Sunday, 21 December 2014

Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 2 (Luke 1:67-79)

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 with the second episode of this poem…


Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 2 (Luke 1:67-79)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (27th Nov 2014)
There once was a Jewish priest named Zechariah
Who was from the priestly order of Abijah
His dear wife was from the priestly line of Aaron
Her name was Elizabeth and she was barren

They were righteous and upright before the Lord's eyes
His commandments and decrees they did not defy
They lost hope of having a child for they were old
Until the birth of John the Baptist was foretold

By Angel Gabriel and fulfilled quite soon after
His miraculous birth brought much joy and laughter
Zechariah, filled with the Spirit, joyfully
Broke into songs of praise and gave this prophecy:

'Praise the Lord, the magnificent God of Israel,
His eternal love and faithfulness never fail
For he has visited and redeemed His people
He has sent us a Saviour who's strong and able

He is the prophesied and promised Descendant
From the royal line of King David, His servant
Now we will be saved from our ruthless enemies
To our ancestors, He has shown grace and mercy

By remembering His sacred covenant
Made with our ancestor, Abraham, His servant
We have been rescued from our cruel enemies
So that we can serve God without timidity

With no trace of fear, for He has made us holy
And righteous through our Saviour in His great mercy
We can serve the God of Israel for all our days
For as long as we live on earth, in every way

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
[68] “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
[69] and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
[70] as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.
(Luke 1:68-70 ESV)
·         Zechariah began his prophecy in praise and anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, the promised Saviour and King, Jesus Christ.
·         The coming of the Messiah from the line of King David was long foretold by prophets of old.
·         In a world which suffers the effects of humanity’s rebellion and sin against a holy God, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the Saviour it needs to reverse the curse of sin.
·         All the good works that we may try to do to atone for our sin are futile.
·         It is only through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we can be saved from God’s judgment for our iniquity.
·         Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? Are you trusting in good works instead of Jesus Christ for salvation?

[74] That we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
[75] in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
(Luke 1:74-75 ESV)
·         When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, God adopted us as His beloved children and delivered us from the hand of our Enemy – Satan.
·         It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are made holy and righteous before God.
·         Although good works is not a prerequisite for salvation, they are the products and fruits of those who have been saved by grace.
·         If we have been adopted as God’s children, it would be unfitting for us to live as if we are still under the dominion of our Enemy.
·         Instead, we should be using every opportunity we have in life to serve God.
·         Have you been persisting in secret sins with no true repentance? While we are on earth, we will still sin for we are far from perfect. But we should be praying for God’s help in our combat against sin.

·         Have you been using your life to serve God for His glory or for yours? Have you been living as the king of your own life who determines what is right and wrong? Or have you been living under the lordship of Jesus Christ in obedience to His Word?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 1 (Luke 1:67-79)

Hello All,

I have written a poem on the prophecy that Zechariah gave after the birth of his son, John the Baptist.

The birth of John the Baptist was foretold before the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s purpose for John the Baptist was to point others to the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.

However, today we will not be looking at Zechariah’s prophecy because I thought it would be helpful to begin with a summary of the background and context of the prophecy.




Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 1 (Luke 1:67-79)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (27th Nov 2014)
There once was a Jewish priest named Zechariah
Who was from the priestly order of Abijah
His dear wife was from the priestly line of Aaron
Her name was Elizabeth and she was barren

They were righteous and upright before the Lord's eyes
His commandments and decrees they did not defy
They lost hope of having a child for they were old
Until the birth of John the Baptist was foretold

By Angel Gabriel and fulfilled quite soon after
His miraculous birth brought much joy and laughter
Zechariah, filled with the Spirit, joyfully
Broke into songs of praise and gave this prophecy:

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
[6] And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
[7] But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
(Luke 1:6-7 ESV)
·         Have you ever heard people attributing the reason for their misfortunes to God’s judgment due to their sin?
·         Although it is true that the folly of men can plunge them into a ravine of predicaments but that is not relevant to everyone and all situations.
·         Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous before God and yet they were childless.
·         Their childlessness was not due to any personal sin on their part but to God’s sovereign and wise plan.
·         God miraculously opened the womb of Elizabeth who was advanced in age and biologically speaking, had no hope of conception.
·         There may be times when we do not understand God’s delay in intervening in our situations.
·         But God teaches us patience through the long waiting periods of our lives.
·         Are you hoping and praying for something? Do you get impatient with unanswered prayers? How have you been responding to unanswered prayers?
·         We may or may not have our prayers answered. But one thing we can be certain of is God’s wisdom and sovereignty. We may think that what we want is what we need; but God knows better.
[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
[9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
·         Even though things may be out of our control, God is always in control. Not only is He in control but He loves and cares for us. And it is in that comforting knowledge that we can commit our worries, disappointments and grief into His loving hands.
Cast all your anxieties on God, because He cares for you.

(1 Peter 5:7 ESV)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Gifts (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 with the third and final episode of this poem…











Gifts (Episode 3)
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?’

When you think of gifts, do you think of the Giver?
Or are you distracted with what life can offer?
Do you thank God for life’s gifts - the good and the bad?
Or do unfulfilled dreams leave you bitter and sad?

In the pursuit of gifts that will not satisfy
Have you pushed away God’s greatest Gift for a lie?
Is your heart opened to receive God’s only Son?
Jesus Christ, the great Saviour, whom sinners have shunned

THE END.

Points for Reflection:
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’  
(John 3:16 ESV)
·         Have you been pursuing the fleeting ‘gifts’ of this world? If so, what are those fleeting ‘gifts’?
·         Even if you were to attain the most exquisite ‘gift’ this world has to offer, it will never truly satisfy you. The pursuit of a ‘gift’ leads to another and it will always be a never-ending quest for life’s meaning.
·         All other ‘gifts’ are secondary to the gift of salvation that sinners like us receive by God’s grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of our sin. It is in Christ that we find true joy in our salvation and hope of eternal life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
(Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
·         Have you accepted or rejected God’s greatest Gift - Jesus Christ?
‘Whoever believes in him [Jesus Christ] 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 3:18 ESV)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Gifts (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 with the second episode of this poem…












Gifts (Episode 2)
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?’

When you think of gifts, do you think of the Giver?
Or are you distracted with what life can offer?
Do you thank God for life’s gifts - the good and the bad?
Or do unfulfilled dreams leave you bitter and sad?

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
·         ‘Gifts’ in life come in all shapes and sizes.
·         There are ‘gifts’ which have both beautiful packaging and contents.
·         However, some ‘gifts’ have undesirable packaging and contents. We are reluctant to receive and open such ‘gifts’ which fall into our laps against our will.
·         Other ‘gifts’ may appear attractive but when opened, the contents prove to be a great disappointment. The unexpected turn in a seemingly favourable situation can at times be more difficult to accept than an anticipated misfortune.
·         There are also ‘gifts’ which may appear unattractive but when opened, the contents turn out to bring us much joy.
·         In all circumstances, God’s will for us is to be thankful to Him.
·         He uses both the good and bad gifts for our good although we may not be able to see His purpose behind the grief, heartaches and disappointments that come our way.
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)
·         What are the good and bad ‘gifts’ which God has brought into your life?
·         How have you been responding to them?

·         Are your eyes fixed on the gifts or the Giver?

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)