2015-12-24

The Complete Grace Message from Romans 5:1-5

The Christian world is full of sermons that preach only one side of a concept, such as grace. This is followed by posts that attack the other point of views. They seems unable to hold two polar attributes in a balanced (e.g. love and justice). Romans 5v1-5 provides a complete and true message on grace. We can see how some grace preachers err by stopping at verse 2 and some holiness preachers err by starting at verse 3. The complete view is given in the mind-map below:


Grace by Faith (Rom 5v1-2)
Grace is given and done by our Lord Jesus Christ (through His death and resurrection, see The Gospel and the Sinner's Prayer - We Got it in Wrong Order).  While grace is freely available to all, it is only given and received by the person who wants it and he has to receive it by faith. See "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is wrong for the correct meaning of grace and the difference between grace and mercy).

The Result of Grace Received - Begins with Justification and to end with Glory
  1. We immediately are justified resulting in
  2. We have peace with God. 
  3. We have hope of the glory of God.
    Hope is assurance of things received now to be delivered in the future. It is like making an on line order and waiting for the goods to be delivered some time in future. In the meantime, the ordered goods are on their way to you.
  4. The new rebirth children of God status and the right standing with God with the promised of greater realization in the future enables and fully equipped us to live out this life, in the mean time till Christ return, to overcome the challenges and trails throw in our way and to come out victoriously. We are like a seed with the complete life ingredients, the DNA, within. The planted seed needs good environment and fertilisers to grow up to maturity and produces good fruit. This is where many grace preachers missed. They failure to differentiate kinds and timing of the new status and rights of the grace of God. Forgiveness, justifications and rebirth are all immediate. But there are more to come. There is time for growth and time for fruit. 
The Power of Overcoming Grace 
Grace gives us the new birth and continues to give us the power to overcome the challenges of life. It is not possible by our own efforts to live out the life that we should especially under the pressures and temptations of the world and the devils. However, we must and have the confidence to overcome. Because of that confidence, we can then rejoices in tribulations. We are not afraid of tribulations because we know we will win and can see the benefits that tribulations bring to us.

Grace enables us to say like in Jame 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. And also as in 2Pet 1:3-8 shown in the mind map above. Tribulations develop our character when we are grace enabled. Tribulations will defeat us if we rely on our own strengths (e.g. Peter denying Christ thrice after Jesus was captured). Like what James and Peter had said, Paul said tribulation produces patience, then experience. The original word for experience stands for trustiness, proof, or proven. Some translation used proven character. We are refined and made better through going through trails victoriously.

One victory adds on to another and step by step, over time, we develop greater character strength. As we have proven the hope and promise of the glory of God over time, our faith and hope grows with time. We dare to believe bigger things and have greater visions from and of God. As we acted out upon the visions given to us, we will release that His promises are true and we will not be put to shame. We will be able to start and finish well to the glory of God.  We are charged up on the inside with the love of God, with the assurance of God's love for us and also the same compassionate love of God for others. On the outside, the loving care of God and His angels open up the ways for us. There are difficulties but we are confident we can overcome in Christ. So that Paul can says Phil 4v13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Through trails and tribulations, we experience the love of God that we only believe by faith at the start.

The way we overcome is not by pushy force but by the drawing power of love. When the typical reaction to others attack is to counter-attack, we may do it differently because of our love within. We may sometimes give in to win more of their heart. We may sometimes fight with truth and win but yet we forgive and take not. We capture and let go and repeat them until they change their heart to respect and love us. That is the way of more than conqueror. See The Meaning of "More than Conquerors",

Conclusions:
Having the complete picture on Grace enables you to live a meaningful life with impact for yourself and God. God is glorify through your testimonies. Do not let the grace of God be wasted on just our own benefits but let the grace and power of God be lifted up through your testimony of impact on the world around you. Have a meaningful and joyful Christmas and a more purposeful New Year. God empower you to be His effective witness.

Lim Liat (c) 24 Dec 15

2015-12-19

The Gospel and the Sinner's Prayer - We Got it in Wrong Order

The Gospel is first about Jesus Christ and there is usually no mention of sins! Yet in the typical sinner's prayer, it starts with "I admit I am a sinner ...."! Such a wrong order has great significance in the way we share the Gospel and the way we live our new life. That also explain the weakness of many believers lives. Let's see the details...
The Pauline Gospel
A condensed gospel is shared by Paul in Roman 1:2-6 as in:
  • 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
    (Jesus the Messiah is prophesized in the OT Bibles)
  • 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
    (Jesus came in the flesh of man as descendant of David)
  • 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
    (He is the Son of God as proven by His resurrection from the dead by the Power of the Holy Spirit)
  • 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
    (All man, Jews and Gentiles, can receive His grace by obedient trust in Him).
  • 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
    (Including the Romans, a kind of Gentiles).
We can quickly see that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, who came in the fresh, who died and was resurrected as proof of His Godliness and Power, and we can receive Him by faith because of His grace given to us. There is no mention of sins. Salvation is more than just forgiveness of sins but rather a New Creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). Sin is an obstacle to be overcome but that is not the Gospel. The gospel is about us believing in Jesus Christ as God's Son and thereby be willing to accept His Lordship over us that we may be rebirthed as God's children( Gal 3:26) and to grow up into maturity as Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29-30). We are justified and glorified!!! 

Consider another often quotes verses for salvation: 
  • Rom 10:9-12  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  
  • 10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  
  • 11  For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."  
  • 12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
Again, there is no mention of sins. Getting rid of sins is not the main objective of salvation. Getting us to be born again to take on the likeliness of Jesus through His resurrection is. Sin is automatically removed when we are born again.  Fighting sins and overcoming sins could be seen as our efforts like in any other religion. But being born again into the Family of God is nothing that we as man can do. It remove man's effort and work and nothing that man can proud of! Eph 2:8-10
    • Eph 2:8-10  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.(We are saved for good work that God may be glorified with us!)
    John's Gospel
    John simplified it into a single verse:
    • 1Jn 3:23  And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ,
    • and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 
    We are called by our names. A name identifies the person. John said God's will is simply this, believe in His Son Jesus Christ ..... who He is, what He did and do, and be like Him. Loving one another is the subsequent testimony that we are indeed rebirthed with His character. (1Jn 4:8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. )
    • Joh 3:16  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    Peter's Gospel:
    1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1Pe 1:4  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 
    1Pe 1:5  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

    No mention of sins but about the great inheritance and power! 

    The Sinner's Prayer:
    A typical sinner's prayer is :

    Heavenly Father, I come to you in prayer asking for the forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my mouth and believe with my heart that Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven, and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and I ask you right now to come in to my life and be my personal Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and wiIl Worship you all the day’s of my Life!. Because your word is truth, I confess with my mouth that I am Born Again and Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus Name, Amen.

    The confessions are all correct. The only problem is that it is in the wrong order and confusing the main objective (new life in Christ) with the sub-objective of forgiveness of sins. 

    The Implications:
    The sinner's prayer makes forgiveness of sins as the main goal. Making sins as the focus is the sure way to be in bondage of sins. The best ways to overcome sins is by knowing our righteousness in Christ. Knowing who we are in Christ will keep us away from sins because our mind are preoccuppied with Christ and there is no time for thinking about sins ... of course, the devils and the world will constantly tempt us to try to get our attention. We also know that the time that we are most prone to temptations are times of success, celebrations and nothing important to do. 

    The Gospel is about Christ. About who Christ is and what he has done and wanting us to be. We are a new creation in Christ. We are children of God. We have His righteousness and His mind. We are to live out His power and character in us as testimonies to the world. Think about His creative power and His work and be like Him. Such pure and wonderful thoughts will charge us up and keep us away from temptations and sins. The sinner's prayer, the sin consciousness, have make the gospel a passive and negative ones. No wonder many believers are weak. Get back to the right Gospel of Jesus Christ, God in us. It not about sin, but about Christ in us. That is positive and pro-active gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Lim Liat (c) 19-12-2015



    2015-12-17

    A Life of Joy with Psalm 16

    A life of true joy that depends not on any good happenings but hold true no matter what can be found in Psalm 16. It all depends on the choice and commitment we make. The answer is found in the Lord whom we seek for wisdom and guidance and we follow His instructions. The outcome is certain --- a joyfilled life no matter what. Here are the details ...
    It all begins with making your choice ....

    Here is the mind-map:


    If you prefer the text, here it is:

    • My Choice
      • Say Yes to God
        • Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. Psa 16:1 My God as my fortress of Security
        • "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." Psa 16:2My God as my Goodness and Righteousness
        • The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psa 16:5 I live on Him - He is my Heavenly Father
      • The community of saints
        • As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Psa 16:3 I have a community of fellow believers
      • Say No to idols
        • The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. Psa 16:4I will not join them, those that pursue idols and other worldliness. I will not use their methods.
      • Focus on God and Fear is gone
        • I have set the LORD always before me; v8 I follow Him all the time; not occasionally but always.
        • because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psa 16:8 I with Him and He with me --- there is no panic
    • The Blessings
      • Guidance
        • I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. Psa 16:7 Seek and Get Guidance from Him.
          Internalize His Words that our heart will lead us.
          Follow Him wholeheartedly; not in the mind only.
          Work OUT His instructions.
          Check with our hearts filled of His Words.
        • You make known to me the path of life; 16v11 His Words and Instructions lead to true life.
      • Good Outcomes
        • The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psa 16:6 Follow the righteous paths of God and the results will be good.
      • Joy
        • in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psa 16:11 Then we shall have joy and pleasures no matter what.
        • Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. Psa 16:9
          Joy brings health and security.
          Neh 8:10 the joy of the LORD is your strength."
      • Worry Not
        • For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. Psa 16:10 My life is secured in the Lord. I will not be abandoned.
    • Applications
      Choose, Follow and Stay with the Lord our God no matter what.
      When there is fear or crisis strikes, go to the Lord for strengths.
      If we have been in the presence of God often, we shall panic not.
      If you want happiness then go to God for true joy that depends not on any happenings.
    Lim Liat(c) 17 Dec 2015

    2015-12-01

    Making Decisions with the Mind of Christ

    Believers are encouraged to follow the mind of Christ within them. James 3:17 shows us the attributes of God's decision making which we are to follow, in our speeches, behavior and work. There are eight key points which is shown below. We can looked up several translations to get a clearer meaning. So here is the list:
    James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is :
    1 pure (clean),
    2 peaceable,
    3 gentle,
    4 open to reason(willing to yield, submissive, reasonable),
    5 full of mercy ( compassion)
    6 good fruits,
    7 impartial (nonjudgmental, unwavering)
    8 sincere ( without hypocrisy).

    The Applications:
    How can we apply what we learned? By using them as a checklist.

    Before I speak or do anything, I should ask:

    1. Is my motive pure? Do I have ulterior motive that is not disclosed in my speech and action?
    2. Does it bring peace or strife?
    3. Is it gentle in approach or not rough and manipulative?
    4. Is it reasonable? Am I open to accept others feedback and opinions?
    5. Is it compassionate and kind?
    6. Will the outcomes be good? How can I tell and be sure? What are the measures and targets?
    7. Is it fair to all involved (fair is not equal treatment but according to their needs)? Are there some excluded and why?
    8. Am I speaking the truth? Is the program transparent? Can I be hold accountable?
    What is the thing you are planning to do? Can you use the above checklist?

    Lim Liat (c) 1 Dec 2015

    Paul's View - Phi 4
    Paul tells us not to worry but to pray to God and focus our mind on these six/eight things. Someone from the Internet suggests THINK. We can merge them together to get a more complete list.


    Update 14 Oct 2016

    2015-11-02

    The Theme of Job - Not Suffering but Love

    The Book of Job is not about suffering but rather of God's love and Job's response to His love. Job's put God above his sufferings and his family. He was transformed from fear of God's punishment into security in the love of God for him. Study the book of Job and get the right perspectives to priority of life.
    Many people think that the Book of Job is about suffering. But suffering is a means and not the end. The suffering of Job changed Job from a person of fear to a person secured in the love of God. It is about what is the most important thing in our life. Do we love God above ourselves, our family and our possessions. Do we love God so much that we are willing to suffer for Him. Jesus gives us the example. He is willing to sacrifice Himself for us that we all may be reconciled back to God the Father. Job's suffering enables him to know God in ways that he never knew before.  We can see that in:
    • Job 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. 
    Job's concept of God before his suffering is:

    God is a God of Justice. God will rewards the good and punish the sins of men.

    Job lives in fear of disobeying God that will result in the punishment by God. 

    • Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

    He was so fearful that he made sacrifices for sins for his children just in case.

    • Job 1:5 ... and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

    Job's friends had the same concept of God. Since they saw the loss and suffering of Job, they concluded, though wrongly, that Job must have sinned that caused the punishments from God. They told Job to repent and be healed. But Job said that He did not sin and asked them to point out his sins. His friends could not point out any particular sin of Job. In Job 42:7, God gave his approval of Job and condemned the error of Job's friends. 
    • Job 42:7  After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 
    Job's Concept of God after his encounter with God is:

    1. God is all powerful. Nothing can stop God.  He knew that earlier but with his personal encounter with God, he experienced, saw and realised how powerful God was.
    •  Job 42:2 "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
    2. Job realised his ignorance.
    • Job 42:3 Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 
    3. God is Love besides being just and God loves him
    • Job 38-41, God shows Job the entire universe created by Him was meant for living in abundance, in beauty and in joy.  Even for the monsters in the land and sea, God take care of them. How much more God will care for man, created in His image and for His fellowship. 
    • Job 42:4 Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' Job was satisfied with God's answers. It could have come earlier. But God waited for men, Job's friends to provide their erroneous theology of God first. Man's theology did not give Job the satisfactory answer. 
    4. No Fear anymore as Job is secure in the love, power and justice of God.
    • If God is all powerful and God loves you, then you don't have to fear no matter what. Job realised Paul's encourage to us in Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. So that all can as in Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! and 1 Thes 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    5. One more special thing - God revealed to Job the happening in the spiritual world.
    • In Job 1, we see the spiritual happenings before the physical happening in our earthly world. Most people are upset with this - how could God use man as the game tokens in His fight with God? Why get man involved and especially get man to suffer?
    • As we have seen earlier, suffering is not the end. The purpose is the blessings and maturity that comes from it. God knew Job will pass the test as God surpasses the limit of time. God know the end from the beginning. The test brings out the virtues that Job did not know himself. Job put God first inspite of the loss and sufferings. It cured Job's fear and gain Job's peace in God's love. Job's victory gives evidence to support God's punishment of the devils, who were created superior to men, like Job. The inferior being, Job, knows to worship and trust God yet the susperior spiritual beings rebel against God. They have no excuses as they know more about God, His  attributes and power than the man Job. It also points towards the suffering of Christ for man. As Abraham sacrifice Isaac, God sacrifice His Son. As Job suffer for God so did Christ for man. God finds men who He can use to bring greater blessings for men.
    What about you?
    What is your concepts of God? Do you live in fear of God? How much do you think God love you? Your answer determines how you response in times of disappointmensts, sufferings and persecution. Do you have peace in the midst of such challenging times?

    May you come to know God personally and be secured in His love and holiness.

    Lim Liat (c) 2 Nov 2015

    See also 3 Life Lessons from the Last Chapter of Job
    Or better still, study the Book of Job in Table of Contents.

    2015-10-27

    Reflection 6 Does the End Justifies the Means?

    This Reflection 6 on the CHC's court case on Misuse of Funds was written in July 2012 but was not published as I have already written 5 reflections from the case and I was waiting for the final judgement. Now that the judgement is out, see for example City Harvest Church leaders conspired to misuse funds: Judge | TODAYonline and the Judge oral's judgement can be found here.  I can't find the Judge's 270 page judgement but some key points are mentioned here A culture where asking difficult questions was taboo, AsiaOne Singapore News.  There is quote from the Judge that "....they go further to convince themselves that the end justifies the means .... their conduct can only be characterised not merely as being misguided but dishonest."

    This post cited Biblical stories to show that God does not want His people to fall into the sins of using the end to justify the means. If the end could justify the means that Jesus Christ does not need to die on the cross to pay for our sins.


    I thought I have finished my reflections on this CHC's leaders alleged misuse affair, posting my fifth Reflection 5 Justice vs Loyalty - Understanding the Support for Kong Hee. But I felt I needed to cover a topic that I briefly mentioned in Reflections from CHC Kong Hee Alleged Misuse of Funds. It was in point 2 where I wrote "The Name of God is a convenient and powerful weapon that church leaders enjoy. " 

    This post explains how this is usually done. It is using the higher purpose and goal, such as the Name of God or the Will of God, to justify whatever actions that are taken. Does this position of "The End justifies the Means" correct? Because we are doing things for a higher authority, like the President, the King or God, therefore we can violate the laws? The answer is definitely a no-no. Even the common people understand this well, the end does not justify the means. They brought down then President Nixon for the Watergate affair. Believers should have a higher standard and if not, at least as the common people. But some religious people like to use the Name and Will of God to override common laws. They knew the Bible well and will give deceptive interpretation to mislead the people.

    1 Timothy 1:7 

    The Story of Nebuchadnezzar's Image and Furnace

    In Daniel Chapter 3, we had the great story of King Nebuchadnezzar wanting all to worship his great golden image. The three Jewish officers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not obey the King's command because their religion forbade worshiping any idol. The King was furious and after giving them a second chance, he sent them into the furnace. But God rescued them and they were not burnt. The King ended up acknowledging their God as great.

    Does this story teaches us to disobey the laws?

    The law violate their religious belief and they are willing to suffer for the violation.
    The Story of Daniel and the Lion Den

    Daniel have been praying to God all the time. It was a trap to frame and kill him. The King realized that too but a little too late. He suffered the consequence of being put into the Lion Den. God deliver him from the lions.

    In the above two cases, the righteous believers of God uphold the laws to be willing to suffer the consequences. They let God be the final judge to either deliver them out of the consequences or not.
    The End and the Means must be Upright

    Leviticus 10:1,2 - Nadab and Abihu offered incense to God using fire that God had not commanded them to use. Their goal was good: offering incense to worship God. But God had told them what fire to use and they disregarded the means He specified. God killed them. They learned too late that the end did not justify using a different means.

    1 Chronicles 13:6,7,9,10 - David and Israel thought it was "good" to bring the ark of the covenant back among them (vv 2,4). The end or goal was "good." But while transporting it by ox cart, Uzzah touched it to keep it from falling. God killed him.

    Note #1 Chronicles 15:2,12-15 - God had appointed that the ark should be carried on poles by priests and Levites. No one else could touch it [Num. 4:15-20].
    Obedience is better that Sacrifice.

    1 Samuel 15:3,10-23 - God told Saul to destroy all the Amalekites and their flocks, but Saul kept the best animals to offer sacrifice to God. Offering sacrifice to God was "a good work," but it did not justify disregarding God's command. God said Saul "has not performed my commandments" (v11) and rejected him as king. "To obey is better than sacrifice" (v22). The end did not justify a different means from what God had specified.

    2015-10-17

    Your Eternal Rewards in Heaven according to the 7 Churches of Revelation

    Your passport to heaven is through the grace of Jesus Christ and not of yourself (Eph 2v8). Such is already good enough. But God wants to give you additional rewards for the works that you have done in His Name. We can find those rewards from the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelations. Here are the details.
    Attending the funeral of a fellow believer is not a difficult thing. It is sad because of the departure. But it is not hopeless, desperable, not extreme sadness and pains because we know of two good things. Firstly, he/she has gone to a better place. Secondly. we shall meet again some day in the better place. Then there is one more thing, he/she will receive additional rewards from God. Here are some of the details.....

    Entrance to Heaven is By Grace:

    • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Eph 2:8-9
    Entering Heaven is already wonderful enough, according to 1Co 2:9  But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"

    But God promised more .... Mark 9:41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

    By rewards comes from how much we have done according to the purpose thta God has created us for:
    • For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Eph 2:10
    The additional verse that support this view is given in:
    • 1Co 3:11-15  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13  each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  14  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  15  If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
    What the rewards? For the details, we can look up the Book of Revalation where Jesus promised the overcomers the details of the rewards, to the seven churches.

    The Seven Eternal Rewards:
    The Details of the Rewards:
    Of course, we work not for the rewards but we work because of the love of God that is shed abroad in our heart. (Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.)

    But God is a fair God and remembers our work in and for Him and He rewards us generously.

    All the grace of God to you as you work out His life in you. We shall meet again in Heaven some day.

    Lim Liat (c) 17 Oct 2015

    2015-10-15

    The Qualties of Good Believers from the Seven Churches of Revelation

    Many people think that we are living in the End-Times and Jesus Christ is coming soon. How should we live in this time? What does occupy till He come means? Why not let us find out in the letters to the seven end times churches of the Revelation? Jesus' letters to the seven churches of the Book of Revelation commended the good behaviour and rebuked the bad behaviour of the believers then. By collecting the commendations and reversing the rebukes we can come out a list of the quality behaviours of believers. There are seven of them. Read to find out more.
    What kind of behaviour should a believer has? People can only see your external behaviour and not your internal intentions. Hence, as good testimony for Christ, we must be careful of our behaviour. We can follow the ten commandments as a guide. Ten commandments are reflection of God's attributes. Believers should exhibit behaviour that exceeds ten commandments. How can that be possible? Through the Holy Spirit in Christ producing the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit attributes like love, joy, patience, kindness etc are proactive positive  behaviour whereas the ten commandments are the prohibitive negatively stated behaviours. (Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.)  We can also find a practical list good behaviour and attributes in the study of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. A consolidated list is shown in the mind-map below:

    In the above mind-map. we consolidated the good behaviour and bad behaviour together from the seven churches. By just reversing the bad behaviour, we can change that to be good. The letter to the Thyatira church contains an also complete list of good behaviours, and hence we can use it as the starting framework to add in from the others. So after the consolidation, we can find seven attributes for good behaviour as described below.

    The Seven Qualities

    1. Your Love for Jesus
    The most important thing in a believer life is Jesus. Without Jesus, there is no gospel and no Christianity. Every believer must start here. If we get this wrong, all the rest will be wrong. Hence, the very first rebuke to the Ephesus Church is their lost of the first love for Jesus. They have put doctrines to be above Jesus. What about us? Is Jesus the most important thing in our life? How can you tell? Check your relationship or fellowship with Him. How much time do you spend with Jesus. Are you aware of His presence in your daily work routines. The challenging, busy and increasing evilness in the world has made many people cold in their heart. They have become indifference. That was the greatest problem with the Laodicean church. They were lukewarm, neither cold nor hot which means indifference --- I don't care. They care more about their material wealth over relationship with Jesus. They got all the priority mixed up. Jesus invited them for fellowship with Him. What about you? Is your fellowship sweet and desirable? Is that the first thing you seek in the morning and last thing you say good night to? Be appreciative of the life and relationship we have.

    2. Your Faith 
    Our faith is best seen under test. Are we willing to die for the cause that we believe in. But before we go into such depth, can we answer a simpler one. When people ask you about your belief, are you shy to admit you are a Christian? What is stopping you for doing that? Is it because you feel you are not good enough to admit it so as not to bring shame to Jesus? If so, please know that Jesus died for us when we were yet sinners. Jesus did not wait for us to be good to receive and die for us. Relationship with Jesus is about being authentic and frank with Him. He understands and will help you out. The next thing is to get your life in order with Him help and then you will not shy to confess Jesus as your Lord. Actually admitting first will bring the empowerment to you to live out the good testimony. Take this small step first. I am a believer of Jesus and His gospel.

    3. Your Service 
    When we love someone, it is only natural that we serve him/her. The Ephesians were praised for their hard work especially in getting the right doctrines and filtering out the false ones. They are very critical and sensitive to false teachings. Service is not about doing what please you or what you think is good for the one you love. It is asking them what they love first and then we do what they love. That was precisely what the Philadelpians did --- they obeyed Jesus message. Prayer is not about you but about finding out what God want you to do. Of course, taking good care of you is God's promise to you and so can come to Him for your needs. But can you go beyond that and see the world from His point of view.

    4. How You Have Endured. 
    Suffering for our faith is a sure thing. Being good will attract attention and attacks from the evil ones. Your goodness is embarrassing their badness. But what is the meaning of endurance? One aspect is suffering for Christ without getting weary --- so as to complains, give-up or to deny and rebel against Christ. Another is do forgone materialistic and comfort lives --- being poor materially but rich in the eyes of God. People may question you about your foolishness to give up your career, money and time for Christ. They don't see the values of spiritual and eternal things. They live for this life only but you know better otherwise.

    5. Doing More Than Before. 
    Life is about change and about growing up. While we may be satisfied with what we have and achieved, we continue to go for more because there is no limit to knowing and experiencing the Jesus and His love. But we need to be careful. Having more activities do not means more life! It is about doing the right activities in the right time and effort. Have a balanced life with time for rest and reflections, with family and with Jesus. We may need to review our activities and get rids of those that are not in the will of God and start some that are. We need to prune the tree for more fruits by getting rid of energy wasting non fruitful efforts and channel them to the right ones. We don't want to get into the state of us doing a lot of work and yet God says it is incomplete!

    6. Reject False Teachings
    The mind-map above show quite a list of false teachings of Jezebel, Nicolaitians and Balaam. It serves as a good warning for us in today world as well, such as the prosperity only gospels, the ultra-grace with grace as license to sin, licentious living, and the more evil kind of demonic worship of all forms. False teaching mislead and bind their believers. Discover the truth in and of Jesus and be set free.

    7 Get Rid Of Evil
    A sin is sin according to the Word of God even though man may legalise it or give it some fanciful names or hiding behind seemingly good intention (e.g. I am not a busy body but just concern). The love for Jesus should be reflected in our purity and the same hatred for evil and sins as Jesus. May the Word and Holy Spirit reveal to us the true state of live .... making sure we are not pitiful, blind and naked as the Laodiceans. Let us not tolerate seemingly little evil or sin in our life or in our midst. We can love the people but hate their sins.

    Lim Liat (c) 15 Oct 2015

    2015-10-14

    7 Management Principles of Jesus in His Letters to the Seven Churches

    From Jesus' letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, we can learn seven principles of good management. They can be stated as mission/purpose, monitoring, praise, critique, correction, warning and rewarding. Learn how to do them rightly here and become a good manager.
    The letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 follows a fixed pattern. The pattern provides us the clue as to how Jesus manage his churches. Here is an example from the letter to the church at Ephesus.



    The Seven Principles of People Management from Jesus:

    1. Establish the Purpose - Define the Mission, Vision and Values of the organisation.
      In this case, it is the church, with Jesus as the Head and His Words as the values. See Knowing Jesus through the Seven Churches of Revelation for the details. Do you understand and fully absorb the mission, visions and values of your organisation. What about your own personal mission, visions and values. Do they match? If not, choose a company or start up one yourself that reflect the values and the mission you believe in.
    2. Monitoring - Know What are happening first, to the external situation and the internal people affairs.
      Jesus loves His church and keep a close watch of His people, being every ready to guide, protect and correct them. Do you keep track of what is happening with your staff, the company and the changes in the external environment? Are you aware of the challenges and pressures of your staff? Do you understand their needs? Do you see their performances? Do you see their obstacles? Do you see the infighting? Before you just jump in too quickly to give your pet advices and claiming to know all with your prejudgements and even prejudices, can you investigate and discover the real happenings first. Can you see things objectively and from multiple angles of different angles, different roles, internal and external views. After knowing objectively what is going on, then perhaps you are in the position to offer your wise counsel. The following 5 more principles show you how to do that rightly.
    3. Praise - Point how the things and behaviour that they are doing it rightly.
      Always begin first by pointing out the right and good things that your staff are doing. They must be specific and not a general motherhood statement. The specifics show them that you are really concern and have done your due diligence. Specifics also allow the staff to challenge and correct your misunderstanding if there be any. A dialogue to clarify matter and improve the relationship and establishing greater trust. Top leader like Jack Welch of GE, Frank Blake of Home Depot write personal letters to staff to praise and show appreciation of their work and behavior. Praising encourages more repeat of the right behavior. Be not stingy with your praise and make them specific.
    4. Critique - Point out the errors or bad behavior from bad attitudes.
      Often, we are blind to our own bad behavior and work. It takes someone else to point them out to us. If the company has good quality systems and measurements, we can also find them out. What is good or bad? How do you judge for things like behavior? Right or wrong is established in the first principle of purpose, mission, visions and values. Such are the yardsticks for right or wrong.
    5. Correction - Show them the Right Way or Right Behaviour.
      Pointing out an error is half of the job done. You must them what the right way is so that they can follow the right way. Just telling a person what he has done wrong is not good enough. You cannot let him find out the right way by trial and errors. They will take too long and be too costly. Show them the right way.
    6. Warning - The bad consequences that will arise if they don't change.
      Most people are happy to correct their errors once you point them out and show them the right way. However, there will be some who are driven by sufferings. Good managers and good parents usually let the bad consequences to do the teaching. Saving children and staff from the bad consequences from their errors will not lead to learning and will result in misguided decision making in the future. Always let the consequences be the teacher, except for fatal or serious situations. Too much kindness and love will result in a corrupted and confused world.
    7. Rewarding - Promises and Delivery of the Promised for good work.
      People are motivated by rewards, whether intrinsically by growth in maturity or externally by recognitions, monetory rewards, promotions or other benefits. We must be specific in the rewards and also be generous in awarding them. One shall not promise much and the deliver with discounts when staff achieved the agreed targets. 
    Can you go through the seven principles and see which area you can improve upon? Hope you can and will become a better manager.

    Hope you can see that Bible Study is more than just a spiritual matter but a very practical business matter. Don't divide your life into spiritual and carnal/business matters. You are an integrated whole person. Act out from your spiritual maturity to be a better person in the affairs of the world, especially your business or career. Let them be good testimonies to God. See also  10 Kingdom Laws for Business Success.

    Lim Liat (c) 14 Oct 2015


    Knowing Jesus through the Seven Churches of Revelation

    Jesus shows different aspects of Himself to address the specific needs of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. We learn not just about Jesus but the wisdom of applying the right advice to the need of the situation and person. 
    A detailed mind-map study of the seven churches can be found here, Lessons from The Seven Churches of Revelation.

    A mind-map that relate Jesus' appearance and the churches is:
    1. Jesus as Head to the Church at Ephesus

    The Ephesus church had heeded Paul's warning of the coming of the false teachers, so they were very careful and sensitive to the preaching of false doctrine. However, they over did it. Their love for doctrine take precedence over love for Jesus. Jesus reminded them that He is the Head of the Church and demands their first love for Him.

    It is very easy for us to replace Jesus with our own liking and this takes place very subtly without our knowing. It is easy to make a good thing to become our idol replacing God. For Ephesians, it is the doctrine. Knowing the right beliefs is good and right. However, it cannot replace Jesus. We must first love Jesus and also the right doctrine too. For modern day people, it could be the good things that we do such as charity work, giving to the needy, and even doing mission work. Such are good work, but they cannot replace our relationship with Jesus. Let not any activity replaces our time and love with Jesus.

    2. Jesus as Eternal Life to the Church at Smyrna

    The believers were under severe persecutions. But Jesus assured them He is the one true eternal life. They may killed the body but they cannot kill the soul. (Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.) He is the source and given for eternal life.

    3. Jesus as the Word of Truth to Pergamum

    The two-edged sword represents the Word of Truth.  Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. They have compromised the truth and allow the infiltration of the teaching of Balaam (idolatry and sexual sins, seducing) and Nicolaitians (dominating people, compromised doctrine). This church is the opposite of Ephesus, the place 'love' more than truth and compromise the truth. The only way to differentiate the false from the truth is to go by the Word of God. When you are not too sure what is right or wrong, then go back to the Word of God, the Bible. to discover the truth. Please make sure you follow the right way to interpret the Bible too. Distortion, taking the Word out of its context, quoting a subset of the Word lead to false doctrine. We need to be aware of that.

    4. Jesus as the Judge to Thyatira

    Fire represents brightness and clarity. Jesus is the know-all and know-inside-out Judge. Bronze represents judgement in the Bible. While in Ephesus and Pergamum, Balaam, the prophet that failed to curse the Israelites, was mentioned. But here, Jezebel, the queen, the one in power was mentioned. It shows that the false doctrine has taken charge in the church. The church was under darkness and dominated by sinful people with their false doctrines.  They were not repentant of their sins. Hence, Jesus advised them to judge and cast out such people. It is a difficult task because such people were already in power. Jesus will raise up people to overthrow them. Under such situation, some people may leave the church. Some people may be called to stay to revile and transform the church. May God give such wisdom and support to re-establish the right teaching and right church leadership under Jesus. One day, everyone will have to give account of his life to Jesus the Judge. Are you prepared? How are you living this life?

    5 Jesus as God the Spirit & Power to Sardis

    This Sardis church is what Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. They had many religious activities. People and themselves thought that they were alive in God. But they were actually dying! They had allow outward activities to replace inward spiritual lives with God.   John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. Are you worshipping God in spirit and truth and not just in activities even of singing spiritual songs!
    Does your outward behaviour correspond to your inward belief? Do you still have the spiritual fire burning within?

    6 Jesus as the Authority/King to Philadelphia

    Like Smyrna, this church had no rebuke from Jesus. They obeyed the Word and they boldly testify before men for God. God will protect them and cause others to bow down to them. They will be given crown and reign with Jesus.

    7 Jesus as the Blesser of True Blessings to Laodicea

    Laodiceans went after material wealth instead of spiritual wealth. They were indifferent to godly things.  Jesus invited them to have a true relationship, the most valuable thing, with Him. Their hunger and happiness could not be satisfied by materialistic things. Only relationship with Jesus can provide the real and lasting satisfaction and happiness. Are you trying to find happiness in material things? You will not satisfaction there. Come to Jesus for the real and satisfying experience. Jesus is the true source of all creation and is a waiting for you to invite Him in.

    Knowing Jesus

    Do you know Jesus as the
    1. Head of the Church?
    2. Giver of Eternal Life?
    3. Word of Truth?
    4. Judge?
    5. Spirit?
    6. King?
    7. Blesser?
    Before you give any advice, please look at the situation, the factual events, and the needs and characteristics of the people involved. Please do not be too quick to give your word of wisdom nor jump to conclusions. Study first.

    Lim Liat (c) 14 Oct 2015



    2015-09-15

    The Starting of Our Life & Career and the Temptations of Jesus

    The temptations of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11) occured just before Jesus bagan His ministry. They are like the final examination that a student undertake before he graduated into the workforce of the society. They are the three key questions that one must find the answer before we start our life in the society. The answers shall be the guide posts that will lead us to success and a life without regrets at our death. The answers cannot be derived and proven by external means as the devil repeatedly wanted Jesus to do. Man can talk. But a talking parrot does not a man make. There is no need to prove that you are human being. You know yourself for sure. So, what are the 3 keys questions that you need to know and need not prove?

    The 3 Keys Questions 

    1. Your Identity - Who are you?
    2. Your Relationship - Who, your Father, cares about you?
    3. Your Journey and Destination - How will you live and where and what you will have?
    The related Tempations:
    Temptation 1 Are you the Son of God? Prove it by turning rock to bread.
    Temptation 2 Are you sure your Father loves you? Prove it by jumping down to see if your Father care.
    Temptation 3 How are you going to live to get your glory? Take the short-cut to your destination of glory by just worshipping me, the devil.

    Do we need to prove who we are?
    You don't need to prove to yourself who you really are. You will know it not by conducting experiments but by discovery. You, as a created being, will need to ask your creator, your God, to tell you. Your passions, your natural abilities, you characteristics that are created by God will reveal to you. God tells us we are created in the image of God and Jesus came to give us a new life in Him as children of God. You may start your life knowing that you are a child of God when you receive Jesus as your Saviour and Lord.

    While we don't need to prove who we are, but there should be evidences of our live and work that reflect who we are. We love others not because the laws say so but because we are children of God, who is love. We love because it is in our character as child of God. We don't act in love to prove. We don't get our being by acting. We are first and we just act out naturally from what we already are. The way it works is BE-DO-HAVE. We are loving first. We do good works according to our love. We than have the love and respect, and the evidences, of schools, hospitals, etc and the people that benefited from our loving actions. The devil want us to perform first to become. It is the Have-Do-Be mindset. We must have money, do good work, then become good man. If we give to become good, or to be perceived as good, then there is this ulterior motive of good reputation rather than the simple and pure motive of love without credits or rewards. 

    Jesus refused to act on Satan's term to prove His worth and identity. Satan's ways to turn rock to bread, to jump down agaisnt gravity, to take short-cut, to worship the wrong one, are all violation of God created natural laws for abundant living. Jesus refuse to do anything to violate God's laws. 

    Jesus however, in His ministry, did many great works, that the people themselves were amazed and know that He was of God. Jesus need not prove to himself or to the devil, but Jesus does want to show himself to the people that they may know that He is the Son of God. In John 10:36-38 Jesus challenged them to see his work and know that He is the Son of God. Jesus' work, Luke 4:18-19, good news to the poor, set the captives free, healing, raising of death, abundant life... in summary to destroy the work of the devils. 1 John 3:8.

    Here is mind-map that contains the details for your learning and reflection:

    Lim Liat (c) 15 Sep 2015

    2015-09-10

    The Most Gullible People - Christians

    One of the most gullible and easiest people to cheat is probably a Christian, of whom I am one. All in the name of love and forgiveness.

    Many years ago (I hope we grow up to be wiser by now), during one of our baptisms, a candidate asked me aside for lending him some money. I figured that a brother in need, needs to be helped of course. Why even lend, give. Then he requested I keep it a secret. Of course, as any kind person should. Save his face. Let not your right hand knows what your left hand is doing. Later, another brother called to ask me if I have given some money to so-and-so. My first response was, "didn't he tell you to keep it a secret?". Lo and behold, we quickly found out that he had 'borrowed' money from many of us. You will also know the end of the story, he disappeared from church after that.

    Such story happened in many Christian home or cell groups too. We are so happy to have new members to join our group and so happy to help people that someone can easily come and 'borrow' away much money and then do the disappearing act. So we have to inform home/cell group leaders and members to take note when people want to borrow money and report them to the leadership.

    Forgive and forget is another famous preaching of the church. It is easily exploited as well because of such high sounding but blur or foolish teaching.

    Someone comes to borrow a large sum of money from you. Not only he did not pay you back but ask you to lend him another big sum because of his needs. He asked for your forgiveness and appeal to your love to help him again. He quoted 'forgive and forget' and "forgive seventy times seven times". Should you lend him the money again?

    Any normal earthly being will say no except the blur believers.

    We have confused forgiveness and trust.

    You can forgive the hurts and betrayal in the first time when you extended the trust, but you don't have to entend your trust again when the other party has already and clearly demontrated that he is not trustable. To trust in spite of the counter evidence is foolishness and it is not love at all.

    We have such common saying that " A leopard can't change his spots. ." or "江山易改本性难移" dynasty easily changes but basic character is difficult to change.

    Don't be even more loving than God. God did not forgive and forget the devils.

    Love has wisdom within. Loving without wisdom is induglence and spoiling. Be not fooled when someone want you in the name of love and forgiveness.

    Be wise. Is he trustworthy? Does he deserve your trust? What are the supportive and counter-supportive evidences.

    Lim Liat (c) 10 Sep 2015

    2015-07-16

    Confucius, Peter, Korean Dramas and Wife

    Korean culture is strongly influenced by the teaching of Confucius (known as the Ru School). They may be more Ru-like then even the Chinese. But sadly, as with the Chinese, they have a ''distorted' version of Confucius teaching.

    In Korean drama, it is not uncommon to see the Husband ill-treating, even beating up, their wives and children. They over emphasised the authority or power of the husband and father. In Chinese original culture, wife is of a special, high and protected status. The Chinese system is One Man and One wife and many concubines to cover-up the lack of wife e.g. child birth. Wife cannot be easily divorced and so forth ...to be discussed in later posts if there any interests).

    Analects 1v7 子夏曰:“贤贤易色,事父母能竭其力,事君能致其身,与朋友交言而有信。虽曰未学,吾必谓之学矣。”

    Honor those with honor more than beauty.
    Serve your parents with all your energy.
    Serve your king by giving yourself.
    Deal with your friends by keeping your promises made.
    Even if you say you have not learned, I must say you have learned well indeed.

    Though 'wife' is not mentioned at the very start, it is easily inferred from the rest of the text. It follows with reference to parents, kings, and friends; from near to far. So wife is inferred and accepted by many scholars.

    Hence, in modern English, the very four words means,
    “Love your wife more for her honorable character rather than her beauty".
    Or, Honor your wife good character instead of loving her beauty.
    Or, Appreciate your wife good character over her beauty.
    In short, Character over Beauty.

    Back to Peter. Peter tells us how wives should behave

    In 1 Peter 3:4 NIV Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

    Confucius tells the men to honor their wife for her good character over beauty.
    Peter tells the wives to develop inner good character over outward adornment.

    Now can you see how Analects complements the Bible or vice versa.

    Don't let some bias teaching stop your from reading the Chinese literature if you are a Christian neither let your love for Chinese literature stop you from reading the Bible to discover the living truth in Jesus Christ.

    Lim Liat (c) 16 July 2015

    Confucius' Advice to Modern Day Christians

    Any modern day Christians will like to hear good sermons. Some told me they must go to such and such a church to get charge-up every week. Some told me they attend 2 to 3 services on Sunday. Churches invite famous speakers from overseas and hold big meetings that were well attended. Friends will recommend you to attend this or that meeting. What could be wrong, you may ask.

    Analect (of confucius sayings) chapter 1 verse 6:
    【子曰:“弟子入则孝,出则弟,谨而信,泛爱众而亲仁。行有余力,则以学文。”】
    Confusius says, "Young men honor their elders in the house and respect others in the society. They work with care and sincerity and become trustworthy. They love the common people and be closer with those with charitable hearts. After doing such, when they have more time and strength, then they study to pick up literature and other skills.

    The key message is 先学会做人 后读书 .
    Knowing how to behave as a person is foundation. Studying is secondary.

    Or we can put it as, studying is for the purpose of behaving better.

    Putting it into Christian context:

    Behaving as a Christian is foundation. Rom 8:29 to be Christ-Like. or 2 Cor 3:3 We are living letters of Christ. Others read our behavior and come to know Christ.

    Hearing Sermons is secondary. We hear Sermons (hopefully the preachers follow the Bible rightly) to behave more Christ-like.

    If our behavior is not Christ-like, hearing more sermons may be just a cover-up of our guilt-conscience of not being Christ-like, We think we are more holy because we are hearing sermons. But the facts could be we are using them excuses to run away from our responsibilities .... e.g. to clean the house, to spend time with family members, to extend help to those in needs, to visit and comfort the sick, to even rest better that we can start the work week with better strength and clarity of thoughts .....

    Hearing too many sermons without us living them out will just jam up our mind, dull our senses, escape our responsibilities, and bring us further away from Christ-likeness.

    However, when our heart and conscious are clear, hearing a good sermon will encourage and refreshed us much. We can see our life in the sermon and the sermon in our life. Hearing out once and living them out repeatedly is the key for right Christian living as what Confucius tells us.

    Lim Liat (c) 16-7-15

    2015-07-14

    Hair, Thoughts and Heart - What does it mean? Proverbs 23v7

    One of the key verse that may impact your life on this earth is Proverb 23:7a For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.  You are the product of your thoughts in your heart. To change your life, change your thoughts. But a study of the full verse reveals other important meanings. Find out more ....
    Proverb 23:6-8
    • Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:  v6
    • For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  v7 
    • The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.  v8
    To study the Bible nowadays is very easy and also interesting. We have all the software and internet resources for many different versions of the Bible. the concordances, the cross references, and many commentaries and dictionaries and all at the touch of your finger or a mouse. To lookup and cross reference are extremely easy. It is more about whether you have the time and energy to read them. This is very unlike the past without the computer support. We have to spend much time flipping the pages of Bibles, Concordance and Commentaries. Studying even a short passage well will take a long time. So, we buy Study Bibles instead.  Even then, we still need to flip here and there resulting on torned pages showing how studious one is as a reader of the Bible. But now, we have no excuse for not studying the Bible well. We can spend more time on the content and on meditation rather than flipping pages.

    I will use a verse Proverbs 23:7, cited above, as an example for how we can benefit much from a proper study of the verse using the resources available in the internet cloud.

    You are the product of your thoughts

    “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”  ---Mahatma Gandhi 

    Proverbs 23:7 is often quoted as the support for the assertion, "You are the product of your thoughts" as in "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he".  However, that quote is only the first half a verse. There is the second half of "Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. ".  With the two halves put together, how are they linked up and still make sense? Does the first half still mean what we claim it means?

    Understanding a Verse from Its Context
    We must not interprete a verse out of its context. So we need to look into the whole Proverb 23 passage. For a study of the whole chapter, see The Seduction of Man & How to Prevent it - Proverb 23. For this discussion, we can find a grouping of 3 verses, 6 to 8 and they are cited at the top of this post. We can roughly understand the flow of this group of verses. It is warning us not the take the food of the one with an 'evil' eye else we will end up vomitting out what we take in. If we are to summarize it, we can say, "Never accept the favor of an evil person else you will regret it". If that is the case, then what is the real meaning of "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" in this context that will go with the flow?

    Looking Up the Other Translations:

    If you look up the various translations, you will find 3 groups of translations for 23v7.
    1. Group 1 You are what you think ..... The Older Translations
      There are KJV, NASB, ASV, BBE, ISV, JPS, JUB, LITV, RV, YLT etc. e.g.:
      (NAS77) For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you.

      (YLT) For as he hath thought in his soul, so is he, `Eat and drink,' saith he to thee, And his heart is not with thee.
         
    2. Group 2 Keeping Account ...Calculating ....The Newer Translations
      ESV, NIV, HCSB, CEV, CJB, ERV, GW, GE, NLT, NET etc.  e.g,:

      (ESV) for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

      (CJB) For he is like someone who keeps accounts — "Eat! Drink!" he says to you, but he doesn't really mean it.   
      (NLT) They are always thinking about how much it costs. "Eat and drink," they say, but they don't mean it.
         
    3. Group 3 Eating Hairs! ....
      (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) For just as a man swallows a bristle hair, so you eat and drink with him and his mind is not with you.
      (Septuagint by Brenton) so he eats and drinks as if any one should swallow a hair, and do not bring him in to thyself, nor eat thy morsel with him:
      (Lexham English Bible)  For, like hair in his throat, so it is. "Eat and drink!" he will say to you, but his heart will not be with you. 
    From 'thinking' to 'calculating' to 'eating hair" ! Which it the right one? Are they in conflict?

    The Explanation:
    A check with the commentaries give us the answer:

    Pulpit Commentary
    Verse 7. - For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. The verb here used is שָׁעַר (shaar), "to estimate, ....to calculate," and the clause is best rendered, For as one that calculates with himself, so is he. The meaning is that this niggardly host watches every morsel which his guest eats, and grudges what he appears to offer so liberally. In the Authorized Version the word "heart" occurs twice in this verse, but the Hebrew words are different. The first is nephesh, "breath," equivalent to "mind;" the second is leb, "heart." The Vulgate paraphrases the clause, Quoniam in similitudinem arioli et conjectoris, aestimat quod ignorat, "For like a soothsayer or diviner he conjectures that of which he is ignorant." Eat and drink, saith he to thee. He professes to make you welcome, and with seeming cordiality invites you to partake of the food upon his table. But his heart is not with thee. He is not glad to see you enjoy yourself, and his pressing invitation is empty verbiage with no heart in it. The Septuagint, pointing differently, translates, "For as if one should swallow a hair, so he eats and drinks." The Greek translators take the gnome to apply to one who invites an envious man to his table, and finds him eating his food as if it disgusted him. They go on, "Bring him not in to thee, nor eat thy morsel with him; for (ver. 8) he will vomit it up, and outrage thy fair words." In agreement with the gnome above, we find in the Talmud, "My son, eat not the bread of the covetous, nor sit thou at his table. The bread of the covetous is only pain and anguish; the bread of the generous man is a source of health and joy." 

    You can see that while the translations are different, the meaning are essentially the same. 

    Gill gives a better understanding of the phrase "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he", 
    Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,.... He is not the man his mouth speaks or declares him to be, but what his heart thinks; which is discovered by his looks and actions, and by which he is to be judged of, and not by his words; 


    The Chinese Mind Interpretation
    The Chinese has a famous saying, "知人知面不知心", you only know a person by his face but not realy his heart, meaning you only know him on the surface and that is not the real him. The real him is his heart which you cannot see.  So we can easily grasp the intention of the author of the Proverb 23v7. He said that a person is what he think inside his heart and [not the external words and actions that he show you]. If we add in the those words in bracket to show the meaning better, than the whole verse make good sense. What we see from the outside, his welcoming smiles, his inviting words, are just but a disguise of his internal calculative and scheming intention. There is no free lunch. He gives you to get more from you. His favors have condictons tied to them. The moment you eat his offer, you owe him. He will one day ask you pay back with interests! So we can see that "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" is a general truth or principle and is being used in this particular context as a warning for us not to take thing on the surface as real. It will be, of course, much better if we can find other verses in the Bible that support this truth. With the easy cross-referencing provided in the internet, it takes me little time to come out with the following mind-map to support the case.

    A good book to read on this topic is As A Man Thinketh by James Allen.

    May we be deligent in guarding our heart through the thoughts we allow to enter into our mind. May we develop a God fearing mindset and to fill our mind with good thoughts and good thinking mindset. May be confidence to search our thoughts for the UGB Ungodly beliefs that bind us. Replace them with Godly thoughts that we may be freed to live a victorious life that glorify God.

    Lim Liat (c) 14 July 2015

    2015-07-13

    The Seduction of Man & How to Prevent it - Proverb 23

    A careful study of Proverbs 23 reveals a list of 10 seductions for man. Because they appeal to our appetites, they seem so desirable, but the outcomes are bad for us. Some may eventually destroy us. But there are ways to overcome them. The key is to seek after the wisdom of God and put no trust in our own appetite based wisdom, Proverbs 23 also provides wisdom not just for a man, but as parents and as children too. Dive in to discover the details .....
    The General Principle for Victorious and Successful Life:

    If you want a short summary for Proverb 23, then it is

    Don't let your appetites lead you astray and be killed by your appetites.

    The 10 Seductions and the Ways Out:

    You can see that the seductions appeal to our appetites and seem so natural. What can be wrong when we even want them ourselves? How can something so desirable be bad? Don't we want:
    1. A good dinner?
    2. Wealth?
    3. Favor? (Foods in the text, extended to means favors given).
    4. Showin one's wisdom by giving out advices?
    5. Exploit the Opportunities?
    6. Not having the responsibility or raising children?
    7. Short Cut to Successes?
    8. Partying?
    9. Sexual Pleasures?
    10. More wines?


    The solution is simple ... Seek the Wisdom of God, trust and follow His right ways(v12,17b,v19) and not your own appetite based wisdom(v4). For children, we are to listen to our parents who shall teach God's ways. Parents have the responsibility in disciplining their children to ensure they follow God's ways.

    The Details

    Here is the mind-map for all the details that you can follow and meditate. Hope you learn much from it and put them into practices. Remember, you are the thoughts of your heart. Make sure you put the right thoughts into your heart.

    Seduction 1 to 4

    Seduction 5-7
    Seduction 8-10

    Lim Liat (c) 13 July 2015

    2015-06-27

    Heaven on Earth - Meditation on Isa 45:8

     Isa 45:8  Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
    Isaiah 45 is an interesting chapter that reveals how the Lord uses the world events, the people, to achieve His purpose. It shows us that no matter what, whether be good or bad in our eyes, the Lord is in charge. We may not like it that we are just one of the dots that when connected fulfill the purpose of God. But when we know the love of God for us, perhaps we are willing to accept the unique purpose and role that God has created us for though this role may be minor in our own eyes.

    The key verse in Isa 45 is verse 8,
    Isa 45:8  Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

    It is the fulfillment of the Lord's prayer Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

    When the righteousness from heaven meet up with earth receptive heart, it will bring forth the fruit of salvation and righteousness.

    This is exactly what Jesus, the Son of God, did for us. He came from heaven. But His work is only completed when we open our heart to receive Him, the righteousness of God, so that we are transformed and rebirth again in salvation and righteousness.

    God has created that we should all be saved and bear fruit of righteousness on earth. We are his righteousness bearing good fruit on this earth. The time will come that the earth will be transformed into heaven-like.

    May we be willing to give ourselves in to this transforming process of bring heaven on earth or making the earth heaven-like with His righteousness.


    Lim Liat (c) 27 June 2015.

    We Have Right and Wrong Built Into our Body!

    I find it interesting that our body tells us what is right or wrong without us learning it. Babies without hugging get sick and die. See for example http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/infant-touch/.

    Dr Caroline Leaf said that we are wired for love.

    Positive words, thoughts and emotions bring health.
    Negative words, thoughts and emotions bring sickness and death.

    Positive things are love, peace, joy, kindness, patience....
    Negative things are fear, worry, anxiety, bitterness, hatred, guilts, condemnation, etc.

    How come our body knows what is positive or negative?
    Right and wrong are built into us.

    To be healthy and to help make the people around us better,
    know and do, love, joy, peace.... Forgiveness is a great healer of sickness.

    Learn to forgive God, yourself and others.

    Not that God needs our forgiveness, but rather our anger with God needs to be released through forgiveness. We need to know the love of God and trust his wisdom for the disappointments that we think God fail us. We think God can and should and yet He did nothing.

    Learn to forgive yourself, as God has already forgiven you. You can be demanding of yourself, but never condemn yourself for the failures. Learn from failures. Failures are the ways to greater strength and maturity that God often needs to bring us through.

    Lastly, forgive others. Forgiveness is a choice that we can and should take independent of the people who we feel has hurt us. Very often, they are not even aware that they have hurt you or done any wrong. They are happily going on with their lives. You need to forgive and let go of the bitterness and hatred and be freed to live and go on with your life without such burdens and pains.

    Smile, you have done well. You are loved deeply by Jesus.

    Lim Liat (c) 25 June 2015