Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category

Personal

June 3, 2011

Here is a song about how God knows all about each one of us, loves us anyway and desires to have a personal relationship with each one of us.

Personal

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Verse 1
You’re not made of stone
You’re not made of wood no no
You’re not made of cold hard gold
But you are living breathing giving
With the most enormous heart
Dying for me to give me new life

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Verse 2
You are not distant
You are not a million miles away
You are not a lifeless thing
But you are all around me
You’re spirit dwells within my heart
Step by step you lead me in your way

Bridge
You created me in your image
Knit me in my mother’s womb
Made me in a secret place
Wove me in the depths of the earth
So one day I could fellowship with You

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Psalm 139:2,  13-15,  149:4,  Genesis 1:27

(c) Beverley Tang 2004

 

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Rest In Me

March 18, 2011

Are you seeking rest or peace within your soul? Here is a song where Jesus invites you to find rest in Him.

Rest In Me
Matthew 11:28

Verse 1
Are you weary from a burden
Do you find it hard to rest?
Are you chasing time
That keeps running away?
Is it like you’re in a dessert
Searching for a drop to drink?
Crawling to a place
That keeps moving away?

Pre-chorus
Is helping coming near?
A voice then called me loud & clear

Chorus
Come & rest in Me
Like a babe in a manger
Without a concern
In the world
Come & rest in Me
In a place that is peaceful
Where you’ll always find
Rest for your soul

Refrain
Rest in Me Rest in Me
Here you’ll find peace for your soul
Rest in Me Rest in Me
When you do you’ll become whole

Verse 2
Are you climbing up a ladder
Hoping soon to reach the top
Finding you were climbing
The wrong one?
Do you feel you’re on a treadmill
Going nowhere really fast?
Looking for a way
Out of this maze?

Pre-chorus
It may be all futile
Is it really all worthwhile?

Chorus

Bridge
This place of rest
Like a cosy small home
Safe & secure
You are never alone
You’re welcome now
To be a part
For I am gentle
And humble of heart

Verse 3
Do you feel there’s something missing
Deep within your inner soul?
Like a black hole in the universe?
Mister Miracle is waiting
To perform a wondrous act
Turning lives around
Is what He can do

Pre-chorus
If you realise you’re lost
Throw a life line to the cross

Chorus

Refrain

Refrain

(c) Beverley Tang 2003

[ Taken from the album “Transformation”]

Armour – Ephesians 6

March 6, 2011

Here is a song to encourage you when you need to do spiritual warfare:-

Armour
Ephesians 6

Verse 1
We face a struggle everyday
That’s not against flesh and blood
But against rulers, Satan’s authorities
Against the powers of this dark world

Pre-chorus
So put on the armour of God

Chorus I
Stand firm with the belt of truth
That’s buckled around your waist
Stand firm with the breastplate
Of righteousness in place
Feet fitted with the readiness
That comes from the gospel of peace
Stand firm by putting on the
Full armour of God

Verse 2
We also fight the spiritual forces of
Evil in heavenly realms
When the day of evil comes around
Need to be ready to stand firm

Pre-chorus

Chorus II
Stand firm with the shield of faith
To put out the arrows of the evil one
Stand firm with the helmet of salvation
Sword of the Spirit
That is the Word of God
Stand firm and pray in the Spirit
On all occasions

Bridge
The armour of God
Used to fight the forces of evil
The armour of God is ours to declare
To those who are losing the battle

Chorus I & II

© Beverley Tang 2004

You can listen to the song at :- http://www.soundclick.com/bevsnewworld

I’ll Carry You

March 4, 2011

Here is a song that was inspired by the poem “Footprints:. This poem reminds us that at times when we may feel forsaken by all, Jesus is still present to comfort us in our hour of need, so we are never really alone.

Carry You
Isaiah 46: 3-4, Psalm 121:5

Verse 1
When you feel down
And there’s no one around
I’ll carry you
When you’re feeling the pain
And all seems in vain
I’ll carry you
When you feel like the world
Is not on your side
I’ll carry you
When you’re feeling the bruise
Of the wound in your heart
I’ll carry you

Chorus
You are my child
The delight of my heart
The sun will not smite you by day
I’ll carry you
In the warmth of my arms
And the moon
Will not smite you by night

Verse 2
When hurts do arise
And your life flashes by
I’ll carry you
When others are smiling
But you’re crying inside
I’ll carry you
When injustice continues
And seems unresolved
I’ll carry you
When prayers seem unanswered
And nothing makes sense
I’ll carry you

Bridge
I’m here to comfort you
My precious child
You don’t have to hide
Your emotions from me
Like a young lamb
Running back to the shepherd
I’ll protect you
From the dangers you see

Chorus

Chorus

©  Beverley Tang 2004

FOOTPRINTS  (Original Poem)

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.


Carolyn Carty, 1963




Why We Suffer as Christians

September 17, 2010

I recently read an excellent book called “Broken Things – Why We Suffer”. This was a huge encouragement to me since it gives common sense reasons why many of us as Christians often go through great trials and suffering while on this earth. The following is a summary of the reasons stated in this book:-

1. Suffering Silences Satan – when we are willing to go through suffering without abandoning our faith, it proves to Satan that we are not just serving God for what He can do for us, but for who He is. This is demonstrated in the book of Job where Satan accuses Job of worshipping God only for the riches and blessings that God can give him. When Job was then greatly afflicted and all his good fortune was taken away, Job did not curse God, but remained faithful. This was shown in Job’s words “ The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord”. Job 1:21

2. Suffering Enables us to Glorify God – many people have to go through excruciating trials eg. healing from childhood sexual abuse, severe racial injustices, marital abuse, a painful terminal illness etc. Some of these trials may continue for many years. However when God finally delivers us from them, His name can be praised and glorified. Even while we are going through these trials and have not received final or total deliverance, God can still give us the supernatural strength to endure so we are not totally defeated. In this way God is also glorified. This is shown in John 11:5 when after great sorrow at the death of Lazarus, Jesus came to raise him from the dead giving praise to God’s name.

3. Suffering Makes Us More Like Christ – God does not wish to save us just to forgive our sins so we’ll go to heaven. His dual purpose is to also make us more like Christ. As a result we can then reflect God’s glory to the rest of mankind and help make this world a better place. Romans 8:29 says that God’s intention is to conform us to the image of His Son. Often we can only be perfected through trials and suffering. Hebrews 2:10.

4. Suffering Makes Us Appreciative – often when we are in bed with a bad case of the flu, we begin to appreciate the blessing of having good health. While we are healthy we often take it for granted. When things are taken away from us we learn to appreciate them more & thank God for them. Without trials and suffering we may become self centered people who are always wanting more.

5. Suffering Teaches Us To Depend On God – when everything is going fine and rosy we often feel less need for God. We may tend to forget about Him and even survive by relying on our own strength and resources. However when we encounter suffering it compels us to cry out to Him for help. At these times we learn to trust and depend on Him. God desires this because he knows He can provide much better and way beyond what we can do for ourselves. He also wants close fellowship with us on a personal level. In Exodus 14:13 when the Israelites stood before the Red Sea with the Egyptians behind them and the desert and mountains on each side,  Moses said “ Stand firm  and you will see  the salvation the Lord will bring you today”.

6. Suffering Makes Us and Keeps Us Humble -Learning to depend on God requires us to be humble and can be a blow to our pride. God hates pride but exalts the humble. This is why Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh”. 2 Corinthians 12:7. We don’t know what this was. Some think it was a hunchback, speech impediment or a certain illness. However God allowed this so that Paul would remain humble and always acknowledge his need for God’s help.  Paul was a highly educated scholar from good breeding.  Perhaps God knew that Paul needed something to keep him humble.

7. In Suffering We Exercise Faith– In Hebrews 11:1 it says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” While going through suffering – not knowing the outcome and when it will cease, it forces us to exercise our faith in God. This in turn helps our faith to grow. If we knew what will happen in the future & when, then we would not need faith. In learning to exercise faith we are learning to put our trust and security in God and his character rather than the things of this world. A faith that is not tested will never be strong. If you are suffering and asking “Why must I suffer? Why can’t I be like others?” remember God’s words in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

8. Suffering Teaches Us Patience – Have any of you been waiting a very long time for an answer to prayer? Perhaps it is a healing, a loved one to come to Christ or a breakthrough in a certain area? The waiting time in this trial teaches us patience and this is one of the fruits of the spirit – Galatians 5:22. The more time we have to wait the more we will grow in patience. During this waiting time it compels us to seek God’s word for comfort & faith and learn to trust that God knows best for our situation. It also forces us to give up control of our own lives.

9. Suffering Makes Us Sympathetic – ever met people who are hard of heart, unmerciful and even condescending to the poor, marginalized and those going through trials? It may be because they have never had to go through suffering in their own lives to be able to empathize with those who do. There is nothing like a period of trial, to help give us true compassion and empathy for the hurting. Often it is only when we are humbled and broken in spirit from suffering, that we can begin to allow God to open up our hearts to the hurting people around us in society and take some action to help them out.

10. Suffering Teaches Us To Pray – only when we go through great suffering do we learn to pray with earnest from the depths of our soul and spirit – often because there is nothing left that we can do. In doing so we learn to commune with the heart of God and foster a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.

11. Suffering Brings Rewards – De Haan states that there is a “special crown, a special reward for those who suffer patiently for Him”. In 2 Timothy 2:12 Paul says that “ If we suffer we will also reign with Him”. This helps to make more sense of some of the deepest suffering that some Christians have to face. It also helps to bring a sense of justice into our lives here on earth”.

Conclusion

The above are the main points that DeHaan describes as to “Why We Suffer” as Christian believers. He also talks about the need for brokenness in our lives to be fully used by God for his purposes and gives more encouragement for those who suffer, throughout the book.

If you would like to obtain a copy of this thin paperback – “Broken Things – Why We Suffer” you can contact:-

Email : australia@rbc.org OR

Address: RBC Ministries South Pacific Ltd
PO Box 393
GLEN WAVERLY VIC 3150

The book is free or you can make a donation.

NB. The author M R DeHaan founded “Radio Bible Class”, now RBC Ministries who produce the free “Our Daily Bread” devotional booklets. They also publish other books teaching materials and online Christian courses.

Unemployment Encouragement

September 8, 2010

The following is an article from the Billy Graham Website offering encouragement & wisdom for those who are looking for work.  It offers some sound wisdom and advice to help those who are in this difficult situation.

http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=3951&BA=2080&QR=116

Catholic & Protestant Beliefs

March 27, 2010

The Catholic Church has done a great deal of good works over the centuries and can be proud of this tradition. The life time work of Mother Theresa is a prime example. Many Catholic believers exude more love, mercy and care at times than the average protestant believer.

A big difference from Catholic believers, is that many Protestants base their faith primarily on the Word of God first and foremost, rather than just their own experience. Hence many Protestants object to man made laws & traditions which are added to the word of God. This can be a great hindrance for Protestants to fully unite with Catholics in an official way.

Some of the man made beliefs and traditions created by the Catholic Church are:-

1. Celibacy of priests as a requirement of service – this is becoming more of a problem because it can be contributing to more cases of sexual abuse of young children and women by Catholic priests. Also this rule may be causing the decline of young men entering the priesthood. In 1 Corinthians 7: 1-7 the apostle Paul encourages believers to stay single if they have the gift of celibacy, but states that this is not a command or rule of law. (see verse 6). Instead he gives the believers the option to marry if they wish. Making the rule of celibacy into a law, is becoming legalistic and causing problems in the church. The continual reported cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, can be giving the Christian faith a bad name deterring people from accepting Jesus as their saviour altogether.

Here is a brief story about a a girl called Emma who was sexually abused by her parish priest. It is taken from the ASCA website (Adults Surviving Child Abuse). See:- http://www.asca.org.au/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=71
Emma Foster, a young ASCA member died early in 2008, as a result of the impact of child abuse. She and her sister, Katie had been abused by their parish priest. Emma struggled for years to deal with the repercussions of her abuse, battling anorexia, depression, self-harm and drug abuse. She died in her bedroom, alone at the age of 26, as the result of an overdose of medication. Her sister, Katie had already received a life sentence. Struck down by a car while intoxicated from the alcohol she was using to numb her pain, Katie was left severely physically and intellectually disabled, and requires 24 hour care. Anthony and Christine Foster, the parents of Emma, Katie and a third sister, Aimee continue to tell their story in the hope that other families will not have to deal with the tragic impact of childhood trauma.

2. Transubstantiation – is a man made interpretation of the sacraments which is not supported by the word of God.

3. Real Wine or Alcohol: The use of real wine or alcohol in communion may have partly led to some priests becoming addicted to alcohol. To overcome such a temptation the wine could be replaced with a non alcoholic substitute

4. Extra Bible Books: The extra books added to the officially canonised bible contravenes God’s command in Revelations 22:18 –19 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book”.

5. Pope as the Head: The bible clearly states that Jesus is to be the Head of the church ie the body of Christ, see Colossians 1:18, and that God’s word the Bible is to be the guide book for Christian living. Hence many protestant believers object to the idea of a human person ie the pope being the supreme authority over the Catholic Church, who is able to dictate the rules. For instance they have been given the authority to institute additional man made laws which are not found in the bible, for their congregations to follow. Examples of these man made laws are the celibacy of priests and a ban on contraception for married couples.

This is stated with all due respect to the current pope and all the popes who have gone before him. The pope seems to be a very godly man to be chosen for his present role. Even so, God’s word clearly states in Romans 3:23 –“ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Even the apostle Paul in the New Testament, as godly a man as he was, in pioneering the early church against great suffering and persecution, admits to his followers in Romans 7: 18-20 –“ I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do, no the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Hence to blatantly install a mere human being to be the head of the church instead of the true supreme and ultimate authority of Jesus, is asking for trouble. In actual fact the believer will find that the closer they get to God, the more sinful they will find they are, as God reveals the things in our hearts which can be hidden. We then find the need to receive more and more of God’s mercy each day. In Luke 19b Jesus says “ No one is good – except God alone”.

To install a human being to become the revered head of the church is a bit like the Israelites during the period of 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the Old Testament. The people found it hard to trust in a God that they could not see with their own eyes. Hence, they demanded the judges to give them a human king that they could look to. Finally God gave in to their demands and stubbornness and installed a human king ie Saul. However to have a human being as the head turned out to be a huge disaster, since this can never be compared to allowing the Holy and Almighty Yahweh himself to be their rightful Father, Head and guide.

6. Contraception Ban: banning contraception is not really a strict rule in the bible.

7. Praying to Saints : is also not considered a biblical principal to protestants. It is elevating a human person to what only the Holy Spirit can do for us ie. intercede for us on our behalf to God.

8. Lack of Evangelism: For centuries Jesus’ mandate for evangelism in Matthew 28:19-20 has been ignored by a large portion of the Catholic Church. However it has always been taken up by the Protestant faith which is probably why protestant churches are called “Evangelical”. Jesus’ command for the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 must have been very important since it is the last thing that Jesus commanded his disciples before he left the earth in the Ascension.

9. Pergatory: is not an official place which is present in God’s word. It was devised by a Catholic believer who had a creative imagination, who was stretching the interpretation of a very minor point in the bible.

10. Baptism of Babies: many Catholics believe that the baptism of a baby helps that baby to become saved, later as an adult. However this contradicts bible teaching. Jesus states clearly in John 3:16 that those who make a conscious decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ – in his death and resurrection – will be saved. A baby is not of age to understand the concept of salvation & hence cannot do this. If it dies as a baby, it will automatically go to heaven without any baptism. The baptism of a baby is really a commitment by the parents to promise to bring the child up in a godly manner. After this is done, it is then up to the baby who grows into adulthood to make a decision whether to believe in Jesus or not, which will determine his or her salvation. One cannot rely on the fact that a baby was baptised as a child to ensure that they have received salvation and are going to heaven.

These are just some reasons why many hard lined bible believing Protestants may never fully unite with Catholic believers in an ecumenical sense, even though they would still show kindness and love to them.

Some of these man made laws such as the mandate of celibacy for priests or the ban on contraception for married couples, can be creating a heavier burden of law on everyday parishioners which they were never meant to bear. This is similar to what the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. They wanted to create additional laws perhaps to exercise more power and control over the people. This can then make the Christian faith a legalistic set of rules enforced by human leaders, instead of the joy and freedom that it is meant to be in Christ.

Perhaps more people should write to Cardinal Pell and the Vatican to revoke many of these man made traditions and laws, since these were instituted by man, and not God. However it is imperative that any steps towards reform be done in a loving and compassionate manner and not carried out with any hint of self righteous ambivalence or pride. Otherwise the result will just be even more disunity and infighting within the Christian faith, resulting in bitterness, resentment and anger. Such an outcome can never help to further the gospel in any way, or be a witness to the unsaved world.

It can also be said, that any godly reform must come from within the Catholic Church itself, not from outside. This is so, because if protestant believers were to write letters for reform, this would probably be construed as divisive and self righteous behaviour. However if Catholic members themselves see the need for reform, there is a greater likelihood of change occurring, especially if it is in accord with the principals of God’s Word. After all it is the Bible which should be the true authority for our Christian lives and the Church not an imperfect human being.

In stating the need for reform of many of the principals and doctrines of the Catholic Church, this does not mean that many Catholic believers do not experience a real and life changing relationship with God through Jesus. This is so, because despite the presence of some faulty doctrine, God can still intervene, if the Catholic believer is genuinely searching and seeking the Lord with all their heart , soul and mind. There is clear evidence of this from the transformation of many lives through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Since this movement has led to a whole transformation of a great proportion of the Catholic Church, there is no reason why reform in essential areas of doctrine is not possible as well.

To some ecumenical believers, some differences in doctrine may not seem important. Some Christians may also believe that one’s own Christian experience is more important than issues of doctrine which may appear legalistic. However it can be said that both areas are equally important. In fact I believe that correct doctrine is the basis or foundation of the Christian faith from which all Christian experience must spring from. Even though doctrine to some may seem like the more lifeless or boring part of the faith, it is still the foundation on what Christianity is built on. Hence if there are holes in that foundation, it can still effect the quality of our Christian experience, especially if some of those doctrines contradict the Word of God.

Ignorance of doctrines, (that seem to contradict God’s Word), covered by good intentions, I believe can still prevent one from experiencing the negative effects of this lack of knowledge. For instance, a person may be totally unaware that he has hidden sin in his heart. Until he discovers this for himself, he will continue to suffer the consequences of that hidden sin, that he is totally unaware of. Ignorance of it does not absolve him of it’s negative effects.

I hope that this discussion will help to provoke the minds of Catholic believers, to pray about some of these issues before God, to see if there are any areas in the church that may need reform so that they can experience more of the fullness of God, according to His word. I hope it will also compel Catholic believers into action as well.

Urgent Prayer Request

March 5, 2010

The following is an urgent prayer request I received from my friend:-

Please pray for churches in India. Buddhist extremists in India burned down 20 churches last night.

Tonight they plan to destroy 200 churches in the province of Olisabang.

> > They plan to kill 200 missionaries within 24 hours.
> >
> > Right now all Christians are hiding in villages.
> >
> > Please pray for them and send this mail to Christians you know.
> >
> > Please ask God to have mercy on our brothers and sisters in
> > India.

Thanks

Father Des Reid

January 9, 2010

I watched a very inspiring interview about  the Catholic Priest “Father Des Reid” on Andrew Denton’s program “Eldars”.

It discusses his first calling to the ministry, the unexpected surprises in his career and also his sufferings,  but how all of these events were used in a mighty way in God’s plan and for God’s kingdom.

Your faith will be truly inspired by this account.

Here is the link to the transcript of the interveiw:-
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s2307982.htm

Video Excerpt
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/video/default.htm?program=enoughrope&pres=20080721&story=1

The Christ Bell – His Christmas Gift to You

December 20, 2009