2018 is our year of Hesed Wisdom. I have been blessed to have found a church led by a senior pastor who seeks the Lord for the direction that He is leading the church towards. These themes have personal significance for me as I reflect on the previous years, and see what the Lord has done in my life. How they correspond to the theme of the year builds my faith and I am certain that those were the works of God. 2017 was the year of Jubilee, and I experienced great rejoicing and freedom in my life as God pulled me back to Him.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
Another practice that I have learned from the church is that we do not believe in making New Year’s resolutions. From past experience, I was never able to uphold the resolutions I made. Instead, we lift three specific prayer requests to God on Vision Sunday, the first service of the year. This takes off all the demands from me and puts all the demands on God.
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
My first and most important prayer request for 2018 is to have the mind of Christ, that I would have a hearing heart. This prayer honestly comes from my heart especially since I have recently been trying to improve my memory recently, and I want to open the eyes of my heart to constantly be able to see Him who is invisible. Thankfully, that was coincidentally inclined to the theme of the year, and as I lift my prayer requests up to God, I am certain that He would exceed my expectations because I am His beloved. I have the confidence in my God to believe that when I look back and reflect on 2018, He would have answered all my prayer requests, and be true to me in His year of Hesed Wisdom!
Reflecting back, I have certainly met with my own peaks and valleys throughout 2017: starting a new job, meeting new opportunities, making new friends, starting this blog, going through surgery and recovery, and coming out of a relationship. I am nonetheless extremely grateful to be able to learn so much throughout this beautiful year.
2017 was indeed the year of Jubilee for me, I experienced liberty from sickness, addictions and depression. I even witnessed restoration in my family. It has been extremely clear to me that God was the one who set me free and released me to live a life of freedom with Him, and He was with me throughout my journey, guiding me, even during the times when I did not acknowledge Him.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV
I have learned that I cannot live today with yesterday’s grace, nor expect to live on tomorrow’s grace, but must live each day with the grace that God has supplied to me for that day. There are moments where I think back with regret wishing that I would have done things differently, and there also are moments where I worry about how my future would turn out. Focusing too much on the past or future can paralyse how I currently handle the present.
Going through my daily life, I realised how I would experience cycles of highs and lows, with a major glaring factor. There are days where I keep myself immersed in the Word, be it through hearing or meditating, and I am confident to face the day. I experience a streak of blissful days until I am faced with unmet expectations or major demands. It seems that I may have let my guard down as I try to face the overwhelming troubles on my own strength. There are nights where dark thoughts keep me up as I reflect and try to rationalise the negative occurrences.
The days that were difficult for me were characterised by me trying to apply the wisdom and Word of yesterday, thinking that I have already heard what I needed to hear, or have already learned what I needed to learn. I did not take the time to seek fresh wisdom for the matter at hand. When faced with an overwhelming schedule, spending time in the Word naturally seemed to be of least priority, and I used to think that I would lose out when I spend time in the Word instead of catching up with the latest developments.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV
My lowest days in 2017 were the days where I walked without the Word. I tend to be forgetful, especially in times of distress. There are the times where I forget what God thinks about me, take my eyes of Jesus and focus on my circumstances instead.
But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Matthew 4:4 NKJV
Not having the Word each new day is like going through the day without eating anything, and I end up hungry and unsatiated. Reading and hearing the Word is as important as eating my daily meals, and I am unable to live life optimally without that. Thankfully I am now learning to listen to the Spirit’s gentle voice as He reminds me of the thoughts that God has towards me through the written Word.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
2017 was a year of growth for me as well, starting learning how to walk in peace with the Spirit again was not a simple journey, and initially confusing. There were times when I was unsure of the direction to go, the right actions to execute, or even unsure of what I have heard. It was only when I reflected back on my actions did I become familiar with the peace that I needed to listen to. I have learned that it was in the midst of uncertainty where I had to ask for courage to do what I needed to do, and even if I did go wrong, God’s grace is more than enough to save me. With grace, there is growth through failure. I have felt joy even in the midst of confusion, as I progressively learn more about His voice because I know He is leading and teaching me, even when I make mistakes.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:2-8 NKJV
I have learned that there are certain actions that I do that may cause me to condemn myself, and look at myself differently. But how God sees me hasn’t changed, He sees me as the righteousness of Christ. There are actions that I do that cause me to feel far from God, but God is always there to patiently teach and guide me back to Him when I humble myself. Similarly, there are also actions and choices that acknowledges how God sees me and gives me the peace as I do them, and that encourages me to keep walking the path and following Him.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 NKJV
2017 was a year where I saw answered prayers as well, be it about healing, or bringing friends to church. It was extremely uplifting to check off answered prayers from my prayer journal. I have learnt to trust in my supplier, and that He is always supplying, and there is never a time where He stops supplying me. Instead, I have to learn how to keep receiving from a supplier that is always supplying me with all my needs.
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:30-31 NKJV
I might have started out 2017 in the midst of a storm, and there were many happenings that tried to take my sight of Jesus. But even as I fell, He was there to save me and pick me up. Although the results weren’t always immediate and as expected, sometimes an answer may even take a long period of time to be answered, He was always faithful to His Word for me. As tumultuous as 2017 might have been for me, I have nonetheless risen above the waves to come out of it, within the safety of my Father’s arms. 2017 has indeed been an enjoyable journey walking with Him, and I am blessed to experience the truths that the Bible speaks of, and it works! Now as I enter 2018 with great anticipation, I know that together with the Spirit, I can keep my eyes on Jesus and His Word.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21 NKJV
Blessed Christmas! This is the most wonderful time of the year and my favourite season as I remember when God sent Jesus to us as a little baby boy. Since His birth, Jesus knew that it was His destiny to save the whole world from sin.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11 NKJV
Jesus knew His purpose on earth, lived a fruitful life in accordance with God’s will for Him and later fulfilled His destiny as our Savior through His death on the cross. It was this reflection of my Savior’s destiny and His miraculous birth at Christmas that led me to ponder about my own purpose and destiny in life.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14 NKJV
Whenever I come across this verse, I believe that I was born to do something great with my life. I know I am not alone in this as I find out that it is a common human phenomenon to believe that there is more to life than just being a cog in a machine, or a rat running the race. Even as a child, I have always questioned what it meant to be chosen, and whether I would be amongst the few who are chosen.
“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.
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
We find this similar statistic mentioned earlier in the book of Matthew; many would enter the wide gate that leads to destruction, while few would enter the narrow gate that leads to life. We know that this verse does not include the word eternal, and is not referring to eternal death or eternal life as the book of Revelation mentions a great multitude which no one could number standing before Jesus in heaven.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Revelation 7:9-10 NKJV
Thus, both scenarios mentioned are referring to our lives here on earth. There are many people, Christians included, who are called and yet not chosen, who live a life that leads to destruction instead of living a life that God intended. Because God created us with our own free will, He doesn’t infringe on the freedom that He has given us and will not force His choice upon us. This is why being chosen, and walking through the narrow gate is a choice we make. We choose to be chosen.
It always seems easier to walk a natural life, based on our own strength and efforts. But it is always much more rewarding to walk a supernatural life that is totally dependent on God, even though it seems to go against our natural instincts.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Romans 8:28-30 NKJV
God, the author of time, beginning and the end, lives outside time and knows who would choose to be chosen before we even choose. Just as Jesus foreknowingly chose to lay down His life and predestined His own crucifixion before it happened. So those that have already chosen to live a life with Jesus in the future are predestined to be called, justified by faith through Jesus, and glorified in Jesus. That is why we can be certain that we are predestined for greater things when we choose to follow Jesus.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:1-2 NKJV
Thus as believers, we know that we are first and foremost called to live a life that is no longer bound by sin but according to the will of God. When Jesus died for us, we no longer live under the law, but by His grace.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
2 Timothy 1:8-10 NKJV
We are therefore certain that we are not called to live a legalistic life according to our own efforts and works, but live one that is led by the Holy Spirit within, bringing glory to God. Our foundation is to live as His beloved under the grace that Jesus has already given to us, to live a life of inward rest having the faith that He has already purposed and provided everything that we will ever need. Once our foundation is established, it becomes easier to figure our direction to take. Now, this may take some time as we find ourselves in the Lord, exploring our passions, gifts, and talents.
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 NKJV
The gifts and talents that God has placed within us are for His good pleasure. Thus in whatever we do, we do it as worship unto the Lord, be it studying, exploring our hobbies, or even working at our jobs. It is also important to know that while God doesn’t impose His own will on us, we can willingly participate by asking God to work in us the desire to develop our passion.
While studying for a generalist degree in Business Management, I often witnessed youths who had already found their passion early on in life and I was so keen to find something that I would be passionate about. I tried exposing myself to many activities. Though there were many hits and misses, I had the privilege and opportunity to discover my passions, as well as what I disliked.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
Psalms 139:13-18 NKJV
We are unique from each other with differing passions, talents, and gifts because we are all wonderfully made. The individual journies we take to find ourselves differ from each other as well. The Parable of the Talents is a story that well illustrates our different gifts and the different journies that we can choose.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV
As there are many interpretations of a parable, I have found two to be applicable to this topic. The first is the translation of the talent to the knowledge of the Word of God, the more we study and hear the Word of God, the more He multiplies His revelations about His Word to us. However, if our knowledge of the Word of God is shallow, when we decide not to act upon the little that we know, even the little that we knew would be taken away from us.
The second interpretation is that the talents are our actual talents and gifts. We can easily witness people of varying calibre all around us, there are multi-talented people who are brilliant in everything they set their hands upon, and there are people who solely specialize in one talent. For the believer, the servants who multiplied their talents are synonymous with a person who has lifted their capabilities to the Lord and further developed more talents. Just like how an entrepreneur might have started his business from a single passion for writing, and had to learn other skills to manage the company founded on his passion.
Likewise, the servant who had only one talent buried it and eventually lost it speaks of a man who abuses his talent and decides to do nothing about it. Even though we might start out with very little, being faithful to the little that we have guarantees multiplication when we lift it up to God.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Romans 12:6-8 NKJV
When we are aware that all our gifts come from God through His grace, we realize that none of our talents belongs to us at all. As we acknowledge God as our source, we can rely on Him to place us in the area we are gifted to worship in, be it in the church as a preacher or minister, the school as a teacher or student, the marketplace as a businessman, the media industry as an artist, or even a small company with an entry-level job. We are graced to excel in the position we are in, no matter how big or small.
“And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
I Corinthians 12:6-11 NKJV
There are so many diverse activities that the Spirit gifts unto us as well, each with our own unique purpose. There will be times that we may find uncertainty in what we’re doing or called to do, and we do not need to be overwhelmed nor overconcerned with that uncertainty because we can always trust that God will show us the way in due time as long as we keep resting in Him.
A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
Proverbs 29:23 NKJV
However, we must be cautious of the dangers of pride, our own ego might cause us to bury our talent in the ground in fear of failure instead of even doing anything about it. I used to be paralysed by a sense of perfectionism because I thought I could not meet the standard, or my efforts would never be good enough. This is where the root of my pride lay in me focusing on myself instead of God.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 NKJV
When we become proud of our accomplishments and draw confidence from our own capabilities, it becomes hard for God to use us. God wants us to glorify Him, not ourselves. Thankfully, we are no longer bound by a legalistic law that we need to follow to avoid pride but are led by a gentle Spirit that warns us and teaches us from the inside, and He will never lead us to pride. That is why even though we may currently have so little, it is important for us to humble ourselves and be willing to lift the little we have up to God, rest knowing that He has already provided what we need, and do what we need to do with what we have.
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
John 6:9-13 NKJV
God never asks us to give what we do not have, nor do what we cannot do. He is looking at what we already have in our hands. Lifting up what we have to God is as simple as saying a prayer “God, take the talent that I have and multiply it for your glory”. There is no complicated ritual, but a simple and humble posture of not looking at how we can meet the demands with what we have, but looking at Jesus who is our infinite supply to all the demands of our life.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Now what we are weak at does not necessarily equate to something we cannot do. Even as we figure out our own destiny, we might find ourselves struggling with our own weaknesses. Thankfully we can boldly lift them up to God and witness Him use them to our strengths, God is especially glorified when He turns our weaknesses to the strengths that we operate in. That keeps us humble, reliant on God and reminds me that He is looking for our availability instead our ability.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV
When God supplies and multiplies what we lift up to Him, we can rely on Him to place us at where we need to be as well. When we let God have full control over what we have, He’ll place us in places of influence, because you cannot hide a light that is brightly shining. We then become the light that shines in a dark world, in all the areas and industries that we are placed in.
The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
Genesis 39:2-4 NKJV
Just like Joseph, the Lord will always be with us wherever we are called to. We can trust Him to prosper all that our hand touches. We can always simply bring God into all our activities with a simple prayer, and that security can give us the courage to be bold in all our pursuits.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”
John 21:3-10 NKJV
Now while we may work and not see any increase, we must be careful to not be legalistic and let the Spirit remind us to bring Jesus back into our picture. He is more than able to supply the multiplication we seek. And even as we glorify God with our worship, Jesus encourages us by giving us the credit for the work He already did, just as how He credited His disciples for catching the fish that He brought in.
We all grow through life in different stages, and no matter what stage we are in, be it finding our passions and purpose, or building upon our calling, or even leading and guiding others to their purpose, we can always be certain that God will always lovingly prepare us for the destiny that He has predestined us for.
For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:32-34 NKJV
Living in a metropolitan city can cast illusions that make their rat race seem so alluring. We are engulfed by instant gratification, driving capitalistic monoliths that prize temporary profits over treasures of eternal value. Some of us may even end up trading our souls in for such pursuits; we start our journeys pursuing happiness, success, health and wealth only to find them fleeting from our fingertips as we end up stressed and burnt out.
I used to be concerned if I would ever be qualified enough to excel, read enough books to reach the required level of knowledge, or gathered enough experience to be of corporate use. Even while studying for my Business Degree, I was surrounded by inspirational examples of success and sought to chase them. While they are important, and I’m not discrediting their values and contributions to societal progress, I just gravely misunderstood my priorities and the order of process on a personal level.
God already knows all our needs, and they are no different from the needs that the world seeks. As long as we live in a fallen world, the world will twist and make opposite of what God intended. The world, my past self included, is selfish and focuses on doing good to be good, trying so hard to bear the fruits instead of growing their roots, obsessed with the micro before the macro, trying our best to serve just so that we could be served, speaking first before listening, trying our best to bless in order to reciprocate their blessings, and pouring out all our love just to feel loved.
Thankfully the ways of God are always higher than man and have been our intended path since creation; when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, every need we seek will be added unto us.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 NKJV
God wants us to prioritize His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit before we venture out into the world because as believers, we no longer need to chase what we can naturally attract.
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:20-21 NKJV
When we believe in the finished work that Jesus accomplished on the cross, and accept Him as our savior, everything we need to prioritize is already within ourselves. We can start embracing the righteousness, peace, and joy within us, because Jesus paid for all that with His life, through God’s grace. When we have Jesus, we have everything.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
Adam’s sin as the first man was so powerful that it plunged all of humanity and the entire world into sin, he exchanged the righteous state that man had with God for sin. The price to pay for sin is death. No matter how much good we do, us sinners can never regain that righteous state with God unless it is paid with life through the shedding of blood. Now even though we deserved to die, Jesus loved us so much and embodied God’s grace by choosing to come down to take all our sins upon Himself, exchanging our sin for His righteousness.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 NKJV
When we believe in Jesus and exchange our sins for His righteousness, no amount of sin can make us sinners again. Just as how God saw us as sinners no matter how much good we did because of what Adam did, God now sees us as righteous no matter how much we sin because of what Jesus did. Just as how no amount of good can save us from death before, the righteousness Jesus gave us through His grace meant no amount of sin can rob us of His salvation.
We have become a new creation in Christ Jesus, and I would always be forever grateful for what Jesus did on the cross. When we believe that we are no longer condemned of sin because of what Jesus has done on the cross to save us, we can live a life of rest by letting go of everything and surrendering them to God.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 NKJV
Only after receiving Jesus and believing in His finished work are we able to receive the Holy Spirit. We are now made free from the law of sin and death, also known as the ten commandments. Where we needed to look at a set of rules to follow before, we now have the Holy Spirit guide us from within. We no longer look outside ourselves to fulfill the ten commandments, but live out our life as led by the Spirit inside us. We are no longer abiding by a set of laws, but living out the holy and righteous person that God redeemed us to be.
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:17-18 NKJV
The two main themes of right believing and living a life of rest taught by Pastor Prince have proven themselves to be wisdom revealed by the Spirit because of the fruits produced by their truths. I believe that parents, educators, and society should prioritize this in the lives of those under our care; an education of Jesus teaches us the fundamental principles of our creator, and that lays the framework to learn everything else about His creation.
And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”
Genesis 42:36 NKJV
Now despite having chased the Word of God and treasuring Jesus in my heart, I’m still living with my parent in an HDB flat, take public transport, am single and just started building my career (correct as at this date of writing). There are occasions where I feel like Jacob, living in a land of famine, full of lack, lost his favorite son and about to lose another; I don’t see the supply manifesting in my physical world, and it seems like everything is against me.
…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
However, it is especially during these occasions of overwhelming emotions where it becomes imperative for me to confess the Word. These negative emotions are merely signals of the troubling thoughts running through my head, and we have been blessed with the ability to catch these thoughts, lift them up to Jesus, and exchange it with what His Word says about our life.
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:8-9 NKJV
Similar to Jacob’s situation, Egypt seems to have an abundance of food and wealth. My peers all seem to be enjoying so much success in their careers. Even the people of the world appear to be so blessed with all their material possessions and ability to generate wealth. Nonetheless, as long as I keep comparing myself and fixing my eyes on the world, I lose sight of all the blessings that are already in my life. I would not be able to realize that Joseph, Jacob’s own child, is Egypt’s prime minister responsible for their wealth and abundance. I would lose sight of how God is preparing the wealth of the world for His people. That is the wisdom that comforts me not to grow weary but to keep manifesting the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Spirit that is already within me.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27 NKJV
Jesus has already given me His peace to enjoy my current state of affairs. My heart no longer needs to worry, be troubled nor afraid of fulfilling my own needs. I can rest in the grace that He supplies to me every single day.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
The image that I constantly enjoy playing in my mind is that of God transforming me to be more like Jesus every single moment. Pulling out the roots of my imperfections from within, and planting the foundations of what is good deep within me. Every day, God is refining my unpurified ore, and crystalizing His beauty at my core.
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12 NKJV
There are times where I do not enjoy the refining process and resist the correction. But the Spirit within me is gentle and reminds me of how much God loves me, and that love alone is enough for me to lower my guard and submit myself to His correction because I know He only wants what is best for me.
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 NKJV
Even as I may presently lack the motivation to do what I need to do, when I humble myself and rest in God, He works in me both the desire and capabilities to do what He wants me to do.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
As a result of planting my roots deep into God’s grace, I would no longer need to forcefully nor hypocritically try to bear fruit. My goodness would not be fake or of selfish ambition, but genuine from my heart.
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:4-5 NKJV
Even humans have a tendency to focus on the micro issues while overlooking the macro. We emphasize our minuscule imperfections instead of celebrating everything else that is wonderful about us. Akin to a company losing sight of their vision and spending so many resources on a minor lawsuit instead of focusing on their macro outlook and forging ahead with their major values. But as a result of receiving God’s macro mandate for our life, the micro and seemingly unimportant things of our life all start to fall into place, many of times outside of our conscious.
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:28 NKJV
Only after we let Jesus serve us, can we go beyond to serve others around us, and we can clearly see this in the life of Mary.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:39-42 NKJV
Unlike Martha who was trying to serve Jesus, Mary let Jesus serve her by sitting at his feet and listened to Him share the Word.
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:1-3 NKJV
From then, we see how Mary served Jesus by anointing His feet with oil before His crucifixion.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
John 19:25 NKJV
Mary served Jesus as she accompanied His mother to witness His death on the cross.
When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Matthew 27:59-61 NKJV
Mary served Jesus by accompanying His body to the tomb.
Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
John 20:1-2 NKJV
Mary served Jesus by being the first person at His tomb on Sunday, only to discover it empty, and informed Simon Peter and John about the empty tomb.
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
John 20:11-18 NKJV
Even when Mary wept outside the tomb of Jesus, she was the first person to see Jesus resurrected. And when Jesus commissioned her to spread the news of His resurrection, Mary finally served Jesus by spreading the word to the disciples about His resurrection.
“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?””
I Kings 3:9 NKJV
Just as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to His words, it is always important for us to hear Him first before we speak about anything. Solomon asked for a hearing heart before he started His rule, and we can ask for a hearing heart as well. That would keep us humble, and posture ourselves to hear from the Spirit and His messengers.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
Whenever we lack the faith to speak into our lives, we need to go back to hearing the Word of God. It is through the continued healing of the Word that cleanses us daily and builds our faith.
““The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.”
Isaiah 50:4-5 NKJV
Only when we have been hearing His Word do we gain the words of a learned tongue, to speak a word in season, impacting the situation with its relevance.
For the Lord your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
Deuteronomy 15:6 NKJV
Only when we have been blessed by God, can we go forth and truly bless those under us.
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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 NKJV
Only when we realize how much we are God’s beloved, can we love unconditionally.
Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:37-38 NKJV
Before we can pour out and love others, we must go to Jesus, our source and drink from Him. It is through drinking and feeding on Jesus does our heart then overflow with waters of living water, which we then lovingly impart to those under us.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Writing this post has given me much joy as I learned to reconstruct what I knew to teach myself, and it reminded me of the priorities that are of the utmost importance in my life. This helps my tiny mind comprehend the vastness of His love for me. Even when I may not be able to see what God is doing, I know that God is always working behind the scenes, be it in my heart, or other people around me. I believe that my God is capable of setting up the right people and crafting the perfect situation while preparing me to move into the right place at the right time. Life becomes wonderful to live when I can rest in the knowledge that my God is steadfast, loving, gracious, faithful and true to His promises.
These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth: Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat. Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.
Leviticus 11:2-8 NKJV
After the ten commandments, God gave the Israelites instructions with regards to their food consumption. Now that we no longer live under the law but by grace, we can understand God’s intention for His people. More than just for the benefit of their health, God was teaching his people how they should consume His Word. The two main characteristics prominent in these ‘clean’ animals, categorized under ruminants, is that they chew their cud and have split true cloven hooves.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV
Chewing cud, or ruminating is part of these herbivores’ digestive process, where they regurgitate partially digested plant matter from their specialized multi-chambered stomach (rumen) back into their mouths to chew on. Meditating on the word follows this principle and provides the word ruminate with its second meaning, which is to think deeply about something.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Joshua 1:8 NKJV
Whenever we read or hear about God’s Word, instead of just reading or hearing it once, it benefits us to bring it back into our mouths and chew on it, repeating it back to ourselves in utterance or in thought.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
Another important characteristic that ‘clean’ animals have is their split true cloven hooves. Their hooves are hard or rubbery soles with a hard wall formed by a thick nail and are indicators of the type of ground they frequent. The hooves allow these animals to better traverse their main habitat of grazings, or grasslands suitable for pasturage. They are hardier in contrast to the soft footpads that camels and rock hyrax have, which are more suited to living in sandy deserts and dry savannahs. As believers, we need to divide the Word into our daily walk.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.
Isaiah 40:11 NKJV
When we meditate on the Word and apply it to our lives, we can trust that our shepherd would lead us to the optimal environment we ought to be in; luscious grasslands bountiful with food, where we are rested not stressed, in contrast to dry deserts of lack.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Psalms 23:1-3 NKJV
The best way to position ourselves in such abundant environments is to follow a shepherd, and not just any shepherd but The Lord. When we rest in The Lord, we can trust Him to lead us to abundance, peace, restoration, and righteousness. We see this evident in ruminants like sheep and cattle, which have grown to be amongst the most populous animals on earth through their domestication.
…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15 NKJV
It is through following The Lord and meditating on His word where He brings His revelations to us, it is from that source that He expounds to us the gospel of peace, which is the gospel of Jesus and also is the gospel of grace. This is the one gospel that provides us with the firm foundation we need to face our fallen world. As shoes are to our feet as hooves are to an animal, the readiness given by the gospel of peace gives us the readiness to follow our shepherd. Thus as believers, God has intended for us to feed and learn from leaders who both meditate on God’s word and follow wherever the Lord leads them to, and never one without the other.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV
Therefore, I will always be extremely grateful to God for raising two such amazing leaders in my life; my Godpa and Pastor Joseph Prince. They themselves are led by Jesus in these principles and as a result, have led many people in their footsteps. Nonetheless, we do not to idolize our leaders but realize that they are fellow humans merely imitating Christ. We can thus emulate their examples in following Jesus until we reach a point where we are capable of following Jesus on our own. One signal of reaching that stage is when we eventually lead those behind us.
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:6-10 NKJV
We are blessed with such leaders who understand the biblical concepts of sowing and reaping. They have sowed to the Spirit their time and resources while enjoying their relationship with Jesus. In return, we are able to reap their revelations. Pastor Prince has jokingly remarked that it took him 30 years to prepare his sermons, but we have witnessed those fruits.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 NKJV
We have seen how the Spirit can teach us about the bible through several methods, knowing that God does not leave any insignificant details in the Bible; the law of first mentions, understanding their numerical meaning, referring to the etymology of the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament or the original Greek text of the New Testament. They are amongst other lenses to read the Bible with.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV
Throughout time, we can witness how God has refined the body of Christ to build it into what it is today. Through His grace, the contributions of those that have gone before us have established an unshakable platform for our generation. We now have the unprecedented advantage to dive deeper into the His word and fully enjoy our relationship with God. We can therefore now be even more confident in our sowing, having observed the unmistakable evidence of the increase that God has already brought in. I am indeed excited to be able to witness and be a part of the revival that God is pouring unto His people.
On a side note, horses are neither ruminants nor are they even-toe undulates, and are therefore considered unclean in Leviticus, but they are nice and pretty to befriend.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21 NKJV
Both my parents were pastors at a church, but my father met with a fatal car accident when I was 7. Growing up, I did not understand why that happened, because God promised His protection over His children. I was bitter, angry and doubted God’s promises. People around me tried to comfort me by quoting Job 1:21, and I could not trust a God that would take my father away from my family. I even swore that I would never be a pastor like my father. But alas I was young and ignorant of my lack of knowledge, which hampered my faith to believe. Although the people around me tried to comfort me, their belief was fundamentally wrong; they believed that God is a God who takes back what He gives.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Job 1:12 NKJV
Job made that claim and blamed God for giving and taking away. But we know that the Bible states earlier that it was Satan who went out from the presence of the Lord to take everything away from Job. It was Satan who took everything away from Job, not God. Thankfully for us, Satan no longer enters into the presence of the Lord because of what Jesus finished on the cross.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 NKJV
However, Satan’s behaviour is still prominent in our current age and we can clearly witness his doing in this fallen world; catastrophes, disasters, war, crime, and diseases are all rampant around us.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32 NKJV
On the contrary, we can clearly witness God’s heart in our world as well. He did not spare His most precious son Jesus but delivered Him up unto crucifixion to save us all. My God is a God that loves giving, and if He did not withhold His most precious from us, how much more would He give us all things that are far lesser than His son?! Once we take Jesus from God, He’ll freely give us His divine health and prosperity amongst all the other things that we’ll ever ask of Him!
And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Job 1:4-5 NKJV
Now when we look back to the story of Job, we learn how he opened the door to Satan and allowed him to take what he took. Job regularly worried about his children, and he trusted in his own sacrifices to sanctify and protect them. Despite having good intentions for his children, who he worried about the most were eventually taken away from him. Satan knows how to bring in worry into someone who truly loves and cares another. We often mistake our worry for our loved ones for care and concern, but instead, we take God’s position of protector and provider through our worry. I know this because my mother used to worry about all her children a lot. She probably still does but that is for her to lift up to God.
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,
And what I dreaded has happened to me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest, for trouble comes.”
Job 3:25-26 NKJV
Job allowed fear to enter his heart and the thing he greatly feared and dreaded came upon him. Whenever we start to fear and worry, we push God to the sidelines. The Holy Spirit is a very gentle spirit, and would never enforce His protection on us when we reject it. Whenever we presume to be able to handle our situation through our own strength, God takes the back seat.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
It was this revelation that led me to figure out the root cause of my father’s fate. My parents had many responsibilities to handle, both in church and at home, and they did not guard their hearts from worry and fear.
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:1-3 NKJV
We fear about what we should not worry about, and we do not fear what we ought to fear. Amongst all our fears, the only fear we should have is that we do not enter His rest. It is important for our activities to be always directed from our position of rest in the finished work of the cross.
So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
2 Samuel 12:13-14 NKJV
But even as we may face losses due to our own choices, our following response is important. David lost his son because of his adultery and murder, not because God took him away. Yet, David still responded in humility and admitted his mistakes to God.
When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.”
So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
2 Samuel 12:19-23 NKJV
Amidst his loss, David did not turn away from God. Instead, he arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. In parallel, even when we fall to the ground, we can get up. We believe that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are no longer condemned; we can simply dust ourselves off and rise above.
…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…
Ephesians 5:26 NKJV
We can wash ourselves by going to God’s word and learning what He says about us.
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you…
1 John 2:27 NKJV
We can enjoy the anointing of the Holy Spirit knowing that He abides in us, and manifest that through praying in tongues.
And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.
Genesis 35:2 NKJV
We can change our garments by lifting up to God our past, that of which might have contributed to our loss. We also go back to the house of God and enjoy His presence through our worship. All of these which David did can be done simultaneously in the midst of our loss as well. We also must be careful not to be legalistic in following these steps, as we should always follow the promptings of the Spirit, and through that, we will find that the Spirit never contradicts the Word of God. Nonetheless, I have personally found comfort in the Lord while going through a loss, compared to turning to other coping mechanisms like alcohol. As always, to each his own.
Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him, and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.
2 Samuel 12:24-25 NKJV
Now when we have the peace that God gives through resting in Him, we are then able to comfort others who are going through the loss as well. We then see how God restores what David lost, through Solomon. After which God blesses Solomon and led him to build His temple. David’s story is an amazing testimony of how God is able to turn our mistakes and losses around.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
Matthew 6:25-27 NKJV
Thus as believers, we do not need to worry about anything because we know that God has already finished what needs to be done in our lives. Even when we fall or do not see the physical manifestations we want to see, we can turn back to God and rest in the victory that God has already provided us with.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV
A recent lesson that Pastor Prince taught blessed my heart greatly: God is the master of time, and He sets things in motion in the spiritual realm before they manifest in the physical realm. Satan can only react to what is happening in the spiritual realm and solely play catchup with God. Now although we may have opened doors for Satan through our fears and worries, Satan’s manifestation in the physical realm is merely temporary. Just like how Pharoah killed all the Israelite babies when Moses was born, and when Herod killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Our temporal loss is met with the supply that God has already given. Therefore whenever we want to see what God is doing in the spiritual realm, we just need to see what Satan is doing in the physical realm and reverse it.
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Corinthians 14:1-4 NKJV
There are times when I feel that I do not have the strength to go through the loss, or am too overwhelmed with negativity to find any encouragement. That is the most important time to pray in tongues. Every believer that believes in the death of Jesus receives the Holy Spirit, and gain that precious gift of praying in tongues. The gift of tongues is the only gift that we can willfully operate, and the gentle Holy Spirit will not force us to manifest that gift, we just simply need to open our mouths and let Him speak through us. And when we do, we will find that praying in tongues edifies our spirit, and builds us up. The Spirit encourages us when we are unable to motivate ourselves, and when we are built up, we can overcome.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.
Joel 2:25-27 NKJV
Two decades have passed since my father’s accident and these recent revelations have allowed me to overcome an issue that has plagued a large portion my life. God has led me to debunk this major erroneous belief in my life, and I am now certain that my God is always a giver, never a taker. He restores unto me so much more than what Satan can ever take away from me. My God is always faithful, and His grace has always overwhelmed me even when I don’t see it. Despite losing my father, He has sent me an anointed Godpa who truly knew the heart of God; he has been an overcompensation above all that I could have ever asked for in a parent.
Now even while I may experience losses in my life, I have the frame of mind to grasp what has happened in the realm of the unseen. I am therefore now able to put my confidence and hope in the oversupply of what God has already provided.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV
While navigating through life in this world, we find ourselves swarmed with tonnes of advice from self-help books, blogs, and seminars covering a myriad of subjects from relationships, work, managing stress to health. They dictate steps and methods to living the best life or producing the best results. However, they are usually unable to withstand the test of time. As long as we witness the constant technological, economic and social developments of our world, we will always see new research surfacing, old theories debunked and disagreements amongst field experts. Any advice or theories from the past might lose its relevance in the modern world, solely because it was based on the accumulated knowledge from that point in history. Such is the danger of consulting advice that does not bring God into the picture, or ‘the counsel of the ungodly’. Now I am not against such readings, as I read some of them myself, and have stumbled across some advice amongst the secular literature that has been adapted from the Bible. What I am acknowledging though, are the limitations of counsel that isn’t based on the word of God.
“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40:6-8 NKJV
Fortunately for me, the word of God transcends time. The word has existed before human intelligence, has withstood the test of time, and will still stand true regardless of the end of human intelligence.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
Revelations 22:13 NKJV
This is possible because the entirety of the word of God points to Jesus and what He has finished on the cross; the old testament is the new testament concealed, and the new testament is the old testament revealed. I find this somewhat similar to the quantum theory of retrocausality, which suggests that a particle can run backward through time to the point where it is entangled and affect partner particle in the similar fashion. That is where the future can affect the past. While I am not a physicist, I know that God is the Alpha and the Omega, author of time, living both inside and outside of time.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
Additionally, the word of God is living and able to speak to any situation that I will ever encounter. I am able to apply the revelations I received through hearing or meditating on my life. The word has constantly proven its relevance to me despite being written so many years ago. This is a testament to the Holy Spirit inspiring the authors to write what they wrote in the Bible.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:26 NKJV
I am thus grateful to be under the new covenant because of what Jesus has done on the cross, through which I have received the Holy Spirit who teaches me all things, whether it is about health, work, finance, relationships or anything that needs to be learned. All I need to do is ask Him to teach me.
Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Proverbs 6:6 NKJV
Now, we have already witnessed how the Holy Spirit has many ways of teaching us, even through creation. As seen throughout history, we have picked up many lessons from nature and creation; from the engineering field of biomimicry, where we learned about aerodynamics through the laws of thrust and lift from the birds of the air, or learned architecture from botany and dendrology. I am not positioning myself against the literature available but am merely adopting a posture to dig deeper into each advice given and find out what the Bible has written about it. While having the academic knowledge of our natural world is important, I believe that we are not able to fully apply that understanding without complementing it with the written word.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you,’
and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Matthew 4:1-11 NKJV
It is thus important for me to understand the flow of wisdom in my life. Blessings always flow from the greater to the lesser. I must be careful in not using the written word to try to justify my actions, but rather let my actions be led from honouring the written word. A great parallel where I picked this up is from Jesus when Satan tempted Him and tested His identity. Being a believer does not mean we are free from temptations, instead, Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted, so that He could teach us how to deal with them and any situation we might ever face in life. Despite being the Son of God, Jesus did not quote anyone or anything else but what was written in God’s word. 3 times Satan tempted Jesus, even once with the written word, and 3 times Jesus replied with ‘It is written’. This example alone motivates me to meditate and feed on the truths hidden within the Bible every day, and doing so has proven to me that the Bible does indeed have answers that encompass every facet of life.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
Looking at my life retrospectively, despite coming to such revelations at such a late age, being planted in New Creation Church, listening to Pastor Prince and my Godpa expound on the word of God has certainly allowed me to catch up with what God has been revealing to His people. I am eternally grateful for that. Now, whenever I am faced with a situation in life, I can go to the word of God, and confess that word over my situation. As part of my writing exercise, I’ll include verses in each post where applicable, as this reminds me to confess what the written word has said in regards to every matter. It is comforting to be able to rest on the fact that everything God has said about my life is far better than what I can ever think of or imagine.
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Luke 15:20-24 NKJV
I was born into a Christian family and was taught to do good to get good. I believed in Jesus but was uncertain of my salvation as I could never live a life free of sin. Alas, my wrong belief would eventually lead to my downfall. Bad decisions, unmet expectations, disappointments, and failures started piling up, and I soon found myself running away from God. Silencing my conscience, I then threw myself into a hasty relationship. I met with betrayal, heartbreak, battled depression and addiction while struggling to put up a strong and cheerful front, even though I knew I was crumbling inside.
To exacerbate things, I injured my back in an accident during the summer of 2016. I lived in agony for a year while seeking relief from chiropractors and physicians, only to find an accurate diagnosis after undergoing an MRI scan at the start of 2017. I had a slipped disc in my lower back. Months of physiotherapy and painkillers did not alleviate my condition, and I had to undergo an operation. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was tired of running away and chose to run back to Jesus.
I was blessed to have Dr Lim, a masterful surgeon, pray for me before he started the surgery. The operation was swift and successful, and I had ample rest to recover from my limited mobility. It was then when I started feeding on God’s word again, listening to sermons from Pastor Joseph Prince, and spending more time with my Godfather. Only then could I relate to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I felt like a useless sinner and unworthy to be called His son, but as I took a step toward the Father, He ran towards me, embraced me and kissed me. I experienced His overflowing love, joy and peace again, and He pulled me back up to my feet.
Looking back, it does seem unfortunate to undergo such trials in order to learn from them, and I am certain that there are easier and less cumbersome ways to learn such lessons. But I always had my stubbornness and pride, and thankfully I now know better. Turning to God may seem hard when I try to base my faith on physical evidence and the things that are seen. Even doing things by my own strengths and skills come so naturally. But only when I stop trying, does God start working. I have learnt the hard way that it is much easier to lift my troubles up to Him. I enjoy relying on Him to bring me through my troubles instead of having to constantly strive and struggle. Today my back is healed, I have overcome my addictions and am excited to live each day under His grace.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Reading ‘Write It Down, Make It Happen’ by Henriette Anne Klauser and mixing it with a stirring in my heart led me to start this blog. Previously, I did all my writing in my Notes App, taking down observations, reflections, and ideas. However, establishing this official platform of writing pushes me to improve my skills as a writer. Furthermore, writing out what I have read better reinforces the ideas gathered, as one of most effective methods of learning is to reconstruct what we have learned and teach that to ourselves. Thus my main objective is to craft useful lessons and reminders for future reference, and I do not intend to impose my opinions or beliefs on anyone. While I do hope that people are able to find the help they need from this blog, suggestions for better solutions are welcomed as well!
Being a novice at this, I expect to start off slightly disjointed and semi-coherent, with many improvements in lieu. As of now, I have yet to find my own style of writing, but I do have ideas for the content I intend to produce. Fortunately, this platform allows me to use the posts as yardsticks of my development, and I hope to see progress over time. In the name of personal growth, constructive criticisms are appreciated, especially from field experts, seasoned writers and bloggers. Please leave your comments, ask questions or drop messages, and I would do my best to attend to them.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Psalm 127:1 NKJV
Welcome to elishajkoh.com! I have just set this domain up and am in the midst of building my site. This space is for my own thoughts and reflections. With this being my first blog, the posts I put up here would not be classified nor segmented between different websites until an expansion hits me in the future. Meanwhile, do look out for my official launch!