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Love of God

Title: Love of God
Materials: Digital Painting
Description: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39]

Illustration by Sonny Ketsit

 

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Craving A Father’s Love

Written By J. Leng, Malaysia, originally in Simplified Chinese

I always feel a tinge of envy whenever I see a doting father chatting and laughing with his child. I have never had such happy memories. When I was 11 years old, my parents divorced after my father had an affair. Mum told us that Dad had given up custody of us as he did not like kids. When he remarried, he did not have any children.

As a result, my sister and I were brought up by our mother. Apart from asking my father for our living allowances every so often, our contact with him was minimal. Even when he asked about us, it was simply for formality’s sake. He rarely took us out for dinner or spent time with us. In our growing up years, we never really got the chance to experience the so-called “father’s love”.

After my parents divorced, I could sense my mum’s contempt and spite towards my father, especially when she mentioned him. She would often tell my sister and me not to find someone like my father.

Over the years, because of what she said and through my own interaction with my father, I came to feel the same way about him—he shunned responsibility and would only bear it if he did not have a choice.

Gradually, I also started to believe that all men in general were not reliable and could not be trusted. Like my mum, I looked down on my father.

When I was in high school, I remember asking my father to help me move out of my dormitory during the school holidays. He failed to turn up. In the end, I had no choice but to do it myself, with the help of others.

When I reached university level, my father said he could not afford to cover the full cost of my tuition fees and told me to find my own solution. I was very disappointed with him. It was the most difficult time of my life—I was alone in a foreign land, lonely and helpless.

Faced with the pressure of not being able to pay for my fees, I went into depression. At the time, I felt that having a father or not made no difference. I had to take on several part-time jobs to pay for my living expenses. All the while, I would blame my dad for my troubles. But it was this very time, that I came to know Jesus and received His gift of salvation.

Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

These two verses gave me great comfort. God made me realize that I did not need to bear the burden on my own. I could entrust all my worries and fears to the Lord, who is trustworthy. Perhaps, I thought, I could even thank my father for “leading” me to believe in the Lord.

After I became a Christian, I began learning how to build a relationship with God, and gradually came to comprehend the Heavenly Father’s amazing love. Although one of my greatest regrets is not being able to experience a father’s love, I now have the greatest form of fatherly love—the love of my Heavenly Father.

At the same time, through reading the Bible and prayer, I’ve also come to understand God’s will for me in Matthew 6:15: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

To be honest, forgiving my dad for hurting me is not an easy task. But every day, I ask God to help me to understand and forgive my father. After all, God wants us to be reconciled not only to Him, but to others as well.

 

ODB: Adoption

January 5, 2014 

READ: Ephesians 1:3-12 

He chose us in Him . . . having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself. —Ephesians 1:4-5 

My wife, Marlene, and I have been married for over 35 years. When we were first dating, we had a conversation I have never forgotten. She told me that at 6 months old she had been adopted. When I asked her if she ever wondered about who her real parents were, she responded, “My mom and dad could have selected any of a number of other babies that day, but they chose me. They adopted me. They are my real parents.”

That strong sense of identification and gratitude she has for her adoptive parents should also mark our relationship with God. As followers of Christ, we have been born from above through faith in Him and have been adopted into the family of God. Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).

Notice the nature of this transaction. We have been chosen by God and adopted as His sons and daughters. Through adoption, we have a radically new relationship with God. He is our beloved Father!

May this relationship stir our hearts to worship Him—our Father—with gratitude.

— Bill Crowder

Loving Father, thank You for making me
Your child and giving me a place in
Your family. With a grateful heart, I
thank You for making me Yours.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. —Augustine 

Song: Father

By Peter Tonna, Australia

This song “Father” was written by Peter Tonna and performed by Banton Brothers.

Father here I am
Weak in your might
A little child
In your light
Oh how I’ve shamed
I don’t deserve the shine of your reign

CHORUS x 2
Oh Father
If I gave my everything
Would that ever be enough for your love?

I can’t understand
Your thoughts of me
They’re like the drops
That fill the sea
Oh take away your gaze
For I don’t deserve your grace

CHORUS.…x 2

There was a time I made it clear
I didn’t want you anywhere near
But when I look back you were there
With open arms I had never gone too far
I humbly turn around, it’s you that runs to me
When I humbly turn around, it’s you that runs to me

CHORUS….x 2

Then my heart felt the answer
And now I see
You already gave everything
For me
For me

About “Father”:
For a while I kept putting off writing this song because I wanted to have the right answer to the question that resounds in the chorus which is: “Father if I gave my everything, would that ever be enough for your love?” The truth is: we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Hence, often in our weak moments, we would wonder if God still loves us and if there is anything we can do to deserve His love.

One day, I decided that I wasn’t going to put off this song any longer. I picked it up, closed my eyes and asked God to give me the answer to the question. Then, in an instant, I felt a calmness and heard God speaking the answer to my heart. I could finally finish this song. The response to my question can be heard in the very last line of this song. Be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

More information about Peter:
Peter is a songwriter from Sydney, Australia. He has written over 350 songs in many genres. It was his deep love for God which led him to focus on writing Christian and positive songs for God’s glory. He hopes to share his songs with the world to bring people closer to God.