Sunday, 18 April 2021
Title: 100 Times Blessings
By Elder Tan Seng Kee

Bible Verse: Mark 10:29-30

Over the last few weeks in several morning Zoom prayer meetings, Karis CG meetings and other meetings of the church, a few members had heard and remarked that it is so nice to hear birds chirping when the mute function was off. There was a certain excitement from other participants in the Zoom meetings to hear sounds of singing birds, and I then observed that there were indeed a few birds singing away – perched on the window sills and the palm tree outside my 1st floor window facing west. From then on I have deliberately looked out most of the time for the morning chirping birds, and lo and behold, they are always there in the morning, chirping away if I care to look out for them.

Simple things like the sounds of birds chirping, the setting evening twilight of dimming lights, the morning rising eastern sun, the approaching rain clouds and cacophony of thunderstorms and lightning can all be pictures of the beautiful world created by God but obvious only to those that can stop and look and ponder.

However, in the economic turmoil faced by many during this current pandemic, the need to pursue money and financial stability are definitely more urgent and necessary than watching out for the chirping birds or the oncoming storm clouds. In the midst of financial crisis, who do I look to for solutions? Can we turn to the Mark 10:29-30 where Jesus replied his disciples, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property – with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life.” This passage of the hundredfold blessings (taught by Jesus in the context of sacrifices for God’s kingdom) is often relied on to pray for God to bless us one hundredfold over.

I have no doubt God loves us. The certainty of God’s love is fundamental to Christianity; otherwise how can we explain that Jesus would leave the glory of heaven to die a painful death on the cross, separated from God the father to redeem us, sinful men and then extend to us the joy of fellowship with the Holy Spirit in the abundant earthly life and finally to spend eternity in heaven, glorified in the presence of our heavenly Father. However, it is also a fact that we live in a sinful world where the devil continues to prowl like a lion snatching away joys in our daily lives. Hence, we face many problems daily, including financial ones and it is necessary for us sometimes to go before God and ask him to bless us with financial means to meet numerous obligations.

So does God always give us more money when we ask for it? The answer is No. A hundred times blessings in Mark 10:30 does not mean that God will give us 100 houses or 100 brothers or mothers; in Genesis 26:12, Isaac sowed in the land and reaped in the same year, “a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him”. A hundredfold returns for Isaac just means that God will bless him.

As for us, sometimes God’s blessings can be in financial rewards whilst at other times He showers His grace and strength sufficient to enable us to go through the challenges, financial or otherwise we may be facing.  It is also a reality that not all problems can be eradicated with money. Failing health or broken relationship, unforgiveness and bitterness cannot be erased with money alone. Proverbs 10:22 shares a clear message on what a blessing from God entails; “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it”. When God blesses, good things should happen. Let us be bold to ask God confidently and then stand firm in the faith that God knows what is needed and when it is required.

Prayer:  God, please help me to boldly come into your presence to ask blessings from You but at the same time help me to have the grace to wait upon You and trusting You for the blessing that will most adequately resolve and handle the challenges I may be facing. Help me to stop and ponder the beauty of my Heavenly Father’s world and to live in respect and adoration of all that You have put in my midst. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

星期日,2021年4月18日
题目:百倍祝福
作者:陈诚基长老
翻译:杨仕涵弟兄
经文:马可福音10:29-30

在上几周的早晨Zoom祷告会、Karis小组和其他小组聚会中,一些成员指出,在关闭静音功能时,可听见鸟鸣的声音,令人喜悦。在Zoom会议中,其他的弟兄姐妹也感到有些兴奋,听到了鸟儿在唱歌的声音。我观察周围,确实有几只鸟儿在歌唱-栖息在我二楼向西面窗户和外面的棕榈树上。从那时起,我刻意向外观看鸣叫的鸟儿,它们总是在早晨出现,不管我有没有没刻意看它们。

日常能见的事物,如鸟鸣声、傍晚的昏暗灯光、早晨东方升起的太阳、临近的乌云及雷和闪电的刺耳声,这些美丽画面都是上帝的创造;当然,这些只显明于那些愿意停下来观看和思考的人。

然而,当前疫情许多人面临着经济动荡中,寻找金钱和经济稳定的需求绝对比欣赏鸣叫的鸟儿或即将来临的暴风云更为紧迫和必要。在这经济危机中,我能向谁寻找答案呢?我们是否可以转向马可福音10:29-30,耶稣回答他的门徒:“我实在告诉你们:人为我和福音撇下房屋或是弟兄、姐妹、父母、儿女、田地, 30 没有不在今世得百倍的,就是房屋、弟兄、姐妹、母亲、儿女、田地,并且要受逼迫;在来世必得永生。”这百倍祝福(耶稣教导关于为神的国度牺牲)的经文常常用来祈求上帝祝福我们百倍。

我毫不怀疑上帝爱我们。上帝的爱的确定性是基督教的根本;否则,我们又该如何解释耶稣会舍弃天上的荣华富贵、死在十字架上、与神分离、救赎我们,罪恶的人,然后把圣灵的同在,显在人间丰盛的生活中给我们,最终在天上度过永恒,在天父面前得荣耀。然而,我们生活在一个罪恶的世界,魔鬼继续像狮子一样,遍地游行,夺走我们日常生活中的喜乐。因此,我们每天都面临许多问题,包括经济问题,有时我们必须向上帝求助,求祂赐福我们,以便我们能够履行我们许多的义务。

那么,当我们向上帝求钱财时,上帝会给我们更多的钱吗?答案是不会。马可福音10:30的百倍祝福并不意味着上帝会给我们100所房子或者100个弟兄或母亲;创世纪26:12,“以撒在那地耕种,那一年有百倍的收成。耶和华赐福给他。”以撒百倍的收成就代表上帝会祝福他。

对于我们,有时上帝的祝福可以是钱财,有时祂的恩典和力量如甘霖而降,使我们能够度过我们可能面临的各种挑战,无论是经济或其他困难。一个现实是,并非所有问题都以金钱来解决。身体衰弱、关系破裂、得不到饶恕、苦楚等问题不能仅靠金钱来消除。箴言10:22明确说明上帝赐福的信息;“耶和华所赐的福使人富足,并不加上忧虑。”当上帝赐福,好事会发生。让我们有信心地问上帝祈求,同时坚定地相信上帝知道我们需要什么,何时需要。

祷告:上帝啊,求祢帮助我以信心来到祢的面前向祢祈求祝福,同时也赐我恩典能够等待祢并信靠祢会赐下最能充分解决并应对我可能面临的挑战的祝福。帮助我也愿意停下来思考我天父世界的美丽,并以敬畏和赞美对待祢在我生命中所设的一切。奉主耶稣的名。阿门。