Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Was Your Weekend?

Image courtsey of www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Do you really want to know? As I am having a hard time deciphering if this how-was-your-weekend-typical-monday-question is a sincere-I-want-to-hear-about-you or it's just a how-to-make-a-small-talk-kinda-question-to-fill-the-dead-air nothing more, or maybe it's I'm-asking-so-I-can-tell-you-how-awesome-my-weekend-was. Sorry but the last item was pathetic. Nevertheless, if you are genuinely interested I am afraid I might bore you with details.

Weekends will always have a special chunk in my heart, they have been consistently a candidate on the list of my yearly post of "50 Reasons to be Thankful" which I started way back in 2011. My kind of weekend starts on Friday, they're my weekly doze of dopamines, Yey!

Every Saturday always gets better, I can cuddle with my bed all day but for some reason my mind gets excited and I woke up earlier than usual. I have the entire morning prepping for breakfast, scrambled eggs and toasted bread are my staple, alternatively I can have fried rice, hotdogs or luncheon meat. Of course, I look forward to sipping my coffee without the element of rush in the morning. After pampering my tummy, time for some household chores which I dread but who else do I turn to? Cleaning the room, laundry in batches, folding the clothes and if I am feeling obsessive compulsive with cleanliness include changing the bed sheets and/or curtain. Which makes me realize where is the glamour of being a bachelorette? Thankfully I seem to manage the Sat-Chores-Day as I have been perfecting this craft for the past 3 years leaving here in Singapore. No time to grumble now as I have to hit the gym at 12pm for a Bodystep class, this is a steps workout using height-adjustable platform and simple movements on, over and around it accompanied by music tracks to make it enjoyable. When I get bored I shift classes to Hot Yoga at 1pm. Some of the few things I can thank myself after and my guilty-pleasure-passes to voraciously pigging out after workout ha!

Then comes Sunday, my favourite day of the week as I get to attend service at CCF, minus the discomfort that I need to wake up early in the morning and travel all the way to the city. Excuse me, what am I really complaining about, this is not even close to what Jesus had sacrificed for me when He died in the cross 2000 years ago for my sins, I couldn't be more blessed. During Sunday service I get to listen to inspiring messages from the Pastor, worship Jesus with other believers in Christ through songs, realign my focus as I get distracted easily, see my favourite people (a small group of beautiful, vibrant ladies who loves the Lord), explore new restaurants for lunch, grab a coffee and meet together to study God's Word. What could be better than that? After our small group discussion, central business district(CBD) becomes our playground in case some ladies feel like shopping and checking out on something.

As fast as that, I am saying goodbye to the weekends I eagerly waited. Maybe, there are things in life that you cannot have enough, they are meant to stay only for a little while, otherwise they will no longer be as appealing to you.

While others believe you cannot please everybody, well yeah, unless you are Weekend. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Six Things I Learned from Colouring Books

Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford got me hooked in her intricate colouring book for grown-ups with her latest edition "Enchanted Forest" released February of 2015.

Just like how I got excited with my colouring books and the pleasure of holding a pen back in my childhood days, this collection of black and white tracery of fantastical and botanical scenes rekindle my obsession for colours and frustration in arts. (wink)

As I start working on the first few pages of the book, I am surprised to realize subtle and practical ideas popping out from the colours.

After 2.5 - 3 hours of colouring the title page
1. Life is like a box of coloured pens, each colour has its own use and character and together they can create a masterpiece. Every experience you had both painful and pleasant has a purpose. Every person you encounter in life, people with a wide array of personality, style, ethnicity, appearance and character who come into your life has a definite reason. Your experiences and the people you met makes you the person you are today. You are one kind of masterpiece.

My coloured pens
2. Every art work(colouring page in my case) begins with a first stroke. Those colours and lines may not make sense during the early stages but as you continue the momentum of consistent strokes, you are closer to your next best work of art. Perseverance is a way of life, it enables you to bridge uncertainty towards your full potential.

3. Art is a matter of perspective. While people may look at the same pattern for each colouring page, it's fascinating to witness that the same page transformed to a new level of art by colouring it differently. In the same way you may experience the same adversity with other people but your perspective in life keeps you apart from the pessimistic.
 
4. With colouring books anyone can be an artist because you will never get stuck in a blank space, there will always be something to get you started. Pablo Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist ..." and I am a believer of him, you just need to find ways to tap that hidden gem in you. You may thank yourself after, or maybe, you'll never know, the next generation may thank you as well.

5. Don't get intimated by the complex designs and images in the book, as long as you have the right tools in your hand you will definitely come up with something beautiful. The same thing with life, people or circumstances may overwhelm you but if you have the right attitude and proper skills you can make it through.

6. Every page is an opportunity to become better. If you think you messed up the pattern with wrong way of blending, awkward strokes and inappropriate choice of colours, don't loose heart. You have an enormous chance of improving on the next few pages.

My encouragement to adults who have a child-like heart and want to spark that joy or even those who just want to relieve the stress of your day job and start something artistic, give this book a try and let your imagination take you to an enchanting world of arts and colours.

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Keep Your Fork!

This is a story attributed to Roger Williams Thomas, submitted by Kay to Ann Landers in Chicago Tribune back in 2000. 
A story of the reality of life and anticipation for what is yet to come. Hope this story bless you just like how it blessed me.

*****
Image courtesy of gourmetsettings.com
A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her Pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures she wanted read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Then she said, "One more thing... I want to be buried with a fork in my hand."
The pastor was surprised.
The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably say to everyone, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite time of the dinner, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie - something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ' What's with the fork?' Then, I want you to tell them, ' Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.' "
The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.
At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
"Keep your fork. The best is yet to come."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Revealing Jesus: Jesus At The Center

If I am to chose just one song across all the glorious music we sang on Revealing Jesus concert that truly touched my heart, it would be "Jesus At The Center." The lyrics pretty much describes what my spirit needed that very moment as I am occupied with seemingly important activities, thoughts and plans leading me to distraction and sometimes anxiety.

Life is not about us, our career, our achievements, our status, our position. And the earlier we realize this, the easier for us to enjoy life. Life is brief and tender. Being reminded that there is so much more after this life on earth, changes our perspective to place our energy and focus on the essentials and things that matter to God.  

Found this video of the song(thanks to the owner of the channel) from their Revealing Jesus 3 concert in United States. Enjoy and be blessed!


JESUS AT THE CENTER
By Darlene Zschech

Jesus at the center of it all
Jesus at the center of it all
From beginning to the end
It will always be, it's always been You
Jesus, Jesus
[x2]

Nothing else matters,
Nothing in this world will do
'Cause Jesus You're the center,
Everything revolves around You
Jesus You,
At the center of it all,
At the center of it all

Jesus be the center of my life
Jesus be the center of my life
From beginning to the end
It will always be, it's always been You
Jesus, Jesus

Nothing else matters,
Nothing in this world will do
'Cause Jesus You're the center,
Everything revolves around You
Jesus You
[x2]

From my heart to the Heavens,
Jesus be the center
It's all about You,
Yes it's all about You
[x5]

Jesus be the center of Your church
Jesus be the center of Your church
And every knee will bow
And every tongue shall confess You
Jesus, Jesus
Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus

From my heart to the Heavens,
Jesus be the center
It's all about You,
Yes it's all about You
[x3]
It's all about You, all about You, Jesus

Friday, July 10, 2015

Singapore: Revealing Jesus

Last year I stumble upon this video of Revealing Jesus concert by Darlene Zschech in her collaboration with other great Christian artists - Israel Houghton, Michael W Smith and Kari Jobe. It was a piece of heaven for me and my "comfort music" when I need encouragement. It's more than one hour video but believe me it's gonna be worth your time as it can change your heart and who knows this can also alter your eternal destination if this is your first time watching a Christian concert.

To watch it on Youtube is already overwhelming but to hear and experience it live at The Star Vista, Tuesday last week is beyond measure with all the people having one heart worshiping the name above all names – Jesus Christ. There's something powerful in all the songs and the testimonies of the artists leading the people to praise and worship. 

The Lord is definitely on the move as His people declare His name, celebrate what He has done in our lives and reveal more of JESUS. I am amazed how God moves in the life of  Darlene Zschech in her battle with the Big C (breast cancer). With Jesus beside her from the moment cancer was diagnosed to her first radiation session, up until she was declared cancer-free. Jesus heals! God's goodness never fail and His faithfulness is evident, overflowing with grace and abounding in promises. Her testimony encourage me to realign my focus to Jesus, for He alone is victorious. I was reminded that no matter what our circumstance is, God will be and is always in full control of everything and He is in the center of it all.   

Bob Fitts and his supportive wife.

Darlene Zschech leading Hands to Heavens(by Kari Jobe)

Darlene Zschech

Darlene reading a passage from the Bible

Worship is not about us having good feeling that we are closer to Jesus.
Worship is above raising our hands, the dancing and singing our hearts out.
Worship is more than just an event of Christians gathering together.
Worship is beyond the artists, the band and the line up of songs. 
Worship is a lifestyle of every believer living humbly, loving others to bring glory to the God we profess. 

I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to worship God not only in Revealing Jesus concert but for every single moment of my life to every person He will bring in my path. Only by His grace.

Groupie during break (left to right) Graciel, me, Belle and Jovy

CCF: Making More Than a Conqueror - More Than a Cliche

By Pastor Ramylal
Romans 8:31-39

As we are going through the Romans series, let's have a quick look at the book of Romans per chapter:
Chapter
Description
Romans 1
Introduction
Romans 2-3
All people are sinful and cannot find salvation by themselves
Romans 4-7
We have salvation/justification in Christ Jesus
Romans 8
The full results and blessing of salvation
Romans 9-11
What about the salvation of the Jews?
Romans 12-15:22
The lifestyle of those who receive salvation
Romans 15:23-16
Conclusion

Romans 8 speaks about the results of salvation, where there is no condemnation having future glory and Spirit filled life for those who believed in Jesus Christ. The ultimate result is complete and perfect! Hence it leads us to the rousing climax of Lord's salvation for us. Romans 8:31-39, presents seven questions that strengthens his promise that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. Let's examine each verse:

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
If God is working for you – No one can work against you
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
If God is given you what is most precious to Him, who is Jesus Christ His only Son – Nothing that is good for you will be withheld from you
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
If God has justified you – No one can bring a guilty charge against you
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who diedmore than that, who was raised to lifeis at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
If Jesus is interceding for you – No one can condemn you
35a Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
If you have the love of Christ – No one can come in between Christ and you
35b Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
If you have the love of Christ – Nothing can come in between Christ and you
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If because of Christ's love you cannot be separated from Him – You are more than a conqueror in Christ

In these seven questions, Apostle Paul poses three answers:

v33 - It is God who justifies.
v34 - Christ Jesus who diedmore than that, who was raised to lifeis at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
V39 – (Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
While there are man-made or natural disasters like trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword as mentioned in verse 35, all these will not be able to separate us from the love of Christ. Even the limitations or authorities listed in verse 38-39 like death or life, angels or demons, the present or the future, any powers,  height or depth, or anything else in all creation – absolutely nothing can separate us from God's love in Christ Jesus.

In summation, as believers of Christ – God loves you and justifies you; Christ loves you and intercedes for you and finally you will never be separated from Christ.

Hence, this amazing activity of God can lead us to realize that we have the reassuring conclusion to Lord's salvation for us.


Transcribed by:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Are You a Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean?

This is a story from an unknown author which I first heard preached in CCF Manila. To the brilliant mind with a prudent heart who wrote this, you are greatly appreciated for coming up with this practical and captivating story. You have inspired millions of souls including mine.

*****
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.
She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.
Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl.   She pulled out the eggs and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled out the coffee and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its richness and savored its aroma.  The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water.  Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst; you become even better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?


Image courtesy of ilmessentials.co.uk

The happiest people does not have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have.
Live simply.
Love generously.