Thoughts on doomsday and faith

9gag Singapore made a meme of our last week on earth. I heard of people taking leave on 21 Dec 2012 because they do not want to spend their last day in the office at work. Despite the big brouhaha about doomsday on 21 Dec 2012, I am unfazed (shall not elaborate why cos the Bible already told us about the end of days in Matthew 24:36-37) but it gives us a good reason to reflect. Now, what if, let’s just say, what if, our last day on earth were on 21 Dec 2012?

Interestingly, about three weeks back, I read an old sermon by Pastor John Piper in 1980, entitled “I Have Kept the Faith”. He started off by sharing a small anecdote on how he would go through this “rehearsal” at 2359 hrs on the last day of year 1980, imagining it to be the last hour of his life. Piper would ask himself, “Did I live it well? Will Jesus Christ, the righteous judge, say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant'”?

Despite the disbelief I have of 21 December 2012 being the last day on earth, I feel that the hoohaa about doomsday has also brought the stark reality of death into our busy schedules. It made us stop to think, to number our days (Psalm 90:12) and consider the fact that we would all eventually die. Knowing that we will eventually die compels us to think whether we had led a fulfilling, successful life.

If 21 December were the last day on earth, how do we measure the success of our lives lived thus far? Pastor Piper tells us that we should use the same one that the apostle Paul used at the end of his life –

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, NIV).

Here in this post, I sum up the points of Pastor Piper’s sermon on what it means to fight, race and keep the faith.

Firstly, we must know what it means to “keep the faith”. Faith not in anything or anyone but on God and His promises. When we say we trust someone, we trust them based on what they say – their word. In the same way, having faith in God means trusting God based on His word, based on His integrity and power. However, as the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, it is a fight in keeping the faith. Trusting the word of God is often difficult as there is an “old tendency to trust ourselves, to lean on our own understanding, and to seek our own glory”.

The second thing implied in the image of fight and race is endurance. In a marathon, the winning champion is one who endures the gruelling roads and completes it. In other words, keeping our faith is a life-long task and requires perseverance till the end. The promis in 2 Timothy 2:12 is that, “If we endure, we shall also reign with him.” and receive “the  crown of righteousness” (2 Tim 4:8).

The last thing implied in the image of a fight is that there must be two opposing sides. Our opponent wants to defeat us and we must resist them. So, who are our “enemies of faith”? Through the Bible, Pastor Piper explains and identifies the two main ones: 1) Our own proud nature (inference from Romans 8:13) and 2) Satan aka the Devil (Ephesians 6:12, 13)

Though the fight and race seems like a struggle and daunting, God has given us two great “weapons” – namely, the Spirit of God and the Word of God, to resist these two enemies. I quote Pastor Piper:

“We have two great weapons with which to resist and assail the enemies of old self and old Satan: the Spirit of God and the Word of God. And these always fight together, for the Spirit uses the Word to do his mighty work. Paul says in Ephesians 6:17, “The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.” The Spirit wields the Word. The fight of faith is fought with the Word of God. Happy is the man who has a promise of God ready to counter every satanic suggestion that life would be better if we stopped trusting Christ. What an armory we have in the Scriptures.”

In Pastor’s Piper conclusion, he said there are three possible answers you might have when asked whether you have fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith as the year draws to an end.

1. “I fought no fight because I felt no great desire to follow Christ’s counsel and trust his promises. Satan and my own flesh got no resistance from me.”

2. “I felt some desire to trust Christ and go his way, but whenever a conflict arose, I was defeated every time. I really didn’t fight a very good fight.”

3. “Praise God, it was a hard but glorious year. The Word of God came alive for me and helped time and time again to overcome temptation and hold to Christ. It wasn’t always easy, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

No matter which answers you may have at this moment, as Pastor Piper mentioned, we still have the new year to begin anew.

“… (Y)ou can enter it and finish as a victorious fighter if you will declare yourself from your heart as one who now renounces Satan’s power and self-reliance and who trusts Jesus Christ for all his word.” – Pastor John Piper (1980)

Looking forward to a glorious 2013. And thank you, fake-doomsday-on-21-Dec-2012 for helping me to reflect 😛

For the full article, please visit: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/i-have-kept-the-faith

Walking the narrow path

In every Christian’s walk of life, we often are brought to the imagery of the broad and narrow paths. Of course, as a good Christian, we say we will choose the narrow path for we know that “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction… But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

I am not sure about some of you but as I think about it – choosing the narrow path isn’t easy at all. It means turning your other cheek, reconciliations, letting go of your desire to control, forgiveness, accepting less-than-lovable colleagues, being persistently patient with depressed family members…

I often hesitate in my response to walking the narrow path… To be honest, it is not a happy choice to make. However, using the article in Our Daily Journey, God assured me that yes, the narrow path may initially look constricting but eventually, with the Lord’s presence and by His grace, I can shed my burdens (1 Peter 5:7) and travel light… into eternal life.

The narrow path may be daunting but because of God and the promise of grace, mercy and strength, we will be fearless to walk it.

Bachelorette’s Party x Part 2

I know this is sooooo long overdue but yes, here’s my post on my second bachelorette’s party spent with Char, Pris and Yue just one week before my wedding. We booked a room at Amara Sanctuary Resort and decided to play tourists for the day at Sentosa.

Coincidentally, all four of us were wearing white tops! How apt for a bachelorette’s day-out

Going up the hill to check in to Amara Sanctuary Resort and photo-ready Prisci poses on.

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Got photobombed by the lady in red zzzzz.

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Yoga on the beach

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Yea, we played Monopoly Deal and Taboo till late in the night

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Blueberry pavlova with lemon-thyme ice-cream

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My breakfast – pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup! at the foreground are truffle fries!

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For the last few pictures you see here, they were taken at Tanjong Beach Club where we enjoyed brunch the next day after our one night stay.By the way, the blueberry pavlova paired with lemon-thyme ice cream was divine. It was an almost-perfect balance between the sweet pavlova and the slightly tangy lemon-thyme ice cream. Their truffle fries? Worth the calories!