Nov 16, 2012

Parable of the Rich Young Ruler

This parable was taken from Luke 18. The parable starts off with the ruler asking Jesus for the checklist of eternal life. Jesus in reply recites to him the commandments. The ruler then claims to have kept all those commandments. Here comes the interesting bit, Jesus then asks him to sell all he has, give to the poor and follow him.

Was not keeping the commandments enough? Was not the ruler a “good and faithful” Christian by doing so? Those were tough commandments that we all struggle to keep and he has kept them. What does eternal life have to do with wealth? Does that mean if I am abundant in wealth, I will not have eternal life?

Carrying on, the ruler was sorrowful at Jesus’ command, for he was very rich. Why was he sorrowful? He knew what he wanted. He knew how to get there. He had direct instructions from Jesus.

Just to share one of my experiences, and I am quite sure many of you have heard this before, of people wanting a sign from God or to hear the voice of God. You know how they always say, “if I had a sign/hear (from) God, I will definitely change my ways or take my relationship with God more seriously. All I need is a sign”. Well, if only it were that simple.

This ruler heard from Jesus and even had really clear and specific instructions but still he was sorrowful. He knew he could not give up that which he loved, wealth, for Jesus.

Now moving to us, have you ever had or have something that you know you have to give up as it is coming between you and God? Maybe it is a habit, maybe it is a hobby, maybe it is a relationship, maybe it is a material wealth, maybe it is a social status, maybe it is your career?  You know how that idol is affecting your walk with God and you still cannot give it up. You sort of want to give it up and you genuinely try, but time after time you fail again and again. Well, be not defeated.

The parable ends with the disciples asking who then can be saved, which Jesus’ then states the purpose of His death. Jesus replies, “Things which are impossible with men and possible with God’.

Your struggle in getting rid of your idol may seem impossible in your own effort, but what is impossible with men is possible with God. Jesus died on the cross to redeem us. He has cloth us in his righteousness, making us holy and acceptable before God. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, you will fall back to your idol eventually unless you rely on God. Commit it to Him, take it a day at a time and walk with God. Take the necessary steps to avoid all temptations of falling back to your idol. He will carry you.

“If He carry the weight of the world upon His shoulders, I know my brother that He will carry you”

Don’t make the mistake of the rich young ruler, who was sorrowful, but instead of turning to God, he turned away

- Alex Tan

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Nov 10, 2012

Bubbled world

Mid of last month, I went for a personal retreat with a few like-minded individuals who are also seeking to hear God through the way of meditation. Please do not get me wrong as though we embarked on something to do with chanting or those similar to that of the new age movement or any other religion. Our meditation is basically reading, memorizing, reciting, reflecting on the Bible scripture that God has impressed upon our hearts.

The verse that I meditate during the retreat was 1 Cor 13:11, NKJV
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (The context of the verse is on “love” but God showed me this is the right verse for my current state at the moment, which is not quite related with “love”).
I have meditated on this verse for a few times and again meditated on the same verse during the personal retreat, and God has spoken much more this time. As I quieted down my heart and mind and allowed God to speak to me, I began to see much more incidences which I have not been able to carry myself well and the consequences that accompanied.

After some quick chat with the Bible study teacher, I realized that my issue of not being able to carry myself well is very much related to my laziness issue which I am still battling with.

Looking back my past, one of the reason that I was not being able to carry myself well was due to the many cartoons that I watched during my childhood. I realized that I have immersed myself so much into it and unable to break free from my “bubbled world”. Being “mama/papa/sister’s girl” does not help either.

Perhaps subconsciously I feel more secured to stay in my “bubbled world” and thus reluctant to face reality. I really thank God for breaking me from my laziness 2 years ago (you may refer to my sharing dated 7 Nov 2011 & 5 Dec 2011 for a glimpse of what it is all about), that my spiritual eye sight have gotten better (see highlight for the verse concerned).

Rev 3:14-21, NKJV
The Lukewarm Church
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
During the “breaking” process and heightened during and after the personal retreat, my lost memory of my past flowed to my mind and it has served as a reminder to me to continue my fight against my laziness and weakness which I shares herein. When I match those childhood experiences and my current state, I burst out with praises with our good God who is so gentle and so longsuffering towards me, so that I may repent.

2 Peter 3:9, NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I could recall how my sibling refused to go shopping or allow me to hang out with her friends as she felt ashamed. I could also recall how I was being despised and taken advantage of. I thank God for giving me a second chance to change and now the slight change that I have also caused a good change in my relationship with my family members in which my sibling also invite me for trip and makan :D

I also thank our God for bringing people to chide / rebuke /chasten me, though it is a painful experience.

Hebrews 12:5b-6, NKJV
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;For whom the LORD loves He chastens,And scourges every son whom He receives.”
May you be encouraged to meditate on the verses which God wants you to know and thus grow in Him, for it is indeed good to have the practice of meditating on His Word.

Philippians 4:8, NKJV
Meditate on These ThingsFinally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 
In Him, Yit Mun aka IP Man

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