Snakes and Ladders Of Life


Matthew 28:1-10


“Then the angel spoke to the women, ‘Don’t be afraid!” he said, ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here. He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.” Matthew 28:5-6, NLT

As I sat in silence on the morning of Good Friday, I heard the familiar chirping of a bird and then the thunderstorm began. The rolling sounds of thunder and the flashes of lightning brought the horrors and terrors of the war in Ukraine to mind. Good Friday is a day when we encounter the horrors of sin and evil. The pain and suffering Jesus suffered on the cross more than 2000 years ago, revealed the depths of inhumanity in human hearts.  The unseen bird continued singing through the thunderstorm –  a song assuring me of the faithfulness of God’s steadfast love which endures forever.

We are living in chaotic and unpredictable times and life can seem meaningless, purposeless, unfair and unjust. In such difficult times, we are filled with doubts and we feel hopeless and helpless. In these times we are drawn to our need for a confident and sustaining faith in a power beyond ourselves to deliver us from despair.  We need the power of love that always trump evil.  And this power can only be experienced in our powerlessness and helplessness.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples were unable to keep watch with Jesus as he wrestled in prayer to surrender his human will. Jesus then took the way of the cross to fulfill God’s perfect will. God knows that our spirits may be willing but our flesh is weak.1 Jesus died on the cross so that we can now watch and pray with him because he is watching and praying for us through the Holy Spirit:

”And the  Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”2

On Good Friday, Jesus went through the hell of experiencing the absence of God on the cross when he cried out on our behalf, “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?”3 Jesus expressed our perfectly normal and human cry to pain, suffering and grief. It was the perfect example of what authentic prayer is. Prayer is not giving God a laundry list of our personal needs or the problems of the world that needed to be solved. True prayer is the honest and intimate confession of our fears, doubts, anger and guilt to our Heavenly Father. We may feel abandoned by God but Jesus died and rose from the dead to assure us that God will never abandon us:

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4

Life from the human perspective is like a game of snakes and ladders. We climb up ladders of material and spiritual success only to slither down the snakes of our lust, pride, greed, anger, envy, gluttony, acedia, fear and guilt. Jesus came to give us God’s perspective of life – to live the cruciform life as God’s beloved. Jesus died on the cross so that we can stop trying to do good to feel good. We are empowered to do good when the Holy Spirit fill our hearts with the joy of salvation.  

The silence of Holy Saturday after Good Friday is a time to prepare for the resurrection of Christ in our hearts at Easter. Silence is not trying to empty our minds – it is being attentive to our noisy thoughts and letting them go. Silence is spending time with God by resting in Christ to wait for the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with the love of God.  We need not fear the silence of a mind that is waiting on God. It was a frightening experience for Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when the angel rolled aside the stone of the tomb. But the angel told them not to be afraid as Jesus has risen from the dead.5

We cannot find Jesus when our mind is entombed by fears, guilt, doubts and other negative thoughts. The practice of silence is the practice of giving our everything to God by doing nothing. It is a journey into the Galilee of our hearts. When Jesus met the disciples on their way to the tomb, he told them not to be afraid but to leave for Galilee to see him there.6

The empty tomb of Jesus is a metaphor of life after death – when we die, we leave our bodies just as a butterfly leaves the chrysalis. We will find true life when the Holy Spirit rolls away the stone of the tomb of a worldly life. As “spiritual butterflies” we can watch with Jesus the “monkey thoughts” flying through our restless “caterpillar minds.” Just as Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in our hearts, Easter isn’t Easter till our hearts have been set on fire with the flame of God’s love and our minds transformed by the power of the resurrection.  Then we can truly sing:

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.7


Lord, thank You for rolling away the stones of fear, doubts and guilt in my life. Fill my heart with the flame of Your love and rewire my mind with the power of Your resurrection.


  1. What are the negative thoughts that have been entombed in my mind?
  2.  What ladders of success am I trying to climb?
  3.  What are the “snakes” that  are drawing me away from the love of God?


Song of Praise

He Lives!


  1. Matthew 26:36-46, NLT
  2. Romans 12:26-27, NLT
  3. Matthew 27:46, NLT
  4. Romans 8:38-39, NLT
  5. Matthew 28:5-6, NLT
  6. Matthew 28:8-10, NLT
  7. He Lives, Alan Jackson

A Mustard Seed Kingdom


Genesis 26:12-23


“The Lord appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not  be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Genesis 26:24 NET

Life is full of failures in a dark and depressing world but love never fails. When we live our lives with our egos on the throne in our hearts, we will be afraid of failure. We will be discouraged when we encounter difficulties and disappointments in life. But times of failure are the best times to experience God’s Presence in our lives.

The story of Isaac’s life in the land of the Philistines during a famine is a revelation of the unfailing faithfulness of God’s agape love. Isaac had obeyed God’s commandment not to go down to Egypt during a famine. However, he repeated the failure of his father, Abraham, when he told the Philistines that Rebekah was his sister. But in spite of his deceit, God protected Isaac through King Abimelech and blessed him with so much wealth that the Philistines became jealous of him. Isaac was then ordered to move away to the Gerar Valley.

There he faced opposition from the shepherds in Gerar and he moved to Beersheba where he encountered God in a vision. God told him not to be afraid and promised that his descendants will become a great nation. When Isaac responded in worship, he experienced the fidelity of God’s promise to Abraham. King Abimelech came to make a covenant of peace  with him and Isaac’s servants  then found a new well.But Isaac needed courage and wisdom in his old age. Esau’s foreign wives made life miserable for him and Rebekah. Then Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing of the first born which belonged to Esau.  And to save Jacob from Esau’s wrath, Isaac had to send him away to Laban, Rebekah’s brother.2

In the Old Testament we read stories after stories of how God used feeble, flawed and foolish human beings for His glory. This is to teach us the spiritual truth that the meek will inherit the earth.3 When we are trying to be the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T), we are blind and deaf to God’s whispers of Love. It is only when we are meek and seeing heaven everyday in every person (S.H.E.E.P.) that God can plant a mustard seed of His Kingdom in our hearts.4 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.5 God knows our hearts and is waiting patiently for the right time to break through to us.

Like Abraham, God will call us to leave the comfort of our religious beliefs to embark on a journey into the Kingdom of God that is in the depths of our hearts. God’s promise of His Kingdom is not a reward for those who obey but a gift to be received by cultivating a right relationship with God:

“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.”6 

It is futile to try and break through to God with our willpower and human strength. Faith is a gift that we can only receive from God when we come to the end of ourselves. God is waiting to break through to our minds when we come to our senses like the Prodigal Son7  and turn from our foolish and futile ways. The Holy Spirit will then show us the way through the wilderness of our hearts to God’s Kingdom.

Faith is the fruit of God’s seed of love. When our hearts is a path, a stony ground or filled with weeds, we cannot bear the fruit of faith.8 We need contemplative practices to  become aware of the negative beliefs, thoughts and feelings that keep us from growing deep roots of faith. Faith in the love of God can only grow when we invest our time to build our trust in God by “wasting time” with Christ – opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit through a totally surrendered will. The good news of the gospel is that we can face our fears by resting in the cross of Christ. We will then grow a confident faith by building a radical and courageous trust in the everlasting faithfulness of God’s love through a totally surrendered will.

Faith is a reflection of our relationship with God. Fear, induced by adversities and failure, is the biggest obstacle we need to overcome. When our lives are ego centered and not God centered, we will be afraid when we are buffeted by the storms of life. We are all infected and impure with sin. Our righteous deeds are nothing but filthy rags.9  We can only live by faith when Jesus is our cornerstone10 and the gate of our righteousness.11

Jesus came as the Prince of Peace at Christmas to shine the light into the dark places in our hearts. On Palm Sunday, we welcome Jesus as He rides into our hearts as the King of Glory. It is only when I enthrone Jesus as Lord that my heart will not be divided and I will be set free from fears, guilt and sinful desires. Obedience to God’s Word becomes an exciting experiment of faith in the love of God and not a neurotic reaction to the fear of the judgment of God. Peace will guard my heart and mind in moments of anxiety and fear as I experience the power of God’s Presence in my daily life:

“Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace
No work too hard for Him, in faith receive from Him
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place”12


Lord, grant me patience and perseverance to water the mustard seed of Your love by waiting on You and feeding on Your Word.


  1. How can I keep my heart from becoming a path when I am successful?
  2. Is my heart a stony ground that keeps me from growing deeper roots of faith?
  3. What are the weeds that are choking the seed of love in my heart?

Song of Praise:

Be Still In The Presence Of The Lord



  1. Genesis 26:12-23
  2. Genesis 27:1-28:5
  3. Matthew 5:5, NKJV
  4. Mark 4:30-32, NLT
  5. 2 Chronicles 16:9, NLT
  6. Romans 4:13-14 NLT
  7. Luke  15:17
  8. Mark 4:13-20
  9. Isaiah 64:6
  10. Acts 4:11
  11. John 10:9, NLT
  12. Be Still For The Presence of The Lord, David J. Evans

Growing Faith In Trying Times


1 Kings 17:8-24


“But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.” 1 Kings 17:13

Difficult situations and circumstances are times to experience the mysterious ways of God and to grow our faith in God’s providence and power and to change our mindsets about scarcity. As we do so, our struggles become the crucibles to test the authenticity of our faith and to purify it like gold.1 Fear is our human response to any threat to our well being. However, it can be the “devil’s playground” in our minds when we live without without any consciousness of God’s presence. Hence, we have many exhortations, “don’t be afraid!” in the bible.

Elijah was told by God that a widow in Zarephath will provide for him after the Brook Cherith dried up during the famine. However, the widow told him that she had only a handful of flour and a little oil with which she was preparing some bread to eat with her son as their last meal.  But Elijah told her not to be afraid and assured her that her bin of flour will not be used up nor her jar of oil run dry till the end of the famine. By faith, in the face of scarcity and death, the widow gave Elijah a little piece of bread and experienced the miracle of God’s providence.

However, her faith was then more severely tested when her son fell seriously ill and died. She felt that the death of her son was God’s punishment for her sins. But Elijah cried out to God on her behalf and raised the boy from death. To the widow this proved that Elijah was a man of God and that the Lord truly spoke through him.2 This story was cited by Jesus as an example of God’s mysterious ways – it was by God’s grace that she was chosen to provide for Elijah.

Jesus was only able to perform a few miracles in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people.3 They had expressed skepticism of Jesus’ ministry and Jesus reminded them that Elijah was not sent to any of the needy widows in Israel but to the widow of Zarephath in Sidon who was a foreigner.4 God’s surprising ways are always unexpected, unpredictable and unimaginable.

Love is the energy that heals. Fear and doubts are obstacles to the flow of healing love.  It is also energy draining to practice the healing touch.  Jesus was on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter and felt the healing power going out from him when a woman with a bleeding disorder touched him. However, he told the woman that it was her faith that healed her. The woman’s testimony was a powerful booster for Jesus who then went on to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead.5 

Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God here on earth – a kingdom of abundance and not a scarcity of love. Times of scarcity are times to grow our faith. With Jesus as our Shepherd of Love, we can live by faith that we will lack nothing. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” so that we will remember that it is God who gives us everything we need. God is God of the powerless and a Father to the fatherless and defender of the widows.6 When we are the channels of God’s mercy and grace, God’s power and providence are limitless.

When we seek a problem and pain free life we will only get a false peace of mind. In our volatile world, we can expect to have problems but we can choose to use them to search our hearts and to draw closer to God. Our most important task is to ask and live out the right questions in our problems rather than to seek superficial answers to the problems of life. It is not why bad things happen to good people but how we are to grow our faith as we see God transforming our suffering into blessings. When we reflect on the immensity of God that is revealed in all creation,  we will be filled with the awesome truth of how insignificant and small we are and yet precious in the sight of God. 

“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 my problems as windows into Your amazing and awesome grace.


  1. How do my fears of not having enough and not being enough keep me from being who God wants me to be and what God wants me to do?
  2. What are the insecurities and limitations in my life that I need to surrender to God?
  3. How can I grow my faith in trying times?

Song of Praise:

By Faith



  1. 1 Peter 1:7
  2. 1 Kings 17:8-24
  3. Matthew 13:38
  4. Luke 4:24
  5. Luke 8:40-56
  6. Psalms 68:5
  7. By Faith,  Keith Getty

Living In The Light Of Death


Luke 8:49-56


“But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” Luke 8:50

We are spiritually dead, blind and deaf to our spiritual needs. We are all infected with the incurable disease of sin which leads to death.1 The apostle Paul gives us a graphic diagnostic picture of our spiritual disease:

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent,proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.”2

Jesus came to deliver us from sin and to wake us from our deathly slumber.  He was asked to see the twelve year daughter of Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue who was dying. Jesus was on his way after healing a woman with a bleeding disorder when a messenger came to tell Jairus the bad news that his daughter has died. But Jesus assured Jairus: “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”3

When Jesus arrived, the house was filled with people weeping and wailing. Jesus told them to stop weeping as she was not dead but only asleep. And the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. But Jesus had the last laugh when Jesus commanded the girl to get up and life returned to her.4 Jesus performed the miracle of instant cure in the face of death to demonstrate his power over death and to show us that death is not the will of God. God’s will is for us to die to sin so that we can live fully as the children of God.

But we need to confront death before we will seek a Saviour to deliver us from sin and be reborn as the children of God. When we lose sight of our precious spiritual identity we live our lives as mere human beings enslaved by the fear of death. However, as beloved children of God, the greatest pain and even death are times to experience the love of God.  Henri Nouwen wrote:

“For us, the greatest temptation is to lose touch with the Blessing. We are Beloved Sons and Daughters of God. When we live our suffering under the Blessing, even the greatest pain, yes, even death, will lead us deeper into the forgiving and life-giving heart of God. But when we think we are not loved, when we reflect on ourselves as living under a curse, when we say or think: “I am not good,” our suffering will lead us to despair and our death cannot give life.”5

When we follow Jesus to the cross, death become the miracle of the triumphant crossing.  Death is the final healing of our afflictions and the end of our physical suffering. Rob Moll found that life’s passing can be a beautiful gift of God. However, we may use heaven as an excuse to avoid unnecessary pain and pretend that the loss of death isn’t real because we will be united with our loved ones in heaven. He shared the following important insight:

“Death is real; there is no need to say that because our loved one is in heaven, death doesn’t exist. Death is a fact, and its sting is painful. So we mourn. But death has been defeated, and, comforted  by the Holy Spirit, we ask with the apostle Paul, “Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:15:55 KJV”6 

The challenge is to live in the light of death with a culture of the resurrection. Al Weir lamented the lack of emotional healing and community support for the chronically ill, disabled, frail and the elderly who lose their community and church connections over time. Rob Moll saw caring for the elderly as an important spiritual discipline for everyone as this will help us face death whenever it meets us. This will also empower us to live more faithfully in every area of our lives. 7 He discovered beauty and blessing in the art of dying as he cared for the dying:

“There is beauty and blessing in being with someone as she moves from this world to the next. As we attend to another believer whose soul is returning to God, we capture a glimpse of the beautiful destiny that awaits us. We are reminded of our need for Him. We are spurred on to live with eternity in view, knowing that it is our living well that will define our death.” 8

The elderly can teach younger people what it means to live a good Christian life and die well in the loving embrace of God’s love.  The elderly sick and the dying can still do great things for God when they have a sense of mission and are well supported with spiritual care. We have a mission to live out the following truth:

“For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose – to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.”9

Death reminds us that our life stories will all come to an end. But we can trust that God will make it a good end when we live by faith in Christ. With the hope of the resurrection of Christ, the darkness of death is turned to light:

“There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home”10


Lord, may I grow in faith and rejoice in hope as I wait for Your Spirit to fill me with Your everlasting love. Help me to live in the power of Your resurrection that I may see Your light in the winter of my life.


  1.  How can I find light in the darkness of death?
  2.  How am I to live that my aging and dying will glorify God?
  3.  How will caring for the elderly sick and dying as a spiritual discipline make a difference in my life and in my community

Song of Praise

There Is A Hope



  1.  Romans 6:23
  2.  Romans 1:29-31.NLT
  3.  Luke 8:50
  4.  Luke 8:52-55
  5.  Nouwen Meditation: Live Under The Blessing, 20 March 2022
  6.  Rob Moll; The Art of Dying, page 132 
  7.  Ibid, 161
  8.  Ibid, 178
  9.  Romans 14:7-9
  10. There Is A Hope, Stuart Townsend

From Doubts To Wonder


Matthew 14:22-33


“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid.” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 NLT

Adversities and failures in life are but roadblocks to a life that goes Nowhere. In such times, we are to pray for guidance to embark on the road to a life of righteousness that is Now Here. It is the way of the Cross which is filled with doubts and fears. As human beings, we are the only creatures who have doubts as we have higher levels of consciousness. We are able to reflect on the past and to contemplate the future.  When we live our lives under the control of our mammalian and reptilian brains, we are driven by our desires and instincts. But as human beings we are created for higher things. We can choose to let our fears be stumbling stones driving us to doubt or we can use our fears to be stepping stones to lead us to a faith in the wonders of God.

The disciples were in a storm when they saw Jesus  walking on water towards them. They were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus spoke to them: “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” Peter then asked to walk to Jesus to prove that it was really Jesus walking in the storm. However, as Peter began walking on the water towards Jesus, he saw the strong wind and waves. He was terrified and began to sink and cried out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!”:

“Jesus Immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

The wind stopped when they climbed back into the boat and the disciples were filled with awe and wonder as they worshiped him and declared, “You really are the Son of God.”1

Peter’s failure to walk on water towards Jesus was a reflection of his fearfulness which led him to lose faith in Jesus’ call, “Yes, come.” Instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus, Peter shifted his attention to the wind and the waves and fear melted his courage. Doubt is the expression of our fears and our desire to be in control. Peter’s courage sank when his fears drove him to doubt.

 Trust is the expression of our faith and a surrendered will to God. Peter could have just waited for Jesus to get into the boat instead of trying to walk on water. So often we are tempted to do great things for God with a shallow faith. But by grace God turns our times of doubt into opportunities to experience His wonders.

In the storms of life, we can try to walk in the storm or to wait out the storm.  The failure of Peter to walk in the storm teaches us  the important lesson that we need great faith to walk in the storm  or we will be sunk by our doubts. The good news is that when we are drowning in half truths and lies we can cry out:

“I am drowning in tears. Strengthen me as  you promised. Turn me away from a life of lies. Graciously provide me with your teachings.  I have chosen a life of faithfulness.”2 

The good news of the gospel is that the Lord is present with us. We need only a mustard seed faith to be still and to stand on the promise that God is our refuge and our strength:

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge……

Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored  by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”3

Courage is not the absence of fear – it is confidence in God’s presence in the face of fear. The disciples were told to have courage for Jesus was with them.  The practice of the presence of God in our daily lives is therefore of utmost importance.  To do so, I need to  read the bible with a surrendered heart  and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me into Christ’s presence through the Word of God. I can read the bible to know about God with my thinking mind but my faith will remain shallow.  Feeding on God’s Word is not  filling my mind with bible verses – it is reflecting on God’s Word to examine my heart and to rewire my mind:

“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where the soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.”4 

I need to be rooted in the Word of God to bear the fruit of joy and peace in every season of life. The secret of living the abundant life in Christ is to delight in the Word of God and to remember that my Shepherd of Love is holding me fast:

“I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast”5


Lord, in these dark, doubtful and difficult times, be my refuge and my strength. Keep me from drowning in my doubts. Hold me fast in the storms of life that I may experience the wonder of Your presence.


  1. What are the fears that lead me to doubt God’s love for me?
  2. How can I turn my doubts into opportunities to experience God’s miracles?
  3. How can God’s Word help me to experience His presence in my daily life?

Song of Praise:

He will hold me fast


  1. Matthew  14:22-33
  2. Psalms 119:28-29. GW
  3. Psalms 46:1-3, 10-11 NLT
  4. Hebrews 4:12 GW
  5. He Will Hold Me Fast

From Wow to Woe


Luke 5:1-11


“Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will catch people instead of fish.” Luke 5:10

Times of dissatisfaction, disappointment and discouragement in our mundane lives are opportunities for “bushes afire with God” encounters. We need such spiritual encounters to fill our hearts with wonder and awaken our minds. We need the spirit of repentance to open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the gospel truth that “the righteous shall live by faith.”1

The apostle Peter and his friends were washing their fishing nets beside their boats when Jesus stepped into one of the boats and used it to preach to the crowds pressing in on him. After preaching to the people, Jesus told Peter to move his boat deeper into the sea and to let his nets down to catch some fish. But Peter and his friends had worked hard through the night and had caught nothing. However, he obliged a complete stranger to do something that he probably felt was a waste of time.  

Peter’s obedience is the expression of his humble, contrite and submissive heart and he was awestruck by the huge number of fish they caught.2The miracle opened Peter’s eyes to his sinful nature and the holiness of Jesus. It drove him to his knees to ask Jesus to leave him.  But Jesus told him not be afraid as God has a higher calling for him.

Miracles reveal the condition of the spiritual soil of our hearts – are they filled with the weeds of greed, pride and lust or with the wheat of humility, thanksgiving, and reverence? Greed will tempt us to turn stones into bread. But a heart that is seeking God’s heart will be humbled by God’s miracles.  We will confess that, “we are not worthy so much as to gather the crumbs under Your table.”3 

We will be awestruck by the wonder of God’s grace to see the awful state of our sinful hearts – we will be moved from wow to woe. Like Moses, when God spoke to him from a burning bush, an encounter with the divine will fill us with awe and fear.4 Like Isaiah, we will be filled with a sense of doom as we realize that we live among people with sinful lips.

But God does not want us to be afraid of Him but to advance the Kingdom of heaven here on earth by following Christ. God sees our hearts and understands everything we do. God knows our thoughts and how deceitful our hearts are.  But God’s precious thoughts about us cannot be numbered.6 The good news is that Jesus came to deliver us from shame and blame and to restore our identity as the children of God. When we feel abandoned we can turn our eyes to the cross of Christ and to rest in the truth that God never abandons us. We are the ones who have turned away from God. We forget that we are always in God’s presence.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditating on God’s Word are to keep us from wandering away from God and to fill us with a sense of wonder of God’s mysterious grace. We read the bible not just to hear what God is saying to us but to be inspired to do what we need to do and to be who God wants us to be. The spiritual habits of meditation and prayer are to keep us connected with God and to anchor our faith in the righteousness of Christ.

Everything that is happening in the world, like the Ukraine war and the pandemic, are ways by which God is reminding us of His sovereignty and our need to wait on Him.  It is in waiting on God that we can be attentive to the ways in which God is calling us to do the good things that He has planned for us.7  Peter did not choose to follow Jesus. Jesus invited Peter to a higher calling from being a fisherman. Our calling is to live out the truth of the gospel – “’Christ Jesus came to save sinners’ and I am the worst of them all.”8

The Kingdom of heaven is in our hearts and is seen in our lives when Jesus reigns as our Servant King. We need the “be-attitudes” of the spirit of poverty and the spirit of mourning to surrender our hearts and minds to the will of God. The war in Ukraine is but a reminder that we are in the midst of a greater war – the spiritual battle for our minds and hearts. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.9 But the Spirit in us is greater than the spirits in the world.10 Furthermore, the battle belongs to the Lord and our ability to live out our faith is rooted in the righteousness of Christ. We can practice praying, “Jesus Is Lord”11 in our free moments throughout the day to “rewire” our brains.12 It is a way to pray without ceasing.13

As I was meditating early this morning, the chirping of the birds evoked a sense of wonder of God’s mysterious ways. It was such a privilege to enjoy with God the music of a bird’s song as I savour the truth that God’s precious thoughts about me outnumber the grains of sand. And the words of the hymn, How Great Thou Art, flooded my soul:

“When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”14


Lord, help me keep a humble, reverent  and obedient heart so that I can advance Your Kingdom here on earth by being a channel of Your amazing grace.


  1. What sinful desires do I need to surrender to God?
  2. How can I keep myself from wandering away from God especially in times of success?
  3. How can I be attentive to the miraculous workings of God in the mundane moments of my life?

Song of  Praise

How Great Thou Art



  1. Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17
  2. Luke 5:1-11
  3. A Service Of Word and Table IV, The United Methodist Hymnal, pg 30
  4. Exodus 3:1-6
  5. Isaiah 6:5
  6. Psalms 139:1-17
  7. Ephesians 2:10
  8. I Timothy 1:15
  9. Ephesians 6:10-12
  10. 1 John 4:4
  11. Romans 10:9
  12. Inspired by Thomas Keating suggestion of “The Active Prayer Sentence” in his book, “Open Mind, Open Heart (page 171)
  13. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  14. How Great Thou Art

From Death To Life


Genesis 35:16-22


“After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid – you have another son!” Genesis 35:17, NLT

At the funeral wake of an old friend, we met a young lady who had recently been cured of pancreatic cancer. She was a Buddhist and had been given only 2 months to live but made a complete recovery. It was a miracle of God’s healing grace through the care and expertise of her doctors. It triggered memories of Prof Cynthia Goh, one of the founders of hospice care in Singapore, who recently died from pancreatic cancer. Her death reminded me that when we follow Christ, death is also a miracle – the miracle of the triumphant crossing from death to eternal life.

When Rachel was dying while she was giving birth to Benjamin, the midwife encouraged her, “don’t be afraid” as she was going to have another son. Rachel had intense labor pains and a very difficult delivery. With her dying breath, Rachel named her baby Ben-oni which means “son of my sorrow.”

But Jacob changed the name to Benjamin which means “son of my right hand.”1 Perhaps Jacob was inspired to do so from his earlier encounter with God before he met Esau. He had then struggled with God and was given a new name, Israel, as he had prevailed.2 

Jacob’s response to the death of his favorite wife and birth of his youngest son exemplifies what hospice care is all about – turning a sorrowful event into a hopeful one. Hospice care is often seen as the care of the dying when it is in fact a philosophy of care to live life more fully in the face of death.  It is a ministry of comforting all those who mourn so that they can have crowns of beauty instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of tears of grief and garments of praise instead of a spirit of despair.3 In hospice care, we journey with the terminally ill and their families as they embrace their grief and change their valleys of sorrow in the night into valleys of joy in the morning.4

We are living in a death denying society for we are programmed to fear death. But it is God’s will that we choose life.5 Hence, Jesus came to show us the way to live from death to life.  Jesus did not come to turn bad sinners into good saints but to raise dead sinners to be saints who are alive to God. Jesus lived a selfless, obedient life and died a selfless, obedient death to set us free from the fear of death.6 Jesus’ body was broken for us so that our broken and messy lives can be made whole.

We observe Ash Wednesday not as an act of holiness but as the remembrance of the reality that we are dust and to dust we shall return. It is a call to repentance and to believe in the Gospel. It is confronting our mortality so that we can live a more humane and humble life.  When our hearts are hardened, our ears cannot hear and our eyes are closed and we cannot understand the good news of salvation and the kingdom of God:7

But God is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. We were dead because of our failures, but He made us alive together with Christ. (It is God’s kindness that saved you).”8

It is through faith in Christ that we cross from death to life through all our “little deaths” in our losses and broken dreams each day. We can choose to release the pain in our past so that bitterness will not fill our hearts with tears of regrets. Blessed are those who mourn for it is through the tears of repentance of a broken heart that we enter God’s kingdom of love in the here and now.

God is waiting for us to return to Him so that we can have the times of refreshing that comes from the presence of the Lord.9 The way of the cross is not a journey to find God but walking with Christ in the distressing moments of life – to de-stress by resting in the refreshing showers of the Holy Spirit. It is walking with our Shepherd of love through the valley of death and fearing no evil.10 With the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, we are living in very difficult times:

“You must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time. People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy, and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what  is good. They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God. They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people.”11

Times of darkness are times of refreshing when we return to God and give Him our hearts so that the Holy Spirit can redirect us to follow Christ to the cross. This is not seeking death but embracing  death through the attitude of surrendering our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions to God so that “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”12  It is to be led by our Shepherd of love as we tread life’s dark maze surrounded by spreading griefs so that darkness will turn to day and sorrow’s tears wiped away. And with confidence we can declare:

“When ends life’s transient dream,

when death’s cold sullen stream shall o’er me roll;

blest Savior then in love, fear and distrust remove;

O bear me safe above,

a ransomed soul”13


Lord, help me to embrace my sorrows so that I may experience the comfort of Your Holy Spirit.


  1. What are the ‘little deaths” that I need to face each day?
  2. How does mourning help me to enter the kingdom of heaven?
  3. How am I to live each day so that the mystery of death will be the miracle of the triumphant crossing?

Song of praise:

My Faith Looks Up to Thee



  1. Genesis 35:16-18
  2. Genesis 32:22-32
  3. Isaiah 61:3
  4. Psalms 30:5
  5. Deuteronomy 30:19
  6. Philippians 2:7-8 MSG, James 2:14-15
  7. Acts 28:25-30
  8. Ephesians 2:4
  9. Acts 3:19
  10. Psalms 23:4
  11. 2 Tim 3:1-5
  12. Philippians 1:21
  13. My Faith Looks Up to Thee, Ray Palmer

G.R.I.E.F.   – Godly Repentance In Every Failure


Scripture for reflection: Acts 27


“The angel told me, “Don’t be afraid, Paul! You must present your case to the emperor. God has granted safety to everyone who is sailing with you.” Acts 27:24

We are living in very stormy times – a world that is on the brink of a world war with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in the midst of a pandemic. Like Charlie Brown, we cry out, “Good grief!” as we wonder what the future holds.  A world plunged into darkness by war and the pandemic is in great need for a tsunami of joy – to hear “Joy to the world! The Lord has come!”  Indeed, the good news is that Jesus has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Christ’s love. In times like these, we need to pray for the complete knowledge of God’s will and for spiritual wisdom and understanding.1 

When the apostle Paul was on the way to Rome, his ship was caught in a terrible storm that raged for days and there seemed to be no hope of survival. In the face of despair, Paul shared with his fellow companions that an angel had told him not to be afraid for it was God’s will for him to present his case to the emperor and so all of them would be saved. With a spirit of thanksgiving, he broke some bread and encouraged all of them to eat. When morning came, the ship was shipwrecked but everyone was able to escape safely to shore.2 

The war in Ukraine and the pandemic are but urgent clarion calls to repentance – to open our eyes to the invisible war against evil and the spiritual infection of sin in all of our hearts. We will all suffer grief in this dark world sooner or later. But we can choose our response to grief – with worldly sorrow or godly repentance. Worldly sorrow drives us to despair and hopelessness.  Godly repentance leads us to joy and confident hope. Godly repentance draws us to the truth that blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.3 We are brought to the end of ourselves so that we will rely only on God who raises the dead instead of relying on ourselves.4 And the spirit of poverty opens the door into the kingdom of heaven.5

The failures of fickle, flawed and fearful leaders are but mirrors of the failures, flaws and fears in our hearts.  All of us need to come to g.r.i.e.f. – godly repentance in every failure – to learn lessons from our failures and turn them into stepping stones of faith. And centering prayer is the best response to grief to turn to God – not to change our circumstances, but to change our hearts that we may be the salt and light in the world.

Julian of Norwich wrote that we are created for joy and the more we see (and know our failures), the more by grace we shall long to be filled full of endless joy. Even though we will constantly fail, we have the hope, according to Richard Rohr, that everything can be mended, healed, and restored for failure is not the final word.6 

A simple way to practice godly repentance in failure is to learn to be still  and to rest in our Shepherd of Love. In silence, we observe and witness our thoughts and feelings such as fear, anger, doubts, and a myriad of other negative emotions and beliefs with a nonjudgmental spirit of  acceptance. Suppressing such thoughts and feelings will turn them into inner storms that will shipwreck our peace of mind. Observing and accepting them in silence is the best way to bring these thoughts captive to Christ.7

We will fail time and time again to keep away the “monkey thoughts” from our minds but this is the secret of success in Christian meditation – each time we fail to be still we succeed because the awareness of our failure becomes the expression of our intention and our desire to make Jesus our Lord. When we try to be a master of meditation, we will be mastered by our “monkey thoughts.” However, when we seek to be mastered by Christ through meditation, Christ will be the master of our wandering thoughts and the Holy Spirit will fill our wondering hearts with more love for God.

The goal of Christian meditation is to invite the Holy Spirit to renew our cluttered minds with the will of God and to recharge our hardened hearts with the love of God. In silence we listen and delight in God’s promises by keeping our eyes on the Cross of Christ. This will help us to walk by the Spirit in times of success as well as times of failure. Only then can we be a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness.8

When our lives are firmly anchored in the will of God, our hearts will not be divided and we will not be blown and tossed by the storms of life. We will not react to the negative circumstances of life out of anger or fear but we will painstakingly learn to respond with love and in faith.  We will then not fear failure nor seek success in the eyes of the world but we will grow in faithfulness to seek the will of God. True success is living a life of confident hope that is rooted in the righteousness of Christ, the joy of salvation in the Spirit, and the everlasting love of God. God’s answers to the woes of our world are blowing in the wind. We are called to radiate God’s love, joy and peace as children of God and to declare:

“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!”9


Lord, I surrender my fear of failure to You. Lead me in godly repentance in every failure that I face.


  1.  What are the fears that are keeping me from seeking God’s will?
  2. How can I see God’s plans and promises in the failures of my  life?
  3. How can I know God more deeply so that I can trust Him with my future?

Song Of Praise:

This Is My Father’s World


  1. Colossians 1:9-13
  2. Acts 27
  3.  Matthew 5:4
  4. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
  5. Matthew 5:3
  6. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, 23rd February 2022
  7. 2 Corinthians 10:5
  8.  Romans 2:19
  9.  This Is My Father’s World, Amy Grant

Imperfect Faith, Perfect Faithfulness


Scripture for reflection: Genesis Chapter 15


“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” Genesis 15:1

We live in a crazy and chaotic world that is full of unpredictable changes. We are fearful of change but change is the catalyst to grow our faith and our love for God. The story of Abraham reveals  the humbling truth that our faith is imperfect but God’s faithfulness is perfect. His promises of everlasting love and faithfulness are rooted in the honor of His name.1 Abraham was called by God to leave his father’s family and relatives in Haran at the age of seventy five years to  journey to Canaan. God had promised Abraham that he would be famous and be a blessing to all the families of the earth.2 This promise of God  has been fulfilled for Abraham is the father of faith of the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians. And the history of the Jewish nation which began with the story of Abraham culminated in the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ:

“He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”3

The ups and downs of the Jewish people provide us with a glimpse of God’s wonderful Story Of Salvation – God will not abandon the people He has chosen as His own because this would dishonor His great name.4 We have been infected by sin and live in a fallen world that is under the dominion of evil. The biblical stories are a dramatic revelation of the incredible plan of God to redeem mankind from sin, to renew the earth and to restore the kingdom of God on earth.

 God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.5 This is seen in the story of God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis, chapter 15. Abraham was asked to make a sacrifice comprising of a heifer, goat, ram, turtledove and a pigeon when he asked God for a confirmation that God will be giving him the land of Canaan. While waiting for God to consume the sacrifice, he fell into a deep sleep and encountered a terrifying darkness. He was given a peek into the future of the Jews – a story of oppression as slaves for 400 years in a foreign land. They would only return to the Promised Land after four generations. God then confirmed the covenant through a smoking firepot and a flaming pot passing between the halves of the carcasses.6 This is to remind us that God is God of the past, present and future.

Earlier, Abraham had successfully rescued Lot from King Kedorlaomer and his allies. Perhaps he was struggling with fears of retribution from King Kedorlaomer when the Lord spoke to him in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”7

The life of Abraham is the story of a flawed and fallible human being with an imperfect faith seeking to trust the perfect faithfulness of God. God knows how weak and fragile our human faith can be. God is always waiting to turn our fears and doubts into faith and convictions. When life seems impossible, we can turn to God with a faith as small as a mustard seed to find strength and endurance in the storms of life.

Impossible situations are times to experience the joy and peace of a faith rooted in the perfect faithfulness of God. It is in such times that we see the fruit of our faithful practice of spiritual disciplines to be still in the presence of God.8 Trials and tribulations become opportunities for great joy as we grow in endurance and wisdom.9

Jesus came to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. We are the true children of Abraham and heirs of God’s kingdom when we belong to Christ.10  Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” to remind us of our vision and mission as the children of God’s Promise. Through success and sorrow, in our struggles and the storms of life, we are to remember that God’s faithfulness is perfect.

God’s promises are forever. The chaos in the world beckons us to be still and to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. We are tempted to feel that God is absent or that God has forgotten. But God scatters the proud and pull strong rulers from their thrones. He honors the humble and feeds the hungry.11  In times of uncertainty, we have the confident hope that the Holy Spirit is leading us into the unknown future when Jesus is enthroned in our hearts as our Servant King.

We are not called to be successful but to journey through life with growing trust in the perfect faithfulness of God’s everlasting love. It is our failures that awaken us to our need for God’s provision, pardon and protection so that we can be God’s faithful and loving  ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us live our lives in a way that proves we belong to God and are living in His kingdom for His glory12 as we declare:

“Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”13


Lord, my faith is weak and imperfect. Help me to live as Your child of Promise by putting my trust in Your perfect faithfulness.


  1. What fears do I encounter when I am successful in life?
  2. What doubts do I face in times of suffering and sorrow?
  3. How can I practice being still in God’s presence so that Christ will be my anchor in the storms of life?

Song of Praise

Great Is Thy Faithfulness



  1. Psalms 138:2, NLT
  2. Genesis 12:1-3
  3. Luke 1:54-55, NLT
  4. 1 Samuel 12:22
  5. Isaiah 55:8
  6. Genesis 15: 7-17
  7. Genesis 14:14-15:1
  8. Psalms 46:10
  9. James 1:2-4
  10. Galatians 3:29, NLT
  11.  Luke 1:51-53
  12. 1 Thessalonians 2:12. GW
  13.  Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Thomas O. Chisholm

Changing Our Life Story


Scripture for Reflection: Genesis 21:8-21


“But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, ‘Hagar, what’s wrong?” Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Genesis 21:17, NLT

Our life stories are complex, complicated and contradictory – filled with misunderstandings, conflicts and unforgiveness because of our human failings and sinful human nature. But God is our loving Heavenly Father who is all powerful, all knowing and all loving. And He is patiently waiting for us to turn to Christ so that we can rewrite the stories of our foibles, failings and failures, into glorious testimonies of His mercy and grace, with the power of the Holy Spirit,

When Hagar was pregnant with Ishmael, she  ran away after she was abused by Sarah. At that time, she received the assurance from an angel that God had heard her distress and that she will have more descendants than she could count.1 It was like the promise that God had given to Abraham:

“Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”2 

But fourteen years later, after the birth of Isaac, Hagar found herself and Ishmael facing death in the wilderness. Sarah’s anger had been aroused when she saw Ishmael teasing Isaac and told Abraham to get rid of  Hagar and Ishmael. Although Abraham was upset, he complied with Sarah’s demands after he was assured by God that Ishmael’s descendants will become a nation too.3 By faith, he provided Hagar with food and water and sent her and Ishmael into the wilderness.

After wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba, Hagar ran out of water and burst into tears in despair as she could not watch Ishmael die from dehydration. But God heard Ishmael crying and sent an angel to comfort them and remind Hagar of God’s earlier promise to her years ago:

“Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.”4

Her eyes were then opened to see a well full of water and they went on to live in the wilderness of Paran. The story of Hagar and Ishmael is more than a historical story of Abraham’s family. It is a sacred story to show us the perfect faithfulness of our Heavenly Father whose love is endless. God is our Divine Story teller of Love. He weaves our human fears, failings, and failures together with our lust, greed, pride, anger, and envy into beautiful narratives of His amazing mercy and grace.

 Just as God heard the cry of Ishmael, we can cry out to God with a childlike dependence on the infinite power of God. Then like Hagar, we need to hear God asking us, “What’s wrong?” and confront our doubts and fears that keep us from seeing the wonderful promises and providence of God’s faithful love.

Our human stories may be futile, foolish and fragmented but every one of our stories has a place in the beautiful and wonderful tapestry of God’s eternal love. The story of Hagar and Sarah is a demonstration of the difference between living in fear as a slave of sin and living by faith as a child of God.

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul described the births of Ishmael and Isaac as representing two ways to be in relationship with God. We can live by the law and be slaves of sin like Ishmael. Or we can live by grace and be like Isaac, the children of promise, who may be ridiculed by those who are slaves of sin:

“And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.”5 

The good news of the gospel is that through faith in Jesus Christ, we are reborn – not with a physical birth from human passion or plan but a birth that comes from God.6 And as we live in the light of God’s love, we can change our life story – from stories of anger and abandonment to a story of faith in the total dependence on the amazing grace of God. We can then be transformed – from living as human beings seeking a spiritual experience to being a child of God living in the kingdom of heaven for the glory of God in the here and now.

As we seek to live in the kingdom of heaven, we will face obstacles, opposition and oppression, like the Jews in Egypt, But our struggles and sorrows are the compost for the seed of God’s love to grow roots of faith in our hearts. For God hears our cries and collects our tears:

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”7 

Our insignificant and futile life stories are but the inspiring stories of God’s mercy and love when our tears are turned into springs of Living Water by the grace of God to nourish the roots of faith in a spiritually dry and thirsty world:

“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”8


Abba Father,  thank You for drawing me to Your throne of grace through my fears. Help me to rewrite my life story into a living testimony of Your resurrection power by being a pencil in Your Hands through the Holy Spirit.

Contemplatio: Changing my life story

  1.  How do the stories in the bible convict, correct, challenge and comfort me?
  2. What are the parts in my life story that need to be changed?  
  3. What are the stones in my heart that keep me from joy and peace?
  4. What baby steps in my walk with God do I need to take to change my life story?

Song of Praise

By Faith



  1. Genesis 16 
  2. Genesis 15:5
  3. Genesis 21:11-12
  4. Genesis 21:17
  5. Galatians 4:28-29
  6. John1:13. 
  7. Psalms 56:8
  8.  By Faith, Keith Getty