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Archive for August 2010

WISE - Holiness

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Holiness

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I wonder what the biggest fence, wall or barrier is that you have either seen or that you know about! Perhaps one of the biggest walls in the world is the Great Wall of China. It is seen from space and is over 4000 miles long, about 25 feet high and up to 30 feet thick! It is huge and enormous!! It was built to keep out invaders – for that is what walls and barriers do: Keep out enemies!

Holy Barrier

However big the Great Wall of China is, there is one barrier that is even bigger! I wonder if you know what it is!! The biggest barrier to exist is the one, which separates God from all His creation. This barrier is holiness, for God is a holy God. Ezekiel 1v27-28 gives us a vivid picture of the holiness of God and is seen in the fire, light, radiance, full of glory and majesty.

What is holiness?

Holiness is what separates God from all His creation. For God alone is holy and full of glory. Exodus 15v2 “Who is like you, O God, glorious in holiness!” Or Isaiah 60v25 “To whom will you liken me, or shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Holiness is also a moral attribute of God, of purity and freedom from the stain of ALL sin. Habakkuk 1v13 “of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon sin. Holiness is still more than that! It is in fact the sum of all His attributes! God is holiness and holiness is God!

Holy People:

Perfect holiness, while to us is inconceivable, has been revealed; revealed in the sinless man, Jesus Christ. As a Christian Disciple, you also are declared holy! That is because of what Jesus did on the cross… He has broken down the barrier between God and man. And if you are a Christian Disciple, you are declared holy, and therefore you are to live a holy life worthy of Jesus Chrsit.! As a Christian Disciple, the Holy Spirit is transforming you into the very image of the holy one, Jesus Christ. As a Christian Disciple, you are no longer an enemy of God but a friend of God and belong to God! So live out your faith and live your Christian Discipleship in holiness.

Two books I can recommend on Holiness are:

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges and A Passion for Holiness by JI Packer

Thank you

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POD - Psalm 132

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Psalm 132

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A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

1 Lord, remember David

and all that he suffered.

2 He made a solemn promise to the Lord.

He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,

3 "I will not go home;

I will not let myself rest.

4 I will not let my eyes sleep

nor close my eyelids in slumber

5 until I find a place to build a house for the Lord,

a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel."

6 We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah;

then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.

7 Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord;

let us worship at the footstool of his throne.

8 Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place,

along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.

9 May your priests be clothed in godliness;

may your loyal servants sing for joy.

10 For the sake of your servant David,

do not reject the king you have anointed.

11 The Lord swore an oath to David

with a promise he will never take back:

"I will place one of your descendants

on your throne.

12 If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant

and the laws that I teach them,

then your royal line

will continue forever and ever."

13 For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem;

he has desired it for his home.

14 "This is my resting place forever," he said.

"I will live here, for this is the home I desired.

15 I will bless this city and make it prosperous;

I will satisfy its poor with food.

16 I will clothe its priests with godliness;

its faithful servants will sing for joy.

17 Here I will increase the power of David;

my anointed one will be a light for my people.

18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,

but he will be a glorious king."

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WISE - Prayer

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Prayer

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I wonder what you think prayer is and how much of it you have experienced? Is your vision and experience of prayer too small? Let us find out together, a small part of prayer!

Prayer is to be at the centre of the relationship between God and the Christian. It is the major interaction and fellowship between God and humans, and of humans communicating with God, both in talking and listening. Prayer is allowing God to be consciously in to all aspects of Christian's life and enjoying God's companionship. John Calvin, said that part of praying was asking for "what we have learned to be available" in God's love and of His being the infinitesimal good giver. He goes on to say our "only security" is achieved by calling on the Father for His providence out of His infinite mercy.

Prayer is ultimately what humans were made for: conversing with God. Regardless of status or maturity or any other man-made barrier, God is always accessible, through prayer, to all those seeking Him with a contrite heart and a humble spirit. This dynamic relationship enables the Christian to engage in prayer that is both personal and relational. All prayer consists of a desire or longing to know God better, and that is to be the prime motivation: to know God better and more intimately.

Prayer's function is to a constant yearning for God's assistance! It is to be a strengthening of desire towards eternal happiness, holiness and worship and knowledge of God. God Himself assists us as we pray! Did you know that? He does this by correcting and strengthening the yearning we express. Prayers express desires and thoughts in a contributory way to the journey of the Christian Disciple.

Prayer emits our words from ourselves to the God we seek to know, as a response to His reaching out to us. Through prayer, God is able to comprehend the Christian Disciple regardless of language, grammar or oratory skill as long as the Christian Disciple approaches with a correct attitude.

Words however, are not just to be a mental action but also an emotive act, conveying emotions and feeling. Prayer is to convey deep emotions to God, regardless of our language skills. The words spoken in prayer portray our innermost feeling to Him. Because God is personal, He values language and expects His people to talk to Him. Prayer is intimacy with God! If for some reason, the Christian Disciple is unable to convey their words in prayer, then Romans 8v26, intimates that the Holy Spirit intercedes. Prayer epitomises the Father-child relationship symbolized in the Christian Disciple's relationship with God. It further symbolizes the freedom and peace in prayer, advocated by Jesus to communicate His deepest desires, as in the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6v9-13) and in John 17.

Don't just have your prayer time in the morning or evening and leave it at that. Pray throughout the day as well, asking God for His assistance as you go about your daily life! Go! Pray!

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WISE - Sacrifice

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Sacrifice

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In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were to make sacrificial offerings to God, in order to worship and have fellowship with Him. For without sacrifice, nobody could enter God’s presence! But what does all this have to do with us in the 21st century.

In the book of Leviticus, God commanded that the cleansing of a defiled house required sprinkling with a mixture of blood and ‘living’ water, the bird having been slain over the water (Leviticus 14v51). Elsewhere we read of the ‘water of cleansing’ (Numbers 19), which is also called ‘living water’. This was water that had been sprinkled with the ashes of a young cow, and was kept aside for purification by sprinkling those who had touched a dead body. In both cases, this water had been cleansed by the shedding of blood and sacrifice. The cleansing was to be through the blood of sacrifice, applied through the sprinkled water. For there is no cleansing without the shedding of blood.

At the time of Ezekiel, Israel was in exile due to their sin and idolatry. They needed to be cleansed before being allowed back into their own country. Ezekiel 36v24-25 tell us that “God will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols.” This pointed forward to One, the Messiah, who would be slain as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

This One, was Jesus Christ who died for sin, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3v18). That is how God is both the Just and the Justifier of sinners. That is why if Jesus was not simultaneously fully God and fully human, His death on the cross would not be the full substitutionary sacrifice that was necessary to deal with the permanent consequences of sin! This substitution was the sin offering sacrifice, required so that Jesus as the Lamb of God could take away the sins of the world (John 1v29). Jesus became sin for people (2 Corinthians 5v21) and it was His blood as the lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter 1:18-19) that permanently fulfils God’s righteous requirements.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are no longer defiled and you have no need to make sacrifices to God, in order to enter His presence, worship Him or have fellowship with Him. Jesus, who is your living water and your sacrificial lamb, gives you permanent access to God. You may no longer be called to make sacrifices, but you are called to be a sacrifice. You are to be a living sacrifice that continually offers sacrifices of praise to God! You do this, through a whole life totally devoted to God, doing good and sharing (Hebrews 13v15-16)! By doing this, you help Jesus’ church revolutionise the world! May it be so. Thank you.

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WISE - Propitiation

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Propitiation

When I talk to people I often hear things like, God is love, so I don’t have to worry about my own lifestyle or my morals, because God is love.  When I die, He will accept me as I am providing I have tried your best.  And of course that is partly true!  God is indeed a God of love.  But we must also remember that towards sin and sinful behaviour, He has great fury, anger and wrath (Psalm 7v11; Jeremiah 21v5). Nothing we say or do can appease His hatred of sin and sinful lifestyles.  Nothing we can do is able to appease God’s anger, because His anger toward sin is unquenchable.  Unquenchable that is, except for one thing.

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This word, propitiation, basically means the turning aside of God's anger by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  All God's anger and judgment of sin falls on Jesus Christ, instead of us.  But in order to accept it for yourself, you need to approach God to appease His anger (Romans 3:25; Isaiah 53:5; John 2:2, 5:6).

Jesus was the sacrifice of atonement, or propitiation, as the one who would quench God’s anger towards sinful people, by taking away sin through His death on the cross. This shows Jesus as being both the Just one and the one who justifies. (Romans 3v25-26) Only through Him could the sins of the whole world, past, present and future, be forgiven.

To some people, even some in the church, this is abhorrent! The very thought that God could willing send His son to be a blood sacrifice for sin is tantamount to abuse, some say!  However God’s requirements are very clear! John 3v16 says it all in response to this “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”.  If there was any other way, would not God have done it that way?

So as a Christian Disciple, live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. Not in order to somehow pave your own way into heaven, for that is already assured by way of Jesus’ death on the cross.  Remember no sacrifice you make is greater than the one God made in sending His Son to death as a propitiation for your sin. 1 John 4v10: For this shows God’s real love – tough yet all-embracing Love.

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