Weekly Bulletin

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

  25 Dec 2016

Genesis 3:15

When God first revealed to our first parents His plan to send Christ into this world, it was a most momentous time. When the first Gospel announcement was made, our first parents had been found guilty of rebellion and were responsible for the fall of God’s creation, particularly Adam. By eating the forbidden fruit, they had forged an unholy alliance with Satan and transgressed God’s commandment in Genesis 2:16-17 – “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Imagine the commotion, fear and guilt troubling their hearts and minds as they found themselves dead in trespasses and sins. They were still alive, yet spiritually dead, being alienated from God. This consequence, God had emphatically warned Adam earlier. Everything changed in a twinkling of an eye as their spiritual death cut them off from God’s presence. Their hearts were corrupted and their souls perverted. For the first time, they experienced falling into the abyss of sin and being locked up in spiritual darkness. Having no power to reverse God’s judgment, they also realised that the world around them had been corrupted and become a hostile environment. In sorrow and fear, they realised firsthand the sad reality of sinning against God; but it was too late, and there was nothing that they could do!

{Dear friends, as matter of application of the above historical truth in our life, may it remind you that disobedience to God would end up in tragedy and misery. If we do not learn our lessons early in life, we are going to waste many of our opportunities in the Lord and reap His displeasure. The only way to live a blessed life is to follow the principle which King David adopted in his life: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). By avoiding sin, we receive His blessings. “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Psalm 16:5-6).}

Oh, how relieved our first parents must have been when they first heard directly from God His plan to redeem them from their sins. They must have been overwhelmed to hear what God said in Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” What a wonderful blessing to hear God’s commitment to save them. After they had rebelled against God, He visited them not just to pronounce them guilty, but also (above all) to proclaim that God will give His Son Jesus Christ to be their Saviour! In that first proclamation of the Gospel, God did not reveal a lot of details about Christ being born as man’s Saviour. Nonetheless, Christ, the Son of God, was introduced as “her seed”. (Surely, the Holy Spirit would have given our first parents the understanding of the Gospel, as it was announced to them). As such, we have every reason to believe that they were saved that day as they looked to Christ as their Saviour and Lord by faith!

Since we are privileged today to have the whole counsel of God in our hands, let us consider why God introduced Christ as “her seed”.

Firstly, it was to impart the knowledge that the Messiah would come as one of us. This understanding is certainly supported by the later revelations in the Scriptures. The apostle John says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Hebrews 2:14-18 also declares the same truth: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

Secondly, it was to impart the idea that Christ’s coming would be by means of a virgin conception and birth. We know this from the angel’s word to Joseph in Matthew 1:20-21 – “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Thus, He will be born as an unblemished, perfect God-Man to offer a perfect sacrifice for our redemption.

What a grand plan which God’s wisdom has devised to work out our salvation. Christ came as “her seed” to present Himself as our representative, undefiled by Adam’s sin. Since Christ was perfectly holy, He was able to offer Himself as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice to appease God’s wrath. On the cross, the old serpent’s seed (the ungodly children of Satan) may have bruised His heel (wounded and killed Christ). Nonetheless, what appeared to be His defeat actually turned out to be a fatal blow on Satan’s head when Jesus resurrected, destroying the power of sin, death and Satan over us. Just as God has proclaimed in Genesis 3:15, Christ’s coming accomplished the defeat of Satan and our salvation. Now that we are no more dead in trespasses and sins, and thus no more locked up in spiritual darkness and sins, let us “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

  18 Dec 2016

Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM) praise the Lord for seeing us through this year’s Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). This year’s theme – “Shine for Jesus” – was conceived from a phrase in Philippians 2:15, “among whom ye shine as lights in the world”.

The participants were taught four lessons: “Jesus is the Light of the World”; “In Jesus, We Become Light”; “Walk in Jesus’ Light”; and “Shine for Jesus”. The objectives of the lessons were twofold. Firstly, to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the non-believing children. Secondly, to exhort children who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour to bear witness for Him, by living a holy life according to the Bible and to separate themselves from the darkness (i.e. sins) of the world.

The Lord has been good to GCM. Over the two day event, He brought a total of 54 and 59 children respectively (excluding toddlers), not forgetting the many youths and adults who helped out. Though most of our activities were conducted indoors, we did go to the grass patch outside for some outdoor activities. God gave us good weather on both days. The clouds shielded us from the sun’s rays when we were outside, and it only drizzled briefly towards the end of our programme. Thus, we were not only able to enjoy the organised games, but also board the buses safely at departure. Everyone reached home safely, by the mercies of God.

As such, we are very thankful to the Lord for blessing us with another year of DVBS! As we press on to serve the Lord among the children, may He be pleased to add more souls to His kingdom – even to raise a thousand souls to sing His praises!

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in one way or another, whether it be in the designing of the registration form, the booking of the venue, the planning of various activities, the execution of them all, etc. Last but not least, we thank God for the teachers who have laboured to communicate God’s truths unto the children. May the Lord’s name be praised! Hallelujah!

DVBS Testimonies 2016

Lim Xin Hui (P5)

When I was 6 years old, I started attending the Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS) organised by Gethsemane B-P Church. It was introduced to me by my sister’s tuition teacher, Auntie Annie. Before I attended DVBS, I did not know much about Christ and was not a believer. However, I now believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in Him. I thank God for helping me believe in Christ through the teachers in DVBS and through Auntie Annie. Till now, I have attended DVBS for 6 years and have made good friends. I like attending the DVBS because my questions about the Bible can be answered there and I can learn more about God with my other Christian friends. My favourite part of the programme are always the Bible lessons as they help me reflect on my wrongdoings, learn the truths in the Holy Bible, and understand it better. I have learnt from this year’s DVBS that Jesus is the Light and we can walk in light when we believe in Jesus. As children of God, we can shine for Jesus by spreading God’s Word and praising God.

Lim Ee-Ruey (P2)

The quiz that Aunty Annie led was very interesting. It was not a straightforward answering of questions. Instead, children had to perform a few tasks as well in order to score points for their team. That was fun! I also enjoyed the craft work.

Evi Horia Surjawinata
[mother of Ariel (P5), Noelle (P2), and Scarlette (K2)

I received an invitation for my daughters to attend DVBS by dear Sis Annie. (Annie is our good friend from the homeschooling community.) We were thrilled to attend the DVBS organised by Gethsemane B-P Church. My three girls, Ariel, Noelle and Scarlett, were greatly blessed by the ministry and for that I am very thankful. They enjoyed the Bible lessons, craft sessions and game times. When asked what they learned from DVBS, some of their responses were very insightful: “Now I understand why Jesus said He is the Light – it is because He gives us life,” said one. “We have to walk as children of light, doing good instead of walking in the dark and sin,” stated another. Yet another realised that “Understanding the Bible partially is not enough because it can still mislead us from the truth”. Thank you, Gethsemane Children’s Ministry, for planting God’s truth in my children’s hearts.

Aaron Nathaniel Lau (P3)

really like the art and craft activity, especially the “lighthouse” activity. It was very fun to do and it explains what a lighthouse is – used for guiding ships away from dangers hidden in the dark. So, we also learn to stay away from people who are trying to take advantage of us and influence us to do bad things.

Samuel Christanday (P3)

From the DVBS, I learned that we need to be as light in this world. And we can do that by learning from Jesus, who is the source of light. We can shine for Jesus by showing kindness.

Stevan Christanday (P1)

DVBS was fun and I especially enjoyed the art and craft, and games sessions.

Grace Ho (P5)

I am very thankful to the LORD for giving me good health to attend this year’s DVBS. Truly, it has been a great blessing to be able to attend 8 years of DVBS since the age of 4. Thank God for the opportunity to be able to reach out to my nonbelieving friends through this channel. I learnt that as children of light, we should not give in to temptations, but instead follow God’s Word and walk circumspectly as children of light. I would also like to thank God for the GCM committee who helped to plan all the activities, as well as for the teachers and the rest who helped out in the lessons, games, singspiration, and many more. May God bless their efforts. All glory be unto God for His grace!

  11 Dec 2016

In the last article that I wrote, I have mentioned that there are wrong ideas being promoted as infallible guides for successful parenting. I would like to mention briefly one or two more of them in today’s article.

We think we know what is best for our children

There are parents who think that their desires and ambitions for their children are truly what God wants for their children. Could such a notion be true? Did not the Bible record clear evidence of determination made by parents which led their children to the best of situations in their adult life? Scriptural examples pertaining to such include Hannah’s desire for Samuel that he would serve the Lord, and David’s plan for Solomon to be the next king.

The above two biblical instances definitely show that Samuel’s mother Hannah and Solomon’s father David knew what God would want their children to be. I believe that even today, the Lord may providentially guide some parents to dedicate their children to become missionaries or pastors in their adult life. However, for God’s people in post-biblical times, this would not be the norm in guiding our children into God’s plan in their lives.

We must not insist that whatever we think is good for our children, they should follow. We should pray that God by His gracious providence would help them to recognise what He wants them to do. Children may change their minds about some things that they earlier said they would pursue. They may even fail in their attempts. We should not then become upset and put all the blame on them. No matter how disconcerting such occasions may be, we must encourage ourselves and our children to humble ourselves to seek the LORD. Advise them to pray like the psalmist – “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4-5).

Not all children have the same abilities, skill and habits. However, all must be trained in their hearts on how to be instruments of God’s will. Children must be continually advised and exhorted to, of their own accord, yield themselves to do God’s will and purposes. For the LORD reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let us teach our children to trust the Lord for their future, no matter how they fare in their studies or skills. Point them to Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Also, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).

Even if your child is unable to do much for himself because of his lack of abilities or other weaknesses, you can trust the LORD to be his help and strength in his need. Listen to what the LORD saith: “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not” (Isaiah 35:3-4a). The apostle Paul also reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1:27b, “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Our God is a great God! No one is too weak or small that He cannot use for His glory. Hence, He tells the weak to be strong as they put their trust in Him.

Parents, our greatest comfort and hope for our children is in our God, who is merciful and yet strong! He does not want us to be sad or sore afraid because our children do not seem to have what it takes, in our thinking, to be what is best for them. He wants us to be strong in the Lord. God, who is the Maker of our children (whether they are strong or weak), will see to their goings and guide their paths. Let us just teach our children to trust and obey Him always.

Like the apostle Paul, we (parents and children alike) too should employ our faith to look for His utmost in our life – “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

  4 Dec 2016

I]n my 23 years of parenting, very often I have to pray earnestly for God’s help to evaluate my own thoughts about parenting to see whether I am getting it right. Though we have an infallible guide, the Scriptures, many a time we do wrongly apply the Scriptural guidelines. Christian parents must examine themselves to see whether they have been tempted to adhere to ideas or methods which are not necessarily biblical.

No Guaranteed Method

Today, I would like to address one of the dangerous concepts that some parents have adopted. Parents, who impose on their children a certain idea or conduct or method or path (not stipulated in the Scriptures) as though it is the only way for them to go forward, are prone to make serious mistakes. There is no singular method or path that guarantees your children’s salvation or good behaviour or success in life.

While we instruct and guide our children with biblical wisdom, we must not think that there is a single supermethod which the Bible teaches us to implement. The Bible does not promote or promise a perfect methodology or a sin-free environment that will guarantee success to our children.

While the Bible teaches us that we must daily and diligently instruct our children according to its truths, it does not advocate that we follow a certain recipe for success. The Bible nowhere provides certain ingredients which, if implemented in a specific environment, would produce perfect kids. Disciplining and guiding our children is not like baking a cake according to a given recipe.

Children are individual beings who will have to exercise their personal choices as they grow up. It is not made known to parents what the specific path forward for their children is. While parents teach, correct and insist on the Scriptural truths, they must not hinder the children from exercising their individual choices and abilities in following the Lord. By God’s gracious guidance, children can have a closer and much fruitful walk with the Lord than the parents themselves. So, parents’ duty is not to limit the children with some method or in a particular environment, but to instruct and let the children make godly decisions in whatever realms of life that God’s providence would lead them.

Please be forewarned that there is no fixed methodology for ensuring our children’s salvation or success of our parenting. Let all Christian parents be prayerful, that the Lord will make known to each child His salvation and His will concerning him/her. Let us seek to be faithful parents, rather than method-oriented parents.

A Brief Report on Mission Trip to Kuching

(A detailed report to follow in next week’s bulletin)
Prabhudas Koshy

The mission trip to Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia) was a very needed and important mission activity that we have undertaken this year. We have been co-labouring with Calvary Jaya BPC, KL to send preachers to Kuching since 2014. This year, the Lord has placed within us a burden to conduct a mission trip, and hence 27 brethren, led by Eld Mah Chin Kwang, had visited Calvary Kuching B-P Church.

Our misson trip’s chief purpose was to strengthen the brethren in Calvary Kuching to serve the Lord fervently and faithfully. The brethren in Kuching welcomed us with much graciousness and warm hospitality. Presently, Calvary Kuching is a Chinese congregation of about 10 people. Bro Jeremy Teo’s family (and occasionally with a few others) meet for an English service by making use of either Gethsemane’s live webcast or recorded video-messages. We are praying and hoping that Pr Samson Hutagulang can visit them on a regular basis to minister to them.

The mission team was also given an opportunity to minister the Gospel in a village, Kampong Taee, which is about one hour’s drive from Kuching. The very large premises here are under the ministry of the Anglican church. However, it is obvious that the people lack knowledge of the Scriptures.

The greatest need of the hour in all mission works around the world is God’s provision of faithful and fervent preachers of the Word with a God-given burden for souls. As Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). We need to earnestly pray that God would send more men for the work of soul harvest.

Baptism on the Hospital Bed

Last Wednesday (30th November), I was informed by Ricky and Stella Tan (regular worshippers in Gethsemane) about Harry Chew Hai Huat (a cousin of Stella), who has received Christ while his health condition has been severely deteriorating over the past few months. Having believed on Christ, Harry (70 years of age) also indicated that he was ready to be baptised. On Thursday at 5 pm, Pastor and Elder Mah visited him at Changi General Hospital together with Ricky and Stella. After checking with Harry about his faith and readiness to be baptised, he was baptised. Harry’s daughter, Jacinda, his three sisters and a niece were also present at his bedside during the baptism.

  27 Nov 2016

Many things distract Christians from being wholly focused in their spiritual pursuit. They tend to count it a small matter that they have lost their commitment to the Lord. However, the prophet Amos repeatedly reminds us of the importance of seeking the Lord continually and diligently. Let us learn from the prophet the meaning and significance of seeking the LORD.

“Seek the LORD, and ye shall live”(Amos 5:6a).

The prophet Amos had just ended a lamentation over the impending death of the people of the “house of Israel” (5:1-5). A “lament” is a poem of grief sung at a funeral. Prophets used this poetic form to mourn the death of a city, people or nation (cf. Jeremiah 9:10-11, 17-22; Lamentations 1-5; Ezekiel 19; 26:17-18). Though Israel had been enjoying material prosperity under Jeroboam II, her judgment was so certain that Amos lamented her fall as though it had already happened. To his listeners, his lament would have been like listening to their own obituary being read out to them.

Despite the certainty of national judgment, individuals were encouraged to seek the LORD and live. Unless they would repent of their idolatry and wickedness, God Himself would see to their destruction. The admonition of the prophet is: “Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel” (v. 6). Though Bethel (which means “house of God”) was a place of worship and blessing, they had desecrated it with their idols. All their activities of worship were an abomination to God. What matters was not the location, but their heart’s devotion to God. So, if they would continue to stay in Bethel but would not turn to God, they would inevitably experience what He has revealed Himself to be in Deuteronomy 4:24 – “the LORD thy God is a consuming fire”!

The command to seek the LORD has been repeated four times in this chapter (vv. 4, 6, 8, 14). It means that they must turn to Him at once. They should not hesitate nor procrastinate in returning to the LORD. Neither should they approach Him in ritualistic, disingenuous worship. Their hearts must seek Him with sincere love and fervent devotion.

The LORD promised that they shall live if they seek Him. The LORD promised to rescue them from the threat of impending calamities which were looming over the nation. But there was something more than their preservation from the impending peril. Turning to the LORD would also guarantee their souls’ eternal life. The LORD is merciful and calls sinners to turn to Him to enjoy the blessings of His good pleasure. “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

The prophet Amos further exhorted and explained why God’s people must earnestly seek Him – “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken” (Amos 5:14).

Earlier in this chapter, the prophet had repeatedly exhorted the Israelites to seek the LORD (vv. 4, 6, 8). This verse further explains the implications of the exhortation to seek the LORD. Those who seek the LORD will also seek to do His good will.

The “good” that God’s people ought to seek is not what they think is good, but what the LORD has revealed as good. All that His Word requires of us is good, which we must seek diligently to perform. The LORD said through Moses in Deuteronomy 12:28, “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.” The prophet Micah was also tasked by the LORD to instruct His people: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

Yet the people were not only doing evil, but also seeking it diligently. They rejoiced in all that which God detested. They sought out evil and the occasions for it. As long as they sought evil, they would not seek good. So they must first put away evil. As Isaiah has written, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17).

God’s people must be singular in their pursuit of good. They must seek good with total commitment. Unmitigated adherence to good and complete severance from evil is what God commands. In Romans 12:9, the apostle Paul instructs, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” The LORD requires that His people seek good wholly, not only occasionally. “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10a). “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).

Pursuing the LORD and His good will have the guarantee of the highest blessings in the lives of God’s people. It has the promise of everlasting life and divine friendship. The “God of hosts” will be with them to guide, guard and garnish their lives with His blessings. He who follows the good ways of the LORD, has the LORD for himself.

  20 Nov 2016

War is being waged against our souls! Young and old alike in the church are embattled. The enemy is the ever-present “lust of the flesh”! The onslaught of lust is on the rise! Pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc. are affecting more and more Christians, both young and old. It leaves men and women writhing in shame and sorrow. It is very destructive – individual and family lives are torn asunder. The church is also losing its moral edge. When men are caught in these sins, how can they rise to leadership of the church? The church suffers much weakness because of the moral impurity of her members and leaders.

Beloved, you must declare war against your lust. The threat of lust is very grave. We can neither ignore nor enter into a truce with this enemy of our soul. Please carefully and prayerfully read and appropriate the following biblical admonitions:

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

With sincere affection and compassion for his readers, who were in the midst of persecution and fiery trials (1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12), the apostle Peter addressed them as “Dearly beloved”. Such an expression of sincere and hearty affection would have comforted and cheered their distressed souls. It also portrayed the apostle’s exhortation as a loving entreaty meant for their souls’ good and prosperity.

The believers were, first of all, reminded that they were temporary residents on this earth. In fact, some of his readers had been displaced from their homeland because of persecution. The apostle referred to them as “strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1:1). Their experience of being treated as “strangers” gives evidence to the spiritual reality that they were not of this world.

Peter had already alerted the believers that they were “strangers” and “sojourners” (1:1, 17). This is the third time in this epistle he was reminding the believers that they were not a people of this world. Christians should never expect total acceptance by the world. Neither should they desire to live like the people of this world. Jesus described the believers as “not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). He also told His disciples that “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19).

When He saved us, He was calling us out of all forms of worldliness. Our ambitions, aspirations and principles are no more of this world. Now we are a heaven-bound people. So as Peter mentioned here, we are “pilgrims”. The apostle Paul corroborated this truth when he wrote that “our conversation (i.e. citizenship) is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

On this earth, Christians are constantly under attack. They are often “ambushed” by the world! Peter further pointed out here that they also have an enemy within them by warning them to “abstain from fleshly lusts”. Lusts of the flesh are lurking about for opportunities to destroy us. If we give them a chance, they will conquer us. Christians must therefore be vigilant against their own carnal propensities. Christians ought to be self-conquerors. Let us be vigilant against the onslaught of fleshly lusts.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

Paul commands Christians to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ”. But can we put on a person, like we put on clothing or armour? Notwithstanding, it is rather a common metaphorical phrase in the Greek language which indicates that we should put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. “It is a common phrase that a person has put him on, whom he imitates,” so said the early church father Chrysostom. In other words, it is a command to Christians to imitate Christ’s example and to become like Him.

The Galatian Christians were reminded by Paul: “For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). The Ephesian believers were told: “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

Developing a Christ-like character is every Christian’s highest duty. Being united to Christ, we must conform to His character. We must have a sincere desire to be like Him and give ourselves to constant prayer for the Holy Spirit’s aid to live like the Lord Jesus. We must also devoutly study the Person and character of Christ in order to understand the manner and purpose of His life. There must also be a commitment to study all that Christ has taught so that we may know His will and do it. Without deliberate and habitual efforts to learn of Christ, we cannot imitate Him.

Those who put on Christ are also commanded to “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” One of the greatest hindrances to Christlikeness is the lust of the flesh. We are thus warned not to provide any opportunity for the gratification of our flesh’s sinful desires. How serious are you in this regard? Do you avoid circumstances that might tempt the flesh? Do you abstain from activities that arouse fleshly lusts?

We must not entertain the corrupt propensities of our bodies. Rather, we must yield to the Spirit of God, who warns us against the lust of the flesh and prompts us to walk according to the will of God. In Romans 8:12-13, Paul exhorts, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Likewise, Paul said in Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

  13 Nov 2016

The result of the recent US presidential election has left millions of people in the US and around the world rather disappointed and upset. Singapore, too, has a large number of people who felt very disappointed that the Democratic candidate did not win the election.

Without going into the nature, conduct, policies, etc. of the candidates, I would like to point all my brethren in Gethsemane to the biblical truth that all governments are so ordained by the Lord (whether we like / agree with them or not). Daniel 2:21 says, “And he (God) changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings …” We are also commanded to show due respect to their office and authority by being respectful, submissive, and godly (Romans 13:1-7). Now we should pray that the leadership of the US government will do that which benefit the people of the US and the world, and which will help to prevent immorality and injustice around the world.

It is also equally important to know that whoever would rule the nations of the world, would ultimately have attitudes and policies that will bring about God’s prophetic plan, which the Bible declares. Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

When I read news reports about Donald Trump, the newly elected US president, I saw that there is a clear evidence that we are getting closer to the Lord’s return. Let me tell you why.

Biblical End-Time Prophecy and Jerusalem

It has to do with the biblical prophecy about the Jews and their beloved city, Jerusalem. The Scriptures foretold that the Jewish temple and city would be destroyed and that the Jews would be dispersed and persecuted for a long time because of their rejection of God’s Word and the Messiah. Our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, predicted the complete destruction of the Jerusalem temple that existed in His time (Matthew 24:1-2). That prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, when the Roman general Titus destroyed and burned it. Since AD 70, Jerusalem remained in the control of many other people until 1948. During that long intervening period, the Jews were dispersed all over the world, just as the Scriptures had foretold.

Their reinstated nationhood finally materialised, in fulfilment of many biblical prophecies. The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948. However, till today, the Jews could not take full control of Jerusalem and build their temple. So today, there is no temple in Jerusalem!

However, the Bible clearly indicates that there will be a Jewish temple and its control will fall into the hands of Antichrist (a world-ruler) during the 7-year Great Tribulation of the Jews (cf. 2 Thessolonians 2:3-4; Daniel 9:26-27; Matthew 24:15). Let us take note that in order for a temple to be built in Jerusalem, the Jews must have full control over Jerusalem. It must become their centre of power. Since 1948, the Jews’ attempts to make Jerusalem their capital city has not been accomplished. Their present capital city is Tel-Aviv.

Donald Trump to Support Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital!

Now, this is where Donald Trump comes into the picture. Trump has openly declared, on several occasions, that one of the chief goals of his presidency is that Jerusalem will be the capital city of Israel.

Singapore’s Channel News Asia reported on 26 September 2016, “Trump says he’ll recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘undivided’ capital”. In that news report, it was mentioned that:

“Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel,” his campaign said in a statement.”

Jerusalem Post reported that:

“Donald Trump said he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem…. Congress (US) passed a law in 1995 mandating the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, but allowed the president a waiver. Each president since then has routinely exercised the waiver, citing the national security interests of the United States…. Calling US President Barack Obama “the worst thing that has ever happened to Israel” for negotiating the recent Iran nuclear deal, Trump pledged loyalty to Israel. “I will be very good to Israel,” he said. “People know that. I have so many friends from Israel. I have won so many awards from Israel. I was even the grand marshal for the Israeli Day Parade a few years ago. So I will back Israel.” (http://www.jpost.com/US-Elections/Trump-pledges-to-move-USembassy-from-Tel-Aviv-to-Jerusalem-44209).

Well, much of what Trump has said is yet to be done! Whether he will succeed in helping Israel to make Jerusalem their capital city or not, the Bible’s prediction of Jerusalem and a temple will be accomplished in God’s timing, sooner or later. Meanwhile, we serve our soon coming King with all diligence, purity and faithfulness.

  6 Nov 2016

“Despise not prophesyings” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).

The Greek word for “despise” is translated as the following words in the King James Bible: “despise” (6x), “set at nought” (3x), “least esteemed” (1x), “contemptible” (1x). It means to make of no account and to look down upon utterly. “Prophesyings”, in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:20, refer to the proclaiming or revealing of God’s will or purpose, i.e. preaching. Despising preaching is to regard preaching as useless, worthless, insignificant and beneath one’s consideration.

Ignorance of the purpose of preaching will yield a condescending attitude towards it. This can be seen from the context of 1 Corinthians 14. The Christians in Corinth had undervalued preaching because they rather wanted to have the gifts of speaking in tongues or the working of miracles. They coveted after the spectacular ability to speak in tongues and perform miracles. In response to that, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:5, “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” The Christians in Corinth despised preaching because they had not understood that the purpose of spiritual gifts (and in particular, preaching) is to edify Christians. Preaching can edify others in the most direct and beneficial manner. When one speaks in tongues, one is unable to edify others without an interpreter. On the other hand, when the truth of God is communicated plainly to Christians through preaching, Christians are built up.

Preaching is the means that God has ordained for His truth to be communicated to Christians. Therefore, it must be highly valued and take centre stage in the church ministries. All church activities should as much as possible include and not sideline preaching. Preaching does not need any embellishments in order to be well received. When God works through the plain preaching of the Word, nothing else is needed. No sound effects, music, dancing or worldly entertainment is needed.

Regular access to sound preaching edifies Christians, but when any Christian thinks that he is wise or good enough after being in the church for many years and feels that he does not need continual instruction or reminder regarding his spiritual life, he is in fact despising preaching. As a result of that, he may slight or neglect preaching.

Preaching is also despised when one listens to sermons carelessly. A lot of attention is being paid to listening to schoolteachers, lecturers or worldly gurus who specialise in specific fields, whereas the same amount of attention is not given during preaching. One who listens to preaching carelessly will not bother to retain anything from the sermon heard. Two illustrations given in the Biblical Illustrator aptly describe this:

Father is ill and cannot go to church. Daughter, who has spent three years at a boarding school and is a communicant and a teacher in the Sabbath school, enters. “Well, Mary, did you have a good sermon this morning?” “Yes, splendid; I never heard Dr. X. preach better.” “What was the text?” “Oh, I don’t remember! I never could keep texts in mind, you know.” “What was the subject? Don’t you remember it or some of the ideas?” “No, papa, but I remember a beautiful figure about a bird soaring up into the air. Why, I could almost see it and hear its song!” “Well, what did he illustrate by the flight of the bird?” “Let me see. It was something about faith, or about going to heaven. I can’t just recall now what it was, but the figure was splendid.” And the father is satisfied. Why shouldn’t he be? That was the kind of listening to sermons that he taught her by his own example. If he had heard it he could not have made a better report unless there had been something in it about politics or the news of the day.

The story of the Scotch woman and the wool has comforted a great many careless and forgetful hearers of the Word. When criticised for claiming to have enjoyed and been edified by a sermon though she could not remember a single idea in it (or even the text), she held up the fleece she had just washed, wrung it dry, and said: “Don’t you see the water is all gone, and yet the wool is clean? So the sermon is all gone, but in passing through my mind, as I listened, it did me good.” We think that hers was an exceptional case. We don’t believe in cleansing hearts as she cleansed wool. Yet like her, we are losing the habit of attention and the use of the memory in the house of God. The Saviour said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you”. And Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “By which also (the gospel he preached) ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you”. He evidently had no faith in the saving power of truth that merely rippled on the ear like water over a rock.

Many churchgoers, like the father, daughter and the Scotch woman in the illustrations above think that preaching is good when their ears are tickled by beautiful illustrations or stories in sermons, even though they have not understood the spiritual lessons behind them. The same group of churchgoers may also look forward to have their feelings lifted and entertained without retaining anything from the sermons preached. Christians must realise that the manner of listening to sermons matters. God is not pleased by your mere attendance in worship service or fellowship meetings. God is pleased by how you listen to the preaching of His Word. There must be retention of the things preached instead of just being emotionally touched or lifted by the things preached. We must “keep in memory” what is preached to us.

Thanksgiving Testimony

All praise and glory unto the most High God for His merciful deliverance in my life! On the night of 25th October, I experienced a rather severe allergic reaction to the gastric medicine I had taken. The linings of my oesophagus swelled and my throat constricted, such that I had difficulty breathing! Whilst on the way to the hospital, a fleeting thought entered my mind that I might possibly die on my birthday, which caused me to seek the Lord more fervently in prayer. I thank God that the allergic reaction only resulted in a partial constriction of the throat and did not persist for long. After a few hours spent in the observation ward, I was able to return home.

Other than the physical deliverance, I greatly praise God for spiritually reviving my soul through this trial. Amidst the physical afflictions, darkened indeed was the path I trod, which was accompanied with deep emotional pain stemming from other events. Yet, as one hymn-writer put it, “behind a frowning providence / He hides a smiling face”. Truly, God moves in a mysterious way. Through these providentially arranged events, the Lord has deadened my affections towards the things of the world, and drawn me much closer to Him than before. Having experienced His unceasing love and care towards me, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2).

  30 Oct 2016

Today being Reformation Sunday, let us with thanksgiving to God cherish the memory of the Reformers who were ready to sacrifice their lives for Christ and His Word! They feared neither persecution nor death. They counted it an honour to be martyrs for their Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ! The stories of their valiant preaching for the defence and propagation of God’s Word are enthralling to every genuine believer.

In his trial (in 1555), the English Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, was confronted and asked to reject the Protestant faith. He would not yield to the pressure, but emboldened himself and replied, “As for the doctrine which I have taught, my conscience assureth me that it is sound, and according to God’s Word … in confirmation thereof I seal the same with my blood.” As they continued to torment him, Bishop Ridley responded, “So long as the breath is in my body, I will never deny my Lord Christ, and His known truth: God’s will be done in me!”

Equally arresting was the testimony of another English martyr – Hugh Latimer, the Bishop of Worcester – “I thank God most heartily, that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death.”

Every Reformer, who laid down his life during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Movement, believed that the welfare of the souls of God’s people in the years to come demanded that they take an unwavering stand for the Protestant understanding of the Gospel. They knew full well their battle involved the very message of salvation itself, by which souls would be saved or damned!

Brethren, our testimony (like the Reformers’) does matter too for the propagation of the Gospel in our time and in the future. Let us be emboldened to be faithful and fervent witnesses of His truth. For Christians, life is worth living if and only if it is allowed to stand for Christ. Otherwise, let it be laid on the altar of sacrifice in defence and propagation of the truth. As James 5:10 says, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”

Pangasinan Mission Update

Donald dela Cruz

Dear Pastor,

I thank God for His provision to His people, especially to the brethren from San Fernando, La Union. The Lord has provided them with their own means of transportation. They have a tricycle (i.e. motorcycle with sidecar) with a license to use as public transport. The tricycle franchise is expensive in their area, where one person had offered to buy it at a good price. Interestingly, the price is enough to buy a good jeepney plus a franchise to use it as a passenger vehicle. They sold the tricycle and bought the jeepney so that they will be able to attend the worship service. I told them that, in essence, the Lord has upgraded their vehicle for this purpose, to which they agreed. They also invited their neighbours and friends to go with them and worship the Lord with us. A total of 8 adults and 12 children came from San Fernando. Their initial plan was to worship the Lord once a month with us, but since they have their own jeepney, it is my prayer that the Lord will touch their hearts to worship with us every Sunday.

Thank God that our worship hall last Lord’s Day was at full capacity (46 adults and teens; 25 children). Some teens were sitting on the staircase and later transferred to the chairs when the children left for their own classes. If the same people will be regular in worshipping the Lord, I will have to rearrange the worship hall by moving the cabinets and table to make way for more seats. I am also considering using the adjacent dining hall as the crèche area.

The Lord has brought many children recently and the room is simply not big enough to accommodate them all. The teachers also cannot effectively teach because of the wide age range of the students. I am praying for wisdom to divide them into two groups. What restricts us is the availability of teachers. We have only 5 teachers and I shared this burden with the congregation. It is also my desire for men to teach because presently all the teachers are sisters. Another constraint is the room space. If the numbers continue to grow, I am planning to renovate the porch in the second level to be used as the second children’s classroom.

Incidentally, we had a simple celebration with the brethren last Lord’s Day in conjunction with Jesher’s first birthday. Thank God for sustaining Jesher for one year and giving him good health. May the Lord grant him salvation the soonest possible.

  23 Oct 2016

Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).

Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM) was established with the dual purpose of meeting the spiritual needs of children within our church (cf. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”), and evangelising children outside the church (cf. Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”).

The GCM Committee has recently met to discuss and plan needful, edifying programmes / activities for children. We would like to encourage parents – with children aged 4 to 12 years old – to ensure your children participate in all our scheduled activities.

This year’s Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS) will be held on the 7th and 8th of December at Aloha Changi, Changi Seafront Chalet C (9.30am to 3.30pm). Kindly sign your children up for DVBS. Your prompt response in this matter will greatly help to facilitate our planning. Please pray also for God’s blessings to be upon our efforts to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to strengthen the faith of our children.

Furthermore, there are also activities for children on Saturdays while the respective fellowship groups are meeting. We strongly encourage parents with children from 4 to 12 years of age to bring them for GCM activities, while they attend the fellowship gatherings. The need to bring up our children in the blessed environment of Christian fellowship and service should not be neglected.

Lastly, GCM needs volunteers. We need help to redo – and maintain – our webpage on the church website. We need drivers with cars to help out from time to time. If the Lord moves your heart to serve in this ministry, come and speak to us. There is much work to do for the Lord! If you are interested, please contact any of our committee members: Bro Kenneth Wong, Bro Neo Kian Seng, Sis Choy Luan Kheng, Sis Melissa Mah, Sis Kamala, Sis Winnie Yap or myself.

Kuching Report

Dear Pastor,

Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

I am thankful to the Lord for His grace and mercy while I am here in Kuching. The Lord has protected and preserved me in all my travels, especially as I walked alone in the streets of Kuching, giving out Gospel tracts and invitation flyers for the upcoming Seminar and Gospel Rally in November.

I arrived in Kuching on Friday, 7th Oct 2016. In the evening, there was a Bible study as usual in the house of Bro Jeremy Teo (although the others could not come). We then tried to discuss the things we should do while I am here in Kuching. Plans for evangelism, visitation and Bible study were discussed, but in all these plans I still need to rely on Bro Jeremy, as I am new to the area.

Bro Jeremy had tried to contact church members to ask if they had any friends we could visit and to inform them of the activities we would be having while I am here. He also tried to contact some of the former members of the church who had left the church, and managed to get in touch with one whom we had Bible Study with in the church.

On Sunday morning at 10.30am, we had our English service – attended by Bro Jeremy’s family, his brother, and Sis Fiona. I thank the Lord for Bro Jeremy’s son, Daniel, who could play the piano for the service, which helps us to get the tune and sing better. In the evening, their Chinese service began at 6.30pm. I did join them for the service, and I took the children for Sunday school class just before the message started. Though we are few, we rejoice in the Lord for the opportunity to worship and serve Him. We did use the last two Sunday afternoons (after our English service) for evangelism. I had a bit of a struggle, as I can’t communicate with a lot of people because many here prefer speaking in Chinese to English. They do speak Malay, but that was not their preferred language of communication.

It is rainy season here now and I got caught in the rain often when I was out distributing tracts. I made use of the daytime to get familiar with the surroundings and also used any opportunity to share the Gospel. I walked alone around the city on my own as Bro Jeremy is working every day (except on Sunday).

The housing estate here can only be reached by dropping the tracts in their letterboxes, which was what Bro Jeremy’s family and I have been doing for the last two Sundays. We couldn’t knock on their doors because of the gate-barrier. Besides, a lot of them have dogs to guard their houses. Many shops are owned by the Chinese, who responded only when spoken to in Chinese. We did give out some tracts to various restaurants and eating-places and, God willing, also hope to give out the tracts and invitation flyers to the shophouses around Bro Jeremy’s area. We are praying that the Lord will use the tracts to reach out to the people.

Every evening (except Sunday), we have Bible study, which is held sometimes in the church or church members’ homes, but mostly in Bro Jeremy’s house when others couldn’t come. We continually encourage them to bring their friends for the Gospel Rally and Seminar in November.

May the Lord be praised in all things, and use the tracts and invitation flyers to bring people during the Gospel Rally and Seminar.

In Christ,
Samson Hutagalung

  16 Oct 2016

Since July, 35 students of theology have been meeting on Wednesday nights to study “Soteriology” as part of the Gethsemane Bible Institute Online classes. (By the way, this is the 3rd in the series of GBI’s Systematic Theology classes). I am happy to report that all the students come with tremendous enthusiasm and give themselves to learning.

Soteriology is the study of the Scriptural doctrine of salvation. This division of theology deals with a keen study of God’s provision of salvation for sinners through Jesus Christ and all salvific blessings He offers to those who trust in Christ. Topics, such as Election, Atonement, Substitution, Propitiation, Expiation, Satisfaction, Forgiveness, Limited Atonement, Effective Call / Irresistible Grace, External Call, Internal Call, Regeneration, Repentance and Saving Faith, Justification, Reconciliation, Adoption, Sanctification, Glorification, are studied.

It is really thankworthy that as the students grow in the knowledge of the biblical doctrines, not only their doubts, questions, lack of clarity and misunderstandings are driven away, but their spiritual fervour and devotion to the Lord have also increased enormously.

During last Wednesday’s class, the students responded with much delight to the Scriptural truths they learned thus far. The topic of study was God’s effectual calling of a sinner to Himself through the general Gospel call via Christians’ presentation of the Gospel (cf. Romans 10:14- 15). They were asked how they would pray for the effectiveness of their personal and collective evangelistic efforts. They were encouraged to think of the truths that they have learned and make them their prayers. Remarkably, the students (one after another) shared about 20 or more prayer points that they would include in their prayers for evangelism. At the end of the class, some testified that they had never realised how profound and solemn their prayers for evangelism can be when they pray with clear and sound knowledge of divine truths.

Certainly, the deeper knowledge of God’s Word enables God’s people to pray with understanding of His Will and with earnestness. I would like to share some of the prayer points that we have discussed in GBI so that you can be strengthened in your prayers for the work of the Gospel.

Praise God for:

  1. Praise God for His rich grace towards sinners, and provision of Jesus Christ as our great Saviour.
  2. Thank God for the wonderful Gospel and the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Praise God for:

  1. Take and use me as a Gospel channel each day.
  2. Lead me to (or send to me) Thy elect people who have not yet known the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may be led to the knowledge and belief of the Gospel.
  3. Grant me open doors to declare the truths of Christ.
  4. Grant me the Spirit’s empowerment to do the work of evangelism.
  5. Remove all fear and anxiety and grant me boldness to present the Gospel.
  6. Grant me courage and an unashamed spirit when I will be scorned at or opposed or even persecuted for witnessing for Christ.
  7. Soften (or open) the hearts that are hardened (or blinded) by sin and Satan.
  8. Fill me with wisdom to answer questions and doubts of those whom I reach out to.
  9. Fill my mouth with proper words to declare the Gospel truths faithfully and effectively.
  10. Grant me humility in my conduct and preaching.
  11. Endue me with perseverance in my efforts to bring the Gospel to others.
  12. Grant me a fearless spirit to rebuke sin and unbelief.
  13. Grant me patience to explain the truths of the Gospel to those who ask about them.
  14. Grant me compassion and love for sinners, that I may be ever willing to preach the Gospel.
  15. Keep me from pride and self-dependence as I go about witnessing.
  16. Prevent me from perverting the Gospel.
  17. Protect and guide me away from sinful temptations, that I may be a holy and clean vessel for the Lord.
  18. Deliver me from Satan’s hindrances.
  19. Remove all obstacles, interruptions, interferences, and other problems that could prevent evangelistic efforts.
  20. Provide safe journey, good weather, good atmosphere, etc.
  21. Pray for evangelistic materials, like good tracts.
  22. Bestow upon the listener the Holy Spirit’s (not man’s) working and conviction.
  23. Grant understanding of the Gospel, repentance and true faith.
  24. Grant new believers illumination to behold the Glory of Christ and His Salvific Work.
  25. Grant readiness and power to those who repent and believe to turn away from sinful lifestyles.
  26. Grant new converts the joy of salvation.
  27. Pray that more labourers may be called, equipped and sent to the harvest field near home and far away.
  28. Pray that in all our Gospel attempts, Christ’s Name may be exalted.
  9 Oct 2016

God’s people are not expected to live an isolated life. They are expected to live in mutual fellowship. The Word of God encourages them not to shun one another, but to readily and regularly communicate with one another. Being stirred in the heart by the Holy Spirit, they crave for mutual society. Furthermore, they don’t hanker after the company of ungodly people with whom they have little in common.

In Psalm 66:16, a child of God says to his fellow saints, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” The audience that a child of God would seek are those who fear God. What would be the subject of conversation when God’s people meet? The social talk of His people should always focus on the goodness, mercies, righteousness and truth of God that they have come to know and experience. It is the solemn duty of God’s people to communicate to one another the blessings which God has conferred upon them.

They call out to others, saying, “Come and hear… I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” Lovers of God are willing witnesses of God’s greatness and graciousness. There is no need to coerce them to tell of His wonderful works. They volunteer their confession of God. Out of the abundance of the heart, their mouth declares His goodness towards them.

The godly ones are anxious to convey their spiritual experiences to others. They are eager to rehearse the Lord’s goodness and truth to all those who are desirous to hear them. They are least interested in frivolous conversations of fiction, scandals, gossips, etc. They take notice of God’s wondrous truths and deeds, and relate them carefully and joyfully to their fellow believers.

We must be not only ready witnesses but also ready hearers of the testimonies of God’s people. When others tell us of what the Lord has done for them, we must hear and give glory to God. Listening to accounts of grateful children of God will increase our faith and devotion. Such testimonies are also worthy of imitation. We should never conceal from other brethren the goodness and truth of the Lord that have been manifested to us. Let no shyness or timidity hinder us. If you cannot delightfully talk of God’s saving grace and His bountiful mercies, how can you hope to enjoy them all through hereafter?

Has God done something good to your soul? Then give thanks to God. Come prepared to give a short testimony (of no more than 3-5 minutes) at the Tuesday night prayer meeting. Let me know by noon on Tuesday (by email or SMS or WhatsApp) if you would like to testify of His goodness, so that an opportunity may be arranged that night when we gather for prayer.

Testimony of Trials

Nguyen Trang Thanh (Misty)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Lord has graciously saved me and brought me to Gethsemane to worship and serve Him in Feb 2012. I would like to share the following testimony in the wake of my recent trials of life:

We all have different tolerance levels to pain and suffering. What is most uncomfortable or intolerable to one, may be ‘just a cup of tea’ to another or vice versa.

For the last two months, the Lord sent two “visitors”. The first one came in the form of a series of physical sicknesses. One after another came vomiting, high fever, infection, constant fatigue day and night (both at home and at work), whether awake or asleep. I dread to be so tired and sick all day, so I prayed that they would all go away soon, but they didn’t. Nevertheless, I thank God for being given several days of MC, which not only helped me to have physical rest, but also time for reading. Through this experience, I have also learned to be more appreciative of His goodness when my health was restored. Like David’s testimony in Psalm 41:3, “The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness”, I also became confident that God will heal me.

The reason why those physical sicknesses so severely impacted me is because for the last 8 years of my stay in Singapore, I never became so sick until the point I needed assistance and visit from my friends. I even cried out loud like a child in front of the doctor. Nonetheless, the Lord has taught me many things, including certain impressive insights about the hospital system here in Singapore.

The second “visitor” whom the Lord sent was my emotional sickness. I must say that this was not a new “visitor” – rather it has been “overstaying” for a few years and would not leave me alone. Though I prayed daily for it to go away, it wouldn’t. Soon I learned that my prayer was wrong. Such trials and temptations are not always meant to vanish quickly. Instead of it going away, I must flee from it to the Lord. Now I understand David’s prayer in Psalm 143:9, “Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.”

Those two “visitors” conspired to produce “tears”! In the past, tears were only shed on my bed, in the quietness of the night. Nowadays, they can come even early in the morning. Tears roll down my face when I am typing emails, when I am on the move (in bus, MRT, car), when I talk to friends, etc. This made me all the more cherish the promise of Revelation 21:4 – “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” I used to focus on the words “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither … pain”, and frequently prayed for my departure from this miserable world, the earlier the better. That prayer was out of a selfish heart, and not because I loved to be in Christ’s presence. However, this present experience of “tears” taught me to pray with a new desire for His eternally joyful presence in heaven. So, I have learned to value the tears, for they caused me to yearn for the presence of Christ and heaven.

Please do not find it strange and laughable that I say that I treasure tears, sorrows, sufferings, and pain. Haven’t we Christians all known this truth in the Word of God? Consider the following verses:

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Corinthians 8:2).

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

“Beloved, think it is not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange things happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

I believe that though Christians should not be actively seeking for troubles and pain, neither should they, like the rest of the world, deliberately avoid tears and sorrows. “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth”, so says wise Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:3-4. Of course, we should not focus on tears and sorrows, in contradiction to the divine command to “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4a).

During my sickness, brothers and sisters in Christ and my close friends visited to encourage me, and I feel thankful and unworthy of such care and love. I consider friends and fellow Christians as channels of blessings and means of God’s love towards me. However, unless and until my God has privately, personally, secretly and uniquely visited me, I will not feel satisfied “even if the person I like most in this world visits me”.

One sentence from Spurgeon that I remember always is: “God created trials so that we may feel them. Unfelt trials are not trials after all.” Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I beseech you not to be embarrassed or troubled about your tears, sorrows and pain. Cry when your trials are felt, but do not forget God’s statutes. Smile and praise Him as soon His comfort and presence is experienced. God be with all of us as we go through all the trials of our lives.