Monday, November 30, 2015

Jesus: the Reason for Authentic Fellowship and the Source of Real Joy (1 John 1:3-4)

I fully convince that when Jesus eat and drink, he is happy and joyful to be with.
We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy” (1 John 1:3-4, NLT).

What Apostle John and his friends “we” saw and experienced was so powerful that they simply could not keep it to themselves. They were bursting to share the Good News about Jesus with other people (Do you have that bursting factor?). Once they had experienced this new life themselves, they wanted to share it with others. Keeping the Good News to ourselves really limits the joy we can get compare to the joy we get when we share the News to others! John want to share his new life in Christ with others. Christian goal was, according to John, “so that you may have fellowship with us.” The word fellowship means “to have in common,” to be close, to have a group of people who accept and care for us.

Most people, I assume, hate the feeling of being lonely (This is different from being alone or solitude, which can be a positive thing at times). To be lonely is to feel cut off or rejected or abandoned; it is a sad, depressed feeling. Thus, what so amazing about this “fellowship” we can have in Christ as believers is that it is not only with each other, which is certainly Good News, but also a fellowship with God and Jesus, His Son – sharing life in common with each other. God promises that we will never be alone in this life or ever. So, even if we feel cut off from other people we know that we are never really lonely. God is with us, no matter what!

Our fellowship, then, has two dimensions – with God (vertical fellowship) and with other believers (horizontal fellowship). As believers, you and I, are united with God forever; and we are also united with each other because of our common faith in Christ. Now let me make it clear that not all of us will have close relationship and fellowship with everyone, but we all have the potential for this fellowship. For some of us, sharing and being open come naturally. For others, being personal (sharing our thoughts and feelings) is kind of scary – so we hide it by being silent or avoid or keep others away from us. Don’t be like this.

John writes this matter of fellowship by saying that he is writing this letter to make his joy complete. In other words, he witnessed the Good News: the life, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then he responded to what he had seen by devoting his life to fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. And now he was going to have his joy completed by sharing this joyful fellowship with the church of all believers. God wants us to be joy-filled in the deepest sense of the word – a satisfaction that cannot be found anyplace else by in Jesus Christ. Such joy is not based on how tough our body are or how many friends we have in Facebook or Twitter, but on the fact that God loves us as we are. God loves us – nothing more, nothing less. He sees through us with x-ray vision; our innermost thoughts and feelings are known to Him. And despite all of this. God is really cares for us, just as we are. And on this basis, as we accept God’s love, we can experience the deepest kind of joy. We are loved, no more lonely – we belong!

Friends, all of us will have times when we will feel discouraged or depressed (At this writing I feel sad because some people misunderstood me). That is part of living. But those down time don’t need to shatter us; instead we are equipped with the strength, love and joy that God gives us. It is a joy that keeps on growing not only in this life but forever – “no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22). And this joy is not a phony-selfie-kind of joy that pastes a smile on people’s faces and makes them ignore their true feelings. Christians can be real people whose joyfulness becomes greater and greater. The aim of being Christian is to enjoy, to be joyful in, and by enjoying Him forever. Our God, I believe, does not try to make us miserable or odd; instead, God wants us to be the happiest person in the world. And that’s what the rest of this letter is all about. Read it!


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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Resolusi (Tahun Baru) Membaca Keseluruhan Alkitab


Dibawah adalah petikkan dari artikel sebelum ini, Pengetahuan Asas tentang Alkitab (Klik disini untuk membaca keseluruhan artikel).

Siapa yang Menulis Alkitab?
Dari sudut pandangan/sejarah manusia, Alkitab ditulis oleh lebih kurang 36 penulis dalam jarak masa 1,600 tahun (Mereka terdiri daripada pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan status; gembala, raja, nabi, imam, doktor, pelayan misi, nelayan, pemungut cukai, pegawai tentera dan sebagainya). Tetapi adalah sangat penting untuk kita fahami bahawa penulis-penulis ini menulis dengan bimbingan Roh Allah. TUHAN memberi mereka ilham untuk menulis setiap perkataan yang ada di dalam Alkitab. Inilah yang kita katakan bahawa Alkitab ialah sebuah buku hasil inspirasi Allah sendiri. Firman-Nya mengatakan bahawa:

“...tidak ada nubuat yang disampaikan oleh para nabi, berasal daripada kehendak manusia. Tetapi Roh Allah menguasai orang semasa mereka menyampaikan perkhabaran yang datang daripada Allah” (2 Petrus 1:21, BM).

Semua yang tertulis di dalam Alkitab diilhami oleh Allah dan berguna untuk mengajar apa yang benar, untuk menegur dan membetulkan apa yang salah, dan untuk mengajar orang supaya hidup menurut kehendak Allah. Dengan Alkitab, orang mengabdikan diri kepada Allah dapat dilengkapi dengan sempurna untuk melakukan segala macam pekerjaan yang baik” (2 Timotius 3:16-17, BM).

Oleh itu, Alkitab ialah Firman Allah. Tidak cukup untuk kita mengatakan bahawa Alkitab mengandungi Firman Allah (kerana ayat ‘mengandungi’ juga boleh bermaksud ada yang diinspirasi dan ada yang tidak); tetapi, setiap perkataan yang tertulis di dalam Alkitab ialah hasil inspirasi atau ilham Allah sendiri. “Semua yang tertulis di dalam Alkitab diilhami oleh Allah.

Satu lagi perkara yang kita patut ingat ialah Alkitab merupakan satu-satunya sumber wahyu utama yang diilhami dan ditulis kepada manusia. Jika kita membaca Firman Allah pada muka surat yang terakhir di Kitab Wahyu, TUHAN memberi peringatan yang keras bahawa tiada sesiapa pun yang boleh menambahkan atau mengurangkan apa yang tertulis di dalam Alkitab (22:18-19).

Apakah Perkara Utama di dalam Alkitab?
Walaupun Alkitab mengandungi 66 buah buku, ditulis (lebih kurang) oleh 36 penulis dari pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan status, dan disampaikan pada masa yang berbeza sepanjang 1,600 tahun – ia mengandungi satu perkara atau watak utama iaitu Yesus Kristus. Dia ialah tema utama di dalam Alkitab. Buku-buku Perjanjian Lama mengandungi banyak ramalan dan nubuat tentang kedatangan Tuhan Yesus sebagai Penyelamat yang akan menyelamatkan kita daripada dosa; manakala, buku-buku Perjanjian Baru pula mengatakan tentang kedatangan Raja Yesus kali kedua pada akhir zaman sebagai Hakim yang akan menghakimi setiap manusia.


Disini saya ada menyediakan “Edisi Bacaan Alkitab Setahun” iaitu jadual membaca Alkitab secara kronologi. Jika kamu mengikuti jadual membaca ini, dalam masa satu (1) tahun, kamu sudah habis membaca keseluruhan Alkitab. Ada 3 cara untuk kamu memiliki jadual bacaan ini secara percuma:

1)     Jika kamu mengenal saya secara peribadi, sila SMS atau WhatsApp atau hubungi saya terus dan saya akan memberikan kamu hard copy;
2)     Jika kamu ingin berhubung melalui Facebook account, kamu boleh meminta PDF file melalui FB Inbox ke “Richard Angelus” atau sila beri e-mail kamu supaya saya boleh mengirim soft copy kepada kamu;

3)     Jika kamu tidak keberatan, di bawah artikel ini juga disediakan jadual membaca dalam format JPG.


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Jesus: I Heard, Seen and Touched Him. No Secondhand Faith (1 John 1-2)

Apostle John had heard, seen, touched and be with Jesus. So, he wrote the Truth.
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us
(1 John 1:1-2,
NLT).

Apostle John begins this epistle (or letter) by reminding his readers that he was an eyewitness to the early happenings of the Christian faith. He saw Jesus do miracles and heard Him preach. John had not merely heard about Him from someone else, like us – he was an eyewitness and ear-witness. He had seen Jesus and even touched Him – something which very few people could claim.

The New Testament records many special names which describe who Jesus is – the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and so on. In the first verse, John calls Jesus “the Word of Life.” We know that Jesus was more than a spoken Word – He was a living Word, the One sent by God to tell us what God was feeling, thinking and His personality. God showed Himself through the coming of Jesus Christ, His Son. And Jesus made it very clear that He was the only Way through whom people could know God, and that anyone who had seen Him had seen God Himself (see John 14:6-10). How exciting! John’s experience with Jesus was personal and not an inherited or second-hand faith or only read about in a book. He knew about God because he knew Jesus personally. He had seen Jesus in the flesh.

That is why John could claim to be an eyewitness to such awesome events. Not only had he heard and seen Jesus, and thus had seen God, but when Jesus returned from the dead He suddenly appeared to him and all of His other disciples. They we so shocked that they thought they might be seeing a ghost! They probably asked could this really be Jesus whom they had seen dying on the Cross and put in a grave? But Jesus asked His disciples to touch Him – to see that He still had flesh and bones, that He was not a ghost (read Luke 24:36-39). He had really risen from the grave, resurrected to live! So John wrote this epistle to “testify and proclaim… that [Jesus] is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us” (1 John 1:2).

My fellow Christian brothers and sisters, our faith is not based on secondhand news or on some fuzzy ideas that someone has put together. Impossible! Our faith in Christ is based on the fact that God Himself appeared to us through the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, and now lives within us. Just as John was an eyewitness to the physical manifestations of these great events in the Gospel, we can be witness to the spiritual coming of Jesus into our lives through the Holy Spirit as we acknowledge Him as our Lord and Saviour. The changes we begin to experience will lead us along such an exciting path – always joyful and endure suffering, temporary persecutions and eternal crown, challenges and victories – that there will be no turning back! In the end, Jesus is worth to follow. Amen.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jesus, All that I Am is Yours

Follow Jesus
Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?’
(Luke 9:23-25,
NLT).

Jesus told the crowd that being his disciple would mean turning away from self, taking up a cross, and then following him. The initial decision to “follow” Jesus is an eternal life-changing decision. From that point, the believer is no longer his or her own; that person belongs to Christ. You’re no longer yourself, you belongs to Christ. But recognizing and confessing belief in Jesus as the Messiah is only the beginning of discipleship. True disciples actively follow Jesus “daily.” This means taking his road of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Jesus walks ahead, providing an example, and he stands with his followers as encourager, guide, and friend.

But believers must be willing to make the pursuit of God more important than the selfish pursuit of pleasure, giving up the goal of gaining “the whole world.” Those who follow Jesus will discover what it means to live abundantly now and to have eternal life later. K.P. Yohannan in his book Living in the Light of Eternity, writes, “With life in Christ, my self is no longer the one that directs me and dictates to me. Now it is Christ, His will and His desire, living and acting through me. Jesus had asked us to love Him supremely, more than anything or anyone. But the questions still remain: How do we follow Christ? How do we live out this life? This can only happen through an all-out surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It means acknowledging the lordship of Christ in our lives, not just in theory but in practice. This is why the habit of compartmentalizing our lives must end. All of me, all that I am, belongs to Christ.”

 Think about this: Giving up the “world” to gain Christ is like exchanging sands for golds! Yet many prefer the bad deal, trading the pleasures of this life for their souls. No amount of money, power, or status can buy back a lost soul. Believers must be willing to make the pursuit of God more important than the selfish pursuit of pleasure. Following Christ means turning from self, taking up the cross, and staying close to the Saviour. Let Jesus’ question ringing in our heart, “What do you benefit of you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroy?

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Jesus is More Concerned about Your Future than Your Past


Labels. A fellow gave me the other day. We got into a lively discussion about some ethical issues. Somewhere in our conversation he asked me what kind of work I was in. I told him I was minister, and he said, “Oh, I see,” and grew silent.
            I want to say, “No, you don’t. Don’t you put me in that box. I’m not a minister. I’m Max-who-ministers. Don’t you put me in that box with all those hucksters and hypocrites you may know. That’s not fair.”
            Labels. So convenient. Stick them on a person, and you know what pantry to use.
            What if God did that to us? What if God judged us by our outward appearance? What if He judged us based on where we grew up? Or what we do for a living? Or the mistakes we made when we were young? He wouldn’t do that, would He?
            “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
            Becareful when you judge. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discern. That does mean we shouldn’t pass the verdict. The amount of grace you give is the amount you get.
            Jesus had another view of the man born blind. Rather than see him as an opportunity for discussion, He saw him as an opportunity for God. Why was he blind? “That the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:3).
            What a perspective! The man wasn’t a victim of fate; he was a miracle waiting to happen. Jesus didn’t label him. He helped him. Jesus was more concerned about the future than the past.
            Who do you best relate to in this story? Some of you relate to the man born blind. You have been the topic of conversation. You have been left out on the outside looking in. You’ve been labelled.
            If so, learn what this man learned: When everyone else rejects you, Christ accepts you. When everyone else leaves you, Christ finds you. When no one else wants you, Christ claims you. When no one else will give you the time of day, Jesus will give you the words of eternity.
            Others of you will relate to the observers. You’ve judged. You’ve labelled. You’ve slammed the gavel and proclaimed the guilt before knowing the facts. If that is you, go back to John 9:4 and understand what the work of God is: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
            What is the work of God? Accepting people.
Loving before judging. Caring before condemning.
            Look before you label.
[From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado]

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jesus wants You to Give Up


Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, ‘If any of you wants to be my followers, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your own soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels’
(Mark 8:34-38,
NLT).

When Jesus said, “take up your cross,” his listeners knew what he meant. Death on the cross was a brutal and public form of Roman capital punishment. A prisoner was required to carry the cross to the place of execution, signifying submission to Rome’s power. Jesus was then saying that he wanted that kind of humility and submission, a complete “give up” from life as they known it. Jesus also was implying that identifying with him would lead to social and political oppression, and there would be no turning back. Jesus was speaking prophetically as well, for in a few months, he would take up his own cross and walk to Calvary.

Jesus had just said that he would have to suffer and die (see Matthew 16:21). Now he was explaining that his followers must be willing to do the same. To “give up your life for my sake” refers to a person refusing to renounce or deny Christ, even if the punishment were death. To “give up your life… for the sake of the Good News” implies that the person would be on trial for his or her preaching and circulating the Christian message. This is what being a real follower of Christ might cost us. But only in this way we can “save” our lives. Paul wrote, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21).

Think about this: Those who would follow Christ must count the cost and be prepared to pay it. If we try to save our physical lives from death, pain, or discomfort, we may risk losing our true eternal lives. When we give our lives in service to Christ, however, we discover the real purpose of living. Paul wrote, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Are you willing to pay the price of true discipleship? Give up your life for Him - and you'll save it for eternity.


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Letters to Annie: Be Determined to Overcome the World


Dear Annie,

            Yesterday I had a dream. The dream was very weird for me, I never had one like this before. Maybe it’s a warning or simply a reminder for me (and I share it with you here): I was swallowed by the world, sucked into a dark matter, and buried in the earth deep. Everything is crowded around me and my vision slowly dim. This dream reminds me of 1 John 2:15-17, but particularly verse 15, “Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father.”

            Annie, my love, we live in the world, but we should not worship it – yet at every turn, or so it seems, we are tempted to do otherwise. I want to be success, I want to be known and I want to appear great to the world but not consume by the things of God! Billy Graham asked, “The world’s sewage system threatens to contaminate the stream of Christian thought. Is the world shaping your mind, or is Christ?

            The 21st century world we live in is a noisy, distracting place, a place that offers countless temptations and dangers. Isn’t it, Annie? The world seems to cry, ‘Worship me with your time, your money, your energy, your thoughts, and your life!’ It swallow, suck and bury us slowly into the deep of the earth. But if we are wise and faithful, we won’t fall prey to that temptation. “Nothing is more foolish than a security build upon the world and its promises,” claimed Matthew Henry, “for they are all vanity and a lie.”

            C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.” That’s good advice. You’re likely to hit what you aim at, so aim high… aim at heaven. Be consumed with the things of God. “He who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). The world’s power to distract, detour, and destroy is formidable. Thankfully, God’s power is even greater. “[We] win the victory over the world by means of our faith. Who can defeat the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5).

Thank you dear for taking your time to read this letter. I hope it will be a good reminder for us both. I love you so much that I pray you would love God and to do his will more than the things of the world. Have faith and keep on believing in Jesus, the Son of God, the One Who unite us together.

I miss you,
Richard


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Support World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero (2015)

When Jesus heard [the religious hypocrites talked behind him saying that he uncleanly hang out with sinners – you and me  – eat with them, drink with them, associate with them, accept them] he said to them, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I'm here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit" (Mark 2:17, the Message).


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Jesus the Coming King


His Majesty. The emperor of Judah. The soaring eagle of eternity. The noble admiral of the Kingdom. All the splendour of heaven revealed in a human body. For a period ever so brief, the doors to the throne room were open and God came near. His Majesty was seen. Heaven touched the earth and, as a result, earth can know heaven. In astounding tandem a human body housed divinity. Holiness and earthliness intertwined.

This is no run-of-the-mill messiah. His story was extraordinary. He called Himself divine, yet allowed a minimum-wage Roman soldier to drive a nail into His wrist. He demanded purity, yet stood for the rights of a repentant whore. He called men to march, yet refused to allow them to call him King. He sent men into all the world, yet equipped them with only bended knees and memories of a resurrected carpenter…

Let’s follow His sandalprints. Let’s sit on the cold, hard floor of the cave in which He was born. Let’s smell the sawdust of the carpentry shop. Let’s hear His sandals slap the hard trails of Galilee. Let’s sigh as we touch the healed sores of the leper. Let’s smile as we see His compassion with the woman at the well. Let’s cringe as we hear the hissing of hell’s Satan. Let’s let our voices soar with the praises of the multitudes. Let’s try to see Him.

One warning. Something happens to a person who has witnessed His Majesty. He became addicted. One glimpse of the King and you are consumed by a desire to see more of Him and say more about Him. Pew-warning is no longer an option. Junk religion will no longer suffice. Sensation-seeking is needless. Once you have seen His face you will forever long to see it again.
[From God Came Near by Max Lucado]


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Letters to Annie: Your Circumstances Changes but God Does Not

Don't cry, I'm here for you. Be strong. The Lord is your rock.
Dear Annie,

            Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. Sometime things happened in our lives, changes that we can’t avoid and promises that people can’t keep. I want you to know that your circumstances change but God does not. My dear love, we live in a world that is always changing, but we worship a God that never changes – thank goodness! That means that we can be comforted in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is the rock that simple cannot be moved. Annie, look at the Scripture, read Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my saviour; my God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.” Your circumstances change but God, “my rock,” does not. God declares: “I am the Lord, I do not change!” So, be strong.

            The next time you face difficult circumstances, tough times, unfair treatment, or a broken relationship with others, remember that somethings never change – things like the love that you feel in your heart for your family and friends and (I hope) for me… and ultimately the love that God feels for you. “God does not give us everything we want,” write Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “but He does fulfil all His promises as He leads us along the best and straight paths to Himself.” So, Annie, instead of worrying too much about life’s inevitable challenges, focus your energies on finding solutions. Plus, I’m here for you, to encourage and support you in anyhow possible. I love you. Have faith in your own God-given abilities, do your best to solve your problems, and dear… leave the rest up to God.

The God who spoke still speaks.
He comes into our world.
He comes into your world.
He comes to do what you can’t.
Annie, be strong!

Akui liveng Ikak,
Richard

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jesus can Transform Us: From Self-Centeredness to God-Centeredness

Phote taken from: holidaycamps.org.au
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
(Matthew 16:24-26,
NLT).

Recognizing and confessing belief in Jesus as the Messiah is only the beginning of discipleship. Jesus invites every person, but those who want to follow him must be willing to “turn from,” “take up,” and “follow.” Jesus didn’t make being his disciple sound easy. To those who were hoping to have special positions in Jesus’ earthly Kingdom (see Luke 22:24), these statements would have been tough to hear. Denying their personal desires and taking up a cross in order to follow this man was not the life they had imagined.

To “turn from your selfish ways” means rejecting the “me first” attitude. Our normal, sinful human tendency is to take care of ourselves, focusing on personal desires and security (I just describing myself). Jesus was saying that anyone who wanted to follow him first had to turn away from those selfish desires and earthly security and put him in charge. This attitude transforms self-centeredness to God-centeredness. It means dying to self and living for Christ, putting personal desires and life itself into his hands.

Jesus went on to say that those who willingly “give up” their lives will “save” it. This statement was as jarring to people in Jesus’ day as it is today. The Greek word for “life” is psyche, referring to the soul, the part of the person that includes the personality with all its dreams, hopes, and goals. Those who “hang on to” their lives in order to satisfy desires and goals apart from God, ultimately “lose” their lives. Those who willingly “give up” or “lose” their lives for the sake of Christ, whoever, actually “save” them. Think about this: Nothing we can gain on our own can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us to choose to follow him, to turn all that we are and have over to his disposal. Instead of letting us foolishly try to control our futures – which only he know – he wisely wants to take care of our lives for his own glory. In Jesus we really live. Amen.


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus: The Invitation for a Weary Soul

Image from www.flickr.com
You are tired.
You are weary.
Weary of being slapped by the waves of broken dreams.
Weary of being stepped on and run over in the endless marathon to the top.
Weary of trusting in someone only to have that trust returned in an envelope with no returning address.
Weary of staring into the future and seeing only futility.
What steals our childhood zeal?...

It is this weariness that makes the words of the Carpenter so compelling. Listen to them. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Come to Me… The invitation is to come to Him. Why Him?
He offers the invitation as a penniless rabbi in an oppressed nation. He has no connections with the authorities in Rome. He hasn’t written a best-seller or earned a diploma.

Yet, He dares to look into the leathery faces of farmers and tired-faces of housewives and offer rest. He looks into the disillusioned eyes of a bartender and makes this paradoxical promise: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The people came. They came out of the cul-de-sacs and office complexes of their existence and He gave them, not religion, not doctrine, not systems, but rest.
As a result, they called Him Lord.
As a result, they called Him Saviour.
Not so much because of what He said, but because of what He did.
What He did on the Cross during six hours, one Friday.
[From Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado]                                                                                       


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Letters to Annie: Take Your Concerns to God (Thank You for Asking about Psalm 55:22)


Dear Annie,

            I miss you. Our distances somewhat makes our relationships grow stronger. I really believe that. But then again, I will see you soon. Can’t wait! Yesterday you asked me what Psalm 55:22 mean, well, in short: take your concerns to God. “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you: He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

            Annie, the Bible promises this: tough times are temporary but God’s love is not – God’s love endures forever. So what does that mean to you and me personally? Just this: from time to time, everybody faces disappointments and broken relationships (maybe friendships or with family members) – so will you. And when tough times arrive, God always stands ready to protect you and to heal you. Your task, my dear one, is straightforward: You must share your burdens with Him. What kind of burden? Any burden. But take note as Corrie ten Boom observed, “Any concern that is too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” Those are comforting words for me, especially during difficult days. Smile.

            Whatever the size of your challenges, remember Psalm 55:22, God is big enough to handle them. Ask for Him to help you today, with faith and with fervour. Instead of turning things over in your mind, turn them over to God in prayer. Instead of worrying about your next decision, ask God to lead the way. “Cast your burden upon the Lord” the One who cannot be shaken, and rest assured that He always hears your prayers and “He will sustain you.” As for “the righteous,” you must keep your personal relationship with God alive. Keep on believe in the Son, Jesus Christ and sustain your faith with the Word of God every day. And don’t neglect to practise good deeds and love your neighbours. For the righteous are saved by grace through faith, faith that produce godly deeds and actions.

Thank you for asking me about Psalm 55:22. I appreciate it. I learned and encouraged by the Word myself. I commend your thirst to know about the truth. Let us claim all of God’s promises in the Bible such as this one. Our sins, our worries, our lives – we may cast them all on Him. So dear, what’s your response to this verse? Oh ya, read the whole chapter of Psalm 55 for its context, okay? So, I’ll wait for your reply soon.

Aku sayau ka nuan,
Richard

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jesus deka Nuan Nyadi Rasul Merita Ka InjiI-Iya Ba Endor Nuan Diatu


Udah nya Jesus niki ka munggu, lalu ngumbai orang ti dikedeka iya. Sida datai ngagai iya, lalu iya milih dua belas iko ari sida, di-asoh iya nyadi rasul. Ko iya, ‘Aku udah milih kita awak ka kita enggau Aku. Aku mega deka ngasoh kita ngajar, lalu kita mega bisi kuasa kena muru antu’
(Mark 3:13-15, Berita Manah Ka Rebak Diatu)

Mayoh amai orang “ti sakit majak ka diri mansang ngagai [Jesus] awak ka tau negu iya” (ayat 10). Bakani siko orang aja ulih nulong orang mayoh? Nya alai Jesus milih 12 iko orang ari bala murid ti ulih nulong Iya. Sida tu dikumbai Iya “rasul” tauka “apostle,” reti nya “orang ti dikirum.” Sida dipilih Iya lalu dikirum Iya merita ka Injil Berita Manah serta ngajar ngau muru antu.

Nama kabuah 12? Laban 12 enda mimit enda mayoh. 12 nyamai agi Jesus ulih ngajar sida enggau semak agi. Ngau 12 sama enggau 12 iko anak Jakob ti aki-ini 12 raban bansa Israel kelia – bansa ti dipilih Allah Taala. Sida tu meh rasul ti dipilih Jesus mega. Diatu Allah Taala ka milih ukai bansa Israel aja tang samoa bansa disebelah dunya ti deka nitih ka perintah Allah Taala. Nya meh Gereja. Lalu 12 rasul Jesus tu nyadi aki-ini Gereja terubah kelia – 12 tiang pemun gereja.
Ke terubah ya Tuai bala rasul, ia nya Simon ti digelar Peter tauka Petrus (reti nya “batu”) meh orang ti selalu bejako dulok baru berunding. Ia meh orang di keterubah ya ngako Jesus “Mesiah, Anak Allah Taala” tang udah nya orang tu enda ngako Jesus Guru iya. John saduai James, ngambi ka chunto, digelar Jesus “Boanerges” tauka “Bujang Guntor” laban sida udu jampat angat ati. Sedua keran amat ka ngasoh Allah Taala ngerusak orang ti ngelaban Jesus (peda Luke 9:54). Pia meh samoa Rasul bisi perangai diri empu ti enda sebaka, lalu perangi ti enda tentu. Tang mupok-mupok Jesus ngubah sida.

Baka nya meh samoa orang ti nyadi anembiak Jesus seudah bala Rasul, ia nya semoa orang Kristian, lebih-lebih agi sida ti nyadi ketuai kitai. Sida – lebih-lebih agi sida ti begawa di gereja ngau NGO Kristian bukai – bisi pengelemi serta perangi ti enda tentu, laban sida mensia baka orang bukai mega. Anang mantah aja tang muji Allah Taala laban Perintah Allah Taala mansang lalu datai ngagai kitai siko-siko, ari orang-orang Kristian ngagai orang ti deka ngelala Iya. Allah Taala deka ngena kitai mensia, iya nya pekakas ti lemi ti di kering ka Iya. Iya deka ngubah kitai enti kitai arap ka Iya. Tang bisi siko ari Rasul mungkir lalu mudi Jesus iya nya Judas, siko ari 12 Rasul. Pia mega diatu: anang irau enti bisi ketuai-ketuai ti mungkir. Anang ati kitai kurang arap ka samoa orang Kristian laban bisi hal baka nya.

Tuhan Jesus sigi menang enggau Perintah Iya. Iya sampai diatu di tengah Gereja – iya nya semoa kitai orang Kristian – lalu deka agi ngena ketuai-ketuai tauka orang ti biasa, lelaki tauka indu, ngereja pengawa Iya. Iya diatu agi “ngirum” sida ngereja pengawa bala Rasul: “Aku udah milih kita awak ka kita enggau Aku. Aku mega deka ngasoh kita ngajar, lalu kita mega bisi kuasa kena muru antu” (Mark 3:14-15). Uji nuan bepikir bendar-bendar: bakani diatu Jesus ngirum nuan nyadi rasul Iya?

Sembiang
Aku nyerah diri ngagai Nuan, Tuhan Jesus. Kirum aku mega nyadi rasul Nuan ka sida ti kedeka Nuan, ba sebarang endor, barang gaya ti kedeka Nuan. Lantang ati aku ka nulong Nuan merita Injil, enggau penulong enggau kuasa Roh Kudus Nuan. Amen.
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Letters to Annie: Praise and Worship God Every Day (Not Just on Sundays)

Pic taken from: roswashere.wordpress.com
“When I look at my boyfriend I see a man after God's own heart. 
He prays for me. He prays with me and he encourages me to pray more.”
Dear Annie,

            Happy Sunday morning! I’m sure you’ll look great and beautiful to church service later. Oh, how I wish I can be there with you in person. To worship God and fellowship together with you. Good news, I will be coming to meet you next month dear. I love you deeply!

            I’ve been thinking about this theme of worship lately, my dear Annie. Bible verse that keep ringing in my mind is Matthew 4:10, “Worship the Lord your God and… serve Him only.” As if the Lord is saying to me – to us – that if we really want to enjoy a better life and better relationships we must enjoy God by worshiping Him seven days a week, not just on Sundays. Billy Graham puts it this way: “We are never more fulfilled than when our longing for God is met by His presence in our lives.

            God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and an important part of that plan includes the time that we set aside for praise and worship Him. Every life, including ours, is based upon some form of worship. The question is not whether we will worship, but what we worship. Andrew Murray have a suggestion: “Each time, before you intercede, be quiet and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” If we choose to worship God, we will receive a bountiful harvest of joy, peace, and abundance. But if we distance ourselves from God by foolishly worshiping earthly possessions and personal gratification, we’re making a huge mistake.

            Right after I thought of these things about worship, my love Annie, I resolute to worship God today and every day. To worship Him with sincerity and thanksgiving. To write His name on my heart and rest assured that He, too, has written my name on His. Isn’t that awesome?! Your name also on His. Ah yes, worship is not meant to be boxed up in a church building on Sunday morning only. To the contrary, praise and worship should be woven into the very fabric of our lives. So I ask myself: do I take time each day to worship my Father in Heaven, or do I wait until Sunday morning to praise Him for His blessings? My answer to this question every day will, in large part, determine the quality and direction of my life. I know that when I worship God with all my heart (or not), it will affect not just my personal relationship with God, but also the way I treat others, especially you, my dear. I want to be the best boyfriend for you. Let’s worship God accordingly.  

Btw: Dear, reading the Word of God is also part of worship. Don’t forget to eat this Food.
Everything else can wait, but don’t neglect this ya.
Again, Happy Sunday morning! J

Akui nyalam ika,
Richard

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Jesus Warned Us: Don't Guide or Advice Him, Just Follow Him


But Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things, ‘Heaven forbid, Lord,’ he said. ‘This will never happen to you!’ Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s’
(Matthew 16:22-23, NLT).

Right after confessed his heartfelt belief in Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (16:16) and having been given great authority in the Kingdom of Heaven (16:18-19), Peter was shaken to hear Jesus predict these terrible events. He must have wondered what Jesus’ death would mean for the disciples, specifically for him. So Peter began to “reprimand” or rebuke Jesus. The word translated “reprimand” is a strong term meaning that Peter was, in fact, rejecting Jesus’ interpretation of the Messiah as a suffering figure. He was against Jesus’ plan. He disagreed. Peter, in effect, was trying to talk Jesus out of going to the Cross. But if Jesus hadn’t suffered and died, Peter would have died in his sins. And do all of us.

Shortly before this interaction, Jesus had told Peter, “You are blessed, Simon son of John” (16:17). But at this point Jesus told him, “Get away from me, Satan!” What happened? Peter had quickly turned from God’s perspective to evaluating the situation from a “human point of view.” (Jesus doesn’t mean, Peter = Satan). In the process, Peter was either being used by Satan or using one of Satan’s tactics in trying to protect his beloved Master or both. Notice this: Peter and other disciples were motivated by love and admiration for Jesus, nevertheless, their job was not to guide or advice and protect him but to follow him. Unknowingly, the disciples were trying to prevent Jesus from going to the Cross and fulfilling his grand mission. Only after Jesus’ death and resurrection would they understand why he had to die.

Think about this: When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness (see Matthew 4), he tried to get him to look at his life and the world from a human point of view. But Jesus dismissed Satan’s plan by the Word of God. Jesus remain in God’s perspective. Why endure a cross when you can have an earthly crown? But God’s perspective changes everything. Way more important than any earthly fame, fortune, relationships, or power is doing what God wants. This life is but a prelude to eternal life with Him. Amen.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jesus Predicted His Own Resurrection (What the Great Good News for Sinners!)

Jesus talked about his death and resurrection. 
’The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,’ Jesus said. ‘He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead’” (Luke 9:22, NLT).

Jesus told his disciples “not to tell anyone” that he was the Messiah (Luke 9:21), not because it is wrong, but because it was a premature declaration or that Jesus was not fully revealed himself to them his messiahship due to the absent of resurrection and ascension, and all of them were clearly hadn’t understood Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is “the Messiah” (9:20). The Father “revealed” to Peter but not due to his understanding which was a different kind of messiah than what Jesus have in mind but because of God’s Holy Spirit who love to revealed the truth about the Son of God. So Jesus began to spell it out for them (Well, after Jesus’ resurrection, he said to them, “Go tell!”).

Jesus started by saying he would have to suffer greatly at the hands of “the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law” – in effect, the Jewish supreme court – and that would lead to his death (As a note: Jesus is the only Person who choose to come to the world, choose his parents, choose to live among us, choose who’s going to persecute him, choose how to die and time to raised back to life again. We, including the enemies, absolutely have no choice in any of these!). Those plain statements much have shocked the disciples, especially the part about his dying. And evidently they couldn’t comprehend the next part, the Good News, that “on the third day” he would “be raised from the dead.”

I think, if they had actually heard what Jesus (really) said about coming back to life, they probably would have pressed him on that issue, saying something like, “Wait a minute! How is that possible?” Instead, the Gospel stories report that Peter “began to reprimand him for saying such things” (see Mark 8:32). I tell you, Peter thought of a different version of messiah; not the Scripture’s Messiah. Jesus predicted his resurrection at least two more times beside in the Bible passages above in Matthew 17:23 and 20:19, yet the disciples were shocked when it actually occurred.

Think about this: We live on the other side of these predicted events and know the story of Jesus’ being rejected, accused, and convicted by the religious authorities and tortured and crucified by the Romans. Thanks God for the written Word, the Bible. We also know the truth of the Resurrection – that on “the third day” Jesus was “raised from the dead.” Centuries after those facts, people still have misconceptions about Jesus’ real identity and they are still surprised that Jesus arose from the dead. All religious and great men’s tombs are occupied, but Jesus’ tomb is empty! The Good News is that instead of struggling under the weight of sin, guilt, and worldly issues and conflicts, we can live in the joy of Resurrection. Because Jesus rose, we know he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And because he lives, we too shall live. Amen!

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Letters to Annie: Choose Wise Role Models


Dear Annie,

            It’s been awhile since I write any letter to you. I’m sorry. I’ve been very busy lately with the student ministry and my writings. My books will be published next year. I’ll be back to see you soon and celebrate together this achievement with thanksgivings and prayer together. It will be fun! Oh, Annie, during one of the retreat last month, I have made a decision to share our good news of romantic relationship with one of my well-trusted colleagues. We talked man-to-man and I asked for his advice and wise counselling. He also guide me in my journey as Christ follower and leader to young people. I consider him as my mentor. Maybe I will introduce him to you soon dear.

            Early of this year, I realized of how important it is for us to have and choose wise role models. To effectively strengthen our faith and our relationships, we have to choose role models whose faith in God is strong. The Bible encourage us: “Spend time with the wise and you will become wise” (Proverbs 13:20). Never think that we can guide our own lives without the help of others; and never thought that we’re too spiritual that we don’t need any guidance.

Annie, we need role models. When we emulate godly people, we become a more godly person ourselves. But not just anyone, we must choose wisely. “Do not open you heart to every man,” writes Thomas A’ Kempis, “but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who fears God.” We should seek out mentors, who, by their words and their presence, make us a better person and a better Christian. Howard Hendricks pointed out that “the effective mentor strives to help a man or woman discover what they can be in Christ and then holds them accountable to become that person.”

            Today, if you don’t have any role models, as a gift to yourself, select from your friends, church members and family members, a mentor whose judgment you trust. A mentor don’t have to be perfect (nobody is perfect, after all) or flawless or a very influential person. But he or she must be a mature Christian, growing disciple, wise in applying the Word into actions, well thought of inside and outside the Church and reverent fear of the Lord. Choose your spiritual mentor or mentors. Choose your friends wisely too. Bill Hybels assured that “God often keeps us on the path by guiding us through the counsel of friends and trusted spiritual advisors”.

Listen carefully to your mentor’s advice and be willing to accept that advice, even if accepting it requires effort or pain, or both. Remember, their advice is not flawless or absolute and may sometime impractical and may not have all of the answers. But by all mean consider your mentor or mentors to be God’s gift to you. Ask, listen, and learn. As for any other God’s gifts, use this gift for the glory of Christ’s Kingdom. I pray you’ll have wise role models to follow.

I’ll try my best to be your spiritual mentor,
And you’ll somehow be my mentor in the area of my weaknesses.
But above all let both of us choose Lord Jesus Christ as our Supreme Role Model.

            Akui nyalam ikak,
Richard

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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