2020-06-14

Overcoming Fear in Time of COVID-19 Pandemic

What can we learn from Peter, Paul, and Confucius about overcoming fears in this challenging time?
From Peter, we learned the shortest and most effective prayer, "Lord, save me!" Mat 14:30. Jesus did everything for Peter and Peter just rested on Jesus.

For Paul, Jesus did not give him too many miracles. Paul had to go through the challenges of shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, escaping, etc, and coming out of them victoriously. He had the calmness and the wisdom to plan and act rightly. His advice for the young and timid Timothy was to remind him of what they had received from the Lord. Under fears, we easily forget what we have. The key verse is 2 Tim 1:7.

 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

(ESV)  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

(GW)  God didn't give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.

(ISV)  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love, and self-discipline.

The 3 keys are:
  1. Power
  2. Love
  3. G4995 sōphronismos which got translated as:
    discipline, self-control, sound mind, and good judgment.
Power is pushy or hard-power and Love is pulling or soft-drawing-power. How hard or how soft should one be depends on the situation and the people involved. Hence, we need the 3rd key of a right-balance, the sound-mind to make the right judgment of discipline use of power and love. 

How this works is best explained by Confucius teaching captured in the Book of Great Learning Chapter 1:

知止而后有定,定而后能静,静而后能安,安而后能虑,虑而后能得。 
物有本末,事有终始。知所先后,则近道矣。

Knowing the end-point objectives/targets enables focus.
Focus enables rest. Rest enables peace/calmness.
Peace enables thinking. Thinking enables achievements.
All things have an origin and an appearance.
All projects have a beginning and an ending.
Knowing the before and after, the order or sequence is close to knowing the Way of the Universe.

So we see Jesus always give his disciples peace first.

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).

John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

The peace that we need to overcome fear comes from Jesus and from His Spirit (2Tim 1:7). He gives us the peace to think and even the wisdom to find the solution. James 1:5 (NIV) 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Peter figured it out in 1Peter 1:3-7 of the unchanging and undisruptable power that Jesus had given us to enable us to endure and go through the trials victoriously.

So, when fearful, please come to Jesus, to receive the Spirit of Power, Love and Sound mind, to boldly face the situation and work out the solution, asking Him for guidance throughout.

May you be greatly blessed and may come out of this pandemic much better than and stronger than before,

Lim Liat (c) 14 Jun 2020

2020-04-07

How to fix our embittered heart?

Learning from Ps 73 NLV version.

1. It all begins with "Envy"
  • Psa 73:3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

2. Then we start to "Self-Pity"
  • Psa 73:14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

    We only look at the bad side and ignoring all the good that we have.
3. Then we become "Angry" & "Bitter"
  • Psa 73:21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.

    Even at times, we get angry with God seeing that we have been obeying Him and yet...
4. Then we become "Foolish" even like a "Beast"
  • Psa 73:22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to You.
Solution:

5. Seek God
  • Psa 73:17 Then I went into Your sanctuary, O God,
  • and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

    Take His perspective. Take the long-term view.

6. Trust God - Hope in God
  • Psa 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.
  • Psa 73:28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter,
7. Proclaim His Goodness - It reinforces our trust in God.
  • 28b and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.
Lim Liat (c) 7 Apr 2020