Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

Old book and dried roses

We all have a choice to choose where we like to dwell or stay. Physically, our homes, the surroundings, our careers, our ministries, and the people around us will all have an impact on our lives, whether we like it or not, positively or negatively. For some, they chose to dwell in their past failures or even a loss of loved ones. Without coming out of their dwellings, mentally they cannot progress further.

In the hard realities of the world; in the face of impending doom or gloom often thrown at you, where do you choose to dwell? Wherever you choose to camp, very often already determines where you probably ends up, your very destiny.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:1-2

In the jaws of winter

Escapism is the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. But to place our trust and hope in the very Living Hope, Jesus Christ (1Peter 1:3) is not fantasy but an exercise in faith. Just simply knowing that the Shepherd will lead you out of the wilderness or darkness, will empower you to push out your first step.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. John 10:11-13

When the wolf is coming, where do you choose to dwell?

Time and Space

 

 

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:43-46‬ ‭NLT

 

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The past week has been the most eventful; no, I’m not talking about the Euro-Cup. 🙂

There is a great ongoing shaking in the world now. An established first-world, democratic nation has turned his back on his fellows; closing the front door permanently. Probably fueled by fear and flesh, xenophobia and even racism; reversing introspectively and with self-occupation. World leaders are scratching their heads, not knowing what to do. Rumors of predicted famines and economic tumblings abounds. Even one of the best from the human race, with it’s proud heritage, establishments and achievements, has again demonstrated that mankind are unpredictable.

At the opposite end of the world as well as spectrum, I have the honor and privilege to witness shaking of another, a spiritual shaking. In a third-world country, without even modern toilet facilities at some areas, large multitudes who opened their doors (philosophically because their huts have no doors) and hearts welcoming the Kingdom of Heaven. The King of kings and Lord of lords, Himself, came with His blessings and offerings of salvation and eternal life!

Through humble and grace-filled servers who are heavenward-looking and selfless; from different ages, different nations, different genders, different cultures and backgrounds, coming together as one people-one body; spreading the gospel and Good News of Jesus Christ; and carried with them an outpouring of grace and love to anyone who is willing to accept.

The harvest is so plentiful and so ready!

To me, the contrast is stark and sobering. You see, the Kingdom of God will come down to anyone who is willing to open his door of his heart; tumbling down walls of obstacles and hearts of stone. Even in the worst living conditions, people who received Jesus Christ into their hearts can still be filled with such heavenly glory.

Which side do you belong to?

Le couvent englouti

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”    1 Corinthians 11:23-26

I used to have many questions and opinions about the Holy Communion. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Why does the Lord keep wanting us to remember Him? He needs that much attention? Surely, He has more concerns about His impending betrayal than some bread and drink, right? So, do we just plainly remember, then what happens? Why do we need to do it so often?

If you like me, we have much to appreciate the Lord’s Supper, a wonderful gift. That even at the final hours of his imminent torture, His mind is still for the benefits of the disciples, then and now. You see, the bread is not just a mere symbol of the Lord’s body, it IS the Lord’s body, wounded and broken for us. The cup is not just a symbolic drink but the very blood, flowed out for the us. But what for?

If we refer to Isaiah 53, that tells us the details of what exactly the Lord’s body suffered for, then we will grow to appreciate the bread and the cup.

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,
a 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 53:4-5

lord_supper

You see, our Lord Jesus has taught us by using the bread and cup, we can better focus on Him, not on ourselves or on the circumstance. The communion is the very physical representation of Jesus Himself. So, if we are weak or sick, Jesus used the communion to remind us, “I am the Bread of Life; Remember ME!”. If we are tired, and burdened, the communion says the Lord will give you rest, Remember ME. If we are depressed, the communion declares His suffering on the cross, so we need not suffer again, Remember ME. If we think we are unclean and unworthy, the communion points to the cleansing, washed by the very Blood, Remember ME. If we are rejected, the communion confirms that we are accepted, “Remember ME!”.

We just need to remember the “ME”.

 

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”

But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’”   Matthew 21:12-16

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We are all quite familiar with the account of Jesus driving off all the merchants buying and selling within the temple grounds. This is an account where for most of the time, we learned of Jesus’ indignation with regards to the degradation of the religiosity of the Jewish temple, to a greed driven machinery that is so far away from the heart of God.

After Jesus healed the blind and lame there, the children, in their innocence, praised God with much shouting. The corrupted leaders were not pleased, and even questioned Jesus. And our main focus here was Jesus’ reply:

‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’?”

Matthew 21:16 (NKJV)

You see, Jesus quoted a portion of scripture from Psalms 8:2 which reads:

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

But there is an obvious divine twist here. In New International Version (NIV), it reads:

you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

So if we line them up on the same term, Jesus has revealed the key here:

-> give You (God) praise -> You (God) have ordained (or give) strength -> You (God) silence the enemy and the avenger

So you see, the revelation is that if we praise and worship God, even when with our handicap, even when we are faced with difficult and surmounting circumstances, and with a bleak-black vision or future; God will give us the strength to persevere and He will see to it to silence the enemy and avenger; our enemy, our avenger.

Worship

The weaker we are or the bigger the problem we face, the more we need to praise and worship God; because through it comes our bigger help and our bigger stronghold, and our bigger defense from our Lord!! The final silence of our enemy and avenger will be oh-so-sweet.

 

 

Bita in the yard

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. […] Then the God of peace will be with you.   Philippians 4:8-9

We are coming to the end of the year and it is the time where we are feeling festive and blissful. We put down the bad and the ugly behind,  looking forward to a new beginning. And that’s really good. The bible says, fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, what is right and what is pure and lovely. What is admirable and things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

little big friendsYou see, we are being constantly ‘bombarded’ by terrors, uncertainty, diseases/viruses, and so many other negative things, that if we dont have a counter, we will then go on a slow spiral down into depression and sickness. Your mind will be trouble, your spirit will be down and finally sickness appears for a final countdown.

Happy thoughts!

That’s what the world can offer at best, keeping fixing on whatever happy thoughts you can gather and keep replaying in your mind. But dear brother and sisters, we have something even more power and everlasting. What is more true and right and pure and lovely and admirable and excellent and worthy of praise?

It is this: That God, Christ Jesus, Himself, left and gave up His own majesty and divinity to come into this world. Willing suffered at the hands of the very creation He wanted to save. To redeem us from our sin by taking our sin on Himself and suffered its consequences. After exhausting all the judgement and punishments on our behalf, Christ Jesus died a sorrowful death.

By His death – we are given life, by His strips – we are healed, by his sorrows – we rejoice. Out of love, to save you and I from eternal damnation. Think of such thoughts:

  • That you are so preciously loved that Christ Jesus so willing to die in your place.
  • That God will redeem you out of whatever bad situation you are in because He had redeemed you from the worst.
  • That God Himself will restore what you have lost and will be above what you have originally lost.
  • That Christ has done all that needs to be done, we are rest fully in His perfect work.
  • That you are not caringly nurtured, truly blessed,  and highly favored because you are children of the Almighty God.
  • That you are forever, saved and redeemed for eternity in heaven, a place Christ personally are preparing for you.
  • That we have such an awesome and wonderful God that is so worthy of praise.

Such are the happy (excellent) thoughts!

Have a blessed Christmas full of revelation of Christ Jesus!

Closing

Recently, I haven’t had much time to write, ponder or reflect. I probably have been too caught up by the world too. But the Lord is so good that I have is this wonderfully nudging about “Through Christ”, that I just cannot not ignore.

God, the Father is holy beyond reach of us mere sinful humans; the Holy Spirit is invisible and silent. That is, why Jesus Christ came and He is the very visible image or representation of the invisible God (Col :15). There is just no way for lowly human beings to reach out to a high holy God. A simple bible search of “through Christ” yields 70 very powerful passages:

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

[ Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome ] First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

[ Peace and Hope ] Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord JesusChrist, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

[ Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ ] Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Line of Reflection

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

[ Life Through the Spirit ] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

[ Paul’s Anguish Over Israel ] I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—

by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

 Morning Frost

The entire victorious Christian living; in fact, the key to the gospel is found within these 70 Scriptures. Christianity is not designed to be difficult. The Lord did not put His gift of eternal heavenly salvation as a trophy high on the podium, only for ‘champions’ who can manage to attain. This is not only impossible, but a ultimate lie.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10

But Jesus Christ came, and deliver that trophy personally. Through His bloodied hands…

 

My heart cries with Paris today

By now, most would have read about yet another horrific terrorist attack on Paris, one of the most iconic cities in the world. The disgust and sadness that followed, where unarmed civilians were brutally and calmly slaughtered were obvious. It is incomprehensible for fellow human beings firing assault rifles into unwary and inoffensive everyday-crowds of people. Even trained soldiers shudder at such thoughts.

The Islamic-State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Their call for Jihad, or “holy-war” is anything but holy. The attacks at a stadium, concert hall and cafes and restaurants in northern and eastern Paris where over a 120 were killed in cold-blood, is their way of fighting a “war”.

While much has been said and done, it’s too little, too late. I would insist that the top Islamic bodies and institutions condemn, re-educate and fight the theological extremism driving these terrors. However, in my spirit, I know I am barking up the wrong (fruitless) tree.

So, will the real gospel of Peace please stand up.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s amour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s amour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body amour of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the Good News of peace with God.) In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.   Ephesian 6:10-18

13.11.2015With the full amour of God, I used to think of the sandals/shoes to be the least important, preferring to focus on the more gung-ho sword or shield. Ignorantly, I missed the point that the solider and his entire amour is propped up solely by these very shoes-> the gospel or Good News of Peace, with God.

So, what’s so important about the gospel of Peace?

You see, the gospel of peace is the very foundation; the message that Jesus Christ gave Himself to those who would trust and believe in Him (John 14:27; Romans 6:22-23). This gospel of Peace establish our standing and assurance from God-the Father that we are His children and nothing can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29; 1 John 5:13). The Good News outlines clearly what is required to become a child of God, that God is not angrily-unforgiving and that nothing more is required to be made right (relationship) with the Most High God. (Romans 10:5–10).

The gospel of Peace for us believers has a 2-fold function: both defensive and offensive. On the defensive, in order to defend ourselves against the accusations and “flaming arrows of the evil one”, we must have the confidence in the position of Jesus Christ (as God and Son) and also our position in Christ (the redeemed saved by grace). We must understand the grace and mercy of God, that salvation through Christ is fixed solely on God’s goodness, not based on our own abilities, worthiness or what we have done (Titus 3:5).

On the offensive, we have to bring this gospel of Peace-Jesus Christ to the world. We need to let people know that they will never be able to buy or earn their way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9). Everything has been paid by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15); they just need to simply believe in Him. That’s it!

Paris

One of the main reason why such terrorism happens is because there are some very grave believes going around propagating. False ideologies and extremism that taught people to willingly commit cold-blooded mass-murders and blowing themselves up for a cause. We must counter these wrong believes that eternal salvation can be earned, a price able to be paid, to achieve a good position with a holy God; to have an access to express elevator into the heaven (with bloodied hands).

We need to let them know there is a better, surer way and only Way-> Jesus Christ, Who is  the very gospel of Peace. Only when we have the peace with God, can we have real peace with ourselves and people around us.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. Romans 3:23-25