On the parent blog site, you will find detailed expositions of the various aspects of the Christian faith. To go to parent site, click here: http://high-expressions.blogspot.com/

09 April 2012

Beauty of Good Friday

In this short article, I borrow the title of one of Ps Prentis’ many blog entries.  This is also the comment I placed in his blog entry of the same title - http://prentis-createdtogivegodglory.blogspot.com/2012/04/beauty-of-good-friday.html (I have been following Ps Prentis' blog closely for quite a while now, and it is a good blog to follow, for regular feeding).

The near tearing and the ache
In my so many years as a Christian, I cannot remember I ever, at any Good Friday or Holy Week remembrance, on hearing a simple message, had my eyes close to tearing, and my heart senses an "ache".  It happened this 2012 Week. I mean I watched movie clips and so on and so forth, over the many Holy Week remembrances before, but none had invoked such a "condition".

It was kind of strange, coming off it, yet I had to acknowledge it, that I have NOT felt like that before, for such an occasion, when the pastor over the pulpit in church, in a simple message, said that "Jesus went to Cross".  It was as if the Father God has allowed me to catch a glimpse of the "ache" of His heart to have His son to die such cruel death.  I thought I just share how this year's Good Friday's remembrance has been meaningful to me.

What were shown us?
The crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was indeed the depiction of

(1) the love of the Father God, that He so loved the world that He would send His one and only begotten Son to die on Cross, that we should NOT perish but have eternal life (God loving men - John 3:16); and of

(2) the love of the Lord, Jesus Christ, for the Father God, to be willing to be come to be the Redeeming Sacrifice, to ransom men back for God (loving God back). 

(3) In it, too, was the highest portrayal of "If you have NOT loved those whom you can see, how could you have loved Me" (loving God by loving men). Jesus did just that - He loves us, men, and lived it out in action - die for each and every one of us. 

The twin pillars of the love commandments have been fulfilled in crucifixion, by our Lord, Jesus Christ; and the demand of holiness of God was satisfied, and Jesus was NOT assigned to Hell, but was to be in Hades for 3 days and 3 nights (and for a purpose too) and was then resurrected by the power of the Father God.

The Most Beautiful Love Story can be yours, too
It is the most beautiful love story of which EVERYONE is a part; it is only if you will receive it in - that Jesus died for you, and He did it, for His love for God, for He knew the Father God loved you from the very beginning. 

Jesus has done it, put His love into action; no matter what you have done in the past; Jesus is waiting for you to appropriate the story for yourself; in other words, all you have to do is to "uncount" yourself from the Sinners' camp, the camp of which Satan heads the list, and count yourself with the Saints' camp headed by our Lord Jesus Christ.  No matter what you have done, even if you have aborted or murdered, the Lord's redeeming sacrifice is good enough as ransom for your forgiveness. 

This is God's "system", NOT men's.  By coming into salvation, you are reconciling back to God, NOT to men; but with divine help, you can work on your reconciliation with men where necessary.  Good Friday is beautiful because it is the divine solution to a divine problem, first; it is then beautiful, because it is also the solution of your earthly life, for, people in God's camp can look forward to His divine ways, help and provision, as we follow Him, led by the Holy Spirit.

If you are non-believer or NOT a Christian yet, and if you are pressed from every side, or perplexed, or persecuted, or struck down, you do NOT need to be crushed, despair, be abandoned, and be destroyed; come into salvation.  If you are non-believer or NOT Christian yet, and if you are sorrowful, or resentful, or full of bitterness, or full of anger or hatred, or loveless, you can come off your negative emotions and states; come into salvation.  Talk to a Christian friend (email me if you want); have him/her explain to you how you can come into salvation, and experience the love of God already manifest more than 2,000 years ago on the Cross; make the greatest love story your personal story, too.

You have to respond personally
Jesus is the propitiation for the whole world (1 John 2:2), but you need to personally (entry into salvation needs to be personally done) have your name penned into the Book of Lamb or the Book of Life.  Today, have your name written in, and have it stay in, forever more.  Amen.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like this

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19 December 2011

Don’t be a fool, wise up, ….

Preamble: This write-up was written, both as a comment response to Ps Prentis’ blog entry (http://prentis-createdtogivegodglory.blogspot.com/2011/12/have-you-been-fooled.html), and as a word of tribute to my beloved Senior Pastor who is retiring from pastoring the church I attend.

Last weekend, my long-time Senior Pastor, Derek Hong, gave his last sermon in church, as the head of the church before he formally retires (from the church, but NOT from serving the Lord) at the end of the year (he, of course, can still come back to preach, but that would be on an invited basis).

It is befitting I mention a word of tribute to this faithful servant of God. He is most worthy of respect and honor, and it has been my privilege to have sat under such a faithful and God-fearing person who cared for the sheep, and would NOT hesitate to stand on the Word of God against all odds. I have sensed the Lord’s preparation for him for his next leg of ministry, and I believe God will be using him mightily in the international platform, preaching His truths, with signs and wonders following.

As his parting shot, he chose to preach on Hosea 4:6 - "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

God indeed did NOT say that the people were destroyed for lack of food (although one can certainly die of hunger) or money or in poverty (although money can meet certain of our needs), but God chose to say that the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. It is NOT any knowledge. In fact, it has been quite some time now, we have experienced information explosion, and indigestion, with the advent of the internet. God was addressing His people ("my people"), and the later part of the verse, reveals that God was referring to His laws.

The overly grace preachers, certainly, would skip exposition of this verse, for to them, "laws, they should skip"; but NOT a seasoned pastor who have worked for the King of Kings for more than 3 decades, and would proudly say the Word of God is His laws; and that is wisdom.

Unless we embrace it, what the King says, is law, and we have to obey and take heed, we will NOT begin to learn godly wisdom. Why is the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom (Ps 110:10, Prov 9:10)? Because God is God, in more humanly understandable term, He is King. We have to fear God for who is, first of all. If we have appreciation of what is connoted in the word, “God’” or “King”, the Lord is to be feared, and what is from His mouth, is law (and food – Matt 4:4); one (a person) lives or dies by His (God’s) word.

We all need to have godly wisdom first, before we can be truly wise; and that godly wisdom is in God’s laws, and the knowledge of those laws we must pursue, and if we choose to ignore, we will lack it, and when we lack it, God said we would be destroyed; not only that, there is repercussion for our children – they may likewise go into destruction (Is it NOT true, if we ignore the knowledge of God, our children may end up, likewise, and would suffer the same consequence?). Don’t be a fool, wise up, embrace the whole counsel of the Word of God, wholeheartedly.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like this

{Added - 10 April 2012} PS: "Fear of the Lord" also has specific meaning in Scripture, and it is referring to "to hate what God hates, which is evil".  The Word of God, of course, reveals both sides of the coin, so to speak, what God hates (evil) and what God loves (holiness).  So, when we embrace the fear of the Lord, through His Word, by understanding and practising them, we acquire the wisdom (Scripture said "constant" practise") to distinguish good and evil.  When we have the wisdom, we are to choose, and we are to choose holiness, for without holiness we see God NOT, said the Word. In fact, it is even more correct to say, if we have wisdom, we would have embraced holiness, for God's wisdom always satisfies His holiness.

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13 December 2011

Characteristics of a called minister

Preamble: Of late, I have been really busy, because of the big project of having to move out with my children to an old rather unkempt flat of 2 bedrooms, doing all the clearing work, painting job, and fixing things, etc, all by myself, in order not to spend much.  At this time, I am still at it.  I have kept up with my following of Ps Prentis' blog entries, with my commenting on almost all of his entries.  I know I have neglected my own blog, and have disappointed some who came by the blog, for new entries.  Actually, many of my comments at Ps Prentis’ blog are full-length articles; the time spent on those could be spent on putting up entries on my blog.  Nevertheless, there are times when one just has the inclination to do something like what I am doing, following Ps Prentis’ blog.  I figure, it may be something the Holy Spirit would want me to do, for a season. The “flow” was good, and that was perhaps, an indication that it is a directed move of the Spirit.  I learnt much from Ps Prentis’ entries, and even more so, from the “flow” that has come.

I am sure, readers of my blog too, would benefit from some of the materials resulted from my following of Ps Prentis’ blog.  Ps Prentis is a pastor of a US church.  For this short article entry, which I am putting it in this “Say It Like This” site, the baby blog to high.expressions, I have summarized an entry of Ps Prentis, with some inputs of mine:

Characteristics of a called minister
1. Honest (of course, cannot be deceitful can he, no).

2. Hard-working (working for the Lord, better be).

2a. And with good work ethics (working for the Lord, seek to please only the Lord).

3. God seeking (of course, God is the boss; he is the servant).

4. Praying one (always needing His grace and mercy, if NOT praying, how to accomplish, not forgetting the enemy working against us.  Would pray for those in need, his own ministry, his own life, and what and whoever the Lord impresses upon him to pray.  Praying is primary, because he knows who is his enabler).

5. His heart is sunk into ministry (he looks forward to doing his ministry).

6. Does not see it as work (an honor and privilege to serve God).

7. Failed but never a failure (for he is not perfect).

8. Known for his seeking the Lord than his sins (interesting! We should all ask what we are more well-known for; is it seeking the Lord? Or is it .... {maybe some mega pastors should take this test!}).

9. Express his faith by his words and the way he lives (talk and walk the talk, good test!).

10. Does not wonder what he should do each day (Eph 5:15-17 – Does not want to be foolish and NOT understand the will of the Lord, and so, he will pray if he does not know what to do).

11. Needs no one to monitor him (for he knows the Lord is watching all the time, but he accepts accountability {I assert}).

12. Understand that what he does, he has to do unto the Lord (otherwise, it counts NOT; and so, knows he has to be abiding in the Lord and be in agreement with Him {I assert}).

13. Will summon the courage to do the right things despite it attracting criticisms (God pleaser, NOT men pleaser).

14. Persevere despite being run-off, fired or given “so much hell” (one will buckle if NOT for certainty of calling).

15. A blessing to have, for he brings the presence of the Lord into every situation (I believe the called one, when he is obedient, he will NOT only grow in stature, wisdom but also favor with God, and with men, just as Jesus did).

16. Love but would NOT speak or act contrary to righteousness (for he knows, like God, he is to love people unto righteousness)

Called ministers are worthy of our support.  They need our prayer and intercession for their lives, their loved ones, and their ministries.  Bless them financially even (meet their needs; anything more, you have to gauge), if you can, for they have reserved their time and energy for the work of the Lord rather than to gain wealth.  When we support called ministers, we are serving God by becoming His conduits of favor unto the ministers.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like this

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06 September 2011

Restedness does NOT mean no work

Preamble: this article first appeared as a comment intended as an edification for Sister Liz Mah, on her blog site: Liz’s Adventure. Sister Liz Mah is stricken with stage 4 lung cancer. Her blog chronicles her journey through this affliction. May I encourage you to pray and encourage this sister-in-Christ; you can pop over to her blog to know more about her condition and needs.

One of the seeming paradoxes in Bible included this (Matt 11:28-30):

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Say it like this:
Restedness that Jesus was talking about was NOT no work. Yoke is definitely referring to work. How can restedness in work possible? Under what circumstance is restedness possible in work? What is Jesus' yoke? Jesus' yoke is to do the Father's will. To exchange your yoke with the yoke of Jesus is to give up your yoke and take on the work of doing the Father's will. In other words, Jesus is promising that if we do the will of the Father, we can find rest for our soul. The opposite of restedness is turmoil, restlessness, strive, uneasiness, lack of peace, sense of burdensome, and heavy-laden. So, is it really if we do the will of the Father, we can find rest for our soul? But in practice, there are those of us, purportedly doing the will of the Father but there is no restedness of the soul; how come? The problem is that people take one part of verse 29 and NOT the other! They take Jesus' yoke alright, but they did NOT learn from Jesus. The verse said to take His yoke AND learn from Him.

Despite internet search showing up that there is a Torah prohibition of yoking a stronger animal with a weaker one, such practice is believed to be common in those times. I shan't comment on the Torah here, but I want to express that there is a good reason for that (practice), and Jesus was pointing to exactly that, here in verse 29.

Now there are those who wrote the yoke in a roundabout (opposite) manner, saying that we are the "strong" one that needs to be weakened, I believe that is incorrect, for it goes against the normal use of everyday examples as metaphors or parables of what God wants to say to us. No, it is we are the weak one, and Jesus is the strong one. A weak animal like an oxen is fitted with a strong one (and most likely an experienced one; one that had been doing the stuff before, and so know what is required, and how to pace things out), so that the weaker one learns the rope, so to speak, with the stronger one, carrying the greater load and strain until the weaker one is strong enough to bear more; “greater” (load) being relative to the newbie, but NOT to the seasoned one. People forget that when they do the will of the Father, they are to do them alongside Jesus, and learn from Him; they took the yoke upon themselves solely. And then they wonder why there is no restedness.

It is as time goes by, as you learn from Jesus through the Holy Spirit, whom you have to welcome beside you, the art of carrying the yoke, you grow stronger to bear the yoke, in restedness. It is NOT you get weaker and weaker that Jesus carries more and more for you; that goes against the grain of common use of parable and metaphor. The mention of gentleness and humbleness on Jesus' part was to assure us that Jesus is NOT going to lord over you, making you carry all the load, or that He is going to tell you, "I have been there, and done that, Now, you do all the work." I like to interpret verse 30 to mean this: Jesus was saying, “You don't have to worry about me, for whatever portion that I have to bear, it is "no sweat", easy and light!” Why? Because He has arrived (… and we have NOT). Jesus is your “big brother”, work with Him in the Father’s business, and He (Jesus) will take care of you, NOT just in the business of the Father.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like this

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15 September 2010

Ye are being legalistic if ye say there should be no laws whatsoever

20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)

Say it like this
Paul was trying to explain now that we have come into our salvation, we are no longer of the world, although we are still in the world; by this it is meant that we are no longer to follow rules of the world or men-made rules legalistically {legalism}. By saying of the “don’ts”, I believe Paul was trying to imply that we do not legalistically follow every rules, but to see if they are in line with the will of God, and if it will help us to comply with the will of God; in broad strokes, the will of God is that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Of significance, was what Paul remarked as many of the world’s regulations or men-made rules do not effectively restrain sensual indulgence. The way to read this is firstly to understand that sensual indulgence is not something that would please God. The statement implicitly tells that one needs to restrain sensual indulgence, and not sensual indulgence is to be condoned. Secondly, it also implied that there are the “hows” to restrain sensual indulgence, but a mere rule per se may not necessarily help in the restraining.

One example to illustrate this is that for some countries, children pornography or child sex was banned, and the residents would not dare do these things because the penalties of law were very harsh, but they would commit these immoral acts overseas, in countries where there are no prohibitive laws. This clearly showed that such men-made laws have limitations.

However, Christ Jesus did not come to bring us into law-lessness. Laws, both Mosaic and secular, have their limitations, but they are not necessarily devoid of any good purposes. Furthermore there are still God’s commandments, and precepts and instructions which we have to obey, out of our love for God, and for our own good. The Old Covenant indeed has been superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, but commands of God, separately from the Old Covenant, must be adhered to, if they have not been specifically set aside by the works of Christ on the Cross. Paul was more specifically against HUMAN commands and teachings, NOT God’s commands, separate from the Old Covenant.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like This

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