Posts Tagged ‘This is Our God’

Finding The Lost Pokémon

If the latest craze has hit your country, you probably would have known it by now. The Pokémon Go game that has swept the world over with such a phenomenal effect never before seen. For the uninitiated (including myself, and I researched. And I watched friends go “child-like” with the game too), in very simple terms, it is a location-based augmented reality game on mobile devices, with the objective of finding and locating Pokémon creatures. And upon finding them, you are suppose to catch, and then look after and train them, developing into champions. Many players have gone through great distances and troubles to find these Pokémon creatures, some rare and precious. Huge sacrifices of time and effort were made to find them. Unfortunately, some at the expense of their personal safety.

However, I did see something very familiar and very dear.

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’   Luke 15:3-6

There is One who first went through great distances (crossing heaven to earth), with great effort and difficulty, even fatally bruising His own body, and finally sacrificing ultimately Himself-His own life on the cross in exchange, just to seek and keep this very rare and precious creature that He loves. And all He wish for is to look after and develop that creature to be a champion.

And that creature is, YOU!

 

… And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. (Luke 15:5)

 

 

Pika.. Pika.. Pikachu, anyone?

 

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Someone forwarded me this; I really liked it and have built on it. You see, many heroes from the bible have these defining moments in time where, what they spoken or declared in a statement of faith, raised them up, setting them apart in exalting the Lord. It expresses their relationship with God, their faith and their perspective that we all would like to model from.

More importantly, it shows us what a God we have and, really, what a God!
Be yourself
What would you tell yourself every morning as you start the day or whenever you faced a challenge ahead?

Abel would say, “The best portions is for the Lord.”

Noah would say, “I will do exactly what the Lord has commanded.”

Enoch would say, “I will not see death as I’m walking in close fellowship with God.”

Abraham said, “The Lord will provide.”

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter.”

Isaac said, “Where is the Lamb?”

Jacob said, “I won’t let go of You unless You bless me.”

Joseph said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”

Moses said, “Lord, if You don’t go with us or before us, we are not going anywhere.”

Rehab said, “The Lord is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.”

Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Gideon said, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory.”

Samson prayed, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time.”

Ruth said, “Wherever you go, I will go.”

Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.”

Solomon said, “Give me an understanding heart.”

Isaiah said, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

Jeremiah said, “The Lord has plans to prosper me and not to harm or fail me.”

Jabez said, “Oh, that you may bless me and enlarge my territory.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said, “We will not bow down to any image but will serve the Lord.”

Ezekiel said, “Any dry bones in my life, live again.”

Peter said, “I will cast my cares upon the Lord for He cares.”

John said, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loves.”

Paul said, “The Lord will supply all my needs and I can do all things through Christ.”

 

*Choose your daily statement of faith. Meditate on it! Speak it!*

I can dream

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…

 

Cool

Everyone who received Jesus Christ into their life always does it with such great joy. If you remember your first love encounter with the Lord, it is always so sweet. However, for some of us along the Christian journey, we lost some of that joy. Along the way, we were told that since we gained salvation freely by the grace of our Lord, we need to now work towards our own holiness.

Well, so what is holiness? Much has been said and written, but let’s see if we can also glean something from the Temptation of Christ; as Jesus is the very role model for our quest for holiness. In Matthew 4:1-11, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

1.   Turning stone to bread – Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights; obviously very hungry.  Even with the tempting of the devil to turn a stone into bread, Jesus did not giving in to the demands of the flesh, although the desire or urge was legitimate. We are not talking about willpower or mind over matter but Jesus knew well that God-the Father is the ultimate Provider.

If we see God as our personal Provider and trust fully in his provision, then there is nothing we need to covet, yearn or to be envious about, even it is within our power to get it. All our needs will be fully met in due time, and often beyond our expectations. Suppose you know you have a royal buffet coming, would you steal a piece of old-stale bread? No, you will not even bother, right? You will even roll-eyes in the face of that temptation!

We will not be tempted by the flesh if we fully trust that the Lord will fully and overly provide all our physical needs. And that’s holiness #1 – See the Father God as the Provider.   And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:19

Untitled

2.   Jumping off the cliff – Thereafter, the devil used the promise in the bible about God’s protection, urging Jesus to test it out by jumping off the cliff. But Jesus having such a close and intimate relationship with Father God obviously wouldn’t want to test God.

You see, if we are so close and fully assured of God’s protection, would you test God? If you know your parents loved you so much, would you run out a busy street just to test if they would come for you. Obviously not.

It is during difficult times when we experience doubts on the love of God. During such times, the devil has the chance to tempt us to question or even test God on His protection and promises in the bible. To prevent that, that we need to build ourselves in the love of God beforehand, by knowing Him through the Word, through prayer, through worship, through testimonies of others and through revelation of the Holy Spirit that assures us that we have a really good loving God, who would not leave or forsake us no matter what happens. And so, when temptations come that go against the promises of the Word of God, we will not waiver. We will not be tempted of the mind if we fully trust that the Lord will surely protect us even without testing. And that’s holiness #2 – See the Father God as the Protector.

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.   Psalms 91:2-7

Broken Chain

3. Worship the devil for all the kingdoms of the world – Finally, the mask were off the devil, with his ultimate motive revealed; he wanted to be worship like a god, that he isn’t. What the devil wanted is just to peel believers off God, and instead to worship him. Ironically, the devil offered in exchange for the kingdom of the world that was cheated off Adam and Eve, of which the ownership were given to them by God in the first place. So like a highly-skilled con-man, the devil uses what isn’t his to cheat what is yours!

The kingdom of the world represents the riches, authority and power this side of heaven can offer, although all of it came from God. The root of all evil is not money itself, it is the love of money. People who long to be rich with no regards where the source is always ended up foolishly mining it from the world instead of God, plunging themselves into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

So finally, for holiness #3 – See the Father God as the source of Power and Prosperity.

Paris from the Eiffel Tower
In the wall of text above, if you have learned nothing (or you have just simply scrolled right down); it’s fine. But do read the very key here: In the previous chapter just before the temptation of Christ, Jesus was baptised in the river. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”   (Matthew 3:16-17)

But when the devil tempted Jesus, he said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”. Noticed the difference?  -> he missed out the “whom I love”.

You see, we need to know we are not simply just a believer in the Almighty. We must know intensively that we are a child of God.  But even more than that, one that God dearly love. We are in a position that no other creation ever had. Jesus Christ never lose faith in God, more importantly, He never lose the sense of the Father’s love for him. He never doubt the divine goodness and love.

after the rain

Holiness is not a set of cold rules. It is not a series of self-prowess to remain flawless. It is the faith you have to see God as a Provider, Protector and the Source of Power and Prosperity. Holiness is a fruit gotten through with the knowledge of the love of God. And we know God the Father loves us so deeply because He gave His most beloved – His Son, Jesus Christ, for our sake.

alas negras

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. (‭Luke‬ ‭15‬:‭20-24‬ NLT)

In my most beloved Parable of the Lost Son, much is said about the rebellious and riotous son. He came crawling back home after wasting his father’s inheritance for him on wild living; and we are not talking about making a wildlife documentary. Many fathers would have given up on this son, cutting all ties. But not this father. He waited and waited for his son to come home. And when the father saw the son, he was still filled with love and compassion, missing and loving the wayward child.

I was one of those wayward child.

And I believed many of us too had wavered in faith before. But our Father in heaven did not give up; He did not cut all ties with us and wish us dead; but instead longing for our return one day. I was just sharing with some old friends that even when we left God, the Father never did leave us. The Holy Spirit is always there to lift us up when we fall; Yes, He was grieved at my riotous living, but still He never did leave! The Lord said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God didn’t lie.

Never once did the father reproach the son, and never once did the father mourn for the losses and waste of his inheritance. Not even once.

From the perspective of the son, He was restored with all the privileges, honour and authority as if he had never left. He was willowing in the pig-pen, in much a worse state than even his servants at home but his father restored him to be the master again. It was very unfortunate that the son left, for whatsoever reason – probably stupidity is one of them. But because of the enormous love of the father, the son is fully restored, and even celebrated.

Like the father in the parable, our heavenly Father is waiting for your return. He is so eager to shower His love on you. Never mind, the mistakes you have made. It was unfortunate, unnecessary and even stupid. But rather than to mourn for the losses- the waste, rolling in the pits in misery over the past mistakes; just come back home to the loving embrace of the Father. And with great urgency and pleasure, the Father will restore to you what you have lost, and more. God does not care about the losses or waste; He only cares about you; and that’s all that matters to Him.

And the Father will restore even more than what you rightly deserved.

Just like what He did for me.

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!”

Hidden Kingdoms

I have recently watched a fantastic BBC Earth documentary titled Hidden Kingdoms. It’s about a cast of miniature creatures, facing huge adversities and gigantic odds against them. For them, everyday is an epic adventure just to stay alive. But yet despite their huge challenges, the little heroes faced life with great perseverance and enthusiasm.

Hidden Kingdoms - Grasshopper MouseOne particular character stands out for me, and that’s the Grasshopper Mouse, cute little fellow. Chased by flooding waters, hawks, and rattlesnakes; but yet battling scorpions, fainting due to the venom, but recovered to feast on its prize.

Compared to these little guys, we humans have much to learn; or unlearn.

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.   Luke 12:22-26, 32

Hidden Kingdoms - Grasshopper Mouse

Sometimes, we need be still and reflect. Well, whatever we are facing, it is probably tiny compared to what these little guys encounter with their existence on the line daily. If the humble “rodents” can live under such unforgiving conditions yet live everyday with such fervour and zeal, then are we as human beings embarrassing our Creator by worrying and anxious over trivial stuffs, not living our lives abundantly? Are we not a lot more valuable than these mere creatures?

For me, it took the hidden kingdoms to remind us that our Father in heaven has already given us the Kingdom. So don’t be afraid, little flock.