2014-02-25

The Exodus Story and the Simplicity of a Saved Life

From a Ravi Zacharias podcast, I learned the story of Exodus revealed the sequence of our salvation ....

1. Redemption ... freed from slavery. The New Life...
2. Righteousness ... giving of Commandments ... how to behave... the way of the New life.
3. Worship ... Building of Temple ... Remembering the Source of Life else we think we have done it ourselves.

So, we must get save first to get right, then to great and sustainable success with worship and appreciation of our Creator.

If we think we need to get right first before receiving Jesus then we got the order wrong. That we want to save ourselves and pay for our own sins was the work of pride. If we can get right before we accept Jesus' salvation, we don't need Jesus to save us at all. 

If we think after we are saved we are ok to live freely without the commandments then we are deceived. If we have been really saved, our behavior will be seen with us automatically following the commandments. Of course, we still still be tempted and fail but at least we know we know it is wrong, and we will repent and get out.

If we think our life is a life of up and down, and mostly down, then we have not learn how to apply the power or grace of the new life. The way is through worship or in more easily understand term , to abide, to have time and fellowship with Jesus. If we spend little or no time with the source of Life, it is not surprising that our life will lack the strength for growth and victory. The whole 'trick' for a joyful Christian life is to abide.

So, living a good believer life is a simple 1-2-3 of Redemption, Righteousness and Worship.

2014-02-23

From Dao De Jing to the Bible Book of John

Lao Zi discovered the Way/Dao and tried his best to explain to us. The Gospel of John explicitly says that the Way/Dao/Logos is God, the creator and came in the form of His Son Jesus Christ to show the Way to us. The mystery of Lao Zi's way is shown in the incarnate Son of God Jesus Christ. You will find many descriptions of the Way in Dao De Jing by Loa Zi are similar to the teaching and behavior of Jesus Christ.
It was generally believed that Dao De Jing (Translated Way Virtue Bible, or The Bible of the Way and Its Virtue, or see  Ancient Chinese Bible of Grace & Truth) was written by Lao Zi sometime around 550 BC.  The first chapter describes the existence of the Way and its mystery and the limitation of our language to fully describe it. Even so,  Uncovering the Mystery of Dao De Jing - The Discovery of Truth, Lao Zi wrote the subsequent chapters to describe the characteristics of the Way.

Dao De Jing begins with:
  1. 道可道,非常道,
    The Way that can be described is not the eternal/common/true way.
  2. 名可名,非常名。
    The name that can be named is not the common/true name.
  3. 无名,天地之始,
    Nameless, is the beginning of heaven and earth.
  4. 有名,万物之母。
    Name, is the mother of ten thousand things.
The Gospel of John begins with:

Joh 1:1   太初有道,道与神同在,道就是神。
  In the beginning was the Word(logos), and the Word(logos) was with God, and the Word(logos) was God.

The meaning of 'logos' is 'the rational principle that governs and develops the universe.' It is much more meaningful than using the 'Word' and is similar to the Chinese Word 道 Dao, translated at the Way.

The Way is described by Lao Zi in Dao De Jing and John claimed that the Way is with God and is God. John made His claim because he said he had seen and experienced Him personally.
  • Joh 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • 1Jn 1:1-3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- (2)  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-- (3)  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
The Son is mentioned in Dao De Jing 4.
  • 道冲 而用之,或不盈。
    The Way is void/empty/invisible, yet use it and never need to fill it (It gives life forces endlessly)
  • 渊兮似万物之宗;
    It is so deep that it is the origin of all creations
  • 挫其锐、解其纷、和其光、同其尘,湛兮似或存。
    All its sharpness is removed, knots untangled, glares soften, dust soothed, it is deep and clear.(meaning: It is a balanced of power and love that give growth to all)
  • 吾不知谁之子,象帝之先。I don't know whose SON [is the Way], it is before all the phenomenons or the image of God (i.e. creation).
Now we can compare it with John, 
  • Joh 1:2-5  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.  (4)  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (5)  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I think Lao Zi sets the stage for the subsequent need for God to personally come to reveal the ways to us. In Hebrew 1:1-2, we have, 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son... (Hebrew is commonly believed to be written by Paul).

Lim Liat (c) 22 Feb 2014

2014-02-18

Leadership According to the Bible - Deu 17:15-20


Alternative title for this post can be 'Applying Biblical Principles to Governmental or Corportate Leadership' or 'Forecasting the Rise and Fall of Nations'.
How can one lead a country well? The Bible tells us in the Deuteronomy 17:15-20. The are only 8 key points of 1 Biblical Values, 2 No Self-wealth, 3 Courage to do New things, 4 No Womanizing, 5 Write Instruction Manuals, 6 Have Mentors to check, 7 Keep God's Laws and 8 Remain Humble.

Foreseeing the Israelites would one day want a king like their neighbors, God gave them clear instructions as to how to choose the King and what the King should do so that the Kingdom can last through many generations. Here is the mind-map that capture the key points and the relevant verses:

History told us the sad story that all the Israelite Kings violate most and some all of the key points mentioned above. Even great kings like David and Solomon, while they have a heart for God, they violated point 2 for wealth accumulation, point 4 of having too many wives and concubines. The other kings did even worse things. The end result was as forecasted, the country was overrun and the people deported. 

These eight key points still hold true for the present day government and corporate business leaders too. If you want to foretell what will happen to your country, consider the governmental leadership and what they are doing. How many of the above 8 points are being followed?

For my own country of Singapore where the government is having the high-salary policy for ministers and civil service and the stress on economic growth and economic well-being, and a larger population, I think point 2 on Wealth Creation is of concern. It is not that wealth creation is not good, it is about excessive wealth pursuit over other priorities. Then there is the concern for the boldness to create a new vision to lead rather than to lead by popularity. Further, true humility of learning from others and keep watch over our own behavior are important too. There is comfort in that the values of integrity, family centred and other good values are being preserved (point 1 & 7). With the establishment of the gambling resorts, point 4 is to be watched carefully. Having a check and balance is important for point 6 with better and stronger opposition parties and a separate office of the President is good.

So, what about your government, your bosses and even you as a boss and a leader, how do they and you measure up?

Lim Liat (c) 18 Feb 2014


2014-02-01

Eight Ways to Seven Great Blessings for the New Year

Don't just receive the good wishes during this New Year time. You can do something about them to make those wishes come true. The Bible tells us how in the Beatitudes.
There are always good wished for the New Year. Everyone wants blessings of wealth, health and peace and honor. But there is nothing to back the good wishes. There is no guidance as to how those wishes can come true in our life.  The Bible tells us differently even though the Bible is the gospel of grace. Our attitudes and actions do affect our blessings now and in the future. It is covered in the Beatitudes of Matthew Chapter 5.

Here is the mind-map of the 8 Ways to 7 Blessings on Matthew 5:3-10.

Here are the take away:
  1. A specific attitude and resulting behavior brings forth a specific kind of blessing.
  2. The attitudes and behavior are actually character of God and of His children, us.
  3. The Life of blessing in this world is not just smooth sailing and all comfort. Precisely because of the things you will be doing, the world, or the evil in this world, will go against you. Hence the blessings now is not without difficulty and prosecutions. But the promises and the true blessings are that you will accomplish your purposes in spite of the persecutions and that you will come out of it with greater maturity.
  4. The blessings are for now and in the future. It is not just in the future of heaven and it is not just for this present time. The blessings will be now, though with persecutions, and in the future as repeated in Mark 10:30 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 shall be last, and the last first.”
  5. Go through the list of 8 things and see if any of our attitude and behavior need to be changed. Else, we are just blocking the blessings that God want to give to us.
  6. If you have a problem now, go through the list and see what set of actions you could do to solve the problem, know that God is with you and will take you through your difficult time. But first, trust in the Lord, be calm, and work out the solutions.
  7. Don't begin with the persecution complex thinking people are against you. Of the 8 attitudes and behavior, only the last one is about persecution and for a specific reason of righteousness. Do we suffer persecution for the right reasons? 
May your New Year wishes come true this year as you trust the Lord and His ways.

See also Beatitudes - The Ways of His Kingdom

Lim Liat (c) 1 Feb 2014