Sunday, December 25, 2016

Our Savior is Born on Christmas Day for Us.

Merry Christmas!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

For to us a child is born,
     to us a son is given,
     and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
     Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)
Of the greatness of his government and peace
     there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
     from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

God created this world, and He was really pleased with His creation.  Bible tells “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31a)   Among all His creations, He made us special.  He created us in His image and His likeness.   He also let us to rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.   What a blessing that we received!    God was with us, and we were with God in His Garden -- the Garden of Eden, and we enjoyed the blessed relationship with God.

However, this relationship did not last long.  Adam and Eve sinned against God, and the fall came in.   Since then, sins rule over us, and we have been enslaved by sins.   Immediately after the fall, Cain killed his brother, Abel mere out of jealousy.   Then Cain lied about his terrible sin of killing his own brother.  The sinfulness of our human hearts continued tale spinning while being wrapped around greed, jealousy, and simply wickedness in our hearts.   The initial fall, thus, could not be contained, but it was accelerating to a point of a complete crash into a bottomless pit.   The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)

The wickedness of humans broke His heart.  Additionally, there was no sign that the wickedness ever stops.   Even so, this did not deter our God, who is full of love, mercy and grace toward us.   Neither the floor of Noah nor a sacrificial lamb could be restored us.   All humanity continued marching toward the complete destruction and condemnation. 

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a), which is implicitly known to us because our hearts tell this.    However, we have been continuously denying this.   Although we have goodness in heart, the force of our sinfulness in us is so strong that it has been eclipsing our desire to be good.   Apostle Paul shared this struggle:

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.   But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:21-24)

I believe that all of you, like Apostle Paul and me, have experienced this terrible struggle rather ofen.   In fact, the power of sin is so strong that nobody could resist by one’s own strength and will power.    If we did, the world would been a totally different place.   We could have lived in a paradise, where love and peace would prevail without any sins and darkness at all.   Of course, our world is nothing like a paradise.   Yes, our heart desires, but it is impossible for us to create a paradise on earth by our own might.  

Our God, who are merciful and full of grace and love, has His salvation plan for us to save out of this misery. 

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. … Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.  (Romans 5:12, 18-19)

God’s salvation plan is to revert the Adam’s sin bringing death and continuously spreading to everyone by sending His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ making Him to take all of our sins instead.    That is, God made Jesus Christ paid all wages of all our sins, which means sacrificed Jesus Christ on cross as the atonement of our sins.  Why?  Only could He be the ultimate sacrifice because He had no sin at all.   If a person dies for his own sin, it does not do anything to sins of others.   However, the death of sinless Jesus Christ could forgive all our sins.  This is the most amazing truth that we know and have.  Only is the catch we have to believe this.   Specifically, this means that we have to accept Jesus Christ as our savior.    If we believe, through Him, we are completely forgiven and free from all our sins.    The age-old heart quest of returning to the original paradise is now completed as soon as we believe this truth, i.e., the Gospel. 

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 3:16)

On the Christmas day, Our Savior was born.  Let us rejoice and be glad.   Sing praise to God.   Let’s join the angels, who praise at the birth of Jesus Christ:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2: 14)


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Sunday, December 18, 2016

We Are God’s Handiwork.

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” (Genesis 31:24)

Three days later, Laban, Jacob’s uncle, was told that Jacob had fled.  So Laban gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit.  He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead.  But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and warned him in a dream, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

Laban accepted Jacob who fled from his brother, Esau.   He stole the blessing of Isaac, his father by tricking Isaac.  Isaac wanted to give his blessing to Esau, his first-born son.  However, Rebekah, who loved Jacob more than his older brother Esau, made a plot to deceive Isaac.  While Esau went out to hunt for his father, Rebekah sent Jacob to Isaac as if Jacob were his brother, Esau.   Isaac who could not see well due to his old age blessed Jacob instead of Esau.   He thought that he actually blessed Esau, and gave all blessings to Jacob including the Abraham’s blessing that he inherited through his father, Abraham.   Soon Esau came and realized this deception done by Isaac, and Esau was so angle.  He wanted to kill Jacob.   Thus, Jacob had to flee to save his own life.   His mother, Rebekah, sent Jacob to Laban, her brother and Jacob’s uncle.   Jacob and Rebekah were pretty tricky people, who deceived his father and her husband as well as his brother and her son.

Jacob left his house and traveled toward Haran, where his uncle lived.  At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.  As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. 

At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”   (Genesis 28:13-15)

How comforting God was, who appeared in Jacob’s dream.  Jacob was in a terrible situation.   He was in fear of his brother because of what he had done to his brother.   He had to flee from his home, and at night in a wilderness, he took a sleep while resting his head on a stone.  He was at the lowest moment in his life, but God did not forget Jacob.  God was with Jacob all the time, although he did not know about God’s presence in his life.  God personally showed up in Jacob’s dream, and blessed him with the very same blessing that he gave to his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Although Isaac mistakenly gave the same blessing to Jacob, Jacob did inherit the blessing, not because of Jacob’s stronger faith to God than his brother nor his good heart toward others including his brother, but because of God’s absolutely sovereignty and His salvation plan to save His chosen people.  Why Jacob was chosen over Esau will remain one of the deep mysteries to us.   We, humans, cannot know the exactly reason until we see Him face to face.   However, we can sure about how to receive the same blessing:
1.       We need to put behind what we used to do and have before meeting God.  Then follow God even though it might be counter intuitive or simply does not make sense.   Bible tells “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)
2.       Believe God’s promise without any doubts, although it might appear to be neither logical nor even plausible.  How is it possible for one single person to become a great nation?   After receiving the promise, Abraham waited long time.  He could not have his own child till he became one hundred years old.   Additionally, shortly after getting his own son, Isaac, Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac.   In fact, Abraham followed what was told by God without any hesitation.   Again Bible tells: It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.  (Hebrews 11:11-12)

Due to his dream, Jacob woke up from his sleep and realized God’s presence.  Then the next morning, he got up early.  He took the stone he had rested his head against, and built an alter for God.   He worshiped God, and made a vow, “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God.  And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”  (Genesis 18:10-22)

God had to call Jacob in his dream.  Jacob was so much fixated to the things on earth.   From his greed, he stole the birthright and his father’s blessing.   At the wilderness, he was paying the consequences of his sins.  However, the gracious God with full of mercy and love found Jacob, and gave the amazing blessing.   However, Jacob’s response was too earth-bounded that what God wanted.   Jacob responded with three if’s (i.e., three conditions) to God.    Even before God, Jacob’s heart was not change.  He was demanding what he wanted – a safety of his journey, an earthly necessity (food and clothing), and his own wish of returning to his home.   None of them was related to God and His dominion.  

After listing out his own terms,  then Jacob said “if you do all these things, then you will be my God, I will worship you, and I will give back 1/10 of my possession. “  This is simply absurd.   Why?  In reality, God chooses us, not the other way around.   We worship God because God loves us, not because He answers my wish or prayer.   Additionally, what we have is from God.  That is, God owns everything that we have and our own lives too.    We have no right to claim anything that we have as our own.    We are a just custodian of what God owns as long as we are on earth.  God provides earthly things to us, and with what we received, we glorify God and expand His kingdom on earth.

The gracious God made Jacob arrived safely to his uncle’s house.   However, the tricky Jacob was deceived by his uncle, Laban by giving him a wrong daughter as his wife.   Jacob also deceived his uncle to unethically accumulate his wealth.   As a result, he had to leave his uncle’s house.   One day, Jacob fled with his family.   Three days later, Laban, his uncle found out this.   Thus, he pursued Jacob, but God protected Jacob by appearing Laban’s dream prior night.   Again, God protected Jacob not because he was a righteous man, but because God chose Jacob to bless and protect Jacob.

God is always faithful to His people unconditionally.   Then God transform us by patiently carving out us to create His masterpiece.  Later, God could transform the self-centered and deceptive Jacob to God’s new Jacob called “Israel”, the father of the twelve tribes of God’s people. 


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesian 2:8-10)


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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Through Faith, We know Him and We Please Him.

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrew 11:1)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for, i.e., future, neither past nor present.  If it is about the past, then we don’t need any faith because we already know what really had happened.   If it is about present, again, it does not require any faith because it is just in front of us, and we can see and touch.  Faith is our confidence about future, which we are hop for.    Not just hoping, faith brings us assurance about what we hope for regardless the current circumstance with which we face against any odds.   Why?  Faith is not of us, but  of God.  It transcends what we see, touch and know of.   It is the very means to connect to God.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  (Hebrews 11:3)

How the universe was created is one most puzzling question to us throughout our human history.   Our knowledge about the universe has been vastly expanded about last 100 years.   Einstein, Hubble, and other greatest minds have been unlocking the mystery of the universe layer by layer.   For example, about one hundred years ago, we thought that the whole universe meant our milky way galaxy.  Yes, it is huge.   It is composed of billions stars.   Now, we know more.   There are actually hundreds billion galaxies in the universe.  The famous Hubble space telescope orbiting around the earth helped us to observe this vast number of galaxies.   In other words, there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the universe!  That’s right. The number has 21 zeros.  Our sun is a mere one star out of the 1 billion trillion stars.

We also know that this tremendously large number of stars is made out of one event, called “the Big Bang”, which is the birth of our universe.   This is one singularity event.   Since then, the universe has been expanding in a tremendous speed.   As a result, it spans out to the huge space.   We observe this immense size of the universe with huge telescopes on top of mountains or instruments in space, such Hubble space telescope, Cosmic Background Explorer satellites, etc.   From this observation, we know that right after the Big Bang, the universe was very hot like the surface of the sun, but the rapid expansion cooled down the universe while making the hot temperature photons (i.e., the heated lights) to the very cold background microwave radiation.  (We can see a similar effect when the siren of an ambulance passes by.  The pitch of the siren suddenly drops as the ambulance is receding from us.)    Two scientists in Bell lab received Nobel prizes by discovering this background microwave radiation.  Additionally, we finally detected Gravitational Waves in 2015.  It took exactly one hundred years.  Einstein predicted the gravitational waves in 1915.   However, even Einstein, such a brilliant scientist, thought that it would be impossible to measure the waves.  Even so, we could manage to measure with the extremely sensitive Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).  Our knowledge has been vastly increased especially during the last one hundred human history.   Although we have gained the huge amount of knowledge about our universe, one crucial thing is still missing.   Nobody can tell why and how the Big Bang was started.  

Bible provides the very answer: the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible, but invisible.   Amazingly, the current scientific understanding agrees on the latter part.    It tells that the universe is made out of one singularity, which is so small that nobody can see or touch it.  How small it is?   First, the current generation scientists agree that it is immeasurably small.  It is so small that any known instruments or any known approaches would allow to measure.  Specially speaking, it is about 1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 meter.  Yes, it has 35 zeors in the denominator.   Additionally, the current generation scientists do not sure that it is the beginning because we don’t know what was happened before this state of the universe.   We are still pursuing the origin universe, and peeling off the knowledge like an onion layer by layer.    I believe this quest will continue.    Our science or scientific knowledge will not and cannot answer the very question forever – why and how the universe was created.   Only though faith, we can have true understanding.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

The most crucial function of faith is to please God.  God is our True Father, who created the universe .  The One who created the universe owns everything that we see and touch.   Is there any reason why He wants from us, even a single dime?   No, absolutely not.   He has no reason to ask anything from us because He owns everything that we see and touch.   Instead, He provides to His Children, us.    

Let’s think about a scenario.   You are a parent of a three-year-old boy.   Then what do you really want from the three-year-old boy?    Do you really want for him to do your work for you?   No.   If you are rational, you would not expect anything useful from the three-year-old boy.   If the boy really work out your work, such as fixing a dinner or a car, it would be a real miracle.    Yes, you don’t expect nor want for him to work for you.   What you want is a relationship with your three-year-old son.    You will really love to hear his voice calling you “Daddy or Mommy, I love you.”   You will really fond of seeing his happy and smiley face.  His hug on you with the small arm will make your day bright, and his kiss on your chick will make you feel like flying.    

God is our true and ever-loving Father.  We are His children.   The gap between God and us is even bigger than the gap between you and the three-year-old body.   Then what does God, our true Father, really want from us?    He loves to hear our voice from our heart.   He wants to see for us coming to Him regardless the circumstance and situation that we face with.    His arm is always open to us, and He is eagerly waiting for us.    When we come to His open arm, He is truly pleased.    Then He hugs us in His bosom, and  wrap around us with His strong but loving arm.   This is our faith.  This makes him greatly pleased, and then our joy is also complete in Him.


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.   I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.   (John 15:9-11)


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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The One Who Doubts Is Like A Wave Of The Sea.

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22)

We all pray.  Especially, we, believers, pray regularly to God.   Some of us spend lots of time for prayer.   Anna, a prophetess, prayed for her entire life in temple after her husband died, which was only into seven years’ marriage.   Bible says: “Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.  She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.”  (Luke 2:37)   After her life-long and earnest prayer was answer.   She met Jesus who came with Mary and Joseph, at the very temple.   

Hannah, who was barren, prayed earnestly before God in her sadness of not having a baby.   Bible describes Hannah’s heart and her prayer:  “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.  And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, “ (1 Samuel 1:10-11a)   She was so much into her prayer from the deepest part of her heart.   Eli, who was the priest, thought that she had been drinking because her lips moving but hearing no sound from her mouth.   However, Eli soon realized that she was pouring out her heart to God.   Thus, he said “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”   She believed and went home joyfully.  At home, she was no longer sad because she believed.   Her prayer was answered by God.  Year later, she bore a son, Samuel.   She waited till he was weaned, and she dedicated him to God as she made the vow in her prayer.   Samuel grown up in the temple later became one of the greatest prophets in Bible.

There are numerous prayer examples in Bible.  Our lives are not that much different. Virtually every believer has testimonies of prayer, i.e., how our prayers are answered, even though they are not be as dramatic as those of the above prayers.   However, it is also true that we often feel that our prayers simply disappear while not being answered.   We puzzle why and even we are frustrated.    Matthew 21:22 says: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”    Bible tells that we have to believe.  Then what does this really mean?  Let’s find out answers from the Bible verses:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)  

Jesus was with thee disciples at a mountain, and they saw transfigured Jesus at the mountain.  As they walking down to the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them at the foot of the mountain. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” 

Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”  Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”  (Matthew 17:20)

Yes, Jesus told that they needed to have faith even as small as a mustard seed. 

Image result for mustard seed
As shown in the photo on left, a mustard seed is really small.  It is so small that it is barely visible.   This means that regardless the size of our faith, our prayer in faith is answered by God, which is the promise.   Then the real question becomes whether we really have faith even of the size of a mustard seed.  

  
Bibles also says: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  (James 1:6).   When we pray, we must believe and not doubt.   If so, the person’s faith is like a wave of the seas, which blown and tossed by the wind.   That person should not expect to receive anything from God.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.   Prayer without faith is like cloud without rain, having a form of godliness but denying the true power of prayer.  

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (John 14:13) 

We also pray in Jesus name.  Only through Jesus Christ, we are able to approach to God.   We are sinful, but God is Holy.   Sin and Holiness cannot coexist, as darkness and light do not.   However, through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are freed from our sins.  We can approach to God without fear because our sins are completely forgiven by Jesus Christ.   Thus, we can directly come to God, and talk to Him without fear in the name of Jesus Christ.

God also gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.   God is full of mercy and grace to all people.   Especially, to those who are faithful, God gives an undivided attention.  He prepares all good things and provide them as needed to His people.   God knows what we need even before we ask him.   Many feel that we need to pray a lot to get His attention and His answer.  It is not true.  God exactly knows what we need.  God prepare them and provide to us daily and even moment by moment. 

Thus, somebody thinks if God knows everything and prepares everything why we should pray.   Regardless we pray or not, God will provide.   Yes, it is true.  God will provide to us in His love.   However, one critical thing is missing in this train of thought.   God wants to have a relationship with us, and we are His children.   As we really love to hear our children’s voice, God loves to hear His children’s voice that is our prayer.  He eagerly waits for our prayer, because He loves to hear our voice.  Our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ soars up to the throne of God, Our Father, and make Him greatly pleased.    Then He, the Father, is glorified in Jesus and through our prayer.


Give thanks to God.  He is always faithful to us.   Therefore,  Let’s approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)


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