Safer To Rejoice In The Salvation By The Grace Of God

Luke 10:17-20

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

When the 72 disciples returned, they were elated that they had authority over the power of the enemy. I believe our Lord warned them instead that pride was the reason Satan fell from heaven. In Matt 7:22-23, we were reminded that even with such power and authority, our Lord may not know us.

It is, therefore, safer to rejoice in the salvation by the grace of God which was exhorted by our Lord.

In my faith journey so far, I have experienced miracles, visions, acts of providence and divine guidance by the grace of God. And I know how easy I can get conceited just like St Paul who was given a thorn in the flesh to humble him. Now in my second decade in evangelistic missions, thanks be to God for His grace is truly sufficient for me and I am actually more glad to share of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can rest fully in me.

By the grace of God, I have learned how to live in joy in the salvation so graciously given us and to walk as our Lord has walked by the gracious guidance of His Spirit.

I can’t say it better than 2 Pet 1:3-11 (NLT).

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are short-sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ Jesus, Our Good Shepherd

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Psalms 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

How we see God will determine how we respond to His love. If we see Him as a harsh judge, we are likely to see all trials in life as punishment and alienate Him. But if we see Him as a Good Shepherd, we will see all trials as His discipline for our own good and we will seek Him first and dwell in His loving care always.

When we walk through the many valleys of danger and hardship including the shadow of death in life, He does not promise to remove us from it. Instead, He will be with us in going through. His rod – the Word of God – will correct, reprove and train us to stay in line in the path of righteousness. And His staff – His Holy Spirit – will convict and guide us back always into His care and protection.

Like a Good Shepherd, He will look for a good Table-land (plateau) with good grass, close up all the danger snake holes and ward off predators (enemies) before shepherding His sheep to the Table-land (plateau).

Like a Good Shepherd, He will anoint our heads with oil – His Spirit – to soothe our souls from all kinds of anxieties (flies that constantly annoy us the sheep).

As long as we are obedient to be led by His Spirit, surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives.

And we will see Him soon and dwell with Him forever !

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord forever and ever !

My Open Letter To My Comrades In Christ

(In partnership with Dr Kecha Seyie, President of Nagaland Christian Revival Theological Association,  JC’s Manifesto Ministries was able to send over 200 solar lamps to the border villages of Nepal giving the missionaries a bridge to reach into the villages in Nepal to share the gospel both in word and in deed.  Due to the tense political situation between India and Nepal,  the missionaries congregated in a local Nepalese church for a seminar.  The following letter allowed me to be there in the spirit to share a word of encouragement to fellow comrades in the field.)

To fellow pastors and saints in Christ in Nagaland and Nepal,

My fellow comrades in the field,

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God for the excellent report of your tremendous love for our Lord Jesus in carrying out His given commission in Nagaland and in Nepal.   Nagaland is completely won for Christ.  Hallelujah !   Though Nepal is a stronghold of the enemy,  we give thanks to God that so much is done to win souls there.

Whenever our Lord went in His ministry,  not only He shared the Good News but also He did so much good works in casting out demons and healing the sick.  And His disciples were also obedient in doing the same as we read in Mark 6:12-13.

Without doubt,  we are called to stimulate each other to love and good works, not neglecting to meet often and all the more as we see the Day drawing near.

I give thanks to God for allowing me to be a vessel in partnering you in sharing the gospel both in word as well as in deed.

God has enabled many Christian ministries to be established to meet such needs as orphanage,  medical clinics,  bible schools and social enterprises.   As for me, God has guided me to establish a platform in JC’s Manifesto Ministries to meet basic needs such as providing light through solar lamps,  clean water through biosand water filters and basic food staple through basic farm equipment.

Please feel free to check out my web blog www.jcmanifesto.org  where I shared the various ministries I am working on,  some important teachings to fend against the rampant false teaching and my faith journey.

If God so wills that such evangelistic outreach programs be done in India and Nepal,  He will provide as we seek His will.

I look forward to going to the harvest field with you one day if God so wills.

Right now, I would like to share an important message.

Our Lord specifically told us that before He returns,  hard times will come.  There will be spiritual deception,  calamities and persecution of unprecedented scale as He warned us in Luke 21:7-19.

We are told to observe the times and to be prepared and pray to escape the times as in Luke 21:28-36.

God has graciously given me visions to make me better understand  the judgment of Babylon in Rev 18.   In Rev 18,  God revealed He will destroy all the wealth in one hour.   All the kings of the earth, merchants and those who make their living by the sea will weep at the demise of Babylon.   This is unmistakably the present global capitalistic system of governments,  multinational companies and supporting small and medium enterprises and the global seaports cum financial centres like Singapore, New York, Hongkong and Shanghai.

Today,  the other 2 aspects of the Babylonian system, the religious and political systems,  have also reared their heads.  The different faiths are close to form one world religion.  Same sex marriage have been legalized in many countries already which openly oppose God’s laws in an unprecedented and blatant way.

The financial system today will collapse very soon.   The stock markets around the world has collapsed in September this year wiping out  USD 11 trillion already which is so much larger than the loss of USD 2.5 trillion in the aftermath of the US subprime loan crisis in September 2008.   The sovereign debt of all major economies has gone off the point of no return and is beyond even service of interest payment.

God’s people are told to rejoice at God’s judgment in Rev 18:20.  So if we are vigilant,  we have nothing to fear.  As long as we seek His righteousness first and come out of Babylon,  we will not face the plagues of mourning, famine and death.

God is not telling us to quit all commercial activity.  On the contrary, we are to warn the idle among us.   All the more we should be hardworking and to provide the relief for those who are suffering from famine.

The book of Acts in chapter 11:27-30 gave us a good example.  The prophet Agabus predicted a global famine and the Antioch church started saving the relief and later provided it to the Judea church through Paul and Barnabas.

Let’s stay watchful and prepare as exhorted in 1 Thess 5.

Encourage one another and build up one another.

Warn the idle.  Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with one another.

Rejoice always and pray without ceasing so that we do not lose hope.

Do not despise prophecy but test everything carefully.

The church must start to save and prepare for this day.  Like in the days of Joseph in Egypt,  Joseph saved the grain during the 7 years of bountiful harvest in anticipation of the 7 years of famine.   Command the rich in the church to be generous in good works as exhorted in 1 Tim 6:17-19.

When trouble comes,  there will be many falling away due to lack of root but there is also a great harvest at the same time.   Many will seek God when they realize how helpless and mortal they are.   Let’s all of us pray to be the vessel in bringing in this great harvest.

As for personal physical preparation, seek wisdom from God as He will gives it generously to those who ask.  Noah,  when being warned of the impending judgment, with reverent fear built an ark to save his family.  Pray for God’s wisdom to build this “ark”.

Let me end this letter with this exhortation from Zeph 2:3

Seek the Lord, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.

Your brother and comrade in Christ,

Pastor Anthony Ho

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Recognize The Laodicean Church Today

Rev 3:17-19

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Aren’t these words from our Lord spoken to a church ?

Why did our Lord call a materially prosperous church poor, wretched and pitiable ?

What church today always showcase material prosperity as badge of blessing ?

What church today only buy perishable assets to showcase their prosperity instead of buying the eternal gold riches in heaven from our Lord ? Matt 6:19-20; 1 Tim 6:17-19.

What church today refuses to allow the Spirit of our Lord to salve their eyes to see their sin of indifference to sin and refuses to repent of their daily debts by buying the white garments from our Lord ? Matt 6:12; John 13:8-11.

What church today rubbishes our Lord’s rebuke and discipline and exhortation to repent ?

From history right up to the beginning of the 20th century, most countries were mired in poverty.  Then came globalization which unleashed the present prosperity in this century and birthed the Laodicean church in great explosive numbers today.

What church fit this description today ? Come out of it if you are in one. Let not our Lord spit you out of His mouth ! Be warned.

All Healing Is Divine Healing

Several years ago, a man in a cell group meeting said it was ridiculous to say grace for the food on the table. He reasoned that he had to work and pay for the food and it was not given free by God. I retorted that he forgot the whole food production cycle is only possible by the grace of God.

Similarly, we tend to forget that all healing of our bodies is divine healing. God heals in several ways :

1. Through the immune system of the body.
2. Through the timely advancement in medical science.
3. Through deliverance.
4. Through miracles.

The function of the immune system God has put in our bodies is to protect against disease and also to cause self healing. At times, people develop cancer when the cancer in their bodies wins the battle against the immune system. But if we pray to God for wisdom in knowing the pathway of healing on what to eat to strengthen the immune system to fight again, it is possible to reverse the effects of the cancer, God willing.

Sometimes, when we pray for healing of the infirmity or sickness in our bodies which seems impossible at the time we pray, God may heal us when the time for science to finally discover the cure comes. The cure for tuberculosis was discovered in the early 20th century. Before that, it was incurable and terminal. So if one living in that period the cure was discovered while suffering from tuberculosis, he would find his prayer for healing answered.

Some suffered from trauma in the early part of their lives and when they were delivered by the grace of God, their health improved tremendously.

God is sovereign and He may heal through miracles too. We have enough testimonies today to prove He does heal miraculously. We must bear in mind that the healing miracle is God’s mercy and not a right of a Christian. Phil 2:25-27.

The example of the thorn in the flesh suffered by St Paul, which he had pleaded with God 3 times for healing to no avail, clearly tell us it may not be God’s will to heal all the time.

By the grace of God, we can know much about what to eat to prevent cancer and to strengthen the immune system through the amazing advancement of medical science today.

While praying for God’s healing miracle, we must also accept God’s common grace in praying for the knowledge of the medical pathway of healing from God, especially in knowing what to take to strengthen our immune system.

May God give us the discipline and knowledge to take good care of our bodies. All thanks and glory to our Lord God who always loves us.

Contending For The Honor Of God’s Name

Some saw the spiritual insight on how to slay the “giants” in one’s life from the battle of David and Goliath.  But I saw this important lesson from the biblical text itself – contending for the honor of God’s name even against “giants” of power and authority.

1 Sam 17:24,26

24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid… 26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and TAKES AWAY THE REPROACH from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should DEFY the armies of the living God?”

We read in Exodus of how God honored the Levites to serve Him when they contended for God’s honor by killing even their own brothers and sisters for worshipping the golden calf.  Ex 32:26-29.

Do we dare to contend for God’s name and honor today ? Or we simply cower and ignore all the taunting and dishonoring of God’s name in the name of tolerance or non-judgmental stance ?

One day, we will be persecuted and hurled before the authorities just for the name sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Luke 21:12-17.  Will we be ashamed of Him ?     If we are not doing so right now in the face of mild persecution,  how can we face more severe persecution in the near future ?

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启示录 4:11 (Rev 4:11)

我 们 的 主 , 我 们 的 神 ,

你 是 配 得 荣 耀 、 尊 贵 、 权 柄 的 ;

因 为 你 创 造 了 万 物 ,

并 且 万 物 是 因 你 的 旨 意

被 创 造 而 有 的 。

Current Ministry At A Halfway House

Due to my commitment in pastoral ministry in two churches here and in Batam,  I can only commit to the sharing of the Word of God at a halfway house once a month.

Every time I worship with these brothers, I thank God for the repentant change in their lives wrought by the grace of God in Christ Jesus.  Only by surrendering their lives to Christ as their personal Savior and Lord can they come out of the bondage of drug addiction.   Everyone has an unique and amazing testimony of how God has touched his life.

I am so grateful to God for allowing me to be a vessel in the Christian journey with these brothers.

As much as I encourage them with God’s word, they encourage me with their living testimony of surrender and trust in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy !

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Pastoral Ministry In Johor Bahru In 2012

Sometime in September 2012,  I happened to patronize a fruit stall in Johor Bahru together with a fellow pastor and we had a conversation with the Vietnamese lady owner.  She was in her mid 30s and she had two children aged 8 and 4 then.

When she realized that I was serving full-time in Christian ministry, she asked if both of us would be interested to pastor her small congregation of 25 people.

Without hesitation,  we agreed as we did not want to see the church without proper teaching.  This sister was responsible for the leadership and oversight of the fellowship.

After we had finished the worship service in Singapore at about 12 noon,  we would rush into Johor getting there in time for the 2 pm worship service and returning at about 5 pm.

And together with this same fellow pastor, we rushed again to conduct another Chinese evening service together in a Korean church.

Eventually this Vietnamese fellowship joined a bigger church nearby in mid 2013.

Just want to reminisce the wonderful fellowship I had with this Vietnamese congregation.  The ministry had helped me to brush up my Mandarin.

May God our Father uphold the faith of these Vietnamese brothers and sisters steadfast in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Journey Mercies (I)

Since my first ministry trip in 2007, I am always amazed and humbled by the divine guidance of our Lord God and the journey mercies He has shown me.

In my recent ministry trip to Bagan Batu, Riau, Sumatra, going straight into the terrible haze of 1000 psi enveloping the entire region, God showed mercy for my health when the haze went down to healthy range just for the three days I was there. Though my throat was sore, it never gave serious trouble to disrupt my sharing.

Let me recount how God had protected me from danger and also prevented foul-up in schedule on several occasions after we prayed.

Once we stayed on a little longer in a pastors and ministry workers’ conference held in a village in Shenyang, China as not to disappoint the attendees who had this tremendous hunger for God’s Word, and we missed the train to Tomen, a border town facing North Korea. After prayer, we decided to chase after the train by hiring a van. We were late at the next city stop by one hour. By the grace of God, the train was delayed by one and a half hours enabling us to catch the train eventually.  We would have missed the ministry opportunity in this beautiful city of mostly Korean Chinese as there was only one train schedule each day and the traveling time to Tomen would take 18 to 20 hours.  We had a tight schedule so we could not afford to wait out another day.

Once I was in Guangzhou in November which was still autumn and the temperature was between 18 to 20 deg C, I brought and wore only a warm jacket. Immediately upon my return from ministry at one Guangzhou church, a freak snowstorm happened and paralyzed the train network for 2 weeks. Several thousands were stranded at the railway station and the Guangzhou church mobilized herself to provide relief and share the gospel. Hallelujah !

Several times in the midst of ministry conference, I had to evacuate quickly on standby motorcycle up the mountain to evade the police as such gathering was illegal then.

Once I was in Philippines, a category 3 storm lashed Manila. I was returning to Manila when the storm hit. It was reported that there was severe flooding in Manila. It was so amazing that the coach was able to travel straight into Manila and even reached my hotel. There was severe flooding on one side of the hotel where roads were inaccessible but the other side of the hotel, it was just fine. But I still wondered how the coach could continue into the capital with such lashing from the storm and flooding.

Once I was waiting under a big neon sign to catch the long distance coach to Manila. Somehow I was prompted to cross the road to the other side to find a seat while waiting. The moment I crossed and sat down, the big neon sign came crashing down.

Once I was trekking along the high mountain road linking Yunnan Province of China with Kachin state of Myanmar in a truck carrying basic food staple, I nearly fell three times into the valley as the mountain road was really narrow. Thinking it was summer, I did not bring along warm clothing but the highest peak I crossed was 12,000 ft with melting ice glaciers. Thank God for His protection as I did not fall ill as a result of staying in such cold condition for nearly a week.

Every quarter from 2011 to 2013, I went to share the Word of God with a church I had nurtured over the years. They were living among  one of the most hostile peoples to our faith. The last time which we met, God’s Spirit prompted me to stay in the capital instead of taking the train to meet them in their city centre some 150 km away.  To do so would be a logistics headache as I did not plan such in advance.   I would have to find hotel rooms in the capital and have all 10 leaders to travel to the capital.  I could not come up with a topic to share even when I had reached the hotel in which I would hold the fellowship meeting. Usually, I would prepare the messages for the plenary session and group discussion way in advance. But this time, I could not prepare anything as God’s Spirit had not impressed upon me the topic to speak on. During the plenary session, I shared about persecution from Luke 21 and Matt 24 as prompted by the Spirit of God. As I have never faced persecution before, it was a difficult topic for me when the participants asked questions about preparation. The moment, the leaders returned to their villages after the meeting, they were persecuted. Some were imprisoned. Some were missing. An angry mob of few hundred came into their villages and burnt their homes. A leader called me later to inform that my message on persecution was timely to prepare and encourage them to face this persecution. God is indeed sovereign. God is good. Hallelujah !   (It was like a “Cornelius” encounter for me to be instrumental to build up this church.  The local missionary translator and partner of ours told us that an unbeliever living in the city centre was interested to know the meaning of the Parable of the Sower after reading the Bible in their language.  That was a very wonderful blessing because firstly the Bible would not be available to all other peoples of their same faith in their respective native languages and secondly, it would be blasphemy for them to read the Bible.  Without hesitation, I went to his home and explained it to his whole household.  Through him and another brother,  they eventually brought some 105 people to Christ before being persecuted.)

Many a times, I was sick even before I embarked on the overseas ministry trip. And each time, God healed me so that I could continue with the ministry.

God is good. Hallelujah ! Praise His Holy Name !