Archive for December, 2005

And so i have finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched Narnia.  It was a great show, and i really appreciated the subtle (at least i felt they were subtle) references to biblical events.

Would strongly encourage anyone to watch it…and think about the reality of the show, despite it being fiction/fantasy-like.  There really was someone who shed innocent blood to redeem a traitor that really existed to that extent.

Is it just me, or does it seem like time has been accelerated these days? Although i would very much like to reach a certain time destination quickly (specifically to graduate and find a job, etc, etc), this all seems too fast for me.

I’m hypothesizing that this is a common sentiment shared among all students as the school term starts again.  But i know that this goes beyond simply wanting a longer holiday, personally for me.  There’s a tug at my inner being to a certain direction but i’m not sure which direction it is, nor what i’m to expect in that direction.

Perhaps all these thoughts are a reflex to me now.  Have i really become so thinker-like?  I look back at the not-so-distant past posts and i see how much i’ve changed these days.  As always, the new year calls for a time of reflection for me, as if i haven’t already thought enough on a day-to-day basis. heh. 🙂

I would wish that i could come up with a resolution to keep this new year.  I have never made one, not because i couldn’t keep it, but because i couldn’t think of a worthy one to make that isn’t already supposed to be in place.

Now unto Him who is able
To keep you from falling
And to make you stand in His presence
Blameless and with great joy

To the only God our Saviour
To Jesus Christ our Lord
Be the glory, and the majesty
Dominion, and authority
Both now and ever,
Amen.

Fong posted something that I’ve been thinking about these days.  No prizes for guessing the topic, though 🙂 And i’m not surprised that his post actually answers a few of my questions that i’ve been asking myself, things that i need to find out for myself.  It’s not the first time it’s so timely from him.

So Fong, if you’re reading this, thanks loads, even though i know you didn’t have me in mind when you wrote it. Here i quote:

The man who has no practice chasing God has no business pursuing His daughters.

The woman who has never felt secure in His love, will find no security (and may i add, comfort) in the love of His sons.

I guess it also serves as a reminder of what we are to be doing first and foremost, despite what we want. The main purpose of man is to worship God, bearing in mind that “worship” goes beyond singing songs and the like.  So with regards to priorities, it’s rather clear as to what should come first.   Or perhaps i should say, who should come first.  This also applies to our lives as students i would think, in our pursuit of academics

But back to the topic at hand – what Fong mentioned is rather true.  First you have to be close to God, then only can you truly be close to another person.  How Max Lucado puts forth the biblical idea of love in the context of loving other people is that it’s like a bank account – you have to receive first before you can give.

This isn’t the first time this week i’m reminded that we should be chasing God before we “chase” anyone/anything else.  Rather coincidental you might think, but i would say God is telling me just that, and reminding me too.  I just hope to internalise it before it slips again.

So there goes a coupla thoughts sorted out.  I hope to sort out more as the days go by, preferably before school starts again so that my mental capacity and ability is at full efficiency.

Night all

And so Christmas will be here in less than 12 hours…it will be the first time in 10 years that i’m not performing in any way, and also the first time in 10 years that my dad will.  What a change of events.

Yet other than that, this Christmas seems very different from any other that i’ve had.  The rest may just be a fog but i’m pretty sure that i wasn’t in this state of mind when Christmas approached in the past 22 years of my life.  Could it be that i’m actually growing up?

(heads shake from side to side)

Ok maybe not.  But definitely i’ve had more on my mind this year or so than any other year, perhaps all the years combined.  Maybe that’s why i’m feeling this way today. It’s really been a journey of ups and downs and i can’t help but look back and think about who and what i was as compared to myself in the mirror today.  I would like to be able to say that i’ve changed for the better, learned more, become wiser, and all that.  (i could spark a discussion on what wisdom really is right here, but i shall save that for another time when a more learned Jon takes this blog into his hands:))
As the day approaches, i hope we all remember the reason that Christmas is celebrated.  I hope we think about the cause for the day being remembered, and it’s definitely not one of Santa and his troupe of Dasher, Prancer, Comet, Vixen, etc.

It was, and is, however, about giving.

TANG YUAN!!!!

I never realised i had friends who could cook so well!

Had a great dinner/whatever-you-call-an-evening-meal in hall, thanks to Janice whom i recently met during RH choir caroling this hols. TANG YUAN TANG YUAN TANG YUAN!!! Yeah i know i had one portion of it yesterday but i must admit that nothing beats the homemade kind that is made fresh from the boiler (or whatever you call that cooking thingy that you put it in – i think she put it in a rice cooker hahahaha).

And with the leftover peanut paste (which was actually ground peanut mixed with peanut butter and it worked amazingly well) we microwaved it and made it into a (sort of) peanut biscuit. Supposedly with Bobdog’s footprints. 😀
Gosh the food was so nice and i’m so darn full now that i think dessert is out of the question. (then again, maybe not 😉 )

But at any rate we had a good time, with just a few of us there eating and making stupid comments on the weird show that was showing on TCS8 at that time like “how come the girl dress up like guy nobody can tell it’s a girl one har?”

(for the record, Janice is behind me while i’m blogging this and she’s laughing so hard i think her voice will reverberate around RH for another sem more. gosh.)

Maybe i should try making tang yuan myself – ingredients are quite simple: glutinous rice flour, peanut paste (or ground peanut with peanut butter, in our case), something for the soup (we used pandan leaves and sugar – i kinda like the taste, though Jan says ginger works as well). And of course, a rice cooker. 🙂
Maybe i should go get some of those ingredients and start cooking at home again. That is, if the microwave incident doesn’t happen again.

Disclaimer: i know a particular person’s name appears a lot in this post. Don’t you all get any weird ideas. =P

As promised (and as naturally as it would come), the results are out and here’s the post about how i feel.

They weren’t too bad. I shall in fact retract my earlier statement to JM about them being “average” and promote them to being “good”, in my opinion. =) Compared to many others, it isn’t fantastic, but i’m not going to complain about it, especially since i lost the bet to Leni and now owe him 6 ice creams in total hahaha.

I’m not going to be as daring as Klem to post my actual results here, but i will say this: they are far better than i would have expected, considering that i didn’t complete a single paper in the examination hall. It is quite ironic that my best grade came from a module that i was completely annoyed with and didn’t see the point in doing, even up till the examination itself.

And so the results have come and gone, leaving me none the wiser nor better.  I am reminded once again that the letters that represent grades and the certificate at the end of my four years are nothing more than that – a better grade or degree does not make me a better person.  In the end, my identity is firm and should rest solely on Christ and Christ alone.  As such, i will resolve to try my best to not repeat the same mistakes i made this sem to the next sem and learn for the enjoyment of learning, not just to score, neither will i place such importance on grades.  At least i shall try.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that i won’t be doing my best – that would then break the other resolution of being a good steward of what i have been given. =)

Results will be out in a few hours time…and althought i’m freakin’ scared about what i’ll see when i log in, the more than overwhelming feeling is “what if this guy or that guy does better than me?”  At the same time i’m not exactly panicking over it or anything, there’s a sense of acceptance even prior to receiving my results.

I suppose as the same as last semester i will blog again after my results are out.  I really don’t expect them to be anywhere near good this time round, but i don’t want them to be that bad either – it’s kind of a dilemma raging inside me.  Like i wanna panic but i don’t wanna panic hahahaha.

I just don’t want to find out that i didn’t do my best (though that can’t be based on results).

Surely there must be something more.

If my very heart long for something more, something more to this life, it can still be wrong, despite what the common flow of pop song and movies in the media say about just “following your heart” and moving forward where you want to go. There is more to consider than whether you just want something or not.

The slippers just don’t kick it anymore.

This world seems to be so tiring, so draining, and so unfulfilling. We all try to fill our lives with meaning, and do it different ways. It’s different from being content with what you have, it’s more of wanting to do something, be something, have something in your life that you can be remembered by. Everyone wants immortality, either figuratively or literally.

Surely there must be a forever.

There is a certain sense of appropriateness in the way i was chosen to play Jude in Falling Spinning. Many of what he said echoes my own sentiments, and the (seemingly endless) quest to find something more to this life is perhaps the heaviest thing on my heart.  There will be that longing, i suspect, until i have either learned to seek God completely and surrender to Him everything, or when i have fulfilled my destiny.  And i know i’m not alone in this quest – everyone wants one thing or another, it’s just how you find it.  Feeling weak, not just spiritually and emotionally, but physically as well.  Iwonder if it’s a reflection on how things are now.

And can it be that i should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood
Died He for me, who caused his pain
For me, who Him to death pursued

Amazing love, how can it be
That thou my God should die for me?

How can there not be something more?

Warning: this post is going to get emotionally charged. If you are a Christian, i implore you greatly to seriously think about what i’m going to say. Spread the word if you want to, post it on your own blog, link it, print it out and share it without my name or URL, but please share it with fellow brothers and sisters. If you are not a Christian, do read on, and i hope you will be encouraged somehow.

Something that really struck me today as i was talking with JM – Christians today have been assimilated so deep into today’s culture, into the world today.

For illustration, if you look at the biblical story of Daniel, when the Israelites were held captive by Babylon, the king called for all the men of talent to be groomed in the history, literature and culture of the country, eat their food and drank their wine. Basically they were made as Babylonian as they can get.

It seems to be the same these days. We are getting so used to the culture of the world and the line at which we draw things has moved dangerously close to the other side. We have compromised too much. People are being unequally yoked. Guys have sexually immoral, wandering eyes, and girls are dressing skimpily or thinly enough for the guys to have those kind of eyes. (and honestly, it doesn’t have to be extraordinarily revealing, the “norm” these days are enough. I have many strong views on the topic of dressing, physical presentation and modesty, but that’s for another time. Moreoever, there are no definite lines so i’m not going to discuss that and invite attacks on myself.) We have idolised talents, sports, abilities, academics, and “role models”, and neglected fellowship, lost the love for other people, and ironically, the ability to care and show concern for them as well. We can scour the island for a particular item, toy or clothing but very few of us actually know our neighbours’ names – how are we to love them? And love…love has been adulterated into mere physical attraction with hardly any commitment, thanks to much of the media these days. We make promises that we cannot keep, and say things that we don’t really mean or don’t fulfill. We have no qualms about not tithing and then we fight for a place in the queue of a 20% discount sale. We clog up our time with other matters when we should be doing what we are called to do. We spend our Sundays worshipping God and then speak harsh words to the people around us. We speak of an unfailing unconditional love and then we bear grudges.

Immorality, indecency, idolatry, theft, slander, hypocrisy and dishonouring God. Not a very impressive resume, as things go.

(Let me state that I am not against any particular group of people, or person here. These are general examples. In saying all these, i’m guilty as charged as any of you reading this.)

What has happened to “this little light of mine, i’m gonna let it shine”? Has the Evil One snuffed it out already before we’ve let it grow? Why is it that when people look from the outside and see a non-Christian and a Christian, the only difference is that one goes to church and reads the Bible? What happened to our lives – lives that we are supposed to live in order to be “offered as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”? (yes that’s out of context i know, but it serves the same purpose and presents the same idea)

The Bible is a Living Word.

“Living” – the word implies something in the present. Something that adapts to the environment, yet retaining it’s very own “DNA”. Surely we cannot directly apply all instructions form the Bible to our lives these days (for example, the wearing of veils), though the principles will always stand regardless (for example, harmony in the church). Yet even clear principles and direct commandments are compromised.

“Word” – there rings a sense of finality in this. Something that is spoken cannot be retracted. An authoritative tone is added to it as well, when referred to.

I’ve written before on compartmentalization. That is one of the symptoms of this occurance. What will it take for us to wake up? What will it take for us to clearly see what we are doing, how much we are hurting and stumbling each other and more importantly, how much we are causing God to cry at the sight of our lives? How much longer can we hold our hands up in worship and continue to say what we say, behave how we behave, dress how we dress, and basically carry on life as if we are no different from the rest of the world? Are we not called to be set apart? Are we not called to be different? I once read that each time we sin, we crucify Jesus again (a rather debatable analogy i might add). But in view of that – have we not crucified Him enough? Have we not caused Him enough pain? Not just Him – all the people around us as well…it pains me each time i see someone i know to be a believer fall so far from the light. I know it pains our Father too.

We are called to be different. So be different. Stop doing what looks good or what everyone else is doing or what you feel like doing and for goodness’ sake think if you should be doing it at all. I’ve said it once, and i’ll say it again – when you deal with the cliff of sin, it’s not how far you can go to the edge before you fall off, it’s how far you stay away from the damn edge. Yes, it looks good to dress a certain way. Yes, everyone else is doing this particular thing, and behaving a particular way. Yes, you may not feel like doing something, or conversely, you may feel like doing something. But in all cases, please please please think about what you are doing. Would you like your churchmates to see you like that? Would you like your mentor, your pastor, your spiritual leaders to see you like that? Would you like your parents to see you like that? Would Jesus do that? Would you do that if God were right beside you (as He always is)?

Please consider your life (as i will consider mine). Look at every area of your life. I’m even going to list it out here to make it easier for you. Your social life. Your ministry. Your friends and how you deal with them. Your academics. Your hobbies and habits. Activities that you are involved in. The way you behave. The way you dress. The things you do. The words you say. Your significant other, if any. The list is non-exhaustive.

Please consider each and every section of your life. Take some time out from your busy life, whatever you may be occupied with, and really consider all this with eternity in mind. Think about how you place each one in your life, how you rank them, and what you do with them, both in relation to yourself and to other people and most importantly to God.

Please consider how you will reconcile with those you have hurt, and forgive those who have hurt you. Consider what you will need to change in your life and measures that you will need to take to prevent yourself from falling again.

Above all, please seek God.

Author’s note: i hope i have not offended anyone in the writing of this post. if i have, i am deeply sorry and you can kindly point out to me where i have been wrong or offended you that i might rectify the wording if possible. If you do have anything to say about this post, good or bad, i strongly urge you to leave a comment, but do be warned that i will be moderating comments this time round for the sake of the general public, so if your comment is deleted kindly do not re-comment. All feedback is welcome.

Author’s note: This article was written for Epistole, i figured it would do no harm to put it up on my blog as well.

Out where they walk, Out where they run,
Out where they play all day in the sun
Wandering free, Wish I could be
Part of that world.
– The Little Mermaid, “Part of that world”

I’m sure many of us have heard this song before. What we may remember from it was Ariel the mermaid’s wish to grow legs and to walk on land, especially so to see her prince. The power of love, you might say, led her to make a pact with the evil witch and sparked off a Disney Classic Hit.

Perhaps what we don’t know is that someone’s singing that song to us too.

Especially in the society today, when we have so many things to do and so many people to see. For us as students, we have our tutorials, lectures, assignments, projects, attachments. Those who stay in halls have the hall activities to cope with as well, be it sports or committees. Aside from that we have our social lives with our friends, our church commitments/service/ministries, family, relationships…the list goes on. Do we know that one thing that we need to be in our lives, in every aspect of our lives?

I’m pretty confident that we do – it’s just that we hardly notice that we don’t do it anymore. When people warn us about it, we put on airs and say “who are you to tell me the state of my spiritual life?”. When people try to help us out of it, we think we know what we are doing in our own silly pride, and refuse to consider that perhaps the other person knows something we don’t or sees something we don’t, which unfortunately is the case when that someone else is on the outside looking in and you’re on the inside looking out. Ariel’s focus was on her prince. Nature provides a focus for the planets by revolving around the Sun, and our moon around the Earth. What is that one thing our life should encompass?

Compartmentalization – verb. To separate into distinct parts, categories, or compartments.

We know what the words mean. We know the obvious examples of it, the analogy of our life being a house and us keeping God in one of or a few particular rooms – the rooms that encompass church, worship, service, VCF, and Christian friends. (Note that these are just examples – it’s not a given thing that God is included in these areas in each one of our personal lives…that only you can tell) But the rooms that are labelled “hobbies”, “studies”, “clubbing”, and other “secular activities”, we keep God out of them. It might be in certain parts of our life, where we want to enjoy our life, but we don’t want to feel guilty over what we do, granted that these activities might not be against His Word in and of itself. He’s too holy to enter those rooms, or we simply don’t include him when we consider such activities. Our behaviour in both areas will change, the way we carry ourselves, the way we speak, the way we respect ourselves even, sometimes. What we wear, what we do, what we talk about – they can be used as telltale signs that something is amiss. It may be one in school, another at home. One in hall, another in classes. One among fellow believers, a different life among non-believers. Whatever the case: a Christian should not have two lives. Imagine how you’d feel if someone came up to you and told you something along the lines of “har? You liddat also can be Christian ah?” I’d feel like crap. God would too, with the way we’d be living our lives to warrant such a comment.

There are a few things I’d like you as the reader to consider.

God should be Master over your entire life. It’s a concept that is known commonly as surrender, giving all to God. This doesn’t just apply to things that we have to let go, it also applies to things that we have, and are supposed to hold on to. Everything is God’s, the earth and everything on it – what’s to say that our life isn’t? Compartmentalization in essence denies that right out. It’s basically telling God “You can come into my life, but I have the final say as to where you go and when you can come in”. What kind of Lordship is that, when your subordinates can tell you what to do and where to go? Not much of one at all. When we accept God as our personal Lord and Saviour, He should have the master key to all the rooms in our house. On top of that, here’s something that might warrant a last minute change in the title (if it weren’t for catching your attention): He shouldn’t just be part of our world – He is our world.

Most of us will be familiar with the song “You are My World”, by Hillsongs. Someone suggested to me that before we sing “You are My World”, we should sing “Worlds Apart” by Jars of Clay first. Before we can say that He is our world, we have to acknowledge that He exists on a completely other level than us. You’re not likely to toy around with your bosses or lecturers, people who have an authority in your life. Much less should we be toying around with God, though unfortunately that’s what we do the most often, perhaps because God is unseen.

If God is so holy so as not to enter such places, should we be having them in our life? As mentioned before, a Christian should not be living double lives. If what you do in the presence of different people is different, then you have to consider if it’s just because the areas you share are simply different, or whether one out of two lives are not exactly that glorifying to God. I was once told that if you think Jesus wouldn’t do something of go someplace, then neither should we – a corollary to “What Would Jesus Do”.

Here we really have to be honest with ourselves, and not justify things the way we normally do, saying “there’s nothing wrong with this because 1) everyone’s doing it, 2) it doesn’t defy anything that was set, 3) I’m perfectly comfortable with it.” So what’s wrong with these three reasons? It’s simple – He isn’t Lord. We pass things off by our standards, and because we are flawed beings, our standards just fall too far from God’s. It should be God’s standards we abide by, which brings us to the next point.

Whose line is it anyway? Who’s to say what we can do or not? The Bible gives us a lot of principles and strict rules to abide by. The strict rules aren’t so worrying (or maybe they should be, considering the way and the things some of us do), but the principles have been misused over and over again. Many of us take the “fixed principle, flexible application” concept too far and think we’re not doing anything wrong, but in reality we’re bending the rules. It’s not how close we can get to the edge without falling off, but rather it’s how far we can stay away from the edge in the first place. Makes a world of a difference, yet so many of us don’t think that way. Worse still, we’ve lost sensitivity and want to try and insert segments of the world into our Christian lives, telling ourselves that “it’s ok” because, simply put, it’s really what we want. Again, justify it to everyone all you want, but you’d know the truth inwardly and that’s between you and God – I just pray that each one of us are honest with God in every area of our lives and not justify our own actions internally.

The Bible is very clear about what marks a Christian. It is definitely significant that the second greatest commandments speaks more of other people than ourselves. Even more significant is the order in which the two greatest commandments come, and I like to think it implies a sense of cause and effect as well as continuity. It also tells us how we should behave with regards to fellow believers and to yet-to-be-believers. Maybe after reading this you’ll look honestly at your life and see areas that you really should stop right now. Maybe for some reason you believe you can’t. To that group of people I think God is asking “do you love Me more than you love that?” Maybe you won’t even see any area in which you’d need to change. It is then my prayer that you either remain that close to God, or that your eyes be opened. Maybe you’d cast this article aside and forget about it in the next 5 minutes. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended, but I hope earnestly that God will speak to you somehow in the time to come.

Involve Him in your life, every area. Make Him your world.

Our world should revolve around the Son.