I want to talk about something which has been running about in my mind for sometime. It's some kind of theological notion, conviction or hypothesis or like what some people coin - poor religious dreck.
So this is a forewarning to inform that unless you're a theological junkie like myself, you could get really lost with the remaining of this entry.
This thought came about after knowing a friend in my camp. I'm not trying to be judgmental here but hear me out. Jackson (not his real name) is a catholic who curses and smokes frivolously. He privately operates a money lending business which charges a good interest rate. He claims to be some kind of youth leader in church but harbor a serious enmity towards protestant Christians. Of which, his favourite catch-phrase to me is, christian go burn in hell. And I hear that each time I try to get him into a serious God-talk conversation. Basically, he's someone who exhibits little regard for what he believes in.
So I'm just thinking, is this dude who possibly believes in Jesus still going to heaven even as he rejects the teaching of the law?
And if we both do, what if I encounter a smirking, hey kev i'm here too after all I've done! Bleh! ?
But after a while I realised it's a silly little question with almost zilch importance. Because entering heaven is just a perk of eternal life. The gist of Salvation is a beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ in our good and bad times on earth.
Then I came to recall that in the gospel of Matthew 7:21, Jesus says "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Cross-referenced to Luke 6:46, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
Isaiah 55:6-7 also says "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near .."
So we know now for a fact that in the last days, there will be people who will be left behind even when they call upon God's name. Sadly, there will be a time when God will not be found. And that is the moment when the last trumpet sounds which Jesus would descend onto earth, also known as Christ's second coming.
So who qualifies for Salvation? The bible clearly reveals that only those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour can receive eternal life. We're therefore saved through God's grace through our faith when we make a decision to commune with Jesus. And by that principle, a man who only does good deeds, however without a relationship with Christ will not qualify.
So I drew up this summary diagram with photoshop to illustrate my point.
In the book of Ephesians 2: 8-9, it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
The first part of this verse tells us that we're saved by grace and not by works. It goes on to say that we're saved for the purpose of good works.
By that principle, many friends try to convince me that I can purposefully sin all my life - murder, steal, rape, drink, smoke, gamble and accept Jesus last minute just to enter heaven. Doesn't it seem like a very convenient idea? Or better still, accept Jesus and still commit those vices. Now, can such faith save me?
But in the book of James 2:20, it reminds us that faith without works is dead.
It was a struggle trying to understand this paradox initially. But hear how I attempt to interpret this.
We're saved by the grace of God through faith when we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts.
We're saved primarily because of God's love for us - we can therefore love God and experience His goodness and sovereignty.
We're also saved for good works - to love people and to demonstrate God's love towards humanity in a practical way such as caring, providing and ministering to the poor.
When we have faith, we will perform good works, because this is also what we're saved for. Good works is a by-product of salvation and genuine faith.
We're saved by God's loving grace and therefore we can be disobedient and receive eternal life as long as we believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins.
We're saved by grace through faith but we do not need to perform/exhibit/carry any godly demeanor (eg fruits of the spirit) as long as we confess Jesus Christ to be our saviour.
KEV'S HUMBLE CONCLUSION
We can smile and not be happy. But we cannot be happy and not smile.
In the same way, we can do good works without having faith. But we cannot have faith without doing good works. BECAUSE good works is a BY-PRODUCT of genuine faith!
To end it off, this is one last verse for you.
James 2:14-18 says, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."
Today has been wonderful! In fact, this entire week has been great. And I believe that the next week will be the best week yet. I'm so full of faith despite a future so uncertain that carries its burden of unpredictable transitions.
I'm so excited to live my future. I've put away past baggages. I've mended bad ties. I'm trusting Jesus and am secured that in all things good and bad, God works for the good for those who love Him. God is so perfect yet sovereign, it's paradoxically to know that He cannot make a mistake even if His perfect powers enable him. My heart is filled with thanksgiving because of all the good times that carried me through places. And not forgetting the bad and tearful that brought me to my knees, awakening my soul to the the love of my life.
And you're a prayer come true though you're a demanding little brat whom I adore.
Firstly, I'm so over and done with my IPPT! This morning, I was praying so fervently to God to give me some turbo boost on my legs to clear the SBJ. And abracadebra, His spirit infused into the neurons in my brain that excitedly charged every nervous cell that spun all pistons into high gear.
POOF! I jumped and landed!
In the afternoon, something sweet happened.
By evening, something sweeter occured.
And by the time I got home, I had a little surprise when I stepped into my toilet ..
I've just finished reading Boys Meets Girl and it indeed took a while.
I'm not just an avid reader. I'm also a procrastinating avid reader when my pace gets disrupted. But I am glad that I had paid 17 bucks for it. This book explores God-centered relationships between a man and women that are driven with a purposeful and worthy cause. It also offers practical suggestions on dealing with the grey areas of a relationship such as passionate loving and sexual purity.
I've this raunchy childhood joke that goes like this.
Ah Beng whispers to Ah Lian: 如果你愛我, 你为什么不给我!
Not that I endorsed the abovementioned, but this book has helped me to understand that many of my old ways of perceiving relationships are fallacious and detrimental to any human relations.
I used to think this way, if a relationship works out, great! otherwise, let's move on cus life still goes on. It's just for the pleasure of the moment anyway. It might seem like a very sane, humane and wholesomely plausible principle. But before I knew anything , I had actually gone out with 4 different girls in a year. Precisely because I moved on each time something somewhere didn't work out. And because I've compromised and given my heart too many times away in short-termed relationship, I suffered as a result. I would ask myself, will I have anything left to give to the one I marry in the end? I guess I identified with Joshua Harris because of some similar experiences he went through. Wrong moves, bad mistakes.
However, I have also learnt that God's love and grace cover even the worst sin. A certain preacher was asked this question, if you could tell Adolf Hitler one thing, what will you say to him? So he answered, I will point Hitler to the Lord Jesus Christ to receive salvation because God's love is greater than the worst sin that humanity can devise. Aren't you amazed?
In part 3 of Boy Meets Girl, Josh included a chapter titled When Your Past Comes Knocking - How You Can Face Past Sexual Sin And Experience God's Forgiveness. It talks about overcoming the memories and guilt of past sins that come knocking to remind, to taunt and condemn.
In his first book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua shared this story. It was a dream he personally had. And he titled it, The Dream ..
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
By Joshua Harris. Orginally published in New Attitude Magazine. Copyright New Attitude, 1995. You have permission to reprint this in any form. We only ask that you include the appropriate copyright byline and do not alter the content./span>
I almost teared when I read the story for the first time. Just when I think I've mastered the essentials of God, I discovered that there is so much more to learn.
I mailed out a couple of Assuring Teddy CDs today. And the old man with the residing hairline at Killiney post office who sat at the Express desk was very kind to assist me in the midst of my blunder and callowness.
I embarrassed myself as I pointed to the long queue, sir is that where I get to buy the stamps?
Quickly, he offered, yea but I could help you here since my desk is empty anyway.
There were a couple of local recipients, and the rest were to destinations like Sydney Australia, Selangor Malaysia and Fukuoka Japan. This is exciting. Thank God for His blessings!
Secretly, I'm counting the days till I reach my ORD. Somewhat it's seems that ORD has evolved from a noun into some kind of verb.
Oei chao recruit, when you going to ORD? You would probably have heard something like that at Pasir Ris MRT on a Sunday evening.
But ORD really means Operational Ready Date. It marks the date which a soldier is recognized by the army for his competence in fighting a war. But most of us have taken for granted that Singapore is no way getting into battle. So we guys usually rejoice, pop the champaign and kiss our girlfriends anyway!
Earlier on, I was enquiring on some student bank loans online. And here is what I've found.
Interest Rates Per Annum
POSB / DBE > 5.88%
HSBC > 12%
UOB > 9.99%
OCBC > 6.5%
Citi Bank > 6%
May Bank > 5.58%
ABN AMRO > 17.28%
Looks like May Bank offers the most affordable payback scheme! And ABN AMRO is a like a fugitive running amok with a butcher chopper on both hands. I've also revamped the assuringteddy poster to give it a little drive and poise. And I hope it doesn't look too amateurish! Hah.
As I was collating all these photos together, I just felt so blessed for the first time. God indeed has been faithful to see me through despite all my rebellion. As I hope in the Lord, I believe with all my heart that next year will be the best year yet!
Okay, I don't actually pen since I don't use a pen. Oh well. Hah.
It's already 2.45AM and she's probably asleep right now. So I thought, alright since I'm still alive, I shall just text a sweet SMS and blog an entry. See, that truly explains my super duper dark eye ring that my mum rants about.
Tell you to sleep, you whole night play computer hor? Ehh, I was doing work Mum. But I slept pretty early, say 3 plus? Don't come and bluff me, your room is still lit at 5AM ok! Oh man. Kena owned! *suck thumb*
Recently, I learned that a friend of mine is working at a Taiwan recording studio in Shang Hai. Unlike myself, Frederick Lin is an experienced singer-songwriter-pianoist who ventures heavily into mandarin songs. So I went to his site, listened to his songs and fell in love with this track titled 多一秒爱着你. You could take a listen here, and be amazed by the talent we have in Singapore.
Sigh! If only I had been less flippant towards Chinese in secondary school, I could be writing and singing chinese songs now! Oh well, I shall embark on my personal speak cheena campaign. So please converse with me in mandarin the next time we meet. Gee, I hope it's not to late. Hah.
Photos with the guys.
Last Saturday, we had our cell group thanksgiving party. And it was wonderful beyond description! Aside from all the fun and excitement, I felt a sense of reassurance that W408 is a potential powerhouse despite all natural limitations and our corporate perception of whether we are good enough to split red seas or not. Like what Pastor always reiterates, we're a bunch of ordinary people serving an extraordinary God. The bible says that obedience commands blessings. It's a paradox to think of how God has no choice but to release blessings when we're obedient. But then again, obedience is no easy task. If Jesus commands us to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength, it also means that we love God more than our feelings, hormones, life agendas and ambitions. In other words, we perform a certain action despite our lethargy, apathy and possibly, disdain. No wonder, narrow are the gates to the Kingdom.
twenty-something. a child of God. aspiring singer songwriter. singaporean. extrovert. black eyes. daydreamer. right handed. guitarist. loves writing.
perpetually retarded. love comedies and ogling at pretty girls. perfectly heterosexual.
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