Day 358

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 2:13-16
I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

It’s hard not to be influenced when you live in a place whereby the inhabitants are not for, the ways and teachings of God.

It might be that there is widespread idolatry, or the people are deeply entrenched in a corrupt and immoral way of life.

Beware – for such influence seeps in … even though we may be trying to be faithful to God externally.

It happened to the church in Pergamum – false teachings and practices (even those of Balaam) began to influence them!

It happened to Lot and his daughters.
The influence of Sodom and Gomorrah was implanted in their heads. Even though the cities were destroyed and they lived in the mountains- the corruption had entered their minds.

Lot’s daughters conceived a plan to commit incest in order to become pregnant!

Genesis 19:30-32
Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.

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Day 357

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 2:10-11
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.

Smyrna is one of the two churches who do not get faulted for having done anything wrong.
Instead they are told that they are about to undergo a period of tribulation.

They are encouraged to press on and remain faithful. God knows that under pressure and torture, its possible for us to cave in, and be forced to deny the faith.

But He encourages those in Smyrna- that there is no destruction of the soul, if they do not depart from the faith.

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

This is what it will be like in the last days as prophesied. Under threat of death we will be pressured to deny the faith.

Nevertheless God has said He will not abandon us and will be with us and may we be found faithful till the end.

Day 356

by Rev Joel Yong

Revelation of John 2:3-5
You have endured, suffered trouble because of my name, and have not grown weary. However, I have this against you: The love you had at first is gone. Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first. I will come to you and take your lamp stand from its place if you don’t change.

The church in Ephesus is commended for many things. But it is criticized for losing the love it first had for the Lord.

They were initially commended in the following verse in Ephesians 1:15:
“I, too, have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people.”

Thirty years had passed between the Epistle to the Ephesians and the letter in Revelation.
Their initial passion had withered into a lifeless religion.

Perhaps they may have had the functional ministries going on in church but they did it without love and joy-

After all, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:2:

“I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing.”

Good reminder to check ourselves. Is our faith an ongoing relationship with Christ or a religion filled with mindless rituals and repetitive ministry without meaning?

Day 355

by Rev Joel Yong

Jude 5-7
I want to remind you about what you already know: The Lord once saved his people from Egypt. But on another occasion he destroyed those who didn’t believe. He held angels for judgment on the great day. They were held in darkness, bound by eternal chains. These are the angels who didn’t keep their position of authority but abandoned their assigned place. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.

We often like to think of God as loving and gracious and rightly so, He is!
But we cannot forget that He also hates sin. His wrath descends upon those who do not heed His warnings and continue in sin.

He has already shown in the Scriptures that He does not turn a blind eye to sin and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah as an example to all.

Something happens when children realize that their parents do not deliver on the threats to discipline them. The children lose inhibitions and begin to test all the boundaries and even break them freely. They become kids with no boundaries set upon their behavior. And the parents soon find themselves in a situation whereby the kids are beyond parental control.

Parents know that if we tell a child, there is a consequence to them breaking the rules- then we must deliver on that consequence.
Else the rules we set are mere words and kids soon realize there are no consequences for their behavior.

All hell breaks loose.

That is why God, while He loves us, also sets boundaries for us. Boundaries that if we go breaking them, He will punish us for doing so.

Day 354

by Rev Joel Yong

3 John 3-4
I was very happy when some believers came and told us that you are living according to the truth. Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children are living according to the truth.

What would you wish for your children?
Lots of money?
Big house and big car?
Great career?

Well the above items are great. But they do not guarantee happiness. Neither do they deliver on eternal life.

Living life God’s way.
That provides joy, peace, security …
And yes, eternal life.

No wonder the writer says he rejoices in knowing that the church is walking in God’s ways.
That it has not caved in to worldly pressure and forsaken the truth. In so doing, it would have won some riches or some earthly benefit but lost out on its eternal destiny.

Live for what lasts.

Day 353

by Rev Joel Yong

2 John 6
Love means that we live by doing what he commands. We were commanded to live in love, and you have heard this from the beginning.

If we love our Father, we obey Him.
If He matters little to us, then so do His words.

So let’s live following His commands- not for the sake of earning His favor, for He already loves us. But as a response to being loved by Him.

Too often people treat God as a vending machine, they follow the ‘rules’ and push all the ‘right buttons’, they get what they want and they forget about Him until the next need arises.

There is no real reverence and no real love.
No relationship whatsoever.

Day 352

by Rev Joel Yong

1 John 5:19
We know that we are from God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

The whole world under Satan’s influence. Wow.
That explains the horrifying crimes that we read of in the news headlines.

To me, it also serves as a warning.
A reminder that if I am not careful – that I would sink into worldly habits that lead me astray, and away from God.

For example, the obsession we have with our phones.
Its functions are amazing and we rely on it so much to get work/life done in our world today- email, social networks, information sources that tell us who someone is, when the next bus is coming or what time the next film show slot will be at the local cinema and so much more.

Yet it crowds out time for face to face interaction and it has been blamed for shortened attention spans. And it has been a major distraction in church – we fiddle with it during worship and prayer, and even more during sermons!

A nice gadget, and a great invention.
But even then, something popular, that is easily used by the Enemy to influence us and draw us away.

Hmm …

Note to self:
No need to withdraw to a cave and cut self off from all that is in the world.
Be alert of worldly habits, and how these can so easily be used by the Enemy, to wield his influence over us.