Day 364

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 11:3-13
I will allow my two witnesses who wear sackcloth to speak what God has revealed. They will speak for 1,260 days.” These witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands standing in the presence of the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to hurt them, fire comes out of the witnesses’ mouths and burns up their enemies. If anyone wants to hurt them, he must be killed the same way. These witnesses have authority to shut the sky in order to keep rain from falling during the time they speak what God has revealed. They have authority to turn water into blood and to strike the earth with any plague as often as they want. When the witnesses finish their testimony, the beast which comes from the bottomless pit will fight them, conquer them, and kill them. Their dead bodies will lie on the street of the important city where their Lord was crucified. The spiritual names of that city are Sodom and Egypt. For 3½ days some members of the people, tribes, languages, and nations will look at the witnesses’ dead bodies and will not allow anyone to bury them. Those living on earth will gloat over the witnesses’ death. They will celebrate and send gifts to each other because these two prophets had tormented those living on earth. After 3½ days the breath of life from God entered the two witnesses, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who watched them. The witnesses heard a loud voice from heaven calling to them, “Come up here.” They went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. At that moment a powerful earthquake struck. One-tenth of the city collapsed, 7,000 people were killed by the earthquake, and the rest were terrified. They gave glory to the God of heaven.

In the last days, 2 powerful witnesses for God will appear.

Some think – they will be Moses and Elijah, who met Jesus when He was transfigured.
Some think the apostle John will be one of them, for Jesus said to Peter:” If I want him to remain alive until my coming again, what is it to you?”

Regardless of who you think these witnesses are- note that they will preach for an exact number of days.

Almost 3 and a half years. During this time, anyone who attempts to hurt them or destroy them, will be destroyed.

But when the time is up, the beast will kill them and then like any cold blooded dictator, leave their corpses as an example of what happens to any that crosses his path. The evil people who belong to the beast, will celebrate this too.

But after 3 and a half days, they will be resurrected and an earthquake will destroy those who celebrate evil- leaving the survivors shocked and concluding that it must only be God who has done this.

These things will happen.
Let us be alert and watchful.
Let us be among those who sigh and groan at evil.
Rather than those who hate reproach and correction that comes from God.

Anger, Empathy and Love

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Psalm 77

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
1 Corinthians 13:5
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

While I don’t usually subscribe to the NIV, its translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the most helpful for me. Most challenging to me is the part on not being easily angered and not keeping record of wrongs. How difficult that is! I often ask myself, what makes a person lose their temper so quickly? Genetics? Physical and emotional tiredness? Perhaps. But I suspect the culprit is often the inability to empathize. We get angry with someone because we cannot understand why they behave so differently from what we expect. Be it with an inconsiderate driver, incompetent colleague, imperfect spouse, or uncooperative child – our quickness to anger reflects our own inability to love.

How easy it is to point the finger. When I lack love, I quickly put the blame on the other. It’s her fault. He made me so angry. Yet an honest look into my heart would reveal the root of the problem – my own pride, and my inability to embrace the weak and imperfect. No one can make me angry. I need to be reminded that anger need not be my only response to another person’s actions. Try mercy. Try sorrow. Try love.

Lord, the next time I am tempted to react angrily – show me a better way to live.

Day 363

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 7:1-4
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

In the last days, God will mark those who belong to Him.

He mentions this in Ezekiel – and again here.

Ezekiel 9:4
And the Lord said to him, Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.

The purpose is to set apart the people of God who hate sin, from those who indulge in sin before judgment comes upon the land.

It’s not new. The same was done during the Passover when God passed through Egypt.

Satan is a copycat and he attempts to copy this when the Antichrist seeks to mark those who belong to him, as a sign of allegiance.

Revelation of John 13:16-18
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

God will mark us.
The Antichrist will ask us to take his mark too.

I choose God.
It will mean persecution and tribulation in the end times. But I fear not the one who can destroy the body but not the soul.

What about you?

Day 362

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 3:15-19
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

The church in Laodicea was wealthy.
It had its belief, but was neither enthusiastic nor was it seriously corrupt. It was in-between.

It was prosperous and known for trading a certain eye ointment. Its wealth made the believers in the city comfortable and their passion for God cooled as they were distracted by other earthly pursuits.

No wonder, God speaks to them in the way He does.
He chides them – their expensive clothes, riches, eye ointments are nothing in reality.
They have not relied on God and were losing their dependence upon Him and instead had begun trusting in themselves.

Then God reminds them, saying He disciplines them because He loves them, not because of hatred or condemnation.

We are prosperous too, as a people. We have a freedom to worship, that other believers in the world may not enjoy.
It’s easy to get distracted and cease to pursue God as fervently in such comfort.

Beware. Our self-sufficiency is an illusion.
We are constantly in need of God.

Let us remember that we are nothing without God.
He alone is everything.
We are nothing.

Day 361

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 3:8
I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

The church in Philadelphia had been persevering. It has been hard but they have hung on.

Ever been there?
You are doing the right thing.
But people around you and the circumstances are not in your favor.

God’s word of comfort to persevering believers, is the same one He gave to the church in Philadelphia:

Revelation of John 3:11
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

He will come and save us.
He always does.

Don’t let go of God.

Day 360

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 3:1-2
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Wow … the church in Sardis had a reputation.
It meant they were famous and people knew it.

They had a rep for being alive.
Maybe they were vibrant and enthusiastic and had many programmes!

But God says He sees the truth.
They are dead despite the superficial impression of being alive.

Jamieson Fausset Brown records these observations: “The address to this Church is full of rebuke. It does not seem to have been in vain; for MELITO, bishop of Sardis in the second century, was eminent for piety and learning. He visited Palestine to assure himself and his flock as to the Old Testament canon and wrote an epistle on the subject.”

What about ourselves?
Do we project an exterior of life when our souls are really dead?
Do we merely sing louder and are more vocal than most but do not have an anchor deep inside of us, that grounds us in God’s truth?

It’s no wonder that when God instructs the Old Testament priests to dress a certain way … that the instructions include the type of underwear to put on.

Because the priest may look on the outside, to have worn everything God commanded. But only God and the priest will know if he is wearing the right underwear.

Obey God down to the innermost parts of your life.

Exodus 28:42-43
You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they bear guilt and die. This shall be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him.

Day 359

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 2:23
… And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.

There are those in the church in Thyatira – that are, warned of impending judgment and urged to repent.

They had been misled by a Jezebel in their midst and gone after false teachings that led to them compromising their sexual morality.

God reminds them that He searches our minds and hearts and knows our thoughts and intentions.
There is nothing we can hide from Him.
We may be able to hide it from our spouse or our boss but God knows EVERYTHING.

Let us come clean before God every day.
Confessing our sins.
Seeking His help in our weaknesses.
And trusting that He loves us enough to want to help us overcome our weaknesses, one step at a time!