Thursday, July 30, 2009

Child-Like Faith


"But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)


Early this morning we received the news that one of our church members,Jack, had passed away and gone to be with the Lord. This is getting to be more of a regular event as our church grows larger. However, this time it gripped our hearts a bit more than usual as this brother died at the age of only 28 and had been a good friend of ours for about ten years, joining the cell group in our house for many of those years.

Though he was 28 Jack had a medical condition that caused many complications in his body and cause him to have the mind of a small child. The last few years of his life he was wheel-chair bound but he was not bound in his spirit! Yes, he was often childish, even throwing tantrum when not getting his way. But I will remember him for his simple childlike faith. He sang like an angel with joy and passion in our cell group and prayed with even more fervour.

One time our fan had broken down in the living room where we have our cell meetings. Jack rolled confidently up to the fan in his wheel chair and laid hands on the fan and prayed "Be healed in the name of Jesus!" Immediately the fan started working again.

Do we have faith in God like a child or have we grown more "mature" (this should read cynical)?. Let us learn from Jack and enjoy our relationship with Daddy God, coming to Him as a child, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.


Here is the poem I've written for Jack that I will share at his funeral tomorrow:

Jack's Poem

A child trapped in a body that decays,
Yes, childish sometimes, but childlike always.
He laughed like a Cherub, a smile on his face,
Sang like and angel and prayed with simple faith.

Though bound on this earth in a body and a chair,
He freely loved to give and receive a king's share.
Now bound no more but dancing, singing, free,
He is forever with King Jesus, receiving gifts endlessly!

We love and miss you Jack, with your simple ways,
And know we'll see you soon, one of these days.
When Jesus returns with all the saints we'll see
Jack laughing, swimming, singing and, best of all, FREE.


"Father, I want to learn from Jack today. I come to you as a trusting child, with simple faith and no pretentious adult cynicism. Help me to become more and more childlike in following and relating to you day by day Lord. Amen."

More and More


"Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God". 1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NKJV)


Today I spoke at one of my church member's Christian workers gatherings at her work place. My topic was that God want us to excel more and more in four areas. These for areas came to me as I studied the occurences of the term "More and More" in Scripture. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word "Yasap" (strongs 3254) is the closest match to this term. In Greek the closest match is "Mallon" (Strongs 3123).

Instead of sinning more and more (see 2 Chronicles 33:23;26:14; Hosea 13:2) we are to:

1. Minister more and (1 Thess 4:1) and For (1 Thess 4:10) God
2. Open up more and more to God (Psalm 71:14) in praise.
3. Receive more and more from God (Psalm 115:14)
4. Experience more and more of God (Philippians 1:9) (the word knowledge in Scripture is always used more in terms of knowing a person in relationship than mere factual head knowledge).

These four things spell M.O.R.E!

We should be growing more and more in each of these areas. Is our ministry to the Lord in personal worship and prayer getting more nd more, going deeper and deeper, soaring higher and higher and reaching further and further? Are we ministering more and more to others according to our gifts and callings? Are we opening up to God more in our daily walk of praising him, lifting our hands higher, raising our voices louder with greater and greater passion? Are we receiving more and more of God's abundant provision day after day? Are we experiencing more of the Lord's immense three in oneness - His awesome power, his majesty, his salvation and his love?



More of You in my life Lord,
More of all that is in Your Word.
Let me never be satisfied with where I am Lord,
But press on into what I've not seen or heard.


"Lord, I know that all I've experienced of you is not even a drop in the ocean, but a splash in the stream that leads to the river that runs into the ocean! Take me into more of all you are and have so that I can minister more and more to and for you, open up more and more to You, receive more and more from You and Experience more of You every day. Take me deeper, higher and further into You. Amen!"

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice


"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion."
Rom 12:15-16 (NKJV)


Today something happened that made me wonder how people watching from the outside would react if they witnessed the scene. The reaction would vary from a humorous chuckle through various stages of bemusement or disgust to even anger.

My son, Matthew, who is six years old, called me into the bathroom with a triumphant tone and excitedly asked me to look into the toilet bowl. "Daddy, I did a big poo!", he chirped joyfully. I looked at the brown prize and was extremely happy and congratulated him and even went to tell the other members of the family.

Many seeing this would think Matthew was very rude and naughty to suggest looking at the contents of his bowels and that I was very wrong to encourage him in this prank. However, this was a glorious day of breakthrough for Matthew, indeed for us all. A day to rejoice with him in his rejoicing.

You see, Matthew was born with an imperforate anus, meaning he was born with no anal opening. This has meant that we have had to dilate him regularly to remove the build up of hard poo. Up until this moment he had not been able to do a proper poo by himself. Therefore, this was a very special moment of joy for us all.

We tend to judge circumstances through our own lenses, often not really understanding what others are going through. It is important not to judge merely from our own experience but to try and understand where others are coming from when they do things that seem strange to us. Let us learn to rejoice with those who rejoice, whether their rejoicing makes sense to us or not!


A day of rejoicing for one may cause others to mock,
But let us have love and get over the shock.
We are all different, each travelling a different path,
So when we feel like reacting let us join in and laugh!


"Father, thank you for making us all so very different. However, often we resent those differences and want others to do things like us. Help me today Lord to learn a bit more how to identify with those who are different from me and to rejoice when they rejoice. Amen."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Forget to Ask


"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Luke 11:9-13 (NKJV)


Have you ever noticed that the first letters of Ask, Seek and Knock spell ASK? AS James says, we often go through life not having what is rightfully our because we simply do not ask (James 4:2). However, then James says that it is possible to ask God for something but receive nothing. Why? "Because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures". (James 4:3)

The picture that Jesus gives us is of one asking correctly as He asks within the Father's will. We are to ask the Lord what we are to seek in prayer and then seek it until He leads us to the door. We then PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) the door and it will open to glorious answers.

The first part of prayer in in inquiry. We enquire what God would have us pray and then seek for the fullness of what that prayer is. Many Christians pray without really asking - they are demanding what they want. This type of prayer is rarely answered as it falls into the James 4:3 category.

We must ask for that which the Father will give us - bread, fish and eggs prayers, not stone, scorpion or serpent prayers!


When on your knees do not demand
But come to Him and ask,
Seek for what is already in His hand,
And join Him in completing that task.


"Father, I thank you that you are a prayer answering God. Help me to prayer your prayers that you will surely answer and open the doors of abundance. I ask, Father, that you always show me what to seek in earnest prayer that I only pray to move Your hand to do that which leads to Your open doors and not my closed ones. Thank you Lord. Amen."

Rejoice in the Lord


"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7NKJV


Today started horribly! I realized an important computer program I need for creating covers and labels for teaching CDs had been forever wiped off all my systems and I had lost the disk it was on. My mood swung down and down and caused me to be quite irritable towards others around me. Was it the end of the world? It seemed like it under my black cloud. However, in reality, it was a minor thing.

Paul was under house arrest, unable to roam further than the chain he was attached to (which was attached to a Roman soldier to make sure that roaming did not happen). As Paul wrote to the Philippians who were experiencing persecution, he filled His letters with the joy of the Lord. You see, in trouble, the Joy of the Lord is our strength. It is as we rejoice in the Lord in the midst of problems that His love, joy and peace fill our hearts. It is not logical. We will not feel like doing it. But as we do then we will experience a divine paradox - great joy can be experienced in great distress.

Notice that Paul does not merely day "Rejoice!" That would be a glib thing to say given his and their circumstances. He said "Rejoice IN THE LORD". Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross with an inner rejoicing that the Father's will is best and He is in control. Christ lives in us by His Holy Spirit and we need to ask Him to fill us with His joy and rejoice with His rejoicing. In Him is full ness of joy..

As I did this today the Lord gave me a creative solution and I managed to find a free program that not only did what the old one did, but better! Praise the Lord. He is always good and worthy to praise and rejoice in! Amen.


In good times rejoice.
In bad times rejoice more!
When storms come in, raise your voice,
And dance before an open door.


"Thank you Father that you are always good. You are good in bad times and that is a reason to rejoice in You. always. Help me Lord to always have an attitude of gratitude as I know that you will fill me with more of your love, joy and peace as I do. Amen."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Upward Call


"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14-15 (NKJV)


Today I woke with excitement knowing I had an important task to finish - the Discipleship Manual i've been working on. As I went through the day, hardly breaking to drink and eat, I felt like I was going onward and upward on a mountain expedition. When I finally typed the last page and added the last illustration I sat back , speared my flag into the mountain ice at the summit, and grinned!

God's call on our lives is an upward journey, not a drag-along, never ending, monotonous flat land (though there will be wilderness moments to be sure) or a series of tumbling ever downwards slopes that leave us more depressed at the end of every day than when we first set out (though there will be valley moments in out pilgrimage).

Pressing onwards does require sacrifice. I think of the many things I have had to give up to go on the journey God has called me on. I had to leave family, friends and country and arrive in a foreign land with only a stuffed backpack and a few dollars to my name. Though I had earned a good degree at Imperial College, London, God's call caused me to turn my back on the riches, large house, nice car etc. that would have been my lot If I had continued on that path. However, this path that God set me on is an upward one. My faith is going up. My joy is rising. My fulfillment in life is on the up. Hallelujah! I await the complete prize at the end - It truly will be awesome as the prizes I have had from Him in this journey itself are already out of this world.


Onwards and upwards on His holy Highway.
Soaring ever higher as I turn to Him and pray,
Then rising from my knees to walk with Him in faith,
I revel in the task given, and move in it by His grace.


"Lord, I'm so grateful for your call on my life. Thank you that you have called me on an ever upwards journey of great joy and meaning. Yes, there's an awesome prize at the end, but you bestow many gifts on me as I walk towards that prize. The gift of joy. The gift of fulfillment and meaning. Take me higher Lord. Lead me on to greater heights in you every day. I press on to the glorious goal, not with drudgery or depression but with great joy. There may be pot holes on the way, painful thorns scratching at me, but my eyes are fixed on the summit and I launch forward with great joy. Thank you Lord. Amen."

The Devotional Handbook


"In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the
Power and the glory forever. Amen."

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)


This morning I awoke with a dream clearly etched on my consciousness. In the dream the Lord came to me with a handbook and gave it to me. He said that I should write in it a devotional guide that was to be a pocket companion to the Bible for people to have a meaningful devotional life.

Immediately I went to my Desktop computer and started typing down an outline as inspired by the Lord. I felt the Lord was asking me to use the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as an outline and then seven "P"s came quickly to me as a working framework for the Devotional Handbook.

1. Praise (Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.).
2. Perspective (Your kingdom come.).
3. Petition (Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.).
4. Provision (Give us this day our daily bread. ).
5. Purging (And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.).
6. Protection (And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.)
7. Proclamation (For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.).

This is a wonderful guide for an intimate, meaningful relationship with the Lord. I will spend time making this Handbook for use in my Church and the Church worldwide.


The Master gave us a pattern prayer of power.
The least we can do is spend at least one hour,
Delving into the crystal clear waters of intimacy,
The deeper we go in Him the further we'll see.


"Our Father, you are so awesome and worthy to bow down before and worship with all my heart. Draw me deeper into this glorious relationship you give so freely to me. So unworthy as I am, but I can enter into a dynamic relationship with you through the blood of Your dear Son Jesus. Truly Lord, I ask you would take me by the hand and lead me on in this prayer journey day by day. Teach me Lord to pray. Amen"

True Racial Harmony


"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation." Eph 2:14 (NKJV)


Today my son, Matthew, had Racial Harmony Day at his kindergarten. This meant that all the kids dressed in their traditional costumes. This is not as easy as you think for us as I am British and my wife is Chinese. This year we chose the British look (whatever that is). In my wife's eyes that meant dressing him up in a tuxedo with a bow tie (like a page boy at a wedding). When he arrived he was upset as most of his friends were wearing Ben 10 T-Shirts and jeans! (Singaporean triditional dress?).

Having lived over 20 years in Singapore I thank God for the comparative tolerance there is between races and religions but am acutely aware that this is a surface tolerance. There is much racial prejudice beneath as can be witnessed behind the scenes with groups of Chinese telling cutting Indian Jokes or the behind the back glance of disapproval from one race to another.

But the good news is that in Christ the wall of racial prejudice is truly torn down and we onre one in Christ, whether British, Chinese, Indian or Malay. I have caught glimpses of this unity in the English service I pastor in our church. We have Chinese and Indian Singaporeans, Japanese, Australians, Pakistanis, South Africans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos and more all worshipping together as one. This is a beautiful foretaste of the worship in heaven where every tongue tribe and nation will worship together without divisions or prejudice.


Some wear veils, and some wear hats,
Some love dogs, and some love cats.
Some kids sleep early, some kids sleep late,
Some arrange marriages, other date.

In the natural there's much to divide,
Language, actions and national pride.
But in Christ these walls have been broken down
And we are one, whether Black, white, red, yellow or brown!


"Lord forgive me for the times I look down on other races or think badly about certain cultural behaviour. I thankyou for making the human race so diverse and I want to celebrate the differences! Praise You Lord that, though we are so different, You bring us together as one in Christ. Lead me today Lord to bless someone of a dirrerent culture or race to me and to show your love to them. The middle partition of racial pride is truly gone in Christ. Amen!"