Village Without Walls

Bible Reading: Zechariah 2:1-13

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 2:10-11)

Zechariah lifts his eyes and sees a man with a measuring line in his hand. He asks him, “where are you going?” the man responds, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length”. The angel that had been talking to Zechariah called his fellow angel, saying, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:4-5).

At that time, Jerusalem, the symbol and centre for God’s people, had become small. All the Jews had been exiled, and only a few had returned. This man’s concern was the people of God. Where was the church? Where was God’s bride? Was God still faithful to His chosen people? 

Yet, Zechariah announces encouraging truths. He calls those in exile to return to Jerusalem. God will judge the nations that have plundered His people. God will show His justice to them. However, God’s people are the apple of His eye. They are most precious to Him. God will bring His people back to Jerusalem, and He shall once again dwell amongst them. The Lord will expand His people far and wide with people from many nations so that Jerusalem will be beyond its borders. And God will inherit Judah again to be His portion. He will again choose Jerusalem. 

What does this vision all mean, and how does it apply to our lives? 

Firstly, God’s eternal plan has always been His kingdom. God’s master plan has always been to bring the people of every nation to repentance. God wants people to return to Him and return to crowning Him as king in their lives. God is working until today in the hearts of you and I and many people so that we can crown Him as king. 

Second, all of this is a fore image of Christ. When God says, He will dwell in our midst; God fulfilled this when Christ came and became men. Little do we know just how profound this reality is. God does not reject sinners like you and me. We deserve His ultimate wrath. However, stiff-neck and stubborn as we are, God is willing to humble Himself as a man for us. He is willing to die on the cross for our sins. He is willing to bear God’s wrath upon Himself and give us His perfect eternal life. What love is this? 

Third, If God has come to dwell amongst us, we ought to flee from the lands of the north. We must flee from Babylon, a symbol of worldly pleasures and sinful desires. Christ has come to offer forgiveness of sin to all those who believe. We must run to Christ and leave behind all our evil desires. We must surrender our lives fully to Christ. We must cut our bonds with the pleasures of the world. Once we have given all to Christ, we must seek God in repentance daily and put our sinful flesh to death. Christ’s love is immeasurable for us. Yet, we squander it in ignorance and disobedience. 

Last, if God is in such control over His kingdom, we ought to be still before the LORD. In humility, let us submit to Him and learn from Him. Jesus says, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Let us watch Him work as He has throughout all history and marvel and the glories of His grace. 

Lord, thank You for who You are. Thank You that You are a merciful God towards sinful people like us. Thank You that You chose to dwell amongst us and that You are willing to reveal Yourself to us. We are unworthy, and we cannot comprehend Your love. Teach us to obey You and serve You. Teach us to marvel at the work of Your kingdom and teach us to glory at Your wondrous grace. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

Again Will I Choose Jerusalem

Bible Reading: Zechariah 1:1-17

“I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little they furthered the disaster” (Zechariah 1:14-15)

The book of Zechariah is set around twenty years after God’s people returned from Babylonian exile. Many had anticipated there to be great reform and restoration once they returned. They waited for God to restore their land by a saviour as many of the past prophets had prophesied. Yet, after twenty years, the temple of God lay unfinished, taxes to the Persian king were high, and their city was looking very primitive in general. Morally, no huge transformation had occurred. Externally, the Jewish nation had not been restored to have its own kings and free rule either. God promised restoration, yet Jerusalem was still in ruins. Was God still faithful to His people? Or had He abandoned them in His wrath?

Many of the people were discouraged at that time. If God were not faithful, then their obedience would be useless. So many turned to just trying to enjoy life with any kind of pleasure they could find just to cope with the difficulties. How often do we think God has stopped working in our lives? How often are we discouraged because we think that God’s promises have not come true? 

A prophet named Zechariah shares a vision. In the night, Zechariah sees a man riding a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees, and behind him, there were more red, sorrel and white horses. “What are these, my lord?” Zechariah asks. An angel replies, “I will show you. These are the LORD’s patrol whom he has sent to patrol the earth”. The man and the horses answer, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest”. With grief and anxiety, the angel cried out, “O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?” But the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel. 

What was going on here? After observing the whole world, God’s patrol says that all the nations are at peace. However, the Jews knew something different. There was no peace or prosperity in their land. They were God’s chosen nation, yet it seemed like God had abandoned them. The angel knew this also. Has God abandoned His people? 

Yet these were the words of God, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little they furthered the disaster.” God cares deeply for His people, and His anger is actually upon all the nations who rebel against Him and further disaster in His world. God goes on to say, “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy, my house shall be built in it and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.” 

Even though the Jews had rebelled against God and furthered disaster, God chose to love them. He promises again that they have received mercy and that He will restore their land and dwell amongst them once more. God promises that the blessings will stretch out past Jerusalem, and He will again comfort His people. 

What a promise for God’s people. Despite whatever might be going through our lives, God is faithful to us, His people. All of God’s promises lead to Christ, who is the one who comes to dwell with mankind and fix their greatest problem, sin against a Holy God. In Christ, there is overflowing prosperity because all the spiritual blessings have been given to us. We are made right with God and can have a relationship with Him. There is no condemnation for us. Even though the world may seem to be at rest or peace and our lives in great turmoil, God is for us, and His love is for His people. Trust in Him!

Lord, thank You for who You are. You love Your people, and You are faithful to Your people even when we are unfaithful to You. Please forgive us when we are downcast because of our circumstances. Help us to see the glory of Your grace and lift our view heavenward to see the reality as You see it. You have given us the greatest blessing in Christ. Help us each day to grow to know Christ even more. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

My Chosen Portion

Bible Reading: Psalm 16

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6)

In the end, what gives a saint his identity, contentment and joy? It is to know the Lord and His ways. For David, he says, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” (Psalm 16:2). 

What separates us from the world is not our good deeds or our higher intellect to choose the truth. We are sinners, broken and rebellious before God. What separates us is the grace of God which has been given to us so that we can know Him. This is the precious treasure and true meaning of life; to know God. 

Such truth has been revealed to us not because we are wise nor because we are sinless. Such truth is only a gift of grace God gives freely to His chosen people. If God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, we should stand in awe at the grace we have received. With such a great grace given to us, we must respond in humility and obedience to the truth and reality God has given us. 

To know God and enjoy His person is the end to which we have been created. In David’s heart, his innermost desire was to be content in God, who was his portion. There was nothing else that he desired. In this psalm, David reflects on all the wonderful and undeserved graces he had received. 

In Christ, the lines have fallen in pleasant places, and there is a beautiful inheritance (v. 6). God’s good providence is over His children. All things work for good (Romans 8:28). That means whatever happens to us, whether it is good or bad, or even our own failures and rebellion, God will work all things together for our good, and it will be beautiful in the end. God holds our future and our final destiny is to be perfected like Christ in heaven. 

In Christ, God counsels us in the way of truth. God leads us constantly. He is our stronghold, and He is the leader of our life in all things. We can live in His presence daily and can follow and walk with Him. If He is the one we follow and obey, we will not be shaken (v.7-8). 

Because God is in control over our lives, our hearts can be glad, our beings can rejoice, our flesh can dwell securely. Never will God abandon our soul to Hell or let our soul be lost in corruption. God is faithful to his saints, and the work He has begun He will finish. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” 

God has opened up to us this reality of life. It is the true path of life that will bring about true joy and contentment. In God’s presence, there is fullness of joy, and at God’s right hand, there are pleasures forevermore (v.11). What more could a saint ask for? All these blessings have been given to us by His grace. How we ought to turn to Him, embrace Him, obey Him, and make Him the only portion in our lives. 

Lord, Your love and grace for us is too wonderful. More so, Your love is far greater than the little we have come to comprehend. We do not understand why You would love most broken sinners like us and why Your grace would be given to us. We are sinful and unworthy. Please forgive us. Lord, if You have given us Yourself, teach us to come to know You. Pull us away from the love of this world and work in us renewed hearts that set their portion and joy in You alone. Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

Enduring Discipline

Bible Reading: Hebrews 12:3-17

“For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11)

One of the hardest things in Christian life is to get up again after you have fallen. When we sin, again and again, it is easy just to want to give up. To be disciplined by God is a very hard thing to endure. As we read God’s Word, He will work to uncover all our hidden sins, our failures, our weaknesses. It’s uncomfortable, and a lot of the time, we think there is no way we could ever change in those areas. 

Although discipline is hard to endure, we must remember that those who are disciplined are called children. A loving father will discipline, rebuke and correct his child even if temporarily it will hurt the child. The father knows that discipline will be highly beneficial for the well-being of his child in the long run. 

Likewise, our heavenly Father disciplines those who are His true children. God’s discipline is always for our good. God longs to cleanse us and continually sanctify us so that we can become more like Him. God works through discipline to teach us the ways of holiness. Holiness pleases God, and he longs that our lives please Him more and more each day. 

Discipline or rebuke for our sins can feel painful at times. The call to obey God’s word and change are hard, and sometimes we think we cannot endure. However, God promises that even though discipline might not feel pleasant at the moment, it will yield peaceful fruits of righteousness in us in the future. Often, we fail to understand God’s bigger picture. We are like children who refuse to drink bitter medicine even though medicine can make us better. We do not understand the beauty and glory of what God is working towards. We do not understand the joy and peace awaiting the end of our race. 

And so, in prayer and reliance on God, let us humbly turn to obey God where He rebukes us. See to it that we might be healed and made holy each day. Let us take obedience seriously. The strength does not come from ourselves; it comes from God. In community, let us encourage one another to humbly receive the grace of discipline and let us watch God who is mightily at work to change us more like Christ each day. 

Lord, thank You that You discipline Your children. Please help us to obey You. Forgive our sins and remember us in the perfect sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You that in all the discipline, You are making us more like You each day. Help us to strive in holiness and teach us to follow You each day. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

Bible Reading: Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Looking back at all the saints who had run the race in hope for redemption in Christ when He had not yet come, how much more must we trust in Christ who has died and resurrected and live each day by faith. Faith is displayed in trust and obedience. The saints believed in God’s word and lived it out even though that resulted in torture and persecution. How much more must we also trust and obey God because what He has done for us in Christ is sure. 

The author of Hebrews exhorts us to set our eyes on Jesus and run the race of faith. He calls us to endure in our trust and obedience to God even though it might feel uncomfortable or even painful. Running our race to live each day in trust and obedience to God compromises two aspects. 

The first is to lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely. To trust in God means to believe that His rulership is supreme and His ways are right. In turn, sin is rebellion against God, doing things that please ourselves and displease God. If we have been gifted with true faith, we will hate sin because we love God. If one is to live a life that serves God and worships Him, sin is not a fit companion. Sin hinders and entangles. It weighs us down from trusting and living for God. If we are to continue in the endurance of faith, we must put sin to death. 

Yet, is killing sin enough? The author of Hebrews instructs, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). If we think that we can successfully defeat sin by our own efforts, we are very arrogant. Sin is deadly and lethal. We are weak and hopeless. Our only hope is Christ. 

He is the founder of our faith. We did not work to earn our faith. There is nothing we ever did so that God gave us saving faith. It is purely a gift of God’s grace. On the cross, Jesus was sacrificed in our place. He endured the suffering of bearing our sin even though He was sinless so that His righteousness could be imputed onto us. This was His joy.  

Not only is Christ the founder of our faith, but He is also the perfecter of our faith. Jesus’ work as a high priest did not stop at propitiation. He continues to be a mediator for us to this day. Sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, the place of God’s acceptance and pleasing, Jesus prays for us and perfects our faith each day. 

Our hope is not in ourselves but Christ. Therefore, let us run the race of faith in endurance no matter how hard it may be. 

Lord, thank You that You are the perfecter and founder of our faith. Please help us to run the race of faith with endurance. Teach us to put sin to death and teach us to live for You. Thank You for your undeserved grace and mercy. Glory be to You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

By Faith

Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1 – 12:2

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)

We are called to live by faith in the footsteps of our many faithful forefathers listed in Hebrews 11. What exactly does it mean to walk by faith?

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is to trust in God that God will fulfil His promises in the future, which we cannot yet see with our own eyes. To have faith has big implications for how we then respond and act in the present. Genuine faith will always result in works. As James 2: 21-23 illustrates: 

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God.”

To have faith that God will fulfil His promises in the future means that we are willing to take action in response to that future promise now. Though there are plenty of examples in Hebrews 11, take Abraham as an example. 

God promised Abraham the promised land. Genesis 12:1-3 recounts, “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.

Abraham had a comfortable and wealthy life in his hometown. He had all he ever would need for a pleasant life. Yet, God called him out of his home to venture into the wilderness of an unknown land. Abraham trusted in God and decided to follow God wherever God led, even though it would be hard and uncomfortable. 

However, Abraham did not only trust God in these matters. On a bigger scale, Abraham knew that God had a plan for the redemption of His people from sin. Abraham knew that God had a plan to bring a Saviour who would come to rescue humanity from sin and trample the devil underfoot. And God had said for Abraham to go and father this nation in the promised land. Abraham had faith in God’s plan of salvation, and so he took action to obey God. 

Abraham’s radical obedience can be further observed when God asks him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham knew that God gave his son and that His son would father the nation God had promised. Abraham knew that from his lineage, there would be a Messiah to save the people.m Yet, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. There was no possibility of another son. If Isaac was killed, where would the Messiah come from? Was God still faithful? Yet Abraham trusted in God’s ways and decided to obey God even though sure calamity was approaching for Him and the whole world. 

To have faith is to trust in God and live like it in the present. When our sins overcome us and evil seems to prevail everywhere, we are called to have faith in Christ, who is the perfect high priest. He has paid our sins and is interceding for us in heaven. He has made us righteous, and He will vindicate us in the last days. We ought to trust in Him and live bold lives in holiness today because He has conquered the power of sin in our lives. 

The implications of faith are that we will obey God in whatever He calls us to do today. God’s way is hard. It is a narrow path of sanctification. It takes putting off the old self and putting on the new. It is full of discipline and hard learning. God’s way of holiness is not easy. Yet, we press on in faith because of what Christ has already done for us. 

Lord, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. Because of what You have done, our faith is secure. Please help us trust in You and live by faith. Help us to obey You and follow You even though obedience is hard. Teach us to trust in You wherever You lead. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

Discontent With Complacency

Bible Reading: Philippians 3:7-11

“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:11)

How much do we want to know Christ? How much do we want to enjoy Him? After the ministry is done and the church has become our cosy home, are we satisfied with the graces we have received? 

If at any point we would decide to stop seeking God, thinking that we already know Him, we are insulting the eternal and infinite nature of God’s unsearchable glory. If we decide that we have obeyed enough and changed enough, not only are we insolent towards God in self-pride, we also consider God to be limited in the attribute of His grace. 

God’s love and grace for unworthy sinners like you and I are immeasurable. If we think we know, we really do not know. The love and grace which we can comprehend are but a drop in ten thousand oceans. Who knows the true extent of God’s mercy? Who can fathom the vastness of His love and grace? 

Firstly, we do not understand how broken we are because of sin. We do not know how much we have rebelled against God. We do not understand the seriousness of our actions. And so, we cannot comprehend what forgiveness we have received. We do not know what Christ has done for us on the cross. We are like clueless sheep who know nothing pertaining to life apart from eating grass. Because we are infants with no knowledge of the actual reality we are in, Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-21 that we, the church, would comprehend “the breadth and length and height and depth” of the love of Christ. How we need to know God more. 

Have we grown content with our relationship with God? Do we think that we have become good enough Christians and that now is the time to lay back? 

God’s will for us is so that we can continually grow in grace and grow in knowing Him even more. This brings the most glory to Him. We cannot grow complacent in our faith. We must continually seek a growing knowledge of God. We must yearn to experience a closer relationship with Him every day. We need to pray for a heart that desires God and desires to grow in His Word all the more. 

This was indeed the heart of the apostle Paul. He testifies, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Pray for a heart like Paul. Pray for a soul that is revived by the Spirit to seek God and know God. 

How many of us have hearts that hunger and thirst for righteousness as Jesus teaches in the Beatitudes? Only those who hunger and thirst shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Should not the satisfied feel full and complacent? Jesus teaches the opposite. Those who long and have a constant desire to know God are the ones who will be satisfied. 

How much do we prioritise knowing Him? How much do we prioritise obeying His Word? A trust relationship with God happens through obedience. The more we trust Him in humility, the more we will know Him. How we need a new passion for God and discontent for complacency. 

Lord, please revive a passion in me to know You through Your Word. Revive my obedience to You and stir passion in my soul for You. Don’t let me be a Christian who neglects You. To grow in knowing You through Your Word and admire Your continual and immeasurable grace gives glory to You. Please help me to know the grace that You have given me. Forgive my complacent spirit. Give me a hunger and thirst for righteousness. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

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