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Archive for March, 2011

Completely Trusting

These few weeks, work has been getting very stressful. I’ve suddenly got a whole lot of expectations to meet, and so many changes to make. Some tasks take a lot of time to complete, some are so difficult, and some are just impossible. And as I retired to my bunk one night, I opened my Bible after a shower, to listen to God before I sleep.

Matthew 8: 5-13

The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Having read this passage of scripture many times in my life. I knew immediately what this faith in Jesus was about. Or I thought I knew.

Perhaps, being a commander in the army has helped me understand it further. When the Centurion gives an order, it will be carried out. The same way, when I assign a specific task to a person under me, to carry out in whatever way by a certain time, I expect it to be done. First, I judge that he is competent enough to complete the task well. Then, I rely on the authority of my rank to assume that he will get it done for me. This means that my sub-ordinate is both capable and willing. Okay maybe not willing all the time, but will do it because of he is under my command. 😀

In the same way, when Jesus promises us that He will do something for us, it will be done, and we can expect it to be done for us. And you see, in terms of capability and willingness, Jesus far exceeds that of men. I’m sure I don’t have to convince anyone that Jesus is more capable than any man in helping us.

Matthew 7:9-12

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

God, as our Heavenly Father, loves us and wants to give good things to us. Unlike ours, His love is complete and perfect. He does not hesitate, or have conflicting emotions. He totally and always loves us with a love that transcends what we can ever imagine!

Psalm 103:11, 17-18

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;  But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children — with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

You see, if we can trust the very people around us to do things that we ask them to, how much more can we trust our God, who is both strong and loving, both capable and willing to help us? The difference is so large that we should not even think twice to place our trust in God. As we keep Christ at the center of our lives, living for Him and glorifying Him, I am sure that in everything that we do, we will do with Christ and be successful.

So as I go back to work this after this weekend, I will keep faith in God, knowing that whatever I do, and whatever happens, He will work out for good.

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Many years being a Christian, I have heard again and again, that we are to be more like Christ. It is in our sermons, Bible studies, exhortations, prayers, even birthday cards and the like. But I really wonder, are we really responding to this instruction? Each day, do we set our hearts and minds on a goal- to display Christ-like characteristics in our word and actions? Probably not. And it’s probably a lot easier to talk about it like I am doing now than to do it.

Now what are some characteristics of Christ?

Colossians 3:12-14
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

I believe Paul recognized this difficulty when He wrote this. He didn’t just tell the Colossians to demonstrate this things, as if they should come naturally. Instead, he says to “put on”, or to “clothe” ourselves with them. Our flesh is originally self-centered, being the opposite of Christ. But now that we have the Holy Spirit in us, we are to embrace the goodness of the Spirit by clothing ourselves with these characteristics. What an appropriate way of saying it!

These things do sound very familiar. Like the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is because these characteristics of Christ are resultant of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of in our lives. They are the fruit of the spirit working. And that is why we find it so difficult sometimes- when we live in the flesh and try to do the things that God wants us to do. We cannot, and easily fall short of His expectations.

After naming the aspects of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians, Paul goes on to tell us how to do it.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Living by the spirit is more than just a state of mind. We could wake up each day and tell ourselves that we are going to behave like Christ, and know it in our minds. But that again will be trying to be like Christ by our own strength. Living by the spirit is the state of the heart. The essence of Christ, whom we are trying to imitate, is love. If we have love in our hearts, then we truly are living and acting due to the love that God has placed in us through the Holy Spirit. That is the love that lasts, and will help us become more like Christ.

Recently I have been reflecting on the love that God has for us. His love for us is so awesome that He didn’t just want us to go to heaven again, or to be able to talk to Him because we have been made righteous. He loved us as His children, and was willing to pay for us with His Son. You see, what you gain is worth what you paid for it. God wanted us to have a Father-child relationship with Him. He wanted to gain us back as His children, and so He bought us with a son of His own. If His love is so great, so awesome and so wonderful, shouldn’t we also do the same to the people around us?

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