Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gifts (Episode 1)

Hello All,
With Christmas approaching and the yule tide season in place, many of us would be making all kinds of preparations for that day.
One of the common preparations is the setting aside of gifts for our loved ones, family, friends and acquaintances.
I wrote a poem entitled, ‘Gifts’, which we will be pondering over today and the next few weeks.
Let us now begin with the first episode of this poem…












Gifts (Episode 1)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (20th November 2014)
As Christmas draws nigh, have you pondered about gifts?
When given, the heart of the recipient they lift
'Thank you,' are the words uttered from a grateful heart
Who is quite anxious to tear the wrappings apart

Three main questions emerge in the recipient’s mind
‘Under these beautiful wrappings, what will I find?’
‘Under this covering, what am I hoping for?’
‘Would I be happy or sad with what is in store?’

When you think of ‘gifts’ in this life, what comes to mind?
‘Beyond my unrevealed future, what will I find?’
‘Beyond my circumstances, what do I hope for?’
‘Would I be happy or sad with what is in store?’

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)
·         What are your plans and hopes for the future?
·         Are you anxious to see the fulfilment of those plans?
·         All of us have dreams and desires which may or may not be actualised in this life.
·         But we know that God is in control of every single detail of our lives and it is to Him that we should commit our plans.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

(Matthew 6:31-33 ESV)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

My Future Hope

Hello All,
There are times when we can find no words to describe the depths of our sorrow and pain.
There are seasons in life where death seems like a better alternative; a route to freedom from the agony that we are facing.
But it is in Christ’s death that we find life; it is in His despair that we find hope; it is in His sorrow that we find joy.










My Future Hope
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (13th Aug 2014)
There are no words that can describe the way I feel
There is a pain my heart seeks to conceal
I just cannot continue this fight anymore
I want to exit this pain through an open door

But as I lift my sad and weary eyes to look
At my beloved Saviour who suffered and took
My sin, shame and sorrow as he hung on the cross
I know He loves me and I am no longer lost

Dear Jesus, help me to lean on Your loving grace
Let me find comfort and solace in Your embrace
I look forward to heav'n, my eternal dwelling
Where sorrow, suffering and death have lost their sting

Points for Reflection:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:11 ESV)
·         Are you in the depths of despair? Are you haunted by the hurts of the past and troubled about the cares of the future? Are the burdens of the present too much to bear?
·         Why don’t you lay all your heavy load before Jesus Christ as you unburden your heart to Him in prayer? Find comfort in the future hope that you have as those who have been saved from death and judgment through Christ.

·         If you have not placed your trust in your Jesus Christ, what is preventing you from believing in such a wonderful Saviour and Comforter?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 4)

Hello All,

The part of the poem that we will be emphasising on today is highlighted in blue. The black colour text in the poem is a recap of what we have already done last week.

Let us now continue our journey with the fourth and final episode of this poem…











The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 4)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (17th September 2014)
The rough road that lies before me is uncertain
The future stays hidden; it's veiled by a curtain
If only I could clearly see what lies ahead
But all my eyes perceive is a thick fog instead

I glanced behind at the broken road I've travelled
Painful wounds from the journey have left me shattered
‘Oh Lord, please give me endurance to carry on
Soothe my aching feet for the journey has been long'

‘Help me now to put the broken road behind me
Beyond the disappointments, lift my eyes to see
Your purpose in putting me through the trials and pain
For Your refining fire has brought me much gain'

‘Although I cannot see what lies ahead of me
I trust in Your love, providence and sovereignty
Jesus, may Your rod and staff lead me safely through
The darkest valleys when I know not what to do'

As I trudged along the rough and perilous road
My legs gave way; I fell under the heavy load
My eyes brimmed with tears of anguish and agony
I was too weary to continue this journey

‘Hey, are you alright?' I heard a voice behind me
So I turned around and saw Geoffrey and Jinny
My friends were looking at me with concern and care
They said, ‘Tell us what's wrong; let us your burden share'

So I unslung the bag from my aching shoulders
I said, ‘My burden has been getting heavier
With each passing day till I can take it no more
My poor hands and feet are bleeding, wounded and sore'

Jinny reached into her pouch and drew out a vial
‘This balm called, ‘prayer', your wounds it will soothe and lull
Let us apply this salve on your feet and hands
Rest in the Lord till you are strong enough to stand'

‘Prayer' was applied to my wounds every day and night
Till I was strong enough to continue the fight
Geoffrey lifted up my weighty bag from the ground
‘This is heavy, how did you carry this around?'

He chuckled and said, ‘There seem to be many stones
That weighed you down as you travelled this road alone
Come, let us head off to a place where you can lay
Your burdensome stones. Come now, follow me this way'

We came to a serene bay with quiet waters
The beauty of the landscape was like no other
My eyes caught sight of a great, massive rock on land
Geoffrey motioned me, to come over, with his hands

‘What's this rock?' I asked as I sought to understand
‘This is the Rock of Jesus on which His Church stands
It is the solid Rock which our faith is built on
This great Rock stands firm even when all hope is gone'

I saw many stones of various shapes and sizes
Inserted and tucked within the Rock's recesses
I saw words on them upon closer inspection
Words like, ‘fear', ‘grief', ‘disappointment' and ‘rejection'

Geoffrey handed my weighty bag of stones to me
‘Look at your stones while I take a walk by the sea
I will give you time to talk to God on your own
Cry and unburden to Him the words on each stone

You would know what to do with the stones thereafter'
He whistled gaily as he left me to ponder
I peered into the sack and ‘grief' was my first word
‘Disappointment' was my second, ‘fear' was my third

‘Trauma', ‘rejection', ‘hatred' and ‘unforgiveness'
‘Failures', ‘hopelessness', ‘anger' and ‘bitterness'
Were the other stones I emptied out of my sack
Tears streamed freely down my face as I looked back

At the broken trails of the years left behind me
And the future ahead with its uncertainties
My eyes turned from the stones to the Rock before me
Which was much greater than my stones of agony

‘Dear Jesus,' I whispered, under my breath, a prayer
‘Help me to lay down these heavy stones over here
Enable me to let go of my painful past
And the fears of my future which I have amassed

In my predicaments, shift my gaze to the Tree
On which you suffered to redeem sinners like me
My sorrows cannot compare to the agony
And pain you endured on the Cross of Calvary'

I placed each stone in the recesses of the Rock
Before the Lord, my deep struggles have been unlocked
I've surrendered to God my stones of agony
In my brokenness His love has comforted me

As I stood up, I caught sight of two familiar
Figures coming my way and as they drew nearer
To me; I thought to myself, ‘Now, who could they be?'
To my great delight, they were Tony and Mandy

‘We know you have been going through a rough time
So we are here to help you with this uphill climb'
Mandy handed to me a loaf of tasty bread
'This bread will strengthen you for the journey ahead'

Bible verses were visible on every slice
Tony said, 'Do try some for they taste really nice'
So I took a bite and it tasted like honey
'God's Word will give you strength for your daily journey'

I thanked them greatly for their unreserved kindness
In helping me find comfort in God's promises
Strengthened in God's Word, I continued my journey
Entrusting my path to God's loving sovereignty

THE END…

Points for Reflection:
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalm 119:103 ESV)
·         God has not left us to fend for ourselves as we traverse the winding paths of life but He has given us His Word – the Bible.
·         The Bible is not just a historical account of the past with moral lessons to draw from but it is so much more than that.
·         When you read the Bible, you are not reading the mere words of men. God speaks to us through His Word.
·         God’s Word tells us about man’s rebellion and God’s faithfulness; man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness; man’s transgressions and God’s wrath; man’s hopelessness and God’s redemption.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.        
(John 3:16-18 ESV)
·         Have you admitted your rejection of God’s Word? Are you trusting in the redemption that God has provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
·         When the going gets rough, let us not cast our Bible aside but pick it up and feed ourselves with God’s Word. Let us not be more concerned about physical food, of temporal sustenance, but let us find comfort and nourish our spirit with the sweet Word of God.
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)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13 ESV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)


·         Have you been reading God’s Word lately? Or have you been casting it aside?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 3)

Hello All,
The part of the poem that we will be emphasising on today is highlighted in blue. The black colour text in the poem is a recap of what we have already done last week.
Let us now continue our journey with the third episode of this poem…













The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 3)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (10th September 2014)
The rough road that lies before me is uncertain
The future stays hidden; it’s veiled by a curtain
If only I could clearly see what lies ahead
But all my eyes perceive is a thick fog instead

I glanced behind at the broken road I’ve travelled
Painful wounds from the journey have left me shattered
‘Oh Lord, please give me endurance to carry on
Soothe my aching feet for the journey has been long’

‘Help me now to put the broken road behind me
Beyond the disappointments, lift my eyes to see
Your purpose in putting me through the trials and pain
For Your refining fire has brought me much gain’

‘Although I cannot see what lies ahead of me
I trust in Your love, providence and sovereignty
Jesus, may Your rod and staff lead me safely through
The darkest valleys when I know not what to do’

As I trudged along the rough and perilous road
My legs gave way; I fell under the heavy load
My eyes brimmed with tears of anguish and agony
I was too weary to continue this journey

‘Hey, are you alright?’ I heard a voice behind me
So I turned around and saw Geoffrey and Jinny
My friends were looking at me with concern and care
They said, ‘Tell us what’s wrong; let us your burden share’

So I unslung the bag from my aching shoulders
I said, ‘My burden has been getting heavier
With each passing day till I can take it no more
My poor hands and feet are bleeding, wounded and sore’

Jinny reached into her pouch and drew out a vial
‘This balm called, ‘prayer’, your wounds it will soothe and lull
Let us apply this salve on your feet and hands
Rest in the Lord till you are strong enough to stand’

‘Prayer’ was applied to my wounds every day and night
Till I was strong enough to continue the fight
Geoffrey lifted up my weighty bag from the ground
‘This is heavy, how did you carry this around?’

He chuckled and said, ‘There seem to be many stones
That weighed you down as you travelled this road alone
Come, let us head off to a place where you can lay
Your burdensome stones. Come now, follow me this way’

We came to a serene bay with quiet waters
The beauty of the landscape was like no other
My eyes caught sight of a great, massive rock on land
Geoffrey motioned me, to come over, with his hands

‘What’s this rock?’ I asked as I sought to understand
‘This is the Rock of Jesus on which His Church stands
It is the solid Rock which our faith is built on
This great Rock stands firm even when all hope is gone’

I saw many stones of various shapes and sizes
Inserted and tucked within the Rock’s recesses
I saw words on them upon closer inspection
Words like, ‘fear’, ‘grief’, ‘disappointment’ and ‘rejection’

Geoffrey handed my weighty bag of stones to me
‘Look at your stones while I take a walk by the sea
I will give you time to talk to God on your own
Cry and unburden to Him the words on each stone

You would know what to do with the stones thereafter’
He whistled gaily as he left me to ponder
I peered into the sack and ‘grief’ was my first word
‘Disappointments’ was my second, ‘fear’ was my third

‘Trauma’, ‘rejection’, ‘hatred’ and ‘unforgiveness’
‘Failures’, ‘hopelessness’, ‘anger’ and ‘bitterness’
Were the other stones I emptied out of my sack
Tears streamed freely down my face as I looked back

At the broken trails of the years left behind me
And the future ahead with its uncertainties
My eyes turned from the stones to the Rock before me
Which was much greater than my stones of agony

‘Dear Jesus,’ I whispered, under my breath, a prayer
‘Help me to lay down these heavy stones over here
Enable me to let go of my painful past
And the fears of my future which I have amassed

In my predicaments, shift my gaze to the Tree
On which you suffered to redeem sinners like me
My sorrows cannot compare to the agony
And pain you endured on the Cross of Calvary’

TO BE CONTINUED…

Points for Reflection:
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
(Psalm 62:1-2 ESV)
·         Grief, disappointments, failures, rejection, trauma, hatred, unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, fear and hopelessness – Those are the common stones that many of us pick up and shoulder along life’s journey.
·         Are you going through a period of grief? Who are you grieving for? Does the sting of death feel too paralyzing for you at this present moment?
·         Have you been disappointed by unmet expectations? Do you find the failures and rejection in life too hard to swallow? How have disappointments affected the way you relate to others?
·         Do the memories of traumatic events still haunt you with sleepless nights?
·         Have you been harbouring unforgiveness, anger and bitterness against those who have disappointed or hurt you?
·         Have the events of the past given you cause to fear the uncertainties of the future? Has the weight of life led you to hopelessness?
·         Take a moment to ponder over those stones you are holding in your hands.
·         Then ask yourself, ‘Why am I finding it so hard to let them go?’
·         Shift your gaze from those stones to the Rock of Jesus Christ.
·         No matter how heavy those stones might feel, they can never outweigh the great love and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
·         He is not a distant God who does not sympathise with us but He understands how we feel.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)
·         No human suffering can be greater than the pain that Christ endured on the cross to die in our place so that we who believe in Him can be saved from the eternal flames of hell.
·         If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, when you look at the cross, remember that your greatest burden of sin has been borne by Jesus. The penalty of your sins have been cancelled and eternal life is your guaranteed deposit at the end of the road. Isn’t that a wonderful truth to be thankful for? Do your little stones feel lighter now?

·         If you have not put your trust in Jesus, I pray that God will open your heart to receive Him. For the solemn truth is that those who reject Christ have to bear the penalty of their own sin and eternal damnation awaits them at the end of the road. Please put your trust in Jesus before it is too late and find comfort in His love and grace.   

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 2)

Hello All,
The part of the poem that we will be emphasising on today is highlighted in blue. The black colour text in the poem is a recap of what we have already done last week.
Let us now continue our journey with the second episode of this poem…
The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 2)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (4th September 2014)
The rough road that lies before me is uncertain
The future stays hidden; it’s veiled by a curtain
If only I could clearly see what lies ahead
But all my eyes perceive is a thick fog instead

I glanced behind at the broken road I’ve travelled
Painful wounds from the journey have left me shattered
‘Oh Lord, please give me endurance to carry on
Soothe my aching feet for the journey has been long’

‘Help me now to put the broken road behind me
Beyond the disappointments, lift my eyes to see
Your purpose in putting me through the trials and pain
For Your refining fire has brought me much gain’

‘Although I cannot see what lies ahead of me
I trust in Your love, providence and sovereignty
Jesus, may Your rod and staff lead me safely through
The darkest valleys when I know not what to do’

As I trudged along the rough and perilous road
My legs gave way; I fell under the heavy load
My eyes brimmed with tears of anguish and agony
I was too weary to continue this journey

‘Hey, are you alright?’ I heard a voice behind me
So I turned around and saw Geoffrey and Jinny
My friends were looking at me with concern and care
They said, ‘Tell us what’s wrong; let us your burden share’

So I unslung the bag from my aching shoulders
I said, ‘My burden has been getting heavier
With each passing day till I can take it no more
My poor hands and feet are bleeding, wounded and sore’

Jinny reached into her pouch and drew out a vial
‘This balm called, ‘prayer’, your wounds it will soothe and lull
Let us apply this salve on your feet and hands
Rest in the Lord till you are strong enough to stand’

TO BE CONTINUED…

Points for Reflection:
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2 ESV)
·        Have you been bearing your burdens, worries and struggles on your own?
·        Many times, we think we are strong, smart and capable enough to handle adversities on our own but we will eventually come to a breaking point at a certain stage in our lives.
·        Why don’t you pray for God to guide and lead you to a trustworthy brother or sister in Christ to confide your problems with and support you with heartfelt prayers?
·        Do you know of people who are bearing their burdens, worries and struggles on their own?
·        Have you been keeping them in prayer?

·        In what ways can you be reaching out and supporting your wounded fellow Christians?