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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Faith of God

Launching pad for a Zip Line at the Pinecrest


That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants—not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all... Romans 4:16

From August 18 to 26 I and Rebekah visited Vietnam. We came back home on August 27. After a few hours of sleep in Redding, the next morning we flew down to LAX via San Francisco Airport, to attend the LA UBF Summer Bible Conference.

The conference took place at the Pinecrest Presbyterian Christian Conference Center in Big Bear Mountain.

Pinecrest added an archery

I was sick with stomach flu, so I could not attend the first night evening service. Apparently Robert Fishman served a message, "You will be a blessing" Genesis 12:1-9.

Lying in bed sick, I meditated on the Bible passage.

One word, "God's faith" came to mind. It deeply moved my heart. The days of Abram were wicked, so wicked that the Lord God had to wipe out through the Flood all peoples on earth except Noah's family. But the problem of idol worship did not go away, but only mushroomed. Joshua 24:2

Apparently Abraham's father Terah talked with Noah and Noah's son Shem. Abraham knew Shem 150 years. Noah died 2 years before Abraham was born. Isaac knew Shem 50 years. (Source: Agape Bible Study at http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/charts/Generations%20Adam-Moses.htm) In other words Abraham is in the line of believing family. Yet how come did he too worship idols? Too sad!

Yet, in faith God visited Abram and called him with the promise of blessing: I will make you into a great nation; I will bless you; I will make your name great!; You will be a blessing; all peoples on earth will be blessed through you!

If you are unsure you do not use the word 'will', but with absolute faith God said, "I will" repeatedly.

Abram at the time of God's calling, Abram had every reason to regard himself as hopeless. For one thing he was 75 years old. He was childless. Perhaps his health also started deteriorating.

Yet, God called him out with a great promise: I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

When I put myself in Abram's position, I doubt whether or not the promise of such great blessings would come true of me. But when I thought about God who believed in what he was saying, faith arose within me, so I too could believe.

I think when this great calling came upon Abram first, he too must have doubted. But I am confident that Abram too was moved by God's faith, so he too believed. Thus he left and go. And as he went along, he built an altar to God and called on the name of the Lord.

The same promise is guaranteed to all who share the faith of Abraham. Thank and praise be to the Lord who had absolute faith in Him that he gave us wonderful promises believing that we too would believe in Him, that all who put trust in Him and his promises would see the promises becoming a reality in each of us beginning here and now! Amen! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Viva Vietnam

God chose things that are not to nullify the things that are. 1 co 1:28
August 21 Friday Abe Lee checked us in at the 5 star Somerset Hotel at #49 Hai Ba Tung Stress, Hanoi.
After a short journey to a food market through the old city we (jacob esther i and rebekah) spent the night at the hotel.
Next morning (saturday) we moved to Halong Bay where we spent a night at the cabin of the cruise line.
A BIG THANK You to Abe for your generosity giving us a royal treatment paying for "everything". 
It has been said "The Korean War is the first war the US lost." But the Vietnam War is the war both the US and Korea (among other nations) fought but lost."
The question becomes, "Why?"
 The next day as I was heading back to Hanoi from the Ha Long Bay on the cruise line "Bhaya 7" 1 Co 1:28 came to mind: 
people here are lowly in spirit, humble and  kind, poor yet friendly. And her land comes with tons of beauties. The Lord preserved the land and her people for his good purpose.
Sunday we moved back to the hotel. MSN jacob served a message entitled "Fix your eyes on Jesus".
Monday morning along with Jacob and Esther we visited One pillar pagoda, Ho Chi Min Museum,  and Literature Court.
At the Ho Chi Min museum I met Uncle Ho who loved and fought for his people like a father. Once his general Giap  (who was 20 years youger than he) got tangled up in a scandal with a dancer, so was on the virge of getting purged. But instead of purging Giap he solved Giap's "marriage problem" by introducing to him a daughter of noble origin. Since then Giap stood and fought for him till he died at the age of 102 leaving two kids.
Dedicated to the cause of independence and freedom of his people and nation uncle ho did not marry. He died at the age of 79 without seeing the nation freed and united. He died poor leaving a pair of sandals and a pistol. 
People of Vietnam are happy to have a father figure who loved them.  So they call him "Uncle Ho". This coming Sept. 2 they celebrate the 70 years of independence so streets, government buildings and stores were adorned with banners bearing the number 70.
Tuesday evening the last night of our stay in Saigon Abe took us to one of the best restaurants in town located at a highrise building. There I could see saigon becoming a boom town like Kangnam of Seoul.
(After occupying the land first in the north and then south they tried the communist idiology but quickly learned that it is a prescription for emptiness, so they quickly trashed it out and went for western thoughts like "the poor can become rich the rich richer". )
Books to read: 
# The sorrow of war by frank palmos
# Ho chi minh thought on the military, ministry of national defence
# People's war people'army by vo nguen giap
# vietnam war by stanley karnow
# Ho Chi Minh' biography by Chu Duc Tinh Phd
♡ Quotable quotes:
(In an interview conducted by Stanly Karnow in 1946, Ho Chi Minh was asked:
"How long would you have gone on fighting against The United States?" 
HO said, "Another 20 years, maybe a hundred years, as long as it took to win, regardless of cost.")
Uncle Ho Inspecting People's Army

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SUN rises on Vietnam

Unlike other Asian nations like Japan or Korea, Vietnam today has far more kids/young gens than oldies.
In Saigon highrise buildings are going up like crazy. Streets are filled with young people going somewhere.
Jesse Young teaches English to college students. He looked younger than I last saw him a few years ago. At a dinner fellowship Jessee met Abe and struck friendship with him.
Vitnamese people have a keen sense of art. In one of the places we visited they presented the Korean folk song
 "Arirang".
Abe Lee has 2 sons (Josiah and Jacob) and 1 daughter (Samantha). His wife is expecting another son (Joshua) soon.
Yesterday he took us to an authentic Vietnamese restaurant. There we ate like kings and queens. Thank you Abe
View from Abe Lee's Riverside Apt.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Lips of Children and Sucklings


King David says "From the lips of children and sucklings you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger." Psalm 8:2

When Jesus came about a thousand years later he quoted David to his opponents saying, "Have you never heard, "From the lips of children you have ordained praise?" Matthew 21:16 This way Jesus silenced those who attempted to smother the sound of children shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David". 

Centuries ahead David saw the Savior coming to Jerusalem. By quoting David on his coming, Jesus reminded people of him coming as the Savior (or Messiah in Hebrew). 

What is interesting here is that it was from the "lips" of the children (as well as) "sucklings" (or infants) that God ordained praise. What is so special about the "Lips of the Sucklings"? The answer is obvious: although no one teaches infants (in total trust) know how to feed from mother's breast. They have innate knowledge to use lips and suckle and thereby secure nutrition for life. 

We do not know exactly who taught the children to shout at the moment of Jesus' (triumphal) entry to Jerusalem. Perhaps no one taught them to do so. People were wondering about who Jesus is so in bewilderment they turned to each other asking, "Who  is this?" But somehow kids figured it out and shouted, "Hosanna in the highest; Hosanna to the Son of David (the Savior King)".  

This episode reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said: "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -  his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen - being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20 It appears that the kids who shouted at the time of Jesus' entry "understood" Jesus' divine nature, so they said, "Hosanna in the highest!" 

Jesus used what came from the mouth of the infants as a stronghold to defend himself (and his ID as the Savior). 

It is interesting to note that despite his great intelligence and great knowledge of the Scriptures a man named Rambam died (in the year of 1204 AD) without knowing Jesus the Savior. Based on Psalm 8, Rambam formulated a set of guidelines leading to the loftiest accomplishments to which man can aspire -- the love and fear of God. (P. 121, Tehillim, published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd.) He is known as a great scholar, a physician, a Talmudist, the author of Mishneh Torah, a code of Jewish Religious Law. Yet, he died still waiting for the Savior. 

Why is it that a group of people such as infants and sucklings of Jesus' day believe in Jesus, the Savior, whereas people of great intelligence like Rambam finish their lives unbelieving? 

I think the Apostle Paul already answered the question in 1 Co 1:27-30, that is, God's choice: God chose the foolish and weak things to shame the wise and the strong, the  lowly, the despised, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are. 

Why did God choose that way? Answer: that no one can boast before him (Jesus Christ). 1Co 1:31; Eph 2:9 

Why no boasting? Solomon answered the question: Pride goes before destruction. Pro 16:18 In the first place, it was due to pride that Adam and Eve fell. But a child, an infant, a baby suckling from the mother's breast is not proud, just as David said, "My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty... I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me." Psalm 131:1.2

Louisa M. R. Stead formulated the words/lyric of the hymn song, "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus" saying, "Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease, just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace."