Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


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Excuse me! You Dare to Sin?

~ Dedicate to all mothers and those who have mothers ~

“Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…” (Genesis 3:16)

Recently my mind has been dwelling on the above verse quite often. I understand that this verse is directing at Eve. She sinned and she had to suffer for her sin. Nobody has any problem understanding this fact. What bothers me is the lasting effect of the consequence of her sin.

As the mother of all living, the effect of her sin is overwhelming and far reaching. With her single act of disobedience, the course of mankind has to be rewritten. Since then, until now, death is very real. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). There is no more direct mingling with our Creator. There is no more free access to the Tree of Life. We cannot enjoy the perfect life in the Garden of Eden. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).

Adam had to toil and labour. “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:17-19); He had to teach his descendants to toil and labour because the ground is cursed. Eve brought forth her children in sorrow and she had to submit to her husband. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). We do not bear Eve’s sin but the consequence of her sin affects us.

Therefore, when one sins, he will be punished and he suffers. The aftermath of his sin makes others to suffer also. Remember Daniel, Mordecai and Esther. They became the prisoners of war because of the sins of the Israelites. Remember also Caleb and Joshua. They had to suffer the additional 40 years of wandering in the wilderness due to the sins of the other 10 spies.

Twenty-six years ago I became a mother. It was tough. I had sleepless nights, tiredness, anxiety, helplessness…

Genesis 3:16 did not mention what kind of sorrow but all mothers have to experience some sort of it. Armed with my first experience, I thought my second pregnancy would be easier. It was not so. I still needed to go through the sorrow of the first kind and worst still, I have new sorrows.

Three months ago, my married daughter became a mother also. I thought I can be a great help to her based on my past experience. To my horror, what was laid in front of me is just simply different from what I have experienced. Even though armed with twenty six years of wisdom as a mother, I could not alleviate my daughter’s sorrow of bringing forth a child. At times I even have this feeling that I must have lent more sorrow to her instead of helping her. As I watch her going through these three months of motherhood and anticipate many more months and years ahead of her, I could not help but ask God for mercies on her and all mothers. I want to accept the reality of the consequence of Eve’s sin. There is no way to escape.

For thousands of years now the sufferings have been there and they will go on until the end of the world. If Eve knew that her sin would bring so much suffering to so many people for so many years, would she dare to sin? Get the answer from her someday. Do I dare to sin? I shudder when I think of what Eve had caused. Do you dare to sin? Please don’t.

Yes, Eve sinned. She suffered and she caused us to suffer also.

Yes, God surely punishes those who sin and He surely also blesses those who are not in it.  Daniel, Mordecai and Esther  thrived well in the land of the enemies. God protected Caleb and Joshua and they entered the Promised Land. God was with them and God is with us. Eve‘s sin affects us. Let us fear Him and He will give us wisdom and strength to raise up our children well. I have made it so far as a mother because I have relied on Him and also I have a godly husband and I live among godly people.

Thank God! We also have a great Deliverer and a Comforter. He can deliver us from suffering and comfort us. He provides a way of escape. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Do I hate Eve? No, definitely not because I am a great sinner myself and I have made the Son of God to suffer for me by dying on the cross. I have made and will continue to make many more around me to suffer when I sin.

Do I dare to sin? No, definitely not. I also do not want to have a part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. May God help me.

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My Mother’s Riches

There must be something pretty special about a mother who can raise a daughter oblivious to the poverty she lived in. I didn’t even know I was poor until I was in primary two. I had everything I needed; two brothers and a sister to play with, books to read, bible stories at bedtime, a friend in a handmade Raggedy doll, and clean clothing my mother skillfully mended or often made herself. My hair was washed and braided by my mother each morning for school, my white shoes carefully washed and my uniform neatly ironed. I was blissfully happy at school, loving the smell of the new crayons and the thick art paper the teacher handed out for projects. I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, earning the coveted privilege of taking the class register from the staff room everyday.

I still remember the feeling of pride as I went by myself up the stairs of the school to deliver that day’s register. As I returned to my classroom, I met two older girls going back up the stairway. “Look, it’s the poor girl,” one whispered to the other, and they giggled. Face flaming red and choking back tears, the rest of the day was a blur.

Walking home that day, I tried to sort out the conflicting feelings that the girl’s comments had wrought. I wondered why the girls thought I was poor. I looked down critically at my uniform and for the first time noticed how faded it was, a crease at the hem visibly announcing that the pinafore was a hand-me-down. Despite the fact that the heavy boy’s shoes were the only kind with enough support to keep me from walking on the sides of my feet, I was suddenly embarrassed that I wore ugly white boy’s shoes.

By the time I got home, I felt sorry for myself. I felt as if I were entering a stranger’s house, looking critically at everything. I saw the torn curtains, smudged fingerprints on the old paint in the doorways. Dejected, I didn’t respond to my mother’s cheery greeting In the kitchen, where she prepared cream crackers and milo for a snack. I was sure the other girls in school didn’t have to have cream crackers. I brooded in my room until dinnertime, wondering how to approach the topic of poverty with my mother. Why hadn’t she told me, I wondered. Why did I have to find out from someone else?

When I had worked up enough courage, I went out to the kitchen. “Are we poor?” I blurted out, somewhat defiantly. I expected her to deny it, defend it, or at least explain it away, so I wouldn’t feel so bad about it. My mother looked at me contemplatively, not saying anything for a minute. “Poor?” she repeated, as she set down the paring knife she’d been peeling potatoes with. “No, we’re not poor. Just look at all we have,” she said, as she gestured toward my brothers and sister playing in the next room.(1 Tim 6:6-7) “For godliness with contentment is great gain. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Through her eyes I saw the lamp that filled the house with warmth, the colorful curtains and homemade rag rugs that decorated the house, the plate full of cream crackers on the counter. Outside the flat I saw the playground that offered so much fun and adventure for four children. She continued, “Maybe some people would think we are poor in terms of money, but we have so much.” And with a smile of contentment, my mother turned back to preparing a meal for her family, not realizing she had fed far more than an empty stomach that evening.

She had fed my heart and soul.

“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7)
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

My mother has taught us from a young age and by her example that the most important thing in life can never be bought by money.  It is far more important to be rich in the sight of God than in the sight of men.

“So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21)

How blessed am I to have a godly mother!

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God knew, in His great wisdom,
That children need tender-loving care,
So He put His little children
In a loving mother’s care.

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That Mean Old Mother of Mine

“I had the meanest mother in the world.  While other kids had cokes and potato chips for lunch, I had to eat my vegetable and rice.  As you can guess, my  dinner was different from the other kids also.  But at least I wasn’t alone in my suffering.  My sister and two brothers had the same mean mother I did.
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19: 18)

My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times.  You would think we were on a chain gang.  She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing and who were we talking to over the telephone.  She insisted that if we said we’d be gone one hour or less—no one hour and one minute.  I am nearly ashamed to admit it, but she actually struck us.  Not once, but each time we did as we pleased.  Can you imagine someone actually hitting a child just because he disobeyed and showed disrespect?  Now you can begin to see how mean she really was.
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 23:13)

The worse is yet to come.  We had to be in bed by ten each night and up early the next morning.  We could not sleep till noon like our friends.  So while they slept—my mother had the nerve to break the child labour law.  She made us work.  We had to wash dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, and all sorts of cruel things.  I believe she lay awake at night thinking up mean things to do to us.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

She always insisted upon our telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it killed us—and it nearly did.  By the time we were teen-agers, she was much wiser and our life became even more unbearable.  She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates and friends come to the door to get us and not allowing us to secretly meeting them up outside.  I forgot to mention while my friends were dating  at the mature age of fifteen and sixteen, my old fashioned mother refused to let me date until age eighteen  and nineteen.  That is if you dated only to go to a school function.  That was twice a year!
Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight.” (Proverbs 12: 22)

My mother was a complete failure as a mother.  None of us ever had been arrested for shop-lifting or cheating.  Each of my brothers served his time in the service of this country and now holding honest jobs.  Whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out.  You’re right, our mean mother.  Look at the things we missed.  We never got to be involved with gang fights,  smoke, get drunk and a million and one thing our friends did.  She forced us to grow up into God fearing educated honest adults.
Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Using this as a background, I’m trying to raise my three children.  I stand a little taller, and I am filled with pride my children call me mean.  Because you see, I thank God that He gave me the “meanest” mother in the world.
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Proverbs 1:8)

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When we think of our mothers,
We draw nearer to God above,
For only God in His greatness
Could fashion a mother’s love.

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The Other Woman

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I had started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife’s idea. “I know that you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise. “But I love YOU,” I protested. “I know, but you also love her.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

“What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late-night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

“I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”

She thought about it for a moment, then said; “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited at the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.

“I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy.

My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Halfway through the entree, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favour,” I respond.

During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you”. I agreed.

“How was your dinner-date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn’t be there but, nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you.”

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off to “some other time”.

(1 Cor. 13.13) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

~  Adapted  ~

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Prov 23:22  Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Though my mother had passed away more than 20 years ago.  She is still so dear to my heart.  I remember whenever we visited her, she would always sit silently listening to us talk to one another.  Quietly watching her grandchildren playing and making noise.  She would cook for us and always give the best to us.

I remember clearly when my siblings and I were young, we used to sleep on bed-bugs infested mattresses.  We were bitten so badly that we couldn’t sleep well, and we complained to our mother.  Then, we saw our mother waiting up in the middle of the night to kill the bed bugs (the bugs are normally more active at night). She did this so that we could have a good night sleep.

Mothers make sacrifices for their children readily.  They are committed to training their children and teaching them so that they will grow up with good character. (1 Pet 3:4)  “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”  It’s more important to be beautiful inside than on the outside.

Mother’s Day is coming, let us do something to express our love to our own mother.

~     Dorcas Chee   ~