Volume. XXIII, No. 34
Sunday, 15 February 2009


Escape from Spiritual Bushfires


Introduction

Arguably one of the deadliest natural disasters perennially to have plagued the South Eastern Australian states was the dreadful bushfires that rendered thousands homeless either permanently or temporarily and relentlessly decimated dozens or even hundreds across its path. Despite the fearsome flame which is associated with bushfires, according to experts, flame contact is almost never the cause of death. In fact, more probable is heat stroke, asphyxiation or dehydration, which has been the main causes that incapacitated many, especially the elderly and children amidst such unfortunate and tragic happenings. Along this analogy, Christians living in this world are often assaulted by sudden spiritual attacks of enormous magnitude in the forms of cultural immoralities and vices, false teachings, seductive doctrines of man and theological heresies. Therefore, it is paramount that Christians avoid becoming victims of spiritual heat stroke, asphyxiation and dehydration by the means of grace He has provided for His people.   

Spiritual Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke is an acute condition which occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. One of the preventative measures for guarding oneself from suffering a heat stoke is to avoid exposure to hostile high temperature environment. This is why outdoor activities and rigorous exercises should be avoided whenever a heat wave strikes when temperature soar up in the mid 40s Celsius. However, if one recklessly exposes himself to severely hot weather conditions without any care and concern for its consequences, he could soon suffer from various degrees of heat stoke. Similarly, if a Christian presumptuously fools around by exposing himself to temptations and vices of life without any pious concern for his spiritual wellbeing, in no time he would succumb to severe spiritual malady. Paul has commanded us to flee from youthful lust (2 Tim 2:22). Our Lord has taught us to pray to the Father to “lead us not into temptation (Mt 6:13;Lk 11:4),” which means, as John Gill explains, not “into the hands of temptation…into the power of it, so as to be overcome by it, and sink under it.” Although at times under God’s permissive will, He allows His children to be tested and tried (1 Pet 1:7) for His good purpose and for his glory, but God’s children are never commanded to deliberately expose themselves to situations where they would be tempted by sins and vices, but always to flee from every possible temptation (Pro 6:5; 1Cor 6:18, 1Cor 10:14; 1Tim 6:11). This is why Jesus said to the devil who tempted him “thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Lk 4:12)” when He was asked to jump off the pinnacle of the temple which is the equivalent of Christians designedly casting themselves into fiery temptations and expect God to deliver them out of their self-induced ordeals. Therefore, flee from places and situations where you would be exposed to “high dose” of temptations to avoid from suffering a spiritual heat stroke.             

Spiritual Asphyxiation

Asphyxiation is a condition of severe deficient oxygen supply to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. One of the most brilliant and pious American theologians Jonathan Edward said, “Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life”.” Indeed, this is true to every Christian. Many Christians are contented simply because they perceive themselves as standing on a spiritual safe ground whereas the world by and large is being rampaged by spiritual bushfires that has turned our culture up-side-down. Yet few realize that many Christians today are chronically suffering from spiritual asphyxiation as a result of waves of spiritual bushfires. Unfortunately the popular culture of our days has accustomed our minds to occupy ourselves with all varieties of entertainments, TV programs, movies, pop music, video gaming and etc. Good Christians who find themselves doing very well spiritually have ironically spent most of their time with everything mentioned above except for praying, which is so essential to an healthy spiritual life. Have you had difficulty enjoying your communion with your heavenly Father? If the answer is yes, could it be because you have been breathing in too much spiritual mal air as a result? If one does not commune with God as often as he ought, he would soon suffer from spiritual asphyxiation. One natural and dire consequence of the above stated condition eventually is a severe spiritual disorder as it incapacitates other spiritual faculties and prevents him from being filled with the knowledge of God’s will and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9) or being fruitful in the Christian service (Col 1:10) or being strengthened with God’s power (Col 1:11). Although, according to the context of Colossians chapter one, the Apostle Paul is the one praying ceaselessly for the Colossians, but how much more true is it that Christians should pray for themselves for the same interests? Therefore, if prayer is essential to our spiritual wellbeing as breathing to our physical wellbeing, let us pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) and as often as we ought as our spiritual wellbeing largely depends on it.        

Spiritual Dehydration

Dehydration is a condition in which the body contains an insufficient volume of water for normal functioning. The Psalmist says that blessed is one’s “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps 1:2,3). Indeed consistent daily reading and meditation (Ps 119:15) and studying (John 5:39; 2 Tim 2:15) of God’s Word to Christians is equally if not more important as sufficient volume of water for the physical body for normal functioning (Mt 4:4; Lk 4:4). It is unfortunate to find that many good Christians have their Bibles collecting dust on their shelves except on Sunday morning when they come to church for public reading. Yet how many Christians are complacent about such a spiritual state they have arrived at and falsely reckon that weekly sermons and Bible studies would be enough to keep them for normal spiritual functioning. Every now and then, spiritual bushfires strike Christendom and individual Christians not only in the forms of cultural immoralities and vices, but also false teachings and seductive doctrines of man and theological heresies. Christians would quickly spiritually dehydrate or be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” (Eph 4:14) if they do not keep their personal daily Bible reading, meditating and studying as a daily exercise. Therefore, it is vital to maintain a habit of consistent reading, meditating and studying of God’s Word.

Conclusion

While our condolences extend to the remaining family members of victims of the recent bushfire in Victoria, I pray that God’s people would be vigilant not to become victims of “spiritual bushfires” that have through the centuries rendered many Christians spiritually incapacitated due to their own spiritual negligence and complacency. I pray that God will grant all of us grace and wisdom for us to flee from all sorts of temptations and remain pure and holy until the day He comes, that our prayer lives be vibrant and healthy as a spiritual breathing exercise for normal functioning, and that daily reading, meditating and studying of God’s Word will keep us spiritually discerning and matured in the day and age filled with false teachings and heresies. If you endeavour to perform these three religious exercises aforementioned, by God’s grace and enablement, you will do fine if a spiritual bushfire ever rampages against your way, for God grace is sufficient for us.

Ps. David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

Kitchen Rosters - Team Leader: Sis Marion Chan

Senior Citizens’ Fellowship Meeting will be cancelled if the temperature forecast is above 35°C. Help with transport & food/beverages will be appreciated.

Pastor Ki returning to Adelaide next week.

Please note: No communal fellowship lunch next Lord’s Day.

Any donation for the victims & those who lost their loved ones in the Victorian Bushfire is welcome.

 

Looking Ahead

Family Bible Conference at Easter, 10-13 April 2009.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Perth); Dn David Yeo (Adl); Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Perth/Adl); Sisters Tabitha Heah (Adl) & Peng Ha Yeo (Adl/Syd); &  all others who have travelled.

Church activities: AFG Seminar; E-Ministry;  Ladies’ Fellowship; Shorter Catechism Class; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Bible Study.

Ministry of Pastor Ki in New Life BPC, London.

 

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Yeom. Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Piah Buey Yeo & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia: (Rev Stephen Choi & ministry in Phnom Penh & Kandal Province; Pr Zhang in Kampot), Pastors & believers in Laos, Pakistan & India; Kuching Ministry (Teo family).

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: future ministry & his family.

Journey Mercies: Pastor Ki (Adl); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (KL); & others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: ministry & family in Hope BPC

Outreach to Mandarin speakers in Adelaide.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah, Judy Li & Angie Yuen.

BPCWA (Perth) - God’s guidance & wisdom.

Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Perth) -  Wisdom and guidance.

Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan - preparation for Easter Bible Conference

Victorian Bushfire last week: healing & comfort for victims & those who lost their loved ones. For them to look to the Lord Jesus for Salvation.

Queensland Flood: victims

O-Week: organisers & uni students to be reached.

Bro Barry Palm & Sis Juanita Tong - wedding in March.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063