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Vicar’s write 18 September 2016

posted 18.09.2016

Vicar’s write 17/18 September 2016

“The time is now’ for us to remember, rejoice and respond to God as we are changed from one degree of glory to another daily.”
That was the ending sentence to my last Vicar’s write in May 2016, looking forward to SJC40!

How time flies and we are quickly approaching the last quarter of 2016 and the pace of preparation hastens as 1st Jan 2017 approaches. I want to commend to you this excellent article reproduced from Christianity Today titled “Remember”.

As part of our SJC40 celebrations, we want to build a meaningful visual and written reminder of God’s faithfulness and blessings to SJC over the years. These may be articles, photos and stories that needs to heard and preserved. We are entrusted with this legacy of St James’ Church so we can pass it on to the generations to come (Psalm 78). Can you help? Do let me, Mrs. Carolin Tan or the staff helping the SJC40 Steering Committee know as we coordinate some of these efforts.

Last week we welcomed Mr. Kurt Johansen, Executive Director of SAT-7 ministries to our pulpit. He gave an update of the situation where many believers are persecuted and in dire need of assistance. We are asked in Scripture to remember our brethren and in the same way as believers suffered, this simple act of support and love will encourage them to persevere and walk on in faith. So I commend to you SAT-7 and the great work they do; may you support them generously as the Lord moves you.
Coming back to SJC40, do take some to read the part on building “Your Personal Ebenezer”. Start to write your spiritual history and legacy in your mind or better still journal it as you have learnt in our “Come be with Me” series on remembering God in prayer. God has done many wonderful things in our life and may we learn to count our blessings and name them one by one.
Through it, we realize God has indeed never left us nor forsaken us and we can rejoice and be grateful as ought to be.

Ps Siang Guan


Remember!

Remembering God's help yesterday helps us to trust him for today and tomorrow.
Patricia Mitchell

Memories weave our past with our present, and connect yesterday with today and tomorrow. When we're celebrating any kind of occasion, we remember the people who, over the years, have been there for us, supporting and encouraging us, making this day possible. When we're facing challenges, we're prompted to reach out to those who have helped us in the past—those we can rely on to be there for us today.


A Visual Reminder of God's Faithfulness
On the battlefield, where years ago they had suffered defeat, Israel pled with God for help, and he granted them a miraculous victory. Their priest and leader, Samuel, set up a monument to remind them of God's strong hand in their triumph, and Samuel named the pillar Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us" (1 Sam. 7:12). This stone pillar called God's people to recall, and recall often, the time when God turned events from bad to blessed.

Each time an Israelite saw the Ebenezer stone, they remembered God's help in the past, God's help relied on today, and God's help assured for tomorrow. The Ebenezer was a "picture" of the Lord's readiness to hear their cries and save them, and it served to remind them where to turn for their strength and power—and whom to thank for their deliverance.

A Written Reminder of God's Faithfulness
Just as the Ebenezer stone called God's people to remember, the psalmists built a similar monument with words. They reached back into the history of God's people and named the marvelous things God had done, the many ways God had delivered them from their enemies, and all the times he forgave their disobedience. The reminders are specific: Didn't God lead you out of bondage in Egypt? Didn't he feed you in the desert and keep doing so, even though you grumbled and complained? Didn't he forgive your repeated idolatry and rampant rebelliousness? Didn't God give your army victory after victory over your enemies? And if he did so much for you in times past, can't you depend on him to do as much, if not more, for you today? And why are you worrying about tomorrow? Won't he still be there for you, hearing your pleas for help, acting on your behalf?

"I will utter hidden things, things from of old," the psalmist said, "things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us" (Ps. 78:2-3)—to help you remember … to remind you of God's power … to give you trust and confidence in him … to teach you to lean on him … to be your Ebenezer for as long as you live this side of heaven.

Your Personal Ebenezer
Unlike the commemorative pillar erected by Samuel, your Ebenezer—your stone of help—requires neither hammer nor chisel. You don't need to sit down and pen eloquent songs, as the psalmists did, either. To create your personal Ebenezer, all you need to do is mentally page through your spiritual memory album and recall the many and varied victories God has given you.

You might begin by remembering the gifts of life, parents, home, health, education, and family. Your memories could include the blessings of friends, livelihood, community, and nation. But, especially, remember certain events in your life—times when God turned what appeared to be disaster into an unexpected opportunity, or when he took you through hardship so you could gain the gifts of maturity and wisdom. Your personal Ebenezer turns you away from fear, doubt, and disbelief today, because you realize once again how many times in the past God has forgiven, protected, and healed you.

In the form of a cross, your Ebenezer stands as a constant reminder that God has given you the victory of all victories! Through Jesus Christ, he has made you victorious over the eternal effects of sin, winning for you the promise of eternal life with him. His cross—his stone of help for you—assures you that just as sins of the past have been forgiven completely, so sins of today and tomorrow will be forgiven in the same way.

Begin setting up your personal Ebenezer stone, and in your mind, write the record of your spiritual history. By naming specific people and recalling certain events of your life, you will see God's hand at work and recognize his compassionate love that has brought you through to this day.

Remember:

  • when loving adults sheltered, nurtured, protected, and taught you as you were growing up. Who were they?
  • when devastating circumstances shattered your world, and you learned first-hand of people's compassion and generosity. What happened?
  • when a hard-earned lesson left you older and wiser, with the experience you need to sympathize with and guide others. Who have you been able to help?
  • when serious health problems brought you to a heightened appreciation of life. How has your outlook changed for the better?
  • when the loss of a loved one made you realize how important friends and family are to you. What have you said and done to show them how much they mean?
  • when your hopes were dashed, but a new and better opportunity presented itself. Which door closed, and which door opened?
  • when times were tough, but you survived them. How has this given you perspective on the ups and downs of life?
  • when you were in danger, but found a way out. Where was God in this?
  • when you found yourself on the wrong spiritual path, but someone guided you back to the way God would have you go. What did you learn?
  • when you repented, and God brought his peace to your mind and heart. How did this draw you closer to God?

Your Ebenezer, your historical record, is your present-day monument to all God has done for you in the past. Your memories reveal his presence, even if you didn't realize it at the time. They highlight his hand in so much of what may have looked like a coincidence or "happy accident." Let these things remind you! Let these memories free you to rely on him today and through every tomorrow. Just as God has been with you in the past, he will remain with you to help you, strengthen you, and bless you now and in the future.

Remember and give thanks, for God has brought you to this day!


Copyright 2011, Patricia Mitchell and Christianity Today/ ChristianBibleStudies.com. Used with permission.

 

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