“The Lord is My Shepherd” is a memoir about my journey with my Shepherd, following His footsteps and guidance over almost 6 decades of my life. It is an account of how much God loved me and chose me, blessed and cared for me, protected and healed me, gave me a soulmate and family, bound my wounds, restored relationships with Him and others, forgave my sins, transformed and changed me with the power of Christ-like love. There is more to come. This is my treasured legacy to pass it on to my children, grandchildren, my relatives and my many friends.
Legacy 1: Jesus loved me and died for my sins and guilt; I am bought with a price. Therefore, I will honour God with my whole body (1 Cor 6:20). It is a privilege and honour to love Jesus with all of my heart, all of my soul and all of my strength (Deut: 6:5). We love Him because He first loved us. This is my prayer for my descendants.
Legacy 2: Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another as He had loved them. By this shall all men know they are His disciples (John 13:34-45). Jesus loves us unconditionally and sacrificially. This is Christ-like, divine love, AGAPE love. When the Holy Spirit moulds and transforms us to love sacrificially and unconditionally, we grow to be Christ-like in loving others. The world needs this kind of love and not worldly self-centred love.
Legacy 3: Obey Jesus’ Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:18-20). Jesus saved us with the express purpose of “winning souls and be fishers of men”. This is Kingdom building to honour Christ. Ultimately in heaven every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. God chose us to be His partners in multiplying the Kingdom of God. God anoints us with powers of the Spirit to bear fruit of evangelism to glorify Christ (Acts1:8).
Legacy 4: Honour God with our possessions. God reminds us in Deut 8:17-18 that it is HE who gives us the ability to produce wealth. We are indebted to God and not God indebted to us. We must not forget to honour GOD with our possessions. It should be our gratitude to give generously to the work of God in building His Kingdom on earth (2 Cor 9:6-7). We should remember to support mission bodies to bear fruits of Kingdom expansion. We should not forget to include God’s global plans of redemption in making our legal Will.
Legacy 5: Thank God for the Partnership of the Holy Spirit. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, our Christian life is purposeless, empty and unfulfilling. Jesus desires that we ASK for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). The Spirit will anoint us with His omnipotent power (Acts 1:8). It’s a great joy that when we share the Gospel with unbelievers, the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sins and guilt (John 16:8). He is also the Spirit of Truth and helps believers to understand and appreciate the Word when we read it daily. The Spirit helps us to be more Christ-like when we moulded with the fruit of the SPIRIT (Gal 5:22). When we are filled with the Spirit, we are filled with inner JOY, filled with a singing and grateful heart (Eph 5:18-20).
Please pass the above legacies to our family members and our friends.
Pastor Kim Bew Lim
What is it that we want our children to know? At the end of the day what do we want for our kids? To know how to do calculus? To know how to say please and thank you? To know what success feels like? To know that they are loved? To know … ? How would you finish that sentence?
In Deuteronomy 6, God tells the Israelites to teach their children and their grandchildren to keep His commandments. Of all the things that their children and their children’s children could know the one that counts is knowing and keeping God’s commandments because that is how they would continue to enjoy long life. (Deut 6:1-2)
It is important to see here that keeping God’s commandments is part of living the joyful long life and not the means to the end of living long in the land. In fact, the commands were part of what it meant for the Israelites to live as saved people, freed from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. (Deut 6:20-23) If and when their children would ask why we keep these commands it was because they were saved not because they need to be saved. In other words, their obedience/righteousness is driven by God’s act of salvation/grace.
So Moses gives the Israelites some really practical tips to how to teach the next generation which we can also learn a lot from.
1. God’s law needs to be on your hearts in the first place. (v6)
If God’s commandments are not on your hearts, that is you don’t know and love them, then there is no way you can pass them on. So open yourself up to God’s law. Learn, practice and pray it in community with other Christians. Meet with other Christians and begin to love it
2. God’s law is to be impressed on your children. (v7)
It is to be part of everyday life not something relegated to Sunday mornings at Sunday School or Bible Study. Our children are to see life through the lens of God’s goodness and grace. Moses says you have to talk about God’s laws. So make sure you are spending time with your children and grandchildren and actually talking with them. Talk with them, not at them. Help them to see the value of God’s law. Show them how impressive it is. Be present and be intentional with the time spent with your children.
3. God’s law should be front and centre in our lives. (v8)
Writing them down and putting them in significant places serves as ever present reminders of God. It helps us to not forget God. To know clearly that the life we live and enjoy is truly because of God. In our fast paced and godless world it is too easy for us and our children to miss what God has and is doing in our lives.
If grace driven righteousness (biblical obedience to God’s law) was the priority for us and our children and our children’s children, how would that change the way we relate to one another? For one thing we wouldn’t be so focused on pursuing a life of good grades but enjoying a life of a good God filled with His grace.
The biblical submission of a wife to her husband is a beautiful act of love. It is an expression of unwavering commitment to the blessing of her husband. In no uncertain terms does this mean that the wife is: inferior, less valuable, dependent, has no voice, can be abused, should put up with everything, has to ask for permission etc. etc. Husbands, if this is how you think of your wife’s submission then you didn’t get this from the Bible. Likewise, wives, you must not think of your submission to your husband in these terms either. The Bible makes it very clear, wives are co-heirs in the gracious gift of life. Wives are of equal value. Wives are of equal worth and should never be treated or made to feel otherwise.
The Apostle Peter writes that:
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
Here you see the biblical definition and benchmark for what a wife’s submission is. It means committing to blessing your husband before yourself. His good is what matters especially his salvation. This means that submitting to the husband can’t mean just doing whatever the husband says, otherwise your salvation would also be on the line. Rather the wife’s submission is the means by which the husband is actually won over to God and so blessed.
This is why the Apostle Peter goes on to emphasise the inner beauty and the worth of the wife’s quiet and gentle spirit. See if the wife by her submission is going to win her husband over to God then she must be someone who;
Now, if the wife is committed to the blessing of her non-believing husband, how much more should she be to her believing husband. If he is on the same page, following the same God, living and loving like Jesus their Lord and Saviour, then it should be easy right? And here is where Peter gives the example of Sarah’s relationship with Abraham and shows that biblical submission is beautiful but by no means easy. For as faithful and as righteous as Abraham was, Sarah would be the first to say that there were times when she just didn’t believe him and or God, laughing at the thought of it, but yet in the final assessment was committed to walking side by side with her husband in the promised blessings of God.
The Christian Wife and her submission to her husband is what’s so good about the Christian family because it blesses the husband to be the man of God.
Boon Guo Quah
In our day, husbands have been caricatured into those who are embarrassments, incompetent, absent and more often than not disappointments. However, the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 paints a different picture of who husbands ought to be like. Much less like Homer, the husband is to be much more like Jesus! Indeed, the 2 illustrations that Paul stresses for the role of the husbands is the dynamic between the Head and the Body and the Christ and the Church.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.
If you think about it with me for a moment. How important is the head to the body? Or how important is the Christ to the Church? If the body doesn’t have a head, if the church doesn’t have the Christ, then both the body and the church are dead. This is how important you husbands are to your wives. This is the responsibility and the high calling you have as husbands.
1. Husbands are to lead their wives.
This leadership is the kind you get from knowing the Saviour. It is a servant-hearted leadership. A leadership which recognises its responsibilities rather than its rights. And is fierce in its commitment to service. John Piper very eloquently states that: ‘Servanthood does not nullify leadership; it defines it. Jesus does not cease to be the Lion of Judah when he becomes the lamb-like servant of the church.’
2. Husbands are to love their wives.
This love describes much more the actions of love than it is does the feelings of love. Paul describes the actions of love like that which Christ had for the church and gave himself up for her. It is a sacrificial kind of love which means that loving like this will hurt. But it is also a purposeful kind of love. And though painful, it is worth it because it is for her sanctification – that she should would be holy and without a blemish. Husbands ought to be concerned for their wife’s holiness and in doing so be concerned for their wife’s happiness too.
3. Husbands are to nourish and cherish their wives.
Paul says that when husbands love their wives they are just loving themselves. This is not in some narcissistic or selfish sense but a matter of fact and a matter of nature as
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
So, what you are prepared to do for your own body you should be prepared to do for your wife. But more than that, what your wife needs is then what you need for you are together one body, one flesh.
Husbands, answer the calling that God has given to us. Wives, encourage your Husbands. Young men, this is who you need to become. Young women, this is who you should look for. Older Men, Older Women, spur one another on and then pass it on.
Boon Guo Quah
The strategy behind Overseas Council Australia (OCA) is simply this:
Choose the best theological college within a context, with strong governance and accountability: support the college with funding and resources, to enable it to do what it does best, so that the college in turn becomes an enabler and leader to other neighbouring colleges to assist them to become leaders and enablers to others also. Through this process, thousands of new leaders are trained each year for work in the church as pastors, evangelists and church planters.
THE BIG PICTURE OF OCA
It’s a strategy which recognises that in most countries there is an existing competent church. In many ways the efforts of mission societies over the past two hundred years has been a success and so a church not only exists but now is able to raise up its own leaders. By supporting leading Bible colleges more competent church leaders can plant new churches, train more leaders and head up missions in their own area.
In many parts of the world there is very fast growth of the church and what is needed most is a supply of competent leaders to ensure the church matures in line with the Word of God and in a way that is sensitive to the local context. OCA chooses partner colleges that have these two concepts at the heart of their training: the Scriptures and the context.
At this time Australian Christians have a wonderful opportunity to partner with the church in the developing world by assisting with the training of leaders. Who knows how God will lead his people in the decades ahead and which church will support which, but for now we are able to assist with our finances, our prayers and in other ways. The relationship that OCA encourages allows for Christians in Australia to be blessed through the partnership with his servants in the developing world.
By building up Bible colleges in each country several systemic problems are avoided: the brain drain to the West of the church’s best leaders is undermined; future leaders learn ministry in a context which is relevant to their actual ministry, rather than learning irrelevant concepts from another context, and; the local church is seen as belonging to the country and not an alien Western thing.
OCA contributes to each college in deep dialogue with the local leaders. We do not have a cookie cutter agenda of how things should proceed. We do not start Bible colleges, own Bible colleges, nor go on their boards. Rather we come alongside the leaders and encourage them in their strategic plans so that their vision is bolstered and the church prospers at every level.
Our strategy is a little different from many other missions and we invite discussion and questions about how we do things and why we do them. You may like to read about the big picture vision of our work in the article ‘The two hundred year goal of Overseas Council’ http://www.overseascouncil.com.au/site/defaultsite/filesystem/documents/The_200_year_goal_of_Overseas_Council.pdf
Rev Stuart Brooking (OCA)