Thursday, September 29, 2005

Interesting Day...

It all started when I set out for a customer visit that's located bout 30 minutes away from the office. I started off an hour earlier since I didn't know where his place is and so that I could take some time to look for that place. Well, 5 minutes into the journey, for some reason, I just decided to pray. I prayed that God will make this meeting with this customer fruitful. I prayed that God will remove any obstacles and help me to make this event as smooth as possible. The moment when I said "Amen", the car in front of me slowed down, and halted. Why.. wouldn't you know it, a traffic jam. I told myself, it's a good thing I left early. 10 minutes passed, and I'm still travelling barely 20 km/h. A few kilometers later, I found out the reason for the jam - a stalled truck, and of all the places to break down, it had to at the top of the flyover where there's no emergency lanes that you could stop temporarily. The bottleneck at that bridge caused a back log some 5km long.

Passing that broken truck, relieve came, and so I hurried off only to come to another jam. 10 minutes past and this time, it was a minor accident and we as Malaysians, find for some unknown reason, customary to slow down your vehicles to minimum speed and stare at the incident to show our respect to the less fortunate - two drivers with a dent bumper. Passing that incident, I sped off, and again, the traffic slowed down, and this time, it was a tractor who could not find a better time to use the freeway, causing all those who trail behind him to mimic his speed.

After several near deaths attempt of over taking him, I finally managed to reach my customer's AREA, and still not the place yet. It was already 2pm. My meeting was set to be 2pm. I called him and politely asked him if he could show me where his office was. He gave a description, but it was vague, and I was a bit embarassed to ask him to clarify, and this ended up causing me to drive in circles. After bout half an hour and several calls to the receptionist, I managed to arrive at the customer's place. It's 2:30 now I'm just hoping that nothing else will go wrong.

I apologized to him for my lateness and he was very understanding. So without wasting time, we discussed about the product, and with that, I pulled out my laptop to show him the software. Before this, I've prepared by putting the laptop in hibernation mode so that it will load quickly with all the stuff that I need when I turn it on again. However, for some unknown reason, the laptop took it's own time to load. And once it loaded, the software, which is my bread and butter, started to act strange. It took like minutes to load a simple command. I had to reassure the customer that our product is actually a high performance product and blah blah... Then once I got it running, I screwed up my presentation because I couldn't remember a few steps that I've just rehearsed some hours before.

In the end, I told him that I will e-mail him whatever that's left out today. He said ok, and so I left. On the way out, I noticed it was pouring heavily. It was sunny when I arrived, so I didn't bother with the umbrella. Long story short, by the time I got back to the car, I was soaked.

On the way back, my mind was constantly wondering about the prayer that I made earlier on. It's like, it was an 'anti-prayer'. I got everything opposite from what I asked for. But one thing I realized though, was that even in the entire journey, there was certain sense of peace and calmness that I had. I couldn't quite relate to it. I know that on most days, I would probably have been cursing and all, but I didn't. I just turned up the radio and sang along.

Reaching home, I just wanted to blog my thoughts, and mom came in, passing me my pen that I've left in my shirt, that just got washed with the rest of the load. Fortunately, the ink did not spread and remained obediently in the pen. However, since this pen was a gift from dad, I couldnt't just discard it, and had to try cleaning it. Needless to say, the ink does not dissolve in water, and I had to use acetone (nail polish remover) to dilute it. I messed up the whole sink, with my hands together in the process.

What a day. I got nothing of what I asked for. This then made me to think a little more. How Jesus prayed. And how He taught us to pray. It goes something like this:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us of our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen"

Notice that in this model prayer, is very little about a "problem free" life. Rather, Jesus taught us how to call on and depend on God for all our needs. From our daily bread, to forgiveness of sins and even to dealing with temptations, Jesus made it clear that all this ain't about our will or our way, but as it is in his own words, "Not my will, but Your will be done".

I guess that many of us pray so that our days will go smoothly and all, but I feel that if that's the only we pray, then, we're just making God some servant who needs to heed to our prayers, and go before us to prepare it so that we the kings and queens will not need to face so much "difficulties" and "inconvenience" in our day. God is not our servant, but He is Lord. He letting us even pray to Him is already such a wonderful privillege, for God does not need to listen to us. But He wants to. And He does.

May we cry out in our prayer times more that just complaints and woes. Yes, we can do this at times, and God is our Heavenly Father who will listen attentively to our cries and heartaches, and gives us comfort and encouragement. But more than this, we need to start acknowledging that this life that we have, is NOT ours to live. May we begin to understand that until we make our purposes His, and submit completely in surrendered hearts to God, we will continue to live lives that is firmly attached to this vicious cycle of life and us in it screaming, complaining and murmuring all the way. But once we surrender everything, and trust God fully with all our hearts, it is then that we will see the power of God begin to work in our lives.
Even in bad traffic and inky pens...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Cat Facts

I thought this was cute....


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Prayer by St Francis of Assisi


"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy."

St. Francis of Assisi (Founder of the Franciscan order, 1181-1226)

*Drawing by Marshall Hopkins

Praise

Wendy Barber passed me a book some while ago titled "Prison to Praise" by Merlin R. Carothers. My first impression of the book after reading it was well, it's a good idea and all, but practically? Come on...

Years past, and on a Sunday afternoon while talking to Simon over roti canai (great thoughts and discussions usually include good food), this came to me (divinely?): "God blesses His people so that His people can praise Him". When I told that to Simon, for a moment, that statement almost sounded wrong, as though, God blesses His people for His OWN pleasure. That statement made God sound like some arrogant, prideful and pompous person who has no other better thing to do than have people praising Him and telling Him how wonderful He is. But this thought then came to rebutt that one, because in a way, God doesn't need OUR praises. I mean, He has like thousands, if not millions of angels and unheard of creatures praising Him since the creation of time. But He wants us to praise Him. Why?

Just I struggled to find the answer to that, it's as though the Holy Spirit turn on a light bulb above my head and gave me this revelation: "Praising God is THE BEST thing that we can ever do!" It's like, if you enjoy cooking, then cooking a meal is THE BEST thing that you can ever do, no matter how hectic and tedious the cooking might involve. I paused for a moment, looked at Simon, and blurt it out to him. He stared at me, pondered for a while and while battling between reality and what I've just said, started to nod his head in agreement. Well. I don't know if he really got it, but for me, I now realize why we're spending an eternity in heaven praising God. Because it's THE BEST thing that we can ever do. Ever! Period.

Now, I haven't got to know the reason behind WHY it's the best thing that we can ever do, besides the fact that God is the only one that's worthy of praise in this universe. But just like what the Psalmist said in Psalm 139, "such knowledge is too wonderful for me". I take it that one day, God will reveal it to me. But this is the reason why God blesses us, so that we can praise Him. He's trying to encourage us to do the BEST THING that we can ever do! And the more we praise Him, the more He blesses us!

So, no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we will find praising God is THE BEST thing that we can ever do. Better than alcohol, pornography, revenge, gossip, destructive thinking, and even sex. There's no better escape than praising God. And here's the best part bout praise, that it is actually part of the solution towards our situation. While alcohol and drugs only take our minds away for a brief moment from the problem, they never in any sense positively contribute to solving the problem. But praise is different. Not only does it takes away the worry and the grief, it prepares our mind and heart to overcome and go thru the obstacles.

No wonder David cried out "Praise the Lord all my soul, and let everything within me, praise His holy name." David understood the power of praise. And so could we unlock this power by praising God no matter what the situation is!

Praise be to the Lord! Hallelujah!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Life...

While Hurricane Rita poured its fury on certain parts of Texas and Louisana, I was happily enjoying a BBQ dinner with old colleagues. We spoke and laughed over deliciously prepared dishes. While talking though, Hurricane Rita came intermittently into my mind. But I just switched it off, and continue with the evening. Should I have? Well, my guess at that point of time was thinking about it ain't gonna make the wind blow any slower, so why worry bout it....

However, the highlight for me on that evening was when I met up with Key, who happens to be an ex-La Sallian. At first when I saw him, I thought he looked familiar. When we were introduced, he then said I looked familiar and after identifying ourselves with our similar past, we started then to talk about life.

Key was not having the best time working in my ex-company. And I could relate with him as I was from there too. Heck, half the people at the party used to work there and decided to move on.. so I guess there's a trend somewhere... hahaha... However, I told Key that finding a different job ain't gonna make things any easier. Though the current job is tough, but there's a need for us to find our fulfillment in God alone.

I asked him "10 years ago, could you imagine being where you are right now?" He replied, "No way. I had way better dreams than this." I asked, "What happened to those dreams?" Then came silence. As I was waiting for a response from him, my own heart and mind was frantically working to find the answer to that question.

Going down thru memory lane, I remembered my last year in high school. I recalled imagining myself being successful and all. Riches, fame and glory were never in my mind, as in being overly rich and famous. I wanted to be rich, as in having enough to buy whatever I want, but "humbly rich", whatever that means. Also, I wanted whatever I was involved with to be of a noble effort... you know like, curing world hunger, creating new energy sources and sending people from Pulau Ketam to the moon. But as soon as I left high school, a strange thing started to occur. As what Key and I agreed on: "Life happened". Realities bite. And slowly, the dreams begin to seem obscure and immature. They quickly made their way from reality land to dream land and before we knew it, life happened. 10 years have past since I left high school. What are my achievements? Where am I and where will I be going? The answers to these question still seemed distant at the moment.

One thing that remain consistent though, and this I must admit, that thru the years, it had become my anchor, my "foundation". It is my faith in God. I can say that until now, God has not failed me. Have I failed God? Oh yea. Plenty of times. Thru these past 10 years of ups and downs, all I remember is that thru the darkest time of my life, God was there. He was the one who told me "There's still hope", when I thought all was gone. He was the one who said "I'm still here..." when all the rest abandoned me. And He was the one who spoke clearly unto me "I forgive you" when I thought I have crossed the line of no return.

Key mentioned something interesting yesterday night. He said that when we're young, it's easy for us to be excited about God by joining our school's Christian Fellowship and our church's youth and all, but once we hit working life, it's tough. And I agreed with him. It also seem that our churches are not doing enough to prepare our young ones with the realities of life.

I look at myself now, and sure, I'm no Nobel Prize winner, nor a Mother Teresa, nor a Bill Gates. But yet, strangely, in my what I call "the heart of hearts", there resounds an inner assurance telling me that I'm the most blessed person on the earth, because Jesus lives in me. And for this, I strive so that I can also say at my end what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7- 8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Driving home, I was so encouraged with this revelation. My failures, my fears, my inadequecies, my past, my present, and my future, I know I can give it to God. He is my rock and fortress, my strong refuge in times of trouble.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fluffy Khoo Meow Meow

"What are YOU looking at???" - Fluffy Khoo...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Mini-zoo

Apparently, mom is proud of the animals we have in the house. My first reaction when they came in was that they were a nuisance and though cute, but high in maintenance. But after a while, I find these pets comforting. It's sort of like you can go to them and they will always be there. Their reactions are always consistent. Hmmm.. I think these animals are getting the best of the "soft-side" of me....

Anyway, I just thought putting their pictures up will be fun, so here they are:

This is Fluffy Khoo, queen of the house. No one supersedes her in authority. She roams her territory like a roaring Saharan lion. All the other animals are alive because she allows them to live.

This is Mr Smith. I don't even know which generation he is from. Our hamster population exploded since the day mom decided to start the hamster factory. So like the movie Matrix, Mr Smith has cloned himself so many times, that he himself doesn't know which is the original anymore. But beware, this one bites.


This is Harriet the bunny. Latest edition to our mini-zoo. I never knew you could train rabbits. Apparently, I can get this one to come to me when I call. Next on the list would be roll-overs, jumping thru a ring of fire and fixing the broken Astro dish.


This is Oreo. This wabbit came in sometime early this year. Unwanted by her previous owner, my mom, aka Dr Doo Little, took it in and gave it shelter, plus a whole lot of other benefits. At first this one had access to roam inside our house, but Fluffy wasn't too happy, so for her majesty's sake, we keep it outside now.


These are Mr Smiths in production. Soon, it will grow and will start their conquest to take over the world. Our hamster factory seems to have a very high efficiency rate.

This is Mr Smith's neighbor, Mrs Smith. Apparently, you can't put them together once Mrs Smith have kids. Mrs Smith turns quite defensive and violent...

All in all, I give names like Dr Doo Little and Noah to mom. Taking care of all these animals is tedious and sometimes tiring. But it brings mom relief, and when the house is empty, these pets becomes my chat buddies...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Second Chances - Second Posting...

There are some things in life, in which once its done, its done. No turning back, no more "I wish I had... " We just count our losses, and move on. And yet, there are some things there are not so easy to let go, forget, and move on...

These are the things that constantly haunts us. These are the things that propogates and echoes the resounding "I wish I had.." longings in our hearts. I wish I had. I wish I had.

From where I stand, I wish I had been a kinder person. I wish I had more humility in me. I wish had more love. Memories of the past comes to remind me. Words that I've spoken, I wish I could've taken it back. People that I've hurt, I wished I could've told them I'm sorry. People that I've neglected, I wished I could have loved them more. Relationships that I've screwed up, I wish I could have a second chance to make things right. Have I repented? I don't know. I know I need to. I can't promise myself that I won't repeat this foolishness.

Driving to work today, these thoughts ran in my head. As the faces of these people that I've hurt flashed in my mind, tears streamed down my face. I cried out, "Lord, I'm sorry... I'm sorry. Please give me one more chance. Please help me make it right. Please help me."

Then came silence. Stillness filled the car eventhough motion was everywhere. Peace came, and out of the quietness of the moment, God spoke. But there were no comprehensible words. Not audibly, nor in my thoughts. But I understood it. Words that goes beyond human expression. It brought relief as my chest stopped hurting.

I reached my work place. I wiped my face dry. God has spoken. And I know, that I've been already given a second chance, if not third, fourth, fifth...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Second Chances

I visited Chun Yian yesterday in the hospital after receiving a SMS from his uncle (Lawrence). Apparently, Chun Yian's car lost control while he was heading home to change his clothes for a wedding that he was attending and of all the places, he lost control while on a flyover. His car hit and broke thru the barricade, defied gravity for a brief moment before landing on the road below. It's a good thing he was driving his Benz. Can't imagine how it would be if it was a Proton or something else.

Seeing him on the hospital bed with his right part of his face swollen, I was relieved that he could at least talk, and more because the hospital told him that from the initial X-Rays and diagnosis that he suffered no major concussions, nor any broken bones. His parents came in later, and they filled us (me and Vai Seng) with the rest of the accident details. The Benz was totalled, and the stuff of in his car was apparently stolen by the tow-truck drivers. But yet, all in all, we were all glad that Chun Yian's alive.

Driving home from the hospital, the scene from the "Dukes of Hazards" kept flashing in my mind. I keep seeing a car flying in mid-air. Then later came the flying bus scene from "Speed". However, a thought from all these kept resounding in my head: "Second Chances".

I told Chun Yian that what he had today was a second chance. Though recovering from pain of bruises and cuts, yet, there's probably the unspoken sense of joy that's ringing in his heart because he's alive. I bet like from the movie "Fight Club", his breakfast today would taste more glorious than any of our breakfast we've ever had in our lives. Why? Because he's just received a second chance.

And I ask myself, how many times have I been given second chances, and yet screw everyone of them. I look back right now and wished so hard that I could have undo what I've done, and unsay what I've said. From broken relationships to bad financial choices, God has been gracious to me by giving me second chances. And yet, I question myself, am I grateful? Did I learn something from these events?

I guess second chance is a gift from God. He knows we will screw up. And we prove Him right. Everyday. But I pray that we use second chances to redeem ourselves, not to go screw it up one more time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Giving our all...

"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened." - Acts of The Apostles 5:3-5

Taking a look at this verse, often the first thing that comes to our mind when we try to reason out why Ananias dies in that manner was because he lied to the Holy Spirit. And indeed, it was true. However, was his sin so terrible that he deserved instant death?

What was his lie? Peter emphasized that first of all, Ananias had very little reason to lie. He told Ananias that no one expected of him to give everything. He owned that very land, and giving of profits from the land that was sold was solely voluntary. There was no set standard, nor any expectation of giving.

However, I could imagine a little of what might have taken place... My guess would be that Ananias had sort of imposed that standard upon himself, in the sense that he didn't want others to think that he was a cheapskate, nor any 'less' of a believer because he didn't give his all. He wanted to portray himself as an all out Christian who would give everything for the sake of the gospel. Eventually, his act of giving, which was supposed to be a result of conviction, took its motivation from pride. And this pride cost his life, and the life of his wife.

I wonder how many of us realize that week after week when we attend church, we commit the very same sin that Ananias committed. The songs that we sing, the prayers that we pray, the commitments that we make and the offerings that we give. Worship songs today seems to move closer and closer to the trend of intimacy with God. From songs such as "This is my desire" to "Jesus Lover of my soul" and so on, we sing this songs, and yet, how often are we sincerely moved in our hearts? We respond to altar calls and pulpit invitations to recommitments and repentance, but never seem to carry those proclamation out of church with us. It is amazing that we can still find ourselves alive. Our attitude should have brought forth the wrath of God because indeed, we are not sinning to men, but to the Holy Spirit.

But I believe that God is merciful, and He desires that none perish, but all come to repentance. Indeed, this is the year of God's favor, and He in His grace and mercy are allowing us to learn. However, time and tide waits for no men, and soon enough, His judgement will return.

My conviction? Don't sing if I don't mean it. I pray that I will not succumb to other's view of my walk with God. It's better to be cold than luke warm. More than that, I'm asking God to show me my heart. I'm asking Him to teach me about sincerity, towards Him as well as others.

Am I a faker? I guess to some extend, I am. But I thank God that He is showing mercy to me by not allowing me to fall down dead. And better than that, He's teaching me how to repent and move towards Him.

"Lord Jesus, thank You."

Monday, September 12, 2005

A dream

Pastor Benny Ho in one of his message series titled "The Parables of Jesus" ended with this illustration which touched my heart and literally brought my heart to its knees. He starts with him describing himself in a dream, where he found himself standing in front of the Pearly Gates. There, an angel greeted him, and welcomed him to the '72nd' level of heaven. Surprised, he asked the angels about these 'levels' and the angel told him that there are 77 levels in heaven, and for him to reach Level 72 was a good achievement already. However, when the angel was flipping thru his records, he paused and said, "Ermmm, there seem to be a slight problem here, let me look into it, and I'll be right back with you."
Pastor Benny then began to worry a little about that slight problem and start to enquire the angel about it. The angel reassured him that it's only a slight issue, and he need not worry about it, but that wasn't enough for Pastor Benny. He continue to plead with the angel, but the angel was leaving anyway to go 'settle' this issue and Pastor Benny grabbed onto him, pleading for the angel to reveal what the issue was. The angel then told him, "Just wait, and I'll be back." Left with no choice, Pastor Benny let the angel go. The angel then went ahead and dissapeared.
For the next 30 minutes or so, Pastor Benny was in a frantic state, trying to figure out what could the slight problem be, and soon enough, the angel returned. Hurriedly, he asked the angel. The angel then said to him: "It seems that you've actually accomplished much in your life on earth. You not only preached many sermons, but you've also written books, produced CDs and so on. But it also seems that because of your busy schedule that you could find time to pray for 20 minutes a day. And with that amount, it's amazing that you've even reached Level 72.
Pastor Benny then was beginning to sweat when he heard that as he begin to realize what was said was true, and he didn't know that it was such a 'big' issue then. But the angel continued and say, "However, you are truly blessed because your short prayer time was dramtically compensated by the people who knew you, and kept you in their prayers regularly. These people not only supported your ministry, but covered you in their prayers constantly. And with their prayers, you've made it to where you are today."
In tears, Pastor Benny was then reminded of all these people. They were the old ladies who never said much in church, but yet spoke so much in their prayer closet. They were the one time strangers that he met in various meetings, with people who believe enough to pray for him. They were his church members who even in their lack of professional theological training, and yet were faithful enough to lift him up daily in prayer. And they were his family, his wife, sons and daughters who constantly remembered him in prayer when he's away to speak at various events.
He suddenly realized that he could never have gotten to where he was if everything was dependent on his own effort. It was the support and prayers of the people that God has placed in his life, that made it possible. And with this, he was humbled.
He then asked the angel, is there anything that I can do to thank all these intercessors and faithful prayer warrior? The angel looked at him and smiled, saying, "Don't worry, when they come here, they will arrive at Level 76..."

"Lord Jesus, I ask of You today to humble me to the point that I consider all my talents, giftings, abilities and skills to be nothing before You, for it was Your mercy that allowed to even live this very life that I have. I ask that may I in everything that I do, do it as an offering to You. And Lord, may I not belittle the people around me. May I not consider myself more highly than them, for I know of aunties and uncles who may not sing very well, know much about computers or even speak very good English, but yet, they are faithful to the little things that You've called them to. Humble me Lord. Open my eyes to see You working in the life others. Teach me how to receive wisdom from others. With this Lord, I commit everything onto You. In Jesus' name I ask and pray, Amen."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11

4 years have come and gone since the towers fell. Even so, I recalled the events of that dreadful day so vividly. I remembered I was at work when it happened, when news of a plane crash was broadcast over the radio. Me and my colleagues didn't pay much attention to it and until when we heard that a second plane had crashed into the other tower. We rushed over to the break room's TV, and there on CNN, reporters were showing us how the both the towers were on fire. Suddenly, one of the towers was engulfed with smoke and dust, and later, reports came in to confirm that the tower has collapsed. And a few moments later, the other tower followed with the same fate.

I recalled standing there in horror. It was only 4 months ago when I was 'touring' New York with my parents. And not too long later, news came stating that these atrocities were carried out by terrorists. Speechless, my mind was confused on what was really happening. All I remembered at that point of time was I needed to make sure that my buddy Vai Seng was doing ok. Vai Seng had left Lincoln for NYC in hope of getting a job there and all. And I knew he was somewhere in the city. Francticlly, I tried dialing his number but the lines were busy. It seemed that I'm among the other few million people trying to call in to that island. Suddenly, after trying for a few times, a dialing tone! I got thru, and better than that, Vai Seng picked up the phone to tell me that he was doing ok. There was never a greater sense of relief.

In days to come, I stuck to the news like glue, trying to find some resolution in all this chaos. Clips of the plane flying into the towers were played over and over again over the news. Funerals and memorial services of victims, firemen, policemen and other rescuers who lost their lives were covered in detail by the networks. TV shows such as 'The Night Show with Jay Leno' and other comedy based productions were halted at least for a couple weeks as I guess it's kinda hard to joke in times like these. And in months to come, we were to hear stories of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and not only that, of more bombings in Spain, Bali, Jakarta, and recently, in London.

What have these 4 years accomplished? Not much. Many still live in fear. Osama is still somewhere around plotting to strike again. If the bombers don't come, then there's the force of nature that we gotta reckon with. By now, Katrina would have taken away few thousand lives. The tsunami in Acheh wiped out more than 300,000 lives in Dec of 2004. And there are also the less covered tragedies in Russia, Philipines, and so on.

For the days that are coming, many of us are wishing to see peace and prosperity to flourish in the world. And yet, in the back of our mind, that seems quite impossible. With fuel prices rising like bread with yeast, and with war so likely to happen, most of us try to find the sense of security either by keeping ourselves busy with our work so that we don't think too much of these things, or by thinking 'less seriously' about the outcome of the events.

All I know is that we can only find security in Jesus. He still remains the peace that's able to take us thru the next calamity. With news flooding in everyday with reports that trouble my soul, Jesus shines out with such peace and calmness and reminds me that all I need is Him.
What's to come? I don't know. I wished the world was a little more predictable.But it's not. And maybe, that's a good thing, for if it was, then I would have trusted in 'that' security. God help us all...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ever So Gently

Ever so gently

Ever so gently, Your Spirit calls, to all who hear
Ever so gently, the sound of your voice, quiet yet clear
Day and night, to the ends of the earth
The skies pour forth speech
There’s no place, Your voice isn’t heard
Your patience astounds me

Your voice is the sweetest of sounds
it’s the purest of life giving rain
Your voice is the calm in the storm
it’s the whisper of love that remains . . . .

Ever so gently, I hear Your voice, pulling me near
Ever so gently, Your word of life, stronger than fear
If I turn away from your heart
to hide in my shame
You speak truth in love’s patient way
Your gentleness breaks me

Brian Doerksen & Cindy Rethmeier
©2000 Vineyard Songs Canada

"Surrender"

Surrender
Written by Marc James

I'm giving you all my heart, and all that is within
I lay it all down for the sake of you my King
I'm giving you my dreams, I'm laying down my rights
I'm giving up my pride for the promise of new life

(chorus)

And I surr-ender all to you, all to you
And I surr-ender all to you, all to you

I'm singing you this song, I'm singing at the cross
And all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss
For the sake of knowing you the glory of your name
To know the lasting joy even sharing in your pain

© 2000 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)
Album: Surrender/Vineyard

Friday, September 09, 2005

Meaning of Life

Something I wrote a year ago....

Meaning of Life...
What does life promise? Seeing all the things that we have in the world, we often question the “goodness” of life. We ask questions such as “what is the point?” or “what good will come out of this?”, and time and time again, we are left unanswered, only to be posed with even more similar questions. At least that’s one thing that life definitely promises, a constant and perpetual cycle of endless uncertainties and that is the truth; at least in our eyes, is the only thing that we can certain about.

I on my part keep seeing my own peers from time to time chasing after what Solomon calls “the things of this world”, and for some of them, it even seem to them that these things are the only things that are worth running after for. Yes, we know what the things of the world are, and even sometimes, the secular world tells us to not run after these things as they often only promise insatiable fulfillment, which in most times leaves you in even a worse state than before. But yet, we keep running, we keep chasing, we keep telling ourselves that it would be different this time, only to be left hanging again after we’ve reached there.

The “good” part of the world tells us that we need stop and smell the roses sometimes. It reminds us about family values and about friendship and the other “good” things of life. Well that remains true, but it’s only half true, cause often we’ve heard, if not experience the dark side when we put all these things first. We’ve heard stories of how a son, because of the father’s own expectations for his life, gave up his own dreams and desires so that he can fulfill his father’s dream for him. Or on a darker note, we’ve come to know how a father betrays his children by raping or abusing them physically and mentally. We’ve probably also experienced the sadness when our friends, if not best friends betray our trust, by revealing some things that we thought was supposed to be only shared between 2 people, and to some, not meeting the expectations of what we’ve presupposed “best friends” to be. Thus, we’ve come back to square one, only to be left without any answers or any hope of what this life is supposed to be.

Some parties keep telling us to not take life for granted, that having food on the table means that we are enjoying what maybe the 2/3 of the world would consider a privilege. That having a roof over our heads means that we are better off than the 3 million people who are suffering in tents in Sudan or Palestine. So, are we supposed to keep reminding ourselves that just because there are some poorer people in the world that we are not allowed to complain about our present condition? What nonsense, because just as there are poorer people, there are also richer neighbors, in-laws or other family members who we know with all our hearts that we complain way less than them. And while they are talking about the color of their yacht or the Roman pillars they would like to decorate their houses with, we are only asking for a steady pay, an understanding employer who would appreciate his or her employee or maybe just a chance to experience the “good” things in life.

Where then do we stop? Or maybe the more accurate question would be where then do we start? Why is it that we keep living a life that causes us to long for only things that we don’t have? Why is it that we would never consider our present condition good enough, or better yet, perfect? So then comes the question that philosophers have asked for thousands of years, “What is the meaning of life?”

When I look back in history, I see great people who have changed the course of mankind, some for the better, and some, unfortunately, for the worse. People like Louis Pasteur, who invented the Penicillin has managed to allow thousands, if not millions people to avoid the need to suffer the ill effects of flu or other mild sicknesses. When I read about the founding fathers of America, I’m encouraged by their nobleness, that they were willing to remain true to what they believe, a nation that would continue to preach freedom, even when they had an opportunity to construct a government that could benefit them and make themselves powerful. But I also read of people like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, that in their rise to power, turn what could be good into great evil, causing the unnecessary death of millions and the destruction of their own governments and people. But the question that keeps ringing in my head asks, “what is the point?” What mattered of Pasteur’s contribution or George Washington’s nobleness if the world ended in say one year from now? If at the end of life’s journey is only nothingness, what is the point then of doing anything, whether “good” or “evil’? Would we consider Mother Theresa’s sacrifice, of giving her entire life to bring hope to the children in Calcutta a waste if a meteorite the size of Jupiter rammed into earth and destroyed everything? Would it matter if Hitler killed 6 million people in his reign of 4 years? This is what nothingness promise: hopelessness. If life promises only the things that we can see, then the hedonists should be our king, as their belief of “enjoying life what it lasts” would be the only worthwhile thing to do in our living years. Therefore we should work with all our hearts so that we can afford to indulge ourselves in the pleasures of life. Family values are only important if they bring happiness to us. Life should only be protected if it is convenient. There is no such thing as right or wrong, as what is important is “now” and let the future take care of itself. We should protect the environment, only if it can promise us a more beautiful vacationing venue in the future. We should only be friends with those who are willing to be our friends, and of course, only if it is convenient. Sex should be the ultimate aim in our life, and it should serve us, thus it not who we share it with, but rather, we need to make the best of every “opportunity” that we have because “opportunity waits for no men”. Marriage, hah, of course, is so that we can show the world how noble we are that we are willing to share our lives with only one person in the whole world, and the one day that we spend during the wedding ritual should suffice. After that, it’s every man for their own….

Sad isn’t it? And sadder still because what I’ve just describe has truth in it, because from the news that we read in papers and hear on the TV undeniably reveals that. “But we are not crooks!” Of course you are not, compared to Hitler, Stalin, and Manson. In the eyes of our own, we are only doing things that we “deem” best for that situation, and time after time, we would have the perfect reason to justify it.

So we come back again to the question “what is the point?” The way I see it, if nothing is eternal, in which I’m pretty confident that this world is one of them, lets then get busy choosing our hedonistic king. But rest assured, that in fact, there is one thing that is eternal, and lo and behold, its no other than God. “God? Bah… give me something else” Something else? You mean someone else? Well, the truth is, there is no one else. There is no one else who can give us hope. Let me introduce this God to you. His name, well, is God. I’m not quite sure if He has a last name, or whether it is His first name, but I’m pretty sure He has plenty of other names, such as Lord, Almighty, The Great I am, and so on. The good news is that this Almighty God is a “good” God. Why is this good news you say? Well, it would be bad news if this God was an “evil” God. Now, this is a very important point. Because it He was an evil God, then we would be back at square one. However, it’s good news because He is a “good” God. In fact, there’s no other that’s as good as him. There’s no other like Him. And the best part is that, He’s on our side. He is for us, and He is with us.

I know some of you who are reading this are probably going “Hmmph! That’s the best you got?” Well, the truth is there is more. Deep inside our soul, there’s always the longing for the “perfect” situation, meaning that “life is NOT supposed to be this way!” For some reason, is as though there is this “standard” that is built in us telling us that suffering, hurt, sickness, sadness, depression, and we would coin as evil is not “supposed” to be. Why is that? Why is it that we keep telling ourselves that “life can be better than this”? Why is it that for some of us, we continue to remain stubborn, not wanting to accept the fact that that’s all life has to offer. It seems that life holds something greater and much more beautiful than what we can see with our earthly eyes. Well, the good news is that this is because the bible says that we are created in the image of God. This means that we were formed by Him, and when He made us, he instilled a little of Himself in us, giving us a “sense” of His ways and attributes. He gave us a conscience, so that when we see injustice, we would shudder in our soul, and when we see evil, we would desire for justice.

But our human race has gotten to the stage that we are trying to “overwrite” that built-in program. It’s as though we are trying to rewrite the truth table in our mental circuits, that when we see something evil, we would say that it is good, and when we see something good, we will call it evil. Some theologists call this “deception”, which means that we are trying to deceive ourselves. The apostle Paul mentioned in his letters to the Romans that it is “the searing” of the conscience, so that they would be able to overcome what they felt. Society, thru the influencing of the media has come where there is no more such thing as good or evil. Abortion, homosexual marriages, adultery is considered as a “norm” these days, and if you’re still questioning these issues, it shows that you’re “outdated” or “backward” or worse “prejudice”. What if in 5 years time, murder would be also considered as a “norm”, just as long as we have enough reason to justify it. What if nations begin to legalize marriages between human and animals or anything else they can imagine? What if there’s no such thing as rape? What if animal’s lives are place as equal with lives of humans? What if there’s no such thing as God – wait, I think that’s already done…

The issue here is that there needs to be a foundation for all things. If we own houses that are not properly fixed to the ground, then every time when the wind blows, we would have a different address, or every time when somebody plays a prank and move our houses in the night to a different location, we would have to figure out which state we are in. But God has laid the foundation of this earth, and with that, He instilled what we would call today “order”. When He designed the cosmos, He made sure that the earth would not be too far way from the Sun, or else all life would cease, not being too close to it, or all of His creation would burn up. He made sure that the earth would orbit the sun in such a way that there would be 4 seasons for some, and while others would enjoy the hot or the cold the place could offer. He looked into the details of creating ground that could bear food for us so that we do not have to create food on our own, that we would only need to work the ground, and then would be able to enjoy its return. But of course, there’s also the dark side of His creation, at least in our own eyes. Earthquakes, storms, tornados, drought, famine, wars, human being’s shortcomings are all part of His perfect plan. He never intended for human beings to fall, but He definitely did not abandon us when we fell. He gave the law to us so that we might be able to see that we need Him, not so that we can be independent of Him.

Without God, there’s no hope. And without hope, there’s no point of anything. Everything is just a spur of the moment. However, there’s a God, and because of that, there’s hope. And with hope bring meaning to the things that we fight for, to the people that we love and protect and cherish, to the ideals that we strive for, and definitely to the dreams and desires that God have given us, knowing that one day, all these will be fulfilled in the life to come, if not now. God is calling us to love Him, He is calling us to turn back to Him, to give Him a chance to love us back by being able to walk with us, talk to us, and even be in love with us. What’s your point of doing things in this life? What are your aspirations? What are your dreams and desires? God is calling us back to him so that He can fulfill all that He has given us – that perfection that causes to long and desire for what remains unseen.
The meaning of life – well, get to know God, and you shall soon find out.

Kah-Kheng
August 15, 2004
1:08pm
Starbucks – Midvalley Shopping Mall, Malaysia.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An Ode To Jesus

An Ode To Jesus

My Jesus, Oh Sweet Jesus,
Blessed are You who sits on the throne,
Though you reign high and mighty,
Yet You came for those who are lowly.

Jesus oh Precious Jesus,
My mind cannot comprehend nor imagine,
For how sinners such as us You would care,
And take our sins upon Yourself.

Where is Justice? Where is fairness?
The heaven cried out,
As the angels watched in distress,
The Darling of heaven now on the cross

Thirst was in Your mouth,
Fatigue tiring every muscle,
Pain inconceivable on every part,
And sorrows of a broken heart.

With Your last ounce of strength,
You cried out "It's finished!",
Signaled by a bowed head,
My Jesus is now dead.

Yet in the silence of the graves,
Unheard echoes of hope began to resound,
As the stone is rolled away,
My Jesus who was dead is alive Today!

Lord Jesus I'm unworthy,
For such a gift, for such a sacrifice,
Yet it was for me that You died to give,
A chance to live a life worthy of Your name.

For if I were to lose all that I possess,
And get sent to places unheard to me,
Even to lose my life in the process,
I count it all as gain for Thee.

For to follow You I must carry my cross,
To live this life, I must choose to die,
To gain heavenly riches, earthly ones I must rid,
Only then can I walk on Your victory path.

Generations after generations shall hear of You,
Make choices to live life worthy of You,
Until You return we must then wait,
Not in vain, but in obedience.

Trusting You is the best choice I've ever made,
Even this choice was helped made by You.
Thank You so much for everything,
and help me to walk closer with You.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thy Will Be Done

"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." - Mark 14:36 (NIV)

For some reason, these past few weeks have proven to be really weary on my spirit and body. Not only was I tired physically, but I constantly felt a great deal of depression in my spirit. And I found myself to be easily agitated as well as irritated. To some extent, I have even 'barked' at a few people that have stepped on my tail (unintentionally), and now when I think back, I kinda regret for not my keeping my cool.

There were also times when I just felt like giving up. This 'Christian' walk proved to be much more difficult than I imagined. Even after so many years of walking this path, yet, it doesn't seem to get any easier. And I'm begining to learn, that maybe, it's not meant to progress us to ease, but rather, to challenge us with greater trials.

Many years ago, I recalled during my Uni days, I constantly preached a message of "Christian Joy", testifying of what God has done thru several incidences in my life then. I remembered telling people to "protect your joy" because that's the "gift" of God to us. "Do not be robbed of your joy" and "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!" were words that I've used to encourage others of the same faith. And yet, after at least 5 years have past, and I have to preach this message to myself again. This is because it is so easy to let your joy be robbed of you. All it needs is a single word, or incident, and we can be so downcast in our Spirits. And if we let it perpetuate, this 'depression' will turn into hatred and rage.

My own journey during these past weeks proved to be more than I could handle. And honestly, I would have to confess that there were times in my heart that I cried out to God saying, Lord, I can't do this anymore. And yet, even in my failure to keep His statutes, God, in His mercy turned my heart towards the event that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, where there, our Lord, in anguish and fear cried out to the Father, "Abba, everything is possible with you. Take this cup from me..." (Jesus acknowledged that God could do anything, which include rescuing Him from this painful event). "...Yet not what I will, but Your will be done..."

Jesus understood the sovereignty and the heart of God the Father. In His (Jesus) plea for escape from pain, Jesus continued to put the Father's will as a greater priority than His own desires. This revelation came (though not new, but yet, act as a good reminder) to me during yesterday's prayer meeting, when I was just taking time to reflect on what's happened in the past weeks. Tears rolled down as images from "The Passion of the Christ" begin to play in my mind. And I wondered just for a moment, whether, would Jesus have made a different decision if He knew how I would fail Him time after time. I pause to ponder whether I have live a life that's worthy of His calling. Then came the Holy Spirit who brings not only comfort, but understanding thru the word of God. He brought me to the passage in Romans where it says, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." I wept.

Jesus never promised "easiness" nor a "trouble-free" life. In fact, when He said that He has come to give us life, and life abundantly, He meant the abundance of God's blessings, as well as the abundance of the challenges of life. And yet, all these has a cause, a reason. James mentioned in his epistle: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Paul puts it this way: "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

My conviction? I'm learning to put myself to death (not literally), that is my desires, dreams, my 'wants', my accomplishments, my failures, and my sins. And it's a journey. I acknowledge that. I'm 27 years old this year. By God's grace, I have a good 50 years more in this journey. I pray for the days to come that God continues to increase in me, as I decrease in myself.

"Lord Jesus, in You and You alone, can I ever find meaning to this restlessness in my Spirit. Lord, I ask that you establish Your will in my heart, that may I be so taken by Your beauty, and find nothing else in this world worthier than You. Continue to work Your Spirit in me. Forgive me of my weaknesses and sins, and I pray that You will not pass over me, but use me any way you choose, to the proclaming of Your fame and renown. Let Your glory be made known thru this earth, and Lord, start with me. In Your name I pray, Amen."