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Written by Pastor Eric Kwan

During the last few weeks, we experienced the effects of the more stringent measures imposed to prevent the greater spread of the Covid-19 Virus.

“Stay at Home” is the advice from Ministry of Health especially to the elderly. Yes! Please stay at home to protect yourself from being infected by the virus; and from being a burden to others should we contact the virus.

We will be putting up another section “Home Sweet Home” in our SALT Website under the “Activities” column. In this new section, we will provide news and insights how you can enjoy a sweet home as you do for yourself simple, delightful things towards active ageing. For a start, read about the recent pilot-run cooking class recipe conducted by Philip Chng in January 2020. We will also include links on delightful and enjoyable home gardening and sewing too.

As the lyrics of the evergreen song composed by John J. Payne and Henry R. Bishop goes:

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home……..

Home, sweet home, there’s no place like home.”

As Seniors, we want to sweeten our homes. A beautiful house is made of bricks and mortars, but a sweet home is made of love and care. The partial lockdown is God’s way of reminding us to sweeten our homes and to enjoy it before the Lord calls us to our divine Heavenly Home.

Yes, let us make it our choice to stay at home. With some effort ours is “Home Sweet Home”. You may want to act on the following:

Stay Informed

We need to stay informed as to what is happening in our country and also in the world. During the second world war, leaflets were dropped by military planes. In our modern society, we could stay informed through the radio, television and especially our mobile phones. It is important to know what is happening everyday as we stay at home. It is not suggesting that we should be glued to our electronic devices. There are also other important things that we need to do to sweeten our homes.

It is critical that we learn to be discerning by listening only to reliable sources and discard all kinds of fake news. Don’t share anything that you are not sure if they are from a reliable source.

Stay Watchful

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

We are fighting not only against the Covid-19 virus, but we are also fighting a spiritual warfare. God’s Word exhorts us to stay watchful and to stay sober-minded against our adversary which is the devil – the deadly invisible enemy. He seeks to draw us into sin and to forsake the Lord with all his crafty devices. He will cast doubts and fears upon us. This is how we are to fight against the devil - James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Jesus instructs us to be always watching and also praying to our Heavenly Father (Mark 14:38). Do remember to set aside time each day to commune with the Lord.

Stay Focused

We are to stay focused on Jesus. This is because

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is not only our Saviour and Redeemer, He is also our good Shepherd and Loving Ruler. Our ultimate existence on this earth is to do His will and not our will. As we go through this period of testing, we stay focus on Jesus who alone will be able to carry us through the crisis. We stay focused on Jesus by meditating on His teachings and instructions in the gospels.

Stay Peaceful

Hebrews 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Conflicts are inevitable. This is due to our sinful habits and attitudes. However, we are exhorted to strive for peace with everyone and especially those in the same household.

First, we are to make peace with God and the peace of God will flow through us. So, stay in peace with God and with our family members. Remove anything in our lives that will hinder a peaceful relationship – pride, anger, impatience, negative spirits of envy and jealousy, and selfishness. Pray for forgiveness from the Lord and seek forgiveness when we have sinned against one another.

Stay Holy

1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

The key phrase is “be holy in all your conduct”. This is practical holiness not positional holiness. We are all made holy by the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the washing of our sins through the blood of Christ. But, we are required to live a holy life - a life that is not conformed to the passions of this earth in disobedience to His commandments.

We stay holy by keeping in mind our obligations to abide by the instructions given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. For example, to keep away from doing anything sinful – lying, boasting, coveting, swearing, gossiping, etc…

Stay Calm

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This is actually a command, but one that’s difficult to obey, particularly when faced with a crisis situation. We tend to be anxious about everything. We should put all our anxieties in Jesus’ hands. He says we can go to Him and He will give us rest (Matt 11:28-30), so just put everything in His hands by putting “everything in prayer.” If you feel stressed, go to the Lord in prayer.

(Photo: MacRitchie Reservoir)

Stay Reflective

It is time to do some housekeeping by taking out your old photo albums and reorganising them. Start recalling those good old days and be thankful to God for His strength and protection. This is also a good opportunity to share with your family members the struggles you encountered in life and how you were able to overcome them by God’s grace.

The key is to tell your story and be thankful to God.

Stay Fit

Staying home and staying healthy are crucial all of us. Physical exercise is a major part of staying fit. You and I must stay fit. Exercise every other day, or even daily.

Hiking or walking is a good form of exercise. SALT has organised many hikes and walks. Some of you might not be familiar with the hiking trails and at this moment we are unable to organise any group hiking activities. Nevertheless, do keep walking in the parks near your home and remember to keep a safe distance from other walkers.

It is recommended by the Health Promotions Board that we should try our best to log in at least 10,000 steps daily. In order for us to achieve our daily exercise goals, do remember to do your deep breathing exercises as you brisk walk.

Stay Healthy

Staying healthy includes eating a healthy diet and adequate sleep. We have to avoid over-eating and putting on excess weight. It is important that we calculate our BMI (Body Mass Index) and find out our ideal weight. It is a good habit to go on to the weighing machine every week and to keep in check our idea body weight.

There is enough information from the Health Promotions Board website to help us to know how to eat well and stay healthy.

Sleep and rest are important. Avoid staying up late in the night to watch movies and disrupt a good sleeping pattern. For those suffering from insomnia, seek help from your doctor.

Stay Connected

Staying at home means you have time. You have lots and lots of time to listen. So, no more excuses. In the past, it was, “Honey, I am busy” or “Son, talk to you later.” To stay connected, we need to learn the art of listening. Make a conscious effort to say, “I am here. I am listening.” At the same time, to prepare for the story to start from 1960 and be ready to hear the ‘same record playing over and over again’. Learning to listen not only with your ears but with your heart is crucial. That is the best way. This is the best time to rebuild relationships, renew friendships and restore communication in the family. But someone must be there to listen.

Stay in Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”.

Let us continue to be in much prayer for God’s mercies to stop this Covid-19 pandemic. Do remember to pray especially for the leaders of our Government to be blessed with His wisdom, understanding and guidance to make all the right decisions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Pray for the many Professional, Occupational and Volunteer medical teams and individuals who are in the frontline serving with dedication and selflessness towards the call of responsibility and beyond for the healthcare and well-being of all living in Singapore. PRAY for God's love and care on these people and their families. Let us also pray for ourselves and our families for God’s protection and care against being infected by the virus.

In Conclusion

Be happy staying at home. Home is where you learn…..

To Laugh; To Share; To Live; To Love; To Forgive.

Bring this to the knowledge and attention of family members. Many of the above can be carried out as a family unit, thereby bonding.

May the Lord grant us a Sweet Home as we stay at home.

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