Archive for December, 2008

Death Has Lost Its Sting

31/12/2008

Thank you for praying. It has been an eventful past 48 – 72 hours, which, even as I type this, is not quite over yet.

This is the sms I was asked to send out on the night of 30 December 2008.
There were so many wonderful moments and such blessing from the Lord even in such a difficult time. The doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital were wonderful and caring. When Esther came out from the harvesting of her organs, the staff spontaneously formed two lines to salute her and her parents as they escorted Esther’s body back to the bed to await transfer to the funeral parlour.

Later when I spoke with the head of the department, I mentioned how Esther’s parents appreciated the gesture, care, support and expertise. His reply.
My response was to let him know that I was merely conveying what Esther’s parents had told me.

In return he said,
Also from the paediatrician who attended Esther, who visited her at the Funeral Parlour with his boss.
In a short while, Esther’s family will be accompanying her back to Kuala Lumpur where for Esther’s family, the journey continues.

Please do continue to pray for them.

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Please Pray

29/12/2008


A friend’s under 3 year old daughter is ill in hospital. She had brain surgery earlier today. Please pray for her recovery.

More details later.

Thank you.

A Christmas Variety Act

26/12/2008

Whilst still on Christmas, last night I went to a church celebration. There were a number of presentations.

* Three part harmony – exquisite voices and parts.

* Praise with Movement – although they hardly moved their feet it was sweet, especially the chubby little girl at the front.

* Concert pianist – awesome fingerwork. Showmanship too. He was raising funds for children in India.

* Children doing a High School Musical dance – they had fun, but what about Christmas?

* Drama on the Nativity – from the perspective of bees and a Sabahan Joseph and Mary.

* A Mime based on the song, “What a Strange Way to Reach the World” or something like that. It was simple and powerful. I texted the leader of the congregation to tell her that she should take them further afield. She replied that she planned to take them to Brunei. So it is confirmation for her!

* Youth dance – my daughter was in it. No comments! Hahahahaha!

* There was even a Lucky Draw, Christianized by calling it a Blessed Draw

And so it went on.

I sat through the evening, I wondered about it. No strong theme throughout. No strong push for altar call. I wondered, what is this all about….

Then the Lord answered.

This church doesn’t need one-off events for outreach. They do it all year round,” He seemed to say.

I thought about that.

This church has recently established a new church consisting of 60-70% new believers. In a short while, they have 100 members. They have another 2 congregations, the youth service, and are planning for a bilingual BM-English congregation next year.

I guess this was a variety act Christmas service, yes.

But it was also a celebration of their diversities as they came together to celebrate the Lord’s birth and reason for His birth.

Nice.

Xmas Hols? Christmas Hols?

25/12/2008

It’s the holiday season, I am told. Some would find it hard to celebrate due to their losses – loved ones, homes, careers, whatever…. Others carry on regardless.

It’s the holiday season, I am told. But surely there is more to just having a holiday time?

And so indeed, there is. It’s to celebrate the birth of the Christ. The Messiah. The Saviour of the world. Christ is taken from the Greek – Christos. Messiah is from Hebrew. Saviour is obviously English. They all refer to one Person as far as I am concerned – the Lord Jesus.

Some take offence to Christmas being re-labelled to Xmas. They say that Christ is being taken out of Christmas. Which does make sense.

On the other hand, the word Christ comes from the Greek, and the Greek alphabet for CH is written like an ‘X’. So this abbeviation doesnt seem that far wrong.

Whatever your preference, what is most important is to remember that it doesnt end at the end of the week, or the calendar year.

This was only the beginning. While the world celebrates in all its form, let’s keep the main thing the main thing.

From our home to yours.

Culture Shock cum Patience Test

22/12/2008

So we had a lot to learn. Take this for instance.

We saw this sign amidst the crowd. Take a number to check in? NOW we knew why there were so many people waiting.
We asked and were directed to the queue to get the check in number.

Yes, you read correctly. There was another queue to get a queue number….. So Hubby lined up. That’s him in the blue shirt on the right of this picture.
That wait was not too long. He sat himself down, having given the young man all the necessary details.
He then received our queue for registration number – 857. Yes, eight hundred and fifty-seven. I looked at the paper Hubby got and then I looked at the flashing board which would call us to the respective counters to check in.

Yes, there were more than 500 others in front of us.
Folks, we waited for more than 3.5 hours before we were seen to.

Much later, we saw, tucked aside in a small area, some machines which indicated that if you had prepaid you could skip the queue and check in separately.

Now why didn’t the young man tell us about it?

Culture Shock

19/12/2008

Complementary membership card and room. It was tempting. So we decided to go.

After waking up very early in the morning, we caught a 2.5hr flight, found our way to KL Sentral and caught the coach. We had to plead with the coach driver to put us on an earlier timed coach…. First time my Hubby said I have a “please help me I’m lost” look.
The ride there was uneventful. We slept well.With some minor hiccups, we found the Skyway. This is its boast.
There was a special queue to go into. This should have given us warning of what lay ahead!
As our turn grew near, we shuffled along going in a zigzag manner to the final point.
Then we hopped on. Five of us took one whole gondola. With our hand luggage and our check-in luggage. It was a wonderful 15 – 20 mins ride. I took a video but it would be too long to show it.
At the end of it was when the culture shock hit. After such a plesant ride, we were greeted with the masses.
And a looooong walk. After making queries, we found that we had been sent to hotel (out of 5) farthest away. Nearest to the theme park, but farthest away. The long walk was an eyeful.
People everywhere. Young and old. All playing arcade games. It was scary to see how many there were. People of all ages, eyes glued to their screens.

We ventured further into this different world. Felt like we were heading into goodness knows what.
Then we saw it. A humungous hall. Incredible noise levels. And we saw this man – can you see? His yellow reflector even has white flashing lights!
That gives you an idea of how packed the place was. We were very disorientated initially. Everything spelled commercialism and consumerism at a high price….

More in the next post.

Peddling the Word?!

16/12/2008

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one, we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

To different people, we will evoke different reactions. Our lives, lived as we ought to as Christians, diffuse, or manifest (as the Greek implies) the fragrance and aroma of Christ. People around us will react. We should expect it if we are living as we ought. Strong reactions too!

How should we live? Well, Paul uses a another strong image here – peddling.

What is a peddler? When I checked the synonyms, I got this – transient, sells cheap things, itinerant. Another gave this definition – adulterating for gain! Wow! What pictures!

Paul says that he is not peddling the word of God. Rather, out of sincerity, as from God, he speaks. His audience is God Himself. The audience of ONE.

When we go about our daily lives, let’s remember this too. We are not in this world for our own pleasure and self-gratification.

More about that in my next post.

To Do Or Not To Do

13/12/2008

It can be so painful.

Some people are like porcupines. Touchy. So they are sensitive. Prickly. So they can hurt you when they feel threatened. Even if your intentions are good.

Paul understood that. “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I write to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.” 2 Corinthians 2:4

But then he then went on to talk about forgiveness and to offer comfort to the offender!

It is a fact – not everyone who has wronged us will seek our forgiveness.
But Paul, despite what he has gone through, encourages forgiveness!

Does forgiveness come easy? No. Of course not. But it has to be done. It is a choice to be made. In fact, Paul calls it a test of obedience – to forgive is to obey! (2 Corinthians 2:9) If we seek to walk in obedience, forgiveness is not an option.
In verse 11, Paul offers another reason – if we don’t, we fall into one of Satan’s trap. That’s right. He has his schemes, that evil one. And unforgiveness is one of them!

If we are living with unforgiveness, we ar the ones trapped. I know of someone who suffered a lot. Victimized for being poor, picked on for speaking for righteousness, bypassed for being the wrong colour… you got the picture. He ended up ill. His heart couldn’t bear it. He had to stop work early. His life was very limited. Until he discovered Jesus. Through his new relationship, he learned to forgive, and to let go. His medication reduced. He had a new lease of life. He even travelled for holidays.

Yes, when we release forgiveness, we ourselves are set free. We no longer have bitterness that will eat into us and cause us to be bound. Furthermore, as the Lord Himself taught us, He will “forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of others.”
So Paul encourages a forgiving nature. Don’t “simpan dalam hati” meaning don’t keep inside your heart. Learn to let go. Paul did. We need to learn to do that too.

If you have problems forgiving someone, take time out with another Christian you can trust. This person should be mature so you can share honestly, without being gossipy. Don’t do character assassination as you share. Try to remain factual. Then let the other Christian pray with and for you. Exercise James 5:16 “Confess your trespass to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed”

When All Is Lost

11/12/2008

Just as I posted about forgiveness yesterday, here is a news report about a grief-stricken father.

Meet Dong Yun Yoon. He is a shop manager in San Diego, California. A fighter jet fell from the sky and crashed into his house. This is the scene of devastation where his home once stood. He had just moved in weeks ago. He lost three generations of his family – his wife, his mother-in-law and his two baby girls.Amazingly, as he spoke, standing a short distance from the charred remains of the house, he said: “I pray for him not to suffer for this action.” Further, “I don’t have any hard feelings, I know he did all he could”

He added that he believed “my wife and two babies and mother-in-law are in heaven with God”.

As he fought back the tears, the forgiveness he extended from such a big heart did not remove the pain of his loss.

He stood, surrounded by his pastor, sister, brother and church members. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ begging for advice on how to cope after losing his loved ones. “Please tell me how to do it,” he said. “I don’t know what to do.”
Rescue workers sifting through the wreckage after the crash discovered the bodies of Mr Yoon’s 37-year-old wife, Young Mi, her mother, Suk Im Kim, 60, and his two-month-old daughter, Rachel. They found his two year old Grace later.
The young pilot pilot parachuted at the last minute, saying that he had stayed with the plane as long as he could. He landed a short distance from his broken, blazing F-18 jet which plowed into the neighbourhood. The plane had smashed through the Yoons’ living room before exploding into a fireball, destroying three other houses. The pilot’s was reported to have said I hope I didn’t kill anybody.”

But he did.

And he has been forgiven.

I hope he can forgive himself.

Cancel Christmas!

10/12/2008
That’s what the headline blared today.

But when you read the article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1093053/Cancel-Christmas–Jesus-born-June-17-say-scientists.html), it is obviously written by someone who had not taken the time to find out more – a crime, really, for a any newspaper reporter. But I suppose, not surprising, considering which newspaper this is. Known for its sensationalism and gossip, the reporter must have been in a rush to meet a deadline.

He describes the three wise men as mentioned in the Bible. I need to show him my post in The Hinge (http://thehingeblogs.blogspot.com/2008/12/frankincense.html) about how this is not true!

As for the date that is mentioned, it is obvious that the date is only for the “star”. It still does not mean that June 17 was the date of the birth. This reporter even makes mention that the nativity could have happened between 3BC and 1AD. That means that when the Christmas star” which was most likely a magnificent conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter, which were so close together they would have shone unusually brightly as a single ‘beacon of light’ which appeared suddenly” appeared, the “baby” Jesus could have been as old as 2 years old.

All said and done, it doesn’t bother me if the birth is celebrated in the winter of England, or in the winter of Australia (i.e. middle of the roman calendar). The historic birth cannot be denied.

Furthermore, in my books, Christmas is all year round. It’s a celebration of the birth of the one and only Saviour. Any day is good for that.