Scriptures with Songs

The Grace of God

god graceThe Grace of God

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: p. 159 – O Day of Rest and Gladness

Hymn 2: p. 163 – The Love of God

Introduction:                                          

In today’s Songs and Scriptures, we will be going back to one of the most fundamental questions in Christianity: What is the grace of God? It is one of the most often discussed words in theology, but can ordinary believers really have a clear and complete understanding of what “grace” really is all about? 

We say that God is a “gracious God”, or that He is the “God of grace”, and His son Jesus Christ came in the flesh “full of grace and truth”, but do we really know its implications when applied practically in our Christian life? Is grace only about the “unmerited pardon” we receive when we are forgiven of sin? Or, is grace something that we can freely dispense with on our own, a “freedom” to do what we please, as is often taught nowadays? Most people today accept a ‘grace’ that in reality is law-breaking (lawlessness), or license to sin.

To know what real grace is, first we need to understand the most basic characteristic and nature of God: the Bible expressly tells us that “God is Love.” Everything God does flows from His love. When God grants His grace, it likewise is rooted in and flows from His love. Thus, whenever He extends mercy and forgiveness, favor and blessing, kindness and forbearance, it is by and through His grace!

In the Old Testament there is one basic Hebrew word which has been translated “grace.” That word is chen, which is pronounced khane. This word is derived from the root word chanan (pronounced khawnan), which means “grace, favor, goodwill, kindness, gracious and pleasant.” The adjective form of c/zen is channuwn (pronounced khannoon), which means “gracious.” The Hebrew root word chanan means “gracious, to favor, to be favorably inclined, to pity, to be compassionate, to make acceptable.” It can also mean “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to be moved to favor by a petition or request, to show favor, to grant or give favor or to graciously show mercy and pity” (Ref: Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon)

For our first batch of readers, let us examine the description of God’s creation in the first chapter of Genesis to understand how God’s grace was revealed through His acts in the beginning. The key word/phrase here is “good” and “very good” to understand how grace operates in God’s creation.

Bible Reader 1 –God’s Grace Revealed in Creation

Genesis 1: 1-19

Bible Reader 2 – God’sGrace Revealed in Creation

Genesis 1:20-31;2:1-3

Thank you bible readers .These verses clearly tell us that when God looked upon His creation, He saw everything that He had made was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). The word good is translated from the Hebrew tolby, which means “beautiful, bountiful, cheerful, fine, good, gracious”; its secondary meaning is “joyful, loving, mercy, pleasant, pleasure, prosperity, wealth, well or well-favored” (Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). To be declared as good and very good only shows that everything was truly a blessing! As viewed through God’s eyes, His very Creation was a clear manifestation of His Love and His grace.

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“The Promise of Peace”

file0001145387462 The Promise of Peace

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: p.116 –We Gather Together

Hymn 2: p. 17 – Thou Art Our God Forever

Introduction:

Meaning of Peace. We live in a world that is full of violence; wars and killings are almost everywhere. We are witnessing deaths and sufferings, almost every day! On the other hand, our personal and daily lives can be marred by these conflicts, and the eventual shattering of our peace.

In situations such as these, what should be our recourse? To whom should we look for answer, comfort and assurance?

For our Songs and Verses, we look at how the Scriptures promise peace. Almost unrealized by many today, the Bible has given us the blueprint for peace. When was peace given, how it can be achieved, and even when we live in a troublesome world, how peace can still be experienced and maintained, and finally, how and when lasting peace will come.

As one saying goes,

“Peace does not merely mean the absence of war, peace means the presence of harmony, satisfying life, and oneness.  Peace means the flood of love in the world family.”

The Hebrew Bible uses a familiar but very meaningful word, shalom. In purest sense, shalom means "peace." Its meaning and connotation point to something that is always positive, akin to a blessing that is always sought and given. That’s why when someone says, “Shalom,” (or, “Peace unto you,”) it doesn't mean, "I hope you don't get any trouble", rather it means, “I hope good things will always come your way.” It is a positive affirmation of everything peaceful, peaceable, harmonious, everything pleasant and satisfying.

Most people in our world don't understand peace as a positive concept. All they know is the negative aspect of peace, which is merely the absence of trouble. That’s how peace is fleeting and superficial (temporal) these days, and the need for the real and lasting peace.

As can be observed in the beginning, the Scripture clearly showed us that peace comes from God’s original intent/plan for us to live in harmony with everything in His creation. This showed us that the biblical peace is the goodness of life that is both innocent and pure untouched by sin and other external force or influence.

Our first batch of bible readers will be reading the peaceful coexistence of man and nature, in the beginning.

Bible Reader 1 – Peaceful Coexistence

Genesis 2:1-25; Psalm 19: 1-14

Bible Reader 2 – Shattering of Harmony and Peace

Genesis 4:1-15; Psalm 139:1-24

Thank you bible readers. Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymn…

Hymn 3. p.18 – Great is Thy Faithfulness

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The Coming Change

handsThe Coming Change

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: p.4 – Sing Praises and Rejoice!

Hymn 2: p. 17 – Thou Art Our God Forever

Introduction:

“Convert”, “alter”, “modify”, “transform”, “renew”, “amend”, “revise” (and other similar words)—what do these words have in common? They refer and are the synonyms of the word “Change”.

Quite unfamiliar to many, “change” is one of the most basic biblical concepts that runs from Genesis to Revelation pointing to an important principle/purpose.

It may be that after man’s Fall, change is the only permanent thing in the world, to rephrase a saying. We may change and decay or we can be an agent for transformation or growth.

“Our life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change,” as another quote says it well.

That is why the Bible is filled with verses/accounts of change. In today’s Songs and readings of Scriptures, we will be going through specific themes and verses dealing with God’s call for everyone to change, such as:

  1. From Fishermen to “Fishers of men”
  2. Road to Change: Our Own Road to Damascus
  3. From Dead to Living
  4. Inner Change: Renewing of the Mind
  5. From Mortal to Immortality

Change is real and necessary. God is our agent of change to come.  For our salvation we must repent to change our mind and understand and follow God’s way which is better than our way. For Spiritual maturity, the Scriptures admonish everyone to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, as it is written:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [changed] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2 KJV).

For a start, our first batch of bible readers will be reading “catalysts for change” verses.

Bible Reader 1 – God’s Call for Change

Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:5-16; Genesis 32:24-30

Bible Reader 2 – God’s Call for Change

Psalm 102: 18-28; Isaiah 62:1-4; Jeremiah 7:5-7

Thank you bible readers. Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymn…

Hymn 3. p.2.57 – To God be The Glory

I. From Fishermen to “Fishers of men.” What kind of change that made it possible for a few, uneducated fishermen into becoming bold preachers and witnesses for Christ’s work? 

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Steps in Unleavened Bread Preparation

unleavnedSteps in Unleavened Bread Preparation

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1:  p.226 – The Feast is Spread

Hymn 2: p. 71 – Gather Us In,

Introduction: Last night, we celebrated the Passover meal and remembered through the readings of Scriptures God’s deliverance of Israel out of bondage from the Egyptians. A foreshadow of  God’s redemptive plan for all mankind thru the death of His Son Jesus Christ.

The offering up of Christ’s body thru His death on the cross paved the way for mankind to be free from the bondage of sin- His body, being symbolized by the unleavened bread. As it is written in 1 Corinthians 11:24:

“And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

It is therefore imperative for all of us that we follow through the symbols given (ordinances) surrounding the keeping of the Days of Unleavened Bread to show we acknowledge the great sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ did.

Our first batch of bible readers will be reading significant verses about these.

 Bible Reader 1 – The Command About The Eating Of Unleavened Bread For Seven Days

Exodus 12:14-20

Bible Reader 2 – The Prophecy About Christ’s Sacrifice

Isaiah 53:3-12

Thank you bible readers. Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymn

Hymn 3. P.2.57 – To God be The Glory

A.Prepare All Ingredients .How do we prepare the unleavened bread to be used for the Passover? Every household is encouraged to prepare its own unleavened bread and a lot of online recipes are available but there are actually four basic steps in preparing for it. And each step has a lesson to impart.

The first step is to prepare all ingredients- flour, oil, salt and water. Simple and pure. No trimmings. This step teaches us the lesson on purity. Reader No.3 will further illustrate this.

Bible Reader 3Lessons On Purity

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Leviticus 18:30

Psalm 24:3-4

Psalm 51:7

Matthew 5:8

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Jesus the Christ: Our Perfect Passover

firstfruitsJesus the Christ: Our Perfect Passover

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: On the Sabbath Day, p.2.3

Hymn 2: Brethren, We Have Met to Worship, p.2.11

Introduction: The feast of Passover is fast approaching, and just as the children of Israel were instructed to choose, ahead of the feast, for a perfect Passover lamb “without spot or blemish” for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:5), so too we must know perfectly our Lord Jesus Christ.

Time and again, the question as to who was and is Jesus Christ has been the subject of much controversies and divisions. Was He really a God, a created “demi-god”, an angel, or a mere man? Did He have prior existence (before His human birth)? Or was He simply a man conceived naturally (without aid of any miracle) and born to human parents?  Our true understanding of His origin, nature, and purpose will undoubtedly define our faith in Him (His works), His role as the Savior of the world, the ultimate Messiah (the anointed One)—the perfect Passover sacrifice!

God alone has the power to save man. God alone has made it possible for man to be saved from its utter helplessness because of sin. As John 3:16 made it clear,

“For God so loved the world, the he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have an everlasting life.” 

Have we really come to realize what a tremendous sacrifice this is, in order for us to be redeemed from sin and be given eternal life? God so loved this world that He gave His own Son to save it! God is love!

But if Jesus was only human—a mere man, will this make sense to you?

If He was only a man, then His life would pay the death penalty for only one other person—and that’s it (life for a life)! Let this alone make another provision for an eternal life. No human being could really save mankind. The full penalty for everyone’s sins must be paid!

Yet even God alone in His full splendor and immortality cannot of Himself ransom man to pay the penalty of its sins. Remember, the penalty is the forfeiting (or death) of human life—not animal or any other kind of life. And God, as the source of all life and the One who has life within himself and is an Immortal Spirit, cannot die (John 5:26; 2 Cor.4:18).

Therefore it was an absolute necessity that there’d be One who was both human and divine.

The Bible reveals that just as God the Father is divine, so too the Son possessed the attributes of His Father’s divinity and as coming from eternity. Let’s hear it from our first reader of Scripture…

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Facing our "Giants" in Life

As Often As We Gather TogetherIntro: Have you seen a giant lately? When we speak of giants in the Bible, we are reminded of a towering and gruesome figure portrayed with great ferocity. They are harbinger of evil and wickedness, fearsome, loathsome, that bring destruction and mayhem to the weak and powerless.  So God requires in His words that they must be defeated!

Today we seem to think that giants only exist in fairy tales, right? Some Christians may even seem happy that such actual “giants” no longer exist—at least not in its ferocious state—but not really understanding/realizing that they continue to exist and oppress and destroy people, and that the battle ground has changed.

Do you seem to think like a “loser”? Feeling powerless, weak, no voice, no confidence and strength to speak or show?  Does your life seem to be in a constant struggle that you end up surrendering to the pulls and every desire, caving in to every temptation in life? This is because you are allowing “giants” to control and reign in your life!

All of us at one time or another have faced or are facing and struggling with these giants.  They may look overwhelming at times, torment us with their taunting until we feel like we’re trapped and there's no escape from them. They laugh and speak defeat into our lives, beating us down until we surrender.

Who are these giants? These refer to a number things we face and struggle in life (both internal and external forces) such as, fear, worries, insecurity, pressures, wrong habits, unbelief/doubt, anxiety, sickness or disease, various lusts and sins. The external giant can range from the environment and “culture” we are in, social pressures, even “pressures” in our job, our toxic “bosses” at work, and the “world” system that dominates. All these seem to mock us daily and issue their challenge to come and defeat them.

So how to deal with these giants? In today’s reading of Scriptures, we will take a look at the stories, examples of people of faith, and stirring and inspiring words of God mandating us to defeat them. Our first set of Bible verses, will take us back to the first encounter yet defining battle with a giant called Goliath by a shepherd named David.

Reader 1 1 Samuel 17:1-32 David and Distressing Spirit of King Saul

Reader 2 1 Samuel 17:33-58 David Defeats Goliath

Hymn:  Oh that Men Would Praise their God, p.2.28

2. Where Did the Giants Come From?  The Bible describes many individuals as “giants” and it also mentions several giant of families or group of people.  The book of Genesis also told us that giants began to proliferate when wickedness also abounded (Genesis 6:4). The height of these giants ranges anywhere from 8 feet tall to more than 30 feet in height.

Etymologically, the name in Hebrew is nephilim meaning “violent” or “causing to fall”.  Hence, these were the violent tyrants of old days, those who prey and fall upon others. The word may also be derived from a root signifying "wonder," and hence "monsters" or "prodigies." The Scriptures variously called them under different names and groups—they are variously referred to as “Rephaim”, “Zusim”, “Emim”, the “Anakim”, and the “Amorites”.  And they are all ferocious terrorists, cruel and brute.

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"Fear Not!"

DSC09086Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: On the Sabbath Day, p.2.3

Hymn 2: In That Day, p.2.4

Hymn 3:  Brethren, We Have Met to Worship, p.2.11

Introduction: Reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, one can fairly say that one of the most repeated and uplifting words of exhortations is the phrase “Fear not!”(or in some other translations, “Do not fear”). In fact, it’s been said that there are 365 “Fear nots” in the Bible—one “Fear not” for every day of the year! Can you believe that?

A well-crafted anecdotal book, (Facing the Future without Fear by Lloyd Ogilvie) even suggested that there are 366 “Fear nots”, which means that there is one for every day of the year, including Leap Year! This does not only mean that God wants us to go every single day without fear, but most importantly we are to live our life in all confidence and boldness!

Obviously, there are way more than 365 “Fear nots” in the Bible. It is for those who seek out the word of God and meditate on it every day, to discover. There is even no need for God to remind us of this very thing if we have the full faith and trust in God every day of our life.

While we will not be reading all these 365 verses today, our Scriptural Readings with Songs will be focusing on the most important and significant verses exhorting us  not to fear including the understanding of fear and the true fear of God.

There are so many concerns, worries and fears a person may face every day coupled with a very uncertain and bleak future, but God supplies us with enough uplifting words –providing us the confidence, hope, and faith in times when we need them. We just need to humbly start searching out for His words, follow what it says, and start living by them.

Let’s begin our surveys of “Fear not” from the book of beginnings. Our first set of Bible readers, will show us how after the “fall of man”, God provided His first “called out” family (Abraham and his children after him) the confidence and hope through a Covenant that will assure them of God’s direction, His blessing and protection all throughout their life.

Reader 1 Genesis 15:1-5; Genesis 21:15-18; Genesis 26:23-25

Reader 2 Genesis 43:19-23; Genesis 46:1-4; Genesis 50:18-21

Facilitator: Thank you Bible Readers. Brethren, let’s please stand as we offer our praises through the following hymns:

Hymn 4:  Oh that Men Would Praise their God, p.2.28

Hymn 5:  God is Our Refuge, p.59

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