Seasons of Change

In Genesis 8:22, it says, ‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’ Seasons come and seasons go and while Singapore doesn’t experience seasonal change like some countries, autumn officially begins on September 22 in the northern hemisphere.

God is with us in every season of our life and change is a part of life. Change can be perceived as good, like springtime bursting forth: with a birth, new friendships or jobs. Change can be perceived as negative when moving into the winter season: a death or friendships ending.

Change is a part of life. It happens whether we like it so we must learn to embrace it. Change for me has been moving homes five times since we started the work of the ministry, and staying in two leased properties. It was part of my journey as we started Cornerstone Community Church.

A change of seasons can be exciting, and it can be very unsettling if we allow worries of the unknown to cloud our perspective, bringing with it feelings of fear, anxiety, indecision, tension, confusion, and hopelessness.

I’m thankful to God for His abounding grace, and I can trust that He’s in control, working out every situation for our good.

Sometimes the seasons didn’t seem significant, and I wondered why we were there. But they were necessary to make me who I need to be in God’s plan. This really helped me to stand when the going was tough. Life has progressed, cycles continue, and change happens whether it’s positive or negative.

Can seasons of change cause us to lose heart when it appears like nothing’s happening? It’s precisely during these times that trusting God has been the most challenging.

David spent a season in the wilderness where it developed him to be the king of Israel. The wilderness is desolate – it’s a dry, isolated place, a place where many want to throw their hands up and quit.

One day, David was tending his father’s sheep and the next, he’s anointed to be the next king. Saul had issued a death warrant on David’s life and he escaped to the cave Adullam, a remote region in Israel.

Experiencing good and bad times in our lives is normal and to be expected. Though it’s easy to hold onto our hope in happy situations, changing circumstances must not cause our faith to falter. Jesus promised in John 16: 33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Perhaps you’ll remember Joseph, who was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery and spent time in prison. How did he deserve any of this done by his brothers?

Moses spent a season in the desert, and it developed him into a leader.

When you allow God to work on you, you’ll develop the characteristics you need to succeed. These seasons of change will bring you to the place where you’ve the capacity and strength to embrace.

Here are some helpful keys which guided me through challenging seasons. First, realise that you’re in it and to decide to press through by drawing close to God despite how far away He feels to you. Don’t wither, as your emotions are a part of change. Continue reading His Word but also talk to God – even though He’s quiet. God is there and He hasn’t left.

Psalm 1:3 reminds us, ‘And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper.’ While you’re waiting for God’s blessing, He’s ready to bless you with the gift of Himself.

We can grow closer to God in the wilderness than we ever could be in the palace. God is with His children when they’re in the fiery furnace. It’s not necessary to know the timing of everything that happens in your life. Some things happen quicker than we think, and some way slower.

Though we may feel like we’re alone in the wilderness, we’re not. It’s okay not to know everything but this one thing – that you’ll come forth experiencing faith and trust. God is with you. He has promised that He’ll never leave nor forsake you.

When Charles Spurgeon was in depression, this was his testimony, “I have gone to the very bottoms of the mountains, as some of you know, in a night that never can be erased from my memory … but, as far as my witness goes, I can say that the Lord is able to save unto the uttermost and in the last extremity, and He has been a good God to me.”


Ps. Daphne Yang

Being Hungry in a Place of Abundance

Nine years ago, I went through one of the toughest seasons in my life. For three years, I struggled in almost every part of my life. I faced discouragement in ministry, battled self-worth and identity issues, and my financial situation was not exactly rosy. To top it off, my family was also undergoing a financial crisis.

Yet, at the same time that season, I had the most powerful and significant encounters with God. They marked and defined who I am today. Looking back, I realised that, due to the trials in my life, I had a constant sense of need. I literally felt like if God didn’t break in, I wouldn’t make it through. I was desperate for God to move in my life. Crying out to Him on my bedroom floor till the wee hours for nights read more…

Wait for the Punchline!

I recently watched a very interesting segment on TED Talks where a comedian unpacked for the audience how comedy works. First there’s the setup, and then there’s the punchline. The setup is where the comedian uses his talents, observations, and resources to seize any opportunity to ensure that the audience is moving in the same direction as his storyline. The punchline occurs when he changes that direction in a way that they’re not expecting it. The results are revelation, fulfilment, and joy expressed through laughter.

Here’s an example:
Three men are about to be executed. The guard brings the first man forward, and the executioner asks if he has any last requests. He says “No”, and the executioner shouts, “Ready! Aim!” Suddenly the man yells, “Earthquake!” Everyone is startled and looks around. In the confusion, the first man escapes.

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A Fail Grade Regardless Of What You Do

All great men in history were tested. They were men who went into their baptism of fire and emerged with their stories and wounds. There are also Biblical figures whom God delighted in, whose histories are less known, whose stories we never get to hear about. But for the most part, these men and women of renown had to undergo their tests.

While I’m a firm believer of tests and examinations, I have difficulty convincing my young daughters that these are good for their development, especially the one taking her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year.

Abraham and Moses, Governors Joseph and Daniel, King David and the apostles, all underwent great and multiple tests. It was David, a man after God’s own heart, who cried out, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” Psalm read more…

What The Black Death Taught Us

Get ready, this is going to be a long blog but I’m certain it’s going to be worth your time.

The ‘Black Death’ (Bubonic Plague) occurred in the mid-1300s, caused by a certain flea that lived off rodents’ blood. It particularly thrived among black rats in Central Asia. The bacteria carried by the rat attacks the lymph glands of the human body and hence the immune system. Victims experienced high fever and bled beneath the skin. This caused visible dark patches, giving the name ‘Black Death’ to the plague.

The Black Death shows remarkable similarities to the present pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill. I want to take time to point out some uncanny similarities.

1. It started in China

The plague started in Central read more…

Persecution

We recently hosted a Zoom prayer meeting on the International Day of Christian Martyrs. It was really encouraging to see the number of people and nations that participated. The uptick in destabilising and frightening trends worldwide has sounded an alarm. I think it’s a sign of the times. Are we witnessing the beginning of the End? Many of us are feeling the urgency to be better prepared, and rightly so!

Looking back, we realise God has been preparing us to face troubling times. A year ago, Brother Yun shook us up with his testimonies of surviving horrific treatment at the hands of cruel authorities. Canon Andrew White’s life story last October reminded us further of the price that’s being paid by Christians in other parts of the world. Then, in a series of messages at the end of the year, read more…

God’s Generational Treasure

Cornerstone’s youth ministry, relaunched as ‘Generations’ in 2000 after a 3-year hiatus, celebrated its 20th anniversary this month. It’s been my great joy and honour to watch many of these young lives journey into adulthood.

Many of our ‘then’ young people are now serving in Cornerstone as pastors and staff. These lives stoked in the fire of God are now effective ministers and some have been sent out as church pioneers, pastoring, labouring in the fire of the Holy Spirit, serving locally and in the nations. They’re no more young teens but men and women, many married with family.

What God has wrought through these yielded vessels are stories to be told – just like how my husband and I took the divine plunge into the ministry 30 years ago – life encounters still burning in the flames.

The God read more…

Proud to be Singaporean!

Every year, on National Day, my family and I will sit in front of the TV to watch the National Day Parade live. As always, we sing the songs patriotically, laugh at the outrageous costumes, tear when the National Anthem is sung, talk about our National Service experiences, but one thing is for sure – we’re all proud to be Singaporeans. I’m a patriot and I love my country and my people, regardless of race, language or religion.

In 1978, the evangelist Dr. Billy Graham, prophesied that Singapore would be an Antioch for Asia. It was a defining moment for us as a nascent nation. At that time, we were just 13 years into nationhood and so, our future was uncertain. If you can recall, the Iranian Revolution had just begun that would eventually lead the world into a global read more…

The Power of Creativity

I’ve always been intrigued by the account of Adam naming the animals in Genesis 2:19-20. Names in the Bible carry identity, nature, and purpose. We today have the benefit of hindsight.

We’d look at an elephant, for example, and know its nature and temperament. However, for Adam, it was the first time animals ever existed and God wanted him to creatively call out the nature of each living thing.

The Lord wanted to give Adam a sense of ownership in the Garden. He also wanted to partner with His son in the creative process and participate in defining the nature of creation.

I often wondered what was going through Adam’s mind as he set eyes on each animal for the first time. The first man, made in the image of the Master Creator, with the creative nature of God in read more…

Buried or Planted?

This week, two seemingly unrelated events converged on the same day and shed some light into what I’ve been pondering. I received two packs of seeds from the National Parks to grow some edible plants at home, even though I didn’t register for it. I remembered saying to myself grudgingly, “Great! Now I’ve got to find some soil to plant those seeds.” Later that evening, I watched a war movie where the opening scene centred around a small group of US Marines at the cemetery in a sombre mood, surrounding the lowered casket of their fallen comrade.

The next scene showed the soldiers shovelling soil onto the casket, and then it struck me – burial looks no different from planting. Both require some digging and the ‘objects’ are hidden underground, covered with soil. However, for one, death means new life read more…

Rooooooooom!!

Every man who has gone through National Service in Singapore has his own favourite story to tell. Usually, they’re hilarious tales of being ‘tekan’ (disciplined) by their army sergeant. Mine was the room inspection.

It may sound unreasonable now but, back in the day (there I go again), the officer would suddenly show up in our room of 16 men in bunks without warning or appointment. The accompanying sergeant would shout “ROOM!”, the recruits would jump to attention and the officer and the sergeant would then inspect the room.

To the new recruits who had yet to appreciate the discipline, the gruelling drill looked more like an excuse for torture. The inspectors ran their fingers in the most obscure areas like the underside of the table or the top of the cabinet. In a room of Ah Boys who were read more…

Don’t Forget Your Mission

I’m glad the elections are over! Don’t get me wrong, I believe the exercise of our votes is the most fundamental act of a functioning democracy, and it’s a responsibility that we need to take seriously.
 
At the same time, a week is about as much of social media political frenzy I can handle. All of a sudden, everyone has a degree in political science. The coffeeshop political pundits come out in full force. Dubious exposé about various candidates surface, and sound bites suddenly defined a whole person’s life. Of course, elections come with its own share of funnies:
 
“Everyone told me to vote wisely, but I couldn’t find ‘wisely’ on my polling card.” Nandos announced, “We too have an East Coast plan… we now deliver to the East Coast!”
 
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