Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jesus on Holiness and Sin and Our Traditions (Mark 7:1-23)


So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?’ He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions’
(Mark 7:5-8,
NIV).

Ever since God said, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2), His people have busied themselves writing lists of rules, regulations and codes of behaviour to enforce holiness in each other’s daily lives. By the time of Jesus, the Jews had a total of 613 specific “tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:3) which had been passed on from generation to generation since Moses. These were not Old Testament laws given and inspired by God, but they were rules and regulations the well-meaning religious leaders devised in an attempt to apply God’s law to specific daily situations.

By the New Testament times the tradition of the elders had become so ridiculous in their demands on the poor ordinary Jews that it was almost comical. Mark 7:1-4 is an example of just one tradition that stated that anyone who was not a Jew was considered unclean to the Jews. So, the tradition required the Jews to wash themselves after they “come from the marketplace.” Another tradition stated that even the shadow of a Gentile (non-Jew) passing over their kitchen utensils made the utensils unclean! Jesus was unimpressed by the Pharisees’ and scribes’ external show of “holy” behaviour. When they questioned him as to why his disciple ignored the tradition of ceremonial washing, Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 implying that his accusers had a lot of external holiness to “show” but were far from God in their hearts. The self-righteous Jews were so intent on following their own rules that Jesus said they have “let go of the commands of God” but instead “holding on to human traditions.”

The Pharisees made a basic error about holiness. By their behaviour they were saying that holiness was something a person do outside of his life by right conduct. “Obey the rules, do the best you can, pray three times a day or more and you’ll be holy,” they seemed to say. But according to Jesus, the Pharisees and teachers of the law, or anyone who followed their own line of thinking about holiness is far from the truth. The New Testament shows that holiness must be an attitude of the heart before it can affect the external appearances. Furthermore, sanctification – the act or process of being made or becoming holy – is not something a person does but rather something a person receives by being a believer in Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 10:10, and more). God makes us holy as a result of our faith in Christ. Our holy actions are by-products of God-given holiness, not by attempts to achieve holiness by ourselves.

The Jews made a similar mistake about sin. To them (even for some of us), sin was an external defilement such as contact with something or someone unclean. Jesus said, “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them” (Mark 7:15). Sin is the opposite of holiness. Both is basically an attitude of the heart. Holiness springs from an attitude of Christ-centeredness and results in loving God and people. Sin, however, springs from an attitude of self-centeredness and results in selfishness which hurts and takes advantage of people.

It’s surprising how many Christians today read of the errors the Pharisees made regarding holiness and sin, shake their heads in disgust and then fall into the very same trap. We seem to get side-tracked keeping our own “holy traditions” while ignoring the lifestyle of love for God and people that is to be the basis of all commandments. Here are some of obvious “holy traditions” today: kissing the Pope’s feet and Jesus’ statues, Holy Water and pray for the Saints, Rosary prayer and bow down to the Cross, fasting on Friday and the Mass, lighting candles and singing hymns only, the use of olive oil to anoint ministers, father’s special sit, priests began to dress differently from the laity, Luther’s and Calvin’s doctrines become the standard to interpret the Scriptures, etc. (Type ‘amen’ on Facebook also have becoming people’s tradition today). There are also the not-so-obvious traditions that we unconsciously follow today. By the way, Jesus did not mean that all traditions, rules and regulations are to be tossed out. For example, the traditions of praise & worship before sermon and reading the Bible three chapters a day can be very beneficial. These and many more are not necessarily bad or sinful. But if the traditions become for us a substitute for the holiness which God produces in our lives, then they have become too important and we could correctly be labelled as “Pharisee.”

If God has made you holy from the inside out,
then let your holy obedience-action to God’s Word show it.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jesus deka Nuan Nusui ka Jako Tuhan, Anang Nungkup Iya (Mark 4:21-25)


Lalu ku [Jesus] bejaku ngagai sida, ‘Kati lampu ti ditungkun, dirungkup ngena bisin, tauka diengkah di baruh katil, tauka diengkah ba penuduk lampu? Laban nadai utai ti dilalai, enda dikebakka, lalu nadai utai ti resia, enda ditemu. Awakka orang ke bisi pending, ninga.’ Lalu ku Iya bejaku ngagai sida, ‘Peratika utai ti didinga kita! Takar ti dikena kita, deka dikena nakar utai ke kita, lalu utai ti lebih agi ari nya deka diberi ngagai kita. Laban orang ke bisi utai deka diberi mayuh agi, lalu orang ke nadai utai, indah utai ti mimit ti dikemesi sida deh deka diambi ari sida’
(Mark 4:21-25, Bup Kudus Baru).

[Aku enda entu mereti ka jako Iban tu, nya alai aku mega macha Alkitab BM, tang aku cuba deka nerang ka kita Jako tu]

Mayoh jalai nerima benih, iya nya “jaku Allah Taala” (Mark 4:14): ba endur ti bebatu; ba madang duri; ba jalai; tauka ba “tanah ti manah” (4:20) lalu bebuah lebat.

Bisi sigi agi jalai nerima jako Allah Taala, ngambi ka chunto, iya nya dalam tajau lalu disimpan sampai ka belama-lama iya. Kala meda orang ti belik baka nya? Nya meh sama sabaka orang Kristian ti nyimpan pesan Jako Tuhan dalam ati diri aja lalu ngelalai ka pengarap Kristian ari orang mayuh. Nya baka orang ti nungkun lampu lalu “ditungkup ngena bisin.” Jako Tuhan ditemu iya amat tang enggai beguna ka iya. Jako nya “diengkah di baruh katil.” Mayoh amat orang Kristian ti udah lama baka nya. Pia mega sekeda gereja amat bisi begempuru setiap minggu lalu besembiang serta mending Bup Kudus, tang aum nya baka ‘kelab sosial’ tauka ‘randau ruai’ aja. Pengawa enggau pengerajin deka nusui ka Berita Manah ngagai orang bukai tulin nadai.

Jesus ditu bejako nyuruh kitai engkah ka Jako Tuhan tauka “lampu” nya “ba penuduk lampu” awak ka semua orang bisi meda tauka ninga ka iya; lalu “nadai utai ti dilalai, enda dikebakka, lalu nadai utai ti resia, enda ditemu.”

Utai ti diberi, ti diajar Tuhan Yesus Kristus anang dilalai, kitai mesti nusui ka iya ngagai orang bukai. Makin mayoh utai diterima nuan ari Tuhan – Jako ngau berkat Iya – makin gerah nuan deka nusui ka iya lalu deka merekat ka orang ti enda ngelala Iya. Enti kitai enda nungkup ka Jako Iya tang engkah ka Jako Iya ba “penuduk lampu” awakka semua orang nemu ka Iya, makin mayoh agi Allah Taala deka ngajar enggau meri berkat ngagai kitai semoa. Tu eti ya maya Jesus bejako: “Laban orang ke bisi [Jako Tuhan ti ditusi sida] deka diberi mayuh agi, lalu orang ke nadai utai, indah utai [Jako Tuhan ti disimpan sida aja] ti mimit ti dikemesi sida deh deka diambi ari sida.

Plaba aku, Jesus bisi misi ba pikir ngau ati Iya. Iya deka meda Gereja – semua orang ti arap ka Allah Taala – mansang besai agi. Bejuta-juta orang deka pansut ari pemetang lalu dunya nyadi terang! Ko kitai, Bakani tu ulih nyadi? Ngena jalai tu: Lampu tauka Jako Tuhan ti diberi Iya ngagai kitai, anang kitai nungkup lalu nyimpan iya; kitai patut manchar tauka nusui ka Jako Tuhan ngagai orang ti ngelinggi kitai. Enti mayoh orang Kristian manchar ka lampu nya, tentu iya ngasoh dunya tampak bebendang! Kati nya misi nuan mega? Enti pia aram meh kitai ngereja ka iya. Ingat tu, “Orang ke bisi deka diberi mayuh agi.”

Sembiang
Tuhan Jesus Kristus, Nuan udah nungkun api Jako Nuan, penerang pengarap dalam ati aku. Tulong aku awak ka aku enda nangkup lampu api Nuan tang mantai iya ka orang ngelinggi aku enggau pengasih ngau penyayau Nuan. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hero Alkitab: TUHAN Allah Menciptakan dan Berkuasa Ke Atas Segalanya


Mari melakukan satu eksperimen. Pertama sekali, berdiri dan melompat sepuluh kali. Kemudian, lakukan lima belas kali push-ups. Teruskan. Ambil masa kamu.

Sudah? Bagus. Sekarang, tutup mata kamu, tarik nafas panjang-panjang…. dan cipta sebuah pulau.
Buka mata kamu. Adakah sebuah pulau terjadi di depan mata kamu? Tidak? Baiklah, mungkin kamu kena cuba sesuatu yang lebih kecil, seperti sebuah gunung. Sedia, mula!

Tiada gunung juga? Hmmm, mungkin ianya masih terlalu besar sebagai permulaan. Lebih baik mencuba sesuatu yang lebih kecil lagi, seperti seekor lembu atau kancil. Datang semula selepas kamu melakukannya, ya.

Apa dia? Kamu tidak boleh berbuat begitu juga? Baiklah, cuba melakukan sesuatu yang lebih kecil lagi, sangat kecil. Cuba kamu mencipta biji benih atau seekor semut atau satu bakteria. Mungkin kamu juga boleh berkata, “Zam zam ala kazam!”

Adakah ianya terjadi? Tidak? Oh, cubaan yang bagus disitu – tidak mengejutkan. Hakikatnya, kamu hanyalah manusia biasa, dan manusia tidak memiliki kuasa untuk mencipta sesuatu daripada kosong.

Tetapi ada seorang yang boleh: TUHAN Allah.

Kejadian 1:1 berkata: “Pada mulanya Allah menciptakan langit dan bumi” (TB). Begitulah caranya Alkitab menceritakan tentang sebelum masa dan kehidupan bermula, Allah sudah ada, dan dia menciptakan segalanya. Dia menciptakan matahari, bulan, bintang-bintang, planet-planet, dan galaksi-galaksi di alam semesta. Dia menciptakan bumi dan segala sesuatu yang ada di dalamnya – lautan, sungai-sungai, darat, gunung-gunung, pokok-pokok, tumbuh-tumbuhan, haiwan liar, dan manusia.

Dia menciptakan segalanya!

Ingat lagi bagaimana kamu sendiri tidak boleh mencipta walau kehidupan yang kecil sekalipun? Sekarang fikirkan tentang kebesaran kuasa dan ketiada batasan kebolehan Allah itu. Dia menciptakan seluruh semesta dengan hanya berfirman*. Jika Dia menciptakan segalanya, maka Dia juga yang menguasai segalanya. Dia boleh melakukan apa saja terhadap ciptaan-Nya kerana tiada sesuatu yang ada tanpa Dia. Dia ialah Tuhan yang sangat hebat dan berkuasa!

Kenyataan ini sangat penting bagi kita. Apa yang kita percaya tentang permulaan segala sesuatu itu akan mempengaruhi segalanya dalam kehidupan kita. Jika kamu percaya bahawa kamu diciptakan melalui proses revolusi alam atau ‘kemalangan’ Big Bang, maka kamu tidak perlu mentaati seseorang atau sesuatu yang lebih berkuasa daripada kamu. Kamu merasakan bahawa kamu boleh melakukan apa sahaja yang kamu suka di dunia ini. Inilah pemikiran yang sangat tidak logik.

Tetapi jika kamu percaya kepada kekuasaan mutlak, Pencipta yang mengetahui segalanya, maka kamu tahu bahawa kamu diciptakan atas sebab dan kamu harus mentaati perintah-Nya. Kamu mempunyai tujuan dalam hidup, tidak seperti orang yang tidak percaya kepada TUHAN. Kamu akan mengerti bahawa semuanya ialah bukan tentang kamu, tetapi Dia. Ianya tentang melayani Allah yang menciptakan kita dan mengenal Dia dengan lebih dalam lagi. Inilah sebabnya kehidupan kita ini mempunyai tujuan dan sangat bernilai bagi Allah.

*”Pada mulanya adalah Firman; Firman itu bersama-sama dengan Allah dan Firman itu adalah Allah. Ia pada mulanya bersama-sama dengan Allah. Segala sesuatu dijadikan oleh Dia dan tanpa Dia tidak ada suatupun yang telah jadi dari segala yang telah dijadikan” (Yohanes 1:1-3, TB). Siapakah Firman itu? Yesus Kristus. “Segala sesuatu diciptakan oleh Dia dan untuk Dia” (Kolose 1:16, TB).

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Jesus Shows What Love Does


Would you do what Jesus did? He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable. He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. He could hold the universe in His palm but gave it up to float in the womb of a maiden.
            If you were God, would you sleep on straw, nurse from a breast, and be clothed in a diaper? I wouldn’t, but Christ did.
            If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? …Christ did.
            He humbled Himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger. The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier.
            Why? Because that’s what love does. It puts the beloved before itself.
            Love goes the distance… and Christ traveled from limitless eternity to be confined by time in order to become one of us. He didn’t have to. He could have given up. At any step along the way, He could have called it quits.
            When He saw the size of the womb, He could have stopped.
            When He saw how tiny His hand would be, how soft His voice would be, how hungry His tummy would be, He could have stopped. At the first whiff of the stinky stable, at the first gust of cold air. The first time He scraped His knee or blew His nose or tasted burnt bagels, He could have turned and walked out.  
            When He saw the dirt floor of His Nazareth house. When Joseph gave Him a chore to do. When His fellow students were dozing off during the reading of the Torah, His Torah. At any point Jesus could have said, “That’s it! That’s enough! I’m going home.” But He didn’t.
            He didn’t because He is love.
[Taken from 3:16 by Max Lucado]


THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jesus meh Penabur ti Badas: Bakani Ati Nuan Nerima Jako Allah Taala? (Mark 4:1-20)


Jesus lalu belabuh ngajar baru ba tebing Danau Galili. Mayuh amat orang begempuru ngelingi Iya. Nya alai Iya nepan sebuah perau ti lagung-lagung ba danau nya, lalu nudukka diri dia, lalu semua orang mayuh bediri ba tebing. Iya lalu belabuh ngajar sida mayuh macham utai ngena jaku sempama. Ku Iya: ‘Dinga kita! Siku penabur benih mansang naburka benih…’
(Mark 4:1-3, Bup Kudus Baru)

Nama kabuah Jako Allah Taala enda diterima kitai mensia? Kati “benih” nya jai? Ukai. “Benih” nya meh Jako Pengidup, jako Berita Manah pasal perintah Allah Taala. Kati “penabur benih” nya jai? Ukai. Tuhan Jesus empu ti Pengajar Dunya. Iya penabur ti badas amai. Kabuah Jako Allah Taala enda diterima kitai mensia ukai laban “penabur benih” tauka Pengajar enda manah, tang laban ati orang ti ninga Jako Allah Taala enda tebuka – semina orang ti mereti ka Jako Iya serta ati ti tebuka ajak deka diselamat ka Iya.

Sekeda ati orang baka jalai: “Benih ti labuh ba jalai nya orang ke ninga jaku nya. Lebuh sida ninga jaku nya, Sitan datai tekala nya lalu ngerampas jaku nya ari sida” (Mark 4:15). Sida amai bisi ninga tang enggai berunding ka jako ajar nya dalam ati. Maya badu ninga, Sitan ngerampas ka jako nya ari sida, lalu sida badu ingat ka jako ajar nya agi.

Sekeda ati orang baka tanah ti bebatu: “Benih ti labuh ba tanah ti bebatu nya orang ke gaga ati ninga lalu nerima jaku nya. Tang sida nadai urat, lalu tan enda lama. Lebuh penusah tauka pemerinsa datai ketegal jaku nya, sida lalu tekala nya mungkir” (Mark 14:16-17). Nama kabuah nadai urat? Laban sida nadai kering pengarap. Saritu nitih ka jako orang tu, lalu pagila ninga ka jako orang lain. Sida gaga ati ninga ka jako nya tang maya bisi penusah ngau pemerinsa (taja pan ia mimit aja) sida jampat ngalah. Kati ko tua, bisi gak kadang-kadang baka nya?

Sekeda ati orang baka madang duri: “Benih ti labuh ba madang duri nya orang ke ninga jaku nya, tang pengangkun sida ke dunya, enggau pengerindu sida ke pengaya, enggau pengingin sida ke utai bukai, tama lalu ngalahka jaku nya, lalu jaku nya enda bebuah” (Mark 14:18-19). Nama erti “pengangkun sida ke dunya”? Sida tu irau amat pasal pengidup sida baka pemakai tauka utai ti dikena seari-ari sampai ka nadai ari ka berati ka Jako Tuhan. “Pengerindu sida ke pengaya”? Sida tu taja pan udah cukup pemakai enggau utai ti di kena, sida udu ingin ati ngiga mayoh agi pengaya di dunya tu. “Pengingin sida ke utai bukai”? Sida tu bisi pengingin ka utai kamah, pengingin deka nyadi orang besai serta tinggi pangkat, pengingin bejudi enggau mayoh utai bukai.

Semina sekeda ati orang baka tanah ti manah: “Tang benih ti labuh ba tanah ti manah nya orang ke ninga jaku nya, nerima iya lalu bebuah tiga puluh, enam puluh, enggau seratus kali lipat” (Mark 4:20). Sida tu baka “tanah ti ami.” Maya jako Allah Taala labuh ba ati sida, ia “tumbuh lalu mansang besai lalu bebuah lebat” (Mark 4:8). Sida muka ati sida enggau ati ti lantang nyambut Jako Allah Taala lalu deka amat nitih ka perintah Iya – ninga serta ngereja ka pengawa Tuhan.

Baka ni ko ati nuan? Bakai jalai lalu jako dirampas Sitan? Baka tanah ti bebatu ti nadai urat? Baka madang duri ti enda ngasuh jako bebuah? Tauka ati nuan baka tanah ti manah – tanah ngelak benih Jako Allah Taala tumbuh ba ati nuan lalu mansang besai lalu bebuah lebat? O menyadi, mintak meh ati nuan baka “tanah ti manah” ngau besampi ka Tuhan Jesus Kristus awakka ati nuan nyimpan ka Jako Allah Taala lalu bebuah dalam pengidup nuan.

Sembiang
O Tuhan Jesus, Nuan ti Penabur Jako Allah Taala, buka pending enggau ati aku ngambi ka aku nyambut Jako Nuan enggau ati ti manah lalu mansut ka buah ti manah – iya nya pendiau ti badas. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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It's All About Jesus: Studies from First Epistle of John (FREE EBOOK)

From Preface

Lord Jesus Christ himself claimed throughout his ministry to be not only God the Son incarnate but also to be at the center of God's saving purposes and revelation. He said to the unbelieving Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life” but the Scribes and Pharisees missed the unifying message of the history of redemption and revelation: the Scriptures "point to" Jesus (John 5:39). The Pharisees claimed to believe Moses, but they did not, because Moses, "in whom you have set your hope" (John 5:45) accuses them. The Pharisees missed the point of the Scriptures: "if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me" (John 5:46). But what about the New Testament, especially first epistle of John? The Apostle John says that Jesus is the One that he is writing about: “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” (1 John 1:1).

Friends, it’s all about Jesus.

In this book, I hope for us to answer more very important questions such as: What must a person do to become a Christian? Do Christians ever sin? Does sin continue to cut Christians off from God? What is the difference between “true” and “false” teaching? How do other people know that we are Christians? Who are the “false teachers,” and why are they a danger? How can we get rid of our fears? And much more – but the biggest question of all – who is Jesus?

My prayers will be with you as you read through this simple studies of God’s Word. In the end, my utmost hope for you is that you will read the Word for yourself and delight to obey His commandments.

How to have this FREE EBOOK? Just say "Hi!" to by Facebook inbox. That easy! 
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Jesus ngau Perintah Allah Taala; Nuan Deka Nyukong tauka Ngelaban Iya


’Enggau bendar Aku madah ngagai kita, semua mensia deka diampun ari dosa sida enggau ari jaku busung sida, tang barang sapa bejaku busung ngelaban Roh Kudus, enda diampun, laban iya ngereja dosa ti mengkang belama iya’ (Jesus nyebut nya laban sida udah nyebut, ‘Iya bisi roh ti jai’)
(Mark 3:28-31, Bup Kudus Baru)

Bisi dua macham munsoh ti ngelaban Perintah Allah Taala dalam Injil Mark 3:20-35, iya nya pengajar Adat ari Jerusalem serta sida sebilik Jesus empu.

Ko sida bala pengajar Adat, “Iya bisi Belsebup dalam Iya, lalu Iya muru antu ngena kuasa raja antu” (Mark 3:22). Jesus nyaut sida, “Baka ni ku Sitan ulih muru Sitan? Enti perintah bepechah-belah ngelaban diri empu, perintah nya enda tan. Lalu enti ruang bilik bepechah-belah ngelaban diri empu, ruang bilik nya enda tan. Lalu enti Sitan bepechah-belah ngelaban diri empu, iya enda tan, lalu perintah iya deka abis” (3:23-25). Enggau jako nya, Jesus madah ka sida iya, “Aku muru antu ngena kuasa ari Roh Kudus ukai ari raja antu!” Ia madah sigi pan kuasa Sitan amat kering, Tuhan Jesus empu lebih kering agi ari Sitan! Semina Jesus ulih “nanchang orang ka kering nya [Sitan]” (3:27). Enti kitai baka pengajar Adat, kitai ngelaban Roh Kudus. Retinya, kitai nutup ati diri lalu nulak pengawa Roh Tuhan Jesus dalam ati kitai. Enti kitai baka nya, nadai jalai Jesus deka nyelamat ka kitai.

Pia mega, sida sebilik kaban belayan Tuhan Yesus empu pan enda nerima pengawa Iya. Sida nagang Jesus ngereja pengawa Allah Taala lalu deka mai Iya pulai ka rumah di Nazaret laban bisi orang madah: “Iya [Jesus] nyau udah gila!” (3:21). Mayoh orang diatu baka nya; enda ngasoh kaban belayan nyadi pastor, padri, tauka penulong Kristian sepenuh masa. Mayuh apai indai enda ngasoh anak-anak sida nulong pengawa gereja (lebih agi nitih ka gereja bukai) serta pengawa ka guna orang mayoh. Bisi mega orang ngumbai penulong Tuhan Jesus nya orang gila!

Tiap iko kitai mesti milih: sekalika begulai enggau Tuhan Jesus lalu nitih ka Perintah Iya, tauka ngelaban Iya baka sida pengajar Adat ari Jerusalem serta sida sebilik Jesus. Nadai jalai tengah. Kitai mesti milih siti aja. Enti kitai deka begulai enggau Jesus lalu milih Iya, kitai mesti ninga ka Jako Allah serta ngereja ka iya. Kitai mesti nitih ka ator Allah Taala, ukai ngelaban Anak Iya. Ko Tuhan Jesus, “Sapa indai Aku? Sapa menyadi Aku? Tu meh indai Aku enggau menyadi Aku! Barang sapa ngereja peneka Allah Taala, nya meh menyadi lelaki, menyadi indu, enggau indai Aku” (Markus 3:33-35).

Sembiang
O Tuhan Jesus, bai aku nyadi penulong Nuan. Kering ka aku awak ka aku enda takut orang ngumbai aku gila, sekalika dirasok antu. Ajar aku nitih ka ator Allah Taala aja lalu pia nyadi menyadi Nuan. Amen.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jesus holds Us Secure: Three Great Assurances from God (1 John 5:18-21, End)


We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts
(1 John 5:18-21, NLT).

The Apostle John highlighted three important “we knows” statements at the end of his letter. First, we know that we can be freed from the power of sin. This doesn’t mean that we never sin but we “do not make a practice of sinning” or habitually sinning anymore. We do not have to be helpless slaves to sin; it does not have to be a constant habit. Even though in reality the devil is dangerously active in this world and his power is great, we are assured that Jesus is more powerful and greater! He is with us and for us, no matter what happens. Jesus holds us “secured,” and that is why “the evil one cannot touch” us!

Second, we know that we draw our very existence from God. God is like our life support system. We receive all that we are and have from God, even though we know that Satan has tremendous power in “the world around us” (for a while). There are many people who are in the influence of the evil one. They have chosen to live their lives apart from God. Know that the Bible only divides the people of the world into two groups: light or darkness. Either a person chooses to live with and for God, or for the powers of evil in this world. There is no third choice. So, with God on our side, there is really no battle too great or disappointment too large that can cause us to be defeated. “We are” – after all – “children of God.”

Third, we know that we believe in the true God. There certainly are many counterfeit gods today. But we know that through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we can “know the true God.” One way we know this is that our God does not make us feel confused, instead, He gives us “understanding.” In other words, being a Christian doesn’t mean that we have to put our minds in neutral and commit intellectual suicide (or blind faith or simpleton faith). Nor do we have to be obsessed with unanswerable issues (complex theological and philosophical arguments). The truth of God and about God requires faith-understanding, and thus it stimulate our thinking so we will know what is fundamentally right (or wrong) and true (or false), especially as we face false teachings and false gods. But notice that we not only know God, we are also “live in” God. It mean we not only have an acquaintance with God but also live in fellowship in Him and He in us. This is a much deeper experience than a mere passing acquaintance might be. “We live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ.

Then John ends his letter with the affectionate phrase: “Dear children…” John’s love reflects God’s love for all of us, His children. This is wonderful! He then challenge us to “keep away from anything that might take God’s place in [our] hearts” (In Greek it translation simply: “Keep yourselves from idols”). In John’s time it mainly refers to physical images of false gods but for today it can also refers to the influences of false faiths around us; in educations, religions, social media, etc. John wants us to avoid counterfeit gods – anything or anyone that claims our values, our time, our relationships, and our hearts from “the only true God.” We must avoid anything that deny Jesus Christ of His full deity and humanity, any human idea that claims to be more authoritative than the Bible, any royalty that replaces God at the centre of our life. Therefore, “Keep yourselves away from idols!” with exclamation mark “!!!


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jesus' Command: Pray on Behalf of Sinning Brother and Sister in Christ (1 John 5:16-17)


If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sins, but not every sin leads to death
(1 John 5:16-17, NLT).

If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning… you should pray.” We read that as our faith grows, if it were to grows, we should go beyond the concerns we have about ourselves and pray for others. This is called the intercession prayer. If we pray only about our own needs, as important as these needs may be, we can become quite self-centred and not see how great and privilege it is to be a part of the growth of other people as well. As we learn to pray for others, we become more sensitive about their needs and will keep in touch with them so we know what their needs are.

And not only do we pray about the needs of others; we should be willing to be a means or channel through which God can answer our prayers. In case this is a new thought for you, let me share an example: Let’s say that you find out that a friend is suffering from the loss of job and from an illness. You have heard that he or she have very little food or money at home. So you share these concerns with God, you pray that God will provide for their needs, so they won’t go hungry and thus will not sinning against God for the situations that he or she is experiencing now. After praying such a prayer, you can ask to yourselves, “In what way would God like me to be the way that an answer is provided? How can I become the answer to my own prayer?” You could buy him or her a dinner, or you could help to find a job, or you could offer to care (if need be) until he or she gets better, etc.

What is amazing about this process, then, is that prayer does not become a closet activity in which we withdraw from people and think only ‘heavenly’ thoughts. As we pray about the needs of others we are drawn back into loving others. So, Lord Jesus Christ is the connecting link between ourselves and others. As we feel loved by Jesus and as our prayers are answered, we grow in our ability to love and care for others. This is especially true when it comes to pray for our “Christian brother or sister” whom we knowingly “sinning” and commits “wicked actions” against God. We must pray for and at the same time love and lead him or her back in the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle James was very clear with this: “If someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about many forgiveness of many sins” (James 5:19-20). As we “pray” earnestly and be open to be use by God in this way, He “will give that person life” [This promise is apply in the context of brothers and sisters in Christ]. 

However, the part of this section that may be less clear involves what John calls: “…a sin that leads to death.” Exactly what this means has been debated for centuries until now. But let me try, in simple way: We know that God has promised to forgive us our sins when we confess them and ask for forgiveness (read 1 John 1:9 again). But there is one attitude – only one – that seems to cut oneself off from God. Jesus talks about this sin as being blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:29). This kind of sin that “lead to death” is the sin that say the work of Jesus is really the work of Satan or origin from Satan, imply that Satan is really more powerful than God, and that evil is more powerful and maybe even is  – preferable to what is good and true. To talk and live like that is to live a life in spiritual ruin. So, John is saying “there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it” – because it is useless to pray for them since they already decided willingly that everything that Jesus did and done are attributed to evil one. Don’t do it!


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Jesus wants to Hear You Pray: We Have Freedom of Speech with God (1 John 5:13-15)


I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for
(1 John 5:13-15, NLT).

The Apostle John begins by mentioning that this letter is written especially for people who are already believers: “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God” (although anybody else is welcome to read it as well, I’m sure). Why? So that we know for sure that we “have eternal life.” John is concerned that we must have confident and toughness we need as we are confronted by false teachers and other pressures. Some false beliefs in John’s day as well as today, were probably attractive and promised all kinds of things. So, in moment of weakness, some people would give in to the pressure and leave their faith in Jesus. Friends, in tough times, we need to be confidence in the “Son of God” that we will receive “eternal life”! No ifs, ands, or buts. Our futures is in God’s faithful hand.

There are other sources of confidence besides knowing that we have eternal life: We can live with the confidence that God cares for us so much that we can speak boldly with God through prayer. “We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” We can share with God what is on our minds without being afraid of how He will respond. We have a freedom of speech with God. We can share our frustrations and anger as well as our praise, love, and concerns with God. God can take whatever we need to share. We don’t have to force our way into God’s presence of make an appointment months in advance as if He were the CEO of a large company or government. God is always available. There is no answering service, no busy signal, and no forwarding e-mail address. God is ready to talk with us, 24-7 a day.

God wants what is best for us. Pray for “anything.” But we are taught to pray for “anything that pleases him” or more accurately – pray “according to His will” (NIV). This is balanced prayer. In other words, we should share our concerns with God and ask that we will want what God wants for us. This can help us get beyond presenting God with a grocery list of “our requests” for which we expect certain answers. As we tell God about our concerns, we can say that we may not be sure what the best answer is – but God knows the best for us.

Remember: Prayer involves both talking and listening. Maybe you are wondering how we can listen to God. I never have had heard an audible “voice” from God. I know that some people claim to hear God on a daily basis. But that hasn’t been true for me (Am I or you less ‘spiritual’ than others if we don’t? Maybe not so). I find that Lord Jesus most often speaks to me through my own common sense and conscious, through circumstances and other people, and especially – the written Word of God, the Bible. However God speaks to you – I hope mainly from God’s Word – you can be sure and confident that He wants to hear you and wants the very best for you as well. Amen.


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jesus the Son of God: We Can Have, Know and Enjoy Eternal Life (1 John 5;11-12)


[This] is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life
(1 John 5:11-12, NLT).

The Apostle John now sums up all that is in store for the believer. Not only do we have the promise of God’s Spirit living in us to help, teach, encourage, strengthen, and change us. “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true – it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ” (2:27). “[The] Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world… the Spirit of Truth” (4:4, 6). “God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us” (4:13). But we are also given a gift that cannot be earned, the gift of eternal life! Jesus Christ is the only true God, and he is eternal life (5:20). We can enjoy eternal life (2:25), we can have eternal life (4:9), and we can know we have eternal life (5:13). This is the God-size-coolness beyond measure!

What is eternal life? Eternal life is not simply an unending progression of years. A common New Testament word for “eternal” is aionios, which carries the idea of quantity as well as quality. In fact, eternal life is not really associated with “years” at all, as it is independent of time. Eternal life can function outside and beyond time, as well as within time. For this reason, eternal life can be thought of as something that Christians experience now. Believers don’t have to “wait” for eternal life, because it’s not something that starts when they die. Rather, eternal life begins the moment a person exercises faith in Christ. It is our current possession.
[Source: Got Questions Ministries website]

As you know, there are a lot of people who are scared to death about dying. Some people are so afraid that they won’t even talk about it, and if a loved one does die, they try to act like it didn’t really happen. We see this fear in our society with such a focus on being wrinkle-free, young and fit, and the increase of photo editors’ apps. But the truth is that all of us will die sometime, and that can seem kind of scary for those who don’t have hope. The power or fear of death can be defeated. However, we don’t need to live our lives being deathly afraid about dying. We know it’s going to happen; but we can be relieved of the worry and fear that so many people have.

God “has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” This eternal life really starts right now, when we confess our sin before God and accept God’s Son as our Lord and Saviour. With Jesus in our lives, we can live life to the fullest right now – with joy unspeakable (even in the midst of suffering and persecutions) and a great sense of purpose in life (you know why and what you’re living for) we never thought possible. To live without Jesus, on the other hand, is to be (always) bored, unsatisfied life, depressed, afraid, and the worst of all is not hell but – separation from God.

As this letter 1 John is written to Christians, I want to focus on us: Not only does being a Christian increase the quantity of our life (life eternal with God), but also brings a greater quality of life (life lived in Jesus right now). Brothers and sisters, what more could we ask for? Praise and worship God!

What comes to your mind when you think about death?
Fear or faith?
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jesus is the Son of God: Nobody can both accept God and deny his Son (1 John 5:9-10)

The Question: What is the Truth?
Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son
(1 John 5:9-10, NLT).

What has been hinted at is now stated clearly: God is the One behind all of these witnesses. Through the events we see in history (“the water” Jesus’ birth and baptism; “the blood” Jesus’ death and resurrection), and the coming of “the (Holy) Spirit” into our lives, we can know beyond a doubt that our beliefs are really true (1 John 5:6-8). We know that Jesus Christ, “the Son of God” became a man to take away our sins; we know that we have passed from death to life; we know that we are God’s children and have receive victory over this evil world. “True Christianity,” writes Dr. Henrietta C. Mears, “is more than a creed – it is something that can be known and felt.”

If “we believe human testimony” in court when two or three give evidence, how much more we should accept the testimony of God – “We can believe the greater testimony that comes from God.” God’s Word is greater than human’s words. Notice that John writes “believe in” the Son of God. He makes an important distinction here. There is a great difference between believing about someone (knowing lots of details of that person) and believing in someone (accepting the whole person, believing and appreciating all that he stands for). The second kind of belief is the kind that God wants us to have. God does not just want us to believe everything about Him (though it is very important); instead first and foremost, God wants us to “believe in the Son of God,” Jesus Christ – making a wholehearted commitment to Him.

Those who don’t believe [that Jesus is the Son of God] are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.” We might not directly says that God is a liar, but by our unbelieved we in fact believe that God’s testimony is not true. God has said all over the Scripture that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He also said that Jesus is the Son of God. Some people do not believe this. They deny Jesus. They do not agree with God’s testimony. So they behave as if God tells lies. They act as if God’s words are untrue. They have refused to believe in God and in Christ. “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23, NIV) and “No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son” (Matthew 11:27). To receive the Son is to receive the Father. To deny the Son is to deny the Father. Nobody can both accept God and deny his Son.

Again, nobody can both accept God and deny his Son. This is a serious matter. Here is God’s verdict: “He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). Do you have Jesus in your life? Don’t sleep until you settle this question.

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Jesus Freaks: Dominggus Kenjam of Indonesia, "It is Not Time For You Yet..."

Dominggus Kenjam - watch YouTube for testimony.
1999

Allah-u-Ahkar!” (Allah is Almighty!) “Allah-u-Ahkar!”
Dominggus awoke with a start out of his bed as someone grabbed him and dragged him to the ground. His screams were muffled as they continued to shout and rain blows down on his body. He couldn’t see anyone of them, and he could see no means of escape. “We will allow the women to live, but the men must die!” someone shouted.
            As Dominggus struggled to escape, a sickle came down on the back of his neck, cutting deeply. He went nearly unconscious but sensed that his assailants had left the room, leaving him for dead. He felt ill as the growing pool of his own blood began soaking through his t-shirt.
            Rather than lapsing all the way into unconsciousness, though, Dominggus reported that his spirit left his body and was escorted up by two angels. As he rose, he could look back down on where his body lay huddled on the floor in the dark room. He was sure that he had died.
            Every feeling of fear and pain left him immediately as an indescribable peace flooded his being. I am going to be with Jesus, he thought.
            Then Dominggus heard the words, “It is not time for you to serve me here.” Then he felt himself floating back toward his body.
            Suddenly Dominggus could feel that someone else was in the room with him. They were discussing which morgue to take his body to, because they didn’t know if he was a Muslim or a Christian.
            “I am a Christian,” he was able to say weakly. The two emergency medical workers must have had quite a start when the “corpse” they were discussing answered their question for itself!
            Dominggus was back. His work on the earth was not through.
……………………………………………………

Today, Dominggus has fully recovered. He still bears the scar of the attack on his flesh, but not in his spirit. He has forgiven his attackers and has a deeper commitment to pray for Muslims in Indonesia than ever before. Not only that, he now knows he has a purpose to fulfil on the earth or Jesus would not have sent him back. His faith is now stronger than ever, and he is eager to follow God’s will daily as it is revealed to him.  
            And Indonesia gravely needs people with hearts like that if Dominggus. The government has promoted a belief called Pancasila – meaning that all may freely choose to follow Christianity, Islam, Buddism, or Hinduism – but in reality Muslims receive preferential treatment. The political strength of Islam has been used to limit evangelism and reduce Christian influence on public life. Islamists’ stated aim is the complete elimination of Christianity in the country. In recent years there has been an orchestrated jihad, or “holy war,” against Christians – with over six hundred churches destroyed by mobs. Some areas have been subjected to outright military attacks and killings.
            Over the last forty years, evangelicals have grown from 1.3 million to 11.5 million. The increase of Christian persecution has brought about a greater unity among the Body, the growth of a national prayer movement, and a commitment to outreach in Indonesia and beyond. The vision for the evangelization of Indonesia has grown despite the tremendous persecution.
[Taken from Jesus Freaks: Revolutionaries (2002) by dc Talk. Title mine]

[Be] truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purified gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world
(1 Peter 1:6-7,
NLT).
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jesus is the Son of God: Three Witnesses, Come Forth! (1 John 5:6-8)


[Jesus] Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross – not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses – the Spirit, the water, and the blood – and all three agree
(1 John 5:6-8, NLT)

Not only we can “achieve victory through our faith” (1 John 5:4), but we can know for sure that our faith are correct and base on facts! The Apostle John has mentioned that we need to believe that Jesus “is the Son of God” (5:5), God became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But how can we know for sure that this is true? You know how important it is to have more than one witness when there has been an accident or a crime. This has been true in courts for many centuries. As in Deuteronomy 19:15, “…The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses”. Well, John realizes that we would be surer about our faith if there was more than one witness to verify these faith-beliefs. So he mentions three keys witnesses to our beliefs about Jesus:

Witness #1: The (Holy) Spirit. Again and again in the New Testament we read that “the Spirit” opens our eyes to the truth, that the Spirit will help us realize that Jesus “God’s Son”. The Spirit is an inner witness to what we hear and see. For example, in John 15:26, Lord Jesus says that the Spirit “will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me”; the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit” (see also John 16:13-14; Romans 8:14-16). In other words, we do not just come to the conclusion in our heads that Jesus God’s Son; we also have an inner witness, a divine Person that helps us know that this is true.

Witness #2: The water. There is some disagreement over what John meant here. Since John says that Jesus came “not by water only,” some people, in fact I think that he is referring to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (read Matthew 3:13-17). A voice came from heaven as Jesus was being baptized by water at the Jordan River and said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17). That experience certainly would have been a witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Soon after this event Jesus began His ministry. Others suggest that the reference to “water” is really to Christian being baptized, which is also a witness to the work of Jesus in our lives. This again would be a witness that we make as we are baptized. Some others suggest that “water” refers to Jesus’ birth, I doubt it.

Note: You could probably build a case for either position. But it seems to me that the first interpretation – that the baptism of Jesus was a witness to His being God’s Son – make the most sense, for this was an outward, obvious witness to all who saw Jesus being baptized. They saw Him baptized; they saw the Spirit come in the form of a dove; and they heard God’s voice announcing that Jesus was truly “God’s Son.” This idea, in the context of this passage, makes the most sense to me.

Witness #3: The blood. This witness was the death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins [In theological term this is called substitutionary atonement]. Jesus not only told us that He loved us; He showed that He meant what He said by giving His very life for us (see His love-actions in Matthew 27:50-54). A phony or liar would stop short of that action, saying, “Uhhh… I really love you, but dying is just too much…” No, Jesus went to His death, and later even came back to life – resurrection – so that we would know that what He had said and promised was really true!

We have these three witnesses:
The Spirit, the water, and the blood – and all three agree.
Agree about what? That Jesus is really the Son of God. Amen!
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