Sunday, January 13, 2019

Come Now. I Will Make You As White As Snow.

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

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  (Matthew 4:17b)

This was the first message of Jesus Christ when He started His ministry, and it was the first preaching of John the Baptist also.   Both Jesus and John the Baptist emphasized the paramount importance of repenting sins.   Why?  Without repenting our sins, nothing can God do for us.   Our sin becomes the impenetrable barrier between God and us, which blocks all of God’s blessings, grace and mercy that God really wants to give us.   Even so, God’s love toward us has not changed and will not change at all forever.  This is the greatness of God’s love.   Then how can we be sure about this unchanging God’s love?   Jesus told:

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  (Matthew 5:45)

Yes, God loves His children under all circumstances.   Apostle Paul experienced this unchanging God’s love through his life, and described as follows:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.   (Romans 8:38)

God’s love never changes.   God patiently waits for us, as a father who is eagerly wanting for his prodigal son’s return, who took the half of his wealth, left his house, and squandered it.    When he saw his prodigal son from distance, he ran to his son and hugged.  He saw his son being suffered a lot since exhausting all the money taken from the father in hungry because nobody gave him food to eat.  A severe drought came to the land where the son went.  There was no place but returning to the father’s house.   As soon as the father saw his son returning, the father rejoiced because he found again his lost son years ago.   The father’s long wait finally ended, and the prodigal son returned to his father’s bosom.    The parable of the prodigal son and his loving father reflects the true secret of the love of our God, our Ever-Loving Father.  

In extreme joy, the father held a feast while inviting his friends and relatives because he had found his son again.   The fact that the prodigal son squandered the half of his wealth did not matter at all.   The son who left the father by his own desire finally realized the reality, and humbly returned to the father.  The father was truly in joy because of the unconditional love of his son.  The father himself was also greatly suffered every night because his beloved son left him.   The father’s suffering also ended by the returning of his son.    Like the father who waited for his prodigal son day and night.    Even at this very moment, our God is waiting for us with His unfailing love.   What’s the reason?   Because God is love.   God truly wants share His unfailing love with us, but the barrier of our sins blocks His blessings and grace.   Every day, God patiently waits for us to tear down the barrier.   How to tearing down the barrier?   Confessing our sins with all our hearts and minds to God and acknowledge with our own mouth to God.   Then God, who is faithful and full of mercy and love, is more than willing to forgive our sins.   As soon as the barrier disappears, God blessings starts flowing from Him to us through His love and mercy.   This is what God exactly wants.   That is, He wants to restore our loving relationship with God, which was once lost.    

Surely we might feel like the prodigal son, who was in shame of squandering all good things of his father.  Please remember that it did not matter to the father because he found his lost son.    Yes, to God, once we were lost, but we are found now after the long waiting for us.      God always desires for us to have His blessings in Him, by Him and for Him.  In fact, He is one and only one source of our blessings: His grace, mercy and love.   

If any of us are still holding of our sins in our heart, then we are blocking all good things from Him.   It is time to carefully and humbly search for our sins, which are often hidden from our plain sight because we are easily of the world.  Then put out all our sins including hidden sins before God one by one while asking for His mercy and forgiveness.   God hears our prayer of His mercy and forgiveness, and surely answers by lovingly touching the deep pain scared by our sins in our hearts, and healing one by one by mending the tears and the pains in our hearts.   The frozen blockages in our hearts caused by the terrible sins start melting when warm spring comes.   His love starts flowing again in our heart, and changing the barren land to a fruitful land flowing the love of God. 

God starts rejoicing in us, and again His true desire shares the richness of His mercy, grace and love.  Our loving God finally comes deep into our lives again.   We continue to bring Him into the center of our hearts as our true King so that He reign us again.    God starts demolishing the stubbornness in our heart, which used to be hardened by our ego, pride, greed and sins.     All self-centered shames and ugliness are clearly exposed before the purity of Our God’s light, and His light gives a new teaching in us.    As we truly receives, our hearts are being transformed.     The barren land is transformed to a land of fertility with good soils for the seeds of God’s Word.    Even the ugliest part of our heart turns into a shiny piece of the precious of reflecting His glory and goodness.    The sins used to reign over us no more because they become powerless before the pure light of God because our hearts are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.   It is our sure that the One who started good works in our lives will complete.

until at last the Spirit is poured out
     on us from heaven.
Then the wilderness will become a fertile field,
     and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.  (Isaiah 32:15)

The wilderness of our hearts will becomes a fertile land, and the barren land will be fruitful.   Suddenly, our heart are filled with goodness of God.   Even we start to produce good things in God.   Although the seeds planted by God is so small and tiny like a mustard seed barely visible, the seeds grow big like the mustard plants where birds in the air perches on the branches.   As growing, we continuously enjoy the presence of God, Our Ever-Loving Father, who resides in our hearts.   

Our hearts are blessed by God without ceasing, as trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit bountifully throughout its season.   As the good things from the above constantly fills our hearts, and our hearts produces fruit without ceasing.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!   (Galatians 5:22-23)  

What a blessing!    Our hearts are filled with the good things from above:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.    The fruit of our hearts is so bountiful that it cannot be contained only in our hearts.    It surely overflows from our hearts.  Plainly visible are the fruit oozed out of our hearts.   By the way, the source of bearing the fruit is not of our own might and strength in our heart, but the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

Let’s not forget:  the power of this world is formidable.   There was no one, even one single person who could overcome the world by his/her own might.    The greatest king of all kings ever lived on earth was King David.    Although he pleased God with his faith, he was at the same time the greatest sinner among those whom we ever know.    He took his own officer’s wife, and he killed her husband to cover up.   His cunning plan and precise execution successfully made her husband killed at the battle field.   Then David joyfully took in Bathsheba to his palace, but God saw this terrible evil acts from the beginning.  God sent His prophet, and exposed the David’s terrible sin.   Without any hesitation, David fully confessed his sins to God.   God saw David’s humility and his repenting heart.   God restored David as His king.   In fact, during the course of David’s sinning, God never stopped loving David.   To God, David was the precious of His love.   

Therefore, two things are absolutely true for all of us:
1.       Nobody is stronger than the power of sin. 
We will all surely fail, if we rely on our might and strength to fight against sins.   Our defeat is sure before the power of sins.   
2.       God is love, and is patiently waiting for us to come back to Him.
We feel shame and guilt dwelling in our hearts due to our sins, but God never gives up on us.   His patience is limitless, and His love is bigger than anything else that we can ever imagine.   The robber on the cross asked Jesus His mercy, and received the mercy of forgiveness.    It is not too late for anyone to receive His mercy.   God is always waiting with His open arms to embrace us and to put us in His ever-loving bosom.

Yes, our God is waiting and telling us even at this very moment:

"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.  (Isaiah 1:18)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Come, Come To Jesus, Who Is Our Loving And Compassionate Savior!

Good Morning and Happy New Year!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  (Matthew 4:4)

John the Baptist was the voice of preparing the way of the Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He came to the Judean wilderness and began breaching.   His message was

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 2:2)

John the Baptist was prophesized long ago by the prophet Isaiah, who wrote,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”  

John the Baptist was in the wilderness, and people from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John.  And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.  

John openly proclaimed, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”   John prepared the heart of the people for the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

One day, Jesus came to John, and was baptized.  John refused, but Jesus insisted to be baptized by telling, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”   So John agreed to baptize Jesus.    After the baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said,

This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:17b)

God, the Father, was truly pleased with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus.  Thus, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were at one place, and the God was truly pleased.  The ministry on earth for Jesus Christ, the Son of God was being prepared.   The ministry of Jesus was for us, the children of God.  The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) was one place in great joy, which was again for us.    It was the greatest blessings to all mankind.   Jesus fully experienced the blessing and joy of the baptism with John and people followed John.   John and the people around Jesus being baptized were together in great joy also, hearing the voice from heaven, “This is my dearly loved Son, and whom bring me great joy.”   Hearing the voice of heaven alone was their great joy, which could not be found from anywhere else on earth.    The tremendous blessing was with John and the people watching Jesus being baptized, and also for us too.

The joy among the people, John and Jesus did not last.   Soon Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.   Jesus was about to go through the physical hardship and the torture of His spirit.    Although Jesus was fully God and man, He had to endure to the very limit as a human being.   First, he fasted for forty days and forty nights.   He was very hungry.  In fact, he was at a brink of his physical body’s death.   He was completely drained out, as Apostle Paul said, “I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith” (Philippians 2:17a).    However, it was for us, whom He loved most.   Apostle Paul continued, “I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” (Philippians 2:17b).   Jesus did with joy for all of us.   It was the just beginning though.  

When Jesus was completely drained out physically and mentally, the devil came and tempted Jesus.    The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”    The devil first attacked the basic necessity of the body of Jesus after forty days and nights of fasting.    However, Jesus did not give in.   Why?  For us.   

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”   (Matthew 4:4)

Jesus overcame the temptation with the Scriptures, i.e., the Word of God.  The devil failed.  The love of Jesus for us was much stronger than the extreme desire of food after forty days and nights of fasting.   Have we love anyone more than such an extreme desire of food after forty days of fasting?   

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”

At this time, the devil tempted with the Scriptures.   The devil actually quoted Psalm 91:10-11.   It was David’s psalm to take a refuge in God as His protection and help during the period of the hard time in his life.   On the other hand, the devil quoted the Scriptures with the wrong motive.   The devil used the Scriptures to test Jesus, not craving to receive God’s protection and help in the time of needs.   Jesus immediately Jesus responded without hesitation,

“The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’”   (Matthew 4:7b)

The devil defeated again.   We are often getting a temptation to apply God’s Word in our lives wrongly for our own gain.   The devil’s temptation was not unique to Jesus, but very common among us, all believers.   What’s the best way to overcome such a temptation?    As Jesus did, use the Scriptures accordingly God’s truly intention in the context of the Bible that God wants for us to live in Him.   Using a Bible verse out of context for our own earthly gain is a telltale sign of our wrong application of the Scriptures, the Word of God.    Whenever we apply God’s Word to our lives, we carefully read the God’s word in the context of God’s desire – saving us from our sins and transgressions and transforming us as His children, who are holy (being set apart [from the world]) and blameless. 

 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

The devil decided to tempt Jesus with the glory and every good thing in this world.   The last temptation was the most subtle and deadly because it tested the heart and the desire of Jesus as a human to have the glory of this world and being served by the world and people in it.    Later Jesus saw His disciples became indignant because of their jealousy about what James and John had asked to Jesus -- “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”   Jesus, then, called his disciples together and said,

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:26-28)

The temptation of trying to be the first and getting the glory of the world is so fundamental to all human beings on earth by equally sharing in their hearts.   Therefore, the force of this temptation is deadly.   Once being trapped into this temptation, nobody gets out by his/her own strength. 

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the LORD your God
and serve only him.’”   (Matthew 4:10)

Jesus sternly rejected the temptation by declaring with the Scriptures, “you must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.”     There is no other god except our God, whom we must worship and truly serve with all our hearts and minds.    Anything that we serve more than Our God is nothing but a sin.    In fact, this violates the first on the Ten Commandments:  

You must not have any other god but me.  (Exodus 20:3)

Jesus defeated all three deadly temptations that any human beings easily get trapped while living on earth.   Jesus also showed how to defeat the temptations.   The answer was the Scriptures, God’s Word.   We want to ask again why.  Why did Jesus take such temptations at the extreme degrees?   The answer is love.  Jesus loved us, and Jesus experienced our pains, hardships and temptations as we take on earth to the extreme degrees.   Thus, we know that Jesus truly emphasize our pain, hardships and temptations on earth to be called as our true Friend and Savior.

The devil left, and angels came and attended Jesus.   Jesus was triumphant over the temptations and the devil for us.   Then Jesus began His ministry by first preaching,

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  (Matthew 4:17b)

 The exact message was preached by John the Baptist, when he started his ministry to prepared the road for Jesus, the Messiah, Our Savior.   The first message of Jesus and that of John the Baptist were identical:
            1.      Repent sins, and
            2.      Turn to God.

Repenting sins is the first step to come to God.   The sins are barriers between us and God.    This is so fundamental and absolutely needed for all believers, i.e., us.   However, it is most easily overlooked in our prayers and Christian lives.    When was the time that we truly repent our sins before God in our prayers?     Are we truly repenting our sins before God daily or even every moment that we sin?   How many prayers are spoken or given to God without repenting our sins?    Our true and authentic repentance before God is the power of our faith and makes our inner persons healthy and stronger.   If we want to go into a deeper relationship with God, Our Ever-Loving Father day by day or even moment, the we confess out sins by telling to God and humbly asking for His forgiveness.    

The second step is to turn to God.   Adam and Eve hid from God, when God called them.  Their sins made them turn away from God, i.e., running away from God.   As God was approaching to them, they were even more making a distance from God.    Why?   Their sin was in the way between God and them.    They used to enjoy the presence of God, but after sinning, the relationship was completely changed.   The loving God was turned into the fearful God.    Sins are this much terrible by transforming our Loving God to the fearful God.    Although we want to turn to God, we cannot.    The gracious and merciful God always forgives our sins.  He always wants to restores our loving relationship with Him.   Please see His open arm, and turn to Him as a child runs into its loving father.    God is love.   When we empty our hearts by confessing our sins of the worldly desires and glory, we can see our loving God who is waiting for us.   Then turn to God.   Surely God accepts us with His loving open arms.  

God knows our pains, struggles, hardships, and temptations because Jesus, although He is the Son of God, experienced all to the limit that any of us could not endure.    Thus, we have a confidence to approach Him, who is truly compassionate and infinitely good to us.   Praise God, who send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ for us!  

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence.  (Ephesians 3:12)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hear God's Invitation, and Make Highway In Heart For Him.

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

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”  (Matt 3:3b)

The three wise men worshiped the newborn king, the Messiah, Our Savior, who was in the manger.  It was not the place for any newborn kings.   The three wise men offered the three gifts:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.    The gifts foretold the life of the newborn king, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.   The newborn king was truly the king of kings.   His kingship is not just of this earthly world, but His true identity was His Divinity of God.    Jesus was in fact God in flesh.   Although the people in the land of Judea did not notice the coming of the newborn king, Jesus Christ, the three wise men from a far country knew His coming as a newborn king.   

He said, "Go and tell this people: "'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'  (Isaiah 6:9b)

 However, the three wise men and the Shepherd searched out and found the newborn king, the Messiah.   How did they know the birth of the Messiah?   God revealed this Good News to them through the prophesy and the angel appeared with the heavenly hosts.   Yes, the same prophesy was given to the people of Israel long time ago also.   However, their eyes were blind to the truth, and their ears were deaf to the Good News.   Indeed, King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard that the true king, the Messiah was born in the land of Judea, as was everyone in Jerusalem.  They were in fear of the newborn king, the Messiah.

How about us?   Are our eyes blind and our eyes deaf to the Good News?   Are we truly ready for receiving the King, Our Savior, Jesus Christ?    Or are we in fear of losing our kingship of our lives due to the birth of the True King?    If our hopes and desires are only of this world, the answer is so obvious.   We will be terrified in fear of the newborn king like King Herod.  King Herod tried to kill the newborn king, and he enticed the three wise men by telling, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”   Every word by word, it came out from the mouth of King Herod with a pure evil intention of getting rid of the newborn king, even though it sounded good to the ears of those without the knowledge of King Herod’s true intent.   Of course, the three wise men did not know the evil intent, and they acknowledge to the king.  Then they continued following the star.  They met the newborn king, Our Lord, the Messiah, and truly rejoiced.  Their faith led to the Messiah.   First, they gave the gift of gold to signify His true kingship over all.

The second gift was frankincense.    Frankincense is a white resin. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the resin to flow out.  It requires intentional hurting of a tree, not just harvesting from branches like fruits.   Because of the piercing incisions, a tree gives out precious frankincense.  When frankincense is burned, it produces an aroma, while it is being reduced to nothing.   At that time, frankincense was offered as a pleasing aroma to God.   The second gift, frankincense foretold the life of the newborn king, who would be offered like frankincense by being reduced to nothing (i.e., being crucified and killed) before God.    

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45)

Jesus Christ came to this world not to be served, but to serve those who are in pain and suffering, and searching for salvation from the pains and sufferings.   The world is full of pains and suffering, which nobody can deny.   Numerous people (in fact everyone ever lived) have made all kinds of effort to avoid or get rid of this world’s pains and sufferings.    Nobody has ever succeeded.   Pains and sufferings have been always with us, and as long as we are on earth, they will live with us forever.  This is the cold reality.  Out of love, God gave hope.  The three wise men saw the star of the hope, and they followed.  They went through wilderness, deserts, mounts and valleys, and King Herod.   But they were not deterred.  They continued their journey for the hope to see the Messiah, and finally they could see the newborn king, the Messiah.  In fact, the newborn king was not an ordinary king, but God in flesh, who came down to earth in order to offer Himself as a random for many.   This is the love of God.   The newborn baby was the marvelous sign and the greatest gift to all mankind ever from the Most High, God, Our Ever-Loving Father.    Through Him, the hope of salvation came true, and those who believe this Good News are saved.

Yes, this Good News is truly marvelous.   Why?   There is a saying, “there is no free lunch.”   In other words, nothing is free.   There is always something attached, although a thing is offered free.   Thus, if somebody comes up to us and offer a thing free, then we immediately think why, and we feel suspicious about the motive of the person.   This self-protection and preservation reflect the cold reality on earth.  However, there is one exception: the birth of the newborn King.   The newborn King came to freely offer Himself to save us from all our sins and the world of pains and sufferings.   This is truly marvelous, and a completely new love of God toward us was revealed.   The newborn King, Jesus Christ, came to serve, not to rule over us.  Instead He gave Himself as a sacrificial ram carrying all our sins and transgressions and offered up to be burned.    Have we heard about an earthly king serving his people and offering Himself as a sacrifice for his people?

The third gift was myrrh.   It is also produced for a tree in the same manner as frankincense.   Thus, it is not naturally produced like fruits on a tree.   An incision on the bark of a tree allows the myrrh to flow out.  It was a spice used in embalming.   The taste of the myrrh is also bitter.    The offering of myrrh to the newborn king predicted the suffering of the newborn king, Jesus Christ.   The life of Jesus Christ from the birth was not easy.   He was laid in a manger.  (Have any of us laid in a manger right after birth?)  

Soon Jesus Christ had to fled to Egypt by the hands of Joseph and Mary.   The three wise men returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.   After the wise men were gone, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”   That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death.   

Soon King Herod realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He was furious, and sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem.   God protected the newborn king, Mary and Joseph, and the three wise men from the brutal hands of King Herod.

After the death of King Herod, Jesus Christ returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph.  He grew up not in a wealth family, but a poor carpenter family.  At age thirty, when Jesus Christ started his own ministry, He first approached those who were poor, mourn, were humble, hunger for justice, and were persecuted.   For Himself, He had nothing on earth.

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Mane has no place even to lay his head.”   (Matthew 8:20)

When the teachers of religious law, who said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go,”, Jesus reply with the above.  Jesus ministered those people suffering, and healed the sick, and gave the hope with His twelve disciples for three years.   At the end of his three-year ministry, as prophesied, He determined to drink His bitter cup, the death on cross to crucify the sins of His people with Him.  As Jesus was captured, all fled including Peter who used to boldly declare, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you." (Matthew 26:33b)

Soon Peter denied Jesus three times.  Jesus looked at Peter’s eyes, and Peter saw Jesus also, who was silent while he was denying Jesus, his own teacher and friend, who dearly loved him for the last three years.   What a pain it was for Jesus!   However, the heartbreaking moment was a just start.   Jesus was whipped, despised and crucified.  Even when he was on the cross, the people gathered mocked Him.  Jesus was endured all to give the hope and salvation for all, who are in pains and sufferings of the world and sins.   The gruesome crucifixion was His ultimate mission on earth and the victorious moment over all sins, pains, sufferings of this world.   Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate sacrificial ram to forgive the sins of the world including the denials of His disciples, the crucifixion of the Roman soldiers and the mocking and insulting of the Israel people beneath the cross, and all our sins.   The gruesome pain and suffering of HIs body, soul and spirit continued until his death on the cross.   This is the price of the sins to be paid.   Then Jesus bold declared  “It is finished!"  Then He bowed His head and released His spirit.  (John 19:30b)

His bitter life of myrrh was finished at the cross.   However, His bitterness was our blessings.   Our salvation was completed at the cross because the one who did not have sin at for all our sins was sacrificed for us.  

A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  (Isiah 40:3)

 God is continuously giving out invitations to all, which leads to His Salvation freely given through Jesus Christ, Our Savior, the Messiah.   What we need is to just accept the free gift.    Here is how to receive the free gift of the salvation from God, Our Loving Father.   First, we clean up our heart to prepare room for Jesus, the Messiah and Savior.  Nobody is immune to the world.  The world continuously makes our heart into a wilderness, in which we are wandering.    The Israelites saw the Promised Land, but their unbelieving hearts made them back to the wilderness and wandering for the next forty years till the first Exodus-generation perished on the wilderness.  They could not see nor touch the Promised Land again.   Second, we ought to make a straight highway in our heart for Our God so that He dwell in us.   Yes, Jesus came to us to serve and offer His life for us.  This marvelously Good News often lives in our head only as knowledge, which will not lead us to a true joy of salvation and the eternal hope.   Our hearts need to be cleaned, and give Him the kingship of our lives completely and fully.  This is our way to make a straight highway for our God.   Do we continue living in the wilderness, where no true life exists -- wandering to eventual death?    Only comes from God the true life and peace with God, which is the gift from God.

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.  (John 14:27)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Advent -- Our Savior Is Born For Us! Give Our Highest Adoration.

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

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  (Luke 2:10b-11)

During the reign of King Herod, three wise men from eastern lands came to Jerusalem.    They watched over stars years, and saw a star that they waited for years according to the prophecy of birth of the King of the Jews, the Messiah.  As soon as they saw the saw, they joyfully left their country to follow the star.    The star led them through hills, mountains, wilderness, and deserts.   It was not an easy journey.   They had to fight against fears of the darkness of those deep nights, and endured harsh weathers that they met.   However, their eyes were fixated on the star leading ahead of them.

They went through unknown towns and peoples of strange tongue and languages.  They felt multiple times danger while passing through those towns.   However, some town people came out and welcome them kindly to provide water and food.  They even offered place to stay overnight, which made them refreshed through their journey.    In turn, they expressed thankfulness by sharing their small gifts before leaving the town.   Then again, they followed the star.    Their journey was full of ups and downs, but their minds were firmly set on the star while expecting to meet the new King, the Messiah as prophesied long ago.   Their joy and hope to see the new King were always greater than their hardship, toils and fears along the journey of following the long-waited star.

As they were getting closer to Jerusalem, from far, they could see the walls surrounding Jerusalem, and the buildings in the city.  They were excited, and their hearts were filled with joy.   Finally, they found the destiny.   They thought that they could find the new born king in Jerusalem.     As they heard about Jerusalem, it was a huge city where many kings ruled from.   As getting closer to Jerusalem, they quickly realized that it was not so easy to find the newborn King.    Jerusalem was really big, and it was very easy to get lost.   They were just strangers, who had no idea even how to go to see the newborn king.    

They hold of one passersby asked where they should go to meet the Messiah, the newborn king, while expecting that anyone in Jerusalem would know the answer.   Surprisingly, nobody was able to answer their question.  Although they themselves were foreigners from a far country, they knew the birth of Messiah and came to worship the newborn King.   They were really frustrated.   They made a tremendous effort to meet the new born King to Jerusalem but the local people even did not have any ideas about the birth of the Messiah.   They essentially got lost in the middle of the city.   Suddenly, one resident in the city approached to them, and suggested to go to the palace, where King Herod, priests

and teachers of laws were, but he also cautioned that King Herod was not a good king, but a notoriously ruthless tyrant.   

The three wise men set down and discussed, “Would it be a good idea to ask King Herod about a newborn king of the Jews?    Isn’t King Herod the current king, who rules over the Jews?     If we ask a newborn king of the Jews, how would the current king respond?    Should his son succeed his kingship?   In King Herod’s point of view, there should be only one king, himself, and his son would be the future king succeeding him.    Apparently, there is no newborn son in King Herod’s family.   Then it means the newborn king of the Jews is the one not of his bloodline.   Is it a good idea to ask about a newborn king of the Jews?   It will certainly upset the king.  We were also told that King Herod is a notoriously ruthless tyrant.”    Then they looked each other’s eyes.   A dead silence fell.   It took quite a time before breaking the silence.  

One of the wise men stood up, and said, “We made a long journey to here Jerusalem following the star to meet and worship the newborn king of the Jews.   Therefore, the newborn Messiah should be close to where we are now.  We are very close to our destination.   Indeed, the last thing between us and our meeting of the newborn king is our fear of King Herod.    Asking about the newborn king, who is other than his own son, would certainly put us in a big trouble.   However, let’s think back.  How many times have we gone through dangers of people and fears of nights during our journey?   Numerous.  Sometime, we thought that we were doomed, but in fact we were not destroyed.  Instead, we were protected by the divine power.  This is the reason why we are here now.   Don’t we not see the pattern that the divine guidance and protection throughout our journey?   God must be with us.   Why are we in fear of King Herod?    Our journey to meet the newborn king will be surely accomplished.   After all, our journey to Messiah is not our own idea, but the prophesy of God.  God has taken us to here in Jerusalem, and He will continue guide us to the newborn king.   I am sure we will see the newborn king of the Jews, the Messiah, the Savior.”    The other two were attentively hearing this, and then they nodded.     

The following morning, the three wise men arrived at the palace where King Herod was.  The palace was impressive and overwhelming.   As approaching to the palace, they were spotted by the soldiers guarding the palace.   The soldiers looked them, and they quickly thought that they must have had been the noble from another country.   They immediately brought the three wise men to King Herod, which was a surprise to the three wise men.  They felt God was with them.    As soon as they saw King Herod, they gave a homage.   The king was pleased.  The king politely asked them what he could do for them.     Again, it was another surprise to the three wise men.   The king offered his kindness even before asking.   As they discussed prior night, without hesitation, they asked directly to King Herod, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews, the Messiah? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this.   However, he could not show his emotion because he was surrounded by his nobles and solider and he first offered his kindness.    He, then, excused the three wise men to leave the room.   Then the king called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”    He did not even want to use the phrase sued by the strange visitors, “the newborn king”, which directly conflicted with him and his kingship.  Instead, he used only “the Messiah” in his question.

The leading priests and teachers of religious law were all very knowledgeable about this matter.   In unison, they replied, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
     are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
     who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:6)

King Herod was even more disturbed.  He decided to go down to the bottom of this matter.  King Herod silently talked to himself, “there is only one king of the Jews, and there should be no other king in the land of Judea.”   He investigated carefully by listening the story of the three wise men.  He was determined to eliminate the newborn king of the Jews before being a threat to his kingship.   King Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.   Then King Herod cunningly told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

The evil was really closely chasing the birth of the newborn king of the Jews, the Messiah.   However, God continuously guided and protected the three wise men’s journey, and the newborn king of the Jews, the Messiah and the Savior.

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem.  (Bethlehem is about 9 Km [about 6 miles] south of Jerusalem.)  The star went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!  They entered the house and saw the baby wrapped and laying in the manger.  Mary and Joseph were with the baby and surrounded by the shepherds and animals in the stable.  

Finally, they met the newborn king of the Jews, the Messiah and the Savior in the manger.   The newborn king was not in the palace, where King Herod was.   The newborn king, the Messiah was in the manger as a humble king.  The three wise men saw this stark contrast between the palace King Herod surround by gold and silver and the humble king, the Messiah in the manger with straws, shepherds, and animals.   Then the three wise men humbly bowed down and worshiped the newborn king in the manger.   They just gave some respect to King Herod, but they truly implored themselves before the newborn king.   They offered their deepest adoration to the newborn king, the Messiah.  Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   Their minds were quickly passed by their vivid memories of the past events of protecting these precious gifts from the thieves and robbers while risking their lives.   However, God was with them, and God protected their lives and the precious gifts.   Yes, finally, they saw the newborn king in the manger, and the precious gifts were with the newborn king, the Messiah and the Savior.   Their hearts were truly filled with joy and adoration, which could not be compared with anything else.

On the way out of the stable, they heard from the shepherds about the angel’s announcement of the birth of the newborn king, the Messiah,

 “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  (Luke 2:10b-11)

and the praise of the vast host of the heavenly hosts,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  (Luke 2:14)

Yes, it was a really good news, and it brought a great joy to all.   Finally, the salvation promised long ago came.   The long journey of the three wise men was ended when they saw the newborn king, the Messiah and Savior.   Our long journey for deliverance and salvation also has ended because of the newborn king -- our Savior and Messiah, who deliver us from our misery and sins.    Be glad and joyful!    Our King, the Messiah was born for us.  He is our Savior and the LORD!   Give praise Him forever and more!  Praise Him!

"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)