Saturday, 11 April 2020

Proverbs 11: 24-25

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (NIV)

Chapter 11 of Proverbs generally talks about the righteous life of a person against a person living a wicked life – the former God would bless and prosper but the latter will await God’s judgement.

After reading through the 31 verses, two verses 24-25 strike me as approximate and timely as it talks about generosity – the giving away generously what the Lord had blessed us with. As yesterday was Good Friday where God GAVE His one and only Son to die that cruel death on that old rugged cross whereby you and I will have forgiveness of sin and eternal life, I can’t help but think of that all-time favourite and much loved John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Martin Luther called John 3:16 “the heart of the Bible – the Gospel in miniature.” It’s so simple a child can understand it, yet it condenses the deep and marvellous truths of redemption into these few pungent words:

  • “God” — The greatest Lover
  • “So loved” — The greatest degree
  • “The world” — The greatest number
  • “That He gave” — The greatest act
  • “His only begotten Son” — The greatest gift
  • “That whosoever” — The greatest invitation
  • “Believeth” — The greatest simplicity
  • “In Him” — The greatest Person
  • “Should not perish” — The greatest deliverance
  • “But” — The greatest difference
  • “Have” — The greatest certainty
  • “Everlasting Life” — The greatest possession

G. Campbell Morgan (1864-1945) said of this verse “this is a text I never attempted to preach on, though I have gone around it and around it. It is too big. When I have read it, and there is nothing else to say. If we only knew how to read it, so as to produce a sense of it in the ears of people, there would be nothing to preach about.”

For those of you out there reading this who have not come to know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, our earnest desire and prayer are that during this MCO, you may come to know Him as your personal Lord and Saviour. He died that cruel death for you and I so that we will have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. There is no sin so big He cannot forgive or sin so small that needs no forgiveness. The Bible tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Come my dear friends, put your faith and trust in Jesus our Lord and you will find meaning and blessings in your life from this day forth. (John 10:10).

Yes, dear friends, we invite you to put your faith and trust in a risen Saviour. No religion in the world celebrates Easter – the day when our Lord rose from the dead and conquered death!! “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15: 55-57”

No apologies for the diversion since its Easter week-end for as Paul says if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith and we are still in our sins. (1 Cor 15:14,17). Let’s now go back to Prov 11: 24-25 which teach us about generosity against V 26 about a merchant who hoards up his goods to force up the price (so clearly seen as the world faces Covid-19). Our Lord will always bless and prosper us far more than we can ever give away. None of us can out-give God. Of course that must not be the reason why we should be generous. Again another of our Lord’s teaching in Acts 20:35 comes to mind. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The only saying of our Lord not recorded in the four gospels.

The man who gives is more blessed in two ways, materially and spiritually, he is doubly blessed. Materially blessed because one cannot give away something one does not have. The Lord blesses him materially so he is able to bless someone less blessed. Spiritually blessed because there are many who are materially blessed but keep the material blessings to themselves. They don’t give to God, they don’t give to anyone, no matter how big the need might be. Richly blessed materially but poor spiritually. Our Lord teaches us that in two of His parables – The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) and The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31).

We thank God even before Covid-19, our church has the heart to reach out to help those of our members and regular worshippers who are in need. We praise the Lord that our church has also helped those who are neither our church members nor regular worshipers. We try to help anyone in genuine need as the Lord had blessed us – PTL!!

With the MCO, it is a good time for us as Christians to reach out to those who are in any need – may they be material, spiritual, emotional, etc. More blessed is not just about material blessings. Rick Warren reminds us to serve God with the SHAPE that God has given us. S – our spiritual gifts. H – our heart and passions. A – our abilities and talents. P – our personality and E – our experience good or bad. For instance, we can all reach out to the elderly, those staying alone or homebound – only a phone call away. A word of encouragement, a word of care, a word of love & concern can do wonders during this lock-down.

It is also a good time for all our CG leaders to reach out to all their CG members to see how they are doing and whether anyone may need any kind of assistance. This will also be a good time to call those who have not been regulars at CG the past year or so. What better time to live out our Church’s mission statement as a loving & caring church. Have a blessed and fruitful Easter weekend.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for us that we may have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Your unworthy children once again ask for your forgiveness for not living a life worthy of your death and suffering. May this Easter weekend as we remember your death, suffering and resurrection, once again help us to rise up to touch as many lives as we possibly can – for Christians that they may be encouraged to love you more and rededicate their lives once again to you. To use the SHAPE that you have blessed us with to bless everyone who comes in contact with us. Help us not to waste the SHAPE that you have blessed us with.

We also pray for those of our family members, relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours who have not come to know you as their personal Lord and Saviour. We pray even as we invite them to watch and listen to this Easter weekend worship services, videos, films and U-tubes with us or their Christian friends, you may speak to them and touch lives to commit to you.

In Jesus name, we pray all this, AMEN.

Pastor Soong Kok Kee

xxx

每日灵粮
11/4/20
作者:宋國基牧师

箴11:24-25
「有人慷慨好施,财富却更增添;有人吝啬过度,反招致贫穷。乐善好施的人,必得丰裕;施惠於人的,自己也必蒙施惠」

箴言的第十一章大致上在对比一个行义的人与一个过邪恶生活的人。前者上帝会祝福和兴旺,但后者将等待上帝的审判。

阅读这三十一节经文后,二十四至二十五节在谈到慷慨时及时地打动了我–慷慨地赠送别人主所赐给我们的恩典。 正如昨天是受难日,上帝赐他的独生子残酷地死在那古旧的十字架上,使你和我罪得宽恕及得永生,让我不禁想起历来最喜欢的约翰3:16。「神爱世人 , 甚至将他的独生子赐给他们 , 叫 一 切信他的 ,不至灭亡 ,反得永生 。」

马丁路德称约翰福音3:16为 「圣经的心脏-福音的缩影」。这节经文如此简单,连一个孩子也可以理解,然而,它却将救赎深刻及奇妙的真理压缩在几句刺鼻的词里:
“上帝” -最伟大的情人
“爱” -最高的程度
“世人” -最大的数目
“赐给” -最伟大的举动
“他的独生子” -最大的礼物
“一切” -最好的邀请
“信” -最简单的回应
“他的” -最伟大的人
“不至灭亡” -最大的拯救
“反” -最大的不同
“得” -最大的确定性
“永生” -最大的财富
坎贝尔·摩根(G. Campbell Morgan(1864-1945)谈到这节经文时说:「尽管我曾经反复地想它,但我从未试图用这节经文讲道。它太伟大了 。当我读完它之后,我无话可说。 如果我们只知道如何阅读它,让人们听了有共鸣,那就没有什么可讲的了。」

对于那些阅读此文,还没有认识耶稣是你救主的人,我们的渴望及祷告是在这次的行动管制令期间,你能认识耶稣是你的个人救主。 他为你我残酷地死了,使我们罪得赦免及获得永生。 没有什么罪,大到他无法原谅,也没有什么小的罪,是不需要宽恕的。 圣经告诉我们,「人人都犯了罪,亏欠了上帝的荣耀。」来吧,我亲爱的朋友们,相信并信靠我们的主耶稣。从今以后,你会在你的生命中找到意义和祝福。 (约翰福音10:10)。

是的,亲爱的朋友们,我们邀请你相信这一位复活的救主。 世界上没有任何宗教庆祝复活节-我们的主从死里复活并征服死亡的那一天!「死 阿 ! 你 得 胜 的 权 势 在 那 里 ? 死 阿 ! 你 的 毒 钩 在 那 里 ?56 死 的 毒 钩 就 是 罪 , 罪 的 权 势 就 是 律 法 。57 感 谢 神 , 使 我 们 藉 着 我 们 的 主 耶 稣 基 督 得 胜 。」(林前15:55-57)

既然这周末是复活节,我就不为话题转移而道歉,因为保罗说,若 基 督 没 有 复 活 , 我 们 所 传 的 便 是 枉 然 , 你 们 所 信 的 也 是 枉 然 ;17 基 督 若 没 有 复 活 , 你 们 的 信 便 是 徒 然 , 你 们 仍 在 罪 里 。(林前15:14,17) 现在让我们回到箴 11:24-25。这两节经文显示对比:慷慨解囊的人与一个屯粮不卖,以抬高价格的商人(在全世界面对新冠肺炎的时候如此明显)。 我们的主常常会祝福和兴旺我们,多过于我们所能施舍给人的。 我们谁也不可能给多过于上帝给的。 当然,那不可以是我们要慷慨的原因。 我再次想到使徒行传20:35中,主的另一个教导。 「施 比 受 更 为 有 福 。」这是我们主唯一的一句话没有被记录在四福音书中。

给的人在两方面,物质和精神上,更有福。他是双倍的蒙福。 物质上蒙福因为一个人不能给一些自己没有的东西。 上帝在物质上赐福他,因此他能够祝福一个不是那么蒙福的人。 精神上蒙福因为有很多人虽然在物质上蒙福,但却把物质的祝福留给自己。无论需求有多大,他们不给上帝也不给任何人。 物质上有丰富的祝福,但精神上却很差。 我们的主在他的两个比喻中-无知财主(路加福音12:16-21)和财主和拉撒路(路加福音16:19-31)也这样教导我们。

感谢上帝在新冠肺炎之前,我们的教会有心伸出援手,帮助我们那些需要帮助的会员和定期来崇拜的弟兄姐妹。 我们赞美主,我们的教会也帮助了既不是我们教会成员也不是定期来崇拜的人。 我们尽力帮助任何有真正需要的人,因为主祝福了我们– 赞美主!

随着马来西亚行动管制令,这是一个好时机让我们作为基督徒的去接触那些有任何需要的人-可能他们的需要是在物质上,精神上,情感上,等等。 更蒙福不仅仅是在物质上的祝福。华 里克(Rick Warren)提醒我们用神赐给我们的特色事奉神。 S-我们的属灵恩赐。 H-我们的心和热忱。 A-我们的才能。 P-我们的个性和E-我们的经历,不管好或坏。 例如,我们都可以接触到老人,那些独居的或受约束的-只需打一个电话。 一句鼓励的话,一句关心的话,一句关爱的话可以在这个封城期间创造奇迹。

这也是我们所有的关怀小组组长接触他们所有的小组成员的好时机,看看他们状况如何,以及是否有人需要任何的帮助。 这时也是打电话给那些在过去一年左右没有经常出席的好时机。 有什么更好的时间来活出我们教会的使命宣言,就是作为一个充满爱心和关怀的教会。 愿你有一个蒙福和丰盛的复活节周末。

祷告:
亲爱的上帝,感谢你为我们死在十字架上,使我们可以得宽恕和得永生。你不配的孩子再次请求你的饶恕,因没有活出值得你为我们死和受苦的生活。愿这个复活节的周末,当我们记念你的死亡,痛苦和复活时,再次帮助我们被兴起, 接触更多的生命。盼望基督徒可以被鼓励来更多地爱你,并再次将生命献给你。使用你所赐福我们的,祝福所有与我们联系的人。帮助我们不要浪费你所赐福我们的。

我们也为那些不认识你的家人,亲戚,朋友,同事和邻居来祷告,使你成为他们的个人救主。借著我们邀请他们或他们的基督徒朋友邀请他们一起观看和收听这个复活节周末的崇拜活动,视频和电影,愿你向他们说话,并感动他们将生命委身于你。

梁玉萍译

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