The Secret Of Happiness:


Luke 12:22-32


“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32, NLT

How on earth can we be happy in an unhappy world? We have been deceived into thinking that material success will bring happiness. But the sad reality is that money and success often leads to pride, greed, and envy that generates more stress, unhappiness and meaninglessness. It is foolish and futile to chase after success to seek happiness. Fear of failure, fear of missing out and fear of death will keep us from the joys of living. True success comes from happiness rooted in the love of God. 

Happiness is found in the kingdom of heaven where we can have Transforming Listening Conversations with God, free from a fearful and slavish obedience to a set of rules. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth.1 He gave us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in the Beatitudes2. The greatest secret is that we can live in heaven here and now when our minds are rewired and our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit.

We need a radical change in how we see God’s relationship with us, our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. Jesus came to open our eyes to God’s mysterious plan that the Holy Spirit is in us to empower us to fulfill God’s will in our lives. We are to set our sights on the realities of heaven. God is our loving Heavenly Father whose greatest happiness is to give us the Kingdom of Heaven:

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”3

Jesus came to set us free from the fear of death and suffering.4 God wants us to live in the joy of His Presence, Providence and Power for everything in life. Like a loving father, God wants us to live with intentional intimacy with Him in His Kingdom as this gives Him great happiness. The Beatitudes are the “be-attitudes” of a poverty of spirit, a spirit of mourning, a spirit of humility, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a forgiving spirit, a pure mind, a peaceful heart and a spirit of perseverance. We need these “be-attitudes” to overcome the sins of lust, anger, pride, gluttony, greed, envy and acedia that draws us away from God’s grace and disfigures the image of God in us. 

The daily doses of bad news of war, pandemics and rising petrol prices are but alarm bells warning us of the folly and futility of a life without the love of God. The good news is that God’s goodness and unfailing love pursues us5 when we rest in Him – we do not have to chase after happiness! We need to wake up to the truth that we are living in the hell of our own thoughts6 which blind and deafen us to the awesome thoughts of God that are way beyond our human understanding.7 God wants us to know the great secret that Christ lives in us and we have the blessed assurance of sharing his riches and glory in heaven.8 

We need to be like children and babies singing songs of praise9 to lead us to the Rock that is higher than our problems so that we can stand on the precious truth that God’s ways are beyond our understanding and imagination.10 Faith is not blind when our vision is focused on the realities of God’s Kingdom. Through centering prayer, we can grow in awareness of our selfish thoughts, worldly thoughts and sinful thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts. We can detoxify our hearts by choosing to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable.11 We can choose not to waste time with the fake news in the social media but to feed on God’s Word each day as we sing:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu, alleluia

Man does not live by bread alone
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God
Allelu, alleluia.”12


Lord, help me to seek Your Kingdom to find real happiness. 


1.  What are the fears in life that I need to face?
2.  How am I seeking happiness in life?
3.  What does it mean to live in the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now?

Song of Praise

Seek Ye First



1.  Matthew 6:10
2.  Matthew 5:1-12, EASY
3.  Luke 12:32, NLT
4.  Hebrews 2:14-15, NLT
5.  Psalms 23:6, NLT
6.  Romans 1:28-32, NLT
7.  Isaiah 55:8, NLT
8.  Colossians 1:27, NLT
9.  Psalms 8:2, ERV
10.  Isaiah 55:8, NLT
11. Philippians 4:8, NLT
12.  Seek Ye First, Maranatha! Singers

The Beatitudes:

‘Happy are the people who know that they need God very much. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like that. 

Happy are the people who are sad now. God will come near to help them. 

Happy are the people who are kind. The whole earth will belong to them. 

Happy are the people who want to obey God, as much as they want to eat food. God will give to them everything that they need. 

Happy are the people who help other people and who forgive them. God will forgive people like that. 

Happy are the people who have only good thoughts. They will come near to God and see him. 

Happy are the people who bring people together to be friends. God will call them his children. 

Happy are the people who do what is right but other people hurt them because of it. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like that.”

Matthew 5:3‭-‬10 EASY

Transforming Listening Conversations (T.L.C.) With God


Isaiah 44:1-8


“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8, ESV

The compassionate loving presence of God is beyond human understanding – He is our compassionate Father, our Shepherd of Love and our Divine Lover.  God’s amazing “chesed”1 is seen in all the encounters of the people of Israel with God as recorded in the Old Testament. The story of the Jews is a revelation of the absolute depravity and deceitfulness of our sinful human nature as well as the steadfast love and patience of our Heavenly Father. 

There is a cosmic drama that transcends human life. Spiritual formation, according to John Mark Comer, is the process by which we are formed in our spirits or inner persons, into the image of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. However, there are forces of evil  that seek to deform us into the image of the devil through isolation and lies.2 We have a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.3

We are living in a fallen world that is in darkness, filled with sorrow and suffering. Like Job, we battle with thoughts of meaninglessness, doubts and anger. Faith in God’s compassionate loving kindness is eroded when we are afflicted by loss, pain and suffering:

“Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest.”4 

Jesus came to show us the power and love of God as he suffered and died on the cross. He rose from the dead to empower us to become the children of God who can have transforming, listening conversations with God. To be witnesses of God’s redeeming love to restore a broken world:

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”5

The prophet Isaiah encouraged the people of Israel in their suffering with God’s promise of the Holy Spirit:

“Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”6 

This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when the Jews from every nation under heaven, gathered together in Jerusalem, were filled with the Holy Spirit.7 The good news is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live the kind of life to prove that God has called us.8 

Our calling is to live in the Kingdom of Heaven here and now so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. A simple way to do so is to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit through solitude and silence. As we do so, prayer and bible meditation become transforming listening conversations (T.L.C.) with God. Then we will do everything with the love of God and for God. 

“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.9


Lord, help me to listen to Your Living Word so that I can have T.L.C. with You.


1.  How is God speaking to me each day?
2. What is God revealing to me through His Living Word?
3. How can I live to prove God’s calling for my life?  

Song of Praise:

Speak, O Lord



1.  Chesed is the Hebrew word that means kindness or love between people, specifically of the devotional piety of people towards God as well as the love or mercy of God towards humanity. It reminds me that the love of God is not a feeling but is seen through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2.  John Mark Comer, Live No Lies, 2021, page 73
3. Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT
4. Job 3:11-13 NLT.
5.  Isaiah 44:8, ESV
6.  Isaiah 44:2-3, ESV
7. Acts: 2:1-6, NLT
8. Ephesians 4:1, GW
9. Speak, O Lord, Keith Getty/Stuart Townend

Feeding On The Living Word


Joshua 1:1-9


“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9. NLT

We need spiritual food to grow spiritually. When Jesus was in the wilderness, he resisted the temptation to turn stones into bread with the truth that people do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.1 This was the truth that Moses taught the people of Israel when they were led through the wilderness for forty years and were fed with manna. They were to be dependent on God’s Presence so that they will not fall into idolatry.2  

After the death of Moses, God commanded Joshua to meditate on the Covenant of the Law that had been given to the people of Israel through Moses so that they will be in God’s Presence and not be afraid or discouraged. They had been chosen to conquer the Promised Land to establish the reign of God here on earth:

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”3

The practice of meditating on God’s Word changes our relationship with God from a transactional relationship for blessings into a transformational relationship to become new creations and the masterpieces of God’s love. The bible is not a book of rules we are to obey – it is the spiritual food to nurture our relationship with God. We need to hunger and thirst for righteousness to have a good appetite for God’s Word.4 Like a baby, we have to grow up spiritually before we can digest the solid food of God’s Word: 

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know who to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”5

The bible is God’s living word to teach us how to live in God’s Presence. For the word of God is alive and powerful like a sharp two-edged sword. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.6 God’s Word teach us what is true, show us what is wrong in our lives, correct us when we are wrong and teach us to do what is right so that we are prepared and equipped to do every good work.7 

A worker in a research office found that an expensive technical book he had borrowed from his professor was missing. He then remembered the story of Elisha and the floating ax head. He decided to pray that he would be led to remember where he had misplaced the book or that the book be returned if someone else had taken the book. About ten days later, the book showed up on the professor’s desk. He was encouraged by his answered prayer and shared the truth that God’s concern for us is beyond measure.8 I was reminded of the power of God’s Word to help us grow in our faith that God cares for all the mundane things in our lives.

Another faithful Christian had been studying and reflecting on God’s Word and was struggling to understand what was happening when her health declined in the prime of her life. As she continued to meditate on God’s word and to pray for healing, she saw the dry grass withered by the heat of an unforgiving sun turn into vibrant green grass when the rains came during her bus rides to work. She was encouraged to wait with hope on the Lord.9 Indeed, adversities in life, big or small, become compost for our faith in God’s steadfast love. 

Jesus Christ is the Living Word that is sweeter than honey,10 a lamp for my feet and a Light for my path.11 As I prepare to journey into a new season of life, I wait in hope and with hope by feeding on God’s Living Word through prayer and meditation so that I will understand God’s ways. As God’s Word becomes alive in me I will not be afraid to face the challenges that await me in each new season of life.

“When I feel afraid and I think I’ve lost my way
Still You’re there right beside me
Nothing will I fear as long as You are near
Please be near me to the end”12


Lord, help me to feed on Your Living Word by being still as I wait for Your Spirit to lead me into Your truths.


1.  Is there a sin in the Egypt of my life I need to confess?
2.  Is there a promise in the Wilderness of my life I need to receive?
3.  Is there a commandment in the Promised Land of my life I need to obey?
4.  Is there a warning in the Babylon of my life I need to take heed of?

Song of Praise:

Thy Word by Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith



1.  Matthew 4:4
2.  Deut 8:1-20, NLT
3.  Joshua 1:8-9, NLT
4.  Matthew 5:6, MSG
5. Hebrews 5:12-14, NLT
6.  Hebrews 4:12, NLT
7.  2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT,
8. The Upper Room Devotional, Beyond Measure, Saturday, 11 June 2022 9.  The Upper Room Devotional, Wait For The Lord, Sunday, 12 June 2022 10.  Psalms 119:103
11.  Psalms 119:105
12.  Thy Word by Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith

Waking Up


Deuteronomy 31:1-27


“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic  before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT

We are facing a bleak future filled with gloom and doom. It is depressing to read the bad news of the Ukraine war, Covid 19 pandemic and climate change. A friend lamented the sad reality that as we get older and older, we collect more fears rather than shedding fears as we gain experience in our journey through life. We begin to fear more with more life experiences. She found it hard to overcome her fears when she sees a future lined with scary things which she can’t handle. Her fears are real and can be debilitating and depressing indeed. Our fears are but a wake up call to come to our senses and to turn back to God like the prodigal son. We need to face the foolishness of living a life separated from God:

“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us.”1 

Like the alcoholic addict, we need to acknowledge that we are powerless and helpless over sin. We need the grace of God to wake us up from our spiritual slumber of unbelief.2  We can choose to use our fears to drive us to God’s loving embrace so that the joy of the Lord is our strength.3 To do so, we need to understand the wrath and judgment of God. Just before he died, Moses predicted that after his death, the people of Israel will become utterly corrupt and turn from the way he had commanded them to follow and disaster would come down upon them.4 Moses himself was also told that he would not lead the Jews into the Promised Land. In spite of such a dismal and depressing picture of the future, Moses exhorted the people of Israel to stand on God’s promises of His Presence, Providence and Protection:

“The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”5 

Moses reminded the Jews that God had chosen them to be His special people. They had been called to walk in God’s ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments and to obey His voice so that God’s will would be done on earth and the world can see heaven here on earth when they live under God’s reign in the Promised Land.6 God’s judgment and wrath is directed towards the eradication of sin and evil that draws us away from the love of God. God does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.7

The history of the disobedience and idolatry of the Jews is a grim revelation of the consequences of choosing to live without the Presence, Providence and Protection of God. It is to convict us of our idolatrous and disobedient hearts and our need for repentance – to hunger and thirst for righteousness deep within our hearts – to change from living a self absorbed and self reliant life to a God centered and God dependent life. 

Repentance is choosing to “get out of the sick and stupid culture”8 of a godless and dying world and to hunger and thirst for the Kingdom of God. Repentance is waking up to the amazing grace of God and changing the way I live. My heart is prone to wander from God when pride, greed and lust reigns within me. I need the Holy Spirit to bind my wandering heart to Christ.

“Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love,
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”9


Lord, help me to inspire as well as to live a life of repentance.


1. How can my fears draw me closer to the love of God?
2. What does the history of the Jews teach me about sin and the judgment and wrath of God?
3. Why is it important to live a life of repentance?

Song of Praise:

Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing


1. Ephesians 2:1-3, MSG
2. Ephesians 5;14, NLT
3. Nehemiah 8:10
4. Deuteronomy 31:29
5. Deuteronomy 31:5-6
6. Deuteronomy 27:9-10
7. 2 Peter 3:9
8. Acts 2:40, MSG.
9. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson

Fear Blinds, Faith Sees


Deuteronomy 1:19-40


“Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!” Deuteronomy 1:21, NLT

Old age is filled with the dark clouds of life – loss of loved ones, poor health, disability, financial struggles and death. Old age is a nightmare when we are gripped by fears of the “geriatric giants” of disease, disabilities, depression, dementia and death. Fear of old age blinds us to the amazing grace of God to give us joy and peace in the winter of life. Instead of a time of wonder and a beautiful time to draw close to God, such fears lead us to live “lives of quiet desperation” or to “die with all our music in us.”

The story of the Jews in the wilderness provide us with a metaphor of our spiritual journey in life. After traveling through the great and terrifying wilderness, the Jews were told to occupy the land of the Amorites when they arrived at Kadesh-barnea:

“Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!”

But the Jews were demoralized by the half-truths given by ten of the scouts. Instead of trusting in God, they complained and felt that God hated them. They forgot how God had cared for them as they traveled through the wilderness like a father caring for his child.1 This story is a depiction of spiritual warfare – to open our eyes to the power of lies and half truths which draws us away from the love of God.

Evagrius Ponticus, a desert father in the fourth century AD, shared his experience of fighting the demonic temptation against  thought patterns, internal narratives and internal belief structures that enslave the soul.2 In our modern world, our minds are bombarded by lies, fake news and misinformation. We are confused and live with much dread and anxiety. Fears blind us to the power of love and drive us to put our trust in the idols of health and wealth. 

To be reborn spiritually is to wake up to the reality that there is a battle between the power of love and the love of power in the world and within our hearts. We need a transformation of our minds to understand our sinful nature. Sin is not just disobeying the commandments of God. The story of Adam and Eve is a revealing narrative of the evil of seeking the love of power and losing sight of the power of love.3 The love of power leads to a godless world in which shame and blame reigns supreme.

By the grace of God we are set free from a godless world to embark on the journey into the Kingdom of Heaven. Like Jesus we will be led into a spiritual wilderness to prepare us for the spiritual war against the forces of evil. Wilderness experiences are times to seek God’s refuge, to experience the miracles of His Presence and Power and to reprogram our minds. The wilderness is a time to rewire our thoughts patterns. Old habits need to die and new habits need to be cultivated. To grow the fruits of the Spirit we need to get rid of the weeds of sin. 

Fear, doubts, anger, and guilt are the spiritual giants that keep us from victory over sin and evil. Without trust in God, we are easily discouraged and react to challenges and struggles in life in panic and with fear. Without trust in God we see our weaknesses and not the power of God. It is only by faith that we can face the giants of negative thought patterns and overcome them with the power of the Holy Spirit. When we listen with our hearts and understand God’s Word with our minds, we will be filled with great joy when the joy of the Lord is our strength.4

In faith, we can practice solitude, spending time alone with God, to put off our old self and put on our new self. We do so not by trying to be alone but by abiding in Christ and letting the Holy Spirit break down the brick walls of our negative thought patterns and false beliefs so that Christ can build bridges of love and compassion through us. In solitude, we learn to listen to our thoughts and feelings without judgment so that we can bring our guilt and fears to God who is reigning deep within our hearts.

Fear blinds but faith sees. Faith is not blind but we need to acknowledge our spiritual blindness before we can pray for the faith to see. It is only by faith that I can face the Goliaths of negative thought patterns and overcome them like David, with the grace of God.5  Power reigns in the world but it is Love that reigns in God’s Kingdom. With trust in God I will not fear, for the battle belongs to God. I just need to stand firm, put on the armor of God6 and hold up God’s banner of Love over me.

“By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight”7


Lord, help me to see by faith the power of Your love so that I will not be blinded by my fears of the “geriatric giants” of old age.


1. What are the negative thought patterns that keep me from doing God’s will?

2. How can I reprogram my mind so that I can see by faith?

3. What are God’s blessings in old age that I need to keep in my heart?

Song of praise:

By Faith



1. Deuteronomy 1:19-40
2. Quoted by John Mark Comer in his book, Live No Lies, page 6
3. Genesis 3:1-13, NLT
4.  Nehemiah 8:7-12, NLT
5. 1 Samuel 17:32-51, NLT
6. Ephesians 6:10-18
7. By Faith, Keith Getty

The Peace Of Silence


John 14:23-27


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27, ESV

Life is full of ups and downs. Our hearts are troubled as our peace of mind is broken by fears, doubts and guilt. Our monkey minds and deceitful hearts drive us to pursue peace and happiness in worldly pleasures and possessions which do not satisfy but only turn us away from God:

“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me – the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”1 

In Christ, our Heavenly Father opens His arms all day long to us but we are disobedient and rebellious2 and unable to listen and respond to His loving cry:

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink – even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk – it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.”3

When we are not touched by God’s love, we are part of God’s problem. We are breaking His heart. We cannot follow Christ to be God’s solution to redeem the world. Our hearts need to be broken so that the Holy Spirit can put God’s laws in our minds and write them on our hearts.

We have the free will to say “no” to God. We have the choice to say “yes” to God and make Him our refuge and to hold fast to His love.4 Obedience is the hallmark of our love for God. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is not a reward for obedience. It is our fears and lack of trust in God’s love that keeps us from receiving the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for obedience. It is our desire to trust and obey God that opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit who will teach us everything and give us peace of mind and heart:

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”5 

We can express our desire for God’s gift of the Holy Spirit by abiding in Christ through silence. In silence true prayer is born. Prayer, according to Henri Nouwen, is listening to Jesus who is dwelling in the depths of our hearts. He found that spending ten minutes each day for Jesus alone can bring about a radical change in our lives. It is not easy to be still even for ten minutes as many other noisy and distracting voices that are not from God will demand our attention. 

But as we persevere to listen to our hearts daily, we will come to hear the gentle voice of love and will long more and more to listen to it.6 In silence, I learn to hold fast to God’s love as I watch, without attachment or rejection, all my thoughts, positive and negative, flowing through my mind. Instead of letting the thoughts fill my heart with worry, I rewire my mind through prayer:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

In silence we intentionally seek Jesus who is in our hearts so that our attention is not directed by the thoughts in our minds. Each time my inner silence is punctured by my thoughts I use it as an opportunity to return to the peace of silence by acknowledging the thoughts and letting them go. Instead of trying to master silence, I seek to be mastered by the Holy Spirit in the embrace of silence. In silence I breathe in the peace of God that is beyond this world:


Holds me when I’m broken

Sweet peace 

That passes understanding

When the whole wide world is crashing down, 

I fall to my knees

And breathe in Your peace.”8


Lord, may I be mastered by silence and live in Your loving embrace.


  1. What broken cisterns am I digging to find peace?
  2. What disturbs my peace of mind and troubles my heart?
  3. How am I breathing in the peace of God each day?

Song of Praise

Peace Holds Me When I’m Broken



  1. Jeremiah 2:13, NLT
  2. Romans 10:21, NLT
  3. Isaiah 55:1-2, NLT
  4. Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV
  5. John 14:27 NLT
  6. Nouwen Meditation: Listen to the Voice of Gentle Love, 18 May 2022
  7. Philippians 4:6-7, NLT
  8. Peace –

A.W.E. (A Wonderful Experience) of God


Isaiah 41:1-21


Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will strengthen you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10, NKJV

Becoming a grandfather was a wonderful experience when our grandson was born more than twelve years ago. It was a second chance to appreciate the sacred work of being a father. As a grandfather, I had the luxury to behold the wonder of an infant coming to terms with a brand new world without being caught up with the anxieties and pressures of parenting.

My eyes were opened to the truth expressed by the Swiss philosopher, Henri Arniel: “Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness.” Children are God’s messengers to remind us to live with spiritual ears attuned to the voice of our Heavenly Father. As a grandfather, I began to appreciate how amazingly “grand” our Heavenly Father is and how true it is that I need to be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven and have A Wonderful  Experience (A.W.E.) of God.  

But first I need to face the reality of evil and my need for the grace of God. I need to see clearly the wrath and judgment of God against sin and evil. I need to hear and understand the call of the prophet Isaiah:

“Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.”1 

The prophet Isaiah was warning the Jews of the spiritual cancer of idolatry. The fruits of idolatry are greed and violence that cause so much suffering that we are seeing in the current Ukraine war. The world has not really changed since the time of Isaiah:

“The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war. The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”

The idols of our modern society are money, sex, health and power. Greed drives us to worship money. Many are led away from the true abundance of living in the Kingdom of Heaven by the false gospels of health and prosperity. God’s judgment is to open our eyes to our need to have a “Get Out Of Hell” pass to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to wake up to the sinful desires, ulterior motives and hidden agendas of a worldly life which are causing the hellish conditions here on earth. Just as a doctor has to destroy the cancer cells to save the patient’s life, God’s judgment is directed towards the diagnosis and treatment of the spiritual cancer of idolatry so that we can live in the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now:

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will strengthen you with My righteous right hand.”2 

God does not want us to live in fear of His wrath against evil. The antidote for idolatry is to fall deeply in love with God . Only then will we be able to seek to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This is the chief end of man according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We will not fear when we know that we have been redeemed by God and have been created for His glory:

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’”

“Everyone who is called  by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”3

We live in a dark and fallen world that is blind to the awe of God’s love – a world that needs to see that “the Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.”4 God’s love fills us with compassion so that we have the perseverance and patience to love the people in our lives who are difficult to love. God’s love gives us wisdom to discern the fake and false news so that we can know and desire God’s perfect will for us. God’s love gives us courage to make difficult decisions. We need not be afraid to fail at anything when we trust that God will put everything right.

We will encounter suffering and struggles in a broken and godless world. Pain and suffering are the wages of sin and idolatry – they are not the will of God. It is how we see, hear and experience God in our suffering and struggles that is important. Will we face crises, challenges and conflicts with anger, guilt and fear or with love, joy and peace? Unless we learn to rest in God in good times to deepen our roots of faith, it will be very difficult to have a wonderful experience of God in stormy times when God seems to be absent.

To live an awesome life, I need A.W.E. (A Wonderful Experience) of God. I need to rewire my mind so that it is not filled with negative chatter but is full of “sticky positive thoughts” of God’s eternal love. I need to calm my restless mind which is like a mirror full of puzzling reflections and turn it into a pond with still waters so that I can see my true self more and more clearly in it. I need to follow Christ by living as a lamb of God in a world that is full of wolves – to be a living sacrifice in a world filled with wars and violence. With God as my Heavenly Father who holds me in my awful situations with His awesome power, I can live with my fears as I pray:

“Then hear, O gracious Savior,
Accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favor
May serve you as our king;
And whether our tomorrows
Be filled with good or ill,
We’II triumph through our sorrows
And rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty
And glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty
Our sacrifice of praise.”5


Lord, help me to see that awful situations are golden opportunities to have A Wonderful Experience (A.W.E.) of Your awesome Love.


  1. How can I be more aware of the negative chatter in my mind?
  2. What “sticky positive thoughts” can I use to counter my negative thoughts?
  3. How can I have a wonderful experience of God’s amazing grace each day?

Song of Praise:

O God Beyond All Praising



  1. Isaiah 41:1, NLT
  2. Isaiah 41:10, NKJV
  3. Isaiah 43:1,7, NKJV
  4. Nahum 1:7, NLT
  5.  O God Beyond All Praising

Living In Love Or Living In Shame


Isaiah 54:1-8


“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4

The news of a Singaporean member of a Catholic order being jailed for five years for engaging in sexual acts with two teenage boys sometime between 2005 and 2007 led Archbishop William Goh to share his dismay, shock and shame.1 The scandal is a grim reminder that we all have sinful desires within our hearts keeping us from living a life of love.

Sexuality is God’s gift of love to teach us the beauty and wonder of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman who are committed to serve one another. But evil turned this beautiful gift of love into lust to use one another for carnal pleasures. The story of Adam and Eve is not about the breaking of God’s rules but to open our eyes to  the consequences of a broken relationship with God – of living a life of shame instead of a life of love.

When Adam and Eve were filled with shame, they tried to cover their nakedness and tried to hide from God. Shame then led to the blame game with Adam passing the responsibility for his disobedience to Eve and Eve accusing the serpent of deceiving her. The beautiful and intimate relationship of Adam and Eve with God was broken.

Being separated from the love of God, human beings were condemned to live in darkness with closed minds and hardened hearts. When we have no sense of shame we live for lustful pleasure and practice every kind of impurity.2 And we are driven to look for scapegoats for our failings and weaknesses instead of assuming responsibility and confessing them. Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise to the Jews to take away our shame so that we can live in love:

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.”3

This assurance of God in Isaiah Chapter 54 to deliver us from shame is sandwiched between the description of the Suffering Servant in Chapter 53 and God’s call to live in His covenant of faithful love in Chapter 55.  Like Adam we hide from God when we turn away from the cross of Christ:

“He is despised and  rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised , and we did not esteem Him”4 

Scandals and suffering are not from God they are a revelation of the war that God is waging against evil. It is only through the cross that I can listen to my grief and the sorrows of others.

“Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love.”5

During Yom Kippur, the celebration of the Day of Atonement by the Jews, two male goats were chosen – one to be sacrificed as a sin offering and the other to be a scapegoat to carry away the sins of the people into the wilderness.6  Jesus came to be the sin offering as well as the scapegoat to set us free from shame and blame. We can choose to follow Jesus and be a lamb of God or we can be tempted to blame others for our sorrows.  

Pride, guilt, fears and doubts fill our hearts with shame and blinds us to the agape love of God. The scandal in the Catholic Church according to Archbishop Goh, is a wake-up call to take our spiritual life seriously. We need to be awakened from a complacent faith.7 We need to spend time in silent meditation to observe our thoughts and to take them captive to Christ.8 It is so easy to shame and blame, to judge and criticize, until we find that the evil we see and condemned in the world are also deep within our hearts:

“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.”9

The cross of Christ draws our attention to the horror of evil and sin that is present in the depths of each of our hearts. It is also God’s prescription to live a life of love. To follow Jesus is to die to my old self so that I will not look for scapegoats in others.  And I can do so only by the grace of God:

“God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us.”10 

When we belong to Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation and nothing can separate us from the love of God.11 There is a spiritual war and the battle belongs to God. My responsibility is not to save the world but to lift up the cross of Christ so that others will be hungry and thirsty for the Kingdom of God:

“Who, oh Lord, could save themselves
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still.

You alone can rescue,
You alone can save You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise.12


Lord, thank You for setting me free from the prison of shame so that I can live in Your Kingdom of Love.


  1.  What fills my heart with shame?
  2.  Why is it important not to blame others for my unhappiness?
  3.  How am I lifting up the cross of Christ in the world?

Song of Praise:

You alone can rescue



  1. Today;
  2. Ephesians 4:17-19, NLT
  3.  Isaiah 54:4, NLT
  4. Isaiah 53:3, NKJV
  5. Isaiah 55:3, NIRV
  6.  Leviticus 16:7-10, NLT
  7.  Today;
  8. 1 Corinthians 10:5, NLT
  9. 1 Corinthians 10:11-12, NLT
  10.  Ephesians 1:4 NIRV
  11. Romans Chapter 8:1, 39
  12. You Alone Can Rescue, Matt Redman

From Fear To Love


Exodus 20:1-21


“Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning.” Exodus 20:20, NLT

When the world was struck with the Covid-19 infection, nations all around the world reacted in fear to control the pandemic with apparent draconian rules for lock-downs, quarantine and social distancing. For two years, normal life was totally disrupted. Family gatherings, religious activities and travel were restricted. We had to sacrifice personal freedom and privacy to comply with the very inconvenient and frustrating rules to control the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

Spiritually, sin is just as lethal and contagious as the Covid-19  virus. It wreaks much havoc personally, socially, and spiritually. The Ten Commandments are God’s rules to protect us from evil and to keep us from falling into sin.  The first three commandments are to keep us close to God so that we can live in the presence of His unfailing love which is a holy and consuming fire. The fourth commandment to rest on the Sabbath is God’s prescription for a balanced rhythm of life and to have quality time with God. The remaining six commandments are given to promote love in the family and community.

After receiving the Ten Commandments from Moses, the Jews were filled with fear when they experienced the Presence of God through the loud thunder, bright lightning and smoke on Mount Sinai. It was an experience of the consuming fire of God’s awesome love. They felt that they will die if God spoke to them. Unlike Moses, they did not have a personal encounter with God.  They were spiritually challenged with an immature relationship with God. Moses told them not to be afraid as the fear of God was to keep them from sin. They had been chosen to live in the Kingdom of Heaven by loving God as their King with reverence, obedience and love for one another. As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven they were to live by the laws given through Moses.

Sin fills us with guilt, fears, and doubts that keep us from God and from one another. God’s laws are to open our eyes to see the sins of lust, anger, pride, gluttony, greed, envy and acedia that are in control of our minds and choking the seed of God’s love in our hearts. The ten commandments reflect the reign of God in our lives. The ten commandments reveal the sinful nature of our hearts that keep us from the joy of obedience. God’s laws expose our spiritual condition – we are spiritually dead and enslaved by sin. Like the apostle Paul, we all struggle with sin:

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it.”1 

We can only understand the teachings of the Old Testament when God is a living, personal presence in our lives and not locked up in a book. When my heart is stony, I cannot have a  face to face  encounter with God. It is only by God’s grace that the veil covering my mind is removed so that I am set free from being controlled  by my thoughts:

“But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.”2 

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.3  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.4  Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise of His unfailing love and to empower us to live out God’s commandments with joy and not in fear. Without the grace of God, the voice of the Lord is like thunder and fills us with fear. It is only by grace that we can hear the voice of the Lord as whispers of love that are drowned out by the pleasures of the world. As C.S. Lewis wrote:  “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Our thoughts are spiritual energy. Like nuclear energy we need to learn to harness and direct them towards love and away from evil. Many of us “eat, sleep, and breathe fear.” Fear is a normal human response to danger. However, we are unaware that our mammalian brain reflexes of fear are being constantly reactivated by the thoughts, feelings and fears in our daily interactions.  We are enslaved by sinful pleasures and live godless lives in malice and envy.

We can choose to live in F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) or in L.O.V.E. (Love Overcoming Virtual Evil). It is only when we have tasted God’s agape love that we will understand and experience the wonderful providence of the fear of the Lord.5  To do so, we just need to give ourselves to the Lord and to listen to his unfailing love:

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.”6 

Let us thank God for His steadfast love that is new every morning:

“The Steadfast Love Of The Lord Never Ceases,
His Mercies Never Come To An End,
They Are New Every Morning, New Every Morning
Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Oh Lord)
Great Is Thy Faithfulness”7


Lord, help me to delight in Your Word so that the desire of my heart is to seek and do Your will.


  1. What are the commandments of God that I find hard to obey?
  2. Am I living in fear of God or in love with God?
  3. How can I taste God’s unfailing love each morning?

Song of Praise:

The Steadfast Love Of The Lord


  1. Romans 7:18-20, NLT
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:14, NLT.
  3.  Matthew 27:51
  4. Hebrews 10:20
  5. Patrick Kee, Living With Our Shepherd of Love, pg 26-27
  6. Psalms 143:8, NLT
  7.  The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Courage For The Winter of Life


Genesis 46:1-7


“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said, “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” Genesis 46:3-4 NLT

 It is human to be afraid of the unknown and I need to hold fast to the truth that God’s plans are beyond my human understanding and wildest imagination.1 I will never fully understand the reasons for the Ukraine war or the Covid-19 pandemic. The tragedies of life lead me to face the hard truths of life and the reality of sin, evil and death. As Benjamin Franklin reminded the American people:

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

As I journey into the mid autumn of my life, old age looms as a time of losses, vulnerability and uncertainty. It is a time “to live into our belovedness with courage.”2  The story of Jacob going to Egypt to spend his last days in a place away from the Promised Land encourages me to trust in God’s plans for my old age.

Jacob had never expected to see his favourite son, Joseph alive. He was led to believe, by Joseph’s ten brothers, that Joseph may have been killed by a wild animal.3  Jacob could not believe his ears when he was subsequently told by his sons that Joseph was in fact alive and the governor of Egypt. When he was finally convinced that Joseph was alive, Jacob worshiped God by offering a sacrifice at Beersheba before he set out for Egypt. It was then that he received a vision from God who told him:

“I am the God of your father. Don’t be afraid of going down to Egypt. I am going to make you a great nation there. I’ll go with you down to Egypt; I’ll also bring you back here. And when you die, Joseph will be with you; with his own hand he’ll close your eyes.”4 

As Jacob worshiped God, he was given the promise of God’s presence to go down to Egypt and that God will make his family into a great nation there. He was also assured that Joseph will be at his death bed. The story of Jacob’s dysfunctional family is a revelation of how God is always turning evil to good. The evil actions of Joseph’s brothers were used by God to save the Jews during the famine.5 The story of Jacob and Joseph is a beautiful story to encourage us to build our trust in a loving God who is always in control and whose ways are beyond our comprehension.

In the winter of life, I need the courage that comes from a confident faith in God. I can take heart in God’s promise not to be afraid of the future for Christ came to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The good news of Easter is that Christ died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again. God has sown the mustard seed of the resurrection power of Christ in my heart – Christ is in me and the Holy Spirit is with me. 

Old age is a golden opportunity to follow the example of John the Baptist to decrease so that Christ can increase and others can behold Christ, the Lamb of God as their Saviour.6  Power and  influence corrupt. We will be tempted to use our knowledge to increase our status and reputation.  We are living in a world of sorrows that tempts to draw away from God:

“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrows awaits the person who does the tempting”7

Contemplative prayer is a spiritual discipline to overcome pride.  Like Jacob and Joseph, we may be led through times of great love and great suffering so that we may be fruitful in our deaths. In contemplative prayer, we rest in the faithfulness of God so that we can see life and death from God’s perspective and not from our limited human minds. Old age is a blessing when we see it as a time of letting go and preparing to return home to God. We have the victory over death when death is no longer the wages of sin – we are dead to sin and alive to God.8 Until we cross the river of death, life is worth living because Christ lives in us:

“And then one day, I’ll cross that river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living just because He lives.”9


Lord, thank You for the promise of Your Presence in the winter of life.


  1. What is God’s will for me in the winter of my life?
  2. How can I find the courage to face the uncertainties in old age?
  3. How am I to live in the winter of life so that my death may bear fruit in my loved ones?

Song of Praise:

Because He Lives



  1.  Isaiah 55:8, NLT
  2. Kristen E. Vincent, We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books, 2019). Quoted in New Every Morning | April 17, 2022.
  3. Genesis 37:31-35 
  4. Genesis 46:3-4 NLT
  5.  Genesis 50:19-21
  6.  John 1:29-34, NLT
  7.  Matthew 18:7, NLT
  8. Romans 6:11,23
  9. Because He Lives