Friday, February 3, 2023

In memoriam | In memory of her

"When   she   poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly  I  tell  you, wherever  this gospel  is preached  throughout the world, what she has done will  also be told, in memory of her."  —  Mat 26:12-13 (NIV) 



Reflecting on the beautiful words of affirmation by our Lord in verse 12-13, "By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." While our Lord Jesus had high praises for this woman who had clearly been led by the Holy Spirit to anoint Jesus with really expensive perfume, costing about 300 denarii (worth about USD54,509 today), the disciples were shocked by the lavish gift of this woman. She was also described as a sinner in Luke's gospel account (Luke 7:37).

As I reflected on my own heart and how much was I willing to lay down and sacrifice to our Lord Jesus, I realise that my attitude wasn't too far off from the disciples. I've been calculative in my giving to the Lord, and the Holy Spirit began to convict my heart that the Lord isn't measuring my giving quantitatively, but qualitatively instead. For example, where are the areas of life that I need to surrender to Jesus' Lordship?

The famed missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, a man of God well-acquainted with grief and personal losses, including the untimely deaths of his numerous children, has been quoted saying, "Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all". Also the solemn warning from our Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

I will close my sharing with this beautiful worship song about surrender and living for Jesus:

Lord I Offer My Life

Verse 1

All that I am, all that I have

I lay them down before You, oh Lord

All my regrets, all my acclaims

The joy and the pain, I'm making them Yours

 

Chorus

Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life

 

Verse 2

Things in the past, things yet unseen

Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true

All of my heart, all of my praise

My heart and my hands are lifted to You

Chorus

Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life



Bridge

What can we give

That you have not given?

And what do we have

That is not already Yours?

All we possess

Are these lives we're living

That's what we give to You, Lord

Chorus

Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life

Chorus

Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life

YouTube: https://youtu.be/YZHJwWqxXM0

Songwriters: Claire D. Cloninger & Don Moen

Originally Performed & Popularized by Don Moen

Cover by Amanda Gayle Ardanas & Jessell Dawn Mahinay




Reflection on Matthew 26:1-35 by Chris Tan 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Vigilate mecum | Watch with me

"Remain here and keep watch with me" — Mat 26:38 (NAB).


Picture by Leolo212 from Pixabay


In this world, we can feel lonely. Although we know that we are children of God, we live on earth where we don't see our heavenly Father. It's our human experience even if we are believers and have many friends. The Son of God also went through similar experiences. As a human being, he needed a community and close friends to keep going. Especially when his soul was sorrowful and about to die. 

It's sad if we are not understood by our sisters and brothers. But it happens that they are busy with their own duties or tired of their own problems. Jesus knows human nature very well. He always tries to justify those who make mistakes and even hurt him. He is not angry with them at all. When he feels abandoned, he talks with his heavenly Father. In this way, he gets the new spirit and strength to overcome difficulties. 

Only God is the one whom we can trust 100 percent. As we learn from the example of Judas and Peter (v. 47.69), even our closest friends can betray us. It hurts the most and causes deep wounds in our hearts. But Jesus teaches us to treat our enemies as our brothers and friends. Moreover, he is ready to cure his enemies and touch them with his holy hands. This is a good lesson about how we can win against our oppressors and aggressors. 

If we experience difficulties, it means that our Father allows them to happen. God can send his holy angels and make us destroy evil. But sometimes he lets us become losers. Every day is a new lesson for us. We can become true followers and disciples of Jesus in the holy temple. We can read and meditate on the Scriptures where we find the truth. But we also can leave the Word of God and flee into our own troubles and problems. Yet, it's much wiser to suffer and watch with the Lord even in the darkness than to live without him even in the sunshine. 



Reflection on Matthew 26:36-75 by J√≥zef Trzebuniak

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, January 30, 2023

Mihi fecistis| Did it to me

“The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’" - Matthew 25:40 (WEB)

Photo by Diego Madrigal on Pexels.com

Matthew chapter 25 is quite a significant and important section. It is the final teachings of our Lord Jesus just before the Passover and Crucifixion.

Two groups of believers are pointed out here by our Lord Jesus. The sheep and the goats actually had things in common. However, the main difference was how they helped others and their final destinations. 

Maybe we can call the sheep the “surprised believers’’.  It seems as if they were very surprised when we look at their words: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?" (Matthew 25: 37)

Who are the sheep? It seems to be they are just ordinary, humble Christians who helped others in need throughout their daily lives. When we take care of a brother or sister in need, we are serving our Lord Jesus. It is therefore very clear how to be part of the sheep team: help others that need help with basic necessities.

What always amazes me is how ordinary people helped others to survive during extremely bad and terrible times such as the Holocaust of World War II. No selfishness, just genuine care. To me, that is a true example of serving Jesus.

We have the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ personally by helping others in need. Let us pray to God to help us not to miss these opportunities.

As the apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 6: 9 - 10, “Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season if we don’t give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith”.

 

Reflection on  Matthew 25: 31 - 46 by Hanne Teach 

(Listen to the Podcast here)