Monday, 29 May 2017

A Marvellous, Misty Morn

Hello All,

I was driving to work on (what I expected to be) a very ordinary morning, and I was in awe of the beautiful (and very rare) mist that surrounded the vicinity.

I had a hard time believing it was mist because it was much more common to have haze, rather than a mist, in the city. However, the air had no scent of haze, but it embodied the freshness of the morning mist.

We are so often too busy and distracted to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. We often go through life, just trying to make it through the day.

Stop a moment and breathe in the beauty of God’s creation. May such beauty not just be an end in itself, but may it point you to the powerful, infinite and eternal Creator who brought such marvellous beauty into existence.

A Marvellous, Misty Morn
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

What a marvellous, misty morn!
Such wondrous beauty to behold!
A soft, gentle rainfall adorns
The blue sky, like droplets of gold

What a marvellous, misty morn!
Nature points to her Creator
She says, ‘Look at how God adorns
The sky, the trees, the fields and more!’

What a marvellous, misty morn!
I gaze in bliss and reverent awe
God’s the Creator who adorns
The earth according to His law

Points for Reflection:
For God’s invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
(Romans 1:20 ESV)
·         Creation is not an end in itself and should not be worshipped (as followers of animistic religions do).
·         Creation is an evidence of the existence of the all-knowing and almighty Creator.
·         Humans are God’s greatest creation and we have no excuse to doubt His existence.
·         How has your attitude been towards God? Do you believe He exists? Are you indifferent and couldn’t care less about Him? Do you fall in reverent awe at His feet?
·         How have you been treating other people who are God’s creation? Are you treating them kindly with the love of God? Are you bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are still lost in darkness?

·         What a marvellous, misty morn! I gaze in bliss and reverent awe. God’s the Creator who adorns the earth according to His law.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Why Are They Still Looking?

Hello All,

Who do you look to as your savior?

As Christians, our natural response to the question would be Jesus.

But ask yourself honestly; is that true? Are there times when you subconsciously look to another person or thing to save you?

Jesus came to earth as the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world of sinners. He died on the cross, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. There are undeniable and solid evidence and eyewitnesses’ testimonies of His resurrection.

And yet, there are still Jews who reject Him and are still awaiting the coming of the Messiah. They are still relying on the blood of bulls, goats (and red heifers) to take away their sins instead of relying on the precious blood of Jesus Christ. They are still looking for eligible priests to carry out the never-ending sacrifices of animals instead of depending on Jesus Christ, the great High Priest who said, ‘It is finished!’

Why Are They Still Looking?
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling
Written in response to those excited over the discovery of a rare red heifer and seeking eligible priests.

Why are they still looking?
Looking for a perfect sacrifice
A red heifer sounds exciting
But would it truly suffice?

Why are they still looking
When Christ is the perfect sacrifice?
He's the once-and-for-all offering
His death has paid sin's full price

Why are they still looking?
Looking for eligible priests
Are we not priests of the King?
The King, the ultimate High Priest

Why are they still looking
When Christ has fulfilled the law?
Will they not turn to the saving
Death of Christ in reverent awe?

Points for Reflection:
[4] For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
[11] And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
[12] But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
[14] For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
(Hebrews 10:4, 11, 12, 14 ESV)
·       Before Jesus came into the world at God’s appointed time, God provided a temporary way of purifying and sanctifying His people through the sacrifices of animals. However, that was not meant to be a permanent solution, for Jesus has fulfilled God’s Word and He is the once-and-for-all sacrifice.
·       In our part of the world and in our culture, animal sacrifices may sound like an unfamiliar notion of salvation.
·       However, our hearts are often looking to other means of salvation.
·       Do you think that doing good works and charity can make you good enough to enter God’s kingdom? We have all sinned and we can never attain the level of perfection that God requires. We can only be cleansed from our sins and saved through faith in Jesus Christ, our perfect substitute, and sacrifice.
·       As Christians, we believe that Jesus is our Saviour. However, He is not only our Saviour but our Lord. Every area of our lives should be surrendered to His lordship. Are there areas of your life that you are withholding from Him? Are you looking to other earthly saviours to save you from your predicaments and emotional longings?
·       Who or what do you depend on for salvation?
·       Look no more but embrace the loving grace and mercy of our Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Monday, 15 May 2017

My Hope and Joy

Hello All,

Can joy and sorrow coexist?

Can we find hope and certainty in times of despair and uncertainty?

My Hope and Joy
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

Out of the depths of my heart, I cry
Tears are falling like rain from the sky
I can't awake from this lethargy
My heart and hands are weak and weary

By God's grace, my hands can still do work
From my duties, I did not shirk
In hopelessness, God's hope sustains me
In weariness, I need not worry

I do not know what lies ahead
But this I know - Christ rose from the dead
My hope in Him is sure and certain
My joy in Him flows like a fountain

Points for Reflection:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)
·         Our hope in Christ goes beyond the temporal things of this world.
·         Because Christ has risen from the dead, our hope in Him is sure and certain.
·         Despite the overwhelming sorrows of our situation, we can find deep joy in the hope that we have in Christ.
·         That hope is something that no one and nothing can take away from us.
·         Pray that God will give you the strength you need to face the day ahead. May He lift the burden of sorrow from your heart.
·         When tears are falling like rain from the sky, let us look up to the One who holds the world in His hands.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Feel Like You Don't Belong?

Hello All,

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Have you ever felt different and out of place? Does it feel as if you are sticking out like a sore thumb?

The world has its views and opinions about various matters. Some views may be pragmatic and helpful, but some are not.

As Christians, our ultimate allegiance is not to the world but to our Lord Jesus Christ. It may be tempting at times to compromise on our Christian values to fit in with the world. We are often tempted to conform to the world to avoid ridicule, scorn, and even persecution.

By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

The city fell into the hands of Babylon
The captors of Jerusalem thought that they had won
The battle against the God of Jerusalem
Had God forsaken the people of His kingdom?

The kings of Judah had turned away from their Lord
Their heinous sins brought upon them God’s mighty sword
The people were unrepentant despite many warnings
Conveyed by God’s prophets to idolatrous kings

In the third year of King Jehoiakim’s evil reign
Under the mighty sword of God who was sovereign
The king of Judah was taken to Babylon
He rebelled and God punished him as he had sworn

Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon
Proudly brought back some spoils of war that he had won
The spoils were the king of Judah and the vessels
Valuable vessels plundered from the Lord’s temple

He placed the vessels in his god’s house in Shinar
He also brought some youths of Judah from afar
The youths were of royalty and nobility
Good looking, wise, smart and of high competency

In the palace, the youths were taught the literature
Language, mythologies, manners, ways and culture
Of the Chaldeans; the pagan ways of Babylon
The youths’ minds were to be influenced and ‘reborn’

Among the youths were Daniel and Azariah
As well as Mishael and Hananiah
They were given new names and new identities
Their new names were coined after pagan deities

Daniel, who was given the name, Belteshazzar
Resolved not to eat food from Nebuchadnezzar
He and his friends resolved not to be defiled
With the food and wine offered to idols so vile

He asked the chief of the eunuchs with God’s wisdom
To be given a trial of ten days and the freedom
To consume only vegetables and plain water
Their appearance was to be assessed thereafter

God granted him and his friends favour with the chief
Who, after the ten-day trial, felt utter relief
For compared to all the youths who ate the king’s food
They looked much better and fatter and very good

God granted them wisdom, skill, and understanding
They were ten times better and more outstanding
Than all the king’s magicians in the kingdom
God preserved this small remnant from Jerusalem

They honoured God as exiles in a foreign land
They possessed faith that the world could not understand
Their faith rested in God’s promise to Abraham
From their tribe would come the Christ, the Passover Lamb

As Christians, we are elect exiles in our land
We possess faith that the world cannot understand
So great is the temptation to conform
To the world and compromise our faith in the storm

But Christ has redeemed us as His holy people
His Spirit soothes and guides us in times of trouble
Let us resolve to live with sincere devotion
Set apart as people of God’s holy nation

Points for Reflection:
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore, he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
(Daniel 1:8 ESV)
·       Daniel and his friends’ ultimate allegiance was not to the king of Babylon, but to the God of their fathers.
·       Despite being exiles in a foreign land, they honoured God by not defiling themselves with food offered to idols. It was tempting to blend in with the crowd to avoid trouble, but to them, honouring God was their topmost priority.
·       They respected the authority of their captors, but their ultimate allegiance was to their great and faithful God. God gave Daniel wisdom in asking the chief of the eunuchs for permission to put them on a ten-day trial on vegetables and water.
·       Who do you surrender your ultimate allegiance to? Are you tempted at times to blend in with the world to avoid scorn, ridicule, or persecution?
·       Daniel and his friends did not turn away from God despite the difficult situation they were in. Their city, Jerusalem, was conquered by the Babylonians and they were obscure exiles in the pagan city of Babylon.
·       They trusted in the promise that God made with their ancestor, Abraham. They believed that God would establish His eternal kingdom through the Messiah who would descend from their tribe, Judah. Many centuries later, Jesus Christ came to the earth to save not just the Jews, but people from every nation who trust in Him.
·       When Christ came, He declared all food, that was once unclean, to be clean. Christ has reconciled unclean sinners to Himself and made them clean through His death on the cross. We can now eat food offered to idols because what is from the outside cannot make us unclean but it is our filthy hearts that need to be cleansed with the blood of Jesus Christ. But if eating food offered to idols would stumble new Christians, the most loving act would be to not partake in the food.
·       Do you believe that your faith in Christ has made you clean despite your past? Are you trusting in His saving grace?

Monday, 1 May 2017

Lessons from the Morning Sky

Hello All,

What lessons can we learn from the morning sky?

With the changing seasons, lighting and hues, I often feel the weight of unpredictability and uncertainty. Although technology has weather forecasting systems in place, we can never be certain of the future, of what lies ahead.

Life is unpredictable and often laden with troubles and struggles. In the rough winds of life, who or what do you look to for hope?

By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

Darkness clouds the atmosphere
Darkness shrouds my faint heart with fear
Darkness conceals what lies ahead
Uncertainties make me afraid

In the crevice of darkness
I see a glimmer of brightness
It's hope I see, though it be frail
I know God's faithfulness prevails

In dark times, God is our light
His light makes our fears take flight
His light grows brighter as clouds part
Christ, the Light, brings hope to our hearts

Christ, the Light, is ever present
Though, in our eyes, He seems absent
He is present behind the clouds
Our eyes, darkness no longer shrouds

His light breaks through the darkness
Our sins He's pierced with His brightness
He's dealt with our greatest darkness
Do not fear the lesser darkness

Our hope flows like a fountain
Though our future be uncertain
Fear not! Take courage in Jesus
Our Shepherd who gently leads us

Points for Reflection:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 ESV)
·         Those were the very words of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. The One who has overcome the world.
·         In the darkness of our situation, it may seem as if the Light is not present. We feel alone and despondent.
·         But we are not alone, for Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. We cannot see Him when our eyes are clouded by anxieties and sorrows. Plead with Him to part the clouds. Find rest in Him.
·         In this world, we will have problems. But Jesus has overcome the greatest problem of humanity – sin, and death. For those of us who trust in Him, we need not worry about our eternal destiny after death. Moreover, life on earth and its problems are temporal.
·         Are you facing dark times? Are you turning to Jesus Christ, the Light, for comfort and hope?
·         His light breaks through the darkness. Our sins He's pierced with His brightness. He's dealt with our greatest darkness. Do not fear the lesser darkness.