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Foreword Breakfast With Jesus is for anyone who would like to spend some time in the mornings to read and ponder about Jesusâ€™ teachings on practical daily issues. It is written by a group of asian Christians, in the hope that fellow asians would be able to relate to the contextualized sharings. While you search for truth and righteousness, do always look toward God Himself, who seeks to speak in many ways to those willing to spend time to listen. With that, letâ€™s begin breakfast with Jesus...
Under all circumstances, give thanks Imagine, Christians are supposed to give thanks in all circumstances! Even if you have been unfairly treated, taken advantage of, lost your wallet, got robbed, got retrenched, or even if you’ve come down with a serious illness, we’re supposed to be thankful to God still. What?! Give thanks in those nasty situations? Why?! Life often seems unfair, doesn’t it? Many times in such situations we want to take control and get even with those who have treated us unfairly. Worse, we sometimes get to a point when we even imagine God punishing the person! Or we end up complaining to a friend about the awful situations we’re in and getting depressed about it. “Under all circumstances give thanks, for such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This advise from the bible is really for our own good. Instead of blood pressure rising, just say, “Thank you, God, for taking care of me. I can’t understand why this must happen to me, but I’m going to trust in You that it’s happening to me for a good reason, and that I’ll learn what I’m supposed to learn from this experience. Though I feel hurt, angry and sad, I leave this situation in Your hands
and control.” God is in control of our lives and everything that happens to us. Whatever happens to us, good or bad, God allows it to happen - for a very good reason. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9). Sometimes we don’t see the reason but later on, we often do (when we ask Him) and realize that it was good for us. “ When we give thanks in such circumstances, we consciously acknowledge that God is in control. Though you may feel that it was all so unfair, give thanks. God knows what’s going on and rewards those who trust Him. From personal experience, giving thanks to God has a tremendous calming effect and helps us to face “unfair” situations. Instead of reacting negatively which may lead to further problems, we can remain calm, knowing God is in control. We are then better able to face up to our problems, analyse and even resolve it. The more you give thanks, the smaller your problems become!
Dear God, thank you for everything!
Listen to God’s word AND do it Many times, we know what we’re supposed to do but we find it so very difficult to carry out. It’s usually “easier said than done”, right? My mother-in-law, who came to stay in our home for several years, had a few offensive habits. Despite taking the trouble to confront her about her habits, she didn’t seem to take much notice of our feedback but repeated her habits over and over again. Although she had a good memory, she would simply say that she “forgot”. Soon, I developed a strong dislike for her behaviour and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to her. Instead, I would often avoid or ignore her. But, deep down inside, I knew that’s not what I’m supposed to do. As a Christian, we know that we need to show love to people we don’t like and to people who probably don’t like us. But it’s so difficult, especially when you feel you’re the one who has suffered and yet, as a Christian, you have to love those who have hurt you. Are we able to be nice or even resume a normal conversation with someone we dislike, even though we know that person hasn’t changed much and may soon hurt our feelings again?
If we profess to have faith in God, then we need to follow up with our actions. We need to DO what we have been taught is right, not just remember or speak the words. When we do what God says, we put our hope in Him and exercise our faith that what He has taught us is best for us always. If we don’t, it’s as good as saying, “I don’t have faith in God and His Word, that’s why I’m not going to do what He says.” When facing difficult persons, remember Jesus said, “Whoever comes to Me and listens to My words and DOES them, I will show you whom he resembles. He resembles a man who built a house; he dug and went down deep and set the foundation on a rock. When the flood rose, the river rushed against that house but had no power to shake it, because it was securely built.” (Luke 6:47 - 48).
Lord, forgive us for not obeying You and help us to do as You say.
Where your treasure is In Singapore, there is a contest organized where participants try to outlast one another by placing one hand on the prize – a new car worth at least S$50,000 - and standing up all day and night. They have to brave outdoor conditions which can be 33 degrees in the sun or sudden downpour of tropical rain. They are allowed less than five minutes for toilet breaks and meal times, but no sleep at all. The last person left standing with hand in position and without nodding off to sleep wins the car. After more than 66 hours, there was a winner. Some people regarded the winner as a hero, others said it was insane. But everyone knew that the winner had put his heart into winning his treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:21). What are the treasures in our lives then? For some it’s a brand new car, a valuable piece of antique or art masterpiece, a lucrative property, a large bank account, or a multi-million dollar business. For others it could be a doctorate degree, a beautiful face, an athletic body, etc. These are “treasures”
in people’s lives because they are worth much in people’s eyes - worthy of their time, effort, money and even health sacrificed to gain those treasures. But there is another kind of treasure that the bible talks about. They are treasures that God wants us to find and that we need to seek. Some may actually think that it is quite “worthless”, yet others are willing to give up their entire livelihood and even their lives for such a treasure. Jesus said, “Do not lay up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves dig through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Mat 6:19 20). For sure, the priceless treasures that Jesus talked about are very different from the ones you find people storing up in this world. Perhaps your earthly treasures are beginning to lose their “glitter” or their worth to you, or you find they haven’t brought you the happiness that you thought such treasures would. Then, begin today to look for the treasures that Jesus spoke about!
Jesus, please show me the treasure map that leads to heaven!
Eternity with God What’s a person’s lifespan today? Perhaps an average of 70 years? For those of us who are already aged 35 and above, we’ve probably crossed the half-way mark, and we’re left with just one more half of our lives left! The bible tells us that “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). We only have one life on earth. But many of us invest at least 15 years of our lives studying, and another 40 years of our lives on a career to achieve what we want until retiring at about 60. Then we would have used up almost 70 years of our life. Is that all there is to life? Jesus said, ”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24). “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…" (John 6:27). So we know that God has promised eternal life to those who believe in Him and who work towards it. But do we place importance on that? How much time have we lost on the things of this world instead of the things of God’s Kingdom? Sadly, we
have invested so much time achieving the things we want in our lives on earth. We have slogged for that Degree, for that well-paying job, for the business empire we want to build, for the status we want in society, for houses, cars and large sums of money. For Singaporeans, they know about achieving the “5Cs” – career, credit card, cash, car and condominium. But all these will pass away, as they are the “food that spoils” which Jesus spoke about and which we can never bring along when it’s time to leave this earth. Think: what is 70 years here on earth, with all the material things we have accumulated here, compared to eternity with God? Which would you rather have - 70 years of life and billions of dollars OR eternal life with God? Think carefully. Before your 70 years is up and it’s time to leave, ask yourself what the purpose of your one and only life, which God gave you, would be.
Dear Lord, help me to choose the eternal things right now, and not wait till the last minute.
Can’t serve both God and money Do you believe in making quick bucks? Do you get a thrill from buying lottery such as “TOTO” or “4D” or even joining the ‘Million Dollar Duck Race”? Do you buy and sell on the stock market in the hope of making large sums of money? Do you take up investments simply to cash in on them? I read in a local newspaper article which featured a working professional who trades in financial markets as a hobby. According to the journalist, this young man had ever traded a few million dollars in the stock exchange, and made profits of US$50,000. Being a Christian, he also goes on medical mission trips overseas and supports charities and causes such as his church’s building fund. To this person, trading is done “for pure interest” and “is a passionate hobby”. Although this man had donated money away to worthwhile causes, we need to be careful about how the money was earned or made. In the process of making money, many of us may have turned to risky investments which promise quick returns. Sometimes we may even have stretched our budget to the maximum by taking up large loans for investments that are supposed to bring large
profits. When we do all this, we need to ask ourselves if we are in danger of serving Money. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24). That would be a strong warning to us. God’s message is clear. We cannot work at serving God and Money together. It has to be one or the other. This means we need to give up one of them. If you truly want to serve God, then “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5).
Father God, turn us away from the love of Money, and help us always to be content in Your provision.
Luxury and self-indulgence In Singapore, paying S$700,000 to buy a 99year lease apartment of 1,300 square-feet area is not unusual. In other parts of the world, one could buy several houses and acres of land for far less that amount! Therefore, are we Singaporeans spending in luxury? How many Singaporeans own luxury cars that cost above S$200,000 each, instead of economical cars that cost one-third the amount? The point is, some of us don’t even feel that we are spending in luxury. That which seems commonplace to us may actually be a luxury to many others. Some of us even justify our spending by thinking, “I’ve worked hard so I deserve it. Besides, I can well-afford it, plus others are spending even more, so what’s wrong?” The bible warns us against living in luxury and self-indulgence (James 5:1 - 5) as well as growing rich from excessive luxuries (Revelations 18:3). Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Mathew 19:24) It’s true that due to the high cost of living in some economies, personal spending will be higher.
For example in Singapore, a basic governmentsubsidized “HDB” flat of about 700 square-feet area already costs between S$60,000 to $140,000 while in some other countries, you could buy a nice house with plenty of land for the same amount. Nonetheless, whichever economy we’re in, it comes to the question of choice. Given a choice, must Singaporeans buy private apartments to stay in or will a HDB flat do? Must we drive a car to the office or shall we take the public transport? Must we go for that holiday overseas or can we just have a holiday within our country? Must we buy a branded item or can we go for a lesser-known brand which may be as reliable? Must we dine at a restaurant or can we just eat at the hawker centre? Although God has given us much, don’t forget that He also expects us to use much for His purposes. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48).
Jesus, teach us to spend wisely.
What’s done in secret Many people may not hesitate to reveal that they have done a good deed. For instance, some churches have donors’ names inscribed on hymnals and wooden pews which they have donated; church bulletins announce names of members who have pledged their money towards church expenses; mission magazines show photographs and names of people who have served in mission trips overseas... Only a few choose to remain anonymous. It is a similar situation when it comes to praying and fasting. Many Christians esteem those who are able to pray loud and long infront of others. Sometimes, they become so attracted by such prayers that they overlook the short, simple prayers said by others. And when it comes to fasting, there are Christians who admire those who fast frequently or are able to fast for many days, and think of them as “spiritual greats”. Jesus had several things to say about doing things in secret: “Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them... When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by
men. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”(Mathew 6:1 - 4). And for prayer: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mathew 6:6); ”And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Mathew 6:7). And when it comes to fasting, Jesus said to do it in a way “so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mathew 6:18). Let’s be doing these deeds in secret, so that God is honored, and not ourselves.
God, we want to seek Your approval, rather than the approval of people.
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