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Showing posts from 2021

Behold The Lamb of God

Matthew 1:21. John 1:29-34. Can you recall your recent response at the sight of a baby or even a little kid? It's always one of delight and love, isn't it! We suddenly notice their cuteness, smile and even refreshing presence (literally, as one CNN article presents the outcome of research on how kids help the elderly live longer.) But we all know that kids outgrow this unsolicited cuteness, haha. In the passage, Matthew introduces another baby, Jesus, whom from infancy through eternity would still be worth beholding, "behold the Lamb of God" (John's gospel) because: He saves the world from sin (v29) - redeems us from the power of sin and death, giving us a new life in God. Romans 6:1-11. He baptises us with the Holy Spirit (v33) - who refreshes and empowers us to live for God. Although John the Baptist begins by beholding and testifying about Jesus, later in v35-37, He led his two disciples to Jesus, pointing them to Behold the Lamb of God. What wo

A Story of Gratitude

Psalm 136. When I think of allocating time to a to-do list, I think more about spending time on "getting things done" and not on things that are already done. But making time for reflection can be very peaceful, as well as productive, and also create space for thanksgiving - which is God's will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and an act honouring to God (Psalm 50:23). In the passage in Psalm 136, the Psalmist models a kind of thanksgiving that can be very helpful in expressing our deep gratitude to God: He begins by thanking God for His good and loving nature, His sovereign nature, His wonder, His power and creativity (v1-9) - a good way to set our hearts on God. He tells a story - of specific moments of God's goodness to people (Israel - v11,14; his people - v16; his servant - v22) and of personal experiences of God's goodness (us - v23,24; every creature - v25). All through, he recognises that God's love/ mercy endures in every season of life (v1

Battle with Confidence in God

Joshua 1:1-9. After years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites are finally able to enter the promised land. But before that, they must wage battles against their enemies. It was to this end God called Joshua as a leader. He was going to fight Jericho, Ai, ... and lead a journey of so many battles, but this time it wasn't going to be with Moses, which he was accustomed to (as in Exodus 17:8-16). So how does he proceed? What's the plan? In the passage, God lays out a strategy for Joshua. God reminded Joshua that: He would need the Word as a constant reminder of God's promises and faithfulness. (v8)  He was to go through the battles by being confident (strong and courageous) in the fact that God is always with him. (v9) Like Joshua, sometimes we have seasons of (so many) battles: a health battle, a career struggle, a relationship tension, something too personal. In these times, God encourages us to come to Him in prayer and confidence in His Presence

A Moment in Time

2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Let's take a trip down memory lane. Can you remember when you came to faith in Jesus? Could you replay the words you heard? What was the setup? A phone call, a coffee chat, a pub catch up, a sermon, a prayer meeting, a road trip. How was it delivered? Gently, loudly, passionately, nicely, annoyingly. Would you have preferred it any other way? Are you grateful for that moment? As those reconciled to God, we are called to share that wonderful message of salvation (that Jesus died and rose again to reconcile man to God) and witness to His wonderful works in our lives. Psalm 96:1-3. What would it look like to create a similar moment for a family member, friend, neighbour or colleague who is not yet saved? Who does God bring to mind? Thank You Father for the opportunities to share the gospel. Help us to know that You are always with us to the very end of the age. God bless you exceedingly, Sam.

Pursuing One Thing

Luke 10:38-42. Have you ever had one of those busy and exhausting days where, in the end, you didn't do the main thing(s) you had set out to do? Distractions are inevitable, aren't they? In the passage in Luke 10, Jesus deals with the issue of distractions. How does Jesus see distractions? As things that could quickly spiral into sin if not dealt with (v40-42). Martha starts off being distracted (v40), then got worried and upset (v41) and lost sight of the "one thing" needed (v42). From distractions to worries to idolatry - a dangerous spiral. And this shows how distractions and the things we worry about can often become the centre of our lives. But good news! Jesus offers a solution to distractions and worries. His Presence (the one thing, v42). In response to Martha, Jesus points to Mary's choice - which was to draw close to Him, "listening to what He says" (v39,42). We can always come to Jesus and find peace and rest (Matthew 11:28)

In the Name of Jesus

Acts 3:1-8. Have you ever prayed in a prayer meeting and wondered to yourself what people thought of your prayer? - Why were their eyes still closed? Was it too short? Did it make sense? It didn't make sense... I can't even remember what I said. I must be terrible at this thing. (You can tell I've lived this, haha) Acts 3 is the first miracle of healing in the Early Church, an event where a man who was lame from birth began to walk (v2,8) I am often encouraged by the passage mainly because of the emphasis on the simplicity of the event (from the disciples' lense): It happened to be that Peter and John had no money - an awkward situation. (v3,6) It happened during their everyday life - at 3 pm on their way to (not from) prayer - it wasn't planned. (v1) It seemed to me Peter's prayer was ... errmm ... too short (v6, In Jesus name, walk). In an earlier chapter in Acts 2:17-21, Peter had shared how God's promise of the Holy Spirit is now fu

Trusting for Everyday

Proverbs 3:3-6. The passage gives some amazing blessings of doing good and trusting God (or as Psalm 37:3 puts it: trust God and do good). • Favour and a good name before God and man. v4. • A straight path. v6. (No matter the events of life, God can work out a good straight path as we trust Him. Romans 8:28) 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.   4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.   5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;   6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. I think trusting God is a discipline. Sometimes, it's easier to trust than other times. But it's a good discipline to lean not on self but to lean on God completely. Does that mean doing nothing? No. It means submitting (v6) to Him (talking and listening to Him) as we do the good we can. W

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

Colossians 3:15. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. The Peace of Christ: It's a ruling peace. Jesus (the Prince of Peace) lives in us and He has overcome everything that robs us of peace - like fear, anxiety. So we can always ask Him for His peace. [Matthew 7:7] It's the call of the body of Christ. As members of Christ's body (the Church), we are called to live in peace - as instruments of peace. So, not just God's peace in us, but God's peace through us. We need Christ's peace in and through us because a peaceful heart flows thanksgiving (worship to God) and service (admonishing one another) [Col 3:15-16, Philippians 4:6]. And importantly, a heart of peace gives life to the body. [Proverbs 14:30] “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” [2 Thessalonians 3:16] Amen. God bless you excee

To serve, a higher calling

Matthew 20:20-28. Question: Would you want your mum to visit your workplace? And if yes, would you be happy for her to meet your boss? Thoughts that come to mind: Would she mention that weird childhood habit I had?... Or would she tell my boss off for my workloads and demand a salary raise on my behalf? Getting close to the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, a mum visited her sons' workplace and had a word with the boss, as seen in the passage. She unhesitantly requested (in paraphrase, v21): I want my two sons to be next to you in command. (James and John Zebedee must be proud that mum kicked off a favourable conversation.) But Jesus, being the true servant boss, did not say "put in the hours, meet the KPIs, put yourself out there - people gotta see what you're doing, and gradually you climb the ladder and eventually you become everyone's boss." Rather, Jesus also unhesitantly responded (shortened, v25-28): don't lord it over people, the way to

A Singing Universe, Loved and Cared for

Psalm 65. If God had a grocery list, I think Psalm 65 would be it. The only contrast between His list and our typical shopping list is that ours portray our needs, but God's list portrays his abundant supply to ALL needs. All needs: we are cared for – forgiven, restored and blessed (v2-5). The land and streams are cared for (v9), also the crops (v10), the wilderness, the hills (v12), the flocks (v13), all cared for and partaking in His abundant supply; "You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance." (v11) A friend of mine puts it this way: if we can all chill long enough [haha], we will find something to be thankful for. It looks like the Universe chills long enough every day to find something (rather, everything) to be thankful (rather, singing) for. And we're welcome to join in. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (v8) What are you thankf

Build Each Other Up

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11. 1 Cor 14:1-5. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. ... the one who prophesies edifies the church. God, through Paul, reminds us, that as we journey through life waiting on Christ's return, we should do so soberly, with faith, love and hope. And importantly, encourage one another and build each other up (prophecy). As we grow in love, we ought to grow in prophecy, through the help of the Holy Spirit. Who is God laying in your heart to encourage, to bu

2021 - The Lord is There

Joel 2:28-32. HAPPY NEW YEAR !!! We can take a few minutes to reflect and capture those moments in 2020 that we felt some joy or comfort, no matter how little, and thank God for them... Thank you Father God for 2020, and for those moments that Your light was shone in darkness, and those moments when we were encouraged... and that You keep on keeping us. We are so grateful! In the Old Testament journey of the Israelites, we see a constant cycle where the Israelites keep turning away from God's ways. And when they do, God forsakes them (2 Chronicles 15:2). Then they get exiled. They cry to God. God saves them. And then they repeat the cycle. The book of Joel is a similar story of the Israelites' exile cycle. God forsakes them. They cry out to God and He 'took pity' on them (v18), He is merciful. And more than that, he promises a day when He will come, and He paints a picture of what would happen when He comes (v28-32). A picture that reminds them that the Lord