Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world.   Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus.   We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.  


Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)


God called to Adam, the first man, “Where are you?”   It was the first time that God actually called to Adam while asking, “Where are you?”


God and Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, had a beautiful relationship.  God loved Adam and Eve, and they loved God.  They lived in the Garden of Eden, the paradise, where God had created for them. 


There was nothing between them.  Like a sunflower, Adam and Eve always faced God, and God loved to see their beautiful faces.  Wherever God was, they were also.  


However, this beautiful relationship did not last forever.  The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day the serpent asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”, 


“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”


“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”


The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.


When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees.  Then God called Adam and Eve,  and asked “Where are you?”


Why did they hide from God, whom they loved so much?   Only one reason, they sinned against God by breaking God’s command.   As soon as they sinned, they were no longer in the light, but the darkness.  They could not stand naked before God anymore, who was the light.  Although they used to love God so much, and God still loved them, they had to hide from God   


Sin came in, and they were separated from God.   Sin was the divider.  For the first time, they were afraid of God.  Because they could not bear the weight of their sin, they transferred the weight of their sin to the other regardless of their love for the other.  The power of the sin was greater than the power of their love.  The sin destroyed the beautiful relationship between them and God, and the loving relationship between each other.  Suddenly, all of the most precious relationships were lost.


Of course, God gave multiple chances that they could confess their sin and asked the forgiveness of God.   But they did not   Each of them continued protection oneself by criticizing the other and transferring all faults to the other party.  Before God, Adam started by blaming Eve.  Should Adam have loved Eve, his wife as himself?  Eve did not want to admit her fault before God.  Although she knew she was the first one who sinned, she blamed the serpent.  She found her scapegoat, which was the serpent.  


Neither Adam and Eve admitted their sins, because, for their eyes, they were good enough and even upright.  Only because of a vicious deception brought by the other party, they were caught up to sinning.  In other words, all your fault, not mine.  Does this sound familiar?   Even children do this game when their wrongdoing is found by their parents.  When we know the origin of such behavior, it is not surprising that even small children can do such a thing like a pro.  Therefore, we should expect that such -sinful behavior is everywhere in this world and even in our lives.  In other words, we are living in a fallen world.


These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.  (James 1:15)


The small desire of Eve’s eyes gave birth to a sinful act, which led Adam to sin.  It was not the end of the story.  The sins severed the most precious loving relationship between God and them.  They were afraid of God, and they could not stay any longer in paradise.  They became darkness, and the darkness could not dwell with the light of God.


God sent out Adam and Eve from paradise where they no longer fit.  However, God, full of mercy and love, made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife so that they could be protected from the harsh environment outside of the paradise.  Additionally.  God gave the most precious life lesson so that they could not forget how terrible their sins were. 


Adam was no longer a keeper of the beautiful world of God’s paradise, but he became a laborer in the world full of pains, sorrows, and hardships.  Eve got her unbearable birth pain.  All made them remember again and again how badly they acted before God by following their own desire instead of God’s Word.  Without these painful consequences, soon they would have had forgotten God completely, and they would have lived their own sinful life while going further and further away from God.


If we don’t feel pain at all when we touch burning coal, what would happen to us?  We will continue holding the burning coal although our hand is getting destroyed by the extreme heat of the burning coal.  Nobody likes pain, but the pain saves our hand from the burning coal.  Pain is a truly precious defense against our stupidity such as continue holding on to burning coal.  Especially for us, whom God dearly loves, God timely provides us a painful consequence about our sin.  If not, we would have been completely destroyed by our sin long before.


Then can painful consequences alone rescue us by preventing us from sinning?  It is an excellent question.  In other words, are we adult enough to resist our temptation of sinning using our own might and strength?  How do you think?  Are we able to resist temptations coming at us in this world?   


Let’s make a quick thought experiment.  How will happen if we can stop sinning because we know our past painful consequence of sinning?  There will be no more sin in this world.


How about this world where we live?  Do you see no more sin?   No. The painful consequence alone cannot stop our sinning behavior.   The painful consequence just reminds us of our sin, but it cannot completely eliminate our sinning behavior.  In reality, our sinful nature makes us fall into temptation again and again.


They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22)


Why? The painful consequence is a far distant memory, and an irresistibly delicious temptation is right before our eyes.  Then which one will win?   Of course, the seductively delicious temptation wins.  This makes us go back and sin again and again.  Then is there any solution to get out of this vicious cycle?  Unfortunately, there is none.  As we are, we cannot overcome temptations coming at us by our own might.


In fact, many people tried to get out of their sinful nature by their own efforts, but all miserably failed.   


As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—

       not even one.

No one is truly wise;

       no one is seeking God.

All have turned away;

       all have become useless.

No one does good,

       not a single one.” (Romans 3:10-12)


The real solution is to get a helper from outside of us, and the helper must be stronger than the temptations that we are getting.  It is also true that the helper cannot be another person, because nobody has ever conquered the irresistibly seductive power of temptation.  In other words, there is no hope to find a real solution from others, because they are also equally susceptive to temptation.  


There is no helper in this world, who can rescue us.  This is really depressing.  However, God who dearly loves His children did not leave His children alone by letting His children constantly beaten by temptations.  Instead, God prepares a true helper for us, who is the Holy Spirit.  God sends us the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and when we are tempted, the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome.   


However, there is a catch.  We can listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when we are tempted.  However, our hearts are naturally full of our sinful desires also.


When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)


Is it easy or even doable to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit instead of following our heart desires?  If we listen to the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit starts guiding us through the paths of righteousness.  This is, indeed, the only way for us to overcome our temptations.   


In reality, it is really difficult (impossible in most cases) to listen to the Holy Spirit. Why?  Our craving heart desires and temptations are a dynamic duo.  They act together and overpower the subtle and soft voice of the Holy Spirit, which can only be heard when our hearts are calm and upright before God.   


Hmm. To hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, our hearts need to be void of irresistibly seductive temptations.  However, when we need most about the voice of the Holy Spirit is that our hearts are already hooked to seductive worldly temptation.   Under this condition, we cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.  What?  We cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when we need it most?


Then how can we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when we are being tempted by seductive worldly temptation?  


The answer is going back to God and asking for His help in our prayer.   Yes, our prayer to God is the answer — our authentic, humble, contrite, and repenting prayer to God.  Authentically spread out our temptation and sinfulness along with our weakness before God, and humbly asking for His mercy and love with our contrite prayer while repenting our sinful heart being tempted by our earthly desires.  Then wait for Him.  God’s mercy and love start to surround our hearts and protect us from the earthly temptations.  God fills our hearts with His mercy and love, and our spiritual ears hear the tender and loving voice of the Holy Spirit.  This is the power of the love of Our Ever-Loving God, and we can come back to Him again and again.  Thus, we can give thanks to God all the more because His mercy is greater than all our temptations, and His love is above all our sins. 


One last question is what happened to our sins already committed.  In fact, our sins do not disappear like vapor dissipating into the air.  All sins are remembered, and the consequences of each sin will find us – not just as a painful consequence, but while demanding the true wage of each sin that we committed.  


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)


Unfortunately, the true wage of sin is not just a simple warning message of God, but death.   Why?  God is holy, and He is the light.  He has no darkness at all.   Light and darkness cannot coexist.  God will utterly destroy the darkness on the last day.  Those who are in the darkness will perish together.   The sins that we already committed will come back and hunt us on the last day, and make us perish together with the sins committed as the darkness will be utterly destroyed.


Yes, it could have been a truly fearful last chapter for all of us because all of us are sinners.  Some might wonder while asking will all be destroyed together with the darkness due to our sins committed?  The answer is, “Yes, all should.”


However, God, who loves His children so much, has prepared a special salvation plan for His children.  God put all our sins on His Only Son, Jesus Christ, and made Him die because of our sins.  In other words, Jesus Christ paid for our sins, and we don’t have to pay the full wages of our sins — the eternal death that we have to get on the last day.   


God’s special salvation plan is the truly blessed saving message, which made us live forever without facing eternal death on the last day due to our sins committed.  This is possible and has already been done by God through His unfathomable mercy and love.  How gracious and merciful Our God is!   This is the reason why we cannot stop praising God forever and ever.  In Jesus Christ, our eternal life is sure.  This is our hope and faith, and the best present of God ever.   


We all celebrate Christmas because it is the birthday of Jesus Christ, Our Savior.  More importantly, this is the day that our eternal hope was unfolding on the earth by the birth of Jesus Christ.  We are freed from eternal condemnation, and instead, we are joyfully walking with God while listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit all the way.  All things are done by God, and this is the most blessed mystery, which is beyond our comprehension.   


Here is what we can do in the Advent season — Give our highest praise to God for HIs love and salvation given through Jesus Christ, and give thanks to the Holy Spirit that leads us to the paths of righteousness in Him.   Praise and Praise God!   In Him, we have our enteral hope in God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, which is our faith.  This is given by God according to His infinite goodwill, and Jesus Christ, our Savior was born on Christmas Day about 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.  Praise God, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!  Come, come to our heart, Jesus even at this moment!


O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of hell Thy people save,

And give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,

And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heav’nly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Adonai, Lord of might,

Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,

In ancient times didst give the law

In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)

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