Day 171

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 23:13-14
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Discipline does not kill – it corrects.
The lack of it – according to this text- sends one’s soul to Sheol or Hell as we understand it. This happens because a lack of harsh correction causes one to go on the wrong path.

God disciplines us for this same purpose. Not to harm us but to help us.

The next time you feel His rod descending upon your life – thank Him for loving you enough to do so.

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Keeping His Word

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Revelation 22:1-21; Psalm 150:1-6

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
Revelation 22:7-8 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

REFLECT
The word “keep” appears twice in Revelation 22 (verses 7 and 9). God’s people are exhorted to keep the words of the book of Revelation. The word “keep” is translated from the Greek “tereo” which in context, means to “pay attention” or “to observe”. In both verses, “tereo” is given to us in the present participle. This means that God’s people are to actively and consistently observe God’s Word as given to us in the book of Revelation. So what are we to consistently pay attention to and observe? As given to us in verses 10-15, we are to actively and consistently observe holiness in our journey with Jesus. We are to actively and consistently shun what is evil.

RELATE
Some like to treat the book of Revelation as a book that tells the future. Some parts of the book do talk about what will happen in the future. However, if we are to draw a major consistent theme through Revelation, its main message is for us as a church, to be holy and watchful as we wait for the Lord’s coming. To me, the book of Revelation is not so much as a crystal ball that foretells what is going to happen in the future; but a promise that tells us of the solid hope that those who persevere shall reign with God forever. One of the main reasons why I learn to trust more and more of the Bible, is not because it is a book that tells us what we want to hear; but what we need to hear. Such needs are at times, unnoticed until we hit a roadblock or went through major life challenges. Nonetheless, we learn more and more that the things of this world and especially ourselves is not the solution. Only Christ is. We need to hear and keep His Word. For He is coming back.

REST
Christ our Lord, we thank you for the book of Revelation. Help us to understand more about what You want us to learn through this book; this is so we can fulfil Your promise that we shall be blessed if we actively and consistently keep Your Word in our lives. Amen.

Day 170

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 22:13
The sluggard says, There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!

This is a hilarious proverb.
In order not to go out of the house to labor- the lazy person would make all sorts of excuses.

We might laugh at this – but here is a question we can each ask ourselves “What excuses am I making, so as to avoid improving myself this day?”

Has our personal growth stagnated?
What are we not doing that would help better ourselves?

I know that when a person improves themself – their family benefits, their workplace benefits, they too will benefit!

Joy happens and faith arises when people realize their potential as they constantly test the limits of what they can achieve with God’s blessing!

Ability to submit

Bridled Horse

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle, or they will not come to you.” Psalm 32: 9 (NIV, 2011)

Animals at times act intelligent and behave in surprising ways. But their intelligence also has certain limitations. As the scripture reveals that animals cannot be tamed unless trained to do so. A horse or a mule needs bridling and guiding too. When these animals are trained repeatedly with external inducements, they tend to develop a pattern that we humans find useful. But note that animals cannot be talked into doing things, like human beings for instance.

Human beings are bestowed with a unique ability to understand things and rationally weigh different options presented to them in a given situation. When an instruction or an advice is given, only human beings can heed them or submit to them. It is also us humans who can heed to the promise given by God in the previous verse, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (verse 8).

Psalmist is presenting these two contrasting views in the verses to highlight the fact that only human beings are bestowed with the ability to heed to instruction, learn the ways taught to them and take guidance from the counsel given by God. By mentioning about horses and mules, God is only urging us to exercise our unique ability to submit to God’s leading and guidance.

We are special and unique in so many ways in the whole universe because of the rational powers we’ve been vested with. We do not need external inducements or exertions to obey God. We can voluntarily submit our will to him and heed to his instruction. As Christians, we know that God leads us and instructs us in many ways. Only sensible thing for us to do is to submit our lives to him on our own so that he might lead us.

Day 169

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 21:9
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

This verse seems hilarious but it is relief to live in less than ideal housing- if you are a man who has to endure quarrel after quarrel!

What makes a home?
It is surely more than 4 walls and a roof.
It is the relationships between the people who inhabit the dwelling. It must keep people coming home and NOT keep them from coming home!

I think singles, married couples and parents/kids can all contemplate this verse today.
“Do I make living on a rooftop a more appetizing option for my spouse/kids/parents?”

If so- what can I change this day?
You can’t change another person anyway … so why not let change begin with you?

After all TD Jakes once said “If you always do what you have always done, you will always be where you have always been!”

Day 168

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 11:1
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

Merchants used to rig their balancing scales so they could cheat their customers and make more money.

God hates such dishonesty. But a fair merchant who gives the customer what they ask and deserve, is a delight to God.

Dishonesty in business proclaims “I do not trust God to make me wealthy. Rather I trust my own dishonest means of lying, cheating, and not fully representing the deal as it is.”

Honest businessmen on the contrary proclaim “I trust in God to further my business and wealth- and I will honor Him even when my peers are not doing right in their practices. As for me, I will trust Him and do what He deems is right.”

So today- when you go out to the business world – consider this “Are my scales rigged? Did my boss ask me to cheat my client by hiding certain info from them or misrepresenting other info?”

Do right by God …

Day 167

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 10:1
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Which father does not wish for his child to make wise decisions in life?
I know I do.

But our children are beings of free will and are free to make their own choices, however much we may nag or scold them.

One thing we can do as parents, is to maximize our influence on our children – wielding our influence in the greatest possible way so that when they grow into adulthood, we can say we have done our best to influence them in the right way, God’s way.

Wielding influence requires time and personal touch.
We cannot do this via remote control or long distance. Too often I have been guilty of responding rapidly to emergencies at work via my phone or the work email that comes through it and not being focused enough on my children’s needs at the present moment.

In our technologically advanced day – this is a constant distraction.
One question I try to ask myself this day is – “Is my phone wielding more influence on me than I am on my kids?”

Or for some of us a variation we can ask ourselves is “Is the TV or tablet wielding more influence on our kids than us as parents?”

Good question to think about for this week.