Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Reflection - Going to Jesus - Diversions encountered

Source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Two, Question 2, Page 44.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


What diversions are we likely to encounter when we try to go to Jesus?
PHOTO: What diversions are we likely to encounter when we try to go to Jesus?
Abraham's nephew, Lot, accompanied his uncle and arrived in Canaan. He was tempted and befriend the wickedness of the world, and eventually become an enemy of God. It is easy to jump into these distracting activities instead of trying to go to Jesus. Without going to Jesus and seek the protection, guidance, and careful correction of God we will end up following the same path taken by Lot. We have similar human weaknesses and characteristics.

  • Enticed by exciting but wickedness of the world
  • Not wanting to leave our old lives (ways) behind
  • Worshiping the Lord, but were serving idols (money)
  • Contemplating ourselves instead of contemplating God (that means I first, God second)
  • Valid expressions of faith but do not actually go to Jesus

The world has its wickedness with its exciting attractions that will distract us from trying to go to Jesus. We will be continuously tempted and dragged into those unrighteous activities that escape through the loopholes of our worldly law and governance. There are things that can distract us from God. [2]

  • Love of Money
  • Filth from Media
  • Condemning others using Church or Religion
  • Relationship with God is not the utmost importance
  • Routine without spending time with God
  • Distractions from work (work become more important)
  • Hobbies without worshiping God in mind
  • Desiring a blessing from God, more than God Himself
  • Our Pastor is God
  • Ourselves first
  • Stock Market Dilemma (from my own experience)

Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania - God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their lawlessness. Lot and his daughters had faith enough to not look back. Imitate their faith! (Lot and his two daughters escape to Zoar but latter settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. At this place the two daughters drunk him and impregnated themselves by their father to preserve their family line.)
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iFnc-fW07N4/Wi4_QiG9lAI/AAAAAAAAouQ/U0fdzeBq0mc2Pi5vdbPaJh21HgOT4yoGACLcBGAs/s1600/1102002035_univ_cnt_2_xl.jpg
https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102002035/univ/art/1102002035_univ_cnt_2_xl.jpg
https://www.jw.org/tr/yayinlar/kitaplar/yehovaya-yakla%C5%9F%C4%B1n/adalet/tanr%C4%B1-adaletsizlik-yapar-m%C4%B1/
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2017/12/reflection-going-to-jesus-hopes-and.html



What diversions are we likely to encounter when we try to go to Jesus? Reflect on your own experience and think about the distractions you've faced.

What diversions are we likely to encounter when we try to go to Jesus?

Arriving Without Having Really Left: Lot's Folly
[1]
Enticed by exciting but wickedness of the world
Abraham's nephew, Lot, accompanied his uncle and arrived in Canaan. He chose to pitch his tents on the rich plains - which were good for his flocks - near the exciting but wicked city of Sodom (Genesis 13:12), and later moved into the city (Genesis 19:1). Perhaps he was tempted by the dazzling lights and enticing sounds of wickedness.



Enticed by exciting but wickedness of the world
PHOTO: Enticed by exciting but wickedness of the world
Abraham's nephew, Lot, chose to pitch his tents on the rich plains - which were good for his flocks - near the exciting but wicked city of Sodom (Genesis 13:12), and later moved into the city (Genesis 19:1).
Picture posted by Gamaliel Estrada.on Monday, 20 March 2017 - Abraham And Lot Split Land
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D-RwtyKHPzw/WjjgSrg2YnI/AAAAAAAAoyo/kfmc6G8WuK43EvYe1cMWtq2vm80MMOI4gCLcBGAs/s1600/separacion.jpg
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4lSt67gvtZg/WNBezL4hMWI/AAAAAAAAIAI/ZOYCUCSKiGAYzfCjuLoLbvmzRjMFSKVawCLcB/s1600/separacion.jpg
https://iglesiadedios7diadoctrina.blogspot.sg/2017/03/la-paz-tercer-fruto-del-espiritu-santo.html



Not wanting to leave our old lives behind
Because of Lot's choice, he and his family suffered unnecessary trouble. When Sodom was burned down as a result of God's judgement, Lot and his family fled, but in the process, Lot's wife looked back (perhaps longingly) at the city - and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:24-26). Her actions demonstrated that she did not want to leave her old life in Sodom behind.



Not wanting to leave our old lives behind
PHOTO: Not wanting to leave our old lives behind
When Sodom was burned down as a result of God's judgement, Lot and his family fled, but in the process, Lot's wife looked back (perhaps longingly) at the city - and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:24-26). Her actions demonstrated that she did not want to leave her old life in Sodom behind.
Picture posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 09 July 2017 at 12:18:16
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zVYEf-5xqNs/WjjgQw0l2OI/AAAAAAAAoyI/5gNZ93AvKgosmBMB66VjLJA95VMdcevNQCLcBGAs/s1600/1499573896079.jpg
https://img.4plebs.org/boards/x/image/1499/57/1499573896079.jpg
https://archive.4plebs.org/x/thread/19263648/



This is the lot of anyone who plays with fire: those who truly fear God will hate evil, while those who befriend the wickedness of the world will eventually become enemies of God (James 4:4).

Worshiping the Lord, but were serving idols
How easy it is to think we have arrived - when we never really left to begin with! We may believe that we have responded to God's call, but our hearts remain with our old home. We can try to approach God with our faces turned away from Him, looking at something else. But while we may be able to deceive ourselves and others, we cannot deceive God, for He knows all things (Psalm 11:4-5; John 2:25). The Bible tells us how God looked at His worshippers in the temple and saw their insincerity. "These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me," He lamented in Isaiah 29:13. It is also noted in 2 Kings 17:41 that "Even while those people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols".



Worshiping the Lord, but were serving idols
PHOTO: Worshiping the Lord, but were serving idols
We may believe that we have responded to God's call, but our hearts remain with our old home. We can try to approach God with our faces turned away from Him, looking at something else. But while we may be able to deceive ourselves and others, we cannot deceive God, for He knows all things (
Psalm 11:4-5; John 2:25).
Picture posted by WhySchepping on 08 October 2015
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SacbnHezqvU/WjjgR469HCI/AAAAAAAAoyY/c2bQQ-HuAwknIQ1pqn4mf6Fcyd7MqpmRwCLcBGAs/s1600/Golden-Calf.jpg
https://waaromschepping.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/golden-calf.jpg
https://waaromschepping.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/de-moderne-afgoderij-van-het-theistisch-evolutionisme/



Contemplating ourselves instead of contemplating God
In Thoughts on Solitude, spiritual writer Thomas Merton warns about the consequences of such half-hearted attempts to approach God: "If we try to contemplate God without having turned the face of our inner self entirely in His direction, we will end up inevitably by contemplating ourselves, and we will perhaps plunge into the abyss of warm darkness which is our own sensible nature." [7]

 

Contemplating ourselves instead of contemplating God
PHOTO: Contemplating ourselves instead of contemplating God
"If we try to contemplate God without having turned the face of our inner self entirely in His direction, we will end up inevitably by contemplating ourselves, and we will perhaps plunge into the abyss of warm darkness which is our own sensible nature.[7]
Picture posted by Quentin, good2create

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jq-Ls2QQLrw/WjjgUc-wNlI/AAAAAAAAoy8/JQY0dw6J8BUWRtPgHBGlXPEg5sGxCQY4gCLcBGAs/s1600/wallpaper-download-176039-1680x1050.jpg
https://wallpaperstudio10.com/wallpaper-download-176039-1680x1050.jpg
https://wallpaperstudio10.com/wallpaper-fantasy_fantasyworld-76039.html



Valid expressions of faith but do not actually go to Jesus
It is also important to ensure that we actually go to Jesus. Many people think that merely attending church is sufficient, or that regular tithing means their spiritual lives are safe and sound. Others try alternatives such as attending lots of Christian seminars, joining new programmes in church, or volunteering for church projects. All these may be valid expressions of faith, but if they are not based on a vital relationship with Jesus, they will not bring us anywhere. If we do not actually go to Jesus, going everywhere else will be in vain (John 15:5).



Valid expressions of faith but do not actually go to Jesus
PHOTO: Valid expressions of faith but do not actually go to Jesus
It is also important to ensure that we actually go to Jesus. Many people think that merely attending church is sufficient, or that regular tithing means their spiritual lives are safe and sound. Others try alternatives such as attending lots of Christian seminars, joining new programmes in church, or volunteering for church projects. All these may be valid expressions of faith, but if they are not based on a vital relationship with Jesus, they will not bring us anywhere.
Having A Relationship With Jesus Is All That Matters!
Picture posted by Shyann Loving Warriorforchrist on May 24, 2015

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-v2Gxc4DjZY0/WjjgSipIEdI/AAAAAAAAoyk/Oo9l5P-ZXf87hyprjThhhkW-OEZLk1JmACLcBGAs/s1600/hqdefault-1.jpg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/UwEkTY2-_ck/hqdefault.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwEkTY2-_ck



Reflect on your own experience and think about the distractions you've faced.
Stock Market Dilemma

I have invested in some stocks since my younger days, when my family and I were having sufficient income for our livelihood and other expenditures. Most of them were listed in our own stock market and we could trade using the traditional brokers method, or by using online trading application. When I was about to retire 10 years ago, I tried to spend lesser time in this type of volatile buying and selling. The reason being I was unable to keep up with the rapidly changing situations of the companies issuing the shares.



Stock Market Dilemma
PHOTO: Stock Market Dilemma
Investors have dilemma because of the rapidly changing world and the tactics to gain profits are confusing. Market Sentiments cannot be gauge 100% accurately and neither can the mindset of other traders be quickly detected. Often the hasty bulls and bears are not providing the correct and reliable information for us to make a correct decision. We can end up taking the wrong actions and become an instant loser. Most of us are not qualified investors and we are always basing on luck, just like uncontrolled gambling.
Picture posted by IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Q5vXeSi3VXI/WjjgTUGUcrI/AAAAAAAAoyw/5WPyCUiUcG06QdWNHxM_4c8rX55FTDeTgCLcBGAs/s1600/stock-market-dilemma-500x500.png
https://3.imimg.com/data3/LB/RP/MY-13203558/stock-market-dilemma-500x500.png
https://www.indiamart.com/tekno-securities-financial-advisors/



The tactics employed by some of these companies were far from righteous. Price Rigging, Illegal Insider Trading, Market Manipulation, Microcap Stock Fraud (penny stocks), Abusive Naked Short Selling (Naked Shorting), False Rumours, Ponzi Schemes and Transfer or Sale of Assets below a fair and reasonable commercial value, appears to be an increasing common practice.

Many penny stocks slid and in order to meet the requirements of the stock exchange regulations, most of the stocks had to "concatenate" to stay above the minimum price. Most of my stocks were affected because their prices had been dropping all these years without any hope of revival. Other stocks in my portfolio also deteriorated into negligible prices. Overall my investment in stocks was considered a failure. I had since accepted and adapted to these disappointing outcome. Stock market investment was not meant for me, as an income for livelihood. But out of old habit, I still monitor the stock market.



In the stock market, you will usually encounter cases like this, whereby the bull and the bear fighting.
PHOTO: In the stock market, you will usually encounter cases like this, whereby the bull and the bear fighting.
When the bull wins, the shortists (who is bearish with the market and short/sell at higher price, and buy back lower at the lower price) will be injured, or even killed.
When the bear wins, the investors (who long/buy at lower price, and sell at higher price) with get squeezed. The bear hug is the credit crunch.
This five year super bull run (usually 4 years) which we saw from 2003 - 2007, is confronting the mother of all bears. The bears of Asian Financial Crisis (1997) and The Dot Com Bubbles (2001) are nothing compared to this big bear which started in Oct 2007.
Posted by  jit on Monday, 01 December 2008 at 08:23:00 PM
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-u9S38whBpns/WjjgRhDyAgI/AAAAAAAAoyU/uuAm8b9nOfkDQTJjd3sMzQq7AsO-p5ddwCLcBGAs/s1600/3078380783_4e79d9d91a.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3278/3078380783_4e79d9d91a.jpg
http://www.caricature.com.sg/2008/12/comic-illustration-bull-vs-bear.html



Suddenly one of the stocks showed promising signs of having better price. I gathered whatever information that were available, put pieces together and concluded that the company was in serious trouble. But other investors thought otherwise. The share prices kept on increasing and large volume changed hand urgently. I did some more research and decided to dump all the shares at the "peak" price. And that is what I did, all the shares of that stock in one go. The moment I sold all the shares, its price increased even more furiously. In a matter of days its price increased by another 60%. It stayed at that level for about a week. I had made a loss despite selling at the favourable moment because the shares were brought at five times the selling price. A very regrettable action because I should have waited until the price was higher, and minimised the loss further.



Stock market bubble, when will it pop?
PHOTO: Stock market bubble, when will it pop?
Picture by Artist Ben Garrison, GrrrGraphics.com
Picture posted by Babaimage, Inc. USA on  24 June 2016 at 12:44:54

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--IoO3NK4cr4/WjjgTQc0noI/AAAAAAAAoy0/3CK6nyb-Xj8KktLgfCFrRZi3ZLz42S-mACLcBGAs/s1600/stock-market-bubble.jpg
http://www.babaimage.com/images/stock-market-bubble.jpg
http://www.babaimage.com/lib/stock-market-today



That company was indeed closing down and all the workers were facing imminent retrenchment. The core business was already winding down. I was so immersed in the events that followed that I lost my focus on other more important things like my health, and God. I probed further and discovered how cleverly the directors had manipulated the share price such that the management were able to sell all their shares at the highest price. They then resigned from their high post in the company and quietly disappeared. After the unsustainable high price, the share price tumbled. I was quite sure some unrighteousness were involved but still lawful to the stock market exchange and the government.



The tactics employed by some of these companies were far from righteous.
PHOTO: The tactics employed by some of these companies were far from righteous. Price Rigging, Illegal Insider Trading, Market Manipulation, Microcap Stock Fraud (penny stocks), Abusive Naked Short Selling (Naked Shorting), False Rumours, Ponzi Schemes and Transfer or Sale of Assets below a fair and reasonable commercial value, appears to be an increasing common practice.
Picture posted by Sokratis.it on 31 May 2014
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gRnn8tjlz8w/WjjgTzTr0uI/AAAAAAAAoy4/-5mWLscRryYk2fm8Ah7bXPCDnwAdPZU-gCLcBGAs/s1600/wall-street3.jpg
http://www.sokratis.it/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/wall-street3.jpg
http://www.sokratis.it/bank-of-america-will-wall-street-collapse-in-summer/



The days that followed had many events happening. There were shareholders meetings, directors meetings, announcements and declarations. However the real truth was withheld from the public. We were all led to believe that the company had properly planned to move their operations to another less costly place and became more profitable. I even contemplated to buy back the shares when its price tumbled. I still insisted on holding to the old stock and hope that it could provide some income through its dividend, and assets distributions after it sold off its company's manufacturing building. It was supposed to be a cash-rich company, right? Or at least we were led to believe that it was, and would continue to be. But the cash was not meant for investors.



Can we trust them?
PHOTO: Can we trust them?
Investors are normally drawn to companies with strong cash piles as there will be expectations of generous dividends, exponential growth and stability. However, these cash-rich companies may be frowned upon if they do not invest to generate growth or return the money to shareholders. It essentially means that their cash is left idle and not put to good use. [3]
Picture posted by Lim Cian Yai on 29 November 2013 at 01:00
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KgMYwQMEOpw/WjjgStgiu5I/AAAAAAAAoyg/LfGpFDTZ0yENwgTdjWt9_HIwMdhSUYJ1ACLcBGAs/s1600/P01%2B%2528730x400%2529281120132129526956878242050.jpg
http://www.focusmalaysia.my/CMS/Documents/Article/2685/P01%20(730x400)281120132129526956878242050.jpg
http://www.focusmalaysia.my/Mainstream/cash-rich-old-companies



Nothing good happened. The share price kept on tumbling and the company was in a crisis. It had to dispose off all its assets as scraps and hand over the building to a new owner. No new profitable business in sight and no hope of any returns from the stock. What would the new management plan to do? How good were they in bringing the company's business back to the blue? Will the stock be delisted from the exchange? To buy or not to buy? Or just wait and see? But the price was very attractive. Many unanswered questions and the stock appeared risky for future investment.



Stock Market Dilemma
PHOTO: Stock Market Dilemma
Fake news, have investors considered their risk/return profile may also be 'fake'. When it comes to investing, who or what can we trust, is the market Rigged, Manipulated and Falsely informed? With distorted asset prices due to policy makers, investors lose sight of what investing is all about and are desperate for insurance. [4]
Picture posted by Axel Merk on 02 March 2017

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5cc94Glms_U/WjjgSOYI15I/AAAAAAAAoyc/QT1Ru0TxGkcTgzgXgMgeoucpNGTe2lAuwCLcBGAs/s1600/M2VmZA.jpg
https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAo6AAAAJDBkMGI0N2Y1LWUyNTMtNDgxNS04MDIzLTQ4YzYxNGYxM2VmZA.jpg
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fake-risk-return-axel-merk



It was then I realised and discovered how easy it was to jump into these distracting activities instead of focusing and trying to go to Jesus. There are similar human weaknesses and characteristics of ordinary people like you and me.

  • Enticed by exciting but wickedness of the world
  • Not wanting to leave our old lives (ways) behind
  • Worshiping the Lord, but were serving idols (money)
  • Contemplating ourselves instead of contemplating God (that means I first, God second)
  • Valid expressions of faith but do not actually go to Jesus


Unease is building up.
PHOTO: Unease is building up. Stock Market is a cruel master. Overcome the distractions by going to Jesus who based on God's promise is the only true way to real happiness. Being our Creator, He knows about our weaknesses and by His grace and mercy is still willing to save us. What is more important than eternal living in heaven with the One who loves, cares and build us?
Photograph by Everett uploaded on 05 December 2011 - Slave punishment in the French West Indies, in which the victim was whipped while helplessly bound to four stakes. Ca. 1840.
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_yikM4F_jDY/WjjgTFPaMSI/AAAAAAAAoys/a9ScRRSWr2EEtn0CputdtJ5tPmr4F8nYwCLcBGAs/s1600/slave-punishment-in-the-french-west-everett.jpg
https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/slave-punishment-in-the-french-west-everett.jpg
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/slave-punishment-in-the-french-west-everett.html



Dear Lord, we seek your protection, guidance, correction and not to end up following the same path taken by Lot. Please help us to overcome the temptation by the wickedness of the world which eventually lead us to become the enemy of God. Don't let us jump into these distracting activities which are preventing us from going to Jesus. Help us to leave our sinful lives behind, discarding away our idols, and worship God as the utmost importance. Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, we seek your protection, guidance, correction and not to end up following the same path taken by Lot. Please help us to overcome the temptation by the wickedness of the world which eventually lead us to become the enemy of God. Don't let us jump into these distracting activities which are preventing us from going to Jesus. Help us to leave our sinful lives behind, discarding away our idols, and worship God as the utmost importance. Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!"
Picture saved by Rebecca Weisser to Prophetic Pictures from Debbie Coleman
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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f7/dd/54/f7dd54dc9efbdc0987c76e1a0adf5b45.jpg
https://www.pinterest.de/pin/525936062709006390/

http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2017/11/reflection-jesus-our-creator-physician.html

Reflection - Going to Jesus - Diversions encountered
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Reference
[1] From "Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, Copyright  2016 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-709-5, Part I: Come to Me, Chapter Two "Going to Jesus: Perils and Possibilities", Page 38-39.

[2] Colton Jansen, 10 Things That Can Distract Us From God, http://livingforjesus.com/10-things-that-can-distract-us-during-our-walk-with-god/

[3] Lim Cian Yai, Cash-rich old companies, posted on 29 November 2013 at 01:00, http://www.focusmalaysia.my/Mainstream/cash-rich-old-companies

[4] Axel Merk, Fake Risk, Fake Return?, posted on 02 March 2017, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fake-risk-return-axel-merk

[7] Thomas Merton, Thoughts on Solitude (Boston: Shambhala, 1993), 47.

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2 Kings 17:41 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+17%3A41&version=NIV

Genesis 13:12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+13%3A12&version=NIV

Genesis 19:1 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+19%3A1&version=NIV

Genesis 19:24-26 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+19%3A24-26&version=NIV

Isaiah 29:13 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+29%3A13&version=NIV

James 4:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+4%3A4&version=NIV

John 2:25 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+2%3A25&version=NIV

John 15:5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15%3A5&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Psalm 11:4-5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+11%3A4-5&version=NIV