..........Myspace Codes An Extraordinary Life: March 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

She's Out Of My League (Review) + Vote for Jane to win $9000 private party!

Thanks to Contagious Network, I had the privilege of watching a free preview screening of She's Out Of My League at Event Cinemas, George St last Thursday with Evelyn. This romantic comedy tells the story of airport security officer Kirk who meets "the perfect 10" Molly (who falls for Kirk) but lacks confidence in pursuing the relationship further as his friends pointed out that he is only "an average 5". I shall not post any spoilers here but it suffices to say that the entire cinema was constantly in stitches, laughing away. Apart from your usual dose of American cinematic vulgarity and several scenes that could have had better script written, I give this movie a thumbs up for solid effort and award it 6.5 stars...

Ok, I'll be a little more generous and round the figure up: 7 stars.

Still unsure if this movie is your cup of tea? Here's a video clip of the official trailer:

Also, do vote for me (JANE) at http://www.shesoutofmyleague.com/getyourrating.com.au/?dl=6ade4fd7969af1f506549e0c12bdf817 (my profile should be listed as the featured user if you follow the given link - click on my photo and vote by clicking "digg", thanks) so I stand the chance of winning an awesome private party valued at more than $9000 and invite you along to it! I'm currently ranked 2nd but I need to be top-ranked to win the party - no prizes for 2nd place... You can vote once per computer per day so do vote for me daily ya?

On another note, I'm looking forward to church camp this coming Easter weekend - my next blog post will probably be all about camp when I come back... Stay tuned! ;)

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Revelation 4 ~ The Throne of the Universe

The 4th chapter in the book of Revelation paints a scene of the heavenly throne (comparisons may be drawn from Ezekiel 1:22, 26-28). While one may be tempted to interpret all the descriptions word-for-word, we need to remember that the account recorded in Revelation 4 is one of symbolization, as illustrated by the numerous "had the appearance of" phrases.

Why can't John just tell us exactly what he saw instead of resorting to symbols? Pastor Joshua provided us with a good example. Imagine trying to explain what a phone is to someone living in the 1st century, with only words. Not that easy, is it? It isn't hard to imagine how that person will respond by asking many side questions like how it is possible to actually transmit sounds from one place to another, and that even before venturing into more complicated topics like the physics of sound waves! Similarly, we have yet to experience the vision of this throne in heaven unlike John - he had to break it all down into simple words that we can understand, based on the very limited understanding that we originally possess.

The one seated on the throne (verse 2) was pictured as powerful, mighty, majestic and radiant by descriptions of overwhelming brilliance such as having the appearance of jasper and carnelian (verse 3) as well as a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald (verse 3). Flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder (verse 5) marked the holy presence of God (just like the similar moment in Exodus 19 when the Lord descended on Mount Sinai). The 24 elders (once again clothed in the victorious colour of white) and 4 living creatures are angelic beings who worship the Lord God (seated on this throne) who lives forever and ever (verses 9 and 10).

Like these angelic beings, we need to acknowledge that worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (verse 11). Our spiritual worship should embody us presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). After all, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come (verse 8)!

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Luke 12:13-34 ~ Parable of the Rich Fool

The rich man in this parable may seem smart enough initially to have a land that produces plentifully and has the foresight to plan for a comfortable life ahead. Or is he the opposite: a fool who, instead of possessing the foresight, is actually short-sighted in realizing how he fails to be rich towards God?

But enough of the rich fool - what about us? Are we so anxious about the cares of this world that we overemphasize them, making them a priority above God? Is He not the one who gives and can also take away?

Seek His Kingdom instead and lay your treasures in heaven... ;)

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Revelation 3 ~ The Spirit's Voice

As promised 2 posts ago, here's a discussion on the letters to the remaining 3 churches of Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea as detailed in Revelation 3:

This church had the reputation of being alive but was actually dead (verse 1). While they claimed (and were seen) to be Christians, they have soiled their garments (verse 4) with the things of this world. They were reminded to remember, then, what you received and heard (verse 3) - a call for repentance was issued lest Jesus come against you (verse 3) at an unexpected hour. The one who conquers (i.e. has genuine faith that continues to the end), however, will be clothed thus in white garments (of purity and victory) and has his name in the book of life (verse 5).

Like the church in Smyrna, Philadelphia has stood firm in faith and not denied my name, despite having but little power (verse 8). They were encouraged to keep enduring patiently and Jesus will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try on those who dwell on the earth (verse 10), i.e. those who were the persecutors. Jesus' name is written on him who conquers (and on us who are faithful), an assurance that we belong to Him and an encouragement to persevere during tribulations.

The Laodiceans were lukewarm in their faith - half-hearted, indifferent, and having no real conviction or passion. This presented a similar situation to that in the days of the Old Testament where Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word (1 Kings 18:21). They believed themselves to be self-sufficient and rich to the extent that they may not need God but they were self-deceived. While Laodicea was famous for their vision care services (similar to the optometrists and opthalmologists of today's times) and many tailored clothes for a living, they were in reality wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (verse 17). Zealousness and repentance were called for here that they who conquer may enjoy table-fellowship in the presence of God and Jesus in heaven.

Now that we have analyzed the 7 letters to the 7 churches, it is time to ask ourselves the question: What does all these mean to me?

What kind of church do we belong to? What kind of a church do we hope (and work towards) to become? Are we like Sardis, having the reputation of being Christians, but are like the self-deceived Laodiceans, lukewarm in our faith? Maybe we endure patiently like Ephesus, Pergamum and Thyatira but have abandoned our first love and sometimes give in to idolatry and sexual immorality? Or do we aspire to be more like Smyrna and Philadephia to persevere through sufferings and tribulations as we face persecutions against our solidly-grounded faith?

Let us all be reminded to keep listening to His Word and what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; Revelation 3:6, 13, 22), not getting too comfortable in our own churches lest we backslide into a synagogue of Satan and lose the crown of life. It may all sound a little too harsh but Jesus assures us that is is those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent (verse 19).

Next time, we will be looking at The Throne of the Universe in Revelation 4...

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Luke 14:12-24 ~ Parable of the Great Banquet

How do we respond to the invitation to the great banquet (kingdom of God) hosted by the master of the house (God) who sent us our invites via his servant (Jesus)? Do we respond like the Pharisees who believed they will eat bread in the kingdom of God when in reality, though invited, will eventually not taste the banquet? Do we make similar excuses and reject the servant who delivered us our invitation? Or are we filled with spiritual hunger that only God and Jesus can satisfy? Do we yearn for the blessing that will be repaid at the resurrection of the just and RSVP with an enthusiastic "YES!"?

As we reflect on how privileged we are to be personally invited to partake in His Kingdom, here's a song ("The Invitation") from Steven Curtis Chapman, which will no doubt echo this invitation that first stemmed from His loving mercy and amazing grace...

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Revelation 2 ~ The Jesus Letter

The second chapter of Revelation details the contents of letters to 4 churches, namely Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira:

The Ephesians were persecuted for speaking up for the truth and against false teaching. Their endurance is commendable but they have lost their first love: the love they had when they first became Christians - love for God, Jesus, other Christians, outsiders, etc. Unless they repent, they will be removed. On the other hand, those who conquer (i.e. love Jesus) will be granted to eat of the tree of life...

This is a church that faced tribulation and poverty but was rich spiritually. The ten days in verse 10 refer to a time frame that is not too short but not too long either - this length of suffering is nothing compared to the eternal life promised to Smyrna, hence why they will only die once (the physical death) and not be hurt by the second death (verse 11) at the Day of Judgment.

While there were faithful witnesses who were martyred at Satan's throne like Antipas, there were also, unfortunately, those who held the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans, practising idolatry and sexual immorality. Again, we see a similar pattern in the end results as compared to that of the church at Ephesus: unless they repent, there are dire consequences to be met. As for those who conquer, they are promised hidden manna (symbolizing food that gives life rather than the food sacrificed to idols, which were consumed by the church at Pergamum) and the white stone of victory.

While faith and perseverance are highly valued, Thyatira's tolerance of the seductress, Jezebel, was unacceptable. While this is a different Jezebel from the one who led Ahab astray in 1 Kings, nevertheless the Lord's commands have been trifled with in both cases. On a side note, Isabel is a variation of the name Jezebel - perhaps not the best name to give to your newborn daughter. (If your name is Isabel, or is a variant of it, please understand that I meant no offense - it does not necessarily imply that you're wicked like the Jezebel's of the Bible.) The solution to the problem? Not tolerate this teaching but rather hold fast to the things of Christ, not Satan.

Stay tuned as we cover the remaining 3 churches in our next installment: Revelation 3.

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Luke 7:36-50 ~ Being Forgiven

A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?

What about us? Can we possibly repay the debt of our sins? How much more are we then dependent on Him who forgives us our sins! How much more then should we love Him who died on the cross that we may appear blameless without blemish before God!

Jesus, thank you for cleansing me of my sins...

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Telstra Digital Mum 2.0

Telstra has recently created Digital Mum 2.0 to assist less-than-tech-savvy parents to learn the do's and don'ts of the cyberworld, which we call the Internet. You don't need to be a mum or even a parent yourself to view the great tips shared by others, post a question you've been dying to ask, or join the weekly challenge to win an LG Xenon touchscreen plus full-QWERTY-keyboard mobile phone (I myself have just won this!)...

Did I just hear you say, "How do I get started?"

Easy! Just click the Nuffnang ad unit (showing the Telstra Digital Mum 2.0 ad) displayed in my blog's sidebar and you'll be transported to the Facebook-hosted website! Have fun! =)

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Revelation 1:9-20 ~ The View From Heaven

The second part of FOCUS' Revelation series continues to explore John's vision. In Revelation 1:9-20, we see this vision of one like a son of man (Revelation 1:13). Are the descriptions that follow merely just a visual account or do they paint hidden meanings? Let's take a look...

clothed with a long robe and a golden sash (Revelation 1:13)
  • These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. (Exodus 28:4)
  • The image of priesthood is illustrated here with regards to this "son of man".

The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow (Revelation 1:14)
  • As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool (Daniel 7:9)
  • Reference is being made to the Ancient of Days i.e. God Himself, who is the judge of all judges.
  • White was also the colour for victory.

His eyes were like a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14)
  • seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance ... the appearance of fire enclosed all around ... Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
  • The fiery appearance signifies the glory of the Lord.

his feet were like burnished bronze (Revelation 1:15)
  • Their legs ... sparkled like burnished bronze. (Ezekiel 1:7)
  • And above the expanse of their heads there was the likeness of a throne ... Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
  • The idea of one sitting under the authority of the Lord appears here.

his voice was like the roar of many waters (Revelation 1:15)
  • And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters (Ezekiel 43:2)
  • The voice indicates the coming of the God of Israel.

In his right hand (Revelation 1:16)
  • Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. (Exodus 15:6)
  • This powerful "right hand" is able to deliver Israel from her enemy as sang by Moses and the Israelites.

from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16)
  • Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)
  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)
  • This "son of man" speaks the word of God.

his face was like the sun shining (Revelation 1:16)
  • he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:15-16)
  • The shining face resembles that belonging to God.

What then can we conclude from this analysis? This "son of man" bears the glory of God and speaks His Word. He sits under God's authority as God's priest who victoriously saves His people but judges and destroys His enemies. As alluded in my previous post on the Revelation series, this "son of man" is none other than Jesus Christ. Claiming to be the first and the last (Revelation 1:17), He echoes the sentiments of the Lord God who identifies Himself as the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8). Again, He reiterates the point of his being the firstborn of the dead (Revelation 1:5) by telling us that He is the living one (Revelation 1:18).

Since it has been revealed that the seven lampstands are the seven churches (Revelation 1:20) of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, how then is this relevant to us today?

Very relevant indeed as we see how John has been instructed to write therefore the things that you have seen (Revelation 1:19). It is to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days ... for the vision is for days to come (Daniel 10:14). Jesus' presence in the midst of the lampstands comforts us in knowing that He is always among us, even through the most difficult of times.

The time is near (Revelation 1:3) ... how will you respond?

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Luke 8:4-15 ~ Parable of the Sower

Q: What sort of a hearer are you?

A. A hardened hearer who does not receive God's Word
B. One without solid foundation who receives God's Word with joy and believes temporarily but soon gives way under pressure and falls away
C. Easily tempted away from God's Word by the other priorities in life
D. A patient fruit-bearer who holds fast to God's Word in an honest and good heart

Are we the kind of seed that falls on the path only to be devoured by a bird? Or perhaps enjoy a short-lived growth on a rock until we wither away for lack of moisture? Maybe we grow a little more than that but are choked by competing thorns? Or are we those that fall on good soil and soon yield a hundredfold?

Here's a challenge for you:
God's Word is the word of life - it's much too precious to throw into the wind. How then do you respond to this? Will you adopt a lackadaisical attitude or will you guard this Word with all you can?

What kind of a seed are you?

What kind of a hearer are you?

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 8:8)

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