Introduction : The Spiritual War Of Christians

This was a notes from a sermon I heard recently, which I also shared with my friends

“For though we walk in the flesh, 
  we do not war according to the flesh. 
For the weapons of our warfare are not
  carnal but mighty in God for pulling
  down strongholds, casting down arguments
  and every high thing that exalts itself
  against the knowledge of God, bringing
  every thought into captivity to the
  obedience of Christ,” – Paul (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Here Paul was talking about a spiritual war that all believers of Christ must fight. It is a war against falsehood, between God and the Devil. The weapons used in this war is not of this world.

During the time of the apostles, war is fought on land, soldier against soldier. It was fought using spears , bows and arrows, and in order to protect themselves, soldier put on armor to protect themselves. So as Paul talks about the spiritual war, he exhort everyone to put on the armor of God.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
  but against principalities, against powers,
  against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
  heavenly places. Therefore take up the 
  whole armor of God, that you may be
  able to withstand in the evil day, and having
  done all, to stand.” – Paul (Eph 6:12-13)

Here Paul talks about our enemy, as well as how the war would be fought. He reminded the believers to put on the armor of God, for it is a spiritual better. In Eph 6:10, he reminded believers to be strong in the Lord and to rely on his might.

Introduction : The Strategies Used, And The Battle Plan

Indeed, we cannot rely on ourselves and our human strategy to win, for our enemy is not flesh and blood. That is why we need the armor of God, and it could help us withstand the wiles of the devil.

The devil is always cunning, he lured Eve to sin in the beginning, she was unaware of her own temptation and she believed in the words of Satan, she did all that the devils instructed her. It serves as a reminder to us that the Devil can disguise himself as an angel before us, he may even take the form of the person we like, he will speak the words we like to hear, for he knows our weakness. That is how he overcame many carnally minded Christians.

We know of good Christian who were strong in faith initially, they appear as if they are willing to suffer and die for Christ. they believed in the truth of God but were unable to persist to the very end. They fell, becoming covetous and sexually immoral, some became arrogant and were unable to stay in the grace of God.  

This is why it is important for Christians to put on this armor and fight this battle. Eph 6:14-18 describes the individual items in the armor or God.  It also reminds us to pray earnestly in the spirit. Prayer here does not refers simply to praying for ourselves, we must pray for all the saints and the church. For only by having spiritual wisdom and strength can one put on the armor of God.

Only by putting on the armor can we withstand the attacks from the devil, and remain in the grace of God. Let us look at the components of this armor

To Grid The Waist With Truth

The first piece of the armor of God is to gird the waist with truth. The truth here is more than just the words of God. The Truth here also refers to how sincere we are and how truthful we are towards ourselves, and to others.

It also encompass how sincere and truthful we are to God himself. For this would determine if we have the strength to continue fighting this war. In the past, there are many who followed Christ after they witness his miracles, but these people did not remain in the Lord, for they lack sincerity and truthfulness in their faith.

they have not girded their waist with truth, even though they heard the teaching of Jesus, they were unable to fully learn the words of truth. They were more interested in seeing whether Jesus  had spoken against God. As the result Jesus rebuke them saying

“You are of your father the devil,
  and the desires of your father you
  want to do. He was a murderer from
  the beginning, and does not stand in
  the truth, because there is no truth
  in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks
  from his own resources, for he is a liar
  and the father of it.”- Jesus (Jn 8:44)

These Jews are people who followed and believed in Jesus, yet there are some who had the devil as their father. Jesus spoke harshly to them, for they lack the truth girded on their waist. This entire transcript is recorded in Jn 8:37-41

Jesus : “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants,
               but you seek to kill Me, because My word has
               no place in you. I speak what I have seen with
               My Father, and you do what you have seen
              with your father.”
People:“Abraham is our father.”
Jesus :“If you were Abraham’s children, you would 
               do the works of Abraham.  But now you seek to 
               kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth
               which I heard from God. Abraham did not do
               this. You do the deeds of your father.”

From here we see that these people were not sincere in their belief in God, though they appear to be devoted outwardly, they do not have the words of God within them. They did not have the truth girded on their waist 

The Example Of Judas Iscariot

Another example of someone not having truth girded on the waste is Judas the betrayer of Jesus. Have we wondered how did the Devil gain a foothold in his heart? that was because he did not have truth girded on is waist. This is evidently seen in last supper.

During the last supper, (Jn 13:26-27) John records

“Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give
  a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And
  having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas
  Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece
  of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him,
  “What you do, do quickly.””- John (Jn 13:26-27)

Over here Jesus had already indicated Judas intention to betray him, the reason for Jesus actions is so that Judas will repent and turn back. In fact Jesus even washed the feet of Judas. But sadly Judas was being deceitful, and he did not grid his waist with truth. In a parallel record (Matt 26:20-25)

“Then Judas, who was betraying Him,
  answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”He
  said to him, “You have said it.””- Matthew (Matt 26:25)

Judas heard the words of Jesus, and yet he continues in his hypocrisy and asked Jesus even though he knew the answer clearly.  Since there is no truth and sincerity found within him, it is not surprising that he was the one who betrayed Jesus.

Judas led a life of deceit and guile, and he lack truthfulness in all that he said, recall an incident where Mary anointed Jesus with the ointment, he instigated the disciples saying

“Why was this fragrant oil not sold
   for three hundred denarii and given 
   to the poor?” – Judas (Jn 12:5)

John explained that Judas did not care for the poor, but he is in fact a thief who stole from the money box.

Very much latter he betrayed Jesus with a kiss in Matt 26:48-49. A kiss was suppose to be a beautiful display of love yet Judas decide to use it as a sign to arrest Jesus. The Lord tried very hard to call him back but he refuses to repent.

When Jesus gave him the bread, he is giving him up to Satan, he could do whatever he wants with him, for Judas had left a foothold for the devil to work, he does not have truth girded to his waist

The Importance Of Truthfulness

The above examples tells us the importance of having sincerity in our faith, for it determines how much we believe in the Lord. Our sincerity to our faith also determines the amount of effort we take to build up our faith. We need to have truthfulness girded around our waist.

Sometimes when we read of disciples who could sacrifice for the Lord to the end, some of them are even willing to be crucified as a martyr for their belief, and we wonder what is the secret of their strength? Their secret lies in the fact that they are true to their faith, that is why they could endure to the end.

Today as Christian, the difficulty we encounter are much lesser compared to the saints in the past, yet many of us find it hard to remain in the grace of God. If we want to remain faithful in our heavenly journey, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit

Let us continue to have the truth girded on our waist.

I would be sharing about the other items in the next entry.

I shared in the previous post stating that even though many people in the world are asking “What is the truth?” They were still unable to find it. Many claims to believe in Jesus, we will find that their faith is different from what the scriptures preached

Indeed, there will be many who hear the word of God but yet they cannot understand. Having lots of knowledge doesn’t guaranty understanding of the scriptures.

I have shared that the word of God is the truth, and now here are the other 2 points.

Jesus Is The Truth

John once describes the Lord Jesus himself as the truth. He called him, “The Word Becoming Flesh”  and he called that word God.

Jesus testify of these words as he said the famous verse

“I am the way the truth and the life,
  no one go to the father except through me.” – Jesus (Jn 14:6)

Indeed, on his life on earth, Jesus manifested God to the people, and he manifested the power of God before the world

The Lord Jesus himself is the truth. Elder John wrote that Jesus was the word becoming flesh. He performed many miracles, healed the sick, brought the dead to life. He also turned 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed 5000 man, healed the blind and walked on water. 

Most importantly, he forgave man of their sins. Many had witness his miracles, but not all believe. Today we know that Jesus is true because of our experiences in faith. There are times when we pray, and God answered our prayers directly. There are time we hear Gods reply through the words of the scriptures through the sermons we hear.   These are all testimonies of how Jesus had indeed resurrected and is now interceding for us in heaven.

That is why the Author of Hebrews  reminds us

“ Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has
   passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let 
   us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High
   Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but 
   was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
   that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in 
   time of need.” –Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:16-16)

Indeed, we thank God for his grace, but we need to ask ourslves, do we believe that Jesus is the truth? If yes, are we willing to receive him as our savior? Are we willing to be obedient to all that he had commanded?  

 The Holy Spirit Is The Truth

Elder John once said this

“But the anointing which you have
  received from Him abides in you, 
  and you do not need that anyone
  teach you; but as the same anointing
  teaches you concerning all things, 
  and is true, and is not a lie, and just as
  it has taught you, you will abide in
  Him.” – John (1 Jn 2:27)

He talk of the anointing, he is talking about the Holy Spirit of the Lord, which God has granted to all his believers. He is our counselor and he dwells with us. He guides us to the knowledge of the truth and there is no lie in him.

Believers can experience his presence and feel him working in them. If one choose to disobey, we will grieve the spirit. That is what most Christian call “Quenching the work of the spirit”.

John continues to tell us saying

Now he who keeps His commandments
  abides in Him, and He in him. And by
  this we know that He abides in us, by
  the Spirit whom He has given us.” – John (1 Jn 3:24)

Here it reminds us that God abides with us through his spirit.  It bear witness to God that we are his. John continues to explain saying

“This is He who came by water and
  blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water,
  but by water and blood. And it is the
  Spirit who bears witness, because the
  Spirit is truth.” – John (1 Jn 5:6)

He reminds us that it is the Holy Spirit that bear witness for us. We often esteem the witness of man, especially when they testify that we are good people. But the witness from God is far greater. This witness is given to testify of his son,and whoever who believes will have a witness for himself.

When the Holy Spirit abides in us, he bears witness that we are indeed the children of God

In Acts 10 we read of a man called Cornelius, he is a centurion of the Italian Regiment. He is a devote man, and once in his praters, an angel appeared to him. The angel said

“Your prayers and your alms have
  come up for a memorial before God” – angel (Acts 10:4)

God knew that he is a devote man, that is why he sent his angel to him. God knew that Cornelius did not believe in Jesus and he did not have salvation. Therefore God instructed Cornelius to send man to Joppa to get Apostle Peter

Peter usually does not enter the house of a non Jew to preach and eat, but when he spoke to Cornelius and when he told Peter his experiences. Peter understood the vision he received from God in Acts 10:9-16. He knew that God has sent him to preach the gospel to them. Therefore Peter began preaching the gospel.

As they listened, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and praised God. The Jews who are with Peter were amazed that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit.  This resulted to Peter baptizing Cornelius and his household. 

When Peter return to Jerusalem, he was questioned by the church regarding why he entered the house of a gentile and ate with them. That is when Peter testify of Cornelius’s vision as well as his vision . He told them how the Holy Spirit instructed him to enter the house, and how they all received the Holy Spirit.

There were some Jews who initially opposed to Peter entering Cornelius house, but eventually they too praised God, for God has given his salvation grace to the gentiles as well.

When the Holy Spirit descended on them, it became a testimony that they are accepted by God.  When Peter recalled this incident in the council of Jerusalem he said

“So God, who knows the heart,
  acknowledged them by giving
  them the Holy Spirit, just as
  He did to us,   and made no
  distinction between us and them,
  purifying  their hearts by faith.”- Peter (Acts 15:8-9)

God knew the heart of the people, and he acknowledged them, when the Holy Spirit was given to them, there is no more distinction between Jews and gentiles. For God has purified their heart by faith.

Today if our faith is true, if we believe with a pure heart, if we allow our lives to live according to the word of God and the truth, The Holy Spirit will gladly testify for us as well.

For he is the truth, he dwells in mans heart and he confirms the words of God. He confirms that there are salvation for those who believe in the Lord. That is an important testimony and the reason why we believe that our faith in Christ is true. For it has the witness of the Holy spirit


For this article, I have shared about 3 truths, the fact that Jesus, the word of God and the Holy Spirit they are all true. They are all graces given to us by God.

God has prepared them a long time ago, for the salvation of mankind.

So what must we do after receiving this truth? We must learn to bear fruits worthy of salvation. Just like what Paul said

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,” –Paul.  (Rom 2:6-8)

He is talking about how people reacts upon hearing the truth.  He warns us not to be hard and impenitent. For by so doing we are storing up wrath for ourselves. for God will render to us according to our deed.

At the same time God will grant eternal life to those who try hard to do good and to seek immortality.

But to those who disobey the truth, and does unrighteousness, there will be punishment waiting.

Therefore let us respond positively to the love of God and let us allow the Holy Spirit to work within us to complete the work of salvation. But if Christians continue to be hard and unrepentant. Or we will be like people who did not know Christ, for in the last days we would be excluded from the kingdom of God.

Knowing the truth is important and bearing fruit in faith is necessary and a natural result. May we all have the strength to do so.

In our previous post, we have shared that King Hezekiah made a resolve to lead the children of Israel back to God.

This resolve is important, as it was the reason why God blessed Hezekiah later on in his life. We have discuss the fact that God is often waiting for his child to turn back to him and he would never turn his back to his children.

We had also discussed the need to hold on to God and to grab hold of him. Hezekiah did so by cleansing the temple.

We had discussed that our bodies is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The temple that we must clean is none other than our own body. Now let us look at how do we cleanse our temple.

The Example of Peter, James and John

When Jesus performed a miracle before Peter, James and John  in Lk 5:1-11. We can see 2 groups of people with 2 different reaction to that same miracle.

Many were astonish at the fact that initially the fisherman toiled all night and caught nothing and now their catch is so huge that they need more than 1 boat to haul in the catch.

At the same time, we see Peter having a different reaction, he fell onto his knees before Jesus said said

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” – Peter (Lk 5:8 )

His reactions would have leave us baffled. For shouldn’t he be happy that he is enjoying blessings given to him by Jesus? Why isn’t he glad that his boat was used by Jesus? Why wasn’t he rejoicing for he had followed Jesus who is so powerful?  Why is he so afraid?

In fact Lk 5:10 tells us that James and John were afraid as well. At this time, Jesus said to them

“Do not be afraid, from now on you will catch men” – Jesus (Lk 5:10)

From then on the disciples made a resolve, left their nets and followed Jesus .

Let us consider the reason they ask Jesus to depart from them.

Most probably when they first saw Jesus, they regarded him as a typical Rabbi, they did not believe that he is the Messiah until they see his power. That is when they realize that they have transgressed against Jesus. They realize their sin so they find themselves unworthy before his presence.

But despite their unworthiness, Jesus told them not to be afraid and to follow him. This is why they are grateful. They are people who see their own imperfections. 

To Cleanse The Temple Is To Realize Your Own Sin

Today if we encounter the same miracle, we will likewise be astonished. Imagine if now Jesus bless us and we no longer need to worry for our livelihood anymore.  Yet how many of us would be like Peter, James and John to recognized their own sin?

Indeed if God wanted to judge us for our sins , our weakness, as well as our coldness towards him. If God wanted to judge us by the things we say and the things we do, how many of us could stand before him blameless?

Yet God gave us year and after year, so what would our response be?

Will we choose to sin more, or will we try to lead a life worthy of Gods calling?

The Example Of Isaiah

Isaiah was a man who regard himself as a pure and holy man. He rebuke Israel of their sins. He felt that he was righteous until the day when God appeared to him.

When he saw the angels of the Lord calling out “Holy Holy Holy” That is when he realized his sin, and he exclaimed

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
  because I am a man of unclean lips,
  And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
  For my eyes have seen the King,
  The Lord of hosts.” – Isaiah (Is 6:5)

He saw his own sin and that he had fallen short of the standard of God, therefore he made a resolve to return to God and to ask him for forgiveness.  As the result, God sent an angel with a live coal to touch the mouth of Isaiah.  His sin was forgiven.

It was only after that  God sent him to preach to Israel and to lead them back .

To Cleanse the temple is to see your own fault before others

In order for a prophet to cleanse another, he must himself be cleanse. Very often we complain of how we are mistreated by others, and we often push the blame to others.

But are we not partially responsible for the conflict? why are we the angels when everyone else the devil?

This is why Jesus once ask

“ Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, 
   but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 
   Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove t
   he speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own
   eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own
   eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck
   from your brother’s eye.”  – Jesus (Matt 7:3-5)

We have often considered the fault of others, but have we considered the fault that lies within us?

People who cleanse their temple consider their own weakness first. Peter, James, John and Isaiah are examples of people who seek God with their heart. They saw their own unrighteousness and weakness, and they cleanse themselves

Today if we desire blessings from the Lord, let us learn to cleanse ourselves. Let us refrain from complaining about others, and pushing the blame to them. Let us consider ourselves for we too need to bear a responsibility.

If others do not repent, why don’t we repent first? If they do not give in, why don’t we give in to them first? If they do not repent, why don’t we take the first step? If they do not love, why don’t we start by showing love first?

Sadly not everyone is willing to listen, to obey and to repent.

Cleansing The Temple Involves a Personal Repentance

2 Chron 30:10-12 Tells us how King Hezekiah ordered everyone in Judah to repent, at the same time, he sent messengers to Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulun as well. But there are some who mocked at the messengers.

Interestingly, verse 11 tells us of the fact that there are people who indeed humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. God did move people from their stubbornness and they obeyed King Hezekiah. As the result, they received revival of faith and they regained the blessing of the Lord.

Indeed, today when one try to repent, there will be mockers who will question “what’s the use of all this?” . They claimed that it would be status quo and what is the point of speaking against sin?”

Sometimes we are discouraged with their words but we ought to remember one thing

While others may choose to mock us, but our choice is our responsibility. Disobeying God is easy when we feel that there are no consequences. We feel that we can live a life of freedom without rebuke, with no requirements to pray and serve God. It gives us a false impression that we could lead a life like that without consequences.

But We have not considered the dearer price that awaits in the future. Just like what the Author of Hebrew tells us

 And as it is appointed for men to
   die once, but after this the judgment” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 9:27)

The Example Of The Rich man and Lazarus

We all remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus  (Lk 16:19-31) . We have a rich man, even though he is a descendant of Abraham, he hardly does the work of Abraham. He failed to love God and to love man, and he loved himself and wanted to enjoy everything that he had in his life.

He is a man who does not want to pay the price for faith. He regretted at the end of the day. Do we remember what Abraham said to him?

“ Son, remember that in your lifetime
   you received your good things, and likewise
   Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted
  and you are tormented.” – Abraham (Lk 16:25)

This is a simple illustration, and it leaves a deep impression. It remind us, even though we have the freedom to choose, but there is a price for our choice.

Let us not be like the rich man, let us be humble and come before God. Let us ask for his forgiveness and to seek his blessing let us once again choose to be obedient to the words of God.

For that will bring us peace, and when death comes there is no fear. For we know we tried our very best to walk in the way of the Lord. Even though we failed often, but we know that God will save us to the very end.

However, if we do not fear God, even when others tells us not to be afraid we would be afraid to meet him.

The Result Of Hezekiah’s Work

2 Chron 30:26-27 tells us the conclusion of the work of King Hezekiah. There was a great joy in Jerusalem, and since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.

Those who gathered in Jerusalem repented, and God forgave their sin. He heard the prayers of Hezekiah and he healed the people. He gave them this joy in their heart.  That joy is comparable to the times when Solomon dedicated the temple to the Lord.

If we recall the time when King Solomon dedicated the temple, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The nation of Israel was strong, rich and powerful. God was abiding with them .They experienced peace from the Lord and those were the golden age.

Strangely, when they experience the joy once again, their situation was very much different.

Judah was surrounded by enemies, we know that not long after Assyria destroyed Israel and laid a siege on Judah. Life within the Kingdom of Judah was difficult and harsh. This time they did not see the glory of the God filled the temple, nor did they witness any miracles.

All they had was a heart to repent, a heart to cleanse themselves and a resolve to return to the Lord.

Yet they received great joy, knowing that God had forgiven them, and they knew that God will bless them and they could start a new once again.

The book of chronicles, ended the episode with the following words

“Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people,
  and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His
  holy dwelling place, to heaven.”

May we all experience this blessing for the new year as well.

Let us make a resolve to come before God and to receive his blessings, let us resolve to remain within his grace. Let us resolve to turn back to God and to be blessed by him.

In our previous blogpost, we talked about the difference between Law and Grace.

We shared about the how the Law killed 3000 Israelites on the very first day of implementation and how 3000 souls were added to the church on the first day where grace arrived.

We compared the treatment of the rebellious son under the curse of the Law and its treatment under the grace of God

Lets continue to consider one more difference.

Sabbath Keeping Under The Law and Under Grace

Under the law, if a man forgets the Sabbath and work, what would  happen to him?   Num 15:32-35 tells us of a case like this

“The man must surely be put to death;
  all the congregation shall stone him
  with stones outside the camp.” – YHWH (Num 15:35)

The bible did not explain why the man was gathering wood on that Sabbath. But  under the law he was killed regardless of his intention.

This was a contrary to the teaching of Jesus with regards to Sabbath keeping

Matt 12:1-8 : Records of a time where the disciples were hungry and the pluck the head of grains and eat. When the Pharisees accused them of violating the Sabbath

Jesus defended them saying

“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry,
  he and those who were with him:  how he entered the
  house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful 
  for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only
  for the priests?  Or have you not read in the law that on 
  the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath,
  and are blameless?” Jesus (Matt 12:3-5)

He concluded saying “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

In Matt 12:9-14 he was asked a question “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

Jesus replied saying

“What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it
  falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift
  it out?   Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? 
  Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Jesus (Matt 12:11-12)

Similarly, both law and grace emphasized the importance of Sabbath, but they took a different approach to keeping the Sabbath, the law emphasized on punishment for sin, but grace considered

The Spirit Of Slavery Vs The Spirit Of Sonship

Despite its blessing found in the Mosaic Law, the curse of the law is also terrifying. But under grace, God poured out his spirit as a counselor and we are comforted by it. When Jesus was nailed on the cross, he took away the curse of the law. In fact the teaching of Jesus in the new testament made the law deeper and harder to keep. For in the New Testament, Adultery and murder begins with thoughts (Matt 5). During the time of Moses, punishment is accorded only when the physical actions is performed.

Christians today must adhere to the same standard of Morality given in the Old and New Testament. For the definition  of sins and morality had not change between the testaments. It was in fact deepened and made harder to keep.

God did not give us grace to “facilitate” sinning, but instead, it is given so that man could come to him for forgiveness. Therefore,grace is given so that we could uphold the law of God without the fear of the curse of the Law.

This is why the main difference in keeping the law under grace lies in the spirit in which we keep the law of God.  Just like what Paul says

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage 
  again to fear, but you received the Spirit of
  adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – Paul Rom 8:15

Paul reminds us that we do not receive a spirit of slavery and we received a spirit of adoption as sons. The spirit of a slave is different from the spirit of sonship,

The spirit of slavery enslaves us, even though we work, we would not be free. A spirit of sonship is one that receive freedom. Even though we are free, we choose to do a slave work as our choice.

This concept can be seen in the customary foot washing during the time of the Law. This culture can be seen in Gen 18:4.

During that time, Abraham welcome a group of travellers and in those days, washing of feet is a work that is done for the guest of the house. This work is done by the slave. Other form of foot washing could be done from a disciple for his master.

At that time, when the guest comes in, it is the job of the slave to wash the feet of the guest and the master. The slave had no right to refuse, and he could only do the work.

But under grace, the situation is completely different.

Jn 13 records the time before Jesus was betrayed, and he washed his disciples feet. After he washed the feet, he said

“You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well,
  for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have
  washed your feet, you also ought to wash one
  another’s feet.” – Jesus (Jn 13-14)

Under the law of grace, the higher status must serve the lower, and this is not done in the spirit of slavery, but rather in a spirit of sonship. If we were to consider this from the perspective of love, we will know that grace was build on a foundation of love.

On the contrary the focus of the law was to punish the sin.


In the law of Moses, the lamb was sacrificed for the sin of the master. If one sins and he need to put his hands on the lamb, and kill it, Offered it up as a burnt offering so that sin can be atoned.

But under grace the master died for his lambs, Jesus is our Lord, and he became an offering for sins, and through his blood, he forgives us of our sin. This is the biggest contrast between law and grace and the most important thing we ought to understand.

I hope that at the end of the exercise, we would reach a conclusion to understand that the standard of morality between right and wrong remain constant in the old testament and the new testament.

The law was given to define sin and prevent people from sinning against God. It uses the festivals and sacrifices to remind the people about God’s morality standards and their sin.  The law is given by God to Moses to teach man his standards, and to prevent man from sinning against him.  When man went against Gods standard, he would be judged immediately and death reigned in that law.

This law doesn’t justify man before God, sacrifices can can only atone for the sins and trespasses committed by the individual but it does not reconcile God and man. Sacrifices only serves as a reminder of sins, but it does not forgive sins thus man continues to stand guilty before God as a sinner.

Throughout the period of the Law, sin continues to hold dominion over man. Man was unable to adhere  to the standards of God.  The entire old testament is a testimony of man’s repeated failure in  trying to match the basic standards of God.

But all the sacrifices, feasts and festivals prophesied about Jesus. When Jesus was born into the world, he fulfilled all the sacrificial requirement of the law. As the result, we have grace today, Jesus came give grace to man.

It is because of this grace, now man could stand justified before God, as baptism washes away sins. The blood of Jesus continually washes away sin as long as one is willing to repent before God. Man could now use this grace in their daily lives and to keep the standards of God written in the Law without the curses of the Law.

Let us not mistake grace as a “free pass” given by God to allow man to continually sin against God. But let us understand it as a  help given by God to help man to adhere to Gods standards.

I would be taking some time to study into the Mosaic law to better understand how the law relates to Christians of today. But as it would be a long study. I am not sure when I could write more regarding this topic.

Once I was having a discussion with a close family members, and the topic of Old Testament and its role in the New Testament became a point of contention. In his opinion, the beliefs of my church and my brethren is one based on the New Testament and we  failed to consider the Old Testament.

To deal with this mis-conception I wanted to highlight the difference between the Old and The New Testament. This difference was actually pointed out by Apostle John in the gospel of John.

For the law was given through Moses,
  but grace and truth came through
  Jesus Christ.”  – John (Jn 1:17)

The main difference between our time in the last days and the time of Abraham , David, Prophet Malachi  is this, we are no longer under the law, but we are under grace. Just like how Paul tells us us

For sin shall not have dominion over you,
for you are not under law but under grace.” Paul (Rom 6:14)

Since the time of Abraham to Prophet Malachi sin have had dominion over everyone, including the saints of the Lord. When God gave the law through Moses, his purpose was meant to teach the world what sin is (Rom 7:7). The law today serves to teach the Christians the definition of sin. The purpose of the law is to punish sin, and the method of remission of sin is through sacrifice and burnt offerings.

By sinning here I refer to falling short of the standards of God. Since the time of Moses until now, the basic standard of morality given by God was inscribed with the finger of God onto the the stone tablets containing the 10 commandments. 

Those who lived under the law  lived in fear. Due to sins dominion over the people of God there is this constant fear as one would sin against God. In order to remind the Israelites of the law , a constant system of feast and festivals was given. On that day, sacrifices were offered for the forgiveness of sins, and the law would be read to the people. The sacrificial system of the old testament serves as a constant reminder of sin (Heb 10:3-4).

When one keeps the law, there would be blessings from God given to him, but those who failed to keep the law falls under the curse of the law. They died in their sins 

Paul describes it like this

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse;
  for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in
  all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”” –Paul (Gal 3:10)

This is the reason why the law is not a blessing, but a good chain that teaches what is sin. Those who lived under it will never be free, they will be trapped by those law, like a bird trap in a cage. Interesting, when the apostles describes the law they called it “yoke  the neck that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10)

In the new testament, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law by sacrificing himself as the sacrifice of sin. By doing so Christ had released us from this curse of the law.

As Paul describes 3 verses later

“ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
   having become a curse for us (for it is written,
  “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” – Paul (Gal 3:13)

At this point of time, most people would have a very negative impression of the Law of God. Now the question is, why then a good God created such a law that appears bad?

Why Did a Good God Created A Law That Curse People?

In fact, the law was given by God during the time where sin holds a dominion in the world.  The curses of the Mosaic law was given because God knows that man are stubborn and prone to sin. If there is no law to restraint man, law and order will be in disarray.

Imagine a world where there is no law to keep criminals at bay and everyone could do what they want. What would most people choose to do?

Every race and countries had rules and regulation set so that there are law and order. For example, in order to protect road users, we set up traffic lights, speed limits and highway codes. If one abides by the law, there will be road safety.

Similarly God created laws that are good, for when human are allowed to do what they want, they will often choose sin and be in conflict with God . This is why mankind needs to receive the law of God as a way of life, for without it  there will be be nor fairness, law and order.

The Beginning Of Law And The Beginning Of Grace

Yet, whenever I think about the day in which the law was instituted verses the day Gods grace began. I cant help noticing a big contrast.

When Moses took the stone tablet down with him, the Israelites had already began sinning, they created a golden calf, calling it “The Lord Whom Brought You Out Of Egypt”. At that point Moses gave a command to the Levites.

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” – Moses (Ex 32:27)

On that day, the Levites killed 3000 of the Israelites (Ex 32:28) and those people died because of their sin against God .

On the contrary, when grace came on the day of Pentecost, a contrast can be seen 

After Peter spoke the first sermon on the day of Pentecost, he  exhorted the people saying “Be saved from this perverse generation.”. Luke the Physicians describe it like this

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” – Luke (Acts 2:41)

From here the curse of the law and the benefit of grace can be seen clearly.

Treatment Of A Rebellious Son

The approaches to sin and the treatment of sin is different under the law and under grace. Lets take for example, a rebellious son. The law of Moses Deut 21:18-21 stated

If a man had a stubborn and rebellious son, who disobey them even when chastened, he will be brought to the elders of the city, and they will stone him to death with stones. This is done so they will put away evil from among you and for all to hear and fear

The law of Moses does not leave compromise, whenever a person sins, he will be punished accordingly.

This is a big contrast when we compare to the parable of the prodigal son spoken by Jesus in Lk 15:11-31

The prodigal son demanded his inheritance from his father, and squandered it all.  It was difficult for him to return to his father. But in that parable, when he return home,  his father was there to welcome him back.  The fathers reaction is different from the Law.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring
out the best robe and put it on him, and put 
  a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and
  let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead
  and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And
  they began to be merry.” – Jesus (Lk 15:23-24 )

This story doesn’t change the fact that both the law and grace regarded the rebellious son as a sinner, but its treatment to the problem is very different. Under the curse of the law, the rebellious son would have been killed long before he can repent.

The Conclusion So Far

So far we have merely scratched the surface of contrasting between the law of God and the grace of God.  On the next post entry, we would talk about even more contrast between law and grace.

Year 2014 have finally came, and 14 days have passed since the new year day. So have we made our resolutions?

2 Chron 29:3-8 Records the things King Hezekiah did during his new year. Although the Jewish new year is of a different day than our calendar, but what he did is worthy of our consideration.

Then he opened the doors of the temple and to clean the temple. They took out the debris that are within the temple, and the process took around 16-17 days to complete. From here we can see that the Israelites had closed the temple for a long time, they have stopped offering sacrifices and they no longer served the LORD.

Hezekiah understood the reasons for all the trouble that Judah encountered was due to their disobedience with God, for the Jews no longer offered incense or burnt offerings to the God of Israel. In the end the Wrath of the Lord fell upon them.

Therefore King Hezekiah exhorted them saying

“ Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, 
yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His
  sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and
  serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His
  wrath may turn away from you. 

  For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and 
your children will be treated with compassion by those 
who lead them captive, so that they may come back to 
this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful,
and will not turn His face from you if you 
return to Him.” – King Hezekiah (2 Chon 30:8-9)

Sometimes, when we sin against God, we find it hard to face him. We often feel embarrassed to return, but King Hezekiah tells us that God is gracious and merciful.  He will never turn his back to whomever who comes to him for mercy.

Sometimes we feel that God doesn’t care about us and he said that he turned his back at us. But in fact, it is we who had turn our backs towards God. We cannot see him because our backs are facing him, if we turn around and look, we will always find God looking at our direction, waiting for his child to turn back.

Considering The Example Of Jacob and Hagar

Let us consider the story of Jacob, we knew that he used deception to trick Isaac to bless him. As the result , Esau wanted to kill him and he must flee from his house alone.

We can imagine how he felt as he lay down at Bethel, lonely, unsure of his future. He must have lots of thoughts and fears, he must have regretted much.

For he feels that he is no longer pleasing to God, and he would imagine God had ignored him. But yet God was there, telling him that HE is with Jacob, no matter where he goes. When Jacob woke up he exclaimed

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”  – Jacob (Gen 28:16)

Therefore, he made a vow to return to Bethel and worship the Lord if he returns safely. He wasn’t aware that God was taking care of him even as he escape.

Let us consider Hagar, when she angered Sarai her mistress. As the result of her pride, she was chased out of the house, and she was unsure of her future, as she had lost her only reliance. As she regretted and cried, God appeared to her, telling her to go home, be subjected to Sarai. Hagar exclaimed

“Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” – Hagar (Gen 16:13)

These two stories reminds us that our God is a God of grace, if we turn back to him, he will never ignore us. Very often it is we who turn our backs towards God. If we are willing to return to him, his grace will be with us.

The Need For Resolve To Return To The Lord

When Hezekiah led the people to return to God, he led them to make a resolve. I am sure we follow the yearly tradition to make resolutions to ourselves (though I seriously wonder if we ever achieved all of them)

I am sure everyone would have set targets with regards to career, life and ideals. But have we made a resolve to turn back and receive blessings from the Lord?

It would be sad if we do not, for our lives are constantly changing, and only the promise of the Lord is steadfast, if we are able to receive his blessing, we would be able to weather through all obstacles in life.

Perhaps we may have a easy year ahead, perhaps we may face tribulation. But with Gods guidance we could sail through the problems in life. We know the global outlook is usually bleak, and the divide between the rich and the poor gets larger and larger.

As life grows harder, we need God to be with us even more.

When Jacob is younger, he used all his means and deception to grab on to everything his hands could gather. But eventually he realized that only by holding on to God he could receive security.

Therefore as he wrestled with God , he held on to him shouting

“I will not let You go unless You bless me!” –Jacob (Gen 32:26)

As the result, God blessed him and change his name, he was no longer Jacob, but he became Israel. Likewise, this same change need to happen in our life, we need to change from being Jacob to Israel

Jacob mean “Supplanter”. Very often in life, we too supplanted and held on to many things in the world. But yet we must learn to hold on to God, for he is worthy of our grasp.

In life, we do encounter failures, we do have our fears and sometimes we murmur against God. But if we are able to hold on to him, we will have peace and hope in him.

When the peace of God rules in us, we can be like Hezekiah, so let us make a resolve to cleanse the temple. Only by so doing can we  receive the blessing of the Lord.

Where is the Temple of God today?

“Do you not know that you are the temple of
  God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will 
destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, 
which temple you are.” Paul (1 Cor 3:16-17)

Over here Paul tells us that our bodies is the temple of God. We are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit Of God dwells within us. If we regard our bodies as a temple, our attitude in life would be different.

We would not choose to destroy or defile it for we know it is a glorious temple. For we know that our God is holy and we are his temple. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this point, and the church of Corinth is one example.

The church in Corinth regarded their body as a tool to satisfy their lust and their heart desires. They take care of their bodies, simply because if it is not done, they will not be able to enjoy their lust. They do not regard their bodies and the temple of the Holy Spirit nor do they consider God who dwells together with the.

Indeed, the church in Corinth failed at that time, but what about us today? Do we still regard our bodies as the body of God? Do we still preserve our holiness and purity within us? Do we allow evil to exist in our hearts?

Since we have the understanding that our bodies is the temple of God, I would share with everyone how does one cleanse his own temple in the next post.

This scene taken from the Passion Of Christ left a deep impression in me. It is taken from Jn 18:37-39 .

Jesus was brought from the house of the high priest to meet Pilate,

Pilate : “Are You a king then?”

Jesus : “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, 
                and for this cause I have come into the world, that I 
                should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of
                the truth hears My voice.”

Pilate : “What is truth?”

( He went out and face the Jews)

Pilate : “I find no fault in Him at all.But you have a custom that I 
                should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you
                therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

It was Judas who brought soldiers to capture Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. We knew from the record of John that he was brought to Annas, the father in law of Caiaphas the high priest. Then they were handed over to Pontius Pilate the governor. Pilate did not want to judge the case so he sent Jesus to King Herod, who later push him back to Pilate.

That is when the conversation between Jesus and Pilate took place. Whenever I try to picture Pilate asking the question “What is the truth?” I would often picture him asking that in a tone of mockery. For now the Jesus who claims to be a king is at  his mercy. He could execute him anytime.

Of course Pilate never got an answer for Jesus did not explain to him what is the truth.

Similarly in our present world, there are many people asking “What Is the Truth?” just like Pilate. Although many claims to believe in Jesus, but when we examine the content of their faith,  one would notice that they believe in something not found in the bible, nor was it spoken by Jesus. Indeed, many believe in the teaching of man and not the truth from God.

Who can know the Truth?

A true believer is  given the grace to know the truth.  With the knowledge of truth, they will be able to grow in the Lord, into the salvation grace of Jesus. This truth can only be received by people blessed by God. The Truth is received by those whom are blessed by God

For Jesus once said

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
  for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men
  desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you
  hear, and did not hear it.” – Jesus (Matt 13:16-17)

We know that Jesus often uses Parables as illustration, although they are simple stories, but within them contains the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus once explained why he uses parables

“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries 
  of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

Indeed, many will hear the word of God and cannot understand. Have we ever wonder what’s the reason behind it? On one hand there are great religious leaders and scribes who studied the scriptures and yet cannot understand it. Whiles on the other hands we have the disciples.  They are not highly educated and are not deserving of the truth, However God allow them to hear and understand.

They can see the fact that Jesus was the Christ. while Pilate in all his high standing, never got to know the truth.

Therefore everyone who received the grace of God, must know the truth. Within our hearts and soul we must speak this truth of  GOd. It concern salvation and eternal life in heaven.

There are 3 points that I would like to share concerning truth.

The Word of God Is The Truth

Jesus once said this

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” – Jesus (Jn 17:17)

He was praying to the father, to sanctify his disciples. He said that the word of God is truth, and the world Jesus was referring to was the Old testament that was written before the birth of Christ. It was given so that Jesus could fulfill them in the New Testament. Indeed as Jesus was living  on earth, he taught the truth to his disciples so that they could  understand the power of his Word and how it could bring us to salvation.

The Psalmist describes the power of the Word of God in his psalms

“For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.” – Psalmist (Ps 33:4,6,8)

In fact when God has spoken, it was done, by his word the heavens are made. That is how powerful his words really are, yet we have people who claimed that the 6 days in Genesis are 6000 years. They failed to see how powerful his words really are.

We can see his wonderful creation , our planet is suspended in vacuum with 365 1/4 turns in a year, and 24 hours in a day. We have the right amount of oxygen to survive, any higher would have clause fire. All these happened by the word of God.

The word of God also teaches us salvation, how we could be forgiven of sin and to inherit heaven. Those who believe in it will receive this grace. There are many who were skeptical of it in the beginning, but when they come to church and receive his word, their doubts are removed. Therefore, those who believe, will be saved.

The fact is, Christians who received the grace of Christ were born of the word, and that is the truth. Elder James describes it so

“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” –James (Jas 1:18)

In fact God wanted Christians to be the first fruit of his creations, but to achieve that we need to be brought forth in the truth. We need to search for the truth in the bible, receive them in our hearts. We need to live a life according to it, only then it can be a seed of life within us. Christians who does that becomes the first fruit of his creation

I would continue sharing more in the next post

A Happy New Year To all my readers. In case if all of you were wondering what have the prize fighter been up to. I have been desperately juggling between my duties as a fiancé, son, speaker, and a teacher. Unfortunately, my work load had been  high resulting to  a lack of time for my beloved blog writing pastime. I have to put it on a lower priority as there are just so much time a person can have in a week.


Today, as 2013 draws to a close, it is often a time for us to consider and take stock of what have been happening for the past one year. As we consider the good and the bad that has happen, have we thought of giving thanks to the Lord? 

Hence I would like to discuss the topic about gratitude. Indeed showing gratitude is a basic virtue of man. A man is ungrateful is worst than a beast, for even animals knows how to be grateful to their masters

Sadly in the modern world, there are not many who would give thanks , in fact, mankind had become more ungrateful as the years progress.

When Paul once talk about the perilous time in the last days, he isn’t refering to earthquake , famines and wars. Although they are dangerous, but we ought to be weary of things that harms our spiritual body. In fact, Paul warns that man would become ungrateful, lovers of themselves.

We all know the story of Jesus healing the 10 Lepers, in fact we can see people showing gratitude to the Lord. The Ratio sadly stands at 1:9, only 10%.

Jesus asked this

““Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”- Jesus (Lk 17:11)

Many would find the question of Jesus pointless, as the 9 did not hear it. But in fact the Lord is asking us “Are you going to be the 9 or the 1?” Just like the 10 lepers, we received lots of grace from the Lord

So we ought to consider, why is that one leper different from the other 9? I would like to share 3 points

The Leper Appreciate The Grace that Came From God

I believe that the leper understood the grace that was given to him by God.
In Lk 17:11-12  We saw 10 lepers who stood afar off, asking Jesus for mercy.

In those days, Lepers must stay in a lepers colony, that is away from the city. People who wants to speak to a leper, needs to stay 6 feet apart. Whenever a leper needs to walk in the streets, they must shout “Unclean” to warn the others not to go near them.

Lepers are people who suffer physical as well as emotional affliction. But Jesus saw their situation and healed them, and now they are allowed to return home, but why did they not return to give thanks to the Lord?

Perhaps they feel that their healing is a result of their earnest plea with Jesus, they felt that they have already invested their effort to plead, and they have paid the price. Whenever we are sick and we visit a doctor, we may simply say “thank you” to the doctor out of politeness.  However, we would not specially return to thank the doctor upon our recovery. We feel that we had paid the doctor his remuneration.

But this leper did not think like this, he knew that his healing is not a result of his effort. For there are many who plead with Jesus, and some may not be healed for various reason. That is why he felt the need to show gratitude to the Lord. Sometimes we do not do so because we feel that our prayers are answered because we put in our effort to pray, and we are merely enjoying the fruit of our labor.

A Christian received a treat from his friend. Before the meal begins, he started to say grace and thank the Lord. But his friend was laughing at him saying “Hey I am the one who is paying for the meal, you should be thanking me and not Jesus” He thinks that as long as he had money, he can get food.

But we know, that there are situations where money cannot help us get food. Consider the time where there is a disaster or a famine, even if we have the cash, we may not get food. In fact the reason why we give thanks to God is simple. There are people who could eat but are hungry, consider the war torn areas of Africa, on the other hand, there are people with food and cannot enjoy them, like those who are sick and unwell. If we think about these, we would know there is a need for us to thank the Lord.

Moses once wrote this

“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them;  and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;  when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;”

“then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth’. And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” – Moses (Deut 8:11-14, 17-18)

Very often, as human beings, it is easier for us to give thanks to God when we are poor, down and out. But as we grow reach and powerful , we find it harder and harder. the point Moses made to the Israelites are as relevant as it is to us today.

We need to ask ourselves, “If today I am rich and powerful, will I still come and worship God? Can I continue to remain humble and rely on the Lord? Can I still keep his teachings?”

Or will we say “I am different now, and all I have is the work of my two hands. I am merely enjoying the fruit of my labor”

Have we consider, even if we made our riches through the works of our hands, who gave us the strength to work? Even if we have the intelligence and the mind to make money, who grants our life?

King Solomon once said this

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
  They labor in vain who build it;
  Unless the Lord guards the city,
  The watchman stays awake in vain” – Solomon (Ps 127:1)

Without God and his grace, no matter how good we are, and how much effort we put it, our effort will go to waste.

So let us appreciate the good given to us by God. Just like this one leper who return to give thanks

To Appreciate The Goodness, Even If Others Did Not

Lk 17:15 tells us, that the leper, when he saw himself healed, came to give thanks. Giving thanks it important to him, and we would understand it if we could appreciate the grace that God has given us.

If we consider the grace from God, we will know how to give thanks even if the others do not. Unfortunately, we often appreciate the good others received and we do not appreciate what we receive from God

Lets take a practical example

If I received 100 dollars , I would be thankful, for I could get at least 50 pieces of hotdogs for free. And for that I would be happy. But then we turn back and saw the same man giving $1000 dollars to someone else.

That is when we think to ourselves “Maybe he doesn’t love me that much” and this robs us of our gratitude.

Why is it that even though that $100 is still in our hands, we no longer feel the joy anymore? Yet we started murmuring

It is human nature to compare but we have to acknowledge that it robs us of our joy and happiness. Many a times we believe that we are happier when we receive more things but in fact, the lesser items we have the lesser burden we feel.

Paul once said

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” –Paul (1 Tim 6:7-9) 

In fact when death comes, everything we had had no more value. The Chinese once illustrate this feelings in this question  “栽的百花成密后, 为谁辛苦为谁忙?”

A bee had gathered nectar from a 100 flowers, and he had made honey out of it. Just when he was about to enjoy the fruits of his labor, he realized that his honey is collected by the beekeeper. Hence he could only lament and said “After making honey out of a 100 flowers, for whom am I toiling for?”

If we could understand this vanity of life, we would rather invest our time and strength for things that are everlasting. Pursuing faith require both strength and effort.

Jesus once said

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’” Jesus (Lk 13:24-25)

To strive here is to struggle with all your life, Jesus once remarked in Matt 19:30 “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.” It is up to us to decide whether  to be first of the last, what will our choice be?

Ironically we often say “As long as we can just enter into heaven. It’s ok to be last”  But we ought to remember once the mater shuts the door, it will be too late to knock on it.

While we can choose to run slowly. God can choose to close the door. When that door is closed, no amount of knocking will open it up.

Therefore, let us not waste our lives with empty and vain pursuits let us be contented with what we have. For the simpler the life, the less burden we carry, the more contentment we have, the more joyful we becomes.

Sometimes we feel very short changed in life. And we behave just like the workers in the parables of the workers in the vineyard. We say this

“‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ – Workers (Matt 20:12)

Indeed, it would appear as if the master is unfair to have given the same wages to everyone. But if we read the parable carefully, we would be able to see the reason behind his kindness

In that Parable, everyone was unemployed, waiting for a job, it was important for them to work as with work comes money, and with money one could eat and survive. While there are lots of workers in the market, it is a blessing to find a job

But yet the master came in the afternoon and find people waiting for a job. These men must have been more desperate, for they are seeking a job in the heat of the afternoon. SO he hired them.  These men are thankful as well

Now in the evening, just 1 Hour before the day closes, the master found man waiting for a job. Usually a person would stop waiting as they know that no one would employ them for an hour. But yet these man continue waiting and they would rather work for 1 hour. These people may have been even more desperate. Therefore the master had compassion and employed them for 1 Denarius

However, this lead to the workers who worked earlier to feel indignant. And it appears as if they have a reason. Yet the master replied them

“But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ – Master (Matt 20:13-15)

Indeed the master did not rob from the previous workers to pay the latter ones, and he just choose to give latter workers more money. The previous workers are merely jealous

Jesus is reminding us to see the good that we have receive and not to compare with the good that he gave others. For God will give accordingly, depending on the needs of the person.

Back to the example earlier, we may have receive $100 and could spend it on hotdogs only. But the man with $1000 may have a medical bill of $950 that he needs to pay. If we consider like this, our $100 is 2 times more than what he receive.

Sometimes when we know the reason for God kindness, will we still dare accuse God of being unfair? What if the man who receive $1000 requires nutritious food for his recovery? then the $50 he received is not enough for it. Yet we are given $100 just to buy hotdogs

In fact the more we consider, the more embarrassed we become. So let us consider the good we receive and not complain against God

To Appreciate That Jesus is God and To Worship

Lk 17:15-16  tells us that the Samaritan leper knew who Jesus was and wants to worship him. He fell down and worship him as he praise God. This leper knew that Jesus is not a mere man, but the messiah, the savior of the world.

He could witness the power of the Lord and the authority in his words, for no one could heal leprosy just by speaking. That is why he knew Jesus is God from heaven, and besides thanking him, he wanted to worship him

His attitude is different from the other 9, the other 9 only wanted healing from Jesus. They do not care if he is the messiah, or even God. It is not their concern. To those lepers, these questions are irrelevant and they are contented just to receive healing from Jesus.

These people seek Jesus not because of they want to believe, but they only want to use him. After they got what they wanted, will they still need Jesus anymore? Most likely not until they are in a situation where they need something from him once again.

Such is not faith, but a business transaction.  In fact many of our faith today are just like this and only those who believe in Jesus are truly blessed

Jesus affirmed the faith of the man saying

“Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”- Jesus (Lk 17:19)  some versions render this verse as “Your faith have saved you”

In fact the original language “ Sozo” “σῴζω ” G4982 carries both meaning.

So what did his faith saved him from? For we know that the leper is healed already.

Jesus in fact is referring to his soul being saved, and that he had now received salvation. The Messiah is not here just to heal the sick of their illness, but he wanted to save sinners

This Samaritan leper experienced both grace and salvation from the Lord . He is sure that Jesus is his savior and his Lord, so he came to worship him. Let us ask ourselves, “Are we like him to come and worship Jesus?”

The Leper  worshipped God with all his heart, and praise him with a loud voice, indeed volume does not indicate faithfulness, but his Loud praises testify his earnestness and sincerity. 

Sometimes when others watch our worship, when we sing hymns softly and slowly, when we fall asleep in sermons. They will wonder “If Jesus is good, and gives joy, why I cannot see it in his worship?”  We do not need to put on a show before our friends, but our worship and actions affect the people around us. Our family and children are watching us in worship.

If we look so excited and enthusiastic when we go on a holiday, but yet we appear lethargic and sad when we come for worship. How can we convince them that worshipping God is good?

Let us take this chance at the end of the year and evaluate. “Who is Jesus and what does he mean to us?”  If we can answer this, we will worship him seriously.

The Psalmist once describe his worship in Ps 100

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
  Serve the Lord with gladness;
  Come before His presence with singing.
  Know that the Lord, He is God;
  It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves
  We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
  And into His courts with praise.
  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
  For the Lord is good;
  His mercy is everlasting,
  And His truth endures to all generations” – Psalmist (Ps 100)

Sometimes we wonder, why did he repeat his praise twice. In fact, I believe he is full of thanks and it was overwhelming. Very often we feel it is ok to thank God once, and two times is too much.

But here lies the difference between us and the Psalmist he repeats because he is full of thanks.

We ought to know that Jesus is God, and if we indeed understand our relationship with him, we will always find a reason to worship and to give thanks. For we are created by him and we owe our existence to him.

We were once lost and our shepherd found us and he brought us back to his home. This is the greatest grace and we would be full of thanks just thinking about it.

May God help us and may we be full of gratitude to him. May we all give thanks endlessly to the Lord Our God.

A happy new  year to all my readers.

In our previous Post, we have discussed how could one follow the bible principle of blessing our enemies and how put it into practice.

I would like to move to another area that sometimes we tend to neglect.

Jesus once describes our world in this manner.

“To what then shall I liken the men of this
generation, and what are they like?
They are like children sitting in the marketplace
and calling to one another, saying:

‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not weep.’” – Jesus (Lk 7:31-32)

Many of the older generation kids will remember the days where they role-play a wedding or a funeral. In Jesus description here, the kids are role-playing a wedding but they refuse to be happy, likewise they are playing a funeral and yet no one is crying.

Do we share in the joy of others? When we see someone feeling sad, do we share in their sorrows? God has created human beings to be creatures with emotions. But why is it that the modern man is becoming more and more emotionless?

Sometimes we defend ourselves saying we are only emotionless to strangers. But the fact is, sometimes we treat our relatives in the same manner. We do not want to know what happens to them, nor do we want to show any concern or love.

We say with empathy “It is none of our business”. Yet we demand their presence when we celebrating a joyous occasion. We silently hope that they will come and share the joy with us.  When we encounter times of grieving, we asked “Why are they not here when we are grieving? Are we still family or not?”

On one hand we accuse others of being heartless but we choose to be absent when they needed us. Human beings tend to be selfish, but it is not what God wanted his children to be.

Paul once encourage the church in this way.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” – Paul *(Rom 12:15)

Paul was giving 2 practical examples of how we could show care and concern for others. They are all according to what our Lord Jesus taught as well.  Christians ought to be able to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

If we show our care for others, the people will feel our concern for them even if we do not say a word.

The Difficulty Of Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

When it comes to rejoicing with those who rejoice, We often find it hard to practice in real life.  Lets us consider the story of David and King Saul.

When David killed Goliath, everybody is rejoicing, but  King Saul did not rejoice. In fact we know that he is unhappy and angry, he even wanted to kill David. The death of Goliath should bring much joy to King Saul. For Goliath is indeed the thorn in the flesh for King Saul.

When Goliath challenged the army of Israel, Saul did not dare to enter the battle field to fight him. Saul must have calculated the odds of beating Goliath, therefore he choose not to fight him.

Yet at this point of time, David came forward, killed Goliath with just a sling and 5 stones. Saul should be happy that his nemesis was killed. I believe that King Saul was happy about the  fact that David killed Goliath.

However the problem started when the women started to sing.

“Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”- The women of Israel (1 Sam 18:7)

That was when King Saul got upset saying

“They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” – King Saul (1 Sam 18:8 )

He is afraid of David stealing his glory, and he eyed David from then onwards.

Indeed, this is a record of selfishness in the hearts of man, sometimes our pride and selfishness prevent us from rejoicing with others.

Sometimes, when we are invited to rejoice and celebrate with others, we attend the event just because we know that it would be rude to refuse. But as we raise our glass and propose a toast to him, sometimes we murmur in our heart, “Why is he more successful than me?”

But yet my friends, if we take a step back and reconsider this. If  the man before us had failed and is feeling miserable. Will we reason and asked “Why did this happen to him and not me?”

Indeed, our hearts often bends toward evil, that is why we need to correct it often.

Sometimes, it is better that we could share the success of others,  and be happy with their achievement. But only by letting go ourr pride and selfishness, than it is possible to share the joy of others.

Perhaps we can learn from the person and learn how he achieve his success. But we could only do so if we could share his joy.

The Difficulty Of Weeping With Those Who Weep

In life, many of us like to go to weddings and not funeral. This is because in funerals there are always weeping and death. We may be full of hope and happiness but yet once we enter a funeral parlor, our mood will be dampened and our hearts heavy.

However, King Solomon once said

“Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.” – King Solomon (Eccl 7:2)

In our life on earth, we will definitely encounter painful and sorrowful situation. If we could learn to bring comfort to others in times of sadness, it would benefits us in the future. For if we encounter the same situation in the future, our hearts will be ready even if there is no one to comfort and cry with us.   It would be easier for us to be victorious over our sadness.

It is never easy to recover from a hurt, for sometimes the hurt will remain for 5-10 years. There are people who cannot overcome it and suffers from depression for the rest of their lives.

Therefore to weep with those who weep, helps us overcome our own sadness.

Understanding How Sympathy Works

If we want to learn how to comfort others, we need to understand and care for them first. Sometimes when we try to offer comfort, we may  make bold statements by accident. Statements  like

“Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith in God?”

“Have you not encountered death before? Why are you so sad?”

But usually such display of “strength” does not encourage.

There was a farmer who owned a pig, a sheep and a cow.  Every year he would lead the sheep out to shear him. He would take a cow out of his pen and milk the cow on a daily basis. Usually he would  leave the pig alone in his pen.

There is a day, the farmer wanted to catch the pig. The pig was squealing and struggling in his pen, making a great commotion within the Barn. At this time, Mr Sheep and Miss Cow shook their their heads in disbelieve and remarked “Hey Mr Pig, we are often taken away by the farmer and we never complained. Why are you squealing and struggling here?  Why are you making so much noise?”

So the pig while struggling, shouted back , “The Farmer only wanted wool and milk from you , but now he wants my life, how can I not struggle?

Sometimes we cannot understand the difficulty faced by others, that why we tend comfort them with “forceful words”. Perhaps its time for us to rethink the Idiom “To Put Yourself In Someone Else Shoe”

I find this English Idiom interesting, for sometimes if we walk using our own shoe, we may find the road easy and comfortable. But then if you were to put on someone elses shoe and walk the same path, one may find the road not as comfy as walking in our own shoe.

The Chinese uses a similar idiom  “ 将心比心” which is literally to compare heart to heart.  If one were to do that, then we can understand how he feels.

In order to have sympathy one would need to have understanding. Understanding can only be achieved if you were to put on someone else’s shoe and walk in his path.

Jesus Wept

Jn 11:35 is the shortest verse in the bible, everyone can remember this verse It reads “Jesus Wept”. This is a verse that comfort many.

However, There are some over logical and analytical theologian who now claimed that Jesus was being hypocritical when he weep. They base their reasoning based on their logic. They even provided two reason to proof their point

Reason 1 : Jesus already knew of Lazarus death long before he died. The fact is that Jesus choose to come only after the death or Lazarus

Reason 2 : Jesus had already planned to resurrect Lazarus from the grave. Since he already know that Lazarus will be resurrected, why did he still weep?

Sometimes, these logical and rational minds fail to consider emotions in their reasoning. As the result, they ended up accusing Jesus of being a hypocrite.  I believe that Jesus indeed wept and it is of a great significance to me.

When we watch moving scenes in movies or read a sad story,  occasionally we would weep as well. This is because we have put ourselves in the shoes of the characters. In my opinion, when Jesus saw the people weeping for Lazarus , he can understand their pain and anguish, so therefore he wept with them.

The weeping of Jesus gives strength and comfort to the people around, and he gave them the strength. That is why the author of Hebrews says this.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:15-16)

Sometimes, when we encounter sorrows,  we can try to tell others our sorrow. But people may not be able to understand, some may even rebuke and make fun of us. They may not be able to weep with us.

But Jesus understand our pain, he will weep with us. This is because he understands our weakness, therefore we should come to him with all our pain and sorrows. He will comfort and encourage us.  For his weeping brings comfort to many around. We can ask him for help.

This was a sermon I heard sometime ago.

As Christians living in the world, we meet many people. There are the good, the bad, the reasonable as well as the unreasonable. Indeed, there will be people who treat us with kindness, while some people treat us like enemies.

We all encounter people who are mean and unkind to us at some point of our lives.

Sometimes we wonder, how should we as Christians, deal with such people?

Indeed, man of the world like to say a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye. I will gladly return the favor you have given me. But we know, that as Christians we ought to listen to the words of God. All of us are well aware of the rules “To love your enemies and to forgive them 70X7 times.

But as human beings, we know that it is a hard requirements for man to meet. We are all aware of the requirements of Jesus, and if Christians are able to do it. We will become the son of God.

Jesus once said

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”- Jesus (Matt 5:43-45)

Indeed, the world believes in the idea of loving neighbor and hating your enemies. But as Christian, we are suppose to go one step further, to love our enemies as well as our neighbors.

This is good, but difficult. Its main difficulty lies in the the point that we need to love those who are mean to us. It is always easy for us to love people who love us, because these people deserve our love. But when it comes to people who treat us badly, we will say that these people do not deserve our love.

By the standard of the world, what Christians are doing are silly and foolish. If we were to follow the values of the world, we will find it hard to love our enemies. But if we follow the principles of God, we will find it worthwhile to follow the instructions of Jesus.

The Way Of The Father

Once Confucius was having a discussion with his students about  interpersonal relationship. So Zi Lu, said “I would treat a person well, only when he treats me well. If I am mistreated I would fight back.”. Confucius replied “That is the way of a barbarian (“野蛮人之道”).

Then Zi Gong shared “I will be good to whoever who treats me well, but if I am mistreated, I will avoid confrontation and to guide him”. Confucius replied, “This is the way of a friend” (“朋友之道”).

Yuan Xian replied “I will treat whoever who is nice to me well, and I would continue to do so even when they mistreat me.” Confucius smiled, and said “This is the way of a good man” (“好人之道”).

So what will our response be?

Jesus said that since we are the children of God, we ought to follow the way of our heavenly father. And how does God treat the people of the world? God treated evil man and good man in the same manner. For he allowed the sun and rain to fall on both of them.

Sunlight and Rain are both essential for life to grow. They are the basic things for humans to survive. Perhaps we ought to ask, why did God give this for evil man?

We know in Jn 3:16 that God loves the world, and he does not want any one to perish. He would rather a sinner to repent than to face his wrath. God purpose is to give him a chance to repent, and perhaps be saved. He gave everyone a chance, including the wicked man.

If we are indeed the children of God, we ought to understand his will, and to give everyone a chance to repent. At the very minimum, we could at least pray for them.

Loving your enemies doesn’t mean we need to run forward to embrace them, but we could pray for them. For if we were to pray for them, our hatred and anger will slowly dissipate. For it is not possible to hold on to hatred while praying for the people we hate. By giving them a chance, we are in fact giving ourselves a chance.

If we could love our enemies, will God not love us even more? Jesus knows that we are following his instruction to our utmost.

The world may view our actions as foolish and silly, but that is because they are unaware of the will of God. But if we want blessing and grace from our heavenly father, we ought to pray for them, and to ask God to forgive them.

The  Wisdom To Pray For Our Adversities

There was a scene from the show “Fiddler On The Roof” where the townspeople acknowledge that in Judaism there exist a blessing for everything. The Musical was set in the world of Tsarist Russia, and then the Jews were oppressed by the Tsars.

So there was someone who asked a Rabbi “Is there a proper blessing for the Tsar?”

The Rabbi paused for a moment and replied “’May God bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!”

That is indeed a blessing for his enemies, if the Tsar was far away from them, it would be difficult for him to persecute them. If he cannot persecute the Jews, he will not have to face judgment from God.

To Bless our enemies require wisdom from God

Bless Those Who Persecute You

Paul once tells the church in Rome,

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” – Paul (Rom 12:14)

Indirectly, Paul is acknowledging the fact that it is inevitable that Christians will meet persecution here and there. Perhaps we no longer face physical abuse and attack, but modern persecutions come in the form of mockery , insult,  mental and emotional torture.

Even though we do not respond with physical violence, but we often respond with our sharp tongue and cruel speech.

It is natural for us to fight back and to show that we are no pushovers. In fact Paul knows that Christians are not weak people, if they choose to unleash their anger, they have the potential to be fiercer than lions.

Therefore he remind us again and again to bless and not curse, for we are children of God who is aware of the laws of God.

Putting Coals On The Head, Overcoming Evil With Good

Sometimes, when we see the people we dislike meet with misfortune, let us refrain from passing comment such as  “Thank God, he received his just reward”

For if we do that, we are gloating over their misfortune, and God will be displeased. Paul once quoted the old testament scriptures

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”- Paul (Rom 12:20)

To Put coals of fire on his head is to shame our adversity. It will allow him to see that we could be nice to him even though he is mean to us. It is make him feel bad with our goodness.

Perhaps he would repent and be nice to us once again. Then we would have turn an adversity to a friend.

If one were to repay evilness with evil, there will be no end to retribution. That is why the Chinese like to say “冤冤相报何时了” . If we replay evil with evil, even if we win, we are still committing evil before God.

This is why Paul concluded his point by encouraging everyone

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Paul (Rom 12:21)

The Difficulty Of Overcoming Evil With Good

Sometimes, even though we know the truth about overcoming evil with good, we find it hard to apply it to our lives. For very often we see this happening to our lives

If we were to replay the guy’s evilness with good, he will only bully us even more. This is because he sees us as “easy picking” and he will just pick on us even more. We seldom detect any sadness or remorse in the other party.

So how do we reconcile the words of Paul with that?

Actually Paul did not finish quoting the entire Proverb from King Solomon

“ If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
   For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.” – King Solomon (Prov 25:21-22)

Even though the man would not repay our goodness, but the Lord will see and surely he will reward us. In fact Paul did not censor the last verse, but rather he wanted Christian to look beyond the reward. For to be able to overcome evil with Good is of a much higher value.

The Conclusion So Far

So therefore, when we encounter a evil man, let us not murmur and ask “Why am I so unlucky to run into him?”

Rather, let us treat it as test from God, so let us instead ask ourselves “How can I repay this evil with Good? How can I keep the way of the Lord?”