Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What A Wondrous Work!

For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord. I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts.

(Psalm 92:4-5, NIV)

Nine people. One cave. And a sunny day. It was barely 10 ’o clock. It was very warm, as usual, I was sitting in the morning sun.

At 10:30am we would enter the mouth of Gua Tempurung. As we were waiting, I thought to myself, “Bother! Time sure passes s-l-o-w-l-y when you are waiting!" If only 10:30 would come just a bit quicker.

Finally when it did, I joined the rest of the group, standing around a guide who was briefing us on what we were going to be doing and what to expect. I was so excited! Even though I had visited this cave before. The guide was speaking in Malay so I couldn’t understand much but I knew what to expect anyway. We saw another guide gathering some stuff that he would need to take us around in our tour inside the cave.

When we were inside, dim lights guided our path. We saw all sorts of natural sculptures, like an elephant’s head, people sleeping, and hands reaching down from the ceiling. Different shapes of stalactites and stalagmites grew in every direction. Although I have to admit it was rather stinky, it was beautiful!

I thought, “Wow! Isn’t that amazing!" I thought to myself how great God is, that all those sculptures are natural and that God made them just the way they are. I figured and saw how awesome He is and what He can do. If God can make rocks and caves look so beautiful and special, surely He can shape me to be beautiful too, right? 100%, absolutely, positively sure He can!!

So today I pray, that God will shape my life and every one of your lives to be a beautiful attraction to many people, and that they may know that He is really the One who made us all the way we are.

God of Majesty, I praise You for Your wondrous works. Thank You for making this beautiful world and me! Continue to shape me according to Your will and let others see Christ in me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(This week's devotion contributed by Ashlynn Lim)

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Clean Up and Clean It Out

The pile of papers sitting on the table was stacked up neatly.
The toys lined up all ready to welcome a new play.
The miscellaneous stuff all boxed up.
The cleansed fan propelling at high speed sending a cool sensation in the room, circulating the air well. It didn’t give its optimum effect prior this.
Curtains drawn. The bright sun shone through the glass door panels and windows giving a fresh start of the day.
At any glance, anyone would notice the glass and window panes had been given a meticulous wipe to expose the clarity of vision through them.
My feet touched the flawless floors and it felt good walking on the dust free ground.
The ceiling’s natural decorations were taken off – the cobwebs.
Everything looked back at me with a shining stare.

Housekeeping is a challenge when one tries to excel in homemaking. So is a mum a housekeeper or homemaker? Oh, that’s a great difference, isn’t it? Although I enjoy both but I must admit housekeeping is an endless chore. It doesn't make me laugh nor cry whereas homemaking is about people. The mechanics of housekeeping is so routine that many times I am left exhausted trying to keep up with it. I never did and will never, I guess with another five – big and small very active and creative people under my care. The constant activities in the home will definitely not leave things in order for a long time. Hence, 24 hours a day is not going to be ever enough to maintain the standard of a clean house as I thought should be before the nest grew. Nevertheless, I still enjoy and welcome the freshness of the air which greets me whenever I achieve this task, and stared back at the shining floors and orderly environment with sheer delight. My heart seems lighter. My spirit free as I walk through the decluttered pathway of piled up things through the days, weeks, and months.

Ooh, I am not a super clean freak but I certainly love to clean up and clean it out periodically. The space once occupied with clutters and dust sure give a sense of freedom of mind when it’s cleansed and dejunked.

Our spiritual home needs cleaning up and cleaning out all the time all the more.

Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel, “If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he’ll save you from Philistine oppression.” (1 Samuel 7:3, MSG)

Father of All, please spring clean this heart so it will be a comfortable home for you to dwell in. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Call and Colours of the Morning

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.

(Matthew 28:20, NIV)

The song of nature came to my ears as I read the portion of scriptures in the late morning after the house switched to silent mode. It’s always a welcoming change when there’s a constant buzzing sound of children running in the house. They’ve been whizzed off to the botanical gardens with the grandparents.

My ears couldn’t ignore the birds’ songs. Some gentle tweets. Some harsh callings. The various pitches and whistles made a sweet melody.

As my eyes sought to trace them, I caught some beautiful colours against the usual green backdrop. I noticed the changes in the trees. One looks pretty barren in the hot weather with leaves falling all the time. I watched the dry brown leaves descending as they floated in the air carried by the gentle wind and touched the ground. The barren tree has a certain beauty even standing next to the one which still flourishes. Both radiate with elegance in the bright sunny day. Different colours splashed in to cheer these earthly tones. Bright red and blues streaks. Bright yellow with blacks. The kingfisher flew low and perched on a branch briefly. Two orioles were flapping from one tree to another. My eyes were actively following their flight and observing their movements while being entertained by their unending song. In the low were the white butterflies fluttering to and fro gently. On the different divisions of this natural display were the usual mynas, sparrows and crows. The norm of the seemingly ordinary trees was disturbed by these creatures’ activities. As I observed the constant flow of changes taking place this morning under the bright sun, I received a renewal of strength and peace to face the inevitable changes and challenges of life.

Life is a process of change. It is changing all the time. Seasons change. People change. Circumstances change. We need to welcome changes – good and difficult ones with the strength and grace of God. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”

Do not look forward to changes and chances of this life in fear. God will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. He will silently plan for you.
- E. Mary Grimes

Just like my morning observation of the trees – one flourishes and one almost barren. Both are beautiful in their own rights. The quiet and painful changes (if the trees could talk) shone with certain loveliness in the bright sun. Their beauty being magnified with the changing colours that splashed in between and the disturbance of noises of the creatures.

What kind of changes are we going through? Or potential changes coming soon? Welcome them with God’s grace and spot the beautiful colours and sweet melody in the midst of trials, difficulties and pain. Let his glorious beauty shine in and through us to achieve his kingdom purpose.

Thank you, Lord that I can welcome the changes in my life, not in fear but in faith because You promised to be with me all the appointed days. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mummy, Milk… Mummy, Mummy, Milk!

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

(Psalm 42:1-2, NIV)

Time out is good for me. It is necessary. Whenever I return home, I can see and hear an excited child running to greet me. “Mummy, mummy…” The child will jump on me and snuggled up under my arms. Next, he will burrow his way through while giving me a smile, “Mummy, milk.” Grandparents will always laugh and tease him that he needs his fix. The moment he latches on, he will be contented and enjoy his moment nursing in the warmth of my arms. A typical picture of our home for the past years. This has been the normal experience of nursing four babies till toddlerhood, and one till preschool. The best antidote to soothe a distress baby or wounded child is to nurse him.

The child finds immense comfort and contentment nursing in the mum’s arms. The intimate bond brings forth unspeakable joy. Here in the secure and loving arms of mummy, the child receives gentle whispers of love, assurance and affirmation of his identity. The eyes of the innocent child meet the loving eyes of mum. They exchange smiles. My little one even hums and dances during his feeds. He purely enjoys his moments while being satisfied with nature’s best food. I remember how one of my girls told me, “Mummy’s milk is the best” after tasting cow’s milk for the first time!

One of the greatest joys of motherhood is that God has designed the woman’s body not just with attractive curves and aesthetic assets, but with a higher purpose. To nourish her young! It is an excellent and enriching experience for both mother and child. Along with it is a great analogy of Psalm 42:1-2. Here the psalmist pants for God like the deer pants for the water. It is so similar to the nursing child’s longing after mum’s presence and milk for they satisfy like no other, we should long after God’s presence and living water. Truly none can satisfy like the Giver of Life.

My child would chase me down if he doesn’t get his milk. Are we God chasers?
My child would plunge into my arms once he gets hold of me and he won’t let me go till he is being satisfied and full. Do we hunger and thirst after God and cling on to him till we are satisfied in his presence?
My child will look at me and wait for me to whisper to him my love as he nurses. Do we wait on the Father and hear his whispers of love?
My child has learnt to say, “Thank you, mummy” after he is done. Do we say, “Thank you, God” after we are done for that moment.

O Loving Father, here I come running to You…receive me into Your arms of love and satisfy me. I am hungry and thirsty, for You, the living God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Follow His Footsteps

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:25, NIV)

As I entered Gua Tempurung, a cave in Gopeng, Perak, I was amazed at how God created this magnificent sculpture. That caused me to be very excited.

We climbed. We slid. We splashed in the water. Soon I found myself enjoying the adventure tremendously. But, at one point, the rocks were steep and I was a little nervous. Dad, who was right in front of me, reassured me, “Just follow my footsteps.”

So I copied every position he moved, following him closely. I managed to pass that level!

Just as we follow our elders, parents, leaders or people we truly trust, we must first and foremost, follow God’s footsteps so that we may go in the right way in life. Thus, we will never fall.

Are you keeping in step with his Spirit?

Dear Lord, let my eyes study you and follow your steps closely. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(This week's devotion contributed by Nathalynn)