Day 333

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Timothy 4:2-5
Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach. A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths. But you must keep a clear head in everything. Endure suffering. Do the work of a missionary. Devote yourself completely to your work.

Not everyone will welcome the spread of the gospel.
Not everyone will receive the gospel.

Too often we have misunderstood this and dogged work until a person accepts and is persuaded.

Our task is to be faithful messengers. It’s not our duty to ensure that people accept the message. God already knew that many would not.

He told Ezekiel the same thing.

Ezekiel 3:17-21
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the people of Israel. Listen to what I say, and warn them for me. Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don’t warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives. Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don’t turn from their wicked ways. Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself. If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die. If you don’t warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered. I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin, and they don’t sin, they will certainly live because they listened to the warning. You will save yourself.”

Ezekiel’s duty and ours are both clear.
Share the message that God has for the world. The outcome is beyond our control.
The duty we have is to be a faithful messenger- that’s what we ought to do.

 

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Day 332

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Timothy 3:16-17
Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.

The Scriptures are tools God gives us.
These tools serve multiple purposes.

If a handyman carries a toolbox around- Christians carry the Word with them.
Both need their tools to carry out their task.

Ever heard of a handyman who had no hammer? No.
Ever heard of a Christian who didn’t know the Word? Strangely yes.

Perhaps it’s because we don’t get it.
Some believe the faith is like an insurance policy you purchase – it covers you and you know the benefits and after you have signed up for it – you needn’t give it any thought. That is, until it’s time to make payment again.

No. The faith is a relationship we build with Christ our Lord and Master. It’s all about knowing God and obeying God.
Like any relationship, it requires regular input and nurture to be healthy.

A handyman is versatile in using a drill, a hammer, a screwdriver, the pliers and even the saw. He knows which nut or screw to use for the job he is carrying out.

Likewise- if you are believer – are you equally versatile and comfortable with the Scriptures such that you know how to apply its truth in each situation you find yourself in, in life?

If not- it’s time to familiarize yourself with God’s Word.
Don’t just rely on a famed speaker or your pastor or cell group leader. You ARE the handyman. You must know the tools the Master has given unto you.

Start reading today and when you don’t understand it- download or refer to a free online commentary such as Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible or the Jamieson Fausset Brown commentary. Both are available online for free and will help you in explaining what each verse means!

Start today.
We all have to begin somewhere.

Don’t waste the tools God gave you. Use them.

Day 331

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

I take vitamins and herbal supplements to help my body function well and to be in a healthy state. Many of us do.

But there is another more crucial source of strengthening ourselves – through the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

You see, Jesus knew that the challenges of this life would be too much for us.
Remember what He said to the sleepy apostles in Gethsemane?

Matthew 26:40-41
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He knew we needed power from above to face such challenges. Paul was urging Timothy to draw such strength from Christ and to take the gospel teaching he had heard from Paul and equip trustworthy disciples with it – in order for them to spread the Word in ever widening circles.

This isn’t an easy work. There are forces in this world and the spiritual realm that oppose the spread of the gospel teaching.

Paul was persecuted for it. So were the other apostles. In fact, all of them died- executed for preaching the gospel. Only John lived to an old age in exile.

For such a task – it’s no wonder we will need spiritual strength from high above.
Pray for yourself and all this day who are entrusted with the good news that God will help us be faithful and persevering in our efforts to testify to the good news about Christ Jesus in this world that we live in.

Deny Myself? – A Biblical Message Not So Well-liked Today

Many of today’s Christians don’t like it when a sermon based on Mt.16:24-27 is preached. We prefer the comforting stuff such as “for God soooo loved the world, that He GAVE…” wrongly interpreting the word “so” (Greek: houtos) to mean the extent of God’s love when it actually means “thus, in this way”. Jn.3:16 should therefore be translated “for God loved the world this way – that He gave His only begotten son…..”. Mt.16:24-27 speaks of denying ourselves of what we want, desire and love and instead embracing what God wants, desires and loves. It warns us of the consequence of being self-indulgent and having a form of Christianity that is focused in ME – how much God loves ME, wants to bless ME, etc. Following Christ is never about serving our needs but serving God’s Kingdom purposes and the needs of others. And in so doing, God meets our needs. Have a great day!

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Aaronic Blessing

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Numbers 6:1-7:89; Proverbs 11:20-21

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
Numbers 6:22-27 “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

REFLECT
The “Aaronic blessing” that we know well was given to the whole of Israel when they were about to journey to the Promised Land. A study of the “blessing” noted the triple occurrence of “the LORD”; where a single occurrence should normally suffice in such a passage. Here, God wanted Israel to be strongly (threefold) reminded that He was to be the source of their grace, peace and strength. Israel was not to look at any other during the journey. They were to walk in faith of “the LORD” who rescued them out of Egypt and were to provide for their every need. The Hebrew grammar (jussive verbs) that is used in this passage illustrates that God desired these blessings for His beloved nation. Such an understanding of the Aaronic blessing provides a deeper appreciation of how God was angry and disappointed with His people when not long after they were on the journey; grumbled, rebelled, wanted to go back to Egypt and even involved themselves in idolatry.

RELATE
It is easy for me to blame Israel for their grumbling, rebellion and idolatry in spite of God’s strong promises through the Aaronic blessing. However, when I look at my own Christian walk with the Lord, am I necessarily any better? There are also times I grumbled and rebelled against His will even though I am constantly reminded that Christ is now my Savior and Lord. Christ is much better than the Aaronic blessing because His sacrifice has not only blessed me with all my needs; but even cleanse my conscience to live in freedom for His works. Such a spiritual freedom is precious. It is something which Israel had a taste, but never got to embrace in the fullness of Jesus.

The days I spend now on crutches reminds me of my daily need for the Lord and how at times, I have taken my own physical health for granted. May the Lord help me to learn in humility from the mistakes of Israel who despite the Aaronic blessing, rebelled against the Holy One. May the Lord convict me of the need to die to Him daily so that I can live the life that He desires.

REST
Help me Lord, to live a life pleasing to You. This is because You are a good good Father to all. Amen.

Day 330

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Timothy 1:3
I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did with a clear conscience as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Paul prayed constantly for Timothy. Timothy was like a son to Paul, and was also a co-worker and leader in the church.

Though the two were separated – they were united in prayer.

We should pray too – for those we have discipled or are in the process of doing so. We should also pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ that we have in the church – not only when they are sick or in crisis – but also in regular times, that they will remain faithful to Christ and walk strong in Him.

Who can you pray for today?
Don’t wait till nightfall – do it right now!

Day 329

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 6:20
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

Paul warns Timothy to stay focused. He reminds him not to be distracted by the arguments of false teachers under the guise of ‘knowledge’.

Our pursuit of God is clear and simple – we focus on Jesus alone and not these lengthy discourses that seek to impress men but fail to seek God.

Titus 1:14 refers to “… Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”

Sometimes the world will present to us a new teaching that seems to make sense and seems enlightening – but unless it comes from God’s Word and is consistent with what Jesus’ taught – then we ought not to follow it.

Focus matters. But it can only happen if we are properly anchored unto Christ – we have to know what He taught and why He taught it. And stay focused on His voice and not every wind of teaching that comes about by a persuasive speaker.