Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Praying in the name of Jesus

Commonly, believers’ prayers are ended with “in the name of Jesus” (before the Amen); is praying in the name of Jesus, saying that we must end our prayer that way, “in the name of Jesus, Amen”?

A common text used to support our practice of praying in the name of Jesus is this:

John 14:13-14 - 13 And I {Jesus} will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

When we look at v14, we realize there is a case to say that there is meaning in the "in my name", otherwise, Jesus could have just said, "You may ask me for anything, and I will do it", making "in my name" superfluous.

What is praying (or asking) in the name of Jesus?

Praying in the name of Jesus is NOT about ending our prayer in the name of Jesus, as such!  But there is a place for ending our prayer in the name of Jesus.

What do I mean by praying in the name of Jesus is NOT about ending our prayer in the name of Jesus?

I often said Lordship is NOT blind, and by that I mean there is no such thing as calling somebody Lord when nobody is being addressed.  The Lord is NOT nobody, like “thin air”.  You don’t call “thin air”, Lord!  It is the same when it comes to prayer; you address your prayer to somebody.  The Christian faith is NOT “The Secret”.

“The Secret” is touted as the secret way to success, by its followers.  In this “The Secret”, the “theology” is that your thoughts attract the things you want; there is no God or Lord there; the universe will align itself to give you what you want if you keep thinking and wanting the thing that you want!  Subscribers purported no God (and so, believers CANNOT subscribe to this).  Well, if I may say, the subscriber himself is the “god”, and the universe is at his beck and call!

Coming back, we, believers, cannot be praying to “thin air” or the universe.  If an atheist still pray, maybe he prays to an unknown (body) {People of Athens, during the time of the Apostle Paul did pray to unknown god – Acts 17:23}, but we, believers, we have God (the Father, the Son [Jesus Christ], and the Holy Spirit).  So, when we pray, we are praying to our God.  There is only one (God), unless you have multiple ones, which of course, you are NOT supposed to have, if you are indeed a believer.  So, it goes without saying when we are praying, we are praying to our God.  And so, even if we mention NOT Jesus Christ in our prayer, if in your heart you are talking to the Lord, He knows. 

But of course, if you are talking to, say, your daddy or the President, it may be improper, NOT to address your daddy or the President?  And so, we don’t use “you” throughout our prayer or conversation with God.  For example, we would say, “Lord, I ask of you …..” (and NOT “You, I ask you ….”); or in emergency, you could straightaway say, “God, help me”.  The point is that there is the addressee, and NOT we address nobody or the universe. 

The concept of “unto” is important, but the issue is we, men, are often the ones who fail to do things as “unto the Lord”, but it is NOT the Lord does NOT know if you are praying to Him or NOT, or that, what you are doing, you are doing or NOT doing it, unto Him or in acknowledgment of Him.  But there is nothing wrong with us still naming Jesus, the Lord or God, in our own private prayers (praying alone, by yourself), even ending our prayers in Jesus’ name; I still do that, ending private prayers, sometimes, in the name of Jesus or “In your name” (when I have been addressing Jesus).  Again, I say, the point is NOT the Lord does NOT know if you are praying to Him or NOT.  Even, the one word prayer, “Jesus”, the Lord knows and would respond.  There are occasions where we are “choked” and only one word could be uttered, and that word, as testified by many (including myself), is the word, “Jesus”, and God’s help can come immediate.

What about in public; should we end our prayer in the name of Jesus? Firstly, if it is still NOT obvious to you, if you, a believer, do NOT end your prayer in the name of Jesus, it does NOT mean your prayer is any less effective than one that has the ending of “in the name of Jesus”, when in fact, your inward posture has been right.  But it is good to end that way or in a similar way, why?

When we say, publicly, it means there are other people around.  Now, if you are like me, hold to the word of Jesus in Scripture (Matt 18:19), “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”, by ending with “in the name of Jesus”, we hope to achieve these ends: 

1.   It is firstly a sign that you are ending your prayer, so that other CHRISTIANS can indicate agreement with you, by saying “Amen” to what you have prayed.

2.   In a mixed setting when it is NOT apparent that you who are praying, are a Christian, and you use only NOT, Jesus, in the body of your prayer, by ending the prayer in Jesus’ name, you are letting the people (both Christians and non-Christians) to know if they want to agree with you.  For example, for a (civic) community meeting, if a Chinese is asked to pray, he is NOT necessarily a Christian, he could be a Buddhist, and there could other Buddhists in the meeting.  But if you, a Christian Chinese given the honor to pray, you have to pray to God (your God – the “Christian God”), and NOT to any generic god, or you try to “NOT to disclose your faith”.  Also, we do NOT need non-believers or other religious people to mistakenly agree with us.

I do NOT agree with some believers who say that their reason (which they think is valid) is that they are right to be inclusive, to get as many people to “amen” to the prayer.  In substance, if you are doing that with that thinking, you are holding up God to be the generic god or the god behind all religions is the same God; it is an unacceptable insinuation of God.

I would consider doing this, instead, to be sensitive to other people’s feeling: Before I begin, I will, if the setting is such that it is mixed or it is NOT obvious that I am a Christian, to say, “Before I begin to pray, I would like to let you know that I am a Christian and so, I will be praying to my Lord and God (or to Jesus)”.  I will follow it with, “Is that alright with you?  If there is objection, I can then turn to the “whoever” who put me up to pray for the occasion.  If there is no objection, then, really, whether or NOT, I end my prayer with “in the name of Jesus”, is no longer a matter of being inclusive or otherwise; or for that matter, whether or NOT, Jesus is mentioned at all, is no longer relevant (as the God I pray to, is already made known).

What if the “whoever” then ask if I could “pray generally”?  Now, if the context is such that it is referring to “if I could pray to a general god”, the answer is obvious - no.  I do have to be tactful, and so, one suggestion to resolve the impasse could be to suggest “we will have a minute of silence, and everyone can pray [each to pray to his own]”, so that I could get out of the situation of praying to a generic god or holding out that a Christian can “bend” to be praying to a generic god.  If there are other suggestions by others, it is then left to the “whoever” to decide.  The point is that we must NOT dishonour God, if it is up to us.  Other people, if they want to do whatever, that is up to them, but we cannot follow, if it is against our faith.


Then, there is this: That the prayer we utter or offer up, is offered with a certain posture, and so, we are NOT only looking for agreement of what we pray, we are also looking for agreement in the certain posture with which we are offering up the prayer and supplication, and so, it is in good order that we say it – “in the name of Jesus”.

What is this certain posture, and so, the embedded meaning, encapsulated in the “in the name of Jesus”?  For the context of prayer, it is that we are making supplication by faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ, trusting and depending on Him. 

In other words, we are petitioning with a humble heart, that we are posturing that the Lord is majestic, yet He is mindful of us and cares for us, when we are but works of His hands.  That we are saying we are relying on His authority, power and ways.  When we say “in his name or in the name of Jesus”, we are saying that we will hope against hope, and endure through troubles, meanwhile; that we are confident of His love towards us; that we trust His wisdom and ability, that He knows what is best, even though we are asking; that we do NOT doubt He is in control, and that He is dependable, for He changes NOT (of His character, key of which is holiness, and so, from that, righteousness and justice). 

It is in the same spirit of how Jesus prayed before he was captured to be crucified, Luke 22:42 - “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.  We make supplication concerning our situation, because we believe the Lord is mindful and cares for us, yet we submit to what He wants or wants NOT, to do, or His will, because we believe His will is prefect, even if it may NOT appear to be perfect from our personal standpoint; we trust that ultimately we will be comforted.

All believers can expect ultimately they will be comforted, if NOT in this life, in after-life, when they have conformed to who God is.

I said above that, even if you did NOT include “in the name of Jesus” at the end of your prayer, it is NOT less effective, if your inward posture has indeed been right.  And so, what is also important to note, therefore, is that it is the inward posture that must first be there. 

The inward posture can manifest in more than one way, outwardly, and so, it is NOT one reverent outward posture to look for, and it is NOT by the absence of that one reverent outward posture that we can conclude that someone is or is NOT praying with the right posture.  Examples of reverent outward praying posture included these: some people kneel/postrate (Luke 22:41; Matt 26:39), some stand and look upward (John 11:41), some may spread out their hands (Isaiah 1:15), etc. 

Is it necessarily to pray with eyes closed or head bowed? No, it is NOT a must.  I often prayed with eyes open, for people, so that when they fall (slain), I know or could “break” their fall.  Prayers with eyes open, is NOT less effective!  Had I closed my eyes when I prayed for the person who had his leg grown longer by the Lord, I would have missed seeing a miracle (by my hand) with my own eyes!  When I pray with eyes closed or head bowed, it is for reason of minimizing distractions.

Having said that it is the inward posture that is more important, yet we must remember, if nothing shows up at all, outwardly, you got to check yourself if indeed your inward posture has been right.  Don’t engage in self-deception.  Just as an illustration, are you sure you love the Lord, if you go NOT, to church to worship Him, and you also worship NOT, in (good) works, and you read NOT, His Word, pray NOT, and you obey NOT, His commands habitually?  I mean you can be, NOT doing one or more of the right things here, once in a while, but you cannot be engaging NOT, in all of the right things here, on a persistent basis, and still insist that you love the Lord.  Also, there are the obvious contrary things, like people in the pews are praying, and you are nail-cutting in the pew!; how is nail-cutting (or playing game on your hand-phone) a reverent outward manifestation of a right inward praying posture?   Don’t laugh, it happened.

In His name,
Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Praise and Worship is an invitation for God to come

There are 2 aspects to praise and worship:  One, we praise and worship God for who He is, and two, we praise and worship Him for what He has done for us.

We, for example, do NOT praise and worship Satan, although some people do(!), and the reason we don’t is because of who he, Satan, is.  We praise and worship God because of His character, and is good and unchanging character, and so, reliable and dependable.  We praise and worship God because of what He stands for (in fact, who He is), holiness.  This is apart from what He has or has NOT done for us, specifically, say, today, this week or this month. 

Because of who He is, we know already, He has done and is doing much in the “backdrops”, and what He did and is doing in such, were and are for our good.  It is absolutely right to say there is no day where God has NOT done good to me.  I woke up this morning, alive, God has sustained me; the sun is still in its place and shining, God has done good to me, even though, this good is also done for others, that the sun is still in its place and shining as before.  God has put the celestial bodies in their place, and that act of God is providing good to me, all the time. 

Many take such for granted, and they would NOT think they ought to be thankful to God, and so, won’t  praise and worship God (re Romans 1:19-21).   Some would NOT even notice it, if they have missed a heartbeat, so to speak; hopefully, something, and to different people, different thing, something/happening will make them sit up to the goodness of God. Some are so hardened of heart, I suppose, even when the sun drops from the sky, so to speak, they still don’t realise how God has been good to us, men, because of who He is.

David recognised the goodness of God towards us, men, can you? David’s psalm 8:3-4 -  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Oh, God, how we take for granted your quiet grace flowing out to us, all the time.

Next, we also give thank-giving praise and worship to God, for what He has specifically done in our lives.  Is it enough to have praised and worshiped Him for who He is or even for what He has done for us, generically (with other people also receiving along with us)?  The answer is no; NOT enough.  I give a simple illustration:

You have good parents, and I hope you have or have had (if you don’t, I pray you can learn to look to the Father God, for He is the perfect father; and He can be that perfect father to you, if you allow Him to).  Good parents being good, they of course, do all the base things, like they will provide you (FOC) good food, clothing and shelter, and if possible, education, and if they are believing parents, teach you and encourage you in the things of the faith.  When you were small, the breakfast was made ready waiting for you to eat; your school uniform ironed and ready for you to wear, before you go to school, and when you come back home, lunch or dinner were also provided for you.  These formed some of the “backdrops” of your life.  Many of us then, did NOT think very much about how good our parents have been.  Some of us might have even considered it natural of them, the parents, to do all of those backdrops, for that was what they were – good parents and good parents do those things-what!

The more appreciative ones amongst us, might have thanked our parents from time to time, for all the goodness they did in the “background things”.  But over and on top of these, there are many other things good parents do for their children, which their children ought to have noted and expressed their appreciation, too.  For example, I did this:

My kids (or even your kids or any school kid) were supposed to take care of this: to bring whatever books, files, homework or project work, etc, to school according to their school timetables.  One of my kids, repeatedly, forgotten to bring this and that, to school, and he would be punished for the oversight.  Some of the times, I would separately bring the stuff to school for him; that was really NOT what I was supposed to do; it was the kid’s reasonable duty to take care of that.  Shouldn’t he, my boy, be thankful for my coming to his aid for the specific problems he got himself into, which reasonably he ought NOT have gotten into?! 

The process of him realising he was NOT doing his part, and then asking for help, and then learning, albeit over multiple occasions, to be appreciative and thankful, did him good.  Especially, the last bit of it, the appreciation and thankfulness bit, when he repeatedly did that (for he repeated his mistakes), it NOT only showed his attitude (that he took NOT, his father for granted, after some time), it tenderised his heart (heart gets hardened when we numb our conscience) as he was before his father, and expressed his appreciation, each time. 

I am NOT God, and so, occasionally, I would tell him I could NOT make it (can be that particular time, the punishment would NOT be too serious for the boy; or it could be I really I had something very important to attend to).  That too, he soon learned to be appreciative.  Do you know that God, sometimes, does the same, although NOT for the reason that He cannot be omni-present (or that He cannot send his angel); only I am limited, God is NOT; but God does want us to appreciate there is such thing as our reasonable duty that we ought to learn to take care.

Thanking God, praising Him and worshiping Him for it, the “He gone out of His way to help you, specifically”, is important.  First, we need to understand that thanking, praising and worshiping, they are NOT blind, meaning you cannot say you express thanks when you thank nobody, you cannot say you praised and worshipped when you praised and worshipped nobody.  Who do you express thanks, praise and worship to?  If you are sincere, God will be right there, to receive your thanks, praise or worship. 

When our child wants to express thanks to us, parents, do you tell your child, “My boy, when you express your thanks, just face any tree you can find, and say it to the tree, or if you cannot find a tree, just say to the grass!”?  No; the same is with God, when you thank Him, praise Him and worship Him, it is NOT you are here, in this church hall, and God is light years away, in some corner of the universe, can’t see or hear you!  When your heart is right, He is right there in the room with you, to give ear to your expression. 

Nowadays, on the internet many interpretations are written for various verses in the Bible, and NOT surprising, Ps 22:3 is NOT spared.  But I will still say Ps 22:3 fits right in here.  And the version that fits it in, is the KJV: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Some people, being legalistic, they would say, “If God has to inhabit the praises of God’s people, then we are bigger than God!” or “If God lives on the praises of His people, then God is here when we praise, AND God is NOT here when we do all of the other stuff, like praying, etc”.  Some even suggested that mutual exclusivity of verses implied this cannot be translation, that God inhabits the praises of people, arguing that Scripture has this verse of, when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, God will be in their midst, with no praise mentioned in this “gathering” verse!  Or another said, “If God inhabits the praises of the people, we could manipulate God!”

To me, what David was trying to express was that despite, he then, NOT seeing the hand of God for him (Ps 22:1-2) (NOT yet), God was righteous (I use a lesser word to holy, just to make it easier to understand), and God was always being praised (or thankfully praised) (by the Israelites, the people of God).  Was David saying God was present, “evidenced” by the praises of the people?  Yes.  The Tabernacle and the Temple with presence of God in the Tabernacle or Temple, it primed people to have that understanding, and David was with that understanding, and David came up with the Tabernacle of Praise.  What do you think motivated David to set up the Tabernacle of Praise; I say, it is because he understood God inhabits the praises of the people.  And where God is truly enthroned, there is bound to be praises as an element of His glory (I explain this a little further down this article).

Now if I eat plain bread always (like for every meal), it is either I love plain bread, like it so much, that when you say there is plain bread, I would come to devour it, or I really don’t like it, but it is about the cheapest stuff I can afford, so, I eat it so very often!  Now, God is NOT me, the latter (reason) cannot be the case for God; if He doesn’t like, He does NOT need to eat it, does He?!  Of course, NOT.  It (His inhabiting the praises) is because God loves it, the praises.  If He does NOT like it, He can, NOT eat it, silly; He is God! 

We just had Palm Sunday (and Easter is coming).  In the first Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-40), when Jesus was entering Jerusalem, and when multitudes and Jesus’ disciples praised God, some Pharisees told Jesus to stop His disciples.  Jesus answered, “"I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."

Jesus said the very stones would praise God.  In other words, God wants the praises; if there was no praise, God would make the stones praise Him. 

True praises speak of who God is.  This scene was an “enthroning” scene.  Where God is truly enthroned, who He is, just necessarily “occupies” or “fills” the place or atmosphere.  The same was shown us of the throne in Heaven.  But before we look there, I remind that when Jesus first came, was born, there was praise; Luke 2:13 – “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

In the Book of Revelation, God was shown enthroned, and praise was in the air – the 4 heavenly creatures (although NOT stones) were praising God, 24/7 (day and night).  Praises and worship of Him show who God is; where He is truly enthroned, there you will find praise and worship.  It is so wrong to insinuate we, men, are bigger, because God “needs” us to praise Him, or that we could manipulate God!  So very silly, God “needs” you to share the Gospel or do the Great Commission, you are bigger than God; you can manipulate God?

An acceptable way of viewing praise and worship is that it is part of or an element of His manifold glory.  Scripture speaks about us to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.  How do we do that?  Ps 29:2 gives us one important way – “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.  It is part of God’s glory, if you don’t give it, He may make the creatures or even the stones, to cry out the praise and worship.  So, it is right and proper for us, and we should do it, to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name, whenever there has been a specific works God done for us, and the way we do that includes giving thanksgiving praise.

What we are to go away with, on this (this revelation on “God inhabits the praises and worship”), is: Where God is enthroned, praises and worship will most likely to be present, as a manifest of His glory; and when there are praises and worship done in spirit and in truth, God is most likely to come there.  We don’t manipulate Him (and don’t do that, please); we invite Him to come to take the seat of highest honor in the house, so to speak, with our praise and worship, and He will come.

Bro Anthony, can you give us a precise example from Scripture where praise and worship was employed to usher the coming of God, and God came and acted in favour? Yes, I can:

There was a time when Judah, under King Jehoshaphat, was about to be invaded by a vast army made up of men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir; and the King was at a loss of how they could defeat the enemy.  The King and the Israelites went before God, and a prophet received the assurance that God would be on their side and that they should NOT be afraid to face the enemy, the next day. 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 reads,

“21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

Have you heard it said, praise and worship is for our good? Why praise and worship is for our good!  One angle to look at this, is: Because He is invited, and when He comes, who He is, is here.  One manifest of who He is, we have talked about, is praise and worship is present when He is present (praise and worship itself can be spirit-lifting for those present; that too, is a reason why I praise and worship God like there is no tomorrow, in church services; blessing to the body); other elements of who He is, are likely to manifest, too, and it will be good and goodness to us. 

If you cannot picture it (how it can only be good to us), picture the horrible Satan gate-crashes your party; what would happen.  Now, think about God is here, in your party. 

Now, if you still cannot get the picture, think of yourselves as children having family time with our parents; what would the loving parents do? Their love manifest forth.  The mother will go to the kitchen and see if she could come up with some food and drinks.  Dad may say, “Son, I remembered you wanted this nice backpack that you could use to go mountain-climbing.  Here, I did get it for you.  I thought I will give it to you sometime, but well, you can have it now!” When God is here, who He is manifests; His glory manifests, His holiness manifests, His love manifests, His goodness manifest, His grace and mercy manifests.  How can you be in all of these, brought on, because God is here, because you have invited Him by your praise and worship, when the sweet aroma of it reaches Him, but will NOT be touched by God, if you allow Him to; and that (allowing) must include allowing God to “do to us” what He considers best for us.  The good parents, when they know how certain food is NOT good for you, they would bring out, none, to you, for they stock none of it, in the fridge!  Only good can come to you when you truly praise and worship Him, the good God, because He comes.

You want God to come; you invite Him, by praising and worshiping Him.  You don’t manipulate Him; rather you give Him the seat of highest honor.  And you wait upon Him, and you can petition consistent to His will.

Anthony Chia, high.expression - Lord, I learn, even as I pen this article.  Thank you, Lord. Amen.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

There is a Creator God I can identify with, says the cichlid fish, what about you?

Preamble: This article, the bulk of the content comes from my own comment for a blog entry by a US pastor, Ps Prentis.  Ps Prentis’ article can be accessed here: Hardened hearts won’t understand

My understanding of the finches (subject) of Charles Darwin from which all of the various evolutionary hypothesis and theories “evolve” from, are different species of the same kind.  The kind is finch, and there were many different featured (eg. different beak shapes or sizes) finches, but they were still finches. 

Human being or Man, is a kind.  And so, although an “ang mo” pastor (referring to the US pastor, Ps Prentis) and I share many common features, we do have different features, for I am a Chinese man and he is “ang mo” man, but we are both man, NOT monkeys.  Monkey is another kind. 

On the Galapagos islands (the location of Darwin’s study), there were tortoises, iguanas, even mocking birds, apart from the species of the finches.  In fact, each island was dominated by particular finch(es), but there were of course, “cross-living”, just like, we do find “ang mo” men in Singapore, and a (the) US pastor could find Chinese men in his state.  But there was no such thing (NOT even hypothesis of it, then) like iguanas were evolved from the tortoises or the other way round, or that any of birds of air, somehow were evolved from the land kinds.  There was not even the hypothesis, then, of the finches could have evolved from the mocking birds or vice versa.  So much for evolution of Man from monkey!

As to questioning of miracles, we can say the same thing, too, of the evolution (evolutionists commonly claim that there is no duplication of the miracles of Jesus, like feeding of 5,000, and Jesus’ walking on water), that no one has duplicated the evolution of a monkey into a man, either!  Bible has account of oil that did NOT run out (until all the containers were used up); I have heard of testimony of little food or petrol that did NOT run out too (until certain event happens, like when additional provision has arrived).  It is NOT uncommon to hear of testimony of cars running on almost empty tank driven by believers, could still move for many tens of kilometres until a petrol source is reached.  Well, I have seen legs grew just by my prayer to the Lord for it to grow!  Can one explain how it can be humanly possible for me to have accomplished it, based on my own ability!  If such miracles still happen today, why is it NOT possible, in the days of Jesus walking the earth, that those miracles recorded in the Word, did happen?

All of these “gravity defying” scenarios are possible because there is a Creator God.  God is the Creator of all of the universe, and as the Creator, He could modify and change things around, for, as the El Shaddai, the all powerful, He has the power and means to accomplish anything and everything.  Scripture recorded for us, that He could simply speak things, including living things, into being.  Well, if there had been one initial “Big Bang”, why is it NOT possible that, that initial big bang was work of God, the Creator, or used of, by God (I am NOT necessarily supporting the “Big Bang” theory).

I am NOT saying we are gods (as in Jesus is God, or God is God; god in Scripture can mean judge or magistrate) but we are creators after God, though of a lesser degree.  A simple illustration or metaphor I can give, is this: 

Imagine there is a cichlid fish (a very common and “hardy” fish) in a large aquarium.  When it first came into the tank, it saw there were some other fishes it had NOT seen before.  Every day it would find food in the tank (dropped in by the owner - you), and it would eat it, like we eat vegetables or fruits from the plants of the earth.  It also find that it needed to carve out a territory for itself (cichlids are very territorial), and would fight for its space and food.  Occasionally, it would find worms in the tank (again, dropped in by you), and it would eat them, too, like we eat meat from animals of the earth. 

It would, at times, fight with other fishes, and even managed to kill some of them.  But typically, it does NOT eat up the entire carcass, but would devour the eyes of the dead fish(!), leaving the carcass to pollute the water. And so, from time to time, it finds the water in which it lives becomes refreshed (water-change by you), and its enclave got “wrecked” (by you, when you were changing the water and cleaning the tank).  Occasionally, it could see this peculiar but powerful thing moving about in the tank; that is your hand! And then, it found new plants appeared; and new fishes, too, and even some others, of its kind, cichlids.  And some of the cichlids looked every different but they were of the same kind, cichlids.  By the way, there are over 1,400 species of cichlids in the world.  And “bless its soul”, it finds one cichlid it likes, and mates up with her.  It brings her into his enclave, and jointly, they beautify their home (Cichlids would pick up tiny objects with their mouths, and then spew them out at specific area or target).

Did the cichlid create the entire environment that he has found himself to be in?  No, he, being in the environment, explored it, and then carved out a place he called his own.  You are the creator of its environment, just like God created the entire environment that we are in.

Did the environment of the cichlid remained constant?  Not really.  Did it, the cichlid, contribute to the instability of the environment?  Yes, it did, with its own discharge (its own shit, high in certain chemicals which when reached certain level would be harmful to the fishes themselves), and with its other activities, like killing and leaving carcasses in the water.  Who was monitoring the going-on in the environment of the cichlid?  You - as the creator and owner of the aquarium.

Then, does NOT the cichlid find new lives, it cannot account for?  What do you think should go through the “head” of the fish?  “Some “God” created the universe, all that there is, here, including lives.  He has given me a mate, too, and now I, too, can produce my own kind.  How great is this “God”, that He could defy gravity, so to speak, miraculously, have the water refreshed, for example! ….”  Who is this “God”?  You!

See, to the cichlid, things were bigger than life, so to speak, but as suggested in the preceding para., it has the heart {or mind of its soul} to know there is a “God” - you!  And there were miracles it could NOT explain.  Do you have your heart so hardened you can perceive no longer, there is a God?  Is your heart so hardened that you would NOT give Him, the honour and glory due Him? Romans 1:20-21 put it this way:

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  (I encourage you to read my separate exposition of Romans 1:20 - “We are without excuse”)

Is there no way out for the ones hardened of heart?  The posture of God concerning this, can be gleaned from these words of Jer 29:12-14:

12'… call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 … seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore …

Today, begin to call upon the God of the universe.
Today, pray to Him. He will listen to you.
Today, seek Him with all your heart.
He will allow Himself to be found by you. And He will restore you.
He will change your heart of stone to the heart of flesh.
He will cause the scales on your eyes to fall off.
He will allow you to know Him (ginosko-know – know Him in a personal way).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

PS1: “Bro Anthony, you don’t believe in evolution at all?”  My current position is along this line:
My position is CLOSER TO what has come to be termed as "biblical evolution", where I believe that God created a set of "kinds" of plants and animals at the beginning.  The many kinds and species have passed through some biological changes with the passage of time and changes to the environment or habitat.  There has been, and nature will continue to have, adaptation or “micro level evolution”, but central to my belief is still that human beings or Man was literally created in God's image, as given us in the Book of Genesis. My view rejects any evolution theory (and there are many evolution theories put forward by people) that claims that Man is evolved from monkey.

Central to my rejection above is that Man and animals are unlike in that Man is tripartite (spirit, soul and body), whereas animals are only with soul and body (life + form).  An animal cannot evolve to be a man.  Man is a special kind of its own, a special life-form that has a spirit that came from God, the Creator (Unlike for animals or plants, for Man, God breathed His breath into Man at Creation [For clearer understanding of this, read this article of mine: Man is Tripartite]).

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