You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound

Psalm 4: 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

“Who will show us some good?” That’s the question everyone in the world is asking for themselves.

We Christians asked the same question again and again especially if our answers are not yet answered. I wonder Samuel’s mum will be asking that question when she pressed unto the Lord and cried unto the Lord pleading with him for a child, as she was barren and was mocked by her husband’s second wife. The Lord out of his exceedingly goodness and kindness, answered Hannah on the spot and she became pregnant. I wish that would be the same case for many thousands of Christians praying to the Lord and crying to him, not on something not legit, but totally in line with the scriptures. How about praying for your child to come to Christ? How about for those parents crying to God to make amends on the wayward behavior of sexuality of their kids? I have heard of heartbreaking stories of men and women unto God and some have rightly claimed their shaking of their faith in their belief in the goodness of the Lord. That’s always the dilemma of Christianity, a mystery that we somehow cannot put our hands on. To exemplify the cries , it seems the Lord doesn’t hear. I don’t know if certain prayers will ever be answered in life or not, even if takes 40 years of Moses cries to liberate Israel from the slavery bondage of Egypt, that will be phenomenal! Regardless, that will be a solid answer from the Lord, no one can dispute. Moses delivered by the power and glory of Yahweh, the like of kind that’s not seen or heard in the entire world, 4000 years ago, and still up to this day. No one can challenge that. Hannah’s cries unto the Lord, brought forth one of the most prominent prophets in the Old Testament, Samuel. What a sweet fragrant answer from the Lord, and she promised to the Lord to offer him to the service of the Lord at young age full time. (Good he doesn’t even need to apply for full time ministry). I have yet found a case where the prayers and cries of the saints not answered by the Lord, have you? I haven’t. What does that tell us, if God doesn’t answer our prayers, or not yet. But there again, Jesus did say that Elijah was sent to the leprous in Samaria, but not in Israel. I am sure many Jews with leprosy would have cried out to the Lord, but they never got sent a prophet to heal them.

Of course there is this argument that says the Lord our God is sovereign, and we will put our trust in him completely, and his love endures forever, and he’s faithful. That’s what we shall hang onto even without seeing clearly what our future, or their future hold. Some parents prayed for their kids to come to Christ, and after like 20 years, they came to Christ. Many have testified on the faithfulness of our God. We shall put our faith in him, Amen!

That’s where this psalms seem to fit in well, among many others.

Or “Where can I find some good?” Or “How do I get some good for my life?” That’s what David describes as ‘many’ who say….”

David’s response to that question is “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” David’s immediate default response is he turns to the Lord. He didn’t turn to his career advancement, not to some pleasures in the world, or some ball games he can attend, or some Broadway show. He immediately cried to the Lord asking the Lord to shine the light of his face upon him and them, the light of God’s face means the favor of God, the presence of God. You see how important the favor of God is? Nothing else matters, or compares even remotely. God’s favor is all what it matters.

Lately I have been thinking of this myself. I am sure we all have things of requests and petitions we have made and making continually crying out to him in prayers. Have we gotten the favor of God? Have we gotten the light of the face of God? Remember David was so successful,

1 Samuel 18:14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.

It means God was with David. And Calvin rightly commented on it, that David’s sole primal wish in life is God’s favor, God’s presence with him, above everything else in life, above every seeming prosperity in his life, which he had plenty.

God can give us more Joy in Our Hearts than any Abundance from the world

A godly answer that David provided in this Psalm, is that he finds more joy in God’s favor, presence than all the things, pleasures, comfort and ease from this world.

Psalm 4:6–7 (ESV)
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

That’s the case. David is so firm in his conviction that there is more joy in his heart when the light of God’s face shines on him, than whatever the world can offer him, because God can put more joy in his heart than when people get their grain, harvest, dividends, profits, and wine abound, speaking of the comfort and pleasures of the world. It is this conviction of David that’s so compelling, and attractive to God that God puts his favor upon David. That stamp of favor. Because David delights in God more than all the world comfort and ease can offer him, and he had a lot of wealth, possessions, wives, women, concubines, pleasures from the world in his palace, and yet none of those things ever moved his heart. You see, that’s the man after God’s heart.

God is looking for that kind of man.

All Israel Will Be Saved

 (Romans 11:25-27)

I love these verses, and Israel has been such a fond nation in the minds of Christians, especially you read the Old Testament. Israel also occupies a special place in the teachings of many evangelical churches especially the charismatic churches, and from growing up in it, I have a sense of closeness to it. I mean who won’t be, after reading Psalms daily in my personal morning devotion, Zion, Jerusalem, pops up almost every other sentence, and definitely every chapter. My most beloved book of the Bible is Psalms, and love it.

Romans 11: 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27      “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Now the struggle going through reading Romans 11:25-27, it is really astonishing. Now that I am also living in a part of New York city with many Jews, my eyes are bewildered by these 2 simple verses, in fact, Paul calls it as “mystery” in v25…. 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.—There is a mystery!

What’s the Mystery?

A partial hardening has come upon Israel. Hardening of hearts in believing Christ as their Messiah. I wish that all my Jewish friends would read this article, though it will be one heck of a debate, which I am very consciously aware that no intellectual debate has ever won a soul to Christ, though such debate and provocative theology does pave the way for pondering and the Holy Spirit’s work in God’s sovereignty. Never underestimate what God can do.

The mystery is in v25-6 a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

Partial hardening of Israel towards faith in Christ. Why? It’s not mentioned here, but from the pattern in Romans like God gave them over to their lust in Romans 1, the Jews have started to disbelieve in Christ, as you can see in the Gospels, though some 3000 Jews accepted Christ on the day of Pentecost, but that’s a very small number after what Christ has done like feeding the 5000, raising the dead, casting out demons, and healing all the blinds, crippled, deaf, and leprous etc. Okay that hardening actually paved the way, interestingly for the Gentiles to be added into the kingdom of God, because it says “until the fullness of gentiles has come in.” So there is clearly a predetermined fullness by the predestination of God, and then thereafter all Israel shall be saved. That’s the mystery.

ALL Israel Will be Saved

Many reformed theologians think its all of God’s people (including Calvin) will be saved, but enough commentaries agree with me that it refers to the nation of Israel, not the body of Christ, as v25 talks about the hardening of Israel, then v26 says all Israel will be saved, that’s the same “Israel” as in v25. So it’s definitely the nation of Israel. So let’s dig out some big names on this mystery:

Ridderbos commentary: How it’s the relationship between Israel and the gentiles in salvation. The full number of Israel will come to the kingdom of Jesus through grace after the gentiles has reached its fullness. [1]

Douglas Moo wrote:   “Full number” (pleroma), as most commentators recognize, has a numerical reference (see comments on 11:12). In other words, God has determined the number of Gentiles to be saved. Once that number is reached, Israel’s hardening comes to an end (see Luke 21:23–24 for a partial parallel).[2] Therefore, in agreement with most commentators, we think “all Israel” refers to the totality of national Israel. This does not mean that every single Jew will be saved. The phrase “all Israel” occurs over a hundred times in the Old Testament, with a range of meanings.[3] We conclude, then, that Paul here predicts the salvation of a significant number of Jews at the time of Christ’s return in glory. The present “remnant” of Israel will be expanded to include a much larger number of Jews who will enter the eternal kingdom along with converted Gentiles.[4]

Love this most! RC Sproul wrote something most pertinent and potent here:

I don’t know whether this restoration is going to be sudden or gradual, or even if it is going to follow the return of the Jews to their own land. There is still quite a bit of debate about that. I remember sitting on my porch in Boston in 1967, and watching on television the Jewish soldiers coming into Jerusalem, dropping their weapons and rushing to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping. Immediately I telephoned one of my dear friends, a professor of Old Testament theology, who does not believe that modern day Israel has any significance whatsoever. I asked him, ‘What do you think now? From 70 AD until 1967, almost 1900 years, Jerusalem has been under the domination and control of Gentiles, and now the Jews have recaptured the city of Jerusalem. Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled. What’s the significance of that?’ He replied, ‘I am going to have to rethink this situation.’ It was indeed startling.

I will tell you this: we should be watching very carefully. It is a remarkable event in history that the city of Jerusalem is now back in Jewish hands, under Jewish control. As Jesus said, Jerusalem will be trodden under foot until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24). And Paul says that after the fullness of the Gentiles have come in, there will be a restoration of the Jewish nation. All of these things are put in context by Jesus when he tells his followers to watch and pray, for their salvation is drawing near.[5]

Jerusalem will be trodden under foot until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

Did you read this line from RC Sproul? In 1967, and watching on television the Jewish soldiers coming into Jerusalem, dropping their weapons and rushing to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping.

What’s this? The return of Jerusalem back to Israel in 1967, soldiers dropping their weapons and rushed to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping. What’s this scaredness of the wall?

I don’t know about you, I know that there are divergent views on “All Israel shall be saved” from Romans 11:25-27, but it is of such significance, that we should embrace it fully what the Word of God says. Since I joined Reformed theology in RTS, I have noticed that reformed theology pretty much washes down the importance or significance of Israel as a nation to just another nation, case in point, if that illustrates better, like Singapore, or Thailand or USA. No difference at all. This sounds like you just wiped away 2000 years of breath taking history of Israel, and all that taken place in the world. For a nation of such tiny size, it could be the center of world attention in the Middle eastern wars? For decades? Why?

Jerusalem has returned to Israel. From AD 70 to 1967, almost 1900 years, Jerusalem has been under the control of Gentiles, and now the Jews have captured the city!

Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

What’s the significance of that?’

Does this make you think as Christians? Israel shall return to God in full. What does that mean to us?

I would say most importantly it brings OT to life, making God more real in our life, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. He just suddenly becomes more tangible in our modern daily memory and life, that we should start looking to the return of Christ, and before that the return of all Israel to Christ, the revival to bring in the harvest of both gentiles and Jews in this end time.

God has always been real, but to take Israel off the spiritual antenna, is missing a huge point of the connection of the old testament to the New testament. There is a reason. Why Gentiles make Israel jealous, they are the natural branches, we are the drafted in branches, but in Christ, we are all one, no Jews or Greek.

Galatians 3: 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Mystery of God. We shall march on with greater excitement and longing for the Yahweh of OT, and the Christ of the NT, and in fact, father Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian God to be present in our lives as we face the end time looking forward to the return of Christ.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Psalm 122:6–9 (ESV)
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

Amen.


[1] Herman Ridderbos, Paul An Outline of His Theology (P. 358),William B Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan

[2] Moo, D. J. (2000). Romans (p. 377). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[3] Ibid p. 379

[4] Ibid

[5] Sproul, R. C. (1994). The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.

God Will Bring us Home

Home is the most attractive place to be. Two types of home, one is the sanctuary place of worship, and one is our own home. We all long to be home! We all want to be home. But I am referring to the eternal home which far exceeds the earthly home now. Just take a look now in winter New York, when I feel the cold outside, I long to be home. Do you have such longing to be home with our Father in heaven one day?

Jeremiah, Deuteronomy all spoke of the scattering of the Jews from Israel because of their sins against the Lord, and indeed they were scattered in exile numerous times, and the glorious temple built by King Solomon was totally destroyed and demolished. Such was the vengeance and fury of God towards the unfaithful Israelis in the Old testament. The result was devastating, and more in history.

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The song that really inspired me to write this blog comes from a beautiful song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_GsKLJcum8   by Aaron Shust. The song beautifully captures the mood and sentiment from the different prophetic scriptures in the Old Testament or Torah, and connects with the redemptive scriptures in Christ in the New testament.

Psalm 105: you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.

Here God is speaking to the children of Abraham, the tribe of Israel that God remembers his covenant with forever, and the promises he made with Abraham, Isaac for a thousand generations. Of course, we now believers in Christ, are now the true children of Abraham.

Galatians 3 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”

 Who are the children of Abraham? Those who have faith in Christ! Amen.

Gal 3: 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

In Christ, we are all children of God through faith. God will bring home the physical tribe and the spiritual tribe home. Some of the physical tribe also belongs to the spiritual tribe. The Spiritual tribe is all those who put their faith in Christ, or the Elect, as in the bible ,

Matt 24 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

So there are two home comings for the people of God and the people of the physical Israel. Many theologians disagree on the importance of the Jewish nation to Christ.

Romans 11:25  I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”  zDid you see that? “”….in this way all Israel will be saved”. If you read:

Romans 11: 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

You will see that it appears to be the total sovereign mercy of God upon us, the elect or the people that been saved in Christ, and also the nation of Israel. It is all about the mercy of God! Because they Israel have disobeyed, they were cast off, until the time came when God showed his mercy to bring them back. Same thing as for the gentiles. We were rebellious and disobeyed, until God showed mercy to bring us back to him.

Paul maintains that the purpose of God stands firm and immovable, by which he had once deigned to choose them for himself as a peculiar nation. Since then it cannot possibly be, that the Lord will depart from that covenant which he made with Abraham, “I will be the God of thy seed,” (Gen. 17:7,) it is evident that he has not wholly turned away his kindness from the Jewish nation.[1]

And so this blindness served the providence of God in furthering the salvation of the Gentiles, which he had designed. And the fulness of the Gentiles is to be taken for a great number[2]

Romans 11:  25 ……. a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27    “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Now Calvin has this commentary on this verse: [3]  But how does he make that connection and assertion? Here it is: [4]

How so? Because in Gal 6:15-16 Paul talks about the “Israel of God’. See below:

Galatians 6: 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

This “Israel of God” in v16 clearly refers to the spiritual Israel that includes everyone that have faith in Jesus Christ, as in v15 says “..neither circumcision not uncircumcision, but a new creation’. New Creation here means the Elect, the entire tribe of Gentiles and Jews that put their faith in Christ. I think we can agree with that. As per Calvin, with that as the basis, all those above about the Jews been hardened, so the gentiles being swept into God’s kingdom until their number is reached, then the whole of Israel shall be saved, refers to the whole Christendom.

Israel will come home. Christians will come home. But the way Paul articulated in Romans 11 shows how clearly he differentiated the Jews and Gentiles in the salvation, until all of Israel will be saved. Therefore I would contend that in this instance its all Israel (physical) will be saved after the Gentiles reached their number predestined by God, because in the verse prior, Paul says Israel has experienced partial hardening, that refers to the Jews, not the Christian body, but right after that it says after the gentiles reached their fullness, all Israel will be saved. I would say that’s the Jews.

The Jews are coming home to God, we the gentile believers are coming back to God our maker. So both Jews and gentiles are one in Christ Jesus for Christ has broken down the wall of hostility.

Ephesians 2: 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility..18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

We are all Coming Home, our Eternal Home

Jesus has made both Jews and Gentiles one, broken down in his own flesh the diving wall of hostility. Amen.


[1] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (p. 441). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Ibid (p. 436)

[3] Ibid (p. 437) “And so all Israel, &c. Many understand this of the Jewish people, as though Paul had said, that religion would again be restored among them as before: but I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning,—“When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God’s family

[4] Ibid This interpretation seems to me the most suitable, because Paul intended here to set forth the completion of the kingdom of Christ, which is by no means to be confined to the Jews, but is to include the whole world. The same manner of speaking we find in Gal. 6:16. The Israel of God is what he calls the Church, gathered alike from Jews and Gentiles; and he sets the people, thus collected from their dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham, who had departed from his faith

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.