The Kingdom of God

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Matthew 6:33

What is the Kingdom of God?

There were some misconceptions of the Kingdom of God in the church. For example, the Greek church (orthodox) acknowledges a political monarch to be its spiritual head and the Anglican church has a secular crown for its bishop to be the defender of its faith. Christians even thought that by inserting the name “Christ” in its nation’s constitution, God’s kingdom will come to them at last. Christians have also identified the Kingdom of God with the church of men or even their church denomination as the kingdom.

In Matthew 20:28, Jesus rebukes His disciples by again teaching them about the nature of His Kingdom.It is as though He said;”I have kingdom but not a kingdom of politics, it is a kingdom of brotherhood.Ï have an aristocracy,but not of command.it is my aristocracy of service. I have a House of Lords, it is not a house of noble men, it is my house of equal brothers and peers.

Jesus was not content with just talking and teaching about the Kingdom of God, He illustrated it by washing the legs of the disciples (John13:1 to 17). He used the “feet-washing” lesson to teach them the truth that He, being the King of Kings stooped to be the servant of others.

The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its origin, the purpose is to restore disloyal man back to his true loyaly. Its subjects are sons of God.The gateway (entrance) to the Kingdom is not through the will of flesh but by being born again in Christ. Its laws are not ordinances but principles that we can apply in our lives. Its priviledges for those who entered into the Kingdom is to be heirs and co heirs with Christ. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Is it wrong to accumulate wealth?

Lay not for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moths and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal (Matt 6:19) KJV

Is our Lord against people accumulating wealth? Some examples in the Bible seems to be looking in this direction… Jesus asked the young ruler to go and sell everything that he owned and give them to the poor. He also commends the poor widow who, out of the little that she has, offered all to God as an offering.

What, then does He mean when He forbids us from laying up treasures on earth? He was against setting our hearts on laying up treasures and making them as idols to the end of life. What He condemns is not riches, but trust in riches.Not money but the love of money. Many people try to lay up for themselves treasures like fame, power and wealth as a means of security. Yet,securities often proved insecurities in the end.

“Ye have sown much and being in little, ye eat but ye have not enough. Ye drink but ye are not filled with drink, ye clothe you, but there is none warm and he earns wages to put it into a bag of holes (Haggai 1:6) KJV. And as it is with riches and other kind of earthly treasure -fame, pleasure, reputation and money. Yet these things are temporal. They do not go on forever… Our Lord Jesus has a better solution…” But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break through and steal” (Matt 6:20) KJV.

When a person die, he leaves behind all that he possesses. His fame, power and wealth behind. We brought nothing into the world, neither can we carry anything out as well.However,there are certain things that stays with us even when we die like faith, virtue,knowledge,love and joy. The love and concern we show to a person in need when we were alive, The word of encouragement we gave to a friend going through some tough times in life. The money we used to help a fellow church mate in financial need. We can take with us the Christian character in us when we die. Christian character is the “investing” and laying of our treasures in heaven and they are eternal.

A Church Youth Fellowship reunion

Last Saturday, my former church’s youth fellowship had a reunion dinner after more than 3 decades…pwee…what a long long time…!! 

Some of us last met each other back in the 1980s. It was indeed a heart-warming experience to know that we are still healthy and fit to serve the Lord after all these years. It reminds me of a verse in the Bible.

In Ecclesiastes 12:1, it said “”Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days came not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say I have no pleasure in them”. During our days as youth in the early 1980s, the world is so different from what we are today. I still remember that contacting a person is not so convenient as now. 

There were no smart phones at that time.we have to either call the person through a public phone or call him from the house. Life was much simpler those days, we enjoyed the activities like cycling and playing captain’s ball in the church premises. There were of course more serious session like youth camps where we learned to spend time with the Lord and rededicating our lives to Him.

When we met at the reunion dinner, all of us are much older and mature now. We have all become old uncles and aunties instead of the pretty lady and handsome man we were once. We may not be as energetic and fast as we used to be but we believe God’s grace is in our lives, ever watching over us.

“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 to 14 (KJV).

Thoughts about the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.And lead us not into evil: For thine is the kingdom,and the power and the glory,forever.Amen (Matthew 6:9 to 13, KJV)

Our Father in heaven

We must not pray, not only alone and for ourselves, but with love for others, for we are members one of another in the body of Christ, called to fellowship with each other. From heaven, God beholds the children of men (Psalms 33:13 &14;) and we must in prayer see His eye upon us, thence He has a full view of all our wants, burden and desires of our infirmities.

“The Father” – 2 grand ideas – The tender and respectful love of children’s feel for their fathers and the strond confidence in God’s love for us, such a father have for their children.

“Which art in heaven” – speaks of His Omnipresence that heaven cannot contain.(1 Kings 8:27). His Majesty and Dominion and His Omniscience – His eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men (Psalms 11:4)

The Mystery of the Trinity

“The Father” – He is the source of all holiness

“The Son” – Establishes the Kingdom of God upon earth.

“The Holy Spirit”- By His energy works in men to will and to perform

Givë us this day our daily bread

God is the author and dispenser of all temporal as well as spiritual good. We are to receive it as a gift from God. The ancient Jews expressed their dependence on the Lord and they let God to determine what was best and most suitable. We should not ask only that which is essential to our support but God have promised neither luxuries nor what we want.

Thy will be done

The object of these three first petitions is that God’s name be glorified and His kingdom established. By being placed first (God’s kingdom), we learn that his glory and kingdom are more important than our wants. They should be first in our hearts and petition before God’s throne of grace.

Managing our talents

God wants us to have a good life, one in which we prosper not only materially but also spiritually and in our health. In the Bible, God said; “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)

God wants to bless the fruit of our work but that requires us to be good managers of His resources. It is important to save, invest and multiply what He had entrusted to us. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14 to 29), our Lord Jesus gave an illustration about savings and investing. The parable started off talking about a master who gave his servants talents before he departs to a foreign country for a period.

One of his servants brought five talents and traded them and made a profit of another five talents from what he had. The rest of the servants also made some profits with the talents that was given to them by their master.However, one of the servant was worried after the master have left them. Instead, he dug a hole and buried the talents in it.

Finally, the master returned after a long time. He was overjoyed when he saw his servants delivered to him what they have earned from the talents that he had given to them. But he was very angry with the servant who buried the talent and do nothing with it. He called the servant “wicked”and ordered that his talent be given to another servant who can manage them better. Ultimately, we will meet our King and Lord when we pass away from this earth. Will he be satisfied with you and me for the resources that he had given to us?

An old Christian song reminds us of an appointment that we will never miss one day.

Is He satisfied is He satisfied

Is He satisfied with me

Have I done my best have I stood the test

Is He satisfied with me

When my Lord shall come again

When He walks and talks with men

What if ev’ry friend He had were just like me

Would he feels a welcome here and would he go away in tears?                                                                                              Am I all that I should be? Is He satisfied with me?

Biblical Prosperity

Does God want us to prosper? Of course He does, He want us to live our lives more abundantly (John 10:10).

In the Bible, it said,”Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…..and whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper.” (KJV Psalms 1:1-3). In our modern age, there is so much talk about material needs and wants. In many churches, the “Prosperity Gospel” movement is gaining ground because it preaches that God is full of grace and He will give what we want, we just keep on believing and claim it by faith… How foolish!! How can we can never put God in a box and expect Him to give what we want. He is our Almighty God and the Creater of our universe. He alone decides what is the best for us.

Biblical prosperity is not just about material prosperity. It may be physical, spiritual or even emotional as well. It would be wrong to say that a brother or sister is not blessed by God because she is poor. How about those missionaries who sacrificed and gave their everything to go to another land to spread the gospel?

When we are generous and giving, God opens the window of heaven and pours His blessings on us. Proverbs 3:9 says we should honor God with our wealth and first fruits. Have we been faithful in doing that? We need to stop focusing on giving in order to get good luck, a better job or more money. God’s blessings can be material or something else. He is sovereign and He decides to whom He gives and what He gives. God will prosper us in the way that is best for us and His greater plan. Some may prosper financially, others spiritually, and others in the family or ministry. We need to say;”God, I surrender my finance and my life to you, have your way, Lord Jesus. Amen”

Implications of repealing the Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore

 

Last week, a Singaporean proposed to repeal the Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore. On surface, it looks normal and logical since the penal code was there for a long time and we seldom refer to this part of the law in Singapore. You may say; “What is so wrong if we repeal the Section 377A so that the LGBT community will have more rights and freedom?”

The implications of repealing the Penal code 377A are many.

If the law is canceled, it means that a gay person can get married to a same sex partner legally. They can apply for a new HDB (Housing Development Board of Singapore) apartment at subsidized rates just like any other Singaporean. Toilets will have no “Male” or “Female” signs on it. It will be gender neutral. Any man can go into the same female toilet as your wife or daughter goes. Your loved ones will be at risk of these perverts.

If your are a justice of peace or a church pastor and your refused to officiate a gay marriage, your can be jailed as it is against the law. As a business owner of a bakery or a florist shop, your will risk being sue and thrown to the jail if your refuse to do business with a gay person.

In the United States, small businesses are being sued, bankrupted and given death threats for not providing services for gay marriages. Instead of respecting someone’s religious values, the LGBTQ movement will sue these tiny businesses till they are bankrupted. Schools are indoctrinating students and educating them on gay rights. Schools are also being sued for not allowing kids to choose which toilet they want to use. The State of California tried to outlaw religious institutions from dealing with gender and gay issues. It affected counselors from given useful advice to those in need.

The LGBTQ movement is militant in nature. There are massive implications once they get the rights to marry. George Soros, the richest man in the world is a high advocate and supporter of the movement. The movement has deep pockets to sue institutions and governments. They will stop at nothing to punish those who dare to stand the ground. We need to consider all the implications instead of buying into the myths about equal rights to many for the LGBTQ.

Divided Loyalty

If you are the pastor or leader of a church, you should have heard one very common excuse from church members for not attending a church service or a cell meeting.” I am busy”…” I have to go somewhere…..”

One of the most obvious battleground of our divided loyalties is our finances. The way we manage our finances is an external expression of an inner spiritual condition. In a study conducted in the United States a few years ago, almost half (40 percent) of the Christians who participate in the survey admitted to spending more than they earned. In American Protestant churches, only 3 to 5 percent of its members give 10 percent or more of their income to the Lord’s work. 

I am not too sure of the Christian situation in Singapore though. The unfortunate reality is that the economic statistics inside the church are not much different from those outside. How sad it would have been if some unreached group in the mission field was not reached for Christ because of our hesitation to give on a mission Sunday in church !!

We are spiritual giants and shout “Amen, Praise the Lord !” in church but when it comes to our finances, many of us follow the same principles as our non Christian neighbors.In Luke 16:10, the Lord Jesus gave us the absolute principle of management. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” The way we manage our financial life is often very secretive in our lives as it is mostly hidden from others. It is not as obvious as our participation in worship services or cell group activities. No one knows how we spend on our money. Even our spouses does not know how we manage our finances. But our Lord kept reminding us “Whoever can be trusted with very little…..”

On one side, we love the Lord and we want to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33).But on the other side, we can’t detach from the lures of this world. We want to serve God but we also want to look to the world’s enticements. Our churches are full of people with split personalities. On our side, we see a “Godly Christian””living his Christian life, On every Sundays, he goes to church faithfully and follows all the rituals and does what every good Christian should do…but on the weekdays, another person emerges, he does not behave as a Christian. he is arrogant and talks about how much he made from the stock market or what is the latest car model that he just bought.

We are called to be the Light and Salt of the world. When the salt loses its taste, it becomes useless and have to be thrown away. Let’s be the Light and salt that Jesus has called us to be…

Faithful Manager

In Psalms 8:6 to 8, the Bible said that,”God has made us rulers and managers over His creation. But what really is a manager? Is he to act like he is the boss of a company?

Does the manager have the right to throw his anger and start shouting at his subordinate? Or does he have a share of the company? The Webster’s dictionary defines the manager as ”one who manages the affairs or expenditures as of a household or client.” Some uses the word “steward”. It is the highest authority position after the owner.

When we received Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, He not only gave us eternal life. He also made us to be His managers! We need to acknowledge that God owns it all and we need to give to Him all of our thoughts and tangible possessions, our money, time, talent and even our future. We have to testify that God indeed is the Lord of our lives through our actions. It is crucial if we want to experience the grace of God in our lives.

The Bible exhorts us to be faithful.” He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous manmmon, who will commit to your trust the true riches” Luke 16:10-11 (KJV). How do you know whether a person can be trusted or not? By observing his action, his attitude in managing the little things given to him. It is easy for us to be careless. Have you been faithful with what belongs to others?

Money is an important part of our lives. The way we manages it reflects who we really are. Let us be faithful with the money and be a good manager of the resources God has entrusted to us.

Money Not Enough..

In our lives, we all face anxiety one way or another. One of the most challenging is on money related issues.

Money Not enough.

In a cosmopolitan country like Singapore, it can be a stressful experience when you are the family’s sore bread winner and you are short of money in managing your family expenses. It affects your thought life, your relationship with those around you and even with our Lord.

It can be nightmare for you support a family if you do not have a good income. One of the most challenging issues facing Singaporeans is the ever rising costs of living in our country. For example, the basic wage of an office worker is SGD 2,000. When the employees first receives his salary, 7.5% of his salary will be deducted from his salary and set aside under the CPF (Central Provision Board).He has to pay his home utility bill (which have already increased twice), insurance bills, hospitalization bills,

The CPF is a Government mandatory scheme where both the employee and the employer contributes to member’s fund, so that the the employee retires at the age of 63, he can withdraw the entire sum of money saved during his years of working. However, the government have been extended the age of retirement a few times now. There is also a minimum sum of money in the CPF before the member can withdraw them.

Job Challenges

It is a daunting challenge for a middle age Singaporean to look for a job that pays well now as there is a such a big influx of “foreign talents” coming from other parts of the world to work in our island state. Many of them stayed on in our country and became PR (Permanent residents) and eventually a citizen. A number of jobs have been taken over by these new migrants Many Singaporeans were replaced and without a job. Some have become Grab drivers (local version of Uber). Some even became security officers and cleaners. There is resentment between the local citizens and the new citizens over this issue.

How should we as believers in our Lord Jesus, respond to these challenges?

The Bible said “Be careful for nothing;but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:5-6

As Christians, it is so blessed to know that we have a God who neither slumbers nor sleeps because His eye is always on us. He yearns to listen to us when we communicate to Him in prayer. We can complain and talk about our worries, fears and challenges to Him because He loves us so much that He died for us all.