2014-04-21

The Seven Shedding of Jesus' Blood & Our 7 Confessions

The resurrention of Jesus from the death confirm the truthfulness of His words and deeds. His seven shedding of blood bring forth specific blessings for us that we may live them out to His glory and attracting people to know Him. We receive His forgivenness, healing, honor, authority, peace and His joy to enable us to live out His will.
Was listening to Derek Prince Legacy Podcasts recently and he mentioned about the seven shedding of Jesus' blood. A search on the web revealed many similar articles with slightly different seven items with majority agreement on five of them. So I just pick one more seven item list from Larry Huch and compare it with Derek's list. More importantly, we must know what they mean to us so that we can benefit from the suffering of Jesus for us. Hence, I add what I think are the seven important confessions.

Below is the mind-map capturing the essential and confessions of Jesus' seven shedding of blood for us.

Our Seven Confessions:
Let me repeat the seven confessions listed in the mindmap above:

  1. I surrender to God's Will as He did in Gethsemane
    I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
  2. I am forgiven for my sins by His bruises.
    1Pe 2:24a  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: 
  3. I am healed from sickness and I am healthy by His stripes.
    1Pe 2:24b  by whose stripes ye were healed. 
  4. I am honored because of His shame for me.
    Eph 1:3-7  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
    1 John 4:17b As Christ is, so we are in this world.
  5. I have authority & rights of God's children by His Crown of Thorns
    Rom 8:16-17)  16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
    1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
  6. I have peace with God by His Cruxification
    Rom 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
  7. I have joy in my heart by His pierced heart.
    Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
It begins by us surrrending our will to His by faith and receive His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Then we have His forgivenness, healing, honor, authority, peace and His joy to enable us to live out His will.

May we carefully considered the benefits that Christ has obtained for us that we may live them out to His glory.

Related: See The Meaning & Power of Holy Communion

Lim Liat (c) 21-4-14

2014-04-13

The Journey of Life - Wisdom from I-Ching Hexagram#1 and Psalm 23

Let's put the wisdom of the Bible and the Ancient Chinese together and see what we can discover, especially in this most important issue of life, our journey of life.

Combining the wisdom of Ancient Chinese and the Bible enriches one's life even more. I-Ching is the root of the Chinese philosophies. Psalm 23 of the Bible, written by King David of the Ancient Israel, is likely the most famous Psalm preached and sung in services, frequently quoted in funeral wakes and imprinted on tombstones.

Each hexagram of I-Ching has a tithe, a description and six verses of text (except for the first 2 hexagrams which has an extra seventh verse. Each verse represent a stage, progressively from stage 1 to stage 6).  Psalm 23 has six verses too. We can put the corresponding verses together, with each verse representing a stage of our life, and see how closely they match!

In Chinese literature and philosophies, dragon, a fictitious animal that contains the best qualities many(may be 5 or 6) animals is used to represent man. Unlike western Biblical dragon that is used to represent evil, Chinese dragon is a good, benevolent and powerful animal. The Chinese king's palaces and his clothes are decorated with dragons.  The I-Ching text is very concise and the meaning may not be clear and hence I put in my interpretation for greater clarity and understanding.

Psalm 23
I-Ching Hexagram#1 Heaven
Remarks
1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
初九:潜龙, 勿用.
Hidden Dragon, Don't/of no use.
1 Hidden Dragon: Just starting life. Full of undeveloped potential but don’t show off yet. It the stage to get ready and prepared well. Do it when time comes and you are ready in the next stage. This is the student, learning stage of life.
The best way to start life is to know God and His ways. I-Ching teaches us to learn the ways of Heaven and Earth. Knowing the God that loves us and shepherd us with His ways enable us to build our lives on a solid foundation. Psalm & Proverbs say that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We start life by learning the wisdom of God expressed in the Bible and in the ways of His creation.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
九二:见龙在田, 利见大人.
Dragon seen in fields. Good to meet great men.
2 Appearing/Rookie Dragon: Entering into the society, joining the work force  after graduation. Try to excel in your work. It is good to get mentors.
As we enter into the work life, the green pastures and the still waters, we need to be diligent in our work. Work opportunities are much more for the young rookies than the middle age or older workers. As rookies, we need to learn from our seniors and more important for us to find mentors to teach us, to help us and even give us opportunities to bring us up. It is important that we pick the right friends.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

九三:君子终日乾乾, 夕惕若, , 无咎
Wise man busy whole day. Alert till sunset. Danger. No fault.
3 Diligent Dragon: Doing well in stage 2 brings you promotion in this stage 3. As head of a team or a department, be diligent and watchful at same time; because others are eyeing at your progress and trying to beat you.

Let not our initial success and promotions get into our head that we become proud and start to take things easily. I-Ching tells us to continue to work diligently and be careful how we behave; because many are trying to find our faults and sabotage us in the office politics. It is easy at stage to take the easy and sometime even seemingly good path rather than the righteous path. God will lead you and give you strength to stick to His ways rather than the worldly ways of back-biting, short cuts and hypocrisy.
The Psalm also warn us about having a right balance of work and rest. As a famous Chinese saying says that we rest so that we can walk farther. Abide in God's presence more often that we may be fully charged to excel in our work for His glory.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

九四:或跃在渊, 无咎.
Choice: Leap across chasm. No fault.
4 Leaping Dragon: To have greater progression, there is the risks to take to leave your comfort zone. Take a leap to higher ground.
To progress higher, we need to take on more challenging tasks. Tasks that take us beyond our comfort zone. Tasks that we may not even think that we can do it. To toughen us up, the Lord may lead us into the valley of shadow of death. Notice that it is only shadow not the real thing. It looks like the real thing. We feel that we have had it and could not progress further. But watch again and be able to see the God's rod and staff, His empowerment and His grace and mercy, that bring you out of your valley victoriously. Your loss of present job, leaving for a lower paid job etc are not a set-back but a set up for a bigger promotion. The Lord who calls you will empower you to accomplish the tasks beyond what you think you could before!
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

九五:飞龙在天, 利见大人.
Flying Dragon in sky, Good to meet Great Men
5 Flying Dragon: Success in stage 4 brings you to greater height. You are flying high in the sky as success brings greater success. You need to watch out of your pride and hence it is better as you soar higher with a network of influential people that will keep you in check and help you go further.
As you come out of the valley stronger and wiser in the Lord, the Lord will bring you to the new mountain top. Even your past enemies will bow down to you. Success begets greater success. The blessings of the Lord on you is overflowing that it seems whatever you touch will turn to gold. However, there is a greater danger here. It is so easy for our ego to grow so big that we think we did it all by ourselves. We may become proud and unteachable. We may even think that we are beyond the normal people and start to do things against the teaching of God (see stage 1). I-Ching warns us of this very danger. I-Ching tells us that we need of group of mentors and friends that dare to hold us in check and correct us when needed. We are so successful that many will not dare to speak to us about our problems and errors. We need such wise group of mentors to help us.
The Bible has many stories about failures just in the height of success. e.g. David's adultery with Bathsheba (David's men were on war while David the King rest in his palace), Elijah's running away after the victory over the Baal's priests.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
上九:亢龙有悔.
Top Dragon has regrets.
6 Retiring Dragon: You have progressed to the very top, like chairman of the board, there is no way up but to retire soon. Prepare for retirement or change of career as a 2nd life.

Our lives are limited. There will surely be a time, no matter how successful we have become, to retire our positions. If we have followed God's ways through our life, we will be able to reflect on our life and agree with David that 'surely goodness and mercy followed us all the days of our life. Even before that, I-Ching tells us to prepare for our retirement. We need to know how to retire well. We must prepare it long before our retirement farewell party. Many has chosen to use their money to start charitable organisations and contribute back to the societies. We read of the work of rich like Bill Gates, Li Ka Shing etc. We can each plan for our own meaningful retirement.

As we bid farewell to this earth, we are assured that we shall dwell in the Heaven House of God forever.

用九:见群龙无首, . 
Dragons has no leader. Good Fortune.
7 Parenting Dragon: You have mature, accomplished much, and become a virtuous leader. You need no one to lead you but you are able to lead others do well in their lives too.

The highest stage of growth for anyone is to become like a parent, a Father or a Mother. We are no longer concern about making a living for ourselves, but rather, about helping others to grow up and making a good living for themselves. It is the love for others as we tasted the Love of God for us. We learn to give of ourselves for others as our Lord, Jesus Christ. The final goal for all of us is to become like Christ, especially in His love for others because God is Love.

The Difference:
While both I-Ching and Psalm talk about following the righteous ways of God/Heaven&Earth, there is a major difference in emphasis. I-Ching stresses on men following God's ways whereas Psalm stresses on the Lord leading and blessing men to follow His ways! Psalm 23 is all about God doing the leading, the anointing, the comforting, the goodness and mercies and men just follow God and reaps the benefits. Psalm 23 can be rephrased with God in the active voice:

1 The Lord shepherds me so I have no lack.
2 The Lord makes me and lead me, so I am in greem pastures and still waters
3. The Lord restores my soul,
    The Lord leads me in the path of righteousness
4. The Lord is with me in the valley...(this is not a punishment but rather a training to strengthen us)
    His rod protects me by beating up the attackers
    His staff comfort me by preventing me from getting myself into dangers,
5. The Lord prepares the table for me in the presence of defeated enemies
    The Lord anoint my head with oil and so my cub overflows
6. Surely, it was the Lord's goodness(blessings) and mercies (forgiveness,saving me from my errors) for all of my life.
    The Lord provides His dwellings for me to stay with Him forever and ever,

In the reading of the above, I hope you can find the ways to live your life to the full, without any regrets, and that we may meet in the House of Lord forever.

For more on Psalm 23 see The Meaning and Cycle of Life from Psalm 23 
For more on Chinese Philosophies and the Bible see Chinese Classics & The Bible
For more on I-Ching and Chinese Philosophiessee Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Lim Liat (c) 13 April 2014

2014-04-07

Understand Foolishness better with Ecclesiastes 10

 Foolishness is more harmful than you may think. Foolishness is not about keeping quiet but about speculations with great tales and details to be so believeable. A bigger fool is the one who believes in such tales.
A study of Ecclesiastes Chapter 10 gives us a better understanding of the words 'Foolishness' and 'Wisdom'.
Here is the mind-map that summarises the teachings:
We may have some very wrong ideas about foolishness. We may think it is harmless or at most a little harmful, after all it is foolishness isn't it? However, the Chapter begins with a big warning that a little foolishness can bring great harm and destroy one's honor and reputation built over the years. How many great people are destroyed by a moment of a foolish act?

We have always thought of innocence as OK. However, unaware of right and wrong can easily lead one into the wrong path. Unknown can be the cause of great evil as this chapter tells us.

We may have thought of foolishness as someone keeping quiet since he does not know much to speak. However, real foolishness is someone that speak much and telling great stories with appealing logic and details that are so believable. The Living Bible for verse 14 is 'A fool knows all about the future and tells everyone in detail! But who can really know what is going to happen? Living Bible (TLB)' Or in short, speculation without evidences is foolishness! A greater fool is someone who believes in the fool's speculation without questions!

Please go through the points in the mind-map and see if you pick up any new takeaways.

Lim Liat (c) 7 April 2014