The Meaning Of Christmas

I thanked God for giving me an acronym this Christmas Eve to help us always to remember the meaning of Christmas as not to be lost in the midst of all kinds of secular celebration.

Gal 4:4-5

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Taking Care Of The Whole Being Of Spirit, Soul And Body

I learned from the internet blogs that the most popular course in the Harvard University is the Positive Psychology class taught by Dr Tal Ben-Shahar.  It attracts 1400 students per semester and 20% of Harvard graduates take this elective course. According to Ben Shahar, the class – which focuses on happiness, self-esteem and motivation – gives students the tools to succeed and face life with more joy.  According to most of the blogs, this 45-year-old teacher, considered by some to be “the happiness guru”, highlights in his class 14 or 15 key tips for improving the quality of our personal status and contributing to a positive life.  (Some blogs include tip no 15 of developing a sense of humour.  Some may dispute whether his tips mentioned God.  I believe it is possible as religious people are more likely to give thanks for everything they have and are generally more joyful in life.)

I have noticed that all these 14 or 15 key tips are advice to take good care of one’s whole being of spirit, soul and body.  As Ben Shahar is a Jew,  it is not surprising that his tips correlate with the general biblical principles and wisdom of living in the Kingdom of God which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Rom 14:17.   My comments on these tips made reference to the relevant Scriptural verses.

Tips For The Spirit

  1. Thank God for everything you have.  Write down 10 things you have in your life that give you happiness. Focus on the good things!
  2. Fervently believe in God. With him nothing is impossible!

Comments :

The Scripture exhorted us not to be anxious about anything but to bring everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving.   We are to focus and think on things that are true, honourable,  just, pure, lovely, commendable,  excellent and praiseworthy.  Phil 4:6-9.

Surely nothing is impossible with God as He is the Creator of the whole universe.  Luke 1:37.   And He will reward those who fervently believe in Him and seek Him diligently.  Heb 11:6.

Tips For The Body

  1. Practice physical activity.  Experts say exercising helps improve mood.  30 minutes of exercise is the best antidote against sadness and stress.
  2. Breakfast.  Some people miss breakfast for lack of time or not to get fat. Studies show that breakfast gives you energy, helps you think and perform your activities successfully.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes.  If your feet hurt you, you become moody, says Dr. Keinth Wapner, President of the American Orthopedics Association.
  4. Take care of your posture. Walk straight with your shoulders slightly backwards and the front view helps to maintain a good mood.
  5. What you eat has an impact on your mood.  Do not skip meals, eat lightly every 3 to 4 hours and keep glucose levels stable.- Avoid excess white flour and sugar.- Eat everything healthy. Vary your food.
  6. Take care of yourself and feel attractive.  70% of people say they feel happier when they think they look good.

Comments :

The body of a believer is the temple of the Spirit of God and obviously extreme good care of it has to be taken. 1 Cor 6:19-20. 1 Tim 4:8.    So whether we eat or drink, we do it all for the glory of God.   1 Cor 10:31.  When we are in good health so is our soul.  3 John 1:2.

Tips For The Soul

  1. Assertive.  Ask what you want and say what you think. Being assertive helps improve your self-esteem. Being left and remaining silent creates sadness and hopelessness.
  2. Spend your money on experiences.  A study found that 75% of people felt happier when they invested their money in travel, courses and classes; while only the rest said they felt happier when buying things.
  3. Face your challenges. Studies show that the more you postpone something, the more anxiety and tension you generate. Write short weekly lists of tasks and complete them.
  4. Put everywhere nice memories, phrases and photos of your loved ones.  Fill your fridge, your computer, your desk, your room, YOUR LIFE of beautiful memories.
  5. Always greet and be nice to other people.  More than 100 inquiries state that just smiling changes the mood.
  6. Listen to music (Praise God).  It is proven that listening to music awakens you to sing, this will make your life happy.
  7. Develop a good sense of humour.  Learn to laugh off matters, specially when things don’t go right for you.

Comments :

The Scripture exhorted us to count it all joy as we meet all kinds of trials in life because trials train us to be steadfast and yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  Besides, if we lack wisdom to face certain challenges, we can ask God and He will grant us generously.   James 1:2-4.  Heb 12:7-11.

Listening to music soothes our souls.  Whenever King Saul was tormented in his spirit, he would send for David to play him the lyre.  1 Sam 16:14-23.  Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is evidence of a Spirit filled life.  Eph 5:19.

Whenever we are nice to people speaking kind and gentle words,  not only we deflect animosity but we also gain friendship.  Prov 15:1.  Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  Prov 16:24.

Always keeping a merry heart is not only good medicine for the body but also it bring out a cheerful face.  Prov 17:22.  Prov 15:13.  It can be achieved by developing a sense of humour and laughing off stressful matters.

It is the gift of God that we may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all our toil.  And spending on travel is one great satisfaction.  Eccl 3:13.

Testimony (19)

My son and I traveled to Indianapolis via New York on 13 November 2018.  It was snowing that day when we arrived and we missed the connecting flight.  We arrived into Indianapolis late by a couple of hours.

When we returned from Indianapolis to New York Manhattan on 15 November, we were caught in a sudden snowstorm across the whole of the Northeast of America.   We were stranded in transit at Detroit Airport.  Most of the connecting flights were cancelled.  The snowstorm was unexpected in November and was the worst in 136 years with some 6.5 inches of snow fall.

I knew the incredibly slim odds of ever making back to New York from Detroit.  Let me try to explain the odds.

What is the probability of winning the first prize of the four digit lottery ?   It is one chance in 10,000.   For each digit, the chance of a particular number is 10.  So for 4 digits,  it will be 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 and that equal to 10,000.

I have to face 4 to 5 situation and clear all hurdles altogether in order to make it back to New York.  And you can imagine the incredibly slim odds far more slimmer than winning the 4D lottery.

  1. I managed to get into the plane ready to take off but twice I was de-planed as Newark airport refused to allow incoming flights.  Finally my flight was cancelled and also many other connecting flights.  What was the chance of me getting onto the last flight in the evening ?   What was the chance of even re-booking on flights the day after and subsequent days ?  The capacity of most domestic planes is only 80 persons at most and I have noticed the load for each flight was around 90%.
  2. It was the worst snowstorm in 136 years. The taxi ways were so jammed because not only planes departing were required to de-ice and so there were many other vehicles on the taxi ways, but also they were full of snow and impassable unless they were removed.  What was the chance that New York airport would re-open for the very last flight ?
  3. After prayer, I decided to go on standby for the last flight in the evening. We were 5 and 6 in the queue.  And the boarding was not closed till 5 minutes before departure time.  What was the chance of us getting on board ?   Even when we got on board,  would the flight be cancelled while waiting for clearance from Newark Airport ?   Would the flight flying half way be diverted to another airport should the snowstorm get worse before landing ?
  4. The ground mass transportation systems were shut down. Only taxis were operating and most roads were impassable because of the snowfall.  It was unexpected total chaos.  What was the chance that I could get ground transportation to take me to my hotel ?
  5. Since we boarded the plane in the last minute, what was the chance that our luggage would follow ?   My son suffered from severe eczema and it would be a disaster for him without his medicine and creams.

It became clear to me that the odds of clearing all the above hurdles was way much much slimmer than winning the first prize of the 4D lottery.

I pleaded for God’s deliverance.  I have never been more helpless in such situation before.  God answered my prayer for every hurdle on the way.

  1.  We managed to get on board the last flight even though we were no 5 and 6 in the standby queue.  We were the last passengers to make it on board the plane.  I could feel the helplessness of some 20 people on standby who did not make it on board, as they were quarreling at the gate over the queue.
  2.  We arrived safely but we should not expect our luggage to follow for the plane departed from the gate as soon as we got on board.  We were so surprised to see our luggage at the Newark Airport.  The luggage came in on an earlier flight in the morning.  That was against aviation regulation as far as I know.  Anyway we were so thankful for this “mistake”.
  3. When we called for transportation, we were told we would not have any driver till 8 or 9 am the next day.  To our amazement, I received an SMS informing me that our transport would be picking us up in 4 minutes !

How grateful I was for God’s deliverance !   We managed to get to our warm hotel just 2 hours after midnight.

Immediately upon our return on 20 November 2018,  the temperatures in Northeast America hit Siberian temperatures.  We would be ill prepared for such temperatures as we never expect such cold temperatures in November.

Our God is sovereign and He cares !    All thanks and glory to Him forever !

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-22/coldest-thanksgiving-100-years-northeast-braces-siberia-temperatures

 

Crypto-Currency And The One World Currency

(Summarizing an article by Tyler Durden on zerohedge.com and highlighting his suggestion on the possible future of crypto-currency to be used for the one world currency.   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-22/did-imf-reveal-cryptocurrency-new-world-order-end-game)

There are a few things to know about crypto-currency:

  1. It is backed by nothing.  Anyone can create it out of thin air identical to the well-known Bitcoin.   If anyone can create, then there is no intrinsic value to the technology.  So literally thousands of such currencies can be created.
  2. In the event of a grid down or an internet lock-down (as it has occurred in the past in nations under crisis), the currency can be rendered useless because the blockchain ledger is no longer accessible.
  3. The amount of time and energy required to accumulate these digital currencies seem counterproductive in light of the fact that they might not be there when we actually need them. Trading with private wallets also make no sense because running into someone in the community with the same is very slim.
  4. The only attributes that made Bitcoin valuable are its branding and the amount of hype that is generated around it. Earlier, one more valuable characteristic is the supposed anonymity but now we know that any crypto-currency based on a block-chain ledger is highly traceable.
  5. What is happening to the boom and bust of crypto-currencies now can be likened to the Dutch Tulip mania.

As precious metals alternative system can be a threat to the current economic environment of fiat currencies,  Bitcoin and its likes can distract such attempt.

“In 1988, The Economist, a globalist publication, “predicted” that a global currency system would be launched in the year 2018.  It is now clear that crypto and the block-chain are that system.  This system would eventually use the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket as a kind of bridge to a one world currency, which they referred to as the “Phoenix”. Though some people claim that the SDR itself is not a currency, globalists apparently disagree.

Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of PIMCO, praised the idea of using the SDR as a world currency mechanism and as a means to counter “populism,” reiterating the plan outlined in The Economist in 1988.

In The Economist article, it is also hinted that the role of the U.S. as an economic center for the world and the role of the dollar as world reserve currency will have to be diminished in order to clear a path for the new world order system. We see this already taking place now, as we verge on an economic crisis which could easily collapse equity markets, bond markets, as well as the reserve status of the dollar itself.

Lagarde’s latest piece is written like a sales pitch, selling the idea of central bank crypto not to central bankers, but to the financial media. The media will undoubtedly run with the talking points Lagarde suggests and regurgitate them in a blaze of articles as to why global crypto controlled by the IMF is the solution to all our fiscal problems.

The very core of the movement toward global crypto, I believe, is the destruction of anonymity in trade through a “cashless society”. When all trade is watched, all trade can be controlled. Beyond this, by monitoring trade transactions on a macro-scale, globalists can also, in a way, monitor mass psychology and predict public behaviour to a point.

Lagarde notes specifically in her article that anonymity from government oversight is unacceptable. She argues that any central bank cryptocurrency will have to ensure that private exchange is limited, and that centralized surveillance of transactions is warranted and necessary. What she of course fails to mention is that blockchain technology is already set up for government surveillance. It always has been. Not only this, but the very fabric of the blockchain requires that transactions are added to the ledger in order for the system to function. There is a built-in excuse for surveillance.

The only question is how exactly the IMF plans to attach the SDR basket to a crypto framework. This is not specifically described in Lagarde’s paper. I expect that this will not be a process of slow adaptations. Instead, it will be introduced swiftly in the midst of public panic.

The “everything bubble” created by central banks over the past decade is ready to pop. The Federal Reserve in particular has been enthusiastic about cutting off all stimulus measures, dumping assets from their balance sheet and raising interest rates into economic weakness during the worst corporate and consumer debt environment since 2008.

I suggest that the IMF already has a cryptocurrency mechanism ready to replace the dollar as world reserve, and that it will be infused into the SDR basket at the height of the coming crash. The fact that the IMF has been introducing central bank crypto talking points over the past year indicates to me that the crash is imminent.” – Tyler Durden.

Pastoral Conference In General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

All praise and thanks to God for the invitation by Mrs Dolores C Rivera,  Chairperson of the Philippines Council of Intercessors International Movement (PCIIM) and Pastor Danilo, Chairman of the Council of Churches Movement to share a message of preparation in the end times with both groups.

Glad to witness first hand how the rich in General Santos is serving fervently to fulfill the Great Commission with the wealth that God has blessed them.  The serving ministers in PCIIM are given monthly allowance for life among other good deeds to help the poor and needy as well.  PCIIM is praying to grow her membership from the current 25000 to 1 million to pray for Philippines and the rest of the world.  You can imagine the size of the allowance budget.

Despite having only 9% of the 600,000 population being Muslim in General Santos, I observed there is hardly any smoking or liquor sold.  Though the city is under martial law, it feels safe.   The people are very friendly.

I believe as long as the rich in the city are taking good care of the poor and needy, the city will be blessed.  All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus !

(Update :  A 7.0 magnitude earthquake happened at 11.39am on 29 Dec 2018 just 121 km away from General Santos City.  Thank God for His mercy as there is no reported casualty.  I prayed that our Lord’s warning about the beginning of birth pains, the subsequent hard times, the necessary preparation and expectation of His return will be taken seriously.)

The Characteristics Of Self Deception

In Matt 7:21-27, our Lord mentioned 2 group of people who are deceived – those who made mere verbal profession (Matt 7:21-23) and those who have mere intellectual knowledge (Matt 7:24-27).  John Stott said that mere verbal profession and intellectual knowledge are “a camouflage for disobedience”.

We should note that our Lord was not speaking to anti-God people, or heretics, or atheists but to religious people who were obsessed with religious activity.  They were damned because they were self-deluded and on the wrong path.

They are excluded from heaven by self deception.  They have no intention to obey God’s commands.

John MacArthur gave these indicators for one to examine himself as well as spot one self-deceived person:

“How can a person know if he is deceiving himself?  How can we spot a self-deceived person?  Let me give you a list of things to look for.  However, just because a person fits the description of one item on the list doesn’t necessarily mean he is deceived.  However, the things mentioned here are good indicators to go by.

Is the person seeking feelings, blessings, experiences, healings and miracles?  This person is probably more interested in the byproducts of the faith than the faith itself.  He seeks what he can get, not what he can glorify God for.  He is more interested in pampering himself than in exalting Christ.

Is the person more committed to a denomination, church, or organization than he is to the Word of God?  That person’s Christianity may be purely social.  He’s the kind who says, “I’ve been a Lutheran all my life”, or “I’m a Presbyterian,” or “I belong to that church.”  He’s more committed to the organization than the Word of God.

Is the person involved in theology merely out of academic interest?  You’ll find this kind of person in colleges and seminaries.  He studies theology, and writes books about it.  Theology for him is an intellectual activity.  His life is void of the righteousness of Christ.

Does the person seem stuck over one particular point of theology?  This is the person who bangs the proverbial drum for his favorite topic.  Sometimes the area he emphasizes isn’t that profound.  He thinks he is close to God and has great divine insight that no one else has.  All of his activity is devoted to seeking attention to feed his ego.  Watch out for a person that has a lack of balance in his theology.

Is the person over-indulgent in the name of grace?  A person who lacks penitence and a contrite heart is self-deceived.”

 

Kingdom Of God

The Kingdom of God has several meaning according to different Scriptural passages.

In one sense, since God is the Creator of the whole universe, the Kingdom of God is His rule over all the whole universe.

In another sense, it is the rule over the hearts and minds of believers who submit to God’s authority. Those who defy are simply not of this Kingdom. And it can only be entered into by being born again.

Yet another, it can refer to the millennium rule of Christ when He returns.

Christ’s present hidden spiritual reign in our hearts and minds, the Kingdom of grace, will culminate in His future physical reign, the Kingdom of glory, when He returns.

The 7 mountain mandate popularized by the NAR is an unbiblical movement to re-define the Kingdom of God. It preaches that all Christians are required to create a worldwide kingdom for the glory of Christ through dominating education, religion, family, business, government & military, arts & entertainment, and media.

Our Lord did not come to overthrow the Roman empire. He made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world at that time but in the hearts and minds of those who would follow Him. He will rule the whole world when He returns.

In Luke 19:11-12,  when Jesus was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the Kingdom of Israel would be restored, He answered with a parable that the nobleman would go away to a distant country to be appointed king first and then return.  In Acts 1:3-8, He appeared over 40 days to the apostles and spoke about the kingdom of God.  The apostles also asked the same question as to when the kingdom of Israel would be restored.  He replied that only God the Father set the date and time by His own authority.

Meanwhile, He warned that we will be hated because the world hated Him first and we will have persecution and a great falling away instead. Luke 21;  2 Thess 2:1-3;  John 15:18-21.

 

Worship – The Ultimate Priority

It is the believer’s ultimate priority to give the Lord the glory due His name and worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.  Ps 29:2.  Music is just one medium of worship and so it is not limited to just singing praises on Sunday.

Worship is THE way of life and it should touch all areas of our lives.  We are saved to worship.  John 4:23-24.

Only the Word of God can tell us exactly how to worship God acceptably and please Him.

Worship. God is seeking the true worshipers to worship Him in spirit and in truth. We can only worship God when we have true and accurate knowledge of God from His Word.  We must also worship Him in spirit.  It is not about physical posture but require something in our innermost being.  We must be born again and be given the Holy Spirit to energize our new spirit to glorify Him.   John 4:23-24

Obedience.  Scripture clearly says if we love God, we will obey His commandments.  If we do not obey His commandments, we cannot claim to love Him.  And how can we worship Him if we do not love Him ?  John 14:15, 24

Reverence. We must worship God with reverence and awe. Our God is a jealous God and His righteous anger demands that He destroys all idolatry as He will not share His glory with idols. Heb 12:28.

Service.  We must do good to others.  It is a pleasing worship sacrifice to God.   Heb 13:16.

Holy Living. We must present our bodies as a holy living sacrifice. Rom 12:1.

Inward Transformation. We worship God with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions.  Rom 12:2

Praise. We should always offer up sacrifice of praise with our lips that acknowledge His name for that is pleasing to God.   Heb 13:15.

All thanks be to God for giving me the worship acronym to remind me of the true meaning of worship.  All honor and glory to the Lord of Lords !

Praise God Through Singing

Why singing matters in praising God ?

Eph 5:18-19

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…

Col 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Acts 16:25

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…

Singing and making melody to the Lord with our hearts is evidence of a Spirit-filled life.

Singing helps to imbibe the word of Christ in our hearts as it is easily memorized.

Singing praises to God corporately helps to build up one another as we are hearing confession of faith from one another.  And also witness to the unbelievers when they realize how joyful we are in the Lord in our exuberant singing of praises and confession of faith.

Singing strengthens our faith in the midst of trials and suffering.

(Thanks be to God for giving me another ACRONYM to remember to sing praises exuberantly to Him every time.)

Love – The Virtue Of All Virtues

To love God and one another perfectly in a perfect world – Love or Christlikeness – is the ultimate meaning of human existence.

Love is the virtue of all virtues for God is Love.  It is patient, kind, temperate and rejoices with truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  1 Cor 13:4-7.

As I was meditating on this virtue this morning, I thanked the Lord for the illuminating work of His Spirit again in giving me an acronym in which I could remind myself every day to live out all virtues of love for all eternity.

All glory to our Lord and God.