Day 166

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 4:2-5
After all, I have taught you well. Do not abandon my teachings. When I was a boy learning from my father, when I was a tender and only child of my mother, they used to teach me and say to me, “Cling to my words wholeheartedly. Obey my commands so that you may live. Acquire wisdom. Acquire understanding. Do not forget. Do not turn away from the words that I have spoken.

Solomon wrote these words and he referenced his relationship with his father.
I wonder what his father taught him.

His father was after all -David.
Hunted by Saul.
Mocked by Micah.
Forgotten by Jesse when Samuel came to their household to anoint a future king.

He was also giant slayer and commander of mighty men.

I am sure David had much to say.
From his life experiences and even from his failures.

He also knew what it was to sin against God – he plotted Uriah’s death and stole his wife and took a census when he shouldn’t have.

When 1 generation teaches another- there is much to pay attention to and to absorb. For there lies Wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to learn before experiencing the consequence of folly – and one can do so from the experience of another who has triumphed and failed previously.

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Day 165

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 137:7
O LORD, remember the people of Edom. Remember what they did the day Jerusalem was captured. They said, “Tear it down! Tear it down to its foundation.”

When Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar – the Edomites encouraged the attack and cheered even on the sidelines!

Scripture teaches us that Israel and Edom came from the same bloodline – from Jacob and Esau respectively!

Yet when their relatives were getting attacked – the Edomites cheered!

No wonder God punished Edom for what they did. Though they did not participate physically in the attack on Jerusalem- their words and thoughts were evil and toxic!

Ezekiel 25:12-14
Thus says the Lord God: Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them, therefore thus says the Lord God, I will stretch out my hand against Edom and cut off from it man and beast. And I will make it desolate; from Teman even to Dedan they shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they shall do in Edom according to my anger and according to my wrath, and they shall know my vengeance, declares the Lord God.

Subsequently Edom was attacked by the Arabian tribes from the east, and destroyed.
Cheering when those we dislike, are suffering- is considered a sin by God!

So this day- whomever you may dislike- if suffering befalls them, do not cheer, dear friends, lest we reap similar punishment!

Day 164

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 135:5
I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all the false gods.

This is my prayer this week – my God is above all ‘gods.’
No other ‘powers’ than seek to threaten me in this world – have any substance nor do they warrant me getting anxious or fearful about them.

My God is above all.

Too often in the pop culture of today- we are taught to fear the likes of bogeymen or demonic entities portrayed on the silver screens and supposedly ‘based on a true story’. Strangely though these same movies that encourage a fear of the demonic do not instill to an equivalent degree – a reverent fear of God.

Rather – religious symbols are wielded like a talisman in such movies and God is often reduced to an entity summoned, in that circumstance, to defeat evil rather than a Father with whom we build a relationship daily and throughout our life.

Instead – Scripture teaches us that God is great AND loving. His mercies endure forever.

He isn’t some vending machine we go to- to defeat obstacles in life, only to be neglected when the going is smooth in our life journeys.

He is our Lord – a Master to be served.
He is our Father – a Parent we can confide in and seek guidance from.
He is our Savior – once and for all, Jesus paid for our sins upon the Cross and because He did, we need not fear the powers of darkness anymore.

What an awesome reason to praise the Lord this day and every day!

He is able

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Zechariah 12:1-13:9; Proverbs 31:1-7

READ (verse chosen for meditation)
Zechariah 13:1 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”

REFLECT
The desire of the Lord is for His people to be cleanse from sin and uncleanness. However, God’s people cannot do this through our own efforts, no matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we desire it to be. We can only strive towards holiness and perfection through Jesus Christ. Only by first being reborn as a child of God through the blood of Christ, would we have any hope of becoming who God wants us to be. For this, the Father sent His only begotten Son to first become fully human even as He was fully God. Only then, could Jesus atone for our sins and we reconcile our broken relationships with Him.

RELATE
We know why Jesus came. We know why He had to come in a manger. Yet, we find it so difficult to be cleanse of our sin and uncleanness. We tried. We succeeded for a while and then we failed again. Why is this so? Is it because the blood of the Begotten is not enough? Is God not powerful enough to make us wholesome again?

No. It has to do with us. It is always us and not the fault of God. We keep failing because we could be afraid to lose the momentary pleasure that sin brings. We keep failing because we have no confidence in God who can really give us breakthroughs. We keep failing because we did not truly grasp the good news of Jesus being born in a manger. We keep failing because all these while, we have not understood that true happiness can only be found in the things of God. For all that God is, of why He came and how He died on the Cross for our sins; this Christmas, let us not lose hope for He is more than able. He will help us if we are sincere in our worship of Him in all that we do.

REST
Lord our God, the story of the birth of the Christ-child is not a fairy tale. It is a story full of bloodshed, violence and tragedies. All this so that mankind can be reconciled to You. May You help us not to lose sight of this greatness which You have done. This is so that we will never lose hope in You. For You are able. Amen.

Day 163

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 103:8-10
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

This just shows how gracious our Father is.
He doesn’t blow up at us at our 1st infraction, but rather is patient with us. But when He has to, He will discipline us and bring us back to what is right. Even then His wrath is but for a while.
Even though, God could smite us with a single blow, He doesn’t.
He does not deal with us as we deserve.

So here is my thought- “Don’t overstep your spiritual boundaries.”
Galatians reminds us that “God cannot be mocked, we reap what we sow.” (Gal 6.7)

When God disciplines, TURN.
His anger dissipates quickly, so repent right away!!
He is after all, a good good Father.

Day 162

by Rev Joel Yong

Psalm 84:1-4
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

He lived in a palace- best residence in the land of Israel and yet he wrote these words – that he longed for something better…the courts of God.

Some may spend a lifetime pursuing material luxury but it’s all for naught if God has no place in their hearts.

Our life here on earth is but a scratch compared to eternity. We live at most 70-80 years but that is a blip compared to the length of eternity.

Those who pursue God, may experience some persecution and suffering in this life but compared to an eternity in God’s courts- it’s a wise decision they made to follow Him!

Some may disregard God and experience luxury here on earth but compared to an eternity without God, in a place of eternal torment – that is a very bad choice they made. Poor exchange!

No wonder David kept his eyes fixed on what matters most –

Psalm 84:10
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Which side; what choice?

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Revelation 17:1-18; Psalm 145:1-21

READ (verse chosen for meditation)
Revelation 17:8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.”

REFLECT
Revelation 17:8 is a parody of Revelation 4:8 where God is depicted as the One “who was, and is and is to come”. Here, the evil one “was, and is not and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction”. Where the eternal Word of God is concerned, the destinies of two sides of the battle is clear. Where there is God, there will be life and eternity. Where there is evil, there will be destruction. Why was a parody given to the Apostle John? Why not just speak plainly? It might be that even as evil always try to imitate what is good; a parody is given to highlight the truth that however much evil tries, it can never give what God can.

RELATE
All who know God are not reborn to be perfect. Instead, we are reborn with the seed to strive for perfection even to the day we are home in the Lord. We could be struggling with an addiction that has been going on for many years; we could be wavering in the faith because of a loved one who is in pain or had passed away; we could have taken flight from worshipping God for a long time; or we could be feeling so helpless that we want to die. Whatever the situation, no matter the depth of the darkness we are finding ourselves in, Revelation 17:8 reminded that we are not to follow the beast into its doom and destruction; but we are to follow the Light who will bring us out of darkness. There is always hope and there is always a choice. We could have been making the wrong choices, but today is the day to make it right.

REST
May He who is able, help us make the right choice and continue with perseverance to fight the good fight of faith in Him. Amen.