May 2011


So far we have 5 articles written regarding the warriors of David

Part 1: Talks about why we should learn from the warriors of David
Part 2: Talks about the historical setting as well as Davids way of leading the nation
Part 3: Talks about the common traits in the warriors of David
Part 4: Warriors who are not afraid of numbers as well as those who will not retreat.
Part 5: A Warrior With Incredible Faith, Benaiah

As I was reading through the feats of the mighty warriors of David, there were one of the group of 3 that did something that leave a deep impression in David as well as the rest of the warriors. If you were to picture yourself as one of the warriors, would you have done the same? Sometimes as I read that feat I tend to asking these questions within myself

1. Are these warriors wise or foolish?
2. Is it done out of pure implus or done with serious considerations
3. Is that feat worthwhile and necessary?

Let us read about the feat in 1 Chron 11:15-19. It happened at the battle at the Valley of Rephiam. The Philistines held the town of Bethlehem under their control and David said with longing. “”Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” Then 3 men from the camp of David broke into the camp of the enemeies, took some water from the well brought it to David. The bible did not specifically said whether the 3 man need to fight their way out or did they sneak out from the camp of the philistines.. nonetheless, when they took it to David, David did not dare to drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.

When these man found out that David wanted to drink from the well, they made a resolve to fulfilled that wish. They are willing to do it at all cost, as they need to sneak it, get the water, sneak out, if the enemies are alerted, you may need to fight your way out. Even if you successful get the water, how would you be able to escape? they put their lives into jeapardy for David, just to satisfy his thirst. is it worthwhile? They have thieir own water sources so that act is strictly unnecssary. At the very end, David did nto drink it and pour it to the ground. What are our thoughts when we read of it?

Why David did not drink the the water?

David explained clearly why he refuse to drink the water which his warrior brought back to him,
“Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” – David 1 Chron 11:1eis 9

I would imagine that if they need to fight their way out, the water would have been stained by the blood of the enemies. But I think its fairer to think that David did not drink it because the man had risked their lives to bring in the water, and by so doing, the water is liken to be like their blood. I am sure David was moved by their actions, but out of his respect for the lives of his warriors, he did not drink it. He treasured them greatly. These warriors never fall back and all of them are willing to risk their lives for DAvid.

Today as soldier of Christ, we must emulate, that faithfulness shown by the warriors of David. We must be faithful to Jesus even unto death. We must know the wish and desire of our Lord, and we must be always willing to fulfill our masters wishes. Jesus wanted his disciples to be loyal and faithful to him. Sometimes we may ask among ourselves, whether God would accept our work? Especially when we feel that our duties are minor compared to many others

Parable Of The Talents

Jesus once spoke the Parable of the Talents in Matt 25:14-30. I am sure we know the parable, so I would not attempt to tell the story, let us look at the masters reactions to the servant with 5 talents

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matt 25:21.

Note that he said the same thing to tthe servant with 2 talents (Matt 25:23)

Jesus does not quantify results, some of us may feel that the servant with 5 talents is more capable then the one with 2 talents. But the master knew that the first servant was able to bring in 5 talents because he was given 5. He did not expect the second servant to do the same. Similary, God has given each of us different talents and ablities. God requirements is only that we were to do our part in the ministry. We need not compare among ourselves or try to match up with what others can provide. We only need to do our part for the kingdom.

Why did the master scold the servant with one talent? It was because he was unwilling to work, he is not even willing to walk out to the banker and deposit the one talent and get back interest. That is not a loyal servant, he had not serve God with his one talents. God wanted us to be faithful and serve him with what we have.

Let us not talk about doing greating things like sacrificing our lives to the Lord, are we even willing to sacrifice some of our time to worship God, have we put in effort to read through the bible to see the will of God? HAve we tried to lead anyone to God? Are we willing to spend sometime to pray for the truthseekers and the members who are suffering? These work does not require special talents, it only require us to have a heart of love and faithfulness. God requres warriors such as this.

The Warriors Loyalty Towards David.

Sometimes I wonder if I were one of the warriors how would I have felt when David took that water which i defended with my life and poured it to the Lord. This is times where people will think that it is a foolish thing to do. Though we have read of what soldiers did to accomplish their mission, no matter how minor is the mission objective.

Why did these warriors protect and support David? They beleived that David is the annointed one of God, they are willing to support DAvid and protection him in accordance to the will of God. Their loyalty towards David also reflects their loyalty towards God. they are willing to fulfill the wishes of God’s annoited , even if David did not appreciate it, they are sure God would.

Is our loyaty to God or to man? Sometimes in our service to the Lord, we worked with people whom we like, and we tend not to corporate with those whom we do not like. Sometimes this reflects where our loyaty lies, which is the reason why sometimes our service failed to please God. We can have people whom we respect and like, but we must know that our loyalty lies to God. Just like what Paul said

“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” – Paul Col 3:22-24

There are many appointments within the church, some are apostles, teachers and prophets, they look after the house of God. We would need to work with them and submit to them, as they are all Gods annoited. They are given a responsiblities to manage the household of God. Let us assist them not as man pleasers. Let us all serve with sincererity, doing it onto the Lord and not to man.

But what should we do if they are not people who follows the will of God? What if they are like the church in corinth? what if they played office politics within the church? Do we still serve them? If we do so we are serving man and are not loyal towards God. Let us learn to be clear on whom we are serving, only by so doing God will be pleased and would bless our work

Why Did David Pour The Waters Onto The Lord?

Some of us may wonder, why did David pour out the waters completely? Since they have brought the waters to him, perhaps he may drink some of it and pour the remainder onto the Lord, this would make the sacrifice of the man worthwhile.

Personally I feel that David has a God fearing heart, he understood the will of God. He poured out the water because he knew he was unworthy to drink it. He knew very well that these warriors were doing this not because they are loyal to him, but rather its because of their love for God. They are willing to risk their lives for him because he is Gods anointed..

I believe that this incident would have left a deep impression in David, I am sure that he did not expect that his simple little comment would have made these warriors risked their lives. David knew that he is unworthy of their devotion, so he would offer them up all to God. This act I believe also left a deep impression to those warriors, they would respect David even more, because David is aware that he is a servant of God just like them. David knew that God has entrust his kingdom to him, and he is a servant of God, accept his appointment was to be the king of Israel. He does not use his authority as a king to demand people respect or obediance.

David felt that the man’s sacrafice is because of their devotion to God, he decided to give all glory and praises to God. He is truly Gods annointed. He is a great contrast compared to king Saul, David respected Saul as God annointd, despite all the evil he had done, looking at the both of them, we can easily conclude that David is more humble and is truely a King appointed by God.

In fact, the present christians all anointed by God, but we must all remind ourselves that we are anointed as a servant, to serve the church and all the bretherns in it. We cannot idolize fellow servant or allow others to Idolize us. In REv 22:8-9 John made a big mistake, because the angel that showed him the version look so glories and powerful, he wanted to kneel down and worship. The angel refuse his worship saying

“See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” angel in Rev 22:9.

this is a concept we as warriors of Christ must always rememeber, that our master is Jesus and not any other person in church. The warriors of David understood that, and more importantly even King David realise that, which is the reason why they are able to work together to establish the kingdom of David.

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As I heard that Oprah will be stopping her shows, I decided to publish the last part of this series as well.

So far, we have discussed the following points

Part 1: What is the meaning of a jealous God?
Part 2: Why are there Rules, Belief systems And Doctrines in the church?
Part 3: Did Jesus came to start Christianity?

In the last part of this Series, I would like to quote this from Oprah. I have decided to summarized it as it was pretty long

Oprah :

"There is another book by a woman name Elizabeth lesser its called "A Seekers Guide" where she talks about the new spirituality verse the old spirituality.

She said "The old way is one which the hierarchy has the authority. Church authorities tell you how to worship in church and how to behave outside the church. In the New Spirituality, you are your best authority. You discover how to live a more spiritual life as you go through the process of working and loving yourself."

She also said "The old spirituality tells us that the path to worship God is already defined, and all you need is to follow the direction. The new spirituality is about being able to listen within yourself for your deeper longings and your compass for your own definition of spirituality."

The old spirituality is exactly like what Eckhart is saying "There is only one path to the right way and all other ways are wrong." while the new spirituality tells us that many paths leads to spiritual freedom and peace. You have a richer array of gems from which you draw illumination. The world’s religious traditions, Mythology, Psychology, Healing Methods, Scientific Wisdom, your own experience, and that you began to string a necklace of your own."

So.. what is she trying to say?

In short
1. Old spirituality religions (such as Christianity), had many traditions and they have a defined rules of worship and life, believers must follow them in entirely.
2. New spirituality (such as new age Religions), you can define your own string of belief base on your experience, drawing reference from many religious traditions, myths and wisdom.
3. There are many ways to achieve spirituality; there is no right way to achieve it.

Big words you may say, sometimes i really wonder so, after mixing and matching the spirituality, do you get a new spirituality, or an old one? or a hybrid one? What is the ultimate purpose of being spiritual here? I know for sure that I followed God because I want that eternal life that is to come and I want to inherit heaven. I want to be reconciled with God and to face him with a clear conscience when he is to judge the world. But i guess since everything in the "new spirituality" is self define.. i am sure most new age religion friends will not be able to tell me why they want to be spiritual.

Why are there so many religions in the world?

When the first man Adam fell, sin entered the world. Mans inner conscience has always had a God shaped vacuum in it. Hence many religions of the world is born out of human being trying to reconnect with God. Somehow or rather, all human beings believe that there is a greater being that created them, and the form gods out of anything that they see with their eyes. Moreover, the effect of sin is such that man is constantly warring against his conscience, the good that he will to do he cannot do, while the evil he willed not o do that he does. So much so that Paul once exclaimed

"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" – Paul (Rom 7:24)

All of the world religions centered around 3 issues
1. What is the purpose of life?
2. What is going to happen after I die?
3. How do I live my life now?

Though most religions will not deviate too much in the question "How do I live my life now?" they have very varied response to the first 2 question. We cannot deny some of the religions may have opposing view with regards to life after death. Some may even have conflicts when talking about the purpose of life. Therefore, it is impossible to say that they are complimentary to each other and are self inclusive. It will be impossible to say that they are "many roads up the same hill" as the roads here are definitely not the same.

The New Age Movement Is Not New

When faced with these choices, human sometimes become undecided, and they decided to "take in what they feel is right" and "Cast out the parts that we do not agree". They make their decisions base on their own life experience and they define. They claimed that as long as your heart says its ok, it got to be all right. They claimed that they are the ones to declare what is right and wrong, and to define spirituality.

They talked about living a higher consciousness and attain inner peace by themselves. They called this a new spirituality. But honestly, if we were to look into the bible, such spirituality is definitely not new. Let us look at what Satan told Eve in the garden of Eden

""You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." – Serpent (Gen 3:4-5)

Eve wanted to "define" good and evil on her own, and desired to be wise, therefore they took the fruit. From then on, Man had always wanted to define good and evil.

In fact, the new spirituality just echoes the same old satanic deception that came from the time of creation. Many of the worlds traditions and mythology were all created by people who felt the emptiness without God and was trying to satisfy their need. Satan continues to deceive them and allow them to conceive a multitude of different belief systems. Throughout history, Satan turn his strategy again and again, starting from simple folk superstitions to sophisticated new age religion, he offered the people of the world thousands of ways to "reconcile" with God.

Now as mankind got so In fact, the new age movements completely shy away from the typical question that religion is suppose to answer. They place huge emphasis in this life but leave the first 2 questions regarding the purpose of life and the life after death to its believers to "choose to believe base on the worlds religious traditions".

, he decides to use the same old strategy in the garden of Eden, where he now ask man to pick from everything he had concocted, to freely believe in anything they want and this is being packaged as "New Age Movement".

In fact, the new age movements completely shy away from the typical question that religion is suppose to answer. They place huge emphasis in this life but leave the first 2 questions regarding the purpose of life and the life after death to its believers to "choose to believe base on the world’s religious traditions".

Man Ways and God’s Way

These new age practitioners are always busy defining spirituality, enriching their lives, working hard to achieve higher consciousness, to achieve inner peace. They wrote long books talking about the new spirituality and how it is a much better way compared to the old ways. Ironically, they then advised the people to search for their answers based on the world’s religious traditions.

This is very similar to the way man first reacted when they realized that they have sinned. Let us look at the record of the Garden of Eden

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." – Moses (Gen 3:7)

Unfortunately, the many efforts from Adam and Eve could not cover their own shame because leaves do dry up. This situation is resolved only when God intervened.

"Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them." – Moses (Gen 3:21).

From here we can see that no matter how we try to define spirituality and to get inner peace, our ways are not perfect and it is difficult for one to lead a life that is peaceful through. God gave man the choice, to follow his way or to continue to "string your necklaces". God already warned man through the king Solomon that man would one day need to account for his deeds before God.

"Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. " – Solomon (Eccl 12:13-14)

Through Jesus, he had already offered his pardon and all he requires man to do is to follow the instruction of Jesus from the bible. The only problem is that the "New Spirituality" now says that one should define for himself his own spirituality. The question is, are we willing to follow the instructions of Jesus? If our answer is yes, we would have to drop the "pursuit" of new spirituality but to follow Christ whole heartedly.

The End Of The Day

As I have mentioned early in the series, I am not interested to attack Oprah or insult the new age movement. I would like to share with everyone my thoughts regarding the new age movement and what it is really trying to tell us. In fact, the new age religion is a subtle distraction to people who felt the hunger for God and the need to be close to him. They keep people busy by making them go on while goose chase and many of whom never found God at the end of the day.

Sadly, sometimes we find our own Christians falling for the same trap, thinking that they can embrace the new spirituality together with the Christianity.

The apostles had already warned the church that in the last days there are many strange belief that will arise, Satan plan is to deceive everyone, possibly even the elect of God. The situation in the world on the last days is very different from the situation in the church , just like what was spoken by Prophet Amos and Isaiah.

" Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD,
" That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
And from north to east;
They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD,
But shall not find it." – Amos (Amos 8:11-12 )

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
" Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." – Isaiah (Is 2:2-3)

It is our choice to choose whether we want to fill our lives with the word of God, or to fill up our lives with our "Necklaces of experience". Let us not debate if the new age movement is good or not, but rather, let us learn to hold fast to our faith right to the day when God comes to judge.

So far, we have discussed the following points

Part 1: What is the meaning of a jealous God?
Part 2: Why are there Rules, Belief systems And Doctrines in the church?

Let us look at another quote from Oprah Winfrey

Oprah : :What I believe is that Jesus came to show us “Christ consciousness” and Jesus came as to show us the way of the heart and what Jesus was saying that to show us the higher consciousness that we are talking about here, Jesus came to say “Look I am going to live in the human body and I am going to show you how it done, these are some principles and some laws that you can use to live by to know that way. and when I started to recognised that Jesus didn’t come in my belief even as a Christan, I don’t believe that Jesus came to start Christianity.

Now let us search the scriptures to see if this is a correct view.

Why Did Jesus Came To This World?

In fact I was unable to find a definition of “Christ Consciousness”, according to Wikipedia, Christ Consciousness is

“set of metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualisation and personal power.It promotes the ideas that “Infinite Intelligence” or “God” is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, all sickness originates in the mind, and Right thinking’ has a healing effect.

Wow, thats a whole lot of big words isn’t it? But is Jesus that hard to understand? Let us look into the bible to see why did Jesus come to this world.

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” -John the Baptist (John 1:29)

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Jesus (Luke 5:31)

In fact Jesus did not come to this to follow his heart or to teach others how to live Christ conscienceness. But rather, he came to this world to suffer in for the sins of man and to pay for the price of sin. Just like what he told his disciples

“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. ” – Luke (Lk 24:44-48)

In fact Jesus Christ must come to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind, and it is through his blood that man can once again be reconcile with God. Just as the author of Hebrews once explained

“or this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 9:15)

Only by dying can he open the new and living way for people to be reconciled with God

Which the Author of Hebrews urged Christians

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ” Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:19-22).

Well is that Christ consciousness? I hardly think so.

Did Jesus came to establish Christianity?

Jesus came to the world to open a new and living way for man to be reconciled with God. At the same time making all the old testament sacrifice valid with his blood.

He once said this to Cephas (Peter)

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” – Jesus ( Matt 16:17-19)

Jesus already indicated that there will be church, and after his resurrection, he instructed his disciples

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”” – John (John 20:21-23)

And just before he was taken back to heaven he commissioned his disciples

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Jesus (Matt 28:18-20)

And just before he ascended to heaven, he promised to provide help for his disciples

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” -Jesus (Acts 1:8)

With the help of that power, the Holy Spirit move the people to believe in Jesus, and the disciples are able to start this religion which is known as the way.. and eventually be recognised as “Christianity”

So… Do we need discuss further if Christ have came to start Christianity?

Finding a church.

Actually writing this series “the Mystery That Oprah could not solve” we have talked about how important are doctrines and rules in the church as well as the fact that the Holy Spirit is the one who established the church. It goes to remind modern Christian an important point.

A church that doesn’t preach the truth of God is not a church, a church that contain half truths cannot save.

Therefore all Christians should take time to examine the beliefs of the church. Look at their doctrines to see if they point toward God. Remember in the last days Jesus said

“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” -Jesus (Matt 24:4-5)

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.
“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” – Jesus (Matt 24:23-26)

The church is build upon the foundation of the Law, the Prophets and the Apostles, with Christ as the cornerstone (Eph 2:19-22) therefore, let us be diligent in understanding the scripture and to test the foundations of our church, to see if we are on the right foundation.

Lately i was reading Acts chapter 15 with a a group of friends and there were a discussion on whether Christians should avoid food offered to Idols. There were many mixed response, hence i would like to just study the Jerusalem decree with everyone here.

The reasons for the council of Jerusalem
In Acts 10, we read of the conversion of an Italian Centurion known as Cornelius, the church from Acts 1-9 is made up of Jews. The Hellenist in Acts 6 were actually Greek speaking Jews. The early believers are pretty much all circumcised hence the issue of Circumcision was never an issue in the early church.

There were Samaritans converted in Acts 8, but they are circumcised as well according to the Jewish law (though they kept the law of Moses slightly differently from the Jews)

After Acts 10, now the church a whole assembly of Gentiles (non Jews) who does not keep the law of Moses. Hence at that time, there a Jewish Christian from Judea who taught telling people that they need to believe in Jesus, but they must also keep the Mosaic Law. The advocated that Circumcision is necessary for Salvation.

Paul and Barnabas debated with them so they all decided to go to Jerusalem to bring the matter before the Apostles and Elders.

The Result Of The Council

The council considered the matter, Peter whom God has chosen to preach to the first gentile spoke “God has selected him to preach to the first gentile, God personally gave them the Holy Spirit (recounting Cornelius conversion in Acts 10) and in the same way that God gave the Holy Spirit to them on Pentecost (Acts 2). God made no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, therefore we should not give them that burden which our forefathers cannot bear. (Acts 15:7-10) God has dedicated the same path to Salvation for both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:11)”

So they all listened to the Testimony of Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey.

James being moved by the H/S spoke to the crowd “Peter testimony is true, moreover, it is in accordance to the prophecy of Prophet Amos (Amos 9:11-12) that God will restore Davids tent (the new testament church understand that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Messiah will restore the kingdom of David, the church is that Kingdom), and from there the Gentiles will come and seek the Lords name and receive salvation.Therefore we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are seeking God. (Acts 15:-14-19)

So they decided on 4 general principles, that are constantly preach by Moses and are being read in the synagogue every sabbath. They are

1. Abstain from food offered to Idols
2. From Sexual Immorality
3. Abstain from Strangled Animals
4. Abstain from Blood.

They wrote a letter, gave it to Paul and Barnabas , Judas and Silas, and many others to help spread the instruction to the church

Our Current View Over This Decree

In the discussion, there were very mixed response from the Audience, some felt it is no longer necessary, some said that it is just to appease the Jews. Most people have no problems with rules 2-4 but there seems to be a some contention on food offered to Idols, because Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 8:1-10 and 1 Cor 9:27-32 saying that as long as eating food offered to Idols are done with a clean conscience it is alright.

Personally I believe that since the decree went out from the Apostles and they are guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28-29). We should respect the Holy Spirit guidance over the matter. Moreover, Paul was tasked to share the result of the council on his next missionary journey. Although Paul did write to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 8 and 9, he would not contradict and made void the Jerusalem decree on his own personal basis.

When I was reading the chapter on 1 Cor 8 and 9, I do not think Paul is authorising the eating of food offered to Idols, but he is just further adding on to help clarify the decree. In fact he is advising against it.

Some of us may wonder, what if we ate it by “accident”, will we still be saved? Personally i believe God is a fair judge, and i do not think God will be so unfair to fault someone for what he did not know. Hence as I am writing this entry, I am not condemning or attacking people who had unknowingly broken this rule. Rather, I decided to look into the old testament to help everyone understand why did the Apostles choose these 4 principles for everyone to follow.

Abstain from food offered to Idols

I did detailed search on the old testament law and did not find a verse that specifically tells you not to eat food sacrificed to the Idols, if there are anyone who can pinpoint one, feel free to add them to the comments. But I found many instances where Moses was telling the people to stay away from Idols, here are the examples

“Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.” – Moses Lev 19:4
“You shall not make idols for yourselves;neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” – Moses Lev 26:1
“They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.” -Moses (Deut 32:21)

God has always set the Israelites as a kingdom holy and consecrated to him. Although in the new testament, Gentiles are included as well as Jews, God still wants us to remain holy and consecrated to him. To take food offered to idol is like having both Communion with God and sharing the tables of demons.

Actually Paul in 1 Cor 10:19-21 talks about it.

“What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” – Paul (1 Cor 10:19-21)

So even Paul which is constantly misunderstood by many knew that offering to Idols is making sacrificed to demons. Therefore I believe Paul is trying to explain the reasons of the decree to the non Jewish audience (the Corinthians are Greeks).

Abstain from Sexual Immorality

The rules of marriage purity and sexual immorality are often recorded in the law of Moses (Ex 20:14, Lev 20:10-27). It is echoed even in the new testament (John 8:1-12, Heb 13:4, 1 Cor 6:9. Eph 5:5)
Paul ones reminded the Corinthians

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:18-20)

I guess this is too straight forward for any other explanations

Abstain from Blood and Strangled Animals

The reasons for stringing this together is because they are both related. Though some of us may think that this rule originated from the Jewish diet Law. But if we were to read the Jewish diet law in Lev 11. You will notice they mention nothing of strangled animals at all.

Everyone can agree with me that when an animal is strangled. The blood of the animal remains in them and it is not possible to drain out the blood as the animal’s heart would have stopped beating. This will automatically disqualify strangled animals from  Israelite diet.

Indeed the Jewish Torah forbids the consumption of Blood.  It was first mentioned in Lev 7:22-27. Later on it was described further in Lev 17. The Jewish standard for food (Known as “Kosher”) demands that blood be drained out from the animals based on these verses. But long before God instructed Moses about the rules about blood, he once instructed Noah right after the great flood.  Let us read that instruction from God to Noah.

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.[And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “- YHWH ( Gen 9:1-5)

Apparently the generations from Adam to Noah are strictly vegetarians, Though Abel kept flocks but it is most likely for sacrificial purpose. They would have needed the hide for clothes making. God only permitted the eating of animals after the flood. But God gave Noah special instructions regarding blood therefore we can be sure that they are required to drain off the blood of the animal before consumption.

As this instruction is given to Noah,  are Gentiles also descendant of Noah? I leave all of you to draw your own conclusion.

Conclusion

The Jerusalem decree in Acts 15 is not created by the Apostles to “appease” the Jewish Christians who practise circumcision, but rather, it is a set of basic principles from the old testament. Both you and I are counted as Gentiles of today as most of us are not Jews by birth. Therefore we should observe these principles in accordance to the Holy Spirit’s instruction. We must remember that these rules are not directly taken from the law of Moses but the Holy Spirit guided and taught the Apostles during the time of Acts.

I have also come across others who thinks that the 10 commandments are obsolete and modern Christians need not follow, because they are part of the old testament and now we are in grace, we are no longer bounded by the law. But I would seriously like them to read this verse spoken by our Lord Jesus himself.

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus (Matt 5:19-20)

The modern Christian is saved by grace, but God still demands us to adhere to his rules, and his commands. Therefore let us all learn to listen to the voice of God and does his will. He promised to forgive us if we fall short of his standard, but he wants everyone to put in their best effort and he would complete that salvation for all of us.

May God help us.

I was looking back at one year ago, i was writing my blog around this time of the night, just minutes before I was turning 29. And I realise, today finally marks that I have survived in a foreign country for exactly 1 year.

I was looking back, recounting all the things that the Lord has done for me so far. I remembered all the resolve and plans i had for myself. How I asked God for relief throughout the darkest period of my trial.

In fact, one year from that night where I was in Kota Kinabalu writing using the same blogging software many events whizzed pass, there are happy ones, there are sad ones, there are some tingling with disappointments, there are some I thank God for, there are some that I have learnt the hard way.

Personally, life had gradually stabilised, I have a little humble dwelling (though its far from complete) , and I have finally found courage to drive around. But there are also many situations where I wish God would have delivered me from. But my trials are far from ended. I have just learnt to live with what God has provided so far.

At this instance, I recalled the beautiful story from Mary Stevenson, which I am sure many Christians are well aware of.

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Footprints
By : Mary Stevenson (1936)
Margaret Fishback Powers (1964)
Carolyn Carty (1963)


One night a man had a dream. He dreamt
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”

The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
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Perhaps it is true that there are many plans that went haywire, there are many things that did not materialised. Like all military operations, things never goes according to plan. Yet throughout the pain and disappointment, we can see the hands of God that has protected and guide us. Therefore, we must learn to thank God for everything, even for things that did not go according to plan.

This reminded me too of a hymn written by August Ludvig Storm in 1891. He wrote it based on the 24 reasons for thanksgiving. 8 years after writing this hymn, he was struck with a crippling back problem. He did not allow the problem to affect his faith but rather it gave him depth in his teaching and writing.

God strength is shown in our weakness, therefore, we must constantly get comfort from Gods words and to give thanks, in whatever situation we are in.

==============================

Title :Thanks to God
Lyrics: August Ludvig Storm

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

Lets sing it together