Monday, January 30, 2012

It Was A Baby Girl!


My brother-in-law chartered a van to bring his wife from his remote village to the local hospital. His first baby was due to be born. It was an excited moment for him. He would be a father soon. I presumed he must be smiling all the way.

He was told that his wife had to undergo a C-section. Since the hospital does not do C-section, he and his wife had to wait for the hospital emergency van to send them to the hospital in the city.

It was 10 at night, but the hospital van was still not ready to go. My brother-in-law consulted His chartered driver. But he was unwilling to send them.

My brother-in-law was desperate. He reluctantly called my wife, knowing that it was the 4th day of Chinese New Year 2012, and that we might still be busy with our celebration.

The phone rang. We received the present surprise: his baby was due to be born. We got ready to go. Other thing could wait, not the baby. We were receiving the coming of a baby!

We rushed to the hospital to fetch them. We were then on our journey to the city hospital.

The trip was smooth and wonderful, with few vehicles. The street lights were bright all the way. There were many houses hanging with closely arranged red lanterns. The sound of firecrackers was all over. And the radio stations were playing my favorite festive songs.

It was 11 p.m. when we reached our destination. The place was quiet outside with few moving vehicles. It was drizzling with overcast skies. I stopped the car at the entrance for them to get out. Then I parked in a nearby parking lot. I got out of the car but couldn't see anyone of them. So I waited on a long bench at the entrance.

I never like the hospital. It is always a place of life and death; a place of indecision and uncertainty. But everyone will meet their end in life, whether in youth or age. I sighed and nodded, not wanting to think too much about it.

My wife came to me alone, after 30 minutes. We smiled and talked softly to one another, walking to our car. It was late. We were on our trip home.

We received the good news the next day. It is a baby girl. Both mother and child are well.

It is God's blessing to us amidst the Chinese New Year 2012.

We were told later that the baby girl is called Agnes.

We all laughed, and laughed heartily.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Make Plans & Let's Hope


Sometimes what we plan never happen, but what we never plan always does.

In the past, I used to feel very unhappy when things didn't come the way I wanted.

Now, I just smile with an understanding shrug or nod.

Everyone has their mind set on whatever they want.

We just have to accept things the way they come.

So it is enough if we do meet someone(s) somewhere and say hello.

What happens after that we just have to wait until thing happens.

*******

Does this help you feel a little relieved?

Life is not that bad after all.

Stop blaming yourselves for things that have happened and not happened!

Have a little smile and laughter sometimes.

The sky isn't always blue.

*******

I was looking at the light rain outside the sliding doors as I dwelt on this thought.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lord Of The Vineyard


Mark 11:27-12:12

It was Tuesday of our Lord’s passion week. The Lord Jesus was back in the Temple. The religious leaders saw their chance to discredit Him. They approached Him and demanded to know why He was doing such things.

The Lord Jesus turned the table on the religious leaders. He wanted them to tell Him what authority John the Baptist operated under, before He would tell them by what authority He did what He did.

The religious leaders chose to make a non answer. So the Lord Jesus refused to answer them.

But the Lord Jesus used the opportunity to expose their hypocrisy. In the parable that followed, He exposed their sinfulness and exalted the majesty of Almighty God.

*******

In the parable, the Lord Jesus told them that God was good toward the nation of Israel.

God had tenderly raised them up in Egypt. He had taken them and placed them in Canaan, where they flourished. But the nation of Israel had never returned His love.

*******

In the parable, the Lord Jesus told them that God was gracious to the nation of Israel.

The religious leaders of Israel had been entrusted with the spiritual well being of the nation. Time and again they had led the nation astray.

God, in His infinite grace, sent them judges, prophets, and other holy men to lead them back to the right path. But Israel refused to hear His messages. Some were beaten, some were killed, and all were sent away empty-handed.

Israel rejected prophet after prophet, culminating in John the Baptist. Yet, God kept on sending them His men and His message. What grace!

*******

In the parable, the Lord Jesus told them that God would judge the nation of Israel.

The people of Israel had rejected every attempt God made to call them back to Himself. They either abused or killed His messengers. Even John the Baptist was rejected and beheaded. Now, they wanted to destroy the very Son of God.

They eventually killed the Messiah to get what they wanted. They pushed Him to Calvary and there they crucified Him.

The Lord Jesus was God’s final messenger. When they rejected Him, they were saying no to God for the very last time.

There was nothing left for them but judgment. And that judgment came in just a few short years. Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple was torn down.

The Jews paid a terribly high price for their decision.

They were forced to face the God of wrath.

*******

When the Lord Jesus finished the parable, the Jews wanted to arrest Him and deal with Him.

But they were afraid to do anything because the people respected the Lord Jesus as a great rabbi.

*******

Some thoughts:
  • God is good to us. He continues to provide for us. This should cause us to come to Him.
  • God is gracious to us. He has given us ample opportunities to repent and to come to the Lord Jesus. He has kept us out of Hell for another day. This should cause us to come to the Lord Jesus and be saved.

So the choice is yours.

God is offering you a chance to be saved.

He is offering you a chance to have all your sins forgiven.

He is offering you an opportunity to avoid Hell and make Heaven your eternal home.

What would you do?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Power Of Faith


Mark 11:20-26

When the disciples were amazed at the withered fig tree, the Lord Jesus simply said, “Have faith in God.”

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We must have faith in God’s Person.

God is our Father.

He cares about us.

We are to bring our needs, burdens and concerns to Him.

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We must have faith in God’s Promises.

God invites us to pray to Him.

God promises to hear us when we pray.

And God promises to answer our prayers.

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We must have faith in God’s Power.

We must believe that He can do everything He has promised to do.

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We must have faith in God’s Purposes.

God will do the things that He wills to do, and He will accomplish all things that He has willed to do.

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Faith allows us to believe the impossible.

Faith in God, and in the promises found in His Word, allows us to believe God in the impossible situations of life.

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Faith allows us to receive the impossible.

Faith enables us to hold in our hands things that have yet to be seen.

Faith allows us to hold in our hearts things that have yet to appear.

Faith in God and His Word make future promises a reality.

*******

But faith can be hindered by unbelief.

Doubt is deadly to effective prayer.

Doubt calls into question the character and ability of God.

The prayer of the doubter will not be answered.

*******

Faith can also be hindered by selfishness.

Answers to prayer come when we pray according to the will of God.

Answers to prayer come when we pray for God’s glory alone.

When we pray selfish prayers that are based solely on what we want, we can expect those prayers to be unanswered.

*******

Faith can also be hindered by our unwillingness to forgive those who have wronged us.

Faith connects us to God and enables our prayers to get through.

Our unwillingness to forgive stands as a barrier between us and the Lord.

God expects us to forgive others of their sins against us.

When we possess an unforgiving spirit, our prayers will be hindered and God’s forgiveness will not be realized in our daily walk.

*******

Some thoughts.
  • Biblical faith is a powerful weapon.
  • It is among the greatest of God’s gifts to His children.
  • We are to walk in faith, believing God for the unseen.
  • We are to seek His will for every situation we face.
  • We are to keep praying and keep trusting.
  • We are to ask God to strengthen our faith in difficult times.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Trouble At The Temple


Mark 11:15-19

The Lord Jesus found people selling and buying goods in the Temple.

He found others exchanging currency.

He found still others walking through the Temple grounds on their way to other parts of the city.

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To most people, the things that were taking place at the Temple were necessary and fine.

They certainly were convenient.

Most people had no problem at all with the system and the way things worked.

However, the Lord Jesus had a real problem with what was going on at the Temple.

*******

The Lord Jesus came to the Temple that Monday morning knowing exactly what He would find.

He had been there the day before and had seen what was happening.

He came back this morning to do something about the situation.

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He entered the Temple and began to turn over tables, drove people away and refused to allow some to pass through the Temple.

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This wasn’t the first time the Lord Jesus had done this at the Temple.

The first occurred the previous Passover (John 2:19).

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The Lord Jesus once again came to the Father’s House and sought to restore it to a place of worship, holiness and spirituality.

The house of God was not designed to be a place of commerce.

It was to be a place devoted to the worship of Almighty God.

It was to be His house where He alone was to be worshiped.

*******

But the Temple was no longer God’s house.

It had become a house devoted to the needs of men.

This angered Jesus!

*******

The Temple was designed as a house of prayer.

The needy could approach God in that place.

The true believer could come to the Temple and pray to God, and God promised to hear their prayers (2 Chron. 7:15).

*******

Now, it had become a marketplace.

There was no way a person could pray, much less meditate on the things of God.

This angered Jesus!

*******

Like robbers, the High Priest and his followers had hidden themselves away in the Temple, seeking to hide their wickedness under a cloak of holiness.

Like thieves, these men were waiting for the foolish to enter the Temple so they could take their money.

*******

When the Jewish leaders heard about what the Lord Jesus did, they were resolved to put Him to death.

They would succeed, because before the sun sat that Friday, Jesus would be dead and buried in a borrowed tomb.

*******

Some thoughts.
  • The Lord Jesus’ business is serious business. It is high time His people treated it that way!
  • The whole issue in the Temple was a problem of the heart. The Jews had abandoned authentic, spiritual worship for something more convenient and for something of their own making!
  • When the Word of God is read, we should hang on every word, seeking to absorb it all. When we sing, we should open our mouths and sing. When we listen to singing, we should seek to find God in the words. When we hear preaching, we should seek God’s message for our life. When we pray, it should become a corporate event, as we attach our “Amen” to the words of the prayer being prayed.
  • We are to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to fill the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.
  • Empty worship was the trouble at the Temple the day the Lord Jesus visited. Empty worship brought divine judgment to that Temple.