Learning from What is Said & Not Said - The Magi in Jesus Birth & the Message

When reading an article, we not only have the get the facts right but also getting the right interpretation to really benefit from it. We take an example from the birth of Christ about the magi from the East to illustrate.

An article like this one Christmas Timeline of the Biblical Account shows us how poorly our reading of the Bible is. It clarified many misunderstandings we have of the Christmas story such as:

  1. How many magi/wise men/kings from the East came to worship Jesus?
    Not three. But at least two and maybe more than 3. It was not stated in the Bible.
  2. How old was Jesus when they saw him? Not a baby. But around 1 year old. 
  3. Was Jesus born in a stable? etc.
Let's go deeper into the interpretation.

Matthew 2:11 
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

The Facts:
  1. They - so there should be at least 2 and likely more but the exact number is not stated.
  2. the 'Child' - Jesus was not a baby at this time.
  3. the 'Gifts' - gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Interpretations:

Since the number of the wise men was not stated but the specific of the gifts were. It shows that the author wanted his readers to pay more attention to the different types of gifts rather than be curious about the number of wise men. Our understanding of the gifts is more important than the number of people, or, the attributes are more important that number. The wise men and their gifts are important to our understanding.

The wise men --- from afar, took them many months to find Jesus, showing they came from far away. Then they were wise - people who seek and have an understanding of the coming events and then prepare for them. A wise person will try to understand and plan for the future but be not worry. In Matthew 6, Jesus told us not to worry but did not tell us not to plan. Because in Luke 14:28 Jesus told us to count the cost to see if we have enough money to complete the building first. It was re-emphasized again in Luke 14:31 to estimate whether we could win a war against a larger enemy. 

The good news of Jesus birth is to be shared far and wide. People from all over the world will want to receive this good news of Jesus birth. There is a reference to Isaiah 60:6  A multitude of camels shall cover you,  the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.

The gifts:

A quick check across some commentaries will give us the following interpretations:
  1. Gold - represent King. Jesus as King of Jews that the wise men came to seek.
  2. Frankincense - the ingredient for incense to give out the fragrance, showing Jesus as Priest and Jesus himself even as the sacrifice, the frankincense itself, to be offered and burnt up for us to God.
  3. Myrrh - the ingredient to preserve a dead body. It has a meaning of bitterness. It represents the suffering Son of Man.
So we can see that the gifts are a foretelling of the mission of Jesus, as King to be a fragrance sacrifice to God for the atonement of men sins that men may be recounciled with God through Jesus. The gospel of salvation is about making dead men alive to be children of God through Jesus.

So, the number of wise men is not the issue. The meaning of the gifts is the main theme. It is the story of the life of Jesus - as King but offered as the incense to make dead men alive in Him.

Lim Liat (c) 3 Dec 2017


What is faith? How is faith related to hope?

Faith never gives up in face of obstacle but find ways to fulfill its hope.
What is faith? How is faith related to hope?
I have been troubled by this:
Mat 15:26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Mat 15:27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Most of us will think that Jesus was being nasty to the woman. But it is a story to show the meaning of faith.
Faith never gives up in face of obstacle but find ways to fulfill its hope.
Jesus was leading and triggering the woman's faith to break the normal norms of blessings to the Jews first.
Have you given up lately because of some objections or obstacles? 
Keep the goal but find new ways to achieve it.
Now can we see the meaning of this famous quote of Hebrew 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Faith insists that the Hope is realized!
Lim Liat (c) 30 Nov 17


Word Alone is Insufficient - The Process of Faith

Believers today had the Word of God, but many are just like the Old Testament people, they are not fruitful. How come? Because they believe not and obey not the Word. So having the Word alone is insufficient. There need complete it with the process of faith.
The Old Testament gave us some very sad stories of unbelief, disobedience, idolatry, rebellion, and destructions. They had the Law of God. They even had God's prophets. But the outcomes were not pleasing to God. They clearly show that God's Word alone is insufficient. They are other important things that must be tied in with the Word of God. What are these?

Let take one successful example of Joshua and his people that entered, conquered, and inherited the promised land. The instructions for victory and success are clearly given by God at the very start. The key verses are:
  • Joshua 1:8-9 (NKJV)
    8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The key words are:
  1. The Word - this Book of Law
  2. Read and Speak the Word.
  3. Meditate on it all the time.
  4. Obey - do according to the Word.
  5. Outcome - Success over a period of obeying in action.
  6. A reminder - to courageous to do and obey the Word.
A mind-map incorporate the parable of the Sower are shown below:
The key to success and victory is to complete the Word with the act of faith. The hearing of the Word is just received in the mind. It must be meditated on day and night for it to enter into our heart as faith. The desire of the heart, enriched by the Word, will cause to want to act on it. Acting on the received Word is called obedience. It is the expression of our faith. Acted faith will bring forth the good success of increase and abundance and our own growth in faith.

Lim Liat (c) 12 Nov 2017


How do you know which Religions or Worldviews is the right one?

Which one is right is only possible when we have a set of tests to discover and validate them. We look at the worldview test proposed by Ravi Zacharias.
People may ask you, "With so many religions in the world, how do you know yours is the right one?",  "How do you know there is a God?" etc. The famous Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias asked us to define our worldview and gave us some tests to validate them. Here is a mind-map that captures his various posts on this worldview topic.

The mind-map on Worldview and its validation:

The references:

  1. ASK Group Leader Introduction | RZIM
  2. Think Again – Deep Questions | RZIM
  3. How Should We Analyze a Worldview?

Now is your turn to fill in the answers and validate them to find out.

Lim Liat (c) 5 Nov 2017


The Secret of Effective Prayers and How God Answer Prayer

The Lord's prayer gives us the guidelines and the sequence for praying effective prayers. A key point not usually highlighted is God answers our prayer according to the decisions of the spiritual court of heaven where the devil, the accuser, is blocking and attacking our prayers. Knowing the promises and the work done by Christ for us becomes our foundations and faith for our prayers in the Courts of Heaven.
Bible Reference: Matthew 6:5-15

The Template for Our Prayers - The Lord's Prayer
For a detailed discussion on the Lord's Prayer, please read The Right Way to Pray Effectively from the Lord's Prayer and An In-depth View of The Lord's Prayer - Learning from Tim Keller.  The template is summarized as follows:

  1.  Pray to our Heavenly Father based on father-child relationship.
  2.  Worship and Praise the Father first.
  3.  Discover the Will of God - read the Bible and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit for this specific moment and issue.
  4.  Present Our Requests - Our daily needs and the empower of authority and resources to accomplish His will for us and through us.
  5.  Intercession for others. Empathize and take on the positions of the people we are praying for. Confessions of their sins if applicable as if we are the sinners. See Daniel example.
  6.  Spiritual Warfare - Yield not to temptations, delivered from evil and overcoming evil with love. Know the operation of the Courts of Heaven.
  7.  Giving Thanks and Praise to God for His power and glory that all will be answered to glorify God.

The Courts of Heaven

Consider the 2 verses following the Lord's prayer that Jesus specifically pointed out for our attention:

Matthew 5:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

For those of us who are in the healing ministry, we encountered many cases of healing happening when the sick person chose to forgive those that hurt them. If they could not, we asked them to ask Jesus to enable them to forgive. Healing comes after the forgiveness. We can then understand this two verses better. Even though forgiveness is given to us when we accept Christ as our Savior, the spiritual blessings could be withheld if we don't follow the teachings of the Bible, the rules of the heaven courts. God is the righteous Judge and God cannot violate his own rules. We need to act on the Word of God to receive the blessings and promises from His Word.

These two verses also link us back to 6:13 "deliver us from the evil one". The best protection is to stay and act within the boundary of God's Word.

In the book of Job, we can see such a Court in operation when the devil must have the approval of God to harm Job.

To know more about the Courts of Heaven, please see The Courts of Heaven | Cornerstone Community Church and Principles for the Courtroom of Heaven.

Lim Liat (c) 24 Oct 2017


Does Grace free us from the consequences of sins? Jeremiah 7 in Modern Times

Grace is given to us freely through Jesus on our request to empower us to live the life we should. But some have mistakenly considered grace as forgiveness of our sins and abuse it as the license to sin, sinning without the penalty.  That could not be so as we can see how God would treat His people in the time of Jeremiah where they have the His Temple with them. God changes not and in the New Testament, we have Hebrew 12:6 "the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son".
In the time of Jeremiah, there was the Temple of God, showing God's acceptance of the people.

The people proudly proclaimed the power of their God (Jer 7:4)
  • Jer 7:4  Don't trust deceptive words like these, and say, 'The Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD,' 
and made sacrifices there too (Jer 7:21-23).
  • Jer 7:21-23  This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat. Indeed, when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn't speak or command them about burnt offering and sacrifice, 23  but I did give them this command: Obey me and I'll be your God, and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you so it will go well for you. 
But at the same time, they continued to do evil in the sight of God, trusting their temple and their sacrifices to save them(7v9-10).
  • Jer 7:9  Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear by false gods, burn incense to Baal, follow other gods that you don't know, 10  and then come to stand before me in this house that is called by my name and say, 'We're delivered' so we can continue to do all these things that are repugnant to God? 
But God through Jeremiah warned them to change or else He would destroy them including His Temple(7v14).
  • Jer 7:14  Just as I did to Shiloh, I'll do to the house in which you trust and which is called by my name, the place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 

But if they only repent, He would let them stay (7v3,5).
  • Jer 7:3  This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: "Change your ways and your deeds, and I'll let you live in this place. 
  • Jer 7:5  but rather, truly change your ways and your deeds. If you truly practice justice between each person and his neighbor, 
Even so, God will be merciful and give us many chances to repent (7v13).
  • Jer 7:13  Now, because you have done all these things," declares the LORD, "I spoke to you over and over again, but you didn't listen. I called to you, but you didn't answer. 
However, there will be a time where it would be too late. Hence, wake up and change our way now.

Replace the word "temple" with "grace" and read Jeremiah 7 again. As they trusted in the Temple as we do with Grace today, we are to heed the warning of God. The consequences of our sins, the discipline of our Lord, are to awaken us to the evilness and the harms, to ourselves and to those related to us, of our sins.  If God just removes the consequences of our sins, we will have a distorted view of life, of right and wrong, and we would not be able to live rightly and realistically. We are not loved but spoiled, to become like a devil!

Repent and seek the Lord for the true grace that empowers us to live the life that we should.

See also:

Lim Liat (c) 16-9-17


The Greatest Sin of Present Generation - Ungratefulness - Isaiah 28

A popular Chinese saying is "饮水思源", "Remember the source when we drink.". It is a reminder that no one is a self-made person. "I did it myself" or "I did it my way" are but pride and ungratefulness working in us and it will be our eventual downfall. God condemned the people of Israel in Isaiah 28 precisely of their pride and subsequent disobedience and illusion, ignoring the fertile land that God had provided for them to be rich. God established the Law of Sowing and Reaping and hence we reap what we sow. Sow in pride and ignoring God will reap in sins and destructions. Remember our Source and live well.
Isaiah 28 Mind-map:
Please note some verses were re-ordered and shortened to reflect the message clearer.

Isaiah 28 The Ungrateful Proud Drunkards & Their Destruction

The Lord Will Judge Samaria - The Northern Nation
  • Samaria/Ephraim was a rich land given by God

  • The Blessings
    • 1c its beautiful splendor,
      • situated at the head of a rich valley,
      • the crown of those overcome with wine.
    • 4b its beautiful splendor,
      • situated at the head of a rich valley,
    • others want it
      • will be like an early fig before harvest –
      • as soon as someone notices it,
      • he grabs it and swallows it.

  • Warning of Coming Judgement
    • 1a The splendid crown of Ephraim’s drunkards is doomed,
    • 1b the withering flower,
      • 4a The withering flower,
    • 2 Look, the sovereign master sends a strong, powerful one.
      • With the force of a hail storm ...
      • ... a driving, torrential rainstorm,
      • he will knock that crown to the ground
    • 3 The splendid crown of Ephraim’s drunkards will be trampled underfoot.

  • Drunkard State - Everyone including the Priests & Prophets - A Fully corrupted Place
    • 7 Even these men stagger because of wine,
      • they stumble around because of beer –
      • priests and prophets stagger because of beer,
      • they are confused because of wine,
      • they stumble around because of beer;
      • they stagger while seeing prophetic visions,
      • they totter while making legal decisions.Drunken Judge vs Wise Judge v6
    • 8 Indeed, all the tables are covered with vomit;
      • no place is untouched.

  • God's Standard & The True Crown - What it should have been in the 1st place
    • 5 At that time the LORD who commands armies will become a beautiful crown ... for the people
    • 6 He will give discernment to the judges.A wise & fair Judge to establish righteousness
    • and strength to those who defend the city from attackers.A powerful Commander to defend the city

  • Refusal for Correction & Their boastings - The Pride & Boastfulness
    • 9 Who is the LORD trying to teach?We can decide for ourselves.
      • To whom is he explaining a message?
      • Those just weaned from milk!
      • Those just taken from their mother’s breast!
    • 10 Indeed, they will hear meaningless gibberish,Don't nag at us.
      • senseless babbling,
      • a syllable here, a syllable there.

  • Using a Foreign Force to teach them since they were not hearing God's words- God used Others to get them to listen since they refuse to listen to God.

    • 11 For with mocking lips and a foreign tongue
      • he will speak to these people.
    • 12 In the past, he said to them,
      • “This is where security can be found.
      • Provide security for the one who is exhausted!
      • This is where rest can be found.”
      • But they refused to listen.
    • 13 So the LORD’s word to them will sound like
      • meaningless gibberish,
      • senseless babbling,
      • a syllable here, a syllable there.
    • As a result, they will fall on their backsides when they try to walk,
    • and be injured, ensnared, and captured.

  • The sin of the Northern Kingdom ... We did it ourselves and we don't need God to teach us where in reality they are blind and drunk in their evil deeds.
The Lord Will Judge Jerusalem - Capital of the Southern Nation
  • The Southern Kingdom is similar too
    • 14 Therefore, listen to the LORD’s word, you who mock, you rulers of these people
      • who reside in Jerusalem!

  • They trusted their own intelligence but was deceived. They Made a Treaty with Evil to Protect Them! It was a deception. It was useless
      • 15 For you say,
        • “We have made a treaty with death,
        • with Sheol, we have made an agreement.
        • When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by
        • it will not reach us.
        • For we have made a lie our refuge,
        • we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word.”

  • God's Leader & True Protection
    • 16 Therefore, this is what the sovereign master, the LORD, says:
    • “Look, I am laying a stone in Zion, an approved stone,
    • set in place as a precious cornerstone for the foundation.
    • The one who maintains his faith will not panic.
    • 17 I will make justice the measuring line,
      • fairness the plumb line;
      • hail will sweep away the unreliable refuge,
      • the flood waters will overwhelm the hiding place.

  • The Warnings
    • 18 Your treaty with death will be dissolved;
      • your agreement with Sheol will not last.
      • When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by,
      • you will be overrun by it.
    • 19 Whenever it sweeps by, it will overtake you;
      • indeed, every morning it will sweep by,
      • it will come through during the day and the night.”
      • When this announcement is understood,
      • it will cause nothing but terror.
    • Their wisdom is foolishness. It has the deceptive appearance.
      • 20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
      • and the blanket is too narrow to wrap around oneself.

  • The Judgement
    • 21 For the LORD will rise up, as he did at Mount Perazim,
      • he will rouse himself, as he did in the Valley of Gibeon,
      • to accomplish his work,
      • his peculiar work,
      • to perform his task,
      • his strange task.
    • 22 So now, do not mock,
      • or your chains will become heavier!
      • For I have heard a message about decreed destruction,
      • from the sovereign master, the LORD who commands armies, against the entire land.
    • 23 Pay attention and listen to my message!....

  • The sin of the Southern Kingdom is that they don't trust God to protect them and make a treaty with evil nations to protect them not knowing such plans were useless.
God teaches the Principle of Agriculture - Sowing & Reaping in Order over Time
  • 26 His God instructs him; he teaches him the principles of agriculture.

  • Plough
    • 24 Does a farmer just keep on plowing at planting time?
    • Does he keep breaking up and harrowing his ground?

  • Level
    • 25 Once he has leveled its surface,

  • Sow Seeds
    • does he not scatter the seed of the caraway plant,
    • sow the seed of the cumin plant,

  • Different Seeds in Allocated Spaces
    • and plant the wheat, barley, and grain in their designated places?

  • Reaping & Crushing with the Right Tools
    • 27 Certainly, caraway seed is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin seed. Certainly, caraway seed is beaten with a stick, and cumin seed with a flail.
    • 28 Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever.
      • The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it.

  • God's Laws operate. Changes do not happen without randomly and without reasons. Changes follow an order over time. We reap what we sow.
The Lord Instructs & Guides -Always Consult the Lord First
  • 29 This also comes from the LORD who commands armies,
  • who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom.
  • The Sin - We do not trust God and do our things without God.
    • When we are successful we said we did all by ourselves and hence rot in pleasures to our destruction.
    • When we are in fear, we make our plans, even with evils, ignoring God, but those plans fail to work.

  • The Law of Sowing & Reaping
    • 1 The Blessings
    • 2 The Success & Pride - I Did It Myself
    • 3 The Drunkard State - Decays And Decline Set In
    • 4 The Warning - Pending Doom
    • 5 The Refusal To Repent And Change
    • 6 The Judgement From Foreigners
    • 7 The Repentance
    • 8 The Restoration

    • Ecclesiastes 3:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap ...

    • Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
  • Always Consult the Lord First and then Obey His guidance and follow His Words

As adults, we even asked, "Why should we pray and give thanks to God for the meals we are taking? Did not we worked very hard to pay for and cook the meals?" Yes. We did. However, we are but at the last link of the long food chain. It is God who created the ingredients and provided the environment for their growth. It is many others who work to produce the food. The last link of a chain does not make the chain. Never forget the Source. Always be grateful for the contributions of others. That is the reality and enables us to live life better.

Lim Liat (c) 1-9-17


After Discipline Comes Restoration - Isaiah 4

After discipline, there must be a restoration, for assurance of forgiveness and acceptance. The principle of life, established by God, spoken in Matthew 6:33, never change. It is, sins bring forth evil and poverty. Repentance and correction bring forth restoration and abundance. Economic development follows after spiritual revival. Isaiah 4 emphasizes the restoration and acceptance of God after His purification of His people.
A Touching Testimony:

A pastor shared about the discipline given by his earthly father. When he was young, he stealing from a family piggy-bank was discovered by his father. His father gave him a severe caning. However, the next day, his father brought him for lunch at a good restaurant where he could order any food he liked. He was shocked. But his father explained that the special lunch was to assure him of his love despite the caning. The stealing was wrong and the caning was for correction, but the person is always loved. The love for the prodigal son was never lost despite his rebellion and wasteful living. The prodigal son realization and repentance quickly brought back the restoration of his acceptance and restoration. Our Heavenly Father deals with us that way too. When we fail to see our sins, He will use the circumstances and people to discipline us to get our attention. His love for us is never lost but that our sins just block out his love and cause us to suffer. Once we realize and repent, He is ever ready to accept and restore us back. He is ever waiting for us to return to Him. The decision is ours to make. Wake up quickly and return to the Lord.

Isaiah 4 Mindmap:
The Bible text is rephrased and reordered to show the sequence of events.

A Consequence of Discipline
  • verse 1 is a continuation of the last chapter on the punishments by God. Most men were killed in battles.

  • 1 And seven women shall grab hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will provide for ourselves, only let us be your wives to have your name to remove our shame."

  • A typical kind of sin for many, like King Saul of the past, we are more concern about how we look in the eyes of others rather than of God. We go after the symptoms rather than the root cause.
The Restoration & Presence of the Lord
    • The Nation is cleaned with the righteous remain

      • 3 And those left in Zion and in Jerusalem will be called holy ...

      • God protects the righteous fulfilling the promised given in Isa 3:10  Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 

      • 4 The Lord washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion & Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and of burning.

    • The Restoration after a Spiritual Cleansing and Revival

      • 2 In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.

      • Economic Developments come after Spiritual Revival --- Matthew 6:33 His Kingdom --> All Added

    • The Protection & Glory - God is with His people.

      • 5 Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion & its people, a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; there will be a cover of glory.

      • This was the same glory of the presence of God in the Exodus time. A reminder that He is the same God that free them from slavery.

      • 6 There will be a shelter for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

      • The protection against the harmful elements of nature.

Summary & Applications
  • The Principle
    • Righteousness brings Blessings and Sins bring forth Destruction and Death - Matthew 6:33

  • After Discipline comes Restoration

    • Punishment is past oriented - for the wrong acts already committed.

    • Discipline is future oriented development using the tools of punishment for correction

    • After punishment, acceptance and restoration must come.

    • Parents who discipline their children must take extra effort to assure them of their love and acceptance. They must be taught the separation of bad actions from the person that is loved.

Lim Liat(c) 28-8-17


The Causes and the Symptoms of A Decaying Nation - Isaiah 3

A nation does not fall overnight. There are causes and there tell tale signs. The basic cause is going against God righteousness and justice and is even proud of doing so. That will leads to the wrong use of resources. Exploiting the poor to serve the waste of the luxurious living of the leaders. In fighting, poverty and death will be the natural consequence. 
Isaiah Chapter 3 The Downfall of A Nation Mind-map:
The order of the verses are re-arranged and grouped together to get the sequence order, from causes to consequences. 

The Content:

  • The Cause
    • Isa 3:8 For Jerusalem and Judah has fallen,
      • because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
      • Isa 3:9 ... they proclaim their sin like Sodom; ... For they have brought evil on themselves.They were even proud of their sins!
    • The Sins
      • Isa 3:14 The Leaders have devoured the vineyard, and took the spoils of the poor
      • Isa 3:15 crushed and grind the face of the poor
      • Isa 3:16 The daughters of Zion are haughty, wearing jewellery, glancing wantonly, going around partying ...Ladies of the Leaders were more concerned about their beauties & pleasures

  • God
    • Judges
      • Isa 3:13 The LORD stands to judge peoples.The Lord stands up for the oppressed
    • Protects the Righteous
      • Isa 3:10  Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 
    • Punishes the Wicked
      • Isa 3:11  Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 

  • Destruction of A Nation
    • Remove Resources
      • Isa 3:1 For behold, the Lord is taking away from Jerusalem and Judah support and supply, such as bread, water. 
    • Replace Leaders
      • Isa 3:2-3 the mighty man, soldier, judge, prophet, diviner, elder, captain of fifty, man of rank, counselor, magician etc,
      • Isa 3:4 boys to be their princes, infants shall rule over them.Get the Foolish to be Leaders
      • Bad Leadership
        • Isa 3:12  My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths. 
    • Cause In-Infighting
      • Isa 3:5 The people will oppress one another, his fellow and his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

  • Resulting in Poverty
    • Isa 3:6 For a man grabbed hold of a relative, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”;
    • Isa 3:7 And he will reply, “I will not be a healer; in my house, there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me a leader of the people.”No one knows what to do with the mess of poverty
    • Ladies Lose their covering, beauty, ornaments, spouses, and children.
      • Isa 3:17  therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts. 
      • Isa 3:18 The Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents;
      • Isa 3:19-23 the pendants, bracelets, scarves; headdresses, armlets, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, signet rings, nose rings; festal robes, the mantles, cloaks, and the handbags; mirrors, linen garments, turbans, and the veils.
      • Isa 3:24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; instead of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.
    • MenLose their lives
      • Isa 3:25  Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. 
      • Isa 3:26  And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground. 
  • Summary
    • Cause - The leaders & their ladies went against God's righteous laws without repentance. In particular, they exploited the poor for their own indulgence in luxurious living.
    • God upholds His Laws of Justice and the bad leaders brought forth their downfall.
    • The symptoms of a decaying nation: wrong use of resources (from needful production to wasteful luxurious living), bad leaderships, exploitation of poor, luxurious living of the elites, internal strife, and fighting. It actually self-destructs!
Lim Liat (c) 25-8-17


The Path to World Peace - Isaiah 2

Many of us believe that men with increasing intelligence and understanding will eventually be able to have world peace. But history tells us otherwise. If we continue to exalt our own abilities we would eventually have a great world war that destroys all if God did not step in earlier. The good news is that God will and will establish His Kingdom on earth providing world peace and abundant living for men. But men need to go through the judgment of the Day of the Lord where God reveals His power and humble men. This is my learning from Isaiah 2.
Isaiah Chapter 2 - The Key Verses Mind-map:

The Path to World Peace:
  • His Kingdom on Earth & World Peace

    • Isa 2:2 In the latter days, the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest, and all the nations shall flow to it,Jerusalem to be political center of the world

    • Isa 2:4 He shall judge between the nations, peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

      No more war but peace prevails. No weapons but productive equipment

  • The Day of the Lord and the Humbling of Man
    • Full of Idols
      • Isa 2:8  Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. 
    • Man is Humbled & God is Exalted
      • Isa 2:11  The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 
    • Trust Man Not
      • Isa 2:22  Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he? Man greatest achievements and power could not stand against the power of God.

  • Summary
    • The paths to world peace
      • The painful
        • Men exalted himself, with his technological brilliance to create the smartest and most powerful things, only to destroy himself if God does not step in.
        • God judges men in the Day of the Lord unleashing His power and glory.
      • The better
        • Men acknowledge God as creator and Lord to be worshipped and obey.
    • God establishes His Kingdom on Earth with Jerusalem as the center for governing for world peace.
Lim Liat (c) 23-8-17


Change and Be Blessed - Learning from Isaiah 1

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. But some men are wiser. Instead of giving up their sins, they want to use substitutes, doing more religious things to cover their sins, hoping they will get away. But God is not fooled. Unless they change and depart from evil, God cannot bless them despite their religious activities. Such is the teaching of Isaiah 1.
The Key Verses of Isaiah 1 
in a mind-map form:

The Content:
  • The nation was in a poor state - depression
    • Isa 1:7  Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. 
  • The people kept the religious ceremonies, praying for God to revive the economyIt did not work at all. Why?
    • Isa 1:13  Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 
  • Repent & Put things right first
    • Isa 1:17  learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. 
  • Then God Will Forgive and Restore
    • Isa 1:19  If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 
  • The Unfaithful CityBut they continued in sins!
    • Isa 1:23  Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them. 
  • Summary
    • Their present dire state is due to their evilness where their religious activities could not get God to bless them. They were to change first and then restoration will come.
    • Principle:
      • Fix the guilt by repentance and not cover-up with religious activities
      • Don't give excuses or use substitutes instead of cutting off the root cause or activity.
  • Applications
    • Are you having any problem?
    • Have you found a cause and a solution?
    • Is your solution working?
      • If NOT
        • then You have not found the root cause.... go back to look again, never give excuses but objectively and calmly examine the facts
Lim Liat (c) 22-8-17


The New Life Order Under Grace - Freedom from Enslavement to Sin - Romans 6

Our sin tries to find loopholes in the Grace offer of new life and perpetuates its existence. It says let sin more that grace may abound. It also says let sin freely then since there is no law under grace! Paul gave the answers in Romans 6 and explain what grace is all about and our responsibilities.
Romans 6 mind-map:

The Content:
  • Shall we sin under grace?

    • Rom 6:1 Excuse#1 Sin to Glorify Grace!
      • What shall we say then?
      • Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?The expected answer is No.
      • Grace is given to overcome sin (see chapter 5), to save us from sin so we should not and need not sin to show grace power. Not sinning reveals grace power.
      • Similar Excuse is given in Rom 3:5,7 - My sin highlights God's righteousness, so I shouldn't be punished for my sin.

    • Rom 6:15 Excuse#2 Not Under Law, so free to sin.
      • What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.The answer is No. We shall not sin though we are no longer under the law.
        • Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.We are to use our freedom for good and not for evil. We are saved from evil and so we don't and shouldn't return back to evil again.
        • 1Pe 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
        • Jud 1:4 ... ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
        • Rom 7:7 -What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 
        • Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
      • We have moved from the old order of the Law to the new order of Life under grace that we no longer are under sin enslavement to sin but under grace to live rightly and freely of from sinning. Rom 6:2-5 shows the how.

  • Death to Sin
    • Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
    • Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
    • Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
      • that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
      • even so we also should walk in newness of life.
    • The new life under grace comes first from death and then a rebirth of resurrection.
    • Ravi Zacharias. “Jesus Christ did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive.”

  • New Life in ChristDeath to Life
    • Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
      • we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
    • Rom 6:6 Knowing this,
        • that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
    • Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
    • Rom 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
    • Rom 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
    • Rom 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

  • We do the reckoning
    • Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves
        • to be dead indeed unto sin,
        • but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    • Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

  • We do the yield Not
    • Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

  • Before: Slavery to Sin
    • Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
    • Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
    • Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    • Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    • Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

  • Now: Servant of Righteousness
    • Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
    • Rom 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
    • Rom 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
    • Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

  • Grace is
    • Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Summary
    • The Gospel of Grace is not about making bad man good but making dead people alive.
    • The old Order of Law reveals man sin and man inability to follow the law. The Law condemns sinful man to death.
    • The new Order of Life under grace is about dead of the old man to sin and resurrection of the man freed from sin to live under righteousness and freedom from any bondage.
    • We don't need to sin to glorify grace because grace is meant to overcome sin. Sinning not reveals grace.
    • We don't sin because we are not under law because grace empowers us to live rightly above the demands of the Law.
    • It is our responsibility to live out the new life. Consider ourselves as dead to sins, let us not let sin reigns in our body, but yield our body to God as His instruments for righteousness.
            Lim Liat (c) 15 Aug 2017


            Grace of Jesus Overcomes The Sin from Adam - Romans 5

            The grace made possible by Jesus' Cross and Resurrection, freely given to everyone, enables us to break free from Adam's sin and the curse, that we may be reconciled back to God eternally.
            Romans 5 mind-map:

            The Content:

            • Rom 5:1-5 The Complete Grace Message from Romans 5:1-5

            • Christ died for us while we were yet sinners
              • Rom 5:6
                • For when we were yet without strength,
                • in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
              • Rom 5:7
                • For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
                • yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
              • Rom 5:8
                • But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
                • while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
                • Meditation on Rom 5v8
            • Much More Power & Blessings Now that we have been made right with God
              • Rom 5:9
                • Much more then,
                  • being now justified by his blood,
                  • we shall be saved from wrath through him.
              • Rom 5:10
                • For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
                • much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
              • Rom 5:11
                • And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
                • by whom we have now received the atonement.
            • Adam's sin brought death to all
              • Rom 5:12
                • Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
                • and so death passed upon all men, for that, all have sinned:
              • Rom 5:13
                • Sin was in the world: but sin is not known when there is no law.
              • Rom 5:14
                • Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.Whether we know or not, the truth will rule. The consequence of sin, death, rules even before the law was given.
            • Jesus' death brought life to allSalvation is a free gift
              • Rom 5:15
                • But not as the offense, so also is the free gift.
                • For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and
                • the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
              • Rom 5:16
                • And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation,
                • but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.
            • Grace is greater than Sin
              • Rom 5:17
                • For if by one man's offense death reigned by one;
                • much more they which receive abundance of grace
                • and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
            • The Same Principle of Spreading
              • Rom 5:18
                • Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;
                • even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
              • Rom 5:19
                • For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,
                • so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
              • Rom 5:20
                • Moreover, the law entered, that the offense might abound.
                • But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:Grace overpower sins. No one can say he is beyond salvation.
            • Grace is greater than SinEternal life over death
              • Rom 5:21
                • That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so, might
                • grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
            • Summary
              • Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. He accepted us despite our sins.
              • But He loves us too much to leave us enslaved by sins and so give us the grace power to overcome sin.
              • Grace, a free gift, made possible by Jesus Christ, is given to overcome sin and to give us eternal life with God
            Meditation on Romans 5:8 While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:

            Lim Liat (c) 14 Aug 2017


            Justification is by Faith as Shown by Abraham - Romans 4

            Religions go by justification by the works of the Laws. But Christianity is justification by faith and not works. This is shown in the example of Abraham. He was counted as righteous because he believed in the promise of God and acted accordingly. The promise and acceptance by God occurred before the giving of the Laws and circumcision. The circumcision was a later sign of earlier inward faith in God. This justification by faith in Jesus Christ is available to anyone who believes. Adam sinned by not believing God and Abraham was justified by believing in God. That is right isn't it?
            Chapter 4 Mind-map:

            The Passage:
            • Faith vs Work
              • Abraham
                • What was gained by Abraham, the forefather of the Jews? Rom 4:1
                  - It is Righteousness by Faith
                • If Abraham was justified by works, then he can boast , but not before God. Rom 4:2 -  Abraham was not justified by works
                • The Scripture says,"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Rom 4:3
                • A wage is not counted as a gift but as a due of his work. Rom 4:4
                • And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as for righteousness, Rom 4:5
              • David
                • "Blessing is when God counting him righteous without the works" Rom 4:6
                • "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Rom 4:7
                • blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Rom 4:8
            • For WHO? Circumcised & UncircumcisedFaith Before Circumcision
              • Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?
                • For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. Rom 4:9
              • How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised?
                • It was not after, but before he was circumcised. Rom 4:10Circumcision is a sign for inner faith
              • The purpose was to make him
                • the father of
                  • all who believe without being circumcised,
                    • so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, Rom 4:11
                  • the true circumcised are those who not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham Rom 4:12
            • By Faith
              • For the promise
                • to Abraham & his offspring
                • that he would be heir of the world
                • + did not come through the law
                • but through the righteousness of faith. Rom 4:13
              • For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. Rom 4:15
              • it depends on faith,
                • that the promise may
                  • rest on grace and
                  • be guaranteed to all his offspring
                    • --not only to the adherent of the law
                    • but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham,
                      • who is the father of us all, Rom 4:16
            • The Promise
              • as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--
                • in the presence of the God in whom he believed,
                • God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Rom 4:17
            • Abraham's Faith
              • In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." Rom 4:18
              • He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body,
                • which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old),
                • or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. Rom 4:19
              • No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, Rom 4:20
              • fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Rom 4:21
              • That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." Rom 4:22
            • Believe in ChristSalvation is for All
              • But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, Rom 4:23
              • but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, Rom 4:24
            • Summary
              • "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Rom 4:3
                • fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Rom 4:21
                • That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." Rom 4:22
              • David referred to the forgiveness of sins as well 4v7
              • The promise to Abraham was given before circumcision and the giving of the Laws 4v10
              • Circumcision comes after acceptance and is just a sign of the inward faith.
              • All who believe in Jesus, circumcised or not, will be saved. 4v11,24
              • Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Rom 4:25
            Back to the Original Sin of Adam:

            Eve sinned by believing the Devil rather than God. She used her senses to see that it was good for food and pleasant and chose to believe what the devil had said about making one wiser and so she ate and gave to her Adam who also ate without asking. Since it was unbelief that caused the first sin, it makes sense that God now enable us to be saved, a second chance, by believing in the redemption of Jesus Christ. God is reconciling us back to him through a relationship of trust and obedience.

            See also The Branding of Believers - The Ten Commandments

            Lim Liat (c) 12 Aug 2017