Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Painful Lesson

Winning into Freedom by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (18/11/12)

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments . . . and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free . . . .” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “. . . you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.


Friday, November 09, 2012

I am really getting more denying that

I think I have presbyopia, which literally mean "old eyes". I have had 20-20 vision all my life and suddenly I find myself not being able to see far or near. The most comfortable distance of sight now is computer-screen-distance: from where I sit to where my computer rest on the table in front of me. Any distance nearer or further than that is now a problem.

On top of that, I did not realise it until I have strained my eyes too much trying to focus that I am seeing double. This means other than having presbyopia, I also have diplopia.

I now have 2 pairs of glasses. One for shortsightedness and one longsightedness. I did not make any bifocals because before I used my shortsightedness glasses, I can still see near but I think when my eyes got adjusted back to seeing far without straining too much, I can't see near as clearly anymore.

I feel very tired now, as I do every Friday (after 5 days of waking up early at 5.45am and sleeping late at midnight). My double vision right now is quite bad. Everyone from afar now has four eyes as far as I am concerned.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Book Reminisce

I am a book buff, right from when I was a kid. I still remember the good old times when I could stay for hours in bookstores to the chagrin of my mom and brother -- my dad and I would get lost in space and time in them. But they were usually just browsing sessions. Books weren't very high on the priority list of our family budget and it would be a rare treat if I do end up with a book or two, usually from The Famous Five or the Trixie Beldon series.

Then for some reason, I stopped reading when I was in my mid teens. I am not sure why but most probably, it was at a time when I felt I was neither here nor there. I felt I was too grown up for the books I had loved but not ready for the more serious ones. I don't think there were any books for young adults back then, unlike these days.

By the time I was in my 20s however, I was already a fan of Sidney Sheldon books, and soon after was into novels by John Grisham, Jeffry Archer, Patricia Cornwell, Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. I would scour the stores for them, as well as borrow them from friends and even rent them from second hand bookshops.

Into my 30s, I began to delve mainly in Christian theology and soon I became a firm fan of anything C.S. Lewis. His books are tough reads but packed with gems and great insights. Some of the memorable reads I have experienced in this period of my life were C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, God in the Dock and The Screwtape Letters, the Five Festal Garments by Barry Webb, Exploring Protestant Traditions by David Buschart, Shades of Sheol by Philip Johnston, and Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I also found the fantasy genre a very interesting one. The ones I like included The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.

Right now, my choice of reads is quite diversified. I am game for anything interesting, fiction or not. Among the most interesting books I have read recently include a book on alternative medicine, Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh; on time, Time Warped by Claudia Hammond; on music How Music Works by John Powell; on dead bodies, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach; on personalities, Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe; on blood, The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot; and of all the novels I have read recently, only these two stood out: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones.

I also noticed that I have been reading many more books now that I have gone digital. I am quite surprised I actually ready 29 books in the last 10 months.  However, I did not meet my 50-book challenge for 2011/2012. But I am still quite satisfied nonetheless.

I have also found some very useful websites. Although I have gave up on, I became active in and I simply love this website called Although it does not feel or look as spiffy as the other book recommendation sites, I find it much more effective.

Reading a book is like unpacking a valuable gift slowly but surely. When I read a really good book, it is like I have unearthed a treasure from the depth of the sea. When I read a truly good novel, I feel like I am living another person's life and listening to a different voice unlike mine. I like books that make me think and wonder. I like it when I discover even simple things. I like it when a book gives me the urge to google or wiki for more information. I like it when it makes me imagine. I like it when I can just read, and read, and read.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

How to handle nosy people

I encountered the nosiest person today and I could not stop thinking about it in frustration: the nerve of her.

I have this thing that I usually get asked about, something I do not like to talk about at all. I always defer it by saying I am alright, thank you very much. Though what I really wish I can say is: mind your b*#+=/ business.

But this is the first time I have ever experienced someone who just do not get the cue that I do not want to talk about it, period. She was clueless and keep on asking me about it and even had the nerve to make guesses asking me if she was right. Argh!!!

Anyhow, what came out of this was that I began to formulate a standard response if I ever encounter such people again. All I need is to be calm, to pause, smile and deliver.

Except that right now, hours after it happened, I am still affected.


Monday, November 05, 2012

This is one clock I seriously want


Designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen has created “365,” an interesting clock concept that tells time in a different manner; instead of just displaying the minutes and the hours, it knits round the clock for 365 days. Once a full year has passed, the knitting clock will have created a two-meter scarf for you to use and remember the year by.