Sunday, April 24, 2011

In The Darkness

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

(John 20:15, NIV)

In the dark of that very early morning, the hurried footsteps could be heard in the quietness. Her heart was filled with anxiety. Her hope was almost lost. She was hanging on a thread of the least that was left in her heart. She needed to find the body. One last hope. Just one more to bang on.

To her horror when she reached her destination, the stone was rolled off. The entrance of the tomb was left opened. She panicked. Her only remaining hope. It was gone! The body of the Lord she loved was not there anymore.

She hastily ran to the other men and announced the shocking news. Two men immediately set for the site and soon found the truth. It was gone. The body – it was gone! In the midst of the emptiness they only saw the strips of linen and burial cloth for his head. She was not imagining. These men witnessed it too. The empty tomb.

While the men left, she remained at the spot crying. Her whole being was flooded by a gush of sorrow unspeakable. She stood in the darkness of the wee hours of the morning weeping in tremendous sorrow. Her last hope vanished. She must have stood there confused, afraid and helpless.

A sudden voice interrupted her weeping. She looked up and saw two angels. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She replied quickly, “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.” She felt another presence and another voice interrupted her again, “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” “Please, sir, tell me where…I’ll get him,” she muttered in between her sobs.

Jesus then called her name, “Mary.”

In the dark hour and amidst the quietness, I instantly heard him asked me the same question, “Woman, why are you crying?” “I am here.” I felt a sudden closeness of my Lord and heard my name. That was enough. It was suffice to reassure me that he will take care of everything. In the darkest hour. In the darkest night. He is there – always. I may not realize his presence when I am caught in the deepest sorrow, pain, confusion and anguish – just like Mary at the empty tomb. When I thought my last hope was also gone, he appeared. He resurrected it.

That’s the power of his resurrection. He died a cruel death but on the third day, he rose again. He caused the darkest night to break forth with the dawn of his light. He is risen. All hopes are found in him.

We stand here today to celebrate the power of his resurrection. That same power still works today. He did not die in vain.

The power of his resurrection lives in us.
Blessed Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Beauty of Wrinkles

Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
e are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

(Isaiah 64:8, NIV)

Our van stopped at a junction and an advertisement on the billboard caught my eye. It publicized a beautiful girl with flawless complexion holding on to a peeled mask of her older face – one which is wrinkled and drained by the years. An attractive discount offered for a makeover boldly printed at the bottom. What is new? The lure of the commercial world of our era is ever seeking to be more convincing.

My husband instantly commented, “The older face looks so much better. It is carved by character.” I looked again at the billboard and thought that’s pretty profound in the words of my wise husband. The older face looked more real, down to earth, though a bit wrinkled but possessed the grace of aging. That’s a certain kind of beauty which is unexplainable. It has earned its glory through the hard years of life. The younger face displayed was so flawless that it makes it so fake.

A bookmark given by a friend many years ago tucked in my bible read:

Today I saw a lovely thing…

A tree,

Sculptured and turned,

Weathered by the winds

And storms of the years.

I thought of you…

How time and hardships

Can work grace and beauty,

When lovingly fashioned


I know you are precious in HIS sight…

by Glenna Oldham

We do not have to fall into the trap of the unruly commercials. Our beauty and worth are determined not by the cosmetics and outer adornment. It is the Lord’s beauty filling our life as we spend time with him regularly and allowing him to gently mould and fashion us according to his purposes. Because we are his, we are called “precious and honored in his sight” (Isaiah 43:4). This is the key text of GEMS which I hold strongly too as God spoke to me many years ago that how many women are destroyed simply not knowing this truth. As daughters of the King, we must recognize our precious worth in and to him.

As we age (which is inevitable), know that the glory and beauty of the years are characterized in our face. When you look into the mirror and find facial lines as the pages of your life chapter turns, know that the Potter shapes us into his masterpieces – every piece intend to depict his character if only we allow him.

Precious Gems, we don’t stay young forever. Whether you are 10, 20 or 30 now, the number will continue to increase and we cannot live in denial. We must glow with his radiance whatever age we are. Our character is carved. To the beautiful girls of God, we all say - Amen!

Father, as I look into your eyes, I see such beauty. Fill me with your beauty anew daily. Let me be your confident girl in every season. Let those who look at me see your beauty and grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

She Is Waiting

They cried to you and were saved;
In you they trusted and were not disappointed.

(Psalm 22:5, NIV)

A small girl looked around in the crowd. She scanned for her daddy. He was here a while ago. “Where is he now?” Her heart grew with anxiety as her search continued in vain. She was hopeful although still waiting – with an increasing fear.

She trusted he would come back but he still hadn't show up. All sorts of thoughts kept rushing into her mind.

“How long more has she to wait?”
“Daddy won’t leave me. He promised.”
“But where is he?”
“ I've been a good girl. I always tried to be the best to please him. Maybe I messes up things once in a while, but as much as I can and know how, I will be obedient.”
“He can’t possibly leave me now.”

Her tears dropped. “Daddy, where are you?”

She sat at the pavement and waited. She remembered what he always said, “If you get lost, please don’t wonder around. Stay where you are and wait for me. I will come back for you.” She wiped her tears. She told herself to be brave and whispered, “Daddy, don’t take too long.”

Have you ever felt like the little girl? Somewhere in life’s crowd you got lost. You lost sight of God. Your hand slipped off his. You are alone and fearful. You don’t think your cry will reach him in this massive crowd. Your heart thumped with greater anxiety as you are surrounded by the unknown. You wish you could just catch a glimpse of him but you see nothing. But you remember his promises.

“I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
“As surely as the sun rises, he will come…” (Hosea 6:3)
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)
There are endless reassurances in his word.

How often do our minds wonder like the little girl and get anxious. The psalmist tells us when we cry to him and trust him; we will be saved and not disappointed. God is true to his word and is not a liar (Numbers 23:19).

He will fulfil his promises. Just wait for him. We may not understand his timing. Many times he trains us to be strong and courageous in the waiting. He stretches our faith and in the process we really get to know who our God is. So as I speak to myself, I like to encourage you too, hang in there…he will surely come!

Heavenly Daddy, here am I waiting…for you to come rescue me, comfort me, heal me, [fill in whatever your need is]. I trust in You, You and You alone! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leave a comment: what is God’s promise to you and how do you conquer your fear?

Monday, April 4, 2011

In His Name

May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

(Psalm 20:1, NIV)

“Aunty Senina, Aunty Senina, Aunty Senina…” little Kael called incessantly the moment we connected. The barely 3 year old could not pronounce the “l” despite his mum corrected him a few times. Thus my name change. His chubby little finger hooked onto mine and dragged me all around to tour his house as we met for the first time. His friendliness warmed my heart as he opened up to me so quickly. Soon I was his buddy for the weekend. My name was buzzing in the air the entire time. Kael and Aunty Senina were inseparable. Aunty Senina’s name never left Kael’s lips. This name became the the name which carry much power. His mum would use the name to get him do something when he refused. The name got him going.

“Your name will be useful for a while after you leave this weekend,” chuckled his dad. “I am sure we can get him to do things by just mentioning it,” he continued. What power in that name for Kael’s little world!

A few days after my return of that short trip away I read Psalm 20. Verse 1 begins with an exhortation of God’s name. It says this name “protects”. That was comforting to me as I was still nursing my gastric reflux. No matter what happens, I can call on this name, the name above all other names to protect me. It is not just any name. It is not Aunty Senina in Kael’s little world for a weekend. This awesome name is the One who saves. The Everlasting One.

I must admit I was a bit tired of answering Kael after some time. But God never gets tired when we call his name. His name makes our enemy trembles and flees. Psalm 20:7 declares that, “some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord, our God.” It is not in the physical magnitude and massive weight that we should rely on, but our reliance is in placing our trust in his majestic name. The mention of his name guarantees our protection. I am reminded of many boys who would use their daddies’ names when they are being bullied. “I will tell my daddy!”

How about us? We can always tell our Daddy too. Just declare his name!

Let us sing his name. Let’s shout for joy unto his name. Let’s lift up the banner in the name of the Lord (Psalm 20:5). Remember David overcame Goliath in the name of the Lord!

Abba Father, Yours is the Most Beautiful Name of all. The name which is above all other names. Today I declare your power in my life, the trusted name of all generations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.