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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Reading Shapes Our Thinking

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Reading shapes our thinking. We must be extra careful about what we read. Take note: food is to our bodies what words are to our mind. Words are mind’s food. If our mind’s diet is lust, our body will crave for lust and find its way to fulfil it. Our hands and feet do not act on their own. They wait for instructions. What our mind tells them to do, they will obey (Proverbs 4:23). Likewise, if our daily intake is God’s words and good Christian materials that are faithful to the word of God, our mind will grow in the knowledge and grace of God. It all boils down to what we read!

That is why Christians must be selective in their reading. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). In this verse, all of us are challenged to read and keep on reading so that our mind may receive more feeding. But it also emphasises that we are not to read unclean words. As much as we must be voracious readers, we must also be careful readers, knowing that these ungodly materials are poisonous to our mind. These distort our sense of proper thinking and wipe out the good things we have learned from God’s Word.

I lament to see faithful men and women suddenly becoming worldly. What happened? They are not selective in their reading. It can happen to you too. Take care of yourself. The battle begins in our mind. If we do not protect our mind from the intrusion of hellish words, we are doomed. Do not underestimate the Devil’s words. They have hell’s power to brainwash us. Unless we stop feeding our mind with hellish words, there is no letting go of his control over our lives.

To read good Christian books, we must be willing to invest. Build a good library at home. These materials are worth our penny. These are sound words that we need to sanctify our mind from every corrupt thought that we have picked up from the world. Money cannot buy our sanctification but the books that we invest in can. We need people in the church with fertile minds, sanctified for the Lord’s cause. The late Rev Timothy Tow once said, “We need geniuses in the church.” When will our mind breed good thoughts? Get good books in your hands. They will come.

Recently, on behalf of Bible Witness Bookroom, Bro John Peh has been making good books available for you to buy. It is for the nurturing of our souls that such an effort is undertaken. It also saves all of us the hassle and the time going around looking for good books. Have you visited the book table? Save up to buy some good books. When I was in FEBC, the Principal told us to sell our shirts if we had no money to buy good books. Brethren, our sanctification is more precious than mammon.

We must also spend time to read. Singapore is a busy city. It is a 'pressure cooker' society. No matter how taxing it is, we must include in our daily planning the eating of the bread of life. We must find time to sit down and read the love letter that God has written to us. The words of God are the thoughts of God for our personal life, family life, career life, church life and the greater world that we live in, including a glimpse of the inheritance that He has prepared for us in heaven. Getting to know God’s plan for us as His children is worth our time. It pays better than working overtime.

So let us read the Bible and also utilise good resources that will help us understand the Bible better each day. There must be a slot allocated for the Lord alone. God will be most delighted if we set an appointment with Him. Every effort to build a closer relationship with the Lord will be rewarded. Reading while travelling to office is not a good substitute. If our schedule is really tight, then we must be willing to cut down our activities for the sake of studying God’s Word or else our disinterest in God’s Word will reduce our spiritual vitality significantly. There is a cost to pay when our mind are not fed with God’s words regularly. The busyness of Singapore lifestyle is a killer to our spiritual growth. It has caused spiritual lethargy among God’s people in Singapore. The excitement over spiritual things is no longer in the air. It has turned cold. Sad. We are paying the price for allowing ourselves to be busier for the world than for our Lord. This is very dangerous. Make no mistake; the world is after our first love. Do not give it a chance. Read!

In our church, we may not have a reading club but actually God has blessed with more. Firstly, we have a programme to read the Bible in one year. Pastor called it “Read Through the Bible In A Year”. If you are following that, I am sure you are excited by now as the year comes to its end. Imagine you have read the Book of Books from cover to cover!

Secondly, we have pastoral exhortations every week. These are written especially for us from our Pastor’s heart. Nowadays, other preachers of our church write from time to time. These are written for our spiritual needs. Let us avail ourselves to read them.

Thirdly, we have a church library. There are almost 400 books made available by the church for you to borrow and read. After the worship service, do not go home immediately. Please stay back to browse through good Christian books. You can borrow three books for three weeks. There are brothers and sisters to help you borrow the library books of the church.

Fourthly, our church ministry, the Bible Witness Media Ministry, is dedicated to provide good reading and media materials for your edification. The idea came out of a burden to publish the wonderful words of life. It has grown from strength to strength. By the grace of God, the Bible Witness Magazine has been in print for ten years. There are also tracts and other good materials available from BWMM. Have you visited the websites of the church and BWMM? There are plenty of reading materials in these websites. The Bible Witness Web Radio is also another channel of edification that is made available to you. God’s people do not lack. At the moment, Pastor is working hard to publish his work on the book of Proverbs. Pray for him and the team.

Fifthly, we are running a bookroom in Hong Lim Complex under the Bible Witness Media Ministry. Here we have close to 2,000 books from Pastor's personal library. Pastor has made them available to us for borrowing and reading. Visit this bookroom with your family. Be a member of this library. There are also computers with Bible software which you can make use of. The bookroom is a perfect place to study God’s Word. If you need more information, please call Bro John Peh at 9188 8481.

All these avenues are God’s blessings to us in Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church that we may get hold of the form of sound words, which are so vital to our spiritual lives. Let us take advantage of them. Give attendance to reading. Christians must be well-informed men and women. A well-read Christian is not just a learned man but also a blessed man!

 

Pastoral Exhortation