A Believer's Explanation for Evil & Suffering

Our faith is not blind faith. It must be based on evidences and logically coherent and is able to explain the realities of life. Un-believers or pre-believers will not accept those explanation of course, else they will be believers. Most arguments against the existence of God is 2 dimensional, and they can be easily resolved by going a higher level dimension. Here is my explanation for the existence of evil and suffering even though we have a loving and powerful God. 
Here is the mind-map that capture the essence of my explanation:

For a deeper understanding for this topic, please read the writings of C S Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller etc.

Lim Liat (c) 29 Nov 2013


How to Live a Meaningful, Beautiful and Good Life - Ecclesiastes 5

You may find it strange that the book Ecclesiastes, which begins with "Vanity (or Meaningless), vanity, everything is vanity" provides answers for living a meaningful, beautiful and good life. A simple answer can be found in Ecclesiastes 5. It is respect God, trust not wealth but share it, and be appreciative of God enabling us to enjoy the fruit the work that we like. 
In a Chinese Bible Study on this chapter 5, I gave a title to this chapter, namely, "The Beautiful and Good Life". Such a meaningful and beautiful life begins with relating to God and acknowledging God as God, giving Him our respect by listening and obeying Him and thereby living out His image in our lives. A key part of our testimony is "keeping promises" which is also living a life of integrity.

We trust God and not our wealth. Seeking wealth alone is manifestation of our greed. Greed is a sin that is very deceptive. Most people will never admit to being greedy. It is revealed through feeling of never having enough. Wealth promises much but never satisfy us fully. With much wealth accumulated, the greed in us wanted more. The only way to counter greed to give and share out our wealth.

Wealth is not trustworthy as well as it could disappeared suddenly like in the 2008-2009 global financial crisis when the trustworthy banks of hundred of years old were bankrupted and wealthy men committed suicides when their wealth were lost in the crisis. Naked come and naked go need not be applicable in our lives when we know how to invest into the treasury of heaven by investing in relationship buildings, the sharing of the gospels, the lives of people, the teaching and giving that benefits the future generations. Leaving a meaningful legacy enables us to beat this 'nuked come nuked go' meaninglessness of life.

The beautiful and good life is not in the length of our life on earth, but in appreciation of God, giving us a healthy life to enjoy this life to the full, to enjoy the rewards of our work and to work with joy, besides the abundance that God has given us and share this abundance to benefit others. Abundance is not just in material wealth also in the spiritual dimension of love, joy, peace and relationships.

May you have this beautiful and good life.

Lim Liat (c) 4 Nov 2013


How to Meditate on God's Word

Using a verse Prov 24:4, we show how to meditate God's Words in the steps of  1 Word by Word, 2 Relations of space (And, Or), Time (sequence) and Cause and Effect, 3 the missing, 4 the opposites and more. The final step is the summarize with a tagline and asks how can we practice it in our decision making today.
Most people today are very busy to with work and children to have much time to do daily Bible Study. However, to study the bible properly, we need to spend time. Nevertheless, if our time is limited, then there is still a good way to study bible. That is to just read a verse and meditate on its meaning. Just a verse alone, we can read it and memorize it and then meditate on it throughout the day, like when driving, taking breaks, waiting for meeting to start, etc.

Proverb 24:4 is the verse for today according to the Bible App DailyBible that I had on my LG Android phone.

It is "The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honour and life".

As a precaution, and as someone who believes in the importance of context for the interpretation of the verse, we will need to check the surrounding verses to ensure correct understanding. Prov 24 is a chapter of a list of wisdom principles and so looking at verse 4 alone is ok.

Step 1 Word by Word.
  1. Reward: the consequence or the outcome of an earlier action. The earlier action is humility and fear of the Lord. Reward is explained at the end of the verse: 3 types of riches, honour and life.
  2. Humility: what exactly is humility? We know the typical opposite - proud. Humility is having and yet not showing or boasting of what one has and claiming one rights or credit for one work. It is respecting others. When the needs arises, the humble will move forward to serve. After serving, he quietly withdraws. Humility is "Power within Gentleness without". More on humility can be found in Kingdom Discussion 12 Law of Humility ... and KP#11 Law of Humility.
  3. Fear of the Lord: Fear in the Chinese version is Respect & Fear. It is not just fear alone but the utmost respect for God. We are fearful that we bring shame to our God. We are created in the image of God. We are therefore reminded of the righteous practices. To think and do as God's desire.
  4. Riches: not just in material wealth but abundance in good things and relationships.
  5. Honor: While we respect and honor God, when we respect and honor others, we gain the honor and respect that others give to us.
  6. Life: materials wealth alone does not truly satisfy. What is the use of wealth without the health to enjoy them? We have the life, the energy, the vitality, the joy.
Step 2 Relations.
  1. Of space. Humility AND fear of the Lord. The best way to keep us humble is to that there is a greater power and wisdom, God. Humility does not standalone. Knowing and respecting God gives us the meaning and the power for us to stay humble.
  2. Of time. Humility AND fear of God comes first, before the rewards of riches, honor and life. It takes time for the external consequences to show. A seed is planted in the earth. It takes time for it to sprout and then be seen on the earth. We work on the internal character first before the result is shown externally.
  3. Causal Effect: Rewards do not dropped from the sky but from our performance of serving others wisely that we developed through humility of learning of God and others.
Step 3 The Missing.
  1. What are not stated also helps us understand more. Humility is sometimes said to be egoless or less of our ego. As stated above, Humility does not standalone. It is related to others and of God. 
Step 4 The Opposites and many others.
  1. We can consider the opposite of the Words listed in Step 1 or any of the above.  Humility+Fear of God brings riches, honor and life. What is the opposite of the formula? Pride comes before the fall is a frequently heard advice. 
  2. The world seeks 3G of God, Glory and Girls/Guys (Pleasures) as the final objectives. Here the priority is God and Humility. Riches (Gold), Honor(Glory) and Life (real lasting joy and pleasures) come as by-products. Proverbs say if we just chase ofter money, money takes on wings and fly away! (Prov 23:4-5).
  3. BVITS innovation methods give ten operators of Less, Divide, Combine, Multiply, Outsource, Acquire, Irregularize, Extremitify, Invert, Learn. We consider the less/missing, the combination of Humility and Fear of God, Invert/Opposite above. What about multiplying humility? How do we get humility to double, triple? What does it look like? Outsource - How can we get others and of God to help us to stay humble? Acquire - taking up challenges help us to stay humble and to serve. What does extreme humility look like? Jesus, gave up his God status to come to born as a man and to suffer and die for us. See BVITS Overview for the innovation methods.
Final Step The Tagline and Applications
We can go wild meditating alone. It is important to recap all the thoughts back together.

 Humility and Fear of God bring riches, honor and life.

And the application of the above mediations. How are those expressed in our life today?

In the decisions that I am making today, how do act with humility and with respect for God? 

Instead of scolding people nastily for the errors they have made, what is the better approach to help them? Can we do with greater gentleness and yet as firm as before. 

Can we see the things from their perspectives? 

Is that the way that will please God? What will Jesus do in this situation? 

What shall you be doing or changing today?

Lim Liat(c) 1 Nov 2013