When New Year Is Not Always Happy

“Happy” New Year? Hmm, ok…. I guess.

It’s hard to be joyous when all around you isn’t going well. Hardships and losses befall us but one assurance we have is Christ. Life hurts and that is understandable. You may not be smiling all the time through your trials but lean on Christ, because in the end sorrows will cease. Romans 8:28

Trials are there to strengthen our faith (James 1:2-3)… and to make us depend on God even more. We may look around us and feel like we’re at our lowest point. But one great thing is that God keeps our head above water. It is God’s hand guiding you through this storm.

Everything around us is temporary; Including our sufferings. Nothing you go through can outweigh the grace you have in Jesus. Whenever you’re down, be comforted by the Word and walk in faith. It’s not easy but it is possible. Let’s look beyond this world and its complexities. Romans 8:18

There are times I lay in bed feeling pressed about all my failures & regrets but I know that my God is bigger than my shame & shortcomings. I do struggle but God is sustaining me. I have my doubts but one thing I try to reinforce on myself is I have assurance… a Blessed Assurance – 1 John 3:19-23.

I just want to encourage you to not to let life get at you. Yes, you may feel bad at times but I plead with you to stay strong. Hold on dearly to the hope you have in Christ. #Faith
1 Peter 1:6-9

(I am praying that God pushes me beyond where I am now spiritually and emotionally. Pray for me too.)

#Peace

eiy

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POEM: If I were to Cry…

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Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

This Sunday at church was slightly an emotional one. It is a joy to fellowship with brothers & sisters in the Lord, though at times the weight of our personal issues do get to us at times. If my own worries are not bothering me then the worries of my sisters or brother are sometimes on my mind.

This past Sunday evening, (3 March ’17) my heart was unusually burdened… more than I’ve felt before. I felt a slightly profound sense of sadness due to a dilemma of my sister-in-Christ. So I decided to put it into words. Here’s my poem. #Bless.

If I were to Cry…

If I were to cry, the tears that fall would not only be my own but also the tears of a sister who weeps for her children. Numb to the grace that pinches them… blind to the mercy hanging before their eyes.

If the weight of this burden could be carried, I’d use every muscle in my body to help her bear it. That burden, knowing that her loved ones seem content with limited happiness in world, ignoring the abundance of love God gives.

If I were grieved, my heart would bare the aches of a brother also… who watches as his younger brother remains an enigma.
Bearing the same flesh and same blood, but not able to say they’re both of the same Spirit. One brother who holds the other close and yet an unseen gap almost separates them.

If I could erase discontentment, I’d be relieved of the discomfort from my past mistakes… and the dissatisfaction of my current existence would be minimal.                                     The occasional nagging reminder of what could’ve been wouldn’t be such a bother.           The achievements of my peers contrasted with the lack of my own wouldn’t cause me to lament sometimes.

But I will pray for my brother & sister in the Lord. Sharing in their pain and their comforts; calling on the burden carrier whose invisible hand wipes away tears. I will pray with them; calling out to the One who sits on the throne.

Let hope be in the Master whose whispers reach the ears of those so far away.

May my faith and theirs too, rest in the Giver whose abundance and grace satisfies all.
May the sweet Lord change our songs of sorrow into songs of joy.

You’re NOT A Bible Character

Hello, Dear Reader.
It’s been a long while since I last blogged. Please, forgive my laziness.

Anyway, let’s get straight in.

I’m pretty sure many of you have heard a sermon, a message or seen a social-media post about David or Joseph (or another person in scripture) and the core of that message was linked to you, the individual – where you were the emphasis of the message.
How encouraging! How Nice! Nothing like a bit of eisegesis ( the act of imposing meaning or yourself onto a text and is often described in terms of reading one’s ideas “into” the text rather than “out of” it.) to convey a gospel message, right?

Eisegesis is something common in [some] churches today. Rather than read the scripture in context and give out the intended message some preachers tend to preach on the text, then point it in the wrong direction. Rather than a scripture message being read for what it is, some preachers divert and make the message about the audience. Preaching like this can be quite dangerous as it often subtly (sometimes blatantly) places emphasis on an individual rather than on God.

The whole Bible is for us Christians, no doubt about that. But we need to be discerning in what applies to us and what doesn’t. We need to understand context and interpretation. Job 32:8 “But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.”

Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”

What we need to understand is that certain parts of the Bible (particularly the OT) are a foretaste and illustration of Jesus Christ and His work of Salvation.

Many times preachers will use David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) as a metaphor. It’s usually along the lines of this: Goliath represents a difficult situation, or even a person, being the opposition, standing in your way and it needs to be slain/taken down… and you represent David.
The preacher will speak with passion and half the audience will be up on their feet, lips pursed, shaking their heads with emotion.
Preacher: “Slay your Goliath. That Goliath must fall!!”
Congregation: “Woohoo!!!”

Now, don’t get me wrong I can understand what some preachers might be trying to convey when they use the story of David & Goliath. We all want obstacles in our lives to be brought down. But the thing is WE ourselves, do not bring down obstacles… in fact it’s only by His grace that we overcome obstacles and pass through trials. It is all for our own good and His glory (Romans 5:3-5).
Using ourselves metaphorically as the central character for David & Goliath is not the intention of this passage of scripture.

David’s story is a preview of Christ coming to kill sin & death and rescue His people.
We, the individuals, are compared to Israel; fearful, powerless, unable to fight and in need of a rescuer to fight for us. Just as David slayed Goliath, Jesus has slain sin, death and its power over us.

Let me ask, what happens when that Goliath of a situation rises again, hmmm?
How many obstacles/difficult situations do we face in life? Many.
But, how times did David kill Goliath? Just once.
One thing is certain… and that is the work Christ has done once and for all.

Joseph in the Old Testament
We are not “Joseph”. Some preachers may have you think that because people have rejected you (like Joseph by his brothers) and falsely accused you (like Potiphar’s wife did) or forgotten about you (like the chief cupbearer) that Joseph is a good character to liken yourself to. God will elevate you to a higher level and your enemies/those who wronged you will see you and be ashamed and sorry.
But let’s take another look at this story…
Joseph’s story can illustrate two things:
1) A picture of God’s work through Christ work towards us.
2) Joseph was used by God to save a Nation which as a result preserved the bloodline through which Jesus Christ, our Saviour came from.

This will not sound sweet but we were like the wicked brothers whom Joseph saved despite their evil against him – just as we sinned against Christ, yet He still saved us from death. The brothers rejected him and were hostile to him, yet He still displayed love and mercy to towards them -just as Christ merciful to us.

It was Joseph who made His identity known to his brothers -Just as Christ has made Himself known to us.

Joseph caused them to recognise their wickedness – (Read what they say in Genesis 42:21)- (just as Christ does to us) Joseph’s wisdom and kindness also help save a nation. Remember the famine?

It was Joseph who people went to for provision, just like us who are lacking; we come to Christ where abundance can be found.

And finally, the bowed to Joseph brothers in their remorse, humility and submission… Just like who? That’s right; us.
How come no one wants to be Job, or David during his dark moments? or how about Apostle Paul? No? Funny how folks tend to pick who they want to be and at which moment.
My point for all this is to make us know that Jesus is the central character of the Gospel. The Gospel points towards Him. He alone is the hero and we are the ones in need, the ones who need to be changed from our wicked ways, the ones who despite all our sins, are still loved by the Messiah. Romans 5:8: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

Peace and blessings to you all.

mrh

Dear Parents, Help Us to Help You

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Hello there, dear reader. Today I want to address the topic of Sunday School & parents. I am a Sunday School teacher, and for the most part, I like the role. I’ve been doing this for roughly 3 years.

As you can tell by the title, this post is about the parents of Sunday School kids and the lack of concern or involvement they have in their child’s development. One thing I have started noticing is that parents don’t seem to show eagerness in their children’s growth. I can’t remember a time when a parent came up to me and asked what their child was learning or how well their child was doing. Most interest I’ve seen is a parent asking me how well their child behaved in class.

No parent is perfect but a little concern is not too much to ask.

I can recall times that our former Sunday School leader had given out homework, simple easy to-do homework, and the next Sunday the homework hadn’t been done.

Excuses were, “I was too busy with school homework.” Wow! Primary school kids? TOO busy with homework?! Haha! There have been times where I’ve given the homework to the parents directly and they put it straight in their bags on their seat… and the next Sunday we meet up? Nothing. The kids at our church don’t even receive much homework… literally half a sheet of paper. So I personally don’t know why it can’t be done. They’re given 7 days and it wouldn’t even take that long.

Another issue is their biblical knowledge. To be fair, in my Sunday School, the kids know the basics i.e. the story of the birth of Christ and who certain people in the bible were. When it comes to the Lord’s Prayer… they’re knowledge is weak. I recently printed off the Lord’s prayer and gave it to them to practice at home and 3weeks later, the progress isn’t satisfactory. We practiced in class and now they can get through some of the prayer but in the time we’ve done it the progress isn’t great. I even ask “Don’t your parents or older siblings help?” and it’s bad excuses. I don’t know how their home-lives are but if effort is put in then it should show. I merely ask that parents take a genuine determined interest. It would be most helpful to the Sunday school teacher.

Sunday school teachers are not baby-sitters. Sometimes it feels like a day-care or a primary class and I have to discipline kids! Stop them from irrelevant chit-chat, messing around… ect. I have already put a ban on two kids from entering my Sunday school class for bad behaviour (ironically, those two have good bible knowledge).

Sunday school is important because it involves their Faith! Concern should be shown… why? Well, because Sunday school teachers are taking on an important role in your child’s life. A Sunday school teacher is partly shepherding your children. As a loving parent you MUST know what your child is learning in church. Their faith is the most important thing in their life. You have to know what they’ve been taught, what their foundations are. They’re at a vital stage in their learning. As a parent you have to ensure that your child is growing with the Word of God in them. When they get older – particularly in their college/university years- they’ll be more at risk. Risk of what? Risk of falling away from the Faith. It’s worrying the amount of young people who begin to doubt or abandon their Faith as they get older and become independent in their walk.

Parents showing interest would also be encouraging to the Sunday School teacher. Sunday school teachers are not asking for medals but it would be nice to know that we are not working in vain.

So to Sunday school teachers, keep on doing what you’re doing with all faithfulness. Keeping Colossians 3:23 in your heat: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

PLEASE parents, I implore you to take an interest and be involved in your child’s Sunday School progress. On behalf of myself and other Sunday school teachers, please, help us to help you. Thanks and God bless.

 

My Heart was a Beach…

My heart was a beach where her name was written in the sand.
I floated in the ocean watching as she left imprints of her feet.
I wondered how long before the tide would come in and wash them away?
I prayed as I lay afloat… praying I didn’t drown in my feeble attempts to swim to her.

Reality set in. I wasn’t a good swimmer. I remained still… remained silent as the strong currents carried me off.
The tide carried me away widening the gap between us.
I didn’t call to her… and as she walked off, the ocean’s tides washed me back to shore.
The ocean’s waters washing her name out of the sand.
My heart was a beach and her imprints only faintly remained where she once walked.
I used my feet to rub out what was left. Droplets of the ocean’s water left a bitter taste.

In the distance she slowly walked through the sands of another man’s heart; and she wrote her name. He called out to her from the ocean as he swam to her.

And off they went hand-in-hand, leaving imprints in the sands. Into the waters they swam together.

My heart was a beach where her name was written in the sand….

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