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Showing posts from 2011

The Gallery, Chiang Mai

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This was a photo I took with my iPhone 4 that turned out better than I had expected. I initially took a photo of only the building, which I found uninteresting. It was then that I thought having a motorcycle whizzing pass in the photo would give it some movement. It wasn't hard, there were many of them anyway, motorcycles. Wish I fished out my DSLR though... pearlie

Retelling the Christmas Story

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In my recent silent retreat, I was given the Jesus birth narrative to do a contemplative prayer on, which I did and it was an amazing experience and encounter with God. I wanted to record it down, and when I began to do that, I ended up re-telling the story of Joseph and Mary, and the birth of Jesus, found in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. Since it is the advent and soon Christmas season, I have posted it here, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing and learning from it. I would not have believed that I could learn so much, both spiritually and theologically, by re-telling a biblical narrative. I have tried to keep it as close as I can to geographical and cultural setting. If you find any misrepresentation in there, I would appreciate if you would let me know. Merry Christmas! ******************************************* And They Laid Him in a Manger The story of Joseph and Mary, and the birth of Jesus Dramatized and retold by Pearlie Ng Pain

This is My Body, This is My Blood

One of the interesting experience I had during this silent retreat was the mass services that I have been attending. First, I must highlight that all the silent retreats that I have attended, four so far, were ran by Catholics. It is only because I only know of silent retreats organized by them. I don't seem to find any details about the ones ran by Reconre, and I have not encountered any other people who do them in Malaysia. Anyway, about the Catholic mass, I recognise the sensitivity of the Catholics with regards to non-Catholics who attend mass, and I know that it is common practice that most priests do not allow non-Catholic to partake in the bread and wine. I accept that - because I do not subscribe to the doctrine of transubstantiation and therefore I am okay not taking it, which has been the case for the first two retreats. During the third retreat, the father commented to the non-Catholics that if we would choose to receive it, we are invited to do so. He said the choice

Holding the Moment Still

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Time really have no mercy. It simply does not travel at the rate you want it to. I have been in the mountains of Chiang Mai for the past few days, and just when I was relishing the fact that I have a long 5-day silent retreat for myself, I am already in the last day. It is still morning and I just had a very good session with my spiritual director, and I look forward for the day today. I want to try to hold every moment still, to suspend it. Impossible, I know, and yet I hope that the more mindful I am of it, the longer the moment will stay. This last day of retreat may just feel like it lasted a really long time. pearlie

Feeling guilty?

The project that I was working on has been completed. I was taken in on a contract basis, and I am not engaged in anything for now. There are no projects running at the moment. I am talking the opportunity to a long deserved break. I worked a full month December last year, which has not happened before, and being contracted, there weren't many off-days I could take. And so, I think this long break is a well-deserved one. Except that it suddenly feels weird not being at work, and feeling a bit guilty. pearlie

Parents' duty to their children

Pastor Marvin spoke on "Raising the Next Generation for Jesus" and I think it is an important and timely message. To working parents, I am sure this is quite hard to hear. We relegate the duty of caring for our children to the babysitters, and daycare centres. We let the televisions, computers and iPads babysit out kids these days. I am not saying that it is wrong to do so. We are thankful for the availability of these services especially when working parents do not have family nearby to help. And televisions and gadgets have their own good uses. But what is important though is how we relate to them everyday. Do we spend time listening and talking to them as the main activity of the moment? And do actually listen to them, rather than only spewing out instructions after instructions, order after order? Instead, we need to both make time to actively teach them about God and His Word, and to live our lives according to God's way and truth so that we are good witness o

The Sabbatical Cycle

My husband pooh-poohed it as a normal tendency for us to see patterns in all we do, but I see it as something quite interesting nonetheless. I have been working for 20 years now and as I began to reflect on what I have done and what lessons I've learnt in these periods of years in different organisations, I saw that I have have been at work in 7-year cycles with prominent breaks at the beginning of every 7th year. This I feel is reminiscent of the Sabbatical year cycle, even though I do not take year-long breaks (except for the first cycle, which I did). And so, as I enter into the 4th cycle, I'm taking a deliberate break to reflect, recollect and regroup myself in preparation for it. And I am reminded of the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:24-26, which I will receive from the LORD, as a commitment to Him that He is the Lord of all, He is the source of all good things, He is the purpose of life: The LORD bless you and keep you The LORD make His face shine upon you And be gra

2011 STM Graduates
from the Methodist Church

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Front row (left to right) Rev Dr Philip Siew (Director of Advance Ministerial Studies) Rev Dr Anthony Loke (Director of Communications & Promotions) Rev Dr Ezra Kok (Principal) Rev C. Jayaraj (President of the Tamil Annual Conference) Rev Dr Hwa Yung (Bishop of the Methodist Church, Malaysia) Rev Dr Ong Hwai Teik (President of the Trinity Annual Conference) Dato’ Dr Alex Mathews (Council Member from the Trinity Annual Conference) Rev Dr Wong Tik Wah (Dean of Students) Rev Dr Joseph Komar (Tamil TEE Director) Miss Ho Gaik Kim (Chapel Warden) pearlie

Grace Notes: The Evidence of Grace

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Grace Notes together with The PJ Philharmonic Orchestra had worked together on a praise and worship piece entitled The Evidence of Grace to raise funds for the El-Shaddai Refugee School. It was organised by Migrant Ministry Klang and held in Harvest Christian Assembly Klang on Saturday, 12 Nov 2011. Grace Notes has worked very hard on this, and in record time, compared to the other events we have taken part in. We took about a year to prepare for the previous big events. We only had a little more than 2 months for this one - and it was indeed stressful, and more so for Joanna, our conductor. Towards the end, we were literally meeting for practices every other day! It was truly all through the mercy and grace of God. I do not think we did that well. But all in all, it is for the glory of God in His majesty. However, it was the journey that meant a lot to me and which I have thoroughly enjoyed. It was the learning, the going out of tune during initial practices, the frowns, the lau

Book Review: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

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I was attracted to this book first by the title and then by the cover. And then I thought I have for myself a wonderful book when I read its introduction - it promises a lot of things I was looking for. But alas it feel from the sky to the very depths of the underworld. I could not continue with it and stopped at Chapter 6 with 6 more chapters to go. I was indeed looking forward to read about what it means to build a life in Christ. I did know from the start that Richard Rohr is a Catholic priest, but little did I know he is as one Amazon reviewer termed him as a "progressive Catholic". I would say that he is pluralistic more than anything. His views about how life in reality is true and I agree with him. I also agree with him that many areas of our lives and the church needs to undergo a more radical transformation than they have. But I could not agree with his means, and his treatment of theology and Scripture. He gives statements that are blatant and I could not agree

It is oh so comfortable

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Some of you may remember Daniel Radcliffe's splurge on a $17,000/RM60,000 mattress some years ago. Don't ask how I got to notice that piece of news, or actually even remembering it - I was a keen follower of some tweets back then I suppose, and I was on a search for a mattress in the past few weeks. My husband has finally indicated that we need to change our pre-historic mattress and I have been mattress hunting ever since, and it has never been so confusing. Well, how often do you buy a mattress anyway. Ten years? Twelve years? Twenty years? I did not know where to start. I did not know what was in the market. I did not know what is which and which is what. All I know was spring mattresses. But spring mattresses were the rave back then ten twenty years ago. Is it still the kind to go for? Apparently not. Foam has been upgraded to memory foam and natural latex is back in business. My first encounter of a natural latex mattress is quite amusing. Most mattresses sold here a

After all these years

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Someone posted an old group photo of us when we were back in Primary 5, and God bless her because of that, I had lunch with a really old friend this afternoon. We have not met for 31 years! It was delightful that we caught up again to exchange memories, to share stories of our lives, to talk about our families and our dreams. Now how often does that happen? Well, maybe more now that we have the good ol' Facebook. pearlie

125 volumes of commentaries and references literally at my finger tips

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I just found out that the Bible✙ app by Logos in my iPhone and iPad now reads all the electronic references and commentaries I have purchased from Logos.com. Wow! The thing was when I last downloaded and installed the app, the only commentaries available for use in mobile devices were those like the NICOT/NICNT , which cost about RM5000 for 40 volumes. With the access now enabled, I am now carrying more than 125 volumes of work in my devices. I have 58 volumes of the Word Biblical Commentaries , 49 volumes of the Tyndale Commentaries and 18 volumes of the Essential IVP Reference Collection . I am now very, very tempted to get the Bible Study Library at RM830. I am not a very fervent user of my BibleWorks, but I do wonder how the Logos one match up to it. pearlie

Oh! For a good night of sleep

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I slept so well last night after telling myself off for the late nights I keep ending up having, and not that I am doing anything useful at all. I told myself that I must at least get to bed by 10:00pm. Last night, I finally listened to myself and did just that. It still took me about an hour to wind down and I fell asleep at about 11:00pm, which is nevertheless a record by far. I had problems sleeping recently, so much so that I reinstalled a sleeping pattern monitoring app back into my iPhone and had it monitor my sleep cycles. The next thing I did was to cut off on coffee and tea consumption after 12:00pm, not that I am very successful with that though. And now to get to bed by 10:00pm. Results? I had it from a bad nights most of last week, to a great night last night. I could not even believe it when I saw the graph this morning. It looks like going-to-bed-at-10pm is a habit I will need to build and maintain. And the amazing thing is that my brain actually felt much more in

Centering Prayer

Lately, I have been trying out a more contemplative prayer way by spending 15 minutes in the morning just being quiet. I am not sure if it is some kind of centering prayer, but what I try to do is to be still and spend that 15 minutes of quietness focused on God. The time usually pass by very quickly, which may be a sign that it will be good to increase the length of time slowly but surely. It is not easy to keep complete focused all the time, but it still is a very good, peaceful and deliberate time of being in God presence. I do not desire to "empty" my mind in the quietness, but rather to fill it with thoughts of God. So, I began to pick favourite bible verses to dwell on, letting them sink in. But I realised something today. I found that most of the verses that I have been choosing so far for the quiet meditation are those that focused on me in relation to Him. I do not think it is all wrong, I am after all desiring to have a closer relationship with Him. And so I chose

iPhone apps: Kobo vs. Kindle

I last posted in November 2009 that I still can't get the hang of e-books. It's almost two years now and here I am not only stating that I am a confirmed e-book convert but trying hard to help a friend with hers too. I was having a chat with Stella last week when she told me she purchased herself a Kindle. I asked if she realised she will not be able to buy e-books for her Kindle so easily. She did not. She was not happy to find that out and so I offered to help her figure it out, which I did. Then I thought I could do the same with the Kindle app for my iPhone, since I am not too happy with Kobo now (long story, how it happened). And I now I am a happy Kindle customer. The Kindle app may not have the nice-to-have features like statistics and awards, but I find it better than Kobo. Here are my take in comparing the two apps: Category Kindle Kobo Prefer Performance Kindle performs better. It has less waiting time and moves to a new chapter like another page.

Be a fountain of blessings!

Today's devotion by Oswald Chambers is a continuation of yesterday's. I find it so good and true, and I'm including it here. ____________________________________________ Fountains of Blessings by Oswald Chambers The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life —John 4:14 The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38). We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of li

Shine, Jesus shine through me

My devotion this morning was a good one from Oswald Chambers: The Far Reaching Rivers of Life . I have only very recently thought of myself being a river where God's goodness can flow through. I think it was from an mp3 sermon by John Piper that taught me that truth, and I am thankful for it. And here again in this morning's devotion, I am being reminded again that I must stay close to the Source for this river to flow and be a blessing to the people I come in contact with. I must never let any emotions or experience block the river from the Source. I must always stay close. Chambers also commented rightly that, "God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others," and I thought that is wise, lest we be proud of who we are or what we've done. In the midst of the devotion, I was reminded of the song: Shine Jesus Shine , and it took on a fresh meaning for me, though it would be better if it went "shine through me", rather than "

I forgot to breathe, eat, sleep, mull, write and pray

I had a great week off, being the long Hari Raya-Merdeka break last week, and I've taken the time to do and catch up on quite a bit of stuff, one of which is my sleep debt. Too bad sleep cannot be deposited but it can be owed, cause I slept quite a lot! At least for the first couple of days, and then I'm back at my bad habit of staying up late. But I made sure that I settle the debt the last two days over the weekend. But one thing I have not been doing, i.e. updating my blog. I was too caught up with the break. Well, in that case, there is one even more important thing I have not been doing - keeping my prayer and quiet time. I notice that this is always the case when I get long breaks. I get lost in the flow of all the things I want to do that I can't do on ordinary days. That is bad, I still need to breathe, eat, sleep, mull, write and pray; and not play all the time. But the break is over, sadly and gladly, and I'm back to life, back to reality, contentedly back

The Economist:
The minister of magic steps down

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I was reading with the headlines yesterday about the resignation of Steve Jobs, but no one but the The Economist has captured the sentiments so well - "The minister of magic steps down." I wish him well. Apple and The Economist: two of my all-time favourite corporations. One with amazing products and creativity that propel and stimulate my days, and the other with amazing writing and creativity that propel and stimulate my mind. Click here for The Economist article. pearlie

It all comes to nothing

I really do not like working with MS Powerpoint - it is really limited to be used to generate documents but that is what I have been using for almost a year now. It is a requirement and a norm here to submit documents and deliverables in MS Powerpoint format. I missed using MS Word and Excel. Therefore, I was pretty excited to start working to analyse an Excel sheet this morning, and that is practically what I have been doing the whole day. But alas, no matter how good the tool is, it is still the content that counts. I could not get any valuable analysis or conclusions out of the Excel sheet because of the poor quality of data and hence, nothing to include into the Powerpoint document I am suppose to update. As such, I have been working hard for one whole day but nothing came out of it. Which means, in the eyes of others, I have not done anything. However, at least I can proof that the answer to the question cannot be derived from that particular set of data, and ther

I used up all my sick days...

The Bitbook (like Facebook or Twitter) of the Bitizens from Tiny Tower, the iPhone game am still at, is quite entertaning. This for example, is hilarious: "I used up all my sick days, so I'm calling in dead." pearlie

A Prayer

Psalm 25 (ESV) Teach Me Your Paths To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed,none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it

My day of languages

If I were to mark each day of my life with a theme -- well, I actually have been doing that in a sense with the title of my daily posts -- then today will be the Day of Languages. It began when we had a discussion among my colleagues about the Malay language - one of them commented that it does not have an original word for "bag". It uses a loanword: beg . Later, I remembered Pastor Marvin (of Pantai Baptist Church or PBC, where I am attending for now) had announced that he will be speaking on the topic of the Bible this coming Sunday, in conjunction with the 400th year of the publication of the King James Version of the bible. I am looking forward to hearing it. Other than its spiritual aspect, the history and the technicalities of the Bible takes a very special place of my interests. It reminded me of two books I have read before -- The Story of English by Robert McCrum and In the Beginning: the Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language,

Gaps in my brain

Why is it that you find what you are looking in the last place you look?! My memory is failing me. I spent the whole evening looking for my computer charger cord. I tried tracing my steps to no avail. I finally checked in the most unlikely place and there it was. Then I remember putting it into a paper bag. I packed the paper bag aside forgetting what was in there. I leave gaps in my brain. pearlie

Restoring, bearing and sharing in a local church

The sermon today completes the exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians. Paul in the last chapter sums up his overall theme and message of the epistle, i.e. the gospel is not a religion. It is not some laws and regulations that you can adhere to and as a result gain acceptance. The gospel is the salvation of God that happens at the very core of our being, that we are first accepted because of Jesus and as a result we desire to keep his commands. What struck me though was the pastor's exhortation from Gal 6:1-10. The passage can be summarised as follows: (1) Restore your relationships with one another (v.1) (2) Bear your burdens with one another (v.2-5) (3) Share your blessings with one another (v.6) The thing is this: in order to carry out all three, one has to be attached and active in a local church. Walking in the Spirit also means walking in the faith community, where there is mutual accountability of one another. I am in a lurch at the moment - not being sure of where a

One Down, One More to Go

I finally sat down to work on my assignment. I have been procrastinating it like there's no tomorrow. I am glad I got down to work on it today from 11am to 11pm and completed the one on the Gospel of Mark, with another one to go. I should hit the iron while it is still hot, which means I must do this again tomorrow. Though I would need more than a 12-hour stretch to complete the second one on 1 Peter. pearlie

Actually, that's not in the Bible (CNN Belief)

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I found this article in CNN Belief blog. What do you think? Actually, that's not in the Bible By John Blake, CNN (CNN) – NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible. “Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season. “This, too, shall pass.” Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there. Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scho

The Feeding of the 5000 according to John

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The sermon text this past Sunday was taken from Matt 14:13-21 about the feeding of the 5000. I obtained an article from ATLA Serials , but based on John 6:1-15 by Gail R. O'Day, Professor of Preaching and New Testament in Candler School of Theology.(1) I made a parallel comparison of the feeding account: (Click on image to enlarge) The professor's take on the John passage is interesting. I agree with her that comparing with the Synoptic Gospels, John tend to leave a lot of gaps and include several mentions that are not in the Synoptics: 1. The Passover was at hand (v.5) 2. The testing of Philip (v.6) 3. It was a boy who has the 5 loaves and 2 fish (v.9) 4. Jesus gave thanks for the loaves rather than saying a blessing (v.11) 5. The people saw it as a sign that Jesus is the Prophet who is to come into the world (v.14) 6. Jesus withdrew because he perceived that the people are about to come and take him by force to make his king (v.15) Let me see what we hav

Tiny Tower

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My son introduced me to this game and now I am kind of hooked on it. It is something like Farmville though simpler and not as complicated, and not so much of a time waster, albeit still a potential. I wonder how many floors I'll build before I am done with it. I've built the 9th. pearlie p/s (24/8/2011) I am not at Floor 24. Getting a bit tired of it already.

Why the change?

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The route that usually take me just 15 minutes to get me to where I am headed is now taking me almost an hour. Sigh... pearlie Photo (c) 2008 drouu

Logorrhea

I learnt a new word: logorrhea. It means speech that is pathologically incoherent and repetitious. It's wearisome volubility. And I had to suffer a big share of it today. It was painful. pearlie

The Body, the Church

My family church celebrated its 44th anniversary today. Grace Notes was invited to sing and so I was there. It has been awhile since I have attended Sunday service in this church and even though I spent more than half my life there and even though I call it my family church, I did not know half the people in the service. It has now became a reality to me that the church is the faith community and not the structure. The longer you spend away from the community, be it physically or even mentally, the further you will feel in relation to it. pearlie

A Thousand Words #138

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pearlie Photo (c) 2008 Zsuzsanna Kilian

"...but in spiritual matters you will think yourself into cotton wool"
(Oswald Chambers)

God as always has his way with me. I had prepared some devotional readings for Grace Notes to use every Wednesday to set us first in the presence of God before we practice and rehearse our songs. I have been taking it from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening: Daily Readings but have recently changed the source to Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest . The readings are shorter but the language is quite up there. So I spent some time looking through each of the ones I've selected to simplify the language where I can. Chambers is wonderful with his words and lessons. I was being chastened and corrected by most of them, even though my intention of reading them was only for editting purposes. The Lord has indeed spoken. These two hit me quite hard today: _______________________ Imagination V. Inspiration (Sep 14) "The simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3 Simplicity is the secret of seeing things clearly. A saint does not think c

A song to laugh at myself

Sing a song of sixpence My day was in a daze Four and twenty hours Being stuck in a maze Oh I feel so stupid What have I here to bring Won't it be a humbling thing To set before the king Don't mind me - it's just one of those days and I am laughing at myself... pearlie

The Whole Earth Had One Language

I was "chatting" with a good friend via emails when he brought up the topic of languages, of how he was revising his skills in the Tamil alphabet, something he had not done since childhood. I told him that I too am limited in the usage of the Chinese language, and isn't it interesting that we all now speak in one global language, English. I began to wonder: if God dispersed the people of the world by language, what happens now that almost the whole world is using one language? Gen 11:1-9 (ESV) 1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face

Dying to self?

Someone said this to me sometime ago as something I needed to do - die to self - and I have been keeping mindful of that lately. However, I know that we weren't commanded to die to self in the Bible. It is the denying of ourselves that was the command. It is the denying ourselves of our desires of the flesh and being dead to ourselves. We are alive because Christ is risen, we are not dead. It may be just a matter of semantics. I found someone writing about it here . What do you think? pearlie

A daily reminder to myself

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pearlie

The Circle of My Relationship with Jesus

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I completed my retreat today - I have mixed feelings about it. For one, I signed up for a silent retreat but it turned out not a silent one. Silent retreats are a blessing for introverts like me who sometimes feel drowned in the sea of extroverts, God bless them, they are everywhere! The theme of the retreat was Friendship with Jesus Through Spiritual Exercises. I tend to be careful about the theme of friendship in relation to Jesus. If I am not mistaken, Jesus does not call himself our friend. He only called us his friends. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go a