Holy love

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14; Proverbs

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.”

REFLECT
Some scholars have referred to the Song of Solomon as an allegory of God’s love for humankind, some referred to it as a celebration of human love. Whichever the explanation, some find it difficult to accept the extent of sensuality described in the many verses of such a “holy” book. Yet, the Song of Solomon reminds us of an important truth: that sexual love is a gift from God. Sexual love can even be considered to be holy since it comes from God. As long as sexual love is enjoyed within the sanctity of marriage and being faithful to God’s Word; there is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it should be celebrated.

RELATE
As parents, we often find it difficult to explain sexual love to our children. Subconsciously, we might even find it to be a “shameful” thing to say. Yet, as shepherds of our children’s heart; we must engage them on such an important topic and steer them towards God’s perspective of love and sex. In fact, the Song of Solomon might be a good place to start the conversation.

If we do not take the opportunity to explain the biblical meaning of love and sex to our children; somebody else (like what they see on the Internet or their friends) will. Children might then have very wrong ideas and even act out in ways that are not pleasing to God.

REST
Lord, may you help us to see what you see; and not be ashamed of things which You have created to be beautiful and holy. Amen.

Isaiah 11:6

by Rev Joel Yong

Isaiah 11:6 records that “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

On the day when God comes and dwells with us forever and ever, the enmities between animals shall cease. It is a sign of the kind of peace that only God can bring to our world. We should all yearn for that day and pray for God’s grace to lead us in this life, and this world, until that day comes.

The greatest “deal”

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; Psalm 49:1-20

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

REFLECT
2 Corinthians 8 is quite a familiar passage. I preached some sermons based on it. Yet, the intensity of Jesus’ “deal” for us never fails to overwhelm. I mean, who in the right frame of mind would trade richness for poverty with another?

Many parents might be willing to trade their lives (or well-being) for the sake of their children; but that is because of the blood relationship they have with one another. In contrast, why would the sovereign Lord sacrifice His own life for the sake of human beings who in our very nature are seeded with this huge propensity to go against Him?

Because of love and grace? What kind of love and grace is that? Not of a human kind I am sure; though we catch a tiny glimpse of it here and there in the life of the saints. How are we to deal with this love and grace?

RELATE
Through time, I have found it way easier to just embrace such a ridiculous “deal” from the Saviour because there is simply no way we can even dream of repaying. Even after salvation, the Saviour did not relent on His blessings upon my family and I. Yes we have been tough times and will still go through trials; but His blessings had and I believe will more than see us through. So what is left to do?

Just obey His call. Not because I have to. But because I want to. I like to. I love to. Why? Because my God have given up His most precious to give me a second chance. What is there left for the Lord to do? What is there left for me to lose? Nothing; yet everything awaits when the Saviour comes back again.

REST
Dear Lord, help me to be faithful and obey because only in You can I find the true anchor for this life and for eternity. Amen.

Bane of Bribery

by Rev Sng Chong Hui

There was a day when turning the newspapers I read several reports of bribery locally and abroad.

These include high profile cases in China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and even our supposedly least corrupt Singapore. They ranged from high officials, top businessmen, and professionals, even Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau staff to low-level employees.

Bribery is so prevalent that it is deemed an ultimate bane of every society.

The Bible gives us insight as to why it is so widespread.

“Some people think a bribe works like magic; they believe it can do anything” (Proverbs 17:8 GNT).

“A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury” (Proverbs 21:14 NLT).

“A person will do wrong for a piece of bread” (Proverbs 28:21 NIV).

The Bible is not condoning bribery but telling us why it happens so often. It is because bribery often works.

Many people turned to bribery thinking it is a fast road to high position, power, control, results and the help they need. All of which doubt the goodness of God to provide.

In giving the Laws to His people, God make it clear:

“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent” (Exodus 23:8 NIV).

Bribery perverts justice and is the fastest lane towards a decadent society.

“A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of justice” (Proverbs 17:23 NKJV).

A leader who seeks bribes destroys himself, his family and his own country. And we have seen it.

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down” (Proverbs 29:4 NIV).

When bribery becomes a way of life for civil servants, business people, executives and professionals, it harms the entire community for it destroys trust, made us cynical and distrust the very people we should regard as principled and honorable.

Even before the Law of Moses, Jethro gave this advice: “Find some capable, godly, honest men who hate bribes.” (Exodus 18:21 TLB)

This Midianite father-in-law of Moses saw with crystal clarity that a society could only be strong if the leaders do not take bribes.

Bribery is the bane of society. I thank God that ours is a society that has zero tolerance for bribery.

Don’t take bribes. Don’t offer bribes.

Jeremiah 44:5

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 44:5 records: “But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.”

The people persisted in evil even though God was warning them, urging them to turn so judgment wouldn’t befall them. They were stubborn in their rebelliousness. God want us to stop our sinning and turn, for our sakes for He loves us. Have you wandered astray? Turn back to Jesus who loves you so much that He died to save you.

Psalm 40: 1

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 40: 1 records: “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.”

The Psalmist was able to wait patiently because of the degree of conviction he had, that God was worth waiting for. We get flustered while waiting, only because we are unsure if the other party is coming. This is never the case for God. He is faithful unto His people and will never make our wait futile.

O For A Thousand A Soul To Save

by Rev Sng Chong Hui

I met a former church member at the hawkers centre.

While browsing through the stalls deciding what to eat, a voice called out, “Pastor!” I turned around and immediately recognized the familiar face. She was a faithful member of the choir in my previous church many years ago.

We had so much to catch up with each other. I learned that she had cancer and is now under remission. She told me that she is perfectly at peace and how she helped to comfort a fellow patient warded next to her in the hospital.

Then she recounted how she had financially helped her niece who was treated for fourth stage cancer. Initially she paid $50,000 for her hospital bill and then she gave an additional $100,000 for her subsequent follow up treatment. In total it was a hefty sum of $150,000.

Even though her niece was given only three months to live yet by the grace of God, she survived two more years. During that time she shared her testimony of the grace of God at a huge gathering in Pulau Bintan. Many were deeply moved by her sharing.

And the Pastor who organized the rally later told my former church member that 1500 persons accepted Christ that day.

The church member was awed by the report. It dawned upon her that the enormous sum of $150,000 she had given to help her niece was worth it. Her niece touched 1500 persons for Christ. It was a thousand a soul to save.

And the church member added that if she could give a thousand for a soul she would gladly do so for the soul is worth every amount given to save.

For so our Lord Jesus tells us:

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 6:26 NLT)

He also reveals to us:

“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God …” (Luke 15:7 NLT)

That day there might have been quite a heavenly raucous over 1500 that returned to God.

Let’s bring on the party in heaven!