Pay the price for God’s guidance; never say “God is silent”

I was reading through the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 for my assignment in seminary study tonight, I was moved to tears when I came to the part when Joseph broke into tears and wept aloud when Judah revealed to him how their old father Jacob was heart broken when Joseph was “torn dead” by animals, and now feared Benjamin (Joseph’s brother from Rachel) would be torn from Jacob as well (with Joseph demanding Benjamin to be brought to Egypt).

Having built up in my emotion started in Genesis 37 on how Joseph was arrogant, shallow, spoilt by the foolish father Jacob for showing favoritism, and eventually sold as a slave into Egypt and then jailed for standing up for righteousness, and now established to be the Prime Minister of Egypt, has left me in awe of God. For soooo many years, Joseph cried out to God from being sold as a boy into slavery, to innocently jailed by being pure and righteous, God seemed SILENT. The question goes “WHERE IS GOD?” Because you never know! God seemed to be silent for many years over the time when Joseph suffered, and yet promoted by God in Potiphar’s house, and then in jail. Then God came through BIG time in promoting Joseph from a prisoner to be the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh. That’s truly a “from rags to riches” kind of story or and makes it to Disneyland fairy tale story. But it’s a TRUE story. A story that stirs the hearts of men and women.

It gives you a glimpse how God works. There are many times God works very quickly. But there are time when God seemed to be very quiet, almost too quiet. Joseph’s story is a real renaissance. A true witness to God’s faithfulness. Never say God is silent. Because you never know. You can only know at the end.

People ask, “That slavery, injustice—is that necessary?” Why spend 40 years?” Real life—you never become wise like that by shortcutting. No one ever become wise by being told. It must be shown until you see you see your flaw. No one ever learn and grow by being told God loves you. You need to be shown over and over. Therefore by paying this price, and saturating, you see the solid line and also the dotted lines. Saturate yourselves. Unconditional trust. You need to have the unconditional trust in God.

Elizabeth Elliot says in her book ” You don’t ask God for guidance, you ask God for His will.” Asking God requires our utmost best. It costs everything. It requires abandonment. John Newton says “I trust you, give me, or withhold from me”. “What you will, when you will, how you will.” From this moment on, I will obey anything you tell me, whether I understand or not, I will accept anything from you. Bible says you do that and not bailing on God, your good times and bad times, your plan will be wise.

Whatever you bind/loose on earth, is it you bind or God bind? Matt 18:18

Matthew 18: 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed [f] in heaven.

The best discovery ever since I started in my MABS. In my Greek book, I found that the verse ” whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven! “–Our favorite Pentecostal verse? Guess what? As I suspected, the Greek word for binding and loosing are future perfect passives, which means, ” Will have already been bound in heaven”. In other words, the heavenly decree confirming the earthly one is based on a PRIOR verdict. Omg! We got it wrong by praying in our human authority for so long, it is actually decided in heaven and then we merely implement it on Earth. That’s why I love my Greek now! 😊

Now there are implications here.

First, the tendency of charismatic churches and Pentecostals is that we assume great power that’s been given to us in the Name of Jesus for us to bind oppositions, and to loose “blessings” into our lives and our church. This is stretching what Jesus originally said. What Jesus said is that whatever you bind or lose on earth, shall be bound/loosed in heaven”. That’s where the confusion arises. The translation calls it, shall be bound/loosed in heaven, sounding like we bind first, and then the heavens follow suit. But no, the Greek words say, we only bind/loose that which has already been decided in heaven. This is very important. Therefore this answers the question of God first or we first in making this faith proclamation. It is obviously God. This has huge implications. You don’t go around bind things or loose things; you only do what God has already decided in heaven. That’s hard to find, on other words, the will of God. But we need to absolutely bear this in mind, so we don’t “abuse’ the verse.

Secondly, if it’s really the heaven’s verdict done first, we should be absolutely bind and loose things on earth with greater convictions and faith and they are guaranteed to happen.

Remember, God has the power. We don’t. It’s not our will power even, it’s God’s will be done, and then we follow up.

Amen.

Teach me to pray -ii (Redeemer devotion)

New Testament Reading

False teachers were becoming so popular that Peter was compelled to expose the toxic nature of a spirituality that is rooted more in personal gain than godly patience. This letter anchors the reader in the promises of God in Christ, who is faithful and will come again.

Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

2 Peter 3

The Day of the Lord

1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.


Prayers of Intercession

Neighborhood

  • Pray for Hope for New York. That God would work mightily through the organization as it mobilizes volunteers and provides strategic support and grants to their affiliates.
  • Pray for Christians to be united across churches and denominations to work together for the good of their neighborhoods.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Benediction

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Teach me to pray-I

Remind yourself that this morning marks another day to enjoy and glorify God. Use this email as you are able, in whole or in part.


Call to Prayer

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)


Opening Prayer

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 826)


Confession of Sin

Almighty God, you are generous in abundance. You have given to us gifts that we do not deserve. You have called us from death to life, granted us forgiveness through the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, given us the Holy Spirit, and made us your children. You have provided for us, both spiritually and materially. Yet we have failed to be thankful and to rejoice in your goodness. We have ignored you and neglected to give you the praise that is due your name. Forgive us for our ingratitude. Give us eyes that see your hand at work in all areas of our life. Enable us to realize that every good thing comes from you. Deepen our gratitude so that we might serve you with undivided and joyful hearts. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.

My Reflection on “How to Stay Christian in Seminary”-as I started Seminary

My Reflection on “How to Stay Christian in Seminary”

One of the first things that hits me as I read this book is the statement that we should approach our studies devotionally. This encourages me and enlightens me a lot as I embark this journey of seminary MABS studies. I have heard of student’s failure spiritually after years M.Div. program in seminary. To me this is really so important for us all to carry that mentality and attitude and constantly remind ourselves as we dig into deeper into more Greek memorization, thick books reading and grasping of concepts. I also like the words that say the study may start to be dry and trying in the midst of our business, but when the theology of the bible begins to come together in our minds, when we start to see the overall shape of it, our academic study will feed our souls. This will be definitely my goal that this pursuit of knowledge will not just remain at “knowledge “ level, but it will begin to feed my soul.

One of the things I also love is that we are about the glory of God. And the fact that God glorifies himself by communicating himself. He showcases his ways. I see this as an integrating factor between my academic seminary studies and seeing and knowing the glory of God in a deeper & more profound way. Because the theology I learnt should unlock some of the riches of whom He is for me to appreciate and personalize it, so that the glory of Jesus can be displayed and delighted in my life.

Finally, I love it when it says, “if you articulate good doctrines, if you are somehow unsettled by God’s mystery, somehow overcome by his greatness, it’s probably because you have domesticated him.” That’s like you see the beauty of God, and come away untouched or unsettled by the beauty and greatness of God. I fear the word “domesticated God”, because we may have a lot of knowledge of him, but if are not touched in our hearts, we will always remain dry and limited because he is ‘small’ in our sight. In reality, he is the awesome God that transcends any of our imagination, and I pray that this seminary study is a journey that will help us to capture that more and more in our hearts and souls.