Today is the last day of June, in the middle of the year. "Revive Your work, Lord in the midst of the years, throughout the years make it known, in wrath remember mercy" Habakkuk 3:2. When God is wrathful against the nations, He sends plagues before Him - "pestilence goes before Him, a fever (heat) goes forth at His feet" (3:5). Do we not realise that this pestilence of Covid-19 is God's wrath against the world, against His people for judgement begins in the household of God (1 Peter 4:17)? This Covid-19 plague will last for at least three years, perhaps extending to the middle of 2023. It is now in the middle of the pandemic years - Lord, revive Your work in the midst of years.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
I have been served up in the past month a host of remarkable sporting events and incredible achievements, beyond my wildest dreams and hopes. Phil Mickelson who is 51 years old became the oldest Major champion in golf. Then you have the youngest US Open women's golf champion Yuka Saso, a dual citizen of Philippines and Japan. Jon Rahm winning the men's US Open golf was no less remarkable after recovering from Covid-19 just the week before having to forfeit a third round lead of 6 strokes in his previous tournament. And NZ beating India in cricket is David slaying Goliath.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
David had his 30 mighty men, and among the thirty he had three mighty men, many of whom were willing to die for him. It is important to have good friends. I did not think much of it in the early part of 2019, but I realised that by December 2019, I would have completed a quarter of a century in the Lord's service, a silver Jubilee. Further, I had left my job in the Bible College in Ranau and returned to Kota Kinabalu without employment or even the promise of gainful employment back in the ministry. It took 11 months before I finally got my new appointment, just the day before I celebrated my 25th anniversary in the full-time ministry on 1st Dec 2019. That Sunday morning I preached in my home church in Likas, a church I pastored for more than 5 years and that evening I was going to hold a thanksgiving service at the same church, in the Ministry Centre which we built in 2005 when I was pastor there. I invited about 50 friends and some could not make it with valid excuses like on mission work in Bangi Island in the north.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Since preaching from Ecclesiastes two years ago in Sipitang, I had wondered and reflected on this theme of wealth and poverty in the Bible. In Solomon's book of Ecclesiastes, a total of six times, the author enjoined that his readers should just enjoy (eat and drink) the fruits of one's labour. It is surely a major theme in Ecclesiastes, perhaps reflecting the paradox of pessimism (vanity vanity all is vanity) of life on earth. Thus, there is nothing better but to enjoy one's labour while one can and while one is still healthy (and alive). A friend of mine when I told him about my Departure Points, a semi-memoirs of my life and ministry for the first 25 years in the Lord's work, said that he would also write his story, but alas within months he was called home by the Lord. My good pastor friend was only a couple of years older than me. There is one who keeps on accumulating and not enjoying the fruits of his labour and like Ecclesiastes says all his wealth will become someone's else when he passes on or when his health fails him.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Incredibly, I see God's provision in the midst of pandemic and economic recession. Like Isaac who was told not to go down to Egypt but remained in Gerar, even in the midst of a famine, God blessed Isaac 100 fold. I have seen God's good hand upon me even during the times of hardships for the general populace. God knows how to protect and provide for His own. But there are incredible risks and dangers undertaken to serve this living God. The spiritual atmosphere throughout this pandemic is also in its doldrums. One pastor asked me yesterday about the nature of falling away or apostasy spoken by Paul as one of the two signs of Jesus' second coming. I told him to his surprise that it was not just the immorality of many so-called Christians especially in the West, but among Christians who could attend worship but choose to remain home. This pandemic is just a small test to prepare us for more difficult times as we approach the last days. It is a test of faith, refinement and purification.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
There is no doubt that preaching is the most difficult job there is. I would not venture a guess why I was called to be a preacher unless it is one of the toughest assignments one can get. First, it is speaking in the name of God or on His behalf. Who is worthy of that? Who is adequate to speak for God? Unless one is absolutely certain of one's calling which is tested multiple times during the course of one's life time, one should certainly venture to do something else. Second, it is speaking in the power of God or the power of the Holy Spirit. Who is able to imagine that suddenly when he steps up the pulpit, the Spirit comes upon him, and he will deliver God's Word, as the oracles of God impelled by the Spirit?
Saturday, June 5, 2021
I was saved by a trip back from Ranau to Kota Kinabalu on the 4th June 2015 to attend the Women's Conference. The Ranau earthquake was monumental because earthquakes are extremely rare in this part of the world. The last earthquake before the one hit Ranau was in Lahad Datu, a town 200 miles away some 30 years ago. We were shaken literally and metaphorically. Hundreds of aftershock tremors occurred in the next 12 months following June 5th earthquake.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
When some people may have a respite either taking a break from work during lockdown, I am experiencing similar conditions like the first lockdown in March of last year. Although there was much less anxiety for most since it is our fourth "lockdown" (closure of church services) , yet the uncertainty of it all can certainly unnerve a few. I had planned for two consecutive weeks of Teenage Bible Study and the first last night was well attended by 23 youths and a few adults in the mix. I spoke about the shepherd and his flock and we managed to get to verse 11 of John 10 in about 1 hour and 15 minutes and the last 15 mins given to discussion. A young lady in her teens shared about her dream a while back and I interpreted that for her and the rest of the class.
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