Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Don't Quit, Keep Playing

NOTE=This article is a great reminder of who we are and who God is. I just returned from my church camp, mandarin service; theme was "love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; and love your neighbour as your self". The speaker shared much from his life experiences, what is meant by "such a love". Often many of us limit our love; meaning, we set conditions when we would love or continue to love. We draw boundaries beyond which we would cease to love. This is in contrast to the limitless love of God; and we were challenged to re-examine the way we love in the light of such limitless love. The key lesson I learnt was this: while there is clearly a limit to what I can do, because I am human and not God, this does not mean I need to set a limit to my love for others. I can love regardless. I can love even if I don't get what I hope for in return. I can love even if I am aware I am being used in the process. I can continue to play my "twinkle little star" in obedience to my master, and let him do the rest. I don't need to do the 100%. I can do my little 5-10%, and trust God to do the rest. He is God. And I am man. Together we are called to a special partnership to love. Will you keep "playing" and not quit? God has not quit on us. Thank God!

Don't Quit, Keep Playing

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to the concert of a great master pianist. After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered, to her horror, that her child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In disbelief, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear,

"Don't quit. Keep playing."

Then leaning over, he reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obligatio. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Perhaps that's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.

We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing Music.However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful. Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces. Remember, God may seem to call the equipped, but in truth, He equips the 'called'.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Unexpected Blessings from Affliction and Suffering

NOTE=This article is a great reminder of the place God has ordained for suffering in the life of a believer. So if you are suffering at this time, take comfort in this knowledge that your God knows and He cares. May you honour God greatly in your suffering just as Jesus did in His suffering when he was here. If we suffer well, we will also share in his wonderful glory. Learn the example of Job, dont ever curse God in your suffering; instead, rejoice evermore, and these words come from one who were suffering in prison for his faith. Yet he counted his sufferings very light, not worth comparing with the glory which he will share with the Lord of Glory when he comes again.

Unexpected Blessings from Affliction and Suffering

From "The Cocoon and the Butterfly", Author unknown

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force it's body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life struggling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved it's freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.


Dear Friends in Christ, God has built into His creation many examples of His wisdom for us to learn from. This is hinted at in this interesting verse:

Prov 6:6 (KJV)
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

The example of the butterfly and the cocoon is yet another such source of wisdom. It reminds me of the Christian song lyrics which say, "If I never had a problem, I'd never know that He could solve them". The point is, God allows and designs suffering and affliction to come into our lives to give us the ability to grow as we ENDURE the problem. Our reaction to the problem is also a measure of our maturity in the Christian walk, and may change as we grow in our faith.

Just as there are three opponents to our walk with Christ, the devil, the world and the flesh, so are there three kinds of sufffering that we must endure:
Persecution or suffering for our faith;
Affliction or medical problems and the accompanying pain or inconvenience; Temptations to sin or worldiness, or idolatry.

Persecution for our Faith, or "Suffering"

In the concordance you will find that whenever the word "suffering" or "suffer" occurs, it seems to be related to our Christian testimony. The devil works overtime to try to negate our Christian testimony. He does this through fear, lies and intimidation. His aim is to get us to cowar and go silent about what Christ has done for us and what He can do for others. Either by our words or our actions, we are tempted to deny our Lord in response to the fear of threats or lies or damage to our reputation or to our life.
1 Pet 1:3-7 (KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
{5} Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.{6} Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season,
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Pain and Affliction-Affliction is physical or medical suffering that we may have to endure. Of course, the book of Job shows us that the devil is also the one who tries to encourage God to take away our health so that we will perhaps "curse God and die".

Job 2:7-9 (KJV)So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. {8} And he took him a potsherd[broken piece of pottery] to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. {9} Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?
curse God, and die[H=kill yourself].

Here in a nutshell is satan's true goal for causing pain and suffering to a Christian: he wants you to have to endure such pain and depression that you will curse God for putting you through it, and then deny your faith, and then to kill yourself...a triple victory for satan from bringing suffering into our lives.

Of course, the story of Job's affliction does not end in defeat, but in continued and persistent faith as he endured the suffering. Consider his response to the faithless response of his wife from the above verses:

Job 2:10 (KJV) But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.And at the end of Job's trial of medical affliction and loss, we find the true result of what God had in mind for Job all along. Although He permitted all the evil things to happen to this good man, His intent was to deepen Job's faith and give him a personal relationship with Himself that Job did not have before:

Job 42:1-6 (KJV)Then Job answered the LORD, and said, {2} I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.{3} Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. {4} Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. {5} I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. {6} Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.

Worldliness or Riches- Idolatry of worldly things.

We also often find ourselves struggling with the alure of money and material things to take our attention away from serving Christ. As Jesus teaches in the parable of the Sower and the Soils:
Mat 13:22 (KJV) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word,
and he becometh unfruitful.

1 Tim 6:8-12 (KJV) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. {9} But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition{Gk=eternal damnation}.
{10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
{11} But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. {12} Fight the good fight of faith,
lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

And as we endure the suffering or temptation, and struggle to overcome it, Christ is watching us and limiting the intensity of the temptation so that it will not be above that which we are able to bear.

1 Cor 10:9-14 (KJV) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted,
and were destroyed of serpents. {10} Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. {11} Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.{12} Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. {13} There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:but God is faithful, who will not suffer{cause} you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. {14} Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

The unexpected consequences of suffering and affliction for the Christian are Christian growth, and experiences of victory that you will have as a treasure with which you can help and counsel others. Observe:

2 Cor 1:2-4 (KJV) Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. {3} Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;{4} Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Verses for further meditation:

Isa 30:20-21 Though He give you the bread of adversity and water of affliction,
yet He will be with you to teach you--with your own eyes you will see your Teacher.
And if you leave God's paths and go either to the right or to the left,you will hear a Voice behind you say, "This is the way; walk ye in it."

Rom 8:16-18 (KJV)The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,that we are the children of God:{17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. {18} For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Cor 1:3-7 (KJV) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; {4} Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. {5} For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. {6} And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. {7} And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

Phil 1:29 (KJV)For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him,but also to suffer for his sake;

Phil 3:7-10 (KJV)But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
{8} Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, {9} And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law,but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: {10} That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;

1 Th 3:3-4 (KJV) {3} That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. {4} For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation;even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Rev 2:10 (KJV) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Monday, June 05, 2006


NOTE:=I came across this article aboit LOOSING ALL YOUR MARBLES some years back. Read it and take the main point to heart. My marble count today is 1248. What's yours?


Dear Colleague,

"...A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other...I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap...(who) was talking about 'a thousand marbles' to someone named 'Tom'. I was intrigued and sat down to listen to what he had to say.

'Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital.' He continued, 'Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.' And that's when he began to explain his theory of a 'thousand marbles.'

'You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years. Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part. 'It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail', he went on, 'and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

'So I went to a toy store and bought...[a]1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear, plastic container...Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

'Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones...It was nice to talk to you Tom...'
"I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. 'C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast.' 'What brought this on?' she asked with a smile. 'Oh, nothing special,' I said. 'It has just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.'"+

"My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey...Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom..."
(Job 9:25,26; Psa. 90:12)(See Job 7:6,7; 14:1,2; Psa. 39:4,5; 89:47; I Pet. 1:24)

"Have a great week...and may you have many happy years after you lose all your marbles."++Author unknown

Thursday, June 01, 2006

7 Realities of Experiencing God.

NOTE:= Came across this today. A challenge to remind us of a reality from the divine perspective. Are we conscious of this reality daily? If we are, it ought to influence our thoughts and our actions. May God be a true reality to us! If we can't feel him, then go and read Psalm 139, and re-examine yourself; may be God will be merciful and reveal himself specially just for you. Seek him and he will be found! This is his wonderful promise. Believe it! Be blessed.

7 Realities of Experiencing God.

1.God is always at work around you.

2.God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and

3.God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.

4.God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances,and
the church to reveal Himself,His purposes,and His ways.

5.God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of
belief that requires faith and action.

6.You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is

7.You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His
work through you.

Print this out and hang it on the wall!

God Bless!