Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Way To Be Saved (C.H. Spurgeon)

The Way To Be Saved
Charles Spurgeon

The way to be saved is to come to Christ. Christ is a person, a living person, full of power to save. He has not placed his salvation in sacraments, or books, or priests, but he has kept it in himself; and if you want to have it you must come to him. He is still the one source and fountain of eternal mercy. There is no getting it by going round about him, or only going near to him: you must come to him, actually to him, and there must be a personal contact established between the Lord Jesus and your spirit. Of course it cannot be a natural contact, for his body is in the heavens and we are here; but it must be a spiritual contact, by which your mind, heart, thought, shall come to Christ, and faith, like a hand, shall touch him spiritually, grasp him by believing upon him, and receive life and grace from his divine power.

Just as when the woman of old touched his garment’s hem, the virtue went out of him to her, and she was healed; so now, though he be yonder, faith’s long hand can touch his divine and human person, by confiding, trusting, and resting in him, and so virtue will flow from him into our soul, (body), and our mind shall be healed of whatsoever disease it hath.

Come as a person to the Person of Christ

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Man of Steel Movie-- a Reflection of What?

Superman Parallels Jesus in 11 Ways

I went to the theatres this week to watch the new Superman movie, and it was incredible for so many reasons. My eyes were glued to the screen but my mind was racing on overdrive. How the plotline, characters, and quotes paralleled with Christianity was simply too compelling to not believe that there was some kind of theological influence while the story was being composed. Superman truly represented and embodied Jesus: he was and is the heroic figure that the metanarratives of heaven and earth prophesied about and anticipated as their savior from all the forces of evil.
The resemblance was incredibly striking, whether you are a Christian or not. In this blog, I want to outline a number of parallels between Superman, the savior figure, and Jesus, the human savior.
Here are some main ones that came to mind:
1. Other-worldly conflict—the movie starts off with a conflict of power in Krypton, the heavenly realm. General Zod, wanting total power of the planet, gathers a number of natives from the planet to confront and overthrow the leaders of Krypton, mainly Jor-el, Superman’s Father. General Zod and his forces fail, however, and are damned to an eternity of punishment. For a time though, they roam about in the universe aiming to disrupt the plans of the Jor-el.
Similarly, the Bible describes a metanarrative of other-worldly conflict where Lucifer—who was the highest ranking angel in God’s kingdom—desires total power like God and leads a war upon God’s establishment. Lucifer takes a 1/3 of the angels from heaven with him in this endeavor, and while they ultimately fail and are damned for eternity, they nonetheless strive to thwart and disrupt the plans of God. (Heb 12:22; Rev 12:3-9).
2. The name of Superman, Kal-El, is actually a Hebrew word, transliterated as “Voice of God”. Similarly, Jesus is referred to as “the Word of God” (Jn. 1; Heb. 1; Col. 1).
In addition, Jor-el also has spiritual meaning because “El” in Hebrew means “God”—however, I’m not going to act like I know anymore Hebrew than “El”, so I don’t know what ‘Jor’ means. I have seen in some sources that it refers to Jehovah, but in others, it was something different.
3. Furthermore, in the back-story of the conflict in Krypton—before Superman comes on the scene—Jor-el encodes the codex, which contains all possibility of life in the heavenly realms, into the blood of Kal-el, Superman.
Similarly, Christianity holds the same notion for life and salvation—that it is only found in the blood of the Son of God. (Lev. 17:11; Rom. 3:23-25, 5:9; Jn. 6:53-56; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7, 2:13; Col. 1:20; Heb. 10:19; 11:28, 12:24, 13:20; 1 Jn. 1:7).
4. Jor-el sent Kal-el to Earth knowing that humanity would reject him, but he did it anyway because it was the only way. In the same way, God sent Jesus to save the world all the while knowing that the world would nevertheless reject him. (Mt. 41:22; Mk. 8:31; Lk. 17:25; Jn. 1:10-11; 15:18-19)
5. Clark Kent waited until the “appointed time” to save the world, at which point he was 33 years old. Similarly, Jesus began proclaiming his lordship and saviorship when he was 30, but actually made atoning salvation for the world when he was 33.  (Lk. 3:23)
6. Jor-el commissioned Kal-el to be the “bridge between two peoples”. In response, Kal-el agreed, stated “I will save them”, and then fell out of the space shuttle in the shape of a cross. Similarly, Jesus was commissioned by the Father to be the bridge between God and humanity—the mediator of heaven and earth—through the saving power of reconciliation by the cross. (Eph. 2:15-16; Rom. 5:11; 2 Co. 5:18-19)
7. Jor-el said that it was necessary for Kal-el to go to earth so that he could truly relate to humanity, knowing and experiencing their sufferings, as that would qualify him to be their adequate leader and savior. Similarly, Jesus was Son of Man and Son of God—both humanly and other-worldly—that he might be able to truly relate to us, knowing and experiencing our sufferings, so that he would be qualified as our perfect mediator, leader, and savior. (Heb. 2:9-14; 4:15-16)
8. When General Zod went to destroy Superman and Earth, he erected two giant, magnetic devices on opposite sides of the planet to pulsate a new atmospheric composition and level of gravity—fundamentally reversing the natural order of earth, and making it more like his own dark kingdom. In the same way, the curse of sin under Satan’s rule reverses the natural order of creation—making life morally corruptible and the cosmos inhospitably inhumane. (Gen. 1-3; Eph. 2; Mk. 2:15; Rev. 12:9)
9. The symbol on Superman’s chest “S” actually stands for ‘hope’ in his worldly context. Likewise, Jesus stands as the only hope for humanity, and the clearest picture of that hope is emblazoned on his stretched frame as he hung at the intersection of the cross, the final junction of justice and peace. (Eph. 2:13-16; Acts 4:12; Jn. 14:6; 1 Jn. 2:2)
10. At the end of the movie, an American general tells Superman that they cannot be sure they can trust him. Superman responds that he is one of them—born and raised alongside them—and that his rescuing of them proves he is for them. But ultimately, they must trust his authority over them is good by remembering his rescue of them was good.
In the same way, Jesus rules with all deserving authority, and we can trust that his authority over us is good because his rescue of us was good. Indeed, Jesus’ suffering for and rescuing of us proves He is for us—this enables us to humbly submit to his authority and know that it is good. (Col. 1:15-20, Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:28-36)
11. Louis Lane, the famous news reporter, has no connection to Mary Magdalene. I asked the director about this, you can trust me, ha. But if anything, Louis Lane resembles the church, the bride of Christ, who is collectively called to participate in his mission byspreading the news of the saving work of Christ to the world. Christians are news reporters—not saviors.
The list of these eleven parallels, of course, is not exhaustive in the least. The movie teems with probably hundreds of examples. In fact, I heard that a theologian wrote a 9-page review of the director’s script about the theological parallels evident in the screenplay. Pretty crazy.  
But most of all, I think it is important to note that certain types of stories resonate with all people for a reason—meaning, those feelings are not arbitrary, but hardwired in our DNA. The storyline of a universal problem and a universal conflict and a universal hero to conquer the evil and set things right can be observed in the most classic and popular works of all time—Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Narnia, etc to scratch the surface. And they are classics for a reason—they resonate with us in a particular way for somepeculiar reason—almost as if we sense deep down that there is a universal problem, universal conflict, and a universal longing for a universal savior.
Even seeing an underdog team pull out a win and triumph over the most incredible odds strikes an innate chord of joy somewhere deep in us—that’s what happens in the gospel, and I believe it was what we were designed for—to revel in the story of God’s victory for us, ransoming us from sin, Satan, and death. And every time we experience a story similar to the gospel here on earth, it gives us a sweet taste of that deeper, richer, and fuller story we were designed to know and are living in—one that surpasses the half-inch thickness of a screen, or the momentary ecstasy of a sports highlight.
Superman is a reflection of the gospel. Let his fictional story serve to tell a greater story—God’s.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stepping out of your Bell Jar

Please pray to your Heavenly Father if you feel so hopeless and helpless with your situations,
and do some blog-walking (in right blog-neighbours, of course).

You never know what you'll find. Like now.

Repost from

Be blessed :)


Stepping out of your Bell Jar

I used to be depressed. I was depressed for a long time.
In fact, when my Husband first met me, I told him, “If you want to know me, watch ‘The Hours’.” I identified with the female protagonists in the film- those who walked the day to day with a dreary heart.
I used to pen poems in my teens and when I studied abroad, a German friend told me that my poems reminded me of Sylvia Plath’s. I was a frog in a well then who didn’t read so much poetry as I did write them. I found Plath’s poems and realised how much we were pieces of each other.
Sylvia Plath famously described herself as being trapped under a Bell Jar that she could never escape from. I used to identify with that because of the oppression I felt inwardly and it affected how I also viewed my life outwardly. The crisis of self would become a crisis of circumstance because of self fulfilling prophecies. I was like Eeyore. I couldn’t believe good for myself.
I came out of depression when my Husband one day told me, “If you believe you have to be emotional and sad before you write something good, that’s terrible. Doesn’t it mean you’ll have to always be sad?” My husband is named Ian, a version of the name John, which means ‘grace’. In fact his Mandarin name means ‘grace shines forth’. Talk about amazing grace that found me. :)
I began to encounter Jesus again, together with my husband we began to see the gospel afresh. We prayed for our loved ones to also see this grace of Jesus- i was always a Christian but only understood grace in my mid twenties. Initially, we had loved ones telling us to not pray too daring a prayer, it has to be His will. Lol. Some of these loved ones are now mighty prayer warriors who pray daring prayers too. Thank you Jesus!
Well, back to the Bell Jar illustration. Tonight as we were talking, it hit me.
When a person is in a room with windows, when they look at the glass and focus on it, they see their reflection but the surroundings are blurred. You can try this also with a camera. It’s called focal point. When we choose to focus on our pain, our disappointments, we can’t see what lies ahead. The bible says that we are MORE than conquerors in Christ, but as long as we keep our eyes on our personal reflection in the glass, we remain blinkered to that victory.
But imagine if we take our eyes off ourselves and look through the window, we focus on the horizon. Suddenly we don’t see the boundaries that bind us in. We look beyond our limitations to see how unlimited He is. It’s like when you shift focus to a focal point beyond your reflection in the glass, you will no longer see yourself but you will see the vast unlimited possibilities beyond.
We limit ourselves when we focus on ourselves.
A famous experiment in the past saw people being placed in prisons with the cell doors unlocked. The participants could leave the prison anytime yet mired by disbelief, they didn’t even try to open the gates to step out.
That’s what our personal fears and limitations do to us- they prevent us from stepping out of our comfort zones. A comfort zone doesn’t always bring comfort. It is just a comfort zone because it is familiar. Sometimes being depressed becomes a habit of thought, the norm and so it becomes a comfort zone.
So how does one step out of that comfort zone?
First see how big He is, and how small your problem is.
My favourite exercise when I feel overwhelmed? I think about how vast the universe is, and then I picture the LORD who created it pinpointing on me and then my problem & suddenly my problem is microscopic, a nano issue to Him. I settle my eye gate.
Then I check my mouth gate. I praise and worship because when I praise Him, I am declaring my victory in spite of my situation. I watch what I say not to be legalistic, but to speak the good I want to see in my life. Planting my seed in His faithfulness. If I fail and speak out of line, i declare I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus unto victory. No guilt and condemnation weeds will prevent seeds of faith from taking root n sprouting.
Then I check my ear gate, faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of Christos. I aim to tune my ears to the good stuff, to His promises of good in my life. When I hear right, I let the right words in to shape my thoughts and emotions.
Then I remember that Jesus is the fragrance that brings the LORD joy for me. And I breathe that joy in and breathe out my anxieties. And I am strengthened.
Each step with my listening, my seeing, my talking, my breathing in takes me far beyond the invisible Bell Jar that tries to bind me to all the limitations that I imagined out because of my fears and anxieties.
The man by the pool of Bethesda was asked if he wanted to be healed because he had an excuse for living in the season of defeat and despair- it is called self pity. One of my pastors brought me to see something I hadn’t seen before. He was asked if he wants to be healed because it means stepping out one’s comfort zone. It means beginning to work again (not legalistic work but good honest work), it means taking steps you don’t even know you can take.
Today I am free of that Bell Jar because I changed my focal points, because I decided to take steps out of my comfort zone knowing that when i look down to check out the footprints that there is just one set because He is carrying me.
A dear friend made it simple for me one day. I was anxious about my eldest boy and she asked me, “Do you trust Jesus?” “Yes.” “Okay, so if you trust Jesus then don’t worry.” So I decided there and then to take on an Alfred W Newman slogan for my own, “What me worry?”
He is therefore I am. He is not confined by impossibilities or Bell Jars, neither am I. We must not just step physically out of Egypt, we also need to step out of mental and emotional Egypt. He who is made free is free indeed.
And thus, I stepped out of the Bell Jar.