Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” — John 3:3
Last Sunday, there was a homeless man came up to the stage, around fifty, tattoos all over, looks rough and uneducated. “What is he going to do on the stage?” I was wondering in my mind. Then, he told us with a big smile on his face that church people prayed for him, for a home and healing on his ankle the week before, and God has performed both miracles for him. He had a radical new start in which he puts his trust in Jesus and follows him. He encouraged us with these words:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
He said that these words meant a lot to him and transformed his life. Now, He has a new beginning inwardly, that differs from what I saw outwardly. He is born again spiritually.
The story in today’s verse is: Jesus was visited by a member of the ruling council of the Pharisees called Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because he didn’t want to be seen. However, he acknowledged that Jesus is a man who has come form God because the miracles that he has been performing. Jesus replied in John 3:3 “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” God’s kingdom refers to his reign on earth, evidenced by the miracles Jesus has performed. Jesus teaches both Nicodemus and us that we must be spiritually reborn if we are to witness the reality of the reign of heaven on earth. We must trust Jesus and follow him , therefore we will have a brand new start in our life, just as the homeless man.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ” — Matthew 11:28
Recently I haven’t slept well, especially these two days. It seems there are lots of things going on in my mind that gives me no rest. Even though when I close my eyes, the things are like a movie, loops and loops in my head. I don’t know how to stop it, sometimes, I just pray that God will give me rest.
Today, in Matthew 11:28, Jesus’ words are speaking into my heart. They like the light in the darkness, hope in the hopeless. His words comfort me:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
You must wonder, who is this Jesus, how can he has the power to give you complete rest? How can he be so sure that his yoke is easy and his burden is light? the bible reveals the answer in Matthew11:27
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Jesus teaches that he has received all things from the Heavenly Father. He reveals the father to us! Once we have a had an intimate, direct revelation of the Father’s love, all striving becomes easy and the burden becomes light. From Mark Stibbe’s own words: “Instead of resting from work, we work from rest!”
May God give you rest in times of restless just as he has given me!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ———2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
In chapter 6, Solomon asked God to make provision for the people when the Israelites have sinned. God answered his request with 4 conditions:
1) Humble yourself by admitting your sins
2) Pray to God, asking for forgiveness.
3) Seek God continually
4) Turn from sinful behaviour
True repentance is more than talk – it is changed behaviour. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, following these steps will lead to complete forgiveness. God will answer our earnest prayers, just as God has answered Israel’s prayer thousands of years ago. Still, God is gracious and faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
For me, God has been so amazing and gracious in my life. Just the same as many others, I was once vulnerable and broken, also my heart was filled with orphan spirit (homeless and insecure). I have done things so wrong that I wouldn’t even bear to look back any more. However, GOD FORGIVES ME WHEN I WAS STILL A SINNER AND HEALED MY BROKEN HEART, HE PURIFIED ME AND RESTORED MY SOUL, moreover, He provided me with both physical and spiritual home, He is the greatest father who I have ever met in my life. This relationship with him – God the father, has been so precious to me, I felt so loved and blessed everyday of my life.
Do you want to start a relationship with God, just as what I have done? Do the 4 steps above, and God will hear you and answer your prayers!
God bless you!
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
—- Psalm 34:8
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding —-Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
The book of Proverbs is written by the wisest man ever in human history apart from Jesus – King Solomon. Actually the original title in the Hebrew Bible is “The Proverbs of Solomon”. I love reading the book of Proverbs because I am hungry for wisdom (who will not be?). It says that Proverbs is:
“for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young” — Proverbs 1:2-4
Proverbs is not as long as Psalms but full of wisdom. Today let’s have a look at this particular verse:” Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Here I have a video I want to share with you:
Do you still remember the definition of the word Trust in the video? It is an assured reliance of someone or something, and also it is the one in which confidence is placed. There is nothing else in this world but God on whom you can assure your total reliance.
Not just says: trusting in the LORD, but “Trust in the LORD with all your heart“. How can we trust in him with all our heart? Is there anything or anyone in your life that you can trust with all your heart?
As an example, I remember when I was little, I believed whatever my dad have told me. If he tells me the moon is made of cheese, so it is. I have not doubt about it because I totally trust in him, I was once totally dependent on my parents, physically as well as mentally. However, after I grew up a little bit and my own understandings of the world kicked in, I started to doubt about what my parents say. That’s exactly what God concerns. Bible says we must receive the kingdom of God like a little child.(Luke 18:17) God wants us to put our trust in him and lean NOT on our own understandings. In Roman 12:2 it says, ‘but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Our minds need to be renewed by the word of God, and we should be able to think in line with the teaching of the Bible. So today I want to encourage us to go back to our toddlers time, trust our father with all our heart and lean not on own understandings. Let’s live a dependent life.
Give me wisdom and knowledge, that i may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours? — 2 Chronicles 1:10 (NIV)
If you can have anything in the whole world, What would you ask for?
King Solomon asked for WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE to lead God’s people. What a great request! Please see for yourself here:
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
God’s offer to Solomon stretches the imagination: ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’. But Solomon put the needs of his people first and asked for wisdom rather than wealth or long life. He realised that wisdom would be the most valuable asset he could have as a king. Later he wrote, wisdom “is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:15)
The same wisdom that was given to Solomon is available to us today, God offers it to us all. But how can we receive it? Here are a few suggestions:
1) We must ask God, who ‘gives generously to all without finding fault’
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. — James 1:5
2) When we ask for wisdom, we must not doubt:
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
3) We must devote ourselves wholeheartedly to studying and applying God’s Word, the source of divine wisdom.
I encourage you all to read more of the Word of God everyday, Because the Bible is the breath of God, and it is full of wisdom, as precious as Gold. I have started memorising one verse a day from the bible a few months ago and it has been extremely helpful. The Word of God has power as well as comfort, wisdom and encouragement. It empowers me to conquer difficult situations and receives peace of mind.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
— Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
Psalm 139 is possibly the most intimate Psalm out of all that composed by King David. It is full of David’s praises for God’s personal interest in every aspect of his life. Let us have a good look at this beautiful psalm:
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
In this Psalm, it depicts that David knows whatever people may say about God, and whatever they may say about us, God knows us, watches over us, guards and guides us like a perfect father.
Sometimes we don’t let people get to know us completely because we frighten that they will discover somethings about us that they won’t like. But God already knows everything about us, even to the number of hairs on our heads, and still he accepts and loves us. God is with us through every situation, in every trial – protecting, loving, guiding and guarding. He knows and loves us absolute 100%.
We are Indeed fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of the world’s greatest Father. From the womb to the tomb, our Father invests in our lives personally. — Mark Stibbe
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. —- Psalm 103:13 (NIV)
Psalm 103 is one of the most famous of David’s psalms. His praises focused on the good things God was doing for him. It is easy to complain about life, but David’s list gives us plenty for which to praise God – He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and gives righteousness and justice. We receive all of these without deserving any of them. No matter how difficult your life’s journey, you can always count your blessings – past, present, and future. when you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David’s list:
Psalm 103 – Of David.
1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, my soul.
In verse 13, it reveals that God is like a father – tender and compassionate. not every child has a tender and compassionate father, however, too often, sadly, the cycles of abuse and dysfunction rob children of loving fathers. if that is your situation, God offers himself to you to be the FATHER YOU NEVER HAD or perhaps felt you never needed. Of course, you can’t physically ‘go for a walk’ with God or be held in his arms, however, you can receive his LOVE in your heart by means of his Holy Spirit. God can tenderly heal your deep loss.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. — Psalm 23:6 (KJV)
It is exciting to write about today’s verse because this is my favourite Psalm!
Psalms means ‘Praises’ in Hebrew are prayers from the Old Testament of the Bible. There are 150 in total. Psalm 23 is directly attributed to David, who was a great king as well as a marvellous composer of psalms. This is such a beautiful description of the relationship of our Lord and us.
Psalm 23 in King James Version of the bible and my little understandings as follows:
1.The LORD is my shepherd; —- That’s RELATIONSHIP
2. I shall not want. — That’s PROVISION
3. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, — That’s REST
4. He leadeth me beside the still waters. — That’s REFRESHMENT
5. He restorethmy soul. — That’s HEALING
6. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness — That’s GUIDANCE
7. For his name’s sake. — That’s PURPOSE
8. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, — That’s TESTING
9. I will fear no evil: — That’s PROTECTION
10. For thou art with me; — That’s FAITHFULNESS
11. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. — That’s DISCIPLINE
12. Thou preparesta table before me in the presence of mine enemies: — That’s HOPE
13. Thou anointestmy head with oil; — That’s CONSECRATION
14. My cup runneth over. — That’s ABUNDANCE
15. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: — That’s BLESSINGS
16. And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. — That’s SECURITY
Could you imagine a greater celebration of the father’s role as intimate provider and protector from this?
Here is one of my favourite songs
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” — Exodus 34:6 (NIV)
Exodus 34 is about “The Covenant Renewed”:
After Moses led the Israel out of Egypt, they began to rebel against the Lord and they made up a golden calf to worship. Do you still remember yesterday’s verse, ‘You shall have no gods before me’? So God was angry and he wanted to leave Israel. But Moses asked God for his mercy upon his people and God was pleased with Moses and he relented. He promised Moses to stay with Israel to the Promised Land. Then Moses prayed and asked God to show his glory so that the people of Israel might know that the presence of the Lord was still with them. God was pleased with Moses and did the very thing that Moses asked.
Therefore we can see God’s presence in this verse in which God revealed himself: Mercy, grace, patience, love, and faithfulness.
Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we are created by a God who is not full of mercy, grace, patience , love and faithfulness? I would say it would be like if we are ruled by the worst dictator you can ever think of. We would live like slaves. But we are not slaves because we have a GOOD God. It says here he is the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Hallelujah! What else can we be more grateful to?
Let us conclude today’s verse with a song:
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger and rich in love. And the Lord is good to all. He has compassion in all that He has made. As far as the east is from the west. That’s how far He has removed our transgressions from us!” — Lyrics by Graham Ord
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” — Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV)
Just as it was for Israelites, God also promised to bless his people if we keep his covenant, we will be our father’s treasured possession, our nation, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The word “priest” means “ONE WHO DRAWS NEAR TO GOD”. ‘The Father LONGED FOR a kingdom of people that would draw near to him IN LOVE. His heart has always desired INTIMACY with his people. HIS HEART ACHES FOR THIS TO THIS DAY. ‘
I read this verse, and was touched by the love of God for me. As a father, he is so long to be closed to his children: He would love to give us a hug when we are down, and a pat on the shoulder saying well done when we are doing great. It is the intimacy relationship with us that he always desires.
He promised us love and blessings, peach and joy, kindness and goodness … when we draw near to him.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has send me to you.” — Exodus 3:14 (NIV)
Who is Moses? Moses was the leader who brought Israel out of the slavery of Egypt by the power of the Lord. When Israel was put into slavery by the Pharaoh, they cried to God and God heard them. He sent Moses as the liberator. This verse is what God said to Moses when he spoke to him from a burning bush. NIV translation doesn’t use the name of the Lord. In Hebrew Bible, God reveals his name here as Yahweh or Jehovah in English. Later in verse 15, God also says, “this is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation”.
Why did God choose Moses? Moses was not a very brave person before God raised him and blessed him greatly. He was an orphan child but now he has met his Father — God, the One who thinks highly of him!
God has given Moses a great mission – Set Israelites free of slavery by bring them out of Egypt. Moses has no confidence in himself:’ How can I managed this, why choose me?’ However, God has promised that He would be with Moses all the time, moreover, He promised POWER and AUTHORITY in his name that conquers all things.
Can you see the picture? — Trust in God, our father, for he has promised that he will be with us ALWAYS and Nothing is impossible in this mighty name.
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. — Genesis 12:2 (NIV)
In Genesis chapter 12: The Lord had said to Abram, “leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
‘Abraham shows great faith when he obeys this call. Faith is about believing that something is so, even though you cannot yet see it … God is a Father who loves to BLESS and he has chosen Israel to be the nation that brings his blessing to the world.’ — Mark Stibbe
Abraham is a father of faith. When I read about this chapter and watched the video above, I was in tears. Abraham’s heart was trembling as God told him to sacrifice his own son, however he obeyed with faith:”Father, Please help me to see as you see … I don’t understand your purpose Lord, yet you are God – THE GIVER OF LIFE. You have spoken, so I will do this for you! ” Through his faith and obedient, it brings God’s mighty blessings: I will make you the father of all nations!
Sometimes, you can not see good things happening, it’s because you hesitate to take the first step as you can’t see the reason in doing it. However, when you don’t understand, yet willing to trust and step out in faith, God’s blessings will be poured into your life unstoppably!
Take the first step to believe that he is the father who loves you so dearly?
If the entire Bible could be encapsulated in a single sentence then it would cry out like the resounding waves of the sea, “THE FATHER LOVES YOU.” —- St Augustine