2016-09-24

Secret of a Victorious Life - Keys in Right Order

We may know the ingredients needed for a particular dish but if we mix or cook them in the order, the dish will not turn up well. It is the same in our living. The post gives the keys and the order for a victorious living.
The Peter that boldly declared "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." (Matt 26:35) denied the Lord three times later. (Luke 22:54-62). But the John that proclaimed "the disciple who Jesus loved"(John 21:24) followed Jesus and could be found at the cross of Christ and be given charge of His mother. What is the difference? Both have 'love'. But the order and the source is different. Peter's version is "I love Jesus". John's version is "Jesus loves me." Peter focused on his love for Jesus. John focused on Jesus' love for him. The outcomes were completely opposite; one ran away and the other stayed. Where you focus your heart and mind is the key --- always focus on God first and then we can do the right thing.

With this concept in mind, we can find that many translations of the Bible could be more effective if only they get the God and Me in the right order. The errors made are usually either all on God and neglect man's responsibility or overemphasizing on man's ability neglect God's grace. Let's look at a short verse Jude 1:2.

(KJV)  Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
(YLT)  kindness to you, and peace, and love, be multiplied!
The original order of words is preserved in the KJV and YLT. But the newer translations just mix them all up and give the following destroying the order and mess up the responsibilities.

(MKJV)  Mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.
(ESV)  May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
(ISV)  May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance!
(NLT)  May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The newer translations put all the responsibilities on God to give you mercy, peace and love. However, when you go back to the original version, there is Mercy to You comes first and then come peace and then come love and then multiplication.

MercyG1656 unto youG5213 andG2532 peaceG1515 andG2532 loveG26 be multipliedG4129

To a Chinese that is able to read and understand ancient Chinese text form 文言文, the position of words make a vast difference. The Chinese version from the Strong's words is:

矜恤你 并平康 和仁愛增加

The translated meaning for me is:

God gives you his mercy, so that I have peace, and so that I can love more and more.

Why don't I love others?
Because I am not secure myself. I have no peace within. How can I give out what I don't have?

How can I have peace?
Focus on the mercy of God. Know that God loves you and will care for you. He has given and sealed us with His Holy Spirit. Jesus said that no one can snatch you out of His hand. Paul reminded us that if God is for us then who can go against us. Peter tells us to cast all your cares unto Him for He cares about you etc etc. Read and recall those verses and soon the peace within you will rise up. You will be calm and confident and yourself secure, you can start to think of others.

How can I be sure that my interpretation is right?
Jude 1v21 gives us additional support. We must always interpret the Bible by the Bible and within the context.

(KJV) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

The first part asks us, men's responsibility, in the love of God.
The second part gives a specific thing to do, looking for the His Mercy that can give us eternal life. Jude v1 assured us that we are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.

Looking for G4327 is a weak translation of the original Greek,  prosdechomai, 
Thayer Definition: 1) to receive to one’s self, to admit, to give access to one’s self

It has a much stronger meaning of having already received it and just go and use it. It is about focusing with confidence on what is already there and yours to use it. It is not expecting as if wishing only.

Conclusion - The Keys and Order for Victorious Living

Focus on God's mercy for you so that you have the peace to enable to love more and more.

As you do that, your godly influence will spread out to more and more people. Your are fulfilling what Paul says about the Thessalonians,  1Th 1:3  remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ... 1Th 1:7  so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

May your light shines forth through your love built on peace that comes from the mercy of God for you. ◄ Matthew 5:16 ► let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Lim Liat (c) 24 Sep 2016

2016-09-22

The Nonsense of Being Proud of Our Weaknesses - The Abuse of 2 Cor 12:9

In 2 Corinthians 12:9b , Paul wrote, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." So many believers, instead of trying to develop their abilities, they are happy to stay in weaknesses as signs of virtues. It is actually the work our fleshly desires to justify what we do not want to change and to stay in our weaknesses. What did Paul really mean by his weaknesses? Read on....
If we neglect the context of any biblical verse and interpret the Bible according to our liking, we can surely come out with all kinds that appear to be very uplifting but actually very wrong. An example is "Being proud of our weaknesses". We find the biblical support in 2 Cor 12:9b, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." We all can relate to our weaknesses. So we quickly find in this verse the justification for our weaknesses. Even the great Apostle Paul tells us that we should be proud of our weaknesses. We happy leave out the second part of the verse and accept our weaknesses are virtues because they are to be used by God! The context of 2Cor 12 tells us that Paul was given special revelations and was tormented by 'a thorn of the flesh' which he prayed to God to have it removed. But God gave the answer that His grace is sufficient to handle the attacks of Satan. We can learn a few things from this passage.

1 Do we have anything special to boast of first?
Paul had much to boast of - eg special revelation (v3-4,7). If we don't have any ability or accomplishment to show off, then this boasting in our weaknesses does not apply.

2. The Purpose of Boasting of our Weaknesses - Prevent us from being Proud.
2Co 12:6  though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.

3 How are Paul's weaknesses revealed? Through attacks from the devils.
Strengths and weaknesses are revealed through external challenges when one goes out to accomplish good things. Laziness, lack of discipline, foolishness are just bad habits and there is nothing to be proud of but rather to be quickly repented and changed by the power of God through Christ. We then can do a before and after testimony for God. We should boast on the power of God to change us to have strengths from our weaknesses. Every time we share our weaknesses, we must quickly follow with how God has changed our weaknesses to strengths.

4 What is this 'thorn of the flesh'?
See Paul's thorn in the flesh and weakness are not his! The thorn refers to the persecutions and disasters he faced throughout his missionary work. He could have stayed in a place with people liking him. Instead, by the calling of God, he continued to venture out to bring the gospels to the rest of the world then.

5 What then are the Weaknesses? Lack of Strength to Accomplish a Mission
2Co 12:10  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. The Greek Word for weakness is G769 astheneia Thayer Definition: 1) want of strength. It is the lack of strength in face of external persecutions and sufferings. It is thinking that we can do it that we venture off. It is in succeeding what we venture out to do that we can have some basis to be proud off. It is also where the danger lies --- that we rely on our strengths and neglect the leading and the relying on God. The challenge must be greater than our abilities that reveals our lack, that we may go back to God for His grace to continue the work. Our great moments of triumphs are also our great dangers to neglect God.

Conclusions
Our weaknesses, lack of strengths, come from accomplishing worthy projects.  Our lacks force us to look for God as our source of strengths. It keeps us humble in our successes, knowing that our strengths actually comes from God so that we may be careful to be sensitive to His leading and His empowering grace. Christ in us and through us to the praise of His glory. Never boast of our weaknesses but rather of His empowering grace. ◄ Matthew 5:16 ►In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. If you want to boast of your weaknesses, then continue with how God transform your weaknesses into strengths.

On the other hand, don't let our weaknesses to excuses for doing anything. The key is always to be sensitive to the leading of God. God may either strengthens you or may bring others to help you as Aaron to Moses (note... God's original intention is to strengthen Moses but Moses gave too much excuses").

Weaknesses are not for us to be proud of but of our needs to rely on, trust and be proud of God.

Lim Liat (c) 22 Sep 16

Additional Thoughts (17 Oct 16)
Some thoughts about "boasting about weaknesses".
1. Boasting may be better translated as confidence. I'm not shy to speak of my weaknesses because I have faith in Christ who will strengthen me.
2. There is the timing issue. After I have through Christ overcome the weaknesses, then I can boast about Christ, not me, in helping me to overcome. I have a before and after testimony.
3. We can boldly assess ourselves because if there be any weaknesses, we have Christ to help us overcome it.
4. Hence, we can live in joy and confidence knowing He is with us no matter what.



2016-09-15

Lao Zi explains Jesus

Why God needs to become man is well explained by Lao Zi.
The most famous quote from Lao Zi is the first 6 words of Dao De Jing --- 道可道非常道。
The WAY that can be described is not the eternal WAY.
Our first reactions could be:
1. Very deep ... very powerful ...It gets my attention, but what is it saying?
2. Pure rubbish. Lao Zi is just trying to catch our attention by twisting words.
3. If the Eternal WAY cannot be described, then how can we know it?
The answer to point 1 will do away with point 2. Lao Zi is just trying to tell us that our language and our mind are too limited to understand the unlimited great WAY well. He further explains it by saying 名可名非常名 The Name that is Named is not the Name. A name is just a representation of the thing and it not the thing itself. It is a convenient way of reference but the name is surely not exactly as the named thing.
The answer to point 3 explains the need of God to some in the person of Jesus to explain the unlimited and eternal God to us. We could, as Lao Zi did, to explain what the WAY is like. Lao Zi wrote another 80 chapters/paragraphs to try to explain to us the attributes of the WAY through the universe, nature, and living things that are created by the WAY. The best way to the WAY is for the WAY to come to us in man form and tell us. It is like we becoming a cat so that we can fully communicate with the cat. So, we have this in
John 1 The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
.....
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Lim Liat (c) 15 Sep 16