Resources

Opportunities in the Midst of Loneliness

As a Christian, you may feel lonely, but you are not alone.

When our Lord Jesus was thinking about His impending trials before the authorities and crucifixion on the cross, He knew that all His disciples will desert Him and leave Him alone. Yet Jesus knew that He was not alone, for the Father was with Him:

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.  (John 16:32)

Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit living in them and therefore experiences the presence of God in their lives (John 14:12-17, 20). The Holy Spirit teaches Christians all things, reminds us of all the words of Jesus and guides us into all the truth (John 14:25-26; 16:13). Although God is always with Christians, we may very often not realise that He is present with us due to our plain inattention. Other reasons include fear, pain, loneliness, emptiness, guilt and shame in our lives. May all those drive us to God, rather than away from God! The reality is that God’s Spirit is with every Christian at all times, wherever one may be and whatever one may be going through. The truth is that God sees, God knows and God cares! Therefore, while we may feel lonely, especially in situations of restricted movement and social isolation, we can be confident that God is with us and learn to draw close to Him in prayer.

Some Christians have cultivated a close relationship with God and thereby learned to be better listeners to God’s voice through His Word and by His Spirit. If we want to grow in our relationship with God and the love of God, we would be wise to learn from fellow-disciples who are more advanced in the Christian spiritual life through their discipline and consistent practices. Below, we have recommended several books on that subject for your prayerful reading and personal practice. May this year truly be for all of us a year of spiritual transformation and greater discipleship!

Written by Ps Ivan Ho

During the ongoing pandemic crisis, here are some recommended resources, so that you can take opportunities to connect with God and to care for your body and soul.

Connect with God

SERMON

“Taking Opportunities in the Midst of Loneliness”, by Ps Matthew Lo: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1553

MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE

Psalm 25:14-18

Psalm 27:9-10

Psalm 68:5-6

Psalm 147:3

Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41:13

Matthew 28:19-20

John 14:12-20

John 14:25-27

John 15:4-5

John 16:29-33

1 Corinthians 10:13

Hebrews 13:5-6

1 Peter 5:6-11

READING BOOKS ON THE CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL LIFE

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald S. Whitney

Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster

Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, by Dallas Willard

Listening to God, by Joyce Hugget

Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, by Marjorie Thompson

Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, by Ruth Haley Barton

 

LISTENING TO HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS

Songs by Keith & Kristyn Getty with great lyrics and beautiful melodies:

The Lord Is My Salvationhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOGX5zT8KU

My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulnesshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qntf2Y_VNok

The Perfect Wisdom of our Godhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSnzYnOe6kI

 

Care for self

ENGAGING IN HEALTHY ACTIVITIES

Walking:

Jogging:

While you walk or jog alone, you can pray to God, meditate on Scripture verses, listen to Christian songs or sermons.

When you walk with your spouse or family member or close Christian friend, you can engage in deeper conversations, pray for each other or intercede for other people.

 

SEEKING TRAINED AND PROFESSIONAL HELP

Wesley Counselling Serviceshttps://home.wesleymc.org/counselling

(Wesley Counselling Services provides trained Christian counsellors to assist individuals and families during their times of struggle. They also provide non-religious counselling for non-Christians.)

The Haven Counselling Centrehttps://www.sbc.edu.sg/resources/haven-counselling-centre/

(The Haven is the counselling centre in the School of Counselling in Singapore Bible College. They provide face-to-face counselling for individuals, couples and families seeking help to address relational, emotional and psychological issues in their lives.)

Care Corner Counselling Centrehttps://www.carecorner.org.sg/counselling-centre

(Their centre seeks to instill hope and build resilience in individuals, couples and families through the provision of highly subsidised counselling services and groupwork to those affected by intra and interpersonal challenges and functioning. The Mandarin hotline is free and helpful for seniors.)

Psycare Consultantshttps://www.psycare.com.sg/

(Psycare Consultants Pte. Ltd. is a private psychological practice with a culturally diverse team of clinical psychologists and psychotherapists, who are committed to apply effective techniques of Neuro-Science and psychotherapy to meet the needs of people who consult with them.)

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Jonah 4:1-9
Fri, 28 January 2022

The Angry Man

Observation:

What question does God ask Jonah twice in this passage?

Deeper Reflection
IN CHAPTER 4 WE GET A GLIMPSE OF THE REBELLIOUS prophet’s true worldview and values. We would expect Jonah to be delighted that the Ninevites experienced God’s mercy, as he himself did (Jon 2:6). Then, the first word of chapter 4 – BUT – hits us like a sledgehammer. BUT Jonah was exceedingly displeased! He was angry! Why? Because, as verse 2 reveals, Jonah the rebellious prophet had not truly changed his perspective, even after his fish belly experience. He tells God: I told you so! That is why I never wanted to preach to the Ninevites – because I knew that You would forgive them. Jonah had preached, hoping that God would not be gracious to Nineveh, or that the Ninevites would not repent, thereby incurring judgment. Jonah resented God’s grace to the undeserving – except when he himself was the recipient.74 God asks Jonah a rhetorical question twice in verses 4 and 9: do you have a right to be angry? The second time, Jonah actually answers this question – YES, I DO, I’m angry enough to die. Aren’t we all somewhat petulant and immature like Jonah? We love God’s grace – primarily when it is extended to us. When we see others receive God’s grace, our first instinct may be to cry “Unfair!” rather than rejoice with them. Or we think it unfair when we do not receive the grace we (ironically) think we deserve. Jonah was very happy when God graciously provided him a plant (v.6), but furious when God took it away. God’s grace is His prerogative – we never have a right to demand it. And He is gracious to all!
74 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 443.
Application:

How do I deal with feelings of “unfairness” when I do not receive the blessings that I think I deserve, or when I see others blessed “more” than me?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for SGI leaders: That all small group leaders will depend deeply on God’s grace and serve others because of it
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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