Sunday, 7 February 2016

Don't Despise Your Birthright

will_testament In Gen 25.29-34 we read that Esau, famished from a long day in the field, sold his birthright for some red stew! V34 says that ‘Esau despised his birthright’. In Heb 12.16-17, the author uses Esau as an example of someone who despised the spiritual things and was concerned more with the earthly and profane things.

But let’s take a look at ourselves also. We as children of God have a glorious birthright - we are adopted into God’s family, we have an inheritance, we have forgiveness of sins, salvation, eternal life, hope, peace, grace. We have the Holy Spirit; we have the Word. We have all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. In fact, we have Jesus! We of all people, are most blessed! That is our birthright.

And yet, isn’t it so easy to take it for granted at times? Or even worse, to despise it? Isn’t it easy at times to be more concerned with the earthly, profane things around us than with the heavenly and spiritual things? Isn’t it easy to make the excuse - ‘I don’t have time for spiritual things; my life is too hectic right now. I have no time to read the Bible, or pray or seek God.’

And over time, our hearts are in danger of becoming hard. See, for Esau it was too late to get his birthright back, even when he ‘sought it diligently with tears’ (Heb 12.17). But for you it might not be too late. Don’t let your heart become so hard that you don’t care anymore for the things of God. Ask God, in His grace, to light a fire in your heart and renew your faith, so that the earthly and profane things of the world might fade away and that you fall in love with Jesus and the things of heaven again.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Jesus, Creator of Worlds and Hearts

I have been pondering this verse in Hebrews 1.1-2 for a while, that Jesus is the Creator of the worlds –

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds’.

We know and understand that Jesus made the physical world. Colossians 1.16-17 declares – ‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

[caption id="attachment_2046" align="alignleft" width="204"] Guess how many earths can fit inside the sun![/caption]

Think of the universe – the millions of stars out there. Or imagine our sun – it can hold 1.3M earths in it, or 64.3M moons! Or think of our heart which beats something like 2.5-3 billion times in an average lifetime. Amazing! And Jesus created all that!

And yet, that is not the greatest creation, not by a long shot! Paul writes that if ‘anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new’ (2Corinthians 5.20). Through His work at the Cross, Jesus has made me into a new creation, a new man! Now that is amazing! A sinner like me, filled with hatred, bitterness, sin; a man who rejected Jesus, laughed at Christians for their weak religion and who tried everything in the world to escape from God. And yet, here I am today - a new creation. A new man with a new life, with eternal life. How incredible is that! Because Jesus is Creator!

Have you experienced the creative power of Jesus yet? Are you a new creation in Christ? If not, what is holding you back?

Or maybe you are a believer and have already experienced the power of God when you accepted Jesus as Saviour. But what about now, or lately? When was last time you experienced the creative power of Jesus? Do you have a bitter heart? Are you downtrodden? Have life events burdened your heart? Ask Jesus to create a clean heart and to renew a right spirit in you (Ps 51.10). He who can create the universe and time and history can easily create a new heart in you, me, us. Let’s make it our prayer. Lord, create a new heart in me!

Man cannot create the tiniest midge that ever danced in the summer evening's ray; man cannot create even a single grain of dust; but Christ created all worlds, so he can make us new creatures by the wondrous power of his grace. O sinners, see what a mighty Savior has been provided for you, and never say that you cannot trust him!”   C.H. Spurgeon

Sunday, 8 March 2015

In To...Out Of...

Then He [God] brought us OUT from there [Egypt],
that He might bring us IN, to give us the land
which He swore to our fathers.

Deut 6.23 (my emphasis)

This past week, I have been going through Deuteronomy as part of my daily Bible reading and this verse really spoke to me. Msign_in_outoses was instructing the Israelites to not disobey God, because He is a good God and faithful to His word. Moses then gives them the greatest example of all – how God was faithful to not only bring them OUT of Egypt and bondage, but to also bring them IN to the land that He promised them. How awesome is that!?

I sat there for about 15 minutes just thinking about this verse and what it means to us today. Isn’t this exactly what God does for all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ? Think about how this applies to our salvation…

He brings us out of sin and in to forgiveness.
He brings us out of darkness and in to light.
He brings us out of self-righteous works and in to amazing grace.
He brings us out of the old and in to the new.
He brings us out of death and in to life.
He brings us out of fear and in to faith.
He brings us out of constant striving and in to rest.
He brings us out of turmoil and in to peace.
He brings us out of rejection and in to adoption.
He brings us out of uncertainty and in to assurance.
He brings us out of the world and in to His Kingdom.
He brings us out of Hell and in to Heaven.

And the list goes on and on and on….

Take a moment and think about what God has done for you; that He brought you out of ______ so He could bring you in to __________.  You fill in the blanks!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Riverwalk - Team Phamily!


Pray you are all well and that 2015 has gone well for you so far.  Our church, Calvary Wellington, is co-hosting (along with Gospel for Asia) a fundraising half-marathon (21 km / 13.1 miles) walk in our local region.  The money raised will go towards Gospel for Asia’s Clean Water Initiatives in India and other parts of South Asia.  You can read more about GfA’s Clean water initiative at

Becky and the kids have it on their hearts to do this walk and to support the needy (the Untouchables) in India.  They want to fundraise as much as possible to support GfA in bringing the Gospel to India through serving and giving the people clean water.

So if you are able to and feel led to financially support Becky and the kids, below are the links to their individual fundraising pages.  Every dollar helps!!  And 100% of the funds raised will go to the mission field (GfA’s policy).

You can support through Paypal, even if you don’t have a Paypal account, just use a credit card.  In Europe/Germany, you can deposit directly into our German Deutsche Bank account and we can forward that onto GfA (Kontoinhaber: David Pham,  Bank: Deutsche Bank Freiburg,  Konto: 0361469,  BLZ: 680 700 24)

Becky’s fundraising page -

Jesaiah’s fundraising page -

Taliah’s fundraising page -

Zachy’s fundraising page -

Dariah’s fundraising page -

Unfortunately I can’t do the walk this year as I am coordinating the whole event.  Thanks in advance!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

In the Moment!

Maybe some have been wondering - 'what's up with David, is it a midlife crisis (perhaps), why is he doing all these weird things (like running a marathon or performing a Maori haka)'.  I guess I can attribute it to the fact that I have decided to follow my own advice.  Funny, huh?  After how many years of giving this advice, I now decide to follow it!?  ;-)

maori kowhaiFor years I have told people to live in the present.  I told people - 'Don't worry about the past because Jesus has got your back.  Don't worry about the future because God holds it in his hands.  So live in the moment, live in the present.  Make the most of everyday'.  Great advice.  For someone else.  At least that was what I thought.

But it occurred to me that I needed to take this advice myself.  Now, living in the present means different things for different people.  For me, it means challenging myself every day or week or year to do something I don't normally do, to experience new things and to live MY life to the fullest - today.  And that's key - I am the only one ever born who can live MY life to the fullest.  No one else can.  On the same note I CANNOT live someone else's life to the fullest either - they must!  I can't copy others - I can only be me and live my life, with all its (and my) quirks, weirdness, fun, monotony, people, loves and hates, etc.  I can be inspired by others and their lives, but I cannot copy them nor live their lives.

In fact, last week, when I was at Uni residency and doing the Maori Culture and Language course, it hit me again.  The Maori worldview is very much about being in the moment, living in the present.  It acknowledges where a person comes from, their whakapapa (genealogy).  This is very important in Maori culture, but it is also very much about the now - onāianei.  Just what I have been telling people all this time!  Live in the now!  Live today!  Jesus put it in the negative - 'do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble' (Mat 6.34).    So I'm living in the moment, in the now, challenging myself each day to live to the fullest.

So that's why you have seen some 'crazy' (but what is crazy anyways - it's all relative) things in the past few years from me.  I have been challenging myself to live each day in the present.  I have challenged myself sacrificially (donating a kidney), physically (started running and doing half and full marathons), intellectually (Uni studies) and now linguistically (trying to learn te reo Maori).  Also, I am relatively shy and introverted, but I am forcing myself to meet new people and putting myself in situations where I must - huge challenge!  And there will be more challenges - each one aimed at helping me live in the present.

Now, to live in the present, I must recognize who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming.  It also involves where I came from, where I am presently and where I am going.  I WAS a sinner, I AM a child of God and I am BECOMING a follower of Jesus.  I came FROM the road to hell, I live NOW on earth as a sojourner and I am ON MY WAY home to heaven.

Paul understood this, he writes in his letter to the Philippians that he was putting the past behind him and presently pressing forward.  And he had a destination, a goal - the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus - 'Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus' (Phil 3.13-14).

So who are you?  Where are you now?  Whose life are you living?  Yours?  Your parents'?  Society's?  Are you living in the moment?  In the present, now?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

With God Nothing Is Impossible

‘For with God nothing will be impossible.
Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word."
And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1.37-38

blog_impossibleGod is a God of miracles - He delights in doing the impossible.  Isn’t this what we celebrate not only at Christmas, but every day - God doing the impossible?  He has the power to bring the Savior into our world through a virgin!  In context that was what Mary was pondering - how can she, a virgin become pregnant?  Look at Luke 1:34  - 'Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" '   So the angel Gabriel responds - with God nothing is impossible.  God has sovereign control and power over creation, time and space - everything!

Now this verse in the English translation doesn’t give us the whole picture.  In the original language, there is another dimension.  There are implications that come out better in the Greek - ‘nothing’ is literally ‘no word’ and ‘impossible’ is literally ‘without power’.  So literally it reads - ‘with God, no word will be without power’.  That’s why Mary answered in V38 - ‘Let it be to me according to your word’.  She got the message!

See, the angel brought this up to prove to Mary that with God none of His Words is without power.  What He promised Mary (through the angel), He has the power to accomplish!  A virgin will bring forth a Child - Jesus!

And for us today, it is the same, there is tremendous power in the Word of God.  This is a very important principle in Christian life - God has power to effect change in us through His Word!  Look at just a few verses….
Isa 55.11- ‘So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please.

Heb 4.12 - ‘For the Word of God is living and powerful….

Ps 33.9 - ‘for He spoke and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast.’

So the next time you face impossibilities, think - with God nothing is impossible / with God, no word is without power.  And then go to Scripture and allow God to speak to you through His Word.  Allow Him to transform you through His Word.  Find strength, comfort, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing in His Word.  The Lord through His Word, has the power to work in any ‘impossibility’ we face.  He had the power to bring Jesus Christ into this world through a virgin - He did the 'impossible'.  And He can also bring Jesus into the midst of your impossibility today.  And you can have peace even in the midst of chaos.  Remember, with God nothing will be impossible.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Pastor's Wife - A Thankless 'Job'

pastors_wife_survivalFor years I have said this about my wife! Her 'work/ministry' is tougher than anyone ever realizes. Thanks Becks for being my wife and helpmate. Please read the following post from this blog from Ryan Huguley titled '6 Ways to Serve Your Pastor's Wife on Sundays'.  Please pray for Becks as well as all pastors' wives.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Story Behind 'Broken Hallelujah'

Here's the story behind the song Broken Hallelujah by The Afters....


Beauty From Ashes

The AftersJust bought the new The Afters album - Life is Beautiful (well, new to me at least, I think it came out in April of this year).   And discovered the song ' Broken Hallelujah. It's been a long time since a song has instantly brought tears to my eyes, but this one did.  The inspiration for the song comes partly from the Book of Job and partly from the life situations of the writers/musicians.  I can't seem to hear it enough - I have fallen asleep listening to this song every night for the last week!  It is such an uplifting song.  Even the kids love it!

My favorite line in the song...
'Even though I don't know what your plan is, I know You're making beauty from these ashes.'

Here are the lyrics to the song...

"Broken Hallelujah"

I can barely stand right now.
Everything is crashing down,
And I wonder where You are.

I try to find the words to pray.
I don't always know what to say,
But You're the one that can hear my heart.

Even though I don't know what your plan is,
I know You're making beauty from these ashes.

I've seen joy and I've seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

You know the things that have brought me here.
You know the story of every tear.
‘Cause You've been here from the very start.

Even though I don't know what your plan is,
I know You're making beauty from these ashes.

I've seen joy and I've seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

When all is taken away, don't let my heart be changed.
Let me always sing Hallelujah
When I feel afraid, don't let my hope be erased
Let me always sing Hallelujah.
Let me always sing Hallelujah.

I will always sing
I will always sing
Here's my broken hallelujah.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pleasing God

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.   And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.  Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."     Mark 1.9-11

At baptism of Jesus, after He came up out of the water, God declared - ‘This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1blog_heart_cloud.11).

Have you ever noticed that it says (1) God loves Him and (2) God is pleased with Him.  And this is before Jesus ever did anything!  This was at the start of His public ministry, so He had not done anything yet!  Hadn’t taught anything publicly yet.  Hadn’t preached a sermon yet.  Hadn’t healed any one yet.  Hadn’t walked on water yet.  Hadn’t fed the 5000 men yet.  Hadn’t done anything yet.

And God still declared - My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  How could God say this?  Because of Who Jesus is, not just what He has done or will do.  God loves Jesus and is pleased with Him because He is simply His Son.

And so it is with us.  God loves us and is pleased with us not JUST for what we have done or will do.  We can easily get into the habit of thinking that we have to DO something to please God or to earn His love.  No, He loves us and is pleased with us simply because we are His children.  Just like we love our children simply because of who they are.

So it is not JUST about keeping rules and regulations - that is good and needed too.  But we can know that we are accepted and loved because we are God’s children first and foremost.  We are well pleasing to God already!  When God looks at us, He sees His Son Jesus.  Amazing grace!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.     Eph 1.3-6


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Is He Not Faithful?

blog_rainbowSorry it's been about 6 months since I posted anything on this blog!  Time flies!  Here is a short(ish) devo from this past week.  I have been looking back at our time here in New Zealand - 3 and a half years and counting - and the one underlying theme has to be God's faithfulness.  Look what  the psalmist said in Psalm 89 about God's faithfulness...

…with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations (V1).
…Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens (V2).
…Your faithf
ulness also surrounds You (V8).

As it says in V1, His faithfulness surrounds Him.  It is who He is.  There is not a day, minute or second that goes by that God is NOT faithful.  He is faithful even when we don't believe He is.  He is faithful even when we turn away from Him.  He is faithful even when we are faithless (2Tim 2.13)!  But more than that, His faithfulness also surrounds us!  What a joy and comfort!  Look at some of the ways has He been faithful to us...

  • in carrying us through the trials and difficulties.

  • in providing for all our needs.

  • in leading and guiding us in many important decisions.

  • in bringing comfort or healing or peace when it was needed.

  • in keeping us safe in His hands.

  • in providing forgiveness for our sins at the Cross.

  • in sending His Son Jesus into this world.

God is faithful.  Again, it is the essences of who He is.  He would not be God if He were not faithful.  His faithfulness surrounds him.

Also V2 says His faithfulness is established in heaven, not on earth where things are constantly changing.  No, it is established firmly and permanently in heaven, the dwelling place of God Himself.  His faithfulness can be counted upon - it is 100% reliable everyday, in every situation, through all circumstances.  Can we say that about anyone else?  NO!  As humans, we will always fail, always disappoint others, always let others down, always make mistakes, always doubt, always go back on our word - it's our fallen nature!  But because God is perfect, His faithfulness is perfect also.  That means all He says or does is certain - He is faithful.  It means every promise He makes will come to pass - He is faithful.  It means his plan will be worked out - He is faithful.  It means every trial or tribulation we go through DOES have a purpose - He is faithful.  God is faithful and His faithfulness is established in heaven!

Lastly, the psalmist writes that he would proclaim the faithfulness of God to all generations (V1).  When we experience God’s faithfulness, we can’t help but thank Him, praise Him and proclaim His faithfulness!  And even when we are in the midst of trials and troubles, we must remember God IS FAITHFUL, even if we can't see it, recognize it or accept it in that moment.  But when we do see His faithfulness, even years later in hindsight, it will cause us to break out in praise and proclaim the faithfulness of God to all generations.  That is the automatic response!  I look back over the years that I had the privilege of following Jesus and walking with God and I can see His goodness and faithfulness.  And I have to simply proclaim - He is faithful, even when I was faithless, because He cannot deny Himself.

So I challenge you, look back at your life - how has He shown Himself faithful to you?  In your family?  At work, school?  How has He shown Himself faithful in the little things and the big things?  I bet if you look hard enough you will see many examples of His faithfulness.  So have you thanked Him for them?  Have you praised Him for His faithfulness?  Have you proclaimed it to all generations?

Also with the lute I will praise You and Your faithfulness, O my God!
To You I will sing with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 71.22