2021 Devotion (1)

2021 Devotion (1)

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2021 Devotion

Forgiveness

22/02/2021: Day 1 of 5: What Forgiveness is and is not?
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Unforgiveness is a state of resentment, bitterness, hatred, hostility, anger, fear and stress toward an individual who has transgressed against another in some way. Unforgiveness is as deadly as a cancer that eats away at the very soul of a person.

Let's take a look at the portraits below:

1. An critically ill old lady was laying in hospital deathbed waiting for her daughter to show up but her hatred-filled daughter just refused to do so. She was accused by her mother long ago for cheating her money. The two of them were seperated by a great wall of unforgiveness.

2. Mr T finds out that his co-worker had been criticising him to the boss and making negative comments about his work. The boss had elevated his co-worker and demoted Mr T. Mr T can't stop thinking of ways to get even with his co-worker.

3. Miss B cannot sleep at night. She keeps having nightmares about her mother, who abused her as a child. Even though her mother has been dead for ten years, Miss B still cannot forgive her for the pain.

Forgiveness occurs when the cold feelings of unforgiveness are changed to warm, loving, compassionate, caring and altruistic emotions because of a heartfelt transformation.

Human power alone is not sufficient to reach full forgiveness. There is an element of forgiveness that is divine. It cannot be reached without God --Frank Minirth.

Matthew 18:21–22
[21] Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” [22] Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (ESV)
[LLC/TJH]

23/02/2021: Day 2 of 5 : Reasons to Forgive
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When you do not forgive someone, in some way that person is in jail and you are the warden. You are incarcerated, too, because you have to make sure that the prisoner stays there --Kerney Franston.

Mark 11:25 - And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (ESV)

Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)

Reasons to Forgive:

1. Forgiveness sets you free to move on with your life.
2. It refuses to let the person who hurt you have any power over your life.
3. It opens up your relationship with God.
4. It keeps you from becoming bitter and thus protects those around you.
5. It keeps you from becoming like the person who hurt you.
6. Unforgiveness doesn't hurt the perpetrator at all: it hurts—only you.
7. Scripture commands us to be forgiving (Matthew 18:21-35).

Jesus stated that God's forgiveness of us is somehow related to how we forgive others. When we accept God's forgiveness of all the wrongs we have done Him, we should also be so grateful that we willingly offer that same kind of forgiveness to those who have wronged us.

The refusal to forgive others shows that we do not appreciate the forgiveness God offered us.
[LLC/TJH]

24/02/2021: Day 3 of 5: How to identify?
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It takes two to reconcile but only one to forgive.

When a person seeks help to forgive, it is because the inability to forgive has started to disrupt his or her personal, emotional or spiritual life.

The inability to forgive (due to the stress it creates) may be the source of physical problems, such as lack of energy, sleeplessness, headache, joint pain or back pain. It might also be the root cause of depression or anxiety. Many a times the person does not realise that the origin of his or her problem is a lack of forgiveness.

The following reflective questions might be helpful:

1. Share with someone accountable about the background of the refusal to forgive.
2. Recall the source of concern?
3. Do you need to go for counselling?
4. What do you hope to accomplish with counselling?
5. What is the incident or incidents are you having trouble forgiving?
6. How did the incident(s) make you feel?
7. What can you tell about the person who hurt you?
8. What have you already tried to do to help you forgive?
9. How have you protected yourself from being hurt again by this person?
10. How can you tell that you haven't forgiven this person?
11. What does God say about forgiveness?
12. What do you think forgiveness is?

Isaiah 43:25 - “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (ESV)

When the guilt of past sins weigh us down, we must remember that when we seek forgiveness, God "blots out" our transgressions and does not let that event stay in the book of accounting for the "final closure of accounts" on that day. Blotting out sins is wiping the slate clean. Receiving God's forgiveness has many benefits—Whatever sins we have committed, God promises to erase them. He knows what we have done but He treats us as though we have never sinned. It is because God has forgiven us that we must forgive ourselves, and others
[LLC/TJH]

25/02/2021: Day 4 of 5: Wise Counsel
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Forgiveness is best understood as an act and a process. When a person forgives, his or her heart will begin to heal. Forgiveness is to let the offender "off the hook" so as to protect one from the destructive power of unforgiveness, setting one free to move on with life.

Identify Emotion
Acknowledge & accept the fact that evil has occurred. One needs to grieve the offense and the losses that have resulted from any wrong committed against him or her. The hurt and anger are not sinful. Feeling hurt or angry are normal responses to an offense.

Set Boundaries
Minimise time spent with unsafe people. Unsafe people are those who hurt without regard for the damage it creates in another's life.

Recognise God's Hand
Know that God can use offense to promote personal and spiritual growth and dependence on Him for His plan and glory.

Ask God for help to love the offender. We are not the source of Love but God is. Praying for the offender will help one to move from wanting revenge to not wanting harm, and finally to wanting the best for the transgressor.

2 Samuel 14:33 - Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom. (ESV)

One person can forgive, but it takes two to reconcile. Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness, however, does put salve on those who are willing to let go of the hurt and wrongs done by others.
[LLC/TJH]

26/02/2021: Day 5 of 5: Action Plan
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Recall the hurt
Do not deny or minimize the pain. It is difficult but necessary to recall the hurt. But recalling your hurt is not for the purpose of finger pointing but a means to objectively review what has occurred.

Altruistic Gift of Forgiveness
Think about "giving" of forgiveness. Think of a time when you did something wrong and were forgiven. Reflect on the wrongdoing and guilt you felt. How did it feel to be forgiven? Would you like to give that gift of forgiveness to the person who hurt you? Through this step, also recall the great mercy and grace of God toward you.

Commit Publicly to Forgive
Tell your family or friends about your decision to forgive. By disclosing your forgiveness to others, you will be held accountable to your decision to forgive.

Hold on to Forgiveness
Hold on to forgiveness when doubts arise. Try to make "Stones of Remembrance". It is good to have something "concrete" to help you remember the day you set your offender free.

Colossians 3:13–14
[13] bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [14] And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (ESV)

Prayer of forgiveness:
Lord, your servant has been deeply hurt. I want to let go, to be free of the pain, but I still find it very difficult. The emotion goes all over the place and I do not want this pain affecting me one more waking moment. Please help me to let this go. Please help me to forgive the offender as I have been forgiven by you. Please give me life once again. In Jesus name, Amen!
[LLC/TJH]

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2021 Devotion

Domestic Violence

15/02/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It
16/02/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
17/02/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting & Redirecting.
18/02/2021: Day 4 of 5: Render Timely Help
19/02/2021: Day 5 of 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Bitterness

Bitterness inevitably reproduces more bitterness. This root begins in our life hidden from the view of others until it begins to make itself known. This week we attempt to use "major surgeries" to cut off any trace of root of bitterness from our lives.
Bitterness Day 1
08/02/2021: Day 1: The Root of Bitterness – It Stops Here
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https://www.esv.org/Hebrews12:12-17

After almost 3 years of wrestling with my own struggle and watching other people, I have come to see how the Root of Bitterness becomes a destructive force in people. It is a spiritual cancer, and left unattended will destroy life.

Bitterness inevitably reproduces more bitterness. This root begins in our life hidden from the view of others until it begins to make itself known—with our words, perspective, actions and finally, our personality. When it makes its way to this place, the root of bitterness then defines our life.

Bitterness is what people think of when our name comes to mind. It is the characteristic they speak of in describing us, for this bitterness has somehow taken over our life. To say it is destructive is an understatement at best. For this reason, v.15 reminded us to watch out and not allow this evil spirit to become attached to our life. This bitterness will trouble and eventually corrupt us.

I know of an old lady who had pass away 22 years ago took up this root of bitterness because of offenses against her and in her old age this bitterness now personifies her to the point that even her own family avoided her in her last days. Bitterness will reproduce, and we could very well be the source of it for someone we love. Do you want this bitterness to be reproduced from you to that person or persons?

If you do not want them to adopt your perspective and your future, it must stop with you now. The good news is that it can be stopped. But it will take some doing on your part, which is my topic for the week. Hopefully this poisonous root will be well on its way to being rooted out of your life by the time this week is over. This week we attempt to use "major surgeries" to cut off any trace of root of bitterness from our lives. But you’ve got to do your part with its destruction, by declaring that it stops with you…now. Do we have a deal?
[YKY 07/02/2021]

Bitterness Day 2
09/02/2021: Day 2: Identify the Source
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https://www.esv.org/Ephesians4:25-32

The Root of Bitterness does not come naturally. It is like an alien infectious disease that is introduced to a healthy body such as a viral or bacterial infection. It is like the same thing that I experienced when I was diagnosed with pneumonia in year 2010. I was admitted to NUH ICU ward. The disease was the culprit or an aggressor to infected me.

This culprit is likely a person or event that contaminates us with some kind of disappointment or hurt. The offense may or may not be intentional, but these do hurt us, anger us, disappoint us, betray us, lie to us, slander us, scheme against us. As such, they infect us with their own root of bitterness. But that is where it begins, and it happens to everyone sometime in our life.

We cannot be exempted from this infection. I wish it weren’t so, for I would want all of my loved ones to avoid this pain and serious challenge in their life. It is what we do with it when it happens that is critical, for you see a healthy body will fight to reject any infection that comes into it as a natural defense. It might take us down for a few days, but in the end a healthy body wins out. But not when an infection incubates and grows stronger because there is no resistance in a body that is weak.

It is the same when the poisonous root of bitterness takes root and then our life becomes entangled by it. This is when damage is making its way to the surface of our life and infecting others. This is when intensive care is required to keep it from infecting others and spreading the disease. It is said that bitterness is unforgiveness that has fermented.

When someone has emotionally taken something from us and we cannot get it back, we want revenge. However, we either cannot extract it or we will not do so and it then burns within us. It grows bigger and we become more justified by how we feel. This flame of bitterness grows into a poisonous flame within us and our life is corrupted by the bitterness.

It is the effort and grace of God to forgive us our sins against Him. It requires effort! We do not have to feel like it or want to do it. For an example, I had numerous surgeries and life saving medications (Warfarin – Blood Thinner) that I did not feel like taking nor did I want them. But my desire for good health and a life unhindered by disease required them. It is the same with forgiveness. We might feel justified by our anger because someone stole an emotional part of us and by not granting forgiveness, in some way, we think we can get even with him or her.

But in seeing it this way instead of obeying Jesus with granting forgiveness, we nurture this unforgiveness into bitterness, and it is this condition that will hurt us more than any person can. To destroy the root of bitterness, we need to identify the source that started it and begin the process of forgiveness at this point. Then the root starves and it eventually dries up. There is some clean-up that we need to address. But we must start at the root before we can deal with the fruit of bitterness. More tomorrow about that fruit.

Application: Is there someone in your life that you find it hard to forgive for the deeds/words he or she did/said? What make it so hard for your to forgive such a person? Does this unforgiveness grow inside you to become hate and bitterness?
[YKY 09/02/2021]

Bitterness Day 3
10/02/2021: Day 3: The Fruit of Bitterness
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https://www.esv.org/Colossians3:12-17

Have you ever walked past a big field with much weeds growing on the grass? When I was in school, teachers taught us that weeds are bad as they compete with the grass for nutrients, water and sunlight. I have a point about the root of bitterness. It too is an unwelcomed guest in our life. It has to be battled against so that life can be freed from it.

I have an aunt in China who is a master gardener. She has green fingers, as evidenced by her balcony in Shenzhen. She produces massive amounts of great vegetables such as chillies, sweet tomatoes, lady fingers etc... I know from experience and observation that her work begins with the soil before it gets to the harvest. The soil is broken up, fed, cultivated and then planted. Then the plants are nurtured. The result is juicy, sweet tomatoes and lady fingers, along with many other delicious fruits and vegetables.

Now here’s my point: Jesus spoke of a similar dynamic with the fruit that comes from our abiding relationship with Him. He also used the analogy - “good soil”, to describe the abiding relationship with Him. The harvest of good, tasty fruit is produced in an unhindered fellowship with Him. Like a plant that He illustrated, a fruit from our healthy relationship with Him is produced and this fruit then reproduces. It is the process that Jesus formed, and it is called The Church.

For the last 2,000 years, we have seen a naturally reproducing process formed from the few people who became Jesus’ disciples in its first year of formation, and then they taught others what He had taught them. He taught strongly about forgiveness. Why so? It is because the reproduction of bad fruit will also occur if we have a wrong relationship with Christ, and unforgiveness will do this. It will bear the fruit of bitterness. This fruit ranges from anger to outrage, from self-pity to self-centeredness, to many other kinds of expressions of the root of bitterness. These are examples of the fruit of bitterness. Like good fruit, the fruit of bitterness will also reproduce after itself.

It is a natural occurrence, just like those weeds in the field that I spoke of. Left unchecked, the weeds in your life will become your life, and since weeds are good for nothing, your life will become the same. To destroy these weeds in your life, you must begin with the soil to get rid of the seeds and to also make it healthy. The process begins way before the good fruit shows. It becomes an effort to root out the deep-rooted weeds of bitterness. When someone is trying to root out the root of bitterness in his or her life, the soil of their life must be improved. This is where the nutrition of God’s word and obedience to His instructions attack the root of bitterness.

We begin to see bitterness as Jesus does. It is an enemy. There is nothing good that can come from it. Therefore, if you want to destroy this root of bitterness and its fruit from your life, it begins with identifying the source, forgiving this person, and then preparing your life for the good fruit that follows. More on that tomorrow.

Application: Are there weeds growing inside you that prevents you getting close to God or becoming insensitive to His words? Are you willing to destroy those weeds now and be like Jesus’s disciples to teach/guide others what God had taught/guided us?
[YKY 10/02/2021]

Bitterness Day 4
11/02/2021: Day 4: The Recovery
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https://www.esv.org/Matthew5:21-26

When the battle against bitterness is seriously waged in our life, there will be a joy and freedom in our life that would eventually be found.

We will be set free from a burden that grips us and robs us of so many things that God wants us to experience or give to us. Bitterness destroys our spiritual health and studies show that it also destroys our mental and physical health, not to mention interpersonal relationships. Because of this newfound joy and freedom, it will be real easy to become self-centred. But there is still much work to be done.

We must now become a voice of repentance, humility and healing to those people poisoned by our bitterness. If not, the fruit of bitterness in their life, which was outsourced from our bitterness, will continue to reproduce even though we are no longer in the equation. In the Scripture verses above, Jesus placed a responsibility for listeners to be proactive in our effort to right wrongs and become part of someone’s healing if we have offended that person.

He compels us to move closer and deeper into our relationship with Him, and He shows us how bitterness disrupts our fellowship with Him and hinders that journey. For our own good and for the good of our relationship with Him, bitterness must be cast out of our life. I think a lot of men tie their masculinity to being strong and tough. Humility and repentance don't sound like being strong and tough. We get ourselves muzzled in this misunderstanding.

I used to think this way until I got to know Jesus better from the Bible. I came to understand His life and what He faced while in this world. He was greatly challenged too, facing all the unpleasant situations that was thrown at Him. In fact, He is the strongest and toughest Man that I have ever known, and yet He is also the most humble and kind person I know. He showed me that true biblical manhood is to be right with Him, to be obedient to Him no matter the cost to me, and to live my faith out.

It takes courage to do this. When He tells me to do something, I know that it is for my own good and for a purpose greater than I can see or know. I know He is for me and with me, and this makes me understand that my mission to help someone else to find the freedom He has given to me. This is right for the other person and myself, for in this I find the freedom I need and hoped for.

Application: Are you willing to reconcile with whoever offended you, before coming to S-Word worship services with a heart of forgiveness? Will you embrace your freedom and reach out to heal a broken or wounded relationship?
[YKY 11/02/2021]

Bitterness Day 5
12/02/2021: Day 5: The Escape
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https://www.esv.org/1Thess5:12-28

I believe that when things are right with God and man, there is a holy rhythm or habits to life. There is a healthy connection vertically with God through His Spirit and there are healthy connections horizontally with the people in our life, thereby bringing balance to our life.

Sounds like the form of the cross doesn’t it, being both vertical and horizontal, with Christ in the centre? So it makes sense that all believers at the foot of the cross are all equal with need and hope. The playing field is totally leveled with the truth that without Christ, we are all lost with no hope. We all have that in common.

All of us fell short of God’s glory, so He sent His Son to enable us to join His family. We all started out lost, no matter where our personal goodness falls. We have that in common with each other. I know it sounds strange, but with salvation, even though there are people that you know who are much worse than you are, both of you enter your relationship as lost and estranged from God. This person and you had to enter into a relationship with God through His grace, because you cannot meet His justice yourselves.

If it was His justice, no matter how good you are, you would be shut out of His kingdom, just like the serial offender you think of as worse than you. You need God’s grace and not His justice. You are saved by God’s grace and not the Law. That is the essence of the Gospel.

How is this relevant to our escape from bitterness? It will reveal a major lack of application of the truth with how you understand how you are loved by Christ, and how, with His love you are to love another person. If bitterness is to leave you, you must escape from your illusion of your good nature and your offender’s evil nature, for you are not seeing something essential to help you escape it.

Here is why: Your bitterness is rooted in your pride! Your pride has been hurt. Therefore, you harbour bitterness because you think you deserve better. This condition is rooted in self-pity and self-pity is a sign that Satan has your ear. This self-pity causes you to want justice to be served and you want it to be hot and heavy because you are mad and hurt. When we are bitter, we think justice needs to be served for we have been treated unjustly.

Do we really want justice to be served in order for bitterness to be remove? Really? Are we also ready to be given justice for our sins against Holy God instead of His grace? Are we ready to apply the same rules to our self that we apply to others about justice or grace? Kind of stinks now, doesn’t it? Good, for if it stinks you are beginning to identify the truth of how far you have been pulled from the Gospel because of your bitterness.

To escape the bitterness that has you by the throat, it needs to start with an evaluation and application of the Gospel to your life, and then obey Christ with forgiveness, even though it may be undeserved. When you see how far you’ve strayed from the Gospel and with living it out toward this person or circumstance that has angered you, you can find motivation for expelling bitterness from your life. When you do, this good relationship with God and man will return to your life and the root and fruit of bitterness will be history. Make your bitterness history my fellow S-Word members.

Application: Are you willing to escape from the stinks of bitterness by putting Christ the centre of your life? Do you still harbour thoughts to repay evil for evil after reading and reflecting on the last 5 days of QT on bitterness?
[YKY 12/02/2021]

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2021 Devotion

Envy & Jealousy

01/02/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It
02/02/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
03/02/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting Questions & Redirecting
04/02/2021: Day 4 of 5: Render Timely Help
05/02/2021: Day 5 of 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Worry

This week, we are going to learn what practical actions to take to alleviate our worries and the biblical insight of worry.
Worry Day 1
25/01/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It
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There are many factors in causing worry. It seems uncontrollable as it has no “switch-off” button! Many people are worried about events that may or may not actually happen to them! The following are some general examples of different kinds of worry:

Scenario 1: As a student, there are many projects and homework that Ming has to handle. She worries as she has so much to do and may not be able to finish the school work on time.

Scenario 2: John discovers a lump on his right foot that stops him from running properly; he starts to think if his leg has a structural problem or worse, if it could be something even more serious, like cancer!

Scenario 3: Amy agreed to Brian’s proposal, and now they are planning to get married. However, Brian starts to wonder - how will he be able to support Amy when he can barely live alone on what he makes?

Scenario 4: Gary is two hours late getting home from being out with his classmates. His parents are angry with him for not calling. Furthermore, they also started to worry - thinking he might have encountered trouble with his car, or worse, had an accident.

Scenario 5: Frank joined his department of 5 employees two years ago. Now they are down to three and rumour has it that soon they will be down to two, or his department may even be closed down.

Scenario 6: Christine is pregnant again. After losing her last baby during her second trimester, she can’t help but wonder if this little one will ever have a chance to see the world.

Sometimes worry is the result of one’s own sin or guilt. A thief or a murderer will properly worry about being caught!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, many of us worry that we or our loved ones may be infected and the possibilities of suffering physically. When the pandemic impacted our economy, job security and financial stability are the main worries for many. Now that the vaccines are made available, many worry about their reliability and effectiveness. And the list goes on…

Do all these sound familiar to you? In fact, each of you may have your own set of worries! So what exactly are your worries? There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with these problems of life.

This week, we are going to learn what practical actions to take to alleviate our worries and the biblical insight of worry. [LLCG]

Worry Day 2
26/01/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
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Worry is like a rocking chair; it'll give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.
-- Unknown

Worry is defined by Webster as ‘Metal distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.’ In other words, worry is about things that have not happened yet. Worry is not an emotion: it is a mental exercise.

The unpredictability and toughness of life spawns much worry. You might have a problem for which no solution has been found yet. This causes us to worry—replaying possible outcomes over and over again in our mind. We continue to worry—refusing to be satisfied until the solution becomes a reality.

Being genuinely concerned about potential problems and taking action is natural—such as seeing a doctor when ill or consulting technicians when our office equipment emits strange sound. But worry is rarely tied to constructive action. It is unproductive most of the time.

The “amber light” or even “red light” flashes when worry rises to an unhealthy level, e.g., (1) You are not sleeping well, (2) You are not productive in spite of much exertions of energy / attention, (3) You are worried about two or more topics on more days than not, (4) You are focusing on situation of worry more than on the other activities of life. (5) You tend to be reacting to situations rather than managing life events well. Your life feels out of control.

Worrying about many things at once bring stress to an unhealthy level. You want to overcome the issue, but the problem doesn’t disappear. Worry is simply a smaller level of fear and fear is the opposite of faith. When we operate in fear or worry, then we do not have the faith or trust that God has a plan and is in control.

What is the difference between worry and anxiety? Although many use the words worry and anxiety interchangeably; the two are very different psychological states. According to Psychology Today, “Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more visceral (in nervous system) in that we feel it throughout our bodies.” When we worry, our thoughts are often caused by realistic or specific concerns we can resolve by problem solving.

The effect on us is temporary and mild compare to anxiety. When we are experiencing anxiety, our thoughts can be irrational or vague. Someone with anxiety may experience symptoms such as tightness in the chest, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, trembling, gastrointestinal problems or trouble sleeping.

The symptoms of anxiety can serve as warning signs of serious health conditions such as anxiety disorder, panic attack or depression. You should speak with a doctor if symptoms are persistent and interfere with daily activities. [LLCG]

Worry Day 3
27/01/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting Questions & Redirecting
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If indeed worrying is like sitting on a rocking chair going nowhere, how then can we help ourselves or others to stop or to reduce the frequency of worrying? It might be helpful to help the person see things differently through reflection questions. In dealing with worry & anxiety, this might be an appropriate time for such a strategy.

The person may be instructed to just think of his or her answers and not necessarily speak them out loud:

(1) What has worried you the most in the past that your no longer worry about?

(2) Did these previous situations work out the way you thought they would or did they work out differently than expected?

(3) Did the pain of these previous situations help you grow? If so, how?

(4) What do you currently worry about the most?

(5) Do you think that these problem are too big for God?

(6) Do you believe that your are important to God?

(7) Will God take care of you in this current situation?

(8) There is only one person who can circumvent God’s plan for your life. Do you know who that is ? (You.)

(9) Do you have control over whether you worry or not?

(10) The bible says we are not to worry. How can you follow that instruction?

(11) What is the worst thing that can happen in this current situation?

(12) How has worrying helped you in the past?

(13) Do you think that worrying will help you now?

(14) What difference will worrying about the situation make one hundred years from now?

The worrier needs to understand that he or she really does not control over whether he or she worries or not. Some people are more inclined to worry than others. That is not a character’s flaw. It is just a built-in reminder to pray and give it to the Lord.

“ I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” Psalm 34:4

[LLCG]

Worry Day 4
28/01/2021: Day 4 of 5: RenderTimely Help
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“Don’t worry!” is easy to say but difficult to change. One approach is to set limits so that the worry doesn’t continue to rage out of control. It is probably nearly impossible to eliminate worry totally, but to manage it well and mitigate its destructive effects.

The following plan might assist to help change thought patterns for life’s worrying issues:

(1) Start each day with God: Begin each day with time alone with God. Tell him the concerns of the day (this is your time to pray about your worries – see step 2). Anticipate your day. Pray about what’s ahead. Ask God to give you peace.

(2) Pray about your worries: Set up a specific time period in which you can pray out a plan for your worries. Limit worrying to a ‘worrying list’, and take that list to the Lord in your daily Bible and prayer time. During the course of the day, when a worry strikes you, repeat the following sentence: ‘I will take care of that with God at my prayer time tomorrow morning’. During prayer time, bring the worrisome situation to God. Ask for guidance and direction.

(3) Keep a Journal: Write down the prayer requests and the worries that you are bringing to God. Write down the answers God gives. Go back and read these answers as constant encouragement that any new requests you bring to God will indeed be answered. As you talk to God, write down anything you feel He is telling you about your course of action. Keep in mind that the course of action may be purposefully to do nothing until God gives you further direction.

(4) Set Boundaries: Get facts and expert advice to prevent worrying unrealistically about a situation. Set deadline to make decision, rather than chew over it forever. Realise that your will not please everyone all the time. Learn to say no.

(5) Thinking Differently: Delegate chores and other responsibilities. Give yourself permission to relax and to make mistakes. Eat, sleep and exercise properly. To keep a sense of perspective, try to see the humour in a situation. Declutter and organise, using calendars and to-do lists. Mentally put your worries in a box with a lid and put them on the top shelf of your closet. Don't look at it for the time being.

(6) Seek Balance: The goal is to walk in peace, in calm, in trust, and in assurance. This is done by finding the balance between prayer and action and, ultimately, this produces freedom from worrying. See you for Day 5 as we look into what the Bible says about this. For now, consider the following:

‘To say that we are waiting on the Lord, and then to go around with a sense of worrying, misery and dread, is to contradict the truth” -- Professional counsellor, Rosemarie Scotti Hughes

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bone” -- Proverb 3:5-8

[LLCG, 28/01/2021]

Worry Day 5
29/01/2021: Day 5 of 5: Renew Mind
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We want to share Bible passages on worry today.

Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

The Israelites were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the waters of the Red Sea. In panic, they blamed Moses. But Moses had seen enough of the power of God to respond in confidence. What problems are you facing? Don’t panic. Instead, turn to God and trust in His power to do what seems impossible.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Worry fills people’s minds with useless clutter, leaving no room for God to work on. Worry clouds perspective, causing people to focus on themselves rather than on God. Jesus said that God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, so He will take care of His children.

Trusting God involves trusting Him to care for us. Jesus tells us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (Matt 6:33). As believers we must still work to meet our needs; we don’t sit back and expect God to do it all. We work but we don’t worry. We know that God will care for us!

Luke 12:22-23 Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.’

Worry can be a time-consuming, almost obsessive, behaviour. After all, everyday brings new things to worry about! Worrying about every situation in life whether big or small will only distract us.

Worrying is not part of problem solving. In fact, many problems get worse because worry is immobilizing; thus, no action is being taken to try to work through the dilemma. Worry can thwart the work of the kingdom.

Jesus has the perfect situation for worry. Instead of worrying. He invites us to put our faith and trust in God’s provision and care. This can free us from the anxiety that is caused by worry.

This total trust doesn’t mean that we should not have goals, plans, investment, and so on. It does mean, however, that for everything we should trust in God, putting Him first in our lives.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Those who worry are not trusting God. Worry can be a natural first reaction to an uncertain situation, but to persist in worry reveals a lock of trust that God is in charge. Power helps us have strength of character and confidence in any situation. Love helps us have graciously deal with difficult people. A sound mind helps us remain self controlled and self disciplined no matter what happens. We can set aside our worry and replace it with these gifts from God.

Sample Prayer: Dear Lord, Worrying is immobilizing your child today. We know that we don’t know the future but You do. We know that we need to trust You, so we bring our worries to You today, Lord, like a burden we cannot carry, and we ask that you take them...

[LLCG, 29/01/2021]

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2021 Devotion

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem are the feelings or evaluations that we form after "looking at ourselves in the mirror"

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Scenarios check: Feels that marriage no hope? No purpose in life? Feels that he/she is nothing? Overwhelming sense of trying to please others? Discouraged? Low energy at work? Views himself/herself as ugly and stupid? Fear close and intimate relationships? Pressured to give in to the demands (unreasonable or immoral ones) of others due to fear of rejection?

Inner sense of worthiness that responds well to attacks and criticisms from others (valid or otherwise). Self-esteem are the feelings or evaluations that we form after "looking at ourselves in the mirror". Paul reminded readers not to be proud (Romans 12:3), but evaluate honestly and accurately. Low self-esteem is displayed in many ways. Use God's perspective to evaluate self rather than be conned by others. Negative feedbacks in the past do shape our self-esteem. But these need to be revisited and dealt with. We are valuable because God created us with noble purposes, and He paid the price to redeem us.

REFLECTING: Many feel bad about themselves without identifying the cause. Feeling like a failure or strong sense of inadequacy might cause extended depression and all sorts of anxieties. Going through these 20+ questions help you reconnect with your past and increase self-awareness of why we are who we are today. REDIRECTING: Helping a person with low self-esteem does not meaning telling him/her "therapeutic lies" so that he/she feels better. It does, however, mean that he/she needs to develop a realistic set of assessment of both strengths and weaknesses. Wanting to be healed of low self-esteem is a good start (many prefer to remain in self-pity and blame everyone else for decades at a time). Challenge your friend/yourselves to deal with it now in our CG setting.

Render Timely Help: (1) Recognise our high worth, (2) Stop recycling harmful thoughts, (3) Start healthy thought patterns, (4) Allow more time for transition, (5) Read God's Word.

Elaborations on Exodus 3:11, Psalm 8:4-5, Isaiah 43:1, Matthew 10:29-30, 1John 3:1. Prayer: Thank God for looking upon us as precious, of great value, given gifts and the special package of background, interests, abilities, ideas that make each one of us God's special creation.

18/01/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It (Low self esteem)
19/01/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
20/01/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting & Redirecting
21/01/2021: Day 4 of 5: Render Timely Help
22/01/2021: Day 5 of 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Anger

Episode 1: Doing anger the right ways!
Episode 2: Managing other's anger towards you
Episode 3: Managing your anger towards others

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2021 Devotion

Workaholism

04/01/2021: Workaholism: Day 1: Recognise It
05/01/2021: Workaholism Day 2: Realise What It Is
06/01/2021: Workaholism Day 3: Reflecting & Redirecting
07/01/2021: Workaholism: Day 4: Reach Out (With Timely Help)
08/01/2021: Workaholism Day 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Intro video on Weekdays' topics / Devotion

Start the year by looking at the big forests, and ask God for His will on what is the outcome for 2021 and beyond in your participation at S-Word EFC. Don't lose your bearing when you get pulled in many directions this year by various people and programs. Spend some moments in silence to pray to God and seek His will for 2021. ... Align our lives, resources, time, relationship etc to the agreed desire outcomes, so that our united journey together can be enjoyable, meaningful and God-pleasing, for 2021 and beyond!
Challenge: In 2021, reduce chaos (避免步步惊心) by committing to the church that God has called you to belong and building that church up in the short time of span we have on earth. We probably do not have sufficient time to change church often to search for, settle down and build the desired outcome of intimacy. The factors for consideration can be:
(1) Where The Word is preached properly (Bible)
(2) Where the Sacraments are administered correctly (Holy Communion & Baptism)
(3) Where there is Evangelism / Disciple-making to end of the earth (World Mission)
(4) Where it is a place you not only GET or RECEIVE but also could GIVE (Contribution)
(5) Where you Know Others and many others Know You (Community & Belonging)

QT: 01/01/2021: Desired Outcomes and Products
QT: 02/01/2021: Desired Outcomes Expanded and Explained
QT: 03/01/2021: "I want to change church!" (Intro 3 of 3)

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