Honey anyone?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Nahum 1-3; Proverbs 25:16

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Proverbs 25:16 (NKJV)
Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.

REFLECT
Too much of a good thing – food, money, power – can become bad! Why? Because we are human, which means we are limited. Limited in our capacity to consume all the “honey” in the world (issue of marginal utility), and limited in our ability to resist making honey into gods (issue of sin and idolatry). God loves us too much to give us too much honey … can we accept that?

RELATE
I am strongly aware that as I settle into Vancouver for the next 2 years, I have entered into what many consider a land of milk, honey, and plenty. I have tasted the goodness of world-best fruits, beef, desserts, and human prosperity. But do all these make me happier than my friends back in SG? Not necessarily. For I have brought here the same sinful me, with all my impatience, habits and struggles. No amount of honey can make me whole. Only Christ can. Yes, I have indeed found much honey here – may the Lord help me to eat only what I need.

REST
Lord, may the prosperity that I see and experience in this land – draw me closer and not further from You. Amen.

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A pastor’s prayer

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Colossians 1; Psalm 81

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

REFLECT
The above might sound like a lot of big words, but it is really the essence of the Christian faith. To know God and His will is to live with wisdom. Yes, to live, not just to know and understand. Each of us will be rewarded according to what we have done, whether it was worthy, fruitful, pleasing and good in God’s eyes. This is an impossible calling upon imperfect humans … that’s why it can only be achieved through unceasing prayer.

RELATE
As I end my pastoral ministry in PMC, I am so happy to read this passage again. I am reminded that this is my calling, which is to build up the body of Christ for good works that will make Him known (Matt 5:16). At my farewell on 21 July, I am humbled and extremely grateful that despite my weaknesses, God has used me to touch some lives. Yes, thank you, PMC, for reminding me of my calling in Christ. Thank you for the affirmation that I have (somehow) fulfilled my pastoral duty. Now, I can go in peace. 🙂

REST
Lord, the church is Yours. Take good care of her, and transform her into Your most beautiful and glorious bride.

The Lamb’s Wife

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Revelation 21; Proverbs 24:28-29

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Revelation 21:9 (NKJV)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

REFLECT
The image of a city married to a lamb, how strange! Yes, a glorious city adorned with precious jewels and streets of gold … tying the knot with a slain lamb (Rev 5:6) – the contrast cannot be greater. To some, the imagery might sound ridiculous. As ridiculous as the message that God must die on the Cross, and humans can get saved for free. Yes, ridiculous though all these might seem, the important question to ask is whether they are true – and if they are, then our life after death is at stake.

RELATE
I’m glad that what excites me about heaven is not the pearly gates or the gold buildings. If humans stay on earth long enough, we could probably achieve the same glorious constructions. My desire is to see the Lamb, who was slain for my sake. To look into His eyes, and see pure love. To let His light shine so brightly into my heart that all fears and folly dissipate. Yes, this is the day my soul yearns for.

REST
Come, Lord Jesus, your servants are waiting!

Fear God, my friend!

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Revelations 14; Psalm 76

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Revelation 14:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

REFLECT
Often, in our busy lives, we are unaware of the work of the gospel in this world. If God’s word is true (and it is), then the “everlasting gospel” has gone out to every nation, tribe, tongue and people. Before long, the end will come, and God will reveal Himself in all His power and glory and majesty to everyone – believers or not. Meanwhile, Christians are called to partner the angels in proclaiming that there is only One God to be feared, and all idols must bow and be destroyed.

RELATE
Recently, I visited the house of a friend, and saw that he kept many idols, big and small. Although he had told me that he wasn’t religious, but only believed in himself – his practice seemed contradictory. How I wished I could have declared to him on the spot that his idols were worthless and that he must fear God and glorify Jesus Christ! Yet, it did not feel like a wise thing to do, at least not yet. Unless his heart was softened and his eyes unblinded – my words would fall on hard ground. To this day, I continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to touch this man, and his family, that they too might receive God’s blessed salvation. And when the time comes, may I have the faith to declare the eternal gospel to this household.

REST
Lord, have mercy! Do Your saving work in the hearts of our loved ones, friends, and even enemies!!

Purified by Perseverance

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Revelations 7:1-17, Proverbs 24:13-14

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Revelations 7:14
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb

REFLECT
I think I sometimes read too quickly the imputed righteousness of Christ into these verses. Indeed, all of us will be saved only by the sacrificial work of Jesus – but is that what is meant here? It seems to me that the “ones” here have played a part in washing their robes. And they did so with the blood of the Lamb. Could this be a reference to the costly persecution and suffering they faced by being obedient, and the “blood” to that of physical harm and death? Could the “white” robes be more likely the reward for faithful Christians purified by perseverance?

RELATE
How would I feel if all the reward I get in heaven is a white robe? Would I be disappointed if I don’t get a big mansion and lots of heavenly goodies? Well, I don’t think so. To stand before God, pure and holy, is the greatest reward I can wish for. To have fought the good fight, overcome sin, and completed my mission on earth – is highest happiness. Even if I am to be a bell boy in heaven (dressed in white), I would be very contented.

REST
Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for You.

Love or Labour?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Revelation 1; Psalm 69:19-36

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Psalm 69:30-31 (NIV)
30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.

REFLECT
I sometimes wonder, isn’t it so easy to praise God and thank Him, as compared to sacrificing ox and bull? The former are acts of the mouth, the latter requires considerable financial resources. Then why does the Psalmist says that songs and praises please God more? Don’t we sometimes see people who are worshipful on Sundays, but who don’t seem to live out their faith practically after that? Well, I think that the Lord is seeking for our love, rather than our labour.

RELATE
I must admit that for me, it’s easier to labour than to love. I would rather spend time working for God (like Martha), than having a chat with Him (like Mary). Sometimes, I wonder if my songs-singing in church is really praising and glorying God. Or is it just enjoying the songs for its music and meaningful words. The difference is subtle, but it’s real. The test comes when I have to sing a song that I don’t really like, or if the worship leader leads badly. Can I still give thanks and praise, if I don’t enjoy the singing?

REST
Lord, help me to keep learning what it means to worship You in spirit and in truth. Help me to love You with my whole being, as You love me with Yours. Stop me, when I confuse my love for labour, with my labour of love.

Excellent Emissaries

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Daniel 6:1-28; Proverbs 24:1-2

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Daniel 6:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions.

REFLECT
The first thing I asked when I read this was – did Darius believe in Daniel’s God? I concluded that he didn’t, or he would not have allowed the royal edict in the first place. The next question is – then why did he seek to help Daniel? I believe it was because he treasured and respected his servant. While he wasn’t very interested in Daniel’s spiritual life, the latter’s physical well-being mattered to the king. So much so that he tried all means and ways (v14), fasted (to his gods?] and lost sleep, for the sake of his servant. Even if king Darius did not believe in God at first, he believed at last.

RELATE
This is a good time to ask how our non-Christian bosses at work will respond when we are in trouble. Will they be happy, or sad? How far will they go to save us? Crucially, will they “pray” for us, asking that our God deliver us (v16)? Well, I think it depends on at least 2 things. Firstly, if we are considered a valuable employee. Secondly, if we have made known to our colleagues that we worship Jesus Christ (despite likely persecutions). May Daniel’s life be an inspiration for us to be both excellent employees and emissaries for Christ!

REST
Lord, grant me wisdom to live as Your light, and courage to be Your words to my family and friends.