Monday, September 26, 2016

Psalms

Psalm 1  Blessed Life is...

Blessed Life is...

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2 but his desire is in the instruction of the Lord,
    and on his instruction he meditates day and night.
  • This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

3 He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
  • So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:17-20)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, 23)

    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
  • His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
  • My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
  • They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jude

3 John

2 John

1 John

Acts

2 Corinthians

Ephesians

Colossians

1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

James

1 Peter

1 Peter 4:1  The Key to a Joyful Christian Life

The Key to a Joyful Christian Life

1 Peter 4:1
  • Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

The key to a joyful Christian life is suffering, specifically, suffering in the flesh. The word, flesh, which in Greek is sarx refers to several different meanings as follows:

1) human flesh / body
  • e.g. See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. (Luke 24:39)

2) the nature of human that is subject to temptation and suffering
  • Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

3) human effort which is devoid of God's empowering grace
  • Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3)

It is through the first and second senses of the meaning of the flesh that we get to learn about the key to ceasing from sin. And ceasing from sin will inevitably lead to a joyful Christian life, which I will explain in detail later.

In 1 Peter 4:1, Peter instructs us to arm ourselves, i.e. equip ourselves with weapons. With what? This way of thinking. What kind of thinking? Christ suffered in the flesh (This is our weapon), i.e. Jesus on Gethsemane dropped sweats of blood, and later, he was scourged and crucified.

Now, we also have our shares of suffering in this world. God allows these sufferings to be experienced by us. "To suffer" in Greek is pascho which means "to feel heavy emotion, especially suffering."

Jesus suffered the suffering of the cross in the flesh to take away our sins. In the same way, we suffer in the flesh, and the power of sin is severely weakened. The sinful propensity in our hearts feeds on our flesh but when our flesh suffers, it is weakened to that degree.

When we suffer, we remind ourselves of our Lord's suffering. Sin lost its power on the cross. Likewise, when we suffer, sin loses its power to grip us. We cease from sin.

Let us take this weapon of suffering and arm ourselves with it.

The surprising and delightful consequence of suffering in the flesh is joy. We feel closer to God because we partake in the suffering which symbolises Jesus' suffering. Jesus and we are one (Colossians 1:18 Jesus is the head. We are the body.).

Suffering inevitably leads to joy. Jesus' suffering was not in vain. He had someone in mind when he suffered the excruciating pain of the cross.

Hebrews 12:2
  • Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross

Among other things, He was thinking of us being rescued from the power of sin. Just as Jesus had joy during and after his suffering, we will have joy during and after our many episodes and shares of suffering in this life.

Just as Jesus secured joy for us through his suffering, we will get to experience the miracle of having and sharing joy with others through our suffering.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

God's Presence

Jeremiah 1:19
  • They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.

Jeremiah is first introduced as the son of Hilkiah, who may have been the same high priest during the reign of Josiah. (2 Chronicles 34:9) 

The LORD declares to Jeremiah that He will be with Jeremiah to deliver him from his enemies. These enemies are the kingdoms of the north, i.e. Babylon, who will come and conquer Judah and Jerusalem. The LORD declares that Babylon will not prevail against Jeremiah because God is with him to deliver him.

Likewise, we may have a tsunami of enemies who seem daunting and scary. Yet, they will not prevail against us because our LORD is with us to deliver us. This means that God may not prevent the difficulties, challenges and obstacles from occuring in our daily lives. However, God will be with us to save us from these challenges, and difficulties. Precisely through these trials, we experience God's power, grace and mercy. 

Jeremiah experienced God's hand upon him throughout his life. Likewise, we will and must experience God's hand on our lives through these trials.