Thursday, January 5, 2017

Teaching History and Learning from the Past

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Psalm 78:1-8

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas: The Angels' Song

14  “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2:14

The circumstances surrounding the song is extraordinary.  It starts with the message from Gabriel to Zechariah the priest that he will have a son to be named John.  John later on grows up to become John the Baptist, the one who prepares the way for the Lord.  Then the same angel Gabriel comes with a message to Mary, the virgin engaged to Joseph, that she will bear a child under the Holy Spirit and the child is to be named Jesus, who is the Son of the Living God, the Savior of the world.  Soon after when Mary visits Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy.  Mary is with pregnant with Jesus already at that time.  It is an extraordinary visit that ends with Mary singing the most wonderful song of praise about salvation: the Magnificat.  Then John is born.  When John is born, his father Zechariah, prophesies about the salvation of God and how John would be a great prophet to prepare the way for the Lord.  Then time comes for Joseph and Mary to go back to the land of their fathers, the land of Judah, because they both are descendants of King David.  The decree from Caesar Augustus forces them to return to Bethlehem.  Then when they arrive in Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to Jesus.  But there is no room for them.  So Mary gives birth in a barn.  And she has to lay the baby in a manger.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Death of My Wife's Beloved Father - Funeral Service

John 14:1-4

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

2000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples also faced the gruesome reality of death.  Their hearts were gripped with sadness and fear.  They feared what would happen to them when Jesus died.  Yes they have heard by this time several times that Jesus would have to die.  Jesus Himself declared it.  The terror and horror of death overwhelmed their feeling and mind.  They could not hide it.  So Jesus had to calm His disciples.  This picture is most stunning because what usually happens is that the one facing death is the one in need of being calmed.  The usual happening is that the one facing death does not desire death.  He or she would repeatedly say: “I don’t want to die.”  This situation would prompt others to console the person dying so that he/she can face death in peace.  But in this passage we witness the one facing death, and not any common death, but the kind of death that is at the most severe in nature, consoling those whose lives were being spared.  This is most stunning!