Monday, October 4, 2010

The Christian in the World or The World in a Christian?

The world operates as such:

They usually treat the people who are closer in a bias manner and usually give them more leeway when it comes to making mistakes. And for the people who are less close? They become more harsh because they they didn't get things their way. They treat people as objects to get to their achievements.

I realise there's a truth with the observation in the Christian Community:

They operate a world of a difference from the world. It's simply the other way round. The people who are the closest to them gets the real deal because there's a higher level of love and expectation. Truth and correction get to them very fast. If one may apologise for: even a lack of tact. And for the people who are not as close? There's not a simplest hint of expectation, because there's no expectation.

Point in View: Has the way we manage and grow the christian community help us breed "worldy" christians?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

why john for revelation?

As I was returning to church from school in the evening, I was pondering about the historical background of the Apostle John. I asked myself, "What do I really know about him? Except for the fact he was the KID during Jesus' time and he had a certain bias against Judas (Learnt that from the way he expressed his authorship when it came to the mention of Judas.)

I decided to find out more about him and I realised that his life was quite a whirl pool of adventures. Like all the other apostles who were zealous for the gospel, he too had his own ministries when it came to the spreading of the gospel. I read that his execution was one of a kind where he was tied up and put into a boiling pot of oil and goes away unharmed. You probably won't find this in the Bible but all across external sources that documents early church history, the same story is being proliferated. John was PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL, even during the point where he was about to be put into the cauldron to be put to death. He was the only known apostle who had escaped a violent death.

When one reads about the story of John and compares it to the rest of the disciples, one would easily point out a stark contrast in the fate. John, having escaped death through a miracle was banished to the Island of Patmos to work in a rock quarry so as to contribute to Roman Masonry. It was on the Island to which John received the visions which is documented in the Book of Revelation as we know today. John is recorded to have lived until about AD100.

Questions we might ask are:

1. Why John? We read no signs which would explain John's innate prophetic gifts. As mentioned earlier, he's largely known as the little boy.
2. Was it due to a lack of manpower to reveal such eschatology to? (We realised there is very little mention of prophets or seers in the New Testament.)
3. Was there something spectacular about John?
4. Was Patmos a special and tranquil place for revelations to be received?

One thing we know about modern greek island, Patmos is that it is only 34.05 square km and has a grand total of 2000+ population. Very small island but yet a holds rich mythological value with regards to its birth and existence. So maybe an isolated place was prime for John to get the stuff.

So if the locality and nature of the Island did not quite explain the birth of Revelation, then it should be the man, John.

In John 13:23, it is written that John was the beloved disciple of Jesus and often seen as someone who haboured strong emotions when actions or words are spoken against Judas. (See his account when he writes about Judas) We know John was one who often sticked close to Jesus and one of the 4 who are Jesus' hangout party.

John died of old age and it is quite uncanny because most Christians were being killed due to the persecution of the Roman rule. If I am right about John dying at about AD 100, he was still living in between the 2nd and 3rd persecution waves. Putting things into perspective, persecution happened for 10 waves  till AD300. Surely John was living in the worst of persecutions.

The life of John is extraordinary, but goes unnoticed because no one really talks about it.

For a greater purpose, John somehow survived every ordeal to be banished to the Island of Patmos. Every smart governor would know that John cannot be persecuted a second time using the same method because the number of Christians was growing. This is to say that the rulers were fearful that John would go through a miracle again and people who witness the "second" miracle would believe in the God that John believed in, therefore they had no choice but to banish them because he was simply influential.

John was audacious with his faith. If he had to be murdered, he made sure he's spreading the gospel everywhere he was being dragged to. I am pretty sure he didn't expect a miracle to come through for him, but one thing I personally admire was that he made sure his convictions were being known by soldiers, onlookers and people of authority. You can safely call John a born evangelist.

And for the revelations written on the Island of Patmos? You can't go wrong with John receiving and putting them to paper. You could count on him to make sure the Book of Revelation becomes canonised amongst the 66 Books. For the Book of Revelation, you probably need someone who can recognise Jesus in visions. (The rest died too early) If you need someone who would eventually describe Jesus as someone who had hair white as wool and eyes blazing with fire, you need the right person like John to describe his close Pal with might and majesty.

Wanna hear from God? Live a life like John's. So that you can recognise His Voice and devices.

Know Jesus, know Passion, know the Purpose.

P.S Think Heroes: Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

samson vs the delilah spirit

I shared a facet of Samson's life just last week in Cambodia when I was speaking to the guys about lust. During the sharing, new revelations dawned upon me even though this was the second time that I shared about Samson's life.

 The birth of Samson came a long way and we understand that in Judges 13, Samson's mom had a pretty hard time bearing a child. It was through obedience and strict adherence to the commands of the angel that gave way to the birth of Samson. We realise that the family had to practise a strong counter-culture of abstaining from wine, strong drinks as well as unclean food. In short, the birth of Samson came a long way and Samson had better be grateful of how he was given birth to.

Samson, as we also understand through the passages, was the strongest man who ever lived in ages. He went around and gave Philistines a huge wacking with a donkey jawbone. He was a man with pure brute strength. As a matter of fact, Samson was brought into the world by God to deliver the Israelites from the clutches of the Philistines. Throughout this whole time, Samson knew that his strength was linked to his hair.

As I read the story of Samson in Judges 14 and 15, I found it interesting to know that Samson was somehow like a CIA agent who infiltrated the Philistines and wiped them out through a marriage in which was stirred about by the Lord. (Judges 13:25)

In Judges 16, Samson meets this woman Delilah who would prove to break hell into the life of Samson. The Philistines, wanting to subdue Samson and kill him, pays Delilah to find out the secret behind the strength of Samson. (Now Mom probably told Samson to keep the secret, if not he will be smacked by her)

The first meeting between Samson and Delilah looked totally normal and Delilah puts forward the question of the secret of his strength. It made total sense to Delilah when Samson suggested that he needed to be constrained in order to make him weak. (Judges 16:7-8) What's wacky here is this: The Philistines thought it was totally logical and sounded all too confident when they tied Samson with fresh bowstrings. Bowstrings are rustic and very durable material for the purpose of launching multiple arrows over a long period of time. They are naturally known to be strong as they could be tensioned to a high extent. It sounded all too natural to be taken for a fact.

Wrong. CONSTRAINT cannot play down the supernatural anointing of God upon Samson's life. Then came Delilah's cry about how Samson played foul with facts. The problem at this point? Samson tried to entertain her again! He then used the fact about strong ropes and it was a lie. By now, he had given all the strong devices of constraining him. He had to change his game plan and he used the second mechanism: CHANGE in his appearance and perhaps he will be made weak. The last attempt got Samson too carried away and he revealed the secret of REMOVING the hair, so that he would be made weak.

Let's break here and ask ourselves insightful questions:

1. Doesn't Samson realise the true intention of Delilah?
2. How persistent can Delilah get when Samson was lying the whole time?
3. Didn't Samson mind the fact that he would lose his strength and become too useless to serve Israel when he told Delilah the secret? He rather exchange pleasure for honour?

I realised at this point:

1. Samson didn't mind the presence of Delilah because he was seduced by the appearance and the proximity of Delilah. He was caught up with lust more than protecting his dignity. He understood what it meant to protect the secret but he had to engage Delilah and would do ANYTHING to keep Delilah in sight.

2. Delilah (Lust) will come after Samson time and again. If lust fails the first time, it will come the second. If it fails the second, be sure for the third appearance. Temptation just comes all the time and sometimes we are like Samson, we will do anything to entertain the presence and we juggle with keeping the commandments of the Lord.

3. Delilah  was consistent in her return (Even though Samson was acting like a jerk) because she had an ulterior motive and that was money. Her reward? 1,100 pieces of silver multiplied by the number of philistine lords. She was driven by greed to see Samson dead.

Like Delilah, Lust is consistent too because it has an ulterior motive bigger than life. It wants you destroyed and dead in your spirit.

Don't exchange 5 mins of pleasure for the honour that God has placed upon your life. Each and everyone of us has a purpose to fulfil, a strength to carry it out and a destiny to unfold.

Friday, November 6, 2009

grace rose the bar

wow, it's been really long hasn't it? i figured that i should bring back this blog but yet not open it to full viewership because i wanted to hone my thoughts and sharing. and i guess that's why you are reading it because you are probably one who's closer to me. thanks for reading really.

i thought i also didn't want people to dig into my life so much so that they begin to derive information/understanding of me when in actual fact, they really don't understand. i mean i have had experiences where i had to EXPLAIN my blog posts. figure that out when i'm already a very open book in actual person right?

these few weeks, i have thinking about the function of the grace of God.

first of all, as i evaluated the term, i realised that it is a theological term that was used more in the New Testament than the Old. in OT, God relented and provided in the light of people's failure. but in the NT, grace was seen as God's providence through Jesus Christ. the crucifixion and all those knots.

i think, lets all come to the understanding that grace was a CHOICE(instrument) of God, and not His Nature. His sovereignty still stands! why am i disclaiming that? i came to the conclusion the church at large has a misconstrued understanding of grace! some teach that, we are sinners, but just forgiven. we derive grace from the gift of forgiveness and as long as God lives, he forgives! and since then we never had a turn in our lives, we continued living a life apart from the standards of God.

why some might say i am legalistic in saying, "we are all supposed to keep to the laws of God because then we honour Him for who He is." i think when God said, "be holy for I am holy", he meant everything he said. his nature and commands has never changed.

"we are the NT christians!" that's the statement that lets everyone relax a lil and not keep watch over their lives if they were glorifying God. we are right that Jesus died on the cross for our sin(s). i began to think if we thought of Jesus as a glutton for punishment. if we meant our salvation to cover every of our wrong doing, or is it very simply our disobedience to God. i think its pretty much the latter.

we thought we could relax, but can i suggest that Jesus raised the bar? the things He was teaching were 2 times higher than what the Mosaic Law wrote? For example, adultery. in the OT, Mosaic Law spells out all their punishments in Deuteronomy chapt. 28. in the OT? you will get stoned or have done something wrong if you slept with a woman/man who is not your spouse. in the NT? you got it wrong the MINUTE you looked/oogled at a person lustfully. talk about relaxing in the NT? no way!

but why did Jesus raise the bar? has the laws which were less stringent not been kept? and now He wanted to raise it? yes. because He knew what He was about to do. He was about to put Himself to the sacrifice so that we could come direct to the Father. what does that mean? when we are connected to the Father, we are able to overcome. that's the grace in Jesus.

and so everyday, im coming direct to the Father to ask for the grace and strength to be able to raise the bar in my life. to become more like Jesus as He has commanded us. to live a life that is glorious of His calling. think about if we saw grace as a license to sin, can we ever become more like Jesus? i believe its very much on the other way round. if we sinned more so that grace may abound, can we honour God? we should stop visiting the fact that we are simply too weak in our flesh, but begin to acknowledge the privilege that we are able to come before Him and seek His Helping Hand in the areas that are pulling us down.

with His grace, we can live the life of a highest calling and a royal priesthood.

but hey, grace rose the bar.