“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“It is Finished”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“I am Thirsty”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“Woman, behold, your son! Behold, your mother!”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =) First of Seven Last Words of Jesus […]

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”

I wrote a series of devotion for my church on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for this Lent season and sharing them here. I am happy to discuss the answers to the questions in the comments below. So feel free to engage me in a dialogue. =)

First of Seven Last Words of Jesus

Luke 23:34 (NASB): “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

Theme: FORGIVENESS & LOVE

Read: Luke 22:47 – 23:34.

  1. Who are the “them” that Jesus referred to and what did “they” do that required forgiveness?
  2. In your opinion, do you think “they” deserve forgiveness? Why?
  3. Spend some quiet moments before the Lord and let the Holy Spirit reveal to you people whom you need to forgive, or even yourself. Allow the love of God to fill you and release forgiveness and love to the person(s).

JESUS’ TEACHING AND APPLICATION
Read Matthew 5:43-48.

On His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus not only taught about forgiveness but a leap further to love our enemies. There are two levels of forgiveness had to be extended – from Jesus the person whom the wrong was done, and also from God the Father who loves Jesus whom the wrong was done.

Our Teacher not only taught in words, He demonstrated the lesson in action to the fullest. Instead of feeling indignant and angry towards His aggressors, Jesus chose to love them before they were repentant, even while they were still doing wrong to Him. From another perspective, what were the chances that Jesus needed to forgive the people when His heart was so filled with love for them? Perhaps this casts some light to Paul’s commendation, Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)

  • Who was Jesus’ focus when He was going through the wrong?

REFLECTION & MEDITATION
Think of moments in your life when you have been wronged and treated unjustly that may have cost you much. What were your thoughts and emotions? Who was the focus in your thoughts, emotions and actions in the process? What can you learn from the example of Jesus and His teaching that you can apply to the situation in the past, present and even future?

SONG OF MEDITATION

Forgiveness https://youtu.be/FRow02vAWwM

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just to real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Jacob – the Blessed Wrestling Schemer

JACOB-3For many years, I find it hard to reconcile Jacob’s blessings and his scheming ways. I am a firm believer that the end does not justify the means and the life of Jacob seems to suggest otherwise. The recent weeks, Jacob is once again brought into focus.

Jacob was grabbing hold of Esau’s heel at birth (Gen 25:26). This was why he was named Jacob, meaning “he catches by the heel, i.e. he supplants”. These twin brothers were already at war within the womb, causing their mother Rebekah much distress (Gen 25:22). The first round winner was Esau as he emerged firstborn of the womb, pushing himself out before Jacob. This is not surprising as Esau was possibly stronger physically, who grew up to be a hunter. The fight did not stopped there. Jacob still wanted to be the firstborn. He quickly bagged in the win for round two when he traded his bowl of red lentil soup for the birthright of Esau. The final victory was with the aid of his mother Rebekah. Jacob deceived his own father, Isaac, and received the firstborn blessing. Very unorthodox means of getting to the ends which are hard to accept as acts that lead to blessings.

God did not intervene in any of these sibling rivalry. Some people believed that it is already ordained for Jacob to be blessed so God chose not to intervene. If it is ordained, all the more there is no need for Jacob to do what he did as the prophecy will come to pass without him helping God in such manner. Surely there are consequences to sin, even King David lost a son because of his adultery and murder after his genuine repentance. Why is Jacob favoured despite his scrupulous actions?

“His heart.”

This was from a still, soft voice within that I wanted to brush off as ridiculous. Yet there was a solid and deep truth that I cannot dismiss flippantly. Surely God looks at the heart and how can it be that a scheming man has a good heart? It was almost like a court room within me and I was a prosecutor of Jacob whom I never met! It is of course a losing battle in this court room and out of it, I learnt a precious lesson.

Jacob’s heart was fixed on eternal blessings and never swayed by the present. He knew what was valuable and precious – the birthright and firstborn blessings of his father. It was out of the deep longings of his heart that he took every opportunity to grab hold of them.  This same longing of the heart was seen in how he was willing to work another 7 years for Rachel after being cheated to marry Rachel’s sister. The final fight was at Bethel. His fight for eternal blessings which only the Lord can offer. It left him with a limp but with a new name and locked him into his eternal blessed destiny. This encounter ended Jacob’s trail of scheming narratives as I believed his heart was finally filled to the brim by God. This was his destiny.

His trickery of both the birthright and firstborn blessings led to his exile from the house, a fugitive. He did not enjoy the blessings he schemed for during those years. A man who was described as “a peaceful man, living in tents” (Gen 25:27 NASB) now found himself cast into the “wild world” and in the open field to shepherd sheep even though he was still under the protection of his extended family. A modern day drastic career change will be from a computer guy to a construction worker overnight. The birthright to his father’s inheritance was with Esau since he was on the run. This does not look like the blessed life he fought for. Having to leave home is the consequence of his scheming ways.

Rather than seeing him as a cold-blooded man, Jacob was a hot-blooded man fixated on what his heart’s desires. He pursued hard and even prevailed against God. It is interesting that the Bible described him as peaceful and some versions use the word “complete” for a schemer. Peaceful perhaps meaning that he does not shed blood as compared to Esau who is a hunter. The description of Jacob was not negative. His name that describes him as a supplanter is not a negative word in military terms but one of strategy. Comparing Jacob’s heart attitude with how Esau despised his birthright, Jacob’s thirst made him the man whom God used to bless the nations.

Do I desire God’s blessings enough to contend with Him throughout the night, knowing that I would never prevail? I wish I can give a loud yes but in full honesty, my prayer would be “God give me the portion you have for me”. The thought of putting up a fight with the Lord for blessings would never crossed my mind. This sounds like a very submissive and obedient prayer but is this a true reflection of my heart? Maybe it is a coverup. Perhaps I dare not believe that God will give me the desires of my heart or that He has my interests covered. If it is so, then I am not honest with Him with my heart. Or I know that the desires of my heart are not aligned to his? Whichever is the case, the hypocrisy of my heart is revealed. Jacob, despite his immature and unorthodox ways, was true to his heart and to God, believed in it and walked it.

This is a repentance call for me. It is so easy for my heart to be distracted and won out, hiding behind the word “resignation to God’s will” when the tough gets going or I am swimming against the tide. The fear of failure holds me back from engaging the Lord in a wrestle for blessings. It is not about winning, but it is a matter of how desperate do I want it. Jacob set his heart on the blessings of God and this gave God the opening to correct his ways, repent and change. So the key is to set my heart towards God and with that, He can do His work within me so that His promised destiny for me can be fulfilled as He moulds and shapes me along the way.

True Strength

strength

We judge by what we see.
Strength is the ability to pin opponent under
– at least in this world.

What if the truth is reversed?
The strongest is the one who is willing to be pinned under,
because he IS stronger.

The victory won is not by putting another under.
It is the power to go from under to the highest,
within just three days.

The power to turn the most cruel scars into beauty.
That in his rising up to heights of glory,
brings many faithful ones with him.

Inspired by Isaiah 42:1-9,18-25; 49:1-7; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12 (The Servant Songs)

Refigured by Grace

One night, I was with my late father and his friends crossing a major road after a late dinner. The 8-lane road was really quiet at that time. The whole bunch of us stopped at the middle divider after crossing 4-lanes to look out for traffic from the other side of the road. After which, I have no recollection of the events that followed and all of it was related to me by my dad.

A fast-moving motorcycle came really close to the middle divider and hooked onto me. I was dragged along with the motorcycle for a distance while the cyclist jammed his brakes. The abrupt stop catapulted me to about 11 metres away from the where the motorcycle stopped, and the motorcyclist was flung 15 metres away. The next thing I remembered was opening my eyes in a hospital bed.

I was confined to the bed for almost a week. I had no broken bones and there were no visible wounds or injuries on my body. You can imagine how difficult it was for an active 11-year-old to stay in bed the whole day. The reason for the bed confinement was for the fear of head concussion. When I flew off from the grips of the motorcycle like a supergirl, I landed head down against the concrete road. Just imagine how huge the impact of the fall was upon the head considering I had no other injury on the rest of my body. In my one week of confinement, my head felt a little strange and stiff but other than that, no abnormality.

Finally they let me off the bed. First thing I did was to go to the sink to wash up with running tap water. This was the first time I saw myself in the mirror. To my horror, the left side of my face was completely covered with dried blood and wounds from the accident. Just imagine the wound a child gets when he has a nasty fall on his knees on a road. This wound multiply at least ten times, all on the left side of my face. I honestly look like a horror movie demon that just walked out of a film set, perhaps even more horrific looking than creature coming out of the screen in The Ring.

Thank God that I was discharged a week after when the neuro team of doctors were certain that there was no concussion or any brain damage. Since it is a neuro team, they did not quite treat my facial wound. I was discharged without any medication for my face except some disinfectant lotion to clean the wound. The wound was left open without bandage as well. By then, some bruises on my legs and arms started to surface but nothing serious. My parents took good care of the facial wound. They cleaned it diligently everyday and after a month or two, scabs of the wound began falling off revealing pink new skin beneath. The healing process was miraculous. I have ZERO scars on my left face. I stand amazed by the sheer fact that a fall on the knee leaves scars and I have scars on my face from pimples, but there is absolutely no sign of this major wound on my face!

It is by God’s grace that I am alive from the accident. Yet, beyond that He has His angels protect me that I have no broken bones and no head injuries. The only visible wound on the face, He miraculously healed it COMPLETELY! It was because of this, I chose to be baptised the following Resurrection Sunday as I know that my life is not my own but Christ’s.

P.S. I wished we took photos of my face after the accident but we didn’t have any. Even the newspaper report of the accident had no photos of me. Perhaps out of compassion, the people did not want to keep records of such a hideous wound. Even so, to God be the glory!

Salvation