Wednesday, June 12, 2013
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ...."
Sitting here, thinking on these words, believing that just by meditating on them I have life more abundant given to me. This is something that at the same time last year I would have no conception of. That just by muttering and believing, God's blessings are freely given. Just believing the gospel, and you will live... this is something we need to hear again and again, so that we might believe. Why do we believe the gospel? Because, it is true. Someone really died, was buried and was raised for me. The interesting thing about hearing the Gospel is that in hearing it, we begin to grow to desire hearing it; and we begin to understand how its simple message when believed causes us to live. We begin to know and believe the love that God has for us; not just know it, but believe it. Not just know the doctrines, but really believe them. The doctrines of grace; the idea of our fallen humanity and God's surpassing love for us in Christ is translated to our minds and hearts as we hear the word.
As the verse above says, there is nothing for you to achieve for 'grace and peace' to be multiplied to you; you receive it 'in the knowledge of... Jesus'. As you see Jesus there on the cross being judged for your sins, and raised for your justification and life, you receive 'grace and peace'. Simply that. Nothing more. When you believe, you live. Doesn't it say that in John?
Try another, "the righteous by faith shall live"- do we believe this? That just by believing, life is imparted to us, or breathed upon us. Just like God told Ezekiel, 'speak to the dry bones and they shall live.' He is saying, when you receive my life-giving words, you cannot but live.
Or another, Rom 5:17; 'those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life through Jesus Christ'. Do we believe this? That the only 'qualifier' is to receive, to believe, to see. As many who looked at the bronze serpent lived... When we see our problems judged at the cross, their power over our lives ceases at that very moment. Do we believe?
Could it be, that in fact, all the bible- the whole deal of it- is a message of grace and faith? 'It is of faith, that it might be by grace'- Rom 4; could it be, that holiness- becoming more like Jesus- is really about believing what Jesus has done, and resting all our hopes in His great love for us?
Imagine, what would happen to a community of believers, if we were just faithful to believe every promise of the Gospel, every blessing, every grace, every favour... and take it all? What would our witness be like? Could all our recovery, all our answers, all our 'issues' truly be resolved, as we gaze at His glory?
'But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord'... do you believe this?
Posted at 06:49 am by Hillsongs
Monday, June 18, 2012
Have you ever felt God run at you, and His love just so tangible that you can breathe it, embrace it and even taste it? This was what I felt yesterday during 3rd Service's worship time. The love of God was so tangible- the very air around me seemed to be permeated with the sense of God's undying and self-sacrificial love for me. Love that compelled Him to send His Son to bleed on a Cross for me. In my place He was condemned. My curse He has borne so that the blessings I might enjoy. The overwhelming assurance that the blood gives just flooded my mind and heart- the blood guarantees God's eternal favor and every blessing. The sense of freedom that nothing in this depends on me at all! It was God alone sending His Son by His grace alone that saves.
The Gospel we believe in must bring rest to our souls. "Take my yoke (i.e. believe my Gospel) upon you and learn from me (i.e. learn that everything that I am- my relationship to the Father, my authority, my resources- are all yours through the Divine Exchange), and you shall find rest for your souls." While the rest of the world are hurrying to establish their own righteousness- found in themselves- you shall be at rest. That is the promise of the Gospel that we should be experiencing on a daily basis- from morning to night. Yet at times we don't.
Our Gospel (good news) still include something of us + Jesus. Anything plus Jesus is no longer good news. It is very very bad news. Because if anything rests on me, I shall never find rest for my soul. If anything depends on just one line of a score-card that I must complete, I shall never enter into peace.
In fact, Paul issues a curse on any preacher that preaches that Jesus alone will not satisfy God's righteous demands and ensure God's fullest blessings! Because Jesus alone is enough. It has always been and will always be. There is only one Gospel- and in that Gospel "the righteousness of God (i.e. not of yoursel, all of Christ) is revealed". And how is it revealed? "From faith to faith". From believing in Jesus to believing in Jesus. Day by day, believing more and more in the same truth- that through Christ' perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection, we are eternally forgiven and made righteousness, and we possess in Him God's eternal favor!
That means, right now, even as I write this, God is smiling on me, delighting in me, singing over me, and holding me in His embrace. The fullness of His supply as God is indeed permeating every area of my life- weaknesses, lacks, shame, regrets and sin (because that is all I ever have in and of myself)- and I have every reason to rejoice. He is the eternal doer and I am the eternal receiver. O How He loves me! Is it time to be awed by His love afresh?
Posted at 02:17 am by Hillsongs
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Some quotes on Grace (for rainy days)
R.C.Sproul was asked this question, "How can I understand God's grace and forgiveness of my sins?"
His answer: "But to understand the graciousness of grace in any depth I believe is a lifelong enterprise for for the Christian...the essence of theology is grace. When we get to the very essence of what our study of theology is, we are studying the grace of God, because it's by God's grace that we are Christians in the first place. It's by God's grace that we even draw a breath every moment, and it's by God's grace that we receive every benefit from his hand...the more we study grace, the more we see grace...
the reason I can exist in the presence of a holy God is that I am a forgiven person- that forgiveness is something I couldn't possibly buy or steal or beg or borrow or earn. I have no merit before God. The only merit I ever enjoy is the merit that was won for me by Christ. I live and move and have my being by virtue of Christ's righteousness...given to me...graciously by God.
We talk about the doctrines of grace. (But) what other doctrines are there but the doctrines of grace?"
Posted at 07:55 am by Hillsongs
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
It is only because of God's grace through the finished work of Jesus that I can come boldly before God and speak to Him as one does with a friend. Jesus' blood is the only thing that qualifies me to speak freely with Him. It is my prayer that as the veil of the Law is removed from my eyes, the intimacy with Christ that I enjoy will increase evermore.
Posted at 08:39 pm by Hillsongs
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Make me love-sick, every time I'm slipping out of your presence. Cause the Cross to become so alluring that in the different things I'm doing, I'll return to linger at the foot of the Cross. Let the beauty of everything else become more and more faint till you become more and more real, the lover of my soul, who thought about me an eternity ago and came to where we live to shed your lifeblood for me. Be strong Lord, on my behalf- be my eyes to see; be my mind so that I'll continually be amazed at the wonder of your love for me. Amen.
Posted at 04:48 am by Hillsongs
Friday, December 30, 2011
I think it's a good time to reflect on 2011, as well as the coming year ahead. 2011 has been a rough journey for me, I must say. Even tougher than 2010. 2010 was a huge list of happenings... but 2011 was a single-track downhill for the soul. My faith literally was shipwrecked. When the bible says, "The letter (the Law) kills", it really means that. We ought to take that seriously. I think at a time (in 2010) when negatives abounded, my spirit was too overwhelmed to sense God's peace or absence of it in the midst of the situations. Reflecting back, I think it is at times like these that we actually need the objective word of God spoken from the outside from anointed people to sustain our inward sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
The thing was, I did look outside of me for a word from God... but I received a word of His Law, instead of a word of His Grace- that the Apostle Paul actually commends us to! What Law? The insatiable urge to look at myself, measure myself, judge myself, examine myself, whether I'm worthy as a disciple of Christ. The thing about destiny-preaching and potential-stretching is that it makes one self-conscious and self-occupied rather than Christ-conscious and Christ-absorbed. How strange that when we are unconscious of ourselves, the Holy Spirit leads us into our destinies in Christ effortlessly! Yet, when we are looking to ourselves and asking ourselves, "are we there yet", we will never arrive! Because, the gospel starts with the proclamation that our hope is found in Someone other than ourselves!
Give up on myself, that's what 2011 taught me. Literally. Tim Keller said, we must see that on the Cross, our idols (i.e. our forms of self-righteousness) have all lost its grip on us and crucified in the body of Christ. How true! The problem with me is not that I'm unrighteous, but that I'm trying to finish a work that has already been done for me... I'm trying to be holy and righteous, when I already am- in Christ! Oh, the idols of morality and people's affirmation that huants me, even when I sleep! But the Cross has dealt with that. 2011 has shown me clearer than ever that my only hope is found in the blood-stained body of my Savior!
I'm beginning to appreciate the hard sayings of my father more and more... the only answer to our problems is the Cross. There is no other. And I thank God that He is beginning to reconcile my relationship with my father again... to realise that he loves me, and his love for me is not based on my performance, but I'm loved just because I am his!
Oh, 2011 was a year of tears- of sorrow and joy. Sorrow, because of my self-worship... and Joy because of the Spirit's revelation of the glories of Jesus and His gospel! I think the joys triumphs over the sorrows. Joy in Christ always does that- because nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ! What glorious tears they were, produced when a self-righteous heart is awakened to the beauty of God's sovereign will in saving a sinner like me. He elects, He calls, He justifies, He sanctifies, He glorifies! Soli Deo Gloria- To God alone belongs all the glory! Not to us, oh Lord, but to you, belongs all the glory...
What a glorious time when I realised that the Cross answers the need to an orphaned soul and a husband-less soul. Our soul needs the two-fold love... the love of a Father, and the love of Christ, the lover of our soul. More and more, the joy of knowing that I get to be the elect, that I get to be the chosen, that I get to be Jesus' bride thrills my heart... knowing that it is He who loved me, and gave Himself for me! O, we can spend an eternity and more gazing at the mystery of His wounds, and never reaching a conclusion! We will never know how much it cost Him to bear our sins upon that Cross!
So... what about 2012?
Hahaha... I remembered the verse God impressed upon my heart for 2011. That the kingdom of God belongs to the least of these, to the "little child". Yes, the little child who doesn't take a care for himself but who looks ever to his caretaker and is at rest... he laughs, he plays but he doesn't worry for a thing... because he trusts simply in the one who looks after him. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Yet, often times, it is at our most helpless moments that we realise that Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all! And if He is Lord of all, we need nothing more than Him. He is worthy of our entire preoccupation. I just know this is what God is doing for me, removing all the other substitutes, until Jesus alone remains at the centre of my life- my righteousness, my holiness, my wisdom, my redemption. Jesus be at the centre.
I'm taking 3 verses into 2012... 2 were from my dear friend Sam years ago=)
"Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever." Daniel 12:3
"I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful... I will put my dwelling place among you and will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people." Lev 26:9-12
"The Lord longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you compassion." Isaiah 30:18
We enter 2012 not alone. Not helpless. Not forsaken. Not forgotten. We enter 2012 knowing that the Jesus has gone into your future, the months ahead, and prepared the way for you... He is the Good Shepherd... He knows what's coming and He has destined you to reign in life.
Posted at 08:02 am by Hillsongs
Monday, December 19, 2011
Crucified: the idols of our hearts
It is quite strange. There are many things for us to rejoice for, as a child of God. We are not only God's darling child, we are also Christ's beloved. We are the bride for whom He laid down His life for. Shouldn't that make us bold in life? When tomorrow comes, His free favors will overflow, and I will be taken care of. What a thought!
Yet, there is this nagging sense that unless I overcome this, there will be no truly happy days for me. However, this is a lie. And it is a lie after a season of serving the idol of my heart- the form of self-righteousness, morality. God doesn't say in Romans 5:17 that those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness... and your morality... shall reign in life! There's no plus. The Gospel has nothing in it for us. It has everything in it for Christ. We have died to ourselves in Christ, and we are raised as the righteousness of Christ- no longer alive apart from Christ.
This is the greatest news of all, there is nothing left for me to do. Christ has done everything necessary, and He is my righteousness. I only need to rest in Him. And enjoy all the blessings of the righteous.
Yet, it is the hardest thing for me. I have become accustomed to desiring change in my self. I want to see change. I'm desperate to change. And change becomes the main thing in my life. It is the end. And Christ becomes displaced. It is a form of self-righteousness. And the more I try to change, the more I don't see the change, and the more I try.
Tomorrow, when I wake up, it is not what I'm going to do that matters, or how I feel that matters. When I wake up, it is the free favors of God that matters, and it is the identity I have in Christ that matters.
Therefore, I am going to rejoice!
Posted at 08:32 am by Hillsongs
Sunday, November 27, 2011
God really hears, and sees.
I think there's a verse in the bible that says, "God is unlike the idols of the other nations, who cannot listen nor speak." And I was just conversing with Charis yesterday about the dilemma of faith. I want to pause here for awhile to give thanks to Jesus for bringing me to a community of people who I think is very real about their struggles of faith, as much as they are passionate about the Gospel of Grace. I think it is precisely those who are most into rehearsing the Gospel that suffer the most dilemma sometimes, but the Gospel will lead them out of the dilemma as they continue believing and confessing it. This, I believe. For the faith to believe did not come from them, it is a gift of God. Therefore, it'll endure all tests, and prove itself to be true and genuine for the glory of God's grace. Back to the dilemma of faith... So yesterday, I went up during Arrows' to the altar. Psr Benjamin talked about how God knows what I'm going through, and how some of us (of which I am one) was drowning in our problems and God wants to rescue us- He will come and save us.
I went to the altar... I was really hoping that any Pastor praying for me would go into a lengthy prayer, but Psr Ben just laid his hand on me, and I fell under the power of the Spirit. So, I was like... "Ok, I wished there was more though."
But guess what? God amazed me today. Beyond my expectations. Psr Prince's message had my address all over it. It was about the battlefield of the mind, and how grace can overcome that battle! And at the end of it, he even asked us to put our hand on our forehead, and the senior pastor prayed for us, right where we are. He prayed that the anointing would loose us from any yoke of mental oppression.
God is truly awesome. When I expected a prayer, He gave a whole sermon! When I expected some other pastor to pray, He gave the senior pastor! What a Savior!
Recently, after watching the "you are the apple of my eye" movie, I have begun to consciously think of Jesus as the lover of my soul. I was pretty moved- ok, very very moved- by the story in the movie... and I was like, "Ok. I see beauty all over this show, especially in the love of the girl for the guy!" Then I began to really obsess with what it is like to have a girl like me that much... Selah. Then I thought, what about the love of God? If a human love could be this good, this beautiful, this 'true', what about the love of the infinite holy God? What about his sacrifice? What about his unconditional acceptance of me? What about his divine election before the foundations of the world?
After answering these questions with the Gospel, I can only stand in awe... that Yahweh is the lover of my soul. More beautiful than any girl that will ever love me, even my wife in future. He is the ultimate lover, pursuer and knight in shining armor.
Learning to bask in the love of my 'husband', and be a bride.
Posted at 03:24 am by Hillsongs
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
He took my wilderness, and cried my orphan cry. In my place, Jesus died.
I'm still trying to grasp that. The Gospel radically calls us to a Christ-centred life, and away from a self-preoccupied life. There seems to be always the question, "what about this I'm going through?" There's always something that makes me feel the Work is not complete. If it is, how come I am feeling this, for so long? Is it really by grace alone? Has grace finished the Work?
To beat the Gospel into my heart each day is life's highest calling, for that is my only hope of knowing my Savior more and more.
Posted at 05:25 am by Hillsongs
Friday, November 04, 2011
May God raise up a generation of bold preachers who storm the gates of works-righteousness in all its forms (both religious and secular) with nothing more and nothing less than:
In my place condemned he stood, and sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Posted at 09:20 am by Hillsongs
NS ('09- )
hey guys and gals...hope ure rocking ON in lifE!! this blog...I hope will encourage, stir, and affirm you wherever you are, whichever stage you are at in life...God bless!! =]
Ps. My prayer is that you will catch God's heartbeat for your life- and that you will embrace the mandate to be salt and light in your world...wherever your world is! =] And you will realise that with God- ALL things ARE possible!!!