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Showing posts from August, 2007

Year of the Jubilee

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Malaysia is celebrating her 50th year of independence today! Happy 50th Merdeka! Leviticus 25:10-15 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field. 13 "In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. 14 And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. 15 You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops. The 50th year is special. God consecrated it as the year of liberty - the year of jubilee

A Thousand Words #40

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pearlie Picture by Ramzi Hashisho

Exegetical-Theological Integration

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I need to do an exegtical- theological integration between Galatians 2:16 and James 2:24 . I thought it will be challenging and now I think it has proven to be too challenging. What with the New Perspective on Paul and the debate between the subjective genitive and objective genetive of πίστις ' Ιησου Χρίστου ( pistis Iesou Christou ); subjective being faith that is from Christ , and the objective being our faith in Christ . But since it is meant to be a "brief paper" of 3 to 4 pages, I suppose if I just concentrated on integrating justified by faith and justified by works, it should suffice. Phew! pearlie Picture by Sarah Williams

A Thousand Words #39

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pearlie Picture by Chris Cummings

Kuala Selangor Nature Park

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Our firm dedicated this day to the community where almost 900 of us went to various places to do our part for the environment. Last year, we focussed on the less fortunate people whilst this year, it is the environment. I was with the group that went to The Kuala Selangor Nature Park to make the world a little greener by planting some mangrove saplings. It was about a one and a half hour bus ride to reach the park and we were immediately given black boots to wear - Phua Chu Kang style! It was hard to walk in them and we had to walk a long way in: about half and hour before we reach the second layer mangrove swamp where we were to plant the saplings. It was challenging, but 165 green saplings were planted in about 20 minutes by the 35 of us. It's a hard day's work and for once my muscles ache instead of my head. The mangrove swamps are quite rare as they only exist in the tropics and where there are low and high tides. There trees survive in the sea water by relinquishin

Blessing

Rev Christopher Rao shared with us today a sermon for Genesis 12:1-3, the 4 C's of blessings. Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV) 1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." This is first of the blessings that God annouced for Abraham, one more time in Gen 22:1-18, reaffirmed and reiterated every now and then as recorded in Genesis. 1. Circumstances Have you not noticed that God somehow blesses us in the most unexpected circumstances? We may think that God will bless us in our best of times but is it not often that God blesses us in times we didn't think we will be? God blesses Abraham but before he did that, he wanted Abraham to leave th

Why didn't I think of it?

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I am getting along quite satisfactorily with my assignments, with 4 papers for Biblical Interpretation, 1 exegesis and 3 close-book take home exam questions for Introduction to the New Testament. Due in October and November. I have all my books upstairs in shelves. What I had been doing was to bring down whatever books I needed and work downstairs in the living area. But it has proven to be impractical because the amount of books I needed for just one paper piled up to at least 2 feet in height. With SH complaining about books everywhere and the energy I need to bring them up and down, I finally set up shop upstairs. I should have done this in the first place! The "2-foot tall" books I am using, now conveniently standing on my new study table, an old computer table we had wanted to discard for too many times but I held on to it. Notice the support beams for the now missing shelf that was meant for a monitor, serve perfectly as book ends. I am so pleased with it! pearlie

A nice day off

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Calvin is having a week long break from school and I finally managed to take the day off today to be spent with him. We did not do much but had breakfast together, went to the mall, watched some television (Rowan Atkinson's Black Adder 2 to be precise. By the way, Atkinson is his all-time favourite) and then had dinner together. Oh yes, and lunch too! I also brought our computer workstation - which the burglars nearly got away with it too, they carried it downstairs but left it at the door - to the store to try to get its RAM upgraded but alas, it could not be done being an older unit. They do not have that kind of RAM in store anymore. But I did get another unit of an external hard disk to replace the one the burglars did get away with. And of course the day will not be complete without a visit to the bookstore and this time we went to the MPH at Bangsar Shopping Village II. Both SH and I share only one favourite author, Michael Crichton. His newest book, Next is now in pape

A Thousand Words #38

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I have just started on a data verification exercise at work, which to me is really the boringest thing to do in the world, but it has to be done. pearlie Picture by Rodolfo Clix

100% Natural

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In line with what I have been sort of "preaching" - evangelising the Good News of the Lord - I have been praying that I will get opportunities to share the Gospel with someone. My prayer was answered today. I was having lunch with a colleague and somehow or rather the subject turned up and it was natural that I talk about it; about our sin, how far we are separated from God, how impossible for us to go to him by our own efforts, why and how we can go to God through the cross of Christ. I will not say that I have made a difference but as the Parable of the Seeds go, I'd just do it. Some will surely fall on rich and fertile ground and it will become a harvest. And as it is natural for the sower to sow, it should be natural for us to "sow" as well. I am not sure if I can say that if it does not feel natural, then it is not the right time or the right place. You think? pearlie Picture by Mark Morcom

It is not good for the man to be alone

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At the aftermath of the burglary, I pushed away the idea of taking the day off today and thought that going to work and immersing myself in work and being in the company of my colleagues will be good for me, that it will be therapeutic. I was right. I still thought about it, I did talk about it but in good perspective. But now that I am alone at home, Calvin is in bed and SH is out for a late meeting, I feel quite miserable. This reminded of Gen 2:18: Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." I know that this verse is usually applied to the constitution of marriage but if you look into the word, man , in Hebrew adam and in the LXX, anthropos , it could well carry the meaning of human being, that is in general, it is just not good for us to be alone, which is why God made us to be companions, to our spouses, to our family, to our friends. God himself is the Trinitarian God. And we are made in his likene

Black Monday

Today is a bad day for us. Our house got broken into. The house was ransacked and we lost quite a bit of things, including 2 notebook computers, some watches, jewellery and even some valueless but sentimental items. I keep beating myself over this with many "I should have's" but basically I thank God that we are safe. We have just lost things and nothing more. Though I do sense a loss of security and gained a sense of fear having our lives being violated like this. O God. Have mercy on us, guard us and keep us safe. We thank you and praise you for your protection. We pray that you will regain the peace in us that surpasses all understanding. pearlie

True love

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My old church celebrated her 40th anniversary today. We headed there for the occasion, as well as for our choral group's "debut". We just came up with a name for our group and this would be the first time we are appearing as Grace Notes. We did ok - Holy, Holy, Holy for introit and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms for anthem, both in accapella. The introit was a very lovely arrangement by Tom Fettke and the anthem was a very jazzed-up version of the old hymn. The service was graced by our district superintendant, Rev Yau Kah Fatt and he spoke to us on John 21:15-19, an almost similar sermon to what we had in Life Methodist Church on Jul 15 : do we love the Lord? The speaker calls the church to follow the footsteps of Peter - to be mission-minded and to spread the love of God (Jesus' call to Peter to feed the lamb) and to love God to whatever ends (Peter followed Christ till his death on the cross because of of the Gospel). There was one point he brought up: when P

A full day

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We had a full day today. Calvin's school held its Food and Funfair Day to collect funds for a dialysis centre and soup kitchens. We were there early and it was already packed with hoards of people. We bought some food, played some games and headed home. In the evening, I went for choral group practice for our "debut" tomorrow and the evening ended off very nicely with a fellowship gathering at one of our church member's home. pearlie

The Marvel of His Name

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Psalm 8 For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David. Prelude: The Marvel of His Name 1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, The Majesty of God Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! 2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. The Frailty of Man 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? The Greatness of Man 5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! 6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, The Service of Animals 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 through the paths of the seas. Postlude:

Psalm 97

1 The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad . … 2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; …… Righteousness and justice ……... are the foundation of His throne. …… 3 Fire goes before Him ……… And burns up His adversaries round about. ………… 4 His lightnings lit up the world; …………… The earth saw and trembled. …………… 5 The mountains melted like wax ……………… at the presence of the LORD, ……………… At the presence of the Lord ……………… of the whole earth. ………………… 6 The heavens declare His righteousness, …………………… And all the peoples have seen His glory. ………………… 7 Let all those be ashamed …………………… who serve graven images, …………………... Who boast themselves of idols; …………………... Worship Him, all you gods. …………… 8 Zion heard this and was glad, ……………… And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced ……………… Because of Your judgments , O LORD. ………… 9 For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth ; …………… You are exalted far above all gods. …… 10 Hate evil, you who love the LORD, ……… Who pr

A Thousand Words #37

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pearlie Picture by by Margarit Ralev, ralev.com

How beautiful are the feet

I am doing some pieces in Handel's Messiah for my vocal lessons and I am pretty excited about it. Some months back I was working on "He shall feed his flock" and now I have this aria to work on: "How beautiful are the feet". Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" pearlie

Historical-Cultural Context

I have been sitting on my assignment for too long already. I had been working on the paper on Historical-Cultural Context last night and finally I am back on track and a bit more fired up to get this going. There is not much time left! We are required to pick up the relevant historical-cultural context from a selection of text and for the life of me, I have no idea why I picked what I picked. It has to do with the trial of Jesus and the trial of Paul. I am not really into politics and administrations, making it so difficult for me to gather my thoughts to tackle this one. But after several hours last night, I think I got it. I hope I got it. pearlie

How are we defined?

Rev Christopher Rao’s sermon today was based on Exodus 5:22-6:12, basically dealing the lesson of looking to God and trust him on his big purposes. Life may not be the way we want it to be, it may go the other way than we have prayed and hoped for, but God knows what he is doing. How he dealt with Moses’ insecurity is case in point. God could have just given up on him, but stuck on with Moses. God would have just given up on the Israelites in their murmurings and complaints but stuck on with them (though not without consequences). God could have given up on us, but he stuck on, and gave his Son to die for us. Continue to hold on to him, no matter how life turns out at the moment. Depend on his grace, it is sufficient for us. Exodus 6:6-8 (NASB) 6 "Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great

A Thousand Words #36

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I have been seriously reading the whole day today from morning to night. Started this set of trilogy and was too caught up in it. It's bad for health! pearlie Picture by Fran Priestley

No matter what

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I need a word of encouragement today and I looked to the Scriptures. I sometimes feel that the Psalms is somehow situated in the middle of the bible for a reason. When we are down at heart, and wanting to draw ourselves close to God through his word, open up the bible and you will surely set your eyes on a psalm. The psalm I read this morning is a long one – Psalm 37. I dwelt on verse 3 to 8, summarized, paraphrased and appropriated: Trust in the Lord and do good, even though you think it won’t make a difference. Be at rest where you are now and be faithful, even though you think you deserve something better. Delight in the Lord and he will satisfy your heart’s desires. Commit your ways to the Lord, trust in him and he will act, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Imperatives piling on top of imperatives. This is a strict call for us to trust in him no matter what, no matter what others say, no matter what life has in a platter for us, no matter how happy or s

Zzzzzzzzzz...

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I don't know why but I am extremely exhausted today. I think I have been using too much brain power at work and the fact that I have been trying to cut down on calories, I am cutting down a lot on food. I am looking forward to go back straight to bed. pearlie Picture by Emma Johansson

My uncle

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My uncle passed away last night because of heart failure. It was unexpected. It caught all of us, including his own family, by surprise. He had been complaining about not feeling well in the beginning of the week. He collapsed late last night, and was gone even before reaching the hospital. Here I was talking about evangelism and here he was, gone and unreached. pearlie Picture by Janet Goulden

Book Review: Five festal garments

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I mentioned a few days ago that this is a delightful book and I couldn’t be more correct. Being one who for the longest time have been reading but not finishing, completing this book in just two sittings says a lot about it. It was so engaging that I just kept on at it. Barry G. Webb gives short commentaries, which he so humbly refers to as reflections , on five Old Testament books, traditionally known simply as “The Scrolls”. He calls them the five garments: the Garment of Love (The Song of Songs) the Garment of Kindness (Ruth) the Garment of Suffering (Lamentations) the Garment of Vexation (Ecclesiastes) the Garment of Deliverance (Esther) In his commentary, he gave a summary of the structure of the books, reflected on their contribution to the Old Testament, its place in the Jewish liturgy, and its importance to the Christian canon, reflecting on its place in the New Testament. The Garment of Love (The Song of Songs) The Song of Songs has always mesmerised me. As you would have

The plot to save Socrates

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I have finished reading The Plot to Save Socrates - it was a good read. SH was amused that I am actually reading science fiction! I can't remember the first science fiction I read - I think I might have read one of the Star Trek Voyager paperbacks. Star Trek Voyager is my all-time favourite Star Trek series, I never missed a single episode. pearlie

Releasing the Billy Graham in you

Today’s sermon by Mr Patrick Cheng of NECF to me was not so much of a sermon to the true sense of the word. He shared with us Billy Graham’s call to Christians to bring “the stadium” to the home through his organisation called Celebration Hope. It involves the evangelising of the gospel from the home, inviting family, friends and neighbours to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ, through videos and short testimonies. Training is offered, a structure given. During my recent Christian Theology 1 lectures, my lecturer, Sherman, had questions about the structurisation, if there is such a word, of the spread of the gospel, through plans, strategies and targets. Is this the right way? I don’t know. Can something as personal as giving of oneself to Christ be part of a plan, part of a strategy and worse still, part of a target, a number? I am sure Jesus, Paul and Peter had their plans and strategies, albeit not formalised, but I don’t think they have targets set. Do they? I

Midnight sale!

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I was at Canaanland yesterday for their 5pm to midnight member sales and grabbed several good books. The Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek by J. Harold Greenlee I think I picked up the right book - I really need to revise my elementary Greek and seriously don't know where to start. Well, this book may or may not help - it really takes discipline. Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by William D Mounce I need this for my 3 Biblical Interpretation assignments and I really, really, really need to get on it already. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs by Howard F.Vos Also needed for my Biblical Interpretation assignment and there are a lot of information in there which I believe will give me a good and general understanding on biblical background. A Model of Christian Maturity by DA Carson I have not seen this book by Carson before, and it is not a new one. City of God by St. Augustine This is a good f

Well done!

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Calvin recently took part in the University of New South Wales, Educational Assessment Australia’s competition in Science, English and Mathematics. He just got his scores in the Science paper and he did very well, with a High Distinction – the only High Distinction in his school from Primary 3 to 6 – in the top 1 per cent of Primary 3 participants in Malaysia. His grandparents, SH and I are so proud of him! pearlie

The River of God

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I have been thinking and meditating about prayer. Trying to understand what it is, and its place in God’s will and God’s plan. I have a feeling that prayer somehow fits into God’s sovereignty and that we are not automatons. Our prayers do change the course of things. But how? In my morning devotion today, I think I am beginning to see something. Not visually, like some people do, but an understanding of some sort began to dawn on me. I thought of the analogy of a river. The river represents the plan of God. It is flowing towards a fixed point, consummating at the very end, where all that God has planned and willed will come to pass. In the meantime, the river is still flowing, at some points fiercely, at some points gently, and some points with lots of twists and turns. To pray or not to pray therefore is to flow or not to flow. You can either jump in the flow or stand by the bank to watch others flow. So whether you choose to pray or not, God’s will will be fulfilled. It’s just a m

The logic of prayer

Again, why bother to pray? I am not against prayer. I am all for it. God has commanded us to pray. It’s just that I need to also understand it, understand its logic if I may, so I can fully participate in it, with my entire being. I do not have a problem with prayer as a way to seek God. He calls us to pray and to pray fervently. I spend time talking to him, interceding for others. I do not have a problem with opening my heart to him, I bare all in my personal prayers, my doubts, my fears, my longings, my joys. There is even one time when I asked him straight out – “what if you are not real?” His answer to me was clear and simple and plain – “that is what your faith is for.” So, I am all for prayer and yet I find it hard to understand it. Who am I to ask? Who am I to change his mind? I know I am bought with a price – Christ’s blood – and I know I can ask God for anything in Jesus’ name and it will be given me. But what about the sovereignty of God? And if we say that all thing