Herod and John the Baptist…

Quiet Time – 13.10.2016 [Mark 6:14-29]

Hey homie just read Mark 6:14-29. It’s this super side story about King Herod, his wife and John the Baptist who ends up getting beheaded.


WHO IS JESUS?

“King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known.”

Jesus’ been doing heaps of stuff all over and the rumours are starting to spread and the hottest question of the day is WHO IS JESUS? Some were saying that it was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Some were saying that it’s Elijah. Others said a prophet, just like the prophets of old. It seems that everybody who has seen or heard about Jesus has formed their own opinion about who Jesus is but the truth is that:

NOBODY really knows who Jesus is!

I think this is pretty similar to nowadays. Most people have heard of Jesus and have some conception of who He is regardless of whether it’s actually true or not. I want to make sure I don’t get caught up in different arguments about what Christianity is or isn’t but instead want to help people focus on looking at the person and character of Jesus as shown in His Word. People will then be able to make their own decision about Who Jesus Is for themselves. Praying that the Spirit might work in many people as they see who Jesus says He is and that they might respond in repentance and faith in Him as their LORD.


PEOPLE ARE SINFUL AND MESSED UP

“For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to…”

This story is full of huge amounts of question marks and stuff that makes you sad :( Herod has taken his brother’s wife for himself which is already super messed up in itself. Essentially John the Baptist was telling Herod that it’s totally not okay to marry your brother’s wife and Herodias (Herod’s wife) totally gets offended. She then starts hating him and tries to kill him. It ends up with Herod throwing a birthday party and things start going pear shaped. Herodias’ daughter dances for Herod and he likes it so much that he offers her anything up to half his kingdom. Herodias tells her daughter to ask Herod for John the Baptist’s head.

Herodias uses her daughter to seduce and trick her own husband… It’s just messed up.

What a display of what our sinful nature looks like. Whats more on top of that is that the law that John said over Herod OFFENDED Herodias. John ended up being hated and killed by sinful people who were OFFENDED by what God’s LORDSHIP meant over their lives. They hated hearing the Law that John gave them so they killed him.

This reminds me a lot of Jesus. The King who was so good that people had to find any excuse to hate, mock and kill Him. The fact that there is a King who demands all of our lives offends people. Our sinful nature is selfish and refuses to back down to any King other than ourselves. As we preach the Gospel we need to remember the reality and truth of persecution.

Preaching the Gospel invites persecution and hate.

Let’s keep being bold knowing that as we preach the Gospel the Spirit works in people’s hearts convincing them that He is LORD over their lives.  Let’s keep being bold knowing that many might repent and turn to Jesus in faith.  Let’s keep being bold preaching the Gospel because if we don’t do it, who will?


“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

– 2 Timothy 3:12

A Letter to Christians with Eczema

Hey there this is a shout out and message for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with or who have wrestled with eczema.

I’ve been really blessed in the last 2 years as I’ve been on immunosuppressants which have helped ENORMOUSLY to maintain and control my eczema. However, I went to the hospital recently and they want to do a test on me which requires me to be off my medication for a few weeks. So in the last 2 weeks or so I’ve had heaps of people asking me why my face is so red, or why I look like I’m sunburnt or had too much to drink. (xD – also the picture below doesn’t really show it because I don’t know how to turn off beauty face LOL) All this reminded me of what it was like when I had eczema at my worst. The constant pain. The social fears. The insecurities. The insomnia. The dark spiral of depression.

Inevitably eczema affects every facet of our lives, of how we see life, other people, ourselves and even God. Can I just say that even though I don’t completely understand all of your circumstances, since all of us are different, I can empathise and sympathise with you homies. I feel your pain, frustration and sadness.

From the times where you shy from photos. When you choose to stay at home avoiding people. When you wear clothing to cover your scars and exposed skin. When your friends from church ask you why you missed service. The fear of having a shower. The sleepless nights. The constant visits and disappointments from the hospitals and dermatologists. The times where you notice people’s eyes wander as they talk to you. The times where you’re afraid to look at your bed and floor. The times where you’re crushingly depressed because you feel your body is trying to fight your happiness and satisfaction constantly. The feeling when you feel like you’re becoming a different person. The feeling of not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain and rawness of crying out to God and seemingly getting no response.

I feel you fam.

You’re not alone.

If this is how you feel can I encourage you with 3 things that you may already know but are so important to remember and hold onto.

1) Our God is the God of all comfort.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our God is not one of indifference, ignorance or sadism. Our God is one who cares for His people “who comforts us in ALL our troubles.” There is not a single trouble or affliction that God’s children cannot bring to Him. So if that is true, go to Him, cry out to Him, He hears and promises to comfort you.

“Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you.”

– 1 Peter 5:7

As you pray and cry out to God, listen to Him. Read His Living Word! You have in your bible the very Words of God that He uses to comfort His people! So read and seek comfort from the One who promises to give it. In fact here’s one of the great comforts that God tells us in His Word about what the New Creation will be like :

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.”

– Revelation 21:4

Every. Single. Tear.

The earlier verse from 2 Corinthians mentions that we are comforted by God “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.” This is the reason why I wrote this article. So that I, who has been comforted by God, can also comfort you with the Words of God which have comforted me.

2) Jesus is in control.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

– Psalm 139:13-16

God has made you exactly how He desired to make you. It’s not as if God said to me, “Oh… sorry Popo I didn’t mean to let you get eczema… I messed up…” Nothing could be further from the truth. God has lovingly, actively chosen to mold and shape you exactly as you are, including your eczema. The fact that we live in a sinful fallen and corrupted world means things like disease and illness happen but even in this context God chooses to use sin and disease for His purposes. He goes even as far as to say :

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

– Romans 8:28

God works through ALL things for the good of His people. There is not a SINGLE situation that God misses, forgets or overlooks. In everything, He works for the good of His people. Now at this point I have to talk about what the bible means when it uses the word “good.” Thankfully the next verse in Romans gives us the answer, that the “good” that mentioned in v28 is that His people will be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. God works through ALL things for the good of His people as He uses every single situation to make them more like Jesus. Take heart, your eczema falls in this category. Your eczema is not pointless or meaningless. God actively uses your eczema to make you more like Jesus.

3) Your identity is not found in how you look or how people see you.

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

– John 1:12

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”

– Romans 8:15-16

You are not defined by how you look. You are not defined by how people see you. You are not defined by how you see or feel about yourself. For those who trust and call Jesus LORD you have the great privilege of being God’s children. He does not see Popo the kid who has eczema. He sees me as one of His children. He loves His children so dearly that He Himself dwells within us! His Spirit dwells in us and conforms us to the likeness of Jesus.

Your identity is not found in how you look or how people see you but in how God sees you. You are His delight. You are His joy. You are His child.

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Popo | Not a red-faced kid with eczema but a beloved child of the living God.


Cry out to God for He is the God of all comfort.

Trust that Jesus is in control. He uses all things for your good, to make you more like Jesus.

Remember that your identity is not tied to how you look or how others see you. You are a beloved child of God.


I know I’ve talked about alot of different things and maybe you’ve heard it all before. That’s fine. I just want to let you guys know that you’re not alone. I feel you homies. God has not forgotten you and He loves you dearly as His child.

If you ever want someone to talk, pray or cry with shoot me a message and I’d be happy to.

 

Much love,

Your Brother in Christ who also struggles,
Popo

 

Everything Lifehouse Skit

Video

This song came up again on Lifehouse and I couldn’t help but remember this skit. The first time I watched it… I cried. Second time… I cried again. And again and again and again. When my life was hopeless with no future and no direction, lost in running after money, academics, friends, love, trying to replace things I had lost… family, security, identity, in everything. I kept running after them and they never satisfied me. They never fulfilled me. They always let me down and I always wanted more. Jesus rescued me from these things, He let me know my true purpose, and the realness of Him, of His love for me and of the relationship that He wanted with me that He was able to create because He had sent His perfect Son to take the punishment due for the sins that I had done. Jesus rescued me from the deepest and darkest hole of my life. Jesus satisfies me, gives me security in Him and my inheritance with Him, He told me who I am, a child of the almighty God, who is loved, cared for, pursued and and upheld by Him.

Rewatching it now does of course, bring me tears like always, and though my lacrimal glands overflow, my serotonin levels are so high, filled with joy and happiness that even now as a Christian I am upheld by Him. I am no angel. I am not perfect. I struggle with loving and caring for people I’m responsible for, friends, loved ones, family… I always run after worldly things, back to my old ways. But Jesus stands by me. He never leaves me. He never forsakes me. He loved me while I was His enemy. He loves me even when I betray Him and turn from Him. His love doesn’t change. No matter what I do, or how hard I run from Him, or how much I spit at Him. His love doesn’t change. That’s unconditional love. That’s grace.

Peace.

Much Love
Bboy 3:16 – Blank Canvas Crew
Jesus, Dance, No Turning Back

Charles Simeon – A Sinner Used by God

Just wanted to share a few quotes and encouragement from a sermon that John Piper gave on the life of Charles Simeon, definitely worth a listen :

“My dear brother, we must not mind a little suffering for Christ’s sake. When I am getting through a hedge, if my head and shoulders are safely through, I can bare the pricking of my legs. Let us rejoice in the remembrance that our Holy Head has surmounted all His suffering, and triumphed over death, let us follow Him patiently, we shall soon be partakes of His victory.”

Charles Simeon talking about the days when the pews were locked, and people were standing and there couldn’t be a big crowd because you can’t fit too many in the aisles and the edges :

“In this state of thing I saw no remedy but faith and patience. The passage of scripture which subdued and controlled my mind was this : The servant of the Lord must not strive. It was painful indeed to the church with the exception of the aisles, almost forsaken. But I thought that if only God would give a double blessing to the congregation that did attend, there would, on the whole, be as much good done as if the congregation were doubled and the blessing limited to only half the amount. This comforted me many many times, when without such a reflection I would have sunk under my burden.”

Love hearing about this dude. Great hearing about how Christ has used and taught our brothers in the faith in the past ages. A bit of insight into the life of Charles Simeon :http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/brothers-we-must-not-mind-a-little-suffering

“He grew downward in humiliation and grew upward in adoration of Christ.”

“He did not think it was helpful or inappropriate to get rid of feelings of vileness or unworthiness as soon as he could. For him adoration grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation. Adoration grew best, and tallest, and strongest in the freshly plowed soil.”

“I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me to utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost.”

“With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before man, but I at the same time I have labored incessantly to cultivate the greatest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God having forgiven me, was any reason why I should forgive myself. On the contrary I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more in proportion as I was assured of God being pacified towards me. Ezekiel 16:63. Therefore there are but two objects that I have ever desired for these 40 years to behold. One is my own vileness. The other is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And I have always thought that they should be viewed together, just as Aaron confessed all the sins of Israel while he put them on the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I think not only to be humbled AND thankful but to be humbled IN thankfulness.”

The scripture system : “Brokenness of heart is the key to the whole bible.”

“Repentance is in every view so desirable, so necessary, so suited to honor God. That I seek that above all. The tender heart, the broken contrite spirit are to me far above all the joys than I could ever hope for in this veil of tears. I long to be in my proper place, my hand upon my mouth and my mouth in the dust. I feel this is safe ground. Here I cannot err. I’m sure that whatever God may despise He will not despise a broken and contrite heart.”

Stay blessed brothers and sisters!

Much love

Bboy 3:16 – Blank Canvas Crew

Jesus, Dance, No Turning Back