The righteousness of Christ is not only imputed on us but must be PRACTICED. John says in 1Jn.3 we are of the devil if we make a practice of sinning because no one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning. That means if a man or a woman keeps on sinning, even though they may say or think or believe they are Christian, they really are not! The evidence of true faith is not only in the receiving of the righteousness of Christ but the practice of it. So dear fellow believers, practice righteousness today and everyday.
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice if sinningis of the devil…..” – 1 John 3:6-8 ESV
by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19; Psalms 82:1-8
READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 23:5 “But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you.”
I wonder what was it like when the people of Israel heard these words “because the LORD your God loved you”. Did they recollect the way God cared for them? Or had they taken God’s love for granted? It was because of God’s love that all these statutes and commandments were given to the people after they were brought out of their slavery in Egypt. It was because of God’s love that their enemies were destroyed and some even barred from entering into the assembly of the Most High. It was because of God’s love that Balaam’s curses were turned into blessings. God’s love language did not dwell in the theoretical, but that His love is constantly demonstrated through His actions and power for His beloved. We worship a God of action and by right, we should be a people of action to show His love to others as well.
I will always remember the times when God communicated His love for me. His timing in the communication of these simple but powerful words are always perfect. It was during these moments that I was deeply encouraged to carry on the things that He wants me to do and be the person that He wants me to be. Yet, God did not merely communicate “about” His love for me through His Word, He constantly demonstrated His love for me as well through actions. Such is the extent of God’s grace for our lives. He cares for the little details that we, in our finite understanding of God’s character, wonder why He even bothered!
In reflection, how can i also show such love to the people around me? For example, how can I verbally communicate love to my children and at the same time, demonstrate to them that I truly mean what I say? Have I been a hypocrite by verbally promising them love but have not done so regularly through actions? Or how can I in action, care for the poor and needy within my immediate community? Do I preach to the congregation about what we can do and yet turn a blind eye to them at times? May i learn more and more from the character of God, who do what He say all the time. For His love language is not only of words, but of action. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Lord our God, help me to be a man who love not merely in words, but action. Help me to love in accordance to Your Word and even in the most dire of circumstances, as You have purposed. Amen.
by Rev Lai Kai Ming
Readings: Deuteronomy 18-20; Psalm 81
READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
This was a simple but important command – don’t try to gain a little bit more land by shifting your neighbor’s boundary fence. Given the large areas that agricultural families might own, the adjustment would not even be noticeable. But the principle remained. What belonged to another was not for one to take freely. Personal ownership was respected. But generosity was also expected. (See e.g. Deuteronomy 15:7)
Today, my thoughts turned towards the millions of desperate people leaving their own country in search of safety and survival. At present, many countries in Europe have decided to close the door to migrants. They have sealed their borders and erected soldiers to guard them. Even when these migrants were dying at sea, they have not been allowed to land on European soil. How did personal ownership become the reason for cruelty? If someone dying knocks at our door, do we have a right to chase him away? What would Singapore do if one day a boat full of Rohingyas is discovered just 100m off East Coast Park?
Lord, help me to never shut the door at anyone who needs a place of refuge.
Does your church feel more like a community that is caring, supportive, real, authentic, unconditionally loving, warm, friendly, serious about teaching God’s Word, uncompromising in discipleship to help fellow believers faithfully live out what we believe, passionate about winning souls to Christ and about life-change OR does your church feel more like a commercial entity where the above qualities have been compromised? When you attend your church service, does it feel like you’re truly worshiping God and that there is sincerity and earnestness in people on the platform reaching out to you to encourage you, comfort you, teach you and correct you where necessary OR does it feel more like you’re attending some sort of a mass music event and public talk that lacks authenticity and heart-to-heart connection? Are the people serving in your church busy with the works of the ministry or busy with touching lives one by one – making time to connect with you at a genuine and personal level? There are many more questions to ask but I think the above are more than sufficient for now. If you are currently in a church that feels more like an authentic Christian community, great – and please contribute unconditionally and sacrificially to your amazing community. But if you are currently in a church that feels more like a commercial entity, don’t be quick to judge, instead lovingly seek to make a difference one life at a time. BE THE CHANGE and before long, you’ll find yourself making the change. Kindness breeds kindness. Generosity breeds generosity. Unconditional love breeds, you guessed it, unconditional love. “Be excellent in what is good, be innocent of evil.” (Rom.16:19)
Think of all the scandals in churches, families and the marketplace – I believe most of them would not have happened if Christians involved were committed to be holy just as the Lord is holy, if we had chosen to walk on the path of righteousness for His name sake, and if we were really convinced that there is judgment and hell in the end for the ungodly. Did they receive grace and forgiveness of past sins prior to the scandals? Of course they did. The problem is not that they didn’t receive grace, the real problem is that the kind of grace they had been taught does not lead to obedience, righteousness and holiness. That is also called cheap grace – which is not the grace of God at all. Grace + Holiness brings GLORY to God every time!
We need a HOLINESS REVOLUTION today! “…. without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14)! With Christians committed to being holy and with the Holy Spirit enabling us from within us, our children, teenagers and young adults will see what holy living looks like and hopefully emulate it. When that happens, a new generation of holy saints of God will rise up to God’s call and bring God’s presence and influence to their generation!
by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 8:2 “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
Why was it necessary for God to test Israel those forty years to know what was in their hearts? Isn’t God all knowing? Why was there a need to “test”? God tested Israel to humble them, to see how they would respond; whether they were still in awe and worship of Him. Hence, they were brought to hunger and then supplied with manna so that they could be reminded that God is their Provider.
Humility, especially when it comes as a result of God’s testing, is not often seen as a gift from the Almighty. Rather, it is often seen as a “consequence” from God’s discipline. Yet, humility can bring believers to new heights in our spiritual journey. Humility based on faith in Jesus, can bring miracles to a believer’s soul; for it can transform what was impossible to what was possible. Humility as a result of God’s testing, is a precious gift.
In my own spiritual walk with God, I came to realise that God is ever so patient and loving as my divine Father. He will give me tests so as to shape a particular area of my life. Each of these tests is an opportunity for conviction and learning on humility. Each of these tests is an opportunity for further transformation. Every-time I fail in these opportunities; I wasn’t condemned into hell; but given another set of tests for the purpose of sanctification.
Such tests can come in the form of suffering the consequences from wrong decisions; or in the form of God’s intervention in whatever way necessary to bring conviction and repentance. The key to embracing such tests and allowing such tests to help us change is humility in faith. The humility to know that God is Almighty and I cannot save my own soul. The humility to bow down at His feet and allow Him to mould us, no matter how painful it might be. The humility to know that even in His tests, is grace.
God, help me to see that your tests is good for my soul. Challenging as it might be, give me the grace and strength to go through as You will. Amen.