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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Is Coronavirus-19 here to rule?

Making humans its footstool?

First, snatching breath, restricting respiration

Occupying lungs in a drowning sensation

Destroying our body

Our systems

Our organs

Our immunity

Can we escape impunity?

 

Is Coronavirus-19 here to stay?

Will it ever fully go away?

First, masquerading as the common cold

Dismissed, seen lightly by young and old

Till it crowned itself and unveiled vast power

Dislodged us from our mighty ivory tower

Shaking our world

Our structures

Our systems

Our foundations

Can we bring restoration?

 

Is Man’s failings here to rule?

Will we seek wisdom or stay the fool?

First, stripping Earth of her produce

Over-consumption, plundering, abuse

Unleashing Nature’s imbalance

Her virus

Her bacteria

Her plague

Can we realise what’s at stake?

 

Is Man’s humbling here to stay?

Will our presumption ever go away?

First, our expulsion from Eden’s garden

Repeated follies, despite Divine pardon

Crowned ourselves with maddening power

Scaling dizzying heights of Babel’s tower

Glorifying our Self

Our status

Our medals

Our wealth

Can we rebuild spiritual health?

 

Is the law of nature here to rule?

Will we learn our lessons in full?

First, recall how Man’s called to steward

All creatures of the land, sea and skyward

Store holy fear in our heart

Not letting God’s Word depart

Respecting God’s sovereignty

God’s Place

God’s Purpose

God’s Creation

Can we recognise our salvation?

Mankind’s origin, purpose, station

Dust to dust, our Maker’s volition

 

Is Coronavrus-19 in control?

Forcing us to track and patrol?

Can a vaccine really save us for good?

Can it be that we haven’t understood?

Man has no real control over this plague

No full understanding, till we acknowledge

Recognising our Almighty

Our Creator of the Universe

Our Maker of Heaven and Earth

Our Sovereign Saviour

The Most High is in control

In the end, God will decide

O Soul, be still and abide

 

Ps 46:10 

 “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.

 

Related Links:

Pandemic Pause #8- The Pandemic and Crowns of Covid-19 and Love

Thank God Friday #24 – For A Time like This, Write for a Better World

 

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What has a tiny virus revealed

About our world’s great power

Superpowers lose their shine

Leadership in sorrowful decline

No wisdom from Babel’s Tower

Finger pointing, more confusion

Bicker, dither, without solution

Outpunched

Outranked

Outstrengthed

Invaded virally

 

What has a tiny virus shown

About our world’s dependency

Tourism run down to the ground

Businesses shuttered all around

Factories closed, cranes stand still

Markets crash, shattered economy

Countries bubble-wrapped for safety

Locked down

Clamped down

Broken down

Dictated virally

 

What has a tiny virus exposed

About our world’s fault-lines

The Haves, sheltered, who still moan

The Have-nots, the isolated and alone

Livelihoods now intertwine

Mere droplets show up failings stark

Floods the memories of Noah’s Ark

Invisible in sight

Inevitable in plight

Inequitable in light

Convicted virally

 

What has a tiny virus taught

About our world’s ways

Man, in state of being and reflection

Clearer sighted than in constant motion

Locked down, counting our days

Search God’s Word for revelation

To live with meaningful direction

To refill

To renew

To restart

Redefined virally

 

What has God’s Word spoken

About our world’s pursuits

How the mighty Tower of Babel fell

And only Noah’s family lived to tell

Only when Man has reached wit’s end

Can we finally see God’s sovereign hand

Omnipresent

Omniscient

Omnipotent

God Mightily

 

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25

 

 

 

 

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Covid-19 pandemic, a crown of infection

Spreading through droplets and touch

Asymptomatic, its viral inception

Till it clogs the lungs, creates heart trouble

Clotting the blood, restricting one’s breath

For the chronically ill, a spectre of death

 

Covid-19 pandemic, a crown of division

Separating family and friends

Halting gatherings, seeding inhibition

The speed of its travel, furious and fast

Countries locked down, borders shut

Communities paused, keeping apart

 

Sin’s pandemic, a crown of deception

Spreading through lies and envy

And need for world domination

Darkens the heart, makes it callous

Seeding hardness, prejudice and hate

Self-centeredness, our unforgiving state

 

Sin’s pandemic, a crown of rejection

Separating mankind from God

Creates barriers to communication

Till we stop seeing and hearing

Minds darkened to wisdom above

Refuting our design and our Maker’s love

 

Christ’s pandemic, a crown of relation

Spreading goodness and grace

Personal in communication

Till we feel His holy presence

Touch our hearts, renew our minds

Healing our relationship with God Divine

 

Christ’s pandemic, a crown of reconciliation

Spreading love and forgiveness

Marks our Saviour’s sacrifice, devotion

Bridges the way to our Father in Heaven

Prince of Peace, Sovereign over all

Restoring all that we lost from the Fall

 

Covid-19 and Sin’s pandemic

So insidious their spread

Masquerading as harmless

Then, unveiling grave threat

Repeated cleansing sanitizes

Keeps us clear for a time

Lures us to believe we are all good

Till we’re entrapped in its grime

 

Christ’s pandemic of love

Virally and desperately, we need

Salvation for sin and sinner

Redeemed and fully freed

His death saves us for good

His blood washes us truly clean

To stand before God Almighty

Creator of all seen and unseen

 

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

 

Related Links:

Pandemic Pause #7 – When a virus strikes, what becomes essential?

Thank God Friday #24 – For A Time like This, Write for a Better World

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What becomes essential

when a virus strips us bare?

Exposes our self-absorption

All we prize, for what we care

Another want, another purchase

Wardrobes full, now go nowhere

Our fashion pared to one statement

Sans lip gloss these days

Only a mask to cover half our face

Where earrings once dangle

Loops around our ears, replace

 

What becomes essential

when a virus locks us down?

Limits our movements

Across borders, jaunts into town

Our trips scaled back to basics

A run to the grocery store

For bread, rice, pasta sauces prized

Food takeaway, no more

Brisk walks circle around our estate

No picnics in parks and beaches

Reduce contact, don’t tempt fate

 

What becomes essential

when a virus halts routine?

Restricts our mingling

To our four walls within

Our schedules back to basics

Where appointments once packed

Now revolve around the dining table

Many meals and conversations shared

Family fellowship now a staple

And work and play, just about all else

Within the household, till things get well

 

What becomes essential

when a virus opens our eyes?

To the least and last amongst us

Our self-deception and lies

That our world has progressed

Since Man stepped on the moon

And rockets soar to planets

Jupiter, Mars and Neptune

Needs on Earth stay dire, so many unmet

From the homeless to the hungry

And wildlife illegally trapped in nets

 

What becomes essential

when a virus upturns life?

Brings us close-up to sickness

Presses pause on our strive

Mere drops from a sneeze or cough

Forcing us to reconsider

What’s truly essential

what’s not?

And when this virus passes

Will we remember

what we’ve been taught?

 

Love is essential to survive this present threat

To look out for friends and neighbours

And help those whose needs aren’t met

Hope is essential that we can look ahead

To a future where we steward nature

Living respectfully alongside instead

Faith is essential to know God reigns supreme

A personal God who knows us, yet all-powerful

Over all creation, even viruses within

 

In our present and our future

Learning from our past

If we hold fast to the essential

Perhaps we’ll honour life at last

 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

 

 

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #34 – Renewed Sight, Fresh Insight & 2020 Clear Vision

Thank God Friday #24 – For A Time like This, Write for a Better World

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Our faces

Hidden behind masks

Blocking conversations

Concealing smiles as we pass

Homemade, surgical grade

A cover we take in our stead

Makes us safe

Separates us

 

Our postures

Safe distance away

Avoiding that touch

Withholding a hug

No huddle, one-metre apart

A gait we take in our walk

Makes us safe

Separates us

 

Our circles

Confined to home

Reducing to households

Keeping relations out

In essentials, we go alone

A restriction we take in our stride

Makes us safe

Separates us

 

Our community

Reduced to screens

Communing for prayer

Working for wages

Through net and devices

A disruption we take in our meet

Makes us safe

Separates us

 

Our life and death

Constricted to ten

Ring-fencing marriage vows

Sanitizing grief and mourners

Temperature checks, contacts trace

A measure we take in our wake

Makes us safe

Separates us

 

Our Prince of Peace

Clothed in human flesh

Carrying our sins

Wearing our pain

The cross and His blood

Makes us saved

Sin separates us

From God

 

Coronavirus-19

Separator of relationships

A false crown that claims

The final word in life to death

A host it seeks, in Man it sneaks

A life to choke

Makes us sick

Separates us

 

Christ in us

Reclaimer of relationships

The true crown that reigns

The Word of Life, conquered Death

A seed it sows, in Man it grows

A life to rebirth

Our Breath of life, our Hope to bear

Brings us

To God

 

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” – 1 Peter 3:18

 

 

Related Links:

Pandemic Pause #5 – Invisible and Visible in Easter’s Circuit-Breaker

Pandemic Pause #1: Of Things Essential and non-Essential on Holy Week

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The past two months has been like something out of a blockbuster movie as the world grapples with the life-changing effects of Covid-19, a tiny invader that has wreaked havoc around the world.

Air travel has fallen through to sky and fleets of planes are grounded.

Outdoor dining, retail stores and visitor attractions are empty.

Panic-buying has been going around in waves across countries.

And the most surreal has to be how countries are going into lockdown. From Italy to our closest neighbor Malaysia, that just imposed a lockdown on entry and exit till end of March.

Over here in Singapore, we are all adjusting our lifestyles to social distancing measures.

When my family went for church service last Sunday, there were about 50+ attendees (around 25% of the usual attendance). Most had stayed away given there is now a cap on the number of attendees allowed to congregate in our church, as part of social responsibility measures.

For the few of us who went, we walked into a church service set up like a school examination hall ie. chairs were spaced far apart enough so you cannot copy the next person’s answers. In our case, we were far enough from fellow congregants to avoid spreading droplets when we talked. And asked to leave after the shortened service, and avoid mingling. We are very Singaporean so we all dutifully abide by the new rules.

Social Distancing

Okay, I was the one who shifted the final row of 5 seats together. I practised social distancing from fellow congregants. But I wanted to sit with my husband and son.

 

A few days ago, on the day WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, Prime Minister Lee had given a special televised broadcast message to Singaporeans on what to anticipate with Covid-19’s spread and this virus situation being as long drawn as a year or more.

So now, we stop big gatherings, avoid crowds, move our seats further apart and greet each other without shaking hands.

 

Over the past few weeks, I seem to be quite in touch (not physically) with several friends whose relatives are ill with cancer. My palliative doctor friend shared that her patients (cancer patients in their end days) have been distressed as everyone tries to work around this Covid-19 pandemic.

Right after I finished typing this blogpost, a friend messaged to tell me that she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Whilst we practise social distancing, we need to foster closer ties. And  encourage and uplift each other, including reaching out to those around us grappling with non-Covid illnesses, job insecurities and in distress.

And keep the faith that God is sovereign, and mightier than this viral spread that has besieged the mightiest of nations. Faith and oneness can overcome the fear that is spreading virally across the world.

God is our refuge and strength, a great help in times of distress. – Psalm 46:1 

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #37: Cancer, COVID, Containment, Cooperation, Change

Christianity Today: 7 Lessons from Singapore’s Churches for when the Coronavirus reaches yours

 

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22 February 2019 was Black Friday. That was the day that all hope was lost on any further treatment for Mum.

I was having breakfast at the Yakun outlet in Gleneagles Hospital at 8.30 am and having some quiet time before heading up to Mum’s hospital room. That morning, the Our Daily Bread e-devotion I was reading had jumped out at me.

Heholdsourhand1

The key verses Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 41:13 included ‘hand references’:

Isaiah 41:10 “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 was a significant verse that saw me through breast cancer surgery without fear in the same hospital two years back.

The “two hand references” caught my attention because the image of “Two Hands” had impressed upon my mind at the Littworld Global Christian Publishing conference a few months back in November 2018. Now, I was to find another layer of meaning to the ‘Two Hands’ image.

A few minutes after I had read the e-devotional, I found out why I needed God’s strength and two hands to steady me. Our doctor called me out of Yakun and informed me that Mum had thrown up stale blood that morning. It was the beginning of the end. 

In the two weeks leading up to that day, we had harboured hope that Mum would be able to start another round of chemotherapy and with this, see her life extended. 

Black Friday changed that. Mum’s remaining few months dropped to remaining few days. She could no longer undergo any more treatment as her internal system was collapsing. 

As timing would have it, three days earlier, our pastor had scheduled to visit Mum that day. Pastor Wendy came and prayed for Mum that afternoon and also requested some alone-time with her. When Pastor Wendy came out, she shared with us that Mum had expressed a deep desire to return home to God.

Five minutes after Pastor Wendy left, Mum threw up much more stale blood. She spilled over two litres of blood in all. I pressed the nurse call button several times in desperation. Dad and I were otherwise at a complete loss on what to do. We both sat there with Mum and wept in utter despair and anguish.

The e-devotional that popped up in my Inbox a few minutes after this episode was titled:

Jesusweeps1

“Jesus weeps with you. Jesus weeps for you. He weeps so we will know: Mourning is not disbelieving… Grief does not mean you don’t trust… so grieve, but don’t grieve like those who don’t know the rest of this story.”

I texted Pastor Wendy and found that she was still downstairs. My brother and Ben were on the way to hospital as we had earlier fixed a 5pm family conference with our palliative doctor to discuss how to make Mum’s last days comfortable. I asked Pastor Wendy to lead us in a short family memorial service first and we took turns to express our gratitude and say the unspoken to Mum before it was too late. 

 

Five days later, on Wednesday 27 February morning, just before Mum passed away, the e-devotional from Faithgateway that popped up in my Inbox was titled: ‘Be You, Bravely’.

BeYouBravely1

The e-devotional ended with 3 bible verses:

The first 2 verses, Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 41:13 were a repeat of the devotional verses from Our Daily Bread’s e-devotional on Black Friday. I had goosebumps from the coincidence, or more, God-incidence. It was God’s Word reminding me and strengthening me for the final hour.

The third verse of the devotional was Psalms 23:4 – I had repeatedly received Psalms 23 in a series of not-coincidences through various people randomly over the past week.

The end was very near. 

And in case I missed the point, as I often do, God had spoken to me in this one e-devotional that summed it up. This D-day devotional was about cancer, fear and being brave. It ended with the 2 verses that jumped out at me on Black Friday and the repeated Psalms 23 assurance through that week. And this devotional ended with the final line:  “The point from God… Daughter, I know you are afraid; let Me help.”

Mum passed away that very afternoon. This time, I did not weep. I knew that God was holding her hand and ours. Two hands.

And I knew how her story continued on.

Double Crosses

In the face of walking alongside Mum so closely through the valley of shadow of death, I experienced the deep truth of John 11:25 for the first time in my life:

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”   -John 11:25

Good Friday was Jesus’ blackest Friday on earth. The Son of God was found ‘not guilty’ by the government of that day. But he was still put to death with one of the most cruel forms of Roman executions of that time. He was crucified on a cross till death. He spilled his blood in death. All hope appeared lost.

Mum’s Black Friday would have remained Black Friday if not for Good Friday. Because Jesus died on the cross, conquered Death and resurrected back to Life again, we know Mum’s life didn’t end in death. Her new chapter is in Heaven, where there are no more tears, no more pain and no more sorrow. God’s Word gives us that blessed assurance.

Related links:

God Knows Leh #28- Parting with an Old Spice Alabaster Jar Miracle

God Knows Leh #27- A Pain in the Abdomen & 7 Psalms 23 Assurances

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In the final week, when my mum deteriorated extremely fast from aggressive cancer relapse, Ben and I decided to prepare Caleb that Grandma would not be around much longer. My parents lived with us from the time Caleb was born so he would feel Grandma’s absence in a big way since she had helped care for him since young.

Ben and I sat Caleb down and I started by saying that it looked like Grandma would soon d—.

“Don’t say that word,” Caleb interrupted. “Say that she’s going to sleep and she will be with Jesus.”

“Yes, you are right,” I said. “It looks like she will be with Jesus soon.”

Soon after, Mum passed away in hospital, after spending her final three weeks there. We were unable to bring her home as she was tubed up with painkillers, glucose drips and antibiotics from various infections as she had weakened considerably by then.

We decided to give Mum a homecoming. Ben made all the arrangements for Mum’s wake services at our home and we brought her body home on the same day that she passed on. As Ben said, knowing Dad’s devotion to Mum, Dad would have camped out three days and three nights at whichever funeral parlor or chapel that her casket rested if we had held the wake services anywhere else.

Mum Homecoming

Set up by evening for Mum’s homecoming

Caleb had been in the hospital room on the afternoon that Grandma passed on. And now, that same evening, we brought her casket home. It was a lot for an 8-year-old to take in. He stood at a distance all night, uncertain if he wanted to go near her casket.

By morning though, he had come to terms with his Grandma’s casket sitting in our dining room and was able to look at her without apprehension.

As Caleb sat at the dining table during breakfast, he watched curiously as I walked to his Grandma’s casket and spoke to her.

“Mum, what are you doing?” Caleb asked.

“I’m talking to Grandma,” I replied.

“But Grandma is not there,” Caleb said, looking towards the casket. “Grandma is up there.” He pointed upwards.

“Yah, okay. But I want to look at her face when I speak to her,” I said.

“Mum…,” Caleb said in a tone of voice like a parent explaining a simple truth to a child. “That’s an empty body. Grandma has already gone to Heaven.”

Empty body? I didn’t teach him that. I hid my surprise as I looked at my son. “You are so right. She’s already in Heaven.”

Then he added, “I must get used to talking to Grandma like that.” He craned his head  upwards to practise speaking to her.

I could not help but break into a smile.

As a parent, I often teach my child the truth that the Bible imparts. Yet at times like this, I needed my child to remind me what faith looks like. It is the confidence that Christ has conquered death on the cross for us, so we can lift our heads up high in hope instead of looking down in sorrow. And we can look forward to the blessed assurance that we will one day reunite with our loved ones in Heaven.

John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”

John 14:1-3, Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Related links:

God Knows Leh #28: Parting with an Old Spice Alabaster Jar Miracle

God Knows Leh #27- A Pain in the Abdomen & 7 times of Psalms 23:6

 

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2018 was a challenging year for my family. In March this year, my breast surgeon gave me the all-clear as I crossed two years from when I first found a pebble in my left breast. Our happiness was short-lived. One month later, in April, a close family member was diagnosed with critical illness. I’ll leave the details out as this is another person’s diagnosis.

But I would say that we walked through “the valley of the shadow of death” for months. Amidst the darkness, I lost focus and could not hear God.

Then, I had a freak accident.

I accidentally stabbed myself in the left ear forcibly with a sharp object that left my left eardrum tattered and torn. I’m not entirely clear how it happened except that the accidental stabbing traumatized me severely. I hardly cried through my cancer surgery and treatment. But I bawled my eyes out over the thought of going deaf in my left ear.

When I saw the ENT doctor, he showed me the ghastly damage on a TV screen and told me it was 50% damaged. Given the severity of damage, he thought I might require surgery. But he was a believer in natural healing. So he gave me antibiotics to prevent infection and asked me to see him in two weeks’ time.

At my 2nd review, my ENT doctor saw that my body had shown initial signs of repair. He decided that we would wait it out for another 4 weeks to see if I needed surgery. He said he was hopeful that my body would heal itself.

For weeks, I listened to a wind-like sound blowing through the big hole in my left ear. It was like being stuck on an airplane for 6 weeks.

When I saw the doctor again, we were amazed. My left ear drum was scarred and scabbed. But I was fully healed!

KeepCalm(Quotesgram.com)

Quotesgram.com

As I stand at the cusp of a year that is passing, I look back and thank God for many things. In particular, I’m thankful for these:

  • On Christmas Eve, after 9 months of treatment, we received the scan results that death had lost its sting and my family member had received the gift of life. It’s a miracle!
  • We experienced God’s love through prayers and support of friends and an outstanding doctor who journeyed with us through the valley of despair.
  • Friends who reached out when our family was at our lowest point and pointed us to the Healing Room at Cairnhill Methodist Church. That first visit there marked the turnaround of healing and recovery in the most amazing way. It gave our family hope and sustained us through the year.
  • Last week, I saw my ENT doctor one more time as my left ear felt slightly blocked. We looked at the TV screen hooked to his ENT camera and I saw the most incredible sight. My left ear drum was a completely clear membrane, without any sign of scarring. The scab had fallen off and was blocking my ear canal, which my doctor vacuumed out. I have a brand new ear drum!

In this Christmas season and final days of the old year, I remember the “old” and look to the “new” and am thankful for how God sustained us through the year and has made all things new.

 

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new has come.”

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

 “And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

–Revelations 21:5

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Salt quote p3 edited

Salt & Light recently asked me the question, “What does the finished work of the Cross mean to you?”

This question gave me pause to reflect on my personal response in the lead up to Easter week.

Read the full article here.

 

 

 

 

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