Brethren, celebrate Christmas only in the worship of Christ!
Any celebration in the name of Christmas that distorts and distracts us from the purpose of Christ’s birth or displeases and dishonours Him is but a desecration of the true Christmas, which is meant to glorify God for the gift of His Son as our Saviour.
“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks” (Romans 14:6).
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
I became aware of the presence of God from a young age. Among all my parents’ six children, I was the one who was constantly asking my mother about God and His creation. My mother often wondered why I asked such profound questions and why I was so different from my siblings. She did not have answers to my questions. Growing up, I disobeyed my parents and did not listen to their counsels. Thus, I was so burdened with guilt. Yet, I was so helpless that I could not change and give up my habits. Sometime during my secondary school, I met a Christian teacher. She was very kind to me and it was through her that I first heard the Gospel.
In 2018, I got married in Pangasinan. It was through my wedding solemnisation that I was once again drawn to God. The officiating solemniser of my wedding was a Christian. I realised it was God’s way of drawing me back to Him. I accepted Jesus Christ with all my heart and soul, and without a doubt. Because He died and rose to take away my sins, I confessed Him to be my Saviour and Lord. My married life was not easy. There were many trials along the way. But little by little, I grew in the knowledge of God’s Word. The heavy burden I’d been carrying for a long time was gone. Jesus Christ changed my life, and now, no matter what trials I face in life, I will always put the Lord first.
By God’s provision, an opportunity to work in Singapore was presented to me this year. Initially, I had no plans to go abroad to work. But when this opportunity came, I accepted it and left everything to God’s will. I prayed and hoped that God would give me a Christian employer so that I could continue to attend church and worship the Lord. Praise the Lord for answering my prayers. Through my employer, I was led to Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church. When I was invited to join the Catechism class, I readily and happily joined the class. I am thankful to the elders who explained God’s Word to me. I am convinced that the Lord has a plan and purpose for my life, and how important Jesus Christ is in my life. I remember tears running down my face during one of Elder Choy’s lessons, when God’s Word penetrated my heart. How much Jesus endured on the cross for us. His love for us is so great. Jesus is the only way to heaven, and He gives us eternal life. He alone is worthy to be worshipped. May I worship Him till my last breath.
I like to end with this verse in Matthew 4:4, which has stayed with me since I first heard the Gospel in my younger days – “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Lim Peng Kwang
I was raised in a Buddhist family in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. Following my secondary education, I moved to Singapore to further my studies. After completing my studies, my life became primarily focused on work. On weekends, like many non-believers, I would often feel excited and anxious to buy the newspaper, with great interest to look at the 4-digit lottery numbers printed inside.
In 1995, I met Maria (who would later become my wife) through a colleague’s introduction. Back then, we were just friends, and she made it clear that we couldn’t pursue a relationship because of my non-believer status. One day, Maria invited me to join her for a Wednesday prayer meeting at Maranatha Baptist Church. Intrigued by her faith, I decided to accompany her to church. As a non-believer, the Bible verses were entirely new to me. I needed time to read and comprehend them better. The pastor diligently guided me through Bible studies, where I understood that we are all sinners who fall short of God’s glory. We cannot attain salvation through our own righteousness or good deeds. I am grateful that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and atone for our sins.
The pastor talked to me about accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. Initially hesitant due to my concerns about my mother’s objections, I eventually realised that our faith in Christ is most important, and my mother’s objections ceased to be a concern. During another meeting with the pastor at Yishun McDonald’s, he shared and presented me with teachings from the Book of Romans. I understood the need to repent and surrender to Jesus Christ, trusting Him as my personal Saviour to cleanse me of all my sins. I recognised that only through Jesus Christ could I be saved from eternal punishment in hell. I confessed my sins, acknowledged God’s gift of Jesus, and committed to living for God. That night, alongside the pastor, I prayed the sinner’s prayer, acknowledging Jesus Christ as my Saviour who died on the cross to wash away my sins.
On February 16th, 1997, my wife and I were baptised at Maranatha Baptist Church. My journey with Jesus hasn’t always been smooth; I’ve to face trials, deny certain desires, and learn to act against my natural inclinations. He has taught me that progress in my Christian life is not through my ability, but through His gracious work in me.
In 2022, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, my wife received an invitation from her friend, Sis Annie Ho (who is a member of Gethsemane BPC), to join their monthly church ladies’ fellowship via Zoom. It was the first occasion that we had the opportunity to listen to a sermon delivered by Pastor Koshy. On July 31st, 2022, our family made the decision to attend the Sunday worship service at Gethsemane BPC. We were deeply impressed by the preaching which was firmly grounded in sound biblical doctrines, and by the stand of the church in displaying an unwavering commitment to the honour and glorification of God.
We earnestly pray for the Lord to continually sanctify us for His glory, strengthen our faith, equip us to be effective witnesses for His name, and empower us to serve faithfully with Gethsemane BP Church.
When we lived in the kampung during my childhood years, my sisters and I used to accompany our mother to a charismatic church in Jalan Kayu. After we moved to Yishun, I began attending Chinese services at a Lutheran church near my home. During those early years, I had only a superficial understanding of who God is, what the Lord Jesus has done for the world, and the importance of doing good deeds to receive blessings.
In 1995, my sister invited me to join her for a Bible study at Maranatha Baptist Church, located at Lagos Circle. Out of curiosity, I decided to accompany her to the Wednesday prayer meeting. Following the prayer meeting, a sister-in-Christ sat beside me and shared Bible verses from the Book of Romans. Although I had heard of them before, it was during this sharing that I felt a deep conviction in my heart. I realised that there was nothing I could do to save myself from this dreadful life. I understood that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23); and there is none righteous, no not one (Rom 3:10). From Rom 6:23, I learned that the consequence of our sin leads to spiritual death and separation from the holy God. As sinners, we are doomed to eternal damnation in the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his followers. However, the gift of salvation is freely given to us through our faith in Jesus Christ. He gives us eternal life through believing in Him alone. I acknowledge that I am a born sinner on the way to hell, and that there is nothing I can do to save myself or earn forgiveness for my sins.
It is because of God’s unconditional love for us that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners like me. Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. He came to earth, lived 33 years on earth, and ultimately died on the cross to redeem us from the penalty of eternal punishment. By confessing my sins and believing that Jesus Christ is my Lord and the Saviour, I affirm my allegiance to Christ, and submit to His Lordship. By God’s grace, I was baptised in Maranatha Baptist Church on 16 Feb 1997.
My transformation was not an instant occurrence. It was the result of many years of listening to sermons, studying God’s Word, and attending Bible studies that deepened my understanding of God and His matchless love for us. We are called to have a close relationship with God, to reverence and honour Him, and to live a life that obeys His Word.
2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” I no longer want to seek to please myself but aim to live as a clean vessel for the Master’s use. Knowing that God is still working in my life, I need to be continually sanctified and grow in my relationship with Christ. This involves daily self-denial, remaining unspotted from the world, running the race set before me, and ultimately finishing my life course according to His will.
Brian Tong Kok Jun
I came from a non-Christian family. When I was a young student, I experienced much academic stress typical among most Singaporeans. For me, exams were a constant cause of stress and anxiety. During this time, I met a new friend, who brought me to Calvary Pandan BPC. At first, I did not attend services regularly as I had no time for anything new. My thinking was that church or religion was no big deal to me; I could not see how prayer and worship would even help me.
However, over a year later, when I was overawed by my studies and homework, I decided to turn to “prayer” during this time. I remembered praying for clarity and understanding of my subjects, and my “prayers” were answered. Though I found my anxiety being reduced, which allowed me to study better and do quite well in my examinations that semester, I realised I only prayed when I needed something from God, thinking that prayer was some kind of “wishing well”. Yet throughout the subsequent years, I still had not begun attending church services regularly. Meanwhile, I faced even more stress regarding my future. I was worried and clueless about how the future would turn out. That was when a friend prayed with me and shared with me Philippians 4:19. This verse gave me solace and peace in that moment and on various other occasions, especially when I experienced worries about my future. From then on, I decided to attend services more regularly, and found joy in worship services, and my faith in God grew.
A defining moment in my journey with Christ occurred when my friend lost a cherished family member, whom I had come to regard as part of my family too. I felt the pain of losing this family member. During this difficult period, many members from Calvary Pandan BPC came to the wake. I saw how God’s love was shown to me and my family through their attendance, comforting words, and prayers. I felt God’s consoling presence through the grieving process, and I discovered that He is the ultimate Source of hope and strength, even in trying times like this.
My friend and I decided to start attending Gethsemane BPC in May 2022, and have been attending this church ever since. The Lord has been merciful and gracious in guiding and blessing us in Gethsemane, a church with sound teaching of God’s Word.
I affirm that I am a sinner who needs God’s forgiveness. I praise God for giving His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to bear my sins on the cross. Therefore, I believe in Christ and yield myself to follow Him. I acknowledge that God has helped me through stressful times and supported me during my worst hours. As I continue to grow in my faith, I’m determined to live a life that honours His love and grace. In closing, I like to share two Scripture passages that have given me solace in the Lord during tough times:
Ashleigh Sonia Hazra
I was born into a loving Christian family, and was baptised as an infant at Calvary Pandan B-P Church, which is a sound Christian church.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, acknowledging my sins, during DVBS in 2009. I was in Primary 2 when I learned how Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins. However, as I grew older and entered my first year of junior college, I backslid. That was one of the toughest years I experienced; instead of turning to the Lord, I turned to my unbelieving friends and other worldly ways of finding relief from my problems. For some weeks, I would even find excuses not to attend worship service. During this period, my family relationships had worsened, and I was constantly quarrelling with my parents and lashing out against those closest to me. I thank God that there were some people close to me who brought me back to Christ, by sharing Psalm 91 with me and praying for me. I started finding joy and comfort in the Lord again through Psalm 91 amidst trials of life.
Finding joy and solace in prayer, I started going to church consistently again. I sometimes wondered why I had to go through that year of spiritual turmoil, where God would allow me to experience all that spiritual and emotional “suffering”. In hindsight, I thank God for bringing me back, and allowing me to grow in faith and have a closer walk with Him.
Though I tried to reaffirm my faith while I was back at Calvary Pandan, I realised it wasn’t God’s will for me at the time. I was still experiencing struggles at home, and I realised that I wasn’t bearing a good testimony for the Lord. Upon introspection and prayer, I needed to be forgiving to those who have hurt me. I realised I hadn’t forgiven them as God has forgiven us, and that wasn’t a good testimony. Later on, after much prayer, I made a decision to attend Gethsemane B-P Church, along with a friend who had been with me throughout this ordeal. I thank God for bringing us to Gethsemane BPC, where I can worship God and be excited to attend church services again.
With gratitude, I like to share a couple of verses that have ministered to me and still continue to bring me comfort in times of hardship:
I was brought by my sister Doreen to the Calvary Jurong BP Church when I was in secondary 3. Two years later, in profession of my faith in Christ, I was baptised by Rev Philip Heng.
In 1979, I joined my parents and siblings in moving to Calvary Pandan BP Church. Since then, I have been attending the Sunday Worship and Sunset Gospel Hour services, as well as the various fellowship meetings in the last four decades.
After my mum went home to be with the Lord on 28 January 2023, I have been greatly blessed by attending Gethsemane BP Church Sunday Worship, Ladies’ Fellowship meeting, and seminars since July 2023. As such, it is my conviction that the Lord has led me to join Gethsemane BP Church.