Monday, November 28, 2005

If I Could Sing...

I had the wonderful privilege to attend a dinner organized by The Beautiful Gate, an organization whose vision is to help disabled (special needs?) people to acquire skills to lead a more independent life.

They had plenty of performances, which I might say were pretty impressive. Of them all, there was this song that caught my attention. I couldn't fully understand it as it was in mandarin, but I know the song is about a mute person, who desires to sing. And somewhere in the chorus, it went something like this: "If I could sing, I would sing a song praise to You God..."And I guess, it would also be the same for the lame to say, "If I could dance, I would dance for You Lord."

I guess we do take things for granted don't we? Here we are, at least most of us, who are not deprived of speech, sight, hearing, and movement in our bodies, and yet, we use it to do things that does not bring God glory. We use our mouth to cuss, curse, gossip and sing unholy songs. We use our eyes to watch sin-inspired movies, our ears to listen to things that put angels to shame, and our hands and feet to disobey God.

Instead, we could use it give our best to God. We could use our senses to fill our spirit so that we are encouraged to praise God even more. We have the option to use so much of ourselves to bring glory to Him. As described in Chris Tomlin's song, "The Way I Was Made", it goes like this:

Caught in the half-light, I'm caught alone
Waking up to the sunrise and the radio
Feels like I'm tied up, what's holding me?
Just praying today will be the day I go free

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

Made in Your likeness, made with Your hands
Made to discover who You are and who I am
All I've forgotten help me to find
All that You've promised let it be in my life

Strange isn't it? Until we lose it, we'll never appreciate what we have. May we give our best, before our best is taken away from us...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving...

To my friends who are currently in the United States, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you take today to contemplate on what God's done for you in your life, how He has so mercifully bless us in all situations.

Have a good one.

Stay blessed....

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hope...

"Can I learn to trust again?", he pondered. Having a past like his makes things a little more difficult, and complicated. His involvement with several bad experiences in relationships has altered his perception of romance, and also brought the realization that romantic relationships are often over-rated. He has many issues to overcome. Oh, he realizes that it's not everybody's fault, and that where he is now is a result of his own doing. However, there's been instances where he knows that it wasn't his fault, and questions rages thru his mind, wondering how he had managed to earn the punishment of hurt and betrayal. Why isn't good repaid with good? Not only is it not repaid, but, it was responded with evil. And evil it was, that caused the wounds that never seem to heal. "Maybe, it's my fault." He thinks to himself, trying to bring a form of justification to the whole incident. He realizes something though. It's not justice that he is seeking, but rather, the understanding to the motive for the wrong that was done. And the more he pondered, the more senseless it became. It made him even more confused, and angry.

Months have passed, but time still doesn't heal the wound. The only relief that he gets is that the memories is slowly getting pushed away by the new experiences. He tries to forget, but just like everyone knows, the harder you try to forget something, the more you'll remember it. He realizes that, but is left with no option or any alternatives. So instead, he tries to fill his time with more activities, such as charitable works, and maybe, just staying late to finish up work at the office. It helps a little, until he gets to the place when he's all alone, and the memories of such rises again from the grave to torment and fill him with grief.

Sometimes in the place of loneliness, he wonders, about the relationships that he had. Did he just jump from one to another to forget the previous one that he had? Did he go in for love, or for the erasure of a past? Why didn't he guard his heart? Why didn't he guard her heart?

Questions, but no answers...

All these while, He has trusted God. However, just like everyone else, he has weaknesses. He wished that he could have trusted God a little more with his relationships. There's been many instances where he knows that God has told him "No", but like a stubborn child, he wanted to prove God wrong. He wanted to pursue the relationship and prove that his "love" could overcome everything. Of course, at that time, he never searched his own heart for the 'real' motive of that pursuit. And in that stubborness, God allowed him to carry out his own plan. The ending is obvious, with more hurts and wounds. Sometimes, he blames God for not doing anything to stop him, but he is quick to repent from that, because he knows very well that God did try to stop him. Soon, guilt rides the silent waves of his heart. Everytime the mind is left alone, these waves of guilt rides in, and when he is alone, he weeps in tears.

Friends and families sometimes comes to give encouragement, and their "piece of mind". It helped sometimes, but most of the time, he knows those words were pretty much empty. He didn't want sympathy, but rather, resolution. He wanted answers to the questions that raged in his heart.

Then one day, as he was spending time with God, the Spirit of God came. There were no audible words, nor any that could be comprehended in the heart. It was a feeling that he could not quite express it with words. Tears streamed down his face as he wondered what was happening. And in the silence of God's presence, he knew this, that he was loved. He knew that God still loved him after his many foul-ups and conscious disobedience to God. There and then, he confessed all of his sins and misdoings. He committed all the past relationships that he had to the hands with marks of nails that once drove right thru it. He asked for forgiveness, and also the strength to forgive and to love those who he has hurt, and those who has hurt him. And the strangest thing happened. God opened his heart to love and be loved again. It was strange because relationships were the last thing on his mind. He for one figured that if he stayed away from them, people won't get hurt. He won't get hurt. But God instead filled his heart with hope for the chance to live the life of love again.

The next morning, as he woke up, he sensed that the sun's rays was much more glorious than yesterdays'. Oh, he's fully aware that night will befall soon. But yet, as he stands by the window and looked up to the sky, he notices how the sun rays were so magical, and how it could breakthru the thickest cloud. Is he more knowledgable about relationships now? Not really. But yet, a new hope arises in his heart. He knows now that the truest form of love can only come from God. So true and mysterious is the love of God, that comprehending it would take us an eternity to achieve. And so, he starts on this new journey. With the past behind him (though not forgotten), he knows who's holding his future. With a new confidence, he looks on with hope. And there, he takes the first step into the unknown, unafraid.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Sacrifice - Creed

"My Sacrifice"

Hello my friend, we meet again
It's been awhile, where should we begin?
Feels like forever
Within my heart are memories
Of perfect love that you gave to me
Oh, I remember

When you are with me, I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice

We've seen our share of ups and downs
Oh how quickly life can turn around
In an instant
It feels so good to reunite
Within yourself and within your mind
Let's find peace there

When you are with me, I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice

I just want to say hello again
I just want to say hello again

When you are with me I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
Cause when you are with me I am free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice, My sacrifice

I just want to say hello again
I just want to say hello again

My sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Proverbs 31

The Virtuous Wife
Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31(NKJV, emphasis mine)

I wonder when the writer asks "Who can find a virtuous wife?", is it meant to be rhetorical, or does he have an answer to it..?

Monday, November 14, 2005

...minor interruption...

Currently having some serious writer's block. Will resume after technical difficulties are overcomed. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On Trust

One of the longest struggles I have is the ability to just let go and trust people. I struggle the same with trusting God, and I struggle the same with trusting myself. I guess one of the major attribute to this struggle would be from my past experience, where certain betrayals from other people, and certain inconsistencies in my own led me to this struggle.

How this struggle surfaces in reality is I prefer to do everything on my own rather than trusting people on what they say. And when I try to convince myself that I'm gonna change, the back of mind would say "yeah right". The struggle then continues when I'm faced with God's word, who promises the impossible to me...

Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." The word "own understanding" can also be annotated with past experiences, as most of the times, this is how we understand the world (thru experience). God desire that we trust Him like no one else. He is asking for us to trust Him more than we trust ourselves. And sure, it's a struggle. But the road to trust begins with trusting God first with all our hearts. This means that we are no more fearful of the consequences when obeying Him. We no longer strive to be perfect in men's eyes, but rather, we're only concerned with God's heart and mind. And it's only then, when we've given our very all to Him, obedience in Him will then open the door for us to trust others, and ourselves.

Jesus said that unless we can have faith like a child, we'll not see the Kingdom of God. Our observation of children is that they're gullible, and vulnerable to people that are older than them. They don't question like adults when confronted with doubt, but they just trust that whatever the adult is telling them is true, because all they know is that the adult loves them, and will not lie to them. Of course, in the real world, trust like this have been abused time and again. But when we trust God, we have the assurance that our Father in heaven will never ever succumb to that. He's a good God that loves us and accept us as His children.

It takes a lot to earn some people's trust. And it takes even more to keep it. But here's the easy way: Put our trust in God first. When we trust Him with all our hearts, He will lead us into all truths. He will by His Holy Spirit tell us when a person in our lives are trustworthy or not. He will protect us. And He will also give us the confidence to know that we, no matter what our past may be, can do all things, even things that seem crazy, difficult, or impossible, thru Him who strengthen us...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Comic Break...


Never too early to help our kids find their career paths... I guess it's because it's Tuesday again...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Comedy Break...

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they were exhausted and went to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?"

Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that the Lord is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke.

"Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Memoirs of a kitty...


Starring: Fluffy Khoo
Coming soon to cinemas near you... :)

On pursuit and risks...

There's an old saying that goes, "If you love someone, set her free, if she returns to you, that its meant to be..." I often ponder on this quote, wondering if the guy who came up with it has really thought thru the possibilities of situations that would compromise the validity of this statement.

In contrast, passages that are found in "Songs of Songs" tend to differ in its approach of romantic love. Of course, often when Revived Pentacostal Evangelical Christians read it, they always tend to connotate the 'lover' and the 'beloved' to Christ and the church. But there's still a certain amount that can be contributed to the application of romance between a man and a woman. One of the greatest characteristics of this book is that we can see that there's plenty of pursuit. The lover always tend to pursue after the beloved. Of course, the beloved screws up here and there, but it doesn't seem to faze the lover's pursuit.

The reason why I brought up the saying "If you love someone, set her free, if she returns to you, that its meant to be..." is because I sense that there's like a certain kind of passiveness to the attitude. Something like "Cae sara sara, whatever will be will be" or like the Muslims saying "Insy-allah" or "God-willing". If that's the case, what's the point of courtship? Might as well just wait all your life, and then when the time comes, your bride will knock on the door and when you open it, she will say "Marry me!".

Now, I still of course believe in divine intervention, where I believe that God has prepared for us a partner that's best for us. Yes, we do trust Him. We continue by faith to "wait" on Him. But this waiting has nothing to do with passiveness. This waiting is about doing our part, ie, praying, seeking advice of elders, carrying out our calling, then, buying flowers, cards, cakes, cats, wait... no cats, chocolates and so on, then waiting on God to bring it all together. This means that there's still a little on our part that we must do to pursue after the ones that we feel lead to. I mean, I cannot imagine myself standing before my beloved, and she asks me "Why is it that you plan to marry me?" and I reply to her "Because God told me to". It's as though she has nothing to offer me and the only reason that I'm after her is because I want to be obedient to God. God forbid...

John Piper illustrates this in his sermon during the Passion 98 gathering.
"The reason why I believe that the Christian walk should be one of passion and not of duty can be explained like this: It's Valentine's Day, and I come home, with a bouquet of flowers. I knock on the door. Now, I don't normally do this. It's my house. I usually walk right in. But anyway, I knock. Noel, my wife, opens the door. I show her the flowers, and said, "Noel, Happy Valentine's Day." Noel would then reply, "Oh John, you shouldn't... why did you?". "It's my duty." I replied.

Wrong answer.

Let's back up. I knock on the door, and she opens. I show her the flowers, and say "Noel, Happy Valentine's Day." Of course, her reply in surprise would be again "Oh John, you shouldn't... why did you?". "Because nothing else makes me happier than giving these flowers to the most beautiful person in my life."

Right answer."

Pastor John Piper during this sermon was emphasizing about Christian Hedonism, however, I still see relevance of bringing this example to idea of pursuit in a romantic relationship.

I guess one of the greatest reason why pursuit often never even starts off is because of risk. Nobody wants to take risk. What if I get rejected? What if she's the wrong one? What if? What if? But even in the event of pursuit, there must be a time when we let go. This then requires discernment, and plenty of good buddies to tell you the truth, even when it hurts.

To be absolutely sure in a romantic relationship, is like buying a TV from Best Buy, with a 100 year warranty. Of course, you will not find such warranties offered. The same is as in reality where relationships don't come with any sort of guarantees. The only guarantees are: misunderstandings, doubt, jealousy, communication breakdown, and so on. And if we do it right, friendship, growing in love beyond reason, ability to sacrifice, and most of all, be loved without a shadow of doubt (but this of course, don't come easy...).

I have my fair share of relationships. If I could redo them again, I would have chose to not jump into some boats, and maybe for one of them, would have continued to remain on the boat even if my perception of it was that it was sinking. Why? Because it was worth it. And this has nothing to do with scoring. But there's this certain sense of calling, and ultimately love.

God demonstrated this with Christ on the cross. Jesus knew that even with such a sacrifice, many will still deny Him. Many will still mock Him. For even such great love that was poured out, it was still capable of being rejected. Did it wound Him? Of course it did. And yet, He count it worthy to carry His cross, not because we who have received Him are worthy, but because God's love could be demonstrated, and ultimately, accomplish the Father's plan and purposes since the beginning of creation; to love men, and to be loved by them.

Love is a risky business. The stakes are high. And there's no other way around it. You want to experience real love? Then you must be prepared to lose it all. If you're not, then don't jump into it. Because it's not a matter of 'if' love demands our all, but rather 'when' love demands our all. What do we do then?