Day 203

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 12:1
O LORD, even if I would argue my case with you, you would always be right. Yet, I want to talk to you about your justice. Why do wicked people succeed? Why do treacherous people have peace and quiet?

Job knows that there are things he may not fully understand and his argument may be flawed.

But yet he is perplexed that the unjust seem to prevail.
He cannot help but ask God “Why?”

Note that Job asks this – in the context of his own suffering. He wonders why he who is “less wicked” is suffering so badly while the “more wicked” ones don’t seem to be.

Have you ever been there?

If so, I’d like to assure you that such frustration is normal.

We live in a fallen world.
It is not what God intended it to be.
Since sin and evil entered our world, it is but a deformed reflection of the world God created in the Genesis account – the world He saw as ‘good’.

In this world, bodies break down, people betray the trust they have been given, and evil seems to prevail and escape punishment.

While we may feel like Job- let us also remember what Job first confessed – that God knows the full picture.

My friend, He knows what you are going through and what the evil are doing.
He also knows what He has got planned for you at the end of this journey.

My advice?
Hang in there.
Trust Him. The One who loves you, is still in control.

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Day 202

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 11:1-4
This is the message that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah. He said, “Listen to the terms of this promise, and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who doesn’t listen to the terms of this promise. I made this promise to your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, which was an iron smelter. I said, “Obey me, and do everything that I have told you to do. Then you will be my people, and I will be your God.

The most important proof of our relationship with God is that we obey Him.

It’s not about showing Him photo proof or certificate that we have church membership or that we underwent a baptism event.

The thief on the cross was welcomed into Heaven despite being unable to get down off the cross and do anything else!

With all his heart, he believed in who Jesus was and what Jesus could do for him!
But for the rest of us- with years to spare- we would do well to consider, “What does it mean to say ‘I believe in You Jesus’?”

Is the way we live our life and the words we profess, consistent?

Saying “You alone are God” and AT THE SAME TIME living as if He alone is God- is the kind of relationship God desires to have with us.

Think about it – for a man to say “You are the only one for me.” to his professed love, whilst running around with other women – what does that do??

Day 201

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 10:2-7
This is what the LORD says: Don’t learn the practices of the nations. Don’t be frightened by the signs in the sky because the nations are frightened by them. The religion of the people is worthless. Woodcutters cut down trees from the forest. The hands of craftsmen prepare them with axes. Craftsmen decorate them with silver and gold and fasten them together with hammers and nails so that they won’t fall over. These trees are like scarecrows in cucumber gardens. They aren’t able to speak. They have to be carried, because they can’t walk. Don’t be afraid of them. They can’t harm you. They can’t do you any good either. No one is like you, O LORD. You are great. Your name is powerful. Everyone fears you, O King of the Nations. This is what you deserve. No one is like you among all the wise people in the nations or in all their kingdoms.

The Israelites were purposed to be God’s light – living a way of life that exemplified what it meant to follow God.
They were meant to STAND OUT for God.

But instead of doing so, they became just like the surrounding nations.
They followed in their idolatrous ways.

It’s a lesson we should pay attention to, even today.
Have we become like the rest?
Or do we stand out for God?

Now I don’t mean – that we stick out like a sore thumb in society.
But we need to hold on to the distinctives of our faith- and ALL of it rather than some.

For example – the Bible teaches us about a Truth- Love balance.
We speak truth and yet show love.

For example-
If we only hold onto the distinctive of love (ignoring truth) , then we end up saying “It’s okay- God will understand.” when it’s not so – and that such a way of living will destroy a person and our society.

Then we cease to shine as the light that God calls us to be- condoning sin and misleading the people around us.

But if we only hold onto the distinctive of truth (ignoring love) then we would be overly concerned about being right all the time and the expense of not exemplifying the love that God teaches us to show!

Then we cease to resemble our Lord Jesus and present an inaccurate picture of His Good News for the world!

That Jesus came to bring us life and life in abundance!
Life change is possible through Jesus Christ our Lord, Son of God and Savior of the world!
He died that our mistakes might not have a hold over us and we can live a transformed life through the power of the Spirit.

Day 200

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 7:6-11
Suppose you do not oppress foreigners, orphans, and widows, or kill anyone in this place. And suppose you do not follow other gods that lead you to your own destruction. Then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave permanently to your ancestors long ago. “‘You are trusting the words of a saying. It’s a lie that cannot help you. You steal, murder, commit adultery, lie when you take oaths, burn incense as an offering to Baal, and run after other gods that you do not know. Then you stand in my presence in the house that is called by my name. You think that you’re safe to do all these disgusting things. The house that is called by my name has become a gathering place for thieves. I have seen what you are doing,'” declares the LORD.

The people thought that God would always be for them.
They thought that they could follow a routine – and even though they sinned in many ways – they would still go to the Temple as if nothing had happened.

Surely we don’t do such things!
Or do we?

We go to church on Sundays and praise His name but on the other days, we live as if God was non-existent.
Yet we content ourselves with such a nominal Christianity.

Do not be fooled- God cannot be treated like this and yet standby idly and do nothing to us.
He disciplined the Israelites and He will do the same to us.

A routine faith with no substance leads to the same place that blatant idolatry does- an eternity lost from Him.

And so to prevent such an outcome- God will act to teach His people to take Him seriously and revere His name.

Day 199

by Rev Joel Yong

Jeremiah 5:2-3
People say, “As the LORD lives ….” Yet, they lie when they take this oath. LORD, your eyes look for the truth. You strike these people, but they don’t feel it. You crush them, but they refuse to be corrected. They are more stubborn than rocks. They refuse to turn back.

Why would people blatantly lie while swearing to the truth in God’s name?
They don’t believe He exists.
That’s why.

They do not think He will come hunt them down for misusing His name.
Even when God is inflicting punishment on them – they blame everything and everyone except themselves for sinning against God.

Because they have erased God as a factor in their life a long time ago.

Time for us to reflect.
Is God a certainty and reality for us?
Or just a nice idea?

It shows in how we live.

Day 198

by Rev Joel Yong

Isaiah 35:5-9
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unplugged. Then those who are lame will leap like deer, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. Water will gush out into the desert, and streams will gush out into the wilderness. Then the hot sand will become a pool, and dry ground will have springs. Grass will become cattails and rushes in the home of jackals. A highway will be there, a roadway. It will be called the Holy Road. Sinners won’t travel on it. It will be for those who walk on it. Godless fools won’t wander onto it. Lions won’t be there. Wild animals won’t go on it. They won’t be found there. But the people reclaimed by the LORD will walk on it.

What a wonderful day it will be when such a day comes!

Matthew Henry writes: “When Christ shall come to set up his kingdom in the world, then wonders, great wonders, shall be wrought on men’s souls. By the word and Spirit of Christ, the spiritually blind were enlightened; and those deaf to the calls of God were made to hear them readily. Those unable to do anything good, by Divine grace were made active therein. Those that knew not how to speak of God or to God, had their lips opened to show forth his praise. ”

God’s presence changes everything.
He made the ground before the burning bush holy.
He made the Red Sea unveiled its seabed.
He made the hearts of sinners like Peter melt and causes them to spout words like “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”- fully aware of our own condition

We look forward to the day when Christ comes …
When we too will be changed and never the same.

Until that day comes, strengthen us O Lord that we may be found faithful

Day 197

by Rev Joel Yong

Isaiah 30:2-3
They go to Egypt without asking me. They look for shelter under Pharaoh’s protection and look for refuge in Egypt’s shadow. But Pharaoh’s protection will be their shame, and the refuge in Egypt’s shadow will be their disgrace.

Instead of seeking God- Israel struck up an alliance with Egypt, thinking they would be protected.

When Babylon attacked- Pharaoh came with his army but seeing the size of the Babylonian armed forces- he turned tail and ran. Israel was subsequently conquered.

We might rationalize that a powerful organization or a person of high status can protect us but we can find no greater power to defend us than the Almighty God. He is above all powers. Let us seek Him today and always.