Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to Find Real Love

To be genuine and lasting, romantic love must be based on a more enduring foundation than mere physical attraction or fleshly gratification.

It must include an unselfish desire to protect and help and make someone else happy. It must also involve admiration for the other person’s finer qualities. A person can be in love with their partner’s mind, spirit, sentiments, and bearing—all of which have little or nothing to do with physical beauty. Real love is a spiritual thing; it’s not merely physical. It’s mostly manifested in spiritual and mental companionship and compatibility, the likes and dislikes and habits that the two people have in common.

When I was a young man, my mother once told me not to put the physical features first in my quest for a soul mate, but to seek something more in a woman than that. “Most of all,” she advised, “seek that indefinable thing called personality. Seek the liveliness of the spirit, the fascination of the mind, the irresistibility of the heart, the magnanimity of the soul.” The things of this earth can satisfy the body, but God has made us so that our spirit can only be satisfied by the things of the spirit.

God’s Word tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” God didn’t say we wouldn’t or shouldn’t need or desire or enjoy the things of this life, but He admonishes us not to have an inordinate love for them to the point that we put these things before the even greater needs of our spirit.

If you put the desires of the flesh first, then you’ll find that nothing ever satisfies, not even the most total indulgence. Those who seek only to gratify their flesh will never find complete satisfaction and happiness. The things of this earth can satisfy the body, but only God and His true love can ever fill that aching spiritual void in the heart, because He created that place for Himself alone.

True happiness comes not in your personal pursuit of selfish pleasure and satisfaction, but in finding God and giving His love and life to others, and bringing them happiness. Then happiness will pursue and overtake and overwhelm you, personally, without you even seeking it for yourself.

I once knew a woman who was always seeking the man of her dreams but never finding a relationship that satisfied or lasted because she was always seeking to get love, to receive love, to be loved. When I suggested to her that perhaps she needed to learn to give love and to love unselfishly for the benefit of another, this struck her as an entirely new thought. It had never even occurred to her before! She went out and soon found what she had been looking for all the time—by finding a man she could make happy by giving him her love.

That’s the secret: Look for someone to make happy, and then happiness will find you! “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”4Those are God’s laws of the spirit and are just as definite as the laws of physics, such as the law of gravity. God’s laws of the spirit never fail. They always work for you or against you, depending on your actions and motives. And the first law is the law of love—unselfish love for Him and others. If you will obey that law and give the love that is His and others’ due, you will also receive love, “for with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Life, liberty, and the giving of happiness to others—these are things that only God can give and the only things that will ever satisfy your spirit. So if you want to be happy and make someone else truly happy, seek the satisfaction of the spirit that can be found only in God and His love!
1 John 4:8 ESV – Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

John 13:34-35 ESV – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

1 John 4:7 ESV – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Walk a Mile in His Shoes

“Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”If there was anyone who knew all about that, it was probably Mother Teresa. After having lived among the poorest of the poor in India for nearly 30 years (and she would continue to do so for nearly 20 more), she was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She began her acceptance speech with the words, “Life is life.” She went on to explain that all human beings are special and of great worth, no matter who they are, and that only when we have learned to respect that fact can we begin to help them improve their lives.

Most people would be happy to walk a mile in a pair of plush designer shoes or top-of-the-line athletic shoes, but how many would want to step into a poor laborer’s shoes? When I was living in Uganda, East Africa, I found a discarded pair of shoes that became to me a symbol of Africa and its sweet-spirited but struggling people.

It was apparent from the cement splatters that their last owner had been a construction worker. Like many others I observed there, he no doubt worked long days in sweltering heat with no protection against the sun and had only a couple of sticks of raw sugar cane for lunch. He had worn those shoes until the holes in the soles had gotten so big that the shoes no longer served their purpose. When there was no point in wearing them one more day, he left them for me to find. It wasn’t his intention, of course, but those shoes put my own petty problems into perspective.

There wasn’t any question in my mind when, some time later, a young man knocked at my door, asking for help. He had won a scholarship to a boarding school, but there was one requirement he couldn’t fulfill—he didn’t have any shoes. He asked if I had an extra pair I could give him. The ones I was wearing at the time fit him quite nicely, and that was that.

No, one simple act of kindness didn’t make me a saint on the level of Mother Teresa, but I do believe that in that moment I experienced a touch of what motivated her all those years: “The love of Christ compels us.”
Proverbs 18:2 ESV – A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 14:29 ESV – Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Proverbs 17:27 ESV – Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let Me Be a Little Kinder

A popular song that made a big impression on me as a teenager seemed to be a prayer. I say “seemed” because the song didn’t mention God or prayer. It also didn’t sound like any religious music I’d ever heard. The lyrics were deceptively simple—big truths about character and success in life expressed humbly and winsomely. I wanted to be like that, I remember thinking. It was the best sermon I’d ever heard.

Let Me Be a Little Kinder
Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me;
Let me praise a little more.
Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery,
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me.
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver;
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.
Let me be when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery;
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker,
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me.

—Glen Campbell
If that was what religion was all about, I also remember thinking, it wasn’t so bad. It would be a few more years before I read from the Bible for the first time, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised to learn that was what true Christianity was all about—loving God and others. I was also pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to muster that love from within myself. It is a gift from God, freely available to anyone who asks for it. All it takes is a simple, sincere prayer. Like that song.
Genesis 21:23 NIV – Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 11:17 ESV – A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Seasons of Life

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…
Thank You, God, for the seasons of my life, each having its own special beauty.
“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”—Psalm 118:24

A time to be born, and a time to die…
Thank You for the gift of life, and thank You that one day I will pass from this life to the next, carried onwards through Your love.
“My times are in Your hand.”—Psalm 31:15

A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted…
Thank You for both success and failure; experience is a hard but faithful teacher.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”—Psalm 37:23–24

A time to kill, and a time to heal…
Thank You for the sicknesses and other troubles that You have allowed in my life, so that I could rely more on You. Thank You for bringing me through them all.
“To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.”—Malachi 4:2

A time to break down, and a time to build up…
There have been disappointments and losses; thank You for how they have made room for better things.
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.”—Romans 8:28

A time to weep, and a time to laugh…
Thank You for seasons of sorrow and of joy, for the sunshine that is even more appreciated after a storm.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”—Psalm 30:5

A time to mourn, and a time to dance…
Thank You that despite the sadness I feel at the loss of loved ones, I have the enduring comfort of knowing they are happy in heaven and we will be together again.
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.”—Psalm 30:11

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones…
Thank You for changes, which remind me that You are the one constant in my life.
“[Nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 8:38–39

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…
Thank You for the company of friends and loved ones, and thank You also for times of loneliness when I experience the comfort that You alone can give.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”—Deuteronomy 33:27

A time to gain, and a time to lose…
Thank You for the times of need as well as the times of prosperity, each in their own way teaching me to appreciate my blessings.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”—Job 1:21

A time to keep, and a time to throw away…
Help me to let go of pride, selfishness, and other sins of the heart. Whatever the future holds, help me to hold onto what are most precious—You and Your love and truth.
“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.”—Philippians 1:6

A time to tear, and a time to sew…
Even when I go astray, You never withdraw Your love. Your mercy and forgiveness make me want to do better.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak…
Thank You for always being there to listen to my problems, offer solutions, and put me on a positive path. Help me to be more like that with others.
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.”—James 1:19

A time to love, and a time to hate…
Help me to forgive those who wrong me—to “love the sinner but hate the sin”—as You do with me.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:32

A time of war, and a time of peace.
War will be with us as long as evil exists in this world, but thank You that one day You will put a stop to all that. In the meantime, help me to be a peacemaker.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”—Matthew 5:9 KJV

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Changing for the Better

God wants only the best for us.

Psalm 84:11b: No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Matthew 7:9–11: Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 12:32: Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

God can and will help us change for the better, if we let Him.

2 Timothy 1:12b: I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

Philippians 1:6: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:13: For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

But the natural man resists change.

Mark 7:9: And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

Luke 5:39: And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’

Yieldedness to the Lord’s will is the key to beneficial change.

1 Samuel 3:18b: So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

Psalm 40:8: I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.

Isaiah 64:8: Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Jeremiah 42:6: Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the LORD our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the LORD our God.

Matthew 6:10b: Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

During the changing process, we must do two things: not worry about the past and keep our eyes on the goal ahead.

Philippians 3:13–14: Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:18: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Colossians 3:2: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Hebrews 12:1–2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Paryer Points

1. Please intercede for Bro Soon Bee, Wei Lin and Ethan Ong

2. Please intercede for all TSA ministry in Malaysia, all officers, staff and large network of people.

3. Please intercede for one another and uphold one another in your daily prayers.

4. Please intercede for Christmas Program and TSA ministry in Penang


Count Down: West Malaysia Children's Camp
Date: 27-29 Nov Venue: Penang Children's Home
Please pray for all the childrens, teachers, volunteers for a successful camp and blessed fun time.

Penang Christmas Open House
Date: 14 Dec 2014 (Sunday) / Time: 7-10pm
Venue: Fort Cornwallis, Esplande.

Caroling PracticeKindly take note of caroling practice after the church service.
Bro. Tong Sing will lead us, please do come and support.

Flower offering for 2015
Please contact Bro Francis Elias.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seize the Day!

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
—Dale Carnegie

The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the “buts” you use today.
—Les Brown

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
—Albert Einstein

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have.
—William A. Ward

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (“The Builders”)

You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.
—Harriet Martineau

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
—Groucho Marx

Never let yesterday use up too much of today.
—Will Rogers

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today!
—William Allen White

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Light tomorrow with today!
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

James 4:14 ESV – Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 – I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

Psalm 31:14-15 – But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life’s Editing

I had struggled with and overcome the demons of self-doubt and fear of failure, launched out into the deep, put pen to paper, and written my first short inspirational piece.

I sat back and read it through several times. Pleased with my modest effort, I submitted the piece to a monthly magazine for possible publication.

Some time later the magazine’s editor contacted me, saying he would like to print my article. He also enclosed an edited draft for my approval or further revision. Edited! As I sat and stared at “my” work, now before me in edited form, a strange mix of feelings swept over me. I had seen myself as an up-and-coming writer, but that image vanished like a mirage in a gathering sandstorm.

After the initial shock subsided, I tried to think about the situation more objectively. The edited version was indeed better. The central idea I wanted to convey was still there, the imagery was intact, and the tone was unchanged, but the superfluous parts had been cut to get to the heart of the piece.

As I contemplated this, my eye caught a picture of a diamond ring in a magazine lying open on my table. I thought about how someone had mined the chunk of rock that had contained that diamond, and about the skilled hands of the lapidary that had transformed that diamond in the rough into a thing of beauty, highly valued and greatly desired. Like a diamond trapped in a chunk of rock, my rough piece had not been the final product. The diamond had been there, but it had taken other skilled hands to retrieve, cut, and polish it.

Life is like this too. We are created as rough drafts that must go through the editing process. God sees in each of us that spark of promise, like the editor spots a promising thought as he scans the rough drafts that cross his desk. Then God works to transform us step by step into a finished article that will make worthwhile reading. Our substance is reshaped repeatedly by the choices and decisions we make, the superficial and superfluous bits are purged through life’s trials, and we are fine-tuned and polished through our daily interaction with others.

Like my roughly penned story, in the hands of the Great Editor my life has become more than it was to begin with—and He’s not done yet.

Psalm 119:59 ESV – When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Proverbs 21:1 ESV – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.