Romans 13:1-2

by Rev Joel Yong

Romans 13:1-2 declares: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and they will be punished.”

Scripture tells us that in submitting to our authorities here on Earth, we honor God. We show that we trust that He is sovereign and in charge – by obeying, even when we find it difficult to submit to our authorities on Earth.

Whom do we seek?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Isaiah 37:1-38:22; Proverbs 23:24

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Isaiah 37:1 “As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD.”

REFLECT
Isaiah 37:1 records one of the many instances where King Hezekiah sought help from God when he faced challenges. Not only that, he mourned and got upset over Assyria’s insults towards the Almighty; all because his loyalty and love was for Yahweh. At the end of his reign, Hezekiah was considered to be one of Judah’s most prominent and faithful Kings. Hezekiah was able to overcome many challenges in his personal life and reign of Judah because he knew whom to seek.

RELATE
Do we know who to seek when we face emotional or spiritual challenges? Do we seek our own strength in trying to solve the problem? Do we seek distractions from ungodly means in order to “tide over” the pain of such challenges? Do we even go to charlatans who speak easy believism so as to sooth the pain in our souls?

All these are temporal measures at best, destructive forces at worst. As King Hezekiah had demonstrated, the best way is to seek the Lord and meet the challenges head on. This could come in the way of talking to a fellow brother or sister in Christ whom we can trust to give wise counsel; going to the Lord in solitude and prayer; and abiding in His Word.

REST
Lord, may you give us grace to cultivate the good way of seeking after You in the “big” and “small” things that are happening in our lives; this is so we can increasingly learn to converse and rely on You. Amen.

Psalm 38:15

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 38:15 declares: “For in You, O LORD, I hope.”

The foundation of our hope matters. A man placing his hope in his one ticket to win the lottery, has a very unstable foundation for his belief. We trust however in God who has proved Himself, to be powerful and loving throughout the centuries in Scripture and in our lives. We will not be disappointed for the God we trust ourselves to, has no rivals or parallels.

True freedom

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Galatians 5:1-12; Psalm 63:1-11

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

REFLECT
In Galatians 5, Paul reminded the believers that they should not accept the false teaching that circumcision (a representation of the law) would be able to save them. Where salvation is concerned, it is either the law or grace in Christ; there is simply no “middle way”. It is precisely for our “freedom” that Jesus has chosen the way of the Cross.

Yet, what is this “freedom” that has been redeemed for us through the blood of Christ? Is it a freedom to do what we want in the name of the grace of God? Apparently not. Paul said in Romans 6 that because of Christ we have died to sin and hence should not continue to live in it.

Christ did not die to give us freedom to sin or to indulge in our own flesh. “Grace” is not a licence to live as if what happened on earth does not matter for eternity. Instead, Christ died so that we can have freedom to live as God’s children for His glory. Christ died so that we are free from the power of sin and the tyranny of the self. Christ died so that we are now empowered in the Spirit to freely obey God and serve Him. True freedom in Christ rejoices in the privilege to live in the Spirit and shuns the false freedom of being indulgent in the bonds of the flesh.

RELATE
After conversion, the very first thing I marvelled as a child of God is the freedom from the power of sin. Empowered by the Spirit, I discovered that I can flee from temptations and overcome what previously seemed impossible. My first realisation of such an empowerment touched my heart deeply and brought me to great gratitude in the grace of God.  Indeed, it is by the grace of God that I can experience what true freedom is really about. May the Lord help me to continue to marvel at His grace. This is so that I would not take His offer of true freedom for granted; and hence slip into sin.

REST
Lord, thank You for allowing us to find true freedom in You. May You open the hearts of those we are praying for to receive this gift of true freedom in You. Help us to constantly marvel at the grace You have given to us in Christ Jesus. This is so we can continue to serve You with a heart of thanks-giving. Amen.

Luke 13:13

by Rev Joel Yong

Luke 13:13 records Jesus as saying “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

Jesus pointed out the fallibility of humans to become slaves to wealth that they have accumulated. The riches they have make it tough to focus on God as the center of their lives. Note that the Bible never teaches that it is wrong to have wealth – many texts speak of the likes of Abraham and others being blessed with many possessions. However the danger is when these blessings of wealth distract us from the Source of blessings – God Himself. Choose today, to serve God and not money.

Law and Faith

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Galatians 3:10-22, Psalm 61:1-8

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Galatians 3:19 “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.”

REFLECT
God does not do anything superfluous or embark on anything that is unnecessary. Hence, the law was not given because God had nothing better to do or to make human life more miserable. Rather the law was given because of our transgressions. The law was given so that it reflects our own depravity and hence by the Lord’s grace, a recognition for repentance and the need for a Saviour. By itself, the law cannot save. Only faith in Jesus can save.

Yet, there could be times when we tried to rely on the law to save ourselves. We did so when we thought that we can rely on our own strength to help us overcome. It seemed much easier to be able to do so. In comparison, having a relationship with Jesus is difficult because it is costly. Having a relationship with Jesus is challenging because we know that whatever He said for us to obey in the Bible is good and right.

RELATE
During our church anniversary recently, many came together as a Body in Christ to give glory to the Lord for what He had done and what He is going to do. Even in the midst of the celebrations of many, God was at work in one brother’s heart.

After the service, I was given the privilege to pray with one brother to receive the Lordship of Christ. I explained to this brother that journeying with Jesus is not going to be easy. Yet, this does not deter him from wanting to give his life to Christ because he realised that He is the only way. We praise God that while the law has revealed the sins in this brother’s heart, Christ has given him grace to repent and showed him the way to salvation. Hallelujah!

REST
Thank you Lord. Even as we give glory unto Your Name, You are constantly at work in each of our hearts. We can never out-give you and can only worship Your Holy Name. Amen.

Judges 15:15

by Rev Joel Yong

Judges 15:15 states: “He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand, took it, and killed 1000 men with it.”

Samson had no proper weapon – neither sword nor spear. But he took what lay before him – a donkey’s jawbone, and with it, slew 1000 men. He was able to do this because it is said in verse 14, that the Spirit of the LORD took control of him. When God is with us, it doesn’t matter if we have the right tools, or if we have the right support. He is more than enough and with Him on our side, victory is assured. This week, would you call out to God, in your time of struggle? When you seek Him, with all your heart, He will come alongside you and lead you to a victorious life. Trust in Him, not in the strength of your arm nor the power of your sword.