24th September 2013

On my way to school this morning (late for workshop, which started even later after my arrival :/), I was reading the Matthew Henry Commentary on Romans 5:1-5 which was revealed to me on Biblegateway’s daily verse yesterday. It spoke to me last night, thus I dug deeper to understand.

It brought me greater revelation and understanding which I needed.

Matthew Henry's Commentary
Verses 1-5
The precious benefits and privileges which flow from justification are such as should quicken us all to give diligence to make it sure to ourselves that we are justified, and then to take the comfort it renders to us, and to do the duty it calls for from us. The fruits of this tree of life are exceedingly precious.
I. We have peace with GodRom. 5:1. It is sin that breeds the quarrel between us and God, creates not only a strangeness, but an enmity; the holy righteous God cannot in honour be at peace with a sinner while he continues under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. And such are the benignity and good-will of God to man that, immediately upon the removing of that obstacle, the peace is made. By faith we lay hold of God’s arm and of his strength, and so are at peace, Isa. 27:4, 5. There is more in this peace than barely a cessation of enmity, there is friendship and loving-kindness, for God is either the worst enemy or the best friend. Abraham, being justified by faith, was called the friend of God(Jas. 2:23), which was his honour, but not his peculiar honour: Christ has called his disciplesfriendsJohn 15:13-15. And surely a man needs no more to make him happy than to have God his friend! But this is through our Lord Jesus Christ—through him as the great peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man, that blessed Day’s-man that has laid his hand upon us both. Adam, in innocency, had peace with God immediately; there needed no such mediator. But to guilty sinful man it is a very dreadful thing to think of God out of Christ; for he is our peaceEph. 2:14; not only the maker, but the matter and maintainer, of our peace, Col. 1:20.
II. We have access by faith into this grace wherein we standRom. 5:2. This is a further privilege, not only peace, but grace, that is, this favour. Observe, 1. The saints’ happy state. It is a state of grace, God’s loving-kindness to us and our conformity to God; he that hath God’s love and God’s likeness is in a state of grace. Now into this grace we have access prosagogenan introduction, which implies that we were not born in this state; we are by nature children of wrath, and the carnal mind is enmity against God; but we are brought into it. We could not have got into it of ourselves, nor have conquered the difficulties in the way, but we have a manuduction, a leading by the hand,—are led into it as blind, or lame, or weak people are led,—are introduced as pardoned offenders,—are introduced by some favourite at court to kiss the king’s hand, as strangers, that are to have audience, are conducted. Prosagogen eschekamenWe have had access. He speaks of those that have been already brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace. Paul, in his conversion, had this access; then he was made nigh. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (Acts 9:27), and there were others that led him by the hand to Damascus (Rom. 5:8), but it was Christ that introduced and led him by the hand into this grace. By whom we have access by faith. By Christ as the author and principal agent, by faith as the means of this access. Not by Christ in consideration of any merit or desert of ours, but in consideration of our believing dependence upon him and resignation of ourselves to him. 2. Their happy standing in this state: wherein we stand. Not only wherein we are, but wherein we stand, a posture that denotes our discharge from guilt; we stand in the judgment (Ps. 1:5), not cast, as convicted criminals, but our dignity and honour secured, not thrown to the ground, as abjects. The phrase denotes also our progress; while we stand, we are going. We must not lie down, as if we had already attained, but stand as those that are pressing forward, stand as servants attending on Christ our master. The phrase denotes, further, our perseverance: we stand firmly and safely, upheld by the power of God; stand as soldiers stand, that keep their ground, not borne down by the power of the enemy. It denotes not only our admission to, but our confirmation in, the favour of God. It is not in the court of heaven as in earthly courts, where high places are slippery places: but we stand in a humble confidence of this very thing that he who has begun the good work will perform itPhil. 1:6.
III. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Besides the happiness in hand, there is a happiness in hope, the glory of God, the glory which God will put upon the saints in heaven, glory which will consist in the vision and fruition of God. 1. Those, and those only, that have access by faith into the grace of God now may hope for the glory of God hereafter. There is no good hope of glory but what is founded in grace; grace is glory begun, the earnest and assurance of glory. He will give grace and gloryPs. 84:11. 2. Those who hope for the glory of God hereafter have enough to rejoice in now. It is the duty of those that hope for heaven to rejoice in that hope.
IV. We glory in tribulations also; not only notwithstanding our tribulations (these do not hinder our rejoicing in hope of the glory of God), but even in our tribulations, as they are working for us the weight of glory, 2 Cor. 4:17. Observe, What a growing increasing happiness the happiness of the saints is: Not only so. One would think such peace, such grace, such glory, and such a joy in hope of it, were more than such poor undeserving creatures as we are could pretend to; and yet it is not only so: there are more instances of our happiness—we glory in tribulations also, especially tribulations for righteousness’ sake, which seemed the greatest objection against the saints’ happiness, whereas really their happiness did not only consist with, but take rise from, those tribulations. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to sufferActs 5:41. This being the hardest point, he sets himself to show the grounds and reasons of it. How come we to glory in tribulations? Why, because tribulations, by a chain of causes, greatly befriend hope, which he shows in the method of its influence. 1. Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. It proves, and by proving improves, patience, as parts and gifts increase by exercise. It is not the efficient cause, but yields the occasion, as steel is hardened by the fire. See how God brings meat out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong. That which worketh patience is matter of joy; for patience does us more good than tribulations can do us hurt. Tribulation in itself worketh impatience; but, as it is sanctified to the saints, it worketh patience. 2. Patience experienceRom. 5:4. It works an experience of God, and the songs he gives in the night; the patient sufferers have the greatest experience of the divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works an experience of ourselves. It is by tribulation that we make an experiment of our own sincerity, and therefore such tribulations are called trials. It works, dokimenan approbation, as he is approved that has passed the test. Thus Job’s tribulation wrought patience, and that patience produced an approbation, that still he holds fast his integrityJob 2:3. 3.Experience hope. He who, being thus tried, comes forth as gold, will thereby be encouraged to hope. This experiment, or approbation, is not so much the ground, as the evidence, of our hope, and a special friend to it. Experience of God is a prop to our hope; he that hath delivered doth and will. Experience of ourselves helps to evidence our sincerity. 4. This hope maketh not ashamed; that is, it is a hope that will not deceive us. Nothing confounds more than disappointment. Everlasting shame and confusion will be caused by the perishing of the expectation of the wicked, but the hope of the righteous shall be gladnessProv. 10:28. See Ps. 22:5;71:1. Or, It maketh not ashamed of our sufferings. Though we are counted as the offscouring of all things, and trodden under foot as the mire in the streets, yet, having hopes of glory, we are not ashamed of these sufferings. It is in a good cause, for a good Master, and in good hope; and therefore we are not ashamed. We will never think ourselves disparaged by sufferings that are likely to end so well. Because the love of God is shed abroad. This hope will not disappoint us, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints. The love of God, that is, the sense of God’s love to us, drawing out love in us to him again. Or, The great effects of his love: (1.) Special grace; and, (2.) The pleasant gust or sense of it. It is shed abroad, as sweet ointment, perfuming the soul, as rain watering it and making it fruitful. The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us, 2 Cor. 5:14. Thus are we drawn and held by the bonds of love. Sense of God’s love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him.

And then I confessed my sin from yesterday about the lack of patience and the thought of backsliding etc to Grace. The Bible says in James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” I’m thankful that I can account to Grace who listens without judging but instead offers godly advice and encouragement to balm the little battle scars, so that I may enter the battlefield again to continue fighting like a true warrior princess.

I had lunch with Mabel today and listened to her troubles with her school work. We’re taking the same design studio modules again this semester, so I’m trying to make more effort to connect with her. I’d realised today that she is really a thoughtful person. I’d offered to help her proofread / edit her english essays at the start of the sem, but she hadn’t approached me but looked for other friends. I reiterated that I can offer help in this area, and she said, “You’d been busy previously with DE Club stuff so I looked for Bel and Sylvia instead.” :’) Wow, I hadn’t expected that. Lord Jesus, I just commit Mabel into your hands right now, please offer her guidance and help regarding the tough issues she face. Help her to communicate well with her group mates, and give her divine joy, so she need not put up fronts, but truly be happy and satisfied in her toil. What I am asking would only be possible through You. Won’t You Lord, draw her to You? Deeper, closer, faster! Help me to continue to love her the way You do, and help me to explain with wisdom if she ever questions why I do what I do. Spill Your extravagant Love in the studio, Amen!

After lunch, I was offering chocolates (from aunty Jane’s students for Teachers’ Day; I had chance to talk to them about me being in Kids’ Ministry and about me being the youngest in the life group etc.) to Karyn and Dom, when Karyn suddenly said to me, “You’re like the nicest girl I’ve ever met in my life.” Wow. I didn’t respond much to that, didn’t know how either; went about doing something else that I can’t remember. But O Lord what a tremendous compliment. And obviously I know I am NOT the nicest girl in town HAHA but thank You Lord for Your favour over me in school. Help me to continue to steward this gift of helps / encouragement / presence well in school, so that more may see Your Glorious Light and be drawn to You!

At the end of the workshop, during which my brain power, my eye power, my typing speed , the ability to learn and grasp concepts quickly etc were all put to the test hahaha. Learnt a lot, but I do hope they remain in my head, and I can practise them skillfully in time to come! Anyway, after class, I returned to the year 3 studio space to return the mac charger to my locker, and discovered that Viki was still around! She was heading home too, so I left with her. While I was hanging around, I continued offering chocolates to all who were there (Nora, Elyn, Alvin?, Kai and Eddy), and I left with an empty ziploc bag! I’m so happy that it brightened their days even if just a little bit! I’m believing that these small acts make huge differences!

On the way home with Viki, we talked about the usuals (we’ve been going home together quite a bit) about our projects etc, but there was something different today. During our train ride, she suddenly confided that she had broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years. I was shocked. Asked her questions, asked if she was okay, listened to her stories, etc. I thanked her for trusting me enough to tell these to me. Her reasons for the break-up sound legitimate to me; I shall continue to give her support by loving her and lifting her up in prayer. I told her, after I’d found out she hasn’t dared to break the news to her parents, that I’ll pray for her to be strengthened. She replied with an “aww~ :’)” LOL and I felt there was a need for me to explain further, so I did, like why need strength etc. Then I felt led to talk to her about the Family Life Series that would be starting this Saturday and I waited for an opportunity to. Eventually after a few more lines of conversation after the idea popped into my head, I did. But she doesn’t seem too ready to hear about ideas on marriage just yet, but doors are ajar. Please fling wide these gates of Heaven, and let Viki come in! I really hope she will come, but O Lord, I must not rush matters. Please grant me patience.

All-sovereign God, I can see Your fingerprints all over what has been written above. I give You praise! I know You are here with me, and are achieving for Yourself an amazing advancement in the studios. The fellowship is growing, is seeing visitors, and through You I have been able to widen my reach to go deeper with more peers / seniors / juniors! Thank You Jesus! Come, and continue doing this great work! You are the One who had called me to this, at Hope Conference earlier in May this year. Keep building this O Lord, and show me how I can help You. What a privilege and what a joy to see Your Kingdom being established block by block, life by life, in this place!

Today I feel like You have showed me so many things so that I know that I am not here by mistake, in response to my pleas / thoughts about 2 or 3 weeks ago about quitting school and wanting to just do other things cos I feel like I’m wasting my life away… Of course, I can’t actually wish to be somewhere else, because if this is where You are right now, here I should be too. But, I really want to be out in the sun building playgrounds and doing fieldwork missions! Fan into flame this desire in Your time, and pour unto me Patience and Perseverance to keep at what I am doing with Faith, that this is all building me up to be more equipped for the work to come. Meanwhile, I will continue to bless those whom You have planted around me, so that in Your time, we shall reap a harvest for the Kingdom!

//

Watched “The Matrix Revolutions” on cable tv tonight, and wow such allusions it had to Christianity! I was tremendously blessed and learnt a lot of spiritual principles from the show. I want to be like Neo, who was able to see with eyes of faith even when his physical eyes were scorched shut. He proceeded to do what he believed was right, even with skeptics around him. And eventually he fought hard and won the battle for the people and the land of Zion.

There was a scene in the battle that struck my heart. A team leader was dying in his battlesuit after a great fight, and he was charging the young lad who was with him with battle instructions to keep on fighting. At such a critical moment, the young lad responded, “But sir, I have not yet completed my training course.” To which the dying man answered, “Neither have I.” Two things: \ 1. Am I ready for battle? If I believe that the battle against darkness is real, then am I equipping myself well enough for battle? I want to be a worthy fighter. I don’t want to be caught unaware. \ 2. One can never be prepared enough for the terrors and fears that a battle would bring. Would I have courage to go through all odds and gain advancement for my team, or would I choose to run away, risking death also anyway? I pray that I would be like the young lad, and the other valiant women shown in the film as well, who rose up to the call and fought with all they had, no matter how little. Every effort, every fight counts.

I think this verse sums it up well. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Let us arise, and be unafraid of the difficulties that would come, but rise above on eagle’s wings, and count for the Kingdom. Amen.

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