Journey Mercies (III)

In late July 2018,  I received news from my ministry partners in Olongapo, Philippines that their city was flooded without much warning and a state of calamity was declared for the whole week.  I was preparing to fly there in 4 days’ time and the weather was forecasted to continue to have rain for the rest of the week.  On the day I arrived,  the waters had subsided and sunshine returned after weeks of absence.  When I checked into the hotel,  I was told by the security guard that the water level was about 3 feet flooding the ground floor of the hotel and he showed me the water mark on the wall.   All thanks to our Lord for His journey mercy.  The rain had stopped, and on the day I flew back after 4 to 5 days’ stay,  the rain returned.

In August 2018,  when I flew into Phnom Penh, the provinces surrounding Phnom Penh were terribly flooded as shown in the pictures that I took from the air.  The rain had stopped when I arrived.

One day in October 2018 when I was supposed to fly back to Singapore in the late afternoon,  I decided to visit an exhibition at the opening time of 10 am and then rushed back to check out the hotel by noon.   I stayed in Kowloon and the exhibition was on Hong Kong Island.  Never did I expect the highly efficient Hong Kong MTR train system to break down.  I knew that I would not only be late to check out of hotel but also late to catch the airport bus to the airport.  I did not buy travel insurance at all.  I prayed and asked the Lord for help to allay my anxiety.  Even on normal days, the human traffic during peak hours is terribly heavy and with the massive break-down,  it was chaotic.  Thanks be to our Lord when things seemed so impossible, it was possible with Him.  I managed to get home eventually that day.

In April 2019,  I sponsored several ministry partners to come for a conference held at Alfa Omega Ministries, Batam, to share of their experience in agricultural enterprise. And we also visited the farm managed by Alfa Omega Ministries in another island.  It was pouring cats and dogs the day we took the ferry to this island.  There was no shelter walkway from the ferry terminal to the ferry docked at the quay some 150 meters away.  I had no change of new set of clothes so I was anxious not to get drenched.  In my anxiety, I prayed for the rain to stop.  But we were told to dash for the ferry as it was about to depart.  I decided to run last with the faint hope that God would still answer my prayer.  Strangely as I ran,  the rain subsided very quickly.   When I got into the ferry,  my ministry partners were surprised that I was not drenched like them.  Despite my lack of faith, God was faithful to answer my prayer.  All thanks and glory to Him !

Flooding in Olongapo

Flooding in areas neighboring Phnom Penh

Flooding in areas neighboring Phnom Penh

Bethel Grace Ministry, Cambodia

By the grace of God, JC’s Manifesto is pleased to play a part in supporting the Bethel Grace Ministry in Cambodia. The ministry conducts weekly English classes for the children of the very poor living in the cemeteries, and also distributes free rice packets to them.

Visited two cemeteries in which some 300 families are living in one cemetery of some 200 tombs and another 80 families in another.

The weekly English class program starts with 15 mins of worship and Bible study so that the seed of the gospel can be planted in the hearts of the children. The joy we had was indescribable. All thanks and glory to our Lord.

Selfish Stewardship And Dishonest Acquisition Of Wealth Is Sin

James 5:1-8 NIV

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Having wealth is not a sin, though wealth has its deceitfulness.  The above Scriptural passage tells us clearly that selfish stewardship and dishonest acquisition of wealth is sin.

  1. Hoarding of wealth.  James 5:2-3.

In the first century AD, the wealthy would store their wealth in oil, grain, silver and gold.  Oil and grain could rot away, and expensive clothes stored away could get moth eaten.  Storing away wealth was not helping anyone including the hoarder for the wealth might end up useless.

  1. Exploitation of the wages of workers for more gain.  James 5:4.

In the first century AD, the poor got no redress for such exploitation though they might protest. But God would avenge them.  Basically Scripture condemns gaining wealth through all dishonest means and not just paying inadequate wages.  Today, we have Christian landlords that exploit to increase rental in a tight property market for more gain with no consideration for the poor irking out a living by renting from them.  Or we have believers that deliberately short change their customers for more gain in a tight market.

  1. Absurd luxurious living.  James 5:5

Scripture actually condemns the unrestrained indulgence on self over helping the poor and especially the least of the brothers.  In today’s society, we see very wealthy believers who do not hesitate to squander wealth on luxurious limousines, expensive jewelry, exclusive branded clothes, epicurean foods and palatial homes, and yet they are indifferent to the plight of the poor in their midst.

Journey Mercies (II)

After my mother-in-law passed away in 2001,  I decided to bring my father-in-law to church with us and we searched for a church with a Hakka dialect congregation.  We settled down in one particular church.

We had good bonding with the elderly folk in the church.  One day, when we informed them that we would be going for a short 4 day holiday to Ho Chi Minh City from Sunday to Wednesday.  We were surprised that 20 of them would like to join us.  I ended up planning a tour package for all of us.  The church leaders were upset that some 22 of us would be absent from attending the Sunday worship service.  I told them I could hire a bus to bring us to the airport from church on that day.  But the lay leader was still unhappy and warned that God would punish us.  I prayed against such curse.  On that very Sunday before we left for the airport,  one elderly lady received news that her brother-in-law had passed away and she could not join us to Ho Chi Minh City after all.  2 days later, she suffered a heart attack.  Had she joined us, the lay leader would pounce on such bad news to justify that God had indeed punished us.

Another such incident happened recently.  I was supposed to leave on a ministry trip on a Friday to a third world country together with a brother.  Just 2 days before departure,  he suffered a mild stroke.  Had he joined us, good medical care might not be available there.   Thanks be to God for all such journey mercies.  Hallelujah !

Koampla Phum Yoeung Organization Staff Retreat 2019

The mission objective of the new NGO, Koampla Phum Yoeung Organization, in Cambodia is to help the poor through various ministries for children based on Christian values.  I believe due to compliance with local laws, non believers are also employed.

Felt honored to be invited to share the Christian gospel and hope in one morning session of the 5 day staff retreat held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 4 to 8 August 2019.

Hallelujah !   Four of the staff accepted Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.  All glory and honor to our Lord Jesus.

Discerning False Teachers

The false teachers are described by Scripture as wolves coming in sheepskin to dwell among the unsuspecting sheep in the church. They will come in disguise as servants of righteousness. They can even masquerade as apostles of Christ !  2 Cor 11:13-15.     So how can we discern ?

Firstly, as agents of the devil, they will preach a different Jesus or a different gospel for sure to lure many in the church away. So this will be the main criteria to judge the motive of the false teachers.  If you find them adamant in not recanting what they preach on the wrong soteriology and Christology after expose by many quarters,  won’t you find it so strange ?  Any genuine believer,  all the more for so-called leaders, will not want to be misunderstood on belief on these very important doctrines and will definitely do their best to clarify them.

Secondly, they will have a different spirit and we can know them by their fruit stated in Jude 1:11-12.

Jude 1:11-12

Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

  1. Way Of Cain. They will walk in the way of Cain.

When Abel came to worship God, he came by faith knowing that he had to bring a substitutionary atonement sacrifice.  Heb 11:4 told us that he brought a better sacrifice so there is reason to believe that God had instructed both Abel and Cain on the right form of worship sacrifice. Cain simply devised his own way of worship and came not by faith.  Today, we can see the false hyper grace and NAR teachers devising their own way of worship denying repentance and forgiveness of sins, and including demonic manifestations during worship respectively.

  1. Balaam”s Error. They will run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit.

Basically Balaam’s error is a deliberate decision to promote falsehood for monetary gain.  Though Balaam was a prophet of God, yet he counseled Balak, God’s enemy, on how to exert harm on Israel for the sake of gain. When God stopped him from using his prophetic gift to curse Israel, he still counseled Balak how to weaken Israel through using women to seduce Israelites into sexual relationship and pagan worship. Today, we see the false hyper grace and prosperity teachers gaining so much wealth by perverting God’s truth.

  1. Korah’s Rebellion. They will perish in the rebellion against God’s authority.

When Korah promoted himself as leader over Moses,  he was actually rebelling against God who called Moses.  Today, we see the ambition of the NAR false prophets to subordinate God’s servants worldwide to their authority as apostles and prophets.  God’s true leaders will shepherd their flocks and serve with humility and care and will not lord over them.  1 Pet 5:2-3; Matt 23:8-12.

 

Sharing The Main Facts Of The Gospel

On the day of Pentecost, St Peter shared the gospel and 3000 Jews believed.  Only a short message comprising of 23 verses from Acts 2:14 to 2:36 and the listeners were cut to the heart. This first sermon of Peter clearly demonstrated the power of God in the gospel for salvation to everyone who believes.  What are the essential facts in this gospel sermon ?  Four major facts could be gleaned from it.

  1. That Jesus Is Both God And Man.

In Acts 2:22,  Peter attested to the fact that the Jewish listeners had seen or known all the miracles, wonders and signs of Jesus, whom God worked through Him, when He came as a man among them.  And in Acts 2:34-36, fully aware that the Jews were familiar with OT Scripture, Peter mentioned that King David proclaimed the Messiah to be equal to God by quoting from Psalms.  And he ended the sermon by declaring that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah.

  1. That Jesus Died On The Cross According To God’s Sovereign Plan.

In Acts 2:23, Peter said that Jesus was handed over by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge and was put to death by nailing Him to the cross with the help of wicked men.

  1. That God Raised Jesus On The Third Day.

From Acts 2:24 to 33, Peter quoted Psalms 16 and explained that King David was speaking of the Resurrection of the Messiah whose body would not see corruption beyond 3 days.  And he and the other apostles were witnesses of His Resurrection and Ascension.

  1. That Jesus Is Now In Heaven And The Holy Spirit Had Come As Promised.

In Acts 2:33,  Peter said this,”…exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”  The Jews would know of the prophecy of Joel, mentioned in Acts 2:16-21, after the Messiah had come.

The Coming Millennium

Why does Christ our Lord want to reign on earth for one thousand years and not simply usher in the new heaven and new earth straightaway when He returns ?  It is to reveal that even with a perfect government of peace, justice and prosperity under His reign in person, fallen men may not necessarily choose to put their faith in Him. Most still revolt with the devil against Him when the devil is released after being bound for the entire period of the Millennium.

Many do not want to read or hear from the book of Revelation for two reasons despite God’s blessing for doing so : the devil does not want all to know his demise, and also most do not want to hear adverse news of God’s judgments judging humanity after all.

During the Millennium, there will be no more budget spending on defense. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4. And all the economic decisions for the nations will yield prosperity for all then.

Yet we learn that all such desires of prosperity and peace are not really what most men want ultimately when they still revolt at the end of the Millennium. What they really want is still freedom from the reign of God in their lives ! So believing in Christ and salvation can only mean one thing – that we really want to be in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and His rule in His kingdom over us. We cannot have it both ways – that we want to be saved but not His Lordship in our lives.

Another main reason why there will be a millennium reign of our Lord is His promise to reward His disciples. They will be rewarded for faithful service during their lifetime. Matt16:27; Matt 25:34; Rev 22:12. Sadly today, many believers still desire to gain the whole world and may end up forfeiting their souls at worst or losing all rewards at best.  Our Lord will appoint the faithful servants to govern all nations during the Millennium. And imagine how gladly surprised we are to see the most humble servants of our Lord, brothers in our midst today, become the greatest government officials on that day. Matt 18:4; Matt 23:11-12.

Imagine living then in our glorified bodies with no illness. There will be perfect justice, no war and no death for us. The sea is still around that we can have the opportunity to explore the depths, and the travel around the world that we always want to do. We will be able to keep the tiger, the lion and the panda as pets.

Rev ‪20:11-15‬
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Everyone, who had ever lived, will be standing before God’s throne in our resurrected bodies and be judged. John 5:27-29. Imagine seeing all the great people like the Chinese emperors, Julius Caesar and all our country past leaders and the small insignificant people as well. I will be seeing all my forefathers.
God is not going to weigh our good deeds with the bad deeds. He is only looking at the bad deeds of breaking the law – every secret, every thought and every action throughout our lives. God will be very fair and He will only judge based on evil thoughts and action that we knowingly commit. Our conscience will either accuse or excuse us. Rom 2:12-16. The redeemed will have all their sins blotted out. Heb 10:14-18.

Hosanna in the highest !

Following The Footsteps Of Saint Paul

The turning point of my life occurred on the eleventh of September, 2001 when God gave me an encounter which I often related it as a “Damascus” encounter.  Though it was not similar as the direct encounter St Paul had with our Lord Jesus,  it was the direct intervention of our Lord in our lives which I found so similar  – an intervention which otherwise we could never leave our old worldly way of life.  I recounted this encounter in my book, The Coming Economic Flood, and my faith journey from 2003 till recent years.  In these 16 years since 2003 through God’s divine guidance, I planted or nurtured a few small churches, spent an inordinate amount of time strengthening the disciples in several countries, wrote and shared widely against false teaching and galvanizing the churches in the region to prepare for the coming hard times to be self sustaining as well as being able to help the poor in the churches.

When God first called me, I had no idea of the training and missions He would give and lead me.  In hindsight and with pleasant surprise, I found much similarity with the ministry of St Paul :

  • Evangelizing and planting churches (Acts 14:21)
  • Strengthening the disciples (Acts 14:22; 15:41; 18:22-23)
  • Overseeing the churches against false teachers (Acts 20:30-31)
  • Helping the poor in the churches (Gal 2:9-10, 1 Cor 16:1-3, 2 Cor 8:13-14; 9:12-14)

During these past 16 years and 10 years prior, I learned to live in lack and in plenty just like St Paul as well. Similarly seeking no financial assistance from churches like St Paul, my own hands supply my needs. Acts 20:34.  Saint Paul did not go right away into ministry after his encounter with the Lord.  He spent some time in Arabia.  Gal 1:17-18.  Many scholars believe he was having a personal retreat to understand the significance of His encounter and calling.  Likewise from 2003 to 2007, I spent day and night reading up the Bible and books on essential doctrines before I went on my first missionary trip to China. Though I encountered much danger in the missions, weaknesses, insults, and even calamities,  God delivered me without much suffering, unlike St Paul who was given 39 lashes 5 times, encountered shipwreck 3 times, and faced hunger, thirst, cold, exposure, and sleepless nights.

Hope in the coming Millennium and beyond is so real to me, by the grace of God, that I am so eager to invest in the treasure above while I count everything here as rubbish to the surpassing worth of knowing our Lord.  On that glorious day, we will be vindicated for turning our back to the world in this life and always looking forward to the city built by God.

St Paul was right to say that if there is no coming Resurrection,  then our faith is in vain and we should just eat, drink and merry.  But if Hope is real and coming, our Lord’s exhortation to be the wise virgin, the faithful servant of investing for the gain of the Kingdom of God, or the sheep in caring for God’s people cannot be taken lightly but should be resolutely obeyed.

The Church That Our Lord Desires

Reading the commendation and rebuke of the 7 churches in Rev 2 and 3,  I come away with these observations that these are the seven characteristics of a church that our Lord desires.

  1. A loving church (Ephesus). A church that continues to love the Lord and loving one another.  Rev 2:4-5
  2. A suffering church (Smyrna). A church that is prepared to suffer ostracism, tribulation and poverty.   Rev 2:9.
  3. An externally-uncompromising church (Pergamum). A church that will not yield and compromise with the excesses of the outside world.  Rev 2:14-16.
  4. An internally-uncompromising church (Thyatira). A church that will not tolerate false teaching within.  Rev 2:20-21.
  5. An unpretentious church (Sardis). A church that will actually complete her works instead of putting up enough just for her image.  Rev 3:1-2.
  6. A faithful church (Philadelphia). A church that stays the course despite having little power.   Rev 3:8.
  7. A humble church (Laodicea). A church that is not proud and living in prosperous and care-less ease.  Rev 3:17-18.