Posts Tagged ‘Parable’

Testimonials

08/01/2009

Recently I was asked twice to write some testimonials.For the first one, I gave a rough draft with outlines. For the second one, I wrote an even more general one, leaving parts to be filled in and others to be deleted.

Why didn’t I do a proper testimonial?

Simple. I didn’t know the people concerned. I didn’t know if they were male or female. I was merely being asked to help to write. So I couldn’t be more specific.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 asks a different question about testimonials. He asks a rhetorical question here – “Did they need letters of recommendation to show their suitability?”

1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

No. The results of their ministry among the Corinthians was sufficient. This result was evident in Christ-centeredness. It was of the Spirit and from the heart.

How did this come about?

When Paul ministered, he had them in his heart. “Written” on his heart gives an indication of the depth and intensity of his care and concern for them.

I am reminded of a few verses in Proverbs which talk about how our own testimony of ourselves versus other people’s commendation of us.

Proverbs 25:27 “It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory

Proverbs 27:2 “Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”

In fact, Proverbs 18:16 goes on to assure us that “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”

There is a difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone. It is only when you truly know someone that you can speak about that person so that others might know about that person.

And the only way you can know the person is when you have interacted with them, spent much time with them, gone through thick and thin with them….

I suppose, it’s like when my friends went through their recent crisis. Three families came alongside and helped. We went through a most difficult time with them. At the end of that, when they said how much their faith was strengthened and how we had helped, those words carried weight for us. We were blessed even as they were, despite the tumultuous time.

When they speak of us, even as we speak of them, the words carry weight.

Esther’s Ripples

07/01/2009

In the midst of the sorrowing over Esther, I told her parents that the impact of her short life would be like ripples.
However, whilst ripples tend to fade as they leave the centre, these ones wouldn’t I told them.

And so it has been.

Her funeral / memorial service has touched many lives.

The gift of her kidneys have already touched two lives.

People have sms-ed and phoned her parents.

And now apparently, a newspaper wants to feature them.

Do you hear the phonecalls? Do you see the emails? Can you visualize the letters? Many will seek them. Many who have undergone similar heartache and loss.

And Esther’s little life will have touched many, many, many others.

Do continue to pray for her parents. Her mother has gone back to work. Her father remains at home to spend more time with her older sibling who is having to deal with his loss too.

There is No Hope

04/01/2009

There is no hope when death strikes….

…Unless one places hope in the risen Christ.
This is what my friend wrote. In their time of grief, it was nonetheless a celebration of life.
Yes, the little girl’s kidneys and corneal tissue have been taken to help others. It was the strong assurance that their little girl was in good hands that made it an easy decision. That not only gave them hope, but also a stronger faith.

Now the walk of faith continues on a different level.

Do continue to pray for them and their other children…. Thanks

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.

Sudden Loss – How One Family Deals With It

07/11/2008

What do you do when you lose someone unexpectedly? How do you react?

Recently I heard that a friend lost his father in a violent way. Murder is never nice. The murderer has confessed. But the loss remains.

Anger. Frustration. Sorrow. Fear. Just some of the many emotions one would normally go through in bereavement.

HOW CAN ANYONE CELEBRATE AT A TIME LIKE THIS?

Well, as one of the family members was praying and being silent before the Lord, she saw a picture of her father telling her not to be sad. After all, he was in heaven. Furthermore, the father said that they should forgive the murderer!

So celebrate they did, and they will issue a statement these few days to say that they forgive the murderer!

The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that good byes are never forever.

Planning Ahead

01/11/2008

I wrote this for a Christian magazine. But I have since thought more about it and feel it is a current message even today.

The funeral service is in full swing. Several songs have been sung. It is now time for the message. A man stands in front and begins: “Family members of our dear sister, her friends and acquaintances and everyone gathered here, allow me to encourage you. Do not grieve for our dear sister. Do not cry as if there is no hope. Our sister is no longer here. No, she is in a better place!” He gestures to the coffin where the body lies and continues, “What you see there is only the shell. She is not here. That’s right, this is only the shell; the nut is in heaven!”

Well, as far as I know, this funeral service hasn’t taken place yet. But imagine if it really happened. Would the speaker be considered irreverent? Would you be shocked or indignant if you were one of the people in the congregation? Worse, if you were a member of the family, would you look for stones to throw at him?

It all began when I asked a good friend, “Will you speak at my funeral service?” After a slight pause, he agreed. We then discussed how I would like my funeral service to be conducted. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not close to the three score and ten years spoken of in the Bible. Nor am I being macabre. It’s just that I see death as a transition — moving from one address to another. A funeral service, to me, is therefore a sort of send-off party.

So I’ve already written out my funeral service. While I hope that there will be some who will miss me (at least, my immediate family members) and perhaps shed some tears (we are, after all, people with feelings), in general, I’d like to see a celebration! I’ve put some thought into the sort of service I’d like. Being a wielder of the tambourine as an instrument of war and worship, tambourine dancers would be welcome. I have also selected some songs to indicate the genre of music I’d like to have played. The most important part of the service is the message. I want the gospel preached clearly, soundly and boldly. I want the speaker to make calls for salvation; hence, the conversation with my friend.

Of course, I am well aware that he might depart before me. However, he once made a statement years ago that has remained with me to this day. He observed that many Christians live as if their permanent address was here on earth. This is contrary to what we know, but many of us find the thought of dying very unsavoury. We have many things that we desire to hold on to, things that we are not willing to let go of. His stand was that we should move from being “willing to go and wanting to stay” to being “willing to stay and wanting to go”. If these words were spoken by someone who was experiencing a slow and painful death, perhaps we could understand his desire more easily. However, the person who uttered these profound words was very fit and energetic. He was a successful man and in the prime of his life.

Perhaps we should consider what we are willing to die for. What would we be prepared to give our lives for? Our family and loved ones would seem the most logical answer. Which leads then to the next question: Who or what do we love enough to die for?

Recently I had the privilege to meet a young girl who had been imprisoned for her faith. Together with her companion, she was locked up and beaten. But both girls remained steadfast. Furthermore, while detained, they followed the example of Paul by witnessing to their fellow prisoners. I am challenged by their love and passion for the Lord. Such single-mindedness and devotion! Given their lifestyle, perhaps when their time comes to move on, their passing might not even be marked by a funeral service. But they would nevertheless have a tremendous welcome in their new home as they hear the words of the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your Master’s happiness.” (Matt 25:21)

When it is our desire to live a life that is good and faithful, serving with a spirit of excellence, not only will we have purpose and meaning to what we do on a day-to-day basis, but our departure will merely herald a reward. May we desire to say as Paul did, that “Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:20b-21).

Parental Weapon #1

15/10/2008

I was about to reprimand him for something. I began with a strong phrase, asking if he had done something. I was ready to shoot.

He knew he was in the wrong.

He didn’t go on the defensive.

He didn’t sulk either.

Instead, he turned, looked at me, and then he did it –

He grinned.

He flashed his bright white teeth.

He showed his dimple.

And he replied with an apology and short explanation.

I learned that it is very hard to stay angry with someone who uses such weaponry with such devasting effect. Yes, anger is easily overwhelmed by a disarming smile. Especially when it is supported by gleaming teeth. Oh, and don’t forget the dimple.

Shucks.

If I Were a Cat, I’d Purrrrr All Day Long!

12/10/2008
We were walking past shops in a single file as it was a narrow passageway. Suddenly my husband stopped – right in front of some flowers. Some roses to be exact. He leaned over them and fingered the yellow, pink, deep red and cream ones. The next thing I knew, I was walking out of the shop with some roses!

Last night was one of those rare occassions where he had come home very, very late because there was a job to rush. I was asleep by the time he got in. But yet, this morning, he got up as usual and we sent the children to school together.

And then this surprise………..
If I were a cat, I’d be purring all day long…..

“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church….”
Eph 5:25a

Road Sense

08/10/2008

The lights changed. He pressed the accelerator to move forward. Speed picked up as he nursed the truck across the big junction. Just as he got to the other side of the road, it happened.

Three girls, about 18 years old each, ran across the road.

Two got across safely.

The third one stumbled. Right into the path of his truck.

Instinctively his hand flew to the horn and he pressed it loud and hard. He could feel fear rising up, charged with adrenaline. Would he miss hitting her or would the unbearable happen?

He screeched to a halt. He hadnt felt any impact.

He threw the door of his truck open and strode to the front.

There she lay, shaken but otherwise unhurt, still on the road.

Her friends came over to help her up.

As they strode to the other side of the road, avoiding other vehicles, he could not help the barrage of words that came out from his mouth. The tension poured out. His heart rate would not slow down until he had released his frustration, fear, anger and relief in different languages.

Then my side of the lights changed and I drove off, my heart rate up a little too, having witnessed a near fatality.

This is one such incident of many that I have seen these last few months. What sort of road sense do pedestrians have these days? We widen the roads but not everyone knows how to use the walkways, pedestrian crossings, overhead bridges….

This is Malaysia. The weather is hot and humid. They dont want to wait too long under the sun.

In their impatience they run, putting their lives, and those of other road users, at risk.

It is not enough to teach road sense to the drivers. Pedestrians need to learn too.

More importantly, this should be taught at home. I remember my parents doing it….