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Showing posts from March, 2007

A Thousand Words #23

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It has been a rocky week for both SH and I but by God's grace we are blessed to even breathe, to say the least. To God be the glory! pearlie Picture by Jon Ng

Prayer

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This has been with me for awhile: I don’t quite understand prayer. I didn’t talk about it because I was worried. Prayer is the required discipline for all Christians and here I am, not understanding it. It is therefore comforting to read, “Anyone who has not wrestled with this question has not waded far into the ocean of divine sovereignty or the mysteries of prayer. It behooves us to take another look at an old but ever-present problem.” (Curt Daniel, Prayer and the Sovereignty of God ) No doubt I have been wondering, if God is sovereign, then why pray? We are commanded to pray nonetheless. So how do we do it? According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies.” I think prayer is all about God, least about us. It is the acknowledgment of his sovereignty, seeking His mercy and resting in His grace. We can

Hidden time

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He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecc 3:11b Eternity, העולם haolam, hidden time – the period beyond the present. God has indeed placed eternity into our hearts, so that we can know God and what he has done. All of God’s work is eternal, because he is eternal. It is only with eternity in our hearts that we will be able to discover what God has done. Therefore, live in the eternal. pearlie Picture by Artur i Karol S

I love you, Lord

I love you, Lord And I lift my voice To worship You O my soul rejoice Take joy my King In what you hear Let me be a sweet, sweet sound In your ear ~ by Laurie Klein pearlie

God, you and I

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Keeping a relationship is not easy, it is hard. We do not know how the other party really thinks and we do not know what they want. But we try, even though sometimes we fail; with our spouse, our children, our parents, our siblings, our friends, we try. I am thinking about my relationship with God. I do try to keep the relationship going but many a times I fail. Here is a relationship with a perfect Being, he has revealed what he wants and what his intentions are. He is omnipresence, he is Emmanuel. So, what do I really need to do to build this relationship? I am asking because I find it hard. Everytime I think it is going well, I fall back. What does it take to have a relationship with a perfect Being? Psalm 24:3-6 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from

I see red

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I see red. The odd thing is that it is nothing serious, not at all, but in an accumulative series of little things that went wrong, it got to me. I see red. pearlie Picture by Luis Brito

I'm coming to your house for tea

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Our speaker preached about repentance this morning, a sermon very befitting the season of Lent. Her text was about I reckon the most famous Sunday School character of the New Testament, Zacchaeus. Luke 19:1-10 (ESV) 1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. An

Only 4G

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I am not very happy today. I had wanted to get an external hard drive. I need to back up the stuff in my PC. At the store, I realised I did not know how much data I have and SH keep saying that he will be impressed if I even have 4 gigs of them. So he felt that that I should be better off with a small and convenient thumb drive rather than a larger, bulkier and less dependable external hard drive. So I got the 4G USB Flash Drive. After zipping up the folders, I am almost filling up the 4 gigs of space and I have several more folders to go. I am not going to get that external hard drive yet. I should be able to survive with the 4 gigs of space for now, as my more important stuff are already backed up. The 80G external hard drive can wait, and it will even be cheaper later. pearlie

Worn-out

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I think I over-worked today. I was on something every minute and every second from 9 to 6. pearlie Picture by Fillipe Neyl

Just in case ...

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In the midst of meeting deadlines and attending meetings after meetings, we were required to attend a fire briefing, being in Tower 2 of the Petronas Twin Towers . It is a break from routine though it did make me realise that I am sitting in some kind of a ticking time bomb; I hope it won’t go off. Some interesting stuff includes the fact that: 1. each of the towers has 14 concrete columns making it hardy and sturdier for any impending you-know-what attacks; 2. the passenger lifts has side doors that can be opened using an alan key for a car-to-car rescue in the case of a lift breakdown which was cool (I actually carry an alan key with me! Don’t ask me why. I just happen to have one); 3. I lost count of how many elevator columns there are in the tower, I thought there were 9 but I think there should be at least 20; 4. they had to rethink the escape plans after lessons learnt from the various worldwide high tower emergencies experience over the years; 5. they have a 3+2 (3-floo

The Wit of Irenaeus

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Irenaeus (c. 120-202) was born in or near Smyrna in Asia Minor. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was the disciple of John. He is the most notable of the 2nd century apologist, defending Christianity and particularly the four main Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He became bishop of the Christians in and around Lyons. He spent a lot of time and energy fighting the growing influence of Gnosticism. A little about Gnosticism: Olson equated the 2nd century heresy to the twentieth century New Age Movement. Gnosticism in fact did not completely disintegrated over the centuries but was muted by official surpression by Christian emperors and state churches. It reared its head again with modern pluralism, tolerance of dissenting views, and the separation of church and state. It is usually presented by "self-styled Christians as a purer form of Christianity for genuinely spiritual people who cannot abide the smothering dogma and institutionalism of officially orthodox ch

The Opening Act: the second century

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There were 2 groups of theologians who emerged after the demise of the last of the apostles in the second century, and they brought about many changes in theChristian thinking about God and salvation. These 2 groups are the apostolic fathers and the apologists. The apostolic fathers "sought to keep some semblance of order and unity in the church and began the fight against heresies such as Gnosticism, they also tended to present the Christian gospel as a message about morality." The influencing apostolic fathers were Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp, including 2 extant anonymous works, The Didache and The Epistle of Barnabas . The apologists "turned their faces towards the hostile world outside the church and attempted to explain the Christian worldview and lifestyle to sophisticated, powerful leaders of the Roman Empire in an intelligible and appealing way. In the process they prevented Chrisitianity from becoming just one more secretive mystery reli

The Story of Christian Theology

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I just purchased a copy of Olson's The Story of Christian Theology, Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform and hope to read it from cover to cover. Olson is a pretty good writer - I feel like I am reading a story, and in actual fact, I am. "While a history is perceived to be as dry as dust by many modern readers, a story is always eagerly welcomed and greeted with interest. And yet history is made up of stories ... (it) is the retelling of stories - narratives that recount (hopefully, as accurately as possible) the events, movements, ideas and lives of people who have shaped cultures, religions and nations." (Olson, p. 13) And it's what Olson has done. He says that, "the Christian story ... include more than just the biblical narratives ... too many Christians are almost completely ignorant of the continuing secondary narrative of God's work with his people - the body of Christ - after the biblical narrative ends ... What has God been doing for two thou

A Right Relationship with God

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Micah 6:1-8 1 Hear what the LORD says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 "O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD." 6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my tra

Finally!

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Finally, I have completed the Acts assignment and sent it out to the lecturer just moments ago. The paper content is as follows: Introduction 1. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Acts? 1.1. The Driving Force of Salvation History 1.2. The Spirit of Prophecy 1.3. Baptism and the Holy Spirit 2. The Spirit in Acts and the Rest of Scripture 2.1. The Old Testament 2.2. John 2.3. Paul 3. What does it mean to us today? 3.1. Pneumatology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology 3.2. The Powerful Presence of the Holy Spirit 4. Conclusion Some of you did indicate that you would like to have a look at it. Do send me a mail and I will forward you a copy. Do comment but please be kind :) pearlie

A need for routine

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I have been so busy lately I am not being able to keep up with my daily posts, which also means that I am losing out on my daily devotion - I haven't had time to do them. This is not good. The current one week school break is coming to an end. So hopefully, things will go back to the same routine come next week. pearlie Picture by Hilde Vanstraelen

I need some pampering

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I have been working hard lately on a project at work and I decided to give myself a treat, something I haven't done for a long time - a hairwash, a nice long pampering hair wash. Ahhh ... such bliss ... pearlie

Preserve me, O God

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Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." ~ Psalm 16:1-2 pearlie Picture by Carmen C.

Being absent-minded ... not surprising

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I am really being absent-minded: I missed my blog's first anniversary on March 1st . Wow, I am one year old in blogging. Not a lot, compared to the old-timers but still ... I am one year old. pearlie

Now I get Job

I had said to myself many times over, I do not really get Job. I understand the part where God allowed Satan to test him but Job stood by his conviction to God, and he gained favour in God’s sight. I just don’t get the elongated debate between Job and his four friends. I don’t quite understand why it’s in the bible, why we need to know what they said when it is clear that Job is righteous before God. I also did not get it because what the 4 friends said were mainly things that are real and true in their own right, but not true on Job’s count, so how do I study them? As truth or non-truth? Not until I experience a very, very, very, very minute and small portion of what Job experience that I am beginning to understand the purpose of Job, why it is there for us to study and meditate. Several people had said to me that bad things happened to me because I have disobeyed God. I do not mean that I am totally pure and righteous but I am innocent of the vice that they accused me of. I felt sli

God's will

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James 4:13-17 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a -town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. The preacher started with this statement this morning: God's will is about our lives. I can't say I can agree with it without first qualifying it: God's will is first and foremost about Him and His kingdom, and what we do in respond to Him and His kingdom. There are 3 options in James 4: 1. Ignore the will of God We are not to act as if things are certain in life because they are not (v.13, 14, 16). Foolishness is never taking into

Dum dum dum dumm ...

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We attended our cousin's wedding today. They are such a sweet couple. It reminded SH and I that we have indeed been through 12 years together. We thank God for his love and his grace, placing and keeping us together. There are ups and there are downs but God made us one. In our imperfectness, we are perfect for each other I like these household codes in Colossians 3:18-24. Abide by it and for years and years to come, we will be delighted with each other and at peace with one another. Firstly, wives , submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Secondly, husbands , love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Thirdly, children , obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fourthly, fathers , do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Fifthly, slaves , obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, a

The 400th Post

This is my 400th post. I am so amazed that I am still actively posting this daily. My usual journal keeping won't last even a week. The reason I am still at it is because this is all happening within a community and I appreciate the encouragement and motivation we give each other in our walk with God through our sharing of daily life and happenings. We are indeed one body in Christ. There are several of us who has made the decision to stop blogging. Nevertheless, friendship has already been made and I hope it will not just end like that. It will definitely develop in a slower pae but I pray and hope it will still grow. Paul says in Colossians 3:16-17, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." First and

The sinner's prayer

What is the sinner's prayer? I am asking because recently I am being asked these questions: is the sinner's prayer really necessary? Does it guarantee salvation? What happens if someone in his deathbed say the sinner's prayer? I believe firmly in the saving grace of Christ, that whosoever believes in Him will live. But it will take more than just a few words to secure our lives in Him. It is faith, it is grace and it is abiding in Him and He is us. pearlie

Our dying Benoni, our living Benjamin

I read this daily devotion by Charles Spurgeon and thought it so beautiful, so timely. "She called his name Benoni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand)." ~ Gen 35:18 To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side. Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob, though weeping the mother’s loss, could see the mercy of the child’s birth. It is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine faithfulness. Samson’s lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if rightly considered. The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous florets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil. Dark clouds distil bright drops, and black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from whic

Cleaning help

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I hate housework. And if I could avoid it, I would. But then I like it clean and tidy. So I'd just push myself to do it. This time though I decided to get some help. I am glad I did. Trivial but important nonetheless. pearlie Picture by Hilde Vanstraelen

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Acts

I have been staying up late trying to put in more work into the Holy Spirit assignment. So far so good, though every time I look at it, I make major changes - but I suppose that is good, it shows that I am thinking and working. The paper's structure looks like this, at least for now: 1. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Acts? 1.1. The Driving Force of Salvation History 1.2. The Spirit of Prophecy 1.3. Baptism of the Holy Spirit 2. The Spirit in Acts and the Rest of Scripture 2.1 The Old Testament 2.2 John 2.3 Paul 3. What does it mean to us today? 3.1. Pneumatology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology 3.2. The Powerful Presence of the Holy Spirit pearlie

Luke 11:17-27, Serving together

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My post yesterday is very much a rhetorical question more than anything after a very interesting chat with a friend about church leadership. Coincidently, the sermon in church today has to do with exactly the same topic: church leadership in the theme of serving together. Luke 22:17-27 (ESV) 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!&

What is: Church leadership

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Really ... what is church leadership? Matthew 20:20-28 20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever wo

A Thousand Words #22

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pearlie Picture by Tony Clough

We're home!

We're finally home! But it has not been easy. The discharging process took forever and my car battery died in the hospital parking lot. After all the delays, we are back home at 6 pm and that is a 6-hour delay from the expected discharge time at 12 noon. I should have expected it but no matter, we are home. I am so, so tempted to take a sabbatical from blogging but that would mean a sabbatical from my daily devotion. I have not been keeping it for awhile already with all the changes in my daily routine and I must get back to it. Therefore, a sabbatical would not a good idea. I will persevere. I Want To Be Where You Are by Don Moen I just want to be where You are, dwelling daily in Your presence; I don't want to worship from afar; draw me near to where You are. I just want to be where You are, in Your dwelling place forever; Take me to the place where You are, I just want to be with You. I want to be where You are, dwelling in Your presence, Feasting at Your table, surroun