Easter Sunday Choir Presentation Sound Tracks

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Mar 312013

The following are the sound tracks from the Easter Sunday Choir Presentations, sung to the glory of God. May these songs edify and encourage you.

Children’s Choir:

English Choir (Worthy is the lamb, Come and sing an Easter Praise)

Chinese Choir: (主爱救我, 宝贵十架)

Tamil Choir:

24 Mar 13 – God Has Helped Us (1 Sam 7: 7 – 13)

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Mar 242013

By Eld. Siow Chai Sheng

There were two contrasting outcomes of epic proportion in the history of Israel’s battles with their enemies, the Philistines.

1 Sam 4: 1, 10: “…Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer…And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter…”. It was a sad day for Israel at Ebenezer. When the battle first broke out, 4,000 of the Israelites were killed. The elders of Israel were perplexed. How did God’s people suffer such a bad defeat? Did God not care for them?

Believing in their own judgment, they decided on one thing. “Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies” (v.3). This did not help them. 30,000 more Israelites were killed, the Ark of the Covenant was taken away, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain by the Philistines (v.10, 11).

In contrast, some twenty years later, at a location also called Ebenezer, Israel scored a historic victory. 1 Sam 7: 7, 11, 12: “And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel…And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us”. Since then, “the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel” (v.13).

How did Israel succeed this second time? They were afraid of the Philistines (v. 7), and did not seem to have the same confidence as at the first Ebenezer, when they shouted with a great voice when the ark was brought to the battlefield. So why was the outcome different this time?

In 1 Sam 4, the Israelites took for granted that they were God’s people, and therefore victory would be their right. They talked about God and the things of God, when they physically brought the ark of the covenant (whose rightful place was in the tabernacle, and “which dwelleth between the cherubims” – v.4) to the battle ground. But they did not talk to God. What little knowledge of God they had under Eli’s rule, they resorted to the wisdom of Hophni and Phinehas to fight the enemies.

However, Israel’s approach to the battle was different in 1 Sam 7. Here they talked to God to seek His help in their hour of need, when fear of the Philistines was much abound (v.7).

Israel’s attitude was a manifestation of the fear of God, as Samuel the prophet remembered the wrath of God upon Israel for their folly of faithlessness and disobedience towards God at the first Ebenezer. Even the return of the ark by the Philistines seven months later did not remove the plight of the Israelites. In fact, they sinned against God when they opened and looked into the ark of the Lord, which they were not supposed to, and the Lord “smote the men of Bethshemesh” (1 Sam 6: 18). Brethren, let’s just take God’s Word as He has said, with the eye of faith.

Prov 1: 7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:  but fools despise wisdom and instruction”. Our Lord is the living and true God, not a piece of wood or metal of imaginary power. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy” (Ps 33: 18). The Lord sees our heart. Do we truly seek a relationship with Him?

This the Israelites did at the impending confrontation with the Philistines in 1 Sam 7. What exactly did they do? V.6, 8 say, “And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD…And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines”. There were the assembly of the Israelites, fasting, confession of sins, and prayer to their Lord God. So should the church in times of adversity.

The rest, they say, is history. 1 Sam 7: 10 says, “…the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them ; and they were smitten before Israel”. The word “discomfited” means “confused”. What a victory for God’s people when they did the right thing towards the Lord! “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer [“the stone of help”], saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us” (v.12).

Where is your Ebenezer? Is there a place where you can see and remember God’s help in times of troubles? For many, it is the church where you first came and received the peace of God by His saving grace. For some, perhaps it is the hospital bed where you cried out to Him in pain and fear, and obtained mercy. Yet for others, it can be your study or bedroom where in solitude and prayer you sought and found God’s will and direction for your life.

Calling ourselves Christians or belonging to a church, like the Israelites who wallowed in the thought of being God’s people, with no true relationship with the Lord, is not going to help us to overcome the world. I thank the Lord, my Ebenezer, whom I can talk to in prayer, and His Word, in remembrance of His help in seeing me through so many of life’s difficulties. And I know He will continue to see me through the future.

17 Mar 13 – Abide in Me (John 15:4a)

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Mar 172013

By Pr. Lek Aik Wee

Jesus commands His disciples, “Abide in Me”. Jesus explains in John 15:5a, “I am the vine, ye are the branches…” His disciples are likened to branches and Jesus, the Vine. A branch receives its nourishment from the vine. Nourishment comes through the roots of the vine and reaches the branches. Whether a branch will thrive depends on it being attached to the vine. That dependence of a branch upon the vine for its life is the highlight here. Thus, Jesus rightly commands that His disciples should be abiding in Him for their very life.

Jesus went on to say in John 15:5b, “…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…” More than just having life, the usefulness of a branch is that it bears fruit. This dependence on the vine brings to a branch its fruit. More than just some fruit, Jesus says that the abiding brings forth much fruit, an abundance of fruit.

Soberly, Jesus went even further to emphasize the neglect of it in John 15:5c, “…without me ye can do nothing.” What a statement of truth Jesus is communicating to His disciples. Their very usefulness comes from that dependence. Without that dependence, there will not be any life, much less usefulness, “if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)

How can His disciples abide in Him? We shall look at just one pertinent thought. From the context, we learn that to abide in Christ is to live in obedience to His Word. Jesus explains, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).Consequently, to abide in Christ, is to be obedient to His instructions.

How do God’s children cultivate a life of obedience? There must first come a time of immersing in His Word to receive instruction and then the forming of conviction leading to the doing. That’s obedience. Knowledge that does not lead effectually to obedience is vanity.

Israel was God’s chosen people. As a nation, Israel was a witness to the living and true God. Obedience was key to her fruitfulness. Moses emphasized this in Deuteronomy 4:5-9, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”

When Israel was in the wilderness, they were not obedient to God’s instruction to possess the land and were consigned to 40 years of wilderness wandering until the entire generation of disobedient Israelites perished in the wilderness. Israel murmured, complained and was a most discontented people in the wilderness. They were not fruitful.

But the generation of Israelites that went in to possess the Promised Land was an obedient people. Israel hearkened to the instructions of God to possess the land God’s way. They set their hearts aright in the sight of God. They were circumcised and they partook the Passover (Joshua 5). Israel won a resounding victory at Jericho, the first fruit of the Promised Land (Joshua 6). Israel’s testimony was, however, tainted by one man’s disobedience (Joshua 7). God singled out Achan who coveted after the spoils of Jericho. He was that unfruitful branch whom God cast off that day by way of stoning.

Israel’s fruitfulness lies in her obedience to God’s instructions. It was summed up in Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” This account of Israel’s history illustrates that obedience to God’s Word is the key to fruitfulness.

We abide in Christ by being obedient to God’s Word. By committing ourselves in the systematic study and practice of His Word we begin this journey of obedience. May the Lord help us bear forth much fruit. Amen.

10 Mar 13 – The Power of Forgiveness

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Mar 102013

By Rev. S. V. Nathan

As we draw nearer to the Holy Week to commemorate the death and resurrection of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, it is right time for us to call our attention to the first saying of our Lord Jesus while hanging on the cross by uttering the very first saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”Luke 23: 34. Marghanita Laski (Marghanita Laski is one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, (John Stott in The Contemporary Christian.http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/forgiveness.htm) once said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.” Yes, it is very true that only Christianity ever presented and presents the forgiveness to this world and every sinner on this earth. The Lord did not only teach us to forgive but also, demonstrated forgiveness while he was hanging on the cross.

“Father, forgive them”:
It is a petition to His father to forgive those who wronged Him. Literally, He was hanging between heaven and earth with agony and utter shame and slowly dying, yet He did not forget to pray for forgiveness for His enemies. This is a prayer for forgiveness which shows us that first of all, He Himself has forgiven all of them and their sins on the cross. Is it not a great lesson from our Lord Jesus Christ? It is one of the most important and great Christian virtue – that willingness to forgive someone who has done wrong and even during our own suffering and shame.

Follow our Master:
When a person forgives, he is exercising his faith in Christ and follows His footsteps very closely. We see the example of St Stephen when he was stoned to death, he knelt and prayed for his enemies (Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep). Thus, we are all called to follow the example of our great master in everything that we do (John 13:15. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you). Therefore, we ought to forgive one another and move on without having grudges, because we have been forgiven by our Lord as He did to His enemies on the cross. Shall we follow our Master?

Forgive and Forget: 
“The word “forgive” is borrowed from the world of commerce and banking. It means to cancel a debt or to pardon a loan. Phillip Yancey gives some great insight when he reminds us that the word forgive contains the word “give.” To forgive is to cancel the debt of someone so that they never have to pay us back for what they’ve done to us. It is to give grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it.(Dave McFadden “Father forgive them”http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/father-forgive-them-dave-mcfadden-sermon-on-jesus-christ-102782.asp?page=3) Forgiveness means giving up the suffering of the past and being willing to forge ahead with far greater potential for inner freedom. Our Lord himself forgave and forgot everyone’s debt of sins on the cross.

Fortunes of Forgiveness: 
Why would anyone want to forgive someone who has wronged us in the past? It is not about letting someone off the hook for a wrongdoing, or forgetting about the past, or forgetting about the pain. It is about setting ourselves free so that we can move forward in our own life. Forgiveness transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. Forgiveness can help you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. It is about making the conscious decision to let go of a grudge. Besides the reward of letting go of a painful past, there are powerful health benefits that go hand-in-hand with the practice of forgiveness with physical and spiritual blessings. (Randy Kamen Gredinger,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-kamen-gredinger-edd/forgiveness_b_2006882.html

Forgiveness is a Mark of Maturity:
Not everyone can forgive; only those who walk with Christ and follow His footsteps will be able to forgive and forget. It is a mark of spiritual maturity. The art of forgiving is a spiritual grace every Christian should develop, because this is so difficult to put into practice. Roy L. Smith offers the following suggestions: “Begin by assuring yourself that compared to Christ’s suffering you haven’t been seriously wronged at all. Recall the many kind deeds that have been shown to you, perhaps even by the person who has harmed you. List the benefits you have received from the Lord.” (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/forgiveness.htm) Let’s grow in the spiritual maturity by forgiving others.

Finally, I would like to conclude with “a story of two friends who were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today My Best Friend Slapped Me in the Face”. They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: Today My Best Friend Saved My Life. The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”  Let’s learn to write our hurts in the sand and to carve our benefits in stone. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Do not value the things you have in your life. But value who you have in your life!” (Author Unknown, Read more: http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/1148/leave-your-hurts-in-the-sand/#ixzz2MeLpnllY)The story points us to a very important Christian virtue of forgiveness. Forgiveness is one the rarest virtue which needs to be cultivated by daily walking with the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

03 Mar 13 – The Field of the Slothful (Prov 24:30-34)

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Mar 032013

By Rev. Lim Chee Boon

Proverbs is a very unique book in the Bible.  There are 31 chapters; we can read a chapter a day and complete reading the book in a month.  The theme of the book is “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (1:7; 9:10).   A daily reading of God’s Word in the Book of Proverbs will make us wise in the Lord.

The proverbs contained in this book are compiled from the writer’s observation on human behaviour. Sometimes he made a general statement without an evaluation.  For example in 17:8 he says, “A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it.”  He meant a bribe may cause a person to prosper but he mentioned elsewhere that the use of such a practice is certainly to be condemned (17:23).  The earlier verse does not evaluate the conduct of the man who bribes in order to make gain.  Hence, some proverbial statements about certain conduct and attitude should not be construed as correct or good.  The writer (King Solomon penned the book) is merely making general observations on man and his behaviour.

In 24:30-34 is a picture of a slothful man.  The Book of Proverbs has many things to say about a lazy person.  For example in 19:24 (also in 26:15) Solomon describes an indolent man as one who is so lazy he would not use his hands to bring food into his mouth.  Then in 22:13 (also in 16:13) he makes excuses for not going out to work by saying that there is a lion in the street.  Therefore 24:30-34 tells us that the field of a slothful man will inevitably be barren.  Solomon presents a lesson on laziness from the sluggard’s neglected vineyard.

I) An Observation (24:30-31)
“30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.”
The writer made an observation: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding.”  How did he know the field belonged to a slothful man?  Verse 2 says the field “was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.”

Solomon also observed the land was a vineyard and the stone wall surrounding the land was broken down.  The wall was erected to prevent human intruders and animals from entering into the vineyard.  In another of his writing Solomon says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines:  for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)

The condition of the wall and the land revealed the fact of a prolonged neglect to the land.  In verse 30 we are told a slothful man is also a man void (lack) of understanding.  This person lacks understanding not because he was unable to comprehend or he lacks a former education. Rather he has an attitudinal problem.  He chose to ignore the consequences of his indolence.

Sadly there are people who are like this slothful man in the Book of Proverbs.  They live for the day; they do not have saving for the morrow.  Neither do they work hard to earn a living.

II) An Instruction (24:32)
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

The phrase “considered it well” means to examine from all angles and “I look upon it” means to discern. These are necessary attributes of every Christian.  We cannot blindly follow a prescribed system. We follow the will of God and those things that are good.  “But thou, O man of God, flee these things (the love of money); and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim. 6:11)
Solomon received instruction by carefully observing and discerning the matter as mentioned in 24:30-34.  He concludes that laziness destroys the vineyard and the stone wall.  Indolence leads to poverty.  Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.”  Dear brethren, can we see that slothfulness destroy also our spiritual life?  The building up of our spiritual life takes effort and time.  Do not neglect your quiet time!

A slothful man cannot be a good Christian.  If a man is lazy, he has many problems.  A slothful Christian will have problems in his relationship with the Lord.

III) An Irrepressible Consequence (24:33-34)
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding (attitude problem) of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want (impoverishment) as an armed man.

Verse 33 reveals the attitude of a slothful man.  The need to rest is not the problem.  The unwillingness to work hard is the problem.  Solomon tells us the consequence:  “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth.” The word “travelleth” means moving forward.  He tells us that moving forward, a lazy person will suffer poverty in the future.  It is a matter of time.

The Hebrew word for “want” means to suffer poverty or impoverishment.   What is the comparison of the man who suffers poverty with an armed man.  Solomon wants us to realise that an indolent man is like a soldier going to battle without the necessary gear and weapons.  This soldier is bound to be killed when he goes to battle.

C.H. Spurgeon has a famous saying, “Mind your till, and till your mind.” It means work hard and let your mind grow.  My brethren, work hard to earn a living.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians with these words, “if any would not work, neither shall he eat.” (2Thess 3:10)  May I conclude with these words:  “Work hard for your faith!”