God Is So Good To Me

“God is so good, God is so good,
God is so good, He’s so good to me!”

That’s the core message of Christianity – God is so good to me! He is and He will always be. In Him, there is no lack. In Him, we are nourished, refreshed, guided and protected. Even during the most difficult of times and the darkest hours, during the most frightful and life-threatening moments, we fear no evil for He is with us! Surely that is enough for every situation. His plans for us are exceedingly good, and He will bless us abundantly in the presence of our enemies! Imagine what our enemies will say when they see the Lord blessing us when they had intended harm for us (remember the story of Joseph?). And as we continually make Him our Shepherd, goodness and mercy follow us, (we don’t follow them!), all the days of our lives and we dwell in the Lord’s presence forever and ever, Amen!! And very importantly, we MUST remember that the song “God is so good to me” is intended to be sung by every living person – both our friends and foes too – that’s the Lord’s intention – that’s why Jesus said:

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:44-48‬ ‭CSB‬‬

His desire is that all come to know Him and receive Him as Lord. So the next time we sing God is so good to me, and when we feel the powerful, amazing love of God in our hearts, let us also be mindful that the same love of God we know intimately in our hearts is also the love God has for our friends and foes. When that happens, we view them differently and we will relate with them differently too.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Well-loved hymn that contains timeless truths – this is true worship, offering, surrender and sacrifice in response to the finished work of Christ – nothing here about material favours or worldly gains reserved for me, instead the desire of the true worshipper is expressed this way, “demands my soul, my life, my all”.

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Where the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Our Primary Focus in Corporate Worship

When we gather to worship the Lord, our primary focus is to offer ourselves to the Lord in worship in view of His offering of Himself to us first. Thus, we sing songs about surrendering ourselves and our hearts to God as living sacrifices. When we listen to His Word preached, we respond with a desire and determination to live according to His Word – that too is worship. What the devil has successfully done in some instances is turning worship into a feel good, self-comforting thing with too many songs focused on how much the Lord loves me, gave Himself for me because I am so precious, so special, so loved, and really, I am just so amazing!! It becomes all about ME and that’s not worship. And in some churches, the Word preached is also mostly about how much God wants to bless me because I am so special and so loved, favored and blessed. While it is true that God loves us and we are the apple of His eye, the worship service has to be mostly about Him, what He had done for us and what we would offer Him and do for Him as an expression of our worship and gratitude. There must be a sense of both wonder of God’s love and renewed surrender of ourselves to God in daily living. I had such a moment today in church when we sang, “if You’re calling me, I will answer, If You’re bidding me to come, I will come…. Jesus I come, I surrender, all for Your glory I give my life”. Thank you Awaken Generation for this anointed song of selfless worship.

Effortless Christianity?

“This is what I command you: Love one another.” – John‬ ‭15:17‬ ‭CSB

If loving one another doesn’t require effort and if it is an easy thing to do, Jesus wouldn’t need to command His disciples then and us now to love one another. Neither the Holy Spirit in us nor the finished work of Christ would do that for us without effort on our part. The fact that we lock our homes and car doors tells us something doesn’t it? One could say the Holy Spirit will watch over my home and car, so there’s no need to lock them myself. If you should ever meet a Christian like that, you know his or her theology is flawed! More that that, we would probably think that person is foolish! Likewise, anyone who thinks the Christian life can or should be lived without any effort on our part is theologically flawed.

敞开我心 (Open Wide My Heart)I’m

So deeply affected and moved the last weekend by this song, 敞开我心 (Open Wide My Heart) written by Taiwanese pastor, Rev 葛兆昕. The worship teams at Seremban Praise Sanctuary where I spoke last weekend included this song in their worship sets on both Sat and Sun. The entire song has amazing lyrics but in particular, I’d like to share a little about the song title which is sung at the start of the chorus, “我向祢敞开我心, 恳求祢更新我心意” which means “towards You I open wide my heart, earnestly begging You to renew my heart”. While the simple meaning of 敞开我心 is “open wide my heart” but 敞开 (open wide) means a whole lot more (as it so often does in Chinese – such a beautiful language). It’s an opening of the heart that is unrestrained, without limit and forceful. It is best understood through these two sentences, “我手抓着拳,连指甲都陷进了肉里。我要跟他敞开了说” (which may be translated, “with fists tightly clenched, almost digging my fingernails into my flesh, I will speak with him most openly!”) and “昂首立山巅,喝一口水,敞开胸怀,把十万大山抱起来!” (which may be translated, “lifting my head towards the summit, I drink a mouthful of water and open wide my heart to embrace a hundred thousand mountains before me!”) Understanding the deeper meaning and emotions behind the words 敞开我心 certainly made singing it deeply emotional. It’s like saying, “Lord, unto You I rip my heart wide open!” Here’s the original version of the song on Spotify and also the video I recorded with my phone published on YouTube. May the Holy Spirit move you as He had moved me through this anointed sing.

Do I Love Jesus?

Do I love Jesus? That’s the question I asked myself recently. If so, what does my love for Jesus look like? What should it look like? I must admit, for a while it troubled me, do I really love the Lord? How have I loved Him? Then, two things came to mind. First, that warm feeling I feel towards Him in my heart – whether it is during my personal time with Him or during corporate worship, that deep feeling I feel towards Him and my heart that has often been moved by His love and faithfulness in my life, in my family and the churches I had served in. Then I thought, where in the Bible has love for God or friendship with God been described to bring about a warm feeling in our hearts? Ah, Lk.24:32, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” Second, Jn.14:15 came to mind, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” Loving God cannot just be a warm feeling without obedience, neither can it be obedience without that warm feeling. Loving God is about that warm feeling in our hearts towards Him, it is also about keeping His commands – that is, to know His Word and obey it, to do what He tells us to do, to faithfully and sacrificially serve Him, to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to make disciples. That’s how I should always love Him and continue to do so till the day I meet Jesus in glory.

Why Do Worship Teams Like to End Their Set Loud?

Why do worship teams always end their set loud?? My guess is that they want an inspired and maybe perspired end. That’s good sometimes – ending on a high and passionately loud note plus applause. But are there not other ways to end our worship set especially if we often say worship is about encountering God? Why not go from slow-and-soft to deep-and-quiet instead of going from slow-and-soft to high-and-loud? Let me be clearer – instead of starting the set loud and fast, go slow and softer, then end loud (like a U-shape curve), why not start loud and fast, go slow and softer, then go slower and even softer (reducing the number of instruments used) and end off totally quiet (like a reverse S-curve)? Did the Lord not say “be still and know that I am God”? Did Elijah not hear God in a still small voice? Was the burning bush experience not a holy and quiet one for Moses? What about Isaiah’s “woe is me for I’m a man of unclean lips” experience? Even in the natural, don’t we hear better and hear more when we get quiet? I believe most people encounter and hear God best in the quiet moments most of the time. Maybe that’s also the reason why we refer to our personal devotional time with God as….. you guessed it, quiet time and not loud time!