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Showing posts from July, 2006

Bangkok Day 2

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The day was full of solid lectures on management and soft-skills. I hadn't much time or energy left for much reading or quiet time. I followed some new found friends for a night visit to the city and discovered this absolutely amazing night market called Suan Lum . I did not buy much but my friends did - they kept on and on and on with it, and by the time we hailed a taxi, it was already 12.30am. And in the "interest" of time, it was 1.30am for me! No wonder I have no energy left for anything theological! But then again, I am giving me a break. The picture is from a outlet that sells lamps. They were all lighted up and it was really so pretty. Maeghan posted on 4-Aug-2006

Bangkok Day 1

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I reached Bangkok after a good 2-hour flight and got checked into a fabulous 5-star (I think) apartment. Too bad I wasn't there for a holiday instead. Maeghan posted on 4-Aug-2006

Bangkok

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My company is sending me to Bangkok for a 4-day training session . I will be flying tomorrow and back late Thursday. I will not be bringing my notebook and therefore there will be no posting for several days, unless I catch up when I get back. I only pray this training is not packed with sessions like the one we had in Cameron Highlands. It will be good to have a retreat, sit back and learn instead of work, work, work and work. And in the meantime, of course some reading as well. Maeghan Picture by Holger Dieterich

They drew lots

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I was on my way home when at the spur of the moment I decided to drop in to SuFes, my favourite Christian bookstore. Noel and I do try to avoid that bookstore because neither one of us can leave without spending a bomb. I thought I have not been there for awhile and left with 3 books: The Behind Scenes of the New Testament by Paul Barnett Acts (The Crossway Classic Commentary) by John Calvin The Atonement, its Meaning and Significance by Leon Morris I bought Calvin's Acts because of his explanation on casting lots though on closer read he didn't quite answer my question: They drew lots. Those who think it is wrong to cast lots are mistaken - partly out of ignorance and partly because they do not understand the meaning of the word. There is nothing that has been corrupted by insolence and deceit; casting lots is no exception. It has been seriously misused and reduced to the level of superstition. Predicting the future by lot is altogether devilish. But it is not wrong fo

Casting lots?

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I was commenting in Codepoke's post and we discussed briefly about casting lots. Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. ~ Acts 1:26 I checked FF Bruce's commentary on the Book of Acts where he said that historically speaking, the act of casting lots is very common and acceptable. Nevertheless, a lot of work will be put into the selection process before finally casting lots. Most probably it boils down to context and culture. Nowadays, it is just not acceptable to leave things to chance. Maeghan Picture by Anna Maria Lopez Lopez

A Thousand Words #2

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Maeghan Picture by Steve Woods

The Acts of the Apostles

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A module on the Study of Book of Acts is coming up this September. I have not yet decided whether to take it up or not. I am still 50-50 about it but knowing myself, I would regret it if I were to miss it. So, here goes. 1. Outline and Content The book of Acts takes up the story where the Gospel ends with the resurrection of Jesus. It goes on to record his ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the rise and the early progress of Christianity. It also covers the dispersal of the Hellenistic members of the church, the execution of Stephen, the evangelisation of distant region as far north as Antioch, the beginning of the Gentile mission, the account of Paul's conversion, Peter's evangelisation of the plain of Sharon that brought about the conversion of the first Gentile household, Paul's arrival in Antioch to take part in the Gentile mission there and Peter's departure from Jerusalem after his escape from Herod Agrippa I, Paul's apostolic ministry with Barnabas,

The many hats we wear

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During dinner, my fellow sister and friend mentioned something that got me thinking. She was listing out the all the roles that I play: a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a boss, a subordinate, a theological student, music team leader, budding lay-preacher, Sunday School teacher, and by then I hoped she had stop counting. I told her that I dare not even list it out but now that she has done it, I would cry out to God for strength and mercy. However, though I am perplexed and weighed down from every side, I am encouraged because I know God is with me all the way. And for that I am thankful. Maeghan Picture by Loretta Humble

The ark, the king and the wife

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(Sermon notes on 2 Samuel 6:12-23, partly repetitive from previous posts) Why trying to work out lessons from this passage, I noticed that it can be systematically observed like a sandwich: The Ark of the Covenant What is the ark? What is the Ark of the Covenant? It is the most important object to the Israelites Back in Exodus, after the Israelites left Egypt, God instructed Moses to build him a mobile temple and the first thing he was asked to build is what was called the Ark of the Covenant. It is an ark, a box container. It is made of pure gold. It contains the tablets of the 10 commandments signifying the covenant or the promise-agreement made between God and Moses for the people of Israel. To the people of Israel, it represents God himself, as a reminder of God in their midst and in their presence. The ark is a holy object belonging only to God. No one can touch it, no one can even see it with their bare eyes. During the journeys of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by t

It's my birthday

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We did not do anything much today. I guess I am too busy preparing the sermon for tomorrow. For the coming year of my life, I shall make Psalm 139 my song, my hymn, to live my life for Him in all I think, say and do. Psalm 139 God's Omnipresence and Omniscience. For the choir director. A Psalm of David. 1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; ......... You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, ......... And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, ......... Behold, O LORD, You know it all. 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, ......... And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; ......... It is too high, I cannot attain to it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? ......... Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; ......... If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9

Jonathan

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Today, I joined the youth group in a visit to Jonathan 's house to pray for him and hold a worship service on his behalf. He is going in and out of consciousness, thin and weak. We spent about an hour singing, reading the bible and praying. The family is looking for a miracle, we are praying that it will be God's will. We pray earnestly that God who hears our prayers will answer our prayers. But God holds the key to it all, he knows and he is God. We pray for mercy and we pray that His will be done for His own glory. Maeghan Picture by Charlie Lawrence

Downtime

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Things kept going wrong. Oh I pray for God's leading and sustenance. His grace is sufficient for me. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 Maeghan Picture by Bill Davenport

Preaching

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I was browsing through John Stott's Between Two Worlds, The Challenge of Preaching Toda y and found it quite promising a book. From the first chapter, The Glory of Preaching: A Historical Sketch: Four chief characteristics of Chrysostom's preaching (he was nicknamed Chrysostomos, 'golden-mouthed' and is generally and justly regarded as the greatest pulpit orator of the Greek church): (1) He was biblical, preaching systematically through several books and his sermons are full of biblical quotations and allusions (2) He was simple and straightforward, following the Antiochene school of 'literal' exegesis in contrast to fanciful Alexandrian allegorisation (3) His moral applications was down-to-earth (4) He was fearless in his condemnations, he was a martyr of the pulpit, for it was chiefly his faithful preaching that caused him his exile Luther's nine properties and virtues of a good preacher: (1) teach systematically (2) have a ready wit (3) be eloquent (4)

The book of Leviticus

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Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern Church it tends to be the last part of the Bible anyone looks at seriously. … In practice then, though not in theory, Leviticus is treated as though it does not really belong to the canon of Scripture. ~ Gordon J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), p. vii. That rings so true. When I was younger, I would start reading the bible chapter by chapter in January and by the time I reach the Chinese New Year holidays, I would find myself in the book of Leviticus and there the goal of completing the bible in a year would go down the drain! Thankfully, by God's grace I did manage to read the entire bible several years ago, though there still much, much more to read . The book of Leviticus now holds a very high priority in my study of His word, but there is so much to do, so much to read and so much to learn. In preparation for my sermon

The stairway to heaven

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Genesis 28:10-15 10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have pr

The Ark of the Covenant

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The Ark of the Covenant is ארון הברית, aron habrit in Hebrew. It is described in the Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses's prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). Its primary function was for God to communicate with Moses, "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). During the journeys of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests in advance of the host (Numbers 4:5, 6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). The Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Joshua 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17, 18). The Ark was moreover borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6, 8, 11, 12). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in badge

Romans 8:22-25

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22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. There are many things we look forward to, nothing more than the Last Day of the Lord. Nonetheless, now is the time to wait and tarry and while we do, it is also time to build and to get ready. What should we build and what should we get ready? Souls and lives for God for sure but other than that, I seem to think that when the last day comes, we go to him with the amount of love, joy, hope, peace, charity and all the goodness that is available in our hearts and souls. I hope I have them when I am finally with Him. Maeghan Picture by Bi

Psalm 103

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15 As for man, his days are like grass; .... he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, .... and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the LORD .... is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, .... and his righteousness to children's children, 18 to those who keep his covenant .... and remember to do his commandments. Maeghan Picture by Bill Davenport

Plumb the Text, Form the Sermon

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I am beginning to prepare my sermon and I think I will be using I have done in my OT Hermeneutics and Homiletics class as the base. The method used for preparing the paper is based on Elizabeth Achtemeier's "Plumb the Text, Form the Sermon". I still need to do a lot of work especially to research more on the Ark of the Covenant but basically, I should already have the points and the flow. My 1000-word paper: Plumbing the Text and Forming the Sermon from 2 Samuel 6:12-23 Plumb the Text This passage gives the closing to the Ark Narrative that is found in 1 Sam 4:1-7:1 , 2 Sam 6 and 1 Chr 13-15 . Historically, the ark is a constant reminder to the Israelites of the holy presence of God – God is with them in their journey through the desert and during their conquest for land. The ark however, was captured during the time when religious life was at its lowest; the presence of God was no longer with the Israelites. The 2 Sam 6:12-23 passage is therefore very significan

Some NT Some OT

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I purposefully did not bring my PC back today having completed my Romans presentation paper and so Calvin and I spent a nice evening reading the bible. There were no plans of what to read and so I just read as I went along. We read the shortest book of the OT - Obadiah . Short but powerful. It is a letter written to the nation of Edom. Basically, it condemns Edom for not aiding their neighbour Israel when in need. Lesson: we may see our "enemies" in triumph for the moment, but not for all time. We read the account of Zacchaeus and I commented that it would be quite an event to meet him in heaven! Calvin found that delightful. We read Luke 19 and came to verse 26, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.' I told my son that once in awhile I use this verse to remind the worship team of the talents that God gave us that should be used in return for his glory. He has been practising hi

I "Moo"-ed and Cran-"field"-ed through

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I just delivered my paper in class several hours ago - complete with a Powerpoint presentation - my paper on Romans 6. There is still much to do before the final submission but on the whole the feedback I received was that it was well done and they have enjoyed the discussion. I thank God, for helping me persevere through it all. It was not easy. However, I was commenting to Noel (my fellow brother and classmate) that I should footnote the entire paper in one big citation creditting Douglas Moo and CEB Cranfield! Only because I think I practically quoted them everywhere. Therefore, I need to give it a re-work to add on more thoughts and what I learnt from class today. But I am glad I have finally got the presentation over and done with. My lesson for the day though is: God's word is God's word. One can say it is tough, but one can also say it is easy; It is profound, and yet it is simple truth at same time. The more we dwell in His Word, we know more; And yet realise we don

A Thousand Words #1

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I am too tired to write much today. My presentation paper on Romans 6 is due tomorrow and it had been a long week. But in the midst of it all, I still stand on the promises of God - his love and his grace - therefore I am rest assured. Maeghan Picture by Bill Davenport

A faith that is alive

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Our sermon today is based on James 2:17. Reading it in its context, the message is clear. James 2:14-18 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. Justification is only by faith but if this faith is not active in doing good works, this faith is dead and dead faith is no faith; and no faith, no justification. "... I will show you my faith by what I do." Maeghan Picture by Pipp

Those with him are called and chosen and faithful

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I attended the church's Intermediate and Youth Fellowship anniversary celebration today. Their theme: "Find Us Faithful". Find us Faithful by Jon Mohr We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road, And those who’ve gone before us line the way, Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary— Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace. Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, Let us run the race not only for the prize; But, as those who’ve gone before us, Let us leave behind us The heritage of faithfulness, Passed on through godly lives. After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, And our children sift through all we’ve left behind, May the clues that they discover, And the memories they uncover Become the light that leads them to the road We each must find. O, may all who come behind us find us faithful; May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave Lead them to believe; And the lives we live Inspire th

Majestic is our Lord

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Psalm 8 To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David. 1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Maeghan Picture by Bjarne Kvaale

The ubiquitous tongue

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James 3:4-8 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. I felt slighted by a friend recently, with words shot point blank without first checking. Obviously I was most unhappy but decided to do the opposite - reticence. The air is already bad, although I don't think this person knows it; and I rather it not get worse. So I have decided to keep mum over it

It's been a (many) hard day's night ...

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There will not be much ponderings these few days, unless I can still muster some, as I will be mostly trying to complete my always-more-to-work-on Romans 6 paper. (There never seem to be an end to it, therefore enough of it as far as this blog is concerned. Not until I get some feedback from class next week, will I post anymore about it.) Meanwhile, Codepoke posted a story he wrote for his nieces. I love it! Check it out here . Maeghan Picture by rfirman

Wise sayings, proverbs

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Prov 20:5 The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. I thought this proverb deep and profound, but I do not quite understand it. 1. The purpose in a man’s heart – his purpose in doing something or his purpose in life? 2. A man of understanding – the same man or a second party? I feel there could be several meanings to it. One, a man can have purposes deep in his heart and being reticent about it. It takes another person with deep understanding to know what the purposes are behind the actions and words. Lesson: a person’s ultimate motive in doing something could be so hidden that we need to be wise enough to see him behind the façade. Two, a man’s purpose in life as willed by God, other than to live for Him, could be difficult to know even by oneself, it takes a person with wisdom and understand to know it and live it. Lesson: for a person to know his purpose in life as designed by God, he needs to seek God daily for wisdom and

I think I got it

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I was again trying to work out Romans 6, knowing that I really need a break in order to recover that feeling of excitement and motivation in doing a theological/biblical assignment and I think I just might have found it. In reference to the diagram I was working on several days ago, I noticed the repetition of the word know , albeit in three different Greek root words: αγνοειτε (a negative particle, not know ), γινοσκω ( to know, to perceive ) and οιδα ( to know ). I took a close look and felt that the entire Romans 6:1-14 could be an argument in chiastic form. - A’ in respond to A - B’ in respond to B - C’ in respond to C - D carries the epitome of argument in the entire passage. A. What then, should we remain in sin so grace may increase? God forbid. ..... B. We who have died to sin, how can we live in it? .......... C. Do you know ............... we are baptised into Christ ............... we are buried with him ............... we are united with him in death and resurrection

Woohoo!

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I got myself a one week reprieve before I have to present my Romans 6 paper! I can breathe easier now but I must be disciplined, which I have not been lately. I could not gather the enthusiasm to work on this paper, the kind of excitement I use to have for my other papers. I am now trying to figure out why. I think it is because I know I am the least Greek-equipped among my classmates to produce a paper of standard. As a result, I could not seem to muster the motivation to move on with the paper. I also think it is because I still could not see a direction for it. My boss at work was just telling me to just do it and not think about getting As as it is not important as it were in school days. But that's the thing with me - I do aim for an A. And knowing that I am not A material in this module, I really really find it hard to work at it. But nevermind, I have an extra week to work things out. I had better do it tonight, to really work it out, that is. Meanwhile, I must talk abou

These are the words 6:4

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I was in discussion with my uncle last week about the Introduction to Old Testament classes which he had attended a couple of weeks ago. I took this module in year 2003 and now that my retired uncle has all the time in the world (other than his 'compulsory' golfing), I kept telling him he should go for the class. With some more push from the Dean of the Seminary, whom we both know, he attended classes and I think he really enjoyed it. This reminded me of some interesting things I learnt 3 years ago. For one, the names of the books in the Pentateuch in Hebrew takes on the very first word of the book; we find this quite odd. Genesis, בראשית Bereshith, In the beginning Exodus, ואלה שמות Ve-Elleh Shemoth, These are the names Leviticus, ויקרא Vaiyikra, And he called Numbers, וידבר Vaidabber, And he spoke (but in most Hebrew Bibles its running title is במדבר Bemidbar, in the wilderness , which is the fifth word in the first verse) Deuteronomy, אלה הדברים Elleh Haddebari