The sprouting tree stump

It’s sad to see an established tree fall to the ground. After many years of growth and the weathering of many storms, it finally lies motionless—no longer swaying majestically in the breeze.

It happens to us. With youthful passion and purpose we eagerly strive to touch the sky. We grow strong and resilient, feeling the cool of the earth as our roots reach down to anchor us securely and draw up life.

Maybe you never saw it coming. The chainsaw of someone’s crafty scheme; cutting words you never expected, or the lightning bolt of a devastating event. The cracking sound pierces the stillness. Seconds later, a reverberating thud! Splintered and raw, part of what you were juts up jagged above the ground. 

The weeks turn to months while the trees around keep growing undisturbed. For you it seems like the end—the end of a ministry, a calling, or life as it was. But God saw what happened; and if His purpose for your life had been fulfilled, you’d be in heaven. But you’re not. So God’s plan for your life continues.



It had rained. Shimmering droplets clung to a spider web; others slid to the tips of swaying grass. Nearby, the tree stump was showing signs of new growth. The tree—still rooted deep and unaffected by the external world—was very much alive. Although the new shoots were fragile at first, they were filled with the sap of purpose—the God-designed purpose to reach for the sky.

Job, a character in the Bible, had lost everything. He experienced the loss of all he owned. On the same fateful day, his children were killed. Then he was struck with a horrific skin disease and, instead of comfort, he endured heartless words of his wife and friends. 

Job goes and sits on the ash-heap of despair. His faith clings to the knowledge that there is a God, and that God is good. Yet he grapples with what God has allowed and mistakenly concludes that even a tree stump has a better chance of fulfilling its purpose:

“Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches. Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling.”
Job 14:7 (NLT).

Job, however, couldn’t see into the future, to a time when he too would sprout again and God would restore to him far more than had been taken away (Job 42:12-17).

What is not immediately obvious is that in the process of being cut down externally, Job’s heart was changed—the core of who he was; the part that would never die. (Job 23:10)

You are a tree planted by the life-giving water of the Spirit (Jer. 17:7-8). What happens above the ground is seasonal. What matters in eternity happens below, where your roots of faith remain alive. Storms will strike; drought will come; people will hurt and circumstances will change.

If you are feeling as Job did—that this is the end, trust God! Believe that, like the tree stump, you still have life and purpose because God has placed eternity in your heart (Ecc. 3:11)... and no one can destroy that! In your inner being are the “spiritual chromosomes” of passion, creativity and love; and while there is life, you will sprout new shoots and your heart will once again reach for what is above.

Seeds, weeds and rain

Why is it that in many churches that are growing numerically and seeking to expand their influence, evidence of a radical and lasting transformation in the hearts of people is seldom the norm?

I thought much about this, wondering why a great and constant movement of the Spirit (as seen in the early church) has dwindled in many churches. Is it because life has become more complex and the pace of life more pressured? Perhaps to some extent. Yet the real reason may be that it is the Spirit who brings life (relationship with God) and the Spirit can only work effectively where God’s Word is read, taught, and obeyed.

In the book of Ezra, God’s people who had gone spiritually astray, repented and worshiped when the Scriptures—which had been lost for many years during their exile—were discovered in the temple and read aloud (2 Kings 22:10, Nehemiah 8).

In Acts, the church was born and the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers, as prophesied by Joel. This happened as Peter preached the truth of God’s Word (Acts 2:14-47)


After many centuries—during which the church was in the wilderness of apostasy—the Bible was translated from Latin into the languages of common people. God used Johan Gutenberg, who invented the printing press, to print the first Bible (1455). As Bibles became available to households, it set the foundation for the reformation (rebirth of the church), which subsequently moved from country to country. The Holy Spirit convicted men and women who flocked to hear the Word of God being preached with power.


The Word of God is likened to seed falling on the heart of man (Luke 8:11), and the Holy Spirit is the life-giving water (Isaiah 44:3, John 4:14). When we talk about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the thought of life-giving rain gently falling on the parched earth comes to mind. Rain sustains life, but it matters greatly what (if anything) has been planted. If there is nothing, the water drains away without any lasting benefit. If the field is strewn with weeds, the weeds flourish. But if the soil has been cultivated and seed has been sown, rain ensures a good harvest. God’s Word, together with the Holy Spirit’s work, accomplishes what God intended—for people to know Him, grow in their faith, and produce a harvest of righteousness (Hosea 10:12).

Sadly, what we see happening today is that the striving for human rights has, in certain areas, surpassed its primary intention and is forcing its own secular belief system on the rights and freedom of individuals. This tendency is threatening to erode the church’s foundation of Truth—the key doctrines of scripture. Some churches, in trying to adapt to the culture of equal rights, have allowed popular opinion to dictate what is acceptable and right. 

Other churches don't seem to recognise the power of God's Word and they neglect the systematic (balanced) teaching thereof. God says, “My people are being destroyed because they don't know Me...” Hosea 4:6. The teaching in those churches and Sunday schools often focuses on us—our feelings, our problems, and our interpersonal relationships. Yet the focus should rather be on the holy God we serve. Our love for Him should be our primary reason and motivation for what we do and how we live. Although there is nothing wrong with addressing relevant topics, a lack of sound doctrine will, over time, result in a sparse crop and leave fallow ground where weeds are free to take over.

The Spirit's blessing on those who have compromised their faith, or who do not live by faith, is like drenching rain that causes both wheat and weeds to thrive, and so there is no lasting growth (Luke 8:14). Could this be the reason why the Lord, in His wisdom, holds back the Spirit's deep-soaking blessing on certain churches and ministries?

What should concerned believers be doing? 

  • Firstly, we should be spending time with God—reading His word, praying, and thinking about what He is saying in our hearts.

  • Secondly, we should be passing on the truths of God’s Word to the next generation—not only the moral principles that are acceptable to the world—but God’s life-changing Truth that brings joy to the heart. For it is love for God that makes our hearts rejoice in the Truth and causes us to cling to it (1 Corinthians 13:6). Anything less brings a restless dissatisfaction to our souls.


Friends. We all need a good friend—a close companion with whom we can share a part of ourselves; with whom we can be totally honest and vulnerable and not be judged; to accept us the way we are, yet love us enough not to simply leave us as we are.

Unlike members of our family, we can choose our friends. We connect with someone—whether it be through a common interest, similar temperaments perhaps, or because of something in another that we long for in our own lives—and a bond develops. A bond of trust, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

One would think that Jesus’ intimacy with His Father, together with the closeness of the Holy Spirit, would have been sufficient to satisfy His need for companionship. Yet, even though He spent much time in prayer talking to His Father, Jesus still valued to company and interaction of friends. Although Jesus wasn’t able to choose who He wanted as His family, He was able to choose whom He wanted as His close friends; and within the Gospels, we discover who some of His closest friends were. Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-39); Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:1).

Is it surprising that Peter is willing to defend Jesus with a sword, and that John is the only disciple at the cross, or that Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair? Jesus was the friend of all, yet He spent most of His time with a small group of friends and allowed only a select few into His 'private space' (John 13:23-25).

Build into the life of someone who is special to you. Invest time and emotional energy into that friendship. Too often we are content to get by on shallow relationships—acquaintances—and believe that as long as we have a good spread of friends, there’s no need to get too close and personal with anyone—and that’s safe. But what when our lives fall apart and no one knows us well enough, or cares enough, to see us through the messiness of life? Do we have someone who will be there for us in our darkest hour? Jesus did. He chose Peter, James and John to pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34).

Thank you, Lord, that you have made us to need each other—to need a special friend: the kind of friend that will stick closer even than those in our family (Proverbs 18:24).

Seeing with childlike eyes

To see with the eyes of a child is to see with kingdom eyes. 

The world does not esteem children; value childish reasoning, or stoop down to learn from what Jesus saw in a child. Surely, children are the ones to be taught. What can the world learn from the weak, the immature, the needy? And yet, as reasonable as that view of children seems to be, they are also trusting, carefree, unprejudiced, forgiving, sensitive, hopeful.


Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:3. If we are to take these words seriously, how do we actually become like children?

When Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, he said to them, “Don’t take any money, and no bag filled with extras.” Jesus was teaching them to live simply—like children. Children don’t worry about the future because they trust their parents to provide for them (Matthew 7:9-11). Jesus was teaching the disciples to trust their heavenly Father with complete abandon, with a liberating childlike trust.

The minds of young children are generally preoccupied with the present. They don’t think back to the past, nor do they think way into the future. What happened yesterday soon gets forgotten, and with it, all the baggage: the failures that lead to regret; unforgiveness that leads to bitterness; achievements that lead to pride. Similarly, children don’t worry about what will happen in the future—whether there’s enough food for the family till the end of the month or whether they’ll earn enough to support a family one day. In the same way, our hearts should focus on the opportunities of the present; not worry about the unpredictable scenarios of the future. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Does Jesus mean that we should stop planning and budgeting? Of course not! We need to live wisely. Jesus said, “Do not worry.” This is an issue of the heart—not our intellect.

Across the world, one finds that young children are happy to be who they are and accepting of the conditions in which they grow up. Life is not perfect; families are not perfect, yet children instinctively love their parents and take every day as it comes.

Paul learned the secret of being content, whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12), and the writer of Hebrews tells us to be content with whatever we have (Hebrews 13:5). Our trust in the Lord, and an acceptance of things we cannot change, leads to contentment.

God has made the minds of small children to be like sponges—soaking up everything they hear, without question. Their trusting nature helps them to believe that whatever they are told is true and real. (That is why Jesus gave a stern warning to anyone who would cause one of these little ones to sin - Luke 17:2, because they have abused the unquestioning nature of a child and warped his or her innocence.) As Jesus sends the disciples out, He says to them, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" Matthew 10:16. In other words, don't be gullible and naïve regarding the ways of the world, but remain pure and inncocent as doves. We are to guard our hearts so that we retain the innocence of a child—absorbing truth and rejecting evil (John 16:13-14).

When Jesus said that we should be as little children, He didn’t mean for us to stay immature and helpless. We are to be childlike, not childish (1 Corinthians 13:11). Even as our minds develop and our bodies become strong, our hearts should remain childlike—not molded and slowly hardened by the world. That was the difference between the hearts of the disciples and the hearts of the Pharisees. The disciples’ saw with the eyes of a child and they became trusting, open to the truth and dependent on their heavenly Father. Conversely, the hearts of the Pharisees became hard because they were spiritually blind and their blindness shut out the light of God’s truth (Matthew 6:22-23).

Oh, that people would see with childlike eyes, so that the light that fills them would ceate in them childlike hearts (Luke 11:34).

Live simply. Love deeply.

From time to time it is good to take stock of our lives, and the beginning of the year is probably a good time to do so.


Those who have done hiking will appreciate the value of traveling light. A hiker has two main considerations; space and weight. Hence, everything that goes into the backpack is evaluated against those criteria. As the backpack becomes fuller, and it is obvious that the items scattered around won’t all fit in, the question arises, “Do I really need all of this?”

Prioritizing is the obvious solution. First, the essentials, then the things that are necessary and useful, then the things that would be good to have (just in case).

We would do well to do the same with our cluttered, busy lives. The more we carry, the sooner we become irritable, fatigued and, eventually, worn out.

As we stop, evaluate, and repack our lives, our main criteria will probably be our time and our energy. How much time will we spend on each aspect, and how much energy will be required to accomplish all we intent to do. And so the repacking starts. Job, family, domestic chores, friends, sport, entertainment, studies. And oh, we almost forgot our relationship with the Lord.


I have a plaque on a shelf in my bedroom. It says, “Live simply, love deeply.” It reminds me to travel light through life.

Jesus may not have had ‘Live simply, love deeply’ as His motto, but He certainly lived according to that principle, and taught His disciples to do the same. “Take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff …” he told them as he sent them out.                                         

Live simply. What simplicity means to each person is very different and personal, and each one needs to carry what they themselves have packed into their rucksack of life. However, it may be worth remembering that when we reach the end of our earthly journey and cross the river into eternity, the rucksack stays behind.

After some consideration, the rucksack is finally repacked and bulging with activities, and somehow we have managed to secure the straps so that nothing drops out. Then, as if the going is not going to be tough enough, we look for extra baggage (which we feel entitled to) and strap it on the outside. Unforgiveness, jealousy, regrets, bitterness. We may even clip on a set of self-imposed restrictions and, of course, guilt.

The Pharisees were masters at burdening people with restrictive rules they had made up (Luke 11:46). But Jesus cut right through all their red tape and highlighted just two laws: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27.

Love deeply. Love with all your heart.

Love helps us to travel light. We trade our emotional baggage that weighs us down for the love of Jesus that lifts us up. The love He pours into our hearts helps us to love and accept ourselves, and then love and accept others in the same way.

Remember, the more baggage we insist on carrying, the less space there is for His love. The capacity of the heart is limited, so store in there only what is good (Luke 6:45).

As you take time to repack your rucksack, consider the time you spend on each aspect of your life. Will it make a difference in this life; will it matter in the next? Also, check whether there is emotional baggage that is weighing you down. If so, leave it behind. And then move on, light and free!

A hope that leads to faith


As believers, hope feeds our faith as sap feeds a tree. As it does so, our growing faith confirms that we are rooted in the Lord and trusting Him fully (Colossians 2:6-7).

Without faith in God, our hope becomes wishful thinking at best. The world hangs on to that. People believe that they can change their destiny by positive thought, but their hope has no power beyond that which they themselves can accomplish. By contrast, the hope referred to in the Bible is not a wish for something to happen, it is a trust in God to act.

Yet many believers become disillusioned when God fails to fulfil their expectations within a given time. Some blame God for not acting; others despair because of their lack of faith. Yet we know that the Lord has promised to give us anything... if we ask according to His will (1 John 5:14). There’s the key. The wrong key, or no key, and the door stays locked. So how do we know whether or not we are asking according to the Lord’s will? The answer: we cannot be a hundred percent sure (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9), but we ask as a child asks his father—trusting, believing, hoping.

Hannah wanted a baby. She deeply longed for something that had been denied her for the better part of her life—to have a son of her own. Year after year she would go with her husband to the Temple, as was their custom. It made sense to her to pray in the Temple as, in her mind, that was where the Lord was most likely to hear her heartfelt plea. 

At that stage, her hope—her only hope—was in the God of heaven. Humanly speaking there was no hope. She made her way to the Temple (apparently alone) and whispered a desperate prayer. Up till then, she had received no promise from God and no indication of His plan and purpose for her life—nothing on which to base her faith. In fact, the Lord Himself had caused her to be barren (1 Samuel 1:5-6). Yet the hope within her had not died, and she trusted the God she knew.

After Eli the priest had confronted her and found out the reason she had come, he pronounced a blessing on her. As she went on her way, her anguish and grief turned to joy. She started eating again; her face reflected the new hope that welled up in her heart, and she worshipped the Lord. Her faith (belief in God) strengthened her hope—the hope that had initially fed her faith.

God honored her faith, and at the right time, He answered her prayer. Who knows how things would have turned out for Hannah, had she quietly resigned herself to her fate? How could she have known that as a result of her bold trust in God, she would give birth to a son, one of the greatest prophets of all time?

And she named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."


A woman made her way into the madness of the marketplace. She struggled to walk; yet, undeterred, she pushed her way through the jostling crowd. Finally, as her arm pried a gap through the flowing robes, her fingers touched the garment of the One who could heal her.

She had been to many doctors in the hope of a cure. Not one could help her. Now, after many years, she had no more money to pay them. No money, no cure, no hope. It was the end of the road. Or was it?

A flicker of hope still burned in her heart. She’d heard about Jesus, and there were reports of many who had been healed.

This was her moment!

Jesus stopped. He turned around and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples were confused. In the midst of the tightly packed crowd, how could Jesus tell that someone specific had touched Him?

The woman came forward and fell at Jesus’ feet. Trembling with fear, she told Him the whole truth.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said. “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”


Our hope for God to do something in our lives should lead us to action: perhaps making a point of meeting with God; desperately reaching out to Jesus; praying. That’s when hope becomes faith.

When the Lord leads you to a promise in His Word, and you know that it is His specific word to you, believe that He is able to do that which He promised. That is faith.

When the way forward is unclear and there is no definite promise to hold on to, believe that God is fulfilling His purpose for your life. That is trust.

Whatever happens, don’t give up! For both these women, many years passed before God intervened. God loves us too much to take shortcuts. Paul tells us that our suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Don't give up half way!

If you lose hope, faith has no meaning. The Bible says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews11:1). Spiritual apathy is comfortable, but it strangles the soul; hope is risky, but it honors God.

Never stop hoping. Never stop trusting God to do whatever you ask for! (John 14:13-14). 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13.

Heavenly paperwork


What do we, as Christians, possess in order to validate our claims regarding our spiritual status? Do we have any tangible evidence to show an unbeliever that we are saved?

When we think about it, we only have the faith and hope we carry within us. And even our faith is fragile, at best.

  • We have no spiritual birth certificate to prove our rebirth.
  • We have no signed document stating that we are the legitimate children of our unseen heavenly Father.
  • We don’t have an identity document proving our spiritual identity.
  • We don’t have a passport to confirm that we are citizens of heaven.
  • We don’t have a title deed to the mansion that has been promised us.

Yet by faith we have all of the above. And God has given us, in writing, a copy of the agreement He made with us. It is the Bible.

By faith, you as a believer can personalize each of the terms below under the New Covenant (contract) that God has made with you.

The Birth CertificateRef: 1 Peter 1:23
To ………………….., who received him, and believed in his name, he gave the right to become a child of God; a child born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Adoption papers – Ref: Eph 1:4-5
For he chose you, ………………….., in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined you to be adopted as his son/daughter through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

The Identity Document – Ref: Eph. 1:13 (NLT)
When you, ………………….., believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.

The Passport – Ref: Eph. 2:19
You, ………………….., are no longer a foreigner and an alien, but a fellow citizen with God's people and a member of God's household.

The Title Deed – Ref: John 14:2-3 (KJV)
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, ………………….. .


If, somehow, you had the original copy of these important documents, you would surely keep them locked away in a strong safe or a safety deposit box. But would you really feel comfortable storing those documents of eternal value here on earth?

You have no need to worry about that either! It's all been taken care of. God has secured your name in a heavenly register—the safest place for your name to be recorded. Jesus has made sure of that, and He has stated;
 "I will never blot out ......................’s name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his/her name before my Father and his angels" (Revelation 3:5).

And because your name is in the Book of Life, all the conditions above apply. 

Sowing liberally

You will not find a successful farmer who has a miserly heart. In faith, the farmer literally has to throw his precious seed onto the ground and leave it there. If he is reluctant to part with the seed, he will keep that which he holds in his hand, but it will never become more than that. He has to let it go.


In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells us that some seed fell on the path, some fell on rocky soil, and some fell among weeds. One's immediate thought is that this farmer was a bit careless in sowing his seed. Sometimes we prefer our ministry to be neat and organized—like a vegetable patch, where seeds are spaced evenly and neatly in rows. But this farmer looked past his vegetable patch to the field beyond and saw the potential. Let's face it; ministry can be messy at times. When we go into the world where the hearts of people have become hard from being trampled on, or calloused by a materialistic mindset; where people's lives are cluttered with activities and centered around maintaining their image; where fear and worry threatens to choke the life out of them, we should not be surprised if the seed of truth does not yield a full harvest. Did Jesus have a hundred percent success in His ministry? Think of the rich young ruler who could not be persuaded to follow Him, or the inhabitants of His hometown who would never see the power of God because of their unbelief.

When we sow into God's kingdom, we should put our calculators away and trust God rather than worry about the return on 'our investment.' Paul states; "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." Some seed will fall on good soil. But like the farmer in the parable, sometimes we will get it wrong, sometimes our generosity will be exploited, sometimes we will be disappointed. But if we are overcautious, we are likely to become bored and unfulfilled; for if we don't go out and take risks, we will never be part of those who return with songs of joy as they bring in the harvest (Psalm 126:5-6).

Two thoughts: firstly, we should focus on the ground that the Lord has entrusted to us. Secondly, we should sow whenever the Spirit prompts us. "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" 2 Timothy 4:2. Too often we wait for the 'right time' only to find that the opportunity has passed us by. Instead of hesitating for fear that we get it wrong, the Bible encourages us to sow liberally: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Although the seed refers primarily to the Word of God, the principal holds true for whatever good we sow into God's kingdom; be it a gift, an act of kindness or a word of encouragement. It is all part of preparing the soil—the hearts of those we mingle with every day. When we do things with the good attitude, and we have the right motive—to glorify God, we can confidently leave the results to Him (Mark 4:26-29). And one day, when the harvest is in, we will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" Galatians 6:9.

Whatever is praiseworthy

It is with good reason that Paul says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" Philippians 4:8. Or to put it differently; surround yourself, fill your life, and take pleasure in things that are good. Your mind can only process one thought at a time. When your mind is filled back-to-back with good thoughts, it leaves no room for bad, negative, harmful, thoughts.


In most cases, we can filter what we see and hear by what we allow ourselves to be exposed to. Jesus said, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness" Luke 11:34-35.

The things we see and hear shape our thoughts, and our thoughts determine our attitudes and actions. By thinking of things that are praiseworthy and good, we glorify God through our thoughts and bring peace to our hearts. Why not make a list of a dozen things that you value, are grateful for and enjoy. Then imagine if there were an absence of any one of these things in your life, or if you were to experience the exact opposite.

Here are the things I treasure and appreciate, in no particular order:

  • Close relationships

  • Creativity

  • Laughter

  • Children

  • Music

  • Peace

  • Wide open spaces

  • Spring, and the sound of rain

  • Stillness

  • Colour

  • Love

  • The hope of eternal life

Please use the 'comment tab' below to share the things in life that are special to you.

The flimsy gates of hell


All around us, and perhaps even within our families or workplace, there are those who are held captive in what seems like an impenetrable fortress of darkness. In dismay we ask, "Can someone really rescue him from those binding chains? Who will release her confined spirit and set her free?"

God the Father loves us so much that he sent Jesus to come down and rescue us from the sin that entangles us. And if God's Son sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:34-36).

At the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus summed up what He came to do by quoting from Isaiah 61 (see Luke 4:18-19). He came to 'open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness' (Isaiah 42:7). He came to set us free from selfishness, legalism, addictions, brokenness, despair. Even in death, Jesus demonstrated His power and dominion over the evil strongholds when He broke open the gates of hell and preached to the imprisoned spirits (1 Peter 3:18-19). 


Now, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in us as individuals. And we, as part of His church, are a mighty, advancing force! Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" Matthew 16:18. God the Father remains in control and, by His grace, one person after another is being saved from eternal damnation. "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" Colossians 1:13. And having been set free, Jesus gives us love, joy, purpose, healing and hope.

We should, however, not underestimate what it takes to break down the barriers of the evil one. These gates will not give way to human effort or weak prayer.  

Only Jesus, through His church, and the Holy Spirit's power within us will continue what He started during His earthly ministry; and amazingly, Jesus will use us to accomplish even more. "I tell you the truth," He said, "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father" John 14:12-13. 

When we pray in Jesus' name we pray with the authority He entrusted to us. But we must believe that God is able to answer our prayers and expect that He will (James 1:6). God's power is released through our faith. When we pray we should remind ourselves that no person is so far from God that His grace cannot save him, and there is no situation so hopeless that His power cannot deliver us.


Through our faith in God, our passion for the lost, and armed with the powerful message of the Gospel, the church is a mighty force that will continue advancing and growing as one after another is set free to live for Him.


Heaven and intimacy with God

In Revelation, John—through a vision—gets a glimpse of heaven. He sees twenty-four elders falling down before God in worship and hears a multitude praising Him (Revelation 19:4-6).

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Maybe you imagine yourself at the back in heaven somewhere, lost among the multitude, like someone trying to see a celebrity at a mass gathering. You may ask, "In heaven, will I be able to talk to God as I do now? Will He even know I’m out there somewhere, and will it matter to Him?" 

The problem is that we imagine heaven in an earthly setting and fail to understand how God can be everything to everyone at all times (Ephesians 4:6). God is outside the limitations of time and space, therefore His focus is not restricted to one particular moment or event. 

The Bible assures us that each of us have His undivided, personal attention at all times—now, and in eternity.

  • God took time to form you and make you who you are (Psalm 139:13). He knows you so well that He is aware of every detail of your life (Matthew 10:30).
  • God chose you before the world was created. Then He decided to save you from sin and adopt you into His family (Ephesians 1:3-5).
  • He sent His Spirit to live in you when you believed and safely guards the eternal life He placed within you (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
  • In heaven, Jesus will give you a new name written on a white stone—a pet name known only to Himself and you (Revelation 2:17). 
  • As an overcomer, Jesus gives you the right to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21). If Jesus set aside time to touch and bless one child after another (Mark 10:16), how much more will the Lord spend time with each of His children in heaven, where there is no time.

Mary Magdalene expressed her love for Jesus by clinging to Him after He rose from the dead. But Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father...” (John 20:17). The small word ‘yet’ is significant. It is as though Jesus was saying by implication; do not allow your emotions to hold on to the hope that I will be around in a physical form as before. There will be an eternity for you to show your love for me the way you are now, but for that to happen I must return to my Father. Would Jesus have stopped Mary from expressing her love if, in heaven, she were unable to do so in a personal way?

If, in our sinful state, the Lord has a close, one-on-one relationship with us (Revelation 3:20), how much more personal will that relationship be when we as His perfect children go to live in His homethe place where love lasts forever!

When things don't make sense

There are times in life when the situation we're in makes us wonder why we keep believing as we do. Maybe our world is crumbling around us and the future looks bleak. Someone has hurt us deeply and we are shattered. Or perhaps it's an unfulfilled promise that makes us wonder whether we misunderstood God or whether He changed His mind. The godless and faithless mock our struggling belief with cutting remarks, or deride us silently with their smiles.

Something inside us wants to scream at them, or at God. We are torn by wanting to hold on to our faith and trying to reconcile that with reality, and the truth is that our crisis of faith is not the kind of testimony we'd want to share.

In Psalm 73, the writer is in this precise predicament and pens his thoughts: he arrogant seem to prosper financially; they enjoy physical health, and they don't carry emotional burdens (Psalm 73:3-5).

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One's soul seeks an answer: not so much for a solution to the problem, but rather an explanation as to why God doesn't seem to care that our fragile faith is hanging by a thread.

Maybe Jesus, who knows what it is like to be human, would understand what we're going through. But even He, who is the Answer to all of life's questions, allows a group of disillusioned followers to forsake their trust in Him and walk away. He doesn't even call after them but turns to the remaining disciples and asks whether they want to leave too (John 6:67).

But Peter, in reply, hits the nail on the head. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Later, when Peter faces his crisis of faith, Jesus, who knows what Peter is about to go through, reassures him; "I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." (Luke 22:32).

Deep down we know that even when things don't make sense, that God is in control; that Jesus cares deeply, and that there is a plan. Something inside us holds on to the hope that this is not permanent; that somehow things are going to work out in the end. And that is exactly what the psalmist concludes after he meets with the Lord in the sanctuary. He realises that he was senseless and ignorant. 

Like Peter who asked, "To whom shall we go?" the psalmist asks from deep within, "Whom have I in heaven but you?" He knows the answer: there is no one else.

Although he almost slipped by being deceived (v 2) he acknowledges that his destiny is not dependent on him holding on to God. God is holding on to him. "You hold me by my right hand; you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory."

God will hold on to you too and He will guide you. Remember, for us the best is yet to come.

Till death...


Like an unfinished symphony is the sudden, untimely death of one's life partner. There is no grand finale.

In the hope of finding completeness, one's memory repeats the beautiful music of the life that was. But each time the symphony is played, it ends abruptly as before, and the last chord echos through the silent emptiness. Something inside wants to find the missing pages, but there are no more pages.

All around are reminders of how unpredictable and fragile life is; a list of tasks that remain uncompleted, a pile of unanswered letters, some untried recipes cut from magazines, travel brochures that shaped a dream.

Left behind are reminders that we live in a broken world, an unpredictable world, a world we cannot control.

Yet God, in His grace, gives us perspective, and we remember that the unfinished tasks of this life matter little in eternity. What matters is that the Lord completed His perfect work in the one He took home... and in some way, continues the symphony through our lives.