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.