2017-06-23

The Wisdom for Successful Living in the Story of Proverbs 19

Connecting the apparent unconnected verses of Proverbs 19 give us the wisdom for a living a successful life. While wealth is so desirable, getting it swiftly through devious means does no work. Only through the hard road of getting knowledge, following God's commands with hard work will make it. But then, there is something better than wealth. That is love. Life is more than oneself. There are others to care for. A meaningful life begins with the fear of God. Success also comes to finding a good spouse, having a good family, doing parenting well and having good children. Read on to discover the how to.
Most people think of Proverbs as a loosely connected set of quotes of wisdom. So we just study a few verses from each chapter, being not able to find the connection.  However, such a connection can be discovered and we can find great wisdom from it. Consider Proverbs 19.

Proverbs 19 - The Wisdom for Successful Living

The key verse for the chapter is verse 1. It is better to be poor and upright than trying to be rich by lying and cheating; such acts are foolish. See Reading Reflectively to Get Better Understanding Using Proverbs 19:1 as an Example.

Verse 2 highlights that speeds from cheating will fail to achieve the wealth that one so desires. Success comes through the way of acquiring knowledge and so forth as shown in the table below.

Keys
Verses
Interpretations
1 Integrity is better than Wealth

Pro 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
(1) It is better to poor and upright than trying to be rich by lying and cheating; such acts are foolish.

(2) It is better to be uprightly poor than a rich cheater(one who get rich by illegal means) or a rich fool (one who inherits his wealth and could not keep them but waste them).
2 Speed does not assure success -Doing the right things rightly is.
Pro 19:2 Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
If we link up to up with the previous verse about not getting rich deviously, then it is about getting knowledge first to know how to provide valuable products or services to get wealth. If we just want to get rich quickly by moving too fast without acquiring wisdom first, then we will get lost.
3 A fool blames God for his errors.- Don't blame but learn from errors
Pro 19:3 When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.
Now that the fool who tries to cheat to be rich failed miserably, he blames God instead! How could a God who claims to love him did not save him from his ruins!
Of the two meanings proposed earlier, it is clear that (1) fits the context better. It is about the foolish one who tries to be rich by lying.
4 Wealth Attracts - Poverty Repels
Pro 19:4 Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
If he has obtained his wealth in the right way, getting knowledge first and following the path of righteousness, he will be rich and will have many new friends (good and bad kinds). However, the fool who ruined his life is now deserted by his old friends, even his only best friend.
5 Lying brings Punishments
Pro 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
The fool changes not his ways; he can't because he blame God and others for his failures. Now he continues to try to get wealth by being a false witness; such as giving good reviews and testimonies for poor quality products or offerings; false advertising, bad mouthing of others, or hoaxes on the internet.
6 Generosity Attracts - Both good & bad, so watch out.
Pro 19:6 Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
In contrast, a wealthy and generous man will attract lots of friends.
But there is no assurance that those people who because of your gifts can be your good friends.
7 Poverty Repels - Even their siblings
Pro 19:7 All a poor man's brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words but does not have them.
Not only the poor have no friend, even his brothers hate him. Even if he tries to charm them with his words and big promises, they ignore him.
8 Wisdom brings Success
Pro 19:8 Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.
So, the lesson we learn in life is about getting wisdom and understanding so that one can live a successful life.
9 Wisdom - Lie Not - Honesty is Best Policy
Pro 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.
A common sense of wisdom is not to lie.

10 Rich + Fool Don't Mix
Pro 19:10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes.
A fool living with great wealth is not right. It is a bad testimony and misleads others ---- getting wealth without wisdom. It is like a servant commanding his master. It is an upside-down world.
11 Slow to Anger
Pro 19:11a Good sense makes one slow to anger,
Successful man control his emotion well. He is not quick temper.
12 Be Forgiving
Pro 19:11b and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
He also forgives an offense.
Life is about moving ahead and not be trapped by the past.
13 Boss is powerful - Be on His good side
A king's wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.  Pro 19:12
A man of influence has the power to harm you or be good to you. Take care to be on his good side.
14 Foolish Son
Pro 19:13a A foolish son is ruin to his father,
Hence, a wise father teaches his sons.
A good son learns and acquires knowledge.
15 The Good Wife - Quarrel Not
Pro 19:13b and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
Nagging does not change behavior. It creates more distance between spouses.
She is a gift from God
Pro 19:14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
A Good Wife is God's Blessing. Pray and ask God for the right one.
16 Be not Lazy - It brings hunger
Pro 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
The destructive power of laziness is not immediately seen. Failures creep in slowly.
17 Godly Living
Pro 19:16 Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die.  
Obeying God's commandments, stay on the path of integrity is the best policy for sustained success.
Do not think we can outsmart and cheat God. Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
18 Charity - They are God's people - God is a Rewarder
Pro 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.
What we do to the poor, we also do to God.
God is a rewarder.
Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
19 Parenting - Discipline
Pro 19:18a Discipline your son, for there is hope;
Discipline is the way to save our children that behave not.
Pro 19:18b do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Not disciplining them when needed is like condemning them death. You are destroying their future.

20 Let the Consequences discipline
Pro 19:19 A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
The most effective form of discipline is let the consequences be the teacher.
It helps them to make wise decisions.
21 Listen & Learn - Don't say I know already
Pro 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Growth and progress are about learning new things. When we said we know already, we may have stopped learning.
22 God In Control
Pro 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
You can't outsmart God - back to verse 1 don't try to cheat your way to wealth
Just obey God is the best policy. See v16.
23 Love is more valuable than Wealth
Pro 19:22 What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.
Go for something more valuable than wealth.
Poor but loving is better than a rich liar.
24 Fear of the Lord - It brings peace and security
Pro 19:23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
The most important lesson of all is Fear and Obey the God.
25 Don't be Over-loving - It paralyzes
Pro 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
You should not do everything for your children or someone in need that they do not want to take care of themselves and will always be a dependent person. It explains the famous saying, "You can bring a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink."
26 Coaching is for Both Simple & Wise
Pro 19:25a Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
Teach the simple-minded scoffer to know the truth and to give respect.
Pro 19:25b reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Man of wisdom will appreciate your correction done in good faith.
27 Honoring Our Parents
Pro 19:26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.
From being a good spouse, a good parent to honoring our own parents.
28 How does a fool come about?- A Checklist for Us
Pro 19:27 Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Are we humble and open-minded to learn
29 Punishments are for sure.
Pro 19:28 A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Don't be a false witness and a liar. Such actions are condemning justice.
Pro 19:29 Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools.
Two kinds of behaviors are bad and will be punished. The one who laughs at justice and truth with his lies and the fool who knows not what is right and wrong and do it wrongly.


The Key Lessons:
  1. Wealth is powerful and is to be desired.
    But it must be gained by the way of righteousness. (Mat 6:33).
    There is no instant or speedy solution but by the way of acquiring knowledge and hard work.
  2. Love is Better than Wealth.
    Even though wealth is powerful, love is even better. Helping others in need is recognized by God as helping him and they will be rewarded.
  3. The Fear of God is Best - Fear in the sense of respect, worship and awe so that we may be careful to do His will with our best efforts.
  4.  Always Learning and progressing.
  5.  Lies Not. Give no false testimonies.
  6. Be Not Lazy.
  7. Be a Good Spouse - not nagging.
  8. Be a Good Parent - teaching and discipline children with consequences 
  9. Be a Good Child - honoring parents
  10. Be a Good Teacher - teaching the simple and the wise
Lim Liat (c) 23 June 2017

Reading Reflectively to Get Better Understanding Using Proverbs 19:1 as an Example

Reading reflectively, filling in the blanks to get a whole picture will bring you greater understanding and revelation. Let's use Proverbs 19:1 as an example.

Proverbs 19:1
(KJV) Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Dropping a Word
Some commentator can't integrate all the ideas together and so he drops some. For example,

 (BBE) Better is the poor man whose ways are upright, than the man of wealth whose ways are twisted.

The 'fool' is dropped as the commentator seems not to be abe to relate wealth and foolishness at the same time. This gives a distorted view. Even if it doesn't make sense to us, it doesn't mean we can take away some words to make it meaningful to us. That is distortion.

All There but is it Complete?
Some commentators got it all together -- So we find: 

(CJB) Better to be poor and live one's life uprightly than engage in crooked speech, for such a one is a fool. 

Or, 

(CEV) It's better to be poor and live right than to be a stupid liar.

But they miss the wealth part. 

Reflectively Fill in the Implied Words.
The author is talking about poor and upright together in the first half of the verse. The 2nd half of the verse, 'perverse lips'  is opposite to the 'walking in integrity".  The first half is poor + integrity. The second should be '?' + perverse, and '?'+fool, with the '?' being the opposite of poor, i.e. rich.

The Better Interpretation:
To fully tied in the whole message, I would suggest a better interpretation as:

(1) It is better to poor and upright than trying to be rich by lying; such an act is foolish.

If we separate the fool and the liar, then I can say,

(2) It is better to be uprightly poor than a rich cheater(one who get rich by illegal means) or a rich fool (one who inherits his wealth and could not keep them but waste them).


Whether (1) or (2) is the correct interpretation can be determined by the context with the subsequent verses. This we will discuss in the next post.

Lessons for Us:

What can we learn from this verse?

  1.  Integrity/Honesty/Uprightness is more important than wealth/money.
  2. There is nothing with wealth, it is just that you must get it the right way.
    Chinese has a saying, 君子爱财 取之有道 gentleman follows the righteous way to get wealth.
  3. Getting wealth by way of cheating/lying/false testimony is not wise but foolish. You either cannot get it or even if you get it, it will not last and you will suffer other consequences. (note: the details are found in the remaining verses of Proverbs 19)

What do you think? Which is the right understanding?

Lim Liat (c) 23 June 2013

2017-06-17

Love, Fear Not - Looking Deeper into Love and Fear

The Background

In last week Mandarin service at Petra Church, Ps Moses Largo's sermon was titled "爱,不怕 Love, Fear Not". It so happened that before the service, a FaceBook friend posted "The Three Treasures of Lao Zi". The first of which is Love. Lao Zi in Chapter 67 said that 慈故能勇 "Love enables one to be bold". What an interesting coincidence. It shows the teaching of Ancient Chinese Wisdom matches well with the Bible too.

Back to Moses' sermon. Here are some of the key points that I picked up.

  • The most touching part was his sharing of the premature birth of his son and all the challenges, the stresses, the fear, the comforts, the miracles and lessons that he and his wife had to go through.
  • Our view of God determines how we act. If we think our God is very strict and unforgiving, then we will live in fear and behave badly. This is the teaching from the servant with one mina who buried it (see Luke 19:11-27). When anything goes wrong, we will think it is God punishing us. Living in fear, we will do as little as possible to get by.
  • As an example, breastfeeding of a baby. The lesser the milk, the more stress the mother becomes. The greater the stress, the lesser the milk produced. Fear brings a vicious cycle of defeats. 
  • Fear is something we give away our control to. We let fear control us.
  • Fear, however, is powerful. It will not just stay we us but will also spread out to those around us, especially our children. 
  • Fear is also like a magnet. Fear draws the bad things toward us. Let Job 3, the things that he feared most had happened to him.
  • However, we have a choice to make. We can either give our fear to our children or the Words of God to them.
  • Seek God first in all our decision making.
  • Use LOVE to overcome Fear. 
  • However, just receiving love will not remove fears. Fears are overcome by loving others. So go and pray for other people. Go and help others. Love and concern for others will cast out fear.
Fears in the Bible - The right meaning of the Fear of God.
  • A typical meaning for Fear is afraid. Fear of sickness, injury, accidents, harms, even of devils etc.
  • However, there is another kind of Fear, the good kind, Fear of God. In Chinese, 畏, and usually, 敬畏, is used for the fear of God. 畏 has many meanings, the two key meanings are afraid and respect. We don't fear God because of His punishment but rather because of His love and honour. We fear that we may cause God to lose face when we sin. We do good things not to gain His approval but because we are already approved and hence want to please Him.
Overcoming Fears - Know that You are Not Entitled and yet Securely Loved and Protected
  • Apostle John reminded himself as "the disciple Jesus loved" often. Whereas Apostle Peter said he loved Jesus. The one that felt loved was bold to stay with Jesus all the way and be found at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The one who claimed he loved denied Jesus three times. A secured person is bold to help others because he is secured. A person who is a good swimmer is able to jump in the water to save others. A person who is not should not and could not save others.
  • Hurt people hurt others. Will loved people love others?
    Apostle John showed us that it was. But Jesus' parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35 - The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant - Bible Gateway) seems to indicate otherwise. It is only when love is truly felt inside that will trigger the boldness to care for others. The unmerciful servant only thought it was by his intelligent plead that go him off his hook and hence did not feel love nor grateful. Giving lots of things, giving a lot of blessings, do not automatically trigger love and boldness. It may just produce spoiled brats like the many stories of the bad behaviour of the rich and famous 2nd and 3rd generation children. They think they are the specially entitled people whereas others are not.
  • John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. Jesus did that for us without us doing anything to earn it. Henceforth, Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. We are not just saved, but saved for good work to glorify God (Eph 2:8-10). Loving others become a responsibility because we are of our Heavenly Father.
Lim Liat (c) 17 June 2017


2017-06-07

Compare by All Means, But Pick the Right Target

The typical advice for happiness is "not to compare with others".  Others suggest that we compare ourselves with those better than us, we will be upset. So, we just compare ourselves with those worse off than us and then we will be happy and we feel blessed. All such pieces of advice are wrong. We are to compare so that we can learn where we stand and make improvements. However, the target of our comparisons must be right. We don't choose those who are better so that we become jealous nor we choose those who are less so that we pride ourselves. Our target must be the specific calling that God want us to be.

Our Target for Comparison

Paul gave us the following verses:

Ephesians 2:10  (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The target gives us a purpose, a meaning and a yardstick for us to steer our course and to check our progress.

It is a Journey with Him

It is not a lonely and tough journey because our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the assurance that He is with us even until the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20 NKJV ... to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. )

It is Not an Exam - There is no failure but a prize waiting.

We don't have to pass an exam. We are starting from the acceptance of God as a child of God. This journey is for us to grow-up to be like Him in our own unique masterpiece created by Him ( Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.)

See also:


Lim Liat (c) 7 Jun 2017

2017-05-24

Why You Need to Read Multiple Translations of the Bible

While translators of the Bible try their best to make sure their translations convey the right meaning of the original texts, it is inevitable that the translator's biases and opinions are reflected in the translated text. Here are some examples from the Bible.
Genesis 27:39

[KJV] And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 

[ESV] Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 

We can see that the two translations are opposite in meaning. Why is that so? 
We can look up the translation with strong numbers using KJV+

Gen 27:39  And IsaacH3327 his fatherH1 answeredH6030 and saidH559 untoH413 him, Behold,H2009 thy dwellingH4186 shall beH1961 the fatnessH4480 H4924 of the earth,H776 and of the dewH4480 H2919 of heavenH8064 from above;H4480 H5920 

H4924 is fatness.
H4480 has many meanings:
properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: - above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

It is either with or away from.

Which one is correct?

We have to go by the context. In this case, it is easy to find out. Because in an earlier verse Gen 27:28 Isaac had blessed Jacob with the blessings of fatness and dew:

[KJV] Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 

[ESV]  May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 

Since that blessing have been given to Jacob, then Esau have to go elsewhere, away from the fatness and dew. So in this particular case, ESV is correct and KJV is wrong.

The implication of this verse is of less important for us since it is meant for Esau. However, there verses that have great implication for us. Below is one.

Joh 15:2  

[KJV] Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away(G142): and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 

[ESV] Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Here KJV and ESV both agree. However, 

(CBr)  Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He raiseth [from grovelling on the ground] and every branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, in order that it may bear more fruit. (CBr is Companion Bible Revised, 1909 by E.W. Bullinger)

The issue is the word G142 has different meanings as in:
G142 ah'ee-ro
A primary verb; to lift; by implication to take up or away; figuratively to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); specifically to sail away (that is, weigh anchor); by Hebraism (compare [H5375]) to expiate sin: - away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).

Which one is the correct one?
Again, we have to go by the context. 
In Joh 15:6  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away.
In John 15:2, Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, the branch is in Jesus. Such a branch will surely bear fruit (as in John 15:5) but it is not due to the present bad circumstances. It is covered with dirt or blocked from the sunlight. Hence, it must be lifted up, be encouraged, then it can bear fruit. 

We have many verses telling us to watch out for and encourage one another such as 
  • Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Conclusions:
So, in your reading of the Bible and if you find something that seems incorrect, then look up multiple translations, check the meanings of the original words with a concordance, and most importantly, read the whole context, cross-check from the other books of the Bible.

One More Thing just for fun:
For Chinese, same words with multiple meanings are not rare. We have to determine the right meaning from the context. Here is an examination question from level 10 Chinese.

1. 冬天:能穿多少穿多少; 夏天:能穿多少穿多少。
Winter: wear whatever much you can. Summer: wear whatever much you can.

While the words are the same, in winter it means wear as much as you can whereas in summer, it means to wear a little as possible. For more see https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/joke/M.1374795813.A.715.html

So, when reading the Bible, always read in context so that we don't misunderstand it.

Lim Liat (c) 23 May 2017



2017-05-19

How to Control Your Tongue - James 3

In James 3, James said that the tongue could not be tamed. He left a hint that blessings and curses should not come from the same mouth. The solution to controlling the tongue is then about changing the heart. What is within the heart comes out from the mouth is taught by Jesus in Luke 6:45. So, we control our tongue by guarding our heart as in Proverb 4:23. Follow the simple GIGO principle - Garbage In Garbage Out.
The Mindmap for Controlling tongue, with bible references from James 3:1-12. Luke 6:44=45, Pro 4:42-47:

The Takeaway:
  1.  Check Our Heart - Our Intention of wanting to be a Teacher:
    Don't be a teacher for the sake of glory and pride. Be a teacher because of your calling where has given you the wisdom and the compassion. Our influence comes not from our talking but more from our behavior. Children copy the behavior and not the mere nagging talks. So we should check ourselves. Are we doing what we preach? Are we able to model the right behavior more than just talking?
  2.  The Perfect or Matue Man is One who have Self-Control --- Especially the mouth.
    However, the perfect man could be good or evil! The evil ones know how to 'bless' to manipulative people to get what they want besides knowing how to curse and to bad-mouth others.
  3. Power is NOT determined by Size but by Position of Influence.
    The horse bit, the ship rudder, the forest fires are all under the control of something that is much smaller in size. But they are in the positions of great influence. Where you stand, what you stand for, your integrity, your position are not determined by your external size but by what is inside you.
  4. The tongue is Most Powerful.
    Our influence on others is determined by what we say with the tongue and what we do with our hands and feet. Speaking is much easier than doing. Influence begins with what we say. Check our speeches. Do we gossip? Do we bad-mouth others? Do we discourage others? Are our speech comforting, guiding, encouraging, correcting? We can and must follow up our speech with our actions. Our actions that reinforce our speech will bring about greater influence.
  5. How to tame the tongue?
    James says how can a spring bring forth both fresh and salt water James 3:11.  It cannot. So to change the output of the tongue, we must change the inside, the heart of the person. Jesus said in Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  So we much heed the advice of Proverb 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  We must be careful of what we take in, our seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and eating, Then we can control the tongue and feet. 
      • talk - 24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
      • see -  25 Let your eyes look ... straight before you.
      • think before doing - 26  Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 
      • Stay Right - 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
    Guard our input to control our output. That's the simple formula GIGO that we learn from the computer school.

    Lim Liat (c) 19 May 2017

    2017-05-13

    Reflect & Change God Wants You to Celebrate - Isaiah 55

    Are what you are doing bringing you satisfaction?If not, learn about and from God. God is waiting with opened arms to receive you back to Him and to celebrate everlasting life with you. Why wait anymore?
    Bible Reference: Isaiah 55.

    The mindmap:


    The Content:

    • It is Freely Given
      • necessities of living are abundantly provided
      • Isa 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts or has no money, just take and eat!The wine and milk are free.
    • Reflect on Your Life
      • Isa 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not nourishment, and work for that which does not satisfy?
        ---Think carefully, what does all your hard work bring you?
        A Taiwanese pastor wrote a book about "So poor that all you have is money." You lost your health, family, relationships, etc.
      • Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, delight yourselves in nourishment.
        ---Learn the wisdom from God to know what is right & good for you.
    • Get Wisdom
      • Isa 55:3 Come & listen to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
        ---God is inviting you to have an everlasting relationship with Him.
    • Know Him
      • Isa 55:4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
        ---Jesus came to share the good news and died for our redemption and resurrected to give us new lives with Him.
    • God' Glorify Him
      • Isa 55:5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
        ---John Piper said, "God is most glorified when you are most satisfy with Him". God's glory is revealed through you ... God glorifies you as His testimony of His glory.
    • Seek God NOW
      • Isa 55:6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
        ---Not that God will run away but rather Our Time on earth will flee quickly and then we will too late to seek Him.
    • Repent & Be Forgiven
      • Isa 55:7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
      • let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
        ---It is never too late to return to God. God is like the prodigal son's father, waiting with open arms to receive you back to Him.
    • God's Wisdom is Higher than Man's
      • Isa 55:8-9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways & thoughts than yours.
        ---Too amazing to be true? That is precisely true for His thoughts and actions are way above ours.
    • God's Good Purpose will be fulfilled
      • Isa 55:10  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
        ---Nothing can stop God from saving You. God's purpose is to bless you to bless others as well that all may be restored and be well.
      • Isa 55:11 God's spoken Words shall not return empty, but it shall accomplish His purpose on the thing.
        ---- God's will for you will be accomplished. --- Repent & Go back to Him 55:7
    • Celebration of Eternal Joy
      • Isa 55:12  “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ---When men are saved, the environment will be too with rejoicing. Rom 8:19-21... that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 
      • Isa 55:13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”---Curses and Mourning turn to everlasting blessing and joy.

     What are you waiting for? Come back to God.
    Lim Liat (c) 13 May 2017

    2017-05-12

    Have Wisdom & You Have All

    Do you want to have honors and long life? Do you want happiness and protection? There is the only thing you need to seek --- Wisdom. Wisdom is the Father's Words. Proverb 4.
    Here is the mind-map of Proverbs 4.


    The steps are simple. Find the Father's Words, listen, see, talk, and walk in them. We are easily distracted, so we need to hold on to them, remember them, stay focused, guard the inputs to our hearts, and most importantly stay away from evil and wickedness.

    The benefits are the by-products of our walk in and with God. Do not fall into the trap of making the benefits our gods or our idols.

    What is God's Words for you today? Meditate and Walk in them.

    For more on the wisdom of Proverbs see Wisdom of Proverbs by Topics

    Lim Liat (c) 12 May 2017

    2017-05-11

    Is God fair? Why should we suffered because of Adam's Sin?

    When one of our loved ones passed away, or when we get sick and suffer much, we would like to question God's fairness. Why should we suffer because of Adam's sin? If only Adam sinned not, we will all be having a great time in heaven instead of suffering here on earth.

    The first answer we get is, "It is not about fairness, life is about facing the reality, and life is not fair". Just accept the reality and try to make the very best out of it. Even the Bible says so. See Ecc 11:9  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.  There is only one consideration, the judgment after dead. So, within the boundary, live life to the maximum is the advice.

    How can we be sure that we can pass through the judgment of God? Religions have all kinds of ways to tell you how to do that. But none of them can be sure that they can pass God's judgment. Man creates special ways of accounting like an arithmetic formula, make sure your good works is greater than your sins in the final sum. Sometimes you can do arithmetic like in the case of stealing from a friend, you can try to compensate him more than what you take. However, many things could not be measured and weighted, such as emotional hurts, bodily harms, etc. How much is a life worth?

    God's created universe works on orderliness such that our Science can discover the various Scientific Laws whereby we create lots of technologies that make our lives better and may be more dangerous. God's cannot violate His own laws not be unfaithful to Himself. God's original intention was not for men to suffer nor die. But our ancestors sinned and we carried over their sins to the present. However, God's original plan is not defeated. God, Himself provides a way of escape and restoration for men. In fact, restoring men to a much much better state than our ancestors. Let's look at the Bible verses:

    • Rom 5:17  For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 
    • Rom 5:18  Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 
    So, God is fair when He provides a way whereby men can be restored back to God. God is more than fair when the restoration is much more than the original men's state. 

    The righteousness is a free gift that men did nothing to gain. It is all done by Jesus Christ. All we need to do is to accept this free gift.

    Adam was created in the image of God. Through Jesus, men now can become children of God. We become of God and God's nature is in us. A much higher and honorable state than Adam's. 
    • Rom_8:16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
    • Rom_8:21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
    • 1Jn_3:1  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
    The unfair thing is then ourselves. We will be unfair to ourselves if we refuse this free gift of righteousness from God through Jesus Christ.  Choose life, choose freedom, choose righteousness, choose eternal life... receive Jesus as the Son of God to bring us into His family as we become children of His.

    Lim Liat (c) 11 May 2017

    2017-05-10

    On God's Mission - The Path, the Warnings & the Blessings

    When we are led by God to start a new work, here are some assurances and guides that we must follow. Distraction, losing focus, deviation from original goals are dangers to watch out for. There are blessings despite the challenges throughout and an eventual home.

    Bible Reference: Exodus 23:20-33

    Here is the mindmap of the passage:


    1. The Right Path to Take:

    • God goes before you. God sent His angels to prepare the way for you.
    • Listen Carefully.
    • Obey His instructions.
    • Success is assured. Lose not hope when we encounter challenges and obstacles.
    • Incremental Changes. Changes happening one step at a time enables us to learn. Trust God in His timing. He is never too late nor too slow. We need to be patience. The slow progress is actually for our benefits.
    • Your Promised Home. We shall accomplish the work that the Lord has given to us.
    2. The Danger to Watch out for:

    • Lose Not Your Focus on God. It is easy to be distracted.
    • Be Faithful to God. Forget not the original mission. There are difficulties to cause us to lose hope. There are complexities to confuse us. There are temptations, seemingly good things, to attract us away from God.
    • Be Faithful to God Only. Trust God no matter what. 
    • Keep going with the original mission. Methods may change but the objective remains. We need to adapt to the situations we face. But keep the objectives and follow the righteous Words of God.
    3. The Blessings Accompanying Us all the Way:
    • God will be an enemy to our enemies.
    • God will bless our bread and our water,
    • God will take sickness away from among us.
    • None shall miscarry or be barren in our land;
    • God will fulfill the number of our days.
    • God will send terror before us and confuse our enemy and make them run away.
    • God will send hornets before us, which shall drive out the enemies. 
    Be encouraged in your work for the Lord.
    • Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
    • Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
    Lim Liat (c) 10 May 2017

    2017-05-09

    You are in the Great Union of God filled with His Love to Show the World

    Jesus' prayer recorded in John 17 is most amazing. Here the part that speaks of our oneness with God.

    • Joh 17:20  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word
      • We, who believe in His disciples' words of Jesus, are included in Jesus' prayer. 
    • Joh 17:21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 
      • We are to be One, as close as Jesus and the Father. 
      • Jesus and the Father are in each other, totally immersed in each other. We are to be like that.
      • Our Oneness becomes the testimony that Jesus is from God! Jesus said it earlier in:
        • John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples: if ye have love one for another.”
        • Our love for one another, our oneness, is the key for people to know we are Christ's.
        • There is more....
    • Joh 17:22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 
      • We have this glory that the Father had given to Jesus because Jesus had passed it to us.
      • This glory enables us to be one. Our oneness also gives forth this glory that attracts attention. 
    • Joh 17:23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 
      • We all become perfectly one because Christ, the Father and we are all together in a union!
      • The triune God is the perfect union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And now the Son brings us into this union with them. This is really amazing. We are in and of God and God is in us too. 
      • As a side note, love about the relationship between at least two separate identities. If God is just alone, how does He know about love? Because our God is a trinity, a perfect union of three personalities, we know God is Love.
      • Jesus emphasized this perfect love also includes us. The Father love us as much as He loves Jesus. 
      • This oneness of us with God is not easy to understand and grasp. Even Paul tried very hard to explain it and yet still not as close as what Jesus prayed. Paul said Jesus is the Head of the Body. The body that is made up of His church. In Ephesians, he uses the metaphor of a building.
        • Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Eph 2:19  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Eph 2:20  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, Eph 2:21  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph 2:22  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 
    We are so loved by the Father that He is willing to be in union with us, with His Son and the Holy Spirit. His glory is given to us. We are to live out this unity and glory so that the world may come to know Him. Speak of His love for us. Show forth His glory and power for us. Be joyful. Be helpful. Be hopeful. We are a different kind of people, of God's kind.

    May we spend time meditating on this Oneness with God.

    Lim Liat (c) 9 May 2017