Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Numbers 11: Forget the Good Life to Gain the Great Life

KEY TEXT: Numbers 11:1-9 And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them. Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, "Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.
KEY THOT: The people of Israel started complaining about their misfortunes, particularly that they only had manna to eat every day. Instead gratitude, they were disgruntled about their current state. They started complaining and craving for the diets of Egypt: "Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." But they forgot that they were slaves in Egypt--their carnal appetites only remember the "good life" of Egypt they left behind!
By looking back, they saw the "good life" of Egypt. But it is only when we look forward, that we can see the "great life" of Canaan. God calls us out of the "good life" in order to give us a "great life"!
Backward-looking believers are often complainers. They are always talking about the "good old days". Instead of pressing forward to gain the prize of following Christ, they lament about the price they had to pay to follow Christ: "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" ( Philippians 3:13-14). We need to be forward-looking if we want to gain the great prize and the great life in Christ!
God's response towards ingratitude is quite severe: "when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp" (Numbers 11:1). Paul's advice to the Timothy ought to be taken seriously by all Christians: "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content" (1 Timothy 6:6-8). Lack of contentment causes us to become ungrateful and unhappy.
In fact, Paul makes it quite clear that it is the will of God for believers to be grateful always: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Grateful Christians rejoice in the Lord, pray in every situation, and is in the habit of thanking God for everything--big or small. Such Christians are pleasant to be with for they exude the fragrance of joy in the Lord.
It's often in situation of want (like the wilderness) that our real heart attitude is revealed. Trying situation exposes our heart conditions. When we can rejoice, pray and give thanks even in trying circumstances, it reveals the true state of our heart before God. In contrast, complaining reveals a heart that is hardened by unbelief and discontent.
Abba Father, what a privilege it is to live under Your care and protection. For You always provide us with all that we need in terms of food and clothing. We thank You for Your daily provision . Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Moving my Devotional Posts to Patreon

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Hi Readers,

I have moved all my devotional posts from Blogger.com to my new Patreon platform: https://www.patreon.com/cmthen/posts. My devotional posts will remain a free public service on this new platform. However, on Patreon, you can support my devotional ministry (and others) by being my patron.

For $5 a month, you will be notified by Patreon whenever I post a new devotional or podcast. You will also receive a copy of the devotional in your email. In this tier, you can also download my e-book compilation of each completed book of the Bible, starting with Revelation. Once I have completed my current series on Genesis, you will be informed by Patreon to download the Genesis Devotional E-book.

If you support me as a patron for $10 per month, you get further access to my workshop and seminar videos and handouts. You will also be entitled to a free 30 minute MBTI consultation via Skype.

Please visit my new Patreon site to support my ministry: https://www.patreon.com/cmthen.

I will continue to use Blogger-com to post other articles of interest on a more or less weekly basis: book reviews, Bible prophecy updates, and links to other good teaching videos on Youtube.

God bless.

Chee Min

Monday, April 16, 2018

Genesis 9:1-2 God's Glorious Purpose for Humankind


KEY TEXT: Gen 9:1-2 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered."

KEY THOT: Immediately after the Flood (read Genesis 7-8), God blessed Noah and restated His original purpose for mankind: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered." God restated His mandate for humankind that He first gave to Adam in Genesis 1:28, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." That was and is God's intention when He created man--that he should rule over God's earth. However, when man sinned against God, Satan usurped this authority to rule over this world. 

So Christ came as the Last Adam to restore this divine mandate to rule over God's creation and creatures. And everyone who is now in Christ, though born of the First Adam, will rule the earth jointly with Christ, the Last Adam:
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being";  the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
So, God's original purpose for the First Adam to rule over the earth will be fully restored in Christ, the Last Adam. In fact, all who are born again into God's family as His children have already been given this restored authority to rule over the earth. Thus it is stated in Ephesians 2:4-6, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." So Paul also declares in Romans 8:37, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

So as believers we are not only raised up spiritually from the dead, but we also exalted to the highest place in heaven and seated together with Christ Jesus as joint-rulers over the earth. Our mandate and authority to rule the earth has been restored in Christ. Satan who has usurped the authority from Adam remains the de facto prince of this world (that is, over those who are still aligned with him in rebellion against the true God.) But Jesus told His disciples in Luke 10:18-19, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you."

We are created to rule upon this earth, not as slaves of Satan or sin, but as sons and daughters of God, clothed with the full authority of Christ to fulfill our original purpose. Like the Prodigal Son in the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32), despite his failures and sins, the father restored to him the full rights as his son, even though he wanted to return to his father's house to be a servant. This Prodigal Son has his full rights restored--his new robe and ring signify his restored status as son of the household: "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet" (Luke 15:22).

The sad part of this parable is the Elder Son. Though he lived in his father's house, he didn't understand his full rights and authority. He even claimed that though he had never disobeyed his father all these years, his father "never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends" (Luke 15:29). What a sad tragedy! To be living in the Father's household and yet not enjoying the rights and privileges of sonship.

This Elder Son may be typical of many Christians who has never enjoyed their rights and privileges as sons and daughters. They continue to live in spiritual poverty of fears and sins, more like prodigals outside the Father's house than restored children who have been clothed with the robe of righteousness of Christ and the ring of authority of Christ.

God has called us to be rulers over the earth. And in Christ, He has restored to us the full authority to rule. May our eyes be opened to this fact and live accordingly, not like the Elder Brother, complaining with frustration that he didn't even get a goat to celebrate with his friends!

Abba-Father, thank You that You have restored to us the mandate to rule and reign with Christ. Thank You for restoring our full rights and privileges as children of God in Christ. Help us to live in these blessings from this day onward. Amen.