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Archive for April, 2011

A beautiful day

normally on Good Friday
the weather was gloomy
but not today
it was so sunny

after reflecting with the Sunday School children
on the goodness of God
on Good Friday



i headed out with a few friends
to where else… ;p

i have been up this mountain several times
but every time it was so foggy
and one could hardly see any “viewpoint”

but the view today…

oh what a beautiful day…


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’tis the breeding season for the creatures in the bird sanctuary
i have seen the goslings of geese

and the ducklings of the mallards

but i yet to see a cygnet aka baby swan
it must be really ugly compares to other baby ducks
hence the name “ugly duckling”
hopefully i get to see their sighting in the next few weeks
to judge for myself…

i always enjoy the story of the ugly duckling
who matured and transformed into a stunning swan
every time i read the fairy tale
i am reminded of Isaiah 61:3
where God has bestow on us
a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
that we will be called oaks of righteousness
a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor…

for us to be transformed from our lowly state (ugly duckling)
into the display of God’s splendor (beautiful swan)
was all because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the Cross

Isaiah 53 is a good read on Good Friday
about this Suffering Servant of God

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

swan pictures courtesy of Brian Tam

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Fountain of Life!

Sometimes when i read the Word of God
i trembled at them for His Word
is like a double edged sword penetrating one’s heart…
other time it is as if the words are leaping out of the text
liken water gushing out from the fountain
this happened again when i read the following passages today

Jesus told Martha…(John 11)
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.
He who believes in Me will live,
even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.
Do you believe this, Martha?”
… “Did I not tell you that if you believed,
you would see the glory of God?”


On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; He has risen!
Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee:
‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”
Then they remembered His words. (Luke 24:1-8)

Hallelujah, Jesus is Risen!
What a joy!

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Hosanna…

Good Friday is coming and we will be pondering upon
the death of Christ
the empty cross
the empty tomb
heaven
hell
eternal life
thinking of this salvation message reminds me of the gospel I first heard…

during our elementary years
a friend invited me to her Sunday school
i went once and then turned down the next invitation
she started to be preachy…
saying that if i don’t believe in Jesus
the bible said i would go to hell
burned in the lake of fire
bitten by the worms
be tormented and be wailing in eternity
(Isaiah 66:24 for this is what the Lord says “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against Me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
my friend said she couldn’t help me because
those who believed in Jesus would be up in heaven already
and she could only look down and watch helplessly from up above
i was really upset with her and at the distasteful thing she said 
after all we were just mere elementary aged kids
and who was she to condemn me
and categorize me as a “hell” person…
but then i must admit that what she said
really got me thinking and haunted me for days and years…

i started to wonder where I would go if i were to die
for sure i do not want to end up in the lake of fire
i wrestled with the meaning to life
i became fearful
i cried myself to sleep yearning for the Unknown…
Are you there God?  Who are You anyway?

 

years passed as if God acted swiftly
one of my sisters and her friend prayed for me
and invited me to church
I went
that night the topic was on who is Jesus
there and then my heart was ready to believe in Him
like the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8
i told the bible study leader
i would like to pray and receive Jesus Christ into my life immediately

 

come to think of it
my preachy elementary aged friend was a great evangelist
and did not sugar coat the salvation message
looking back i am amazed at her boldness and forceful spirit
to share heaven and hell so that none of her peers
would perish but could have eternal life with God

Today is Palm Sunday
we did not wave palm leaves
but rejoice that there were 4 children who prayed
and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior today

John 12:12-13 
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
   “Hosanna!”
   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
   “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

 “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
   “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

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Where there is faith…

When traveling to Paris
most people are eager to go shopping
or visit the landmarks
and of course the museums
but if you were in Paris
and you did not visit the Louvre museum
you “haven’t” been to Paris…

i am “allergic” to museum
i told my travelling companion
why waste time lining up for hours to see the arts there
why not just browse through the paintings
on the sidewalk outside the museum
at least the artists are alive
and we can chat with them for real

but see…, if you are in Paris
and you do not visit the world renown museum
you haven’t been to Paris

i didn’t enjoy arts nor have faith in my painting
but this time i have no choice
out of all the workshops the retreat offered
this particular one sounds the easiest ~~ “Copy and Paste”
that… i thought i could handle

i was kind of nervous sitting in the class
the facilitator encouraged us to take it easy
look around
see what attracts
and start painting…

I looked around and decided to paint something
but i kept making mistakes
no new sheets were allowed
i kept covering up the mistakes with more paints
to the point of giving up
the facilitator said that many painters become famous
not because they have talents
but because they accidentally make mistakes
and it is through their mistakes that
they discovered new tactics in painting
thus become famous

the facilitator glanced at my painting
and commented that i got talent
she… has faith in my painting

at the cafeteria we were asked to display our works
and let others guessed who’s whose
no one could guess which piece was mine
no one… has faith in my painting skill

a friend who has artistic talent in her blood
was impressed with my “hidden” talent
surprised me with a set of acrylic paint
the next day when we went shopping
said she “we’ll go a’painting at the park one of these days”
huh, my friend… has faith in me painting

well, here’s the original piece i was supposed to “copy and paste”

and here’s the outcome…


ah, do you… have faith in my painting?
or maybe i should go visit the museum more often…

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Oh Camellia, sounds so familiar
heard it long ago through a singer
used it as  moniker in my younger year
popular were double names

hence Camellia Carolina was my name

i wasn’t that into flower gazing until recently
their specific names just don’t come to me easily  
besides flowers are just flowers to me really
that’s all there is to it… they are simply
beautiful flowers
colorful flowers
fragrant-filled flowers…


didn’t know Camellia is a flower name until recently
rushed to the garden grower happily
and saw the flowers blooming profusely

hey, i’ve seen these floriferous plants almost everywhere i roamed
 it’s just that i didn’t know what’s in the name

as i strolled further ~ to my dilemma
there were more Camellias…
Camellia Nuccio’s Pearl… Camellia Taylor Perfection…
Camellia this and Camellia that
and i was not amused
for i dragged having to remember names

one gardener whispered
don’t be so caught up with names 
for there are hundreds cultivars out there 
and new ones are constantly sprouting
 
i think after this Camellia encountering
i’ll stick to just enjoying flowers as it meant to be
and not be confounded by the flowery names
after all the gardener remarked
some people do misplace the flower tags
and i may just be misled, yikes…
misled or not
i will take up my professor’s 10-word challenge
and recall at least 10 of these Camellias varieties
Camelia Coral Delight

Camellia “Nuccio’s Pearl”
 

Yuletide or Christmas Camellia

Camellia April X Kiss

Camellia April Dawn

 Tom Knudsen Camellia

Debutante Camellia

Mathotiana Supreme Camellia

Taylor’s Perfection Camellia

Magnoliaeflora Camellia

Camellia ‘Rosehill Red’ tree… when a ribbon is tied on the plant,  it means taken!

Some facts from googles:
Camellia plants have shiny leatherly dark green evergreen leaves;originated from Asia known as cháhuā (茶花) in Chinese, “flowering tea” or tea shrub; Many chinese tea such as green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this type of shrub Camellia sinensis species; Camellia plant was named after a Jesuit missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel from Brno.

Thank God for creating fragrant dazzling flowers
and tea leaves on the 3rd DAY for all to enjoy!  Genesis 1

Now Adam, perchance did you happen to name a flower call Camellia Carolina?

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Blessed…


Memory, memory, memory… this picture frame i categorized it as treasure trove #2 from my office; treasure trove numero #1 is here.

Last month a friend from far away land wrote and shared about the many exciting things that happened in her family and ministry life and humbly stated that “… it’s only the first 2 mths of the yr and i can’t say that God is blessing me because I am serving the Lord… but I rather see it as I would have missed out on these blessings had I not serve Him. ”

her sharing led me to reflect on how i first  started serving in children ministry…
Not long after i landed on this part of the continent eons ago, i was invited to teach a group of toddlers and preschoolers Sunday school class (see the above pic).  i hesitant at first for i wasn’t that equipped with the Bible yet and neither was I fluent in conversing with those multi-cultural kids; but through much encouragement and by faith, i took up the challenge and the rest they said… is history 😛

through working with those kids,  i learned that children are very receptive to God and inquisitive

they do wonder the existence of God and have plentiful questions about life… W.H.Y.

there are spiritual books out there on 100 questions children ask about God and anything God related
and there are even books on children e-mailing to God

children are open to spiritual thing
very trusting and are more easily convicted than adults

and when a child trusts Christ, not only is a soul saved but a life is potentially saved

In Luke 18:16 Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Children… have such pure & simple faith in God, in fact they ought to be the royal priesthood of God, maybe they just are!

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8)

Yes, children can experience the wonders of God

His holiness, His presence, His voice…

Since this is ‘Easter month’, our goal is to share the Good News of Salvation with the Sunday school kids every Sunday this month.

One child at a time…

Arise, Shine, for your light has come

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you (Isaiah 60:1)

Have a blessed April!

btw, this is the certificate i was blessed with from eons ago

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