Sunday, September 27, 2020

We Do Not Goad Ourselves, He Causes Us to Grow and Go in His Love

  I am learning so much  about the truth of all that Christ Jesus is ... and is doing.

So many Christians think that we need to "goad ourselves" to achieve our goals, or to live this life.

I was one of them, and I was taugh to live this way.

Jesus was not mincing words or simply saying something nice when He declared:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)

Jesus is our life.

He is living in us and through us.

He propels us, and He guides us, by the power of His Holy Spirit:

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)

For the longest time, though, many of us still feel goaded by the law, by commandments, by condemnation!

Yet we are not called to be motivated by force, law, pressure, shame, condemnation.

We are called to walk in love:

"1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:1-2)

God wants us motivated by His LOVE, not by His Love. God our Loving Father does not want to goad us with the law, but He wants us to grow and go in His Love:

"We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)

What has changed for me, and has helped me to grow and go in His Love is the ever-increasing revelation that His love is a rich and present, never-ending, always-flowing constant!

His presence, His pre-eminence in my life does not go away just because I am feeling bad, or have bad thoughts, or even when I do bad things.

For the last two weeks, I have felt a great and growing freedom in my life. I am not supposed to answer, contend, fight with every bad thought that goes through my mind. Those thoughts are not even my thoughts, but rather the fiery darts of the Enemy. They come from the outside, so I should not internalize them inside. Why should I take offense or responsibility for thoughts that are not mine.

But then I still have some lingering premonitions of past wrongs, and I knew that those thoughts were not mine, but the fiery dart sting would still linger sometimes. 

I then learned that bad thoughts have no place in my mind, at all. I do not have to entertain them. Paul exhorts us to think on things lovely (Philippians 4:8)

But now something more has been revealed to me this morning. For practical reasons, I would allow myself to fall into condemnation, to allow bad thoughts and senses of guilt and shame to goad me. Why? Because I felt that that sense of shame, guilt, and condemnation were the only ones that I would be motivated to get anything done!

Kind of like in this allegory which Paul shared to the Galatians:

"23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-25)

The term "schoolmaster" refers to an older tutor who would walk with the students to get to class. However, he was not just some companion, but was in fact quite rough and would deal harshly with children to ensure that they stayed on track to get to class. 

Sadly, so many people in the body of Christ that that kind of rough treatment is precisely what is needed. Why did I believe this? Why did my parents believe this? Because they did not see the vibrant, flowing, never-ending, ever-enriching love of God flowing in and around them. 

Today, I recognize that I was goading myself with shame because I felt that I needed those "reminders" to stay alert and watch out for myself. Today, I understand the fullness of walking by faith, which means that I see Him taking care of me every step of the way, every day! 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Chang Tou Chen, TrueLove.Is, And the Source of Same-Sex Temptation

 Chang Tou Chen shared an incredible testimony for TrueLove.Is. Click on this link to view the video.

He mentions at the outset "I had a great childhood. I didn't suffer any physical or sexual abuse, but I noticed at age 7 that I was curious about guys."

Then he shares that he was looking a picture of a bare-chested male, and he ejaculated. He sensed that this reaction was abnormal, but he did not understand why he reacted the way that he did, and why his curiosity about males grew rather than receded.

If he did not suffer abuse, why was he drawn to males? Why did he engage in so much sexual profligacy with other males for decades?

I asked God for an answer to this question, since it's important for individuals to understand that same-sex temptations are born from something broken, deviant, or dysfunctional in our thinking and believing.

I found the answer when I listened to his podcast discussion on "Yah Lah, But ..." with Pastor Ng

Tou Chen (who now goes by the name David) acknowledged toward the end of the interview that he was very bitter toward his mother. Wow! 

Bitterness is a very serious problem, and it produces sexual perversion.

The writer of Hebrews shares:

"14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12: 14-16)

First, we are invited to follow peace with all men. Second, the writer exhorts us to pay close attention, to ensure that we do not fail, or come short of (fall from) the grace of God, i.e. that we stop living a life depending on God for everything, and start living a life in which we trust and depend on our own efforts and planning.

When people fall from grace, a "root of bitterness" springs up, it troubles us, and we become defiled, dirty, and thus we become sexually perverted ("fornicators").

People will start to fall into sexual perversion, whether homosexual or heterosexual, when they fall from grace and start depending on their efforts. How does this engender bitterness, though?

What is bitterness? That sense of hurt and anger which results when we see ourselves trying in our might, trying our hardest to accomplish certain goals and obtain desired outcomes, and those efforts come to naught; whereas in contrast, we notice people who are not trying nearly as hard, and yet the obtain everything that we want, and more.

We become bitter towards others when we are trying to obtain their favor with our efforts, and yet they still do not seem to love us or provide for us what we want. This example reminds me of what Tou Chen possibly went through himself.

Hence, he got physically attracted and attached to other males. I do not know the whole story, but I would imagine that she was abusive or very demanding of her son, and that caused him to feel deep bitterness. Who knows, but that issue of bitterness is very serious, and it induces sexual perversion of many kinds. Notice also that falling from grace causes a "root" of bitterness, which indicates that the causes for sexually profligate behaviors is much deeper than many people often recognize or realize. The fact that the causes for same-sex desire are not apparent helps explain why many people just resign themselves to those same-sex temptations and declare "I guess I was born this way."

This issue of bitterness also manifested with Raphael Zhang. He candidly shared in his very personal tesimony that he was very bitter toward his father. His mentor, Jason, encouraged him to see things from his father's perspective as a means to overcome that bitterness. Still, the point remains: bitterness induces sexual temptations and perverse behavior. I also recall Karen Lee's testimony, in which she declares at the outset, following the sexual abuse she suffered from a stranger: "Why didn't God help me? Why wasn't my Dad there to protect me?" That sense of upset produces bitterness, too.

Hopefully, revelations like this will help more people to "Come Out, Come Home", that they do not have to feel any sense of shame or self-condemnation because they struggle with these issues. In fact, by having a clearer diagnosis for what is ailing individuals struggling with same-sex temptations, they can receive the blessed antitode: "Let us have grace" from God through Christ Jesus (Hebrews 12:28).

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want or Fear

 For the last couple of days, I have been reflecting on how all the negative thoughts, feelings, emotions, and premonitions which overran my mind were not really mine. For decades, I have believed that I had to respond to every negative thought, every perverse persuasion which told me that I had to respond to those thoughts, those feelings.

I could not give myself the rest, the permisssion to ignore those noisy, painful thoughts and feelings.

Today, I recognize the great freedom which God has already granted me, and today I can walk in the freedom, the newness of His Spirit.

I do not have to fight with every negative thought or feeling strays across my mind. Every "what if" and "what about" is not my problem, and does not originate with me. They are fiery darts, but they have neither effect nor impact on my life.

One of the biggest battles that I often faced in my life was the shame and recrimination I often endured from others, whether I was a kid on the playground, an employee in a work setting, or an activist in the field.

It seemed to me that people were getting away with the great evil that they had perpetrated against me. Yet that assumption was rather a lie from the Enemy, a set of negative thoughts that were assaulting me.

All this time,

I took this unkind assumptions for real, as though I had to respond to them, to own them as my own.

Over the last two days, I have learned more and more that I do not have to heed the negatives in my mind.

One of the biggest negatives, one of the most salient, or rather vociferous fiery darts was "Why didn't God help you?" and "Where is your God?" and "You know that you have to take care of yourself, because God did not take care of you ..."

That is a very trying, demanding, painful set of lies. It is quite pernicious.

Only recently have I begun to learn how present, how available, how committed He is -- He has been! -- to caring for me, to watching out for me.

I started meditating on this verse again:

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1)

The Lord is my shepherd. He is dedicated to watching out for me. He is not out to get me. He is not out to play me out or to take advantage of me for the worse. He is on my side. He is for me, not against me (Romans 8:31).

I don't have to fight with those lies, either. Just because there are bad circumstances does not mean that God is not watching out for me, or that God has not been protecting me.

It is a lie that God is not taking care of me. In fact, I accept what many good preachers point out, which is that God is severly UNDER-praised. He protects us so much throughout the day. 

He has safeguarded us from so many happenstances. We just don't realize it.

How important it is for all of us to walk by faith, not by sight.

Indeed, the LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want -- nor shall I fear!

This is not a joke. This is not a game. He is watching out for us. He cares for us. He is not on subtle or lazy stand-by. He is here for us every step of the way, and we do not have to give heed to the lies or deceitful distractions of the Enemy!


Monday, September 21, 2020

The Debate In My Mind Has Ended for Good

  "Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high." (Isaiah 58:4)

God does not want us to engage in endless debate, endless contention with others.

But what happens when you fall into endless debate with ... yourself?

That had been my lot for many years. It is amazing yet true, and I cannot back away from admitting it.

There was a war that was waging in my head for a long time. I would have these terrible thoughts, these recriminations of times past, of times to come, premonitions of what may happen, or what will happen in the future.

I had no rest in my mind. None whatsoever. I was convinced that I had to keep a lid on whatever was going on in my head, through my head, all the time.

This need to answer every threat, every bad word, every bad thought, I felt compelled to respond to it, as though it was true because I was thinking it. Unreal.

Today, I am set free. God did not call for us to debate, to argue, not with others, and not with ourselves, over endlessly resolved matters.

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." (2 Timothy 2:23)

For the longest time, I was convinced that I had to quash every bad thought, that every thought had to be removed or in line with God and His goodness, or for some reason I would be lost, make a mistake, sin, or fall into a bad line of behavior.

For the longest time, this passage and its full blessings seemed to allude me:

"4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

God's Word is the answer. God's promises stand, regardless of what I am thinking of feeling. For the longest time, I used to think that the bad thoughts, the bad feelings had to be tamed in order for what God had promised to come true.

It's insane, yet oh so true.

I treated those terrible thoughts which welled in my head as if they were my own!

They were the fiery darts of the enemy! They were never my thoughts to begin with! None of them were! 

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." (Ephesians 6:16)

All this time, I believed that I had to "do something" about those fiery darts. I did not realize that the shield of faith is as basic as recognizing that God is alive, God is real, and God is ever-present with me, regardless of how I feel.

All this time, I would condemn myself for having these thoughts, as thought they originated in me, or in my mind. I now recognize that they are lies, they are frauds, they are false evidences appearing real (FEAR), and therefore I ignore them entirely. I do not worry about what they may do, or whether they may appear in my mind.

There is no need for me to debate with the bad thoughts that I am thinking or feeling. God is my Father, I now live because of His Son, and His Spirit lives and flows through me. Because I recognize the concrete reality of His presence, I do not have to fear the feelings I may feel or the thoughts which may pierce my mind. There is no need to debate, there is no need to fight; therefore, I can enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:11)

My Mind Is Now at Rest -- He Places My Mind at Rest

  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)

I understand the full import of this verse now.

For the longest time, my mind was constantly racing, constantly churning.

For the longest time, I thought that I had to think about God constantly, when really He was thinking about me, and that's what really matters:

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9)

All this time, I was so busy in my mind. I really believed that I had to jump-start my day by getting busy thinking about everything.

For the longest time, I did not realize that I did not have to "conjure up" the Lord. I was so busy trying to plan, think, commit, plot, conspire to figure everything out. I really believed that everything in this life was my responsibility.

If I was caught off guard or if I did something wrong, I would fault myself so greatly, and then I would resolve to try harder not to fail next time.

What I have learned now, is that I am not trying to live this life. This life is not my life, but His life in me:

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:19)


"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Philippians 2:20-21)

For too many people, this revelation makes little sense. They do not really believe that Christ Jesus is our life. They believe that this life is a life that they must generate on their own. Yet that is not the case at all.

Indeed, we are called to a life of rest, so that He may work through us, that He may live in us:

"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

We live through Him, not our efforts. He lives in us, not alongside us while we try to figure everything out on our own.

Consider the fullness of the New Covenant:

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

All our sins are forgiven, paid for, put aside forever. We can rest assured that He is our God, that He is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31).

He is alive! He does not come and go depending on how we feel. Whatever we are thinking or feeling, that is not going to prevent Him from manifesting in our lives, blessings us, favoring us, even when we do not deserve it.

Now I understand the fullness of the Gospel of Grace!

"10Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:" (1 Peter 1:10)


"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:" (Galatians 1:6)

My mind is at rest. I do not have to work. He is working. I just get to receive all that He is doing.

Thank you Jesus! You have placed my mind at rest!

"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Second Revelation from Sermon "Power To Receive | Pastor Darren Sim | NCC Leaders & Servers Meeting (8 Sep 2020)"

 Pastor Darren Sim preached another theme, that stuck with me after listening to his powerful leadership sermon "Power to Receive".

He shared a concern that we become familiar with the preaching of our pastors, and with the revelation of God's Word.

"53And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:53-58)

The people thought that they knew Jesus already, and they thought that they knew all that there was to know about Jesus.

Notice how the people in the town declared "Whence hat this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" They saw Jesus as a mere man, nothing more. They saw him as "the carpenter's son," hence he could do no mighty works among them. They did not receive Jesus, because they saw Jesus as a common man.

He is not common. He is Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3).

This reference draws me to another point shared by Pastor Darren, in which he shared that he listened to Pastor Prince's sermons many times. He listened specifically to the sermons touch on the theme of the year for 2020, The Year of Time and Space. Pastor Darren conceded that perhaps he was "dull of hearing" because he listened to those two sermons at least ten times, and that he drew something new each time.

On the contrary, Pastor Darren confirmed that he was hearkening diligently, as opposed to dull of hearing.

Sadly, God warned Isaiah about the Israelites when He called the prophet to declare His word to them:

"9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

"10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." (Isaiah 6:9-10)

To be dull of hearing is to think that you have heard all that can or needs to be heard from God's Word, or worse to esteem God's word as light, worthless, incidental, even tangential.

Yet clearly Pastor Darren knows and believes that God's Word is powerful, and that God's Word, alive and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

When we recognize that God has so much to give us, that His Word brings life (John 6:63)

There is nothing wrong with you if you need to listen to a sermon more than once to get a message out of it. In fact, a quality sermon actively invites the hearers to hear again--and again since God's Word is inexhaustible treasure:

"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." (Matthew 13:52)


"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

All of this, the deliverance of faith via preaching, via hearing and hearing the Word of God, was foretold to us:

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:" (Deuteronomy 28:1)


"2Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." (Isaiah 55:2)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Revelation from Sermon "Power To Receive | Pastor Darren Sim | NCC Leaders & Servers Meeting (8 Sep 2020)"

  Pastor Prince and Pastors Darren Sim of New Creation Church (Singapore) shared a powerful sermon about receiving greater revelation from the Word, and how leaders are formed, how pastors are able to better lead their congregations.

There were a couple of points which I wanted to expand upon in the sermon.

The first theme that stood out for me in the sermon touched on the issue of familiarity vs. humility. Do we get so used to church and church people, that we stop learning? Do we get so accustomed to what we know that we become self-satisfied, puffed up, and ultimately useless in the grand design of ministry and missions?

Here's the slide which Pastor Darren shared with the audience:

Pastor Darren then brought up a great question: "How do you teach humility? How do you teach "teachability""?

Indeed, this is a very probing question. We want people who want to know more, learn more, be willing to grow more. Yet what seems to happen in many church circles, especially in church leadership, is that people get satisfied with themselves, so it seems. They get stuck in a rut of self-effort, or self-congratulation. The teaching, the leadership, the ministry become stagnant, and the church then atrophies, dies.

What is the solution? How do we ensure that leadereship does not fall into this trap of turning stagnant and lifeless?

When I was meditating on this passage, when I was pondering this deep concern, I remembered previous questions and concerns which I had faced when I was younger. "What if I go astray? What if I find myself doing the wrong things, or end up in the wrong places for whatever reason?"

These kinds of questions assaulted my mind, gave me great pause, insecurity. All of this came from my mother, who was determined to control what I thought, what I did, who I lived my life.

Since then, what I have learned is that Christ Jesus is so intimate with me, that I cannot be separated from Him, and that is the truth, regardless of my thoughts and feelings, regardless of my actions for good or for bad.

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Like Paul, I had to be persuaded that nothing would or could separate me from the love of God. For a long time, I was in bondage to the lie that what I was thinking, what I was feeling, or what I would be doing could separate me from the love of God. How foolish I was, but in large part I struggled with this problem because I did not know how to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Today, I know and believe that Christ Jesus will not leave me nor forsake me. That is a promise (Hebrews 13:5)

Jesus is my life (Colossians 3:4), and we are one with Him (John 17:21-23). We need to disabuse ourselves of this strange notion that Jesus is not actively involved and infused in our lives. In fact, the greater revelation that He is our life and that He is living in us--that is precisely how we grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18)

So, how do teach people to be humble? The truth is, humility is something that is caught rather than taught. The more that we hear about Jesus, the more that we understand the fullness of the Finished Work that He accomplished at the Cross, and the more that we undestand that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), the greater our humility.

Humility, at its core, comes down to "I cannot. He can."

How do we get to this place? This status, this revelation cannot come about by teaching it as a matter of knowledge. Each of us comes to this recognition, this revelation based on our walk with God. We face trials and hardships which we are unable to overcome in our efforts. We struggle with internal battles and external foes, and we grouse and cry out to God for help. The truth is that we need more than God's help. We need to rest, to stop our striving, and let God work in us:

"13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

So, how do we "teach" humility? We preach Jesus, and we underscore the Biblical truth and divine fact that we were dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-4), then brought to life in Christ Jesus. This is not a life that we live in our strength. The Christian life is Christ is in me, and I let Him live. The more that understand how consummate and complete His supply is for our walk in this world, the greater our humility.


"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

And this verse draws us back to the points which Pastor Darren shared with this audience!