PASTORAL PERSPECTIVE

We have been observing the Christian Calendar for quite a number of years now, a calendar that traces the life and ministry of Christ Jesus within a year. This spiritual discipline is not just about looking back at what had already taken place. It also has much present day relevance.

 

Observing the church seasons is one way we can inhabit the redemptive Story of God. As we recall afresh the significance of each season, we allow the Spirit to draw us into the story, shape our discipleship, and affect the way we live sanctified lives before God, for our good, and ultimately for His pleasure and glory.

 

We are at the start of the Church Calendar again. How can recalling afresh the first coming of Jesus shape our discipleship? How does allowing ourselves to be drawn into the Christmas story help to affect the way we live our lives?

 

Christ’s first coming some 2 000 years ago fulfilled the prophecies from of old and since we worship a God who is immutable (he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow) he too will be faithful in fulfilling the prophesies he has made concerning Christ’s second coming.

 

In the fullness of time, Christ’s first advent came to pass; we now look in anticipation to his second advent which, again in the fullness of time, will surely come to pass. As Advent points forward to another Advent, let us live our lives in such a way where we need not be ashamed regardless when his return will be, for he shall come like a thief when the hour and time is not known to anyone.

 

After the arrival of baby Jesus on Christmas day, we enter into the season of Epiphany. The term “epiphany” means to “show” or “reveal”. We remember the coming of the wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to visit the Christ child. The gifts revealed Jesus as King, worthy of worship yet the threat of death was in the air.

 

The focus of Epiphany includes the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry where He revealed the glory of God to the world through his life, his teachings and his marvellous works. Jesus says: “If you see me you will see my Father.”

 

As Christ’s body, the Church, we have been given the mandate to continue Christ’s ministry in revealing God’s glory to the world in the way we conduct ourselves, in the love we extend to one another and in the zeal with which we share the Gospel.

 

While Advent commemorates the coming of Christ and Epiphany the manifestation of Christ, Lent prepares us for the death and resurrection of Christ. The season of Lent is a time for us to deliberately remember and respond to the sacrificial death of Christ. It is a time for us to reflect on our own offence – a frighteningly evil heart, mixed motives, hypocrisy, unforgiveness, revenge, lust, envy, greed, pride – what wretchedness, what depravity!

 

Yet we are overwhelmed by God’s mercies, overwhelmed by the cost of our pardon, our forgiveness, our freedom, the cost borne on the cross – how undeserving, what a privilege!

 

The season of Lent is marked by a deepening realism about the cost of discipleship – what it means to follow Christ. As we take the journey towards the cross, let us deny ourselves, take up our own crosses daily and follow our Saviour and Lord.

 

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. This is the last week of Lent, the week when we commemorate Jesus’ final agonising journey to the cross. Palm Sunday remembers Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with crowds waving palm branches and proclaiming him as the Messiah.

 

On the coming Thursday, we remember the Last Supper Jesus had with His disciples and His betrayal by Judas.

 

On Good Friday, we remember the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As we enter into Holy Week, may the stark truth that God died for man grip our hearts and in turn cause us to stand in awe and wonder of His amazing grace.

 

On Easter, we celebrate Christ rising from the dead. Christ’s resurrection forms the central event of Christian history. The resurrection is the most spectacular of all the biblical miracles and from a human perspective the most incredible of Christianity’s claims.

 

Without this reversal of the shame of the cross, Christ’s death would have atoned for nothing – we will still remain in our sins. But Christ has risen! Hallelujah! His resurrection therefore guarantees our own resurrection. Even now, in our discipleship, we too can experience resurrection power in overcoming temptations as we walk in newness of life.

 

On Easter, we celebrate life, life abundant and life eternal.

 

Pentecost is dedicated to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the early disciples on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Christ, ten days after Christ ascended into heaven.

 

It is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, who illumines our minds that we may understand the Word of God, convicts our hearts that we may respond to the saving grace of God, surrounds us with warmth and comfort that we may experience the peace of God, gives us courage and strength that we may do the work of God, and increases our faith that we may live and worship unto the glory of God.

 

Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost. It also marks the start of Ordinary Time. Trinity Sunday commemorates and honours the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity can never be completely understood, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. We understand all scriptural doctrines by faith which comes through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Therefore, it is appropriate that this mystery is celebrated the first Sunday after Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit first occurred. On Trinity Sunday, the Christian Church ponders with joy and thanksgiving what the Triune God has done to accomplish the salvation of sinful humanity. In response to the love God has shown us, we praise him and give him glory.

 

If the extraordinary event of Pentecost points the way – immersion of the Spirit & empowerment of the early church for mission – shouldn’t our call to discipleship likewise be extraordinary? In the pouring out of ourselves for Christ, we find ourselves energised by his love and joy. This happens in our everyday lives, indeed, during the commonplace days of our year. Let our call to discipleship be no less extraordinary. Let us be so overwhelmed by Christ’s amazing love that we pour ourselves out for Him in our everyday lives. This is discipleship in Ordinary Time.

 

On the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, we celebrate Christ as King over the whole universe. He first came to usher in the Kingdom of God and he will come again to consummate that Kingdom. Meanwhile the Church, his Bride, readily anticipates the return of the King.

 

I pray that even as we continue to observe the Church seasons, it will not become a mindless routine. As we immerse ourselves into the Christian year, may we be mindful of its relevance in our ongoing discipleship. Perhaps when we are able to connect these seasons to our present Christian living, we will become more and more like Jesus whose life and ministry is remembered every year as we observe this calendar.

 

Adapted from the first edition on 10 December 2017

Rev Lee Kien Seng
November 27, 2022

It is November! Many have commented how quickly this year went by. Another one asked in jest if we could go back and restart from 2020 so that all that we couldn’t do could be given a chance again. With most borders opened and activities returning to normal, there is a lot of planning for the year-end. It is also the holiday season and so a lot of people are making plans to reconnect with loved ones and travel around the world.

 

In the west, it is thanksgiving season while locally, it is school holiday season. We had our own 30th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on the 5th of November and we are indeed thankful to the Lord for seeing us through the years. We have heard many people share their gratitude and prayers for our church. As a church, we are now preparing for the Christmas season through different ministries, outreach events and service of Lessons and Carols. Soon, it will be Christmas.

 

It is also the time to plan for next year- a time to reflect how the year went by and re-evaluate our priorities. Some might have already started making New Year resolutions for next year! And then there are things we need to deal with in our respective homes, in the lives of our children and in our own lives as well. So many things are competing for our time and attention and in the midst of so much busyness and planning, it is easy to forget about others.

 

Interestingly in November, Christians around the world pray for other believers who are persecuted for their faith. This is done in conjunction with International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Many believers around the world are in prison, face violence, arson, kidnapping, restrictions and treated poorly as a result of their faith. Many are not reported, and they find no avenue to share their plight.

 

We have had the opportunity to hear about some from our own mission workers who have first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground. We have heard from our brothers and sisters who are involved with Starfish Asia about the plight of believers in Pakistan. We have also heard about the greater challenges and serious persecution faced by the believers in China. Many have chosen to leave the country as a result of the changes made by the government. Those who choose to stay behind face tremendous pressure and challenges. In the last few years, the Indian government also clamped down on all mission works in India. Many agencies couldn’t receive funds from overseas and as a result, many children dropped out of mission schools, orphanages and they were sent back to other religious groups. At the end of the day, poor people will go to the hand that can feed them. And then there are stories of how churches are burnt down, pastors beaten to death, families tortured, movements restricted, children kidnapped… and the list goes on. These are just some examples of how other believers are suffering around the world.

 

As we think about our suffering brothers and sisters around the world, there are a few things we can do. We can be involved by going to such places as the Lord calls us. If we are not called to go, we can give generously so that the work of God can continue. Yet not all are called to go and not all will have the capacity to give. But we can all pray.

 

God has already blest us so much in the comfort and safety of Singapore. We continue to give thanks to God for the peace and harmony that we have and the freedom to worship God. But God would also want us to consider the plight of others who are suffering. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us how to pray. It makes us aware of the fact that we live in a world that is bigger than our own private worlds- our home, our church, our lives. We are pointed to a larger God who cares for us all. In Matthew 6:9, the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray begins with the word “Our Father”. God is our Father, not just my father. We are all His children. M.W Gass said, “I cannot say Our, if I live in a watertight spiritual compartment; if I think a special place in heaven is reserved for my denomination”.

 

According to Open Doors’ 2022 Watchlist, every day 13 Christians are killed for the faith worldwide; 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked, and 12 Christians are unjustly imprisoned and another abducted. Just because none of these things happen to us does not mean we cannot do anything about it. We can pray for them.

 

If you are not sure how and where to begin, you can contact our mission workers in the church to find out how you can pray for such persecuted people. You can also reach out to those whom God has brought to our doorstep – the foreigners in our midst. Festive seasons are the best time to invite them to your homes and learn about them, their culture, and their needs. Then you can pray specifically about the challenges they and their countries go through. We have different nationalities worshipping in our midst. We have people from Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Brazil, Kazakhstan, US, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. Yes, the Lord has brought them to us. The least we can do is to get to know them and pray for one another.

 

Even as we go about our lives, winding down the year and preparing to celebrate Christmas, let us continue to remain grateful and thankful to God. And as we reflect of God’s goodness, let us remember our suffering brothers and sisters around the world that they might rejoice like Paul in Philippians 4:10, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.” May we seize the opportunity to do what we can as the Lord enables us. 

Pr Loliro Sani
November 20, 2022

Most of us are familiar with the story of Martha and Mary in the gospel of St Luke. It’s a short account—just five verses long—centering on a short exchange between Martha and our Lord. Despite its terseness, it’s richly evocative. In this story, our Lord affectionately extends pastoral care to a stressed-out Martha, yet I perceive he’s also speaking to us today, reminding us of a potentially dangerous oversight in our Christian living.

 

According to St Luke, Jesus was going about with his ministry, and he had entered a village to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. St Luke’s account doesn’t inform us which village Jesus and his disciples were at, but we know from the gospel of St John that Martha and Mary (along with their brother Lazarus) reside in Bethany, a village near Jerusalem. This may be a record of the first time Jesus met Martha and Mary (and perhaps Lazarus).

 

As an itinerant teacher, he was largely dependent on the hospitality of those who resided in the places he visited. It’s written that Martha was the one in the village who received Jesus and his disciples. This simple statement belies the fact that Martha wasn’t merely receiving Jesus as a guest in her village bed-and-breakfast; she had also received his message about the Kingdom of God. She welcomed Jesus into her home because she heard the Good News from him and believed it. [1] We may conclude that Martha was a faithful Jewish woman and her faith was expressed in her act of hospitality to God’s messenger, Jesus. Like Martha, we who have heard the Good News and responded in faith also receive Jesus into our hearts.

 

Martha invited our Lord and his disciples to her home, but that wasn’t the end of the matter. Unlike us, Martha didn’t live in a city but a small village. Everyone in Bethany would’ve heard of Jesus’ visitation and come by her place to hear from him. So, Martha would’ve ended up with a crowd at her place. As the mistress of the house, she would’ve had to show some hospitality to them as well, so it must’ve been a busy day for Martha! Then, she realized her sister Mary wasn’t assisting her but was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him teach. She then complained to Jesus in hope that he would dismiss Mary from his gospel seminar. Her complaint wasn’t wrong since it was only right for Mary to be helping her. After all, it was their residence, and they should be involved in serving their guests.

 

As we read of Jesus’ reply to Martha, we mustn’t imagine he was rebuking her. In fact, he would’ve been appreciative of her faith and hospitality. Rather, Jesus was taking the role of a pastor and making a diagnosis of her spiritual ailment. Certainly, her heart was in the right place, but he noticed she was anxious and troubled, and overly fixated on the pressing concerns of the moment. Not that the immediate concerns of life are unimportant, but her fixation on these things had crowded out an instinct which her sister still preserved: the need to be still and draw near to God. Mary knew that Jesus had brought a much-needed message from God, so she wanted to hear from him; Martha was anxious and troubled about many things and didn’t even think to listen to him—an irony considering she was the one who welcomed this itinerant preacher into her home in the first place.

 

At first, Martha heard Jesus’ message and responded in faith, but she soon became too preoccupied with the work around her house to continue hearing from him. The anxiety of getting things done have overwhelmed her.  This reads like a parable for us today for a couple of reasons.

 

As Singaporeans living fast-paced lives, we tend to be “Marthas” who’re full of anxieties and troubles. We’ve many tasks to get done and matters to be concerned with that we crowd God out from our lives. The thought of being still before God and hearing from him scarcely crosses our minds as we rush from one assignment to another and flutter from one social group to another. Even when we do think about that, the whole affair seems like a royal waste of time as compared to checking off boxes on our to-do lists. Perhaps the high degree of poor mental health among younger persons in Singapore should alert us to the fact that we’ve normalized a pathological lifestyle characterized by hurrying and worrying. We need to slow down to the pace our souls were made for.

 

Unfortunately, this isn’t helped by the “style” of Christianity which we’re used to. We’ve been largely influenced by a western-style evangelicalism that focuses more on what to believe (a system of belief) rather than how to live (a way of life), and more on activity rather than spirituality. We tend to be overly concerned with advocating orthodoxy of belief—a largely intellectual endeavour—to the neglect of normalizing good spiritual rhythms and disciplines. The latter, in the words of author Brian McLaren, is a tending to one’s soul what exercises does for one’s body or study for one’s mind. They are “ways of becoming awake and staying awake to God.” This involves us taking time out to pray and meditate on Scripture throughout the week, while keeping Sabbath rest. This is the Christian way of life, and it isn’t anything novel. The careful tending of our unseen interiority through a disciplined rhythm has been present for thousands of years in Christianity, but largely set aside today. Yet, without a vital connection with God through a healthy spiritual life, then we become “Marthas” in our Christian service. Our churchly activities get tiresome, becoming just more items on our already long to-do lists.

 

If we devote ourselves only to the hustle and bustle, then we will end up physically, mentally, and spiritually depleted. How then can we become the persons Jesus wants us to be? The pastor and author Rich Villodas writes, “Deeply formed mission is first about who we are becoming before what we are doing.” What we are doing in our ministries will only be as deep as our being. If we haven’t spent any time sitting at Jesus’ feet, connecting ourselves to the source of all life and love, and being filled and transformed by it, then it’s hard to bring that same life and love to our ministries (or to others beyond the church). We need to have a spiritual life that can sustain and nourish us and our service.

 

The truth is, God is gracious. He loves us and is always ready to speak to us. I remember the Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson describing God as “talkative” —he always wants to commune and converse with us. If only we would pause and open our hearts to him! Just as Jesus invites Martha to stop her work and sit with him to hear God’s Word, he also invites us to do the same. It’s when we pray and meditate on Scripture that certain things begin to happen. As we pay attention to God’s Word, the anxieties and troubles of the moment slowly lose their hold on us. The more we take time to listen to God speaking to us, the more we can discern his work in us and around us. Then we learn to allow ourselves to be deeply formed by him.

 

This, according to Jesus, is the one thing which is needful. While it may seem unprofitable because we don’t seem to be getting anything done, Jesus assures us that this is the “good portion, which shall not be taken away from [us].” Why? I suppose that’s because we’ll all find ourselves in God’s presence forever in the age to come. We’re just learning to sample in the present what we’ll relish in the future. While all of us here tend to be “Marthas,” let us also learn to be “Marys” who are willing to put aside the distractions of life and be with God in prayer and meditation. May we learn to choose “the good portion, which shall not be taken away.” In so doing, we will truly be the people God has called us to be.

 

[1] See the link between reception of the messenger and the reception of the message in Luke 10.1-16.

Preacher Png Eng Keat
November 13, 2022

In any meeting, what steers it smoothly and successfully? An excellent agenda! What is an agenda? It is a list of items to be discussed at a formal meeting. It can also be an appointment diary. You may have heard this statement before: “You must have an agenda in mind or else you would not have done this.” Every agenda comes with an ulterior motive, right? Not necessarily so! Each one of us understands what an agenda is like. You cannot have a meeting without an agenda unless it is an informal meeting. Even this kind of meeting requires some form of pointers to guide the running of the meeting. We have heard of men’s agenda, but have you heard of God’s agenda? Let me share what I have known and learnt about God’s agenda.

 

God’s agenda is basically God’s heartbeat! It prepares people to come into God’s kingdom. It began when Jesus began to preach, saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17). It is embedded in God’s kingdom. If indeed the kingdom of heaven is already here, then we ought to repent. There is no room for any delay whatsoever. Similarly, it is reiterated in this that Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15). Repentance of the sinful heart is crucial to reception of the salvation plan of God. It is no longer pursuing our own agenda but God’s agenda. We ought to humble ourselves before God, know our wretched condition and realise that we need God’s saving grace. In 2 Peter 3:9, it clearly spells out God’s agenda: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” This reflects the grace of God and the love of God. God is patient and kind towards you and me. Let us turn to God in repentance. He will fulfill His promise to you and me.

 

God’s agenda is also reflected in this wonderful Bible verse: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33a). God does not want us to look elsewhere for fulfillment and satisfaction. He does not want us to be distracted by the world but be attracted to His amazing and awesome love. He has graciously presented to us the kingdom of God and His righteousness through His beloved Son Jesus Christ. Let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then we will discover the reality of our necessities being met by our loving God. His agenda is the best for you and me. The wonderful change will happen in your life when you pursue God’s agenda. This is reflected in the lives of the Thessalonians where it was mentioned that “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” The Thessalonians believers no longer followed their old ways but walked in God’s ways. Repentance, in this sense, is turning away from idols to following the Almighty God and serving Him, the living and true God. If we say that we have truly repented, we should no longer be doing what we used to do, engaging in sinful acts which displease the Almighty God. For those who steal, they should stop stealing. For those who tell lies, they should stop telling lies. For those who cheat, they should stop cheating. What kind of people ought we to be is clearly mentioned in 2 Peter 3:11-12, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

 

With true repentance, we receive true righteousness! As we turn our hearts to Christ Jesus the Lord, we receive His righteousness. This is reiterated in 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” How wonderful it is – from repentance to righteousness! God’s agenda is embedded in His beloved Son Jesus. What was Jesus’ agenda? This was what Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” God the Son Jesus was involved in God’s agenda. Are you willing to be involved in God’s agenda? Let us know Jesus, love Jesus and magnify Jesus. Let us, like Jesus, desire to do the Will of God and to accomplish the Work of God. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:14).

 

Let us be ambassadors of Christ, imploring others on behalf of Christ, urging them to be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20). Repentance brings about reconciliation and breeds righteousness! The ministry and the message of reconciliation have been entrusted to us who have repented, realised our helpless condition and in need of God’s salvation, and being reconciled to God and restored to a right relationship with God through His beloved Son Jesus Christ. Let us always put God’s agenda above ours, doing all for God and bringing glory to Him. Amen.

Preacher George Ang
November 6, 2022

Last Saturday afternoon, about 50 of us attended a zoom talk conduct by Danny Ng, a clinical psychologist, on the above mentioned topic, and I would like to share some of my thoughts in this perspective which will contain a mixture of what the speaker has shared and my own further ruminations.

 

October is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month.  The church has been organising talks related to one’s mental health since the pandemic started so this talk is in the third year running.

 

The title for last year’s talk was about how we can build resilience to cope with the challenges of life. We are not in crisis mode all the time but if we can cultivate emotional and mental wellness in our daily lives, perhaps we will be able to hold up much better when the storms of life hit us.

 

The state of mental wellness in Singapore is not encouraging – compared to the world’s population, we have a higher percentage of people experiencing mental illness; an extremely big proportion of Singapore graduates say that work and study commitments are their greatest source of stress; 1 in 3 youths has mental health symptoms such as sadness, anxiety and loneliness.

 

Much effort has been taken to raise the awareness of mental health in our country. I heard over the news that the floor and sides of the MRT train along the North-South line will feature the experiences of people with mental health conditions, their journey of recovery and the peer support that they have received in school, at home and at work. The purpose of this move is to de-stigmatise those with mental health conditions and garner more public support for them.

 

The good news is that those who suffer moderate to severe mental illness can turn to medication to correct the chemical imbalances in the brain; the patient can recover well without having to experience much side effect. There is really no shame in seeking professional help and we do not need to suffer in silence when help is readily available.

 

If presently we are both emotionally and mentally healthy, what can we do on a daily basis to guard our heart and mind so that we can continue to be healthy?

 

Our speaker, Danny Ng, shared with us, “The Christian call to emotional and mental wellness involved an intimate relationship with God, a surrendered will, and an obedience to walk the path with Him through all circumstances.”

 

First, Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly. Therefore, if we want to experience the fullness of life, the meaning and purpose of life, the satisfaction in life, we must cultivate an intimate relationship with him who is the giver of that kind of life.

 

If we want to grow in intimacy with the Lord, we must practise the spiritual disciplines of Word and prayer. There is no rocket science to this. There is also no short cut to it.

 

The Word reveals who God is – his works, his ways and his will – to us. The more we know the person, the closer we will grow to him. It is also during times of prayer when we tell God what’s upon our hearts and at the same time listen to what his Spirit wants to speak to us so that this kind of intimate and exciting relationship with him can be further developed.    

  

I just met a couple who is a year into their marriage and I have been encouraged to hear that, by and large, they have been able to do devotion every night and pray with each other before they sleep.

 

It is not that they do not have any conflict but when conflicts arise, they have the grace and wisdom to resolve them so that they do not end up in fights which can lead to a lot of stress. I attribute their healthy marriage to a healthy relationship they have with the Lord. When they grow in intimacy with the Lord, they will inevitably grow in intimacy with each other. Surely, their emotional and mental health is in a good place too!

 

Second, having a surrendered will means to be able to flow along with what God has allowed in our lives – the good and the bad, the joys and the sorrows, the mountains and the valleys. We rest in him like a baby resting in the bosom of his mother rather than complaining and resenting what is happening in our lives. It will require us to exercise faith and our faith is again based on what God has already revealed to us in his Word – his precious promises and his amazing attributes!

 

Let the Word remind us that God is God and God is love; his will is good, perfect and pleasing; his plans are to prosper us and not to harm us. If he didn’t spare his Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things that are necessary for our sanctification so that we can be conformed to the likeness of Christ? Indeed, in all things, he works for the good of those who love him. He will not test us beyond what we can bear but when we are tested, he will also provide a way out so that we can stand up under our trial.

 

God is sovereign and powerful; he is good and wise; he is just and merciful. He will vindicate; he will deliver; he will heal. Even if our eyes do not see and our minds do not comprehend, we can still give thanks and not be anxious about anything so that the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

 

In our dire situations, as we meditate on all these biblical truths and release control back to God, we will experience emotional and mental wellness.

 

Third, obedience to walk the path with him means we continue to do good and do God’s work regardless the circumstances we are in. For some, when they are in the throes of affliction, everything comes to a standstill. Life becomes very self-focused or even self-absorbed. They are so preoccupied with getting themselves out of their predicament that they become oblivious to the needs around them.

 

Obedience means that even when we are in the deepest valleys, we faithfully serve the Lord. I have heard of testimonies of those who have fallen ill and in spite of their illness, they reach out to the people around them and take the opportunities to testify of God’s faithfulness. They are such an inspiration because through their lives, we can really see the power of God made perfect in their weakness.

 

We not only have the Word of God, we also have the Spirit of God who empowers and enables us to be grounded when our earth shakes, to be still when we are in the whirlwind and to be rested in the midst of uncertainties. That is the resurrection power at work in us!

 

We also have the people of God, the community of saints, fellow pilgrims in the faith, comrades in fighting the challenges of life, co-workers who share the burden of carrying the Gospel to the world. Let us be there for each other. No one should be left behind. We cry with those who cry. We empathise; we do not judge.

 

Let us tap on all these spiritual resources at our disposal and stay healthy both emotionally and mentally.

 

By the way, if you didn’t manage to join us for the talk last Saturday, you can find the video recording on one of the rotating banners in our website. Check it out!   

Rev Lee Kien Seng
October 30, 2022