Mid-autumn festival is also known as Mooncake Festival. The locals here sometimes call it Lantern Festival. Whatever the name might be, the month-long celebration in the Lunar calendar is filled with food, get-togethers and festivities.
When we were young, mooncakes would be sold only once a year at this time. We used to carry our lit handmade lanterns and pay visits from house to house. We were rewarded with chestnuts, mooncakes and pomelos. There were memorable events like lantern-guessing riddles where we could win prizes too.
In this current time, while we are facing uncertainty amidst the unrest all over the world, God continues to bless us with festivals and joyful moments to cheer our hearts. Like a good father to his beloved children. By Ben
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices,
They shout joyfully together;
For they will see with their own eyes
When the Lord restores Zion Isaiah 52:7-8
An interesting wall that I came across last week:
It’s a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s untiring effort in working within us.
We are a work-in-progress, if we are willing, until we are ready to be offered as an aromatic cup of morning coffee for the Lord. By Ben
Therefore beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not when I am near to you only, but now when I am far from you, all the more, with awe and with trembling, do the service of your life. For God is carefully working in you both to desire and to do that thing which you desire. Phil 2:12-13
Jesus said to the woman : “Then neither do I condemn you,”
“Go now and sin no more.” John 8:11
As the saying goes, “God has a soft spot for sinners”. Jesus is longing for our return and repentance. And we are indeed very blessed to have the sacrament of reconciliation where we can hear Him saying to us – “neither do I condemn you”. By Ben
“It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!” Matt 7:21-28
Perhaps this is one of the most soul-gripping pictures painted with authority by Jesus to us as disciples. For I may be a regular church-goer, giving donations to the poor, healing the sick with prayers, or calling the Lord’s name in praise and worship – and the response from the Lord on the last day is: “I have never known you!”
Sensible men will choose the Rock.
Stupid men will decide for Sand.
They are not far apart.
We just need to act on them…wisely.
I have ended up jobless again recently when the company I was working for was struggling with cash-flow. There is no hard-feelings on my part towards the dismissal though, as I could somehow see God’s hand in all that took place. The timing couldn’t be better as our daughter has just completed her university studies and our son has just enlisted into the army. Our financial concerns have lessened. And making myself available to assist them when they are moving on to a new phase of life can be helpful.
We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. 2 Cor 4:8-10
More often than not, we experience Jesus’s power in our moments of difficulty, pain and loneliness. He chose to make his presence known in a paradoxical manner like a black-and-white photo or a dead-and-resurrected life. My prayer, in whatever circumstance, is to be able to know and thank Him for being there all this time. Amen. By Ben
Time passes quickly. We are already half way through the Lent period. My job was reduced (from full time to part time) and my salary too! But I thank God that I still have a job and some extra time to spend with my family as well as time to prepare for Easter.
We saw this pair of Lemurs at close range at the zoo. They reminded me of the times when I turned away from God and my family. Ever wandering, ever restless.
Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord. Hosea 14:2
May the Lord, in His victory over sin and death, grant us the spirit of repentance and sincerity in turning our hearts back to God. Amen. By Ben
I am a morning person and am not fond of dusk except for the beauty of the sunset. It is as if God is playing a slow motion video in the sky, with transient colours by the minutes. Just like this one taken near the seaport – it was breathtaking but did not last.
Nevertheless, regardless of my preference, I shall thank and praise the Lord for every moment and everything. For one day my senses may not be good enough to appreciate the people and things around me. By Ben
From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised. Ps113:3