Dear Summer, I miss You !

Everyone has fears. Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending negative impact, whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Fear may be a vital response to physical and emotional danger to protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often, our fears are far from life threatening, and thus fearing for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can also trigger a fear response within us. A modern cousin of fear is stress; the fear of not being good enough.

But in the beginning, our human bodies are designed for faith, not fear. Fear was something foreign to the human race until Adam fell and sinned against God. For the first time, Adam knew fear, and he hid from God. “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”  Genesis 3:10

Since then, people has been living in the realm of fear – fear of the outside world, fear of lack, fear of condemnation, fear on finances, fear of the future, fear of what others might say, fear of diseases, fear of not having enough, fear of failure… The very root of fear, like how it began, is the fear of being cut off or rejected from God. And it’s a vicious cycle: We sinned, we missed the holy standards of God, then we fear there is no more God’s blessings and we fear we are being left alone to fend for ourselves. Some even fear God judging and condemning them,  fearing even more on their dire circumstances without God.

But there is a cure, a way out. As John puts it, perfect love cast out all fear” 1 John 14:8.

We need to know God the Father is always for us, not against us. If He can give His beloved Son for our sake, then wouldn’t He also give us everything else? And who can accuse if God Himself chose us. Or who can condemn us if Jesus Christ Himself died and resurrected, pleading for us?  (Romans 8:31-34).

Cee Be 3-2-96_#4 Explore 3-3-15   SMB1048We need to know God love us so much that as solid proof to us, He placed the Holy Spirit in us. And as solid evidence, He send His Son to the cross, to be the Saviour of the world, for all the world to see. We just need to know much God loves us and to put our trust in His love. Only when we really appreciate God’s love, can our own love grows. (1 John 4:11-19)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:1, 6

You see, even with our best effort, our love is not perfect, but to cast out fear, we need that perfect love. We love because He first loved us. God is love and He demonstrated His love on His Son – Christ on the cross, the very focal point of His love, His very representation of the perfect love. And in this perfect love – Jesus Christ, will drives out all your fear.

We just need to believe…

 

Give me your hand my son

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your sacrifice and divine exchange on the cross. You were despised and rejected so that
I can be accepted. You were grieved and sorrowed so that I can be in joy. You were pierced and crushed so that I can be whole. You were willingly bounded and crucified so that I could be free. And I know that You not only freed me from death and hell for eternity, but Your freedom start here today and every day in my life. Thank You, Lord, that when You set me free, it is a complete work and I don’t ever have to again go into bondage to that thing from which I was liberated. Restore my life, whatever the locusts had eaten, whatever time I have lost, whatever that is robbed from me in my sins. Help me to live in the freedom, deliverance, and restoration You have for me. Show me anything I need to be free of today. Give me a life in victory in Your name.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.   Isaiah 53:3-5

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.   John 8:36

Cherry Blossoms

I have received a comment from a fellow reader, Jess, and she wrote; “I don’t think I can pray anymore. God has closed too many doors in my face. I have been obedient, prayerful, giving praise and thanksgiving with faith and hope. Now all that is gone. My heart is broken but worse, my spirit is broken. Where is God?”

Through her comments, we can empathise with her helplessness and brokenness since most of us have also gone through or are going through similar circumstances. And I know God is going out for her and those who are feeling less than victorious in life.

So, where is God?

Where Leprechauns Live

When we don’t receive our immediate healings, breakthroughs, open doors, restorations or miracles, we feel that something must be wrong. So either it’s something wrong with us believers, or something wrong with what we believe in or, well, something wrong with God… Obviously, there is nothing wrong with God (Matthew 5:48), and if the bible says there is nothing wrong with us being the children of God to hope (Hebrews 10:23), then there must something wrong with our believe, right?

You see, like everything else in the world, when things don’t work, we “worked” harder at it “to make it work”. In our walk with God, we use the same methodology and if we don’t see our miracle, we “work harder” at it. We prayed harder, we tried to be more obedient, we “invested” more in time and faith in hope. So consequencingly, this becomes like all other religions out in the world. Then what differences are we to them? How different is our God?

In the Old Testament, with the old covenant, we see this “self-effort” demands on man. God blessed His people, but only if they played their part by being obedient. If the Israelites didn’t do their part, not only would they not be blessed, but the tremendous curses would also come on them. Most of the time, the Israelites ended up as losers, broken and defeated, because tried as they might, they can never achieve anything by their self-efforts. This is not what a loving God wants. But although God the Father really wanted to bless His people, unfortunately, man’s sins and failures made it impossible for Him to do so.

Human beings is the weakest link here.

Evening Meditation - [Explored]

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.     But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.  Hebrews 2:17-18; 3:6

But by God’s grace, we have the new covenant that was made independently between God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ who incarnate fully as human. So now, with both the parties who are perfectly faultless and flawless in keeping the covenant between God and human, the new covenant remains eternally intact. As a result, we having no part in the equation except to simply believe and receive only; have no performance to meet, nothing to show and nothing to prove.

where I belong

So the next time you find yourself asking, “Where is God?”, think of what Jesus’ reply would be, “I am here waiting for you.” (Revelation 3:20-22) He has already gone way before you to rescue you through the cross, whether you know it or not. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the very evidence that He was here, and that He cares enough to stick around.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

If you find yourself still holding on to the old covenant, focused on self-effort, resulting in defeated and brokenness, you are at the right terminal. You are at the right place, where God wants you to switch over to the new covenant focused on Jesus and His finished work on the cross. In the new covenant, because Christ has already accomplished everything, you can expect God the Father’s full blessings to be on you (Ephesians 1:3-8). And with the new perspective, sometimes even the closed doors are God’ blessing and protection.

Now, declare aloud “I am in the new covenant through Jesus Christ, and I am expecting my miracles!”

 

The Righteousness  (義)

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:32-33

Everyone wants a good life; with one’s needs of life well met: a good home, good food on the table, family members are all well-taken care of, healthy and strong, living to a ripe old age; Good prosperity, promotion or bountiful harvest bringing in great fortunes and comforts. The only problem is that when we started chasing all these things, we get anxious and worried; missing the real important thing in life; the abundant life itself.

God, the Father knows these are things we need and are legitimate, we don’t need to retreat to a mountain for meditation, cutting all family ties and live frugally eating grass. Our God is really concern about having our needs met, like a good father would. He like us to have all these things. In fact, He wants all these things added – given to us. The key here is the way for these things to be given to us; by seeking His kingdom and His righteousness; not by our own effort toiling and seeking after for ourselves.

But what is righteousness?

Righteousness - YiThe Chinese traditional character for righteousness is 義 (pronounced as yì). It is composed of the character 羊 (sheep/lamb/ram/goat) at top and the character 我 (I, me, myself) at bottom. So the interpretation of the ideograms of this character 義 (righteousness) is having a sheep above myself.  By itself, even to the Chinese, it doesn’t make much sense, but through the lens of the bible, then it made perfect sense. Biblical, the lamb here points to when God provided the sacrificial ram for Abraham replacing Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19) and as exclaimed by John the Baptist: ““Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” referring to Jesus Christ (John 1:29-3).

You see, the righteousness God wants is not the “me – me – me” attitude; it is not about one’s self-effort or even of one’s self-achievements. At the very foundation, it is not about climbing the religious stairway up to heaven by one’s own sacrifices or works. The real righteousness is a gift! (Romans 5:17)   He is the Lamb of God, the Son, Who having achieved every law, standard and requirement of God, then sacrificed Himself on behalf of us, for us. And if we look up and place the Lamb above ourselves, taking up His offer of salvation, then God-the Father counts that as righteousness!

toy lamb wallpaper

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.   Romans 3:21-22

That’s how we are righteous through Jesus Christ! To put it simply, righteousness is enthroning Jesus Christ-the Lamb of God above oneself, to magnify the sacrifice of Christ on the cross over any works of one’s self. And all the rest of the blessings will be added and given to you…

 

Our Lord, our Home, our Refuge

Posted: 19 February, 2015 in Scriptures, Visions
Tags: , , ,

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! (‭Psalms‬ ‭90‬:‭1‬ NLT)

Lord, YOU have been our dwelling place and our refuge in all generations (Psalm‬ ‭90‬:‭1‬ AMP)

Lord Jesus, You are my God of my Faith and my Hope. Faith is the confidence that what I hope for will actually happen; You give me the assurance about things which I yet cannot see. My hope is in You and I find hope in Your promises. I pray that You would so fill me with Your hope, joy, peace, and thankfulness that I become strong and unwavering even in my present circumstances. Help me not to be shaken or become weak in any of these areas when difficult things happen. No matter how negative the situation or people around me are, help me to remain strong in the positive attributes of hope, joy, peace, and faith. By the power of Your Spirit, help me to overflow with Your love toward others every day. That others will know You in me.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13 (NLT)

Saved By Grace Alone? -No More Mr Nice Guy

I have recently received an unsolicited comment on this site with the above title, “Saved By Grace Alone?”. It suggested doubts on biblical predestination, salvation not by grace alone (but needs more), and doctrines like baptism for salvation, unsecured salvation, and more. Initially, I really didn’t want to have anything to do with it. However, over time I felt nudged that I should share on my opposing views.

This is not something easy to write as I do not take this debate lightly, and I am not formally trained theologically. My indignation will probably show in my writings; so that’s why the “-No More Mr Nice Guy”. I hope my post will not turn out to be too harsh but if you are likely going to be offended, I would suggest that you stop reading further.

For the rest of the readers, here goes…

  • God is eternal (Isaiah 57:15). He is not bounded by time and space because He existed before time and space. This is something we cannot comprehend now; but what we cannot comprehend, does not mean it doesn’t exist. God the Father foreknew and predestined us as His children through Christ on the cross, because He doesn’t see time chronologically as we mere humans do.   Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5-6  
    • When we made a choice to follow Jesus Christ, God already foreknew beyond the constraint of time, and predestined to mound us to be like His Son.   For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.   Romans 8:29.

  • There is another argument that we are saved not only by grace, but we also need faith for salvation to work; which suggest that grace is offered by God but faith, on the other hand, is offered by oneself. But we have forgotten that everything is by the grace of God, not by one’s works.   For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9   When I was little, I was quite proud to put my dollar into the offering bag during service. But what I didn’t realise then was that I didn’t earn that dollar; my mom gave it to me! In the same way, God show us the grace for salvation through Christ and even gave us the faith to enable us to believe and continue believing (Romans 12:3).
    • Both the grace (for salvation) and faith is a gift, by the grace (undeserved favour) of God!
    • If we think we are good enough to conjure up our own faith, we are missing the point.

  • For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.   Titus 2:11   The grace of God has offered salvation to ALL people. Each person has an opportunity to decide and choose if they want to accept the salvation of grace offered.   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16   
    • Simply put, salvation is offered to everyone, but only those who made a choice to believe in the Son will have eternal life.

  • We have to accept although salvation is offered to everyone, but not everyone accepts salvation. It all sums down to the personal free choice whether to take up the salvation offer.   Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. Ephesians 4:18
    • If some people wander away from life God has offered because of their hardness of hearts, it is their own free choice. So be it.

  • Looking at Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”     It was argued that Christians have obtained grace by faith; so faith precedes grace; and although grace is available to all men, it is faith through the Lord Jesus Christ make everything works.      => Well, it sounds seemingly correct, but upon closer examination, it is deviously flawed. The argument is putting the cart before the horse.   Faith does not precedes grace and grace is not the cheaper cousin of faith just because it is offered to all men.   For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17   You see,  grace came through Jesus Christ. Moses was given, depicting a servant, but Christ is the very personification of grace itself. If Jesus (grace) didn’t come down to earth and didn’t go to the cross, what faith will there be to even begin with?  Therefore, we are justified through faith, because (in precedence) of what Jesus (grace) had done for us. And so because of faith, we have gained a further grace, the undeserved privilege.  If I were to write a formula, it would be:
    • Grace (Jesus Christ) +produce+ Faith +produce+ Grace (undeserved privilege)
    • in short, its grace upon grace.   For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

  • Can you lose your salvation in Jesus Christ? No, no and no. A Christian can never lose his or her salvation; nothing – absolutely nothing can separate a believer from God’s love.   And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39     Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee to maintain the salvation He has given.     With reference to Galatians 5:4, Paul was just warning the Galatians not to fall back into the old form of law of Moses (Judaism) instead of real essence of freedom in Christ. If they did so, they would fall away from God’s grace (undeserved privilege) of freedom in Christ in the new covenant back into the old covenant.  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatian 5:1 
    • In the context, fallen from grace in Galatian 5, is never about falling away from (or losing) salvation. It is only about falling from a higher level of grace in the new covenant to an older and lower level, but still within the net of salvation.
    • Therefore, we should be living confidently in secured everlasting salvation that is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.

  • Is Water Baptism Needed for Salvation? is a post I have written before and I shall not repeat here and like you to read it yourself. In short, its great to be baptised and everyone should do it because you are relating to Jesus Christ Himself, His death and resurrection, and also being borne a new creation. A fantastic and beautiful experience, to be enjoyed by all believers. But also don’t be frightened by naysayers about your eternal salvation resting on a ritual, whether you are baptised or not. In Mark 16:16, Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.
    • Did you read anyone who is not baptized will be condemned? Neither did I.

Saved By Grace Alone? -No More Mr Nice Guy

You see, if God the Father did not first show us grace, providing a way for us by sending Jesus Christ, it will be a dead-end for all of us. Nothing will matter much, faith or no-faith / confess or no confessing. So we are saved by grace alone, Jesus Christ the very personification of God’s grace, and absolutely nothing would be required for salvation other than a simple choice of accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour.

Our repentance and faith is a response to all that God has done for us, not a work or our ability we do or have to “get saved.” We are compelled by the testimony of Scripture to assert that we are saved by grace alone! Any other view of salvation robs God of his rightful glory, belittle the sacrifice of Christ’s work on the cross and gives mere humans room to boast. It is nothing of us but wholly on God, Jesus Christ, our saving grace alone.