Sunday, 25 January 2015

Contentment – In Christ Alone (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 with the fourth and final episode of this poem…


Contentment – In Christ Alone (Episode 4)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (12th December 2014)
Why are our hearts unsatisfied and not at rest?
What are they seeking in their neverending quests?
Where do they run to for fulfillment and meaning?
What are their unmet wants, desires and longings?

For the things we do not have, we yearn and desire
To procure and gain them at all costs, we aspire
Just when we thought we have secured them in our hands
They slip too easily through our fingers like sand

Our dreams are shattered with broken expectations
Disillusionment sets in with disappointments
Are we able to thank God in spite of failures?
Are we able to find joy in our Creator?

When was the last time we paused to count our blessings?
To rest by the meadow and delight in its springs?
Have we been too focused on our pursuit of dreams?
That we fail to notice the flowers by the stream?

Perhaps we have neglected the overflowing
Providence, loved ones, family, friends and blessings
That God has so graciously bestowed and given
Do we take the time to thank the God of heaven?

Some may too conveniently equate contentment
To one who seeks no progress and is complacent
This notion gives way to laziness - an excuse
The meaning of contentment is sorely abused

Contentment is not akin to complacency
She seeks to do her best with the abilities
And resources given by her God Almighty
She finds rest and thanks the Lord for His great mercy

Contentment finds its fulfillment in Christ alone
Who is our sturdy foundation and cornerstone
When we learn to surrender our desires to Him
Our joy from contentment will flow over the brim

Our quest for meaning ends at the foot of the Cross
Where Jesus died to redeem sinners who were lost
But through faith in His act of love, we are now found
Contented in the arms of our Lord, safe and sound

THE END.

Points for Reflection:
[13] Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
[14] 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)
·         Has contentment felt like such a fleeting and transient attribute to you?
·         We are always grasping in vain for that something that will satisfy our deepest longings.
·         At the end of the day, we find that we have become thirstier than when we have first begun in our quest for life’s meaning.
·         That thirst is meant to lead us to the Fountain of eternal life – Jesus Christ.
·         The water that He gives will bring new life to our perishing souls and quench the deepest desires in our hearts.
·         It is through Christ that we are saved from the futility of this life and spiritual death.
·         Would you drink deeply from Jesus Christ, the Fountain of living water?

·         There is a song sung by Elvis Presley that I would like to share with you. This song, ‘Crying in the Chapel’, talks about finding contentment in God and it is a song that is close to my heart. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Contentment – Equals Complacency? (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 episode of this poem…


Contentment – Equals Complacency? (Episode 3)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (12th December 2014)
Why are our hearts unsatisfied and not at rest?
What are they seeking in their neverending quests?
Where do they run to for fulfillment and meaning?
What are their unmet wants, desires and longings?

For the things we do not have, we yearn and desire
To procure and gain them at all costs, we aspire
Just when we thought we have secured them in our hands
They slip too easily through our fingers like sand

Our dreams are shattered with broken expectations
Disillusionment sets in with disappointments
Are we able to thank God in spite of failures?
Are we able to find joy in our Creator?

When was the last time we paused to count our blessings?
To rest by the meadow and delight in its springs?
Have we been too focused on our pursuit of dreams?
That we fail to notice the flowers by the stream?

Perhaps we have neglected the overflowing
Providence, loved ones, family, friends and blessings
That God has so graciously bestowed and given
Do we take the time to thank the God of heaven?

Some may too conveniently equate contentment
To one who seeks no progress and is complacent
This notion gives way to laziness - an excuse
The meaning of contentment is sorely abused

Contentment is not akin to complacency
She seeks to do her best with the abilities
And resources given by her God Almighty
She finds rest and thanks the Lord for His great mercy

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
[32] For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them;
[33] but whoever listens to me [God] will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
(Proverbs 1:32-33 ESV)
·         No, contentment does not equal complacency.
·         Contentment means being thankful to God for situations or things that you cannot change after having done your best.
·         Complacency is turning a blind eye to the efforts required to improve yourself or your circumstances.
·         A person who listens to God and obeys His Word will give no way to complacency in every area of his life.
·         He will strive to live his life for God’s glory and the good of others.
·         Are you ever tempted to equate contentment with complacency?

·         In what areas of your life do you tend to be complacent with? Your duties at work? Your responsibilities to your family? Your friendship with others? Your accountability to the church? Your lack of enthusiasm in evangelism? Your quiet time of prayer and reading God’s Word? Your walk with God? Your love for Jesus Christ?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Contentment – With What We Have (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…


Contentment – With What We Have (Episode 2)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (12th December 2014)
Why are our hearts unsatisfied and not at rest?
What are they seeking in their neverending quests?
Where do they run to for fulfillment and meaning?
What are their unmet wants, desires and longings?

For the things we do not have, we yearn and desire
To procure and gain them at all costs, we aspire
Just when we thought we have secured them in our hands
They slip too easily through our fingers like sand

Our dreams are shattered with broken expectations
Disillusionment sets in with disappointments
Are we able to thank God in spite of failures?
Are we able to find joy in our Creator?

When was the last time we paused to count our blessings?
To rest by the meadow and delight in its springs?
Have we been too focused on our pursuit of dreams?
That we fail to notice the flowers by the stream?

Perhaps we have neglected the overflowing
Providence, loved ones, family, friends and blessings
That God has so graciously bestowed and given
Do we take the time to thank the God of heaven?

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
[6] But godliness with contentment is great gain,
[7] for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
[8] But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.          
(1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV)
·         We are often so distracted by the things we do not have that we fail to be grateful to God for the many undeserved blessings which He has showered upon our lives.
·         So immersed are we in our search for greener pastures that we do not take the time to enjoy the beauty of the flowers by the stream.
·         What are things and who are the people you should be grateful for?
·         In the midst of all the gifts that God has bestowed to us, the most precious gift is found in His saving grace lavished lovingly on undeserving sinners like us.
·         Have you come to trust in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?
·         Is your heart overflowing with joy and thankfulness for God’s gift of salvation? Or has familiarity with this wonderful gift bred contempt in your heart?

·         Why don’t you take some time thanking the God of heaven for those wonderful gifts?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Contentment – With What We Do Not Have (Episode 1)

Hello All,
With the New Year in place, there are some of us who would have written a list of resolutions.

However, I suspect that ‘contentment’ is not a common item on a New Year’s resolutions list.

People would seldom write: ‘I hope to be a more contented person’ on their list.

Today and for the next few weeks, we are going to explore the meaning of contentment.



Contentment – With What We Do Not Have (Episode 1)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (12th December 2014)
Why are our hearts unsatisfied and not at rest?
What are they seeking in their neverending quests?
Where do they run to for fulfillment and meaning?
What are their unmet wants, desires and longings?

For the things we do not have, we yearn and desire
To procure and gain them at all costs, we aspire
Just when we thought we have secured them in our hands
They slip too easily through our fingers like sand

Our dreams are shattered with broken expectations
Disillusionment sets in with disappointments
Are we able to thank God in spite of failures?
Are we able to find joy in our Creator?

TO BE CONTINUED...

Points for Reflection:
[11] Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
[12] I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
[13] I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
·         Why is your heart unsatisfied and not at rest?
·         What are you seeking for life’s meaning?
·         What are your unmet wants, desires and longings?
·         In the Bible, Paul, who was an Apostle and Christian missionary, faced innumerable hardships, trials and persecution in his efforts to share the gospel. In the Bible verses above, he told the Philippians that in whatever situation he was in, he learned to be content. He was able to be content for Christ strengthened him in the hardest and most lonely periods of his life.

·         Like Paul, are you able to find contentment in God in the midst of unmet longings and desires?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 3 (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 third and final episode of this poem…


Zechariah's Prophecy: Episode 3 (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

You, my son, will be called the prophet of the Most High
Because you will prepare the way for the Lord by
Telling people how to find salvation in Him
Through the pardoning and forgiveness of their sins

Because of God's tender mercy, the morning Light
From heaven will dawn upon us and bestow sight
To those in darkness, from death they will find release
This Light will guide and keep us in the path of peace'

THE END.

Points for Reflection:
[76] And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
[77] to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins.
(Luke 1:76-77 ESV)
·         I am not sure if you would have felt that it was strange for Zechariah to begin his prophecy with the Messiah instead of his own son right after the birth of the long awaited child.
·         8 verses from the Bible were allocated for Jesus Christ whereas only 4 verses for Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist.
·         It is a very natural thing for all attention to be focused on a newborn baby.
·         But through Zechariah’s prophecy, we learn that no matter how much we may love and care for a newborn baby, God should always be our first priority.
·         Zechariah’s words to his son were not for self-glorification but they clarified the way that John the Baptist was meant to point people to Christ.
·         God’s plan for John the Baptist was to devote his life in telling others to repent of their sin and find salvation in Jesus Christ.
·         Later in his life, John the Baptist said the following words:
“He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease.”
(John 3:30 ESV)
·         Have you been telling others about the gospel? In your pride, have you been tempted to take the glory for yourself instead of pointing others to Christ? How can you, like John, say, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’?

·         As this year is drawing swiftly to an end, make it your resolution for the New Year to devote your life in service to Christ for His glory.