Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,

It was about two months ago that my father had an infection in his urinary tract. He experienced pain and had blood during urination, which went on for about a month. After several visits, medication and no signs of recovering, the Polyclinic doctor gave him a referral to SGH. The doctor immediately ordered a CT scan to find the cause of the problem. The result came back but with an “incidental finding” of a tumor at the neck of the pancreas and later was confirmed by the doctor as malignant cancer. The doctor told us that my father would not live over four to six months. Moreover, given his age (82 years) surgery may entail a risk to his life. But my dad was willing to take the risk. On 5o April 2011, he had the surgery.

On hindsight, had it not been for the CT scan for UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), we would never have known that he had only a few months to live and what a terrible loss it will be when that happens. But we are told in Romans 8:28 that nothing happens by chance; “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” Say this to an unbeliever whose relative is suffering in the hospital and his response is likely to be this, “Do you know how much my wife has suffered?” “Look at the tubes coming out of her and how helpless and vulnerable she is?” “Almost all our hard earned cash have been spent on medical care and what do you mean that all things work together for good?” “Pain, poverty and death are definitely not good!” Is Romans 8:28 often misused and misinterpreted by Christians? What did Paul mean by “good”?

1.Very often in times of trouble, friends will put their hands around your shoulder and say, “Don’t you worry, things will have a way of working out in the end” Does it really mean that things will iron itself out and turn out fine in the end? Is the Chinese saying “船到橋頭自然直” literally “the boat will straighten at the berth” is what Paul is saying?

2. God wants to bless us and to do every good to us, to protect from every disaster and disease, to remove poverty and destitution from our paths that I am certain none of these may come to me because I am a child of God, is it what Paul is saying?

3. When we serve God, we have immunity to persecutions and dangers and possibly death. Is it what Paul is saying in Romans 8:28?

To Christians who are in the ‘Health and Wealth’ gospel, to have no protection from God against disaster and disease, persecution and death, Romans 8:28 is a worthless promise that provides no comfort. But to us who are of the BP faith, only God can give the true sense and meaning of life, is it not? Therefore, the true meaning of life is for us to live according to God’s perfect will. The Christian race is a long and difficult one and to become what God intends us to be at the long run is only when we complete the Christian race. Those amongst us that are regularly competing in the marathon race will experience the pain but the wonderful jubilation at the finish is worth more than the pain. In the same token and more so, the glory at the finish of the Christian race is worth much more than all the pain, anguish and suffering we experience in this earthly life.

Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” All the pain and suffering in the world has a purpose for His children. Do you know that the Lord is using the suffering that we go through for our glorification and to make us to be like the Lord Jesus Christ? How often do we suffer and rarely understand this truth? And the truth that God is made flesh in the person of Christ is the very purpose that He may be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. It is one thing to know and yet not to show care. But God knows and cares to do all things for us that in all eternity to come, we may rejoice in His presence in the prefect body because of what Christ has done for us. The evolutionists say it is not God who has brought all things into being. Anymore than it is God that all things in the universe to work out together. Everything is left to chance and there is no particular rule operating in the universe that causes all things to work together is their fallacious claim. But you know and least of all I know, to be fully convinced that when my father who was once antagonistic against Christianity, and on the eve of his surgery he received Christ that I cannot but subscribe to Romans 8:28 and 29, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Do not despise what God is using, the trials and tribulations, to be means for His good, wise and holy purpose in our lives.

Pastor Douglas Ho

Encouraged to Evangelize!

The recent earthquakes, tsunami and wars have reminded us several things. Life is unpredictable. Life is short. Life is frail. Life is really beyond our control. Seeing the destruction and devastation, I hope that many of those who lost their lives are believers, but the probability is that many of them are not. These further remind us of the importance and necessity of evangelism and also the urgency in evangelism. Don’t we want souls to be saved? How can we slack in our duty when we see so many perishing without the Saviour? How can we be unmoved when we see the signs of the times and know that our Lord will come again very quickly to judge the world? Are all those around us saved already? Evangelism is not just the “job” of the pastors or preachers but every single one of us all has the responsibility to do so (Mk 16:15, Acts 1:8).

How often should we evangelize? We all know the answer. We ought, as Apostle Paul charged Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, to share the gospel constantly, both in and out of season. When there are opportunities, we seize them. When there are no opportunities, we strive to look for them or create them if possible.

But how often do we evangelize? Have we given a tract to someone this year? Have we shared the gospel with someone this year? Have we invited someone to come to church this year? Have we attended the church’s monthly evangelism? Let us examine ourselves and reflect upon whether we have truly obeyed the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) which Christ commanded us. Sad to say, many of us, including me, have failed in this area. We ought to seek God’s forgiveness and pray that He will help us to be more effective and zealous witnesses for Christ.

Now is the “season” and opportunity to do our part as Christians for God. The Chinese Gospel Meeting held once a year is not just for tradition sake, but is an event for concerted effort from all of us to reach out to the unsaved. Have we no relatives, friends, schoolmates or colleagues to invite? Pass the handbills to them, SMS them, call them or email them, surely these are not difficult things to do. If we do not share the gospel in season, I doubt we will do so out of season.

Therefore, let us pray for ourselves to have courage and wisdom to invite our loved ones and friends. Let us pray for opportunities to invite them and that they will accept the invitations. Let us pray for those whom we have invited or are inviting that they may come to hear the gospel. Let us pray for their salvation that God have mercy upon them. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit and God’s Word preached on that day to convict them.

Let us neither be ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to the gospel.

Brother Bo Hao