2012-02-26

Kingdom Discussion 12 Law of Humility - Power Covered with Gentleness

Humility is a badly understood term. It should rightly be defined as "Power covered with Gentleness". It begins with "Have" and yet "Show or Demand NOT". It must "Serve" yet "Don't claim credits". It counts others more significant and show respect, learn from and also to serve them. It has great benefits. The humble inherit the lands. It attracts favors and good and lasting relationships. The life of the humble is abundance and peace most often times and even  eventually.
Continued from Kingdom Discussion 11 Law of Amplification - Growth with Care for Details. we discussed on the Law of Humility - Power Covered with Gentleness. We cover this topic in greater depth than in Kingdom Law & Principles - Law of Humility.

Humility is a badly defined or understood term resulting in much confusion and arguments. Humility is not poverty. Humility is not being a door-mat to be stepped upon by others. But rather, humility is a virtuous and powerful attribute of God and should be of His believers. We should let the Bible tells us what the term humility, or meekness, or gentleness (depending on the translations) actually means. The humility of Jesus is best illustrated in Phil 2:6-11 and it is mentioned in Mat 5:5 as one of the Beatitudes (see .The Behavior of His Kingdom People - Mat 5:3-12).

There are so much to say about humility that I think is best condensed with a mind-map shown below. Please go through it carefully and you will have good and enlightening understanding of humility.



Let me now challenge you with some questions.
  1. Define Humility. What are the attitudes and behavior that characterizes humility?
  2. What are the benefits of humility?
  3. Contrast false and true humility. How to tell the difference?
  4. Does keeping silent under oppression means humility?
  5. Do you think you are humble? How can you tell?
  6. What are the tasks that you need to do/change?
Compare Your Answers
Please compare with our answers below and share your new found understandings with us by posting your comments.



Next: Kingdom Discussion 13 Battle for Your Mind

Lim Liat (C) 26 Feb 2012



2012-02-24

The Behavior of His Kingdom People - Mat 5:3-12

The behavior of a true Kingdom person is very different from the world. Know what the differences are. These differences are like light that shine and the salt that make this world a better place. You have a part in it.
We are not known by what we say but how we behave.

Most people think that branding is about marketing and advertisement. But real branding comes from people experience with the use of the product or the services. Our brand, or identity is determined by how we behave. Hence, Jesus said in John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The verse covers how we should treat each other within the body of Christ. In Matthew 5:3-12, widely known as the Beatitudes, Jesus cover how believers, His Kingdom People, should behave towards others and in a community.

Here is a mind-map that summarizes that key blessings for the people with the 9 types of behavior.


Firstly, there are blessings promised
Different types of behavior will have different types of rewards. Essentially, the promise is given that for those that seek, hunger and suffer for, you shall get exactly what you set out to accomplish. Victories are ensured, from now on earth to the heaven in eternality. 

A similar promise is given in Mark 10:29-31 Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel's sake, 30 but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first(here) shall be last(there); and the last(here) first(there). *

*note: here and there are added by me to clarify the meaning.

His Kingdom Ways - Different from the World
With the promises given, we shall now focus the behavior of His Kingdom people. How will the behavior differs from the worldly standards?

Here is a map that show how:


1. Desire for Spiritual Things
Kingdom people begins with desire not of earthly and physical things but of spiritual things. They reflect on life and know that life is more than just mere material existence. see Col 3:1. They value spiritual things rather than material wealth. They use material wealth to gain spiritual wealth (Mat 6:20).  

2. Compassion & Passion for the Sufferings and Injustice
They are not self-centered but are concern about the suffering, injustice and evils in the world. They may even be victims of such injustice. But they don't stay as victims. They have passion to change the sufferings and injustice. The compassion stir them to rise up to do something and keep them moving with endurance(see 6 Endurance later).

3. Methods of Gentleness, Mercy and Peace
When they arise with a good cause, the methods they employed are not by force nor by violence. They are meek (gentle), merciful and peaceful. They are the more than conqueror with ways that draw and change the heart of the enemy. See The Meaning of "More than Conquerors" A real world example will be that of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement.

4. Motive of Purity
They do not have any hidden ulterior selfish motives. We know of quite of number of people who exploit and abuse others in the name of God or of Love. Their motive is pure and they are only interested in the pursuit of righteousness and for Jesus.

5. Objectives of Righteousness and Jesus Christ.
What shall be the standards of good and bad? Jesus Christ and his righteousness shall be. People with power and fame often think that they are above the righteous standards and behave as they like. They think they are free and acting on their power. The truth is that they are the slaves of their lusts and pride. Kingdom people should never deviate from the Righteousness of God and of Christ who died for us that we may have the new birth in His righteousness. With Christ within, we then act out accordingly. 

6. Endurance in the Midst of Persecutions.
Because the motive is pure, the standards are clear, the blessings are sure, the character of meek, mercy and peace, and the passion are strong, we are able to endure without anger and complains. We do not seek revenge. But we endure with a positive attitude of love and hope that in the end, the enemy is changed to become friend. 

Lastly, Go and Shine the Light
The nine blessings are followed immediately by a call to go out and show forth the difference as salt and light of the earth. We are not to hide it nor to compromise with the world that we loose our saltiness. 

We then will understand this verse better ....
Phil 2:12 ... continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Be careful in our walk to not to bring shame on Christ but at the same time also be confidence that His grace is within us to empower us to live out His life through us. Apply Heb 4:16 to cover our short-fall, get up, and continue in this walk in and to glory.

Lim Liat (c) 24 Feb 2012


2012-02-14

Two Top Singers and Their Lessons for Believers

This is an eventful month.

We have the news of the passing away of two top singers, Whitney Houston of the West and Feng FeiFei of the East. People in the West may not know Feng FeiFei (The Singing Queen with a Hat) but her standing in Chinese Community is no less than Whitney Houston of the West. FeiFei could be said to be the Houston of the global Chinese Community. She was the top singer for 40 years!

Both had great impacts on the world (East or West) with their songs and voices. But their death and life styles were in sharp contrast.

Whitney Houston started with singing in the church and became a great success. However success seemed to be a cause for her decline. There were probably many factors and understandable factors that caused that. Her story was well known and need not be repeated. The good thing was her attempt to make a come back and we were all saddened by this mysterious death.

In contrast, FeiFei was praised and respected by the media, her colleagues, her fans, relatives and those that work with her and for a long period of 40 years! She had a long lasting and loving marriage with her husband. Her husband died from cancer in 2009. Sorry that she also died from cancer. But her death was so different from any other celebrities. She died on 3 Jan 2012. Chinese New Year 2012 was on 23 Jan. She wanted everyone to have a good and joyful Chinese New Year. So she left instructions that her death was to be made known after the Chinese New Year season. What kind consideration had she shown to the world even with her death?!

What bothered me about their deaths was that FeiFei was not a Christian (most likely a Buddhist and was brought up with traditional Chinese Culture with her mother having a strong influence on her life and career) and Houston was brought up in a Church. Many famous singers were brought up in Church and many suffered the same problems with chemical addictions, divorces and bad lifestyles. Instead of they influencing the world with their Christian light, they let the world get into them!

Of course, there are always bad sheep in any culture and race. I should not be bringing the bad of one and compare with the good of another. This contrast is great and serves as a warning or wake up call for us to raise questions and explore deeper.

How can we prevent success from destroying us?
Success did not spoil FeiFei but did for quite a number of gospel singers of the West.

We have quotes, even from the Bible (e.g. Luke 16:10), that success did not change a person but only bring out what was already there in the person.

For those of us that grow up in Church, especially our 2nd and 3rd generation Christians (typical of a Chinese Family like me who receive Christ as the 1st generation and bring up our children who also receive Christ as 2nd generation), how can we ensure that the good Christian values are passed on. (Chinese has the additional advantage of Chinese Cultural values on top of our Christian values. But Chinese and Christian values are essentially the same. See Chinese Classics & The Bible and so Chinese Christians have double doses of good values).

The factors that help us be strong and not be destroyed by success seems to be:
  1. strong teaching of the words from young ( Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.... Proverbs 22:6)
  2. family values, unity and support.
  3. support from a close group of friends (brothers and sisters in Christ)
  4. mentors that help those in time of needs.
What about the Church?
  1. Have our Church been stressing too much on evangelism and too little on discipleship? We seem to make babies and discard them.
  2. Have our Church been neglecting the family and the close fellowship and strong grouping to help each other? 
I have seen the mega churches here to be committing the above two errors! These are warning signs for us. Mega Churches seem to stress on growing larger church and larger attendance on Sundays only and to support the lead pastors and neglecting the less socially influential people.

The Lies that creep into our mind.

In the name of freedom and liberty, we have let the lies of enemy into the church or our mind. We remove responsibility and accountability and essentially mistaken Debauchery as freedom. We may have made grace into licence for sin.

Development is a life long process.

Salvation is just a start.

May we all, with the true grace of God, giving us the power to live out the Christ within, be the light that shine, and that we be able to spend time and resources to train up our next generation, to give support to those in need in our midst, and truly build up this Body of Christ here on earth.

2012-02-11

Kingdom Discussion 11 Law of Amplification - Growth with Care for Details


Many people fail to get promoted because they are waiting for big responsibility to excel at while they are ignoring the present 'little' tasks.  
Faithfulness does not depend on the size of the task or the resources given. Any task, whether little or large, if it needs to be done, it must be done with integrity and excellence. Don't follow the earthly lie that we can be faithful in big thing when we cannot even bother with the little. If one cannot be faithful in little things, the Bible tells us that one will not be faithful in much and will definitely not be entrusted with much. Greatness comes from doing the little things well. Growing businesses follows the same rule. Perfect the working when it is small and easy so that the business can scale easily with the market demand. Many businesses suffer growing pains and bring the business down due to internal conflicts and problems. Quality and luxury goods are goods that take care of the little details. The big ship is steered by the little rudder. 
There is no task too little that I reject or condemn and do it poorly nor task so large that I want to take even if I know I cannot (unless I know for sure that it was called of God for me and empowered me with His grace).
Continued from Kingdom Discussion 10 Perseverance to Mission & Values, we discussed on the Law of Amplification - faithfulness in little to promotion. We cover this topic in greater depth than in Kingdom Law and Principles - Law of Amplification.

Here is the mind-map that summarized our discussion:


We have much discussion on the Questions. Here is a summary:

This law of Amplification helps us to excel in our work for the glory of God. it will tell us how to pick others for promotion and picking them to join our team. Observe how they handle the small tasks that we assign to them.

On faithfulness, see also The Secrets of Faithfulness - How can one be faithful as Moses.

The Chinese Methods referred above can be found in The Principles for Greatness: #1 Know Others & Self.

Next:

Lim Liat (C) 11 Feb 2012

2012-02-09

Preparing for Christ 2nd Coming - Part 2

From multiple perspectives of time, activity and attitudes, we know how to prepare better for the 2nd coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the post Preparing for Christ 2nd Coming, I covered the teaching that I learned from Don Carson. He had four key points:
  1. be ready anytime
  2. be prepared for a long-time
  3. be occupied in the meantime
  4. be thankful for the pastime
Recently, I heard Chuck Swindoll's message on "Until He Returns...What?".
He also has four points:
  1. Occupy: 
    1. live responsibly, 
    2. work diligently and 
    3. think realistically.
  2. Purify: lead a Godly and purified life.  
    • He mentioned that in NT, whenever 2nd coming is mentioned, it will be followed by a call to godly living.
  3.  Watch
  4.  Worship
Don looks from the time perspective and Chuck looks from the activity perspective. It is good to combine both.

I just want to add the attitudes dimension.
  1. The joy of waiting.
    1. Joy in the Meantime- How to Really Wait
    2. The Seven Steps to Joy
  2. Gratefulness.
    1. Take a Different View - Getting Rid of Grudges 
So here is the mind-map:

The Basis for Our Joy:
  • Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
  • 1 Cor 15:50-58
    50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”...  57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
The Perspective of our Work:
  • Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Related:
Lim Liat 9 Feb 2012

2012-02-07

Legalism or Discipline

Be neither the victims of legalism nor weaklings with ill-discipline. Become a mature person in Christ with good habits and live in freedom and victory.
In the past, the Church stresses on holiness and having good testimonies and behavior and put much stress on discipline. They come out with many guidelines, such as keeping quit time, fasting, tithing, serving etc, to help believers mature. But very soon, guidelines become rules and adherence to such rules become criteria for leadership. It soon develops into legalism and much control and abuse by the Church Leadership.

Under the present time of a shift in emphasis on grace(saved by grace and not of work) and the finished work of Christ, there is a slow drift towards lawlessness and the abuse of grace as a license for sin (Condemned by Paul in Roman 6:1. So there is a call for the babes in Christ to grow up as stressed by Paul in Hebrew 5-6. That calls for discipline (Heb 12:6).

We therefore must clearly see the difference between Legalism and Discipline so as not the let discipline falls into legalism.

Legalism is about making a set of rules and its adherence as criteria for acceptance. It is about following the letter of the Laws rather than the spirit of the Laws. Following the rules is the utmost objective and importance. It starts with a person as a zero who try to become someone as worthy. It result into two groups of those who can and those who fail. Those who can feel proud and condemn on those who cannot. It leads to minimum standard.

Discipline, on the other hand, is about become better by following a set of practices. It is about development of skills and character that one already possess. It begins from I am OK and developing into better person. Because the desire is there, it follows the spirit of the laws rather than just the letters. Failures are part of the process. We just learn from it and try to overcome them to reach greater heights. We don't feel forced or condemned. In fact, we savor the feeling of strength and victories as we reach the greater height.  Here is mind-map that shows the key differences:


So, are you under the bondage of legalism or just under the training pains of discipline? Reflect on the objectives of the rules and you may find your answers. Start with a New Creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and embark on the journey of greater discovery through picking up the good disciplines that develop into good habits and keep you in maturity and victory in Christ.

Lim Liat (C) 7 Feb 2012.

2012-02-01

The Secrets of Faithfulness - How can one be faithful as Moses

The secrets to faithfulness begins with knowing who we are and then holding on to Jesus the author and perfecter of faith. Having a mission and an empowerment enables us to be faithful till the end.
I was asked to write a devotion based on Heb 3:1-6. It was in Chinese and had a restriction of 400 words limit. Here is a freer and longer sharing for the passage.

Know Who We Are
Heb 3:1 begins Paul addressing us as holy brothers with a mission - heavenly calling. We are holy and are with a mission all because of Jesus.  It follows then our job is to consider and focus on Jesus - Who He is, what he did and what he will be doing, especially in relation to us. In verse 6, we are reminded that we are the house built by Jesus and are encouraged to hold our confidence and even boast of our hope in Jesus. Let's then focus on Jesus.


Focus on Jesus - Who He is and What He Did and Will Do for us.
Verse 1 continues with consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.

What About Jesus?
  1. Jesus is the reason of our faith - our confession.
  2. Jesus as the Apostle - the Messenger, the Sent One, of the mission from God to tell us and to save us.
  3. Jesus as the High Priest - who present us, with His own blood, purified and reconciled to God. He is our advocate (1 John 2:1)
  4. Jesus as the Faithful Son to all of God's household (v6 tell us we are of His house). Because Jesus is faithful and hence we can be faithful.
  5. Paul used Moses as a standard of faithfulness. The faithful deeds of Moses can be seen in the mind-map below. One key to Moses faithfulness is found in v5 "to testify to the things that were to be spoken later". Moses himself hold on to the revelation of Jesus that God had given to him in the two forty-day periods with God. A mission with a vision will help us to be faithful and to persevere in difficult times.
  6. If Moses is great, Jesus is even more glorious. Moses is a faithful servant. Jesus is the faithful Son. Jesus is the builder of the house and receive more honor.

Conclusion:

The keys to faithfulness then begins with knowing that we are of Jesus and Jesus is our savior. He is the faithful Son that accomplish His missions.

He reword it again, in even clearer terms, in 
Heb 12:2 [NIV]
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and
sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
.
Lim Liat (C) 1 Feb 2012