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.

Testimony (20)

I usually do not pray to God and ask for help concerning trivial things or inconveniences I face, though I am well aware that God encourages us to bring all our anxieties to Him.

That is because I often share that we should not come to a relationship with our Lord for all the wrong reasons.  And our spirituality should not be reduced to just finding a parking lot.

3 weeks ago,  I misplaced my sunglasses in a hawker centre after coffee fellowship with a brother.  I went back the next day to find out whether the stall-holders and the cleaners would have noticed it and kept it for safekeeping.  The cleaning supervisor said she saw it but did not keep it.

Feeling vexed in my spirit, I prayed quietly for God’s help in recovering this pair of sunglasses.  For it took me much pain to find this suitable pair of sunglasses that finally fit my slightly large head and this particular design is no longer in production.

I made an online police report for the misappropriation of property.  And surprisingly, the case was assigned an investigating officer (IO) the following week and he took the trouble to bring the report to my office for my signature.

Hallelujah !  Bless the Lord !  It took the IO just one week to find my sunglasses. Too grateful to him to return it to my office, I went down to his office instead.  It was excellent police work. The police had gone out of the way above reasonable community service just to help me to find a pair of sunglasses.

All thanks and glory to our Lord Jesus !

Testimony (19)

My son and I traveled to Indianapolis via New York on 13 November 2018.  It was snowing that day when we arrived and we missed the connecting flight.  We arrived into Indianapolis late by a couple of hours.

When we returned from Indianapolis to New York Manhattan on 15 November, we were caught in a sudden snowstorm across the whole of the Northeast of America.   We were stranded in transit at Detroit Airport.  Most of the connecting flights were cancelled.  The snowstorm was unexpected in November and was the worst in 136 years with some 6.5 inches of snow fall.

I knew the incredibly slim odds of ever making back to New York from Detroit.  Let me try to explain the odds.

What is the probability of winning the first prize of the four digit lottery ?   It is one chance in 10,000.   For each digit, the chance of a particular number is 10.  So for 4 digits,  it will be 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 and that equal to 10,000.

I have to face 4 to 5 situation and clear all hurdles altogether in order to make it back to New York.  And you can imagine the incredibly slim odds.

  1. I managed to get into the plane ready to take off but twice I was de-planed as Newark airport refused to allow incoming flights.  Finally my flight was cancelled and also many other connecting flights.  What was the chance of me getting onto the last flight in the evening ?   What was the chance of even re-booking on flights the day after and subsequent days ?  The capacity of most domestic planes is only 80 persons at most and I have noticed the load for each flight was around 90%.
  2. It was the worst snowstorm in 136 years. The taxi ways were so jammed because not only planes departing were required to de-ice and so there were many other vehicles on the taxi ways, but also they were full of snow and impassable unless they were removed.  What was the chance that New York airport would re-open for the very last flight ?
  3. After prayer, I decided to go on standby for the last flight in the evening. We were 5 and 6 in the queue.  And the boarding was not closed till 5 minutes before departure time.  What was the chance of us getting on board ?   Even when we got on board,  would the flight be cancelled while waiting for clearance from Newark Airport ?   Would the flight flying half way be diverted to another airport should the snowstorm get worse before landing ?
  4. The ground mass transportation systems were shut down. Only taxis were operating and most roads were impassable because of the snowfall.  It was unexpected total chaos.  What was the chance that I could get ground transportation to take me to my hotel ?
  5. Since we boarded the plane in the last minute, what was the chance that our luggage would follow ?   My son suffered from severe eczema and it would be a disaster for him without his medicine and creams.

It became clear to me that the odds of clearing all the above hurdles was way much much slimmer than winning the first prize of the 4D lottery.

I pleaded for God’s deliverance.  I have never been more helpless in such situation before.  God answered my prayer for every hurdle on the way.

  1.  We managed to get on board the last flight even though we were no 5 and 6 in the standby queue.  We were the last passengers to make it on board the plane.  I could feel the helplessness of some 20 people on standby who did not make it on board, as they were quarreling at the gate over the queue.
  2.  We arrived safely but we should not expect our luggage to follow for the plane departed from the gate as soon as we got on board.  We were so surprised to see our luggage at the Newark Airport.  The luggage came in on an earlier flight in the morning.  That was against aviation regulation as far as I know.  Anyway we were so thankful for this “mistake”.
  3. When we called for transportation, we were told we would not have any driver till 8 or 9 am the next day.  To our amazement, I received an SMS informing me that our transport would be picking us up in 4 minutes !

How grateful I was for God’s deliverance !   We managed to get to our warm hotel just 2 hours after midnight.

Immediately upon our return on 20 November 2018,  the temperatures in Northeast America hit Siberian temperatures.  We would be ill prepared for such temperatures as we never expect such cold temperatures in November.

Our God is sovereign and He cares !    All thanks and glory to Him forever !

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-22/coldest-thanksgiving-100-years-northeast-braces-siberia-temperatures

 

My First Praise CD Album

At times during my appointment with God our Father, I thought I would break out praising Him in tongues but instead, I broke out singing praises in new melodies.   As I have no formal music training,  I thanked God for His gift of downloading the melodies in my mind.  It is another testimony of God’s finger on my faith journey.  One of the most exciting moments for me was when I sang the whole Psalms 23 in English Standard Version without missing any word.

I give thanks to God for availing a brother in the Philippines to arrange and produce my first praise CD album with a limited budget to whom I owed a huge debt.

The title of the songs are :

  1.  God is so good to me.
  2. The Lord is my Shepherd.   (Psalms 23).
  3. Blessed be His Holy Name.   (Psalms 34:1-3).
  4. Clap your hands, all you peoples.  (Psalms 47:1-2,6).
  5. 我们的主,我们的神 (Rev 4:11).
  6. 为耶路撒冷来求平安.   (Psalms 122:6,9).

All thanks and glory to God our Father and Jesus our Lord.

(I chose this group picture for the CD album cover because our joy is genuine and our hearts were full of gratitude for God’s amazing grace.  We gathered that day in the farm to celebrate His goodness.)

Testimony (18)

I believe all healing is divine healing because God is sovereign.  He can heal 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.

(For further reading at http://www.jcmanifesto.org/?s=divine+healing)

I had sweaty palms since birth.  After I believed in the Lord in 1976, one of my frequent prayer requests was to pray for a miracle healing of this impairment.  My palms were so sweaty that I could not write on paper without damaging the paper unless I had a handkerchief to place in between.  I worried about going to social gatherings for I would feel very awkward and embarrassed when I shake hands with another person.

Since young, I was told that there was no cure. Nevertheless, I continued to seek specialist treatment every now and then while praying for a miracle cure for I believe God can heal through timely advancement in medical science.  There were some treatments which include electrolysis and applying corrosive chemicals to dry up the skin on the palms but I was often briefed that there was no cure up till then.  It helped for a few days and then I had to repeat the process again.  These treatments merely treat the symptoms and not the root cause.

That miracle came in 1996.  One evening while watching the news programme on TV, a neurosurgeon explained that he could treat sweaty palms by burning off the nerve which caused this condition but it was a dangerous surgical procedure. The next day, I booked an appointment to have this surgery.

By the grace of God, He had answered my persistent prayer for a miraculous cure.

Testimony (17)

Ever-since the turning point in Sep 2001 from which I came out of my career to wait upon the Lord’s calling, I had a small passive income business to meet some of the needs in raising my family.   But due to changing business climate, losses continued to pile up depleting the retained earnings in the company.

Since 2011, I had been praying and looking for an investor or a company willing to share the office with mine otherwise I may have to close down the business one day. The fact that my office could last another 6 years from 2011 was testimony enough of God’s goodness.

That D day finally arrived in September 2017.

By the grace of God, there was a brother whom I just got acquainted in early 2017 and we met regularly for fellowship.   He learned of my predicament and suggested he could look into sharing my office but it had to wait till October 2017.

Though I am not out of the woods now, but I would like to share this testimony to glorify our Lord’s name that He is faithful and He answered my prayer eventually in the nick of time.

I was also able to trim another major expense in the nick of time to continue the business and I actually need the office to carry on my ministry.

All thanks and glory to our Lord.  Hallelujah !   Bless the name of our Lord !

The Day God “Ruined” My Life

(Shared the following message at a half way house to encourage the ex-convict brothers who are struggling with being accepted by society.)

At 39, I was at the pinnacle of success. I just had it good for only the next 2 years and Jesus asked me to give up everything to follow Him. He just came abruptly and “ruined” my life of living in dissipation and fleeting happiness.

I doubt St Paul would give up his illustrious life as a Pharisee without a Damascus encounter. So was I without the 911 encounter.

(http://www.jcmanifesto.org/vision-of-911-at-wtc-on-8-september-2001/)

Unlike the rich young ruler, but like St Paul who had more confidence in the flesh than most in Jewish society, I had to settle for a life in which I had to “suffer” now living as an exile and serve as a fool for His sake instead. Before, I was so well respected, had no financial worry, and lived in real creature comfort.

After which I began life in a new kingdom stripped of all such encumbrance but with a different peace and joy altogether :

From a life of meaningless existence to meaningful existence,

From a life of vain perishable pursuits to a life of meaningful imperishable pursuits,

From a life of vain hope to a life of real hope,

From a life lived eternally in self-scentedness to a life lived eternally in perfect love,

From a life eternally alienated from my Creator to a life eternally reconciled with Him,

You can say I chose to be Lazarus with no “quality” of life rather than the Rich Man.

You can also say I chose the reproach of Christ over the treasures of “Egypt”.

If Christ had not risen, just as St Paul said, I will be among men the most to be pitied. I should just eat, drink and be merry.  I chose to imitate St Paul as well in many areas as he imitated Christ our Lord.  I counted everything as garbage to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ our Lord.

Hallelujah ! He had risen and is coming back soon for us !

What Do We Live For ?

The Journal of Humanistic Psychology Vol 43 No 1, Winter 2003 lists some of the common themes for the meaning of life:

1.   To enjoy and experience life.

2.  To love, help or serve others.

3.  To contribute to something greater than ourselves.

4.  To become self actualized.

5.  To create your own meaning.

6.  To serve or worship God and/or prepare for the next (or after-) life.

Appended are some quotes falling broadly into these universal themes :

“People ask me – what do you live for? Is it for God, gold or glory? Or for girls?’’ he says with a laugh. “Those are the four G’s. I’m not saying I don’t believe in God. But I’m saying that I don’t live for God. I think God is here,’’ he says, placing an emphatic hand on his chest.  “If you’re honest with yourself that’s good enough. Do I live for gold? I’m lucky, I live beyond gold because I’ve made it. So I think I’m living more for glory. That’s a sense of achievement.”

– Ron Sim,  Founder, Osim International

“When the end approaches and we look back on our lives, will we regret the latest mobile phone or luxury car that we did not acquire? Or would we prefer to die at peace with ourselves, knowing that we have lived lives filled with love, friendship and goodwill, that we have helped some of our fellow voyagers along the way and that we have tried our best to leave this world a slightly better place than how we found it?”

–  Lee Wei Ling, Director, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore

“The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge.  If you are not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.  So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: “Oh, 62 I’m retiring.” I say to them: “You really want to die quickly ?”  If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going.  Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.”

– Lee Kuan Yew, former Minister Mentor, Government of the Republic of Singapore

“The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly.  The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.”

– Mohandas Gandhi,  Father of Nation, India

“…What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful…We live very close together. So, our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

–  Dalai Lama,  Religious Leader, Tibet


“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.  But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…For me to live is Christ;  to die is gain.”

–  St Paul,  Apostle,  Kingdom of God

“Knowing that there is judgment after my appointment with death, I seek to reconcile with my Creator by receiving His grace in Christ Jesus.  It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live, I live by faith in Christ Jesus believing fully He has gone ahead to prepare a room for me in His coming glorious Kingdom.  So I seek His Kingdom and His righteousness above all and forsake all worldly perishable pursuits in exchange for these imperishable ones.”

–      Anthony Ho, a child of God, Kingdom of God

Testimony (16)

In an earlier testimony, I shared about the terrible eczema condition of my eldest son when he was 18 years of age.  Unlike my eldest son whose condition only worsened when he was in his teens,  my youngest son suffered terribly from it since birth.

He had eczema all over his body and even on his face.   He could not sleep every night waking us up all the time in the early morning.   I could not manage and I had to hire 2 domestic helpers to help us tend to him round the clock in bathing him and applying moisturizing cream often throughout the whole day.

One day, one of the domestic helpers even fainted due to exhaustion taking care of him.

We tried several methods of easing his pain so that he could have a good night’s sleep such as having him putting on one set of wet pajamas  and another set of dry clothes over it, or sewing specially made pajamas that did not allow him to scratch his body.  All specialist treatment then were ineffective.

We could only turn to God to plead for His healing in desperation when it was really unbearable for us to see him suffering at such a young age.   All praise and thanks to the Lord that his face and his body were cleared of eczema except his knees and elbows very soon which allowed him to sleep right through the night.   (We thanked God for forgiving our weakness in faith as well for not going to Him in the very first instance.)

By the grace of God since his stressful toddling days, his eczema has been contained and confined to knees only which are controlled well with moisturizing cream today.   He can even participate in field sports and rigorous training now.

Testimony (15)

When I was first called into ministry,  I was led by the Spirit of God to minister to one keen pre-believer living in the most radical place in that particular country which is hostile to our faith.  One afternoon, together with my mission partners, a local missionary who acted as my translator and this other brother who invited us,  I explained the Scripture to him and his family.   Later he believed in Christ our Lord.

Subsequent trips to this place allowed me to share the gospel to another cleric of this other faith who is a friend of these two brothers.   He shared that I was not welcome as I was like one stirring up muddy waters.  The translator did not translate to me as he was worried I would not be comfortable in sharing further.  By the grace of God,  this cleric eventually believed and he turned out to be very enthusiastic in sharing the gospel himself.  In one further trip,  he could come up with a gospel tract explaining why our Lord is the only way for salvation.  We were pleasantly pleased.

Before long, there was already a big group who believed and were baptized.  We decided to go once every 2 months to ground them in the Word of God.  We also supported their desire to meet regularly by providing the snacks and coffee and travel allowance.

I usually prepared my teaching way in advance.  But in this last trip, somehow I did not have a topic or anything to share right up to the day I was in the plane traveling there again for a 3 day conference with the leaders of this 105 member fellowship group.   Usually they would travel to the nearest city near their villages.   This time, I had a prompting from the Spirit of our Lord that I should stay in the capital and encouraged all to travel by train.   It was quite a hassle to get all ten of them to travel to meet us instead of having just 2 of us to meet them as usual in the nearest city and also to get last minute hotel accommodation.

As I started the first day of the conference in the hotel, the Lord impressed upon me to share about persecution.   I chose Luke 21 and Matt 24 to 25 as the text.  In the afternoon, we had the workshop to discuss on how to prepare ourselves to meet persecution.  I could not give any meaningful answer as I live in a country that is among the safest and allow religious freedom.

The conference was cut short as in the late afternoon, the translator received word that his brother had died in an accident and we could not continue any meaningful discussion or teaching without him.

We received word 2 days later that all of them were persecuted by a mob of a few hundred who razed their homes.

We could not contact anyone since, except the translator who had escaped to his extended family’s home in another city overseas.

I did not have any inkling of what was about to happen then but I obeyed the prompting of the Spirit of God despite the logistical hassle.   I did so not because of fear, but because I believe in the guidance of the Holy Spirit as St Paul was often guided in such instances mentioned in the Book of Acts.

We thanked God for the warning.  Firstly,  we were protected from possible harm so that the conference could continue.  It was so necessary as we discussed on persecution for the very first time.  Secondly, the brothers got to learn that they should not be surprised to encounter persecution and that enhanced their faith to face it.