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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

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I enjoy being at Cedar Springs retreat center in Sumas, Washington.

It is a beautiful and inviting place; a home away from home that helps me to have a time of rest, reflection and rejoicing in the Lord!

The area is enfolded with peace-filled pray-ground and play-ground for those who want to find space with God for personal soul care.

Cast your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)

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Morning sun is like a love letter in the sky; oh how lovely and poetic!

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Winter turns into Spring, and songbirds returning to rebuilding their nests.

While enjoying the birds singing in the woodland, I have the tendency to pick up feathers of birds that are fallen on the ground.  Somehow I feel compassion for the fallen feathers and I want to pick them up and comfort them.

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Holding onto a real feather makes me feel lighthearted and free-spirited.  I marvel at the softness and the beauty of  feathers and how they provide a protective cover over the body of avians.

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Reflecting on the bond between me and feathers, one real life encounter with a bird floated across my mind:  

Once, my landlord told me that the house we lived in needed to be vacated and that I needed to find a new place to stay within a short frame of time. After scouting at various options, I was still unable to find a place to stay, the deadline to move out was fast approaching, and I was getting anxious.

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So one evening before dusk, instead of busing, I decided to walk the long route home so that I could spend more time praying.  As I was walking, I was startled by a small moving creature beside me;  It was a tiny bird! 
Normally, birds only approach humans if there is food to feed them but I had none!  I continued my prayer walk wondering why a small bird would walk so calmly alongside me.

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Suddenly, my heart felt a tug, and tears sprung from my eyes. I felt as if God was speaking to me through the tiny creature, saying that He would take care of me and to provide a new dwelling place for me.  Then I remembered the fascinating story of how God asked the ravens to feed to the prophet Elijah on the remote ravine for a number of years (I King 17); then Matthew 6 came tweeting in my ears, “Look at the birds in the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

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As I contemplated the little buddy beside me and the verses about God’s care, my feet seemed to feel lighter and my pace faster than the bus ride that I usually took. I felt as if I were like the tiny bird spreading its wings and gliding home! 

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God acted swiftly, for within a couple of days, I was assured  a comfy nest to dwell which was way beyond my imagination.

Through feathers and nests, I have experienced God’s presence, protection and provision in season and out of season.

The Creator God not only use the flying creatures to interact with humankind and to tell His story; He also use the image of a bird as a metaphor to show His protection, love and care!

Psalm 91 states that whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty; God is our dwelling place, and that He covers us with His feathers, and under his wings we can find refuge.

 

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Prayer Blankie

At the Children Prayer Retreat (CPR), we provided each child with a piece of homemade cloth, the size of a beach towel, for them to use as their “prayer blankie” or “magic carpet”.

The prayer blankie creates a boundary as well as a sacred space for the children to ponder about God.

The kids really liked this calming and unhurried pace of reflecting on God as they enjoyed their sweet time on the blankie writing prayer journal,reading prayer books, and drawing for God.

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After the 3-day retreat, and when it’s time to collect the blankies, the kids pleaded to let them keep the blankie for they grew quite attached to it.

Normally we don’t let children bring the blankies home as we usually save it for future use; but seeing the eagerness of the children wanting to use it as for prayers, we gladly let them keep it.

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Although there is no magic in this piece of cloth, we know this miracle carpet is a good tool for children to enhance their prayer life; and to experience God who is the miracle maker in our daily lives.

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One of my friends loves to do jigsaw puzzles.

When she finishes one, she enjoys looking at it for a while and then puts the pieces back into the box to do again another time.

I was thinking, “What a waste of time!”, and if it was me, I would quickly frame it and mount it on the wall for all to enjoy!

For me it would be a stressful task to finish a puzzle that has a thousand pieces; But for her, it is enjoyable and therapeutic.

I once asked her why she enjoys puzzles so much and this is how she responded:

” I guess I like jigsaw puzzles because they are challenging but you know if you work at it, everything will eventually fit together and make a beautiful, complete picture. A lot of times (maybe most times), life doesn’t work that way (at least not until we get to heaven), and so for me, being able to put together a puzzle is satisfying and encouraging – reminds me that God is putting together the puzzle of my life and that when He is finished, it will be beautiful and perfect.”

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Wow, what a profound reflection on puzzles and God!

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On Easter Sunday, we are reminded of our living hope in the resurrected Christ.

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In addition to that, we also did some jigsaw puzzles which show different stories about the lives of Jesus on earth.

The children really enjoyed re-discovering Jesus through this fun visual and meditative activity.

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During Palm Sunday we read about crowds of people gathering around Jesus and praising him for the miracles He has done to cure the sicks and to set people free.

Seeing the crowd exuberantly praising Jesus, the Pharisees commanded Jesus to stop the disciples and the crowd from praising. Jesus responded, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40)

“The stones cry out” implies that people will always praise God; and even if people don’t, the rock will praise Him! It has been a catchy phrase that is used to motivate each other to praise God.

During our prayer walk to enjoy God in nature, the children picked up a rock by the creek side and paint on it.

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We wonder… if their rocks would cry out, what would the message be?

Everyone has something special to praise God for.

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And their rock project was showcased at our annual Art of Easter exhibition.

Hosanna, Thank You for the cross!

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Here’s a beautiful link on Gratefulness Rocks.

http://www.teachkidsart.net/gratefulness-rocks/

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Crown of Thorns

People have told me that the thorny plant in the foyer by our office is called “crown of thorns” or “Christ” plant; the thorny crown that was placed on Jesus’ head during the crucifixion was said to be woven from the sharp stems of this type of plant, called Euphobia Milli. And, the blooming tiny red flowers remind us of the sacrificial love of Christ through His shed blood for our sins.

With that in mind, on the Holy Week during Good Friday, we let the children take a good look at the plant, touch the spiky thorns that prick their fingers.

There, we also read Isaiah 53 (on the Suffering Christ);and feel (on a very small scale) the pain Jesus experienced when he was sacrificed for our sake.

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
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.”
Isaiah 53:4-5

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