Sunday, December 30, 2012

GROWING IN GRACE (COLOSSIANS 1:9-12)

Sermon snippet by Rev Helen Hoe

INTRODUCTION
When we take stock at the end of each year, what is the basis for our evaluation? What would constitute a good year for us? An author wrote these words, "God did not spend His grace, in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, to redeem and adopt children, who would merely enjoy this natural life, without spiritual growth or fruit for His pleasure." The word, "Grace" is not about blessings, but closely tied up with the person we are to become by the grace of God.

A SIMPLE OUTLINE OF THIS PRAYER
  1. ONE REQUEST
  2. ONE PURPOSE
  3. FOUR OUTCOMES
1. ONE REQUEST: v9 Paul asked God to "fill the Colossians with the knowledge of his will." The topic of knowing God's will is often applied to the major decisions of life: which college to go to, which person to date and marry, which job to pick for a career etc. While these are legitimate applications of knowing the will of God, for Paul, it seems to have a deeper meaning. Paul is asking for divine insights into human life... for what purpose? that we might live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.

2. ONE PURPOSE: God is pleased with us already because we are in Christ. Just like any parent who beams with pride when their 4-year old son/daughter performs at a school concert. It doesn't matter if the notes were wrong, but for that parent, it is a proud moment. But there is another sort of pride that comes when one's son or daughter accomplishes some great goal and bring honor to the family name after years of hard work and dedicaton. That is what Paul had in his mind here. It means to live so that God is pleased with us.

We all have our personal failings, yet here, we are called to something higher: walk worthy of the Lord so that you can hear him say, "My child, I am pleased with you in every way." This purpose is said to be fulfilled when we come before the Lord and say, "God, let your will be done." What does that mean? Too often we mean something like this: "O Lord, show me your will so I can carefully consider it to see if it fits into my plans."

BUT to truly say "your will be done in my life" means
  • Lord, let your will be done in me whatever it costs, whatever it takes, wherever it leads.
  • Let your will be done even if it means that my will is NOT done.
  • Let your plans go forward even if it means changing mine.
So when you pray, "Your will be done", you are asking that His will take precedence over your will.

Only one will can be accomplished at one time: either you control your life or God controls it. In the covenant prayer inserted in the bulletin this week are words desiring to know God's will in such a way that we are willing to yield our agenda to hsi control, that his purposes become our purposes. When that happens, our lives are radically changed from the inside out.

To seek the will of God is more about who I am on the inside than what I am to do on the outside.

3. FOUR OUTCOMES:
  1. A life that bears fruit (v 10b):
  2. A life that grows in the knowledge of God (v 10c)
  3. A life that endures in hard times (v 11)
  4. A life that gives thanks continually (v 12-14)
ELABORATION ON #2 KNOWING GOD
  • Jim Elliot says, "Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!" and "forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God."
  • John Ortberg: In his book, If You Want To Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg wrote, "The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort." Just like Peter who ALONE understood the glory of walking on water, you will realize that the only God is He, Jesus. "once you've walked on water, you never forget it - not for the rest of your life!"
  • Hudson Taylor, "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply." We either know this as his quotation or apply it and experience God's providence, deeply convinced that He is indeed Jehovah Jireh.
CONCLUSION
So here is the prayer that Paul prayed for the Colossians and also the prayer that I prayed for you, Charisians. "That your life is never mundane; that all of you be filled up to overflowing with the knowledge of God's will, and surrendering our agenda to his control so that his purposes become our purposes. When that happens, our lives are radically changed from the inside out: A life filled with good works, an ever-growing knowledge of God, the ability to endure hard times with joy, and a thankful spirit for all that God has done for you."

REFLECTION QUESTIONS
  1. What decision of risk can you make before the Lord?
  2. Look over the ticks you've placed in the pledge card, pray for yourself how you may give in honor of God?
    • On giving
    • On serving
    • On praying for the community of faith

ADVENT #4: GOD WILL BE WITH US (ISAIAH 7:10-16)

Sermon Snippet by Rev Helen Hoe

THE CONTEXT
To the people of God (southern Kingdom) who had followed in the ways of its idolatrous neighbours, they were under threat from a possible coalition between King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel. They attacked Jerusalem to compel the Southern Kingdom to yield and be part of that alliance. This sent King Ahaz and his cabinet into panic. We learn from 2 King 16 that Ahaz was idolatrous and even sacrificed his son in fire to an idol. Yet to this unfaithful King, God gave assurance to respond with faith and trust.

THE SERMON

The Lord God spoke to them from:
  1. the names of the prophet and his son: Isaiah means "The Lord Saves" and his son, Shear-Jashub means "A remnant shall return." This young boy simply accompanied his father to accomplish the mission. His name says it all. If Ahaz refuses to take the Word of the Lord to his heart, only "a remnant shall return."
  2. The prophetic message: the two smoldering stubs of firewood will smoke only and do nothing more. They will retreat. God was trying to tell Ahaz, "trust me, for I will deliver you. In 65 years, these 2 kings that you dread will be dead and their land devastated."
  3. A sign: God invited King Ahab to ask God for confirmation but in v12 we learnt that he was not forthcoming in his faith in the Lord. He looked pious in not wanting to test God. But the truth is that he had already decided to rely on Assyria rather than on God. He did not want to receive a confirmation from the Lord about the message he had received. In v9 the prophet gave a warning: If you do not believe, you will not last out.
God's response to Ahab was to provide the nation with a sign: the birth of a child who would be named Immanuel. He demands that Ahab respond in trust and faith. But King Ahaz chose NOT to believe.

THE OUTCOME
King Ahaz ransacked the temple in Jerusalem and sent them as his tribute to the King of Assyria to deflect the threat of war. Instead of relying on the living God, his decision to rely on other sources for help enslaved the entire nation through his reign.

THE APPLICATION
That is the same message the Lord proclaims to us today: to walk by faith.

1. Seek God: When faced with a decision and we are pressurized, we tend to look at people and the usual ways our friends and neighbours handle them rather than taking time to wait on the Lord and hear from him. Like Ahaz, our minds are made up already, there is no need for a sign from the Lord.

But it is through such interaction with God that we encounter him and experience the tremendous wonder of his answers to us.

2. Willingness to put aside the 'best' (logical, safest) option: The prophecy is the same one that was given to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. The first thing the angel told Joseph was this: "Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Mary will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  Like Ahaz, Joseph was fearful of what will unfold in his life. His own world is about to fall apart dealing with the news of Mary's pregnancy. The most logical thing to do would be to divorce her.

But the angel's words came to Joseph like the promise of light in the darkness. He acted according to the Word of the angel, laid aside his best plan to deal with the situation and obey i.e. to face the social and religious stigma of immorality/fornication... to have caused a woman to be pregnant. Those groundless accusations will be heaped upon him.

But because Joseph chose to walk in faith, he looked past his immediate circumstances and trust that whatever God was doing int he future would be enough to deal with the mess of the present. This act of faith is in stark contrast with Ahaz, who could not look past his immediate circumstances and traded off the Lord's promise for his best approach: appeasing the enemy with treasures from the temple.

CONCLUSION
The walk by faith requires us to look past the present situation, put aside what we think is the best way forward and obey. God's faithfulness never wavers. But ours require building on little, daily decisions to trust the Lord. It is these accumulated experience of the joy of trusting God's promises that will equip us to take a risk when the immediate situation becomes tremendously challenging.

When we walk in faith and obey, we will experience the joy and assurance of God's presence with us.
God's promise is not to take away the immediate pressure but one that demands that we respond in trust and faith. When John Wesley laid on his death bed in 1791, he roused from his sleep and exclaim, "The best of all is, God is with us!"

REFLECTION QUESTIONS
If you are on the brink of making a major decision, make up your mind to trust in the Lord.
  1. How are you seeking God?
  2. What is the logical response that you are tempted to make?
  3. What is God saying to you? What must you do that you may respond in faith and trust?

Friday, December 21, 2012

ADVENT #3: THERE WILL BE SINGING (Isaiah 35)

Sermon Snippet by Rev (Dr) Andrew Peh

INTRODUCTION

What is happening in the world today is in stark contrast with the sterile and sleak images on our Christmas cards and decorations. Isaiah 34 should be read parallel with Isaiah 35.  In these passages judgement was prophesied against nations like Edom, a model of those who oppose God. Isaiah shares with us that the transformation of natures and the break from evil and demonic control over all humanity will come.

SERMON PROPER

From the beginning of ch 35, we are told that the splendour of Carmel and the glory of Lebanon would be outstripped by the glory of God himself. Those who are fearful are encouraged to be strong and not be afraid because the blind will see and the dumb will sing. It is no wonder that Luke wrote in 4:18-19 that the redeemed will rejoice for God will undo what is wrong and all heaven and nature will sing.

How is that relevant today? We are into the third week of Advent and the overarching theme is joy, that’s why the candle is pink instead of purple like the rest. God will not abandon his people. He will come and save us. He will create this holy highway so that his people can return to praise the Lord. All the sighing and sorrowing will flee away (v10).  The righteous will process with outbursts of song and happiness as they walk towards the holy hill. On holy communion Sunday that what’s the choir does processing down the aisle, coming boldly proclaiming in song and prayers. ON this highway, are people in full confidence of the work of God. Their sorrow and sighing will flee away regardless how dark and dreary things have been. He extends this highway into every part of society.

How can we live out this joy? We share this joy by demonstrating compassion to those who suffer. There is an intrinsic difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting, it is here now but gone the next. Joy, on the other hand, has greater substance because it is rooted in the assurance that nobody can take away the “shalom” way from us. Joy is knowing that God will come and save us. We will not always be happy but we will certainly be joyful. In God’s scheme of things, there is reunion and he delivers us from death an destruction. This is the fulfilment that he will come and save us.

Personal testimony of celebrating Christmas in 2009 with his dad in hospital. His father was diagnosed with advanced and terminal liver cancer and he went home to be with the Lord in April of the following year. Since then, it has been Christmas without his father. Yet he is able to live Christmas with joy because God has saved his father and brought him where there is another opportunity to meet again. So despite the difficulties and despair that the world hurl at us, we have the promise of the faithful God. This Christmas, he has been posting a new song everyday on his facebook page to rejoice with all his FB friends that we need and must sing proclaiming that God has come to save us in Christ and will come again soon. He then had the 11th countdown Christmas song that he intended to post in facebook played, “Merry Christmas with Love.”Sandi Patti "Merry Christmas with Love"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ADVENT #2: THERE WILL BE PEACE (ISAIAH 11:1-10)

SNIPPET OF SERMON BY REV TAN-YEO LAY SUAN

INTRODUCTION
Perhaps after last week, you may be wondering if all these prophecies relate to the thousand year reign of Christ. And if it is so, let the thousand years come and this good stuff will just roll right in.  There’s nothing for me to do at this point… all this is very good of course. My intentions these weeks are not to address whether it is this position or that position (pre millennial, post millennial, amillennial etc.) but to point out the nature of the One that we are anticipating is coming, the nature of the Kingdom that has already come and to provoke your self-reflection on your own nature at this point in time as a part of that growing stump of Jesse… are you allowing your nature to be transformed in the likeness of the One that is anticipated? Are you living the values of the Kingdom? These do not need to wait till the commencement of that thousand year… in fact you should not wait and that’s where my sharing will go today.

NOTE IN INTERPRETATION

Israel was a nation which stood on the brink of war and devastation. They lived in the shadow of a cruel and repressive world superpower which was poised for a land grab, Yet the people continued to lived in debauchery, all the while wondering why they had no lasting sense of peace. 2. Isaiah cries out to Israel that the source of peace of lasting peace is none other than the Branch of the Lord.

SERMON PROPER

1. THE NATURE OF THE COMING KING:

“Stump”: When you see a stump by our roadside, what comes to mind? The tree is dead, lopped off, all its majesty and beauty cut off. It's hopeless. He uses the name Jesse instead of the famous David to let us know the humble beginnings of this King. Yet he’s extraordinary because the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him. The Spirit of God gives him:
-        the Spirit of wisdom7 and of understanding [discernment] enabling him to make descisions not on what is expedient but on the basis of their character.
-        the Spirit of counsel [advice, purpose] and of power [strength, valour, bravery, mighty deeds], that strength of heart and purpose which makes it possible to carry out the wise counsel.
-        the Spirit of knowledge [perception, discernment, understanding, wisdom] of the plans and the will of God and of the fear [fear, terror, reverence, piety] of the LORD, having a proper reverence for God’s commands.

Today, as redeemed people of the Lord, the incarnate Christ shows us the way: we are both human and divine. He has adorned us with his divine nature that we no longer live subject to the inclination to sin BUT we are given the power to resist and to take that the new pathways and directions and life that God wants us to have. Be filled with the Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and power, of knowledge and the fear of God. 1 Cor 6:2-3, “2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels?” Have you seen yourself growing in wisdom as you grow in Christ? David Guzik shares where the problem might be: He says,
-        We long for wisdom yet we fail to ask for it.
-        We lack understanding yet don’t go to Him who possesses it.
-        We need counsel and advice but choose not to listen.
-        We beg to know God’s will for our lives yet fall short of asking Him who knows it in detail.
Let’s walk in the guidance of the Spirit of God. Like the Lord Jesus Christ, you can grow to become discerning, not easily affected by what is visible/apparent or influenced by rumours… but you will be given wisdom to look deeper into things. Just as the Lord make his decisions, so unlike human government that takes note of a person’s wealth and social standing, and instead will be in favor of the poor of the earth; so you are to be able to do so.
v5 says “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist” This is the waist-cloth, the innermost piece of clothing that you wear 24/7 unless you’re taking a bath. These 2 qualities : Righteousness and justice are so close to Jesus [they are like belts around His waist.] Everything He does is touched by His righteousness and justice. It is to characterize the people of God as well, a requisite and indispensable, key quality. 2nd nature. Everything we do is also to be touched also by God’s righteousness and justice.
 
Our world longs for peace. We live in a society where injustice, unfaithfulness and unrighteousness abound. Each of us has been victimized by it in one form or another. Also, if we admit it, we too are sinners and not only have we been sinned against, but we have also sinned against others. Peace, all of us long for it, yet for some reason stubbornly we refuse to yield to Him whom the Spirit of the Lord rests upon.
  • Are you surrounded and hounded by enemies? We serve a Sovereign Judge.
  • Have you been betrayed or cheated on? We serve a Sovereign Judge.
  • Do you face mistreatment and prejudice? The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge.
  • Have you been falsely accused and harassed? The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge. The Lord Jesus will take up your case.
  • What will the Sovereign Judge rule?
  • Will he rule against you because of your wickedness, or will he rule in your favour?
Who do you know is now surrounded and hounded by enemies? You are God’s instrument of justice and peace.
·      Who has been betrayed and cheated upon? You are God’s instrument of justice and peace.
·     Who is facing mistreatment and prejudice”? You are God’s instrument of justice and peace. The Lord Jesus is counting on you! It is no coincidence that in the baptism ritual, one of the first questions you are asked is this, “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?” Why is this ever included in the baptismal ritual? It is included because we join the ranks of those who follow the humble King and judge who will finally bring all to righteous judgment and accounting… we, the new people of God, ushering in the rule and blessings of the Kingdom, by expressing this same character of taking up the cause of the less privileged, the downtrodden.
·      Will you let the Holy Spirit prompt you and supply you with might [strength of heart and purpose to act] as you speak on behalf of someone who is needy and lowly in position?
·      How much more committed should you be to practising peace? Sometimes we are caught between fearing man or fearing the Lord and this is where Jesus shows you the way that fearing the Lord alone is the key to being fearless… there is no one else that can make us afraid. With learning to operate under the directions of God is what gives peace of heart and mind.
2. THE NATURE OF THE COMING KINGDOM
We are given a picture before hand: under the rule of God. There are those who attempt to spiritualize all these expressions so that the beasts here are taken to represent violent and savage men whose hearts will be changed by regeneration. Although there are many living examples of men and women changed dramatically because of the Gospel and the hand of the Lord on their lives. But the prophet gives no hint of such an application of his words. He very definitely speaks of that which God will do for the animal kingdom in the day when the curse is lifted. Isaiah tells us that when Messiah comes that the natures of the animals upon this earth will be transformed. The extent of this transformation would be astounding, not only will creatures live, eat, they will play safely together. We no longer need to watch over the nursing child is under 2-years old, or even a weaned one who would be 2 and above when they put their hand into the hole of poisonous snakes. Neither person nor beast will destroy other creatures, and the reason for this is that the knowledge of the Lord will at that time cover the entire face of the earth. The knowledge of the LORD - in a relational sense, not merely an intellectual sense - will cover the entire earth. Mysteriously, to know the Lord and His ways will transform every creature upon the entire earth. All the violence, the pillage of the strong against the weak in creation will be erased.
So please don’t volunteer to clean the lion’s cage and decide to stay in there to test out this part of scripture. There is still a distance between that wonderful world of peace and the world we encounter on a daily basis. That distance can close especially between “higher”  beings like us who can with some effort come to know the Lord. Think of the distance that now exists between you and someone else? It can be a distance of education, language, colour, age… God can enable you to close the distance if only that knowledge of God is shared.
-        How much of your knowledge of God is only intellectual? It needs to move to the relational i.e. putting that knowledge to work in our relationships… peace can be experienced if we but begin “counting others better than ourselves”, “laying down our lives as a way of gaining than fighting and grabbing”, “holding our tongues instead of nagging our husbands and children to death…” Would you trust in the Lord and obey his words in these different encounters and relationships?
-        How much of that knowledge has been shared to our children? Our spouse? Explain some of your decisions especially if you’ve made them before the Lord… let your spouse understand how you interpret scripture, let your children understand how you came to such a decision… let them see how the word of God works for those who love him…
-        How much of that knowledge is shared with our opponents? Perhaps they have no idea about Jesus at all? They’ve not found the source of peace. Can you be that person that introduces them to this knowledge of God? In bringing them to Christ, you are giving the ultimate peace of heart and mind that will transform their outlook and relations with others. Would you put off that “warring” and graciously invite this person for the next Alpha?

3. THE NATURE OF THE EXISTING CHURCH

V10 says, “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.” A banner is a standard or a flag, raised with the intent of rallying people around it. Here the term ‘peoples’ indicates the Gentile nations. Isaiah sees a messianic age in which all the nations will have a knowledge of Christ and they will come from all corners of the earth. His resting place where He lives, will be glorious! To the people in the OT, the resting place of God is in Jerusalem, at the temple (Psa. 132:13-14). Today, the temple no longer exists, the resting place of God is in his church. The church is the ultimate place of peace where people who previously were at odds now find themselves assembling together under the rule of God.
Is the church a place for the assembling of peoples from all possible walks of life and stations? How can we work in tandem with God’s spirit and work towards that welcoming of the least in our society? How can this place where God is become a glorious place, a rallying point for those who have never known peace in any real sense of the word?

CONCLUSION

The beautiful vision won’t take full shape until Jesus comes again in all his glory. There’s just not enough righteousness and faithfulness available in this world, and not enough people who are committed to practicing peace instead of violence. But in the meantime, in this Advent season of preparation and in the days beyond, will you pause take time to see how much grafting we still need to do with our lives? Will you make some important changes so that you are indeed grafted firmly to Jesus Christ, the shoot that has emerged from the stump of Jesse. Take this opportunity to pray for his peace to fill us and transform us, for his house to become that 1st stop where people find peace rather than the last place for peace.
ILLUSTRATION FROM FACEBOOK ABOUT THE LACK OF JUSTICE & PEACE IN OUR WORLD
Edwin Seow
In my many years of experience on project development and management, I found every project has 5 stages:
1. Anxiety
2. Disillusion
3. Search for the guilty
4. Punishment of the innocent
5. Fame and glory for the non-participants

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o   Jeremy SoHandsome and 6 others like this.
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Erick Tan That is quotable!
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Tan-Yeo Lay Suan Waa... like that ahh..
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Chia Yew Liang True for most MNC ;)
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Anthony Halim Very very very utterly atmostly the most TRUE REALITY.. LOL :D



 

ADVENT #1: THERE WILL BE LIGHT (ISAIAH 2:1-5)


SERMON SNIPPET BY REV TAN-YEO LAY SUAN

 

INTRODUCTION


After believing in Jesus for so many years, don’t we all long for the day when the people around us will finally come to accept that only our God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the true God? We all have our fair share of sharing with our friends and loved ones and there will be a substantial number of them who have spoken up when we share the gospel that, “hey, I am a follower of faith X and my beliefs are as true and valid as yours. Leave me alone.” But in our text today, we are brought to think that one day, all their protestations, rationalizations will cease and they will join us on this pilgrimage to seek God and Him alone. Isn’t that a day to look forward to when we have the pleasure of telling them, “I told you so”? 
 
SERMON PROPER

What is interesting to note is that there is an exact repeat of these verses that can be found in Micah 4:1-5.

Historical context


If the words of Micah 4:1-5 and Isaiah 2:1-5 belong to their respective namesakes, then they can both be dated to the reign of Hezekiah near the time of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. The setting and its eventual outcome are described in 2 Kings 18-19 and 2 Chronicles 32:1-23. These prophecies were most likely given to God’s people in Jerusalem, who were being threatened by the surrounding Assyrian army, in order to give them hope that they would not suffer the same fate as their northern relatives had, with the fall of Israel in 722 B.C.
 

CONTENT


·       the lifting up of Zion: the universal recognition and worship of YHWH: The prophets continue by saying that in this future time the mountain of YHWH’s house (i.e. Mt. Zion/Moriah, the place of the temple) will be lifted up and established as the ראש rosh (highest/top/chief) of the mountains.  Based on Zec. 14:9, some take this to mean that seismic activity will cause a drastic uplifting of the city of Jerusalem at the second coming of Christ.  While this may be the case, the primary significance lies in the Canaanite symbolism of mountain temples.  Israel’s pagan neighbors associated mountain temple with their deities.  The gods were seen as dwelling in these high sanctuaries—the higher the mountain or hill, the more powerful and prominent the god who is worshipped there. What is being predicted by Micah and Isaiah is that in the future, YHWH would be known worldwide as the true God who rules all of creation.  We don’t have to argue with or persuade doubters because that recognition of Christ will fall upon every one.

·       and the universal pilgrimage (of the nations): Because of such recognition, people from all over the earth will journey to YHWH’s temple (either literal or figurative; see comments below).  So great is this pilgrimage that it is described as a river of people paradoxically ‘flowing’ uphill (נהר–nahar  ‘and they will stream/flow’). What way does water flow? (Downhill.) Have you ever seen water flow uphill? This is a picture of an uphill flow.

·       The universal thirst not just to hear but do God’s Word: We are now allowed to hear why everyone is flowing to the temple; the imperative followed by cohortative “וְנַעֲלֶה לְכוּ”. is a common reference to religious pilgrimage (Gen. 35:3, Jer. 31:6, Zec. 14:16-19).  They are travelling upwards towards God in order to learn from his ways.  The call to pilgrimage is paralleled by the cohortative “בְּאֹרְחֹתָיו וְנֵלְכָה” which reveals that the nations further desire to travel there in YHWH’s caravans[1] (בְּאֹרְחֹתָי 'orach) When the nations finally realize that YHWH is the one true God and decide to go up to his mountain, they decide to do so in his caravans rather than the ones they normally travel in because they know that the only way to walk in security is to walk with YHWH. The benefit that the pilgrims seek is תורה towrah (teaching/instruction), which is further clarified as דְבַר־יְהוָה (the word of YHWH), that יצא yatsa'  (will go out) from Zion.   

·       Universal (worldwide) peace & disarmament : In addition to seeking general wisdom about life, the nations will come to God so he can judge them. They will take their disputes to God to settle them. How do most people settle disputes? Guns? Knives? Fists? Not on this holy mountain. Upon the arrival of the many peoples, the numerous distant nations/mountain, they will receive an audience with the judge of all the universe and he will arbitrate for them and settle any differences among them.  This is further illustrated by the fact that they would completely disarm themselves. Instead, the nations of the earth will be able to put their tools to use in agriculture and caring for their needs.   

FULFILLMENT

But from the picture today to the picture described here, is the transition supposed to be a quantum leap from chaos, hostility, injustice to order, harmony and peace? When will this happen. How will it happen? Is it just a “Pie in the sky”?  

While prophet Micah used similar words in his message in Micah 4, the verses following the parts that are similar tells us that his message is a call for both endurance and hope. But Isaiah used this prophecy in a different way. He was using this message to stir his audience to a HOLY JEALOUSY, calling them to repentance and return to faithful worship of YHWH.

In view of the future obedience of the nations to the true God, what are you doing NOT CHOOSING to be FIRMLY on the WINNING SIDE? Sometimes as a kid, when the recess came and the teams for kickball were beginning to get chosen, you knew just which team was going to win. You knew from the first few kids that were picked, just how awesome one of the teams was going to be, and you wanted to be on that team too. We like to be on the winning team. Well, you don’t have to wonder about who wins at the end of the world. We already have seen the ending. We know who wins. Don’t you want to be on His side starting now?

·       The nations are not yet coming to the church to be taught by the Lord, but we the new Israel, the people of God, already has His word.  It is unthinkable then that we should continue to walk in darkness.  Goldingay adds: “If Yahweh is committed to achieving a purpose whereby the nations let their lives be shaped by Yahweh’s teaching, the least Israel can do is let that teaching shape their own lives now”. Are we letting the teachings of God illuminate our lives? Or are we seeking out worldly persons for wisdom (Warren Buffet[2]) to live our lives? These are lights made by humans.  Don’t be deceived into thinking that you can play around with Satan and the world now, and then switch sides when the end comes. You’re either for Jesus or against Him. In the prophecy, it appears as though the people had suddenly found the true light out of their darkened existence and with no hesitation, they have gathered like ants who have discovered a lump of sugar. You will see them marching in larger and larger numbers. The food source was no mirage and so the steady stream of ants coming at it. Has Charis MC been aglow with the true light of Christ? Have we been able to gather around the community a steady and growing stream of people seeking out the truth and the wisdom of God? Persons with darkened lives are always looking desperately for a glimmer of light that can point the way out. If we have not witnessed this… why is that so?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  • Is it because we have no confidence that what we have is “IT”? Some of us continue to waver over saying this truth: “For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) We seek out the gurus in our world more than we seek the Word of God. 


NEW YORK | Mon Jun 6, 2011 1:13pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters)
Double-dip recession or not, people will still pay any price to have lunch with Warren Buffett.
The annual charity auction for lunch with the legendary 80-year-old investor began on Sunday night, and by midday on Monday, bids already topped $2 million. The six bids placed thus far have come from two anonymous bidders.
Last year's winner paid $2.63 million for the right to dine with Buffett at the Manhattan steakhouse Smith & Wollensky. The price nearly tripled on the last day, as nine qualified bidders made 77 bids.
Looking into the fb of a fellow believer, I find that she checks the online Tarot cards daily for directions for living. Instead of the Bible, the pictures on the Tarot cards decide her response for the day and week.

Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is no mirage. Take hold of the precious wisdom that comes from the word of God. Before you turn to another guru, open your Bibles and know the Will of God.  
  • Is it because we don’t live lighted up lives consistently? While preparing for the class last week to share with parents how they may prepare their children for participation in the Holy Communion, I came across one author who puts it like this, “If a child doesn’t behave at home most of the time, don’t expect that in the pews.” The child is not suddenly going to turn into an angel at the pews. In like manner, if we have not lived the truth of God’s word on a daily basis, how is it possible for us to be attracting people to its truths? If we have not discovered in them, the divine sustenance that satisfies, how is it possible to attract spiritually hungry people? The occasional display and bursts of enlightenment do not fool our loved ones and our friends… they also know when we have not found the light of Christ. How would they know? When we continue to be persons that do not promote peace, we enjoy fighting and inventing new ways to engage in conflict externally and internally.

HOW ARE YOU LETTING GOD’S TEACHINGS SHAPE YOUR OWN LIFE NOW?


As you prepare for Holy Communion, ponder the question,
  1. How am I letting God’s teachings shape my own life?
  2. Which side am I on?
God wants to teach us his ways that we may walk in his paths. Don’t simply hope that your family member, your loved ones, your friends will be part of that stream swelling up to seek the Lord, let them make that decision early because they saw what the light of Christ has done for you… how God’s truth has brought a serenity that has overcome that inner conflicts within, a serenity that is evident in peacemaking. Don’t wait for some future time. There is no better time to get closer to the Lord than now. Walk in the light!


[1] Though the vast majority of the time it means ‘paths’ or ‘ways’, in the context of pilgrimage and travel, ‘caravans’ seems as good a choice as paths and serves to bring out an important
nuance.  Merchants and travelers journeyed in caravans in the ancient near east primarily
for safety and security through uncertain or dangerous areas.
[2] By Guy Spier on Lunch with Buffett, “It was worth every dime. Buffett is the most successful investor in history, yet he has reached that pinnacle while also being supremely ethical. As remarkable for his philanthropy as for his stock-picking, he's giving the bulk of his billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; likewise, the fee for our lunch would go to the Glide Foundation, which helps the poor and homeless. Lunch with Buffett, we figured, would be a good way to give to charity, but it would also be the ultimate capitalist master class — a chance to see up close what makes the Sage of Omaha tick and to learn from his wisdom… What better role model could you ask for than this? And how do you put a price on the opportunity to spend nearly three hours in his company?

Read more:
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1819293,00.html#ixzz2DlHctVrq