Sunday, July 20, 2014

God with us

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”  —Matthew 1:23

The Lord Jesus Christ came to bring the presence of God into our world.

Immanuel . . . God with us.

We too are to bring His presence into our world. 

The Lord Jesus Christ made that clear when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

We can give the gift of God’s likeness through us. 

When our lives reflect the God who lives in us, we can be different from the world, and that difference can bless others with the transforming presence of His love and grace. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 
—John 15:14-15

All of us battle with seasons of loneliness, wondering if anyone knows, understands, or cares about the burdens we carry or the struggles we face. 

But followers of Christ have an assurance that brings comfort to our weary hearts. 

The comforting presence of the Savior is promised in words that are undeniable, for the psalmist David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4).

Whether isolated by our own choices, by the cultural trends that surround us, or by the painful losses of life, all who know Christ can rest in the presence of the Shepherd of our hearts. 

What a friend we have in Jesus! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sowing Discord

These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 
A proud look,
A lying tongue, 
Hands that shed innocent blood, 
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil, 
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren
—Proverbs 6:16-19

The language of Proverbs 6:16-19 is strong. 

In the citing of seven things the Lord hates, sowing discord among brethren makes the list. 

Naming this sin is important.

This sin spoils the unity that Christ desires for His followers (John 17:21-22).

Those who sow discord may not initially set out to create divisions. 

They may be preoccupied instead with their personal needs or the interests of a group they belong to (James 4:1-10). 

Lot’s herdsmen argued with those of Abraham (Gen. 13:1-18).

Christ’s disciples argued about personal preeminence (Luke 9:46).

Divisive groups in the church at Corinth elevated party factions above the unity of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:1-7).

So what is the best way to promote unity? 

It begins with the transformation of the heart. 

When we adopt the mind of Christ, we develop an attitude of humility and we focus on service toward others (Phil. 2:5-11). 

Only in Him can we access the power to look out not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others. 

Soon the needs and hopes of others become more important to us than our own.

With growing bonds of love among us, we find discord replaced with joy and unity.

We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's a Cloudy Day

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” —Job 42:5-6

We often wish for blue skies instead of storm clouds. 

But cloudy skies may reveal God’s faithfulness. 

We gain perspective on how God has been faithful in our trials as we look back on the clouds.

In Job 3:3-5, after a time of quiet agony, Job broke his silence and let out his anguish. 

He called for darkness and then destruction to overwhelm him. 

Instead of seeing God’s light-filled and good creation, Job felt he was living in a world of darkness. 

But in Job 42:5-6, we see the resolution to Job’s conflict. 

Out of the whirlwind, God challenged Job and pointed to creation as a witness to His reality. 

Although Job was never told that his sufferings were the result of spiritual warfare from the devil, Job submitted to the sovereignty of God and experienced restoration.

Job's experience of despair continued for a long time until God spoke. Then he encountered the sovereign Creator, and that changed his perspective on God’s purposes.

Clouds of trouble may fill our skies for a time.

But then, God may use these clouds to help us gain perspective on His faithfulness.

Often the clouds of sorrow reveal the sunshine of God's face. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Start Counting Your Blessings

So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:16)

Here we have Jesus' parable of the workers and their grossly unfair paychecks.

Some people who have been idly standing around are hired by a landowner at the eleventh hour (Matthew 20:6-7).

The other workers, who have been serving him all day long, are shocked when each receives identical pay.

The landowner paid the same amount for 1 hour's work as for 12!

Jesus was giving us a parable about grace, which cannot be calculated like a day's wage.

God dispenses gifts, not wages.

Let us never dwell on the efforts we have made.

Let us rather start counting our blessings.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Even the Wind and the Sea Obey Him

"But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 4:40)

The incident painted a picture of a small boat threatened with destruction in a furious storm.

As the disciples were struggling against the wind and waves, the Lord Jesus Christ was undisturbed. While the disciples were frantically trying to save a sinking boat, the Lord Jesus Christ was asleep.

The Lord Jesus Christ was so tired that even the violent tossing of the waves did not wake Him.

Didn't the Lord Jesus Christ care that they were all about to die?

After the Lord Jesus Christ calmed the storm, He asked them the penetrating question, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

Then the disciples became even more afraid, exclaiming to each other, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

It was a vivid lesson to the disciples about who Jesus is and what He can do.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the omnipotent sovereign God.

Just as Jesus' disciples, to each person who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ, He reveals His presence, compassion, and control in every storm of life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Law was once our Tutor

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. (Galatians 3:19)

The law was added because of our transgressions. 
It was added because of our sins, the violations of the law.
The law serves to reveal our sins against God and His law.

The law serves until the Seed comes to whom the promise was made.
It is there to serve the promised children of God before Christ comes to them.

The law was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

The law is not against the promises of God.

The law cannot give life.
The law cannot give true righteousness.

According to Scriptures, all men are confined under sin.
Only those who believe are given the promise, by faith in Jesus Christ.

But before faith came, the promised children of God are kept under guard by the law. They are kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

The law serves as our tutor to bring us to Christ.
But the law cannot justify us.
We are only justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Faith has come.
The children of promise are no longer under the law.
The law is no longer our tutor.
Our tutor is the Lord Jesus Christ through faith.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Honor the Man of God

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Galatians 2:9)

God shows personal favoritism to no man.

God created us. 
All that we have come from God. 
Nothing we have stays permanently. 
Naked we come; naked we will return.

Whatever we have, it is to be used for our spiritual good.
God wants us to worship Him and enjoy His Presence.
God wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Whatever we have, it is to be used for God's Glory.
God loves those who love Him.
God cares for those who obey His Commandments.

We care not those who are big in their own eye.
They are nothing to us and need no mention.

We care for those who labor and love for God.
We help them and lessen their worries and troubles.

The Jewish Christians in Judea could see that the gospel for the Gentiles had been committed to the apostle Paul, just like the gospel for the Jews was committed to the apostle Peter. God Who worked effectively in apostle Peter's ministry had also worked effectively in apostle Paul's ministry

When James, Peter, and John, the Christian leaders of the Jew, recognised the grace of God working in apostle Paul's ministry, they acknowledged, honored and welcomed the ministry of  the apostle Paul and Barnabas. They encouraged them to go on. Their only desire was that they should remember the poor, the very thing which the apostle Paul also was eager to do.

It is great to see children of God walking in faith and love.
We should give them the right hand of fellowship.
We should encourage them on.
We should honor those who honor God and submit to God.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

God's Strength in our Weaknesses

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

A thorn in the flesh was given to the apostle Paul, a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations.

There is always a danger for Christian to exalt himself above measure, when he realises that he is abundantly blessed. The more blessed we are, the more danger we are in. We begin to exalt ourselves, and boast of our achievements before God and men.

As Christians, our objective in life should be like that of John the Baptist : "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Lord Jesus Christ must be seen as our Lord in all we have and in all we do. The more blessings we receive from God, the more humbled we should become.

But the opposite is often true when we becomes complacent, and begin to take pride in all we have and in all we do. Like the apostle Paul, some of us are given a thorn in the flesh to humble us. We are reminded often that all we have is from God.

The apostle Paul was blessed with the abundance of revelations. To stop him from exalting himself, a thorn in the flesh was given to him, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. Three times he pleaded with God that it might depart from him. But God refused, and He said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

The apostle Paul stopped crying about his thorn in the flesh. Instead, he gladly boasted about his infirmities. The power of Christ is made perfect is our weaknesses. It is when we confess our weaknesses before God that the power of Christ rests upon us. 

The apostle Paul took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. He understood that when he was weak, God would work mightily in him and through him!

As Christians, we are reminded of the same. Let us stop boasting about what we have and what we do. Let us continue our pilgrimage on earth, bearing in mind that "When We are weak, then we are strong".

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." (Corinthians 4:7)

It is good to remind ourselves that we are earthern vessels for God's use. God will empower us to accomplish His will for us.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our God of Truth

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

Christians are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As Christians, we live in newness of life. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God fills our lives and perfects them. The fruit of the Spirit cultivates and enriches our lives. We are changed by the Holy Spirit from within. We are changed from glory into glory by the Spirit of God.

All the old things have passed away. Behold all things are become new.

We renounce the shameful things we do in the dark. 

We refuse to practice cunning or underhanded methods. We don't practice deceit with one another.

We refuse to falsify God's word. We don't tamper with God's word. We recognize and respect everyone's conscience. We appeal to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.

We live and love by the Truth. The Spirit is Truth. It is the Spirit of God Who bears witness to the Truth.

We are vessels of God. We are to function properly for God's use.

May God have the glory.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Serve God, Not men

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 
—Matthew 6:1

Whatever our deeds, whether our acts of service or our personal dealings, they are really between us and God.

Whether or not anyone else sees, it does not matter.

God is our only audience in mind.

Our deeds is for Him to see.

Our desire is to please Him.

It is important to know that we are serving God alone.

We are to do His biddings.

Our aim is to show forth God's glory.

Let us stay focused on serving God, and not men.

God who sees in secret will Himself reward us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Be Patient

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.
—James 5:7

Impatience is a common trait.

Many people lose their patience while waiting in line or holding on the phone.

James wrote to believers who were struggling with being patient for Jesus’ return. 

They were living under exploitation and distressing times.

James encouraged them to be patient. 

He challenged them to persevere under suffering.

He stimulated them to stand firm and to live sacrificially until the Lord returned to right every wrong. 

He wrote: “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8).

James called them to be like the farmer who waits patiently for the rain and the harvest (James 5:7).

He called them to be like the prophets and the patriarch Job who demonstrated perseverance in difficulties (James 5:10-11). 

The finish line was just ahead and James encouraged them not to give up.

When we are being tried in a crucible of distress, God desires to help us continue living by faith and trusting in His compassion and mercy.

The way to great patience is through great trials.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

With God, All Things are Possible

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" —Jeremiah 32:27

In Judges 7:12, God had Gideon use 300 men, horns, jars, and blazing torches against armies that were as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number.
Could Israel defeat such a formidable foe?
It was humanly impossible!
They had neither the manpower nor the military hardware.
But they had one thing that worked for them and that was all they needed.
They had God’s promise: “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” (Judges 7:7)
The result? Victory!

Are you facing a formidable challenge?
The Lord has said, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jer. 32:27).
With God, all things are possible.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Let Your Light Shine

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 16) 

1. Let it be known that you are real Christian. Let your holy life, your pure conversation, and your faithful instructions, be everywhere seen and known always, in all societies, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity.

2. Let your good deeds be evident to all. True conversion cannot be concealed. Our conduct must reveal Christ. Our actions must display the power and purity of the Gospel.

3. Let your good deeds lead people to honor God. Our conduct must win people to Christ, causing them to give praise and glory to God, for His mercy to a lost world.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Everyone Can Serve

We may not be clever, but we can serve.
We may not be influential, but we can serve.
We may not have a college degree, but we can serve.
We may not be a language specialist, but we can serve.

We don't need to know everything before we can serve.
We don't need to be someone great before we can serve.
We only need a heart full of grace,
And a soul generated by love.

We may be a small pebble in a big pond,
We may be a tiny splash in the universe,
We may judge ourselves to be insignificant,
But we can be greatly used by God if we want to.

The Son of God did not come to be served,but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. —Mark 10:45

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.
Little things done in Christ’s name are great things.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Joy of Giving In

The knowledge of right and wrong isn't everything that is.

There are times we rather be wronged in order to keep the family together...

There are times we choose to give in just for the scruples of the weak...

The sayang "love covers over a multitude of sins" is applicable here.

Besides, "Who has not sinned?" "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."

There is also a joy in giving in, isn't it?

And It isn't easy, but it needs to be done at times.