Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Have we lost IT?

Have you ever wondered that have we LOST the REVERENCE and AWE for our GOD?

If you and I claimed that God Almighty is so POWERFUL, what is our extent of reverence and awe towards Him? If He creates the whole world from nothing, how much do we revere Him?

I have been pondering long and hard on this matter. I really wondered. I asked myself, do I really REVERE Him for who He is? Truth to be told, sometimes I don't even revered Him because I can tuned off or just switched to complacency mode that I think to myself I can escape from it, because my God is gracious.

I have seen us now carrying digital Bibles wherever we go. So easy to access, yet we do not read our Bible. I have seen people (including myself) replying whatsapps messages in churches during sermon time. Some say it is multitasking, but are we just giving excuses to ourselves and justifying our actions? I have seen people who played games on their smart phones, or even scrolling facebook posts for the matter. They said upfront, "I am not doing anything WRONG." Some people just said we should not be so rigid in this. It is okay, because here they are in church still.

There is something we are not addressing here. We need to address this matter. We are heading down the direction of COMPLACENCY.

We have become so lenient in so many things today. Technology is good, but technology should not be the one that controls our minds to draw us away from God.

What is the crux of the matter?

Really, let's just really confront our inner self and asked ourselves, HOW MUCH DO I REALLY LOVE GOD? Is He just another God that I call in my religion? How much do I LOVE Him that He deserves the reverence and awe in my life?

Few months back I have read the book of Ecclesiastes, till now this had stayed with my heart firmly.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: 
Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 
For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil. 
Ecclesiastes 12:13 - 14 

Now, it is up to you and me. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amazing Spiderman 2: NEED / HOPE?

I love movies that I can relate to. Remembering Amazing Spiderman 2 – the main themes that are depicted so perfectly in the movie, which are NEED and HOPE. Peter Parker is NEEDed by the New Yorkers to feel safe in their community and fighting against bad people. He HOPE to be giver of HOPE to his society. Peter NEED to know the truth of what had happened to his parents and drawing the links of different events. He HOPE the truth is that his parents did not abandoned him and discovering the truth of all the links. Gwen Stacey NEED Peter to fight for her and not him just letting her go because her father made him promise to stay away from her. She HOPE that Peter is willing to risk life with her. MAX, the nerd who wants to feel to be NEEDed in his own community of coworkers and people around him. One statement of, “I NEED YOU” had given a glimpse of HOPE to Max. Because of his great desire of wanting to feel needed, in the scene of the city with flowing electricity and lights, when Spiderman took away his ‘fame’ when people had noticed him, he was furious. Instead of being partners with Spidey, he decided he is going to make people need him like how they need Spidey. He HOPE to be seen by the world and people counting on him. Harry, a rich man’s son NEEDs help with his genetic disease. With only a short time he had and his father’s accomplice that wanted to take over the company, he was pushed to the point of no return. Because of another man’s greed, he suffered the consequences of being in NEED. He NEED his NEED to be fulfilled. He HOPE to be heal and not die a horrible death. At the end, Spiderman lost hope because Gwen had died snapping from his web. It is in Gwen’s speech, that Spiderman begins to see the light of HOPE to fulfill a need.

NEED brings about positive or negative responses. There are many needs in our world today that craves for our attentions. The need to care and to be cared for. The need to give and be given. The need to listen and be listen to. The need to speak up and shut up. The need to take a stand. The need to pray. And the list goes on. I asked, what is then a NEED that I can fulfill in my lifetime? Where then should I focus my attention to? What are the drivers that drive me to the needs I see? With these questions, HOPE comes to mind. HOPE gives life. Hope brings change. Hope gives a positive kind of future.

In our world, everyone wants to feel needed and wants their need to be fulfilled or answered. There’s a saying that goes, ‘No man is an island’. This is because at the end of day, we are in these positions of being needed and fulfilling our needs. However, our former needs should not make us feel indispensable, where as our latter needs should not be the key to how we relate to people (to just take what we want from people to ‘fulfill’ our needs). Also, we want to be HOPEFUL too. We want to be the ones that gives people HOPE to live. However, we cannot sustain by giving people HOPE if our source of hope comes entirely from ourselves. We will eventually come to a point of drying out and needing to find the meaning of HOPE again for ourselves.

In a Christian worldview, Jesus is our source of HOPE which is the giver of life to our being. Tentatively, Jesus will be our ultimate NEED in life. He should be ultimately the one thing that our hearts desire most compared to many things that is in our life. Just like how the song, ‘Jesus be the center of it all’ puts it; he ought to be in the center of everything we do and everything we revolve ourselves by. From our perspectives, to journey on this race of life, we NEED God in anything and everything we do. We can rely on our own strength to run this race. It’s impossible. It’s impossible to say, ‘God, I got this life thing all figured out. I even GOT us figured out! I know I am strong in You no matter what happened…….’ But, the fact is we can never figure who God is ultimately. We only catch a GLIMPSE of who He is. We can never say for sure how strong we will REMAIN in Him. This is because we are human. Our eyes and perspectives will be clouded with disillusionment when we began to rely on our own strength to carry on this faith. We NEED God to grow even more hungry for His WORD. We NEED God to grow our faith in Him. We NEED God to overcome every single temptations that comes our way. We NEED God to help us see His fingerprints in our journey of life. We NEED God to teach us to be patience, to wait, to learn, to unlearn, to relearn, to forgive, to give, to praise, and more…in every aspects of our life, WE NEED HIM! Why? Because He gave us HOPE to venture on this life even how difficult it may seems to travel on. How then do I remained in this HOPE of God? By discovering Him through His Word and experiencing living in Spirit with Him.

That brings me back to the few questions I had asked earlier, “What is then a NEED that I can fulfill in my lifetime? Where then should I focus my attention to? What are the drivers that drive me to the needs I see?” The needs I see to be fulfilled in other people’s life is driven by the compelling HOPE I found in my Saviour. Even in my focus of my attention to it. I yearn to do a lot of things, however to do a lot of things is to go on a road that will not divide my attention to it which do not allowed me to give my best in it. So, I’ll continue to fix my eyes on Jesus Christ no matter what happens and be faithful in the small things He had given in my life.

Where is your HOPE?

What drives your NEED?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Trusting Game

This place of trust isn't a comfortable place to be; in fact, it flies in the face of everything we've been taught about proper planning. We like finding refuge in what we already have rather than in what we hope God will provide. But when Christ says to count the cost of following Him, it means we MUST SURRENDER everything. It means going like the disciples, going without an extra tunic or a place to sleep at night, and sometimes without knowing where we are going. 

- Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love - 

I thought to myself, how many will actually go as such? How many will give up all they own and go? There are some whom I had the opportunity to meet when I visit Timor Leste. They are called missionaries. With this entitlement, many ordinary people would think, "Surely they have a 'calling' to go to the 'mission field' and laid their life for others". THEY and US have the SAME EXACT calling! That is, the most important one ....'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength'. The second is this: 'Love your neighbours as yourself.' (Mark 12:29-31)

You need to have a paradigm shift! Mission field do not only categorize when you go abroad, when you visit the Orang Asli, when you do ministry in kampung, when you go to a poorer region! Your life, where you are now is the mission field. The people you come in contact with, that's your mission field. What you have now, your work, your friends, your studies, your lecturers, are all GIFTS from God to live as a missionary.

In whatever you do, let it be unto Him. 

Now, let's look back at the disciples. Why would the Lord had asked the disciples to act radically to not bring anything extra / plan ahead in the next place they are going for rest? Because He is setting the HIGHEST STANDARD of trusting Christ. For them to be in a place of discomfort! For them to realise that it is not by what they have to continue on the journey, but by full trust in God.

Will it be the same for us? No, I wouldn't think so. However, I believe if the Lord would want us to journey as such, He would grant us the full assurance to go. But, you see many would take the excuse, 'Nah, it ain't for me to go through as the disciples because God never call. So God, I will take a rain check on that. Call me time or never '. Excuses, fear or just us pushes our focus away from what the Lord had called us to be.

From the example of the disciples, the Lord is ultimately DRAWING A PICTURE for us to NOT RELY ON OURSELVES and our CAPABILITIES, but to RELY SOLELY ON HIM! He is telling us to TRUST by FAITH and not with our eyes. Don't allow our physical eyes be DISTRACTED from what He has called us to.

May difficult questions come your way that cause you to think further! May you be granted with discomfort to push you out of comfort zone.

I pray when the doors of opportunities are open to us, we will be willingly answering that call of trust!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Student to a Teacher

Being a student for almost my whole life now, I looked back and realized how much each teacher has put efforts in investing young lives.

Some are more prominent, while some are more subtle. Some spend a great deal of time preparing to face a bunch of rascals in class who have tricks up their sleeves at all times. Some care so much and yet some care less. Some are strict that rascals fear the punishment that followed after. Some are gentle and loved. Some have the charisma to teach that the subject becomes the favourite. Some are passionate. Some share their passion, hope and dream with us. Some finds many ways and alternatives with an aim that we grow the interest in our studies, in books and in life. You teach us to grow a deep hunger for knowledge and practicality. You teach us to dream big and aim for the stars. You took up this offer of job with a virtuous passion of investing life of younger ones.

Our class is known as the most notorious good kids in school because we were the first class in the form (that was supposed to be the “EXAMPLE” for the younger ones). Our actions towards people do not measured up. But, we are still very serious with our studies. We pushed each other to do better for our examinations. We are the smart kids who thought we knew-it-all and teachers are just teaching from a textbook. We forgot they have even more to offer that sometimes we just brushed it off (We do still listened at times). There are some teachers that we love still. They are the ones who have the charisma or the passion to teach although we do not listen. They are the ones who believed us even other teachers have given up on us. There were rumors going about, we were one of the WORST class. We are proud of it.

This is us.

Being young, mischievous and naïve, my classmates and I from primary to high school gave most of my teachers a difficult time. We challenged our teachers, gave them headaches, talked back with no respect, talked behind their backs, questioned their authority and yet there are days we bring them joy.

We scared you. Some of us fought and you stood in between to settle the dispute. You could have ignored us and let us grow in however we wished. You could have walked away but you chose to stay.

I couldn’t count the amount of wrongs we have done that now I looked back I am not proud of it. Remembering the few that were done and words uttered foolishly, I wondered how you have felt when the words were thrown at your face in front of my peers. Two responses always happened. One, you scolded me right at my face and even asked me to walk out of class. Second, you chose the higher road of accepting the actions and words. You swallowed it done and composed yourself. Cikgu, it wasn’t easy for either one of the responses. You are still human, an emotional being. I knew if I was the teacher, I would have……..

But, every time you take on the spotlight of the class, there is only ONE HOPE that in the many of 40s students looking at you that can’t wait for the bell to ring (either for recess or after school), you hope to see each of us being successful in our future undertakings.  

Thank you for disciplining us. It ain’t an easy to subscribe to the job, knowing that you have children at home as well to teach. Thank you for believing in us when we don’t believe in you at all. Thank you for sharing your care, love and dreams for us. Thank you for your encouragements. Thank you for giving so much more than you should. Thank you for not asking more but only to acknowledge you when we see you at the pasar malam.

Personally, this is from me.

by Mrs. Surenderjit Kaur - Headmistress SMKS 24
Finally, at this age, I began to see how much you have invested. It was a process for me to grow this way. Thank you for bearing with me and nurturing me when our path crossed. It all begins with a small hope. And you are part of it! Today, I cherished the memory of you and thanked God for your labor of love in my life. May God bless you in all that you put your hands to do wherever you are!

Thank you, Cikgu! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Small yet a Ripple Of Change in many lives

On a cold freezing winter evening, someone left an eight-week old male kitten in the outside book drop at the Spencer Public Library. The poor little kitten was being shoved inside the box on the wall with all the other books. The staff found the badly frostbitten and filthy kitten and they thought he was grey. But, after a good wash under the filth, he was a beautiful orange kitten. The library director Vicki Myron decided to take care of this kitten who was then eight week old. The story of Dewey Readmore Books was birthed on November 18, 1987. 

The act of Vicki Myron who took care of the Dewey for a good 18 years is something to be applauded. It begins with a birthed of desire to take care of this kitten. Little Dewey grew as a cat and a public affection to people in Spencer and Iowa and Beyond. His story of being shoved in a the book drop box and how he was determined to live on after that. Vicki Myron had fought for this little kitty to live in the public library. He became the permanent resident of the Spencer Public Library. 

Dewey: The Small-Town Library
Cat Who Touched the World
The title of the book tells it all. How did it happen? He began by winning hearts of the people in Spencer. He began SMALL. 

After reading his story written by Vicki Myron, this is my thoughts.

(if can, you should read the story for yourself)

Dewey in comparable to a human being is small and may not have been able to accomplish "success" in the measure of human beings. In our measurement, he is just like any cat that laze around and demands our attention. Dewey is a different cat, although by just reading from a third party point of view. His story gives light on what matters most is the LOVE FOR OTHERS. Both Vicki and Dewey shared the most intimate relationship of loving one another. Through the toughest time in life for both, they stood by one another. They have shown a LOVE that is not self seeking or self serving. Through the lens of a cat who do have the intellect of a human can love humans to its best. Through the lens of Vicki, she sacrificially give and shared life with Dewey. That MINUTE ACT of LOVE stands out strong which made Dewey endearing to many who have met him or have not met him.
This cat changed the town Spencer in Iowa. Its story reached across the globe: all the way to Japan. What did it do? Love others and living to its purpose by being a cat. That is an inspiration. A small cat who can be lost in the sight of many made a change. 

Bringing it back to our human senses. What then does this all mean? Sometimes, being human, we feel that way, which is being engulfed in the sight of many and feeling small. We feel like nothing in the things we do. It is YOU and I can make a DIFFERENCE by being faithful in the little things. The little things are to love others and living out our purpose.

It may be small and unnoticed but believe me, like Dewey it creates a ripple of change in many lives. Friends, begin small today by loving others and dream big in our PURPOSE in life. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reflection on 1 Kings 17-19

So, this has been on my mind lately... What does it means to live life for God who fulfill every words that was said?

I read about Elijah in 1 Kings 17-19. What caught my attention in this passages is Elijah's encounter with the widow and the son that did not have enough to survive for the weeks (1 Kings 17: 7-24). The widow just decided to use what is left and make bread to eat and wait for death with the son. But, here comes Elijah that met her, not anyone else, and asked her to make him BREAD first with the little she have.

He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so that I may have a drink?"
And as she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread - only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it - and die. 
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 
For this is what the LORD, the GOD of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land."


She made a small bread for Elijah. Just as the LORD had said in verse 9: Go at once to Zaraphath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food. The LORD kept His words. But what happened after that, the widow's son DIED. (Read it for yourself)

What a tragic incident? Put yourself in the widow's shoes.

First, is the lost of hope to live because there are only so little to survive on. Then, a hope came and Elijah gave the words from the LORD that the jar of flour and oil will never run dry until the LORD gives rain.
Did the widow find hope in the days to come?

They did have more than enough. Not only for her and her son, but for her family. Then, comes the testing when her son died. The widow's reactions changes abruptly. Instead of believing that the LORD that had provided more than enough and being in the midst of miracle in this season of drought, her faith fell. She couldn't believe no more.

The LORD was gracious. Elijah brought the boy to the LORD. The LORD healed him completely.

Now, the widow said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of GOD and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."

Look at her reactions, even through the first miracle that she can see it with her naked eyes, she couldn't bring herself to believe. But, with the second miracle that happened in her household, she finally realised how powerful the GOD that Elijah served. The widow lived a life based on what she sees. Believe only by the things she sees.

Back to my question, what does it means to live life for God? It means to live a life that goes beyond what our vision bring us to. It's more than what we can understand with our puny minds.

Through the lens of the widow, she saw life was comfortable just as long as her necessities do not run dry. When tragic happened, her faith is shaken. She could no longer believe in this God who provided for her family. Another miracle to happen to reaffirm the faith of this widow. And this time round you and I know for sure as we read about her response to Elijah, she is not turning back anymore.

Because her son that died is resurrected and lived as a living testimony in front of her eyes everyday. 

Now, you will asked me, does that has to happen to me to FINALLY be like the widow to believe?

I don't think so. Because that is why the account of an UNKNOWN lady, plus a widow (simply to wrap it up, she is a nobody) that the account of her faith is documented in the Bible.

Personally, the LORD is asking me, "Who is at command?". The Lord is saying to me, "To trust and fix my eyes upon Him no matter what happen."

Do read the text for yourself. Understand what the widow goes through and see through her lens.

Will we have faith that goes beyond vision and our understanding?
Will we be able to believe a God who holds to His every word? 
What is the LORD asking of you?