Grace and Peace

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 1: 2 (NIV)

Grace and peace are words which are loaded with theological meaning. But it could simply be said that these two are the essence of a content life. After all what a man needs except God’s grace and God’s peace to make the life happy.

Paul is greeting the Philippian church members with the wish that they might have this grace and peace. It is the common greetings he uses in most of his letters. In this way he also reminds the readers that his desire for them is to receive these two important things which Christ offers.

Paul defines the gospel to the Ephesian leaders as gospel of grace of God (Acts 20: 24) and gospel of peace (Eph 6: 15). It is the gospel or the good news of Jesus Christ which brings grace of God to us through salvation and ultimately results in bringing peace between God and man.

This peace is the result of Grace of God!

This peace is the unshakable peace!

And this peace is not dependent on the circumstances and it is given to us as a gift from God because of the Grace.

The modern man is driven by many ambitions in life. He is too busy pursing happiness without realizing that it is only by receiving Grace and Peace from God he could be happy. This is what we strive for throughout our lives through our jobs, families and other activities. God is giving these things free through the gospel of his son. When we humbly receive this, we will have a fulfillment in our jobs, families etc.

Let we also desire to experience this grace and peace which God gives through Jesus Christ every day.

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Trust His heart

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Ezekiel 20:1-49; Proverbs 27:11

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Ezekiel 20:25-26 “Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.”

REFLECT
Ezekiel 20:25-26 seem to speak against the very characteristics of God i.e. His justice, love and holiness. How do we interpret these two verses? It seems that the “statutes” and “rules” in verse 25 do not refer to God’s statues and rules in verse 24 which were supposed to bring holiness.
The contrast between the two verses is obvious; God has given the Israelites up to the laws of foreigners and idolatrous practises which defile them; because they have repeatedly turned their eyes away from what is good and right.

The Hebrew word used for “gave” (verse 24) can also be translated as “permit” or “giving up”. Hence, God has permitted or given up His people to the devastating consequences of following foreign laws and gods. God did this because they have repeatedly chosen to be on the side of evil. They have done so even as Yahweh repeatedly rescued them. God did this so that Israel can truly learn that His way is the only way; this is so they can repent and come back to Him.

RELATE
Sometimes we ask the question why God would permit evil or sin to reign in certain situations. Isn’t He a good and holy God? I wonder if we are asking the right set of questions. Shouldn’t we be asking questions like why is there evil in the first place? Is God the author of evil or have evil come into this world through the fallen nature of humans?

Even as we found grace and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; have we stopped sinning against Him? Will we do any better than Adam and Eve when offered the fruit that entices power to be “like God”? When we repeatedly choose to sin against God; there will come a time when God might give us up to our sins to suffer the consequences.

This is so we remember that He is the Lord and that we can come back to Him. So even as God permit evil or sin to reign in certain situations of our lives; trust His heart and seek repentance where need be. Trust His heart; because all He want for you and for me, is to know that He is the Lord and that we can continue to walk gloriously in Him. It might be painful but it is worth it.

As 1 Peter 2:1-3 says: “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like new born infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

REST
Lord God, even as we found salvation in Christ, may You continue to chisel us in areas of our lives that need transformation. This is so we can continue to grow in You and enjoy You as our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Day 65

by Rev Joel Yong

Judges 20:5-6
The citizens of Gibeah came to attack me. They surrounded the house where I was staying that night. They intended to kill me, but instead, they raped my concubine until she died. So I took my concubine and cut her into pieces. Then I sent the pieces throughout the territory of Israel. I did this because the citizens of Gibeah did this perverted and godless thing in Israel.

The Gibeans had abused his concubine until she died. It was a horrific crime.

The Levite’s response , to get people to notice his misfortune- was to cut up the corpse into pieces and send it to all parts of Israel so his fellow countrymen might be shocked – at receiving these body parts- and come to hear his story and avenge him.

Sometimes we read headline after headline and become numb to tragedies in our world.
That in order to get our attention- our fellow men have to resort to extraordinary means.

I pray we will never become so numb to the needy in our midst that they would need to cry out in extraordinary ways just to get our attention.
I know God’s eyes are always on the lookout and He hears our cries and we never need to resort to such measures to get Him to remember us – therefore let us be similarly watchful.