Letting Go Made Easier

In the previous post, Letting it Go and Never Give up, we say we need to let go of the uncontrollable bad and pains, cherish the good that we have now and never give up on the better significance that we are building. 

In this post, I want to address the first part of just "Letting Go of the bad and pains". How we can let it go with greater ease and willingness and lesser pains.

Parts of the answers for "Letting Go Made Easier" are in the "Cherish the good that we have now" and the "Building of the Better". Our focus is the key issue. If we just focus more on the good that we have now, and the better future that can have, it will be easier to forget the unchangeable and uncontrollable past of pains.

Could it be our "Ego" (Our "Face")

When we have something better, we can forget about the lesser things. However, often we choose to ignore the good and concentrate on the painful fully realizing the harm it could cause. On deeper reflection, it is our ego that refuse to let go. Our ego is hurt and we want justice at least, if not revenge. We want apology. We want ..... It is the 'I' that comes out all the time in our focus.

Know the Love of Father God
When we don't know that Someone else is caring for us and we are the only one to defend and fight for ourselves, life could be very scary. I think the solution to our pains and our letting go is to be fully aware and to experience the Love of the The Father and Jesus. Not in mind only but also in the heart. We can do a google search on "The Love of the Father, God" and find many verses. We need to meditate on them. We need to talk to Jesus about that. Here a few verses that mean much to me. You may have other verses.
  • (Rom 8:32) Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?
  • (John 14:1-3) “Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2) There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. 3) And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too.
  • (2Cor 1:3) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort 4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Darkness is part of the Journey to Maturity and Burning Away of our EGO.
The literature on Spiritual Growth tend to have a phase of adversity, darkness, struggles, a sense of loss as if God does not care. This is the wall of the Six-Stage model of "The Critical Journey" (A summary is here).

Even if we don't feel the presence of God, trust in the Jesus that changed not((Heb 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!) and fully let it go.

By loosing our ourselves we gain the New Life

(Luke 9:23) Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Replace the 'his life' with 'his ego' and we can understand better.

Let our  ego go. Don't worry about loosing face. We gain back more. Let them go. Controlling others to prevent our loss of face does not work. Eventually, we loose all, our face and the others.

Value things as Jesus value them. See things from Jesus view point. Focus our eyes on Jesus and see as Jesus see. Trust Jesus to take you through this darkness part of the journey in the new life.


Letting it Go and Never Give up

I was emailed an article "Let it Go" by TD Jakes a 2 days ago. You can find many copies of it throughout the internet blogs, especially used for starting the year, 2006, 2007, and even 2010.

This morning I was reading Brennan Manning's "The Signature of Christ" Chapter Ten "The Courage to Risk". It ended with a quote of Winston Churchill, "Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.". It was Churchill telling us "Never, Never Give up!".

Are they contradictory? One says 'let go' and the other say 'don't give up'.

When statements are seemingly contradictory on the surface, then the answer to break the contradiction lies a level below. Dig one layer deeper. Break it up. We have to find out what is it that we are to let go and what is it that we are not go give up.

What to Let Go? The Uncontrollable Bad/Pains that we Felt
Jakes tell us to let go the past hurts, anger, wrong relationship, addiction, bad attitude, judging others, depression, stresses ... i.e. all things that are bad. In Manning's book, one key thing that we need to let go is our pride or ego or for the Chinese, our face. Our fear of loosing face, stops us from trying new things. Fear of failure prevent us from fully trusting Jesus Christ and venture out with Him.

A way to help us change our feeling and making the letting go easier is to change our thinking.  The lost of our job could open up a better opportunity for us and so we don't have to hate the boss or the company that terminated our employment. We can let hatred go. We can be reminded by Churchill's "Failure is never fatal". We can be reminded by Paul exhortation in Rom 8:28 'all things work for good to those that love God" or in 1Thes 5:16-18  16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. This leads us naturally to the love of Jesus.

What Not to Give up? The Good & Significances.
Hence, Manning encouraged us to take courage and risks to live life fully trusting in the sufficiency of the love of God. It is better to try and fail than not to try at all. The detours, the hurts, the betrayals, are but the paths where we can experience and taste the love of God for us.

Loose our Pride and On with the Love of Jesus
Forget about loosing face and jump in into the love of God and come out with experiential knowledge of His love. We can love more and do more because we have tasted His love and know that He is fully trustworthy. We can learn by experience and agree with Paul, 2 Tim 1:12, I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day, and in Eph 3: 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Always have a balanced view of things. Don't just go off in a tangent.

For a related post on Let Go and Let God ... see Let Go & Let God - Spiritual or Just Plain Lazy?

After posting note: A friend added "Cherish what you have" besides the pursuing. So we may want to summarize as
  1. Letting the beyond our control bad feelings go.
  2. Cherish the good that you have.
  3. Never give up on the significant better that you are building.
He also questions what is bad ? Bad could actually be good and good can actually be bad.
It is a counselor's job to help us see the good in the bad so that we may be comforted and the 'danger' in the good that we may not go overboard.

For Believers, we will follow the morale standards of the Bible to define right and wrong. We have to be careful that the Bible places a high standard on us - the journey and the objectives are to be righteous all the way. The ends cannot be used to justify the use of unrighteousness means.


    The Gospel According to Jesus

    The reason for this title of "The Gospel According to Jesus" is that there are many views of the Gospel over the years. Questions like below have many debatable answers:
    1. What is the requirement for salvation?
      Some says just believe in Jesus. Others add repentance from sins, baptism by immersion, speaking in tongues and belonging to a particular true church etc etc. 
    2. What is a truly saved Believers? How should a true believer behave?
      Some says we must have work of faith. Others say God's grace is sufficient. Some insists on following the Laws and accused those who said grace alone is sufficient as cheap grace and lawlessness.
    3. Will we ever loose our salvation?
      Some say yes. Some say never. Some say maybe and only under very special conditions.
    To answer those questions above, it is best to go all the way back to Jesus Himself. In John 17, the prayer of Jesus to the Father, provide very clear answers. This can be used as the foundational structure to link up all other verses.

    Here is mind-map of Chapter 17 organized into 8 truths about Jesus and the Believers.

    Q1 The Requirement for Salvation or How to Have Eternal Life?

    Point 1 above, John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Point 2 above tells us that Jesus came into this world to let the the world know that He is the sent ONE (the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed of GOD) from the Father. His work is to let the world know about the true God as the loving Father. This point is further supported that the Believers' Oneness has the purpose to show the world that Jesus is sent from God. So, we may conclude that Eternal Life comes from knowing and believing Jesus as the one sent from God, representing God, and making God known to us. Eternal life comes from knowing Jesus and knowing God, the Father.

    Notice this agrees fully with the many verses like the 10 ones below. There are of course many more.
    1. John 3:15,16,18  Believe in Him, the name of the only Son of God, the Light.
    2. John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life
    3. John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 
    4. John 6:35 “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
    5. John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” 
    6. John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. 
    7. John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
    8. John 9:38  He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
    9. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 
    10. John 11:27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
    Notice too, that the verses above, do not have repentance in them or in the context. The key requirement for salvation is not repentance but knowing and believing who Jesus is. Repentance without Jesus is no use - it does not give you eternal life; because eternal life is about knowing Jesus and the Father. Repentance is just telling us we know we are dirty and we want to change. But we don't know the power yet to change.

    Then, is there no need for repentance? Repentance can come after knowing Christ. From knowing Christ and His words, we know the wrongs and we will repentance. Nevertheless, if anyone want to repent and then receive Christ as the Savior, that is indeed very good. There are many ways that lead one to know the very truth - Jesus as the sent One of God. Some found Jesus in times of needs. Some in sickness. Some in bereavement. etc. We don't have to limit ourselves and others to a particular way to know Christ. We just preach Jesus as the sent one from God to save us.

    The shortest and most effective prayer of salvation is given in
    • Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.
    • Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” 
      (one may argue that v41 was his admission of sins and repentance. But repentance without Jesus is void)
    In John 16:7-11, the Holy Spirit convict the world of 3 things sin, righteousness and judgment. The sin that the Holy Spirit convicts is "not believe in Jesus" (v8). The main sin of man is the rejection of Jesus. We don't know our God. The Holy Spirit will point us to Christ.
    The Holy Spirit does not convict us from other kinds of sins. Our awaken conscious, our own spirit, re-birthed by the Holy Spirit, will convict ourselves of our other sins against the Words of God. The only sin that will not be forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit and it the sin of the rejection of Christ.

    Q2 What is the conduct of a True Believer? What is his identity?
    1. True believers belong to the Father and are given to Jesus (pt4 of mind map ).
    2. True believers have Oneness:
      Firstly, oneness with one-another just like Jesus & His Father. We are to love one another. John 3:11, 23, 4:7,11, 12, 13:34-35.
      Secondly, oneness with Jesus and with the Father - Perfectly One.
      Thirdly, oneness in the Father's Love. We love with the love of Jesus 1John 3:23
    3. We are in the world but NOT of the world. We belongs to Christ & the Father. Hence, the world that does not know their God will dislike us.
    4. We are sanctified in the Truth of God's Words. The is the Growth to the Image of Christ.
      We are to receive and keep the Words of God.
      We will then experience the Joy of His and His Words.
      We will want to obey the Laws not just physically but in the spirit. The love of God and the Christ in us will cause us to surpass the requirement of the Law. We keep the laws naturally because of our new character. If we reject the Laws, then we are actually reject the giver of the Laws and we need to question ourselves whether have we truly believe and accept Jesus.
    5. God is glorified in us through our works as in Jesus. John 17:4,10
      When we accomplish the work that Jesus give us, we glorify God.
    Q3 Is our salvation secured?

    Who is holding who? John 17:11,12,15 tells us that it is Jesus and the Father that are keeping us. Jesus does not loose the people v12. John 10:28-29. There are triple emphasis there, Jesus' hand, Father's hand, Jesus+Father=One's hand!


    Peace - Biblical View

    Grace, Mercy and Peace are found in many of the greetings in the Bible. We have covered
    'Grace' in
    In the above posting, we said that the way to discover the meaning of word is to do the following:

    How to Judge the Correctness of a Definition?
    1, Substitute the definition for term in the sentence/verse where the term is found.
    2. Do it for all occurrences of the term in all the verses. 

    So, I did a search for the word peace G1515 in the NT, and propose a meaning for the word peace in a table shown below (a subset for illustration only):

    (I actually used Excel to do this. I can sort and highlight)

    Here then is my summary of the definition of Peace.

    Peace is 
    1. Harmony - close relationship among people, and with God. It is unity of differences of uniqueness. We are different and yet we live in harmony with one another respecting and appreciating our differences. This will include reconciliation of relationship.
    2. Rest and Freedom from or absent of fear, sickness, worry, pressures, conflicts, wars, the negative things.
    3. Satisfaction and contentment as result of completion as in Luke 2:29. 

    4. A good thing/power or influence or tangible thing from God and of God. That we can give and take back as in Mat 10:13.
    5. There is degree of peace, since peace can be multiplied. There is some peace and more peace and full of peace.

      If this is the case, how can we have more peace?

      The answer in focus on the giver of and the Peace Himself-Jesus Christ as in

      Phil 4:7-9 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
    6. There is the peace of world and there is the peace of Christ as in John 14:27.  Phil 4:7 They are in panic but you are all calm even you don't understand how can you be that way. The mind who stay on Christ will have the peace. Then you will have breakthrough solution.
    7. Not just passive absent of fear but a positive presence of courage. To go on a mission as in John 20:21, Acts 15:33. 2Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
    8. Overcoming the tribulation and pressures as in John 16:33. Not escaping. But overcoming in the midst of it and coming out victoriously.
    9. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit. It is an attribute of Character.  Gal 5:22, Jam 3:18, 2 Tim 2:22
    10. Power of sanctification as in 1 Thes 5:23. Much strife, quarrels and blames come from lack of harmony. The power of peace is able bring recompilation and harmony.
    11. Orderliness & Clarity of mind vs confusion as in 1 Cor 14:33 ; refer point 7 above.
    In short, Peace is the power to overcome chaos, fights, fear and panic and bring harmony and rest in midst of all the waves. It gives the confidence and the courage to move forward. It gives assurance of hope.

    May you have peace in the midst of all the activities and pressures in your life. Let your mind be focused on Christ.


    The Golden Rule for Success - The OT Version

    I have in many previous posts share the Golden Rule for Success - Mat 6:33 See BJ#1 The Golden Rule for Business Success  (Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    Here is a similar one in the Old Testament:

    Joshua 1:8 (King James Version) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.


    We can see the 'Be-Do-Have' in the above verse.

    1. Be - Internalization of the Law

    The Law is summarized by Jesus in Mat 6:33 as "the Kingdom and its righteousness". We must be fully identified with the Law or the righteous of His Kingdom. This done by confessing and meditating on it day and night. Unless we are full of His thoughts, we cannot be like Him. Believers who do not read the Bible could not understand what he is in Christ. Do not know the thinking and feeling of Christ. They will not be able to be like Christ.

    2. Do - According to All written
    Once we internalized the values and mindset of the God, as taught through His Law, we can naturally act out those values and mindset. This part emphasize DOing and ACTing OUT of the internalized values. It also emphasize "according to ALL" and not subset. We cannot cheat a little. Integrity and trust are such that a little off is not longer acceptable. Once we break a trust, just once, we actually loose all the trust we build in the past. Unless it is 100%, anything less, even 99% is not trustworthy. People could not decide this time whether is belongs to the 99% proven or the 1% failure. Big failure tends to come from the little details - just a little bit off. Josh 1:7 tells us to be bold in doing all precisely, not to the right or to the left. It takes boldness to follow the Law exactly.

    3. Have - Prosperous Way & Good Success 道路就可以亨通,凡事顺利。
    The outcome for walking in the Law of God is naturally good flow of abundance and success. The original Hebrew word translated success is H7919 is prudence or wise. The Chinese translation is closer in meaning to the Hebrew. It says the ways will be smooth and opened flow without any obstruction. What you think and you will get. Whatever you can visualize, you can achieve it. The Laws of God is actually the Laws of Success for men. How did we get deceived that the Laws are restrictions for our freedom and keep us from the good life???

    While God has surely promised abundance and success for all of us, it takes us to respond to His promises, by trusting in His ways, and following His righteous ways precisely, not omitting the details, and then receiving His promised abundance and success.

    What says saved believers don't need to follow the laws? If we are truly saved, it is only natural that we follow the laws, and possess the success that bring glory and satisfaction to God. God's grace is to enable us to do the things that we formerly could not and do the things that we should - to be just like Him.


    The Progression of our Faith - From Pre-believers Seekers to Believers

    In the story of the Healing of Man Born Blind in John Chapter 9, we can find 3 types of people.

    John 9: 16Therefore said
    1. some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day
    2. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?
      And there was a division among them.
    3. John 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
    Type 1 Pre-Believer: My Way or No Way.

    These group of people have their own fixed mindset about how God is like and should behave. If God does not do it our way, it is not God. Guess who is God? It is us!
    If he does not think like us, he is a heretic, a false prophet, a false teacher. How many of us falls into such a trap?
    When we prayed to God to help us, do we specify the exact way God should follow to help us? How often we miss God because we are only looking for God in our specified way.
    We can be specific in our goals as the Fourth Dimension preacher David Paul Cho Yong In taught us. But we should not be specific in the how.

    For this group of people, we need to tell them to allow God to be God. Let God works in His own ways. We are to humbly observe and acknowledge and hopefully believed as in type 3.

    Type 2 Seeker: Let the Evidence Speak - Challenging present dogma

    This group is able to question the present thinking framework. Could we be wrong? Sinners don't do miracle is a believe held about God. This believe is subject to challenge as well as we know that devil can also do miracles. Miracle alone does not proof or disproof God. It is a necessary but insufficient condition. But this is a different topic. The key issue here is this group of people allow their favored belief to be question - God don't work on Sabbath.

    Type 3 Believer: I Believe.
    After examination of the evidences, the group is willing to make a commitment to belief and worship God.

    Our belief in Jesus Christ may go through these 3 stages of ignoring, considering, and acceptance. Don't be discouraged when our sharing of the gospel fall on deaf ears. May be we can proposed a challenge that they examine their own world view so that they can move to type 2 and then hopefully type 3 acceptance of Jesus.


    From Be-Do-Have to Be-Do-Have-Share

    I covered "Be-Do-Have" in the past two posts below;
    I find the above is too self-centered and would propose to add a share to become
    After we have, we should share it out with others.

    We can share:
    1. what we have - the wealth and resources gained. That is too easy. It is just giving 'fish'.
    2. what we have learned so that others can learn on their own to have. This is a bit more involved. It is teaching them 'how to fish'.
    3. motivating others to fulfill the calling of their life. To know his identity, his being through your own experience and sharing of your have's.  I must quickly add that a person calling is not just about full-time ministry as a missionary or pastor. But be what God makes you to be - be in any profession or works and excel in it. It is about expanding your influence in your unique sphere of work, family and social life for God.


    Be Graceful in Our Criticism

    If one was to read through the posts of the internet about people and their beliefs, we can find that the distinguished quality of a Christian, sadly to say, is not love, but a critical spirit of criticism. We are so quick to quote a verse, a statement, a clip of video, a paragraph from a book, and condemn the author and speaker as a false teacher, preacher, prophets preaching lies, doctrines of the devils, heretics, etc, etc. All in the name of truth. In the name of rightly dividing the words. In name of arresting lies at its source. We are so afraid that others may be easily misled, whereas we are smarter and we don't.

    There are many criticisms against the Word of Faith preachers like EW Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, etc. Against grace preacher like Joseph Prince,  Watchman Nee, etc. Against more seeker-friendly like Rick Warren etc Against evangelist like Billy Graham etc. Against the Calvinist preachers. Against the Armenians preachers etc. It is not that I am agreeing fully with the above list of preachers and doctrines, but that we should do a better job of pointing out where the error is, where is the truth (mostly ignored), and refrain from labeling and attacking the people. We are taught to judge. We know how to take the nutrients and spit out the bones or toxin. It is not uncommon to find that the very people who are being criticized as false, are also preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, of salvation through Jesus Christ by faith in Him and are bringing many people into the Kingdom of God. How one is saved will make for a full discussion by itself. I will address it in future if I have not already done so in my postings here. But in this post, I wish to present some guidelines for graceful criticism. I need to quote this by someone great person "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity."

    Again, one can spend much time debating what is the essential minimum of the Gospel of Christ. But here is the proposed framework:
    1. Present a higher level framework or model of the truth
    2. Say what is the right truth of the saying (this will help us to be less critical emotionally)
    3. Say what is the wrong part of the saying
    4. Don't attack the person. Just stay on the saying.
    5. Please remember to check the context of the saying. Did we quote the saying out of context? 
    6. Abstain from imposing your opinion as to the intention of the speaker. We are no God and we do not know the intention of the speaker. Stay on the saying.
    Coming back on the 'Grace' Preacher.

    The essential for most Christians is "Salvation is by Grace through Faith in Christ Jesus"(Eph 2:8-9). The differences come in the subsequent phase of sanctification. Some forgot that we need grace too, in this sanctification process. An in-depth discussion of this is given in  Degree of Grace - From Grace-less to Ultra-Grace.

    The sufficiency of Christ's death on the cross to save from our sins is very very important. The only part we play is our humble acceptance of Christ's redemption work for us. We don't add any more to a completed work of Christ. We just receive and trust Him and go on for it. Our salvation is not dependent on us and we could not spoil it is a great assurance to those being abused by some Church leaders who use fear to drive their members to participate in church activities and tithings. Our salvation is based on Christ and not on us. Christ salvation is not just for paying the penalty of sins, removal of sins from our life, but most important of all, a new birth, a new creation in Zoe (God's kind) Life. Without the rebirth of the Holy Spirit into God's kind of life, we cannot have an intimate relationship with God and we do not have the attributes of Godly life. We have new godly attributed life, we are righteous and can, therefore, walk in righteousness. Grace is the empowerment for us to do the things we could not formerly do (in our sinful nature) but now we are able to do - the righteous and godly things that glorify God. While we don't have to follow the Laws to be saved, yet our lives should have conduct that surpasses the requirements of the Laws. The Laws become a minimum checklist mirror for us reflect and tell us our new godly life.

    While we are not saved by work, we are saved for good work. Most grace preachers quote Eph 2:8-9 but forgot about the immediate subsequent verse 10 which says "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". How is God glorified? Through our conduct in this life. We are called to be salt and light to the world. Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

    How can we live out this Christ live within us? By faith is shown in obedience and good work. 1Thess 1:3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what James tried to point out that faith(internal) without work(external expression of inward faith) is dead. James 2:17.

    The potential error of grace preachers(e.g. Joseph Prince) is the neglect of emphasizing the obedience of good work of faith. Work tends to be taken as work of the flesh and then condemned (see Fleshy Work & Spiritual Work).  

    There is also the neglect of the time element of growth. Complete is mistakenly taken as already arrived rather than complete, completely equipped, with Christ within, to begin this new life of GROWTH into the maturity of Christ (Full Image of Rom 8:29). A durian seed is not a durian fruit. Both are complete durian except one is the seed of potential and one is an end result fruit of a grown durian tree. A seed is complete. Plant it and it will grow to a tree and bear fruit.  An incomplete seed will not grow. Like a fertilized egg, given the right temperature and time, it will hatch to become a chick. An unfertilized egg is incomplete and no matter how long you put at the hatching temperature, no chick will come out of it.

    This process of growth will include discipline, training, trials, testings to build up one's Christ's like character. While Christian life may not be a bed of roses, it is a journey of overcoming victories with Christ within and along with us. I recalled a preacher said that Billy Graham, with all the accomplishments, can only say "It is all the grace of God". Grace is not needed if all we want to do is sit at home. Grace is only needed when we move out in faith to answer the calling of God. It is work of faith and of grace that brings glory to God and to ourselves! Because God works through us. We become the heads and not the tails. God help us and we share in His glory. It is all grace, from the beginning of salvation to sanctification to glorification. Praise and thanks to God for saving us and using us to be part of His great work.

    A summary of Grace doctrine in the mind-map format:


    How Close should the Connection be?

    Paul is very seeker friendly - Connect first to their culture and bring Christ in.
    1 Cor 9:19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
    22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

    The question is how close do we want to get? 
    How can we bring Christ in after the connect?

    A young lady went to Hong Kong to do missionary work among the addicts and triads member. See Jackie Pullinger Telling the story. There was a book about her work - Chasing the Dragon. She is the shining light in the darkness and God is glorified. 
    Hudson Taylor adopted Chinese cultures, dressed, eat, lived like the Chinese to reach out to the Chinese.

    I could not remember the name of the preacher I read years ago about him trying to preach to the slaves without success until he sold himself as a slave.

    So, do we need to be become a prostitute to reach out to the prostitute? Do we need to be a thief to reach out to thieves? Do we need to be a drug addict to reach out to the drug addicts? Where is the boundaries? How can we live in their environment, adopting their cultures, without compromising the gospel - the very reason for us to reach out to them in the first place?

    We need to use wisdom based on the Bible and guided constantly by the Holy Spirit as the danger and pressure for us to compromise is great. It is not for any to go to such extreme environment.

    Can we become slave to save the slaves? There is nothing evil or prohibition for one to be a slave in the Bible.  However, becoming prostitute and thieves are prohibited in the Bible. Crossing the boundary that Bible set up is not wise but extremely dangerous. People in bondage cannot help those in bondage to break free. So, joining the prohibited vocations and sub-cultures to preach the gospel message is a lie and deception. We can go and experience in the sub-culture to understand and connect, but we cannot adopt those prohibited by the Bible. Because the pressure and temptations are high, it is better to do as a team. It is of God's grace and Jackie's watchfulness and alertness that she can go into the dangerous and dark cultures and be the shining light there.

    Be wise. We are call to connect and shine with Christ and not to connect and become the same as them loosing our light.