The Father’s heart

Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. ….And he said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.  (from Luke 15:25-31, NKJV)

Friday, 6 June 2013

The kingdom of God looks like a family.  It doesn’t look like a religious group. The highlight of Jesus’ teaching on Kingdom of God is the well-known story called “the prodigal son”. When I read the story again, I was shocked to notice how the story actually ended. It ends with the father’s pleading to the older son, “Please come and join the family party, because your lost brother came back home safely…” To my surprise, this was the conclusion of Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of God. The older brother was upset because the younger brother was welcomed and treated so well after having wasted up the family inheritance.  He felt it was unfair or unjust.  But the father’s heart was to take the cost and pay the debt and welcome his young son as a family member.  No matter whether you feel good or bad about it,  Jesus says it is about the heart of our Father God and about his family.

The reason why you and I are saved by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is because God wanted to pay off our debts and to welcome us as members of His Family.  In that family gathering , we are overwhelmed by the heart of our Father God.  I pray that this Father heart may be poured out into our hearts. I pray that those who look like the older brothers may embrace those who look like the younger brother within Family of God.

Sadly, the older son, who represents the devout and faithful religious people  of Jesus’ time and even today do not get the Father’s heart and therefore do not want to have anything to do with the family event.  Now I understand why the Old Testament finishes with a profound prophetic statement. It goes like this in Malachi 4:5-6:  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

When I think about the things that are happening around us in the churches or all kinds of families today, the main thing I can think of is divisions and hurts caused by the divisions. Therefore, I have been wondering how Jesus’ earnest prayer for oneness of all believers could be answered in these last days.

God will do this destiny of oneness by pouring out the His Father’s heart into the hearts of all believers. The fathers who have acted like elder brothers will turn their hearts to the children in the community of faith.  Many children will also understand the Father heart  and reconcile themselves to the fathers.  The kingdom of God will look like the Family of God welcoming all His children by all family members. Let this destiny of God’s family drive our prayers!

 

Oneness in God

Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him (Genesis 45:14,15 NLT)

Jesus prayed earnestly to the Father God that all believer may be one:  “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21)  The expression “in us” grabbed my attention during last week, while I was in Bourke.

I had been worshipping God with some hundred people from various cultural and denominational backgrounds throughout last weekends.  They were believers from Rockhampton, Torres Strait Islands, Sydney, Canberra, Orange, Brewarrina, Central Coast, South Korea, and Bourke and perhaps from many more places. But, we were experiencing beautiful “oneness” in the Holy Spirit, as we worshipped God in the big tent.

During that time I had been reading my daily portion of the Bible from Genesis 45.  It was the story of Joseph, who was in the position of ruling prime minister of Egypt. It was a dramatic moment of  Joseph, revealing himself to his brothers.  The story was leading toward the “oneness” of all 12 brothers of Jacob through forgiveness and reconciliation.  It was a miracle story of 12 different brothers becoming one because of some reason. What was the cause that made these 12 children of Jacob one in unity and harmony?    Jacob had 12 children.  They were from 4 different women: from Leah, Leah’s maid servant Zilpah, Rachael and  Rachel’s maid servant Bilhah. I can imagine that they could have been all different from each other and must have had issues with one another. We know their one big problem written the Bible.  Joseph’s brothers hated him because of their father Jacob’s favoritism upon him.  Even they had sold Joseph to Egypt as a slave.  It seems humanly impossible  that these 12 brothers live in unity again.  However, we read the miracle story of them becoming one again in Genesis chapter 45.  Why and how? It was because of the old fragile father Jacob.  The father had been living with grief for the loss of Joseph.  He was now ready to die with sorrow, if anything bad might happen to Benjamin.  Joseph was missing his father.  All his brothers felt responsible for his father.  They had to become one because  Jacob, their father.

Jacob represents the Father God for all of us. and the Father is the reason why we need to become one in unity.  We believers are all different from all different backgrounds.  Many of us don’t have the same understandings and beliefs about the doctrines of the Bible.  We can tell many reasons that we can not become one.  But Jesus prayed that we all may be one “in them” overcoming all differences and issues.  I have learned that we can be one “in God” or in “the Holy Spirit” as we worship Jesus together.   Worship is the key for oneness because it means to love Jesus.  I continually pray for “oneness” of the Church.

Daesop    (19-April-2013)

 

Fear Not

Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (Genesis 39:20,21)

The reason why Joseph was put into the prison was because he feared the invisible God and not feared the pressure of the woman of power. It was because he chose not to sin against the invisible God.  Joseph had said to the seducing woman, the master’s wife, “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)  Joseph always lived with the favor of God and did not want to disappoint God, who had favored him all the time.  He was willing to pay the cost of responding to God’s favor by trusting in Him. The cost was to be falsely accused and put into the prison.  And yet the Bible says, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy…”

What a freedom and peace a man can enjoy, if he fears only God, not men.  No fear of making mistakes before men, no fear of  accusations and condemnation, no fear of imprisonment or even no fear of losing his own precious things in life!  My God whom I fear is a loving God.  He has given me the eternal life of His most precious son Jesus and has forgiven my sins.

I remember some 17 years, when I nearly finished my bachelor of theology in UTC, one of the Korean migrant churches had decided to invite me to become their second pastor. Those days I had an uncertain future because my student visa was nearly expired as I almost completed the course. So, their intention to invite me as their pastor was like a promise of giving me a certainty of the permanent visa for Australia. It was a big thing for my whole family.  However, during the process of invitation, I heard some rumors from the church people that their council was divided into two groups because of me.  Some false accusation about my belief and character had been put forward and it divided the church.  That moment, I knew that I had no need to defend myself to take the position in that particular Korean migrant church. I did not say any words to them and left the Korean community to come to the English speaking Australian community.  To the eyes of the Korean community, it was only a reckless foolish act of jumping into the dark future. As for me, it was the moment of jumping into the certainty of God’s favor.  The last 17 years of my life has proved that I was right. I believed in God, who would never disappoint a little man whose trust was in Him.  That’s the reason why I had no need of fearing the people’s decision and no need of defending myself before them.  It is much better to be falsely accused and put into the prison rather than disappoint God by giving up myself to the pressure of the people of power.  Today, I pray for those whose lives had been driven by fear of men, that fear of the Lord may set them free and give them peace of God.

Deasop

9-4-2013

 

Connecting many prayer rooms in Orange

Sometimes, I have nothing to do but just to see what God is doing and praise His name for His greatness and goodness. This was what has happened in Orange during last  few weeks since I came back from Korea.  Now we have four prayer rooms that are operating in partnership with Orange Prayer House and another one is under preparation: 1) The Old Prayer House at 68 Endsleigh Avenue is now called “J Prayer Room”, dedicated to pray for Jerusalem and Israel and North Korea.  2) The upstairs of Color City Church is called “Worship and Prayer Room” to be used for training and raising up worshippers and intercessors. 3) The Orange Baptist Church at Sale Street has transformed its back hall, near the car park behind the Fire Brigade into “i Prayer Room” This will be used for individuals to pray for their loved ones and the nations.  It has also prayer line for the people to get access to prayer support. For more detail, contact Ps Garry McMahon (pastor@orangebaptistchurch.org.au). 4) The Tent of David is a mobile prayer house, moving from town to town in the remote countries of Australia. 5) The Harvest Church at corner of Churchill St and Grenroi Av is turning their op shop into “H Prayer Room”.

Daesop (26-3-2013)