Day 327

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 3:2-13
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

I think Paul’s intent was to ensure that overseers and deacons were not selected without a stringent process or chosen without much testing and consideration.

I do not think it means therefore that such men are faultless or perfect or expected unreasonably to have perfect households.

It should not be used as a list for those hoping to find fault with an overseer or deacon and thereafter seek to disqualify him from his role. Rather it serves as a reminder to us of the gravity of such a role and the need to get one’s home in order prior to one’s appointment or selection.

It’s hard to run a perfect household. Matthew Henry comments on the passage above saying “Who then is up to the task?” He then inferred that it must be a man who leans upon the grace and guidance of God.

After all David was forgotten by his father when Samuel came visiting, to anoint a new king.
His own brother chided him for asking about Goliath’s challenge to the army. David’s wife then mocked him for dancing in front of the Ark. His son raped his half-sister and then another son Absalom murdered the rapist. Absalom then sought to take the throne by force and failed, dying in the process.

David’s family was far from perfect but he is known as a man after God’s own heart. For God looks beyond the surface to see what is far within.

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Day 326

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Prayers for kings and leaders – this we do, for our own nation.
Sometimes we do it too, for global leaders of strong and powerful nations – because of the impact their policies have upon the world.

What about prayers for leaders whose nation, for example, develops nuclear arms even in the face of global disapproval?
And I don’t just mean, praying that they will cease their nuclear program … but also praying that they will have opportunities to hear the gospel message and experience Jesus’ love.

Too often we forget to pray for such leaders, for they too are people that Jesus came to save.
How about starting today?

Day 325

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 1:19-20
By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul was likely referring to excommunication. Check out Matthew 18.17-18.

Jamieson Fausset Brown has this to say about the 2 men: “Alexander here is probably “the coppersmith” who did Paul “much evil” when the latter visited Ephesus. The “delivering him to Satan” was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle (2 Timothy 4:14-15); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of “saying that the resurrection is past already” (2 Timothy 2:18)”

These men were at one point a part of the faith community and that is why the apostle writes that they shipwrecked their faith.

A shipwreck happens when the vessel strikes rocks and is torn apart and sinks- unable to travel any longer or be of any use.

In today’s world we assume that a person has to stop going to church and turn to another religion to be considered as ‘no longer a believer’.

But these 2 men – seem to have had a change of views about some faith essentials – in particular the resurrection of believers! My thoughts are – that the slide into unbelief is subtle and begins with false ideas about the faith here and there and it leads to the corruption of the believer’s perspective and subsequently those around them.

Such people may still have the outward observances and still gather with the rest of the faith community but they have ceased to believe the essentials of Christianity.

For example – it could be something the Bible explicitly says is a sin, but over time due to the influence of popular culture- people start to ‘reason’ that it was a sin only at a certain point of history when the masses were ‘uninformed’ and science ‘not advanced’.

Sound familiar??

Day 324

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful and will strengthen you and protect you against the evil one.

God will not abandon us.
People will. But God does not.

He is not a coward who runs at the sign of impending battle.
He does not shy away from the task because He deems the cost is too great and the effort needed, too massive.

How do I know this?
The Cross.

While we were still sinners, He took to the Cross.
While we could give Him nothing, He gave us His everything.
While men cried “Crucify him!”, Jesus cried “Forgive them!”

The Cross convinces and convicts me of His love for me.
I know since He went to the Cross for me, that there is no depth or distance or obstacle that is going to keep Him from coming for me.

I do not fear Satan. I fear only God.
He loves me and my household and He defends us with His mighty arm.
That, not my bank account or my accolades, is what makes me sleep well each night.

Deep faith

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Hebrews 11:17-31; Psalm 59:1-17

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
Psalm 59:16-17 “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”

REFLECT
We are told as a preface to Psalm 59 that this is “miktam” of David when Saul sent men to his house in order to kill him. We are not quite sure what “miktam” means but all the six Psalms with this word have certain characteristics. These six Psalms, as Charles Spurgeon puts it starts with “prayer, imply trouble, but abound in holy confidence and close with songs of assurance as to ultimate safety and joy”. Hence we read in Psalm 59 that David sang praises to the Lord in assurance of His steadfast love even in the midst of the possible lost of life. What a man of deep faith in God!

RELATE
Would I sing praises to God in the midst of the possible loss of life? Would i sing praises to God if the lives of my family members are threatened? I am not sure i will. I will definitely be praying for protection and His will be done, but sing praises to God? That is quite something altogether. That is the depth of faith which David had and for which he and the other heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 were commended for. Even if these persons were not able receive what was promised as in the ministry and work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:39), God commended them for their extraordinary faith. Through David and many other heroes of the faith, we see that they have a kind of faith which does not call out often to God for a more comfortable standard of living or whine at the most tiny worry; but faith that speaks much of their profound love for God even in the midst of very challenging circumstances. This is something which we, the very much self-entitled and self-consumed generation can learn from. May the Lord help us, people who are supposedly in a better Covenant, to grow in our understanding of what faith in Christ is really about.

REST
Lord our God, help my wandering soul to rest in You. Help me to grow in faith like how the ancients did, who were able to sing praises to you even in the most trying of circumstances. Amen.

Day 323

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 2:3 -4
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Throughout history there have been individuals who were against everything Christ stood for. They persecuted the people of God and were hugely popular. These antichrists have been present at various points of history.

However, just before the End – we will encounter the Anti-Christ. Like those before him, he will stand against the teachings of Christ and His people. But this Anti-Christ will also mislead many and draw them (it says here quite clearly) to worship him instead of God.

This is a great clue for us, as to who he is and how we can identify him. He will encourage a turning away from God and towards the worship of himself as the Anti-Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The Anti-Christ powered by satanic motivation, will even work counterfeit miracles and deceive the masses.

Knowing this, we as believers should keep a lookout for a person who may seem to be capable of feats beyond human capability, but seeks not to honor or glorify God but instead desires for others to worship him instead of God.

I tell my kids all the time – “Don’t follow a stranger if they say things like ‘Come your Daddy told me to pick you up.'”
I describe what such evil persons might say so that they would not be deceived.
I believe God wants us to know this too – so that we won’t go ‘home’ with the wrong person. Rather let us be watchful and wait for our Messiah faithfully – however long it may seem at times.

Father, help us to be aware and help us to be vigilant as we live out our days.
Help us to be rooted in the faith and with knowledge of Your Word, help us not be deceived when the Anti-Christ appears on the world stage.

Day 322

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

The apostles were delighted to know that the church was growing in its faith and their love for one another was increasing.

Sometimes people misunderstand- thinking that the most crucial thing about Christianity is the initial profession of faith. Once they have made the decision they subsequently neglect to grow in the faith!

They do not follow up and nurture their journeys by reading the Scriptures daily or praying regularly or communing with God in daily worship.

As a result they have a 1 time encounter with the Lord and a superficial faith that does not grow beyond this encounter in subsequent years!

There is an event in the Scriptures known as the Great Falling Away. It describes the end of the world and prior to the end, many in the Church fall away in apostasy.

It’s very real and possible that as evil mounts and pressure is applied to the persecuted Church in the end days – that many will renounce their faith.

Start building on your faith journey today and all throughout your life. When the time of testing comes, may our faith hold strong.