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PELITA - The Methodist Church Newsletter
Listed below are articles abstracted from past issues of PELITA

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May 2018



Title: Simply Amazing... and Still Watching
Date: 01-May-2018
Category: Cover Story
Source/Author: By Bishop Dr Ong Hwai Teik

We stand in utter amazement and awe before our Mighty God – as we beheld how our Sovereign God guided the whole of the GE 14 peacefully towards a “new Malaysia” which He appointed for His own glory. 

Undoubted Divine Intervention – Soli Deo Gloria
I remember sharing in a devotion with the choir of the Methodist Prayer Convention 2014 which was rehearsing in Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil , about how the great composer Johan Sebastian Bach used– Soli Deo Gloria [S.D.G. – Latin for “to God alone be the glory”]. Bach would inscribe S.D.G. at the end of all his church compositions signifying the work was produced for the sake of praising God. We joyously echo these same words now – in the context of what God has done for Malaysia as Malaysia prayed, and we sing “to You alone be the glory for GE14”.

We appreciate the long, testing and often very difficult “journey of prayer” undertaken by God’s Church in Malaysia – but a journey that is not yet over! Just like Israel of old, we have just gotten out of Egypt – with a continuing arduous journey ahead into the Promised Land yet to come!

Truly we Malaysians would similarly make this same declaration - Soli Deo Gloria, because we know that only God alone could fulfil the whole process of this change that actually began many years ago. Then we see His hand in the peaceful build up to 9 May 2018 Polling Day, guarding the incident-free day of polling and safeguarding the results of the ballots cast by over 80 per cent of Malaysians. We see Him guiding the new Administration in redressing critical issues and in the inception of policies and actions that hold great promise of recovery in making Malaysia great once again.

The respected Christian theologian, J I Packer reminds us of the divine providence of Almighty God that he defines as “the unceasing activity of the Creator, whereby in overflowing bounty and goodwill, He upholds His creatures in ordered existence, guides and governs all events, circumstances and free acts of angels and men, and directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory.”

History – “HIS STORY”
History is indeed God’s story: the Almighty God of providence is at work in the very events that appear to be filled with darkness and confusion, as His people often moan “How long, O Lord”! God is in the very events of history; ultimately all events are going to lead towards glorifying the sovereign God of the universe, the Maker of heaven and earth.

This GE14 re-affirms for us to keep our “helmet of salvation” on – to know that in the face of what appears contrary to our expectations of God, God is working out His eternal salvation plan and purpose. All creatures, regardless of their domicile, will one day sing that heavenly chorus in the ultimate Praise Worship in heaven - And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” [Rev 5:13].

The Christian always has a hope for the future; he has that great fact of a promise that God is working out His purposes in history, and therefore need not be disturbed when human situations at a macro level seem like an out of control “run-away train”. This is especially when human events and programmes appear to be going overwhelmingly wrong – with bad, unjust and unfair “deals” mushrooming.

GE14 – The Incredible Turning Point
“Evil is only allowed to do enough to overreach itself and to bring about its own downfall” are apt words from Biblical scholar NT Wright. The Sovereign Lord responded to the many and ever-increasing sustained prayers of His people in this land and abroad. Political commentators have opined that the GE14 historic event which resulted in the change of Government that had ruled Malaysia for the past 61 years without a break – began with events that took place 20 years ago. That was when Tun Dr Mahathir sacked Datuk Seri Anwar in 1998; that led to the formation of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat. At the right time, events led Tun Dr Mahathir to leave UMNO and he formed a new opposition party, and subsequently the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan [PH] was birthed - bringing together the 4 main opposition parties.

Reflection - Some Powerful GE14 Lessons
We together witness the demonstration of the supremacy of prayer as God intervened. The Church in Malaysia grew in strength and unity in interceding for the nation, steadfastly calling for Divine mercy and intervention in the spirit of NIV 2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Truly, God stretched out His hand upon our land; but this verse is not only good for pre-GE14, all the more we should now watch and pray for the nation riding on this generated prayer wave.

We have also witnessed the power of praying in unity as promised by God in NIV Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!.....3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

We saw the supremacy of the “big picture” – to pursue a reform agenda and an unwavering commitment to change. The pursuit of this bigger picture of “Malaysia deserves better” and the responsibility of ensuring our children and theirs have a brighter future, have galvanized the reformists to set aside their personal painful memories inflicted by the other, and selfish ambitions in order to make Malaysia great once again!

We beheld the supremacy of collaboration in the pursuit of a goal of the highest order. The key leaders in the Pakatan Harapan forged the most unexpected and unlikely of political alliance. Forging an esprit de corps and common spirit meant facing and then releasing memories that are hard to erase along with the excruciating pain, shame and humiliation of being victims of unjust power play and schemes in the past.

We watched with amazement as the “jailer and prisoner” shook hands. In addition, the response of Nurul Izzah, daughter of twice jailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when asked at an interview how she could forgive when her father had spent 11 years in jail- was unforgettable. Her reply was “We are here to reform the system so that no one else becomes victimized again ...We need to have a measured outlook of life, never live your life out of anger and bitterness.” This was a clear demonstration of the supremacy and power of forgiveness.

We witnessed the supremacy of the will of an awakened citizenry. The foreign press was predicting that the incumbent BN was going to win again. In the days preceding the GE14, the PH coalition was not allowed to be registered, the anti-fake news law was passed, the electoral re-delineation was enacted etc. But the awakened citizenry courageously decided that “enough is enough” and spoke through the ballot. 

We observed the supremacy of persevering hard work. Our hearts go out to a 93 year old [and those with him] who relentlessly trudged a gruelling itinerary especially during the permitted 11-day campaign period, criss-crossing states and challenging rural and urban locations, climbing onto mobile platforms and speaking into the night and early morning. We applaud all who made time and provided money and effort toward this change – volunteering in various capacities especially that of being polling and counting agents.

We together hold on to a shared vision of the future - daring to believe and seek Heaven for a new future for Malaysia where there is unequivocal practice of the rule of law, honouring the Federal Constitution and where freedom, justice, equality, fairness, compassion, mutual respect and harmony will prevail. We look forward to the practical restoration of parliamentary democracy which respects the separation and functional independence of the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive in the governance of our beloved nation.

In conclusion, may we be reminded that we are co-responsible for a continuing journey for a new Malaysia filled with both great potential as well as possible pitfalls. We must give thanks and rejoice for what is impossible humanly speaking that has incredibly come to pass – the Almighty and Sovereign God has acted. But we must not be trapped in the “moment of euphoria” – and forget to hoist our sails and ride on the fresh and powerful cleansing gale that has blown into Malaysia!

We must remember that both 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Psalm 133: 1-3 are not only good for the “Egypt period”. We must continue to build on the momentum of prayer that has been generated and persist in praying “in and out of season” based on the above verses and more – so that the “results of GE14” will be fully realised and actualised. We are co-responsible with the new Government in the continuing pursuit and journey of the “new Malaysia”. The “new Malaysia” - healed, reconciled, righteous, compassionate and empowered with a new Government needs our prayer and support.

We thank the Sovereign God for blessing and continuing to bless Malaysia!         

Soli Deo Gloria! 

NLT 2 Chronicles 7:14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

  

   



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