Today I saw my future. This is the testimony I will be giving in a church that I haven’t met yet. Hundreds of people. Big stage. Lights in my eyes. I cannot see the people much, but I feel their presence strongly.
In my younger Christian days, when I was a little more braggadocios, I used to dream that I would be a preacher on this big stage… giving my pearls of wisdom to the people, that they could get a victorious life like mine if they listened to what I had to say. I shake my head just thinking I used to think that.
But everything changed when the harsh realities of life soon enveloped me. It ravaged me like I was a small boat in a stormy ocean. Soon after, the chronic eczema I had would get worse month by month, year by year, until I ended up living with over 70% of my body covered with excruciatingly painful sores. This wasn’t a flare-up that would disappear a week later. This was my life for years. This made the experience an exercise in futility, leading to existential questions is that I was being treated by the best specialists known to man through those years. Their medicines would get stronger and stronger, but no long-term solution. The eczema still would get worse over time.
The eczema was so bad that it would get worse no matter if I stayed indoors or outdoors. But if I stayed outdoors it accelerates the worsening, I was literally living in an environmentally controlled bedroom for years. I couldn’t build a career. It was so difficult to learn anything new because every day was a painful day. Imagine trying to learn anything when you feel ant bites on you all the time. When you take pain killers or antihistamines, you feel fewer ant bites, but you get drowsy. I lived for years in that drowsy but uncomfortable stupor until my brain turned to mush. I forgot almost everything I learned in university.
But, even when I did have pockets of times where for some reason my eczema was temporarily better, I wouldn’t have the motivation to build a career. Why should I when 1) I might not be alive 5 years from now. 2) even if I were alive, I would be too much in pain, and too alone to enjoy anything. Money is useless if your deeper needs are not met. If I can’t engage the world in a meaningful way, or have friends or a family of my own to share with, why bother? Why bother earning money so you can travel if I can’t even go outdoors without feeling I’m burning to death? Or my ant bites would grow to termite bites?
The doctors shook their heads. They thought that I wasn’t obeying their treatment ideas to the T and that’s why I couldn’t recover. I was. They didn’t believe it. My friends shook their heads. Many of them left me as I was reduced from a promising Ivy-League graduate and church youth leader to a diseased hermit with no career prospects.
In this climate of futility is where I was forced to reexamine everything I thought about life and everything I thought about the Bible. What happened my life in supernatural ways was two things: what the Bible really teaches and how do you know it is true. Today, I will only speak on what I learned about the Bible that totally changed my life, subverting the worldly experts. The next time when I am invited back, I will talk about how I know it is true, and I won’t be talking about my own experience, I was convinced while I had atheistic leanings.
If the Bible isn’t true, that I am ultimately doomed, being a slave to my genetics, and being a slave to the environment around me. Those who are privileged with health, money and good looks don’t ever have to consider their silent desperation and just how vulnerable they are because they are easily able to distract themselves by getting the short-term drugs of worldly affirmation, or physical pleasures of money or sex, or even the greater but ultimately an insufficient blessing of a family. But for me, all those things, and the hope of those things were both stripped away viciously, and I had to come face-to-face with harsh realities.
In this climate, when everyone no longer gave me a chance, I realized that the Gospel is all about Divine Supply. It’s all about Divine Supply that available to you that subverts the world’s expectation to help get what God needs to be done in your life. In Jesus is everything you need to complete your purpose in God, regardless of your obstacles. This is the covenant of Grace.
The covenant of Grace is superior to the covenant of Law.
Law says that if you obey all of God’s commandments, and if you break one of them, you break all of them, then God is righteous to tangibly bless you with the blessings of obedience. Long life. A loving family. Health and wealth. Peace. But, if you fail in your performance, God is righteous (He has the legal right to) punish you just like 1 + 1 = 2. It’s going to happen.
The reason why the Gospel is called the Good News is because Jesus is perfect and He satisfied all of God’s laws and more, and He did it for us. So, when God sees you, He is not angry with you, He is proud of you because He sees Jesus in you. For rather, you are IN Jesus. Jesus not only covers you like clothing, but you qualified just like Jesus is qualified. The Bible says, “as He is, so are you in this world”. As He IS in substance, in form, so are you. You are a New Creation, not an old creation with a facelift.
When you are in-Christ, you are in a sea of mystery in which is hidden all the blessings the world wants to find but cannot find in fullness. That’s why the Bible says the blessing to the Gentiles IS the blessing of Abraham where the world hungers after. The Jews, the Muslims, the Christians, the Greeks are all looking for that Blessing of Abraham. That’s why the Bible says, “it will cause the world to envy”. The world speaks a certain language, they only see tangible results. They envy because you got those results in a way, they think is undeserving.
For me to recover from eczema, the world thinks I should be seeing the right doctors, and paying lots of money to the right drugs. Mine didn’t happen that way. For me to succeed in the stock market, the world thinks I have to study a CFA, go to a good university, get hired by legendary financial institutions. I didn’t get my success that way. My most significant overperformances in the stock market came from an informal study than formal study. And I made money when many funds lost money at crucial moments. Can you believe I publically warned investors on the bottom of the COVID19 mini-crash bottom the day before the bottom itself? The crisis bottoms that tricked almost everyone out, I went contrarian at the right time. I am not that intelligent or emotionally strong by my own flesh, so I know that it is Christ.
That is what we can have “in-Christ”.
When I was a young Christian, I thought the Gospel was just about a romantic notion of forgiveness of sins, and I have a ticket to heaven when I die. I felt that God may or may not help me in this world, because all things of the world are evil… money, sex etc. But, by thinking God may or may not help, it means we totally don’t know the heart of God in Christ. Christ loves us more than our parents do, He KNOWS what is the every best for us and what process we should go through to have the most optimal result. The Bible says Christ is the LOGOS, He is the person that designed how perfect the universe and man were before sin came and corrupted what was meant to run perfectly. When you look at your new born child, you can’t help feel love. You want to protect. You know this kid is special. He is more special than other children. He was made with your DNA and you image. Jesus was the master architect that designed everything the way He wanted it to be designed. You are made with His DNA. That’s why He loves you more than you love your kid because you were made in His image and perfectly designed. But sin came and corrupted that which was perfect. That’s why there is a seperation from God, and in that separation, we sense we aren’t who we are meant to be. As a parent, don’t you wish to give your kid every opportunity to succeed? God obviously wants this so much more than you.
In Christ we can have everything to be who God wants us to be.
If you need wisdom, Jesus is Wisdom. In Christ you can have the fullness of Biynah wisdom. The world calls this intuition, and some people have more than others, but in Christ, you can have a new level of Biynah. You see things God sees, and you see the things of God.
If you need grace, Jesus is checid. Checid (Hebrew) is the unmerited favor of God that ensures the actualization of who you were meant to be and the works you will do in His name. With Checid, no one on earth can prevent where you were meant to go, do and be. In Christ you can have this unmerited favor of God. The world calls this “luck:, and some people have more than others. But this “luck” is devoid of God’s purposes and that makes all the difference. In Christ, you can have a new level of favor. This favor has a purpose and a power that exceeds material gain and works as part of a fullness that changes you. It actualizes the divine blueprint in your life. This “luck” doesn’t just give you random things to make you temporarily happy, it pushes you, it agitates you to a new identity and legacy that truly satisfies!
“Luck” might cause you to win a lottery, but without purpose and power over your sinful nature, that lottery might turn out to be a curse, as evidence by the large number of people that claimed they were actually more unhappy after winning the lottery than before because it brought out the worst in them and the people around them. Divine favor of God might cause you to find a winning strategy in the stock market, or have a great business idea, but because the process is accompanied by a walk with God and personal transformation that no money can ever buy, this blessing leads to a bigger blessing. You develop a real skill, a real wisdom. You wisely use the gains to bless your family and the people around you instead of becoming hedonistic. With the new power, you develop a heart of a servant instead of having an unjustified ego. You develop the heart of a King that you were meant to have. The newly-found power becomes your servant and not your master, causing a positive feedback leading to the even greater blessings in life. In the world, power shows the corruption of the human heart. In wanting so much to show the world they are kings, they become so far from it. In the Kingdom, power is accompanied by a true humility, which is a characteristic of a real king.
Remember when Jesus famously said, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”? (Matt 19:24) Divine grace threads that needle. With God all things are possible.
In Christ, the Kingdom can do what the World can never do.
Paul says that the mystery of the Gospel is vast and full of unsearchable treasure. He tried to explain different angles of it because they are so many. I will talk about two of them today, because what you hear will give you an awareness, and that awareness opens the door to spiritual blessings. “Careful how you hear…” tha Bible says. The woman with the issue of blood broken so many Laws as an unclean women going through a crowd to touch Jesus. What did she hear about Christ to make her think He is different from the Old Testament priestly representative? An old testament priest wouldn’t allow you to touch him because you’d spread your uncleanliness to him! He would accept your sacrifice from a distance and hope that God forgives and restores. Instead, Jesus IS the sacrifice. If Jesus was willing to give His life to us in an excruciating way, what does that tell you about his heart?
The Bible says if you misread God’s heart, or think of God’s heart in YOUR image, that is “wicked”! But, when you read God’s heart correctly, it opens the door to abundance and purpose. Parable of the Talents. What reward did they get? Abundance (more resources) and purpose (higher responsibilities). Both of these things are needed for true satisfaction, the world knows it, but doesn’t know how to get it. Many don’t know how to get more resources, and even more than that don’t know how to find higher responsibilities because they don’t know God. Jordan Peterson listed 1 antidote for chaos is to have “more responsibilities”. You can have more in terms of quantity or quality. Taking the extraction to it’s end, why not the most eternal responsibility? To find who God is, and then find His purpose for you?
God’s reality or your present reality, the one that is more real to you will win out.
When I realized all these things, these things were diametrically opposed to what was going on in front of me, conditionied by years of failure. The Bible told me that Jesus loved me more than my parents, had a plan for me that is meaningful and purposeful, and had the power and resources to get me there. But around me is worsening health, it was too late to make something of my career, I was 32 years old and only had a short experience as an engineer and teacher. I stopped working for almost 5 years. What big thing could I do to impact the world? I was interested in the financial markets, but no one would hire me, even for an entry level. Heck, it took me long just to get an internship. After 2 months, I was replaced by another intern, she was young and pretty. Of course, if a firm want to get newbies in, why would they get a 32 year old unhealthy one, when there are so many young, promising, charming graduates from the correct school and correct major? When I was younger, I was a church leader and well liked. When I was favored that when I did my first amateur music CD, hundreds of youths lined up to buy my CD and get me to sign it. When you realize I was in a small church, that shows you how much favor I had. That’s basically all the youths. Today, I was far from this. I was a hermit at home that most people didn’t care about. I was in the worse place of my life in terms of gathering support.
The Bible tells me that right now there is a Kingdom of Heaven that is full of destiny and resources, in this place I am blessed, I am influential, I have meaning. But my other reality is one of pain and failure, which is more correct? They BOTH exist at the same time. One is seen with physical eyes, the other is seen with spiritual eyes. One is accessed through worldly performance and fickleness of men’s support, the other is accessed through the free gift of accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross. The “strong men” in the first, the doctors, my peers, tells me I have no prospects, the odds of success is slim. The other tells me that I am already successful because the strong man has seen it and has already got there with me, He is just waiting for time to catch up.
I met my would-be wife 15 years ago when I was in the midst of my failure. She totally didn’t like me and thought lowly of me. But I saw that in the spiritual that she would have a walk with God, and that I was the perfect one for her, but its just that she didn’t know it yet. After walking in-Christ for 15 years, I met her again by divine appointment. She saw in me what I saw in me in this spiritual and by now actualized. Although we are 15-years older, she’s still a babe. I’m now a stud. We got married. Such is journey of peering into the Kingdom of Heaven in Christ.
I started to dare to believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is the real reality, and what was going on around me in the world as the illusion instead. The world tells you different. They think religion is what you make up in your head to comfort you when real life is too difficult. The world tells you that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The Kingdom of heaven is a mystery and foolishness to man because it effectively tells you that a bird in the bush is worth two in the hand. When you believe in “an imaginary” Jesus and call for “imaginary” resources, more than what you expect comes later at the right time and place for the right purpose.
I remember one clear moment during the time I was in excruciating pain at home, half drugged and worried how my future that was getting bleaker as the days passed. As I was digging about truth, and about Christ, suddenly, I felt a peace that surpassed all understanding. It’s was amazing because I had never experienced such a feeling before, and the feeling came in an environment that everything looked bleak. I was alone. I was in pain. No one was hiring. The stock market dropped my trading account by 35%, which was my only bread and butter. My disease was getting worse. I felt my parents disappointed in me. There was absolutely no reason for any optimism.
I remembered that I had a split-second vision, but so quick that I couldn’t remember any details. You know when you have those vivid dreams, but once you wake up you totally forget all of it? It’s like that, except I was awake, and the dream was 1 second long. That heavenly feeling of peace passed quickly, but it was so powerfully real that I never forgot it, because it came in a point in my life where I felt the most condemnation.
Fast forward 6-years later.
I am cutting out all the details because each detail could be a sermon in itself.
I am sitting in a nice luxury apartment in Nashville, on a coach overlooking a big window to a large park. The cool winds blow over me and I feel SO comfortable but so out of place. I’ve NEVER been so comfortable before. My eczema had healed up and I wasn’t in pain. I was uncomfortable on the sofa not because of pain, but because I’ve never sat on a sofa for years because I would always leave blood stains! No stains today. I felt secure knowing that my office is next to my apartment where I was hired straight out of Singapore as a senior business analyst with no proper professional experience. The CEO literally felt I was the right person because he thought I had God’s wisdom and the right heart even though I had no formal experience in this field. He prayed and thought I was the guy. My pay here is double what I was getting paid in Singapore. In one fell swoop, God put me back on my career path, restoring more than 5-years of being out of the job market, and 10-years of not being in this profession.
As I felt so grateful, sitting on that couch, knowing tomorrow is my first day at work. A chill came down my spine. I had seen myself in this exact place 6 years ago. This was the vision I had while I was in pain in my room, without hope. The reason why I had a peace that surpasses all understanding is not that I was optimistic, but because I saw the future and it was a real as though I had lived it. God took me in the future with him for a split second, and my body reacted to it the way you would as a real experience and not an imaginary one! That is the reason we can have peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ because the victory is assured because it already happened.
When we dig into the mysteries of Christ it will take a lifetime. Next Russian nesting dolls, you will find more and more treasures and revelations the more you dig. But, since I don’t have time, let me remind you that all of it is has its foundations on 1) the finished works of Christ on the cross, which is a free gift, this 2) opens the door for you to dig into Christ and receive all the divine supply you need to accomplish God’s purpose for you. In that process, you will see breakthroughs and doors open, but you must be daring to dare to believe God’s reality is more real that the problems around you, and you must dare to make a move once God’s wisdom is revealed to you. You must be willing to work harder (not for salvation, but to make something out of yourself), you must be willing to explore new avenues. You must be daring to forgive people that don’t deserve it. You must be willing to meet people you might not ordinarily meet. You must be willing to be ambitious and willing to agitate towards that divinely inspired direction. You must dare to walk in servanthood.
If you need Wisdom. Jesus is Wisdom. If you need Grace, Jesus is Grace.
Did you receive something today? Give God a high five. His hand is already right in front of you. In his hand is already things He has done for you.
Getting back to what I started earlier.
When I was younger, I was braggadocios and quick to speak about things that I have no life experience talking about. I wanted to be “the show”. I was to give pearls of wisdom to people they would are watching me. Today, I feel very different stepping on a stage, because I realize I’m not the show. You are the show. I am seeing right now so many amazing stories being actualized in front of me. People who will be doing things differently from me, better than me, because of God’s grace. When I think of crowds, it used to remind me how big the world is, and how the world was cold and cruel. But now I see that God’s grace can turn any desert into an oasis, a hurt person into a healer, a poor person rich, a weak person strong. There are hundreds of you here. I am overwhelmed seeing what God is doing in your life, and am honored just to be able to contribute my story in the hope it encourages yours.