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What Does It Mean To Be Made in God’s Image?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Genesis 1:20-31.  Let’s go!

Genesis 1:20-25 (NIV)
20  And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
21  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22  God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
23  And there was evening, and there was morning–the fifth day.
24  And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
25  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

On verses 20-25:  One of the recurring phrases in Genesis 1 is, “And God saw that it was good.” (v21, 25.  See also v4, 10, 12 and 18)  In other words, God took pleasure in His creative work. 

南征北伐小總結

〈約書亞記〉 12:7 a  約書亞和以色列人在約旦河西擊殺了諸王。

閱讀經文:〈約書亞記〉 12:1-24 

看到約書亞做的報告,可以感覺到他是一個很正直的人。他沒有隱藏摩西的功績,雖然河東的仗也是約書亞帶頭在打。但那時是摩西帶領以色列人,所以把功績歸給摩西是應當的。有人拿摩西的戰績和約書亞的相比較,摩西殺了亞摩利王西宏和巴珊噩,而約書亞殺了31個王。所以約書亞比摩西厲害功高,你同意嗎?我覺得那是相當無聊的比較。其實在擊殺河東之王時,摩西已經120歲,在這之前和亞瑪利人的爭戰,摩西到山上禱告,約書亞在戰場上爭戰。仗都是約書亞打的,但是摩西的禱告卻是勝負的關鍵。摩西舉手,以色列人就打勝仗;摩西的手放下來,以色列人就打敗仗。所以亞倫和戶珥必須扶助摩西的手,直到戰事結束。

神交託給摩西和約書亞的工作是完全不同的。神交給摩西的工作是帶領以色列人出埃及,約書亞的工作是帶領以色列人進迦南。在人生的旅途上,我們都有各自的任務和使命,神對每個人的安排都不一樣。所以我們不要羨慕別人的工作和成就,反而要在自己的責任上看見神給自己的使命,盡心盡力去做就對了。

摩西不是一生下來就做領袖,約書亞也不是一生下來就會打仗。神用了八十年的時間去塑造摩西,也用了超過四十年的時間去磨鍊約書亞。正如迦南不是一天一夜打下來的,都是用了許多年,一步一腳印地打下來。所以我們不要以為只要有神的同在,成功就伸手可及。神沒有立刻讓以色列人成功,因為在努力的過程中,正是塑造一個人的機會,也是建立信心的最佳時機。仗是一個個地打,王也是一個個地殺,代表人生道路上的困難要一個個地克服,不能一下子全部解決。所以我們面對困難或自己的惡習時,不要想一下子就通通清除所有的障礙,只要有耐心和信心,靠著主,一個個地去掉它們。

約書亞焚夏瑣

〈約書亞記〉 11:15  耶和華怎樣吩咐他僕人摩西,摩西就照樣吩咐約書亞,約書亞也照樣行。凡耶和華所吩咐摩西的,約書亞沒有一件懈怠不行的。凡耶和華所吩咐摩西的,約書亞沒有一件懈怠不行的。

閱讀經文:〈約書亞記〉 11:1-23

在約書亞結束迦南地南部的爭戰之後,迦南地北方的王也結盟了。他們聚集在米倫水邊,就是加利利海的北面。約書亞看到敵人的人數多如海邊的沙,並有許多馬匹車輛,正在愁煩不已。再一次,神對約書亞說:「你不要因他們懼怕」,然後把打仗的方法教給約書亞。神的話及時臨到,把應對之計告訴約書亞。約書亞立刻起身作戰。神的話就是這樣有能力,使人在面對最可怕的敵人時,也能衝鋒陷陣,因為神與他們同在。

神應允:「明日這時,我必將他們交付以色列人全然殺了」。神一次又一次地告訴約書亞,祂要親自毀滅那些迦南人。以色列人之所以每戰必勝,實在是因為耶和華神親自為他們爭戰。神親自為以色列軍隊的元帥。神有能力親自除去迦南人,為何還要以色列人去打仗呢?難道神不能派天使砍斷他們馬的蹄筋,從天降火焚燒他們的車輛?神的確能夠自己完成一切的事情,那樣對以色列人有何好處呢?以色列人若是每到一處,敵人就自動消滅淨盡,他們怎能懂得打仗的艱辛?打仗需要付出,屬靈的爭戰也是一樣,我們不可能輕輕鬆鬆就勝過老我和惡習,一定要有決心,並且尋求神的帶領,才能得勝。約書亞爭戰了許年日,我們的爭戰也不可能一下子就結束,因此一定要有毅力才能打贏。

Speak Light into the Darkness

Hi GAMErs,

Today we begin our look at Genesis, the first book in the Bible.  Today’s passage is Genesis 1:1-19.  Let’s go!

Genesis 1:1-19 (NIV)
1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light….

On verses 1-19:  Is Genesis 1 intended to be a detailed scientific explanation of the origins of the earth?  Not necessarily.  The Bible is not a textbook on science and doesn’t claim to be.  Still, where it addresses scientific matters, the Bible is infallible.  You will not find a proven scientific fact that truly contradicts what the Bible teaches.  In fact, the Bible has proven to be ahead of its time.  For example, the Bible claimed that the earth is round even when the prevailing belief in ancient times was that the earth was flat (see Psalm 40:22).  Here the Bible claims that the earth had a beginning when many people believed that the earth had always existed (Genesis 1).

約書亞攻取諸邑

〈約書亞記〉  10:42 約書亞一時殺敗了這些王,並奪了他們的地,因為耶和華以色列的神為以色列爭戰。

閱讀經文:〈約書亞記〉   10:28-43

在滅了五王之後,約書亞帶著以色列人衝鋒陷陣,從從瑪基大往立拿,再打拉吉,攻打伊磯倫、希伯崙和底璧,擊殺城中的一切人口,沒有留下一個。從這些戰役裡再來看現在的以巴衝突。可能有的人會很同情當地的迦南人,覺得神為了把迦南地給以色列人,就趕盡殺絕,豈不應當讓每個人都有容身之地嗎?但是我們看以色列的仇敵對以色列人是絕不手下留情的,幾乎天天有的恐怖襲擊,人肉炸彈,等等。去年以色列和阿拉伯國家終於簽訂合約,開始有了來往,實在也是一個神蹟。

從《聖經》的記載,迦南地的戰爭絕不是以色列人的戰爭而已,這是神和惡勢力之戰。因此每一次記載:「正如耶和華以色列的神所吩咐的」。換言之,倘若約書亞和以色列人沒有把迦南人盡行殺滅,他們就違背神的旨意,不能得到神的祝福,反而會蒙咒詛。因此在〈申命記〉第九章第四節,摩西對以色列人說:「耶和華你的神將這些國民從你面前攆出以後,你心裡不可說:『耶和華將我領進來得這地,是因我的義。』其實,耶和華將他們從你面前趕出去,是因他們的惡。」

對基督徒而言,認識罪的可怕比較容易;對非基督徒而言,可能還是覺得不公平,太殘忍。但是戰爭的本質,不是你死便是我活,再加上是出於神的審判,人更不能逃脫了。與其批評神,不如面對罪的可怕,明白審判必然來臨,因為人終有一死,不管怎樣死,都要面對最後的審判。

Stop Playing the Comparison Game

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 21:15-25.  Let’s go!

John 21:15-17 (NIV) 
15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 
16  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 
17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

On verses 15-17:  Peter’s most shameful moment was when he verbally denied Jesus three times (see John 18).  So it is not a coincidence here that Jesus restores Peter by having Peter verbally affirm his love and commitment to Jesus three times. 

In Jesus’ eyes, Peter was not the failure who denied him three times.  Peter was the rock on which Jesus would still build his church, and that is why three times Jesus tells Peter to take care of his sheep, that is, his church.  Peter had counted himself out already.  That is why he had gone back to fishing (see verse 3), but Jesus had not given up on his vision for Peter’s life. 

When You’ve Given Up On Yourself

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 21:1-14.  Let’s go!

John 21:1-3 (NIV) 
1  Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 
2  Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 
3  “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

On verses 1-3:  By “going out to fish” (v3), Peter may have been saying, “I tried and failed at this spiritual leadership thing.  I’m going back to my old life, my old job as a fisherman.  How else am I going to eat and live now that I’ve denied Jesus and made a fool of myself?”  Going out to fish with Peter were James and John (“the sons of Zebedee” – v2), who were Peter’s old fishing partners and fellow disciples, as well as Thomas, Nathanael and two other disciples.  

Whereas Peter had given up on himself, Jesus had not given up on Peter.  In the sequence that follows, Jesus shows Peter that he has not given up on him by subtly recalling specific miracles Jesus had done in the lives of Peter and his disciples.  It’s a great reminder that when we have failed, or think we have failed, in major ways, we may be inclined to give up on any dreams we had concerning God using our lives and going back to our old way of living.  But even after we have failed in major ways, Jesus still does not give up on us.

日月停止一日之久

〈約書亞記〉  10: 14  在這日以前,這日以後,耶和華聽人的禱告沒有像這日的,是因耶和華為以色列爭戰。

閱讀經文:〈約書亞記〉  10:1-27

南方的五王攻打基遍,基遍要求以色列人相助的這場戰役,實在是驚心動魄,成為膾炙人口的一個故事。耶路撒冷、希伯崙、耶末、拉吉和伊磯倫五個大城, 很可能原先與基遍有合約,要一起對抗從沙漠而來的以色列人,萬萬沒有想到他們會先投降,讓其他五王在害怕憤怒之餘,不得不連合起來懲罰基遍。因為基遍是一 座大城,如都城一般,比艾城更大,並且城內的人都是勇士,倘若沒有他們的力量,其他五王得勝的機會就減少了,因此他們決定去攻打基遍,給約書亞一個下馬威,也給迦南的其他族裔看看,誰敢歸降約書亞,他們就去打誰,讓大家都不敢去和以色列人和好。

基遍投降的原因和喇合一樣,因為聽見神藉著摩西和約書亞所行的神蹟,為了求生存而寧可暫時委屈自己,投降以色列人,歸降在耶和華神的羽翼之下。人沒有了生命,還能怎樣?但只要有一口氣 在,便有希望,便有將來。可惜很多人不這麼想,他們寧可像那五王一樣,選擇抗拒耶和華神,以致於全軍覆沒。面對五王聯軍,約書亞害怕了嗎?他肯定害怕了,因此 神的安慰立即臨到:「不要怕他們;因為我已將他們交在你手裡,他們無一人能在你面前站立得住。」

約書亞看重與基遍的立約,基遍一向他求救,他立刻出援。但是他心裡還是忐忑不安。但是尊重合約的人,神也尊重他。因此神立刻安慰約書亞:「不要怕他們,因為我已將他們交在你手裡,他們無一人能在你面前站立得住。」有了神的保證,約書亞如虎添翼,夜間行軍,從吉甲到基遍走了大約25英里,經過四千尺陡峭的山路,給五王來個措手不及。他們萬萬沒有想到以色列人來得如此神速。可見有神的祝福,也要有人的努力;只有神的祝福,人若不努力,那就可惜了。

基遍人設詭計

〈約書亞記 〉9:22-23   約書亞召了他們來,對他們說:「為甚麼欺哄我們說『我們離你們甚遠』呢?其實你們是住在我們中間。現在你們是被咒詛的!你們中間的人必斷不了作奴僕,為我 神的殿作劈柴挑水的人。」

閱讀經文:〈約書亞記〉 9:1-27

身處在這個時代,沒有受騙過的人真是很少。每個人一說起被騙的經驗,至少有兩三個故事好講。有許多聰明人不把聰明用在正經事上,專門拿來走捷徑發不義之財。只可惜,你會騙人,人家也會騙你,到最後誰吃虧呢?當然是騙人的,因為他對人根本無法產生信心。他自己滿口假話,又怎能相信有人會講真話?這真是神的幽默感,自以為聰明的人,經常反被聰明誤。但是有一種人,為了保存性命而想出的詭計,倒是令我感到他們是真的聰明。

那就是約書亞時代的基遍人。根據以斯拉網站的資料,基遍是迦南地古代的大城,離耶路撒冷約九公里,東鄰艾城,附近有橄欖林和地下泉水。基遍的意思是小山,或山域。考古學家在1956至1962年間,在耶路撒冷以北九公里,現今的吉巴,挖掘出有城巿的遺蹟。有一個在鐵器時代早期從石頭鑿出的大坑,有一面約有11公尺深,另一面是鑿有石級、深12公尺的通道,直引到一個貯水池。這大坑後來被人填滿,填土中包括了許多儲物瓶缸的把手。這些把手或印有王室的印,或刻上了物主的姓名和「基遍」這名稱。一般相信這地點就是古時的基遍城。

在約書亞時代,基遍城裡住著希未人(或譯何利人)。〈約書亞記 〉第十章記載:「基遍是一座大城,如都城一般,比艾城更大,並且城內的人都是勇士。」這些人既然都是勇士,何必行騙呢?這些人其實不僅是勇士,而且都是有智慧的人。他們的勇氣不是為了上戰場送死,而是為了保守自己和後裔的性命。他們像喇合一樣,因為聽到以色列人的事蹟,就願意向以色列人稱臣。但是又不知道從哪裡聽到,以色列人只願意和遠方的人講和,不和迦南地的人談和,因此不得已,想了個計謀去騙以色列人(申20:11-15)。

Believing in the Resurrected Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 20:19-31.  Let’s go!

John 20:19-20 (NIV) 
19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 
20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

On verses 19-20:  On the evening of the same day that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appears behind locked doors to his disciples, who were already gripped with fear because of what the Jews might do to them.  So Jesus’ first words to his frightened disciples are, “Peace be with you!”  For those who believe in Him, the presence of Jesus is often accompanied with peace.

John 20:21-23 (NIV) 
21  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 
22  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 
23  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”