Friday, October 31, 2014

Squirrel Power

“Miserable!” That was the only way to describe how I was feeling that day. My husband had had to travel—again!—and there I was alone with our four children. Finances were low, my health was bad, and my teenage daughter was going through a crisis. I prayed—oh, how I prayed!—that Jesus would make things a little easier to bear.

Looking out my window at a grove of trees swaying in the gentle breeze, I recalled other times when Jesus had encouraged me to hold on until He could work things out.

That’s when I noticed a little squirrel, squeaking away as he climbed up and down the trees, seemingly without a care in the world. I envied the little fellow.

My squirrel chose that moment to change tactics. Instead of running up and down the trees, he started hopping from one tree to the next. He jumped over to the last tree in the cluster, and then looked at one more tree that stood apart from the others. He seemed to be deliberating.

I mentally measured the distance between the squirrel and that tree, and it seemed two or three times as far as he had been jumping. Here was a massive challenge.

“You can’t be serious, little fellow!” I muttered.

But he wasn’t looking for my advice. He ran the length of the branch a few times, squealing frantically. Then he stopped and eyed the distance once more, crouched, and leaped. I wanted to turn my eyes away. Surely this was going to end badly!

But no! He flew across that immense span and landed in the other tree with the grace and glory that come from knowing one is meant to perform such feats. He chattered in victory and scampered farther up the tree, as if to his reward.

I knew then what had been missing. I had been so busy looking at my problems—measuring the distance between the trees—that I was afraid to let go and sail to the other side. I had lost my faith in my maker, my Savior, my best friend.

As I watched the squirrel, now merrily chattering away in the treetop, I knew that Jesus had answered my prayer—not through a spectacular miracle, but rather the example of a happy little squirrel. The same God who took care of him was going to take care of me.



Galatians 5:5 ASV – But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

Hebrews 10:22 ASV – Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

James 1:3 ASV – Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sink or Swim

Have you ever noticed how some people can stay afloat when engulfed in troubles and hardships, while others sink to the bottom? What sets the swimmers apart from the sinkers? From what I’ve seen, the biggest factor seems to be faith in God’s love. When those who understand how much God loves them find themselves in over their heads, they know He won’t let them drown. So, unlike those who don’t have such faith, they don’t wear themselves out struggling just to keep their heads above water—or worse, panic and go down all the quicker. Buoyed by their faith, the swimmers can concentrate their energy on getting to solid ground.

If you feel more like a sinker than a swimmer, you can get ready for the next sink-or-swim situation by strengthening your faith in God’s love. The scope and depth of that love are beyond our comprehension, but the Bible likens it to the love of a father for his children. “He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him.” God doesn’t enjoy seeing you in trouble. He isn’t trying to make life hard for you. He is on your side and wants nothing more than to see you happy and fulfilled. That doesn’t mean He will never let you have problems, but when you find yourself in over your head, you can be sure He will be there for you. In fact, there is a verse in the Bible in which He promises that very thing: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.”

The first step in learning to swim is learning to float, and that starts with learning to relax and not fight the water. Put yourself in God’s hands, lie back, relax, and let Him support you. Practice in the shallows, and you will be ready for whatever the future may hold.



Psalm 23:1-6 ESV – A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalm 91:1-5 ESV – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.

1 Thessalonians 3:7 ASV – Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Relax Your Jaw

As I fixed breakfast, my thoughts drifted to the day ahead. There were meetings to attend, projects to complete, emails to send, phone calls to make, and on it went. The next time I printed out my to-do list, it occurred to me, I should use a smaller font so it would fit on two pages. I grabbed my breakfast and some coffee, and dashed off to get ready for the day.

I picked up a devotional publication I had been reading, and it fell open to a section titled “Practical Tips for Resting in Jesus.” One tip was “Make a conscious effort throughout the day to relax your jaw, stop clenching your teeth, unfurl your brow‚ and let your shoulders drop.” I laughed out loud at the mental picture.

Before I knew it, I was back into rush-and-stress mode. There was just so much to do!

My first task was Bible story and activity time with my co-worker’s two-year-old daughter Aisha, so her mom could get a jump on her day.

As I read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den—always a favorite—and Aisha colored an activity page, making Daniel’s face green and his clothes blue, I realized how I needed to take a lesson from her. She wasn’t worried about the day ahead or how many things had been left undone the day before.

I tried counting my blessings. The first thing that came to mind was that I didn’t have to worry about being thrown into a lion’s den.

Aisha looked up from her coloring and smiled. “Relax your jaw” flashed through my mind, and I determined to not allow the pressure to get to me that day. I would trust and rest in Jesus, even if I didn’t accomplish anything else.

I dropped off Aisha at her pre-school and launched into my “real” workday. Jobs piled up, but amazingly I didn’t feel stressed. At the end of the day I collapsed on my bed, tired and ready to sleep, but I wasn’t down, I wasn’t worried about all the work that awaited me the next morning, and I didn’t have my usual I-need-to-get-away-from-it-all thoughts. I felt happy, loved, and at peace.

I’ve decided that I like this new way of life, trusting the Lord and enjoying life and work and all the challenges that come with it. I don’t always get it right, of course, but I’m determined to keep at it. And I relax my jaw a lot more.



Philippians 4:6 ESV – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Proverbs 12:25 ESV – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Ecclesiastes 11:10 ESV – Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Strokes of God

God loves to precipitate a crisis. He sometimes lets things happen to make us pray and believe Him for the answer. He wants us to take a definite step of faith by making specific requests and expecting specific answers.



Faith in God, trust in God, gives a feeling of rest of body, peace of mind, contentment of heart, and spiritual well-being. When we know that God loves us, we know everything is going to be okay.



We’re supposed to believe God’s Word simply because He said so. It’s like a child who has to trust his parents even though he doesn’t always understand why he must do or not do this or that. He just has to “do it because Daddy says so.” Because the child trusts his parents and feels secure in their love, he takes their word for it. That’s the way we should be with God. We should say to Him, “Yes sir!” and believe it and do it simply because He says we should. That’s one way of showing our love and confidence in Him.



How do you get faith? It’s a gift of God and available to anyone who wants it. The problem is, a lot of people don’t want it until they need it, and then they suddenly find they don’t have the faith they need because they have no background of faith in God’s Word. As no good building is without a good foundation, there is no solid basis for faith without the Word; faith in God is built on His Word. So if you feel like you’re weak in faith, there’s a simple cure: God’s Word will increase your faith.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”—meaning it comes through reading God’s Word or learning from someone who is teaching about God’s Word. The more you fill your heart and mind with the words of God, the more faith and the less worry, fear, and stress you will have.



When you pray, expect an answer. God is bound by His Word, so remind Him of His promises. Never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer, and He will. He has to. He wants to. Trust Him and thank Him for the answer, even if you don’t see it immediately.



Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.—Martin Luther King, Jr.



1 Peter 1:7 ASV – These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

2 Corinthians 5:7 ASV – We live by faith, not by sight.

1 John 5:4 ASV – For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.a

Monday, October 27, 2014

How Faith Works

God loves to precipitate a crisis. He sometimes lets things happen to make us pray and believe Him for the answer. He wants us to take a definite step of faith by making specific requests and expecting specific answers.



Faith in God, trust in God, gives a feeling of rest of body, peace of mind, contentment of heart, and spiritual well-being. When we know that God loves us, we know everything is going to be okay.



We’re supposed to believe God’s Word simply because He said so. It’s like a child who has to trust his parents even though he doesn’t always understand why he must do or not do this or that. He just has to “do it because Daddy says so.” Because the child trusts his parents and feels secure in their love, he takes their word for it. That’s the way we should be with God. We should say to Him, “Yes sir!” and believe it and do it simply because He says we should. That’s one way of showing our love and confidence in Him.



How do you get faith? It’s a gift of God and available to anyone who wants it. The problem is, a lot of people don’t want it until they need it, and then they suddenly find they don’t have the faith they need because they have no background of faith in God’s Word. As no good building is without a good foundation, there is no solid basis for faith without the Word; faith in God is built on His Word. So if you feel like you’re weak in faith, there’s a simple cure: God’s Word will increase your faith.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”—meaning it comes through reading God’s Word or learning from someone who is teaching about God’s Word. The more you fill your heart and mind with the words of God, the more faith and the less worry, fear, and stress you will have.



When you pray, expect an answer. God is bound by His Word, so remind Him of His promises. Never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer, and He will. He has to. He wants to. Trust Him and thank Him for the answer, even if you don’t see it immediately.



Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.—Martin Luther King, Jr.



1 Peter 1:7 ASV – These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

2 Corinthians 5:7 ASV – We live by faith, not by sight.

1 John 5:4 ASV – For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.a

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Finding Faith

The way Jesus works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious and usually takes faith and patience, because His timetable is often different from ours. Living the Christian life requires faith and trust, because we’re not the ones in control—Jesus is. We have to remind ourselves constantly that He knows best, that He does all things well, and that His priorities are often different and much more long-term and “big picture” than ours.

Even with all of His awesome promises—promises like, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He [will] give you,” “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” and “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you”—we have to remember that we can do our part, but we’re not the ones calling the shots. We’re not the ones with the bird’s-eye view of the past, present, future, and master plan for eternity. We can put Jesus on the spot and we can harness all the spiritual power He has put at our fingertips, but ultimately it is His will that must be done. Jesus is in control, and He knows best.

It’s so important to keep an attitude of simple trust in Him, as otherwise we can struggle with so many questions when things don’t turn out the way we were hoping or the way we prayed they would.

There is so much in the Bible on this topic, as well as throughout the writings of men and women of faith from the past 2,000 years—and of course Jesus can also still speak to our hearts today. Every now and then it’s good to stop and reflect on the various reasons why Jesus works the way He does, why things don’t always turn out the way we’d like, why every prayer isn’t answered in the manner we had hoped, and why life is sometimes harder than we think it should be.

If you don’t strengthen your faith, life can seem pretty hard for no good reason. When that happens, you can start to feel that it’s your fault, that you must be doing something wrong, that Jesus must be displeased with you because He isn’t answering your every prayer as you want Him to, or that maybe the promises He’s given don’t actually work “as advertised.”

The devil is always trying to tear down your faith. His job is to try to get you to doubt God’s Word. I’d say that’s his number-one mission—and it started way back with Adam and Eve in the Garden, when he asked them, “Has God indeed said?” He wanted to get them to doubt God, and in that case his charms and half-truths worked.

In addition to the devil’s constant attempts to hurt your faith, you’ve also got human nature working against your faith, because faith defies logic by requiring you to believe in something that is unseen, for which you have no tangible proof at the time. But the more you study God’s Word, the more your faith will grow.

In time you will find many wonderful promises and explanations that answer age-old questions such as why it seems like God doesn’t always answer prayer. But the fact is that life, with all the difficulties and trials and times when prayers seemingly go unanswered, will continue to be a test of faith. It will always be so until we get to heaven.

Whenever things are rough, whenever you feel that they’re not turning out the way you’d hoped, when you feel your prayers aren’t being answered, when the trials of life are a little too much to bear, when the battle seems too long, when your faith is under attack, when you’re feeling weary and aren’t sure if you can take much more, climb up onto the rock-solid foundation God has provided for your faith through His many promises and encouraging words, and rest in that safe haven.

Don’t try to answer all of the devil’s lies and accusations yourself; let the Word answer for you. Take comfort, also, in the fact that this battle isn’t uniquely yours. It’s one that every Christian of all time has had to reckon with, and the answer is the same today as it has ever been—trust in God and His wonderful ways. You can’t figure it all out. Instead, encourage yourself in the Word and relax in the comfort of knowing that Jesus has everything in His hands. Rest in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you and support you, and in God’s time the storm will pass.
One day, while browsing in a bookshop, I came across an encyclopedia with a section of Bible-related articles. I was curious to see how a secular scholar might depict the great men and women of the Bible, so I began to read some of the short biographies—the prophets Daniel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah; King David; Samson; the apostles Matthew, Peter, and Paul. …

One after another, things I had accepted as fact were brought into question: Three people may have written the book of Isaiah; the apostle Matthew may not have written the Gospel of Matthew; Paul may not have written some of the epistles that have been attributed to him. On and on it went. With phrases like “mythological symbolism,” “legendary accreditations,” and “obscure visions,” the author went on to explain in great detail how every book in the Bible was flawed or shouldn’t be taken literally. Adam and Eve should be thought of as “symbolic prototypes of mankind.” The book of Genesis was merely “a way for certain authors to express their theories on the origins of human life and cultural identity.”

I had only skimmed a few pages when a hollow feeling settled in my stomach. Part of me wanted to close the book, but another part kept flipping the pages, looking for some statement that reaffirmed my faith in the Bible. Then my eyes fell on the closing sentence of the entry on Jesus Christ. “In all the inevitable questioning over the biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus, one fact seems beyond dispute: Jesus’ disciples were prepared to stake their lives on its veracity.” And so have countless others down through the ages, I might add. The author, in his scholarly attempt to debunk God’s Word, couldn’t explain away its power.

I felt vindicated, then ashamed at how little faith I had shown just moments earlier. That closing sentence had driven out and slammed the door on the doubts that had entered and tried to take hold of my mind.

I realized then why so many people still have faith in the Bible, even after reading books like this encyclopedia, which undermine faith through their skeptical and narrow views. It’s because through the Bible they have come to know its true Author, God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

God is alive and well; Jesus not only rose from the dead, but He now lives in every heart that invites Him in; and the words found in the Bible are alive and powerful. How do I know these three things to be true? Because I have experienced them for myself. I believe the Bible because I have seen its effect in my life.



Matthew 15:28 ASV – Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Hebrews 11:1 ASV – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

1 Peter 1:21 ASV – Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.


Hebrews 13:8 NIV – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Matthew 17:20 ASV – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ”

Matthew 14:31 ASV – Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Prayer Points

1. Please intercede for Bro Francis, Sis Maggie and Fernando.

2. Please intercede for Sis Rachel and Sis Maggie's mother for a speedy recovery and health to be restored. Keep the family in your prayer for God to strengthen and comfort them.

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

Announcement

Self Denial Alter Service
Date: 2nd Nov 2014 / Sunday
Speaker: Major Irene Cheng

West Malaysia Children's Camp
Date: 27-29 Nov Venue: Penang Children's Home
Fees: RM30.00 (early bird before 27 Oct 2014 )
RM60.00 (normal rate after 27 Oct 2014)

Christmas Involvement List
We invites you all to join in the Christmas programs for Brass Bands, Carols Singing and Trimbrel's Dance. Kindly sign up.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Faith Now and Forever

The way Jesus works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious and usually takes faith and patience, because His timetable is often different from ours. Living the Christian life requires faith and trust, because we’re not the ones in control—Jesus is. We have to remind ourselves constantly that He knows best, that He does all things well, and that His priorities are often different and much more long-term and “big picture” than ours.

Even with all of His awesome promises—promises like, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He [will] give you,” “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” and “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you”—we have to remember that we can do our part, but we’re not the ones calling the shots. We’re not the ones with the bird’s-eye view of the past, present, future, and master plan for eternity. We can put Jesus on the spot and we can harness all the spiritual power He has put at our fingertips, but ultimately it is His will that must be done. Jesus is in control, and He knows best.

It’s so important to keep an attitude of simple trust in Him, as otherwise we can struggle with so many questions when things don’t turn out the way we were hoping or the way we prayed they would.

There is so much in the Bible on this topic, as well as throughout the writings of men and women of faith from the past 2,000 years—and of course Jesus can also still speak to our hearts today. Every now and then it’s good to stop and reflect on the various reasons why Jesus works the way He does, why things don’t always turn out the way we’d like, why every prayer isn’t answered in the manner we had hoped, and why life is sometimes harder than we think it should be.

If you don’t strengthen your faith, life can seem pretty hard for no good reason. When that happens, you can start to feel that it’s your fault, that you must be doing something wrong, that Jesus must be displeased with you because He isn’t answering your every prayer as you want Him to, or that maybe the promises He’s given don’t actually work “as advertised.”

The devil is always trying to tear down your faith. His job is to try to get you to doubt God’s Word. I’d say that’s his number-one mission—and it started way back with Adam and Eve in the Garden, when he asked them, “Has God indeed said?” He wanted to get them to doubt God, and in that case his charms and half-truths worked.

In addition to the devil’s constant attempts to hurt your faith, you’ve also got human nature working against your faith, because faith defies logic by requiring you to believe in something that is unseen, for which you have no tangible proof at the time. But the more you study God’s Word, the more your faith will grow.

In time you will find many wonderful promises and explanations that answer age-old questions such as why it seems like God doesn’t always answer prayer. But the fact is that life, with all the difficulties and trials and times when prayers seemingly go unanswered, will continue to be a test of faith. It will always be so until we get to heaven.

Whenever things are rough, whenever you feel that they’re not turning out the way you’d hoped, when you feel your prayers aren’t being answered, when the trials of life are a little too much to bear, when the battle seems too long, when your faith is under attack, when you’re feeling weary and aren’t sure if you can take much more, climb up onto the rock-solid foundation God has provided for your faith through His many promises and encouraging words, and rest in that safe haven.

Don’t try to answer all of the devil’s lies and accusations yourself; let the Word answer for you. Take comfort, also, in the fact that this battle isn’t uniquely yours. It’s one that every Christian of all time has had to reckon with, and the answer is the same today as it has ever been—trust in God and His wonderful ways. You can’t figure it all out. Instead, encourage yourself in the Word and relax in the comfort of knowing that Jesus has everything in His hands. Rest in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you and support you, and in God’s time the storm will pass.



Hebrews 13:8 NIV – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Matthew 17:20 ASV – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ”

Matthew 14:31 ASV – Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”