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Showing posts from April, 2006
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Today's sermon was based on Phil 3:12-21. These verses are very encouraging words from Paul to the Philippians; and to me in the light of what was on my mind lately. Paul letter to the Philippians is a letter on Christian practice and experience. Paul is very close to these converts in Philippi and his letter comes to them in joy and familiarity. He expresses his earnest hope that the Philippians would abound more and more in knowledge, and be without offence to the day of the Lord. The letter is filled loving exhortation to the carrying out various Christian duties and the exhibition of Christian virtues, to holy living, and to an effort to make great attainments in the divine life. And how Phil 3:12-14 an encouragement to all of us? Not that I have already obtained - the aorist obtained indicates that we do not all at once attain a fully sanctified life at the point of conversion - nor have we been made perfect - nor have we in the present state, already perfect - but I pre
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What is life That I am What is this That I was What is there That I want What is here 'Tis God Maeghan Picture by Chris Potter
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I watched Luther last night, late into the night in fact (as I need to return the DVD today). While I am not too impressed with the screenplay and dismal character development, it is a good introduction/revision to church history. However, I had a difficult time figuring out who's who having forgotten most of what I had briefly studied on Church History. Here are what I thought were memorable scenes. The first one, while Luther was translating the bible into German. Spalatin (I figure) came visiting: How's the work? Tricky. Words are like children... the more care you lavish on them, the more they demand. Rather like women. I wouldn't know. Take this verse in Saint Luke... "It is the father's will that nothing be lost." In our language, the word "will" denotes strength, willpower, bending someone to your will. But in the original Greek, this three-letter word denotes passion, fire, inner organs. It can mean beloved, desire, even sexual desir
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We have came up with a more complete to-do obedience list, the few of us (but nowhere near complete, you'd agree). 1) Raise our children to know and love God 2) Live a life reflective of God's gift of salvation: be a walking testimony 3) Spread the good news of eternal life 4) Be a person of integrity 5) Preach only the word of God 6) Love recklessly, expecting nothing in return 7) Give generously to those in need 8) Be quick to listen, slow to anger 9) Do everything everyday as an offering to God: be a living sacrifice 10) Fix your attention to God in all you do 11) Live in harmony and love with one another as the body of Christ 12) Sing hymns and spiritual songs, in worship as one body 13) Teach, minister and counsel one another 14) Persevere and pray 15) Meditate on his word day and night: know it, study it, defend it 16) Readily recognise what he wants from us and go do it The next thing I suppose we ought to do is to mark ourselves on how much we do vs. how much we have
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One of my church friend’s cousin was just diagnosed of 2nd stage testicular cancer. We are all praying for him and the family who are terribly devastated. My morning thoughts as a result centered mainly on life and its purpose thereof. In line with what has been in my mind lately – some jumbled-up thoughts of why am I doing so much and being so busy but yet still feeling I am not doing enough – I began to list down what God would have us do with our lives as revealed to us in his word. So far, I managed to come up with these, in no particular order. I am merely listing out visible and outward acts of obedience; faith and trust are all regarded as given. I am sure there are more; you can add on to it. 1. Give to the poor and those in need, wherever they are: feed them, clothe them, provide for them 2. Spread the good news of eternal life, make disciples of all men: the great commission 3. Meditate on his word day and night: know it, study it, defend it 4. Sing hymns and sp
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According to Cranfield, there are 4 different senses to απεθανομεν τη αμαρτια, dead to sin : juridical, baptismal, moral and eschatological. Let's take a look and see how it can be squared off with the fact that we are still being influenced by sin. Juridical Sense We died to sin in God's sight , when Christ died on the cross for us. This is a matter of God's decision to take our sins upon himself in the person of his Son. It is in God's perspective that we are in fact dead to sin as Christ is dead to sin once and for all, on the basis and only on the basis of his work on the cross. So even though we live in the influence of sin coming on to us from every side, Christ has already died to sin and so have we on his account. Baptismal Sense We are buried into death through baptism and raised up into life through his resurrection. This dying to sin is a ratification of our own acceptance of God's decision. We regard Christ's death for our sins as our death and
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"We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer." Romans 6:2 The phrase "died to sin" draws some interest. What does it mean and what does it imply when one is dead to something? Albert Barnes for one felt that "to be dead to a thing is a strong expression denoting that it has no influence over us. A man that is dead is uninfluenced and unaffected by the affairs of this life. He is insensible to sounds, and tastes, and pleasures; to the hum of business, to the voice of friendship, and to all the scenes of commerce, gaiety, and ambition. When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life ... The apostle does not here attempt to prove that Christians are thus dead, nor to state in what way they become so. He assumes the fact without argument. All Christians are thus in fact dead
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Our sermon today was a call for us to spread the good news of Easter: that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. When Lazarus had died, Jesus arrived at their home several days after. Martha, Lazarus' sister said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said, "Yes, I know he will; in the resurrection on the last day." And Jesus replied, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" What amazing words; but when you think about it, Jesus does tangent off with his words at the most unexpected places. If I were to imagine I'm Martha, I'd be devastated with the death of my brother, "Oh Lord, if only you were here earlier". But at Jesus words and reply, w
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Continuing on Romans 6, I made a brief check into the origins of baptism to try to understand Paul's usage. For a start, the Jews adopted the practice as part of their rite of initiation of new believers into the Jewish faith. There are however, differing thoughts on the origin of Christian baptism; but its practice among Jews to me is good enough evidence to assume that baptism was already a common thing in the apostolic times. Our contemporary practice of baptism on the other hand, has reached to a point where it has very little to do with the original meaning of the rite in the apostolic community. Understanding the baptismal practice of the biblical times would help us have an idea how and why Paul uses it in Romans 6 and how the hearers of the word would understand the message of Paul. According to Ward, the basic truth is that the meaning of baptism is rooted in the baptism of Jesus - not only his baptism in Jordan - but his baptism of death, to which his water baptism was

My Book Nook

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I buy books faster than I can read them. Nevertheless, I still buy them and lay them on the shelves waiting for the right time and moment they will in turn find me. Pearlie's Book Nook (My list is now maintained in goodreads.com - check here for the latest.) 1 Corinthians . J. I. Packer, Charles Hodge 24 Italian Songs and Arias - Medium Low Voice A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament . A Brief History of Christian Music . Andrew Wilson-Dickson A Burning and a Shining Light . A Call to Spiritual Reformation . D. Carson A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek . Jacob, Harold Greenlee A Grief Observed . C. S. Lewis A History of Israel . John Bright A Model of Christian Maturity . D. Carson A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 . W. Phillip Keller A Year with C. S. Lewis . C.S. Lewis Acts . John Calvin, J. I. Packer All the Prayers of the Bible . Dr. Herbert Lockyer Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible . John W. Haley An Introduction to Wisdom and Poetry of th
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While working out Romans 6:4, it reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie. I love the book and the movie, no doubt about that. Firstly, a slight detour: my favourite scene is the one when the White Witch was demanding for Edmund. She said, "... the boy belongs to me . That boy will die on the Stone Table ... You think that a simple threat will deny me my right, little king ? Aslan knows that if I do not have blood as the law demands, all of Narnia will be overturned, and perish, in fire and water." In effect, it is blood for blood, live for live: the heart of the gospel. I am simply amazed at the movie: how it carried the message of the Saviour Lord Jesus Christ. The only scene however, I was not satisfied with was the resurrection one. I thought it was underplayed - I just felt that the Lion did not "die enough", for the lack of a better phrase. But I could not really pin it down and explain it any further. Now I can,
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I am not sure if this is important since I have sort of worked out the doctrine of justification to a level comfortable for my understanding, but I am simply curious with regards to the relation between justification and judgment. Firstly, when one is justified – deemed righteous by what Christ has done – I suppose all past sins are forgiven. We are buried with him and died with him and rose to a new life. Sins are forgiven and forgotten. So I assume these will not be judged upon. Subsequently, we are called to live a sanctified life – we still tend to fall into temptation and sin. So there is the working out of our salvation with fear and trembling. We work at pleasing our God who has saved us, seeking for his forgiveness as we forgive others who sin against us. God promised he will forgive us of our sins. What then final judgment? What will we be judged upon? Is it not then justification by faith as the entrance into living a life in Christ and justification by works as the entran
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We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom 6:4) Jesus' death on the cross is not the whole story. His death and resurrection is one complete act of God - not two. It has a purpose, with a view to something further. In Rom 6:4, as a call to Christians to live a new life, Paul uses aorist verbs - συνεταφημεν, were buried and ηγερθη, was raised - that give a note of decisiveness to the rising to new live. (More on aorist verbs later - I have forgotten most of my Greek!) Maeghan Picture by Bhaskar Vijay Singh
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I was preparing for my Romans class reading up on the 6th chapter (even though my turn will not come till July). What Paul wrote to the people in Rome speaks to us even today - the resurrection of Christ and life in him. Following up on my previous posts and discussion with Doug, it is important to realise that sometimes we do really spend too much attention on the cross without equal emphasis on the empty tomb. Paul in Romans 6 speaks of the death and the resurrection many times over; emphasising that while we died with him we shall also live with him. This is the good news of God. Not only has he sent his one and only Son to die for us but raised him from the dead so that we may live a new life in him. O Amazing Lord! Maeghan Picture by Terry Smith ( www.churchmedia.net )
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It's Easter today! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! The message rings so true in the second half of the Easter piece we did this morning. And because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Who will roll the stone away? Roll the mighty stone away? Pondered the women that first Easter day Spices tenderly they bear For the Saviour lying there They are among the few who care What a wonderful surprise Now awaits their saddened eyes They will see a shining angel sent down from the skies He will roll the stone away Roll the mighty stone away They will enter in and see the place where once the Saviour lay Alleluia! Alleluia! This is the glad song they soon will sing Alleluia! Alleluia! Soon over the whole world the echo will ring! He is not here, he is not here For He is risen as He said! He is not here, he is not here For He is risen from the dead! Redemption’s work is finished now The Victor’s crown is on His brow His Kingly brow He is not here, he is not here For He is risen from the dea
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There are times in my life that I am not so sure where I am. This is such a time. Have I done enough? Is there more? Am I in the right direction? Am I doing the right things? And having said that, am I not too full of myself? Or am I worrying too much? Psalm 29 (NASB) The Voice of the LORD in the Storm. A Psalm of David. 1 Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array. 3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic. 5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire. 8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the L
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Today is Good Friday. I took the day off from work but I ended up being busy with the house and my son as well as running errands for the church. I am being a busy Martha and of all days on Good Friday. This brings to mind what I was thinking about a few days ago. I know that I have been too occupied lately to keep a close tab on my relationship with my God. But while I was busying myself with work and errands and stuff, I was also busy reading and thinking about bible passages, doctrines and all. I am just not sure if those count as being "close" to God. I do try to be careful not to become too academic and lose it in the relationship, but I am finding it hard to really know for sure which is which and what is what. Maeghan
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Today is Maundy Thursday. Our pastor shared a sermon focussing on Judas and the dynamics of betrayal. I have to admit that I'd rather spend the evening meditating on Jesus himself and the final hours before crucifixion. If only he had at least applied Judas to us - for how many times in our lives have we betrayed our Lord Jesus? During the service, I did try to imagine Judas' mindset. The disciples for sure did not know that time is at hand: what Jesus had been telling them were already going to happen; they did not realise that everything in their lives would take a complete turn a few hours on. As with Judas, what was he thinking when he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver? The gospels have records of how he was outraged at Jesus on finance matters and that he in fact was pilfering. At the table during the Passover, he actually asked Jesus if he is the one who will betray him and Jesus replied, "You have said so". Would Judas have expected Jesus to plead with him?
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When o’er my sins I sorrow, Lord, I will look to Thee And hence my comfort borrow That Thou wast slain for me; Yea, Lord, Thy precious blood was spilt For me, O most unworthy, To take away my guilt. Oh, what a marvelous offering! Behold, the Master spares His servants, and their suffering And grief for them He bears. God stoopeth from His throne on high; For me, His guilty creature, He deigns as man to die. My manifold transgression Henceforth can harm me none Since Jesus’ bloody Passion For me God’s grace hath won. His precious blood my debts hath paid; Of hell and all its torments I am no more afraid. Therefore I will forever Give glory unto Thee, O Jesus, loving Savior, For what Thou didst for me. I’ll spend my breath in songs of thanks For Thy sad cry, Thy sufferings, Thy wrongs, Thy guiltless death. ~ Justus Gesenius
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We had our April session of the Greek Exegetical Study of the Book of Romans today, which we attempted on Romans 3. We spent some time discussing on: 1. The implication of the Psalms passages quoted from v.10-18 Discussion were on how these passages in the OT times were applied to the pagans but now Paul uses them on the Jews. Paul could have given it a shock treatment to press it upon the Jews that they too are unrighteous. 2. Righteousness apart from the law (v.21) Some of us were thrown off by the word "apart" or χωρiς in Greek (separate, apart, without). Finally we agreed that it basically means that righteousness is not by works of the law. But what was brought up by one of us got me thinking too - were the Jews using works as a determinator of getting righteousness in the first place? It was concluded that with the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross, the laws no longer hold any place in attaining a righteousness that is from God. 3. Passing over of sins prev
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I received an sms this morning from the bookstore I usually frequent informing me they are having sort of a clearing sale. I was there in less than 2 hours - only to complain that they have not managed to bring out more titles! I was there too soon! Got several good ones though they are only on 5% discount - better than none, I'd say: Jesus Christ: The Witness of History by Sir Norman Anderson Justification: What's at Stake in the Current Debates by Mark Husbands and Daniel J. Treier (Eds) Five Views on Law and Gospel by Wayne G. Strickland, Jr., Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Douglas J. Moo, and Wayne G. Strickland Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray Grammatical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek by Walter Mueller Maeghan Picture by Christophe Libert
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My good friend reminded me of a very relevant verse: Rom 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. The measure of faith God has given you ... Maeghan Picture by Luc Sesselle
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We will be presenting our Easter piece today. I pray that the love of the Lord through his sacrifice for us on the cross will touch many hearts and lives tonight. Far, far away is one that touches my heart. Far, far away On a hilltop lone and grey I can see by faith a cross erected high Where the Lord of glory did for sinners die Lingering I gaze Till my wondering heart fills with praise For the Saviour hanging there in agony And the love that made Him suffer so for me Glorious Calvary Wonderful victory Planned from eternity I wonder oft how can it be Far, far away On a hilltop lone and grey I can see by faith the Christ of Calvary And that moment and trying When men their hate were crying And He, alone was dying on the tree Glorious Calvary Wonderful victory Planned from eternity I wonder oft how can it be Far, far away On a hilltop lone and grey I can see by faith the Christ of Calvary And that moment and trying When men their hate were crying And He, alone was dying on the t
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Following on from yesterday’s thoughts, if faith is a gift, it has to be received and accepted. Is faith something we receive or accept? Is it faith, if received? Maeghan
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What caught my attention today was Chrysostom’s interpretation of Eph 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” He takes the antecedent of “this” to be faith, while I think I have always understood it as grace; that is, grace is the gift that God gives us that allows us to be saved when we have faith. Chrysostom said, “So that you may not be elated by the magnitude of these benefits, see how Paul puts you in your place. For ‘by grace you are saved,’ he says, ‘through faith’. Then, so as to do no injury to free will, he allots a role to us, then takes it away again, saying ‘and this is not of ourselves’ … Even faith, he says is not from us. For if the Lord had not come, if he had not called us, how should we have been able to believe?” I will take this on tomorrow to study the verse in greater depth. Maeghan Picture by Dimiter Tzankov
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With my encounters with several theologians and speakers whom I feel are in the liberal camp, I need an insight into who they are: Liberal theologians are those who are more interested in imposing their own modern theological on biblical texts rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. They usually use selected passages of Jesus and Paul filtered through a modern ideological sieve. Liberal theology commonly denies that the blood Christ shed on the cross was a payment for sins or a legal imputation of righteousness of Christ to sinners. They have been typically offended by the view that the holy God judges sin and prefer to talk exclusively of the love of God rather than placing the love of God in the context of God’s holiness and just judgment of sin. (Oden, 2002) This reminds me of my reading and listening of Carson’s writings and sermons, where he is utterly adamant about it. Never ever forget that God is a God of wrath. He is both holy and love. There are no two ways about
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Oden listed the following as the principal sources of classic Christian exegesis, those who early gained the most general consent throughout the Asian, African and western church traditions as universally esteemed: the eight great doctors of the church – Athanasius , Basil , Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom in the East, and Ambrose , Jerome , Augustine , and Gregory the Great in the West. These people interest me because I was exposed to them during my Church History lectures but sad to say I have forgotten about most of what I have learnt. So it is now time for revision! Maeghan Picture by Anka Draganski
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In my recent mulling over justification , I think I have made what would be called a word-study fallacy. I most probably would have paid too much attention on the word with regards to its common technical meaning without taking into account its exclusive usage and meaning in the Christian context. It is most important to take justification in the Christian context because of its exceptional position among the Christian doctrines and dogma. I spent the morning reading a book courtesy of a very good friend: The Justification Reader by Thomas C. Oden. Oden values justification as the heart of the gospel. The first thing that came to my mind: the heart of the gospel? I know it is an important aspect of salvation but does it take so central a position? I will reserve my opinion, a humble one at that, to the very end when I finish reading it, hopefully. I am however, beginning to realise that he would most probably be absolutely right in saying so. Quoting here are what I have noted af
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Going back to the original Greek word of justification , which is δικαιοσύνη, the Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament found in www.biblecentre.net , define the word as: (1) righteousness, uprightness, generally denoting the characteristics of δίκαιος (righteous, just) ( Matt 5:6 ); (2) legally justice, uprightness, righteousness ( Phil 3:6 ); (3) as an attribute of God righteousness, integrity ( Rom 3:5 ); (4) of the right behavior that God requires of persons righteousness, good behavior, uprightness ( Matt 5:20 ), opposite αδικία (unrighteousness, wrongdoing); (5) in Pauline thought of the divine action by which God puts a person right with himself and which then becomes a dynamic power in the believer’s life making right(eous); state of having been made righteous ( Rom 1:17 ) Maeghan Picture by Suphamongkhon Arwatchanakarn
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I still have a question, which I am still not being satisfied with an answer. The question is: if justified is taken in the legal sense, how are we actually justified if we are still sinners? We will never be legally proven sinless to be justified. Is justified even the right word? Wouldn't it be more akin to being passed over instead, rather than justified? Or can we see the blood of Jesus as the means for the declaration of righteousness of those who accepts it? But we will not be proven sinless; only declared righteous in God's sight. So why justification? Maeghan Picture by Griszka Niewiadomski