What if today was my last (as a parent)?

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I tucked my son into bed last night, as I usually do. But as I returned to my room, I felt that there was something heavy on his heart that he may want to talk about, so I returned to spend a bit more time with him. I’ve learnt that there are times when it’s those quiet moments before sleeping that children do spend time thinking about ‘big questions’ and some of our most meaningful heart-to-heart talks happen at that time (though it at first seems like a mighty inconvenience to parents).

So I lay down next to him, wondering how to get him to share with me.

“I was thinking… if you and mummy die, we’d have no one…”, he said.

Unlike Barney, I didn’t have a happy, chirpy, positive response for him. I just hugged him and we both let our tears find their way down our cheeks.

It is true, isn’t it? If my wife and I die, who would be there for them? Maybe they’ll be sent to welfare services to be fostered into other homes. I don’t have the confidence that the assembly or assembly members would ‘adopt’ guardianship over my children. Who would want them, all four of them? What would happen? Would they be separated? Would they be abused? Would they be able to cycle and play together? Would they be able to sing and play together anymore? Would they be abandoned? Will there be any more joy? Their lives will never be the same again. What would happen?

There seemed to be a little disappointment in him that I didn’t have a near immediate answer. This one required a lot of sensitivity… without sacrificing reality.

I finally answered, “Son, you’re right. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We can’t be sure of where we will be. But that doesn’t mean we have to be afraid. We believe in the Lord Jesus, and He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. What ever happens, good or bad, we believe and trust that He is preparing us for it. He is able to, He has, and will, take care of us. The bible also says, ‘Cast your worries upon Him, for He cares for you’, so yes, I’m as worried as you are, but lets tell it to God coz He cares for us. And if you believe in Jesus, and I believe in Jesus as our Saviour, if we are separated by death, we’ll meet again and never be separated again.

Wasn’t the best reply, but it was the best I could muster. Good enough to get a kiss from my son. We prayed and cast this issue before Him, coz He cares.

As we hugged each other to sleep a different thought went through my mind, one that is the actual point of this narrative – as a parent, if I knew that today was the last day with my child, what would I do differently? Would I nag or scold as much? Would I shoo them away for asking me, “what is Monday?” Would I be as annoyed by how slow they eat? Would I kiss, hug and play with them more? Would I be more patient? Would I take the time to go for a walk with them?

What if today was my last day as a parent?

P/S: As I drifted to sleep, the Lord laid this verse on my heart, and it gave me some confidence.

Philippians 1:21-25. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.

My master was so very poor

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1. My master was so very poor,
A manger was His cradling place;
So very rich my master was
Kings came from far to gain His grace.

2. My master was so very poor,
And with the poor He broke the bread;
So very rich my master was
That multitudes by Him were fed.

3. My master was so very poor,
They nailed Him naked to a cross;
So very rich my master was
He gave His all and knew no loss.

– Harry Lee

Tongues

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Over the years, I’ve had some interesting conversations regarding the spiritual gift of tongues. I had another conversation a few days ago and it reminded me of this blog post that I have been meaning to post for a while but just left on the back burner.

This post is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment of role of tongues in the church today, but if you may be looking for a starting point to come to a biblical position on tongues, or if you want to reconcile the practice of tongues prevalent today with the bible, I think careful study the 3 aspects below would be helpful.

DEFINITION

Often the difficulty people have is if tongues has ceased, why is it prevalent today? That is based on the assumption that the tongues we see today is indeed the tongues that we read of in the bible.

The word tongue in the bible is translated from the Greek word ‘glossa’ which is by definition, a human language.

Strong’s Greek 1100

Glossa
2. a tongue the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations

This simply means when the disciples ‘spoke in tongues’ they were speaking a human language, albeit one that the speaker didn’t previously understand.
The proof of the ‘humanness’ of the tongues being spoken is that it could, and was, interpreted. In Acts 2, we see exactly this happening.

Worth discussing: It is critical that we ask ourselves if the tongues that is so prevalent today a human language? Let us bear in mind that language (understood or otherwise) always sounds different from repetitious babbling.

For example, if I met a foreigner, and he spoke to me in a foreign language, I wouldn’t understand a word he is saying, but the sounds he makes would still have distinct voice, sentence, phonetic structure that would tell me he is speaking a language and not uttering gibberish.

In my observation, many evaluations of ‘modern day tongues’ don’t pass this test.

PURPOSE

Like all spiritual gifts, the gift of tongues has a purpose. Using the wrong gift for wrong purpose will not produce it’s desired results, if not worse results.

1 Cor 12-14 has some pointers of the purpose of tongues. Some are…

A. For mutual benefit

1 Cor 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Spiritual gifts are not meant for self edification. The context of 1 Cor 12 where Paul writes about the interdependence of members of the body emphasizes this. Tongues is no exception.

B. As an indictment against the Jews of the hardness of their hearts.

1 Cor 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”

C. A sign for unbelievers and not believers.

1 Cor 14:22 So that tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe.

Worth discussing: Assuming that we can agree that the tongues are human languages and are being interpreted, does it’s practice fulfill the purposes listed above?

PARAMETERS

The bible doesn’t only give the purpose but also some boundaries to prevent the misuse of the this gift. Again 1 Cor 14 gives us some of these…

A. Must edify the church.

V26 What is it then, brethren? whenever ye come together, eachof you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to edification.

How does someone speaking in a foreign language without being interpreted help others? I don’t think it can.

B. Limited to two or three at most.

V27, 28 If any one speak with a tongue, let it be two, or at the most three, and separately, and let one interpret. but if there be no interpreter, let him be silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself and to God.

Just reading that will give the impression that the church meetings are to be ordered and don’t go into a frenzy of people speaking in languages.

C. Must be interpreted.

V27, 28 If any one speak with a tongue, let it be two, or at the most three, and separately, and let one interpret. but if there be no interpreter, let him be silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself and to God.

Every instance of speaking in a foreign language needs to be interpreted. There are good reasons for it, for it’s only by interpretation that we can benefit from the gift, and it is also by the interpretation that we know that the exercise of the gift is ‘authentic’. (Remember, Pharaoh’s magicians could turn sticks to snakes too, and the enemy is always out to copy God’s work).

Worth discussing: Does the modern day practice of  ‘tongues’ observe the of order prescribed by the Word of God above? Is it OK to not observe the parameters above?

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I think it is key that the above be followed in the practice of tongues before we can even discuss any finer points like whether one’s experience of speaking in tongues is valid, has tongues ceased and what caused it’s cessation or if tongues is not valid, why is it so prevalent, etc.

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Due to the polarizing nature of the post, comment are disabled, because I won’t be able to actively engage comments. I’m sorry for this. However if you have serious questions or need further clarification, contact me privately. Thanks.

Un liked

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“A little higher.”
Tap.
“Oh no, too much of my nostrils, try again.”
Tap.
“Nah, too much cheek. Again.”
Tap.
“Perfect! They’re so going to like this one!”

“Bree! Dinner’s ready!”, called mum.

“Just a minute, ma!”, she called out in reply. She could smell her favourite roast chicken from her room, but that’ll have to wait. Bree quickly hit Share and chose a filter (usually ‘Early bird’, because it lightens up skin tones and gives a nice vignette that helps emphasise the face), and hit Send. Then she waited. The next minute could not pass slower.

“Bree!”

“COMING! It’s only been a minute!”

No likes. Better hit Refresh, maybe the notifications are slow…

Still no likes.

With a heavy heart, she tossed her phone onto her bed, bouncing and getting lost among the unmade pile of blankets and pillows. It was not something you’d give a second look, but if you held your gaze a moment longer, you may just notice the wet stains on the pillowcases, the only evidence left by tears shed in secret.

“Nobody likes me. Why don’t they like me? 590 friends and not one likes my post. ” mumbled Bree, “Didn’t I look pretty in that one?”

“Bree! Are you coming? The food is getting cold!”, mum called again.

“Okay ma, I’m coming.” she replied softly, her appetite gone.

As hopes of acceptance diminished again, she said to herself for the umpteenth time, “I guess I’ll never be the same as the other girls”, as she slowly turned around in her wheelchair and headed out of her bedroom.