Testimony (22)

One of the main missions that God had given me was to galvanize the churches in the region to prepare for the coming hard economic times.  As such, though I was appointed as the missionary pastor of Alfa Omega Ministries, Indonesia, I was unable to preach regularly on Sunday in Batam.

Only in 2015 was I able to commit for a year to preach at some 4 services on one weekend each month.   I would arrive in Batam on Saturday afternoon in time to preach at the evening youth service.  The next day, I would attend the service in the main congregation in Baloi Centre, Batam at about 7 am before leaving at about 9.30am to preach at an affiliated congregation in Batu Haji, Batam.  After lunch, I would take the fast boat service to Tanjong Uban to preach there at 2 pm.  After which, I would catch the last ferry at 5 pm to head back to Batam for the evening service at another congregation near the jetty.

On one particular Sunday,  while waiting for the last boat service at 5 pm at the ferry terminal cafe,  I was assured that the custom officers or the boat operator would announce or call for us when the boat was about to depart.   But the last service went off without us.  I prayed for a miraculous option, despite the terrible slim odds, to take us back to Batam in time for the evening service. Without any particular reason, the last boat turned back for us fifteen minutes later.  I was still loitering around the jetty thinking of options and praying.  Had I just left immediately to look for a hotel to stay overnight in Tanjong Uban, I would miss the boat returning for us.   What a relief and heartfelt gratitude to our Lord for an answered prayer.  Hallelujah !   Praise the Lord !

Testimony (21)

On the day I was about to bring my two younger children to Gold Coast Australia in November 2016,  I went to my office to clear some paperwork first in the afternoon.   I left my office keys in the public toilet on a careless moment after leaving the office.  By the time I remembered the incident, it was already 3 hours past and I rushed back to the office.  I prayed along the way and by the grace of God, the keys were still in the same place.  If not, I would have to spend time replacing the keys which would be so tedious and time consuming and I might not have the time to do so as we were catching the flight later in the evening. I prayed for a calm spirit, given the vexed situation, and a safe and hassle free trip as well.

At the check in counter at the airport, I was informed that my Australian passport visa was not valid. And thanks be to God, it could be processed immediately at another counter to my relief.

We checked into the hotel immediately upon arriving at Gold Coast in the morning. We went straight up to the hotel room on the 17th floor after collecting the keys. While I was bringing in two pieces of luggage into the room and turning around to pick up the third just outside the room, it was gone.  Someone had stolen it so fast.  I rushed straight down to the lobby to inform the hotel security.  Unfortunately the hotel did not have CCTV security.  I informed all the counter staff and guests at the lobby to look out for my black luggage bag before I went back up to the 17th floor.  This was to prevent the thief from using the escape staircase to sneak out of the lobby.  Then I went down the escape staircase from the 17th floor.  After going down 2 flight of stairs, I saw my black luggage.  It was slit open at the side but I lost nothing.

Though there was nothing valuable in the luggage It contained my son’s special eczema creams and many sets of clothing to last the trip which he would need to change frequently.  If the bag was not recovered, it would greatly inconvenience us for the whole holiday trip.

I was really grateful that God had answered my prayer yet again in spite of so many inconveniences and possibly not making the holiday as well.  All thanks and glory to His name.

Will All Saints Reign With Christ During The Millennium ?

Rev 20:4-5

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

Some believers believe ONLY the martyred saints will reign with Christ our Lord in the Millennium based on the above verses.  The above verses do not necessarily exclude all the other saints, who have gone home to the Lord before the Rapture,  just because it is mentioned that the rest of the dead do not come to life.  The saints are not usually referred to as the dead.

Let’s look at the whole counsel of the Word of God on this subject question, whether other un-martyred saints will also reign during the Millennium,  before coming to a conclusion.

Rev 5:9-10

And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”

Luke 19:16-19

The first slave appeared, saying, “Master, your  mina has made ten minas more.’  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  The second one came, saying, ‘Your mina,  master, has made five minas.’  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Rev 2:26-27

The one who overcomes, and the one who keeps My deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are shattered, as I also have received authority from My Father.

Dan 7:21-27

I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the  saints and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom…Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the empires will serve and obey Him.

The above 4 Scriptural passages seem to substantiate that all saints, martyred or otherwise, will reign with Christ our Lord in the Millennium.

Firstly,  Rev 5:9-10 clearly stated that our Lord will make all, whom His blood purchased, into a kingdom of priests and will reign on the earth.

Secondly, the parable of the minas in Luke 19 mentioned that servants who have invested the minas and gained profit will be rewarded the rule of cities in the coming Kingdom.

Thirdly, Rev 2:26-27 mentioned that  the overcomer saint will be given authority to rule with a rod of iron implying that he will govern the nations resolutely to punish sin and rebellion. And that reign will be in the Millennium because there is no necessity to rule with a rod of iron after the Millennium.

Lastly, Daniel 7:21-27 mentioned that the saints will take possession of the Millennium kingdom after our Lord comes and defeats the Antichrist, and these saints may not all be martyred.

 

Faithful Churches In The End Times

In an article by Mr Steven M Collins posted in his blog expounding on the 7 churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation, he shared that the 7 churches are not just church types over the years but are also 7 actual church groups in the end times.  In my opinion, he may be right in his learned exposition and I took the liberty to summarize and include some personal comments to point more specifically to the present churches I see today in the following power-point presentation.

Five of the seven churches – Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea – received rebuke from our Lord and stern warning to repent.   Only the Smyrna and the Philadelphia churches were not rebuked but were commended well on the contrary.

After our Lord foretold the birth pains in the end times in Matt 24 and Luke 21, He mentioned persecution will be next.  It makes sense that the Smyrna and the Philadelphia churches will be in a better spiritual and physical state to endure the coming persecution because the Smyrna church is poor and long suffering, and the Philadelphia church will be less conspicuous for she is of little power though faithful.

It will be wise to emulate the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches now so that we can endure in these latter days.

 

 

 

The Coming Economic Flood (Day Of Reckoning ?)

If not for the continual regular intervention of central banks, the global financial system will have collapsed.  We can see the unprecedented market intervention firepower that went from desperate to absurd in the last decade timeline.

Nov 2008 US Federal Reserve (Fed) started buying the debt of government sponsored enterprises and mortgage related securities in the secondary market.
Mar 2009 The Fed extended the program to include US treasuries which began the QE program.  She ran three sequential QE programs.
  Bank of England started its QE program.
Oct 2010 Bank of Japan started its QE program.  Also started to buy ETFs linked to Japanese stock market and continue to buy whenever the stock market falls more than a certain percentage points by mid day.
Mar 2015 ECB started its QE program.
2017 Central bank stimulus set record in 2017.  Together they pushed over USD 2 trillion worth of artificial central bank liquidity into the global markets through asset purchase programs.  (pre-covid 19 record).
Dec 2018 The People’s Bank of China started to support the domestic banking sector by injecting hundreds of billions of USD worth of liquidity into the system.
Jan 2019 The US Fed Reserve made attempts to increase interest rates to stop the market rout which threatened to topple the US credit markets.
Mar 2019 The US Fed Reserve made U turn and started rates cut.  Stopped the balance sheet normalization program.
Sep 2019 The Fed continued market bailout operations.  The repo markets clogged up and the QE program was re-started by purchasing USD 60 billion per month from October 2019.

It was clear that the global financial system was in serious trouble by the end of 2019.  And with the pandemic lockdown in the first quarter of 2020, the market intervention by the central banks, especially the Fed, went from desperate to absurd.  The Fed ended up backstopping U.S. Treasury markets, corporate commercial-paper and municipal bond markets and short-term money-markets. The Fed essentially socialized the markets.  With such absurd socialization of all major markets by major central banks, the investors are pushed to even riskier financial market products. The balance sheets of central banks are now investment vehicles with no boundaries.  The whole system is now so extremely fragile which requires even bigger bailout to stop it from implosion.  The QE addiction is absolute and without regular infusion of QE drugs, the system will collapse.

Will the global financial system collapse by September 2022 ?

(All information is gleaned and re-presented for easy reading from the following article.  https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/extremely-dangerous-game-central-bankers-extend-pretend-has-increased-risk-catastrophic/ )

 

Rock And Foundation Of The Church

Matt 16:13-18

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter (Petros meaning “stone”) and on this rock (Petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Luke 16:20-31

 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Eph 2:19-20

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

From Luke 16:20-31, we can easily interpret that “Moses and the Prophets” in the parable refers to God’s revelation to Moses and the Prophets which is the Old Testament Scripture, and it is noteworthy to note that “Moses” is mentioned in such a way to signify Moses’s prominence among the prophets.

Our Lord had given Simon another name Peter (petros meaning a small stone), and in a play of words, He said He would build His church upon the Rock (petra).  Just like Moses was prominent among the prophets so was Peter among the apostles. Apparently he was the first to make the divinely received confession that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of the living God. Peter’s prominence can be seen in several other ways.  Four lists of the twelve apostles in the New Testament – Matt 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13 – put Peter first in the list.  He was the first to announce the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:14–41). Together with John, he confirmed the inclusion of the Samaritans in the church (Acts 8:14–25). Finally, he was instrumental in the conversion of the first Gentiles (Acts 10–11).  Just as Moses was prominent among the prophets so was Peter among the apostles.

It is clearly mentioned at Eph 2:19-20 that the foundation of the church to be built upon is the “apostles and prophets”.  And looking at the whole counsel of the various passages, we can easily infer that “Moses and the prophets” and “Peter and the apostles” (though not mentioned this way but inferred from Peter’s prominence among the apostles just as Moses was prominent among the prophets) refer to their divinely received revelation which are the Old Testament and New Testament Scripture respectively with our Lord – being revealed as the Messiah, Son of the living God – as the Chief Cornerstone. In short, it is just “apostles and prophets” in Eph 2:19-20 which refers to God’s divine revelation through the apostles and prophets contained in the New Testament and Old Testament Scripture today.

Heb 1:1-3 affirmed the same :

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Matter Of Truth And Matter Of Conscience

Luke 11: 14-23

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. WHOEVER IS NOT WITH ME IS AGAINST ME, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Luke 9 :49-50

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, FOR THE ONE WHO IS NOT AGAINST YOU IS FOR YOU.”

In my other article on the same subject, I shared that for matter of truth,  Christians should have unity but for matter of conscience,  we can have liberty.

Here is another example from the above 2 Scriptural passages concerning matter of truth and matter of conscience. You will notice that for matter of truth concerning the Personhood of our Lord in Luke 11:23, there is no liberty to disagree but strict adherence.  “Whoever is not with Me is against Me.”

But for matter of conscience concerning Christian service, such as casting out of demons in Luke 9:50,  there can be some liberty to agree to disagree.  “(Though not with you), the one who is not against you is for you.”

Normalcy Bias

Prov 27:12 NLT

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Our Lord had mentioned several times in Scripture that many will still be caught unawares despite the fact that He had given the signs and warnings concerning the end times.  It is really predictably irrational that even when the signs and mathematical certainty are there for any event, many will still be caught unawares.  It is a psychological state known as normalcy bias.  This state causes people to under-estimate the possibility of an impending disaster and the severity of its consequences.  They assume the event will not happen as it has never happened before.  People in this state tend to downplay the signs and infer a less severe outcome.

Of course, there are also people who over-react.  They will cry wolf every time some signs are evident.  Both are extremes to be avoided.

In the article “The Normalcy Bias and Bible Prophecy” by Todd Strandberg,  he writes, “One of the most tragic examples of the normalcy bias is the experience of the Jews in Nazi Germany.  Barton Biggs, in his book, Wealth, War and Wisdom, gave a very good description of what happened :

By the end of 1935, 100,000 Jews had left Germany, but 450,000 remained.  Wealthy Jewish families…kept thinking and hoping that the worst was over.  Many of the German Jews, brilliant, cultured, and cosmopolitan as they were, were too complacent.  They had been in Germany so long and were so well established, they simply couldn’t believe there was going to be a crisis and that would endanger them.  They were too comfortable.  They believed the Nazis’ anti-Semitism was an episodic event and that Hitler’s bark was worse than his bite.  They reacted sluggishly to the rise of Hitler for completely understandable but tragically erroneous reasons. Events moved much faster than they could imagine.”   (The above message is extracted from my book, The Coming Economic Flood.)

With the bleak economic results for the first 2 quarters of this year and negative growth forecast for the rest of the year and the ongoing pandemic second wave causing the reopening of the economies around the world to be delayed,  it will be foolhardy for anyone to believe in a soon and quick V shaped economy, and does nothing to prepare for a longer recession.

A few steps are necessary to overcome such a normalcy bias :

  1. Accept such times are in God’s end time timeline.
  2. Pray to God for wisdom.
  3. Assess the threat one will face.
  4. Sit down to plan and act right away to tide over.

It is better late than never to act to overcome one’s normalcy bias right away.

 

My “Cornelius” Encounter

In the early days of my missionary foray into the neighboring countries,  I was led by the Spirit of God to a place which was hostile to our faith.  Just as I had a “Damascus” moment like St Paul,  I had this “Cornelius” encounter like St Peter also.

A local missionary, who eventually acted as my translator, informed me that there was this patriarch who was very keen to know the meaning of the parable of the sower.  I jumped at the chance and went to his home.  His family was already seated down waiting for my arrival.  Given the hostility towards the gospel in this place,  the incident convinced me that God would draw these people who sought Him to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus, despite the definite persecution if their eventual new faith come to light in their community.

This was my first mission to share the gospel in this nation.  Subsequently I went to a few villages to share the gospel with his friends.  In one particular village, one religious leader warned me about “stirring the water and making it muddy”.    I understood his warning.  Later, he believed in Christ and because of his intellect, he was able to share the gospel effectively in these villages.  And soon,  there was 105 baptized members in the fellowship led by these patriarchs of their families.   I took upon myself to teach these leaders regularly in the city near their villages.  All thanks and praise to the Lord for this phase of training in my faith journey.

Admonishment Using Ironic Words

1 Cor 4:8-14

You are already full!  You are already rich!  You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!  For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!  To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.  And we labor, working with our own hands.  Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure,  being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.  I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.

Paul had used ironic or sarcastic words to admonish the Corinthian church. They prided themselves on the abundance of everything – spiritual gifts, luxury, comfort and ease.  They had no sense of need. They acted as though they were reigning already. Paul had stated clearly that his purpose was not to shame but to warn (1 Cor 4:14) and he did it in the spirit and zealousness of love for he called them his beloved children.

But sadly today, many have wandered from the truth and such admonishment will come across as judgmental.  Pastors who voice such admonishment,  like Paul, today will be construed as “ranting” against the respectable Christendom for leaving them out of their fellowship.

“It is positive disloyalty to seek our crown before the King gets His. Yet this is what some of the Christians at Corinth were doing. The apostles were bearing the reproach of Christ. But the Corinthian Christians were “rich” and “honorable”. They were seeking a good time where their Lord and Master had such a hard time.” – H P Barker. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)