Turn Back

Girl at GardensBTB_182347

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
            Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

      It will be healing to your body
            And refreshment to your bones…

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
            Or loathe His reproof,

      For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
            Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

      How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
            And the man who gains understanding.

Prov 3:7-8 , 11-13  (NASB)

By Renee

Brushes in Life

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Ironically, i found myself painting more after i had eye problems. Funny how it’s only when we know we may lose something valuable that we start to cherish whatever we have. Far better to use it now than regret it later.

In order not to strain my eyes too much, i started painting smaller pieces. I also joined a group doing Still Life as well as en plein air. I found myself appreciating more of God’s creations when painting actual scenes instead of using photo references. There is a certain kind of joy painting live objects, under the warmth of the sun and amidst the atmosphere of a place.

I feel peace when i’m completely absorbed in my painting, even when i’m surrounded by people or other distractions. For once, I no longer have to worry about how others may judge my painting but just simply enjoying the process.

What’s more important is that i have since stopped asking God whether painting is really what He wants of me. Now, i simply ask Him what else He wants me to paint. Is there a message that He wants me to convey through my paintings?

In spite of my blurry vision, the doctor recently told me that the condition of my eyesight was still stable. I was surprised. But knowing that everything is in God’s hands, i decided to place my trust in God.

So here i go, letting my humble brushes paint whatever God inspires. Praise be to God always!       By Renee

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Rock or Sand

“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

 

Boat Rock or Sand 20170327_014Perhaps 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!”

Scary.

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.

By Ben

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

A Dog’s Tale

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This was supposed to be a painting in memory of an old woman and her dog. Sadly, the painting of the woman turned out disastrous without a reference photo, and so i was left with only her dog.

In the village where i used to live, there was an old neighbour and her faithful companion. Wherever she went, he(?) followed. Every evening, both would take a stroll to the village entrance where she would sit on a stone bench. The woman had her walking stick and her dog would lie down beside her seat. There, she would wave or have a chat with anyone who walked by.

One day, she passed away. At her wake, everyone was touched by the sight of her dog lying beside her coffin. I could never forget the forlorn look in the eyes of her faithful companion. He refused to leave her side or eat anything. Shortly after, he passed on too.

This unforgettable story often reminds me of two other relationships in the scriptures – that of Mary and John, with Jesus.

While Martha was busy with all the preparation, her sister, Mary, chose what was more important and “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. (Luke 10.:39)

John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, was the one who leaned on His chest, which showed how close he was to Jesus. John was also the courageous apostle who stood by Jesus right to the end, at the foot of the Cross. (John 19:25-27)

How faithful are we to our own Master, our Saviour?     By Renee

The Spirit prays…

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We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.   Roman 8:26  (NIV)

Dear Lord,

grant us Your Peace in this peace-less world;

grant us your Hope in the midst of despair;

grants us Your Joy in our sadness and suffering.

We hold on to the peace that this world cannot give,

We cling to the Hope that our Faith brings,

And we rejoice knowing that You have given us Your most precious gift – the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Who’s Calling…

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When i was young, i used to hog this black phone for hours on calls with friends. I was constantly getting scolded by my parents as it was the only phone for use by the whole family as well as for my dad’s work.

Fast forward 30-ish years and now almost everyone owns a mobile phone. For their own use alone. How much we have taken things for granted.

Our son has just been enlisted for compulsory military service. Suddenly, the mobile phone has turned into a precious commodity. No phone charging was allowed during his confinement period. He was constantly worried about using his 3 power banks before the 2 weeks were up. Phone calls were restricted to only once a night, and even then, there were days he went without. Every call, every minute has become so precious for us to hear his voice, to find out how he’s coping and how tough it is.

It makes me realise how the disciples of Jesus must have felt when Jesus told them that He was going away. All this while, they had Him with them. Suddenly, He was leaving them. They felt lost. But He promised that He would never leave them alone. He would send them His Advocate. All they needed to do was wait…

And so we wait… for the Gift of His Holy Spirit.    By Renee

Jesus said, ‘… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
  As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight.    (Acts 1:9-11)