Saturday, November 26, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011
Monday, August 01, 2011
One of the most inspiring stories I've read is from Fire on the Mountains. It is of a man named Wandaro: " Wandaro was living proof of the wisdom of God. Men would have passed him by, for he had none of the outward marks of leadership." Wandaro accepted Christ circa 1930s. In matters of literacy, and grasping of an Ethiopian alphabet, he seemed utterly unable to comprehend. Often, the missionary, Mrs. Lewis, would notice him, head bowed in prayer, asking the Lord for help to learn just one more letter. He did learn to read fairly well, though never fluently.
After the missionaries had been driven out of Ethiopia by the Italian authorities, Wandaro was persecuted with the rest of the Wallamo (a tribal area in Ethiopia) church. He was singled out for fiercer persecution. He was whipped publicly, almost to the point of death.
"Now, will you give up the white man's God? Now will you give up your faith?"
"No!" gasped Wandaro, "No, never! No! Why should I give up my faith?"
Again he was beaten. Watching helplessly, Wandaro's friends hid their faces and his companions cried.
Between the lashings Wandaro managed to say to his friends, "Christ was buried right in the ground, ground like we stand upon. (Tai Yong's note... wasn't Christ buried in a tomb carved out of rock? But okay, pedantic corrections aside)... Why are you afraid? I am not afraid. Why should you weep? I am here."
"Who has taught you to be so strong?" Dogesa was still angry but puzzled.
"The missionaries taught me!" Wandaro replied clearly and strongly.
"The missionaries have gone," cried Dogesa. "Why trouble now? They aren't here to help you and strengthen you."
"That's very true, but the God who sent them is still here. It is not the missionaries I am serving. It is God whom I am serving. God is the One who has saved me. It is God who planned my salvation. It is He who is with me right here. It is He who now strengthens me. It is not the white man. It is not the missionary."
Furiously Dogesa ordered Wandaro taken back to the market to be beaten again. This time five men were ordered to beat him in turn while he lay flat on the ground. They started about three in the afternoon. As one man tired another took the whip. When darkness came they were still whipping at intervals.
... and the various floggings and physical punishments continue in the book. Wandaro is imprisoned for a full year, released and sought for to be imprisoned yet again.
Eventually, Wandaro went into hiding.
"Even in hiding, his deep and abiding faith was like a rock upholding those who had found Christ through his testimony. Hundreds of his neighbors and countrymen looked to him as their leader and guide. Possessing few of the more easily recognizable characteristics of leadership, the beauty of Wandaro's life is the unanswerable proof that God "hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are not despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:" In Wandaro, God had a man, all of him, nothing held back, totally available, obedient. "
We often say things or present ourselves in such a way that people will have good impressions of us. The knowing smile and the subtle hint of intellectual superiority. The intentionally accidental slips of tongue or "by the way"s that reveal to others our impressive human credentials. The modest "oh it's really nothing" and for Christians, the "all glory to God" thrown in for good measure. Really, who are we deceiving? So many times we are not really interested in giving glory to God. We are interested in giving glory to ourselves. God is brought into the picture as a side story. A side character that shows how humble and modest we are to give credit to another while we are so great.
In Wandaro, God had a man, all of him, nothing held back, totally available, obedient. This is the line that really made me sit up. It touched me deeply. God is not interested in our human credentials. He is hardly impressed by the things we have done or what our human potential can accomplish. The only credentials He desires: Is this a man/woman, who is given to God? All of him/her? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?
I'm trained in SMU, a school where the holy resume and sacred self-presentation are highly stressed. This is so important in the workplace. But God's eyes pierce through the human frailty of a beautiful facade. They make me feel almost uncomfortable as they search my inner being and my very thoughts and attitudes. Am I given to God? All of me? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?
When I see people succeeding in the corporate world; this person or that person getting a coveted scholarship or position, what is my first thought? Is it a thought of jealousy or pride? Is it feelings of less self-worth? It is often when such thoughts come that the Holy Spirit reminds me, perhaps just like how God spoke to the prophet Samuel, that "God does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart".
All of me? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
One of my Christian friends lent me his MP3 player and I started to search for Christian songs. And this is the song I played. I almost cried when I heard it because it reminded me that God was still watching over my every activity back then in the army.
How does this song apply to me now? It reminds me that God is Lord of everything, just as how Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!". I got yet another rejection for internship earlier this morning. Would really have liked that job. But then I began to think and medidate on God's word. And truly, it's during times like this when one begins to trust in the Lord. We are tested on whether we really believe in Romans 8:28. That all things will work for our good.
I should receive news for another internship result by today. Realistically speaking I don't think I have that one either. But 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me. I teach my children in CM such stuff. Now's the time for me to practice what I preach.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreath;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath.
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth,
not knowing who will get it.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."
- Psalm 39:4-7
Yesterday was quite productive. I like productive days. I managed to work out in the morning (after finally forcing myself back into a routine of sleeping before 12a.m.). Did some light upper body and then went for a short run. Then I went to school to carry out some interview for a module I'm taking. That was followed by a lesson. From about 4 plus p.m. till 9 plus p.m. I was at one of my kid's mom's wake. She passed on due to cancer.
It kinda reminded me of last year. Around February to March, I was at the wake for another kid's dad, who died in a car accident. I had two trains of thought going on last night. Firstly, I was so blessed by the life of this kid's mom. So many people stood up to give eulogies telling of how they'd been blessed by her life and character. Prior to the service I was sitting there with my kid doing homework. (He was doing some English assignment and I was trying to revise Marketing 101). We ended up playing the tap tap revolution game on an Iphone. And I noticed that he still seemed rather joyful. In fact, throughout these last couple of months of lessons, I'd never noticed anything amiss about him. I would never have suspected that his family was going through all this.
Secondly, I was thinking about the 39th Psalm. When I shared with some Crusade friends that it says "Show me O Lord, my life's end", they were like "REALLY? Does the bible really say that?" And y'know what, last night I wondered about my life's end. I wondered, what will people have to say about me after I die. The ancients in the bible. They were always very concerned about their legacies. It was always a great thing to be told by God that they would be "made into a nation". I would like to think I'm roughly a third or a quarter through my life. And that too depends on how many more years the good Lord provides me. What am I doing with my life? I mean, yeah, I'm studying and that's good, but would I be focusing too much more on transient things than on eternal things? So yesterday was a long day and I still felt tired today. But at least I got to do a lot of thinking. I think I got a bit wiser.
Reading my journal... And How We See People Just two nights back I was reading my journal. I've been writing in it intermittently for the last two years (before that, since sec.2- but I wrote quite regularly back then). And I saw some entries as far back as 2009, the year I ORDed. I realised that there have been some big changes in the way I think, act and see things.
In Organisational Behaviour, we often learn about things such as Implicit Person Theory, incremental and entity theorists. In other words, people often come to a general conclusion about someone quickly. And we are often very self-assured that we are right. How often have you heard someone declare that, "This person is very stubborn/nice/impulsive/kind. I know because I have worked with him/her before on such and such a project." We often put people in a certain mould. I have put others in moulds before and have had the same done to me. We all have. But we often forget that there are two things that often render our views only partially correct. There's context and there's time. People behave differently in differenct contexts. If you were to ask my army colleagues how I was back then you'd probably hear some stuff like I was a disciplinarian, I was rigid, by the book... etc. You'd probably also hear a couple of nasty stories about me being selfish/nasty/indifferent/distant. Perhaps you might get to hear one or two nice things about me... just perhaps. That was me in the army context.
Then there is time. People really do change over time. There could be third factor. The third factor is God. Because of God's work in our lives, we often change a whole lot over time as we surrender to God. The way we react and think change a lot as God changes us. So I guess the point here is that we have to be careful not to have a single, non-malleable opinion of people. They do change. For better or for worse.
NS Book Project I realised that every time I mention the project to a contributor/ editing team member, the comment is always the same. It is, "it's been taking quite long ah". I got that comment from a contributor at the wake yesterday as well. So yes, it's been almost a year and two months. Yes, we're still working on it. I really wish it could be faster than this. But the good thing is that as this project has dragged on, I think we've grown wiser and more experienced in life. And I think we're a whole lot more mature in thinking than if we were to have pushed it out last year. I only hope that it'll be out this year.
Hopefully before my summer break ends. Hopefully. Faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I don't really bother that much about birthdays.
Played around with my Facebook birthday date, just so to see what happened. True enough, all those "Happy Birthday"s didn't come in, until after a birthday card application spoiled the whole social experiment.
But I thought I'd do something I hadn't done for some time and went for a substantial morning run. Roughly 8 klicks.
Then it was off to school for lessons. Stayed in school till about 11p.m. plus doing CAT.
Saturday was record-setting. Started doing CAT slightly after 9a.m. Found myself still debugging stuff at about 1a.m. on a beautiful Sunday morning. Slept at about 2a.m. Then went to church, unexpectedly had to do the lesson (but yet, enjoyed it thoroughly because God provided the message), settled some NS Book stuff. Then I found out that a friend's grandma had died on my birthday. Went down to view the body, talk and all. Then, in a very tired state, got home and promptly resumed CAT at about 7p.m. Finished at about 11p.m.
Monday was the CAT presentation and I was so tired and full of headaches.
So I went home.
Today is a Tuesday and I am very busy with Pol Sc stuff.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I've been very productive these past few days. Really thank God for that. Oh yeah, and went for Street E on Tuesday. I actually don't go for such stuff. It's like I feel that the best way is with people you already know- and somehow it feels more correct cuz you really have to be living out the right type of life... etc. But anyway, I'd been asking God what He wants of me in my time here. He didn't tell me to go for Street E but I just volunteered for it anyway. There's this thing that some other Crusaders have been talking about. They call it prophetic evangelism. Something like you pray for God to show you a picture of who you should be sharing with and then you write it down and then you go around to find that person... My skeptical mind is bashing up the idea but somehow it sounds interesting... Perhaps one day should try.
Okay since I'm up I suppose I'll do my morning stuff (sit on the throne, read papers etc. ). And then maybe some early QT. And after that maybe I'll get back into my bed. Got a lesson at 12p.m. but if the weather clears up, I might be able to fit in a run and some sort of a workout. (Very happy that I managed to start exercising a bit on Monday and Tuesday!)
Sunday, March 06, 2011
It is only when adversity or any ill-event occurs that we are filled with wonderment that we were not any more thankful in the past. In a way, it's good that I've been sick for about a week. There is so much to thank God for because I have had so many months without falling sick.
So today I was in church only for CM. Cuz it was my lesson and I didn't think it fair to get someone else to teach at the last minute. Lesson was okay lah... didn't go too well by my expectations though. Was supposed to go some place for a friend's birthday party but had to rest at home. Spent some time reading Pilgrim's Progress. The archaic English is at times tiresome. There are occasional gems for me. But I just want to finish what I began. Almost there.
Mid-terms are over and there are now a whole lot of projects to do. But then again... only four weeks before the end of the term. Well, I've got to find some internship too. But we'll see how I guess. Haven't been successful yet.
My dear NS Book Project is still in the works. It has been in the works for an extremely long time. It's like an airplane design that has already materialised, except that it's in the hangar awaiting its pilot testing. Now if we can just get it to take off for its pilot testing.
Hmph. I'm staring at the dumbells across from me in the living room. Miss them. Exercise, when I am sick, seems so pleasant and nice. It's kind of like my de-stress zone. I'm not super fit, but I love it. I'd like to play more soccer if I could too. But can't really find people I guess. Tertiary education already. No longer like primary or secondary school days when soccer buddies were just a phone call away.
Perhaps being sick forces me to learn to rest. I've watched more TV this week than any other week for a long time... Something I haven't done since perhaps JC or before. But of course it's not something I want to do long term. Not productive. Perhaps something like playing the guitar more would be a worthy alternative...
Okay. Back to school tomorrow.
Al iz well- From "3 Idiots".
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Then we watched "Three Idiots", a Bollywood show. And it was an awesome show. Like, really really really good. I was so impressed.
Okay there's the lasagne.
There're the two guinea pigs. The third one took the picture.
This week I tried to rest a bit. Last Sunday was Young Adults games day. Then Monday was DG day out. So I got a little bit of exercise. Quite enjoyed myself. Tuesday- Project. Wednesday- Study. Thursday- Projects. Friday- ENOUGH OF ALL THAT- Took a break. Today- Break. Tomorrow- Sabbath.
So for this season I've been trying to take a break and rest in God. Most of the time I've failed terribly. But yesterday afternoon and today were good at least. So that's a start.
School is such a mad rush these days. Especially since I have CAT. I never actually thought it would happen to me... but I feel that I'm not having the same amount of passion for God's word these days. It's almost like Egypt's famine. That right now the food supply of scripture I'm relying on is all that I've stored up in the past. I've not been memorising much new scripture lately. I'm like being sustained by all the past memory work.
Not been exercising as much as I'd like to lately. Hmmm. Should try harder perhaps.
Going to church tml. Looking forward.
Here's an extract from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:
"... Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have showed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.
Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad: he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.
Then said Christian to the man, What art thou? The man answered, I am what I was not once.
Christian. What was thou once?
Man. The man said, I was once a fair and flourishing professor, both in mine own eyes and also in the eyes of others. I was once, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither. (Luke viii. 13.)
Christian. Well, but what art thou now?
Man. I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out; oh , now I cannot!
Christian. But how camest thou into this condition?
Man. I left off to watch and be sober; I laid reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the World and the goodness of God. I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and He has left me. I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But are there no hopes for such a man as this? Ask him, said the Interpreter.
Christian. Then said Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?
Man. No, none at all.
Christian. Why, the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.
Man. I have crucified Him to myself afresh. I have despised His person; I have despised His righteousness; I have counted His blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of grace (Luke xix. 14; Heb. vi. 4-6; x. 28,29): therefore, I have shut myself out of all the promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.
Christian. For what did you bring yourself into this condition?
Man. For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight: but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.
Christian. But canst thou not now repent and turn?
Man. God hath denied me repentance. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, He himself hath shut me up in this iron cage: nor can all men in the world let me out. O eternity! eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in eternity?..."
Don't we often find our own cage and shut ourselves in?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Last couple of weeks, I had lots of exams and all. But been through most of them. I guess that one thing I really want to do in the coming week is to spend some quality time with God.
CM was very enjoyable for me today.
Friday, January 28, 2011
The same goes for now. I feel that in many ways I am sucking it all in and grinning. Yesterday I studied pretty much the whole day. Was doing CAT (That's Computer as an Analysis Tool) yesterday, as well as some Managerial Decision Making and Marketing assignments and readings. Started at about 10a.m. Tried to catch a nap at 5p.m. but they started to do some drilling work just outside my house and I couldn't sleep. And then late at night, not being able to sleep on my bed, I realised that I'd burnt out.
It does help to remember the things that God has brought me through in the armed forces. There were quite a few times this week that I told God, "Lord, I really can't take this anymore". Then I remembered a certain navigation exercise overseas that I thought I couldn't go on anymore but we just kept pushing on and on. There was more than one Christian in the group and we kept praying and praying for God to help. I remember what God has brought me through and realise that I CAN go on. With prayer, discipline and determination.
So how? Suck it in and grin. The grin must stay there but somehow the inside will change. Either that or everything will collapse. Everything will not collapse so keep grinning.
How do I feel now? Alone. Should attempt a morning run tomorrow. One, two, three of my toenails are dead or dying though. So might have to tape them up. Yes, perhaps that makes me sound tough. Suck it in and grin. The outside, tough as steel, indifferent and not the least concerned about the world. The inside, numb.
When the going gets tough, as they say, slow down but keep going. I know I am alone but it is okay because I know God has not abandoned me. Loneliness is an old friend. Though I do not always enjoy its accompaniment, I have grown to understand that it makes me stronger.
In other thoughts I started reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Process today. It has proved to be a good read so far. Somehow it helps me to relax.
There has been some talk recently as to how ministry workers should be careful in their conduct, that they not stumble other people. It is true that we are not to stumble other people. Yet I cannot help but wonder at the superficiality of such a measure. For isn't it true that we are somehow hiding something when we say that we cannot fully express ourselves in order not to stumble our sheep?
It is weird sometimes how as Christians when everything is wrong, we just throw in Christian-sounding words and then not do anything about matters.
But as I have always believed, when burn out comes, take a break. Something must give. And let that be me giving myself rest. If not, something else will give.
Think I've said enough.
I wrote in my diary last night that I feel like punching something up. Today I laughed at myself because I know that it was pretty silly statement. I can't fight. Can't even throw a proper punch, I gotta admit. The last time I punched something... when I was in primary or secondary school I tried punching the wall and regretted it for about a week.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
I miss them all. Of course, there are a couple more not in the picture.
I was concerned that the guys would not like the colour scheme of these boxes so I spent quite a while deliberating on whether to buy them. I let the guys choose first (most of my class consisted of girls). In the end one of the guys picked pink. -_-
The significance? Salt and light of the earth, as per Matthew 5:13-16. Coffee beans- cuz if you put an egg, a carrot, and coffee beans in boiling water, after some time you'll find that the egg becomes hard, the carrot becomes soft and the coffee bean remains quite the same. And what's more, it changes its whole environment with its flavour. An old story.
Got the boxes at Tecman, the plastic from SKP, the light bulbs after a hunt at the electric stalls near Heartland Mall and the Coffee Beans after walking through the Kovan Wet Market. I had to buy at least 100g of coffee beans, so if anybody wants the rest... let me know. I sorta figured out the little plastic bag looks best with only 7 beans. Anymore and it looks too packed together.
So tomorrow I get to have a day of orientation with my new class of Primary 6s. Here we go all over again. How do I say it? I miss my Sec 1s. And yet when I look at my new class, I feel glad. It is a positive type of deja vu, if there was one. It starts all over again. Same yet different.
What does God have in store this year?
School started last Monday. Quite a hectic first week. Many thoughts.