A Mindset to Prevail

On 9 September 1965, while flying his Douglas 1-4 Skyhawk over North Vietnam, James Stockdale came under enemy fire and his plane was disabled. He ejected from his plane and parachuted into a small village where he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for the next seven and a half years. During the time of his imprisonment, he was tortured no fewer than 15 times. He was beaten, whipped and strangled with ropes. He was kept in solitary confinement, in total darkness, for four years, chained in heavy, abrasive leg irons for two years, malnourished due to starvation, denied medical care, and deprived of letters from home.

Being the highest-ranked POW during that period of time, the Vietnamese tried on several occasions to use him as propaganda and in order to prevent them from doing that, he would slit his own scalp and beat himself with a stool until his face was too swollen to be recognised. At the same time, Stockdale created and enforced a code of conduct for all prisoners which governed torture, secret communications and behavior that helped ensured the survival of many other POWs.

By the time he was released, his shoulders had been wrenched from their sockets, his leg shattered by torturers and his back broken. He also became one of the most highly-decorated officers in the history of the US Navy, including the Medal of Honor. The subject of how Stockdale survived his ordeal became of great interest, and in his book, “Good to Great”, author James Collins noted a conversation with Stockdale in which he shared about his attitude during captivity.

“I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which in retrospect, I would not trade.”

When Collins asked who didn’t make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied, “Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Stockdale added, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail int the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

I believe that there’s something here that we can all learn from. If there’s one thing that we believers know, it’s that Jesus wins in the end, and the devil loses. We have the script for the history of mankind in this dispensation, in which we live in a world that’s in rebellion to the rule of its Creator God. We know that the Church ultimately triumphs and that we’ll prevail. Our mission is clear – Heal the sick, bind the broken-hearted, raise the dead, set the captives free and turn the unrighteous back to the righteousness of God. Jesus will triumph and His death on the cross will not be in vain. The Lamb will receive His reward for His suffering.

However, our faith in our ultimate victory should not blind us to the facts of the present reality. We need to realise that the earth is covered with gross darkness – violence, immorality, homosexuality, deceit, injustice. There’s much to be done today and the Church must not withdraw into a cocoon of false optimism and isolation. Instead we need to step out even more. We need to be prepared to be bruised, intimidated and discriminated against, and yet continue to operate in Kingdom ways of humility, wisdom, meekness and love.

Mordecai’s admonition of Esther in Esther 4:13-14 is worth our consideration: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

We’re all born for such a time as this and we must not shun the divine opportunities that come our way because of fears or an unwillingness to risk our comfort. Let Mordecai’s warning to Esther remind us of the great responsibility that has been entrusted to us. We who have entered the knowledge of His gracious salvation and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit must not draw back. Wherever the Lord has placed us, we need to press on in walking in integrity, establish justice, speak up against wrongdoing, pray for the sick, and most importantly, preach the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus.

Habakkuk 2:14 tells us that “the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” This is our unwavering faith that revival is coming and shall again sweep over the earth. Nonetheless, we need to face the hard facts of reality that it’ll require for us to pray and contend, and to break up the fallow ground of the hearts of men and women. Let this mindset to prevail be upon us.

Pastor Lim Lip Yong

Watch Your Words

There are some things that are worth reminding ourselves of on a regular basis and one of the those things is the power of our words. Here are some quotations for your enjoyment – “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plants the seeds of either success or failure in the mind of another.” ~ Napoleon Hill; “Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back nor ignore the mess that they leave when they fall.” ~ Jodi Picoult

More importantly, the Bible tells us over and over again the importance of governing our words, because of the power that’s contained in the words that we speak. Our words have the power to change our world, affect lives, give hope and inspire to action. At the same time, they can crush read more…

The Secret of Staying Youthful

Ephesians 5:27 is undoubtedly one of the greatest Scriptures, because here we’re told what kind of people the Lord is returning for. The apostle Paul makes it very clear: He’s coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. The reference “without spot or wrinkle” refers to her garments. 

There’s not a single spot or wrinkle on her garment, something which the Lord had given to her. It’s the ability of the Bride to maintain purity and righteousness. But I also want to suggest to you “without wrinkle” speaks of the Bride’s ability to stay youthful. Jesus is not coming back for an old hag, but for a beautiful, drop dead gorgeous, youthful-looking virgin.

Looking youthful is a billion-dollar industry today. People will pay huge amounts of money to look young again. They go for plastic surgery, Botox, cosmetic or aesthetic read more…

There Were Two Trees

In Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17, we read these interesting words, “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” 

Then in verse 15-17, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall read more…

The Art of Being Quiet

We’re living in a generation of stress, and it’s not only in the world; it’s also in the Church. There’s a tremendous pressure that’s coming down upon every person and no one is exempted from it. Unfortunately, Christians are some of the most worn-out people on the planet and that’s a shame especially when we’ve been offered supernatural rest. There’s a huge crisis coming that’s going to purge the system and we as leaders need to recognise and address this because He’s promising to visit His Church in a way we’ve never seen before.

One of the things that’s happening in Silicon Valley, the birthplace of cutting-edge technology, and where all the major trends evolve, is that they’re beginning to discover the power of what they call a “Secular Sabbath”. The principle and wisdom of that is of course taken from read more…

The Perils of Overcrowding

Over the past few months, we’ve been having a recurrent problem. Whenever the services end a few minutes late, the queues will snake from the entrance of our church all the way down to the ground floor and go right out of the building, sometimes reaching even Katong Shopping Centre. Whilst this might seem a good problem to have, believe me, in the long run, it’ll begin to wear on the people in the queue.

Apart from this, we’ve been having issues stemming from this overcrowding. It takes a much longer time to get out of the carpark. You’ve to queue up for the toilets, especially the ladies. People have walked away when they saw these long queues and sometimes, they get impatient and lose their sanctification, and this has happened more than once. We’ve a great ushering team and they read more…

The Afterglow of the Spirit

What an amazing week we had during Kingdom Invasion 2016. I’m certain most of us are still in the afterglow of the Spirit; I am for sure! This is our fourth Kingdom Invasion Conference and after the last conference in 2014, I was almost certain we reached a high water mark. But KI2016 surpassed everything we accomplished in all our previous conferences. We’re building one level of glory on another.

I was extremely blessed by all the speakers. They were certainly handpicked by the Lord. The Word was rich, revelation was strong and fresh, we saw hundreds of healings take place, demons were being cast out in Jesus’ name, significant kingdom connections were being made, but most of all, that glorious Presence invaded us. Who could’ve forgotten that moment on the final night when Heidi spoke, all heaven broke loose and read more…

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