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Archive for the ‘Journey through the Bible’ Category

Hub shared with me his frustration with Jesus’ disciples, after feeding of the 5000 they continued to be faithless when they were asked by Jesus to feed the 4000.

“They are so forgetful!  How could anyone forget that Jesus made more than enough bread and fish for the 5000, oyt of just 5 loaves and 2 fish!  They should just trust Jesus with their meagre supply!”  Hub exclaimed.

I was reading Ezekiel 20, God retold the story of the faithless Israelites.  They forget time and time again God’s promises and miracles; went back to their sinning and angered God to no end.  Isn’t that so familiar though, the Israelites, Jesus’ disciples, and me?  We can’t get it right, there’s no hope on this earth that we’ll get it right.  But you know what, God does what He’s promised to do “for His name’s sake” (Ezekiel 20:9).  Our responses do not change God’s plan.  And thank God for that!  Otherwise we’d not have Jesus – redemption, salvation, forgiveness,… the full package – available to us at all!

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Hub shared with me his frustration with Jesus’ disciples, after feeding of the 5000 they continued to be faithless when they were asked by Jesus to feed the 4000.

“They are so forgetful!  How could anyone forget that Jesus made more than enough bread and fish for the 5000, oyt of just 5 loaves and 2 fish!  They should just trust Jesus with their meagre supply!”  Hub exclaimed.

I was reading Ezekiel 20, God retold the story of the faithless Israelites.  They forget time and time again God’s promises and miracles; went back to their sinning and angered God to no end.  Isn’t that so familiar though, the Israelites, Jesus’ disciples, and me?  We can’t get it right, there’s no hope on this earth that we’ll get it right.  But you know what, God does what He’s promised to do “for His name’s sake” (Ezekiel 20:9).  Our responses do not change God’s plan.  And thank God for that!  Otherwise we’d not have Jesus – redemption, salvation, forgiveness,… the full package – available to us at all!

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Today I read from 2 Chronicles 33:10-19.  It says that the Lord God spoke to Judah and Manasseh, the king in reign of Judah, but no one took heed and continued in their sinful ways.  The Lord God had no choice but to give them over to the Assyrians.  It was no ordinary capture, the king was bound in hooks and chains when taken away to Babylon, what humiliation!

Like you and I, at the end of our wits and landed in deep dooh-dooh, Manasseh pleaded with God and humbled himself greatly before Him (verses 12 and 13). 

Look, this is Manasseh who would enquire of mediums, perform child sacrifices (of his own children!) and worship foreign gods that were previously removed by his father; evil-est of the evils!  If I were God, I would have ignored his plea, “serve you right!” would have been my sneer at that point.

Lucky for Manasseh, and the rest of us, our God is forever gracious.  He was moved by Manasseh’s plea and heard him, so much so that God restored the kingdom to Manasseh.

What a beautiful story of repentance, forgiveness and redemption!  Just like parable of the prodigal son, the unruly one is not turned back for his past sins, but welcomed home (and restored to glory!) as he humbly ask to be forgiven. 
It also reminds me of Psalm 34, taste and see the Lord is good (verse 8).  I’d say Manasseh would use this psalm to praise God’s goodness – he rejected God in his earlier life but once he’s tasted God’s redemption, he’s hooked and couldn’t help but serve the Lord the rest of his life.

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I’ve had a while to ponder on yesterday’s reading in 2 chronicles 29:3-31:1.  In this passage, King Hezekiah had taken over the reign from his father, Ahaz.  Ahaz had shut down God’s temple but King Hezekiah ordered the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves, in order to cleanse God’s temple, as soon as he became king.  King Hezekiah resoluted to put things right with God (2 Ch 29:10).

The outcome was unbelievable and very encouraging – it talks about our responses to God, His provision and how we ought to worship Him.

First, the leader commands the people according to God’s calling (2 Ch 29:15b).  I don’t know how King Hezekiah could have known the Lord, given his father led a Godless life.  But God called, he recognised the voice and he heeded.  I thought that itself was pretty amazing.

Second, there was elaborated preparation before worship even began.  The priests and Levites consecrated themselves, cleansed the temple (that took 16 days), then all the offerings came before the alter (a lot of slaughters and blood throwing happened there…. I’m awefully glad I don’t live in the old testament age….), THEN worship and songs of praise began!  How seriously do I take my worship?  We don’t need the animals anymore so that’s a big load off; but we should really take the time to confess our sins before coming face to face with Him.

Next, God provided for the people to come worship Him.  In 2 Ch 29:36, we see everyone rejoiced because though the whole affair came at “short notice”,
God had provided all that was required.  Remember that Ahaz had removed and destroyed a lot of the temple, but yet it was restored in just 16 days!  We also see in 2 Ch 30:12 that God’s hand was on “whole of Judah”, maybe to strengthen them as they were scorned and sneered at when they had invited the Israelites to come to worship at Jerusalem.  We really need God’s provision to do God’s work, to reach the lost, otherwise our effort is in vain.

Lastly, God’s mercy and believers’ joy.  In 2 Ch 30:20 we see the Lord healed the people, because their hearts were set to seek God.  In God’s presence and with healing, the worshippers were made glad (see verses 21, 23 and 26), they had such a good time that they extended the worship!  I cannot remember the last time I had been so revived while worshipping our Lord, what’s missing?  They knew they were with great sin and they truly sought God; so they could truly savour God’s mercy and be made glad!  We are in the age of entitlement, so much so that God’s mercy has come cheap and lost its flavour.  God help us to be constantly mindful of the price Christ had paid for our salvation, so that we may find great joy in God’s presence.

Thank God for His revelation and help in my daily life.  Amen.

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Today’s memory verse is Psalm 73:26, but I thought verse 25 is excellent too and there’s in fact a Chinese worship number based on these verses!

http://youtu.be/SUPG_iKMpFs

It’s been a hard day at work, dealing with personality crashes etc. is tiring.  I also discover that I’m not good at accepting those different from me – I begin to judge them simply because they react differently from me!  How evil is that?!

Just like the psalmist, besides God, my strength and what I will myself to do would fail.  But with God, I can do what He wants me to do.

Lord, help me to love those around me, be the salt and light you’ve tasked me to be.  With your might, I can!  Amen.

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Prayer

I have been following a New Testament reading plan of learning about Jesus’ journey on earth in 30 days.  One of the messages that came through was Jesus’ prayer – even though He is “invincible” (how much more can you get for being God Himself?!), He never stopped praying to God.  He prayed for the disciples in John 17 and it was very simply “God, be with them, because they are your chosen ones and they are in this world and so would need your protection”.  It’s so simple – God, be with us.

In Matthew 26, Jesus was overcome with sorrow that He went straight to the Father.  He was so troubled and He prayed for “God’s will be done” and He came out of it ready to face the pain.  How cool was that!?  A simple prayer and off He went – wish I could start my everyday the same way!

Praying to God also keeps us away from temptation.  Jesus foretold Peter’s denial in Matthew 26:34.  I thought, if Peter had heeded Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation,” Peter may have stood up boldly when being approached in the courtyard!  But of course that’ll never happen, Jesus knows it all and really, we ought to heed His teaching about prayer ourselves.

This hymn was sung at the service last Sunday and I thought of it throughout the week – St Francis’ Prayer.

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It’s interesting what life serves up in just a couple of hours.  This morning I woke up and was so inspired by Psalm 21 – yes Lord, I would like to be glad in Your presence (verse 6). Even King David, a king who has everything, rejoices in the Lord’s strength.  Because he knew that his hands had not achieved the victories; but it’s through God’s.  Such humility!  Of course the Lord would win battles and capture his enemies, of course the Lord would bless him forever!

I want to live like that!  Really, I just want to be glad in God’s presence, that simple.  I prayed that today, I would choose to be like King David – re-count God’s salvation, His promises and strength, and be glad in His presence.  All good…. or so I thought…

Just a short conversation in mid-morning landed me in the miry clay, a few words were enough to bring back the all familiar fears.  I started to see before me the enemies, and lost battles in the past.  Fears start to crept in and I could no longer feel the Lord’s presence.  Just a few words were enough to wipe out all God’s reminders a few hours earlier.

Praise God!  Had He not put this revelation in my heart this morning, I don’t think I would be able to stand on my feet this afternoon.  Yes, I did struggle.  Yes, I did stumble.  Yes, I did focus on the fears and felt paralysed for a couple of hours.  But I saw light and decided that I cannot allow this fear to overtake God’s promises.  No, nothing can separate us from the love of God through Lord Jesus Christ – God’s words had put strength in my heart and feet.

Thank God and praise God!!!

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