Knowing your limits

There is faith and there is prudence, and then there is wisdom to know the difference. As a Pentecostal I am fully aware of how our faith can break down limits the world sets upon us. However, I often forget the limits God places on us in kingdom positioning, assignment and anointing. There are measures of faith and grace. God sets the limit. Even our physical bodies has limits.

I forgot my physical limits and suffered for about three weeks. My wife and I were walking the park connector near our home. Staying home during the pandemic meant putting on weight and feeling lethargic. We wanted to burn some serious calories by doing a lengthy walk – a three hours walk along the Ulu Pandan Park connector.

Ulu Pandan PCN

I had felt a niggle on my left foot. Since I was a seasoned hiker, I ignored it. After all this was not an arduous hike up Bukit Timah Hill but simply a walk on flat paths. It should be alright. But alright it was not. Two days later my Achilles’ tendon was inflamed and I could not rest my left foot on the ground because of intense pain. I must confess this was not the first time when I over extended myself and found myself moving around the house on a chair with rollers.

The polyclinic appointment schedule was full all the time. I had no choice but to self-medicate. As I said, this was not the first time. I roughly knew it would take about a week to fully recover and regain my mobility. It was okay because I can still work from home. I was supposed to start recording my sermons in church, but couldn’t because I couldn’t walk. Not even from the home to my carpark. So my wife helped me record my sermon from home. – God bless her she had to serve me as I was virtually immobile.

What worsened things was I had a fall after a shower. I tried to hop on one foot over a low threshold but slipped and sprained of all places, the ankle of my left foot already inflamed at the heel. I suppose it was good to have all the pain on the left so at least my right foot was okay.

Reminds me of what St Paul said about how every member of the Body of Christ is vital to the full functioning and health of the whole. So too each member needs to be healthy and functioning to obey the Head and do God’s will.

Now I can walk on both feet – with a slight limp and with my left foot not fully flexible. I am very grateful to God, for when the pain was at its worse I would cry our earnestly for the Lord to have mercy and to heal. He has heard my cry. No instant miracle but a slow gradual healing, so that I could reflect of what wisdom He wants to impart to me and for me only.

Who knows, maybe this applies to you too? But I am convinced its for me. I NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY PHYSICAL LIMITS AND GIVE ATTENTION TO THEM. At 64, I cannot run around the basketball court for hours. I cannot jump as I hard as I used to when I was 17 years old. Not even do what I used to do ten years ago, when hiking mountains and hopping downhill like a mountain goat. I must build up and condition my body from one level of intensity to the next gradually. I must also do proper warm-ups and warm-downs. These have to be mandatory. I used to be able to escape punishment from ignoring these – but not any more. I must listen to my body. My body is telling me but my memory is refusing to listen. My memory tells me, Come on, you have climbed mountains – what is this? A walk in the park. I forget my body is no longer as physically in tip-top condition like it was 10 years back . Back then I was training regularly and my legs were conditioned to take a lot of punishment. Not any more.

When I get well, and I am able to walk without the slightest tinge of pain. I will need to patiently and gradually build up the distance and intensity my legs will be able to cope with. No more sudden Increases in kilometres or incline. And proper warm-ups too. It may be weeks before I hike Bukit Timah Hill again. Maybe months, but I hope not. I fear that I would never hike the hills again.

I treasure mobility. I appreciate being able to walk free from pain. This is priceless.

Have you ever learned a similar lesson of accepting your limits? Share your story in the comment below.

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Meeting Professor Lawrence Chan at a wedding

Josh, Prof Lawrence Chan, my wife and I
Josh, Prof Lawrence Chan, my wife and I

A doctor with a heart for pastors and missionaries

I have sometimes wondered what had happened to that wonderful gynaecologist who delivered all my children. Dr Lawrence Chan, a Christian elder in a Brethren church, was very gracious towards missionaries and pastors. He delivered their babies free of charge. If the wife was working, they would still get a very special rate for his services. I am sure he delivered many pastors’ and missionaries’ children.

Pleasant surprise at a wedding dinner

So it was a pleasant surprise when we met him at the wedding of my nephew. Professor Lawrence Chan also delivered all the children of the bride’s and the groom’s parents. His name was mentioned from the podium and my wife and I decided we must meet him. This was a wonderful surprise meeting. Dr Lawrence Chan has reached a ripe old age. He looked healthy and he had more hair than me! We introduced ourselves and our son Joshua Chee to him, and chatted for a while.

A traumatic and dramatic delivery

My son Joshua who is the surviving twin in a traumatic and dramatic birth was keen to meet him too. For several weeks, my wife Jenny, and the twins, Joshua and the late Caleb, were all in Intensive Care Units, fending for their lives, as doctors and specialists tried to save them. By the grace of God, at the end of much prayer and suffering, Caleb was taken home to God through respiratory problems and I had to bury him without my wife’s knowledge as it may affect her adversely if she knew. Joshua was discharged but due to the fact that he was born blue without oxygen for many minutes as the incubator equipment was rushed from one ward to the room where my wife was warded for Hepatitis non-A, non-B. You see, the births were sudden and unexpected, and at that time (mid 1980’s), Singapore General Hospital did not have maternity wards.

Joshua will be gong-gong

When Joshua was discharged the doctors warned that since Joshua’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long, he would be intellectually disabled. One of the specialist even said that Joshua will be “gong-gong”. Every time we met with the head of paediatrics for Joshua’s medical appointments we were being prepared for the worse. “He will need to go to a special school when he grows up…..etc.” But God had other plans. We prayed for him constantly, laying our hands on him, praying in tongues over him, and commanding the brain cells to be activated with his life and resurrection power (we were desperate and tried everything we knew!). Well, the Lord has answered prayer and Joshua has since graduated from NUS with a second upper honours and is now working in the civil service and active in the church. Praise God.

God’s ways are higher: trust Him

As to the twin that went home to God, the peace of God and faith in His infinite love has helped us to reconcile with what has happened and we believe that God works all things for good and for His glory. Sometimes we do not fully comprehend His ways. However we can go on trusting in Him even when we don’t fully understand the things happening around us that seem to contradict His loving character.

Meeting Prof Lawrence has reminded us of God’s many blessings and the channels God used. To Prof Lawrence Chan we wish God’s blessings of health and satisfaction in the afterglow of a life of faithfulness, integrity and generosity. May his tribe increase!

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Staying in Perth with Penny

Penny in Fremantle

Blessed with a severe beauty

Western Australia is vast and flat, blue and cool. It is greatly blessed by God with a natural beauty. A rather severe kind: the dryness, the short trees, easily broken branches, insipid green leaves, wiry shrubs and bushes and sand, lots of sand. These form the dull backdrop for a hundred resilient flowers of varied hues, shapes and colours now in full spring bloom. Coming from tiny, high-rise and compact Singapore, this holiday in Perth was so refreshing. The cool temperatures of morn and evening; the warm sunshine, clear blue skies and cool breezes that hug you each time you leave the house, just makes you wish Singapore had this kind of feel.

Penny and Jenny

Penny from Christmas Island

A widow’s home was my comfort for a week. Yes, it did remind me of biblical narratives of widows helping the man of God and getting a God-surprise in return. I told her so, and wondered how alound how God would bless her, and we had a laugh.

This hospitable and wonderful widow was Penny Lim Ah Yoot, originally a resident from Christmas Island. At last, I have talked to someone from the island Singapore gave away. But she was as stupefied as I as to how this mineral- and crab-rich island in the midst of the Indian ocean changed hands with Australia for a song. Residents there could apply for citizenship and that was how Penny ended up in Perth.

Hungry for God

Penny was hungry for the things for God. First thing I noticed was the mammoth large print edition of Dake’s Bible which she ordered from America. She also signed up for a satellite religious channel with a one-time payment of A$400+. I got to see some wonderful and weird preachers on television and wished we had this kind of “entertainment” available in Singapore too.

In the King's ParkWe enjoyed the talks over her whipped up meals. You see, she owned a restaurant before. She studied in Singapore and attended the same church that my wife and I had attended for a while. Bukit Timah Evangelical Free Church(now Woodlands EFC) was where I attended Sunday School and played table tennis. She even remembered Pastor Twie Khim and Poh Choo. Small world, as Poh Choo was my neighbour.

Well cared for and fussed over

She fussed over our comfort and made sure we were okay, all this, while she had this chronic cough. We shared the word and sacrament with her. A pastor in a healing rally prayed for her. It got worse until one night she coughed blood despite being on medication, and an ambulance came. Assured that others would care for her, we left the next day for a three nights excursion into the great south west and returned to hear her say, “I have not coughed blood for 24 hours already.” She claimed her healing with a few praying friends one night, and had been counting the hours since she had stopped coughing blood. She called us a few days ago, and when I asked about it she said, “Stopped counting. A week already.”

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Oral Roberts: an Asian pastor reinstates his hero

Expect A MiracleOral Roberts went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, 15th December 2009, age 91. When my wife told me, I was not surprised, because I knew he was quite old. He was one of my Pentecostal heroes in the early years of my Christian life.

He first came to my notice through his magazine, “The Abundant Life.” It was a magazine that was distributed free of charge and delivered to my home. From there I wrote in for his free books. One of them is titled “The Miracle of Seed Faith”.Oral preaching

Oral Roberts knew how to share truths powerfully. The truths he taught were  simple and practical. I was inspired and instructed by his teaching on the Holy Spirit as your helper, and the edifying use of the “prayer language.” I also accepted and practiced his teachings about miracle seed faith. Looking to God as a source; seeding for your need; and expecting a miracle everyday – these were a part of my life in those days.

Praying for the sickI read his autobiography, “Expect A Miracle” and still have the copy in my bookshelves. I never could give it away in my regular cullings when I selected books to give to friends in Bible school. He was a captivating personality, a visionary charismatic Pentecostal leader. Being Pentecostal at that time meant “Stone Age” methodology, and uncultured presentation. Oral Roberts changed that perception through his visionary, outside the box, forward thinking and methodology, like his harnessing of television for the gospel.

My interest and following waned when his TV programs became more entertainment oriented, and when he tried to raise funds with controversial tactics. In particular, when he claimed that Jesus would take him home if he does not raise $8 million within a year, and Oral Roberts Universitypleaded with the readers and audience to help prolong his life. That was too difficult to swallow and from then on, I was disappointed, and stopped following and reading his magazines. Further news about the problems with the City of Faith and other university financial misdemeanours by his son Richard sort of confirmed I was right to feel disenchanted.

Now he is dead and as I read some online articles about Oral Roberts I have to admit he is a man sent by God, a man with flaws and faults but nevertheless, like the imperfect heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11, he deserves to be reinstated as a  Pentecostal hero in my heart.

Here are some interesting articles from Chritianity about Oral Roberts:

Why Oral Roberts Obituaries are Wrong

Q&A: Mark Rutland on Oral Robert’s Legacy.

Fund Raising: Did Oral Roberts go too Far?

Here is an old clip of him praying for the sick in the healing crusades in the 1950’s:

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