True or False

Fruits IMG_0166

Which fruits are real? This, of course, is pretty obvious.

Not so with the world today. Everything seems rather vague and ambiguous. Photographs can be faked or enhanced. News can be dubious. Even people seem unreal, what with all the camouflage and facades we put on.

It takes a discerning eye and a discerning spirit to tell me what to believe, what is true and what is good. That’s why i need God to grant me the spiritual gift of discernment, to tell good from evil, to read below the surface and to see the untainted truth.

I need Him to help me make the right Godly decisions in my life.

Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
            For I believe in Your commandments.     Psalm 119:66  (NASB)

By Renee

Godnote: This post was supposed to be put up yesterday, but after publishing it, it simply disappeared! It neither appeared on the Blog nor the Reader. After prayer this morning, we managed to put it up again. So much for discernment. Praise be to God!

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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

Notice

I have walked along this way towards the Church many times but only noticed this fruit bearing plant several days ago.  I do not know the name and unsure if its fruits are edible.pride self-esteem

I’m not sure about others.  I liked to be noticed.  By teachers in school, by parents at home, by bosses at work, by girls in any situation.  I guess it is a sign of pride that was conceived out of years of low self-esteem.  What I did not actively work on is to be noticed by Jesus, and to be His as told in Luke’s Gospel :

“Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting at the tax office, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ ” Lk 5:27                     By B

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…

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – SELF-CONTROL

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and Self-Control.  1 Tim 2:7 (NJB)

[Painted by R, July 2013. Photo by B]
[Painted by R]
Finally the last Fruit of the Spirit – Self-control.

Why did I choose the pineapple to represent self-control?  Many years ago, my mum cut a fresh pineapple for us. It was so sweet, juicy and delicious that I must have eaten quite a lot because soon after, my tongue started hurting very badly. I developed such painful sores on my tongue that it took days to heal.  Since then, I had an aversion to pineapples. It was only in recent years that I started eating pineapples again, but only in moderation. 

However, the memory of that painful lesson never faded through the years.  It was a good lesson in self-control from the Lord, to not only control my appetites but always seek the Spirit’s guidance in every aspect of my life.    By R

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.  Prov 25:28  (NIV)

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – GENTLENESS

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your GENTLENESS be evident to all.  Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

Painted by R, July 2013. Photo by B]
[Painted by R]
There are many things we can learn from God’s creation that in some ways mirror human virtue.  The banana is an easily digestible fruit, gentle to our stomach, nutritious, and safe for babies eating their first solid food.  An interesting fact about the banana plant is that after fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will grow from the base to produce more fruits.

These “gentle” and “self-giving” qualities remind me of the gentle nature and self-sacrifice of Jesus.

When I first started reading the Bible, i had a problem trying to remember the books, chapters and verses of my favourite quotes.  This was precisely why I did history badly in school as I had a problem recalling dates, years and events – together.

There was this period when I was facing many problems in my life and I needed God so much.  I chanced upon this verse and it became deeply etched in my mind.  It was the only verse I could memorise by hard!  It is also the only verse where Jesus actually asks us to learn from Him:

Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.  Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am Gentle and Humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.  Matt 11:28-29 (JB)             By R

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – FAITHFULNESS

“Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant! You have been FAITHFUL with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”  Matt 25:21 (NIV)

[Painted by R, July 2013. Photo by B]
[Painted by R]
Unlike the durian and mangosteen which are seasonal tropical fruits, the popular papaya is available all the year round. They are rather easy to grow and bear fruits 6-10 months later.  We have unexpectedly found little papaya trees sprouting randomly among the grass, even between gaps on the cement floor, from carelessly thrown seeds.  They thrive wherever there is soil, lots of sunlight and water.

This is just like Jesus, our faithful friend, who is always available, all the year round. Sometimes we may be unaware or even forget that He is among us. Then one day, we suddenly realise HE is here, present right beside us, all the while.

This is one of my favourite verses:

God did not call me to be successful; He called me to be faithful.” — Mother Theresa               By R