How Does a True Friendship Look Like?

The Bible is God’s love letter to us in which it talks about His faithful and great love for us. It is also a manual filled with wisdom and instructions for us for our daily living.

The Bible talks about the relationship God has with us, as well as our relationship with Him. It also talks about our relationship with others: our family, our employer, employee, co-workers, friends and enemies.

The Bible paints portraits of godly friendships in the Bible which makes us smile when reading about their deep love for each other. I think about David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth (though they are mother-and-daughter-in-law) Jesus and Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

True friends are hard to find. How does a true friendship look like?

1.True Friends Point us to God

True friends encourage us in our daily walk. I know my true friends are keepers because they risk our friendship to tell me what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear. It hurts but that is how I can grow and be mature as a person and as a Christian (as a pastor, too!).
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiply kisses” (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)

2.True Friends Encourage your dreams

Have you ever met a friend over lunch and afterwards you feel so motivated, refreshed and inspired to tackle the world (may be the world is an overstatement…) or to tackle the challenges in your life? Or your friends open your eyes to see the world from a fresh new perspective. True friends are able to exchange meaningful conversations and also point us to the wonder and beauty of God and His creations.
True friends will not be ashamed to share about what God has done in each other’s lives. True friends will encourage your pursuit of your God-given dreams.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

3.True Friends Pray for Us

One of the best gifts our friends give us is prayer. They keep us close to their hearts by remembering us in their prayers and then they will follow up with us to see how we are progressing.
Carry each other’s burden, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

4.True Friends Are People with Character

The Bible makes it clear that we should choose our friends wisely.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26, NIV).

The friends that we choose to spend time with heavily impact our thought patterns and character. Choosing friends with godly character will make us more joyful because we are walking in the path that pleases God. Choose friends who love the Lord and who bear good fruits in their lives.

Because we live in a fallen world, we are all sinful people. True friends will forgive each other and move on. We don’t hold on to grudges or keep them in our hearts.

5.True Friends Chose to Love Us

There may come a period of time where we are going through some tough issues and we are not who we used to be. In this season, we may whine more than usual or become overly anxious or get into the self-pity mode. True friends will not leave us but they will listen to our whines, pray for us and encourage us. It may be just a phase but it will be clear who your true friends are. They stick with you through your ups and downs.
“A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)

Bonus tip: I enjoy it when my friends are also friendly with my parents. Since childhood, my parents know my friends by their names. Since then, I have many more wonderful people coming into my life. And my parents know them by name or at least have met them face to face. Now that I am an adult, it pleases my heart when my friends and my parents know each other and enjoy a meal together.

If you have not introduced your friends to your parents, perhaps you can try to arrange something simple and yet relaxing so that they can know one another and enjoy a wonderful time?

How To Tell If You Are Walking Closely With God

Perhaps at one point in our life, we want to know about our relationship with God. How close are we to God? How do we know if our relationship with God is a growing and healthy one?

We have to understand that it is not by doing good deeds that makes us close to God. God is not like a human person. Human beings are fond of the people who love us and help us in times of needs but it is different with God. No good deeds we do will make God love us more, because He already loves us. We do good deeds in response to His love and it will please His heart but we don’t do good deeds just to gain His love. He loves us so much that He sent His one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for our sins so that whoever believed in Him will be saved, as written in John 3:16. We are loved by God and are saved into His Kingdom because of His grace for us. Grace is given when we do not deserve it. It is God’s grace, and not because of the good deeds we do.

If we know we are loved by God, we are welcomed into a relationship with Him. We can draw near to Him. The Bible has a beautiful promise about drawing near to God. James 4:8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (ESV).

As Christians, please remember that we are on a journey until we meet Jesus face to face. We continue to grow, we continue to walk with God day by day. Heaven is our final destination. Each of us walk at different paces, some faster and some slower than the others but we are not to judge others. Each of us should focus on our own journey in our relationship with Jesus and enjoy it.

How can you tell if you are walking closely with God?

1.There are changes in you

There are changes in you. You are not who you used to be. You are now bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV).

May be in the past, you had anger issues, or an addiction issue but now that you have a relationship with Jesus, you have been changed for the better. You are now patient and a person of peace and gentleness.

Perhaps in the past, you are a worrier. But now, you learn to trust God and surrender your worries to Him. You are now a joyful person. In short, you can feel there is a change in you as a person. The people around you will notice this change too: that you have peace, are more joyful, more caring and more loving.

2.You show love and mercy to others

Our God is a God who is merciful and compassionate. When you are walking closely with Him, you will know His heartbeat for the lost, the poor, the marginalised, the outcast and the unseen of the society. You are now more willing to show love and mercy and care about what is going on in the society and the world because you have experienced God’s love and mercy towards you.

3.You surrender everything to God

Once you go deeper into a relationship with God, you realise you can trust Him and that He knows what is best for you. Sure, there are struggles in you to want to listen to Him or to yourself but as you take the leap of faith and follow Him, you will know that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). He is able to do so much more than you can ever imagine for His glory (Ephesians 3:20-21).

This is when you begin to surrender everything to God. You surrender your dreams, your desires, your ambitions, your future to Him. You will be much more interested to listen to His guidance and accomplish the agenda He has for you.

4.You love to spend time with God

In the past, when you are a new Christian, you feel that reading the Bible is a boring thing to do. But now, you have fresh eyes to see the gems in God’s Word! You find God’s Word life giving. You desire to know Him more intimately. You desire to be in His presence, read His Word, worship Him with songs and pray. You love spending time with Him that you block aside time and make it a priority just so to make sure you have time alone with God daily.

5.You trust in God’s goodness

You no longer “decide” on God’s love for you by the circumstances in your life. Even when there are some unexpected challenges which cause you to grief, you still trust that God is good, His plan is the best and you can still worship Him for who He is.

This verse will be so real to you “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).

If you have been hesitating and doubting about life as a Christian, come and see for yourself. Come and experience His love and power. May His peace and love be upon you.

What I Learnt From Making Videos Every Week

Due to the lockdown, I have not seen my church members face to face physically. To stay in touch with them, I am shooting a video every week.It is a challenge to do videos—at least for me! Preaching from the pulpit and talking to the camera are two very different things! It takes time to adjust to speaking to the camera. For the very first video, a friend was talking to me on Zoom so that I would appear to be more natural in my video. Shout out to my buddy SB for standing by me! For another video, my mum was sitting across from me when I was talking to the camera. The next videos were done when I was alone in my parsonage, and I had to gone through many retakes.Shout out to my Heng Dai, Alex for encouraging me and supporting me with the video edits for the first few videos! And making the thumbnail look presentable! I would be lost without your help and guidance!Apart from these, there are the hardware to take care of such as getting the tripod, finding a space with natural lighting (I prefer natural lighting so I shoot my videos in the morning). Before I had my tripod, I was holding the camera and it was just my big head on the screen. It must have been hard for church members to watch. I shot the videos on my phone Honor 9X.After videoing myself, I sent the videos over to my friend to edit it. After that, we will post to the group chat and on YouTube.After a few weeks of doing these videos, I am speaking slower than usual (I speak very fast when I am nervous). I block my Friday mornings for shooting so that it will give my friend time to edit before we send the video out.My videos are still cringe-worthy, but they are still works in progress. Friends who watch the video will give me advice so that I can improve on this craft. I do take their advice to heart and hope it will get better as the weeks go by! It is definitely a new way to do ministry!

10 Ways to Honour Our Parents (Part 2)

This is the part 2 of “10 ways to honour our parents”.

In the previous post, we were looking at these 5 things we should do to honour our parents: (1) Treat them with respect, (2) appreciate them, (3) spend time with them and communicate with them, (4) speak your parents’ love language, (5) pray for them and with them. You can read the previous post here:

6.Make wise decisions and be responsible

Our parents spend a lot of time worrying about us although we may be all adults. Learning to make wise decisions and be a responsible adult will put them at ease and reassure them that we are capable of taking care of ourselves.

7.Provide for them and care for them

In his letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Apostle Paul reminded him that, Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

One of the ways that we can show our love to our parents is to care and provide for them both physically and financially so that they can live comfortably. Taking care of our parents’ needs honour them and pleases the heart of God.

As our parents grow, some examples of taking care of them are: driving them for groceries, take them to the doctor’s appointment, pay the bills, help them with errands and take more initiative to see what they need around the house.

8.Speak well of our parents and their generation publicly and privately

Honour our parents and their generation by speaking well of them. They are learning to be in touch with us through gadgets and technology, so if they are still struggling to get on Zoom, or are fumbling with WhatsApp, be patient with them and help them.

We are not honouring the older generations if we show our impatience and frustrations or use an irritated tone when talking with them. The way we talk to them is a reflection of the way we think about them.

9.Ask for their advice and seek their wisdom

Proverbs 1:8-9 tell us, Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck (NIV).

Our parents have gone through many experiences in life. They are able to guide us when we are at a crossroad in life or when we need to make important decisions.

When we ask our parents for advice, they will be pleased that we trust them and think highly of them to ask for their advices. It also shows that we are interested to know what they think and we want to learn from their wisdom. Of course, this is more applicable if your parents are Christians and are walking in God’s ways. But even if your parents are not believers, we can ask for their advices and use this as a reference point. Remember to seek the Lord and hear what He says.

Job also understood that wisdom is found among the older people. Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Job 12:12, NIV).

10. Enjoy them!

Our parents are human beings too. They have their short comings. Their personalities may be different from ours. They were also learning to raise us up when we first came into this world as babies. If we harbour resentment against them for their mistakes, ask God for forgiveness, healing and the courage to move on. Just enjoy them!

I am interested to hear from you about how you honour your parents. What would you add to this list? Which area do you need to work on to better honour your parents? May you be a blessing to them!

What is a Christian Community?

While we are in the midst of preparing for the reopening of the preaching centre, the members gathered online for a time of prayer, fun and fellowship. Connecting with one another in unity with Christ is the life blood of the church.The book of Acts talks a lot about the Christian community. Below are some of the lessons we can learn from the early Church:

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).

1.They devoted themselves

Some new believers among the early Christians might not have heard Jesus Himself. The apostles were taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and now they were passing along what Jesus had taught them to these believers. We could sense their hunger for the teachings of the apostles by devoting themselves to learning from the apostles’ teachings.They must have treasured the time together, breaking bread in remembrance of Jesus Christ and gathering together for fellowship as the body of Christ. They also spent time in prayers. They prayed in the Temple daily. They also met in private homes. They were living a vibrant prayerful and community life because they saw the importance of these and devoted themselves to these things.

2.They loved each other deeply

They loved each other so deeply that they were willing to share all that they had with those in need so that the poor among them were taken care of. Chapter 4 tells us:

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as who owned lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds from what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native from Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of Encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:32-37)

These Christians were different from the surrounding society. They understood that possessions and powers were not for the comfort of an individual but that all that they had was meant to be shared and used wisely to bless the broader Christian community.

3.They had an attitude of praising God with glad and sincere hearts

These believers were so in love with God that their responses were to praise God. They opened their hearts to the Lord and were filled with His joy and gladness. Their sincere love for the Lord is something that we should emulate.

4.They enjoyed the favour of all the people

As a community of faith, they must have shone so brightly for the Lord that the people around them were pleased with their behaviour, conduct and speech. May it be that we as Christians do not repel people from knowing Christ, but rather that we will be channels of blessings to others.From this passage, it challenges me to rethink about community: what does that mean? It means, loving others as you love yourself. It means “…in humility consider others better than yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-5). Apostle Paul, who wrote Philippians, urged us to learn from the example of Jesus Christ. He was in very nature God but He did not use that as an advantage to Lord it over us. Instead, He came to this world to serve us and died on the Cross for us (Philippians 2:6-8).

Let us have the mindset of Christ and look to the interest of those in our Christian community. May we be blessings to the community and the society.

10 Ways to Honour Our Parents (Part 1)

With Father’s Day just around the corner (I understand that different countries celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on different days, but in Malaysia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, and Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June), let’s pause for a moment and thank God for our fathers and for all that they have done for us. God had commanded us to “Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV). This commandment is the fifth one, and it is the first commandment regarding our relationship with others. The first four commandments are about our relationships to God.

The word “honour” (τίμα) is translated as: to determine the value of something. When we honour our parents, we are saying that they are so valuable in our eyes (as well as in God’s eyes).

How do we honour our parents? Here are 5 ways we can honour our parents (another 5 will be in the Part 2):

  1. Treat them with respect

When we show frustrations and resentments to our parents by our actions and speech, it shows that we are not grateful for all that they had done for us. Also, we are not respectful of the authority God has ordained to them.

They are one of the most important people to us. They deserve our respect in our actions, speech and behavior.

  1. Appreciate them

List down all the things that you appreciate about them. It can be the things they have done for you throughout the years, or what you love about them. Read the list to them on special occasions such as Parent’s Day, on their birthdays or on their wedding anniversaries. This activity reminds us to be grateful for all that they have done for us, making us the people we are today.

“Honour your father and mother” —which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).


  1. Spend time with them and communicate with them

Visit your parents as often as you can. My dad still visits his mother once a week before the lockdown. If you are living in another town or country, calling them on the phone or video call them regularly. Sometimes life gets the better of us and we neglect spending time with our parents. But your visit or your call is definitely a highlight for them. They can’t wait to hear from you!

God had created us for relationships, and the first relationships we had were with our parents. Show them that we care by asking them about their day, ask them questions about their childhood or younger days, talk about the topics of their interest and listen to them. Such conversations will deepen the bonds with our parents.

  1. Speak your parents’ love language

In his book, “The 5 Love Languages”, Gary Chapman listed five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. These love languages help to express and experience love between partners but I guess the same applies to our parents as well. Does your mother love to receive gifts? Does helping her with a chore bring her more delight? Does your father enjoy doing something together with you? Knowing your parents’ love languages will make them feel loved and appreciated.

  1. Pray for them (and with them)

Praying for our parents is one of the best gifts we can give them. Commit them into the loving hands of God. Pray for wisdom of the Lord to guide them in every decision they have to make. Pray for God’s peace and love to surround them. Pray also for protection for our aging parents as they may slip and fall.

Honouring our parents is our duty. Let’s do so with much joy and love. I will see you in the Part 2!

5 Joys of Being a Pastor

Pastor’s Appreciation Day came early this year. The Pastor Parish Relations Committee of the church which I am attached to sent me one of my favourite foods: pizza, to celebrate Pastor’s Appreciation Day.

I stumbled upon a website:

What do you think are the words that are used to describe the pastor?

Here are what I found

I picked out a few interesting ones from the list: useful and beloved; affectionate and vigilant; pained and pious; solemnly sulky and glum; loving and laborious; enlightened and vigilant; well-trained, tactful; cheery, shabby.

My favourite one from the list: “now gray-hair”, which is true for me.

I have also come up with a list, but my list is my “joyful” list. They are about my joy of being a pastor:

  1. Seeing people come to know Jesus

…especially when they had been struggling in life on their own. It is so wonderful to see the change in them after they had accepted Jesus Christ. They are now filled with hope, love, peace and joy of the Lord. I have been blessed to see these transformations. Apart from these, baptising people are touching moments for me personally. I have baptised the elderly in their homes, baptised people in the river during missions trip, and baptised people in the church service. These were meaningful moments to me.

  1. Serving together with others who love the Lord

One thing I am always grateful for are the brothers and sisters in Christ who serve the Lord together with me with one heart, one voice and one mind. It is always so joyful serving together with them. They had made a lot of sacrifices in ministry as well as putting in their time, effort, sweat and tears, and money. It always amazes me how much they love the Lord and they in turn encouraged me in my ministry.

  1. Sending out full-time workers

It brings me great joy when a young person confided that they would like to be a pastor in the future. I would talk more to them about the ministry and get them more involved in serving.

  1. Overwhelmed by love from church members

Often I received messages and texts from church members. I know they are thinking of me. During the lockdown, we received food, messages and love. My parents and I are ever so appreciative of their love.

  1. Preaching of God’s Word

When church members told me that my message spoke to them, or they learned something from the Bible studies, it brings me great joy. To me, it is the greatest thing in the world: we are getting paid to read God’s Word, and to preach from the Holy Bible. That is the best part of my calling.

Looking at this list, all that I can say is, “Thank you, Lord!”

Work Heartily For the Lord

Today is the first day of going back to the office after 83 days of lockdown. Of course, there are the usual paper work to do, papers to file, emails to write, people to call, and the list goes on. But, I have not forgotten my mentor, Maria’s advice to me: to make my workspace an altar of offering and praise to the Lord. I kept this in mind, and it made the day enjoyable.

It happens that my devotional reading this morning was taken from Colossians 3:23-24, 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (ESV).

When it comes to God, it definitely was not a coincidence that this verse was for my meditation today. Nothing happens coincidentally with God.

Whatever I do today becomes my act of worship to God. What seems to be mundane and trivial became tasks which keep me accountable to God, my church leaders and members.

Work is a beautiful thing. Before the Fall of mankind, God had given Adam the responsibility to tend the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). The world at that time was perfect: there was no sin and everything was freshly created. The fruits must be the sweetest, the flowers must have been in full bloom and the animals were gentle and playful. Yet, God had assigned Adam to work. Work was a gift from God.

After the Fall, however, work is now viewed as our cruel punishment, something which we need to do to survive and to provide for our family. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors toiled the ground with sweat to eat the fruits of the field. Today, we hustle hard to pay our bills and buy our food.

Let us not forget that God is our Provider (Philippians 4:19). Jesus taught us not to worry about what we should eat or drink (Matthew 6:31-32). Therefore, apostle Paul reminded believers to offer our work as an act of worship to the Lord.

While apostle Paul was writing Colossians, he wrote to the slaves (or bondservants). He urged them to remember that their true Master is the Lord Himself. It is applicable for us toxau: work to please your Lord, not just your bosses.

May God be our motivation. May He be pleased with the works of our hands. Our work brings us much satisfaction, meaning, joy and enjoyment when we focus on the reason why we work: we are serving Lord.

Whatever you do: house chores, office work, taking care of your family, or personal matters, do them for the glory of God. When God is the motivation of all that you do, it will make the tasks much more enjoyable. What a sweet promise it is that we will be rewarded for serving the Lord!

Letter to My Future Husband

My lover, my dear future husband,

I have been praying for you for 12 years, or even more. My family and friends have been praying for you too, so you do have a lot of people to meet when you become part of my life!

I don’t know where or when I will meet you, or how we will meet but I am confident that just as God brought the freshly created Eve to Adam in the Garden of Eden, our meeting will be in God’s perfect timing.

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy and celebrate life. I have a tight knitted family and close community whom I enjoy spending time with. I have hobbies to keep me occupied. I am trying to accomplish a few interesting dreams of mine too. I understand that I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), and I am not depending on you to complete me. But, surely, your presence and giftings will bring much joy and complement my deficiencies.

I will continue to develop my gifts too, so that when we are together, it will be a celebration of our different gifts and a partnership of our lives together.

I will also keep myself pure so that my purity will be the most wonderful present for you.

I can’t wait to finally meet you and to hear what God has been doing in your life too!

Your Future Wife,


Place me like a seal over your heart,     like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death,     its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire,     like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love;     rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give     all the wealth of one’s house for love,     it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Songs 8:6-7)

What Is Next for Eirene Letters?

Today marks the 81st day of lockdown. I will be going back to the office next week.

During this lockdown, I had had a wonderful time. It was a restful time. It was also a fruitful time. This blog was revived after a 2-year hiatus when I had no inspiration to write anything. I was also reluctant to write because I was fearful that the contents would not be useful. I was so glad that during this lockdown, I broke out of my fear and started blogging again. It also humbles me to have dear friends reading this blog and benefitting from it.

What is next, now that we are slowly coming out of the lockdown? It will take some time to get used to going back to the office and to commute to work, but keeping a routine will make this transition easier.

For this coming week, first and foremost, I would be building an altar in the office. My mentor Maria encouraged me to set up a space in the office which would be a place for prayerful meditation and not just for work (or paper works). This altar in the office will be a refuge not just for me, but for the people around me too, to experience God at work.

As for this blog, I will continue to write. I have many more blog posts I want to share with you.

Next week, i will be making a Father’s Day video for my flock. And in the following week, I will be exploring using audio instead of videos.

You can also check my Instagram account for some photos with Bible verses.

It is an exciting time ahead and thank you for journeying with me.”May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17)!