Sunday, December 27, 2015

Opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts.

Good morning!

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

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  (Matthew 2:11)

Our Savior, Jesus Christ’s birth was the great gift that all of us can ever receive.   God gave His only begotten son, although we were not ready to receive Him.  On the birth day, there was no guest room available for Him.   The parents had to choose an animal’s place to give a birth to our the Savior, and placed on a manger.  Jews, who told many years we were eagerly waiting for the Savior, did not receive Him.

On the other hand, the Magi from the east made a long journey for the king of the Jews.   When they found Jesus laying on the manger, the Magi fell down and worshiped Him.  They opened their treasures, and offered Jesus Christ gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.   The angels a multitude of the heavenly host sang praises, and the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night heard the praise, and came to Jesus.   The shepherds could not stand still, and immediately went into town and told the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior.  All who heard it wondered.   Later Jesus told “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  (Luke 19:40)  upon the request of some of the Pharisees “Teach, rebuke your disciples”, who was praising, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)  Yes, nothing can stop the praise and the joy of birth of Jesus Christ, our Savoir.

We really received the most precious gift from God.  Then what’s our gift to God?   The Magi opened their treasures that they most valued, and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh.   What is the most precious gift that we can offer?   I’ve been pondering on this question.   The birth of Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God’s love to us.   Can we give back this very gift of God’s love?     Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, miserably failed.  He betrayed Jesus three times right before the eyes of Jesus Christ.     Even so, Jesus came back to Peter, and talked to him with His love in order to forgive and restore Peter from his miserably guilty heart.   Jesus asked Him three times: “do you love me?”   He was not able to answer directly to this question.   Peter confused that he was not able to love Jesus as Jesus loved him.    God’s love is beyond any loves that we have known.   Although our heart really desires, we cannot give back the love of God.   What else we can give?   That has to be the most precious to us, and especially God really wants from us.

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

The angels’ praise and the disciples’ praise gave a clue (at least to me).   God gave peace to those on whom his favor rests, i.e., us.    Through the birth of Jesus, God gave peace to us.   Adam and Eve could not have this peace with God.   After they sinned, they hid themselves from God’s face because they were afraid of God although God was calling them.  Their hearts were not in peace with God.  God, thus, showed His love and gave protection although they had not have peace with Him.   How about us?   Do we have peace with God?   

Recently, I had a chance to watch Forrest Gump again.   Lt. Dan lost both legs at a battle in Vietnam, and he always had an anger and resentment toward Forrest and God.   He badly wanted to die after being wounded, but he was rescued by Forrest.   Lt. Dan’s life without both legs was harsh and difficult.   Finally, he argued with and shouted at God during a stormy at the top of the mast, which was Lt. Dan’s pinnacle venting out all of his anger and frustration.    However, soon, the storm became the conduit of blessings, and most importantly, he found a true peace.   In the scene, Lt. Dan pulls himself out of his wheelchair and onto the rail of the boat. He spins and jumps into the water, causing a big splash. We then see a tranquil Lt. Dan doing a floating backstroke with only the sea, the sky, and some distant clouds in the horizon.   Later, Forrest told “He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.”

Perhaps, the most precious gift that we can give is a true peace with God.   God has been always wanting for this true peace with us since the sinning of Adam and Eve.  

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”  (1 Samuel 7:12)

2015 is rapidly concluding.  2015 will not come again.  Why not looking back what God has done to us in our lives?  Like Lt. Dan on top of the mast during a storm, some of us sailed through a stormy water being surrounded by troubles on every side, but were not crushed.   Some of us perplexed, but were not driven to complete despair.   Some of us knocked down, but were not totally destroyed.   Thus far God has led and helped us.   As Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizaph and Shen, it is time to put our own stone between 2015 and 2016, and call it Ebenezer – stone of help.    Presenting our peace with God is truly opening our treasure, and giving the best to God.   Praise God, who is always faithful and infinitely patient with us because He is love!   Give our true peace to God, the One who wants a personal relationship with us in peace. 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)

Let’s continue praying before God to have peace with Him regardless situations around us.   Through this peace, His name will be magnified, and people may see the glory of God.   Thus,  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Good morning!

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

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

This is a season for jolly.  We all celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born on Christmas day about two thousand years ago.   While the parents were in Bethlehem from the long journey from Nazareth which is about 80 miles apart, the time came for the baby to be born.  The mother gave birth to a son, and wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (where animals were), because there was no guest room available for them.

Shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.   Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”   (Luke 2:14)

The lowly shepherds who had to watch over sheep at night met the great company of angels, because God’s favor rests on the lowly shepherds.   They were terrified, but they were told  “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)  

The shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.   When they have seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told about this child.  (Luke 2:16-17)   All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  (Luke 2:18)   The good news was spoken to each other, and many people amazed because the Israelites waited the Savior a long time.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

From the east, three Magi (i.e., three wise men) came to see the king of the Jews, and to worship Jesus Christ.  They had a long journey following the star to see Him.   Upon the question of where the Messiah was to be born, all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law replied, “In Bethlehem in Judea.”  (Matthew 2:5)    They continued following the star, and saw the child with his month Mary.   They were overjoyed.  They bowed down and worshiped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  (Matthews 2:10-11)  Yes.  God’s favor rested on the Magi.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  (Matthews 2:12)

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  (Matthew 2:3)

King Herod, who was the king of the Judea at that time, was greatly disturbed when Magi were looking for king of the Jews.   He plotted to eliminate the new born baby, the Savior, but the Magi were warned in a dream, they did not go back to Herod, although Herod told to them, “Go and search carefully for the child.  As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  (Matthew 2: 8)   Herod’s plan was not materialized.   After he realized that he was fooled, he killed all boy babies in Bethlehem, but God sent away Jesus and his parents to be saved from Herod.

Jesus Christ, the Savior, was waited for more than 700 years by the Jews.   However, when Jesus was born, only came the shepherds and the Magi to worship Him, neither Herod, the people’s chief priests nor teachers of the law, although they knew exactly where the Savior would be born.   Instead, there were disturbed. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:3)

God’s favor rests on the poor in spirit.   Jesus says “ Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)    One who is poor in spirit will surely hear the voice of Jesus Christ, and opens the door.   Then Jesus will come in and eat with the person, and the person will be with Jesus.   This relationship is not temporary, but eternal.  One who accepts Jesus Christ owns the kingdom of heaven.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Praise God, who sent His begotten only son to us to save us from our sins!  He is full of love, mercy and grace.   Those how are humble and poor in heart will accept Jesus in their heart, and they will own the kingdom of heaven.  God’s favor rests on those who are humble.    Praise the Lord!   His name will be glorified forever and ever.  

Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

And why do you worry about clothes?

 Good morning!

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

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  (Matthew 6:28-29)

Recently I read an article about our worry.  It tells "Lo and behold, it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misconceptions."  Statistically speaking, our worries are ungrounded. 

Then why do we worry?  In short, it is a work of our flesh. The Bible tells "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)"   We, Christians, should not worry, because we are no longer under the flesh that makes us desire things on earth, but we are of the Spirit sent by God, and live in accordance with the Spirit.  The Spirit desires the things of the above, which is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 )

Being worrying does not give any solution to what we worry about.   Jesus said "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  (Matthew 6:27)"   No, absolutely not.   Instead, our worry adds to our anxiousness.  It lives inside of us, and undermines us from inside out.  It continuously drains our mental, physical and spiritual strength.   In deed, our worry is a clear sign of our self-reliance, and our effort to solve the problem with our own way.  However, the deepest part of our heart says that it is beyond our ability.   If not, we have already done something about it. 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  (Matthew 6:25)

Even so, we want a control.   We love to be the master of our own self, although we are absolutely helpless before the problem that we confront. How foolish we are!  This is the time that we yield our own control to the real master, our God, who is really capable.   Also giving a control to God means giving out our worries to God.   It is uneasy to give up our control and our worries.   Our flesh screams not to lose the control by bringing all logical reasons why we need to be in charge and worry. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:21)

Then why do we tenaciously stick to our own worry?   Because we really care for the object of our worry.  If we don’t care for the thing/person/event, we will not worry about it at all because we don’t care.   We worry because we really care for and love our money, job, status, reputation, child, and even self.   “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”   That is, where our heart is becomes the source of our worry.   Among sports fans,  I have never seen a single person who worries about the opponent team, because the person’s heart is already with the the person's team.  

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  ... (Matthew 6:24)

Our life is more important than a sport game.   However, we are foolish enough to implicitly think that things on earth will reach to the entirety.   What we see is transient, and  what we cannot see is eternal. (2 Corinthian 4:18).   Putting our heart, cares and concerns to a thing on this transient world is the very source that makes us worry.   The original word in Greek, which is often translated to worry in English Bible, is “mrimnao”, which means “to be anxious” and “to care for.”   The Bible gives a clear teaching in a single word – we worry because we love.  

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

I am sure each of you have at least one that you dearly love.   It could be your own child, spouse, job, money, fame, popularity, and even self etc.    However, Jesus told that “you shall love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and then you shall love your neighbor as yourself.   Jesus tells us that our concerns and associated worries should be directed to God and our neighbors.     Jesus continue telling us “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”  (Matthew 6:31-32)    Instead,  He says “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)   

What a blessed word from Jesus!   All that we worry about will be taken care of by Jesus.  (In fact, all that we worry about are beyond our capability anyway.)    We just love God with all of our heart, and love neighbors as ourselves.   (It is a simple command, but we know it is also impossible for us to keep if we try with our own might.)   This is the mystery of our faith.   Although we cannot do by our own strength, the power of the Holy Spirit in our heart enables us to truly love God and love our neighbors (even including our enemies).   Praise God, who reveals this secret to us!  He continues watching over us to grow in Him to have a deeper understanding and relationship with Him, to do God’s wills and desires rather than fulfilling our flesh’s desires.   Therefore, continue following the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and fix our eyes on Jesus on cross.  Then we run our race given to us.  Soon we will be turned out more than conquers of all our worries in Jesus Christ.  This is our faith.   The highest glory, honor, and praise to Jesus, the savior and finisher of our faith.    Praise the Lord, whose mercy endures forever!  

Let’s continue praying before God to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in us.  He will continue guiding us and protecting us from all our worries, concerns, and dangers.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   (Philippians 4:4-7)


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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Two Kings: An Earthly King and The King

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20)

This is the response of Israelites to Prophet Samuel’s warning about a king.  “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.  ... He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. ... he will take for his own use.”  (1 Samuel 8:11, 14, 16)   The Israelites looked around and saw surrounding countries ruled by kings.   For their eyes, people in those countries were living in peace and comfort because of their king.   If there was a conflict with another country, their king took its army, fought against incoming enemies, and protected them.   In reality, as Samuel patiently explained, a king would reign over you people and would claim as his rights.   He would take the best for his own use.   Yes, an earthly king takes from his people while putting his safety and prosperity first before those of his people.  Have you seen an earthly king who stands at the frontline of a battle while risking his life?    No, he stands behind by keeping a safe distance.  Then he sends his own people to the frontline to fight for and protect him.  If his army wins, he takes all credits and glories.  If his army loses, he often becomes the first person fleeing from the battle.   Even so, the Israelites badly wanted, tenaciously demanded a king.   Samuel patiently persuaded the people, but they were deaf because their heart were already sold to the earthly king.

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

There is another king, whose name is Jesus.   Although he was the real King, he did not physically reign over people and claim as his rights.   He did not take the best from people.  Rather He came to this world to serve, not to be served.   He did not stand behind the frontline, but was far ahead of the frontline by leaving his people behind to protect them.    He knew the outcome of the battle, and the severity of pain and agony afflicted by the war between Him and evil power.   He endured the pains and agony to serve us.  

He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  (Isaiah 42:2-3)

He did not shout nor cry out.  He silently endured all sufferings before Him.    He was gentle and compassionate to those who were weak and suffering.   He comforted them and gave hope.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written. 
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”  (John 12:13-15)

Those who were hurt and oppressed flocked around Him, took palm branches, and shouted, “Hosanna!”   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Blessed is the king of Israel!”   They declared Him the king of Israel.   He was a humble king.   He was on a donkey, and entered Jerusalem for us.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  (Isaiah 53:7)

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:8)

Jesus, the humble king, became obedient to death – even death on a cross.  Why? He came to this world to give his life as a ransom for many.   Then He bled and died on cross to fulfill God’s will and complete our salvation. 

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.   (Philippians 2: 9-11)

Therefore God exalted Him, and gave him all the glory  of God the Father.   Every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Chris is the Lord.   The humble and loving king will come again.   When he comes again, we will all be changed, and our salvation will be completed.  

"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.   (Lamentations 3:24-26)

Praise the king, who is humble and full of love!    Give the highest glory to the one, who will complete our salvation.    Shout for joy because our salvation is closer by one more day.    Sing praises!   We will be with Him forever.    Let’s continue eagerly waiting for the King of kings, the Lord of lords.   He will surely come.   Humbly bow down before Him, and give the highest praises and honor to Him.   Hallelujah!  His name will be praised on earth as well as in Heaven.
Let’s pray to our true king who gave his own life to forgive our sins and transgression.   All our sins are completely forgiven, and they are gone like a morning fog.   We are free and become a new person who can  call God, “Abba Father.”   There is no more fear in our life.   We become His people having a citizenship in Heaven and will live with Him forever in Heaven.  Praise the Lord!  His mercy and grace endures forever.   He is our one and only King.  Amen!  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.  (Psalm 107: 1-3)
This is time for giving thanks to God.   God is good, and His love endures forever.    In our daily life, His love always stands firm and tall regardless what we think and feel about Him because His love has never changed and will not in future too.   For this year, we might have lots of stories to tell, Or some of us are still under a storm of life, being surrounded by troubles and even enemies.   It is time to stop, stand still, and look back what He has done to our life in this year.  Surly, His strong hand has been always with us, and redeemed us from the foe.   Sometimes our hearts and minds were blown away by a storm, but His hand was still there to hold us tight against the strong wind.    This is to time for thanksgiving before God.   Our God gives us a rest in our heart, which is not like that the world can give.    From east, west, north and south, He gathers all His people to make them join His rest.   Hear His voice: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)”   His love endures forever.  
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea. 
“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  (Exodus 15:1-2)
The 360 years of slavery was ended by crossing the red sea.   Moses and the Israelites witnessed the power of God and His salvation, which was foretold.   Not because they kept the faith, but Our God was faithful, the freedom came.    Nobody could resist praising God with thanksgiving.   They sang to the Lord about the God’s mighty hand that hurled both horse and driver into the sea.   The security and assurance on the side of God turned into  a song:  “The lord is my strength and defender.  He has become my salvation.”   The sound of praise of 600,000 voices shook the land and the sea.   What a awesome scene it was!   “He is my God, and I will praise Him,  my father's God, and I will exalt Him”   They danced with musical instruments in a true joy of being released from the age-old bondage.   They must have felt that the bondage would never end because it was there with them when there were born and died.   Day after day, and year after year, all same suffering and hopelessness saw they.   However, the day of salvation came.   Now they found that they were firmly standing on the land of freedom as promised by God.   How about us?   Just look back.   What do we see?   One thing is true that we are standing firm on the land of promise of God.   The bondage of the sin has completely shattered by the power of the cross.    Yes, like the Israelites, who met challenges and hardships after the crossing the red sea, we surely walked on a land of difficulty and hardship.  Then please ask a question:  “Was the journey really impossible like crossing the red sea?”   We are His, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ on cross.
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones!   (1 Chronicles 16:8-13)
King David waited and waited.  Finally, the Ark had arrived in Jerusalem.  He could not stop dancing and singing before God.   His heart was like a child who only looks to the eyes of his/her parents who loved to have happiness of their children.   He gave thanks to the Lord while calling upon His name and making a joyful noise.   His joy was too great to be confined in his heart.   “David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy” (1 Chronicles 15:16)     David proclaimed His wondrous works to all his people.  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Say also:
“Save us, O God of our salvation,
    and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!”
Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. (1 Chronicles 16:35-36)
All the Israelites joined David’s joy and thanksgiving, and said “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!”   What a beautiful scene it was!    The joy of bringing the Ark was so great that the Israelites stopped their daily lives, and gathered in Jerusalem to give thanks to God.   Yes, Jesus came to find us, and entered into our life.   He removed the bondage of sin and death, and gave new life so that we can live Jesus from now and to eternity, which we have been yarning for long time.  Isn’t it time to shout for rejoice and give highest praises from the deepest part of our heart for His unfailing love and grace?   His name will be glorified from now to eternity because His love endures forever.   Let’s make a joyful noise, and give the highest praise to God because He has made us to cross the red sea.   We are His people forever.  His mercy and love endure forever!  Amen.

Let’s pray together to give thanks to God, who is always faithful, and who has been guiding us with His loving hand through a stormy and glassy sea.   We are His sheep in His pasture.    Praise Him!   His might hand will be with us forever.   We are His people, and His beloved children. 


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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)
Today is the Lord’s day.  Although we might sail through a hardship, toils, worries, concerns, disappointment, and even sleepless stormy nights, we come to Jesus.  In Him, we find rest for our souls.   This rest is not like those rests that this world can offer, because it comes from the above.   The rest from the below is subtly deceiving.  It often makes us indulge in the earthly comfort, and being deceived as we were the captain of the ship sailing on a glassy sea.   This is the moment that we are most vulnerable to Satan’s attack.   Satan, who is really clever and exactly knows about our spiritual state, pumps up our ego and self sufficiency, which is the crafty attack targeting at the very center of our fallen nature.   Soon the smoothly sailing sea turns into a stormy one.   We are tossed around, and even the deepest part of our heart becomes unsettling.  All confidences and our self-sufficiency are quickly evaporated, and worries and sleepless nights find us again.    Unfortunately, we tend to continuously search for a way out by connecting dots with our own wisdom and strength, but it fuels ever increasing our worries in us.  We become simply trapped in the vicious cycle getting deeper into the storm.   Only is Jesus who can rescue us, and calm the storm.   Jesus says “Come and Come to me.   I will give you rest.”  Yes, it is the time to lift up our eyes and see Jesus, who has been waiting for us with open arms even before the storm began.  What a true friend and faithful companion!   Come to Jesus and receive the rest that only Jesus can give.  Learn and experience His gentle and humble heart.   No more being deceived by our own self-sufficiency, humbly accept Jesus as our king.   Then gladly take the yoke of Jesus, and give all control of the yoke to Him.  Our master will gladly hold tight on our yoke to protect us, and take us to a green pasture and besides still waters (Psalm 23).   We will have a peace coming from a gentle and humble King.  
 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  (John 15:5)
The Bible says we are the branches and Jesus is the vine.   If we, the branches, are detached from Jesus, the vine, then we cannot survive and soon wither and die because we cannot get nutrients from the vine.   However, if we firmly attached to Him, we will get all good spiritual nutrients and nourishments from Him.   In His love and cares, our inner person grows stronger, and gets into a deeper relationship with Him.    Of course, we are always tempted by Satan -- take off His yoke, and make us as own captain of our life.    We must resist the sweet voice of Satan.  As soon as we are detached from Jesus, we again be a prey to Satan, who is eagerly waiting for us to entice us.   Yes, all of us are different.   We are firmly attached, and are standing on the solid ground of the faith in Jesus Christ while resisting all temptations from Satan with the power of Jesus Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Jesus renews and strengthens our spirit day by day (2 Cor 4:16), and our life is full fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   The power of the Holy Spirit is so great that there is no law to keep from bearing such fruit.   Yes, Satan continues enticing us with a sweet voice while attacking on what we treasure most.   As soon as Satan’s voice is heard, resist with prayer and rapidly change our focus to Jesus.  Hold on tight to Jesus as the branches are firmly attached to the vine.  Then the power of Jesus guards our hearts and minds, and we will continue bearing our beautiful fruit of the Spirit.   Praise the Lord, who are always faithful to us!   His love is stronger than anything else on earth and even in Heaven!
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
Yes, we belong to Jesus, as the branches belong to the vine by being attached.  Those who belong to Jesus have already nailed the passions and desires to the cross and crucified on the cross together with Jesus.   Therefore, the old self is crucified and died.   Then we are transcending the limitation of our old self, and becoming new in Christ, being filled with compassion, love and hope.   Then our life glows in His love, shining His light around us.   People see the light that separates from the darkness from the light, and can see the glory of God because we are different in Him, by Him and through Him.  This light will attract people come to Him.   Praise the Lord!   Our mortal and sinful body becomes a holy instrument to glorify Him and bring people to Him.   This is the power of the Love demonstrated on the Cross.   Praise God!   He sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for us.   Praise the Lord, whose mercy and love endures forever!   His name will be glorified forever and ever!  
Come, come to Jesus, and cast all our burdens and worries.   We get rest in Him.   We learn from Him who is gentle and humble in heart.  Then gladly take His yoke, and remain in Him as branches attached to their vine.   Then receive all spiritual nutrients, grow a deeper relationship with God, and bear fruit abundantly for Him.  This is the blessing that God wants for us to have all the time.   Let’s pray together to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ in every moment and every situation in our lives.  

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Behold! I tell you a mystery.

Good morning!

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

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  (1 Corinthian 15:51-53)

Yes, it is a mystery because it is far beyond that our mind can comprehend.   We will not sleep forever, but all be changed.  In the blink of an eye, all of us will be raised.   Our perishable body will put on the imperishable.   Our mortal body will put on immortality.    No longer, the power of death will not rule over us.    

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 
“O death, where is your victory?   
 O death, where is your sting?”   (1 Corinthian 15:54-55)

The death itself is swallowed up permanently in victory, and this victory will be shared by God with those who are loved by God.    Death will be totally destroyed, by which everyone ever lived on earth has been defeated.  Only through the power of God, this is possible, and we will come out more than conquerors of the death.   

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   (Revelation 21:4)

Our Loving Father will wipe away every tear from our eyes.   There will be no more mourning, sorrows, and pains.   All these things have been passed away.   What will be left before us is his loving face.  The face has been watching over us all the time since we were born and till we see Him face to face.  What a blessing that we have!   Praise the Lord.   His mercy and love endures forever. What we have to get is taken by Our Lord on the cross (His mercy), and instead we are getting what we should not get (His grace).  This is the mystery and plainly hidden greatest secret.  We will be His people forever.   

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  (Revelation 21:23)

No more light of sun or moon is needed because the glory of God is the light.   Our Lamb, the Savior, is the lamp.  All nations come and bow down to God, and will bring their glory to God.    Like the twenty four elders (Rev 4:10), who give glory, honor and thanks to God by casting their crowns to the everlasting King, we will also present the highest glory, honor and thanks to Our Eternal Father, saying the same praise of the twenty elders:

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
  for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.”   (Revelation 4:11)

This is the scene that we, all who are faithful in Him, will see together with all of our forefathers in faith.   What a beautiful scene it is!   We will sing the new song in eternity with all believers in Heaven, Our Eternal Home.

Yes, we are still on earth.  This is the reality that we will have in future.   Don’t be discouraged by what we see and experience on earth.   Sure.  We might be surrounded by troubles on every side, but we cannot be crushed.   We might be perplexed, but we will not be driven to a despair.   We are even persecuted, but we will not be abandoned.   Even Satan lands a punch on our noise and knock down us on ground, but we will be destroyed because Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is with us.  Then He continues pointing us to our home in Heaven because all things including death will be swallowed up.   Our victory is sure because Jesus paid all.  

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  Encourage each other with love of Jesus Christ, and good works in Him.  Do not lose heart, but stir up one another in love and faith as the day of his return is drawing near.  

Let’s rejoice in Him, and pray without ceasing.  Give thanks to Him for all circumstances because His mercy, and love endures forever.  Praise God, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords of all!   He is worthy of our highest praise and honors.   Glorify His Name, the Only Name of Our truly loving Father.   Amen!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Three Questions in Bible: Truth, Eternal Life, and "Lord, what about this man?"

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (John 18:38)
 
“What is truth?” Whoever we are, we all have asked this very question at least once in our life.   This is certainly the top and fundamental question for centuries to many philosophers and scholars.   Many universities’ emblems also bear Veritas (truth) including Harvard.   Perhaps we are programmed to search for truth, and want to know about truth.   Pilate was not much different.  He asked the very question – “What is truth?”   Unfortunately, he was not ready for “the truth.”   Right after he asked the question, he went back outside to talk to the Jews.  He might have thought that he had enough knowledge about the circumstantial truth (i.e., the relationship between Jews and Jesus), not the truth that Jesus mentioned in the previous verse: “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)    Jesus came to this world to bear witness “the truth.”   Everyone on the side of truth listens to Jesus.   Unfortunately, he was not of the truth.  Thus, he was blind although the Savior was right before him.   Are you searching for the truth?   Be silent by calming down all earthly matters entangling in your life, look up Jesus on the cross, truly listen to what Jesus tells you, and receive the truth.   Then the truth will make you free (John 8:32).   Jesus came to this world to make us set us free from all of our sins and transgressions through the blood of the cross, which is the truth and the proof of the God’s love to us.  
 
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)
 
“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” looks legitimate, but it was not.   The motivation was a self-justification.   In Bible, the same question was asked by a rich young man (Matthew 19:16, Mark 10:17, Luke 18:18).   The young man said he perfectly kept all commandments.   Therefore, the Lawyer, who taught the law, should have been perfect of keeping the law.  The lawyer thought that he was able to inherit eternal life by perfectly keeping the law.   Is it possible to keep all the law perfectly without breaking even a smallest part of the law?    Nobody in our human history was perfect in the law.   The law is holy (Roman 7:12), but we are not.   Thus, the law exposes how sinful we are and how remote from inheriting eternal life.   As a result, the holy and blameless law acquires us as sinners who cannot inherit eternal life.   The correct answer for the above question is absolutely “No. You cannot inherit eternal life by doing (i.e., our own efforts) or keeping the law because you are not capable.”    Jesus did not answer both cases.   He taught them about the truth in the language that they could understand with patience, love and compassion.   “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him...”(Mark 10:21)   Both of the lawyer and young man could see limitation of what they could do.  The young man left in sadness (Mark 10:22) because he directly saw his inability to inherit eternal life by his own doing.   However, Bible tells the real truth -- the good news: 
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8 )
 
Yes, we cannot get the eternal life (i.e., be saved) by our own efforts or works, but we are saved through faith.    Thus, it is the gift of God, which is freely given to us.   It is not our own doing.   Thus, we cannot credit to ourselves nor we can boast.   Praise the Lord!    The salvation comes from Him through the cross with His love.     Whoever believes in Him should not perish and have eternal life (John 3:16).   Yes, once we believe in Him, we get the truth – eternal life, which is the good news to all of us.   Praise the Lord!   His mercy, grace and love endure forever.   We will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever!
 
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” (John 21:21)
 
Right after being fully restored by Jesus, Peter asked this question.   Jesus healed Peter’s wound and shame – denial of Jesus three times before people including a small girl.   He was fully immersed in the love of Jesus, who asked three times, “Do you love me?”   Then Jesus told Pete “Follow me.”   However, Peter turned and saw John, a fellow disciple.    Peter’s focus was again drifted away from Jesus.   Jesus repeated “You follow me!” (John 21:22).   Where is our focus?  
 
Intellectual arrogance, boasting of our own might and achievement, or focusing on others to measure up can be our main motive of coming to God.   These temptations are often obvious, but sometimes very subtle.   Be sensitive and listen to the voice of Jesus Christ.   Continue fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the pioneer and perfector of our faith.   Stand firm on the solid rock of faith, and pray continually for each other with the mind of Jesus Christ, who emptied Himself for ourselves.    
 

Let’s continue pray to God not to be tempted by what we have and see, but to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ.  Then pray continually for each other to together grow into a deeper relationship with God.   Praise the Lord! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fix our eyes on Jesus Christ and put on the full armor of God

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
 
We are on the journey to our eternal home.  What we see is temporary, which will soon pass away.  Although we know this, but we cannot deny a fact that they are so much real to us in every sense.   We can see, touch, and even taste them.  How much real they can be?   They are intoxicatingly real.   If not careful, we pay all we have in order to buy things that cannot satisfy us (Isaiah 55:2).   Even so, our fresh is always craving for the world.   
 
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  (Romans 7:22-23)
 
As long as we are on earth.   The battle between our flesh and our inner being continues.  Satan is always searching for an opportunity, and whenever Satan sees a faintest hint of our spiritual weakness, Satan immediately attacks us, and makes us captive under the world and sins within us.   “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)”   This is the lamentation of Apostle Paul, which is also common to all of us.  With our own might, our defeat is sure.
 
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  (Ephesians 6:12)
 
Our actual battle is not against flesh-and-blood enemies that we see, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.    We cannot win this battle alone.   First, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.    Second, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:11)   
 
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:14-17)
 
Nobody goes to a battle without being prepare him/herself.   The Bible figuratively describes our armor before the battle against the Stan -- the Armor of God, which is composed of Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness,  Shoes of Readiness, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Sprit. 
 
 
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  (Ephesians 6:18)
 
Then pray to God at all times without exception.   Keep alert without being comfortable or even getting into a spiritual sleep.   Continue persevering because we don’t know when and where the Satan will attack.   Prayer is the only way directly connecting to God.   With prayer, be spiritually sensitive to perceive a slightest hint of imminent attack from Satan.   Also pray for fellow Christian soldiers who are fighting together against Satanic power.
 
Through prayers for fellow Christian, we are knitted to be one army of Jesus Christ, and together stand firm on the solid rock of the faith of Jesus Christ.   Although the fight is fierce, our victory is sure.  We will come out as more than conquerors through Jesus Christ(Rom 8:37).  Praise the Lord!  He who endured the cross, disregarding its shame because of the joy awaiting Jesus – all of us will be with Him in our eternal home while singing praises forever to God with the eternal joy.   Hallelujah!   We will sing the eternal song – let everyone that has breath praise the Lord.   Praise the Lord!  (Psalm 150:6)
 
Let’s continue praying before God to be a strong and faithful solider for him.  Fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, put on the full armor of God, together stand firm on the rock of faith to endure all Satanic attacks, and together enjoy the eternal victory while singing the eternal song with our Savior. Amen!

 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

May I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.  Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.  (Galatians 6:14-16)
 
What do we boast in our life?    Yes, we, Christians, should boast the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in our life, but it is not always happening.   If not carefully and constantly reflecting our life against the cross, soon we find  our eyes have been drifting away from the cross of Jesus.   Especially, when we are smoothly sailing on a clam sea, our mind starts concern more about what we see and enjoy on earth.    Life is good, and we easily dwell in this mode.  Soon we feel the power of life in our hand, rather than being a passenger of smoothly sailing ship, and we become a captain of the ship.  As we know, in reality, it is opposite.  This is the time that our spiritual power is at the lowest.  We are really vulnerable to all kinds of Satanic attack.  Of course, the clever Satan attacks our weakest part, with which we have been struggled long long time – the deadly one among our past sins that we have not completely dealt with God before the cross.    Without the shield of Holy Spirit, we are essentially bare and totally exposed to our enemy.   Our defeat is sure, and it is matter of when, not if.   We must be always vigilant not to be in a deep spiritual sleep to keep our old self  from taking dominion over us.
 
The above Bible verse tells that we boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The cross of Jesus is the source of our strength, and through the cross, we can win over the world.   No matter what Satan does (even attacking our weakest part), through the power of the cross of Jesus, we can and will win.
 
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
 
Not just winning.  We will become and are more than conquerors.  Yes, we are victorious by Him who loves us.    He loves us and He is always with us.  Our victory is sure.   This victory is so powerful that it does not stay in us.   It reaches out to the world around us, and touching the lost by the love of Jesus Christ.   This love is the strongest in all creation.   Once we are touched and loved by Him,  nothing can separate us from His love.  

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   (Romans 8:38-39)
 
Death of life, angels or demons, the present or the future, any powers, height or depth, anything else in the world that we can see, think of or even imagine cannot separate use from the love of God in Christ Jesus.   This assurance and power will make us win anything that we confront now and in the future.    The true power of love reaches its peak when it is given to others.    Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated this on the cross.   He loved sinners and those who pierced Him.   Then He become more than conquer of the world.     When we love others, we will be like him -- more than conquerors in everyday of our life, and be a messenger of the God’s love to the lost.    Yes, the world will continue try to crucify us, but in reality, the world will be crucified by us in the power of Jesus.  
 
We are already dead on the cross.  Then we become a new creation in Jesus Christ through His love, and we also radiate His love to the world.   This is the only thing that really matters.   Yes, the peace and mercy of God is always with us in any circumstances on earth.    No longer being indulged in the earthy thing, and being tangled by the earthy pleasure and boast.  Instead enjoy the new relationship with God as a new creation in Him, and proclaim His love, mercy and peace to those who are suffering, lost and yearning for a salvation.  Praise the Lord, who loved us and transformed us to a new creation!   His love endures forever because He has no rotating shadow.   To Him and only Him, give the highest glory and praise from now and forever! Amen.
  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Great faith with a humble and pure heart

Good morning!

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

When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”  The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (Luke 4:47-50)

A noble official at Capernaum had a son, who became ill.   It was so serious that his son was about to die.   The official, who had power and wealth, tried every treatment and medication available.   But all were not effective.  His son was still sick and getting weaker in his illness.   He heard about Jesus,  who performed a miracle -- turning water into wine.  Although he was a noble official, for his dying son, he humbly came to Jesus with a needy heart.    Then he begged Jesus to come down and heal his son because his son was at the point of death.    However, Jesus, who answered “ Unless you see sings and wonders you will not believe.”    It must be unexpected answer for the official.   He must be surprised at his answer, but he asked again with a humble heart “Sir, come down before my child dies.”   He was not dissuaded by Jesus’ answer.  He talked to Jesus with his sincere heart what Jesus should do.   Yes, his faith was great, but his did not fully understand the power of God.  He already prescribed how God should heal his son.  How many times do we prescribe or set a condition how God should act?

Jesus is always full of mercy and love.  Upon his urgent request,  Jesus plainly answered that “Go: your son will live.”  Then the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.   Could the official believe Jesus’ word if this was the first answer from Jesus?    Jesus loved him, and he added his faith first before granting his humble request.  On the way,  he met his servant, and found out his son’s fever left him at the hour when Jesus had said to the official “Your son will live.”   Then he himself truly believed, and all his household.  Praise the Lord!   Jesus made the official’s small but humble faith multiply.  It healed his son, and saved all his household.  He himself truly experienced the power of God, and believed.

And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.  Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.  For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well  (Luke 7:1-10)

A centurion, a head of hundred soldiers, had a servant, who was highly valued by him.   That servant was sick at the point of death.   The centurion said, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof”, and he just wanted Jesus’ word.   Jesus marveled at him, and told to the crowd following Him “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”    The centurion’s faith was big, and it did not require a physical proof.  He had a pure faith that even made Jesus marveled at his faith.

The size or the maturity of faith does not matter.   Both came to Jesus with a humble and pure heart while believing that Jesus could heal his son/servant.  Our God loves to see our humble and pure heart before him.   Then the rest is up to God.  He will listen to our prayer, and do His work for us –  increasing our faith, giving a miracle like healing a dying son, and making all household believers.    He also used the greater faith of the centurion.  It marvels us after about two thousand years later, and sets an example of what our faith should be.  Praise the Lord, who is always faithful to all of His people, and make them grow deeper in the relationship with God.  He uses all kinds of opportunities – son’s illness to death, servant’s illness to death, or other hardships or joys in live.  He always waits to hear our prayer from a humble and pure heart.  

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrew 4:16)

Let’s continue approaching to God under any situation rather than relying on our own understanding or might.  The size of our faith does not matter.  When we offer our faith before him, He uses for His glory, and reach out and save people around us.   Praise the Lord, whose mercy endures forever!  His grace is abound beyond measure.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.

Good morning!

Greeting in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;  (Matthew 12:20)
 
Jesus Christ is a humble king.  He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. (Matthew 12:19)  He is also a compassionate king with full of mercy.   He does not break a bruised reed, nor quench a smoldering wick.   His warm and loving arms protect those who are suffering and yeaning for mercy and grace.   His bosom is the place that we want to be, especially when we are bitten and bruised in our life, or when we are smoldering before an unbearable hardship.   His arms are always open to us, His voice is always soft, and His eye is full of tears for us in love because we are bruised and smoldering.    Just lift up eyes and look up the face of Jesus, who is waiting for us like a father constantly searches for his prodigal son.   Still a long way off,  he saw, ran, embraced, and kissed his prodigal son. (Luke 15:20)
 
 
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (Matt 18:12-13)
 
Jesus set off even for one single lost sheep, which has gone astray.   She followed her own desire and chased down for the cares of the world.    Of course, she initially thought that she would be a better place with full of things that she desired.  However, she ended up a place full of dangers, where nobody cared for her.   She was lost physically, mentally and spiritually.    We are not much different from the lost sheep.   We tend to follow our own desire and to chase down the riches of the world, although what we chase on earth are like morning fog, which exists momentary and disappears as sun rises.   This chase seems harmless initially, but it is slowly and gradually consuming us from inside out.   Then suddenly, we realize that we are lost.   Shame, despair, and fears are torturously engulfing us, but this is a very time to lift up eyes, and look up Jesus, who is always there with full of compassion.  He is right next to us with open arm.   He brings us back to where we ought to be, and restores us in His kingdom, i.e., our Home.
 
On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthian 12:22-25)
 
In His kingdom, there is no more suffering and darkness because Jesus is the light. (Revelation 21:23)   His kingdom is not like a kingdom that we see and know of on earth.   The weaker are indispensible, and they got greater honor.   There is no division.   All the members have mutual concern for one another to build one body of Jesus in the love of Jesus.
 
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthian 12:26-27)
 
Therefore, if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it;  if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  We together build one body of Christ, and individual members of it.    Praise the Lord!    All, both the lost and the faithful, are one, because we are one in Him, and we will radiate the same compassion, mercy and love in Jesus Christ.    Sing praise and give the highest praise to our Lord because His mercy endure forever!  Amen.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

And who is my neighbor?

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  (Luke 10:29)
 
Who is our neighbor?   This is the question asked by an expert in the law.   The Bible explains that the question was not an honest inquiry to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, but a statement to justify himself.   This question was grounded on himself to show off his righteousness before God.   In his heart, he was fully justified and righteous, because he taught the law and meticulously kept the law.  Yes, he was righteous in his own years.  Therefore, he was well qualified to inherit eternal life.  To his surprise, Jesus answered the question with a parable:
 
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ (Luke 10:30-35)
 
Not a priest, nor a Levite, but a Samaritan took pity on a man attacked by robbers and abandoned.   Then the Samaritan approached to him, bondaged him wounds, and took him to an inn.   The Samaritan gave money to the innkeeper, and promised to reimburse for an extra expense when returning.    What a story with full of love and compassion!   At the time of this parable was spoken by Jesus, Samaritans were really badly treated by Jews because Samaritans were not legally pure in their eyes.   Even so, the Samaritan opened his heart on the person in need, and provided the help that the robbed person needed critically.
 
By the way, the above discourse between Jesus and the expert in the law was initiated by Jesus’ question about “What is written in the Law?”   The expert in the law, who knew the law thoroughly, replied ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)    The answer was perfect, but his heart was not.  Then Jesus explained the true meaning of the perfect answer – to show love to a person in need even though the person might have continuously mistreated you. 
 
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:43-44)
 
What’s the common between the robbed person in the parable, and our enemies in our lives?   Both of them are in need.  The robbed person is physically in need, while our enemies are spiritually in need.   As the Samaritan treated the robbed person as his loving neighbor, we also pray for our enemies as our neighbors spiritually in need.    Yes, our enemies do physically and mentally persecute and harm us.  Every action of hating and harming us adds a scar and wound in our heart as well as enemies’ heart too.    Sadly, they do not know this fact.   By continuing doing so, they are spiritually dying.    Nobody says that having an enemy or being attacked by enemy is a pleasant thing.   It is really painful, but it provides an opportunity to love them, and doing so, we can save their souls.    Of course, with our own might and strength alone, we are not able to love our enemies.  Only through the power of the Jesus Christ, we can overcome our limitation and go beyond the pains afflicted by our enemies.  With His loving eyes, we can see their miserable and dying spirits, and take pity on them with the love of Jesus Christ on cross.   Then our heart will be filled with mercy, compassion and love.
 
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.  (Luke 6:35-36)
 

Let’s pray together.   Please help us to increase our love in Christ toward others including our enemies who persecute us with a greater power, and continue breaking our heart and mind.   And do not lose heart, and humbly bring request to God.   Then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).    Our reward in heaven will be great, and we will be called sons of God, the Most High even on earth.   Amen!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches.

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  (John 15:5)
 
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the vine, and we are branches.   If we are attached to Him, and He will be with us.   From Jesus, we receive the love of God, and our lives bear much fruit in Jesus Christ.   Through us, people can see Him, and through our real life interactions, people can experience the love of God, which is totally different from anything on earth.    What we can see and touch fades away, and eventually disappears from its existence.   This also applies to human relationships.   Today’s friends and even lovers can become enemies tomorrow, not because of peoples’ intention, but something unexpected and uncontrollable takes over and nullifies people’s original intention and desires.   This is really sad and unfortunate.  However, the love of God is unconditional, and will never change because God is always faithful and not like a human, who has a rotating shadow around Him.   
 
All things might pass away on earth, the love of God will remain with us forever.   Those who are attached to the vine receive this love and are built on this unchanging and immovable love like a solid rock.    No matter what was happened in one’s life, Jesus will not refuse, if anyone come to Him, and confess sins, and receives Jesus as Savior, because His mercy and love is greater than all our sins.   Being attached to Jesus Christ means constantly receiving this love.  The love flows through hearts and mind like blood, cleans and transforms the person to be a child of God.   The old self is gone, a new eternal creation begins.   Like a mother loves and natures her baby to grow to a mature person,  God pours out His Love on the new borne Christian to grow and mature in His Love.    Once this process starts, it will never stop till His love completes -- maturing to a level to bear fruit.   We are all in this process, and even today we are following the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who walked the walk before us.    
 
 
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
 
Another truth of being attached to Jesus Christ (the vine) that we, Christians, are that we are belong to one Lord.   That is, from Jesus Christ, who is the head, we, branches, are connected together and complete one body of Jesus Christ.   Apostle Paul uses “ligament”  to describe this relationship of how we are connected each other, which is a short, strong and flexible connective tissue, we are connected each other by an intimate, tightly-knitted and caring fellowship in Christ.    We support each other, and grow together.    The goal is to build up the full body of Jesus together in our lives.   When we form this loving body of the Christ, it will be evident, and cannot be hidden.    Like a lamp at night, the emanating light of the Love is far reaching, and touches those who are in dark, and gives comfort, hope and peace.     
 
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)

As the Father, God, loves Jesus,  Jesus loves us.   God gave His only begotten son, when we were sinners and even against Him.   Jesus, even though He was betrayed, bitten, humiliated, and pierced, loved us till His death on the cross.   This is the love that make us one with Jesus Christ and with fellow Christians.  Thus, we ought to abide in the love, and live out this love, which is unconditional and sacrificial, because He demonstrated this love first.   Praise God!  His mercy and love endures forever.  
 
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)
 

Let’s pray together.   We want to be His faithful disciples by loving each other unconditionally as Jesus did so that we can shine the light of love of Jesus Christ to those who are still suffering in darkness.    His Name will be Glorified, and on earth and in Heaven.  His kingdom will expand to the end of the earth.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

You love one another as I have loved you

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
 
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.   (John 15:12)
 
This is the command that we, Christians, strive for everyday.  We are helping others, praying for others, and being with them when they need.   We continuously show the love of Jesus Christ in our lives.
 
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16)
 
James clearly made a point.   Loving others is more than just talking.   It requires our action: providing physical needs as well as spiritual needs.   Handing out warm clothes, socks and shoes is a great example of showing the love of Jesus Christ, which directly touches their bodies, hearts and souls.    This love will not be forgotten for a long time.    Of course, our good deeds are originated from our heart, where Jesus Christ’s love resides, which, thus, touches the hearts of others in Christ.    As a result, His Love is complete.   Our hearts are also blessed because the blessings are multiplied in the love of Christ.   How a beautiful scene it is on earth as well as in Heaven!   
 
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.  (1 Corinthian 8:13)
 
Apostle Paul manifested his love by limiting his right and freedom for others, especially for those who are weaker in faith.   At the time of Apostle Paul, meats scarified to idols were also sold on the market as well as other meats.   For Apostle Paul, who knew "an idol is nothing in the world," and that "there is no God but one,” eating those meats was nothing.  However, for new believers, it was a real stumbling block.   Thus, he said in the book of 1 Corinthian chapter 8 verse 1:  Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that "We all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.    He stressed that exercising his knowledge, although it is absolutely true, could harm fellow Christians, new and weak in faith.    Instead, he asked us to show love by limiting our freedom that is firmly grounded on knowledge.    He continued reminding us:  Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. (1 Corinthian 8:2)    We are easily deceived by our own knowledge by using it from our own point of view, not the point of view of others, especially those who are weak.    Loving is not demonstrating our knowledge that others who lack in knowledge, but understand others, and care for others although it requires for us to limit our right and freedom.   Loving others is often costly, which can bring in pains also.   Even so, we continue loving others in Christ.    Why?   Jesus Christ first loved us.   
 
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
 
Yes, He paid the ultimate price to us to show His Love because there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for others.   What else a person can do to others if his own life is given to others.   It is an ultimate love.  It is not sharing what we have nor limiting our freedom for other.  It is an ultimate trade of the very existence of self with others.   Praise the Lord!   He,  being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:6 & 8)
 
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
 
By the way, he did not call “others”, but “his friends.”   He did not treated us as servants, but put us equal to Him, who can talk and make a friendship with Him.  Give Thanks to Jesus Christ!   By giving out His own life as the ultimate atonement, He destroyed the barrier between us and God.  The barrier was started by our sins, and has been continuously being built higher and higher by adding our sins.   Without His loving sacrifice on the cross, we would have being trapped in our own sins forever, and those sins ultimately bring us to eternal death.  
 
Praise the Lord!  His name will be glorified.   Give thanks to God, because He gave His only begotten Son!     Sing praises to God!   Jesus calls us friends to share all true knowledge of the love and riches of the Kingdom in Heaven.   
 
Let’s pray together to increase our faith and love to others while being filled with love to others, and our lives are full of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control  because against such things there is no law.   (Galatians 5:22-23)