Sunday, April 8, 2018

Asa: the king who turned away from God

2 Chronicles 14: 1 - 15
2 Chronicles 16: 1 - 10 NKJV

A devotion on King Asa who turned from trusting in Yehovah, to trusting in his own strategies.

I. King Asa trusted in Yehovah his God (2 Chronicles 14)


He faced a siege from Zerah the Ethiopian v.8 - 10

Zerah the Ethiopian set out to attack Judah with 1 million men and 300 chariots. King Asa was outnumbered. He had only 300,000 spear-men from Judah and 280,000 archers from Benjamin. It was Zerah's 1,000,000 men versus Asa's 580,000. And the armies were approaching each other in the Valley of Zepathat at Mareshah.

He cried out to Yehovah his God v.11

King Asa went to Yehovah in his prayers, crying out,
" . . . O Yehovah our God, we rest on you,
  In Your Name we go against this multitude.
  You are our God - do not let man prevail against You."

He overthrew Zerah's army by the help of Yehovah v.12 - 15

Yehovah struck the Ethiopians down. King Asa pursued them to Gerar, overthrew them and went on to defeat all cities around Gerar. His army plundered exceedingly much spoil from the Ethiopians.


II. King Asa trusted in his own strategies (2 Chronicles 16)


He was besieged by Baasha King of Israel v.1

Baasha King of Israel laid siege on Judah and built the city of Ramah to prevent anyone from visiting King Asa. This time King Asa did not turn to God in prayer. He did not cry out to Yehovah his God as he had done before. Instead, he hatched a plan. He formulated a strategy to defeat his enemy using another enemy. He turned to the King of Syria for help.

He turned to Ben-Hadad King of Syria v.2 - 6

King Asa took gold and silver from the treasuries of the Temple and from his palace and sent them to Ben-Hadad as gifts in return for a favour: that Ben-Hadad would break his treaty with Baasha King of Israel.

His scheme was successful. Ben-Hadad King of Syria sent out his armies against Israel and attacked many cities at once: Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, including the storage cities of Naphtali.

As a result, Baasha was forced to retreat, leaving the city of Ramah to be destroyed and looted by King Asa's army, who "carried away the stones and timber of Ramah" (v.6).

He was rebuked by Hanani the seer v.7 - 9

Adonai Yehovah sent Hanani the Seer to rebuke King Asa and prophesy against him. Hanani told Asa this:

  • You have not relied on Yehovah your God (v.7)
  • You have forgotten how Yehovah had delivered you from the 1,000,000 strong army of Zerah the Ethiopian (v.8)
  • You have done foolishly: from now on you will have wars (v.9)


III. King Asa did not repent (2 Chronicles 16:10)

In the end, King Asa was enraged. He put Hanani the Seer in prison.

Conclusion:

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, let us beware of falling into the complacency of King Asa. Let us never turn away from trusting Adonai Yehovah our God.


The Reign vs The Rule

Sun 8Apr 2018
Contrasting the ongoing Reign of the Lord Iesou Christos against his final Rule over the earth and handing over of the Kingdom back to His Father in Heaven.

The Rule of the Messiah


During cell-group Bible study last Friday 6Apr18, on the prophecies about the Messiah in Psalm 2, questions were asked about the authority that is given to the Messiah.

In particular, reference was made to verses 2 through 7 of the second Psalm,
7 “I will declare the decree:
    The Lord has said to Me,
    ‘You are My Son,
      Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
   The nations for Your inheritance,
   And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
    You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” nkjv

Several cross-references from the New Testament were made to point out that the Lord Iesou has already been given the "ends of the earth" as his possession, that he may "break" them and "dash" them to pieces.

For example, Matthew 28:18 tells us that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to our Lord Iesou. Further on in Ephesians 1: 20 - 21 we are told that the God of our Lord Iesou worked His exceedingly great power in raising our Lord from the dead, seating our Lord at His right hand, having authority "far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come."

This is similarly stated in 1 Peter 3:22, where our Lord Iesou is described as having gone into heaven after his resurrection, seated at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities and powers being subject to him.

Another significant cross-reference was made to Revelations 2: 26-28, where the resurrected Lord quoted Psalm 2: 8 in his message to the Apostle John to be conveyed to the assembly at Thyatira:
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations
     ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
      They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’
as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
Thus. it was obvious to all of us at Friday night's Bible study that the Apostles taught about our resurrected Lord Iesou as having all authority over every principality, power, might, dominion, authority and angel. And we were reminded strongly that our Lord has the authority to rule over the nations (literally the Gentiles), even dashing them to pieces with his rod of iron. Furthermore, we who obey our Lord until the end will also share such authority with him.

However, we do not yet see such authority being manifest over the world around us today. We do not see kings and rulers, nations and organisations being subject to the iron-rod rule of our Messiah. We do not see as yet, any people of any nation in this world being "dashed to pieces" by the power given to our Lord Iesou.

Instead we continue to see oppression and suffering. We look around us and continue to see poor, weak and powerless people being ruled over and oppressed by unjust rulers and wealthy leaders. We see wage earners having to put in long hours at work to bring home meagre incomes to raise a family in needy conditions while billionaires at the top of huge corporations live in their own heavenly world.

Where is the authority of our Lord Iesou? Where is the power of his iron-rod?

The Reign of the Messiah


The answer lies in two other passages of the New Testament, quoted below:
Hebrews 10:12-13
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 
1 Corinthians 15:24-27
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” (cf Ps 8:6)

Last Friday evening's Bible study group left these two passages out. We forgot distinguish the powerful authoritative iron-rod "rule" of our Lord Iesou over the earth from his ongoing "reign" seated at the right-hand of God, waiting for God to put all his enemies under his feet.

We forgot about the waiting part.

Today our Lord Iesou Christos reigns over all the world. We who have believed in the Word of God are living under his reign. However our Lord Iesou is still waiting for his enemies to be put under his rule. In other words, he is waiting to rule over all his enemies. In fact he is waiting to rule over death, after which death will no more rule over us.

Today, let us acknowledge that our resurrected Lord, seated at the right-hand of God in heaven, reigns with all authority over everything in heaven and on earth.

At the same time, let us remind ourselves that our resurrected Lord is waiting to rule. He is waiting for his God to put all enemies under him. He is waiting to rule over them with his iron-rod, even to dash nations in pieces.

Finally, after the Lord Iesou has put an end to "all rule and all authority and power", he will deliver the Kingdom to God his Father. (see 1 Cor.15:24)

Brothers and Sisters, let us wait together with our Lord for his rule over his enemies.



Friday, April 6, 2018

Our years with Temerloh Gospel Chapel 1983 - 1998

From : Peng You and Chooy Lin

Please allow us to begin the first paragraph in the voice of the third person.

Peng You came to Temerloh in July1983 to teach. He got married to Chooy Lin in December that same year in his home church, a Lutheran Church in Kuala Lumpur. Some of the brothers and sisters of TGC went all the way to KL to attend our wedding. It was our first memorable and a very joyous occasion with TGC that year. By the grace of Our Heavenly Father, despite many obstacles and uncertainties, Chooy Lin managed to get a transfer from the Taiping to join Peng You a month later, in January 1984.

Thus we were able to begin our journey in life together in Temerloh and our fellowship with the brethren in Temerloh Gospel Chapel.

Our eldest son Eng Kiat (荣 杰) was born in December 1984. followed by our second son Eng Chin ( ) in November 1986 and our youngest daughter Keat Hwee () in February 1989.

In April 1998 I was offered a job to teach in a branch campus of TAR College in Kampar, Perak and by the end of that year, our family said farewell to the brothers and sisters of TGC and shifted to Kampar where our children grew up, finished school and got jobs and eventually moved out of home. Chooy Lin became the Senior Assistant of a government school in town.

Eng Kiat got married to Yi Von from Ipoh in 2013, Keat Hwee married Soon Koon from Singapore in 2015 while Eng Chin is not married yet.

Our baby grandson Seng Guan (盛 元), who's not much of a baby now at two years old, was born in March 2016. He's seen here with all of us in his birthday photos.

Today, both of us have retired while our two sons along with daughter-in-law work in KL and our daughter and son-in-law are in Singapore.

On SengGuan;s 1st birthday: L-R: PengYou&ChooyLin, EngKiat&YiVon, KeatHwee(+ SengGuan)&SoonKoon. EngChin
We offer many thanks to Our Father in Heaven, through the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, for giving to us the friendly fellowship of the assembly of believers in Temerloh Gospel Chapel. And we also thank our brothers and sisters in TGC for all the help, kindness and brotherly affection they have shown to us over the fifteen years we stayed in Temerloh.

We remember vividly, among others, how our elder Dr Liew would hurry out of his house during dinner time to re-open his clinic to attend to Eng Kiat who broke a few teeth after falling from his bicycle. We remember that the late Mrs Liew would always speak kindly to us, and had never had any harsh nor unhappy words towards us.

We remember when our daughter Keat Hwee dislocated her left elbow from a fall, Dr Ang would take time off from her busy tasks as Director of Mentakab Hospital to see us and check on our daughter.

We also remember the warm and generous hospitality received at weekly Bible studies in the homes of each brother and sister, the earnest prayer meetings, and the bubbly Sunday School which all three of our children attended through their childhood years. Our children also received some excellent music education from Sis Alice and the late Sis Agnes, not forgetting to mention also all the photographs that were taken and developed by Bro Albert (at a discount too!).

Time and space, and a deteriorating memory, does not allow us to mention many other brothers and sisters who have been generous, kind and helpful to us through the occasional difficulties and adverse circumstances that we encountered through the years in Temerloh. We'd like to say, "Thank you very much" to all who have given their time and effort to us in various ways.

As we join you all in celebrating this 50th Anniversary, we remember in our hearts that TGC has become a significant part of our journey on earth.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Breaking out into the Kingdom of God

See my previous post written back in April 2014: The Kingdom of God is at hand

When God gathers the remnant of Israel.

Micah 2: 12 - 13 NKJV

 - likens those times to a large flock of sheep making loud noises because so many of them are trying to pass through the gate of the sheep-pen.
- until "the one" who breaks open comes up before them
- then they will break out.
- with the King (the Messiah) passing before them
- with Yehovah at the head of them.

==> This prophecy of the breaking out of many sheep is explained by the Lord Iesou in Luke 16:16

- that the Law and Prophets were (in force?) until the days of John the Baptist.
- since John the Baptist appeared in his ministry, the Kingdom of God has been preached
- and "everyone" is pressing into the Kingdom of God

==> Matthew 11: 12 gives a similar account of the Lord Iesous explanation

- from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent ones take it by force
- for all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John the Baptist

It is clear that what Luke refers to as "everyone", Matthew describes as "violent ones" who press into the Kingdom of God as if taking it by force. This is an ongoing fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah 2: 12 - 13, stating that,

- when God gathers his remnant
- many sheep with noises will break out through the gate of God's Kingdom.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ask the Father in the Name of Iesou

John 16: 23 - 28 NKJV

At Cell Group Meeting, Wesley Methodist Kampar. Fri 29Sep2017

In that day - "I will see you again" (John 16:22)

Whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you (John 16:23)

Hitherto, you have asked nothing in My Name (John 16:24) - "ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full".
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
You will ask in My Name (John 16:26)

The authority of the Name of Iesou is explained in several other places, among which are :

Ephesians 1: 17 - 23, especially v 21, Iesou is given a Name above every other name by the mighty power of God.
 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Also in Philippians 2: 9 - 11, we read that God has highly exalted the Name of our Lord Iesou, such that at the Name of Iesou every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Iesou is Lord - to the glory of God the Father.
"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Conclusion

Let us learn to ask from God our Father in the Name of our Lord Iesou Christou.

Iesou came forth from God His Father

John 16: 27,28 NKJV
". . . the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
I made this note during Cell Group meeting at Wesley Methodist Church Kampar last night.

It is noteworthy that our Lord Iesou made it clear to his disciples, and to others in his audience, that He came from God whom He called His Father.

Several other records of such statements are found in :

John 8:42 KJV
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
John 13:3 NET
Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,
John 20:21 NASB
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
John 20:17 KJV
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Conclusion
Our Lord Iesou came from God - His God and our God, His Father and our Father.

The Helper sent by the Lord Iesou

John 16: 7 - 15 NKJV

These are part of my notes written during Cell Group Bible Study, Wesley Methodist Church Kampar, last night Fri 29Sep2017.

The discussion last night on John chapter 6 did not touch on this verses where our Lord spoke to his disciples about sending them a Helper after he leaves them. So I decided to write these notes down while the discussion continued on other points of John 16.

In John 5:7 we read that the Lord Iesou will send them a Helper. This Helper, also called the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13), will carry out a three-fold task:

(1) The Helper will Convict the world (John 16:8 - 11)
 - of sin : because the world would not believe in the Lord Iesou (6:9)
 - of righteousness : because the Lord Iesou would be going to His Father (6:10)
 - of judgment : because the ruler of this world is judged (6:11)

(2) The Helper will Guide the disciples (John 16:13)
 - He will guide them into all truth
 - He will not speak on his own authority
 - Instead, He will speak only what he hears
 - He will tell the disciples about things to come

(3) The Helper will Glorify the Lord Iesou (John 16: 14,15)
 - He will take from what belongs to Iesou and declare it to the disciples (6:14)
"All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:15)
Conclusion:
Today we are reminded of the teaching of our Lord Iesou Christou that our Father will give the Holy Spirit to us when we ask from Him:
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Let us ask God for His Spirit to guide us and to glorify our Lord Iesou.