Happy Chinese New Year. Congratulations! For the Chinese who live in this country, we may live busy lives, but the traditional method of celebrating the Chinese New Year is not forgotten. The Chinese way of celebration is both ancient and full of meaning.
For instance, before the New Year, the house is swept clean. Cleanliness represents a new atmosphere. Children are most joyful setting off firecrackers. The sparks and sudden explosions make them both fearful and fun. Actually, before firecrackers were invented, the Chinese had used bamboos, which gave a sudden burst when burned to its end. This symbolized driving away bad fortune.
After the banquet meal is the so-called “watch-age” time. Its meaning is to extend the fleeting year and thus treasure and preserve time. Why call it “watch-age” and not “watch-year”? The Chinese character for “year” was first invented during Chow dynasty. The preceding Hsia dynastic has used the word “age.” This came the Chinese slogan of “bypassing the new year and welcoming the new age.” At the early morning of the New Year, the house’s big door is sprung open to welcome the blessings of the new year.
However, where does blessing really come from? Even in the Chinese character for “blessing,” this is explained. The character’s left strokes are the symbol for “God”. In ancient China, the emperor would worship annually at Beijing’s Tien-Than the one-god, soliciting heaven’s protection, prosperity, and peace for the entire nation. This was similarly done by lesser officers in ancient China.
But how may we really receive “Blessings” from the One True God? The Bible’s Book of Psalms says: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Ps 32:1). This is because when we have sin, our conscience will bother us, and we will have no peace of mind. But when we ask God to forgive us, He will forgive us, and save us from our sin through Jesus Christ the Saviour. As a result, we will be “justified” and have peace. God will always give us blessings—whether in our lives, marriage, school, or work. He will be with us, comfort and encourage us, and give the everlasting peace.
Dear friend, I hope this True God will become your Saviour to guide and bless you … if only you are willing to come to Him. You may pray this prayer of salvation: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for my sin. Please forgive my sin and enter into my heart. I now receive Jesus Christ into my heart to be my personal Saviour. Thank you for giving me eternal life and abundant life in Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.” – Dr Paul Lee Tan (trans)
THANK GOD FOR DAILY BREATH
After the 93 year old man in Italy got better in the hospital, he was told to pay for the ventilator for one day, and the old man cried. The doctor advised him not to cry over the bill.
What the old man said made all the doctors cry. Old man said, “I don’t cry because of the money I have to pay. I can pay all the money.”
“I cry because I have been breathing God’s air for 93 years, but I never pay for it. It takes €5000 to use a ventilator in a hospital for one day. Do you know how much I owe God? I didn’t thank God for that before.”
[NB: This story cannot be verified, but what the old man said is certainly worth reflecting. Thank God for daily breath. JK]
The Lord blessed the election of the Session of GAPPI (Bible-Presbyterian Church) Gethsemani in Batam held on 17 January 2021. The Church has 30 registered members. The election was supervised by Rev Kiantoro Lie of GAPPI Calvary Batam. Two men were elected to be deacons, namely, Solat Lumban Tobing and Hartoni Aritonang.
On Sunday, 24 January 2021, Rev Haposan Siregar, the moderator of the GAPPI Synod, installed the elected deacons into office and appointed Shobastian as the Guru Injil (Gospel teacher) of the church. As full-time preacher, Shobastian will be the chairman of the Session. He will be supervised by Rev Haposan Siregar, Rev Kiantoro Lie, and Rev Jeffrey Khoo.
Recently, the church’s PA system (mixer and amplifier) and an old organ were stolen. There was no sign of a break in. The church locks have since been changed. A second-hand amplifier in good condition was purchased and an old but working mixer donated by FEBC came in handy to replace the one that was stolen.
Pray the Lord will bless GAPPI Gethsemani as they seek to do God’s work and spread the Gospel in Batam and beyond.
LETTER FROM JAPAN
To True Life BP Church
January 2nd, 2021
A happy New Year.
Thank you for your news and church papers. I enjoy to see your papers.
I enjoy my body which is strong every day. I thank God He gave me a strong body. There is no sickness. But I had one experience last May 5th, Sunday evening in my house, the top of my head was bleeding. The blood dripped onto the floor and did not stop. I was surprised. So I called for an ambulance. It came and took me to a hospital. The doctor took care of my head. After a few days, another doctor took care of my head. Thank God I became normal again.
I was born in 1933. Birthday May 2nd. So I am old. So I have troubled days. But I thank God, He guides me every day.
I am handing out tracts to nearby houses every day except Sunday and holidays.
I hope you understand my letters. Don’t send me MONEY! I have enough money for living. He gives me strong body and money enough. God bless your Church!!
Setsuko Takashima, Kobe, Japan.
1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, S(308899) firstname.lastname@example.org 6254 1287
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