Friday, December 02, 2011

180


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mindset of Christ

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

When we celebrate Easter, we’re not just celebrating a “story”, or just an event that happened 2000 years ago. Rather, we’re celebrating the accomplishments of a single person; Jesus Christ, who conquered death and hell for us. But beyond the story of the empty tomb is the remarkable story of a God, who was enthroned in majesty and glory, giving up His heavenly status and coming down in a form of a man, but not just any man, he became the lowest of all men, a servant. To imagine God serving us is like having the highest authoritative figure in our land such as our Prime Minister coming to wash our feet. Can you even imagine that? And worse, he subjected himself to punishments that were reserved for the worse of all people; slaves, traitors, and murderers.

If our only focus of the Easter story is Christ’s victory over death, then we’ve missed the more important points. While Christ conquering hell is important (it’s the foundation of our faith), its power is loss if we do not reflect that freedom which Christ have purchased for us in our lives. Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross so that we can continue sinning and live our own lives. Rather, He paid the high price so that we can be reconciled back to the Father, and start living for His will instead.

Paul in the passage above exhorts the church to have the mind of Christ. That means that we’re to act and live just has how Jesus lived here on earth. Paul said this in the following verses in Philippians 3:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

My prayer for this Easter is that we can all have the mind of Christ. Let us strive to be more Christ-like in our thoughts, words and deeds; to the extent that the people around us can see Jesus living through us.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Christ's Resurrection Changes Everything!

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

How would your life today be different if you were not a follower of Christ? Will your life be significantly different, in terms of your character, value systems, routine, and perception of life? Or would it be almost the same, minus the church attending on Sunday?

One of the biggest turn offs for non-Christians is seeing the hypocrisy in lives of Christians. So-called believers in Christ will say one thing but will do something that’s very contradictory. In events when life beckons our biblical reaction, such as, loss of: loved ones through death, financial properties through bad business factors, friends through betrayal, and own health through terminal or debilitating diseases, do we continue to proclaim in our words and deeds the peace of God that transcends understanding? Or do we panic, grumble, complain and murmur like everyone else? As Christian parents, do we prepare our children as though everything depends on their performance in education, or do we teach them about depending on God?

Paul in the passage above says that if the way we live our lives on earth is as though it’s the only one we have, then we are the most pitiful of all people. This means that if the hope of heaven is not real, then we should just enjoy all of life’s pleasure now because at the end, there’s nothing else. However, if the hope of heaven is real in our hearts, then the things on earth no longer become attractive because no matter how good it is, it can never compare with what we will have in heaven. This is the main reason why Paul declares over and over again, that to live is Christ, and to die gain. Why gain? Because he gets Christ in the fullness of His deity, being able to reign by His side for eternity.

I pray that God will enlighten your heart to His glory, and open the eyes of your heart so that you can truly see the riches we have in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearers and Doers

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 2:22-25

Sunday after Sunday, Christians around the world throng churches hoping to learn something from sermons that are shared from the pulpit. The 21st century saw the explosion of information everywhere. At the tips of our fingers, we can get access via the internet to resources and knowledge that a man from a hundred years ago would only dream to attain. We have access to multiple versions and languages of the bible, along with its commentaries. Sermons today come in all forms of shape and medium.  From podcast to videos of preachers teaching, all it takes a little know how to find these resources.
Yet, it’s interesting to see that despite the immense truth and revelations we can learn from these resources, we hardly almost see any, impact of these biblical principles on the lives of the believers. I believe that it’s possible that we can learn “too much” of the bible. I say this cautiously, as I’m not implying that we should tone down our thirst for biblical truths. Rather, I believe that it’s almost pointless that we study the bible but do not apply the truths in our lives. James warns us believers that if we only ‘listen’ to the word and not do anything about it, we are deceiving ourselves. Listening to a message about forgiveness does not exempt us from committing the sin of unforgiveness. Until unless we actively seek and pray that God reveal to us in our lives of any unforgiveness that we could be harboring, AND then make conscious efforts to forgive the people that God has reveal, we will then only be able to experience the blessing that James was referring. The same goes for all other biblical truths. May our lives move from just listening, but to deeds and actions. I pray that you will be encouraged to take this step of faith to review yourself, especially if you find yourself lacking in deeds in this area, and do what’s necessary to escape this deception.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Life of Grace

 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” – Matt 18:32-35

As Christians, do we truly understand the price that was paid for our sins? Everything that we’ve done, either by word or deed, against God’s divine majesty was not only repulsive to God, but it broke the very heart of God. Understand that when God through His grace gave His only Son to pay the price for our wrongdoings, it was as though we giving up our own children or love ones to pay the price for Hitler’s (or some other very evil person’s) crimes.
While we now live this life of redemption, do our actions and speech reflect that grace? Or are we still judgmental to the people around us, where there prevails in us a sense of superiority that we are better than everyone else? Do we feel that our sins are ‘lesser’ than others, or instead, do we understand that in the eyes of God, even the best of our good works are like filthy rags (Isa 64:6)?
Instead, we’re called to live a life of grace. This grace should emanate from every aspect of our lives at every single moment to everyone around us. This would mean that regardless of whether we’re dealing with difficult people, or people that have hurt us before, our love for them should be that of the love of God for us. Do take time to pray and ask God to reveal our hearts in this area, and may He capture your heart again with His grace.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Dangers of False Worship



"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”– 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Casual readers of the bible will tend to associate the verse above with the description of a non-believer. Truth be told, Paul was actually describing what the church itself will look like in the end times. In the last days, there will be a surge of people that will come into the church, but instead of giving up their old selves and surrendering their sins, they see church as a means to achieve some personal agenda, may it be for wealth, health, or status. Paul warned Timothy that people will be lovers of themselves instead of God and His will. Sadly, this is already happening, not just here, but all over the world.
When we worship God to songs such as “I surrender all” or “You’re all I need”, is that a true declaration of our hearts? We tread dangerous waters when we offer up half true words to God. Ananias in Acts 5 paid a high price when he wanted to be perceived for something he is not. My hope is that if our hearts are not truly surrendered to God, let us not mock God with such words. May we put an emphasis to get our hearts right so that we can offer up true worship (John 4:24) to Him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Knowing The Voice of God

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:27-28

We live in the world today where it seems that just about everybody has a good idea, a great tip, or the best advice. From magazines to TV shows, from the radio to your next door neighbor, and from the Internet to your friends and families, one thing you can be sure is that these sources will have a solution to your problem. While not every advice given is bad, it’s not the best either. Also while we can make use of advices to help us get things done faster or easier, we need to be careful with advice that impacts us eternally.
Jesus said that His followers know His voice. When we’re making decisions that impacts our futures; decisions such as which course to study, which career to pursue, which person to marry and so on, how much of these decisions are surrendered to God for His will? Often, our habit it to make the decision first and then pray to get God’s approval.
I pray that our desire in 2011 will be to really know the voice of God in our lives. God promises us that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Also, as we look for Him, He will reveal Himself to us. Let us change the way we pray of telling God what to do, and have a humbled heart that stoops before His presence, and say “Lord, what’s Your will for my life?”
May you experience this great privilege and enjoyment as you bask in His presence.