the one who remembered

We studied the first two chapters of Luke last friday for bible study.

Luke describes the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist in parallel to that of Jesus (6 months later), as well as the early years of Jesus as a boy.

One point that struck me was Mary’s emotions and thoughts that were described in detail in the first two chapter for as much as three times within the first two chapters.

The first time that Mary’s thoughts were stated was when the angel Gabriel greeted her with “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

……

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. – Luke 1:29

In chapter 2, the angels appeared to a group of shepherds, telling them the good news that a savior was born and that they could find the baby in wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The shepherds came and truly saw what was said by the angel, and went around telling people about the child and what was told of him, and the people were amazed.

……

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19

While Mary and Joseph headed back home after their celebration of Passover in Jerusalem, they didn’t know Jesus stayed behind, and only found him missing after three days. Jesus then said “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”. But his parents didn’t actually understand what he was saying.

……

Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. – Luke 2:51

Initially I was wondering why did she have to ponder so many times; wasn’t it obvious what Jesus was doing and what was happening around her?

But what I didn’t realise was the absurdity everything must have seemed to her at that time. An angel coming out of nowhere telling her that she would get pregnant without intercourse, and that baby was going to be the King of Kings. The pressure that she would have to face at that time being an pregnant, unmarried woman. Whether or not Joseph would be willing to marry her now.

and then when Jesus was born, the shepherd came and told people about what the angels said, and all the people were amazed. that is a lot of unexpected attention from a delivery of a child in a manger. Mary, who probably didn’t know what was going on at that time, still “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

and then her son Jesus starts teaching in synagogues together with those familiar with the old laws. and Jesus said “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” That must have left Mary perplexed too.

But against all odds, she still had faith in God. despite not understanding what was going on, despite going through this whirlwind of apparent madness.

Which made me wondered. Even when I don’t understand, will I have the faith to press on and trust in Him?

liberation

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15

Today’s sermon was about forgiving. Forgiving people who have hurt us, may it be intentionally or unintentionally. out of anger, uncontrolled emotions, rash words or immature decisions. 

I pondered on my past. when i wondered whether i had truly forgiven. and then the pastor takes a passage from the book of Luke, a conversation between Jesus and God, as He was hung on the cross, moments before His death.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34

And then i realised that when i was thinking of all the trivialities of my life, Jesus comes along and forgives me when I don’t even know that I have sinned against Him. And He forgives countless souls that are willing to come to Him.

And somewhere nearing the end of the sermon, the pastor offered extra insight to this verse:

Forgive, and you will be forgiven ~ Luke 6:37

The Hebrew translation for “forgive” in this passage is “release”.  

Release, and you will be released.

Hmm this sounds so liberating. =) 

All My Shame

A frame so beautifully formed 
Brought to life by God’s on breath
Crafted from the planet’s dust
God’s own image carved in flesh
 
But not one righteousness remains
Perfection lost and beauty stained
Far from the safety of God’s side
Innocence traded for a lie
 
Chorus
All my shame, all I’ve failed to be
Nailed upon a cross and left at Calvary
 
Verse 2
A world of fabulous design
Yet scarred with misery and pain
But underneath this brokeness
Our Maker’s signature remains
 
And only Your redeeming love
Can pay the debt we can’t afford
Salavation worked by Your own hand
Your broken workmanship restored
 
Ref: Gen 1:27, Col 2:13-14

i am dying every day

For me to live is Christ
and to die is gain

~ Phil 1:21

因 我 活 著 就 是 基 督 、 我 死 了 就 有 益 處 。

Just finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

2013-09-10 09.17.44

an excerpt from the book. i particularly like this quote from Frederick Buechner about God’s love.

It was a really good read, written in frequent references to the Bible, and also very applicable to the problems faced by Christians and church of today.

The author addresses the issue of lukewarm Christians. In fact he kindly pointed out that this term was an oxymoron, in the sense that churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. we cannot be lukewarm in Christ. About how people go to church, attend cell groups/fellowship on Sunday and live the rest of their days just like anyone else.

He said that we are ALL messed up human beings.  But there is a difference between a life that is characterised by these habits and a life in the process of being radically transformed.

Jesus went all out for me. While he was sinless and pure, He came to save my soul from being eternally separated from Him.  The question at hand was, am I willing to be love Him radically, let my old self go, so that I can be radically transformed by Him?

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out ~ Luke 14:34-35

Honestly I am both excited and fearful of what lies ahead. of His purpose for me, and sometimes I wonder will I have the courage to let go of what I have at hand to do His will in my life.

I guess I will know with time.