Monday, 27 March 2017

No Longer Looking for More

Hello All,

Are you looking for something? Are you searching for someone?

Are you hoping for something? Are you yearning for someone?

In this life, we are constantly yearning for something or someone that will satisfy the longings of our hearts. ‘There must be more to life than this,’ we often whisper to ourselves.



No Longer Looking for More
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

No longer looking for more
I've found Someone to adore
No longer unsatisfied
For me, Christ was crucified

No longer looking for more
My Lord Jesus, I adore
No longer looking for gold
In Christ are treasures untold

No longer looking for more
Jesus, my King, I adore
No longer looking for fame
For God has called me by name

No longer looking for more
Christ, my Saviour, I adore
No longer looking for praise
I boast in Him who was raised

No longer looking for more
Christ is the One I adore
No longer striving for love
Divine love comes from above


Points for Reflection:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14 ESV)
·         In Christian gatherings, we often sing songs that speak of the sufficiency of Christ. ‘Christ is Enough for Me’ is one of those songs.
·         If we are honest with ourselves, we are often looking for satisfaction somewhere else apart from Christ. Those places may not be bad and may, in fact, be good gifts from God. But attempting to derive ultimate fulfilment from them leads to disappointments and disillusionment.
·         When God withholds something or someone that we are yearning so badly for, it is very natural to ask Him, ‘Why?’ God’s ways are higher than ours and we may never know the reasons He is withholding those things from us. However, one of the possible reasons is that He wants us to find ultimate fulfilment in Him and not in those things. He wants us to delight in Him.
·         Are you delighting in Christ? Drink from the well of His living Word. Grow in your knowledge of Him. And not just knowledge, but abound in your love for Him.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Holding on to Regrets?

Hello All,

Have you ever regretted over something you’ve done or failed to do?

If life was perfect and the world we live in unbroken, there would be no place for regrets. Regrets are indicators that something is not right in our lives and in this world.

Regrets are effects of a fallen world.



Holding on to Regrets?
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling

'Don't cry over spilt milk!' goes the wise adage
A profound, pithy statement of the sage
What can you do when the milk has been spilt?
Why wallow in regret and pointless guilt?

It is always easier said than done
We have regrets; others more than some
If time could just give us another chance
To undo a wrong step made in a dance

Hurtful words, we wish were left unspoken
Tender hearts, we wish we had not broken
Loving words, we should not have left unsaid
Burning bridges, we've painstakingly made

Betraying others and being betrayed
Leaving someone when we should have stayed
Forsaking others for selfish gains
Wrongs we keep doing again and again

We cannot undo the wrongs we have done
Not by regretting every single one
Not by atoning for them with good deeds
Those remedies are futile, indeed!

The greatest regret of humanity
Is eating from that forbidden tree
Rejecting God’s reign and authority
Messing up the world and ruling poorly

Do not give way to despair; don’t lose hope
For help dangles not from a flimsy rope
But rescue finds its firm foundation
In Jesus, the Rock of our salvation

Cursed is He who is hung on a tree
Christ was accursed for you and me
He reversed humanity’s greatest regret
On the Tree, God’s wrath and mercy met

'Don't cry over spilt milk!' goes the wise adage
A profound, pithy statement of the sage
Cry not over the milk that has been spilt
For Jesus has taken away your guilt


Points for Reflection:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
(Galatians 3:13 ESV)
·         Are you wallowing in regret? Are there hurtful words, you wish were left unspoken? Are there tender hearts, you wish you had not broken? Have you burned bridges, you've painstakingly made? Have you forsaken and betrayed others for selfish gains?
·         We are perhaps so wrapped up in the regrets of our lives that we do not realise the greatest regret of humanity – rejecting God’s reign and authority.
·         The wonderful news for those who trust in Christ is that He has reversed the effect of that regretful rejection. He died hanging on a tree and became a curse for us so that He may free us from the curse of the law. No longer do we need to fear eternal death in hell for He has set aside a place for us in heaven. Doesn’t that bring great relief to your troubled hearts?
·         Commit to God the other regrets that you are holding on to. Ask Him to lift the burden of guilt from you and to find joy in the reversal of humanity’s greatest regret.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Friendship

Hello All,

What does ‘friendship’ mean to you?

There are some who do not feel the need for friendship. They prefer casual acquaintances and communicate with others only out of necessity.

However, many of us long for loyal and trustworthy friendships. We yearn for friends to displace the loneliness in our hearts with the warmth of their presence.

As C.S. Lewis aptly wrote, ‘Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.’

  
Friendship
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling
Dedicated to a dear friend for her friendship in Christ
What does ‘friendship’ mean to you?
Some say, ‘Someone I can talk to’
‘A pal who keeps me company’
‘A buddy who hangs out with me’

‘Someone who shares the same hobbies’
‘One who helps in adversities’
‘One who cheers me up when I’m blue’
Others say, ‘I don’t have a clue!’

King Solomon had much to say
In Proverbs about friends who’ll stay
True in times of sunshine and rain
And those who’ll leave you for their gain

‘A man of many companions
May come to ruin and destruction
But there’s a friend who sticks closer
Than a brother or a sister’

Companions are different from friends
They will not stay true to the end
They may serve as good company
But leave you in adversity

A friend’s love is constant and true
In spring’s blossom and winter blue
No matter what you’re going through
She will never stop loving you

Although her words may hurt at times
She has your best interest in mind
She tells the truth for your well being
Even if words of truth may sting

Her counsel to you is heartfelt
The ice of endless sorrows melt
With the warmth her words provide
In sadness, she is by your side

Although our friends are not perfect
Their loyalty and love reflect
The Source of friendship - Christ Jesus
He’s the Friend who will not fail us

Blessed are the wounds of a Friend
One who was faithful to the end
Who died so that we may be whole
Who brought salvation to our soul

In the fierce storm and rising tide
Jesus is always by our side
What a Friend we have in Jesus
A Friend who will never fail us


Points for Reflection:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
(John 15:12-14 ESV)
·         Those were the very words of Jesus. He is the Friend who laid down His life for us. He went through excruciating pain, suffering and finally death to reconcile unlovable sinners to God. We who were once God’s enemies are now friends of God.
·         Our Friendship with Jesus should be the anchor of our friendship with others. We are to love our friends with the love that we have first received from Him. This love is one of wholehearted loyalty, trust, and sacrifice.
·         Our friendship with others should always point us to Christ. There is always a danger of elevating a human friendship above God. When that happens, we become possessive, self-seeking and to put it plainly, unbearable.
·         Since God has lavished on us such boundless grace and unconditional love, we likewise should put the needs and interests of others above our own. We should love others without expecting anything in return. This calls for sacrifice and the laying down of our lives.
·         Do you value the Friendship you have with Christ? Does your love for Him motivate you to live for Him and obey Him? Are there areas in your life that you need to submit under His lordship?
·         How is your attitude towards friendships? Are you loving the friends that God has brought into your lives with the marvellous love that you have received from Him? Are you pointing your friends to Christ? Are your friendships anchored in Christ?

Monday, 6 March 2017

What Do You Desire Most?

Hello All,

What is your greatest desire? What sets your heart on fire? What motivates you to action?

Some believe that desires are the roots of all the suffering we see in our world. They believe that a person needs to detach himself from all desires to reach a peaceful state where suffering has no effect on him.

However, the Bible tells us that the act of desiring is not wrong, but it is the object and measure of desire that counts.



What Do You Desire Most?
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (10 February 2017)

What is your greatest desire?
What sets your heart on fire?
What motivates you to action?
What stirs your fiery passion?

Stop for a moment and reflect
On desires and their effects
How they affect the way we act
Their influence often trumps the facts

We desire what we don’t own
We crave and covet; groan and moan
When our desires are unmet
The blessings we have, we forget

When we get what we desire
Do we find that we require
More things to quench and satisfy
Our many wants that reach the sky?

Our longings point us to the One
Who did what no one could have done
Who sacrificed His life for us
Are our desires for Jesus?

Do we desire God's kingdom?
It's in Christ we find true freedom
Freedom from chasing earthly things
In Him, we find rest from longings

What do you desire most?
Is it in Jesus that you boast?
Do you long to be more like Him?
Does His love fill you to the brim?


Points for Reflection:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
(Colossians 3:1-2 ESV)
·         Not all earthly desires are bad. Desires for relationships, knowledge, ambition and others are good and healthy desires to have.
·         However, if earthly desires are elevated above God, then those desires become heart idols.
·         The matter here is not eliminating those good earthly desires, but to place them beneath the cross of Jesus Christ.
·         However, if you have bad desires, such as seeking revenge against someone who’s wronged you, having murderous thoughts or lusting after someone or something that’s not yours, then it is all too clear that you need to bring those desires to God in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome those desires.
·         Is Jesus the One you desire the most? Do you desire to build His kingdom above your little kingdoms? Do you desire to become more like Christ in character and virtue? Do you desire to bring the Gospel to those who have not put their trust in Christ? Do you desire to love and encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ and point them to Him?

Monday, 27 February 2017

Entering a Lovely Garden

Hello All,

Do you enjoy gardening? I love beautiful gardens but I do not have green fingers. Cacti – the hardiest of all plants – have all died under my care.

For those of us living in the city, a garden is a good place to enjoy the beauty of nature amidst a concrete jungle.

The beauty of a garden takes our mind off from the burdens of the day and provides us with rest and a sense of freedom.

Do you long for true rest and freedom?


Entering a Lovely Garden
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (4 February 2017)

Coming out of a closet of shame
Following God who calls me by name
I now stand looking through the window
Gazing at a beautiful rainbow

Below the rainbow was a garden
Lovely; like the Garden of Eden
Jesus said, ‘Take my hand, I’ll guide you
Come, let us start things anew’

Memories of shame raced through my mind
Fear took on forms of many kinds
‘Should I take hold of His outstretched hand?
My pain, does He truly understand?’

I gazed at His nail-pierced hands and thought
‘Through great pain, my redemption He bought
How could I doubt His love for me?
Through His precious blood, He’s set me free’

I took His hand; we walked out the door
Unsure I was, of what was in store
I came to a halt at the threshold
My anxiousness I could not withhold

‘Let me behold this place for a while’
He nodded with a kind, knowing smile
Tears streamed freely down my pallid face
Then I said, ‘Let’s enter this new place’

With hands held, we entered the garden
Lovely; like the Garden of Eden
A perfect place unspoiled by sin
‘Let’s start anew; here’s where we’ll begin’

Strolling on smooth cobblestones walkways
Savouring the flowers in midday
Relishing the tunes of chirping birds
Those were pleasures that nature conjured

Jesus has taken my shame away
I came to realise that on the day
The day He led me to the garden
I am, in Him, a new creation


Points for Reflection:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
·         God placed Adam and Eve, the first man and woman He created, in a perfect and lovely Garden – the Garden of Eden. It was unspoiled and untainted with sin.
·         But Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God for they desired to be gods themselves, deciding what was good and evil. We’re now living in a broken world where we are constantly sinning against others and are sinned against.
·         Although humanity has made a great mess of the world, God did not leave us without hope. He sent His precious only Son, Jesus Christ, to take our punishment on the cross.
·         Anyone who trusts in Christ is a new creation. The shame and guilt of our past have been dealt with by our Saviour. We do not need to hold on to the shameful and unpleasant memories of the past. Christ has set us free and we are free indeed.
·         What burdens of the past are you still carrying with you? Do you long for rest and freedom from the burden of shame? Does the freedom that Christ has bought for you often feel like an elusive dream?
·         No matter how unreal that freedom may feel at times, it is not. Fix your eyes on Jesus who has taken your shame away. You are a beautiful and new creation in Him. He is calling you to enter the lovely garden of freedom.