Pastor's Message - February 2017

Speaking from the Covenant

Rev Chua Ooi Suah
The New Year begins with new opportunities. We should take advantage
of this new beginning and by the Lord's grace be determined to live a glorious
life for God.
The Methodist tradition attaches great importance to the concept and
practice of covenant. As such, the first Sunday of every year is called the
"Lord's Day." The covenantal prayer used in worship on the Lord’s Day
dates back to the 17th century. John Wesley's prayer for the Early Presbyterian
Church, plus his own self-reflection, is written in as covenant. Here's a
section:
I am
no longer my own, but Yours.
Put
me to what You will,
Rank
me with whom You will;
Put
me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let
me be employed by You. . .
The starting point and the foundation of the covenant is that we
belong to God, just as the world belongs to God (Exodus. 19: 5). The God of the
Old Testament stretched out His mighty arms to save the people of Israel
(Exodus. 19: 4) and brought them out of Egypt. In the New Testament, Jesus
stretched out His hands and was nailed to the cross for us. This is an act of love
from God who took the initiative to make a covenant with us.
Therefore, our covenant with God is a practical response to His love
─ Man must make a choice in life to be part of this "covenant." The
incapacity of mankind took root in the Garden of Eden, and as a result of this,
our relationship with God was broken. This gave rise to many inharmonious
lives. However, the covenant required us to follow Jesus, to choose obedience,
. . so that the will of the Father may be fulfilled.
The practice of obedience to the covenant requires a lot of effort
and daily practice. We need to rely on God's grace which is vast. Every day is a
new beginning given by God, so that we may have the opportunity to respond to
His grace with renewed determination and action each day. This fulfillment of
the covenant is not dependent on our own efforts, but requires the help of the
Holy Spirit. Remember that daily practice will build good habits, and good
habits is the best way to eradicate bad habits!
Let us encourage each other during the New
Year and the following Lent, to make a covenant with God to live out our
identity and our mission. I believe that God will add to our strength!