Friday, December 28, 2012


It's the END already???!!!!!!!! You must be kidding me! The year end so fast! 
My months passed so fast. MY DAYS have gone and passed!

In the midst of our busyness, often time we forget to pause and think what had we done for the year. We are just living in the motion. My friends, before we run ahead of ourselves heading for a new year, hoping for things to be better than this year, let's take a step back to look at this year.

In the year 2012
What had been the most life-giving to you?
What had been the most not life-giving to you?
What is the name you would like to give?

Maybe the year had been a good year for some, while some had gone through difficult times. Despite the ups and downs, the lessons behind it all are far most important.

My year had been a year of learning and reshaping of my mindset. It has stretched me to the extent I never thought I can. That had been the most life-giving to me. While, I do have my moments that I caught myself being too tired leading to being short-tempered and wanted to do so much but only getting little done. It's not life-giving to me or to people around me. The name for 2012 is STRETCHING by my PATIENT FATHER.

Look back, my friends and close this year, for yourself. 

I loved playing visual games (though I may not be good at it, but I enjoyed it). When I was playing Angry Bird Star Wars, the birds moves forward to launch with a mission to kill the piggies in white. Jaws Revenge, moves forward to chomp what's in front. Subway Surfer, to just run forward getting away from the inspector with a goal to collect as many gold coins as possible. All the games played have the same motif:

We all move forward. The days that had come and gone will never ever be lived the SAME. The experience gained were all left as memories and lessons of life. Moving forward brings hope and looking forward on what is in store for us. It is said in Proverbs 6:2, men without vision will perish

Making new resolutions for the coming year is important. It sets you to go out to do what you have put as goals. So, as you end your year by looking back, spent some time to also make resolutions for yourself. It may be just being healthy, or sleep early, or even giving your full attention to another person for as long as 3 mins? :) It's the simple things that matters.

Making resolutions are important as keeping to it!
(that's a whole new chapter to it)

Look back and learn
Be simple and moving forward

31st December

The year comes to an END on the 31st Dec, when the clock struck 12. By one minute passing after that, it's the entry of another year. Before I step into the new year, I want to close this year for myself. I asked myself this,

How would I want to end my year, with God or with my friends? Why?

Typical answer of a Christian would be, definitely with God. I could celebrate the new year later with my friends. Having been brought up in a Christian home, going to church on the new year eve is a norm. We have been practicing this every year, why stop now? Have we lost the sense of closing the year and starting the year with God? Just because it's a normal thing for a Christian to do, every Christian should do it. Have we forgotten the reason behind it all? 

I pondered upon the question. I questioned God. Then, I asked few of my friends the same question. One thing that stood out of their answer is 'What is NECESSARY for you?'

God is not a DICTATOR. He doesn't FORCE you to do something. For example, He had not written in His Word that every believer should go to church on new year eve. He didn't write, You, my child, MUST start the year with Me. Rather, He had given us a choice. A choice to do what we think is necessary for us. He would love it, if we would choose to be with Him on new year eve. He would love it, if you have spent the day with your loved ones. 

I remembered my last new year eve. I went to church, with a heart to end and begin my year with God. I remembered a conversation I had. This person asked, 'Eh, why are you not out celebrating the NEW YEAR with your friends?' (It sounded as if like I don't have a life and Church was my last option to go to countdown.) I smiled and said I wanted to end and begin my year with God. 

This year, again my mind was puzzled again. My options are going out with friends and going to church. I realized it was necessary for me to spent time with my friends and also to go to a service in church. Why is this necessary for me? One, I want to really spent quality time with my friends. Second, I want to end and start my year with a community of believers and my LORD. 

It's VITAL to learn the meaning of our actions. The meaning of it all gives us hope.

Now, my question to you: 
How would you WANT to spent your 31st Dec: the end and beginning?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The greatest Gift

Christmas is a time where giving and receiving wholeheartedly. Every corner I looked, I see another person who is more willing to show love in actions. In other words, many are more willing to Love Out Loud (LOL). Yes, we who are called as followers of Christ ought to show love and good will year round. Yet, the greatest gift for Christmas is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not born on the 25th Dec, historically. Even in the Bible, it is not written the specific date. However, the important message is that Jesus Christ was born to Earth.

It all began with God.

It is because of Him, we have the festivity called Christmas. It is because of His love, He chose it to do it this, so that we are redeem to have a relationship with Him.

Gifts are really a special thing. I give because I love, not because I’m obliged to. Being brought up in a Christian home, I was taught that every Christmas I would need to prepare gifts for my loved ones. Never wondering or thinking the reason behind it. As the years went by, I learned that gifts are really a special thing. I was taught to express my love through giving reciprocating my Father’s love for us. Addition to that, I celebrate Christmas in remembrance of my Abba Father who chose to draw me near to Him this way, also reminded He is indeed with me!

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
This is the glory of God. He is all powerful and mighty to create this world. It is through him, ALL THINGS were created.

John 1:10-13
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
But, He chose to take the first step.  He came to the world He had created every bits of it. He was with his own people, yet they did not recognize him. He continues his journey looking out for the ones who had received him and believed him, giving them the right to be children of God.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us: God is with us.

Because of God, I am able to be call a Child of God.
Because of God, I am able to call him Abba Father.
Because of God, I can have an intimate relationship with Him.
Because of God, I know He is with me.

This Christmas, I wish you Immanuel

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Choice is a Limitation

Is choice really a limitation? One of my friend said, "A choice is a liberation."

We grow up choosing all the time. My nephew at the age of four had already learnt to choose. He chooses to wear his favorite pair of shoes. He chooses the type and colors of clothes he likes. He chooses things that he favors. Even before that age, we were all bombarded with choices, regardless whether you remember it clearly. We are all given the FREEDOM to choose according to our desires. What a priviledge! What a beautiful gift!
Choices are God-given. He loves us, that is the reason why He had granted us choices in life. To have the ability to choose is the ability to love as well. A child grows up making the choice whether to love his/her parents. There’s no rule in the world that state that a growing child MUST love his/her parents. It is because of the choice given, we were able to love.

But, you see a choice is a limitation as well. When you make a choice, you accept the limitation of that choice. To accept the limitation requires maturity. The child has not yet learned that it can have everything. What it sees it wants. What it does not get it screams for. It has to grow up to realize that saying Yes to happiness often means saying No to yourself.

To choose to do this is to choose not to do a thousand things.

A story of a lady who had embarks into the man’s world: Betty Greene, one of the founders of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship. She had flown all types of plane except a jet. She even ferried bombers to World War II, and she didn’t look like a pilot, according to many. Often, she would land in some foreign airfield the authorities were nonplussed to see a woman step out of the plane. “Do you fly these planes alone?” she was often asked. But long ago Betty had made up her mind that if she was going to make her way in a man’s world she had to be a lady. She would have to compete with men in being a pilot, but she would not compete with men in being a man. She refused to try in any way to act like a man.
She chose to be a pilot, but that does not mean she chose to be a man. She chose to be a lady. She knew very well the limitation of being a pilot and also being a lady in a man’s world.

It’s the same as we go about our choices in life. To choose your course of study is to say no to all the courses which may interest you. To choose to work in this area (eg. with people) is to say no to other type works. To choose to follow God is to say no to my own ways. To choose to believe Him is to trust only in His commandments He had given.

Every choice has its own limitation. In that limitation, there’s liberation and serenity.

To do this is not to do. 
To be this is not to be that.
Indeed, a choice is a limitation.
-Elisabeth Elliot-

Monday, December 10, 2012

Woman, do you know who you are?

In order to learn to be a woman, we must start with the One who made her.

With today’s edge of technology and information, many people have been given the opportunity to study – till the extent of gaining a degree or master cert. With the abundance of knowledge, there’s also ideology that calls for equality. Often time we hear that there must be EQUALITY between man and woman. Around the world, women are fighting for EQUALITY standards. Women wanted to be treated the SAME as men. Do 
we really understand the implication of this?

We are designed differently from men. Our physical, psychology and mental faculty are all wired differently. Had we forgotten to embrace ourselves as women rather than just an individual?
To me is a wonderful thing to be a woman under God – to know, first of all, that we were made (“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”) and then we were made for something (“The rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”) –Elisabeth Elliot-

This was the original idea. This is what woman was for.

Woman, you and I are called to be WOMAN. I totally agree with this statement: The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all He wants me to be.

For the Christian woman, whether she is married or single, there is the call to serve. (Well, you may disagree with me). God created us, that we have a need to serve others, provide tenderness and compassion at all times. This is no TRAP by God. It’s the opposite actually. He had summoned us to live life to the only and true freedom. However, woman defines her liberation as doing what she wants, or not doing what she doesn’t want, is, in the first place, evading responsibility. Evasion of responsibility is the mark of immaturity.

It was God who made man to be a man, while a woman to be a woman. There’s no answer to the question ‘God, why? Why like that?’ He had created both male and female uniquely. The male to call forth, to lead, initiate and to rule, and the female to respond, follow, adapt and submit. Even if we held to the different theory of origin, the physical structure of the female would tell us that woman was made to receive, to bear, to be acted upon, to complement and to nourish.

Being in a family with three courageous women had proved what had been said. Their love for their family speaks out through actions. These women did not became the woman who is always there serving others, providing tenderness and compassion at all times, they went through tough times and learned to embrace to be a woman. Observing them showed me I have long way to go still. There’s still much to learn. It gives me joy to find peace to embrace who I am and whose I am. J

Elisabeth wrote, every normal woman is equipped to be a mother. But, not every woman in the world is destined to make use of the physical equipment but surely motherhood, in a deeper sense, is the essence of womanhood. The body of every normal woman prepares itself repeatedly to receive and to bear. Motherhood requires self-giving, sacrifice, suffering. Womanhood is a call. It is a vocation to which we respond under God, glad if it means the literal bearing of children, thankful as well for all that it means in a much wider sense, that in which every woman, married or single, fruitful or barren, may participate – the unconditional response exemplified for all time in Mary the virgin, and the willingness to enter into suffering, to receive, to carry, to give life, to nurture and to care for others. The strength to answer this call is given us as we look up toward the Love that first, most literally, imagined sexuality, that made us at the very beginning real men and real women. As we conform to that Love’s demands we shall become more humble, more dependent – on Him and on one another – even (dare I say it?) more splendid.

May you be blessed with the discovery of who you are. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Must customers always be right?

Have you heard of this saying before? I couldn’t come to term with this saying.

Why? Because in my perspectives, customers are also humans, the seller is also human. Human are not perfect. Human cannot be RIGHT all the time.

I found out:


The trading policy that states a company's keenness to be seen to put the customer first.

The Origin

Several retail concern used this as a slogan from the early 20th century onward. In the USA it is particularly associated with Marshall Field's department store, Chicago (established in the late 19th century). The store is an icon of the city, although it is set to lose its name in 2006 when, following a takeover, it becomes renamed as Macy's. In the UK, Harry Gordon Selfridge (1857-1947) the founder of London's Selfridges store (opened in 1909), is credited with championing its use. The Wisconsin born Selfridge worked for Field from 1879 to 1901. Both men were dynamic and creative businessmen and it's highly likely that one of them coined the phrase, although we don't know which.
Of course, these entrepreneurs didn't intend to be taken literally. What they were attempting to do was to make the customer feel special by inculcating into their staff the disposition to behave as if the customer was right, even when they weren't.

Working in my parents’ shop gave me first hand experiences. Of course, not all customers act this way. However, few customers do or think so. They are the ones who get on my nerve. They need not say ‘customer is always right’ policy but rather the way they talk or treat another. Sometimes they are rude and selfish. They used the power of money to belittle another. The vibe of arrogance and cockiness comes from their actions of treating another.  

I think these people had not truly grasped the meaning of the phrase and they had misused the phrase. This is how I look at the phrase 'Customers are always right' – we put customers first. We are service provider who goes out to look at the interest of the customer. We serve the customer at our best, but that doesn’t mean we give you the leeway to treat badly or belittle us. Through observation, I sometimes wondered what complexity this person has to be acting as such? A person who can’t accept to be wrong at times? I don’t know the person as a whole. But, I could sense the insecurity of the person even in a short encounter. 

Especially in the age of IT now, many thinks that the information found in IT is DEFINITELY RIGHT. Some of them come to the shop as a Mr/Ms Know-It-All. What is more valuable? Life experience of another person or the information you get from the internet? Which is tested? My family learned to let the person learnt from his/her mistakes. There’s no point to argue it out because the person is not even willing to listen and learn. We said what we need to say, then we leave it for the person to decide which information he/she deems right. 

Well, it’s not easy to work in the line where we provide service to people, because we meet all SORTS of people from different generations. Many may had lost the understanding what it really means by the phrase. They had taken to the extreme that they are RIGHT all the time and not willing to learn anymore.

When a person reaches that stage, the person is STUCK! Ears, heart and mind are totally closed to incoming information. A stuck person will not grow and learn. 

I am also not saying that we as the seller are ALWAYS RIGHT. We are all humans. We do make rights and wrongs. If we all decide to give each other the space to be right or wrong, then that already make a different. 

This applies to life as well. You and I can’t be RIGHT all the time! We are beings who learn throughout life. Mistakes. Wrong choices. When we made mistakes, we learned from it. We also need to have a listening heart and ears and minds that is open for criticism. The people who are around us see things at a different perspectives that we maybe can’t see. So, why not listen from their perspectives, understand it and learn from it? It’s perfectly fine if you still want to maintain your way. But, at least you made a different. You listen.

If one is right all the time, then there leaves no room for growth.

My National Anthem


I remembered when I was younger I will always wake up early on MERDEKA day and wait for our beloved National Anthem. But, as the year go by, this also seems to fade away slowly. I no longer wake up early to do this. Even singing Negaraku had been a distant thing. I don't sing Negaraku on Monday morning during assembly time. No more singing Negaraku during convocation for seniors in university. My last sung Negaraku with a proud congregation was during a talk about election in the month of March/April. I know singing our National Anthem don't show our patriotism for this country. 

The meaning of Negaraku brings up so many underlying meanings. 

(Versi BM)
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Rakyat hidup bersatu dan maju
Rahmat Bahagia Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita selamat bertakhta
Rahmat Bahagia Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita selamat bertakhta

(Literal English translation)
My country
The land where my blood has spilt
The people living united and progressive
May God bestow blessing and happiness
May our King have a successful reign
May God bestow blessing and happiness
May our King have a successful reign

I never understood why we need to sing this song every assembly time in school. I never grasps the meaning of the song. But, now being a lady I began to understand the meaning behind the song. It speaks of what we called this country as Malaysia. Blood, sweat and tears shed in this land to fight for the rights. THE PEOPLE living UNITED and progressively. Are we united? Not YET. The day will come when we will not JUDGE each other by our skin colours, but take the extra efforts to know the person as individual! We asked for God's blessings on this country, but to what extend do we mean it? To what extend do we believe God will bless this land? Our King have a successful reign? I do pray that our King will have that once more. A King who stands for his people's rights and show that he is present. I am amazed when I read what Sultan Kedah had did during his reign. It amazed me that we had a King who cared for this country. Now, Sultan Kedah is taking the throne the second time. I do pray He will have a successful reign.

I definitely didn't mean so when I was younger. Have our teachers failed to teach us the meaning of the song itself? I definitely did not learned this from my teachers during my schooling years. Maybe I was too notorious when I was younger - living the way I see fit. But, as I enter university, I began to see the importance of words and understanding the meaning behind it. My perspectives towards my National Anthem changed to a positive one. 

Now, I stand and sing proudly for this is my country. This is what I stand and believe in. 

Brownish black and wet

I started off my month of Nov doing the lowliest social work of all – cleaning place full of shit. No one would think in their right mind that this is their dream job. I remembered this show on National Geographic that talks about the dirtiest jobs. It showed jobs from cleaning sewage to cleaning the rubbish and etc. I remembered few responses I heard about the show: what if my kids grow up and want to do something like that? What if? It seems like the most horrible job that your child might be doing in the future in the eyes of a parent. I had the opportunity first hand doing the WORST job as the world views it.

No one wants to be NEAR shit!

No one wants to TOUCH shit!

No one wants a job that TOUCH shit!

No one wants to be DIRTY!

When my hands and feet dipped in shit, I remembered telling myself that I need to just CLEAN this. Don’t think about where it came from. Don’t think of what it really comprises of. I just need to DO this and CLEAN this. So, I did. I actually could stand the smell of it. One reason is not fresh! The other is I was exposed to shit before this! – bat poop, cat poop, dog poop, fish poop, baby poop. Now, adding to the list is human ranges from child to adult’s poop. Even when I told my parents about my experience, I remembered their first response was like ‘What? Again?’ They agreed it’s a disgusting job but someone needs to DO it.

Because of this, we found out Indah Water had not been servicing the area for quite some time because they said it’s not their responsibility to clean the sewage system this area. MPK also had their hands off this case. Nobody wants to be involved. They are pushing the responsibility away from themselves. Imagine how many years of poop not being flushed out. Because of  this, one of the resident brought it up to Putrajaya and fought for this. The result, finally Indah Water came and pump the years of poop out!

All this poop experiences also got me thinking of how it relate to our society today. There’s so many unsatisfying issues happening in our country till the extent sometimes I feel helpless. The system is corrupted. There’s injustice in our country. When I look at the political state, it’s just heartbreaking. Nobody wants to be involved. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty. Nobody wants to stand for what is right. So, like the poop experiences. If all of us are just going to take the backseats and not advocate or be a voice, we are all like the poop that’s underground that no one will hear or care about. Underground unforeseen materials cannot be contain for a long time. One day, everything will blow out! Then, people will start pushing their responsibility away. Some people would be the ones that have to clean it up.

If we all recognizes our rights as a Malaysian citizen and make this country our own, then we will be willingly put our hands in shit, dirt, undesirable situation to stand for the people of this nation!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The HOOD, yo!

I was talking to my guy friend the other day, and we were discussing about this. We had a rather interesting chat discussing this from the girl point of view and from a guy point of view. 

Have you ever come across the term 'brotherhood' or 'sisterhood'?

According to The Free Dictionary, brotherhood means the relationship between brothers and the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of people or all people. Sisterhood means the exact same thing. The relationship between sisters and the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of women or all women. 

Today, the fine distinctive line between the relationship of girl and guy is blurred. Generally, in our community today, guy sharing to a girl and vice versa is perfectly FINE. 

Not that I am against it. 

I shared my life experiences to both genders, as well. I found out that both genders do give different angles to a subject - the way they view, their opinions. 

Sisterhood had always existed because we girls are generally more in touch with the sharing of our hearts. Girls generally finds it easier to open up to another girl - there's nothing to hide. Most of my guy friends also finds it easier to share to a girl rather than a guy. This is because most girls give that assurance and support to another person who is sharing their life experiences. 

My friend told me when guys come together, all they talked is very surface level and don't usually open up (in short, crap!). In his words, he said guys fear of being looked as weak. Many guys have been brought up in their family background to be STRONG, to be TOUGH, don't CRY in public, don't look weak. It's sad that many of them who had issues do not know where they should be turning to.

I also have been thinking is there true brotherhood out there? I have been pondering about this for quite sometimes. When I see guys, there's a longing to see the formation of brothers who are willing to open up and share their inner most fears. 

However, on ONE occasion, God showed me the light that THERE'S STILL HOPE IN THIS. I witnessed four guys on campus who keep on the look out for each others. They are genuinely caring and willing to journey along with each other. Carrying each other. They shared with each other from their perspectives, which is something the girls may not be able to. They supported each other. At these age, they had learned the simple truth of journeying with each other. 

What a bliss! 

We can only bring someone to where we are. That is, if a guy shared to a girl, a girl is only able to share from the way they view the world. While if a girl shared to a guy, she is only able to get the perspective of guy. 

Till today, guys are mysterious creatures to understand from a girl's point of view. Guys said the same things about girls too: we are difficult creatures to understand. 

So, don't try to UNDERSTAND the opposite sex, just ACCEPT who they are. 
Having your own brotherhood or sisterhood is IMPORTANT. 
They are your safe place. 
A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress
Proverbs 17:17

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Year of Jubilee

The year 2012 had been a significant year for myself: The year of Jubilee! 

Leviticus 25:10 - 13
Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. In the Year of Jubilee, everyone is to RETURN TO HIS OWN PROPERTY.

What does this mean to me and you? What does this got to do with us? Does it mean we don't work throughout the year and shake legs and just use what we have in our bank accounts? 

It goes BEYOND that, my friends. 


JUBILEE in Hebrew literally means the TRUMPET BLAST. What trumpets do: arrest attention! They pierce the noise. They dominate. 

God is TRYING TO GET OUR ATTENTION. In this fast paced world, where there are so many things that captured our attentions so easily! This is the only way we can listen. The only way God can captured our attention to start our life anew with Him. 

Truthfully, when I first heard the shofar blast sometime last year, I find rather irritating, especially during worship. This year, I had learned what it really meant by the shofar blast. And now, everytime I hear the shofar being blown, my heart humbly bowed before my Lord. I remembered it was Jesus Christ whom I was attracted to during my university years. He brought me out of my 'slavery bondage'. It is Him who brought me back to where He wants me to be. It is Jesus Christ who I am attracted to. Since then till now, I am hooked by my God. 


The word 'PRIVILEGE' came to mind as I remembered the celebration of both Jubilee in Malaysia and also the student movement. How many Jubilee can one celebrate in one's lifetime? For myself, I have been given that PRIVILEGE to celebrate two Jubilees. 

Malaysia came to birthed in the year 1963, where our forefathers had fought for this country. Because of the radical decision made by our forefathers, I can proudly say I am a Malaysian. As I prayed for my country, I began to hope to witness a better Malaysia and to live out 1 Malaysia theme. My heart was deeply moved as I stand in the midst gatherings of different generations - young and old coming together to pray for Malaysia in the Klang Valley Combined Prayer Meeting held in Damansara Utama Methodist Church. I was moved to tears as I heard the cried of young orang asli kids at age of 8-10 praying for God's forgiveness upon their parents. May this continue to burn in our hearts to move us from being indifferent to passionate people who desire to see a change in Malaysia.

Fellowsip of Evangelical Students (FES) Malaysia too have celebrated their 50th year of student movement in Malaysia on the 6th October 2012. It was indeed a CELEBRATION with a difference! Many different generations of people came that evening - raging from as young as 4 years old to the vibrantly elders. What a great representation of people that came. Like how my friend had put it, it's the holiest festival thus far. It was for me too! The same God who work throughout different generations piercing from 60' to the 2000'. That evening, again I was reminded by the goodness of God. How He had waited patiently for me and shaped me to the person I am today. My God who never let me go also had not let go any of the ones that had gone before me. It is through them that I now lived a testimony of His goodness in my life.

Psalm 145:4 
One generation commends your work to another; they tell of your mighty acts.

Mazmur 145:4 
Perbuatan-Mu akan dipuji orang dari satu generasi ke satu generasi; mereka akan memberitakan perbuatan-Mu yang hebat.

I look forward for the days ahead, to experience Jubilee in my personal life. It's truly a life-changing spiritual renewal. As Mel Lawrence wrote, 'I know that if my life becomes one long blur, it won't be good for me and it won't be honoring to God. I need to stop, to experience Shabbat. I need to ask God to teach me again about forgiveness and redemption and liberty and justice and about all the things that really matter. 

And maybe I will learn that everything really can be different.'

This is God's way of helping His people to start over. It was a time to stop everything that normally happened, take a look around and set things right. God gives new beginnings! 

Will you say, "I need to get back to the important things, the essential things"? 

I did. And indeed it made a difference! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The climax story of the STRONG MAN

Samson was king over Israel after his victory over the Philistines ( )

Won't you want to know more about his life?

His most well-known part of his life: Samson and Delilah

This is taken from the imprints of Judges 16:1 - 16:31.

At the start of the chapter, Samson again did wrong in the eyes of God. He went to Gaza ( Philistine town), and saw a prostitute and spend a night with her. The Philistines wanted to kill him at dawn but remember Samson was a strong man. I think the men would have been terrified when Samson had carried the city gate of Gaza to the top of the hill facing Hebron. (Could you imagine seeing a man carrying the city gates together with the two posts? The city gate is not a small gate. I am sure if I were one of the Philistine I would have run  for my life

He fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek named Delilah. When the rulers of Philistine heard this, they went to her and asked her to find the secrets of his strength. In return, she'll be rewarded with eleven hundred shekels of silver from each ruler. At that time, Philistine was ruled by five rulers. Each ruler ruled from a different city - Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. From five rulers, that would be 550 shekels of silvers - now that's a lot of money.
Because of greed, Delilah was driven to discover the strength of Samson.

Attempts to make Samson weak as any other men:
- tying him with seven fresh thongs that have not been dried
- tying him securely with new ropes that have never been used
- weaving his seven braids of his head into fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin

Everytime when Delilah had done the one of the above accordingly, she'll shout "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" Samson will break free easily! The Philistines were hiding in the room. 

Samson eyes were disillussioned. He loves her till he could not see the true colours of Delilah. We might be thinking why could he not see that the woman's true colours? Because he is really blinded by LOVE. He chose not to see that side of her and he chose to believe in her lies. 

Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart. She toyed with Samson, pretending to love him while looking at personal gain. 

Delilah then was very upset because her 'lover' lied to her. She nagged him day and night. It is imprinted 'he was tired to DEATH' - Could you imagine how persistent she was. 

This was eventually the SECOND time Samson allowed himself to be worn down by persistent nagging. The first time happened between him and his wife. Remember things didn't turn out as well as it should.

Same here! Samson told her everything. Look at verse 17 - he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head,"because I have been Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become weak as any other man. 

Delilah did as she was told. She called the Philistine to shave off his hair! The strength left him! The LORD had left him!

Samson was then captured and the Philistine revenged and gouged his eyes out! The Philistine then set him to grinding in the prison in Gaza (ironically, this was the place where Samson had uprooted the city gates). Samson was a weak man.

The rulers of Philistines celebrated on the victory of capturing Samson. They offered sacrifices to their god, Dagon. They praised their god. Dagon was the cheif god of the Philistines, the god of grains and harvest. Also, in the temple, there was the place where they torture and humiliate their prisoners.

Samson was brought out of prison to entertain the people.

Here comes the CLIMAX! Let's read the IMPRINTs of Judges! :D

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.When they stood him among the pillars,26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them."27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, "Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes."29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,30 Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 

Samson prayed. Samson knew he had done wrongs in the eyes of the Lord. In spite of his past, his failures, his disobedience, God still LOVED him. God was willing to hear the prayer of Samson of confession and repentance and use him for the FINAL time.

Samson life could seem like a MESSED UP from the beginning of his 'independance' (when he could make his own decision). He disobeyed God and do things that he desired without considering the consequences. If I may say this, no one wants to BE LIKE HIM! I, myself would not want to be like Samson.

Looking back, I was once like Samson. I lived my life to how I see fit. At that point of time, I was MESSED UP yet I still have not idea. I shut my ears away and did not want to hear. Just like Samson, God had to allow things to happen in my life. I reached my DEAD END, and the only way out is the way UP. Honestly, the guilt feelings was there. Guilt had stopped me to pray! It kept me away from Him. But, the only way out for me was UP! So, I prayed. Lo and behold, He guided me out of my dead end and gave me new beginnings. 

One of the effect of SIN in our lives is to keep us from praying. Perfect moral behavior is NOT a condition to pray. Don't allow your guilt feelings keep you away from your only way of restoration. 

No matter how long you have been away from God, he is ready to HEAR from you and RESTORE you to a right relationship. 

Every situation can be salvaged if you are willing to turn again to Him.  If God could still work in Samson's situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours. 

(NIV Life Application Study Bible)

Would you have the courage to go on your knees and confess to Him today?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The arrogance of the strong man

This part of the story is found in Judges 14:1 - 15:20. 

He was dedicated to God to be a Nazirite - a person who is set apart for God's service. Samson's parents took a LIFETIME vow for him. As a Nazirite, Samson could not cut his hair, touch a dead body or drink anything containing alcohol.

The story began with Samson who had gone to a city called Timnah. There, his eyes had caught sight of a beautiful young PHILISTINE lady. He was demanding! He went home and told his parents he wanted to marry the young lady. 

Notice what he said to his parents, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife." 

In their culture, when the man wants to marry the woman, then the parents have to go in persons and ask from the woman’s parents for their daughter’s hand in marriage. On different note, in our Asian culture, we are taught that if we were to talk to our parents in harsh manner, we are being disrespectful to our parents. 

Samson was stubborn and demanded his father to get her for him as he feels she was the right one for him. Reason the parents objected because it’s against God’s law and the Philistine were the Israelites greatest enemies - it would be like a disgrace to the family name.

His parents were patient. They even asked him to find an acceptable woman in their own Israelites community.

However, everything happens for a reason.

Even the event of the young Philistine lady that caught the attention of Samson and his heart yearns to marry her.

In the imprints of the Bible, it is written that this occasion was from the LORD. He was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines, because they were ruling over the Israelites.

So, they went down to Timnah.

During the journey down to Timnah, a young lion came roaring at Samson. The Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson in power, and then he tore the lion apart with his bare hands, just like how will he tear a young goat. But, he was silence about this. He continued on his journey and went down to talk to the woman. He liked her.

After some time, Samson went back to marry the woman. The lion carcass was there! In it was a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped and ate. He even gave some to his parents. Remember, he was a Nazirite. He was not supposed to touch a dead body.

He held a feast there. He gave a riddle to the Philistines to show off his strength and wits.

“ Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”

He knew the people would not be able to answer it. So, he placed a bet where he knew he would win. The Philistines had no idea what would the answer be. So, they resorted in threatening the life of his wife and his wife’s father. So, she was afraid and asked Samson. Samson didn’t tell her the first time she pressured him. He even added ‘I didn’t even tell my parents the answer’ (indicating that he didn’t even tell two persons who was closest to him). After several times that she pressured and cried, Samson gave up before the hour on the seventh day. He told her the ANSWER!

Remember what the Philistines had threatened the wife – so, once the wife knew the answer, she hurried to tell the Philistines.

Before sunset on the seventh day, the Philistines men came and solved the riddle. Samson with his pride didn’t want to be defeated answered that if it wasn’t because of his wife, you (Philistines) will never know.

The story went on that he went down to a city called Ashkelon, struck down 30 men, stripped them of their belongings and gave up their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Samson impulsively used the special gift God gave him for selfish purposes. He was angry then he went to his father’s house.

His wife was given to a friend who had attended his wedding. He only knew during the time of wheat harvest and when he intended to visit the wife. It goes to showed that he was away for a period of time. The woman’s father didn’t allowed Samson to go into his wife’s room. The woman’s father justified his actions by saying that Samson hated her and that’s the reason he gave her to Samson’s friend. Not only that, he even suggested to Samson to take the sister instead because she is more attractive.

Samson was angry. Because of this, he concluded that he wants to get even with the Philistine. Thus, he burnt their standing grain, vineyards and olive groves. The Philistines was angry – their crops were all burnt. They in return burned both the woman and her father to death.

Samson became even angrier – because his first love was burnt to death. Samson attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. He was taking his own REVENGE in his own hands. Samson had went to stay in a cave in the rock of Etam (maybe to mourn of the wife and father-in-law death)

Because of what had happened, the Philistines went up and camp in Judah. They had went there because they want to capture Samson as prisoner and do unto him how he had done to the Philistines.

Three thousands men of Judah went to the cave and captured Samson (they probably had heard the strength of Samson and the news of Philistines killed in his hands). They questioned him the reason that he had killed the Philistines. Samson answered that he is only doing what they had done unto him. Samson allowed them to capture him on the condition that the Judah will not kill him. He was tied up with two new ropes and led him from the rock.

As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came towards him shouting (They were angry). Samson’s tied ropes became like charred flax and the bindings dropped from his hands.

On that day, Samson strucked down 1000 men with a fresh donkey’s jawbone.

He said,

“ With a donkey’s jawbone,
I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed a thousand men.”
Notice the PRIDE and claiming the victory for himself.

Let’s continue looking at v18, he was THIRSTY. Samson was exhausted physically and emotionally.

You have given you servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?----> a self pity! God opened a hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson gained back strength after drinking the water.

Emotionally, we are most vulnerable after a great effort or when faced with real physical needs. Severe depression often follows great achievements, so don’t be surprised if you feel drained after a personal victory. During these times of vulnerability, avoid the temptation to think that God owes YOU for YOUR efforts. It was HIS strength that gave us VICTORY.

I would like to draw your attention to the ATTITUDE of Samson. He was a great man with a great purpose. But, he used his gifts for his SELFISH PURPOSE and broke the promise made with God – a Nazirite promise.

We may be where Samson was. Instead of feeling pity for ourselves, there’s still time to U-TURN.

Are you COURAGEOUS to U-TURN your life for HIM?

Let’s concentrate on keeping our attitudes, actions and words 
focused on God instead of ourselves!

Monday, September 3, 2012

the beginning of SAMSON the strong man

This part of the story is imprinted in Judges 13:1 - 13:25. Let's take a walk down memory lane about the beginnings of Samson.

The story started with a couple who stayed under the ruling of the Philistines. At this moment of time, it had already been 40 years under the Philistines ruling. The people then must have already come to the state of mind that Philistine is stronger than them and they may have never thought of over-riding the Philistine. The wife is a sterile woman who could not bear a child. It must have been devastating for her. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and told her she will give birth to a son who will deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. Because she WILL give birth to the child, she must follow the conditions given by the angel. The woman must be  shocked and surprised - all these years, I can't even have a child and now I WILL have a child.

The woman was overjoyed! She quickly ran to tell her husband what had happened. She also told the husband (Manoah) that she WILL conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.

Guess what Manoah did? He prayed and asked God to allow the man of God He sent to come again to teach how to bring up the boy who is to be born. It seems to me Manoah couldn't believe his ears of what the wife had told him. Amazingly, God replied him. God again sent the angel as he requested. So, when the wife was at the field, the man of God reveal himself to her. Then, she quickly rushed to tell her husband. Her husband went out with the wife to meet the 'man'. When he met the 'man', he questioned him.

First question: Are you the one who talked to my wife?
(I felt he was being protective over the wife)

Second question: When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?
(The answer given was exactly what the wife had told him.)

Third request from the man: We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.
The reply was even though you detain me, I'll not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD. As recorded, Manoah still don't have the slightest clue that it was the angel of the LORD he was talking to.

Funny thing, the first encounter the wife knew and addressed the man as the man of God and even said he looked like the angel of God. But, Manoah having a conversation with him don't even have the slightest clue.

Fourth question: What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word come true?
Why asked the name? During their time, it is believed that if you know a person's name, you'll know the person's character and how to control the person.

He replied by saying that his name is beyond understanding.
The angel of the LORD did not give his name so that they will not be able to control him. His name was a mystery beyong understanding and too wonderful to imagine.

Manoah obeyed the angel. Burnt the offering. The LORD did an amazing thing: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame (Judges 13:20 NIV)

Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell down with their faces to the ground. Then, when the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.

Manoah freaked out! WE ARE DOOMED TO DIE!!!!!! WE HAD SEEN GOD. But, Manoah's wife answered with a level head, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this," (Judges 13:23 NIV)

The chapter ended with the birth of the boy named Samson who is dedicated to the LORD as a Nazirite. Not much account of him growing up as a boy. Later on in the chapter, the LORD blessed him and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir in him.

This is just the first part of Samson's life.

Now, let's look at the wife. She is so gullible - my first thought. She believe RIGHT AWAY what the person had said. I can see why Manoah wanted to know for sure. Sometimes, we may also act the way Manoah's wife act - just swallowing what the other person had said. Another way of looking at this, she has a simple faith. When she brought the husband to see the man of God, she heard it the 2nd time - it's like confirmation again to what she heard the first time.

Look at Manoah, Samson's father. I would conclude that he didn't take his wife's words as it is. And he sought to find out whether what the wife had said is true. He prayed and God answered him. Manoah only came to believe that the man is the angel of the LORD when the angel didn't appeared to him after he ascended up in flame. Manoah was scared to death that he had seen the LORD.

Isn't it weird to see a man who went out with a sense of wanting to know then when he knew the truth, he was so so so TERRIFIED. He became irrational.

Many of us (myself included) also act the same way as Manoah. We want to know. We asked questions. Then, when we know the truth, we suddenly take a step back and say 'this can't be it! You must be kidding..'

We need to be like Manoah and also his wife - having the right attitude and response. We need to find out the truth for ourselves and have the courage to face it!

God is good. He knows us well enough. He knew Manoah.  He knew Manoah's wife as well. He placed them side-by-side to keep each other on course. Both of them have the right attitude that is to be truthful and honest to each other. I do act like Manoah sometimes and sometimes I'll act like his wife. Thankfully, God had placed different individuals in my life who is willing to journey with me and be honest with me completely. He was also willing to be patient with my hard-headedness.

So, for those of you reading this, you may think to yourself, I may act like Manoah sometimes,  I may be like the wife of Manoah who is gullible (or not at all as well),  whatever it is, we all need God and people to journey on together with.

It's okay that if there are times you and I be irrational or gullible.  
That's why we need God and people to journey