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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

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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Matthew 11:28

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Today is 11.28 and suddenly the verse from Matthew 11:28 came to mind: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

This verse is very special to me because it is a tender verse that I first heard God speaking to me directly which caused tears to stream down my face.

Through this startled revelation, I was made aware that the big God of the Bible is a personal God who cares and who had been anxiously waiting for me to cry out to Him.

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Because I have encountered God in such a special way, I slowly placed my faith in Him and released my burdens to Him.

As the years go by, I have indeed experienced His gentleness and my soul finds refuge and rest in Him.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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Stream of Praise

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I  used to wonder why I enjoy singing praises to God so much; and recently I realized that worship songs not only show me the mightiness of God, but that they lift my spirit up and give me joy and gladness, which is an important aspect to my emotional growth.

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Recently, the Stream of Praise worship team was in town for a praise and worship celebration. It’s a real treat to attend their lively and worship-filled concert; I was lost in the wonderment of awe and divine joy.

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The singers as well as the instrumentalists were so passionate in worshiping and pointing us all to the graciousness and love of God which helped strengthen and increase our faith in God.

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Together with the children, we used our voices as a stream of praise to Jesus.

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At the concert, the children received a little gift to remind them that Jesus is our River of Life and the Anchor of our souls, and that is why we cheer, sing, shout and dance to Him!

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A big “thank you” goes to certain “moh” who is such a “life-saver” for coming up with brilliant idea in short time creating 500 little goodie bags until 2 o’clock in the morning;

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Her labor of love will surely not go down the drain but will reach to the River of Joy;p

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May those sugary treat and the spontaneous songs of praise to Jesus from the children’s hearts and lips be never ending, like a stream that flows effortlessly. Praise be to the Lord. Yay!

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O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

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The Wailing Wall

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Usually when I pray alone, I like to write my prayer thoughts on paper rather than praying out loud; I find that this method of praying is freeing and helps me express my inner emotions more easily.

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When I visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem years ago, I could hear the gigantic cream colored wall crying out loud: I noticed that many people were leaning against the wall praying in solitude, while others reciting scriptures and meditating on the Words of God.

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It was moving to see individuals creating a sacred space for themselves and pouring their hearts out to God in the midst of the huge crowd.

Paper and pens were available for people to write down their wishes to God and place them into the wall.

Since it is a popular practice to place prayer notes between the crevices of the wall, I joined the company and did just that.

As the years went by, I often wondered if the prayer that I put on the ancient wall was still there…

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This year I had the chance to revisit the religious site and I learned that the note I placed years ago was long gone. It had been collected and buried among the millions of prayer wishes at the nearby Mount of Olives.

Apparently the notes are being cleared at least twice a year: once in the Spring (before the Passover) and again in the Autumn (before the Jewish new year of Rosh Hassanah).

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One of the reasons for this is that thousands of pilgrims come during these Jewish High Holiday seasons to pray, so the Rabbi in charge of the site and his cleaning crews clear the wall to make space for new prayers and wishes, including mine!

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I know that whether or not I leave my prayer wishes in the cracks of the Wailing Wall, or wherever I may be, my prayers are heard by God from on high, and I await His comfort and guidance.

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You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 30:11,12 (NIV)

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