Asking for whatever you wish

John 15:7 says: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Someone less familiar with the bible who reads this might easily take this to mean that God will grant whatever wish he or she wishes.  I have heard of Christians who innocently asks the Lord for a miracle or healing and receive from the Lord the answer they prayed for. Is this coincidence or for real.  Probably a bit of both.

As a devil’s advocate, I wish to ask: Do we treat God the Father like an earthly father who gives good gifts, or as a genie in a bottle?  The bible directs us to approach God like we would approach a good earthly father.  For some of us Christians, we might hesitate to do so because it would be wrong to treat God our Father like a genie in a bottle who grants whatever wish we desire, but for many of us Christians, it is also practical and simple approach to understanding God. But for many Christians who do ask but do not receive, I have empathy for them.

As a father myself, my daughter will ask me for this and that, and anything she sees and likes. But as a father who loves my dear daughter, I know that some things would be unhealthy or bad for her.  I also don’t want to spoil her.

Our Father God also knows what is good and what is bad for his spiritual children. Wouldn’t God also keep things away from us in order to protect us just like a good earthly father would want to protect his children?  I certainly believe He would.  We have a Heavenly Father who knows exactly what would be good or bad or unhealthy for us.  We would not know it at the time but God knows the future and foresees what would be bad or un- or counter-productive for our lives.

Do you trust our Heavenly Father even if He were to withhold some seemingly good things back from you?

Starbucks’ unfair trade

The Starbucks’ franchise system is a success here in Taiwan (vacationing here) but what disappoints me about Starbucks Corp. is how much it is charging for its coffee in a developing country. The owner of the multinational corporation claims it is practicing fair-trade coffee, but as I sit here at Starbucks to read and blog, I am noticing some of their hypocrisy.  The purchasing power of Taiwanese people have decreased, but yet, it is charging customers here a premium for its coffee.

A cup of regular brew is 85/95 NT for a tall/grande, which is equivalent to US$ 2.80/3.12 (or Cdn$ 3.73/4.17).  A fair price ought only be 50/60 NT (according to its U.S. currency equivalent). What does this mean? If an American customer in Taiwan were to buy a tall cup of Pike Place, s/he would have to pay an extra US$ 1.15 (or 35 NT). Is this outrageous or what?!  Does this seem like a fair-trade practice to you?

Starbucks is taking advantage of its Taiwanese customers because it knows it can. People here worship almost anything made in America.  The owner/founder Howard Shultz claims he practices fair-trade but what is practiced and preached just seems a little incongruent to me.

It also makes me wonder where else around the world is Starbucks taking advantage of people.

Religion in Taiwan

While visiting my spouse’s hometown in Changhua, Taiwan, I visited Bagua Mountain (actually a hill) where there is a huge statue of Buddha.  I climbed up its inner staircases within its inner sanctum where there are displays on each floor explaining the history of Buddhism in Taiwan. I found this to be a good learning experience as I was not raised in a Buddhist-Confucian culture.

Christianity had missed an early opportunity to evangelize China.  Buddhism was only introduced to China in the 3rd century BC but did not flourish until later even into the 3rd to 6th century AD.  There were a some early 5th c. evangelists in East Asia but they did not make any in-roads to evangelize China.

Taiwan’s major religion today is Buddhism.  Having 35% of its population as adherents, there are countless temples in Taiwan–as many as there are churches in the U.S. bible-belt. I’m not sure of the percentage of Christianity in Taiwan but my guess-timate according to various sources is anywhere between 5-10% of the population. Evangelism through the Presbyterian Church came in earlier and established many institutions like hospitals and schools. The local hospital in this city is Changhua Presbyterian (Christian) Hospital.  The local people greatly appreciate this major institution because it has benefited so many people.

Taiwan (R.O.C.) is a free nation and has freedom of religion, speech, assembly, elections, etc., but it is forced to play the political game of who has sovereign authority over the country.  Pray for political stability of Taiwan. The threat and intimidation tactics from mainland China (P.R.C.) is similar to that of North Korea vs South Korea.

 

A glass wedding chapel in Taiwan

I am currently visiting Taiwan and will blog when I get the opportunity. I saw this church on the internet and thought this was interesting. It is a glass slipper church in Chaiyi, Taiwan.  There are no worship services, and was built with the intention to be used as a wedding chapel.  Seems like a bit of a luxury.  The BBC websites blogged about this here.  Might be an interesting place to visit if I get the chance.

God’s kingdom: Small churches or mega-churches?

In Jesus’ days, the religious leaders were consumed with anxiety that Jesus had been gaining too many followers (John 11:45-57).

 11:48 – “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
12:19 – “’See, this is getting us nowhere.  Look how the the whole world has gone after him!‘”

Religion today is still concerned about how many people attend our worship services.  The number of parishioners translate into dollar amounts collected in the offering plate, which is translated into how many pastors it hires/calls and how big a building project can be.  This causes us think of adherents and followers as just a piece of the pie (“more for others means less for us”). This also causes us to think of the small church as lowly vs mega-churches as more successful.  Should we carry this view of God’s kingdom.  Is this a healthy or distorted way to view God’s kingdom?

Jesus was concerned about discipling people and truth and life, not the number of followers he has.  For pastors, elders and deacons, it takes faith to carry on as small churches in communities where there are mega-churches next door.

Hearing God’s voice

In John 12:27-36, after Jesus answered the heavenly Father, the LORD spoke audibly to Jesus’ disciples with a voice that thundered. Then Jesus informed them saying, “…This voice was for your benefit, not mine.”

When God speaks to human beings, it’s for our benefit.  We might mistakenly think this is God speaking to glorify God but it’s really for our benefits.  God does not need glory.  He is already glorious. Rather, we are the one’s who need to hear God’s voice. We need to be built-up and strengthened in our faith in the Lord.  Without revelation from God, our faith will wane.

A prayer: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.  Your people, your church, needs to hear from you daily.  I need to know that you are with me, loving me, and guiding me.”

 

We are his sheep and know his voice

How many Christians can say that we know God’s voice? We don’t necessarily hear an audible voice but we ought to recognize the Holy Spirit speaking to us in our hearts (inner being).

Jesus said in 10:4 “…his sheep follow him because they know his voice”). Contrast this with v.12-13

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”(John 10:12-13, NIV)

In today’s world, who might be represented by the hired hand? There are lots of other voices in this world telling us what we ought to believe and how we should think.  But they don’t really care about us.

Jesus is like the true shepherd because he owns us.  We belong to Jesus and we ought to know his voice.  “Hired hands” might claim they speak on behalf of God but they do not truly care about us.  They may speak some truths and say things we may agree with.  But their hearts are not for us as God’s heart is for his own children.  We follow Jesus, our Father and our guide (Spirit).

“Lord, thank you for being my father. I belong to you; and I follow no other.  I may hear the voices of this world, but these voices are not your voice. Give me discernment so that I may recognize your voice and not be confused with the voices of the world.  Amen.”

Mainstream media’s dishonesty in reporting

Sen. Chuck Schumer (Dem.) meeting with Russian President Putin

The public has been duped by a morally bankrupt and corrupt mainstream media.  The recent lies and coverups by the media is harmful for a nation and its people.  Ultimately, the entire nation will suffer.  I hope justice will be done.

The elite globalists own a large part of the media and it is very reasonable to say that there is a blatant bias and unfairness in the networks. Let’s face it, there is a huge temptation for the media to keep some of the facts from the public because it works in their favor to manipulate public opinion.  The elite’s agenda of globalism is real but it is hidden in the open. A sovereign and free people, with a free press, will grow increasingly tired of the propaganda media (e.g., CNN, CNBC, New York Times, Washington Post).

We all have a responsibility to seek and speak the truth in all places at all times–the church, government, the courts, the media, and schools. It’s a responsibility and duty of a free press.  A free press is truly free when it reports responsibly–when it seeks the truth–when it considers all the perspectives from all angles based on truths and facts.  But when it intentionally omits the opposition’s legitimate opinions, perspectives, and important information in order to delegitimize the opposition and hide the truth, it is doing a huge disservice to the public.

The media is quickly losing any credibility it may still have.  Is is now losing the public’s trust in their own ability to tell the truth because it has become a propaganda media. Public trust in the media is at an all-time low (as low as their trust in politicians).

Why?  Here are some examples of the mainstream media’s fake news stories:

1/  The media has been trying to spin the story of  Trump cabinet picks meeting with Russian officials as a criminal act. High-ranking Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have also talked with Russian officials before the election (see pics). And they have been the most outspoken critics of Trump.  Their accusations of Republicans colluding with the Russians is merely a low-ball campaign to smear President Trump.  These Democrats are hypocrites.

The truth is, meeting with Russian officials is not a criminal offense.  But Democrats are making false accusations as a subversive tactic to demoralize the public’s trust in Trump’s cabinet picks.  What is more outrageous is that Hillary Clinton is guilty of taking money from China and funneling it into the Clinton Foundation.  Considering China is an even bigger threat to the U.S. than Russia is, why is the the media not reporting on Clinton’s criminal act?!  It’s a convenient negligent omission of facts.  This needs to be investigated.

2/  Spying (wire-tapping) by Democrat executives, pro-Obama/Clinton intelligence community.  This is a blatant abuse of power that the media is choosing not to investigate.   This is the biggest scandal since Watergate but they have intentionally ignore the deceit and corruption of their friends in office.  The liberal media has dug themselves into a bigger hole.

3/  Pro-Obama Democrats had intelligence briefings and knowledge of spying (wire-tapping) in order to undermine President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations (Jeff Sessions, Flynn, etc.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Dem.) meet with Russians.

Why are pro-Democrat intelligence not investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails? And why is the liberal mainstream media not investigating?  If these violations had been committed against the Democrats, Obama, and Hillary Clinton, they would be up-in-arms.  The people are seeking justice.