Day 169

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 21:9
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

This verse seems hilarious but it is relief to live in less than ideal housing- if you are a man who has to endure quarrel after quarrel!

What makes a home?
It is surely more than 4 walls and a roof.
It is the relationships between the people who inhabit the dwelling. It must keep people coming home and NOT keep them from coming home!

I think singles, married couples and parents/kids can all contemplate this verse today.
“Do I make living on a rooftop a more appetizing option for my spouse/kids/parents?”

If so- what can I change this day?
You can’t change another person anyway … so why not let change begin with you?

After all TD Jakes once said “If you always do what you have always done, you will always be where you have always been!”

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Day 168

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 11:1
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

Merchants used to rig their balancing scales so they could cheat their customers and make more money.

God hates such dishonesty. But a fair merchant who gives the customer what they ask and deserve, is a delight to God.

Dishonesty in business proclaims “I do not trust God to make me wealthy. Rather I trust my own dishonest means of lying, cheating, and not fully representing the deal as it is.”

Honest businessmen on the contrary proclaim “I trust in God to further my business and wealth- and I will honor Him even when my peers are not doing right in their practices. As for me, I will trust Him and do what He deems is right.”

So today- when you go out to the business world – consider this “Are my scales rigged? Did my boss ask me to cheat my client by hiding certain info from them or misrepresenting other info?”

Do right by God …

Day 167

by Rev Joel Yong

Proverbs 10:1
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Which father does not wish for his child to make wise decisions in life?
I know I do.

But our children are beings of free will and are free to make their own choices, however much we may nag or scold them.

One thing we can do as parents, is to maximize our influence on our children – wielding our influence in the greatest possible way so that when they grow into adulthood, we can say we have done our best to influence them in the right way, God’s way.

Wielding influence requires time and personal touch.
We cannot do this via remote control or long distance. Too often I have been guilty of responding rapidly to emergencies at work via my phone or the work email that comes through it and not being focused enough on my children’s needs at the present moment.

In our technologically advanced day – this is a constant distraction.
One question I try to ask myself this day is – “Is my phone wielding more influence on me than I am on my kids?”

Or for some of us a variation we can ask ourselves is “Is the TV or tablet wielding more influence on our kids than us as parents?”

Good question to think about for this week.

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.

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.