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March 2003 | by Jack Sin

Most of us live our lives in the hustle and bustle of a demanding economic and international environment. Singaporeans are going through difficult and trying times in varying ways.

Our economy is in the doldrums, with 4.8% unemployment, economic retrenchment, and the looming prospect of war with Iraq.

Families are also under siege, with violence, break-ups, abuse and divorce on the increase. Some of our loved ones are suffering from debilitating illnesses.

We live in a world of terror and confusion. Many are restless, depressed, and encumbered with the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13:22).

Be still

Yet the psalmist exhorts: ‘Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth’ (Psalm 46:10). Paul also encourages us to meditate ‘upon these things’ (1 Timothy 4:15).

What are ‘these things’ that should saturate and fill our minds daily? In Timothy’s case they were ‘the words of faith and … good doctrine which you have carefully followed’ (1 Timothy 4:6).

So it was also for Joshua. God gave him the secret of success as he took over the leadership from Moses: ‘This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’ (Joshua 1:8).

Let the Word of Christ, therefore, dwell in us richly, filling our hearts and minds, with peace and thankfulness (Colossians 3:15-17).

Manage your thought life

Our minds are bombarded daily by worldly cares, temptations and allure-ments that draw us away from Christ and his Word.

We fight daily against the influences of the mass media — TV, DVDs, magazines, the Internet, chatrooms, secular con-versations, and enticing worldly sights and sounds.

Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that spiritual weapons are needed to combat these things — to cast down ‘arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God’ and to bring ‘every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

As Christians, we need to manage our thought life — to pause and ponder, to retreat purposely from this world and be alone with God.

Paul points the way: ‘brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy — think on these things’ (Philippians 4:8).

Wait upon God

As we are to pray, so we are to wait upon God (Mark 9:31). Isaiah 40:31 promises: ‘those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’.

Believers need to spend quality time to commune with the Lord — to read, meditate and memorise portions of Scriptures. We need to praise and worship God, giving time for private meditation and prayer. Equally, we should be regular in assembling with the saints for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Our Lord set us a perfect example: ‘in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, he went out, and departed to a solitary place; and there he prayed’ (Mark 1:35).

Pray for the family

Job, as a godly father, prayed for the spiritual well-being of his family.

‘When the days of feasting had run their course … Job would send and sanctify [his children], and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all … for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts”’ (Job 1:5).

Have you paused to pray for and with your family this week?

Strive to be refreshed by the presence of the Lord as you honour and seek him first. When was the last time you took time off from work or family to ‘be still and know’ that he is God (Psalm 46:10)?

We should heed the sweet refrain of the hymn: ‘Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord’.

Do not only be like busy Martha, but also like Mary and Lazarus who sat at the feet of Christ and learned to grow in the knowledge of his Word.

Nurture your soul

Let us regularly put aside the cares and burdens of temporal life and commune with Almighty God (Psalm 5:3; Daniel 6:10). Then we shall be spiritually refreshed and nourished in our souls — equipped for every good work to which the Lord calls us.

Let there be a strong resolve to nurture the spiritual well-being of our own (and others’) souls, as we wait patiently for the Lord to bless — and soon return (Psalm 27:14).