Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hanging In There

Its been a long time since anyone has updated this blog, and I can't help but feel guilty. I'm sure we all have our reasons since everyone has their own real life in the world and everyone , myself included can't help but to go with the flow and indulge in whatever new experiences that life has to offer. It's not a bad thing , in fact.. it's practically IDEAL. The Lord GOD made the world for a purpose and it's to enjoy it . GOD also made it to show how much he loves us and caters for our needs. He gave us resources(animals, plants, fruits,etc) and a sound mind to utilize it.
           However, we tend to stray away from God for numerous reasons, and when the going gets tough, we forget how much and how involved God our Father is in our lives. I'm not saying I'm perfect , but this is the reality. I personally felt and do believe that I have strayed away from God. At times I feel so lost I don't even feel satisfaction. I let myself drown in greed and obsession and literally let God completely out of the picture of my Life. Things were tough, but what makes it worse, I thought I was fine.
           I know its cliche and all, but I like to share my experience from my recent exam. It was a finals paper and I personally thought my preparation was solid. However, as if it was a slap in the face, I had the worst exam in my young life. I was practically CLUELESS as to what I was reading, what I was writing, what I was THINKING. For the first time in my life , I wanted to weep during a paper. Heart beating so fast I just wanted to give up. I left the hall with my will shattered into pieces. What makes things worse is, I had another paper to face the next day. In the night, I felt so devastated, just wanting to give up. Then I saw a poem I posted on my wall , as well as the Cross of Jesus right next to it. I stopped . Took my time. Went into meditation and prayer. I told myself, God is still here. Its not over yet... I CAN STILL DO THIS. With a new mindset and soul refueled by God. I tried again, when I fell asleep I swear I heard someone waking me up. Thing is, I live in a single room and my door was locked. Without a doubt I knew God was pushing me. He's telling me 'I AM HERE' . I pushed through the remaining exams with God's grace I passed better than I ever thought.
           So my message here, KEEP HANGING ON , God will never leave you no matter how 'invisible' he is.
             "Be STRONG and of GOOD COURAGE, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your GOD,He is the One who goes with you. HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU nor FORSAKE YOU" - Deuteronomy 31:6

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pondering on "Eli Eli lama sabachtani"

For those of you who don't know what the words mean, 'Eli Eli lama sabachtani" were one of the last words said by the Lord Jesus Christ on the very same cross he died on before his resurrection in Easter. The words translate to 'My God , My God , why have you forsaken me'
             All my life ever since learning about these words and its literal meaning have struck me and quite frankly confused me. But fearing that doubt might shake my faith I chose a cowardly path and looked the other way. I failed, curiosity has flooded my mind at times just wishing to know what the Lord Jesus meant on deathbed or in this case death-cross.
             Thank God I was patient, because I finally got one step closer when I read Psalm 22.

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise[a]
    My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? 
   I have cried desperately for help, 
      but still it does not come.
 2 During the day I call to you, my God, 
      but you do not answer; 
   I call at night, 
      but get no rest.
 3 But you are enthroned as the Holy One, 
      the one whom Israel praises.
 4 Our ancestors put their trust in you; 
      they trusted you, and you saved them.
 5 They called to you and escaped from danger; 
      they trusted you and were not disappointed.

 6 But I am no longer a human being; I am a worm, 
      despised and scorned by everyone!
 7 All who see me make fun of me; 
      they stick out their tongues and shake their heads.
         You relied on the Lord,
          they say. 
         Why doesn't he save you? 
   If the Lord likes you, 
      why doesn't he help you?

 9 It was you who brought me safely through birth,
      and when I was a baby, you kept me safe.
 10 I have relied on you since the day I was born,
      and you have always been my God.
 11 Do not stay away from me!
      Trouble is near,
      and there is no one to help.

 12 Many enemies surround me like bulls;
      they are all around me,
      like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan.
 13 They open their mouths like lions,
      roaring and tearing at me.

 14 My strength is gone,
      gone like water spilled on the ground.
   All my bones are out of joint;
      my heart is like melted wax.
 15 My throat[b] is as dry as dust,
      and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
   You have left me for dead in the dust.

 16 An evil gang is around me;
      like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
      they tear at[c] my hands and feet.
 17 All my bones can be seen.
      My enemies look at me and stare.
 18 They gamble for my clothes
      and divide them among themselves.

 19 O Lord, don't stay away from me!
      Come quickly to my rescue!
 20 Save me from the sword;
      save my life from these dogs.
 21 Rescue me from these lions;
      I am helpless[d] before these wild bulls.

 22 I will tell my people what you have done;
      I will praise you in their assembly:
         Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
      Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
      Worship him, you people of Israel!
 24 He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
      he does not turn away from them,
      but answers when they call for help.

 25 In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
      in the presence of those who worship you
      I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
 26 The poor will eat as much as they want;
      those who come to the Lord will praise him.
   May they prosper forever!

 27 All nations will remember the Lord.
      From every part of the world they will turn to him;
      all races will worship him.
 28 The Lord is king,
      and he rules the nations.

 29 All proud people will bow down to him;[e]
      all mortals will bow down before him.
 30 Future generations will serve him;
      they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
 31 People not yet born will be told:
         The Lord saved his people.
  1. Psalm 22:1 HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by David.
  2. Psalm 22:15 Probable textthroat; Hebrewstrength.
  3. Psalm 22:16 Some ancient translationsthey tear at; othersthey tie; Hebrewlike a lion.
  4. Psalm 22:21 Some ancient translations I am helpless; Hebrew you answered me.
  5. Psalm 22:29 Probable textwill bow down to him; Hebrewwill eat and bow down.
When i read this psalm,it was so mind-blowing to me. I mean just imagine, David wrote this who knows how long before the birth of Christ and yet it was so spot on! What's even more impressive is , how did he think of this after being beaten, humiliated and on the brink of death hanging on the cross with nails to his hands and feet. I am astounded . 
       In that very moment, knowing that he has limited energy and time, he said the very first line of this amazing psalm to answer all questions put forward on that day, and his intentions. 
in verse 22, I will tell my people what you have done; 
      I will praise you in their assembly: 
in verse 25, In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done; 
      in the presence of those who worship you 
      I will offer the sacrifices I promised.(his very life)
and the most amazing to me, verse 29-31
 All proud people will bow down to him;[e] 
      all mortals will bow down before him.
  Future generations will serve him; 
      they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
 People not yet born will be told: 
         The Lord saved his people.

I was awestruck , and elated, happy and speechless, what about you?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Strategic Warfare

 Calling all Call of Duty fans! This article contains war stuff!

If anyone was taking bets during the Gulf War of 1990, it was that America would win. The United States Air Force was armed with the best technology. Its aircraft carried 'smart bombs' with accurate cameras, and were sent out on 'Scud hunts'. The purpose of these missions was to destroy trucks that Saddam Hussein's army had been using as launching pads for their missiles. With powerful and accurate missiles, the air force began bombing. Hundreds of targets were reported as being destroyed. Soon, the White House was cheering.

Well, perhaps too soon. After a thorough investigation, it was found that many of the targets hit were decoys. After all, old trucks and containers can look something like missiles from 25,000 feet above sea level. True, every target was destroyed, but most 'targets' were chunks of scrap metal. The total number of confirmed missiles destroyed was zero. It cost America over 80 million dollars, and cost Saddam Hussein nothing more than a few old trucks and some imagination. Without proper intelligence, power was wasted.

We as Christians are similarly engaged in warfare with the Enemy. We have access to God through prayer, strength in unity, and numerous talents and passions to call up for service. Yet, taking the Gulf War example, it would be a good idea to check whether the battles we are fighting are truly critical in the war against Satan.

For instance, here are some things most Christians and Christian Fellowships spend a great deal of time fighting against:
-Inappropriate attire, eg sleeveless shirts and miniskirts
-Lady Gaga
-Too much contact with non-Christian friends
-Having seemingly non-Christian objects around, eg the Taijitu symbol on a keychain
-Having 'anti-Christian' literature, eg. Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion
-Not enough Christian books
-Lady Gaga
-Refusing to follow popular 'Christian' opinions on current issues
-Lady Gaga
-Being involved in activities like street dances or attending concerts
-Listening to secular music
-Not having enough 'Christian songs' on your laptop or car radio CD
-Lady Gaga

Here, though, are things that we seem happy enough to let slip through the cracks:
-Gossip in Christian Fellowship (often masked as 'prayer requests')
-Compromise on integrity
-Anger, especially maintained over months between two Christians (each one continuously brings it up, either through 'prayer requests' or sharings at Campus Revo)
-Lack of support for friends (regardless of faith) having emotional crises
-Lack of compassion for friends outside of Christian Fellowship
-Lack of community spirit and willingness to engage in community service
-Lack of concern or sympathy for those with questions about Christianity
-Substitution of divine love and behaviour with man-made practices

If the Bible is anything to go by (and I believe it is), God is mostly silent on issues in the first category when it comes down to specifics. (Jesus, the last time I checked, did not yet make a statement on Lady Gaga.) Let me say that those battles are good and important. Before anyone starts to throw stones or defend them by saying that we must live by 'glorifying God' and 'bearing good witness', let's look at the second category and see which parts of the Bible speak on the issues in the second category.

Proverbs 11:13; Luke 6:31; James 3:5-7; Proverbs 14:29; James 1:19-20; Matthew 5:21-24; Proverbs 10:9; Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 10:30-37; Philippians 2:4; Matthew 6:1-34; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Matthew 15:9

This is a small sample.

Personally, I am not a fan of Lady Gaga. I don't think tank tops in church look too good among all the floor-length dresses and buttoned shirts. I do agree that we should live our lives to glorify God. But what's the point of attacking all these other issues, when God has spoken in His Word, and we have not obeyed? Before we throw around phrases like 'glorifying God' and 'living for Him', it's a good idea to see what His idea of the whole thing is.

I speak not as a pastor or religious leader, but as a normal guy following Christ who is now taking a good look at the Bible again. When we have limited time and energy, is it truly worth it to expend so much energy on superfluous differences of opinion? If we lack the unconditional love of Christ for everyone, then we begin to fight battles for the sake of having battles to fight. We create new enemies to wage war against while the real enemy wreaks havoc in the ranks. We become spiritual Pharisees.What's the point of being against homosexuality when we exclude and ostracise homosexuals, especially those struggling with HIV or depression, even though Christ commanded us to serve 'the least of these?' What's the point of protesting vehemently against abortion, when we do not devote the same time and support to those who have already been born and are now struggling through life? What's the point of talking about Christ, and behaving like the people who crucified Him?

It's time to take a good long look at the battles we are fighting. We can post 'Christian' posts on Facebook, send each other screenshots of Lady Gaga's 'Satanic' Alejandro video, shout out against the world's culture and portray ourselves as helpless victims of modern culture, but the truth is, the rest of the world will just yawn and tune out. The world pays attention to us when we show ourselves to be true models of Christ. Rome listened and believed in Christ, not just because the saints were sharing Christ in the streets, but because of the way they lived. When disasters hit Rome, the Christian church was at the forefront, beggaring itself to aid Roman citizens and the abject poor. Even the Roman emperor commented that 'These Christians aid not only their own poor, but ours as well!' The saints gave to the disaster relief funds, ministered to the suffering masses in the street, and honoured Roman law, even as that same law condemned their own friends to painful deaths. The Romans might have shut their ears to the Gospel, but the love of Christ leaked into their minds through their eyes: eyes that saw the love and intense compassion the Church had for all mankind.

Let us now pray for guidance, and keep on fighting the battles that matter. We have God's infinite power at our disposal. But without His discernment, and His love, our missiles will continue to hit the sand.

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
(1 Corinthians 9:26)

Images taken from here,here, and here.