30/5: Blessings to Remember

Psalm 103:1-14

Interpretation:
In v1-2, the Psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord with our heart and soul, and remember the good things God has done for us.

In v3-6, the Psalmist records all the good things
1. forgives all our sins
2. heals our diseases
3. redeems our life from the pit
4. crowns us with love and compassion
5. satisfies our desires with good things
6. youth renewed like the eagle
7. works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed

In v7, God is a God who reveals Himself, to Moses and to the people of Israel

In v8-9, the Psalmist writes down the characteristics of God
A. compassionate
B. gracious
C. slow to anger
D. abounding in love
E. not always accuse
F. not harbour anger forever

v10-12 talks about the extent of His mercy, His love, and His forgiveness
Mercy: does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities
Love: love for us is as high as the heavens above
Forgiveness: removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west

The Psalmist concludes that our God is like a compassionate Father to us, who we are since the day we are formed.

Application:
When I read the Old Testament last time, I do get an idea that God is judgemental, always punishing His people when they do wrong. It can be quite scary. But when David writes a Psalm like this, it makes you question the impression of God in your head. Our God is such a compassionate, gracious and loving God and does all the good things in v3-6 for His people. Indeed Jesus came to reveal the Father’s heart to us. When I think of Jesus and His time on earth, indeed He revealed who God is to us so that we can better understand who our God is. And once I know how wonderful God is, I will not fail to give thanks and praises to our God.

God of All Comfort

– 2 Cor 1:3-11 (NLT)

“3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
– God is our merciful Father and that is why He wants to comfort us
– God is the source of all our comfort, even when our friends comfort us, God is using their willing hearts to comfort us

4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
– There is no need for comfort if we do not have troubles
– We are comforted by God so that we can offer comfort to those in need. We need to offer comfort to non-Christians who do not know God. We also need to offer comfort to Christians who are far away from God.
– We can only comfort others when we ourselves have been comforted by God.

5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
– When we go through more troubles and suffering, God will shower on us even more comfort. He will not allow us to go through something we are not able to bear.
– When we comfort others, they will be able to go through sufferings like we did.
– Our sufferings and troubles are not unique. Everybody goes through suffering and troubles like we do.

8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”
– Relying on God and depending on Him is the way through all troubles and suffering. Our faith will grow once we start to place our confidence in Him and seeing Him come through in our circumstances.

– 2 Cor 1:3-11 (NLT)

29/5: Through God’s Eyes

Ps 102:23-28

Reflection:
“You stood before creation, eternity in your hand” – The Stand, Hillsong United.

It comforts me to know that our God is one that has eternity in His hands, that this life is not the only life that I should be limiting my perspective in. I remember the time that a preacher encouraged me that when we pray for Christians to be healed, we can pray in faith because it will be answered all the time. God wants to heal us, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Even if we pray for a Christian to be healed, and eventually he passes away, he will be healed because he will be given a new body. So no matter what happens, God’s healing will prevail. That’s why we can continue to hope even in times of troubles, for our God is an eternal God.

Application:
I’m reminded of these verses. To fix our eyes on things that cannot be seen.

“8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
– 2 Cor 4:8-10, 16-18 (NLT)

Devotion with Choir

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” – Luke 6:35-38

In v35, Jesus talked about loving your enemies and doing good to them. I don’t know whether you think this is an impossible task or whether it’s possible. It is a crazy thing to ask of us, but Jesus reminded us that it is possible because we are made in the image of God and that only by God’s strength that we can do it.

A lot of times we rely on our own strength to do things. We rely on our wisdom, what we have learnt, our experience, what we have done before to do things. Is there any part of our lives that we really need God? For me, I will always have an area in my life that requires God to perform His miracle for it to happen and I will continuously pray for it. Cause sometimes when I pray, it’s just a ritual and just commit to God because I should be praying. So if loving your enemy is something that is hard, continue to draw close to God and pray for strength.

V43 says “因为没有好树结坏果子,也没有坏树结好果子”. So only if you are constantly having a relationship with God, then you will be able to produce the right fruit in your life.
Application: Would be to establish a good relationship with God. So it is not having good behaviour -> good relationship with God, it is having a good relationship with God -> good behaviour.

In v37, it’s talking about judging others, condemning others and forgiving others, and I think we know that we shouldn’t judge, condemn and we need to forgive people. But it’s really hard isn’t it? It’s really hard to do that sometimes.

“我们是我们自己最坏的评论家”

There is one mother’s day video that showed how a mother was unsure about how she was doing as a mother and wished that she could have always done more for her sons and daughters. This is the way we treat ourselves and that’s how we would treat others as well. Sometimes to our spouses, or to our sons and daughters. We always think we are not enough and must be doing more. That will lead us to think that people around us are not doing enough and must do more.
Application: Don’t judge yourself, condemn yourself and learn to forgive ourselves.

27/5: Assurance of Promises Kept

Psalm 102:12-22

Interpretation:
Even though the psalmist was going through a tough time as seen in verses 1-11, but he recognizes that sovereignty of God, that God is still in control. Jermemiah 29:10 talks about the 70 years that the people of Israel will be in Babylon. The psalmist firmly believes that God will come and restore Israel, and that gives him hope in times of suffering.

Reflection:
God promised us eternal life and heaven our eternal home where there is no more pain and suffering. God will be faithful to see through His promises which gives us hope in times of our pain and suffering. In Isaiah 28:16, it talks about Jesus as the cornerstone of Zion, and everyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. Zion in the NT also refers to God’s spiritual kingdom, and God is rebuilding His spiritual kingdom on earth so that people can see His glory and worship Him.

I was also touched by v14 when it says “For her stones are dear to Your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” Even God’s servants are concerned about Jerusalem that lay in rubbles. God is trying to tell us that in our brokenness God wants to show mercy to us.

Application:
Am I actively taking part in rebuilding Zion? Am I allowing God to mould me and shape me so that I can be an effective tool for God to use? I should continue to look to God in times of my struggles, and believe that He is faithful to restore for His mercies are new every morning.

26/5: Do Not Hide Your Face from Me

Ps 102:1-11

Reflection:
For the psalmist, the worst fear is that God had turned His face away from him, and ignore his cries out to Him. He is afraid that God has abandoned him, and he comes to God and cry out to Him.

However, when we read the Bible, we see how God wants to be among his people. First through walking in the garden of Eden, the temples and tabernacles, and then through Jesus walking among us, and then through the Holy Spirit living inside us. We see how God wants to reach out to us. God promises us that “Seek and you will find” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Yet we find ourselves believing that God sometimes abandon us for our good. I used to believe that. That God in His will gives (not allow) us suffering so that we can grow. So when I am suffering I do not go to God that much because I am just suppose to grow through it. Now I believe that God doesn’t want me to go through suffering, but he can use it for my good as long as I go to Him for strength and depend on Him to go through it. It’s a small perspective change but it changes how I approach God.

Prayer:
May I always remember that You will never leave nor forsake me and that I trust in Your unfailing love, especially in times of pain and suffering.

25/5: Set Your Eyes on God

Psalm 101:1-8

Reflection:
David was careful to lead a blameless life, which stems from a blameless heart. To have a blameless heart, David has to see no evil, do no evil, and be away from people who do evil, or practice deceit and speak falsely. David agrees to the fact that sin is indeed powerful and can cause us to sin if we are not careful.
Today God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can live our lives guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the desires to do what is good (Eph 5:17). Jesus has given us a new heart and a new Spirit so that we can be victorious over sin by following the Spirit’s leading in our lives (Eph 5:25).