Worth

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: John 3:22-4:3; Proverbs 3:16-18

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
John 3:25-26
Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

REFLECT
It is interesting to note that ministry competition is not a recent phenomenon! Because of a dispute, people started going to Jesus instead of John. And some Jews (most likely the Pharisees, cf. 4:1), seizing the opportunity to sow some ministry discord, went to tell John about it. To their surprise, John readily accepted the “loss”, and affirmed Jesus’ person and work instead!

RELATE
How easy it is for us to be discouraged by the success of others. And there will always be some who delight in stirring strife and causing envy. If I am not sure about my identity and calling, then someone else’s glory makes me glum and grumpy. Learning from John the Baptist, the next time I am tempted to discount another man’s success – I will take the opportunity to affirm his work, and encourage his soul. In so doing, I might just deepen a friendship, and my own soul would certainly be strengthened.

REST
In You, Lord, I find my worth. Help me to rejoice when another man is blessed.

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Living with Mistakes

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Genesis 44-45; Psalm 10

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Genesis 45:7-8
And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;

REFLECT
So, was it Joseph’s brothers who sent him to Egypt, or God? According to Joseph, it was God – through the hands of men who had evil intentions. This does not excuse men’s sins, but asserts that men do not have the last say. God in His sovereignty sees the full picture, from Genesis to Revelation, and we His children rest in this truth. In this episode, not only had God prevented Israel from extinction – He was preparing them for Exodus.

RELATE
God’s sovereignty must guide our decisions. Knowing that I am not ultimately responsible for another person’s actions, and that God is able to turn evil into good – gives me the freedom to forgive, to love, and to live without regrets. It allows me to live with my mistakes – trusting that the Lord can redeem them for His glory.

REST
Thank you, Lord, for the freedom to live – even with my failures.

My God

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Genesis 31:17- 32:12, Proverbs 2:6-15

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Genesis 31:42
Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked you last night.

REFLECT
At this point of Jacob’s life, God is still not his God. It would take a while more before Jacob would fully embrace the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac. Scholars have discussed why God was called the “Fear” of Isaac. While there is no consensus on this, my take is that it has something to do with Genesis 22, when Isaac was almost sacrificed on the altar. One can only imagine the fear or dread that came upon the young boy – bound and laid on the wood – the father’s knife raised high.

RELATE
The last sentence of the above Bible verse brings me great comfort. Our God is one who sees our afflictions and the labour of our hands. He takes into account our human efforts, and seeks justice for those who are oppressed. Even though Jacob had not embraced God fully, and perhaps knew Him primarily as one to be dreaded – God acted on his behalf, and rebuked Laban. This is a good reminder for me that I do not have to try too hard, or fear human foes – but to entrust my life into the hands of the God who has been with me thus far.

REST
Lord, You have always been faithful. I place my life in your Hands, and trust You for my future. In my Saviour’s Name. Amen.

Bonus

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Genesis 18:16 – 19:38, Psalms 4:1-8

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Genesis 19:29
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.

REFLECT
Abraham must be one of the best uncles in the world. He gave Lot the best of land in Canaan, rescued him from invading armies, and prayed for him when God was about to destroy Sodom. What has Lot done to deserve this? Nothing. Abraham understood the meaning of family, and of grace. The Lord, in turn, honoured Abraham’s faith, and spared Lot from death.

RELATE
I don’t know how this works, but my faithfulness to God has a direct bearing on those around me, especially my loved ones. It is as though the blessings of God upon me can’t help but be leaked to my neighbours. What a joy to know that when I seek God, His favour rests not only upon me, but also upon those I care for. That’s what “bonus” really means!

REST
Lord, help me to live such a life of righteousness, that Your salvation will come upon my family, my friends, and even my enemies.