Saturday, April 30, 2011

Month of May free books

Dear readers,

Have you watch movie 'Thor'? Thor is a powerful warrior. But because of his reckless actions, he had ignite an ancient war. Due to his continuous disappointing actions, his father Odin had to cast him down to earth to live among humans without his power. Thor is a Norse Mythology. 

Have you read the Bible about Jesus? He didn't begin the war. His actions is just. Father did not cast Him away, but sent Him to us. Paul writes about Him;
"He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion." (Philippians 2 The Message)


But why He came? What so great about it? Did God really came near? or is this another Mythology just like Thor? Aren't you curious? I hope that this book might help you to come near to Him.


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I'm giving away 3 copies of Max Lucado's God came Near this month.
Get your copy now!!!
How to get this for free?
  • Comment on the column below and write 'Yes, give me one'
  • Then send me your mailing (not e-mail) address together with your comment or send it to motivates4life@hotmail.com if you don't want your address to appear on this blog. 
  • to readers in Malaysia ONLY.  
  • Only 3 books available.
  • That's all. Thank you. 




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Words have Incredible Power

One day, a cute little boy came to me after Sunday school and showed me his drawing,
Look!” he showed me his masterpiece.
What do you think?” he inquired my opinion with kid-level enthusiasm.
Let me see” I said as I put my cup on the table and take a closer looked at his art. Then I asked “What is this?”
It’s a spaceship!” he jumped up and down.
Spaceship? This looked like my dish plate with chocolate mud on it. This you call spaceship? I said to myself.
Wow! Great! This is great!” I said to him “Good boy.”
I lied. I lied to 4 years old kid. Not the proudest moment in my life. Next time, when I see that ugly drawing again I will shut my mouth; rub his head and just smile.
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Have you ever been in a situation where you ‘accidentally’ said something and after awhile you regret saying it? I had. In fact, I’ve done it too many times that I can be considered as an expert. John C. Maxwell and Les Parrott in their book, 25 ways to Win with People, suggest that we ought to ‘Say the right words at the right time’. John reminds us to keep these 3 thoughts in mind (with my summary on each point):

Be sensitive to time and place
If you can learn to be sensitive to your setting, you’ve won half the battle in saying the right words and the right time

Say it from the heart.
It’s not just what you say and when you say it: it’s also how you say it. People can tell the difference between hollow words and something that is said from the heart.

Recognize the power of the right words at the right time.
It can have an impact that is positive and lasting. Look for opportunities to uplift others with your words. It just might change their lives.

May I add another point that we need to practice (Special reminder for myself) that can change your personal integrity: it’s better to say nothing than to make up a lie. “You say it best when you say nothing at all" as Ronan Keating said it.  

THINK BIGLike apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstances.” (Proverb 25:11) START SMALL Uplift others with your words. GO DEEP Say it from the heart.


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Friday, April 29, 2011

Your Defeat is not Fatal

Defeat. Does this word familiar to you? One year ago? Few months ago? 3 days ago? This morning? or maybe just now? Louis L’ Amour once said ‘A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat.



I had a friend who doesn’t know how to handle defeat. Her life was roses without thorns. Day without rain. Night without cloud. All sweet. All bright. All cool. At the peak of her performance, after entering the real world, she stumbled to the ground zero. She always get top 5 Golden Students award in her school, at least that what people told me. (I believe little especially the existence of Golden Students award) But I witnessed this; she was the best student in her class during our college time. Envy – I’m the first. Proud – I’m the one. Saw her stumble – my eyes do.


She stumbled because this is her first time to ever face reality: workplace. She cried because she cannot stand the pressure of the most evil boss in her world. And to make thing worst, this is her first boss! She used to be the apple in her lecturer’s eyes, now she’s the rotten mice in her own shoes.Her own shoes’ because it was only a small mistake as her boss described it. But the way she saw it – It was a failure, disaster and defeat. When I asked how she was doing with her job, she said, “I know I’d done mistake but I cannot take it. I’m a failure. I never had been this way before. I don’t think I can face reality, I wish I can live a student life over again.”


I smell defeat. I smell fear of failure. I smell someone who always expecting to win but not ready to overcome adversity through challenge or trouble. Sometime we can smell it all from both you and me. Looking back at our life slide-shows, it was failures that teach us most of the lessons. It was defeat over and over again that keep us stronger than before. If you win all the time, your character has no chance to grow. But if supposed you win or excel all the time, you might become proud, arrogant, and rely on yourself most of the time.


Perhaps that’s why God may allow some failures in your life. Perhaps if you defeat from time to time, He might keeps you humble and be dependent on Him again. Perhaps through your difficulties that your character grows and being humble will be the best remedy for the decease of defeat in your life.


Now, she is A-Okay. She had learned to be strong and accepting her past ‘mistake’ to be a reminder for her to dependence on God in every situation. She sends me a quoted from Exodus 15:2 through my e-mail. It’s a declaration of her independence from the slave of past defeats and announcing her dependence on Jesus, her personal Lord and Savior.


“The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has given me victory.”



THINK BIG God is never defeated. START SMALL Allow God to use times of defeat to grow your character and develop your humility. GO DEEP F.R.O.G. = Fully Rely On God.
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*quoted from: http://www.brainyquote.com/

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who are my "neighbors"?

A group of red eyes envy pastors stood up with a question to test this new Sunday school teacher. He had gain much popularity and reputation in the Rumah Panjai (Longhouse in Borneo) because he teaches teenagers in the village about the Word of God more effectively than they does for the last 15 years.

Teacher, what do we need to do to get eternal life?
He answered, “What’s written in Bub Kudus (The Bible)? How do you interpret it?
The senior pastor stepped out and said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
Good answer!” said the teacher. “Do it and you’ll live.
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?
The teacher answered by telling a story.
There was once a man driving from Kuching to Lundu by car. On the way, he was hits by another car from the opposite direction. The other driver was panic, get out from his car, and went off leaving the man half-dead. Luckily, a priest was driving his way down the same road, but when he saw him he makes a u-turn to the other side. Then a pastor driving the same way; he also avoided the injured man and carry on his way.

A Malay man traveling the road quickly stopped his car and came to him. When he saw the man’s condition, he had compassion on him. He pulled him out of the car, rescued him and called an ambulance. But when he realized that it will take time for the ambulance to reached, he lifted him on to his car, send him to hospital, and wait for him. After the operation he paid the bills and gave the doctor his name-card, saying, “Take good care of him. I need to go now. If it costs any more, gives me a call – I’ll pay the hospital fee once I get done with my business meeting.’

What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man who was injured in the car accident?
The one who send him to the hospital,” the senior pastor responded.
The teacher said, “Go and do the same.”
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The Scriptures writes, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, who are your neighbors? Most of us think that our neighbors as the people who live next door. But the Bible teaches us that our neighbor is anyone around us who needs God’s love. My NIV Study Bible defines ‘neighbor’ as anyone with whom one comes in contact. This means that the person next to you in the classroom, or your coworkers, or the beggar and homeless in your area are also your neighbors. Regardless the color of their skin, race or religious background – they all are your neighbors.

Authors of the book Divine Moments: Everyday Inspiration for God’s Word writes, “When you begin to view people you see or meet or even hear about as your neighbors, you see these encounters as divine opportunities, moment to share the love of Jesus by offering a helping hand.

THINK BIG anyone with whom you come in contact is your neighbors. START SMALL offers a helping hand anyway possible. GO DEEP this is not a suggestion, it’s a commandment: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”



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Day 16 : The Power of Persevering Prayer

The Story of The Persistent Widow

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him:
My rights are being violated. Protect me!’

“He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself,
I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice – otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’”

Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on earth when he returns?”
[Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright ©by Eugene H. Peterson, 1993, 1994, 1995. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.]

I remember one time during a testimony session in my local church at Kuching. A mother was sobbing up stage when she told about how long she had been praying for her family to accept Christ. Not 1 year or 2 years or even 3 years but only after 12 years, her persistence prayer had come into fruition. Sometime we are easily given up when we think that it may not be God’s will to give us what we desire. But actually, we never learn to give God time! Give God time! In His time, if our prayer agrees with God’s Word and led by the Spirit, He will perfect whatever concern you!

Andrew Murray writes, “It is stored up toward an answer which comes in due time to whomever perseveres to the end. Human thoughts and possibilities have nothing to do with it; only the Word of the Living God matters.” By persevering prayer, your faith is tested. You want it badly or it just a onetime prayer? Will you continue to press upward or lost hope over it? Can you believe in Him that He will answer your prayer or He is deaf that He cannot hear your cry? I love this: ‘Each believing prayer is a step nearer to the final victory!

New Bible Commentary by IVP comments, “If even a judge who does not honor the laws of God and man can induced to act by the incessant appeals of a widow, how much more will God act to uphold his people when they cry to him.” Therefore, give God time. Keep persevering prayer!



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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 15: The Power of United Prayer


Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

I have a confession to make – I love to pray alone. When I pray alone, I can say anything from pimples on my nose to the hungry children in China. I can say anything from my private needs to confessing my sins. But to pray with one another, that would be a problematic for me. Pray for one another is much desire than to pray with each other. But since we are one Body in Christ, we ought to pray with each other. Andrew Murray writes, ‘Christians cannot reach the full blessing God is ready to bestow through His Spirit until they seek and receive it in fellowship with each other.’

The reason prayer in Day 1 is ‘Alone with God’ is to teach us that the meaning of prayer is personal and individual contact with God. But once we understand this, it’s time for us to move on to another stage which is united prayer.

Agreement in prayer is important. Sometime during cooperate prayer meeting; people simply say ‘Amen’ without actually know what someone prayed for or not really understood what it mean. Say ‘Amen’ only if you’re agreed with each other. “If two of you on earth agree” mean both of you (or more) have the same mind, feelings and opinion. Rev. Peter Young when he talked about the Lord’s Prayer once said, I paraphrase, “I will not say ‘Amen’ if they didn’t pray for others in needs.”

Pray in the Name of Jesus. In Jesus’ name mean to pray by His authority, for His service, obedient to His Word and with the desire to promote His Glory. Tim Chester in The Message of Prayer writes, ‘When Christians pray we do so in the powerful name of Jesus, and his name, as the writer of Hebrews (He is referring to Hebrews 4 and 5) explains, gives us excess to the throne of heaven.’ If I pray in the name of Richard, Heaven will ask, ‘Who is he?’ but in the Name of Jesus the Heaven’s door is open.

“...it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven” Again, I need to remind us over and over again that God is not ‘the genie in the bottle’ but He moves according to our faith. It will be done only if you pray to the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit and with faith. When we pray in united prayer, the promise is this ‘it will be done for you’ according to God’s will.

United prayer is a cooperate prayer. It is the body of Christ. A gathering of believers which is what we call today – Church. United prayer invites the present of God. Jesus said, ‘…there am I with them.” God alone is everywhere present, and this word refers to His divine nature, His omnipresence. What a promise to the body of Christ!


(Picture taken from malaysianfirstlast.blogspot.com)
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Do you feel hopeless today?

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)



Hope. What an amazing word. Without hope our future faded. Hope keeps us alive. Hope sets the meaning of your life. Do you feel hopeless today? You probably think that there’s no way out for a broken family like yours. No hope for your addictions. No hope for your future partner. No hope to bring out your love one back to your side. What’s yours? I don’t know. Yours could be worst. No way out, over the top kind of situations.

 What hope is it for an old lady when a more than 15 years experience doctor told her that she has only 2 more years to live? Yvonne Margaret Boler (1930 – 2011) received that heart breaking news when the doctor found out that her cancer was getting worst. 2 more years and you will die. What a hopeless situation! What was her respond? Maybe she broke into tears or turned her eyes to the sky and complained, ‘why me Lord?’ It could be. 

But what I heard from a friend who was attended Ms. Boler’s remembrance service on that Tuesday evening, 19th April 2011 at my present church was really encouraging. My friend said that she always living a cheerful life until the end. She always put a smile on her face. The verdict was in the year 2006 but the Lord prolongs her life beyond the predictions – doubled her life-span to 5 more years to live. She put her hope in the Lord. Here is a quote from an old hymn during her funeral service;

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Do you feel hopeless today? Take heart. Set your eyes on Jesus. When it seems impossible to go on in life, God brings eternal hope. No more hopeless situations. No more helpless troubles. No more fear to worry – not even death! Put your hope in the Lord and He will take care of it in His own way. Even if you have to go through pain, sorrow and suffering in this earthly life; never forget about His promise of “eternal home” through His Son, Jesus Christ. Your hope for eternity will help you endure the discomforts of daily life.

Remember: THINK BIG God gives you Hope. START SMALL Trust in Him. GO DEEP He know the plans He have for you. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


Related post: (Click to read)
Week 41: Hope Now, Hope Always!



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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 41: Hope now, hope always!

 Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. (Albert Einstein)
Hope is the dream of a soul awake. (French Proverb)

What do you need most today? Do you need just a word of hope? That’s what we all need. During Sarawak election recently, many candidate offers hope to people. They sell hope for a better future, better economy breakdown, better government, better service, and better Malaysia. We all thirst for hope; a hope that someday we can see a better world, a better life, a better tomorrow. 
Maybe you’re hoping that someday you can make a different in your life. You’re hoping that someday you can feed the hungry, helping the helpless and build shelter for the poor. You’re hoping that you can be the person you’re created to be. Yes, continue to maintain a hopeful attitude in your life.

Without hope, you would give up

I overheard (actually I’m intentionally want to hear) a conversation between my mother and my aunty during wedding dinner last year. She asked my mother a penetrating question, “How’s your life without your husband?” My mother smiled and making a little adjustment on her sit, looking straight to my aunts Chinese-look eyes, saying, “I still can survive. In fact…” she looked at her two sons, “I know that my sons would be on my side.” That’s what every mother’s hope! My mother is too strong to give up. Here is my message to you: Hope is essential to your perseverance to get through the tough times.

Every dream begins with hope

Napoleon Hill writes, ‘Never forget that every dream begins with hope. Every success story with a happy ending starts with the words: “Once upon a time there was a man or woman who hoped that someday…” Your must start the same way.’ Sometime people that are closest to you may stir hope into your dream. I’m thankful to people like my brother; Warren, Albert R.Macewell, Chun Chung, Dewi Supang, my friends, and especially my readers in Motivates for Life for their words of encouragements.
Every dream needs to be reminded over and over again and that’s exactly what those people did to me. You may ask, ‘Richard, I don’t have such people in my life?’ Well, try to be one for another. Be the one who give hope and I’m sure that as you give, you’ll get it back. Every dream begins with hope.
Finish this line, “Once upon a time there was a man or woman name (your name) who hoped that someday…”

Choose hope instead of doubt
Doubt will paralyze you. Doubt is always the opposite of faith. Without hope we cannot have faith. This famous poem by anonymous said it best:
Doubt sees the obstacles
Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night
Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step
Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions ‘who believes?’
Faith answers ‘I’.

Hope and faith will make you see things clearer.

Hope gives you direction

Hope makes you focusing on fixed point. It helps you to travel unto the direction that you want to go. Napoleon Hill called it ‘the guiding star’. When you have your eye firmly fixed on the guiding star, it is much easier to steer toward your goal. And you can quickly decide which actions will get you there quickly and which will delay you. Without your eyes on the star, you may make many false turns before finally reach your destination.

Above all, Place your hope in God

I understand that some of you, my precious readers, are not having the same faith as I do. Therefore, I save the biblical hope last. The Bible teaches that we as His disciples are to put our trust and hope in Him alone. Psalm 31:24 says, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” J.M. Farro in his devotional book, Life on Purpose, writes: As we do our part by making the decision to take our stand in faith and to place our hope in God, he has promised to do His part by strengthening us and helping us stand firm till the victory comes.
Don’t put your hope into things that change such as relationships, money, talents, beauty, even health. Set your sight on only one thing, the true ‘Guiding Star’ that will always light your way to the truth and that can never change: your heavenly Father.

Cling your hope to God’s promises in His Word. Max Lucado encourages us that “the Word of God says to us that there is no hopeless situation, no hopeless illness... If there were hopeless situations, then God would have given up long ago.
Jesus never promised us that this world would be easy and He never promise that every time you place your hope in God things will turn out exactly the way we want them to be. But I know this, hope in Him will never left in vain. The Lord will honor it somehow. Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now, hope always! (Psalm 131:3 The Message)

THINK BIG.START SMALL.GO DEEP.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

"He is not here, but raised up." (Part 3 of 3)

The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” (Luke 24: 5-7 The Message)

On 10th April 2011, a local newspaper reported that a couple found a newborn baby girl abandoned in a graveyard at Taman Setapak Indah, Kuala Lumpur on the day before. They saw the baby, wrapped in a blue towel from their home several meters away. A baby in a graveyard. What a sad scene it would be for them when they found her left abandoned alone. It must be a surprise for them to discover that a living little one was crying on the ground surrounded by empty silent tombstones. It wasn’t a familiar scene for them since they live near the graveyard. It had been years since they only see dead bodies were buried in a cold and moist 7 inches below the ground bedroom. But that day they saw a ‘life’ among the dead.

… ‘Life’ among the dead…

About 2,000 years ago, a group of women who went to Jesus’ tomb that early morning, they were also surprise when they found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb and they couldn’t find the body of Jesus. It was quite odd. Odd and strange because all this while, they never expect that there was no dead body in the tomb. Their own eyes had “saw the tomb where Jesus’s body was placed.” (Luke 23:55)

The couple never had seen a ‘life’ in the graveyard. The women however never had seen ‘no dead body’ in the tomb. The couple saw a baby wrapped in the blue towel. The women only saw the linen cloths without the corpse. For the couple they called police for help. But for the women, they didn’t call anybody. Instead, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there saying, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery?” 

“He is not here, but raised up.”

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared many time to his disciples. He appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to Peter in Jerusalem, to the 10 disciples in the upper room. Eight days later he again appeared to the 11 disciples (now including Thomas) in the upper room. Sometime later, he appeared to 7 disciples while they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee and to the 11 disciples on a mountain. Again, he also appeared to more than 500 people in one time. For the next 40 days He was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses.

Then He said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled… You can see now that how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations- starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses…” (Luke 24:44-48 The Message)

Christ followers see the victorious Jesus: the conqueror of the tomb, the one who defied death. After He rose from the dead, He didn’t go immediately to Heaven but instead He went and visited people. This visit of love reminds us that it was for people that He died. Max Lucado end this well when he writes, “Let us be reminded that we, too, will be granted that same victory!
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Could it be true? Could it be true that Jesus is God? Could it be true that He died on the cross according to God’s plan, as full sacrifice and payment for our sins? Could it be true that He had rose from the dead on the third day? Could it be true that Only through Jesus we can have a personal relationship with God?
What do you say?

Before I end this not so proper structured article, I want to ask one final questions:
Are your faith is real?
What I mean is, is it based on your own decision, full conviction, firsthand experience? Or is it based on others such as your parents, friends etc? Do you own your faith or do you borrow it from someone else?
-The Beginning-
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THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 14: Prayer and Love

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that you Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

Pastor Neo from Indonesia was preaching a sermon about ‘Father’s Love’. A young girl came to him with a heavy weep around her cheeks after he preached the Word on one Sunday morning. The young girl told him that she had been abused by his father. Every time when her drunkard father went back home, he would beaten her with his thick leather belt. She told her story to Pastor Neo with such a heavy emotions. And then she opened her heart out,

I cannot call God a Father… I cannot pray and address God as a Father. Every time I open my mouth, my lips just can’t say anything. Pastor, why?” as she looked at his compassionate eyes.

Daughter, hmmm…” he paused for a while “you must learn to forgive your father.” He continued, “Ask Him to remove all the bitterness and resentment from your hearts. It must be hard for you right now to forgive everything that your earthly father ever did to you… I might not understand all of this very well, but I know that you love God with all your heart. And child, remember how God forgives you for all your sin?
He was trying to refresh her mind with God’s loving forgiveness. She nodded at him with tears streaming from her eyes, “Yes, Pastor.”
Well, as you had received His forgiveness… why don’t you extend that forgiveness to your father. God will give you strength to do this. He will help you with the recovery.” Pastor Neo preached the same sermon again to this young girl that morning. But this time it was more personal and direct. She agreed to allow Pastor Neo to prayed for her.

A week later, Pastor Neo was surprised when he saw the same young girl approached him and told him that she had made a reconciliation with her father. This time with tears of joy she said that she had a face-to-face conversation with her father and tells him ‘I forgive you father for what you had done to me. I do this because God had forgiven me.’
Her father’s pride break like a glass smashing on the floor and hugged her and seeks for her forgiveness. They cry that night and both, as what Pastor Neo told, make a new covenant with the Lord to life a righteous life.
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And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him…” Based on the story above, unforgiving spirit is a barrier to effectual prayer. Such a spirit will hinder both prayer and faith. The young girl had a problem to pray to God our Father boldly because her unforgiving had hindered her to pray effectively. From what I understand in the verse above is this: God will not forgive us unless we forgive other people for their sins against us.

My friend, do you have difficulties when you try to open your heart to pray? That something isn’t right and it seems that God had shut His ears to your requests? Why is that? It’s probably because of the unforgiving spirit that you had with others – parents, brothers and sisters, co-workers, friends etc. For our prayer to be heard by God, we must learn to forgive others. We must freely forgive others as God had forgives us.

Forgiving others is hard, especially those who are closer to us. C.S. Lewis said that the work of forgiveness must be done over and over again. In his book, Reflections on the Psalms, he suggests that we need to forgive others seventy times seven not only 490 different offenses but sometimes for only one offense. Prayer needs love. Prayer needs forgiveness. Prayer of faith needs love and forgiveness. Our relationship with others reflects our relationship with God. And our love for God will affect our love for others. 

Forgive other people for their sins against us and your prayer will definitely be heard by our Father in heaven. Forgive in love. Have faith in God …”so that you Father in heaven may forgive your sins.”

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Imagine Big Big Big Dream!

Imagination is more important than knowledge. (Albert Einstein)
The man who has no imagination has no wings. (Muhammad Ali)
God is not the product of our imagination, He is the ultimate Creator. He is the source of our creative abilities. (Richard Angelus)

When I was a little kid, my imagination rules my childhood life. I have posters of Dragon Ball, Superman and Spiderman. I have photos of rock stars, motorbikes, planets and things all over my bedroom walls. One day, I dressed up like a Superman. (Imagine not) ‘Mom, look! I’m Superman!’ My mom wasn’t impressed but she tried to. She gave a command to her hero, “Superman, brings those boxes here.” That time, those boxes were heavy but do you know what she did? She would secretly helping me lifted those big boxes and placed her hands where my eyes couldn’t see. Then she said, “Good, thank you Superman.” I knew I’m strong back then!

Imagination. One of the most undervalued parts of our mind is our imagination. Everything that exists – cars, chairs, KLCC, Penang Bridge, and even Starbuck coffee mugs began as an image in someone’s imagination. Napoleon Hill writes, ‘The great leaders of business, industry finance, and the artists, musicians, poets, and writes became great, because they developed the faculty of creative imagination.’

Maybe it’s not appropriate for us to imagine that we are Superman right now (Though I still think that I am sometime) but we can use our mind to achieve result that can bring benefits for others. Your imagination is very powerful. The preacher of proverb said: As a man thinks so he is.

A word of warning though: the dark side of our imagination is that it can easily be hijacked by our sinful nature. This is why we need to invite God to give us a new nature. “To be controlled by human nature results death; to be control by the Spirit results in life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)  When your thoughts are controlled by your new nature, your imagination is inspired by God’s creative character. Therefore; imagine your future, your successes and your achievements right inside your head! Don’t limit yourself and dream big dreams.

Remember, THINK BIG Imagination creates vision. START SMALL by image a picture of what God is calling you to do. GO DEEP Just like I imagined becoming strong like Superman but actually my mother was the one who helped me to carry those heavy boxes; we can imagine big dreams but only God can help you to achieve it. From what my Bible taught me, if it for His Glory and His Kingdom, He will do it!

 Wait… I still think that I'm, Superman!

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"It's done… complete." (Part 2 of 3)


Hi my friend, how are you?” That’s one of the most common greetings you ever receive in your life time. How are you? The question is too general. Too wide. Too common, isn’t it? Your simple answer would be, “I’m fine” or “I’m great!” or “Good”. But you and I know that deep inside our soul, there’s sadness, grief, a heart longing for forgiveness. You smile, yes, but underneath you’re broken. You laugh, yes, but you know there’s something wrong. You had done many good deeds. You tithe more than your stingy friends. You practice religious faithfully than saints. You even read every sacred book that you can get in MPH, Border, Popular bookstore etc.

But somehow, there’s something missing. 
Suddenly a voice echo in your heart, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36 KJV)

That was Jesus’ mission on the cross. I want to gain the whole world. Jesus wants to save my soul. I want to get everything in life. Jesus gave everything including His own life. I want to be a rock star and perform live on stage. Jesus chooses to bury down on the rock tomb and went through the darkest hours. I want the whole world, Jesus want to save my soul… universally speaking: He wants to save our souls, so he chooses the cross.

They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him...” (John 19:16-18 The Message)

Today the cross arouses positive feelings in most Christians today. It symbolizes safety, warmth, salvation, life and hope. As I’m doing some research for this article, I find out that for people in Roman Empire at the time of Jesus, the cross brought out different reactions. Origen, one of the church fathers, accurately described crucifixion when he called it mors turpissima crucis, the most terrible way to die. Crucifixion was the usual way of execution for slaves, criminals and terrorists. What a horrible way to die! He wasn’t a slave; He is the King of Kings. He wasn’t a criminal; he is the Prince of Peace. He wasn’t a terrorist - not living in terror, he is the Mighty God. But he endured all this; he wants to save our souls.

That Friday on the daylight, the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross.  Remember I told you before. It was three 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm) long iron nails that was pinned on his wrists and feet. The cross which mostly likes a T-shape was design especially to prolong the torture. An echo comes to my heart again, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He came this far to purchase our souls from the bondage of sins. This is love in action, Jesus the Son of God actually doing something to provide our salvation. This is justice in action, Jesus the Son of Man died on behalf of my death penalty for sin. For Paul writes ‘The wage of sin is dead.This is exactly what he did, saving our souls.

Before he dies that evening, thick clouds darkened the sky. With all the strength he had, he managed to say something that really touched my heart. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34 The Message) Forgive them??? What about all the things that they had done? Jesus with all due respect let me reminds you… They accuse you! They spit, punch and slap at you! They tie, beat and whip at you! They crown your head with a thorn bush and hit you with the stick! And now you say ‘Forgive them’?
Then he reminds me all the things that I had done in the past. Flash back memories like watching a video of my life. I was put to shame. Forgive me, Lord...
You, how about you? Did you remember the things you had done in the past that need forgiveness? Take his offer today. Father, forgive them. Forgive us too. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?He offers forgiveness to save our souls.

Jesus said, “It’s done… complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit. (John 19:30 The Message)

Jesus was dead. Jesus was really, and not apparently, dead. The End? No, it is not final. I’m not done yet. Why don’t we wait for three days. Let me end this part 2 article with an old hymn:

He paid a debt He did not owe,
I owed a debt I could not pay,
I needed someone to wash my sins away,
And now I sing a brand new song,
Amazing grace the whole day long,
for Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.  

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3 Reflections about Easter's Day.

Before Christmas, you can hear people proudly say, ‘Everyday is a Christmas!’ but seldom have I heard, ‘Everyday is an Easter!’ …Maybe because Christmas is the celebration of a birth. Well, almost everyone in their right mind would love to be reminded about the birth of the Savior. But how about the celebration for the death and the resurrection of the Savior? The world point out that death is the end of the games of life. Death means defeated. But not so with those who have their faith in Christ. For Him, dead is the beginning of life. Death had been won by His Cross. Death will have no more stings. Death will only bring us closer to God. The further sin can have any effect on us is the grave. He had won!
since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all…
Here are my 3 reflections about Easter’s day. I hope it will bless you as it did for me. I hope it will spark your conscious as you realize how much Jesus when through to save you from your sins. I hope my reflection is not enough that you will dig the Gospels for yourself. 
3 reflections about Easter’s day (Click to read)

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.



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“Nail him to a cross!” (Part 1 of 3)

For a second time Pilate asked the hungry-for-blood crowd…
Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?”
They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”
Pilate objected, “But for what crime?”
But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!” (Matthew 27:21-23, The Message)
Nail him to a cross!” That Friday morning, April 3, AD33 as what many scholars agreed on, was filled with hatred and breathe of treat to murder. It’s not – ‘shot him dead’ or ‘put him in the electric chair’ or ‘force him to swallow sleeping pills or poison’. It’s not what today popular ways to ending life like jumping from tall building or exhale smokes from car’s exhaust. No, it was ‘Nail him to a cross!’. In fact, it was 3 irons nails each 5 to 7 inches or 13 to 18 cm long that they were longing to see pierced in Jesus’ wrists and feet.

My heart echo the same question, “But for what crime?

The religious leaders of the people and high priests and scholars accused him, “We found this man undermining our law and order, forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, setting himself up as Messiah-King.” Again, “We have a law, and by that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God. They said Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, which was true but they exaggerated and misinterpreted a little. The truth is they had had determine to kill Jesus.

After Pilate investigations, he seems to agree that Jesus don’t deserve such punishment. “Not guilty”, that was Pilate’s finding. So he tried to free Jesus. But the Jewish leaders’ reaction was “Not good enough.” So they threaten Pilate, “If you pardon this man, you’re no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone setting himself up as ‘king’ defies Caesar.” What they meant was that there is no place for two kings. Free Jesus mean defies Caesar as king. Pilate was like a candidate for Sarawak election. If he chooses opposition party, he defies the other party. Majority voice wins the case. Pilate let his political reality settle the case. Stephen M. Miller writes, ‘Irony as thick as a crossbeam, innocent Pilate killed innocent Jesus while the guilty watched.’
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.” (Matthew 27:24, The Message)
Now I want you to focus on Jesus. He went through not one trail, but five. He was accuses badly, but he said nothing. They spitting at him, blindfolded his eyes, hit him, punching and slapping him. Before the nails, he was stripped and tied to a post. Jesus was beaten with a whip loaded with chunks of bone with sharp hooks like a fishing hook. Jesus was tearing up literally. His skin and muscle was open and his bone was exposed when that horrible weapon landed on his body. My mind cannot imagine how cruel he was treated. When you thought it was over, the Gospel of Matthew continues “They plaited a crown from branches of a thorn bush and set in on his head… Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick.”(27:28-30, The Message)

Why he need to endure so much pain and suffer? I wonder what was on his mind. If he wants to be famous, just go for audition with American Idols. If he wants to be known, just making a controversial video and distribute it in YouTube. If he wants more followers, just build mega churches. If he wants to be wealthy, create a website and sell DVDs the sermon on the mount. Okay, I know none of these existed during his time, but my point is: Why the Cross?

The Cross did not happen to Jesus, he came on purpose for it. ‘“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:22-24 NIV; tree. A figurative reference to the cross.)

Jesus switched the whole of human race back into a right relationship with God. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest writes: “The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.” This is how far God wants to have a relationship with you.

Along his way to the cross, he remembers you. When he was accused, he blesses you. When he was spitted and blindfolded, he opens your eyes with his love. When he was punched and slapped, he extends his hands to forgive you. When he was cruelly beaten, he gently remind you how much you worth more than his own life. Along the way to Golgotha, he remembers you always. He long to see you in the arms of His Father in Heaven. You may ask, why me? I don’t know why you. But I know this for sure: He died for me and delivered me from my sin – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

You can be sure too. He died for all especially, you. Make your choice today…

 THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Day 13: Prayer and Fasting

Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:19-20) *Some manuscripts add verse 21, But this kind of demon won’t leave except by prayer and fasting.
 Let’s put these verses in context. After the Transfiguration, at the foot of the mountain a desperate father came and knelt before Jesus. He begged Jesus to heal his son. The father suspect that his son had demon possesses. He reported to Jesus that he had asked His disciple to pray for his little boy but they were unable to help. Stop and reflect for awhile.

Why? The man goes to the representatives of Jesus but was utterly disappointed. Isn’t that what seemed to happen today? The disciples are like many Christians today – powerless. As I’m writing this, I’m fully aware that 3 fingers pointing at me. We are powerless! The truth is prayerlessness leads to powerlessness.
Having the appearance of religious – going to Church every Sunday, sing songs of praise & worship, having fellowship every week, wearing a big bling bling cross necklace covered with gold and silver etc. Is it wrong? No! But all this without faith in the Living God is useless. Wake up people. Pray for faith. Live a life of prayer. Jesus answered his disciples by saying, “You don’t have enough faith.”

Andrew Murray writes ‘In the spiritual world failure has only one cause: Lack of Faith.’ He continued, ‘Christ Jesus is our life and the life of our faith.’ After Jesus healed the boy, He gives a promise: “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Commentary explains that it is important to observe here that it is not the ‘amount’ of faith which brings the impossible within reach, but the power of God, which is available to even the ‘smallest’ faith. As I digest through the verses, I had a conclusion that his disciples had no faith at all. There was nothing smaller that a mustard seed. [Eugene H. Peterson paraphrases it as a ‘mere kernel of faith’.] Even that ‘amount’ is enough but His disciples had none. If our prayer is powerless, check our faith.

Prayer and Fasting
To have faith in the Lord, we must claimed it by prayer and with all possible – reinforced it by fasting. To be mature in the faith is only through prayer and fasting. In the beginning of Day 1 in this series, we had asked Jesus to teach us how to pray. So now, Lord, teach us to fast too. Prayer is reaching out for God and the unseen, while fasting is letting go of everything that can be seen and touch.

When I was joining the first National Service Training Programme 2003, I had a conversation with our camp commander who is a retired soldier for Tentera Darat Malaysia. He said that during war, soldier only carried what he need for the battle. Take only what is needed and free from unnecessary weight. This will enable soldier to combat easily. Just like fasting, “we are free from unnecessary weight so that we can easily capable to combating sin.” Thus, our prayer will be heard by God for sin will no more a hindrance for us.

Fasting is an important aspect of Christian spiritually. It usually involves abstaining from food (and possibly liquids) for a time to concentrate on prayer. When nothing holds you down, you can pray up to God. Faith in the Lord claimed by prayer and reinforced by fasting. That’s power! He promise that He will hear our prayer and ‘Nothing would be impossibleif you have faith in Him.

Brothers and sisters keep praying and take time for fasting to let go of the unnecessary ‘weight’. Be a powerful Christian through prayer and fasting.


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