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

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.

Lemur_IMG_8784

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

Stop Swimming

Koi 164625

Fishes, especially the Koi, are colourful and beautiful. Painting them is quite a challenge. Firstly, the moving water makes it difficult to capture them, and secondly, they do not stay still long enough for you to take a good photo. I ended up painting them using several photos as reference.

My mind is somewhat like that. It cannot keep still even when i’m praying. Before God can put in a word to me, my mind is off to something and everything else but Him. And i do have a long prayer ‘shopping list’ – the world, my country, the Church, my family, friends, our blog….

This morning, as i walked home from church, my usual habit was to pray as i walk along, looking at everything that He has created.

But all He said was “Be still …. and listen.” Not once, but twice. Inwardly.

How appropriate. It’s Lent.       By Renee

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.   Psalm 46:10  (NIV)

The Rugged Hands

It is human nature to like beautiful things. On the WordPress Reader-page, we are often attracted to nice pictures of people, sceneries and animals. Hence, I was hesitant when posting this photo of my 91 year-old mother’s hands. However, as I was holding and touching them last evening, I realised how indebted I am to this pair of hands. Although I received much chastisement from them but there were fond memories of their tender touch, leading and guiding me. These hands that are full of prominent dark veins and deformed knuckles were the result of long, hard labour, especially since my mum became a widow when I was eight. No amount of words can describe the pains and hardships she had to endure to bring up five children alone.mother of mine

Dear Jesus, I thank You for these hands.
I ask for Your grace and blessings on the one who used them to labour for love.
As these fingers run through each bead of the Rosary, may Your peace and joy descend upon my mother whom You have created for me. Amen.      By B

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Prov 31:31(NIV)

It is complete

Finally, my seven-month old neglected painting is complete, after painting it in three separate sittings. It is also symbolic of my desire and longing to return to my once-personal relationship with Jesus.

The self-taught artist in the painting (God sees man paints) travels everywhere to paint out of his love for painting. His easel is made out of an old camera tripod, fastened with a piece of plywood cut-out to hold his paintbox and water, along with an assortment of western and Chinese brushes, complete with a simple foldable canvas chair and a trusty old luggage bag. All these just to pursue his passion.

What is my passion?

Firstly, I hope to reignite my love for learning art in thanksgiving to God for healing my trigger fingers. Four years ago, i had difficulty holding a ladle to cook, turning on a tap or opening a can of sardines, let alone holding a pencil or a brush. Now that i can, i must persevere to paint while i am still able to. Far too often, we regret opportunities missed and talents underutilised; Graces ignored, unappreciated and wasted. And before you know it, a life has simply ended.

Secondly, i praise and thank God for saving my marriage and my family, and hopefully, through this humble blog, we can share with others His Love, His Mercy and His miracles in our lives. Now, more than ever, we know how much our marriage and our family is worth fighting for. By the Grace of God, we hope to never take any of these for granted.

Thirdly, and most importantly to me, i desire to keep following Jesus. To be a faithful and true follower of Christ.       By R

Then Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me!”  John 21:19 (NIV)

Life is fragile, handle it with love and prayer

28 Dec 2014.  Dad’s 10-year death anniversary. On this day, flight QZ 8501 from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore went missing. It was heartbreaking news. Whole families disappeared; many were returning to Singapore after spending Christmas holidays in Surabaya or coming here to spend their New Year holidays.

A family of seven coming here to join a cruise went missing.  A 15 year old girl waited in vain at the airport for her parents and two brothers to return. A father and infant were on that fateful flight, but the mother and her young daughter survived because they couldn’t get seats on the same plane. And many other stories of grief. It was heart wrenching when we heard of those left behind pining for their families, wishing they had been with them.

Then there are those 23 who missed the flight. A family of 10 arrived at the airport only to realise they had missed the rescheduled earlier flight all because they had missed emails and calls from the airline. What was anger directed at the airline quickly turned into immense gratitude. Another family of 5 cancelled holiday plans the night before when their grandpa fell sick.

Countries around the region rallied to help in the search and rescue operation, and failing which, now to locate and retrieve debris and bodies.

What have i learnt from this sad tragedy? Christ is at the heart of Christmas, family is the soul. It’s not the tree nor the gifts nor the party. Without Christ, there won’t be any Christmas. Without our family or loved ones, somehow Christmas is not quite complete. Christ Himself was also born into a family.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for our family, and we pray very much for those who have lost theirs, and those who are lonely.       By R

Finally… THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Gal 5:22-23  (NASB)

The final painting.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit!

It took me a month, from practice and more practice, to the completion of the final painting.

Sadly, the final completion also coincided with the lowest period, the most devastating and painful time of my life – the discovery of my husband’s infidelity. Overnight, my whole world collapsed. It was like being overwhelmed and buried under an avalanche, where you groped and searched desperately but you just couldn’t see the light. The husband, whom I loved so much, and the father, whom the children were so proud of, was not what he appeared to be. It was so heartbreaking and painful for the children and for me. If not for God’s timely and unexpected intervention and His grace, our family would inevitably have broken up.

After years of marriage, serving as a couple in various ministries of the church, praying the Bible together nightly as a family, going to church together, a loving close-knitted family…  Why Lord???

My faith in God and my belief in the sacrament of marriage were put to the test. It brought out the worst in me which didn’t surface before, and which I never knew existed, until this trial… I had none of the fruits of the Spirit in me.

I am learning to let go and let God be God in my life. Truly, to err is human but to forgive is divine… because it is a gift from God.  

On the other hand, if the marital crisis had not happened, this blog wouldn’t be here now…..So, to praise and thank the Lord that the family is still together, I wish to share with you this song…

Thank you, Lord,
for the trials that come my way.
In that way I can grow each day
as I let you lead,
And thank you, Lord,
for the patience those trials bring.
In that process of growing,
I can learn to care.

But it goes against the way
I am to put my human nature down
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.

‘Cause when those trials come,
my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God’s soft prompting 
can be easily ignored…