Paradox

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.

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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

Ever wandering, ever restless

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.

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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

Transient Sunset

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.

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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

Bittersweet Fruits

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Our computer is finally up again! Although it has been a bittersweet year, we are truly grateful for God’s Blessings.

Renee’s mum’s first hospital stay also turned out to be her last. God brought her home on the 19th of Jan. What has remained are happy memories spent with her, especially on Sundays. She loved the poinsettia we bought for her last Christmas, so now every poinsettia becomes a reminder of her.

Ben finally found a job last December after more than a year. With fears of retrenchment still fresh in his mind and a weak economy, holding on to a totally unfamiliar job was and still is a great challenge. Thanks be to God!

Renee discovered her eye problems during her mum’s hospitalisation, and sufferred a retina tear in July. Despite the blurry vision and innumerable floaters, she has been trying to paint as and when she could. God’s gift of sight is so precious. How else can we see our loved ones and God’s many wonderful creations?

In this time and age where families are often busy and seldom together, we are grateful to God that we can still pray with our children, and spend time together every now and then.  Yesterday, we enjoyed ourselves as a family at Universal Studios. Having booked the tickets online earlier, we were worried about the weather as torrential rains have been the norm this December. The weather turned out perfect yesterday, but it started raining again today!

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We stumbled upon Elmo, left alone, on a bench as we came home last week from our Christmas shopping. What a poignant reminder from God. While people are rejoicing and enjoying their festivities, there will always be someone out there feeling a little lonelier and sadder during this period. Let’s not forget them.

We pray that we will have a closer walk with the Lord in 2017 and that we will always remain faithful to HIM.

May God grant love, joy and peace to you, your families and in all your hearts.

Love and blessings from Ben and Renee and our family

Blackout !

Our desktop computer decided to take an early Christmas break last Sunday. It chose to shut down after a computer update! We are praying that all our photos, art and everything else remain intact in the hard disk when the technician comes down to repair it this evening.  The last time it happened years ago, we lost everything we stored in the computer. Oh well…

Now and again, we are reminded to detach ourselves from what is temporal and seek what is eternal.

What better time to reflect about this than now, just days before Christmas?

Ben and Renee

Face to Face

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During a visit to the zoo several months ago, we were enthralled by the rare sight of two white tigers swimming in the waters. Previously, we could only view them from a distance, lying on the rocks across a wide moat. But this time, we could see them up close.

While white tigers are rare, they are no less fearsome and awe-inspiring as the normal tigers. Yet, watching them chasing each other and splashing in the water offered us a completely new perspective of the white tigers. They displayed a playful and mischievous side to their characters. It took time for us to know and appreciate these white tigers.

Similarly, it took time for me to get to know and understand God too.

When i first knew God, He came across as almighty and powerful, a stern and authoritative father-figure, ever ready to pass His judgements on me. As i walked closer to Him, He evolved into a more loving Father, hugging and carrying me like a child on His shoulders. However, as my marriage and life unravelled, i became a teenager, asking Him why and seeking answers to the crises that ensued. I still had no answers, but slowly and surely, i began to learn and am still learning that He has the whole world in his hands. It is never easy to let go and let God be God.

But then, He created me as His daughter, and He knows best.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.         1 Cor 13:11-12   (NIV)

By Renee