The Righteous Will Flourish

Ps.92:12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

God blesses those who love Him and who walk in His way – the way of righteousness. Just as He has made us the righteousness of Christ, He has also called us to walk righteously. No one who is made righteous and who chooses to continue to live in sin and darkness pleases the Lord. The Lord is full of grace and truth, loving and righteous, merciful and holy at the same time! It’s not “either-or”, it’s “both-and”.

Day 303

by Rev Joel Yong

Ephesians 1:16-19
I never stop thanking God for you. I always remember you in my prayers. I pray that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better. Then you will have deeper insight. You will know the confidence that he calls you to have and the glorious wealth that God’s people will inherit. You will also know the unlimited greatness of his power as it works with might and strength for us, the believers.

The apostle prays for the church to know God better. He prays they will understand what He calls them to and the inheritance they will receive.

He is praying they will be secure in their identity after knowing this and not live as if this life and the treasures of this world are all there is.

He also prays they will know of God’s might and trust in His ability to deliver and to save.
This too will grant them security and faith in life.

I think these are great prayers to pray for our kids.
If we are to leave them anything- this is it.

The security of knowing who they are in Christ and that the God who loves them is powerful, loving and faithful.

Nothing will rock their boat in life if they know these truths.

Blood and the new life

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Leviticus 16:29 – 18:30; Proverbs 10:27-28

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

REFLECT
Why must it be the blood that that makes atonement for sins? Why can’t it be any other parts of the body of the sacrifice? As the Lord said it, because it is the life. The blood is the life of the flesh and therefore only the blood can atone for sins; because sin causes death. Life, represented by the blood of the sacrifices must be brought to the altar of the holy God to atone for sins which causes death.

The people of Israel were taught that blood is sacred. They were taught in Deuteronomy 12:23 that the blood is the life and therefore they must not eat the life with the meat. As the idea of the sacredness of blood was passed through the generations, the Jews developed elaborate rituals (kashrut) regarding the consumption of food and the slaughter of animals. For example, an animal must be ritually slaughtered, not just by anyone, but by someone certified to do so (shochet) and all the blood drained out of the carcass before it can be kosher (pure) for consumption.

RELATE
I have a fear of seeing blood being shed. Especially my own blood. I will feel dizzy just by looking at the tube drawing my blood when I go for blood donation drives. So these days, I will just be looking at everything else, except for that tube. Yet, I also know that blood gives life and this amazing creation by our Lord is meant to provoke certain feelings in us, unlike any other parts of our body.

My children, when they see blood on their hands or legs when they had a fall, would immediately ask for help. Just a few weeks ago, Elyse was trying to use a stapler and incidentally stapled her finger. I brought her to the sink and pull out the staple. That caused just a slight trickle of blood; but it was enough to cause a little pain to my heart.

Blood is created to be the life of all humans and animals; and we are created to react to it in a certain manner. We are supposed to view it as precious. We are supposed to view it as sacred. Yet, blood is mindlessly shed on a daily basis when humans violently slaughtered one another through civil wars, greed, lust and revenge. When we watch all these in the news, or even what is acted out in the movies on a regular basis, we might become “desensitized” to the seriousness of all that is happening.

Yet, the sacredness of blood is reality. God created it that way. If our blood, stained by sin, is sacred and precious to God; how much more the blood of Christ? Hebrews 9:13-14 says: “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

So Jesus’ death on the cross not only atone for our sins, but brings the new life to those who believe. In other words, our redemption through the blood of Christ is not just about the forgiveness of sins. It is also about living out what is given as the new life to us. So it is not just about being cleanse of our sinful habits; but learning more and more to love as God loves. This new life also compels us into making life choices which we would not have otherwise made if we still dwell in our old ways.

Our blood is sacred and now the blood in our veins are changed by the blood of Christ which is much more sacred. Question is, are we consistently living out what is now pumping in our veins as the new life? Or are there times where we will still look back and find pleasures or comfort dwelling in the old?

REST
Lord our God, help us to live as a people who truly understand that it is the new life that we have been redeemed for. Amen.

Day 302

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 6:17
From now on, don’t make any trouble for me! After all, I carry the scars of Jesus on my body.

The Judaizers were asking the believers to get circumcised- so that by those physical marks they would gain acceptance. The mark of circumcision was their badge of identity.

Paul instead references the physical marks on his body- scars received because he suffered beatings for preaching Christ – as his sign of acceptance by God as His messenger.

Paul had actual fruit from his ministry.
He preached and people were converted.
He taught about Jesus and authorities tried to stop him from doing so.
He pressed on and did not give up when the going was tough.

As Paul wrote-

Galatians 6:15
Certainly, it doesn’t matter whether a person is circumcised or not. Rather, what matters is being a new creation.

The mark of genuine followership of Jesus is proved by the transformation one has undergone by yielding his life to God. Not about mere talk and boasts.

Paul had a transformed life.
He went from being a persecutor of the Christians, and became a vocal advocate.
He went from being a self-righteous man, and became one who trusted only in Christ’s righteousness.
From a murderer watching the coats of those who stoned Stephen, he became a minister of Jesus.

Our identity is not proven merely by the cross pendant we wear on our necks.
It is proven by the change in our lives and what we do.
We are not merely a people who go to church.

No we are a people who have become the Church.

Day 301

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 5:1-4
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Paul was writing to the Galatian church and warning them not to try and justify themselves by undergoing the Jewish rite of circumcision.
He was saying to them, “Christ is enough!”
There is no need to further obey such observances to get us to be accepted as the people of God.

Indeed the Son has set us free and we are free indeed.
But there are those of us, who enter again into chains of bondage when we try to find our identity through other means, such as seeking approval from people, from the achievements we can accomplish, or from the accumulated stuff we have.

Friends, we may not be choosing circumcision like the church in Galatia but we are still trying to find our identity through means other than Christ!
In so doing, we may walk free and be declared righteous in Christ but we put ourselves in shackles!
I say this because you are never free, when who you are- depends on what your friends, and family thinks of you.
You are never free, when who you are-depends on the accomplishments you have, and the list of titles you have.
You are never free, when what you own gives status and meaning to who you are.

No.
We ought to be a people who are first and foremost, the people redeemed by Christ and adopted as sons and daughters of God.
It is from this place of security in knowing who we are, that we live out our God-given identities and destinies.
And none of these are higher or lower than the other because all are servants of God with an equal place at His table.

Lobster anyone?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Lev 14; Pro 10:26

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 14:54-57
“This is the law for any leprous sore and scale, for the leprosy of a garment and of a house, for a swelling and a scab and a bright spot, to teach when it is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law of leprosy.”

REFLECT
Tough readings! And are these relevant for us? Leprous skins, garments and houses … what’s that got to do with us? And why must there be religious rituals to deal with physical uncleanness! Well, the law of Moses seemed to connect every sickness with sin, and every healing with God. That’s why the sin offering was required for cleansing. And the burnt offering was required as an act of thanksgiving/ worship for God’s healing grace. While we don’t fully grasp the meaning of “the law of leprosy”, we cannot miss God’s demand for us to be clean.

RELATE
Just before writing this post, I was served at lunch my first ever whole lobster – barbecued to perfection! Such delicacies are cheap here, especially in the seaside town where I’m staying. Then I remembered Leviticus – unclean!! Yes, this lobster would not have made it to the Jewish dining table. So what has changed from the time of Moses, till now? How could I eat this 1-foot lobster with my conscience clear? In fact, I could ask – how can one be a Chinese and not break all the food laws of Leviticus? I suppose the simple answer would be – I’m Chinese, not Jewish. More accurately, I’m a Christian, not an Israelite. While it is critical for me to be clean, the focus of holiness is now of the heart.

REST
Lord, teach me to discern between clean and unclean, good and evil, holy and hollow.

Day 300

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 4:1-7
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Growing up I always imagined what it would be like if one day I would be found to have a long lost relative who bequeathed a fortune to me.
And how I would go from rags to riches overnight.

It was only wishful thinking because I have no such family or links to wealth.

But when I opened the New Testament I found that I am a son of the Most High God- my adoption made possible through what Jesus did for me on the Cross!
Wow.

Who gives a hoot about what the rich men of the earth have?
I have an inheritance from the One who owns the universe!

Jesus is all we need.
Stop pining for man’s success.
Stop pining for earthly riches.
That is thinking too small.

Your Father has everything and wants to give you all He has in store.
Live for Him.
No one else is worthy.

Day 299

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 3:7-9
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, In you shall all the nations be blessed. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

What comforting words.
God did not choose only those of a certain race or language to be saved.

He wanted ALL to be saved.
The way they could be saved- wasn’t through their deeds or accomplishments but by faith in God alone.

Best of all, it was not an exception made as an after-thought that allowed Gentiles to creep into the Kingdom.
It was already planned from the start when God made His promise to Abraham as seen by His choice of words above.

Galatians 3:26-29
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

I believe that Jesus is enough for me.

 

Day 298

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 1:10
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.

I do not seek to impress men either.
I have found that being spoken highly of by people is a mere vanity.
For the hearts of men are fickle- people can speak well of you today and turn against you tomorrow.

Look at what happened to Jesus on Palm Sunday and the reception He received.
Then look at Good Friday and the mob that hurled insults at Him.

If it was that way for Him, it will not be too different for us.
For a servant is not above his Master- what Jesus endured, so must we.

If anyone seeks fame and riches- he should not be in the business of this work of being a servant of Christ.
Honestly there is no money to be made when one seeks to be true to this work.
The pay is not comparable to what the world can offer to pay you in another vocation.
Neither is there a ladder of promotional titles that can be climbed or that is worth climbing at all.
There is no fame that is worth pursuing. Only rejoice that the King of Kings knows your name. And that is enough.

So let us serve God solely for the reason that we love Him and we do so because He first loved us.

Day 297

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Indeed.
His power is made perfect in weakness.

When a barren old couple suddenly conceives …
When a man rises from prison to become Pharaoh’s right hand man because of dreams he interprets …
When a shepherd boy kills a gigantic war veteran …
When a carpenter becomes the greatest teacher Israel has ever seen …
When an execution tool that extinguishes life, becomes the symbol of God’s hope and promise of eternal life for all of mankind …

Oh yes indeed.
He loves to show His power when we are at our weakest.

When it looks like it’s inconceivable that any glimmer of hope might still exist- God comes and does the impossible.

Then glory isn’t given to one’s body or abilities or accomplishments.
It’s not possible that any of these created the miracles we note in the above cases.

The answer is clear.
The direction our praise and thanksgiving should go to, is also clear.

It’s God who did it and who deserves the praise and glory.

Day 296

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 10:7-8
Look at the plain facts! If anyone is confident he belongs to Christ, he should take note that we also belong to Christ. So, if I brag a little too much about the authority which the Lord gave us, I’m not ashamed. The Lord gave us this authority to help you, not to hurt you.

Paul wrote about the authority he had to lead and admonish the church.
There were some in the church in Corinth who spoke against Paul’s and his co-workers’ authority.

Paul points out that a true Christ follower would recognize that Paul and his co-workers are also followers of Christ.
Now the next sentence is crucial- he writes: “The Lord gave us this authority to help you, not to hurt you.”

That is important for us to remember.
I have used this example before- when we go for a checkup and the doctor presses with his hands on certain spots of our body and asks: “Does it hurt here?”- he is checking for problems in our body.

And if it hurts- it’s either:
A. the doctor pressed too hard.
B. there is something wrong with our body, underneath the area he just pressed.

Now when you think your pastor or leader is harsh- ask yourself:
A. is he really pressing too hard
B. maybe there is something wrong with my soul that needs correction and God is using my pastor or leader in the church to help me detect and subsequently fix it.

For God gives our leaders authority, to help us, not to hurt us.
We should yield and submit to their leadership rather than frustrate them.

Unless what we are called to do, is anti-biblical.
Then the Word should be our guiding basis over human preference.

We are the ones who are “old-fashioned”!

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Psalms 45:1-17

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 6:1-5 “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the LORD by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor  or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely- in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby-  if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.”

REFLECT
In the time of Moses, when one person sinned against another; it was considered a “breach of faith” against the Lord. The person who sinned must not only bring a guilt offering to the Lord, but must make full restoration to what was owed or robbed of. Such was the seriousness of how the Lord took to the commandment of loving our neighbours. In fact, many of the laws in Leviticus laid on the principle that if one says he loves the Lord; such “love” must be demonstrated through his actions – through loving of the neighbour. In other words, a person simply cannot say that he loves the Lord without being a loving and active participant within the family of faith. Such an important principle was also emphasized by Jesus throughout the Gospels.

RELATE
Some believers wondered if the laws in Leviticus are “old-fashioned” or “irrelevant”. I thought today’s reading suggest otherwise; that the modern day church might be one who is “old-fashioned” instead! I mean, how have we the modern church taken to the principle of making “full restoration” to our neighbour if we had hurt or oppressed them? Quite often, the church dare not even dwell in disciplinary or even conflict management issues. We frequently wave these issues away in the name of “peace” or even “grace”.

The truth is that we simply do not take seriously the importance of “restoration” and we have the tendency of sweeping things under the carpet. We pleaded for believers to quickly “forgive” one another; but we did not address the depth of the issue. We wanted to get things “over and done with” but we failed to care for the real needs of the ones who were hurt badly. We fear hard consequences; we always try to be the “nice guy” but that is simply prolonging the issue.

The book of Leviticus has much to teach the modern churches. While many of the laws do not apply to us anymore; there are many underlying godly principles that can serve us in very big ways. May we find courage to reflect on these principles and do what is good and right in God’s sight.

REST
Lord our God, we confess that we are an arrogant people.  We gloss over books of the Bible that seemed to be irrelevant but the truth is that we have no patience for them. Yet, we know that you have not given to us such books of the Bible just for the sake of historical data; but to also minister to our needs even up till today. Amen.

Day 295

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 9:1-11
I don’t need to write anything further to you about helping the Christians in Jerusalem. I know how willing you are to help, and I brag about you to the believers in the province of Macedonia. I tell them, “The people of Greece have been ready to send their collection since last year,” and your enthusiasm has moved most of them to act. I’ve sent my coworkers so that when we brag that you’re ready, we can back it up. Otherwise, if any Macedonians come with me, they might find out that you’re not ready after all. This would embarrass us for feeling so confident as much as it would embarrass you. So I thought that I should encourage our coworkers to visit you before I do and make arrangements for this gift that you had already promised to give. Then it will be the blessing it was intended to be, and it won’t be something you’re forced to do. Remember this: The farmer who plants a few seeds will have a very small harvest. But the farmer who plants because he has received God’s blessings will receive a harvest of God’s blessings in return. Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver. Besides, God will give you his constantly overflowing kindness. Then, when you always have everything you need, you can do more and more good things. Scripture says, “The righteous person gives freely to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.” God gives seed to the farmer and food to those who need to eat. God will also give you seed and multiply it. In your lives he will increase the things you do that have his approval. God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.

I love this text. Paul writes to the Grecian church and reminds them to deliver on what they promised to help the church in Jerusalem.

Seems they had some second thoughts and were wavering in their resolve and so he sends his coworkers first to them- to make sure they do what they promised.

Then Paul writes about the way in which Christians ought to give. He basically urges them to give because God multiplies godly gifts!

I like what Paul wrote – “God will make you rich enough SO THAT you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us. ”

God enables us to grow in wealth so that we can continue to give. When we give, we minister to others who in turn become grateful to God for so moving His church, to give!

Are you a godly giver?
Do you perceive that your wealth is given, SO THAT you can be generous?

Day 294

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 8:1-4
Brothers and sisters, we want you to know how God showed his kindness to the churches in the province of Macedonia. While they were being severely tested by suffering, their overflowing joy, along with their extreme poverty, has made them even more generous. I assure you that by their own free will they have given all they could, even more than they could afford. They made an appeal to us, begging us to let them participate in the ministry of God’s kindness to his holy people in Jerusalem.

Wow.
Sometimes people don’t pledge because they want to control where the money goes and they end up giving only to specific projects rather than tithe or pledge in general.
They don’t have the faith that the money would be managed to their satisfaction.

Some people give only what surpluses they may have.
No bountiful surplus- no giving.

And some people just give in obedience. They desire to be a part of God’s work through their giving.
Though they may be poor- they give.
Though the money will be managed by the church leaders according to their discernment- they give still.

That is what the Macedonian church did and is also why Paul commends them.

He notes that they even gave beyond what they could.
I guess these are hearts who know they have been saved by God at such a high price- and live their lives knowing they are His. Everything they have is His.

Lord, give me such a heart too.
To give selflessly to Your Kingdom’s work regardless of how much I may possess.

Worship 101

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Lev 1-3; Ps 44

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 1:1-2
Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.

REFLECT
How should humans worship God? While modern readers might look at Leviticus and it’s various types of offerings and conclude that the OT is old fashion – Christians must not make the same mistake. The key to worship is the word “offering”. While we prefer cash today, ancient Israelites only had animals, grain, and birds. What they have, they offer unto God. While it was “required” of them, the offering was released freely (1:3). God taught the people how to relate with Him by giving specific instructions. He still does. The question is, will we follow Him?

RELATE
There was a time in my Christian journey (even as a young pastor) when I saw the “worship” segment of a service as merely preparation for the sermon, i.e. the real thing. As such, I got very impatient when the worship leader repeated the singing over and over. Why can’t he get it over and done with?! So, while others were joyfully worshipping the Lord, I was foolishly missing the point. My eyes were on the clock, not on the Lord. Praise God for showing me my error sooner than later! Yes, time and discipline matters. But trust and devotion matters more.

REST
Lord, teach me how to worship You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes, teach me how to … love You!!

Day 293

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 5:1-4
For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

As I write this, my family is battling our 2nd round with the flu bug that has swept the island in recent weeks.

We keep fit and work out but sometimes a virulent strain of the bug still knocks us out. These bodies we have are limited and also not perfect.

But as Paul writes – Christians have a hope, that when this life ends and we cross from this world into God’s heaven- our flawed bodies are replaced by perfect ones that He has in store for us. Paul likens these bodies to “tents” meaning that out bodies are but shelter for what is within.

They wear out and get destroyed but one day we will have a permanent indestructible one.
Imagine that!
No more sickness or aging, no more pain or discomfort … no more white hair, wrinkles and cellulite?

But more important than physical perfection- our souls will be cleansed and perfect by then.
You see- physical perfection and eternal life means nothing if our souls are unclean and we live sinful lives. In fact, that would make life – a living hell.

Imagine beings that do not perish after a normal human lifespan and who live for hundreds of years, and who live in sin. That is what the Devil and his demons are like! Although, the Bible does teach, that one day even such evil beings perish in the lake of fire, under God’s judgment.

Yes God desires for us to have the complete package- not just physical bodies that are perfected but souls that are cleansed as well.

So that is a great reminder to myself- to not just work my body but to train my spirit as well.

Day 292

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Do not lose heart- the apostle says.
He knows it’s hard not to- especially when our bodies, which we can behold with our eyes, are wearing out.
It’s hard when circumstances seem to be, not in our favor.
It’s hard when we have labored for a long time and our numbers are few.

But Paul writes that these are momentary afflictions.
They will pass. He has faith that it will.

After all- the apostles knew that on Friday- they wept at Jesus’ cross and grave but on Sunday- they were in awe of His resurrection.

Friends- you might be experiencing physical affliction or persecution – and I would ask that you repeat this to help you remember to fix your eyes on Jesus.
Say it to yourself: “It’s Friday but Sunday is coming.”

I love this verse from the passage above, the best -“For things that are seen are transient and things that are unseen are eternal.”
Let’s remember that today.

Day 291

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 3:1-3
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Now and then I get to read CVs and interview job applicants. People usually try to cite their achievements as well as the courses they have attended and responsibilities they have shouldered. The idea is to impress.

But here is what Paul says- the church is proof of his work.
The lives of believers are like fruit of his labor.

What fruit have we borne for the kingdom of God?
It is a sign of how faithful we have been.

We are called to follow Jesus and if we do that faithfully- there will always be lives touched as a result of our faithful obedience in following Him.

Paul writes on-

2 Corinthians 3:5-6
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Our sufficiency is from God.
Yes indeed! He made us competent!

He made Moses the stutterer – His diplomat to secure the release of the Hebrews.
He made David the shepherd boy triumph over a giant battle hardened soldier.
He makes us all competent!!

Start looking at God my friend.
Keep your focus on Him, rather than be distracted by your own strengths or shortcomings.

Day 290

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Corinthians 16:10-11
When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Paul was concerned that some would despise Timothy because of his youth.
So he made sure he gave prior instructions to the church to welcome him and support him.

It is true that age based discrimination can occur as we may view that a young minister may not be able to be as good as an older one.

I chuckle when I remember that when i first started ministry- people commented on how young I was.

Now I am due for my 2nd long service award and people still say I look young!

More stories for chuckles – I have officiated at weddings whereby the anxious parents of the bride have been concerned upon seeing what I look like – and worried as to whether such a young pastor would fumble at the proceedings! They would ask for my credentials and how many weddings I have officiated previously!

But we can thank God that He does not look at your age or your background or your abilities when He calls you to His work.

Check out what He said to Moses the self-confessed stutterer-

Exodus 4:10-12
But Moses said to the Lord, Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue. Then the Lord said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

Say it with me.
“It’s not about the form or shape of the tool. It’s what the Master can do as His hands pick up the tool that matters.”

Stop looking at yourself or the weaknesses that are abound in an individual and begin doubting.
Rather look past that and look at what God can do in spite of all these flaws and shortcomings.

Live by faith and not by sight.

Day 289

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Corinthians 12:7
The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone.

The manifestation of the Spirit is not like a magic trick meant to astound and leave the audience in awe of the performer.

No. It is for the good of all who are witnesses to it.

The ASV translation records it this way-

1 Corinthians 12:7
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal.

Everyone profits. When the Spirit manifests in itself through various gifts given to God’s Church. It builds up the faith of the community of believers. Like a signpost – the Spirit points us to God and not a mere mortal.

There are some, however, who like the magician Simon- seek to gain such spiritual gifts for their own purposes and glory. They seek to impress so their names might be lifted high.

Acts 8:18-23 records it this way-

    18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Let us serve God and be good stewards of the manifold gifts of the Spirit He has given to us in the Church.

Being faithful stewards- may these all point people to Jesus and lead them to glorify Him!