花儿也在成长 The flowers are Growing too

Intrigued by this sign when I was walking along a housing estate in Beijing:
花儿也在成长,请勿扔垃圾哦 (the flowers are growing too, please do not litter).

We too are work in progress. It is important to have supportive friends who are genuine as they encourage us in our journey of life. Through the ups and downs, they stand by us.

Negative friends, on the other hand, will stump our growth or derail us from the purpose God has called us to be.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” —Proverbs 27:17

As we walk with God daily, may we too, be an encourager and stand by our friends as they step into God’s destiny for them.

Let Them In?

Everyone we meet teach us something about life and ourselves.

Someone once said our life is like a train. People come onboard at different stations and some will alight at different stations. Some will alight earlier, while some will stay longer. Regardless of the time we have, each person we met teach us something about life and even about ourselves. 

To prevent the pain of saying, “goodbye”, some have resorted to not saying “hello” to new people. But this is quite a short-sighted thought, isn’t it?

Human beings are created to enjoy relationships and we live in communities. 

In the Lego Movie, the Lego Batman said, “Losing people is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you stop letting them in”.

What a reminder! Don’t close yourself to people for the fear of losing them. Keep loving others. Life is more beautiful when shared with others.

Signs that you are in a toxic friendship

Life is an interesting journey. Throughout our life, we meet a lot of people: there are those who are lovely, those who became dear to us but unfortunately, we will meet some nasty people too.

Not everyone we meet is for us. Some seem to be our friends— until our heart tells us otherwise. Here are some signs that you are in a toxic friendship:  

1.Your friend puts you down

It may be something you are wearing, or something you plan to do. Instead of wanting the best for you (we all make mistakes from time to time and we need a trusted someone to correct us), your friend only mocks you and make fun of the way you look. She finds opportunities to put you down, though it may be her way of hiding her insecurities.

2. There is always competition

Whenever you are with your friend, there is always a sense of competitiveness. Whatever you do, she will try to belittle you or to one step you. Yup, everything of her has to be bigger and better than yours.  

3. She does not celebrate your successes

True friends celebrate our successes. They want to see us achieve our goals and encourage us during tough times. We will also celebrate their successes when the spotlight is on them. The toxic friend, however, will make you feel unworthy for succeeding!

4. She takes you for granted

 In a healthy friendship, both friends give and take. In the toxic friendship, however, she takes and takes from you, and hardly ever reciprocate.  

5. She gossips about you

A friend should make you feel safe and loved. Someone who gossips about you does not have your best interest at heart.    

7. She doesn’t appreciate you for who you are

With true friends, our different personalities are celebrated. With the toxic friend, you will feel judge for being yourself. She is always giving unsolicited advice to change you.

8. She makes you feel uneasy

One of life’s greatest joys is being able to enjoy healthy and wholesome friendships with others. Hanging out with good friends is therapeutic. It energizes us, gives us courage to conquer the day and brings us great joy. When I am with my good friends, we will be sharing our hearts, knowing that it is a safe space to do so. There are also delightful moments when we burst into happy laughter by cracking jokes. We laugh and we cry together.  The atmosphere is light, relaxing and refreshing.

But if you have a friend that makes you feel horrible about yourself and you dread to see her again, it may be your internal alarm sending you a signal that it is better to establish healthy boundaries with her.

Two Stormy Weeks

Thank you all for your prayers and messages of love when dad was hospitalised.

The past 2 weeks had been a stormy experience for my parents and I. On a Sunday morning, my dad fainted while tending the garden. Mum saw that something was not right and rushed to his side. After seeing specialists, had blood tests done, received a blood transfusion, underwent colonoscopy and gastroscopy, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer on the following Monday. Arrangements were made and he had an operation to remove the colon. He is now resting at home, getting stronger day by day. His appetite is slowly returning. When he talks, his volume was loud, like thunder, just like how he used to (and yes, he is now strong enough to nag me). All these happened within the span of 14 days.

I praise the Lord for letting us detect his cancer while it was still at an early stage, although it came with a frightening experience for us. Life is short.

“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

This episode reminds me the importance of cherishing my loved ones while we still have the chance. There were many words I had left unsaid if God took dad Home the moment he fainted in the garden. I am glad I have been giving this extra opportunity to tell him now that he is loved and appreciated by our family and friends. I praise God that I still have the opportunity to serve dad at his old age (I admit I roll my eyes once in a while at his requests). I realise that I had taken these simple moments in life for granted. As a friend said to me a few months back, it is indeed a blessing to care for our parents in their old age, as some do not have this privilege to do so.

I give thanks to the Lord for family and friends who walk with us and pray for us during this time: for the friend who give us love gift, for friends who took turns to bring us food when dad was hospitalised, for messages of love and support from friends and family near and far. A big heartfelt thank you from us! May God reward you for your kindness and love to us!     

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.

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?