Sunday, December 30, 2012
Moses: “Gee, I’m really honored that you chose me. But here’s the thing: I’m a nobody!” (3:11)
God: I already know that. But here’s the thing: it's a non-issue to me. It’s not who you are but who sends you that’s important. (3:12)
M: “That's nice. But my point is I don’t even know you that well. Don’t you think I need to grow in my Bible more first?” (3:13)
G: My point is: I Am who I Am. And that’s more than enough for you. (3:14-15)
M: “Alright, I got to be honest with you. I'm really not a very smart guy. I don’t even know what to say to them.” (3:13)
G: First you go to the sons of Israel and tell them . . . .
Then you go to the elders and say this, . . . .
Next you and the elders go to Pharaoh. Mind you, he will not let you go at first, but I will strike Egypt with signs.
Then you go to the Egyptians and they will give you all that you need.
Specific and clear enough? (3:14-22)
M: “Wait a minute . . . you’re going so fast! I’m still stuck at what if people won’t believe or listen to me!" (4:1-2)
G: They will believe and listen after they see the signs you will do through me. (4:2-9)
M: “O-k . . . , but, but . . . please Lord, I'm just a simple bloke. I'm not eloquent, I don't have a way with words – not now, not before, not after you met me.” (4:10)
G: That's not important either. Tell me this: who made mouths and ears? Who invented words? Surely I will teach you what to say. (4:11, 12)
M: [Sigh] “Sorry, . . . I still think it’s easier if you sent someone else. No offence.” (4:13)
G: Now I am offended! It’s easier if you stopped giving clever excuses. But just to humor you, I will send Aaron as well, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to lead the charge. I have already chosen you. (4: 14-16)
When God chooses us to do anything, we’d better not make excuses.
I don’t know, I don’t have, I can’t talk, I'm not sure, he’s better, she’s done it before – won't cut it for Him.
When God chooses us, He will also give us the power, guidance, words, resources, and success that we need.
When God chooses us, simply obey. Don’t waste time coming up with one more reason why He needs to send someone else.
Just do it.
Nothing is impossible with God.
Impossible is nothing to Him.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Moses had heart. He did his level best to deliver his people from bondage.
But he must learn that activism without God’s anointing is, at best, hot air and fury (2:11,12).
Moses had clout. He grew up in the comfort of the palace.
But he must learn that worldly credentials without God’s call are only cushy cover-ups (2:14).
Moses had favour. But he must become forgotten in Midian before God would make the people follow him out of Egypt.
For he must learn that God uses:
Our meekness, not mastery, to confront kings;
Patience, not power, to move the multitude;
Submission, not sheer strength and bravado, to part the Red Sea;
Our towel, not our title, to lead.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
The magi were a stubborn lot.
They pursued, searched, asked, wouldn't give up
To find the Star.
Herod, too, was stubborn.
He pursued, searched, asked, wouldn't give up
To be the star.
The magi were a stubborn lot.
They didn’t know where the King would be,
But they never stopped looking for Jesus.
The leaders were a stubborn lot.
They knew from the Bible He'd be in Bethlehem (v5, 6), they went to Sunday school;
But they never went to Jesus.
That first Christmas, the magi found the Child (v11).
He wasn't what or who they'd expected,
But He gave them “exceedingly great joy” (v10).
Their long search came to a close,
They could finally unload their treasures,
They could finally go home (v12).
This Christmas, be a stubborn lot.
Forget about being the star - look for the Star above you.
Go to Him, move it, walk, run.
Be filled with exceedingly great joy,
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I can preach (and sing and teach and lead worship over the pulpit) with eloquence, and yet not love my audience.
I can speak into people’s lives and not see their struggles, cast vision for my members and not care about their going-ons, evangelize and not engage, convert and not connect.
I may have such faith that I move mountains - but not touch my own hardened heart.
I may be so sacrificial that I spare nothing – not any of my possessions, not even my physical comfort – and don’t bother to remember the names of my receivers or hold their hands or look into their eyes.
If I do what I do because it’s what I do best;
it’s what is right to do and expected of me;
it’s what gives meaning and power to my miserable existence,
“it profits me nothing” (I Cor 13:3).
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Slaves into princes,
Darkness into light,
Waste into treasure.
But He wants all or nothing,
Hot or cold,
Surrender or self,
Lose or find.
Either I wash your feet
Or you have no part in Me;
Give up everything
Or not follow Me at all.
For the exalted One dwells on a high and holy place,
As well as with the contrite and lowly in spirit (Isa 57:15).
He does not faint or become tired (Isa 40:28),
But He is wearied with our lukewarm sacrifices (Mal 1:6-14).
Offer Me a grain offering pure, unmixed, undivided,
Or you uselessly kindle fire on my altar (Mal 1:10)!
Love Me with all your heart and all your soul (Deut 11:13),
Or you don’t love Me at all.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
TEN TRUTHS ABOUT BEING A MOO
I am a MOO, a “mom of one.” Yes, I have only one child, one fruit of the womb. And at my age, I will be a MOO till the day I die (unless God does a Sarah thing on me). Let me tell you some truths about being a MOO.
1. I am NOT bitter, angry, or unhappy about my MOOship. As a matter of fact, I am a very content, normal, and happy person.
2. I didn’t become a MOO because I didn’t like children – and the mess, sleepless nights, pees and poos that come with them.
3. Like many MOOs, I actually adore children. That’s why I have been teaching Sunday school for more than 20 years. Just a bonus information: people who teach other people’s angelic / argumentative / attention-demanding / A-star kids for 20 years don’t do it because they have one child or no children. They simply enjoy it (crazy, huh?).
4. So why am I a MOO again? Suffice to say for now it is God’s decision. There are people who choose to be MOOs but not me.
5. Here’s a confession. I used to feel funny when people gave me strange looks when they found out that I’m a MOO. Not anymore. Now, I find it funny that they should be offended by my MOOnity. Well, I don’t live to please people; I live for God’s perfect plan for my life.
6. This next point may surprise you: I DO NOT envy those with more than one child. I didn't ask to be a MOO but now that I am, there's no sorrow to it. I’m happy – even ecstatic - for people with 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 (don’t laugh, my grandpa had 18) kids. I may sometimes wonder if they’re getting enough sleep or space, but I definitely don’t sit and sulk, thinking of them and their troops charging up the hills with the sound of music.
7. Here’s another surprise: like many of my tribe, I ENJOY being a MOO. My daughter and I could see-saw perfectly, fit into one arm chair and watch TV, share one apple, one can of drinks, one plate of chicken rice, and one bento evenly.
8. And my parenting plan is too easy: I (and my husband, the FOO – Father Of One) simply give our child all that we could generously and unreservedly. I didn’t say “fairly”; that’s because we have only one, remember? It's always fair.
9. At this point, let me thank those of you who have had sleepless nights worrying that I would raise a good-for-nothing, self-absorbed OO (Only One). Awww, you shouldn’t have. At the ripe age of 9, my daughter had already mastered pounding our family secret chilli (for steamed crabs); at 17 she catered party food to earn her pocket money; while waiting for her As results, she waitressed at Haagen Daz; and as a freshman she started volunteering for a ministry to abused children, and is still doing it.
10. And this is no attention-craving, narcissistic chatterbox. As an only child, she learned early to not fear solitude and to respect other people’s need for silence. But she is no socially-maladjusted, scrawny and miserable recluse either. She blogs, tweets, teaches Sunday school, and gets invited to too many weddings and farewells. In other words, she loves people; but she doesn't depend on people for motivation or entertainment.
A VERY PROUD AND HAPPY MOO.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Not sure I can agree with that but this brings to mind an article by the great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards, and what he wrote about "affections" or deep feelings, deep conviction for the thing of God that 'springs us into action."
Do we love God? Do we say we have hope, joy, compassion for the fatherless, hatred for sin, mercy for those who lack?
If we do, then there must be action. For these - love, hope, joy, mercy - are not mere head knowledge; they come from deep places in our hearts where we can feel them.
And if we feel them, then it will result in praying, stepping out in faith to help, give, lend a hand, do something.
Anyone can "like" a post about the underprivileged and wounded. But the purpose of God is set in motion by lovers and doers in the kingdom.
"No time", "no leave", "no opportunity" are no excuses anymore. The only reason we are living mediocre, hum-drum lives is "no heart."
EXCERPTS FROM RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“When we look at the world, we see that people are exceedingly busy. It is their affections that keep them busy. If we were to take away affections, the world would be motionless
and dead; there would be no such thing as activity. It is the affection we call covetousness
that moves a person to seek worldly profits; it is the affection we call ambition that
moves a person to pursue worldly glory; . . . . Just as worldly affections are the spring of worldly actions, so the religious affections are the spring of religious actions.
“ . . . Nothing is more apparent than this: our religion takes root within us only as deep as our affections attract it. There are thousands who hear the Word of God, who hear great and exceedingly important truths about themselves and their lives, and yet all they hear has no effect upon them, makes no change in the way they live. The reason is this: they are not affected with what they hear.
“ . . . I believe that no one is ever changed, either by doctrine, by hearing the Word, or by the preaching or teaching of another, unless the affections are moved by these things. No one ever seeks salvation, no one ever cries for wisdom, no one ever wrestles with God, no one ever kneels in prayer or flees from sin, with a heart that remains unaffected. In a word, there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected by those things.”
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Religion gives us unending work and distractions.
God’s gift is rest from useless work and focus on His love for us,
Religion says, “You are what you do so take on one more job, plan one more program, wear one more hat.”
God wants us to be formed only by His perfect love for us, in us, and through us.
Religion uses cultural norms and man-made standards to trap us and hold us back from exercising our spiritual gifts.
God wants us to use our spiritual gifts to set people free from cultural norms and man-made standards.
Religion guarantees only exhaustion and guilt: “You’re doing too much, what are you trying to prove?” “You’re not doing enough, why are you resting?”
Relationship with God guarantees eternal life and grace: live, not labor; be, not do; major in “trust”, not in “tiredness.”
Religion keeps us occupied with doing what is expected, mediocre and enough.
Love for God pushes us to be open to the unexpected, miraculous and extraordinary.
Religion can make us look impressive and strong – “See how much she is doing!”
When you love God, be prepared to look irresponsible and strange -“Why is the perfume not sold to help the poor?”
Religion leaves us feeling judged and resentful (“Lord, she has left me to do all the serving!”).
A living, loving relationship with God sets us free us from judgment.
And frees us from religion.
The RYR had been there, done that; but his life was not complete.
He knew all the rules, had every responsibility, and practically ran the ministry.
Be he had no rest. He didn’t live the life.
Jesus told the RYR: “You don’t need one more ‘to do’,'‘to impress'."
“I am all the stripes and badges you ever need.”
“Just let go of things. And follow Me.”
The RYR protested. “But, but . . . , I don’t mind ‘to dos’, ‘to impress’. It’s what I think about all night and wake up every day for!”
“In fact, I don’t know who I am without them! I don’t know what to do without doing . . . .”
“But here’s the thing,” Jesus replied, “You got to stop.”
“You got to stop clinging on to what is not bread.
"You got to decide to not be defined by what you do."
“You see, eternal life is not something you get.”
“Eternal life is Someone you follow.
"Eternal Life is Someone you love.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Woe to you, servants of God and leaders of men, . . .
Who love the seats of honor, but don't honor the Savior;
Woe to you, servants of God and leaders of men, . . .
Who fuss over program sheets, song choices and mission statements
But won't lift a finger to relieve the suffering and care for orphans.
Woe to you, servants of God and leaders of men, . . .
Who look alive, busy, "Man, my schedule is packed!", but are comfortably dead, walking skeletons,
Lying in “concealed tombs."
Woe to you, servants of God and leaders of men, . . .
Who burden others with never-ending to-dos, to-gives, to-attends, to-organize
But have no heart for God and no heart for people.
Woe to you, servants of God and leaders of men, . . .
Who reject the prophets and design their tombs; having stopped learning and hindering others from receiving
By teaching sloppy truths, living a lie, promoting high knowledge and glorifying grand numbers.
Woe to you, servant of God and leaders of men, . . .
Whose only skill is going on high speed on the road of show and tell;
Jam your brakes, quick, make a u-turn to Jesus; start all over again,
Before it's too late.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
What do we need rest from?
Anger & Bitterness – some people carry them for a life-time and miss living; let it go, forgive, "just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Eph 4:32).”
Competitive spirit – do your best by all means, but do it only for God and not for man; man is hard to please.
Depression – don’t talk to that emo spirit, talk to God; don’t get moody, get help.
Envy – “godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim 6:6).
Fruitless works of the flesh – “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16); don't serve in programs, serve people in the power of God.
Guilt – living in guilt is nailing yourself to the cross; Jesus has already done that (Col 2:14) so STOP IT!
Haughtiness of spirit – it's not attractive or cool; try "humility of mind."
Insecurity – don't use people, and don't let people use you, it's pathetic! Remember there are those who need you simply because they can’t be home alone on a Friday evening.
Judgmental attitude – chances are what you can't stand in others may be the exact log in your own eyes; remove it!
Knowledge – knowledge don’t solve problems in life; wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord does.
Laziness & procrastination – “Let your yes be yes and your nay nay”, respect yourself, respect others.
Money, money, money – don't love money for it makes a good slave but a ruthless taskmaster; love God.
NO Passion for the things of God – what can I say? Ask God to soften your heart, cry and beat your chest if you need to, fast and pray.
Quarrelsome spirit – winning an argument doesn't make you a winner; on the other hand, “the gentle . . . shall inherit the earth” (Mat 5:5).
Restlessness & Strife – filling your schedule with busyness and rushing around only gives you ulcer and heart problems; slowing down and staying still before God rewards you with His quiet strong voice.
Tiredness, Unhealthy living – “You have been bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20), your body is not yours; so sleep early, eat colorful food, put on your running shoes, breathe, laugh, live, honor God.
Vanity – “Is everyone looking at me?” No, everyone is always looking only at himself or herself.
Worrying, and trying to live up to X-pectations – look at the birds of the air (the Bird Park near my home is not bad) and the flowers of the field (they’re everywhere in Singapore, did you notice?); seek God’s kingdom, don’t seek men’s approval.
Saying “Yes” to every project, position, power-lunch, "Pleeeese-help-me" phone call – try saying “No”; you'd be surprised it won’t kill you or anyone (in fact most people who push and pull really don’t care).
So . . .
When we rest – stop, cease – from things that hold, halt and hinder us,
We shall experience true ZZZZ.
Not the kind that stops rudely in the middle of the night,
And gives us eye bags and broken dreams.
But the Rest that Jesus – "gentle and humble in spirit" – gives
To anyone – "weary and heavy-laden”,
"Come to Me," calls the Master.
“And you will find rest for your soul” (Mt 11:28-30).
Sunday, September 2, 2012
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NUMBER?
For Jacob, it was TWO.
Position: Second son
Favorite sport: 2-timing others
Modus operandi: get God’s favor but, just in case, have a plan B
Greatest Romance: Rachel, daughter no. 2
Price for love: 7 x 2 years
Ended up with: 2 wives
To keep wives happy: 2 concubines
Work ethics: job sucks, wait 20 years!
Finally resigned: but sneaked out via back staircase 2
Met God’s angels halfway: named the camp Mahanaim (“2”)
Finally courageously faced Esau: but, wait a minute, let’s divide my family into 2
Peace offering to brother?: No surprise - 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, . . . .
WHAT’S GOD’S FAVORITE NUMBER?
For Jacob, it was ONE.
Never mind he was no. 2, God meant for him to be one.
Met him alone at Bethel, Wrestled with him one on one at Peniel.
Showed him one dream, built him one ladder,
Gave him one, “I am with you.”
One dislocated hip, one permanent limp
To show him God's blessings doesn't need a back-up plan.
No “just in case,:
No “I must help myself.”
Mr. Double (Jacob: schemer) must become Mr. Single (Israel: power with God alone),
"Love the Lord your God with ALL,"
Or you don't love the Lord at all.
WHAT’S JESUS’ FAVORITE NUMBER?
For us, it’s also usually ONE.
Matt 18:9 “It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”
Mark 10:21 "One thing you lack: . . . come, follow Me."
Luke 10:41-42 “. . . but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, . . . ."
Luke 8:45 “Who is the one who touched Me?"
Friday, August 24, 2012
It means things will come to a conclusion. A good conclusion. A conclusion that finally makes sense.
Take Joseph the dreamer.
At seventeen, he had his first dreams
Of being bowed down to by his kin.
But he was young. He lacked sensitivity or grace or discernment.
He was a raw deal dressed in varicolored finery.
He couldn't keep his mouth shut to save his life.
Then he was stuffed into a sack, shipped to Egypt, sexually harassed, sent to prison.
And in a dank and hopeless place, convergence happened.
Pharaoh’s staff had dreams and bunked with the dreamer.
He told them about their vision but they – or the one who was left - didn’t tell about him.
Not till two full years later when Pharaoh had, not one, but two nightmares.
This time, the dreamer not only explained the dreams,
He had the sensitivity and grace and discernment
To talk sense to the king.
He didn't keep his mouth shut to save his life.
And there we have it - convergence.
The prisoner rose to the rank of prime minister.
The gift that landed him into hot soup made him cool.
A famine became Egypt's claim to fame.
A disaster orchestrated God’s divine plan for deliverance for His covenanted people.
In the study of Joseph (Gen 37 ff), I had many“Was it necessary?” moments.
Was it necessary for Jacob's favorite boy to grow up away from home?
I guess so if the 17 year-old would one day be greater than all his elders.
Was it necessary to put innocent and handsome Joseph through 13 years of wilderness experience, 13 years of waiting, and wondering "Is this necessary?"? (He appeared before Pharaoh at 30 years old.)
I suppose so.
Perhaps it does take this long for one to settle down. Sort out bitterness. See how God meant everything in his life for good.
This long to learn to let go. Let God.
Let convergence take its place.
How about you? Do you face "Is it necessary"s in your life?
Take a tip from Joseph.
He was given up, but he never gave up.
He took the hard road, he refused to compromise
Even though compromise would have been easier, more pleasurable.
He held on - even if it was to just a prison chain, he waited for his time and chance,
He knew convergence would happen.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
He was stubborn enough to cling to heels (Gen 25:22-23),
Skillful enough to steal blessings, with mere stew (Gen 25: 31),
Sly enough to lie and win Daddy's blessings (Gen 27),
Slick enough to outwit Laban, the deceptor of all time,
And strong enough to outrun time to chase after lost loves and missed chances (Gen 29).
Then he went to Wrestling School (Gen 32:24)
And, for the first time, the survivor was outplayed.
But he was the born fighter, he refused to lose.
And so he outlasted his opponent.
By being stubborn enough to finish the race, what with a dislocated socket,
Skillful enough to not let go of his only Chance of beating the game of life,
Sly enough to face up to his frailties,
Slick enough to dodge his own deceptions,
And strong enough to cling on to the heels of God’s time and chance.
What's your battle today?
Don't let go. Cling. Cling stubbornly.
Don't give up. Fight.
Let the injuries come. But fight and win.
Don't run away. Run.
Face in the wind,
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Rebekah schemed to cheat her husband and first son, Esau. She won the game but lost her second son, Jacob, forever (she never saw him again after he left).
Jacob lied through his teeth to his own old man, Isaac. He was lied to [and suffered for 20 years] by another old man, Laban.
The deceiver masqueraded as the first-born to steal from his older brother. He was tricked into marrying another first-born who masqueraded as her younger sister.
Leah went along with Dad to rip-off the “first wife” position. She would learn for the rest of her life that one cannot steal love, nor have first place in a heart that belongs to another.
We reap what we sow.
By the mercy of God, we may be forgiven, we may get the chance to start over.
We may even grow through our mistakes.
But we will face some consequences.
Don't try to cheat with numbers.
It usually doesn't add up.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Not with riches and numbers [though he had both]; but by making him admit how “alone”, “afraid and distressed” (32:7, 13) he was.
On the night Jacob wrestled with God, God made him powerful.
Not through youthful passion, determination and drive [which this Romeo and Rambo had more than most men in the Bible]; but through breaking him down mentally, emotionally [20 years of cheating and hard labor by the sifu deceiver Laban], physically [dislocated thigh] and spiritually.
On the night Jacob wrestled with God, he overcame himself.
Not because he had achieved status, independence, and “two companies” (32:10); but because he finally learned how “unworthy” he truly and always was before God.
On the night Jacob wrestled with God, he found peace at last.
Not by presents of 550 goats, ewes, rams, camels, colts, cows, bulls and donkeys to his brother, Esau; but by coming into the presence of the holy God - stripped of pretense, security, and deceit.
On the night Jacob wrestled with God, he grew up and became a man.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Seriously, Lot had only one problem: he loved the world.
He chose notoriously wicked Sodom because the Jordan Valley was “well watered” (Gen 13:1-13).
I wonder if he felt he would never be tainted by sin?
“He hesitated” (19:16) when the angels said, "Get out!” and had to be physically forced to flee.
I wonder how much did he own in Sodom which possessed him?
His sons-in-law thought he was "jesting" when he warned them of judgment (19:14),
I wonder if he had cracked one joke too many?
He asked to go to Zoar, a small nearby town, when told to run to the mountains.
I wonder if he wanted to be close enough to see, or return to, his beloved Sodom “just in case”?
Then he hid in the caves because “he was afraid” (19:30).
I wonder if stripped of his possessions, this was just one insecure frightened miserable bloke?
His virgin daughters took turns to sleep with him.
I wonder if they also resented him for offering them so generously to the vile men (19:6).
Do not love the world.
The world does not love us nor our children.
Do not love things.
Things own us, and make us insecure and scared.
Lot might have lived a “well watered” life but his soul was dry.
He might have been spared destruction, but his descendants could not escape judgment.
Lot might have left Sodom, but Sodom would never leave him.
Do not love the world.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
She should not have answered the serpent.
Should have ignored, turned off the phone, not be alone, go help her husband take care of other trees.
She should not have exaggerated God’s severity and downplayed God’s warning.
"You shall not eat or touch it.” When God said, “You shall not eat.”
“Or you will die.” When God said, “You will surely die.”
She did not need ONE MORE.
One more tree. One more choice.
She already had everything women for all ages to come would ask for.
She should not have taken the serpent’s advice.
Yes, true to his word, her eyes were “opened.”
But the first thing she saw was her “nakedness” and shame.
True to his word, she knew good and evil.
But mostly that God had been good, and the serpent was really evil.
She opened her package and found that it was nothing she saw on the screen.
Cheap imitation. Fake. And labelled:
“No exchange” policy.
Don't bother talking with the serpent.
He will smooth talk you into forfeiting everything you have and will have
By making you think about the one thing you can’t have.
Don’t fall for his free “trial.” Nothing’s free.
Someone has to pay for it
Somehow, somewhere, sometime.
Don’t take his rides.
They make your heart pump.
But you are not really touching the sky.
Don’t let his photoshop and smart editing fool you.
You're not his match.
When he attacks, he makes you feel thankful.
He makes you think it's "fate."
Remember: it is never “just coffee.”
There is no “just this once.”
Play it safe.
Not sure “Has God said?” Ask. God.
Are you getting all you deserve?” Of. Course. Not.
Look at the Cross.
Look at His hands and side.
Walk with your Savior.
Don’t hide in the bushes.
Get busy and live your life.
Stop chit chatting with the Serpent.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Why are you weeping? Why am I weeping?
What makes us feel that we're lost, we haven't found it, life is empty and futile?
It depends on whom we seek, isn't it?
If it's the Lord, He is right here.
The next question Jesus asked was to the disciples after their night of fishing.
"Children, you do not have any fish do you?" (John 21:5)
Have you been working all night - all your life - and not have any fish?
The disciples were smart.
They didn't say, "Well, we'd not been fishing for awhile, takes some getting used to."
They didn't rationalize, "Well, failure is the mother of success."
They answered, "No." Simply. Honestly. No "because . . . ", "perhaps . . . " "maybe . . . ."
And the Lord blessed them with all the fish they could ever dream of.
Question number three was asked three times - bam, bam, bam.
It was that important.
"Do you love Me?" (John 21:16-17)
Peter might have rehearsed over and over again in his mind why he failed, why he should be selected again, why he needed a second chance.
But the only question he got at the most important job interview of his life was:
"Do you love Me?"
Not, "Are you sorry?" for sorry doesn't cut it.
Not, "What promises can you make to this company?" for promises aren't important.
Not "Do you love Japan?" "Do you love the poor?" "Do you love to build houses?" "Do you love tending sheep?"
Just, "Do you love Me?"
Finally, the last question, "What is that to you?" (John 21:22)
Don't look at John. "If I want him to remain till I come, what is that to you?"
Don't look at this problem, that church, those people. "If I delay a little longer to deal with them, of if I didn't deal with them, what is that to you?"
"You follow Me." (John 21:22)
Friday, March 23, 2012
Tomorrow our Sunday school is joining some Bangladeshi workers for a fun fair.
Why do this? What are we proving? Does it even matter?
The answer lies in an interesting conversation where two questions were asked:
Here, a lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
And Jesus replied, "Wrong question - we should instead ask: Am I a neighbor?”
What is a "neighbor"?
Not the priest or Levite.
Like the lawyer, they had the "theology" and knowledge, but they didn’t care, didn't love, were too busy with their ordered lives.
It was the Samaritan.
He was probably not of the same race as the man in need. Might not have known a lot of Bible. But he interrupted his "journey", stopped and cared.
Who is my neighbor today? The one I can help. The one I could avoid and nobody would question. The one everyone is avoiding.
To love a neighbor, one has to be: Compassionate (v 33). Color blind (v 33). Cross culture (v 33). “Come” to the person (v34). Won’t be Convenient (v35). May Cost us (v 35). May not get Compensated (v 35).
Thursday, March 22, 2012
There is the Transfiguration, there is also the coming down from the mountain (9:28-37).
There is the call – but it comes with challenges. There is the up-in-the-cloud experience, there will also be the down-to-earth reality.
The crowd marveled- “were amazed” - at the miracles of Jesus; but they also missed His message of the cross (9:38-45).
The disciples yearned for the glory of greatness; but they also stumbled over the simplicity of service (9:46-48).
James and John got it right and had power and gifting; but they got it all wrong when they had no love for people (9:49-56).
The people on the road declared, “Yes Lord I will follow you wherever you go”; but they also said, “Lord, please let me go first to . . . and then I will come.” (9:57-62)
Jesus wants us to choose Him every day; but He also cautions, “. . . but the son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Our living comes with the dying.
The higher way has the harder roads.
You want the Master; don’t miss the mission.
You want the rewards; but do you know the reality?
Friday, February 17, 2012
The clay is a shapeless, squishy, lumpy lump.
The potter is an artist, creator, planner, master designer.
The clay hardens quickly and when that happens, nothing could happen.
The potter labors speedily - keeping the clay moist tirelessly, making everything happen.
The clay does nothing on the wheel.
It says nothing and does nothing except to shut up and stay still.
The potter does everything on the wheel.
He designs, he drives, he directs – according to his perfect plan and will.
The clay is soft and gentle; it takes whatever form the potter chooses.
The potter is meek and tender; he exerts only enough pressure on the clay to mold, not to mar, to bend, not to break.
Lord, help me to remember that I am just the clay.
I don’t drive the wheel. I don’t decide my shape. I don’t determine my ways.
I don't say, "I only want to be this" or "I only want to do that."
Help me to remember, Lord, that you – and you alone – are the potter.
You step on the pedal. You press, you pull. You twist, you turn.
You say, "I only want the best for you" and "I love you."
You say, "I only want the best for you" and "I love you."
So whenever I feel bored – “Why so long?”
Uncomfortable – “What? Another squeeze?”
Fearful – “More water on me? Will I drown?”
Lost – “I can’t see where you’re going!”
Help me to never forget:
"Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10).
“You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me” (Ps 139:5).
You are the Potter - the artist, creator, planner, master designer.
And I - shapeless, squishy, lumpy - I am just the clay.
Monday, February 13, 2012
love the ocean - God made it for Himself
- ► 2013 (29)
- ▼ December (5)
- ► November (4)
- ► September (3)
- ► August (4)
- ► March (2)
- ► 2009 (8)
- ► 2008 (11)
- In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.