Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Hebrews 3:12-19

When God established his covenant with the patriarchs, He said that He would give them rest. Israel – up till today – has been largely a nomadic nation, whether by choice or not. Imagine living in the middle of nowhere with your family, servants, and animals. No security alarms, not even a fence surrounding you. After a while, God says, “Get up and leave,” without telling you the next destination. So you pack up everything and wave goodbye to what you cannot bring along.

Insecurity. Instability. Don’t we face the Shifting Sands everyday, too? Bombs are detonated all over the world. That college application doesn’t seem to impress the admissions team enough. The calendar has deadlines instead of dates; the mount of work grows exponentially. All too often, we lament: “I need sleep!” “I’m so tired.” “I wish I could sleep in.” “I’m not sure if I’m dead or alive.” We go to bed with a cluttered mind and wake up with a heavy heart.

But listen to this:

“For he is our God

and we are the people of his pasture,

the flock under his care.

Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,

as you did that day at Massah in the desert…” – Psalm 95:7-8

God speaks – every day of “today.” Do we listen to His voice?

We are “the flock under his care.” Do we go to Him? Or do we turn away from Him?

“Come … I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

He invites us; it is up to us to respond. If we take a step towards Him, He will lead us to His pasture of rest. But if we, so full of ourselves, do not believe that we need Him, we will not be able to enter His rest.


Sleep earlier than usual the next week. Spend some time on your bed freeing your mind from the day’s debris, by walking through the day mentality expressing gratefulness for the “ups” and offering a short prayer for the “downs”

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Hebrews 3:1-11

One of my cheapest hobbies is to hunt out houses.

Old-style colonial bungalows, million dollar Zen-inspired habitats, private fortresses made of steel and glass. I often stand there (looking as if I’m sizing up the property for a break-in), marveling at the architectural details and how each portion of the house flows perfectly into each other.

Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God.

As humans, it’s hard to look beyond what the physical sphere shows and tells us. We’re governed so much by our senses and intelligence, that rare is the chance of seeing beyond the tangible.

This chapter of Hebrews speaks about the superiority of Jesus over all.

Over the revered Moses. Over my pastor. Over the latest Christian band. Over the saints.

Too often I’ve caught myself praising and imitating faithful, God-fearing Christian leaders. Not that such admiration is wrong, but to stop there and make them the standard-now that becomes the stumbling block.

Moses did a good job in God's house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in charge of the house.

Oh, that you would listen to his voice today! The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah as they did at Massah in the wilderness.”


What or who is the Moses in your heart today? Are you willing to push farther than ‘good’ order to reach the heart of the Father?

Joy: More than just an emotion, its a forced to be reckoned.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength."
(Nehemiah 8:10)

Joy. It's not a warm, happy feeling you're supposed to have now and then when things are going well. It's much more than that. Joy is one of the most powerful spiritual forces in the world.

Look again at Nehemiah 8:10 and I'll show you why. If you were to diagram that scripture and remove the phrase, "of the Lord," you would find what it's truly saying is this: Joy is strength. The two are interchangeable.

That's what makes joy so crucial. You can't live a life of faith without being strong in the Lord--and when God wants to make you strong, joy is what He uses to do the job!

Joy is not just a state of mind. It is not a fleeting emotion. Joy is a very real force, and the devil doesn't have anything that can stand up against it. Just as fear has to yield to faith, discouragement has to yield to joy.

Since joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, you already have it residing within you. But you must develop it, confess it, and live by it if you want to enjoy its power.

Whatever circumstances you are facing today, you can be full of joy. You can be strong in the Lord. You can draw on the supply of the Holy Spirit within you and come out on top.


Monday, February 26, 2007


Hebrews 2:11-18

At times I wonder why God created humans. After all, He knew that He was going to chuck us out of the Garden of Eden. He knew He had to hand us over to sin. He did not stop any bit of our pride to do things our way.

He could, I think, have just shrugged off the whole thing and call it the death of an experiment. But He did not. He loved us, and gave Himself for us. He entrusted His Son and the Salvation Plan to us.

God trusts us. He calls us His children. Instead of harping about our wretched state, Jesus – the Holy One – makes us holy. He is not ashamed to call us His brothers.

Are we willing to trust Him? Why do we hesitate when Jesus knows us – even how we feel? Can we, like Isaiah, choose to say, “I will put my trust in him”? And will we proclaim His name and sing His praises in every circumstance, in spite of the taunts and jeers of other people?


Look for a Christian whom you respect, and ask them to share an episode of their life where they learnt the hard lesson of Trust – especially “Trust in God”.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Titus 3:1-15

St Paul writes that God “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (v. 5).

In The Message version of the Bible, part of verse 7 is translated thus: “God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives.” Interesting way of translating the idea of ‘justification by grace’ (as translated in the New International Version). Beyond all the talk of sins and forgiveness and debt settlement (as if God is the cosmic loan shark), perhaps the truth about God’s mercy is that it is the means by which we finally find ourselves.

Earlier we discussed how we are defined by our deeds. But there is some point where even all the best and most meaningful deeds cannot fully define us. St Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” It is about God; about running to the edge of the beach and finding that a whole new world awaits in the ocean and daring to take the plunge and jumping into the unknown.

And entrusting yourself to God’s mercy. Entrusting yourself into the hands of the Almighty. And trusting that He won’t let you drown.


Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 23:35-43. What do these passages tell us about God’s mercy? Why did the centurion say, “I too am a man under authority”?


Think of how you can trust God more, and work towards it.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Titus 2:1-15

Titus 2:11-14 is an echo of John 3:16-17, and it gives us an idea of what the ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’ life of John 3:16 is all about. And this everlasting life is simply ‘life to the fullest’—a life beyond corruption and condemnation and decay; a GREAT life. How is this life characterised on this side of heaven’s door? Simply by our act of denying ungodliness and worldly desires, and living sensibly, righteously and godly, always eager to do good (vv. 12, 14). Much, much easier said than done.

In yesterday’s reading, we saw that good deeds define a person’s character; the latter is expressed as the former, for a person’s character and actions are inseparable. Here, today, in chapter 2, we are faced with the staggering reality that our actions and character actually reveal how much of God’s everlasting life we are truly enjoying.

And something else is at stake: the word of God (v. 5). Our submission to authority and graciousness of character, as pictured in this chapter, leads to one end: the continual honouring of God’s word. And His word is His truth, and while we meditate on Jesus’ final 40 days (this season of Lent), it would be good to remember than He is the Word of God—the embodiment and incarnation of all that God is (John 1:1).


Do our deeds honour Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?


Let us make an extra effort this Lent to live as people who are redeemed to do good, who want to please their God. Think of an attitude you want to change, and list ways in which you can work towards that change. Perhaps you could do this with a friend (or in a group), and keep track of each other’s progress this Lent.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

40 Ideas For Lent

Here's an additional resource which I thought was helpful. Go here for more information and details..

Here's a quick overview:
> Day 1 – Wed 21 Feb: Go on a media diet
> Day 2 – Thur 22 Feb: Find Lent readings
> Day 3 – Fri 23 Feb: Recycle, freecycle
> Day 4 – Sat 24 Feb: Upload a poem

> Day 5 – Mon 26 Feb: Walk and watch
> Day 6 – Tues 27 Feb: Your chore is my chore
> Day 7 – Wed 28 Feb: Bake a cake
> Day 8 – Thur 1 Mar: Out your doubts
> Day 9 – Fri 2 Mar: Someone else's preference
> Day 10 – Sat 3 Mar: Send a message

> Day 11 – Mon 5 Mar: Give blood
> Day 12 – Tues 6 Mar: Phone a friend
> Day 13 – Wed 7 Mar: Go walking
> Day 14 – Thur 8 Mar: The boss
> Day 15 – Fri 9 Mar: Worship elsewhere
> Day 16 – Sat 10 Mar: Pray the paper

> Day 17 – Mon 12 Mar: Look out the window
> Day 18 – Tues 13 Mar: Read a Gospel
> Day 19 – Wed 14 Mar: Pay some compliments
> Day 20 – Thur 15 Mar: Research Lent
> Day 21 – Fri 16 Mar: Slim down your wardrobe
> Day 22 – Sat 17 Mar: Make a joy jar

> Day 23 – Mon 19 Mar: Don't Moan Day
> Day 24 – Tues 20 Mar: Christmas in Lent
> Day 25 – Wed 21 Mar: Almighty email
> Day 26 – Thur 22 Mar: Help a child in school
> Day 27 – Fri 23 Mar: Widen your prayers
> Day 28 – Sat 24 Mar: A week of giving

> Day 29 – Mon 26 Mar: Who's next door?
> Day 30 – Tues 27 Mar: Think small
> Day 31 – Wed 28 Mar: Random acts of kindness
> Day 32 – Thur 29 Mar: Stop shopping
> Day 33 – Fri 30 Mar: A note of thanks
> Day 34 – Sat 31 Mar: Your carbon footprint

> Day 35 – Mon 2 Apr: Don't inerrupt!
> Day 36 – Tues 3 Apr: Instead of money
> Day 37 – Wed 4 Apr: Write your own obituary
> Day 38 – Thur 5 Apr: Empty your wallet
> Day 39 – Fri 6 Apr: Light a virtual candle
> Day 40 – Sat 7 Apr: A clean sweep


Titus 1:1-16

What strikes me about the first chapter of Titus is that it paints a portrait of the ideal ‘pastor’, which is everything I am not. Paul sums up the character of the rebellious up in verse 16; “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.”

When I think of that, I recall a line from the movie Batman Begins—something the character Rachel Dawes says to Bruce Wayne; “It’s not who you are inside, but what you do that defines you.” We are defined by our deeds. Bruce had many dreams and intentions to stem the corruption in Gotham, and he harboured a passionate hatred for the evildoers in the city. But until he donned the mask and cape of his alter ego, he was merely building castles in the air.

A good person (vv. 6-9) is defined and characterised by his or her deeds, and by our deeds we are either ‘above reproach as God’s steward’ (v. 7) or else ‘worthless for any good deed’ (v. 16). Every moment is a moment either of action or inaction, and the choice to do good or evil is ours.


Jesus said that those who live by the truth are not afraid of the light, because their deeds are good and have been done through God (John 3:21). Is this true of us?


List, at random, ten deeds you have done over the past week. What kind of picture does it paint of you? If a complete stranger were to look at that list, what kind of person would he/she think you are?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

PDF Download

Many thanks to TRAC Methodist Website for making the whole Lent Meditations available in pdf format (download away!)


Hebrews 12:1-14

A friend of mine, upon recovering from dengue fever, said this with reference to his weakened muscles: “The lame has been healed, but is still lame. What a waste of healing.” What he meant was that, although he had been healed of dengue, he was still capable of telling lame jokes.

In verse 13, the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to choose the right paths, “so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed,” so that we may progress and not stagnate in our walk with God. Yet I realise that although I’ve been ‘healed’ (redeemed from sin), I still lead a ‘lame’ life. One might say that it was a waste of God’s healing, for I am much better at talking about obedience and holiness than actually putting it into practice.

Today’s passage reminds us that our focus must be on Jesus (vv. 2-3). “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,” the writer of Hebrews says. Jesus calls all His disciples ‘fishers of men’ (Luke 5:1-11), and although we often fail in this, yet He shows up for breakfast and delivers more we’d ever dare imagine (John 21:1-12).

Aware of our mortality, of the mere ashes of which we are made, He nonetheless breathes His life into us and gives us our very being. He is the one who called the lame to walk, and He still does. Let us learn to throw off the sin that entangles and follow Him, that His grace to us may not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10). Praise Him.


Today, the first day of Lent, is traditionally called Ash Wednesday. Search for T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘Ash Wednesday’, (one source is the website Read and discuss it with a friend or in a group.


Even as you proceed into the next forty days, come back again to today’s Scripture reading (Hebrews 12:1-14) from time to time. Keep it as a reminder of where we ought to be heading, what we ought to be doing; above all, Who we ought to be following.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


A project initiated Board of Worship & Music TRAC Malaysia In partnership with LCMS Education Committee

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me invite you to eavesdrop on some of our conversations before producing this edition of Nails and Thorns.

… I haven't been very holy/righteous lately, to say the least... still can contribute?

By the way, I notice I've been assigned Heb 12:1-14, one of my favourite Bible passages, and also the letter to Titus, which I've barely touched. This is going to be interesting!

… . I feel totally unqualified, but in the upside-down Kingdom perhaps things are different.

… dear friends, we have only one qualification for this project … sinners saved by the grace of God.

Lent is a season where we can set aside time and space to re-order our lives around the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

Lent is an invitation for us to walk together with others the way of Christ which leads to the Cross on Good Friday.

Lent allows us to have a good look at ourselves once again under the gracious light of God’s word. The Holy Spirit is always ready to illuminate our understandings as we engage with the inspired scriptures once again.

This year it is my great joy to have a big group of younger writers to contribute their meditations Many thanks to the TRAC Board of Worship and Music for initiating this project, and for giving me and our young friends a chance to partner together (and patience to see it all come together!).

We’ve set up this blog to encourage ongoing interaction during the season of lent:

In humility, we trust God to use our efforts as part of the answer to our prayers during these troubled and turbulent times – as we pray and continue to do so … “His kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.”

Rev. Sivin Kit

Chairman, LCMS Education Committee

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nails and Thorns 2007

It's ready! we will be posting it for each day starting from Ash Wednesday next week. Once we have it available for download we will put the link on this blog.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Nails and Thorns 2006

Our first attempt was last year with many thanks to Rev. Ting Moy Hong and Dr. Sam Ong for initiating the project. You can download the booklet here