Monday, August 27, 2012

Tell them the Truth

  1. Calling people to our faith encompasses the USUAL explanation, as follows(or something along these lines):-
  • God is creator of all.
  • God and creation had a perfect relationship. God reigns.
  • Men sinned. Men chose self rule.
  • Because of sin, God and men are separated. God is holy. God cannot accept sin and “close” His eyes to sin. God’s goodness and holiness demand judgement and punishment.  God’s wrath is upon the sinner and the punishment for sin is death. (Sin is the sting of death).
  • But God is love. Not just God loves, He IS love. He designed a plan to save us. He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, taking the punishment in our place. Our Lord was crucified on the cross for us. Our Lord Jesus was then resurrected.
  • If we believe in Jesus, we are born again, are saved and have new life. We get to go to heaven.
2.  Certainly all of the above is true but there is more to that and we should tell “the more” We should be more accurate to reveal the demands of the Christian faith. John Macarthur’s, brief exposition on how we are to call people to faith (The Gospel According to the Apostles, Pages 178-185) is recommended for reading and thereafter teaching.  In summary:

(a) We are to show and to expound God’s holiness. He is not Santa Clause. He is a holy, pure and almighty God. Let these not just be words that we hear and acknowledge without feeling, without letting them sink in. He IS HOLY. To be with Him in a relationship NOW and after, He demands that we be holy as well. He demands our respect and our reverential fear. We are not to hide these facts and simply speak solely or primarily of His blessings and grace.
He requires repentance i.e., turning away from our transgressions and following His son Jesus in every moment of our life.
He requires faith in Jesus evidenced by our thoughts, words and deeds.

(b)     Salvation is a remedy for sin. It is not just an escape from punishment and not merely a ticket to heaven when we die. If we truly receive Christ as our savior and our Lord, His spirit lives in us and empowers us in our sanctification. We are by His grace delivered from the power of sin.

(c)      Show and expound that good works cannot save. Our sins, even the “respectable” “accepted” (by the world) sins are severe and warrant God’s wrath (He is Holy). We do not deserve salvation.  We may do a good work at 5 pm but at 5.15 pm have a lustful thought. Will that good work take away that sin? Does a great God need our good works? Even in our good works, there is sin for many do to earn salvation or to remove guilt or praise, basically for self.  Only the grace of God can save. Only He out of His goodwill saves.

(d)       Tell them who Christ is.
·                     He is God (John 1: 1-3);
·                     He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11);
·                     He became man (Phillipians2:6-7);
·                     He is pure and sinless;
·                     He became a sacrifice for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He redeemed us and we received forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7)
·                     He was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

(e)       A follower of Christ is a disciple of Christ and there is cost to this discipleship. The disciple is to love God above all else and there is no turning back. There is to be no luke warmness no double mindedness. There is to be daily crucifixion of  self (Romans 6:6). The “would be” follower is to consider the cost (Luke14-26-33) (We will not be unaided of course. The Holy Spirit will assist the disciple).

(f)       There is to be trust in Jesus Christ our Lord. He will complete the work He began in us to transform us into His likeness.

(g)       Though we are to ask questions , research and meditate on God’s words,  we are to tell that God is a mystery. His ways are mysterious. He is God! He is the potter, we are the clay. His ways are beyond and above us. Not everything can be understood.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Healthy & Simple Meal

Here is a great recipe for those looking for a simple and healthy meal. Recommended especially for those who are on a vegetarian diet or trying to lose weight.

  • 350 g/12 oz broccoli
  • salt
  • 50 g/2 oz split almonds, toasted
  • 1 small red pepper, cored, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing

Break the broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling salted water for 4 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place in a salad bowl with the almonds and red pepper. Pour over the vinaigrette dressing and toss thoroughly.

* Extracted articles in Google

Characteristics of the born again

We may say we believe in Jesus, think we are saved by reason of being born again (“second birth” ) but do we really live our belief?  Do our thoughts and deeds AND how we live life, evidence our belief? Are we really born again? H.A Ironside’s summary of 1 Peter 2* provides a great checklist. Here it is (paraphrased and expanded):-
(a)    Do we lead a pure life? Do we lead  life as “aliens” and “temporary residents” or “strangers” and “pilgrims” of this world, abstaining from fleshy desires that are contrary to God’s Word? (v 11);

(b)   Do we act and speak with honesty? (v12) (Nevermind that you did not murder or commit adultery but did you commit the “accepted”  (“everybody does it therefore it is acceptable” sins? Did you return the change over paid by the cashier? Did you pop that grape in your mouth without paying? Did you toss that sweet wrapper out on the road? Did you “cheat” company time? Did you say “my kid is under 3 so no charge” when your kid is over 3 years of age? Did you say “tell him I am busy, cannot come to the phone” when you are not?); 

(c)    Do we obey the law? (v 13-15). We may be free from human law because we are God’s and subject to His authority but we have no license to use our freedom to disobey the law (Paid taxes? Created faked tax deductable receipts?). We are freed from human law but made subject to God’s law which requires obedience to human law! We obey for Him (v 16);

(d)   Do we revere God and consider other men in our everyday thought, choice and action? Do we love especially our sisters and brothers in Christ?(v17);

(e)   Are we obedient to our employers? Nasty and nice ones. (v18). I would say obedience to the nasty ones makes us different. Non believers and believers alike have little issue with obedience to the nice ones;

(f)     Are we patient under false accusation? (v20) Do we trust God to vindicate us? Holding back our impulse to retaliate or to react or to fret and fester or better yet having no such impulse arising at all, resting in God entirely;

(g)    Do we follow Christ? (v21-23) Do we hold Him up as our “idol” worshipping Him, adoring, admiring, praising Him?;

(h)   Do we consider ourselves dead to sin because of His death and are living in righteousness? (v24) Not that we will not sin but that when we sin we are quick to be contrite and to repent;

(i)      Do we see Him as our shepherd (our authority, our Lord) and live accordingly and submit ourselves to His care ? (v25- He is guardian of our souls).
The Holy Spirit who lives in the new born enables the new born to manifest living a pure life, acting and speaking honestly and so on. It is because one is truly Christian that pure living emerges. One does not do good to become a Christian.  I add that the Holy Spirit also ignites in this new person a desire to seek God, spend time with Him and please Him. This new person gets interested in knowing what He has to say by studying His Word, particularly studying Our Lord Jesus ( He is the image of the invisible God  Colossians 1:15) in order that he may follow in His footsteps and in order that he may know that which pleases Him**. If we do not know what pleases the one we seek and love how can we please our love?

*James and 1 and 2 Peter- An Ironside Expository Commentary, H.A Ironside
** A great book to pick up on what pleases God is John Piper’s “Pleasures of God”

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blessed are the gentle (meek/humble) for they shall inherit the earth

Who are the gentle (meek/humble)?

The poor in spirit and those who mourn (Matthew 5: 3 & 4).  
Those who ARE spiritually poor and mourn most greviously their sins, realize how much they need God. They are removed from pride in themselves,(humbled). They know that without the Holy Spirit aiding, they are unable to meet God’s laws and the Beatitudes. It is the first step towards His rule. What power this is to the meek to be under the rule of the great Omnipotent Omniscient and Omnipresent God?! If all are under Christ’s feet and Christ is in this meek man, then all belong to him. There is no lack and he can truly say “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack”

[Until it hits us that we are vile sinners, until we are humbled, we will not take that step to move away from self idolization, self rule and into God’s rule, into the Kingdom of the Son that he loves (Colossians 1: 13)].
Philippians 2:3 practitioners. (a) Doing nothing from rivalry or conceit (b) In humility counting others more significant that themselves (c) Looking NOT ONLY in their own interest but the interest of others (d) Being like Christ Jesus- though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as something to be grasped but made Himself nothing taking the form of a servant. He came as human and humbled himself in obedience to the point of death on the cross (should we not as His sheep follow suit?).

Those who not only stay the angry blow but is in such a state that they do not feel or think of retaliating. What freedom meekness brings?! What power?! He is so absent from pride (he feels that there is nothing in himself to boast about) he does not retaliate but is able to calmly move on.

Those who are not always watching themselves and are worried about themselves or care what others say. Again what freedom, what power?! He is not defensive.

Those who are without self pity. He is already humbled. There is no room in him to say or think “Oh how unkind they are to me” “Oh I am having such a hard time” As John Bunyan said “ He that is down need fear no fall”

Those who are constantly amazed that other men and God can think well of him or think him worth loving and saving.

He that is patient and long suffering. He empathizes with others whom he recognizes are also not perfect, are sinners, lost and require saving.

Those who are ready to listen and who have a teachable spirit. He is humbled and therefore is open to be taught. How blessed he is?! He is ready to be led by our Lord. Truly he will inherit the earth.

Am I an Unconscious Pharisee?

Let us constantly ask ourselves this question. Am I an Unconscious Pharisee?

Yes I tithe, attend church, participate in church activities, even say “Praise the Lord!” at the right moments and render Christianly advise ( correct facial expressions and body language follow). But did I truly worship Him in Sunday Service the other day? Did my mind wonder? Did I behold the greatness of God or was I annoyed at the other person in pew? Do I truly worship Him in all that I do when no one is watching, when I am alone in my thoughts? Do I think all is well because I tithe, attend church, participate in church activities? Do I tithe because others do or to assuage my guilt? Ask do I rest on things that appertain to true worship rather than being in a position of truly worshipping?

Perhaps I did something external, consistent with the Bible. Let’s say I helped Madam X, a recently widowed elderly lady. Did I do it with the right motives? (Pause and think) Did I do it for motives of pleasing myself, feeling good (we get a buzz from giving and helping) or looking right to people around me?  Did I help Madam X because I wanted praise and approving glances? Did I do right for the right motives? God knows my heart and your heart. We do well to examine it.

Again I may do and say all the right things and avoid all the dreadful more unacceptable sins (I do not kill, commit adultery, extort people, am not a tax collector(!)) I may even fast sometimes and go for bible study classes. Everybody thinks what a wonderful Christian I am. But when I am in the thick of life, in my dealings with others (customers, spouse, family, colleagues, suppliers, other drivers, the shopkeeper, the lady walking in front of me, the lady in the elevator, the noisy gruff man at the immigration office etc) do I watch my thoughts? Am I critical, judgemental, full of pride? Do I practice racial profiling? Do I think I know more than him? I am more refined? Or more humble? Am I easily offended (how can that person say that/do that to me?)? Do I feel happy for her when she relays her achievements to me or do I wish she fails? Am I conscious of my thoughts, making sure that they do not grieve Him? Do I say encouraging words? Do I admonish gently for the good of the other or do I keep silent  so as not to look bad to this other? Do I shut off, waiting only to say what I want to say? Or do I listen to only put him down or to seek opportunity to say “mine’s better!”  Did I immediately confess and repent of my sin of THINKING of sticking my third finger up at the rude driver when I drove my little girl to school yesterday? Do I turn the other cheek? Go the extra mile even though no one is looking? Do I cheat my boss of her time? Yes I do not commit adultery but did I look at her lustfully? Is my religion a religion of doing rather than a religion of the heart where my motives are only to please my maker? Do I do all unto the Lord?

And in my private thoughts and in my private life am I plagued with stress, anxiety and fears? Such only express the lack of trust towards God. It evidences a lack of a meaningful daily walk with God. We do right but we do not think and live right.

Am I praying only for the righteousness of my family and myself? This is what the Pharisees were concerned with. Their own righteousness. Doing right so he may say” I thank thee that I am not as other men are” This is self glorification.  Many are lost, many need help, am I apathetic? Do I ACT or merely sit around with other Christians and moan at the state of lostness of others? (Start ACTING, do not be lazy if you are doing this!)
My heart, my Will must be towards glorifying God. Only with the Holy Spirit can I do this. Only if we are close  can I do this. My thoughts and actions will follow my heart, my Will and this will keep my very being  from becoming an unconscious Pharisee.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Story to Remind

Apple and Orange live in Boleh Land.

Serigala Government rules Boleh Land. Of late some of Serigala ‘s minions have acted questionably.

Apple and Orange go to Cerdik.

Cerdik reminded Serigala (Cerdik may be frail looking and extremely thin but he has a BOOMING voice. He stands).:-

(a)    You are creatures of the earth made by an All Mighty Being. You are not God!

(b)   You would not be Serigala ruler of Boleh Land without the All Mighty Being placing you there!! Romans 13:1 (“…there is no authority except from God”)  John 19:11 (“You would have no authority at all if it hadn’t been given you from above”). Ephesians 1:20-22 (“He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion and every title given not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head …”) So you are subject to an All Mighty Being who is just, righteous and holy. He is watching and He is watching his own Psalm 1:6- (“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked leads to ruin” Even if you do not believe this, is your conscience so numb that no action is taken against those who rob from the poor to line their own pockets? Is there no moral law within you? Remember Proverbs 21:2 (“ All the ways of a man seem right to him but the Lord evaluates the motives” and in verse 6 “Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist a pursuit of death”).

(c)    If you do wrong, your own sword will come upon you! Romans 13:4- (“For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong”). He is coming to judge. (Psalm 96:13).  

Cerdik reminded Apple and Orange (In softer tones, he sits down and calmly strokes his pet):-

(i)    (“Don’t say “I will avenge this evil!” Wait on the Lord and He will rescue you) Proverbs 20:22.
 Be comforted that He is in control.

(ii)   Yes submit to Serigala for Romans 13:1 requires us to do so. Apple and Orange be law abiding citizens( Take comfort take comfort, the Almighty is in control). Take action by prayer (“The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight”) (His delight!!- stands and shouts Cerdik. Got a little excited there and who can blame him)  Proverbs 15:8 and  by legal peaceful means. Take action by putting on a covering of humility just as Jesus was and is. Let us remember to (“Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”) Matthew 5:43-48.

(iii)    Trust Him. He values your hope in Him (“He is not impressed by the strength of a horse. He does not value the power of a man. The Lord values those who fear Him those who put their hope in His faithful love”) Psalm 147:10-11.  (“Stop your fighting and know that I am God, exalted amonf the nations, exalted on the earth”) Psalm 46:10

(iv)   Focus on the power of the Almighty (Just mediate on Job 38 with hope with reverence with awe. Serigala mediate with FEAR)

(v)   Take comfort in knowing that you are citizens of heaven

Philippians 3:20
Colossians 3:2-3
Colossians 1:13
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
1 Peter 2:11

As citizens of heaven, you obey the laws of the Almighty, and you trust the true ruler will act. And we are NOT starving…

Should civil disobedience be needed?... Just know this, you are aware of Romans 13:1, yes but where the result of bad governance is most grevious- (MOST). there are:

Exodus 1:15-20, Daniel 3:9-18, Daniel 6:6-10 to name a few.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012



Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man is a snare,
But the one who trusts in the LORD is protected

Psalm 112:7-8,
He will not fear bad news;
his heart is confident, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is assured; he will not fear.
In the end he will look in triumph
on his foes.

Psalm 27:1,
The LORD is my light and my salvation –
whom should I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life-
of whom should I be afraid?

Psalm 23:4,
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me

Psalm 91:4-5
He will cover you with His feathers;
you will take refuge under His wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
the arrow that flies by day.

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous
right hand.

 2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgment.

1 Peter 3:14
But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed.

Luke 12:32
Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.
*Look for free downloadable
“An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture” by Dr. Andrew Davis