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Archive for January, 2011

Work in the army has been keeping me really busy, and hence explains my long absence. One thing we must always watch out for when we get busy is getting too involved in the busyness! Remember to spend good time with God, drawing strength from Him throughout the day. God is not to be placed first of all things in our lives. He is to be first in, and together with all things. When I am working, hanging out, running, or whatever, God must be there in my focus. Let God be in everything you do, and life will become a lot more exciting for you!

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I have decided that I will change at least this one thing while I am in my unit- reduce the amount of OT my men have to do.

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Carpark I

There is this place in SAFTI MI that every officer cadet would have visited before. For me, I have been there at least 34 times. Though I have been there many times, it has always been a very special place to me. Each time the carpark came into view as I marched towards it, I would experience a great mix of excitement and anticipation. This feeling of freedom was always overwhelming. It still was today.

Today would probably be the last time I will ever book out from Carpark I as an officer cadet again. I am glad the course is over, with no more booking out late on Saturdays again. Yet this sudden burst of emotions remains so desirable. Leaving Carpark I- that must be one of the greatest experiences of the course.

I’m back home finally, the past few weeks without access to the world haven’t been so bad. My only regret is forgetting the random bits of inspiration I had while in camp, that I would have posted here. Well I’m sure they’ll come back to me if they are meant to. Another update- I’ve been posted back to the old camp which I was in training the past 5 months, with many of my course mates. I guess I’m looking forward to having a fun and fulfilling year in ns.

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I once heard about a pastor who was giving a message on “serving God”. He emphasized that as children of God, we should not be using the phrase “serve God”, as God does not need us necessarily to serve Him. If we do not avail ourselves, He can easily choose someone else. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (Matthew 25:29) However, I do not see a problem with using that phrase at all. God has given me grace, so that I may serve Him. It is not by my power or ability, but by the empowerment from the Holy Spirit that I may do so. Before you read on, please do know that I am still sure that the pastor was speaking with the authority of God, and I do not doubt the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and involvement in his sermon.

Let us go a bit into homiletics. The pastor was using a method of preaching, so that people could remember the truth. The truth is that we may serve God only by His grace. The method emphasized not to use the phrase “serve God”. Listen carefully, methods of preaching are not necessarily truth. They are merely used to enhance the impact of the truth. You see, the next time one of those people hears the phrase “serve God”, he will remember the truth of serving by the grace of God. Or perhaps by continually not using that phrase, people would change their attitudes towards serving God, reminding themselves that it is a privilege to serve and thus, serve with greater passion and commitment. In this way, the method used was good as it caused the message to have a larger impact.

However, wouldn’t it be better, as Christians to be able to identify and differentiate the truth of God’s Word from what is not? The Bible never instructed us not to use the phrase “serve God”. I would even show you some examples of the two words being used together, if they were not too many. When we are firmly grounded in God’s Word, we will set our faith free. The Pharisees and teachers of the law in Jesus’ time were like this- they imposed many traditions and rules that had to do with “holy living”, for the Jews to follow. But many of these were not God’s Word at all! Here’s an example-

Matthew 12:9-14

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

The Pharisees were so stuck on to their self-created principles that they could no longer see any reason in the things that Jesus said. Jesus came such that we are no more bounded by the law, but by grace. Grace is not about doing what is right, but doing what is good out of God’s love and love for God. The next time you hear or learn a truth from the Bible, think about how this truth may increase your faith by causing something good to happen. If what you learnt achieves nothing at all, but only limits your actions and possible love you can show to others, it is also limiting your faith and distorting the truth of God’s Word. So be careful what you hear from the things that other people teach. Be always discerning, for God and His Word are perfect. Our interpretations of His Word may not necessarily be accurate all the time.

Paul warned Timothy about this in 1 Timothy 1

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

The goal of this command is love, as Paul says. I shall say again- If the lesson you learnt from the Word increases goodness and love, then it is indeed, a truth to set your actions upon. Set your faith free within the boundaries of God’s truth and love.

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All we do for love

Co-worker’s night was really good last night. It was wonderful to see people so energetic in praising our God. As we concluded the year of service, we were reminded that in all things that we do, we do it whole-heartedly, giving always the best that we can give, doing the most that we can do in the ministries that we have been placed in. We would never know how much further can go; how many more people will come to Christ, how many more minds we will change, how many more days we will make fulfilling, if we don’t try to make it so. Let us go further, regardless of what may happen. Are we afraid of what people may say about us? Let them. Then let us show them what God’s love is. Let us show them love. For the essence of the gospel, the basis of what we do; the very reason so many people each year give their lives to God’s purpose, is love.

Anyway, Happy New year to everyone! May it be an exciting new year of giving ourselves to Christ.

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