Monday, September 26, 2011

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV)

""Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord,
"though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat from the land;
but if you rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword,"
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Words from God spoken to His people the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah.

My personal reflections:
- It is absolutely amazing how loving God is. The first half of this chapter 1 describes how Israel has completely rebelled and turned away from God, though they think they can please God with sacrifices, their hearts are full of evil. Yet, from verse 18 God actually pleads with them and invites them to reason with God, that though they have been so rebellious, if they are willing and obedient to God, He promises to bless them (v19). Instead of, punishing them for their rebellion with death, which they completely deserve, He is gracious and loving in giving them a way out of their suffering; even more than this promises blessings of they obey.
- Following on from this, and this sort of stems from what I learnt from Lamentations from Summit; another way that God is loving is that He did not destroy them. Though chapter 1 does mention that they are suffering because of their sin and rebellion, God is loving in not destroying them. That is, since they are still alive they are still able to repent and turn back to God.
- Even more so, their sin was so atrocious and evil, but still God promises that their sin 'shall be white as snow' if they are willing and obedient. It's not even that God goes: 'well if you obey now, I'll bless you, but I'll still remember/have a grudge against how you used to treat me, and you still have some sin.' but instead it's: 'if you obey me now, I'll bless you. But even more than that, whatever you did in the past all completely forgiven AND you will appear to me as completely sinless." AMAZING.
- But as God is just, he also promises that if they still do not obey, then they will get what they deserve which is death or 'devoured by the sword'.

God is wonderful and loving and just!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Some verses for a stressful time

A friend sent this to me, quite a while ago. But it's still as useful today than it was when she sent it, (but I had to change ENTER into ATAR).
If you are feeling worried about your future, and whether or not you will get into a course you want -
Jeremiah 29:11 - "My plan for your future has always been filled with hope."
John 14:27 - "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So do not be troubled or afraid."

If you are worried or feel that you are weary of study -
Matthew 11:29 - "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you soul."
Hebrews 12:1 - "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."
For the Lord said - "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

If you feel overwhelmed by these upcoming exams -
Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
2 Corinthians 12:9 - "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

If you feel regret over results that you achieved in the past that you weren't happy with, or wish you had studied harder before, or feel bad for not trying your best or letting him down -
Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Jeremiah 32:40 - "For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

And most of all remember that no matter what happens, whatever ATAR score you get -
Romans 8:38-39 - "Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Joshua 1:5 - "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Jeremiah 32:40 - "I will never stop doing good to you."

Hope that helps :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Habbakuk 1

So yesterday I lead a bible study with a group a young adult women and I thought I would share my bible study here as well.
I am quite an amateur bible study writer, so please read this as sort of my thought processes in writing this study. Clearly, its not perfect and I did get a lot of help from Heather, in particular the application part of the study. Also, some context is that we have been looking at the book og Jonah before this book, which is the reason why the book in brought up in the application section.

The bolded questions are the ones I asked in the study, the rest is what I said or the answers I was looking for.

Habbakuk 1- Bible Study

Aim: To illustrate human reaction to God's plans (Habbakuk's and ours) and how at times we think things are unfair but we fail to see the bigger picture and trust in God's sovereign plan.

Has there ever been times that you felt weren't fair? Are there any examples you can think of?

Why did you feel like it wasn't fair?

- Things perhaps didn't go your way?
- Felt like you deserved better?

Well, today we are going to read about how Habbakuk feels like he is a similar situation and how God begins to respond.
But first before we start diving into the passage, we need to work out its context. So we are going to do a little bit of detective work and try and work out its context by reading just the passage alone.

Read passage Habbakuk 1:1-11

What sort of clues do we get from the passage about when this book takes place?
V3-4: “Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralysed and justice never prevails.”
V6: “I am raising up the Babylonians …. who will sweep across the whole earth.”

V6 says how God is raising up the Babylonians, meaning it has not happened yet, this would lead us to predict that this book takes place before Judah is taken into exile by Babylon.
V2-4 Habbakuk describes violence and destruction and injustice of the people, which would lead us to believe that this is during the time of one of the latter Kings who lead the nation astray.

*evidence suggests this book might have taken place just before the exile of Judah by Babylon

Now that we know that this is just before Judah is taken into exile by Babylon, we can understand the passage a bit better.

Read again Habbakuk 1:1-4

What is Habbakuk's first complaint?

- There is so much violence and injustice all around him.
- Why does God tolerate injustice?
- Why does God not listen to his cries?

From whom is all this violence and injustice coming from? What sort of clues indicate this?
(Is it from Babylon?) (Also read Habbakuk 1:5-11)

- We have established that this book is pre-exile, unlikely that the violence and destruction is referring to the Babylonians.
- In verse 5-11, the Babylonians are spoken about as a separate group of people which would mean that the group that was spoken about previously was not the Babylonians.
V6 “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people”
Habbakuk is referring to the Jews, thus he is complaining about the injustice of the Jews.

Read Habbakuk 1:5-11

How does God respond to Habbakuk?

- God will raise up the Babylonians as judgement upon Judah

How does God describe the Babylonians? (What sort of impression do you have of the Babylonians after this description?)

- ruthless, imperteous people (v6)
- feared and dreaded people (v7)
- they are law to themselves and promote their own honour (v7)
- they all come bent on violence (v9)
- they fly like vulture swooping to devour (8)
- they deride kings and scoff at rulers (v10)
- guilty men, whose own strength is their god (v11)

How do you think Habbakuk will react to this? Or how do you think you would react to this if you were Habbakuk? (especially after how God describes the Babylonians)

Read Habbakuk 1:12-17

How does Habbakuk actually react to God's response?

v 13: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than we themselves?”
- He feels injustice as he feels that the Babylonians were more sinful than the Jews, yet God will send the Babylonians to judge the Jews.
This is probably what he would say in this modern day: "What? No! Not the Babylonians, they are way worse than we are. That's unfair. God, I thought you were just."

Remembering from the book of Jonah, how does Habbakuk's reaction compare with Jonah's?
- God acts unexpectedly, Jonah and Habbakuk both had lingering presumptions on how God should act.
- They both want God to act the way they want.
-For example, Jonah did not want the Ninevites to be saved (Jonah 4:2), which led to him running away from God (Jonah 1:3) and later on complaining to God that God saved the Ninevites (Jonah 4:2).
- Habbakuk though wants his people to be judged because of their violence, however does not want judgement to come through the Babylonians.

Is there times you reacted to situations like Habbakuk or Jonah?

Let’s look at other times where God’s solution is much different to what was expected.
Read Mark 8:27-33

- Peter had a presumption about how the Christ should act and how he should be.
- However, if Peter had gotten his way Jesus’ would not have died on the cross for our sins.
- God had a much grander plan than Peter had imagined.

Read James 4:13-17
What does James have to say about such an attitude?

“13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
- We do not know what will happen tomorrow.
- Our lives are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
- Boasting about our future (in this life) is arrogance and evil.
- Instead, we should do things that are in God's will.

Read Habbakuk 2:1
Habbakuk is a bit confused about God's choice of judgement. Who does Habbakuk go to for answers? How is this reaction different from Jonah?

1 “I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint”
- Even though, Habbakuk is quite confused about God's plan, he doesn't sit there and be angry at God like Jonah does (Jonah 4:4, 4:9-10), Habbakuk still looks to God to give him an answer.

Let’s finish by reading the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
What does it tell us about how we should live and what attitude we should have?

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

- Praise God
- Pray that God's will be done on earth just like God's will is done in heaven
- Reliance on God to give us what we need
- Constant request for forgiveness of sins
- And help us not to be tempted to go astray.

Let’s finishing by praying the Lord’s prayer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So I haven't blogged in this for quite a while, sorry about that.

I really quite like this, made by my friend Canaan.
Its a good symbolic illustration of how we we were saved by sin (the purple) and Satan (the black monster). And also, how it was our own choice/because of temptation that we were led to sin, and how we didn't deserve being saved but we definitely needed to be saved. And God saved us and conquered Satan.
Not only that but we were washed clean with Jesus' blood (the red).
And not only that still, we are now the bride of Christ (red ring around finger).
And that we are going to heaven.

How awesome is that! (Both the clip and the fact that we are saved.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walk up evangelism

I had my first walk up evangelism yesterday. Though I have done advertising and things like that before, it was only things like handing out lollies and cards and flyers, not really talking to strangers. So actually walking up to a stranger was a bit intimidating for me.
But it was pretty interesting having some that were open, but also some who were rather against it or had other beliefs.
I also managed to do the 'Two Ways to Live' with a female international student, which I'm pretty happy about. Though the girl didn't really have much opinion about this sort of thing, though she said that some of her friends who were Christians were nice and do things together.

Thank God for giving me this opportunity and pray that he gives me more opportunities and courage to talk to people and evangelise.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daniel 1

I was going through Daniel 1 today with Heather Reid and there were all these things that I had never noticed.
(I quite enjoy when I find out something new from the Bible, it makes it a bit exciting I think.)

So, I'll share what I learnt:

- The book of Daniel has a large emphasis of God doing things, as in 'the Lord delivered' (v2), 'God had caused' (v9) and 'God gave' (v17). This really emphasised that in fact God was in control of the whole situation. Though, King Nebuchadnezzar thought that he defeated Judah, it was in fact 'the Lord [who] delivered'(v2) Judah into his hands. And though Nebuchadnezzar thought that he had chose the best men and gave them knowledge, it was in fact 'God [who] gave knowledge and understanding' (v17), and also 'God [who] had caused the official to show favour and compassion to Daniel' (v9). Thus, we have a situation here where Nebuchadnezzar thinks that he's in control and that he 'won', but in reality it was all God's doing.
Heather also mentioned that even though the titles of this section were all along the lines of 'Daniel's training in Babylon', this section is more on the fact that it is God vs. Nebuchadnezzar. And at the end of chapter 1, we are given a hint of who would eventually win. 'And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus' (v 21) This sentence suggesting that Daniel outlasted Nebuchadnezzar, that is the man of God outlasted Nebuchadnezzar, who thought himself as being so great.

Some other interesting things:
- When Judah was exiled, Daniel must have been only around 14 - 15 years old. This is an estimate, but he must have had been this young to in fact be still alive during King Cyrus. And I find this fact absolutely amazing.
- In verse 2: 'And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia [a] and put in the treasure house of his god.' The footnote [a] says Hebrew Shinar. Now Heather asked me if I had recognised that name, which I did not, but then we turned to Genesis 11:1-9:
'1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel [c] —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.'
I found it rather interesting that the place where Nebuchadnezzar placed the articles from the temple of God, in the same place where the tower of Babel was.

I shall continue writing about the things I learn, because I quite enjoy it and it helps reinforce what I learnt and it might be interesting for others too.

Monday, May 31, 2010

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."

Lyrics: Issac Watts, 1707
Passage: Galatians 6:14