TWC 20111125: You Do Not Have Because You Do Not Ask

Friday 25 November 2011

While we must be careful about becoming greedy and always asking God to bless and give us stuff, there is certainly room for a lot of asking in our walk with God. Jesus said “ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find” (Mt.7:7). He also said, “until now you have not asked for anything in My Name, ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete” (Jn.16:24). But what do we ask for? 1Jn.5:14,15 tells us that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” That’s the key, to ask according to His will. Salvation and healing, for instance, would most certainly be according to His will, at least in most instances. There are occasions when we have prayed for loved ones to be saved or healed, and it didn’t happen – while we don’t understand, but we continue to trust in the God who is love, the righteous God who will always do what is right. Joni Eareckson Tada who has been a quadriplegic for over 40 years quoted her friend Steve Estes, “sometimes God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves”. I think that is an excellent perspective on pain, suffering and the will of God. Though sometimes God may not give us what we ask, we should never stop praying for salvation and healing. James says, “you do not have, because you do not ask God”. My friend Roma Waterman (singer-songwriter-worship leader) once said, “The last thing I ever want is when someone is not healed because I didn’t pray!” I agree with Roma completely and because I do, I do my utmost to pray for someone who is sick every opportunity I have. For a variety of reasons, sometimes I neglect to do so, but I do most of the time. And yes, I have seen people healed not just eventually, but instantly too. As you begin your day today, walk in faith, walk with the desire to bless others. Ask God to use you to touch lives, to bring His healing and His salvation to all around you. Have a great day!

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (Jas.4:2)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Take my healing to the nations …


TWC 20111124: Ungodly Desires

Thursday 24 November 2011

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind” – Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) in the 1987 movie, Wall Street. Gordon Gekko’s “theology” on greed is infectious. The world loves it because everybody seems to want more of everything – more money, more adulation, more love, more favor, more power, etc. Even Christians, consciously or otherwise, are trapped by this ungodly desire. Think about the way many people pray – “Lord, bless me, bless us, bless my family, bless our church, give me, give us …”. While the Lord certainly wants to bless us and give us good and perfect gifts, but if “bless me – give me” becomes the most prominent theme in our life and the most frequently uttered words in our prayers, then we are trapped by greed and ungodly desires which result in fights and quarrels. The things that usually make the news headlines have to do with greed. Allow me to lift a few current ones from, “Trio beat boy, stripped him and filmed hour-long ordeal”, “ERA defends messy queue at Bedok Residences showflat”, “Singaporean mum hires stripper for son’s birthday”. Surprised, I don’t think so. In fact, I think we’ve gotten quite used to these headlines of life. What does a Christian do? James tells us to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us. He also says, “wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded”. As we begin our walk today, let’s ask the Lord to cleanse us from ungodly desires and fill us with desires for the things above. May our walk today honor God and make a difference in someone’s life. Have a great day!

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battles within you?” (Jas.4:1)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Here’s Gordon Gekko’s ungodly “theology” on greed that has gripped so many …

TWC 20111123: Are You Wise or Unwise?

Wednesday 23 November 2011

It’s been said that knowledge is knowing what to do, and wisdom is doing what you know. Wise people translate what they know into what they do. Unwise people know the right thing to do but just won’t do it. It’s like telling a toddler not to touch the iron because it is hot. Some toddlers would listen and not touch it, they benefit from our wisdom and experience. But there will always be those toddlers who must touch it and learn the hot way … err I meant the hard way. Teenagers and adults are the same. Some of us would be humble enough to learn from the wisdom and experience of others, and we benefit from that. But there are times, different ones amongst us would not listen to good advice, pride stands in the way and we just have to learn our lesson the hard and painful way! James tells us in chapter 3 to demonstrate our wisdom through the way we live – what we do in humility. Our wisdom must come from the Lord, not just any kind of wisdom the world serves up to us. The wisdom that comes from God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. That is a great guide for us. So we know that if the things we do result in the opposite of any of these, then it is not wisdom from above. James also warns us that if we harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts, such “wisdom” is not from God but comes from the devil! As you begin this day, choose wisdom from above. A great way to do that is to take a little time to consider how to react to a situation, pray and ask God for wisdom, don’t make hasty decisions and don’t speak too quickly but be quick to listen. Have a great day walking with God!

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (Jas.3:17)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: A funny little skit about how ridiculous human wisdom can be sometimes!

TWC 20111122: Tame the Tongue

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Having cautioned his readers about not being overly eager to teach because teachers are judged more strictly, James goes on to say that we are all imperfect, we all say the wrong thing sometimes. No teacher is perfect. Thus, for those who believe they are called to teach, they need not wait till they are perfect before they commence their ministry, because if they do, they will never start teaching as no man is perfect! While we may be imperfect, the important thing is to know that if we constantly keep ourselves in check, if we constantly exercise control especially over our tongue, we will not be easily stumbled or be found to be at fault. Though small and seemingly insignificant, James says the tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body! It can corrupt the whole person if we are not careful. Properly controlled however, the tongue praises God and blesses people. And that’s what every teacher of the Word must desire and pursue. As you start this new day, pray and ask the Lord first to clarify and confirm your calling and ministry; second, ask the Lord to help you exercise control over your tongue so that you may praise God and bless others. (This is my prayer too.) Have a God-filled day!

“We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (Jas.3:2)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Who do you serve? When you are not careful with what say, who do you serve?

TWC 20111121: Teachers, Be Warned!

Monday 21 November 2011

I have come across many Christians who are eager to teach and preach God’s Word and I get mixed feelings. On the one hand, I rejoice with some of these because they have a certain degree of maturity and more importantly humility. And I know that when they teach or preach, they will draw people to Jesus. I know they’ll be committed to what John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease”. Yet on the other hand, it worries me that some of those who are eager to teach and preach are just in the early days of growing in maturity and humility. When they speak, consciously or unconsciously, they draw people to themselves. I am concerned because I know the road they’re on will only lead to pride and destruction, which is exactly where the enemy wants them. The Book of James reminds us that those who teach will be judged more strictly. For those who are already teaching, let this serve as a sober reminder of the great responsibility that God has entrusted to us, something you and I must handle with great care, humility and godliness. For those who are not yet teaching but eager to teach, may today’s word encourage you to search your heart and check your motive. If your heart’s desire is to honor God, magnify Christ and draw people to Him, your words will reflect that. If not, your words will also reflect that. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. As you begin your day today, invite the Lord to rule over every thought and every desire within you so that your life may be a fragrant offering to the Lord and a blessing to many people!

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (Jas.3:1)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Lord, my desire is to honor You and to live for You alone … have Your way in me

TWC 20111120: Even the Demons Believe

Sunday 20 November 2011

Demons believe God exists, but their belief is mere intellectual assent. They do not seek to do God’s will, they do not obey God. Thus, they “believe and shudder”! They know that they will eventually be punished forever in hell. In his song “Revival in the Land”, singer-songwriter Carmen tells us that the next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future! As you begin your day today, DO NOT FEAR what they enemy might do or what he actually does, know that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1Jn.4:4)! Know that the enemy was already defeated at the cross and will one day suffer eternal punishment, though for a little while he has been given freedom to be the god of this age. The key to victorious Christian living is to daily submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us. Honor God and let God arise in what you think, what you say and what you do, and God’s enemies will scatter, they will flee like smoke!

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” (Jas.2:19)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Revival in the Land by Carmen

TWC 20111119: True Faith Is Never Alone

Saturday 19 November 2011

While salvation is by faith alone, the faith that saves is never alone, it is always accompanied by works. Just as breath is the evidence of human life, the evidence of faith is works. Show me a true Christian, and I’ll show you someone who has works. James goes on to say that faith without works is dead! Pretty strong statement but it’s true. Throughout the history of the church, every true believer is one who lives out their faith. The true believer not only talks the walk, but walks the talk. The woman at the well in John 4 who was hated and ostracized by her community, when she met the Messiah, she ran back to the people whom she avoided everyday to tell them about Jesus! That’s faith and works in action! When Ananias and Sapphira lied about how much they sold their property for, so that they didn’t have to contribute the whole amount to the common pool (something everyone else did as the Lord led them), that’s faith without works. One day, the Lord will ask everyone of us what we have done with the faith and gifts He has given us, what will you say? What will I say? The man who hid his talent until the Master returns displeased the Master greatly. The talent was removed from him and he suffered an eternal punishment. As you begin your day today, choose to be like the two who were given five and two talents, who multiplied their talents. Use your talents to serve God. Ask the Lord how you can put your faith in action and be a blessing to someone today. Have a great day!

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (Jas.2:14)

Pastor Barnabas Chong
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Today’s recommended video: Faith without works is dead!