Friday, February 26, 2010

Photos and Thoughts






These photos were taken at the Marina Barrage on Monday for Crusade DG day out. I had fun, yes.


Tuesday and Wednesday was hardly fun. Attended the wake of one of my CM kid's dad. Passed away in a car accident. That took up some time, and I didn't get that much studying done this week after all. But if I had to re-live this week, I'd still go down. I had to be there.
Thursday met up with Tiew for lunch.


Friday. Project meeting, back home again. Started getting some work done.


The many events and issues this week have got me thinking. I'm even a little troubled by some of them.


To top it all off, there's still the studies that I have to do my best in. Really need prayers for this one.
As I did my QT today, I thought once again about the days He's brought me through. I remembered a day where we walked through Woodcutter's Trail. I remember the combat load. I remember the tiredness. I remember that He's done so much for me. And that I need only fear Him; nothing else.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NS Book Project


Dear brothers,

We’re working on a NS book project. It’s going to be a compilation of our Church of Singapore (MP) NS testimonies. The purposes are threefold. Firstly, to thank God for bringing us through those dark and dreary days. Secondly, to encourage those who are about to enlist or are still serving the nation. Thirdly, it’s to give our sisters-in-Christ a better understanding of NS. (Yes, we know that the best of our lady friends are bored to death by our army talk…)

Attached are general guidelines and an example of a very short testimony. Longer testimonies are definitely welcome (and in fact, encouraged), but please keep them below 1000 words. You may submit as many testimonies as you wish.

Please send your testimonies or any enquiries to mynsdays@gmail.com .

Cheers,

Jeshua, Caleb and Tai Yong



General Guidelines

This will be the general overlay of the book:

Contents
1. Before BMT
2. BMT
3. Training Schools (e.g. Signals Institute/ SISPEC/ OCS)
4. Unit Life
5. SOC/ IPPT
6. Range/ Live-firings
7. Nearing ORDinary life
8. Closing Advice/ Words

Other possible areas to touch on: BGR, spiritual attacks, struggles... etc.


Due to the sensitive nature of military information, we will not be publishing certain details. They include but are not exclusive to:

1. Unit names
2. Names of military superiors
3. Weapon names
4. Code names of military exercises
5. Names of host countries for foreign exercises
6. Details of bilateral exercises

We reserve the right to edit or reject portions of the testimony that are inappropriate or un-publishable.

An Example

Unit Life

"Bullets 2 metres from me

There were numerous instances of God’s divine protection and providence. I was once alone in the 300m range with a soldier carrying a light machine gun. While in the midst of clearing his weapon, he misfired into the ground 2 metres in front of me, kicking up sand in my face. I was stunned for a moment. I thank God nothing happened to either of us. If the guy was careless enough to fire off a few rounds while clearing his weapon, I must have been very blessed that at least the weapon was pointing away from me."



Questions you might want to consider while writing your testimony:

• How did God bring you through NS?
• What were some of the high and low points of your NS life?
• How did you view God in these times? (e.g. Far from God / Lack of peace / Close to God).
• Did you grow stronger or weaker in your faith as a result of NS?
• Looking back (if you’ve ORDed), are you grateful to have finished NS and what do you thank God for changing in your life in NS?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Giving Thanks

It had been a long day. It was about 8:45 p.m.



I was waiting with Jeshua at the bus stop. We'd been talking when my bus came to a halt in front of us. As I boarded the bus I was still talking to Jeshua. And as I headed toward the back of the bus I gave Jesh a call just to finish that discussion.



As I sat there I contemplated my day. I gave thanks. I spoke to God. It had been a satisfying day. Running around and doing stuff and talking to people. Teaching my kids in the morning. Working on the NS Book Project. Such joy in doing things for God.



A man in a white top and black pants boarded the bus. A bus ticket inspector. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. I'd been seeing them around ever since I was in primary school. He made his way down the aisle, checking EZ link cards, as they always do.



My bible was still open on my lap as I handed him my card. I was reading from Ezra this evening. It's something I've grown to love. Using transport time to read God's word and pray. (Of course, I try to read only when the bus stops, if not my eyes will start to hurt).



The gentleman was visibly tired from a day's work when he took my card. He tapped my card.
Frowned. Tapped again.



"Mr. Foong," he began.



Goodness. I'd forgotten to tap my card. I'd been too engrossed discussing stuff with Jesh.


And so he showed me from his machine that I'd not tapped the card, explained to me the PTC (Public Transport Council) Act and told me that I needed to pay a S$20 fine. So I did.


Well, I sat there in my seat in silence for a moment. There was a sinking feeling in my heart. I felt sad. I felt sad for many reasons all at the same time. I felt sad that it was my fault that I had to pay a fine, even though it wasn't intentional. I felt sad and a tinge of disappointment that God had let this happen even though I'd been busy serving Him and honouring Him, these last few weeks especially.


A few thoughts came into my mind in quick succession.



"Why does this have to happen? I've been so pressured the last couple of days doing Biz Law and all. This morning it was hard just to wake up and go to church. It's been a long day. This is like the last straw."


I realised that the thought wasn't from God. I took it captive. Pushed it aside.


"Look I've been serving God so faithfully. I've been doing my best to honour Him these last few weeks. Why does God let this happen? I mean, if He does this when I'm in a season of not walking closely with Him, it'd make sense. But why now? Don't I deserve God's best as I give Him mine?"


I paused. This one really hit home. But I knew it wasn't from God either. Same thing. I took it captive.


I opened my bible again. A quick recap for verses I needed to see again. I knew them by heart. But I just needed to literally see them again.


Romans 8:28.


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
1 Thessalonians 5:18.


"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."



I began to pray. "Lord thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. It hurts that you allowed this to happen. It's unintentional but I had to pay a fine. The loss of 20 bucks does not pain me so much as the fact that I had to pay a fine. Lord, your word says to thank you. So I'm thanking you. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Lord, your word says that this will work for my good. Lord, just what are you teaching me in this?"


As I sat there praying and meditating on God's word, and even as I got off the bus eventually, still meditating on His word, God was teaching me lessons. Allow me to share them with you.


1) It's only a small matter. If I don't accept this from God now, if I don't begin to praise God and lift up thanksgiving to Him in such small an issue, how would I praise God when He brings me through darker valleys? Job fell down to the ground in worship to God when his children and possessions were taken away from him. I need to worship and thank God in the midst of this fine, even if it hurts. For in a man's walk with God, God will definitely allow difficulties, trials and all this sort of thing to happen, for our training and our good.


2) "A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord" - Proverbs 19:3. So often we make mistakes on our own accord. It is inconsequential whether it is intentional. We turn around and become angry with God. We question why He allowed us to make that mistake at all. "Well, why didn't He prevent it from happening?", we often cry out. Look, I'd made a mistake in not tapping my card. Would it be right for me now to turn around now and be angry with God? No. I needed to give thanks.


Very often we also blame the system. I could begin a very negative train of thought for example, thinking that I've been a loyal customer of SBS since primary school days. That I've always paid my bus fare and perhaps that I might conceivably forget to tap my card one out of a thousand rides. What moral right would SBS have to fine me for forgetting to tap my card? Couldn't they just have gotten me to tap and pay the price? This is unfair! They're earning so much and yet they want more.


Well, I believe that one thing God reminded me of is that we really shouldn't complain or argue (ref. Philippians 2:14-15). We are not to vent frustrations on "the system" and get angry. Granted, it may be unfair at times. Yet all we are required to do is to wait upon God in quietness and trust.



Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice. -Proverbs 29:26
3)We don't deserve anything. Could I have said that I have served God faithfully and then I deserve to not have such things happen to me? It might make sense at first. Why should a good man suffer? Then again, am I really a righteous person?


The answer is yes, I am a righteous person. But that is right where the argument begins to flounder! You see, that righteousness is from God. It comes by faith and is by God's grace. I cannot say that "Lord I have been righteous and so I deserve such and such." Then how might God possibly respond?



"Child, you are righteous. But only because of the blood of My Son on the cross. You deserved to die, but now you are saved."


And then what might I possibly be able to say? It becomes very clear indeed; Christ died for my sins. What do I deserve? I deserve to be separated from God. Yet by His blood I am saved. Could I raise a brazen face up to God and say, "Look God! I don't deserve this!"


No. I could not. I have no say. I did not pay the price. Jesus Christ did. I belong to God and it is not for me to complain. I have nothing to bring before God to show that I deserve His favour, except His only begotten Son.


4)Throughout the past few weeks, (in particular after what Uncle Tony said in church about our possessions being God's possessions) I've been telling God regarding my money: "Lord, this is your money, all of it. Use it as you like." Of course, I've also prayed for blessing and all. Well, this twenty dollars fine. That was God's money wasn't that? Should I feel unhappy that I'd lost it? It was God's money. God did not allow my money to be taken away by a fine. He allowed His money to be taken away by a fine. How could I complain? God is sovereign over my whole life and rules over every single thing. I am His. My everything is His.





Ah, Romans 8:28. So what good grew out of this? Well, I think I grew wiser. I think I'll be more careful in tapping my card, even though it's so rare not to tap my card. I have so much practice doing it, I wryly note.


And if you have learnt something from this post. Well, I guess that it has worked out for your good as well, that God allowed this to happen to me.



-End-
Below: A couple of snapshots of Optimus Prime, who I brought along to CM for part of my lesson. I believe he suffered great indignity at the lunch table, where Andrea and Zhang Pei put him through an ardous routine of ballet dancing and decorations with a plastic Chrysanthemum flower. He can take being manhandled. He can take long drawn violent battles with the Decepticons. But ballet and girly stuff? Tough on him.
He's undergoing counselling right now. Deeply troubled. Andrea, Zhang Pei, look what you've done.




Andrea... Zhang Pei... You touch me again and I'll blast you to pieces... Grrrr... Zhang Wei and Clara Ying. Don't you laugh either. This is so not funny.





Okay... Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts. Transform into vehicle mode and think happy thoughts. Relax on Tai Yong's bed. Ahhhh... Now don't think bout the flower... Relaxxxxx....


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Prep for BLaw Exams

Come Friday and Saturday, I'll have 45% worth (of my Business Law course grade) of presentations, written report to submit and mid-terms. Been working quite hard over the last few days. All through Chinese New Year I've been reading too.

Today I did my Stats homework. And was so glad that I kept my old JC notes. It took me quite some time.

I was feeling quite discouraged studying when I sat down to do my evening quiet time. But felt much, much better after that. Read through Matthew 11:28-30 again. Read Psalm 27, Phlippians 4:4-7... etc etc. And I just remember once again, that quite similar to Matthew 6, I shouldn't worry so much about my studies. It writes in Matthew 6 that we shouldn't worry about what we will wear or eat or drink. And that life is more important than clothes.

Similarly, in modern times, as students, we shouldn't worry about our studies, about our tests, exams, which school we'll go to, what career we are to pursue in the future. The words in the bible call out to us, "Is not life more important?"

Is not life more important than studying? Why should studying sap the joy out of life? Is joy based on our studies? Philippians 4:4 says to "Rejoice in the Lord always." and just in case the reader doesn't catch it, "I say it again. Rejoice."

I just want to say that I've got so much to thank God for. Family, friends. Everything. I've got to always remember my army days. The stuff God brought me through. What is student life, compared to all those days?

Still doing stuff for the NS book project these last few days. It's kinda like a bit of respite for me, to type that stuff...

Haven't gone running these last few days. Feels so weird. I've run about every single week since around November last year. Hmmm. Maybe, perhaps, tomorrow morning?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Glee.



Okay, they took this shot for a Crusade event, Love Matters that's coming up on 12 Feb. It's a very special day for me. It's my ORD anniversary!!!



Apparently many people like to watch this new show, Glee. But I'm not intending to start anytime soon.



Many many many thoughts today. Bout stuff in the newspapers, bout stuff in church, bout stuff in school, bout stuff in friends' lives.





Photo with Joel from CM camp 2009.




Angela's birthday party on Monday night.





Lowell...

How to tell if I'm taking up something that I shouldn't



I guess I'm posting this up here as a reminder to myself as much as it is to everyone.



How do I tell if I'm taking up too much stuff in my life? What's the ultimate indicator? It's when my walk with God starts to suffer. If I take on stuff so much so that the quality of my walk (and many a time, even the quantity) suffers, then it must be too much.



My mom was suggesting to me that I might be taking up too much stuff recently. And I guess that that's a good reminder. Even though I'm convinced that I'm striking the right balance at the current moment, it is true that I'm treading a thin line. It'll be easy to get off this balance.


Talking with people is something I truly enjoy. I enjoy this ministry of exhortation, of prayer, of sharing my life, just as 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (I think) says that "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel but our very lives as well, because you had become so dear to us" (if I remember correctly).



Was talking with one of my friends on the train and he was saying that he doesn't get too involved in peoples' lives cuz he knows that he can't commit to following up. And was just pondering about what he said. Could I be getting myself into too many different lives? Is there a way to just "be around" and "be supportive" while at the same time knowing much? Tentatively I believe that it all boils down to the issue of wisdom. But then again, it remains to be seen.



God and NS - A Book Project



Just want to put this up here for friends who visit this blog but who I haven't talked to for a while. Caleb, Jesh and I are in the formative stages of coming up with a book. The key idea is for those who've been in uniform to share who God was to them inside of NS. The plan for now is to compile testimonies from church members regarding their experiences and how God was involved in those experiences.



Can't say too much for now, cuz we're all studying. But hopefully the idea will pick up some more steam when Summer break comes.



So for those who read this. You can send testimonies to me. Please also keep this one in prayer. :)



Going-ons



Update. The last few days have been mainly about talking to many people. Need to pray for wisdom. Need to continue to spend time with God. Need strength for each new day. Studies are heating up and many a time I am rather concerned that I'm not putting enough time into studying. So really need to organise my time well. Yet at least for now I am happy to report that I haven't been much distracted by unworthy pursuits such as TV, facebook etc... But need to keep going, keep going.



The theme verses for the moment seems to be Ephesians 5:15-17



Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.



And 1 Timothy 4:12-16 too.



... but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift... Be diligent in these matters, give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Short Clipped Sentences



A thought. This picture I took on Rinjani just seems to remind me of one of the things God told me before I enlisted. The one bout battles coming into view.

I had a fairly good day at church.

Taught my class... thought it's a rather quiet class; unlike my LOUD Sec 1s. So was a lil uncomfortable teaching this class today... a lil weird. Hope they'll be less quiet in days to come. As in, the GOOD kind of noise. But love this class still.

The had a VBC meeting.

Then spent some time studying beside Caleb, Sabrina and Jaslyn Leong.

Then went home.

Then had dinner with dad and kor. Drove, but goodness, have to improve on parking skills. Those aren't too good man. So much for poles in driving centres.

And now on the com... Hopefully get off soon to spend some more time with God.

Have a TWC mid-term tomorrow. Lalala.

Jesh flying back today I think.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A lil tired

A lil tired these days. Perhaps drained from lots of the stuff that's been happening.

But remembering who God is in all that I go through.

School work's been kinda discouraging as of late. But in all this, have still to honour God first in everything. As such, waiting on the Lord for strength.

In all that I do, I always have to look back in history. I need to bring my mind back to the armskote, to the barracks, to the soil and to the jungle. I need to constantly remember days in the past, days harder than today that God has brought me through. Would I continue to trust in Him? Would I cease to worry (I'm rather concerned for studies these days), and just do my best, leaving everything into His hands?

I know I'm doing what I can for my studies. I know... but want to do even better than this, spend more hours on it. Yet sometimes so much wisdom is required. What to say "no" to and what to say "yes" to.

My comfort now is in God. It is in the fact that I know this semester, (as it is so far) is more honourable before God than the last. And my comfort is relying on God in my studies. Yet I must not repeat my mistakes in Sec. 3 and 4 when I took on too much.

Looking forward to teaching my Primary 6s this Sunday!