The Lord says this:
In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Aram went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.
The news was brought to the House of David. ‘Aram’ they said ‘has reached Ephraim.’ Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go with your son Shear-jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road, and say to him:
‘“Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear,
do not let your heart sink
because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands,
or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah
have plotted to ruin you, and have said:
Let us invade Judah and terrorise it
and seize it for ourselves,
and set up a king there,
the son of Tabeel.
The Lord says this:
It shall not come true; it shall not be.
The capital of Aram is Damascus,
the head of Damascus, Razon;
the capital of Ephraim, Samaria,
the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah.
Six or five years more
and a shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.
But if you do not stand by me,
you will not stand at all.”’
Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.
‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’
If you do not stand by me.
I was watching quite a few commencement speeches over the Internet which were delivered by established individuals who had been invited by various colleges. I would say most were delivered with much encouragement and they spoke from experience, which makes the speech a very inspired one. Most talked about having a goal in life, loving the people around you, embracing every experience wherever we worked, to pick ourselves up from failures, to have persistence and resilience. Then I took a step back and realised that these little values in life had been surrounding me ever since I was a child, ever since I knew God and began opening my ears to listen to the Word.
I was not exactly very active in church when I was a kid, but I became more involved in church work from my twenties up until now. However, as we grow older, we experience the death of a friend, failures, disappointments, anger, hatred, we feel love, joy, excitement over a successful project, pride over a job promotion and many other life experiences. By going to Sunday masses, whether we like it or not, there is always a message and a feeling to take home and perhaps to reflect upon for the week. God never fails to stand by us at every stage of our lives since birth, and it is truly a privilege to be baptised and to accept Him. We do not need successful business people or presidents to tell us how to move forward on graduation day. Living the right values is already right in front of us the moment we decide to embrace the Christian faith. The resources and experiences are abundant among our church groups and our fellow brothers and sisters whom we get involved with. God has provided these people to stand by us, and it is in good faith that we stand by our Father, promoting the faith and his love to others.
In the eyes of our Father God, the only way our two feet will stand, keeping our heads held high and for us to be able to live a fuller life, is to have Him by our side guiding us through everything. Therefore, open our hearts and ears to the Word of God, continue to pray and communicate with God, stand by Him and repent to acknowledge the works He has done for us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Forgive us Father, for the wrongs that we have caused to our loved ones and to the downtrodden. Lift up our spirits so that we carry on our lives with happiness and pride as a Christian.
Thanksgiving: When we are down, nothing beats the affirmation that You, Lord Jesus stands by us and carry us through. Thank you.