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Scripture Memory: Strength in the Lord.

VERSE : Isaiah 26:4 “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” 

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

10 April 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (Always Ready to Serve, Acts 8:26-40)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Colin Wong (God’s Concern for the Lost, Lk 15:11-32)

17 April 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Colin Wong (From Persecutor to Preacher, Acts 9:10-20)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Eld Khoo Peng Kiat (The Shrewd Servant, Lk 16:1-8; Eld Khoo Peng Kiat)

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ENDURING FAITH

(A devotion shared by Elder Tan Cheow Hock at our Church Prayer Meeting on 8 March 2016) 

A couple of years back, I came across a sermon that speaks about a faith that endures. I would like to share with you three observations that I have learnt on this.

1. Sometimes faith changes our circumstances.

I reckon most of us have read the book of Hebrews and are familiar with the famous Faith Hall of Fame in chapter 11. Verses 32-34 reads:

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faithsubdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

In other words, through faith, defeat was turned to victory, weakness to strength, cowardice to bravery and tragedy to blessing and so forth…

We then come to another group of heroes – also listed in this chapter – Faith Hall of Fame. They were not small heroes or second class heroes. I think they are on similar standing as those in vv.32-34. I would like you to note the contrast, beginning from the midpoint of verse 35 to verse 38:

“…others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

Can you see the point here? Earlier we read of triumph after triumph. But what is our sense here? No triumph but torture, mockings, scourgings, imprisonment, sawn asunder, slain by the sword and so on. This leads us to our second observation…

2. Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances.

Two days ago, I received a call from a Christian brother. He said he felt prompted to share with me something from his heart. His whole point in sharing was to encourage me not to give up (in my battle with cancer) and to keep trusting God.

I thanked this brother for his encouragement. Life for this brother was hard and it still is. He has a humble vocation and takes care of his wife who is unwell and his disabled daughter. They live from hand to mouth.

Despite the difficulties and hardships in life, he presses on and keeps his faith in God. I know this brother for several years and his circumstances have not changed in the years I have known him. I am sure he has prayed for his needs. But for him and his family, nothing has changed. He is still at the same job, his wife is still sickly and his daughter still disabled.

For this Christian brother, there is no change in his circumstances. Life’s hardships remain for him and his family. In his case, faith did not change his circumstances but he remains faithful to the Lord.

Let me give you another illustration. It is found in Acts 12:1-10. Again I want you to spot the contrast:

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. Andhe killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.”

Did you catch the contrast here? Two apostles in captivity and two very different outcomes! And they both served the same God. Sometimes faith changes our circumstances as we see the Apostle Peter delivered from harm. Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances as in the case of the Apostle James and he died by the sword. This bring us to our third observation…

3. Faith does not judge God by the circumstances.

I would like to turn your attention to verse 5: “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

James was killed before Peter was put behind bars. Did James’ death not discourage the church? No! It did not deter the church from coming together to pray. In fact they did gather in John Mark’s house in prayer (verse 12). They did not give up on God. They persevered in prayer for Peter.

Regardless of the adverse situation around them, the disciples’ faith remained unshakeable, tenacious perhaps. They had a faith that endured in the face of danger and possibly cruel death. They refused to judge God that since James was not spared, Peter would suffer the same fate.

We have a classic story in the book of Daniel. Three pious Jewish youths Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a “fiery furnace” by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, when they refused to bow down to the king’s image. Before they were thrown into the furnace what was their reply to the King?

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed that God is able to deliver them but even if God did not deliver, they will not change their minds. Come what may they will not worship the golden image. They refused to judge God by circumstances. Their faith in God remains resolute.

We have made three observations:

•   Sometimes faith changes our circumstances.

•   Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances.

•   Faith does not judge God by the circumstances.

We will not be able to comprehend why sometimes faith changes our circumstances and why sometimes it does not. The Scriptures help us to understand and accept our inability to understand God’s ways:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Therefore our duty is not to judge God by our circumstances but to bring to maturity a faith that will endure the uncertainties of life till our journey’s end. 

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Notice of Annual Congregational Meeting,

Lord’s Day24 April 16, at 10.45 am sharp

All members of Life B-P Church are reminded to attend this meeting. The combined English worship service begins at  9.00 am.

The ACM Notification Letter (personalised with your name) has been e-mailed or post-mailed to all resident voting members of good standing.

A blue Voting Member’s Record Verification Form (VMRVF) has been post-mailed to you. Please bring the VMRVF to the ACM as a form of pre-registration for the determination of the quorum for ACM.

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Chinese Service Parents’ Night

30th April (Sat). 5:30 to 9 pm.

Venue: Pin Si Restaurant @ Yishun Safra.

Program: Gospel Sharing by Rev Peter Chng. Chinese 8-Course Dinner. 

Transportation will be provided from Khatib MRT to SAFRA Yishun.

Fees: $30  (13 years old & above); $20 (4 to 12 years old). Free (infant to 3 years old).

Please register at Beulah House MPH after 11 am service.

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1) VBS-2016 “Faith is the Victory!” Inviting Children and Helpers to come during 1st week ofJune 1-3, 9am to 1pm.

For inquiries: Dn Benedict Sim . Kindly register at http://www.lifebpc.com/vbs.

2) Life B-P Church Camp 2016, 13-16 Jun 16 at Novotel Melaka Hotel, Malaysia. Speaker: Rev Edward Paauwe. Theme: “The Fruit of the Spirit”. Very limited number of rooms available. To avoid disappointment, please register now by sending email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3) Job Vacancy: The church is in need of a full-time Assistant Church Operations Manager. Those who are interested may write in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

4) Medical & Dental Mission to Sumatra, 26-30 May. Includes programs to reach out to children and women. Those interested can contact David Cheong .

5) Missions in Action Seminar 2016 will be held on Saturday 30 April at Beulah MPH, from 3-6pm to be followed by dinner. There is no registration fees. Register at: http://www.lifebpc.com/component/proforms/missions-in-action-seminar.

6) Ms Ruth Tan Woon Huay is kindly requested to call Dn Charlie Chan .

7) Our condolences to: (1) Rajendran and family on the homegoing of his father, Veerappan Periasamy (age 79) on 2 Apr 16. (2) Kenny Wee and family on the homegoing of his mother, Pearly Chia (age 88) on 6 Apr 16).

Preaching appt: Rev Seet at Indonesian Service, 4.00 pm. Rev Wong at Evening Service, 6.00 pm. Rev Khoo overseas from 5-12 Apr.

 

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25