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Be Thou Exalted

Wonderful praise and exaltation of God.

Be Thou Exalted.
 
VERSE 1
Be Thou my vision, be Thou my joy
My providence and my reward
Be Thou the wisdom that I employ
To trade my worth for Yours
 
Be Thou my refuge, be Thou my strength
Should my confession err
My heart’s sure whisper assuring then
And trust Your every word
 
CHORUS
Be Thou exalted
Be Thou exalted, Jesus, forever
Be Thou exalted forever
 
VERSE 2
Be Thou my passion, be Thou my zeal, that I may offer Thee
No great pro- cession or vain appeal, but my sincerity
 
BRIDGE
Hallelujah to the Name of all names
Hallelujah, to our God be all praise
Ever holy, worthy, be Thou exalted, always
 

Pastor Jim Yost today shared about common folk making waves in the kingdom of God. I was encouraged. And in the end, when he shared about going for our dreams, my heart’s string was struck and I remembered.

What was my dream? I had many dreams… speaking to a congregation of youths about life. Playing the guitar and leading worship & praise for God. I remembered reading, witnessing and hearing about the life of Steven Curtis Chapman, my role model. His family, his music, his testimony … Praise God for all that He has done thus far.

And to just strike another string in my heart, my Ellie bought me a gift. “Beauty will rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Its been quite a while since I’ve enjoyed Steven’s music. God often speaks volumes to me through his songs. Timely to receive such a gift when I’m starting my leave of one week today.

Will I still be able to chase after my dream?

Lost first love

Its been months since I’ve “penned” down any thoughts or reflections. I still do some reflection on and off. Nevertheless, I cannot deceive myself that something.. something very important has been lost.

I could say that its the weeds and thorns of the world that has held me back. That have taken hold of me. But those are mere excuses… I was already warned. Even from the very beginning, before I started my career or stepped out into the world, His Word clearly warned… be wary of the weeds and thorns of the world that distracts us from God. Lest we be lost in the suffocation of this wicked life.

Yet with all the warnings, with all the teachings, here I am. Lost.

The Word has said of the church of Ephesus… “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Am I still salvageable? I pray I am still within hearing limits of God’s Word.

Tonight I asked God to take my heart and place it next to His once again. I want to be a man like King David. A man after God’s own heart. Though how or if my heart would conform to His heart, time will tell.

I can only pray and ask for His mercy for such a prodigal son. Pray for mercy and grace that I would not be too far beyond the reach of God’s whispers and voice.

Such a height have I fallen since the first year I fell in love with You.

Mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journey of faith … thus far.

Like what I’ve shared with Ellie on my journey of faith.. Its been ups and downs.. mostly downs but God is good. He has never forsake me or left me.

Its not been smooth sailing this phase of my life. At this stage where the phrase “the world is your oyster” suits appropriately, its a struggle to fight against the “me-first” self-centred part of me and also the many many temptations in the world. I’ve been struggling with the flesh part of me for the past year plus now and I’ve lost much of my sensitivity towards God.

Sometimes I wonder if it is part and parcel of the journey of faith when we begin to place our trust more on non-tangible things than the tangible things like emotions, stirrings… hmm.. one thing is for sure, God’s word is always readily available for us.

Last night, my spirit was disturbed, my heart was heavy and I asked God in not so many words, “How do I come back to You? Guide me along Your path once again. How can I once again attain Your wisdom in the things of life”. God answered in Proverbs 1 & 2.

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousnessm justice and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth – Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Proverbs 1:1-7

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men who paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life. So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it. ~ Proverbs 2.

I pray all of us will have the fear of God in us whether be it progressively or even more. I pray we will receive His Words and bind them to our heart and mind always.

More blessed to give

I had an idea for some time now… its comes in different thoughts and ideas but always the same principle. I’m thinking of the Lord’s teaching – ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ~ Acts 20:35.

I don’t think its a new idea and someone around the world would have probably done it. But if it is carried out and the idea spreads around the society and impacts its culture, all praise to God. 🙂

Part of the reason why this idea came up was because I observed that people groups and even generational groups today (in general, don’t shoot me.) are moving towards self-gratification, self-centredness and the “me first” attitude. Society are more concerned about material things or money rather than relationships. Observe the working trends, the emphasis on material things. The focus has definitely shift from the family, people and relationships. Even the family unit, the building blocks of society and nations, are in danger. Just look at the divorce trends and the compromises we have made in regards to the sanctity of marriage, BGR, sexual relations.

So… what has this got to do with “blessing to give”? I think it would be a good place to start if we were to shift our focus from ourselves to those around us. Hence give.

I was writing on the FB just now about how we so often forget that the faces we see each day, the guy who takes up our garbage, the lady who takes our Starbucks orders, the cashier at the counter, even the guy/ lady sitting in the next cubicle has a life of his/her own outside the working environment. Each is a father, a son, daughter, mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, wife, husband or a friend. We are all in desperate need of encouragement and a little cheering up at times. Imagine the smile and brightening up it would bring them if somehow a blessing drops on their lap. Blessings can come in many guises – maybe even a thank you note (well done, good job), or a cup of coffee (Starbucks/ Coffeebean) or a little card that tells them they are loved, or a seat given up for them or even as simple as a cup of cold water.

I wrote about the agenda of this “campaign-in-the-making” I was brewing with the fellow leaders… Some of the objectives of this idea was to:

(1.) Promote the teaching of Jesus “Its more blessed to give than to receive”. To help people discover what that really me…ans at the end of the day. The joy that comes with giving.

(2.) To help YA (young adults) nowadays to be more conscious of people around them, especially those in need. Sometimes, we forget those people that we work with or the people serving in the cafe or wherever, that there is a life behind those service and God has a gift for everyone. 🙂

(3.) It is also to promote the traits of generosity among our YA and next gen. To be less attached to things and more concerned about people.

(4.) See God at work around us and join Him. 🙂

(5.) To give a little encouragement here and there…

I too was saved from my self-centredness by God and one of the many teachings He impressed on me was to give of myself. Time, money etc. God used this teaching to mold part of me. 🙂 Praise God.

So more about these ideas… If we can get people to commit to the idea for say 1 week to bless ONE person each day, we can start a wall on facebook or a webpage to put down testimonies as an encouragement to everyone about people’s response after being blessed. 🙂 Did we see a smile? a slight jump in their walk? A little laugh? Dark clouds dispersing? 🙂 And this goes on for a whole week… the idea is picked up by others and emulate around society. And it spreads around the nation.. wow. 🙂 The catch. – we can only bless (with intention of this idea) people we don’t really know, strangers or perhaps people we are acquainted with. Family members and loved ones or closed friends are not within the scope of this idea. (Of course you can still bless them outside this idea). The blessing should be simple and can easily be repeated by another inspired person. 🙂

I wonder what would happen… hmmm…

The buried life… ?

I was chilling the other day in front of the tv after a long day/ night of work … a thing called “going into the cave” for guys. It seems to ring true for me. After a long stressful time, I would take some time to just relax… go back into my cave, settle myself before I come out of the cave into the real world…. so here I was chilling in my cave when this show came up – The Buried Life.. Although I don’t buy into their perspective that this life is the only life and we should live the fullest at all cost, their concept made me think a bit… As a citizen of the kingdom, this life is merely the beginning of my life … the 80-100+ years is a time of preparation for us for the coming kingdom and yet it holds many great things for us. God’s will for us is perfect and pleasing and good for our life… Its been a blast and still is, when I think about the things I’ve seen and experienced.. God’s grace. 🙂

So here this thought came in – what are the things you would like to do before you die? … the task in that night’s programme was “tell a joke on a late night show” something along that line..So they approached all the famous late night shows – Leno, Conan, Letterman etc… cut the story short, they ended up tellig the joke in Mexico. 🙂

Thought to myself – what are the things that I most want to do? Here goes…

1. Experience life in Tokyo (though not the metropolitan life – the slow peaceful life)

2. Visit Antartica and see the aurora.

3. To visit the largest aquarium or ocean park in the world. (I thought about swimming with whales or going into the deep blue sea but it still too big for me. Stupid Jaws show. I still find the ocean a fascinating place.)

4. Spend a few days in London and watch the theatre.

5. Visit Jerusalem and experience God there.

6. Visit new Zealand and have a drive all over the country

7. Spend a night on the sea, looking at the stars and go deep sea fishing.

8. Skydiving.

9. Learn to make a tray of sushi professionally.

10. Bring my parents for a “around the world” trip.

11. Witness my family members being baptized.

12. Raising 2 kids and watch them grow.

13. Visit the sakura gardens and drink rice wine during the festival there.

14. Retire as an owner of a cafe (serving choiced coffee, pastries and blues in the background) and growing old with friends and loved ones.

15. Write a book about life, love and everything I find interesting…

16. Travel many places, experience many things, eat many types of food and see many sights with my loved one. 🙂

.. thats about all I can think about for now. 🙂 What would you like to do?

Donkey, Monkey & A Turkey

What does a donkey, monkey and a turkey have to do with one another? ….

for say.. maybe 60%-70% of the working population, they could relate to it. 🙂 haha! Well just assuming and making an ass out of u and me. Chill out, for those who love their jobs, its just for laughs.

I have yet to take my year-end leave and the year end has already left me. Been stuck on this one engagement that is one of the most challenging ones I’ve had so far… so in those times of frustration, deprivation of sleep, sanity and leisure, I kinda came up with a quote. Did a bit of search for it on the internet and found out that no one has quoted it yet.. Though I maybe wrong. hehe.. anyway here it is… patented informally by mua, yours truly… Quote of last year.. (hopeful it won’t be this year or the year after)..

Work you like a donkey, pay you like a monkey, then roast you like a turkey.” ~ yours truly, Dec 2010.

Take a minute to let it sink in…… okay now laugh your ass off. If you’re in the office, do it anyway. It’ll sure brighten up your day and get yourself quizzing looks from your bosses. Then close the internet browser and get back to work! :p 

Of the interesting quotes/ phrases/ jokes I’ve came across in my 3 minute googling.

PHRASES – “I could make a monkey out of you”

PHRASES – “Quit monkeying around”

LAME JOKES – “What does a turkey like to eat on Thanksgiving? – Nothing, they are already stuffed!”

LAME JOKES – “What do turkeys like to do on sunny days? – Go on peck-nics”

LAME JOKES – “How are a Turkey, a Donkey, and a Monkey the same? – They all have keys”

LAME JOKES – “Is turkey soup good for your health? – Not if you’re a turkey”

LAME JOKES – “Why did the turkey cross the road? – To show he was not chicken”

FUNNY SMS – “What is the difference between Monkey & Donkey? – Monkey saves this message & Donkey deletes this message. Choice is urs……..:p”

FUNNY SMS – “Where r u? U r u not replying? I m worried coz todays paper I read that due 2 thunder a monkey has been severely injured. So if u r safe, SMS me immediately.”

FUNNY SMS – “American:-Dogs can find Bombs in my country. Japanese:-Fish can play Ball in my country. Pakistani:-Thats not a matter, Monkey can read SMS in my country…”

Smile a little more today and your world would look brighter. 🙂

Question

What would you die for?

A good question to ponder on with a sober and solemn mind. It might reveal to us what we truly value in life. The things/ persons we hold most dearly. I once heard this phrase – “If you have nothing worth dying for, you (might) have nothing worth living for.”

So… what would you die for?

Parents

With each passing year, I see my parents age. Their walk up the stairs is painfully slower. My heartaches to see their aging bodies. The “falling asleep while watching TV” looks cute on one hand but on another it is a sad reminder that my parents aren’t as young anymore.

I remember their sacrifices. The nights of heavy burdens and worries on their mind. The sound of argument and crying in the bedroom. My siblings and I would go to our respective beds and pretend to sleep. Hoping that in the morning, all would be made right again.

They never failed to provide all the finances I need during my uni-days. Money was given even without me asking. And each time I come home, I would be welcomed with a feast of mom’s cooking. When I realise that they were giving me money even though they were cash-strapped, I learn to make do with what I have.  

I see dad’s endless working hours. His attitude of working hard… I wonder if it came from his nature or it was a necessity. Even at this ripe old age, he works to supplement both of themselves. If I had enough money, I would have them to relax, enjoy the rest of their lives.. go see the sights I’ve seen that they never got to see. Eat the food that they never got to taste. Enjoy life that they have so willingly sacrifice for us – their children. They gave so much of their lives for us.

If only I had enough, I would take care of them in return. Still I do what I can for them.

Mom’s body, with her aches and weak hands. Brings up such sadness in my soul. The doctor said her hands and legs became weak because of over-working them. Overworked because of us. Her sacrifices, her tears… it isn’t right. Its unfair for her.

Yet when I see people disrespecting them, my control on my anger was sorely tested. I had to remove myself from the scene, lest my rage overwhelms me and I lose myself beating that person to a pulp or getting myself beaten up.

I’ve not been an angel as I should have been either. There are times when I get impatient with teaching dad about computer programmes. Or when I would show them my irritated look when they repeated their questions or when I got impatient with them and reply harshly. God forgive me and teach me to be a better son. Remind me when I was small and the roles are reversed. I was the one asking the question repetitively, I was the one asking all the questions about life. I was the one who wanted their attention all the time. Kinda like a spoiled brat.

I see the fruits of their hearts. People are generally warm to them. All sort of favors I’ve seen in their lives. Groceries, fishes, services, pastries. Yet they gave more than they receive. They freely give, freely offer help to anyone. They were not self-centred. They protect the family. They love the family. My parents are excellent models for parents. What more can I ask? 

Lord, look upon their love, their sacrifice for us – come into their lives. I beg of You. Soften their hearts and open their minds so they will see.

Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land of the Lord your God is giving you. ~ Deuteronomy 5:16

Life’s reflection

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.” ~ St. Augustus.

Life is fleeting and we are all but a breath in the stream of life. Much like a wisp or the morning dew, a moment and the next it is no more. In the background of the great machines of world and the eternally expanding  universe, we seem so small. However, if we are to see life as a weaver’s handiwork, with many strands criss-crossing over one another, we would see that we are all connected to form the fabric that spans all over the world. Sounds a little philosophical.

As I have recently entered into another marker in life, I pondered on the last 30 years of my life. The words of St. Augustus brings many a thanksgiving into my heart. Even my time of devotion reminds me to sing praise to God.

There are many things of which I’m thankful to God for the past 30 years. Thinking back – the time in university where I grew, the friendships I’ve made. The time of stepping into the working world, to see God’s favor, wisdom and strength manifesting in my own life. Achievements in my career, being the among the youngest in my workplace to be recognized. Connecting with young vibrant and colourful lives, being part of their lives and having the privilege of being called a big brother. Building many bridges with people of different age, perspectives and culture. Meeting this wonderful gal I am to spend the rest of my life with, growing to love her even more with the passing of time. And now stepping to build a home with her. Holding hands to take the next step forward of making a family.

I believe the greatest achievement I have to show today for my past 30 years is the bonds that have been made with different people and different lives. Bonds that lasts even longer than material things or recognition or any other achievements. There will be some that may fade in the coures of time but its lingering touch would be forever  imprinted into my life. And there are some bonds that will stand the test of time and space. Those I am forever grateful to be part of.

I see, Lord. I see faith. I look forward to see more of You in life and in the lives of people around me. Its been a great ride thus far… whats next? 🙂

Be magnified in my life.

            I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes a so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

            I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

            As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. ~ John 15:1-17