Lazarus

by xi_le on 01/13/2013

Dear Chloe,

I thought to myself I have to share this with you, 5 minutes into the sermon. God is always faithful and gentle to slowly nudge us in His direction.

Today’s sermon was on John 11:33-44, the final scene of the resurrection of Lazarus.

The outcome of this story is for God’s glory, the promise of His glory. This also likened to the outcome of our life, ie God’s promise to a life of blessings and abundance. When Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, we all knew what He did. He stayed for 2 more days! Sometimes, God’s glory needs to be waited on. Things might have to really “dead” before we can witness His glory and promises. Patience is what we need. Even while we are waiting, it doesn’t mean things are not happening. It is actually happening at where Jesus is, and He is indeed the action.

He mentioned the movie, Argo. It was a true story and its sweet ending was something we already knew. Yet one may get stressed while watching. Why stressed if we already knew the ending? We have to be clear of the big picture, like Jesus. We have to be focused on Him who is the alpha and omega, in spite of hustle and bustle around us.

In this final scene, we have to ask ourselves 3 questions:

What is Jesus saying?

Who is He saying to?

How are they responding to Jesus?

Roll away the stone“, Jesus told Lazarus’s family and friends. And they did.

Our job is not to resurrect the dead, but to be the helper. And if you think that the helper’s job is not important, imagine if the stone was not rolled away in Lazarus’s situation. Even if he was alive, he could not get out of the grave. God doesn’t really need us to roll that stone away but He wants us to be involved. Remember there’s only 1 true worker while we all, are the helpers. Would you and I roll the stone away for our loved ones?

Father, thank You for hearing me, Jesus looked up to heaven. 

Jesus then looked to His Father, and spoke words into heaven. Of course, we know that His Father listened to Him. Imagine that we have Jesus who is consistently interceding for us, and guess what? He who gives life listens and obey Him.

” Come out, Lazarus” Jesus shouted. And the dead man came out

Even the dead can hear Jesus, Chloe! Even if we think all may be gone and lost, there is hope because the dead can hear Jesus.

Unwrap him and let him go” Jesus told them.

Jesus told Lazarus’s family and friends to unwrap Lazarus of his grave clothes. However, we do not know their response. This might be a really smelly and disgusting task, imagine Lazarus being dead for 4 days. And honestly, church is full of Lazarus in their grave clothes, alive yet bounded in certain areas. That’s when fellow believers come alongside to help and support.

So Chloe, are you the one helping in His work or His work yourself? How do we respond then?

If we are helping in His work, shouldn’t we be laying down our rights, preferences and way of understanding how things work? We obey. He says roll, we roll. He says unwrap, we unwrap. What is Jesus telling you?

If we are His work, then it’s to respond to the one who call us by name. How sweet is that?

When we are despondent, disappointed and impatient, we have to look out for Jesus and His work, and know where the action is. Look to Jesus, my friend in the mirror.

Rooting for you,

Joy

 

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#89

by xi_le on 01/12/2013

Dear Janice,

Serving others consistently is indeed tough. The first week’s performance wasn’t much to brag about. It was uncomfortable & tense, and by midweek, I was all drained from using my own strength (what’s new?). Yet God gently reminded that He loves a cheerful giver, and His joy is my strength. It can only be done that way, so I asked Him to change my heart. It improved a little at the end. The trial shall continue.

Learning to read emails coming from my superiors with a pinch of salt is another challenge. Questions, feedback and comments were still regarded as criticism and doubts on my ability. I was crippled with fear so I rather be stationary. It seems thoughts and ideas were all falling into wrong places. I started to dread work.

I had to persistently turn to God for His assurance.

Today’s verse says:

23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. – Colossians: 3

I have to stop seeking recognition for myself but to honor God in what I do.

Joy

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#88r

by jha on 01/5/2013

Dear Joy,

I didn’t expect #88 to come so quickly!  (Not complainin’)

Great to know that you’re getting your vision realigned to the Center of it all – God.  If you keep to your decision to be rooted and grounded in Him, it wouldn’t be long before you’ll willingly attempt another flight take off.  Actually, whether you want/like it or not, the day WILL come when you’ll take to the skies and head back to the other side of the world.  Although there has been and will be harrowing moments, I doubt you’ll fall and die because I’ve seen what He did and how He carries you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Himself (Exo 19:4)

What you wrote also ties in with what T shared at watchnight.  We chatted awhile before the service began and later what he said at the opening prayer really frames up all that has happened very nicely.  He said (not verbatim):

It’s time now to pause and engage in some house-cleaning of our lives, where we consciously sweep out the garbage to make room for the new to come.  We’ve witnessed and gone through some really deep, hard shakings in 2012.  God is shaking away all our baggages, hurts and false securities we’ve hung onto so He can make space for the real and full life that He wants us to have.  Everything that can be shaken happened in 2012 and will go on shaking until all that we have left holding on to is God.  He’s getting rid of the clutter around our lives, so we can see Him with clarity.  If 2012 is about pain, then 2013 is about giving up.  Giving up of all our inadequate aspirations, dreams, fears, hurts, etc. that we have rooted ourselves and identity to.

I read all your quoted verses in #88 and Galatians 6:6 primarily stood out for me.  Thank you, Joy for putting it into practice so faithfully and generously.

And now, back to SLLTT and answering the 3R questions!  Can’t wait for #89.

 

As ever,

Janice

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#88

by xi_le on 01/3/2013

Dear Janice,

2012 came and was gone in a *spoof*. Yes, 2012 was particularly a rough year. You, being titled the poorest kid on earth, and I being far away from my comfort zone. God remains faithful, no doubt.

My lamentation for 2012 was the absence of rooted somewhere. If I stay in Singapore, I am bored most days. If I stay in Israel, I am without all of you which makes life a tad difficult. So Chloe said

Rooted in Jesus. Grounded in His words

Roots should be planted firmly into Jesus, not some geographical locations. So 2013, I shall try (again) to root in Him, and ground myself in His words.

The sporadic study of His words a few weeks before end of 2012, helps to set the tempo for 2013.

  • Psalm 23

The most popular passage in the bible. While we frequently quote this, what do we really gather from it? Unless I submit to Him, Psalm 23 will not come true. Unless my trust is in Him, Psalm 23 is useless. Life is Psalm 23 when we choose to walk with God.

  • Leading a holy and Godly life

Maybe I haven’t been reading enough, but words like “do good”, “turn from evil”, “holy” appeared too often to be ignored. He knows my struggles, and He is persistent to let me know how He thinks. At least, He didn’t turn His face from me.

Psalm 37, 1 Peter 1:13-25, Galatians 6:1-1-10, 2 Peter 3:14-17

2012, my focus was I, me and myself. Like what SP preached, another year given was really about others. so I pray that 2013 will be the start of years ahead which will always be about God and others.

cheers,

Joy

 

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#87r

by jha on 01/1/2013

Dear Joy,

You’ve come a long way.

Whenever I feel tired and unmotivated, all I have to do to get some mojo back is to look at all your past papers and remember how ardous our journey together has been.  Many significant ups and downs, potholes and thrills, not to mention multiple blasts since 2009 and even though 2012 has been a particularly rough year, you’re still standing!  This is a miracle, no less.

And since God chose us to be the holy people He loves, there’re 5 attitudes we must clothe ourselves with, namely:

  1. Tenderhearted mercy
  2. Kindness
  3. Humility
  4. Gentleness
  5. Patience

Which is then translated into 5 actions:

  1. Make allowance for each other’s faults
  2. Forgive anyone who offends us
  3. Above all, love
  4. Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.
  5. And last but not least, be thankful.

 

Spurred on by this Colosians 3:12-15 scripture and looking at how far you’ve come since Day One, I’m truly thankful for you and all that you’ve done, are trying to do and will do in your life-time pursuit of Jesus Christ. Thank you for pressing on in this journey inspite of the dread, disappointments, discomfort and low ROI. I just realise that apart from getting a transformed heart, mind and character of Christ, you’re really not getting any other earthly returns except being stuck with a (tor)mentor like me.

Yes, you remain my encouragement and inspiration.  Of all the amazing things you’ve given me, there’s nothing I enjoy more than your reflection papers.  Looking forward to resume getting them on a regular basis.

You said you don’t think you’ll ever fly like the bird in the toon?  Well, I still harbour thoughts that you will someday – soon.  Perhaps I’m (still) irrationally biased.  So what?  Happy New Year, kiddo.

 

As ever and not giving up,

Janice

 

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