Haggai 2:4

by Rev Joel Yong

Haggai 2:4 records God as saying to Zerubbabel to be strong and to: “Work, for I am with you.”

It’s easy to get discouraged when rebuilding efforts of a God-given project hits a snag or comes up against obstacles or opposition from enemies. But God’s command to the builders was that they were not to falter or be weakened in the face of such trouble, but to press on, simply because the presence, power & love of the Almighty God is with us. That alone, is more than enough reason to do so.

Rejoices with the truth?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Psalms 37:1-11

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
1 Corinthians 13:4-6: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”

REFLECT
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul gave a clear exhortation on what love is about. According to the Apostle, “love” is very different from how the world perceives or understands it. For example, one of the facets of love is that it “rejoices with the truth”. This is opposed to how the world increasingly embraces wrongdoing or wrong thinking into what they thought is “love”. For example, as long as people “love” one other; it doesn’t matter if they are engaged in pre-marital sexual relationships. Yet, as a believer of God’s truth as given to us in His Word, can I confidently say that I always rejoice with the truth? No. Not always.

RELATE
On one occasion, I was confronted with God’s truth for me on the need to learn to better communicate with my daughter. I did not immediately rejoice. Instead, I tried to justify my own thinking and even negotiated with God if I can take His truth another day. Of course, it is a futile endeavour; I can do nothing but submit to His will. It occurred to me then, that I can only consistently rejoice with God’s truth if I consistently seek the truth and submit to the Spirit to live in the truth.

REST
Lord, may You help me to seek Your truth and live in the truth. This is so I can learn what is true love, that is, of rejoicing with the truth. Amen.

Numbers 11:14-15

by Rev Joel Yong

Numbers 11:14 to 15 records Moses’ complaint: “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”

He felt tired and weary leading a complaining people. How nice it would be if we all gave our leaders encouragement rather than complaints. It brightens their day, encourages them in service and transforms the church. Try it today.

The gift of God’s Word

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31; Proverbs 21:17-18

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
Nehemiah 13:3 “As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent”

REFLECT
God’s instructions were given a long time ago, that Israel shall not associate themselves with the Ammonites and Moabites. This was because they had turn themselves to be enemies of the Lord by having sought evil to curse His people. It was the Lord that turned such a curse into blessing (ref: Neh 13:2). Yet God’s people were blinded to His instructions and such a mighty act of protection. If not for the reading of the law and hence the Word of God, God’s people will continue to be blind and lead their lives in sin. How important than is the Word of God for those who believe.

RELATE
The reading, reflection and application of God’s Word is the lifeblood of the Christian life. Yet I have on occasions chose to live in blindness than to allow God’s Word to be His lamp unto my feet. There were even times when I could be reading God’s Word but allowed myself to be distracted by cares of the day.

As Israel’s eyes were opened through the read of the law; so the daily nourishment of the Word is important to me. It is important to me not just as a pastor but as a husband to my wife, father to my children and human being living among others in a sinful world. Only in reflection and obedience to the Word, can our salvation be worked out in worship of the Father. Obedience is usually painful to the flesh; but God gives grace for us to obey in the Spirit. The Christian life can only be properly nurtured upon such tensions; for we are naturally opposed to God but is reconciled through the blood of His only begotten Son.

REST
May the Lord help me to read, reflect and apply His Word on a daily basis, not grudgingly, but in joy and worship of the King. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us: “Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

Our interaction with other members of the church, must lead to them being encouraged and yet also being built up so that they might be able to press on in serving and following after God. It shouldn’t be a shallow ‘Hi & Bye’ relationship that does not lead to life changes. Rather it should spur one another on to good deeds and faithfulness to Christ.

Pitfalls in the “Sacred”

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
1 Cor 9:27 “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”

REFLECT
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, the Apostle Paul exhorted the church in Corinth to make “discipline” and “control” of the body a priority of the Christian life. He was also aware that such a discipline cannot be attained by frequent preaching and teaching of the Word. In fact, the words in verse 27 “lest after” seem to suggest that preaching and teaching of the Word could themselves be potential pitfalls to sin.

RELATE
Why is this so? Paul did not elaborate. However, as a preacher myself I could attest that this is possible. This is possible because the preaching and teaching of God’s Word could give us a false sense of security. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word could tempt the preacher to crave for people’s “likes”. The preaching of God’s Word could tempt the preacher to think that he or she is somebody when he or she is just a servant of Christ.

This passage is a good reminder that in whatever I do, even in the seemingly most “sacred” of things; evil is always knocking at the door. Yet the Lord gave the assurance in verse 13 that He will always provide a way out. It is really up to us to submit and walk that way out; no matter how painful to the flesh it might be. Indeed, lest I be disqualified!

REST
Thank you Lord for this good reminder to keep my body under control for the sake of Your glory and purpose. Help me to remember that this is only made possible by the love of the Father, grace of the Son and work of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acts 13:47

by Rev Joel Yong

Acts 13:47 reminds us: “For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

You and I have a purpose to our lives. We have a task to live our lives in such a way that it shines brightly for others to follow. That they too, might be able to say, “Behold, how good it is to follow God’s ways.” and desire to follow Him too.