Be Steadfast in Trial - Study of James 1v12

Some friend on Facebook shared on James 1v12. It is a good trigger to study the verse in greater details. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Study in Context: Look up the preceding and subsequent verses.
    The preceding verses talk about not being of double-mindedness, riches and humility, and the fleeting nature of life. The subsequent verse tells us temptation is not of God. So we can differentiate between trial that is of God to build us up to reward us vs temptation that causes us to fall and commit evil.
  2. Let Bible interpret the Bible: Look up similar verses else in the Bible.
    This is best done using an electronic Bible such as e-Sword to easy search and cross references. We can find that there are many types of Crowns mentioned in Bible (a subject for a separate study). But we can find one Rev 2:10 that mentioned the 'Crown of Life'.
  3. Break the verse into related parts. Best done with a mind-mapping software (eg freemind or freeplane).  Here is the outcome:

James 1v12 tells us to be steadfast under trial. Rev 2:10 gives as another description for steadfast, which is to remain faithful to God... sticking to our believe in God and His values, staying in righteousness despite the persecution. 

The reward of the Crown of Life is a promised by God for all who love him. Rev 2:10 repeats the promise. We can therefore be doubly sure of this promise. The blessing is the Crown of Life. 

We may also realise that we who love God, will be blessed through the way of trial to build us up and to achieve the rewards of the crown of life. Not everyone can participate in this race of life where the trophy is the Crown of life. Only those who love God, shown in receiving the salvation of His Son Jesus Christ who died and was resurrected for us.

Salvation is not the end or sole purpose of life. Salvation is but the beginning, the pre-qualification of life for us in this race meant only for the righteous saints of God. We are saved for good works says Eph 2:10 which God has predestined for us to walk in them.

Rev 2:10 tells us not to fear because it will be short (10 days) and God has known and told us before hand. This also implies that He know the victory is ours to take. Even in death, there is the victory. The Crown is given to all who faithfully went through, whether alive or dead, they shall be resurrected in new bodies to wear the Crown of Life.

We do not what the Crown of Life entails. We know two things for sure ... there is honor and there is life. Other verses of the Bible tell us about the sitting on the thrones of God, judging the devils, ruling over many cities etc. Paul tells us that the things that God has prepared for us is beyond our wildest imagination. 

Let us therefore, have no fear, but walk confidently in trials, knowing that He is with us and victory has been won. Let us just remain obedient, faithful and trusting in Him who will walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Look forward to the receiving of the Crown of Life.

May the Lord give you the peace, hope and assurance in your time of trial.

Lim Liat (c) 27 Apr 2015


Live Meaningfully - Psalm 90

Death is the sure proof that we are not in charge, even of our own life. We need to know the everlasting One who holds our life in His hands. He foresaw our sufferings and sins and sent His Son Jesus Christ to restore us back to Him. Will we be willing to receive Jesus Christ? Then we can know how to live life meaningfully. Let's look into Psalm 90 for the details....
Here is the mindmap with my reflection on each verse.

    Psalm 90 begins with authorship - A prayer by Moses, the man of God.

    The Everlasting Creator God
    • O Lord, you have been our refuge throughout every generation. Psa 90:1 God is our security. Why don't you seek and be with God?
    • Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, you were God. You are God from everlasting to everlasting. Psa 90:2
      The everlastingness of God is compared with the short life of man 
    The Mortality of Man
    • You turn mortals back into dust and say, "Return, descendants of Adam." Psa 90:3
      Death is the sure proof that man is not in charge, even of one own life!
    • Indeed, in your sight, a thousand years are like a single day, like yesterday-already past- like an hour in the night. Psa 90:4
      God transcends time. What is long to man is nothing to God. Our short life on earth is, in fact, a grace of God. Many did not make it out of their mother wombs, Many were taken when young. May we appreciate this life that we have now
    • You sweep mortals away. They are a dream. They sprout again in the morning like cut grass. Psa 90:5
      In the morning they blossom and sprout. In the evening they wither and dry up. Psa 90:6 It is God who is in charge, not us. Do we not fear God, o mortal man? 
    Consequence of Sin - A Short-Life filled with Pains 
    • Indeed, your anger consumes us. Your rage terrifies us. Psa 90:7
      Why is God angry with us? Because we created beings have ignored our Creator and want to do our own things, even evil things against Him and against one another.
    • You have set our sins in front of you. You have put our secret sins in the light of your presence. Psa 90:8
      We may hide our sins in our legal systems. We set up laws to justify our sins. But we cannot fool God. We even can't fool ourselves as our guilt arises to condemn us.
    • Indeed, all our days slip away because of your fury. We live out our years like one long sigh. Psa 90:9 
    • Each of us lives for 70 years- or even 80 if we are in good health. But the best of them bring trouble and misery.Indeed, they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psa 90:10 Even if our own lives are healthy and well. We live to suffer through the sufferings of others, the separation with our loved ones. As we get older, time seems to move faster. Are we prepare for our own death where we leave this world? 
    • Who fully understands the power of your anger? A person fears you more when he better understands your fury. Psa 90:11
      God's anger is but a reflection of His love and justice for us. He had to right the evils done by men. He hates to see the suffering that men bring upon themselves. Will we not listen to Him? 
    Make Our Short-Life Meaningful
    • Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom. Psa 90:12
      Let's live each moment meaningfully. It begins with having wisdom. The wisdom that knows God and understands what are the important things of life. The wisdom that discerns right and wrong and let us choose the right path.
    • Return, LORD! How long...? Change your plans about us, your servants. Psa 90:13 This prayer was made by Moses, before the arrival of Jesus Christ. God has indeed answered our prayer by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. To rescue us from the consequence of our sins. Will we respond to God's saving grace?
    • Satisfy us every morning with your mercy so that we may sing joyfully and rejoice all our days. Psa 90:14
      May we begin each day with joy and vitality ---- because we are secured in the love of God. Because we have chosen Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. We will follow Him.
    • Make us rejoice for as many days as you have made us suffer, for as many years as we have experienced evil. Psa 90:15
      God will make good what we have suffered. God will restore us. May we be His witness and testimonies of His Love to others and draw them back to God.
    • Let us, your servants, see what you can do. Let our children see your glorious power. Psa 90:16
      Yes. Let God's power be shown. Let's experience His miracles.
    • Let the kindness of the Lord our God be with us. Make us successful in everything we do. Yes, make us successful in everything we do. Psa 90:17
      Let our work begins with the kindness of God within. It is His love and His purpose that our work begins. It is His love and His power that our work be successfully completed that people may know the goodness of God. God is glorified through us. Mat 5:16 ►... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
    May you find your calling and purpose in God and live out a life meaningfully, joyfully and without any regrets when the time come. God bless you.

    Lim Liat (c) 21-04-15 


    Man plans and God gives the Outcome - Proverb 16

    Man may plan but the steps and the outcomes are decided by God according to His purpose. So we must follow God's ways to do and live well in life. What are His ways? Lets start with what He dislike, follow by what He like, knowing His wisdom and finally, stay hungry for God that we may be faithful in following His Ways to accomplish His plan for us bring glory to God through us. This is the learning from Proverbs 16.

    Who is in charge down hear on earth? Is it man or God? Proverb 16 clearly tells us who is in charge down here.  Verse 1 says that while man make his plan but the answer comes from God. Verse 9 is even more specific, God directs his steps, no matter how man plans and work to side-step God's. If  man is at a lost and seek super-natural means through asking mediums, fortune telling, lots casting or whatever, it is God that decide the outcome of the consultation! Men cannot ignore God though he may not even belief in God.

    As we get more educated and successful, there is the growing tendency that we are self-made and need not God. We think we can decide for ourselves and even for others, what is right and wrong. Such pride in self is an abomination to God and God will surely bring forth his fall and destruction.

    If we are persuaded that creatures like us should follow our Creator, then we find out more about God, His dislikes and likes and His wisdom. This is how we can live this life meaningfully and well, with honor, long life, safety and wealth. Below is the overview mindmap:

    The details of each topic above can be found in this mind-map.
    Please go through it carefully, as there are many powerful principles therein.

    If you have read through the mind-map, then here are some questions for refreshing your learning.

    1. What are the few key points that you have learned?
      Even only one will do. You can come back to this again to pick out another learning point.
    2. How can you apply that point to your life? Are there some changes that need to be made to your present plan? Some relationships to build or avoid? The way we talk and handle our bosses, colleagues, subordinates, spouse, and children? 
    May God bless your plan after your time with Him. Bless is not about outrighr endorsement of your plan but rather pointing out the right and wrong and give you wisdom to read the ever changing situations as you execute your plan.

    Lim Liat (c) 16 Apr 2015



    The Cross & Resurrection- We Only Just Begun

    According to Ravi Zacharias,

    "The persuit the Hebrews was light. 
    For the Greeks, it was knowledge. 
    For the Romans, it was glory.

    2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."

    What is the pursuit of the Chinese?
    It is harmony.

    From the root of Chinese philosophies, I-Ching, it is about 天地人合一
    The unity of Heaven, Earth and Men or more specifically, the unity of God, Nature and Men.
    (See Chinese Classics & The Bible)

    2 Cor 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[a] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

    The purpose of Christ did not end with the Cross. 
    It was the necessary and painful stepping stone for Jesus to pay for the sins of the world.

    Neither did it end with the Resurrection.
    It was the necessary and glorious victory to defeat death, to give new life to man. That men may be rebirth as new creation and sons of God.

    It continues with us bringing the message of restoration of harmony between God and man to world.

    Matthew 28:16-20

    We only just begun ......

    Lim Liat (c) 4 Apr 2015