You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘faith’ category.

20120417-013934.jpg

20120417-013946.jpg

20120417-013952.jpg

20120417-014001.jpg

20120417-014006.jpg

廣告

Finally made it to Precept class this morning, though being late. We’ve been studying Judges and this was our second last lesson on this book full of fascinating stories. The story we studied today was Samson’s life, a story filled with blood and lust.

I never quite understood how Samson lead the Israelites. Sure he was probably the strongest man in the whole universe at that time but muscles don’t make good leaders. (Look at Arnold in California :X ) He could make the headline everyday: “Samson killed 30″; “Samson killed a lion with bare hands"; “Samson burnt the field, expect crop price to rise"; “Samson killed 1000 with bone"; “Samson’s wife was given to his friend"; “Samson spotted with a prostitute"; “Samson married Delilah"; “Fail – Samson lied, Delilah’s effort in vain"; “Failx2 – Samson lied, Delilah’s scheme failed"; “Samson caught!"… How juicy! Yet this man lead Israelites for 20 years.

And if he made the headline, I’m pretty sure there’d be a small box somewhere on A1 that goes like this: ‘Nazirite is…1)not allowed to drink wine or seimilar stuffs; 2)not allowed to cut his hair; 3)not allowed to be near a dead body (death is the effect of sin)… “All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD".’

How on earth was Samson holy? Throughout the four chapters about Samson, there were two prayers only: one when Samson was dead thirsty and he just wanted water and one right before Samson’s death when he wanted the one last revenge on Philistine. He was supposed to be a sacred man – a man that is God centered but Samson was never God centered. He’s more focused on woman than on God.

I’m not sure how his parents raised him up but obviously either they didn’t know how to teach him or parenting was just  not effective. Parents should really take note from the Samson story: committing your son/daughter to God when he was an infant does not guarantee that he’d grow up as a devoted Christian. God’s work may still be done through him but it could be done in a heart-breaking way.

And the same to all believers: converting is the starting point and the journey is long – longer than a marathon. Delilah is in our hearts. We are tempted to compromise our faith and we are more easily to give in than we like. It’s not because Delilah was a beauty or what. Samson gave in not to Delilah’s beauty but to Delilah’s daily crying.  Delilah got the chance to cut Samson’s hair because Samson, though with all the signs, was not alert at all and would just sleep on her laps. Be alert and stay on track (be God-centered) and you’ll surely reach the finish line in heaven. Compromise and wander off, your finish line is in somewhere else.

But how to finish a marathon? Well, God’s grace is abundant. Look at Samson. He broke every single Nazirite vow requirement and God still answered his prayers. Though works is the evidence of our faith, we are saved through grace, not works. Trust in Him, rely on Him and you’ll see the finish line in heaven.

Fellow runners, keep running for and to the greater glory of God!

[明報5月26日] 前日大鬧跑馬地天主教墳場的失常老婦「地球主人」,昨日再闖墳場,發現前日張貼的大字報被白紙遮掩後激動拍打辦事處大門發泄,警方到場後又要「諗計」勸她送院,一名醒目警長靈機一觸說︰「我知你係地球主人,但我係宇宙保衛者,我會幫你,信我啦! 」成功將老婦勸服送院檢驗。

讓我想起這節經文:
「不要照愚昧人的愚妄話回答他,恐怕你與他一樣。要照愚昧人的愚妄話回答他,免得他自以為有智慧。」(箴廿六4-5)

「不要照愚昧人的愚妄話回答他,恐怕你與他一樣。」就如不要跟廿蚊張辯證二十元時薪不能餬口,不要跟黃永說林彬被燒死的歷史,到最後只會把自己都弄蠢了。

「要照愚昧人的愚妄話回答他,免得他自以為有智慧。」要是跟地球主人說自己是警察,搞不好她以為警察是她的僕人,來聽她指令的。跟她說「宇宙保衛者」,聽起來好強啊!也虧那警長想得出來。(雖然我腦海裡浮現的,是IQ博士裡頭的宇宙大王…)

「要照愚昧人的愚妄話回答他」,因為愚昧人只聽得懂蠢話。跟他說聰明話,要不他呆呆的看著你,一點也聽不懂;要不他自以為懂了,其實還是一點都不懂,那就是自以為有智慧,也就死得人多!

The second commandment: Love your neighbors as yourself.

May 17, 2010 (Monday)

Around 1:30am

I heard people talking in the corridor. Not really that loud but loud enough that I could pick up some words like “Oh, no!", “It’s not any better over here", “Luckily it’s fresh water"…

“Fresh water"! So I opened the door. The hallway was completely flooded with water, fresh water. It was first discovered by the daughter of the family that lives on the other end of the hallway who has just back home.  Her whole family woke up and soon guards came up with buckets, mops and dust pans. It’s not an easy task to sweep away the water as there’s no outlet in the hallway. They could sweep the water into the trash room and the staircases but these are all blocked by doorsills.

Where does the water come from? The house right on my left! An old lady lives there alone while her son lives in anther block in the same housing estate. Guards banged  on her door to wake her up. She got up from her bed and saw her slippers were floating on water like little boats. Totally scared, she opened the door and didn’t quite know what to do. She called her son but no one answered the call. She kept calling … but in vain. No, not in vain. Her son didn’t pick up the phone but just came over within like 10 minutes. Turned out that a plastic hose in the kitchen broke. Somehow there’s no outlet in the kitchen, water ran through the house, then the hallway, then the other family on the other end. The doorsill of my flat is high enough that no water came into my place, though.

That’s why I heard the noise.

So my mom and I took a bucket, a mop, a sweeper and a dust pan from our house to join them in the “water fight". Well, a fight against water. It took the other family more than half an hour to clear the water from their house and most of the water in the hallway. Then they went back to sleep. Tomorrow is Monday. Guards kept on clearing the rest of the hallway (especially the part closer to our ends) and also the water in the old lady’s house. The flood in the lady’s house was at least 3 inches deep. But since she lives alone, there aren’t much furnitures in the place. There’s a digital piano but that’s way better than my Pleyel 131. Digital piano got all the parts up on the keyboard, not the legs. One DVD player was half immersed in water. The refrigerator got high legs and thus should be safe.

It took us nearly two hours to clear the water. Completely exhausted. The old lady kept blaming herself and felt she owed us. We told her to count God’s blessings. It’s a bad situation in the best scenario: 1)It’s Sunday late night. Otherwise, everyone is either home already or won’t be home until 4am. No one would have discovered this early enough; 2)It’s fresh water; 3)Her place has tile floor, not wooden floor (or it’d be totaled).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

Maybe even the best is not good enough to some people’s ears…

The choir members did their best this morning to offer the best they could in service. I believe so.

We joked that there were fourteen of us in the choir and there were fourteen parts. It’s true but still I believe all of us have done our parts the best we could.

Someone asked why we didn’t have a pianist and used synthetic music as accompaniment instead – because we couldn’t find a pianist. “You can play the piano part." – I have to sing.

“It makes no difference if they don’t sing." (佢地唱唔唱都冇分別 – the speaker actually meant it’s better than they don’t sing.)

The same person said to me after I played the violin in church, “it sounded awful".

The second time I played the violin in service, this same person said “you played so many wrong notes. It’s sounded so bad." (Oh well, it was my own arrangement. Ain’t I supposed to have the final say on what notes to play?)

The third time I needed to play the violin in service… I simply avoided this person. I didn’t want to give this person a chance to say something that ought not be said. Music in church is an offering to God. It’s NEVER a performance to please man.

Maybe even the best is not good enough to some people’s ears… but thank God that He doesn’t see us this way.

(Predestined salvation is one of the recurrent topics in our Precept group. Somehow we will get into this topic almost whatever book we are studying. And now we’re in Revelation and this topic was discussed in the group again today. And then I wrote this… And just as anything I’ve written on the topic of Faith, my understanding may change over time.)
Some say that God predestined, before the beginning of time, who is saved and who is not. They say Salvation is predestined (quoting Paul mostly).
If so, then all believers are just gambling against a predestination, hoping that we’re in that book of life.
But if not, is Paul wrong?
Well, let’s take a look at the word “predestined". This word is “time-bounded". It is only valid in a world where there is time. So, it is only applicable to human sense, not God. (NB: God is beyond time. If your God is not, well, we don’t share the same God. Period. And if you don’t believe there’s a God in the world, we’re not on same channel. Period.)
If God is beyond time, the phrase “before the beginning of time" is not applicable to God. He knows who is saved “at the end" because He is hlbeyond time. He has been to all time frames of the world, may it be before the beginning or after the end of the world. So He is not foretelling who is saved in the end. He is only narrating what has already happened in the sence of eternity and will happen in human understanding. It is hard to explain in human language because human languages are ruled by syntax which always include tense forms in some way. And that’s why there is this phrase “before the beginning of time".
So, what does it have to do with 12 Monkeys? James Cole didn’t know that his efforts to save the world is in vain because he (and the scientists “in the future") is bounded by time. Though he can travel through time, he doesn’t know concurrently what’s going on in both the past and the future. That’s human. We know something is going to happen as the Bible tells so but we were not in the past and we have not been to the future. Even if we were and have, we can only see the the things that happen in the time and space we are capable of perceiving. It’s never the whole picture that we see. God is the maker of 12 Monkeys: He knew the whole story before the movie is made. Unlike the spectators who only know the beginning is the very end after the whole movie is shown, God knew it all along.
And unlike the spectators who can only sit by and watch what is going to happen, God has offered a way out since before the beginning of time.

P.S. And talking about Paul, I must admit that I don’t like his writings. People say he’s a good debater. I simply don’t see his logic (well, sometimes I do but that’s rare). Maybe I need to be a 1st century Jew to understand his arguments. I don’t know. Still struggling. All in all, the Bible is hard to be understood anyways.

P.P.S. Another often recurrent topic in group discussion is works and deeds and salvation. May write on that if I have time.

Two weeks ago, a student’s mom called me and said her husband wants to stop their daughter’s piano lesson. I said, “ok, give me a call if you want to resume the lessons."

That’s just a “standard" response. I didn’t even ask her why. 

Two days ago, a lady called me when I was in lesson. I called her back later and turned out this lady is the neighbor of my another student. I met her at lift lobby around a year ago. She asked me something about piano lesson but I don’t remember what I told her. Anyway, she called me two days ago and asked if I have time to teach her daughter. She has been learning piano for some years and is doing quite good. In fact, her girl passed the grade 3 piano exam last year with distinction. But she wants to have teacher go to her place instead of sending her daughter to the studio, so she called me. 

And today I went to her place and had the very first lesson with her daughter – a lovely girl around 11-year-old I think. She’s quite talkative and I like talkative students. It’s hard to tell what the student is thinking if he/she doesn’t talk. She said I talk like her best friend’s sister. I think we can get along pretty well. 

A door is closed but another is opened… right in front of me. 

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

I have these two little girls who take lessons together back to back in studio. I use the ipod touch to keep teaching notes so I always have it at the corner of the piano. We were having lesson the other day as usual and somehow the older sister saw my ipod and got curious with it. She pressed on the home button and unlocked it. There, she saw the BibleXpress icon (I keep it at the dock for easy access) and exclaimed, “Oh! You have Jesus in your iPod!"

She pressed on that small icon and that lead her to Genesis 7 of The Message version. (Great that it’s got The Message version in the app – easier English and the kids can understand it relatively more easily.) Then she began to ask questions about Noah. Since she could swipe to go to previous and next chapter, it really gave me a chance to tell the two little girls the Noah story, which lead to questions about who God is, why God doesn’t like bad guys, what will happen to the bad guys, hell, how to avoid going to hell, Jesus, and the whole salvation scheme. They’ve heard about Jesus but didn’t quite know who he really is and why he is related to us. Now they know. They’ve even learned how to pray. That lesson went overtime but the two girls were really excited to hear about God.
God does show Himself through all things – may it be big or small.

Was reading Mingpao today and read this article:

出土石刻或證基督信仰源自猶太教

 【明報專訊】一塊自死海出土的石塊刻文,可能令世人不得不重新評估基督信仰的起源和發展。經鑑證,有關的石塊刻文早在耶穌出生前數十年已出現,但內容似乎已提到彌賽亞死後3天復活,引起宗教界及考古學界爭議。有論者質疑,有關刻文似乎正引證,「死後3天復活」早在耶穌出生前,已成為猶太人的傳統故事內容。

 死海出土 耶穌出生前文物

 該石塊高3呎,上有87行希伯來文,罕有用墨書寫。石塊已破裂,部分字不可辨,預料將引起學者不同詮釋。特拉維夫大學考古學教授戈倫(Yuval Goren)已對該石塊作化學檢驗,他表示並無理由懷疑該石塊的真偽。該石塊早於十年前出土,由一名瑞士猶太人購買收藏,但該收藏家並不知道該石塊的意義,直至數年前一名以色列學者仔細研究該石塊後,才知意義不同凡響。

 加州大學柏克萊分校猶太教法典教授博亞林(Daniel Boyarin)表示,該石塊進一步說明,只有通過仔細研究耶穌所屬年代的猶太歷史,才能更全面了解耶穌這人物。他說﹕「基督徒或會覺得這是令人震驚的,因為這對基督教神學的獨一無二性構成挑戰。」新約《聖經》有關彌賽亞的描述,跟猶太教最大分別,便是彌賽亞的形象是受苦的,且死後3天復活。但若有關說法早在耶穌出生前便流傳,那麼這便顯示基督教的教義源於猶太教,對耶穌的傳統認識更可能要重新評估。

 提及天使命令3天後復活

 石塊上的文字內容,是關於「加伯利大天使」的啟示,當中引述舊約聖經中的先知預言。石塊部分文字已脫落,經研究後,希伯萊大學聖經研究教授諾爾(Israel Knohl) 認為,該石塊第80行寫的是﹕「我,加伯利,命令你3天後生存。」他命令的是「王子中的王子」,希伯來聖經《但以理書》曾提及加伯利及「王子中的王子」,諾爾認為石塊所寫的,是關於一名猶太人領袖死後3天復活。他表示該名領袖有可能是被希律王殺死的歷史人物西蒙,石塊可能是出自西蒙追隨者之手。他說﹕「這會動搖我們對基督教的基本看法。死後3天復活是耶穌出生前已出現的主題,這跟一直以來的說法大相逕庭。新約《聖經》中耶穌及其門徒的說法,都是以早期的彌賽亞故事為根據。」

 過往耶穌時代文獻出土總掀起大爭議,以60年前出土的死海古卷為例,學者目前仍為古卷作者及意義爭論不休。

 紐約時報

The original text from New York Times is here.

So what if this tablet shows that Christianity is originated from Judaism? Didn’t everybody know that Christianity IS originated from Judaism? 

So what if Jesus’ teaching is based on Old Testament? Didn’t everyone who has read the Bible know that,  too?

And how about the prediction of death and resurrection of Messiah? OF COURSE there were such predictions. Many scriptures from the Old Testament are related to that!

“it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time…Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story…He notes that in the Gospels, Jesus makes numerous predictions of his suffering and New Testament scholars say such predictions must have been written in by later followers because there was no such idea present in his day. But there was, he said, and “Gabriel’s Revelation” shows it."

So, one single tablet can prove that it’s a motif developed before Jesus, a recognized Jewish tradition? Now I understand why some believe that no one died in June-4 Incident as there’re more than one who have said so. 

I really don’t see how this may ignite debate over Messiah and resurrection. The tablet is, of course, worthy of study. It shows something from the past. It may fill some gaps… or it may create more gaps. Either way, it is good for understanding history. But to have the core of Christianity shaken by this finding… It’s unlikely to happen.

Have to address clearly that the interpretation of Matthew 13 posted here a few days ago and the traditional interpretation are not mutually exclusive.

For example, the mustard seed can be Jesus and disciples/believers at the same time; The merchant who seeks fine pearls can be Jesus and disciples/believers at the same time as well.

But I think the two interpretations come in hierarchy: First comes the mustard seed and the merchant being Jesus, then comes the two being disciples/believers.

Simple explanation is: “disciple" means learner. Who are we learning from? Jesus. So the mustard seed and the merchant refer first to Jesus then to disciples.

十月 2017
« 九月    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

分類