Tag Archives: God of silence

3 October, Monday – Giving without receiving

3 October

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Galatians 1:6-12

I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some troublemakers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is to be condemned. I am only repeating what we told you before: if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one you have already heard, he is to be condemned. So now whom am I trying to please – man, or God? Would you say it is men’s approval I am looking for? If I still wanted that, I should not be what I am – a servant of Christ.

The fact is, brothers, and I want you to realise this, the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

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Luke 10:25-37

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

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‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

Easier said than done, isn’t it? To give when no one has asked you for anything, but just out of the goodness of your heart, with no expectation at all of any reward nor repayment. However, when you encounter Christ in person, that is what happens; you simply give. Of yourself, whatever you possess, and a lot more. And here’s the interesting bit — the more you give, the more you will receive.

In today’s dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all world, it is easy to understand why society is confronted with so many ills. I recently learnt about a niece living in another part of the world, who is going through clinical depression and her younger teenage sister, who is ‘becoming a handful’ as she battles drug and alcohol problems. And despite their parents trying their level best, the girls have both left the comforts of a loving home environment. I just wonder how they will cope out there on their own and whether a ‘good Samaritan’ will eventually take care of them when they fall.

When you’re out on the streets braving the elements or down on your luck with no one to turn to, there can be only one source of comfort – Jesus Christ. I experienced this every day as I walked the Camino. Over terrain that varied between dirt trails, rocky mountain passes, asphalt, cobbled city streets and muddy farm tracks, it was Christ that sustained me each step of the way towards Santiago. And while the encounters came in various forms, there was no mistaking His presence – sometimes by my side, at times just walking quietly behind me.

I have never experienced a period when my heart was as light and as carefree as those weeks on the road. And towards the end, I did feel the change in me. As I look back and reflect, there were so many situations that occurred where I would normally get angry, irritated or lose my patience. But I realise that I simply dismissed them with a laugh or shrug. And He did prompt me to give on many occasions. What I received in return was something intangible yet invaluable – an overwhelming love that could only come from God.

Brothers and sisters, when He asks of us to give, it may not necessarily be in a spectacular manner. It could just be a subtle prompting that comes from within your heart. And while it may require quietening your heart in order to discern it, you will know when it happens because it is rather impossible to ignore the call. So I encourage you to be sensitive to His promptings by learning how to quieten your heart once in a while. You may surprise yourself.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

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Prayer: Father, we pray for the opportunity to be with ourselves more regularly so that we can be more attentive to your promptings. Help us to quieten our hearts each day and to discern your call clearly.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we thank you for being such a giving Father and for showering us with all your gifts each and every day.

30 August, Tuesday – Finding our spirituality source

30 August

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1 Corinthians 2:10-16

The Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God. After all, the depths of a man can only be known by his own spirit, not by any other man, and in the same way the depths of God can only be known by the Spirit of God. Now instead of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts that he has given us. Therefore we teach, not in the way in which philosophy is taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men. As scripture says: Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.

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Luke 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.

In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, ‘What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.’ And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.

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“Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him”

My wife and I joined a family ministry in the year 2001, a year after my daughter was born. This was a special experience for both of us, as we experienced God in a way we had never before.

We soon found ourselves leaders of a cell group, ‘leading’ a group of couples. The experience was really good, but my wife and I soon found ourselves riddled with doubt. “Were we worthy enough as leaders?”, “How do we guide our group to be closer to God?”, were just 2 out of a myriad of doubts on our minds.

More importantly, we were feeling extremely tired and taxed. We felt the weight of our responsibilities on our shoulders. Soon, we felt we could not keep going and chose to leave the leadership position.

The answer can be found in the readings of today.

Whenever He had the opportunity, Jesus was always praying. He would go off to be alone. Before His biggest test, Jesus spent time, alone and praying, in the Garden of Gethsemane. The first reading today talks about spirituality and about knowing ‘the mind of Christ’.

Similarly, by learning from our Lord, by spending more time with God, we get to know Him more intimately. It is exactly like spending time with people; the more we spend with them, the more connected we are to them. We know them, how they would think and act. We begin to be able to walk in their shoes. The more we spend time with them, the more we love them (in most parts!) and the more time we want to spend with them.

So it is with getting to know God. I remember Archbishop William Goh repeatedly emphasizing the importance of having ones’ quiet time on a daily basis, whether one felt like it or not. This process of plugging in to our Lord, will give us a deeper level of intimacy, leaving us to desire to know Him even more.

Let us begin to get to know Him more, each and every day!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, we pray that we will get to know you more and more each day. Help us to know Your will and help us to have the courage and strength to walk closer to You.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Jesus, for showing the path to Our Father, by spending time and connecting through quiet time and prayer. Thank You Father for always being there for us, your children.

3 August, Wednesday – Refusing to take no for an answer

3 August

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Jeremiah 31:1-7

I will be the God of all the clans of Israel – it is the Lord who speaks – they shall be my people.

The Lord says this:
They have found pardon in the wilderness,
those who have survived the sword.
Israel is marching to his rest.
The Lord has appeared to him from afar:
I have loved you with an everlasting love,
so I am constant in my affection for you.
I build you once more; you shall be rebuilt,
virgin of Israel.
Adorned once more, and with your tambourines,
you will go out dancing gaily.
You will plant vineyards once more
on the mountains of Samaria
the planters have done their planting: they will gather the fruit.
Yes, a day will come when the watchmen shout
on the mountains of Ephraim,
‘Up! Let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God!’

For the Lord says this:
Shout with joy for Jacob!
Hail the chief of nations!
Proclaim! Praise! Shout:
‘The Lord has saved his people,
the remnant of Israel!’

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Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

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Lord, Help Me.

Today’s gospel tells us about how a Canaanite woman came in desperation, pleading to Jesus to help her daughter. (Canaanites were the bitter biblical enemies of Israel whose paganism often led Israel into idolatry.) Jesus did not utter a word in response to this woman. Not only that, He told his disciples “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” It appears that Jesus is only willing to help those within his circle, his people. Surely with such a response from Jesus, we would have just turned away in anger, sorrow or pride.

Jesus continues to put obstacles in her way; testing her and putting her off. “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Yes, Jesus’ mission is to Israel first but she believes Jesus will have more than enough power left over from what Israel does not need or want. She demonstrated perseverance and courage by refusing to take no for an answer to a desperate need. Jesus responded to her striking faith. Her faith was tested and passed the test.

Brothers and sisters, great faith brings far greater rewards. It takes courage and commitment. It takes a spirit that refuses to be deterred.

There are moments in my life when I pray for my own needs and also for others. But Jesus seems silent and distant. Sometimes I think He has walked away from me. Many times, I walk away from Him in frustration. But if Jesus would help the Canaanite woman who showed great faith, what more you and I?

We are His family! Can we be humble, persevere and show the faith that she had? When we recognize that we have nowhere else to turn, clinging to the only One who can answer us is an act of faith.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we come to you today with all our hurts and wounds. We offer our challenges to you today. We pray with expectant faith that you are near us and love us so much. Give us the grace to stay close to you. We pray for deeper faith, to be persevering in our prayers.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for this day. For our lives. For the challenges we face in our lives – a reminder that we have to stay close to you and gain strength from You. Only You Lord love us so much, never to give up on us. May we never give up on ourselves and on You.