Category Archives: Devotions

What You Should Do in a Crisis

Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:17-23 (NIV)

In the second chapter of Daniel, we find Daniel in a perilous situation.

This is what Daniel did (and it give us a template for what we ourselves should do when are in a crisis

  • If others are affected by the same situation, meet with them to discuss the situation (Daniel 2:17)
  • Seek God and plead for His mercy (Daniel 2:18)
  • When God provides a solution, don’t forget to thank and praise Him (Daniel 2:23)

The Heavy Responsibility of a Prophet

16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

Ezekiel 3:16-21

In Christian circles, there are many who label themselves as prophets.

However, based on the book of Ezekiel, we learn that true prophets of God carry a very heavy responsibility.

Specifically, a prophet could be tasked to confront a wicked person to repent – a task that is not at all pleasant to carry out – and if he does not carry out this task, God will hold the prophet accountable when disaster eventually overtakes the wicked person due to sin.

So, I get rather concerned when I see immature believers label themselves as prophets, when what they are really doing is making soulish declarations about the future.

Being God’s prophet is not a joking matter. So, I don’t think that believers should frivolously label themselves as prophets unless they are certain that God has called them to this office.  

God is Good, But…

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25-26 (ESV)

Quite often, one hears the maxim ‘God is good all the time’ being uttered during a Christian meeting (together with its refrain ‘and all the time, God is good’).

There is truth in this maxim, however, I think that believers should consider it in the light of the entirety of Scripture.

We know that there exists a general goodness of God to all humanity (which, in some theological circles, is defined as ‘common grace’), and we find this mentioned in verses like Psalm 145:9: “The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.

Under the umbrella of God’s general goodness, God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45)

However, for believers who meditate on the maxim that ‘God is good all the time’, oftentimes, they are thinking about how God can meet particular needs in their lives.

That said, it seems that besides a general goodness of God, there also exists a conditional goodness of God.

Specifically, the conditional goodness of God is reserved for those who wait for Him, for those who would seek after Him (Lamentations 3:25).

Indeed, for those who would seek after God, the Scripture adds that they it is good that they should wait patiently for God’s help (Lamentations 3:26)

Some of us may be going through a dark period, a period that is as dark as the darkest night.

However, it is by faith that we get through the night and hope for a brighter morning.

And what is the anchor for this hope? It is the knowledge of the nature of God, in particular, of His steadfast love and his mercies:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Call Unto God

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremiah 33:3

Most people are so proud. They don’t like to seek God for direction and insist on doing things their own way.

However, God encourages us to call upon Him, and promises to show us great and mighty things, things that are beyond our present scope of understanding.

Our God made the universe and every living thing including us. So, how can He not know what is best for us?

However, the problem is that ‘the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick’ (Jeremiah 17:9).

In our vanity and pride, we think that we are the rulers of our own destiny.  However, as best as we make our plans, it is actually God who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9)

God Loves with an Everlasting Love

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3b (NIV)

Today’s devotion is for those of you who are experiencing chastisement from God:

Even as you may be feeling pain, discomfort and discouragement, remember this; that God loves you with an everlasting love.

Therefore, do not withdraw from Him, but wait patiently for the period of your chastisement to be completed.

God longs to draw you back to Him and will restore you.

God’s Plans for Us are Good

Today’s Scripture devotion is from Jeremiah 29:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

This verse contains such a precious and beautiful promise of God. However, its original context is far from rosy; the first recipients of this promise were the inhabitants from Jerusalem that had been taken into Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 29:1) and who therefore faced an uncertain future.

Nonetheless, God comforted those being taken into exile by assuring them that He had plans to prosper them and to give them hope and a future.

But why was God so good to the inhabitants of Jerusalem despite their sin (which eventually led to God disciplining them by taking them into captivity)?

I believe that the reason can be found in Jeremiah 29:12:

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:12

In other words, I believe that God is good to us because He desires that we pray to Him and that we seek Him with all our heart.

God’s goodness, however, does not diminish the fact that when we do wrong, God will discipline us, just as He had dealt with the inhabitants of Jerusalem according to their sin. Indeed, in the book of Hebrews, we learn:

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

Hebrews 12:5b-6 (NLT)

Nonetheless, even as we are being disciplined, God’s good plans for us remain, so that after we have suffered our discipline, we can expect God to restore us.

The Man Who Trusts the Lord is Blessed

The Bible declares that the man who trusts in the Lord is blessed (see Jeremiah 17).

This man will experience abundance – he will be like a ‘tree planted by water’; he does not fear or become anxious when the circumstances that surround him may look bleak (verse 8).

Contrast this with the man who trust in his own efforts or in human ability, and who does seek God for help.

According to the bible, such a man will not see any good come (verse 6).

A person’s heart, however, is deceitful (verse 9).

A person may think that he/she places trust in God, but the person’s actions speak otherwise.

Nonetheless, God alone is able to search the heart and test the mind (verse 10).

And therefore, to the person who trusts in the Lord, and receives blessings as a result, this person truly deserves them.

Good Reasons for Boasting

Today’s Scripture reading is taken from Jeremiah 9.

Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NRSV)

Nobody likes to hang around proud, boastful people, and we all know that someone who likes to show off their riches or worldly accomplishments.

However, this passage of Scripture tells us that if there is anything that we are to boast about, that it should be that we understand and know God.

Indeed, we need to make a distinction here between knowing God and knowing about God.

We don’t want to know God merely in some academic or scholarly manner (and for those who would boast about their theological achievements, it seems superficial, and like the wise boasting about their wisdom).

We want to know God’s wonderful attributes (His steadfast love, justice, and righteousness) through what we have experienced firsthand in our lives or through those around us.

In other words, let’s not boast about our accomplishments. But rather, let’s boast about God’s accomplishments in our lives, which reflect His wonderful nature of steadfast love, justice, and righteousness.

3 Signs of a Society in Trouble

Today’s Scripture reading comes from Jeremiah 6:

“From the least to the greatest,

all are greedy for gain;

prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

They dress the wound of my people

as though it were not serious.

‘Peace, peace,’ they say,

when there is no peace.

Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?

No, they have no shame at all;

they do not even know how to blush.

So they will fall among the fallen;

they will be brought down when I punish them,”

says the Lord.

Jeremiah 6:13-15 (NIV)

Jeremiah 6 gives us three signs of a society in trouble.

Firstly, when those who are expected to be of the highest moral quality within a society would compromise their morals for selfish gain.

Secondly, when its leaders don’t convey the truth about a society’s decay, but instead, would rather tell a lie to placate the people.

Thirdly, when peoples’ consciences are so seared that they can no longer tell that what they are doing is evil.

Unfortunately, such societies eventually find themselves in great peril and it is our responsibility as believers to unhold our societies in prayer when we see these signs creeping into them.

God Knows Us Even Before We Were Created in Our Mother’s Womb

Today’s scripture reading is from the book of Jeremiah:

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,

before you were born I set you apart;

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV)

This passage of Scripture indicates to us that even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, God had already a plan for our lives.

In Proverbs 16:9 (Amplified Version), it also says that ‘a man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them’.

Whether we be a successful businessman, a doctor, or a king of a country, I don’t think we can claim full credit for every success that we had achieved over this lifetime.

Instead, we should give thanks to God for granting us the success that we have enjoyed, and to ask Him to continue to direct our path, so that we may fulfill everything that He had set out for us in this life.