Redefining Grace


grace

 

 

 

Have you ever tried to hug someone that had never been hugged before? It was like trying to hug a stiff tree or a cold steel pole. You tried to hug him, and he just didn’t know how to hug back. And you know, most people these days treated Grace the same way.

The word “Grace” has been abused by most people these days. Some didn’t really understand about it, some taking his own advantage from it, and some just didn’t care. Churches these days are divided into two major groups: one that cheers for Grace (Hyper Grace), and one that doesn’t really want to talk about it, fearing that they might mislead the congregation to take the Hyper Grace path.

I can explain all about it in a Theological way with complicated Biblical words. But I won’t do that just to look smart in front of you guys. My purpose here is so that you will fully understand about this, and the way to do that is by telling story, just like Jesus did.

Luke 15:1-32

Do you remember the parable of a lost sheep? It’s not really about the lost sheep, but it’s about the Good Shepherd who found the lost sheep. Do you know about the parable of a lost coin? It’s not really about the lost coin, but it’s about the One who found the lost coin and rejoiced. Are you aware of the parable of a prodigal son? It’s not really about the lost son who returned to his Father, but it’s about the Father who willingly accepted His son back into His home.

Everything that Jesus told in the New Testament is about the Kingdom of God, and who would know better about it than Him? And in every single story that Jesus told, there is Grace in it. Grace is Jesus.

Do you remember what did the prodigal son wanted to say to his Father when he decided to return to his Father’s house? He wanted to say that he was no longer worthy to called son, and that he would be more than glad if Father would accept him as one of His hired servants. But, I have a question from this. When were we truly worthy?

Just imagine if my five year old son came to me in a morning, and all so suddenly said to me, “Father, I think I’m now worthy to be called your son,” I would reply to him and said, “Go back to your room that I’ve bought, brush your teeth with toothbrush and water that I’ve bought, and go to school that I’ve paid for you. You see? We were never been worthy at all. We are not sons and daughters by worth, but by birth!

And when I decided to embrace Grace, it doesn’t mean that I have acquired a free ticket to be sinful and lustful all I want. Grace is free, but it ain’t cheap. The core point of Jesus’ messages throughout His days on earth is about love, grace, and truth. It is love that brought Jesus to the cross. It is grace that enabled us who believe in Christ to be together with Him until now. And it is the truth that sets us free from bondage of sin. And the truth is that our God is holy, and we need to be holy to be with Him. So, are we made holy by our doings? No, for no men will reach the state of holiness with their acts and manners. We are made holy by love, grace, and truth, and they are all in Jesus Christ. And our definition of grace must never contradict with the truth.

We can choose to still stay within the boundary of grace or not. It’s our choice. The grace of God is everlasting, and it is the very thing that enabled us to be within the circle of salvation. Grace is coming from God, and do not waste it by going back to our old sinful behaviors. And this is our choice. A person who believes in Christ will be saved, but that person, who already entered the domain of grace, must maintain his/her belief by love and truth.

It’s not as hard or as complicated as it may sounds. When you have such a good spouse, who understands you very much and always speak with your love language, would you cheat on her? Would the very thought of cheating on her appear in your mind? Of course not! I have never ever thought of doing that evil thing and make her suffer. Now, if we can be like that to our wives or husbands, shouldn’t we be even better for the Lord?

Our God loves us so very much! The cross is one most significant evident that shows God’s tremendous love. Another proof is when Jesus said that the Father of the lost son was running towards the son, even when the son was still a long way off! Middle-eastern men are forbidden to run! And when Jesus told the disciples this story, all of the audience must have thought, “I’ve never seen my dad run.” And the fact that Jesus told them about the Father who ran told us the breathtaking truth about God’s powerful and insane love towards us! Our God understands us. He speaks with our love language. And for a God like that, if you truly know the extent of His love, you will never even think about cheating on God by going back to the old way anymore.

So, as a conclusion, Grace is Jesus, and it is the very thing that enables us to stay within the circle of salvation and be with God forever. It is our choice, however, to stay within that domain of Grace, or not. Embracing Grace doesn’t mean you can do whatever sin you want in this life. But don’t worry, because when you embrace Grace, you are embracing a much better life than sin. And most of all, remember this: you can fall during your life journey, but you need to get back up every time you fell down. Just remember that falling is still okay if you decided to get back up. But it is not okay if you gave up and decided to lie down there in the mud for the rest of your life! Falling in sin is still understandable, but remember to repent and don’t fall in the same hole again. What’s not okay is living in sin, which is when your conscience is already numb and you don’t feel a thing when you did wrong.

Let us redefine Grace. Grace is Jesus. Grace is free but ain’t cheap. Grace is God’s salvation circle. Love, Grace, and Truth must never be separated. “For by Grace you have been saved through Faith, not that of yourselves, but it is a gift from God, so no one should boast.”

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Not Seeing is Believing


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From: http://lifetreecounseling.com/counseling/living-by-faith/

John 1:49-51

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very Truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

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People usually say “seeing is believing”. This goes way back to the people of Israel. They were the people that needed prove before they could believe in something. Quite contrast with Abraham, but his offsprings turned out to be like Thomas and Nathanael. No wonder Jesus called Nathanael to be the “true Israelite”.

When Nathanael first came to Jesus, he was full of hope as well as reluctance; whether this Man is truly the Messiah or not. And after Nathanael got the prove he needed, he believed. Of course this is natural for most of the people on this earth. But the Lord will be happy if we transcend the laws and customs of men, and start believing without seeing.

This is called Faith. It is something that we cannot see it now, and yet, we can hold on to it and believe in it; hoping that one day, it will be realized. It contains our believe that even though something has not been done yet, and we cannot see the result yet, we believe that it will be so, putting all of our hope in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Faith is when everything falls apart in our world, when our mothers or fathers are taken away, when our businesses and accomplishments vanish into thin air, and when all seems lost like a diamond seeping into tar, and yet we keep on believing that there is still good left in this world that is in store for us, that the Lord will never abandon His children and that help will come at the right moment, that is Faith.

Faith is also when everything is safe and all seems to be good, but we do not forget about God and the greater things that run in this world and beyond.

Faith is when we, in all circumstances of our lives, keep on believing and hoping in Christ Jesus the Lord for each and every aspect of our lives even though we haven’t seen Him or the end result yet.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.                                       -Martin Luther King Jr.

Let us learn to start believing that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior, even though we haven’t seen Him in person. Start believing that our future is bright with Jesus Christ, in this life and the life after, even though we haven’t seen it yet. Start believing that everything that happen is for the better good of our lives, even if we are in a desperate condition right now. Start to believe without seeing, that, even when we do not feel it ourselves, we are precious in God’s sight; no matter what our pasts were like, no matter how evil we were back in the old days, no matter how struggling we are to forgive ourselves, Jesus will eventually reach out to us over and over again. And when He does that, open up your heart and let condemnation out of yourselves.

Remember what Jesus said, you will see even greater things to occur. When Jesus comes again, we will see even greater things. Let us also focus on the greater and eternal things. Amen.

Be refreshed 🙂

Precious Handiwork of God


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From: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/8e/3f/48/8e3f487c4ce03bd083e3062a5b9d2378.jpg

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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When we want to buy something handmade and branded, it will surely be very expensive and precious.

We are the handiwork of Christ, and we are branded by His Name. We are precious in His sight, for we are His precious handiwork. You are precious, more than you ever know it. And you are precious for the world, more than the world will ever know.

You are specifically made for God’s good work. Embrace that calling that comes from within your heart; your dreams, your good desire, and the urge from within to do the right thing and help other people.

Embrace the call of Grace from God, to keep on believing in God every day for the rest of our lives; even though we may not see Him now. When something is invisible, it does not mean that there is nothing. Air is invisible, but we cannot live without the oxygen in the air. The same principle is applied here.

We cannot see God right now, and that is the reason for most people to stop believing in God and consider it as a fairytale that our parents told before we went to bed. But, even though we cannot see God now, it does not mean that He does not exist. God is real. Heaven is real. Miracle is real. There are a thousand ways that human can die every day, but the fact that many people lived until 70 years old is a miracle. Remember, every day is a miracle. Every day is a gift, no matter how harsh your condition or situation is. Your life is a gift. And it will get better as time passes by.

When God created you, He has a purpose in His mind, and I believe that He has put that very purpose inside your heart. So think about it, pray to God, and accept the calling of God that you have in your heart. Remember, God has prepared in advance the things that He wants us to do in this life.

Be refreshed 🙂

The Greatest Parent We can ever have


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From: https://smileshinelove.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/god-the-perfect-father.jpg

Isaiah 49:15-16

15). Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

16). See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me.

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Even though the whole world could not be bothered to look at you and just ignored every hard work that you ever done, there is One that never looks away from you.

Even though your boss or friends or partners underestimated you, with no respect or appreciation, do not be sad or feel that you are rejected.

Rely on Christ. Depend on Him. And He will give you the strength and joy that you need.

We probably think that we won’t prevail when the hardship comes or when the betrayal occurs. But when you are willing to open up your heart and mind, and let Christ have His way, you will find the joy and strength to surge out from within you, enough for you to stand and walk again to finish your day.

And even though your own mother or father or both have abandoned you since you were a child, there is One that will never forsaken you. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the Lord, and He is very real. He wants to reach out to you, and as long as you are willing to open up your heart and mind to believe in Christ, you will not regret it. Besides, you got nothing to lose.

Be refreshed 🙂

 

Disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we?


http://renrutkram.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cross_follow
Matthew 16:24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Hi there people. Today I’d like to talk about the core meaning of being a disciple of Jesus. Many people nowadays are so confident and call themselves the disciples of Christ without really knowing the core of being His disciple. And so now, I really wish that the food that I am about to give can refresh your mind with the truth from the Bible.

Most of the times, we often thought that the best school and also the most expensive school is better for our children or loved ones. They would guarantee their success. But the truth was not like that. Those expensive education and the amount of money that we have doesn’t guarantee the success of our lives. I’m not talking about rich-success here. I’m talking about Godly-success. We may be successful in our career, studies, or even in our ministries. But does that mean we are successful before the Lord Almighty? The Bible said:

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Furthermore, the moral of this world is also declining. This disease is affecting the world even worse now, and it quickly affect the Christianity as well. And so, as the disciples of Christ, we should have looked into the bible and set our standard there so that we won’t be carried by the waves.

Jesus said that if any man would come after Him, he or she must deny him/herself and take up the cross. This means that we must give our whole life to live for Christ and not follow what we want or we will; but it should be what the Lord wants and what He wills. And so in our career, studies, or ministries, do we do the will of the Lord? Or do we do our own will? What’s the will of the Lord?

John 15:10-17
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another.

In everything that we do, we should do it with love for our brothers and sisters at work or at ministries. And in everything that we do, we should do it with our best effort as if we do it for the Lord Himself because He has chosen us so that we may bring forth fruit, and with that fruit, we will glorify the Lord and proclaim his goodness to the entire world. Since the beginning of time, our purpose in this world are to minister, to be His disciples, and to proclaim the glory and goodness of Him to the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are a businessmen, or a student, or a preacher. Do whatever your works are so that you may glorify Him. But also remember to have love in whatever you do because nothing is for good when we do anything without love.

One example of a disciple that didn’t submit to His Lord’s will was Peter.

Matthew 16:21-23
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter was probably just trying to help, and this would mean he was lack of understanding. But I say that Peter was trying to show himself off that he is capable of saving Jesus from the elders of Jerusalem; and thus, rebuking the will of his Lord. I can say this because in verse 23, Jesus called Peter a Satan, and He told Peter to get behind Him. This shows us that to be a disciple of the Lord, we need to stay behind our Master and not in front of Him. Let Jesus be the captain of our ship. Let Jesus be the problem-solver in our lives. Let Jesus be the main head in the house. Let Jesus be the boss in our works or businesses. Let Jesus be our main teacher in our studies, Let Jesus decides for our decisions in our lives. Let Jesus have all our lives. Let Jesus rule every aspects of our lives. We should apply this because our lives are not ours anymore, but our lives are His. He has redeemed us at the cross, replacing us in a beautiful exchange at the cross.

And learning from Peter’s mistake, we know that to be the disciple of the Lord, we also need to convert our mind concept and the way we think, and sync them with the mind and the way Christ think (Metanoia). Just as Jesus was behind the Father, we also should stay behind Jesus Christ. This also means that as the disciples of Christ, we should listen to Him, which is harder than it sounds (take Abraham’s case as an example of how difficult it can be sometimes) be obedient and loyal to Him in every circumstances no matter how harsh it will be, be responsible for our work He gave us in this world and also to be the salt and light of the world that can affect our surroundings so that people can see Christ in ourselves, and last but not least, we must be ready and stay close behind the Lord in every tests the world throws toward us.

I hope this can enlighten your mind and refresh your soul people 🙂

Anointing Oil… An Occultism!? Is it?


And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. (Exodus 30:25 NKJV)

And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. (Exodus 30:31 NKJV)

And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy. (Exodus 40:9 NKJV)

Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. (Leviticus 8:10 NKJV)

From all the verses here, we know that the anointing oil is from the Lord Himself. Of course there are more verses about the anointing oil, but it’s gonna be too long if I wrote them all here. But how come an anointing oil, coming from the Lord Himself, can become an Occultism? This sounds absurd right. But this is the reality. Some people may accept the anonting oil, not as a media of the Lord’s power and anointment, but as a power that stands alone. Anointing oil may have the power to sanctify people and to heal people only because the Lord work through the oil. It’s one of the media the Lord choose to use. So people are sanctified and healed not because of the oil, but because of the Lord. Now many people are wrong in this concept.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14 NKJV)

See? If any of you are sick, you can pray to the Lord and anoint yourself with an anointing oil. Through the anointing oil, the Lord may have healed you. But take a note of this. It is not the oil that healed you, but the Lord. On this point when people thought of the anointing oil as a powerful oil that has the power to heal, and not because of the Lord’s power through the anonting oil, this anointing oil can become a practice of Occultism among the congregation!

So to sum it all up, anointing oil is indeed from the Lord, and is good. But don’t misunderstand about the anointing oil that you can make it an Occultism. Hope this can help your understanding about the anointing oil, and hope this can also help for those of you who are still doubtful about the anointing oil. God bless, and be refreshed 🙂

Tradition and Philosophy? Hmm…


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Colossians 2:6 – 10

 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 Today I want to talk about the fullness of Christ in our daily lives. Christ should be our one and most important priority in our lives. But sometimes, the reality says otherwise. We do believe in Christ Jesus. We do believe in His miraculous works. But sometimes, we also believe in other little things as well that can become our downfall without we realize it.

Let’s say that you come from a family that has a rich family tradition. This kind of family usually is an Asian family. The Asian people really have a rich family tradition like praying to the ancestors and the dead spirit, etc. And let’s say they repented and receive Christ as their Savior. But they still hold on to the family tradition to come to their parents or grandparents graveyard to pray for them or to give them burnt offerings. I myself had done this long time ago, and I felt kind of stupid after I know the truth in verse 8 about our living God Jesus. Check this out:

Job 7:9

As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, so he who goes down to the grave does not come up.

 This verse means that once people died, their spirit cannot wander on this earth again. Those ghost stories about the spirit of the dead being back from the grave and was angry was not true because the Bible told us so in Job 7:9. Those ghosts are real, but they are not the spirit of the dead. They are the devils from the underworld, coming up to this world to deceive people of God from the truth by misguiding them with earthly tradition.

Also, certain philosophies can also become our downfall if we believe in them. Around the times of Jesus, there were lots of philosophies that were based on many different doctrines such as Gnosticism, Hedonism, Asceticism, etc. Gnosticism is an understanding where all kinds of polytheistic views come together. The people who follow this understanding call themselves a Gnostic. They really praise the realm of the gods and they felt that they have a super secret understanding that can brought them to heaven. This understanding was called Gnosis. And from this understanding, many philosophies are born.

Hedonism was an understanding where humans must only follow earthly joy and happiness. The Epicureans follow this Hedonism doctrine. The opposite from this doctrine is Asceticism where humans must have a great self-denial and refrain themselves from worldly pleasures. This is good, but this does not save us from eternal damnation! Only Jesus is the way to the Heaven.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Of course there were still a lot of those doctrines and philosophies that I had not gone into, but the point is, don’t ever be tricked by those empty philosophical views! Many were misguided by those kinds of views around the times of Jesus.

And so, let us be full in Christ even in our daily lives. Be radical in Him and believe only to Him, the Living God Jesus. Check these out:

 Revelation 3:16

 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

 And,

Matthew 6:24

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

 From the two verses above, we know that we should not be lukewarm by believing in Christ Jesus but also believe in earthly traditions and philosophies; because we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time! Choose God because He has sacrificed Himself for us at the cross. We are complete in Him, and in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Be refreshed 🙂