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Showing posts from 2023

The Worshipped King

Matthew 2:1-12. Once, I was with some friends, and we saw a famous person; they all got very excited, but I did not. When they began chatting about the celebrity, they realised why I missed the excitement. Matthew presents Jesus in a famous manner that demands a response that those who know Him can not miss out on. The gospel begins by showing that the nature of Jesus' birth proves He is the one all history and prophecies point to. He is The Promised King. He is of David's lineage (Matthew 1:17, 2 Samuel 7:13). The Promised Saviour. He is the seed of a woman, i.e. not of man but of God, like the first Adam (Matthew 1:18, Genesis 3:15). The Promised Lord. He is Immanuel - God with us - Israel's God is here (Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14). So the news is out that Israel's God - The Messiah King, The Saviour, The Lord - whom all generations hoped for is now here.

Psalm 91: A Complete Refuge 4

Psalm 91 [short series]. The Psalm is not only an assurance of God's refuge in this life but also a sermon of hope - a hope for a trouble-free, satisfying next life. The Psalmist describes the next life in the context of sight, what you will see. It's like sightseeing in a place with a restricted area, where you need a pass to get into. He mentions two sights: judgment (v8) and salvation (v16). And, for those in God's refuge, their sightseeing ends with salvation into a satisfying life. His Refuge is complete into the next life! Psalm 91:7-10, 16 So, two sights... You will see judgment (v7-10) Verse 7 begins by alluding to troubles in thousands falling around you but not coming near you. Does this mean if you trust God, no evil will befall you? Well, yes and no! It's an issue of timing - this life or the next life. Let's see how the Psalm unpacks this prom

Psalm 91: A Complete Refuge 3

Psalm 91 [short series]. As we journey through life, sometimes we go through troubles beyond our control — an addiction, sudden financial lack, sickness, broken relationship, losing a loved one, a hope deferred. How do we navigate those seasons? Or maybe you are currently in such a season and wondering, "How do I live through this?" Previously [1] [2] , we saw that God's refuge is guaranteed. The Psalm also shows the completeness of God's refuge as a reason for how we can navigate the seasons of life. His Refuge is complete through this life! Psalm 91:3-6, 13 God rescues you from troubles beyond your reach and permanently deals with the cause of all problems, Satan himself. His refuge deals with: Sin: snare of the fowler (v3, 11-12) Snares are traps used to catch animals, often made with something enticing or luring, like a cheese trap for a

Psalm 91: A Guaranteed Refuge 2

Psalm 91 [short series]. Have you ever been in a long season of trouble that made you wonder whether it is God's will to rescue you? Are you presently in such a season? The Psalmist not only shows us that God is mighty to save (He can) but also that He desires to save. In the Psalm, God guarantees His refuge by His Promise (He will). His Refuge is guaranteed by His Promise! Psalm 91:4, 14-16 God's refuge is guaranteed because He has promised that He will. See how much God says “I will” in v14-16. But I’m sure we have all experienced people in power and their promises. Like a Member of Parliament (MP) once said to another MP, "All your party is known for are empty promises". To which this MP responded, "At least you find the word promises in our dictionary". So, we often find people with the power to help untrustworthy. But it’s not so with God! We see

Psalm 91: A Guaranteed Refuge 1

Psalm 91 [short series]. Psalm 91 is a commonly known Psalm that often raises doubts (e.g. Does it really apply to our present realities?), gets misinterpreted (e.g. If you trust God, no trouble will come to you) or gets undermined (e.g. It’s all a metaphor). But the message in the Psalm is such a profound encouragement to keep trusting in God because of the kind of refuge that only He can provide. As we will see in a 4 part study, the Psalm shows us why God is the only refuge you can trust (v2), and this is because: His refuge is guaranteed By His greatness: He can. v1, 11-12 By His promise: He will. v4, 14-16 His refuge is complete Through this life. v3-6, 13 Into the next life. v7-10, 16 His Refuge is guaranteed by His Greatness! Psalm 91:1, 11-12 He can always rescue! T

Eternal life is sacrificially following

Matthew 19:16-28. One of my favourite kids' exercises is the marshmallow test. Kids are given a marshmallow and left in a room. If they can wait for some time, they get more. You see kids staring, sniffing, poking and doing all sorts to the marshmallow. The point is to teach kids to wait for a better reward in the face of instant gratification. In the passage, Jesus gives a marshmallow test to a rich man, and he begins sniffing, poking - he gets sad! And it also made Jesus' disciples greatly astonished. Why was this? Because the gospel pattern of life will always look nothing like what the world calls living. Eternal life looks like sacrifice in the now for a future reward! A Present Sacrifice. (16-26) The rich man asks what good thing he must do to have eternal life (16). Jesus responds: only God is good; keep His commands (17). But the man replies, (paraphrased) "I am good too" wit

Making the best use of time

Ephesians 5:13-18. Recently I visited the Cotswolds, SW England countryside, for a week. Before my visit, a few friends had made a long list of attractions, but I could only cross off two. So much to see in so little time! In His letter encouraging the Church at Ephesus, Paul reminds them that the Christian life is like that holiday visit: a life requiring the best use of time - an intentional living (15-18). But, first, the passage reminds them of their identity as light. An illuminated life. Anyone in Christ has become light - through Christ illuminating them from the dead into life (13-14). So then, as a light, be very careful how you live:  An intentional life. As a light, make the best use of time (15-16) by:  Doing God's will, v17. Don't live carelessly [MSG]. But seek to understand what His Word says about different issues of life.

The Voice of Truth

Judges 6:1-14. “I am doing lent from apps,” a friend said. Then, a few days later: “I’ve felt so assured of God’s love...”. Then, a few more days later: “Hey Sam, I’m getting baptised!” In today's world, there are so many voices, but it’s incredible the peace, assurances and even victories we find every time we listen to One Voice - God’s voice of truth. The passage begins with a pattern seen throughout the book, that of Israel’s struggle with sin (4:1, 6:1, 10:6). This time, as a consequence, God allows the Midianites to attack Israel. But the Midianites were as cruel as a plague; they would invade the land, ruin the crops, steal all the livestock and leave nothing. So the Israelites cried out to God for help (6:6), and He sent Gideon, a very inadequate man who struggled to see God's faithfulness. God sends that Gideon, but God first speaks truth into Gideon’s identity and reality before Gideon takes the fight f

Eyes Fixed on Jesus

Hebrews 12:1-3. When I first started going to the gym, it was a nightmare. I would spontaneously use different equipment and come home with aches. I had to give up. Then one day, I tagged along with a friend who knew what he was doing, which was the game changer. When life’s journey feels like a struggle, how do we gain the courage to endure or persevere? This passage provides some encouragement in Jesus. He is our perfect example in times of struggle. And more, He works in us to persevere. He is the Perfecter of our faith. So we keep our eyes fixed on Him - our absolute game changer. In the preceding chapter (11), the writer of the book of Hebrews points to great examples of lived-out faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah… Rahab, and so on. Something these people have in common is that they were all distinctly flawed people, yet they persevered in faith. And they make up the “great cloud of witnesses” that surrou

New Beginnings in Christ

Genesis 35:1-12. How can we find hope for a new beginning - whatever our season of life? In Christ is God's invitation to come! Genesis 34 records a series of sad events in Jacob's family (verses 1-4, 11-15, 24-25). And towards the end of the chapter, he is deeply troubled. At this point, to Jacob, there is no coming back - this is the end - for certain, “I and my family will be destroyed” (v30). It was at this tipping point that God rescued Jacob with an invitation. God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel” (35:1). Bethel was a place Jacob knew as the house of God (28:16-19). 34:30; 35:1. Amidst Jacob's troubles, God said come to me in Bethel . 35:2-5. Jacob responded to God by letting go of idols and setting out to Bethel . 35:6-7. When they got to Bethel, they built an altar - called on God . 35:10. God answered Jacob

Help from the LORD

Psalm 121. [ESV] What do you do when you need help? Psalm 121 is a song of ascent - these are psalms sung by worshippers on their way up to Jerusalem. (Historical context of the writing was during the time of Judean exile by Babylon. So, written to encourage pilgrims of a future of hope.) And the psalmist begins: I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? On this journey up to Jerusalem, the Psalmist looks to the distant hill of Jerusalem where the Temple was and perhaps gazes in hope from a distance. But ultimately, he comes to a conviction of God's present help: My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He affirms that God is as present in his journey as He is in the destination. My help comes from the LORD! I think of a recent testimony a friend shared about when he needed to decide about university. At first, he was uncertain of what to do. So

2023 - Satisfied with Unending Love

Ephesians 3:14-19. Praise God! Happy new year!!! One of our favourite eat-out places as a student was Cosmo. My friends and I loved Cosmo because it was a buffet restaurant that offered world cuisines. So we often went hungry and prepared. The downside was that no matter how hungry we came, we always left the building staring at the other varieties of food we hadn't tasted. We were filled but never satisfied. But there's a filling that satisfies - God's unending love. After an encouraging letter to the wondering Gentile Church at Ephesus to remind them that in Christ they are one with the Jews and share the same promise in Christ (v6), Paul prays for the church (and a prayer for us) that by the power of the Holy Spirit: Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith, v16-17. Dwell (not visit) speaks of the continuous presence of Jesus by His