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2 April 2021

GOOD FRIDAY TESTIMONIES

Thankful to Be Born Again

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37).

Two years ago I wrote a testimony for this very same reason—baptism. I thought I was ready then, but the devil hindered me. I thank the Lord for not letting me to wander and be lost.

My Early Years

I was born in a traditional Chinese family of five. My father, before he was saved, was an implicit atheist; while my mother practised Taoism because of her upbringing. My elder brother was the first in the family to be saved, when I was still schooling. God’s Word began to enter my life when my brother gave me a Bible when I went abroad for studies. Although I wasn’t reading it seriously in those years, somehow it became my source of comfort when I’m down and lonely.

1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

When I stepped into working life, friends from different churches ignited my curiosity in Christianity. I attended different churches and fellowships and was invited to a certain large-scale spirit-healing event held at the old Kallang Stadium in the nineties. It was there that I first encountered an antichrist spirit.

In the Wilderness

It was not till a diving accident that I was saved by Christ miraculously. I was then truly convinced by His true existence as the living God. From then on I made a commitment in my heart to follow Him without even knowing what is the sinner’s prayer. I wasn’t convinced by any church as to which was the right one. In the end I tried to approach God on my own. I stayed positive in life thinking that I was already a Christian.

Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

After I got married, I encountered my first trial of faith when I was betrayed by somebody close. Without the correct understanding of faith, I blamed God for what happened and began to fall back. Some years later, my business failed and I was diagnosed with bipolar depression. My wife suffered the consequences of my erratic behavior until my illness was under control. That was a dark period for me as I totally lost touch of Christ. I no longer identified myself as a Christian. I went on behalf of my parents to QingMing and helped my mother at home to serve her false god. I followed them to practise QiGong and seemed to have benefitted from it in the beginning.

Matthew 12:43–45, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Some years later, some evil spirits came upon me as I practised QiGong. I was about to be swallowed up in its darkness when I heard a long lost voice in my heart screaming: “Jesus, save me!” Immediately I felt as if I was under the sun, bright and safe. I realised that the Lord never left me after all these years.

Years of Tribulation

James 1:14–15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

A year later, the devil came into my family affairs; and I failed because of jealousy. Though I didn’t blame God for what happened, I was deeply hurt. Gradually, my love and devotion was shifted away from my parents. As a result, jealousy also consumed the harmony of my marriage for a period of time.

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”.

Two years ago, my wife was diagnosed with 3rd stage bile duct cancer. After consultation with various specialists, she came to realise the cruel fact that her cancer cannot be cured. She was surprisingly calm and began to follow me to church. Never in my life had I prayed so hard, but I no longer prayed with my own desire or for a miracle of healing, but for God’s mercy and will. By the grace of God and the everlasting love of our Lord, my wife was saved and was baptised in the same year. Through the love and support of the church, she had her last few weeks living with a great spirit. I remember her telling me during Christmas that year that she is READY for her new home in heaven. Three weeks later, the Lord called her home.

The same month I took up catechism class. The Lord had mercy on me. He made all the paths smooth for me in the meanwhile.

Ecclesiastes 6:12, “For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?”

Sadly my faith was not as strong as my wife’s. Two months after her burial came our 20th wedding anniversary; sadness and grief swallowed me day and night. I prayed for comfort, and asked God over and over to remove my grief. When I couldn’t bear it anymore, I dropped out of catechism class and once again tried to find my own way to peace and comfort. 

My father passed away eight months after my wife, followed by my baby grandnephew. I prayed that they are peacefully resting in Christ. Covid-19 came, Circuit Breaker gone, brought with it my mother-in-law. I did not try hard enough to share with her the Gospel. This regret will be carried with me for life.

Into the Promised Land

Matthew 11:21, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

The global pandemic of Covid-19 opens up the window for me to take up online courses by FEBC. The Lord came to me through His Word, in the Holy Spirit. I was stripped naked, baring all my sins, the hidden and unhidden, layer after layer of lies which masked my heart, I couldn’t trust myself any more. All these years of disobedience and rebellion I must have deeply grieved God and my Lord. I am utterly thankful to be reborn.

Romans 7:21–23, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Soon after I was reborn, I came to realise the difficulties of being a faithful Christian have only just begun. Nonetheless I am thankful.

Romans 8:38–39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen. Teong Keat

Looking Forward to Growing in Christ

I attended a Christian kindergarten, a catholic primary and secondary school, and I was convinced that when God was referred to all this while it was the Christian God. I got baptised as a Catholic at 18 before I went overseas to study. At that point I still believed that there was only one God and prayed every day when I was overseas. When I returned to Singapore, I tried to attend Church on Sunday but it didn’t mean much to me. I realised that it gave me stress and I couldn’t relate to the people attending the Catholic Church.

Becoming a Catholic

My parents became Catholic when I was in secondary school. My mother was baptised first and encouraged the whole family to do the same, but we did it separately. The values of being a Catholic were generally good but I felt that there was a lot of fear and worries that my mother had. Making the cross sign in the car or on the way out felt like a symbol of protection. I have to say I was not well versed in the religion at that point. I stopped attending the catholic mass and functioned as an independent person since then. Friends who were from Christian churches shared about God and their various testimonies over the years. They invited me to attend their church services too. It was strange because the service felt like a performance. But I attended them with respect and silence. It didn’t touch me.

What Is the Purpose of Life?

Later, I met a friend at work who is a Christian. Over the years of knowing her, she slowly taught me about life and God. Through my conversations with her, I recognised that I didn’t really know God or the Bible. I had my own human understanding that was heavily influenced by the world, which meant that there was nothing but conflict and a lot of indulgence in material things. It meant that there was no hope and no purpose once you lose interest in things of the world. Then what happens next? I went through a few difficult years of trying to find myself where home was not familiar and work was complicating. I felt that I had no way out and nobody could help me.

Brought to True Life

The same friend suggested that I could attend True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (TLBPC) on Sunday morning and she brought me to the church one Sunday to show me where it was and what the service was like. I attended service on my own a few Sundays after that and I felt touched by the hymns, and the messages taught me a lot. I still struggled at that point about attending a non-Catholic Church as I did not know how to tell my parents about it. It took months to finally mention it. But till now that was it—just a mention. Then it was many more months of struggle with attending Church on Sunday at TLBPC and not telling my friends about it. Eventually I stopped going in person and only listened to the audio messages online.

During the Circuit-Breaker period I started watching the YouTube services on Sundays and kept doing that till the end of the year. I learned a lot about God’s Word. And slowly I felt the difference in my understanding of the world. I read the weekly online and I saw that there was a registration for catechism class and finally gathered courage to apply for it. I thought about joining the church two Easters ago. But it took over a year to finally have the courage to take the first step. I do not know anybody in the church except Pastor Jeffrey Khoo with whom I became familiar by listening to him on Sundays.

I feel like I am still very vulnerable and can fall back into my old way of life any time. I have adjusted my perspective to life and changed certain habits but it takes only a difficult day or sometimes days when the will is weak to make bad decisions and fall into sin. I am glad that the right church is there to remind us and pull us back on track on Sundays. There will still be struggles but I will choose to keep faith and pray for guidance and trust in the Lord. I look forward to growing stronger with Christ and to keep learning God’s Word through the KJV Bible. Cheryl Tan

Golgotha or Calvary, “the place of a skull” (Luke 23:33)

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