Psalm 40: 1

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 40: 1 records: “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.”

The Psalmist was able to wait patiently because of the degree of conviction he had, that God was worth waiting for. We get flustered while waiting, only because we are unsure if the other party is coming. This is never the case for God. He is faithful unto His people and will never make our wait futile.

O For A Thousand A Soul To Save

by Rev Sng Chong Hui

I met a former church member at the hawkers centre.

While browsing through the stalls deciding what to eat, a voice called out, “Pastor!” I turned around and immediately recognized the familiar face. She was a faithful member of the choir in my previous church many years ago.

We had so much to catch up with each other. I learned that she had cancer and is now under remission. She told me that she is perfectly at peace and how she helped to comfort a fellow patient warded next to her in the hospital.

Then she recounted how she had financially helped her niece who was treated for fourth stage cancer. Initially she paid $50,000 for her hospital bill and then she gave an additional $100,000 for her subsequent follow up treatment. In total it was a hefty sum of $150,000.

Even though her niece was given only three months to live yet by the grace of God, she survived two more years. During that time she shared her testimony of the grace of God at a huge gathering in Pulau Bintan. Many were deeply moved by her sharing.

And the Pastor who organized the rally later told my former church member that 1500 persons accepted Christ that day.

The church member was awed by the report. It dawned upon her that the enormous sum of $150,000 she had given to help her niece was worth it. Her niece touched 1500 persons for Christ. It was a thousand a soul to save.

And the church member added that if she could give a thousand for a soul she would gladly do so for the soul is worth every amount given to save.

For so our Lord Jesus tells us:

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 6:26 NLT)

He also reveals to us:

“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God …” (Luke 15:7 NLT)

That day there might have been quite a heavenly raucous over 1500 that returned to God.

Let’s bring on the party in heaven!

Complete Waste of Time?

by Rev Sng Chong Hui

A Churchgoer once wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense going to church every Sunday.

This is what he wrote:

“I’ve been attending church for 30 years now. In that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of the sermons. So I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers giving sermons are also wasting theirs.”

That started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column. It invited continuous stream of comments, debate and arguments.

Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for any single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

Going to church week after week is never a complete waste of time. In fact it may well be our spiritual nourishment, sustenance and formation for time spent with God is never wasted.

Perhaps it’s just why God has incorporated it into the Ten Commandments.

“Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day” (Exodus 20:8 NOG)

So the writer of Hebrews exhorts.

“Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 TLB).

Psalm 116:15

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 116:15 records: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”

God cares for the lives of those who follow after Him. The suffering of the believers in this world, does not come upon unseeing eyes. As we ponder the suffering of the people of God in this world, let us take heart that God will never forsake nor abandon His people, but is with us at our lowest and most painful moments. We matter so much to Him, that in exchange for our salvation, Jesus gave His life upon the Cross for us.

Matthew 17:20-21

by Rev Joel Yong

In Matthew 17:20-21, Jesus says: “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

He wasn’t talking about Christians remolding geological features on a regular basis to facilitate travel. He was talking about faith overcoming obstacles. Too often we speak ABOUT the obstacle repeatedly and diminish our faith. Jesus asks that we speak TO the obstacle and proclaim victory in the face of the obstacle!

Pursuit of holiness

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7; Psalm 47:1-9

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
2 Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

REFLECT
Many believers understand that the key to living a Godly life is the pursuit of holiness. The Apostle Paul exhorted that such a pursuit is to be done with God’s promises in mind as well as with a heart that fears God.

What are these promises? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 says that as we commit ourselves to God, He will make His dwelling place in us and we shall be His very sons and daughters. In practical ways, this means that in the pursuit of holiness, we can do well to remember that God will help us as He will help His very sons and daughters. Hence, we can readily in His strength seek to be holy especially when temptations come knocking at our doors.

This also means that in times when we fail, God will not just frown at us and all ready to kick us into eternal damnation; but like a good Father, He awaits our repentance with divine patience and offers His hand to us if we are willing to change.   Our pursuit for holiness therefore not arises because we have something to prove, or a Christian badge to achieve; but because we know that God loves us so and we want to learn to love Him more.

RELATE
My own experience of the pursuit of holiness can only testify to the great mercies and goodness of God. If not for His grace, I would have given up long time ago. If not for the community He has given to me, I would have drowned in my own self-pity. Let us therefore be of good hope. Christ is not resurrected so that we perish; but He did so that we can truly live. Let us therefore grow to hate sin, love God and be the persons that He has created us to be.

REST
“In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look only to the power of His Spirit, and the merits of His Son. Beware you do not get stuck in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labour. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, fix on Him in all, through all, and above all…Remember also to use all means as means-as ordained, not for their own sake…” (John Wesley in “How to pray”). Amen.

Matthew 27:18

by Rev Joel Yong

Matthew 27:18 records: “For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.”

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent and framed by his accusers. Christ’s complete innocence meant that all He experienced – the flogging, the mocking, the piercing of His hands and feet, and His death – was in place, of someone else. If Christ had sinned, His representation upon the Cross would’ve partially been for His own mistakes. But He did not. All that was done to Him that day, was what we had deserved for our own sins. He took our place, and gave us life eternal instead.