| What do you do when you are engulfed by suffering? Pain? Sorrow? Death? Where do you turn? People who are afraid and need answers would like to know.
This is where the book, "Fear No Evil" might offer some answers and hope. This is a painfully honest, profoundly moving and deeply enriching book. David Watson, a renowned and well-loved pastor, evangelist, author and teacher wrote this book under very trying circumstances. He was diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the liver and given a year to live. In the book, he gives us an honest-to-life account of his thoughts, feelings and experiences of his final days. He comes across as one who refuses to give up on the God whom he served so faithfully.
Throughout the book, one can sense and appreciate the honesty with which Watson deals with issues like healing and faith, the "why" questions on suffering and what happens when one dies, all in the light of his own struggles and pain.
This is a small book. It has only 172 pages and is easy to read. Let me just say here: Read it and grow. Chapter one grips the reader and sets the tone for the rest of the book.
Chapters 16-18 are very relevant for all who face suffering and death. The author challenges the human tendency to demand an answer to the "why" questions of suffering. Such answers, he maintains, are ultimately beyond the limits of our finite understanding. They lie hidden in the eternal purposes of God.
On the whole the book treads the fine line between acknowledging and giving word to our own fears about suffering and death on the one hand, and presenting us with the liberating truth of Jesus Christ on the other.
As you read, it is hard to imagine that Watson could write so clearly and poignantly in the last months of his life. He ends with a proclamation: "The Lord Reigns." And this is true even in death itself. Indeed, with Jesus Christ, like Watson, we need fear no evil.
This book is available at BGST Library (LC 248.86).
(Review by Dr John Lim)
Last Wednesday, Dr John Lim shared from 1
In 1 Thess. 5:18 we read, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I proposed to share with us some thoughts on thanksgiving. I would like to use the letters in the word "Thanksgiving" to draw your attention to things we should be thankful for.
T - Teachers (Eph. 4:11; Jn. 3:2). Teachers are a gift from God, according to Eph. 4:11. I remember so many godly teachers who helped me learn the Bible and about the Christian life. Today I am thankful for those who teach children, youths, and adults in the church.
I am especially thankful for the greatest Teacher in history, the Lord Jesus Christ. In
Jn. 3:2, Nicodemus said to Jesus: "We know you are a teacher who has come from God." Jesus can be our Teacher, if He first becomes our Saviour.
H - Home (Eph. 5:21-6:4). Paul described in Ephesians God's ideal for the home---husbands and parents and children who love one another sacrificially.
In a society troubled by divorce, child and spouse abuse, and economic pressures, I am thankful for Christian homes where Christ is not just "an honoured guest" but is Lord of the lives of all family members.
A- Animals (Gen. 2:18-20; Jn. 1:29). Do you like to visit the zoo? Does your family own pets? You can be thankful to God for creating animals.
Sometimes in Scripture, animals are used symbolically to portray spiritual truth. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
(Jn. 1:29). We are thankful for the animals God created, but we should be most thankful for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who creates new life in the heart of anyone who will trust Him.
N - Neighbours (Lk. 10:29-37; Matt. 5:45). Good neighbours are a blessing from God. It is good to be part of a church and community where people are concerned and friendly. But our neighbourly compassion should not stop with our friends, family, and fellow Christians.
The story of the Good Samaritan teaches that true concern considers everyone a
neighbour. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said God "causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). Like the Good Samaritan and God, we also should be loving and neighbourly to everyone we encounter.
K - Kids (Matt. 18:1-6). I am thankful for the kids or children in our church and in my family. Jesus loved children during His earthly ministry and still does. He told us we must come to God "like little children" (Matt. 18:3) or we will not enter the kingdom of God.
Children are trusting and honest. For the most part, they are free of pretense and ulterior motive. That is how God wants us to approach Him: without masks or deceptions.
S - Scripture (2 Tim. 3:14-17). In the business world, we often ask for promises in writing. I am thankful that God put His promises in writing in the Bible. Paul told Timothy the scriptures "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).
Paul also said Scripture helps us grow spiritually and become "equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17). We should be thankful for the Scripture.
G - Grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Grace is something God gives us that we do not deserve. None of us deserves the salvation Christ offers. We all have sinned repeatedly and cannot possibly earn the fight to a home in heaven or fellowship with God. Only through grace are these blessings possible.
When Christ returns I do not want justice from God, I want grace. If I receive only one traffic ticket per day, no judge would excuse me from the penalty. If I commit only one sin per day, the Heavenly Judge will not excuse me either. His standards are higher than those of any human judge. But I am thankful for God's grace, given to me when I accepted Christ's sacrifice and forgiveness for my sins.
I - Intercession (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Paul said we should pray for others. Prayer is a privilege because we can go to the Lord directly, without any human intermediary. Prayer also is a privilege because we can pray for others and ourselves. Our concerns should never turn into worries, because we can trust God to hear and answer our prayers with perfect love and wisdom. We should be thankful for the privilege of intercession.
V - Volunteers (Isa. 6:1-8). Isaiah had an encounter with God---a time of confession and cleansing. Out of that powerful experience came Isaiah's voluntary response to God's call: "Here am I. Send me!"
As Christians, we have encountered God in the person of Jesus Christ. Like Isaiah, we volunteer to go for God. Some go to other countries as missionaries. Many volunteer to serve God fight in their own churches. I am thankful for the volunteers who serve God in our church---teaching SS, evangelizing, and ministering in numerous ways.
I - Incarnation (Jn. 1:4; Heb. 4:15). Christmas will be coming soon. It is a time when we celebrate the incarnation of Christ. The Son of God was born of a virgin 2000 years ago.
Because of the incarnation, God knows firsthand what it is like to be human. He has felt the temptations, the joy, and the pain we feel. I am thankful for the incarnation.
N - Nature (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:1-9; Rom. 1:20-23). The Lord gave humanity charge of nature. He wants us to praise Him for His wonderful creation. Yet, some in human history have turned to worshiping the creation instead of the Creator---carving images into stone or wood and worshiping animals or heavenly bodies.
Despite the evidence of a beautiful, well-designed universe, some say there is no God. The psalmist says they are fools (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). Let us be wise and thank God for nature.
G - God (Jas. 1:17). I am grateful to God, who is the source of all the blessings we have mentioned during this message.
Many in today's world claim to be grateful to God and love Him. But the only way anyone can love God is to love His Son, Jesus Christ, as Saviour and also as Lord.
Some claim Christ is one of many ways to God. But Christ made an exclusive claim: "No one comes to the Father except through me"
So, how many of you have got the right answers to the word "Thanksgiving"? It doesn't matter. Let us just be thankful to God.
Chapel speaker for this week (21 Aug) will be Dr Loo Yeow Hwa who will be sharing with us the ministry of Fellowship of Evangelical Students.
Next week's (28 Aug) chapel speaker will be Mr Richard Chia, Regional
Development Director of Scripture Gift Mission.