Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our own voices from the future

“You will say in that day”
(Isaiah 12:1, 4).

We are listening here to our own voices from the future. Isaiah is describing the revival of the church in the latter days..He is not giving us details about the end times. He is creating an impression, giving us a foretaste of what it means to live in a spirit of praise.
~ Isaiah: God Saves Sinners by Raymond C. Ortlund


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The beloved book of Philippians

I was listening to Philippians again and again today, which I can consider as my most loved book of the Bible. And these are the well-known verses:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (1:6)

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (1:21)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (2:3)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (2:5-11)

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (3:13)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (4:4-7)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (4:8)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (4:11-13)

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (4:19)


Monday, December 15, 2014

Seeking approval and validation from others

I was wondering about how some of us, or even most or all of us are always seeking the approval and validation of others. I found many online articles about it and it seem to be something quite prevalent in the human race. How so?

Take a look at this poem apparently written by someone call Annie Hyde.

People look for validation
The ways are many
From things like
"Does this look okay?"
To "Tell me if I'm wrong"
Human strive for it
To be validated by their parents
Their peers
Their bosses
Society as a whole
But why can't we validate ourselves?
Why do we feel the need?
To be subjected
To others (sic) opinions
To others (sic) thoughts
When their thoughts
Are none of our business

The author asked, "why can't we validate ourselves," and "why do we feel the need" to be validated by others. And I began to ask the same questions and I think it's this: we seek for validation because we are a fallen race looking for the perfection which we have lost.

God has created us in his likeness and in our pristine original being, we were good and perfect. But when we chose to be our own gods, our own masters instead of God, we became sinners who now fall short of the glory of God. We have become lesser, imperfect.

But we were still made for perfection and in our imperfection, we look for validation for who we are.

As such, only Jesus is the perfection we can have in our lives. Seek him, receive him in your life, and you will already have the perfection in him. And it will only be to God whom you look for validation, and the validation God sees in you is his perfect Son, Jesus Christ.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Being one voice

I have often found myself in a position where I'm in a team and every single member would rather do things their way, which in the end result in disaster. This was what happened this evening and it has reminded me to listen to one another and be one instead of many.


Friday, December 12, 2014

My migraine triggers

At 7 in the morning. Clear blue sky and a nice cool morning.

At 1 in the afternoon. Sunny and a blazing hot day.

I was out in a staff event today in street puzzle solving, treasure hunt and pedestrian challenge today. It was really fun and I had a great time but the gathering place was in the open car park of a stadium and to me it was a bad idea.

Even though we were underneath canopy tents, it was very warm being a hot sunny day. Our prayers was answered that it didn't rain with that risk being very high at year end and it would have been a bummer since our event was in the outdoors but I returned home with a really very, very bad migraine. Worst I had in a long, long time.

This is one more item to the list of my migraine triggers and I need to avoid being out in the hot sun from now on.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Good food at Ben's

I was in Ben's at Pavillion KL this evening, and when I'm in Ben's, I usually order the same things but decided I try something different today.

Ben's House Salad
This salad was really good. It has edamame, nuts, avocado, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and my all-time favorite arugula leaves all in an absolutely delicious dressing. A must have.

Soft Shell Crab Spaghettini
I need to stay away from seafood but the combination of crispy soft shell crab and spaghettini with chili flakes and curry leaves was very interesting. I'm glad I ordered it. It was very, very good.

Photo sources: Bad Boy Ben and Cindy's Planet

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The mystery of time

I read a book about time a couple of years ago but did not put up a review on it. I found that I do think back on what I have read, and it will be useful for me to read it again to make sure I remember it correctly.

Time enthralls me and I'm always amazed with it being created by God. Or did he? I suppose he did since Genesis began with creation with the words, "in the beginning", hence that is when time began.

But I do wonder if there is time with God? When God says he is eternal, is he referring to time, where it last forever and ever? If not, does it refer to one point where it is eternity in essence, where past, present and future exist all at once? If that is so, when we are with God in eternity, can we even survive to have it all at once?

And Einstein said that, "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once."

I do have William Lane Craig's book Time and Eternity, Exploring God's Relationship to Time, except that I have yet to read it. I did try to but found it a bit too technical for my appetite lately. Will I be curious enough to try reading it again?


Monday, December 08, 2014

Chronic cough

My hubby is having a bad cough that does not seem to go away. I was checking up on cough mixtures and found that in the olden days, heroin and cannabis were used as cures!

I rarely get a cough, but when I do, I'd usually go for traditional Chinese cough mixtures, though I'm not too sure if they really work, but they sure taste good though.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

by Emma Donoghue

Just when I was contemplating if reading is a waste of time, of course it's not, I'm just being a tad more philosophical about it, I came across this book that when I read the last word of it, all I could say was "wow".

It is a gripping tale about a 5-year old boy who grew up all his life incarcerated in a small room with his mother. The story was presented from his perspective as the first voice, and you could almost get into his mind as he perceives his world within just the confines of a square room.

This is one of those extremely good books that creates images in your mind as you read without requiring much of an effort. The words just flow and you find yourself in that very room with Jack.

It's an amazing read. The best one I've had in a long time.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

I learnt about this amazing orchestra today. And really, hats off to these young musicians who in their poverty in life are able to bring music to life.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Is reading a waste of time?

I am getting another(!) dose of the 7 Habits training, and this time I spent a bit more time thinking about the Time Matrix. It was highlighted that effective high performance organizations spend 60% of their time in Quadrant II, 25% in QI, 14% in QIII and 1% in QIV.

My first question is whilst I understand that QIV needs to be minimized, is 1% enough? Some of the mindless and brainless things that I do, I will put them in QIV, but I find them important to wind down a stressed up mind. Can it be elevated in QII?

My next question is more interesting--I read a whole lot, but how is it different from watching hours and hours of TV, which I also do at times? If I read as mere entertainment, if I read just fiction, will it be lumped together with watching TV as time wasters?

After thinking it through, I'm still convinced that reading is still a virtue compared to TV. Reading takes more effort and builds more discipline. It builds your imagination and on top of it helps you improve your command of the language more effectively than TV. They may fare equally in learning new things, the former in reading and visualizing and the latter in seeing and hearing.

As such, reading takes its rightful place in QII, but TV can be in QII too if you ask me. But whatever it is, everything in moderation. After all too much of a good thing is not a good thing.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce

With all my serious reading lately, I wanted something lighter and different and came upon this delightful book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

It is a story about a retired husband and father who on his way to mail a letter to a long-lost friend who is now dying of cancer, made a sudden decision to walk to her instead, all six hundred over miles from Kingsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

In his journey, he met and encountered many different people and situations. But what I like about the story was that he spent most of his time thinking about life, discovering about what he finds on his path and reminiscing about his past. There were memories of nostalgic and happy moments but mostly there were also painful and regretful images which he did not want to face especially when he started the journey, only having to face it finally in the end.

I like the story because if I were to travel, this will be how I want it to be, not the walking but the time spent thinking and mulling over life. To view the sights and learn about things I see and think about how it all connects both to life and in life. And now I understand why I have not been really traveling - it is only because this kind of traveling require a whole lot of time and money, both of which I can't afford for now.

Rachel Joyce also wrote a companion book from the side of Harold's friend who was dying - The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. I have not bought it, yet. It is almost double the price of the first volume and I have been buying too many books lately, I shall wait a bit before I get this one. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to it.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Coincidence or premonition?

I'm not sure if you can call this a coincidence or a premonition.

All five ATM machines that I went to were either out of service or ran out of cash. I really need to withdraw some money but I'm just not able to.

Hope it's ok tomorrow.


Monday, December 01, 2014

Oh no...

My colleague just remarked, "Oh no! It's already December."

I must admit I had not realised it, but yes, oh no, it's already December. And what have I accomplished?


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent and the Bb

Grace Notes was in Wesley Methodist Church Seremban this morning, being invited to sing and attend service together with the church.

Rev Ronald Yap preached on Mark 13:24-37 with a sermon entitled "Stay Awake".

It was a sermon for the first Sunday of Advent and I've learnt something very important.

Advent is a season of the Christian church year that leads up to Christmas. The word is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus that means "coming".

I've always thought of Advent as a meditative period as we prepare for Christmas, a time to recommit our lives to Christ and be thankful for his coming to us as a Savior.

I just found that the Latin word adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, which I do know refers to the second coming of Christ. As such, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. It "offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming."

It is therefore a blessing to be back in a Methodist service today to learn that (since the Baptist church, at least the one I'm in now is not so much a liturgical church, where seasons important to me like Lent and Advent are not observed.)

This season of Advent for me will be a time to "stay awake" and be alert as I meditate and be ready for the Second Coming of Christ.

Anyway, Grace Notes did well this morning. As for me, I never used to be able to sing anything above the high A. My nicest sounding highest note was the high Ab.

This time we sang four songs and three of them had a high Bb! I found that I'm now able to hit that now after attending voice lessons last year. And I was given feedback that I nailed them perfectly. I'm very glad.

Source: Advent

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chicago Fire

I got myself too caught up in this television series.


Friday, November 28, 2014

One in the company of many

We had a discussion about the order of salvation in CG today, which I didn't contribute much. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm taking a wise strategy in keeping my thoughts at bay just because I hate conflicts. I am banking on the agree-to-disagree position but it does not seem to be working as I am beginning to feel ostracized.

I like what Roger Olson said. I know I've been quoting him a lot lately, because he is the only person who has a blog that I can refer to to keep sane in the onslaught of Calvinistic theology recently. He said,"God is sovereign and can work outside our theological boxes which are necessary but not prisons for God’s grace." It's just that I find the Calvinists' definition of the sovereignty of God ironically a tad too limited for them to understand where Arminians are coming from. So I have chosen to shut up.

With the reality that I'm outnumbered, I felt I'm being put on the outside, or maybe I've put myself outside. The thing is I don't find it conducive to bring anything up for discussion. Being the only one in the company of many makes it hard to be heard. So again, I have chosen to shut up.

But is it a right move?

Anyway the quote above is from a article Olson wrote about regeneration, a very interesting article after the session I attended in CG today.

Obviously, the definition of regeneration and being born again is different and thus like I have said before, we are two ships that will never meet in our voyage in sea.