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Jesus Understands Your Struggles

Jesus understands your struggles

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

JESUS UNDERSTANDS YOUR STRUGGLES

Imagine meeting the new politician who is to represent your district or neighborhood only to discover that he is not familiar with your neighborhood’s needs and problems. You will wonder, “Can this guy really represent us? Does he know anything about our living conditions? Is he familiar with the various challenges that families here are facing? Can he help me get my child into one of the schools here?” I am sure that you would prefer someone who truly understands your challenges to represent you!

In the same way, I am so glad that right now at the Father’s right hand, we have someone who came as a Man to redeem us, and who fully understands what man goes through. When Jesus walked on earth, He went through every human emotion so that He could identify with us in all points. Jesus is God, but He is in the Father’s presence as a Man, representing us.

My friend, you may feel that no one understands your struggles. Listen, while this may be true of man, it is not true of Jesus. He knows exactly what you are going through and He can sympathize with your weaknesses because He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

None of us have been tempted in all points. But God allowed Jesus to be tempted in all points so that He can understand and identify with the struggles of every single person on this earth. He can be touched by our humanity—our weaknesses, tears, disappointments, griefs…all points!

There is no trial, difficulty, challenge or temptation that you face that Jesus cannot identify with. My friend, the moment you go through it, right there and then, He feels it too. That is the kind of representative you have in Jesus! That is the love of God so that you will draw near to His throne of grace (not judgment) to find mercy and grace in time of need (see Hebrews 4:15–16)!

– Joseph Prince

Be Numbered Among the Undevourable

Be numbered among the undevourable

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8

BE NUMBERED AMONG THE UNDEVOURABLE

The devil cannot just walk right up to you and rob you of your health, peace or family. He cannot just come into your life to enforce disease and destruction.

If the devil can do that, then he does not have to walk about “seeking whom he may devour.” He only has to walk straight up to anyone he wants to devour and devour him! But since the Bible says that he goes about seeking whom he may devour, the truth then is that there are people whom he cannot devour.

You see, the devil goes about like a roaring lion trying to stir up fear in people with his roars. But the people who are not devourable are those who refuse to be intimidated by his roars because they know that the true Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ (see Revelation 5:5), has already come and rendered powerless him who had the power of death (see Hebrews 2:14, NASB). They know that the devil cannot just do anything to them because the Lion of Judah resides in them, and that He is greater than the devil who is in the world (see 1 John 4:4).

My friend, the Lion of Judah is in you. He has given you rights, privileges, authority and power. He redeemed you with His blood. Therefore, everything about you and your life is redeemed by His blood. So if you are fearful about losing your job, cover your job with the blood of Jesus. If you are worried about your children’s safety in these days of terrorist attacks, plead the blood of Jesus over them. If you have received a bad report from the doctor, speak the blood over yourself.

Whatever you have covered with the blood of Jesus, God declares, “Protected! Redeemed!” And the devil flees when he sees the blood. And when he flees, he takes with him sicknesses, diseases, pains, sufferings, destruction and loss.

Once the devil knows that you know who you are in Christ and what you have in Him, his days of intimidating you are over, and you are numbered among the undevourable!

– Joseph Prince

God Gives you Undeserved Preferential Treatment

…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:7

GOD GIVES YOU UNDESERVED PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT

When you fly first class in an airplane, the cabin crew gives you first-class treatment. They ask you, “Is everything okay with you, sir?” They ask you what magazines you want to read. They give you a blanket if you are cold. They give you the best kinds of food. They give you preferential treatment compared to those traveling in economy class.

The grace of God is defined as “undeserved, unearned and unmerited favor.” And one of the definitions for favor is “preferential treatment”! Today, God wants you to know that you have His favor on you. He wants you to know that He gives you preferential treatment which you do not deserve. And He wants you to depend on and take full advantage of it in your life.

God also wants you to know that His favor in your life can be increased. You can experience more of His favor from day to day. How? The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 1:2 that God’s grace (or favor) is multiplied to us “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” The more you behold Jesus and His love for you, the more you believe and confess that God’s favor is on you, the more you will see His favor work for you.

So if you are a doctor, you will find patients favoring you and you will have more patients than you can handle. If you are a businessman, you will find people just wanting to do business with you because they like you and feel good about you. Then, you will have more business than you can handle and you will need to plan for expansion!

When the favor of God shines on your church, you will find its premises too small for the people who queue up week after week to attend the services! So when people wonder and ask, “What is happening here?” you can tell them, “It is the favor of God multiplied all over us!” And it is all undeserved, unearned and unmerited!

– Joseph Prince

Jesus has Borne your Diseases

Jesus has borne your diseases

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…
Isaiah 53:4

JESUS HAS BORNE YOUR DISEASES

Imagine the dreadful disease leprosy eating a man alive. The poor leper in Matthew 8:2 could stand his suffering no longer, so he came out into the open to look for Jesus. He needed to know if Jesus was willing to heal him. When he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2). The Son of God looked at the outcast with love in His eyes, reached out His hand, touched him and said, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Matthew 8:3).

Perhaps you are suffering from some disease and wondering if God is willing to heal you? You are not sure if He is willing because just as you have seen people get healed, you have also seen people not get healed. My friend, don’t look to people’s experiences. Look to the cross! As surely as Jesus bore away your sins, He also bore away your diseases!

I want to give you a solid foundation today for believing this truth. In Isaiah 53, the chapter on our Lord’s crucifixion, it says in verse four: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Now, let’s learn a little Hebrew. The words “griefs” and “sorrows” here mean “sicknesses” and “pains” in the original Hebrew text. So Isaiah was referring to physical healing.

Once, I asked a Jewish friend to read this verse in his Hebrew Bible and tell me what it means. He told me that his Bible says clearly that Jesus has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains.

If that is not enough, look at Matthew 8:16–17: “…they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” Matthew quotes Isaiah 53:4, saying that Jesus took our “infirmities” and bore our “sicknesses.” The context here refers to physical healing.

My friend, if you will just believe this truth, your days of sickness will be over. You will walk in greater health because the One who has surely borne your sicknesses and carried your pains says to you, “I am willing, be cleansed!”

– Joseph Prince

A Sleeping Partner who Benefits

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram…
Genesis 15:12

A SLEEPING PARTNER WHO BENEFITS

In business, sleeping or silent partners don’t work but still take home huge profits. They are like the wife of the boxing champion. He gets badly beaten up to win the prize money. But when he gets home, his wife takes it from him and says, “Thank you very much, darling!”

Do you know that in your covenant with God, you are like the boxer’s wife or the sleeping partner?

When Abraham asked God how he would know for sure that he would inherit the land that God had promised him, God made a covenant with him (see Genesis 15:8–21). But instead of cutting the covenant with Abraham by walking in between the animal pieces with him, God put Abraham into a deep sleep and cut the covenant with Jesus instead.

Jesus, the light of the world, appeared as the pillar of fire and cut the covenant with God the Father who appeared as the pillar of cloud. In other words, Jesus took Abraham’s place. He was perfect Man representing Abraham when He cut the covenant with His Father.

By substituting Abraham with Jesus, God was being gracious because if Abraham had done it, he would also have been responsible for keeping the covenant. And Abraham, being a mere man, would fail. But God the Son can never fail! Abraham’s blessings were therefore guaranteed because they did not depend on his performance but Jesus’ performance. Abraham was literally a sleeping partner, a beneficiary of the covenant.

Today, God has also made a covenant with you, called the new covenant. And like Abraham, you are a sleeping partner because the new covenant was also cut between God the Father and God the Son at Calvary. You are simply a beneficiary of the new covenant. You enjoy all its benefits without having to work at keeping it. Jesus, your representative, has already fulfilled all the conditions on your behalf. And because His obedience is perfect and His work is perfectly finished, the covenant blessings for you are guaranteed!

My friend, there is nothing left for you to do, but everything for you to believe. Don’t try to work for your covenant blessings. Rest in the Son’s finished work and receive them by faith!

– Joseph Prince

Dad’s Eulogy, the late Mr Albert Tan Cheng Ban, Age 81 years and 8 months – Prepared by Dr Karen Anne Tan Su Mei

ALBERT TAN CHENG BAN – 81 years and 8 months

 

How do you summarise a life well-lived?  To many more he was simply Uncle Albert and to some he was the ICE CREAM MAN – because he rang the bell every Saturday afternoon for catechism classes for more than 15 years.

 

He was the smiling ever-friendly Church Photographer you see, for Baptisms, First Holy Communion, Confirmations and sometimes for weddings. For love of God and photography, daddy transitioned with the times, from manual NIKON camera to his Digital Nikon SLR camera in his 70s.He was also a COMMUNION MINISTER, and before that, a CHURCH USHER. But he also, had an unofficial role in Church – he was the church Greeter –  making everyone feel welcome. So it’s natural, that many people know him. And, he was also the DAILY MASS COORDINATOR, ensuring that daily mass would run smoothly.

 

For over 32 years he served the church and he was also the Treasurer for Catechism and ran the church bookshop – selling rosaries, cards and gifts – so  it was NATURAL, that many people know him. But, they knew more than just the face because Dad made it a point to stop, chat and if you were not rushing off, he would joke with you. His warm smile was a reflection of his big, enormous heart – and if you needed a listening ear, he would provide one.

 

DaDDY LOVED THE CHURCH – the people in church and his many friends in church. I believe because we lived so close by, he adopted the church as his second home, because his warm caring nature needed another outlet. You are his adopted family and I am so happy to meet so many of you gathered here to pay your respects to dad and to help celebrate a life truly well-lived.

 

For some of you who knew him outside church, he was an exemplary teacher. And that is why I became a teacher as well. I remember, when I was around 10, someone ringing him up to ask if he was Mr Tan CHENG Ban; dad sounded puzzled and and said yes, I taught in Francis Light School in the 1950s. A few days later, a man turned up at our doorstep. He was now a professor in the University of Malaya, and wanted to personally thank daddy for his kindness more than 20 years ago. Just yesterday two of his former students contacted us, sharing what a good teacher daddy was. Uncle Robert Loo, very proudly shared that he still remembered the first song daddy taught him as the Cub Master: ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag and smile, smile, smile’. After almost 60 years – 59 years to be exact – , they still remember what daddy did and how much he meant to them. There is no denying – daddy made a difference in people’s lives.

 

For us – he was a dearly beloved father, a loving, devoted husband who loved mummy very much; and a fantastic role model. Being a teacher he valued education, and would encourage us to study hard and to always try our best. If we were disappointed with our marks, he would say, ‘Never mind, you can do better the next time’. So there was constant encouragement and support to all three of us. Daddy was just simply proud of his girls – his three daughters whom he used to call Tan’s angels. He taught us to always be honest, to lead a life with integrity and never do anything that would displease Jesus – and he lived out his life the way he taught us. But more than that, daddy taught us to be appreciative and to see beauty in small things and to enjoy the simple things in life.

 

More than the jovial man that he is – being a devout Christian –  Daddy was also a dedicated volunteer with mummy, with the Little Sisters of the Poor for their Tuesdays Lotto and, he was also their designated driver because he was not a speed demon; but would consistently drive 10 -20 km below the speed limit – which suited the elderly and I also heard, visiting bishops – yes, he was such a warm friendly man that he was asked several times to drive visiting bishops and Pro Nuncios in Penang. Usually, everyone in his car or van, would be treated to a guided tour of Penang if they were unfamiliar with our island paradise.

 

Daddy has a gift of making friends effortlessly – Daddy was also a highly appreciative man; a grateful man who counted his blessings and so that is why he would want me to thank all you wonderful people on his behalf  who made his life such a blessing.

 

  • His friends from daily mass – he adored you all and loved staying back to say the rosary, keeping Jesus company with friends, he would say.
  • He would also want me to thank the many people, who allowed him into your life; and for all the many kind acts you rendered daddy as he became frail.
  • He had a soft spot for priests and nuns – especially the nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor, he would want me to thank you for your prayers and for setting such a good example for him to follow
  • He would not want me to forget all the lovely doctors and nurses at Penang General Hospital, Pantai Hospital especially his former student & his cardiologist Dr Liew Chee Tat and the dedicated staff at IJN – Institute JantungNegara
  • Daddy loved his food: he would want me to thank all of you lovely wonderful friends over the years who shared your delicious home cooked food with him or passed along fruits -he loved his durians – to him –  he loved really loved his home cooked  food but your thoughtfulness meant even more to him
  • He loved company, and you all brought joy to him.

 

Someone just described him as a lovely, loving and lovable man and that’s who daddy was.

 

We know him as a loving father who would do anything for us – and that is why, we three girls strongly urged him to exercise, to strengthen his legs and to get way stronger, but wise man that he is, he found another way. His own way – and it’s hard for us girls because he had gently encouraged us all our life to be determined, strong, tenacious and forthright. And we were forthright – we were determined that he was going to get better by hook or by crook. But God had another plan for his most gentle and devoted servant – and this time, God took him away just one day before his scheduled procedure. And I believe, Daddy was happy to go with Jesus, walking strongly and striding into the arms of his Father, chatting and walking side by side with Jesus and Mary.

 

Daddy would like to be remembered for being a gentle, friendly man, who loved the company of friends – young and old, merry and solemn, lots of laughter and home-cooked food, but also someone who adored simple hawker food. I know he’s now in better company with Jesus and Mary and he’s probably bringing them around in Penang that he knew so well, introducing them to his favourite snacks especially his favourite Penang Road Chendol with extra ang tau, and encouraging Jesus and Mary to have more. So when you have your chendol, your ang tau seng, eat for daddy and know that he’s watching from above, smiling and praying for all of us – content to be with his Lord.

You Matter to God

You Matter to God

…he calls his own sheep by name…
John 10:3

YOU MATTER TO GOD!

Do you sometimes feel like you are just a face in a crowd or a number in a system? You are identified by your social security number. Even when you see the doctor, you are called by your queue number. If you feel depersonalized and dehumanized, that is exactly how the devil wants you to feel — that you do not matter much to anyone, especially to God.

But you do matter to God! He calls you by name. He knows exactly what you are going through and where you are hurting. He sees you and cares for you, just as He cared for the people when He first walked on earth.

My friend, He will do for you what He did for the woman in Samaria. The Bible says that “He needed to go through Samaria” to get from Judea to Galilee (John 4:4). Now, any Jew of His day would have taken a different and longer route to avoid going through Samaria because they hated the Samaritans, though the way through Samaria would take much less time. But Jesus deliberately took the shorter, avoided route, just so He could stop by Samaria to speak to the woman who had been searching for something in her life to satisfy her.

This woman had had five husbands and the man she was living with was not her husband. Clearly, things had not been going right in her life. She was probably looking for answers and fulfillment and must have felt ashamed about her failed marriages and current lifestyle.

Yet, in spite of all this, she mattered to Jesus! He needed to go to her to minister to her. And indeed, after she met Jesus, the perfect Man, she was transformed. She was no longer ashamed and went into the city to tell the people about Him (see John 4:28–29).

Beloved, Jesus wants to meet you wherever you are at in life and minister His grace to you. You certainly matter to Him. He came to give you life and life more abundantly (see John 10:10). You are not just a face in a crowd or a number. No, He knows you by name and has a personal love for you. And in spite of the mess that you might be in, He wants to meet your every need and make your life beautiful!

– Joseph Prince