Matthew 18:11

by Rev Joel Yong

Matthew 18:11 says “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

When I lose something that matters, I don’t shrug my shoulders and forget about it. I seek it persistently, until I find it again. That’s what Jesus came to do. His love for us is shown by the extent He went to, to save that which was lost. Its forever represented by – the Cross.

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Awareness of God

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10; Proverbs 19:24-25

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

REFLECT
God’s conversation with Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 formed part of His response to the king’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6:14-42. As i read the prayer, the phrase “awareness of God” came to mind. It seems to me that Solomon (at this point in time) had such a strong sense of the awareness of God. This allowed him to understand that before the Almighty, all men are deeply sinful and in need of God’s mercy. This also allowed Solomon to plea on behalf of Israel that if the nation should sin in the days to come but manage to repent; may the Lord forgive. Ironically, such an acute sense of the awareness of God seemed to fade as Solomon grew in his “awareness” of the affection of his many wives and accompanying idols.

RELATE
In comparison, the world is always telling us to cultivate “self-awareness”. While trying to cultivate an awareness of self is well intentioned; it can never lead us to a wholesome understanding of how much we need God and the depth of God’s grace for us. Why? Because we are trying to use our sinful self to know self.

As Jeremiah 9 suggested, the heart (and therefore the self) is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it? We definitely cannot; but God can. Therefore, we need to ask God to help us develop an increasing sense of the awareness of Him. This is so we have a more reflective and wholesome understanding of who we truly are and how God can redeem aspects of us that are not pleasing to Him.

REST
God Almighty, You created us and so You know us better than ourselves. Help us to grow closer to You so that we “hear” what You require of us for the ongoing work of redemption in our daily lives.  Amen.

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.