What are we really concern about?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 12:11-21; Psalm 56:1-13

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
2 Corinthians 12:21 “I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.”

REFLECT
Sometimes, our fears and concerns reflect the nature of our love for others. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul expressed that if he had the opportunity to go back to Corinth; he feared that he might find many of them going back to their sinful ways. His utmost concern for the Christians in Corinth is not whether they have established the latest discipleship program; or whether they have organised the biggest Christmas service of the year. Rather, his utmost concern was of the state of their souls; and his own as well. In many of Paul’s letters to the churches and individuals, we can see that this is his utmost concern: whether or not people are growing in Jesus.

RELATE
In this day and age, we seldom hear of friends in the faith asking about the state of our souls. Rather, we are often queried about what we do and how we are doing in the works of ministry. It is as if the works of ministry is a “safer” topic to speak on; rather than perhaps the “awkward” query: “How are you doing in the Lord, my friend?” or even “Are you well with your soul?” Or we could be spending so much time discussing about the works of ministry that we assumed that everyone is just doing well in our souls. I am afraid that would be a rather big assumption. My guess is that many of us would from time to time, need a letter from the likes of the Apostle Paul – “Oh that I fear that I may find you going back your old ways!”

REST
Lord, may you help us to be of concern for things that truly matters. Help us to be a true spiritual friend to one another and keep us humble to receive such queries or feedback from others. Amen.

Psalm 5:7

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 5:7 records: “But I enter Your house by the abundance of Your faithful love; I bow down toward Your holy temple in reverential awe of You.”

The Psalmist outlines 2 key considerations in worshipping God. Firstly, we enter into worship, not as our right – but rather out of God’s gracious love towards us, He makes it possible for mankind to encounter Him. Secondly, we approach Him not flippantly, but with deep respect, aware of how powerful and yet loving this God is. Let’s approach God in thanksgiving for His grace and in awe of His greatness and love.

Bearing with fools

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; Psalm 54:1-7

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
2 Corinthians 11:19-20 “For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.”

REFLECT
Indeed, there are times when we would rather bear with fools than with those who are wise. We would rather allow the evil one to make slaves of us in the pleasures of life than to grow as a slave of Jesus Christ. We would rather tolerate a mishandling of God’s Word than to speak the truth in love. We would rather stay in our comfort zone than to take the effort to speak and care for a fellow brother or sister who sinned. Some would even rather be led by false teachers than to follow those who lead in purity, good conscience and a sincere faith. Some, even after being deceived would choose to stay on the path of unrighteousness.  Why is this so? Like the church in Corinth, people who would rather bear with fools were those who gave in to their own flesh. With itching ears, they tolerated and even accepted the ridiculous teachings of the so called “super-apostles”.

RELATE
As a young believer, I once attended a mega church. I liked the sermons as they were easy to listen to and the jokes were funny. The sermons were largely humanistic. They would usually inspire a person to focus on God’s “promises” for material wealth and physical health; but nothing was being said about the need to die to self and seeking forgiveness for sins.

If not for God’s grace to help me discern the difference between false and sound teaching; I can imagine myself staying in that kind of church for a long time. Why? Because it appeals very much to my own flesh and it is easy believism. In some ways, when we give in to our own flesh in disobedience of God’s Word for our lives; we could be our very own “false teachers”. We “falsely” taught or tried to convince ourselves that it is alright to give in to sin. May the Lord help us during those times, reminding us to stay close to Him and strengthening us to do His perfect will.

REST
Lord, help us to be aware that we can be our very own “false teachers”. May you convict, purify and teach our very hearts of things that are good and right and give us the strength and grace to obey. Amen.

Romans 12:2

by Rev Joel Yong

Romans 12:2 states “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

We can become like the people of this world – because of how and what we think in our minds. We become used to the world’s way of thinking. But rather, God wants us to be changed, and He does this by changing our minds – the way we think and consider the issues of life. So doing, we will be able to live in the way that God desires of us. Fill your minds this day with the things of God – whatever is godly and pleasing unto Him, think about these things!

Fruit of our deeds

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Isaiah 3:1-5:30; Proverbs 22:28-29

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
Isaiah 3:10-11 “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.”

REFLECT
I can only imagine, that when the righteous heard of Isaiah 3:10-11, they must be so encouraged and perhaps even relieved. However, the wicked could have trembled when the message was delivered to their ears.

We can say a thousand things with our mouths and portray ourselves as the most noble person on earth; but the Lord knows what we are truly thinking and what we have done in secret. Some may be able to fool the world or even the most discerning of saints; but we cannot fool ourselves and definitely not God Almighty. Even as the Lord is full of grace; He is also full of truth and will put us in our place if that is necessary to mould us to be more like His Son.

RELATE
These two verses reminded me that in ministry and in life, i must guard my heart in the Lord to be pure and of good conscience. However, I cannot do this just out of fear for the Lord’s punishment. If that is the case, then I will find no joy in His calling for me to minister. Rather, the fear of the Lord must be the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord must be my strength. Then I will learn more about serving God in His love. Then I will learn to enjoy the fruit of good labour which can only come through the grace and peace of being in Christ Jesus.

REST
Lord, for whatever challenges may come, may you help me not to despair or even become hardened in heart. Rather, help me to be strengthened in You and serve with a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. Amen.

Psalm 138:4

by Rev Joel Yong

We live in a world that honors our kings and leaders, and they are often greeted with bows made in reverence.

But Psalm 138:4 records: “All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord. When they hear the words of Your mouth.” But even kings and the other leaders of the world alike, will have to praise God when He speaks.  For there is none like Him in power and none like Him in mercy. Verse 6 says: “Though the LORD is on high, Yet he regards the lowly.” We can trust that God is not only willing but also able to save us.

Holy love

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14; Proverbs

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.”

REFLECT
Some scholars have referred to the Song of Solomon as an allegory of God’s love for humankind, some referred to it as a celebration of human love. Whichever the explanation, some find it difficult to accept the extent of sensuality described in the many verses of such a “holy” book. Yet, the Song of Solomon reminds us of an important truth: that sexual love is a gift from God. Sexual love can even be considered to be holy since it comes from God. As long as sexual love is enjoyed within the sanctity of marriage and being faithful to God’s Word; there is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it should be celebrated.

RELATE
As parents, we often find it difficult to explain sexual love to our children. Subconsciously, we might even find it to be a “shameful” thing to say. Yet, as shepherds of our children’s heart; we must engage them on such an important topic and steer them towards God’s perspective of love and sex. In fact, the Song of Solomon might be a good place to start the conversation.

If we do not take the opportunity to explain the biblical meaning of love and sex to our children; somebody else (like what they see on the Internet or their friends) will. Children might then have very wrong ideas and even act out in ways that are not pleasing to God.

REST
Lord, may you help us to see what you see; and not be ashamed of things which You have created to be beautiful and holy. Amen.