Thursday, November 30, 2017

Blogging at Spiritual Formation on the Run

I will not be updating this blog. I will continue to blog at Spiritual Formation on the Run                       <>

Please enjoy my previous posts. The new site will include all the posts from this blog and be updated regularly with new ones.

Thankful for your friendship and fellowship here. Join me in my new blog.

Welcome to visit my resource website Kairos Spiritual Formation

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Decade of Blogging

I have been blogging for ten years! The unsettling events of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 had so distracted me that that I almost let such an important anniversary slipped my mind! I started this blog on 21 January 2006. I posted my 1000th post on 20 July 2008, 2001st post on 1 Jan 2010, and 3000th post on 11 Feb 2015. One of the features I like about blog is that I can easily retrieve previous posts, unlike Facebook or twitters. Blogging is part of my digital Great Commission activities.

My very first post Why I begin blogging in 2006 states the reasons why I started the blog.
• With the numerous viewpoints available, I want to add a distinctive Christian one
• I support the open access of knowledge that the Internet offers
• Use Web 2.0 as a platform to sharing our learning experiences
• Be part of an online community

In time, my blogging activities expanded and so did my number of blogs. Aside from this blog, I also administer the following blogs, reflecting my diverse interests.
• Random Writing from a Doctor’s Chair
• Random Sermon from a Doctor’s Chair
• Random Spirituality from a Doctor’s Chair
• Random Photos from a Doctor’s Chair

My postings in the blogs have lessen in the last few years because of my increased involvement in FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestGoogle Plus and Youtube. This does not mean that I think that the importance of blogs has decreased. In fact, I believe that blogging has settled into the distinctive niche it was meant to be. Where Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Google Plus deal with the daily, social online interactions, blogs offers a place for longer, more reflective and reasoned articles to be posted.

I will continue to blog 

  •  Spiritual disciplineBlogging is a spiritual discipline as I try to write at least 1,000 words daily. Not all of what I have written will be posted. Some will be published elsewhere. I find writing helps me to think and understand myself. It also helps me to experience God and engage with his creation.

  • Teaching. The Internet has grown tremendously in the last two decades. It has become the largest depository of knowledge mankind has ever created. It is also the largest collection of hubris. I will continue to present a Christian viewpoint from as far as I understand it. I do not pretend to know it all but I see the need for Christian counterpoint especially from an Asian perspective.

  • Recommending. I will continue to recommend good books, blog postings and websites. I find open sharing is very useful as others may also come across articles or post I am not aware of.

  • Interaction. I value interactions on my blogs and other social media. I value open minds and fellow seekers. However, I will not waste my time with biased, opinionated, rude bigots. We learn more in our interactions. 

  • Community. My readers and friends are my online tribe and community. I value every one of them. Their comments and likes are much appreciated. I love the friendships we have formed online and in some cases in the physical world. It is always a pleasure to meet someone in the flesh whom we have met online. I am slowly going down the list and praying for each of my Facebook friends.

Dear friends, thank you for reading this far and being part of my life. God bless you all. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Lead us not into temptations

Lead us not into temptations from Alex Tang

Lead us not into Temptations
Text: Luke 4:1-13

Sermon Statement
It is the human Jesus who resisted the temptations of Satan by his lived experience of the Scriptures. This gives us hope that we can resist temptations by (1) knowing ourselves; (2) developing a plan to resist; (3) avoid temptations; (4) resist and pray; and to (5) get the help of theirs.


The bible teaches us a lot about temptation and tempting.

Paul warns his mentoree about the temptations of money. The bible has a lot to say about money too.

1 Tim. 6: 9-10
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Jesus and his three inner circle disciples (John, Peter and James) were at the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was being tempted and this was his advice to his disciples.

Matt. 26: 41
41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." defines ‘tempt’ as

·         to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral.
·         to attract, appeal strongly to, or invite
·         to render strongly disposed to do something
·         to put (someone) to the test in a venturesome way; provoke (e.g. to tempt one's fate)

Temptation is the enticement, allurement or seduction to do
·         Evil acts
·         Immoral acts
·         Sinful acts

Recognising this, James has this to offer:

James 1:13-15

    JAS 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

It is interesting to note that in the Lord’s Prayer or the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray, it includes this statement, Matt. 6:13

    MT 6:9 "This, then, is how you should pray:

  " `Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name,

  MT 6:10 your kingdom come,
  your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.

  MT 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

  MT 6:12 Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

  MT 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,
  but deliver us from the evil one. '

Foremost in Jesus’ mind may be his personal experience of temptations of Satan as documented by our good doctor Luke 4:1-13 which will be recent in his memory.

We shall look at the temptations of Jesus by the devil.

Text and Context

Luke 4:1-20

LK 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

    LK 4:3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

    LK 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.' "

    LK 4:5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours."

    LK 4:8 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' "

    LK 4:9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

  " `He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;

  LK 4:11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "

    LK 4:12 Jesus answered, "It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "

    LK 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

    LK 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

    LK 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

  LK 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
  to release the oppressed,

    LK 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

    LK 4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

·         Jesus baptized and acknowledgement by God
LK 3:21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

·         Jesus had already spent 30 years on earth to build his character
LK 3:23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…genealogy

·         Jesus’ temptations narrative
LK 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil…

·         Jesus starts his ministry
LK 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside…

Jesus’ Temptations: Luke 4:1–13

First temptation (Luke 4:1-4)

·         “If You are …..” “Since You are the Son of God, act like God and command these stones be made bread!”
·         “Man” does not live on bread alone.
·         “It is written.”  Jesus uses Scriptures.
·         “Here is a principle to live by … and I will live by it.”
·         The physical is one avenue of temptation for all of us

The texts that Jesus quoted from are from Deuteronomy which is about the Exodus experiences of the ancient Jews.

Deut. 8:3 3
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Second temptation (Luke 4:5-8)

·         authority over all the kingdoms of this world is Jesus’ destiny
·         The temptation is not possession of worldly power but of good intentions
·         “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Luke 4:8).  God’s timing
·         determine to do the right thing, determining that in every situation you will worship God, and Him only you will serve.

Deut. 6:13-15
   DT 6:13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

The temptation here is not between choosing between good and bad but between good and better. Satan is willing to give up his domain without a fight. Jesus can be king immediately. Imagine what amount of good Jesus could have done if he has taken over from Satan? The better is following God’s timing.

Third temptation (Luke 4:9-12)

·         “If [and here we have the if of doubt] You [really] are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.”
·         God’s people, led out of Egypt and given demonstration after demonstration of God’s power, ran out of water. At that moment of pressure they forgot all God’s goodness, and cried, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Ex. 17:7) In questioning God’s presence and His love, they “put God to the test.”
·         Make God prove Himself!
·         Relationship with God must always rest on faith, and on confidence in God’s trustworthiness.

16 Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.
This temptation is about doubts. Can God be trusted? Did he really said that?

Here I want to deal with two questions which are inter-related.



This deals with the humanity of Jesus. If Jesus cannot sin or tempted, there is no point for Satan to tempt him, is there?

The Person of Christ

False views of the person of Christ

(from House, Wayne H. 1992. Chart of Christian Theology and Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 55)
Person of Christ- Fully Divine, Fully Human

(from House, Wayne H. 1992. Chart of Christian Theology and Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 56)

The kenosis of Christ
Christ Emptied Himself of
Divine Consciousness
The Son of God laid aside his participation in the
Godhead when he became a man. All the attrib-
utes of his deity literally ceased when the incarna-
tion occurred. The Logos became a soul residing
in the human Jesus.

Christ Emptied Himself of the
Eternity Form of Being
The Logos exchanged his eternity-form for a time-
form bound down by human nature. In this time-
form Christ no longer had all the attributes
commensurate with Deity, though he could use
supernatural powers.
Christ Emptied Himself of the
Relative Attributes of Deity
This view differentiates between essential attributes,
such as truth and love, and those that relate to the
created universe, such as omnipotence and

Christ Emptied Himself of the
Integrity of Infinite Divine Existence
At Christ's incarnation the Logos took up a double
life. One "life center" continued to function
consciously in the Trinity while the other became
incarnated with human nature, unaware of the
cosmic functions of Deity.
Christ Emptied Himself of the
Divine Activity

The Logos turned over all of his divine roles and
duties to the Father. The incarnate Logos was
unaware of the happenings within the Godhead

Christ Emptied Himself of the
Actual Exercise of Divine Prerogative
The Logos retracted the mode of the divine
attributes from the realm of the actual to the
potential. He retained his divine consciousness
but renounced the conditions of infinity and its

Adapted from Robert E. Picirilli, "He Emptied Himself” Biblical Viewpoint, Vol. 3, No. 1 (April 1969):23-30. 

How to deal with temptation?

11.    Know yourself (Grass is always greener on the other side)

a.      Your weak points

 “A man who carries gunpowder about with him, may well ask that he may not be led where the sparks are flying. If I have a heart like a bombshell, ready to explode at every moment, I may well pray God that I may be kept from the fire, lest my heart destroy me.” Charles H. Spurgeon, “Lead Us Not into Temptation” in Spurgeon’s Expository Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996 [1863]) 14:394.

·         Wanting to eat food that will cause you to feel guilty after because you consider it to be fattening, unhealthy, or in excess
·         Wanting to buy things you really want even though you don't have the money, or you've already got enough things and you know you really don't need more.
·         Wanting to yell at someone because you're frustrated and you can't restrain the temptation to lash out. This could be targeted at anyone in your life, including your partner, your children, your boss.
·         Wanting to have an affair with someone. Toying with infidelity is a commonplace temptation for everyone from celebrities, pop-stars, and politicians, to neighbors and co-workers.
·         Wanting to indulge excessively in alcohol or take illicit drugs.
·         Wanting to give in to sexual urges which you feel are inappropriate such as viewing pornography, visiting prostitutes, sex before marriage, etc.
·         Wanting to give in to procrastination and laziness. You'd rather not be bothered doing something even though you know you should.
(above examples modified from Accessed 15 Feb 2013)

b.      What makes you susceptible?


·         Boredom with your current situation or relationships.
·         Indecision or lack of thought about what you want out of life, your job, your relationships, your future direction.
·         Attention or affection-seeking. Perhaps you're feeling that not enough people are paying you adequate attention or affection.
·         Low self-esteem or insecurity.
·         Stress or feeling down.
·         Frustration with the way things are headed in your life, with other people in your life, with yourself.
·         Insecurity and low self esteem
·         Lack of faith in yourself, or in your faith or core beliefs.
·         A need to prove something to other people in your life, maybe even as an act of revenge or "evening the score" (such as having an affair because a spouse had an affair).
·         A short-term or shortsighted view of the gains and a lack of a bigger vision for your future.
(above examples modified from Accessed 15 Feb 2013)

22. Prepare to resist temptation (Batten down the hatches)

a.      What does it mean to be obedience to God
Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Peter said to new believers, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” (1 Pet. 2:2).

b.      Live by the Spirit
When the apostle Paul was instructing Christians on how to live a godly life, he said that believers need to be “led by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:17). They must continually “live in the Spirit” and “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Weapons of warfare 2 Cor. 10:4-5

c.       Defines your limits

d.      Exercise your will power
·         The visualization approach: Visualize yourself resisting the temptation. Picture yourself seeing that chocolate bar, picking it up, feeling it closely, perhaps even smelling it. Then visualize yourself putting it down and walking away from it. Make the whole experience as real and tactile in your mind as possible. When you feel you've practiced it enough, go to the store where they sell chocolate. Look at it. And resist it. Take along a friend if this gives you support. After a while, you might even consider taking a taste test to see if you can eat just a little without overdoing it.
·         The gratitude approach: Concentrate on all that you have to be grateful for. Gratitude enables you to remember what you have in life that is good, to be happy about, such as your family, your job, your pets, your hobbies, your health, your friends, the fact you've got a roof over your head and enough food to eat, etc. Gratitude grounds you in a way that removes justifying giving in to temptation because you felt "deprived" of something or someone. Importantly, write down your gratitude, for clarification and reference

e.      Think of the consequences of failure

33. Avoid temptations. Prevention is better than cure
a.      Avoid situation where you may be compromised
b.      Remember your rules or limit
c.       Stop justifying your actions

If a man has a strong desire to drink alcoholic beverages in excess, then he must avoid all situations that will tempt him to get drunk. Obviously, he should not allow any alcoholic beverages to be kept in his house. He should not go into bars or restaurants that serve liquor. Also, he should not keep company with men who like to drink.
If a man is struggling with sexual lust, then he should not watch any TV programs or videos, or look at magazines that will pour gasoline on his corrupt embers. (In our sex-saturated culture this task will take continued diligence.) King David should not have been on the roof of his house watching a beautiful woman (who was not his own wife) taking a bath. Young Christian men and women should never go out on dates where they are alone and can easily fall in to the sin of fornication.

44. Pray and resist
a.      Watch and pray
b.      God understands
Heb. 4:15
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

c.       God knows our limits (1 Cor. 10:3)
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

5. Get a friend to help
(Ecclesiates 4:9-15)
ECC 4:9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their work:

  ECC 4:10 If one falls down,
    his friend can help him up.
  But pity the man who falls
    and has no one to help him up!

  ECC 4:11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

  ECC 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It was the human Jesus who resisted the temptations of Satan by his lived experience of the Scriptures. This gives us hope that we can resist temptations by (1) knowing ourselves; (2) developing a plan to resist; (3) avoid temptations; (4) resist and pray; and to (5) get the help of theirs.