Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Trekker on the Journey

The road to God is set on an inclined plane. There are parts of the way that are levelled but shortly after, it resumes its upward trend. Along the way, there are creatures that sing in one tune the treacherousness of what lies ahead, warning that it is impossible to reach the finish line and so, dangles the lure to call it off once and for all. They stick out their legs into the path to trip and bring down the undiscerning trekker. In this moment, in a distance, a chorus of shouts and cheers seem so faint. The walkie-talkie picks up the cheers and the volume once turned up, resounds with the voices of those who have already arrived victoriously at the finish line. They call out not to give up, to go on, one foot ahead of the other. Yet, there are times the signal of the walkie-talkie is disrupted; short and long moments of silence leave the lonely trekker in the utmost test of endurance and faith. Can he still trust that he is on the right path that leads to the destination he had in mind? Can he still believe in the cheers that are no longer there to lend a support? Can he still hold true to the One who had called him to walk this path?

This is the road to God, set on a steep plane. Despite its harshness, many have walked the same path, full of trials and tribulations and arrived at the finish line, wounded and bruised, bleeding, but victorious. Giving up is not an option. We must press on and fight the good fight till the end, knowing that we have God on our side. He makes all things new and gives hope to hopelessness, just like how He dispelled the depressing reality of His death with great reviving joy of His resurrection. Amidst gloom, He comes through a path, newly paved, a new possibility, a new solution, a new dose of energy. He never fails those who seek Him with all their hearts and yearn to follow in His ways. Hope in the Lord and keep trekking on.

29 May 2011, Sunday

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Blessings to Bridge Society's Inequality

For my morning devotion on 20 May 2011

Today, I was speaking with my class about 'blessings' and it brought to mind a possible reason why God seems to bless some people more than others. Is it because He loves some people more than He loves those others? Nope, not true at all.

Imagine a world in which every one of us has $10million in our bank accounts, the same identical bungalow house and the same Rolls Royce car for everyone as soon as we are born into the world. What will such a world, such a life, be like? No one will be poor, no one will be hungry. None of us will be in need of anything. Everyone will just mind their own business, do their own things, lead their own lives, and guard their money and possessions so tightly for fear of being robbed. On the surface, it seems that such a life is peaceful and happy since we have all the material things we need.

But if we were to lead such a life, we will never ever come to understand and experience what it means to share, to love, to care, to give, to be selfless and kind, generous and compassionate. We will never come to understand and experience what it means to receive, to be loved, to be cared for, to know that we are important to someone else, that we matter and that we’re not just another person walking by on the surface of this planet. We will never ever be able to experience goodness and thereby, we will never get a chance come to know the loving, caring and forgiving God we have. Our lives will be plain, as bland as a bowl of plain porridge boiled without salt or oil.

Take a look at our world; there are the rich people and the poor people. This is a good opportunity for the rich to share their wealth with those who are poor. Will this not give us joy in our hearts from the act of sharing and caring?

Then, there are those who are starving because they do not have money to buy food, and there are those who have so much to eat that they end up throwing away the leftovers. In Singapore, we love to go for buffet lunches and dinners. We eat till we are so starved with food like a Christmas Turkey and we can barely stand up to walk. This difference opens up the opportunity for us to share our food with those who are suffering or dying of starvation.

Going further, there are those who are born intelligent and those who are born with special needs and physical handicaps. God has purposely created this great opportunity for those who are more gifted to stretch out your hands to those who need your encouragement and affirmation that they are not useless but they, too, have the chance to live with dignity and respect as a fellow human person.

If any of us actually think that we are better than others because we are more capable, smarter, live in a bigger house, drive a more expensive car, then we have no idea how wrong we are. There is a far bigger world outside of the well we have been squatting in for the longest time. This is not what our blessings and our gifts are for. Instead, they are for us to share with those who have less or who have none. They are for us to use to bring about peace, joy, harmony, happiness and love when we share, care and give.

I would like to end off today’s reflection with an image of a waterfall. Here is the Niagara. Imagine that you are standing at the bottom of this waterfall. Up on the cliff, there must be so much water in the river that it overflows over the cliff to become the waterfall in front of you. And you hear the sound of the gushing waters thundering through the air. What a magnificent, beautiful and captivating sight!! It just takes your breath away. Like this waterfall, may the many, many blessings we have been given throughout our lives overflow abundantly and selflessly from our hearts into the lives of the less fortunate, the oppressed and the suffering in our society. God bless us all.

19 May 2011, Thursday

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Death of a Family Member

In life, we experience many "first-time" moments; 1st-time at being a parent, getting married, trying out a new stall, and of course in 2011, 1st-time voting, etc. About 12h ago, my aunt passed away in front of me. My first-time being at someone's death-bed and being one of the last to see the deceased. Her pulse rate was not monitored on a machine as I thought was the normal procedure for patients with fluctuating heart rates. Her death remained unnoticed until the pulse rate was no longer felt at the her neck and chest when the maid checked on her.

There was only one daughter in the ward. In time, the other children arrived, rushing down the corridor and sobbing along the way. They surrounded their beloved mother and wept. Standing in a distance, I came to a deeper realisation as the scene was captured in my photographic memory that I will one day be in those same shoes, weeping and feeling the heart-wrenching loss of my own parents.

Death is a sure thing for all of us. I must admit that I have been influenced from young to adopt the "taboo" of death, to fear it and to fear the emotions it entails. But I am truly blessed to have been granted the gift of faith in God, the God of all eternity. In Jesus, who by His death opened the gates of heaven to us, I am assured of eternal life that awaits me and my dear ones. It becomes easier to cope with the loss because I know that it is God to whom I am losing my dear one; and in His hands, the souls can rest in eternal peace and elation. With this hope made possible only through the gift of faith and the choice to trust, I hold the passing dear to my heart with the assurance that we will one day meet again in the eternal Kingdom of God.

May God give us strength in our most trying moments.

15 May 2011 Sunday

Friday, 6 May 2011

Think about God

From yesterday's morning devotion 
Topic: Think about God

How can we think about God when we do not know who God is or how He looks like since we have never seen Him before? We only know that He lived slightly more than 2000 years ago, was born in Bethlehem, His earthly parents were Mary and Joseph. We know that Jesus came to earth with a mission – a mission to tell everyone of us to live a life that imitates His love so that we can enter through the gates of heaven at the end of our lives and enjoy happiness forever. To tell us this message and to show to us an example of how to live such a life, He Himself accepted, willingly, the suffering and death caused by sinful, jealous, greedy and insecure man. And He calls us to turn away from sin, to do good and not evil.

When Jesus was suffering and was hanging on the cross, dying, He thought about each one of us. He could have easily said He cannot be bothered about us since it is our own fault that we choose to sin. He could have called upon His Father in heaven to save Him from all those suffering and death. But He chose, instead, to go through it all for our sake.

To think about God is to think about how we behave every day, to think about the things we say and do. Before we say something or do something, think about Jesus. Before you choose not to hand in your homework punctually, do your corrections properly, before you choose to call your classmate a nasty name, think about Jesus, think about your teachers, your parents, your classmates. Before we gossip about someone else, before we backstab someone, before we utter a lie, before we think too highly of ourselves and treat other people like they are not as intelligent and capable as ourselves, think about Jesus; think about Him and choose. We cannot leave our daily actions to a matter of chance or convenience. Everyday, we choose continuously the life we want to live. If we do not have the right focus, if we do not think of Jesus and remember the goodness He wants us to live our lives by, we will surely find ourselves making many wrong decisions. Let us pray that we will take God more seriously and find strength in the Lord to live good lives.

Uploaded on Friday 6 May 2011

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Imitating Christ's Leadership

Over the days, I have progressed from being excited over all the talks about the upcoming General Election to recognising the unsettledness it has created within me. The GE has innocently and helplessly become the platform for Man's greed, backstabbing, hunger for power, LIES, pride, arrogance, condemnation of others, deception, more lies to cover previous lies, criticisms, gossips, accusations, manipulations, taking others for granted, betrayal, misusing trust and breaking trust, etc. It has become the devil's workshop, not just for those standing for election but it is also increasing the darkness in our hearts. It is one thing to support one party we want to entrust our future to. It's another to get involved with all the gossips, criticisms, condemnations, etc.

The purpose of having a government has been long forgotten, be it in Singapore or elsewhere. As Christ came to show us, He, the Master, washed the feet of His disciples, and He instructed them to wash one another's feet. Although Jesus is God & King, His Kingship was and is one of service. Till today, He is still "serving" us in our everyday living - listening to our cries, tolerating our indifference towards Him when we do not need Him, interceding on our behalf to God our Father, providing for our every need, etc. He is God and yet, He is humbler than any of us, to the point of laying down His own life for our sake. How is it that people can stand before a crowd and proclaim themselves to be the best leader, the best choice, when their intentions are tainted with impurities? How is it that they are able to speak ill about others publicly, proudly and confidently? We set a very bad example for the younger generations, putting to waste all efforts sincere educators and parents have put in over the many years to instill the right values. It seems, suddenly, the right thing to do to shame another in front of others. What difference are we from the crowd who shamed, insulted, accused, condemned and brought down Jesus? If all the candidates can take after the example set by Jesus, what a wonderful government they will form, whoever it consists of, what blessing it will be to the people.

Leadership is about service for the common good. It is not for Man's own personal glorification.The true spirit of a leader is clearly lived out by Gandhi in all sincerity. God is the One who grants authority to Man, gives Man the intelligence and wisdom to govern. If Man chooses against exercising his authority responsibly and sincerely, he must know that one day, when he meets his Maker, he will have to account for every misuse of that authority and many other gifts bestowed upon him. The justice of God will always prevail, despite how much we may try to deceive ourselves otherwise. Jesus told Pilate that he would have no authority over Him if it had not been given from above (from God). Pilate, too, did not stand by the Truth, and gave in to his own insecurities and fears. He was not responsible in his usage of authority.

When we watch the rallies, the videos on YouTube, read the papers, we will inevitably form our own opinions in agreement and disagreement. But we have to keep in mind our Christian values. We cannot allow ourselves to enter the devil's workshop and join with the crowd in all their vices. We have to stand firm on the life that Jesus came to call us to live. Yes, we will vote, and we must vote for the common good, whichever side that leads us to. In the meantime, we have to get back to ground, return to the Cross of Life, recognize with compassion and mercy that each candidate is a fellow human person, a son or daughter of God the Father, and no matter how undeserving we may judge them to be, they deserve basic human respect and dignity. Let's settle within our hearts to restore the peace only God can give.

1 May Sunday 2011