Pocket-size Devotional: Ready For Anything

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DEVOTION DATED 25 SEPTEMBER 2012

I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ sufficiency].

– Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

No matter the storms that comes my way, I have strength for all things, ready for anything, self-sufficient to tackle them all, not by my own strength but through Christ.

When I abide in Him, and He in me, I’m empowered; made equal to all challenges and Goliaths through Christ whose strength is infused as my inner strength so that I’m sufficient through His sufficiency. So that I’m rich because He is rich, I’m healed because He heals, I can do all things because He can do all things.

Writer’s note: God never promised that life will be a bed of roses, but He promised that after every rainstorm comes a beautiful rainbow or two. I will be releasing a devotional entry every Monday. It’s important to start the week right, hence the publishing of devotionals every Monday. You could read these pocket-size devotionals in one short sitting, in a bus, on the train, in-between breaks, so on. I hope my words will bring comfort and strength to you when you need them. Do feel free to check out this page for more updates or subscribe to my blog. Invite your friends along if you deem this to be worth a second look. God bless!

Letters From:

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I was clearing my room during the long weekends the other day and coincidentally came across a treasure trove of stuff all hidden within the confines of my little room. Amongst those treasures were letters I have collected and kept for the past eight years. Through the years, I’ve received a number of letters from friends and loved ones.

While there are many ways to express love and gratitude, it is my belief that giving letters is one of the most sincere ways to do so. Letters [may] require spending; one needs to buy a nicely designed card, letter, postcard [and possibly a nice envelope to go along with it. Senders who designed their own cards may incur overheads such as acquiring markers and card design materials from DYI art marts. Letters require effort; senders may design the cards themselves or, sender needs to pick a card or letter style that he or she believes suits the receiver of the letter, next the sender has to write [or type] the words out to fill the intentional void of the letter. Letters require thoughtfulness; you don’t scribble any-old-how on the letter face just to fill the pages. The writer often puts himself in the person’s predicament [or victorious moment] and pens something related to that and ending off with his blessings or encouragement. Letters definitely require time; the sender has to sacrifice previous time off other priorities of his life to fill in the words.

The benefits of receiving a physical letter far outweigh many other form of blessings. A letter is eternal; sure the letter might degenerate a little, the words may fade a little, but keep it stored in a cool, moist-free place and this letter can last decades. A letter is ‘evergreen’. There’s a saying by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” and letters fulfill that role just right. Even if you have moved on with life, rereading those letters again invoke a sense of warmth and closeness the reader shared with the sender. When opened, the ‘encapsulated’ heartfelt words, encouragement and blessing rises up into the air like perfume, bringing fragrance and joy to one’s soul.

I thank God that I am important enough for some to have invested time, effort and money on letters addressed to me. Letters given to me when I transferred away from my first and second cell group, letters given to me when I finally graduated from my second attempt at O levels, letters given to me when I was baptized, letters given to me during my birthdays, letters given to me by dear friends, letters given to me by my bible study students, letters given to me during festive seasons and such. I ride on the encouragement from those letters.

Though those times are now past and gone, I will never forget how important those words were to me. To those who were involved in any of these letters, thank you. Your kind words have an eternal alleviating effect on me. Even as I read them now, they never fail to put a smile on my face. I thank God for all of your letters and friendship.

See if you can spot your own letters!

P.S. I don’t normally reveal contents of letters online for obvious reasons but not doing so this time will do injustice to those who had been such a blessing to me.

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Letter from my first cell group members. I hope that I have grown since then.

 

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Thank you G for being so teachable. May you shine brighter and make a bigger impact than me in the KOG.

 

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Thanks A, I really treasured those times spent with W385.. Thank you for being a mentor to me in so many ways.

 

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Thank you V for being there with me in spirit during this important day.

 

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Thank you E for being such a blessing to me.

 

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S, I appreciate your friendship. Keep in touch.

 

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Y, glad to have played a part in your life. You have gone so far, getting a job and academic certificate, and even graduating from SOT! I am so proud of you.

The Fourth Men

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Sometimes, it’s difficult to hold on to our values when it differs so much from the world’s. But who could blame? After all, we are only but temporary residents in this world. I was reading the Book of Jeremiah last Thursday when I felt a sudden impression to flip to the Book of Daniel. I was once again inspired by the courage of Daniel to stand firm on his beliefs in Jehovah God and that God would not fail him. And just like what Pastor Phil said, how he turned things around for the Jews when he held on to his faith in God. I was also deeply moved by the story of the Fourth Men (Jesus Christ) when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego was cast into the burning fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship other gods. (Daniel 3:8-30)

The fire was so strong that the king’s best soldiers were killed by the fire while going near it. It must had been so excruciatingly hot. When everything seemed bleak, the Fourth Men appeared and was with them in the heat of it all. In fact, the Fourth Men was possibly already there as they were drawing near to the furnace, for none of their clothes nor their hair was harmed by the fiery flames. The Fourth Men was Jesus. I thought about this and am reminded how in our situations and crisis, when there seems to be no way, God will make a way. And He has already done so even before the trial has taken place. I am reminded of the goodness of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose mercy and goodness will never fail [me].

Perhaps you are like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, casted into a burning fiery furnace-of-a-trial and everything seems hopeless. You need a Fourth Men. Fret not, God is right there with you in the heat, and His hands are not short that He cannot save [you]. Jesus is your Fourth Men when everything seems hopeless.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 
– Lamentations 3:22

And as encouraged by Derrick, a fellow ministry member, I decided to come out with an entry on the idea and inspiration behind the painting.

 

First, I applied the principle layer on the canvas. Painting a color over the canvas more than I intended is fine as I can simply use the next color to overlap it. It will be more disastrous to not cover enough area and having to damage-control later on.

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Next, using a paint brush I pulled the yellow up into the flesh tint in a swing-up motion to emulate the movement of the flames. I added a few drops of yellow with those small paint brushes to make it more realistic. The flames should not be uniformed as a real flame is never uniformed, right?

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In the next motion, I threw a dash of mixed burnt sienna and white paint as the base layer for the bottom part of the canvas. Adding contrast, I added the burnt sienna onto the canvas to give the fire some ‘depth’.

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Following that, I thought about what was going on in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego’s mind during the trial. From there, I moved on to think about what were they thinking? Were they full of faith? Were they scared? Were they dancing? Could they see the Fourth Men?

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The painting was completed, I pictured the Fourth Men Jesus to be in a robe of white just like the angel in my previous Abram painting. I imagined their locks of hair to be shining white (from God’s glory). One was lifting his hands in worship. One was moving towards the Fourth Men. One opened his arms to embrace Him. Yet I wasn’t satisfied by the color of the three men’s robes. I then played around with the leftover paint, mixing the colors here and there, and putting them on their robes.

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Now you can be a painter too. (Note that I have no prior experience and proper training in painting) If you have a revelation, why not paint it out? Immortalize it, help yourself to remember it. A picture speaks a thousand words.

P.S. I hope this painting and/or the inspiration behind it has encouraged you. 🙂

Grace and Blessings, in Disguise

These two weekends beginning last week has just been a little horrible for me. I was just about to take a slow shower and head to church when I received a call to return to camp for duty within two hours. So, instead of the slow, nice shower and a great time in church I should be enjoying, I had to take a quick shower and rush back to camp and go through four days of night duty which totally screw up my biological clock.

So, I missed service last week, and am about to do so again for this week. This is so simply because there are super duper selfish people who choose to take medical leave before their duty, causing others to have to take their place. To be honest, I was fuming mad. If one is genuinely sick, I understand, but to take medical leave simply because they desire not to do their duty is simply detestable, these people.

Dad was nice enough to fetch me from camp. I was complaining to dad about these people and was totally in self-pity really.

Dad encouraged me in Chinese,

“You know that there are such selfish people out there and there will be more of such people of this calibre when you enter the workforce in future. But don’t go down to their level. Don’t be angry over what they have done, because it won’t do you any good. If you look at it from a two-dimensional perspective, you will definitely be boiled down to anger. Try to see things from a three-dimensional perspective. What matters is you know you did not do what these people did and that’s all that matters.

Let this painful experience build you, make you stronger, more resilient, more tougher so that you will be better equipped to take on life’s challenges which will come in the future. One day, when your son goes through a similar predicament during his army days, you can say to him that you went through it before, and if you made it, so can he.

Even I, a lowly educated person can make it, and give our family a comfortable living and even a condo to live in, I am absolutely sure you can do it as well.

When that day comes, you can fetch him from camp, just like how I am fetching you now.”

My dad and I don’t have a lot of common topics. There can sometimes be awkward silence hanging in the air when we two are left alone. But I am totally glad to have that conversation with my dad. I feel so encouraged. Perhaps that’s the reason why God allowed this to happen. Because I can have this opportunity to hear from my dad and to engage in this rare father-son conversation.

Hearing my dad talk about two and three dimensions, I have more edge..! We are four-dimensional beings with the Holy Spirit on our side! Plus, hearing this ‘sign’ about dimensions makes me recognize that this whole event must be planned by God. Sometimes I feel ashamed too. I thought I was mature. Looks like I still have a lot to learn.

Thank You Jesus in any case. Thank You for the grace to go through the horrible moments. Thank You for the blessing of being able to engage in conversation with my father. I know that everything falls into Your plan, and that plan is for my good.
 

FamilyPHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay – Rare Family Photo (Ipad2)