Monday, June 24, 2013

Blessings blown away?

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house...." Haggai 1:9

Have you been working hard and yet do not earn enough to support your family? Are you earning a decent amount of money but find yourself robbed by expenses that are out of your control? Do you see your blessings constantly being blown away?

The people of Judah certainly had those experiences. Even the ground they were growing their crops on was infertile. The dew was withheld from heaven such that their fields did not produce sufficient crops.

The Lord spoke through Haggai and told the people straight in their face, "...I blew (your blessings) away."

The reason was that the people had turned away from God and put their own interests first. God's temple was in ruin and all that the people cared for were building new houses for themselves.

Simply put, their priority was wrong!

I learned from this passage. I hope that you will too. Let's be determined to get our priority right - "Seek His Kingdom first and all these things (our needs and God's blessings) will be given to you as well." (Luke 12:31).

God bless.

Steven







Monday, February 25, 2013

The Gap of Disobedience

For the last two weeks, I had been reading the book of Acts. Paul's vision recorded in Acts 22:17-21 (NIV)taught me much.

Paul was a true Jew, an ex-Pharisee and zealous persecutor of Jesus and His followers. As a Pharisee, he was highly respected by the Jews. His love for his people was genuine.

Consequently, when he finally understood the love of Jesus for him and mankind, he was determined to bring the good news to his fellow Jews.

Unfortunately, many of his fellow Jews did not share his vision at all. They treated Paul as a betrayer of their nation, religion and culture. But Paul's love of them was so strong that he tried over and over again to share the good news to the Jews.

The Jews would not listen and caused trouble for Paul. The Lord intervened in a vision to Paul to warn him of impending trouble and asked him to leave Jerusalem quickly. But Paul debated with the Lord (Acts 22:19).

“‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

Instead of obeying the Lord's command to leave, Paul argued using his human "credibility", thinking that the Jews would accept him for what he had done before. In giving the answer, Paul was finding a reason to stay and preach to the Jews again. As noble as his aim was, Paul was simply disobeying the Lord.

I reflected on my own experiences.

God has spoken to me constantly. There are times that I simply refuse to accept what He said. Like Paul, I give excuses, many were humanly valid. And whenever I persisted to have my way, I got into trouble.

But Paul was obedient. After giving his excuse, he heard the Lord telling him that He was sending him "far away to the Gentiles. " Acts 22:21. Paul obeyed.


A pastor once preached, "Between hearing God's instruction and obeying Him exists the gap of disobedience! That is, until we obey, we are disobeying."

But it was what he said next that really woke me up from my slumber, "Satan thrives in the realm of disobedience and in that gap of your disobedience, you allow Satan to have dominion!"

How more clear can it be said of what is true and dangerous?

It woke me up from my slumber. I hope my sharing will also wake you up. Let's be determined not to allow Satan to have dominion over us. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to help us to obey God instantly!

God bless.

Steven


Monday, February 11, 2013

Swamped by millipedes

My house has been infested with millipedes since my landscape contractor put in the wrong soil mix in my planters. He used "raw" compose instead of "treated" ones to fill the planters. I subsequently found out that "raw" compose is typically laden with loads of millipedes and millipede eggs.

At first, there were like 10 millipedes, usually appearing after the plants have been watered. My wife and I started killing them, just about 10 a day.

Before we knew it, there were 20, then 30 appearing every morning and night. Despite calling in the pest control company to deal with the problem, the millipede empire manifested in force. The deadliest pesticide merely took care of the crawlies for about 5 days. The poison could not destroy the eggs. The next generation continues the infestation.

Just last week, after a heavy downpour, a whole battalion of millipedes appeared out of the soil and crawled over the surrounding areas. It was just two days after the pest control company came and applied more poison. The pesticide did not work anymore.

I had no other choice but to squash those crawlies with my bare hands.

Over two days last week, I killed more than 600 millipedes with my bare hands. Yes, I counted as I squeezed each to death. I did not enjoy the experience at all - millipedes exude a terrible odour when they are squashed.

The pestilence really frustrated me. Anger rose against the contractor who supplied the wrong compose and then refuse to act to solve my problem. My wife calmed me down. Bitterness and unforgiveness are both bad for the soul.

Then the Lord revealed two things to me:

1.   The millipedes in the raw compose are like the little sins in our life that we did not fully deal with right at the onset. The compose is like the soil of our hearts. If we did not "treat" it properly, that is, put it into a furnace to burn away all the millipedes and their eggs, the impurities (sins) will come back in force to haunt us.

2.   That I was to forgive the contractor as the Lord has forgiven me - undeserving but yet forgiven.

I have forgiven the contractor, even though he is still not taking responsibility for his wrongful action. But it is now no more my problem - I have forgiven.

I am now more conscious about dealing with little sins and making sure that I do not allow any of such to take root in my heart. I refuse to allow an infestation of sins that will surely cause me lots.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness..." Rom 6:11-13a

Indeed, the Lord is good that even in dealing with the 1000s of millipedes that have plagued my wife and I, our trust in Him remains. He reigns!

God bless.

Steven