2011-12-21

Reflection on Ps 53 God's Calling His People Back

Today 21 Dec 2011 is the 353rd day of the year 2011. The Psalm for today is Ps 53. The verses from ASV of the Bible are reproduced here together with my reflections.

Some title it "A Portait of Sinners", "The foolishness and iniquity of atheism" and others stressing on the bad people and evil deeds. But for me, it is a calling by God to His people, His beloved creation, to return to Him and promising blessings.

1. No God -> No Accountability -> Evil Everywhere.

Psa 53:1  For the Chief Musician; set to Mahakath. Maschil of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none that doeth good.

"There is no God" is the common concept promoted by secular world under the misleading disguise of "Modern Science". They forgot that the early scientists started with premise that there is a God of creator who created the universe with order and providing the foundation that it can be studied with science.

When men believe that there is no God or that God does not care even if He does exist, then there is no accountability. No accountability leads to unconstrained behavior and much evil deeds. This is a clear reflection of our present world.

2. Yet, God is Reaching Out to Man.
Psa 53:2  God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, That did seek after God.

God did not reject or hide away from man. He seek after man, looking for those who seek Him. God's glory is reflected in the wonder of the creation. There is no accuse to ignore His existence. He is seeking for man and to relate to man.

3. Nevertheless, Man care Not.
Psa 53:3  Every one of them is gone back; they are together become filthy; There is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Men are too busy in his own business of getting more and more no matter what, even at the expense of harming others as seen in the next verse.

4. God cares for the Innocence.
Psa 53:4  Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And call not upon God?

Harming innocence is harming God's people. People are God's loved creation.

5. God will Punish Evil and Protect His People.
Psa 53:5  There were they in great fear, where no fear was; For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: Thou hast put them to shame, because of God hath rejected them.

A righteous and loving God has to uphold justice and hand out his punishments for the evil. Ignoring God, disbelieve in God does not nullify the existence of true God. There is no running away. God will protect His people. Please repent and go back to God.

6. God will save His people and establish His kingdom on earth. Let the World be Glad.
Psa 53:6  Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

This is the meaning of Christmas. God came to save and to establish His righteous and loving kingdom on earth. Let's all rejoice.

2011-12-20

Principles for Successful Living From Proverbs 18

‎8 simple principles for success in life from Proverbs 18. A reflection for our life even for those that are of age. There is always time to change for the better.
On quick reading, each chapter of Proverbs seem to be just a loose collection of words of wisdom and it is difficult to link up the verses for a main theme. It will take a bit longer time and more intensive study to find the linkage. Here is a attempt for Prov 18. Below is the mind-map showing the main theme and sub themes.


The 8 Principles for Good Life

1. No Man is an Island.
   Don't be a lone ranger. He who isolates himself is selfish and self-seeking. It is not sound. It important to have 2 types of relationships - with God (Principle 3) and with People (Principle 8).

2. Be Wise & Not a Fool
  •   Fool just talk without wanting to learn. They lack understanding. Wisdom begins with learning and refreshes oneself and others without end.
  •   Wisdom is about being fair and objective. Not to be unjust.
  •   Seek Knowledge
  •   Seek multiple views
3. Be with God - Source of Power and Righteousness
  •   Wickedness -> contempt & dishonor ->disgrace.
  •   The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
4. Talk Well - Watch our words as they are powerful, affecting life and death.
  •   Don't talk foolishly that leads to a fight and invites a beating. (See Principle 8 on how to build relationships and prevent quarrels)
  •   Story telling impresses - Don't gossip. But use stories to reach out the mind and touches the heart of people. 
  •   Teaching satisfies the soul and benefits others. Be willing to be coach and helps others.
  •   The Power of Life and Death is in the tongue and we need to use it to have good fruits.
5. Work Diligently
  •   laziness/slackness brings forth destruction
6. Wealth is power
  • Wealth has power and take the initiative. The poor have to beg for a living. Hence ....
  • Create wealth by starting and running profitable business. 
  • Use wealth to impact and benefit the world and not to hoard it or be enslaved by it.
7. Attitudes determines the Altitudes
  •   humility -> honor 
  •   hope lift life and give you confidence to start, continue and to accomplish.
8. Relationship are Important - Build Good Relationships
  • Don't be a lone ranger (see Principle 1)
  • Relationship begins with being good to people. Make Friends by Giving good things e.g. Gifts. 
  • Don't Offend & Quarrel with others. Offense and unresolved quarrels are big barriers to friendship. They are difficult to unwind when committed.
  • Find the Right Friend.
    It is not the quantity but the quality that count in friendship. Be careful in choosing your close friends.Those that care about your well-being and is able to correct your mistakes and also to support you in your time of troubles.
  • Find the Right Spouse
    Ask God for a favor to help you find the right one. Open your eyes wide and be choosy. But after the marriage, make sure you are the right one with favor of God.

2011-12-03

Kingdom Principles Discussion 08 Law of Reciprocation

Law of Reciprocation tells us we get treated by others according to how we treat them. This is the secret of building good relationship. We need to practice empathy. It also tells us that the way to change another is by us changing first, the way we treat them. There are nine levels of maturity and we need to, by the love of Christ in us, move towards Christ likeness of being able to good to others even though some may even repay our goodness with evil.

Previous discussion in at Kingdom Principles Discussion 07 Law of Seasons.

Here is an extended mind-map on this topic:


Next Discussion:  Kingdom Principles Discussion 09: Servant Leadership - Law of Greatness

Index of Kingdom Principles at Kingdom Laws & Principles

Lim Liat (c) 3 Dec 2011

2011-12-01

Wisdom of Proverbs - Love

The strongest bond of love comes naturally from relationship - parent and child. There is no performance to earn the love. Love comes with the relationship. It is like Father God and us, His children. Love is unchanging, covers the effects of sins, and many other things. In short, love is powerful. Love is about righteousness, generosity and blessedness.
Continuing to work on additional topics for Wisdom of Proverbs by Topics.
This time is about 'Love'. But I am stuck right away on Prov 4 and in particular 4:3, (ERV)  When I was my father's little boy and my mother's dear son. Prov 4 is about how the Father, wanting his son to do well in life, gives him instructions about life. The instructions are for life v4, long life of many years v8, protection v6, not stumbling v12, having honor v8 and crown v9. The Father is doing it out of love. But why does the Father love his son? The son is still young and could not do anything for the Father. So, this brings out the key lessons about love.

1. Love comes naturally from Relationship.
I was reminded of a short article we studied in school, written by a famous Chinese woman author 冰心 Bing Xin. Here is a key text:

不为什么-冰心
有一次,幼小的我,忽然走到母亲面前,仰着脸问:“妈妈,你到底为什么爱我?”母亲放下针线,用她的面额,抵住我的前额,温柔的,不迟疑地说:“不为什么,——只因你是我的女儿!”
No Other Reasons
Once, when I was little, suddenly walked to the front of my mother, lifting up my head and asked,"Mama, why do you love me?" Mother put down her needle and threads, touching my forehead with her face, gently and without any hesitation said, "Not because of anything, just because you are my daughter!".
 In this kind of relationship, parent-child, love comes with it and within. There is no need for performance. No need to earn it. True love is unconditional and yet wanting and supporting you to be the very best that you can be. Best not by worldly standard, but by your ability to be independent and living a joyful and healthy life with yourself and others.

The rest of learning on love in Proverbs can be found in the following mind-map. Hope you can read it carefully and be encouraged. 


Lim Liat (c) 1 Dec 2011

Wisdom of Proverbs

This is the index page for Wisdom of Proverbs organized by topics.
  1. A Taxonomy for Proverbs
  2. The Righteous.
  3. Cause and Effect
  4. Wisdom of Proverbs - Timing
  5. Wisdom of Proverbs - Love
  6. more to come ....

2011-11-21

Wisdom of Proverbs - Timing

Timing and action are closely related. What are only temporaries and what last? Why is haste bad and fast good? What are we to say about the future? Don't forget to quit even though we talk about starting.

In Christianity Rediscovered: A Taxonomy for Proverbs, I try to categorize the wisdom of Proverbs so that we can retrieve it quickly and to study it with greater scope and depth.

Here is the list of additional topic:

In this post, we shall cover "Timing".

As usual, the mind-map below gives the main points of learning:


Here is the summary in list form about Timing:

  1. It is seasonal and hence watch the season and prepare for the season. There is a right time for the right thing. Study Pro 27:23-27. See also Kingdom Principles Discussion 07 Law of Seasons - Cycle & Kairos Time
  2. It is about Duration.
    Lies, wealth and position are temporary. Lies will be exposed, at least eventually if not sooner. Wealth and position can be gone quickly and we must not trust it but to prepare for its loss.
    However, there are things that last. Righteousness is one. Caring for others, especially the poor, keep the King on his throne.
  3. Speed is an important factor in timing.
    Haste is bad - don't be hasty in words, promises, decisions, pursue of things. Hastiness will bring disasters. Yet, we need to have responsiveness. We need to do thing fast.
    So what is the difference between haste and responsiveness? It lies in the preparation and training to be fast and right. Fighter pilots go through OODA training so that they can make the act rightly in splits of a second. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Action. His life depends on it.
    Suddenly is used to describe unexpected event. It will happen when we think we can get away with sinning, trusting of wealth (see point 1 and 2), and evil deeds and sowing discords. Take heed and make correction now.
    Slowly also means surely when we accumulate our earnings little by little. Journey of thousand miles is the accumulation of a first step and many steps thereafter. See Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to LaoZi.
  4. Frequency is another aspect of timing. Don't over use the welcome we get from from friends.
  5. Future is a key part of timing (together with past and present). Proverbs warn us that we can't really don't know. Hence, when we make prediction, do provide additional qualifiers and keep the future options opened. Need to what-if's and risk management.
  6. Quit or Stop is also about timing. It is better for us to fail fast, learn fast and quit fast. Mistake detected and corrected in the earlier stage cost much less than in the later stage. Know when to quit while the going is good. Don't over stay our welcome as in point 4. It is important to bring up the next generation and hand over. Prepare for retirement is additional thought that comes from meditating from this verse even though next explicitly stated in the Proverb.
  7. Sequence vs Concurrency is something about timing that I did not yet discover in proverbs. We have covered some implicit sequence - disaster follows sins or evils; small accumulation of earnings will bring great success.
Here is the big mind-map with the related verses for your ease of reading and meditation. Share with me your discovery from the Word of God as well.

Lim Liat (C) 21 Nov 2011

2011-11-05

Kingdom Principles Discussion 07 Law of Seasons - Cycle & Kairos Time

The most important thing is life is to recognize its seasons so that you can
1. detect and observe its happening - recognize the change and not be stuck in the past
2. prepare for it in advance - there shall be no regrets
3. living the best in it - there shall be greatest satisfaction
4. be ready anytime to meet the maker.




Following from Kingdom Principles Discussion 06 Law of Harvest, we discussed on the Law of Seasons. 


The Main Teaching: Right Thing for the Right Time


It also means the any time is the best time. Don't regret about the good times of the past and don't try to live in the future. See The Best Time of Your Life - Now, Any time, Every time and All the time.




From Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

The Seed Grow Through Stages Secretly Mark 4:26-29






 The Conclusions - Lessons Learned:


Questions for Reflections:


The Chinese since their beginning, have taught that everything has its cycles and seasons of life. Change is the only constant thing. The Classic of the Chinese Classics, i-Ching "Book of Change" teaches more - the various stages of change and how to live well in the state. See I-Ching in One Minute for Abundant Life. This is similar to the Biblical teaching here and I abstracted some teaching from the first 2 hexagram of I-Ching for reference. See Chinese Classics & The Bible for much similar teachings.



See also Wisdom of Proverbs - Timing

Next: Kingdom Principles Discussion 08 Law of Reciprocation


Index of Kingdom Principles at Kingdom Laws & Principles


Lim Liat (C) 5 Nov 2011

2011-10-27

The Best Time of Your Life - Now, Any time, Every time and All the time.

Was reviewing and preparing Kingdom Discussion 07 Law of Seasons - Growth & Timing, and have some fresh insights (from my point of view).

Eccl 3:1-11 tells us that everything in life is a cycle. I-Ching, the wisdom of the Chinese, say the same thing too (See I-Ching in One Minute). However, v11 sheds new light:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
The most beautiful time, the best time of your life, is not your past student days, wedding days, promotion etc.
It is now, any time, and every time! 
Because God makes everything beautiful in its time. The cycle of life tell us that there is a right thing to do at the the right time. We must understand the time, the present situation and stage of our life and know and live out the best way we can. The best time for student days are to learn, socialize with friends, enjoy the freedom and the less responsibilities. Unless one has rich parents that provides for us, student life while not great luxuries, are great time of discovery and learning. Similarly, work lives, marriage lives, babes, children, teen ages, grow-ups and retirement times have all the ingredients that make for a great satisfaction and achievements. Even in time of departures, bereavements, separations, disappointments, failures and many such undesirable situations, they help us to feel and know better about ourselves and others. Cherish every moment of your life. If you are not happy and feel depress about your present stage of life, find out what is the right thing to do for this stage of life and then do it and live out the best.


Here are additional words of wisdom to help you:

Ecc 12:13  The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Within the above context, live life to the fullest:

Ecc 9:7  Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Ecc 9:9  Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

Live life with an understanding heart. Be gentle rather than too forceful will help.

See also The Greatest Moment is ...

2011-10-22

Kingdom Principles Discussion 06 Law of Harvest - Sow to Reap

Previous: Kingdom Principles Discussion 05 Execution - Walk the Talk
This is the very basic principle of life - we must first sow the seeds and then we can reap a big harvests. In the farming days, this is obvious. But in this present time, the instant mindset and the money centric world have cause some to loose sight of this farming principle. One more thing - we cannot eat our seeds otherwise there will be no future corps. This is probably the cause of so much debts in the world as well.
This week discussion in on the Law of Harvest. It is about sowing and reaping. It is also about dying to new fruitful life. It is also known as the Law of Proportional Returns.  A famous quote is "You can count the number of seeds in an apple but you can't count the number of apples from the seed."

The is the updated mind-map on the Law of Harvest:
Please study it carefully to gain the benefits.

Questions for Discussion:

Next: Kingdom Principles Discussion 07 Law of Seasons - Cycle & Kairos Time

Index Page: Kingdom Laws & Principles

Lim Liat (c) 22 Oct 2011

2011-10-21

Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 12 Creation & Love from LaoZi

Knowing the Loving Creator from Lao Zi. The Creator creates with love, feeds and protects with love, and yet letting the creation decides for themselves. Love does not insist on its way but will always take you back when you wander away.
I have said elsewhere that the study of Ancient Chinese Classics helps one to understand our, the true and living God Jesus Christ better. The translation of the Bible and the commentaries on it are done mostly from the western mindset of either-or thinking framework resulting in dichotomy struggle to understand God.

Whereas Chinese thinking starts with God. God creates one and one becomes two and so forth. Chinese thinking begins with the integrative oneness.  Ancient Chinese believes in 无极生太极,太极生两仪,两仪生四象,四象生八卦 (I-Ching). The no-beginning or no ending (literally no termination) creates the great-beginning, the great-beginning creates two dimensions (Yin-Yang), two gives rise to four dimensions, and four gives rise to eight octagram. LaoZi DaoDeJing chapter 42 says 道 生 一 , 一 生 二 , 二 生 三 , 三 生 万 物 。 The Dao/Word creates one (universe), one creates two, two give birth to three, and the combinations give rise to all things.

Compare with Joh 1:1-3
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  He was in the beginning with God. 3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
..
Isa 57:15  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

Heb 7:3  He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

Rev_1:8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

The Word and Its Virtue of Love are ONE
The more interesting part, which is the purpose of this post, is to see that Way 道 and its Virtue 德 are one. It also gives us a good definition of virtue which I shall translate it as love since we proclaim that God is Love.

We shall look at LaoZi's DaoDeJing Chapter 51

A. The Creation 
道 生 之 , 德 畜 之 , 物 形 之 , 势 成 之 。
是 以 万 物 莫 不 尊 道 而 贵 德 。

The Way/Word creates everything.
The Virtue/Love feeds them.
The physical matters give form to them.
The environment completes them.

Genesis 1 tells us that God not only just create the universe. God created the universe with love that living things can flourish in it. God is the God of creation and of love in one. You cannot separate it. God cannot create evil because evil does not belong or come from the God that is of love. 


B The Reasons for the Greatness of Love - Love give birth and doesn't Control
道 之 尊 , 德 之 贵 , 夫 莫 之 命 而 常 自 然 。
故 道 生 之 , 德 畜 之 ﹔
长 之 育 之 ﹔ 成 之 熟 之 ﹔ 养 之 覆 之 。
生 而 不 有 , 为 而 不 恃 ,
长 而 不 宰 。 是 谓 玄 德 。

The honor of the Way/Word, the value of Virtue/Love, is not enforcing his commands but always letting them to decide willingly and naturally.
Hence, it is the Way that give birth to them; the Virtue that nourishes them.

Give them growth(life) and feed them;
Bring them up and mature them; (helping them to succeed in life)
Care for them and cover them.

Give them life and yet don't own them.
Helping them and yet don't insist.
Grow them and yet not rule over them.
This is the great mysterious Virtue/Love.

It is best summarized that "Love give and bring-up life and yet insist not its own".

The Steps of Love:
  1. Love is not just giving birth to life and ignore it. 
  2. Love has the responsibility to bring up the life so that it mature and succeed in life.
  3. Love does not insist or control the life under its care. This is the vulnerability of love. Yet is it love. Any other way will make it non-love. 
  4. Welcoming back the Prodigal Son if ever!
    God created man in love and provided for man. Yet God let man decides to betray Him. And yet, in this betrayal, God provides His very own Son Jesus Christ to die for man and make a way for man to get back to Him.
  5. Love wins!
Let's recap Paul's definition of Love:

1Co 13:4-8  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  5  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8  Love never ends. ...

Let's see Jesus' response to the world that rejected Him:
  • He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  Joh 1:10
  • He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  Joh 1:11
  • But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  Joh 1:12
  • who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  Joh 1:13
The Creator God takes full love responsibility for His creations. The created with love, nourishes with love, discipline with love,  and open the ways to welcome back those that betrayed and rebelled against Him. Will you receive and go back to Him?

For more ... See Chinese Classics & The Bible

Lim Liat (c) 21 Oct 2011

2011-10-17

The Seven Steps to Joy

We have a good Mandarin Service today. Pastor John Huang preached a message on "Seven Steps to Happiness" and God's healing power flow freely through him with many people getting healed, comforted and blessed. It is good for me to capture the essence of his message and share it with others letting the joy of the Lord spreads. Below is my summary with my reflections on his message.

Bible Reference: Phil 4:4-13.

Pastor started his sermon by mentioning that 80% of sickness comes from stress. A happy person is also a healthy person. The "7 Steps to Happiness" are:
  1. Rejoice in the Lord always 4:4. Joy comes from the Lord and from our dependence and trust in the Lord. Consider the uncertainties of the world - the floods, the earth quakes, the weather, etc, who and what can we trust?
  2. Be humble and giving ways to others. 4:5. The English translation is "reasonableness" (ESV), "moderation"(KJV), gentle behavior (BBE), forebearance (CJB). The Chinese translation is the more powerful words "谦让的心" which I translated as the heart of humility and giving ways to others. We are told often to fight for our rights. It is often better to give ways even though we have the right of way!
  3. Don't Worry. There is nothing for us to worry about because our God loves us and hear and answer our requests. 4:6-7. If we have any worry, we must first bring our worry to God. Present our concerns, ask for solutions and give thanks for the answer. God's answer can be Yes, No or Wait. Whatever, we thank God for the His answer. We are not to insist God answers us according to our wish. Imaging a kid insisting that God  gives him a mustache so that he can be like his father.  When we give thanks for God's answer, meaning we accept God's answer even if it goes against our wish, God's peace will guard our hearts and keep our minds in Christ - the source and power of life and peace.
  4. Think about the Good Things 4:8. We become what we think (Prov 23:7). Pastor shared about the story of a great bible scholar whose house was broken into. He gave thanks to God for four things:
    1. It was a 1st break-in in such a long time.
    2. Only little things were stolen. He can buy them again.
    3. It happened when he was not in the house. He was not harmed or frightened.
    4. The thief committed a sin. He did not commit any sin.
  5. Practice, Follow the Words 4:9. Bad things happen because we don't follow the Words of God (the Bible) or the commands given by God when we pray. We focus on the circumstances instead of Jesus' assurance and we blame God for not giving us peace! We must change our talk and our walk to conform to what God says about us.
  6. Being Loved is a Great feeling. 4:10. Paul was grateful that the Philippians had given him much help and concern.
  7. Being Contented is great joy. 4:11-12. Paul concluded with great joy in v13 that because of Christ, he can do all things through Christ who strengthen him. See also Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 11 Contentment in Whatever Situations.
To understand contentment does mean laziness or not seeking progress, see
The Principles for Greatness: #3 Contented Yet Be Better.

The Book of Philippians is the Book of Joy. A key summary message is about "How to Have Joy Despite the Persecution" . Here is a mind-map summary of the teaching. Hope you understand your calling, find the meaning and purpose of life, and know how to live it joyfully.


Pastor ended with "有主万事足, 无罪一身轻".
Having Christ is contentment in everything.
A Sin free live is lightness for the body.


See also Joy - Biblical View
and Take a Different View - Getting Rid of Grudges

Lim Liat (C) 16 Oct 2011

2011-10-13

Wisdom of Proverbs - Cause and Effect

Bible and the Chinese culture teach us that the law of cause and effect works. You reap what you sow. Melons for melon and beans for bean. But some ultra-grace believers think that God's grace remove the consequences from your bad actions. God does not violate his own words. Removing the consequences only produce spoiled brats and socially unfit weirdos. Let the consequences be the teachers. The best you can do is foretell and may be minimize the impact with your support to help through the consequences.
In Christianity Rediscovered: A Taxonomy for Proverbs, I try to categorize the wisdom of Proverbs so that we can retrieve it quickly and to study it with greater scope and depth.

I have done once with Righteousness in The Righteous - Wisdom from Proverbs.

Here is one study on Cause and Effect, or the Law of Harvests- Sowing and Reaping.

Just in case some Christians think that Proverbs is OT and not NT and hence is not relevant to them, I include the NT references on the same subject.

Here is the mind-map:


God Ensures It works!
There is no running away from this --- the consequences will our actions will catch up with us, because God is the one making sure it will happen. Gal 6:7. Some people think that they can get away with it. Some people mocked that God has fallen asleep since so far they have gotten away with it. They are to read 2Pet 3:8-9. God has all the time to do it and He is kind and just waiting for us to repent. 

You Get What you Sow in Multiplied Effect
Chinese saying "好心有好报, 恶心有恶报", Good heart is rewarded with good and evil heart is rewarded with evil, matches well with the teaching from Proverbs.
Chinese have another related saying on Sowing and Reaping, "种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆", Sow melon reap melon, sow beans reap beans. You don't reap beans by sowing melon and vice versa. 

It is Much Much Better to Sow Goodness than Badness
In the end, Goodness is better than evil.

Growth comes from Disciplined Conflicts or Managed Tensions
I shall end this "Cause and Effect" from the typical discussion of "good and evil" as above with a positive note. It is in Pro 27:27 As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other. In other words, growth comes from disciplined conflicts among people, or as Andy Stanley taught in Managing Tensions. Peace is not lack of action but a dynamic balance of forces. It is a bird singing next to a waterfall. Peace is not everyone the same but a harmonious appreciation of differences. Differences worked out make for growth and better relationship. Differences ignored or covered up will just result in superficial peace on the outside and stress inside, waiting for the 'last straw' to explode. 

God's Forgiving Mercy does not Remove the Consequences.
Many believers think that God's forgiving grace (more accurately, mercy. See "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is Wrong), removes the consequences from one's actions when one repented. They said that Jesus has fully paid for the penalty of our sins and hence we shall not suffer the penalty for our sins. That is true in the spiritual sense. We have our eternal life through Jesus that we could not by our own effort obtain it. However, we still have this physical life here on earth where we could do something, no matter how little, about our actions. The murderer may receive Jesus Christ as savior but he suffered the penalty of his act, some with death penalty and some with long term imprisonment. They are saved in Christ but they bear the consequence of their act. King David, while repented and forgiven, suffered the consequences of his sinful acts, death of baby, rebellion of his sons, sinful acts of his children etc. 

The Book of Hebrew tells us that a loving Father discipline his children. If parents just remove the consequences of the actions of his children, the children will grow up to be abnormal and ill-adapted to the society. If you find spoiled braids, you will know that their parents had under the misguided understanding of love, remove the consequences of their actions.

God's love does not violate His own Words to us, otherwise, He become unfaithful and untrustworthy! 2Ti_2:13  if we are faithless, he remains faithful-- for he cannot deny himself

Please don't be kinder than God.

God's love accepts us as we are but God's love also could allow us to be as we are and God gives us the grace to grow up to become what we should be.


Lim Liat (c) 13 Oct 2011.


2011-10-08

Kingdom Principles Discussion 05 Execution - Walk the Talk

Steve Jobs' success comes not from just dreaming but in passionately executing his dream and even sweating out the details for excellence. In this discussion, we learn from the best, Jesus Christ, what he said about execution. We also cover the reasons for not doing the knowing. We also add in the advices from Chinese Classics, and famous management books on this 'Know Do Gap'.
Continued from Kingdom Principles Discussion 04 The Dual Worlds, our discussion this week is on "The Law of Execution". It about "walking the talking" or "doing the knowing".

The mind-map summarized the discussion:


Learning = Knowing 学 + Doing  习 According to Chinese
The teaching of Chinese Classic (in particular Confucius) is that true learning is the combination of knowing and practicing and it is a joy to do that. It supports Jesus' teaching of doing the known is building a strong foundation and it is the doing that counts (not the talking).

The mind-map above also try to explain the reasons for not doing what we know. We can recall Paul's teaching on Rom 7 that not doing what we know is right is the sin in us. But now that believers are saved and transformed by Jesus, we can't use that as an excuse for not doing. There are other practical reasons and obstacles that stop us from doing what we know.

Our Singapore Problems
We shared that the secret of learning is learning and doing and joy.

Singapore had somewhat kill the joy in the learning process.

Besides, we need to learn how to build relationship network and also to know how to observe, diagnose the problems, ask the right questions and then find the right answers which is not just the 1st one we come out with. We need to see the answers from multiple points of view.For leaning, please look up Learning about Learning from Ancient Chinese

What the Management Gurus Say?
We can also look at the common management books on this topic of "Know and Do". There are two good ones and my subjective summaries with my comments are shown in the mind-maps below. (Please to back to the books for the original content).

The "Know Can Do" Book:

The "Know Do Gap" Book:


You can see that they reflected the teachings of the Bible.

Our Prayers for You

We pray that you may firstly read and understand the Bible and God's calling for your life and then execute on what you have known, learning more along the way, and fulfill God's purpose for your life. May God bless you richly in this journey.

Next: Kingdom Principles Discussion 06 Law of Harvest - Sow to Reap

Index Page: Kingdom Laws & Principles

Lim Liat copyrighted 8 Oct 2011

2011-10-06

Knowing and Doing - Mind and Heart - Gloom to Glory

We tend to be stuck in this struggle that Paul pointed out in Rom 7:19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Or may be in the lesser degree of just doing nothing - knowing the good and should and do not.

But God has kindly provided us, way back in the old times, the Proverbs and the Psalms to help us.

Proverbs for Wisdom - for the Mind
If we don't know what to do, lacking wisdom, then we should read Proverb. Just read any one will do. Best of course, is to do an indepth study and organizing of the knowledge of wisdom in Proverbs to something that you can refer easily for wisdom. e.g. A Taxonomy for Proverbs or The Righteous - Wisdom from Proverbs.

Psalms for Strength - for the Heart
However, as we say at the start, we may know what to do but we are just not motivated enough to do it. We may be depressed. We can't the energy or strength to do. We are worry whether we can do it. We are fearful to start. It may be due to external events - lost sales or internal thing feeling - no mood. For such emotional and motivational issue, Psalm provides a good medicine.

Let reads Ps 60 as an example. We go though the 4 steps.
  1. Initial Stage of Doom and Gloom. v1-v3. 
  2. Shift Focus - Banner of Salvation
    Looking Upon God v4-v5. We must shift focus from looking at ourselves and the situation to look at God's banner of salvation.
  3. Hear His Answer - Go
    v6-v9 shows forth God's promise of conquest. Proclaim God's right and answers over the needs. Proclaim the victory that God has given the promised land to us. Hear God's challenge - Who shall go ?
  4. Go with Boldness in the Lord
    v10 is our doubt that we bring up again. Doubt is not a bad thing. It brings out our concern. It just needs to be answered. Go to Setp 2 and 3 and hear God's promises.
    v11 tells us that men cannot be trusted. We can repeat our request for God's help.
    v12 shows us our faith in God grows and we boldly move out. It is not by our strength that we go forth. It is God's strength that is with us as we move forward. It is God who will give us the victory and tread down our foes, obstacles, objections. 
  5. Be encouraged. Be joyful. It is God who is with us. By His strength, we shall conquer.
With God, we shall move forth valiantly.

2011-10-04

The Great Role of Women in Sharing the Good News

In one of my lunch meeting, Marketplace Pastor James Lee shared on Ps 68:11, pointing out the great role the large number of women are playing in His Kingdom business. He said that the word women is missing in the popular English translation but only appear in the Chinese Translation. So we checked it out during the lunch and found it true enough --- it is not in the KJV version but it is there in the Chinese CUV using the Bible in our phones - Andriod and iPhone etc. Now that I am home with access to my PC loaded with eSword with many translations of the Bible, here is what I found.

The Translations without Women are:

(KJV)  The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
(ERV)  My Lord gave the command, and many people went to tell the good news:

and [LITV], [MJKV], [NLT], [Wesbter]

The Translations with Women mentioned in Ps 68:11 are:

(CUV-S)   主发命令,传好信息的妇女成了大群。
(ASV)  The Lord giveth the word: The women that publish the tidings are a great host.
(BBE)  The Lord gives the word; great is the number of the women who make it public.
(CEV)  You gave the command, and a chorus of women told what had happened:
(CJB)  Adonai gives the command; the women with the good news are a mighty army.
(ESV)  The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host:
(GNB)  The Lord gave the command, and many women carried the news:
(NASB)  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host: 
(RV)  The Lord giveth the word: the women that publish the tidings are a great host.
(YLT)  The Lord doth give the saying, The female proclaimers are a numerous host.

The Lord gave & great number of women responded - Where are the men?
To answer this, we need to read the Ps in context. It is about the restoration (or some say about the possession of the promised land). It is about the Lord executing the justice and blessings - blessing the righteous and deprived and removing the evil doers. It is about the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. Beside v11, v12 is also related. So let show them together:

Taking from GW translation:
Psa 68:11  The Lord gives instructions. The women who announce the good news are a large army.
Psa 68:12  They say, "The kings of the armies flee; they run away. The women who remained at home will divide the goods.


Here are the key learning points:
  1. The starting point of any work or project must be from the Lord. (The Lord gives the command/instruction/word).
  2. The women responded in great number. 
  3. They proclaim the good news - defeat of the enemy, victory of God's people.
  4. They who remained at home divide the spoils. 
  5. Who did the chasing? I can only say it is likely to be the men. The women could and probably have joined in the chase as well.
  6. Those whose stay and those who go shares in the blessings - divided goods. (See 1Sa 30:24  ... Certainly, the share of those who go into battle must be like the share of those who stay with the supplies. They will all share alike." )
We see the women taking the lead, and in great number, in proclaiming the His Kingdom on earth. They shall be greatly bless. We would likewise wish to encourage the men to respond to the Lord in great number too.

Lim Liat copyrighted 4 Oct 2011

2011-10-01

Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 11 Contentment in Whatever Situations

Consider the following taken from Chapter 14 of the Book of the Doctrine of the Mean 中庸:
君子素其位而行,不愿乎其外。素富贵,行乎富贵;素贫贱,行乎贫贱;素夷狄,行乎夷狄;素患难,行乎患难:君子无入而不自得焉。在上位不陵下,在下位不援上,正己而不求于人,则无怨。上不怨天,下不尤人。故君子居易以俟命,小人行险以徼幸。”

The wise man acts according to the position and situation he is in; he does not desire to go beyond this (by crossing boundaries into others territories). In wealth and honor, he does what is right in the position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Among barbarians, he does what is right among barbarous tribes. In sorrow and difficulty, he does what is right in the state of sorrow and difficulty.
The wise man will be contented with whatever the situation he finds himself in.
In a high position, he does not ill treat his inferiors. In a low position, he does not carry the favor of his superiors. He corrects himself, and does not expect others to give favors to him, so that he has no complains. He does not blame Heaven above, nor men below.
Thus the wise man is at peace listening and waiting for the appointments of Heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky breaks.
Compare the the following from Paul's writing:
Php_4:11  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 

2Co_12:10  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1Co 9:19  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  22  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
There are few key lessons for us:
  1. We are to be contented in whatever situations we find ourselves in. The least is not to complain nor to blame others for our situations. Complaining and blaming others are common reactions from people but we are different. We are citizens of Heaven and live differently from others.
  2. We are to stay at peace and be calm to listen to and to discover God's will in this situation for us.
  3. Paul tells us to bring God's strength and grace to the situation, especially when it is a bad and difficult situation. Paul says when he is weak than he can be strong because God can work through him. We brings God into any situation we face even when we are rich so that we can use the influence for good.
  4. The right behavior for the Situation. We are in a particular situation to bring God's grace into the situation. In riches and honors to reach out to the rich. In low and poor to reach out to them. Sent to the barbarians to reach-out to them. Find out what God you to do in your present situation.
  5. Don't try to take risks to break out of the situation. Just do well in your present position. When you have accomplished your mission there, God will promote you.
  6. It takes some reflection on our behavior too. Is there any errors that I need to correct? Is there any area where I need to improve? We can ask for help but don't blame and don't demand others to help you. Let others help you willingly. God will give you wisdom and God will send the right ones to help you. Must most important of all, it begins with ourselves. Are we wiling to learn and change?
  7. Have the patience. Do whatever is best in your present situations. Trust that God will promote you. The time will come. We are content to be whatever situation we are in and we are always ready to grow up and go into another situation that God has planned for us.
For more like these see Chinese Classics & The Bible
and also The Principles for Greatness: #3 Contented Yet Be Better

Lim Liat copyrighted 1 Oct 2011

2011-09-24

Kingdom Principles Discussion 04 The Dual Worlds

The Spiritual world controls the Natural world. But believers are given the authority to command from earth what happen in the spiritual world. The fig-tree story is an objective lesson given by Jesus to teach us how to apply our faith to influence the spiritual first and then the natural world by saying and believing by faith in God. You can get what you say in faith of God. 
Previous Discussion: Kingdom Principles Discussion 03 The Golden Rule for Business.

This week discussion is on the Reality of Two Worlds - Spiritual and Physical.  In fact, the Spiritual is the greater reality where the Physical/Natural is a reflection of it. Heb 11:3 what is seen comes from what is unseen. Unseen does not mean it is not there. Scientists now talk about 'Dark Energy' and 'Dark Matter'. Dark not as evil but unseen and unknown - we know it is there but can't say much about what it is. Here is the updated mind-map of our discussion:


The Fig Tree Story
We are not under the mercy of the spiritual world. God gave us (the believers) the authority to control from our natural world the happenings in the spiritual world as shown in the above mind-map in Mat 16 and Mat 18. In fact, Jesus gave us further assurance and power but telling us to agree.

The Fig-Tree Story is an life objective lesson on how to apply the authority. See Bringing the Words from the Mind into the Heart.

Here is another way to present the study on Mark 11:22-23.

Discussion Questions:




Lim Liat (c) 23 Sep 2011

2011-09-18

Kingdom Principles Discussion 03 The Golden Rule for Business

Continued from Kingdom Principles Discussion 02.
This week discussion is based on The Golden Rule for Business Mat 6:33.

In addition, we take from the teaching of Ancient Chinese Classics and in particular: Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 9 on Money & Righteousness. The Chinese teaches the same thing of "Go after righteousness and not profits". 是故財聚,則民散。財散,則民聚。Keep your wealth and people scatters; Spend your wealth and people gather. Money hoarded will only cause destruction.

We also take cues from secular books on wealth. In particular, we look at the Millionaire Mind of T Eker's and a Quote from Mark Hansen.

“I have been told all my life that if a person is rich, he is very dishonest and dishonorable, and mean and contemptible. My friend, that is the reason you have none, because you have that idea of people. The foundation of your faith is altogether false. Let me say it clearly, 98% of rich men in America are honest. That is why they are rich, that is why they are trusted with money, that is why they carry great enterprises and find plenty of people to work with them.”—Mark Hansen.

Here is the mind-map that integrates the wisdom of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard St John and T H Eker.

 See also Adding Biblical Wisdom to Bill & Steve Jobs' Wisdom for Success

They just show that the Bible teaching is correct and it works even when followed by people that are non-believers!

More biblical teaching on righteousness can be found here The Righteous - Wisdom from Proverbs,


Next Discussion: Kingdom Principles Discussion 04 The Dual Worlds

Index Page: Kingdom Laws & Principles

Lim Liat copyrighted 18 Sep 2011


2011-09-17

Bringing the Words from the Mind into the Heart

In this post, I shall cover a point in Five Habits for Effective Christian Living. It is about bringing the Biblical words that we read from our mind into our heart. It is only when the Word is planted in our heart that we can believe,  and then by acting on it and to know fully, without needing to believe anymore, that it works.
The process is Read -> Meditate -> Believe -> Act -> Know. 
Meditation - Bringing Words from Mind into the Heart
Meditation could be also described as seeding the heart with the Words. Here are steps (need not be in sequence. repeat any step when needed):
  1. Read aloud, Repeat, Memorize. (For the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the mind to focus. Use our 5 senses for input as much as possible).
  2. Break it into the key subject, verb, object. Put back the modifiers/qualifiers.
  3. Word by Word exposition and visualization
  4. Rephrase. Get a tagline for easy recall.
  5. Put “Ourselves” into it. Apply in our own life.
  6. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
  7. Think about it whole day.
  8. Write it down and Say it out.(ØStephen Covey (8th Habit) said writing is more powerful than visualization. It bridges the conscious and the subconscious mind. It is a psycho-neuromuscular activity and literally imprints the brain). 
Try it with Mark 11:23
Here is the most powerful verse on faith and giving command on God's words. It is also Kenneth Hagin's favorite. The context (one must always read any verse in its context) is in Mark 11:12-14 and 11:20-25. This incidence is commonly known as "The Cursing of the Fig Tree". There are quite a few interpretations about why Jesus cursed the fig tree - such as "hypocrisy" because the tree show signs that it had figs but it did not when Jesus went closer to pick the figs. But I think the true lesson of this incidence is revealed in Jesus' teaching on faith given in 11:22-25 - How to Pray Effectively.

Mar 11:22  And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.
Mar 11:23  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
Mar 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mar 11:25  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
The Breaking Up and Putting Back of Mark 11:23
The teaching of Faith begins with v22 "Have faith in God"
  • Have : must have this faith. Don't have don't work.
  • Faith in God only, not in anything else. Faith in science, in others, don't work well.
I shall use mind map to visualize the breaking up and joining back of 11:23 as shown below:



  • Begin with thinking about the speaker - Jesus. Who is he? What authority? Is he reliable? Is he powerful? etc.
  • Truly - Jesus says it is very important and it works.
  • say to you: What has Jesus got to do with me? What is the relationship that he share this working principle with me? 
  • Note the tag line "Whoever says and believes shall be granted him"
  • Note the other qualifiers to give details on the whoever, says what, believe what, get what.
Rephasing - "I get what I say and believe in God".

I don't get whatever I say, but only in what God says because v22 says have faith in God. God's promises to us are in the Bible. There are many promises like eternal life, shalom peace, health, wealth, success, relationships, good spouse, good children, long life, etc.

Listening to the Holy Spirit
As you meditate on His words, be aware and sensitive to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. He will lead you with concepts and other verses to think about and relate. He may bring people into your mind for you to pray for them or even incidents, and needs that show you that God is interested in giving you the answers.

Application:
What is your mountain of need as the Spirit reveal and your inward deep desire? Relationship, healing, job, children,etc ? Find a promise in the Bible to stand on. Then say out the answer that you need. Such as "I command you, sickness, to go away, be cast into the sea". Then believe in your heart and doubt not when we receive contrary news from doctors or others or even our body. Every you encounter such bad news, say it out that you believe God's words and speak to the sickness (not to God. God already given you the authority) to go away. Your need will be answered according to your saying and believing. Sometime it takes time to see the answer but the it already begin. When did the fig tree die? The moment Jesus cursed it. But it took the next morning to be seen on the outside.

Giving Thanks
We don't have to wait to seen the full answer to give thanks. Give thanks now. We took driving test, enter university knowing for sure we shall pass and get our degree. We ordered our furniture and wait for it to be delivered to our house. We are happy when we place the order. Happier when we fully receive it. But giving of thanks begin when we order it. Order it - whatever is your need, find the promise that the Holy Spirit reveal to you, in God's name and give thanks to Him.

See also Meditating on God's Words using Mind-mapping

2011-08-17

Two Faces of God and Rob Bell's "Love Wins"

Rob Bell's "Love Wins" was recommended to me. While looking for the Book in Singapore, encountering 'out of stock', was happy to find it in a friend's book store. She gave the book to me and asked me to write a comment on it. So here is my comment on the book. But before that, I would like to put things in context and talk about the character of God.

God is Both - Love and Just
God is both love and just and hence I use the phrase "The Two Faces of God" to proved the context. There is the face of "LOVE" and there is also the face of "JUST" which requires God to punish the wrong doing and evil. One side is Heaven and the other side is Hell. Both belong to God and God has both. The forms the two extremities of doctrines about God and salvation of man. Within these two extremes, we shall find degrees of love and hell combinations about the salvation of man.

In the past, there are preachers who stress on the punishment, hell and brimstone. If you don't receive Jesus Christ as you savior, you shall be condemned to hell and fire eternally. Repent now while you have the chance. Don't be too late. They believe in scaring people by fear so that they can be saved. It works for some and does not for some others. It is not too popular now. There are people who feels there is a need to revile this aspect of the gospel. Hell is not to be taken or spoken lightly. It is a serious matter.

God cannot ignore the plead and suffering of those who were murdered and abused. God have to punish the evil doers and save the victims. God have to give the victimized something much better in exchange in order to be fair. 

There is continued popularity to stress on the 'Love' side of God. It is more agreeable and appealing. Love is not easy. Talking about it is easy. But doing it is very tough. Nevertheless, love in practice touches the heart, and draw out a willing conversion that last.

Either extreme, love or just, is wrong, because God is both. There is justice in love and love in justice. Love is not about a giving it and spoiling the loved ones. Love is not giving drugs/alcohol to the drug/alcohol  addicts who ask for more. Love is saying no to such requests for continued bad addictions.

Similarly, 'Justice' is not about just punishing the violator but will take into consideration the circumstances and motivation that leads to the violation. While Adam, the first, sinned. The 2nd Adam, Jesus Christ, provided us a 2nd chance back to God (Actually, it is more. Adam is created in the image of God where as Believers are rebirthed by the Holy Spirit as Children of God with the God's kind of Zoe life). I think this is the background doctrine of Rob Bell's Love Wins... Love must provide a 2nd chance and love wins eventually. Page 109 of the book says .. "history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins and all will be reconciled to God."


When is Man's 2nd Chance ?
Orthodox doctrine tells us that man is given the chance of salvation by believing in Jesus in this life only. If he misses this he shall end in hell eternally (Heb_9:27  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment).

Hell is Temporary and Postmortem Salvation
Rob Bell believes 'Hell is Temporary'. He spent a number of pages 91-92 to explain the Greek Aion of Kalazo as a period or an age and not eternal. He cited the parable of the Goat and Sheep. However, the Greek word used in the parable was "Aionion" and not "Aion of Kalazo" and Aionion means eternal. It would be great if Rob Bell can cite the Greek version of the Bible that he used. Someone even argue that if Hell is temporary, then the Heaven is also temporary since the same Greek words were used.

Temporary Hell is Not a New Concept - Purgatory?
Bell's concept of a temporary hell is not new. The Catholic has it all along in the concept of "Purgatory". If one has paid the debt of sins in purgatory, he will be set free to go up to heaven.

So Bell believes that even when man missed out the opportunity to receive Christ in his life, he may have a 2nd chance to receive Christ in hell. He will remain in hell until he repent and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior. So, we can say that Rob Bell is not a pure "universalist" which is a believe in the salvation of all men no matter how.


Is Jesus the Only Way? How about those who never heard of Jesus?
I personally believe Jesus Christ is the only way - He is the ONE who paid for our Sins and be Resurrected for our Rebirth. The salvation bought and brought by Jesus transcends time.

But the way salvation is obtained is different from different periods of time (this is known as the Dispensation Doctrine). Very early in the Bible, we have this man Enoch saved before the 1st coming of Jesus. Enoch walked with God and God took him away Gen 5:24. In 2King 2:11 we have Elijah being taken to Heaven without dying. The OT saints like Abraham, Moses, Jacobs etc were all saved into heaven before the coming of Jesus Christ. None of them go through the "sinners prayer" to be saved. Their salvation is based on the certain future crucification of  Jesus for their sins.

In Act 10:22, we have the story of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, an upright and God fearing man who seek God and had an encounter with Angel who told him to get Peter who would told him how to be saved. The reason to get Peter was more for Peter's sake to show him that God accepted not just the Jews but the Gentiles as well for salvation.

What does this mean? It means that anyone, throughout history, who desire and seek after the true God, God will reveal Himself to them and receive them. In Jesus' birth, we had the wise men (not just 3, 3 is inferred from the 3 gifts. They have a large group of followers and servants with them) who presented gifts and worship Jesus the baby as God. How could they know? Did not God show them? Are they not saved?

The love of God perhaps can be seen in a new light in the way He punished Cain for the murder of Abel. Cain was not sentenced to death like we would expect but Gen 4:11-12 ESV  And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.  12  When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." God even gave him a special mark for protection! Is God trying to give time for Cain to repent? But Cain went away from the presence of God. When will Cain repent? We cannot be kinder than God and need to understand the evilness of evil. Some, like the devil, will know not repentance.

What Should We Do in the Meantime?
While some man may seek God. There are many who will not. There is the presence of evil spirits that deceive people through all generations. Even so, we are grateful that God leave enough evidences in the created world for men to discover Him and seek Him.

We cannot leave the salvation of men to chance, to the influence of the evil spirits, but to follow the command of Jesus in Matt 28:19-20, to go to make disciples of all nations. We shall leave the outcome to God and leave all other unknown to God, trusting that God's love and justice will prevail. Even Rob Bell is busily engaging people and telling them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

2011-08-11

Ps 5 Living Righteously in A World of Temptations

Today I read Psalm 5. One good way of seriously studying the Bible is to rewrite every verse in your own words. You can do that easily nowadays by reading the multiple translations that are available. You can also go one step further by digging into the original Hebrew or Greek words with the concordances that are available. You must do that when you discover different translations seem to be giving different meaning. It helps you determine the correct translation. The final purpose of course is to really understand what the verses are saying.

Paraphrasing yourself is a form of meditation (Some people think that meditation is some mysterious thing of keeping quiet and waiting for the Lord to speak. That is only one form. The right form is to read, re-read, think about each word, think about the concept, think about the examples, think about your past experience, imaging into the future, etc and rewriting in your words about the learning you have gained).

Then divide the verses into clusters and give each cluster a short tagline capturing the key idea of the cluster of verses.

Finally, give a title to capture the essence of the passage. It is also helpful to pick a key verse for it.

Here is the result of my study on Ps 5 shown in a mind-map format:


In a world full to temptations it is important that we live righteously. The temptation is even greater at this present time of economic and social instability. It is always so easy to give in to the temptations, bend the rules a little, and trying to gain some added advantage. Others are doing it so why not you. This Psalm warns us against taking such short-cut. It is better for us to put our trust in God and live according to His righteous ways. It may seems silly to others who are boasting about their successes in some devious short-cut ways, but in the end, we shall discover who will stand the test of time.

Recently, there are also many con schemes going around. They come in greater varieties and forms, from e-mails to phone calls, with seemingly authentic website and call-centers, and step by step way of luring people deeper into their trap. This verse is also a great warning for us.

It is better to follow the Lord's righteous and straight path. There will be protection and blessings along the way and at the end.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Lim Liat copyrighted 11 Aug 2011

2011-08-10

Handling Betrayals

Betrayal is one of the most painful if not the most painful thing that one encounters in life. You have given your love, trust, services and sacrifices for him/her/them and yet they take all the good and favors that they received from you and turn against you. They slander and shame you. They distort the truth and lie to others about you. They destroy your good reputation that you have built for years.

How shall you react when you encounter such painful and shocking betrayals from those you have trusted and loved?

It is only natural that you feel angry.

It is only human that you want to strike back. (Brene Brown in her book "The Gifts of Perfection" p 44 hurting back , cruelty is never brave -- it's mostly cheap and easy, especially in today's culture)

If you are non-believers, those are commonly acceptable thing to do.
However, because you are believers, you have a inner witness that you can't do those things!(See the verses at the end of this post). While they are faithless, we have to remain faithful to our God.

How difficult is it? Who can vindicate us? Who can comfort us? What can we do?

Read Psalm 4. Here is the mind-map:


We are concern about when our honor will be restored. It seems a very long time... 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, even 10 years. Lord, when will you vindicate me?

God understand our anger. He tells us it is ok to feel angry. But we need not sin with our anger. We just need to learn to turn things over to Him and be silent and calm to let His comforting love fills our beings. We need to take time to learn and to feel His comfort. He says, "Offer me your pains, your anger as a sacrifice to me. They are righteous sacrifices because they are real and authentic and you are doing it the right way - not taking revenge into your own hands but to trust your God that will take care for you".  The Lord will shine His light and favor upon you. They are mocking you now. But the Lord God will show them.

As your faith raises with meditation in the goodness of God, you will slowing feel the joy of God coming in. It may take days, months or years. But continue in this trust.

May you lie down and sleep in peace.
May you be filled with greater joy than their grains and wines that they have stolen from you.

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Additions after receiving comments from Facebook:


Prevention of Betrayals: 
Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

But love and trust are vulnerable things... you open yourself up for the risk of betrayals. But true love is not possible without free-will. With free-will comes the possibility of betrayal.



Handling and Punishment for the Betrayers:

Lev 19:18 "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Deu 32:35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."

1 Sam 26:10 As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

Ps 94:1 O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth.

Pro 20:22 Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you. and in 24:29 Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man back for what he did."

Rom 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Eph 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

1 Thes 4:6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.

Heb 10:30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."

2011-08-06

Kingdom Principles Discussion 02 Work the Principles

The previous discussion is  Kingdom Principles Discussion 01.

This discussion is on KP#1 Kingdom Principles - Work Them




The Parable of the Unjust Steward
The morale teaching of the parable of the unjust steward Luke 16:1-9 is for us to wisely apply the Kingdom Principles to influence this present world for the glory of God establishing His Kingdom on earth.


The updated mind-map is:

The Kingdom of God Invades the World mind-map:

The Discussion Questions:



See also:  Our Calling of Life - Destination or Journey and Journey of Life

Next: Kingdom Principles Discussion 03 The Golden Rule for Business.

Index Page: Kingdom Laws & Principles

Lim Liat copyrighted 6 Aug 2011