Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Book Review XXXVIII: What the Bible is All About

20170507_163850_Richtone(HDR)

Awesome gem from The Ink Room bookstore.
Purchased this copy a few years back. Only managed to read it this year.
It gives an overview of each book in the Bible and the story flow from Genesis to Revelation.
Not gonna summarize this book here, ok? :p
After all, I have posted the snippets of this book under the category “Henrietta C. Mears”
Next time I will really study one particular book of the Bible then use this hand book as companion.

Do visit The Ink Room and get a copy of this book too!! :D

Book Review XXXVII: Jesus The Greatest Life of All

20170212_124954

Another book from The Ink Room.
Finally had the time to read and review it. 
A fantastic biography and analysis on the life of Lord Jesus!
Shall we begin the review?

Who is Jesus?
He went around healing the sick, creating miracles and forgiving sins.
Surely, mere human being has no authority to forgive sins.
Only God does.
It is up to us to either accept or reject His claim.
We cannot stay on  the fence by saying He is an important historical figure or good moral teacher.

Lord Jesus was born miraculously in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mary, His mother, willingly offered her body to bring the Messiah into the world.
She had to endure shame: how could a virgin conceive?
Joseph, His adoptive father, willingly took Mary as his wife to protect her from public scorn.

Lord Jesus merely laid aside His divine attributes when He was born in a manger.
He was the rightful heir to the throne, yet He entered into the world in a stable.
It was His humble entrance into the world, in the presence of shepherds who were social outcasts.
Through the person of Jesus, the kingdom of God and humanity finds representative.

Different people responded to Lord Jesus in various ways.
Simeon, an elderly worshiper in the Temple, recognized baby Jesus as the Messiah.
The magi came and worshiped Him, presenting gifts.
Herod tried  to murder Him.
When He was 12, his parents looked for Him all over the place though they could have found Him immediately in the house of God.
When He was 30, He was ready to start a ministry.
John the baptist was first hesitant to baptize Him.
Yet, Lord Jesus wanted to make baptism a door way to a new kind of life.
He called Peter to follow Him. Peter did and that was the start of his life calling.

Lord Jesus first had to face temptation in the dessert.
First was the the temptation to turn stone into bread. Basically it is to test whether someone trusts God in basic needs.
Second was the temptation to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple.
However, to require God to prove His promise is the positive proof one does not trust Him.
The third temptation was the offer of the splendor of the world if Lord Jesus would worship the devil.
However, Lord Jesus overcame the temptation of material possession. 
He then taught the multitudes of abundant life in Him. He is not against us having money. He is against money having us.
After all, from the eternal perspective, material possession is insignificant.
The abundant life He offers starts with being born again of the Spirit.
This abundant life is the life above guilt, worry and shame.
It is the life to please God and not men.
It is the life full of faith in the face of impossibility. It is the life full of contentment from God alone.

In Lord Jesus’ time, the Pharisees twisted God’s law. Their favorite is the law concerning Sabbath.
Originally, Sabbath was a day where humans can rest and enjoy time with God.
However, the Pharisees made it so burdensome by creating a list of prohibited works.
Lord Jesus rebuked them. Since He is the Lord of the Sabbath, He took the Sabbath back from them.
He invited the people to come to Him, not to any religion. He then offered His yoke which represents:
-exchange of religious legalism with lifelong rest of the soul.
-invitation to learn how He forgives, ministers and connects to the Father.
-invitation to reject slavery to religiosity, wealth and anything else which burdens us that we may become slave to Him (and that is the true freedom).

During the Creation week, there was always concluding remark on the first until the sixth day when God created.
However, on the seventh day, God ceased from all His work. There was no concluding remark. His Sabbath remains open even until today.
And He invites all of us to enter into His Sabbath rest.
It means we believe in His promise because He cares for us.
Rejecting His invitation means we rely on our strength. Since our strength is limited, this spells trouble.

When God created the universe, He placed certain laws of nature. 
He rarely uses miracle. However, when He does use it, it is to divinely validate certain events.
In Lord Jesus’ time, engineers and architects utilized tricks to generate the appearance of miracles, such as turning water into wine. 
They did it for monetary gain.
Lord Jesus, on the other hand, created miracle out of compassion.
He displayed power over the trivial, distance, time, forces of nature, insufficiency and even death that we may believe that He is the Son of God.

When Lord Jesus lived as  regular human, He healed the sick.
He empowered His disciples to do the same.
As we can read in the New Testament, the divine healing is always instantaneous, permanent, obvious and free of charge.
This is in stark contrast with modern day faith healers whose motivation is solely money and not compassion.
Five laws of divine healing:

  1. There are two categories of sin: original and personal

  2. Original sin introduced suffering, sickness and death

  3. Sometimes sickness and death are direct result of personal sin

  4. Sometimes sickness and death are not related to sin at all

  5. It is not God’s will that every sickness be healed.

Apostle James taught that when a person is sick, the elders of the church should pray and anoint him/her with oil.
This was the therapeutic oil.
Modern day equivalent for that is to pray and seek medical help.
God may or may not heal us of our disease here. Even if He does heal us, we will eventually face death one day.
Nevertheless, He promises us eternity with Him. That is the ultimate healing He offers.

One parable that is very close to the heart of the Jews is the parable of the vine.
In the Old Testament, God called Israel His vineyard.
However, no matter how much God cared for the Israel, they did not give him the fruits (which was justice and righteousness) due to Him.
Lord Jesus came to take the place of Israel. He is now the Vine of the LORD.
Lord Jesus invited the believers to abide in Him.
As a branch receives nutrient from the vine and naturally produces fruits, the believers should abide in Christ, receive His life and produce the fruits of Christlikeness.
Apart from Christ the vine, the believers cannot do anything to produce these fruits.

Lord Jesus did not come to please the majority.
He came to declare the truth.
This truth offended many around Him, clearly dividing who was for or against Him.
Firstly, He proclaimed the truth to the crowd.
They wanted Him to be the Messiah who would set them free from Roman empire.
Yet, He refused as what they truly needed was a Savior to rescue from them from sin.
Secondly, He rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy as they nullified the law of God for the sake of their tradition.
He also drove the merchants out from the Temple of God as they committed corruption and lies even in the Temple of God.
Lord Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites for they like to show off their dedication to God and to teach people to follow God.
Yet, their heart is far away from God.
Like Lord Jesus, there are times believers have to stand for the truth fearlessly.
At first, we should use kind approach. If it does not work, we must be bold to proclaim the truth.
We may have to sacrifice in doing so. Nevertheless, God will reward our boldness, if not in this life, then in heaven.

Judas Iscariot wanted nothing less than Jews’ independence from Roman empire.
He eagerly wanted Lord Jesus to rise to the throne. After all, the people wanted to make Him a king.
However, Lord Jesus chased away the multitude. In addition, He explained that Messiah would suffer and die.
Disappointed, Judas secretly plotted to betray Him.
Throughout his discipleship under Lord Jesus, Judas lived a double life. 
On the outside, he appeared trustworthy enough as a treasurer of the group.
In the inside, he stole the money. In fact, his plan to betray the Master even allowed the devil to enter him.
A few lessons we can learn from the life of Judas Iscariot.
Association with godly people doesn’t guarantee that we will be godly.
Secret sin is deadly and it effectively twists our moral value.
We must confess and repent from any secret sin.

In total, Lord Jesus experienced 6 court room trials: 3 Jewish and 3 Roman trials.
All of them were unfair trials even under Jewish and Roman regulation back then.
In the first 3 Jewish trials, for example, the council of Sanhedrin was supposed to argue for acquittal.
However, they violated their own rules by pressing their case against Lord Jesus.
After all, Lord Jesus went against the corruption of the high priest.
At first, they could not charge Him based on His teaching. Even the supposed witnesses did not give consistent testimony.
Finally, they found a charge against Lord Jesus which was His claim to be the Messiah.
This is a flawed charge. His Messiah-ship does not come with insurrection against Rome.
However, in Jewish mind, a Messiah is also a leader of revolution against Rome.
Similar to Lord Jesus, we must be prepared to suffer injustice in this fallen world though we have stood for the truth.
Our Heavenly Father will vindicate us in His time.

The last 3 Roman trials Lord Jesus experienced revolved around 4 figures.
Pilate, Herod, Pilate’s wife and the mob,
Pontius Pilate became the procurator of Judea through trickery.
He ignored the truth for the sake of his political ambition.
When he faced Lord Jesus, he realized He was not guilty at all. 
He attempted his best to deliver Him from death penalty. 
He really thought the mob would prefer Lord Jesus to a criminal such as Barabbas.
However, when the mob pressurizing him politically, he gave in.
He would rather keep political power than the truth.
Some people are like Pilate. They acknowledged the truth but they traded it for power or money or relationship or comfort.
Herod wanted to see a sign performed by Him. He wanted a thrill
He did not even bother to seek the truth of His case.
Some people are like Herod. All they want to enjoy life’s pleasure without wanting to know the truth at all.
Pilate’s wife was superstitious woman. 
She had a dream about Lord Jesus and she wanted Pilate to stay away from him.
Some people are like her. They accepted the truth of Christ along with any other truth or philosophy.
However, this is just superficial belief that does not transform the character.
The worst group of all was the mob. They completely opposed the truth.
Similarly, some people reject the truth and try to suppress it.

Crucifixion is the cruellest death sentence ever invented.
The Roman soldiers reserved the punishment for the runaway slaves, deserting soldiers, freedom fighters and the worst criminals.
In fact, they were so skilled in controlling the amount of suffering or when the victims would die.
Lord Jesus endured the lashing by the soldiers and he was not able to carry the cross on His own.
The soldiers ordered Simon of Cyrene to carry it for Him.
At Golgotha (Place of the Skull), the soldiers stripped Him naked to heighten the shame.
They then nailed His wrists and foot on the cross.
He now had to cope with 2 sources of unendurable pain: from His hands and His legs.
Hanging on the cross caused the shoulders to feel dislocated.
He then support to place His weight on His nailed legs. Eventually the leg muscle cramped.
In addition, He had difficulty in breathing as He could inhale but was powerless to exhale.
This process was repeated over and over.
At last, Lord Jesus said the word "Tetelestai!", meaning He had paid the debt of sin in full.
As He died, the ground beneath the cross cracked and the soldier exclaimed "Truly this was the Son of God!"

Let’s imagine how Barabbas must have felt at this time.
By right, he was the one condemned to death.
Yet, Lord Jesus took his place.
In his right mind, Barabbas would not have said, "No, thanks. I would rather suffer agony on the cross."
Similarly, we are all like Barabbas as we have transgressed against the commandment of God.
We deserve death, yet He took the penalty of our sin.
Surely no one will ever reject this sacrifice of Lord Jesus.

As it was nearing Sabbath period, the soldiers had to hasten the death of the victims.
They broke the legs of the two criminals, causing massive blood loss.
However, they did not break His legs as He had already died.
The women quickly prepared for His burial in the tomb.
For some others, even after the crucifixion, the religious leaders were still worried about the issue of resurrection.
They placed soldiers to guard the tomb as they wanted to prevent the disciples from stealing the body.
However, on the third day, earthquake came and the angels came to the tomb. 
The large stone at the entrance of the tomb was rolled away and the soldiers fled.
Angels told the resurrection to the women who were about to anoint the body of Jesus.
And at last, Lord Jesus appeared to disciples.
A particular attention was on Thomas. He doubted the resurrection of Christ.
While it is easy to criticize him, we should understand from his perspective.
He was disappointed deeply when he saw the cross.
Yet, he did not want to be disappointed for the second time when he heard the rumor of resurrection.
In the end, Lord Jesus appeared to him and healed his disappointment.

The resurrection of Lord Jesus signifies the victory over death, darkness and demons.

Two disciples, one of whom is Cleopas, did not witness the resurrection of Christ.
As they went to Emmaus, they were feeling dejected and disappointed.
They had been hoping Lord Jesus to be their Messiah. In the end, He died.
The disillusioned disciples tried to make sense why their expectation of Messiah came to a tragic end.
Suddenly, Lord Jesus joined them as a stranger but they did not recognize Him.
Lord Jesus spoke with them and helped them overcome their disappointment.
Firstly, they were disappointed because they could only see the issue from human perspective, not from divine perspective.
Secondly, their own agenda determined their expectation.
Thirdly, they failed to acknowledge the resurrection.
Hence, there are important life lessons we can draw here:
First, we have to view life from God’s eyes.
Second, we have to surrender our expectation to God and exchange it with God’s plan.
Third, we we acknowledge resurrection and stake our future upon it.

Peter was a self-driven, passionate, outspoken person.
However, his relied on self too much. His passion proved a failure as he denied Lord Jesus under pressure.
As he waited for Lord Jesus in Galilee, he went back to his old occupation as a fisherman.
It was a night of fruitless toil. Yet, Lord Jesus created a miracle by giving them a large catch of fish.
He then asked Peter if he loved Him with agape love.
Yet, Peter could only love Him with phileo love
The same thing with the second question.
In the third question, the Lord asked him if he loved Him with phileo love.
Peter did.
Through these questions, Peter came to admit that his self reliance to passion is inadequate.
At this point, Peter was a broken man. Yet, Lord Jesus restored him and entrusted to him the responsibility to shepherd His sheep.
Lord Jesus was not looking for perfection. He was looking for a willing vessel thought it was a broken vessel.
For a moment, Peter was distracted and asked what would happen to John.
Yet, Lord Jesus emphasized that as he followed Him, the sheep would follow him.
Similar to Peter, we need to recognize our inadequacy and to to rely on God before we can fulfill our destiny

In the first meeting at Galilee, Lord Jesus tasked His disciples to make disciples of all nations.
He is very intense with the Great Commission, though He is relaxed about the method, depending on each one’s energy and creativity.
At the second meeting at Judea, He gave them His power through the Holy Spirit.
The presence of the Spirit in the believers’ lives proves that they are legitimate citizens of God’s kingdom and they are co-regents with the King.
With that empowerment, all believers are to be witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem (family, friends, neighbors) , Judea (country), Samaria (cross cultural, different faith and races) and to the ends of the earth.
In Great Commission, while God does not need our help to accomplish His plan, He does want us and invite us in this great enterprise.
The Lord has His eyes on the entire world. We can participate in fulfilling the Great Commission through praying for the missionaries, supporting them financially or even going for mission trip.
As  a church, we must not be too comfortable inside the 4 walls that we forget to win the lost.

Though Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, His prediction came to pass.
Roman government defiled the temple and took much money from the temple treasury.
The Jews then rebelled against Rome.
In AD 70, however, the Roman soldiers broke through the walls of Jerusalem.
Fortunately, most of His disciples had fled to Antioch.
With His prediction of fall of Jerusalem came to pass, we now notice His other predictions of war among the nations and finally His promise of the second return.

What is His second coming like?
He will physically, not figuratively, appear in the clouds accompanied by an angel’s loud voice and trumpet blast.
Those who are dead in Christ will rise first, then all believers will wear glorified body (body which never falls sick or dies).
Then, all believers will meet the Lord in the air.
We may grieve now over the death of loved ones.
However, death is just temporary separation as long as our loved ones die in Christ.

God created the world originally as a good world. No evil existed.
Due to the sin of Adam and Eve, evil came in and twisted every good God had made.
When Lord Jesus returns, He will come again in power and judgment.
He will rid the world of evil and restore the original good creation of God.
He will come as the king of the whole world.

For those who reject the grace of God in Christ Jesus, they will go to the place of eternal torment.
Hence, if you have not accepted Christ, wouldn’t you consider accepting Him?

You can purchase the book here:
https://www.theinkroom.com.sg/products/the-greatest-life-of-all-jesus-paperback-english

Posted February 12, 2017 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review, Charles R. Swindoll

Book Review XXXVI: The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

 

Another great book recommended by a friend.
It is like a textbook in explaining the spiritual gifts.
Shall we begin the review?

God has given the Holy Spirit.
Our task is simply to receive Him.
We can ask for His minister to pray for us and we can immediately receive the Holy Spirit. There is no need for a waiting period.
Speaking in tongue is the evidence of the baptism if the Spirit, not the evidence of new birth.

When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are actually receiving the Person of the Holy Spirit.
It does not matter what denomination we belong to. We can all receive the baptism/Person of the Spirit.
While there is the work of the Holy Spirit when the person is born again, this is not the same as in the infilling of the Spirit in the believer’s life.
God has already given the Holy Spirit. When we pray, we should pray that people receive the Spirit (we should not pray that God gives the Spirit).
Some teach that only the apostles can pray for the infilling of the Spirit. However, the truth is that an ordinary believer can lay hands and pray for the infilling of the Spirit.

When the believers are born again, the Holy Spirit immediately dwells in them.
They are now able to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
However, only after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit will the Holy Spirit comes in power.
They are now able to move in the gifts of the Spirit.
As the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the believers, He becomes their Helper, Comforter and Guide in the affairs of life.

The church did not begin on the Day of Pentecost. It began when Lord Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples (John 20:22)
This is the indwelling of the Spirit in the believers.
Later on, the Spirit came upon them and filled them with power. This baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced through speaking in tongue.
Through infilling of the Spirit, the believers now have access to 9 gifts of the Spirit.
The power of the Spirit is now available to the believers regardless of what they feel.

Some believe we need to tarry before we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
However, the tarrying was only meant for the early disciples. They had to wait until the Day of Pentecost.
However, subsequently when the disciples prayed, the people immediately received the Holy Spirit.
Just like salvation is a gift, baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift too. The believers only need to receive it in faith.

The gift of speaking in tongue is still available for the believers today.
While the speakers may not understand the the words they say, sometimes the hearers can understand.
Speaking in tongue requires no interpretation if it is used in personal worship.
However, if it is used for public teaching, it requires interpretation.
Speaking in tongue is the door to the supernatural.
The more (less) we use this gift, the more (less) manifestation of other gifts we will experience too.

The fruit of the Spirit is for holiness and the gifts of  the Spirit is for power.
Some Christians produce much fruit of the Spirit but they have not received baptism of the Spirit. Hence, they can’t move in the power of God.
Some Christians, e.g. Corinthians Christians, have abundance of gifts of the Spirit but they are still immature in the term of virtue.

Some believers received supernatural experience or joy in addition to gift of tongue the moment they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
However, those supernatural experience and joy are exception rather than rule.

By praying the Spirit, believers build themselves up spiritually, become continuously aware of  the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking in tongue eliminates selfishness from entering into our prayer life and keeps us holy from profane elements of the world. As  we pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will direct our prayer.
While we are alone, praying in  the Spirit is the best way to give thanks to God. In fact, speaking in tongue helps us control our tongue.

Some guideline to receiving the Holy Spirit:
1.The candidates must be born again.
2.The ministers should lay hands on the candidates.
3.The candidates should do the speaking while the Spirit gives the utterance.
4.The candidates must not fear of receiving the wrong spirit.
5.The candidates must not be distracted.

Apostle Paul did not want the Corinthian Christians to be ignorant.
Similarly, he would not want us today to have no or limited knowledge of the gifits of the Spirit.
Spiritual gifts will exalt Lord Jesus.
They are supernatural, not natural ability.

We can divide the gifts into 3 categories:
-The revelational gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits.
-The power gifts: gift of faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles.
-The utterance gifts: gift of prophecy, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.

Word of knowledge is not natural human knowledge. Neither is it Bible knowledge.
Neither is it knowledge of God through communion with Him
Through the word of knowledge, God told John about the condition of the seven churches.
God told Ananias about Saul or Tarsus.
God told Peter that three men were looking for him.
God told Samuel regarding the location of Saul’s donkey.
God told Elijah there were 7000 people who still worshipped Him.
God told Elisha that Gehazi asked for money from Naaman.
God told Elisha about Syria’s plan of ambush.
Lord Jesus knew the Samaritan woman had 5 husbands.
Apostle Peter knew Ananias and Saphira were lying.

The gift of the word of wisdom is not wisdom in the affairs of life.
It is the revelation of the future events.
Example of word of wisdom includes:
-Noah and Lot received  warning of future judgment.
-Joseph’s dream of his future leadership
-the Old Testament prophets announcing the coming Messiah.
-Prophet Agabus warned of the coming drought.
-Apostle Paul received warning of the storm that would wreck the ship.
-Apostle John in the island of Patmos receiving revelation of the end times.
The word of wisdom can be conditional. Old Testament prophet gave warning of future judgment if the nation would not repent.

Discerning of spirits. This gift is not:
-spiritual mind reading
-psychological insight or mental penetration.
-power to discern the fault of others.
It is the gift to see into spiritual realm
-to see the evil spirits
-to see the similitudes of God
-to see the risen Christ
-to see the Holy Spirit
-to see the host of God’s armies.
-to see the spirit behind an operation.
Sometimes even though we do not have the gift of discerning of the spirits, we can sense something is wrong because it is against the word of God. In addition, the Holy Spirit inside us will prompt us too.

The gift of faith is not the same as saving faith event though saving faith is also a gift from God.
Gift of faith is the greatest among the three power  gifts. It is the faith to receive a miracle from God.
This special faith is not the ordinary faith to receive answer to prayer. While ordinary faith grows as we feed on the word of God and exercises it, this special faith is the manifestation as the Spirit wills.
This gift of faith sometimes manifests in the face of danger.
Daniel received this gift of faith when he was in the lion’s den.
In another occasion, it manifests when Christians cast out demons or raise the dead.
Moses had the gift of faith to believe he could walk without food and water 40 days and 40 nights.

A miracle is defined as the supernatural intervention by God in the ordinary course of nature. Examples of miracles in the Bible.
Samson killed a lion.
Prophet Elisha split the river Jordan.
Moses called for 10 plagues and split the Red Sea.
Lord Jesus calmed  the storm.
Lord Jesus turned water into wine.
Lord Jesus fed 5 thousands with little boy’s lunch.
We need to earnestly desire this gift of working of miracle especially in this end times.

While we thank God for doctors, gifts of healings is not about medical science.
While gifts of working of miracles are more prevalent in the Old Testament, gifts of healings are more prevalent in the New Testament.
Lord Jesus ministered healings using the power of the Holy Spirit, not the power inherent to Him as the Son of God
Gifts of healings are plural. Different diseases require different gifts.
God is the source of healings. At times, the sick person receive his/her own healing through faith in God’s word. At other times, the gifts of healings operates when a ministers lays hands on the sick person.

Gift of prophecy is equal to tongues plus interpretation of tongues.
Prophecy means to flow forth in speaking to people on God’s behalf.
In the Old Testament, the prophecy was foretelling. In the New Testament, the prophecy is forth telling.
In some occasion, the gift of prophecy manifests when Christians preach beyond their rational capability.
Many times, gifts of prophecy is manifested during corporate worship when the name of Lord Jesus is lifted up.
Christians cannot use the gifts of the Spirit as and when they like. They can only use the gifts under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
A simple gift of prophecy is for edification, exhortation and comfort. 
We can use the gift of prophecy in personal life. We can start with praying in the Spirit and continue with prophesying to pray out the plan of God in our lives.
Through the gifts of prophecy, we can sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in our personal prayer and in corporate worship. That’s how we edify the body of Christ.

Gifts of divers kinds of tongues.
It is the initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives.
Though the Holy Spirit used the prophets in the Old Testament, it is different measure as compared to the infilling of the Spirit under the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Lord Jesus had not yet died. Hence, the prophets did not have the recreated heart. It also means the gifts of speaking in tongues is unique to New Testament saints.
Through speaking in tongue, we can communicate with God supernaturally, magnify God and edify ourselves.
As we speak in tongue in our personal private prayer, we may pray that we are able to interpret our own tongues.
In public ministry, speaking in tongue must be accompanied with interpretation.

The gift of interpretation of tongue is the least of spiritual gifts because it depends on gift of speaking in tongues.
It is not necessary to interpret our own tongue in private prayer. However, it is better if we can do so.
God knows what we are praying when we speak in tongue. But sometimes, He wants us to know what we are praying about too.
In public ministry, there should be at most 3 people who speak in tongue in succession. These three can either interpret the tongue by themselves or can ask someone else to interpret the tongue.
The gift of interpretation of tongue is not translation of tongue.
Even though the speaking in tongue is lengthy, the interpreter will occasionally give a short message and vice versa.
A good order of gift of speaking in tongues, gift of interpretation of tongue and gift of prophecy will become a testimony even to the non-believer.

Posted November 30, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review, Kenneth E. Hagin

Book Review XXXV: Love: The Way to Victory

Love the way to victory

A book recommended by a friend.
Marvelous book! Teaches me different aspects of love!
Shall we start the summary?

Love is greater than faith, hope or any other spiritual gifts.
In heaven, spiritual gifts will cease.
In fact, the world knows we are His disciples because of our love, not our faith or hope.

Since God is love, love then abides eternally. 
God has shed His love in our hearts.
Since He has imparted His divine nature in our hearts, we are then able to produce the Spirit fruit of love.

A few characteristics of God’s love.
· It  takes no account of suffered wrong
· It is a peace maker.
· It works no ill toward neighbor and in marriage (which includes spouse having healthy sexual relation).

What is the mark of our salvation? We love fellow Christians.
Mature Christians let God’s love, instead of sinful desire, dominate them.
We as New Testament saints no longer live under the Ten Commandments.
Instead, we live under the law of love as love is the fulfilment of the 10 Commandments. 
The Holy Spirit has written the law of love on our hearts. If we walk in love, we will fulfil all 10 commandments.
What is the law of love? We are to love God and neighbors.

It is good to have faith and all the confession. However, faith can only work because of God-kind of love.
God-kind of love always asks the question, "How is my action or word going to affect others?"

In fact, we owe love to the people around us.

Love and forgiveness go hand in hand.
We need to forgive any person who has wronged us.
Forgiving others is a part of sanctification as our sinful nature tends to refuse to forgive others.
How does God forgive? When He forgives, He forgets. Therefore, we ought to forget the wrongs others have done to us.
God is able to forgive and forget because He is love. Since He has shed abroad His love in us, we are able to forgive and forget wrongs too.
Since forgiving means forgetting, forgiveness does not hold grudges, be it big or small grudges.
Unforgiveness is a hindrance to prayer. In fact, many times unforgiveness prevents people from receiving healing.

Not only do we have to forgive others, but also we have to forgive ourselves.
If we do not forgive ourselves, our heart will condemn us and we will not be able to come boldly to God.
If God forgives and forgets our sin, why can’t we forgive ourselves too?
Apostle Paul was initially known as Saul.
He persecuted the Christians.
After his conversion, he had to learn to forgive himself and forget his past sin.

Benefits of walking in love includes divine health.
In  the Old Testament, God promised divine health for those who keep His commandment. We, the New Testament saints, should be able to enjoy divine health all the more as we keep the commandment to love.
It does not mean all sicknesses are caused by unforgiveness. Also, it does not mean we should not see doctor at all when we are sick.

Love does not speak evil of others.
In fact, it is not a good idea to criticize God’s servants though they may have done wrong as we do not know what pressure they are in.
In fact, many times the sinning Christian will just come to his/her senses and return to the Lord on his/her own. 
Hence, there may not be a need to spread the news as love covers the multitude of sins.
We can make all the faith confession on healing. However, healing will not come if we do not walk in love.

Divine love can be stern at times, in the same way parents reprimanding their  children.

What do we do when we do not feel any love toward others?
We should still express the love in words and action toward them.

Not walking in love means opening the door for the devil.
We will then fall sick, not because God causes sickness, but because  the devil has access to wreak havoc our lives.
On the other hand, the moment we walk in love, we can easily cast out the devil.

We need to judge ourselves whether we walk in love in order to enjoy divine healing. 
The moment we don’t walk in love, we have to quickly repent.
Speaking of divine health, we need to approach the Holy Communion with respect too.

Not only do we love those who are close to us, but also those who curse us.
How do love the enemies? Pass them a gift, pray for them.
Praying for those who have hurt us will release the grudge and the unforgiveness in us, setting us free.
In addition, there is blessing for us when we pray for the enemies.
In the end, no one is perfect. Hence, we need to extend mercy to others too.

Posted August 11, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review, Kenneth E. Hagin

Book Review XXXIV: Four Things Women Want From A Man

20160610_213340

Maturity. Decisiveness. Consistency. Strength

An early birthday present from bookstore friend!
Dr. Bernard wrote on the subject of manhood: how to be a better man and husband.
Well, some say women do not know what they want.
However, any woman definitely wants her man to be mature, decisive, consistent and strong.
So, what are these 4 traits? Let’s get started.

Pattern and Principles between husband and wife

When God first created Adam, He gave him job to do. Adam had to deal with work first before meeting Eve.
Eve, on the other hand, was created to help Adam. She dealt with relationship first.
Similarly, many husbands are too focused on their career or ministry that they neglect their family.
Wives have the natural tendency to help their husbands in the form of advice.
However, wives should only advise their husbands on important matters, not all matters.

Men and women have different roles in marriage. That’s the principles God established when He created Adam and Eve.

A man needs intimate companionship from a woman for his own good.
While a man wants to be a leader, he will definitely make countless blunder along the way. Hence, he needs a wife to help him.
God created women with inborn need to help. Men need the help women were created to give.

Some other differences between men and women:
– women feel the need to improve things (gradually, if necessary); men feel compelled to solve things (once and for all).
– women want to talk about things first; men want to fix things first and talk about it later (if ever).

In general, men express emotion less often than women.
Nevertheless, husbands should learn to express feeling to their wives.

Men want to quickly finish things whereas women may take a little longer.
In marriage, however, husbands must be patient toward wives whereas wives should respect husbands’ time.

Maturity

It is the degree of acceptance of responsibility.
Mature men take responsibility for their thought, words and action. They refuse to blame others when they make a mistake.
When men begin to think like an adult, they will start to behave like one too.
To make mature decisions, men need values and principles.

Principles help men to determine right and wrong.
The devil often tempts men in the grey area.
To resist temptation, men need to acquire principles in advance. After all, the devil is a savvy salesman.
Some of the principles: "Honesty is the best policy," "You reap what you sow," “Life is brief, there is not time for everything.” 
Mature men think of consequences of their decisions in long term. Hence, they decide based on unchanging principles.

Decisiveness

Mature men make quality decisions quickly and confidently.
They arrive at the correct solution sooner than later.
Mature men decide based on the word of God using the wisdom from God.

Some decisions are concerned with priority. How do we tell someone’s priority?
By looking at how where he/she spends the money and time.
Mature men can quickly decide about spiritual health, family and physical health as they spend their money and time on it.

Some decisions are reversible and some are not. When making a long term decisions, mature men take their time.

Mature men guard their time wisely. They are not always available at the request of others.
Mature men decide things based on God’s word. While God does not dictate decisions, He will guide in the decision making.
Sometimes, it is not so soon to receive wisdom from God in decision making.
We can keep praying and praying until God grants us the wisdom.

Consistency

Consistency is firmness of character. It is ability to make quality decisions times and again, regardless temptation the devil offers.
Character is who we are when no one else is watching.
When our actions are in sync with our values, we will have peace in heart.
Mature men proclaim virtue of godliness and live it out.
When a man breaks becomes inconsistent in his language or behavior, his wife readily notices it and wants to know the reason.
Occasionally, a woman can overlook/forgive her husband’s inconsistency.
Nevertheless, mature men must be consistent as long as possible.
After all, as the principle says, “We reap what we sow.”

Some men procrastinate in making decision. Some others are impulsive in making decision.
Both are poor decision making skills.

Strength

Strength is a matter of integrity. It is courage to live out principles regardless of the crowd. 
Real men display strength from gentleness and kindness, not anger.
Real men control their thought, speech and action.
It may seem difficult to possess self control. But with God’s help, it is possible.

Posted June 20, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in A. R. Bernard, Book Review

Book Review XXXIII: Elijah–A Man of Heroism and Humility

20160530_204734

A book which The Ink Room brought in during Heroes of Faith campaign.
Didn’t immediately purchase this book until 2 years ago.
5 books at 50% off. Good deal, isn’t it?

Charles Swindoll presented this book as a Bible study on the life of Elijah.
Since it is going to be difficult to summarize the whole book, I will just highlight the points I find interesting.

Here we go ~~

Confrontation with Ahab (1 Kings 16:29-33; 17:1)

Ahab was wicked king, more evil than the previous kings of the northern kingdom of Israel.
He married Jezebel who introduced pagan/Baal worship to the kingdom.
At this darkest hour, Elijah the prophet came and announced God’s judgment: there would be no rain until Elijah said so.

Lesson(s) here:
– Elijah stood alone in proclaiming God’s judgment on the wicked monarch.
Similarly, even if we have to stand alone today, we must make a stand and proclaim what is right and what is wrong according the God’s word.

Solitude in Cherith (1 Kings 17:1-7)

Perhaps the best way to teach a stubborn king is by letting him experience God’s judgment himself instead of repeatedly warning him.
God sent Elijah to the brook of Cherith for 2 reasons: protection and training.
Elijah learned to depend on God daily ad the birds brought him food.
Through the solitude, he built his prayer life.
However, one day the book dried up. His lifeline disappeared due to his own prayer that there should be no rain.

Lesson(s) here:
– There are times we should pull back from the busyness of life and be alone with God in prayer.
– There are times we feel the stream of God’s blessing dries up even though we have carried out God’s commandment.
We need to remember that God has the right to give and withhold blessing. 
He knows what He is doing for our best interest. As He does that, He removes pride, fear, resentment and carnal habit.

Zarephath Part 1: Endless Supply of Oil and Flour (1 Kings 17:8-16)

After initial training time of isolation and meditation in Cherith, Elijah had an advanced training in Zarephath.
It was a dangerous journey from Cherith to Zarephath as he was a wanted man. Nevertheless, God protected him.
The widow made the last meal for her and her son before they would die.
Even then, Elijah requested that last meal with the promise the oil and flour would not run our.
Despite her bewilderment, widow complied with his request as his faith rubbed on her.
As a reward, the oil and the flour did not run out throughout the drought period.
The widow did not have all she wanted. Nevertheless, she had all she needed to survive.

Lesson(s) here:
– God’s training never stops.
When we think we are done with one training, He will bring us into another more intense training to remove more impurities in our lives.
Due to all the pain, we may think God has forgotten us. However, the truth is He never leaves us and He knows what He is doing.
– We need to trust God’s promise and obey His word. This is the key to unlock miracle in the midst of impossibility.
– We should always thank the Lord. We may not have all we want, but He definitely provides all we need.

Zarephath Part II: Resurrection after death (1 Kings 17:17-24)

One day, the widow’s son fell sick and eventually died.
She was in deep grief and blamed Elijah for the tragedy even though Elijah helped her much.
Elijah, on the other hand, was silent. He did not rebuke her.
He did exactly like the Lord commanded but He still received the brunt of the blame.
Elijah brought the dead body oh the son to God. He could not find any precedence of resurrection in the Scripture he read.
Nevertheless, since he had faced much impossibility and miracle before, he asked God to do the impossible: to resurrect the son.
After some time, God granted Elijah’s prayer and resurrected the boy.
Elijah presented the living boy to the widow. He did not claim credit to such miracle. As such, the widow saw the Lord in Elijah’s life.

Lesson(s) here:
– Bad things still happen even though we obey the Lord. In such time, we can come before God in private and ask God.
– We can always bring any dead circumstance to the Lord for Him to resurrect it.
– After experiencing miracle, we need to give glory to God to whom all glory is due.

Showdown in Carmel (1 Kings 18:1-2, 17-40)

One day Elijah went to meet Ahab. Right from the start, Ahab blamed Elijah for all the trouble of drought.
However, Elijah did not back down. He blamed Ahab as he worshiped idols.
Elijah had idea of showdown between prophets of Baal+Asherah and himself.
God who answered by lightning is the true God.
He first asked the audience, children of Israel whether they wanted to follow the LORD or Baal.
The people were undecided.
The prophets of Baal started first. They danced around, screamed and even mutilated themselves. Yet, no one paid attention.
Elijah came forward and prepared the altar of the Lord.
He prayed and the Lord sent lightning to burn the offering.
Elijah then killed the prophets of Baal.

Lessons(s) here:
– When we are in the will of God, we are invincible.
– Divided allegiance is as wrong as idolatry.
– Our most effective tool is the prayer of faith.

God Who Keeps His Promise (1 Kings 18:41-46)

Just as God had kept His word that there would be no rain, He kept His promise of sending rain to earth.
There are times when we need to wait for the fulfilment of His promise.
We even think He has forgotten it. In truth, He still remembers.
God does not clarify His timetable with us as we won’t agree with Him anyway.

God sent drought. He first did not tell Elijah when the drought would end.
Why did He delay? Because He wanted to show the Israelites that prophets of Baal had no credential at all.
Hence, Elijah could easily command the people to kill those prophets later on.
Even when God did not tell Elijah the timing of drought, he did not complain as he believed God would keep His promise.

We need to be careful in claiming God’s promise.
Some of His promises are only applicable on the specific context in the past.
Some are applicable to us today which we can claim.
Even for those promises we can claim, some are conditional and we need to keep our side of bargain before God moves.
Some are unconditional.

Elijah claimed the promise of rain from God when he prayed on top of mount of Carmel.
7 times he prayed for rain.
God sent a sign of small cloud. Eventually, the rain did come.

Lesson(s) here:
– Elijah was a man of prayer. We, too, should pray even after experiencing victory.
– Elijah prayed specifically for rain. We, too, should be specific in our prayer.
– Elijah prayed 7 times. We, too, should be persistent in our prayer.

When The Depression Hits (1 Kings 19:1-21)

God did not mind showing the lowest point of His people in the Bible.
Moses, Jonah, Paul and Elijah.
After a great victory, Elijah received a death threat from Jezebel.
Fearing for his life, Elijah left his servant.
Being alone, he went to wilderness and asked God to remove his life. He was emotionally and physically exhausted, being lost in self pity.
God then allowed Elijah a time of rest and refreshment. He communicated graciously with Elijah in still small voice.
He did not rebuke or shame Elijah.
Instead, He clarified some facts to Elijah to get him out of self pity. He also sent a personal friend to Elijah: Elisha.

Lesson(s) here:
– When depression or self pity strikes, we need to hear God’s voice.
– We need one another in our walk with God. God never intends us to walk alone.

Justice is Served (1 Kings 21:1-29)

While God is good and long suffering, there will come a point when His patience runs out.
He will then carry out His justice.

Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. However, Naboth refused Ahab’s offer as it was against Jewish law to sell the land of inheritance.
Sullen, Ahab shared the incident to Jezebel.
Jezebel took matter into her own hands. She framed Naboth into his death.
After he died, Ahab took the vineyard for himself.
God sent Elijah to announce the doom of Ahab and Jezebel. They had provoked Him enough.

Lesson(s)  here:
– there is an end to God’s patience. No one knows it.
So, we should not play games with God.

Like Father Like Son (2 Kings 1:1-18)

Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned in Israel after the death of Ahab. He was a wicked king.
One day, he fell and became ill.
He sent messengers to inquire Baal-Zeebub, the god of Ekron. Baal-Zeebub means lord of the flies.
Such contact with demonic world will open spiritual door for demons to enter into Israel.
God quickly dispatched Elijah to intercept the messengers. He told them to tell Ahaziah he would die from sickness.
Ahaziah then sent soldiers to summon Elijah.
Elijah refused to come with the first 2 groups of soldiers. In fact, lightning killed them.
Elijah eventually came with the third group of soldiers to the king to announce his death from his illness.
True enough. King Ahaziah never recovered.

Lesson(s) here:
– we must never open door to demonic world though it may seem harmless at first, e.g. Ouija board, palm reading, astrology.
God is displeased with any occult movement. Instead, God is delighted when we trust in Him completely.
– we must never be afraid to proclaim God’s truth even in the presence of wicked authority.

Farewell (2 Kings 2:1-14)

Elijah was heroic and yet humble. At this time, God was about to take him up to heaven, similar to Enoch.
Because Elijah knew he was going to be taken up, he became the model of us who live in the anticipation of Christ’s return.

Before he was taken up in Jordan, he went to Gilgal, Bethel and Jericho first to reflect upon his life.
Gilgal was a place of beginning for the children of Israel before they entered into the Promised Land.
Bethel was the place of prayer. Abraham built an altar to the LORD there.
As he walked through the streets of Bethel, he remembered his communion with God in Cherith and Zarephath.
Jerico was a place of battle. Elijah remembered the victory on the mount of Carmel.
And finally, Jordan, a place of death. He died to self-life. He obeyed and trusted God.
Throughout all this journey, Elisha followed Elijah fully.
He requested that he would inherit double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
Elijah was a bit taken aback. Nevertheless, Elisha did inherit double of the power.
When one man/woman of God leaves this world, nothing of God stops.
Exit Elijah. Enter Elisha.

Lesson(s) here:

– Individually, we had our respective Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and Jordan. We first started our walk by giving our heart to Him.
We then learned to spend time with God. We had to conquer battles against sinful nature and temptation.
Finally, we learned to die to self.
– Never hesitate to ask big things from God.

You can purchase this book here:
http://www.theinkroom.com.sg/great-lives-series-elijah-paperback-english.html

Book Review XXXII: The Bait of Satan

Photo0109

A great book! Full of wonderful lessons!

Lord Jesus taught us that offenses will come (Luke 17:1).
In fact, before He came, He mentioned offenses would increase.
Yet, at the same time, He called us to be peacemakers.
John Bevere wrote on the subject of offense, be it the one caused others or by us.
The very goal of this book is reconciliation, whenever possible.

So, let’s get to the summary of this book.

Offense is a trap.
Often those who are offended do not even realize they are trapped.
How can Christians avoid the trap of offense? By growing in God’s word.
It is not simply memorizing verse or a certain head knowledge of the Bible.
We need to directly hear from the LORD.
Maybe when we listen to sermon, we need to hear particular verse which God impresses within us.
Offense acts like a test as it reveals the true condition of our heart.
If we are rooted in the word of God, we can pass the test of offense.

There are various scenarios of offense. Let’s look at a few of them.

1. Offense done by the fellow believers.

Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers who were the heads of the ten tribes of Israel.
Even when he served Potiphar with integrity, his reward was the dungeon.
He must have questioned God for the dream He had given him.
He had every reason to be offended and bitter toward God and his brothers.
Yet, he didn’t do that. Instead, when he rose to power, he forgave and blessed his brothers.

2. Offense done by the church leaders.

David received the promise of God that one day he would become the king.
Gradually, he saw the promise coming to pass as he became the king’s son in law and befriended the king’s son.
However, one day the king decided to kill him. David then had to run for his life.
At this point, David would have questioned God and had the reason to  be angry at God.
There are many spiritual leaders nowadays who do not lead well.
They take advantage of God’s people to serve their own vision rather than to serve God’s people themselves.
David chose to commit the judgment in God’s hand. He did not avenge himself.
Similarly, when we are placed under unrighteous leader, we should allow God to avenge His servants,

All humans are imperfect, even the church leaders.
Some leaders may offend the members in the way they preach offering message or manage church money.
Instead of leaving the church, the members should focus on the Lord.
After all, it is not Christians who chooses to go to which church; it is God who chooses which church Christians should go.
Christians must not leave their original church out of offense.

When he was young, the prophet Samuel served under priest Eli who was not a righteous priest.
Samuel did not try to judge Eli.
Instead, he focused on serving the Lord. He believed God is capable of correcting His servants on His own.

There will come to a point where Christians need to go to another church.
However, this has to be due to leading from God accompanied in His peace.

Lord Jesus did not have qualm in proclaiming the truth.
Hence, He offended the Pharisees. As a result, they sent Him to the cross.
Sometimes, we may risk offending others as we speak the truth in love.
There are pastors who teach biblical truth which confronts the members’ lifestyle.
Even if they leave the church, the pastor must keep speaking the truth.
If the pastor is afraid of speaking the truth, he/she will lose the anointing.
It is more important to obey God than to please men.

While Lord Jesus had no qualm offending others as He proclaimed God’s truth, there were times Lord Jesus did not offend by not exercising His own right, e.g. He agreed to pay the tax even though He was exempted from tax (Matt 17:25-26).
In our Christian walk, we need to be mindful in exercising our liberty.
If our liberty offends/becomes stumbling block to those of weaker faith, it is better not to exercise our liberty.
For example, it is better not to eat meat in front of saints of weaker faith.

Holding on offense in the form of unforgiveness is also a trap.
We need to remember that we sin against the Lord in many ways.
Since the Lord has forgiven us, we must forgive others as well.
Unforgiveness causes physical illness and prevents the offended from sensing the presence of God.
In fact, unforgiveness will result in Christians losing their salvation.

Some Christians move from unforgiveness to revenge. This is another deadly trap.
The Lord is the Judge. He will repay. So, He should leave the judgment to Him.

If our train our hearts regularly in obedience to God, it will be easy for us to let go of offense.
However, there are times when extreme offense comes and we are not ready to face it.
We then need to run to the Lord and He will instruct us how to release the offense and even bless the perpetrator.

Reconciliation.
As much as it depends on us and as long as and it does not compromise the truth, we should be in peace with everybody.
If we are the ones offending others, we should humble ourselves and ask forgiveness.
If others offend us, we should forgive them and approach them to be reconciled.
By doing so, we will win a brother.

~~~~ Get a copy of this book at The Ink Room today ~~~~

Posted May 10, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review, John Bevere