Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five Things About Pearlie

KC Bob tagged me for a creative blogger award. And I thank him for his kind words to me as "a long time friend, thoughtful blogger and devoted follower of Christ."

I decide not to tag anyone since I don't have many who are actively commenting here anymore. Only Bob and Susan and a couple of others who come by once in awhile.

So here are my five facts:
1. I like to think and write and have been doing that with this blog since 2006.
2. I like to read...a lot.
3. I collect a lot of things, and facts, and articles, anything I find might be useful.
4. I sing everyday. In the car. In the shower. I sing to myself sometimes, like in taking to myself.
5. I am a night person, delaying sleep not wanting the day to end so soon.


Monday, June 29, 2015

I took the day off to think

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
~ Henry Ford

Our opinions become fixed at the point where we stop thinking.
~ Ernest Renan

Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.
~ Thomas Szasz

The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking.
~ Phaedrus

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I look confused it is because I am thinking.
~ Samuel Goldwyn

The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
~ David Ogilvy

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.
~ Plato


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grace Notes in Penang, Day 2

Grace Notes was also lined up to sing in Trinity Methodist Church's morning services, 9 and 11 am. We did quite alright this round compared to the recent couple of times in Ipoh and Shah Alam. All in the grace of God, in our worship and service to him, as well as sharing our talents with the people of God.

The speaker for the services was Rev Dr T Jeyakumar and he spoke from Deut 6:1-25 on "Ministry to the Younger Ones", using the example of John Wesley and the Scripture passage in Deuteronomy.

The message is one that should be driven home in every church on these two main points:

1. The duty and responsibility of teaching and training children in the Lord belongs primarily to the parents, not the church. And more than that, it is through us loving God, experiencing God, studying the Word of God, writing the Word, displaying the Word and speaking the Word at all times at home and out (v.4-9). Parents are to model a Christ-filled life to the children.

2. One of the most important ministries in the church is Christian education of youth and children. Rev Jeyakumar used a Socrates quote to make the point: "Why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and yet, take so little care of your own children, to whom one day you must relinquish all." We work tirelessly every day for the children, but we ignore them in the process. In the church context, we spend so much resources and time to build big beautiful churches but forget the building and training of our young ones who will soon take on the work in the church. The example he gave was very poignant--William Carey's original Baptist church in Leicester City in England is now a Hindu temple. Ironically, Carey was the first Baptist missionary in India.

And also a warning to us parents. Why spend so much time building wealth for our children and leave their care to the hands of others, and when we relinquish what we have to them, will they be living their lives in the ways of the Lord? Will they be people of the Kingdom of God?

With that, I decided to purchase a copy of Rev Jeyakumar's book, even though it will be so challenging to stick to reading from print, but I will try nonetheless.

A Family-Friendly Church: Home and Church Joining Hands
by T Jeyakumar


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grace Notes in Penang, Day 1

We are in Penang and singing for the Trinity Methodist Church's Worship and Music Ministry Appreciation Night 2015. It is a good thing to acknowledge the sacrifice and service of fellow brethren in the offering of our time and talents to God.

But God has done so much for us, what are these little things that we bring to him? It's only by his grace that we can come before him, to serve and to worship him.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Back to The Economist after 15 years

I started to read The Economist rather inadvertently, when I graduated in 1991 with a degree in economics, not realizing that it's more on public affairs rather than economics, which is a good thing because I have gained much in my general knowledge and my command of the English language by subscribing and reading the magazine, usually cover to cover, for at least 10 years if not more

I can't remember how much I paid for it then - most probably in the range of RM180-200 per year. When the rate went up and up and up, I decided to stop my subscription. It was getting too expensive.

I have been wanting to resubscribe but with the annual subscription priced at RM600 and more, it is not justifiable to do so.

But now, one and a half decade down the line, the price of the digital version is almost similar to its print edition back then. And I thought why not.

So I just renewed my subscription, the digital edition, for just RM300 a year, so much less than the print at RM650 and print + digital at RM780.

But much have changed since then - the world at large, the media industry, the medium itself, the reading pattern. What more, I have obviously changed at well. I know a bit more, I understand things a bit more and I have access to more information. The reading experience will definitely be different and I certainly look forward to it.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Proof that you should get a life

I am a night person but I also wake up very early every week day to attend to my chores and duties before I arrive at work.

As such, I am totally drained out by mid of Thursday every week.

The Economist published an article in 2013, "Get a Life" and said:
BERTRAND RUSSELL, the British philosopher, was not a fan of work. In his 1932 essay, “In Praise of Idleness”, he reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. Such a small working day would “entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life.” The rest of the day could be devoted to the pursuit of science, painting and writing.

Russell thought that technological advancement could free people from toil. John Maynard Keynes mooted a similar idea in a 1930 essay, "Economic possibilities for our grandchildren", in which he reckoned people might need work no more than 15 hours per week by 2030. But over 80 years after these speculations people seem to be working harder than ever. The Financial Times reports today that Workaholics Anonymous groups are taking off. Over the summer Bank of America faced intense criticism after a Stakhanovite intern died.

Ah...a 4-day week, 15-hour week...sigh...how I wish.

Interesting, they updated it with another article complete with reference to an actual research from Stanford: "Proof That You Should Get a Life". It basically concluded that the more you work the less productive you are.

Here's the graph they published:

Source: The Economist

And here's another interesting article from HBR: "Manage Your Energy Not Your Time."


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

He Loved Me by Tom Fettke

I will be singing this in a duet with a fellow member of Grace Notes soon. The message of the song is that God has loved us by Jesus's death and resurrection. Nothing will ever separate is from the love of God.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Clocks are a must for some

I found an excellent way to recognize if a person is a J or a P. Ok, I'm taking about the 16 types here, with the more structured people (J) compared to the more free flow people (P). I was trying to type someone when she spoke about how she refuse to even count the number of clocks she has in her house. She is a J for sure. I, being a P, used to only have one in the house! I have two now since my son insisted on having one in his room.

I don't even wear a watch. Well, it does not mean I don't see the time. I do...in my phone and PC mainly. But generally, I'm not too really hung up on time.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Gifts are given to be given

I learnt a useful lesson today from Kansas Bob: gifts are given to be given.

I never really thought of it that way. I know God has given gifts to each of us and I know it's for the edification of the body of Christ. But if you put it in simple clear English that you are given gifts to be given away, it certainly makes an aha moment for me.

And with that, I read Matt 25:29 with even better understanding: "For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (ESV)

The NLT version interprets it quite well in that same line of thought: "To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."

Thanks Kansas Bob for the wonderful insight!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

What a waste of time

My son recommended me this new iOS game yesterday.

Fallout Shelter by Bethesda

I tried it out and found that it is an interesting mash-up between Sims and Tiny Tower, two games of which I have enjoyed very much - and so...I'm stuck with it now, playing hours on end to expand the vault and to make sure the dwellers are happy, working, growing and contented.

The little simple (and useless) things that keeps me busy and occupied. But I think I've wasted too much time on it.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

What should be optimised in a church?

I caught up with an old friend today who is now working in church and we discussed about the difference between working in a church and in the corporate world. I only had a few months of it to talk about, and even that, not from a church perspective but from a para-church organisation, which I worked in for a couple of months many, many, many years ago. I believe she has now been working in the church for almost half a year if not more.

She found it hard to adapt to the difference. She raised a very interesting question - what is she suppose to optimise on while working in a church?

In a regular company, she will optimise on efficiency, lowering costs and increasing profits. That was clear to her when she was working in one but now in church, she admits being pretty confused. She asked then, what would be the basis of making decisions?

I suppose it's effectiveness and not efficiency which needs to be optimised by staff in a church settling? But no, I think it's both, towards meeting the intention of the Gospel of Christ to reach all peoples and all nations.

I blogged about Henry Mintzberg's book, The Structuring of Organisations, two weeks ago, which I did get a copy and started reading it. He was talking about limiting the number of operators any one manager can supervise, or span of control, when he actually quoted Exodus 18:21-24! I'm not joking, he actually had the entire four verses in print in that organisational book of his. In those verses, Moses's father-in-law advised him to form a hierarchical organisation of leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty and ten. So biblically, efficiency is also there, I bet not only in Exodus but in many more other passages. But not for profit but for salvation in the kingdom of God.

For a pastor, I think it's quite clear cut. His duties are to care and teach. He will be optimising the people's theological and spiritual life. And if that is the case, the work of the church staff will be to enable the pastor to do so.

I know...I've said it too simplistically. So what do you think?


Friday, June 19, 2015

Logos Free Book of the Month

I have been using Logos products for many years now, since back then when I was studying theology in the seminary. I have those books and more in digital form in my devices now, which is sweet. And recently in the past year or so, Logos has begun to give out a free book a month, and in the last few months, the free books are coupled with another at only USD 0.99. I have been diligently downloading them and getting the 99 cents deal every month.

I received a very interesting email today form Logos about their Free Book of the Month. It is an appeal for us to help them spread the offer, which is what I am doing now. The books from Logos.com are the good scholarly kind, and if you are interested in lighter editions, check out Vyrso which is also under Logos. They offer up to three free books a month! (But if you click the above Vyrso link, there should be a whole long list of free books.)

I now understand why Logos is offering free books.

Here was what they emailed me, "Our primary goal is to equip the church and one of the ways we do that is by giving away a free book each month. When I’m picking out our free books, I envision a pastor using them to prepare a sermon; a small-group leader using one of our commentaries to help teach his or her small group; or an everyday Christian reading for personal devotions. This is what inspires me to do what I do. And I think you can help me get more free books into people’s hands."

That is brilliant, as not everyone can afford and have access to these books.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Think with reasonable thinking

I continued with NT Wright's After You Believe for my devotion reading this morning and it was about the renewal of the mind, in Romans 12:1-2.

I like to think. Well, it is the number two theme in my Gallup StrengthsFinder report. And so I learnt a lot from this short portion of his thoughts on the topic, and I like what he said, interpreting Paul: "what matters is thinking...Don’t overthink what you ought to think, but think with reasonable thinking."

There other interesting quotes from my reading are as follows:
When Paul talks about the “mind,” he is not ranking Christians in terms of what we would call their intellectual or “academic” ability. Some Christians have that sort of mind. Plenty of others don’t.

"The way the world is" is a powerful, insidious force, and it takes all the energy of new creation, not least of faith and hope, to remind oneself that the age to come really is already here, with all its new possibilities and prospects.

The antidote to the power of the present age, then, is to have the mind renewed so that one can think clearly about the way of life which is pleasing to God, which is in accordance with God’s will, good and acceptable and (here it is again) “perfect,” teleios, complete.

Abraham is the beginning of the truly human person. He is the one who, in faith which Paul sees as the true antecedent of Christian faith, allows his thinking and believing to be determined, not by the way the world is, and not by the way his own body is, but by the promises and actions of God.

For Paul, the mind is central to Christian character: virtue is the result of thought and choice.

I believe, is that talk about the freedom of the Spirit, about the grace which sweeps us off our feet and heals and transforms our lives, has been taken over surreptitiously by a kind of low-grade romanticism, colluding with an anti-intellectual streak in our culture, generating the assumption that the more spiritual you are, the less you need to think...I cannot stress too strongly that this is a mistake. The more genuinely spiritual you are, according to Romans 12 and Philippians 1, the more clearly and accurately and carefully you will think, particularly about what the completed goal of your Christian journey will be and hence what steps you should be taking, what habits you should be acquiring, as part of the journey toward that goal, right now.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Putting on clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience

I decided to read a portion of Wright's After You Believe for my morning devotion and got these few verses I felt I should meditate on.

Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
16 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.
17 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.

Compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience: these are not easy virtues to grow in my weakness and state of sinfulness. But I must put it on like clothing every day, every hour, every moment.

But I believe these are not weak virtues at all but strong, bold and courageous ones. It may be easy to practice it in normal circumstances but what if you or your friends are being persecuted, or simply being bullied.

The first section from v.12-15 seem to indicate how relationships should be between believers in the body of Christ. Yes, it should start from within the family of God but it should extend to our lives in total as we engage with all other people. It should become natural for us when we practice it within so that it becomes easier that we will also be natural at it at all times.

How can I have a heart that is compassionate? How can I be kind, humble, meek and patient?

From the second section from v.16-17, the way to grow in these virtues is to spend time together with the family in Christ, letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to God.

Meeting together then is one very important discipline for us Christians. We learn to accept one another, bearing with each other's faults since none of us is so great ourselves in the first place.

But if I find it so difficult to love my own fellow brethren, how can I even begin to love others, especially those whom I find difficult to relate to?

I have not really encountered many of those but there are a few. I'm trying to keep wearing my clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, but it's getting tough and I'm getting disturbed and troubled.

But whatever I do, in word or deed, I need to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (v.17). This would mean that I act and behave as a child of God. I need to be like Christ and imitate him. Be compassionate but strong and wise, hence to let the word of Christ dwell in me richly (v.16), so that in my weakness, He who is in me is strong.

God help me.


Monday, June 15, 2015

I am an Introvert

I read in BBC today that "Introverts need not apply to work at French beauty giant, L’Oreal. If they do, recruiters probably won’t select them, and should they somehow manage to get hired, they aren’t likely to thrive at the company"

This is surprising - I thought anyone should know that you will need a good mix of personalities for any organisation to thrive. And it is relieving to hear that not all companies and not everyone think like that - On the Job: Introverts win in the end.

I like it when the team that I am in are a good mixture of both. Like in my team, I am glad and appreciative of my colleague who is the only extravert among us four. He is always dependable to get the team going and would voice up at the most crucial time to bring some cheer in any given uneasy situation. I believe he is also appreciative of the remaining of us introverts. We are the ones who would better manage and process a large amount of information, who listens well and who provide well thought out comments.

I am an introvert and I am proud of it.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jupiter Ascending ★★★☆☆

Jupiter Ascending

My husband and I caught up with this movie and we found it quite alright. Not spectacular, just alright. Not really all that three stars but better than two though.

But I like watching these actors: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Eddie Redmayne.

However, I find Tatum not very inspiring here. I don't see any of the Tatum expressions that I find quite endearing. And I could not stand Redmayne here. I think that is a miscast. I cringed at all his scenes except when he was in combat with Kunis. He should just stick to drama films.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Here I Am Lord

I have not sang this song for so many years. I was reminded of it when the speaker spoke from Isaiah 6:8 some weeks ago. I was worship leading today and took the opportunity to introduce it to the congregation.

Here I Am Lord
I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in darkness now
My hand will save.
I who make the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Lazy Thinking

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
~ Albert Einstein

I wonder if I have fallen into this category of people. I was checking my blog on the topic of heaven that I thought I might have written about, and I found two of it, one in 2008 and one in 2014. The one in 2008 was more well thought of than the one in 2014, and today, I had thought of writing about heaven in the same line of thought but looking back, my writing today wouldn't have been so thought out.

I don't think reading too much is bad. It's just that I know I've grown lazy in my thinking.

However, trust my CG-mates to tease me for reading so much. They labeled me with this word: bibliobibuli.

"They wander in this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing."

Oh dear. Oh no. Really?


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lazy Furniture

I have not been to IKEA for the longest time. I was there with my son today and this was something I really needed: an Ektorp footstool. The one that we have, a different model, which we have been using for the past 15 years, is broken. Its legs gave way.

Time to get a new one. But footstools are such lazy furniture.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

iOS Bible apps

It is rare for us worshippers to bring our bibles to church or bible study these days. I remember being reminded to bring our own bibles to church rather than using the pew bibles, so that we can personalise our notes and markings in our own copies.

But now, even though I can still see several senior folks bringing their bibles to church services, most, even the seniors themselves, are using bible apps in their phones or tablets.

My son, though he is a techie, for reasons he won't explain, prefers to read print books. And he was lugging the thick and heavy hardcover ESV Study Bible to church every Sunday. Until he realized he has the exact same copy in his iPad!

Now all our printed bibles stay at home, and we have many of them. Had we known...or rather, had I known...

I purchased the Crossway ESV Study Bible app a few years ago and was using it until they discontinued the app recently and transferred it to their free app with in-app purchase options where I can restore the study bible. I'm not sure if I'm happy with it, but I don't have a choice, do I?

Then in my recent reading of Colossians, I chose to read it in the New Living Translation and have read it afresh. I was using the YouVersion Bible app that allows online access to various bible translations. But I found it quite limiting. I wanted to have a better app with the NLT version in my devices and so I went searching for other options and found the Tecarta Bible app.

If Marvin is the best iOS e-reader, then this would be the best bible app. It has these excellent features:

1. Free online access to most bible translations. Offline versions cost around USD7.99 each.

2. Notes are not linked to the verses unlike the Crossway ESV Bible app. I'm not sure which is better though.

3. You can highlight in multiple colours or underline by words or phrases, not necessary by verses, which you can't in the Crossway one that only enables highlighting in whole verses.

4. It allows parallel reading of two bible versions side by side, which is absolutely superb!

Now how I wish I could access my ESV Study Bible in Tecarta.


Monday, June 08, 2015

The Structuring of Organizations

The Structuring of Organizations
by Henry Mintzberg

I rarely find any business books that interest me. I only had one, The Art and Science of Competencies which I still yet to get a copy, and now here's another which I just found out about today.

It's a book published in 1979 by Henry Mintzberg, The Structuring of Organizations. I can't find an ebook version of it. It's being crazily priced at USD186.49 in Amazon.

A better option would be to get it second hand in Abebooks.com, except the price is still pretty up there for a used copy.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Out of darkness into light

It was no coincidence. But guess from which passage was today's sermon preached from? The exact one I was meditating on over the past few days: Col 1:9-14.

The verse that stood out for me today was this:
For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT)

Therefore, live day by day in joy and thankfulness with endurance and patience made possible by the power that God has given us.


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Into the deeper end

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters
by NT Wright

I decided to get this book after all, and started on it this morning.

In comparison, One Way Love is like being in the children's wading pool. No wonder I can finish it in a day.

After You Believe is right there in the deep end of the pool (whilst NT Wright's thicker tomes are all like swimming the triathlon in the open sea).

Tough but full of good substance.

One full day and I've just read 17% of it. This will take time, but it's good. It's excellent.


Friday, June 05, 2015

Book Review: One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World

I must admit I have been drifting over the past few weeks, evidenced by the lack of substance in my blogposts recently. I found it so hard to pinpoint what matters most to me for the day, thoughts or happenings that meant at least something. There were none.

Yesterday's renewal was so needed. As I pushed myself back into reading Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation, I was drawn to Colossians 1:9-14. I finished reading the book (or rather, I finished skimming it, as I found it quite repetitive the second round I'm reading it this time). I began to hunt for something that can help further uplift me in the presence of my Heavenly Father.

I decided to check out Tullian Tchividjian. I remember reading Glorious Ruin back in November 2013 and loved it. In checking the available volumes in Kobobooks.com, I decided on this one, which proved to be an excellent pick.

One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
by Tullian Tchividjian

What attracted me to it was the fact that I have been feeling very exhausted lately. And on top of that, it has been years of observation that I have come to the conclusion that a performance-based organisation, how logical and necessary it is, it is not the answer to success. Which is why the trend is now moving to employee engagement but that is another discussion.

I finished the 200 plus page book in just one day. It was an excellent read. I learnt a lot about law and grace, I can now finally see the difference between the two especially to understand Paul's treatment of them in Romans.

For me to understand grace as it is, an undeserved love, a one way love, it helps me divert the attention I give myself, the act of constant inward looking that I always catch myself in, to the grace giver, God himself.

I found what Tchividjian said here helpful:
An identity based in the one-way love of God does not take into account public opinion or, thankfully, even personal opinion. It is a gift from Someone who is not you. As my friend Justin Buzzard wrote recently, “The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you, it frees you from what you think about yourself.” In other words, you are not who others see you to be, and you are not who you see yourself to be; you are who God sees you to be—His beloved child, with whom He is well pleased.

One-way love frees us from the burden of having to establish our own worth, which means we can actually enjoy and appreciate the gifts God has given us on their own terms rather than as means to an end, condemning ourselves for not being good enough stewards.

...it is the gift of self-forgetfulness

The Gospel, in other words, liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We can stop pretending that we are anyone but who we actually are. Which means we can admit our weaknesses to ourselves without feeling as if the flesh is being ripped off our bones. We can take off our masks and explore our self-justifying compulsions from a safe distance.

...you don’t have to win—you’re free to lose. And nothing in this broken world can beat a person who isn’t afraid to lose! You may even find you’re free enough to say crazy, risky, counterintuitive stuff like, “To live is Christ and to die is gain”!

But it raises a lot of questions for me as well, particularly about what then must we do? Just relax since we are all saved by grace, there is nothing we can do, nothing we should do anyway? He said:
...both God’s Law and God’s Gospel are good and necessary, but both do very different things. Serious confusion—in both theology and daily life—happens when we fail to understand their distinct job descriptions. We’ll wrongly depend on the law to do what only the Gospel can do, and vice versa.

The Law reveals sin but cannot remove it. It prescribes righteousness but is powerless to produce it. The Law is impotent—it has no creative power, it cannot inspire. It offers us nothing but condemnation and death. The Law apart from the Gospel can only crush; it can’t cure.

That satisfies me but only enough. I needed to understand it better. What do I do then? I desire to live a life that is solely dependant on God's grace. I will look to him for my identity and not to myself. And then what?

I believe this quest for me is Spirit-led. As I was updating my book list, I noticed this other book in my recommended list - After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by NT Wright.

It was already way into the night when I finished reading One Way Love, but I was so intrigued, I started reading the preface and part of the first chapter in the preview copy. I find that it should be an excellent follow up to One Way Love, but thought I'd leave it till the next morning.

It's time for bed.


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Renewal in Christ and joy in him

As I was praying today seeking for God's holy presence, he led me to these verses that brought me the renewal I needed.

Colossians 1:9-14 (NLT)
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (emphasis mine)


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Power surge!

I came back home today and noticed that the row of houses where our home is were all in a blackout. My neighbours were out in the streets telling us there was a power surge and advised us not to switch anything on in the house. One of our neighbour's television already blew. Oh dear.

That got me worried. I have not experienced a power surge before and I soon found out that it could cost us thousands of ringgit in appliance damages.

The florescent lights in my house that weren't working before were flickering. It was really weird. We quickly turned off the mains and unplugged devices especially our computer and television.

It was well past midnight by then. My hubby managed to fall asleep in the heat. I was too worried thinking about the damages to sleep and it was too warm to sleep anyway.

Finally, after several rounds of checking the activity outside through my bedroom window, I saw the electrician with a neighbour walking and talking loudly. I got out of the house and saw lights on at my neighbour's.

We got the mains back on and quickly checked all the appliances. My prayers were answered. All of our appliances are still working, though one of them seem to be behaving unusually.

I was relieved but I still couldn't sleep since I was all wound up. I am thankful nonetheless.


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Good Movie Catch-Up ★★★☆☆

Lucy ★★★☆☆
I quite enjoyed this movie, maybe because I like watching Scarlett Johansson. I find her so talented. But then again, my son summed up this movie perfectly as this: it takes 100% of your brain to turn into a USB drive!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower ★★★☆☆
Quite a good coming-of-age story of a young man finding his space in life as he started his high school year, but yet with a past he needed to face and come to terms with.

Saving Mr Banks ★★★☆☆
I must say this is a good story except I find that I do not like the protagonist. It is based on true events between the writer of the Mary Poppins series, P.L. Travers and Walt Disney, when they teamed up to put Mary Poppins on film. I find P.L. Travers a very sad and complicated woman.

The Butler ★★★☆☆
This movie is based loosely on the real life of Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House as a waiter and butler for 35 years, serving 6 presidents. Whilst I find the movie just ok, it's quite amazing that the portrayal of the presidents are so uncannily like the real deal.

Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower

James Marsden and Minka Kelly as John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson played by Liev Schreiber

Richard Nixon played by John Cusack

Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan

Source: The Guardian

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Pearlie Month

I am not born this month but I shall make it my month nonetheless. To start with, I found these lovely quotes with pearls in them.

Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare - and precious as a pearl.
~ Tahar Ben Jelloun

All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.
~ Federico Fellini

For memory, we use our imagination. We take a few strands of real time and carry them with us, then like an oyster we create a pearl around them.
~ John Banville

Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.
~ Victor Hugo

And this gem of a quote I found will now be etched in my mind forever:

Like a layer on a pearl, you can't specifically identify the irritant, the moment of the irritant, but at the end of the day, you know you have a pearl.
~ Ken Burns