Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life's Terms

“Late Zig Ziglar is one of my favorite-most-dear motivational speaker and writer since the day I love to read. His book ‘See You at the Top’; and audiobooks such as ‘Better than Life’, ‘Biscuits Fleas and Pump Handles’ and ‘Confessions of a Grieving Christian’ had been (still is) a great help for me to keep on motivated and spiritually passionate about the things that I love to do most in my life” (Richard Angelus, blogger, Words Speaks Today)

Zig Ziglar gives me different perspectives about success. 1) Focus on people first. Those around you; 2) Actions pay off than your words; and 3) God’s way is still the best way…these are the principles that I learned from him which I applied for business and for my own self-fulfillment” (Albert R. Macewell, senior property executive, Borneo Real Estate)

From a highly successful career in motivational speaking to a daily struggle overcoming the effects of a head injury, Zig Ziglar’s life changed drastically in just minutes when he suffered a traumatic fall down the stairs one fateful night. After years of speaking and writing about the value of having a positive attitude and being thankful, Zig was challenged to put his own words into practice. Below I quoted most of his introduction to the book Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life’s Terms:

I’m convinced that in the last year the overwhelming majority of people have been struggling with some kind of concern – personal, family, business, health, relationships – you name it. I know I certainly have! It seems that struggles just happen over the course of time. The question is how do you handle them?

Through the years I’ve spoken about and written often on how to overcome negative situations, but as a motivational/inspirational speaker and author, I personally have spent the majority of my time focused on how to accomplish the next positive achievement. In the past I believe I have given an honest and realistic picture of how to address struggles, but as you know, what we know is a result of what we’re learned. And the things we learn firsthand have a much greater impact on us and better position us to help others deal with similar circumstances. In fact, the Bible tells us this is so: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)

…I know without a doubt that the personal struggle I’ve been going through since my fall has given me insight that I could not have had otherwise…

My personal struggle is health related, but this book deals with not only struggles that physical limitations create but also financial, spiritual, family, and relationship struggles. This book is about living life on life’s terms. It is about knowing what you can change and what you can’t change and learning how to live your life with an enthusiastic expectation for what is yet to come. Where there is a struggle, there is life. For that we can be grateful!

Month of July 2014 Give-Away!
This month, I’m giving away for FREE ONLY 3 BOOKS of Zig Ziglar and Julie Ziglar Norman’s Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life’s Terms (Hard cover). You are welcome to get a copy of this book for yourself by simply do these 2 things:
  1. First, comment below “Rich, give me one copy (Your name). I hope that through this book I can… [Not less than 10 words]”
  2. Then, E-mail me at or send message to my Facebook account your real name, phone no. and your postal address. Thank you.
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Die Today, Sure of Going to Paradise?

Imagine you die today
I have to admit it; I can be naughty sometime. “Are you sure of going to paradise?” I asked my friend. He replied, “I wish I could be sure… but there’s no way for me to know if I’m going there or hell. So I try to live a decent life – if God willing – I will go there”. “But”, I continued, “wouldn’t it be nice to be sure that if you died you would go straight to paradise?” “Be real! No one can be sure of going to paradise…” “I’m sure” I said. And then he asked how and left. He probably thinking but I was praying.

Jesus was led out to be executed on the cross together with two criminals. They were nailed. Jesus was scoffed by the religious leaders and mocked by the Roman soldiers. Even the other criminal dares to join the crowd! “One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, ‘So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself – and us, too, while you’re at it!’ But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom’. And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-42, NLT).

In essence Jesus answered him: I assure you (or ‘assuredly’. In Greek means ‘it is fixed’; ‘it cannot be changed’), today (‘that day’. Wow, that fast?!) you will be with me (Wow, with Jesus. What a privilege!) in paradise (Wow!). As soon as Jesus died and had finished taking the punishment that we deserve for our sin on the cross, as soon as he cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus went immediately to his Father’s presence in paradise and the criminal who put his trust in and believe in Jesus went with him. His faith that saw beyond the present shame of Jesus to his coming glory saved him. The criminal confessed and repented of his sin (though there was no way for him to show the evidences of his conversion).

How can we get to paradise? Jesus is the way. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) Life Application Study Bible rightly comments the verse: “As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth, he is the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternity. Jesus is, in truth, the only living way to the Father”.

The faithful criminal don’t have to do good works, there was no way for him to put right the past, no money to give to the poor, no time to perform fasting, don’t have to be a special person, don’t have to be in a special place, don’t have to say special words or prayers, don’t have to have special accomplishments – all he have was faith in Jesus. By God’s grace through faith in Christ, he was saved (Note: Good works doesn’t save us, but we are saved for good works. True Christians will do good works if they really are being saved. Faith produces work).

Saved from what? He is saved (or set free) from the penalty of sin. He is saved (or delivered) from the power of sin. He shall be saved (or freed) from the presence of sin. One day Jesus Christ will come back to judge the world. On that day, he will punish those who rejected him, but those who trusted in him and followed his commands will be rewarded. He will deliver them from the presence of sin. And be with God.

I tell you, you can be sure of going to paradise.
I ask you, will you be there?
Will you confess your sin to God and give your heart and life to Jesus Christ?
Entrance into paradise is a gift from God,
received through faith in Jesus Christ
” (E.M. Hicham)
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jim Elliot's Short Story and My Personal Plea for Evangelism

Jim Elliot’s Short Story
Philip James Elliot or widely known as Jim Elliot (1927-1956) was an evangelical Christian who was killed for his passion to spread the Good News about Christ. Before he was called to become an evangelist, he was an ordinary common man. He was a young wrestler, good looking guy, and had a tough body. He was also deeply spiritual young man. Every morning he arose at 5.00am or 5.30pm (most of his biographers said so) and read his Bible and made notes in his diary.

One day, in his praying about the people overseas, he thought to himself,
Why shouldn’t I go? There is one minster for every 500 people in the United States and one for every 500,000 overseas. Why shouldn’t I go?

And he went. He went overseas because of his concern for the lost souls. He was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Waodani people of Ecuador. His body was found at the downstream river, along with those of the other men. Their dead were not tragic but triumph. Jim Elliot was murdered and die – yes – but his legacy continue until today and never die.

After his death, they found, scattered along the shore, a river-soaked diary. In it Jim Elliot had written, “Make me a crisis man, O Lord; not just a sign-post on the highway of life, but a fork in the road so that men who meet me will come to know Jesus Christ” Also in his diary he expresses his belief that work dedicated to Jesus was more important than his life: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”. All these started when he asked God, “Why shouldn’t I go?”

A Personal Plea
Friends, my Christian friends, do you know? The 2010 Population and Housing Census Report revealed that there approximately only 9.2% Christians in Malaysia; within it only 8.8% of Bumiputra, 11% of Chinese, 6% of Indian and 12.1 % of other ethnics. 11.5% of the rural population and 7.6% of the urban population are adherents to Christianity.

With these percentages in mind, what does it tells you? For me, as I think about it and as I read and write Jim Elliot’s short story above, one heart-warming feet-moving word from Jesus comes to mind: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV) Jesus had issued a clear call and revealed His will to us; now ask yourself, “Why shouldn’t I go?”

I plea with you my concern Christian friends: GO and spread the Good News about Christ with His power, not by force and human authority; GO by the Spirit and the love of Christ, not by gun and sword; GO and be killed, not killing people; GO and joyfully proclaim the righteousness of God, not just sitting around in your comfort zone. Ask God, “Why shouldn’t I go?” – Malaysia needs the Lord.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bagaimana untuk Mengasihi Musuh Kita?

Kamu sudah mendengar ajaran seperti berikut: ‘Kasihilah sahabatmu, dan bencilah musuhmu’. Tetapi sekarang Aku berkata kepada kamu: Kasihilah musuh kamu dan berdoalah bagi orang yang menganiaya kamu” (Matius 5:43-44, BM)

Langkah pertama untuk memaafkan musuh kita ialah dengan mengetahui perkara sebenar yang membuat kita benci terhadap dia. Seringkali kita membenci seseorang tanpa mengetahui latarbelakang, kisah sebelumnya dan perkara sebenar yang terjadi yang membuatkan kita membenci dia. Tahukah kamu kenapa?

Kita juga harus tahu (atau mengenal pasti) siapa musuh itu. Kemudian, berdoalah seperti ini: “Saya memaafkan [nama dia] kerana dia telah [apa yang sebenarnya berlaku] terhadap saya”. Kemudian, bertaubatlah atas perbuatan kita yang membenci sesama manusia dan mintalah kepada Tuhan agar Dia juga memaafkan kita. Taatilah ajaran Yesus tentang bagaimana pengikut Dia harus berdoa, “Ampunkanlah dosa kami, kerana kami pun mengampuni setiap orang yang bersalah terhadap kami” (Lukas 11:4, BM).

Selepas itu, “berdoalah bagi orang yang menganiaya kamu”. Berdoa untuk kebaikannya. Yesus berfirman agar kita berdoa kepada musuh kita kerana dengan berbuat begini, Allah akan memenuhi hati kita dengan kasih-Nya. Allah itu Tuhan yang penuh dengan kasih. Apabila kita berdoa bagi musuh kita, mintalah agar Dia menyediakan setiap keperluannya dan agar Dia menampakkan siapa diri-Nya kepada musuh kita. Dengan ini, kita telah mengalahkan kejahatan dengan kebaikan! Daripada kita mengelak untuk berfikiran negatif terhadap musuh kita, adalah lebih baik untuk kita berfikir tentang kasih Allah kepada musuh kita.

Jika Tuhan telah menjawab doa kita (memang kita harus berdoa dan percaya), musuh kita tadi akan mula diberkati. Kita pula akan bertambah matang dalam iman dan telah belajar tentang erti pembebasan yang sebenar – kerana pengampunan yang lengkap akan benar-benar membebaskan kita! Apabila kita terus menerus “[berdoa] bagi orang yang menganiaya [kita]”, dan apabila Tuhan mengikut masa-Nya menjawab doa itu, keputusannya ialah; akan ada ‘musuh’ yang bertaubat dan dia akan menjadi saudara atau saudari baru kita di dalam Kristus! Ini ialah sukacita kita.

Oleh itu, “Kasihilah musuh kamu dan berdoalah bagi orang yang menganiaya kamu. Dengan demikian kamu menjadi anak-anak Bapa kamu yang di syurga” (Matius 5:44-45, BM). Amen.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Control Your Will

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take
(Proverbs 3:6,

It may seem obvious that you need to control your will, but sometimes it is easier to go along with the crowd than to make your own decisions. In your gang or groups of friends, who make the decisions? Do you find yourself going along with things that you are unsure about? Do you find yourself ‘go with the flow’ without really thought it through?

If you find that you are being influenced more than you are influencing others, or that you are finding it impossible to stick up for Christian standards and behavior, then the answer is simple, if unpleasant – you must change your friends. This is one of many examples. God holds you responsible for what you do and the example you give to others, and simply drifting with the tide is not good enough. Make sure that you are the one who controls what you do or say, and then God can work through your life to influence others.

This is a mystery: submit your will to God and you’ll find that you have your freedom to control your will. That’s the paradox of truth in the Bible. God’s will for you each day is to obey Him, serve others, read and study His Word, pray and to what is right. As you submit to His Will and stay close enough to God, you can recognize His leading in your life. Then it will be easier to control your will, to make the right decisions and to influence others. Friends, control your will by first submit it to God.


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To My Students

Things I can and cannot do:

I can share your life, but I cannot live it for you
I can teach you things, but I cannot make you learn
I can give you directions, I cannot always lead you
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot decide for you
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you
I can teach you to be a friend, but I cannot make you one
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor
I can tell you the facts of life, but I cannot build your reputation
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I cannot achieve then for you
I can teach you to obey, but I cannot answer for your actions
I can warn you about sins, but I cannot make your morals
I can love you as my student and friend, but I cannot place you in God’s family
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God
I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Him your Savior
I can teach you about prayer, but I cannot make you pray
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life*
But in all God can!

*Quote and modified from The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck. Published by Kregel Publications, 1997, 2009. Pg. 61.
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Control Your Use of Time

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom
(Psalms 90:12,

Time is a gift we all have, and it is easy to misuse or waste it. If we do not bother to control our use of time, we will end up spending it on trivialities. Then we wonder why the important things never get done!

Think about how you spend your day. Do you spend more time surfing the internet than in prayer? Do you read more Facebook posts than reading the Bible? Are you wasting other’s people time as well as your own by chattering about… nothing? For some reason, many of us feel it is “unspiritual” to make a programme for our day to day living, but this is really the only way to control our use of time. Allow yourself enough time for Bible study & reading, prayer, healthy exercise, sleep, fellowship with other Christians, hang out with friends (I normally do dinner and watch movie together) and relaxation that will build you up for the next day’s work.

Check that you are giving enough time to the things that should have the top priority. Some Christians I know spent their time trying to give at least 2 hours of the 24 hours to prayer and Bible study. But this will not be possible for many of us (including me), but we should make sure that we allow as much time possible for the most important thing in our lives – fellowship with God.


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The Tug of Conviction in Our Hearts

A boy was once flying a kite and a passerby, looking up in the sky and not able to see the kite because of its height, asking him,
What are you doing?”
Flying my kite”, he replied.
How do you know it’s there? You can’t see it
The boy smiled, “I can feel the tug on the string

Perhaps we can’t see God, but we can feel the tug of conviction He puts in our hearts, and we can go on faith believing His promises. But I was thinking, how to know His promises? How to go on faith believing? And the answer is: thru God’s Word, the Scripture. D.L. Moody’s famous quotes: “Some say that faith is the gift of God. So is the air, but you have to breathe it; so is bread, but you have to eat it. Some are wanting some miraculous kind of feeling. That is not faith. ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God(Romans 10:17). That is whence faith comes. It is not for me to sit down and wait for faith to come stealing over me with a strong sensation, but it is for me to take God at His Word”.

Have faith in God and His promises
Faith that comes by hearing the Word of God
To strengthen the tug of conviction He puts in our hearts
To obey and love our Christ the Lord
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Control Your Tongue

Once while in a prayer meeting, I heard a brother prayed somewhat like this: “Lord, help me to keep my big mouth shut until I know what I am saying… Amen”. I think James the brother of Jesus also thought the same thing. He was probably writing from the same kind of experience when he said, “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7-8, NLT).

If you think James’s reaction is a little extreme, ask a Christian leader how much harm is being done in his or her organization, church or group by negative gossip, criticism, lies or part-truths being spread about – and just how much time is being wasted by Christians in useless chatter. Or just turn on to our local television news and see how much damage is being done by mere tongue! Examples are all around us.

The tongue is one of God’s most precious gifts to us. You can use your words, both spoken and written, to help, to encourage and build up other Christians, and to bring the not-yet-Christians to a fuller understanding of the kingdom of God and the relationship that God wants to have with them through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Do not let your words (again, both spoken and written words) be a hindrance to God’s work rather than an instrument for it. Use it to spread the Truth, not lies; to bring tears of repentance and joy not tears of hopeless brokenness; to make people come closer to Christ not away from Him. Therefore, do not just think before you speak – pray as well! Amen.

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