Repent of Your Sins and Believe in the Gospel

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Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God’s Good News.“The time promised by God has come at last!” He announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:14-15)

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus is fully God. The Bible teaches that there is only one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity.

Jesus existed from the beginning. From the beginning, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him, nothing was made that has been made (John 1:1-3). For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8, 22:13).

Jesus is fully man but without sin. Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges by taking the form of a servant. He was born as a human being through the conception of a virgin by the Holy Spirit. When He was in the form of manHe was tempted in every way, just as we are — yet He did not sin. He was perfectly obedient to the Father and lived a holy life. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. He died and was buried but on the third day, He rose from the dead. The Lord Jesus Christ is victorious over sin and death!

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)

 

What is God’s Good News?

The Good News (Gospel) is the fulfillment of God’s promise long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures about His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

God is holy. Holy comes from a word which means “separate, apart, or cut off”. God is separate or cut off from everything that is sinful and evil. He does not take pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with Him (Psalm 5:4). He is without sin and cannot tolerate sin. God cannot have fellowship with anyone who does not have perfect righteousness.

Man is sinful. All of us have sinned. Whether minor or grave, in motive, thought, word or deed, all of us are guilty of committing sin. The Bible says: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12). All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. No amount of good living can merit favor from God because His standard is perfection, holiness — which is impossible for us to achieve. We all fall short of God’s standard of holiness. When we sinned against God we have become separated from God.

God is just. He punishes sin. The payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). This death refers to spiritual death which means eternal separation from God. Instead of having an eternal relationship of love with God, we would be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might. This is the truth about man’s condition. We have sinned; therefore, we rightfully deserve God’s eternal wrath.

God is love. But because of God’s great love for us, He made a way so we can be reconciled back to Him. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to seek and save the lost (sinners). He lived a holy life and sacrificed Himself as payment for our sins that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Those who believe in Jesus are not righteous in themselves, but God has put them in Christ. So when God looks at them, He sees Christ’s righteousness. Through God’s grace, we can be made holy and be reconciled back to God not because of ourselves but because of Jesus’ holiness.

Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:15)

회개하고 기쁜 소식을 믿으세요

Korean Gospel, 회개하고 기쁜 소식을 믿으세요, uncontainablemusings.com

요한이 잡힌 후 예수님은 갈릴리로 가셔서 하나님의 기쁜 소식을 전파하시며.
“드디어 때가 왔다! 하나님의 나라가 가까웠으니 회개하고 기쁜 소식을 믿어라!” 하고 말씀하셨다. (마가복음 1:14-15)

예수 그리스도는 누구입니까?

예수님은 온전한 하나님 이십니다. 성경은 아버지, 아들, 성령이라는 세 가지의 분명한 인격체로 영원히 존재하는 오직 한 분의 신이 있다고 가르치고 있습니다. 예수님은 하나님의 아들 이시며 삼위 일체의 두 번째 인격체 이십니다.

우주가 존재하기 전에 말씀 되시는 그리스도가 계셨다. 그분은 하나님과 함께 계셨으며 바로 그분이 하나님이셨다. 그리스도는 맨 처음부터 하나님과 함께 계셨고. 모든 것은 그분을 통해서 창조되었으며 그분 없이 만들어진 것은 아무것도 없다 (요한복음 1:1-3). 그분에 의해서 모든 것이 창조되었습니다. 하늘과 땅에 있는 것들과 보이는 것과 보이지 않는 것들과 천사들과 영적 존재들과 만물이 다 그분에 의해서 창조되었고 그분을 위해 창조되었습니다. 그리고 그분은 모든 것이 있기 전에 계시고 모든 것은 그분에 의해서 유지되고 있습니다. (골로새서 1:16-17). 주 하나님이 말씀하십니다. “나는 처음과 마지막이며 시작과 끝이다. 지금도 있고 전에도 있었고 앞으로 올 전능한 자이다.” (요한계시록 1:8, 22:13).

예수님은 온전한 사람이지만 죄가 없으신 분입니다. 그분은 원래 하나님의 모습을 지니고 계셨지만 하나님과 동등하게 되려고 생각하지 않으시고. 오히려 자기의 모든 특권을 버리시고 종의 모습으로 사람들과 같이 되어. 그는 성령에 의해 동정녀에게서 인간으로 태어났습니다. 그분은 모든 점에서 우리처럼 시험을 받으셨습니다. 그러나 죄는 없으셨습니다. 그는 하나님 아버지께 온전히 순종하는 거룩한 삶을 살았습니다. 그리스도 안에는 온갖 신적 성품이 육체적인 형태로 나타나 있습니다. 사람의 모양으로 나타나셨으며 자기를 낮추시고 십자가에 달려 죽기까지 순종하셨습니다. 그는 죽고 나서 묻혔지만, 사흘 만에 죽은 자 가운데서 다시 살아났습니다. 주 예수 그리스도는 죄와 죽음을 이기셨습니다!

그러므로 하나님은 그분을 최고로 높여 모든 이름 위에 뛰어난 이름을 주셔서. 하늘과 땅과 땅 아래 있는 자들이 모두 예수님의 이름에 무릎을 꿇게 하시고. 모든 사람이 예수 그리스도를 주님이라고 고백하여 하나님 아버지께 영광을 돌리게 하셨습니다. (빌립보서 2:6-11)

 

하나님의 좋은 소식은 무엇입니까?

이 기쁜 소식은 하나님께서 예언자들을 통해 성경에서 미리 약속하신. 그의 아들에 관한 것입니다 예수 그리스도. 그것은 처음에 유대인에게만 해당되었으나 이제는 이방인에게도 전파되어 모든 믿는 사람들을 구원하는 하나님의 능력이기 때문입니다.

하나님은 거룩하십니다. ‘거룩’이란 히브리어에서 온 단어로 “분리되다, 떨어져 있다”를 의미합니다. 하나님은 죄가 있고 악한 모든 것과 함께할 수 없어 늘 분리되어 있거나 끊어져 있습니다. 하나님은 악을 기뻐하는 신이 아니시므로 악한 자가 주와 함께할 수 없습니다. (시편 5:4). 하나님은 죄가 없으심으로 죄를 용인 하실 수 없습니다. 하나님은 완전한 의를 가지고 있지 않은 사람과 교제 할 수 없으십니다.

사람은 악합니다. 모든 사람이 죄를 지어 하나님의 영광스러운 표준에 미치지 못하였으나. 죄가 작거나 크거나, 또 어떤 동기나, 생각이나, 말이나 행동이든, 우리 모두는 죄를 짓는 것에서 자유로울 수 없습니다. 그것은 이렇게 기록된 성경 말씀과 같습니다. “의로운 사람은 없으니 하나도 없으며. 깨닫는 사람도 없고 하나님을 찾는 사람도 없다. 모두 진리에서 떠나 쓸모없게 되었고 선을 행하는 사람이 없으니 하나도 없다.” (로마서 3:10-12). 

우리는 다 죄로 더러워졌으며 우리의 의로운 행위는 때묻은 누더기와 같아서 우리가 다 잎사귀처럼 말라 죄악의 바람에 휩쓸려가고 있습니다. 우리는 단순히 선한 삶을 사는 것만으로 하나님으로부터 인정을 받을 수는 없습니다. 왜냐하면 하나님의 기준은 오직 완전함과 거룩함으로 우리가 우리의 힘으로는 성취 할 수 없는 것이기 때문입니다. 우리가 하나님께 죄를 지었을 때 우리는 하나님으로부터 분리되었습니다.

하나님은 공평하십니다. 그는 죄를 심판하십니다. 죄의 대가는 죽음입니다 (로마서 6:23). 이 죽음은 영원한 죽음을 의미합니다. 이것은 영원한 하나님과의 분리를 의미합니다. 하나님과의 영원한 사랑의 관계를 가지는 대신에, 우리는 영원한 형벌을 받고 주님 앞에서 쫓겨나 그의 능력 있는 영광을 보지 못할 것입니다. 이것은 인간의 상태에 관한 진리입니다. 우리는 죄를 지었습니다. 그러므로 우리는 하나님의 영원한 진노를 받아 마땅합니다.

하나님은 사랑이시다. 그러나 우리를 향한 하나님의 위대한 사랑 때문에 그분은 우리가 그분과 다시 화해 될 수 있는 길을 만드셨습니다. 그러나 우리가 아직 죄인이었을 때에 그리스도께서 우리를 위해 죽으심으로 하나님께서 우리에 대한 사랑을 나타내셨습니다 (로마서 5:8).

예수님이 말씀 하셨습니다: “나는 잃어버린 사람들을 찾아 구원하러 왔다.” 그는 거룩한 삶을 사셨고 우리의 죄값을 치르려고 자기를 희생하셨습니다. 하나님이 세상을 무척 사랑하셔서 하나밖에 없는 외아들마저 보내 주셨으니 누구든지 그를 믿기만 하면 멸망하지 않고 영원한 생명을 얻는다.

예수님을 믿는 사람들은 스스로 의롭지 않습니다. 그러나 하나님은 그들을 그리스도 예수 안에 두셨습니다. 그러므로 하나님이 그들을 보실 때 그리스도의 의를 보십니다. 하나님의 은혜로 말미암아 우리는 거룩하게 될 수 있으며, 우리 자신이 아닌 오직 예수님의 거룩함 때문에 하나님과의 거룩한 관계로 다시 돌아갈 수 있습니다.

예수님이 말씀 하셨습니다: “나는 길이요 진리요 생명이다. 나를 통하지 않고는 아무도 아버지께로 가지 못한다.” 다른 이에게서는 구원을 얻을 수 없습니다. 하늘 아래에 우리가 구원받을 수 있는 다른 이름이 인간에게 주어진 일이 없기 때문입니다.

그러므로 여러분은 회개하고 하나님께 돌아오십시오. 그러면 여러분의 죄가 씻음을 받고 주님 앞에서 새로워지는 때가 올 것입니다. 자기 죄를 숨기는 사람은 번영하지 못할 것이나 자기 죄를 고백하고 버리는 사람은 불쌍히 여김을 받을 것이다.  

드디어 때가 왔다! 하나님의 나라가 가까웠으니 회개하고 기쁜 소식을 믿어라!
(마가복음 1:15)

Click here for English Translation.

Magsisi Kayo at Sumampalataya sa Ebanghelyo

Marcos 1:15, Magsisi at manampalataya, repent and believe, uncontainablemusings.com

Nagpunta si Jesus sa Galilea at nangaral ng Magandang Balita mula sa Diyos.Sinabi niya, “Dumating na ang takdang panahon at malapit na ang paghahari ng Diyos. Kaya magsisi na kayo at sumampalataya sa Magandang Balitang ito!” (Marcos 1:14-15)

Sino si Jesus?

Si Jesus ay ganap na Diyos. Itinuturo ng Bibliya na mayroon lamang isang tunay na Diyos na walang hanggang umiiral bilang tatlong magkakaibang persona — ang Ama, Anak, at Banal na Espiritu. Si Jesus ang Anak ng Diyos.

Noong simula pa lamang ay naroon na si Jesus. Siya ay kasama ng Diyos, at si Jesus ay Diyos. Kasama na Niya ang Diyos noong simula pa. Nilikha ang lahat ng mga bagay sa pamamagitan Niya, at kung wala Siya, walang anumang nilikha. Ang lahat ng nilikha ay nagkaroon ng buhay sa pamamagitan Niya, at ang buhay na ito ay ilaw ng sangkatauhan (Juan 1:1-4). Sapagkat sa pamamagitan Niya ay nilikha ang lahat ng bagay na nasa langit at nasa lupa, ang mga bagay na nakikita at ang mga hindi nakikita, maging ang mga trono o mga pamamahala, o mga pamunuan o mga may kapangyarihan—lahat ng bagay ay nilikha sa pamamagitan Niya at para sa Kanya. Siya mismo ay una sa lahat, at ang lahat ng mga bagay ay nananatiling sama-sama sa pamamagitan Niya (Colosas 1:16-17). Siya ang Alpha at ang Omega, ang una at ang huli, ang simula at ang wakas. Siya ang kasalukuyan, nakaraan at Siyang darating, ang Makapangyarihan sa lahat (Pahayag 1:8, 22:13).

Si Jesus ay ganap na tao ngunit walang kasalanan. Kahit Siya’y nasa anyo o kalikasan ng Diyos, hindi Niya itinuring na isang bagay na dapat panghawakan ang pagiging kapantay ng Diyos. Sa halip ay itinuring Niyang walang halaga ang sarili, kinuha ang kalikasan ng alipin, at naging katulad ng mga tao. Nagkatawang tao Siya sa pamamagitan ng Banal na Espiritu at ipinanganak ng isang birhen. Tulad natin ay tinukso rin Siya sa lahat ng mga paraan, gayunma’y hindi Siya nagkasala. Lubos Siyang masunurin sa Ama at nabuhay na banal. Ito ay sapagkat nananahan sa Kaniyang katawan ang lahat ng kapuspusan ng kalikasan ng Diyos. Yamang Siya ay nasumpungan sa anyong tao, Siya ay nagpakumbaba at naging masunurin hanggang sa kamatayan, maging sa kamatayan sa krus. Siya’y namatay at inilibing ngunit sa ikatlong araw, Siya ay nabuhay mula sa kamatayan. Ang Panginoong Jesu-Cristo ay makapangyarihan at tagumpay laban sa kamandag ng kasalanan at kamatayan!

Kaya naman Siya’y lubusang itinaas ng Diyos, at ginawaran ng pangalang higit na mataas kaysa lahat ng pangalan; upang sa pangalan ni Jesus ang bawat tuhod ay lumuhod, ang mga nasa langit, nasa lupa, at nasa ilalim ng lupa, at ipahayag ng bawat bibig na si Jesu-Cristo ay Panginoon, sa ikaluluwalhati ng Diyos Ama. (Filipos 2:6-11)

Ano ang Mabuting Balita ng Diyos?

Ang Mabuting Balita o ang Ebanghelyo ay ipinangako ng Diyos noong una pa na isinasaad sa mga Banal na Kasulatan, sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga propeta. Tungkol ito sa Kanyang Anak na si Cristo Jesus na ating Panginoon. Ito ang kapangyarihan ng Diyos sa ikaliligtas ng bawat isang sumasampalataya.

Ang Diyos ay banal. Ang salitang banal mula sa wikang Hebreo ay nangangahulugang “hiwalay o bukod”. Ang Diyos ay hiwalay, bukod, o malayo mula sa lahat ng bagay na makasalanan at masama. Siya ay walang bahid ng kasalanan. Ang Diyos ay hindi nalulugod sa kasamaan; ang kasamaan ay hindi Niya kasamang naninirahan (Mga Awit 5:4). Hindi Siya maaaring magkaroon ng pakikisama sa sinuman na walang ganap na kabanalan.

Ang tao ay makasalanan. Lahat tayo ay nagkasala sa Panginoon. Mababaw o mabigat na kasalanan, sa isip, salita o gawa, lahat ng tao ay makasalanan at walang sinumang natatangi. Sinasabi ng Bibliya: Walang sinumang matuwid, wala kahit isa. Walang sinumang nakakaunawa, walang sinumang humahanap sa Diyos. Ang lahat ay lumihis ng daan, sama-sama silang naging walang pakinabang. Walang sinumang gumagawa ng mabuti, wala kahit isa (Roma 3:10-12). Sapagka’t tayong lahat ay naging parang marumi, at ang lahat ng ating katuwiran ay naging parang basahang marumi. Ang ating mabubuting gawa ay hindi nakaaabot sa kaluwalhatian ng Diyos dahil ang kanyang pamantayan ay wagas na kabanalang imposibleng makamit ng tao. Dahil sa ating kasalanan, tayo ay nahiwalay at nalayo sa Diyos.

Ang Diyos ay makatarungan. Ang kabayaran ng kasalanan ay kamatayan (Roma 6:23). Ang kamatayang ito ay tumutukoy sa espirituwal na kamatayan kung saan ang tao ay mahihiwalay sa Diyos magpakailanman. Sa halip na walang hanggang pag-ibig kasama ang Panginoon, daranasin ng tao ang kaparusahang walang hanggang kapahamakan. Ito ay ang pagkahiwalay mula sa harapan ng Panginoon at mula sa kaluwalhatian ng kaniyang kalakasan. Ito ang buong katotohanan tungkol sa kalagayan ng tao. Tayong lahat ay nagkasala; samakatuwid, makatarungan ang hatol ng Panginoon sa ating mga kasalanan.

Ang Diyos ay pag-ibig. Sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang dakilang pag-ibig sa atin, gumawa Siya ng paraan upang makapagkasundo tayo sa Kanya. Ipinakita ng Diyos ang kaniyang pag-ibig sa atin na nang tayo ay makasalanan pa, si Cristo ay namatay para sa atin (Roma 5:8).

Si Jesus na ang Anak ng Diyos ay pumarito upang hanapin at iligtas ang nawala o mga makasalanan. Siya ay namuhay ng banal at isinakripisyo ang Kanyang sarili bilang kabayaran para sa ating mga kasalanan. Ito ay sapagkat sa ganitong paraan inibig ng Diyos ang sanlibutan kaya ipinagkaloob niya ang kaniyang bugtong na Anak upang ang sinumang sumampalataya sa kaniya ay hindi mapahamak kundi magkaroon ng buhay na walang hanggan.

Yaong mga sumasampalataya kay Jesus ay walang sariling katuwiran at kabanalan, kundi ang katuwiran sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya kay Cristo, at ang katuwiran na mula sa Diyos ay sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya.

Sinabi ni Jesus: “Ako ang daan, ang katotohanan, at ang buhay. Walang sinumang makararating sa Ama maliban sa pamamagitan ko.” Walang kaligtasan sa kanino pa man, sapagkat walang ibang pangalan sa ilalim ng langit na ibinigay sa mga tao na ating ikaliligtas.

Kaya nga magsisi na kayo at magbalik-loob sa Diyos upang mapatawad ang inyong mga kasalanan, nang sa gayon ay dumating ang mga panahon ng ginhawa mula sa Panginoon. Siyang nagtatakip ng kanyang mga pagsuway ay hindi sasagana, ngunit ang nagpapahayag at tumatalikod sa mga iyon ay magtatamo ng awa.

Naganap na ang panahon at malapit na ang kaharian ng Diyos:
kayo’y magsisi at manampalataya sa ebanghelyo. (Marcos 1:15)

Click here for English Translation.

Living in God’s Love

Christina Canapp

That’s me 2nd from the left, with the girls I was teaching in Sunday School right before I left for the Philippines.

Growing up in a Christian home, the daughter of a pastor and saved at a young age; my spiritual development and my childhood development were combined. I was surrounded with stories and lessons about Jesus and God.

Chick tracts, Romans 3, uncontainable musingsAt around the age of 6, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I liked to read the Chick Tracts because they were comics. However, my older sister informed me that they weren’t for fun; I was supposed to get saved! She then showed me using the tract how I was a sinner that deserved hell, but Christ paid the penalty of my sin.

God is holy. The idea behind the concept of holiness is “separation.” God is separate from everything that is sinful and evil. He is without sin and cannot tolerate sin.

When man sinned, we became separated from God. There is no one righteous, not even one. Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. God’s standard is holiness, perfection. And the penalty for our sin is death. This death is not just physical death but also eternal death which means eternal punishment deserving for our sins.

But because of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. God requires holiness. Jesus lived that holy life for us and sacrificed Himself as payment for our sins so that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What must we do then to be saved? Jesus said to repent of our sins and turn to God. Believe in the finished work of Christ and surrender our life to Him. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Only by the grace of God through saving faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Chick tracts, repent and turn to God, uncontainable musings

As I grew older and could understand more of life, my understanding and walk with the Lord also grew and deepened. I was surrounded by good mentors that poured Scriptural truth in my life. In my teen years, God was consistently working in my life to draw me closer to Him.  I increasingly differed from my friends in their standards and their lifestyle choices. When my best friend fell pregnant at the age of 16, it was the final split. I no longer tried to hang on to friends that consistently pulled me towards the worlds’ way of thinking. I would choose to follow the Lord even if it meant I didn’t have a best friend. Being an introvert, I placed a high value on having one close friend to connect with, but God knew that and has since provided people in my life who have stood by me through the hardest times of my life.

In high school, I was pursuing studies to be a veterinary. However, God called me to be a missionary (not yet specifically to the Philippines) and I initially said no. I wanted to be a vet and not leave home. However, God used the song “Shout to the Lord” to remind me that the mountains bow and the seas roar at the sound of His name and who was I to say no to my Lord? From there I was committed and went to Bible School. Throughout the 4 years, the Lord led me step by step to eventually join the Philippine Field. There were plenty of challenges, fears, excitement (raising support, going into the “unknown”, etc.) but God was faithful every step of the way to comfort and guide me.

God’s gracious love to me is what I live for. I am completely undeserving of His grace but He has poured it out in my life. So I serve Him in any way He shows me. This has led to me serving in the Philippines since 2006 as a missionary in a variety of roles.

God is faithfully working on me and is using circumstances and His Word to mold me to be more like Him. I know that whatever happens in my life is for my good, even if it is not pleasant all the time because God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
(Psalm 90:14)

Christina Canapp, uncontainablemusings.com

Hi! I’m Christina Canapp, a believer in Jesus Christ saved by grace. I grew up in a Christian home in the States, moved to the Philippines in 2006 as a missionary with New Tribes Mission (now New Tribes Church Planters of the Philippines) and have served in a variety of roles. I ‘m blessed to be where I am.

No Turning Back

Philippians 3:13-14, Uncontainable Musings, Mt.Pulag,

Unconventional Calling

In January 2019, I reconnected with my Christian community. I was excited to share with my friends everything God told me. But the moment I met with someone, the Lord warned me to prepare my heart for the unexpected. I thought being away for a year and a month was a very long time but maybe it isn’t because a lot hasn’t changed. I found myself back to the same situation as I was in 2017.

“Why aren’t you working?”

“You can apply here or there.”

“Until when do you plan to be unemployed?”

“So how do you provide for your needs?”

“Even Paul was a tentmaker.”

“Single women shouldn’t leave their job.”

“How about your responsibility to provide for yourself?”

“Why are you depending on your family?”

“You’re burdening your family.”

When the apostles left their profession, they had Jesus in the flesh with them. Most Christians who left their profession to follow God’s call for their lives are in exchange employed either in a church or a Christian organization. Missionaries raise support from a church or a missions organization, while others are employed to support themselves, just like the Apostle Paul who was a tent maker (where the Christian term “tentmaking/tentmaker” came from). Wives who left their careers to be the primary caregiver of their children have their husband to provide for them, but they also get their share of disapproval from the world.

None of these is the case with me. I’m a single woman who quit her job to bear witness for Christ through writing. I’m not employed in any institution or organization. I don’t have a business and I don’t intend to venture on one. I no longer have any form of income that would sustain me. I’m not paid to write and I don’t intend to monetize this blog nor receive any form of donation from anyone. In a literal sense, I work alone and I work for free. I know; I live a pathetic life. 😁

Some may reason we can evangelize in the workplace so why choose “unemployment”? Or I can continue working and write in my spare time. My motive is right but the means is foolish. This is the root of their disapproval: Who do I expect to provide for myself if I quit my job? Do I intend on burdening my family for the rest of my life? God’s calling for my life is unconventional. Others may call it impractical or even irresponsible which should clearly show it’s contrary to God’s will. These are reasonable arguments nonetheless focuses only on man’s strengths and limitations, not on God’s power. And responding “the Lord provides” would be taken either as blind faith or presuming on God despite all the evidence from God’s Word.

Though their words won’t change my mind, they still affect me. It pains to hear these words not from the world, not even from my own family who has always been supportive of us, but from close friends who profess the same faith. And the most painful is the thought that I’m burdening my family. It isn’t easy for me to obey the Lord in “renouncing” my family to completely follow His call and their words just rubbed salt into the wound.

But I know God won’t lead me to do something only to leave me to my own devices. And indeed He is faithful! It amazes me how He has been blessing me and my family more than before. This is His way of showing me how He generously provides, and how He keeps His promise that He is indeed taking care of my family and I needn’t worry about them. These are constant truths but my perspective was clouded when I was still helping them.

Another unexpected event which made me doubt about a specific task and almost caused a delay in the schedule of the initial post was I never thought that, within my close friends who are leaders in the ministry, no one is ready to share their testimony. I had to persistently ask the most accommodating just to produce the first story. One of the goals of this blog is to encourage believers to boldly share their life story for God’s glory. I was so certain they’d catch the vision. I even imagined they’d also be excited to take part in it because I thought this opportunity is something Christians would take advantage of. It’s not that they’re unwilling. Most are of course willing but don’t have time. They did say they were busy with work, and maybe with ministry and other things too, so maybe a month isn’t enough to write a testimony. I should’ve also considered that they may find it more difficult to write than to speak especially using a foreign language.

These are some experiences that opened my eyes to the realities within a Christian community. I ran back to God crying, “Lord, do you really want me to do it this way? Please talk to me, Lord! Speak to me again. Tell me again. I know that if this is Your will, You can affirm me again. Just speak to me again. I want to hear Your voice.”

(I would like to point out two things. First, this story is known only within my circle of friends in the church, which means this is unknown to the congregation and how my friends responded doesn’t represent our local church as a whole. Second, my purpose is not to malign my Christian friends but to testify about God’s unconventional calling for me and His work in my life which inevitably includes the context of this story, to share the realities I have experienced and learned a lot from, and to serve as part of a lengthier and more incredible story I will be sharing soon. In God’s sovereignty, He allowed these things to happen for His purposes. This would also enable us to understand that everyone is imperfect even Christians; only God is perfect and all of us need Him.)

 

Outrageous Commitment

The Lord spoke to me through the sermon of Pastor Ta Tumu from Mosaic Church, Lloydminster. The passage is about the calling of Elisha recorded in 1 Kings 19:19-21.

19 So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”

Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”

21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team.  

Elijah was a prophet of God. During those times, God speaks through prophets. They are spokesmen for God; they speak in God’s name and by His authority.

While Elisha was a farmer as he is described plowing a field.

As Elisha was busy plowing the field and was driving the 12th pair of oxen, Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. The cloak is a symbol of Elijah’s calling upon his life and on his ministry as a prophet. Throwing the cloak across Elisha’s shoulder is like saying: “Elisha, God has a job for you, so leave everything you’re doing.” It meant he would be Elijah’s successor.

Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”

Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”

Elijah didn’t stop Elisha from going back home. He gave Elisha space to make the commitment himself without pressure, without manipulation. He has to decide. 

In the previous post “Counting the Cost of Discipleship”, we studied Luke 9:57-62. There was a would-be disciple who wanted to follow Jesus but asked to go back first and say goodbye to his family to which Jesus replied: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Jesus’ reply reflects the man’s divided heart for God. 

While in this passage we see Elijah allowing Elisha to say goodbye to his family first. So how do we reconcile these two passages? Does it mean Elisha also has a divided heart? Or does it mean Jesus pressured the would-be disciple by replying that way?

First, we need to remember that Jesus is God. He knows the hearts of men and He knew the heart of that would-be disciple, that he has a divided heart. Jesus wanted him to understand the cost of being His disciple: giving a wholehearted commitment. He wanted the carefully thought out, understood commitment of a lifetime. So it was still the man’s decision whether he would follow Jesus on His terms. Through God’s grace, the decision is still ours to make.

It was also Elisha’s decision to make. But Elijah reminded him to think about what he has done to him. So Elisha did go back but what he did afterward reflects his outrageous commitment to God’s calling for his life.

So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

Elisha owned 12 pairs of oxen which shows he probably was a wealthy person. And wealthy people often got a lot of options and possibilities. But now he’s about to leave all of those and attach himself to a prophet and face a life of opposition, danger, and sacrifice. He chose to leave all of the options back.

A plow is a symbol of identity for a farmer. For somebody who works the field, that was his life. Take away his plow; he’s a nobody. That’s how important the plow is for a farmer. But Elisha used the wood from his plow to build a fire to roast his oxen, which were also part of his life as a farmer.

What he did was a defining part of who he is. If there is evidence or a sign of his commitment to follow God’s call for his life, it’s him burning everything that he looks to for his identity, for his security, for his comfort, and for his provision. It’s all included in that plow. Burning that plow is an extraordinary commitment that says: “I am going to do what You (God) say I’m going to do.”

Elijah placed his cloak over Elisha which meant God has called him into ministry. And Elisha is basically saying: “I’m ready for it! I don’t care how hard it gets, how high the cost, I’m not turning back. I cannot go back to my old life. I’ve burned the plow. That way of life is cut off from me. There is no retreat.”

 

No Turning Back 

Pastor Ta’s sermon through the example of Elisha’s outrageous commitment to the Lord fueled me at the time when I was beginning to doubt and was getting discouraged. I’m grateful for the examples of these faithful and committed men of God.

And most of all the example set by Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed Himself on the cross as payment for our sins, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I shouldn’t allow other people’s response to affect my obedience because it is I whom God commissioned to do this specific task; therefore, I’m the one accountable for it.

“Yes, Lord, I don’t care how hard it gets, how high the cost, how painful the journey; I will follow You completely! I will ‘burn’ everything that I look to for my identity, security, comfort, and provision. I don’t want anything or anyone that would hinder me from doing what You want me to do. And You alone can move me to do this.”

The doors in the workplace are still wide open for me. Opportunities are still there. I can go back whenever I choose to. The experiences and skills I acquired are still a part of me. But I decided to leave all my options behind and chose to live a “pathetic life” for Jesus Christ my Lord. Why? Because Jesus said so, I will. My decision is final. There’s no turning back. I no longer see myself going back. God told me before: “The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” He already gave me freedom; there’s no point of going back. Regardless of challenges or difficulties, oppositions and discouragements, I cannot see myself doing any other work but this.

Since the time the Lord called me to Himself, I knew I’d be leaving the corporate industry soon. I had been asking the Lord what He wants me to do for the rest of my life but He was silent. So I stayed where I was. I enjoyed my work and my time with friends at the workplace. But at one point, I saw an opportunity and risked changing careers in an effort to find out where God wants me to be.

This is the answer! This is the work God wants me to do for the rest of my life: testifying for Jesus to the whole world until my last breath. And blogging is just the beginning. A preparation for bigger tasks ahead. That’s why it’s imperative I leave everything behind so I can focus on this training.

My eyes are fixed on God’s great promises ahead of me, why should I look back on mundane things behind me? Greater things are yet to come! Indeed, greater things are yet to come. And I wouldn’t let anything or anyone hinder me from seeing and experiencing the full realization of that vision.

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. Not even looking back.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

 

I Have Decided | Live | Elevation Worship

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me, I still will follow
Though none go with me, I still will follow
Though none go with me, I still will follow
No turning back, no turning back

Everything all I am
And all I have to bring
I will give to you my everything

I will follow, my heart surrendered
My Jesus I am yours
I will follow, my life in your hands
My Jesus I am yours

“Will You Leave Everything Behind for Me?”

Cost of Discipleship, Anawangin beach, sunset, boat, uncontainablemusings.com, uncontainablemusings, unconventional calling, leaving everything behind

“Will you really leave everything behind for Me?”

I was excited to begin God’s task for me. I woke up early and thought of my schedule for the day as I prepared my breakfast. I had organized the previous night things I needed to research, study and plan.

But the Lord was not yet done speaking. He brought to my mind people in our local church who left their profession to serve in full-time ministry. Then there were the apostles who also left their profession to follow Jesus and became fishers of men.

As I pondered on their example, Jesus lovingly asked, “Will you really leave everything behind for Me?”

For the past years, He has been preparing me to leave one possession at a time. And now only one thing is left.

I went back to my room and read the calling of the first disciples.

 

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

In John 1:35-51, we see the early encounters of Jesus with a few of the apostles. While the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are similar. This was when Jesus called them to full-time ministry. I focused my study on Luke because of his detailed account.

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.

The Lake of Gennesaret is also known as the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). It’s a large, freshwater lake about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, and about 690 ft. below sea level, making it the lowest body of freshwater on earth. It was home to a thriving fishing industry. Many events in Jesus’ earthly life and ministry took place in the region of Galilee and areas surrounding the Sea of Galilee.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Luke 4, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, cast out evil spirits and healed many including Simon’s mother-in-law. And all the people were amazed by His authority and power.

So it wasn’t the first time the people heard Him preach about the Kingdom of God. And it wasn’t the first time for the apostles either. Jesus’ early encounters with Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael was recorded in John 1:35-51. Then we see in Luke 4:38-39, Jesus went to the home of Simon (who is also Peter) where he healed Simon’s mother-in-law who was suffering from a high fever. They called Jesus as Teacher and were still getting to know more about Him.

Jesus saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. To keep the people from crowding him, He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. He did the same in Matthew 13:2Mark 3:94:1.

Much of their fishing was done at night (John 21:3). Then at daytime, they would work on their equipment, mend and wash their nets to prepare them following night. So this event happened in the morning after a night of fishing.

When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

These experienced fishermen worked hard all night but didn’t catch any fish. Now they were calling it a day and were washing their nets. Then Jesus, a carpenter who may not have any experience in fishing, tells Simon, an experienced fisherman, to set out to fish. To which Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything…” If they caught nothing the previous night, which was the best time to fish, then chances of catching anything during the day would even be smaller. There’s no point fishing in the daytime. And there’s no point fishing around that area because they already did everything they could all night and caught nothing. They knew their job, they had been doing it all their life. This didn’t make sense to Simon.

Nevertheless, he continued: “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Though it didn’t make sense, Simon obeyed because Jesus said so. He had heard news about Jesus, had encountered Him prior to this, had heard Him preach, had seen His miracle done in his own home, and from Teacher he now calls Him Master. He was seeing and knowing more and more who Jesus is.

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

How small were their boats that they couldn’t hold a large number of fish and they began to sink? And how small and delicate were their fishing nets that they began to break with that large catch?

We have to remember that fishing was their trade. In Mark 1:20, Zebedee, the father of James and John, had hired men which indicates that his fishing business was a prosperous one. This also means the size of the boat could hold Zebedee, James, John, their hired men, their fishing equipment plus the fish they’d catch which would be placed in the boat. We can also read throughout the Gospels that there were times Jesus and His 12 apostles were in a boat. That’s at least 13 people plus maybe some crew that runs the boat. So we can conclude that their boats were fairly large.

We also need to consider that fishermen in that area knew what the normal catch would be, what a good catch or even a great catch would be. And they had designed usually capable nets and boats that would be able to handle the amount of catch they’d get in the Sea of Galilee.

And when they had done what Jesus told them to do, an incredible result happened: they enclosed an enormous quantity of fish that the nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help, then they filled both boats so full that they began to sink. The catch was so massive that it literally went beyond anything they had ever anticipated because their nets couldn’t contain it and their boats couldn’t hold it.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

They were all astonished. This was beyond anything they had ever experienced. There was no other explanation except that it was an expression of divine power.

Notice Peter’s response. First, he fell at Jesus’ knees and called Him Lord. He knew now that Jesus is God. Second, understanding that truth led him to recognize his sinfulness. When we see God for who He is (holy) we see ourselves for who we are (sinful).

Why did Peter say: “Go away from me, Lord?” Jesus’ reply to him: “Don’t be afraid” shows Peter was terrified. He knew he was a sinful man standing before a Holy God. He was afraid for his life. It was the terror of being in the presence of holy God and being on the brink of divine judgment.

God is holy. Holy means separation from everything that is sinful. God is without sin and is separate from sin. When man sinned against God we became separated from God. We know that all of us have sinned. Whether minor or grave sin, the point is we have sinned. The Bible says: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10-12)

The wages (fitting compensation) of sin is death. This death refers to spiritual death which means when we die we would be forever separated from God and forever experience His judgment against our sins. What would become of us then? We either be forever separated from God or someone holy sacrifice himself as payment for our sins instead.

And that’s exactly what God did because of His great love for us. He made a way. He whom we have offended made a way. God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a holy life and sacrificed Himself as payment for our sins that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Through God’s grace, we can be made holy and be reconciled back to God not because of ourselves but because of Jesus’ holiness. When we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus we can be saved. This is the Jesus that Simon Peter and the other apostles were talking to: Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. God Himself in human flesh calling them to follow Him.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

In the terror of this moment, Peter wants to send the Lord away, but the Lord wants to pull Peter closer. What from Peter’s viewpoint is so frightening that he wants to run is so encouraging to the Lord that He wants to embrace Peter. At the very point at which the sinner feels the most alienation is the point at which the Savior is seeking reconciliation. And here was Peter and his two buddies, James and John, wanting to run when Jesus wanted to embrace them, wanting alienation when Jesus sought reconciliation.  This is the glorious moment of their repentance. Jesus showed His divine mercy and love. –MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Characteristics of Jesus’ Divinity, Part 2”. Grace To You.

This also shows evangelism was the primary purpose for which Jesus called the apostles, and it remains the central mission for His people (Matthew 28:19-20Acts 1:8). Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to save us from our sins and reconcile us back to God. Those who have been reconciled to God through Christ have been given this task of reconciling people to Him. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

It should’ve been enough that He spoke and it was the voice of God. It should’ve been enough for them to know who Jesus is with His teachings and miraculous signs but He did more. After He finished His message, He wanted to demonstrate who He is. He wanted Simon Peter, James and John to come to the full understanding of who He is. Because it was time to bring Peter to full commitment. It was time to call them to full commitment.

Following Jesus means making Him our top priority, it means giving our full commitment and devotion, it means loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Following Jesus may require us to leave everything just like what He required the apostles to which they wholeheartedly and joyfully obeyed.

 

“Because You say so, I will.”

In the same way that Jesus’ instruction to Peter didn’t make sense, Jesus instruction to me also doesn’t make any sense: leave my job to pursue work without income for Jesus. So how on earth can I provide for myself? It’s ridiculous! Unreasonable. Yes, but only to shortsighted people like me.

And that’s the beauty of it! God’s power displayed in the seemingly absurd circumstance. Not blind faith but faith anchored on His promises and affirmations through the Bible. This clarity yet absurdity of God’s leading makes me more excited to witness what He is doing, to be in awe of His power and glory, to see more of His work, and to know Him more and more.

If you’ve read all the previous posts about this “Unconventional Calling”  series, you may have noticed that it only revolved around my work, family, and writing for God. For an absurd instruction such as this, I asked the Lord to affirm me many times so I can stand firm on His Word and not be swayed by worldly perspective, or be shaken by opposition, difficulty, discouragement or whatever circumstance I may find myself in. This 6-part story series is evidence of God’s faithfulness in answering that prayer. He gave me more than enough affirmations so I can be resolute and not be moved, so I can be fixed on His promises and continue on this path He prepared for me.

It should’ve been enough that Jesus spoke and clarified His leading to me. It should’ve been enough for Him to realign my priorities. It should’ve been enough that He taught me the cost of following Him and the things I needed to give up. These should’ve been enough for me to understand, respond in obedience and stand firm. But He did more. After He finished teaching, He wanted to demonstrate His intimate love for me.

The calling of the first disciples has become an intimate and special message of God for me. It was as if Jesus was telling me those same words He told the apostles:

  • “Will you really leave everything behind for Me?”
  • “It was time to bring (Olivia) to full commitment.”
  • “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

“Is this the calling?” I laughed asking both myself and the Lord. By calling I mean the call to ministry. I thought only pastors and missionaries are called to ministry or maybe also those working full-time in a local church. And I’m certain I’m not meant for any of those. So it never occurred to me that Jesus would call me this way.

I remember the first time I volunteered in a ministry, I only wanted to help in any way I can. Then a few years later, God placed in my heart to pray for this: to be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:21). I only want to be useful for the Lord. But I never thought He would commission me this way. Why would He call someone like me?

“Father, this mandate is for every believer. I shouldn’t even be reminded of it because it’s expected. But who am I that You would call me to Yourself, intimately speak to me, and personally commission me to proclaim the Gospel just like You did with the apostles? It’s not like a king would personally seek out a beggar to appoint him regarding a public edict. But You did. How intimate can You be? How unfathomable is Your love? Who am I, Lord, that You would call me into ministry this way? I don’t know what to say to You. I’m unworthy to serve You. I’m unworthy to have You. I’m unworthy to even stand before Your presence. But even in my unworthiness, who am I to resist Your call? What else can I say to You? Yes, Lord, I will do as You say; I will leave everything behind for You because, in reality, I don’t have anything or anyone but You.”

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:10-11)