Lead Me to the Rock that’s Higher than I

Psalm 61: From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I love it. This call is desperate. Only desperate people get this special response from God, to get to experience the Lord as our Rock. It says from the ends of the earth I call to you, that’s a long way to call, to shout, to scream, to yell, at the top of our lungs, and voice, hopefully God will hear. And the next sentence says , “I call as heart grows faint”. Oh my gosh, when was the last time, you called out to God and felt fainting? Did you ever feel that way? If not, don’t complain if God hasn’t answered you yet, you know why? Because this calling’s from a far land, correction, the ends of the earth, see how intense that get? How descriptive that is? That’s actually a call, a loooong desperate call from one of the most famous kings, if not the, in the history of mankind, King David of Israel. He’s certainly more famous that King Alexander, King Napoleon, Hitler, and so forth, and he’s definitely much more righteous and favored by God. So that’s the call from King David to God, at the top of his lungs to God! And not only that, but he must also be yelling and crying out to God for quite a while, because you can see that he’s exhausted, and fainting! He says my heart grows faint. You know if there is any one with most ingenious creative expression language, it’s David. His heart grows faint. He speaks heart language for sure.

And his first verse is: Psalm 18:      I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

So what’s the rock higher than I that important? Because it is higher than you! We need something higher than ourselves ! We need to be led to the rock that’s higher than I. That means its more powerful, more reliable, more outstanding, and more stronger than I.

You see this all about me, self. We need to get out of our self-mode. Our world spins around me. The me world. God is offering to take us out of our self-world, to a higher ground, and not just something higher than us, but a rock! That’s he himself!

We have been so indulgent upon our desires, our wish, our needs,  our wants, etc. etc., and God wants us to lift our eyes off ourselves for once, and focus on him, the higher grounds, the higher rock. We are sinking by ourselves. We can’t save ourselves. Many people try to be their own savior. But we can’t save ourselves. Try one of the hardship you went through recently, I have many, as you have surely, recall those time, when you call out to God for help? Could you help yourself?

We need something to get out of ourselves. Quarrel with our spouse, job pressure, sickness and our health, our problem with our children, economy, community, friendship, list goes on and on. Can we help ourselves? Can we pull ourselves out of this mess?

Also, we cannot just live for ourselves. We need to cast a vision that’s higher than I, higher than ourselves, and thats the Rock, the Lord, not just anything that’s higher. Only safe way to set your eyes on, is the Rock thats higher than you. Live for a higher ambition in Christ to be fruitful, not just a the pleasures of this world, the security this world gives us, the family that we love. But the higher vision of who God is, what God wants, and His most pleasurable will for us, as He made us in his image. Don’t lose that vision. Cling unto it. Set your eyes on the Lord. You wont go wrong, everything else will.

We need the Rock that’s higher than I. We need that, and we must be like David, crying out at the top of our lungs, calling out to God until our heart faints. Yes, do it!

David’s prayer is O Lord, lead me to the Rock that’s higher than I. Lead me. I want to follow. I need a leader in my life. I am not the leader in my life. I can’t trust myself, in fact, I can’t do it. Many paths I can take, but only one path, lead me O God.

Amen. A great prayer to pray. Nothing shameful about crying out to God. The greatest king in human history cried out to God all the times and in fact, he cried out loud, and strong. Not like our weak cries and given up. No, press on.

Hallelujah! Amen.

The Man of Lawlessness

John Piper preached on this topic, and I am pleasantly surprised because I have never heard any reformed preachers, the big names, who preached on it. Mostly on all things except this sensitive topic. Many preached in cultural issues, psychological, philosophical issues, but basically none have preached on this. This is a topic that Pentecostals love to handle, because it touches on the supernatural, and even sensational, though not very well. But to hear a man of such scriptural strength and sharpness in exegesis, I feel encouraged. Not many preachers want to touch on this.

That lawlessness man is a man, not a spirit.  Not an angel. But an incredibly powerful, charismatic, world-class leader that will eventually proclaim himself to be God. He is sent from Satan, propelled by the secret power of lawlessness. By that name itself, he will cause chaos, anarchy.

The Man of Lawlessness will come first before the Return of Christ

2 Thessalonians 2:1–2 (NIV) Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.

The return of the Lord Jesus Christ will not happen until the rebellion occurs, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. So don’t be alarmed by any hearsay prophecy, word of mouth, or teaching.

He will perform signs and wonders and exalt himself over everything to proclaim himself God but  is doomed to destruction

Though very powerful indeed, in controlling the world with mighty demonstrations of signs and wonders, he will be eventually be doomed, destroyed by the Lord Jesus. So there is nothing to be afraid of him, though he will cause one heck of havoc and destabilize the world. The world will be marveled at his power, that many will succumb to him. The bible already says those who rejected the bible will be delusion by him.

2 Thessalonians 2: Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

People who are being deceived are those who refused to love the truth and so be saved

He will perform all sorts of display of power through signs and wonders to deceive those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth, the truth of the Bible. Those who are being deceived by the man of lawlessness are those, who first of all, refused to love  the truth of Jesus in the Bible.

Notice it says “….who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved”. The only reason they are perishing and being deceived by the man of lawlessness is because they refuse to love the truth. It’s not enough just to know the truth of the Bible, or even do bible study of the Word, and try to follow to obey the Word, but actually you would need to love the bible. Why? Because it’s going to be tough to be a loyal Christian to the faith in Christ, in this more and more godless end time, when liberals take the helm, redefining culture and sexuality. Christians better love the truth, for you to combat the heresy that will begin to flood the market and putting pressure on God living Christians to compromise to give into the trend.

It’s the Truth that Protects you from being deceived by the Lawlessness Man

It’s interesting only those who do not love the truth will be deceived. It’s kind of no brainer to say that it’s the truth in our lives that keep us from being deceived by this big nasty evil lawlessness coming. Its anti-Christ basically. It’s the truth that protects you.

Anyone who spins the bible to their own ends, their own agenda, will all be deceived, and there will be no return. In other words, you cannot and will not be deceived by the man of lawlessness until you refuse to love the truth of the Bible in Jesus Christ. God will protect you from the power of lawlessness if you believe and walk with the truth in Jesus Christ. Therefore whatever you do now on earth in your life, determines what’s going to happen in the end time, when that lawlessness happens. From looking around what’s happening round the world, and in America, that doesn’t sound to be too far away.

2 Thessalonians 2:The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

God will send them a strong delusion so they continue to be deceived and had pleasures in unrighteousness and be condemned

It’s amazing that v11 says “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion”. It’s like God tops it up. The word delusion means deceived, note that the words “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion…” The word “therefore..” must refer to what’s before that. God send a strong delusion because of v10 that says …because they refuse to love the truth and be saved.” Simple as that.

In other words, the Satanic forces cannot deceive anyone of us, unless and until we ourselves refuse to love the truth. It’s an act of refusal on loving the truth. Maybe they are only liking the truth, spinning around the truth of the Bible, bending here and there to twists to their liking, that kind of people, will be deceived by the lawless one , and be given a strong delusion by God himself! What’s that delusion for? It’s to make them to believe in what’s false. I mean they merely refused to love the truth, and now they ended up in being under delusion, and believing what’s false, and had pleasure in unrighteousness, and therefore condemned. They will go to hell. Suffering in eternal anguish and agony.

Many will grow cold because of the increase of lawlessness but those endures to the end will be saved

Matthew 24:11–14 (ESV)

11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony and then the end will come

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The contrast of the evil works of Satan, will be the Gospel of the Kingdom of God will be spread even more to the whole world. Not just the western world, or African or some parts, but the whole world. They will be preached as a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ!

And then the end will come. I don’t believe that the gospel has been preached to the whole world, as the redemptive narrative has spread beyond Jerusalem. I believe the whole world, every nation. We are almost there.

Please LOVE the truth of the Word of God. Amen.

Comparing Moral Failure & Trust God Failure

2 Chron 16: At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites[b] and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen[c]? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

King Asa, an outstanding king of Israel who turned to the Lord and served him with all his heart for 35 years, because of one major silly mistake turned his life upside down, and rejected by the Lord. What happened? By one mistake, he fell! What about King David? It’s not like David never made any mistakes? From the moral point of view, David made much bigger and more serve mistake, like he committed adultery with someone’s wife, Bathsheba, and also set it up to have the man killed in the battlefield. In our modern world, he would be impeached as the king of Israel, borrowing what’s happening today in America. But he turned with all his heart and repented, and God loved him all the same. It’s amazing. But for Asa, it’s one mistake , he’s gone from the favor and blessings of God. Why?

The accusations from the prophet to Kin Asa is that he didn’t rely on the Lord in the forthcoming battle with an invasion army, but he relied on the King of Aram to deter the invasion by the King of Israel. Why is this so serious?

He failed to trust in the Lord

This is about trust in God or some other idols, while David’s case, he’s always trusted in the Lord fully, but he gave in to his lust.

You can see that giving into your own moral values is not as serious as failing to acknowledge God in your life, especially you are a leader in the house of God. In a sense, Asa didn’t commit moral failure, but he committed a divine failure, by not putting his trust in the Lord, instead he propped himself up with another power, a foreign king.

This is a stunning revelation. I wonder how the ecclesiastical bodies today will judge King David and King Asa? In my mind, I think David will be far more condemned and probably impeached. But Asa, will be reprimanded and rebuked, but he will be in power.

We can see that God is above moral values and judgements. In fact if we trust in God, we won’t fall into moral failures in the first place. So, David fell, but he loved the Lord dearly. First thing that came out of his mouth, after he was rebuked by Nathan the prophet after his adultery with Bathsheba, and indirectly killed her husband, was that “I have sinned against the Lord”,. You see how close God is towards his heart. He yelled it out from his mouth automatically. Reading through Psalms, you will know that David is so close to the Lord, and deeply passionate about the Lord, and intimate with God. There is no way God will drop him, even with his moral failures at that point. Indeed, he was judged by God, but after he’s recovered, he was mightily blessed and favored by God. Ironically, Jesus came through the descendent of Bethesda and David, not other wives. Amazing indeed. What does that tell you? In spite of such immorality and murder, the next king after David was Solomon, his son through Bethesda too! God honored Bathsheba enough for that to happen.

So guys, my word here is that relationship with God crowns over morality.

God has proven to Asa before, and yet he failed

8 Were not the Cushites[b] and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen[c]? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 

God is mad with King Asa because God has worked miracles for him in another similar battles, and yet he failed to trust in God the second time. What went wrong? His carnality, his trust in the more tangible things in the world, pulled him away from the most important source of his power, might, favor, and strength, the Lord. That was too much for God to take, and God abandoned him. King Asa crushed.

So as Christians if we ever put our trust in other things, or persons, in our lives, we are potentially facing big troubles in our lives.

Put our trust and faith in Jesus especially if we have experienced the goodness of God before.

The Day Is Near

Romans 13:11–14 (NIV)

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. 

Understand the Present Time & Wake up from your Slumber

Our salvation is nearer now than we first believed, means the hour of Christ return is beckoning and coming nearer now. Paul exhorted us to understand the present time. There is no more urgent and much needed time to look at the present time of what we are going through in America. With the recent rally in DC with Trump supporters, that sadly broken into into Congress and some protestors even killed, is plainly disgusting and disgraceful. So many evangelical Christians are sucked into the fear of moral collapse in hot button issues like abortions, me included, that we have been swept into a semi cult political personality. Its so sad, though we have seen incredible conservative changes to the Supreme Court, and we are incredibly thankful to our God for the time and season when SCOTUS needs to be filled. That said, we can’t stretch it much further. The total chaos on voters fraud that swept the nation, to which no one realistically have a good answer, for us Christians, we must take step back, if you are following all these closely, and remember what Paul said in Romans 13” Understand the present time. If we don’t, we get sucked into the peripheral , and missed the real big thing the Lord is doing in our lives and our societies and cities and nation. He said “wake up from your slumber”. How do slumber or sleep? Meaning we have been so sucked unto political and cultural changes in our country, though it’s very important, they surely can’t and shouldn’t take up some much of our passion and energy and time, that we become slumber in the spiritual pursuit and the passion of God, and seeking God, praying to God, meditating on his holy scriptures. We can be praying and inadvertently finding a whole chunk of our prayers are directed to the cultural and political moment of the time, which is unhealthy to say the least. For God wants us to be his best friend, lover.

The Motivation for Action is because the night is nearly over, the day is almost near

I know Paul talks in the context of moral behavior, not to sink into immorality and not getting dunk and sexual immorality, but there is also a call for us to cloth ourselves with Jesus Christ. This can apply to all domains of our lives, be it running away from lust, running away from temptations, get out of social media world, cutting it down especially the twitter world, some of which are toxic definitely. We must act now, and wake up from our slumber.

Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy

Sexual immorality, debauchery, all those excessive indulgence and sensual pleasures will have to come to an end for our spiritual life and our good. Not so much just for obeying God sake, but also for our sanity and joyful sake. The Lord didn’t set up laws, for constraining us for the sake of doing it, but rather to be more like him who is holy, and we will find the ultimate joy in that! Not just going to heaven, but more getting heaven on this side of the world. God sets up laws for us to obey his laws so we will be truly joyful, fulfilled, and blessed. All those sensual indulgences brings temporal gratification that ends in destruction and ugliness. Case in point the amount of porn destruction among men and even many Christians and some pastors even. There is a heartbeat of love from God to obey him.

But there is also the aspect of dissension and jealousy. Disagreement that leads to discord, and we have seen enough in the political hemisphere thus far in our nation, it’s time to turn to the Lord and be made whole, restored, and refreshed.

Cloth yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh 

The only way not to gratify the desires of the flesh, is to cloth ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. I love that, because it’s not like other religions whereby you need to asceticism, withdrawal, discipline by self-beating, etc., but cloth with the Lord Jesus Christ. What does that mean? That means you put not on the virtues of Christ, not the teachings of Christ, but you put on Christ himself! You have the person walking and talking and praying for you, very different from the laws on your shoulders suffocating you as you can never make it wrestling with it and become a wretched man. Like Paul says I am a wretched man,

Romans 7:21–25 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

In God we trust, to God be the glory! Amen.

Augustine’s Transformation Turning Point due to reading the first Passage as he opened the bible while seeking God

Augustine’s transformation turning point in life happened by reading the first passage bible when he opens the Bible after hearing a voice telling him to take it and read!! I feel justified now to ask the Lord for a verse as I opened the Bible !  #Augustine 

. . . All at once I heard the singsong voice of a child in a nearby house. Whether it was the voice of a boy or a girl I cannot say, but again and again it repeated the refrain “Take it and read, take it and read.” At this I looked up, thinking hard whether there was any kind of game in which children used to chant words like these, but I could not remember ever hearing them before. I stemmed my flood of tears and stood up, telling myself that this could only be a divine command to open my book of Scripture and read the first passage on which my eyes should fall. 

So I hurried back to the place where Alypius was sitting . . .seized [the book of Paul’s epistles] and opened it, and in silence I read the first passage on which my eyes fell: “Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lust and wantonness, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ; spend no more thought on nature and nature’s appetites” (Romans 13:13-14). I had no wish to read more and no need to do so.[1]

I am super excited that a great man of God with Augustine’s statue, actually used the same method to find God’s voice as I often do. I often carry a guilt thinking this may be too subjective and will not flow in with reformed theology. Actually, much to my surprise, a big saint like Augustine actually did the same thing in the turning point of his life. He actually recorded it in his most famous book “Confessions”. This very much encouraged me.

Holy Spirit can lead us and impress in our hearts what He wants to speak to us, I often get that from God, or sometimes, just in my continuation of my daily devotion reading too.

Did you see the anguish of heart and the desperation of Augustine’s heart in pressing to find God and seeking his help to deal with his sinful lustful life? What such brutal honesty & his heart passion for God and to know God relates with many of us today, has touched millions of Christians over the centuries, and millennium.

I strongly urge and encourage all Pentecostal/Charismatic  pastors read this book. I have to admit I haven’t read the whole book, its hard going, but I have heard enough praise of it due to its transforming power.


[1] Augustine, Confessions

God has a Plan for you

Psalm 40:5 (NIV) Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Many are the wonders that God has done, and that we know. But to say the second sentence, many are the things you planned for us. That’s what caught my attention in my morning devotion this morning. I wonder how many people know that God has a plan for us? And he planned for each one for us. That’s why seeking the will of God makes sense, because we are not to be passive in life, but actively pursuing to find out his will for us, which means his plan for us.

Jesus said I have come to do the Father’s will on earth. Everything Jesus did on earth seems to have all been written in scripture, how he was to be born in Bethlehem by a virgin woman, rode on a donkey to Jerusalem where people were shouting Hosannas to the Son of David, glory to God on high, and how he was sacrificed as a lamb of God in the ultimate Passover how he was bruised like a reed that won’t break, how he was mocked and whipped on the cross bleeding, all these were already written of him thousands of years ago before he was even born into this world in the Old Testament.

And now, it’s sort of like that for mankind, the elect. Those who professed faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. We all have a plan of God destined for each of us and we are called to run a good race, the race God has called out for each of us. We are to race to win, not to race and lose. We need to be passionate about the call of God, the plan of God in our lives, first and foremost because our God is so passionate about us. If you don’t know that our God, our Lord Jesus Christ is so passionate, you have not begun to understand our God. Look at the movie Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson, though it’s as Hollywood production, it nevertheless carries a lot of verified and authentic stuff from the bible. It shows the intense passion of Christ when Jesus hanging on the cross bleeding and eyes closed, his body hanging on the cross with the nails that went through his feet and his palms, if he were not passionate of redeeming mankind, he would have quitted long time ago! Why ? Because he is so passionate.

Nothing less than the word passion is suitable for our God.

Therefore when psalms says “Many are the things God has planned for us”, that needs to be taken another look. God wants to fill us with rich surprises, look at:

1 Cor 2: However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

What God has prepared for those who love him. The key here is to love him. This jibes with Psalm 40 about David’s sentiment. If there is one person who has expressed so publicly his passionate about the Lord, it will be David. He loved the Lord. The Lord favors him and everything he does he succeeds.

So if you feel conflicted with the way life is going in your life, don’t be, but be patient and continue to wait upon the Lord. And hope in the Lord and flow with his plans which God will reveal more and more indue time, in his timing, not ours. Look at Moses, he waited for 40 years and sounded like he has lost the vision and passion to deliver Israel from Egypt, and God appeared to him in a burning bush in the most unexpected way. He was afraid when that happened, and he kept giving excuses to God’s call repeatedly even, until God brought help to him through Aaron.

So be encouraged!

You made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast

Psalm 22:9 (NIV)

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.

An amazing confession and profession by David in the time of huge anguish and struggle in psalm 22, the like of which is unparalleled. But in this verse it captured such intimate moment with the Lord and him, which should be modeled and caught by us all, and that’s the thesis of this article. No one can express as fluently, captured the nuances like David in his deep heart emotions, feelings, passions and everything that is within him. I think that’s the way we should aim towards in life. Because that’s huge just by the way he goes back to his mother’s womb, and God has made him trust in him, and that’s an amazing connection. That verse comes after the 6 verses of tremendous anguish (that’s why reading in context is incredibly important), and he’s like debating with his own feelings.

God made him trust in the Lord at birth

And that’s exactly what we should do especially when we are downcast due to circumstances or whatever reasons, that our eyes should focus on the Lord and no one else. But David takes us even a step further that his usual style to focus on the Lord. This is the only place in psalms or the whole bible where David brings himself to connect with God at the point of birth when he’s brought out of his mothers womb. He acknowledges and confesses that even at his mother’s breast, God made him trust in the Lord. That’s a beautiful word or translation right here “made”. That speaks of the sovereign Lord, nothing to do with our will power. A baby at his or her mothers breasts will have no will power to make decision apart from crying due to hunger. But to trust in God as a baby breast feeding at his or her mother’s breasts? Can you imagine the contrast? David has brought out a huge deep contrast of self will power and God’s sovereign move. Therefore we can draw conclusion that our putting our faith in Christ is totally a move of God in our hearts that caused us to put out faith in God.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV) 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

Our trusting in God was never initiated by ourselves, but a move by the Spirit of God in our souls, spirits. And that’s beautiful. God gets all the glory and we get the beautiful submission and trust in God absolutely and with total reliance on Christ and Christ alone and nothing else.

Timing

But there is another aspect I want to bring out, and that’s the timing and intimacy. David goes back all the way to the point of birth. Our trust in God didn’t start at the age of 15, in my case, when I confessed and publicly put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, but rather it has started even from birth, and we just didn’t know better. It never manifested itself, but that seed has been born within us. I know for a fact, there is a restlessness, earnestness within me stirring in my heart during my backsliding days in Leicester, England in college days, the first year. A longing that only God can fill. I can’t explain in details what seed of trust has been birthed from birth, but I can say that that’s predestination and total sovereignty of God, even before I was born, in all eternity, my name has been crafted into the book of eternal life in heaven. Isn’t that theologically correct?

Intimacy

Third thing is the intimacy of David with God. For all Christians, who disdain expression of emotions in worship and ecclesiology expressions, you are acting with stiff upper lips like the English man culturally. Having studied in England for high school and university, I know what that is. But God desires a free flow of expressions of love, intimacy with him in public worship and discourse. Look at David, he’s not ashamed to call out when he was a baby at his mother’s breasts, God has made him trust in him. He is not shamed of using the words of the breasts of his mother. Look at Songs of songs, God used Solomon to use even more intimate words like a physiological connection between a man and a woman. A word here for progressive Christianity here: Your theology of same sex love and intimacy and sexual ,relationship doesn’t fly. Songs of songs is all about a man and a woman, a woman longing for his lover, and the man looking for his beloved, a woman. The expression of intimacy emotions is well expressed in Pentecostal church services if done in a proper way, let me qualify. So all reformed churches should stop any disdain toward dancing, raising of hands, and saying hallelujah in worship services, and learn from David.

Amen and amen, blessed be the Lord our God.

Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christianity seems docile, modern, and even cute, on the surface and appealing to many especially the millennials, but in reality its subtle and deceptive and dark. One of the most lethal weapons of anti-Christ in this 21st century, amongst other looming threats like LBGT facing our society, is the label of Christians called “Progressive Christianity”. They used to be called “Liberal Christianity”, but now, as they are apt to creative re-labelling, called themselves as “Progressive Christians”. How about that? Names that make them sound more sophisticated, harmless, progressive in thinking unlike the old fashioned? By calling themselves by that name, they implicitly called everyone that’s conservative to be “old fashioned”, out of date. Essentially there is a whole bunch of innocent naïve Christians in the millennial generation in particular, to think it’s fashionable to be part of this Progressive Christian label. This has done immense harm and damage to the young millennial generation, because they were sucked into it, and relabeled by the culture of today’s instead of defined by the Bible.

So, what are they? Dr Michael Kruger , my seminary RTS professor who taught me Gospels in my MABS class, wrote a simple succinct article on it. https://rts.edu/resources/what-is-progressive-christianity/.

I will pen below my thoughts on them on the three headings from Kruger’s article.

Progressive Christianity Has a Low View of Christ

Progressives teach that Jesus is not the divine Son of God, but merely a good moral example for us to follow. They humanize a divine God to fit their worldview and convenience. It much better fits their agenda. I think one of the main reasons they downgraded Jesus from God to human is that they can’t cope with the divinity, glory, power of Jesus, and they can’t reconcile themselves with the science of today. But I believe the main reason they reject Jesus as God, but merely a good moral teacher, very much like a guru like Buddha etc., is because they can’t keep up with the holiness of Jesus. Jesus said, “Be Holy, because I am holy”. That’s hard for them to swallow. Their lifestyle doesn’t allow them to be holy, and to justify their insistence of still keeping their lifestyle in their carnal depraved desire, they downgraded Jesus, so that Christianity will not confront them. They created an idol in their lives, that they can accept, and listen to, because they are their god. Jesus is a convenient side kick almost like a decoration so to qualify themselves as Christians. That’s the genesis of a Progressive Church. Along with that, the package usually comes with the sexuality that’s the number 1 issue in this progressive Christianity. LBGTQ is now accepted, because they just knocked Jesus out of his throne of the divine holiness, so no one will question them or confront them anymore on this. They could still hold on to the many “good” and acceptable teachings of Jesus like helping the poor, feeding the hungry, building a just and fair society, their slogan for a socialist society. That’s why they exactly fit into what Jesus says, “They honor me with their mouths, but their hearts are far away from me.” Jesus even said, at the end time, those who say “Lord, Lord, didn’t we cast out demons in your name? Didn’t we pray and teach in your name?” Jesus replied them, “I don’t know you, get far away from me”. Into hell they go.

That’s the biggest farce that continually deceives the Christendom, and the at large the society who’s clueless, just exactly who is the church? Who are the real Christians? Obviously they would flow better with the progressive Christians. We call ourselves not just as conservative, but we call ourselves as orthodox. In my mind, orthodoxy is far more important and significant than conservative. I have a blog called God Centered Orthodoxy. www.alngu.com

Progressive Christianity Is Focused on Moralism, Not Salvation

Moralistic Christianity will crush you in trying to get to heaven. No one can try on their own efforts and strength to get into heaven. There is no way. No one comes to the Father except through me, Jesus said. He also said, “I am the truth, the life, and the way”. He is not a way to God. He is the way. There is no other way. Jesus didn’t come to teach you to do good. He has done the good (which you could never do) to qualify you to go to heaven. The first Adam failed. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, picked it up and triumphed! hallelujah! All you need to do now is to believe in him and accept his redemption on the cross for you, and give your life to Jesus. You don’t try to hit the mark by being moralistic, because you can’t measure up, and eventually you will be crushed, if you are honest.

 Progressive Christianity Downplays Our Fallenness

That’s the belief that you are really not that bad. In your core, you are a good person. They downplay the word ‘sin’. Because of that, humanism comes in again. You don’t really need a savior to lift you up. You can essentially be a good person and go to heaven by your own kindness etc. But that’s not what the bible says, we are so depraved, that every yearning in our heart leans to darkness, leans to sin. Our selfishness, rebellion toward our God, wanting to rule and reign in our own lives, and the lust in us, all these have shred us into pieces. You don’t have to go far, but just read the news headlines daily, and you see the acts of darkness all over the world, all the time.

We need a savior completely. We can’t save ourselves. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to come to die for us to redeem us. The story of the most beautiful love ever shown.

Conclusion

Beware of them. Know your stand in Christ, and be strong. Expose them, and snatch others to the kingdom of God.

“You Shall Have no other gods before Me” Exodus 20:3

This is a very famous commandment from God’s Ten Commandments. We have all heard over and over again that we shall not have idols in our lives.

Exodus 20:1-6 1And God spoke all these words, saying,  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.

It’s so important because our God is a jealous God

Exodus 20: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

If a married man flirts with another woman or affair with another woman, and his wife is not jealous, you would wonder if his wife has either given up with him or planning to divorce him. That’s because love is jealous and possessive. If our God is not jealous and possessive over us, then He is truly not in love with us. God has used very lovers language in the song of songs, and also in numerous OT prophecies regarding his hate for Israel’s rampant idolatry like a wild woman laying bare to men. To say that God is not jealous when we stray from him, is not reading the Bible.

There are reasons why God makes such a strong claim and an exclusive demand on Israel and us

Because the Lord our God is the one who brought Israel out of the slavery and bondage of Egypt.

Now this is a very important point because that gives God the credibility, authority to claim basically us as his possession. Because God delivered the 3 millions Jews out of the slavery cruelty imposed by Pharaoh, the greatest powerful king at that time, in the land. God worked mighty miracles one after the other to deliver Israel from the fierce power of the throne of Pharaoh. God sent plagues after plagues like turned Nile to blood, sent locusts to devour all of Egypt farms, sent darkness over all Egypt, killed all the first born of Egypt including the prince of pharaoh , and finally God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to pursue Israel when clearly the divine power was with Moses to lead them out of Egypt. God to top it up, divided the Red Sea, in a most stunning sight and miracle by a strong east wind, and led the 3 million Jews crossed the Red Sea on dry land, on the Red Sea bed. Can you imagine the impact of this out of the world experience of Israel, with mothers, children, young and old men and women with their cattle’s, belongings, silver and gold they plundered from Egypt walking thru the Red sea?

And this only enticed Pharaoh and his chariots foolishly followed the crowd into the Red Sea, only to find them to be drowned under the swelling currents when Israel stepped foot on dry ground, when God withdrew the east wind and closed the Red Sea. Pharaoh and army all died and their corpses all appeared on the beach the next day, and when Israel saw these corpses on the beach, the bowed down and worshipped the Lord.

Exodus 14:30–31 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

This may sound too much even for a Hollywood movie, and I agree, in fact God is the best director ever, more than any of the Hollywood. And He pulled it off! Egypt was bowed done and they saw the might of the God of Israel displayed as they mourned their dead first born children.

And what about us today? God has delivered you from your self indulgent sinful life of depravity by bringing you from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light by his own Son Jesus Christ died on the cross as a substitute redemption! Thats why He makes such bold claim of allegiance. In fact, His claim is for our well being and flourishing, as God created us to enjoy and flourish in Christ! And He prepared an eternity we will spend with our triune God for ever and ever in the coming world, in heaven!

That’s why God can say what he says, no other gods before me. For our utmost well-being, and no more in the life of slavery bondage to our sins and powers of darkness.

Not just Carved Images

But just exactly what is an idol? In my childhood days of my growing up as a Christian, I always relate to those carved image, like animal etc. (Ex 20:4) and I could never figure that out. I have never seen anyone bowed down to a bird, lion, tiger?? I have seen people using jo-sticks with incense bowing before idols of men like some imagery sculpture of some beings, that’s was scaring to me as a kid. That was my experience seeing those Chinese temples where people throng to during festive seasons in Malaysia. My grandma (father side) definitely insisted on worshipping ancestors which was abhorred by my mum, a Christian with Methodist church, causing tension between her and her mother in law. Thank God for my mum! She would fight to keep her children, like me her first born, away from any food that’s been offered to idols by my grandma. She zealously protectively covered her children from such idolatry.

If we desire something or someone more than God, that’s an idol

But now as I am exposed to more reformed teaching like Tim Keller spoke a lot on idolatry that’s in our hearts. It’s more like an imagery allegiance to some force or attractions or stability formed by culture and human cravings essentially.

It’s always been taught that if we desire something or someone more than God, that’s an idol. But how do we measure it? On way is when what or who we desire exceeds our desire for God. Particularly clear is when we desire something or someone that’s contrary to the will of God as explained explicitly in the Bible. That will be a clear case of idolatry. You see idolatry in that case can surface and go away depending on time and season of your life. Example, if you put your heart so much into your job that’s consuming your time, energy, to the extent of sacrificing your own time with your family, and also in worshipping God and serving God in your ministry, that intense job will be questionable and probably be put in the category of ‘idols’.

Our Idol is really our creation of a god that will give us our desires

I read this article by Benjamin Gladd that catches my eyes on this statement: “Israel continues this idolatrous pattern, desiring to worship a god, the golden calf, who would give them what they desired rather than waiting for the true God to tell them what he desired.” [1]

Israel made a golden calf as their god when Moses was up in Mt Sinai 40 days receiving the Ten Commandments from God. In their loss of patience and confidence in Yahweh, the God who brought them out of the slavery of Egypt by such might and power, they succumbed to their depraved fallen desire fleshly wants. The made a golden calf, and Gladd expounded well to say that this gold calf would give them what they desire. That’s the best definition of idiolatry. Idols can’t think, can’t talk, they just receive your requests petitions and instructions. That’s the ultimate machine for you to tell exactly what you want from this idol. That defines idolatry. It’s really to fulfill your own hearts desires, nothing more than that. Because the Lor our God will listen, and rebuke, and direct and love us. Israel wanted none of that. They wanted to follow their own desires. Just like Adam and Eve when tempted, Eve wanted to fulfill her own desires, rather than God’s.

Solution

God originally put Adam in the Garden of Eden to function as king, priest, and prophet. He ruled over all the creation of God and he worshipped God and walked and talked with God. But all that collapsed when his dear wife, Eve, took the bait of the serpent, the devil, and surrendered the kingdom to Satan. That’s why we have such mess in the worlds today, and we need a savior.

Jesus came and restored humanity to their roles as obedient kings, priests, and prophets through his faithful life, which ended by taking the punishment for our idolatrous failure to do the same.[2]


[1] Benjamin Gladd, Sin as Idolatry,  https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/sin-as-idolatry/

[2] Ibid

Christ’s Reign in times of Evil Oppositions & Plots

Our Presidential Election in America today is nothing short of dramatic, stunning, breadth, plots, twists and turns. It continues to hold every body’s breath in check, with now lawsuits coming against the frauds that have taken place in the national election from Michigan, PA, Georgia, etc. This reminds me so much of these verses when my wife and I prayed together just a couple of nights ago.

Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?    The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,    “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

God looks down from heaven and laughed at the plotting of men, even the kings or the powerful politicians plotting, taking counsel together against the Lord. This is written by David, and he takes the position prophetically of himself at that time, and prophesized about the Lord Jesus some 2000 years later, when Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus in Jerusalem. God laughed from heaven when God sees that. And God’s response is that God has set his King on Zion, my holy hill.

Nations rage and plot against David

No one can touch him. In fact, no one can match his confidence. With the amount of opposition that went against him, the nations raged and plotted against him, the kings and rulers took council against him. Doesn’t that remind you of what’s going on in the US presidential election today? If it’s another person, he would have abdicated, killed, thrown out. But David persevered, and won victories after victories. Remember as Christians in this culturally hostile world towards our faith like in the US especially, we got to know that oppositions and relabeling of our faith is not uncommon. Our universities are full of professors teaching our children stuff that lean towards liberal and the left, kicking God out of our syllabus. In the name of separation of church and state, they have gone overboard, and indeed far beyond, called not separation, but removal of any divine presence of God in our nation. The original separation of church and the state was applied and used for the separation of Catholic church and the state or government as the church became so corrupt in Europe in 1833. It was meant to remove the political power in the hands of those corrupt bishops, in fact such luxurious wealth came into the church that actually killed the spiritual life of the church. But that separation act was not meant to say there is no God, only separation of church and the state. IN fact, not separation of the state and God! But that’s what is actually used in our days in schools unfortunately, and very sadly. It’s dark. And our community has become so used to that idea, so much so that we can’t even mention God in our workplace, because that won’t be tolerant anymore. In fact we can talk about pretty much anything else, but not God. It’s been thrown out.

We must stand strong and firm in Christ. The secret of David’s strong faith in Yahweh our God is his daily intimate worship and outpouring of his heart to God in the most amazing way. Check out Psalms.

David’s Source of Confidence

David faced so much oppositions and enemies who all tried to kill him, including being pursued by his own son Absalom, who actually successfully made David fled for his life with his small army. In times like those he cried out to God with all his heart, and puts all his destiny in the hands of Almighty God. Reading Palms’ you will see that he always writes that God is his refuge, his fortress of protection, and many others, and I meditate on them regularly in fact daily in my daily devotions with God. Every time I faced hardship, oppositions in life, I called upon the Lord and meditate upon God as my refuge and my fortress too. I always find God’s amazing faithfulness and his steadfast love, two of the most frequently mentioned attributes of God in Psalms.

In Psalm 2, David identified himself completely with God. He was not driven by his self-ambition to be king, in fact, he had no idea and was not looking to be King, when God called him through prophet Samuel to be anointed as the king of Israel taking over from the rebellious rotten king Saul who had grieved God.

The source of David’s absolute confidence in his throne is that his kingship is by divine appointment. He is called by God, and he knows it. You know if you serve God with your own ambitions, you will never go far, and will be disappointed. But if you are called by God in your ministry, nothing will be able to stop you. Our God is divine, transcendent, and sovereign. He appoints, and he removes. He is the eternal King of the Universe.

David speaks of the ultimate eternal King, Christ

Psalm 2 talks about the nations plot against his Anointed. That Anointed is he himself at that time, but eventually that is a prophecy pointing to the ultimate eternal King, our Lord Jesus Christ when he died on the cross, redeemed mankind, established his Kingdom forever and ever. David’s kingdom is temporary, but Jesus’s Kingdom is forever and ever. Remember that all that we work on is temporary on earth, but if we work on the spiritual sense, in God’s calling, we labor for the eternity. Jesus said, “Labor not for the temporary, but for food that lasts for eternity. ” Our presence in this world is but for a short while, and we will all be gone. But God’s Kingdom is eternal.

We have this hope of spending our eternity with Christ and heavenly Father for eternity. That’s the hope that we, Christians, will not trade with anyone or any temptations in this world. So be strong, the King is coming back, and He will, to judge the world, and to take his glorious throne for all eternity ruling and reigning.

Amen.