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Scripture Memory: God’s Help.
Romans 8:31 
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

2 September 2012
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:

Rev Charles Seet (Daniel: A Youth with Solid Convictions, Dan 1:8)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (When the Going Gets Tough, Ps 34)

9 September 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Jonathan: A Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother, 1 Sam 18:1-4)
1045am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Jonathan: A Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother, 1 Sam 18:1-4)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Peter Tan (The Compassion of Christ, Jn 8:1-11)

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My dear Reader,

SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES

Life is not a bed of roses. Life is full of struggles. Life has meaning only in the struggle. Struggles are what you and I need in life. If we were to go through life without any obstacles, we would be badly crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Therefore, whatever the struggle you are going through now, let me encourage you to press on, for you never know that it may be only one step to a higher level of maturity.

Every Christian faces spiritual struggles. Spiritual struggles are God’s sanctifying means of molding and shaping us to be like Christ (James 1:3, 4; Romans 8:29). That is why the Christian life is full of challenges. Challenges like feeling abandoned by the Lord, feeling one’s inner strength is gone, feeling one’s fellowship with God is no longer a delight, feeling one’s reading of the Word is a distant memory, feeling one no longer senses the presence of God, feeling one’s spirituality is in a spiritual valley and feeling desperate for deliverance from that muddy condition.

Challenges help us to grow and inspire us to make changes within ourselves. The Psalmist says, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes" (Psalm 119:71). Every punishment of God has a divine purpose. Psalm 118:17 and 18 says, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death." However, we do not look for challenges. God will send them in His good time, if need be. He will provide His grace and strength for us to endure them, and open a way of escape for us (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Since the inception of Christianity in the first century, every believer of Jesus Christ has been experiencing spiritual struggles of all sorts. The moment a sinner turns to Jesus for salvation, he is immediately engaged in spiritual struggles. He battles against all sorts of sins. Before his conversion, sins like pride, lust, greed, envy, anger, hatred, sexual immorality, impurity and sensuality did not really prick his conscience. But after his conversion, things are different (2 Corinthians 5:17). He looks at sin differently. Sins have become his daily burden and battles (Psalm 38:3, 4). He feels restless and guilt-stricken whenever he sins against God. As a result, he does not indulge himself in things that God forbids in His Word (Ephesians 4:17-22).

Paul was a classic example. Before his conversion, he was a religious fanatic. He persecuted the church of God. He went everywhere arresting Christians and putting them in jail (Acts 8:1; 9:1, 2; Galatians 1:13, 14). He did it with zeal and zest. He thought that he was doing God a service (John 16:2). But after his conversion, things began to change in his life. He began to experience spiritual struggles. In his letter to the Galatians, he said, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17).

Paul had many "ups" and "downs" in living the Christian life. He was not free from spiritual struggles. Writing to the Roman Christians, Paul shares with us his struggles in trying to do what is right and not doing it. He realizes that it is sin that lives in him that causes him to do wrong. Out of desperation, he exclaims, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24,25a). Aren’t you also in the same situation? Take heart! You too can cry out to God for deliverance from this body that brings you death.

Spiritual struggles come in many forms – depression, resentment and unforgiving spirit. First, depression is one of the most deadly weapons Satan uses to destroy the people of God. Many a servant of God like Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of preachers, is said to have struggled at times with depression. The lesson is that even the most eminent of saints is not beyond the flaming arrows of Satan (Ephesians 6:16) and is not immune at times to letting his guard down and having those arrows embedded into the heart.

Thankfully, though Christians are badly hurt at times, they are not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). They may be weakened by Satan’s onslaughts but no single arrow of Satan, no matter how painful it may be is ever a death blow. Every Christian must expect and be prepared to face different forms of suffering or persecution. Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16:33a). In other words, expect troubles to come along your way. But the good news is that God’s permitted suffering and persecution are only for a moment and are producing for us an eternal glory that is far greater than anything we can imagine (2 Corinthians 4:16, 17; Job 1:6-2:10; 42:12).

For that reason, we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. Things that can be seen are only for a moment but things that cannot be seen last forever (2 Corinthians 4:18). That is why Jesus said, "… but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b).

Second, many Christians still battle with the problem of breaking the resentment barrier. Many of them still find it difficult to talk face to face with each other and therefore, a middleman (i.e. a mediator) is called to convey messages between them. Resentment is a deadly disease. Satan knows it and he gladly uses it to destroy the people of God.

Resentment is a silent killer. Its effects are numerous. It makes us unhappy, it leads us to bitterness, it gives birth to murder, it raises our high blood pressure, it gives us sleepless night, it affects our daily lives (i.e. our thinking, conduct, work, and disposition), it shortens our lives, it even results in psychosomatic illness, and most of all, it hinders our relationship with God and men that eventually prevents us from growing spiritually. Therefore, resentment needs to be arrested and dealt with as soon as possible lest its consequences affect all levels of fellowship and relationships with God and men.

Are you in a resentful state? If you are, you are in a very unhealthy spiritual state. You need to do something about it (Ephesians 4:31, 32).

Third, harbouring an unforgiving spirit is another deadly weapon Satan uses to destroy the people of God. Many of us know that harbouring an unforgiving spirit is detrimental to ourselves but unfortunately, some of us still give in to it. We know what the Bible teaches but we choose to withhold forgiveness towards people who have offended us (Matthew 6:14, 15; 18:35). It is no wonder Satan keeps stirring up turmoil in the church and keeping us from forgiving and loving each other. That is why the church has so many unforgiven people because she has too many unforgiving people.

Do you know that unforgiving Christians struggle daily to get rid of bitterness, anger and hateful feelings of any sort? Do you know that unforgiving Christians are uncharitable, miserable, insulting, unhappy, critical, judgmental, and dissatisfied people? And most of all, do you know that unforgiving Christians are out of fellowship with God?

Unforgiving Christians may teach the Word and promote spirituality, but as long as there is still an unforgiving spirit in them, whatever they teach will not have any spiritual impact on anyone and whatever spirituality they promote will not be true spirituality, but pseudo-spirituality. They need to go back to basics and practise it. We are told not only to be hearers of the Word but also doers of it (James 1:22-25).

Dearly beloved, I have shared with you three spiritual struggles – depression, the problem of breaking the resentment barrier and harbouring an unforgiving spirit. Spiritual struggles are real. They are permitted by God for our spiritual benefits. You and I will experience them daily till the day the Lord promotes us to glory or be glorified at His coming.

Therefore, I would like to encourage each and every one of you to take every spiritual struggle as a challenge because through it all you will emerge a stronger Christian ready for more intense spiritual struggles.

May God help us to fight the good fight of faith! (1 Timothy 6:12) Amen.

Sincerely in Christ, Pastor Colin

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Creation Ministries International (CMI) Seminar

Topics: (1) Creation / Evolution: the Controversy; (2) Dinosaurs & the Most-asked Questions— Answered!

Speaker: Dr Carl Wieland (Managing Diector, CMI Australia; Founding editor of Creation magazine)

Date: Saturday, 22 September 2012

Time: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue: Life B-P Church Sanctuary

Cost: Free. All Are Welcome!

Why won’t they listen?

Have you wondered why your witnessing falls flat and people fail to respond? Many comment that science has disproved the Bible and thereforre it is not relevant to today’s modern world. But what’s the answer? Can the majority of scientists really be wrong?

Discover the answers with Dr Carl Wieland when he brings his powerful message at 3.00 pm on Saturday, 22 September 2012.

(CMI is a Christ-centred, non-denominational ministry dedicated to upholding the authority of the Bible from the very first verse. More details about CMI are available at www.creation.com)

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1) "Faith’s Checkbook": Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 4 (Oct to Dec 2012). Now available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions

2) Infant Baptism on Anniversary Sunday, 21 Oct 12. Parents who intend to have their infants baptisedmust register by today. Please call the Church Office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at JB Sunset Gospel Hour, 6 pm. Rev Wong in Batam. Rev Quek at Life Evening Service, 6 pm.

Obituary: Having served the Lord faithfully as a missionary since 1955, Rev Dan Ebert III went home to be with the Lord peacefully on 26 August 2012 in Kentucky, USA. His legacy includes the Palawano Bible translation and the Hilltop Christian Ministries in the Philippines. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11