Restful Increase is a blog that talks about the power of God's Unfailing, Unmerited, and Undeserved Favor - Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hello visitors! I don't know if someone still reads this blog since it is almost a year since I posted something here. So I welcome myself back to this blog.:)

I have been in some form of hiatus. Primarily because I have been revisiting some belief that I found suspicious and does not sink well with me. I am carefully considering the implication of each belief and would not want to post anything until I feel settled that this is something I can share.

Since I've been transformed by the Gospel of Grace I have been consistently looking at my belief and asking myself, "Is this consistent with the Gospel?" One of which is the one about the Tithe. I also looked at the doctrine of Hell. One question I asked is this:
 "Does God send His Beloved Son to Earth so that those who will not believe in His Son will be tormented for all eternity in hell?" 

If the answer to that question is "YES" then what are the answers to these next questions:

#1. Isn't that the very reason why Jesus was called Savior so He can come and save people?
#2. Did Jesus failed as a Savior?
#3. Is God that unfair that He would punish His creation for all eternity even though they only failed to believe for at most 120 years?
#4. This one is is a bit philosophical but I will include it here. If God knows that Adam will ultimately eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and will ultimately send billions to hell did God  deliberately send billions of people to hell by putting the tree in the Garden of Eden?

And the other hand if the answer is "NO" here are few questions that I think you should answer:

#1. If God will not send me to Hell then can I sin my whole life because anyway I will go to Heaven when I die?
#2. Where is God's sense of justice?
#3. There is always our part and God's part so what about our part?
#4. There are a bunch of Scriptures that talks about hell should we just throw them away?

There are actually many questions whether you answer yes or no. But I believe the question we should answer is this: Does hell exist and who is it for?

Does hell exist? Yes I believe that hell exist, we don't have to look at the afterlife to find hell. There are hellish situation in our life. King David, in the Psalm describe what it is be in hell as if he has been in hell. This is the time where there is outer darkness that envelops us. So hell does exist.

There are three words in the Bible that is translated as hell:
1. Sheol/Hades
2. Lake of Fire
3. Gehenna

I added wiki links for further study.

Hades is a place of outer darkness where people can hide from God. This "hell" exists and is temporal. This is where people are absent of hope. Jesus even descends to "hell" - outer darkness.

The other picture of hell is the Lake of Fire. This Lake is eternal and will never end. The interesting part is, Lake of Fire IS NOT Hades/Sheol. In Revelation 20:14, Hades is destroyed in the Lake of Fire. The outer darkness is destroyed in Eternal Flame.

Consequently, God is describe as an ALL CONSUMING FIRE. And the Holy Spirit descends as FIRE in the pentecost. What if the Lake of Fire IS GOD Himself? What if He destroys death and hell (Revelation 20:14)?

 I borrowed this discussion from Peter Hiett to let me shamelessly post his presentation. :)

The third picture of hell is called Gehenna. It's an actual place outside of Jerusalem. It said that garage/dead are burned there. Many of Jesus' teaching about hell refers to this place. Again, I am posting something from Downside Up for illustration:

Historically because a lot of evil happened there so when people talks about judgement the place to describe it is Gehenna. Geographically, you can see that it is a place between where God dwells and where outer darkness is. So Gehenna is a place of judgement where people can move from outer darkness (Sheol) to where God dwells. Incidentally, Jesus is our place of judgement.

For more study please watch the video below.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All of us have fears. Fear of height, fear of failure, fear of rejection and most of all the fear of death. Death is the worst enemy that people are afraid to face or even to talk about. Every time we hear the word death, fear starts to creep in. And I admit that I am one of those who fear death terribly until I know death well enough. Now I know longer fear death. I began to appreciate it and embrace it. How? As what Orson Scott wrote in one of his best-selling novels “Ender’s Game”,
“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him”. Knowing the truth will set us free indeed. We have to know the truth about death so that we will be free from it. So what’s the truth about death then?
There are two kinds of death: spiritual and physical death. Spiritual death happened to all of us in the Garden of Eden where Adam ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil which God forbids to eat. And because of that sin, we all have died spiritually (Romans 5:12). For the wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23). Death is not God’s plan for us because it separates us from His presence and from our fellowship with Him. Death is the consequence of Adam’s sin. But because of God’s great love for us, He made a way to defeat death. And He defeated death by another death; through the death of His beloved Son Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 5:22). At the cross, He didn’t just die for us but He also died as us. If you put your faith in this truth, you are already dead to sin and alive in Him. You are quickened by the Spirit the bible says. Behold, all things are gone, the new has come. You are a new creation in Christ. How did it happen? When Jesus rose from the dead, we have also risen in Him and with Him. He defeated death by His death. Death has been swallowed up in victory! (1Cor. 15:54). Hallelujah! 

When I learned all these things, I feel like I defeated death, yet not I but Christ. And when I started to learn all the benefits of being dead to sin and the power of His death (which will be discussed in another blog), the more I appreciate it. If not because of His death, I will never be where I am and will never become who I am right now. Yet there are still people out there who are dead spiritually. It's not because they are not included in the death of Christ but it's because they haven't receive the truth yet, that Jesus Christ died for them as well. Sad but this is true.

Second kind of death is the physical death. This is where I got problem with. I was so afraid of the thought that one day I’ll die. But nothing could be further from the truth. Believers will never die again. For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). When you wake up after that sleep, you will have a new body which will never get sick and will never grow old. This truth has set me free from the fear of death. Another revelation I received from the Lord few years ago, which actually excites me is that, physical “death” will be the most glorious day of my life and for all of you who received Christ because we will get to see our groom face to face. One of our biggest dreams, especially us ladies, is to be married to someone who loves us and whom we loved dearly. If that kind of celebration can give us unspeakable joy and that kind of love (which is not perfect) can make us very happy, how much more joy will we feel if we are to be reunited with the One who loves us passionately, intimately and unconditionally for eternity? It’s gonna be the happiest day and the most glorious day of our lives because that day will mark the beginning of your life, spending time with your loveliest groom, Jesus, face to face for eternity.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Unity, diversity, and community… the Majesty and Mystery of the Trinity” - Ravi Zacharias

In the beginning, God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..." The word, God, that was used in that verse was the Hebrew word, Elohim, which is plural word for El. Meaning that God is plural and when Jesus came He showed us what this plurality looks like; this plurality is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit and they call themselves One God. Meaning there is complete unity in these three Persons that they call themselves ONE and during the creation process, one of them said, "Let us make mankind...". It is as if they are talking among each other in creating man and then they agreed and formed man from dust. And he formed man in His image and likeness.

Through the years, religion has taught us that we are unworthy and we should not approach God because He is holy and pure and we are dirty and sinful. This is were the absurd fear of God came out of.  In religious term we call it "reverential fear" but it is still fear. But if you ponder upon the verse that says, ""Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..." we will realised that we are made in His image and likeness. What does that mean? That means that we have God-kind qualities inside of us.If we look at all of creation we see that everything reproduces itself. A dog reproduces little dogs. A tree reproduces little trees. God created man from His image and likeness. We can take this lightly but certainly Elohim didn't. He came down and showed us what this means.

The Scripture says, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus, The Word, became flesh and showed us that man is God-compatible. Yes. You and God are compatible. When Jesus came He did not made any adjustment in His body because it is already compatible to house the Divine. This teaches us three things:

#1. You are worthy in God's eyes. If God sent His angels to redeem you then that means that you are angel-worthy but He sent no lesser than His Son. This speaks of man's place in God's eyes. You are worthy.

#2. You are God-compatible. I have said this before but if you get this revelation it will blow your mind. Your body is compatible with an infinite God. Therefore when He created you He paid special attention to you. Jesus becoming flesh tells us that there is nothing needed to be added to you or to be taken from you because you already qualifies to fellowship with God!

#3. You have God-kind qualities. I have said this before also but think about this deep inside of you is not only compatible with the Divine but also functions that of a Divine. You are therefore divine.

No wonder that LOVE is our universal language because God is Love. No wonder we all hope and have faith because Christ is the author of FAITH itself.

One pastor once shared this and I would like to end this post with this to you. A pastor asked:
Why do you provide food to your kids? Why do you provide shelter to them? Or give them a safe environment? I took time to answer this question because I thought it is a trick question but I answered the only answer I could give, "that's silly because I love my child." The pastor said, "Exactly! But do you know that there is a law called the Family Code that demands you to do these things and you probably don't know that but you are doing it wilfully and wholeheartedly to your child because you love him/her! You, therefore, are following not a law but a call in your heart - LOVE. And Love makes you do the "right things"."

God is LOVE. Therefore your ability to give love comes from Him. And our inability to love only means one thing - we need a refill from Love Himself. 

Question: If we have God-kind qualities and it says God is HOLY does that mean that we too are HOLY?

We have misunderstood the word HOLY. Holy means distinct and separated. To be called Holy means to belong to a separated beings. To say that we are Holy means we are worthy to be part of the fellowship of the Trinity. So yes we are HOLY in the sense that Jesus made us HOLY and in the sense that God wants us to be part of the fellowship of the TRINITY.

So for you to call yourself worthless and unworthy, let me tell you God doesn't think the same way. In the creation, God gave you His image and likeness and in the incarnation He validated and displayed what it means in Christ.

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

It is as if Jesus is saying, "You want your Daddy? I am here! I have come! I am the perfect image of the Father and we created you to be a perfect image of us!"

I am not in anyway trying to elevate man. I am merely sharing what I think happened in the creation and in the incarnation. Jesus is the Message and the Messenger from God. If we listen to what He is saying it is not "obey, obey, obey". Much of what He is doing is setting the captives free, opening the eyes of the blind, and declaring the Good News to the poor. This is His Message: SONSHIP. You are created in His image. Never think for a second that you are anything less.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Righteousness is a big word. I grew up hearing this word as a Christian. In church, I frequently hear this word. But I never call myself Righteous. I call myself FORGIVEN but not RIGHTEOUS. I used to look at Righteousness as a goal. I do all my Christian duties so that one day God can call me "Righteous". But the irony is that as far as I can remember I try my best to stay away from being called Righteous (by other people) because I am too afraid of calling myself Righteous. I remember one day my friend in church called me righteous (maybe because he felt like I sin less than him). I remembered that the instant that he said that I felt my spine shiver. :) Why? Because I fear that doing so might lead me to it's polar opposite: SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and PRIDE.

"Pride comes before a fall.", one pastor used to tell me. So I never really took a deeper look at this word and what it means. In my mind, RIGHTEOUSNESS is right doing.  Since I received the revelation of Grace I see righteousness quite differently. I've written a blog post last year call Redefining Righteousness. On that post, I concluded that Jesus made you Righteous. But what does that even mean?

I meditated on it and the Holy Spirit showed me a picture (until I heard Bertie Brits talking about Effortless Meditation, I did not realised it was the Holy Spirit who showed me this picture) of God placing me on His Right side.

In Christ, I am declared Righteous and it means I can now stand worthily on the RIGHT side of God. In Christ, my Righteousness means that I have the RIGHT to be on God's Right hand. The Right hand is a place of favour. So I can expect favour and I can expect acceptance and love from Him. Righteousness therefore connotes fellowship with the Godhead. It means complete transparency and intimacy with the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

You can no longer say to God you are not worthy because Jesus give you His Righteousness. And thus giving you place in the circle of the Trinity. This is quite a wonderful revelation for me. What a liberating revelation that yes you are made right by God but the end goal is for you to have FELLOWSHIP with Him. 

I hope this is blessing you because this sure is blessing me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Galatians 2: 20 (KJV) states, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

I have heard and seen this beautiful verse mangled to rally people to work's righteousness and behavioural modification and self sanctification and purity. Often this is preached in the the tune that we are to "crucify the flesh in us" or "die to self". This call to self 'spiritual' mutilation  may sound godly but it is NEVER the intent of Apostle Paul. If we read the verse slowly and carefully we will uncover a beautiful truth of God's Love and Grace.

First it says, "I am crucified with Christ"
Question: When was Christ crucified? 
Answer :Way before Paul became a believer. 
And yet Paul refers to this crucifixion and said that crucifixion was my crucifixion. We hear this preach in a way that sounded as somehow Paul reached this spiritual level where he is able to crucify his fleshly passions and somehow claim that we too, like Paul, will reach this level once we are able to discipline ourselves more. No. This beautiful verse is plainly stating a truth - Jesus' was crucified and his death was our death. Romans 6:8 echoes this truth. This is one of the main themes of Paul's letters to the church. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died."

This is exactly what "been crucified with Christ means". It means you died with Christ when He was on the cross. For Paul to say, that he has been crucified with Christ was not a declaration of victory against the flesh through self-control and discipline but a declaration of the Truth that you have died with Christ. And when Jesus rose again, you rose with Him. Therefore sin has no longer authority over you because you are no longer "you" but you have died. This is the reason that the next part of this verse said,  "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." This is an amazing revelation for all of us (not just for Paul) because Paul just had a revelation of the extent of the work of Jesus on the cross. His death was not just to an execution of an innocent man but an exodus (the English word used in Luke 9:31 was departure but in Greek it is the word EXODUS) leading humanity to a new era.

Paul added, "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." What does this mean? It means quite simply that this life he is living in his body,  he live by the faith of the Son of God. Note that it does not say, faith IN the Son of God but faith OF the Son of God. Much can be said on this phrase alone but I will stop here.

Either you believe that you need to crucify your flesh daily "just like Paul" or you believe that Jesus' crucifixion was your crucifixion "just like Paul". Believing the latter will make you live by the faith of the Son of God. Why? Because the other will make you live out of your performance and out of your passion and out of your faithfulness which will fail in time.

Paul clearly believed that the what Christ did on the cross changed things. What do you believe in?

There are still those who believe that you need to crucify your fleshly passion. OK fine. My question is how do you exactly do that. I understand the figurative representation of this statement but think about it: can a man crucify himself? No. You need someone else to crucify you. What you are doing is just putting levels of demands on you that will not lead you to the true freedom that Christ accomplished for you.

You cannot crucify yourself nor can you accomplish righteousness through your own efforts (self-denial and self-discipline).

So what does it mean to be crucified with Christ? It means to have a revelation that you have died from sin and you are now in Chirst - living and finding your move and being in Him. The life you now live is lived in His faith.

You are loved.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

As of this writing I have written about three posts about the subject of tithing. I have to say that I created a room for tithing in my theology because I believed that Abraham tithed before the Law therefore we should still tithe under Grace. You can read about these posts here and here. The past years though I found my beliefs shifting to a different direction. In the light of the work of Christ, where everything was given and that you don't have to work to please God or to be blessed, there is no room this type of doctrine.

I would like to first say, I don't believe in being greedy. I believe in giving but not in tithing. I believe that when we give with a cheerful heart in doing so not out of obligation. For this post, let's look at three things:
1. Abraham's tithe
2. Tithe as defined in Deuteronomy
3. Jesus  - The Tithe!

My goal in this post is to unveil to you the loveliness of Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Why did Abraham gave the tithe to Melchizedek?
There two texts in the Bible you want to look at Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7. These chapters points to the same story where Abraham gave tithe of all his winnings to Melchizedek. Genesis 14 relays the story while Hebrews 7 explains what is the significance of this event. The author of Hebrews used this event to illustrate that Jesus is a High Priest of higher order on that of the priesthood of Aaron. Some preachers use these texts to say, since Abraham tithe to Melchizedek before the Law then now under Grace we should tithe to the local church. This is actually a stretch from what the author is saying in the book. The other thing you need to consider, Abraham was NEVER under Grace. Yes. Because if he is, then there is no need for Jesus to come. The Bible says, Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ. Abraham was righteous because he believed but today we have the very Righteousness of God in Christ. We are not just declared righteous we now have the very Righteousness that Jesus possess. 

Let's answer the question: Why did Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek? Hebrews 7 tells you it is because Abraham acknowledged the Melchizedek is superior to him. Historically, when people want to honor a king, they will give a tribute/tithe of their winnings to say "You are my king, I submit to you." Abraham did that with Melchizedek.

What is the tithe in Deuteronomy?
I was very surprised of this verse because I have not read this before.  This provided a great deal of understanding of what the tithe is:
Deuteronomy 14
22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. 24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away),25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. 26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice. 27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.
Three points I would like to make here:
1. Tithe is from produce of the field. Therefore a carpenter cannot tithe.
2. You eat your tithe. (verse 23)
3. If you convert your tithe to money you spend it in whatever you like and eat it together with your family (verse 26)

Jesus - the Tithe!
Malachi 3:10 commanded bring the whole Tithe into the storehouse of God. But you need to read the first verse to get the context. The first verse talks about the coming of God's Messiah who will cleanse the Levitical priesthood (and we know later that He is from the order of Melchizedek) because the old system is not  representing God properly. Jesus is the Tithe that needs to go back to the storehouse so that God's people may eat of Him. Jesus Himself said we are to partake of His flesh and drink of His Blood! If you feel that's is not in the Bible look for it! He is the Tithe pointed by Deuteronomy 14. He is coming out of the Promise Land and we are to partake of Jesus and enjoy Him!

He returned to God and opened the windows and doors of Heaven for you! You are therefore now standing under and open Heaven because Jesus rose again and returned to the Father!

You cannot buy or pay for God's blessing. This is given to you for free. If that is too good to be true then let me tell you this is the Gospel because the word Gospel means "too good to be true news". The era of trying to please God or make Him smile is over. Look at Jesus and you know God is smiling at you. Look at Jesus and know that you are blessed. Look at Jesus and know that you are complete in Him.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2 Kings 5 talks about the story of Naaman, a Syrian commander, who was described as a man of valor but a leper. The story goes that Naaman was able to capture a young girl from Israel during one of the raids. This young girl talked about a prophet in Samaria who can surely heal Naaman. Naaman turned to the king of Syria for assistance. The king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel saying, 

"Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy."

Now the king of Israel was perplexed because he understands that if Naaman goes back to Syria unhealed of leprosy that he is essentially disobeying the king of Syria which could mean war between two nations.

Elisha heard about the situation and ask the king to send Naaman to him. Naaman came and Elisha did not even talked to him personally. He sent his messenger to Naaman telling him, " Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." This angered Naaman and he decided to leave without bathing in the river Jordan. He later on was convinced to try bathing in the river and was made whole.

This story is actually a shadow of what happened in the cross:
  • Elisha is actually a combination of two words - Eli and Yeshua which means God is my salvation or God your Savior. Elisha is an intended shadow of Jesus (Yeshua). 
  • Naaman is a Syrian commander a picture of the Gentile nations who does not know God but know Israel. 
  • The king of Israel is a picture of the Jews. 
  • The messenger/servant here is a picture of the Holy Spirit.

Before the cross, the world's citizen is divided into two Jews and Gentiles. The Gentile has no knowledge of God and does not even care about knowing God. The Jews on the other hand knows about God and the ways of God.

Now, Naaman, a picture of the Gentiles, is a leper. Leprosy in the Scripture is a picture of sin. Naaman is looking for healing and is looking at the Jews for answers. Though the Jews know about God, they do not know how to access Him. Only the prophets have access to Him so they turn to Elisha (Jesus). Understand the Elisha intentionally did not meet with Naaman. This is a prophecy about the cross. Today, none from the Gentile world have seen Jesus but they received a revelation from the Holy Spirit (The Servant/Messenger). The Messenger said, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." Why seven times? Seven is the number of Spiritual Perfection which describes the Finished Work of Jesus on the Cross.

When Naaman trusted the Messenger's word and dipped himself seven times not only was he cured of leprosy, his flesh was restored like a child. This speaks of being born again. This is what Christ's work on the cross can do to you. Not only did the work of Jesus removed your sins, He made you a new man. No more evidence of sin and death. You have been made new. 

Today, Gentiles everywhere is experiencing the perfection of the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. 

Naaman tried to pay Elisha but he would not accept payment. This speaks of Salvation being free in Christ. Yes the work of Jesus is FREE. You cannot pay to have it and you don't have to pay Him back after you receive it. 

Many believers today says (with good intention), "Jesus gave every thing to me in the cross. My best response is give Him my life." Beloved, Jesus never asked for your life. Jesus is giving you His life. Outside of Him you have no life so why would you give your life to Him? He wants you to have His life. The apostle Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." 

Beloved, stop paying Jesus back! Instead receive more from Him. Everything on the cross such as salvation, healing, provision, holiness, and righteousness are all received by Grace. There is nothing you can do to earn it. and it is impossible for you to pay Him back. Everything is done by Grace and through Grace.

The last words of Elisha was also very beautiful. He said to Naaman, "Go in peace". Isn't this Jesus' signature statement?

If you continue to read the story a follower of Elisha by the name of Gehazi could not believe that Naaman received his miracle for free. He just could not stand it so he tried to catch up with Naaman and asked for payment.

There are people who could not stand people receiving God's gift by Grace! In their mind they would think, "Yes it is by Grace but there is a cost and you have to pay for it." 

The name Gehazi in Young's concordance means, "one who denies or diminish" or "valley of my vision". Gehazi denied and diminished Grace by asking for a payment. If you read that Scripture he thought is is God's will to do so. There are many people who diminished Grace and all along they thought they are doing it for the glory of God. 

How do you diminish God's Grace? By telling the people, "Now that you are saved, it's time to get to pay up." If you bring people back to working on their righteousness you are diminishing the Grace of God. Jesus did not ask for any payment. He wants you to receive freely but our flesh could not stand free.

Gehazi received the payment but Elisha confronted him and told him that because he diminished the Grace of God, the leprosy will plague him and his family. Again, leprosy is a picture of sin and in this case those who diminish the Grace of God will be plagued with sin-consciousness. When you diminish the Grace of God, your mind will always be sin-conscious.

Beloved, Naaman's healing was received by Grace and that's all we need to know and focus on. Let us preach unadulterated and pure Grace. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The time when I first heard about the Gospel of Grace, I was so excited I shared them to my closest friends in church. I tagged my pastor and gave him DVDs by Joseph Prince. He accepted them and thanked me. I patted myself on the back and thought, "There it is. Pretty soon the sermons will change from performance-based holiness to Christ-based holiness and we will be the first Grace church in our city". Lo and behold the sermons didn't changed and I could not understand why.

I continued to engage my church's leadership and shared some of the sermons to fellow members of the church. I was so naive thinking that me and my pastors are actually on the same page. Next Sunday, my pastor spoke about "failure to tithe will cause God to curse you". And I thought, "Wow, did they even watched that DVD?"

I continued doing Bible study with some friends and even encouraged a couple of people to come back to church. In my mind I thought, "surely my pastor will appreciate Grace now that two people did not left the church." The next Sunday, there was a message about Grace. I applauded every time, my pastor talks about Jesus and what He did on the cross. I thought, "This is it. We are now going to be a Grace church." But during the next few weeks, the sermon has changed and much of performance-based Christianity was discussed. There was no change. Grace was just a topic but never The Person.

This made me ask, "How can I share the message of Grace to the leaders in my church?" I honestly don't have any success on this subject. Looking back, maybe the right thing was just to shut up. Maybe the right thing to do was to be patient with them. You can do what I did and share them some DVDs but until they are ready to receive they will only see the Gospel of Grace as a new fad to the Christian community. And that is not what you don't want.

The Gospel of Grace is not like prosperity gospel or claim it and get it gospel. These are not even gospels at all. The Gospel of Grace is The Gospel because it take out focus on man and puts all focus on Jesus. It scares a lot of people because it challenges old beliefs on performance and puts Jesus on the center.

It is very interesting that all the Gospel of Grace wants is to put Jesus on the center and it is the cry of all believers when the sing, "Jesus be the center!" But when Jesus is actually placed in center-stage, you hear people say, "But what about our part?" Indirectly they are asking, "can we be in the center too?"

One thing I learned all throughout the years, people will never be opened to Grace until we give up that "us and them" mentality. When I started with Grace, I considered myself "under Grace" while others "under the Law". Unknowingly this kind of thinking created an invisible line between me and my brothers in faith. But then I realized, people are "under the Law" only because they placed the Law above Christ in their mind but in reality Christ “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us" [Colossians 2:14].

Therefore, no one is under the Law. Everyone is under Grace. The difference only resided in our minds.
When we learn to deal with people as one, our approach will be different. It becomes inclusive instead of exclusive. Sharing the Gospel of Grace becomes easier. I was able to share the Gospel to Catholics by helping them understand that we are all in the same boat. Christ died for all. And all I am sharing is an appreciation of His Love and work. And despite of the difference I saw acceptance in their eyes. I actually see their faith moved from where they are to Jesus. To me that is better.

I don't know if this will work in your case. But I hope this helped you share the Gospel much better. In Christ, God removed the division between Jews and Gentiles. All of us are placed in one boat - Jesus. In Him we find rest, peace, and love.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

 Someone shared a link on Joseph Prince's interview with Fox News. It is encouraging to note that within the first 58 seconds of the interview, Pastor Prince talked about Grace - the undeserved and unmerited favor of God. In his book, The Power of Right Believing, Pastor Prince talked about 7 Keys to Freedom from fear, guilt, and addiction. This sounds like another self-help book that you can see in the market today but don't let the title fool you when you look at the keys they are very focused on God. What's more is that in this book, He unveiled Jesus and His Finished Work on the cross.


When ask what is the central theme of the book, he said, "Deliverance from self-occupation to Christ-occupation."

He said that this book is based on the the off-quoted verse, "you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." The Truth, he said, is not the Law because the Jews during the time when Jesus said this are very familiar with the Law. The Jews at that time know the Law but they do not have the Truth in them. Therefore the Truth is not the Law but Grace. When you know the Grace of God, you will be set free from fear, guilt, and addiction.

Joseph Prince placed Jesus at the center in 7 minutes.  :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Today is my first time to feature a book. Note this is not a review but a feature. The difference is that I am not trying to review this book but to feature to you what I learned from this book. 

A little history
I was able to download a free copy of this book from Amazon. I looked it up and it is no longer available for free.

I have to admit it took me a long time to "pick" this book up from my Kindle. But last week, I tried reading it and found the book very interesting. If you have read materials from Joseph Prince, Paul White, and other Grace teachings and thought you've are able to wrap your head around Grace Revolution then perhaps maybe this is the next book that you should read.

I was able to read this book at a time when I felt I want to know more about God. Now this book talks about Divine Healing but what really appealed to me is Cornel's writing on the Old Covenant Mindsets. I will share them to you which includes some of the insight that I received about God's Grace.

What's in this book?
This book started talking about Cornel's experience on Divine Healing and for this feature I will skip all that. Sorry Cornel :) I would like to jump in about the Old Covenant Mindsets that someone who even under Grace might still have.

#1. The Externalism of God.
 Old Covenant Mindset thinks that God is someone out there. Someone who steps back and forth to our reality. But Christ, the complete and full revelation of God, is called Immanuel which means "God with us".  Not only that He is with us but He is in union with us. Paul often use the phrase, "in Christ" and that is exactly where we are. We are IN HIM. Acts 17:28 says, "For in him we live and move and have our being."

1 John 4:17 says, "... because as he (Jesus) is so also are we in this world"
When asked, when the the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said, "
 “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[d] For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

What does this all mean? In the Old Covenant, God is externalized but in the New Covenant, God dwelt within us. We are in union with God. Now this might scare some people in thinking that we might consider ourselves Christ but do not be afraid. Marriage is a shadow of the real marriage between Jesus and the Church. The goal of marriage is for two beings to become one. Therefore as we are in union with Christ we become one with Him. This means that He is in our thoughts and our desires not to condemned but to love.

#2 Servant Mindedness.
I have read a lot of discussion about being a servant versus being a son. The cross changed everything. Jesus no longer calls us servants but friends because a servant does not know the Father's business. In Chirst, we receive sonship! Now there is nothing wrong with having a servant's heart. When we minister to people it is important to have a servants heart but not a servant's mind. A servant mind wants to serve out of obligation and duty. But a son serves out of identity and love.

#3. Identification of Office.
I don't quite get this one but essentially this concept says that in the New Covenant, we are to identify that we are sitting in the office of Christ. We are His hands and feet. We are here to reconcile the world. This ties in quite well with healing as if the body is sick "reconciling" the body means healing it. When the soul is sick, we are to reconcile the soul by unveiling God's love and Grace to that person.

1 John 4:17 says, "... because as he (Jesus) is so also are we in this world"

#4. The Recognition of Lack.
Jesus never recognized lack. When He fed 5,000 men (not counting women and children) He simply gave thanks and gave it away. In the New Covenant, focus on God's supply of Grace.

#5. With or Without?
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

Many Christian would say, "without Christ I can do nothing." And they stay in that mindset. But the Scripture says that Christ is always with you. You are never without Christ because He will never leave you nor forsake you. In the New Covenant, God will not leave you because of your deeds. There is nothing you can do to make God love you any less. In the New Covenant, you are always loved. And He will always be with you. 

Beloved, don't allow this old mindset rob you of your rights and privileges in the kingdom of God. You are made the very Righteousness of God in Christ. You have been made a son and not a servant. You will always have Jesus' presence in your life.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Today we are no longer dealing with 'shadows of the things to come' but the very substance of it - Jesus Christ. The Scripture says that the Law is only a shadow of the things to come. That means it is only temporary for God does not want us to live in shadows but He wants us to enjoy the substance. And that very substance is Christ.

It can be tempting to stay in the shadows - trying to relate with God through the written and impersonal Law. Why? Because everything is tangible. Under the Law, you have specific dos and don'ts  to follow so you will know what to do to please God and honor Him. Under the Law, you have a temple to go to so that you can worship God. Under the Law, you can offer goats and sheep so that your sins are redeemed. These are ALL tangible things but you see in AD 70 God destroyed the temple so that it will be impossible for anyone to go back to it.

Today, Jews has no temple where they can offer blood sacrifice. Everything tangible under the Law was destroyed. It is impossible to for any Jew to follow Leviticus.

Why did God destroyed the temple? Because a NEW COVENANT has be raised up. This NEW COVENANT is not based on people's performance but is based on the goodness of God. We read in the book of Hebrews that this NEW COVENANT is the new plan of God and is established in better promises. It also says that this NEW COVENANT is the substance of the Law. 

This NEW COVENANT is not based on the blood of bulls and goats but based on the BLOOD of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Which is far better than the blood of bulls and goats because animal sacrifices could NEVER take away sins. It is simply a remembrance that the Jews falls short from God's standard.

Under the Law, you have to keep the Sabbath day and keep it holy (separated/distinct). Under Grace, Jesus is your Sabbath Rest and in Him you are kept HOLY (separated from the flesh and distinct from the world).

Under the Law, we brought lambs to God for the remission of our sins. Under Grace, God gave His Son as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

Everything tangible in the Law was internalized under the NEW COVENANT. Everything impersonal in the Old became personal in the New. 

The Scripture says: The Law was given through Moses but Grace and Truth (The Holy Spirit) came by Jesus Christ.

Grace (God's expression of Love) came in the Person of Jesus. And He brought with Him, another Person of the God-head, The Holy Spirit, who is absent under the Old Covenant. He placed His very Spirit within us so we will not wander aimlessly in this world but we hear directly from Him. Under the Law, you have the commandments and rituals to guide you. Under Grace, you have God's very Spirit who will guide you in ALL truths!

Not only that He placed us in Christ (in the right place and in the right time) so that we will no longer look for things outside of us to satisfy us but we look at Him who is in us and who contains us for our completeness. Psalm 23 is then fulfilled in Christ - The LORD is my Shepperd, I have ALL that I need.

Beloved, you think you are incomplete? Christ is your completion. Christ is your perfection.

Do not stay in the shadow of the Law. Go out there. In the wide open space of His love and mercy. Romans 8 says it best:

1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. 

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. 

5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. 
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!