Design experiments with a Word Cloud of John 15 – Part 1

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I still haven’t gotten round to reading up on typography. In order to make things easier and have some preset typography, I created a Word cloud using the amazing site Wordle. It allows to you to choose your colour set, create the cloud with the words going vertically or horizontally or as a mix. And then, for editing I made use of another amazing site – PicMonkey.

I still haven’t finished going through their entire collection. Hope you enjoy Part 1.

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The Apple of His Eye

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Whump!! They come out of the blue. What is the purpose of your life? What will you have gained at the end of your life? What is your life worth? These questions are innocuous in themselves. It is what they insinuate. That I did not have a purpose in life. That what I did until now, was of no consequence to anyone. That I was worthless and useless and my choices meant I would end up alone and friendless. My significance roller-coastered to nothingness in the blink of an eye. Till I remembered “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:

It happens to the best of us. When we’re least prepared for it. An event, a word, a meeting, a comparison will set us off questioning our self-worth and actions. What is my ministry accomplishing? Am I a good Mom? Am I making the right choices? Should I be making more money? Am I obedient enough? Maybe I should just listen to my neighbours. Maybe I should invest in some real estate. Will I ever make a difference? Questions that never end. Questions that depress, gnaw and takes one to edge of sanity. Questions that dam the flow of hope and evaporate purpose from life.

Though such reactions are natural and sometime bog us down for days and weeks, what we must understand is that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy“. To destroy our peace, to destroy our relationship with Christ our strength and to destroy the Church. Nothing affords the evil one greater joy.“It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” says C.S.Lewis in his celebrated book The Screwtape Letters.

But what a pitiful foe he makes. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” Jesus has given us the assurance that no one, NO ONE can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. In Zec 2:8, an angel declares about Israel, “whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye“. We are the apple of His eye. We are the people, for whom when we were still enemies of God, He sent His Son to die for us. We are the one of whom He has said “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I am reminded of an illustration I heard the other day about David, when he was a shepherd boy tending his sheep. I would imagine that the sheep he tended would be part of his inheritance later on. When a lion or a bear carried off a sheep, he went after it, struck and rescued the sheep from it’s mouth. David knew who it was he had placed his trust in to rescued him from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear. That is all we need. To wrench our inheritance of peace, of righteousness, of holiness, of sonship from jaws of the roaring lion. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big (Bigger than everything)

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Ever had the feeling that life was sometimes over whelming? That the whole earth were full of  problems much bigger than what you could ever handle? That the pain and suffering in this world was unjustified? That the madness and terror perpetrated was beyond any conceivable meaning? The littleness and bitterness in people were crusty barnacles that you wish had never popped into your life? That the wild anxieties and the silent sighs had gone on far too long?

Perhaps…but Psalms 91 offers us something bigger than suffering and injustice and terror.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

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This is a picture of a church just a building away from where I stay. There are quite a number of churches around where I stay. Perhaps it’s because I walk past this big, sturdy building everyday, that I have a kind of kinship with it, reminding me of the big, sturdy refuge that God is, even in the stormiest gales. Have a blessed weekend.

As Summer winds up..

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The schools have opened today and last weekend was the last hurrah for most of the kids in my church. Everybody was back from visiting their relatives in far flung places, and just before they start on another year of school, we had our church retreat at Camp of the Woods, Albany.COTW is a Christian Retreat Centre in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake George.

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The cottages are named after native American tribes, some of them familiar, some very new (mine was Wichita). It was my very first time here, and I think I had a foretaste of heaven when I walked into my room that faced the beach front. The room basking in the warmth of setting sun rays streaming through the blinds, a pretty and clean beach to step out on to, strewn with nothing but the stars in the sky above, and a cosy room to retire for the night. What more can one ask for? Safety, scrumptious meals, quiet nooks and crannies – just the perfect setting to spend some time alone with God or with a group and have a spiritual renewal.

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The kids enjoyed the 18-hole miniature golf, and building sand castles on the beach. 11-month old Yohannan stepped into a pool for the first time in his life here. The teenagers went canoeing, and the guys of course played cricket. The campfire crackled with jokes and skits and songs and goodies from India were passed around while the moon shone serenely over this all. All this is in addition to the power packed sessions we had.

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I also got time to indulge in my love of photography, and time to stand in renewed awe at the vibrant ecstasy that only Nature, crafted by the Divine Creator can produce. How awesome it is of God to give us such a beautiful world. The Gospel of Matthew says, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” If this is what God gives us without asking, can you even imagine what He would grant us, if we asked according to His will? May God bless you in the seasons ahead.

Scale, clarity, range and the rest

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I am tone deaf. This fact generally manages to keep me out of musical experiments of any kind. Notice, I said “generally”. One such not-so-general occassion was this Sunday, when I was asked to be on the panel of judges for the Sunday School (music related) competitions! Not having the least clue on how to do a fair job with lisping 5year olds, I called up Augustine, to whom music is what fishing was to Apostle Peter. Armed with scale, clarity, range, breathing technique, memorisation, appearance, etc, etc, I sat down hoping my Maths wouldn’t betray me (that was a lot of categories to add up!)

I have heard most of these kids sing on Youth Sunday, but I was in for a surprise! Kids love to learn. The scale didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that some of us were covering our ears. It was drama and joy all the way through for the younger ones. It didn’t matter if they started off on a wrong note, putting on a show was what interested them. No fear of failure, no regret over mistakes, just the exhilarating joy of showing what they had learnt.

This was another beautiful thing I have come to love about our church. An environment of acceptance, nurturing, teaching, encouraging and guiding. Children are a treasure, and their upbringing requires prayerful responsibility. This church is not just for grown ups, it’s for the two year old Josiah too, who had his turn at the drums, and played us all a pretty good number too. Investment always brings returns.

I also took some time to speak with some of the older kids. One was nervous, one didn’t want to be called in as a last minute replacement like last year, the boys were eager for the scores, the juniors looked for the applause, and the kindergarteners refused to come out from the bright sunny yard outside. The excited eagerness as they waited for the scores was infectious…They made me realise there is SO MUCH yet to be discovered and enjoyed in life. So many possibilities as we obey God’s word. This Sunday was a privilege. But so is everyday, since I am a child of God! 🙂