2018-12-19

The Purpose of Christmas - Salvation for Good Work

What is the purpose of Christmas? Many will reply it is the for the salvation of mankind by Jesus Christ. But there is more to that. Titus 2:11-14 tells us more.
Titus 2:11-14 ESV:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

The Grace of God is for:
  • bringing salvation for all people,-----Salvation is just the first step. Born-again with a new life and identity in Christ.
  • training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and
    --- We move away from ungodliness and worldly passion
    --- and go after:
  • to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 
  • waiting for our blessed hope=the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ ----We look towards the coming of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul emphasizes again...

Jesus gave Himself for:
  • to redeem us from all lawlessness and 
  • to purify for himself a people for his own possession 
  • who are zealous for good works.
His own people who are purified from lawlessness and zealous for good works.

We are Saved for Good Work

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Let's us, therefore, live out the new life that Jesus Christ has saved us for. God's glory is revealed through us.

Matthew 5:16 NIV In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Lim Liat(c) 19 Dec 2018

2018-12-17

Top Priority - Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

What is top priority? How does it work? Learn from the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price in Matthew 13:45-46.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.— Matthew 13:45-46, King James Version

The Kingdom Principle of Top Priority - It takes all to get it

The Parable shows us what a top priority is or what does one mean by most valuable?  Top priority means you give all to achieve the one thing that is most valuable.  The principle is "sold all that he had, and bought it."

Jesus said it in John 15:13 NIV Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

It is so valuable that it costs our lives. People are willing to die for a worthy cause. Dying for a cause should be the last resort to give for the cause. The more practical means is the meantime is to give one's time, efforts and talents for the cause. This is shown by Paul in Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. 

The Pearl of Great Price - Christ

For Paul, the pearl of great price is Jesus Christ. He counted his past successes, learning, position, achievements as rubbish when compared to the knowledge of Christ. He was willing to suffer persecutions and many hardships just to spread the gospel of Christ. He eventually gave his life for Christ. We can learn from Paul in giving our time, effort, and talents to follow the calling of God for our lives, living out the Christ in us to bring glory to Him.

The Pearl of Great Price - Man

In the eyes of Jesus, we are the pearl of great price. He gave of Himself, setting aside His status of God and came to us, born of a virgin, and then died on the cross to pay for sins. He gave His all just to gain us. 

Application: Living Out Christmas through Our Years

In response to Jesus seeing us as His pearl, can we be like Paul who sees Jesus as his pearl and seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33)?  Can we live our lives with gratefulness and contentment? Can we see wealth, honor, sufferings, disappointments, losses, persecutions, troubles etc in the new light and count them as nothing compared to what we already are in Jesus Christ.  That is the way to have Christmas all the years and the true meaning of Christmas.

Lim Liat (c) 17 Dec 2018

2018-12-10

He has chosen and called you - Your Life Has Meaning

Our lives are meaningful. We are not an accident. Why? Because God has chosen us, adopted us, and give a purpose and meaning for our lives, that God's glory may be given and shone through our lives.
The Mindmap:



God has Chosen Us:

There is a great difference between natural and adopted children. Children had no say to choose whose their parents will be. But adopted children are specially chosen by the adopting parents. While adopting parents may have certain conditions to choose their adopted children, God's love and grace are without conditions. We don't deserve nor could we work at it. It is all of God's initiative.

Paul's Version:
    1Th 1:4 ... brothers loved by God, that
  • He has chosen you,
    • Not that we have done anything to deserve that. In fact, it was opposite - we reject, rebel, against God.
    • But Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    • 1Th 2:12  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Jesus' Version:
  • John15:16 You did not choose me,

    • but I chose youBy Love & Grace
    • & appointed youA Purpose & Meaningful Task for us

  • that you should
    • go and bear fruit andwork of faith, the labor of love, steadfastness of hope
    • your fruit should abide
Our fruit can abide, and last eternally as rewards in heavens, by us asking God's first for His will and empowerment to do works that please Him.
    • so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
    • God empowers us to His work through us.
      • 1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

      • 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.

      • Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
Peter's Version:

Peter tells us more about what we are chosen for and are. What a wonderful list:
  • 1Pet 2:9 But you are
    • a chosen race,
    • a royal priesthood,
    • a holy nation,
    • a people for his own possession,
Our Purpose:
  • that you may
    • proclaim the excellencies of Him Jesus as Our Savior & Lord
      • who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
        The Gospel - from death & bondage into Life & Freedom in Him
        • The Gospel is not to make people good but to make dead people alive.

        • Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.

Our Reflections and Applications:
Do you know who you are?
Do you know what and how to live out this meaningful life that God has chosen you for?

May God bless you.

2Th 1:11  To this end we always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling and
may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,

2Th 1:12  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Lim Liat (c) 10 Dec 18

2018-11-29

Settling Disagreement in Church - Php 4:2-9

In the name of love, disagreements in Church are usually ignored or covered-up and hence the problem remains and relationships become superficial.  Paul shows us how to resolve them in Phillippians 4:2-9.
The Disagreement in Church

Php 4:2  I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.

Here we have two prominent ladies of the church that are in disagreement. The disagreement has come to the attention of Paul. Did Paul tell them to just agree in the Lord? No. Paul gave us the way to resolve the conflict.  He gave the reason why they need to resolve it --- because of the Lord. They are to work together in harmony because they all belonged to the same Lord and working for the same gospel. There is this basis for harmony.

1. Get A Mediator:
Php 4:3  Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women...

Paul requested a true companion, someone who had known the women, and who worked side by side with Paul and Clement. And most importantly, someone who had the respect and good relationships with the women.

We do not know who he was. Looking up Wikipedia, we found some suggestions: Peter Toon, in his commentary, wrote: "His identity is not known, but he was probably a respected and influential member of the church whose word would be heeded".[9] William Barclay, after discussing various possible identities, states "Maybe the best suggestion is that the reference is to Epaphroditus, the bearer of the letter."[10] 

2. Have the Right Emotion: Calm, Peace, Joy, Gratefulness(In Christ)

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Most people might think that v3 is the end of the topic of resolving conflict and Paul had moved on to another topic. However, v5 tell us otherwise and we shall see later.

People in an emotionally charged-up state could not listen and reason. It is important to calm the emotions first before proper discussion can take place. It is best if both parties prepare themselves and have the attitude to want to resolve the issue rather than trying to blame one another.  So Paul wanted them to calm down and better still in an emotional state of gratefulness and joy and wanting to resolve issues amicably. So, they must recall the joy and gratefulness in Christ. The Chinese wisdom teaches us to address the emotion first, then reason out and then agree on the settlement. (以情入理而后立法). Starts with relationships, giving and saving face, and then address the mindset and then the ways to go forward.

3. Right Thinking - Reasonableness

Php 4:5  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

Paul wanted them to be reasonable. How reasonable should they be? Should be able to show to all and all people agree that it was reasonable! In fact, the reasonings should be used as an example for all to follow in the future.

Paul restated the purpose, in the Lord, and the urgency to settle it because the Lord is at hand.

The standards of reasoning should be based on pleasing the Lord. Discuss the issues as if the Lord is physically present.

4. Bring the Issues to the Lord - Get His Wisdom and Power

Php 4:6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Many will be worried about the settlement. Will I lose out? How would it be better for me? What were be the better ways out? You see, when we worry, our focus will be on ourselves. Paul reminded us that there is a higher force at work. There is the greater help at hand. We just need to present them to God. Come to God, and list down all your concerns and needs and entrust them to God. Focus now on God and see how God lead you. When we understand God will help us, we shall calm down because the Power of Christs will guard and keep our minds in Jesus and with His wisdom.

5. What are the Biblical Principles to apply?

What and how will make a good settlement? How shall we think and behave? What are good or bad. Paul list down eight things to consider:

Php 4:8  Finally, brothers, think about these things:

  1. whatever is true, 
  2. whatever is honorable, 
  3. whatever is just, 
  4. whatever is pure, 
  5. whatever is lovely, 
  6. whatever is commendable, 
  7. if there is any excellence, 
  8. if there is anything worthy of praise, 

6. Follow the Good Examples of Paul/Worthy Leaders and Practices:

Php 4:9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

If we are still blur about what and how to do, Paul said to follow his examples and practices.

Next time if there be any disagreement, don't just ignore it, but maybe can put Paul's advice into practice and have a church with authentic relationships.

Lim Liat (c) 29 Nov 2018

2018-11-25

Christian Fellowship - How to have a Great Christian Fellowship

What makes for a great fellowship, whether in a cell group or in a church? There is only one simple attribute --- humility. We learn from Jesus, and from Paul and be empowered by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit within us. Abide in Christ, be humble and act out from the grace within will produce a great fellowship. More specific details are covered in ref: Php 2:1-18 
What is attractive? In the midst of darkness, and in the state of confusion, the one that shines the light and shows the path to follow will be the center of attraction. Believers are to be that light that shines.

Objective: All Believers should shine as a light in the midst of this evil and twisted generation by living a blameless life, no selfish interests, no manipulations --- holy life - separated in intention and behavior. Php 2:15.

Source of Our Power: Where can we find the power to live out such a life? Paul tells us in verse 16 holding fast to the word of life; which is to abide in Christ be led by the Holy Spirit and by the Grace of God. "Grace and Peace to unto you" is a frequent prayer of the apostles for the believers.

Extent: How much should we give in the service of others? Be sacrificial for others like Jesus. Paul's example: Php 2:17  Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

The Principle for Influencing Others: Reach down to bring them up.
Count not on your authority and ability to lord over others, but go down to their level to build connection and then bring them up to your level and even to Jesus'.

The One Attitude Needed: Humility - Have the same mind of Jesus.
Follow Jesus's example. God coming as man,(Php 2:7  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8  ... by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ) ...  In the simple act washing his disciples' feet to show humility at a very practical act.

Humility is shown in many other ways like:

  • count others more significant(not better, but importance),2:3
  • look into their interests, 2:4
  • leading to one mind through the path of love. 2:2
  • work out our salvation that is within us 2:13 with the attitude of thoughtfulness and urgency - don't miss any opportunity.
    (note: Jon Courson's Application Commentary, tells us that it is "to work out" and not "work for" nor "work on". Hence, we are already saved within and we need to draw from the secured saved state and the grace to live out the blameless life that shines.)
  • do without grumbling or disputing --- simple obedience to Jesus. 2:14.
More behaviors:
 v20 genuinely concerned for your welfare
 v21 seek the interest of Jesus and not self.
 v22 as a son with a father -- mentor and mentee. development of successors
 v23,25  sending out to help with others
 v24 relationship - comrade: my brother, a fellow worker, a fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,
 v29 receive one another with joy and to honor such men.
 v30 complementing one another in the service of Christ --> v21
 Sharing one another burden - Php 4:14  Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.

The attitude we have of others and to inspire them is given by Paul in:

Php 4:1  Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Now that we know, we should just follow.

Lim Liat (c) 25 Nov 2018 - 28 Nov 2018





2018-11-16

Why did God created Men knowing that they will sin?

An alternate title is "We are better off because of Adam!"
"Is God is so smart, how come He created men knowing that they would sin?". "Why did God created men knowing they would sin?" "It is not fair, why should we suffer because of Adam's sin?" etc.

The answer can be found in Ephesian:
  • Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 
  • Eph 1:4  even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 
  • Eph 1:5  he predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 
We can see the following points from the above verses:
  1.  God chose us BEFORE the Foundation of the World.
     So it is not an afterthought. 
  2.  We are created in LOVE to be HOLY and blameless.
     Sin was not in the created men.
  3.  We are to be Adopted as Sons [of God]
     Our destination is to be as children of God and living with God.
  4.  Through Jesus Christ.
     The way to be children of God is through Jesus Christ. God already foresaw that men will sin and have provided the way of salvation by He, Himself coming as a man to die a painful death on the cross. But God considered, because of His Love, it is a worthwhile affair. The sin of men does not stop the plan of God to enrich heaven with many children of God. Heaven becomes richer because God created men and save them and adopted them as children through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
We are better than Adam.
  1.  Most people will blame Adam for sinning and causing us all the sufferings. But truly speaking, if we were Adam then, would we not also commit the same sin? The sin of disobedience of wanting to be our own god and doing our own thing. See Knowledge Tree of Good and Evil
  2. Adam was given the choice to reject God.
    We are given the choice to receive God.
    He got kicked out. We got welcomed and adopted in.
  3. Adam was created in the image of God.
    We are rebirthed by the Holy Spirit as the children of God with God as our heavenly Father. It is a much closer relationship. We are of the same kind as God.
In summary, through Jesus Christ's redemptive death and resurrection, we become children of God and we have to thank Adam for that! We are better off because of Adam.

Lim Liat (c) 16 Nov 2018

2018-11-13

The Gospel Made Simple - Two Kinds of Love

Two kinds of love:

1. Relationship:

It is like what a famous Chinese author Bing Xin wrote,
 冰心: "妈妈,你为什么这么爱我?"
Bing Xin said, "Mom, why do you love me so much?"

妈妈回答说:”不因为什么,只是你是我的女儿。“
Her mother replied, "There is no any other reason than it is just because you are my daughter."

It is unconditional and eternal.

2. Performance Base: 

We heard often, and we are likely to do the same as well, parents telling their children, "If you behave well, study well,... then we will love you."

妈妈会跟孩子说:”你要有好行为,成绩要好, 要乖乖。。。妈妈才爱你。“

You have to earn the love or favor. It is actually a business transaction. A transactional relationship that depends on performance and hence it is not eternal but temporary. You are loved as long as you perform well.

God's love for us is the first kind - based on the relationship of Creator and Created (giving birth to us) and it is unconditional and eternal.

1. We are created in God's image.
Gen 1:26  Then God said, "Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground."

2. We are predestined to be with Him as His Children before the foundation of the earth
Eph 1:4  Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
Eph 1:5  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.

3. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:8  But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

4. We don't have to do anything except to believe and receive Jesus.
Love cannot be forced on people. It is venerable. It can be received or rejected.

John 3:16  "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:18  "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.


The Gospel is not to make people good but to make dead people alive.

Col 2:13  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 


We are born on earth, in a state that is separated from God. We must be rebirthed as God's children in order to have a close relationship with God.

A parrot can speak like a man but is still a parrot. Man can whistle like a parrot but he is a man. Man can have parrots as pets but the relationship cannot be intimate. So Jesus Christ needs to come first as a man to communicate with men and then died for men's sins and be resurrected and give new life to men born now by the Holy Spirit as children of God; the same kind as God to have close fellowship with God.

May you embark on a journey to discover the truth and reap the benefits.

Lim Liat (c) 13 Nov 2018

2018-09-07

The Purpose & Power for Living - The Best Benediction

The best benediction is Hebrew 13:20-21. It gives us the purpose and the power of living. It shows us what God is like, the accomplishment of Jesus Christ, and how we can live a God-pleasing life.
The best benediction is Hebrew 13:20-21 [ESV]

    Now may the God of peace
        who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
            the great shepherd of the sheep,
            by the blood of the eternal covenant,
    equip you
        with everything good
        that you may do his will,
        working in us
            that which is pleasing in his sight,
        through Jesus Christ,
            to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Keys 

That is a long sentence. So we strip it to very least to get the meaning clear, we shall have:

God equips you to do His will through Jesus Christ.

We can find the answers for purpose and the how-to of living this life.

What is our purpose in life?

Ans: To do God's will - which is pleasing in His sight.

How can we do that?

God equips us with everything good
AND through Jesus Christ working in us.

What else do we need?
Nothing, except our belief and obedience to His leading.

Who is Christ?

Christ is the great shepherd of the sheep - we are the sheep led by Jesus Christ. We recall then Ps 23 where God is our shepherd and we lack nothing.

Christ is the one who gave his blood on the cross to seal the eternal covenant reconciling men to God and enabling us to children of God.

Christ is resurrected by God the Father and now seat at the right hand of God. (Esp 1:20, Heb 1:3, 8:1,10:12)

Who is God?
He is the God of peace - who sent His son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and resurrected Him for our justification and thereby established the eternal covenant between men and God. (John3:16)

To us, because of Jesus, God is no longer a God of judgment but of Peace.

Conclusion:

We don't have to strive to look for and work for God through our own efforts.
We just have to rest in the assurance that our loving God of peace has equipped us and enables us to do things that please Him through Jesus Christ living in us.  (Philippians 2:13 (NIV) for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.)

Lim Liat (c) 7 Sep 2018

2018-07-23

Getting Your Healing - The Bartimaeus' Way

The steps that blind Bartimaeus got his healing are the exercise of faith that will also help us get the answers that we need for the problems that we face. Let find out the details...
Bartimaeus' Way 

Mar 10:46  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

  • face up with his problem - blindness
  • does the things he could to be independent - begging.  No worry of pride.
  • go to the place where people will pass by - go to where the opportunities are.

Mar 10:47  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,

  • Be opened to see, hear, and learn. Learn as much as you can about your problem and possible solutions
  • He heard of Jesus, especially of the miracles Jesus did from the crowd.

he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

  • he took action, immediately, to get hold of the opportunity. 
  • Opportunity is for those that are ready and seeking it.
  • Don't just dream, talk and plan. Take action. Do it.

Mar 10:48  And many charged him that he should hold his peace:

  • discouragements, criticisms, and obstacles will appear when you start to act.
  • be not discouraged. 
but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 
  • Stoicism will tell you that your obstacle is the direction that you should move to overcome it.
  • P.U.S.H Pray until something happen.

Mar 10:49  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

  • initial success occurred. 
  • Don't stop because of some success. Persist on.
  • "A journey of thousands of miles begins with your first step" is often quoted. But Lao Zi in Dao De Jing 64 has an additional verse to tell us to continue on and to finish the journey. He said that many have given up on the way.

Mar 10:50  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

  • He gets rid of any load (garment) that will slow him down.
  • Good is often the enemy to greatness.
  • Act speedily to not lose the opportunity.

Mar 10:51  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

  • God does not overrule you. God is awaiting your request to fulfill it.

The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

  • Bartimaeus is very clear about what he wants - his eyesight.
  • He could ask for other things like lots of wealth so that he needs not beg for it.
  • He just wants to see so that he can be free and independent to live and earn a living by his effort.

Mar 10:52  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.

  • Bartimaeus' faith is seen through the actions he has taken. 
  • Do our actions reveal our faith? Or are we just believers in our my mind and not in our heart? Does our believe cause us to act?

And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

  • Real faith brings forth the desired result.
  • Most people after receiving what they want from God will go away to do their own things.
  • However, Bartimaeus spiritual eyes and physical eyes (now healed) see things clearly. He follows Jesus - the healer. Many are spiritually blind. They want the gifts and not the giver. They are still self-centered. God could be just their means to satisfy their desires.
  • Many commentators believe that we know this particular healed blind man's name is because he became an evangelist for Jesus. Many blind men were healed by Jesus. But we don't know their names.
Reflections:

Are we spiritually blind?

The Laodiceans did not think so. But Jesus said so. 


Rev 3:17-19  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


Lessons Learned:
  1. Get Our Desires Right - Spiritually and Physically.
  2. Get our foundations for our faith - Where are the Promises of the Bible.
  3. Act on our faith.
  4. Continue till completion.
  5. Seek After the Giver and not just His gifts.
Lim Liat (c) 23 July 2018

2018-06-25

The Effective Way to Change Another's Behavior - 2Tim 2:24-26

Most of us try to change others by 'lecturing' or 'nagging' which usually ends in a quarrel and defeat the original intention. The Bible in 2Tim 2:14-26 shows us a better way. The ways are establishing your good testimony, then the show of love, follow by discovery of the lies and truth and patient. The love and the testimony trigger a reflection in the others' heart and a willingness to change.
Quarrels Change Nothing but Bring Harms
2Ti 2:14  ... charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
When we quarrel, we are both hearers and speakers. Quarrels just spoil the relationships and making any further discussions and changes impossible.

A Good Testimony First
2Ti 2:15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ....
2:19 ... “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Before we intent to correct another, we must make sure ourselves are approved by God and others can see that. We need to earn the right to speak and be heard first by our testimony of good work and behavior. That is the necessary foundation step but it is still insufficient.

Add in Love

2Ti 2:24-26  And the Lord's servant
  • must not be quarrelsome --- do not lecture nor nag.
  • but kind to everyone, --- be loving and kind.
  • able to teach, --- have the wisdom and knowledge to guide others.
  • patiently enduring evil,  --- be willing to go through the tough times in councilling.
  • correcting his opponents with gentleness. --- always with gentleness and not judging nor condemning.
  • God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,  --- it takes time for them to reflect and be touched by the Holy Spirit.
The Success - Repentance & Freedom
  • and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. --- The Success - Freedom from the enslavement.

    They are trapped and deceived by the devil in believing in the wrong things - the lies. Only when they see the truth that they may change and be free.
Lessons to take-away:
  • Be upright yourself and live a good testimony earning the respect from others.
  • Have the wisdom to show what's wrong and point out the right ways.
    Discovering the lies and the truth.
  • Be loving, kind and gentle towards the other person.
  • Be patient and be ready for a long run in some cases.
Lim Liat (c) 25 Jun 2018




2018-05-28

The Greatest Commandment and Its Meaning

The Greatest Commandment is about how we love God by being faithful to Him first and only, and with our whole life and understanding of Him and do our best with varied and creative methods to bring glory to Him.
Last Saturday Ps John Liu's Sermon on "Deeper Relationships" shared on "The Greatest Commandment". Some of his key points are captured here with my further meditations on the Word.

Mark 12:29-31 NIV
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

In the very short form, Love God and then Love Others.

1. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
There is only One true God who we should worship and love. There are no other gods. Our source is only one and He should be our focus and attention. There shall no others idols or others that will distract us. One is so simple and easy to follow. But men like choices. If we have many choices, then we have to decide and we actually become our own God. That is the sin of Adam, wanting to be his own judge of right and wrong. But we are not self-existence, God is. We are created by God and we are to worship our one and only Creator God. In Him, shall be our trust and no one nor anything else. Not people nor money nor power etc.

2. How do we love God? Love God with Our All
Ps Liu gave very good answers for the four components of how to love God.

  1.  Our Heart - Our Intention and Desire to be devoted to Him alone
    Pro 4:23  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
    The core of our being is our heart - the center of love and desire. So we must guard it carefully and only be devoted to God, loving Him and no others.
    How do we love someone? We must find out and know His desires. His likes and dislikes. And then we do above His expectation to please and satisfy Him. God does that for us in Ephesians 3:20 ... to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us...
    How much love is there? Mary shows us in John 12:3 pouring a pint of pure nard that cost a year wage on Jesus vs Judas who thought it should be sold rather than waste on Jesus.
  2. Our Soul - Breath & Life
    The word for Soul is G5590 which is also breath. We all need to breathe to live. So it actually represents our life. We are warned in Mark 8:35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. We are to offer our lives as a living sacrifice Rom 12:2.
  3. Our Mind - Be creative. Think of various ways and methods to love God. Have understanding and knowledge of God's character and mind. 1 Jn 5:20 God had given us the understanding to know Him. Luke 5:18-25 shows the men using their brain overcome the obstacles to bring the paralytic to Jesus for healing.
  4. Our Strength - Do it with Excellence to Glorify God. Our Time, Efforts and Money.
    1Pet 4:11 We serve with the power that God has given us to bring glory to Him.
    Philippians 3:8 ... I(Paul) consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
    Mark 12:41-44 The Widow gave all that she had whereas the rich gave out of their excesses.
We begin with our heart with the full intention to love God and full commitment of our life and using our mind to think of the best ways and using our full strength to do with excellence to glorify God. There is only the right response to His creation and love of us. We love God by being faithful to Him first and only, and with our whole life and understanding of Him and do our best with varied and creative methods to bring glory to Him.

3. Loving God is Seen in Loving Others as Ourselves

'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ has two lessons for us.
  1. Who is our neighbor?  The parable of the Good Samaritan tells us clearly it is anyone in needs that we meet or know of. 
  2. As of ourselves? Isn't it selfish? It is extending our boundary to include the others in us. It is removing the dividing boundary between others and us. It is about becoming one, close to husband and wife. It is like Christ in us and we in Him. Hence, we have the golden rule of Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (This verse assume that others and you share the same values and likes).  The passive form is a good guide too "Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.".
  3. Other related verses include Rom 13:8, Gal 5:13-14, James 2:8
4. The Branding of Believers - Loving One Another like How Jesus Love

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give to you, 
    a. that you love one another:
    b. just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

The Branding: Joh 13:35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have the love for one another.”

We can work backward to the Greatest Commandments:
1. loving one another as Jesus.
2. because we are 'loving our neighbor as ourselves'
3. doing and serving with excellence,
4. using our creative mind and understanding of God and people needs
5. giving our whole life in His service
6. devoted and faithful to our One and only Source, God.

Lim Liat (c) 28 May 2018

2018-05-23

The Right Balance = Power, Love and Self-Control - 2 Timothy 1:7

In 2 Timothy 1:7, we find the three attributes of the Spirit is described together. This is how we should always do in balance. Love gives the motivation, Power gives the ability and Self-control enables to do the right thing in the right time and circumstances and in the right amount. Either of them alone leads to problems.
(2Ti 1:7) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and self-control.  

The Context:

The interpretation of any verse in the Bible should be done in context. Paul was encouraging Timothy not to hide his gift but to boldly exercise it. He reminded Timothy that the Spirit gave us three attributes of power, love, and self-control. Subsequent verses showed us what Timothy was worry or fearful about. He was ashamed of Paul's imprisonment, afraid of the possible persecutions, and unsure of the power of salvation.  We can see that one aspect of Power is to overcome the fear that Timothy had.  Paul gave his own testimony and conviction that it was all God's grace and power to enable him to accomplish the tasks God has given him. Our trust is in God and not in our own ability. He also gave the examples of his co-workers like Onesiphorus. Despite the abandonment of Phygelus and Hermogenes, they continued in their task. All these demonstrated the love, power, and self-control of the Spirit are being exercised by Paul and his co-workers.

The Fruit of the Spirit

The attributes of the Spirit is also described in Gal 5:22-23 as the fruit of the Spirit. There are nine attributes described which can be grouped and matched with the three described here.

  LOVE:     love,     kindness,    goodness,    faithfulness,    gentleness
  POWER:     joy,     peace,     forbearance
  SELF CONTROL     self-control.

We can see that love is the motivation, power is the ability, self-control is the management of such to stay the course, or wait for the right time, circumstances and exercising the right amount of love and power.

Lesson:
Good things did irrespective of the time, situation and people will bring forth bad results. We need self-control to manage our good intentions of love and the exercise of our abilities.

Lim Liat (c) 23 May 2018




2018-05-22

Who Should Know What - Psalm 139

The purose of Psalm 139 is not just about how much God knows about me. It is about asking God to let me know more about myself and be led by God to live rightly.
The Outline:

  • O LORD, you have searched me and known me! v1-6
  • You are Always with Me, no matter where and how I hide myself. v7-12
  • You Made Me and hence know me better than myself,  v13-16
  • You think about Me v17-18
  • Away with Evil v19-22 --- But Wait! Is there evil in me that I did not know?
  • Lead Me v23-24
The Purpose:

    
    Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
    Psa 139:24  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
   
Lessons
        
The 3 Component of our Life:
  1. Heart - our motivation, intention, and will. It is the core.
  2. Thought - what are we thinking? Are they for evil or good? Right or Wrong?
  3. Walks - our behavior. The paths and the ways that we walk through. It is the thought and intention executed and shown to the external world. The walks are our testimonies to the world.
    Do they bring glory to God? Who can tell them best but God who so intimately know me?
It is about asking God to let me know about myself - heart, thoughts, walks that I may be corrected and lead in the paths of everlasting. The best judge for yourself is but God only.  Ask God to search us, correct us, and lead us. May we have the right intention, the right thinking and the right walk that bring growth to ourselves and glory to God.

Lim Liat (c) 22 May 2018

2018-05-14

"Coming In & Going Out" - Keys to Your Growth - Learning from Robert Morris

We must use the Bible to interpret the Bible to get the true and most powerful meaning of words and phrases. We learn from Ps Robert Morris for the rich meaning of "Coming In and Going Out", the very reason that Solomon asked God for because he did not know how to come in and go out.
We tend to interpret the Bible according to our own understanding of the meaning of words. A typical example is Grace (See "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is wrong.) We either misinterpret the Bible or we lose the rich meaning. We must let the Bible interpret itself. Here is another phase found in 1King 3:7b where Soloman said, "I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in". The true, powerful and rich meaning is given by Ps Robert Morris in his sermon Living In His Presence - His Entryway.

The ABP Bible  (Apostolic Bible Polyglot English Text)
1Ki 3:7  AndG2532 now,G3568 O LORD,G2962 G3588 my God,G2316 G1473 youG1473 gave reign toG936 G3588 your servantG1401 G1473 in place ofG473 DavidG* G3588 my father.G3962 G1473 AndG2532 IG1473 amG1510.2.1 [2boyG3808 1a small];G3397 andG2532 I do notG3756 knowG1492 G3588 my enteringG1529 G1473 andG2532 G3588 my exiting.G1841 G1473 


Without the Strong Numbers:
 ABP) And now, O lord, my God, you gave reign to your servant in place of David my father. And I am [2boy 1a small]; and I do not know my entering and my exiting.

The different translations of 1King 3:7 can be found here.

Most of the translations like KJV, ESV, NABS etc keep the original 'go out and come in'. So we don't really know what the phrase means. We can guess at it from the other translations such as:

Some Possible Meanings:
NIV has it as do not know how to carry out my duties.
NLV has it as doesn't know his way around.
CSB has it as with no experience in leadership.
GNT has it as don't know how to rule.
HCSB .... no experience in leadership.
NET & GST .... inexperienced.


The Verses that has "Go Out and Come in"
The correct meaning for "Going Out and Coming in" is best determined by where else the same or similar phrases are used in the Bible.
  • Num 27:15-17 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, (17)  Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

    Here the meaning is about a Shepherd leading the sheep out and bringing them back in. Out is to conquer the land and in is coming back for rest and preparation to go out again.
  • Deu 31:2  And he(Moses) said unto them, I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in:Here we can see Moses is talking about leadership to lead the people out to conquer and coming back in for rest.
  • Deu 28:5-7 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 6  Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.  7  The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

    Here we can see that OUT is to conquer the enemies and IN is about the storehouses full of goods.
  • Joh 10:9  I am the door: by me, if any man enters in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

    Here we see Jesus as the door that enables us to go out and come in safely. The devil goes by another way into the house to steal, kill and destroy.
  • Jos 14:11  As yet I(Caleb) am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so, is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

    Here again, we see going out is for war, to conquer the promised land and coming in is take rest and make preparation to go out for war.
  • 1Sa 18:12  And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13  Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14  And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.

    We see here that David lead the men out to victory and come back for celebrations. One more key point is when he went out, the Lord was with him.
    Whether in or out, the Lord's presence is most important.

The Real Meaning of Going Out and Coming In:
From the above verses, we can see that "Going out and coming in" is about leading the people out to war and coming in is about resting and preparation to go out again. The success of going out is depending on what we do when we are in.  The key is the Presence of the Lord. 

Robert Morris said that "They came in to worship". If they won, they came in to celebrate. If they lose, they came in for repentance. If they are in the middle of a war, they came in for rest.

The Order is In-then-Out
The ABP verse gets the order right - my entering and my exiting. We must first come in, into the presence of the Lord, be charged up and filled, that we may be fully equipped to go out. If we do nothing when inside, we will go out with nothing and that is sure to lead to defeat. We came in to be with the Lord and we may also go out with the presence of the Lord and then all is secured and victory is assured.

Here are the 3 points given by Robert about Coming in:

1. Worship brings God's Presence in our Lives
   
2. Come In First to be filled and then Go Out with the Presence
    If you don't have God's presence, you go out with nothing.
    Luke 24:49  but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
    Stay until you are empowered. Before you go out, come in, to the presence of God.
    We don't go out from God, we go out with the presence of the Lord

3 Entering His Presence
    Psa 95:1-2  O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  (2)  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
    Psa 100:1  A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 

Conclusions:
So, "Coming In and Going Out" is about leading the people to build a strong nation in the presence of God and going out to conquer victoriously with the presence of God. 

We need to spend time in the presence of God, to know Him and be filled with His presence, that we may boldly go out and do the right things to bring glory to God.

Lim Liat (c) 14 May 2018


2018-04-17

Transformation - From Death to Life - Ezekiel 47:1-12

How do you transform any dying or death to life? Ezekiel 47:1-12 gives us the secrets and the process. First, find the source of the life-giving power, the living water. Secondly, follow and live in the life-giving water. Thirdly, increase your commitment. Fourthly, be totally immerged in the water. Fourthly, measure the progresses all through the stages. Fifthly, reflect and see the results of the living river. Sixthly, provides varieties without ceasing. Seventhly, not all old things are bad. Keep the good salts.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 Mindmap:

Lessons
  1. Find the Source of Life: God is the life-giver -  giving out the living water
  2. The Purpose: To transform the lifeless desert to an abundance of lives.
  3. Results:
    1. Fruit Trees of different kinds.
    2. Fishes of different kinds
    3. Keeping the Salt - not getting rids of all old things. Keep the good.
    4. Continual Enjoyable Varieties of Provisions without Stoppages
      1. Different Fruits for Each Month
      2. Leaves for Healing
      3. All Kinds of Fishes
    5. A small stream transforming the desert into a living place filled people and all kind of lives.
  4. Life is a Journey & a Process
    1. Measurements: 
      1. Must have a set of measurements to measure and understand the progress.
      2. Doing the real measurement and learn and to know what to do. We need to change the method, from wading into swimming, when the streams become a deep river.
    2. Stages of Progress:
      1. Progress comes in stages. 
      2. Know the stage and the right thing to do.
    3. Maintain a Balance - Keep the Good Salt. Transformation is not about changing everything.
    4. After some years, a quick review will show you the impact that you made. See the case study at the end of this post.

Take Away:

Our lives are to connect to the source of life and to bring his life, like the living water, to transform death to life, increasing our commitment, and progressing in stages, from near to far and wide, giving glory to God.

A Case Study:
Lighthouse Evangelism started by Ps Rony Tan celebrating its 40 years anniversary. It is a good testimony of how a little group of people creates such an impact over the years. See Ps Rony Tan LE40 Invitation which gave a short history of the church.

Lim Liat (c) 17-4-2018

2018-04-11

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed - Part 2 The Seven Spirits of God

Isaiah 11:2-3 describing the seven spirits of God gives us the additional clues as to what the seven pillars of wisdom mentioned in Proverb 9. Putting them together helps in our understanding.
The post The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed gives an exhaustive list of what the seven pillars of wisdom could be. Combining that with Isaiah 11:2-3, we can be assured of our understanding of what the seven pillars of wisdom are.

Below is the mind-map:

Some have combined the Seven Spirits of the Lord with the Lampstand, see here.

Lim Liat (c) 11 Apr 18

2018-04-01

"Good Friday" vs "Easter" Churches - The Secret for Victorious Living

Who are Christians? "They are sinners saved by grace.", said the traditional churches that celebrate Good Friday. "They are the new creation of grace.", said the grace-based churches that celebrate the Easter resurrection throughout the years. Grace only churches run the risks of becoming like the prodigal son of the parable whereas the sinners centric churches are like the elder son of the parable that work to achieve favor. The victorious churches are the ones with right balance, who appreciate the consequences of sins and also appreciate the new status and authority obtained for us, for which Christ had paid the heavy price. Grace is not just forgiveness for sins but also the power for us to live the righteous life that we should.
Today is Good Friday when we remember the suffering of Jesus Christ on Cross to redeem us from our sins. Most churches will have services to tell the story of Jesus' triumphant entrance to the cross and the resurrection. Just like the famous movie, "The Passion of Christ", a major part will be about the betrayer and the suffering and ending with a very short resurrection. It is as if the major thing in life is the suffering of the cross and salvation is the sole purpose of Christ and Christianity. We have forgotten that "Salvation through the Cross" is the necessary but beginning step of the total purpose of God which is making disciples of all nations that they will follow the teaching of Jesus and become like Him (Matthew 28:19-20).

Paul puts it clearly and strongly in Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

He told the Galatians, in Gal 4:19 NIV
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

The purpose of God for men is that through Jesus, we all can become like little Jesuses, his brothers, and sisters, sharing the same image and attributes. His suffering on the cross is a needed, though a very painful step, to enable us to become children of God. But we are not to remain as babes but to grow up to mature men in Christ.

Who are you, Christians?
Your answer will determine your mindset and behavior and hence the outcome.
  1. We are sinners saved by grace. Eph 2:8
  2. We are the new creation of grace in Christ. 2Cor 5:17

The Traditional Good Friday Churches
If your answer is 1- sinners saved by grace, then which part of the verse do you focus your mind on? 

Most people focus on "sinners" and unconsciously live like one without the empowering of grace. While they will confess that they are indeed saved by grace, they act as though they must, by their own effort, live righteously to earn the favor with God. They are already so grateful that Christ has saved them and now they want to repay His kindness with their work. They got trapped again into performance for acceptance just like the elder son of the "Parable of the Prodigal Son".
  • Luke 15:29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 
  • The elder son had no idea of his sonship and authority at all. He lived and worked a servant!
    See his father shocking answer in verse 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 
The traditional Good Friday churches forgot about the Easter resurrection new creation, authority, and power. They did not make use of this new status and power that Christ had gone through the suffering of the cross to obtain for us.

The Easter New Creation Churches

New Creation focuses on what has done for the believers. Their new life, new status as children of God, and new authorities as Sons of God.  Paul did not end "the salvation is by grace" at Ephesian 2:8. He continued with verse 10, For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. So salvation is the first and needed step to achieve the goal which God had prepared long ago, the good work that reflects the glory of God. God is glorified through the good work of His sons. Matthew 5:16 NIV In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

However, if they forgot about their sins, and take lightly the sins paid for, privileges of grace becomes a license to sin. They become like the prodigal son who knew his rights and privileges, and did, Luke 15:12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. But he wasted the resources given him, 15:13b and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  The grace based gospel run the risks of becoming a prosperity gospel that God becomes the genie to give us whatever we wanted to spend on ourselves.

The Right Balance Victorious Living

The remembrance of Christ's Good Friday suffering on the cross for our sins put us in vigilance for the strong temptation and evil consequences of sins. The Easter resurrection of Christ let us know for sure, and for our present living, the new creation and righteous power that Christ had obtained for us. We are saved for God glorify good work. We are blessed as means to testify of God's goodness and to bless others and not for just ourselves only. We are to forget the past, no longer as sinners, but focus at present, new creation sons of God, toward the goals of eternal glory, waiting for the return of Christ.
  • Philippians 3:12-14 Living Bible (TLB)
    12 I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.
    13b ... Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.
Cross and Resurrection are both sides of the same coin. Looking back, Christ died for our sins. Looking at the front, Christ in You. Looking back, we are freed from our sins.Looking forward, we are joyful in doing what He wants best for us.

Don't stay on Good Friday but start living from Easter Sunday to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lim Liat (c) 30 Mar 2018

For a detailed discussion, please read True Conversion and Wholehearted Commitment: Foundations of Discipleship.

Related:

2018-03-25

The Power & Benefits of Confession of Sins - Psalm 32

Since Jesus Christ has redeemed us from our past, present and future sins, why then bother with confessions and repentance of our sins? A study of Psalm 32 will tell us why - Confession brings forgiveness and a teachable spirit for us to live blessedly.
Today is Palm Sunday - Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The scene quickly changed, before the end of the week, into the rejection and death on the cross by Jesus to pay for our sins. When Jesus died for us, we are yet to be borne. He death paid for the future sins of many generations to come. The OT saints, look forward to that day when Jesus death sealed their salvation too. So all will agree that Jesus paid for our past, present and future sins. Some may then argue, if our present and future sins are forgiven, then why to bother to confess and repent of our sins? Let's just live freely and happily. However, the grace of God is not a license for us to sin freely. It is rather to save us from our bondage in sin and to empower us to live rightly and victoriously. The reality is shown in Psalm 32. 

A Mind-map of Psalm 32:


Take-Away:
The devil's method is to tempt you to sin and then accuse you of your sins. He wants to keep you suffering in bondage. The only solution out is to face your sins, approach the Throne of Grace and Mercy of God (Heb 4:16) to confess and to ask for forgiveness. It is the way to break through to a life of victory and blessedness. Listen now to the guidance of God and follow therein. If there by any violation, quickly come back for restoration. Keep the relationships alive and well.

Lim Liat (c) 25 March 2018


2018-03-07

A Message for the Aging and Sick - Psalm 103

Life is brief. Almost suddenly, we have live passed fifty, sixty and seventy years and more. Our bodies tell us that. Psalm 103 put our life in good perspective and offer us comfort and hope for now and evermore. Read and meditate on it and share your thoughts with us too.
Psalm 103 Mind-map with comments:





A Message for the Aging & Sick Ps 103 

  • 1 Of David.
    • Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
  • 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    • & forget not all his benefits,Counting His Blessings helps our faith in God
      • 3a who forgives all your iniquity,Present tense. God has, is and will continue to do
      • 3b who heals all your diseases,
      • 4a who redeems your life from the pit,
      • 4b who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
      • 5a who satisfies you with good
      • 5b so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.So speak to your body every day. Get renewal.
  • The Lord
    • Deliver the Bullied
      • 6 The LORD works righteousness & justice for all who are oppressed.
    • Revealed His Way
      • 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.His ways are not secretive. They are obvious in the creation - the universe, nature, living things all around us.
    • Is Merciful
      • 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.Don't run away from God because of your sins, failures, betrayals etc. Run towards Him, He is like the prodigal son's father, waiting for your return with opened arms,
    • Is Forgiving
      • 9 He will not keep his anger forever.His discipline is for our good and is only temporary.
      • 10 He does not repay us according to our sins & iniquities.He did not because we had Jesus who paid for our sins.
    • Is Love
      • 11 His steadfast love is as high as the heavens above the earth.
        • toward those who fear him;Not everyone but those who receive Him will get to taste His love.
      • 12 he remove our transgressions as far as the east is from the west,
    • Is Compassion
      • 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion
        • to those who fear him.
  • Man is
    • Dust
      • 14 For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are dust.We need a rebirth by the Holy Spirit with an external new body
    • Brief
      • 15  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;"Flower" - Man will shine for a while.
      • 16  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.We will return to dust.
    • So
      • make every moment count
      • Take good care of your health to stay alive longer
      • use now to invest in the eternal future
  • God is
    • Eternally Loving
      • 17 But the steadfast love of the LORD
        • Forever
      • His righteousness to children's childrenHis blessings pass unto the next generation
      • Who?
        • who fear him,
        • 18 who keep his covenant & do his commandments.
    • In Charge
      • 19  The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.So worry not. Cast all your cares upon Him 2Pet5:7 because He cares and He is able.
    • His Angels
      • 20  Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!The Lord commands His angels to great work to bless you too because He loves you.
  • Praise Him
    • 21  Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!His created beings
    • 22 Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion.His created things
    • Bless the LORD, O my soul!And Me too! Especially Me!
  • Take Away
    • Praise God all the time because He is Great & Loving
    • He has, is, and will continue to heal, renew and give us life
    • His love and forgiveness are greater than our sins. So repent and come to Him quickly to receive forgiveness and restoration.
    • Our life is brief. Make it count for God and for external. Know, Fear and Obey God in this life.
    • Praise Him all the time.
Lim Liat (c) 7 Mar 2018

2018-03-05

The 5C's of Marriage - The Keys to A Lasting & Joyful Life

I used to a be solemnizer for weddings and have given many exhortations to young couples. Last Saturday 3 March 18 was my daughter wedding. What could I tell my daughter and son-in-law about having a good and fulfilling marriage? The exhortations that I gave to others are equally applicable to my daughter and her spouse. This 5C's of Marriage is a key one to be shared with her as I have shared it with others.

Introduction:
Marriage is a blessing ordained by God. Gen 2:24,Mat 19:6.
It is for building each other up and for glorifying God. Here are 5 keys for a successful, satisfying, joyful marriage.

1. Christ first:
Love each other as Christ’s love and with His love. This love is unconditional and unchanging. Not on romance, feeling, economics, other reasons. Such things changes with time. People grow old.
So, we need to draw from Him, especially His Love given to and is in us, and to Give to each other.
Follow His teachings & ask for His wisdom in times of needs and indecisions.

2. Covenantal Commitment of 100%-100%:
Covenant is 100%-100%, not 50%-50% contract. It is not breakable.
It is giving 100% even when you feel the other side is not giving. Not I give only when you give.
We commit to work it out no matter what. Not to give up. No back door or Exit. Encourage each other to go on.
Not depend on feeling. Feelings, security, and joy come from unchanging commitment.

3. Communication & Compliment More:
Know your spouse' love language. Speak to her or him in his language, not yours.
The languages are word, touch, time, service, gift. Always clarify rather than jump to conclusion.
A key part of communication is Compliment – giving of praise & appreciation. Complimenting each other is the glue that holds the relationship together. Saying “Yes”s.

4. Companionship & Caring 
Treat your relationship with your spouse more important than with your children.
Spouse is for our keep till the end of this life. Children are to be under our care for their development and to let go later. Parents' relationship affects their children. When a father abuses mother., the son will hate the father & be depressed because he can't protect his mother. The best thing you can for your children is to love each other all the time.

5. Co-operation or Co-labor together
A good relationship is about drawing out & building on each other strengths.  It is not to destroy each other. Always encourage and never tear down the each other. Anyone winning is actually a loss to the relationship. All negative remarks can be made positive, such as, instead of "Why are you so late and complaints....", says, "It will be great if you are here earlier …". Do it. Treat each other with Respect - Give benefits of doubt … e.g. late, did not do, … there are good reasons behind. Don't jump to conclusion that he/she does not care or love anymore.

The Final Question:

Five years from now, if you I ask you how much you love her, what will you say?

If you answered "as much as today, the wedding day." then it is wrong.
The right answer should be "More than today."
Love increases with time of investing in the relationship.
Invest in your this precious relationship from now onwards.
Do the five C's of Christ-centered, Commitment, Communication, Companionship & Co-laboring.

Some Testimonies from Books:

A story of Alzheimer wife & professor husband. 
Dr. J. Robertson McQuilkin - president of Columbia Bible College; Wife, Muriel suffered Alzheimer's disease for the last twenty years. He gave up his presidency and numerous other responsibilities to care for her and to love her. An incident is recorded in his book “A Promise Kept”
(See https://matttroupe.net/tag/ravi-zacharias/ )
  • Once our flight was delayed in Atlanta, and we had to wait a couple of hours. Now that's a challenge. Every few minutes, the same questions, the same answers about what we're doing here, when are we going home? And every few minutes we'd take a fast-paced walk down the terminal in earnest search of what? Muriel had always been a speed walker. I had to jog to keep up with her!
  • An attractive woman sat across from us, working diligently on her computer. Once, when we returned from an excursion, she said something, without looking up from her papers. Since no one spoke to me or at least mumbled in protest of our constant activity, "Pardon?" I asked."Oh," she said, I was just asking myself, 'Will I ever find a man to love me like that?'“
Andy Stanley's mother? 92 years old.
She married a man 19 years older. The man loved her much. When she was about 70, unable to take care of her sick husband, she sent him to an old age home to be cared for. She walked, every day, for 2 years, to and fro, for 2.5 miles to the old-age home to care for her husband until his pass away. She said that was the toughest but yet the most joyful life. She wished God would allow her a few more years to care for him!

Lim Liat (c) 5 March 2018

See also: True Love For Successful Marriage

2018-02-22

22 Principles for A Good & Successful Person from Proverbs 22

The wisdom of Proverbs 22 is distilled into 22 principles for making a good and successful person. It is re-organized into 8 keys for ease of memory and application. Learn them well for your success.
Getting Wisdom from Proverbs 22
The first step is to rephrase each verse with a few keywords. Then we try to group them and give a higher level title. The end result is shown in the mind-map:

The Summary Map:



The Detailed Map showing how the summary map is derived.

The 22 Principles
  • #0 Foundational Truth- Priority of Life
    • Your identity & relationship are more important than wealth. 
    • What you are is more important than what you own. 
    • Life is What you do with What you are born with. 
    • Hence do and live well.
  • 1 God is 1st - Worship & Trust Him -Fear God and develop Humility
    • #2 Fear of God & Humility brings Success
    • #16 Trust the Lord
  • 2 Be Righteous & Just
    • #17 Know Right & True
    • #3 Being Straight brings Life
    • #6 Be Just - Injustice brings calamity -Abuses of Power brings disaster
    • #14 Exploit or Bully Others Not
    • #18 Do Not Exploit the Weak
    • #21 Don't Cheat
  • 3 Prudence
    • #1 Be Prudent - Escape Danger -36计 走为上计!e.g. Joseph running away from his master's wife approaches
    • #12 Watch out for Temptations
    • #20 Don't Make Pledges nor Put up Security when You are Unable
  • 4 Learning & Training
    • #4 Training from Young brings Lasting Result
    • #10 Learning Always.
    • #13 Discipline is needed
    • #15 Internalize Knowledge to be able to use it anytime.
  • 5 Be Generously Kind - The Key to Master Wealth
    • #5 Wealth has Power & Influence - Use it Well
    • #7 Be Kind & Generous
  • 6 Away from Bad Influences
    • #8 Get Rid of, Or Stay Away from, Trouble Makers - e.g. Mocking Others, Complaints, Proud, Gossipers
    • #19 Stay Away from Angry Influence
  • 7 Grace & Truth
    • #9 Promotion Comes from Purity & Gracefulness
  • 8 Work Hard
    • #11 Be Diligent
    • #22 Be Skillful - Excel in Your Work
In the Chinese Calendar, today is Chinese New Year day 7, which is known as Men's Day 人日. It is the birthday of all men. So, it is good that we learn to be a good man today 人日学做人。

For another perspective, see also, How to Get Wealth and Go for Something Even Better...

If you are wondering whether this teaching is still applicable today, see Billionaire's Wisdom for Life Matches with Bible Proverbs 22 

Lim Liat (c) 22 Feb 2018