Yearly Archives: 2008

Cultivating Fallow Ground

I’d like to reflect a bit on Hosea 10:12:

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

This verse is full of action. We must sow, we must reap, break up and seek.

I’m pretty sure many of us have learned about farming from our days studying the Bible, and maybe from school for those who took .. um .. farming courses? D Either way, there is one thing I know: farming is hard, sweaty work. Continue reading

Relying on the Holy Spirit through Prayers

Jude 20 reads, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

During a recent youth service, we had a survey and found out that quite a number of youths pray less than 5 minutes a day.

Although we may have the Holy Spirit, but a lot of times we still find ourselves struggling to overcome our lusts and desires.

Rom 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses by interceding for us in our prayer.

It is through prayers that we allow the Holy Spirit, our Counselor, to guide us and help us submit to God’s will.  What good is a counselor if we don’t spend time to seek for His advice?  It is just like having a car but you rather leave the car at home and walk to your destination.

The Holy Spirit can help us, only if we have the heart to spend more time in prayers.

Try to improve in your prayer times gradually and give the Holy Spirit a chance to help you.


Calluses on the string musician’s fingers diminish
when he devotes no time to his instrument.

Calluses on the writer’s hand fade away
when he ceases to put his thoughts on paper
and thinks, “I can just type this later.”

Calluses on the commuter’s feet wear away
when he stops walking
and relies on his vehicle.

Calluses on the Christian’s knees disappear
when he forgets to rely on prayer
and walks his own way.


The Purposes of Prayers

We can talk to God about anything through prayers.

Philippians 4:6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Depending on the contents, it could either be a prayer for ourselves or a prayer for others (intercessory). Continue reading

Thoughts on Sabbath and Fulfilling the Law

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus prefaces his elaboration on some of the commandments with “‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled'” (Mt 5:17-18).

Then He continues to expound how to fulfill the essence of specific commandments, including murder and adultery. The spirit of these commandments are well-explained to us–not only should we not murder or commit adultery, but we need to control our heart too. Hatred is the source of  murder, and lusting after women is the source of adultery.

What we see then is that when we fulfill the spirit of the law, we also wind up keeping the literal sense of the law too. They go hand-in-hand. This is part of what Jesus means when He says not one jot will pass away. For if we keep our hearts free of hatred, naturally the commandment of “Do not murder” will be kept. If we keep our eyes and hearts free of lust, naturally the commandment of “Do not commit adultery” will be kept. And again, I emphasize naturally. Keeping the spirit of God’s commandments therefore fulfills the entire commandment–both its spirit and letter. And we are duly reminded by Jesus’ sermon that we are required to keep both. For we are called to be perfect as God is perfect (Mt 5:48).

By experience, the converse is not true though. Keeping the letter of the law does not necessitate that we will keep the spirit of the law. For example, we may go to church on Sabbath (Saturday) and physically be present. But our hearts may not truly be there. The spirit of the law, as explained in Isa 58:13-14 reads,

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

All too often, I see the believer who excuses himself to take business calls during the Sabbath. All too often I see lagging believers who are at church, but don’t attend the services, lounging around in the eating area instead. I suppose the word of God is just not that much of a delight.

But according to the promises here in Isaiah, if we keep the spirit of that commandment, and delight in the Lord, God not only gives us literal physical and spiritual rest, but we will ride on the high hills of the earth; feed on the heritage of Jacob. These represent physical and spiritual blessings and abundance. This is our aim. It is only to our benefit when we fulfill God’s commandments.

Finally, we come to an apologetics note. Many Christians will discount the importance of when Sabbath is kept, saying we ought to keep “the spirit of the law.” They misuse this statement and explain “as long as you rest one day of the week–any day–you are keeping the spirit of the law”–thereby justifying Sunday worship. As I made clear before, if we truly keep the spirit of the law, naturally the letter of the law will be included. In Exodus 20, it is very clear. God sanctified and set apart the seventh day of the week (Saturday) for our Sabbath. He tells us to remember it to keep it holy and do no work. And why? Because God set the example for us during the creation week. Fittingly, Jesus Christ Himself–the One who came to fulfill all of the law ignoring no iota–also kept the Sabbath on Saturday (cf. Lk 4:16).