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The Lord is My Friend

A commencement speaker said, “About ten years from now, two things will influence you the most: the books you read and the friends you make.” He added, “Choose them both very carefully!”

Friendship has many faces. On Facebook, you can 'friend and unfriend people', that you can turn on and off like a faucet. The fair weather friends will remain so long as the weather is fair. There are friends in passing like the mailman or dry cleaner. We have a bond of trust with these people and we need these friends.

The winning definition in a magazine survey says, "a friend is someoen who comes in when the whole world has gone out". A true friend believes in you, when you cease to believe in yourself and is a source of celebration when you feel that there is nothing to celebrate. Loving friends want to give more than to receive. You can give without love but you cannot love without giving.

Jesus called his disciples 'friends' even when He knew that one would betra…
Recent posts

A Gift Nobody Wants

Nobody likes pain. The nature of human condition is to avoid pain and distance ourselves from it. Stanley Stein, the author of a book by name "Alone No longer" says that for him, physical pain is a 'gift' that he wanted badly. Due to lack of pain, his body started to die part by part. He calls it, "painless hell".

Generally, pain does not dampen life. More than anything, it frees us to enjoy normalcy in this life. Without it, we would lead unbalanced, paranoid lives, encountering unknown dangers, never confident that we weren't destroying ourselves. Pain is the great inhibitor which help us getting in danger. Pain can be a good teacher, if we try to learn from it.

Pain is also a great equalizer that makes us all brothers and sisters in a very special way. One of the reasons I love reading the Bible is how it explains the concept of pain. Unlike other books, The Bible teaches us to embrace suffering with joy if it comes. It simply gives the assura…

Happiness: A surprising bonus of life

One of the major online retailer's internal slogan says, "Work Hard. Make History. Have Fun." Working hard is a culture they encourage in the company, and they constantly make history. They revolutionized the shopping habits of people. The company owner says, "we have processes in place to make everyone productive and then we will make history. But having fun is a personal choice you make. Nobody can make you happy".

Philip Yancey in one of his books says, "Happiness is a by-product, a surprising bonus of life". In fact, making happiness your goal in life may cause you to be one of the most selfish people around. You become self-centered as you continually consider how you can make yourself happier.

It seems that most of our struggles to be happy revolve around wanting something we don’t have or having something we don’t want. Yes, happiness evades precision and recedes from those who pursue her. It is your response to life's situations tha…

Out of the mouth of babies

Little 4 year old Jane was heard praying like this: "Dear God, Instead of letting people die, and having to make new ones, why don't you just keep the ones you got now"? Whether they are asking the tough questions about life or having a chat with God, the simplicity of children's love and trust is soothing to us.

David says in Psalm 8 that out of the mouth of babies comes the revelation of God's majesty and human dignity. Everything in this universe requires something to cause or continue or sustain it. But God does not require a cause like any other because He has no needs outside of Himself. David says that it is “from the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have established strength” (Psalm 8:2)! John Calvin said that the process of the conception and birth of an infant displays God’s splendor so clearly that a nursing infant brings the greatness of God showed in the dignity of his creation, a baby.

Although man is small in size compared to God's v…

Where is God when it hurts?

A man looked agitated during Sunday School. When he got out and and started pacing up and down the hallway, a friend asked him, “What’s the trouble?”. He replied, “The trouble is, I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.” It is not uncommon to feel like God is taking a long time or not even paying attention.

Silence of God can be scary and frustrating for a believer. David wrote a number of Psalms including Psalm 13 when 'God seemed to be distant in his life. We can see Asaph in Psalm 79 and Elihu in the book of Job asking similar questions.

Most of us believe that where God is, there is no misery. We think that all is well when we have faith. But Jesus came to this world to turn that around when He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst and mourn". As believers in Christ, we can rest assured that ‘Where there is misery, there is God’. Jesus voluntarily embraced misery in order to share ours. A great author puts it like this, "Where misery is, there is the Messia…

Seed is powerful

The Seed is the Word

The National Geographic News reports about a tree named "Methuselah" that was sprouted out of a 2,000-year-old seed. Pictures are posted on their website, news.nationalgeographic.com. A seed is full of life, power and potential. The power of plant life is in the seed. In the right environment, a seed will germinate. Your physical senses are incapable of judging whether a seed is alive or not. As a seed begins to grow, it will push up dirt, rocks, or other the obstacles in its way as it grows to a huge tree.

Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). "The seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11) that will sprout and produce fruits at the right time, at the situation we are in. God’s Word become the comfort of our souls at times of distress, as well as the healing balm when we are sick. People read it in joyful times and sad times, in sickness and in wellness, in peace and in the warfront.

Flowe…

Eyes on the Prize

You may have heard the story of the hare and tortoise. The race starts, the hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, takes a nap midway through the race. When the hare awakes however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him.

Running a good race requires focus, physical exertion, and perseverance. From start to finish, you lay all distractions aside, and remain focused on one thing – moving forward and finishing the race. You don’t look back, you don’t turn around, and most important of all, you don’t quit.

You cannot drive a car safely by constantly looking at the rear view mirror. Rearview mirrors of life may distract you with the failures of the past. Looking back can cost you valuable opportunity ahead. Learn to forgive yourself and free from the burden of guilt. Forgive others as God has forgiven you and lighten your load. Align your goals with God’s goal for your life and reach forward and grasp hold of God’s w…

God's Strange Sweet Surprises

‘Surprise’ is defined by dictionaries as an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing. Only humans have surprises. We are limited by time and space. God is not limited and does not have unexpected events, fact or thing. He is the author of all things and controls all events. In Genesis 18, we see old man Abraham, 99 years of age, sitting tired and sleepy at the entrance to his tent. Two strangers show up and tell him, "about this time next year, Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen. 18:10). Sarah who was about 90 years old heard that and tried to stifle her reaction to laugh. She has heard that story before; for the last twenty-four years, to be exact. God promised Abram that he woul become the father of many nations. A lot of events and places have passed by in their journey. Now they are old and tired and with hurt emotions. Then the hurt turned to anger, and the anger to cold resignation. Well, funny! “Sarah laughed to herself" (Genesis 18:12).

Life teaches us th…

The Ugly child Economics

The Bible is a book that is brutally honest and unsentimentally realistic. We can read about the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the characters. We read about Abraham's strong faith, but also his weakness when lies about Sarah being his sister. We read about David's successes, but we cannot ignore the sins he committed including murder. We read about Jacob who seemed to delight in trickery and deceit to achieve success until he meets Laban. The one who cheated his own father now gets cheated by his father-in-law; not once, not twice, but ten times!!! (Gen 31:7). Jacob and Laban are portrayed as two shrewd business men in the story. Jacob negotiated seven years for Rachel, but ended up working for Laban fourteen years and ended up with two wives which was nowhere in in his business plan.

Laban used the 'ugly child hostage' economics here. He thought that chances of Leah getting married was slim, may due to her 'cross or weak' eyes. So he used the princ…

Glad tidings in sad times

Trust in times of Trouble

"Though the waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake, there is a river" Psalm 46:3

Whatever problems rage against us, God’s Spirit is the ever-flowing river who sustains us and gives us gladness even while we’re under siege (Ps. 46:4). God is our refuge and resource in times of trouble. His river of grace and peace flows through the middle of the city.

When future looks bleak and surroundings look dry and barren, God is our source of comfort. A crisis does not make a person; a crisis reveals a person. In a time of trial, you turn to what you trust. An alcoholic turns to the bottle. An addict turns to drugs. A atheist turns to the wise men. A Christian should turn to the Lord. When trouble strikes, He is sufficient to get you through. God's promise to His people is the peace that flows like a river in the midst of turmoil. "I will extend peace like a river". (Isaiah 66:12)

Fulll sermon audio: Mathew Philip
Blessin…

God was there; I didn't know it

Jacob awoke from his sleep with the sudden recognition "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it" (Genesis 28: 16)

Jacob ran from home, leaving the security of parents and friends. The security of the son has been replaced by the dangers of the night. The comfort of his parents’ tent has been replaced by the wide open desert. Behind him lays Beersheba, where Esau waits to kill him. It was night when Jacob found a place to lie down and sleep. The setting of the sun, with the loss of its light and warmth, signifies the loss of energy of faith from life as he lingered in self-centered ideas and plans. It relates to me personally. I dont know about you. The self centerd nature of our own self casts its dark shadow over our life and we fall into a deep spiritual sleep. But in that depression, comes a heavenly dream. He saw in his dream of a ladder going up to heaven. He saw angels climbing up and down the ladder between earth and heaven.

God brings heaven dow…

Is the Lord among us or not?

Moses called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?" Exodus 17:7

How many places can we call Massah and Meribah in the world today? Quarrels and fights are common in our society, as well as around the world today. People unite to fight and protest. Most often, sincere intended people get misled by selfish and misguided leadership and the movements end up with with no vision. We see rallies of frustrations end up in violence and shooting. Protests have pervaded into our sports and entertainment as an acceptable event during the games. Churches and places of worship have historically been used to guard agendas and narrow interests. Where is God in the midst of all of this? Just like Moses, we may ask “is the Lord among us or not?”

We remember that a chapter before this in Exodus 14, the people were threatened by water in the read sea. They cried out and God led them through dry land in t…

Puzzle pieces or work of art?

Is life a puzzle or work of art? Life can look like a puzzle. Some get the prizes they expected, and some get suprised at what they get. What is the most exciting time in the process of solving a puzzle? the beginning? or as we get each piece? or is it at the end when all pieces are complete? Regardless of what excites you, the potential beauty that it can become is rewarding. When we first open the box, the puzzle looks nothing like the picture on the outside; it is simply jumbled pieces in a bag.

If life is compared to a puzzle, it may be a simple puzzle with a hundred different pieces, or it may be a more complicated thousand-piece puzzle with a picture that’s rather tricky to put together. There may be unpleasant and uncomfortable pieces in life that you feel like not fitting in well. You have been able to put together everything well for years, and all of a sudden find yourself confused as to how to fit in the next event. But whatever the size of the challenge, those events can …

Raging Waters

"Faith rests on a firmer basis, and is not to be moved by swelling seas" (Charles Spurgeon). In Psalm 124 David sings “if the Lord had not been on our side the flood would have engulfed us,the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.” A mother got paid to nurse and care for her own son. Jochebed, the mother of Moses was the lucky woman to make history (Exodus 2). Her story is a message of a heartbroken woman who turned over her dreams to God. You may have desired a happy marriage, a successful career, developing their talent, or some other worthwhile goal, yet circumstances prevented it. We can only get through that kind of disappointment by turning it over to God. Whenever I passed through raging waters my Redeemer had been with me, sheltering me against the rising tide (Isa. 43:2, Psal 124). When I came out on the other side, which I always did, I was able to say with joy and confidence, “He is a faithful God!” Are you in the middl…

Song of the saints

All saints lived in history had sung songs - Moses and Miriam, Job and David, Jesus and disciples, Paul and Silas, Fanny Crosby and John and Charles Wesley, and many many others. Their songs  celebrate God's miraculous deliverance from sin to a joyful life of peace and joy in eternity. They all sang about a hopeful future that will be in the presence of God where all saints will sing together the song of the lamb. One of the many songs in Revelation is found in chapter 15, what is called “The Song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.” It’s sung by the great multitude of believers who were victorious and standing by the sea, and they’re holding harps. They’re not standing at the Red Sea, but at the crystal sea.


Full sermon: Mathew Philip

Blessings

Mathew Philip

Song in the night

"It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by" Charles Spurgeon.

We all go through difficulties and hardships: illness, broken relationships, loss of loved ones, conflicts, stress, and many other challenges. Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed and discouraged. But as Christians, we can go through these dark times like the saints of old, who sang in the darkness of their lives. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we can live with the assurance that the best is yet to come. We can look forward to an eternal life of joy and peace with our Lord and Savior.
Asaph, the song writer sings in Psalm 77, "in the time of trouble, I remembered my song in the night".  To brood on sorrow is to be broken and disheartened. We can see the light of God's hope in the songs we sing in the dark.


Full sermon: Mathew Philip
Blessings

Mathew Philip