his heart desires.

We have taken a look at that path  last week. Let us take a look at the way of the Lord.

The Way Of The Lord

Let us take a closer a look at the words of Christ

“Because narrow is the gate and
  difficult is the way which leads to life,
  and there are few who find it.”

That is the way that God wants,  it is a small and difficult path that leads to life. So how does one enter this path. Let us take a look at what Jesus said.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the
  door of the sheep….. I am the door.
  If anyone enters by Me, he will be
  saved, and will go in and out and find
  pasture….I have come that they may
   have life, and that they may have it
  more abundantly.” – Jesus (Jn 10:7.9.10)

Jesus is a good shepherd and the the sheep is his church. Jesus is the door of the sheep. In order to walk on this path, you must seek Jesus in order to enter it. Only by going through the door can you find salvation within the Lord.

God once spoke through prophet Isaiah

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
  Nor are your ways My ways,
  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
  So are My ways higher than your ways,
  And My thoughts than your thoughts.”- YHWH (Is 55:8-9)

That is the thought and the ways of God. Gods thought and ways are different from us. When we encounter problems in life and we pray to him for help. but sometimes Gods answer may be different, for ways and thoughts are different from us.

Let us consider the characteristic of Gods way?

The Path Of God Need Not Be Straight

Most people tend to think that if their choices are smooth and it met with no opposition that must be the way of God. But let us consider the words of King Solomon.

“Consider the work of God;
  For who can make straight
  what He has made crooked?

  In the day of prosperity be joyful,
  But in the day of adversity consider:
  Surely God has appointed the one as
  well as the other,So that man can
  find out nothing that will come after
  him.” – Solomon (Eccl 7:13-14)

Solomon was talking about the encounters in life. It reminds us that we need to mediate on the words of God.We need to find out of the way God prepared. This verse reminds us that when we encounter suffering, we need to consider. Sometimes the path of the Lord may be curved, at that time, we should not try to go against the will of God.  Perhaps God meant it to be difficult

The Way Of The Philistines Vs The Way Of The Wilderness

Sometimes God may not lead us  on a the straight path . This can be seen in the book of exodus.

 So God led the people around by way
  of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And
  the children of Israel went up in
  orderly ranks out of the land
  of Egypt.” – Moses (Ex 13:18)

Here it talks about how God led Israel. I have found an article that featured a map for your reference

 

When God led Israel out of Egypt, it was through the way of the wilderness. The wilderness journey is hard.. Israel took 40 years to travel the wilderness. Israel spent about 2 years travelling to Kadesh. However just before they enter the land, they lost their faith and have to travel another 38 years in the wilderness. (CF: Deut 2:14)

The truth is that if one takes the way of the Philistines, it only takes 3 month to reach the promise land. In the eyes of man it is unwise and inefficient to travel like this. However, in the eyes of God it is a wise move.

The Wisdom Behinds God’s Choice

Sometimes we wonder why did God choose to lead Israel through the troublesome wilderness . God gave a reason behind his choice

“Lest perhaps the people
  change their minds when
  they see war, and return
  to Egypt.”-YHWH (Ex 13:17)

The way of the Philistines is known as the Via Maris (the way of the sea) and it is a well known trade route. The route is heavily fortified by the Egyptians. There are also the Philistines which are a fierce tribe.

The Israelites  are slaves who just left Egypt, although God has plans that they would fight the Canaanites in the future, but right now the faith of the Israelites are still weak. When Israelites were travelling in the wilderness, they were without food and water. God helped them them by providing manna and water from the rock. When the Israelites faced the Amalekites in the battle of Rephidim, they learnt to fight with God.

God train them to rely on him by giving them miracles and helping them in battle. The result of Gods wisdom can clearly be seen when Joshua led Israel  and started his campaign to conquer Canaan .

Learning From The Experience Of Joseph

That is how the will of God works. In our lives of faith we may encounter difficulties and it is actually the wisdom of God. Sadly many of the Israelites cant understand this as the result many of them fell in the wilderness.

Sometimes we wonder why is it that we encounter no success, why we fall sick and was not healed. Sometimes we study hard and yet we fail in our examinations. We need to understand how God works and why we encounter such problems.

Now let us consider the example of Joseph.

“But as for you, you meant evil against me;
  but God meant it for good, in order to bring
  it about as it is this day, to save many people
  alive.” – Joseph (Gen 50:20)

Those are the words of Joseph at old age. God trained Joseph throughout his life, God allowed Joseph to encounter so many difficulties. Joseph had a tribulation life

This verse tells us how God trained Joseph. God allowed Joseph to encounter a lot of tribulation. He lead a difficult life from 17 , he worked as a slave in the house of Potiphar. When things started to go smoothly for him, the wife of Potiphar seduced him and for doing the right thing, he was thrown into the prison.

He did not murmur against God for he know that it was the will of God behind it. Even though life was full of difficulties and he had face them willingly. He must have question why at times, but eventually he overcome the world.

Even though sometimes we do not understand why we are suffering, but often we will only see after the end of the journey. Sometimes it is only through the rough edges of life can one learn and discern with wisdom.

Learning From The Experience Of Moses

“When Pharaoh heard of this matter,
  he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled
  from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in
  the land of Midian; and he sat down by
  a well.” – Moses (Ex 2:15)

This is a record of the time where Pharaoh heard the of Moses killing the Egyptian. He wanted to kill Moses and Moses had to flee to Midian. This is an example of a difficult path given by God.

When Moses was a child, he was almost killed by Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh ordered to kill every male Israelite child. But God preserved his life and he arranged for Moses to be rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter. The bible records that Moses is learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptian.

Moses thought of visiting his brethren for he knows that God wanted him to save the Israelites. But then he was young and quick tempered, when he saw an Egyptian bullying a Israelites, he fought and killed the Egyptian. As the result, he had to flee to the wilderness.

Eventually God approached Moses saying to him

“I will certainly be with you. And this shall
  be
a sign to you that I have sent you:
  When you have brought the people out of
  Egypt, you shall serve God on this
  mountain.”- YHWH (Ex 3:12)

Even though Exodus 3 is only one chapter away, But the timeframe is very far. Moses stayed 40 years in the wilderness of Midian (CF Acts 7:22-23,30) . He was 40 when he killed the Egyptian, and when God appeared to him in Exodus 3 he was 80 years old.

When Moses first learnt the knowledge of the Egyptian, he was confident that he had the advantage over others. But in the end he killed a Egyptian and he had to go to Midian to bury himself away. He led a lonely and simple life. This training destroyed his pride and temper.

The Moses at the age of 40 is like a prickly durian, the 40 years in the wilderness allowed God to remove all his spikes and self confidence. When God approached Moses at the age of 80, Moses was a changed man. He felt that he had no power and he is not strong enough.

Moses once said in his Psalm

“The days of our lives are seventy years;
  And if by reason of strength they are
  eighty years,” – Moses (Ps 90:10)

It seems that Moses had given up on himself at 80, he felt that his life was maxed out. He changed from a good and simple life to rock bottom. He became a commoner, and he feels that it is impossible to do the will of God. Moses feel that he cannot do it because he is slow of speech and tongues. From here we can see that he had lost his pride and Gods training for him in Midian and it had developed him spiritually. It turn Moses into the most humble man on earth.

The result of this training is seen in the book of Numbers

“(Now the man Moses was very humble,
  more than all men who were on the face
  of the earth.)” – Num 12:3)

This was Gods comment about his 40 years in the wilderness. If we make a comparison of Moses between Ex 2 and Num 12)  In Ex 2 he killed a Egyptian in his anger and now he is the most humble man on earth. This difference is a result of God’s training.

Without that training, he will not be able to handle 3-4 million people travelling in the wilderness. They often complain to him about having no food and water, he had to endure the heat of the day and the cold at night. He had to hear their problems and solve them  .

I believe if Moses was the leader of the Israelites at 40, perhaps many Israelites would have been executed for causing trouble.

Conclusion

From here we can see that God had different way for different people. Some Christians are put in the palace while some had to endure the heat and cold in the wilderness.

So when we encounter troubles in life, do we see it as God torturing us or do we see it as God will?

We need to know that Gods way is not necessary all smooth sailing, we must consider the work of God and that all things works for the good of those who love God. For Jesus tell us that the way to heaven is narrow and difficult. That is the way of God.

Today i have heard an interesting sharing regarding the two ways that every man must take. We would examine one of the two ways today.

Introduction

Our lives on earth is just like living in a wilderness, the wilderness is a vast place and it is hard to see a direction. Sometimes as we tread on it. Sometimes we wonder which is the right way to take. If we choose wrongly, it will take our lives into darkness.

But the bible tells us that if we follow God, our future will be bright.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide
  is the gate and broad is the way that
  leads to destruction, and there are
  many who go in by it.   Because narrow
  is the gate and difficult is the way
  which leads to life, and there are few
  who find it”- Jesus (Matt 7:13-14)

Matthew Chapter 5-7 contains the famous sermon on the mount by Jesus. They contains many teachings about Christian living. Here it mentioned that there are 2 pathways a man can take. That idea of that inspires us, reminding us that there are only 2 path a man can take.

Though the eyes of man it appears as if life had many choices and possibilities. But in the eyes of God there are only 2 outcome for he life of men. One path leads to destruction, and one leads to everlasting life.

Today we will focus on the path of destruction. It is also known as the path of the world.

What Is The Path Like?

It is a path that leads to hell and destruction.  Jesus describes the path that its gates are wide and the road is broad. It is very easy for one to walk and enter. Jesus said that many will go in by it. For it is the ways of the people of the world. Paul describes that path further.

“in which you once walked according
  to the course of this world, according 
  to the prince of the power of the air,
  the spirit who now works in the sons
  of disobedience,  among whom also
  we all once conducted ourselves in the
  lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires
  of the flesh and of the mind, and were
  by nature children of wrath, just as
  the others.”- Paul (Eph 2:2-3)

That was the path that we once took. It is currently the way our world operates. It is according to the prince of the power of the air. The path is easy for it allow us to follow our desires, we can do whatever we like. The modern world describes that life as freedom. But Jesus calls it the wide and broad way that leads to destruction.

The People Of The World Today

The bible describes the people on that path as the sons of disobedience and these people who walk on the path will eventually be judged for their disobedience to God. Paul continue to talk about these people

“having their understanding darkened,
  being alienated from the life of God,
  because of the ignorance that is in them,
  because of the blindness of their heart;
 
who, being past feeling, have given
  themselves over to lewdness, to work all
  uncleanness with greediness” – Paul (Eph 4:18-19)

Paul said that those who took this easy ways do not know God. They did not believe in him out of ignorance, that is why they do not fear him and they had no fear of judgement

That is why our world today is so complicated. There is always a thick grey line between right and wrong. Sometimes we wonder why is everyone so corrupt and evil, and that question lead to us doubting the existence of God as well as judgement.

At times, we wonder why is our world in such a mess. It is because of the fact that human beings have departed from the true source of life. They think that he doesn’t exist because they cannot see him.

But yet there was an old Chinese saying that says “头顶三尺有神明,不畏人知畏己知"

It means that “There are deities three feet above your head , even if others are not aware , yet you should know” It appears that all cultures acknowledge that even if you cant see God doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.

The societies of the past are more aware of this than our modern world. But today we often asked “Why Is It That We Cannot See God?”

The Earthworm At Kremlin

During the 1960s during the cold war sparked a space race between the communist Russia and the America , at the initial part of the race, it was the Russian who were the first to send an cosmonaut into space.

During a speech made by the Russian Premiere Nikita Khrushchev he said “"Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there."

A week later, there was a comic strip that appeared in the US, in that strip there was a Earth worm who managed to go through the ground, and he pop his head up at the Kremlin in Russia. He looked around and he returned back to the ground. He told his friends that  Khrushchev doesn’t exist. For he had been to the Kremlin and could not see him.

The strip is drawn to poke fun at the Russian Premiere for he is just like an earth on the earth. Just because you did not see him doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.

The  same goes for God. For God is spirit, even if you were to enter into space, you will not be able to find him. But sadly, man in his ignorance was not able to see that. As the result their heart is blind and they lose direction in their life. They became unafraid of judgement and they just do whatever their heart desires.

This is the reason why many on earth dare to do evil. They did it out of a ignorance, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

They claimed that religion was an invention of the weak to protect themselves.

The Generation Of Noah

This situation we see today reminds us of the time of Noah. During that time, God destroyed the world for they do not know him and their mind were evil continually. During that time, God saw the violence that is happening and saw that the ways of men were corrupt.

That is why he told Noah to build an ark, and through the ark, 8 people were saved.

In the past, there are many Countries that base their standard using the words of God. But today, they no longer believe in God. There are many in the western world that are atheist and they no longer had any concept of God. It seems that many had put aside their bible, and yet God was blamed for every problem that comes after that.

There was once a pastor when confronted with the question why had God left us and why did the 9-11 incident happened gave a very interesting answer. It is we who had drove God away from us. We have expelled God away from us. Even though there are many countries who are called “Christian country”, but the truth is that they had took out the 10 commandments and took away the rights of many who wanted to worship God.

They stand under the guise of multi-culturism and that there are some who are atheist and out of respect for them there should be no religion in schools.  The result of those policy steer people to think that they are the greatest.

Freedom without the knowledge of God.

This becomes the way of the world., where one can choose to believe if God exist or not.

People who subscribe to that belief, will eventually focus only on enjoyment in the flesh. For they feel that they have the freedom to do whatever they like regardless of each other.

Freedom devoid of the knowledge of God is mere indulgence. Since there is no one who dare to say that adultery and stealing are evil, one would slowly become ignorant of God. That is the reason why many expelled Jesus from their heart and would rather devote our time doing anything else except to pray to him.

We spend all our times on the internet, doing the other things we enjoy, putting God in the side lines.

What Is a Life Without God Be Like?

The book of Genesis gave us some insight into the generation before the flood. “

“And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain,
  an instructor of every craftsman in bronze
  and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.

   Then Lamech said to his wives:

  “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech!
    For I have killed a man for wounding me,
   Even a young man for hurting me.””-Moses (Gen 4:22-23)

Over here talks about a Lamech and his wife Zillah, Zillah gave birth to Tubal Cain who is able to work with Iron and Bronze. After Cain left the presence of God, his descendent knew how to work with bronze and iron. In the song of Lamech, he talks about how he killed a man for wounding him.

It is likely that the world in the pre-flood era had already entered the Iron age and Lamech knew how to use bronze and iron to make weapons. These weapons are used to defend as well as to kill others.

It is like the law of the jungle where the winners takes it all.

This is similar to the world we live in today, sometimes people kill without thinking and we wonder why is humanity so cruel now. It looks as if violence is just growing all over the world. We see fanaticism happening and the society is moving towards two extremes

One side is gearing towards over conservatism where certain groups of people cannot tolerate the existence of others, if you do not follow his ideology or belief, he will kill you without any hesitation.

Yet we also see the other side where one ignores all belief and just focus on a indulgent life.  In the verse we read earlier, Lamech had 2 wives , the descendent that came from Cain changed the Gods  original institution of marriage.  God intended for one man and one wife, but Lamech here took 2 wives

The Time Of Noah And Our Time

God once said that the time of his second coming is just like the time of Noah. It is a time where mankind will follow their own way and they will not put God as the centre of their lives. The society that they create is one that is full of themselves where their enjoyment comes before anything else.

Even though we are  in  a country monogamy is practiced,where is illegal to practice bigamy. We can still see many couples not being able to stay together, they had affairs outside marriage and the worst part is that many Christian group choose to go against the command of God. (CF Mk 10:1-2)

In order the please the crowd, they allow Christians to divorce and when they remarry, they can be blessed by the pastor once again.

The result of that action allow many to lose faith in the institution of marriage. Couples would rather co-habit than to be legally married, any unwanted children created in the process is given away for adoption. Sometimes allowing children to grow up in strange families and it affect their own perspective of life.

Such action leads to the destruction in the morals of the next generation of children.

This is how our world has become closer and closer  to the time of Noah and Cain. The bible remain silent about the descendent of Cain after Genesis Chapter 4. There are some who feels that the daughters of man in Gen 6:2 refers to the descendent of Cain

But during that period of time, the sin of man had reach onto heaven and God commanded Noah to build the ark. After the flood, the descendent of Cain were destroyed and they cease to exist in the world

Conclusion

As Christians had been talking about this for 2000 years, there are many who scoff and laugh at the message. Elder Peter once said this

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in t
  he last days, walking according to their own lusts,

   and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? 
   For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue
   as they were from the beginning of creation” “-Peter (2 Pet 3:3-4)

In fact their scoffing is not new. For even at the time of Peter everyone had been talking about the second coming of Christ.  Truth is that Jesus was gone for 2000 years and many wonder when will he come again.

Elder Peter continues

“For this they willfully forget: that by
  the word of God the heavens were of old,
  and the earth standing out of water and
   in the water, by which the world that
  then existed perished, being flooded
  with water.  But the heavens and the
  earth which are now preserved by the
  same word, are reserved for fire until
  the day of judgment and perdition of
  ungodly men.”- Peter (2 Pet 3:5-7)

If we take a close look at our world, and we find our way to be the same as the wide way that leads to destruction. If we find our path easy to go to, and easy to walk. Let us consider if we are on the right way.

For during the time of Noah, many walk on that way and were destroyed by the flood

Let us ponder over the path we are taking and the direction we ought to be heading to.

We learnt about the first weapon of Apostle Peter, he was armed with mind to suffer for Christ. Now lets take a look at his second weapon

Weapon No 2: A Strong Faith To Resist The Devil

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary
  the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking
  whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the
  faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by
  your brotherhood in the world.” – Peter (1 Pet 5:8-9)

A roaring lion may appear to be majestic looking. However, the devil is also a roaring lion, and the thought of that frightened us. How can we resist him? Peter here tells us that a steadfast faith could resist the devil.

Indeed, even though the devil may be frightening, always lurking around us, even though his roars frightened us. A Christian could resist him with a steadfast faith. It is a type of faith that is strong.

We all have some degree of faith, that is why we come to church. But the question is, is our faith steadfast and strong? Sometimes our faith may appear strong and steadfast, it is just like Peter when he said that he is willing to die with Jesus.

I am sure Peter was sincere and was not telling a lie, but the problem is that his faith is not as strong as he think. Sometimes faith can be shaken in face of calamity. That is when we find our faith melting like wax, as the fire burns at us.

Sometimes we find our faith like clay, it becomes hard and strong through the fire, a good potter knows that by burning wet clay, he could produce a good piece of pottery. We are all clay, for we are made of dust. God prepare us in this life by testing us with fire. As the result we eventually become good and strong vessels, fit for the use of God.

Peter is a fine example of that testing. That is why we need a steadfast faith. God is ever willing to help us, but we must use our faith to resist the devil. We need to endure to the end as well.

Enduring To the End

Sometimes when trouble comes knocking on our door, we may be able to deal with it initially. But as months and years goes by, are we still able to endure it?  Often we find a short trial easier to bear compared to a trial that goes on for years.

That is why many Christians give up their faith in face of long suffering. The devil eventually overcame them. That is why elder James remind us that we need to have long suffering in order to be victorious.

For if we do not endure to the end, we will lose this battle of faith.

Being steadfast in the midst of a changing world 

Jesus once prophesized about the last days, he said

“as lawlessness increase, love will go cold”

There are many things that stumble the faith of a Christian. We need to ask ourselves are we able to hold on to our zeal and faith as this is happening? 

We see some giving up saying they do not want to believe in Christ anymore, but yet there are many will continue to fight on. For they remembered the words of Jesus

“he who endures to the end will be saved” – Jesus

Throughout our walk of faith, we have come across  many zealous Christians. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they serve the church all the time. But some of them ended up leaving the faith. That is because they are unable to endure and they fall from faith one after the other.

At the same time we witness common believers who do not perform great works. But yet they remain faithful they kept their faith all the way to their deathbed. Perhaps all they could do is to pray to God, and they remain faithful to the end. These Christian are indeed victorious.

Strengthening Our Faith

Perhaps we were once believers full of zeal and now we are cold in our faith. Perhaps we may be lukewarm believers who are neither hot nor cold. No matter what,we all need God  strengthen our own faith.

I am sure we all know that ancient formula to pray and to ask God for help. But is there something else we can do besides that?

Paul once taught us saying

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus
  the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up
  in Him and established in the faith, as you have
  been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Paul (Col 2:6-7)

He talks about 2 points on how to strength our faith.

Be Rooted In Jesus

He teaches us to have our faith rooted in Jesus and we need to build up our faith with the right roots.

Many of us come to church due to various reasons, perhaps we felt the love among brethren’s, and perhaps we are moved by certain actions by the church. But we need to recognized the fact that one day, the person we respect may fall from faith and leave the church. 

We need to root  our faith in the right foundation. For if we build our foundation upon the people we respect, our faith will waver when these people grow weary and have a change of heart. But if we build our faith on Jesus, he will never change and we will never be moved.

At the same time we need to consider, where will our foundation of faith be?

A house build on sand cannot withstand the winds and waves. When they start hitting the house, it will collapse. Similarly if we come to church because of others, or we come to church purely because we wanted peace. Our faith can waver if those things are taken away from us.

Those who listen to the words of God are people who have built upon the rock. It is unmoved by wind and waves, for he remain anchored onto the rock.

A faith can be strong only if it is built upon Christ. Such faith cannot be moved by others easily.

The reason behind the failure in faith for many Christians is because they had allowed themselves to be moved by deceitful words.  They follow blindly and does not discern between the teaching of God and the commandments of man. 

One who is established in Christ will do according to what Jesus commanded. He will ignore the words that are not in accordance to the teaching of Jesus.

Be  Established In the Words of God 

That is why Paul reminds us to be vigilant so that others will not deceive us with empty philosophy and the traditions of man.  It serves to remind us that a strong and steadfast faith can only be established upon the words of God.

We need to build our faith needs upon Christ and the words of God. We need to use the bible as our standard, and we need to compare what we hear with the words of the bible.

We need to be sure that what we believe is according to the teaching of Christ

A faith that discerns is a steadfast faith. Only a steadfast faith can allow us to overcome the devil and fight a good fight.

Let us learn from the weapons of Peter and used them in our lives