Matthew 24:4-6

by Rev Joel Yong

Matthew 24:4-6 records Jesus as saying: “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah’.

They will deceive many.’ When the end comes, there will be many false saviors promising hope unto the world. But there is only 1 who is All-Powerful and yet All-Loving – that is, our true Savior, Jesus Christ. He is more than able to save us from our sins and yet He is loving enough to be willing to use that power to help us climb out of the pit of sin. Seek after Jesus alone, for He cares for you.

What pleases the Lord

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible readings: 1 Kings 3:3-4:34; Proverb 16:26-27

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
1 Kings 3:9-10 “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” “It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.”

REFLECT
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked for wisdom to discern between good and evil. It pleased the Lord that Solomon had not asked for material wealth nor health but asked for the ability from God to do what is good and right. As a result, God was so pleased that He even gave Solomon what he didn’t ask for: riches and honour where no kings were able to compare. Solomon’s request of the Lord is according to the will of the Lord; and therefore the Lord is pleased. This passage is in line with many other passages in the Bible that exhorts us to always focus on the right thing; i.e. to seek righteousness and right relationship with God; the rest of the things shall follow. However, we have the tendency to chase after things that shouldn’t be the focus.  We chase after material wealth, career advancement and good physical health while playing second fiddle to right living and witness as a believer.

RELATE
My family and I just got back from our once a year vacation. One of the highlights of the vacation is to be on a cruise boat on the look-out for whales. After nearly three hours, the crew and passengers were all quite exhausted from the strong waves and bitterly cold wind; but no whale. At that time, I felt desperate and asked of the Lord to help us: I envisioned a movie inspired scene – a humpback whale jumping out of the sea and back again. Five minutes later, this scene came before our very eyes. About 500 metres away from our boat; a junior humpback whale was having fun jumping out of the sea and cruising the waters with its mother. i almost cried and know that this is God’s powerful message of love and grace for us. When I thought about this episode again, I wonder if there are times when I would so eagerly ask for wisdom from the Lord to pastor His people and to be right with Him. I had, but those are rare times indeed. May the Lord help me to be as eager, if not more so, of asking and working with the Lord constantly on my spiritual life and wisdom for the good of His people.

REST
Lord, help me to have the wisdom to ask you constantly for wisdom. Not because I want to be “smart”; but because of developing a heart more in love with You and Your people. Amen.

Jeremiah 3:22

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 3:22 records: “My wayward children,” says the LORD, “come back to me and I will heal your wayward hearts.”

Though we wander from God, He yearns for us to return so that we may be healed and cease our rebellion. God loves us so much, that He sent His Son, Jesus to come and die for us on the Cross. Rather than condemn us to an eternity without Him, He came and took our punishment instead. Turn to God who loves you this day. He’s waiting.

What are we praying for?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible readings:  Acts 4:1-37; Psalm 124:1-8

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Acts 4:29-30 “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

REFLECT
Despite very real threats made by the chief priests and elders; the believers prayed for boldness to speak God’s Word. They did not retreat to the comfort of their homes when they were threatened by the very authorities who put Jesus to death. They did not ask Peter and John to flee the city from the treachery of the religious authorities. Instead they prayed for boldness. For their amazing faith to glorify God, they were blessed with the very thing they asked for: to speak forth God’s Word in boldness.

RELATE
What guides our prayer? Do we also pray for boldness to speak forth God’s Word even when there are oppositions? Or do we consistently pray for protection from harm? While we need to be wise and loving in the way we share God’s Word; there could be times when we are just creating excuses. Especially in a city state like Singapore; it is so easy to retreat into our cocoons upon the slightest “threat” and make tons of analysis on what we should do. This passage reminded me of why I came to believe in the first place; because someone had the boldness in sharing the Word with me; despite oppositions. So if I am really in love with God and called to love others; why am I not praying to speak forth in boldness?

REST
Lord God, indeed, may You help me to share forth Your Word in boldness; even if there would be persecutions. May I be shifted past my own comfort zone and be anointed by the Holy Spirit to speak forth in boldness so Your Name be glorified. Amen.

Habakkuk 2:4

by Rev Joel Yong

Habakkuk 2:4 declares that the ‘righteous live by their faith’ (NRSV).

Looking at our world, we see evil sometimes seem to flourish, and we wonder why. Without faith, despair can envelope our hearts as a result of our observations. But Scripture teaches that God loves us, and will deliver us in His time. Faith in such truth – fuels hope that burns bright, even amidst the darkness of this world.

Saving ourselves?

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings:  Acts 2:1-47; Psalm 122:1-9

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Acts 2:40 “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

REFLECT
In the early church, persons who submitted to the Lordship of Christ were devoted to saving themselves “from this crooked generation”. The “saving” is not merely a verbal proclamation of faith in Jesus, but a fierce devotion to live the faith. Acts 2:42-44 recorded one of the most engaging images of what Christian fellowship is all about. They didn’t only come together to maintain friendships; they met to live in accountability, to pray, to bring others to the faith and be living sacrifices for one another.

RELATE
What is my heart attitude when I meet to fellowship with believers? Did I come to be a disciple of Jesus who seek spiritual accountability and being a living sacrifice for my friends in the Lord? Or do I drag my feet, come to maintain friendships or to fulfil an obligation? I must admit that there are times when I am of the latter. Reading this passage reminded me that this is not to be.  Whether I am a believer living in the 1st or 21st century, I must cultivate the heart to be the disciple that God wants me to be within the community of saints.

REST
Lord God, help me to have the heart of the early disciples, who met with one another in accountability and to be a blessing to others. Amen.

Nahum 1:7

by Rev Joel Yong

Nahum 1:7 declares that ‘The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.’

If you have ever been in trouble, you understand what a refuge is. Refuge is a safe house, from the negative things that trouble brings with it. So, run to God in your time of trouble. Don’t hesitate. In God alone, you will find safety, security, peace and comfort. Draw near to him and He draws near to you.