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TODAY'S BIBLE READING (Leviticus 4:1-5:19, Mark 2:13-3:6, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 10:1-2)

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The Divine Page is designed for all who love the Bible which is God's Word and who desire that God would be active in their lives. We would strive to help you come closer to God through the meditation and reading of His word.  May the Lord bless you as you read, study and meditate on the Word. We would be blessed too, if we had contributed in a small way towards your hunger for his word. 

 

This page was last updated on 19 October  2006

 

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A Prayer for October 2006

 

Lord, you are the Lord of the earth and the sky and of the whole universe. You are the Lord of the seen and the unseen. We come to you in praise and joy. For all our littleness, you still condescend to take notice of us and for this we praise you. Lord for all our imperfections, sins and unrighteous deeds, you still forgive us and would give the ultimate sacrifice of your beloved son to die for us, for this we praise you.

 

Lord we have been unfaithful to you. We have done those things which we ought not to have done and have not done those things which we ought to have done. Forgive us, we pray. And now Lord, come, and give your healing touch to a hurting world. We pray for the Tsunami victims and their immediate families left behind. We pray for succor and comfort. We pray for courage and strength both for those who would receive help and for those who would give that help. May you grant us the courage to go where your hand directs and to tread where your foot has trod. You have been our fortress in all the days of our lives. You have given your all for our well being. We thank you that your love supports us like a lover's hand upon our head. Thank you. And may the Lord bless you and keep you.

 

Father, I thank you for all that you have done. What ever the joys and sorrows, you have given them to me so that as I pass through this vale of tears, I will learn the transforming lessons that will usher me finally into your presence.  Thank you that you have made us for yourself and that our ultimate journey's end will be to bow down at your feet.  In Jesus Name. Amen

 

TODAY'S MEDITATION

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CodeMD Genesis 49:6  10/19/06 The secrets of sin 

"Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly" 

(Genesis 49:6) 

 These words are found in Jacob's blessing of his sons. When he thought of the cruelty which Simeon and Levi showed to the men of Shechem, he said, "Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly".

 

I would like to borrow the words and use them in a broader sense. There are secrets connected with wicked men and their sin which it is better never to know.

 

Temptation puts on its best face and suggests that we can never be happy until we have been initiated into its mysteries. It offers thrills, physical gratification, emotional highs, and the lure of the unknown.

 

Many people, especially those who have lived sheltered lives, are stirred by these appeals. They feel that they have missed out on true pleasures. They consider themselves disadvantaged. They think they can never be satisfied until they get a taste of the world.

 

The trouble is that sin does not come alone. There are built-in hazards and enduring consequences. When we come to experience any sin for the first time, we unloose a flood of pain and remorse.

 

Yielding to temptation lowers our resistance to sin. Once we have committed a sin, it is always easier to do it the next time. Soon we become expert in the sin. We even become slaves to it, bound by the chains of habit.

 

The moment we give in to temptation, our eyes are opened to a sense of guilt that we never had before. The exhilaration of breaking the code of sin is followed by a terrible sense of moral nakedness. It is true that the sin can be confessed and forgiven, but all through life there is the embarrassment of meeting former partners in transgression. There is the stabbing of memory when we unavoidably re-visit the places of our folly. There are unwanted occasions when the whole sordid episode flashes back during our most holy moments -- when our bodies actually pulsate and our lips muffle a groan.

 

While it is wonderful to experience the forgiveness of God for these sins, it is still better not to enter into their secrets in the first place. What poses as an attractive secret proves to be a nightmare. Pleasure soon turns to horror, and a moment of passion results in a lifetime of regret. 

 

In the hour of trial, our response should be, "Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly".

 

Prayer for Thursday

Lord, deliver us from evil and evil men. Help us to forsake sins, never to hanker after the leeks and melons of Egypt. Help us to be content and to fix our eyes upon Jesus.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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This week's sermon outline. Preached at the Kepong EFC on the 13th February 2005

 

The Jesus Parables on how to live successfully

 

A.         Setting the scene: Jesus’ Parables

         What is a parable?

o        A parable comes from the Greek word ‘parabole’ and the Hebrew word ‘mashal’

o        It is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning

o        Jesus preached mainly using parables

         How do we understand the parables

o        The context of the parable is important. They are historical context, the ministry of Jesus context and the context with the rest of the gospels

o        The form of the parable which have their own emphasis

 

Bridge: Jesus used the parables to teach about how we can live successfully in the new Kingdom of God that he is establishing

 

B.         The new ideas of self - We are important and of great value – Salt and light, preserving and presenting

         You are important because through you God preserves the world. You are the salt of the earth.  You are the salt of the earth and if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Matthew 5:13)

o        Salt is of great value as it preserves and flavours food. Without salt, life will not be pleasurable. Jesus declares that we are the salt of the earth, an important component of the earth and thus of immeasurable value

         You are important because through you God presents himself to the world. You are the light of the world.  You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven (Matthew 5:14)

o        Light is important. One who has light cannot stay hidden. People who are light are useful to others. The sole purpose that God makes us people of the light is that we can illuminate God’s deeds, so that people will praise God.

         Summary. Jesus teaches that we are of immeasurable value. If we think that we are of no value, then we contradict Jesus teaching about his children.

 

C.         You are of value and Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life – Birds and grass, providing, protecting and planning

         He loves you enough to provide for you.  Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in the barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add single hour to his life. (Matthew 6:25-27)

o        The birds of the air are provided by God because he loves them. They do not worry about life, eat, drink and clothes. God feeds them. God loves you and will provide for you, so do not worry.

o        You are more valuable than the birds and so God will provide even more

         He loves you enough to protect you.  See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour and spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how the Lord clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you. O you of little faith (Matthew 6:28-30)

o        The grass of the field is clothed and protected by God because God loves them. The grass of the field are transient and yet God cares enough to see how they are clothed. God protects and clothes them.

o        You are more valuable than the grass. Jesus teaches us that we should not worry about life.

         He loves you enough to plan for you.  Do not worry saying what shall we eat and what shall we wear. The pagans run after these things and your heavenly father knows that you need them. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)

o        God’s plan is that we would turn to him in complete trust and would only seek after his Kingdom and his righteousness. This key of complete trust will then open the door of His will to us. On our part we cultivate trust by learning not to worry.

         Jesus teaches us of his immense love through other parables like The parable of the prodigal son, the parable of the two debtors and the parable of the lost coin.

 

D.         Jesus loves you and wants you to love others. Learning to love - Sheep and debts

         We love others because he first loved us.  What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about the one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost (Matthew 18:12-14)

o        The heavenly father leaves all to look for one sheep which has wandered off. He braves dangers and difficulties to find the sheep which probably has gone to an inaccessible place on the craggy hills.

o        When he finds the sheep, he is happy. We must remember that we are immensely loved by God. And if we are loved then we should have the resources to love others.

         We begin our love for others by learning to forgive.  Peter came to Jesus and asked the Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you not seven times but seventy seven times. The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me he begged and I will pay back everything. The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out he found one of his fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him, pay back what you owed me he demanded.  His fellow servant fell on his knees and begged him be patient with me and I will pay you back. But he refused. Instead he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant he said. I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Matthew 18:21-35)

o        To those who have been forgiven must also forgive others. The greatest sinners who have been forgiven by God are usually the most forgiving. These men truly understand what grace means. Maybe we do not easily forgive because we feel that we have done no wrong and has not experienced great forgiveness.

o        We learn to love others by first learning to accept God’s forgiveness in our lives and then learning to forgive others.

         We learn true love, when we see Jesus example of love. Jesus love for us extends to his sacrificing himself for us.  I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep knows me. Just as the father knows me and I know the father and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my father loves me is that I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my father (John10:14-18)

o        Jesus is the good shepherd and loves the sheep. He will lay down his life for the sheep because he loves them.

o        We who are learning to love must understand that true love is sacrificial love. Ultimately having forgiven the erring brother we must continue to love him sacrificially. This is hard but is a challenge to us.

         Jesus taught also that love for others must cross cultural and racial boundaries as in the parable of the good Samaritan

 

E.         We must learn these lessons of life correctly because there will be judgement.  Fig tree, servants and the thief

         Judgement will surely come.  Now learn this lesson from the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  (Mark 13:28). Judgement comes as sure as the fig tree blossoms every year.. Judgement is inevitable. There is a map to future events and Jesus reveals them to us.

         We must wisely prepare for judgement because it will come in unexpected ways.  Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning like men waiting their master to return from a wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth he will dress himself to serve will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready because the son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Luke 12:35-40).

o        Because of the unexpectedness of Jesus return we must at all times be prepared. We cannot slack in our zeal of service.

o        We must also be prepared to protect his household when the thief unexpectedly comes.

         Other teachings of Jesus by parables on the unexpectedness of his return can be seen in the parable of the watchman, the parable of the foolish and wise virgins, , and the parable of the talents and the pounds

 

F.         Decision time. The choice of the narrow gate or the broad gate

         There is a choice either for life or for destruction.  Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it (Matthew 13-14)

o        The road that leads to destruction is wide, well paved and easy to ride on. It ends in a wide gate that will let everyone pass. The path  to destruction is an easy one. It does not need any discipline and is purely instinctual. Choices made are easy to follow.

o        The road to life is narrow , unpaved and rocky. It ends in a narrow gate. Those who choose it finds it difficult to see it and when on it will find the going tough. Yet the end brings life and fruitfulness.

         We must recognize our status in the Lord by the fruits we bring forth.  Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Every good tree will bear good fruit and every bad tree will bear bad fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

o        Decisions lead to choices and choices leads to results or fruits.

 

G.         Conclusion.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only those who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles. Then I will tell them plainly. I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers. (Matthew 7:21-23)

 

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