“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)
Having considered the first of three major divine purposes of the earthquakes which are revealed in the Bible, we shall today consider their second divine purpose — “divine deliverance”.
Although earthquakes are usually seen as something that we should try to escape, God had often used them as His tools to deliver and protect His people. Consider some biblical examples of the earth quaking when God acted to deliver and protect His people.
1) Psalm 114:1-8 — “When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, And Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.”
2) When Jonathan and his armour bearer fought a garrison of Philistines, God sent an earthquake among the Philistines to disperse them:
3) The prayer of the people in Isaiah’s time expressed their desire to see God shaking the earth as He comes down to deal with their enemies.
4. When our Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the grave on the third day of His death, there was a great earthquake. It marked the power Christ has over death, our last enemy.
5. An earthquake from the Lord sufficed to free Paul and Silas from their prison in Philippi at a very opportune time:
6. At the end of the future Tribulation Period, when the nations of the earth will join the Antichrist to attack Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-3), the Lord will shake the earth and destroy the attacking army, and will deliver Jerusalem and its inhabitants who will look to Him for salvation and deliverance from the enemy.
7. Deliverance of Israel at the return of Christ to Mt Olive.
Those who love God and are faithful to Him have no need to fear the trembling of the earth. Like Psalm 46:2-3 says, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Our God is our refuge. Even if death were to come through this catastrophe, we shall be with the Lord in His presence, and thus forever delivered from all our troubles on earth!
On 16th September 2001, to mark the beginning of Gethsemane Filipino Fellowship, I wrote in the church bulletin: “The Filipino brethren who attend our church felt the need to have a special coordinated effort to nurture their spiritual growth, as well as to reach out to the large number of Filipinos working and residing in Singapore with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The session has prayerfully approved the formation of a new fellowship group for the Filipinos in our church. It will be called Gethsemane Filipino Fellowship.”
Since then, several brethren have helped to preach the Word in GFF. In the early years, I have laboured, and then Reggor Galarpe (current pastor of GBPC, Cebu) laboured with me to preach the Word until he returned to Cebu in 2004. In 2004, Bro. Dennis Kabingue was sent to FEBC for training when he testified of his call to the preaching ministry. Since 2005, Bro. Dominino dela Cruz Jr and Bro. Dennis Kabingue colaboured with me to preach. In 2008, upon the completion of his theological studies, Bro. Dominino returned to Bogo, the Philippines, where he started the mission church in Bogo and later another congregation in San Antonio. Meanwhile, Bro. Dennis Kabingue completed his M.Div. and continued with Th.M. studies in FEBC, which he completed in May 2008. The church has received him as a full-time preacher in March 2008 (with the approval of S-Pass from Singapore authorities). Till this day, through many challenges and trials, Pr Dennis Kabingue has served the Lord in our midst.
Today is Pr Dennis’ last day of service with us in Singapore. He will be leaving tomorrow early morning (3:30am by Cebu Pacific, 5J 804) for his hometown Leyte, the Philippines. We sincerely thank God for His marvelous work in Dennis’s life, and for helping him to grow in faith and service. He has laboured much for the Filipino Fellowship as a preacher of God’s Word. He also contributed much to the church choir (Voices of Gethsemane) as the choir leader for more than a decade. His service in the Lord has been received by our mission stations, sister churches, BWWR, Prison Ministry, FEBC, etc.
May the Lord be pleased to nurture and strengthen Pr Dennis for His vineyard, wherever it may be. Let us also pray for his dear family – Daryl, Duaine, David and Davis – that the Lord’s goodness and mercy will surround them always.
We are grateful for the role we, as a church, could play in their lives and ministry, according to God’s good providence. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7). All glory and honour be unto the LORD!
By God’s providence, Gethsemane Filipino Fellowship is now moving into a new phase with the departure of Pr Dennis Kabingue. With the help of our preachers and elders, I will work to give all the necessary pastoral care for the Filipino brethren. In the recent Church Session meeting, the church leaders prayerfully considered the GFF ministry in the coming months and years. We thank God that all the preachers, elders are happy to contribute to minister the Word in GFF meetings.
On Tuesday night, the Session would like to meet with all the Filipino brethren at 7pm (prior to the prayer meeting) to discuss with you and firm up our plans for fellowship, evangelism, etc.
Please also take note that a half-day retreat is planned for GFF on 5th February (Tuesday, 2pm-6pm) at Singpost Auditorium’s powder room. (Please look out for further announcements.)
May everyone be comforted and strengthened, for the Lord has said in Revelation 3:8 – “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
The biblical records of earthquakes reveal three major divine purposes in the occurrences of the earthquakes. They are divine revelation, divine deliverance and divine judgment. The records of these truths about the earthquakes in the Scriptures are given so that we may pause and consider God’s sovereignty, power and purposes in such cataclysmic events. The first divine purpose attached to earthquake was that:
God’s presence at Mount Sinai shook it violently.
Ancient appearances of God are mentioned in the song sung by Deborah and Barak in Judges 5 as causing earthquakes.
God’s appearance to Elijah when he fled into the wilderness from the wicked king Ahab and his queen Jezebel, was preceded by an earthquake.
God’s voice is depicted as shaking the earth, which sometimes accompanied divine revelation.
God’s mighty presence is depicted as causing the mountains to tremble and “skip”.
Earth shook as the Lord Jesus died on the cross, causing the Roman centurion and all that were with him to confess that He was truly the Son of God.
Again, at Christ’s resurrection there was also an earthquake.
When God granted His presence and revelation, the accompanying signs were indicative of His glorious power. Phenomena accompanying His manifestations, such as earthquakes, filled the hearts of His people with reverence for His divine majesty. At Christ’s death, as well as resurrection, the earthquakes were open affirmation of His divinity, that His people may be assured of the grandeur of His presence and power.
The Bible records or alludes to scores of earthquakes. They include past earthquakes that happened at various times during Creation, Noah’s Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, the collapse of the Jericho wall, God’s appearance or revelation to Israel’s prophets, Christ’s crucifixion, Christ’s resurrection and the first-century apostolic ministry, as well as future ones that will occur as part of the signs of the end times, the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, the biblical records of those past earthquakes are also evidenced by other historical, geological, archaeological records.
Do the earthquakes which destroy cities and villages, buildings, roads and bridges, kill hundreds and thousands of people, and leave behind devastation, chaos and sorrow attest to the deists’ belief that God is uninvolved in the catastrophic events of the world? Is it true that God has very little to do with catastrophes like earthquakes? Are they simply mere phenomena resulting from the natural laws? Or are earthquakes part of God’s sovereign, providential dealings in this world?
In the articles that will be published over the next couple of weeks, I would like to share what I have come to understand about earthquakes through the study of God’s Word. May the Lord be pleased to enlighten and strengthen you through these articles concerning the earthquakes that terrify and confound people.
The Bible records that God sovereignly reigns over the earth, even presiding over the fearsome, devastating earthquakes. As the Almighty King, God rules from heaven even over the earth. He owns them – “the earth is the LORD’S” (Exodus 9:29; Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28). Exodus 19:5 says, “… for all the earth is mine”. Deuteronomy 10:14 reminds us, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”
As the Creator of the earth (Genesis 1:1; 2:1; Psalm 89:11), He not only owns it, but also rules over it. God is the sovereign Head over heaven and earth – “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). Consider the following Scriptural declarations:
Earthquakes do not happen because God has lost control or because God has no more interest in the affairs of this earth. Even when the earth shakes and tremble, God is there, acting as its just King. God is still on the throne. While describing God’s matchless greatness, power and authority, Job said that God, as the great Judge, shakes the earth – “He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble” (Job 9:4-6). So, when the earth quakes, it isn’t happening because it is outside God’s power and control. Instead, earthquakes are part of His sovereign purposes concerning the earth and the universe which He has created and is directing.
The Bible clearly shows God’s design and purposes of the earthquakes that are recorded in the Bible. The Bible not only speaks of the localised earthquakes that had occurred in the past, but also predicts increasing number of massive, devastating earthquakes, culminating in a global earthquake like never before towards the end of the Great Tribulation. Then at the end of it all, at God’s final judgment, the earth and heaven shall pass away.
So, instead of pointing to a powerless god who is detached from the events of the earth, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. point to a God who reigns over the earth, even over the earth’s calamities. God is not a helpless bystander. He is not a frail being who is unable to handle the forces of nature. He is the all-powerful, the Omnipotent, who reigns supreme over all the events on earth, including its tragedies.
We may speak scientifically about those phenomena and explain the earthquake as the result of a fault beneath the earth’s crust, or as being caused by the top of the earth’s crust moving in one direction while the levels under the earth’s crust move in the opposite direction. To be sure, these are the intermediate causes that God, the ultimate Cause of such events, uses for His purposes. He rules through intermediate causes and at times by direct intervention, but either way, He is in charge!
So, we sing with Isaac Watts:
There’s not a plant or flower below,
But makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from Thy throne.
I thank God for the precious lessons I have derived from God’s Word faithfully expounded during this youth retreat. Pastor has truly elucidated the differences between regeneration and adoption, and reiterated our obligations as “Children of the Most High”.
Isaiah 53:5 states “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Christ has redeemed us through his atoning death on the cross. He has emancipated us from sin’s galling fetters and ensnarement. He is our Mediator and Intercessor, whom we know has removed all enmity and reconciled God and man. Having received the gift of salvation, it is imperative that we “put off the old man with his deeds; And put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9-10).
Adoption not only encompasses regeneration, an important facet of soteriology, but also further establishes our position in relation to the Father. It changes our attitude towards Him. As sinners saved by grace, elected to be heirs of a wonderful inheritance, we cannot be fixated on the ephemeral things of this transient world. Each day, I am still learning to be more Christ-like in spite of all the seemingly insuperable challenges I may encounter along the way. In my pilgrim’s progress, I must learn to be more submissive to God’s will and not yield to the flesh. Putting God first in this morally deficient and decadent world may be difficult, but I put my trust in my Saviour – my Refuge and Strength. Although our steps may falter, we must humbly seek Him and repent, for the Lord is judicious in his chastisements, which are commensurate to our transgressions.
Finally, I cannot forget the privileges of our eternal glory and blessings in being a part of God’s kingdom. I pray the Lord may use this ministry to the youths mightily for the extension of His kingdom.
Dear brethren, I would like to share the following exhortation based on Acts 19:20, which says, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” As believers, we must know the divine power that we receive through the Word for our personal spiritual growth and for the ministry of the church.
When the 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” (v. 9). He was forced to move out of the synagogue, and thereafter taught in the school of Tyrannus. The hostility notwithstanding, Paul undauntedly preached the Word, influencing the Jews as well as the Greeks in that city and its surrounding region (v. 10).
Another giant obstacle to the Gospel advancement in that city was its 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 mystical writings, referred to as “Ephesian scripts”, were considered to have magical power. Sorcery was part of the Ephesian culture. Some of the Jews also practised wizardry, as revealed in Acts 19:13 – “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 Sceva, the chief of the Jewish priests, tried to exorcise some demons 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 unbelief and fierce demonic activities stood in its way.
In our own day, many dabble with horoscopes, tarot cards, crystal balls, Ouija boards, séances and other mystical and demonic activities, which are dangerous to their minds and emotions. If the church is preaching the Word faithfully and fervently, we will see some people being delivered from unbelief, and the enticement and enslavement of the devil. The preaching of the Word shall prevail over all demonic powers!
Rufus Wang Ze Min (with my Mummy Yuting)
I would like to thank God for a very enriching DVBS. I would like to thank Pr Kelvin and his team of teachers (Pr Dennis, Bro. Cornelius, Sis. Sarah and Sis. Sharon), as well as helpers (Bro. Amoz, Bro. Jordy, Sis. Dorcas, Sis. Kamala and Sis. Rhodora) for preparing Bible lessons, songs, art & craft, food and games.
My friends and I learnt 6 important lessons about the Bible:
We also learnt many hymns. The three hymns that remain in my mind are: “The Bible Stands” (theme song), “This is the Day the Lord hath Made”, and “John 3:16”.
I pray that God will keep the fire of faith burning in me long after DVBS, as I continue to learn more about the Bible, and sing hymns in church and at home.
I learnt that the Bible contains “God-breathed” instructions to help me be perfect as God our heavenly Father, and also to help me produce good works.
Praise God for the privilege to attend last year’s youth camp. As in every youth camp, there are so many precious lessons taught and gleaned, of which I would share a few.
We are children of the Most High – elected, called, justified, forgiven, adopted and reconciled to God. God draws us to Himself – this is the highest privilege one can have. It is not the accolades of the world, nor the worldly ambitions that attract us; rather, the joy and peace that we are children of the Most High. No Christian is an orphan, for we are sealed by the name of God and are called the sons of God.
Our Most High King and Master has transferred us from the world to God. Hence, I pray that we will live no more after the flesh, nor in fear, but have full trust and dependence upon God who has so mercifully and graciously saved and loved us. We must not let the threatening things enslave us but rejoice in the sure hope of glory that each child of God has in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prior to this camp, the aspect of Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) that charmed my soul most was Election, i.e. how God sovereignly had mercy & compassion on me, independent of my willing and running. Regeneration, i.e. having tasted that deadness in trespasses & sins, to be quickened by Him alone who is able, was a wondrous truth that occupied my mind too.
But this camp has given me a newfound love and appreciation for Adoption. It is a joy to know that it is He who bought us over, and likewise declared our new legal status – gladly on behalf of us, His powerless children – to the unbelieving world. Truly, it is not our entrance into, but His welcoming, sealing & safekeeping of us in this new, holy beloved family of His that makes adoption the highest point, even the greatest experience of salvation on earth.
As the new year draws closer (and I know not what to expect in 2019), I pray that I will stop being indebted to the flesh, having learnt that I don’t owe the flesh anything, but instead be a submissive child, a partaker of my inheritance, even if it entails persecution or chastisement.
Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me,
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me
His precious blood He gave to redeem,
Now I belong to Him;
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.
In the last church weekly, I have briefly written on how we should maintain solemnity in our worship services. It is unfortunate that there are some among us who tend to become negligent of the need for reverential conduct in the worship of God.
What truth is in us if we say that we believe in the supremacy and holiness of God, and yet act irreverently before Him? Should not our faith concerning our God make a difference in our attitude when we come before Him in worship? Can our mannerism be unworthy of God’s greatness and grandeur, especially as we gather to worship Him? Are we acting indifferently to the doctrine of God that we have confessed?
It is an unspeakable tragedy if anyone acts irreverently amidst the congregation that gather to call on the great God as the object of their worship. Let us not be oblivious towards God when we come into His presence.
There is no worship until and unless our whole being is fully focused on the praise and glory of God. Our body and soul must be wholly fixated on God. No part of our being should wander from God when we worship Him. Neither should our conduct be a distraction to others. If anything distracts us, we must turn our attention back to God at once. We must make conscious efforts to yield ourselves fully to God to praise Him and to hear His voice in faith and submission.
It must also be said that if we participate in the elements of worship without being wholly fixated on God, we are not truly worshipping. True worship is not merely being present in the worship service, or clasping our hands and closing our eyes during prayer while our thoughts are directed elsewhere. Enjoying the singing without our thoughts being directed towards God, cannot be considered worship! Jesus and the Scriptures condemn such frivolous involvement in worship of God – “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9; cf. Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6).
If we come to God to worship Him as He has taught us in His Word, great spiritual richness and joy will fill our hearts. When God becomes our hearts’ main fixation, worship becomes a wonderfully exhilarating and blessed experience. Sunday after Sunday, we will find Him to be inexhaustible! Our desire to know and worship Him will further increase. So, let us sing with Robert Robinson:
Come, Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it – mount of Thy redeeming love.
Kelvin Lim (on behalf of the GCM Committee)
The Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM) thanks the LORD for bringing last year’s DVBS to pass. We thank the LORD for watching over the various aspects of the planning and execution of last year’s DVBS, which is special as this is the first time we have online registration for DVBS.
Last year’s theme – “The Bible” – was formulated to remind the children and us of the significance of God’s Word. The participants were taught six lessons from various passages in the Scriptures. One of which was John 3:16, whereby the love of God was taught with the hope that one or more souls may be added unto the kingdom of God!
The LORD has been good to GCM in providing a venue in the premises of Berean Bible-Presbyterian Church. This is our first time using the premises of another church for our DVBS. We used the worship hall for the combined activities, such as singspiration, indoor games and lunch; it also doubled up as the classroom for the Nursery-Kindergarten Class. An upper-room was used for the Primary 1-3 Class while the office was used for the Primary 4-6 Class. As such, we want to thank God for the kindness of Rev. Tan Kian Sing and the Session of Berean B-P Church for allowing us to use their premises.
The LORD sent us 41 children, of whom 14 were from outside our church! While heartened by this outside group, we nonetheless hope that more of our members would be encouraged to send their children to receive God’s blessings through our annual DVBS! Among those 14 “outside” children who came, some were invited by our members while others came as a result of their parents’ online search for school vacation children’s activities. May the children be blessed with memories of the truths learned during the DVBS last year!
During the three-day event, we managed to have two days of outdoor games despite the wet weather forecast by National Environment Agency. More importantly, we also thank God for granting us safety, especially when crossing the roads to the park where the games were organised.
Lastly, thank God for moving the hearts of 17 brethren who serve as volunteers together with us in the committee, as well as 5 brothers who serve as teachers. Furthermore, praise God that Pastor was able to come daily to exhort the children and adults from the Bible, particularly from Psalm 19:7 – “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”