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Scripture Memory: Waiting Upon God.

VERSE : Psalm 123:2  “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

14 December 2014
8 am & 11am Worship Service
Lee Hock Chin (If Any Would Not Work , 2 Thes 3:10-15)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Not For Myself Alone, Rom 15:1-7)

21 December 2014
9.30am Combined English Christmas Service
Rev Charles Seet (Joy to the World! Ps 98)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Colin Wong (Hope in God, Rom 15:8-13)

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THE KIND OF PEOPLE GOD USES

What the Bible says about Mary and Joseph makes them very much like any couple today who plan to marry and have children. Like any good husband-to-be, Joseph loved Mary and prepared himself well for the day when she would become his wife and they can start a family. Like all good wives-to-be, Mary looked forward to the day when she would present herself as a chaste virgin bride to her husband, ready to become a good wife and mother. Like any couple, Joseph and Mary probably expected their plans for marriage and family life to proceed normally, following all the Jewish traditions and customs of their day, and seeking God’s blessing upon all that they planned.

But unknown to them, God had higher plans for their marriage and family life – Plans to use them to restore the royal line of David to reign over Israel; plans to fulfill the prophecies concerning the promised Messiah; and most of all, plans to bring God’s only begotten Son into the world, to save sinners from sin and eternal death!

God Uses Ordinary People

Mary and Joseph were not super-spiritual heroes or sinless saints. They had not gone through any special training programme to prepare them for their roles, nor had they gone through a selection process. They were just ordinary people like us – people who were going through the usual stages of life: Acquiring the skills to make an honest living, taking on new responsibilities of marriage and of parenthood, and coping with various trials and difficulties of life.

Like many of us, they had limited financial resources. Although Joseph was a carpenter, he didn’t own an Ikea factory. In fact, he was so poor that when he and Mary came to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate the baby Jesus, he could not afford to make an offering of a sheep or goat. He had to make do with a pair of doves or pigeons. Such exceptions were allowed only for the poor to present as offerings.

Like most of us, Mary and Joseph made occasional mistakes. Sometimes when we travel overseas we assume that we had taken everything we need. And then to our horror we discover later on that we left something important behind. Well, Mary and Joseph made such a mistake too. As they were traveling home from Jerusalem, they wrongly assumed that their 12-year old boy Jesus was somewhere in their group. After traveling for a whole day they realized that He was missing. This led to a frantic search all over Jerusalem until they found Him in the Temple of God.

Like all of us, Mary and Joseph were sinners. Although the Bible does not record any of their personal sins, we see Mary admitting her need for salvation when she spoke to her cousin in Luke 1:46,47 – “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Why would she call God her Saviour unless she herself needed salvation from sin? We see the same thing with Joseph. God’s angel told him that Jesus will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Surely Joseph would be very glad to know that the child He was to take care of would save sinners like him from their sins.

The lesson we need to learn from Mary and Joseph is this: God used ordinary people to accomplish His purposes: People who went through the same kind of changes we go through in life, people who made the same kind of mistakes we make, and people who were sinners just like us. The point is, if God could use them, He can also use us. May this lesson encourage us all to trust God to use us to accomplish His purposes. Let no one ever think that he or she cannot be used by God. Who knows what God can do through you?

God Uses Obedient People

While God uses ordinary people, not all ordinary people are used by God. There is one important quality that makes us usable, and it is obedience to God. Obedience was very evident in both Mary and Joseph. When Mary was told that she was going to conceive and have a son, her response to the Lord’s message was nothing but unqualified obedience. All that she said was, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)

But such obedience does not come naturally. And so it is good to find out what made her so ready to obey God. There are two clues that help to provide an answer. The first is found in the song of praise which Mary uttered to her cousin in Luke 1:46-55 – “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Forhe that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”

This song of praise was not composed by a theologian, but by a young Jewish maiden of Nazareth! It reveals the intimate knowledge that Mary had of God and His Word. In it she mentions three great attributes of God – His might (v.49), His holiness (v.49) and His mercy (v.50) It also shows that Mary had a deep confidence in God to fulfill His covenant promises to Israel despite all the power, might and riches that Israel’s oppressors might have. How did an ordinary young maiden like Mary possess such spiritual insight about God and such deep confidence in His covenant promises? I believe that she must have received it through the time that she spent learning the Scriptures well.

The other clue to why Mary was so obedient to God is found in two verses: The first is Luke 2:19 – “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” The things which Mary kept here, refers to the events that took place when Jesus was born, particularly the shepherds coming from the fields to see Him that night and relating how angels had told them that Christ was born in Bethlehem. The other verse is found in Luke 2:51 – “…but His motherkept all these sayings in her heart.” The sayings here refer to certain things that Jesus said which reveal His true identity as the Son of God.

These verses reveal something really good about Mary – She made the effort to retain every significant word and experience she received in her heart, and she gave much thought to them. This is a good habit to develop – Whenever you receive lessons from God’s Word through a sermon, a Bible lesson or a devotional reading make an effort to retain them in your heart, and take time to reflect on them. Don’t treat these precious gems from God the same way you would treat any other piece of information – allowing it to have only a very superficial impact on you. They must get deep into your heart and make a permanent impression on your soul. When your heart is well-primed with God’s Word that has been received, retained and reflected upon, then it will become a lot easier for you to respond with obedience the way that Mary did.

How about Joseph? His obedience was very consistent. Every time he received instructions from God, he obeyed. When he was told to take Mary as his wife, Joseph did it without delay (Matthew 1:24). When he was told to take her and the child and flee to Egypt, Joseph obeyed immediately (Matthew 2:13,14). When he was told to bring them back to Israel, Joseph did so obediently (Matthew 2:20,21). And when he was told not take them to Judea because Herod’s wicked son had become its ruler, Joseph immediately changed course and headed for Galilee.

One lesson for us here is that God leads us only one step at a time. He does not reveal the entire path He has planned for you, but only the next step that you should take. Though you cannot see where the path will eventually bring you, you must trust God and obey His instructions without question and without delay. Will you obey God with the same consistent, unquestioning and immediate obedience that Joseph had?

We notice that in Joseph’s case, God’s leading came entirely through dreams. Today we should not expect to be led by supernatural means like dreams, visions or angelic messengers because God has given us His complete written Word and the Holy Spirit. These are sufficient for us to discern the direction He wants us to take.

Husbands and fathers must take note of this. The Bible gives us clear instructions that husbands are to exercise loving leadership to their wife (Ephesians 5:23-25), and fathers are responsible to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers are also responsible to protect their family and provide for their needs – not just material needs, but spiritual, social and emotional needs as well (1 Timothy 5:8; Psalm 68:5). If you are a husband or a father, God wants you to obey these instructions consistently, like Joseph did.

We observe that every instruction that Joseph received from God pertained to his role as the husband of Mary and as the foster father of Jesus. Firstly, he was told to take Mary as his wife. By doing this, he became fully responsible to provide all the love and leadership that she needed. That’s a husband’s job. And because Joseph was a good husband, his wife was able to be a good mother to the holy child.

Secondly, Joseph was instructed by God to name that child, ‘Jesus.’ By doing this, he assumed the prerogatives of a foster father to Jesus, responsible to raise him up lovingly as his son, ensuring that he develops all the skills He needs for living, and obtains all the training He needs in the Law of God. That’s a father’s job.

Thirdly, when Joseph was told by God to bring the family to Egypt and then back to Israel later on, his obedience became the means by which his wife and son were protected from all harm and danger. And that is the job of a husband and father.

We conclude with this thought: God has not given us the role of bringing Jesus into the world and bringing Him up to adulthood. That role was meant only for Mary and Joseph as parents of Christ. But God has given us roles and responsibilities that are no less important – whether as a husband, or as a wife, or as a parent or as a child. And we should fulfill every role well because God requires obedience from us. And if we are obedient, God will use us to accomplish His purposes in this world. He knows how to use ordinary people like us to do that. – Pastor

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EDD is organizing a Street Evangelism at Orchard Road. Please come and join us.

Date:                           20th Dec 2014 (Saturday)

Prayer Time :             6.00pm in Beulah House 

Departing Time:        6.30 pm (leave church to outside CK Tang Entrance)

Evangelism Time:    7.00 to 8.30 pm (Evangelism time at Orchard Road walkway )

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61st YF / 33rd YAF Anniversary 2014

Theme:           Remembering God in Good Times

Speaker: Elder Lee Heok Seng

Date:               31st Dec 2014Wednesday (before Watchnight Service)

Time:              7 - 8.30 pm

Venue:           Beulah Centre MPH

Food & Fellowship thereafter.

Contact: Lysa (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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1) The Sunday School cordially invites all members and friends to the SS Christmas Thanksgiving Fellowship this Saturday at 10am, followed by fellowship lunch. The theme is “The Reason for the Season.” Please come and rejoice to commemorate Christ’s birth.

2) “The Believer’s Daily Remembrancer”: Daily Devotional by Rev James Smith, Vol 1 (Jan to Mar 2015). Available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

3) The Life B-P Church Camp 2015 will be held from 15 to 18 June 2015 at Bintan’s Nirwana Resort Hotel in Indonesia.  Speaker: Dr Carl T Martin. Topic: “Changed into His Image.”  Please book your annual leave early to avoid disappointment.   Online registration begins in Jan 2015.

4) Scripture Memory Verses 2015: “Wonderful Words of Life”. Memory verse booklets are available at the front counter.

5) Life B-P Church Calendar 2015. Members who wish to have additional calendars as Christmas gifts for their friends and loved ones may request for 1 more copy from the deacons.

6) Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 5 April 2015 commences on 4 Jan 15 at Beulah Centre Rm 2-1, 9.30am. Please pre-register by emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or filling up the form available at the front counter. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the catechism class. Closing date: 28 Dec 14.

7) ERBL Lectures (Jan-May 2015). There are 6 courses offered commencing 12 Jan 15. Please complete registration forms and place them in the box, together with payment.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at New Life BPC, 9.30am and Indonesian Svc, 4.00pm. Rev Wong - India Mission Trip, 11-16 Dec.

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