2011-01-31

Eat, Drink & Enjoy - A Reflection on Sunday's Chinese New Year Message

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Our Mandarin Service Pastor Jack Ng gave a message on "Eat, Drink and Enjoy". Here is my learning and reflection on his message.

We are free to enjoy the Good things
As Believers of Jesus Christ, we are free to do all things. But not all things are profitable and not all things build others up 1 Corinthians 10:23. Devil is good at distorting a good appetite and tempting us to sin (See Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies for more). With this caution, we are free to eat, drink and enjoy to refresh and build oneself and others up.

1. Eating - Eat the Right Thing for Good Health
We must learn to eat the right thing for a healthy and victorious life. We are the outcome of what we eat.

We starts with eating vegetables and fruits at the creation. In Gen 9, God allowed us to eat meat. The first sin is about eating the wrong thing - eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of discernment of good and evil (see Christianity Knowledge Tree of Good and Evil, Knowledge Tree of Good and Evil - Looking from Tree of Life). 
The quarrel in Acts 6:1 was about the unfair distribution of food. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of read bean soup. Isaac was fooled by mutton soup and Jacob's deception. We must learn to choose and eat the good things.

The Good Food - Source of Health and Healing
Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) teach about Biomimicry - the science of learning from the lives and behavior of animals. Typical of Chinese, we talk about food first. TCM teaches 以形补形;以脏补脏 Using the Form to benefit the Form, the organ to benefit organ. To strengthen the human heart, Chinese recommends eating the hearts of animals such as pigs. To strengthen the kidney, eats pig's kidney. If anyone lack intelligence, please eat pig's brain. The medical subject is actually more refined and deeper. TCM knew long ago (so did the Bible) about the production of blood comes from the bone marrow and hence uses goat's spine cooked in porridge with dates for strengthening blood production system. TCM believes in eating to bring healing and to have health. 唐代医学家孙思邈 《备急千金要方卷第二十六·食治》 安身之本,必须于食,不知食疗者,不足以全生”、“食能排邪而安脏腑,悦情爽志,以资气血”、

Healing by control of food intake have been discovered by western medicines only recently and were effective in the healing of cancers and other sicknesses.

To Be Like Jesus - Eat the Bread of Life -Jesus: God's Words

But what has this eating got to do with the Bible? The principle is we become what we eat. Hence to be like Jesus, we eat Jesus! In John 6:51, Jesus said He is the living bread from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. The bread that he gives for life is his flesh! This concept is quite natural to Chinese. Eating Jesus means believing in Him and following Him and partaking of His character. It is fellowship with Jesus and abiding in Jesus. it is about receiving Jesus into us - Christ in Us. It comes by eating His Words. Matthew 4:4 teaches us the bread of God is the Word of God. Jer 15:16 tells us that God's words are sweet joy and a delight of the heart - notice, not body but heart, of soul and spirit. We are a tripartite person- body, soul and spirit. All must be fed to be a whole and healthy person. (see The Tripartite Man).


Drink the Water of Life - Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
The Story of the Woman at the Well John 4 tell us spiritual thirst cannot be cured by fleshy water but by the true life of the Spirit of God - the living water.  We are not to be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit Eph 5:18. The rock, signifying Jesus, was broken (signifying the death on the cross) to give out the living water (signifying the Holy Spirit) to quench the thirsts of men. The cure of sinful lusts and temptations is not to think about the desires but seek after and yield to the Spirit and thereby producing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control etc. It is about focusing on, drinking from, the Spirit.

Enjoy the All things with Accountability
Ecc 8:15 commends us to eat, drink and be joyful all the days of our life that God has given us under the sun! There is only one consideration, be accountable to God Ecc 12:13. The good things to enjoy for us are

  1. Joy of Relationships - with God and with one another. John 14:3
  2. Joy of Serving Mat 25:21
  3. Joy of Friendship Rom 15:24
  4. Joy of Worship & Praise Ps 63:5
In this Chinese New Year season, eat, drink and be merry wisely and have a true prosperous(in body, soul and spirit and relationships) new year.

2011-01-26

Know Your Father's Love - The Key for the Journey

Knowing our identity is a good start in our life journey. Our identity is defined in relationship to God and to others. We are children of God and hence we have God as our Father and others as our brothers and sisters in this big family of God.

It is vitally important that we know and have intimate relationship with our Father through Jesus and Holy Spirit. We need to discover and experience of the love of our Heavenly Father for us.  This is stressed by Paul in Eph 3:16-21. The concept map below gives the details for the importance of knowing the love of God.

In order for us to have the 'Fullness of God', our hearts must experience and know the love of God, its breath, length, height and deep inside depth.

Such knowledge comes first with meditating on God's words. Do a Google search on the "Love of the Heavenly Father" and read some of the articles there. Here is a good one "Father's Love Letter". Please go through the letter meditatively.

Know that our Heavenly Father love us unconditionally - true love. He loves us first. In fact, we are born out of His love. We are not evolved or created by accident. We are wonderfully made. Even science today continue to marvel at the life and working of our human body and mind. God loves us not because of or after we are good. You cannot do any thing to discount the love of God for you. You could not reject Him but He will never reject you. Even though we are unfaithful, he remains faithful always. Live this life, walk this journey, knowing that you are deeply love unconditionally by your Heavenly Father that created you out of His love for you.

Be blessed and rejoice now and forevermore.

Related post: History of Relationship - From God and Man to Father and Sons

2011-01-25

Perspective - How You Start is A Key to Success

In Our Calling of Life - Destination or Journey? I say that life is a journey to a glorious destination. The vision of the destination, or the hope in Biblical literature, or the perspective, points the direction and gives one the encouragement. It gives meaning to the journey. The journey itself is a life long learning and adventure of growth associated with joy and sorrows.

The start, the journey and the arrival at the destination are all equally important. Errors come when we over emphasize one part and ignore the others. It is quite typical for churches to emphasize the how of the journey with good guidelines like the Ten Commandments laws and ignore the others resulting in legalism. It is equally bad for some churches to emphasize the start of new man of creation and grace and ignore the need for the journey and ending up producing babies and/or orphans. Focusing on the glorious destination causes one the ignore the present living and influence with just waiting for the great day.

Hence, it is important for us, now and then, to review and reflect on our lives and see the part we may have neglected. When we feel trapped in the journey, may be we should look at who we are again. When we feel depressed in the journey, may be we should look at the glorious ending that awaits us. When we do not know what to do, or think that we have lost our way, we need to get back to God and His word.

Begin the Journey by Knowing Our Identity

The journey is our present time and naturally occupies our attention. There are much teaching written about the how. I have shared much from the Ancient Chinese Classics on this as well see Chinese Classics & The Bible. So in this post, I want to talk about the starting point of the journey, our perspective of life, our identity in Christ.
Who we think we are determines how we behave.

Pro 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he 

You start your New Life - Complete in Christ. There is no lack.
As a believer,
  • We are a new creation 2 Cor 5:17.
    We are taught that we are sinners saved by grace.  If you still thinking about the sinner part, then you are trapped in sins. Paul emphasized that we should focus on the saved part - the New Creation. I am a new creation and no longer a sinner. I am the following ....
  • We are children of God Rom 8:16, Gal 3:26, 1 Jn 3:1. Since we are God's children, we are like God and have His character within us. 
  • We are complete in Christ. Col 2:10  
  • We have received all Christ's fullness, and grace for grace. Joh 1:16.
    For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ Joh 1:17. Christ gave us the grace to exceed the Laws.
  • You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 1Co 1:30 [CEV]
  • We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.  2Pe 1:3 [CEV]
The Journey is about Living Out this New Complete Life (in Christ)
The is the complete, righteous, wise, holy, empowered identity in Christ that we start to live out the journey of life. The Laws are no longer something that condemns us anymore because Christ had redeemed us from the curse of the Laws Gal 3:13 but something that we could easily exceeds because of our new identity. The Laws become guidelines, minimum standards actually, for us to show our light to the world and bring glory to God. See positive aspects of the Laws in Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments. When we know we can make it and excel in it, we are not afraid of being measured. Measurement also shows out the ability inside us. This is the attitude of the champions. Remove the measurements, we could not tell. So, we our new identity of Christ in us, let are boldly move forward.

How we behave in the journey actually reflect our identity and character.

What happen when we fail?
  • Hebrew tells us to approach merciful God receive the grace power. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Heb 4:16 ESV
  • But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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. 2Co 12:9-10 ESV
In the midst of the business of life, we tend to forget who we are. When that happens, it is easy for us to fall into temptations, depressed, do the short-cuts, do the things that are beneath who we really are. When we know who we are in Christ, we live out the champion within.
Remember who you are in Christ, be righteous & capable centric and live out with Christ within.
  • And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph 4:24 KJV ... the putting on is about letting the external behavior to be seen like the internal Christ in us.
  • Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better Col 3:10 CEV
See also: Bible for Business Seminar#4 Personal Mission & Journey
and Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to LaoZi (You will find many quoting this "A Journey of a thousand miles begin with the first step - Lao Zi.  This is a better explanation on the complete text).

Lim Liat (C) 2011 updated 5 Dec 2011

2011-01-24

Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments

Most people think that Ten Commandments are the 'thou shall NOT' joy killers, or "Thou are Sinful' condemnation accuser and are best to be forgotten or ignored. Such are the lies of the devils. James called them the Laws of Liberty - James 1:25, and 2:12. They are for us to break-free from bondage and to attain great success.

Do you know that the Ten-commandments were given after the people are freed? (Learned from a Tim Keller's message). 
They are freed first without the Law. There is nothing for them to achieve to obtain freedom. It is purely by the grace of God.

What then are the Ten-commandments for?
Not to kill their joy and restrict them. No no...
But to give them an Identity - A Brand - A Community of God's people.
To differentiate themselves from the others. To be the light that attract.

In modern business terms, the Ten Commandments are the MVV
The Mission, Vision and Values of the community.
By following them and living them out, they will stand out as powerful witness.
Powerful witness is about how good become and how good you can help others to become.
Ten-commandments are then the principles for success in life.

There are two keys to achieve success with Ten-Commandments.
  1. Seeing from the Position or Perspective of Accomplishment or Ability - Our New Righteousness.

    In OT (Old Testament) times, the Laws was given to show the character of God and how to have relationship with Him. God is holy and he who wants fellowship with God must be holy too. It is obvious that man fails to reach God's standards. It is man looking up and trying to reach up to God.

    In NT (New Testament) times, Jesus has redeemed us and the Holy Spirit has given us a new righteous life. We are to take the perspective of this new righteous character and to live it out with the ten-commandments as guidelines as shown in the second point below.
     
  2. Understand the principles, the insights and rephrase in the positive light.
Ten Commandments in Positive Light
The ten commandments come from "I'm the Lord, thy God" Exo 20:1 and

Deu 6:4-5  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with
  1. all thine heart (pure single minded commitment and passionate), and
  2. with all thy soul (with wisdom and knowledge), and 
  3. with all thy might (a living and obedient walk and work that are showing forth the glory of God).
The Ten Commandments give greater details on how to love God and others as follow:
  1. No other gods - Focus and Give Top Priority to God our Lord. God is the one and only one.
  2. No idols - No substitutes. Be not distracted.
  3. No wrongful use of God's name - Glorify His Name in our behavior. Don't shame God's name.
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy - Communion and Communication with God.
  5. Honor your parents and live long on earth - Respecting Others especially our Elders in general (e.g. Bosses, Seniors, Government etc)
  6. No murder - No hatred, bitterness against anyone. Instead, have compassion and care for them. Live harmoniously.
  7. No adultery - No substitutes, be loyal, be faithful.
  8. No stealing - Protect and Take good care of Others' resources. Give and return blessings to them.
  9. No false witness - Be truthful, transparent and have no spins, no exaggerations and no lies. Defending them against the lies that attack them. Tell others about how good they are.
  10. No covet neighbor's - Take extra good care of our close-friends' possessions. Bless them by giving to them.
(Commandment 10 is special subset of 7 and 8, emphasizing on closed friends - no adultery with neighbor's spouse and no stealing of his things)

The Insights on Love
The Ten Commandments teach us the following about loving - God, spouse, people,  company (the business and the stakeholders), church(not just the building, the congregation too), etc.
  1. Focus- YES First. Highest priority over all others. Obeying or Seeking the best for them.
  2. Focus - NO to others. No substitutes of any kind whatsoever.
  3. Glorify His Name. In business, it is about delivering a good experience to establish the Brand Name.
  4. Communicate for intimate relationship.
  5. Cascade to His people and things - from God to man, top to bottom, inside to outside.
  6. Respect - treat with honor, appreciation and acceptance. Don't show them black faces. Don't make them look bad.
  7. Compassion, Concern and blessing them. Harmony and peace with them.
  8. Loyalty and faithfulness.
  9. Defending and Protecting & Expanding their reputation.
  10. Defending and Protecting & Expanding their possessions.
If you study Eph 4-5, 1 Pet, Gal, Col, etc, the yielding to the Spirit, and abiding in Christ are all related to the above insights from Ten-Commandments.

The secret to success is to have a righteousness oriented mindset and then work out the ten commandments insights. 

These are also principles for good management - focus (yes and no), branding, communication, cascading, respect, compassion, loyalty, protection of resources and brands. 

See also:
  1. Putting the Commandments in Order - From Ten Commandments to New Commandments
  2. A Re-look at the Ten Commandments
  3. Performance Management According to the Ten Commandments

2011-01-15

Our Calling of Life - Destination or Journey?

The most important thing is our life is to find out our purpose and calling of life. It is the reason for our existence. But what is it? How can we find out?

What did God create us for?
We the created being must find our calling from our Creator God. So we must check the Bible. Please see You are a Masterpiece Created in Christ  and Christian Transformation & Growth
  • The highest calling for all man is "we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us 1 Jn 3:23"
  • To become children of God.  Eph 1:5
  • To becoming more and more like Christ (Rom 8:29). In the process of growth, we don't rely on our own ability but depends on the new identity and the Christ within (Col 1:27, 2Co 4:7). We are to live out our salvation (Phi 2:12b).
Is it a Destination or a Journey?
Some believers think of the calling as a destination like becoming a lawyer, a pastor, or doctor. That is a vocational calling that may change with time. Early believers see it a pilgrimage or a journey in modern terms. I think the question is a trick question. Our calling is neither just a destination or a journey. It is both. It is not a journey without a destination. It is not just wandering about in the earth. It is a purposeful journey, to bring us and to develop us, through multiple stations of life, meeting and experience different events, influencing different people, and experiencing and knowing better through the journey to be fully growth up to the mature stature in Christ. The final destination of our glory (God's glory is revealed through us on earth) and crowns of life in heaven.

We Move Towards the Destination - The Hope of Our High Calling
With a destination in mind, this is what Paul tells to do ...
  • Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Php 3:13-14
We Run this Race (The Journey) Well
  • With Patience:
    Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Heb 12:1
  • With Joy always no matter what
    Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1Th 5:16-18
    Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Php 4:4
God assured us of our final glorious destination but He did not tell us the detailed steps. The journey is life of trust and discovering of God's will and the building of relationship with God. While from our view point, we may think we are in the deserts, neglected by God,  living out of the will of God. But in God's viewpoint, there is precisely His will for us to go through this adversity and painful time.

Even when we made mistakes, God is able to save us from our mistakes. Making and learning from mistakes are part of our training. The key is always to go back and stay with God and seeking Him and following His guidance even though it may look silly from man's wisdom. Remember that is not our faithfulness that work but that God is faithful to His words.

The story of Abraham in Gen12-25 is a good example for us. He moved out on God's calling 12:1-4 with a blessing of a great nation and that's all. It was a journey of trust and discovery. Abraham built altars along the way to remind him of God.  He made mistake along the way but God saved him. For harmony, he let Lot chose the better and futile land while he went the other no-so-good land. Eventually, he was able to trust God enough to sacrifice his son Isaac. God works well with our weakness and vulnerability. Don't worry about our vulnerability because that is what love and trust is about.

Enjoy every part and time of your this journey of life once you get hold of God. It will bring you to closer and better relationship with God.

Enjoy this journey of life towards the glorious destination that God has uniquely set for you. Life is both - the journey towards and the glorious destination.

See also
  1. Know Your Season of Life and  
  2. You are a Masterpiece Created in Christ
  3. Christian Transformation & Growth -The Unified Model
  4. Where is Our Confidence? 
  5. Five Habits for Effective Christian Living
  6. Journey of Life
  7. The Meaning of Life from the Wisest, Richest and Most Powerful King


    2011-01-13

    Proverbs and LunYu of Confucius

    It is interesting and useful to compare wisdom literature of various cultures.  It no longer surprised me that there are much similarities in Chinese Wisdom Literature as represented by the Chinese Classics and the Bible. See Chinese Classics & The Bible - Table of Content for list of postings on it.

    Proverb 1 Summary
    Here is a mind map of Proverb 1 ...


    The key teachings of Proverb 1 is:
    1. Get Wisdom 1:2-6,20-22
    2. Fear God 1:7
    3. Listen to Parents 1:8-9
    4. Stay Away from Evil 1:10-19
    5. Learning is Self-motivating 1:23
    The first 5 verses of Lun Yu of Confucius is:
    Chapter 1 学而 Learning

    1 子曰 Confucius says:
    • 1a“学而时习之,不亦说乎?Learning and practicing, is it not a joy?
    • 1b 有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?Having friends from far away, is it not joyful?
    • 1c 人不知而不愠,不亦君子乎? Not feeling angry when others don't know about or acknowledge you, it not this a gentleman (wise superior man)?
    2 有子曰 YouZi says:
    • 其为人也孝弟,而好犯上者,鲜矣;不好犯上,而好作乱者,未之有也。
      Those that respect parents and friends, they are seldom disrespectful to their superiors. Those that are not disrespectful to their superior and at the same time create troubles, cannot be found.
    • 君子务本,本立而道生。孝弟也者,其为仁之本与!
      Wise men (frequently translated as Superior Men) focus on the development of  basics first. When the basic foundations are strong, moral virtuous character is birthed. Respecting our elders and friends is the basic of love and compassion.
    3 子曰 Confucius says:“巧言令色,鲜矣仁!” "smooth, flowery and tricky speech, tempting appearances, are seldom associated with true love and compassion.

    4 曾子曰:“吾日三省吾身:为人谋而不忠乎?与朋友交而不信乎?传不习乎?”
    Zeng Zi says: "I examine my life daily on three things. Am I faithful in my work? Am I trustworthy with my friends? Am I doing what I am teaching?

    5 子曰:“道千乘之国:敬事而信,节用而爱人,使民以时。”
    Confucius says: "The ways to govern a big country are: faithful in work and be trustworthy. Controlling my spending(be not wasteful) and loving the people, using the people at the right time (i.e. use them when they are free and not to disturb their farming or other productive activities)

    The Similarities

    1. The Joy of Learning. Both starts with the call to learning and acquiring wisdom. Confucius stressed on the Joy from learning and enjoying to learn more. This is reflected in Prov 1:23, point 5 above, that learning, once acquired, is self-motivating. Some how, our society, schools and churches have proclaim and make learning a burden. People has acquired the attitude that learning is difficult, stressing and boring. It is something you do as the last resort. So why do we wonder that people don't read the Bible or don't study? If you want to create a learning environment, an organization or a family, we have to change the perception about learning. Learning is fun and joy. Bring the joy and fun back into learning. There are many ways to make learning easy and fun. Even the tough part of problem solving can become a adventure to find the treasures. We must talk about making 'Quiet Time' a joyful time.

    Confucius told us a secret of making learning joyful. It is in practicing what we have learned. By putting what we learned into practice, we discover its usefulness and are motivated to learn more. Hence, usefulness, is a good motivator for making learning joyful. Students may not know the usefulness of certain topics. It is the teacher that must show and tell. Once we have the motivation to learn, learning is not difficult but fun.

    Joy of learning comes from our relationships with friends, even from those that come from afar just to have fellowship with us.

    To summarize, learning itself is fun. We can also make it fun by showing its usefulness, applying it and learning together with friends of same interests.

    2. Respects for the Elders
    Proverb teaches us to 'fear' God and obey our parents. Confucius uses the filial piety for our parents and respect towards our friends. It include much more than being obedience. It includes taking good care of them and not to bring shame on to them by our behavior. (Other parts of Proverbs talk about not shaming the family too). The basics of love is respect.

    3. Stay Away from Evils
    Confucius told us to be watchful of tempting speeches and appearances, reflecting the warning of Prov 1:10-15 not to participate in evil doing though such evil acts seems attractive.

    Confucius also stressed on love and the foundation of love, as described above, is respect. Within the family, respect should be shown for the elders, besides our parents. Outside of the family, respect should be given to our friends and our colleagues.  We should be faithful in our work, trustworthy to our friends, and to ourselves by making sure we practice what we teach.

    4. Keeping of Quiet Time
    1:4 Zeng Zi encouraged us to reflect on our life daily. This is like the encouragement for believers to have quiet time daily.

    The Differences

    It is quite obvious that in the Confucius saying above, there is no mention of God. Did Confucius believe in a God? To answer this, we need to find out his saying in other part of Lun Yu.  Here is one:

    子曰:“天何言哉?四时行焉,百物生焉。天何言哉?”(《论语·阳货》)
    Confucius says:" Did the Heaven talk? Four seasons move in cycles. Many things continue to live. Can you hear the Heaven's speech?

    Hence, we can see that Confucius is like the typical ancient Chinese that believe in a God of creation and you can see His work in the creation.

    Other verses include:
    • Respect the spiritual entities and stay away from them. 〈雍也第六〉:...敬鬼神而远之...
    • We can't even serve people properly, why be concern about serving the ghosts?〈先进第十一〉:...未能事人,焉能事鬼...
    (note: Some Chinese believe that after men died, some become ghosts. Ancestor worship, a form of showing respect,  in a way, become worshiping the ghosts of the ancestors)

    Confucius is like typical Chinese, or may be Chinese is typical Confucius's disciple, that they believe in respecting and being fearful of God and it is better to hold our distance from them just in case we may anger the God(or gods). They need to know a God that loves them and want to be involved in the lives of His children. The respect for our elders should naturally be extended to our God that created us.

    I think the lack of mention of God is more likely due to Confucius' thinking that learning is a human thing that is natural to human and must be done by human.

    Conclusions:

    We can integrate both teachings and learn the following:
    1. Get wisdom. Learning is joy.
    2. Respect God, elders and friends. Obey God and our parents.
    3. Have a joyful time with God and our friends.
    4. Stay Away from Tempting Talks and Appearances. Keep evil away - Best is by the following love.
    5. Build up on foundation of love by respect and trustworthiness. Trustworthiness in work, relationship and to ourselves by matching our talk with our walk.
    6. Reflect Daily & Continue to learn joyfully and become wiser with time.

    2011-01-10

    Chinese Classics & The Bible - Table of Content

    This is the content page for posts that relate Ancient Chinese Classical Literature to the Bible:
    1. Chinese Classics and the Bible
    2. i-Ching (YiJing) and the Bible
    3. Sinology Philosophy & The Bible in One Sentence
    4. Yin Yang and the Bible
    5. Linking Ancient Chinese Wisdom & the Bible
    6. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 1 Knowing a Person
    7. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 2 On Creation
    8. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 3 On The Golden Rule of Love
    9. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 4 On Giving to Abundance
    10. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 5 On Christian Virtues
    11. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 6 On Wealth from ...
    12. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 7 on Mouth and Heart
    13. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 8 on the Great Commission 
    14. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 9 on Money & Righteousness
    15. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 10 on Filial Piety   
    16. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 11 Contentment in Whatever Situations
    17. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 12 Creation and Love from Lao Zi
    18. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 13 Shame & Boldness
    19. Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 14 Law of Multiplication Returns from Giving
    20. Proverbs and LunYu of Confucius
    21. How to be King - From Within to Without  
    22. Understanding and Answers for the Present Generation
    23. Sinology Philosophy & The Bible in One Sentence
    24. Right or Wrong - The Moral Standard According to Ancient Chinese
    I-Ching and the Bible:
    1. Christianity Rediscovered: If Adam knows I-Ching, he would not have sinned
    2. How to Pass through Dangers?
    3. Humility is Forceful Too
    4. Joy in the Meantime- How to Really Wait
    5. Joy of Waiting - improving the process in the meantime.
    6. Building Successful Family & Organization according to I-Ching
    Sun Zi's Art of War and the Bible:
    1. Sun Zi's Art of War and the Bible
    2. Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies
    3.  

    2011-01-08

    Sun Zi's Art of War and the Bible

    What has Sun Zi's Art of War has to do with the believers or the Bible?
    As believers, we are in a war. A war against the devils to reach out to the people that know not Jesus Christ as Savor and God yet. It is not about fighting the devils because we have already won through Jesus. (see Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies)

    Since it is a war, we need to learn about warfare.  Why not we just learn from the Bible and need not bother with writings of man? Yes, that is true. That is why I write Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies first. But reading the great writing of man enables me to compare and learn more about the Bible and in this case, warfare. It can be a bridge to lead a discussion of Sun Zi's Art of War to the Bible. It helps me to be a better believer and to reach out to others.

    Essence of Sun Zi's Art of War.
    For details on Sun Zi's Art of War and its application to business and management, please see Sun Zi Art of War (Sun Tzu) in One Minute and the subsequent posts. The essences are:
    1. Know the 5 key factors and the 7 assessment measures. Make an assessment of one readiness. Plan and develop oneself to be ready at all times. See point 5 to base measurements on real data.
    2. Know your enemy and know yourself then victory is without danger. (Sun Zi 3:6, 10:5 知彼知己,胜乃不殆; 知天知地,胜乃可全 Knowing Heaven and Earth ensure victory is complete). 
    3. Best Warfare is Victory without a war. That is achieved by building yourself up such that no one dares to take you on. (Sun Zi 3:1 是故百战百胜,非善之善也;不战而屈人之兵,善之善者也。)
    4. Warfare is mainly Deception ( Sun Zi 1:6 兵者,诡道也。7:3 故兵以诈立,以利动,以分和为变者也。5v5 凡战者,以正合,以奇胜)
    5. Preparation and Planning on real data. Collect intelligence (Sun Zi 13).
    6. Be wise, agile, flexible, watchful, in Mastering the Variation and exploiting the Advantages.  There is no one rule for all situations. (Sun Zi 8)
    Teaching of Jesus
    In the earlier post Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies, Jesus tells that devil is the liar and killer. Devil's basic method is deception. Sun Zi also gave us a long list of deceptive methods. In Luke 14:31-32 (Count the Costs), Jesus tell us to plan on real data (not on wishes) and decide accordingly. Jesus did not teach us not to plan but just 'not to worry' as quite a few believers are confused (Mat 6:34). We are to be wise as the serpent and harmless as doves as we are being sent into the midst of wolves (Mat 10:16).

    Learning from Sun Zi
    1. The five factors are The Way of God (Bible), the Will of God, the Theater of Operations (our family, office, social space), the capability of our leaders (our maturity), and discipline of laws. The measurements are for us to know and increase the value. We must know the Bible in greater depth, to grow in maturity and capability in Christ, to know the will of God for the present time and the positioning in the places of our operations, to be sure that we adhere to the disciplines for development (e.g. quiet time, services etc), the strength of our community, the training for our community, and the encouragements and rewards.
    2. Best is to Win without a War.
      How can we do that? That is by walking in the light, abiding in Christ, yielding to the Holy Spirit! This is basic of Christian relationship - staying close to Jesus. With Jesus close to us, the devil will keep his distance from us.
    3. Know the Enemy and Know Oneself.
      The enemy is a liar and uses deception. I should put on the armor of truth (See 
      Victorious Life - The Armor of God). Read the Bible well and know our identity, inheritance, authority, etc in Christ. We learn to doubt the devil's doubt and overcome the deception with truth and faith in God. (May want to read Bible Study 1 John Chapter 5 Identity & Overcoming Power)
    4. Deception - Overcome it with Truth, Honesty, Communication and Transparency.
      Deception is afraid of light and openness. Devil is good at sowing misunderstanding, gossiping lies about your loved ones and friends. Communicate honestly, openly and transparently are means to resolve the misunderstanding.
    5. Preparation and Planning.
      Face up to the realities of life. Call a sin a sin and not to give excuses. Bring the issues to God to get wisdom to solve them. Use the brain, the creativity that God has given us. Plan well and execute well. Apply the wisdom of the following rule 5 below. 
      1. Planning begins with seeking the Lord first. Asking for guidance and adopting His values and thinking. It is God first then plan and not we plan first and ask God to endorse our plan. (Prov 3:5-6) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths
    6. Be Wise - Apply the Right things for the Right Situations. Be flexible, agile and watchful.
      Don't put God into a mold and expect God to work in the same way as before. Jesus healed in many diverse ways. Be able to see the working of God in your situation. Enrich our lives with the Knowledge of the Bible, God and others that the Holy Spirit may have a large reservoir of knowledge to remind us from(Just a humor. Holy Spirit can give us fresh words John 16:13-15)! To give us the right word for the situation. 
    What is Missing in Sun Zi?
    There is a strategy that is missed out in Sun Zi's Art of War. Sun Zi did mention to take good care of your men and to pursue the interests of the people and country and not yourself. Sun Zi is not able to know the overcoming power of love. A great way to overcome deception of the devil over people is for us to use love so that the people can see the light - the light of the gospel of Christ. Love is not easy but love is the 'more than conqueror' power - converting the enemy(not the devil, the people who are against us because of deception) into friends. See The Meaning of "More than Conquerors".

    Lim Liat (c) updated 30 May 2013

    2011-01-07

    Christian Warfare and the Devil's Strategies

    The True Warfare - Reaching the Unbelievers rather than Killing the Believers. It is about a rescue mission and also extending the Kingdom of God on Earth.

    Christians warfare is unlike the conventional warfare. It is not about Christians fighting against devils. That is settled by Jesus Christ long time ago. Christians (those that truly believe and have relationship with Jesus Christ, Son of the True Living God) won already through Jesus Christ. The warfare that we are engaged in is about saving the unbelievers through presenting the gospels to them, to save them from the blindness that the devil deceived them. (2 Cor 4:4). It is not about the destruction of Christians either because Christians are under the protection of God. 1Jn 4:4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Jesus assured us in John 10:28-29 no one can snatch them out of His hand. Also, in Rom 8:39  "nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. " , not even ourselves as part of the creation.

    Devil's Power comes from Deception - Stealing Man's Power and Using it against Man!

    Our emphasis is on rescuing the people and not about fighting the devil per se. We are to reach out to the people and not to attack the devil (there is no need to attack the defeated enemy and it is God's job and timing). As we reach out to the people and if we encounter devil's deceptions and resistance, then we must know how to defeat them. God has given every man a free-will such that not even the devil can overrule. Devil has control over people only through their consent even though consent could come indirectly through friends and ancestors and by falling into the devil's traps. Since devils do not have direct power over men, his power and strategy actually comes from one simple method "DECEPTION". Through deception of man, man gave power to the devil to create havoc on earth and fulfilling his objective of stealing, killing and destroying as told by Jesus  John 10:10. Much killings were done in the name of God and for good purposes!

    The Many Forms of Deception

    The basic form of deception is lie - untruth. It could be out right untrue, distorted truth, or partial truth. It could come in the form of disguise, appearing as angel of light as if is for your good. It comes in the form of temptation. Telling lies create fear, worry, doubts and paralyzes your actions. An effective way is just to suggest -wait. Procrastination is an effective weapon against men - tomorrow then decide, wait till you are married, wait till you are promoted. Telling lies about people strife and breakup family and friends. More are shown in the mind-map at the end of this post.


    The Solution - Truth

    Against deception, the only weapon is the Truth of God. Paul gave us a good illustration in putting on the armor of God. The armor is about the various basic truth. See Christianity Rediscovered: Victorious Life - Armor of God. Then we can be Watchful and with the Truth we can resist the devil. The mind-map below gave the details of Devil Strategies and the Solutions to overcome them.

    2011-01-03

    Understanding Times & Trends from Blogger Stats

    What are the topics that believers around the world are interested in? Are there any changes overtime? Using this blog as example, using Blogger stats, I can actually tell you! (note: this is just a subset. The result depends on what the subjects that I wrote about in this blog). Google introduced access statistics for blogger sometime in June 2009 so I have about 6 months worth of stats with a sample size of about 5000+ reads.

    The Top 10 Topics

    'Overcomers' overtook 'Grace' as the most read topic in Dec. Here are the top ten:


    The Meaning of "More than Conquerors"                      737 Pageviews


    Knowledge Tree of Good and Evil                                 359 


    KP#1 Kingdom Principles - Work Them                         172               

    The Meaning & Power of Holy Communion                   109 

    KP#0 Kingdom Laws & Principles                                  100 

    Victorious Life - Armor of God                                        68 

    BJ#0 Business According to Jesus                                   46 


    It is heart warming to me that believers  are interested in becoming "More than Conquerors", "Grace", "Right and Wrong" , "Spiritual Growth" and "Kingdom Principles".  These are important topics to know well in this challenging times.

    Countries of Origins
    The Stats also tell us the countries of the readers.  Here is the top 10, United States, Singapore, Canada, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Netherlands,South Africa, Philippines, Latvia, Australia. The countries that strike me are Nigeria, Latvia! The list from my FBSG Friday Bible Study Group is even more interesting from me. United States, Singapore, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Latvia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Germany. It includes Russia, Latvia, Ukraine. If I pick month instead of 'all time', I get countries like Slovenia, France, Sweden, Bhutan. This tell me that my posts are influencing people around the world and that I must take extra care in writing my posts to ensure correctness and ease of understanding.
    The Technology Trends
    If I look at the Stats on Browsers, I find that the majority of readers use 
    Internet Explorer 2,564 (48%)
    Firefox 1,397 (26%)
    Safari 770 (14%)
    Chrome 346 (6%)
    Opera 83 (1%)
    Java 24 (<1%)
    Mobile 18 (<1%)

    By picking "Month", I can get lateness (month) trend vs the all time (6 month old)
    Internet Explorer 521 (50%)
    Safari 225 (21%)
    Firefox 179 (17%)
    Chrome 82 (7%)
    Opera 19 (1%)

    The change is in Safari (Mac?) browser overtaking Firefox to 2nd position. Is Mac replacing Window? 

    Looking at the Pageviews by OS, give us a better answer:

    The 6 month vs the Last Month 



    6 month last month
    Windows 4,218 -80% 773 -74%
    Macintosh 768 -14% 216 -20%
    Unix 74 -1% 13 -1%
    iPhone 68 -1% 11 -1%
    Linux 38 (<1%) 10 (<1%)
    BlackBerry 30 (<1%) 8 (<1%)
    iPad 21 (<1%) 1 (<1%)
    Nokia 10 (<1%) 2 (<1%)
    Samsung 7 (<1%)    
    iPod 7 (<1%) 1 (<1%)

    We can see the rise of the Mac, and the Smart Phone devices like iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry. Some major player is slowing loosing the desktop and the smart devices war. 

    This is just a odd topic for your information. Intelligence collection can go through many different ways. Decision making can be improved with data collection. We rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us. But God's working in this real physical world will leave behind traces that we could pick up to confirm his leading. For those that did not seek after the Holy Spirit first, perhaps, some trends can help convince them.

    Special Note: This is not post to endorse any vendors or OSs or Browsers. They are just examples to show data collection and discovering trends. Jesus told us to be aware for the signs for the times.