Month: November 2019

God’s compass for our lives, set North on Christ

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Colossians 3
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

As this was the passage for yesterday morning’s message, it is very fresh in my mind. In the introduction, I told you that God used these verses to be a compass in my heart. In my high school, we had to memorize Scripture and this passage was one we learned. A compass always shows you the direction North, this passage always shows the way Christ. When we seek with a purpose and set our affections, our heart’s desires, on things above, we will not lose our way.

When walking with a compass, you have to walk around obstacles and then find your direction again. A few points off on the compass can put you far off your destination. It is the same in life. Obstacles to faith and practice come up, we miss church, we accept a slightly different viewpoint, and the movement might not be far, but it will cause us to deviate from where God wants us to go. Setting our mind on things above, keeping our affections on things above, not on things of this earth, is a constant call to keep readjusting our direction to Christ.

Brothers and sisters, this call to seek that which is above and set our continual thoughts on things above is needed today more than ever. There are many calls to readjust what the Bible teaches to accommodate sinful lifestyles and godless actions. The church of Jesus Christ will become more and more separate from the world as they race further from the truth that we fiercely hold on to.

Where is you compass set? Does it need to be readjusted?

Yesterday was a blessed day for many of us. I do keep up with my sons and their ministries as well as others that we pray for. We open up God’s house and God’s word with an expectation that He will meet with us and speak to our hearts. As we gather in faith God is ever faithful to gather with His children, those who possess His Spirit. Thanks to all who served the Lord in church on Sunday morning.

Our Iranian friends here are asking prayer for their country. So many countries of the world are in turmoil today, including the US. May God watch over His children, our brothers and sisters in these troubled countries around the world.
Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The lamp of the Lord in us

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Proverbs 20

27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,

Searching all the inner depths of his heart.

The evolutionist think that man is the highest form of the evolved creatures. Atheist think that there is no God and therefore no higher being to direct life. In today’s proverb we find a truth about God and man that flies in the face of evolution and atheism. Within our thinking is a consciousness of right and wrong. Remember when Cain was jealous and thought to kill his brother? God spoke to Cain’s subconscious, God put a lamp, a light, into Cain’s heart to show him right from wrong.

How many animals have a sense of right and wrong that dictates their behavior? How many in the animal kingdom does the spirit of the Lord direct to ethical and moral behavior?   I well remember the day when my parent’s Doberman ate a chocolate cake off the counter. She did not feel badly at all for her “sin,” to her it was just a wonderful opportunity. I also remember the time she picked up the neighbor’s little dog in her mouth and shook that little dog back and forth then dropped it on the ground, again, with no conscience of right or wrong.

On the other hand, we, as humans made in God’s image, have a sense of right and wrong; “the lamp of the Lord,” that shines into our darkened hearts strives to lead us away from sin into right actions. David said that the Word of God was a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord that searches the inner depths of our hearts leading us to righteousness and morality when we listen to it. The lamp of the Lord goes into the darkest parts of our lives and shines his light into our darkness. We can never say that did not know right from wrong; we can never say that the devil made us do something. David knew he sinned against God and against Bathsheba and Uriah. David ignored God’s warning that night. On the other hand, Daniel purposed in his heart not to eat the kings meat that was offered to the idols of Babylon. He knew the meat was unclean and that God did not want him to eat it.

When we know that the lamp of the Lord is leading us away from a certain conversation or from a certain activity, the best course of action is to turn toward the lamp of righteousness away from the darkness that has been exposed. May we be known as people of the Light, people of the Lord, because we follow the light that God provides.

Take time today to pray for Sunday. Pray also for the families of the children shot in Santa Clarita, CA. I often think that this could have been one of my children. Our friend here, Kongkin, went home from the hospital yesterday. We are thanking God for answered prayer on his behalf.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Who is responsible for our reputations?

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Proverbs 20

22           Do not say, “I will recompense evil”;

Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.

24           A man’s steps are of the Lord;

How then can a man understand his own way?

Think with me about the parallel of these verses. The steps of our life are of the Lord’s planning. This means that God is never surprised by what happens, He never has to reboot or start over, and He never needs to apologize for a project gone wrong. If we have a high view of God’s sovereign way for our lives, then there are times that we cannot understand what has happened. Only through the eye of faith and trust can we accept those things that don’t seem to make sense to us.

In light of this truth, when someone treats us wrongly and we feel a need to vindicate ourselves or to get some sort of vengeance, who is in control? Was God asleep when the wrong was done? Does God need our help to save us from the shame and embarrassment of evil done to us? At the moment of the evil done to us we are not thinking about a sovereign Lord who will protect us and make things right, no, we are thinking about how to get even or how to justify ourselves.

In light of this, when we are wronged, what should our response be? How should we treat the person who wronged us? Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen our hearts. With this in mind, the next time we are wronged, let’s look to heaven, take a deep breath, give it to God, and wait on Him to take care of us. Why, you ask, should God step in? God calls us His children, chosen, predestined to adoption to the praise of the glory of His grace. If we belong to God then we can trust Him to right the wrong; besides, He is far better at this than we are.

 

Yesterday, a man here asked if were going to watch the impeachment hearings. I told him that no, I was not going to watch them. The hatred of the politicians in the US is painful to watch. There is no respect for someone with a different view, there is hatred. When hatred comes in it clouds everything else. Hatred is a lens that skews everything it looks at. I am so grieved by the hatred of the politicians, the hatred of the press, the hatred of the famous people, and the way their hatred influences all who follow them. God is totally removed. God’s love is nowhere to be found. The preaching of the Cross is abject foolishness for it would mean embracing the love of God as well. Pray for a revival of hearts toward the call of God to love one another as He has loved us.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Words of value or words like gravel

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Proverbs 20

15  There is gold and abundance of costly stones,

but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

17  Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,

but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.

Just how valuable are our words?   What difference does what we say make? Is careless speech just ill-chosen words that don’t matter? Today’s proverbs speaks to the words we say, to what comes out of our mouths. The first proverb compares the lips of knowledge to gold and an abundance of costly stones. This parallel to wealth is common; another proverb says that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. We do not have to look very far to see unhappy wealthy people. The stars of society, the ones with the most money and the most fame seem to have great sorrow and misery in life. No, wealth and happiness are not synonymous.

As we think about words and wealth, we think about that person who always knows the right thing to say, they have a gift of great value. We want them around us when we cannot fix a relationship and we call them for advice because they just seem to know the right words to say. Their knowledge is a precious jewel in almost every situation.

The second proverb speaks to the man who uses his words for deceitful gain. He boasts about what he did and how he got rich. He likes his life and he likes the fact that he tricked someone else to get what he wanted. He struts in pride over his deceitfully gained bread. But (and whenever this word is used it expresses a different point of view) afterward there is no value in him for his words were not of value. “His mouth will be full of gravel.” This is quite a different picture from the mouth who speaks words of knowledge that are a precious jewel. A mouthful of gravel is disgusting! People walk on gravel, weather beats it, it is filled with all types of disgusting refuse and it used to describe the value of the words of those who use deception to better themselves.

Our words matter. Before speaking, let’s think about the value of what we are going to say, the truth behind it and why it will build up those who hear us. Perhaps we will come to be known as people whose words are like precious jewels.

We are rejoicing today that our brother Kongkin is both still with us and seeing improvement. His heart attack on Saturday was caused by an artery that was 99% blocked. God spared his life and spared us from great grief. Pray that his body will soon be able to receive a second stint in another artery that is 80% blocked.

Yesterday, sorry all of you in Chicago and the Midwest who are suffering through an Arctic Blast, we took Jared on the treadmill and then to the (outdoor) pool. He loves getting in and kicking his feet, throwing the ball, and splashing whomever is there.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

We are all known by our actions

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Proverbs 20

11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts,

by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

How do we know what a child is like? How do we know what is going on in their little heads? This proverb makes it simple; a child is known by their actions whether their conduct is pure and right. What is a child like? Just ask a church nursery worker or a children’s church teacher which children are well-behaved and which ones are not. When mommy walks away the actions of the child tell us whether they have anger, fear, or peace; it does not take long to know which children know how to share and which ones grab the toy and hit the other children with it. Some children play well with others and some don’t. It does not take long to know the heart of a child.

This proverb begins with the word ‘even’ indicating a comparison is about to be stated. This word is used in Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” In this verse the word ‘even’ describes a comparison between our enemies and our friends including everyone in between.

In today’s proverb the comparison between children and adults reminds us that adults, like children, are known by their acts, by whether their conduct is pure and right. After listing the problems of her husband, a wife will end by saying, “but he really is a good man.” If a man’s actions are angry, profane, selfish, and hurtful, then he is not a good man. If a man or a woman is kind, giving, respectful, and faithful, then we could say that they, by their actions, are a good person.

But let’s turn the mirror toward ourselves, what do our actions say about us, what kind of a person are we? Let’s be honest, while we want to see a good reflection of ourselves, what do our actions tell others about who we really are? For the Christ-follower, we are to let Him live His life through us; at that point, our goodness is not our own but His through us. If even a child is known by his actions, what are we known to be?

Last night we had a small group meeting in Serpong with Yoke and Melanie. Romin invited two of his Iranian refugee friends who came. We studied Ephesians 1:1-8 together really enjoying the focus on God’s blessing to us, His choosing us, and His adopting us all to the praise of His glory according to His grace which He lavished on us. To hear from refugees, who have next to nothing, that they who once were rich in this world’s goods but now are poor in this world’s goods are now rich in Christ. It was a blessed evening around the Word of God with the people of God.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

 

A beautiful story of healing and peace

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Luke 8

But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. 43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, 44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

45 And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”

When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”

46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” 47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Leviticus 15 is a chapter of the Law that states the uncleanness of a man or a woman with a bodily discharge. Because of this bodily discharge the person who had this condition was impure and could not go to the Temple until the discharge was stopped and an atoning sacrifice had been made. For women, this specifically spoke to her monthly period discharge. In Luke 8 we read about a woman who had a bloody discharge for twelve years. This poor woman had spent all of her money going to doctors, subjected herself to all types of embarrassment, and yet was not healed. Her physical issue affected her spiritual issue even keeping her from worship in the Temple all this time.

Can we parallel this woman’s condition with everyone’s condition of sin? Sin keeps us from true worship; sin keeps us estranged from those we love; sin costs us every bit of money we throw at it in hopes of getting better. In the end, we can spend years of our lives with a discharge of sin that continually keeps us unclean. We know we are unclean and anyone who really knows us also knows that we are unclean, separated from God.

As this woman had no peace from her constant bloody discharge, so we have no peace from our constant outflow of selfishness, pride, envy, covetousness, bitterness and more. As she tried and tried to get help, so we try to do better, try a different church, a different religion, or we try someone else’s plan that seemed to help them but come away still flowing with sin’s awfulness.

Ultimately, this desperate woman determined to come to Jesus, whom she had heard could heal her. In her unclean condition, by law she was supposed to avoid a crowd lest someone touch her and become unclean, but in her desperation, she pushed through the crowd with faith to touch the robe of the Savior. You know the rest of the story. How much like her are we? Desperate for cleansing from our sin we pushed past family, past friends, and past our own reputation to humbly come to the Cross of Christ. We too came by faith realizing that He alone could save us from our sinful condition.

What a wonderful parallel for us to consider and what a wonderful woman of faith we can identify with. As she was, we were, as she became so did we. She, a child of sin and filled with sin’s effects came to Jesus and found healing, forgiveness, and peace.

 

Are you ready for Sunday? Are you preparing to gather with God’s people in His house? Are you making plans to be ready for Sunday? For us as followers of Christ, Sunday should be the best day of the week when we gather with one another in one Spirit to enjoy the worship of God and to gather around the word of God. Get ready, Sunday’s coming.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Praying for that which God has already done

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Leviticus 9

So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you.”

22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, 24 and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

1 Kings 18

23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”

So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”

37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”

In the Leviticus passage we read about Aaron’s first atoning sacrifice as God’s high priest. Moses told Aaron and the people that they would see the glory of God on that day. When the sacrifices were made, God sent His fire and consumed the offerings on the altar confirming to Aaron and to all of the people that He had received their offerings and atoned their sin.

Generations later, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel. The God that answered by fire would be the true God. The reason Elijah could make this bold statement was that he knew Leviticus and the history of the atoning sacrifice. Elijah knew that God had answered by fire before and that for His glory, God would do it again.

In reading this, I was reminded that God is pleased to answer our prayers when we pray for things that He has done before. Elijah’s faith was not on a whim but on the facts of God’s previous activity. Our faith is not on a whim either, it cannot be. Faith without substance is as empty as one with no faith. The substance of our faith, (Hebrews 11:1) is the previous actions of God for His people. If God never changes, if Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then we can expect our prayers to be answered as they have been answered somewhere before.

We often ask if some action or decision has precedence, has it been done this way before. If something has precedence, we have more confidence to attempt it again. The Bible is filled with ways that God both protected and provided for His people. Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, God would have us come to Him and ask Him to provide for us or to protect us as He has done for others, so that He may receive great glory. These prayers of faith are the prayers we pray with confidence, just as Elijah did the day he prayed for fire to fall from heaven and consume his sacrifice, as it had at Aaron’s first sacrifice. In a way, Elijah was unfair to the prophets of Baal. He knew that His God had answered with fire before, he was betting on a sure thing. Let us come to God with the same confidence in the hours of our needs.

 

Join with me in prayer today for Victory Academy for Boys and for Pastor Mark. There are decisions that need to be made today and Pastor Mark needs God’s wisdom in a special way. Because of a staffing issue, the Academy did not open in September. They are opening in January this year. In the meantime, another situation has arisen. Join with us today in special prayer for this ministry.

 It is grievous to see so much pain taking place around the world. Many nations are living in unrest with riots, demonstrations, violence, and more. Pray for our brothers and sisters in difficult places and pray for men and women to seek the Lord and His peace in the midst of their confusion.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS