Intimacy With Christ Defines Us

Is 2020 the beginning of a new decade or the end of the last? Whatever your social or mathematical persuasion may be, 2020 has been the ‘new’ for many things.

On the global scene, the year was marked as the new decade with prospects of booming economies, only to be shuttered because of the novel coronavirus, an unprecedented viral spread which continues with increasing deaths.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made world news at the start of the year when they stepped back from the royal family. We saw the worst bushfires in Australia yet, the controversial American Presidential election, the ongoing international war threats and trade disputes, and end this year with the United Kingdom’s much-anticipated final exit from the European Union on 31 December.

On the local scene, it would be the 2020 General Elections with the transition to the 4th Generation leadership amid an unchartered global Covid-19 climate and economy.

As I contemplated the subject for this year’s final blog, the Holy Spirit directed my thoughts to Ecclesiastes – the last verses in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 sum up all wisdom thus: ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.’

Regardless of global shifts, our duty to live godly and honouring lives doesn’t change because God doesn’t expect less of us during trying and unpredictable circumstances. The one thing that keeps us focused is having kingdom vision, being part of something bigger than ourselves by looking beyond what’s right ahead of us. It’s to press towards – and intend to connect and pursue – a hopeful future.

We celebrated Christmas a day ago, and understood Jesus Christ came because the fullness of time had come. The world through His birth, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection will be saved because in Christ is LIFE, and only those who believe in the One sent by God can have eternal life.

Historically, no person has been so widely portrayed in film, drama, story, books or in narrative as Jesus. But, hearing about Him is not enough – there must be an opening of the eyes and ears of our soul to begin to understand what Jesus is talking about.

John 6:57-58 says, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”

We honour Christ and all He is when we offer to people what Jesus is offering us. Jesus emphasised in the earlier verses of John 6 that ‘the bread that comes down from heaven’ is embodied in Him; which means we’re to have Christ in our life – in the most complete, deep, and fullness of His Word. Meeting Him in mysterious and dramatic ways, desiring to shape our life into a loving gift for God.

This is an invitation to an intimate relationship. He’s the source of eternal life, and the spiritual hunger in us can only be satisfied by a spiritual diet. This invitation is to everyone, but not many will respond. Intimacy defines our life with Him. Ecclesiastes 12:12 emphasises ‘the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.’

Everyone has been invited to God’s divine banquet and we’re to immerse ourselves in the Word, in intimate worship, copious moments pursuing Him, and refuse to be discouraged by wilderness experiences.

My prayer for you as we close 2020 is to consider the life God intended us to live. We must not keep our day-to-day life separate from God, thinking to pursue Him restricts our autonomy. Your openness, vulnerability, and honesty will guide you into a unique relationship with Him ‘for many are invited but few are chosen.’

In the words of Aiden Wilson Tozer, “Nothing in or of this world measures up to the simple pleasure of experiencing the presence of God.”


Ps. Daphne Yang

The Plight of Lostness

For thousands of years, the fundamental problem with mankind has been the heart. There’s something twisted inside and we often find ourselves in bondage to our sinful desires. Sin is not just an outward act but the inner disposition of our heart.

The Bible describes sin as falling short of God’s glory, violating what’s right and exchanging the truth for the lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.

John Stott famously said, “Many of the happenings of civilised society, the problems with morals and civility would not exist if it were not for human sin. A promise is not enough; we need a contract. Doors are not enough; we have to lock and bolt them. The payment of fares is not enough; we have to be issued with tickets which are punched, inspected and collected. read more…

Leah’s Victory

When we mention Jacob and Rachel in the Bible, it’s usually about how he worked 14 years for her. She’s the woman of promise – the one we should wait for.

But I’ve a fascination with the story of Leah, Jacob’s first wife. Her story moves me – I pitied and felt bad for her, yet somehow, when I began to read about her life again this year, I saw the goodness and sovereignty of God.

Because of the greed of Leah’s father and his manipulation and deceit, Leah was thrown into a living hell.

She was put into a situation where she married a man who not only did not love her, but found that her very own sister was her husband’s one true love.

The final verses of this passage are the most plaintive I know of, hardly read more…

The Shame Pandemic

“You shall not testify falsely against your neighbour.” Deuteronomy 5:20

I learned the 10 Commandments when I was very young. The image of Moses angrily demolishing the tablets when he discovered Israel had grievously sinned against the Lord – worshipping the golden calf while Moses lingered on the mountain – left a deep, restraining impression on me.

The commandments written by the very finger of God were daunting: Thou shalt not murder, steal, nor commit adultery. At the time, I didn’t understand how the command not to bear false witness against my neighbour could be put into the same category with these ‘weighty’ sins. Time and many life experiences have taught me just how shortsighted I was!

Several years ago, I was shocked by a revelation of just how chilling breaking the 9th Commandment can be. False rumours were being read more…

Managing Prophetic Expectations

Across cultures, continents, and chronology; in fiction and in history, ancient rulers and despots always appointed people with access to supernatural insight. Divination was the basic tool for direction in matters of State and for success in spiritual warfare.

After all, foreknowledge is power, so any and all divine help was sought after and welcomed. King Arthur had Merlin, Liu Bei had Zhuge Liang, Aragon had Gandalf, Pharaoh had Joseph, King Saul had Samuel, and King David had Nathan as their personal and court prophets.

But, for every celebrated and successful prophet, numerous others died brutal deaths if their prophetic words failed to please the king. If they were allowed to live, they spent their remaining years in ignominy and obscurity.

Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill all the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers, and burn their dwellings if they could not reveal read more…

The Strange Case of Obed-Edom

Obed-Edom is one of those people we don’t pay much attention to in the Bible. Maybe many of you reading this may wonder who he is. Obed-Edom appears for the first time in 2 Samuel 6:10, when David sought to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. The first attempt wasn’t done properly, and resulted in the death of Uzza. David was terrified and left the Ark in the house of a man called Obed-Edom. This is the protagonist I want to examine.
 
We’re told Obed-Edom was a Gittite. A Gittite is not Jewish, he’s a Philistine. Don’t forget that, not too long ago, the Ark was in the hands of the Philistines and God brought such a judgment of plagues on them that they quickly returned the Ark to Israel. They were terrified of read more…

The Love of God

Is the love of God a warm, fuzzy feeling? Is it doing good to others or is love simply an emotion etched upon some Hallmark cards?

God is love and 1 John 4:9 says, ‘In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.’ 

For us, the love of God is a second chance – it’s His offer to join His spiritual family and live forever in eternity. God’s love is divine love which many can never fathom. It’s different from the way we love.

Like a husband’s love for his wife with the flowers he brings her, the words of encouragement he offers, and dying to himself in doing household chores. As a parent, the read more…

Godliness With Power

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.’

The last verse shook me to the core. We can actually have an external form of walking with God but lack the substance and power. The possibility that our discipleship and spirituality are not touching deep wounds and sin patterns is sobering.

The more I examined my own life, the more I realised I was increasing in knowledge but was in many areas still at an immature level of growth. Knowledge puffs up but love builds up. read more…

The Code of Honour

‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:22

I can think of no greater epitaph than to be known as a man after God’s own heart. This was God’s accolade of David, not just man’s. Wow! There are many reasons why David fits this description, but the one I’d like to share with you is this – David lived by a Code of Honour. Let me explain.

Perhaps the first thing that came to your mind was the fact that David had refused to exact retribution on King Saul. After all, this is the very person who had attempted to skewer him with a spear and who had relentlessly pursued him to snuff out his life. David felt horrible just for cutting off the skirt of read more…

Don’t Enter Heaven Empty-Handed

As economies restart in the post-Covid 19 reset and gear towards rebuilding in the ‘new normal’, one area which needs to be redefined and re-evaluated in our lives is the way we value the things important to us – our treasures.

Jesus has something to say about this. In Matthew 6:19-21, He admonished us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, but in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Then He concluded in verse 21 with this truth, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

If all our money is invested in the things of this world, then our desires will also be constantly earthbound. In other words, your heart will always follow what you value as your treasure.

In verse 20, Jesus tells us where we read more…

What Happens to a Cow If You Don’t Milk It?

A healthy milk cow produces 30 litres of milk daily, twice as much needed for feeding her calf. That’s good news because humans need the excess it produces. If a cow isn’t milked at least once a day, the build-up of pressure in her udder causes great discomfort and could lead to skin rupture and serious conditions like mastitis. Can you imagine what happens on a farm where the farmer prohibits work on a Sunday?

A farmer who’s good to his animals knows that cows need to be milked – even on Sundays (I do fully believe in the blessings of Sabbath and the principles behind the 4th Commandment, to enhance our relationship with God and others). In Jesus’ time, He made it clear the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

In agrarian read more…

A Tribute to Bishop Satish Raiborde

What can one man do? To put it personally, how often have we wondered, “What can I do as just one person?”

The first time I was truly staggered by how much one single person can accomplish in his lifetime was when I was at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Walking through the 40,000 square foot complex that traced the life and work of Billy Graham left me breathless, mouthing to myself, “How can one man do so much in one lifetime?” There’s one more life that I know of that makes me think likewise – Bishop Satish Raiborde.

On Monday, 5 October 2020, around 11am, Bishop Satish was called home to glory. Bishop’s son, Pastor Nicky Raiborde, is a regular in our church. In fact, to be more poignant, Pastor Nicky has not missed a single read more…

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