Monday 17 June 2024

Reflections at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 沖縄美ら海水族館

Bright and dull colours,
Big and small,
Flat, puffy, spiny, all sorts,
Every creature created
With amazing potential
To live an abundant life.

Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming,
Round and round we go,
And again we go
Round and round 
Without an end.

We have food, and water,
And great company too.
Although sometimes we compete -
Who's faster? Prettier?
Or more important?
Who's more valuable?

We love, we die,
What looks like a glorious life.
But in the end nothing's changed,
Nothing's been gained
Except maybe vain glory,
Not worth calling a legacy.

What if we had known
About the vast ocean
And the opportunities out there
For adventure and endless possibilities 
To build a kingdom
Not of glass but of real significance?

"God has called Christians to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium." - Paul Harvey

Monday 10 April 2023

Seoul & Jeju Trip - Free Zoom Backgrounds

Photos and even video clips from our recent trip which I've edited to use as Zoom backgrounds. There's even a wide range of colours and moods to match what you're wearing and suit the type of meeting you're having. 

Just as God has given us nature to enjoy freely, please also feel free to download and use them for your Zoom meetings! 😍

[In case you haven't seen the free desktop wallpaper/backgrounds and phone wallpaper/screensavers I posted a few days ago, check them out too!]

I've flipped the photo because when I sit by the window, the light is on my right so it looks better with the sun (in the photo) shining on the right too. You can choose whichever direction fits your setting better. 😆 

Saturday 8 April 2023

The Lion and the Lamb

We organised a creative retreat yesterday on Silent Saturday for a group of creatives. Our facilitators, Estelle and Francesca led us in a series of reflective and prophetic activities through the entire afternoon.

One of them was blindfold painting. I had a vision of placing my entire hand on the paper plate where I had poured out five colours I liked, then sweeping my hand across the canvas. And I heard Him say, "Dance with me."

So I stood up and did just that! 
It was so much fun swaying along to the music playing in the background, not thinking about what the result would be. Such a stark contrast to my first experience in blindfold painting a few years ago, where I had been so worried about how the painting would turn out and didn't enjoy the process at all.

When I sensed that it was enough, I stopped and sat down. Then I heard Him say, "Look at your hand." So against Estelle's instructions (haha!) I took off my blindfold and looked at my hand.
First, I saw the golden heart shape. Then I realised there's a hole in it and immediately thought of Jesus' glory and His love for us displayed through His nail-pierced hands. What a beautiful reminder to continue reflecting on all that He had done for us on Good Friday the day before this.

When I looked at the painting on the canvas in landscape orientation, which was how I had painted it, I didn't see much in it. So I turned it around to portrait view.
I was struck by how the darker colours at the bottom rose up to the bright orange at the top, much like flames but also reminding me of beauty from ashes. 

Later, one of the participants at my table suggested that I should look at it from afar. That's when I saw the lion!

If you can't see where it is, the following comparison may help. During a recent trip to Jeju, Korea, I had been struck by one of the many lion paintings at the hotel where we stayed (Leo Hotel, and of course Leo means Lion in Greek!)

The lion in my painting is facing the same direction as the Jeju lion but has a more benevolent expression.

As I reflected on all this today, Resurrection Sunday, I'm amazed at how He led me to express the Easter message in this 2-in-1 painting. 

Firstly, the painted nail-pierced hand points to the lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7) and who was slain (Revelation 5:6). 

Then on the third day, He rose from the grave and now He is the lion of Judah who sits upon the throne in heaven (Revelation 5:5,7), as symbolised by the lion on the canvas.

And both the hand and the canvas were painted on at the same time, through one single process. That's just like how the Lion and the Lamb are one, and both are found in the same One, Jesus.

Furthermore, the process of letting go and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct the entire painting process is a lesson in learning to trust in God even in the midst of circumstances that are beyond our control. 

I'm not a skilled painter and there's no way I could have painted a lion from scratch on my own. But when I allowed Him to paint through me, this was the incredible outcome!

Jesus, the triumphant King, has already overcome the world. That's why we can have peace even though there will be trouble (John 16:33). And when we invite the Holy Spirit to take control, the same power that resurrected Christ is in at work in us (Ephesians 3:20) to overcome all things!

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Revelation 5:13

See my previous entry with reflections for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

P.S. it's been 3 days and this morning I happened to glance at the painting from the breakfast table. The sunlight revealed the shiny crown on the lion's head! Can you see it too? Indeed, He is our Risen King!!

Thursday 6 April 2023

The Last Supper

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the painting, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see it depicted in 3D format at the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju.

What caught my attention was not so much the figures around the table. Rather, it was the lone bear (person) peeping in from outside the door.  

I wonder what was holding him back from joining in the meal. Perhaps self-doubt, inferiority and insecurities? "I'm not good enough" or "I don't know enough" or " I've done too many bad things", and many other possible self-accusations could have immobilised him.

Many people are like that in real life too. They see all the good that believers do, and acknowledge the benefits of belonging to the Body of Christ. But they just don't feel that they are qualified to join in. 

Even among believers, some are reluctant to engage deeply with others in fellowship. It could be that they're afraid they'd be 'found out' - warts and all. Or perhaps they feel inadequate, and they must study the Bible some more before they can be ready to serve.

On the other hand, there are those who have come to the table eagerly. Yet they are also the ones who deny Christ and betray Him at times, like Peter (who denied he knew Jesus three times after Jesus' arrest) and Judas (who led the soldiers to arrest Jesus). In fact, I should change this to first person as none of us are perfect, hence there will definitely be times when we turn against Him and fall into sin.

However, regardless of whether we stand outside the door or used to be at the table but have fallen away, Jesus is beckoning us to come to the table.

The first ones He ate with after His resurrection were the unnamed disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). They weren't from His inner circle, and hadn't been at the Last Supper. 

There's no need to feel unworthy, for He welcomes and accepts everyone no matter who we are. No qualifications are needed as He has already given every person a free pass through the Cross.

As for Peter who had denied Him, Jesus also restored fellowship with him through a meal. He made breakfast for Peter and the other disciples present, before reaffirming their love for each other through the "Do you love me?" exchange (John 21:1-27).

Despite whatever we've done to let Him down, He receives us at the table each and every time we repent and turn back to Him. We don't need to carry our own guilt (so don't be like Judas), for He has borne all of it for us on the Cross.

Come to the table, one and all!

Then the owner of the house... ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.'

- Luke 14:21-23

See my next entry with further reflections on Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Seoul & Jeju Trip - Free Phone Wallpaper

More photos from our trip, this time formatted for phones to be used as wallpaper / screensavers. 

Our main objective was to view cherry blossoms but as you can tell from the pics below, we saw way more than that. So much so that I'm not even going to try and name all the different flowers. 😅

Again, feel free to download! 😉

[For desktop wallpaper / backgrounds, see my previous entry here. Also just added another post with free Zoom backgrounds.]