Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ask, ask, ask... Why on earth am I here for?

           Baby is the most beautiful creation that God ever assign for men to be responsible for. More than that, baby is a gift. A precious gift that none of the precious jewels in the world could ever compare. Am I right?

            When we see a baby, oh, what a peace they can bring to us. All the stress in the world, the rush and fast pace of life suddenly stop for a moment when we look at their innocent eyes. Even my hot-tempered uncle can become a saint when he holds his one and only child. Hours of labor pain seems nothing compare to years of our life spent with our parent. From the 'lost' memories when we were 1 - 3 years old to whatever age we're now, we just can't measure their love toward us. How bless are we to be alive, am I right?

For some, my valuable readers, their childhood story seems to be differs from the 'lucky' one. As far as they understand- their parent is not as lovely as some maybe and had been disappointed by their imperfect parents. Let us consider these questions: Why me in this family, community and this part of the world? What on earth am I here for?

            On December 30, 2009, security manager V. Puvanesingam, 42, received a call from one of his officers on the evening somewhere around 2.15pm from Jabil factory's production line in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ). The report was regarding about a sewage pipe in one of the female toilets at the production line was clogged. As the reporter from the Star newspaper, K. Kasturi Dewi writes, "He said he went behind the toilet where all the pipes were and upon shining torchlight into the pipe which was exposed, he saw a baby's leg." Hasmah Ibrahim, 35, witness testified in baby murder case said, "I was in there (toilet) for about 2 minutes when suddenly I heard the cry of a baby once, followed by the sound of water flushing."

            As I read the article, another question arises; Why God lets this happen to this poor baby? This is my answer, honestly... I don't know. But I'm sure, very sure that He is God of Justice. For people who flush their baby out in the toilet bowl, let God alone dealing with her, we know a little about the history of this case and please don't judge her before the case is over.

            Questions started to flood my mind as I ponder upon this inhuman action. How could this baby born in such a short period of time? Can you imagine what can this baby become if he/she ever have a change to grow up as a normal kid, he/she could be a Prime Minister, a top athletes, a great missionary, the best cleaner in the world, a very helpful person, a lovely parents etc. Why he/she don't ever have a change to live his/her life?

            These are good questions, but for me it is not so important. I rather ask; why I'm still alive now? What I want to do with the life that I have now? Since God have given me a change to live this life, how are the best ways for me to do it?

            Now, let’s come back to the questions above... Why me in this family, community and this part of the world? What on earth am I here for? Isn't that a great question to ask from God? Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you." (Matthew 7:7) Ask! Get the 1st hand faith. Ask God for help, ask to find the Truth, ask for answers... He will give it to you! For me 3 of the greatest questions we could ever ask is this:
  • If You are REAL, O God, please tell me Who are You?
  • How can I be saved?
  • What on earth am I here for?
 We were a baby and we have survived up until now. As alive as we are today, without a purpose in life we're nothing more than a dead men. Ask questions to Heaven, get a first hand answer. Be sure... Ask.  Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Week 21: Don't give up! - Failure means gain Experience

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. - Napoleon Hill
The winners are just the ones that keep getting back up again! The only way to be loser is to fail and quit; or fail and not learn form it; or fail and not look beyond it; or fail and let it define you as a failure. In the Psychology of Achievement, (I copied this within 5 minutes from a bookstore which advice customers to 'No free reading, please'.) Brian Tracy tells of four millionaires tried an average of 17 different things before they found one that made them successful by the age of 35 years.

 In every failure you always learned something, what you do is change your approach and never quit! Chester Bennington from Linkin Park shout it out loud, "One step closer!” Yes! Knowing what doesn't work, moves you one step closer to knowing what does. People do not fail, they just quit too easily. Don't give up!

Anthony Robbins in his book Unlimited Power (P.s: Broaden your reading materials, don't just stick with one subject) suggests that "There is no such thing as failure. There are only results." He said that we always produce a result. If it's not the one you desire, you can just change your actions and you'll produce new results. Cross the word 'failure', circle the word 'result'. With every failure, you gain experience. Try again, don't give up!

Let me close up this note with this amazing story of Thomas Edison, who, with less than 3 months of schooling, became the world's leading inventor especially in his famous invention- incandescent light. After he'd tried more than 9,999 times to perfect the light bulb and hadn't succeeded, someone asked him,
"Are you going to have 10,000 failures?"
He answered, "I didn't fail. I just discovered another way not to invent the electric light bulb."

What an answer! When you face so called 'failure', bare in mind that you're always produce results. There is no such thing as failure. There are only opportunities for learning. Try again, don't give up! Best Blogger Tips

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?

We all are going to die. (Wow! That statement surely motivates you huh?) An undeniable fact about the future of every person, no escaping is- death. "Sometimes death is sudden. Sometime it's long and drawn out. Occasionally, it is beautiful, sweet, and peaceful. At other times it is wrenching and hideous, bloody and ugly. There are times, from our viewpoint, it come too early. On other occasions it seems the cold fingers of death linger too long as some dear soul endures pain and sadness, loneliness and senility. But however it comes... it comes to us all. There is no escape." (Charles Swindoll, David: A man of Passion & Destiny)

If possible, I don't want to attend any funeral ceremonies. I don't like the sad, anguish and sorrowful atmosphere. During my grandfather's funeral I could not avoid the sense of that feelings present in the room. We have lost a man who was so special in our lives. When I saw his face for a final glance, all the memories suddenly rush to my left and right sides of the brain. At one point I couldn't take the fact that he's gone forever. Years have passed by, yet another familiar faces take turn to fill the empty space of the already made coffins... families and friends.
The right question to ask now is not 'when' for no one knows about it and as for sure- everyone will die, but 'Where to go after we die?'

Jesus death and resurrection brings hope for us. The power of God that resident in our lives today is the same power that enables us to live for eternity. L. Morris puts it, 'Death is but a gateway to further life and fellowship with God." Jesus' power is in us and it will continue to carry us through the darkest hour, for nothing can ever separate us from God's mighty love. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the death, He said to Martha,

'I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.' (John 11:25-26a) 
His words continue to make alive today. He is qualified to say those words because He lives a sinless life and brutally honest in telling the Truth. His last question is;
'Do you believe this?' (John 11:26b)
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Humble with what you have, Proud of Who you are!

The stall owner named the price and I asked her to repeat it again incase my 'sound system breakdown'. It wasn't my fault neither hers', it was our language barrier- she spoke chinese language to me and I understood none except, of course, she want me to pay for her delicious Wan Tan Mee.
"I thought you're chinese. You look like one", she said politely without apologized.
"I'm from West Malaysia", I replied. "Oh... ", she said. I assumed she tried to recall her history lessons and then continued, "Sabah?"
"No", I chuckled. "Sarawak. I'm an iban."
The conversation continued and even I don't have discount for my meal that day, I'm leaving the stall with a thought in mind: "Be proud of who you are!”

            Sometime it is quite frustration when I heard people say, 'Don't tell people that I'm ..., I don't want people to know. I'm embarrass of the fact!', 'I don't like my small eyes and curly hair, why I didn't born somewhere else?', 'We are stupid tribe/race!' and even some people I knew well, refuse to rise up their hand when someone called out their ethnic group. 

            Once in collage, someone makes fun of the words 'iban' and 'bidayuh'. He would sing his 'funny songs' and dance with extremely confident. When he asked me, where I'm from, he soon realized that his audience was not a fan but a 'flaming coals'. I wish to revived 'headhunting' practice that day but the Word of the Lord stopped me from doing it, 'Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.' (Matthew 5:39) So I show my protest through silent and I won't let this dude to steal my day. Secure people don't have to settle things with violence. Be proud of who you are!

Where are you from? Who you are? This are very basic questions that we need to answer... we need to provide a very good answer to this. If you can't, go out there and find it out. In the surface, our answers could be; where are we from geography factor and who we are from our background such as nationality, race, ethnic or tribe. Can you answer it? Now asked deeper questions;
WHERE are you from? WHO you are?

Humble with what you have because what you have is not yours and soon disappear. Be proud of who you are! With confident and assurance, say together with me... I'm from the Creator of the Universe and I'm the most precious children of God. With this in mind; treat and approach others the same.
WHO you are?

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 20: Humble - The lowly will be Exalted

"Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.' (Ezekiel 21:26)

In its context, turban representing the priestly leadership, and the crown picturing the succession of kings. This I will not discuss. But what remains truth for our daily application is this, 'The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.'

During my campus time, I have a desire to become famous. I love when people praises me for what I do. I was so content with it that I begin to think that my talents was purely out of my own and when I achieved something great, I was all consume myself with ‘classic’ feeling- PRIDE. Pride is the genesis of all falls and failures. It humbles me down when I learned that, 'The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low'. In my case, I was brought lower than the definitions of 'lowest' in Kamus Dewan or Oxford Dictionary.

Recently I read a book by Brian Kolodiejchuk. M.C. (I don't know how to pronounce his name), Mother Teresa, 'Come be My Light'. I'm so amaze (not in worship) by the characters of Mother Teresa which never fail to make me humble ‘to the ground of dusty soils of Petaling Jaya road’. It seems like I had experienced joining King Nebuchadnezzar in his majesty humiliation when he said against Heaven,
"Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30)
What was the outcome of his pride? He eat grass like an ox... his nails were like birds' claws... and so on.

Unlike King Nebuchadnezzar and I, we'd been humiliate but Mother Teresa remain humble when her works had made well known to the world when she founded the Missionaries of Charity for the poorest of the poor people in India (initially, then to the most part of the world) on September 10, 1946. Brian wrote that she always insisted that all documents revealing the inspiration behind the founding must be destroyed, for fear that she would be given a prominence that she believed was due to God alone. Here are some quotes of her letters of her request;

'... Please may I have them- as these were the very expression of my soul... I would like to burn all papers that disclose anything of me in them... I was His little instrument- now His will is known... all those letters are useless.'
'... Please do not give anything... I want the work to remain only His. When the beginning will be known people will think more of me- less of Jesus... I am only His instrument- why so much about me- when the work is all His. I hold no claim to it...'

She does what she does not because she wants peoples’ praises or to gain popularity, but she did it for the love of Christ. After her death in 1997, the world had been inspired by her life and because her purpose was to Glorified God only, God had made her name known through all generations.

Zig Ziglar advised, 'Always ask yourself honestly, 'Does this (what you do) Glorified God?’
Jesus said, 'Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.' (Matthew 23:15)

"The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low."
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fly flying without Wings (Do not read this!)

That evening was the day of battle between two kingdoms. The battle was very unique and extraordinary one, human (my mother) vs. Insect (a fly). My mother was happily cooking for a dinner for us and she fried my favorite ikan masin (salted fish). The smell is much stronger than what Nirvana' lead singer, Kurt Cobain said when he sing 'smell like teen spirit', it is much more like what The Rock, Dwayne Johnson said, 'Do you smell what The Rock is cooking???'

I thought that just the whole family agreed about it, but I was wrong! A fly came for a 'visit' and without asking on 'his' opinion, he seems to agree and somehow I can interpret what 'he' was trying to say... 'Bzzzzzzz... Bzzzzz...' ('I agree, the smell is good!')

  Maybe my mother was wrongly interpreted what that fly is trying to say, she don't want external opinion on what she cooked. So what she does was, hunting the fly down and wishing that somehow her swings can hit the fly and declare 'him' dead. As to my calculation, the ratio for her to hit the fly is 1:100, which for an average of 100 hits- she only can hit one. As I'm gifted to interpret strange language (in this case, a fly), my mother which I don't know where it came from, was gifted to 'communicate' with insects. She would say to the fly, "Go away! You stupid fly! Go away!” I saw she did the same thing to dogs before and believe me, dogs understood what she said. But this fly must be deaf or stubborn, which lead 'him' to 'his' own doom's day... Finally, 'he' is dead with no blood, no swings, no sweats... I used, Shieldtox Attack!
When I asked question to Heaven; why Jesus need to be born as a child? The gospel said, He was born in a manger. What? A manger? The manger is not a comfortable place to deliver a baby. What we sees now in most paintings, crafts or drama plays are not accurately presented. He was born in what we called today, a barn, it is supposed to be for livestock, a cave probably, where animals take shelter in bad weather. It is a cold, dark, noisy and uncomfortable area.

If the Bible wants to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God- this is not a good idea. In fact the Bible has many more 'bad' ideas then what seems to be irrelevant for us today. He was born in a manger, live with the poor, curses by the religious leaders and people from His own hometown, and the worst 'idea' of all is this, He died on the cross in the most brutal way at that time, the crucifixion.

"Why Jesus have to come as a human being?" The Scripture said, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). To communicate with us, a finite being about God infinite love is like we trying to communicate with a fly and said to 'him', "I love you”. That’s a bad idea to show love! The only way for my mother to communicate with the fly is either she became a fly or the fly became a man.

'This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.' (1 John 4:10)

When Jesus said He loves us, He really loves us… If He came as what He really is, none of us can understand what He said. We are like a fly and wondering what is my mother talking about. He loves us, He says it to us and He shows us. Steven J. Lawson wrote, “He took the initiative and loved us in spite of ourselves. If God had waited to love us in response to our love for Him, He would never have loved us. He simply chose to love us as a free exercise of His sovereign will, praise His name."

Further more, Jesus was raised from the death, and He's very much alive today! So when you see a fly or a group of flies flying around your room, class or office, just remember this: there's no other god like God in the Bible, He walks the talk and He is a LIVING God! Best Blogger Tips

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 19: Problem... Asset or Liability?

Do you have a problem? Or do you have problems? 

I have good news that I need to share with you- we all have problem!

I read this somewhere, 'He who have no problem had never live'. For some people, problem is so common to them, that when they actually rested or relax suddenly a thought coming in, 'Why no problem? I got to find it, It is somewhere nearby!’ Someone said to me, 'do you know what your problem is?’ I shake my head indicating the answer- I don't know. He told me, 'that’s your problem!’

The other extreme would be some people just never realize that they have problems. Famous saying would be, 'See, all this mess is cause by you! You! You!' (Leaders who always blame their followers for every mistake, not realizing that 'what people do is what people see'), 'I wonder what's wrong with them' (All the problem in the world is cause by others but them) and 'Yuck, this Char Kway Teow taste funny. Hey, tauke you don't know how to cook ka?!' (When tauke came and check the meal, he find out that this customer is using recycle chopstick! Big deal.)

Problem come in all sort of types; personal problems, family and friends relationship, works, studies, financial etc. Some causes by ourselves but some just came without inviting- suddenly in the midst of your 'happy moment'. No matter how big or small is your problem could be, it is important to put it in a right perspective.
  • Problems are everywhere and everyone has it.
  • The way we look at the problem determines our failure or win over it.
  • Realize that people are more important than problem.
  • Respond to the problem correctly so that you can move forward.

The most common ways to handling problems is by;
  • Define what a real problem is. 'A problem is something you can do something about.'
  • Face the problem. Get helps if possible and don't try to avoid it because it may return again bringing out 'more' troubles.
  • Embrace each problem as a potential opportunity. 'Problems are wake-up calls for creativity'. (Quote from John C. Maxwell)
  • Think of people who have bigger problems. Always remember that, someone out there is facing much bigger problem than yours. (Have you read news lately?)

Dale Carnegie in his book, How to stop Worrying and Start Living, suggested:
When you, or any of your associates, are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions;
a. What is the problem?
b. What is the cause of the problem?
c. What are all the best solutions?
d. What is the best solution?

When you are on the point of giving up and on the point of admitting failure, analyze the problem first. Some are not worth worry for and some you have to face it, no other way. 'A problem is something you can do something about.'

Simplify the problem could make it worst, but try to make the problem as simple as it can be. God bless you.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?"

         A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
        The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
 [Short story from the unknown author.]

This story teaches two lessons:
  •  There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.
  •  A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them.

Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words... it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another. Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, November 4, 2010

C.S. Lewis said to J.R.R. Tolkien, "Published it."

One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis. His full name is Clive Staples Lewis, but when he was four years old, he suddenly announced to his mother, father, and older brother that from day forth he would no longer be known as Clive, but rather as 'Jacksie'. Then from Jacksie to Jacks and then, finally, to Jack. One day, Jack interrupted his father in his study in order to announce,
'I have a prejudice against the French'.
When his father asked him why, he replied,
'If I knew why it would not be a prejudice.'

This is the story as told by Alan Jacobs in his book, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis. But what I'm going to share with you all here is not about the topic 'Be proud of your name' or 'no prejudice please', (though I will someday) but just for fun and to tell you about how bold and smart was young Jacksie. Now, if you meet somebody like him in this modern day, how would they react if you comment them about their works? "You stupid!” "How dare you?!"
Well, probably his friend a professor just like Jacksie at Oxford University dare to take the risk to comment on C.S. Lewis's writing. One of his friends was J.R.R. Tolkien telling him that some of his writing is weak and need to be improved. Every Thursday, he and his friends including Tolkien would gather together, have a drink and talk. They would read passages of their yet unpublished works and comment on each other works (fiction-writing).

It was Tolkien who challenged and encouraged Lewis, an avowed atheist, to explore Christianity. It was Lewis who 'barged Tolkien into seeking to have it (his story) published, which eventually he did, in 1938: the story was called The Hobbit.' (As told by Alan Jacobs) It was because of encouragements and support toward one another that make this unknown professor became one of the greatest writers in the history. Lewis wrote 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and many more, meanwhile Tolkien also wrote many more books such as 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Encouragement leads to great things. Encouragement turns lives around. 'Encouragement is oxygen to the soul' said George Matthew Adams. It is the encouragement from her family that makes Datuk Nicole Ann David became The World No.1 Squash player. It is the encouragement from his father that makes Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad loves reading and eventually became Prime Minister. It is the encouragement from his sisters that make my mother the Greatest Mother in the World.

It is the encouragement by his friends that make Allan the best in his work; from mere contractor to successful supervisor in building construction- my friend Allan was a poor man, didn't go to school, only have one pair of shoes for 1 year usage and have a 'piece of property'- old bicycle. His treasure is his friends who never fail to help and encourage him. 'I have another one', he said to me, while pointing his finger up to the Heaven above.

Encouraging others is a noble job. We need to remind ourselves that there is no more noble occupation in the world that to assist another human being, to help someone else succeed.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Letter from Timothy to Paul (Fiction)

From Timothy, a servant of God. To Paul, my dear father,

I give thanks to God, whom you and I serve with His grace, mercy and peace. I thank him as I remember you always in my prayers night and day. How I long to hear your voice, wipe your wounds and tears. You have written to me letters of encouragement when I really needed it the most. I’m cherishing every moment we spent together.

Back then I was timid, shy and very new with this ministry. But because of your words, my attitude is never been the same. My joy is complete when I except Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior through your ministry. I still remember how I met you on your first mission trip, where you stop at my hometown, Lystra and that's the first time I heard the Good News was preached with power and authority.

I never regret the moment when you invited me to join your team on your second mission trip. It is an honor for me to join you in preaching the Good News to the Gentiles. When people criticize me for not honoring God's covenant with Abraham because I'm not circumcise, (His mother is a Jew but his father is a Gentile) you come to my defense and have me circumcised. I have no regret! What is this small sacrifice to compare with the victory prize that is waiting for me on the Day?

As you're faithful to God, I'm ought to be faithful too to the One that unites us. How are you there my father Paul? Though you are persecuted by Rome and arrested as if you are a criminal, in jail with poor conditions; cold, dark dungeon- yet you still wrote letters of encouragement to me and the church. May my brother Luke take good care of you. I'm very sad as I write this letter because I know, you knew it at hand, that you are about to leave this life. Oh how I wish that God would deliver you! But if this is the Will of God, then let it be so, for you have said, 'To live is Christ, to die is gain'.

My father, I will keep in mind what you have taught me. I will save your letters for other generations after me. For they must know that All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. Keep praying for me and the church of Ephesus which is where I'm serving now. May the spirit of Endurance in you when you said, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith' be granted to us as we also were persecuted because of Christ Jesus. Amen.

My mother Eunice and elders send their greetings to you, Luke and all the other brothers.
The Lord be with your spirit. God's grace be with you.

      Into the mind of Timothy as he received letters from Paul somewhere around A.D. 62-67, knowing that Paul will soon be executed. It's a fictional replied. I just made it, not to be taken as true letter okay? But Paul really did sent letters to Timothy and it is recorded in the Bible (and yes, its original) Paul was truly a man of God and one of the main reason he wrote letters to Timothy was to ENCOURAGE him. Read more of his encouragement in 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. (In case you don't know, it's in the Bible) Best Blogger Tips

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