The Key Is In The ‘Beginning’

If you’re like me during this ‘Circuit Breaker’ lock-in with young children, you start your day early with your morning devotions and emerge full of faith and grace. Then, when the clock strikes 8am, the first giant called ‘Home-Based Learning (HBL)’ is unleashed, followed by the second giant called ‘Work From Home (WFH)’ at 9am.

As the day wears on, these giants often end up fighting each other, competing for the trophy called ‘Wi-Fi connectivity’, with the winner enjoying smooth and seamless video conference calls and online streaming.

If you and your spouse are working, there’ll be this internal struggle within you – “Whose job is more important?”, so that the one with the ‘less important’ job will have to fight that HBL giant and rescue the helpless child. When it’s lunch-time, you think it was just a while ago that you had breakfast. And, before you know it, you’re thinking about the dinner menu. You feel energy and patience slowly but surely draining from your body.

By the end of the day, when everyone’s in their room fast asleep and you’re alone with God in the living room, you’ll probably regret some of the outbursts and repented of them, yet you’re also thankful for having a family to love. If not for the grace of God, this ‘Circuit Breaker’ would easily become a ‘short-circuit’!

The irony is that we’ve always wished we had more time to spend with our family. Now that we’re presented with this great opportunity to bond as one, we sometimes end up almost tearing each other apart. I do suspect that those nice family pictures posted on social media are often the ‘calm before another storm’. Perhaps ‘HBL’ should also be called ‘Home-Based Loving’, where our ‘true love’ for each family member is being tested and deepened. Family, after all, is our primary ministry.

Parents, especially those having a challenging time with your children, I want to encourage you with this wonderful Scripture in Isa 54:13 (NKJV): ‘All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.’

Rom 8:28 tells us, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.’ If it’s not good, it’s not the end, and we keep pressing on with God.

In the midst of these struggles and challenges, is it still possible to pursue spiritual growth? It’s a resounding ‘Yes!’

The Apostle John outlined the spiritual progress for every believer in 1 John 2:12-14 and the attributes associated with each level of maturity. The ‘little children’ are described as having their sins forgiven while the ‘young men’ are those who have overcome the wicked one, having the Word of God abide in them. But, when it came to describing the ‘fathers’, which should be every believer’s goal, this same attribute was mentioned twice – you’ve known Him Who is ‘from the beginning’.

Interestingly, this same apostle, who was described as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’, also began the Book of John with these three words – ‘In the beginning…’ (John 1:1). Moses, whom the Lord spoke ‘face to face as one speaks to a friend’, also began the Book of Genesis with these words, ‘In the beginning…’ (Gen 1:1).

Could the ‘key’ to growing spiritually mature and strong be linked to understanding the ‘beginning’? What was it like ‘in the beginning’? We go back to the Book of Beginnings in Genesis.

In the beginning, it was just Adam, Eve and God. No big ministries, no applause of men, no distractions from any sports or entertainment. It’s quite surreal watching well-known preachers preaching alone on huge stages to empty halls, which were once filled with people.

The only ministry Adam and Eve had was to fellowship and minister unto the Lord. They were sustained by His Presence, not programmes. So, if you’re feeling restless during this Circuit Breaker period, and always need to pack your day with activities, perhaps all these while you’ve been sustained by programmes instead of God’s Presence. You see, the Ark of the Covenant was not meant to be carried by ministries (bullock cart) but on the shoulders of ministers (people). The greatest ministry you can have is to minister unto the Lord!

If you can’t get used to spending time with God, you won’t like it in Heaven – Heaven is all about Him. I believe, as you spend time with God during this lock-in, when the clutter is removed, you’re going to find your true calling in life.

While the world looks for better methods, God looks for better men (and women). For every Pharaoh, there’s a Moses. For every Goliath, there’s a David. For every Haman, there’s an Esther. For every captivity, there’s a Daniel. Even while confined on the island of Patmos, God wrote the Book of Revelation through the Apostle John. For this Covid-19 lock-in, God is raising you up!

Jesus said in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Rev 22:13). God knows the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10) and He’s got you covered when you put your trust in Him. You’re going to triumph over your situation, for ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4)


Ps. Kevin Koh

’Ritardando’* Time

2020 began with a bang for me. On the first day of the New Year, I was caught on camera for speeding and slapped with a hefty fine and demerit points for failing to conform to a red light signal. The traffic light had just turned amber and I had thought I could make it across at my current speed. I was wrong! It wasn’t the happiest way to start the year, but I felt that the Lord was teaching me some precious lessons in preparation for the coming days of peril. 

Slow Down to Stop

For those like me who need a refresher course, amber means slow down and prepare to stop! Period. 

One of the characteristics of modern life is that of ever-increasing speed. Let’s be honest; even during this period of quarantine and enforced rest, it’s still very read more…

Unprecedented

In all my life as a believer, I’ve never seen what I’m witnessing right now – this Covid-19 crisis is certainly setting the Church up for the ‘Return of the King’!

Everywhere in the world, there’s a spiritual awakening. It’s unprecedented. Various ministries are launching major global prayer initiatives, and seers are exploding with incredible visions. I believe this growing crescendo is building up to that one moment where we’ll see the spark light up a massive global revival. Yup, the day we’ve all been speaking about is now here. It has come!
 
For starters, this week we celebrate Passover on Apr 8. It’s epic. For the first time in 2,000 years, Passover 2020 will be celebrated the way they did on the 1st Passover evening in Egypt, in family units. I find this remarkable. In the read more…

Presence & Provision

The Parable of the Prodigal Son comprises three central figures – the father, the prodigal, and the older brother. While a substantial portion of the narrative focused on the prodigal, the title of the parable in fact points to the real target audience rightly being the older brother. After all, the Lord was addressing a complaint from the Pharisees and scribes about the sinful company Jesus was keeping.

I point our attention to Luke15: 31 – the father’s response to the older brother who complained about his once-profligate sibling. The father said, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”

Let me categorise the reality that escaped the older brother – he had presence and provision without limit. He had the two most highly-prized assets in the household, and yet, neither realised it nor luxuriated read more…

Maturing Through Crisis

This Covid-19 pandemic is like a huge reset button that ‘rudely and forcefully’ interrupted our routined lives; without ample warning and without our consent. It’s heavily featured on every country’s news headlines and dashboards. Suddenly, things that once mattered to us don’t really matter anymore.

Every day, we’re forced to evaluate and decide on what are the truly important priorities in life. Our values & convictions are constantly challenged against this backdrop. And just when you think one wave has subsided, another wave sweeps in. Our National Development Minister Lawrence Wong just said on 25 March 2020 that Singapore is only at the “beginning of a very long fight” against Covid-19.

The fight against Covid-19 is not just a collective battle, but an individual and a personal one. Perhaps the greatest revelation during this crisis – one that has eternal value – is not the medical read more…

Possessing the City Gates

Cities don’t have walls anymore. We don’t have to pass through massive, guarded gates which are impenetrably barred at night, or in times of danger. People come and go at will, bringing with them their wares and cares. There’s no inspection, no questions asked. There may even be a big ‘Welcome’ sign.

We’d have to go back a millennia or more to fully grasp the importance of walls and gates of the city to the people in Biblical times. What was their purpose then, and what’s their relevance to our lives today? If we fail to understand their meaning, we may inadvertently be leaving ourselves vulnerable and defenseless. This is no time to be caught unawares! We need to increase our vigilance, and ensure our gates are secure.

The first mention of possessing the gates of our enemies came as read more…

Thriving Through The Seasons

In 1 Chronicles 12:32 is a description about the sons of Issachar that we’d do well to emulate – they had understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. We can be swayed by the circumstances and uncertainties of the times we’re living in or we can find answers to these questions ‘What season am I in? What is God doing in my life? How do I respond?’

When we don’t know the season we’re in and what we ought to do, we might wish we’re in someone else’s season, resist what God is doing in our lives or try to get out of His timing. Instead of going through each season victorious, we barely survive because we don’t recognise what the Teacher is trying to teach us. The process of learning and growing can be frustrating read more…

God’s Faithful Witnesses

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is when good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I seldom have people witness to me about their Christian faith, though many have confessed their faith after I initiated a conversation. It’s highly true that the vast majority of Bible-believing Christians don’t witness to others about their faith in Christ. We may invite our friends to church, but the majority don’t win others to Christ, and many of us are guilty.

Our Lord Jesus commissioned each of us to share the Good News and “seek the lost.” He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations”; and “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15).

This is our greatest calling, which is to share His love and read more…

Faith or Fear

As a church, we’re into a full month of increased precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19. We issued a set of advisories on the first weekend of February, and engaged a cleaning company to do a thorough cleaning and sanitisation of our facilities weekly.

The following week, we cancelled our Toddlers’ classes, all non-urgent meetings of over 50 people, introduced mandatory temperature-taking and weekly live-streaming of our services. We essentially trimmed our gatherings to just our weekend services, and on Feb 15, announced the cancellation of our Kingdom Invasion Conference.

These last four weeks have been intense as we sought to put measures in the church to ensure our members’ safety. For any other organisation, it’d be pretty straightforward. But for a church, there’s always a lingering question as to whether we’re acting in faith or fear.

This is read more…

Betraying God

I was reading the usual passage of Scripture for Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread…”, when my eyes zoomed in on the word ‘betrayed’. Betrayal has to do with being unfaithful in guarding, maintaining or fulfilling the trust given, especially in times of need: it’s to deliver or expose someone to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty.

We find great comfort that, whenever we’re betrayed, we’ve a Saviour who can understand and identify with our pain, even as He was betrayed by His disciple Judas Iscariot, and even Simon Peter who denied Him three times. Yet, that day, in my time of searching my own heart, I found myself asking this question which we seldom ask, “Lord, have I read more…

When God Seems Silent

Upon receiving disappointing results for her first school assessment, my dejected daughter came to ask me, “Why didn’t God answer my prayer and help me in my test?” I immediately shot up an emergency prayer to heaven for inspiration to help me satisfactorily simplify a theological enigma for my 7-year-old.

Since the beginning of this year (2020), my family has been diligently incorporating the daily creed of ‘Praying First for ALL Circumstances.’ Before sleeping each night, we take Communion, recite Psalms 23, 91, and The Lord’s Prayer, and then pray for one another. That’s why I knew I had some solid explaining to do for my little one’s ‘unanswered prayer’ conundrum. 

My first attempt didn’t go down too well. “I think God answers all our prayers in His perfect way, but we’re the ones who see our requests as unanswered.” That read more…

Be Still

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Last month, my daughter woke up to tremors and snow-like ash falling outside her window in the Philippines from a nearby volcano. Meanwhile, the coronavirus erupted too, spewing panic like poisonous ash on unsuspecting populations.

Masks have dawned overnight like sandbags amassed to keep back swollen rivers. Once-teeming cities of millions in China have become ghost towns. Young and old, rich and poor now huddle behind feeble defences, hoping the virus won’t ‘Pompeii’ its way towards them.

The ‘Be still and know’ verse in Ps 46:10 begins with a frightful description of waters roaring, mountains shaking and being carried into the seas. It reads like a modern-day newspaper, and yet breathes hope into these chaotic events.

I found myself yearning to enter a time machine, propelled back to the feet of David. I’ve a read more…

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