Who do we love more?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15; Proverbs 15:27-28

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
2 Corinthians 11:12 “And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.”

REFLECT
Even as the church in Corinth was started by Paul (Acts 18-19), even as he served them without any form of support even when in need (2 Cor 11:7-9), even as they grieved him immensely with their easy fellowship with those who were engaged in sexual immorality (1 Cor 5) and now with those who preached a different Jesus and a different Gospel (2 Cor 11:4), Paul’s conclusion was that he will continue to proclaim the truth. Why? Why not just give the Corinthians up to the wolves? Because he loved the Corinthians (2 Cor 11:11) and he love God more (2 Cor 12:10). He loved them more than the betrayal of the sheep or his own discomfort or his own insecurities. After all, the apostle had proclaimed earlier that his life was no longer his own (1 Cor 6).

RELATE
Who do we love more? Ourselves? Our own needs? Or the people that God has entrusted to us?

If we love God’s people more than ourselves, then why do we keep doing things that seemingly benefit ourselves?

Why do we shun from doing the “difficult” things even though we know that it will, in the longer term, be of benefit to the growth of the people?

Are we so afraid of men that we have learnt to shrink away from our first call as His servants of righteousness?

At the end of the day what really matters? Is it the glory waiting on that Day or is it the way we try to build for ourselves the status, power, recognition and approvals of men?

Don’t we all have to give an account?

The above questions helped to guide the way I serve in ministry. They have helped me not to stray away from His calling for it can be easy to do so. It is always much easier to go with the flow of the world (or even with the demands of those whom we are serving) than to go against it proclaiming the truth.

May these questions be of benefit to those who are reading this journal also, in whatever capacity you are serving His flock. Be it that you are a parent to your child/children, be it that you are a supervisor to your colleagues, be it that you are a leader in ministry, be it that you are a co-worker at the marketplace or ministry, be it that you are a friend to another who might be hurting emotionally, be it that you felt betrayed by some in church, be it that you might be thinking of leaving the church, be it that you might even be thinking of ending your own life because you thought that no one understood you.

That might be true.

But God does.

If we are in Christ, our life is no longer our own. Live it according to His will; not ours. Then we will have freedom, in the truest sense of the word. Then we will discover what Paul means when he said in 2 Cor 12:10-11 that “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

REST
Lord our God, in this dark, depressing and violent world; You are the Light and You are the joy-Giver. Help us to go to the Light and not turn back to darkness. Even if many in this world should misunderstand our love for them, help us to find comfort and strength in the reality that You know. You always know and will make it right. Amen.

The Bible Trap?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Proverbs 15:24-26

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Proverbs 15:24-26
The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
The Lord tears down the house of the proud
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.

REFLECT
The book of Proverbs answers the cry of one who asks “how shall we live?” For the author, the greatest reward comes from a life of wisdom. Not intelligence, but wisdom. Intelligence is about brains, but wisdom is about life. How shall we live? We live prudently, with our time, our resources, our choices. We are careful not to follow the crowd. Next, wisdom is not proud, because the wise man understand his frailty and his utter dependence on others. He who is proud must contend with his Creator. Lastly, the wise thinks pure and speaks grace. He believes that while we are sinners, we can choose not to sin.

RELATE
Sometimes we can fall into what I call the “Bible trap”. How the trap works is that it encourages the study of the Bible as an end in itself. It is more concerned about correct interpretation than correct living. It argues that it is not possible to live correctly without understanding precisely. It is prudent to the extent of becoming proud. In short, it makes the mistakes of the Pharisees. The Bible trap stifles the Christian life by choosing intelligence over wisdom. For this reason, I believe God has placed the books of Psalms and Proverbs right in the middle of the Bibl–- to remind us that the Word is to be understood only by living it out.

REST
Dear Lord, free me from religion into relationship, from law into love, from legalism into life!

Unrestricted

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Psalms 115:1-18

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
2 Corinthians 6:12 “You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.”

REFLECT
Paul told the Corinthians that as faithful disciples of the Lord, they (Paul and his team of disciples) had spoken freely to them. They had freely and courageously exhorted the Corinthians to live a life of holiness and to have nothing to do with anything that might sway them away from the truth. Therefore the Corinthians were not “restricted” by the Apostle and his team. If they obey the truth that were carried by the Apostle, then they will be free to bear good fruit for God’s kingdom. Yet, the reality in Corinth was that many of the believers were still clinging on to their old affections i.e. sexual immorality and idolatry. In this sense, they were highly restricted to live the Christian life to the fullest by their unholy affections. They were chained by the shackles of their old desires to fully experience true freedom in Jesus Christ.

RELATE
Indeed, we are often restricted by our old affections to fully live and serve Christ. We are not helpless to such old affections; we simply allow such affections to restrict us. For me, I am still struggling to deny my own flesh to better serve and love my family members. There will be days when I just want to “chill”, instead of engaging the children in the activities they like me to be a part of. In my mind, I know that such are great opportunities to deepen my relationship with the children; yet my flesh is weak and I occasionally succumb to the temptation to disengage. What can I do but to persevere in trusting God, who had unreservedly and freely given His grace for me to do what is good and right. Help me Lord in my unbelief!

REST
Lord our God, You have freely given to us all things so as to keep us in faith and in step with You. Forgive us during the times when we fail to obey and give us grace to continue to learn and to grow in You for Your sake. Amen.

What do we want to see?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: 2 Cor 4:13-5:10; Ps 113-114

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

REFLECT
What does Paul mean when he says he walked by faith, and not by sight? Does he mean that he closes his eyes when he walks, trusting God to lead him and keep him from danger? I don’t think so! It is clear that he is repeating an idea he introduced at the end of chapter 4, that what is seen is temporal while what is unseen is eternal – therefore we should focus on what cannot be seen! Don’t focus on your ailing body, Paul says. Instead, look to the One who will give you a new one! Don’t find fulfilment from food, drink and worldly pleasures. Rather, find joy and rest in God’s presence though the Holy Spirit.

RELATE
Some years back, I learnt a precious lesson, i.e. you can only see what you expect to see. I was on the island of Komodo, learning how to spot Komodo dragons. At first, it was impossible to see them even if they were right in front of you, for they blended into the environment perfectly. But after some time, my eyes were trained to see the “unseen”. Yes, just because we cannot see something doesn’t prove that it is not there. Those who don’t believe in God cannot see Him because they don’t expect to. But for those who walk by faith, we can discern the invisible and discover the eternal. The question is – are we so satisfied with the seeable that we no longer search for the Seekable?

REST
Psalm 113:4-5
The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high!

Get Real!

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11; Proverbs 15:11

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

REFLECT
In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul’s understanding of God is that He has not come to take away our afflictions, but to bring comfort to the afflictions we are going through for His sake. Furthermore, as a Christian is afflicted, he or she does not only receive comfort; but is also blessed to be a blessing (in the form of comfort) to others who are in affliction. Such is the kingdom of God. God’s comfort to us in our afflictions is not meant to be “kept in”; but to be “given out” to those who are afflicted among us. What comfort have I received through my afflictions that is meant to be a blessing to others?

RELATE
Henri Nouwen’s “The Wounded Healer” was one of the earliest books I read for the pastoral ministry. The main idea was that when we minister through what we have gone through ourselves, it can be powerful and effective. Nouwen’s idea makes a lot of sense because afflictions are often a very personal experience; even if such afflictions are committed to a large group of people. If it is a very personal experience, then those who had been through similar experiences can provide good empathy on the various sensitivities relating to such afflictions. So when God allow us to go through afflictions or call us to suffer with Him, it wasn’t just about helping us to grow in Him. It also means that through that “growth”, we are better able to be of help to others.

Unfortunately, the church of today seems to move in a different direction than what was prescribed by the Apostle Paul. This is a time where words are often loudly proclaimed but lives are superficially demonstrated. Perhaps, there were too much bitterness or betrayal that were left unresolved. Perhaps our way of discipleship has gone astray; that as disciples of the Servant King, we have chosen to hide in our own afflictions in exchange for the forms celebrated by this world.

Yet, 2 Corinthians speaks of a much different way of ministry; where weaknesses were boasted for the sake of God’s glory, where God’s power was made perfect in our weakness, all so that more lives can be laid bare for the Spirit’s mighty work. Paul was not interested in beautifying forms and styles of ministry; but on the transforming power and grace of the Gospel in this real world. So even at the risk of being afflicted even more, let us not hold back to proclaim of our afflictions, so that others might be comforted for His glory. Our Lord Jesus had done so and set for us the example; so what are we really waiting for?

REST
Servant King, help us to have faith even in the proclamation of our weaknesses and afflictions. This is so that others might be comforted. We live in a world where deception is rampant and superficiality equipped as a form of avoidance. Help us therefore to be real with one another and be of real help to one another. Amen.

Dream God’s Dreams, Make a Difference!

dream god's dreams

How do you make a difference wherever you go and wherever you serve? First, you gotta know if God wants you to make a difference, and make a significant contribution. Once you have that settled, you move on. As far as I am concerned, the Lord wants every one of us to make a difference wherever we go. Second, you seek the Lord. Ask Him to show you what you are called to do in that particular church, ministry, company or organization. Ask for a revelation from heaven, a dream, a divine blueprint, a vision. Third, after having received the revelation, dream, blueprint or vision, don’t rush into it. Seek the Lord and ask Him to give you His timeline and His strategy. Imagine Noah rushing off to build the ark without waiting for God’s instructions on how to build it and when to build and float the ark. It would have been a disaster! Fourth, once you know the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’, you just go and do it boldly, courageously, yet gently and patiently. Above all, love much, as much as you can. Don’t compromise. When you hit a wall, pray; when someone goes against you (including people who had been good friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ), pray more; when the enemy hurls all kinds of things at you, pray even more. Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. Don’t let the devil win. Ask God to lead the charge, ask Him to give you the breakthrough and trust me, He will. Fifth, once you’re into it and doing the very thing God has asked you to do and to do it the way He wants you to, take a step back and watch God in action. Walk by faith, not by sight. And finally, give all the glory to God because you will see success! Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and go on to the next thing God wants you to do, and continue to make an impact, make a difference, dream God’s dreams and change the world around you. And when you are gone one day, may the Lord’s work and legacy continue because someone caught the vision and they will take your place. Hallelujah!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Mt.19:26

Common Superstition

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Judges 17:1-18:31; Proverbs 15:8-10

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Judges 17:13
Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!”

REFLECT
How is this possible? A man who made for himself idols, who arbitrarily appointed his own son as priest, and then hijacked a Levite – considers himself to be blessed by “the Lord”! This passage teaches us that not every reference of “the Lord” in the Bible is legit (short for legitimate – youth lingo). Because he recruited a Levite, Micah assumed that God would bless him. For some reason, he didn’t realize that he has broken the first three of the 10 commandments (worshipping idols, making idols, taking God’s name in vain). The only mitigating factor was that Micah (and his mother) was probably never taught Moses’ laws, and therefore depended on common superstition.

RELATE
Just because a pastor has blessed our home does not mean that God will bless it too. Just because we said grace does not mean that our food will be rid of cholesterol and carcinogen. Just because we are members of PMC does not mean that we are going to Heaven. The fact is that many Christians today depend on common superstition more than the Word of God for faith and life. That’s why we continue to make idols and bow down to them – and still think that God is blessing us. Just because life is comfortable doesn’t mean that God is on our side. Conversely, just because life is tough doesn’t prove that God is being bad to us. In fact, your suffering right now might likely be the consequence of carrying your cross on the road to Blessedness.

REST
Bless me, O Lord – with joy in suffering, peace in pain, and hope against hell.

A Time to Shape Up!

potter's hands and the clay

This is not just a time to educate the church on LGBTQ, marriage and family issues which is very important and not enough churches are doing that, but more importantly this is a time to review and scrutinize the effectiveness of our discipleship process and a key question to ask is, “Are my church members conforming to the rule, image and will of God?”
Rom.8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
1Jn.3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Making an idol of anything, everything!

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Judges 8:18-9:21; Psalm 107:1-43

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Judges 8:27 “And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”

REFLECT
Judges is a difficult book to understand. There is a tendency for readers to read into the morality of the leaders chosen to lead Israel. Yet, I feel that is not the point of the book. The point of the book is that even though Israel did many evils against God; He was still merciful to raise up judges to lead a new generation. Most of these judges (like the kings that came after them) are definitely full of flaws. Yet, in the midst of an evil generation, that was perhaps the “best” they could get. Why didn’t God send Jesus right away? I don’t know. Maybe the time is not right with God.

Judges is on the whole, a tragic story. Nevertheless, it is a realistic one. The fact of the day is that even under God’s mercy and grace, Israel’s sin just keep piling up. Don’t we have the tendency to do likewise? Hence, we need not focus too much on the morality of Gideon’s effort at making an ephod which caused himself and Israel to stumble. For all of Gideon’s growth in courage and piety, he was still very young in his new found relationship with God. Rather, the focus should be on the author’s repeated “sighs” that Israel was at it again; making an idol over something, and this time it was even on something that was meant to be sacred or religious.

RELATE
When our hearts and minds are not right with God, we can potentially make an idol of anything, everything. For example, we can make an idol out of the object of the cross. This happens when the cross is not there to remind us of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but more like an instrument of our superstitious beliefs to “ward off” satan.

Some might even come to idolise the form, personality and style of musical worship (and worship leaders). Hence, musical worship no longer is a means by which we worship, but rather musical worship becomes the object of worship. Some might even come to idolise the Bible; when he is so proud of his knowledge of the Word and despise those who seem “weak”. Or even the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, when some would misuse them for a very personal (but wrong) reading of the Word.

REST
Oh Lord, what have we done with the sacred things you have given to us as means of our relationship with You? Help us Lord, not to make an idol of the good things you have given, but to use them as means to know and love You, as the Lord of our lives. Amen.

Who Are You Impressed With?

I heard a story from well-known YWAMer Floyd McClung many years ago. He was visiting Stockholm probably back in the 80s or early 90s when prostitution was legal and pervasive in Sweden. One evening, he attended a prayer meeting in a small church where only a handful of people were. Someone started sharing about how rampant prostitution was and the effects of it on their country. Others added their views and talked about it in great detail. At some point, Floyd noticed an old lady sitting quietly throughout the entire discussion, listening intently to what everyone was saying. After some time, suddenly she spoke up and said, “it appears to me that you are all more impressed with the devil and what he is doing than you are with God! I thought this was supposed to be a prayer meeting!” As the Lord brought this story back to my mind, I thought hey, this is so relevant to our situation in Singapore now. Instead of being unknowingly impressed with what the devil is doing, we need to be impressed with the greatness, the power and the authority of our Almighty God! He is our Victory and He will fight for us, we only need to be still. (Exo.14:14)

I Will Pay You Back!


Joel 3:4 “Now what have you against me, O Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.”

What an amazing verse Joel 3:4 is, isn’t it? God warned the nations who had oppressed His people, “Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily RETURN ON YOUR OWN HEADS what you have done!” God cannot be threatened – not any part of Him nor His will. His truth marches on no matter what a nation decides to do. When God arises, His enemies scatter! Who is God besides our God, who is the Rock besides our Rock? He is a fortress and our tower of deliverance! The circumstances around us may change today or tomorrow, but our identity as sons and daughters of God does not change with the circumstances. The glory of God in us cannot be robbed from us. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the circumstances looked bad, it looked like Satan had him and the Son of God looked threatened and there appeared to be nothing glorious about Him, but His circumstances did not change His identity, though hanging on the cross, Jesus was still the glorious King and Lord of heaven and earth! We saw how that ended, Jesus defeated the grave, rose again, ascended into heaven and He will come again to judge the living and the dead! So as God’s people, we only need to believe and follow, trust and obey, and be faithful to the end, living godly lives as a fragrant offering to the Lord amidst ungodliness. If you have read your Bible, you’ll know that we WIN in the end!

The Paradox of the Fleece

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Judges 6; Psalm 106:32-48

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Judges 6:39
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.”

REFLECT
Different commentators have a different take on what Gideon did. Like Rev Timothy said in his sermon yesterday, most scholars agree that Gideon shouldn’t have tested God. I am not so sure. For one, the text does not comment on whether Gideon did right or wrong. But we do know that God granted his request, twice. Secondly, I feel that many scholars have injected their own biases into the interpretation. At best, the text is neutral on the issue. If I am allowed to share my own view, I think Gideon was being very human – like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses before him. Being human, he needed two more assurances from God (the first being the fire on the rock) before he was ready to go into battle.

RELATE
Do I put out a fleece before I act upon something that God has called me to. Well, no. I don’t see the need to. But would I judge someone who does that, because their faith is weak? Again, no. Paradoxically, it actually takes some faith to put out a fleece. Faith to believe that God hears our prayers. Faith that there is in fact a God who will wet the fleece. Now the only problem is, what if the test fails and the fleece remains dry? Does that mean that God will not be with us? Or is it God’s turn to test us now?

REST
Lord, teach me to hear Your still small Voice. Help me to recognize You so well, that I wouldn’t need to lay down any fleece – but simply obey.

For what do we obey?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Joshua 22:21-23:16; Proverbs 14:30-31

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Joshua 23:6-8 “Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day.”

REFLECT
Joshua 23 is one of the two farewell speeches made by Joshua to the people of Israel. Joshua was “old and well advanced” in years but his conviction remained strong from the time God gave him the exhortation to “be strong” (Joshua 1). From the time he took over Moses’ leadership to the time when he was about to pass on to glory; it was at least a span of 30-40 years where he did nothing but to answer the Lord’s call for him to be strong and possess the Promised Land.

Why was he so consistently obedient to the Lord’s call for him to be strong and cling on to Him?

As Joshua mentioned in 23:3, it was the Lord who “fought for you”. In other words, Joshua understood clearly that it was the Lord’s strength and grace that gave him all the successes he had through his lifetime of conquering and possessing the lands in Canaan. He understood that if the Lord promised to do something (as He did in Joshua 1), He will definitely do it. Hence, Joshua chose to fulfil God’s call for him by faith in obedience. The obedience to be strong and courageous; the obedience to cling on to God and not cling on to idolatry. The obedience to do as God wills. Joshua chose to obey because he understood God’s power and grace for his life and for the lives of his people.

RELATE
Do I understand the Lord’s power and grace for my life so that I obey and keep His Word? Or is my obedience based on what I think God is doing in my life? If I think that God is not doing much in my life, will my obedience wax and wane?

I came to understand that our God is no man’s negotiator. He dictate the terms, not us.

If not for His grace found in Jesus Christ, we don’t even have anything to obey with in the first place. Instead, the right attitude for the Christian should be: God has already done something big. He has already promised what is coming. He is after all the Alpha and the Omega. So we obey because in faith, we believe that He will do what He has set out to do. There is simply no other way.

Our obedience is an outflow of God’s grace in our lives; and not the chip we use to bargain for a better life. Hence, we obey because we come to understand that He first love us and not simply because we have experienced blessings. We obey because He had promised and called through His Word; and not because we need to “experience” Him first.

REST
Lord our God, help us to reflect deeper on why we obey and keep Your Word. Is it because we want something out of you for our own sake? Or is it because we understood Your love for us and that is why we follow?

Iron Pillar – Internal Strength

Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land.” Jeremiah 1: 18

What exactly do we expect God to do when we are faced with challenges? As faithful Christians, we would normally desire a miraculous rescue from all the troubles with the help of God. Though we cannot deny God’s ability to perform miracles, God’s promise to Jeremiah to make him an iron pillar, points to another way of God helping his people, to deal with life’s problems.

Jeremiah is called to do a difficult and thankless job. He was asked to proclaim about the oncoming destruction of Jerusalem because of the sins of the people. Jeremiah’s situation becomes more complicated and embarrassing later, because other prophets were busy prophesying a message completely opposite to his by saying, “You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place” (14:13). This makes him appear like a traitor who is neither interested in the welfare of the nation nor his contemporaries. This also puts him at odds with the officials, who begin to think that Jeremiah is trying to create confusion among the people by stirring them up against the king!

But God had foretold Jeremiah at the time of his calling that he would be standing “against the whole land–against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land” (1:18). Jeremiah was not called to minister with a false hope of success or getting an easy path to traverse, but with the reality of standing up to the opposition to fulfil God’s will in his life. In this mission, apart from the familiar promise that “I am with you and will rescue you” (1:8, 19), God also promises to make Jeremiah “an iron pillar” (v.18).

The iron pillar represents internal strength. God helps Jeremiah in developing this inner strength when he was fulfilling his mission, which was both emotionally draining and physically threatening. Jeremiah needed to be emotionally strong and physically fit. In his mission he had very few friends and he had to face physical threats as well. Jeremiah needed to be like an iron pillar – strong and unaffected by the external threats – in the midst of his tumultuous career as a Prophet of Doom.

There is a fourth century Iron pillar in Delhi, India, which is around 7-meter-high and 6000 kg heavy. An 18thcentury ruler had ordered its destruction. A canon was fired at close range but it failed to do any damage to the pillar, except for causing a mere dent. Unfortunately, its ricochet destroyed the walls of a nearby mosque. So further attempts to destroy it were called off. This is one real life example of how an iron pillar represented internal strength in times of external threat.

In Jeremiah’s career, he stood strong in midst of severe opposition when his own life was under threat. But eventually he fulfilled the will of God in his ministry. This was mainly because of the inner strength God had granted him. When we are faced with challenges in our lives, God strengthens us. We might look for a miraculous rescue, but God is wanting to strengthen each of us like an iron pillar to wither the storm. Sometimes the challenges we face helps us to understand the God-given strength in us, which we would have never known before. So in times of struggle, apart from praying for a miracle, look deep inside for God’s strength, so that you too can overcome life’s challenges through it. Ask God to make you into an iron pillar so that you will be equipped to face the challenges in your path.

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Dilemmas

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Joshua 19-20; Proverbs 14:28-29

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Joshua 20:9
These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwelt among them, that whoever killed a person accidentally might flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stood before the congregation.

REFLECT
The Bible provides for accidents, and mistakes. God looks at our intentions. He knows when we mean it, and when we don’t. This ancient rule shows how practical God’s commands were. Provisions were made where accidental murderers could flee to, until a proper trial was conducted. The avenger of blood here probably refers to a close relative of the murdered victim, who was obliged to mete out justice on behalf of the clan. Yes, there must be justice. But mercy prevails.

RELATE
In recent days the 377A debate has ignited again. One reason given for scrapping the law is that it is ancient and therefore outdated. The question is, are all things ancient outdated? C.S. Lewis refers to those who think like this as committing “chronological snobbery”. No one would say that the ancients were wrong about the problem with stealing, murder, or disobeying parents. Yet some today argue for the repealing of the sodomy law because our forefathers were wrong about love and sex. So, is homosexuality a perversion today as it was during Sodom and Gomorrah? Well, yes. But should we consider all practicing gays and lesbians today as criminals of the State? Then how about those who commit adultery and abortion? Surely, these too have practiced perversion, as far as God’s design is concerned.

REST
Lord, grant us wisdom for our times. In our zeal for justice and purity, may we not lose sight of mercy and the power of grace.