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Showing posts from August, 2006

My light and my salvation

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Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. ... From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, ... who made heaven and earth. Psalm 27 Of David. 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; ... whom shall I fear? ... The LORD is the stronghold of my life; ... of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, ... my adversaries and foes, ... it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, ... my heart shall not fear; ... though war arise against me, ... yet I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, ... that will I seek after: ... that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, ... to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; ... he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; ... he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up ... above my enemies all around me, ... and I will offer in his

How Long, O Lord?

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Noel has reminded me of another DA Carson's book, How Long, O Lord? in our search of answers in the light of our earthly sufferings. I often find myself reading too many books at one go and here I am at it again! Therefore, I only scanned it to have a good look through, for a later read. But this one section reminded me of a passage which I have been hanging onto several years ago: Heb 12:5-12. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Sh

Phil 4:5 επιεικες

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Where NIV and most other translations used the word gentleness in Phil 4:5, the Greek word in use here is επιεικες. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near . (NIV) Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon . (NLT) Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near . (NASB) Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. (Amplified) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; (ESV) From the tools available in e-Sword: The word επιεικες is of very extensive signification; it means the same as επιεικεια, mildness, patience, yieldingness, gentleness, clemency, moderation, unwillingness to litigate or contend; but moderation is expressive enough as a general term. “Moderation,” says Dr. Macknight, “means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries, equity in the manageme

Joy and Gentleness

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I am at the moment reading DA Carson’s Basics for Believer , which one of my friends has commented that it really isn’t so basic after all. However, the reason I think why Carson chose that title is because the crux of the Epistle of Philippians is the basics that all Christian believers must have. They are: 1. Phil 1:1-26 Put the gospel first in all you do 2. Phil 1:27- 2:18 Adopt Jesus’ death as a test of your outlook 3. Phil 2:19-3:21 Emulate worthy Christian leaders 4. Phil 4:1-23 Never give up the Christian walk I started reading on the 4th basic this morning and it was really refreshing. It has helped me readjust my thoughts, which has gone quite awry lately. Here’s a summary of the sections I felt were personally helpful to me. Paul writes, “ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice! ” (4:4). Paul has already introduced this theme from the first chapter ( I will always pray with joy …). Paul has been a prime example of this virtue when he had first prea

Fear not, for I am with you

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10 So do not fear, for I am with you; .... do not be dismayed, for I am your God. .... I will strengthen you and help you; .... I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 13 For I am the LORD, your God, .... who takes hold of your right hand .... and says to you, Do not fear; .... I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, .... O little Israel, .... for I myself will help you," declares the LORD, .... your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. ~ Isaiah 41:10, 13-14 Maeghan Picture by Carsten Güth

The Bread of Life

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The Sunday School visited a bread factory today. We came back with many, many loaves of bread. But the most important lesson to remember is that Jesus is the only Bread of Life, for if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. ( John 6:25-59 ) On the way to the bakery On arrival Into the factory! I just noticed the "No Entry" sign! The shopfloor, the aroma just ooohh ... mmmm ... I couldn't get a clearer picture of this Helimatic Cooler, a multi-layered spiral, which cools every single load of freshly baked bread for 70 minutes The observation hallway The sweet pretty faces! Maeghan

Arminianism, my thoughts

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I really do not know where to start on this big subject that has occupied much debate space over the last centuries. The few questions that Codepoke brought up stumped me as well, though if given a good thought over it, they can be answered. But that "good thought" may take a long, long time! According to the tenets of Arminianism, if humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation, then how is salvation possible if God's election is conditional on faith in Jesus? How can someone take that step of faith if they are naturally unable to make any effort towards it? But if someone can do that, then it would be a salvation by works, will it not? But have I not already established that faith is not works? Do I find myself chasing my own tail with all these questions? And as Codepoke has raised, if in human’s fallen state, the free will towards good is wounded and weakened, imprisoned and destroyed, how then can man have free will to respond or resist? But if

Arminianism, Take 3

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Arminianism, like any major belief system, is frequently misunderstood by critics and would-be supporters. Among the common misconceptions: • Arminianism supports works-based salvation : To the Arminians, salvation is “by faith alone” and “by faith first to last”. This misconception is often directed to the Arminian possibility of apostasy, which critics maintain that it requires continual good works to achieve final salvation. To the Arminians, however, both initial salvation and eternal security are “by faith alone”, hence “by faith first to last”. Belief through faith is the condition for entrance into the Kingdom of God; unbelief is the condition for exit from the Kingdom of God - not a lack of good works. • Arminianism denies original sin and total depravity : No system of Arminianism founded on Arminius or Wesley denies original sin or total depravity. Both Arminius and Wesley strongly affirmed that man's basic condition is one in which he cannot be righteous, understand G

Arminianism, Take 2

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I must mention again that the main source of the information here is Wikipedia.org, I have yet to come across good books that would provide me with the information I need. Theology: Classical Arminianism (a.k.a. Reformed Arminianism or Reformation Arminianism) • Depravity is total : In human’s fallen state, the free will towards good is wounded and weakened, imprisoned and destroyed. Unless assisted by Divine grace, it has no powers. • Atonement is intended for all : Jesus’ death on the cross is for all people – the whole of human race has the opportunity for salvation through faith. • Jesus' death satisfies God's justice : The penalty for sins is paid through Jesus’ work on the cross, making the atonement for all, which must be effected through faith. The only possible way for justification is God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness. • Grace is resistible : The offer of salvation through grace does not act irresistibly in a purely cause-effect deterministic method bu

Arminianism, Take 1

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Being a Methodist, I am naturally an Arminian but truth be told, I do not know so much about what it is other than the fact that it is an “archrival” of Calvinism especially in the subject of predestination. Over the long weekend, I downloaded Wikipedia’s entry on Arminianism and found out some information about it. Here is a summary of what I read and found out from www.wikipedia.org. In short, Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought or in other words, thoughts on the study of salvation, in Protestant Christian theology. History It originated from the Dutch pastor and theologian Jacobus Arminius in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His teacher was a hand-picked successor of Calvin, whose teachings Arminius rejected. His teacher’s theology of making God the author of sin was rejected and in return, he proposed that the election of God was of believers, making it conditional on faith. Arminius died before a national synod could occur when his views were challenged by

A Thousand Words #4

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Waiting is the game. Maeghan Picture by Can Berkol

Ultimate faith in action

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Our church celebrated its 39th anniversary today and we had the District Superintendent as our guest speaker. His message was entitled Faith-Works on a passage from the book of James. What impressed me was his mention of Abraham's faith in the Lord when he was tested to offer his son in sacrifice, an act which still bewilder me as a mom. But what matters is, God is faithful and when things around us looks impossible, He is the only answer. Something the speaker said also caused me to think. He said, "God would only test the faithful." I am not yet fully convinced though I think it may just be true. Maeghan Picture by Jonathan Liedtke

My Pumpkin, Calvin

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Pumpkin by Calvin Tan My son attended art lessons for several months when he was younger. I stopped the art classes when I started him on piano lessons. He is still drawing stick men! He drew this pumpkin and I thought it quite good. Calvin: Of course I still draw stick men! And I have 2 versions of stick men. (Yup, he speaks techy!) And he told me last night what he thinks a romantic meal is: eat a little and then drink a little and then eat a little again. It is NOT eat everything and then drink everything at one go. I thought it was hilarious! Maeghan

Thank God it's Friday!

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The weekend is finally here and that is such a relief. There is much in store for the weekend. For one, the Choral Group, which I am almost partly involved in if not fully since I am allowed to attend rehearsals half-time, will be presenting a song on Sunday as a celebration of our church's anniversary. We will be singing Let There Be Praise . And two, Calvin will be having his one week break from school and we will be heading off to the cool mountains of Genting Highlands on Monday. I took Monday off so I could join my parents, my brother and the kids, I think I need a break. Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy ountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. ~Psalm 48:1-2 Maeghan Picture by Mark Miller

I will be found by you

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Jeremiah 29:11-14a 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ... plans for wholeness and not for evil, ... to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, ... and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me. ... When you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD. I remembered someone, though I can't remember who, commented that we cannot use Jer 29:11-14 to freely apply it to our lives especially in confirming what we think God would have planned for us or as an answer our prayers. Not freely apply it, I would agree but the word of God still stands that He does know the plans He has for us, plans for good and not for disaster to give us a future and a hope in Him. When we call upon him and pray to him, He will hear, He will listen. When we seek Him, we will find Him, when do it with all our heart. Such is our God, how wonderful and awesome is He. Maeghan Picture by Alice Wycklendt

Psalm 143

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I turned to Psalm 143 for my morning devotion and was touched by it. I closed it with Psalm 121, which affirms my trust and faith in my LORD. He hears and he is actively present in my life. Psalm 143 A Psalm of David. 1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! .... In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! 2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, .... for no one living is righteous before you. 3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; .... he has crushed my life to the ground; .... he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. 4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; .... my heart within me is appalled. 5 I remember the days of old; .... I meditate on all that you have done; .... I ponder the work of your hands. 6 I stretch out my hands to you; .... my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah. 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! .... Hide not your face from me, .... lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let me hea

More on Imprecatory Psalms

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I need to do more on what I have started yesterday on Imprecatory Psalms. Stating what they are and what they may imply isn't enough. I have yet to go into what it means for us. While working it out yesterday, this statement came to mind: God hates the sin but loves the sinner . I remember reading somewhere that this, though very much used and quoted, is an evangelical cliché that must be rejected. As my recent biblical "flair" would have it (the fact that whatever I needed lately seems to just come without much of a searching), I found it in reading Carson's Basics for Believer. God hates the sin but loves the sinner . The second part may be true but this antithesis is fundamentally mistaken, and is clearly refuted by Scripture. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, the texts insist that God 'hates' sinners, 'abhors' those who tell lies, and so forth. But the glorious truth about God is that although he is angry with us, in his very cha

Psalm 139

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I am beginning to think I am becoming a person who reads the bible on-the-fly, i.e. whatever that comes along. But I do not want to think that it is entirely true though. I want to believe that the Holy Spirit has led to me the right places and the right chapters and the right verses. Because he has done it again. The peace that only Jesus can give has placed a joy in my heart. On wanting to read a psalm, I went to the praise psalms found at the end (I had thought they were the Hallel psalms but I was wrong, Hallel Psalms are from 113-118). I scrolled up the numbers 150, 149, 148 … (I was reading it from my mobile phone – Oh, the convenience of technology!) and somehow or rather clicked on 139. And there I have it again, a psalm that speaks my heart. Psalm 139 To the choirmaster. 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 discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down .... a

Taking off some hats

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I was washing my huge pile of laundry yesterday and realised it was quite therapeutic for me. (Washing is good, ironing is a no-no!) I took the same time to pray and re-evaluate my life; and I have made some decisions. I am just wearing too many hats and I think I am nearing burnout. I need more time for more important things in life and some things, though not less important, have to take the back seat for the time being. But I have decided, for now at least, this blog will stay. Only and only because it is an extension of my daily spiritual ponderings and thoughts, and my quiet time with my Lord. I would therefore seek my blogger friends' forgiveness if I do not check out their blogs as often as I should. I would still be checking them out, (I think once a Blogger, always a Blogger?) but just not so often - I think that is already apparent by now. The other hat I am planning to take off is the Sunday School teacher hat. I have been wanting to do that for a long time but I st

Yet will I Rejoice in the LORD

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Habakkuk 3:17-18 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Maeghan

Grace and Peace

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I was reminded today what Paul's mention of "grace and peace" is and what they are in connection to each other - that grace is the love of God through the blood of Christ that is given us; to us who do not deserve it at all, and the peace is as a result of that grace, we are no longer condemned. It caused me to think about John 14:27 in a new light. I have never seen it this way before that when Jesus talks about the peace that He gives: " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid ," He is talking about His peace that is in relation with His death on the cross. That to me, is enlightening. I have been looking for peace in the past week and this is the peace that He offers, the peace that is through His blood, the peace that we are no longer condemned. It is more than a feeling, it is an act. And as life would have it, in just the past one week, between m

Illogical Feelings

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The day did not go on well, not that I expect it to. I know I shouldn't feel horrible but I do. On rare occassions like this, the feeling just creeps on me, even if I find no logical reasons to feel so dreadful. No logical reasons at all, but who's to say that feelings are logical? I searched the Psalms for some comfort and I automatically went to Psalm 23. I read on to 24 and then 25, and this is where it speaks my heart. Psalm 25 Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; ... let me not be put to shame; ... let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; ... they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; ... teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, ... for you are the God of my salvation; ... for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, ... and your steadfast love, ... for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my yout

So near yet so far

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I brought work home to do again today but I don't seem to have the gung-ho I had yesterday. I am so tired. I will meditate on my favourite psalm: Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. .... From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, .... who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; .... he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel .... will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; .... the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, .... nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; .... he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in .... from this time forth and forevermore. Maeghan Picture by Ted Cabanes

Not a Good Day

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I am getting there, I am getting there. These 2 bible verses accompanied me throughout the day, even though I only had time to recite them several times in the morning: 1. Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 2. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. And now I totally understand how King Saul must have felt when he was so disturbed and called for David to play him some music and most probably some singing as well. I have been working non-stop, yes non-stop, from 8am to 8pm and the only time I was not on the verge of panicking was when I was listening to some music - a collection of Christian choral music. When the CD finished playing, I had not thought about looping it, I would only notice it when I sense this feeling of dread creepin

A Thousand Words #3

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I have so much of work to do I am drowning. With a very tight deadline to meet, there is this really uneasy feeling in me which is on the verge of panicking. God help me. Maeghan Picture by Andrea Jaccarino

Genesis 24:1-57

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Our pastor spoke today on the topic "To Set and Reach Your Goals" using Genesis 24:1-57 as basis for the lesson that "Eliazar’s search for a wife for Isaac illustrates the ten steps of successful goal setting". The ten steps are: 1. Determine your position 2. Define your purpose 3. Discover a promise 4. Describe the profit 5. Desire in prayer 6. Diagnose the problems 7. Design a Plan 8. Discipline your personality 9. Deposit the price 10. Depend on people The pastor's current 2-month theme at the moment is "Super Successful Living". I can't say I am in line with his exegetical methods but he drew from the passage the verses that mention "success" or "successful" and came up with the 10 steps. What other ways can one draw lessons from the passage? Here could be some possibilities: 1. Eliazar's obedience and oath of faithful service . Put your hand under my thigh (v.2) reflects the custom of the times where it represents

Luke 21:29-36

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And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." This passage reminds us exactly what Paul said in Phil 1:21, " For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. " We live but in a temporary state in this world. The many thing

He's happy again!

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My son wasn't happy at all that he fell asleep last night and missed coming to pick me up from the train station (I took the KLIA Express train from the airport back to the city for easy pickup). In fact, he was very, very unhappy, very angry in fact. But he is back to his jovial self now, as he always is. I found this very intriguing proverb: The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy (14:10) I think I know but I didn't quite understand why he was so angry but I suppose like the proverb go, only we ourselves would truly know our own bitterness and joy. Though we should be glad that Jesus knows . Maeghan

Bangkok Day 5

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This being the final day of training, I was quite drained already though I have to admit I did learn quite a bit of things that will be useful for work. Would be wonderful if they were theological too but I can't have it all now, can I? Nevertheless, it's home sweet home. Maeghan posted on 4-Aug-2006 picture shows the overhead steel structure in the KL Sentral train station

Bangkok Day 4

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The days were packed. After training today, we went to our Bangkok office to check our email and then to a organised dinner in the famous Blue Elephant restaurant. The food is good but I have to say I am not a true blue Thai food fan. Maeghan posted on 4-Aug-2006 picture from www.kiat.net

Bangkok Day 3

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The picture is not clear but it reflects my day. I have been suffering from gastritis since Saturday morning and even though I have been faithfully taking my medication, the irregular and delayed meals have taken a toll on me (Bangkok is 1 hour behind Kuala Lumpur). For instance, we were asked to assemble for dinner at 8pm Bangkok time, and by the time we got to the place planned, it was already 9pm, which is 10pm for me. By then I was starving. I went to see the doctor today in BNH Hospital. I took a cab back and the journey which I think is only about 3-4 kilometers took 1/2 an hour! I have no more complaints about traffic in KL. Anyway, I have not been very "spiritual" in these postings. I am disappointed myself but I only have that much energy and I miss home so much. Maeghan posted on 4-Aug-2006 p/s I have since recovered from the gastritis