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Who made you the judge?

by | 12 December 2017, 1:54 PM

In every court case, there’s always a hearing.

The judge, before pronouncing the defender innocent or guilty – and meting out due punishment for the guilty – has the obligation to hear both sides of the story in order to give a fair sentence.

This is typical court procedure to best uphold justice, but I find this practice unfortunately absent from our day-to-day life, when we judge people without giving them a chance to explain themselves first.

There was once when I struggled tremendously to love a particular friend of mine. He was going through some difficulties in his personal life and it was affecting his mood and behaviour. I had a brief idea of what was going on, but did not know the details.

Initially understanding, I soon got frustrated. It didn’t help that the way we processed our emotions and problems in life was so different that I couldn’t understand why he was acting the way he did. He was also easily irritable, and I bore the brunt of it. His mood swings eventually rubbed off me and my attitude towards him became defensively volatile as well.

To make things worse, he was in charge of a project we were both tasked to handle. It was difficult to work together when we were not on good terms. How could I trust his judgement when it was hard to even think good thoughts about him?

His healing process took quite some time, but he eventually got better. It was only then that he began to confide in me what he was going through and how he felt.

Listening to him softened my heart. It didn’t change the fact that he’d acted unreasonably or that he shouldn’t have done certain things, but it helped me clearly identify the struggles he was going through.

It also made me realise I could have been too harsh with my mental pronouncement of him.

INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1)

The word itself in the English language makes it slightly more confusing. Judging, as referred to in Matthew 7 and other similar verses in the Bible (1 Corinthians 4:3-5, Romans 2:1-3), can be understood to be similar to what is done in court – the measuring or meting out of a sentence, a determination of what is deserved according to the law.

You’d recognise this sort of judgement – we’ve all done it, pronouncing sentences or even carrying them out ourselves. She deserves this for what she has done. He should be paying for that with his life. Revenge movies are always the rage.

But it’s clear as day in the Word: Don’t do it. Why? More on that later.

I want to point us to this “other” type of judging first. Judging doubles up as a synonym for discerning – which is to distinguish right from wrong, true from false. The Bible tells us to correct fellow believers in order to point them back to the right paths (1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 2:23-26, Galatians 6:1). We can’t do that without the discerning judgement, which judges the act but not the person.

However, I find that even in discernment, we also tend to jump to conclusions too easily, and too readily.

A story that surfaced on Facebook comes to my mind: In a shipwreck, a husband and wife were struggling to stay afloat in the open sea. When a plank of driftwood big enough only for one person appears, the husband clings onto it, leaving his wife to fight against the tide. Eventually, the husband survived, while the wife drowned.

Upon reaching this point in the story, many would feel enraged by the husband’s decision. How could he be so selfish?

Yet, that wasn’t the end of the story. It was later revealed that the wife had been diagnosed with an incurable disease, and her chances of surviving – even if she had made it out of the shipwreck – were low. Knowing that one of them had to live on for the sake of their child, the husband decided to save himself rather than his wife.

When we look at a situation as it is, with our human eyes and logic, we tend to react rather than respond. It’s intuitive. Psychologists term this as heuristics – mental shortcuts people use to form judgements and make decisions.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, psychologists Daniel Kahneman frames it like this: “When faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.”

The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little.

Based on intuitive logic, it’s hard to comprehend why a husband would ever leave his wife to die, and so we substitute this with an easier question – why would anyone ever leave anyone to die? The easiest answer is: Self-preservation. And with that conclusion, we label this husband as a selfish man.

Quick judgement, or instinctive discernment, is not a bad thing. It is required in our daily lives, especially in times of danger. When we see a person acting suspiciously, we have to quickly sum that individual up as a potential threat and be prepared to act accordingly.

But we also need to be aware of our tendency to jump to conclusions. After all, it’s easy to overestimate what we know based on what is revealed to us.

As Kahneman discovers, “The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little.”

RESTORATIVE, NOT RETRIBUTIVE 

In the recent case of Annie Ee, many angry netizens flooded online forums and comment boxes with hateful comments, wishing the worse upon the perpetrators.

I understand the rage and the vicarious pain – even though I’m clear on what true justice is, it’s still difficult to not be furious over what has been done.

But what also saddens and scares me is seeing public sentiments – and sentences – such as “string them up”, “send them to hell” and “the couple should be eaten by dogs” proliferate.

Will cursing them help? Will these judgements rectify anything? And who are we as sinful beings ourselves, who must also be judged for our wrongdoings, to be trusted with pronouncing the right judgements on anyone? Take it from the wisdom of the Bible: Judge not. Sentence not.

“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

I’m currently reading the book of Ezekiel. Prophet Ezekiel was appointed by God as a watchman to warn Israel of the impending consequences because of their wrongdoings (Ezekiel 33:7).

You can refer to Ezekiel 16 for the full list of sins that the Israelites had committed in the eyes of God, but one offence stood out to me – child sacrifices. People literally offered their babies through rings of fire in order to appease whatever gods they were serving (Ezekiel 16:21).

This is, to me, as appalling as torturing an intellectually disabled person to death. It is no wonder why God was so enraged! Page after page, Ezekiel penned down the punishment God would inflict on Israel if they remained unrepentant.

After ploughing through the depressing chapters, I came to a part where God revealed the heart behind His judgement.

Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?” Say to them: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”‘ (Ezekiel 33:10)

Turn from your evil ways and live.

At the end of the day, God desired for Israel to come to repentance through their punishment more than it simply being a sentence of what they deserved. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked – for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) – but He is delighted when they turn from their sinful ways.

God’s judgement was rooted in love and compassion for His sinful people, as it is for all of mankind. And knowing that no man could ever be sinless and thus worthy of a place in Heaven, He offered the free gift of eternal life for all who believe in His son Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23), who was sent to earth as a baby – the reason for Christmas – and later took on the full sentence of death for the sins of the world.

God’s judgement was rooted in love and compassion for His sinful people, as it is for all of mankind.

The heart of God’s judgement for those He loves is always to restore, not to repay.

If I’d had this same spirit with regards to my difficult-to-love friend, I would have gently pointed out his mistakes to him in order to help him grow. But I didn’t. I simply let my frustrations bubble and spill over, and sought my own restitution in my not-so-loving thoughts and remarks towards him.

Looking back, I found justification for my bitterness when I repaid his attitude with my attitude, his frustration with my frustration. It was my judgement, my punishment – my sentence on him. Better, love-driven judgement would have discerned the need to restore our relationship with a kind but firm word.

We need to be clear of our motives. What is the root of our judgement? Do we seek to restore others? Or do we simply have a thirst for vengeance?

When the teachers of the Law brought an adulteress before Jesus and demanded to know what they should do with her – the proper answer being to stone her to death, as written in Mosaic Law – Jesus’ reply was “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone” (John 8:7).

Hearing this, the crowd slowly dispersed, till only the woman and Jesus remained. Then He said to her, “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

People tried to expose the adulteress, but Jesus exposed their hypocrisy.

It’s easier to cast judgement from afar than to come close and understand a person’s plight; it’s easier to see the flaws in others than to acknowledge our own. But aren’t we all the same? People in need of compassion and mercy.

Instead of condemnation, let’s help each other to lead a changed life – to go and sin no more.

/ siqi@thir.st

Siqi loves to eat. Except for peas, egg yolk, cucumbers, livers, intestines. Among others. She also happens to be a writer.

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Lessons on womanhood from my mother

by | 16 January 2018, 6:41 PM

I’m at a time in my life where I’m figuring out for myself what it means to be a woman — and one who is after God’s heart. Topics like being a girlfriend and eventually becoming a mother seem to be permeating most of my conversations nowadays.

Which begs the question: I wonder what kind of woman I am, what kind of girlfriend/wife/mother I’d be and if I’m doing a good job so far according to God’s standards.

I then thought about the person whom I feel is the epitome of a godly woman in my life: My mother. While she isn’t perfect and her temper does flare on the rare occasion (especially when my room is in a mess), my mother has walked out a life in holiness to the best of her abilities.

I’ve been privileged to have had the front row seat in observing her walk out her faith with God and every time I look at her life, I find the encouragement and inspiration that I too can do the same.

Here are two major lessons I’ve learnt by looking at the life of my mother:

1. MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

From the outside, my mother appears to be a soft-spoken and reserved woman. She’s anything but. She may not feel the need to be the center of attention, but a conversation with her will tell you that she is a woman of opinion and is confident on where she stands.

You’ll rarely hear her rebutting anyone should they question her, but she douses the intensity of the situation calmly, usually with laughter. And instead of confronting the other person, she states her own thoughts in a way that still manages to refrain from discrediting the other person’s opinions.

In some cases, it’s wiser to keep silent than to pursue a matter — and not every challenge is an invitation to a debate.

I, on the other hand, take after my dad. I always felt like it’s my human right to defend my views and values if they are being prodded or challenged. But with my own eyes I’ve seen my mother choose silence over confronting the many people who have outrightly challenged her. I never understood why she would allow people to walk over her like that.

But I’ve been taught (by both the Holy Spirit and my mother) that it takes strength and courage to walk away from a situation where you feel like you deserve to be heard and where you feel like you need to protect your values.

The Bible says that women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers (1 Timothy 3:11). I’ve learnt that in some cases, it’s wiser to keep silent than to pursue a matter — and not every challenge is an invitation to a debate.

2. CHARACTER TRUMPS BEAUTY

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

A hot button topic among me and my friends, the subject of beauty and its relevance in today’s culture has made me more annoyed than anything else.

Personally, I disagree with the way beauty has been made into something that the world constantly holds over our heads as women. It’s as if to say that if we don’t look a certain way, we’re deemed as less worthy as compared to someone who fits into the stereotypical definition of what beauty is.

Like many, I’ve struggled with issues of self-worth and grappled with whether or not my ordinary looks meant I was inferior compared to a girl who was prettier. As I was growing up and navigating the choppy waters of puberty and my insecurities with how I looked, my mother has never stopped reminding me that God is not concerned about my outward appearance but He looks at my heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

I’m taught that a heart that is hungry and in pursuit of God is more attractive than a perfect body ratio and a stunning face.

I’ve been blessed to have parents who have never made me any less worthy because of my looks or the way I dressed. My mother constantly knocks it into my head that my character is worthy of more investment than the curation of my wardrobe.

She tells me that I can either choose to worry about something that is fleeting (like charm and beauty), or I can be more concerned about what God thinks of me. I’m taught that a heart that is hungry and in pursuit of God is more attractive than a perfect body ratio and a stunning face.

She once told me; “You can jolly well look the part of a model, but if your character sucks and if you have no capacity for compassion or love for anyone else apart from yourself, you’re as good as nothing.” Harsh, but I couldn’t agree more.

My mother models for me what a reverend fear of God looks like: It’s choosing to do His will, even if I may feel like I would be looked down upon in the world’s eyes. And I do this not because of legality, but because it is out of an authentic love for the One who gives me my worth.

It was impossible for me to believe this a few years ago, but I can now safely say that I am becoming who God has intended for me to be — slowly but surely. And although it doesn’t feel like it yet, I know God made me wonderfully and fearfully and completely.

I see God asking me to trade in my hard and strong-headed exterior for a tenderness He wants for my heart. Womanhood is an exciting thing to discover, but it’s even more fulfilling when I discover the God who fleshes out the woman in me.

/ sarakohxx@gmail.com

Sara is inquisitive and a self-professed conversationalist. She hopes to learn something new with every interaction and also happens to enjoy writing about them.

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There must be more: What do you live for?

by Keith Wong | 12 January 2018, 11:52 AM

Shuffling up the grotty stairwell of People’s Park Complex, I had no precedent of what to expect. I only carried an open mind and a seeking heart. Gently opening the last door to my destination, the prayer meeting had already started.

I crept quietly to the back of the group so as to not interrupt the person speaking. There was nary a familiar face, as I smiled and acknowledged the person who’d invited me here.

Thinking back, that meeting carried such a scent of the divine.

A mentor once shared that in many a youth’s chase to find their life’s mission, they must first know their Maker. This sagely advice deeply impacted my then 17-year-old heart, but also fell upon deaf ears, as purpose was blindly pursued without the wisdom of experience.

Destiny was redefined as what I was comfortable doing, rather than what my heart burned for.

In the seven years that followed, obstacles were faced, criticism was received and discouragement abounded. Dream after dream was burnt up and buried. Destiny was redefined as what I was comfortable doing, rather than what my heart burned for, what I yearned to make a reality.

Things took a turn in 2015, when I attended Bible school, and a very motherly classmate prayed and prophesied over me.

“Keith … God wants you to dream again.”

That day at the meeting, I felt a fresh dream stirring in me again.

THE WORD BEHIND THE WORDS

Ephesians 4:1 has been on my heart for a majority of 2017, to “walk worthy of the calling” of which I’ve been called. What does it mean to walk worthy? I always felt this was one of those things you wouldn’t and couldn’t really know beforehand – you’d just have to walk it out with God to find out.

Another line that I’ve held onto for the longest time since my poly days is to “aim to make an impact that outlasts oneself.” These have been principles and beliefs that guide my life in my pursuit of purpose and destiny.

And as I’ve spent time observing the current perspectives and standards that our society holds, another resounding thought comes to mind: There must be more than this.

There must be more to this life than how it currently is right now; there must be more to life than just chasing after pieces of paper; there must be more to life than hustling to achieve the millennial version of the Five Cs – and what were they again?

There must be more to life than just striving for a comfortable one.

There must be more than this rat race of chasing after fame and fortune. For a life lived “better”, richer, louder than your peers, climbing mountain after mountain, only to realise the striving never ends.

There must be more than this paper chase, where numbers and letters weakly define your value and your worth, insinuating that you are only made of this and for that, based on what you’ve academically achieved in the first 12 to 20 years of your life.

There must be more than this “dog eat dog” world that is driven by what benefits “me” the most.

There must be more to this life than just #goals that provoke envy and pride, that insidious need to prove that I’m somehow better than everyone else because I have more Instagram followers and likes.

There must be more to this life because you are made for more than this life.

I BELIEVE, THEREFORE I SPEAK

Making an impact that outlasts yourself is not about KPIs, the digits in your bank account, the stamps on your passport, or things that glorify “me”. There must be more to this life than just placing temporal things on a pedestal instead of striving for the eternal.

True impact is about making life better in so many different ways for people of the present and children of the future. You are made of greater things and for greater works.

You aren’t here just to find your place, but to make your mark on this generation.

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Full-time under 30: This is also the real world

by Christopher Chng | 5 January 2018, 4:28 PM

Christopher Chng is a 27-year-old Youth Worker at a local Methodist Church. Prior to his entry into full-time ministry, he was part of a discipleship training programme with missions organisation YWAM (Youth With a Mission) after graduating from the University at Buffalo, New York with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication studies.


I was 22, fresh out of military service and at a young Methodist leaders conference when I first received that much-spoken-about burning sensation in my heart. That struggling-to-respond moment when a speaker called forth young leaders with a passion to serve God full time.

I did not want to accept it at first, but in the mix of confusion and excitement – mostly confusion – I responded and stood up for prayer.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, in fact, in my zeal, I shortly wanted to head straight to the nearest local seminary, but both my Church mentors and parents told me to wait and pursue a local degree first. This was the first testing of my full-time ministry calling.

What followed was a testing of my faith and identity. During my two years in university I started to lose sight of this call and, furthermore, was growing discouraged in my faith in God.  I was starting to make plans to live a “normal” life with a job that wasn’t full-time ministry, not traditionally anyway.

It was in early 2014 – amidst the uncertainty of what I wanted to do upon graduation – that I had a prompting in my heart to join YWAM and do a 6-month discipleship programme with them. After praying about it and processing my decision with my Church, a few days after the last exam paper of my university life, I flew to join YWAM Perth in July 2015.

After the six months, I joined YWAM on staff and was based in Perth. There, I participated in a worship ministry, joined the staff team of the same programme and led a 3-month outreach.

Outdoor worship with YWAM Perth

But being a part of YWAM Perth had been an uphill battle. I was battling against my parents’ wishes for me to stay in Singapore and against a culture of financial stability as I had to raise support for my finances every month.

In my parents’ pre-believing eyes, I was begging for money and they had no idea why I had to travel so often to other countries, many of them unsafe in their eyes.

My friends and mentors from my Church also had differing opinions. Some discouraged me from going, others encouraged me to think about it carefully so as to not regret anything. It was a tough decision, but after God’s divine provision of the necessary finances, I made up my mind and officially joined YWAM in 2016.

My time in Perth were some of my best years. Being able to pursue my passion in music and getting trained by some of the best musicians I know, all while living and breathing the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations with a vibrant and loving community … I was living the life. The full-time ministry life.

I received hurtful comments like “welcome back to the real world”, as if life in Perth had been an illusion – or my delusion.

But soon after I was unexpectedly re-routed back home due to a family emergency. It was the second test to my full-time ministry calling.

I had to make the painful decision of leaving my YWAM family and coming home. And if that weren’t bad enough, I even received hurtful comments like “welcome back to the real world”, as if life in Perth had been an illusion – or my delusion.

Unbeknownst to me at that time, God had different plans. While I was wallowing in my frustrations of being back in Singapore, He opened the door for me to join my local church as a Youth Worker. One thing led to another, and I found myself still able to serve full-time in Christian ministry back home.

Of course, there were still many new challenges that presented themselves. Here are a few lessons I’ve carved out for myself.

Campus ministry time

LESSONS FROM A MILLENNIAL MINISTRY WORKER

1. Expect some loneliness

One of the early challenges I faced was the loneliness of full-time ministry. If you work in Church, you might not see your volunteer team mates from Monday to Friday. I found it hard to work and move things forward when I could only see my team on the weekends.

And when I started to apportion my weekends for meetings with my youth, I stopped meeting up with my peers, who also only had the weekends to hang out and chill.

It’s thus important to surround yourself with like-minded Kingdom warriors who carry their crosses for the sake of Christ. They will be your most loving and understanding support group.

2. Know the point of your work

I had to reconcile within myself that the work I’m doing, despite not being a regular 9 to 5 job, has eternal significance. The work of discipleship that Jesus calls all of us to is investing in relationships – in people and their spiritual growth.

We can miss this crucial point when we busy ourselves with too much programme, especially as ministry workers. You could very well become an efficient events coordinator and an ineffective minister of God’s grace.

3. Create space for yourself

One of the biggest things that I struggled with in the first few months (and still do) was creating a healthy space for myself to care for my own soul. I tend to pack my schedules with meeting people and never-ending work – and am usually left with little energy to exercise, listen to music or even just rest!

So I’ve had to forcibly create space for self care, and I highly recommend it. Do things that refresh you, whether its art, music, exercise, movies, reading or sleeping. You are equally important.

4. Always keep God in the picture

The most important takeaway that I’ve gained from this journey is that my faith and relationship with God is key to the entire process.

It was through personal meditation on Scripture and spending time journalling my ups and downs that the wisdom and understanding from God came through. It held me through the toughest times and guided my decision making.

As full-time ministers, we have an authority greater than our earthly bosses to stick close to, and that’s the Word of God – and the God of the Word. We need to spend time studying and pondering over what He’s saying in Scripture and speaking into our hearts.

5. Don’t give in to discouragement

I remember one time I preached what I thought was a terrible sermon and was flooded with thoughts of condemnation and discouragement.

When I prayed about it later that night, God deposited a simple truth in me, to not take myself too seriously and to keep my heart aligned with His through the tough times. That it was okay to be discouraged, to not have done well at times – but I needed to go easy on my heart and to follow Him closely through the journey.

So my fellow full-time ministers, take it from our Heavenly Boss: Enjoy the ride and don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh a lot and carry the joy of God in your heart wherever you go. That’s what people will remember you for.


If you are interested in finding out more about full-time ministry, feel free to drop us an email. For those interested in YWAM’s Discipleship Training School, you can visit their page here.

YWAM Singapore is a growing part of a dynamic global movement of mobilising the worldwide Church to reach the peoples of Asia. As a mission, they see themselves serving as a springboard from which many launch off into the Asian harvest fields. 

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Facing the giants in your life

by Senior Pastor Benny Ho, Faith Community Church | 4 January 2018, 8:20 PM

The late Ann Landers who ran the popular Agony Aunt column in the US used to receive some 60,000 letters a month. She revealed: “One problem dominates. People are afraid.” People are afraid of losing their health, wealth, and job. They are afraid of the future, being left alone, rejected and embarrassed. They are afraid of death, and even of public speaking.

While some fears are constructive, most fears paralyse and render us ineffective. Throughout scripture, we are told not to be afraid. Jesus often said “Fear not!” and we are reassured in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

So why do we still have fears?

We are afraid because at the root of our fears is the fact that we find ourselves unable to fully trust God. Fear and the lack of trust go hand in hand.

However, every instance of fear is also an opportunity to trust in God and move from fear to courage.

In 1 Samuel 17, we read the familiar story of David versus Goliath. Picture this: The Israelites and the Philistines are at war in the Valley of Elah. The Israelites are on one hill, and the Philistines on another, with a valley in the middle.

Here comes Goliath, nine and a half feet tall, a giant of a man with a bronze helmet on his head, a suit of armour on his body, a javelin slung on his back – a massive 200 pounds in all.

He stands like an overgrown tree and shouts in a deep voice: “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us. This day, I defy the ranks of Israel!”

Goliath did not just taunt the Israelites once but, like a broken record, he did that again and again for 40 days non-stop! All the Israelites were terrified and gripped by fear.

One of the most powerful weapons that the devil uses against us is intimidation. And I’d like to give you five keys to help you overcome our fears:

5 KEYS TO FACING YOUR GIANTS

1. Guard your eyes – watch what you are looking at

The first principle in overcoming fear is to watch what you are focusing on. Are you focusing on God or your circumstances? Fear comes from focusing on our circumstances rather than on God.

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)

“I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” (Psalm 3:6)

2. Guard your ears – be careful who you listen to

The moment Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him, he said to David, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?” (1 Samuel 17:28)

But David demonstrated that he was a giant inside. He turned away from Eliab’s discouragement and continued to pursue God’s glory. David did not allow any discouragement to dilute his courage and passion for the Lord.

If you listen to the wrong people, you will exchange your faith for their fear.

3. Guard your mind – remember the right thing

“But David said to Saul: “… When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth…this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he defiled the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37)

To overcome fear, you must fill your mind with the powerful things that God has done in your life. David remembered how God was with him in the past, and it filled him with confidence. 

4. Guard your heart – be confident with God’s provision

When fear threatens to strike, remember to

1. Do what you know
2. Use what God has put in your hand
3. Stick to faithful old sling and stone

David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)

5. Guard your back – cut off the root of your fear

It is not enough to immobilise our giants or knock them out temporarily. We must literally cut them off from our lives. And there is only one way to put an end to crippling gear – by applying the truth of the God’s resurrection to our lives.

The truth is, all of us have “Goliaths” in our lives and experience challenges that intimidate us. There are fears that haunt, accuse, and make us feel miserable and diffident. These fears rob us of courage and cause us to live in a constant state of fear.

However in Christ, we do not need to be afraid. We are no longer bound in fear, but in the security of our King of Kings and our Lord of Lords. He is our victory, courage and confidence.


To find out more about how you can “Manage Your Emotions – Overcoming Negative Emotions for a Life of Abundance”, visit Benny Ho’s resource page.

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When your friends walk away from good advice

by | 4 January 2018, 7:35 PM

Imagine this: Your friend is in a bad place. After countless hours of counselling and sharing godly wisdom with them on how they can walk in the opposite direction of further hurt and disappointment, they choose to wander off to places you know will only see more trouble.

How would that make you feel?

CHECK YOUR HEART

I recently became acquainted with this reality after spending time with a friend who was going through a bad time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, frustrated or worried. We had countless cups of teh, tears were shed and hearts were wrung out to dry over the space of a kopitiam table. This happened many times.

God had given me the grace and strength to walk with this friend through her hurts — but it took a lot of time and effort, both mental and emotional. And what should have been an emotionally draining process naturally, wasn’t for me because I knew I had God’s covering upon me.

I spent hours on my bedroom floor, crying out on my knees asking God to use me to come through for this friend. She still hasn’t come to the realisation that there is Someone who desperately wants to be her Friend and her Comforter. I told God that I yearned for the day and the moment she would know Him.

I reckon this might be how God feels when instead of heeding His shouts of warnings, we stubbornly and blindly choose to walk down our own paths.

In this season, I know God is teaching me how to deal with friends who choose to walk away from seemingly good advice and loving petition that they would steer themselves away from a path of hurt and dysfunction.

I’m comforted by the fact that God has matured me in this process. Truth be told, I had to check my heart with God. Am I upset that she didn’t take my advice? Was I frustrated that my time and effort had seemingly been wasted? To my pleasant surprise, while there was huge potential to make it all about me, I knew that the answer to those questions was “no”.

My heart was heavy because my friend had made a certain decision that would just be another big walk around the issue at hand. I reckon this might be how God feels when instead of heeding His shouts of warnings, we stubbornly and blindly choose to walk down our own paths.

I can’t help but feel sad that my friend’s decisions have somehow postponed her healing process. But in Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” I’m reminded that God will have the last say.

GOD IS STILL GOOD

But through it all, God is so good. Firstly, my friend came to terms with the realities of her struggles and is now open towards resolving them. Secondly, God was still loving and gentle as He taught me an important lesson on knowing when to walk away from a situation my flesh would’ve told me to cling on regardless.

The human reaction — one that is rooted in pride while having good intentions — would demand that I be upset that my friend disregarded perfectly good advice. It would insist that I repeat my words and opinions, and to constantly discuss it until my friend relents and follows what I say.

That is pride; and that is a dangerous attempt at playing god.

Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honour comes humility.” Humility comes first if we want wisdom; humility makes me understand that it is not my wisdom that I am standing upon but my fear of the Lord. That is the very thing that would help me to grapple with the inclination to rely on my own strength when trying to help a friend.

I can never be the person to pull a friend out of a bad situation – only God can.

But I’m learning that while you may purposefully walking away from speaking into a particular situation, you can and should still make yourself available to your friends by loving them with your friendship and with your prayers.

I can never be the person to pull a friend out of a bad situation – only God can. And that reassures me because I am starkly aware of my own human limitations. At the same time, I am also looking at the magnitude of God’s love — this same love that is pursuing this friend of mine, is relentless and I know that in His time, she will come to realise it for herself.

I know that God is not done with her yet.

In the meantime, I will still choose to spend many more hours on my bedroom floor, praying and waiting for the day my friend will come to see the One who has been knocking on her heart’s door all this while.

/ sarakohxx@gmail.com

Sara is inquisitive and a self-professed conversationalist. She hopes to learn something new with every interaction and also happens to enjoy writing about them.

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Facing the giants in your life

When your friends walk away from good advice