Monthly Archives: September 2016

Bulamanriver – “TRIUNE LIFE/TRIUNE LOVE”: Mission, Vision, and Value Statements, By Kiang P Lee

“Live the Triune Life**…Change the World” – Motto

Greetings Friends! In this post I would like to share with our readers our Mission, Vision, and Value Statements so you are well aware of who we are, what is our mission, why is our mission purpose important, and how, where, and when do we carry out our mission.

The Bulamanriver Mission, Vision, and Values are shown below in abbreviated form, and follows with a detail exposition of each.

FATHERHOOD: Mission begins with the Father (John 3:16)

Mission: To Proclaim the Gift of the Father’s Love for Mankind. The Mission of the Father is to induct humans into the Love and Being of the One God who is Triune in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To attain immortality as they are immortal. Believers are inducted into the “Triune Life,”** in place of the “solitary life” fallen man had inherited from Satan. (Matt.28:18-20; John 3:16) The essence of God’s Love encapsulates every fiber of human expression in which he finds completeness in being both now and forever.

JESUS/HEIR-OFFSPRING: Vision is Reposed in Jesus (John 14:6; 11:25)

Vision: To Disseminate the Good News of the Gift of Jesus Christ as Savior Who makes the “TriuneLife” possible for and in man. The Vision is Jesus frees man from the prison of the “solitary life” of the devil into the “Triune Life”** of God. Jesus came to bring to mankind His new humanity: the “Immanuel human.” Jesus liberates us from the prison of fear and bondage of the fallen “Adamic human” of the devil, and by His death, resurrection, and ascension, glorified our humanity into the life of Love and Freedom in the “Triune Life”** as “Immanuel human” and immortal children of God. (John 14:6; John 3:16. 8:36; Rom.3:21-22, KJV; Gal.2:16, KJV; John 8:36)

HOLY SPIRIT/FRIENDSHIP: Value is founded in the Spirit’s Love (Rom.5:5)

Value: To Articulate the gift of Friendship of the Holy Spirit in man. The Value is the Holy Spirit articulates the “Immanuel human” in the Triune Life”** by living in man as His temple. (1 Cor.6:19; John 16:13-14) Man is the riverbed and the Holy Spirit is the living waters which make man the “Immanuel human” – the personification of the “Triune Life.”** (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor.13)

In essence, the “Triune Life” is a person in whom the Mission, Vision, and Value, of the Triune God resides and lived-out. Hence, the work of the BULAMANRIVER in the world is encapsulated in its motto: “Live the Triune Life…Change the World!”

Exposition:

Let me first explain what the name of this blog site, BULAMANRIVER, means. Essentially, it explains who we are, what we do, and how and why we do it. Bulamanriver and “Triune Life” are synonymous and used interchangeably.

"Bula" Man-River

Cover of Book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”

The etymology of BULAMANRIVER comes from three words: ‘bula,’ ‘man,’ and ‘river.’  Bula is a Fijian word which means “life.” (Fiji is an independent South Pacific Island nation). Man is God’s creation in whom God breathed the “breadth of life” or the spirit of life in humans. (Gen. 2:7) River is the metaphor for God’s Love flowing in humans. (John 7: 37-39; Rom.5:5) For a human to have divine Love flowing in him/her is to have true life, the “Triune Life.”

Therefore, Bulamanriver, conveys the meaning that “man has true life walking in God’s Love.” Of course, these three words also have biblical derivative: ‘life’ (bula) is a gift from God to humans (Gen.2:7); ‘man’ was created in God’s image and likeness (Gen.1:26-27), and ‘river’ pictures the flow of God-life in the human-life. (John 7:37-39) So, the Bulamanriver can be summed up from the following passage of scripture:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”  He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him” – John 7:37-39. 

The above passage expounds BULAMANRIVER scripturally as follows: man is the riverbed, who is the receptacle for the “living waters” of the Spirit of God (God-life/Love)which brings true life he shares with his fellow humans. (Rom.5:5) Therefore, BULAMANRIVER is the depiction of the Christian believer. You, are the BULAMANRIVER. You are the riverbed, God’s receptacle, in which the “living waters” of the Spirit (Love) flow giving true life to your once dead spirit which the devil gave humans through Adam’s fall. (John 3:3,5)

Having explained the meaning, and having seen that You are the BULAMANRIVER, living the “Triune Life,” let me now spell out its Mission, Vision, and Value statements.

Mission

The Mission of the Bulamanriver Trinitarian Ministry is founded upon the words Jesus commissioned His followers shortly before He was received by angels to return to His Father in heaven, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)

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The Trinity-Man Called to Enter and Live the “Triune Life” in Christ (Rublev’s Icon of Trinity, Wiki Commons)

The thrust of Jesus’ mission is founded upon what this passage authorizes the disciples and His followers to do: to “baptize humans into the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” It means to induct humans into the everlasting Life of the Triune God. It means to bring believers into the “Triune Life” of God. The image and Being of the Triune God is hardwired into two basic characters of His divine nature: Love and Freedom. The Bible declares, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). And, “If the Son sets you Free, you will be Free indeed” (John 8:36). God is not a ‘solitary’ God as many assume, He is a Tri-Personal God. A “solitary” person does not know how to Love. Only those who live in community can live in Loving relationship. Because God is Tri-Personal in His Being, He is three free Persons living in unified relationship of Love. The human personality is fashioned after the three free Persons of the Tri-Personal Being of God: Father, Son, and Spirit.

Man was robbed of this “Triune Life” when Satan deceived Adam, and, introduced his own deathly “solitary life” of Fear and Bondage through sin. From then on, man was living the fallen life of the “Adamic human” of the devil in place of the “Immanuel human” in Jesus. The “Adamic human” means a person who does what is right in his own eyes, in place of the collaborative Triune Life of the “Immanuel human.” (Prov.12:15; 30:12; 21:2; Isa.7:14).

So, the Mission is to enlighten the human mind of the Triune nature of God, and His call to be immersed in the “Triune Life” and so be fashioned and conformed in God’s image of Love and Freedom, and ultimate immortality. (Gen.1:26-27, Rom.8:29) God’s creation in the universe and upon this earth is immersed in His Love we see all around us including man, but unlike everything created, man has to use his mind to reciprocate His Love; thereby, man has to exercise his God-given Freedom and choose to Love God through Christ.

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Jesus Prays The Disciples Live the “Triune Life” at the Last Supper-John 17:20-23 (Wiki Commons)

Vision 

The Vision explains the why and how of the Mission. The Vision is to bring humans into the nature of Love and Freedom of the “Triune Life” of God by freeing man from the prison of Fear and Bondage of the fallen “Adamic human” Satan has imposed upon and incarcerated man ever since the fall of Adam. How is this done? Through faith!

Paul said, “He (God the Father) is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins” (Eph.1:7, NLT). By believing in Jesus Christ as personal Savior, man is immediately and directly freed from the bondage of Satan, and brought into God’s Loving union. The believer is reborn into an “Immanuel human.” In the realm of God, faith produces miracles. (Eph.1:13-14) Faith makes the reality of God happen in the spirit world. Just as faith imprisoned man because Adam and Eve believed the devil’s deceptive word, so we are freed from the devil when we believe in God’s Word (Jesus). This is the way God the Father has pre-arranged to bring man back to Himself – for “it is impossible to please God without faith” (Heb.11:6). Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the way to Love and Freedom. 

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Crucifixion of Jesus as mankind’s Savior and Mediator (Eugene Delacroix Wiki Commons)

So, the Vision of our work is to continue the work of Jesus to Free mankind from Fear and Bondage to the Love and Freedom man can experience in the “Triune Life” of God through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Vision.

Value

The Value explains how we share and carry out the Vision the Bulamanriver Trinitarian Ministry. Paul said, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Rom.8:9b) God is a Tri-Personal God, thus, if you receive Jesus you receive the Holy Spirit as well, for both are hypostatically One God with the Father. The Holy Spirit is the core ingredient of BULAMANRIVER’s (man’s) Value.

Again quoting John, we see how the values of the “Triune Life” is inculcated in the believer through the Spirit’s move, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”  He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him” (John 7:37-39). File:Gezi2.jpg

Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit (Pic: Wiki Commons)

With the Spirit as the core of the believer’s Value statement, He moves in us to accomplish God the Father’s purpose in His Son, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son – the “Immanuel human.” The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun” (Rom.8:29-30). Paul explains the Value the Spirit brings in the Love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. This is the heart and essence of the Values we have in Christ which the Spirit makes happen in the believer. (John 16:14)

So man’s intrinsic Value is the act of surrendering to the move of the Spirit in his life, and allow Him to conform the personhood of man to the image of Jesus, the “Immanuel human.” (Rom.8:29) So, the Holy Spirit is the believer’s Value.

Today, the Spirit moves in believers to articulate the “Immanuel human” and make known this Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world – the primary mission and vision of the BULAMANRIVER/TRIUNE LIFE Ministry. Man uses his gifts and various forms of media to publish and make the “Triune Life” of Jesus known to the world. The “Triune Life” is the Gospel, for from it we obtain all that’s necessary to make the Gospel work come to fruition. Jesus said this in His prayer to the Father before He was crucified about the “Triune Life” they shared from eternity, which the disciples have now embraced, which will become the cornerstone in their lives to make known the Gospel known, “That all of them may be One, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me (Gospel work). I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be One as We are One (“Triune Life”)— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete (Triune) unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me (Gospel work) and have Loved them even as You have Loved Me (from eternity)” (John 17:21-23, my emphasis throughout). The Spirit moves in man which makes this unity (“Triune Life”) possible, and demonstrates BULAMANRIVER’s value proposition in the Spirit’s life.

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Human Resurrection to Immortality Inaugurated by Jesus: Man’s Ultimate Hope, and Purpose & Mission of the Gospel (Wiki Commons)

And so, in all we do, and whatever we teach, in whatever forms fo media, we are commissioned to accomplish this three-fold objective of the Mission, Vision, and Value, of the BULAMANRIVER. Go, “Live the Triune Life…Change the World!”

(Web Site Address:  http//bulamanriver.com)

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com

Blessing:

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 strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,                                                                                                                                     Your Servant in Christ                                                                                           

Bulamanriver: To read the many facets of the life of theBulamanriver, go to my website: www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver-The Miracle of Triune Living.”

** Triune Life/Triune Love: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27)

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

Note: All information is copy-write material. 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. Thank you.

FAITH AS SEEN THROUGH GOD’S “TRIUNE LENS”- THE FATHER/OFFSPRING & MASTER/SERVANT RELATIONSHIPS, BY KIANG P LEE

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” (Luk.17:5)

Greetings Friends! Have you heard people say they have a weak faith? Even the disciples asked Jesus, “Increase our faith!” We can all relate to this dilemma in our lives when doubt and uncertainty assail us. What is the answer? As always, let us find our answers through the lens of God’s “Triune Life.”** It is my hope that by the end of this post you will see your faith with an enlightened mind to help you face the future with renewed confidence in God our Father and His Son, Jesus. 

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Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Faith is both a noun and a verb. As a noun faith speaks about religion and its statement of beliefs.  Paul said this of the Christian faith, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph.4:4-6). The Christian’s faith is founded upon our God who is a Trinity, not a solitary God. God is One Godhead (unified) in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As a verb, faith speaks of articulating our statement of beliefs in our daily lives. So faith as a verb can be utilized various ways, in this post I would like to share two fundamental meanings of faith and its application. There’s an interesting point about faith that’s worthy of note in Luke 17. Let’s read it…

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (verb) He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’ (Luk.17:5-10). The parable of the mustard seed appears in parallel passages in other Gospels, but Luke’s account is unique in that it interfaces the disciples’ question about faith with the account of the master and the servant. 

Faith as a Grain – Quality not Quantity:

The disciples asked for faith in the sense of quantifying faith! By saying, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed,” Jesus is talking about the quality of faith, rather than the quantity of faith. We will see what I mean by “quality” a little later. In this passage from Luke, your Bible has a pause between V.5-6 and V.7-10 to indicate two unrelated topics. V.5-6 is about faith, and V.7-10 is a parable about the Master and Servant. But the Bible in its original format had no verse or chapter breaks we see in today’s version. Verses and chapters were introduced to help readers               navigate through different parts of the Bible. But it has its pros and cons, and one weakness is we are blinded by missing the context. Reading a small part is not always helpful when the author intended a book to be read through to the end. So, this passage speaks about a single topic, not two unrelated issues. It is about faith and reads from verse 5 to 10. The parable was simply Jesus way of explaining the meaning of the “mustard seed faith.” So, what has faith to do with the “master/servant” relationship?

Jesus Teaching Disciples the Mustard Seed Faith (By James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum, Wiki Commons)

Two Faiths:

Jesus explains the ‘mustard seed faith’ in the context of the “Master/Servant” faith (verb), because it is distinct from but essentially part of the believer’s “Father/Offspring” (Son/Daughter) faith. The faith we express in terms of the “Father/Offspring” relationship has to do with our adoption into God’s eternal family through Jesus. One is foundational and unmoved (“Father/Child”), while the other is functional and mobile (“Master/Servant”). By ‘functional’ I mean something that is mobile and changes with time according to God’s move in the believer’s life, yet it has eternal ramification. (Matt.25:23) In one, God is our Father, while He is Master in the other.

What we see in our lives is identical with Jesus own life where His faith is applied in two contextual realities: the foundational “Father/Son” relationship He had with His Father from eternity, and the functional “Master/Servant” relationship in His role as Savior and Redeemer. The faith we express in the “Master/Servant” relationship is no different and has to do with God’s Work, principally as it relates to the work of the Gospel. (Mat.28:18-20) God’s Work involves His labor of Love to save humanity from sin and eternal death called the ministry of reconciliation which we are given. (2 Cor.5:18) The oft quoted passage from John says, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). That in a nutshell, is the very heart and soul of God’s Work. So, there are two faiths working interchangeably where one is built on top of the other and mutually dependent. One is expressed in form of a noun (“Father/Son” relationship), and the other is a verb (“Master/Servant” relationship).

Finding Answers Through the Triune Lense

As we dig into this passage we do so wearing the lens of God’s “Triune Life”** so we can arrive at the right explanation of this faith, or for that matter any other topic in the Bible. Jesus brings each of us into the picture of this “Master/Servant” faith: God is Master and we are His servants. Then Jesus asks, if we had a hired house servant, would we regard him as master and treat him with all the courtesies as a servant would in a role reversal? Is it okay that the master perform the work he has paid a servant to do? Is that how this faith works? Of course not!

But what Jesus was getting at is, are we true servants, or do we sometimes regard God like a servant and we are the master? In the “Father/Offspring” relationship we know our place as children and don’t have an identity crisis here. But not so with the “Master/Servant” relationship, where the tendency to switch the roles are real. If we have initiated a role reversal in our relationship with God, whether inadvertently or ignorantly, then the faith which keeps the “Master/Servant” relationship functioning properly has been compromised and made powerless and vulnerable if not incapacitated. But if this “Master/Servant” faith is functioning correctly, even though it is small as a mustard seed, it will be powerful. 

It is vital that we understand how we apply the two faiths – intuitively, we tend to overemphasize God’s role as a caring Father who provides for His children, and much less as our Master who wants us to participate in His Work. Humans are creatures of comfort and habit with the tendency to follow the path of least resistance. So we are more inclined towards His Fatherly qualities. As a Father we tend to ask Him for our many mundane needs, but do we express the same enthusiasm for His role as Master and faithfully responding as servants in His Work of the Gospel. We assume we are entitled to a life without obstacles and setbacks as children, and we become perplexed not understanding the ground (faith) we are standing upon in such circumstances.

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The modern day so-called prosperity gospel is one such instance of regarding God as servant who is the source for all our wants and desires, minimizing or entirely failing at the servanthood role. Do we see the Christian life like a vacation cruise and God’s part is to indulge us with the blessed life of plenty? We exploit passages out of context like, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen,” where the “unseen things” are cravings for the material and sensual? (Heb.11:1) We just made God a servant for our selfish appetites and ambitions, and have become masters in the process.

When that happens, what we are seeing is the human version of faith which makes this role reversal a reality. But as we keep our pair of “Triune Life”** lens firmly in place, we’ll find that it is an altogether different faith which keeps the “Master/Servant” relationship healthy between God and the Christian. But though this role reversal may convey the outward appearance of the material and sensual, its underlying stimulus is spiritual self-righteousness (“solitary life”) due to deficiency of the Holy Spirit (“Triune Life”**). (Eph.5:18)  

Servanthood Faith    

The “Master/Servant” faith starts small like a mustard seed because servanthood is something which grows from a seed to a fruitful tree for the benefit of others. In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus taught, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matt.13:31-32). The “Master/Servant” faith maybe minuscule, but as long as it is a genuine article, the seed has the quality and character in its nature to do great things. Yes, Jesus was the greatest Servant of all even though He was a Son. He is called the “Suffering Servant” (Isa.53). As a servant, Paul said of Jesus, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience (servanthood) from the things which He suffered” (Heb.5:8, NASB, emphasis mine).

Jesus – The “Suffering Servant” 

A servant’s life usually takes effort, at times coupled with courage, humility, and unshakable determination, compared to living the sheltered life of a son or daughter. We live the abundant life as children enveloped in God’s incomprehensible Love. In response, children take responsibility for their Father’s Love by becoming Love themselves as He is Love. John makes this point clear for God’s children, “But anyone who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love…We know how much God Loves us, and we have put our trust in His Love. God is Love, and all who live in Love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:8,16; also 1 Cor.13; Gal.5:16-26). This speaks of our faith as children in the “Father/Offspring” relationship (noun).

However, as a servant we may suffer hardships for the moment, but it is considered negligible when compared to the glorious future our Father and Master has in store  for us. (Rom.8:18) Jesus came as a “Suffering Servant,” and in His final moments at the cross, He cried to His Father, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt.27:46). Yes, as a servant we may feel seemingly forsaken at times, but we have His sure promise, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb.13:5b).

Before His death, Jesus taught His disciples the attitude of a servant by washing their feet. On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and secured our faith for all eternity. (1 Cor.15:17) As a servant Jesus fulfilled His Father’s work of redeeming mankind from sin, and endowing humanity with His Spirit to assure immortality in His eternal kingdom. (John 3:16; Tit.2:13-14; Rom.8:11)

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 Jesus Teaching Disciples Meaning of Servanthood and Humility by Washing Their Feet (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The faith based upon the “Father/Child” relationship is the rock foundation upon which the “Master/Servant” relationship is built. (Matt.7:24-27) However, the major portion of our lives will be lived out in the “Master/Servant” environment – the structure above ground which rests upon its foundational (“Father/Child”) faith. The foundation is “unseen” but sure, and the structure upon it gives meaning, purpose, and destiny, is clearly “seen” in the believer’s life. The structure (“Master/Servant”) puts “meat” to our family responsibility by which we will be judged and rewarded as this passage show at a future time of judgment, “His Master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!'” (Matt.25:23).

So, it goes without saying how vital this faith will be for us all, minuscule it may be from the outset. Our occupations and professions comes under the umbrella of the “Master/Servant” relationship. Paul said, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were Working for the Lord rather than for people” (Eph.6:7). Your whole life is a platform for the Work of the Lord and His Gospel. You are the living, walking, talking, Gospel of Jesus. Peter tells us how  to use our platform, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord (Master). Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet.3:15, my emphasis). So, we see how God takes our every-day reality and weave it into His plan for us to be both children and servants. A cautionary note, we ought to be careful about not turning our profession (gifts) for mere material/financial benefits solely for this mundane human life and all its reciprocal appendages. Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need (for this physical life)” (Mat..6:33, also 1 Cor.15:19).

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The Cross of Jesus – Symbol of the “Suffering Servant” (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Jesus – Still Serving Man as High Priest

For the most part, while we are God’s children, the greater and best chunk of life is about being a servant. Therefore, it is imperative we have the prerequisite faith to help us live the role of a servant. The servanthood life is the extension of Jesus’ own life. Let’s keep in mind that Jesus’ role as Savior did not end at the cross, that was just the beginning. He continues to perform His role as Savior today as High Priest in heaven interceding on man’s behalf for all his faults and transgressions. So, He continues to serve mankind from heaven and through us as His servants on earth. (Heb.4:14-15; Eph.3:16-19) Servanthood begins with faith – the servanthood faith is the engine of the “Master/Servant” relationship. It is initially given in its minutest form (mustard seed) upon our conversion and grows into a fruitful tree where people come to it for nourishment. (John 15:16; Gal.5:22-23; Tit.3:14) 

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High Priest in Israel in Full Ceremonial Regalia – Jesus Continues to Serve Mankind in His Role as High Priest in Heaven Today (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Growing the “Mustard Seed Faith” in “Good Soil”

How do we deal with our “mustard seed faith” and make it grow? With our “Triune Life”** lens firmly in place, let’s see the first and most worthy thing we can do: we sow our “mustard seed faith” on good soil so it will bring forth a bountiful harvest. What is the good soil? Jesus gave another parable about the sower where the seeds fell on four different soil types (Matt.13:1-23). Jesus explains the sower is God the Father, the seed is God’s Word (Jesus), the four soil types represent people and how they respond to God’s Word. Three did not have it in them to sustain any growth so the seeds perished. But it is only the “good soil” which receives the seed faith and brought forth fruit as Matthew records, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matt.13:8).

Now, according to this parable, your “faith seed” (Word) is actually Jesus’ own personal faith, not our weak human faith. He is the personification of God’s Word – the “mustard seed faith.” That explains why it can move a mountain, despite the fact it is small as a mustard seed. (Matt.17:20) Paul affirms how we take ownership of the only workable faith a servant can have to do his Master’s work, saying, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, KJV). In another passage Paul reminds us, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe.” (Rom.3:22, AKJV) 

Mustard Seed – The Faith of Jesus

So, the “mustard seed faith” in Luke 17 is the faith of Jesus sown in you, the “good soil.” A pertinent word about perception and mindset, the “good soil” is not conveying the goodness of the human heart – that is what a person wearing the “solitary life” lens would see and like to believe. If anything, the human heart is rotten to the core through and through. (see Jer.17:9; Mar.7:20-23) But rather the “good soil” (you) is the work of the Holy Spirit. He supplies the “living waters,” and prepares the “good soil” (you) to receive the seed (Jesus’ faith) sown by the Father. (John 7: 37-39; Gal.2:20). If there is any “good” in humanity, it is the fact that God made man in His image with a divine destiny. (Gen.1:26-27). God’s plan is to bring to reality His destiny in humanity, and the “good soil,” the Spirit in you, is an intrinsic part of it. (1 Cor.3:16).    

By having the “Triune Life”** mindset (and lens), we are always asking how each individual Person of the Tri-Personal God is involved with our lives and salvation. The Father and Son cannot work on their own without the Spirit for they are of One substance and act as One. The “Master/Servant” faith (mustard seed) is always Jesus own personal faith. The “good soil” (man) is always the work of the Spirit. Therefore, only the Spirit (good soil/man) can receive Jesus’ faith (mustard seed) and give growth and true life. For there is no other way for the “Master/Servant” relationship to germinate and grow in humans except within God’s “Triune Life.”**

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Planting the Mustard Seed Faith in “Good Soil” (Pic: Wiki Commons)

So, rather than quantifying faith as it relates to the disciples’ question, Luke qualifies faith by personifying it as Jesus’ own faith in you. In all of this, we see God’s “Triune Life”** in motion: The Father sows the seed of His Son’s faith in the good soil (man) which the Spirit has prepared through spiritual watering or sanctification. (1 Pet.1:2,5; 2 Thes.2:13) 

Human Faith Vs Jesus’ Faith 

Many Christians today do not know how to live “Master/Servant” relationship. If they are, they are trying to do it on their terms with their human faith, and it can never be done. And this is the crux of the problem as to why many believers say their faith is weak. It is weak because it is still our human faith and unsuited for the task of a true servant. The believer is still viewing life through the lens of his human “solitary life.” He must replace his “solitary life” lens with God’s “Triune Life”** lens. (Read more about the human faith at http://bulamanriver.net/?p=2811).

This is what Jesus meant when He commissioned His followers to make disciples, “Baptize (induct) them in (into the life of) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt.28:19, emphasis mine). This is foundational! Being baptized means to be “immersed” into God’s “Triune Life”** in a literal and real spiritual sense. If we do not get it right at this elementary level, then the “Master/Servant” structure being built on the foundation is flawed and will be found wanting. (Matt.7:24) We will find out soon enough our human faith is inadequate to do God’s Work. It is going to be the faith of Jesus, or nothing. It is the human faith which regards God as servant and man as master. It is man’s self-centered ego that is trying to execute what only the Holy Spirit can do in man.

Faith Turns to Gift and Calling 

Jesus’ own faith (mustard seed) is made reality in man by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who in turn makes us His dwelling (temple) so He can always keep us as “good soil” for Jesus’ living faith. (John 16:13-15; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19) The Spirit empowers each believer to embrace his/her calling with the accompanying gift to do the Work of God. Paul clarifies the connection between grace, faith and gift, saying, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to each of us…in proportion to our faith, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6). You can read more about man’s calling (gift/faith) to do God’s Work in a post I wrote at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=3145    

Servants – Called to Induct (Baptize) Believers Into the “Triune Life” of God (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, Wiki Commons)

On the eve of Jesus’ departure from the earth as He was about to be taken into heaven by an angelic host, He commissioned His followers the highest work they will do in their “Master/Servant” relationship with Jesus, His Father, and the Spirit, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20). Always be cognizant of God’s  sovereignty and take hope that His purpose is absolute.   

At the end of the day, Luke tells us to reflect upon God’s grace of gifting us with the faith of His Son, and respond with humility, “I have done everything I was told to do, I am an unworthy servant, and I have only done my duty” (Luk.17:10).

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com. Thank you for visiting.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may God bless you with the faith of Jesus His Son and 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 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 www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.”

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us, as opposed to the “solitary life” of human self-expression. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27)  You can read more at:  http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036

Please feel free to read other articles that may be relevant to your spiritual nourishment at http://bulamanriver.com (click on “blog” at top right corner)

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

Note: All information is copy-write material. 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 InformationThank you.

A PARABLE THROUGH “TRINITARIAN” LENS,” BY KIANG P LEE

“Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? (Mark 4:21, MSG).

Greetings Friends the world over!

Jesus was a master in the art of communication. He did this through story-telling. These stories are more commonly called parables in the Bible. He told different kinds of stories to fit the life experience and maturity of His hearers. (Mar.4:33-34) To this day His stories has continued to be told and retold in many tongues and languages. The stories have been expressed in various art forms for millions to see. Jesus said of His parables, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more” (Mar.4:24). He is saying what you hear today may not seem like what they appear to be saying, but as you mature in your faith, you will understand things in a refreshing frame of mind as never before. Hence, his parables have this timeless and ageless effect upon us.   

I find that true for me, and no doubt for all those who heed the words of Jesus. In this post, I would like to share a perspective with my readers I have come to see in Jesus’ parables (stories) which has enlightened, inspired, and refreshed me spiritually. To get a fresh perspective of Jesus parable I will explain it from the vantage point of God’s Trinitarian lens. I have said before, this blog site is dedicated to helping readers learn the art of living the “Triune Life.”**

I will use one of Jesus’ parables as a prop and cue for His other stories and hopefully we can adopt the “Triune Life”** and embrace a new understanding and refreshing way of living. In chapter 4 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus gave a very brief but succinct parable in just a single verse. It is the parable of the lamp. He gave it in the form of a question, “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? (Mark 4:21, MSG; also Matt.5:15). Then He explains its meaning, “We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open” (V.22).

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 Parable of the Lamp under The Basket (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Let us look at this parable through the Trinitarian lens, keeping Jesus’ meaning in mind. Looking through the Trinitarian lens means we are spiritually anchored in God’s Triune nature. God is Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. The final departing words Jesus gave His disciples before He was taken by angels to heaven was His commission to “go and baptize them (believers) into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt.28:19). It means to “induct” believers into the life of the Triune God. It means to teach disciples how to live the “Triune Life.”**

God is Trinitarian, and the moment we regard and relate with Him as a ‘solitary God’ we bring Him down to our human ‘solitary’ level, and render Him powerless. Yes, man must come out of his 1-dimensional life and rise up and above to God’s 3-dimensional form of living. Although man inherit his ‘solitary being’ through Adam, he was created with the potential to be a ‘Triune being’ through Jesus, and have his mind and understanding functioning on God’s level of consciousness. 

So, Jesus is both God and man, the prophesied Immanuel -“God with us.” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23) As Jesus is homoousiosly*** (same substance) unified to the Triune Godhead, He cannot speak by any other format other than His inherent union with His Father and the Holy Spirit. The three Persons of the Triune Godhead are indivisibly One. The act of One is always the act of all Three, making every act singular.

He confirmed this saying, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide. You can trust My decision because I’m not out to get My own way but only to carry out orders. If I were simply speaking on My own account, it would be an empty, self-serving witness. But an independent witness confirms Me, the most reliable Witness of all” (John 5:30-32, MSG). Jesus was pointing to His Father in heaven as the reliable Witness. He came to carry out the will of the One who sent Him. He did not come to do some solitary act of His own doing. In truth it is impossible for Him to do that, for He is homoousiosly*** (of one substance) One with His Father and the Spirit.

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 Jesus Proceeds from the Triune Godhead (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity)

For humans, we have become ‘solitary beings’ from Adam’s fall and have the natural tendency to look at everything as revolving around man’s self-interest. Man always sees himself as the center of the universe with all else existing for his benefit. That is how man interpret and react to everything around him. Not so with Jesus. His whole world revolves around the God who is Love in His Trinitarian Being, and His eternal bond with His Father, the Holy Spirit, and with man who was created in God’s image and Triune likeness. (Gen.1:26)

So, let us look at this one-verse parable again, and see where Jesus was coming from when He spoke out of the depth of His divine Being as He is homoousiosly*** unified to the Father and the Spirit. He spoke through His Trinitarian nature and resisted His fallen solitary human nature. That’s how he lived His earthly life, resisting the pulls of His fallen solitary nature and turning to the Father and Spirit for direction. 

The first part, “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed?”  So, the lamp, being a source of light, refers to God’s Word, and since Jesus is the personified Word of God, it speaks of Jesus. How do I know that? Well, I do not look inward in myself for the answer, but turn to the source of truth – the Bible. The Psalmist said, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psa.119:105). John quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Lamp stands for Jesus. Now, what does the “home” represent?

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Jesus Stands at the Door of Your Life and Knocks to Enter with His Lamp (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Jesus tells each of us, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Rev.3:20). “Home” represents you the believer. Mark speaks of bringing the Lamp “home.” Paul said, “Do you not know that you are a temple (home) of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16, NASB). When God instructed ancient Israel to construct a temple in the wilderness, and later in the nation of Israel, it was a metaphor for the true temple – every human life and mankind as a whole. (Rev.21:3; 1 Cor.3:16; 1 Pet.2:5)    

The second part of the verse says, “Don’t you put it (the Lamp) up on a “table” or on the “mantel”?” But what might the “mantel” be on which the Lamp rests? The “mantel” pictures the heart of man. If the house stands for man, then the mantel represents the “heart” of man. The heart pictures our Love for God and His Son. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt.22:37). The Lamp on the mantel becomes the mantelpiece in the home. The heart becomes the spiritual resting place for the Lamp. 

There is another aspect to this one-verse parable from Mark. It has to do with the “flame” in the Lamp. A Lamp goes hand in hand with the “flame” which gives it illumination. The flame represents the Holy Spirit. Remember what Jesus said about His own Triune existence from eternity, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own” (John 5:30). With that in mind, Jesus tells us this in another parable about the Holy Spirit:-

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matt.25:1-13).

Schadow,FW-Die klugen und törichten Jungfrauen-2.JPGParable of the 5 Foolish & the 5 Wise Virgins with Their Lamps (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

The “oil” which gives and keeps the Lamp ablaze is the Holy Spirit. The “oil” which keeps the Lamp burning is metaphor for God’s Love which the Spirit brings into our hearts. Paul said, “For we know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5). Since we are speaking of all three Persons of the Triune Godhead, so how is the Father involved in this parable? The Father is the One who owns the Lamp. He is the Holder of the Lamp. John says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (Lamp), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (Spirit)” (John 3:16; also Eph.1:13-14). Paul says, “Be filled by the Spirit” (Eph.5:18b). Yes, as one fills a lamp with oil to keep its flame burning, we are to be filled with the Spirit.

What does that mean, and how do we keep the Lamp filled with spiritual oil to keep the spiritual flames ablaze? John MacArthur, in his commentary on Paul’s admonition says the Greek word for “be filled” is plerousthe. “A literal translation of the verb would read something like “be being kept filled.” The idea is one of keeping yourself constantly filled, as you yield moment by moment to the leading of the Spirit. It fits perfectly with the process of walking by the Spirit.” He goes on to say, “This phrase is not commanding empty Christians to acquire something they don’t already have. Each of us possesses the entire Holy Spirit from the time we repent and believe: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Rom.8:9-10). (Unquote)

However, while we have all of the Spirit in each of us, Ephesian 5:18, cautions us, “And don’t get drunk with wine… but be filled by the Spirit.” It explains to us that the mere presence of the Spirit does not equate to bearing Love-fruits (flame/light) in our lives. God’s Love is the flame of the Lamp (Jesus). We can live selfishly and recklessly, but we must learn to rely upon the Spirit’s lead and follow in His steps. The Spirit will not coerce us by force of will to follow His ways, but He will always speak to us in a “still small voice” by guiding us as the prophet said, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isa.30:21).

The reason many Christians do not live fulfilled lives is because they have lost the true concept of how to relate with the Trinitarian God and His Triune activity in man, and how to have a Loving relationship that is cultivated through the “Triune Life.”** Paul’s enumeration of the fruits (flame) of the Holy Spirit show how to live and be filled with the Spirit. (1Cor.13, Love Chapter) Jesus explains in the parallel parable in Matthew 15, “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (V.16). 

The object lesson here is to view and live life as Jesus did, living the “Triune Life.”** Again we remind ourselves of Jesus’ words, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own.” This is the opposite of the way fallen man thinks and lives. Man does not know how “to wait upon the Lord” for His answers, and fight his self-will from doing what seems right to him. Again, the Psalmist says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psa.27:14). The prophet said, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isa.40:31).

Jesus, who is indivisibly one with His Father and the Spirit, is not a secret to be kept under wraps. He is God’s light that is not to be kept hidden from the world. He must burn constantly as a Lamp for all to see. It is not our light, but He is the Lamp, we are not the flame of the Lamp but the Spirit is, and we are the pedestal, the mantel on which He rests for the world to look to Him through us and be saved. This is the our role in living the “Triune Life.”** In so doing, we can fill the Lamp with the oil of the Spirit which keeps Lamp continuously alight, and say as He did, “I can of myself do nothing.”

Jesus represents our outward mobility with the message of the Gospel; our Heavenly Father gives us upward mobility who gives us hope; and the Spirit provides inward mobility by sanctifying us in our hearts with Love. I hope you have found this post beneficial, and thank you for visiting.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com 

Blessing:

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 strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,

Bulamanriver: The etymology of Bulamanriver comes from three words: ‘bula,’ ‘man,’ and ‘river.’  Bula is a Fijian word which means “life.” (Fiji is an independent South Pacific Island nation) 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 the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website: www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver-The Miracle of Triune Living.”     

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036

*** Homoousias (Gk.ὁμοούσιος) means “of the same substance,” “of the same essence.”  Homo means “same” and ousia means “essence.”  The term was used by Athanasius in his correct teaching of the oneness of the Father and the Son in that they are the same substance, the same essence of divinity. The term was used in the Nicene Creed (and creeds thereafter) when it described Jesus as being of the same substance as the Father in its affirmation of the Trinity. (Matt Slick, carm.org)

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

Note: All information is copy-write material. 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. Thank you