Nothing like a Mother’s Love Handmade card

When I see pictures of mother and baby animal pairs like these,

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I am reminded that just like humans, most animal mothers nurture and love their young with fierce protectiveness.

It is this very bond and protectiveness that a mom has for her child that is the inspiration behind the pattern for this handmade card for Mothers’ Day.

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What you will need :

1. Cut out the printed pattern and paste it on coloured paper with some sticky tape. Then cut along the borders of the printed pattern.

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2. You will have two separate cut outs of the Elephant and Birds Mother and and Child Pair

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3. Cut alone the line markings on the pattern, and join the two ends of the bird pattern by inserting the line cutouts, one into the other.

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4. Cut alone the line markings on the pattern, and join the two ends of the elephant pattern by inserting the line cutouts, one into the other.

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This card can be used as a standalone card, or a gift tag on a present for mom.

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Here’s a quote for all mothers reading this post;

“She is the creature of life, the giver of life and the giver of abundant love, care and protection. Such are the great qualities of a mother. The bond between a mother and her child is the only real and purest bond in the world, the only true love we can ever find in our lifetime.”

- Ama H. Vanniarachchy

 

Here’s wishing all Mothers a wonderful Mothers’ Day this coming weekend!

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The Rise of ‘I don’t want to go to Church Anymore’.

I chanced upon this article early this week from Thom Schultz ’The Rise of the Dones’and this phenomenon of people leaving Church in America as they are tired of the systems.

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I don’t think we are seeing this happening yet in Singapore, but I do know of friends who have already started contemplating this path.

Maybe over time, with more opening their eyes and ears to the stark truths. More who will be willing to listen to the prompting by the Holy Spirit in their hearts and seek the Word of God, and not only depend on the Mega-church charlatans who are preaching behind the pulpits now.

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The exodus might happen then.

Until then, people are feeling something, something that they can’t quite put their finger to right now. But not uncomfortable enough to leave the walls of these organisations just yet. There would probably be many who have to suppress their thoughts of wanting to ‘burn me at the stake’ :P for opening this can of worms.

But with the previous posts that I have written on faith and churchanity, you would have some inkling that I am not a conventional Christian. I am not afraid to ask questions and look for the answers.

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Whether we like to admit it or not, we are beginning to see the beginning stages of a new reformation happening for church internationally.

 

So why are people leaving the church?

One common reason is this; ’The sermons don’t speak to me’. There is this consumer mindset that has come into the church, where ‘I contribute (pay tithe), I expect to be fed’.

Why is it that we are expecting pastors and church leadership to feed us, when spiritual growth is our responsibility?

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I think in a place like Singapore, of fairly well-educated individuals, we have have gone through our years of lectures in primary and secondary school and university, most of us have no problems sitting for like 30-40 minutes each Sunday and absorbing information.

But how many times do we need to hear Christianity 1.0 on the same subject of the grace of God? Hearing the ‘We are the righteousness through Christ’ preached Sunday after Sunday in different permutations, was the key reason why I left a mega church in 2008.

It was this very reason I once encountered that motivated me to study further what was taught, ask the questions and then discovered the inconsistencies. I didn’t even realised what were the inconsistencies until I was determined to seek God for the truth that was written in the Word.

After all the preacher or pastor is just a man, who is capable of making mistakes while teaching on an infallible God.

It is this very thing, the unwillingness of many who do not want to make that consistent effort to read the bible and know God personally for themselves, make themselves out to be victims of the deception that is being preached in some mega churches.

I think Christians need to ask ourselves if God will want His children to be seating passively on pews, just accepting everything that is shared, without searching out the bible for the truth for themselves. Or be reserved and not want to seek Him directly for the confirmation for these things, or press in to have an intimate relationship with God.

So is passive Christianity a trend in Christen-dom these days? Sadly, I am beginning that it is.

Christianity that is being practiced amongst a big group of Christians are focused on being just hearers of the Word (knowing the Word very well intellectually), and for some, ‘having the knowledge of God, but denying the power’ (2 Timothy 3:5)

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Like what Francis Chan has wisely said, “God wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.”

What is Christianity 2.0 or 3.0?

The reason of ’The sermons don’t speak to me’ then sounds like an easy excuse, when Christians should start living out Christianity 2.0 or 3.0 instead.

Christianity has never meant to be a religion.

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It is all about a relationship with the Creator. Where the focus is to embrace a personal relationship with God, centred on Jesus.

If you a Christian, and Christianity is a religion for you, likely it’s time to stop finding purpose and meaning within the walls of a church building, and start living out what is written in the pages of the Word of God.

The true Church, are Christians living out their lives daily as disciples of Christ.

Not a denomination or the building or church that they attend regularly or have membership with. Or to take any pride in these things like ‘Our church has a great worship team’, ‘Our church has a great Children’s or Youth ministry’ or ‘Our church has a great pastor,’ or the ultimate, ‘Our church has a nice building.’

True Christianity is this; “If you love me, keep my word (commandments)” John 14:15.

We humans make it all so complicated with the systems, structures, and the fancy stage lights and effects that are in some churches, or even the concept of tithing. Attending church service once a week will not automatically make a person a true Christian.

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am anti-church or the assembling of Christians. I believe the assembly of Christians do not need to be limited to the 4 walls of a church, two or more Christians can meet to talk about God, at a cafe, in their homes or even a park anytime. True Christianity means living out our daily lives as a ‘Disciple of Christ’.

Walk the talk, be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22) and start living out Christianity that is listed out in the Bible 24/7, not just every Sundays at Church.

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Stop focusing on what on what the Church can do for you. Start being the Church.

And the proverbial question which I always like to ask, “Do you truly know God. Or do you just know all about Him?”

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If this post has ruffled your feathers, then I would recommend reading this guy’s blog for more of your Christian feathers to be ruffled.

And if this post got you wondering, I am still attending a small church and do intend to continue attending weekly. I am appreciative of the fellowship and teaching in church, but NOT dependent on church for my spiritual walk, growth or even the ministries in church to serve.

**Also, if you have this verse at the back of your mind, ‘Judge not, that you be judged,’ while reading this, do read this post

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How does your Checklist look like?

Recently while having a conversation with a close relative. This relative asked, “Why don’t you go look for a job teaching in a polytechnic? You are still young, and your skills are still valid. If you don’t work outside in a couple of years, your skills will be redundant.”

Then early this morning, while logging onto Facebook, I chanced upon an ex-surbordinate who is now holds a Director position in her job.

Life often has this way of inundating you with stark reminders how badly you are doing in the eyes of the the world (secularly).

I asked the boy last night, “Do you think mummy should go back to work outside?” His reply was, “Yes, only if when I want you not to be there sometimes, when I feel like doing what I want. But really, no.”

I shared this with boy, “You know so-and-so says that I should go back to work in a company outside, if not I become useless in this world very soon…” The boy’s reply then gave this other perspective. “I think so-and-so only have one to two ticks in the list that God gave to her, while mummy, I think you have at least 10 ticks so far in that list that God gave to you.”

Sometimes, we all need to hear some wisdom from 8 year olds.

So which list are we holding on to? Is it a list that the world gave us, or a list that God gave us? If we really sat down and think about it, the two lists will look quite different from one another.

This post is not so much of a scorecard to show to to the world that ‘I am doing better than you are,’ or to make myself feel better even though I am fully aware that I am not faring well in the world’s standards. Rather it is to communicate a different perspective to how we can see life.

 

The Checklist according to the World – SG Version

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 12 26 11 pmLet’s look at the ‘World’s Scorecard – SG Version’. At 38 years old, I should be;

1. Live in a fairly comfortable home, that I have at least paid up to 40% through my CPF so far. If it is a HDB flat, the home should be fully paid.

2. Have at least 2 children

3. If I have some excess money, I should look at keeping a portfolio of investments, either through a second home (which I can rent out for extra income) or through bonds or stocks and shares. And start saving for retirement.

4. Hold a middle management position in a company, salary should be close to 5 figures at my age. Looking forward to bonuses yearly, and hopefully, moving up to senior management level eventually.

5. Have a car that is below 5 years old, doesn’t matter if I am still paying instalments of close to 1k a month. My household should have a second car, 1 each for the husband and wife.

6. Have the disposable income to spend on travel overseas for family vacations, each time school holidays come around.

7. Have a sub-list, on the number of countries I have managed to visit in my lifetime.

8. Be able to spend on clothes, make-up, invest in consumer electronics for the home. And eat in good restaurants every weekend with the family.

9. Go to church every Sunday, tithe 10% of my income to church.

10. If I have extra time weekly, I will be serving on at least one ministry in church.

11. Be charitable and give to charity organisations, either support a child through Unicef, give to local charities.

12. Or be generous enough to extend financial help to needy friends

13. Ensure that the children have a good education, do well academically to get into good schools and courses in the university. And be able to provide for tuition classes or enrichment classes for the children.

14. Have domestic help at home.

15. Each family member should be covered with an insurance policy.

 

With the ‘World’s Checklist’, if I am able to put a ‘tick’ next to each of these points, I can be considered ‘doing fairly well’ in the world’s eyes, 不抽吃, 不愁穿 (will not go hungry or naked).

There is nothing wrong with following through all of that for a normal, go-getting and hardworking, contributing member in a society in Singapore. After all, most of us been trained to believe that this is an ideal life to have, living in the country like Singapore. And likely peace, joy and contentment can be assumed to be found, having to tick all 15 points listed in the ‘World’s Check-List’.

But, I cannot imagine having to do the same things over and over again to focus on achieving all these points from the World’s Checklist, for the next 20,30 or 40 years.

 

A Different Checklist

This is how my list looks like, and since the points are for the here and now, I can put a check on every point!

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1. Have a work-at-home job (not necessary in a company) that will allow me to earn some income. I don’t need a status or the world to give me a pat on the back to tell me that I am useful when I am a middle manager at some company.

This job allows me to manage my own time to spend with son and hb. Going down the list, this flexibility of time will be key to achieving all the rest of the other points in my list.

2. I am contented with having 1 child.

3. To be able to spend at least 2 hours of my early morning hours reading the bible and praying, without having to rush in traffic to get to the work place.

4. I do not have to take leave when my child is sick, or when I need to spend time with the family when hb is back in town

5. I can set aside time at least twice weekly to have prayer meetings from 10.30am – 1.30pm. I am available every morning from 9.30am – 1.30pm if ever there is a need to visit anyone to pray together or pray for the sick in the hospital. If there are no prayer opportunities, or prayer meetings, I will be working from home from 10.00am – 6.00p.m. on most days.

6. Not working in company outside, means I spend alot less on clothes and makeup. The boy and I still get to eat good food every weekend at the same places that we frequent weekly, and when hb is back once in 4-8 weeks, we get to visit our favourite restaurants.

7. I have a 7 year old car that has been fully paid by hb recently, so I don’t need to worry about taking public transport.

8. The boy and I have no lack of opportunities of travelling to places that we need to go to. Every school vacation in June and December, we spend 70% of our time out of Singapore. Travelling comes with a different perspective for us. We spend meaningful and quality time with the family, so it doesn’t matter even means spending most of our time in hb’s apartment in Makati City. The other travel opportunities that we have in a year are mostly to spend time with fellow Christian sisters and brothers in Indonesia in fellowship and prayer.

 

Since all the points in my list are for the here and now. I did not mention about having a home, investments, my child’s education, financials, a career. I am very thrifty person, eat simple food, do not covert after things, have little desire towards luxury goods or experiences. In fact, I think I am a very very blessed person, as I never have to worry about money, food or having a roof over my head.

How about the points about church, tithing and serving in church? I am not a conventional christian, who might even be frowned upon by regular Christians. But I know what God calls each and every one of His children to do is not limited within the church walls.

It will be a great blessing, if the family can eventually have our own home and be able to stay together as a family. But I do not want to focus on just achieving that and missing out on the big picture of things.

 

Seeing Life through Different Lens

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People can judge me if they want for being unwise for not planning for the future, but all I can say is that I see life through a very different set of lens than others.

I am certain that this is the Checklist that revolves around what the God has led me to do at this point of my life. As I progress in my walk with Him, I believe there are more which will be added to this checklist, and I am prepared for the changes that He allows.

I have already missed out giving God the best years of my life in my 20s, so I want to give Him my best years now or whatever that is left of my time and energy. I don’t want to wait till I am in my 50s or 60s, and then leave God with whatever time I have left, after pursuing what I wanted for most of the time in my life.

So even I am look upon as a failure or a loser in the world’s eyes. All I can say is this, I don’t think God sees me the same way as the world does.

Faith is often hobbled by our reluctance to believe God can bring about great changes if He is taken at His word.

So, I take Him at His word when He says this;

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…

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And the continuation of the verse in Matthew 6:33, ‘…and all these things shall be added unto you.”

So like what I told the boy after he shared with me that he thinks “Mummy, I think you have at least 10 ticks so far in that list that God gave to you”. I hope it is so, as my eye is on the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24).

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Even if there are 50 points on the Checklist that God has for me, I will be looking at getting as many ticks I can from that Checklist.

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If you are a Christian, which Checklist are you using?

If your version of God’s checklist looks very similar to the ‘World’s Checklist’, I would be concerned for you, spiritually. However, if you have already started on a ‘God’s Checklist’, I am very happy for you!

As for others reading this who are keen to build a ‘Checklist’ according to what God has planned for you, but don’t know how to start. Do drop me a mail and I will be glad if I can be of help, to help you start on this ‘God’s Checklist’. To discover the purpose and destiny that God has for you in the days ahead. 

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