Your choice – To be close or distant?

By Cindy Tan, Malaysia

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long (Ps 25:4-5).

The Psalms have a way of capturing the reality of our human experience. Often, we could find in this collection a prayer or praise that echoes our inmost being. In Psalm 25:4-5, David asked for instruction and guidance. He was talking to his God. That is what we call prayer. Alexander Whyte once said, “Prayer is a rising up and a drawing near to God in mind and in heart and in spirit.”

In this fast-paced world, it is very tempting to hurry through our prayers. We pray as quickly as we gobble up our breakfast or pop in our vitamins. However, we simply cannot do that in prayer, or we will miss out on what God is trying to say to us. Can you imagine rushing through conversations with your spouse, your children or friends, day after day? Such conversations will not establish close bonds; the relationship will remain distant.

However, when we learn to savor our communion with God, we can actually talk to Him about everything and anything, such as crying on His shoulder about the things that break our hearts, or even laughing with Him as we relate funny events to Him. In such an atmosphere, we express our love for Him and receive His love in return. There is relief and peace knowing that He has searched our hearts and shown us the way.

In prayer, it is important that we always pause and listen…and listen again because effective and fruitful prayer with God is two-way. By having this two-way conversation, we get to know the heart of God and gain the privilege of knowing His concerns. God can reveal things or His plans to us in bits and pieces or as a whole. Either way, we must be willing to obey His instructions. As we obey, He is able to use us as His voice, His hands and His feet to bless others with the gift of salvation or restoration.

May I encourage you to intentionally block out time to enjoy your conversation with God as David did. You too, can ask God to show you His ways, and to teach and guide you in His truth daily.

The Perfect Gift

By Cindy Tan, Malaysia

Jesus Christ was conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. His life was unique. As a man, He lived in our world yet He was without sin. His death was also unusual. He died but the grave could not keep Him there. He rose from the dead. Jesus did not live and die just to set a good example for man; He came to be the Savior of the world.

Jesus said that He came “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). The Bible tells us that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We cannot escape from the judgment of sin on our own; we need a redeemer—one who is without sin. Out of love for His created world, God took on the onus of redeeming sinful man from the tyranny of sin, not with money or any other way, but with the precious blood of His own Son.

The true meaning of Christmas is about the coming of Christ into the world. It is about the Son of God, who existed eternally with the Father as “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3a). It is about the coming of a Son of Man named Jesus in whom “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). It is about the Messiah who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). It is about the coming of the “fullness of time” that had been prophesied by the prophets of old that:
– A Ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
– A Child would be born and He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
– The Messiah, the anointed One, a shoot from the stem of Jesse, a son of David, a King would come (Isaiah 11:1-4; Zechariah 9:9)

Today, we remember the perfect gift of God to man—JESUS CHRIST, SAVIOUR and LORD. He is the ONE who will give Christmas its true meaning. Have you received this gift of Christ in your heart?

Compassion, Not Charity This Christmas

Submitted by Cindy Tan, Malaysia

No colored twinkling lights, no tinseled decorated Christmas trees, no Christmas carols, no Santa Claus. That was the first Christmas in the world. Jesus, the Son of God was born into our world in a stable because there was no room for Him in the inns. The world did not anticipate an event that would change history or life. On that night, more than 2000 years ago, God did something that remains beyond our full comprehension. He brought hope to our sin-ridden world.

Prior to receiving God’s gift of salvation, I, like many of my friends look forward to Christmas for the gifts we would receive. When I became a Christian, I began to understand the significance of Christmas—it is the day where God gave mankind the greatest gift of all.

John 3:16 takes on a deep meaning when read in the context of Christmas: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . ..” Because of His overwhelming love for each one of us, God gave His Son, Jesus Christ. Recently, our Sunday Service speaker spoke on compassion and charity. He reminded us that compassion is different from charity. Compassion is continuous unlike charity, which is a one-time act. As I thought over it, I realized that it was God’s compassion that brought forth Christmas’ joy. Today, His compassion still goes on. As such, we who have experienced God’s love and compassion need to spread this Christmas joy to those who have not yet beheld God’s grace.

Let us run to the altar, catch the fire of God’s compassion and decide to make a difference in the lives of those outside the four walls of our church not only this Christmas, but also every day. Christmas must go on throughout the year. As we do that, we will enjoy a truly blessed Christmas!