Tuesday 16 August 2022

Mizuhiki Wedding Flowers - Love Bears All

These camellias are made with three strands each, expressing one of the most-quoted verses at weddings: Ecclesiastes 4:12.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The two flowers are different but are intertwined and have become one, just as bride and groom are joined together through the marriage union: Mark 10:7-9.

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

Camellias symbolise both "love" and "a noble death" in Japan, where the art of mizuhiki (knot tying) originates. Therefore they remind husband and wife to love each with the same sacrificial love that Christ has for us: John 15:13.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Finally, the hanging grapes on the envelope tell the married couple to, "Be fruitful and multiply!" (Genesis 1:28).

Other mizuhiki creations explained:

Monday 15 August 2022

More Mizuhiki - You Are Precious!

This is a basic 3-cord abalone knot with some beads added. The 2 outer red cords represent how you (the middle cord) are wrapped in God's love. The red colour also reminds us of how Jesus' blood has washed us white as snow and that is symbolised by the ring of white beads (purity) which surrounds you - the purple bead with the colour purple illustrating your royal status as a prince/princess of God.  

If you look closely at the envelope, you will find a couple of sparrows in the picture. That made me think of Matthew 10:29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Indeed, you are greatly loved and very precious to God. You are much more valuable than many sparrows. He has redeemed you and you are His prince/princess!

Other mizuhiki creations explained:

Monday 20 June 2022

Mizuhiki Butterfly and Thai Line Art

I've been learning to make Japanese mizuhiki knots recently and I thought the butterfly would be easy to draw using Thai line art style, plus it has symmetry too!

The traditional mizuhiki butterfly (pic taken off Pinterest) actually has a squarish shape in the centre (a bit like a hashtag or swastika?) But I found that on the back, it's in fact a cross shape in the centre so I decided to feature mine 'back to front' instead (pic below of my own mizuhiki knot.)

The butterfly symbolises rebirth (or reincarnation) in Buddhism, the predominant religion in both Japan and Thailand. But with the Cross in the centre and with three strings representing the Trinity, it now points to our new birth in Christ as explained in John 3:5-7,

~ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” ~

Just like how I flipped the butterfly around to see the cross, all we have to do is repent (which literally means turn around) and face the Cross where redemption and new life can be found!

Other mizuhiki creations explained:

Saturday 19 February 2022

About Time

These are my notes for a devotion time with some artists.

Opening song: In His Time 

Biblical Concepts of Time:

1. Time is in His hands

"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

"My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15a

→ God is in control!

Time is NOT our master, God is! So don’t get stressed out by the ticking clock or looming deadlines. Look to God for help in managing time.

2. Time is fluid

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

"A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4

→ God is beyond time!

God’s work also transcends time so don’t be limited by time but be flexible and when prompted or as necessary, take time to dream and smell the flowers, connect with people, or simply to rest.

3. All times are appointed by Him

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:1,11a

"He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands." Acts 17:26

→ God's timing is perfect!

Trust in His plans and purposes for all that happens - no time/season is ever wasted. 

Sometimes we may have to wait upon the Lord for His perfect time.

4. We are made for eternity 

"He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11b

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

→ God is eternal!

Some things we hold as important may actually be inconsequential, so spend time focusing on the things that are of greater eternal value from God’s perspective.

Greek Concepts of Time:

Chronos - sequential time, a specific amount of time such as a day or an hour

Time is a gift, not our enemy. How can we use it to be a blessing?

Kairos - an opportune time, a "moment" or a "season" such as "harvest time"

Do we understand the times and seasons, as well as know our roles in what He is doing so we can partner with Him?

Synchronos - happening at the same time

Are we walking in step with Him, not running ahead nor lagging behind?

Poem and video of swans - synchronised swimming 

Eschaton - the last, the final event, the end of the world, the climax of history 

There is an expiry date for our lives and even for this world, so how should that impact what we do with the time that we have left?

What is God saying to you about time, whether it's about your time on earth (macro) or a specific time in your life - past, present or future (micro)? 

Saturday 5 February 2022

"Navillera" - also highly recommended!

Started watching the K-drama "Navillera" with Aimee today and found it incredibly inspirational! 
It's about a grandpa (Park In-Hwan) in his 70s who starts learning ballet from a 20-something young man (Song Kang). So for 50-year-old me to be learning how to draw and paint is no big deal by comparison! 😆

As we say in Chinese, æŽ»ćˆ°è€ć­Šćˆ°è€ (live to old age, learn till old age). 😁
Since I drew canvas shoes earlier on for another K-drama 'Run On', I thought I'd draw shoes again - men's ballet shoes this time round. I took reference from a photo found online.

Thursday 27 January 2022

"Run On" - highly recommended!

Just finished watching the K-drama series "Run On" and fell in love with these purple shoes that one of the male leads (Kang Tae-Oh) gave to the woman he loved (Sooyoung), so I tried to sketch them.

In fact, I loved the entire series a lot as it's all about grace and acceptance cos everyone's unique and nobody's perfect. Also about parental expectations vs embracing each child's dreams and passion. Lots of healing and reconciliation through open and honest conversations too.

It portrays a realistic view of life, love, family and friendship with all the challenges and roadblocks. But as the title suggests, we not only have to keep running, we must also cheer each other on through the ups and downs so we can all get to the finish line!

P.S. the bonus was having an artist as one of the male leads (Kang Tae-Oh), and a film translator as one of the female leads (Shin Se-Kyung). It was so fulfilling to see how they expressed themselves and found solace through the arts.

P.P.S. also quite remarkable that three of the four lead actors (Siwan, Kang Tae-Oh, Sooyoung) are actually popular K-pop singers and they can act well too. So talented!

Wednesday 26 January 2022

It's all about people - reflections on Matthew 14:13-21

Those who are familiar with this passage would probably remember a sermon or two being preached on it. And the focus was likely to be on the magnitude of the five thousand (and more, including women and children). After all that's what the heading says - Jesus feeds the five thousand. However, it actually starts off with Jesus mourning John the Baptist's death.

So while reflecting on this episode I realised that in ministry we meet different categories of people, just like Jesus did. 

Original collage (see below for image credits)

There are the precious few likeminded ones whom we may not need to say much to yet know exactly what we mean and how we feel. Even though Jesus and John the Baptist had very little time together, I'm sure they were constantly in each other's thoughts and prayers. We draw mutual strength and encouragement just by knowing that we are there for each other.

Then there are those who follow in our footsteps, the ones we teach, coach and mentor. They may not take over our ministries but they are certainly a big part of the legacy we leave behind. In fact, our disciples may do even greater things (John 14:12) because we have patiently sown into their lives.

Of course, there will be the people whom we minister to. We may not necessarily have a close relationship with them, unlike the earlier categories. They may seek us out like the crowd did Jesus, or sometimes God may lead us to find them (eg how Jesus went to Simon's house and healed his mother-in-law cf. Luke 4:38-39). Regardless of how He met them, Jesus always had compassion for them.

Do you have people around you who fall into these categories? Then we would do well to consider how Jesus related and responded differently to each group of people and learn from Him.

Image credits:
  1. Jesus and John the Baptist taken from a scene in the series "The Chosen"
  2. Jesus and the twelve disciples taken from a scene in the movie "Son of God"
  3. crowd photos