May 2010


1. How did God build on his existing standards?

In the new testament, God sent Jesus, God himself, to come to the world (John 1). Jesus built on the Old testaments foundation, (Matt 5:17-20). Besides the emphasis on keeping the words and physical requirement of the law. (Jesus wanted his believers to have righteousness that exceed that of the scribes and pharisees.) . Jesus emphasise on the heart behind the actions. Now murder begins when you hate the person, adultery happens when you think lustful. (Matt 5:17-27)

Sabbath is more than just not working and listening to the words of God. Jesus expects his believers to do good on sabbath (Matt 12:1-14).

In this view, it would be clear that Jesus built the new testament by increasing the depth of the old testament. Which goes beyond the physical actions, but now it emphasise on the heart and mind of keeping the law. The new testament believers are to follow the word of God out of their love for God, not because of the fear of punishment.

2. How does God forgive sins in the new testament? God first did the ultimate sacrifice for sin, by taking on the punishment that man is suppose to suffer as the result of sin, death. He bled and allowed his blood to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin. (John 3:16)

God established baptism for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38). He stresses on having faith in the grace of Jesus, a heart of repentance as well as the physical action doing it. ( Eph 2:8-9, Jas 2:18-24). Baptism, Holy Communion, foot washing is made effective by the grace of Jesus, given when he is nailed on the cross, as well as our faith in his words (the bible), and our obedience to follow it.

Baptism and foot washing is conducted once in the lifetime, with its effects lasting through the entire life of the believers. Holy Communion serves as a time for Christians to reflect their relationship with God, examine themselves of their sins, and to ask God forgiveness and who would remember our sins no more (1 Cor 11:27-34). This is the reason for the Apostles warning not take the Holy Communion lightly, in Corinth, there are Christians who take Holy Communion seriously and died (1 Cor 11:30).

Jesus knows, with depth of the law of God deepened, it would be even harder for the new testament believers to follow the commandments of God (just think about the old testament saints and their difficulty keeping the old testament). Therefore God has decided to stay in the heart of believers, giving his spirit to guide the new testament believers to understand truth (John 16:5-15). The holy spirit will work with our conscience to warn members when they are about to sin, as well as to be their counsel and comforter to encourage them to follow the will of God (John 14: 15-18)

At the same time, God allowed himself to be our mediator in heaven(Heb 9:11) to allow Christians to come to him easily for the forgiveness of sin.

Jesus, being human, and knowing our weakness as human being, is able to have compassion and intercede for us all the time. This is because he had taken a form of a man and he understand our weakness and our inability to handle the many temptations and trials. (Heb 4:14-16). He open a way through his blood to allow believers to come to God for forgiveness of sin easily.

In fact, in the daily road Christian walks, when a Christian sins, Gods grace aboundeth more and to forgive them. (Rom 5:19-21)

3. What is does God want Christians of the new testament to do?

Since the forgiveness of sin is freely given, God wanted Christians not to abuse this forgiveness for indulging ourselves with sin. (Rom 6:1-4, 15). Instead, Jesus wanted the believers to walk in newness of life, lead a life free of sin, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Col 2:6). God doesn’t want Christians to look lightly on this grace that he had given, through the death of Jesus, hence Christians should not just fall away or turn apostate are crucifying God the second time (Heb 6:4-6).

Christians must lead a life of spiritual nurture, to help them to follow Gods commandments better. (Heb 6: 1-3). The main goal of spiritual nurture is to train a Christian put on Christ to imitate Christ (1 Cor 11:1). To achieve this, Christian needs to spend time in pray to God (Acts 2:42). Prayers are important as it is an important channel of communication to God, and God does comfort using the Holy spirit to the members. Besides prayer,
meditating on the words of God is important(Php 4:8-9, 2 Tim 3:15-16). The words of God will only be put into actions when a Christian learn to serve God.

it is indeed true, that within a Christians lifetime, it would be difficult to reach the stage to be 100% like Christ. So that is the reason why God is gracious, and made Christian righteous through his blood. Not that because they are perfect, but because they have placed their faith in God. He renewed Christians daily, forgiving them, encouraging them to continue their fight through prayers and the word of God. (Col 3:1-11)

This is difficult, thats why Paul compared his Christian walk is liken to the race for the prize and just when he was just about to die, i said "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.. " (2 Tim 4:6-8)

4. Are there sins that are unforgivable?

Alot of times, Christians tend to stay away from this topic. Actually, there are sins that will never be unforgivable. There are 2 in particular I would like to highlight.
1. Blasphemy against the Holy spirit ( Lk 12 : 10, Mk 3:29)
2. Even Elder John talks about Sin leading to death (1 Jn 5:16-17) out of which the most evident ones are
a. Preaching heresy (1 Tim 1:18-20)
b. Sinning wilfully (Heb 10:26)
3. The church does has the power to excommunicate members, although I believe the church should practise prudence when exercising this authority(Matt 18:15-21)

5. Conclusion

For the three blog post, we have discussed on many things
1. Sin is falling short of the standard of God
2. God establishing his standard in the OT (like a tutor) and then deepen the standard in the NT
3. At the same time, because of the deepening of the standard, Jesus came to offer his life as a sacrifice, so man can come to God easily for forgiveness
4. God expects man to try his best to imitate Christ, so Christians should combat sins by daily spiritual nurture. Prayers, reading and mediating on Gods work and serving God and the church are the basic steps to spiritual nurture

It is hope that from here, we would gain the strength to make use of Gods grace, to finish our race of faith.

Here are all the blogs in this series

Sin and Forgiveness (Part 1/3): What is sin and their effects?
Sin and Forgiveness (Part 2/3): The Old Testament
Sin and Forgiveness (Part 3/3):The new testament and conclusion

p>Hmm It is just that my church back in Singapore is having its annual mid year spiritual meeting.. Although i am unable to join in this round.. but the joy I have is still the same..

Attending a Spiritual Meeting is really liken to the Feast of the Tabernacles. It is a special feast where it went on for 7 days. during this period. they will have to give up their homes, and stay in tents for 7 days to remember the days where the Israelites are dwelling in tents when God brought them out of Egypt (Lev 23:33-44)

In our present contacts, the spiritual meetings are days where we decided to spend time in church listening to the word of God.. Praying and spending time close to him. Giving up the material comforts we have at home.. to eat together, listen to the word of God together.. It is also a special occasion for praying to receive the Holy Spirit.

Alot of times, God has always prepared feasts for us… but do we come in feeling joyful or do we feel compelled? Will there be a time where there are no more feasts? will we view every spiritual meeting as special? Let us not give up meeting and listening to the words of God (Heb 10:24-25).. May we all have a blessed convocation.

Title:All things are ready, come to the feast
Lyrics: Charles H Gabriel
Music: William A Odgen

“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, for the table now is spread;
Ye famishing, ye weary, come,
And thou shalt be richly fed.

(Refrain)
Hear the invitation,
Come, “whosoever will”;
Praise God for full salvation
For “whosoever will.”

“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, for the door is open wide;
A place of honor is reserved
For you at the Master’s side.

(Refrain)

“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, while He waits to welcome thee;
Delay not while this day is thine,
Tomorrow may never be.

(Refrain)

“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Leave ev’ry care and worldly strife;
Come, feast upon the love of God,
And drink everlasting life.

(Refrain)

All Things are ready, come to the feast<

1. How did God makes his standards known to the world in the Old testament?

In the beginning, before the flood, when God first killed the animal to make the clothes for Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21-22). It kind of left the ancients with a very clear indication that in order for forgiveness of sin, blood is necessary. That is why Noah, Abel, Abraham, and many of the Patriarchs can make offerings and pray to God even without the advent of the Mosaic law.

Later on, during Exodus God taught his laws to Moses, and the Israelites, which serves to help man understand the right and wrong, this is summarised in the Ten commandments and described in details in the Torah. The main purpose of doing so, let allow us to become conscious to sin. (Rom 3:20). Without it, we would not know what sin we have committed, (not that it was not present, just that we do not know). At the same time, he placed the Israelites in Canaan, which is the convergence point of the 2 greatest ancient trade routes in the ancient world, the via Maris (the way of the sea) connecting ancient Greece to Egypt and the kings highway which is connecting Mesopotamia to Egypt.

The law of the old testaments serves as the basis for Gods law, because it is the initial period,the law of God contains very specifics rules, and they are usually shown outwardly. IE: Laws of war, cities of refuge,, the sabbath, the festivals and feasts, the sacrificial system. There are some portion of the Law given specifically to help maintain the health of the people (IE: Dietary laws, law of hygiene).

God wanted the Israelites to follow his standards, and but man, being human, and weak from the effects of sin, often are unable to keep the law of God effectively. (Think about the many Old testament stories, Samson, David, The Benjamites in judges, the people of Israel and their idolatry, the people of Judah for their self righteousness and sin, the Israelites in the wilderness)

2. How does God forgive sins in the Old testament?

God knows that man are just dust (Ps 103:13-14) and he knows it would be very hard for man not to sin against his standard. So he set up sacrifices for man who had sin (Lev 4). He set up a day of atonement, where the priest will sacrifice for the sin of the entire nation (Lev 16). He built cities of refuge all over the land of Israel for the tribe of Levi (the priest) to dwell in, so people can enquire about the law easily. The law would be read every 7 years at the feast of the Tabernacles (Deut 31: 9-11) and the king has to copy the scroll of the law himself. (Deut 18:18-19).

However, as we all know, despite all the help God has given, many saints in the old testaments still sins… But God forgave them of their trespasses upon receiving their sacrifice. When they are disobedient, God sent judges, and prophets among them to speak the word of God.. but because of the sinful nature that exist in man, although they know what is right but lack the power to do. In fact, when we advance to the new testament, it is made clear to believers on why sacrifices and feasts could deal with sin, it is an illustration of a ultimate sacrifice God is making for the sins of the world. Where Jesus would be the sacrificial lamb as well as the priest himself (Heb 7-10)

3. What happens when the people failed to follow up o Gods standard?

With this Revelation about sin is still at her infancy stage, Gods punishments and blessings are very clearly evident in the form of physical blessings. God through Moses, taught the people how God will discipline them. (Lev 26) If we were to read it, and compare them with all the things that happened in judges, kings and chronicles.. you will notice a similarity of bible stories. In fact Gods punishment is never serious in the beginning, and it was meant to be warning to warn the Israelites that they have strayed. However, the kingdom of Israel, and Judah did not take heed, their kingdoms were destroyed by the Assyrians and Babylon, and they were scattered all over the world (Lev 26:31-35)

But as described, God brought them back and they repented.. and they started to follow Gods commandments at the time of Ezra, Nehemiah.. As history progressed, they started to follow so much into the words of the law, that they forgot the real essence of the law… which lead to the rise of Priest, Pharisees, and Sadducee in the new testament.

They emphasise so much of the physical actions of keeping the law and forget the real reason for following it. Making following Gods law a big chore rather than a delight.They started many rules to prevent the actual breaking of the commandments. Even till today, the some orthodox Jews even went to the stage of unscrewing the light bulb from the fridge to prevent “lighting a fire” on a sabbath day.

4. What can we learn from these in our daily lives?

Well, as I was pondering over the matter, it seems to be that because of our sinful nature, it is impossible for any man to claim that they are without sin. As all our actions and righteousness are not good enough to show God that we have reach his standard. The failure and sins of many characters in the old testament bible, further proves that it is very difficult for one to keep to the Lords standard. In order to allow man to reconcile with God. God has to show mercy and compassion, knowing that man are but dust.

In fact, if one were to pay a close attention to the sacrificial rites, God always emphasise that the person repenting must be the one that completes the sacrifice. He is suppose to be the one that lay his hand on the animal, kill it before God (Lev 4:4). But any one of the people will remember that God would rather man to follow his law, and his standard rather than the sacrifice of bulls and rams. (Mic 6:6-8, 1 Sam 13:22-23,) the emphasis on having a heart of repentance must still be there, even in the old testament. Hence it is not suppose to be “working on a standard operating procedure)

In fact, God wish the people to keep his law and practise it out of love, more than out of fear.In fact, God wanted people to learn to delight in his law, to meditate on it, to act on it. (Ps 1) He wanted them to practise justice and fairness.. He wanted these people to witness to the world around them about the goodness of God. But unfortunately,

Now with this ideas in mind, let us move to the new testament

Lately, I managed to talk to a friend regarding the topic of repentance and forgiveness of sin. I remember, there was once a friend who was from another religion, and he ask me, Christians always advocate that one only need to repent their sins before God and God would forgive, and all one need to do is to says a sinners prayer.

So he brought a very extreme example before me “Imagine a guy who massacred his entire family, he comes before God, repent from his sins. Then later on… he took an machine gun to a church and gun down another congregation. Can he then go on forever and ever to say his sinners prayer and still gets to heaven?”

So.. i feel that theres a need for us to look once again into the bible, to see what is sin, what is repentance. We would first start to look at sin from the perspective of the Old testament, later on unto the New testament and to our present times.

1. So.. What is sin?
Sin simply put, is to miss the mark of Gods standards, generally God judges man for the following things

a. Both the good and evils that we have done (Ecc 12:13-14)
Generally, we often say that as long as we do not do evil, we are good. This is only half true in Gods perspective. Not doing evil is important, but God wanted man to actively do good. Just like what Elder James said in Jas 4:17, ” to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”. There are some people who thinks that one could atone for their sins by doing good, being vegetarians, saving many people. However, the millions of good things done doesn’t cover the fact that we have sin. Which is the reason why God exclaims that mans righteousness is like filthy rags before him. (Is 64:5-7).

Such a view is not just found in the bible. Even Confucius wrote in the Analects (Chapter 7 3rd verse) “德之不修,学之不讲,闻义不能徙,不善不能改,是吾忧也” Dé​ zhī​ bù​ xiū, xué zhī bù jiǎng, wén yì​ bù ​néng xǐ,bù ​shàn​ bù ​néng​ gǎi, shì wú​ yōu​ yě which means “Not cultivating virtues, not expounding understand, not upholding righteousness when necessary, not able to correct what is wrong, these are conduct that worries me”
He was worried that he is unable to restraint himself from doing evil, and am unable to do good. Paul upholds the same view as well in Rom 7:15-25)

that is why he further says that man has all fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:22-23)

b. The sin of forgetting God. (Ps 9:16-17)
This is usually not well liked in the Christian message, as everyone thinks that sin is doing evil… How could forgetting God be a sin?
Lets take a look at Is 1:3-4. God created man in the beginning, he allows the sun to give forth light, and to allow the rain to fall upon the earth.. allowing food to grow. A person that forgets his parents, forgets his creator, even if the does Good and not do evil, is also considered sinners. That is why God specially gave the 5th commandment to Moses (Ex 20:12)

2. What is the effects of sins on us?
In Gen 3:6-7, Eve wanted to be equal with God, and wanted to set the standards of right and wrong, destroying the perfect relationship they have with God. They have started a problem where the standards is no longer known, (despite having a conscience). This is why from than on, man started to act only according to conscience, and conscience could easily be seared with hot iron (1 Tim 4:2). This means, if man continues to do evil day after day, initially their sensitive conscience may prick them, but they will soon grow indifferent to it…

The main effect of sin on man, is
1. From then on, man has to toil to survive (Gen 3:17-19)
2. Woman have experience childbirth pangs (Gen 3:16)
3. From then on, the result of that sin is death (Rom 6:23)
4. Lawlessness abounds when man does things that are right in their own eyes (look at Nazi Germany, and their massacre, not forgetting both crusades and jihads, Genocide Etc)
5. Man although knowing good, does not have the strength to do good, and constantly wars against his conscience (Rom 7:23-24)
6. All man has to die once, and after that face judgement (Heb 9:27)

In the next blog post, we will talk about sin and how it is forgiven from the perspective of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Hahaa.. Actually.. my trial is still ongoing. I am still sad and distressed.. . Just that I have been hearing alot of stories of heart-broken people.. so suddenly the lyrics of this song gets to my mind.

So I dedicate this to all my broken-hearted buddies.

Title: Achy Breaky Heart
Artist: Billy Ray Cyrus , William Hung

You can tell the world you never was my girl
You can burn my clothes when I’m gone
Or you can tell your friends just what a fool I’ve been
And laugh and joke about me on the phone

You can tell my arms to go back onto the phone
You can tell my feet to hit the floor
Or you can tell my lips to tell my fingertips
They won’t be reaching out for you no more

But don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
I just don’t think it’d understand
And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man
Ooo

You can tell your ma I moved to Arkansas
Or you can tell your dog to bite my leg
Or tell your brother Cliff who’s fist can tell my lips
He never really liked me anyway

Oh tell your Aunt Louise, tell anything you please
Myself already knows that I’m okay
Oh you can tell my eyes to watch out for my mind
It might be walking out on me today

But don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
I just don’t think it’d understand
And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man
Ooo

But don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
I just don’t think it’d understand
And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man
Ooo

Don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man
Ooo

Don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man
Ooo

Lately I been looking at a friends MSN status, and he asked “Are We Teaching The Truth In Love” As I pondered about this phase, I started to find the youtube of the hymn as well as the Lyrics.

Reading it, kind of reminded me of an old minister who once told me, “Nowadays, perhaps we have became Pharisees already”. In church, we have stressed alot in Gods justice that he cannot tolerate sin.. and he will trample on the wine-press of judgement (Is 63:1-6). We often like to be quick to decide if that is right or wrong, sin or no sin. Sometimes I feel that we do it so fast, that before Gods feet lands into the wine-press, we crushed all the grapes already.

In Paul’s time, there are two types of preachers, both of them spoke the truth. Some of them teaches the truth out of love for the people. And they wanted to save as many souls for God. While some others teaches to show that they are nice and good, and out of personal glory. (Philippians 1:15-18). Actually, I guess if we were to ask Elder James, he would rather the members not to be teachers, as teachers receive a stricter judgement from God (Jas 3:1-2). None the less, God wanted the truth to be taught to the whole world, so that man could reconcile with God and be saved. (1 Tim 2:3-5). Therefore, he uses his blood to purchase each and everyone of us to be a teacher in the truth, and to lead others back to God. (Matt 28:18)

So, now understanding the reason why we are teachers in truth. Should we teach the truth in love, or to teach it like a pharisee? The choice is really up to us, But in this hymn, there were too examples of Jesus teaching the truth in love.

Example 1: The rich young ruler (Matt 19:16-22, Mk 10:17-27, Lk 18:18-29)
There was a rich young ruler that came to Jesus to ask how he can inherit eternal lives, Jesus told him the truth, telling him to keep the commandments. The young man has kept all of them in his life, but he asked if theres anything else he lack. It was then Jesus wanted him to become his disciple, so he told him “If you want to be perfect, sell off all your belongings and give them to the poor, and follow me” Jesus was extending an invitation to him to become his disciple… should he had taken it up, perhaps he would have been the 13th disciple. But the man went away sorrowfully, because he was unable to part with his life of Luxury.. for he had great possessions.

Actually, there are times when, being a disciple of the Lord, you have to forgo many things that you have. Things that you hold on too and honestly, even in the journey, sometimes God allow not so nice things to befall us. This is a very heavy cross to carry, and that is the hard truth to bear, and not everyone has the ability to bear it. But Jesus taught this young man out of love, he was hoping that he would be able to learn, and to become his disciple, but in the end he left, being unable to take up the challenge

There are times, in our teaching of the truth, we would talk about things that are not too easy to be done. (IE: Forgiving 70X7 times, Love your enemies, Walk a second mile, Keep the sabbath, bless those who curse you). There may be times where people may not have the strength to keep it… Do we then get angry with them, persecute them, help God trash his wine-press, or do we teach them the consequences, encourage and to pray for them to be able to hold on to these teaching of God? How should we react when people are unable to accept the truth that is taught? Can we be as gracious as Jesus, to still tell the truth, yet not get angry, upset, or judgemental when some people still fails to learn?

Lets pray and hope that we can teach the truth like Jesus.

Example 2: The Adulterous Woman (John 8:1-12)
In this occasion, there was an adulterous woman, caught in the act. The people had captured her, and sent her in front of Jesus, claiming that according to Moses law, the woman ought to be stoned to death. It is no doubt that this woman had committed a huge sin before God. Over here, Jesus wanted to teach the truth to 2 groups of people. The people who wanted to stone her, and the woman herself (who should be so ashamed of herself)

Jesus wrote on the ground, while the people are talking, and shouting and demanding… Then suddenly, Jesus said “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” and he continue writing on the floor. Slowly, her accusers started to move off one by one, until theres only Jesus and her. Jesus simply asked “Where are all the accusers? Has anyone condemned you?” she answered “No one, Lord” So Jesus replied “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

The people who dragged this woman before the Lord are also teachers by their own right. They claimed to be “exercising the justice of God”. They wanted to ensure no such sin comes into their lives.. Sometimes in our own life, we wanted to be just, and condemn all the evilness around.. But alot of times, we tend to forget that we are mere man, and our righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Is 64:6-7). Before God, we are no better than the adulterer, because as long as we break one of the law, it is equivalent to breaking all of them (Jas 2:8-13). Jesus is not telling us to condone sin, he still wants us to be just, but at the same time to love mercy and to walk humbly with him (Micah 6:6-8) … As we are sinners just like her. Jesus wanted to teach this to the accusers… but they are too hot to listen… this is why Jesus only said. “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” …. Slowly the people got the message… and go off one by one.

Over here Jesus taught the people out of love, he did not raise his voice, nor did he condemn the accusers.. he only left them to consider their own sin before stoning her… and that teaching is done, both out of the love for them, as well as his love for the sinner woman.

Just as the people walk away, Jesus asked the woman… if her accusers are still around… and the woman answered… no… Jesus did not condemn her.. But Jesus did not attack her as well… Jesus did not ask her.. what really happened.. or what she had done … Why she has done it… Rather he just said “Neither do I condemn you… go and sin no more” Jesus wanted her to repent herself, and to make a resolve not to sin again.. This is one of the rare occasion where God forgave an adulterer… (The last record I can remember is David, that is way hundreds of years before her)

Alot of times, we keep thinking, God will tread his wine-press, he will punish all the sinners and the wicked… This is indeed true, but do you think God enjoy the process as much as some of us do? (Ezekiel 18:19-30). God hates sins, but he doesn’t desire the death of a sinner… He would rather want the person to turn and live.. (Of course, by this I do not advocate that adultery is a not a sin leading to death 1 John 5:16-17) .. But alot of times, we do not need to “execute” this judgement on Gods behalf.. rather, if the other party is repentant and is willing to mend her relationship with God, we should just allow the person to continue to listen to the words of God.. and let God make that final judgement himself.

Conclusion
Like the hymn mentioned.. sometimes we may not know how to say it, sometimes we wonder when is the time for us to put our foot down, and when is the time for us to show mercy…

Should we now no longer discuss the issue of sin?  or water down the Christian warning about sin?… My answer is a straight NO. But rather, we should expound this truth, not in a judgemental way, always prowling around to condemn .. rather, we should continue to speak against it, in a firm, but gentle way.

God unfortunately, did not leave behind a ISO Standard SOP book for Christian to follow.. But I see the wisdom of God in doing that, because, alot of time, the wisdom to handle the matter comes from God.. and its not really something that one can draw out in a flow chart with yes and no arrows.

It is hope that, by studying the two examples here, we would all learn to teach the truth in love. Let our righteousness not be higher than Gods, that we judge and condemn even before God strikes. Let us learn to be firm and clear in our message.yet are able to carry the grace and mercy of God to the sinful world to know.

Title: Teaching the Truth in Love
Artist: Acapella

Chorus:
Are we teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that we care
Are we teaching the truth in love

A man came to my Jesus
Telling all that he had done
To fulfill the good commandments
He knew every single one
But Jesus said there’s something
That indeed he did lack
Yes the Savior told the truth
He didn’t hold the message back

(Because)
He was teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He cares
He was teaching the truth in love

A woman caught in evil and without an alibi
The truth, so very obvious, made no attempt to lie
With all the foes against her how she felt so all alone
Until Jesus asked the people who would throw the first stone

Teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He can
He was teaching the truth in love

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how we are to share
With our Master’s words of confidence, directly, do we dare?
Should we water down the message, should we tell them only parts?
Will they see Him in our message, will they see Him in our heart?

Repeat Chorus (x2)

We’re teaching the truth in love
Give Him the peace of His Love
Yes in love, oh yes in
We’re talking, we’re talking love
Oh, in love, yeah.

for those who are wondering, yes, the hesitant prize fighter is still fighting the darkest hour of his trial.. his strength is fleeing by the moment… even kneeling down to pray…. makes him feel strength less. Sometimes he needs to sit down and pray.. as his strength is drawn out from him quickly… he just feels that this matter is too important and ought to be made known to everyone.. hence he is writing this.. please continue to pray for him..

The Battle Of Gaixia was one of the last battle in the Chu-Han Contention that which led to the suicide of Xiang Yu, which resulted to the forming of the Han Dynasty for Liu Bang.

Before this battle, the Kingdoms of Chu and Han has fought for supremacy for a long period of war. The King of Chu, Xiang Yu, was one of the best warrior commanders in history. However, his brutality as well as his inablity to listen to his advisors and his lack of attention to supply lines, cost the Chu army to lose much effectiveness in battle. He himself did not lost much of the battles he participated in, but tactically, he was suffering a defeat.

Chu started with a much stronger position than Han, but as time goes by, more and more nobles and support went to the Han side.. Forcing Xiang Yu to go sign a peace treaty agreeing to divide the Chinese empire between the Chu and the Han.

As the treaty was signed, the soldiers of Chu were overjoyed about the peace. Liu Bang had a commander named Han Xin, who wanted very much defeat Xiang Yu to prove that he was a better general. And forces Liu Bang to ignore the peace treaty hence bringing forth this battle.

At the beginning of the battle, Han Xin wanted to ensure that Xiang Yu never returned back to his capital at Peng Cheng. and his plan was to lure the Chu Army into the valley at Gaixia where escape is harder. So as the Chu army was faced with surprised attack and ambush. But Xiang Yu when faced with this, knows the main traps are in the valley, ordered his troops to keep going on the main road back to Pan cheng. Unfortunately, his wife that travelled with him was captured and brought deep into the valley, so Xiang Yu had to send the bulk of his troop back, and he personally led 100 000 man to rescue his wife.

When they got to her, they were trapped deep inside the valley of Gaixia. That is the beginning of Han Xin’s plan called 十面埋伏 (Ambushed from 10 sides). Han Xin initially fought with Xiang Yu Face to face, then he retreated… as Xiang Yu was pursuing him, he was ambushed again and again. The ambushed lowered the morale of his troop further. The soldiers were trapped in the canyon… It was then Han Xin’s second plan called 四面楚歌 (Surrounded by Chu Songs) started. he got the captured Chu soldiers play hometown tunes on the hills all around.. Causing Xiang Yu to think that he has lost his entire kingdom to Han.. The songs made the Chu Army homesick, and destroyer their morale further… Most of the troops deserted. Leaving Xiang Yu with 800 men left swearing to fight till the end..

Eventually the wife of Xiang Yu committed suicide blaming herself for the lost of her husbands kingdom… lowering his morale further. Although Han Xin’s tactics work, his tactics also created for himself an very persistent and mobile army. Allowing them to manoeuvre easily and avoid detection. The 800 men broke through the encirclement in the valley of Gaixia, and fled the battlefield. They were left with about 100 when they escaped.

After Han Xin discovered that they had escaped, he was shocked. So Liu Bang ordered 5000 elite calvary to pursue Xiang Yu. But as he we in an unfamiliar territory. He tried to ask for directions back to Chu, and the locals deliberately misdirected him, tricking him into a swamp (most people thinks that is frictional).

In the end, the chased him to Wu River, where the remaining Chu soldiers made a last stand. and were killed to the very last man… Xiang Yu could have escaped, but he was too proud to do so.. so in the end, he made his last stand, killing around 100 enemy soldiers. After being seriously wounded.. he slit his own throat.

Lessons from the story. I guess there was many lessons one could learn from this
1. Always be ready for Good advice. Initially, if Xiang Yu were to listen to his adviser (Namely Fan Zheng). Perhaps he would have successfully killed Liu Bang before the contention started.
2. When in battle, do not bring your wife to the field.. Actually it was a big wonder for me why would he allow his wife to go to battle, I am sure “虞姬” (the name of his wife) is not a warrior princess. (At least as depicted in the operas)
3. One should not start a battle or war just to prove that he is “smarter” (Eg Han Xin)
4. Always learn to be kind, do not be known for your brutality. It is believed that the people are not in favour of Xiang Yu, claiming him to be a Tyrant and a mass murderer. Hence willingly gave him the wrong direction
5.If you are stuck in a battle, and you know its a lost clause. You should try to escape. Liu Bang had suffered many losses, but he would rather escape than to make a last stand.. leaving him to be the winner in the end. Most people believe that Xiang Yu would have been able to help Chu fight if he had escaped.

This battle has a significant effect in Chinese culture.
1. There was a Pipa piece called 十面埋伏. Trying to capture the atmosphere of that battle
2. 四面楚歌 became a idiom. describing a situation where one was surrounded with no allies to turn to.
3. There is a Beijing Opera piece called “Song Of Gaixia” 垓下歌 which dramatised the last night Xiang Yu spent with Yu Ji. The song goes (extracted from Wikipedia)

<<Xiang Yu>>
力拔山兮氣蓋世。
lì bá​ shān​ xī qì​ gài ​shì​時不利兮騅不逝。
shí bù ​lì​ xī​ zhuī​ bù shì​騅不逝兮可奈何!
zhuī bù shì​ xī​ kě​ nài ​hé​虞兮虞兮奈若何!
Yú xī Yú​ xī​ nài​ ruò​ hé​
<<Xiang Yu Piece>>
My strength plucked up the hills,
My might shadowed the world;But the times were against me,
And Dapple runs no more;When Dapple runs no more,
What then can I do?Ah, Yu, my Yu,
What will your fate be?”Dapple” is the nickname of his horse
<<Yu Ji>>
漢兵已略地,
Hàn​ bīng​ yǐ​ lüè dì​四面楚歌聲。
sì ​miàn ​chǔ ​gē​ shēng​大王義氣盡,
dài​ wang​ yì ​qì jìn​賤妾何聊生
jiàn qiè hé​ liáo ​shēng​
<< Yu Ji performing a sworddance>>
The Han army has
conquered our land;We are surrounded by
Chu songs;My lord’s spirits
are low;Why then should
I live?

This is the pipa piece

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