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?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Rough and Broken Road (Episode 1)















The Rough and Broken Road
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (29th Aug 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’

Points for Reflection:
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)
·         Many people tend to misunderstand what the word, ‘good’, denotes in the Bible verse above.
·         There is a common misconception that God will not let any difficulties and pain befall those He loves.
·         But God’s understanding of ‘good’ transcends much higher than that of ours.
·         God often uses disappointments, hurt, betrayal, traumas and calamities to refine our character and teach us patience in the face of adversities.
·         Whatever happens, we know that God is sovereign and in control of every single detail of our lives.
·         Reflect on the adversities you have gone through or are going through at the present moment. How have God used them for your good? Are you finding it difficult to trust that good can come out of evil? Why don’t you bring your burdens to God in prayer?
·         Do you know of someone who is going through the valley of despair? In what ways can you be supporting that person?

·         The greatest good that God has brought forth from the most severe torment in history is our salvation through the death and suffering of Christ on the cross. When we are tempted to drown ourselves in our sorrows, let us shift our eyes to gaze upon the cross. Let us immerse ourselves in the depth of God’s love and know that no trials are deeper than His mercy and grace. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Stillness of the Night

Hello All,
Today’s poem is entitled, ‘The Stillness of the Night’.
What keeps you awake at night?
Many of us experience sleepless nights when our hearts are troubled with worries, sorrow and guilt.
But how many of us actually pour our hearts out to God in prayer during those nights?












The Stillness of the Night
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (17th July 2014)
I hear the rustling of leaves in the wind
The gentle breeze stills the turmoil within
This bleeding heart which bears the wounds and scars
Of memories brought so near from afar

The pain is real; the images are clear
The torment of the past fills me with fear
But in the stillness of the night I hear
The voice of love which bids me to draw near

God said, ‘My grace is sufficient for you
My power’s made perfect in weakness too’
His grace and love has brought me safely through
The torrents; when I knew not what to do

No pain is greater than God’s comforting words
With much trials, more grace and love are offered
I will lean on the everlasting arms
That will comfort and keep me safe from harm

Points for Reflection:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
·         Are you troubled by unpleasant experiences of the past?
·         What trials are you going through at the present moment?
·         Are you worried about the future?
·         Why don’t you surrender your burden to the Lord in prayer and find comfort in His infinite love?

·         Do you know of people who are undergoing trials? How could you best support them and constantly point them to the love and comfort of God? 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Living in the Present: With Others

Hello All,
‘No man is an island.’
This is a quotation from John Donne (1572-1631) who was an English poet, lawyer and Anglican priest.
Although many of us would agree with that phrase, we would most of the time find it easier to accomplish a task alone.
In my university days, I remember the dread that many used to feel when it came to group projects. No doubt there were some groups who worked very well with each other but there were others who fell out with their group members and thus rued the day they had to work with other people to accomplish a task.
Many of us feel that matters would be less complicated with less people involved. This is because of our sinful nature which makes us want to do things our own way.
‘No Christian is an island.’
There are Christians who think that it is sufficient to just keep a relationship with God in fervent, daily prayers but isolate themselves from the Christian community.
God has never meant for Christians to venture out into unchartered territories alone in this world. He has created a community of Christians to remind and encourage each other to live as pilgrims on this earth for His glory.








Living in the Present: With Others
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (3rd April 2014)
Based on Henri Nouwen's 'Here and Now: Living in the Spirit'
Our journey as Christian pilgrims on the road
Is not a solo travel embarked on our own
We are to bear our fellow Christians’ heavy load
In God’s Kingdom, no one ventures out alone

Do you see a brother who needs your prayer?
Do you notice a sister who needs your comfort?
Are you willing to aid your brothers and sisters?
Would you help even if it demands much effort?

The closer we come to know and love our God
The closer we come to those in God’s family
For the infinite love of Christ is shared abroad
Cutting through our barriers and diversity

Points for Reflection:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:24-25)
·         Have you been isolating yourself from the Christian community?
·         You might have literally stopped going to church altogether or pop by whenever you please.
·         Or perhaps you have been attending church faithfully but do not share your life with other Christians?
·         Have you been feeling alone even in the midst of conversations with church friends?
·         Don’t face your struggles alone but seek support from your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that God will send fellow Christians who are trustworthy and willing to faithfully support you in your struggles.

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2)
·         Do you see someone who needs your prayer?
·         Have you been praying faithfully for those who are need your support? How could you be more mindful of others in your prayers?
·         Do you notice someone who needs your comfort?
·         Do you show your care to a fellow Christian who is down and discouraged? Often we are so absorbed with our own lives that we forget that comforting words and gestures can mean so much to a person going through the ‘valley’ experience.
·         Are you willing to aid your brothers and sisters?
·         Would you help even if it demands much effort?
·         Pray for God to help us to be united in the love of Christ and to look for ways to help each other fight the good fight of faith.

“This is my [Jesus’] 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.”

(John 15:12-13)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Living in the Present: Our Inner Room

Hello All,

Today’s poem is entitled, ‘Our Inner Room’.

Before I present this poem to you, allow me to clarify what it means.

Because I understand that many Christians might feel uncomfortable with the phrase, ‘inner room’. So this is just in case you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Oh no! What has become of Joanne’s writing? Is she spreading heresy?’

‘Inner room’ is not a literal term taken from the Bible but it is rather a personal description of our intimacy with God expressed through prayer.

What I mean is, God is the One we can be most open with in expressing our thoughts and feelings for He understands us perfectly – better than any human being can. He knows the words we are going to say even before we utter them.

Even in our closest human relationships, there is a need to construct our sentences in a way that would best convey our thoughts and feelings to our loved ones who, in the end, would not be able to understand us a hundred percent.

And no human being is able to be with us every second of the day but God is always there for us. In the deepest hour of the night, He is there to comfort us as we pour out our grief, loneliness and sorrows to Him in prayer.

Even if the death of loved ones might have hit hard on us, may we find our solace in Christ who is the anchor that holds us steady in the raging tempest of this turbulent life.












Living in the Present: Our Inner Room
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (28th March 2014)
Based on Henri Nouwen's 'Here and Now: Living in the Spirit'
The day has been long, we are tired and anxious
Brewing problems have been cruelly spilled on us
We dread the future as it unlocks its contents
To reveal the trepidation of the present

The past reminds us of unpleasant memories
We try to conceal and hide them away safely
From the eyes of the world and the people we know
There is a need to show that we are in control

The past and future consume us with distractions
Our hearts can find no peace in such situations
But do we bring our struggles to God in prayer?
Do we lay our burdens before our Creator?

Let's shut the doors behind us and get on our knees
Tell God our sorrows, worries and anxieties
Fix our eyes on Christ, the light in our inner room
Our loving Lord will lift from us all fear and gloom

Points for Reflection:
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)
·         What personal struggles are you trying to deal with? 
·         What burdens you are bearing?
·         Are you troubled by the past?
·         Are you anxious about the future?
·         Do you bring your struggles to God in prayer?
·         Who do you think is in control of your life?
·         Do you trust that God is in control?

·         How could you find comfort in Him?