Monday, February 23, 2009

Hammock Party

Well, last Friday and Saturday was a hammock party at East Coast. Just me, Caleb and Jesh, with Joseph and Aaron dropping by in the night.





It's weird that when we're already NSman, we prefer to spend time outside our homes, sleeping under the stars. But it's definitely fun.




That's us eating lots of stuff. Had to go over to 7 eleven to re-sup.





The next morning. I must regretfully comment that one of our original objectives was to do some bible reading and also be up to watch the Sat sunrise. But anyway, stayed up till almost 5a.m. talking. And then slept till about 9a.m.





Well Caleb was up with nothing better to do... So went around taking pictures.



And that's Caleb sleeping.

Anyone wants to join us for our next hammock night?

Friday, February 20, 2009

COLOURS

THIS POST IS AN ANSWER TO CALEB'S REQUEST.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am... an NSman!

My Civilian Conversion Course was particularly useful. At least I am able to withstand the harshness of being an NSman.

Haha.

Been going out with the guys. Caleb, Jesh, Joseph, Aaron... etc etc. Went for a hiking trip on Sat, culminating with a meal at the Bukit Timah area.

Sunday saw Daniel Li off. Will miss this bro.

Been training up...

Reading a lil bit.

Tomorrow is my first driving lesson.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

120209

ORD LOH!

ORD lor...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

An excerpt and interpretation of Deuteronomy 8

I think this is gonna be one long post, and so I don't expect you to finish reading it. It's just something during the YPM service today. That as I was reading Deuteronomy 8, I felt that God opened my eyes to the way it applied in my life. And this post is about me expounding on that.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord... Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. -Deuteronomy 8:2-3,5

I read: Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in National Service for two years, to humble you and to test you... He brought you to low, hard places in your life, causing you to hunger more for Him, His word and His touch and then feeding you with what you needed and making you stronger... to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord... Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God has disciplined you by putting you through months in the army to teach you greater discipline, which is based on greater dependency on Him.

Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and revering Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land- a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills -v. 6, 7

Your student life will probably be easier then your army life. Even then, will you still observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and revering Him? Will you allow good times to corrupt the obedience and desire to honour God, which you have gained in tough times? (I also note that the Israelites still had to overcome great opposition on the other side of the Red Sea, clearing many enemies and fighting many battles. But essentially, it was very much different from their time in Egypt, for in Egypt they were powerless slaves. What I take out of it is that I still will have many things to overcome in uni. Won't be rosy all the way. But quite a few things won't be half as hard as it was in the army.)

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day. -v10-11

When you enjoy good times out of the army, in your civilian life. When you wake up on your own timing, when you enjoy freedom, when you eat good food and are satisfied, praise God for what He has brought you through. Once again, be careful not to forget the Lord your God and His decrees.

Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God , who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. v. 12-14

Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, study, grow older and move on to the other things in life, you will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the times in army.

He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today. v.15-18

He led you through the vast forests of foreign training exercises, when you were cold and shivering through the night, when you woke up shivering and still had to be scolded. He brought you through countless field camps and living conditions that made you appreciate the comfort of civvy life. And yet when you did your QT faithfully in the jungles, when you prayed daily as you ran or did route marches, He spoke to you out of His word at times, and always gave you strength to go through everything. He humbled you, put your world in perspective, taught you to better respect authority and be God-fearing, to see yourself in more humble light, to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

As you grow older and if you prosper. In friendship or popularity or studies or wealth, you may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced all this for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you such ability, and so confirms His many promises in His word to you.

If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God. v. 19,20

Even as Isaiah 7:9 says "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" and Jeremiah 17:5-6 speaks of the man who is cursed because he "trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength and (his) heart turns away from the Lord", if I ever forget my God and what He brought me through. If I ever follow and put other things in my life above Him. And that includes relationships or studies or hobbies or exercise or spending time surfing the net etc. I will surely lose what I have gained. I may not be destroyed in the olden fashion. But I will have caused much of what I have gained to come to naught. God will, as He sees fit discipline me. For Proverbs 3:12 says that the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in.


And that's more or less what I received from God towards the end of the service. I received quite a bit at the front too. But too much to post. This chapter of the bible and what it means to me I received within perhaps a minute or two. Hope for you bros who are going through or finishing NS, that you'll have gained something at least by glancing through.

Photos from my ORD parade



My battalion, the first in the history of the SAF.




My mom and my kor.




Part of my platoon. They're in civvies cuz they're about to book out.




My fellow sec coms. Thank God for these guys.






The inspection of the guard of honour.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Notes of the day- ORD Parade Over

Today I just finished my ORD parade. I ORD coming Thurs. But as far as my job scope is concerned I'm fully finished with my NSF life.

As everyone else celebrated and revelled in the moment today, I too was happy. But not fully. I was really glad at the end of O's or A's or some moments here and there. But this time it was kind of different. I'm just looking forward. And I was thinking ahead. That ORD is just one occasion of my life. And it's good that army's over and I'm done with so much stuff. But ultimately, after the initial happiness of return to civilian life has subsided, what would I have taken away from all this?

I have gained a closer walk with God. Through the days of hardship and pain. Where I needed Him so much and often cried out to Him in times of trouble. Would I continue to walk humbly with my God, as Micah 6:8 says?

I have gained greater discipline. In packing my room, in maintaining myself physically, in doing my Quiet Time, especially after I came back from the church camps in December. Would I now build upon that discipline or throw caution to the wind and discipline out of the window? For Proverbs 1:7 says that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

Honestly, I just feel different from everyone else. Not in a I'm-better or I'm-worse kinda way. But just... different. Who else thinks such things on the day of his ORD parade? They'd just enjoy the moment.

"Who makes you different from anyone else? What did you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why then do you boast as if you had not?" -1 Corinthians 4:7

As I lay on my bed in my bunk one last time, I was thinking that I'd really really miss those times where me and my fellow sec coms would watch Band of Brothers or other movies late into the night. I'll miss the camaraderie, the late night chats as we lay on our beds, half asleep, then sitting up in bed fully awake and joking bout everything till 1 or 2 a.m. Truly, such friendship is one thing I have taken away from the army. While everyone else was happy to ORD, that was at the back of my mind.

I also truly thanked God for bringing me through everything. From the first day I stepped into this unit. Till the last day. God has been so good to me. I still have so many many things to work on, but He's brought a lot more into my character here.

One minor regret is that in 1 SIR, I still do not have a person who understands me inside out like Caleb, Jeshua... My closest relationships are still in church. It is peculiar that I have only opened up certain parts of my life to the men beside me. With whom I have dug trenches beside, trusted with my life with live rounds beside me, fought beside. But then again, friendship, besides depth, also has many facets. To some, I open up fully, no holds barred. To some I share about my walk with God- but they would not understand or imagine what quaint habits I possess out in the jungle. To some I share my rations and care for outfield; but they don't really know what matters to me in my personal life. So, many different aspects.

Then again, as Yim told me once, this could very well be training in leadership, where I'm alone, lonely. When I think independently. And the truth is that when I am alone, I come to rely greatly on God. When the only friend that you dare put your trust in is God, you will naturally grow closer to Him.

That's all for now...

Flip the page. Almost at the end of the chapter labelled "NSF years". It seems like a really short chapter. But not when I was going through it. The days are long but the years are short. The end of this chapter is not half what I'd expected it to be. But it was a good, necessary ending. Without it, the next chapter might not be half as good.