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Useful to God

The person the world would consider an elite would be someone with sterling academic qualifications from a university of renown, widely recognised professional achievements and many important associates in high places. Subconsciously, many of us also hold this view – that our personal worth depends on what we possess, what we have achieved and who we keep company with.

The apostle Paul spoke of himself as an elite in Judaism: “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless.” (Philippians 3:4-6)

Yet, Paul’s words that immediately followed revealed a man whose perspective was totally transformed after his conversion to Jesus Christ: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3:7-9)

Those words are jarring to the ears of many people today who continue to judge a person’s worth by worldly yardsticks.

Paul knew what he believed and who he believed. The Lord Jesus Christ had saved him from God’s wrath and judgment for his sins. On the cross, Jesus took Paul’s place and bore God’s judgment. By trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection on his behalf, Paul received forgiveness of his sins. Paul’s life was redeemed by the Lord and, out of gratitude, he made the choice to give his life in service to God. Paul gladly forsook the attractive rewards and benefits that the world offered him, and chose the path of obediently following Christ and doing God’s will. Far outweighing the earthly gains were the immense eternal benefits of knowing and serving the Lord Jesus. Right to the very end, Paul faithfully carried out God’s purpose and mission for his life – to preach the gospel to the Jews and to the Gentiles (Acts 26:12-18Romans 1:16-17).

Things in this present life are temporal. We would be wise to live for the eternal: God Himself, His Word and the souls of people. Will we, like Paul, make a choice to live for what really matters? Are we ready to forsake the glittering attractions of the world and choose to be useful to God for His purpose and mission in the world? It was C. T. Studd who asked, “Are you living for the day or are you living for life eternal? Are you going to care for the opinion of men here, or for the opinion of God? The opinion of men won’t avail us much when we get before the judgment throne. But the opinion of God will. Had we not, then, better take His word and implicitly obey it?”

May we as Christ’s disciples reply with a resounding “YES!” and obey God’s call upon our lives to go forth and bear the Good News to a world that is lost and desperately in need of Christ!

Written by Pastor Katherine Chan

 

TESTIMONIES

Sarah Hoonhttps://saltandlight.sg/work/do-you-trust-me-god-asked-a-young-missions-doctor-who-was-living-like-an-orphan/

(Sarah Hoon is a young missions doctor, who had sensed God’s leading and call to missions even from her youth days. The Lord continues to lead Sarah for her future ministry, even as she serves in Singapore for the time being during the COVID-19 global pandemic.)

Jiamin Choo-Fonghttps://thir.st/blog/struggle-fulltime-missionary/

(As a young graduate who sensed God’s call to full-time missionary service, Jiamin was worried for her mother, a widow, and younger siblings. But Jiamin’s godly mother gave her full blessings and the Lord reassured her of His care and provision.)

A Missionary’s Journeyhttps://missions.cefc.org.sg/a-missionarys-journey/

(The author shares about the preparation for and lessons from the past three years of missionary service in a less developed nation.)

Jemima Ooihttps://thir.st/blog/chinese-girl-congo-war-zones/

(At the age of 23, Jemima left everything behind in first-world Singapore to serve overseas in cross-cultural missions to people in poor and war-torn areas. Through witnessing much hardship and suffering, she has developed a heart of faith in God and compassion for the lost.)

John Sunghttps://saltandlight.sg/leadership/the-man-who-moved-asia/

(John Sung was a passionate evangelist and missionary who set foot in Singapore in the 1930s and brought the Gospel to most parts of China and South East Asia. John Sung’s deep legacy continues till this day in and through the lives and ministries of many Asian Christian leaders.)

 

SONGS

For the Cause”, by Keith & Kristyn Getty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHuLOdZdqs8

Let It Start With Me”, by No Other Name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H_hmNqls7A

Reckless”, by Jeremy Camp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ougqs75-r7Y&list=PL732BAD000723414D&index=6

World Outside Your Window”, by Hillsong Young & Free: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpB7s61jOgM

 

SCRIPTURE

Philippians 3:7-11

Matthew 5:13-16

Romans 10:12-15

Romans 1:14-17

 

SERMONS

“The Person God Uses”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1560

Chosen Instruments”, by Pastor Colin Smith: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/83

(A clear, compelling and powerful sermon by Pastor Colin Smith, Senior Pastor of Orchard Evangelical Free Church, US.)

Missions: To Win the World for Christ”, by Pastor Tony Yeo: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/16

(Pastor Tony Yeo, Senior Pastor of Covenant Evangelical Free Church, preaches about missions through the local church, both in Singapore and overseas. The Gospel must be faithfully and boldly proclaimed to the ends of the earth.)

 

ARTICLES

The Living God is a Missionary God”, by John Stott: https://www.worldevangelicals.org/resources/rfiles/res3_425_link_1342020737.pdf

Reaffirming the Missional Heart of God”, by Rose Dowsett: https://weamc.global/archive/Vol03No1_MissionalHeart.pdf (pp.10-16)

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Jonah 1:4-16; Psalm 86:11
Tue, 25 January 2022

The Fearful Men

Observation:

How did the sailors’ fear change from verse 5 to verse 16?

Deeper Reflection
THE NARRATIVE OF THE STORM AND SAILORS IS FULL OF irony and comedy. Picture the drama. The seasoned mariners were scared out of their wits (v.5). In an utter frenzy, they dumped cargo, desperately trying to save themselves. In contrast, Jonah the rebellious prophet was oblivious to the danger, sleeping in the bowels of the ship. The mariners were frantically calling out to their gods. But the prophet of the LORD was asleep. And so the flabbergasted captain came to Jonah and commanded him, “Arise, call out to your god!” (v.6). This is a parody of the divine command that Jonah rejected: arise,…and call out against Nineveh (Jon 1:2).65 After an exercise of lot-casting to determine who is responsible for the disaster, the sailors discovered that it is Jonah, who then disclosed, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (v.9). Jonah’s talk about “fear” must have sounded incredibly hollow to the sailors who knew about his wilful rebellion!66 It was them, and not the LORD’s prophet, who understood the gravity of what Jonah had done (v.10). Another irony of the story is that because of Jonah’s irreverence, the sailors came to genuinely revere his God (v.16). How about us? Are we like Jonah, professing to fear God but treating God flippantly? Pastor Timothy Keller defines the fear of the Lord as being “overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and His love”67. Let us ask the LORD for an undivided heart that truly fears His name (Psa 86:11).
65 D. J. Wiseman, T. D. Alexander, and B. K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Tyndale Old Testament commentaries v. 26 66 Ibid., 116. 67 Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York: Dutton, 2011), 68.
Application:

What does the fear of the Lord mean to me and how does it impact the way I live?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for pastors and staff: That they will have an undivided heart that fears the name of the LORD (Psa 86:11)
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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