But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this
all-surpassing power is from God and
not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

- Timely reminder of God's faithfulness -

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What man truly need in life is God

“I don’t want to end up in nursing home. I am just thankful that my son said he won’t put me there…”

Today, I was talking to a patient about a medication we are starting him on, and unexpectedly, the conversation went beyond just medication.

As I was going through the medication and how he can cope with it, I realized there’s no tinge of hope or happiness, or comfort, or peace in his eyes. Unable to ignore his sorrowful scent, I looked at him and asked – Uncle, don’t look at me as a pharmacist, look at me as a person who wants to know you – how are you feeling?

And then I saw tear started to well up in his eyes, and he looked into the ceiling and sighed. “How to live on? It is so painful”. He said.

I removed my nametag, knowing the medication I am talking to him about can never take away the pain. The pain will persist, it haunts him, it will continue to remind him that there’s an unstoppable pain in life. And I realized it is not the physical pain that is most dreadful in him, or in any man. To him, it is the pain of life – the not knowing why I have to suffer all these for, why this pain come to me, why me, why am I living with all these things which will never ever go away…

Speaking truth in honesty. I realized often, almost always,  what rob my patients’ “ lives”  has never been the illness itself but the fear of the complications from the illness, the fear of death, the fear of suffering that may or may not come. The fear of not knowing where they will go after death, the fear of the ending of life may not be the end, after all.

I asked the spirit within me – God, help him will You?

“Uncle, what do you live for in life? What makes you want to live?” I asked.

"Can I mandarin?" He said. And I nodded my head.

He said he didn’t know. “I don’t want to end up in nursing home” He teared. “I am just thankful that my son said he won’t put me there”.

Yet knowing the son will not leave him at nursing home now did not remove the deeper pain and loss of hope within him - an unspoken message radiated from him that no one can ignore. 

“Uncle, do you believe that there’s a God who loves you?” I asked.


Many people may ask – where do man come from? Is it from evolution? From monkey? 

Yet monkey itself is a creation.

Man comes from God. Man is created in the glorious image of God.  I like how God told me about myself right from the beginning of His book to me, also called the Bible.

“ Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:26-28, 30 NIV)”

When God creates man, He wants to bless them, not to give them sufferings. He blessed them with authority and richness – to rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, everything in this world. The creation of God, man, has such blissful identity – such is the principle of God’s creation. God creates man to be above the money, power, relationships and knowledge of the world - yet what we see today is man are being seized by money, pursuit of power and knowledge, and fallen into bondages of blurred relationships. 

I remember when I bought my first laptop – I eagerly opened the box wanting to read the manual because I want to know how the laptop can function to its created ability. The manual written by the creator of the laptop – telling the user how to use the laptop to its fullness. And then slowly, as I follow the instruction, the laptop just worked. 

Similarly, how can man receive all original blessings rightfully theirs if they do not go back to their Creator and abide in Him?

However, man has been separated from God, the One who gives them joy, love and happiness in life - and they become unhappy, sorrowful, full of burden and worries. And the reason why man depart from God is because they are being deceived by Satan – the proud angel, the disobedient angel and one who wants to be the god himself.

The fall of man began when he believed in Satan more than God.

“ Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:1-7 NIV)”

To most, Satan may seem imaginative. Yet, the truth is, the bible said he’s more real than you can imagine. Satan works in the most shrewd and discreet manner.  The scariest thing about Satan is he plants the disbelief thoughts in God’s children, causing them to doubt God’s unchanging love to them.

Did God really say?” “You will not certainly die” 

Silly it may seem, yet he works in the most normal and undetectable ways in all aspects of our lives. 

“Does God really love you? if He does, why does he allow you to have so many problems in life?”

“It is not murdering, gambling is okay because you are not committing crime like robbery or killing”

“Relax, it is common to date many simultaneously these days – silly, by doing so you are increasing your probability of meeting the right one do you know that?”

“Everyone does that – don’t be the deviant!”

"Having many relationships and adulteries are common - it is for the happiness of every party. Everyone is moving towards that."

No wonder Eve is tempted by the fruit of the tree – because they were all so good and pleasing to the eye, so desirable. Just like any of the examples mentioned above, they are all so tempting, so desirable, so pleasing to the eyes – apart from the starting point of all these longings stem from the heart of not knowing she or he is already most blessed in the kingdom of God.

Such is the work of Satan, he made man feel unloved by God, man needs to work for his own good, and man does not need God.  As a result, by following Satan’s leading, man end up in greater misery.
They need to create things to satisfy their own needs. They seek for love, blessings, and prosperity because of their lack of love, blessings and prosperity. They start to create idols of their own needs – god of war, god of money, god of abundance and fertility and many more – because there is insatiable needs in man all eagerly waiting to be satisfied. Man is created in the glorious image of God, but man no longer see it this way – therefore they resolve to many ways of beautifying themselves, first with jewelries and perfumes, next with surgeries, and many more.

When man sees the need to work for their own good, they start to live in a state of fear and anxiety, because what if my good is not good enough and I lose all these? They are always wearied and burdened mentally, quenched in the spirit. 

When one does not know the God who has been to his tomorrow is here leading him today, He is guiding him and preparing the blessed path for him – man will start to fear – fear of the unknown tomorrow, the uncertain future that is beyond his control.

Indeed, the greatest sin of man is that of not knowing God. Because man do not know God, they do not know they are born in blessings, and thus they cannot live in blessings. They do not know that God has created man to be above their needs, to be the rulers of money, power, wisdom, relationships and not the slaves of these, to enjoy them in God.

The sin has led to more problems in man, and even spreading to the loved ones around them, just as Eve passing fruit to Adam and both realized they were in need - in need of a cover up on themselves.

But the truth is – God has never left us.

Just like the patient whom I talked to, there is only One way – Jesus Christ. 

Born humbly in Bethlehem, He came to show the world that God has never left His children, and in His flesh, He showed that it is by restoring the relationship with God can man be more than conquerors in our money problems, physical problems, relationship problems etc…

He is the Great King – He came to restore the complete victory in all Satan’s works - The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8 NIV).

He is the Great Prophet - for God has made His words known through becoming flesh in Jesus Christ, so that people can understand God’s perfect will in all circumstances.

He is the Great Priest -  because He had paid it all, all sins of man – so that Satan cannot use our sins and transgressions against us before Lord – for Jesus had died on the cross to take away our sins, while we are sinners – when we still do not call Him Lord. Therefore we are no longer sinner, there's freedom in lives. He gave us a spirit of sonship, one who receives love and able to manifest love, not spirit of slavery.

These is gospel, God's good news to the mankind - to myself, to uncle, to all of us.
 “ But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. “ (Romans 3:21-25) 

Therefore, God’s love is persevering – when man had fallen short of His glory and desperately finding various means to cover up their nakedness [emptiness and sins] just like Adam and Eve, He has already prepared a way out for them – so that man can turn to God once again, and restore the love and blessings from God.  

What good does man have to deserve a sinless man to die for a sinful man?

Nothing. Yet, the grace of God always transcends our understanding and human conditions.

I realized that The Cross is really the peak of the entire history of mankind.

The Cross carried the sins of the world, the wrath of God towards men – so tragic was the sins Jesus had to bear on the cross. Yet He took it up, in submission to Father’s will – so that man live through reconciliation with God once again

Jesus and His death on the cross made me realize that

1.    I am chosen and loved by God. Man in their apparent good conditions will not know the poverty of their spirits until they are brought low and helpless – when they come to realization that they are hollow, unhappy in life despite all conditions, and they powerless. I start to understand why God allowed trials in my life, and in this uncle’s life, that is to see the limitation of man, and the need for the One who is beyond man – the need for the true and living God. To be to hear the gospel and believe it, I realized, is the greatest blessing God has given me.

2.    Man has eternal life in Christ- while their flesh die, their spirit lives forever with God. When man is reconciled with God, Holy Spirit enters and work in accordance to the Word of God, renewing our hearts and minds. Therefore, one is no longer bounded by sins and death but have hope for eternity despite the suffering on the flesh.  God has already fulfilled all on the cross - the death, the sin, and the deceiving spirit is being nailed on the cross through Jesus's death and resurrection, such that whoever hear and believe, he is called the child of God. While the flesh is suffering, the spirit being in reconciliation with God will always have hope in the Creator and able to live in His will, knowing it is God who acts in him to will and act according to His good purpose. 

3.    God is with us – always leading and guiding us through His Word and Holy Spirit. When you have the Right Word, it gives you the Right need. It is not about not drinking, not living life casually, indulging in fleeting joy of the world – rather, knowing you are dignified in God’s eyes, those casual liberations of lives are no longer your desires because of the renewed heart in Christ. Even in trying moments, God’s never left us – knowing that it is the most perfect time to refine our faith. When we seem to face giants in lives – God is still with us, knowing that He will always work for the good of those who love Him, and no temptation has overtaken us except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Cor 10:13)

4.    And the greatest realization God gave me is my life has a purpose. It is not to have great careers, happy relationships and prosperity in all areas – it is to live with Christ, so that I can tell people that it is not that they are in lack, rather, their greatest lack is that of not knowing God. Because of that, the places God lead me to, the roles He gives me, and the problems in my lives – are exactly where He will work through me. Although many times I may be weak, God is strong and He will mold me in His time and purpose, for the sake of gospel.

When God is all you need, you already have everything you’ve ever needed. He will never let His children go ashamed.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “[Matthew 6:25-27]
Two weeks back, my dad also told me the same thing. He mentioned that he hope we don’t send him to the nursing home when he is old, and he showed me an article that was published in the newspaper in Malaysia – Ways to cope with aging. It listed a few ways; one of the ways caught my eye – find assurance in the spirit.

And I told dad – "Daddy, more important than nursing home etc, what you need most is  to have the right spirit from the right God. There’s a true God who gives you peace and assurance on every breath you’re taking in life. That is most important." Although the conversation couldn't carry on further, I believe God is still in control. 

Indeed, man cannot be satisfied by physical things. Man is created with spirit - therefore what they gain in their flesh (money, love, power, knowledge) will not satisfy them but in return, lead to more bondages - there's a hunger spirit within. 

Man's spirit can only be satisfied through Jesus Christ. 

Just like my father and the patient – I realized that the greatest problem of man is not knowing the anchor of their spirits. My dad has enough money, fairly good health and able to travel so very often; my patient is crippled with illnesses and losing hope to live – yet despite good or bad conditions, both have emptiness in the spirits irrespective of circumstances of life, both have no assurance of who can provide for their future and where their lives will truly lead to, what gives joy in man in trying and smooth-sailing situations.

Once, someone of high authority tells me - " It is ok, I know I will go to hell after I die"

I couldn't rest on this statement, I asked - how could it be, God?

I then realized something …

Heaven is not a place where good people will go after death.

Hell is not a place where bad people will go after death.

Hell is here with me when I live in a state of not knowing God - dwelling in my fear, inferiority and worthlessness - and continued to be oppressed by the world.

And heaven and hell are both eternally present.

Heaven is here with me when I know God is with me. For He is love, peace, hope and beginning of all wisdom. I only need to live before God. Since He is with me, when I call for help, He will help me - by reminding me the four points above. 

What man truly need in life is God.

When all you need is God, you’re the most joyful person in this world, whether you are well-fed or hunger, in plenty or in need – Because the God who reigns supremely over all creations and triumphed over Satan -  is with you today. There’s greater blessing in the transient suffering, there is purpose in every breath you take, there is joy because He is constant in the relative situations you are in, leading you with His word. 

When we do not know what and how to pray, Holy Spirit pray for us in wordless groans, for the good of God's children, strengthening us from within. 

I pray for you who read this.
And I pray for uncle and my father - to know God and enjoy heaven here on earth. 

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:26)