Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Holy Giver

When we think of God as the Giver, we tend to consider always for the things He gave us. But, notice what Jesus pointed out in His prayer in John 17. Let's just take verses 1-2:

"... Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him" (ESV).

God the Father gave Jesus "authority over all flesh." And He gave special special people to His Son!

In John 6:44-45, Jesus said:

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophet, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me."

The chosen ones given by the Father to the Son are the people drawn by God to Jesus. They are "taught by God" -- able to read and learn the Word. And as they received the inner call of God they come or have faith in the Son.

And they received eternal life!

What mercy! What grace! What love! What blessing and honor to be given to the Son!

If God the Father did not give us to Jesus, or did not us draw us to Him, we will not come to Him. And He did not draw everyone to His Son. And not everyone will come to Him and believe to have eternal life.

Paul wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before, In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Divine Planter

What could we learn from Psalm 1?

In the opening verse, we read the first few words: "Blessed is the man..." (ESV). Who is this "blessed" or "happy" man?

Let's continue reading the verse, "...  the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers..." And the man is really blessed, because verse 2 states:

 "... his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."
A man could be happy not just by avoiding sinners, but delighting in the law, instructions, proclamations, messages, or words of God. And why does he delight in His Word? 

First, let's read verse 3, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." The man who is happy is "like a tree planted by streams of water..."

As we read also in Jeremiah 17:8, "He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

Verse 7 clearly identified the "man" planted by streams of water: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD."

If we trust in God, in the New Testament words, believe in Jesus or have faith in Him, we are happy. We are like "a tree planted by water" or in Psalm 1:3, "a tree planted by streams of water." A tree planted by streams of water "does not fear when heat comes..." A true believer also does not fear also when fiery trial comes.

A tree planted by streams of water  "is not anxious in the year of drought..." A true believer also is not anxious in the period of difficulty. When he believed in Jesus, he became a child of God (John 1:12) and he knew that his Heavenly Father will provide for his needs (Matthew 6:32-33).

Now, notice the comparison of God's Word with others. We read in Psalm 1:4, "The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away."

He who trusts in God or believes in Jesus is like "a tree planted by streams of water." But, the wicked "are like chaff that the wind drives away." 

Until now, we could find men who don't really believe Jesus -- who walk in the counsel of the wicked, who stand in the way of sinners, who sit in the seat of scoffers, who do not delight in the words of God. But, they will not continue on forever -- not because they will be reformed, as others teach. What we read, they "are like chaff that the wind drives away." 

Jesus Himself said,  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

As we read verse 5 of Psalm 1, "Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."

While some would like us to entertain the idea, that there is no difference in the end whether we believe now Jesus, or not -- the Bible teaches differently. Verse 6 states, "...for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

What would happen to those who are righteous -- those who have faith in Jesus, the true believers? We read in John 3:15-16:

"...that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

While the believers will have eternal life, the unbelievers will perish -- not become penitent. 

However, we could learn in Psalm 1 not only the difference between the righteous and the wicked, but we could also ask, "Is it possible for the tree to grow by the streams of water?" Of course, not. Someone planted it. 

When Jesus explained the "parable of the weeds of the field," He said:

"The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear" (Matthew 13:37-43).

Notice, "The one who sows... is the Son of Man" -- referring to Jesus, also the Son of God. This may not be a perfect analogy, but we could also believe that God Himself is the One who planted the tree by the streams of water, Faith or belief in Jesus  does not grow in our hearts. It is also planted or given by God (Ephesians 2:18).

And now we can really answer the question we asked earlier: Why does the blessed man -- one who have faith in Jesus -- delight in God's Word?

Because the kind of faith that God granted is not just a human decision or mental agreement to a certain fact. In 1 Peter 1:8, we read: "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."

True believers really love Jesus. They rejoice in Him. And because they love Him above all things. They also love and rejoice in His Words above any human teaching. 

May God plant also that faith in our hearts.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Did God Reveal His Son To You?

Jesus asked His disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15, ESV).

"Simon Peter replied," as we read in verse 16, "'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" And notice very well the answer of Jesus in verse 17:

"Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

How did Peter know who Jesus really is?

He was able to confess that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the Living God," because of the revelation of God the Father! He did not just learn it from the testimony of men. Nor he declared it, because he just opted to please Jesus. 

Peter was the recipient of God's grace of revelation. God has made known His Son to him. That's why he was blessed. Not everyone experienced that kind of revelation. It was not just to have head knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to save sinners in the world. 

It's knowing and believing that Jesus, the Son of God, came to suffer and die personally for you, a sinner, to grant you the joy of salvation! And, thus, love for Him would be kindled in your heart for what He did for you, like what Peter declared later in John 21:15, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you" (also in verses 16 and 17).

Even the demons know and believe who Jesus is. We read in Luke 4:33-34, "And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are -- the Holy One of God'" (also Mark 1:24 and James 2:19).

But God did not reveal to them that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who granted them salvation. So, they do not love Jesus. They tremble of fear! They know that the Holy God will pour out His wrath on the unrepentant.

Blessed, indeed, are those whom the Father revealed His Son to them. For they are able to really know Him and believe in Him. They experience what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:8, "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."

What would also be your reply, if Jesus would ask you: "... who do you say that I am?"?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The God Who Invites

God does not only save, forgive, heal, protect, prosper, provide, create, comfort, love, avenge, punish, etc. He also invites!

We read in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now..."

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said: "Come to me..." And we also read in Revelation 22:17:

"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who who hears say, 'Come'..."

And we read in Revelation 19:9, "...Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."

Why is it blessed to receive an invitation from God? Because if we come, as we read in Isaiah, "Come now, let us  reason together... though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" -- He could cleanse us from all our sins!

In Matthew, Jesus said: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." If we come to Him, we will also enjoy rest for our soul -- rest from anxieties, fears, guilt, or sorrow.

And in Revelation 22:17, we read:

"The Spirit and Bride say, 'Come.' ... let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price."

If we respond positively to His invitation, we could also experience complete satisfaction or contentment for free!

Truly, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (Luke 14:15.) In our time, Jesus is also the Bread (John 6:35) that could provide us the blessing of an abundant, eternal life.

Unfortunately, not everyone would come to Him (see John 3:20). Jesus also told this parable:

"A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.'  And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come'" (Luke 14:16-20).

Men have various excuses why they don't come to God.  It's our human tendency to refuse His invitation. That's why Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (John 6:44) and also in verse 65, " one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." In John 17, Jesus mentioned in His prayer about those persons whom the Father gave to Him (verses 2, 6, 9). 

They are the "sheep" in John 10 and Jesus said in verse 29, "My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

And at His return, Jesus, as King of kings, would tell them:

"Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When You Perceive God

Would you not stare at the stars in the heaven?
Or admire the full moon shining in the night?
Would you not look up and attention be not given
And let the brightness to pass from your sight?

Have you ever seen succession of speeding shooting stars?
Didn't your eyes follow them until they were gone?
"Wow!" you could say, tho you're among the beggars
For a sight like that would fascinate everyone.

Blooming flowers, volcano spitting lava like fountain,
A dancing beautiful maiden, or cascading waterfall
Would you turn away from watching or just close the curtain?
Peculiar scene or whatever of beauty appeals to the eyes of all!

Human will is wired to choose to see and admire what is appealing
Eyes that could see prefer and glad to dwell on such scene
What greater joy to see in His Word the One Who created everything!
None will turn away his heart from Him unless one is blinded by sin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalms 139:23-24, ESV.)

Before, that passage created discomfort in myself. Actually, I could not then honestly say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!....”

Though I believed that God knew my thought or what’s in my heart, yet I would not like for Him to try me and know my thoughts. For I knew that there were many offensive things not only in my ways, but even in my thoughts.

But my attitude toward that passage had changed.

Now, I love to read it again and again. In fact, I want to include it in my prayer. It’s one of my new favorite passages in the Bible.

Why? Is it because there’s no longer offensive thought in my mind?

Actually, my attitude toward that passage changed when I encountered various verses in the Scripture that extol God’s Sovereignty, even in the spiritual salvation of His people, like:

”The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1, ESV).

”…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Because of the verses like the above, I am now confident that God could even lead my awry thoughts in the right way! I pray He would always examine what's in my heart, so He could cleanse it by the blood of His Son.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


God's Word declares:
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn" (Deut. 10:12-16, ESV).
Again, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn."
Of course, we could not "circumcise" our heart literally. But, could we just choose or decide to do it? Could we just exercise our so-called power of the human will and "be no longer stubborn"?
We also read Ezekiel 18:31, “Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?”
Could our so-called “freedom of choice” enable us to “make… a new heart and a new spirit” or “Repent and turn from all your transgressions” (verse 20)?
Could we just love God, or forsake our stubbornness, or repent just by the operation of the human will?
It’s easy to claim that we are able to do it. But consider God’s Word:
"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
In Deuteronomy 30:6, we read:
"And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
We also read in Ezekiel 11:19-20, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
And it was emphasized in Ezekiel 36:26-27:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Some claim that that promise is intended only for the physical Israelites. Unknowingly, they promote the “power of the human will," that they could just change their heart!
But even in the New Testament, God’s Word is clear:
“But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God” (Romans 2:29). Notice: “circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit” – not by any other means, but “by the Spirit.”
As we also read in Romans 8:8-14:
“Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness… So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
It’s not by our human will or effort. Whatever “good” intention, decision, or action we have “cannot please God.” We always fall short of His perfect glorious standard.
If ever we love God, or we repent, or we have faith, or are saved, it’s because of His grace. That makes Ephesians 2:8 truly meaningful, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
Or, in the words of Romans 9:16, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Because of His mercy, God has caused us through His Spirit to repent, believe in Christ and be saved.