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Showing posts from June, 2008

Do you have a cure for me?

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I am now halfway through my exegesis on Psalm 19. The reason why I picked Psalm 19 over Psalm 30 was because when I checked Terrien’s The Psalms, Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary , Psalm 30 has a chiastic structure to it while Psalm 19 does not. So thinking that I should lay low on chiasms and be “normal” for awhile working on a good ol’ ordinary unchiastically structured psalm, I proceeded on with Psalm 19. If you are good with plots, you will know where my story is heading by now, because right in front of me this very moment is Psalm 19 staring at me as a perfectly structured chiasm. What happened? I was mulling through the psalm for the past several weeks, dissecting it, breaking it into possible stanzas and maybe several envois, highlighting parallels, linking up themes. Last night, I suddenly went, “Wait a minute ... I don’t believe it!” and there you are – no running away from chiasms for Pearlie. They stick to me like glue. A Nature’s declaration (v.1)    B

I am back!
Aha, and here's the chiastic-monsta!

All is well. I went on a blog-break on Saturday. Except that my mind has been actively “blogging” for the past few days! I see how reflecting has become so much a part of me. I automatically think about the day: how it went, where I have fallen short and most of all how I must thank our good and gracious God. I will be updating my posts, from where I stopped, on Sunday. There isn't any break after all. pearlie p/s The chiastic-monster challenges you to find what the chiastic-monster loves!

A Thousand Words #69

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pearlie Photo © 2007 Georgios M. W.

Bible Study:
Discombobulated Dialogue

We discussed John 2:1-11 today. The flow of conversation between Jesus and his mother ensuing the running out of wine at the wedding banquet we had found rather puzzling. Mary: They have no more wine. Jesus: Woman, what to me and to you? My time has not yet come. Mary (to the servants): Whatever He says to you, do it. What do you make out of it? I suggest this: Having no wine during a wedding banquet in the ancient Jewish world was a serious offence, culpable to legal proceedings. Mary was worried and came to seek Jesus' help. She kind of knew that he is special and will be able to do something spectacular to save the day. But Jesus asked her what would it mean to her and what would it mean to him if he were do to something. Mary's focus is on the immediate, Jesus focus is on the eternal and his time has not yet come for his glorification on the cross and his resurrection. But since his mother had asked him and the matter at hand is a serious one, he chose to perfor

More on: forgive, forget and reconcile

I have reflected before on forgiving, forgetting and reconciling . It is a reality that while it is possible to forgive, it may be impossible to forget and inconceivable to reconcile. If that is so, what is forgiveness? Forgiving and forgetting would certainly make life much easier to live but our human nature just will not allow it. It reminds and it recalls what you’d rather forget. Now, isn’t that ironical? But if God can forgive us, if he can choose not to remember our sins, if he invites us into reconciliation with him, why can’t we do the same with our fellow brethren in Christ? And looking at it from a different vantage point, if it hurt so badly that we cannot forget or reconcile, how much more would it hurt God to forgive, forget and reconcile us to himself. Hurt He was – He gave us His Son to make forgiveness, forgetting and reconciling possible. I now begin to imagine how my Heavenly Father would have felt when Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have yo

Preaching:
A monstrous monologue by a moron to mutes?

I have been asking: what is preaching? I admit I am oh-so-guilty of over-commenting on preachers - I know something is wrong with me. Therefore, in trying to get my bearings back, I started listening to Carson’s Primacy of Expository Preaching . He gave these lectures at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors in 1995. There are three lectures and I am just midway through the first one. I knew that preaching is hard work. But after listening to just a small part of these lectures, I am now convinced that preaching is more than hard work, and calling it “work” does not even give it justice. Preaching is a simultaneous appeal to the heart and mind of the church. Preaching is to convey the very image of Scripture that must reduce us all into a state of awe and worship. Preaching is the task of holding up Scriptures as a mirror that make us squirm in our sins. Preaching is power, holy power, that is with an authority bound up with the fact that it is God’s message – not merely content o

A Thousand Words #68

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pearlie Photo © 2007 Sander ten brakel

Away?

God is indeed so good. He knows us perfectly and pours his grace on us sufficiently at all times. Just when I was getting a bit discouraged about some things, he comes with multiple blessings and reminders. For one, a sister shared with me how she had read my sharing on my TEE experience in this blog at the right time – she soon met someone who indicated her interest in taking up theological training on a part time basis. Two, I had an excellent session with the youth today, as I submitted it all to Him. We studied the parables in the bible and learnt how to interpret the bible. Not with a “I think ...” or a “What this passage means to me ...” but what the passages mean as they were originally and contextually and only then to apply it into our lives as obedient children of God. As an example, I challenged them to give me the most important lesson in the so-called Parable of the Prodigal Son. It was a most interesting session. We learnt a lot, including me. Three, I may have star

Regroup, Rethink, Review

I have been posting here every single day since 1 Mar 2006 without missing any save one (for a special reason). I have decided, albeit against my better judgement or not, to break away for awhile. For long or for short, time will tell. I need to regroup, rethink and review some things in my life. For those who may have a clue, reading this may shed some light. Till then. Shalom. pearlie

Christian Theology 2: Day 4
What is heaven, what is hell?

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On our final day of CT2, we are on to one subject that I felt I need most at this point of time, being one of the topics I have least learning on: eschatology. Christopher brought us through these: 1. The Second Coming of Christ About His return being definite, what the characters of the coming are, the purposes for His return and our bodily resurrection. 2. What happens after death? Would it be an immediate entrance into eternity, a soul sleep or a conscious existence of the soul? My position has always been between the first and the third. I have only been aware of the second not too long ago. While I was articulating between the three, I found myself taking all three position at different times within just 10 minutes. For now, I still could not go with any one position but the first one seem to make more sense, but having said that, how do we explain Lazarus' resurrection? Had he an immediate entrance into eternity and then called back to time again? Sound a tad too much li

Christian Theology 2: Day 3
And another break

The lecture today focussed on Ecclesiology, the Church. Several interesting things I learnt include: 1. Sociologists were said to comment that by right a church in its setting should not have existed within a sociological framework. I totally agree - if not for the one tenet of the church, viz. the saving grace of God through his Son, Jesus Christ, there is no basis for all of us in all our differences to be one in Christ, as we are now. 2. The church can be described in relation to the Trinity - the nation of God, the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. 3. The church consist of the following: * the invisible church - the one true Church, of believers regardless of time, be it from the past, in the present or in the future * the visible church - that which is seen by our eyes, consisting of "wheat" and "tares" * the universal church - all believers at any one time * the local church - the community of believers at one locality 4. The church

Christian Theology 2: Day 2

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Today's class concentrated on the theology of the Holy Spirit. We spent the whole day on this topic, from who he is to what he does . The usual questions on tongues were brought up and debated upon. For me, it was a "been there done that" kind of thing and was therefore reticent throughout. What I learnt though were these: 1. The speaking in other tongues at Pentecost can be viewed as "an indication of the reversal of the judgement of God at the tower of Babel. Instead of separation, alienation, and antagonism, there is now the formation of a reconciled community from all tongues and nations". But only if you view the event at the tower of Babel a judgement of God, which of course is the common thought. I have blogged this before - an alternate view that the tower of Babel event may point to the origins of cultural difference. 2. The accounts of the filling of the Holy Spirit in Pentecost, in Samaria, in Cornelius and his household are reminiscent of Acts

Christian Theology 2: Day 1

This is irrelevant and it isn’t about theology but for whatever it’s worth: We weren’t expecting this Have we so much gone amiss Along it came no less That without much finesse The thing that got to us Has made us gloomy Gus Everything is now a mess All Rights Reserved © 2008 Pearlie Ng We began our CT2 class today led by Christopher Cheah – on these topics: - The Doctrine of Humanity - The Image of God - The Essential Human Nature - The Fall and the Nature of Sin I may have been doing too much exegesis because I find that I keep doing exegesis work today on the passages presented for the various topics. For example, there was this section where we were looking at the account of the temptation that led to the fall. Christopher commented that it is a common view that the blame always fall on the woman for being the one that listened to the devil, replied him, got enticed by him, ate the forbidden fruit, and somehow got man to eat it too, thus causing the fall. Scanning through the

Running away?

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I have not been catching up with blogs. Ever since we made a big change in logistics, it is taking some getting used to - exceedingly stressful too. That and deadlines and more deadlines are getting to me. Which is why the rest of this week will be an excellent break for me - I have signed up for Christian Theology 2 that is to be held in-campus, from Wednesday to Saturday. I doubt many will look at it the same way I do - using study as a break, but it would be an extremely welcomed one for me. The only worry is that this class is on theology - and I hope I don't end up having my hair all pulled out! Running away? Or hair pulling? pearlie Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng

Soles to be Redeemed

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Being a servant of Christ can sometimes be a very lonely business. pearlie Photo © 2008 H Assaf Post title is credited to Danesh Daryanan .

3-point sermon?

Today's passage was taken from Luke 18:18-30. Not an easy passage to preach from and I have three more questions to add to my list. 1. What was Jesus' intention in his response in v.19? 2. What is the concept of inheritance in the context of the rich ruler? If he was to inherit it, why ask what he needs to do? 3. Is Jesus' demand in v.22 event-related or is it to be applied across the board? pearlie

Fragile flower or firm sacrifice?

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Flowers. We are mesmerised by their beauty, entranced by the colours, captivated by their design. We have them adorn the surrounding of our homes. We await their blooms in anticipation. We display them to delight our eyes. We give them away as a sign of our love. I am therefore surprised at the bible's treatment and usage of the flower in general as a metaphor for nothingness.* Job 14:1-2 Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. Psalm 103:15-16 As for man, his days are like grass,    he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone,    and its place remembers it no more. Isaiah 28:1 Woe to that wreath,    the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,    set on the head of a fertile valley-- to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! Isaiah 28:3-4 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkard

What is tolerance?

I heard in one of Carson's sessions the topic of tolerance*. He brought up a very interesting point where he felt that our contemporary understanding of tolerance has gone wayward. If you think about it, isn't it logical that one can only be considered tolerant when - not only does one not agree with another, differing views are laid out full view of each other but tolerated with grace and aplomb. That in my opinion is tolerance. Accepting another person's differing views even though it goes against one's beliefs or principles for the sake of giving way is not tolerance. It is but syncretism, a fusion of differing beliefs - something that is impossible. This came up because I was in the midst of helping Calvin with his homework when he was required to decide if the result of tolerance was that the "opinions of others are easily refuted". I felt that it was my duty as a parent to explain what real tolerance is, which I did. But I also added that if he go

Self-idolatry

My mind is processing some thoughts on something akin to Psalm 1. Psalm 1 1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. I grew up in a Christian home and thanks to my mom and dad, and some church leaders, I was taught in the Lord's way. But only now, do I really see for myself who we are as God's children in comparison to those who are not. I am a pe

A Thousand Words #67

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pearlie Photo © 2007 Enrico Corno

The power of suggestion

A few months ago, my friend sent me a short audio clip of Akon's Lonely . I thought the opening that features a chipmunky voice was so cute that I set it as my alarm ringtone. On hindsight, it was a bad idea. It never occurred to me that I will be waking up to these words: Lonely, I am so lonely I have nobody to call my own ... I knew the power of words and the power of suggestion, but the little wisdom I had was not put into work when I set this as the alarm ringtone, and what more, I am one who snoozes a lot . This went on for months. My days had not been entirely great lately and I had not been fervent in prayer. I used to wake up and the first thing I would do is say, " Good morning, Lord! " but not anymore for awhile now. One morning a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly realise what I have been listening to every morning as I start my day! I changed it almost there and then. And this is what I hear now as I wake up, written by John Rutter, sung by The Choirboys: Th

My sweetie pie

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It was quite all about him today, as we got back into the rhythm of school after a really good 2-week break. He is after all my sweetie pie, my silly cow and the BSITW. Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng pearlie

Calvin's new found interest

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Calvin never quite stay in one thing for long. But I have noticed however, for quite awhile now, that he loves making sketches and illustrations. So I got him some art paper and coloured pens and here are the results. He wanted to make a gift for Auntie Rowena. I helped him with the vase and the rest is his work. All rights reserved © 2008 Calvin Tan We were going to the store in part to add on to his collection of Stabilo Point 88 pens. And as we were driving downtown, he conveniently got hold of one and started sketching me. He had done one before and called his work " Moo-mie ". I wonder what he will call this one this time. All rights reserved © 2008 Calvin Tan And here he was a week ago, we were trying to find a book on "pen art". We did not find any but Bob Gill's Illustrations - not an art book per se, but he liked it. Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng pearlie

Looming ahead

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Looming ahead I'm on this road It only stretches on Find something good I really hoped Even if it's a chance upon It was however as I have expected Seemed to be but a delusion A prerequisite has been neglected Now what we have is confusion I really hope, to God I can only plea Revellers would come to know Only God and that only he Not for us to put on a show Yearn then for nothing but Him alone O God, help us. All rights reserved © 2008 Pearlie Ng Photo © 2007 DancingDolphin

The Unanswered Prayers and the Answered Prayer

Melissa once asked if I am “into Englishmen and stiff, upper-lip British English”. Ah, I am not sure about the first one, since I do not really know any Englishman but she is absolutely right on the second! Anyway, that is beside the point. I have uploaded several of Dick Lucas’ talks into my cellphone and I had let it run as I commute to and fro work. I happened to hear his session on 1 Kings 18 on The Unanswered Prayers and the Answered Prayer . Talk about my endless study and thinking on the subject of prayer, this session seriously hit the nail in the head for me – it is about the most realistic thing I have heard about prayer. It won’t do justice to have it summarised here. You have to listen it for yourself – the session is just brilliant. Get the mp3 here . pearlie

Caption Needed #2

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Danesh : What do you have to say now eh, Frank Sinatra! Huh? Huh? Anthony : 'Don't you make my brown eyes blue?' pearlie Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng

Our pockets are tightening up

Petrol prices here went up by RM0.78 today to RM2.70. That is a huge jump, the biggest ever and this is more bad news for the already rising inflation. I keep reminding myself that this is life as it is and that I have eternity to look to, I have hope. I was also listening to Dick Lucas' session on Psalm 90, which in fact has an extremely dismal portion about us. His title for the session is so aptly put: Are We Living in the Real World? Many people, be it Christians or non-Christians, politicians or beauty queens, tells us that our world can be perfect, peaceful, sublime and happy, if we do and follow a certain set rules, or simply, we do what they say. As much as things can be better if we do some of those things they advocate, ultimately we live in a broken and fallen world. As much as we call for peace, for justice, for equality, and as much as we do our best to make those a reality, we are but drawn to the darkness and we revel in it. Dick reminds us that we need to be c

Our blogs up in ashes?!

I had just started a new blog in www.photoblog.com/pearlie and posted 4 posts when I found that I could not access the website anymore. Something must have gone wrong somewhere but searches came to nothing. Last night, http://www.photoblog.com/ came back and posted news that there was a huge explosion in the place where their site was hosted and it has caused a massive blackout for thousand of websites. Apparently, it was reported that the servers and the data were not damaged. Click here for more information. That got me very worried. Not for my Photoblog, I only had 4 posts, writing was minimal and the photos are smaller copies of my original. But if that had happened to Pearlie Gates and if the servers were to have been blown to bits, I would have lost more than 2 years worth of precious journal entries, and daily entries at that. Gone! And done for! I must do something about it. I went searching and found this: HTTrack, Website Copier . Come to think about it, I was lookin

Caption Needed #1

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I was writing another piece on the will of God but I could not finish it in time to post it today - it is a long day. That will have to come tomorrow. Meanwhile, since I have restarted my "career" in photography, I should begin a series of "Caption Needed" - starting with this shot. Julia : How now red cow? Danesh : Look buddy, I don't care how much it hurts. I'm going to get my Red Bull juice whether you like it or not! pearlie Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng

The will of God for who?

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Pastor Chris gave a sermon today following through what the speaker had spoke about in the recent church camp - from Colossian 1:3-12 - concentrating on v.9, on the will and purpose God. The "will of God" is one biblical and theological theme I have not quite worked out yet, which I still have loads of questions on and so while I was listening to the sermon, I worked out the verses as follows to try to understand the passage better: Some "splendid" observations (as Dick Lucas would have termed it): 1. Faith and love, from hope Most people who have refered to v.5 and most places I have refered to so far, talked about love, faith and hope as a group of qualities the Colossians had. But I would beg to differ. What the Colossians have shown were love and faith that comes from the hope stored in heaven, and at the same time are the results of their hearing of the Gospel. 2. Eternity has begun The hope that is stored in heaven has already brought forth the fruitio