EASTER Sunday, 12th. April 2020

Proverbs 12.25
Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up. (NIV)
Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up. (NLT)
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad. (ESV)

HE IS RISEN! Hallelujah! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

Who was present at the Crucifixion? The scriptures recorded many were following from a distant. Only four women were close by Jesus. John Mark was there. The rest of the apostles most probably ran to hide out of fear of persecution. Anxiety and despair must have filled their hearts. Anxiety and uncertainty sent the disciples back to where they came from. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection transforms their fear into hope. Praise God as we celebrate Easter today, we thank God for Jesus overcoming death and giving us eternal hope.
We are looking at Proverbs chapter 12. This chapter has four sections. Pro. 12.1-7 This first section contains six two-lines which contrast the behaviour of the wicked with the righteous. The second section, Pro. 12.8-12, this section focus on the contrast between the diligent person and a lazy person. The third section, Pro. 12.13-23, this section deals with wise speech and silence. It shows the contrast as to how a wise person differs from a foolish person in the manner they speak. The last section, Pro. 12.24.-28, these last few verses summarize the value of diligence over laziness.

I like us to zero in on one verse Pro. 12.5 “Anxiety weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” Anxiety in Hebrew is deagah which means concern, anxious care. It can also mean fear, heaviness, or sorrow. Anxiety is a nervous preoccupation with what is beyond our control.

The word weighs in Hebrew is shachah which means to bow down, to bring homage, or bring down. This nervous preoccupation of anxiety is such a weight that bends us over or bring us down emotionally, physically and even spiritually.

Anxiety is a crippling emotion. It grips a person and causes many other problems, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We feel like we are all alone facing it. We see people with anxiety all around us. We see in our family, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbours and even feel it ourselves. With the announcement of the extension of the Control Movement Order, our anxiety grows heavier. What will happen to my job, my business, how to pay for my instalments, my food bills, etc? Children’s education, the list will go longer and longer.

Where can we hear or find a good word, an encouraging word, a kind word that will lighten the weight in our hearts? Pro. 17.22 talks about “A merry heart is good medicine,” and the second half of this verse says “but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Another version says, “but a broken spirit dries the bones.” This is exactly what anxiety does to us. It dries us up, there is not much life flowing through any more. The power of the resurrected Christ is interested in us. He wants to set us free from this bondage of anxiety and uncontrollable fear of our future. If He can overcome death, there is nothing too hard for Him.

On Easter, I am thinking, how can we have an encouraging word for people all around us. My main ministry is the ministry of encouragement. Words of encouragement are free. The ministry of encouragement is best done by words spoken with love and compassion or caring acts for one another. James 2,15-16 says, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?”

Words are very important. They can do good or evil. They can either hurt or heal, comfort, uplift up or tear down, misled or redirect. As children of God, we can help a brother or a sister whose heart is heavy and burden down with kind words of comfort and strength from the word of God. Today, we can be an encourager.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thess. 5.11.

Prayer for today

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Ephesians 1.3

Holy Father, we thank you for this special day where we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. His death gives us life, gives us purpose and direction with eternal hope. We are grateful.

Lord, we want to lift up many who are down with heavy hearts because of the Coronavirus. Lord, help us to look to you for all our needs today. Grant us peace in our hearts, for we know you will never leave nor forsake us.

Lord, help us to be an encourager today. May we be able to speak kind words of encouragement to each other in our homes. May our words always be able to build each other up and not cut somebody down. May we be able to find words that are loving and compassionate.

Lord, our anxiety at times has caused us to feel depressed. Teach us to trust you, to praise you in all circumstances, give us the ability to look beyond with hope in Christ. (Proverbs 12.25; Psalm 46.1 ; Psalm 34.1; Psalm 37.9; Philippians 4.8)
Can you think of 3 persons in our life that always seem to be an encouragement to you when they talk to you? Thank God for them. Use three words, how friends would describe the way you talk. Stop and reflect for a moment.

Ask God to bring to our mind encouraging words that are refreshing for others. Think of at least three words that will lift someone up today. People right in your home, a friend who is struggling, call or WhatsApp the persons the Lord lays on your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us to develop the ability to speak kind and gentle words of encouragement. May our words always bring life and blessings to those around us.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4.8-9

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Pastor Isaac Yim

xxx

复活节 12.04.2020
作者:严以撒牧师

人心忧虑、屈而不伸.一句良言、使心欢乐。(箴言12:25)

祂复活了!哈利路亚!祂的确复活了!
谁在陪伴着耶稣受难?从所记载的经文,我们看到许多人是在远方跟随着。耶稣附近只有四个女人。约翰•马可在那里。其余的门徒很可能为了躲避迫害而藏了起来。忧虑和绝望一定充满了他们的内心。忧虑和不确定性使门徒回到了原点。第三天,耶稣从死里复活。这个复活把他们的恐惧转变成希望。今天我们庆祝复活节时,我们赞美上帝,我们感谢上帝,因为耶稣战胜了死亡并带给我们永恒的盼望。

我们正在看箴言第12章。本章分为四个部分。箴言12:1-7第一部分包含六条并列的对照,这里将恶人与义人的行为进行了对比。第二部分,箴言 12:8-12,本节着重于殷勤的人与懒惰的人之间的对比。第三部分,箴言 12:13-23,本节讨论智慧的言语和沉默。它显示了一个智慧人与一个愚妄人在说话方式上的区别的对比。最后一个部分,箴言 12:24.-28,最后几节经文总结了殷勤过于懒惰的价值。

让我们集中于箴言 12:25“人心忧虑、屈而不伸.一句良言、使心欢乐。”忧虑在希伯来语中是deagah,是关注,焦虑的意思。它也有恐惧,沉重或悲伤的意思。当我们无法掌控事情的发展时,我们就会忧虑。在希伯来语中“屈”是shachah,意为低头,致敬或压低。这种紧张的忧虑情绪使我们在情感上,生理上甚至精神上使我们屈服或使我们沮丧。

忧虑是一种畸形的情绪。它会控制一个人,并在其身体,情感和精神上造成许多其他的问题。我们经常觉得只有自己一个人在面对。我们看看我们周围都充满着忧虑的人。我们看看我们的家人,朋友,同事,邻居,甚至我们自己。随着《行动管制令》的延长,我们的忧虑越来越严重。我的工作,我的业务,如何支付分期付款,我的伙食费等将会发生什么变化?还有关于孩子的学业,这份清单会越来越长,越来越长。

我们在哪里可以听到或找到一个好消息,一个鼓舞人心的消息,一个善良的消息,它将减轻我们内心的负担。箴言17.22谈到“喜乐的心、乃是良药”,而这节经文的后半部说:“忧伤的灵、使骨枯干。”这正是忧虑对我们的影响。它使我们枯干,再也没有生命的流露。复活的基督的能力将帮助我们。祂要把我们从忧虑和对未来无法掌控的恐惧的束缚中解脱出来。如果祂能战胜死亡,那么这些对祂来说也不是难事。

在这复活节,我在思想着,我们怎么对周围的人说一个鼓舞人心的话。我的主要事工是鼓励事工。鼓励的话是免费的。鼓励的事工,除了透过爱心及怜悯的言语,还要加上关怀他人的行动。雅各书2:15-16说:“若是弟兄、或是姐妹、赤身露体、又缺了日用的饮食“,16节而你说:“平平安安的去吧、愿你们穿得暖吃得饱.” —但是你不给那个人任何食物或衣服。这有什么用呢?”

言语是很重要的。它们可以做善或做恶。它们可以伤人或使人得医治,安慰人,鼓舞人或令人跌倒,误导人或使人重新获得方向。作为上帝的儿女,我们可以用上帝的话语来安慰和坚固,一些内心沉重和负担沉重的弟兄姐妹。今天,我们就可以成为一个鼓励者。
“所以你们该彼此劝慰、互相建立、正如你们素常所行的。” 帖撒罗尼迦前书5:11

陈月妃 译

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