CHRISTMAS SEASON

CHRISTMAS SEASON

First, He redeems us from our life in the past. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all have our own record of wrongs—we could have caused our parents a great deal of headache, we could have greatly contributed to our country’s problems and, in all these, we have grieved the very heart of the Living God. But however dark our past may be and no matter how big our sins may be, God’s love is brighter and His forgiveness, vaster. Because of this, all of our sins are now atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!

Second, He assures us of our life in the now. God does not only take away our sin and shame, He also gives us the best life we can have here on earth. Through Jesus Christ, we now have a life of blessings, strength, joy, peace, and hope. So, if you ever feel lonely and homesick, or if you are worrying about Noche Buena and exchange gifts, do not hesitate to come before God, because it was He who first drew near us, one fateful night in Bethlehem. Our assurance lies in this promise: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Third, He promises us life in the hereafter. This is the bottom line of the Christmas event: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus came from heaven to earth to make a way between us, vile men, and the Holy Father—that we may enjoy blissful and eternal communion with God in His kingdom in heaven, where there will be no more death nor mourning nor crying nor pain. What a great life awaits us, simply because we accepted Jesus Christ, the reason for this season, in our lives.

Therefore, with Jesus, our past, present and future are all secure—which makes not only Christmas, but every day of our lives, wonderful. So let us not allow for Christmas to just pass by. Let us celebrate it, along with the full life we have received through the rich love, grace, and mercy of our ever Living God.

A blessed Christmas to all of you!

God bless you more and more! Jesus is Lord over Hong Kong!

Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our Peace

Peace.

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A heap of stones, angry flailing fists, and a woman caught in the act of adultery.

Then a whisper. “Neither do I condemn you.”

Peace.

>> <<

Are the storms of life beating against you wildly? A looming red mark on your report card… an ever-growing pile of unpaid bills… an unending series of medical tests… perhaps a gnawing emptiness over a ruined relationship? Hear Jehovah Shalom say to each storm, “Quiet! Be still!”

Are your responsibilities eating you up? A make-or-break business move… a higher leadership position… an unfamiliar country to work in… even your family counting on your strength? Hear Jehovah Shalom say to you, “Do not be afraid.”

Are your past mistakes haunting you? A broken promise… a cruel lie… an illicit relationship… or a stolen future? Hear Jehovah Shalom say to your conscience, “Neither do I condemn you.”

JEHOVAH SHALOM. He who gives peace to our trouble-stricken hearts… to our worry-stricken minds… and to our guilt-stricken souls.

Hear His voice, and let it wash over your troubles, worries, and guilt today.

Jehovah M’Kaddesh, the Lord who Sanctifies

C-L-E-A-N. You may not understand this string of letters, but the Great Judge pronounces you as such—if only you will believe in His love… if only you will seek His forgiveness… if only you will surrender your life to Him.

Then you will understand. YOU. ARE. CLEAN.

Regardless of who you were and who you have become. Because the blood of Jehovah M’Kaddesh can wipe away every stain, every filth, every imperfection, every sin.

So plunge deep into His sanctifying blood and be… clean.

Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts

Jehovah Sabaoth. He afflicted Egypt with the severest of plagues to free the Israelites from miserable slavery… armed little David with a giant courage to slay mocking Goliath… and held the sun still to warrant Joshua’s victory against Canaan.

Jehovah Sabaoth. He beat the Pharisees with silence… defeated sin with His blood… and slayed death with His life.

Jehovah Sabaoth. He can grant you that most sought-after promotion… revive that failing business… prevail over that disease… and rebuild that waning relationship.

JEHOVAH SABAOTH. His was the voice that boomeranged into the empty universe, ‘Let there be’ and there was. And His is the same voice that whispers into your ear this very moment, ‘I care for you.’

Won’t you allow His mighty arms to lift you up from that dark pit you are in?

JEHOVAH RAPHA, THE LORD WHO HEALS

If there was someone whom the general public disdained, it was him. He was, for them, a sinner beyond forgiveness—a money-whore. So everyone was shocked when, amongst the throng of crowd, he was singled out and told, “I must stay at your house today.” What was more shocking was the event that ensued: “Today salvation has come to this house…”

The bleeding woman… the grieving mother… and the corrupt Zacchaeus. They were all sick: one with a terminal disease, the other with bereavement, and the last with sin. Everyone thought that theirs was a hopeless case—until Someone came.

JEHOVAH RAPHA, the Lord who heals.

He who heals the gravest of diseases, the deepest of heartaches and, even, the vilest of sinners—not just because He can but, also, because He cares.

So believe in His power and His love so that, like them, you, too, will receive the healing that you need.

Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness

Through Him we are sanctified. From sinner to saint, not only are our sins forgiven, but our records wiped clean—from charcoal black to pristine white. Because His blood does not merely cover, but washes our sins away.

Through Him we are accepted. Instead of being doomed for death and eternal punishment, we are now welcomed into His kingdom—as His sons and daughters. Because with arms wide open, He was hung on the most horrible cross, to His scorn and shame.

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU.

He did not merely call us from darkness to light, He also transformed us from filthy to pure—even promoted us from beggars to eternal heirs!

And for what purpose?

That we may have the right to be called a chosen generation… a royal priesthood… a holy nation… a people belonging to God.

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU. The God who is not only righteous, but is also OUR righteousness.

Unsung Heroes: CALEB

However, the story of his life had been easily eclipsed with that of Moses and Joshua— Moses, the great emancipator who led the Israelites out of Egypt and Joshua, the brilliant military strategist who commanded the assaults in conquering the Promised Land. Filled with radical transformations and remarkable achievements, it was their lives that were chronicled in the annals of Christian history.

For decades of Caleb’s life, the Bible had been silent.

Where was Caleb when all the people of his generation but he and Joshua died one by one in the wilderness? Where was he when Joshua and the Israelites raided the walls of Jericho or attacked every fortified city?

He was right there—surviving the cruelty of a life lived without an identity, without a home… following orders from his then-fellow-spy now-commanding-general, Joshua… fighting the fiercest of the battles… and winning the toughest of wars.

He was right there – every single, agonizing step of the way.

Because he was holding on to a promise – a promise he knew was for him to claim.

“Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:12)

Even after 45 long years of waiting for the realization of God’s promise to him, he just knew. It would come true. Because it was his God who told him so.

And indeed, he received his inheritance—the fulfillment of the promise he’d so long hidden in his heart.

Have you any promise from the Lord? Stay right there and don’t give up. Because it was the ever-faithful God who told you so. And just like Caleb did receive, you, too, will.

TSIDKENU: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Yet, we must also consider that truth that we can never be God’s agents of righteousness in the world if we ourselves are not living in His righteousness. This is the reason why He Himself redeemed us from the power of sin and made us new persons. Because of this, we can “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

We were born sinners and lovers of wicked deeds because of the sin of Adam and Eve. But we have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ which made us righteous before God’s eyes. As a result, we have been saved from the punishment of sin which is eternal death and separation from God. Of course, to save us from eternal punishment is not the only purpose of God in redeeming us from sin. In the same way, He also bestows upon us the hope of being transformed unto His likeness day by day.

Knowing all these, we are called to do two non-negotiable things in our Christian walk. First, we must boast only of the righteousness of Christ. In Philippians 3:9, Apostle Paul expresses his desire to “…be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” We must never covet any credit for the goodness that is reflected in our life. It is only because of Jesus Christ that we can walk uprightly.

Second, we must live in righteousness as determined followers of Christ. We must exemplify God’s word in James 1:22: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” It is never enough that we know what pleases our God. We must act on every word and every command that He gives us through the revelation in His Word. If we live contrary to His will, we cannot be considered genuine believers, and in doing so, we are piercing the heart of God who gave Himself up for our complete redemption.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, I sincerely urge you to continue living in God’s righteousness that He might be glorified in your life. Always remember that He Himself has promised the great reward in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Whatever we want for our country – freedom from wickedness, oppression, injustice – we can definitely receive if we choose to live according to the will of God and walk in His righteousness.

God bless you all and God bless the Philippines!

JIREH: THE LORD WHO PROVIDES ALL OUR NEEDS

Yet, He has a requirement for us to experience His all-sufficient provision. This can be seen in the life of Abraham, the father of many nations and a model of genuine faith in God. When God commanded him to offer his only son, Isaac, he immediately obeyed God, without hesitation or complaint. He did not tell God, “You promised me to be a father of many nations! Why are you asking me to kill my only son?” What he did was to prepare everything they needed for the burnt offering and set off in the journey towards the mountain. What a faith!

Then at one point in the journey, Isaac asked him where the lamb is. To which he responded, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). Now, we are enlightened about God’s requirement: one must trust God plans fully and obey Him completely. Abraham exemplified this and he was rewarded with God’s miraculous provision.

As Christians, we are called to become the Abrahams of our nation – true believers who live by faith and not by sight. We are the people who will declare the power and promise of Jireh in our country besieged by enormous debt and abject poverty. Hence, we are commissioned to do three things.

First, we must possess an unshakeable trust in God which will enable us to continue dreaming for progress. Now is the time for us to shun apathy, complacency and mediocrity so that we may significantly contribute to hasten the fulfillment of our glorious prophetic destiny.

Second, we must be willing to take risks in obeying God without any reservation. As His promise tells us, blessings will overtake everyone who lives in full obedience and submission to His sovereign will.

Third, we must allow ourselves to be the extension of His Hands by helping the poor and needy in our country. If we really want God’s outpouring, our aim should always be for God’s heartbeat to be ours. Without any iota of doubt, the heart of our Lord beats for all who are in desperate need of the caring touch from His people.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, my assurance for all of you is found in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Never be overcome by any worry or fear whether in the present or in the future. As long as you are obeying God, you can rely on this unchanging truth – our God is Jireh, the Lord who provides all our needs!

God bless you all and God bless the Philippines!