Monday, May 27, 2013

JC's daughter healed once she realized how much she is loved by God!

Sharing by JC

I can never understand how much Jesus loves me, how much my Heavenly Father loves me, till I read the scriptures and when the Holy Spirit opens my eyes. My daughter had that excruciating pain at her knee cap again. It's the 2nd time. I was reading a devotion when she came out limping to me and moaning in pain. So I became nervous. It was the same symptom, her knee cap felt warm and pain when I touched it, she could not straighten her leg, that same accumulating of fluid around her knee cap and that small knee cap bone moving around the frontal part of her knee when I touched it gently. And there I was, nervous, fussing over her knee, and fear got the better of me. I imagine myself taking money out to bring her to the Dr, and all the xrays, and difficulty walking would mean a knee support, all that money. I think and think. Until I ask her to go sit down while I continued with my devotion reading. But she told me she wanted to try walk to the bathroom and bath. I just don't care what she's doing anymore, even when she said she wanted to walk to the bathroom. I mean, bathroom and water, and then what if she falls down. Most parents would not do that, but I was nervous, and the more I see her condition, the more I become nervous, so I decide to sit down and continue with my reading. I was reading Luke 5:23, Jesus says " Your sins are forgiven you." As I meditated on that, I kept thinking of the word " forgiven ". Last time I thought ' forgiven ' is a very common word, so I make light of that word. But as I meditated on it, I realized that everyday I make so many mistakes. And EVERY OF MY MISTAKES ALL FORGIVEN. Not only that, God must be so good, I make 1001 mistakes, God says never mind, and still treats me so good. It's an act of HIs love for me! I mean, after doing so many so  many mistakes, God says I have been forgiven, only someone who really and truly loves me can say that! I have a problem with forgiving people myself sometimes, and if such a person makes me angry every time, and every time I forgive that person, that person must be someone I really love, and because I love that person so much, I just willing to overlook all the mistakes! The only person I can think of to do such thing is my daughter and husband, but even then they make my blood boil sometimes. So I thought, God must really truly love me so much! And at that time, I realized that He loves me, so definitely He will do good for me. As I kept thinking about His love, I noticed that my daughter stopped moaning. So I went to check on her. To my surprise, she was standing properly. And she told me the pain suddenly just disappeared when she was bathing. And it daunt on me that, WHEN I REALIZE HOW MUCH GOD LOVES ME, THE MIRACLE COMES. So other things suddenly don't matter anymore. All I need to do is realize God loves me, and all the other things come in place.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Is there a cost to bear to be Jesus' disciple?


In the story of Luke 14, Jesus had just left the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees from a meal on Sabbath and had just told the guests of the feast, who were probably well-regarded by the society, a parable to say that they would reject God's supper with excuses so they could go about their daily matters even if they are invited. This is the reason why in the parable the owner of the feast became angry.

15When one of those who sat at the table with him heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is he who will feast in the Kingdom of God!"16But he said to him, "A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people. 17He sent out his servant at supper time to tell those who were invited, 'Come, for everything is ready now.' 18They all as one began to make excuses. "The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.' 19"Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.'20"Another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I can't come.' 21"That servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.' 22"The servant said, 'Lord, it is done as you commanded, and there is still room.' 23"The lord said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you that none of those men who were invited will taste of my supper.'" (WEB)

My Pastor has shared about this before. If you have bought a field, you would have seen it. If you have oxen wouldn't you have tried them out already? If you have a wife, then would you not ask to bring her along to the supper? Thus, they were all excuses and not valid reasons.

Then as the Lord left, great multitudes were following Him. These consisted Jews and non-Jews who probably were not invited to the feast but were waiting for the Lord outside the Pharisee's house. The Lord turned to them and issues 3 conditions for them to be able to follow Him and be His disciple (see numbers 1 to 3 which are added here for illustrative purposes).
25Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them,
  1. 26"If anyone comes to me, and doesn't disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple.
  2.  27Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple.   
  3.  28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?  29Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him,  30saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.' 31Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace. 33So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple. 
34Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (WEB)
Conditions 1 and 2 are clear. However, I disagree with the way condition 3 is interpreted by popular commentaries. They say that these verses (verse 28-32) talk about the Lord asking followers to consider the cost of becoming His disciples. That if one tries but fails he may be ridiculed. One commentary even suggested that "better not begin than begin and not complete one's task". I disagree with that interpretation, as it does not seem right to behave as such in service to God.

I believe verses 28-32 (condition 3) do call for the multitudes to renounce all that they have to follow Jesus. But two examples (tower building and war engagement) are negative examples of people who did not renounce what they have. They are not examples for us to follow.  Why do I say that? 
  • In verse 33 it says "So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple." The word "So" means "in the  same manner". This means the preceding verses are examples of people who are not able to renounce all that they have and thus cannot be His disciple. 
  • The two examples refer to people trying to gain their own personal victories in their daily lives by their own efforts. They are examples of people who go about their daily lives considering only what they have in the natural. They do not consider God. In verse 28, a man desires to build a tower. A tower is something you build so you can hide from the enemies and also keep a lookout on the enemies who come. It is a picture of a man trying to provide security for himself. Yet with what he has he failed and is mocked. Verse 31 is the picture of a ruler trying to get victory in his fight in life, and it can refer to a career (since it refers to a King's conquer and conquering is really the King's job) or in general a victory one tries to gain in life over a stronghold, which can be an addiction or any challenges that one may have. But to the Lord it will always be like fighting 20,000 with just 10,000. The man is always at the losing end of his battle. Building a tower is a defensive gesture. A war is an offensive gesture. Both our offense and our defense will fail when we use what we have and do what we can apart from Him. 
  • In fact, Jesus by saying "which of you" in verse 28 and "which king" in verse 31, makes it clear that they all behave that way. If behaving that way had been right, and since Jesus judged that all of them were behaving that way, then the correction in verse 33 would not have come in. And being Jesus' disciples would not have been a challenge to the multitudes. But it is not so. Verse 28-32 are there to tell the multitudes that it will be hard for all of them to give up their natural way of doing things and start doing things God's way
  • Jesus has never asked any disciples to think about it when He called them. He just asked them to follow Him (Matt 4:18, Matt 9:9, John 1:43,). It seems the Lord has never seen the need to doubt what He is planning to do and He does not leave the decision of His plan with us. He will call us. And it is up to us to respond. But the call is clear and the good purpose of it does not depend on our considerations of it. 
  • Verse 34 to 35 talks about the salt becoming tasteless. These two verses make it even more clear that to Jesus, there is only one way  - be His disciples as any other way means we will lose our flavor. Thus, the Lord would never have intended verse 28-32 as choices that we could make for ourselves. My friend TT has this to say, "In building a tower and war they look at the chances of success based on human abilities: money or human support. They try to derive their confidence from there and  they lose their purpose. The only see lack. Once the purpose is lost, the flavor is lost. Jesus should have been their confidence and their supply." My friend Jach says this, "Jesus is the cost. And He is also the salt". My friend Las says this, "If one tries too hard, one loses his flavor". And I think they are all right. In Leviticus 2:13 you find that salt is added to the grain offering. Grain offering speaks about the perfection of Jesus to the Father. As salt has preserving quality, adding shows the eternal nature of the sacrifice and thus the eternal nature of the covenant the Lord has with the Father on our behalf. This means forever we will exude the perfection of Jesus to the Father as we are now in Him. And surely if we have any flavor of salt, it comes from our Savior. Now in Him, we carry preservation quality of the eternal covenant.
  • So in summary, the Lord is saying that the reason why we still go about finding victory for our own lives with our own efforts is because we had not consider carefully the cost it takes. And the fact is that we don't have what it takes to be able to win the fight of life. We need then to renounce this "I can do it" mindset. According to the Lord, the best way is to give up all that we have, give up all that we hold dear, let go of all our so-called lifelines that won't save us, and just embrace Jesus. We need a mindset change. We need to acknowledge that to have a blessed life, we won't be able to provide for it, and only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can provide for it. Only He can pay the price. 
In fact, at the cross, Jesus fulfills the 3 conditions on behalf of the believers and God puts the believers in Christ so that all believers can become disciples of Christ! Praise God. My good friend Jach pointed out that Jesus spoke to the multitudes before the cross. How right she is! As the multitudes did not have the hindsight like we do and they had no idea then that Jesus would be crucified, they would be so perplexed at the mention of the cross by Jesus, which is really a Roman punishment and isn't Jewish. At the cross, Jesus left His family and bore the cross, so we don't have to leave our family and bore our own cross. He renounced all that He has at the cross for us. He was made poor that we are made rich (2Cor 8:9). 

His followers were strengthened when Jesus rose again. Remember when Jesus rose again, the net of 153 fish (John 21:11), which is a picture of men being captured into the kingdom of God, no longer breaks, signifying the strengthening of the disciples' kingdom efforts. Isn't it amazing?

So now we can heave a sigh of relief. In Christ we are all disciples. We would want to put Christ first. But it is His work and His obedience that empowers our walk as disciples. Not our self efforts or sacrifices. Praise the Lord!

Shalom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jesus bore our sicknesses - Sharing by TT


Sharing by TT

Matthew 8:17
"He himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." 

Isaiah 53:4-5
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; … But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."

When I first received Christ and was told by my Pastor about Mat 8:17 and Is 53:4, I was really touched by what Jesus has done for us.  I marveled at why Father God would allow his only begotten son to receive our sins & diseases, and die for people like us.  I remembered looking at my pet fish at that time, and telling it, "No way am I going to let my daughter die for you, little fish!"  Aren't we just like little fish or even lesser in God's eyes?  Yet, no.  The love of God our Father towards us is beyond our understanding.  God sent his son to die for us.  And what Jesus has done on the cross is so complete and finished that there is nothing else that we can do, but to receive His love, and to receive the benefits that Jesus's death and resurrection on the cross has paid for.  

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night because my body felt very itchy.  At first I thought my skin was too dry due to the air-con.  I applied moisturizer and tried to sleep, but it came back again and again.  It happened almost every night and my lightning-fast mind only thought of applying anointing oil after several nights passed.  Some nights ago, the itch was back.  Instead of waking up and putting anointing oil or moisturizer, I pictured Jesus on the cross and told myself that Jesus bore the skin condition for me and by His stripes I am healed.  And indeed, Praise Jesus, I miraculously fell into deep slumber, and did not wake up anymore that night.

Beloved readers, if you are facing any challenges in health or otherwise, remember to look to Jesus.  He has already borne all our sicknesses and weaknesses.  He is made weak so that we can be made strong.  If you come across any loved ones who are sick, tell them about how Jesus has already taken our sicknesses and diseases, and all we need to do is to receive our wholeness from Him!

Monday, May 20, 2013

JC has a revelation about God is her Father who made the heavens and the earth

Sharing by JC

My leader once shared how God went back in time and repaired his childhood. I did not understand though. Until I was reading the Bible in Genesis 1. " In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth." When I read the Word God, I heard the same prompting in my heart again. When I read the Word " God", He was telling me " Your Father ". And then I read the next verse, " And God ( the Holy Spirit was telling me again that it's my Father when I look at the Word God) said: " Let there be light." And I read on. So everytime when I came across the Word "God", the Word " Your Father" will come along also. Then I suddenly remembered back in my primary school days, there were this group of pupils who liked to bully me. Everytime when something happened, they always have their father coming to school to " back them up". And they would never fail to jeer at me, telling me things like their father did this, their father did that. But when things happen to me, I'm always alone. I did not have anyone when I needed help, I did not have any father to boast about, to tell what He did for me. As I continued reading the scripture, everytime when I read the Word " God", the Spirit would tell me " Your Father". So suddenly things opened up to me. I was so shocked. I was thinking, you mean the One who made the Heavens is my Father? The One who made the light is my Father? The One who made the expanse, the shrubs, the plants, the land, is my Father??!! I mean, I did not know my Father is so powerful. I did not know my own Father is so clever to make so many things.  Because all this while, when I talked about father, I only think about my natural father. I did not receive God as my real Father.  With due respect to him though, when I read the scriptures, its like I only have one Father, and I forgot about the natural one. Its like the natural father never appeared before. Its as if the One replaced the natural one. Then I went to the window and see the sky. I was thinking, my Father made that sky??!!. And I was going, " Wow! so big!" .Cos in my life, I was never amazed at my natural father before. Yes, I know, many people know God made this, made that. But when the Spirit prompted me " Your Father", whenever I saw the Word " God ", suddenly, it's like I never have any other father before, except my Heavenly Father. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

God's judgements cannot be found

Sometimes God's Word is contradicted by what we see around us. This contradiction can be experienced by people around us and they ask us why things happen the way they did and we can't provide the answer. These questions can be really tough to deal with. We may also experience circumstances in our own lives whereby it seems God's Word has failed us. And we can't explain why things happen the way they do. 

I wrote in an earlier post that my dad died suddenly from heart attack and I did not even get to see him one last time. I prayed and did all the "christian" things but yet the outcome seemed dismal. Events like this challenge the idea of God taught in the bible. They raise doubts in our mind that God is not good enough, and did not do enough to help us, or the way He does certain things isn't right. The incidences you go through may be different from mine, but I think we all have our fair share of such thoughts. This type of thoughts could create misgivings in our mind about God. If left unchecked, we will begin to doubt God. Begin to doubt His Goodness in our lives. The next time when we are faced with a challenge, we will become unsure if He will help us. By then, our faith has already weakened. We begin to think that He isn't that good to us anymore. Once He was good to us all the time. But perhaps not anymore. 

Then as a way out, some of us may begin to attempt to explain the Word based on what we see. A good example would be healing. I believe the Word clearly says that we are healed by Jesus. All of us. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. He did not lay conditions on anyone. And Jesus said whoever has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9) and that He only does what the God is doing (John 5:19). But we are challenged to believe this truth when we see Christians we know believing for healing and yet some of them continue to be sick. And some died. So many Christians begin to explain, saying that God heals some but does not heal some. That's not biblical, and isn't supported in the New Testament. This is a good example of Christians altering doctrine in order to explain what they see around them. 

When events happen that challenge our doctrine, and if we shouldn't doubt God and should avoid changing His doctrine to explain outward circumstances, then what should we do? There is an example in the bible and we can learn from Jesus' answer.

In John chapter 9, Jesus' disciples asked Jesus why is a man born blind. That's tough to answer as it seems to contradict the goodness of God. In the scriptures, Jesus told them it is so, in order that the work of God might be revealed in him. Jesus went on to heal the blind man by sending him to a pool called "Sent". And the blind man came back seeing. Jesus is showing us how to get the godly answer to something that we don't understand. 
  1. First, continue to trust that God wants to do something good even in that situation. 
  2. And secondly, direct the afflicted people to Jesus, and let God take care of it.
  3. Jesus never explained why the man is born blind. Thus, neither need we feel obliged to provide explanations to things we ourselves don't have the answer to. This will prevent us from altering God's doctrine to suit our lack of understanding.
Let us look at another verse.
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past tracing out! (Romans 11:33, WEB)
The context of the verse above is about how God saves the church and all the Jews by His mercy. 

Regarding the Lord's "judgements" in the verse, Barnes' Notes on the Bible says that:
His judgments - This word in this place evidently means his arrangement, his plan, or proceeding. It sometimes refers to laws; at other times to the decision or determination of God; at others to the inflictions of his justice. In this last sense it is now commonly used. But in the case before us, it means his arrangements for conferring the gospel on people compare Psalm 36:7," His judgments are a great deep."
HELPS Word-studies has this to say about the word "unsearchable":
properly, impossible to fully investigate, no matter how great the effort (inquiry); unsearchable (inscrutable); impossible to discover; elusive, going beyond all human ability to even locate.
If you look at Romans 11:33 now with these information, you will realize the way the Lord is good to His people to save them is unmatched by anyone. Completely unchallenged. His kind thoughts cannot be found in us, and thus are completely incomprehensible to our limited frame. And the pathways that He takes we can never follow. We can never be as good as Him. We can never truly understand how good He is to us. Try your best to think of how good you want God to be to you, and He will still exceed it. Isn't a God like Him worth believing even when we don't understand sometime?

No wonder Ephesians 3:19-20 says this:
and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (WEB)
His Goodness to us is beyond our imagination. Praise His Holy name!

Shalom.

After thoughts: In relation to the abovementioned verse,  I have been looking at Ephesians 3:16-19 for many days now. And I find the verses very difficult to understand. And I think there is something there. Not only does it deal with a mystery revealed, Paul shared something that must have been key to the success of his work. If you are reading them too, please send to me your thoughts if you have any. Thank you and shalom.