Friday, December 19, 2014

Reboot

It’s a typical busy day, filled with the usual responsibilities at home and work, but then more than the usual number of unexpected things come up. You manage to keep going, but notice that you’re running slower, losing focus, and feeling overwhelmed.

What’s one of the first things most people try when their computer starts running slower or having other problems? They save their work and reboot their computer, which clears the computer’s cluttered memory. Often that is exactly what was needed to get the computer working efficiently again.

When you see that it’s taking you longer than it should to complete the task at hand, it may seem like a waste of precious time to stop long enough to clear your mind and settle your spirit, but you’ll probably waste more time and energy in the long run if you don’t. You would be like the person whose computer is running slow or acting up, but who doesn’t want to take the time to clear the computer’s overloaded memory by rebooting.

Here are a few things that you can do to “reboot” yourself, all of which involve stepping back from your work for a few minutes: Take a short walk in the fresh air. Take a few deep breaths to clear your lungs. Stretch. Do some light exercises to get your heart rate up a little. Look out the window at God’s creation. Count your blessings. Enjoy a cup of tea. Take a short nap.
Before you go back to work, ask Jesus to put each of the tasks still ahead of you in perspective. Reassess your priorities and adjust your work plan accordingly.
Revelation 14:11 ESV / And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

John 10:10 ESV / The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Proverbs 17:1 ESV / Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1 Corinthians 13 for Today

Jesus gave us the key to happiness and harmony when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”1 What exactly does that mean, in practical, everyday terms? One of the best explanations ever given is found in the Bible’s “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13. Times and terms have changed, but the underlying principles are as true as ever. Here’s how the apostle Paul might have put it if he were writing to us today.

1. Though I can speak five languages and talk intelligently on dozens of subjects, if I don’t have enough love to keep from gossiping or putting down others, I’m not just making so much useless noise, I’m being downright destructive.
 
2. And though I read the Bible regularly and even know parts of it by heart, and though I pray daily and have a lot of faith and other spiritual gifts, if I don’t have enough love to sometimes sacrifice some of my personal desires for others’ sakes, then all of my “spirituality” amounts to nothing.
 
3. And though I work two jobs to provide for my family, and though I give to charity and volunteer for every community project that comes up, if I don’t show love and kindness to those I live and work with, all my hard work and self-sacrifice are worthless.
 
4. Love has a long, hard, frustrating day at the office, yet doesn’t get snappy and short tempered. Love is happy for the other guy when he gets all the breaks. Love doesn’t have to drive the flashiest car, live in the biggest house, or have all the latest gadgets. Love doesn’t always have to be the boss or have the last word.
 
5. Love isn’t rude or crude, isn’t selfish, and doesn’t gripe or pressure others to get what it wants. Love is too busy being concerned about the needs of others to spend much time worrying about its own. Love doesn’t freak out when things don’t go its way. Love is quick to believe the best about people and slow to believe the rest.
 
6. Love hates to hear gossip and instead wants only to talk about others’ good qualities and the good that they’ve done. Love knows that what it listens to, watches, or reads will affect its attitudes and actions and thereby have an effect on others, so it’s careful about how it spends its time.
 
7. Love is flexible, takes things in stride, and can handle whatever comes its way. Love is always ready to give others the benefit of the doubt and looks for the best in them. Love wants to see others reach their full potential and does all it can to make that happen. Love never runs out of patience, even with those who are slow to get with the program or do their share. Love doesn’t keep looking at its watch when others are talking.
 
8. Love never fails. I fail others, and others can fail me. We all can be mistaken, misguided, or confused at times. Our words and deeds often fall short, and our bright ideas don’t always play out the way we want or expect them to.
 
9. We’re frail, fallible, and often foolish, and our understanding of the world we live in, not to mention the world to come, is only partial at best.
 
10. But when God’s Spirit of love lives in us, that changes everything.
 
11. We’re really just children when it comes to practicing real love, but God can help us outgrow our childish ways.
 
12. Without Him we’re clueless when it comes to love and the other things that matter most in life, but when we live in His kingdom—the kingdom of Heaven that Jesus said is even now within us—we can see things as He does, get our priorities straight, pull out the stops, and live and love to the full.
 
13. There are lots of nice things in life and lots of good things, but none are as good or as important as love!

Love power
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no disease that enough love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open, no gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down, no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. Sufficient love will dissolve it all.—Emmet Fox

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Problem Solving with My Teen

Now that my oldest, Chris,is 13, I have found that I need to change in how I communicate with him. He is not the child he was a few years back. All of a sudden, he is taller than me. How time has flown! It seems like just yesterday he was a constantly active two-year-old, getting into everything.

Like most parents, I suppose, my tendency has been to think that I instinctively know what’s best for my children, and to take action accordingly. That worked well enough when Chris was small, but now that he’s reached a stage where he wants to make more of his own decisions, I’ve found that I need to take a different approach and involve him more in the decision-making process—to treat him less like a child and more like a teammate.

When an issue comes up, it’s more important than ever that I take time to listen to his ideas and understand both his viewpoint and his needs, as well as to explain mine. Then we try to come up with a solution together that will be good for both of us, as well as for anyone else involved.
When I fall into my old habit of trying to tell him what to do without considering his side, he feels squelched, pulls away, and misses a learning opportunity—and I lose his full cooperation. But when I remember to consult rather than give orders, things go well, he takes another step toward learning to make wise, responsible, loving decisions, and our bonds of love and mutual respect are strengthened.
 
High wire act
Making the transition from childhood to adulthood can be like walking a tightrope, and teens need someone there, a parent or other strong role model, to help them find their footing and steady them as they cross over.

When my children reached their teens, I tried to guide them through the decision-making process, but then I’d have them make their own decisions. They’d often try to get me or their mother to make the decision for them, so they wouldn’t have to take the blame if things went wrong, but I would tell them, “Don’t ask me. You know what’s right and wrong. What do you think you should do?” Afterwards they were usually glad that we made them decide, because they knew that was the way it was supposed to be and it helped them feel trusted and respected, which is a very important thing at that age.
Matthew 10:16 ESV / “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

John 16:33 ESV / I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1. Corinthians 10:13 ESV / No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Freedom from Jealousy

Question: I have struggled for years with jealousy. I know my husband loves me, and he gives me no real reason to feel jealous, but I can’t help myself. How can I be free from the grip of jealousy?

Answer: Jealousy—that nasty feeling that you get when you think your partner is neglecting you for someone or something else—can be both irrational and overpowering. Recognizing that jealousy is wrong, that it’s a problem, is the first step, but many people don’t see it that way; they consider it a virtue, or at least a natural, acceptable part of loving someone. Of course those people are unable to overcome it; they don’t even try to.

Jealousy is a no-win situation; it hurts everyone involved and helps no one. Once you realize that, it’s easier to take a stand against it. You wouldn’t deliberately drink poison, or jump in front of a speeding car, or do other things that are sure to have negative consequences, would you? No more should you stand idly by and let jealousy run its course. You may not be able to keep jealous thoughts from entering your mind, but you don’t have to entertain them; you don’t have to accept or dwell on them, or let them control you.

It’s also important to realize that dark spiritual forces are behind jealousy and other negative emotions such as depression, hatred, or unbridled anger, but we can free ourselves from their influence by praying against them. “Resist the devil,” the Bible tells us, “and he will flee from you.” Ask Jesus to intercede and fight for you. It would probably also help to explain your struggle to your husband, if he doesn’t already know, and ask him to pray with you. Once he understands what situations trigger your jealous thoughts, he can better try to avoid them. Also, being open about your struggle is a step towards victory for you.

Don’t be surprised if, after praying, you still have some jealous thoughts. Again, it’s not always possible to keep those thoughts from entering your mind, but you can always exercise power over them, because “He [Jesus] who is in you is greater than he [the devil] who is in the world.” So if they do come, make a conscious effort to resist them then and there.
James 3:16 ESV / For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Romans 12:1-2 ESV / I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2. Timothy 2:22 ESV / So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Carlos Recreated

“Can I stay with you tonight?” Carlos asked in a trembling voice. He’d had a terrible argument with his wife, he explained over the phone, and he couldn’t return home. My wife and I knew that Carlos had already been going through a very difficult time in his life. To begin with, he’d hoped to be promoted to general manager of the company he worked for, but the job had gone to someone else. A few days later he’d been involved in a traffic accident, though fortunately no one was injured. Now this! Everything seemed to be going wrong.

I invited him over, and before he arrived, my wife and I prayed for Jesus to help us encourage him, as well as for wisdom in how to advise him in this personal situation, if he should ask for that.

When he arrived, we could see that he felt truly hopeless. He’d had a second car accident the night before, it turned out, and this time the car had been totally demolished. Now his wife was really upset.
When he had gotten it all out, we asked him why he thought all these things were happening to him. At first all he could do was complain about his wife and how she was always nagging him about his drinking. “She keeps after me about it. I think she just doesn’t want me to have a good time!” he said.

He clearly couldn’t understand her justifiable concerns about his drinking.
After listening for a while, we suggested that the best thing he could do was stop blaming her or anybody else for his problems. We also explained that most of his troubles seemed to stem from misplaced priorities—too much emphasis on having a good time and not enough on the deeper, more important things of life.

“God doesn’t send us troubles just to see us suffer,” I told Carlos. “But He sometimes allows us to suffer the consequences of our wrong choices because He knows that often that’s the only time we will sincerely pray, when we are in trouble. Sometimes He has to send trouble our way so we’ll change. When bad things happen, we turn to Him for help, pray and read His Word more, and try harder to follow what His Word says. By getting back on track, doing our best to love Him and do what He says, we make it possible for Him to give us His full blessing.

“He doesn’t expect us to be perfect,” I continued. “What counts is whether or not we are sincerely trying to do what’s best. When we are, He’ll do His best to take care of us and protect us and make us happy, but sometimes He has to send bad times our way to make us stop and listen to Him.”
Carlos’s drinking seemed to be the main reason his wife was so upset with him, and it was about to cost him his marriage, so I told him how the Lord had delivered me from dependence on alcohol years earlier, and that he could also be delivered.

Carlos’s situation reminded me of the story of Esau in the Bible, when Esau had been so hungry and so short-sighted that he traded his entire inheritance for a bowl of his brother Jacob’s stew. I related that story to Carlos, and explained how I thought it applied. It was like Carlos was exchanging his happy married life for a glass of whisky. “By running away from the situation,” I said, “you could be destroying your marriage. Probably the best thing you could do is return home, apologize to your wife, and tell her you love her.”

At that, Carlos burst into tears and told us that nobody had ever talked to him that way before, but he thought I was right. As we talked more, he became determined to change and to try to make up for the harm he had caused.

We read a few appropriate passages from the Bible and several devotional books, and my wife and I prayed with him for God to help him stop drinking and to bring about a real and lasting change in his life.

A few days later when my wife and I visited Carlos at his office, he was beaming! He gave us each a big hug and said, “God has changed me! I can’t thank Him and you enough for helping me get straightened out!” He went on to tell us how everything had improved in his relationship with his wife, and how happy they were now.

We’re so thankful for the change God brought in Carlos’s life. He never fails when we pray!
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”



Revelation 3:20 ESV / Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

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.

2. Peter 3:12 ESV / Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Who’s the Boss?

When people ask for advice regarding their marriage or budding love relationship, I often tell them that the most important thing is to let Jesus be the boss. No matter how much two people love each other and no matter how much they have in common, they are going to have some disagreements. When that happens, the surest way to know what’s right is to ask the highest authority. If both partners are willing to let Jesus make the decisions, they can avoid the friction and resentment that undermine many relationships.

Maybe the one you love has done things that have hurt you. Maybe you feel he or she doesn’t understand you or isn’t meeting your needs. Maybe you feel guilty about mistakes you’ve made or pain you’ve caused. Maybe a lack of communication has created a gulf that seems impossible to bridge. No matter what your difficulty or circumstances, Jesus has the answers.

He knows your heart and exactly what you need, and He can fix anything. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you, so you know your happiness is important to Him. I’ve found that He always has a plan to bring wonderful things out of each test in our lives. Sometimes we go through long, dark tunnels, but we always come out on the other side as long as we keep following Jesus.

Look to Him for guidance, and have faith that He can and wants to give you solutions to your problems and disagreements. In some form or another, those solutions will always come down to love, humility, prayer, and communication—the four most effective problem-solving tools ever.

You let Jesus be the boss by communicating with Him through prayer, first of all. Take your problems and differences to Him, and let Him speak to your heart about them, either directly or through His written Word. Then act on what He shows you. That’s where the love, humility, and better communication between you and your loved one come in, as well as more prayer for Jesus to make whatever inward changes you each need.

As you do your part, Jesus will reward your faith. He will change circumstances for you‚ improve things, encourage you, and strengthen your spirits. If things seem to be progressing slowly‚ don’t give up. Keep trusting Him to come through for you, and He will bless you with a happy, fulfilling relationship.



Romans 6:23 ESV / For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 12:33 ESV / Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Mark 11:25 ESV / And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Prayer Points

1. Please intercede for Bro Mok Tong Sing, Iris, Jesslyn, Angela.

2. Please intercede for TSA Penang Ministry - Children's Home, Community Service, Thrift Store, Church.

3. Please intercede for one another, for good health, friendship and relationship.

4. Please intercede for Christmas Program.

Announcement


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

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

Christmas Day Service and Celebration Lunch
Date: 25 December 2014 Time: 10:30am
All are welcome. Please bring along your family members, friends, relatives and neighbor.

Christmas Day Open House
Date: 25 December 2014 Time: 7:30pm Venue: Penang Children's Hom
All are welcome.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Worlds to Discover

Our lives involveall sorts of relationships. In fact, relating to people is largely what life is about. Relationships, when based on the right foundation and growing in the right direction, are wonderful, rewarding experiences. Each new relationship also brings with it an exciting new set of challenges and surprises. And of course no relationships are as challenging or full of surprises as romantic relationships.

Opening your life to that special someone is like opening the door to a vast new world beyond what you’ve known so far. You discover the world through another’s eyes; you feel the world through their emotions; you view the world from a different perspective. Now you have not only your own but also their feelings, opinions, and preferences to consider. You discover what makes them tick and how they think. You learn to put their needs before your own, and in the process you also realize things about yourself that you never knew before.

A key asset to a good relationship is honest, open communication. Be honest about your feelings, your needs, and what you like or don’t like. Share your desires, hopes, goals, and dreams. Communication will help you avoid misunderstandings and solve many problems while they are still small.
You have to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and even whether to say it. But if you build the bond between you on that kind of communication, and if you keep at it through the years, then love will thrive.

It is natural, after a while, for couples to think they know each other inside out and therefore need to communicate less. Some couples even stop communicating altogether. But the truth is that two people can’t know each other well enough to stop communicating and not have problems, because people change. Everyone has somewhat different needs and thinks somewhat differently today than they did a year ago, or a month ago, or even yesterday. So if a couple stops sharing their minds and hearts because they think they’ve got everything figured out already, they will miss these changes. When that happens, each person begins to think that the other one doesn’t understand them, and that may be true; maybe they understood them last year or last month or last week, but they won’t understand them today unless they communicate. Better communication can make the difference between a cold, drab, routine, humdrum existence and a warm, loving, fun relationship.

No matter how new or how old a relationship, there’s always something new to discover!



John 21:25 ESV / Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Matthew 24:21-22 ESV / For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Matthew 7:13-14 ESV / “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.