Monthly Archives: November 2014


By Kiang P Lee

Greetings once more friends the world over! May the joys of Christmas be yours, and a reward-filled New Year await you!

It is that time of year which believers with genuine hearts, apart from all the distractions, celebrate with true rejoicing hearts. It is a story which carries such deep spiritual meaning with equally transcendent impact beyond any story man could have written. Why, because the story of Christmas, or the birth of the Messiah, is God’s own story about mankind. It’s time we read the whole story as God tells us, and celebrate it as a gift from God as we enter this season of rejoicing.

The Shepherds Visit the baby Jesus – a small section of the large altarpiece in the Certosa in Naples (Wiki Commons) 

Glad Tidings

God had His prophet Micah predict the birth of Jesus this way, “As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, even though you remain least among the clans of Judah, nevertheless, the One who rules in Israel for Me will emerge from you. His existence has been from antiquity, even from eternity” (Micah 5:2). It is clear the Messiah’s progeny is key to His role as Savior – He exists from eternity, He is the Son of God.

The Ambiguous Story of Jesus

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let’s go back to the beginning to recap God’s story for man. For too long the message of Jesus Christ as the Savior has been cloaked in ambiguity because it is being told from the middle of God’s own story about man. There is one message millions have heard about Christ – Jesus died for your sins to save you. (John 3:16) Important as that is, it does not tell the full story. Not even half the story. When you read a book from the middle, you’re always left with many ‘whys’ as you go along because you don’t know what had gone on before. It’s so vital to understand that the incarnation comes before the redemption. So the onus is upon story-tellers to tell the full account of God’s story of man so hearers understand the fundamental imperative for a Messiah. So, many a non-believer has asked, why must my sins be forgiven? Why must it be Jesus and not someone else? Why must He dieThe predictable reply is Jesus is God’s own Son, and He died to save man from his sins. Yet again, the person snaps back, but why – to what end? Right here, we have a coin-toss for the many answers that Christians give. Take your pick! We will see at the end of of the three-part write-up, there is only one answer God gives us when we understand the full story.

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Angel Announcing the Birth Of Jesus to Shepherds Stained Glass 1691 (Wiki Commons)

Reasons to Believe

One reason given is, so you can go to heaven when you die – but why is that so important? By obtaining a ticket into heaven, you obviously exchanged it for your ticket to hell because of your sins. Why heaven, what’s in there for me? What is hell anyway, has anyone been there to tell its horrific tale as the claim suggests? How does God’s Love reconcile with such a place as hell?

Take the prosperity gospel, it seems the proponents of this belief care just for the here and now. Perhaps heaven and hell is too far-fetched for them. Then, there are those who believe in Jesus because of one’s tradition, as it were a family or village custom to become a believer. It’s just rubber-stamping, but does it mean anything to the person? There are those who believe Jesus is a great moral teacher who came to make this a better world – much like Buddha, nothing more or less.

The Pew Research group says, “A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life.” ( So, Jesus’ birth as man’s only Savior is now snubbed by His own followers. “Nearly half (47%) says that one’s actions are the key to determining eternal fate, with nearly one-third (29%) saying that being a good, moral person is the key to everlasting life.” So your moral compass means more to your eternal fate than Jesus.  A Barna survey says that most Christians don’t believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit exists. ( So, one may adopt his/her brand of faith before a smorgasbord of beliefs. Sadly, this is the upshot of religion dictating a relationship which God intended from the beginning to be personal and one-on-one. What do we believe? Why this confusion? Because the Christian message is unclear and ambiguous.

The Full Story

Let’s take God’s story from the beginning so we are not left with many ‘whys’ about God’s call to His purpose for providing a Messiah. The only reason God made man is revealed in these words He uttered from the beginning, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so they may have dominion over the earth.” (Gen.1:26-30) It’s plain, it’s simple. You can say it bears the title of the God’s book about man. I will share the story of God about man in three parts, with God’s Son as the central part of its theme.


Now, from Adam to this day, God has never deviated from His story line for mankind with His Son as central to its theme. The story of man’s own history upon this earth has been a mixture of experiences of “good and evil.” There have been many horrendous stories of man as there are helpful ones. In modern times many have not forgotten the atrocities perpetrated in the death camps of World War Two. We can go further back and recount many equally horrific acts of man’s inhumanity to man. There have been good done also, like what we have witnessed in recent history in the field of education, the sciences, technology, medical advancement, transportation, and so forth. Yet, despite the ‘good’ man has witnessed, his knowledge has also been used to create weapons of mass destruction that’s capable of wiping man from the face of the earth. Akin to Winston Churchill words, man’s own story has been “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

God had warned Adam, if he went down this path and write his own story about man, he would live a life of “good and evil” that was depicted in the forbidden fruit he and his wife Eve were deviously led to partake. Though there was ‘good,’ it was not God’s goodness, but man’s duplicitous good. (Isa.64:6; Jer.17:9; Rom.3:23) God’s goodness produces an authentic good that’s represented in the “Tree of life,” which was also in the Eden. (Gen.2:9)

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life was man’s salvation. It represented all the goodness and grace of God to man. Adam botched it, plain and simple. And mankind have been recipients of Adam’s story humans have been writing and rewriting for six thousand years of history. It’s the story of man’s stamp of good and evil in the world that’s leading to a certain dark future. Not unless, Someone steps in to stop this tide of ‘madness’ at its tracks. This is where the birth of the Messiah is ushered in which we celebrate today. Very simply, He came to take us to the Tree of Life which Adam failed to do. For in the Tree of life, God’s story about man can be written, and is being rewritten. The Tree of Life is the metaphor for the Holy Spirit who brings God’s Love to flow in us like a river of living waters. (Rom. 5:5; John 7:37-39)

I would like to present God’s story about man in 3 broad parts. In this piece we will cover part one, and parts two and three before we come to Christmas, 2014.

Tree of Life – Sculpture by Beth Erez (Wiki Commons)

Part One

When God said He created man for the purpose of irrevocably fashioning man in His own image and likeness, we have to ask whywhat, how, and when about His story as it relates to you and me. His story about man has always been a personal story about you and me, just as it was personal with Adam and Eve. His work of fashioning man in His image can only be done on a personal, one-on-one basis. There was no religion around to dictate Adam and Eve’s relationship with God. Maybe there was, in the form of the intruder, the devil himself. He’s not asking you to join a religion which dictates your relationship with Him.

Our relationship with God is not based upon a system of beliefs but a relationship of Love with the Person whose birthday we honor at this time of year. He is the central theme in God’s story about man. We encounter Him in His Word, the Bible. Jesus is the Personified Word of God, and we have the Bible as the literal Word of God. We find our place in the world through His Word (Jesus). No religion can lead us to our destiny in Christ. Only God can lead us through each of our gifts He  bequeaths upon us on a personal, one-on-one basis. Our gifts is our personality embodied in the Tri-Personal Loving Being of God. Religion cannot do for God what only God can do for and by Himself. Nothing must and stand between you and God. He desires a personal relationship with you, directly. Jesus was born for that very purpose. That’s the important criterion to understand about the story of man God has written in the past, is doing now, and into the future. It is a story penned in the heart of each individual on the basis of a personal relationship with each man, woman, and child that’s ever been born. (Heb.8:10)


Why… should I be conformed to His image and likeness, I may ask? Because of His Love, and because He is Love! It’s plain and it’s simple, yet mind-boggling in its scope. God wanted man to share in everything that He Is, and who He Is – His image is His Love – because He can never deviate from doing things out of the magnanimity of His Love. We are told in Scripture, “God is Love” (1John 4:8). He is not made of Love – His IS Love! God is forever “giving,” that’s what Love does. From eternity, God exist in their Tri-Personal life through the power of their Love for each other. Man’s very existence is the result of the ongoing flow of God’s Love within His Triune Being flowing out to man. Were it not so, we would cease to exist altogether. God’s Love is like a river which flows and enriches everything and everyone in its path and never takes back. (John 7:37-39) It is hard to comprehend God’s ever-giving Love, when we have for six thousand years lived in the story line of self-centeredness Adam has penned for man. Man has always been about himself. He is fallen, depraved and corrupt. Even the good he does is done with an ulterior motive. (Jer.17:9) Jesus was born to unify mankind to the Tri-Personal Being and Love of God. God seeks a relationship of Love with man as His very own children as Jesus is His Son. God’s story of man tells us how he plans to do just that.

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A Vital Part of Wisdom – Asking Questions (Wiki Commons)


What… is His image and likeness? Love cannot exist in isolation. So, when He said “Let Us…make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” in the Genesis creation account of man, He was revealing Himself as existing in His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen. 1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word “Elohim” describes a uniplural God. God is Trinitarian in His nature. Love by its nature is relational. Is it possible for God who is Love to exist in isolation, in solitude – unaccompanied, secluded, alone in self-absorbed existence? If God were one solitary person, with no one to love and share His divine Being, then His affirmation that “God is Love” would be meaningless. (1 John 4:8) And we know God is Tri-Personal and spirit-composed, and we are solitary, self-absorbed humans made of flesh and blood. “Likeness” means to become ONE and alike. It is to be natured in the Love of God which binds us as ONE. God’s purpose is to make His people become ONE where they are of a single identity or image of Love in Him, not apart from Him. He seeks to make us His very own children so He can shower all His Love upon us.

God is composed of three Love Personalities, as Father, Son, and Spirit, in ONE Triune Being. And so is mankind composed of many different gifts and personalities God has conferred upon us through the Spirit. We are united in our diverse personalities in His Triune Being of Love. Our numerous and distinct personalities and gifts reveal the greatness of God who created and Loves us as His children. To conform to that image of the Tri-Personal God composed in Love is what salvation is to mankind. We may have different ways to explain salvation, but its essence is to conform as One in the image of God who is Love. Hence, we are told, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of (of LOVE of) his Son” (Rom.8:29, emphasis added). As I said earlier, this is the basis of how God’s story of man is written. It is based upon the Triune Love relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, where we are brought into a personal relationship with each other within the Triune Being of God Himself in Christ. Jesus unified our humanity to the Trinitarian God as the prophesied Emmanuel. (Isa. 7:14; Matt.1;23)

Our mentality and psyche for living ought always to be that we are walking on the very grounds, and in the midst, of the Tri-Personal Being of God in the all sufficiency and expectation of His Triune Love.

 How… yes, how is God possibly going to make this “Triune-likeness” mandate happen? How will God go about making man, whom He has made of flesh and blood, into a spirit-composed person, and a Love-composed person as He IS?

The answer… We’ll answer the How question more in-depth in part two, but suffice to say that only Someone from within the Triune Godhead can take man and change man into the Trinitarian likeness and Life of God (Love). That’s the only way, there is no other way. It’s much like trying to domesticate a beast from the wild. We train it to give the animal, say a chimpanzee, some semblance of our humanity in order to live among us. We remove its wild instincts and to some degree instill the human spirit in it. Most times it’s to reflect our humorous spirit in the animal. Why is the dog call man’s best friend? We have seen and continue to see many animated movies that have been produced along this theme. Man trains the chimpanzee to project the image he wants the chimpanzee to adopt. When the beast cannot be domesticated and continues to be untameable, it is let back into the wild. That’s why certain animals, like a lion, cannot be domesticated because it is untameable.

So in like manner, only Jesus, who is God as the Father and the Spirit, and who comes from the Triune Godhead, is man’s doorway into the Tri-Personal Love-Being of God. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Now we can understand why Jesus was emphatic about what He said about Himself – why He had to come, be born a human, be fully God and fully human, live, die, and be resurrected so man can be unified to God forever – through no other way, but in and through Jesus.

That is why the Messiah came. That is why it had to be Jesus. That is why Jesus was born. That is why, in the true spirit of Christmas, we have much more than we realize to rejoice over. As I intimated, the message of His death seems to dominate the airwaves, that is ‘redemption’ – but the ‘incarnation’ is the doorway to ‘redemption.’ If there is no ‘incarnation’ (image and likeness, Immanuel), there is no ‘redemption.’

We will answer the how and when of God’s story about man as it’s seen through the birth of Christ in parts two and three. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on


Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic Triune Living as a Bula man-river.*

Kiang,                                                                                                                                                         (Your Servant in Christ) 

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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“Give Thanks to The LORD, for He is Good; His Love Endures Forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:24

Greetings Friends the world over! This is the time for Thanksgiving in America. Thanksgiving Day is on Thursday, November 26, 2015.

To be thankful is the essence of the human spirit which stands inviolate and knows no borders. It is the spirit which undergirds human relationships. It is the epitome for good in all people. Sometimes gratitude does not come easily because of our biases and prejudices. To say “thank you” is to express the dignity and decency of our humanity replicated in the Creator’s likeness. “Thank you,” (English) “Danke” (German), “Mahalo” (Hawaiian), “Merci” (French), “xiexie” (Chinese), “Terima Kasih” (Malay), “Takk” (Norwegian), “Kamasahamnida” (Korean), “Paldies” (Latvian), “Gracias” (Spanish), “Spasibo” (Russian), “Dhayavad” (Hindi), “Dziekuje,” (Polish), “Obrigado” (Portuguese), “Vinaka” (Fijian), and hundreds and thousands of languages and dialects all speak the language of this larger-than-life divine attribute. Let’s talk “Thanksgiving” today.

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“Rest and Be Thankful” Bench at Gortin Glens Forest Park, UK (Wiki Commons)

Where, how, and when did Thanksgiving began? In America we usually reflect on our colonial history and tell the story of the Pilgrims and native Americans coming together to celebrate their harvest in the autumn of 1621. That’s all fine, and I find the story inspiring each time I learn fresh bits of information. It was reported the Wampanoag native tribe arrived bearing five deer for the feast. And of course, an abundance of turkey caught in the wild, I’m sure. Although it was not known then by a thanksgiving label, it was obvious gratitude was the prevailing mood among the Pilgrims and indigenous natives. It was reported that they celebrated for three days, not just one. They were thankful to God for surviving the hardships they endured in the New World, for the religious freedom they now enjoyed, and for the successful harvest and bounty before them.

“Thanksgiving” & Eden

Much later, by Presidential edict a day was set aside for a national day of Thanksgiving. But let’s step further back in history and see where thanksgiving truly began. Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden – yes, as far back as the very beginning. Here, we’ll find where the spirit of “thanksgiving” all started. For the most part, the story of Adam and Eve almost invariably gravitate to their disobedience, right? We don’t look at the life they lived before being alienated from Eden. There is no record how long Adam and Eve remained faithful to God before the fall. Some have postulated that it was 33 years, the same age Jesus lived on earth. Whatever that may be, the point is it is sad that the brief moment of indiscretion had overshadowed the many years Adam and Eve lived in complete joy and happiness with their Maker. This is important, for the life Adam and Eve had with God was the kind of life God had in mind for mankind. It was a relationship that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God. It was a relationship based upon His Love for man which is the sole reason why He created man. What we see in history in the post-Eden era of man, is six thousand years of human experience lived apart from God. Though not apart from His supreme sovereignty.

Gratitude – A Way of Life in Eden

The truth is: being appreciative and thankful was a way of life for Adam and Eve as long as God was in their lives. Adam and Eve did not live like Neanderthal cavemen trying to eke out a living. No, they lived in God’s glorious company. Our educational system in supporting evolutionary science (so-called) place our children at a great disadvantage in this area of human origin. Think about this, Eden was a garden planted with God’s own hands. He handed it to our first parents with all the blessings of a home where they could live a life of unbelievable miraculous manifestation and live happily as humans. Adam never dropped a sweat off his brow. Eden was handed to him and his wife on a platter – literally. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, said that fruit trees in Eden would automatically produce fruits right before our first parents’ eyes when they were hungry. Imagine what that’s like? Adam’s thoughts had the power to materialize what he desired into reality. What do you think happened when God brought the animals to Adam to be named? “Whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name” (Gen.2:19). The nature of things is revealed by its name. Could it be that God gave Adam to decide the nature of the living creatures. Adam was completely united with God in Love. All creatures were tame. Mankind has drifted so far away from God that he has no inkling of the kind of life He desires to give man.

Was It a Legalistic Union?

God could well have pointed a dense jungle to Adam and said, “I want you both to go out there and make us a garden-home where we can all live together. I know it’s going to be tough, but it will be good for character-building. Your performance will be a reward of itself when the garden is complete.” No, but unfortunately, many a legalist would have us believe God to be like that. And sadly many a believer has fallen for that kind of relationship with God. The legalist would have you believe God would never plant a garden for you—you are to plant it for yourself. He would not fight your battles for you—you are to fight your own battles. Of course that is what the “solitary life”** brings us. They are proponents of the belief there has to be something we do to earn God’s Love. If that’s so, then whatever man does in his “solitary” expression will be reward unto itself, so at the end of the day, he has no one to thank, but himself. Is it any wonder then that they live thankless lives, because they can’t see God as the Mover and Shaker in their lives? How can we see God in this way where He is the Mover and Shaker in our lives? How do we find every reason to thank Him? Or, is it hard to find reason to thank Him, if ever?

Instruction Was a “Thank You,” Not “Payback”

What was the only instruction God gave Adam? What were they to do with their lives and their beautiful garden-home? They were “to work it and watch over Eden, and to not eat from the tree of the fruit of good and evil” – or the forbidden fruit (Gen.2:15, 17, emphasis added). Adam and Eve were to take good care of Eden, their home. And right here – here’s where the origin of gratitude and where thanksgiving began. It began with the Creator giving Adam and Eve every blessing so they would enjoy living in His presence, and giving them a purpose and calling. This is the very first directive God gave man – what do you think was Adam’s response when he looked around him, and: 1> He was told he was created from the soil on which he stood. 2> He saw the most beautiful woman created with God’s own hands, his wife Eve, as his fitting life-partner. 3> He saw this most beautiful garden-home call Eden, with all the abundance to keep them alive and healthy. Then, they were to export this Edenic model in their dominion over the whole earth. 4> He saw God living and walking with them, and gave them gifts to live a purposeful life.  5> They saw how this relationship created the incredible ongoing miraculous life of living their destiny. There was nothing they saw in all this they could attribute to themselves and pat themselves on the back – none whatsoever. 6> Every single day they experienced the Love of the only Father they knew – God!

Here’s where the very first act of man to his Father comes through: Adam’s responsibility of “keeping and caring for Eden, and not eating from the tree of good and evil” was their way of saying “Thank You” to God for His Love. It was their act of worship and gratitude. That was the first and natural reaction of humans to God their Father – to respond to what they saw around them, acknowledge the Love of the generous Giver, and say “Thank You, God.” That was all – what else could be more fitting than a heartfelt “Thank You.” Nothing more and nothing less! The act of gratitude is an act of Love flowing back to the God who is Love and who lives for Love.


Cornucopia, Emblem of Thanksgiving for Abundance. Thanksgiving Dinner Aboard USS Ship (Wiki Commons Public Domain)

Love is “Free” 

This was a relationship based upon Love that can only be exchanged “freely.” Love is unconditional. It also tells us the basic determination God had in mind when He created humans in His own image. And what’s that? He determined to give and bless man with everything out of His Love, so that man will enjoy living in His presence. And that was how the dynamism of God’s Love permeated all of Eden and Adam and Eve’s relationship with their Maker and Father. It was to make man see and never doubt where his happiness stem from, and how and to whom he is to respond with his gratitude and worship. There’s no price tag attached to this relationship. The relationship in God’s Love was very simple – there is a Giver who lives to freely give His Love for He is Love; and there’re humans who live to receive Love for he is the vessel for God’s Love – and whose response is to live life purposefully and worship and give thanks to the Great Giver. To give thanks is an act of Love. God will not spare anything from man, whom He has made in His likeness. That would be tantamount to denying Himself. Later, His Love would not hold back His only Son but sacrificed Him for man.

Love Cannot be “Repaid”

The act of taking care of Eden was not to “repay” God as it were a legalistic duty. Love can never be repaid. True Love travels one-way, and never expects to be repaid. Jesus said, “If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? But lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High” (Luk.6:33-35). Jesus was talking about God’s divine Love. That is man’s purpose: to be a vessel for the divine Love through his God-ordained calling. If you pay for something, then it becomes a “trade.” By its very nature, Love can never be traded. Think of the sunshine, the air we breathe, the water we get from our rivers and lakes? Think of our earth that hangs in the blackness of space? Can man imagine a way in which to repay God?

God’s Love is His unearned favor to man. Love is priceless. What price tag do you place on His Love for you? For Adam, do you think “working and watching over Eden, and not eating of the fruit of good and evil” was enough to repay or earn God’s Love? There is only one response that God’s Love can generate and trigger in us – all we can say to God’s Love is – “Thank you.” There is nothing else to say. There is not a word in any language which could adequately express our gratitude to God for His Love. God’s Love is not for sale. You can’t buy Love. You can only live it by giving it away and pleasing the One who Loves you by Loving in return. We can’t say “If I obey God – “work and watch my garden, and be obedient” – He will bless me.” That’s extortion, not Love. The miraculous life in His divine purpose comes from a Love that cannot be earned, not because of our obedience. We don’t “obey” God, we Love God. For Adam and Eve, their calling in “working and watching over Eden and not eating the forbidden fruit” was an act of Love and gratitude, not legalistic “obedience,” for God’s Love for them. “Working and watching over Eden and being obedient” was going to be their life’s calling and purpose. Therefore, all of life with its gift, is an act of gratitude. Life is an act of gratitude. Gratitude is an act of Love.

We would find the true meaning to life if we remember God our Father did not create us out of a judgmental conviction so we may live in fear of Him, but out of the wellspring of His unmerited Love so we can Love Him in return“Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psa. 118:1-2). Humans are miracles waiting to happen when they believe God is the Mover and Shaker in their lives.If we don’t have thankfulness in our hearts, then we’re not living His divine purpose in the miraculous life springing out of His Love, which in turn generates joy and thanksgiving in our hearts. 

God Provided “Freely” for Israel’s Well-Being

When we look in the Bible, do we find this miraculous life happening on this side of the post-Eden era? The answer is a resounding “yes.” More remarkably, it happened on a national scale. > This relationship with God, though alienated by Adam, was once more brought to earth with Abraham’s encounter with God. Through Abraham’s faithfulness God called him a friend and their relationship was bound by a covenant which extended to his descendants and eventually the nation of Israel. > Israel found itself a slave people in Egypt. God remembered His covenant with Abraham, and through Moses He brought Israel out of slavery from Egypt. > How did He do it? By a series of miracles with His own hands, just as He planted Eden with His own hands! We know the story. Israel experienced the miraculous life and saw one miracle after another until the final miracle of the Passover forced Pharaoh’s hand to free the people. (Exodus chap. 3 to 12) > They left with riches handed to them by the petrified Egyptians. > They saw the pillar of fire leading them by night, and a pillar of cloud by day. > They saw the Red Sea part with their own eyes which allowed them safe passage across it. > They saw Pharaoh’s pursuing army drown as the sea collapsed upon them. > They celebrated and gave thanks for their deliverance. > They saw God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own hands at Sinai. > He miraculously fed them for 40 years in the desert where nothing could grow. Their clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on their feet. (Deut.8;4)

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Humanity’s Promise Land. View of The Earth Rising over The Moon’s Horizon from The Apollo 11 Spacecraft. (Pic: Wiki Commons Public Domain)

The Promise Land

> Finally, when they were ready to enter the Promise Land, He went before them and defeated Jericho in such a spectacular manner that it left no doubt in their minds God was leading them. > He drove out the inhabitants of the land, and gave > them cities they did not build > vineyards they did not plant > livestock they did not raise > homes they did not build or furnish > riches they did not acquire > wells they did not dig—with God Himself going before them as their Defense (Deut. 6:10-12; Ps. 46:1; Josh. 23:9-11). Just as God planted Eden for Adam and Eve, He handed Israel the Promise Land  – on a platter. The one singular reason this miraculous life was possible was because God was in Israel, as He was with Adam and Eve in Eden. As long as they lived in such an environment their lives was one continuous miraculous expression after another. In that kind of situation, it was hard, if not impossible, to be thankless. The people had to see God as the Mover and Shaker in their lives to generate awe and gratitude.

Israel’s Instruction

What was God’s instruction to Israel? Recall, this is the path of disobedience and mayhem Adam took humanity into the post-Eden era. Mankind has lived through so much pain and death under the influence of the unseen enemy. The flood of Noah had come and gone. Israel’s instruction was to keep the covenant. God told Israel, “Now if you obey me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine,  you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo.19:5-6).Israel answered, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do” (Exo.19:8). Where Adam’s gratitude for God’s Love was “to work and watch over Eden and being obedient in not eating the forbidden fruit,” Israel’s gratitude was to “keep My covenant.” That was Israel’s purpose and calling in life. Life was to be lived in a certain way as explained in the Commandments. The decree at creation for man to “have dominion over the earth” remained a constant. All the physical and material ancillary benefits they enjoyed from the Promise Land sprung from their calling and destiny as explained in the covenant. The Promise Land was given to fulfill Israel’s purpose. Listen to what Moses told Israel before they entered the Promise Land, “But you shall remember the Lord your God: for it is He that gives you power to get wealth,” and for what purpose? “…that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deut.8:18).

Living that life was their expression of gratitude for all the miraculous manifestations which saved them from slavery in Egypt and establish them as a nation, which continued to be manifested in their national life and purpose. But instead of “keeping the covenant” as an act of gratitude, it became a burden for them. They forgot their roots and how they came to be a people and nation descendant from the Abrahamic lineage and promise. They became a thankless nation. They desired to serve the gods of other nations around them. The ongoing miraculous manifestation was withdrawn due to unbelief in their purpose, and their lack of gratitude and worship of the God who has always been their salvation. God was no longer the Mover and Shaker in Israel.

Outline, Review

We know what happened? Let’s look back at this scenario presented to us. Adam failed, and so did Israel. Israel found itself back to where they started as a slave nation carted off by the northern kingdoms. Eden – gone! The Promise Land – gone! The presence of God which brought the miraculous life and divine purpose – gone! Their security and defense with angelic host that stood guard over Israel – gone! The thankful heart – gone! Man in the pre-Eden era had failed. Man in the post-Eden era had failed. You can say both sides of Eden was experimented on, our “solitary” self-centered way of life was put to the test, and found wanting. What happens now? God gave man the only answer.

Jesus the Second Adam

God sent the Second Adam in Jesus Christ, His Son. After seeing a thankless nation forsook His purpose and flout His covenant, He had the prophet Jeremiah foretell the establishment of a New Covenant in the Second Adam to do what the first Adam and Israel could not do. God said, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jer.31:33-34; Heb.8:10,12). Jesus lived a miraculous life healing all who came to Him with whatever disease and sickness. Not only physical but spiritual disease – He brought a spiritual message of the New Covenant from the Father. (Acts 10:38)

“Tree of Life”

Recall, it is sin which separates humans from God’s Presence and His miraculous manifestation in life. Jesus rectifies the mistake of the first Adam, redeeming man from the sin condition as Savior and Mediator, and takes man back to the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the metaphor for the Holy Spirit who brings to man the “Triune Life” of the “Bulamanriver.”* The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which we were made to partake through the first Adam, is a metaphor for a life of the self (the “solitary life”**) under the influence of the devil. Jesus said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). It is the Spirit who brings the miraculous life, and reveals our gift and purpose through which we live a thankful life.

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Rest and be Thankful Bench in England, Thought to have Been Built in the Late 19th Century (Wiki Commons)

Pentecost – Spirit of the Miraculous Life in Man

Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came, became the birth date of the Church. The main characteristic of its birth was the power of miraculous manifestation God gave it. It’s a power based upon God’s Love. (Rom.5;5) Prior to that, the disciples and the faithful were cowering in fear for their lives. We know the story in Acts 2. The Spirit gave them faith, purpose, conviction, and boldness they never had. They spoke in languages of the different populace that were there for the feast of Pentecost. Three thousand gave their lives to Christ that day. They healed the sick and maimed. With the Spirit’s move the people took the Gospel message back to their countries and homes. What a story to tell.

Man is given the Holy Spirit which brings this rebirth from the fallen condition he had in the first Adam, to the new life in Christ, the Second Adam. Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God (live the “Triune Life”) unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:5-6). This rebirth where, through repentance, we dispose of everything to do with the path of the “solitary life”** we inherited from Adam. The Second Adam comes with the Spirit who brings us the “Triune Life,” and the greater promise of eternal life. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “He (God) set His seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” It is the Spirit who brings the continuous miraculous manifestation into the life of the believer. Not only in terms of the physical, but more so the spiritual – we have an eternal High Priest in Christ and the Spirit who brings Jesus’ mediatory work in heaven into our lives. Our “Eden,” our “Promise Land,” is a heavenly one in Christ, which the Holy Spirit brings to us personally, each and every day.

Once more, just as God gave our first parents Eden, and Israel the Promise Land, freely our the abundance of His Love, today He does it again and gives us the Holy Spirit without price to be with us “forever.” (John 14:16,16:7) Speaking of the Spirit, the ancient prophet said, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isa.55:1-2, 12:3; John 7:38-39)

The Believer’s Calling – Eternal Absolution

What is our purpose under the New Covenant? Very simply, it is to receive with thanksgiving the Savior God has provided for our redemption. (John 3:16; John 16:8-11, note especially, V.9; Heb.8:10-12) He is Jesus Christ. It is the only way that God could “forgive our wickedness and remember our sins no more.” (V.12) Then in response to our faith in Jesus, our Father gives us the gift of the Spirit to “put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (V.10 a) Only then, through this Triune activity of God, He can now say,  “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (V.10 b) Man can now live the reborn “Triune Life.” How can we not respond in gratitude?

As fallen humans, we will never stop trespassing, and God will never stop forgiving us in His Son. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray daily for forgiveness. (Matt.6:12) This brings joy and gratitude in us because, as Paul tells us, we are declared “righteous” so we can remain in His Presence, and not be ejected from His Presence like Adam and Israel were. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21). That is the continuous miraculous manifestation of God’s Love we have in Christ – which we will have all the days of our lives to be thankful. Each and every day we are declared righteous to live the miraculous life which brings our purpose and all blessings physical and spiritual alike and to offer thanksgiving.

Our work, like Adam was given his work, and so was Israel, is to make this good news or Gospel of Jesus Christ known to all peoples and nations through the gifts and talents God has graciously blessed each of us. The gift represents your “Eden,” your “Promise Land,” whatever that may be in your life. You are to take care of it and God utilizes it to make His Son known to the people you come into contact. It doesn’t mean you have to be a preacher, but it is our example which counts. We are the living, breathing, practitioners of God’s Love. Our gifts don’t have to be of an ecclesiastical nature. The majority of us have secular occupational talents. Yet, God calls all believers part of His priesthood. (1 Pet.2:9) Your example speaks louder than your words. ”Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt.28:18-20). Paul tell us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph.2:10) “Good works” means our gift, calling, and destiny in the body of Christ.

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However We’ll Celebrate Thanksgiving 2015, Let’s Reflect and Thank God for His Profound and Immeasurable Love for His Creation and Mankind (Wiki Commons)

We should understand the effect of how the New Covenant is presented and the manner it is brought to work in human life in true Triune fashion: no human can adequately thank and Love God in the way God expects because God exists outside of our human reality in His most holy state of Being. God exists in all the mystery of His holiness we will never ever know or comprehend, while man, still exists in his fallen state of alienation from Him. Humans, in their fallen state of existence, will never be able to adequately thank God who lives in absolute holiness. The truth is, only another God who is equally holy as the Father, can thank and Love another God adequately, perfectly, and absolutely. That God is Jesus Christ, the Immanuel – fully God and fully man. (Isa.7;14; Matt.1:23) Jesus existed in the Triune Godhead as the Logos from eternity with the Father and the Spirit in their divine holy existence. But here is the most beautiful picture of humanity God our Father presents to us through the Gospel message Christ brought, and wants us to understand – we are there in their midst, living in the center of their holy Triune presence – the Immanuel who took our humanity in Himself to the heavenly abode of the most holy God – represents and stands for us until the time of our change in the resurrection. (1 Cor.15)

Spirit Unifies Man In The Triune Life

The Spirit is given to man as a gift flowing perpetually through human life. As He dwells in man, He is at the same time indivisibly and inseparably connected to the Triune God in heaven, for He is the third Person in the Trinity. So, as long as He lives in us, He is the union of man to the Triune God, and the union of the Triune God to man. He brings the Triune Life in Jesus to us, and as Mediator, Jesus takes all our inadequate and imperfect human responses to the Father, absolves them in Himself, so we can be declared righteous before Him. (2 Cor. 5;21)

Holy as His Father

It is through the Spirit, who takes our inadequate human responses, our hollow and many times meaningless “thank-you’s,” to Jesus who mollifies and perfects our shortcomings in Himself, and offers our “thanksgiving offering” suitably and perfectly to the Father. That’s the purpose of the Mediator, our High Priest, inside the Triune Life of God. Jesus takes the “thanksgiving offering” of our human existence and offer them on the altar of the perfect sacrifice of Himself to the holy God and our Father. (Rom.12:1) Only Jesus could do that for He is God as His Father. He is holy like His Father. There is no other way!

The High Priest

We recall what God taught the Israelite. No one was permitted into the holiest place of the temple where God was present with the exception of the High Priest. If an Israelite brought a peace offering, or a thanksgiving offering, he cannot offer it himself in the holy place. He remained in a designated court within the temple grounds but the priesthood was appointed by God to perform the role of intermediary between God and man. The high priest alone is permitted to go into the Holy of Holies into God’s presence. That is what’s happening in heaven today with Jesus who is our High Priest. The priesthood represent the work of the Spirit in God’s people today, and the high priest represent Jesus, the true High Priest in heaven.

Israel had a human high priest, who mediated for Israel, but this time God Himself in Christ, is our High Priest mediating for all mankind. The human high priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, Jesus has gone back to heaven to be with the Father as He was eternally with the Triune God. We recall, the moment Jesus died on His cross, a violent earthquake shook the land and the veil which cloaked and hid the holiest place in the temple tore from top to bottom. (Matt.27:50-51) The event signified the holy God Himself had come to open the way for all mankind to continuously enter and live in His holy Presence through Christ our High Priest.

“Holy Father”

Jesus, by addressing His Father, “Holy Father,” (John 17:11), portrays for us a God whose mystery is beyond our comprehension of Him in His holiness, but, at the same time He is also closer to us than we can imagine – by being our “Father.” Jesus is our elder Brother. The Holy Spirit is our Friend and Confidante, our Miracle Worker. His holiness does not mean He is distant and untouchable. In fact, it means the exact opposite. He sent His Son so we can enter and live in His holy Presence. Yet He will be the God as He will always be God – holy, exalted, and sovereign above all creation in the physical and spiritual realms. The holy angels could echo only one refrain, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” (Rev.4:8)

“No Matter What Happens…”

So we read Paul tells believers, “Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, ALWAYS BE THANKFUL… No matter what happens, ALWAYS BE THANKFul…for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18, emphasis added). Life is now lived with a rejoicing and be thankful heart. Paul affirms this condition we have in Jesus, saying, “We are complete in Christ, for He is the head over every power and authority” (Col.2:10). Yes, indeed!

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“Rest and be Thankful” (Wiki Commons)

We have come one full circle, from the first Adam to the Second Adam, and find ourselves where God has always wanted us to be in the first place: “to enjoy living in His presence” – that’s all the Father wants of His children. That, in its simplest form, is the heart and core of the Gospel message. We are to be thankful that He is our Loving Father, the Mover and Shaker in our lives.


How do we surmise the life of the believer? All of the believer’s life which subsists in the Triune Being of God, is now an expression of holy gratitude. Every cell in his body, every pint of blood in his veins, every movement in his muscle, every breadth he takes, every heartbeat in his chest, every expression of purpose and gift, all marches with a drumroll which voices a unified chorus: “Thank You, Lord! Thanks for Giving!”

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on


Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a  Bulamanriver.*  Be thankful, be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,                                                                                                                                                            (Your Servant in Christ)  

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website where you can order a copy of my book.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information.


The Bible instructs us emphatically, “Be Happy Always!” (1 Thess.5:16)

Greetings once more Friends! Look at the picture below, it bears an uncanny resemblance of a smiley face. I thought it would be nice to share it with you in this write-up about happiness.

“Happy Islands,” Manukan Island, Sabah, Malaysia (Pic: Wiki Commons)

A “Happy Heart is Good Medicine!”

God would not instruct us to “be happy always,” unless He is that way Himself, and He has the way to bring this blessed condition to reality in humans. While putting this post to paper, my thoughts went to the pressing issue that’s currently affecting us all and has brought apprehension and fear– the Ebola virus that’s taken the lives of many in West Africa and more recently its introduction into the United States. Of course, I am not for a moment discounting the many other pressing issues facing us all. The World Health Organization (WHO) latest report (Nov. 2014) estimates 13,268 reported cases and 4960 reported deaths. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the Ebola cases in three of the countries most affected is two or three times higher than reported.

I asked myself if continuing to write about the topic of happiness is still pertinent and relevant? Sickness and disease have been with humans since the dawn of time. The reason Ebola has grabbed so much attention is because the virus is fatalistic with no known cure. My prayers are with all those affected. Amidst all that, a passage of scripture came to mind, “A cheerful (happy) heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov.17:22) When we are uncertain and fearful, it crushes our spirit, and that’s bad medicine for the body. Happiness and fear don’t mix – like oil does not mix with water. So if anything, perhaps there’s no better time to prescribe some good medicine of a happy heart than now, to replace our apprehension and fear of an unwelcome virus. Besides, as long as God says, “Be happy always,” there’s always a way through this pressing times.

Happiness is God’s Will for You!

The opening passage above tells us to be always happy no matter the circumstance. And it adds, “Pray continually, giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s (your Father’s) will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thess.5:17-18) To be in a constant mindset of joy is God’s will for us. Why is that? We saw in Part 1 that God is the Source of joy, so He lives in eternal happiness. We would not know what joy and happiness is if we were not made in God’s image. (Gen.1:26-27) When people are uncertain and fearful it’s hard to be happy, and very unlike God’s image. It’s twice as hard when fear becomes irrational. It takes a lot of courage to be happy, in fact it takes the divine Love of God. The Bible tells us that “Perfect Love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). There is no fear in Love. Only God’s Love is perfect. It is through Love that we are cared for even in the most desperate of times by a God who declares Himself as our Loving Father. Human love is imperfect for fear is at its foundation. Remember, we closed the first part saying the happiness is a state of mind. So, let’s continue with this topic, which I feel is more relevant now than I realized at first.

The 3 Elements!

We touched on two elements of man’s experience he had with God when he lived in complete joy and happiness in Eden. These two elements were Adam’s purpose of “keeping the Garden,” and not eating of the “forbidden fruit.” Happiness  is bound to a life with “purpose” and a moral obligation to your God and your neighbor. (Mark 12:30-31) Both are acts of Love reciprocating the Love received from our Father. The forbidden fruit was really called the “fruit of good and evil.” (Gen.2:16-17) “Good and evil” can exist primarily between humans through human relationships, thereby, the “forbidden fruit” has to do with man’s moral obligation to one another. So, happiness is tied to man’s purpose and moral responsibility. The third element was introduced after Adam’s fall. Adam’s sin had its repercussionary effect on man’s fallen, depraved, and corrupt existence which ultimately led to death. (Gen.2:17; Rom.3:23) Where there is sin, it has to be atoned for, it’s natural justice. Since humans are fallen beings, there cannot be found among mankind anyone to be man’s savior. There was only one option – God Himself, who is perfect, sinless, and holy, has to come and be man’s Savior. Jesus, the Son of God, who proceeds from the Father, became the sacrificial Lamb for man’s sins. He took our humanity upon Him to rescue man. Not only did Jesus rescue man, He glorified man in Himself through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father in heaven.

How does these three elements bring happiness? Let’s look at each and highlight their salient features which contribute to man’s happiness.

1 Human Purpose & Destiny

If we see the account in Eden, we will see that Adam’s purpose was given to Him by the Father. That is the first and most vital truth about a life of purpose. Adam did not decide for himself what his purpose was going to be. God gave him gifts to enable him to carry out his purpose and calling. God gave him instruction “to dress and keep the garden.” (Gen.2:15) Adam and Eve took care of Eden totally happy in what they were tasked to do. It was an act of Love reciprocating the Love of the Father who provided Eden as a gift. Adam could well have chosen other task for himself. Eden had rivers where gravel was gold and precious stones. (Gen.2:10-14; Ezek.28:13) But Adam’s calling was not to seek a self-centered life for himself and his wife, but to take good care of Eden. Now we must ask, what was Eden, what did it symbolize and represent? The answer to that question responds to the question of man’s purpose and the happiness it brings.

What was Eden?

First and foremost Eden was the most beautiful, delightful, and magnificent garden that has ever existed, and ever will. With His own hands God planted it and freely gave to our first parents. Not a blade of grass was planted by Adam, nor was a flower bed seeded by Eve. Eden was handed to them on a platter. Second, Eden was their “home.” Eden had all a “home” could ever give our first parents where they lived in excellent health, secure, with untold abundance. But more than that, a “home” means family, it means there are other humans beside Adam he calls his neighbor. In essence, “home” or Eden means relationships. Recall, Adam was alone until God created Eve to be his wife and life partner. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen.2:19) That’s how relationships was born in Eden. This is how God made relationships an essential part of Eden. In short, “dressing and keeping” Eden metaphorically meant maintaining their relationship with God who planted it, with each other, and their neighbor. Eden was about God, home, family, neighbor, community. Most of all, God was the central part of Eden. When God said, “Let us create man in our image and likeness,” the “our” referred to the Love of the Father, His Son, and the Spirit. Thereby, out of their brimful Love for each other, they created Adam and Eve, and their home, Eden. They in turn reciprocated this Love in fulfilling God’s purpose for them.

God Replicating Himself

What was God doing? He was replicating the relational oneness God had in His Tri-Personal Being in the life of Adam and Eve. God is not a solitary, single-person, God. Jesus came and revealed God as Trinitarian and Love from eternity. (John 6:46, 3:16; 1John 4;8) This Loving relationship was and is the way God existed in His Triunity from eternity and He wanted them to understand and live in God’s image and likeness in a real, tangible way. (Gen.1:26-27) From eternity God the Father has Loved His Son, and in the same way included us in His Love for His Son. So the Son chose to include us in His Love for His Father. God is Trinitarian and their Love for each other as Father, the Word (before Jesus became human), and the Holy Spirit, was now being reproduced in our first parents. These two principles of living is the basis upon which Adam and Eve lived happy lives. Much later, Jesus repeated the two principles when the religious leaders of His time asked, “Which command in the law is most important?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God…and Love others as you Love yourself.” (Matt.22:34-40) Eden was about relationship with God and our fellow humans. “Dressing and keeping Eden” was about maintaining those relationships in the Father’s Love.

The 3 Drivers

There’s another important point about what Eden symbolically means for us today. We have the tendency to look at life in our human short-sighted view dedicating our lives selfishly to seeking human sustenance, security, and material desires. We’ll call them the ‘3 drivers’ for short. Jesus tells us, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” (Matt.6:32) Yet, that is not where our purpose and happiness lies – far be from it! In fact, what happens is the ‘3 drivers’ leads man down the path of self-centeredness and creates competition and greed, and before man realizes the spirit to dominate other humans is in control of him, and sadly, this becomes the motivation of his relationship with other people. God wants us to set our Love on Him as He is completely and genuinely focused on our welfare in His love for us.


Yet, God calls man to a purpose that consists of the most basic of tasks. It has nothing to do with your sustenance, security, or material needs, it has to do with relationships. Relationships calls for His Love to be at the forefront of our lives. Relationships calls for our commitment to obligations to God and fellowmen. This is the path to happiness. Love calls for creative living in our relationship with God and with others. Unfortunately, many think that such a path is not worthy of their attention, let alone dedication. They regard the path of relationships with its moral undercurrent as beneath their notice, and some go to the extent of associating it with weakness. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that the very energy that would propel them to happiness, is what in their blindness they have rejected to their own hurt.


SUSTENANCE                                    SECURITY                                          ABUNDANCE

> 3 Drivers – God’s Responsibility

Yet, unbeknownst to them, these ‘3 drivers’ that they have dedicated their lives seeking, God says emphatically is His responsibility in the first place, not ours! O what a relief that is – if we believe! Just like He provided for our first parents in their sustenance, angelic security, and material abundance in Eden, He does so today with believers. As I said in Part 1, what God had set in motion in Eden as it concerns man’s wellbeing, his joy and happiness, Adam’s disobedience could not invalidate or abrogate. That’s an unrelenting law that’s in motion then, and is still in motion to this day. It’s the law of His divine Love! In the areas of the ‘3 drivers’ Paul says this about God the Father’s continuing Love for man, “You can be sure (confident) that God will take care of everything you need, His generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abound in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.” (Phi.4:19-20, MSG) Jesus said, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things (3 drivers), but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matt.6:33, MSG) Yes, this an eternal promise He has bound Himself to keep. Both Jesus and Paul reminds us that God already knows what we need before we ask, and it is His task to bless us, so we can focus out effort on His purpose in our lives of building Loving relationships. Jesus reminds us that we will face enough tension trying to focus on building Loving relationships as it is, not to mention the ‘3 drivers,’ so He assures us our Father’s provision for us. And that’s how happiness is cultivated and harvested in human life.

In uncertain times like the present when we are facing the Ebola crisis, God is not unmindful of our joy in His Son. He even promises healing so we don’t need to fear sicknesses and diseases. The Psalmist writes this, “Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psa 103:2,3,4,5) His healing promise assures us, “I am God your healer.” (Exo.15;26, MSG) There is not a circumstance in our lives without a promise for our defense from our Loving Father – His Love is like a life insurance policy. This is the basis of our joy and happiness in His Son.

Frankly, I could give you five principles of happiness to follow like many how-to books on the subject. They are a dime-a-dozen, but I do not profess to be one of them. What I write about is God’s answers to human concerns and dilemmas, and happiness  is one of them.  (You may also read my blog post entitled, “Gift and Calling – What Is Its Purpose?” posted on 01/30/14)

2 Do Not Eat the “Forbidden Fruit”

Let’s be clear about one thing, by giving Adam and Eve the instruction to not eat from “the tree that bore the fruit of good and evil,” or commonly known as “the forbidden fruit,” God was not withholding something good from our first parents. Author Michael Reeves asked, “What, then, went wrong (in Eden)? It was not that Adam and Eve stopped loving. They were created as lovers in the image of God and they could not undo that. Instead, their love turned. When the apostle Paul writes of sinners, he describes them as “lovers of themselves, lovers of money… lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Tim.3:2-4) Lovers we remain, but twisted, our love misdirected and perverted. Created to love God, we turn to love ourselves and anything but God. And this is just what we see in the original sin of Adam and Eve. Eve takes and eats the forbidden fruit because of a love for herself – and gaining wisdom for herself – has overcome any love she might have had for God… The problem is deeper than her actions, deeper than outward disobedience. Her act of sin was merely the manifestation of the turn in her heart: she now desired the fruit, more than she desired God.” (Delighting in the Trinity, Pg.65)

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Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise after Eating the Forbidden Fruit (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Moral Obligation

There was nothing wrong with the fruit per se, but it is about what it symbolized. Just as “dressing and keeping Eden” is symbolic of human purpose and relationships we have seen earlier, so is “the forbidden fruit.” What does it symbolize? If Adam’s purpose has to do with relationships, then it follows that the “forbidden fruit” has to do with man’s moral obligations in his relationship with one another beginning with his wife, Eve. Think about this, it is only in human relationships that we are called upon to act with moral civility – of Loving neighbor as one self. Of necessity this requires a determination of what civil means. It means there is a right and wrong way to live and relate with people. Otherwise, what could “the forbidden fruit” mean in the absence of human relationships and interaction? No other living species created by God requires the exercise of the mind to decide how to relate with each other through right and wrong choices, except man.

So, the symbolism of the “forbidden fruit” portrays man’s moral obligation to each other. In the ten commandments God gave Israel, He catalogs what the “forbidden fruits” are as we relate with our neighbors: do not steal, do not murder, do not covet what is your neighbor’s, do not lie, don’t commit adultery, respect your parents. The commandments also inform us about how we are to relate with God. (Exo.20:1-17) The commandments, given in future imperfect participle (“thou shall not”), is a type of reverse engineering of our fallen self in contrast with God’s Love, from which vantage point we take moral responsibility for our choices. 

These two pillar truths of purpose and moral responsibility were sufficient elements for a happy life in the Father’s presence were it not for a momentous event which changed the direction of man’s blissful destiny in Eden. Here is man’s dilemma, not only as it relates to happiness, but to every human dilemma and its underlying cause: because of Adam’s (man’s) change of heart from loving God, he came under a cloud of deception and darkness resulting in his blindness by the devil. Everything God has set in relentless motion in Eden before Adam’s fall, the devil had turned around for his own dark and evil schemes. Man had lost all the spiritual energy and wisdom to live his true purpose on earth. What we witness in mankind’s history of cruelty, man’s humanity to man, of the carnage and untold suffering in the past 6000 years is testament to man’s fall from grace. Purpose was no longer tied to a moral code of loving relationship with others, but replaced with the loving pursuit of material vanity at the expense of others. People’s relationships were driven entirely materialistically by the ‘3 drivers’ without consideration for another’s wellbeing, let alone God. (Mat.6:32) And so, as we enter the post Eden era of man’s fallen journey on this earth, and in His time, God fulfilled His promise to send the Messiah to restitute what was wronged in Eden by man.  

3 The Provision for a Savior & Mediator in Jesus Christ

In short, the provision of a Savior is to take man back to man’s original estate in Eden in the presence of the Father so happiness can be part of his life once more. Let me now explain God’s plan for doing this in the post-Eden era. When Jesus came He came bearing the most joyful of all messages for mankind from God our Father. Jesus came revealing God as Father whom we can approach and be loved as His eternal children. (John 3:16; 1:18) The angelic hosts announced the wonderful news to the shepherds in this way, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy (happiness) for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace (happiness) to those on whom His favor rests.” (Luk.2:10-11, 14) When Jesus embarked on His 3-year ministry as an adult, John the Baptist presented Him to the world with these words, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (John 1:29, 34) What was happening here? The apostle John affirms, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14) Jesus is the “Word” who dwelt in the Triune Godhead from eternity, and Loved by the Father from everlasting. Now, He is human like us – adopting our weak, frail, vulnerable, fallen, sinful, humanity. The prophet Isaiah foretold the Word’s coming in this way, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23) God has come close to humanity as a Father does out of the depth of His Love.

File:Croix à la Péninsule de Dingle.jpg

Cross to the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. (Wiki Commomns)

I am presenting the above scriptural passages so we know for certain only God, revealed to mankind as Father, could have saved mankind from his fallen depraved nature he inherited from the devil through Adam. How can fallen man save himself? It cannot be done, it’s impossible! Albert Einstein, in an indirect way, speaks for man and affirms this conclusion, saying, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” (‘Atomic Education Urged by Einstein,’ http// It has to take a transcendent external Being who is Creator, who is none other than the Word, eternally Loved by the Father, who became Jesus Christ, the Son of God and now the Son of Man. (Matt.16:13-17) The Word, holy in His Being, becomes the Immanuel, “God with us” incarnated, to rescue man from death. Paul said, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1Cor.1:30) Sinful man will always exist vicariously in the perfect, glorified, life of Christ, in the Triune Godhead.

The Word took our humanity upon Himself and became Jesus for the purpose taking man back to his original estate with the Triune God. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life in man’s place, was crucified as man’s Savior, He was resurrected and ascended to heaven, taking our humanity into His eternal place in the Triune Godhead of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Before Jesus departed this earth He promised to send the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to dwell with and in man forever.  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17a)  So, here we see the “Triune Life” man is called to live in his physical body, involving the Father, Son, and Spirit. By saying “forever,” Jesus affirms the Spirit’s role to ultimately take man across the chasm from mortality into immortality. (2Cor.5:5; 1Cor.15) Of course, this is the ultimate answer to man’s question of happiness – for in the presence of God man will experience everlasting joy. (Psa.16:11; Isa.61:7)

In our present human estate, happiness becomes man’s inheritance in this way: the Bible says that man becomes a “temple” for the Spirit to make His abode. (1Cor.3:16) And right here we see the spiritual process by which happiness is made to shine in the heart of man. For through the Spirit, man is being spiritually and constantly transported to the very presence of God to replicate the Adamic life in Eden with purpose and be our brother’s keeper. The only difference is Adam was in physical Eden, and the believer now lives in spiritual Eden. The spiritual is made reality when the Spirit brings the miraculous life to man. Let me be the one to testify to you, when you experience the life of miracles, nothing could be more real.   

So, what does all we have read here tell us as it relates to happiness? It tells us that Eden is the place of happiness – but Eden is not as far-fetched as we might think. Jesus came as Savior to reopen the way back to Eden. The way back to Eden was closed because of man’s sin, remember. (Gen.3:23-24) The Spirit takes us to this wondrously happy place every moment of every day of our lives. It is in spiritual Eden where God gives us a purpose and the Love to live with moral responsibility with our fellowmen. This is not the place to live in fear in our fallen humanity, but a place of Love, of purposeful living, and lasting happiness, and the new person in Jesus.

God wants all humans, regardless of who they are, to return to Eden and to the bosom of the Father who loves us beyond words can ever tell. (2 Pet.3:9) To prove His intentions, He did not spare His Son He has Loved from eternity, the Son who was the Creator of man, to take our sinful humanity, so through Him we may return and find joy in His Fatherly presence. I have said this catchphrase in several of my previous posts, God made man to enjoy being in His presence. That, in its simplest form, is the essence of the Gospel message. It is a message of happiness. (Ps. 16:9,11; Neh. 8:10; John 16:24). God has a purpose for us all, but we must not lose sight of the purpose of our gifts, and not live in self-righteous legalistic mode in them. Reeves says, “The Spirit of the Father and the Son would never be interested in merely empowering us to “do good” (purpose). His desire (which is the desire of the Father and the Son) is to bring us to such a hearty enjoyment of God through Christ that we might delight to know Him, that we might delight in all His way, and that therefore we want to do as he wants and we hate the thought of ever grieving Him.” (idid, Pg,101) I sincerely hope you will stretch your hand and take hold of Jesus’ hand so He can lead you back to your Loving Father, and to the happiness that is deserved yours. 


Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bulamanriver.*

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on

Kiang,                                                                                                                                                                  (Your Servant in the Lord) 

* The “Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39)

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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