Handling Repentance - Finishing Discipling Well

Most of us, parents and bosses, do now and then, discipline our children and staff. But most, if like me, tend not to close-up well. We skip a vital part in the closing phase of discipline and therefore fail to reap the benefits that the discipline was supposed to achieve in the first place - a transformed heart to do the right things in the future and never to repeat the same mistake.  By not ending this well, the discipline may become just a punishment to be avoided (not to be caught) and not a true change of heart which believers call repentance.

How to do this closing well is shown by Samuel in 1Sam 12:19-25. There are four goodie all life time heroes in the Bible. They are Joseph, Samuel, Daniel and Job. Even Moses and Abraham failed God sometimes. David was a din-dong guy that could be very bad and the repented to be very good. He knew the heart of God and I think he sometimes exploited it. The four heroes are all great statesman of their time running great countries and had great influence on the people then. Here is the response from Samuel when the people repented for of their sin of rejecting God and Samuel by asking for a king and to be like their pagan nations (This is the deception of sin. We gave up what we have that is good to exchange for rubbish!).

The Seven Steps for Closing the Discipline - The Must Do follow-up on Repentance
  1. Make Sure it is A True Repentance
  2. Assurance of Acceptance
  3. Point Out The Error
  4. Point Out  The Right Way
  5. Absolutely Guaranteed Love of God.
    1. It is God that chose and love you.
    2. You don't earn it. He is faithful to Himself to love you always.
  6. My Promise to Support You
  7. Summary:  Your Part Now is do this and not that.
Here is a mind-map that gives the details. Hope you find the mind-map form easier to understand.

You may want to read this for the earlier steps on disciplining Changing Behavior (3) - Changing Mindset.


To Transform a City According to Tim Keller

I am very touched by Tim Keller's message 

that I will post the link.

We are commissioned to transform cities and take nations. 

After reading it, we should hopefully be embarrassed by our narrow mindset - only my church where we should be Christ and His Church first and every thing else second. We are first a Christian and then a my church. Such 'MY CHURCH first and only" thinking is actually an abomination to Jesus Christ who is the head of the this (divided, infighting?) church.

I think all church leaders and members, especially those in my own country of Singapore, should read and apply.

It could serve a must read when we do our church planning retreat and be preached from the pulpit often that our narrow and petty mindset of my-church-only be broken free and that we may all work together, across denominations, para-church and other special groups to really transform our nations.


Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 9 on Money & Righteousness

The last verse of the Confucius School "The Book of Great Learning" ended with

Hence, nation cannot see money as gains but righteousness as gains (true wealth)
Go after righteousness and not profits

The whole chapter is worth a read, click here.

For a short summary of the book, see Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute.

The Biblical Teachings:
Does not it read like 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain?

Does it not tell us to do according to Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you?

See The Golden Rule for Business Mat 6:33
& The Golden Rule for personal & business success

Here the summary mind-map on the last Chapter about how to govern a nation and then the world:
Lao Zi too:
Contentment is richness can also be found in Dao De Jing 33.

Knowing the character of others is wisdom; Knowing oneself is enlightenment.

Mastering others is power and authority. Self-control is true strength.

Contentment is richness. Striving forward is commitment.

Not losing oneself will last. x  Died and yet one’s legacy continues is long life.

Lim Liat copyrighted 2010-2011


Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 8 on Commission & Transformation

The Book of "Great Learning" of the Confucius School begins with "大学之道,在明明德,在亲民,在止于至善" can be translated as

The Great Commission:

"the way of the 'Great Learning' is 
  1. to make know the glorious virtue of God that man may follow, 
  2. on loving people to transform them to be new creation, 
  3. and to reach the utmost goodness of abundance and harmony, the heavenly home for all to rest in. 
(note: See (see Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute for details. My translation added descriptions explained in the other part of the book)

The intentions and virtues of God are discovered by the Confucius (and Lao Zi too).  The ideal state of heavenly home of abundance and harmony is the dream of man. To reach the ideal state, men need to be transformed into new men of creation. Confucius' approach is by education. It is a journey of man reaching up to God. 

The Bible tells us that Jesus came to show forth the grace, goodness and glory of God as the Heavenly Father. Jesus not only just tell us about the virtuous living but also give us the grace and empower us through the Holy Spirit by a rebirth as a new creation (2Cor 5:17) so that we may attain the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven!

The method and the ideal state are same for the Chinese Classical teachings and the Bible. The only difference is Jesus Christ. Man don't have to struggle to reach God. God send His son Jesus to reach out to us and to bring us up to Him and to be with Him in peace and rest. 
  • Joh 6:29  Jesus told them, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent."  
  • 1Jn 4:9  God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.  
  • 1Jn 5:1  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves His children, too. 

For believers like us, we are to do, amazingly, the three things that the "Great Learning" tells us, like the Great Commission: (Mark 16:15-20, Mat 28:19-20)
  1. Proclaim the goodness of God 
  2. Loving people so that they may know Christ and be rebirthed and transformed
  3. Play a role in establishing His Kingdom on earth as it is Heaven that bring blessings to all and glory to God.
For more, see Chinese Classics & The Bible

Lim Liat copyrighted 2011


Our Colored Eyes - 1 Tim 6:6 Godliness and Wealth

I wrote this blog to help people to discover the true teachings of the Bible and to help them to study and interpret the Bible correctly as much as I could since I myself could be biased and wrong.

Here is a verse that I think will illustrate our colored view well. We interpret the Bible verses according to our preconceived belief. Let's look at 1 Timothy 6:6.

(KJV, ASV,RV)  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 

There are at least two interpretations for this verse.
  1. Godliness with Contentment IS the great gain.
  2. Godliness with Contentment is the MEANS to great gain.
Word of faith and prosperity preaching tend to take the 2nd interpretation. I used to think this way too until I heard someone preached the 1st version. Godliness will brings forth great profits. This concept is not wrong. Mat 6:33 teaches that Righteousness will bring forth materials blessings. But in context, this is not what the verse means.

Here are the translations that support 2nd version:
(ISV)  Of course, godliness with contentment does bring a great profit.
(GW)  A godly life brings huge profits to people who are content with what they have.
(NASB)  But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
(ERV)  Devotion to God is, in fact, a way for people to be very rich, but only if it makes them satisfied with what they have. 

Here are the translation that I think got it right: I think the New Living Translation (NLT) put it best:
(NLT)  Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 
(WNT)  And godliness *is* gain, when associated with contentment;
(YLT)  but it is great gain--the piety with contentment;
(CEV)  And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have.

1Tim 6:6 begins with a BUT, i.e. an opposite view of the one in verse 5 where corrupt man think that "gain is godliness", or in modern term, cash is king.
v7 reminded us that we cannot bring the money into the next world.
v8 tells us to be content with food and dwelling
v9 warns us that seeking money only will forth destruction and pains.
v10 is the famous one "the love of money is the root of all evil"
v11 tell us to flee from the love of money and go after righteousness, godliness, faith,love ....
v12 tells us to fight the good fight of faith (because the world will pressure us into love of money) and lay hold on the eternal life (things of eternal life, outlast this present life, hoarding money itself is not of eternal value).

The whole context warns us about pursuing money per se. It is telling us that the key things of life is not money or wealth, but godliness with contentment. One can be godly but not contented, wishing for more wealth. It is a bit of double mindedness. This is the danger of the 2nd version translation - we are godly only to gain wealth. The final objective is wealth and not God! God is a means to gain wealth. This is no different from the Chinese worshiping the Prosperity God (财神爷) to gain wealth.

The teaching is God, Godliness, should be our top priority and be contented with God provides for us. Jesus assured us in Mat 6:33 that God is a loving Father will not let neglect your needs. Our attitude towards money should be not to hoard it like the rich fool(Luke 12:16-20) but to spend it to extend the Kingdom of God. Some of us are called to be rich and powerful entrepreneurs and business man too. While some are sent to far away places to bring the people there to God. For me, I define wealth as the impact you created by your spending not by your accumulation. We work for a giving to bless others.

Money is temporary wealth on this earth. Money not spent is useless. Money cannot be bring over to the next world. The only way is to covet it by spending on God led projects in the working out of godliness. Godliness is of eternal value. Follow Jesus' advices:

Mat 6:19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat 6:20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.