Oct 23, 2012

Dedicate the walls

(Neh 12:27) And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, [with] cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

In the Song of Solomon, there's a great warning which goes
(Song 2:15) Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines [have] tender grapes.
When the walls of our garden are down, we tend to have the little foxes come and spoil the fruit (these refer to the subtle sins, the sins which are easy to justify, etc). The little foxes need to be driven out before we can bear sweet fruit for the lord. We need strong spiritual walls that protect us from the attacks of the evil one.

The entire book of Nehemiah is about rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem. We are the temple of the living God. (1 Cor 6:19) The holy city of God. The garden of our lord. We are supposed to maintain our walls with care, lest the cares of the world and the snares of the evil one find its way into our heart. The walls have such a spiritual significance in the life of a believer.

Indeed, we (even the believers) find ourselves in a state where our walls are broken. This is the state that the Israelites found themselves in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah. But praise God for a generation of people who get up to repair the broken walls, who are not satisfied with the walk of mixing with evil. Nehemiah had such a burden, and through the book, he takes us on a journey of spiritual restoration. The book tells us a story of a project - an impossible project by human standards. We also see the opposition that he faced when he embarked on such a project. But when God has a person who is determined to do His will, no opposition can stand strong against the power of God manifest in a believer. He built the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days flat.

The first verse is a joyful moment on the dedication of the rebuilt wall. The moment of savouring the sweet success of being restored into the lord's calling and presence.

Are your spiritual walls burnt down by the evil fires of this world ? Does the world enter you freely due to the broken walls ? Do you often enter the world due to the broken walls ? Do you still want a restoration to your spiritual life and your spiritual walls to be built up ?

Read the book of Nehemiah to experience this restoration. It's hard work. But it's worth it.

Praise the lord Jesus Christ

Oct 22, 2012

Hearts of flesh

One of the first steps to being a Christian is to understand the need for Christ and salvation. And one of the first tenets we discover in our initial few days of bible study is the difference between law and grace. In the old testament, we see that law was given by God as asked by men. While the law in itself is good and essential, the old covenant or law didn’t provide a means for us to understand how to obey the law. The best person in the old covenant couldn't keep all the commandments - he could at least attempt to keep the 9 commandments (externally) but never could he keep the 10th commandment - which was to not desire what belongs to another. Since this was in the mind, people kept on hiding the sin which perpetually occurred in their minds.  Here comes the need for Christ and the holy spirit
a.       God needed someone to present a perfect sacrificial life of obedience and this was Christ the son of man.
b.      The holy spirit was to be the counselor who will make us walk in the ways of the lord, enabling us and changing us from within.

When Christ came to give us the new covenant, he made the law simpler but more acute (lusting was equal to adultery, anger was equal to murder, the thought was considered as bad as the action!) But he also helped us through the abiding presence of the holy spirit to know how to obey the law of the spirit !!
§  We are the testimony of Jesus christ. 
§  We are the good news which many people will see.
§  We are the only bible that some people would read.
§  We are the temple of the living God and in us resides God himself (holy spirit) as we reside in christ.

 (2Cor 3:2) Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
(2Cor 3:3) [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

God has written the law in our hearts of flesh causing us to walk in his ways. But our hearts were not always fleshly and soft. We had a hard hearted past as it is written in ezekiel. It's only in a born-again person can the law be written in the heart. The stony heart is a picture of the law, and the fleshly heart is a picture of grace.

(Ezek 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Praise God for doing all it takes to live in his ways
·         He found us even when we were sinners with stony heart
·         He gave us a new heart and a new spirit
·         He wrote the law in our hearts
·         He gave us the holy spirit
·         Even when we fail, he doesn't give up on us, but gives us his hand to help us up again
·         He watches over us in love

What a wonderful God we serve!

Praise the lord Jesus Christ

Oct 3, 2012

Our ministry - the ministry of Jesus Christ

Luk 4:17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luk 4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luk 4:20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Luk 4:21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.

We the believers are called to be ministers by Jesus - he has proclaimed that we are a group of ministers to the lord, a holy priesthood, made royal by the sonship to the father. (1pet 2:9) In this day, God has given us a ministry as he had given to Jesus Christ. In the words above, we read the fully fulfilled prophesy of Jesus's ministry while he was on this earth. We (the believers) are the body of Christ on this earth today. And by inheritance, we get his ministerial calling. We are called to

a.       Preach the gospel to the poor : We are to be conveyors of the good news to the people who are spiritually poor (i.e. those who know that they don't have what it takes to make it to eternity in heaven). Always, the people who take time to come to the lord are the ones who are full of themselves. Self-emptying is a crucial process before we can come into a fullness of salvation. Indeed, preaching the gospel is our first calling to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
b.      Heal the broken hearted : know anyone who is broken hearted ? I know many ! Our calling is to offer the ointment of Gilead ( Jesus Christ) as the medicine for binding up the hurts of many who, in their deep hurt or rejection, are even moving away from God. Our ministry is to offer the healing by giving them Christ.
c.       Preach deliverance to the captives : Many in this world think they are free, but are bound by sin and habits. It may be drinking, gambling, lust, pornography, unnatural tastes, love of money, love of self, idolatry, roving eyes, self-exaltation , pride, unbelief, and so many other evil characters (even things we find so easy to condone, like lying, stealing, etc). The Christian (the believer) has to be first delivered from all these life-breaking habits by faith and by the 'change of nature' that the new birth brings in us. And then he/she has the freedom to go to the world which is lying captive and offer this message of freedom. Yes. Believe it or not, we can truly be delivered from these habits and sins by Jesus!
d.      Sight to the blind : There are so many people (in the faith and outside the faith) who are blinded by the evil one, into hating/rejecting the message of freedom that Christ offers. There are people who are blinded to the spiritual consequences of their actions and thoughts. Like how Jonathan's eyes were made clear when he ate honey, when we consume the delicious honey (i.e. the word of God), we receive spiritual eye sight. And once we receive the spiritual eyesight, we can see only Jesus first. And then we will start seeing every one as how our lord sees them. And our eyes are opened to seeing the spiritual activity (like how Elisha's servant was able to see the heavenly activity once his eyes were opened) Friends, this is the real eye sight we need to pray for. Life changes once we have this eye sight.
e.      Preach the acceptable year of the lord : Often, the reason why we live the way we live is because there is no imminence of anything good or bad happening. We tend to think our bad ways will not receive the punishment it deserves purely because  it seems slow in coming. Yet, there is a judgment to look forward to. There is the second coming of Jesus to look forward to. And there is the right time for people to change their direction of life, repent and truly come to the lord (which is now, really!) Our ministry (an unpleasant task often!), is to remind people of the inevitable judgment and so make people understand the need for salvation. No one enjoys being with a doomsday prophet or preacher. Yet it is an inseparable part of our ministry of Jesus Christ.

Do you realize the grandeur of the calling to take up the ministry of Jesus christ ?

Before we minister to others, the most important thing is to minister to the lord (through our constant dependence on him and spending time with him in our daily prayers). Unless we minister to the lord, we can only offer our empty powerless hands to others. When we minister to the lord, we get the spiritual supplies for our ministry from the Lord himself - and hence can take the spiritual riches to the needy.

Thank God for the men (and women) of God who are moved to be His ministers! :)

God bless you!

Praise the lord Jesus christ