Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Secret of "Vengeance is mine"

Good morning!

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

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.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?   (Romans 7:22-24)

The author of Romans (most agree Apostle Paul is the author) lamented about His helplessness by exclaiming “Wretched man that I am!”   Although we are born again through the power and love of Jesus Christ, and our old self is still lingering in our heart, and wage war against our new self.    As long as we are on earth, this is unavoidable.  Rather the important fact is that how often we get into this painful situation: disrupting our relationship with the Holy Spirit in our heart.  

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  (Romans 12:19)

What does Romans 12:19 tell us?   Beloved, don’t think (or not to be trapped in a temptation) to fight this battle in us with our earthly scheme and wisdom, but to pray to God.   God tells us, ”Vengeance is mine, not yours.”    Our reaction, especially when emotionally charged due to our feeling of injustice and/or unfairness, will easily lead to another sin before God and against the other party.   Of course, our heart and mind will tell every good reason to act upon, and being justified by ourselves, but God says “stop and give it to me because Vengeance is mine, not yours.”  

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)

God is always waiting for us with open arms.  He wants to give us peace by healing wounds in our hearts, which are inflicted by others.   He eagerly hears our plea, and He takes away all our burdens in our hearts because our heart is easily swayed by our fallen nature.  What we need to do is just casting off all our heavy burdens and pains lingering in our hearts, and instead receiving Him who is gentle and lowly in heart.  Then we will find rest for our souls. 

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:20-21)

Then the Bible continues.  What we really have to do is to love our enemy with the love of Jesus Christ.   In fact, we are one of the master pieces of God, but it is work in progress.  Thus, we still suffer from our old nature, which wants a vengeance.   Therefore, God has given us a Godly law of “Vengeance is mine” to prevent from taking matters into our own hands to satisfy our old self.   Thanks to God, who are gracious and full of mercy!   He knows our weakness, and he helps us to continue following paths of righteousness.    Thus, as soon as we notice that our heart is drafting away from the love of Jesus Christ, we pray to God to truly give all our sufferings, pains and associated painful memories to God while confessing honestly our weakness.   Then God surely takes away all of our pains from our hearts.   Instead, He fills our hearts with the peace of God from the above.  We will be reached to the Heaven, and be filled with our joy.  The peace of God transcends all our understanding, quarrels and pains on earth.

Let’s continue praying before God so that we can grow deeper relationship with God.   Continue casting our pains and painful thoughts to Jesus Christ.   He will renew our hearts, and fill with grace and peace that we cannot find on earth.   Then share the grace and peace with our enemies.    Overcome evil with good, and shine His light.    Thanks to God!  One who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Amen!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  (Philippians 4:8 )

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Good morning!

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

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!  (Joshua 10:12-15)

Five Amorite kings heard about a news that Joshua and the Israelites conquered neighboring countries, and the Gibeonite king, one of the strong neighboring kings, made peace treaty with Israel.  Then the kings combined their armies for a united attack.  They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.  The men of Gibeon, who quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal, and pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”   So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon.  

God appeared to Joshua, and said to him.  “Do not be afraid of them, for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”   With the faith in God, Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorites armies by surprise.   The LORD threw them into a panic, and the Israelites started slaughtering greater numbers of them.   The great battle went on, and Joshua prayed to God to stop the sun and the moon while the battle was going.   What a prayer it was out of an absolute faith!   The sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon stayed over the Valley of Aijalon while the Israelites were fighting.  (Two cities are circled in the middle of the map: one on right [east] and one left [west]). 

It was a truly supernatural phenomenon that could not be explained by our human knowledge.   God’s supernatural power did stop the sun and the moon.   It was just one time that God did for the Israelites to fulfill His Will.   Bible tells that “there has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being.”    Praise the Lord!  One who is omnipotent, and the creator of the universe, listened a prayer of a lowly human being. 

Bible continues: God also sent a huge hailstorm from heaven to the retreating Amorites armies, and which continued until they reached Azekah (the 2nd city from the bottom city circled.)  The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.   Then the Israelites chased down to Makkedah, and utterly destroyed the enemy.

This is the miracle initiated by a prayer of Joshua, who was faithful to God, and his heart to help the Gibeonites, who made a peace treaty with the Israelites.   Joshua did not delay and set out to the city of Gibeon by traveling all night although he knew he had to confront with the five kings’ armies.  He prayed what a human being could have ever asked.  He had an absolute faith on God, who would listened to his prayer, and answered his prayer.  God stopped the sun and the moon in heaven.   What a faith Joshua had!   

Joshua’s prayer was not an accidental one.   He was one of the twelve spies of Israel sent by Moses.  Moses led the six hundred thousand Israel people out of the Egypt, and Moses and the Israelites arrived at Canaan, the promised land.  Before entering the land, Moses sent twelve spies to explore the land of Canaan.   The twelve spies spent forty days, and they returned.  They reported:

We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.  But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! (Numbers 13:27-28)

Upon the report, a severe fear fall on the Israelites.   They started blaming at Moses and God, and complained:

“Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”  (Numbers 14:3-4)  

Joshua and Caleb, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes, and told

“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land.  If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.   (Numbers 14:7-9)

What a statement was out of a true faith in God!   Despite of this statement in faith, the Israelites did not follow God.  They tried to stone Joshua and Caleb.  The fear of the world was exceedingly greater than the promise of God.   Instead they had to returned to the wilderness for the next forty years till all of the faithless died.   Only are Joshua and Caleb were able enter the promised land as they believed.    By faith, Joshua did not fix his eyes on what’s happening in the world, but the God’s promise without any doubt.  God loved his faith, and granted His promise to Joshua.   The rest of six hundred thousand people had to perish due to their unbelief. 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Let’s pray before God to ask His forgiveness of our lack of faith in Him.  We have been swayed by what we see rather than the promise of God.   We are not much different from the Israelites who rebelled against God.  The Israelites saw the obstacle not the promise, and let their heart were consumed by the obstacle.    Oh, God, who are compassionate and full of mercy, increase our faith and grant your peace in our hearts before any danger and threats so that we can see your hand – not stop working for us behind the scene.   Then make us continue growing in you so that you are becoming more real every day.    Give thanks to God, who hears our humble prayers! 

And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;   (Luke 1:50-52)

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD

Good morning!

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

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.  He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-33)

On Feburary 11th, 2016,  LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Director, David Reitze had a new conference, and opened up by slowly telling to the people “Ladies and Gentlemen.  We have detected gravitational waves.  (pause)  We did it.”   What a moment!  It was predicted exactly 100 years ago by Einstein.   National Science Foundation funded this research from 1960s and about billion dollars were spent with a vague hope that we might be able to detect gravitational waves.   Even Einstein himself thought that it would be practically impossible to detect because gravitational waves were so week to measure.   It was not an easy journey for the LIGOs installed in two locations.   During the initial operations between 2002 and 2010, they did not detect any gravitational waves.   Rather than being disappointed at the result, the team upgraded the original LIGOs with advanced detectors.  The newly upgraded LIGOs were turned on in 2015.  They were about ten times more sensitivity than the original ones.  Soon the newly updated LIGOs independently detected gravitational waves.  Gravity is one of the most familiar forces that we know because we live in the force, but we have the least knowledge about it because we could not measure till now.   Praise God, who gave us an ability to create such delicate LIGO instruments.  Each of the LIGOs is composed of two 4 Km [about 2.5 miles] long laser beams, a combiner of two beams to detect any length changes by gravitational waves.   Most of all,  give thanks to God who sent the gravitational wave at the right moment and with the right amount of  gravitational waves so that the LIGOs could measure.   His wisdom and grace is beyond our comprehension.

In Bible, Solomon is the wisest man.  Solomon, who loved the God, walked in the statues of David his father.  When Solomon became a king, and from his thankful heart, he offered a thousand burnt offerings to God.  The God appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.”  King Solomon humbly and wisely replayed:

And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”   (1 King 3:7-9)

This answer pleased God.  And God said to him:

“Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”  (1 Kings 3:11-14)

Solomon awoke, and realized that it was a dream. Then he offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings to God.  And he gave a feast to all his servants.  He became truly the wisest king ever lived.   He spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall.  He also spoke of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish.  People from all nations came to hear Solomon's wisdom.    He was humble and faithful, and the most-
blessed king.

However, Solomon’s humility and faithfulness to God started slowly being eroded.  His wealth, power and the wisdom made him slowly move away from God.   God, who loved Solomon, appeared twice and warned him not to enter into marriage with foreign women, but he “clung” to them in love.  He added foreign wives one by one, and he was ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines.  Then his wives made his heart turned away from God, and instead made him after other foreign gods.   His heart was no longer wholly true to the God.   Solomon, the wisest king ever, clearly knew God’s word, but he could not win over the desires of his eyes and the flesh.   Solomon heard God’s warning twice, but he could not turn back from what he loved.   He was trapped.  

The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.  (Proverb 9:10)

One who really wise fears the God, and rather than relying on one’s own self is the wisest person.  Therefore, rather than relying on our own wisdom, which can be easily tainted by the desires of the eyes and the flesh, we show our humility to God, give our true reverence to God, and receive His wisdom coming from the above.   Then we acknowledge God in every occasion.  He will give us a true understanding, and continue lead us to Him while getting into a deeper relationship with our Lord – the One and Only God with full of love, mercy and grace.   

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.   (James 1:17)

Give thanks to God!  Every good gift and every perfect gift from Him.  He is the Father of lights.  In Him, there is no variation or rotating shadow.  Whenever we approach to Him, He will open His arms.  When we ask wisdom, we will give generously.   Praise the Lord, who will never change, and continue loving us regardless who we are and what we are.  We are new creations and the first fruits that He pleases.   All who are humble and faithful will continue being blessed, and fed by the every good and perfect gift from the above.   Sing praise and dancing before Him because of His faithfulness on us!

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Two Greatest Joys on Earth and Heaven

Good morning!

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

Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.”   (Exodus 15:19)

The people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides.  As the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea.  And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore.  When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.  Then the people of Israel praised the God.   The Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron, sang “Sing to the Lord,  for he is highly exalted.  Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”   This is one of the most joyful moments in Bible.   The Israelites were liberated from the centuries of bondage of Israelites under the Egyptians.   Generations after generations, the Israelites told again and again about one day that they will be freed from their endless hardship in Egypt.  Finally, the hope and dream told centuries came true.  What a  joyful and blessed moment!   Yes, this could be the most joyful moment for the Israelites on earth.  

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out,
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”  (Revelation 19:1-4)

John saw a vision, and recorded on the book of Revelation.  Babylon, the great city on earth, was thrown in to a deep sea with violence, and was never found, where the prophets and God’s holy people were persecuted, and slaughtered.   After this scene, John heard the most greatest and joyful song, which was cried out by the loud voice of countlessly many people who were saved by the God.    “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God....”    This is the joyful and glorious song with thanksgiving.  Once more they cried out “Hallelujah!”    They could not stop singing and praising.   The salvation has finally been completed.  The twenty four elders, who lay crowns before the throne, and sang “Hallelujah!”  while worshiping God who was seated on the throne.   What a scene it is!   Surely, we will join the great multitude in heaven, and sing the same song forever and ever.  This will be our eternal joy.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.   (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Yes, we are a chosen people for the glory and honor of singing “Hallelujah” forever for Our God on the throne.  The Bible continues describing, “We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” because we were called out of darkness into His wonderful light.  We had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.   We will tell others this goodness of God with the light coming from God: our light with the joy and the hope described above, which is the most glorious experience that we can ever have.  

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)

Therefore, rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (not just in circumstances that we can see thankfulness with our own eyes) because God is always faithful and full of mercy and love to us.   Most of all, rejoicing, praying and giving thanks in all circumstances are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus, which make Him pleased. 

Praise God, who gave these goodness and mercy although we are not worthy!    He made us as His chosen people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation, His special possession.   Thus, take heart, and fix eyes on Jesus, who overcome the world for us with His inseparable love.  Praise the Lord!  His mercy and love endures forever.  Sing praise to the God!  He is our Father, who called out of the darkness for His kingdom, which will last forever.   Thanks to God, and praise Him for His mercy, grace and unfathomable love.  Amen!

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