In the past week, there were several disconcerting news that our church leadership had to deal with, notwithstanding the heavy schedules of work and ministry each of them had to attend to. Much of those demanding challenges have to do with our interactions with the authorities with regard to the Building Project, and our preparations (especially pertaining to the audited accounts) for the ACM. Personally, it was a very stressful period and I felt very constrained and of little strength to wade through all the challenges. But I praise God that He has strengthened me with His good Word during my “quiet times” with Him. The two portions of the Scripture that the Lord gave me were Revelation 3:7-8 and Psalm 31:24.
I have expounded the first passage, Revelation 3:7-8, during last Tuesday night prayer meeting – “… These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
Now I would like to exhort you from Psalm 31:24 – “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
The Lord provides us with an antidote to the sad hearts of believers who are undergoing trials and temptations. They are exhorted to “be of good courage”. It is not at all uncommon that God’s people become weary and disheartened in this world. Spiritual and moral courage is much needed to inspire our hearts to do right, especially in adverse circumstances. In most scriptural instances of the exhortation to be courageous, it is coupled with the exhortation to be strong. When courage is gone, the heart would melt in the fear and heat of adversity. So the exhortation is given: “Be strong and of good courage.”
In Deuteronomy 31:6, the Lord through Moses told the people of Israel, who had to battle against the giants who dwelt in their promised land, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Their new leader, Joshua,who had to lead Israel to conquer the promised land, was also told in Deuteronomy 31:7 to “Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.” This exhortation to be strong and of good courage had been repeatedly given to Joshua and Israel (Joshua 1:6, 9, 18; 2:11; 10:25).
Christians have very many duties to tend to, which can be often arduous. We have heard troubled Christians crying out: “How could I overcome these problems and fulfil all my tasks?” or “I am already exhausted. Where shall I get the strength to do these things?” Be that as it may, every Christian must remember the exhortation, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
In our verse, we are given the divine promise that “he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” God would give us His supernatural aid, strengthening our hearts with His gracious favour. We must not let our hearts become pessimistic. Let not doubt and gloom fill our hearts. We must hope in the Lord. Distrusting hearts will grow weary and fearful. Trusting in God’s promise, let us behave valiantly for the Lord. Expect trials. Remember the promises. Maintain faith. Serve the Lord.
Thanksgiving Notes (15th Bible Witness Retreat)
Greetings in our Lord’s most blessed Name!
Pastor, once again I want to thank you for the privilege extended to me in joining the Bible Witness Retreat. I thank the Lord for the manifold blessings received in listening to all the messages you have preached (from establishing the concept of God / Jesus as King, expounding on the Gospel of the Kingdom to the very clear presentation of the Biblical covenants being a unity under the umbrella of the Covenant of Grace, as against the Dispensationalist view, with all appropriate applications to us), and for the opportunity to see firsthand the progress of the work our brother, Pr Sujith, is doing for the Gospel in Vizag, India.
Likewise, I thank the Lord for the opportunity to minister to our brethren in Singapore in the main service (English), in the Filipino Fellowship, and even at TGCM morning devotions. By the way, two Sundays ago, there were 6 newcomers (first-timers) who came to the Filipino service. They came to know of our church through one Filipino brother whom they had met at the food-court; since then, they have been visiting our church website to listen to the messages and finally thought of coming for the service last Sunday. I was with Bros Norefel and Arnold when I talked to these newcomers, and I encouraged them to follow up on these 6 souls. They, who by their own admission used to attend a Charismatic church, had expressed their desire to learn more of God’s Word. I have also informed Pr Dennis about it.
With all these blessings received, I give all the glory and honour unto God!
Testimony of Elder Alan Choy
All praise and glory to the Almighty King and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has granted us great spiritual blessings and safety in our visit to see the Gospel work in Vizag, India, during the Bible Witness Retreat. Thank God also for the privilege to be able to feast upon the Word of truth pertaining to the “The Gospel of The Kingdom”, as exhorted by our pastor. God had declared war against Satan and proclaimed the first good news for the salvation of His people right at the beginning in Genesis 3:15. God, our eternal, sovereign King, has prevailed over the kingdom of Satan (cf. John 16:11), with the ultimate victory through Jesus Christ. We have the full assurance of faith, together with all the redeemed of the Lord eternally secured into God’s Kingdom. All glory and honour unto our King eternal!
May we continue to pray for our brother, Pr Sujith Samuel, in his teaching of the Word of God in Gethsemane Bible Institute (GBI India) in Vizag, in particular to the students, Bros Henjit, Joyson and Devakumar. The first two have come with their families to stay, while the third brother comes daily to learn God’s Word in GBI India. Pray also for another brother, Praveen, that he may be able to return to learn God’s Word at GBI India again.
Due to time constraints, we were not able to see the work in Odisha. Nevertheless, we pray that GBI India will bring the Gospel to the people there. Thank God for the opportunity to meet with Pastor Stephenson and his wife Anupama who serve among the hill tribes of Majivalasa, as well as Bro Abraham, his wife and his son who serve in the remote village of the Asha Kiran Hospital. We rejoice because our Almighty God is able to bring His Word through His servants wherever He pleases. Nowhere is too remote that God cannot reach. Let His glorious name be praised!