Revelation 20

This book can be a confusing and confronting. But this chapter particularly struck a cord with me in light of this week's Sunday sermon. We have recently been hearing in our 1 Samuel series that we are made in the image of God, with eternal perspective, and that our lives face consequences after death. And this past Sunday this story continued with the message of living our lives in light of Christ, as a living sacrifice.

Revelation 20 paints a picture of what may be coming after death, that death is truly not the end. As a christian this chapter stirred two strong contrasting emotions for me. There is true joy and anticipation of our glorification with Christ. In the midst of a whirlwind of a confusing life in this broken world, I am reminded Christ is my only light and hope. This becomes a clarifying guidance as to how I should live out each day. Knowing that there is more to this life and so much to look forward to and take joy in. Our God is good.

Our God is also perfect, holy and just. Judgement is displayed in this passage, and as a finite human I struggle to fully comprehend the infinite nature of our souls and of our God - brining me sorrow for the loved ones around us. I pray that I won't stop at fear and sadness. But may this spur me to constantly pray for our friends and family, for those of our church community, for the nations and many that don't know Christ.

Remembering Philippians 1:18-30, let us take courage in knowing Christ, depending on him, labouring for the fruits of his kingdom though we live in the flesh, taking heart, for there is more to live for than what we see.

Sarah Gho

Psalm 134

Pretty short and sweet, but timely as we prepare for communal worship together tomorrow.

Pretty much when looking at it through the study bible the passage is broken up into 2 sections:

V1-2: is the call to the temple helpers to bless the Lord 
- the worshiping congregation is calling on the priests/temple staff etc. to lift up their hands to the holy place and bless the Lord

- Upon reflection just grateful for our pastoral staff, servant leaders and helpers who keep the HCC rolling on. But also a reminder we cannot take them for granted. We as members need to continually pray, encourage and build them up in Christ.

V3: Blessing upon each worshiper 
- The priest here addresses the worshipers and pronounces on each of them that the Lord bless them from Zion

- I have seen our pastoral staff work really hard to pray for the congregation always. It is a blessing and encouragement to read this passage knowing that they are always lifting us up - that we may continually walk faithfully with our lord Jesus Christ. And reminding us that we have received the God’s ultimate blessing which is Jesus.

- So with Sunday around the corner let’s pray for each other, prepare our hearts and minds for when we worship the Lord together. Please pray for our leaders always and please know that the leaders re praying continually for each and every one of you (timely, as shepherds meeting is on tomorrow as well - where the leaders gather to pray for the church and it’s members)

David Choi

Daniel 2

A Faithful God Amidst Uncertain Odds

I wonder if you’ve ever been in a situation where odds were against you. Reading into the narrative, we see Daniel almost faced death when the king of babylon desired his dreams to be interpreted and no one could fulfill his request among his wise council. What would you feel if you were subject to such an impossible request by someone over you (your boss at work, family expectations, uncertain future) threatening your life or your comfort for something you are unable to do? You’re left powerless and vulnerable to the situation. I would be terrified If I were him.

The closest situation I’ve been to facing uncertain odds was 5 years ago when I finished uni and applied for my permanent residency. I had no certainty of staying in the country nor did I know what was going to happen. I simply applied since I got right enough requirements to drop an application.

At the time, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me peace and affirmed the Father’s love for me that no matter where I go, He would be there with me. The experience certainly was not an easy one as I lived week by week waiting for an answer, but I kept my eyes on God’s purpose for me at the time (SOW staffing, church and job hunting though it was unlikely due to my status).

I believe Daniel also felt the pressure of the situation but, I am also encouraged by Daniel’s seeking for mercy in the midst of the situation (v18-19), knowing full well that the “God of heaven” was his sole deliverer. As God answered his prayer by revealing the king’s dream interpretation, his soul was full and we see him gaving a beautiful eulogy to God who is faithful to deliver His people in the midst of uncertain odds, praising His name and power.

As I onlook my coming citizenship test end of the week and as I look back to God’s faithfulness in my life, I desire to be like Daniel in His worship and trust, knowing full well that God not only gives good gifts; He -knows- exactly what we need exactly at the right time against uncertain odds.

Father, You are a faithful, wise and powerful God. You shame the strong and raise up the weak. You save your people from the adversary, but also discipline us when we stray away. You nurture us in Your tender care, but also know when to withhold for our own good so we may be dependent children. Help me as I keep walking this life, that I may be like Your faithful servants and children: -dependent- on You and Your timings, yet swiftly empowered by the Spirit of Your Son who dwells in me.

Cyril Laugeon

Psalm 132

I think this passage is wholesomely reminding us of the promises that God has made and of the worship and praise that He rightly deserves. Lately it has not been often that I ponder on what God has given for me to be saved or to be alive, nor have I thought much of His character as to who he is to be glorified in every moment that I live.
To be honest I have been on struggle street for a very long time and for me in the darkest times, it is hard to remember or believe that God is my Lord, King and Saviour. But this passage gives comfort and hope in that God sits on the throne, His is in control and there is a Heaven to look forward to. It also gives me joy to think of that time I will be truly living in and with Jesus. It also gives encouragement to continue to fight the good fight, to fight for purity and holiness for God, with Him and through Him. 

Andrea Tan

Ezekiel 41

Reading and reflecting on this chaper for me was a great reminder of two things.

The details behind the inage of the temple we are given introduces a sense of complexity and intentional details in the very particular way the temple had to be constructed. This reminded me not only of Gods amazing works in the ultimate creator but also of the strict laws that were in place which the Israelites had to obey just so they could even approach or come before the Lord. This strikes me as something amazing as it really gives credit to the works of Christ as his death and resurrection is not simply just to cleanse us from our sins but what that meant for us is that "the veil was torn" and we gained an accessible and approachable relationship with God. In some sense we may think as people that being forgiven for our sins is the key message but i think the sweetest part is how it allows us to have a direct relationship with God the father who adopts us and calls us His own.

The second thought I really am challenged to meditate and pray over further is the fact that Paul teaches us that our bodies are the temple in which Holy Spirit resides however unlike how the temple of God in Ezekiel was the most holy place, i often fail to recognise this for myself. Im struck by how easily i indulge in the worldly things and not always strive for what is good in the eyes of our God to honor Him with my body.

I am deeply encouraged yet challenged by this passage and hope as a church which strives to work as one body, we can continue encouraging and help each other to glorify the Lord with all that we have. The gifts and privileges we have in being redeemed to knowing God our heavenly father and receiving the Holy Spirit was bought by a high price by the perfect sacrifice of Christ so lets not take that lightly and really find joy and strength to continue pursuing the eternal things.

Tony Yang

Psalm 131

"I have calmed and quietened my soul"

I often feel the need to ask God to quieten my distracted heart because many times my mind is racing with a handful of different thoughts without true acknowledgement of the presence of God with me. Reading today's CBR was such a huge encouragement and rebuke as I read about the correct posture of David's humble and content soul before the Lord. Firstly, in recognising his prideful tendencies "my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high" and secondly in submitting his will to the Lord's "I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me". As I thought more deeply about what it means to be "like a weaned child with its mother", I realised that as a weaned child has come to accept that he can't have what has been denied and finds peace with simply having his mother's presence, so David too does not occupy himself with what God has not revealed to Him but is simply satisfied with the presence of God. This made me wonder how often I feel frustrated because of uncertainties that only God has the answer to and how easily I allow my pride and greed to conquer any sense of peace I have in God. But, especially in light of our sermon series at church, I have grown in appreciation for God's faithfulness to David and how despite his brokenness God used him to model true faith to us today.

Abba Father, we thank you so much for your Word that is living and active. We thank you for Jesus who so perfectly showed us what true submission looked like on the cross and I personally am so sorry that most of my days fail to resemble and at times even remember this sort of humility. Lord, we ask that by your Spirit you would transform our stubborn and prideful hearts to be in submission to Your will and as a community that you would mark us by our contentment in You. In Christ's name we pray, AMEN.

Elizabeth Kim

Ezekiel 37

Reading this passage today humbled me to think of my previous state of spiritual deadness before knowing Christ. Ezekial 37 is such a wonderful picture of how we have nothing to do with our salvation. What can dead people do?Can they move? feel? want? shout out? talk? This amazing illustration of God blowing life into dead bones humbly reminds me once again of his compassionate love he has for his people. Its not because we reached out first that we have salvation or we "chose" to believe,but rather its Gods choice. He plans to, he executes the plan and he finishes. Nothing to do with us.

Praise God for his love for his people. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness for such unfaithful sinners like us. Praise God for He is good.

Louise Kim

1 John 2

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

The Great Commandment is considered integral of what it means to be Christian. However, whilst the first is easy to fulfil, the second commandment is something I struggle with daily. I often develop opinions of people quite quickly and first impressions leave a very lasting impact on me. A bad first impression would often leave me with a bad aftertaste of the person even when they could be the nicest person in the world. Additionally, Christians who I believe don’t act in Christian or loving ways I am quick to frown upon. 1 John 2:9 reads “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in darkness’. This verse illustrates how much of a sinner I am. I am quick to point out the flaws of fellow Christians when I myself am just as flawed as my brothers and sisters. I sin just as much and maybe even more than an average Christian, yet I still ridicule those who fail in the ways I do. The more I think about this line, the more I realise how perfect and obedient Jesus was in following God’s ultimate command and how he was able to love those walking the darkest of paths.

1 John 2:11 states that “anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” This line shows our need to change as the blinding darkness causes us to wander blindly away from the path of godliness and into the mouth of Satan.

Dear God, I pray for forgiveness for our hardened hearts and pray that you soften it to expose us to the truth in the Gospel. Allow us to apply this to our daily lives in forgiving others for their mistakes and love one another just like you do every day.

Eugene Lee

John 21

“Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Lately I have been convicted by this question of, “do I really love God?”

Am I faithfully surrendering my day to our Father everyday out of love? Sometimes I become ashamed of even saying the phrase “I love you Lord” because of my evil desires of this world and how disobedient my actions are in my day to day life. When Peter denied Jesus three times guilt and shame overcame him (John 18). In this passage Jesus asks Peter “do you love me?” three times to exhort Peter about his upcoming responsibilities and the manner in which he will die for the Lord. Peter repeatedly responds to Jesus with “you know that I love you”. May we as a church be reminded that Christ loved us first even through our rebellion, and that by Him loving us, we should love Him back not only for his merciful act of love, but for who he is. A perfect and obedient man.

Let us learn to love the Lord by meditating on the Word and being practical with our faith and actually “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”.

Father God, forgive us for our lack of trust in you and reliance on ourselves. Although we know you are with us, we place ourselves on our own throne and seek glory for ourselves. May we be able to elevate you higher everyday and say “you’re amazing and I love you”. Amen

James Lee

John 16

When I was still young in faith, I found it difficult to understand who the Holy Spirit was. I knew that Jesus was the Son of God and what He did on the cross and His resurrection. I knew the Father who we most often refer to as "God" as creator and provider. However, the Spirit was the godhead who I was inclined to attribute everything else about God that I couldn't understand. I also sense that many Christians rarely elevate Him in their worship by fear of over-spiritualising what they perceive to be an act of God in their life, or fear of being wrong about His role. The result is we fail to rightly worship the Spirit whose role is described in John 16:4-15

Jesus says that He (the Spirit) will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement, and that He (the Spirit) will guide us into all the truth and glorify Him (Jesus).

Looking back to the season of my coming to faith (around 2010-2011), I realize how much of my journey of faith is attributed to the work of the Spirit of God: how my interest of the Christian faith grew, how I increasingly felt concerning the broken things on my heart and in my life and the need for a true and earnest resolution, reshaping my worldviews, and most importantly at that time how I viewed friendships and relationships. It is amazing what the Holy Spirit did in my life, and I praise Him for opening my blind eyes, and even to this date as He increases my affection for Jesus my saviour and friend. When reading v7, Jesus says that "it is to your advantage that I (Jesus) go away" which seems quite foolish at first. The disciples were probably shocked to hear this since what could be better to have the Lord Himself in their midst! But since we know of the resurrection, we see that Jesus rose to the Father's right hand in order to give place to the "Helper" who will indwell His people as promised (Joel 2:28), and to be with us through tribulations and all joys as He sanctifies us.

Holy Spirit, thank you for indwelling us and convicting us of the Truth concerning the risen Christ! We thank you for your empowering presence in guiding us and illuminating our minds and hearts to His beauty. Thank you that we were not left as orphans, but rather left in Your good care. You are the deposit of our salvation in Christ, the guarantor and seal of our faith. Thank you that You will never leave us, but will be with us until the end of the age when our Savior returns to take us home.

Cyril Laugeon