Hope in God

How can we have hope when our circumstances are unpredictable and seemingly hopeless? How can we have hope when we are in the midst of the pandemic?

Hope is one of the greatest virtues, together with love and faith (1 Corinthians 13:13). As Raniero Cantalamessa writes, ‘They are like three sisters. Two of them are grown and the other is a small child. They go forward together hand in hand with the child hope in the middle. Looking at them it would seem that the bigger ones are pulling the child, but it is the other way around; it is the little girl who is pulling the two bigger ones. It is hope that pulls faith and love. Without hope everything would stop.’

Hope helps us to move forward. Hope helps us to face impossible challenges. Hope is like the light at the end of a dark tunnel. We can move forward even in the darkness because of the hope we have.

During this pandemic, we often heard preachers and pastors telling us not to “waste this pandemic”, meaning that we are to use this time of the lockdown to reflect about our lives, be intentional about spending time with God and letting God shape us and transform us from the inside out so that we will be better people than before. In order to do so, we need to know the hope that we have in God.

Let’s look at Psalm 89, a maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite and let us learn to put our hope in Him.


Hope in God in our sufferings and despair

The psalmist cries out to the Lord “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?” (verse 46, NIV). When the psalmist was writing this, he had his own challenges to deal with. His circumstances were different. But this verse expresses what we are feeling now. We feel that God is hiding Himself as the peoples of this world are suffering.

God is always there. We can not see Him with our eyes but He is with us. He is faithful. He loves us with a great love. The psalmist says, “1 I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself” (verses 1-2).
There is hope in our sufferings because of who God is. He is love. He is faithful. He will carry us through.

Psalm 89: 1-2


Hope in spite of our short life span and the inevitability of death

Life is short—“your life is like the morning fog- it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14. NLT). The psalmist also prays to God, “47 Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity! Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave?” (verse 24, NIV)  

The psalmist says despite our life being short and that we will face death someday, yet, he holds on to the promise of God’s love. He prays, “Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David?” (verse 49). We will pass away; it is inevitable. But, as the story unfolds in the New Testament, believers will have eternal life through Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon Himself and died on the Cross for us. We have eternal life through Jesus Christ. Our life is more than life on earth. We have hope that we will have eternal life with God in Heaven forever.

Hope in God’s righteousness and justness  

The world is unjust. The evil and power-hungry people seem to be crushing the innocent. But the psalmist puts his hope in God who is righteous and just. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” (verse 14-15, NIV)

Even when what is going on does not make sense to you, trust in God’s righteousness, love and faithfulness.

Psalm 89:14-15


Hope in the presence of God

Those who walk with God (following His ways and commandments) will be blessed. They are walking in the light of the presence of God (verse 15). They will rejoice in God and celebrate God’s righteousness because God is their glory and strength (verses 16-17).

When all else fail, by walking with God, we will taste His presence and we even rejoice in the midst of difficulties because God is with us.

We have hope because God is with us.


Hope in God’s purpose

It seems funny and even a little rude for me to tell you about finding the good in our present situation. I don’t know what you are going through. You may be grieving over the loss of a loved one, you may be facing stressful times at home, you may be out of a job or you may be struggling financially. But let us lift up our eyes from the current situations to God.

This psalm reminds us that God is faithful. He loves us with a faithful love (verse 24). There is no powers or authority higher than that of God’s (vv 5-13). He alone is in control. He created the heavens and the earth (v 11) and everything belongs to Him. There is a purpose for everything He does. We can trust in His timing to work things out for the best according to His infinite love and wisdom.

Ezra, the psalmist, ends this psalm by asking God to remember him. The psalmist clings onto the hope he has in God. Ezra then praises God, “praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen!” (verse 52, NIV). There are always reasons to praise Him. He is sovereign, He is in control, His wisdom is beyond our comprehension and He loves us with a faithful love.

Let us put our hope in God.

Our response in the midst of the pandemic

With the increase of the Covid-19 cases around the world (some countries are facing the third-wave), we may be going through mixed emotions. We may be feeling discouraged, fearful and even a sense of hopelessness. We may even have asked, why isn’t God doing anything about this pandemic?

From the Bible, especially the psalms, we learn that we can tell God what is on our minds and He also permits us to cry out to Him during moments of doubt, discouragement, sadness, grief, anxiety, pain and sufferings. We live in a fallen world where there is pain, injustice, suffering and tragedy. And God allows us to cry out to Him in these situations. God hears every single word of our prayers. He cares. He loves us. We can pray to God telling Him about our real feelings, thoughts and emotions.

The pandemic has brought changes to all of us. We are now living in the “new normal”. Practicing social distancing, wearing our masks when we are outdoors, sanitising our hands are a part of our daily routine now.

In the midst of the pandemic, we echo the words of David in Psalm 13,

“1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

 How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me? “

How long will God forget us? We feel that there is no end to the pandemic.

But remember, as believers, we are people of hope. When we cry out to God, we don’t do it thinking that the end result will be hopeless. We are certain that there is hope: our God is sovereign, almighty, all wise and powerful. There is nothing that is above Him. He is the one that is ultimately in control of the events of this world.

David ended his psalm with praise, because he remembered Who God is.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.


David chose to trust in God when he was discouraged and afraid because he knew God would save him (verse 5). God had loved him and had been good to him (verses5- 6)


The pandemic may stir fear and anxiety in us but let us wait and hope upon God. Let us continue to encourage one another with psalms, Bible verses, spiritual songs and prayers. Let us not forget to do good to others especially to those in need. Let us worship God in new creative ways. Let us share of God’s unfailing love.

May the witness, love, faith and hope of believers be an encouragement to those around us!

Taking Care of Ourselves

What is going on in the world can throw us into a state of frenzy, helplessness, hopelessness and depression. While our city is facing a spike in the number of Covid-19 virus cases, many of us are experiencing a mix of emotions.

At times like this, I cling on to the words of Jesus.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b, NIV).

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after a long day of ministry and it was not even over yet. The first half of the verse tells us, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.  

Jesus told the disciples to withdraw with Him to a quiet place to rest. They had been working so hard and the demand for them was so great that they did not have a chance to eat. Self-care doesn’t mean we are selfish, it simply means we are taking care of our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health and needs.  God wants us to thrive wherever He has placed us. He wants us to use our gifts to bless others for His glory. He does not want us to be depressed or withered, especially in this season of our lives.

By taking care of our wellbeing and needs, not only are we able to function well in our duties, we will be fruitful.

Below are some of the ways I take care of myself. I hope they will be useful for you too especially we are facing challenging times:

1.Get enough sleep

A well-rested night improves our overall mood. Jesus slept in the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). We too can commit anything which is bothering us to our loving God. Doctors recommend at least 7 hours of sleep at night. Each of us is different. But as human beings, we need to get enough sleep to recharge from the day. Some of us need a nap in the afternoon. Naps refresh us too.


2.Eat nutritious food 

Nourishing our bodies with nutrition-dense food will give us stamina for the long-haul. In the past, in order to sustain myself for a long day of ministry, I would just eat junk food so I could go back to work quickly. I would eat instant noodles because it was quick to prepare (and I must add, tasty!). When I was sleepy, I would get a can of Cola from the vending machine or a convenient store. When I was low in energy, I would get an ice cream cone for the sugar to keep me going.

But then I realised that by eating well, I am more alert and have more stamina. Sugary and starchy foods are tasty but they make me bloated or sleepy due to the spike it made on my blood sugar level. Eating home cooked food will always be a great option for our well being and for our wallet.



A walk in the park, doing gardening and watching the plants grow and harvesting its fruits, sitting in nature, taking a walk outdoors, dancing to music gladden our hearts. God knits our muscles together. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalms 139:13, NLT). I often remind myself that exercise is celebrating what I can do with my body.


4. Find a community

Engaging in a conversation with our good friends can boost our mood. It is even more so during this pandemic. We should reach out and care for one another. We may not be able to do this face to face but we can always reach out to our friends through phone calls or social media (depending on which is your friend’s preferred mode).


5.Take a shower

May be it is something about the feel of running water on our skin, or the sweet-smelling shower wash. Taking a shower rejuvenates me and makes me feel fresher and better.


6. Get tidy

A tidy space does wonders to our soul. The process of tidying itself is liberating: learning to let go of a pre-loved item, giving away clothes I do not need (but must be in good condition!) cleaning my space and giving thanks to God for a space I can call home is a blessing.


7. Take a break

Don’t feel guilty to take a break. Over-scheduled calendars overwhelm us and take us away from the priorities that God has given to us. Schedule some free time for yourself to do something you enjoy. It can be having half an hour to yourself each day, or taking annual leave to refresh ourselves, or to go for a silent retreat at retreat houses.

At this time of writing, I am already planning my leave to recharge myself.


8. Set healthy boundaries

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV). The demands around Him were great but He knew what was most important to His wellbeing, which was, time with God. Without setting healthy boundaries, He could not give the best to those in need of His help. Don’t feel bad when you have to say “no” just because there are some other things you need to take care of. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. There are times we need to take a break from ministering and caring for others. There is a time and season for everything, including a time to serve and a time to rest so that we can be more effective when we serve.

9. Spend time with God 

Spend time with God by worshipping Him, reading His Word, meditating on His Word, journaling, listening to sermons and so on. He loves us the most and time spent with Him not only refreshes our souls but will strengthen us for the day ahead.



Jesus Christ came to save and yet He did not neglect looking after His wellbeing. He made time for rest. He prioritized His prayer times. Taking time to nurture our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health is important for us and to those around us. When we are healthy, we will thrive in the gifts God has blessed us with.

What are your self-care activities? I would love to hear from you!

The Joy of Feasting on “Vegetables”?

“Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17, NIV).

I had a picnic lunch with my buddy, Su Juan, today. We enjoyed the scenery, the melodic chirpings of the birds flying above us, and the soft and gentle breeze blowing on our faces.

As a full-time pastor, I realise what I eat and drink is important to optimise my health for ministry. What we eat and drink are important for our well-being but our attitudes when we are receiving our food are equally important. We may be having an abundant feast with the finest of food and in the grandest of place, but if we are not thankful for what we have, or if we do not get along with the people we are dining with, we will not enjoy the meal.

The next time we sit down together for a meal with our companions, thank the Lord for them. It may be a simple meal, it may be with your parents, it may be with your closest friends, it may be with your colleagues. It is the companionship that counts. Look them in the eyes. Pay attention to what they are saying. Show that you care. Minister to them.  Enjoy each other’s presence.

Life is short. We should treasure the people in our lives and appreciate them while we still can. Don’t take them for granted.

What To Do When I Can’t Feel God’s Love For Me?

We all go through times when we cannot feel God’s love for us. What should we do?

There are times when we cannot feel God’s love. We may be doing all the “right” things: attend church services, attend Bible studies, attend prayer meetings, help those in need, serve when the pastor asks for help, but why do we feel that God is so far away? Why can’t I feel God’s love?

Our Feelings Do Not Paint Us the Whole Picture

Our feelings come and go. They change depending on our circumstances, on our moods or the kind of day we are having. However, the truth will remain the truth, regardless if we have a bad day or a good day.

God’s Word is unchanging. What God says in the Bible is the ultimate truth. Nothing can be added to it. Nothing can be taken away from it. It is the truth.

When you cannot feel God’s love for you, know that He loves you so much.

  • 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10, NIV)
  • “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1, NIV)

God has shown His love for us, even before we were born. We are all sinful people: we do things we are not proud of. We lie, we cheat, we hurt others and ourselves. We harm our bodies. Because of our sins, we cannot draw near to God who is holy and without sin.

2,000 years ago, God sent His only Son Jesus Christ Whom He loves—Who is without sin, into this world to carry all our sins upon Himself and die in our place so that we will not die eternally. Jesus died for us so that we are made righteous and be reconciled to God. We then become the children of God.

Imagine this, the King of kings and Lord of lords loved us so much that He would rather sacrifice His only Son whom He loves so much than to see us in eternal damnation! He loves us.

Don’t trust in our feelings. But trust in God’s Word.

Remove Unnecessary Burdens

Are you carrying unnecessary burdens? The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

  • “For i am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV) .

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not our past mistakes, our hurts, our failures, our shame and guilt. That is why when we become a Christian, we feel a weight being lifted off. We know God has forgiven us of our sins. We can move on in our lives. If you still hold on to your past mistakes and think that God can not love you, it is time to surrender them into God’s Hands.

Seek God with All Your Heart

The Bible promises us that for those who seek Him, we will find Him.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

Be intentional in seeking Him. We will find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts.

Count our Blessings

When you do not feel God’s love, look around you. What do you see? The fact that we have a handphone or an electronic tablet is already a blessing. We have a shelter we call home, food on the table, clothes to wear and education.

Look around us and give thanks to God for all that we have. Remember God’s goodness to you. The fact that we get to breath with our lungs and wake up to another day is a blessing God has given to us.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2, ESV)

The more we give thanks to God for what we have the more we see He have been with us all these while.

Get Together With Our Christian Friends

Many passages in the Bible tell us the importance of having companions in our life to walk with us. We encourage each other, share Bible verses with each other and pray for each other. Sharing with our friends and asking for prayer requests will strengthen faith in God when our souls feel dry and weary.
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice” (Proverbs 27:9, NIV)

Remember, we don’t measure God’s love for us with our feelings. We trust in God. We put our faith in Who He says He is, because the Bible is His Word to us. Seek God with all your heart, and you will find Him. Count our blessings and get together with friends whom we can trust; they will encourage us and pray for us. God loves you so much.

I pray that you will experience God’s love for you.

Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle?

I learnt how to ride the bicycle as an adult. To be precise, I learnt how to ride the bike eight months ago. I was so blessed to have my good friends, Christine and Chew Yen, by my side to cheer me on. Chew Yen taught me how to ride the bike. She would push me from behind and asked me to keep peddling. She would let go once I could balance myself. And Christine was my cheerleader.

From learning to ride the bike as an adult, I think I can use this quote life is like riding a bicycle.

Start Peddling

Once I got on my bike, Chew Yen told me to look straight ahead and start peddling. I had to keep peddling so that I will not fall. Once I stopped peddling, I would lose my balance.

Interesting enough, I came across a quote by Albert Einstein. He wrote, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

We may face obstacles and challenges in life. They may come one after another. But, we have to keep going. Don’t give up on ourselves. We may be scared and fearful but, keep going. I like this quote by Mark Twain, a well-known American writer, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. So, keep going.

Look Straight Ahead

I had to look straight ahead when I am peddling. Initially I was nervous and so I kept looking at my front wheel, but that was not the wise thing to do. I needed to see where I was going.

In life, we need to keep track on where we are heading for. We should have a vision in life so that we will not waste our time away. Hour turns into days, days turn into months, months turn into years. Time slips by very quickly. Our vision will help us use our gifts and time wisely.

Almost every year, I would be given the opportunity to teach secondary school students about the importance of vision casting. We would do an exercise on setting specific goals for the coming year, the next 5 years and the next 10 years so that we achieve our targeted dreams.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible is this: “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJB). We need to have a vision and know what we want to do with our lives.

While cycling, I don’t turn my head and look to the back. I have to keep my eyes to the front. We can’t dwell in the past either. The past gave us rich lessons which would make us into better people. The past does not have to define who we are in the present. Let us not let our past entangle us from doing what God is calling us to do.


After mastering cycling in a straight line, the next thing I learned was to turn. And turning was hard to do! It will be impossible to keep riding in straight lines; there will be corners, turnings and curves on any roads. Eight months ago, I fell when I was moving too near to a pole. I injured my left knee and it took eight months to heal! I could not bend my knee for several weeks (I could not kneel to pray for eight months). It was difficult to climb up and down the stairs or getting in and out of cars!

Life is seldom as straight forward as we hoped. There are different seasons in our lives. God leads us through the different chapters and seasons in life. There will be times when God asks us to do something which we had never imagined. It will be like taking a turn in our life. He nudges us out of the comfort zone in His great plans for us. We need to obey, step out and readjust to His plan for us. It is often such a blessing if we obey Him.


The last step was to brake safely. If we do not put the bike to a stop in the right way, we may fall (yes, if you want to learn how to ride a bicycle, you have to expect a certain degree of falling off the bike).

In life, we need to take rest seriously and systematically so that we will not get burnt-out. Taking breaks to rejuvenate are important so that we can keep going. Taking a restful sleep at night, have mini breaks throughout the day, and take our annual leave from work so that our mind, soul and body will thrive.


From time to time, Chew Yen would watch me cycle and give me feedbacks so that I can improve and will not fall. Christine would encourage me.

We don’t live alone. Human beings are social beings by nature (although some may prefer to be alone). Friends enrich our lives. They give us wise advice so that we will stay on the right track. With their encouragement and support, we can continue to improve to be better people and live lives that are pleasing to God.

Is life like riding a bicycle? I think so. Remember: keep going even when it is tough, keep our eyes on our goal, be willing to readjust when God is leading you to a different assignment and take breaks regularly. Life is enjoyable, just like riding on the bicycle.

Seek the Welfare of the City (Part 5 of 5)

We have reached the last part of this mini-series. This is the conclusion.

The word God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah is very much for us today too. You are in your country because God has placed you there. God has a purpose although we may not see it or understand it.

There is so much to complain about our city and country —if that is what we choose to do. Or, we can choose to be thankful and trust in God’s sovereignty and timing. It is God who “controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.” (Daniel 2:21, NLT). There will never be a perfect country. There will never be a perfect government. But we can ask God to change our attitude. I have struggled through this issue too. I wrestled with God and asked for contentment and joy in wherever He has placed me.

Build your homes, be willing to be God’s channel of peace and blessings to the society, take care of your family, and seek the welfare of your city. Continue to pray for the nation. May God’s glory fill the nations of the world.

Remember, our final destination is in Heaven. Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:20 that we are not of this world– we are only passing through. Let us not lose our focus and succumb to the temptations and lifestyles of this world. As God’s ambassadors in this world, we are to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NIV). We also have the power from the Holy Spirit, to take God’s message of love and salvation to all corners of the world (Acts 1:8).

We are where we are because God has a purpose for us. As we continue to partner with God, may the shalom of God be upon us and our land. Amen.

Photo I took upon landing. The city of Kuching.
A photo I took in Malacca, Malaysia, 2 years ago

Seek the Welfare of the City (Part 4 of 5)

In the previous post (Part 3), we look at the elements of building a godly family. The exiles were to flourish and to build their homes and families in the land. Today, we will look at verse 7 of Jeremiah Chapter 7: seek the welfare of the city.

I took this picture last year when I was in the plane. As the plane was landing, I caught a picturesque landscape of my city: Kuching. Sometimes we need to look at our city from another perspective so that we can learn to appreciate and enjoy all that it has to offer.

To the exiles in Babylon, God commanded them to seek the welfare of the city.

(3)Welfare of the city

Verse 7 says, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare”.

The exiles were living in the land of their enemies. But, God told them to pray for the land and to pray for the Babylonians who have been mistreating them and making them slaves. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Tim 2:1-2, that when the authority over us is evil, all the more we need to pray for them.

It is hard to pray for something you don’t care about. It is even harder to pray for people you don’t even like—your enemies! When God asked them to pray for Babylon, God wanted them to care about the city and its welfare. Seek the welfare of the city because this city is your home. Care for it, love it and love its people although they were different in terms of languages, cultures and religions, and pray for it.

In Hebrew, the word “welfare” or “shalom” means, peace. It is not just “peace”. “Shalom” means a lot more than just peace: it encompasses completeness, wholeness, health, prosperity, safety soundness, peace, tranquillity and harmony.

“Seek the welfare of the city”, do good to all. Do not attempt harm or revenge against your enemies. The Israelites were to bring God’s peace to the city of their enemies. They were to bring the well being to the city where their enemies lived. They were also to bring prosperity to the city that treated them like slaves.

Generations later, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), Jesus, sat on the mount and taught, “Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9)

Matthew 5:43–45, Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this world, to put chaos in order, to give us peace, peace beyond understanding. And if we really seek His peace, His peace will flow through us, transforming us to become peacebearers in our city today.

Grow roots in this place, care for the things happening in this city. For in its welfare, we will find our welfare.

There is a short prayer in the Book of Common Prayer which the Anglicans use. The prayer goes like this, “Lord, make us full of discontent as long as there are brothers and sisters living and dying in hunger.”

Make this be our prayer too, that we can hear the cries and the sufferings of the people around us. Let us not be so happy and comfortable with ourselves that we become selfish and ignorant to what is going on in the society. May God open our eyes to see the needs of the marginalised people around us and inspire us to do something for them for the Glory of God.

In the welfare of Kuching, we will find our shalom. May God use you to be His channel of love and peace to our city.

For our friends who are reading from another country, may you be blessed to be a blessing. May you flourish in your city and may the shalom of God be with you and your city.

Seek the Welfare of the City (Part 3 of 5)

Text: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

In the first part of this series, we learn that God had called the Israelites to build their homes in a place where they were the exiles.

In yesterday’s post, we learn that we are the ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20). In the post today, we will be looking at another thing God had told the Israelites to do:

(2)Family Life

God told these exiles were to do is to build their family. “Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease” (verse 6)

The Israelites were to start building families, to have children so that their numbers would grow (the increase in number also meant they were flourishing).

They were to build on their family lives because families are the building blocks of the society and subsequently the nation. The family unit is the core of society—a healthy family means a healthy nation.

The Theology of Family relationships has 4 elements. These elements are what God is to us, and how we should be to one another in our family:

(i)Covenant: to love and be loved

Our God loves us unconditionally. How should this be reflected in our family relationships? In our relationships with our family, loving one another includes willing to think of the needs of the other person, learn to serve one another, encourage one another through the good and the bad times and bless one another. It also means to listen to the other and respect his or her perspectives.

(ii) Grace: to forgive and be forgiven

While we were sinners, God sent Jesus Christ into this world to save us from our sins. God forgives our sins and mistakes if we genuinely repent of them. It is through God’s Grace that we are saved.

Grace is a relational word because it invites us into a relationship with God. God designs families to function on grace and forgiveness too. We need to give and receive grace and forgiveness from one another, so that we can move on as a family. The family should be the first place we learn to give and receive forgiveness.

(iii)Empowerment: to serve and be served

Jesus Christ the Son of God came from Heaven to earth to show us the example of servant leadership. Empowerment is the process of helping another person to recognise his or her potential by giving encouragement, affirmation and guidance. Empowerment is born out of God’s covenant love and the amazing grace we find in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God empowers us to empower others, including our family members, so that we can live according to God’s intended purposes for us.

(iv)Intimacy: to know and be known

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were able to be transparent before God, they could be themselves without any pretense. That is intimacy.

When family members experience covenant love, grace and empowerment, they are able to feel that they can be vulnerable to one another, without the fear of rejection or ridiculed. To be truly intimate, there should be love, grace forgiveness and empowerment.

May God help Christian families to reflect these 4 elements in their family relationships because they come from God to us. They also exist among the Triune God.

When Christians are intentional about nurturing their families, they will be the agents of change in the society. The people in the society will experience selfless love, genuine care, help in times of trouble and need, friendship and blessings of Jesus Christ through us. Remember, we are ambassadors for Christ. And families are the building blocks of the society.

May God give us grace and wisdom in our family life. What are the ways that you can work on your family relationships so that your family carries the blessings and the love of Christ to your society?

Seek the Welfare of the City (Part 2 of 5)

Text: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

We are the citizens of Malaysia. We also have to remember to whom do we belong. We have to remember our true, eternal identity. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ told His disciples that they did not belong to the world. We live in this world, but we do not belong to the world. Jesus says in John 15:19, “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

The apostles, John, Peter and Paul talk about us being in the world, but not fully blending into this world. We are in this world but not of it (John 17:16). Peter says in 1 Peter 1:1, that we are “strangers in this world” because our citizenship is in Heaven. Apostle Paul says we are “ambassadors” for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

An ambassador is an official representing a nation. The ambassador is sent to another country. He speaks the language, lives in the foreign country and mixes with the local people but he always remember his role and duty is to represent his own home country. He reflects the official position that gave him the authority to be the ambassador. Apostle Paul says we are all “ambassadors” for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). 1 Thessalonians 2:4 says we have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel”. We represent not ourselves, but Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for our sins. And we represent the Kingdom of Light in this world.

Our real Home and our final destination is Heaven. While we make our homes and settle down in a city in this world, we should not adopt the lifestyles, faiths and cultures of this world and act like people who do not know Jesus Christ, who has died for our sins. Remember, we represent Jesus. We are the ambassadors for Jesus in this world.

Trust in God when He has planted you in a city and calls you to build your home and settle down there. And work to make a difference for God in your city.