Monday, February 22, 2010


“Hi Bro! How are you doing?” John asks with a heavy heart

“Not…not great…John…please help me!” James pleads softly, crying.

“I wish I could. It’s….it’s just beyond me, bro!” the elder brother wipes a tear from his eyes.

“I should have listen to dad…ohh…why?!” James sobs.

Some time ago….

John hugged and kissed his wife goodbye before he sent his twin boys to school as part of his usual routine. He felt a hug every morning would help their relationship go stronger. In fact, it was his dad who gave him the inspiration, how he loved his wife with such dedication.

John, a successful businessman was honest and reliable. Although being stern when in work, he was amiable to all his staffs. His dad had taught him and his brother, James, all about honesty. “Honesty is not only the best policy in life but it is long lasting. You guys may not feel the effects for the short term but it will establish your good name to last you a life time,” his dad would pull his two boys aside every weekend for counsel. While John took to heart every wise word of his dad, James had other plans. Once in a while, John could hear arguments between James and their father.

“James, please listen. It is not good to go against the principle of goodwill between friends. Money isn’t everything you know?” his father pleaded.

“Dad, you don’t know! They were once my friends but now, we are competitors,” James answered, raising his voice.

“Yah, I know. But you don’t have to put them out of business to promote yourself!”

“Okay, dad. Your generation is different. You won’t understand today’s business environment.”

“But the principles don’t change!” the old man walked off, avoiding further exchanges!

James was a used-car dealer. Jackie, once his best friend, started the business with him and their sales soared, business was booming. Due to some misunderstanding between them, they parted company. Jackie then started his own business, some staff from the previous company followed him. They couldn’t stand James’ temperamental outbursts, considered him a hard taskmaster. James would not take his dad’s advice to always 'look after the people who look after your business'.

Soon, Jackie’s business prospered while James’ dwindled. During those difficult times, he was filled with anxieties and that affected his family life deeply. He would come home and took out on his wife and his children. Scheming and cursing were part and parcel of his routine life. One day, his wife left a note of separation, leaving him angry and empty. John and his dad would try to knock some sense into his head but their words fell onto deaf ears. James would shut them off with tons of excuses. Once he even told them to stop meddling into his affairs. John had to console his heartbroken father. All the years of raising the kids, all the coaching and counselling, yet he just couldn’t figure out what had become of the younger son.

The darkest day came when he was arrested for buying and selling stolen vehicles. He couldn’t stand being over-shadowed by his one-time friend, Jackie and went out to prove himself regardless. That day, the cops came for him. While walking handcuffed to the patrol car, words from his dad came flashing back, “Whether you are poor or rich, walk everywhere with your head held high.” He lowered his head and wept bitterly.

“Okay. 244765, Time’s up!” the officer shouts from across the room.

As he is being led away into his cell, John feels heart sick for his brother but thanks his late father that at least one of his boys can walk with his head held high.

The parable of the wise and foolish builders is found in two gospels, Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:47-49.

There are few thoughts which are secondary to this teaching of Jesus such as the inevitability of storm or flood coming to our lives on earth or even how the houses are built. The sole wisdom from this parable is of course putting into practice the spoken words of Jesus (Particularly in Matthew's gospel). In the gospel of Luke, Jesus was even more direct when he decried those who called Him ‘Lord’ and not do what He said. Someone said, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”.

The message of this parable: Either you do what Jesus says or you drown. Woa…wait you say. Why so harsh? When Jesus came to earth, He did not come to play games. He loves us so much and will not stand idle to see our lives waste away by building houses on sinking sand. Anyway, the choice is still with us. You can either abide or ignore the warning of traffic lights or danger signs in life. You can even say to your own peril, “God’s Word, the Bible is not relevant anymore, the world has changed.”

The twelve spies who went into the promise land, ten felt like grasshoppers but two, Joshua and Caleb were excited and ready to rumble. The ten and the rest of the older generation built their houses on desert sand and died for nothing. Joshua, Caleb and the younger generation built their houses on solid ground, remained unshaken in the land amidst much opposition!

Some Jews who are against the teachings of Jesus must have felt uneasy when He teaches this parable. These will go away unmoved, unchanged and even whisper amongst themselves, “It is irrelevant to us!” To those who heed the teaching of the parable, they build their lives to last! Even for some who had passed on, they continue to remain influential to the world.

Sometimes one wonders, two persons coming from the same church, one folds his arms for twenty years, doing nothing while the other, he wants to serve God full time after just two years. The same sermon, one goes away untouched while the other readies himself to serve! Just like in the story above, two brothers hearing and seeing the same values from the same father, James goes astray while John remains steadfast!

The message of this parable: Either you do what Jesus says or you drown. Apart from Christ, everything will eventually fall apart!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


During the biblical days in the ancient Middle East, stories are considered crucial in education where largely illiterate people dwell in small villages and scanty towns. Stories and sometimes myths are being bandied about, orally and meticulously, passed down from generation to generation. Credibility is often the vital connector to these narratives whether they can be verified or not. Therefore history will judge these stories as they are being written down by scores of compilers and authors.

Parable is defined as telling a short story to convey a lesson about life. Teaching through parables for Jesus Christ is a major strategy in his early days of ministry. It is designed to stimulate brain cells of listeners to ask the right questions, thus impacting them when answers are found. To the lazy, they will remain mere parables but to those who are inquisitive and keen, the parables can produce strong emotions, some being uplifted in their spirits while some are angered.

In today’s post modernism, stories and parables are strong teaching instruments for faith in Christ. Thanks to intense popularity for Hollywood movies, they can be used to gain the hearts and minds of all people. Hence, PS Bible Ministry is designed specifically to use stories to impact the lives of the reader, using plain and simple (PS) everyday language.

Parables are recorded in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Jesus told the parables to turn people to His radical Gospel against the backdrop of religion and hypocrisy. Some parables are written by all three gospel writers for different reasons while others are exclusive to only one. “Lamp Under a Bowl” appeared four times in all three gospels, Matthew 5:14-15; Mark 4:21-22 and Luke 8:16; 11:33.

Peter scampered towards an empty, broken down house with few burly men in hot pursuit. Luckily for him, they swished pass him, going farther down the street. His danger was not over as he lay between some rusted steel, panting furiously and yet trying to keep the noise level low. His mind jammed with thoughts of torture and death and every little sound would send shivers down his spine. For six or perhaps seven hours, he knew not how long he stayed there, motionless as though dead. In the stillness of the night, Peter moved slightly, cautiously, not to generate any noise at all, bobbed his head to peep. They were gone. He thanked his lucky stars that none of those thugs knew him and where he stayed or else his mom would be in trouble too.

Peter was a boy with strong conviction of telling things as they were. His dad had taught him well to always being able to lift his head in society, no matter what. That day, Peter’s conviction was severely tested when he shouted at a group of men preying on a poor family, harassing them. He saw with his own eyes how they hit a young man his age for protecting his family. He hated for being helpless and just like many others, hoped for security in his town be improved. Throwing a stone at those bullies was the most courageous thing he had ever done for standing up against evil.

When he arrived home, his mom was surprised at his dirty appearence, hugged him anyway. Tears flowed freely as warmth rushed back into his body. “Why, my dear? What happened?” his mom asked softly. His story shocked his mother. She poured a glass of warm water for Peter and then took from the shelf a picture of his dad. “I want to tell you the full story of your father. This is the time,” the petite lady spoke, knowing his son had matured. “Your dad was involved with a gang when he was married to me. He kept that secret or else I would not have fallen in love with him. When you were born and out of my devotion for him, he quit. But….they found out and did not let him live long,” she spoke, focussed his eyes on the photo frame. Running her fingers through the face of her husband, she fought back her tears. “Don’t be angry, Peter. There are consequences for wickedness,” she quickly added as he saw hatred on Peter’s face. “During those difficult days when he quit the gang, those were the days he really lived!’ she continued. “He did the right thing. He made the right decision. I stood by his decision to my dying days!”

"Really lived? Why?” Peter asked surprisingly.

“It's you, Peter! He could have a different you if he had kept on with the gang!”

On his bed that night, Peter had a choice too to make just like his father. Will he continue to speak out against evil or will he wilt after that scary day? The next day, he went to the police station to be a man. Not to report the thugs but to sign up as a cop.

Yet, God called us the light of the world! No two ways about it! Either we light up or we switch off! Don’t even suggest lighting up and hide it! It is absurdity! That’s what the parable is all about! Either you are with God or you are with the world! YOU CHOOSE!

Why did Jesus teach a “no brainer” parable, putting a light under a bowl? Again, it is absurdity to light a light and hide it. No right thinking human does that! That's exactly what Jesus wants the hearers to know! If you don’t want to shine, don’t even light up! Just snug up in your own little world and be comfortable. If you afraid of being a light, no one in your world will get blessed.  

 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.....let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14, 16)

Next: Parable of the wise and foolish builders!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Iran announced few days ago to the world that they have the capabilities to enhance uranium enrichment up to 20% more which is according to some experts is a year away from a small nuclear weapon. Moreover they plan to build another 10 nuclear sites. Before the announcement, they even shot a missile capable of carrying a satellite into space. This declaration has given the goose bumps to countries in the West where they have provided ample time frame for Teheran to show the world that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Yes, Iran have insisted many times that the program is for generating electricity and medical purposes for the people but the signals they sent out recently are extremely suspicious. Dealing and talking with the Islamic Republic can ‘vomit blood’ and one leader of the West is said to be tremendously frustrated. Who wouldn’t when they could not even get an honest answer from the Iranian rulers, constantly flip flopping on their stand throughout the negotiations.

Why Iran desire to be a nuclear-powered nation?

1. Once upon a time, Iran (Persia) was a powerful nation. In fact, Persia was once a superpower in biblical days, where Israel was under their domination. Today, with Islam being their inspiration, they greatly desire to be THE influence in the Middle East. The ultimate aim of Iran and their leaders is to spread political Islam to the whole world. When they found out their capability to build a nuclear program, they jumped to the chance in order to play big brother to nations that surround them. They may encounter obstacles (the Western nations) but that will not stop them from achieving their dream.

2. They know that only Israel have the nuclear bombs in the Middle East and they hate the Zionist movement in Israel. To advance their cause, they borrow the emotional conflict of Israel and the Palestinians, knowing that the hearts and the minds of the Islamic world are behind the suffering Palestinians. More so, Israel is being hated by most Arab states. Often times, President Ahmadenejad would utter annihilation of Israel much to the delight of the Islamic world. Recently, the supreme leader, Khamenei echoed the President’s intention, saying that Israel would soon disappear. They want to use nuclear powers to bring substance to (to “power-point”) want they said.

3. The leaders of Iran believe in a sect of Islam called the Shi’ite Islam where they believe in a Saviour that would come, referred to as Al-Mahdi. It is believed to be the missing Imam during the earlier days of Islam. Before the Imam reappears, there will be chaos in the world. Al Mahdi means “The right guided one” or “Redeemer” will soon come to lead the victorious Islam against the West in a war similarly like Armageddon of the Bible. Only then the Anti-Christ will come. He will be defeated by Jesus (according to them, Jesus is only a prophet) who will come again the second time. After that, Jews will be annihilated by the Muslims in a war for 40 days.

When the Iranian leaders said the destruction of Israel was at hand, perhaps they were referring to the closeness
of those prophecies.

The world is becoming more wearied with the war mongering amongst the Middle-Eastern nations, mainly, Syria, Iran and Israel. Even the United States has not put away the option of military strikes at Iran’s nuclear sites. Joining the fray is China, Russia and the strongest European nations, Britain, France and Germany, each carving out their stand on the Iranian nuclear issue. What is most troubling is that China and Russia, both nuclear-powered nations, are quite sympathetic with Iran rather than pressuring them to show forth their commitment in the ongoing talks.

Perhaps we have arrived to a time when the Bible says, many nations will gather together to attack Jerusalem. King Abdullah of Jordan recently said in an interview with CNN, “All conflicts lead to Jerusalem!” His view bulls eyed Bible prophecies and it will happen, the Anti-Christ will lead nations to conquer Jerusalem. And they would win some battles.

(Luke 21:20) "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

(Mat 24:15-16) "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:27) --let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…”

The book of Revelation speaks about a limited time of Jerusalem being overpowered, 42 months or three and one half year. This entails a first half of the 7-year Tribulations decreed on the world!

At the end, Jerusalem will win the war as Jesus Christ, the King of all kings comes to the rescue and takes His throne!

(Zep 3:16-18, 20b) On that day they will say to Jerusalem, "Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing….I will give you honour and praise among all the peoples of the earth"

(Zec 14:3-4, 8-9) Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

(Zec 14:12) This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

(Joel 3:1-2) 'In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.

(Isa 2:1-2) This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

Today, many nations are expecting Jerusalem to be pried out of Israel’s hands by all means as they see the Jewish leaders continue to grip tight the holy city within its iron fist. This war against Jerusalem will happen and Iran or Persia stands ready to play a part in it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


No one was more agitated than Prophet Malachi in the land where its once glorious inhabitants had lost their passion. He felt like Elijah of the past, carrying the burden all on his own. Serving God seemed like second best to those descendants of Abraham and the remnants God had entrusted to fulfil Israel’s destiny. The voices of the prophets were signs of God’s unending concern for his chosen nation. In fact, Malachi shouted God’s affirmative words, “I have loved you!” Ironically, his love was spurned by a sarcastically-created question by the people, “How have you loved us?” This was just one of the series of questions Malachi faced in his quest for repentant hearts as well as heads.

Perhaps being tired of waiting for the coming of Messiah as promised, they caught hold of the virus of apathy and indifference. From the priests who showed contempt for God’s name to the offering of imperfect animals of people for the sacrifice, the whole land was contaminated. Not forgetting the unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant and the taking in of wives who worshipped idols, Jerusalem was indeed living on dangerous ground. The prophet remembered the cries of King David, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Oh, how God would have loved that spirit of brokenness from the people.

Both Ezra and Nehemiah had felt like Moses coming down from the mountain carrying the Law of God and found his people worshipping the golden calf. They had worked hard to maintain a vision for the land, in preparation for the Messiah to take them to greater heights but it was being torn asunder. Prophet Malachi and the leaders of Jerusalem knew of the slippery slope they were walking in dealing with the people, knowing any spiritual slips from them might result in judgment of the Almighty God. It was also the first time God was wearied with the people’s words of apathy. It was an incessant excuse to live outside the will of God.

As Prophet Malachi met with Ezra and Nehemiah for prayer, the reassuring words came from heaven, "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.”

The Messiah would indeed turn up as promised.

Then Malachi stood up to proclaim an encouragement not only to Ezra and Nehemiah but also to all who walked in God’s ways, “Those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. God says, ‘They will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not’”

It was a vindication for them as they knelt there and gave praise to the Almighty. As they worshipped God, Malachi got even more than he bargained for, God showed him the final victory of the Messiah, "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”

Indeed, their hearts did leap right there and then at those words!

What would Prophet Malachi say to us if he were to be alive today?

1. God is not slow in keeping His promises. His timing is always perfect!
2. Ask the right questions that help you in your spiritual growth and not those that tear you apart.
3. Watch out for disappointments in life as the devil can use them as tools to destroy you.
4. God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways His ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than your ways and His thoughts than your thoughts.
5. The Messiah will come the second time. He came the first time as promised, didn’t He?

Did the voices of the prophets end with Malachi? In my opinion, I believe prophet Malachi was not the last of the prophets, it was John the Baptist. And when Jesus the Messiah/Christ came, He became the ultimate VOICE not only for Israel but for the whole world.