The Insanity of Pride

After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praise and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.” Daniel 4:34 NLT

Our “monkey mind” leads our heart to wander from God’s amazing grace1. We stray from the green pastures of God’s love. We are lost in the world instead of being lost in wonder, love and praise2  in the kingdom of heaven. Our human tendency is to follow our own desires and defiling ourselves.3 We are prone to wander away from God. The Covid 19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine opened my eyes to the reality that we are living in a mad, mad world – the consequence of having hardened hearts and wandering far from the beautiful life that God had created us for. We are hopelessly confused with our minds full of darkness:

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”4

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar draws attention to the insanity of pride as well as God’s awesome grace. King Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument to punish the Jews as well as to demonstrate the awesome glory of God. But King Nebuchadnezzar did not have a personal relationship with God to understand God’s message through the dream that God had sent to him. It was only after Daniel revealed and interpreted the dream that deeply troubled him that King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God as the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries”5.

However, his ego led him to build a massive gold statue for the people to worship. God had to use the faith of Shadrach, Meshrach and Abednego to reveal to him the power of God to save. Unfortunately, these experiences did not keep King Nebuchadnezzar from the insanity of pride even though God had given him another dream to warn him.

Instead of following Daniel’s advice to break from his wicked past and to be merciful to the poor, King Nebuchadnezzar boasted of building the great city of Babylon with his own mighty power. He was immediately stricken by madness, driven from human society, and lived with the wild animals until one day, he looked up to heaven:

My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.6

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar is a stark warning of the danger of success. In our success, we will be be tempted to feel proud of our work, even our work for God. Pride leads our hearts to wander from the wonder of God’s grace. Pride leads to greed. And greed leads to idolatry and God’s judgment.7.

The tragic, scary and disheartening news of the world is not the real story. The true story is that God’s love will always trump evil. Our stories are just a tiny part of God’s infinite story of love. The good news is that God is always waiting to change our life stories. We see the amazing grace of God leading King Nebuchadnezzar step by step to live a life of praise and worship.

There is a King Nebuchadnezzar in each one of us reminding us of our need for humility. Humility is God’s antidote for pride. Humility is not thinking less of one self but being in awe of God’s amazing love and grace. Humility is rooted in the awareness that we are living in darkness when we have a deceitful heart and a wandering mind. There is a battle in our minds to please people or to please God – to live up to the expectations of others instead of living for what is pleasing to God.

It is by the grace of God that we have been chosen to live as citizens of heaven8 –  a life that is “lost in wonder, love and praise.” Our responsibility is understand what the Lord wants us to do so that we will not act thoughtlessly9. To do so, we need to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice – to look up to God and rest in the wonder of His love as our act of worship each day.

Our Heavenly Father patiently pursues us to guide, correct and direct us even when we run from His calling on our life. God is waiting to invite us to His banquet of love but we are blinded by pride, greed and lust. We need to come to our senses, to turn back to God, and to desire Him with all our heart. As we do so, the Holy Spirit will fill us with a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and lead us to walk in the light of Christ.10 Let us pray each day for God’s goodness to bind our wandering hearts to Christ:

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee”11



  1. Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
  2. Love Divine, All Love Excelling
  3. Numbers 15:39, NLT
  4. Ephesians 3:17-29, NLT
  5. Daniel 2:1-47, NLT
  6. Daniel 3:1-37, NLT
  7. Colossians 3:5, NLT
  8. Philippians 1:27
  9. Ephesians 5:17
  10. John 12:35, NLT
  11. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Chris Rice

The Power Of Silence


Acts 18:1-17


One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! Acts 18:9,NLT

A dark, divided and confused world desperately need to hear the good news of God’s S.O.S – Story Of Salvation. God is our Heavenly Father who wants the nations to seek Him and to feel their way toward Him. We can find Him for in Him we live and move and exist – we are His offspring1 The Jews rejected the good news and Paul was led to preach it to the Gentiles. He was encouraged to do so when he had a vision from the Lord telling him:

“Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!2  

Paul was accused of persuading people to worship God in ways that were contrary to the Jewish laws and faced much persecution.3 The good news is that Jesus opened a new and life-giving way for us to go before God’s throne of grace and seek God’s Presence.4 We are to live with the New Covenant in which God’s laws are put in our hearts and written on our minds.5

God speaks to each one of us in different ways. God spoke to Paul and Isaiah in a vision, to Moses in a burning bush, to Elijah as a still small voice and to John Wesley in a strangely warm heart. Mother Teresa espoused the simple path of silence for silence is the key to true prayer. It is our connection to God’s internet of wisdom and love. Before we can speak out for God, we need the spirit of obedience that flows from a listening heart. There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak.6

When I visited my elder daughter in San Francisco, she took us for a walk through a forest of redwood trees in Muir Woods. A part of the forest was aptly called Cathedral Grove  where visitors were encouraged to enter quietly. It was an awesome experience which filled me with a wonder of silence. It brought Morton Kelsey to mind. He had taught “The Other Side Of Silence” in silent retreats conducted by the Methodist Church in the 1990s, He shared his experience with the red wood trees in his book, Prayer & The Redwood Seed:

“I wonder how these seeds can give birth
 to a living cathedral like this in which I stand.
Gigantic buttresses of wood and bark
support great tapering columns arching overhead,
filtering a stream of soft light
Upon carpets of ferns and fallen twigs.
I feel as tiny as the seed I hold.”7

I feel inspired to sow the seed of the ancient tradition of spending time with God in silence. We need to be in touch with the silence in our hearts for it to have the power to transform our lives. The eyes see and the ears hear the truths of God but it is in the silence of our hearts that we understand how to live them out.

The Covid 19 pandemic provided everyone, poor or rich, sick or healthy, with the golden opportunity to practice solitude and silence. Unfortunately we have not harnessed the power of silence. We fear silence when we have False Expectations that Appear Real. Such fears are justified as silence can bring forth the dark secrets kept hidden in our hearts and expose us to attacks from the evil one.

We need companions for our inner journey.  Morton Kelsey noted that members of the early church emphasized community and fellowship because they knew the dangers of embarking on the inner journey alone. We need prayer groups in which we can one listen and share and test one’s experiences of the Holy as we learn the meaning of real fellowship with one another.We need to develop fellowships of the broken hearted.

To do so, it is important to have the right motive for the practice of silence – desire to be filled with the power of Divine Love. In silence, we may be led to face spiritual battles and to taste death. In silence we learn to number our days that we may grow in wisdom.9 In silence, we seek God’s loving embrace with the reverence that the Lord is in His holy Temple:

“The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord is in His holy temple:
Let all the earth keep silence,
Let all the earth keep silence before Him—
Keep silence, keep silence before Him.”10

Our troubled and messy world needs the power of silence – to listen to the wonderful truth that all is calm and all is bright in the silent and holy night when Jesus Christ was born!


Lord, grant me the patience and wisdom to share the power of silence.


  1. Why is it important to practice silence?
  2. How can I practice silence?
  3. What is God saying to me in my silence?

Song of Praise

Silent Night, Holy Night



  1. Acts 17:27, NLT
  2. Acts 18:9, NLT
  3. Acts 18:13-17, NLT
  4. Hebrews 4:16,10:19-22
  5. Hebrews 10:16, NLT
  6. Ecclesiastes 3:7, NET
  7. Morton Kelsey, Prayer & The Redwood Seed, page 2
  8. Morton Kelsey, The Other Side Of Silence, page 102
  9.  Psalms 90:12
  10. The Lord Is In His Holy Temple

Monkey Mind


2 Kings 6:8-23, NLT


“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 2 Kings 6:16, NLT

It was such a joy to have birds building their nests in our garden and front porch. At one time, we saw God’s loving care when two baby birds were able to fly off from their nest after they had fallen out of the nest a couple of times. However, a few days ago, we were devastated when a monkey snatched and ate up two baby birds from a nest in our front porch. It was so heart breaking to see the mother bird flying frantically looking for her babies in the broken nest.

The monkey had seen the baby birds as food but we had a special relationship with the birds as we saw them as our guests. It dawned on me that there is a “monkey mind” in all of us when our relationships with others are dictated by lust, greed and pride. To live a life of love, joy and peace we need the mind of Christ to see that all of us are children of God.

The king of Aram had sent a great army to capture Elisha at Dothan. Elisha’s servant was frightened when he saw troops, horses and chariots everywhere. But Elisha told him, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs.” He prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened and he saw the hillside around Elisha filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Then Elisha prayed for the Aramean army to be blinded so that they could not recognize him. He then led the army to the king of Israel. Instead of having a “monkey mind” like the king of Israel who wanted to kill the soldiers, Elisha demonstrated the compassion of God and told the king of Israel to give them a great feast and send them home.1  Instead of looking only at our circumstances, we need to see beyond our circumstances in prayer. In solitude and silence we can pray to be aware of our “monkey minds” – the thoughts that take us captive and lead us to unloving actions.

In life, we will be tempted to lose our faith in God when we encounter suffering which seems meaningless. In days when life appears hopeless, when there are no answers or conclusions to the pain of life – we are tempted to try and change our circumstances  in order to avoid changing ourselves.2 But it is in such times that we are to practice the power of biblical faith – that God is good, God can be trusted and God is actively involved in our lives.3 

It is not our actions that are the problem but the attitudes and motives that direct our actions. Elisha did not call on the horses and chariots of fire to destroy the Aramean army. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus could have called for thousands of angels to protect him but he chose to be the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.4 Prayer is not asking God to get rid of our problems but opening our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit so that He can reveal our sinful desires, ulterior motives and hidden agendas. The delights we crave for and the desires of our heart drive our choices in life.

 Adam and Eve were led by their “monkey minds” to the delight of their eyes and the desire for wisdom to disobey God. They were deceived into thinking that knowledge will make them wise and powerful. But knowledge without love leads to  pride. Without the power of love, the knowledge of evil fills us with fear and guilt. For it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. Like Adam and Eve we are blind to the truth that when we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts.5

Good actions from wrong motives are just as bad as wrong actions from godly motives. In the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself down from the  highest point of the Temple to prove that God will order his angels to protect him and hold him up with their hands.6 Saul (before he became Paul) was driven by the mistaken zeal to do God’s will to persecute the early Christians. Dietrich Bonhoeffer draws attention to the danger of seeking an ideal church:

“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial.”7

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. It was the beginning of a new age in the history of humankind. It was a time when people were forced into isolation through the lockdown measures. It was a time when the deepest desires of our hearts were revealed. It was a golden opportunity for true followers of Christ to experience the joy of solitude by spending time with God through silence. Only then can we have good actions from godly motives that will bear the fruit of compassion.

Solitude leads to community when we learn to meditate in silence together. We are drawn together in true community as we invite the Holy Spirit to bind us together in love.  When we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to transform our “monkey minds” to the mind of Christ we will not love the world nor conform to the world.8 We will be set free from the craving for physical pleasure, the craving for everything we see and pride in our achievements and possessions.9  

I need to rewire my mind with God’s covenant promises so that I can see the glimpses of truth that will set me free from my monkey mind:

“Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free

Silently now I wait for thee
Ready, my God, thy will to see
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!”10


Lord, open my eyes and reset my mind so that I may be set free from my “monkey mind.”


  1. How does the monkey mind affect my actions in daily life?
  2. What keeps me from seeing God’s providence in my life?
  3. What causes me to lose sight of God’s covenant promises?

Song of Praise

Open My Eyes That I May See



  1. 2 Kings 6: 8-23, NLT
  2. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 19th August, 2022
  3. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation,  21st  August,2022
  4.  Matthew 26:52-54, NLT
  5. Psalms 37:4
  6.  Matthew 4:6, NLT
  7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: Prayerbook of the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995) page 36
  8. Romans 12:1-2
  9. 1 John 2:15-17, NLT
  10.  Open My Eyes That I May See, Clara, H. Scott

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

Pilgrims In The Wilderness


Isaiah 40: 1-10


“O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem, Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming.” Isaiah 40:9, NLT

As we struggle through the climate of fear in the pandemic, each one of us will respond to our trials and problems differently – some may see the pandemic as a judgment from God while some are drawn more closely to God. The best antidote to the fear of Covid-19 is the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand:

‘Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!”1

Our Heavenly Father yearns to comfort us and to assure us that our sad days are gone for our sins have been pardoned. 2 We are invited to journey to the Kingdom of God that is deep in our hearts. Like the Jews, we have to go through a time in the spiritual wilderness to purify our hearts. The 40 years in the wilderness of the Jews was not a punishment but a time of training and preparation – to teach the Jews to practice the Presence of God so that they can experience the Power of God and be witnesses of the reign of God in the Promised Land.

Jesus himself was led by the Spirit after his baptism into the wilderness where he was tried and tempted by Satan.3 It is in the wilderness of our spiritual journey that we can examine and expose the sinful desires, ulterior motives and hidden agendas in our deceitful hearts. For example, Psalms 91 has many promises that give us much comfort  when we face times of dangers and apocalyptic crises like the Covid 19 pandemic. However, we need to remember that Satan used Psalms 91:11-12 to tempt Jesus to jump off the temple.4 This will help us to be vigilant and aware of our human inclination to seek God’s providence and protection in worldly terms. It is only when we have an intimate relationship with God that we can overcome the temptation to seek miracles in our lives to strengthen our faith.

Jesus spent much time in solitude in the wilderness as he communed with God, his Heavenly Father.5 When our heart’s desire is to know “how do I want to live so that the Holy Spirit can have more of me?” we will be led to the discipline of solitude to meditate on God’s Word.  The social distancing measures in the pandemic are in fact golden opportunities for the practice of solitude. At the same time, we need to be careful of becoming isolated and disconnected with a one sided spirituality focused only on solitude.6

We need a community of fellow pilgrims to journey through the wilderness of our hearts. Without a community, those who seek solitude runs the risk of “perishing in the bottomless pit of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.” However, without solitude, we will “flee from ourselves by taking refuge in community and misusing it to indulge in empty talk and distractions.”7 Without solitude, community leads to co-dependency and without community, solitude leads to self-righteousness. Covid-19 is a blessing if it leads us to form communities of compassion through a balanced rhythm of spiritual practices.

All of us will encounter trials, testing and temptations in life. We can see such times as challenges to say “yes” to God rather than times of fighting the devil. In such times we are to remember that we are pilgrims in the wilderness, called to be voices in the wilderness, like John the Baptist, who called the people to repentance for the Kingdom of heaven was at hand.8 We are to be messengers of comfort and joy and to declare the glory God.

As voices in the wilderness we are to invite others to join us in the journey from death to life – the exodus from Egypt to the Promised land. As a palliative physician I have the vicarious privilege of seeing many miracles of the triumphant crossing from this physical life to eternal life. At the same time, I have seen so much suffering that arises from the denial and fear of death.

Jesus died and rose from the dead to set us free from the fear of death.9  The corona virus may in fact be a voice in wilderness calling us to seek Christ rather than happiness. For it is only when we seek God alone, that we will gain happiness.10 It is only in the love of God that we will find true meaning in life. The world in darkness need to hear the song of the pilgrims in the wilderness – to prepare the way for Christ to touch the hearts of those whom God is calling to Himself:

“O Christians, you bring good tidings;
get up to the heights and sing!
Proclaim to a desolate people
the coming of their King.
Like the flow’rs of the field they perish;
like grass our works decay.
The pow’r and pomp of nations
shall pass like a dream away.”


Lord, help me to be Your faithful voice in the wilderness to declare that Your Kingdom of Heaven has come.

Meditatio:  Wilderness

How is the Holy Spirit leading me to cultivate a rhythm of spiritual practices?

How can I encourage others to journey with me as pilgrims in the wilderness?

Song of Praise

There’s A Voice In The Wilderness Crying


  1. Isaiah 40:3-5 NLT
  2. Isaiah 40:1, NLT
  3. Matthew 4:1 NLT
  4. Matthew 4:5-7
  5. Luke 4:42 NLT
  6. Ruth Haley Barton, in her book, Sacred Rhythms, noted that we need a rule of life to address the question, “How do I want to live so that I can be who I can be?” She drew attention to the need for a balanced effective rhythm of spiritual practices and the danger of a one sided spirituality. 
  7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes the point that the Christian community is not a spiritual sanatorium and that many people seek community because they are afraid of loneliness. (Life Together, The Day Alone)
  8. Matthew 3:1-2 NLT
  9. Hebrews 2:10-15
  10. Dietrich Bonhoeffer shares the following insight:  

     “For may it not be the case that it Is none other than God who sends us these hours of emptiness and dryness, so that we might once again expect everything from God’s Word? “Seek God, not happiness” – that is the fundamental rule of all meditation. If you seek God alone, you will gain happiness – that is the promise of all meditation. (Life Together, The Day Alone)

A Sense Of Wonder


Scripture reading:  Luke 2:8-20


“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:9

The world has been turned upside down by the corona virus but nothing will change until our stony hearts are changed into fleshy hearts. Our stony hearts can only be changed when our hedonistic minds are blown away by God. We need a sense of wonder to seek and to live a life of A.W.E – a life of:

Attention to the heart of Jesus by

Waiting on God in silence and

Examining our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

Each of us will feel the touch of God in different ways  –  some of us through serving others, some through worship and devotional practices, some through a charismatic encounter with the Holy Spirit, some through great suffering, and some through deep silence. But what is most important is our witness of God’s power and presence in a world enveloped in darkness by sin and evil.

God guided the wise men from the East to the Christ Child by a shining star1 but chose the lowly shepherds to reveal the sights and sounds of heaven with the choirs of angels. This is more than a sentimental Christmas story. It is a story that reaffirmed my need for a shepherd’s heart of humility and reverence – to spend time waiting on the Lord and watching for God’s presence in the mundane activities of my life.

The shepherds were not distracted nor daunted by their spectacular experience of heaven but went to look for the child in the manger and to share with Mary what the angels had told them. And she must have been much edified as she kept these things in her heart and thought about them often.2 

The story of the shepherds is to bring us to Jesus who is our Shepherd of Love.3 We are like sheep who have gone astray.4 We need the grace of God to see that we are spiritually blind and have lost the way. We need wondering hearts to replace our wandering hearts. We need a mind blowing experience like the shepherds – seeing and hearing choirs of angels praising God, while they were watching their sheep – for the love of God to be born in our hearts.

In a world darkened by fear of the tiny Covid-19 virus, we desperately need to hear once again the good news of great joy that the angel gave to the shepherds when Christ was born – to see and ponder on the wonder of God’s love becoming incarnate in a baby lying in a manger.

The A.I.  of spiritual formation is the Attitude of humility and the Intention of desire.  We need humility and desire to embark on the journey, like the wise men from the east and the shepherds to the manger, to seek the Christ Child in our hearts.  This is a journey of the inner way – from experiencing life with our minds to being one with Christ in our hearts. Our brains need by changed by our hearts so that our brains can change our actions. This is the primary objective of the practice of silence – to bring our minds into our hearts.

“Heartfelt silence” has been described as one of the most powerful forms of worship that can leave a person awestruck with God’s glory.5 The practice of silence in the Christian tradition is not to empty our minds of our thoughts but to make room in our hearts for the mind of Christ. This is the best way to keep ourselves from becoming G.O.A.T.s  – trying to be the Greatest Of All Time.  Only then can we be S.H.E.E.P – Seeing Heaven Everyday in Every Person. We will live with a sense of wonder as the Lord our Shepherd provides, cares and leads us to find rest in God’s loving embrace. When we turn back to God and rest in Him, we will live joyful lives that are filled with awe as we declare:

“O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, 
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; 
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, 
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!”


Lord, help me to look for the wonders of Your love in the small and simple events of my life.


How does the fear of the Lord prepare my heart for the big and spectacular wonder of God’s Power?

How am I looking for the small and simple wonders of God’s Presence in my daily life?

Song of Praise

How Great Thou Art



  1. Matthew 2:1-11

2. Luke 2:19

3. Psalms 23:1

4.  Isaiah 53:6

  5. Larry  Randolph shared the view that every part of our being has a spiritual bandwidth. When our hearts are in tune with inner silence before the Creator, every aspect of our body quietly speaks. Our cells, minds, and hearts all talk – as they cry out to God without intelligible words.  (The Physics of Heaven, page 104)

The Miracle Of Love


Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38


“She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant. The angel told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:29-30 GW

With the appearance of the Omicron virus there seems to be no end to fear in the Covid-19 pandemic. We are in dire need for the vaccine of God’s agape love – it is only perfect love that cast out all fear. Omicron is but another messenger to open the eyes of the world to see how the sins of greed, lust, and pride have led to worship of the idols of money, sex, and power. When our hearts are hardened, we cannot listen to the sweet sound of God’s amazing grace. We cannot comprehend the fear of the Lord nor hear God’s whispers of love. It is only by the grace of God that we can move from a faith that is based on the wrath of God to a faith rooted in the love of God – to live in the light of God’s blessing and not under the shadow of the curse.1

Mary was startled and confused when the angel Gabriel greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.”2 The virgin birth is a story to invoke in us a sense of awe and wonder of God’s mysterious ways and to invite us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now. Where God reigns, there is healing as well as abundance, love and servant leadership rather than illness, poverty, lust and dictatorship.

The virgin birth is the miracle of love seen in the birth of the Christ child. Nothing is impossible for God who is the creator of the world3 and who knits us together in the womb.4 However, it was extremely difficult for Mary to find herself pregnant before she was married. Imagine the gossip and ridicule she had to face. And she could have been stoned to death for adultery. She needed to hear the angel Gabriel telling her not to be afraid.

The story of the virgin birth is to awaken us to the reality of angels, miracles and the spiritual dimension of life. It also draws our attention to the important truth that divine love is all about relationships – love is more than sexual love.  In our fallen world we have confused sex with love and  blind to the truth that sex is the gift of God. Sex without love is pure lust.  Sex with love is a foretaste of divine love. And love need not be expressed only through sex. Love is not a feeling but the commitment to care that can be shared without sex.  Joseph did not consummate his marital relationship with Mary until after the birth of Jesus.5 His love for Mary was seen in his commitment to partner her in the immaculate pregnancy by marrying and caring for her.

God’s ways are not our ways6  and the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.7 The genealogy of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew 8  listed women who were widows and prostitutes and even an adulteress.  Tamar was a widow who seduced Judah, her father in law, by pretending to be a prostitute and gave birth to Perez and Zerah. Rahab was a Gentile prostitute who married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz. Ruth was a Gentile widow who married Boaz and gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of David.  Bathsheba committed adultery with David and later gave birth to Solomon. These stories are illustrations of our human foibles and weaknesses. Through them we see the wisdom and grace of God which transforms perfectly imperfect sinners into imperfectly perfect saints.

 God’s wisdom is hidden in mystery but is revealed in the birth of Jesus through a virgin. Love came down at Christmas and this is the most important message of Christmas – the birth of a desire and intention to live in God’s loving embrace in a human being. Christmas is God’s invitation to embark on the journey of spiritual transformation. It is a journey that begins when we pay attention to our desire for God’s presence so that our desire will be the motivating force to maintain a rhythm of spiritual practices to keep our hearts and minds open to the Holy Spirit.9  And it begins, like the birth of Jesus, in our spiritual poverty – when we see how powerless we are over our sinful desires, ulterior motives and hidden agendas. It is only by the grace of God that we are reborn spiritually through the power of the Holy Spirit.10

Mary provides us with an example to follow when she responded to the angel Gabriel, “Let it be to me according to your word.”11We are enslaved by our fear of suffering and death and addicted to the pursuit of pleasure. We are set free only when we live beyond ourselves by taking attention off our selves – to die to self and to be reborn again as a child of God.

Epiphany is the revelation of the miracle of love in the birth of Christ, our Emmanuel, who shares our joys and our pains. It is a time to celebrate faith, hope, and love in the promises of God for He has given us  the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with agape love.12 It is a time to seek the habits of spiritual disciplines with the  intention to cultivate the mindset, “I am no longer my own but thine.” This is the covenant prayer instituted by John Wesley for the Methodist Watch Night service at the end of the year.13

Spiritual disciplines are to help us express our desire and longing for the love of God and to journey into the unknown to seek our Divine Lover. Our focus is not on how God is going to meet our needs but how we can glorify God in our joys as well as sorrows. The miracle of love is the depths of love and heights of joy that we can find in the moments of eternity as we pay attention to the deepest desire of our hearts and awaken our deepest longing to be God’s beloved:

“I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.”


Lord, may Your love be born in my heart. Purify the desires of my heart so that I will be intentional in my devotional practices to seek You.


  1. How badly do I want an intimate and close relationship with God more than a comfortable, problem-free life?
  2. Do I crave the praises of men more than a desire to glorify God?
  3. Have I felt the deepest longing of my heart to live my life as God wants me to live?
  4. Are my prayers centered on my wants and needs rather than on praise and thanksgiving?

Song of Praise:

I Am Thine O Lord.



  1. Nouwen Meditation: Live Under the Blessing, January 6th, 2022
  2. Luke 1:28
  3. Genesis 1
  4. Psalms 139:15
  5. Matthew 1:25
  6. Isaiah 55:8
  7. 1 Corinthians 1:18-28
  8. Matthew 1:1-16
  9. An important insight gleaned from Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Sacred Rhythms.
  10. John 3:5-8
  11. Luke 1:38
  12. Romans 5:5
  13. John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer:

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

A Future Pregnant With Hope


Scripture for reflection: Matthew 1:18-25


“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20

An unplanned pregnancy can be a messy problem for an unmarried couple or an unexpected miracle in God’s Hands. We can only imagine the struggles of Joseph with the demons of confusion, doubts, and fears when Mary told him that she was pregnant. It took much courage and faith for Joseph to do God’s will – to take Mary as his wife instead of leaving her to be a single mother. By doing so, he earned his place in history as the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. The Christmas stories of Joseph and Mary are more than historical autobiographies – they are the beautiful and wonderful sacred and metaphorical stories to open our eyes to the movements of the grace of God in our lives.

Joseph became the greatest husband in all history by hearing the voice of the angel in his dream and obeying God’s will for his life. The heart of Christmas is our response to God’s invitation to have Christ born in our hearts. It is our “spiritual biography”1 and not our autobiography that is eternal. Spiritual biography is discovering the story of God’s grace in our lives. It is the journey to explore the glimpses of grace and the moments of transformation in our lives through contemplation on the way of the cross.

A few weeks before Christmas this year, I journeyed through the valley of the shadow of death with a loved one who was dangerously ill with the coronavirus in the ICU. I was touched by God’s amazing grace as I witnessed the miracle of healing in our family member. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.2 It gave me a foretaste and a hunger for heaven in the here and now. On Christmas day this year, one of the songs in the worship service was “Christmas Isn’t Christmas” and it brought to mind the Christmas Eve cantata service I attended in 1986 during which the pastor made the point that Christmas is not Christmas unless it is Christmas in our hearts.  Christmas is a time to remember that it is only Christmas when there is room in our hearts for Jesus.

In 1986, this message had struck a chord in me as a few months before Christmas in 1986, we were shocked by the diagnosis of cancer in our sister in law who later passed away in July 1987.  But it was so difficult to live out this truth when life got better after the storms of life have passed. In his Christmas message this year, Bishop Robert Solomon made the insightful observation that it is not Jesus who pass us by – we are the ones who have passed by the moments of grace when there is no room in our hearts for Christ.  Over the past 2 years, the practice of silence provided me with a discipline to give my heart to Jesus by presenting my body as a living sacrifice to God.3 

In the face of an unknown and unexpected future we need, like Joseph, to hear God’s message – “do not be afraid.”  Jesus did not come to give us a ticket to heaven but to empower us to bring heaven to earth – to bring joy to the world. Our faith in Jesus is the beacon of hope in a world of despair. To keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts we need to be in touch with the Holy Spirit. But the virtual world of the Internet, through social media, computer games and innovations like the Metaverse, draws us further and further away from the physical reality of God’s Universe as well as the spiritual reality of life.

We are tempted to spend our time in the virtual world created by humans instead of embarking on the adventure to seek our Divine Lover who is waiting patiently for us in the depths of our hearts. We are called to journey into the silence of the heart of God –  to be still in the holy presence of God.4  The church victorious is the church at rest.5  Practising silence is the simple way to open our hearts and minds to the Spirit of God – to be in touch with the angels of God in the spiritual world. This is so much more edifying than spending time interacting with virtual friends in the social media or the avatars of our human imagination in the virtual world of the Internet.

Covid 19 is the Cyrus of the 21st century – humbling the nations6 and drawing us to seek a future pregnant with hope in the silent and holy night when the Christ Child was born. The good news is that Jesus has given us the beatitudes as the keys to the kingdom of heaven.7 Let us embark the journey to have Christmas in our hearts each day in 2022 as we listen for God’s messages to “fear not” so that our fears can become the “footprints of grace” as we step out in faith to live out the beatitudes. The season of  Christmastide is a time to begin living a life that is totally invested in God. Let us not keep Jesus in the manger or in the tomb in our hearts. Let us seek the grace of God to become the Body of Christ and a temple for the Holy Spirit.


Lord, it is so easy to be distracted in our modern world. Help me to hear the voices of Your angels so that I may have an obedient and humble heart like Joseph.


What is God calling me to do in the new year?

What are the fears that I need to overcome?

How can I listen for “angel voices” each day?

Song of Praise:

There is a Hope8



  1. “Spiritual biography” has been described by Kathleen Dowling Singh in her book, “The Grace In Living,”  as the process of learning “to trust and have confidence in the exquisite, indestructible attraction of our love for the sacred and the sacred’s love for us.” It is looking at our struggles, pain and sorrow beyond self – from heaven’s perspective – to recollect the movements of the grace and presence of God. For the  Christian,  it is the journey of sanctification – to die to self, to be reborn ,and to become a new creation of God.
  2. Psalms 139:14
  3.  Romans 12:1
  4. Psalms 37:7
  5. The Church’s One Foundation
  6.  Isaiah 45:1
  7. Matthew 5:3-10
  8.  Stuart Townend – There Is A Hope

A Certain Hope In An Uncertain World

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 ESV

As we come to the end of 2021, we face an uncertain future, a future that appears more unknown and unpredictable than in previous years. This is the grim reality the present pandemic is forcing all of us to see.  The only certainty in the 3rd millennium, besides death and taxes, is that world is heading for destruction.  Scientists have warned that if we continue with the reckless consumption of the earth’s resources and ignore the signs of climate change and global warming, the world will come to an end from the folly of humankind.

The coronavirus is God’s megaphone to awaken humankind to the horror of a fallen and broken world and the hopelessness of living with what Pope Francis has described as an “isolated consciousness.” Such a consciousness sows division and is a major obstacle to the union of hearts and minds.1  When each of us live in the world of “I, me and mine” and see others as “them,” we are all prisoners of sin condemned to live with masks, social distancing and quarantine – not only physically but psychologically.  We need to be inoculated with God’s virus of love to live with the certain hope of eternal life – as the children of God, as the family of God, and as the Body of the Risen Christ. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who is in heaven,” to teach us to live together in a community of love – with a “us, we, and our” mindset and to live with transparency, vulnerability and intimacy.

This is the hope, grounded in the love of God, that came down at Christmas more than 2000 years ago.  Advent is the celebration of the certain hope of God’s overflowing love that is revealed in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas to declare the good news that Jesus came to lead us from death to life. Evil is the opposite of “live” and evil forces draws us from life to death. Jesus came to give us the Holy Spirit to lead us from death to life and to be partners in God’s new heaven and earth. We follow Christ in order to be the people of God and to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit binds us together as a community of believers through the church. The church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners. Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus did not found the Church as “a citadel of purity nor is it a constant parade of heroes and saints.”2 We need the fellowships of small groups to be the spiritual ICUs to nurse us back from spiritual death to eternal life.

The Covid pandemic marks the dawn of a new age. Pope Francis wisely observed that “in times of crisis and tribulation, we are shaken out of our sclerotic habits” as the love of God purify us and reminds us that we are a people of God.  We are invited to “abandon the self-defeating isolation of individualism” – to flow from our “little lagoons” of our limited physical life into the broad river of eternal life.3

The birth of the infant Jesus, helpless and dependent,  is the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible grace of God to teach us that God’s grace is sufficient for His power is greatest in our weaknesses.4 It is by God’s grace that we can live with joyful hope in the face of our problems and trials:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”5

Faith is our response to the grace of God – by faith we see the reality of what we are to hope for and the evidence of things we cannot see.6 Our faith is rooted in the hope that love always trumps evil. This hope is the wondrous gift of God’s heaven given silently when we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit with meekness and faith:

“How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”7

The practice of silence leads us to the mind of Christ8 and opens our eyes to the evil of an “isolated consciousness” that is within us. As the Holy Spirit fills our open hearts with the love of Christ, we can live by faith with the certain and overflowing hope of God’s amazing grace – our doubts are overcome by a love that is stronger than death, our sorrows by unspeakable joy and our fears by the peace that is beyond all human understanding. With Jesus in our hearts, we stand with hope as children of the promise to be a light in a world darkened by the pandemic:

“We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.”9



1.  Pope Francis, Let Us Dream, The Path To A Better Future, (London, Simon & Schuster) pg 69-74

2. Ibid, pg 70

3. Ibid, pg 99 – 102

4. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT

5. Romans 5:3-5, NLT

6. Hebrews 11:1, NLT

7. O Little Town Of Bethlehem

8.  1  Corinthians 2:16, NLT

 9. By Faith – Keith & Kristyn Getty

A Taste Of Heaven

“God has  rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of His Son, whom he loves. His Son paid the price to free us, which means our sins are forgiven.” Colossians 1:13

Omicron, the latest variant of the corona virus threatens to cast a dark shadow over the world in this season of Advent. We are living in a changing and turbulent time. Pope Francis saw this as a time of reckoning, when ways of thinking are shaken up and our priorities and lifestyles are challenged. The trials of life reveal what is truly in our hearts.1 

The season of Advent is a time to proclaim the good news that God has rescued us from the power of darkness to bring us into the kingdom of heaven.  Advent 2021 is a time to see the Covid 19 pandemic from another perspective.  The tiny virus opens our eyes to the harsh reality of the hellish conditions here on earth.  We are living in a dark world of sin, evil and death where so much suffering is caused by human lust, pride and greed. The world desperately needs to hear the good news that Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus came to show us that heaven, not hell, is God’s perfect will for the world.

Heaven is not a pipe dream nor a figment of our imagination – it is the promise and perfect plan of our Heavenly Father. Jesus did not come to send anyone to hell.2 Jesus died and rose from the dead so that we can become God’s new creations3 who are living to glorify God and not ourselves. We are to be the living stones of God’s temple as well as His royal priesthood.4 We are to have a taste of heaven here on earth with a personal relationship with God as our Heavenly Father.

The greatest proof of God’s unconditional love is Christ Crucified.  Like the prodigal son, we need to take the first step of repentance – to turn from our foolish ways and to turn back to God.5  However, like the early disciples in Ephesus, we need to move from repentance to faith in the Risen Christ in order to receive the Holy Spirit.6 It is through faith in the Risen Christ that our hearts are filled with the love of God and the blessed assurance that we are God’s beloved.7

When our image of God is distorted we are unable to experience the forgiveness and unconditional love of God. When we see God as our Judge and not as our Heavenly Father,  we live our lives as slaves of Satan and not as the children of God –  fear, guilt, unbelief, and false beliefs  keep us from seeing the loving presence of God in the mundane activities of our daily lives. When we learn to be thankful for the small mercies of God each day, we will have a taste of heaven.

Advent is the season of expectant waiting and preparation to remind us to make room in our hearts for Christ. The discipline of silence and contemplative prayer provides us with a way to do so. According to Henri Nouwen, we celebrate Christ’s victory over the world, over death, and over the evil one, every time we spend silent time in our prayer room.8 As followers of Christ we are to stand on the victory of Christ over evil. We cannot have victory over evil when we are not standing firm in our identity as a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is only when Jesus is Lord in our lives to lead us into the rest of God9   that we can have a taste of the heavenly peace that comes from this victory.

Most important of all, in Christ, we can have a taste of heaven even when we walk in darkness for we have the bright light of God which shines on those who live in the land of death’s shadows.10 When we go through suffering, trials and persecution, we have the comfort of God through the Holy Spirit.11 Our bodies may be dying but our spirits are renewed every day as we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.12 Our problems become an opportunity for great joy for it is a time when our faith is being refined and perfected.13 In persecution and fiery trials, we are partners with Christ in his suffering and we will have the wonderful joy of seeing the glory of Christ when it is revealed to the world. 14

Advent is a time when the world is waiting in hope for the good news that Christ is the Light to lead us out of our dark times. May the fire of God’s love in our hearts shine forth as a beacon of light for those who are walking in darkness. Let us bring the good news, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” as we share our hope in Christ:

“There is a hope that burns within my heart
That gives me strength for every passing day
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part
Yet drives all doubt away
I stand in Christ with sins forgiven
And Christ in me the hope of heaven
My highest calling and my deepest joy
To make His will my home.

There is a hope that lifts my weary head
A consolation strong against despair
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit
I find the Saviour there
Through present sufferings future’s fear
He whispers courage in my ear
For I am safe in everlasting arms
And they will lead me home.”



  1. Pope Francis, Ler Us Dream, (London, Simon & Schuster, 2020) 1
  2. 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:32, Ezekiel 33:11
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  4. 1 Peter 2:4-5
  5.  Luke 15:17-21
  6. Acts of the Apostles, 19:1-7
  7.  Romans 5:1-5
  8. Nouwen Meditation: Reflect the Peace of Christ, November 23, 2021
  9.  Hebrews 4:1-2
  10.  Isaiah 9:2
  11. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  12.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  13.  James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7
  14. 1 Peter 4:12-17