Busy!

Busy Painting_134006

Busy playing. Busy writing. Busy doodling. We’re always occupied – too busy for each other. And yes, sometimes we are too busy for God too. But we are thankful to God whenever our family can spend precious time together.

Sometimes we are like the seeds that fell among thorns:

but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

But we are constantly reminded by Jesus to be the good seed that produces crop:

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.

We may not always produce a hundred fold. What matters is that we persevere and continue to be fruitful in our faith. We may not be on Godselfie as often as we would like to be, but God will surely lead the way.

By Renee

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Not 1 letter, Not 1 stroke

Ink Painting #1

A Traditional Chinese Medicine therapeutic massage made my right wrist/thumb worse. Five acupuncture sessions helped reduce some inflammation and pain. It has been eight months already. The healing process was slow, and there was not much i could do to hasten it. Only patience…

I hadn’t expect the healing to take so long when i signed up for a sponsored short course in ink painting. Wearing a hand guard, i went for the first class with much apprehension. Miraculously, by the grace of God, despite it being the first time i was holding a brush again, i didn’t have as much pain as i’d expected.

Repeating the same strokes over and over again was difficult and tedious. Again, patience was what i learnt.

As i practised stroke after stroke, these words kept recurring in my mind:

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.   Matt 5:18-20  (NIV)

Through God, I learnt much more than ink painting that day.     By Renee

Still on the Right Hand

Three times we encountered a person who could only use one hand – the left hand.

Our daughter’s good friend had only a left hand, but she had become so adept at doing things with just that hand, and was fairly independent. It was pretty amazing and inspiring.

Recently, while selling a guitar hard-case to a man on Carousell, we realised with a shock that he actually had only one left hand. Worried that it might be too heavy for him and that it was also raining heavily, he left reassuring us that he could manage by himself.

When having tea at our favourite coffee joint on a Sunday, a burly man came and shared the table with us. We didn’t take much notice of him. Later, he called a friend over to take out a tissue from a packet for him. Only then did we discover that he had been drinking his coffee and texting using his only left hand all the time!

Coincidences? Certainly, these were God-sent coincidences. I’d wondered what His message was to me. Here were three persons with a permanent disability, yet they had mastered the ability to use the only hand they had and carry on with their lives.

What more can i say about the difficulty or pain in my right hand? I count my blessings and thank God that i still have limited use of my hand.

Healing takes patience and time, and patience is what He is teaching me.   By Renee

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   Romans 12:11-12

I am free!

 

We have picked up many birds in the past – not 1, 2 or 3 but almost 10! God coincidentally ‘dropped down” birds over a period of time, and we tried to nurse and rear them. Unfortunately, most didn’t survive but there were two which were particularly memorable. They were 2 yellow-vented bulbuls.

The first one dropped from its nest in a sealing wax palm tree near to where our daughter had her weekly piano lessons. The children grew very fond of ‘Tweety’. For some months she was a free flying in-house bird, and would come flying to their hands whenever she was called. She loved preening her wings and perching on our shoulders. Some months later, she got frightened by a crow, and flew right out of our apartment’s kitchen window. We think she was eaten by the crow.

Our children were devastated and asked for another one. We told them there wouldn’t be any more.

But, God literally dropped another bulbul below the same tree just 2 weeks later! {Children’s prayers are very powerful indeed.) This one was covered in ants and we took some time to nurse it back to health. Pete grew to be the family’s pet. When Ben teased him, he would take cover between my feet while i was doing the dishes. When i went outside to do the gardening, he would stay on my shoulder and peck at my hair or the petunias. He would fly into the bathroom to have his bird bath or play hide and seek with the children. Some time later, he started to do weird dances by displaying his feathers or he would perch on our front gate and sing for hours.

One day, we accidentally dropped a pile of papers on the floor behind him. It gave him such a fright that Pete flew right out of the building. He never found his way back home.

We were sad. But on the other hand, we were hopeful. Pete is free at last, the sky is his limit now.

God made us to be free.  Jesus has set us free. Yet, sometimes we still continue to live in the cages of our own making – in our sins, in our pride and in our past.   By Renee

“… those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ”  Isa 40:31  

Thumbs Up for Jesus!

It’s only a thumb. No, it is more than a thumb. Without the use of my right thumb, i couldn’t do the many many things that i had taken for granted.

I couldn’t brush my teeth or wash my hair properly. I couldn’t cut, write or do much of the household chores. I struggled to learn how to do things with my left hand. When i failed to draw even a straight line or a decent circle with my left hand, i realised how  over-reliant i had been on my right hand for everything.

When you can’t see and do much, you inadvertently turn inwards. These past six months have been a time of constraint and self-reflection for me. It has taught me to cherish everything that God has blessed me with.

I can’t imagine my life without God in it. Can you?   By Renee

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You, Lord, know it completely…

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

A Holy and Blessed Easter to everyone! Alleluia! Alleluia!  From Ben & Renee

ICON with Emotion

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an icon paints a thousand pictures.

Just like this famous Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from the 13th century, it is an unending source for spiritual inspirations and meditations.  A follower of Jesus can find emotional comfort and solace in every situation simply by staring at this Icon.

 

The icons that we are familiar with and use widely in cyberspace are very different.

 

These symbols, or Emoticons, each depict only one meaning. The famous LOL represented by this icon above supposedly means laughing out loud. Once, instead of actually laughing, I overheard a young man saying “LOL” to a joke that his friend told him. By using emoticons freely he has missed out the emotional response to a joke and, needless to say, a good dose of endorphins to keep him healthy.

In this last week of Lent, may Our Lady of Perpetual Help continue to walk with us and guide us closer to our Lord Jesus.     By Ben

Tiger vs Jezebel

What is in a name? Lots! Especially when you happen to be a gentle short-lived butterfly who’s unfortunately called Plain Tiger or worse, Painted Jezebel.

 

We like to name things or classify people by our association with them, their symbolism or their appearance.

Unlike God.

No matter how scarlet our sins may be, whether a liar, a thief or an adulterer, He still does not label us. No ‘tiger’ or ‘jezebel’. Simply a Child of God.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  1 John 3:1

Lord Jesus, give us the grace to love as you love, to forgive as you forgive, and to strive for perfection each and every day especially during this Lent. Amen.

By Renee