by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Galatians 5:13-26; Psalms 89:1-13

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

“Freedom”. What does this word mean in the context of Paul’s letter to the Galatians? When Paul said that the Christians in Galatia were “called to freedom”; he meant our freedom in Jesus Christ. Freedom in Christ has to do with Jesus’ work on the cross; which was to be sin so as to atone for the sins of those who believe. The act of atonement tore the veil in the temple in half; which signified that those who have faith in Christ is no longer subject to sin and death under the law. In Christ, we are freed from condemnation under the law.

Therefore, Paul told the Galatians not to use their new found freedom for what it was intended to destroy i.e. subjecting ourselves to the law again and giving ourselves to sinful behaviours. Instead, the Galatians were encouraged to use their new found freedom to love one another. Such shall be the rightful behaviours of those who by God’s grace, had been saved through faith.

One of my favourite movies of all time is “Braveheart” directed by Mel Gibson. It was a movie based loosely on the history of William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who led the Scots in their first war of independence against King Edward I. One of the famous quotes from the movie is a war cry from William Wallace while he tried to inspire his vastly outnumbered army: “They may take away our lives, but they will never take away our freedom!”

Freedom is important to the soul of humankind. Historically, we know of many men and women who fought for their own freedom as well as the freedom of others. Many of such battles were fought on the grounds of emotional as well as physical freedom. Yet, even as such demonstrations of courage to be “freed” are commendable; we can never be truly free without Jesus Christ. Without Christ, even if we enjoy all degrees of physical and emotional freedom; we can never have spiritual freedom.

Without Christ, we can never be freed from the spiritual prison of the sins we have committed, committing or going to commit. Without Christ, we are doomed to the judgment of God even if on the outset, we enjoyed the freedom of the flesh. Galatians 5 reminded me of how precious the spiritual freedom from Christ truly is. As a child of God in Jesus; I am now truly free in all sense of the word. How marvellous such love and grace is from my God who desires true freedom for all of His children.

Lord, help me to use my freedom to love You and one another. This is so I may not abuse such a precious gift You have given to me, but to use it for Your glory purpose. Amen.

Is Real Life-Change Happening?

Possibly the most difficult thing most pastors and church leaders face is teaching, leading and helping believers obey everything the Lord had commanded us. The question is how can we do this most effectively? There are many things we can do that contribute to it such as life-changing sermons, God-encountering worship and prayer, authentic friendship, warm small group life and insightful Bible study. All the above in so many churches need to be scrutinized and reformed though. Beyond the above, I think there is something else of critical importance – ONE-TO-ONE mentoring! The most natural way this can take place is within a small group. I have come to realize that I can have good attendance at small group meetings and inspiring meetings but if no one in my group (including me the leader) takes time to befriend, support, encourage and guide one another at a one-to-one level, we won’t be able to help fellow believers obey everything the Lord has commanded us. And without obedience, we will not fulfill God’s destiny for our lives.

Why Paul so ‘Law Saul’?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Galatians 3:23-4:31

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Galatians 3:24-25
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Paul really took pains to help the Galatians understand the purpose of the Law. Well, he was a Pharisee after all. The Law was a big deal to the Jews, and had been central to their nation’s history and conscience. But now that Christ has come, the Law’s role as tutor/guardian was no longer necessary. But does it still have a role? While the food, festival, ceremonial and sacrificial laws are no longer relevant to us, how about the 10 commandments? Or laws concerning war, homosexuality, or slavery? Who decides which laws make it into the New Testament? No wonder Paul had to be so ‘Law Saul’ (long-winded)!

It is clear by the end of Galatians that Paul upheld the need for a holy life – free from sexual immorality, idolatry, hatred, envy, and the like. He reminded us that our freedom from the Law is not for us to indulge in selfish urges (5:13). Rather, it is to free Christians to serve and bless others. This is tough for those of us who live in the First World – where spending power is great, and the lure to self-actualisation (be yourself!) is strong. Yet Jesus offered a simpler answer to the problem of the Law – deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me. This is the only way to a truly happy and fulfilled Life.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Grant me wisdom to understand Your truths, and faith to live them out. Amen.

The Test of Successful Discipleship

A very important key to intentional discipleship is found in what Jesus said in Mt.28:20a – “and teaching them to OBEY EVERYTHING I have COMMANDED you.” If every Christian in every church obeys everything Jesus commanded us, disciples and disciple-makers would explode exponentially! Well-crafted sermons, passionate worship, gourmet food, warm fellowship and intensive Bible study are all great but if they don’t result in fellow believers becoming obedient, then we have all wasted each other’s time, worst still, we have simply played church! That’s the big test of successful discipleship.

Are You a Son or Daughter of the King?

Do you see yourself as a son or daughter of the King? Every child of the King has both privileges and responsibilities. One of your privileges: You may call upon the Name of King Jesus in every situation, usher Him into where you are and invite Him to intervene and act for your benefit and protection according to His goodness that His Name may be glorified! One responsibility: To faithfully follow Him and obey His commands.

Jn.14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 If you love me, keep my commands.

The Church Is Not Perfect, But I Still Love Her!

THE CHURCH IS NOT PERFECT, but I still love her and I believe that the church is still God’s answer to human sinfulness and degeneration in society. What we need to do is to serve faithfully, love God’s people and BE THE CHANGE!

1Cor.15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

No Perfect Church

What will you be honoured by the Lord for?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Proverbs 13:9-10

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 34:10-12 “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

In judgement of Moses’ transgression at the waters of Meribah-kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13); God did not allow him to go into the Promised Land. For all the hard work that Moses had done in obedience of God, he was denied entrance into the land of milk and honey because at Meribah, Moses “broke faith” with God and did not treat God as holy in the midst of the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:51). This was a serious transgression; for Moses could potentially cause Israel to go into full rebellion against God when the people witnessed for themselves that even their great leader could be so irreverent towards the Almighty.

Yet, for this count of serious transgression, the punishment meted out to Moses did not cancel out the good work he had done in obedience of the Lord; neither did it cancel out the sincerity of Moses’ heart towards the Almighty. God is not Someone who would grow so angry and bitter towards people that He act in an unjust manner.

He is always fair and at the same time full of grace. Hence, we get to read in Deuteronomy 34:10-12, one of the most honouring words God had given to His servant: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,  none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

As I reflect on this passage, I know in my heart that I am no Moses. Given the same task, i will probably fail far before I reach the waters of Meribah. Yet, even as the form of Moses’ calling into ministry is so different from all of us; the essence of it is similar. Much as we are all called to fulfil God’s purposes whether in ministry, workplace or family; we are first called into “personal ministry”; the personal ministry of our worship of God. To me, our worship of God speaks of two major things: Awe and adoration. How much are we really in awe and adoration of the Almighty?

While Moses failed at Meribah and was justly punished for his sin; he was honoured for his other deeds. This was not because he had a much bigger task than us; but because the Lord greatly valued his sense of intimacy with Him. God knows that at the end of the day, Moses had awe and adoration for Him. For Moses was one whom the Lord “know face to face”. Such a phrase was unpacked for us in Exodus 33:11 which says “Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend …”  We see here that the sense of intimacy between God and Moses was unmistakable.

Hence, the question for us today will be: What do we want to be honoured by the Lord for at the end of our life on earth?

Will it be: “Well done, for you have done many great things in the church I have called you to!” Or will it be: “Well done, for you have stayed close to me and you have truly loved me and my people”! I would really choose the second one and praying that the Lord will help me to be so.

Oh Lord my God, help me to learn from Your servant Moses, who despite his weakness, had an intimate relationship with You. Such shall be the fountain for which all the works that You have entrusted to us; flow from. Amen.

Waking in the Supernatural 2

Walking in the Supernatural 2: Walking in the supernatural requires supernatural faith – faith that is beyond what is natural and ordinary for a person. It’s about having faith that does not waiver in the face of a tough situation – when things don’t go our way or when asked to do things we don’t feel like doing or when it’s something inconvenient to do. Such as that nudge of God to serve in a ministry, submit to your boss, ask for forgiveness, admit you’re wrong, go on a mission trip, continue to go to church during children’s exams period, go to prayer meeting even though work is keeping you busy, give up precious annual leave to do something for the Lord, etc. It’s the ability to see good about something or see God in something even when the path or task appears unpleasant. Supernatural faith dares to believe and dares to act when the odds are stacked against you and when the enemy taunts and belittles you. Supernatural faith is founded upon our supernatural God who has done the unimaginable and unexpected – sending His beloved Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins – the offended God crucified for the offenders – the God who raised Jesus from the dead and who mocked death and the grave saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1Cor.15:55) Supernatural faith is much needed amongst the saints today that the world may see God through our faith.

Am I rich or poor?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Deuteronomy 32:28-52; Proverbs 13:7-8

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Proverbs 13:8 (ESV)
The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.

The book of Proverbs has many sayings on the poor and the rich. Not surprising, as this is a reality in the world. In His wisdom, God has allowed for both rich and poor, strong and weak, big and small – to coexist. Yet the paradox is that the rich is not always better off, nor are the strong and big. While no one would want to fall under the category of “poor”, the Gospel is pretty clear that the poor are “blessed”, because theirs is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)

It is true that the rich has much more to lose than the poor. That’s why the rich worry, and the poor live carefree lives. That’s why we don’t hear of a poor man’s child being kidnapped. Now, just in case we are thinking that we are poor – think again. Do we have a bank account? Do we have three meals a day? Do we have a permanent roof over our head? Can we afford a family holiday? Do we go to bed each night knowing that the next day we will still have a job that provides for all of the above? Then we are rich, compared with the majority in this world. Today, may we give thanks for what we have, and not what we don’t.

Lord, help me to desire heavenly treasures above worldly wealth, deep relationships above temporal pleasures, and a holy character more than a beautiful appearance.

Walking in the Supernatural

supernatural - no ordinary lifeWalking in the Supernatural: It is vital that we walk in the supernatural every day! While we live in the natural, the supernatural God walks with us and talks with us. He wants to lead us into situations where through us, He can act to change a situation or transform a life, including our lives! First, be AWARE that He is with you. Second, be in constant conversation with Him – a very important part of this is to LISTEN to what He is saying to you. Third, ACT boldly on what He tells you even though it may feel awkward (as long as it does not lead to sin, injury and anything that opposes the written Word of God). Whether it is blessing a colleague, a friend or a stranger with something – a gift, an act of love or a word, don’t hesitate, DO IT and you will see the supernatural God in action through you! Jesus said in Jn.10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Have a great day!

Intimate Conversation with God

Oh how I long for songs that lead us into intimate conversation with the Lord, not just songs of declaration and proclamation that are loud and passionately sung. They are good and they give a good adrenaline rush – but I just love the moments when we draw near, go deeper and converse with the Lord through a simple song. Sometimes, every song in the set seems to be the declaration type songs (whether slow or fast). An example of a song that facilitates intimate conversation with the Lord is “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe – “The more I seek You, the more I find You, the more I find You, the more I love You, I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hands, lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heartbeat, this love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand, I melt in Your peace, it’s overwhelming”. That’s intimate conversation. There is a place for songs of declaration like, Kim Walker’s Happy Day, “Greatest day in history, death is beaten You have rescued me, shout it out, Jesus is alive!” but we need moments when we are engaged in deep, personal, intimate conversation with the Lord – conversations that express our love and hunger for Him and also to express our deep desire to be like Him in the way He lived and loved, in His holiness and express our passion to live to fulfill His Kingdom purposes. Declaration is like something you do in the outer court – but intimate conversation is what you do in the holy of holies, and the holy of holies is where divine exchanges take place – “You called, I answered, here am I, Lord, ready, willing and available, send me!”

Songs Form Our Theology


Hymns of old conveyed great biblical theology – though criticized for their use of secular tunes of the day, over the last 200 years or so, they have been embraced by churches all around the world, even the extremely conservative ones. Through the 1970s – 90s, many choruses were written for the church and they brought into corporate worship something that the hymn-writers have not emphasized – the element of personal communion & intimate conversation with God through songs of worship. “I worship You almighty God, there is none like You, I worship You, O Prince of peace, this is what I long to do ….”, “Within the veil, I now would come, into Thy holy place to look upon Thy face ….”, “O Lord, You’re beautiful, Your face is what I see ….”, etc. These are words of the choruses written in that era, an era characterized by intimate worship – deep personal expressions of desire, worship, devotion and surrender. Of course, there were also many songs written about other themes. For instance, songs about spiritual warfare that encourage Christians to fight and win spiritual battles against the devil – our unseen enemy. Today, there seems to be an interesting reversal to writing songs with lyrics and tunes similar to the hymns – but sung to modern musical arrangement. For example, 10000 Reasons, Cornerstone, etc. There is good solid theology in these new songs and that is always a good thing. There is also a strong emphasis on declaring the love of God the Father, the Father-child relationship (yet not so much on intimate communion and personal conversation with God; neither is our relationship with God as His servants found in most songs today). This emphasis on God’s love for us is also often expressed in the first person singular – “for me”. As a result, if the worship leader is not careful in his or her selection of songs, week after week, he or she will end up leading the congregation into a ME-focused, ME-centred worship (isn’t it supposed to be all about Him?). Isn’t that what worship means? Primarily to offer something to do the Lord – our hearts, our lives and our resources, and not primarily focused on receiving or being thankful for what we have received? While there is a place for songs of gratitude and even songs of comfort, these songs should not dominate our worship experiences which should be mainly focused on us offering something to God in worship. And it doesn’t help when our mindset is often about how to minister to the people forgetting that in worship, we are supposed to lead people to minister to the Lord! The other glaring thing for me is the seemingly absence of songs about spiritual warfare. What happened to words like, “Making war in the heavenlies, tearing down principalities, standing firm in Jesus’ victory; making war in the heavenlies, tearing down every high thing, that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ”, “Rise up, you people of power, stand up across the land, take up the Sword of the Spirit, pull down the enemy’s plans ….”, “Summon Your power O God, show us Your strength as You have done before!”, etc. All who are involved in leading worship ministries in church must not only think about polishing the skills of the musicians and singers, not only teach about having the right heart and attitude in leading worship, but also ensure that God’s people go away having had an intimate communion with the Lord that will result in real lifechange (not just providing a wonderful dose of high emotions) and receiving good, comprehensive understanding of God, His Word and our faith journey through careful selection of songs to sing. Many of us remember phrases from the songs we sing in church more than what the preacher said in his sermon! And the frequent recollection and singing of those phrases will eventually form our theology. How do we want people to leave church service feeling each Sunday? Feeling loved and comforted? That’s a good start. But what about also feeling strong and determined to fight the good fight, run the race and keep the faith? While I love to see people smile at the end of our service, I also love to see people looking intensely serious and radically focused on wanting to live it right and fight hard to win the spiritual battles that surround them.

The Righteousness of Christ and the Importance of Its Practice

The righteousness of Christ is not only imputed on us but must be PRACTICED. John says in 1Jn.3 we are of the devil if we make a practice of sinning because no one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning. That means if a man or a woman keeps on sinning, even though they may say or think or believe they are Christian, they really are not! The evidence of true faith is not only in the receiving of the righteousness of Christ but the practice of it. So dear fellow believers, practice righteousness today and everyday.

“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice if sinningis of the devil…..” – ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:6-8 ESV‬‬

God’s love language

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19; Psalms 82:1-8

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 23:5 “But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you.”

I wonder what was it like when the people of Israel heard these words “because the LORD your God loved you”. Did they recollect the way God cared for them? Or had they taken God’s love for granted? It was because of God’s love that all these statutes and commandments were given to the people after they were brought out of their slavery in Egypt. It was because of God’s love that their enemies were destroyed and some even barred from entering into the assembly of the Most High. It was because of God’s love that Balaam’s curses were turned into blessings. God’s love language did not dwell in the theoretical, but that His love is constantly demonstrated through His actions and power for His beloved. We worship a God of action and by right, we should be a people of action to show His love to others as well.

I will always remember the times when God communicated His love for me. His timing in the communication of these simple but powerful words are always perfect. It was during these moments that I was deeply encouraged to carry on the things that He wants me to do and be the person that He wants me to be. Yet, God did not merely communicate “about” His love for me through His Word, He constantly demonstrated His love for me as well through actions. Such is the extent of God’s grace for our lives. He cares for the little details that we, in our finite understanding of God’s character, wonder why He even bothered!

In reflection, how can i also show such love to the people around me? For example, how can I verbally communicate love to my children and at the same time, demonstrate to them that I truly mean what I say? Have I been a hypocrite by verbally promising them love but have not done so regularly through actions? Or how can I in action, care for the poor and needy within my immediate community? Do I preach to the congregation about what we can do and yet turn a blind eye to them at times? May i learn more and more from the character of God, who do what He say all the time. For His love language is not only of words, but of action. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Lord our God, help me to be a man who love not merely in words, but action. Help me to love in accordance to Your Word and even in the most dire of circumstances, as You have purposed. Amen.

Boundaries of Mercy

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Deuteronomy 18-20; Psalm 81

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 19:14
“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

This was a simple but important command – don’t try to gain a little bit more land by shifting your neighbor’s boundary fence. Given the large areas that agricultural families might own, the adjustment would not even be noticeable. But the principle remained. What belonged to another was not for one to take freely. Personal ownership was respected. But generosity was also expected. (See e.g. Deuteronomy 15:7)

Today, my thoughts turned towards the millions of desperate people leaving their own country in search of safety and survival. At present, many countries in Europe have decided to close the door to migrants. They have sealed their borders and erected soldiers to guard them. Even when these migrants were dying at sea, they have not been allowed to land on European soil. How did personal ownership become the reason for cruelty? If someone dying knocks at our door, do we have a right to chase him away? What would Singapore do if one day a boat full of Rohingyas is discovered just 100m off East Coast Park?

Lord, help me to never shut the door at anyone who needs a place of refuge.

Your Church – A Community Or A Commercial Entity?

IMG_5948 - old chapel-near-fflad-y-brenin copyDoes your church feel more like a community that is caring, supportive, real, authentic, unconditionally loving, warm, friendly, serious about teaching God’s Word, uncompromising in discipleship to help fellow believers faithfully live out what we believe, passionate about winning souls to Christ and about life-change OR does your church feel more like a commercial entity where the above qualities have been compromised? When you attend your church service, does it feel like you’re truly worshiping God and that there is sincerity and earnestness in people on the platform reaching out to you to encourage you, comfort you, teach you and correct you where necessary OR does it feel more like you’re attending some sort of a mass music event and public talk that lacks authenticity and heart-to-heart connection? Are the people serving in your church busy with the works of the ministry or busy with touching lives one by one – making time to connect with you at a genuine and personal level? There are many more questions to ask but I think the above are more than sufficient for now. If you are currently in a church that feels more like an authentic Christian community, great – and please contribute unconditionally and sacrificially to your amazing community. But if you are currently in a church that feels more like a commercial entity, don’t be quick to judge, instead lovingly seek to make a difference one life at a time. BE THE CHANGE and before long, you’ll find yourself making the change. Kindness breeds kindness. Generosity breeds generosity. Unconditional love breeds, you guessed it, unconditional love. “Be excellent in what is good, be innocent of evil.” (Rom.16:19)

Grace + Holiness

Think of all the scandals in churches, families and the marketplace – I believe most of them would not have happened if Christians involved were committed to be holy just as the Lord is holy, if we had chosen to walk on the path of righteousness for His name sake, and if we were really convinced that there is judgment and hell in the end for the ungodly. Did they receive grace and forgiveness of past sins prior to the scandals? Of course they did. The problem is not that they didn’t receive grace, the real problem is that the kind of grace they had been taught does not lead to obedience, righteousness and holiness. That is also called cheap grace – which is not the grace of God at all. Grace + Holiness brings GLORY to God every time!

Holiness Revolution

We need a HOLINESS REVOLUTION today! “…. without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14)! With Christians committed to being holy and with the Holy Spirit enabling us from within us, our children, teenagers and young adults will see what holy living looks like and hopefully emulate it. When that happens, a new generation of holy saints of God will rise up to God’s call and bring God’s presence and influence to their generation!

God’s testing

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 8:2 “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”

Why was it necessary for God to test Israel those forty years to know what was in their hearts? Isn’t God all knowing? Why was there a need to “test”? God tested Israel to humble them, to see how they would respond; whether they were still in awe and worship of Him. Hence, they were brought to hunger and then supplied with manna so that they could be reminded that God is their Provider.

Humility, especially when it comes as a result of God’s testing, is not often seen as a gift from the Almighty. Rather, it is often seen as a “consequence” from God’s discipline. Yet, humility can bring believers to new heights in our spiritual journey. Humility based on faith in Jesus, can bring miracles to a believer’s soul; for it can transform what was impossible to what was possible. Humility as a result of God’s testing, is a precious gift.

In my own spiritual walk with God, I came to realise that God is ever so patient and loving as my divine Father. He will give me tests so as to shape a particular area of my life. Each of these tests is an opportunity for conviction and learning on humility. Each of these tests is an opportunity for further transformation. Every-time I fail in these opportunities; I wasn’t condemned into hell; but given another set of tests for the purpose of sanctification.

Such tests can come in the form of suffering the consequences from wrong decisions; or in the form of God’s intervention in whatever way necessary to bring conviction and repentance. The key to embracing such tests and allowing such tests to help us change is humility in faith. The humility to know that God is Almighty and I cannot save my own soul. The humility to bow down at His feet and allow Him to mould us, no matter how painful it might be. The humility to know that even in His tests, is grace.

God, help me to see that your tests is good for my soul. Challenging as it might be, give me the grace and strength to go through as You will. Amen.