25 December 2013

Jesus Born On This Day

Luke 2:10-12 (NLT)
10 but the angel reassured them.
"Don't be afraid!" he said.
"I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!
11 The Savior--yes, the Messiah,
the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem,
the city of David!
12 And this is how you will recognize him:
You will find a baby lying in a manger,
wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"

My Christmas video for this year

21 December 2013

Merry Christmas! 2013

Merry Christmas!

May God's love
be perfected in us all
(1 John 4:17-18)

We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2013 has indeed been a year of many trails and challenges but in it all, they bring its own rewards and growth, more so when we placed our faith in Christ Jesus as our advocate and counsellor. Has 2013 been a challenging year for you too?

Here then is our prayer for you. May the joys of the season fill your hearts with goodwill and good cheers and may you also be blessed with many beautiful memories of this season.

May the New Year find your home filled with joy, your heart filled with love, and your life filled with laughter. May 2014 also be a year of many possibilities and good things waiting to happen.

Let your faith founded in Christ Jesus lead you to a place of peace, a place of rest, for in Him is the source of all your blessings (Matt 6:30).

Margaret + Simon

01 December 2013

State Library of Victoria - More Than A Library

A library is not one of the places you would go when you are in the city of Melbourne. However I found the State Library of Victoria to be an exception when I want a quiet place to be on my own while waiting for friends or in-between meetings. The building itself is an icon of heritage architecture and that in itself is worth a look.

The State Library of Victoria is open seven days a week, excluding some public holidays. It is located at:
328 Swanston St,
Melbourne, Victoria
3000 Australia
Tel +61 3 8664 7000

Even before you enter the library building, the grassy lawn in front of the library's grand entrance on Swanston Street is a popular lunch-spot for the city's workers and students at the adjacent RMIT University. There are old and new statues along the side steps to the front entry of library that may interest you; Saint George and the Dragon, Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) and two sculptures from the Dromkeen Scholastic Collection of Children’s Book Art, installed 2012.

In the library you see students with their heads down, working with their laptops/tablets or within groups whisphering among themselves, working on their respective projects, reading or taking notes. The reading rooms are well lighted and surprisingly quiet and you can feel the spaciousness of the place.

While the library is frequent by students, there is always something happening at the library that would draw in a crowd. For example, free guided tours conducted by staff and volunteer guides, fun things to do that are suitable for the whole family – most of them are free and even a place to eat and drink. You can enjoy a light snack, delicious lunch or coffee and cake at the cafe, Mr Tulk. There is even a bookshop, located between Mr Tulk and the library foyer if you fancy a little shopping for a book or any of its exclusive range of stationery.

Libraries are generally about books, books and more books. But apart from the books, which there are said to be over a million, you will find that the history of the Library is evident in almost every room you go to – there are Victorian oddities, grand marble staircases, panes of stained glass and great bluestone walls. As you walk into the heritage reading rooms, like the dome shaped La Trobe Reading Room, you could not help but notice the grandness about the place.

The La Trobe Reading Room is surrounded by three floors where the Library houses their permanent exhibitions The Mirror of the World: Books and Ideas and The Changing Face of Victoria as well as a display from the Pictures Collection in the Cowen Gallery.

As a result of recent redevelopment work done, the State Library of Victoria can now be considered as one of the largest exhibiting libraries in the world.

This Library has a lot more going on than shelves of books. You can play chess, use game consoles, workshop projects with your friends, check out what's hanging in the galleries, watch films, listen to music, and browse newspapers and magazines.

Chess Area

Children Play Area

Arts Galleries

Permanent Exhibitions

21 November 2013

Noodle Night Market - Melbourne First Time Ever

The Noodle Night Market, is a first time ever event at the Alexandra Garden, in Melbourne. This is already a popular annual event in Sydney for the last 15 years. It is however the first time that it opened in Melbourne, as part of The Age Good Food Month, from November 18 to November 30, from 5pm each weekday, and from 4pm on the weekends.

Alexandra Garden was transformed into a hawker style market with food stalls, a couple of drink bars and entertainments, mostly DJs with one exception that I notice; a Chinese Lion Dance troupe.

Food stalls are predominately Asian; Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese. The drinks are represented by Coopers for beers and Yalumba for wines, but an interesting addition is the Rekorderlig Swedish Cider stall. Seems there is more to Sweden than Ikea.

Judging from the long queues at many of the food stalls, the crowd response for the night and the newspaper write-up of the event, it is highly probable that this event will be back next year.

There is also a small section of the garden that highlights lanterns in its many forms, size and colours. Position near the Yarra River, it also show off some of the best skyline views of the city.

The following photos are taken, standing at the river edge, taking in the view of Melbourne evening skyline and the happenings along the river.

16 November 2013

Why Would God Hear My Prayers?

Put simply, God loves you. It is for this very reason that Jesus gave his life for us.
John 3:16 - 17 (NLT)
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
But often we are not conscious of how much God loves us.

Also we are more prone to the mistaken belife that God not answering our prayers as God not hearing our prayers. Hence, leading us to the belief that this is because of our sins, we are unworthy and therefore we have to do something good otherwise God will not hear our prayers.

Any wonder why we ask the question, "Why would God hear my prayers?" Such question shows our fear of God's judgement.

The truth is, sin is not a barrier to God hearing our prayer. Roman 5:8 and 1 John 4:10, shows that He was willing to even send His Son while we are still sinners.
Romans 5:8 (NLT)
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
1 John 4:10 (NLT)
10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
What more, God no longer sees or count our sin towards us, because of Jesus Christ finished work at the cross.
Romans 4:7-8 (NLT)
7 "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose sin is no longer counted
against them by the Lord.
If this is so, why do we still hold to the belief that God would not hear our prayers? Our challenge is in us believing the above scriptures, trusting God that Jesus sacrifise and finished work at the cross, an expression of God's love, is being "worked" in us.

1 John 4:15-19 (NLT) says
15 All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.
19 We love as a result of his loving us first.
When you simply believe and accept that you are perfectly accepted by God because of Jesus sacrifice at the cross, you can have the courage and liberty as a child of God to come boldly into the presence of your heavenly Father. You know then that God hears your prayers.

What more, when you are conscious of His love, you will love God and cannot help but also love (effortlessly, supernaturally) people around you. You know then that God hears your prayers.

More than that, you will find yourself wanting to do the right thing at the right time, because you know His love for you. This sense of His love for you causes you to live life victoriously from the inside out. You know then that God hears your prayers.

29 September 2013

Melbourne Observatory - Seeing The Stars

This is a night out in August at the Melbourne Observatory, for some stargazing. The historic Old Melbourne Observatory is located in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. We heard that the planet Saturn can be seen in the winter night sky, this time of the year. The catch was, we need to know where in the sky to look and the use of a telescope, a very large powerful telescope.

So we joined a winter night guided tour of the Melbourne Observatory, for a chance to see the stars and planets of the southern sky. Saturn being the highlight for the night. The winter night tour starts from June to August, so we were very much at the tail end of the season.

This was also our very first time inside the observatory. As it turn out, the very first time for many who turn up on the night too.

There were about twelve of us that night, from children as young as ten to the mature wise ones. We were divided into two groups, each group going with their respective guides to one of the two observatory on site.

As with all tours, we were treated with some history about the observatory; how the observatory was and how it is now.

Historically, Melbourne Observatory was founded in 1862 to serve as a scientific research institution with the purpose of establishing correct Melbourne time. As the reliability and accuracy of time improved, kept accurate through observations of the stars using a transit telescope, the role of the Melbourne Observatory moved to astrophysics and projects, such as mapping the southern sky.

Today, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne manages the site of the Melbourne Observatory and works closely with the Astronomical Society of Victoria to maintain this historical site.

As very much evident to us, though the telescopes are old and ancient, they still do work very well. We were fortunate that we got clear night skies most of the time, so we got to see Saturn and a number of star clusters.

Overall, it was an interesting night out. We got to see the night skies through a new perspective and an opportunity to meet other people, who are also interested in the celestrial stars.

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