Matthew 18:4

by Rev Joel Yong

In Matthew 18:4, Jesus says: “Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Our world would never equate a child with the status of a ‘great man’. Children haven’t accomplished much in life. Yet the faith by which they approach God, is something adults often struggle to have. Talk to God like a child again today, compared to Him, we all are children anyways.

Seeking the Lord

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17; Proverbs 19:20-21

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
2 Chronicles 1:6  “And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the LORD, which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.”

REFLECT
We often marvelled at how Solomon chose wisdom over possessions; but did we notice how he sought the Lord prior to the “famous” conversation in 2 Chronicles 1:7-12? While God fulfilled His promise to David to use his son Solomon mightily; we witnessed that at the early days of his reign, Solomon was someone who was serious about his faith in God. He sought the Lord and was therefore able to hear God clearly and responded honourably when the Almighty spoke to him. The contrary happened when at the later part of his reign, Solomon sought not after the Lord but after the many wives he had. According to 1 Kings 11, these wives turned Solomon’s heart away from God and even towards other gods such as Ashtoreth and Milcom.

RELATE
Seeking after God is not a natural way of life; even for the believer. Every single day, we have to struggle with the help of God to overcome temptations to tune our hearts towards the Almighty. Only then can we hear Him clearly and live out the life He wants us to. Seeking after the Lord is not about seeking after the dream that someday God might say to us as He did to Solomon: “Ask what I shall give you.” (2 Chronicles 1:7) Seeking after the Lord is about waiting upon Him throughout our lives so that when God does speak, we are ready to respond.

REST
Lord, help us to live a life of seeking after You; this is so we can do all things in Your strength and with Your guidance. Amen.

 

John 8:11

by Rev Joel Yong

Jesus said to the adulterous woman in John 8:11 “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more.”

She was guilty, but He who could sentence her, showed her grace. His grace wasn’t to be cheapened though, by her continued life of adultery. No, He let her go with the words “… go and sin no more.” A transformed life shows true understanding of grace.

How to grow strong in the faith

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: Romans 4:13-5:5; Psalms 14:1-7

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Romans 4:20-21 “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

REFLECT
In Genesis 17, we read that God made a promise to Abraham. God promised that he and his wife Sarah will enjoy the gift of a son (Isaac). In worldly terms, it was considered an unbelievable promise because at that time Abraham was close to 100 years old while Sarah was close to 90 years old. Yet, Abraham trusted in God’s sovereignty to make good what He promised. Hence, Abraham was rewarded for his faith. As affirmed by Romans 4:20-21, a person can grow strong in the faith like Abraham – if he or she gives glory to God. Giving glory to God means to be fully convinced that God is able to do what He promised. Being fully convinced of what God is able to do can mean two things: (1) in hope of what God is giving to us (2) in hope of what God is asking us to abandon.

RELATE
Promises from God might not be fulfilled on a bed of roses; it could even encompass much suffering of the flesh. At the age of 90, Sarah’s pregnancy might be met with a lot of ridicule from the family and neighbours. Yet, Abraham and Sarah persevered and God counted such trust as righteousness to them.

One of God’s biggest promises can be found in John 8:31-32; where Jesus promised that those who abide in His Word will be His true disciples and be set free from the clutches of sin. Abiding in Jesus’ Word involves a very intentional (and hence difficult) way of living: Conversing with God in His Word on a regular basis and living out His Word. Yet, our faith can only grow stronger by trusting God in the most intense of disciplines or adversities; not blindly but with the knowledge that God is good all the time.

REST
“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:19-25

Amen.

Matthew 26:41

by Rev Joel Yong

In Matthew 26:41, Jesus reminds the sleepy disciples: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Our enemy Satan, desires that we be led astray from the way Christ calls us to follow. The key habit to combat Satan’s deceitful ways, is to stay alert, praying often to God – for He grants us strength in all the areas of weakness in our lives. That’s grace.

God of the poor

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: Romans 3:9-31; Psalm 12:1-8

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Psalm 12:5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord;”

REFLECT
It is always comforting to know that God will bring forth justice for the poor and needy; especially those who suffered injustice from the hands of those who are powerful and wealthy. At one time, i was asked to do a presentation on the Gospel of Luke. My task was to explore the question: “According to the Gospel of Luke, is God biased towards the poor?” While Psalm 12 and the Gospel of Luke do chart out certain emphases on God’s attention to the poor; i thought it was a wrong question to ask. It was a wrong question because God is never biased towards anyone or a certain group of people. Instead, what God is concerned about is that His justice be done and that we have love for one another. One of the key words in Psalm 12:5 is “because”; God will arise to mete out His justice “because” the poor are plundered and the needy are in pain.

RELATE
While we are comforted by the truth that God fights for the poor and needy; we could be less comfortable learning about “who” He has been calling to fight for the poor and needy. The “who” is none other than the church. The church has a lot to learn and do where our calling to watch out for the poor and needy is concerned. Employees especially those who came from afar, suffered abuse in terms of low pay and bad working environment.  Single parents are forced to raise children on their own because their spouse dishonoured the marriage vow. Seniors are chased out of their homes by their children because they wanted to make a fast profit from the sale of the house. Children grew up scarred for life due to physical and emotional abuse from their own parents or step parents. The Lord is calling the church to arise as the poor are plundered and the needy groan.

REST
Lord, may you help us as the church to hear and do your call for us to be a beacon of light and comfort for the poor and needy. May your Name be glorified as the church carries out Your mission for justice, peace and reconciliation. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:10

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 5:10 reminds us that “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Let’s remember that everything done in this life, requires an accounting for, someday. May we live our lives well, seeking a life that honors the way taught to us, through the life of Christ Jesus alone.