Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking forward for every weekends

Basketball

It has been a long time since I played basketball this Sunday. It was a great time with my brother, who, too, have difficulty getting the ball into the ring. Haha... it was long time we finally get used to the height of the ring, then we managed to shoot some balls into the ring. Haha... we played less than an hour before we called it a day. Haha... but we felt that we played for more than an hour. Haha... rusty is the only description for us, haha... and... we have muscle-aches yesterday and today... haha... still yet to recover from the sport. Haha...

I thank God for that and hopefully we can exercise more. We know there's a swimming complex near the Bedok Town Central... but have yet time to go look for it. Haha... so... still searching for available sport spot near here. Hehe...

Bound by Ants

Hmm... when did these ants follow me from PGP all the way here? Wow... luckily we got some insecticides... but I would prefer the bomb (a medicine) to kill them... hmm and where did we put it? Which box is it in? Hahaha.... things are so hard to find nowadays... coz they are still in boxes...

Rental

Yes, 2 down... and 10 more to go... hopefully God allows us to obtain our PR... then... we can buy a house (or unit) before we moved out of this rented house. Haha... it is not because this rented house is not good, in fact this house is great. Haha... near to my working place (to me is near... haha... 30 min walk to my working place though) is the major plus. Haha... but I can't possibly paying the rent for all the years I am going to work here right? Haha... however, God's plan is better than our plan. I am willing to give up myself for His will. Hehe...

Weekends

Have been working for a month now, I realise why my seniors are all looking forward for weekends. Hahaha... but God says cherish everyday we are here on earth... it is a blessing from God... and it also reminds me that I have not completed God's task for me on earth. Haha... so... depend on the Lord to work on it, brothers and sisters! Haha...

Church Cleaning Day

Hmm it's July now and usually the church cleaning day would be in June. Hmm, I think I missed the one in Geylang and also... the one in KB (happen this Sunday), haha...

Think that's all for now. Determine to spend some of my time after work to do own bible study... haha... if I know how to... anyway, things won't work out if I don't try them, right? Hehe... my bro will keep an eye on me... but I also need to discipline myself, haha...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Wednesday

How's work?

Yes, 4th week of my work and (jolly, I thought that my last post was 3 weeks ago, but after I checked, it was just 1 week ago, haha...) thank my Lord that He has been keeping us busy. Haha... we got some style in WPF to work fine and then moving on to finish our SAD document for our parts... now the implementation of it. Haha... most of our code is "following" colleagues' codes and I really thank God for that because these codes sure complex to understand... speaking of inversion of control, service dependency, injection construction... oh boy... how these theories... although I read (learn) about them online, I can't possibly understand all these things.. theories and ideas...

Prayer Night

Thank God for tonight's prayer meeting. Haha... Brother Hock Lee shared with us Psalm 25:15-22. He mentioned that God didn't promise a safe journey even after we have accepted the salvation. The bible also says that we will face trouble in this world. Truly... we all experience that. We know that God will protect us, God will give us strength to live through, God will bring us through... Yes, God can! But... many times, we are actually not welcoming His help eventhough He can help us... so we have to seek God, pray to God and get near to God. He is there for us... the bible says... those who seek will find Him.

From the Psalm 25:15-22, we saw that the psalmist has some sufferings that only God can save him.

1. Loneliness - Many times, after a person became a Christian, he lost all his friends... so he became lonely... he will go back to his old self if he didn't realise God is there with him. God will not leave us, conversely, He wants to be with us... He wants us to get near to Him... so remember Him when you feel lonely.

2. Bound by sin - Sin has been bounding the psalmist. It is pointless to tell your sin to any human being, they can't save (cleanse) you anyway... only God can. Keeping your sin in yourselves is deadly too, because it affects your relationship with God... the sin will cause you lost concentration in reading God's word or praying to God. So you have to set your heart, and kneel before the Lord, ask for His repentance.

3. Bear the world's hatred - The bible says that the world is not a friend of God. Those who are a friend of the world is an enemy of God. Refer to James 4:4. Haha... eventhough the world hate us, we must continue to spread the gospel to them. May they also have the chance to be a blessed people like us... hehe...

Well, I have summarised the points, it will good if you can come to the prayer meeting yourselves to hear the message. Haha... pray that God's word continue to work in our life. Hehe...

After we prayed, my brother and I talked with a brother (sorry I don't know his name) and we have a long discussion, haha... on all sorts of things... haha... pray that God brings every brothers and sisters safely home. Haha...

Only Wednesday I would stay up so late... because waiting for my hair to dry (bath after back from prayer meeting). Haha... has been feeling a bit sore throat these two days. Pray that God continue to heal me and I'll be better off tomorrow. Also pray that God also heals those brothers and sisters who are sick - some examples - family of Brother Hock Lee, Dr Chua and Pastor Huang.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Working in my third week

All glory to my Lord

It's almost the end of my third week working. Time flies very fast. Haha... yes, all glory to my Lord because He cares, He guides and He disciplines all His children, whether good or naughty. Haha... I thank my Lord for today, my brother and I got our first praise from our team leader that we did a fairly good job. Haha... I can't post what we did on the blog because it's confidential. Haha.. but I thank my Lord once I received the praise. It is God all along who gives us the wisdom, patience, faith and trust.

Things don't stop there, haha... and do not be proud. Be thankful always and continue to trust in my Lord for all things... whether good or bad. He is God, one who can give and one who can take. Yes, He is my Lord and my savior. I am glad that I did not bring shame to His name.

Baptism?

Haha... although I have been in the Lord's house for more than 10 years, I have not been baptised yet. Yes, it is time that I am giving this baptism a great thought. Am I willing to sacrifice for my Lord? Am I willing to bear my own cross and follow my Lord? Etc... These are the questions that comes out to my mind when I think about whether should I go for baptism. Haha...

Anyway, dinner time, haha... Mmmmm...=)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Teen Youth Camp 11-14/6

First Job - 2 weeks

Yes, I have worked for 2 weeks now and I thank God for continue to pull my bro and I through the two weeks. We have been studying the product specs and making a test plan for the product (a way for us to get a better understanding of what our team is doing). We realized that the product is using some framework and tools that we have not learnt in NUS before, thus we need to pick it up ourselves... self learn with the Internet. It isn't easy after all... doze off while reading... haha...

Yesterday we just got our "todo" tasks... haha... will get on to it as soon as possible because there are milestones (in other word, DEADline!). Haha... here are some pictures of me in the office... my brother sits beside me in the office. Haha, he is the one taking the photo for me.

Sorry for my messy hair there, just reach office after a walk from home. Haha... it is a nice working environment... except that I think it is cold, haha...

Teen Youth Camp

The camp has three theme messages: 11/6 evening, 12/6 morning and 12/6 evening. We didn't went for 11/6 evening and can't possibly attend 12/6 morning one, thus we only attend 12/6 evening. The campsite is in PGP in NUS... the place where my bro and I have lived 4 years. Haha... The theme of the camp is "Not I But Christ". Yes, this is a very important lesson all Christians must learn.

I didn't take down notes for this message, so it is all from my memory... forgive me if you find there's broken parts, haha... the speaker shared with us how "Not I But Christ" applied to decision making. He used a lot of stories to illustrate his points. "Press the pause button" when there's a decision to make... stop and pray to the Lord to ask for His guidance. Our Lord knows the best for us... even better than we know ourselves.

An example he gave to illustrate that some people don't believe what they are saying. There's an event where a man walked on the rope to cross a large river. Large means the length of crossing from one bank of the river to the other bank. There's a huge crowd watching this... the man walked the rope... he crossed the river on the rope, then turned, walk back the rope again successfully. The crowd goes wild, cheer loudly for him. The man picked up an umbrella and a suitcase, started his challenge again... once again, he succeed. The crowd give him a loud cheer as well. He then told his crowd that his next challenge is to play violin while walking the rope. He ask whether he should do it or not. The crowd supported him and give him a loud cheer. He did it again... playing a nice tune on the violin while crossing the river on the rope and returning with another tune. Wow... he then offers another challenge, he is going to balance a person on the chair and cross the river. The crowd saw what he has done for the past three challenges. They gave a great cheer... saying "Go ahead! We believe you can do it!" The man brought a chair and asked... "I need a volunteer!" and what did you notice? the crowd went into silence... no one volunteers... anyone can hear the sound of a golden pin drop... haha... does the story convey the message - people don't believe in what they are saying.

Hmm... oh no... my memory is not working very well now... the conclusion is that when you want to make a decision, pause and pray to God, ask for His advice. Haha... that's all for now... if I do remember, I will include them in future posts. Haha...

The camp came to an end today... and I heard from TungLieng that everyone has enjoyed themselves yesterday night during their Family Night where each of the "dorm" requires to perform an act. Haha... anyway, we all need to pray for all the campers that they don't forget what God has spoken to them through the speaker, willing to live a life that God pleased... the end of the camp doesn't mean the end of living a life that God pleased... this requires a lot of praying because it is not natural for us to pursue after God's word (it is natural for our spiritual life to feel thristy for God's work), i.e. there are many obstacles that hinder us from drawing near to our Lord. Haha... pray that the campers (full-time or part-time) are able to apply what they heard from God onto their life. Haha... may God continue to bless and teach His children the right way.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Geylang Family Camp 8-10/6

New House

A new environment, surely, in Bedok North Avenue 2. Just got our internet set up on June 10 and we have started making use of it... doing window and anti-virus updates on my laptop. I am glad things have gone alright for the past few weeks in this house and our SPR application. I am very thankful that God has blessed me with a 2nd Lower Honours and my bro a 2nd Upper Honours for our degree. Haha... we have not put God's name in disgrace throughout our four years in NUS.

However, there's one thing that I think I didn't do well is that I didn't any of my friends I met in NUS to Christ. God has blessed me to be in the same uni with Jia En and Cher Chin, another chance for me to bring them to Christ, but I didn't take the chance due to my "timiditiness". I didn't dare to spread the gospel back then... doing my best now to invite them for gospel meeting, so that they have the oppurtunity to hear the good news... and pray that they are willing to come. Haha... may God help them, let no obstacle keep them from coming to Christ.

Next, friends I knew while I was in NUS, especially the people I meet in NUSHO... especially the group of people whom I worked with for a year... YaLiang, KahYing, HwaChin, XueHui, ChangKiat, YungHua, etc... will try my best to invite them for gospel meeting so that they, too, do not miss the chance to hear the gospel... the good news...

Ok, about my "House", here are some pictures about it... just treat that I wasn't there in the picture if you don't like to see me standing there, haha...

Haha... oopz I should have switched the pictures around... haha...

Geylang Family Camp

Not able to join this time because we started our work on June 2 and we won't be able to take leave for the June 8-10 camp in YWCA. Haha... so the best we can do is to join the evening theme message. The theme of the camp is "Thrist for God". We know... thristy is a natural phenomenon for any living creatures, including plant. Haha...

There's two evening of theme message. The speaker has mainly used Psalm 42:1-5 and 73 (some verses) for the first and second night respectively. Let me started off with the points I took down during the first night.

First Night (8/6)

Do not be attracted by the world, but attract to someone who are more worthy of our praise. Ask yourself this: What are you pursuing? Christians pursue many spiritual things, such as spiritual gift, spiritual power, etc but not God. Is this God's will? Of course not. Conversely, we must put down everything for the sake of God. 我们不热心侍奉主是因为我们不渴慕主。

The main focus of this message is "How we have need to thrist for God". The psalmist of Psalm 42 is a Levites, a group of people among the Israelites closest to God. Levites are professional servant of God, their only job is to serve God. When the psalmist wrote this psalm, he had been exiled to other nations, away from the temple of God. Thus he can't serve God... and was very depressing 失落. They thrist for God... thrist for the service to the Lord.

Do you ever feel this thrist for God before? For example a Sunday when you are sick, and you can't go to the church to worship God. Or another example, when you have to travel aboard, in hotel, would you have the desire to go back to your church back in the hometown to worship the Lord? It is a natural phenomenon for us to know when I am thristy (and go look for something to quench our thrist, such as water)... you don't need anyone to tell you that you are thristy, right? Haha... similar to a deer... the mother deer doesn't have to tell the deer to go drink water because it is thristy. Haha... so... to thrist for God is not a strange thing, but it's natural. We have a spiritual life that need God, that need the constant approaching to God. However, if we don't know how to thrist for God, or don't have the urge to thrist for God, then we are actually having spiritual problem. Just like if you never feel thristy... and you never know whether your body is lack of water or not... in the end you die of lack of water... haha...

Here are some points how we have need to thrist for God:

First, the change of environment... the psalmist, sons of Korah (the Levites) may be serving God habitually. They may not be thinking that they are actually 亲近 God. They took this job for granted. Only when something happen (they get deported) they suddenly realize that days without the Lord is so hard to pass by... they just can't stop themselves from missing God... missing the days when they were serving the Lord in the God's temple.

In Singapore now, we have the freedom to gather, to have fellowship, to be in church worship our Lord... how about this... one day, when the government issue a decree that no one can gather to worship God, no one can have fellowship, etc... or... think... if God is no longer with us? Then only we will treasure the days God with us... so... don't ever take for granted that God has given us chance to spend time with God freely.

Next, let us look at verse 3 - My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?". The psalmist and his group of people were challenged... their faith or religion is challenged by the locals where they exiled to. How blessed we are in Singapore that we are hardly persecuted for being a Christian. When you walked on the street, no one come along to slap your face when they know you are Christian, right? Haha... as a result, we don't treasure our time with God... because we did not need to pay a heavy price for it. If you bought a thing that costs you a huge bucks, you will treasure it right? Make sure you don't lost it, or make sure it doesn't get spoilt easily and so on... for things we got for free... we usually won't treasure them, as similar to what we have to our salvation... we got our salvation from the Lord for free right? thus... ask yourselves... who is our God? Are we willing to pay any price (no matter how great the price, including sacrificing our life) for Him?

Third point from verse 4 - These things I remember as I pour our my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. The psalmist here remembered the good old days in the Lord's temple, serving the God fervently, with joy and thanksgiving.

Are there any particular event that you remember the most? When you recall it, then you feel energetic toward God. Is there such event in your life before? If you have, then recall it, just like the psalmist. Think... what are your thoughts at that time? You don't have to think that "If the time can stop and I can stay at that hour, how nice it is." You can thrist for God now. If you think how close you are to God in the past, but how far you are now from God, you should be sad (if not, then there's something wrong). Yes, it is right to feel sad if you think you are not as close to God now than in the past... but you shouldn't stop there... keep thinking of that sad story... but move on... your next step is to revive yourselves by repent with the God... go back to God again, for He is all merciful (but don't forget about His righteousness). See 1 John 1:9.

4th point from verse 5 - Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Only God can satisfy our heart. For example, you were having a great time with your friends at home... then at a time they went home, you are left alone... feel lonely again... so may be you took a walk on the street, went for window shopping, etc... but in the end... back to square one... you are one lonely guy again...

Ask yourself this... why is my soul downcasted? I have career, a wonderful family, money, many more good things around me... but why do I feel downcast? Did you allow God to fill your heart? Did you thrist for God? You can have the whole world, but if you do not have God, your spirit will never be filled or satisfied... you will carry on searching for things in the world to fill the hole... the thrist from your spirit... but like the water that quench our thrist, God is the only one that can quench our spirit thrist.

5th point (also verse 5) leads us to our many needs in our life... do you think so? We have many needs in our life. We always think that we can use our own ways to help ourselves. But there are things that we definitelycan't solve with effort, e.g. family problem, ministry problem, etc. How do we solve them? Through the advice from friends? advice from brothers and sisters? Ultimately, we should look for God to solve our problems. God did not test us whether we would find the correct person to help, but he want us to have a chance to seek Him.

God's door is always open... whether big or small, our God is willing to help us... He like us to draw near to Him. There's no limit of how many problems you can bring before Him... there's no time limit too (you don't have to worry that God will only solve your problem if you submit your problem before 4pm, haha...)

Last point (from verse 5 too), praise and worship Him. This is the most difficult lesson and there is no fixed method in doing this. Real worship is to know God. How much we know the one we worship? The speaker ask us if we dare to take challenge: Use any words we want to praise God continuously for 5 minute. Haha... ask yourselves... can you beat the challenge? Haha... not if you don't quite know the one you are worshipping. Many time we don't dare to take such challenge because we know our knowledge of our God is so limited... can't even span for 5 minutes. Haha... the 5 minutes just doesn't seem to end haha...

In order to praise God, we need to worship Him. In order to worship God, we need to thrist for Him. If we are having a conversation with our close friend, 3 hours may seem too short. If we are talking to a stranger, few sentences only take less than 3 minutes, so how long will our conversation with our God be?

When we feel downcast, boring, depressed, spirit-down state, etc, do remember God. When we face all kind of problem, don't complain, but think that these are chances we can draw near to God by bringing these problems to God, our Heavenly Father... who want us to go to Him... He can't wait to bless us... the gift for you and me is ready... no doubt the giver (God) is ready... but only the recipient of the gift is not ready... haha...

Second Night (9/6)

The speaker gave us another example... he said when he was going to Melbourne to study 神学, the air tickets were expensive back then, so he took a cargo ship there... need 18 days... haha... wow, that's long... anyway, on the boat, he met a father and a son from Sri Lanka. Both are Christians. So they often had fellowship together on the ship. They told the speaker that when Sri Lanka was still called Ceylon, people can gather freely in the church to worship God because Sunday is a public holiday. Not many people come to church however. Once Ceylon became Sri Lanka, Sunday is not a public holiday then, thus they have to work on Sunday. Their work should start around 9am, so they have to gather around 6am. The regular church go-ers think that the church will be much less people now as we know it is not easy to get up before 6am to be ready for worship.

However, it happened that during their first gathering at 6am, the church was full of people. Because people now realised they have lost the freedom to gather on Sunday, thus they treasured the time for the Lord on Sunday now...

Previous night, we discussed that because of our needs, we need to draw near to God. Only God can fulfill our need, our spiritual thrist. We may need to pay a high price. An analogy will be deers on the mountain need to come down to the stream to drink water... in the midst of that journey, they need to risk their lives... tigers, hunters or any of their enemy know that the deer will eventually come down for water, so they hide themselves behind the bushes near the water, waiting for their prey... the deers know that too, just like we know if we want to go to God, there are a lot of obstacles that are hindering us from drawing near to God. However, the deers can't claim that they won't need to drink the water... water is important to their life just as God is important to our spiritual life too. The deers thrist for the water... similarly, we thrist for our God.

Now we are going to look from God's perspective. It could be God's goodness, God's mercy, God's greatness that attracted us to Him. Just like a beautiful thing that attracts you, make you want to buy it, make you treasure it, make you want to draw near to it...

Psalm 73:1-16 describes how people attracted to the world. The psalmist looked at the people of the world, saw their success, saw their wealth, saw all the greatness from the world, and he almost attracted to them, follow their path. However, if you read the verses after verse 16, the psalmist didn't attract to the world. The main reason is God. How did God retrack the psalmist from the world?

Many Christians think they are foolish for not pursuing the worldly materials, such as wealth and fame. Some people (could be Christians too) think they should only believe in Christ at the last moment before they leave the world. So before they believe in Christ, they can go pursue the worldly materials. Then at the end they still can go to heaven, though they only believe on their dead bed. Won't that is a good idea? One stone killing two birds (一石二鸟)! Haha...

But they are wrong. Don't think that money or reputation of the world (and any worldly materials) are valuable. Philippians 3:7-8 says that Paul willing to give up anything for the sake of the Lord. We thought that Christian's life should throw away everything like Paul (treat everything as rubbish). No... you got the wrong meaning. What Paul said here means that he has found the real treasure, i.e. Jesus Christ... if he compares Jesus Christ and all the worldly materials, the worldly materials are like rubbish, not valuable.

Many Christians know that the worldly materials are rubbish. But after they throw all these rubbish (meaning not pursuing all these worldly materials), they stop there, empty handed... Not pursuing anything is worse off than people pursuing worldly materials (at least they still have rubbish to pursue)...

Psalm 73:25 - Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. If we look at everything is vain (not pursuing anything, including worldly materials), then we are no difference from the monks and nuns. Many Christian thought to be fervent to spiritual things, then will become like that (become monks and nuns)... but it isn't like... things don't stop after we throw away all the rubbish. The bible tells us that we put down the worldly stuff then pursue God... just like we clear the rubbish from our book shelves, then we put treasures on the shelves.

When the psalmist come to the Lord, he realize God is the most previous, the most valuable and most worthy of our praise, our worship and our service. Verse 25 prescribes the secret that motivates us in our life. Not only looking down on the worthly matter, but also looking up or pursuing God.

Going to Psalm 16 brings out the concreteness in pursuing God. Verse 2 - I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.". David (the psalmist of Psalm 16) says every goodness is in God. (The converse meaning of "apart from you(God) I have no good thing") All goodness are in God.

Let us see what David say how he is attracted to our Lord so tightly:

Firstly, David divide goodness into two parts: one in the Lord and one out of the Lord. The goodness out of the Lord are those described in the first 16 verses in Psalm 73. Those are actually what we think is good... appealing to our eyes and our sinful body... David recognizes that those are not goodness... thus he said that all the goodness is in the Lord.

Many Christians may be saying something that their heart don't reckon so. 口是心非. They can say how bad the worldly materials are in front of you, but their heart may think otherwise, "May be it is not all bad!". Do we come into conclusion that all goodness lies in the Lord? If you still think that some goodness lie outside the Lord, then you will feel burden to follow God wholeheartedly. You will think that "I should use my time for rather than in church on Sunday."

Second point, same verse, David claim that "In the Lord, I can find all the goodness, 一切不缺少. Many Christian think that there's some goodness God can't give, such as wealth and fame. (This means that they don't think all goodness are in the Lord)

James said that God did not withhold any goodness from us. He has given us His one and only Son, how about the other things in the world? God is not stingy. He has actually given us the entire package of gifts to us when we believes Him and accept our salvation. But we just don't know how to use these gifts... so conclusion is... all our goodness is in Him.

Coming along to third point, Psalm 16:5 - Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. What can you derive from this verse? Not only we receives the Lord's blessing, but the Lord himself. He is my portion. The Levites are a group of people who don't have a land among the Israelites. The Lord say their portion is the Lord. They have the greatest blessing among the rest. So don't see that we Christians are worse off than the people from the world. We have God as our portion, we inherited the entire world.

"You have my cup" - this cup is wine cup, 酒杯. A sense of satisfaction... ask those who drink wine... they can distinguish the brand of the wine they have drank... you can see their face after they drank a very good wine... their face is full of satisfaction... David claims that the Lord is the satisfaction of his heart. When we think about our Lord, do we feel the satisfaction?

Psalm 27:4 - One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. If we have one thing that all our goodness (our satisfaction of heart and all our portion) lies in it, then we won't lock it up, right? If you have beautiful watch, would you lock it in a drawer of your bedroom? No right? You will wear it and put it to good use... same goes for our God, we should find ways to draw near to it (refering to the thing that all our goodness lies in), i.e. God.

We are so blessed that we can worship our God anytime and anywhere, as long as we are willing. Last time, the Israelites had to go to the God's temple to worship Him. David say he would prefer to be a priest (draw near to God every moment) to a king. David's main aim of worshipping God is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.

Our God is willing to reveal himself to us (or else no man can know who God is). He reveal himself through the bible. We can know Him through the bible, a mean for us to gaze upon the Lord's beauty. Put the aim of reading bible as trying to know more of God, 认识神.

So today onward when we read the bible, ask ourselves, what does this passage tell us about our God? 这里告诉我神是怎样的? Read the bible to behold his beauty and be attracted to Him.

"Seek him in the temple" - prayers to God. When we read the bible, we gaze upon his beauty, we respond by praying to Him. This is a two way living relationship. Longing for God (thrist for God) is not an one way relationship. When we get close to God, God gets close to us. 当我们亲近神,神也亲近我们. This is the most practical way of drawing near to Him.

May brothers and sisters benefited from my sharing above.