Some Friendships May Drift Apart, and it is ok

Today is your birthday. A decade ago, it was such a big deal! We would meet up and celebrate your birthday. After all, you deserved nothing but the best in life! Rewind back to 18 years ago, we were sitting in your parents’ car, and they would drive us to fancy restaurants for meals. On a weekend, we would drive 45 minutes to sea food restaurants by the beach. I felt special because your parents took me instead of your other friends. I did think you enjoy our friendship as much as I did.

Those were the good days.

When I was studying in Singapore, you flew over on the Eve of Lunar New Year to spend the new year together. We had a simple reunion dinner at China Town. I can not recall the dishes we had. Those were the days before camera in the phones were clear and sharp. But what was clear in my mind was that we had a great time. It was such a joy seeing you again, despite the fact I had only moved to Singapore last July. I took you around Singapore and sent you off at the airport with a heavy heart. These memories seemed not so long ago. They were so vivid in my mind.  

2 decades ago, we would often hang out. With our other friends, we would go to the movies and we go bowling. Those were the things the young people did then. Back in those days, we didn’t have a lot of choices for entertainment.  

You brought me to places I hardly go — you opened up my world and told me not to be so naïve. You critiqued my sense of fashion, you thought I could do better. You introduced me to your siblings and I met your friends too.

The memories remain. Today it is your birthday. But I did not send you any Birthday greetings. I had not been doing so for the past few years. The last time I saw you from a distance was when you were fetching your kid from the tuition school. It was just a casual wave to say “hi”. Nor did we exchange text messages after that. 

After my studies in Singapore, I felt we were miles apart. We had different things in life. We did meet up a few times, but there wasn’t any similar topic of interests anymore. You got married to the man you loved, and I pursued my calling as a pastor. Eventually, you got busy with your children. I visited you on the birth of your firstborn, and I did not visit anymore when your other children were born. I was never married. I had a hard time keeping up with their birthdays, although I know their names. How old are they now? We had tight schedules. And our free times do not match each other’s.

It does take effort to pick up from where we left off years ago. In fact, it will need so much effort on our parts to reconnect again. That was why we silently agree to let our friendship die. I don’t text you anymore, you don’t text me anymore. We let each other go. And we have peace with that. 

In some other friendships, we can easily reconnect again and seems nothing has changed, even if we do not stay in touch constantly. But not in our friendship. Even if I do see you today, I will not know what to say. You may not know what to say. It may be just a wave to say “hello” or “goodbye”.

Perhaps it is a part of life. Someone once dear to us can be a stranger.    

  

The Cake

Sundays are often packed with people and ministry. After the ministry this morning, my companion and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and shared a slice of salted caramel cheesecake. 

I have been living in a complicated tension. On some days, I believed that the cake was evil. It will bring more harm than good to my health, it will destroy the good bacteria in my gut, it will add a few extra pounds on my already chubby body. The cake has to be avoided at all costs, I told myself. Oh, the measures I had taken to guard my mouth from taking a bite of the baked sugary dough!

On some other days, I swung to the other end of the pendulum, believing that the cake is a divine gift—created to pleased the palates of mankind. Today, the cake smells heavenly. Every cell in my body dance to the beat of each bite of the cake. My tongue bathed in the richness of the cheese. My heart sang. My tummy exploded with joy. I was satisfied and happy. Oh, what a great life, I thought to myself.

Nothing is all bad, I realised. Nothing is all good.

Life is not all bad. Life is not all perfect either. 
Life comes with challenges or obstacles but there are good days too. There are days when it is rainy but there are sunny days. Someone said, the rainbow is more beautiful after a rough storm.

People too. No one is all bad. No one is perfect. We have different sides to us. There is not a person who is all bad. There is still some goodness in each person, even the ones we deemed as “hopeless” or “bad”. 

Praise be to God who saw us before we were formed in our mother’s womb (Isaiah 44:24.! He loves us unconditionally just as we are. We can accept Him and come to Him in repentance. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from Heaven and earth to die for us and His blood cleansed us from sins so that we can have a relationship with God. No one is too bad that He could not love. No one is so good that does not need Him.

Life is a Gift (Ecclesiastes 3)

Human beings are always searching for meanings in life. The Teacher came up with 3 observations about life and death:

  1. Life is a gift from God (verses 9-10)

The Preacher noticed something in the pattern of mankind.

“9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race” (verses 9-10)

All of us are carrying burdens. There are financial burdens and worries. We are carrying our loads as parents who provide for our children. Or we are caregivers to our elderly parents. If you are a young adult, you face the pressure of balancing work and family life.  

If we see life as a gift from God, we have a better attitude and outlook in life. Even if we are going through difficulties times or are carrying burdens, we can still give thanks to God for the gift of life.

If we treasure life as a gift, every breath that we take is a gift. Life becomes meaningful because it is a gift.

If we see our life as a burden, we will miss the gift of life God has for us. We will not see the blessings from God, but all we can see are problems, pain and difficulties. This will make us angry people, bitter people, people who hold on to grudges, people who are always blaming others for their unhappiness.

The way we look at our lives is important. How we view our life will determine how we live our lives. How we live our lives will most likely determine how we leave this world.

2. Our life is linked to eternity (verse 11)

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (verse 11)

Mankind is created in the image of God. When God created mankind, God placed “eternity in the human heart” (verse 11). God put eternity in our hearts, we were meant to last forever until sin came into the world and separate us from God. In our attempts to find God, we tried many ways to fill in this emptiness. 

The Teacher searched for fulfilment in life. He searched for it in entertainment. He could not find it. He searched for it in wealth and could not find it. He was not satisfied. Without God, there is emptiness.

How does knowing that you have been created for eternity affect the way you live your everyday life?

God accomplish His purposes in His time, and we may not understand His plan because He sees it from the eternity point of view. God is all knowing, all seeing, almighty, ever present. God is eternal. He sees the whole picture. He makes everything beautiful in His time, and we can fully trust in Him though we may not understand it all. But it is not for us to worry about. We just need to trust in God and live by faith.  

3.Our life is enjoyable— now (vv 12-14)

“12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.” (verses 12-14)

Yes, each of us is carrying our own load of burdens. But the Teacher tells us to enjoy what we have right now. Appreciate what we have now. Some are caught up dreaming of some possible future thinking that we can only enjoy life when we have a car or a house or be married or have kids or retired, or have more money in the bank. Some are dwelling in the past, lamenting about that the good days were gone.

We can appreciate our live right now and live in the moment, not dreaming about the future or dwelling in the past.  

Ecclesiastes seems to talk a lot about “meaningless, meaningless” because this is what it is without God, meaningless. But another theme of Ecclesiastes we do not hear a lot is “enjoy life”. We can see this theme being repeated from chapter 3-10.

Life is difficult. Still, we are to treasure each day, and be thankful for what we have. Everything that we have comes from God. God gives us the strength, ability and talents for work and to make a livelihood.

God gives us rest from our labour.

No matter what comes our way, as people who love the Lord, learn not to complain but to give thanks for all that we have with all that we have.

When we are mindful that life is a gift from God, life is more meaningful and manageable. We can rest in God and find satisfaction in our daily toil.    

Remember the faithfulness and deliverance of God

What is Purim? Purim is the Jewish holiday whereby the Jews commemorate being saved from persecution in the ancient Persian empire. Haman, the Agagite Prime Minister of Persia, plotted to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, men or women in a day.  Esther risked her life to save the Jews. She trusted in God to deliver them. God, although not mentioned in the story of Esther, delivered His people.

Each year, Purim is celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. Purim in 2022 begins on Wednesday night of 16 March to Thursday, 17 March.

In Esther’s day, the Jews trusted in God for deliverance. And He delivered them. For us today, we can also depend on God who is the same, today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) to deliver us. God will respond when His people cries out to Him (Isaiah 59:1).


We may not observe this holiday as Chinese/Asian Christians, but we can take this time to remember God’s greatness, faithfulness and goodness in our lives. He is faithful. Let us too, ask for God’s grace to remain faithful to Him and hold fast to our faith in Him through trials and times of difficulties.

Lent Ideas: Things to Do During Lent

Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter whereby we examine ourselves in reflection to the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ for us. During Lent, we can:

  1. Forgive someone

Habouring resentment is hard. Psychological studies show that there are negative effects on our bodies if we are resentful or are angry at someone. Just as God has forgiven us of our sins which we have committed knowingly and unknowingly, ask God for His grace so that we can forgive those who have wronged us.

2. Thank a person

Are there people in your life whom you appreciate but you hardly tell them their presence in your life means a lot to you? Let us say something nice to our family and friends. Lent is a time to appreciate and thank someone. It also means appreciating the people in the society. We can do so by saying “thank you” to them or give them a smile, or even acknowledging their presence by having an eye contact with them. Their selfless contributions bring improvement to the society.   

3. Do an act of kindness

Lent is a wonderful time to do an act of kindness to others. Do you see someone a need? You can offer your help. In our day to day life, we can be caught up with our own needs. Let us look beyond ourselves and see how we can help those who are in need.

4. Exercise and take care of our bodies

In the midst of pandemic, it doesn’t take long for one to realise the importance of having a healthy body. If we have been neglecting our bodies due to work or bad eating habits, Lent is a time for us to give it the proper nutrition, adequate rest and some exercise.    

Lent is a season for us to draw closer to God. Through these acts of love and kindness, may we experience His love in our daily living.

Rest and Rejoice

Though tested positive for my antigen test on Day 6, I felt much better physically, and emotionally today. I am physically stronger to move about the house to clean, to sweep the fallen leaves on the porch, to delight watching the cats play from across the road, to water my plants and to end the day by preparing a simple dinner for myself.

The aroma in the kitchen smells different today: fresh and lovely. I was more present when I was washing the veggies, cutting them and cooking them in the pan. I was taking my time to enjoy the process of meal prepping and cooking.  

A week ago, these simple chores of taking care of the house, gardening and cooking were done in a rush and mindlessly. They were things that I needed to get over and done with because there always something else more important that needed my attention: some messages to reply, some assignments waiting to be completed, another email to respond to, cleaning the house before the visitors arrive, rushing to church for some activities and so on. But, when I am in home quarantine, activities become slower, time seems longer and tasks are manageable. I can slow down and enjoy the beauty in the simple things in life, and not rush from chores to chores.  

Apostle Paul writes, “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”(Philippians 4:4-5)

Rejoice in the Lord is not something that we do when we feel like it. It should be our lifestyle as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Joy comes from God. Joy is knowing that God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins, the Holy Spirit is with us and we have eternal life with God. We can rejoice regardless of our present circumstances because we stand on the promise and assurance of who God is and what He is doing and will do in the life of His people.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (verse 6)

What are you worried about? Our list can go on and on. Apostle Paul urges us not to be anxious or worried about anything but to commit everything to God in prayers. We are invited by God to tell Him the things that are bothering us. In prayers, we are reminded of the sovereignty of God who cares and loves us. When we tell God our needs and requests, we are to give thanks to God, simply because He is good. He has been faithful, merciful and loving to us. In our desperation, He hears us and delivers us.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Peace is a state of well-being. In the Old Testament, the word “Shalom” in Hebrew means: harmony, wholeness, completeness, health, tranquillity, safety, rest, peace with God, and these are permanent state. 

God’s peace guards our heart and mind. May He guard and protect our heart and mind from cumbersome worries and anxieties. Wait upon God. Rest in Him.

During this season of Lent, let us continue to:

(1) Pray

Deepen our relationship with God through prayers. We pray and also hear for His voice when we pray.

(2) Read God’s Word

God’s Word illuminates our path. It leads us to the path of righteousness, holiness and wisdom. Let us read His Word, meditate on it and apply it in our lives. St John of the Cross (1542-91), a Spanish Catholic priest, said that when we read God’s Word, the new life of Christ gets brighter and brighter in us.

(3) Obedience to God

Perhaps much of our anxieties in our relationships, our chores and daily activities are more manageable if we commit them into God’s will and time. We can find peace and rest in God if we are mindful that God is with us in our chores and in our relationships with others.

May the peace of the Lord be with you in whatever you do and in the people you meet.

Retreat came earlier this year…

My retreat came earlier this year than I had planned. I had planned one in August right around my birthday. The reason for this unplanned retreat: I was down with Covid.

I could not believe it when I was tested positive. I had all those symptoms: flu, chills, muscle ache, cough but the results from the antigen tests were negative. I was hopeful that I might just be having a common flu. I prayed hard that I would remain ‘negative’ for Covid tests.

How could I get Covid, right? I am relatively healthy: I take my supplements daily. I have always been super careful: double my masks, sanitize the cart at the supermarket before using, sanitize my hands every time I touched something (may be I was a little extreme) and once I return home, I immediate sanitise my handbag and my phone. How can someone so careful like me get Covid?

On the morning of Day 5 of my exposure to the virus, I did an antigen test upon waking up. It said, “positive”.

I stared at the result. I was shattered.

I was given a ‘Home Isolation Or Surveillance Order’ for one week.

Home Isolation. Away from people. I am used to being away from people for retreats but this time, while in home isolation, I was in isolation with angry thoughts, bitter thoughts, sad thoughts.

 On the first day, I spent much of my time being angry: I was angry at the person for giving the virus to me. My breaths were hot, like a fiery dragon’s. Nobody wants to be infected. Nobody in their right mind wants to pass the virus on to others, I understand. My friend is feeling guilty, I understand. But still, I was very angry. I have to announce to the church that I am a “Covid Positive”, a label I was trying to run away from ever since the start of Covid 2 years ago. And it has been miserable getting Covid. It was a terrible experience.    

On the second day, I spent most of my time sulking and getting angry at God. I complained to God. Why would You allow this happen? What about Sunday? Who would preach at the church on Sunday? What would the church leaders think of me? Would the people run away from me when I see them in church on Sunday?

On the third day, I re-watched some of my favourite movies and TV series (grateful for streaming services and good internet connection). I laughed and laughed at my favourite scenes. The movie therapy took away my sadness and anger for a while. I talked to some friends (via chat, I couldn’t talk due to the persistent sore throat and cough). One of them commented that I have “joined the Covid party” which I thought was hilarious.   

On the fourth day, I was ready for a therapy session with God. I stopped sulking and stopped throwing myself a pity party (but still angry at my friend!). Throughout these couples of days, family and friends remind me that God is with me. I may be angry and bitter but this does not change the fact that God loves me.

We are in the Season of Lent. Lent is to remember that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and night to prepare Himself for the public ministry. I would love to have been there to hear His intimate conversations with His Father in Heaven. In these 40 days, Jesus was tempted by the devil three times but every time He was tempted, He leaned on God’s Word and power and He was victorious over these temptations.

May be God wanted me to experience Him in a new way in this season of Lent. May be I should lean upon God and rest in Him, no matter what the circumstances I am in.   

Looking back at the past couple of days, I am so grateful for family and friends who sent me words of encouragement. They check in on me daily to make sure that I am physically (and emotionally) healthy. There are friends who send me groceries, lunch and dinner, snacks, coconut juice, and a slice of yummy cheesecake. I am never hungry. I spent a lot of time at the dining table enjoying these little surprises. There are friends who go to the pharmacies for me to get the needed medication. I am never in need. My needs have been supplied.  

When I count my blessings, I have less to grumble about. No more complaints. No more worries. No more asking God why. After all, this is what Lent is all about: focusing on the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Not on our current misery. For now, I will nurse myself to good health and to be strong for ministry again, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  

Suggestions from Pope Francis on Fasting for Lent:

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a 40-day period when Christians prepare themselves for Easter by fasting, repentance and practicing spiritual disciplines. These 40 days of Lent represented the 40 days Jesus was in the wilderness before starting His public ministry. He spent time fasting, praying, preparing Himself and enduring the temptations of the evil one.  

Ash Wednesday reminds us of 2 truths: (1) we are mortal beings and (2) we are sinful beings in need of the grace and mercy of God. We are but dust. God has formed the first human beings, Adam and his wife Eve, out of dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). After they had sinned, God said to them, “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).

But God loves us. He sent Jesus Christ to us and died for us. By His blood shed on the Cross, we are no longer enemies with God but are reconciled to Him (Romans 5:10). Jesus had conquered death and offers us the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16).    

At the Ash Wednesday service, ashes (made by burning the palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday), are smeared on our foreheads in the shape of a Cross to remember our mortality and as a sign of repentance. As the Cross are being drawn on our foreheads, these words were spoken, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.

Ash Wednesday is a day for us to repent of our sins. In the 40 days of Lent to come, let us remember the sufferings and sacrifices of Jesus on the Cross for us. Lent ends with Easter Sunday, a victorious day to remember that Jesus has conquered sin and death.

Praise the Lord!

Signs that you are in a toxic friendship

Life is an interesting journey. Throughout our life, we meet a lot of people: there are those who are lovely, those who became dear to us but unfortunately, we will meet some nasty people too.

Not everyone we meet is for us. Some seem to be our friends— until our heart tells us otherwise. Here are some signs that you are in a toxic friendship:  

1.Your friend puts you down

It may be something you are wearing, or something you plan to do. Instead of wanting the best for you (we all make mistakes from time to time and we need a trusted someone to correct us), your friend only mocks you and make fun of the way you look. She finds opportunities to put you down, though it may be her way of hiding her insecurities.

2. There is always competition

Whenever you are with your friend, there is always a sense of competitiveness. Whatever you do, she will try to belittle you or to one step you. Yup, everything of her has to be bigger and better than yours.  

3. She does not celebrate your successes

True friends celebrate our successes. They want to see us achieve our goals and encourage us during tough times. We will also celebrate their successes when the spotlight is on them. The toxic friend, however, will make you feel unworthy for succeeding!

4. She takes you for granted

 In a healthy friendship, both friends give and take. In the toxic friendship, however, she takes and takes from you, and hardly ever reciprocate.  

5. She gossips about you

A friend should make you feel safe and loved. Someone who gossips about you does not have your best interest at heart.    

7. She doesn’t appreciate you for who you are

With true friends, our different personalities are celebrated. With the toxic friend, you will feel judge for being yourself. She is always giving unsolicited advice to change you.

8. She makes you feel uneasy

One of life’s greatest joys is being able to enjoy healthy and wholesome friendships with others. Hanging out with good friends is therapeutic. It energizes us, gives us courage to conquer the day and brings us great joy. When I am with my good friends, we will be sharing our hearts, knowing that it is a safe space to do so. There are also delightful moments when we burst into happy laughter by cracking jokes. We laugh and we cry together.  The atmosphere is light, relaxing and refreshing.

But if you have a friend that makes you feel horrible about yourself and you dread to see her again, it may be your internal alarm sending you a signal that it is better to establish healthy boundaries with her.

Jesus Christ as Our Greatest Delight

What brings you the greatest delight? It may be entertainment, your family, your children or pets or your hobbies. We are living in a time in human history where we the most self-sufficient due to the advancement of technology. We can easily get the things we want on the internet and have it delivered to us. If we want to see the world, we can purchase air tickets online and hop on the plane, and find and book accommodation through the apps on our phones. If we are bored, we can entertain ourselves, keep ourselves happy and occupied. We can do everything on our own. But do these activities give us lasting joy?

The Bible is very specific that God alone is our greatest joy and delight. The psalmist says in Psalm 16:11, “in Your presence, there is fullness of joy”. In God’s presence, there is joy so deep and so satisfying that we can not find anywhere else. In the psalm that follows, Psalm 17, the psalmist wrote, “because I am righteous, I will see You. When I awake, I will see You face to face and be satisfied” (Psalm 17:15). God is near to the righteous.

God chose a man named Saul to be Israel’s first king. However, instead of obeying God’s commandments, Saul was relying on his logic. Because of his disobedience, God removed him from the kingship and gave it to a man whom God said had a heart like His own— King David. King David adored Jesus Christ as his greatest satisfaction, joy and delight. 

Our Human Heart

In the medical world, our heart is “the muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body.” It pumps blood into every area of our bodies. In Biblical terms, however, our heart is more than a muscle; it is who we really are. Our heart is the wellspring of our life. 

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Our heart is the place where you connect with God and connect with other people. Everything we want to achieve in life: our desires, our passions, our dreams, flow from our heart. Everything we are: the words we say, our thoughts, and the things we do when we are alone, all these come from the heart.

How can we have a healthy heart?

(1)Deep repentance

Let’s look at this list: brother, son, musician, worship leader, warrior, general, king, poet, outlaw, adulterer, murderer, shepherd, husband, father, leader, hero, ancestor of Jesus Christ…this list is about a man. He is a powerful man, a man gifted in music and battle but at the same time, he was also an adulterer and a murderer.

David realised how serious his sin was. He was filled with lust, anger and jealousy. David repented and asked God to cleanse his heart.

David specifically prayed in Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight (vv 2-4). Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (verse 7). Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (verse 10)”

The reason he has a heart after God’s is because he genuinely repented of his sins. Every one of us had committed sins. We are not perfect. Some of us may be still holding on to our sins. Let us remember that our sins do not define us. We need to face the consequences of our sins, like David did but we also can receive forgiveness from God like David did.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT). If we are truly repentant, God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins.

When we are so broken by sin, we will realise we have nothing apart from God.  We can’t even save ourselves. We are helpless. When we acknowledge we have nothing, and put our trust in Jesus, Jesus will be our greatest delight. He forgives us and helps us to start all over again.

(2) Delight in the Lord

The second thing we can pray for our hearts is that it will seek God as the greatest joy and delight in our hearts.

George Müller (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898) was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in England. During his life time, he cared for 10,024 orphans and provided educational opportunities for the orphans. He established 117 schools that offered Christian education to more than 120,000 children, many of whom were orphans.

Despite being busy running orphanages and caring for these children, he said, the first and most important duty of his day was to get his heart happy in God—-through reading the Bible and praying. His first priority was not to make them the teachers or the orphans happy. His first priority was to make his heart happy in God first, before he could face the challenges of the day.

King David’s heart was happy in the Lord. Even when he faced challenges and his enemies were trying to kill him, he found his greatest joy and satisfaction not on his circumstances but in the Lord.  In difficult and dangerous circumstances, he could still sing praises to God.

Many of these psalms reveal to us his heart, which is him delighting in God’s Law. God’s Word encouraged him through the toughest times. He held on to the unchanging, unfailing promises of God. He meditated and thought about God’s Word, and his heart was happy in the Lord because of these.

“Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.” (Psalm 112:1 NLT).

Sometimes we make our problems so big that it is like a tsunami crashing down on us. When our problems is too big, we see God as too small.

Making God our delight need not have to be dependent on our situations. How many of us think our day is ruin by some careless words someone said to us or angry emails from colleagues? Our circumstances in life do not determine our joy. Our level of joy does not depend on how others treat us. Do we say that if we have a better job, we will be happy? People and circumstances do not determine how happy we should be. Make our heart happy in God because the joy of the Lord is our strength.

The Psalmist of Psalm 43 was in a time of darkness. His soul was downcast. He had been crying out to God, waiting for him to rescue him from wicked people. He was waiting for God to answer his prayers and even felt that God was not answering his prayers.

Instead of getting angry at God or throwing a pity-party for himself, the psalmist he picked up his harp and sang to the Lord, “You are my joy and my delight” (Psalm 43:4)

He sang to God, “You are my joy and my delight” even at a time when he was oppressed by wicked people and felt rejected by God.

Our circumstances do not dictate our joy. But we will be happy when we secure ourselves with God’s Word. God loves us. Nothing can ever separate His love from us. He is with us. He watches over us.

We can delight in the Lord by doing these things:

  • Pray and Praise God
    • To remind us Who God is
  • Gratitude
    • David is grateful for what God has done. Again and again in different psalms, he thanked God for what He had done. Keep track of all the answered prayers and the blessings we have receive from God and the things that we are grateful for  
  • Honour the Lord’s Day
    • Worshipping God on Sundays  
    • Come to God with a heart of expectancy. Expect that God will speak and reveal Himself to us through His Word, worship songs and worship services.  
  • Recognise Jesus as your greatest treasure
    • Nothing in the world lasts or stands the test of time but in Jesus, we will be satisfied

(3) Dependency upon God 

In Psalm 18:2, David said of the Lord, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”

Throughout his life, David depends fully in the Lord. When he was a young boy, he depended on God for victory against his fight with Goliath, the Philistine army whom the Israelites were frightened of.

Later on in his life, David also depended on God. Psalm 25 showed us his dependence upon God in the midst of all of his own sins; when his heart ached and the consequences he had to face; the conflict, the sin, the unbelief all around him; the unjust attacks upon him and upon the name of God. Everything happened to him all at once but he depended on God.

Corrie ten Boom is a hero to people who grew up after World War II. She and her family helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. And they saved about 800 lives. Her life was a legacy of godliness and wisdom. She had been arrested and sent to the concentration camp. And she survived to tell her story of dependence on God during those years of suffering. In 1971, she wrote the book, “The Hiding Place” which talked about her experiences.

Corrie once said, “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”

Throughout her life, Corrie experienced losses: she lost her family, her sister who was arrested and was sent to concentration camp with her died in the camp, she lost her possessions and lost years of her life. Yet, she learned to keep the best things in life: things that were gained spiritually and emotionally by putting everything in the hands of her Heavenly Father.   What should we place in God’s hand? Your family? Your future? Everything?

Depend on God, we will not lack or be in want as He has promised us in His Word. Pray that God will help us to depend on Him, for our daily provision, for wisdom in our daily living, and to depend on Him as the supreme joy in our lives.

David makes mistakes too but he sincerely wanted to follow God’s commandments and live a life pleasing to Him. Only God can fill the hole in our hearts. If we look for fulfilment elsewhere apart from God, we will not be satisfied for very long. To make Jesus as our greatest delight, (1) repent deeply for the sins of our lives, (2) make our hearts happy in the Lord, (3) make our heart the dwelling place and depend on God for everything in our lives.