Dear Brethren,

Thank God during our weekly Prayer Meeting, I managed to share a series on Malachi. Hope to take this opportunity to share with all of you and recall first few lessons we have learned from Malachi.

The book of Malachi was written during the post exile of the Israelites and the rebuilding of the second temple. It was a time when the people’s lives were well and their homes were rebuilt. The religious system was restored but the people were lacking in their spiritual life as noted in the book of Malachi in which God raised numerous questions questioning their ways before Him.

On the whole, Israelites were showing contempt for God’s love (Malachi 1:2a). When God said, “I have loved you”, yet they answered “Wherein hast Thou loved us?” Ponder about these words “I have loved you”—what would your response be? Would you respond with a definite “Yes, I love You too!”? Would you think awhile before you respond? Can you seriously say with full conviction, “I love You too”? Or would we hang our head with sadness and shame, unable to reply definitely to that question? Or even worst, respond as like the Israelites, asking God how has He loved us! Aren’t our lives similar to the Israelites then when our lives are well and everything is going relatively smooth? Are our hearts just like the Israelites which showed contempt for God’s love? We know full well the state of our own hearts, so let us ponder more about this statement by God and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help to be able to respond to the love of God.

Let us see a very negative way of responding to God’s love from the way the Israelites responded to God’s declaration of love. When God said He loved them, they actually questioned God as to which area God had loved them. This showed their contempt for God’s love and most of time, it is the same for us. Just by looking at the way we respond to certain things received from God, our inner thought, mentality and heart are fully shown. There is no need for us to spell out our disregard for God and His kingdom. Sometimes, non-verbal, indirect actions and attitudes say it all.

For example, when we murmur and complain over certain issues, doesn’t it show our little faith in God’s provision and sovereign hand? You might say “You don’t know my situation to make such sweeping statement”. My respond would be God knows your situation and it is He who allows it to happen to try and mold you.

When we regularly miss out on important activities of the Church, eg. Prayer Meeting, Sunday School, doesn’t that show our disregard for corporate prayer and studying of God’s Word? Of course there are times, due to valid reasons, we can’t make it but my challenge to you is to tell your reasons to God. Imagine Jesus is in front of you asking why you are not at the Prayer Meeting or Sunday School. If you can truthfully tell it to Jesus, you know that reason is valid.

Lastly, we see God’s response to the question raised in (Malachi 1:2a–5). From the text, we see God’s choice of Jacob over Esau and God’s actions against Esau. Both of the brothers were evil and deserved to be hated by God, but yet one was chosen. It is the same for us. Just like the 2 brothers, all of us are sinners deserving hell, deserved to be hated, yet God loved and has chosen us. Isn’t this as how God puts it “I have loved you”? When we ponder more of how we are chosen even though we are undeserving, we can understand more of God’s love for us.

Again think and ponder upon Malachi 1:2a “I have loved you, saith the LORD.”

Striving to love God more, Nick

X is for eXtraordinary eX–roommate (after this semester)

It has been a long while since I have written anything for the weekly, so now I will write about a friend I have in NTU. Thank God for this Christian friend as my roommate during my stay in the NTU hostel. His name is Daryl Tan and I have a blessed time staying with him for the past one and a half semester.

Some of the things we do together at night are singing hymns with accompaniment of the guitar. As Daryl is from Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC), the songs he sang are more conventional than the ones we use in church. So we would teach each other the songs that we sing in our churches. Although Daryl may be attending a charismatic church and not used to traditional hymns, he enjoyed singing them as he mentioned that the lyrics are meaningful.

We did exchange our views about doctrines and I am glad that we share the same sentiments about major doctrines such as salvation and deity of Christ. However, we have different views about tongue- speaking and the manner of worship. But I thank God that, because of the differences, I got the chance to explain to him doctrines such as Calvinism and the great reformation.

You would think that a Christian from charismatic church would be one who only wants to dwell on material wealth and blessings from God. But Daryl mostly shares with me how God has led him in his life. He is also always faithfully sowing the Gospel seed, organizing events and opportunities to share the Good News with our friends. I must say his zeal to spread the Gospel is heartening to me.

Daryl is a leader in a Youth Fellowship. I must say the youth he is leading are difficult! Some of the youth will often call him at night for advice and he spends his weekend fellowshipping with them, engaging in Bible studies. Yet, Daryl enjoys directing these youth to Christ because he understands the seriousness of not knowing God.

Overall, I must say that Christianity is really about how your heart veers towards God and I can see that in Daryl’s life. Daryl may be from a charismatic church, but his life exhibits what a godly Christian should be: serving God and putting others before self. Some of his stands may be different from mine, but that does not hinder him from serving the Lord. Daryl has shown me that in a charismatic church, there are still some faithful followers of Christ who have dedicated their lives in serving God.

Both Daryl and I will stop staying in hostel after this semester. It saddens me that we would no longer be able to fellowship and pray together often. Nevertheless, I thank God for putting Daryl in my life to show that there are believers from mega-churches who are diligently doing His will!

*Writing this sharing reminds me of this verse, taken from 1 King 19:18—“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

Brother Boon How