“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
What an inspiring testimony David bears here! He tells us how he handled his dilemma of being in a horrible pit of sin and its dire consequences. He responded to his peculiar trouble by waiting patiently for the LORD.
He was in a very distressing situation. He described his situation in verse 2 as “an horrible pit … of miry clay”. It was a picture of helplessness and despondency experienced by David which those words grimly painted. He was sunk in deep and dark depression. No one (least of all himself) could deliver him.
Though there was no help in sight, he knew that there is help with the LORD. So he cast himself and his situation completely upon the Lord as the only possible way out. He cried out to Him in prayer. It is all that he could do, and he did it with utmost earnestness and eagerness.
When David “waited patiently for the LORD”, He was not passively sitting down and muttering fatalistically, ‘O, the LORD has deserted me. There is no one to deliver me.” Instead, he waited patiently for the LORD. His waiting consisted of crying to the LORD. Prayer is the channel that God has ordained for His afflicted people to receive His deliverance and help in times of most distressing situations.
David had always been a man of action, especially in the midst of adversities. He was not one who feared adversity. In his youthful days, he bravely acted to deliver the lambs from the mouth of a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34–36). Who does not know of David’s exploits such as his victory over Goliath who had struck paralysing fear on the army of Israel? (1 Samuel 17:39–51). However, in this particular situation, he, who had overcome many an adversity, finds himself being buried under insurmountable problems.
Still, David believed that the LORD would deliver Him. So he prayed unto the LORD, as he waited patiently for His deliverance. He waited on the LORD patiently, because He had confidence in the LORD. Great heroes of faith are men who wait amidst their troubles with unwavering faith and hope in the LORD. They wait on the LORD, even when there is no man to help. They never quit their faith and duty in trouble, but remain steadfast in faith.
In verse 2, David gratefully says, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Those were David’s giving of thanks to God for the deliverance and stability which the Lord has graciously provided. Are you mindful to remember and praise God for the deliverance He has given to you in your life? What has the LORD done for you? Recount the recent deliverance that God has granted you in answer to your prayers. Mention them before the Lord and praise Him for those answered prayers.
When one makes it a habit to recollect the goodness of the LORD that he has received, his deep affection for the LORD will also grow. On the contrary, when the LORD’s goodness is disregarded, his devotion and spiritual enthusiasm will also be adversely affected. This is especially so, when one is going through sore distress.
In our text, God’s delivering grace is gratefully reminisced in the most apt and beautiful emblematic language. The psalmist says that the Lord has lifted him up out of a horrible pit into which he has fallen, and set him upon a rock! What a vivid and moving depiction of God’s deliverance! How would you describe God’s deliverance in your life?
The psalmist’s description here sets forth the phenomenal change that the Lord granted him in response to his penitent prayers. He was being weighed down by his sins and their consequences. This, he explained later in verse 12, “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” So he cried to God, saying, “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me” (v. 13). Also, in the midst of this psalm, with eyes of faith, he spoke prophetically concerning Christ as the Saviour (vv. 7–10). The New Testament cited these words as a predictive reference to Christ’s obedience to the Father in becoming a sacrifice for our sin (cf. Hebrews 10:5–10). The repentant sinner is thus made to stand firmly on the Rock of Ages, even our Lord Jesus! If you are sinking in your sin, cry out to Christ at once with absolute faith; He will surely deliver and sanctify you by His blood.
Dear worshipper, if you have received the LORD’s deliverance from your horrible experiences of sin, then testify, like David, His goodness before others. Many are sinking hopelessly in sin. Your testimony of salvation and blessing might help someone to seek Christ for his deliverance. So exalt Christ and declare His salvation readily.
In these days, Christians generally think that it is rather a shame for them to suffer affliction. They are often told by very popular, secular minded preachers that God would not let any of His children suffer. So they think that suffering Christians are an embarrassment to God’s name.
But the Apostle Peter exhorts us, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16).
Christians often have to endure the society’s rejection, ostracism, violence, and even official persecution The unbelieving world hates every genuine Christian. Jesus had forewarned, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13; cf. Matthew 5:11; 10:22; 24:9; Philippians 1:29).
Should a Christian feel embarrassed or weakened or abandoned by the opposition and troubles he suffers? The verse for our meditation today tells us that the Christian who is afflicted has no reason whatsoever to be embarrassed, but has every reason to exult in God and praise Him.
All have troubles, but it makes a very great difference when one suffers for his faith in Christ. The man who bears sorrow for the Lord is an honourable man in the sight of God. He has no reason to be ashamed of his sufferings, because as a Christian his life is marked by devotion to Christ and His righteousness. He is not persecuted for the evil he has committed, but for the devotion to Christ that he exhibits.
Why is it that a Christian who suffers, should not be ashamed? Because his suffering proves that he is a lover of Christ, His truth and His righteousness. Because his suffering is not meted out for a crime that he has committed, but for doing Christ’s will. Because his suffering is inflicted on him not for a mean and damnable thing he has done, but for a nobler and blessed cause of exalting Christ, his Saviour.
Ironically, a genuine Christian often suffers for his actions, in spite of the purest motives that proceed from his love for the blessed Master. Nevertheless, in his suffering, he shall be the brightest of examples that others can imitate. So, the suffering Christian is exhorted to glorify God – “but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Even under suffering circumstances, a Christian’s duty is to glorify God (cf. John 21:18-19). He must rejoice and worship God, like Paul and Silas who sang and praised God in the Philippian jail (cf. Acts 16:22-25; 1 Peter 4:13). When the suffering Christian boldly clings onto his faith in His Saviour, and testifies of Him to those who ask about his faith, he glorifies God (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). He who remains faithful to God even in the midst of suffering, glorifies God (cf. 1 Peter 2:12; 4:14).
For your further meditation and encouragement in the midst of your afflictions, I list more relevant verses below:
1 Peter 3:17-18 “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
1 Peter 4:19 “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Acts 5:41 “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
Romans 5:2-5 “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (cf. James 1:2-4).
Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”
Hebrews 12:2-3 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Hebrews 13:13 “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”
The Lord has been pleased to permit us to plan for the 8th Bible Witness Retreat. Dn Lok Kwok Wah is the coordinator of this retreat and he will be assisted by Bro John Peh. Dn Lok has secured Pulai Springs Resort, Johor, a very conducive and pleasant resort for our retreat. This was the venue of our very first Bible Witness Retreat, and we still have fond memories of that retreat.
I would like to exhort you to join this retreat. Bible Witness retreats have been a time of spiritual renewal and physical rest for many. You will have an excellent opportunity to be in the presence of God to hear His Word, and also to be in the company and fellowship of Christian brethren. If you are bringing children with you, they will have their own special programme conducted by Sis Carolyn Koshy.
The theme for the upcoming retreat “I Have Somewhat Against Thee” (Revelation 2:4). There is a great need for the members of the Lord’s church to know why He would say that He has somewhat against the church. Why would the Lord speak such severe and punitive words against the church? You should not miss this opportunity to hear why the Lord is so displeased with the church. You will also have an opportunity to meditate on Revelation 2:1-7 like you never had before. Don’t miss this opportunity. It is better to hear Him say “I have somewhat against thee” now, and not later at His coming. Now you have an opportunity to know and correct your errors. At His coming, it will be too late to amend your ways.
Sign up quickly. Your early registration would help us to plan and co-ordinate well. Moreover, there are only limited places.
The years that I have spent in the Children’s Choir are indeed precious and wonderful. I really enjoy singing, as well as learning new songs. However, simply singing in the Children’s Choir without actually seeking to learn more spiritual lessons, either from the choir teachers or from the songs we sing, does not make anyone gain anything. Therefore, I would like to share some things which I have learnt through the years when I sang in the Children’s Choir.
To begin with, we are all members of the body of Christ, so working together to sing well in the Choir is important in serving the Lord.
Also, the discipline to come for the Children’s Choir practice must not be hindered by obstacles, such as the struggle to get up early in the morning or having to travel a long distance to church.
Furthermore, when we do something wrong, we must learn to accept correction and rebuke from our teachers, as well as learn from our mistakes.
To end my testimony, I would like to thank God for my teachers in the Children’s Choir – Aunty Stefanie, Aunty Melissa and Aunty Seong Yeng – for having the dedication and patience to teach us. I also appreciate Jie Jie Carmen and Aunty Seong Yeng for playing the piano, and for being longsuffering even when we made the same mistakes while singing. Above all, I am grateful to God for teaching me to serve Him with joy through my time in the Children’s Choir – “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2).
Lok Qian Ning
I want to thank God for enabling me to join the Children’s Choir, and for all my experiences in the Children’s Choir. In the beginning I was very scared to join, but by God’s grace, I’ve been in the Choir for about two to three years now. I also want to thank God for our teachers, who not only taught us to sing hymns and spiritual songs, but also to behave well and be good Christian boys and girls.
I enjoy singing in the Children’s Choir and praising the LORD with all my heart. I like to encourage other children to join the Children’s Choir. May I share a verse with you – “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High” (Psalm 92:1).
I join the Children’s Choir because I love God and I like to sing hymns and songs to praise Him. I also get to fellowship with other children in the Choir.
I want to thank God for the opportunity to be in the children’s choir. Training and practising in the choir can be very challenging at times because we must work very hard and stand for prolonged periods. But I still enjoy singing praises for the LORD so that I can share the Gospel with others through my singing.
I pray that God will continue to help me to serve Him joyfully in the choir.
I thank God for the precious opportunity of singing and praising God in the Children’s Choir. I also thank God for granting me the voice to sing hymns and Scripture in song. I am very grateful for the teachers who taught me how to sing and praise God joyfully. In the process, I learnt to be more disciplined and to sing better for the Lord’s glory. I hope this coming new year, that the truth of God’s Word in Psalm 96:2 may be fulfilled in my life – “Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.”
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1). I want to thank God for the privilege to sing in the Choir. I would like to thank God for my teachers – Aunty Stefanie, Jie Jie Melissa, Aunty Seong Yeng and Jie Jie Carmen – for their service to God.
Praise God for them as they teach us new songs, and guide us through many practices. I have joined the Choir for 2 years already and this is my 3rd year. I pray that God will help me to continue to sing for Him. Praise the Lord!
Thank God for giving me the grace to sing throughout my two years in the Children’s Choir. I also want to thank God for the strength and wisdom He has granted me for all my presentations. There were times when I was sick, but the Lord saw me through the presentations. I thank God for helping me sing for Him. Thank God for His goodness and mercy.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Being part of the Children’s Choir has given me many wonderful blessings.
Firstly, I have been touched by Jesus’ love for me when I first sang the song, “Blessed Be The Name”, with the Choir. It tells me that God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins, and so save us from eternal destruction.
Secondly, I have learned that commitment requires discipline. Rising up earlier on Sundays takes discipline. Moreover, discipline is needed for me to memorise the lyrics. I thank God for Aunty Stefanie, Aunty Melissa and Aunty Seong Yeng who have been very patient to train us every week. That makes it a lot easier for me to remember the songs. I thank God for ‘Jie Jie’ Carmen too, who is our pianist.
Finally, may God help me to continue serving Him in the Children’s Choir “with clean hands and a pure heart”. My mama has constantly reminded me that singing in the children’s choir should not be looked upon as a chore, but rather as a privilege to worship and serve Jesus. All praise and glory be to God!
I like to sing in the Children’s Choir. In the Children’s Choir, I get to sing hymns and spiritual songs, I also get to learn more songs. At the same time, I learn many new words from the lyrics and make good friends.
Thank God for the opportunity to sing praises to Him!
I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:6).
I thank the Lord for the Children’s Choir. Firstly, praise God for providing us with good teachers in Auntie Melissa, Auntie Seong Yeng, Auntie Stefanie and Jie Jie Carmen. They have worked hard to teach us sacred hymns. Secondly, thank God for the opportunity to join all the five Reformation Cantatas and last year’s Christmas Praise. Thank God for helping me memorise all the songs. Thirdly, thank God for the friends I had in the choir who helped me whenever I needed their assistance. May the Lord continue to bless the Children’s Choir as we serve Him in the music ministry of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church.
Have you wondered why there is so much preaching in our church, whether it be in the Lord’s Day worship services, Tuesday night prayer gatherings, fellowship meetings, retreats, or camps? Why are we so occupied with the exposition of God’s Word? Should we give so much attention to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word?
As a church, we make no apology for being unabashed proclaimers of the truth of God’s Word. Our reason for giving primacy to the preaching of God’s Word in our church is to put the glory and majesty of God on public display. His Word is His self-revelation of His very eternal being, His plans, His purposes and His power.
There is a great need to emphasize the absolute necessity of robust, courageous preaching of God’s Word. Even in our church, some will become weary of the constant priority that we give to the preaching of God’s Word, just as Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”
So in the coming 4th Missionary Conference (23–27 June 2014), we will take time to search the Scriptures on the theme, “Primacy of God’s Word in the ministry of the church.” This theme will be expounded by varying pastors and missionaries who will attend the conference. Please pray that the Spirit of God will empower the speakers of the conference to expound to us the teachings of the Word of God in a clear and convicting manner.
To whet your appetite for this very necessary and glorious topic, I would like to publish below an article that I recently wrote for the ‘Daily Devotions for 2014” in our church website.
When Apostle Paul and his team arrived in the city of Ephesus, they preached the Gospel to the Jews first. Paul went into the Jewish synagogue and “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). But some of the hearers “were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude” (Acts 19:9). He was forced to move out of the synagogue; and subsequently taught in the school of Tyrannus. Notwithstanding the hostility, Paul continued preaching the Word undaunted, influencing the Jews as well as the Greeks in that city and its surrounding region (Acts 19:10).
Another giant obstacle to the Gospel advancement was the city’s enchantment with sorcery and witchcraft. Ephesus was renowned for the statue of Artemis and her temple. The statue had mysterious engravings on the crown, girdle, and feet. Those mystic writings, referred to as “Ephesian scripts”, were considered to have magical power. Sorcery was part of Ephesian culture. Some of the Jews also practised wizardry. Acts 19:13 reports, “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” When seven sons of the chief of the Jewish priests, named Sceva, tried to exorcise a demon in the name of Jesus, they were violently attacked by the demonic man. This incident brought much fear among the people.
Nonetheless, the preaching of the Word of God turned many away from their diabolical practices. “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19:18, 19)! Mightily did the Word of God grow and prevail in that city, where once deep-seated unbelief and fierce demonic activities had stood in its way.
In our own day, many are dabbling in horoscopes, tarot cards, crystal balls, Ouija boards, séances, and other mystic and demonic activities, which are dangerous to their minds and emotions. If the church is committed to preach the Word faithfully and fervently, we will see some people being turned from unbelief and delivered from the enticement and enslavement of the devil. Assuredly, the preaching of the Word shall prevail over all demonic powers!
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hank God for the provision of Sunday Live Broadcast. I was not able to be present in the church at last Sunday’s Worship Service, due to a freak accident that hampered my movement. However, I was not deprived of the privilege to ‘feast’ on His Word, as I was able to listen to it from home. I was blessed spiritually by the sermon, “Building with the Messianic Hope”, a timely message for the last Sunday of the year 2013. Sunday Live Broadcast is serving its purpose well, edifying the souls of the saints. May the Lord continue to bless the hands that have ploughed in this ministry. “Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul” (Psalm 103:21–22).
A thankful listener
“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High” (Psalm 50:14).
I would like to call all the leaders, members and regular worshippers of Gethsemane B-P Church to once again come together this Tuesday night to avow ourselves to our God in the New Year during the Prayer Meeting.
Making a vow before the Lord is a solemn act of worship, thanksgiving and consecration to God. It is a matter that requires utmost sincerity of heart. We should not come with a flippant attitude before God, especially when we bind ourselves to Him with vows.
For your careful preparation of hearts to renew yourselves before the Lord in taking the two vows of allegiance to God’s Word and personal sanctification, I publish below, “Chapter XXII: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows” from the Westminster Confession of Faith:
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.