Keep Your Lamps Burning Brightly

Attending Sunday School as a young girl, I often sang this song,
“Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Keep me burning ’til the break of day.
Sing hosanna! Sing hosanna!
Sing hosanna to the King of kings!”

A chorus like this seldom leaves you when it’s etched in your memory. It’ll cling to you like truth, if you allow it to wrap you.

One day as Jesus went up on a mountain, a multitude of ordinary men, women, and children followed Him. When He was seated, He said to them, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16

A lamp primarily consists of a vessel with a wick soaked in combustible material, usually oil. Its primary purpose is to allow other things around you to be seen more clearly. A lamp without light is of little use. We’re called to illuminate the world, to allow others to see Jesus more clearly. The lamp represents our confession of faith, and Jesus says we’re to be light in a dark world.

The lamp doesn’t exist to be the centre of attention, but draws attention to the goodness of our Father in heaven. For the lamp to shine, it needs oil, and I‘m impressed that the Lord is saying to us, “Fill your lamp with oil and do not just have enough oil, fill your vessels with more oil.”

In Luke 12:35-36, Jesus said, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.”

We’ve had an amazing 2019 as a church, but if we think that this is it, we’ll not be prepared for the things ahead. God is saying, “Keep your lamps burning brightly!”

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins tells us that they had prepared their lamps, but for them to burn brightly in the midnight hour, more oil was needed than what they had. When the foolish ones heard the cry, though their lamps were burning, they discovered that it wasn’t enough for the journey ahead as their lamps were going out. 

When it dawned on them they had neglected to bring oil in their vessels, it was too late in the hour and the wise didn’t have enough supply for themselves and the foolish when they tried to get more oil. Eventually, the foolish had to go out to buy oil for their vessels and, when the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the wedding – and the door was shut. 

It wasn’t that one group didn’t have oil, but they weren’t expecting such a long delay for they all slept.

Now this is what it means for us – the oil represents our communion and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and our state of preparedness is very personal – it cannot be transferred. This is evident when the five wise virgins told the five foolish virgins to buy oil for themselves, for they didn’t envision the possibility that the bridegroom would come later than expected. And, when they were awakened by the cry, they had no time to fetch more oil to fill their lamps.

The oil must be bought, it cannot be borrowed, and it can’t be passed from one person to another. Our relationship with God is very personal and we can’t buy discipline, character, attitude, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. These are developed through time and established over months and years.

We can decide for ourselves before the year ends if our faith is just perfunctory, that is, it’s enough to confess that we’ve beliefs, character, and motivation to show up for church services – or we can give attention to our spiritual priorities. For each man stands on his own with God.

For we know that the coming of the Son of man is described as in the days of Noah, and God makes this clear in Ezekiel 14:14, “‘Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,’ says the Lord God.”

Therefore, as we end one year and move into the next, we must be prepared by the Holy Spirit through vision and foresight to have more than enough. And so I pray and ask of God that He’ll bring us to a place of humility and obedience, where we’re prepared for more and that He’ll use us to carry out His will.


Ps. Daphne Yang

Ask Yourself This

I should be writing something about Christmas. I know a year is almost over and a brand new one is just around the corner, and maybe I should say something about the new year. But somehow, I feel compelled to say something else. Something completely unrelated to this week of celebration, parties, gifts, and friendship. Instead, I ask us a simple question – Is Christ in us?
 
Is that even an appropriate question to ask in a blog addressed to Christians? I’d like to say that I’m taking the lead from the Apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, this is the exact question he asked in his letter to the Corinthians – to the Church, to Christians, to those professing a belief in Jesus.
 
If Paul saw fit to raise such a question in read more…

From God, With Love

During my recent ministry trip to India, I shared with a group of leaders from John 14:15 where Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” 
I was talking about the key to keeping God’s commandments and overcoming temptations.

For many years, I had tried my best to keep God’s commandments as proof of my love for Him. That was how I always interpreted this verse. However, I soon realised that it was tough to maintain this walk.

There were times where I felt victorious over temptations, but there were also times where I felt utterly defeated and let God down. It was both frustrating and discouraging to live life like a ‘yoyo Christian’ – one moment you’re up and the next, you’re down. I was striving to keep God’s commandments with my own strength.

Then one day, the Holy read more…

Be You. Bring Your Heart!

Building an authentic Biblical community takes more than just weekly attendance – it requires an intentional opening up of our hearts to one another. Deep relationships don’t just happen because we spend a few hours together in the same room once a week, because it’s so easy for us to throw on a façade to cover up the reality of our lives.

In 1 John 4:20-21, the Bible says “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” Our love for God is manifest in our love for people, for the Christian life was never meant read more…

Now, Go!

What a power-packed weekend we had with our special guests – Robby Dawkins, Tyshone Roland, and Todd White. We’ve received many testimonies of healing and breakthroughs, especially from our young people at the FOPx ‘GO’ Conference. Many were blessed and inspired by the evangelists’ ministry to fulfil the Great Commission and go into all the world to preach the Gospel to all creation.

This December, we’ll be sending out 15 Couriers teams (short-term missions) comprising 133 members, into 10 nations. Here are a few simple truths that I’ve gleaned from John 17, generally known as the Farewell Prayer or the High Priestly Prayer, given that it’s an intercession of Jesus for His Church and the apostles (‘the sent ones’).

1. You’re Loved

Several times in these verses, Jesus mentioned that the Father loved Him. God’s love for us is read more…

Seize The Day!

I’m writing this from the Bible College of Wales where we’re witnessing the graduation of 33 students of Batch 9. In the past few years, we’ve seen hundreds of students graduate from 37 nations and it never tires.

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for my wife and I. We had the privilege of inaugurating our new church plant in Johor Bahru in West Malaysia two weekends ago. The week before, my wife was part of the team that dedicated our new church building in Kuching, Sarawak. And last weekend, we inaugurated our new church facility in Tullamore, Ireland.

All this is really very surreal. Not in my wildest imagination could I have foreseen this 29 years ago when I first stepped out by faith to quit my job and serve God full-time, I had no read more…

Get Engaged!

I’m penning this from The Bible College of Wales (BCW) in Swansea, UK, as we graduate the 9th batch of students from the 2019 Autumn Term. It’s been an amazing journey with these 33 students from seven nations, together with our awesome BCW staff members.


With ages ranging from 19 to 71 years, you couldn’t tell the difference when you witness their fervency and faithfulness towards the purposes of God. This thrills my heart because God sees beyond the years and ages, and the possibility of using anyone who avails himself or herself to Him.

Your age doesn’t have to label you as not having enough experience nor cause worry about what others think – that you’re incompetent to complete the work God has called you to do. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on read more…

Your Face, Lord, Will I Seek

I was reading Psalm 27:8 and soon found myself crying out to God, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’ ” Then I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, “Why?”

There was a moment of silence because I’ve never thought of the ‘why’ apart from seeking Him to know Him more. And so, gleaning from the prophet Ezekiel’s wise reply in Ezekiel 37:3, I replied, “O Sovereign Lord, You alone know the answer to that.” Then the Holy Spirit continued, “It’s so that you’ll not be deceived!”

Immediately, I understood what He was telling me because, just the other day, I was walking in the shopping mall when suddenly I felt a little hand grab mine. The toddler seemed oblivious to what just happened and was rather comfortable with read more…

Judge Not?

If there’s a Scripture that’s abused, misused, and yet at the same time unavoidable, it’d be Matt 7:1 – ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’ Abused and misused because it’s so often used to silence valid correction and discipline that should be administered. Those who pursue their own sinful nature often use this Scripture to put others on the back foot so that they may not be confronted by their own sins.
 
At the same time, we find it impossible not to judge as our lives do indeed consist of making decisions and weighing what’s right and wrong, and what’s good and better. How can we go through life not judging? That seems impossible.
 
In truth, this is not meant to be understood as a stand-alone verse. Instead, it needs to be read read more…

Prisoners of Hope

I’ve often pondered on the significance of the verse in Ephesians 3:1 where the Apostle Paul said, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…”

What did Paul mean about being a prisoner of Christ for our sakes? In what way were his constraints benefitting us? And then, I thought of people like Heidi Baker, Brother Yun, and Canon White. These tremendous heroes of our faith have modelled lives of sacrificial surrender to bring the Good News to the poor and those imprisoned and persecuted for the Name of Jesus. 

During the Kingdom Trilogy meeting last week, Canon Andrew White, also known as the Vicar of Baghdad, shared many testimonies of miracles in his church and among the thousands of refugees who were displaced from their homes in Iraq by the vicious read more…

The Feast of Great Rejoicing

The Feast of Tabernacles, which is the 7th and concluding holy day in the Biblical calendar in Leviticus 23:33-44, ends this week. This is the 7th Feast in the seventh month, otherwise called Sukkot. The Feast started at sundown on 13 October and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 20 October.

This Feast is also called the Feast of Ingathering as it’s observed after all crops had been harvested and gathered. This is a time of great rejoicing and we’re to ‘rejoice before Yahweh, our God for seven days.’ (Lev 23:40)

This Feast points to the fullness of God’s plan for Israel, for her salvation, for God to dwell among His redeemed remnant, comprising both redeemed Jews and Gentiles. This is also the time of ultimate eternal rejoicing in the long-awaited Messianic Kingdom.

So how does this Feast apply to our read more…

The Indomitable Canon Andrew White

For a long time, I had wanted to meet the indomitable Canon Andrew White. The stories I heard about him were legendary. The opportunity came one day as my wife and I were having lunch with one of our dearest friends, Canon J John and his wife Killy. I had asked him if he knew Canon Andrew White and J immediately lighted up and told us they were very close and even went on holidays together.

He recounted some amazing stories about Canon White and what God has done through the man in Iraq and I just knew I had to meet him. To cut a long story short, we connected through Canon J, invited him to Singapore and, in just a few days, we’re going to have the privilege of Canon White speaking at our Kingdom Invasion Trilogy on read more…

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