Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Kind of Man Paul Was (Acts 20:17-38)

What kind of a person are you? Truly?

As I was preparing for my bilateral knee replacement (Aug, 10, 2018), I obviously desired a good result from my surgery. But I realized that the kind of person I become and how I respond following the surgery is far more important than the good outcome of the surgery.

I began to think about the kind of man I should be. Paul's farewell address to the Ephesian elders came to mind, as Paul spoke freely from the heart expressing the kind of man he was.

What kind of man was Paul? What kind of person should I be as a man, a Christian and a leader?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Legalism, Liberalism and the Gospel

Ben Toh; June, 2018
Legalism (conservatives, generally“older”) “Jews”
Licentiousness (liberals, generally “younger”) “Gentiles”
The Gospel
God is holy – shape up.
God is love – be yourself
God is holy and love.
Man is a soul. Spiritual life important.
Man is a body. Physical life important.
Man is both body and soul.
Just teach the Bible (evangelism). Focus on the soul and eternal life.
Just do social justice. Focus on caring for the present life of all people.
Do both.
Sin is very serious – beat yourself up and/or beat up (criticize) sinners.
Sin is no big deal – ignore sin, minimize sin in yourself and others.
See Christ on the cross – he took your sin very seriously and still loves you.
Repent of “sin.”
Repentance? What is that?
Repent of sin, especially self-righteousness.
Reject physical pleasure. “Deny yourself.”
Satisfy your physical desires. What feels right is right.
Physical enjoyment is good, but live wisely.
Hard to embrace unrepentant people – people  who don’t change.
Embrace people with no consideration of whether they change or not.
Embrace people with prayer and tears for their repentance/conversion.
You must do this. You must do what I say.
You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do.
Do what is right in love (grace and truth).
You must earn righteousness.
You don’t really need righteousness. Who knows or cares what that is anyway.
Receive God’s perfect righteousness.
Critical, condescending, condemning, censuring, conditional.
Embracing, welcoming, unconditional, non-discriminatory. Ignore and overlook issues.
Face and confront issues with unconditional love.
Critical of (hates) liberals - too loose.
Critical of (hates) conservatives - too rigid, inflexible.
Critiques both. Loves both.
Impatient. Absolute.
Tolerant. Relative.
Gracious. Kind. Absolute and tolerant.
Just change.
People don’t need to change.
People can change, but it takes time. There are no quick fixes.

Either my way of the highway. Anyway is okay. Jesus says, "I am the way."

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Living with Uncertainty and Insecurity (Psalm 91)

"For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go" "For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11, NLT, HCSB).
Troubles abound in life. No one's life is ever trouble free. No one's life is ever always a bed of roses. We may not think so, but even Bill Gates' life is hard. Life gets better, then it gets worse. Uncertainty in life is a certainty. Unpredictability should be predicted. Unexpected events should be expected. Life is like that.

How do we deal with such a life? Psalm 91 deals with such a life head on. Simple trust will bring us into a place of strong defense (Ps 91:2), the personal warmth of divine care, pledged defense (Ps 91:4) and a host of heavenly guardians every step of the way (Ps 91:11). Psalm 91 wants us to know that those who truly trust God are a protected species.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When Life Disappoints (Psalm 90)

Psalm 90 is about time – God's time and our time. It speaks about the shortness and preciousness of life. The truth is that Times Flies and Life is Short! How can you invest your life rather than just spend it? Each of us needs to evaluate how we use the precious gift of time. We need to regard each day as a valuable gift from God. We need to make the most of what little time we have during our lives--which is very very short in light of eternity (Ps 90:2)! How would you like to live your life?

My favorite metaphor of life is that of an eagle flying in the sky (Isa 40:31; Ps 103:5). An eagle looks beautiful and majestic. When it is flying, cruising or soaring in the sky it looks like a symbol of freedom. It appears able to fly in any direction--north, south, east, west, while ascending or descending--at any speed--fast or slow or mid-range speed--according to it's own choice and decision. This is the picture of a life of freedom as a Christ-follower, always led by the spirit (2 Cor 3:17) and never enslaved by anything or anyone (Gal 5:1), yet always consciously obedient and surrendered to God and freely in love with Him (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37).

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Alliteration of Love (1 Corinthians 13)

Love (1 Corinthians 13) for God, each other and others:
  1. The preeminence of love (1-3).
  2. The practice of love (4-7).
  3. The perfection of love (8-10).
  4. The progression of love (11-12).
  5. The permanence of love (13).
Love must always be present, predominant and persistentMay our love for God, each other and others be:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Grace, Enthusiasm and Power (Romans 1:1-17)

"As it says in the Bible, 'the just shall live by faith'" (Rom 1:17b, The Kingdom New Testament, N. T. Wright). " "The righteous by faith will live" (NET Bible).  "The people God accepts because of their faith will live" (CEV).
Romans 1:16-17 is the gospel, the theme and the thesis statement of Romans in summary form and the essence of Christianity. It summarizes Paul's theology as a whole.
"The gospel is not advice to people, suggesting that they lift themselves. It is power. It lifts them up. Paul does not say that the gospel brings power, but that it is (present tense = continually) power, and God's (omnipotent) power at that." Leon Morris.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Forgetting the Good Things God Has Done For You (Psalm 103)

Bless the Lord by Matt Redman is the most popular worship song of 2013. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits" (Ps 103:2, HCSB). "... may I never forget the good things he does for me" (NLT).

The book of Psalms is one of the truly majestic pieces of biblical literature. It is a collection of 150 songs inspired by the Spirit of God. Some of these celebrate the history of the nation of Israel. Others pronounce severe judgments on those who set themselves as enemies of God. There are psalms that are messianic in thrust: they point to the coming Messiah. Some psalms, though, simply lift up a chorus of praise to the Creator. Psalms 103 may be the “Mt. Everest” of praise psalms. It exalts the soul to breath-taking heights.