Category: Books!


Book of Psalms

In my devotional reading, I’ve reached Psalms. One of the richest writings of the Word. It is said to be filled with emotions, experiences but one have to really contemplate and reflect to find the richest it holds between the lines and pages.

It is quoted in the book “Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard –

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”     Still today the Old Testament book of Psalms gives great power for faith and life. This is simply because it preserves a conceptually rich language about God and our relationships to him. If you bury yourself in Psalms, you emerge knowing God and understanding life.

     And that is by no means a matter, as some suggest, of the “poetic effect” of the great language. No mere emotional lift is involved. What makes the language great and provide the emotional lift is chiefly its picture of God and of life. We learn from the psalms how to think and act in reference to God. We drink in God and God’s world from them. They provide a vocabulary for living Godward, one inspired by God himself. They show us who God is, and that expands and lifts and directs our minds and hearts.

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King David wrote some of the Psalms and here is a man commended by God (through Prophet Samuel) to be a man after His own heart. If you’ve said the prayer to be a man after God’s heart, I believe you can relate very much to David.

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Psalm 27 .. Of David

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
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Reality-disparity

The Game of Life - not the kind I'm writing about. 🙂

I was reading Dallas Willard’s book just now.. yes once again.. and what he wrote in the first chapter (yes, I’m there) shook my perception of life from its usual half-buried self-induced narrow-focused view.

I read about Christians in the west and found myself thinking that its not that much of a difference here (in the east). Most of the gist I can’t describe here, lest it starts to look like a book report but more on what I thought about.

The book started on how some if not most Christ-professing people have separated the kingdom of God, the reality of God from their everyday lives. Though many have heard of the message of Christ but not all of them have merged or rather overwritten the reality that they perceived in this world with the reality of God in the world today. The kingdom of God becomes another set of reality upon which, we can conveniently phase into in the weekends, special celebrations or at the point of “crossing over”. And in other times, its “business as usual” with God having no part of it or less of a major part in it.  

Brings a new meaning to the Lord’s prayer about “His kingdom come”. Perhaps for many, His kingdom have yet to come into their own personal lives. Makes me think, the way I live, the decisions I make, the thoughts I think, have God’s kindgom come into my own life?

The book writes more about the root cause of the distorted perception of the gospel (of which the central message is Jesus and the kingdom of God.). The west have rarely preached on the kingdom of God, says the author. The teachers of the Word have not emphasized on what the people of God needs to believe. Well.. the book was written a few years back. How is the west today? What gospel is being preached in the churches of the west (and the east)? 

What about eternal life? What do we think of it? It is a phase of life when we end our lives here on earth? If we think that is what eternal life is, then most of us would tend to think like one extreme end of the christian’s thinkers of today that the gospel is merely sin management. At the end of the line, we get a “get-out-of-jail” card because we believe that Jesus has paid the price for us. Certainly thats not what Jesus’ sacrifice only meant – a get-out-of-hell card. His preaching on living life – integrity, righteousness, justice and many more virtues are meant to be pratice here and now.

Another definition of eternal life is the life when we have first crossed over from death to life. The point where we have surrendered our lives and begun to live a life of discipleship in Christ.  If we were to think that eternal life is such, coupled with the perception that this world is God’s world of limitless possibilities, beauty and power, wouldn’t it shake the way we perceive our lives and even the world?

Eternal life began for me almost 10 years ago, and for most part of it, I was still dreaming and sleeping in my old world.

Thanks for the jolt, Lord. I think I might need more of it.

Feline quote

I was reading the other day and came across this quote about cats… I thought about it for a wee bit and found myself giggling. :p

“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.” ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

🙂 No offense against cat lovers… Just a funny quote. 🙂

I bought a book for Ellie last week – Tuesdays with Morrie. I saw the movie previously in the couples’ camp and I was impressed by it. The movie/ book is about, and I quote from the book – “an old man, a young man and life’s greatest lessons.” … Unfortunately she already have the book, being a book lover herself. 🙂 Well we exchanged books nonetheless…. I have the brownish book aged to perfection by time, while I gave her the new book.

Somethings about the smell of books gives me some degree of comfort. The thoughts, the inspirations and the words… opens up a whole new dimension.

Anyway what I really wanted to blog about was my thoughts. 🙂 My thoughts on my thoughts. Was reading through the book a bit and this thought came into my mind. What kind of thoughts do we have? Are they worth penning down and sharing with someone?

There are some days I would have much inspiration to write/ “blog” about things in life. From books, movies, sights, feelings, God and life itself. I had a funny thought just now, what if I wrote a book on my thoughts about life and stuff. Maybe it would be called “Life and stuffs”. 🙂  Hahaha… writing as I go along here.

Many things in life can give us inspirations, whether it was a moment in time when we behold an action, an emotional response we have when we witness something amazing or even a sight we behold with our eyes. Now? Its music…  how do I describe it? .. Piano, smooth, energetic, melodious…. 🙂 little things in life.

“Tuesday with Morrie” – its not about religion or political play but rather it was about the many things in life. Life, love, death etc. I recalled some scenes from the movie and some words spoken there…. I’d recommend people to see it. 🙂

So would my thoughts be good enough to be a book? I don’t know… maybe it would be another book title on my list. 🙂

Rediscovering..

I started reading some of the old books/ novels my brother and I uesd to collect back in the old days. Most of the books are by the author, Raymond E. Feist. I must say, I enjoy his style of writing and the storylines.

Much like a series of movies, his books makes a connection from one to another. They allow the readers to follow the characters and even the child of the characters from one adventure to another.

One of the most enjoyable aspect of reading these novels is that it allows me to imagine the author’s world as I like it. However, his books (Feist) leaves just enough details guide the reader’s imagination. It is a very fascinating world indeed. The atmosphere, the sounds, the imagery, all in the mind’s eye.

I’m reading the Krondor – Tear of Gods. It is fun reading about Jimmy the Hand, King Arutha and new characters once more. And oh plots involving NightHawks, The Crawler and also lets not forget the Mockers… interesting read. Almost as good as a movie. 🙂

 Please bear in mind, I read for the entertainment value, not for knowledge. And these readings have enriched my vocabulary and even my english. 🙂 Some of us need to relax a little.

Quiet night…

Its a plesant and quiet night… the first busy week of the year is over. Its rare to have nights such as these. To have time, not to (rather choosing not to) worry about tomorrow’s work, to waddle with our thoughts and silence.

Had instant noodle for dinner, as my appetite wasn’t there. You see, I just recovered from a sinus attack and for the past few days, my body seems to be exhausted. Perhaps just recovering from all the hustle and bustle. Had a TV dinner watching “My Dad is better than Your Dad” and I went up not knowing who won at the end of it.

Anyway I surfed the net a bit to catch up on my web-series and then I showered. The clock ticked 11pm. Picked up my book and put on Norah Jones on the radio. I continued my reading on “When I Don’t Desire God”… read about the difference between desire and delight… and came upon an interesting thought in the book. A piece from the book tickled my mind,

God is glorified in his people by the way we experience him, not merely by the way we think about him. Indeed the devil thinks more true thoughts about God in one day than a saint does in a lifetime, and God is not honored by it. The problem with the devil is not his theology, but his desires.” ~ Excerpts from the book “When I Don’t Desire God.” by John Piper.

Not by how much we know Him (God) but by how much we experience Him. True indeed. So all these talks about theology is about as useful as a compass. Either we use it to find the true north or we can argue which way the compass it pointing.

Up to this day, I’m searching my heart for the desire for God. I remember the taste of it. To be in God’s presence… serenity, solace, peace, stillness and many more. I long for that desire and that delight once again. Hence my search continues…

There are those who are the same as I, seeking God. The true God. In the midst of our search, I pray that all of us will come to experience Him in His glory. Its the experience, not the knowledge that matters. Confusion disappears, debates will die down when we come to experience God in His fullness.

Its a quiet night.

Divine Conspiracy

I’ve been reading this book, “The Divine Conspiracy – Rediscovering our hidden life in God”,  which was given to me by Pastor Mike. Some of the thoughts of the author (Dallas Willard) tickled my mind.

Some thoughts to ponder:

“His Kingdom come”

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“constant conscious interface with God”.

O what food for thought. 🙂

Write more on it later… if later comes. 🙂

Writing a book?

I just came back from a discussion we had over at Ps. M’s place. We conversed initially about prayer and then it drifted to preaching. After a while, the conversation turned to the universal church. The conversation took a twist and thats when something in me stirred, more than usual. My interest was captivated. My ears were perked up and my mind was working in sync with my words at that hour of the night. Thats a rare occasion for me. Unless of course it is way pass the normal night hours and I’m loaded with a few shots of caffeine.

Anyway I had a thought, and I was still wondering if it was God. I have the inspiration to write a book , a journal or a thesis about a subject I’ve been pondering on. Titles and discussion items came one after another. What to write about… Ideas and concepts came into my mind. Inspiration from God? I believe so.

Yet being what I am today, I tend to be sceptical. Writing a book is no easy task. It would involved extensive research, hours, days and even weeks of interviews and discussions. I need to be an expert in certain subjects or rather have competent knowledge in. Not to mention the amount of time I would put in. Yet if it is Your will, let it be done. I pray You would bring people to help me and to inspire me.

So there are several things I need to do or research on. First things first, I need to find out how to write a book. I’ve read countless books and reading is some sort of a passion for me. Yet how does an author constructs a chapter? Does it start with an objective? Beginning, key points and ending? I think its is not as simple as secondary/ primary school methods.

So its an exciting endeavour. Hope it is not… I pray it is not merely wishful thinking or spur of the moment.

Whats the title you ask? — Its a secret. :p

God forbid. :p

Worship

Some snippets of what I learnt about worship lately.. Excerpts from Desiring God Chapter 3: Worship, Feast of Christian Hedonism

  • How and whom we worship are crucial, not where. Worship must be vital and real in the heart, and worship must rest on a true perception of God.
  • Nature of worship is as much as an affair of the heart and the mind. It can’t be one without the other.
  • Worship as an end of itself. (Note: mind the perspective)
  • For worship, we can put ourselves in situations where the feeling may be more readily be kindled.
  • Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth.
  • Christian hedonism is aware of self-consciousness kills joy and therefore kills worship. As soon as you turn your eyes in on yourself and become conscious of experiencing joy, its gone. The Christian hedonist knows that the secret of joy is self-forgetfulness.
  • In worship there must be radical orientation on God, not ourselves.

 Ooo… I like learning but not studying! haha!. 🙂 Alas.. can’t have one without the other. :p

Cheers.