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In the Dark of the Night

THEME: THANKSGIVING
Written by Megan Low

I don’t know why I am awake at this hour (0430 hours) again. The same thing happened on Monday. God and I both know what I managed to accomplish on that day and how long I lasted. I’m thankful for all those who prayed for me. Am I going to manage today? I don’t know.

But today, here, now, I have two choices. I know I always do. I can choose to complain about not getting enough sleep, about everything that’s wrong with this picture of (definitely unintended) consciousness at 4 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep. Alternatively, I can choose to be thankful for this rare opportunity to spend deep, rich quiet-time with Him. I can choose to not worry about what is to come because I can trust that He provides all I need to be sustained, including food, shelter, and in this case, strength. I can choose to take comfort in His great love for me and take time to meditate on His Word—something that I don’t do often enough. The more I think about reading His Word, the more I am overjoyed. Who would not choose this privilege of drawing close to God over complaining? All we need to do is remember and believe that God is near.

Tears of joy are flowing from my eyes now. I open my Bible, wanting to read a verse about meditating on God’s Word day and night. I read Psalm 119:97 in my favourite Bible translation, the New International Version (1984). I rediscover the literary context in which this verse was found, and am astounded by its accuracy in describing my heart’s longing.

In the same (yes, very long, but) incredibly beautiful psalm*, one finds the following verses:

  • On the joy of meditating on God’s Word: vv.14, 27, 52, 54, 77, 103, 111, 127
  • On God’s unfailing love: v.76
  • On the freedom to study Scriptures at all hours: vv.20, 55, 62
  • On holding fast to His commands and promises: vv.71, 88, 109, 112

I could just continue listing them all out, but I’d better stop since I’m already quite long-winded and I shall save the rest for another time.

Thank You, LORD, for this heart of thanksgiving which You have used my parents to instill in me! Thank you for this attitude of gratitude which they have influenced me with. For all You’ve done for me, for all You’ve given me, and for the honor of being Your channel of blessings through what I do and say, I thank you, Lord. Who can count, recall, and not give You the credit? Who can keep silent and not cry out in praise and worship of Your Name? Who can believe in You and not be transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2), and be changed into the better person You desire of them? Lord, help us to be ever willing to let You work in and through us.

May the redeemed of the Lord say amen!

 

* Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. Its 176 verses are divided into twenty-two stanzas, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet; within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins (in Hebrew) with that letter.

 

Photo credit: Alyssa L. Miller / Foter / CC BY

Would you go the extra mile?

THEME: OUTREACH
Written by Megan Low

I recently spent $70 because of Kenneth, a young sales attendant. (Well, also partly because of my need for new pants.) Considering the amount of reflection and thinking which has resulted from my purchase, the parting of cash may have been worthwhile after all.

There are some lessons one can draw from such experiences. Some people are impulse consumers; others must think through everything carefully before deciding whether to purchase something. The role of the service staff in such situations is to match a customer’s needs to the most suitable product or service available with the aim of convincing a customer to buy a product. This requires knowledge of the services and/or products being offered. As Christians with easy access to Scripture, we too need to be familiar with God’s Word in order to effectively lead others to Him, teaching, correcting and training them (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It was his friendly, welcoming attitude that first got my attention. How do we respond when we see someone inspecting what we have to offer? Can we accurately capture what they need from us? How can we present ourselves as trustworthy, likeable bearers of God’s good news of salvation in Christ so that others will be willing to open up and share their needs with us?

When I told Kenneth what I was looking for, he immediately led me to the closest thing that fitted my description and suggested a suitable size. After I tried the pants on, he immediately asked how I found them: Were they to my liking? Did they fit? This encounter led me to wonder: Would we be just as committed in making disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), especially towards those “trying out” the faith for the first time? Are we willing to invest time and energy in those who are seeking Christ as their Lord and Savior?

Once I found a size to my liking, I shared with Kenneth my thoughts about his service and the product. (Of course, I first asked if he was keen to hear my opinion. I figured as a newbie, he would appreciate the suggestions and feedback on whether I felt his product actually met my needs.) Are we just as ready to listen to others to better ourselves?

Finally, I shared with him my fears and problems when shopping for pants (situations already existing or potentially occurring). Would we able to recognise what fears, weaknesses and concerns others face that we might be able to better minister to them?

So whether you are going to work, or have already started working, our aim, as followers of Christ, remains the same: to be Jesus’ instruments in seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10) to the best of our ability (2 Timothy 2:15). Will we remain committed to see each other through till the day we step into eternity? God has given us all that we need to do His work. No one is in our lives by accident. Will we show them the love God first showed to us (Romans 5:8)?

Photo credit: zpactoid (Mark D. Pineda) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

From Icky Insects to our Great God

By Megan Low, Australia

On my way to church yesterday, I spotted a worm dangling from a tree. I watched it as I approached and saw that it was slowly climbing up the invisible thread that it had produced.

At first I was laughing at it. For the worm was no bigger than three-quarters of my thumb and yet it was climbing up a silk thread, which led to a seemingly unattainable end point—a branch that is at least over 6 meters above the ground! It’s never going to get there. What a hopeless case!

But as I continued to observe it, I was amazed and impressed. When I first noticed it, it was at a height near the level of my stomach, but within a minute it had reached my eye level.

Then I thought, that’s how God wants us to press on as well. If He were to give us the entirety of something, like our life plans, we could well be disheartened and give up, especially if we have a long way to go. So He gives us limited vision, so that we can concentrate on what is just before us and trust that He knows best.

Isaiah 41:14 says,
“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.