Saturday, February 22, 2014

Experience Is The Best Teacher

Now that I am in my senior years, one of my favorite expressions is “Experience is the best teacher”.

The best teacher is not necessarily the Summa, Magna or Cum Laude Alumni, or the Valedictorian in a class. In fact, oftentimes, these are impatient teachers and do not have the patience to take time in explaining step by step or precept upon precept the lessons or principles of life to the students. It is the experienced ones who are not necessarily very brilliant that have the patience to sacrifice in disseminating or scattering, spiritually speaking, their knowledge by teaching what they know to others. They don’t just keep to themselves what they know. They are the teachers who are extra-ordinarily patient and understanding to the plight of the ordinary students. Ministers and workers in the kingdom of God are like unto these teachers.

Imagine if King Solomon to whom God bestowed supernatural wisdom and knowledge kept those to himself. Praise God, he did not! He generously wrote down his knowledge in Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. These books are the gems of knowledge and source of incalculable wisdom. How many sermons were delivered, and teachers taught out of these scriptural books written by King Solomon? Countless! And there have been and will be blessed and benefited souls who will read and hear these wise adage, if they will apply it in their daily life.

Jesus Christ’s true followers use their knowledge or make others the recipients of His grace. With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, they go forth to give light to those in darkness. Such co-workers in the kingdom of God see many souls turning to the Lord. New truths are continually revealed to them, and as they receive, they unselfishly give and impart. This they do particularly and diligently for as long as they physically are able or until their creator calls for them.

The Lord God/Jesus Christ needs fully and truly committed followers and co-laborers in the Kingdom. Half-converted men and women make half-hearted Christians. These, however, are likened to fruitless trees. Meaning, they don’t bring souls to the kingdom of God. On them Christ looks in vain for fruit; He finds nothing but leaves. Soon they are gathered and burned and become useless as ashes.

But it is not for such as these followers that Jesus calls. His cause does not need such half-baked adherents.

But someone commented. The Lord Jesus was young and was only on his 30’s when he began to teach, preach and minister to people. He was yet young and inexperienced. There is no record that he had acquired vast experience before He started his teaching and preaching ministry. “In every rule there is an exception”. Jesus Christ is the ONLY exception to the rule. He is the Son of God. He is 100% human and 100% God. No one else is like Him. As God, he existed since the beginning.

There was an instance when Jesus told the Jewish religious leaders, “Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad”. The Jews said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered, “The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!” (John 8:56-58 NLT). Notably, this is one of the most powerful statements uttered by the Lord Jesus. When he said that he existed before Abraham was born, he undeniably proclaimed his divinity. Not only did Jesus say that he existed before Abraham, he also claimed God’s holy name (I AM [Exodus 3:14] as his name).

The Lord Jesus Christ was, is and will forever be the best teacher without equal, without being a summa, magna or cum laude, or valedictorian. He is 100% better and more knowledgeable than all these brilliant people, because He is the Son of God. In fact, “He is God” in the flesh. No wonder, the Bible tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. And the Word was God” (John 1:1).

As such He knows everything from the beginning up to the unknown future of man and this universe. Of course, the book of Revelation revealed already in advance the future of mankind, and of this Universe. Blessed are the ones who believe and act on their belief. We can trust Him in all things and whatever He says. His teachings are embodied in our canonized Bible, particularly in the Gospel as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Who are these truly committed followers of God/Christ? Those sinners for whom the fetters of sin have been broken, who have sought the Lord with brokenness of heart and have obtained answer to their yearning requests for righteousness. They are active, vibrant and zealous in the work of the kingdom. They become tired physically but nevertheless they are always “on the go” in serving the Lord and other brethren. They sacrifice much of their precious time, effort and intellect, even the wealth entrusted by God to them and their physical well-being. They realize that they have a part to act in the work of soul-winning. They watch and pray and work for the salvation of souls. Molded and fashioned by the Holy Spirit, they gain depth and breadth and stability of Christian character. Always eager and excited to serve the Kingdom and others! They show LOVE and concern for the brethren. Walking in Christ’s footsteps, the one and only supernatural being who loves souls, that He (Christ) so loved such that He substituted for them in the cross of calvary to give them eternal life (John 3:16). They “walk their talk”. They become identified with Him in His self-sacrificing plans. Such Christians are “hot” in preaching, teaching and spreading the Word of God. They are never cold but always warm. Their hearts are filled with unselfish love for sinners, being Christlike. They put things of God first which makes them more and more like their Savior. They are filled with His joy, though they have a lot of human problems of life. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1 KJV). Nevertheless, the promise of the Lord is, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17 NIV). Also the Lord promised, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19 NIV). Day by day the believers (righteous) are growing up to the full stature of Christ Jesus though they are not perfect, for only Jesus Christ is perfect.

Experience the Love of God/Christ for souls, the most precious treasure on earth and heaven. Those who have experienced the LOVE, goodness and provision of our God/Jesus Christ have the joy of the Lord in their hearts which is their strength in living not only a difficult but impossible life of a Christian.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Most Precious Treasure And Gift From God

Our indebtedness to God for our salvation and our entire dependence upon Him should lead us to acknowledge Him as the giver of all our blessings, and by our thanksgiving and praise offerings as well as our financial offerings for the kingdom of God, we acknowledge this. Of the bounties He has bestowed upon us, He requires that a portion be returned to Him. By giving to the Lord what is due to His kingdom, we declare and acknowledge to the whole world and to the invisible kingdom of God on earth that all our material and spiritual blessings and mercies are from Him, that all we possess belongs to Him. Nothing is ours.

The Lord has committed talents to us, that we may be better fitted to honor and glorify Him. To some He has entrusted material wealth; to others, special qualifications and talents for service to the kingdom of God and to others, tact and influence. The Bible tells us that some have five talents, others two, and others one (Matt. 25:15). From the highest to the lowest each has been entrusted with some gifts, or a gift, or talent. In fact, the Bible tells us that everyone is given at least a talent or gift. No one has a zero talent. These talents are not our own. They belong to God. He has given them to us for conscientious use, and He will one day ask for an account of how we have used the talents or talent bestowed upon us.

The great lesson we are daily to learn is that we are stewards (or caretakers) of God’s gifts – stewards of money, of reason, of intellect, of influence. In fact, everything we possess or have, including our body. As stewards of the Lord’s gifts, we are to trade or use these talents, though insignificant they may seem to us (1 Peter 4:10).

However insignificant may be our talent or spiritual gift, we are to or use it in God’s service, for He has need for it, and the believers are God’s instrument. If it is wisely used, we can bring to God one soul who also will dedicate his or her talent to the Master’s service. That soul may win other souls, which are the most precious treasures for us in heaven and with our God, and thus one talent, faithfully used, may gain many talents, and many souls. In this way, we have fulfilled what the Scriptures said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:20-21 KJV). But the most precious gift we can receive from our God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Book We Must Read And Master

The Holy Bible is a collection of sixty-six (66) books authored by God, using “men of God” (human authors) as the actual writers. The Bible tells us, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21 KJV).

How do we know that only sixty-six (66) books are the books included in the Holy Bible? The process is called canonization of the books of the Bible. Meaning, these books passed through a standard called “Canon”. This canonization was done by a committee composed of highly unquestioned reputed men of God during the first century. What are these standards?

First, the book must have been written by the finger of God, like the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Second, that book must be written or authored by a man of God, like Moses. For example, the first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Lord Jesus said, “For had ye believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believed not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46-47 KJV). Third, the book must be written or authored by an acclaimed prophet of God, like Isaiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah up to Malachi. 

Then, we have the books authored by David “a man after God’s own heart” like most of the Psalms, and the books authored by King David’s son, Solomon, like Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Solomon wrote his first book -- Song of Solomon, when he was young; his second book -- the Proverbs when he was middle age; his third book, Ecclesiastes when he was already old – 50 years old and above, when he had enough experience in life. For example he wrote, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Prov. 12:30). When one is wise like King Solomon, you know how to solve with wisdom any and all problems of life. You become prosperous materially and spiritually like Solomon. Of course, not really literally like King Solomon, for we are not kings who wield tremendous power and influence, but certainly to a certain degree, we will prosper economically. 

How many have we invited to FGBMFI and who became active members and are themselves inviting their relatives and friends? If we have not done so, we are not wise.

On to the books of the New Testament, such book to be included in the canon must be authored by an Apostle of Jesus Christ, like Matthew, John, Peter, or one very close to the Apostles, like Mark, Luke, whose writings relate to the teachings and activities of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the gospels as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Peter, James quote teachings of the Lord Jesus and relate stories on the ministerial activities of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thirteen of the Epistles to include Hebrews are authored by the Apostle Paul, a lawyer, member of the Jewish Supreme Court, and the most prolific writer among them all. The Revelation is authored by the Apostle John. The Lord Jesus himself said, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning me” (Luke 24:44 KJV; see also vs. 27).

The Bible is our “Manufacturer’s Manual”. To know how to operate wordly and spiritual things, we must know the Bible. If we do not know the manual, chances are that we will not know how to operate wordly and especially spiritual things or activities. We will be a dismal failure.

The Bible is absolutely inexhaustible source of wisdom and knowledge, in which we can constantly find treasures new and old (Matthew 13:52). This is the primordial reason why we must read and master the canonized Bible.

If we love beautiful poetry, and to know the future, read the Psalms and the Prophets. If we love philosophy, we will enjoy the book of Job. The Song of Solomon is a romantic book. It is an account between two lovers but spiritually speaking, between God/Jesus Christ and the believers. The future or prophecies as foretold in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. The Bible is a fascinating and amazing stories of man and God. If we want to read about miraculous and supernatural happenings and events, past and future, read the Bible. It is the most wonderful book ever written – and the stories are true! It doesn’t tell lies. Every single passage is the truth of God!

And the most wonderful thing about the Bible is that through its life-giving words, especially those found in the four Gospels, we can personally know its divine author, who alone can guarantee life and love and happiness and Heaven forever through reading and believing these words of love from Him to us (John 20:31). 

We must read our Bible everyday. It is our spiritual food. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). If we do not eat even for a day, we become physically weak. So also, if we fail to read the Word of God everyday, we become spiritually weak and vulnerable to the adversary’s attack who goes about like a “roaring lion”. More significantly, we will know that the ONLY way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 KJV).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

God Will Provide

Abraham of the Old Testament times is said to be the Father of Faith. Meaning, a man trusting 100% the power sovereignty and goodness of God. The consequence is that he was blessed not only materially but more importantly spiritually. He “was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold” (Gen. 13:2). Even more precious than these material riches, Jesus tells us that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his descendants shall be found in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11).

But before these things happened to Abraham, his faith in the sovereignty of God and his obedience has been tested. Sovereignty here means whatever God wills shall truly happen. And God’s will for all of us is: “Beloved, I wish above all things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2 KJV).

One day, God said to Abraham: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2).

By that time, Abraham was already 100 years old, and he and his wife Sarah (Sarai), waited for 25 long years for Isaac to be born. If we were Abraham, how would we re-act upon such a “command” of God? Since we all know the end of the story, more likely we will act like Abraham did. He obeyed without hesitancy. But Abraham was on a different situation - - he did not know yet the end of the story. Yet he OBEYED the Lord God without a bit complaining or hesitancy. To him, he loved his son, but his love for God first made him to obey without hesitancy. Our Lord Jesus Christ put it this way “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Jesus Christ is the righteousness of God [1 Cor. 1:30]) and all the things you have need of shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

What do people need? Something to eat, something to clothe them to keep them warm, houses, lands, horses (cars of recent times), and the many other needs of men to live in comfort too numerous to enumerate, even the need of money to pay for hospital bills, as no person will live up to 100 years old like Abraham without being sick or hospitalized.

Therefore, what is most important is to SEEK FIRST God and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son (God incarnate, or in person, or in the flesh). If we can pass the test by our OBEDIENCE without complaining or hesitancy or doubt on the goodness and sovereignty of God like Abraham, then our names shall be written in the Book of Life and are assured of a mansion in heaven and be with the Lord Jesus Christ with glorified body like him, never to be sick or die again but live eternally like the Lord Jesus Christ.