2015-02-23

The God of the 3 Generation Family and The Implications

Reflecting on today message preached by Ps John Liu of Petra Church Singapore:

1 God is the God of 3 Generations of Family, God Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is building family and not army. SunZi's Art of War tells us that if the commanders love their men as their children then their men will be willing to give their lives for the commanders. It confirms that family is stronger than army."

2. Christianity does not last more than one generation. If our next generation is not believers, that the gospel stopped there. Remind me that God has not grandchildren.

3. Then it bags the question, what kind of parent, of spiritual maturity, are we? What good or bad examples are we leaving behind for our children?

Paul mentioned in 2 Tim 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. But real effective teaching is more than just correct doctrines but real living out of the doctrines in front of our children.
Lao Zi DaoDeJing Chapter 2 是 以 圣 人 处 无 为 之 事, 行 不 言 之 教. The saints are to live without violating the laws and to teach without words (by implication by examples. The exhortation is not to teach, but to teach rightly, by being the model for others to follow). This teaching without words is repeated in Chapter 43.
The story of OHare, the nasty gangster lawyer father is convicted one day because of his son and his son became a war hero. Seehttp://www.bereanpublishers.com/easy-eddie-and-his-son/

4. It reminded me of another famous Lao Zi's saying in http://mind-value.blogspot.sg/…/principles-for-greatness-4-…
Confucius told us through the 3-character-bible, the last 2 verses:
人遗子 金满赢 我教子 唯一经
People left great wealth for their children, but I teach my children only one bible: ( learn and work hard to be a useful person - implied from the following verse).
勤有功 戏无益 戒之哉 宜勉力
Hard work brings rewards. Fooling around is not useful.
Be careful and be encouraged to work hard.
A Taiwanese pastor wrote a book titled "So poor that you only have money left!"
What is the best things you can leave behind for your children?
Is it not the knowing and experiencing of our Savior and God Jesus?
Are we living that out for our children to see?

5. One more thing.
For many of us, we bring the Gospel to our extended family. We bring it upwards to our parents, sideways to our siblings too. May we continue our prayers and efforts in bringing our extended family to know the Lord.

Lim Liat (c) 22 Feb 15

2015-02-05

The Branding of Believers - The Ten Commandments

Should Believers still follow the Ten Commandments? The answer is No and Yes. No for salvation because Christ has fulfilled it and redeemed us. Yes because it is the branding for believers. The commandments were given after the Israelites were freed from slavery and are for the purpose of differentiating them from the others. i.e. Ten Commandments were for their branding, to show others what their God was like. Jesus in John 13:35 told us that His disciples would be known by their love. Jesus summarised the commandments as 'love God and love others as oneself'. Hence, the commandments are the minimum behavioural standards to let the world that are Jesus' followers.
The Greatest Misunderstanding about Ten Commandments.
It is generally known and taught that the Ten Commandments are the standards for people to achieve to gain righteousness and thereby qualify them to go to heaven. This is justification by the flesh.
Because of this misunderstanding, born-again believers of Jesus Christ therefore think they no longer have to follow the 10 commandments because they are already saved by Jesus.
To understand the original and true purpose of the ten commandments, we have to go back to history. When was the ten commandments given? Was it before or after the exodus? It was given after they were freed from slavery, crossed the red-sea, reached Mt Sinai and given to Moses.
The ten-commandment was not given earlier as a test for them to pass and be qualified to be freed. They have been passed earlier by the grace of God who performed the miracles then caused Pharaoh to let the people go.
They were freed first and then given the commandments.
So we know the purpose of the ten-commandments is not for passing any God's exam. Then what is the purpose? It is a description of the attributes of God and how men can communicate and build relationship with God.
The commandments were described by James as the Laws of Liberty and not the Laws of Bondage that so many people seem to think. In modern terms, the commandments are the secret keys for success and independence in life.
Because the commandments show us the attributes or qualities of God, the believers, as the children God, should also exhibit such qualities. The commandments are not for our salvation but rather as our testimonies to others, telling others what our God is like. How do others know about our God, through our  behaviour, the follows the spirit of the ten commandments.

Positive Way of Rewording the Ten Commandments
  1. Focus on worshipping one God.
  2. Reject counterfeit gods like our self-righteousness, wealth, glory, pleasure/sex, etc. Focus is both yes and no. Saying yes to God and no to all other counterfeits.
  3. Integrity to God's brand. Do not abuse or misuse of God's name. Uphold the brand of God's name and bring no shame to His name.
  4. Rest and renewal of our spiritual life in God. Dedicate times, especially a day, with God and His people.
  5. Honor our elders especially our parents and love our younger ones.
  6. Love replaces bitterness, hatred and murders.
  7. Be faithful to our spouse.
  8. Be good steward of wealth to replace stealing.
  9. Be honest in our speech to replace lies and gossips.
  10. Be generous in our giving and protective of our and others assets
Ten Commandments for Building Lasting Businesses and the ways believers should run their businesses
  1. Be focus on your business mission, visions, values. Be sure to adopt biblical values.
  2. Reject all other activities that contribute not to the visions and values.  This is the pruninig of John 15, to be more fruitful.
  3. Build your brands. Make sure you work and deliver according to your Mission, Visions and Values.
  4. Rest and revitalized with innovations to transform and keep up with the external changes.
  5. Honor your share owners and bosses.
  6. Love your staff and customers.
  7. Be faithful in all your business relationships and your staff.
  8. Be effective and lean in managing your resources and assets.
  9. Be honest in all your communications and public relations.
  10. Achieve and protect the three bottom lines of economic profits, social contributions and environmenntal protection.
The Need for Rebirth - Following Commandments does not qualify you only Believe in Jesus
side note: a parrot can speak like man but speaking like man does not make a parrot man. So, following the ten-commandments does not make one child of God. A child of God needs to be reborn by the Spirit of God. But a true child of God will exhibit the behaviour of his Father, which is shown to others that follow and even exceed the demands of the commandments.

Lim Liat (c) 5 Feb 2015

2015-02-04

Chinese Philosophies and the Bible, are they in conflict?

The values taught by Chinese Philosophies and the Bible are the essentially the same --- harmony of heaven, earth and men. The mystery of Christ within is the fulfilment of Chinese' desire of 'Inside Saint and Outside King' by the grace of God. Reading ancient Chinese classics help us to understand the Bible better. Consider the concept of harmony. 

What is the greatest values according to the Chinese Philosophies?
Harmony. Harmony of heaven, earth and men. So harmonious that they become one. 天地人合一。It does not mean they loose their original identities to merge into one. But rather, each maintain each own, but act in unity for everlasting life and growth.
What did Jesus come to do?
To die on the cross to pay for the sins of men so that men can be reconciled to God, achieving peace between God and men. In other words, the purpose of Jesus is harmony between God and men and men living on earth. (recalled Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on EARTH. A new heaven and new earth ...). So, it is actually, harmony between God, Earth and Men!
So, can believers read and understand Chinese Philosophies? 
My answer is obvious --- yes and it is even better to know them well (the philosophies, not the religions). Understanding Chinese Philosophies give me better understanding of world and even of the Bible. Ancient Chinese Philosophies begin with the fear of God. Men should follow the Dao of the Earth(the natural order) and Heaven (the God's order as revealed in the working laws of the creation).
To understand better, tell me what you understand about "Harmony".
What does harmony mean? How do you achieve harmony? What are the results of harmony? I will give you the answers from the Ancient Chinese Philosophies perspective at end of this post. You can compare it to what you know from the Bible about harmony. Hopefully, you can find the teaching from Chinese Philosophies is similar and gives you more.
Coming back, what then is the difference between Chinese Philosophies and the Bible?
The key difference is in the incarnation of God into Man, Jesus Christ and the subsequent rebirth of man into children of God by the Holy Spirit, achieving the Christ in You, the greatest mystery of all.
Ancient Chinese Philosophies also believe men to be transformed from the inside out. Zhuang Zi (disciple of Lao Zi) proposed 内圣外王 (inside saint outside king ... ie. rule out from the saint within to achieve good government). Confucius school proposed the 内修外治 develop inner character and rule outward, from self to family to nation to peace on earth).
So, Christ within Men, is actually fulfilling the dreams and desires of the ancient Chinese Philosophers. What it takes men to try very hard on its own to do, God, through Jesus has achieved it for us. Is not this amazing? The good news of the Gospel. The dream fulfilled.
The warning for HyperGrace
But watch out, the rebirth, the new spiritual seed, have been planted in an old body and old mindset. The seed needs to grow-up to attain manhood in the like image of Jesus Christ. The ultra-grace or hyper-grace preachers like to forget or side-step this grow process of renewal of old mindset to new mindset, and just claim attainment of the blessings that Christ has achieved for us. The end result is making God as a prosperity god of the Chinese, making God as a means, the genie, to get what we want. They produce, not true disciples, but a bunch of entitlement oriented babies in grown up bodies!
Back to Harmony - How much do you know from the Bible?
What does harmony mean? 
  • Harmony is the vibrant and smooth exchanges of the unique contributions of diversity resulting in abundant growth for all. The modern day is called "synergy" with 1 + 1 (of another type) = 10, 100, 1000....
  • The foundation of Harmony is diversity, not uniformity!
  • Harmony is much much more than tolerance of the diversity.
  • Tolerance is separation, keeping a distance. In I-Ching, it is called 否stagnation, the very opposite of Abundance 泰. Harmony is vibrant with each one contributing his best to benefit others and the whole.

How do you achieve harmony? 

Three key concepts:
  1. 礼 the rules of conduct, good manners, the protocols for exchange.It is built on 仁 love, charity, kindness and 义,righteousness. It ensure no misunderstanding in the exchanges. 礼 li is how love should be expressed so that there is not misunderstanding intention in our actions.
  2. 乐 yue Music : the smooth interaction and exchanges and co-ordination resulting in great music, bringing joy, peace, rest, comfort to all. The music of interactions flow and adapt to changes.
  3. 中庸 balance of just right, no more and no less. Never going to the extreme, balancing the demands of many and creating win win win for all.
    It is not A or B favouring one party only, but A & B with a dynamic balance that shift with changes from internal or external. There is love in justice and justice in love. Going to the extreme is spoiling kids on the extreme end of love and rebellious and angry kids on the other extreme of just.
What are the results of harmony?

The result is growth for all and abundance wealth for all to share. By exchanging, the economy produces more. This is econ 101. But exchanges of love and care in the right way will bring forth abundance not just in economic wealth, but social peace, harmony and life, the real living.
Chinese Philosophies enrich the meaning of loving our neighbours as oneself so that we may love rightly and abundantly.

Lim Liat (c) 4 Feb 2015