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The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. - Frederick Buechner

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Yo reader,
Thanks for stopping by.
I'm planning to write something about my first year at med school but the words are taking a long time to come together... I want my writing to do justice to it, so it's going to take some time for my brain to process it.

Friday, July 21, 2017

He Cares About Every Light - The Passing of an Icon


Yes, I am a Linkin Park fan. I have heard every song from them. But once in a while I do come across some rare song they produced I never heard before...

Yes, I do know what lyrics they sing. It isn't something my elders may be pleased with. Yet, I'm just so moved by their music, to be honest. Even though it is not the best of lyrics to listen to, yet many at times they sing the exact things I felt before. It feels really real, and lets you come face to face with the darkest parts of life, for a brief moment you just soak in the feelings, be it rage, sorrow, determination... I can really feel the pain and impact of those emotions through the songs they sing.

I just only found out about Chester's suicide, and well, I really don't have anything to say; I do not know him personally. I'm just sad, that I won't hear another new LP song with his voice in it, if there is even going to be one. He is the icon of the band; I really love his voice. Mike is amazing, and the drummer is insane, the guitarists are crazy good, and there are so many things about the band which I am not adept enough musically to appreciate, but it was Chester's voice that sang all those painful lyrics and made the emotional connection. May his friends and family be comforted in his passing...sigh 

***

P/S:
In their new album, I like "Talking to myself", "One More Light", "Sharp Edges" (Chester's fav), "Nobody can save me", "Good Goodbye", "Battle Symphony", ... actually I like all 10 songs...If you don't think so, and you are flexible about the music you listen to, just give it a try; listen to the whole album from the BEGINNING, because it's a story. Remember to use some good earphones (with good ones you'll be able to hear the bass very clearly, and that's where you (might) start enjoying it). 

And after that to solve your feeling of emptiness, to help you face the void of the human soul, read a a few biblical proverbs or read the gospel story. and I have a youtube video, that I would like you to  watch as well:
 
I waited more than a month for this to be uploaded, which means this is definitely something I believe you should watch.

***

Father God, please forgive us of our bitterness. Please help us to accept these flaws we live with everyday. Thank You for offering us a purpose-driven life. Thank you for your patience. Yes, I am very distracted; I feel very trapped; I feel very lost. Please have mercy, Lord.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Loneliness

This is a rant.

Nowadays, I walk into a class of around 50 people, but I am alone. Maybe I offended them, or maybe people just don't like serious, quiet people.

I don't understand. People nowadays, love and know how to talk nonsense. I am listening to the dialogues around me as I pretend to be minding my own business, and what I hear is just empty words, meaningless chatter.

But the thing is, (Almost) EVERYONE likes this kind of fun conversation. I don't hate it. I find it annoying. I don't hate you. But, you probably hate me because I don't respond to your jokes. It's because I don't find them funny bro.

It's probably me. Because people don't really have conflicts with other people, but I'm the one having conflict with everyone, quietly.

I feel that pang of guilt when I react in an unfriendly way. I have terrible abilities at explaining myself. Because, I can always find a way to make it my fault. Everytime I try to discipline people by telling them, people get offended. Well, maybe all those times, I have done it the wrong way, or chose the wrong person.

I'm really confused and just lost. Seriously, I don't count anyone as a really real friend anymore. I can only trust myself, and God. Unless you count aunties and uncles, then okay, I know they are genuine, but the generation gap. Maybe I should start investing time in making friends with these aunties and uncles, and some younger people who are actually much matured than me.


Before I stop this rant, I wanna ask something to my readers. Why do people nowadays, always think they are right? You know it really really confuses me, why people can suddenly remember oh, no one is perfect, when it is their fault. They tell people, don't judge! They react, when you try to ask them if they are doing something right, and think you are trying to accuse them. Why are people always on the edge, when they get rejected. Or even, they aren't really rejected, but they feel so angry. They see me being quiet and emotionless, and they think I'm a little pissed boy who is too proud to show emotions. They're probably right about me.
But anyway, when it comes to judging others, you seem to forget those stuff you use to defend yourself. I know Christians are hypocrites, we are just a bunch of religious people, going church, acting holy, throwing bible verses at your face. I do it because I care about you. But of course you won't believe me. They think in ways I cannot fathom. Seriously, sometimes, I wish I could pray the prayer that Jesus prayed, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, but who am I to pray that prayer. I'm also a very judgmental person, but I try not to say what I think. In my thoughts, I judge you, but if I see something wrong with you, I would try to fix it if I see an opening. But sometimes there really isn't an opening. Some people, are really hard to be honest with, because they are being dishonest all the time. Or, some people say ok bro I understand, thank you bro in front of you, but they are just the same person, probably cursed me behind my back.

I know I am a very paranoid person. I think a lot. But it is because I think a lot, I know that I don't think enough. And I think people should just learn to keep quiet and just keep quiet and just stay quiet. Learn to listen. Learn to understand. Learn not to judge things too quickly

You're mostly people who have learnt science. Things can't be right or wrong until proven to be either one. It's not - things are wrong unless proven right. And not - things are right unless proven wrong.
Please give people, things, the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, please learn to be concerned about important affairs. Pay attention to details. Don't be in a rush, to just go do your own thing. Please learn to be patient. Please learn that awkward situations aren't actually awkward if you don't think they are awkward, it could just mean how different you are from that person, or it could mean how seldom you get real.

Please just learn to listen. If you don't, I really have no point in writing this. You go have your way. I just want to wash my hands off everyone, but...I really pray God will touch everyone around me. Then again. You think I'm a self-righteous person, who only thinks of converting people.

What is there to gain in life? There's nothing. I'm just trying to live for Christ. But I am afraid to explain myself. I have received enough rejection already.

One more thing, don't be ignorant. If you wanna give your opinion about something, you should best keep quiet until you understand both sides. It is important to watch your words. Words have power.

I hope you don't think I'm judging you. I don't know why, but I can't just say "it's their life, it's up to them how they want to live". It's your life, yes, it's up to you to live, but when I see them walking down a road of darkness...what should I do? Is it really a road of darkness? Will they get offended if I try to talk about it? Would they even listen?

Worries.

So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6: 31-33

Everyone is or has been an unbeliever, nothing to be offended by that word.
Please don't limit God in your thoughts. You can't rationalize God. You can't say I'm much too sinful for God to mend. Please just take time to read Christian books. Read the bible. If you are feeding on the world's thoughts, through the media and through your daily activities, and you want to talk about God, how will that be possible? Please don't simple say things. You need to understand that when you get rejected, or your life has been disaster, when you feel like you have no friends, it doesn't mean God hates you. Please don't say God is merciless, that he can't even grant you the only prayer request you have. How you know He isn't preparing something greater?

Please just open you eyes. I really just have no more means of helping anymore, I'm just human. So I pray that God will break through that covering of darkness that blinds you. I really am exhausted listening to all the negativity. It's getting to me as well. I'm struggling too in my own personal life and walk with God. Everyone is. Don't blame God when you see other people in different situations from you. Just learn to be quiet and listen.

okay thanks for reading. All glory to God.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Tyranny of the Urgent

An article by Charles E. Hummel.


Have you ever wished for a thirty-hour day? Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwrittened articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief.

But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn't we soon be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four allotment? A mother's work is never finished, and neither is that of any student, teacher, minister, or anyone else we know. Nor will the passage of time help us catch up. Children grow in number and age to require more of our time. Greater experience in profession and church brings more exacting assignments. So we find ourselves working more and enjoying it less.

Jumbled Priorities
When we stop to evaluate, we realize that our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically the problem of priorities. Hard work does not hurt us. We all know what it is to go full speed for long hours, totally involved in an important task. The resulting weariness is matched by a sense of achievement and joy. Not hard work, but doubt and misgiving produce anxiety as we review a month or year and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. We sense uneasily that we may have failed to do the important. The winds of people's demands have driven us onto a reef of frustration. We confess, quite apart from our sins, " We have left undone these things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done."

Several years ago an experienced cottonmill manager said to me, " Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important." He didn't realize how hard his maxim hit. It often returns to haunt and rebuke me by raising the critical problem of priorities.

We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today, or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study, a visit with that non-Christian friend, careful study of an important book: these projects can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action - endless demands, pressure every hour and day.

A man's home is no longer his castle; it is no longer a place away from the urgent tasks because the telephone breaches the walls with imperious demands. The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy. But in the light of time's perspective their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important tasks pushed aside. We realize we've become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.

Can You Escape?
Is there any escape from this pattern of living? The answer lies in the life of our Lord. On the night before He died, Jesus made an astonishing claim. In the great prayer of John 17 He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gave me to do" (v. 4)

How could Jesus use the word "finished"? His three-year ministry seemed all too short. A prostitute at Simon's banquet had found forgiveness and a new life. For every ten withered muscles that had flexed into health, a hundred remained impotent. Yet on that last night, with any useful tasks undone and urgent human needs unmet, the Lord had peace; He knew He had finished God's work.

The Gospel records show that Jesus worked hard. After describing a busy day Mark writes, "That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered about the door. And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons." (Mark 1:32-34)

On another occasion the demand of the ill and maimed caused Him to miss supper and to work so late that His disciples thought He was beside Himself. (Mark 3:21) One day after a strenuous teaching session, Jesus and His disciples went out in a boat. Even a storm didn't waken Him. (Mark 4:37-38) What a picture of exhaustion.

Yet His life was never feverish; He had time for people. He could spend hours talking to one person, such as the Samaritan woman at the well. His life showed a wonderful balance, a sense of timing. When His brothers wanted Him to go to Judea, He replied, "My time has not yet come." (John 7:6) Jesus did not ruin His gifts by haste. In "The Discipline and Culture of the Spiritual Life," A.F. Whiteham observes: "Here in this Man is adequate purpose...inward crowded life: above all there is in this Man a secret and a power of dealing with the waste products of life, the waste of pain, disappointment, enmity, death - turning to divine uses the abuses of man, transforming arid places of pain to fruitfulness, triumphing at last in death, and making a short life of thirty years or so, abruptly cut off, to be a 'finished' life. We cannot admire the poise and beauty of this human life, and then ignore the things that made it."

Wait for Instructions
What was the secret of Jesus' work? We find a clue following Mark's account of Jesus' busy day. Mark observes that "in the morning, a great while before day. He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed." (Mark 1:35) Here is the secret of Jesus' life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father's instructions and for the strength to follow them. Jesus had no divinely-drawn blueprint; He discerned the Father's will day by day in a life of prayer. By this means He warded off the urgent and accomplished the important. 

Lazarus' death illustrates this principle. What could have been more important than the urgent message from Mary and Martha, "Lord, he whom You love is ill"? (John 11:13) John records the Lord's response in these paradoxical words: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was," (vv. 5-6) What was the urgent need? Obviously to prevent the death of this beloved brother. But the important thing from God's point of view was to raise Lazarus from the dead. So Lazarus was allowed to die. Later Jesus revived him as the sign of His magnificent claim, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me though he die, yet shall he live." (v. 45)

We may wonder why our Lord's ministry was so short, why it could not have lasted another five or ten years, why so many wretched sufferers were left in their misery. Scripture gives no answer to these questions, and we leave them in the mystery of God's purposes. But we do know that Jesus' prayerful waiting for God's instructions freed Him from the tyranny of the urgent. It gave Him a sense of direction, set a steady pace, and enabled Him to do every task God assigned. And on the last night He could say, "I have finished the work which Thou gave me to do."

Dependence makes you FREE!
Freedom from the tyranny of the urgent is found in the example and promise of our Lord. At the end of a vigorous debate with the Pharisees in Jerusalem, Jesus said to those who believed in Him: " If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free... Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin... So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:31-32,34,36)

Many of us have experienced Christ's deliverance from the penalty of sin. Are we letting Him free us from the tyranny of the urgent? He points the way: "If you continue in My word." This is the way to freedom. Through prayerful meditation on God's word we gain His perspective.

P.T. Forsyth once said, "The worst sin is prayerlessness." We usually think of murder, adultery, or theft as among the worst. But the root of all sin is self-sufficiency - independence from God. When we fail to wait prayerfully for God's guidance and strength we are saying, with our actions of not our lips, that we do not need Him. How much of our service is characterized by "Going it alone"?

The opposite of such independence is prayer in which we acknowledge our need of God's instruction and supply. Concerning a dependent relationship with God, Donald Baillie says: "Jesus lived His life in complete dependence upon God, as we all ought to live our lives. But such dependence does not destroy human personality. Man is never so truly and fully personal as when he is living in complete dependence upon God. this is how personality comes into its own. This is humanity at its most personal."

Prayerful waiting on God is indispensable to effective service. Like the time-out in a football game, it enables us to catch our breath and fix new strategy. As we wait for directions the Lord frees us from the tyranny of the urgent. he shows the truth about Himself, ourselves, and our tasks. He impresses on our minds the assignments he wants us to undertake. The need itself is not the call; the call must come from God who knows our limitations. "The Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Psalms 103:13-14) It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke. These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances

Stop to Evaluate
The modern businessman recognizes this principle of taking time out for evaluation. When Greenwalt was president of Dupont, he said, "One minute spent in planning saves three or four minutes in execution." Many salesmen have revolutionized their business and multiplied their profits by setting aside Friday afternoon to plan carefully the major activities for the coming week. If an executive is too busy to stop and plan, he may find himself replaced by another man who takes time to plan. If the Christian is too busy to stop, take spiritual inventory, and receive his assignments from God, he becomes a slave to the tyranny of the urgent. He may work day and night to achieve much that seems significant to himself and others, but he will not finish the work God has for him to do. 

A quiet time of meditation and prayer at the start of a day refocuses our relationship with God. Recommit yourself to His will as you think of the hours that follow. In these unhurried moments list in order of priority the tasks to be done, take in account commitments already made. A competent general always draws up his battle plan before he engages the enemy; he does not postpone basic decisions until the firing starts. But he is also prepared to change his plans if an emergency demands it. So try to implement the plans you have made before the day's battle against the clock begins. But be open to any emergency interruption or unexpected person who may call.

You may also find it necessary to resist the temptation to accept an engagement when the invitation to accept the invitation first comes over the telephone. No matter how clear the calendar may look at the moment, ask for a day or two to pray for guidance before committing yourself. Surprisingly the engagement often appears less imperative after the pleading voice has become silent. If you can withstand the urgency of the initial moment, you will be in a better position to weigh the cost and discern whether the task is God's will for you.

In addition to your daily quiet time, set aside one hour a week for spiritual inventory. Write an evaluation of the past, record anything God may be teaching you, and plan objectives for the future. Also try to reserve most of one day each month for a similar inventory of longer range. Often you will fail. Ironically, the busier you get the more you need this time of inventory, but the less you seem to be able to take it. You become like the fanatic who, when unsure of his direction, doubles his speed. And frenetic service for God can become an escape from God. But when you prayerfully take inventory and plan your days, it provides fresh perspective on your work.

Continue the Effort
Over the years the greatest continuing struggle in the Christian life is the effort to make adequate time for daily waiting for God, weekly inventory, and monthly planning. Since this time for receiving marching orders is so important, Satan will do everything he can to squeeze it out. Yet we know from experience that only by this means can we escape the tyranny of the urgent. This is how Jesus succeeded. He did not finish all urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would like to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.

***

Too long, didn't read? This portion was what stood out to me most (the entire article is really goood):

P.T. Forsyth once said, "The worst sin is prayerlessness." We usually think of murder, adultery, or theft as among the worst. But the root of all sin is self-sufficiency - independence from God. When we fail to wait prayerfully for God's guidance and strength we are saying, with our actions of not our lips, that we do not need Him. How much of our service is characterized by "Going it alone"?

The opposite of such independence is prayer in which we acknowledge our need of God's instruction and supply. Concerning a dependent relationship with God, Donald Baillie says: "Jesus lived His life in complete dependence upon God, as we all ought to live our lives. But such dependence does not destroy human personality. Man is never so truly and fully personal as when he is living in complete dependence upon God. this is how personality comes into its own. This is humanity at its most personal."

Our practice: meditation, prayer, and dependency on God, which gives birth to a purpose-driven, well-ordered life which we can look back on and know that we finished what we needed to do.

long, long way to go.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What I learnt from Zlatan


"I think the best coach has been myself. Because what I have gone through, I don't know how many players has gone through what I've gone through and I don't mean only on the pitch, I mean outside also, everything that I went through, everything that I had against me. I didn't get anything for free."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I think the one thing I can relate with Zlatan is his anger, how he wants to show everyone that someone from a rough background can do it. That "I'll show them all" kind of attitude.
He wants to overcome everything, no matter how unfair life is, he's not going to let that make Him stop trying. He wants to show society that they should never underestimate him, or anyone. He wants to show those who look down at him or block his way, that he is in control of his life.
I admire that determination, that toughness, that anger. Because there are so many people who just don't like enthusiastic people. I don't know why, but some are so negative and so manipulative. I admire how he is proud of his roots and how he cares for his home neighborhood.
Not saying that we should be angry...but I understand exactly how he feels. Because I've also been looked down on, and have been scoffed at. I like to see those smug faces turn to shocked faces, when I play. "I'll show them all". It's a bit childish of me, but I can't help but feel that anger. "How can you be so quick to judge?" sort of thing.

Something that I admire about Zlatan is his straightforwardness. He's not a coward and he's not a backstabber. "Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses" Proverbs 27:6. His confidence is also something admirable. Considering the background he is from, I think his confidence and toughness is really something special. 

***

The thing that burns very strongly in me is the longing for sincerity and trust.
Ambiguity, dishonesty, sloppiness makes me really angry. I'm not talking about people making mistakes or carelessness. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone doesn't know what is right at first. But what really triggers me is someone who just doesn't even want to try, and doesn't let others try; someone who is complacent, selfish, not having the longing to improve; someone who is pretentious. You make me so angry I want to scream. 

If you are unsure of what you want, say it. If you have no enthusiasm, say it and don't slow people down. If you are lost, then ask and look for answers. If people have already told you what to do, and you know what to do, then you do it. But if you don't want to do it, then don't you DARE complain that you are not where you want to be. Don't you DARE pull other people down to your level just because you still want to be better than others. Don't you DARE spread your spirit of discouragement, lie to people or falsely accuse people.

***

But. 

God's grace is abundant, and he is always ready to forgive us if we repent. 

I'm sorry for being so strong in my words, and hitting the nail too hard. I need a grace awakening, just as George Verwer says. We all need to be less judgmental and negative, but more gracious and forgiving.

The thing I learnt this year, was to stop living in fear. I am still trying to improve, and I am definitely still making many mistakes, even when I know what I should do. But, I have to stop living a life of guilt and fear. 

Well, the process continues...



Friday, June 24, 2016

Conscious of my selfish unconscious

I know that when I give time to people, I give it freely to them without expecting anything in return. Yet, I inevitably feel sad when they don't notice the energy I used up.

It's sort of a cycle. I don't want them to notice and purposely make it look like I did it nonchalantly, but deep down I do want to be noticed. I wish I wasn't so selfish, then I wouldn't be having all these thoughts. Maybe the effort I put in is overshadowed by the far exceeding efforts and contributions of others. I guess I'm just a background prop in their life's play. Look at me being crestfallen and pitiful about my shortcomings and limitations.

I can't help feeling hurt, and it's pathetic. When can all these selfish thoughts of mine go away? It's really childish of me.

Probably the same way parents feel when their children take things for granted. Guess it's payback time for me.


oops. negativity again :P

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Them Feels

Okay I just had to share this xD #christinagrimmie





Wow, this is the best experience ever, seeing someone's fails in retrospect after seeing their success. The keyboard-slamming especially, I totally get mad like her HAHA awesome. I can't believe someone so talented (insanely talented) can share the same frustrations as I do. (Talented, but I'm not disregarding the amount of work she put in to become so so so so so skilled. So skilled that posting about her here feels like an insult to her life story.) I know nobody is born a pro, but it only feels true when you see it with your own eyes. 

***

Yeah, just looking at her old videos. Feeling lousy for only knowing about her after her death.
It does feel very unfair and it is heart-wrenching. My friend is angry at the world because a guy killed his teenage crush. I just don't know what to say.  Does make one feel like, "that should have been me. What did she do to deserve this?"
The killer. We don't know him, we don't know what he went through, so we wouldn't understand. Am I too kind to a cold-blooded murderer? Or are we too judgmental to a victim of psycho-social events?
Security should have been proper. mm hmm
Not forgetting her brother's bravery, too.
Just letting my thoughts run.

God's in control. You can't define God or His plans based on your perspective. I can't see it but I trust that He had a plan in her life and even in her passing. He is able to make it into something beautiful.

Also, in my opinion, death can be better than life on earth.




Monday, June 13, 2016

Pepper Ration

Just this week there has been two shooting incidents that's publicized to the entire world (and there are tons more which I didn't know about, it was rather shocking gotta admit that). Instead of trying to imagine how the friends and families of the victims were coping, I imagined what would happen if it happened right where I am. When is it going to be our turn to get reality, by whatever means, shoved into our faces?

I feel like I'm in a dream. I see all these warning signs that God has placed for us to know that He is coming soon, yet I am still going at my own pace. I just can't keep up with life. 

This isn't an admit of defeat though. It's the start of more searching. The search for where God wants me to be at what time until the the day of my departure.

"Who knows God's purpose for your life?" A pastor once asked this question during a sermon, and I raised my hand without thinking. 'To serve Him,' I thought, as the usual, generalized answer came to mind. Then I realized I didn't know specifically what it was, and my hand started shaking a bit.
I trust that I am where am I supposed to be, but what exactly am I supposed to do? I've got to spend more time praying about it...

This is to all of you still trying to see where God is leading you: don't despair but rejoice in all the small steps you take to get nearer to His calling :) Maybe the time hasn't come yet. Maybe He wants to mold you more first.


"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, 'Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

from the book of Ephesians, chapter 5: verses 1 to 21

p/s: the shootings were horror events but I don't think there is anything more I can say that can do any help. I only feel terrible because these things are happening to others while I'm just living in comfort. More importantly, remember that God is in control, and if you commit your life to the Saviour then death on earth means eternal life in heaven. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

CoffeeTasteCopyPaste: Dear Teenagers

An article with a powerful message for all young people today. Thanks Aaron Chew for sharing it on fb. I didn't edit this, I didn't write this. All credits to John Piper.

***

A Call to Teenagers to Be Free
Article by John Piper
I am writing for the liberation of teenagers. I write to challenge teenagers to “live as people who are free” (1 Peter 2:16). Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.

The Creation of “Teenagers”
As teenagers, you should know that the idea of “teenagers” was created only seventy years ago. The word “teenager” did not exist before World War II. Between children and adults, there was no such category of human being. You were a child. Then you were a young adult.
Just a hundred years ago, you would bear crucial responsibility at age thirteen on the farm or in dad’s business — or mom’s kitchen and weaving room. You would be trained for gainful employment, or domestic enterprise, by age seventeen, and would marry before you were twenty, and be a responsible husband and father — or wife and mother — by your early twenties.
This scenario is perhaps hard for you to imagine. And I am not saying we can go back to that era, or should want to. My aim is that you be liberated by the truth. The truth will set you free. The truth that you do not have to fit into the contemporary lockstep expectations put on you by your culture or your peers.
Very few teenagers have an awareness of history. That ignorance leads to a kind of slavery. Most teenagers are slaves of the expectations of their peers and of the big industries that market their fashion and music and technology and entertainment.
This slavery is so pleasant — and so consistently rewarded — that the possibility of being free from conformity to teen-culture rarely enters your mind. Being aware from history that other possibilities exist can set you free for radical “wartime living” in the name of Jesus.

What “Teenager” Meant Seventy Years Ago
In 1944, when “teen-age” was still hyphenated, Life magazine covered the new teen phenomenon. The article said,
There is a time in the life of every American girl when the most important thing in the world is to be one of a crowd of other girls and to act and speak and dress exactly as they do. This is the teen age.
This was not a very enviable beginning for the meaning of “teenager.” Things have not changed much in sixty years. A teenager wrote to my hometown newspaper:
Most of my friends often are not comfortable with what is popular, but we wear it anyway. Standing out is just not always worth the struggle. Society tells us to be different, yet mainstream.
How do you dress to please yourself, your parents, and your peers? You can’t. Teens end up compromising their values to fit in. If we intend to make it through high school, or even junior high, without being tormented, then we must dress to please our peers.
We are the up-and-coming leaders of this nation, and we must see what we have become and change. (Minneapolis StarTribune, November 16, 2002: A23).
It is not easy to be a Christian teenager. You desperately want to be liked. To be rejected by friends can feel devastating. But just like this young woman, you know deep down that living to be liked is slavery. And if you belong to Jesus, that slavery may be a torment worse than rejection.

What Does It Mean to Be Cool?
For many, being cool is everything. But what is cool? Is it really which phone you have? Or what movies you’ve seen? Or how strong or fast or handsome you are? Or the way your hair falls and your figure is shaped? You are not stupid. You know that living for such things is superficial and meaningless.
What is cool for a fourteen-year-old young man? I think what follows is a hundred times more cool than phones and clothes and movies and games. The year is 1945. World War II was still raging. Thousands of teenagers wanted to fight. The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the deadliest — 6,800 American soldiers are buried on that tiny island, many of them teenagers.
Jack Lucas had fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen [in 1942], fooling the recruits with his muscled physique. . . . He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sympathetic leathernecks on board.
[At 17] he landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland. Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprang in front of them. Jack shot one of them through the head.
Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it, a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately, another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. “Luke, you’re gonna die,” he remembered thinking. . . .
Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan, the doctors could scarcely believe it. “Maybe he was too damned young and too damned tough to die,” one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation’s youngest Medal of Honor winner — and the only high school freshman to receive it. (James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers, 174–175)
You Are Teenage Soldiers in a War
Knowing you are in a war changes what is cool. If your family is under attack, fretting about your clothes and your hair stops. There are more important things at stake. And we are at war. The enemy is stronger than the Axis of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Indeed, stronger than all human powers put together. The battle is daily. It is fought in every locality. And its victories and defeats lead to heaven or to hell.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)
Wage the good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18)
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)
Abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)
What Is Really Going On?
Don’t be part of the blind, teenage masses who do not know what is going on. They think that to know the latest movie or iPhone app or hit song is to know what is going on. Those things are like cut flowers. Bright today, tossed out tomorrow. They are utterly insignificant compared to events that are shaping the course of eternity.
What is really going on is that people and nations are being enslaved by Satan or liberated by Christ. And Christ fights his liberating warfare through Christians, including teenage Christians.
But not through teenagers who are amusing themselves to death. The average teenager is so wrapped up in himself, and how he looks, and whether anyone likes him, that he makes a poor soldier. One of the great marks of the soldier in wartime is that personal comforts give way to the strategic mission. Soldiers may play cards the night before the battle, but when the trumpet sounds they lay down their lives.

The Battlefield of Money
Take the battlefield of money, for example. The trumpet has sounded. You are the soldier. The battle has begun. You may not feel rich, but you have lots of stuff. Your stuff threatens to strangle your soul by lying to you about how important and how satisfying it is (Mark 4:19). And the money you don’t have threatens to pierce you by creating a passion to be rich.
The Great General has sent you a personal message on the battlefield. It reads,
Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:9–10)
Does this call wake you up? Does it make you vigilant like a soldier on alert?
Then, along with the alert, he sends a great promise that he will not leave you stranded and alone in this battle:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6)
You are set free from fear and greed by this confidence: The Commander-in-Chief will not abandon me to perish on the field of battle. So look your enemies in the eye. Stare down covetousness and craving, and slay them with the Sword of the Spirit and with the superior pleasures of Christ: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

The Battlefield of Comfort
Or take the battlefield of comfort and ease. Almost all the forces in your life put you under pressure to maximize your comfort with the ease and softness of our age. But the Great General has sent you a message, as the enemy surrounds you. Remember the great warrior Moses! Fight like he did!
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)
O, there is reward for victories in this warfare! Yes, there is — beyond imagination! But the enemy wants you to think all the rewards are in this life. He has dropped propaganda leaflets behind the lines that read, “Heaven is a fairy tale. You are a fool to live for the reward of heaven and not the reward of comfort and ease in this life!”
But the Commander-in-Chief counters his propaganda at every turn with spectacular promises. No matter how hard the fighting is — no matter even if you die in his service — he will raise you up and give you the best pleasures forever.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11–12)
This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
In fact, the Great General has sent us word on the battlefield that he will not just reward us, but he will be our reward. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
With this sword in our hand, we drive back the lying hordes of safety and ease and comfort and offer ourselves for Christ’s service in the most risky assignments.

The Battlefield of Ego
Or take the battlefield of ego and peer-approval. O, how powerful this enemy is! He has swallowed up more teenagers perhaps than any other adversary, even lust. He comes with horrible stories of how painful your shame will be if you do not conform to this world. He will lie to you, and say that the only alternative to the mood and fashion and music and movies and sexual pleasures of this world is utter humiliation and embarrassment.
The Great General sees it all. His walkie-talkie lights up with messages for his embattled teens. Do not be deceived. They say you will experience shame. No. No. It is they who play the futile game of trying to turn their shame into their glory. But you see reality for what it is. They do not. They “walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18–19).
They think all the fun lies with them. It is a fool’s fun — like a roller coaster that, at the most breathtaking moment, flies off the rails.
With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:4–5)
You are the ones who know reality. You know what lasts — what really satisfies. For them, all is grass and the flower of grass.
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Peter 1:24–25)
Let the messages of the Commander sink in. Your identity is deeper and stronger and more durable and more glorious than any plastic veneer that your peers try to pressure you into. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). You are a treasured possession (1 Peter 2:9). You are a son or daughter of the Creator of the universe (Romans 8:16).
With these truth-daggers in your hand, slay the ghoulish lies of peer pressure that try to deceive you into thinking conformity is freedom.

Let None Despise Your Teenage Youth
We could go on with all the different kinds of battlefields you must fight on. But you get the idea. The enemy lies, and the Commander-in-Chief counters with truth. And the truth sets you free (John 8:32).
When the Great General says, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he means: Don’t fit into the stereotype of the aimless, careless, superficial youth. Break the mold. You belong to Christ. Show the world that there is another kind of teenager on the earth.
This teenager is not a leaf blown along with the wind of cultural trends. He is not a jellyfish floating with the current of the times. He is a tree that stands firm in the strongest storms. He is a dolphin who slices the waves against the tide. He is going somewhere.
Dream of being a kind of teenager that the world cannot explain. Maybe someday, if there are enough of you, they will invent a new name. And “teenager” will be a footnote in the history books.

***

Dear Father, help us pursue Your righteousness and Your will, help us to be strong and courageous in the face of temptation and persecution, and help us to persevere in all things big or small to be bearer's of Christ's image for as long as we live. 
Amen

Friday, June 10, 2016

Love

Oh no. This is the first time I'm writing about love.
Disclaimer: I'm not pointing a finger at anyone. I'm sorry if this post might not be nice to read or may have wrong information or wrong presumptions.

***

Do you think love is a feeling? It is always said that it is. I don't think that's all. If you romantically love a person because they are the person who fits you the best, understands you the most, has been there for you the most, sacrificed for you the most, clicks with you best (probably can go on forever)...that's good. That's definitely good. But I think there's a loophole if that's all love is to you.

What if, along comes someone, who can accomplish all those criteria better than your current romantic interest? What if, your current romantic interest, starts to quit doing those things? I know this one is a bit far-fetched, but what if, that person you've been in love with, is someone who has pretended to be the ideal love interest of your life because they want to get something from you?

Will you stop loving them?

"If two people are truly in love, none of those things would happen," you might say. Okay. That's true. But how do you know if the person you love, really loves you back?

"I just do."

Okay, I've no objections to that answer. But just in case, my questions have sent some doubts running through your mind...may I offer my opinion?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
1 Corinthians 13 : 4-8
Quoting the most famous (I think) paragraph on love, isn't enough to explain my point.
Nevertheless, take another look at those words. To sum up this passage, it says that love is the greatest and most important virtue a human being should have; it can apply to different types of love, but let's think about it in the context of romance. Never once did it mention about love feeling good. Instead, it speaks of love as an act of faith, trust, selflessness... That last sentence gives a small hint that love is deaf, dumb and blind, if I interpret it in my own way.

Is the love that we have just a temporary satisfaction to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs? Or is it something, more solid than that? How do we make sure it doesn't crumble under the hardest of trials? You might say that you love someone, but you can never tell how you will react when face-to-face with the biggest obstacles.

So therefore, I believe that love is a decision. Sure, those feelings are the things that first attract you to a person and lead you to this decision. But once you make that decision, it must be a decision that cannot be affected anymore by feelings, because the feelings become accessories. If you are unable to make such a decision, you may not be ready or it may be the wrong person (or he/she may not be ready yet, depends; also remember that, he/she being the wrong person for you would just mean that you are the wrong person for them as well...just saying).
There are a couple of ways I think that can help someone decide. I strongly believe that praying is the top of the list. Next, as probably most people would say, is getting to know the person as a friend. Not sure about the rest...I'm no expert.


Is someone slow, or too long a wait? Maybe they are just taking their time, to make that decision~~

***

WHY AM I SO SERIOUS? I just took all the fun out of love, didn't I? Well, this is after all, my opinion. I just wanted to encourage healthy relationships. (Because, it indirectly affects the next generation, and I want to do everything I can to prevent the next generation from living in broken homes. Hence, keep in mind that 1, your spouse should be someone who encourages you to be a better child of God and 2, attraction between man and woman aren't just meant to increase the human population, but to produce children who become righteous men and women.)

Dear mom and dad, I think you are good examples, so thank you. God bless you (I love you, but I prefer to keep these three words for special occasions so that they actually mean something).

Oh, by the way, let me know if I missed something. Thanks.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Keeping it all in

Everywhere...there are unsaid words, unvoiced thoughts, unspoken truths. (okay not everywhere, not everyone) Just look around. Look into your conversations. Do you sense that void? or is it just me.. .. .. ..

I don't understand. I wish there just could be more truth in this world. I don't get it. Does creating a happy atmosphere mean saying what sounds best all the time? I just wish...there could be more serious talk...without people getting uncomfortable and trying to end the conversation quickly. I know, privacy. Some things, can't be trusted to others. I get that. Nevertheless...I still long for that warmth of a serious conversation. It just makes you get a grasp of reality. Sure...laughter is scarce and why do you want to give a gloomy atmosphere? JUST CHILL MAN WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU. But...I can't. Not when so many things are mysteries to me. I really want to learn~

I would prefer, to laugh genuinely because I feel at ease. Having a knot in my chest all the time, isn't exactly a conducive state for laughter. I have so many unfinished things that I wish I could let out. But the time has passed and the topic has long been changed. Why are people so impatient?
(I'm impatient when I walk. I tend to step on people's heels when it's crowded and when my mind is just paralyzed with heavy thoughts. Sorry :( I'm clumsy when I multi-task. So, maybe I should slow down? I'm okay with that, but don't block the road -.- ) 
Or, rather, why are they so fast and I, so slow? Why are they so loud? Why are they so confident? I thought everyone was imperfect; why do they act as if they weren't? Why don't they flinch when they tell lies? Why don't they feel any remorse? Why do they help others to benefit themselves?

Or maybe...while other people have already settled their insecurities, I'm still hanging on to mine because I don't know who to trust?

I judge people too much? I don't really judge them...I just feel very curious why they act that way; 'giving the benefit of the doubt' sort of thing. So much so that, I forget to be a person.

It would be okay, if I could have conversations with God. But that doesn't happen to me. Maybe I'm not close to God enough. Or...maybe I'm not patient enough...

I wish I could stop time. So that, even busy people would have time to talk. I wish I could kidnap people. So that, even people with a million friends would have space to talk one on one.

In the end, every soul is alone with God when they face judgement. I think I can understand the feeling. Because, your true thoughts only reveal themselves when (you think) you are alone.

***

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never ever seen - don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."
(Matthew: chapter 6 verse 33, The Message Bible) 

Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given onto you...... Have no worries but fully trust in God and God will provide with everything that is best for you (not necessarily your wishes, because they just might backfire).

***

Just to be clear, for the things I said, I can't be sure if things were really the way I think they were. I can't trust my own observations. It might be fogged up with jealousy, envy and my ego. In my opinion, the way I acted, thought and felt could probably be wrong in the first place. That's why I don't give advice, I may seem like I do, but I'm just sharing what I imagine I would do in that situation.

I did it again, got all negative. Sorry I'm not sorry. This is after all, just how I feel at the particular moment. 


Friday, June 3, 2016

Invisibility is attempting to not exist

Edit 13/06/2016: This was written in my mindlessness. I definitely don't support the way I'm thinking, and the language I use. But I'll just post it here although it embarrasses me. It's okay I don't mind; let me be a bad example to be avoided. 


I think, if there's something I wish for, it would be for my life to end. There's no restart button and no pause button. If you don't know how to live, what else is there to do but die?

I'm not sure how to describe it. Sometimes I wonder, did we choose to enter this world? This can't be true, but just imagine that everyone was once a soul that had no body and we had a choice of whether we wanted to enter a human body and experience the "bliss" of free will. Hypothetically, we signed up a form, agreeing to only two conditions - our memories must be wiped and God decides the parents to whom we will be born to. 

Nonsense, right? 

Existing is really an amazing experience, I'm not going to lie. Nevertheless, I sometimes say to myself, "I'll prefer having not existed in the first place than to hurt, annoy, provoke the people around me; doing more harm than good."  

***

That is the most selfish thing I've ever said, because it makes me think I'm noble. Thinking that one is righteous just because they do not intend to harm people? Bullshit. The truth is deep down I don't want to be feel the guilt, the hurt and the embarrassment. If everyday were days of perfection, I would be begging to remain alive. Hypocrite. The only reason I can't take the suffering is because I've been losing faith in God.

Come close to God, and wash all those crocodile tears away.


I'm sorry for posting a lot of negative stuff here. They weren't meant to be complaints or rants. The written word is a blessing as it allows you to get a better grasp of what you were struggling with in your thoughts. Coming back to read what I wrote helps refresh on the way I felt before and is an opportunity for me to reflect. Why display it on a blog where anyone can read? Maybe someone who feels similarly chances upon this blog, and hopefully, it may be of help...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

For those that feel empty (super-duper long post)

I didn't write this. I was just organizing files and came across this word document from d'Nous Academy 2013 (a camp for building up our mind, soul and spirit with the study of the Bible, praying and reflecting with God in solitude and acting out what we learnt through community engagement activities and fellowship with one another). There wasn't a name on it, so I'm not sure which speaker wrote it (I know his name is David though, because of one sentence inside). Anyway, it's really well written, in simple terms anyone of regular schooling can understand. After reading it, I think it's just perfect, especially for my generation. It's all copy-and-paste, I didn't edit it at all, none of it is by me. I just think it's too good not to share.

Maybe some of you have heard of the famous rock band called Radiohead. The lead singer was once asked in an interview, “What are your ambitions after achieving so much success in the music industry?”

And he answered, “Ambitious for what? What for? I thought when I got to where I wanted to be everything would be different. I’d be somewhere else. I thought it’d be like in heaven. And then I got there and achieved the success I’ve always dreamed of. But I’m still here.”

Then why are you still making music?

He says: “It’s filling up the hole. That’s all anyone does”.

The interviewer goes on and asks: “What happens to the hole?”
There was a pause… And he finally says: “It’s still there”.

It seems like we human beings have this infinitely huge vacuum in our hearts and we try our best to fill it up with things, money, gadgets, sex, music, success, English Premier League football, religion, you name it… but it leaves us empty as before. And in some cases we see the symptoms manifested as boredom, addiction (i.e. workaholic, alcoholic or drug abuse), a sense of despair or even suicidal tendencies. More than a thousand years ago, Saint Augustine wrote that our hearts are restless until they find rest or fulfillment or satisfaction in God.

In modern terms, the psychologist Dr.Viktor Frankl said that the drive to fulfill our meaning in life is the primary motivational force in us, human beings. From his experience in a horrible Nazi prison camp, he observed how prisoners who have lost hope and meaning for the future also lose the will to survive. And those who do not have a purpose worth living for will find an inner hole and a deep sense of emptiness within their hearts.


OK fine… We need to find the purpose of life. But why can’t I live a normal, meaningful and functional life without God?

Since we’re all going to die anyway, then let’s make this world a better place. We hear speeches at funerals that so-and-so has enriched many lives so his life and death is not in vain.

Or some may say, “Since we’re all going to die, let’s seize the day! (Carpe diem) Let’s party, eat, drink and be merry for life is short. Enjoy the simple pleasures while we still live. Then life can be meaningful.”

Or the existentialists will say, “Yes, life is meaningless and absurd. But I refuse to accept it and live as if there’s meaning. Let the world be cruel and indifferent, but I will not. I will choose to be compassionate and kind. That’s authentic human life.”

Well, so far so good. But let’s do a thought experiment here… If there is no God, then we are nothing but the accidental, by-product of nature. We came from matter plus time plus chance. We hit the lottery so we were born. We are a random collision of carbon based molecules. No soul, no spirit in us. There is no reason or no purpose for our existence. Our ultimate destiny is death and nothingness. 

So in a million years from now, it doesn’t ultimately matter what you did to improve the world or how many sunsets you have enjoyed. We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take anything with us. In the long run, it’s just chasing after the wind.

Maybe your life was important because it influenced the course of history like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. But even that is like leaving your footprints in the sand… in just a moment, the waves will come, washing over them and they are gone. In the bigger scheme of things, it makes no difference. Nothing means anything. Because our lives are not connected to something bigger than ourselves… if there is no God. 

But with God, everything changes. Yes, you can work to make this world a better place. Heal the sick. Fight injustice and relieve suffering. And that only makes sense because people are created in the image of God. Therefore human lives are infinitely precious and valuable in themselves… even when they are weak, unproductive and suffering, they are still precious and worthy of our care. In a million years from now, the choices we make today will echo through eternity. One day, we will be raised back to life and God will judge our thoughts and actions. So how we live today has enormous significance. 

Yes, like the existentialists, we can defy the absurdity and cruelty of the nature. But if there is no God, there is no higher law of right or wrong. Everything is just ‘survival of the fittest’. It’s only natural for the strong to prey on the weak. That’s the law of the jungle. Being kind and compassionate to the weak only makes sense if there is an objective moral law higher than the law of the jungle and a moral Lawgiver we call God. For unless you know what a straight line is, how do you know that the world is crooked? Unless we know a divine law higher than the law of nature, we cannot rationally defy nature’s cruelty and indifference.

And lastly, yes, we can enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Friendships. Love someone truly, madly, deeply. Hug a baby. Write a poem. Listen to music. Go backpacking and enjoy the sunset.

But again, that only makes sense because a creative, personal and loving Creator God made us as relational beings, able to love and reason and enjoy the beauty of creation, music and creativity. Without God, love is just a biochemical reaction in your brain. Friendships are just an illusion created by our selfish genes to help pass on our DNA to future generations. Sunsets are just light reflections and nothing more. Without God, you can only enjoy these things if you suppress thinking about what they really are. For the Christian, these pleasures of life are good gifts from God that we can enjoy. They are clues, hints that point us to the Creator who is the ultimate source of all joys.

So the funny thing is this: we can have the courage to make the world a better place and enjoy the good things in life only because God makes all these things meaningful and beautiful. Everything is full of purpose. But without God, life is absurd, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Alright, I know what you are going to tell me, David, I need religion to give me purpose in life, right? All religious worldviews teach us to do good and if I live a better life, a less selfish life, I’d find the purpose of my life rite…

Actually, that’s not it. The Christian worldview is much more radical than that. The problem is not that we don’t know stealing, lust, hatred, attachment to worldly things, selfishness, cruelty is wrong or sinful. The problem is we already know it but we still do it. We want to do good but at the same time, we also find another desire to do exactly the opposite. It’s like our parents say “Don’t touch!” and we purposely touch it. So just getting religious advice and teachings, laws and regulations, do’s and don’ts is not the solution. The diagnosis has to be much deeper than that.

Cause if we are really honest with ourselves, we can find selfishness, greed, pride, lust and fear hidden in the deepest core of our being. I want to be good but there’s a dark side inside of me. It’s like having a split personality.

Have you heard the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Once upon a time, a brilliant scientist named Dr Jekyll came to realize that his dark side is waging a war inside him. So he comes up with a potion that can separate his good nature from his evil nature. When he drinks the potion during the day, he will be his good self and free to do what is good. But when he takes the potion at night, his bad side comes out and he becomes 10 times more selfish and evil than he normally is. This evil side of himself is called Mr Hyde, because he is hideous and because he is hidden in the dark.

Even in the best, the most righteous and kindest of us all hide something hideous in the depths of our hearts. There is a strong tendency in you and I to seek our own interests above all others, to be self-seeking… Unless we realize that we are sick, we will not look for a doctor. Unless we realize how helpless we really are, we will not turn to God.

When Dr Jekyll realizes that he is this living contradiction of good and evil, he decided to do all he can to get rid of selfishness and pride from his heart. He devoted himself to charity and good works, to drown his selfish nature with acts of kindness and sacrifice and pay for the wrongs he had done before. You know what? And it worked! He became the most moral and kind person, and stopped taking the potion at night to become Mr Hyde.

Then one fine day Dr Jekyll thinks of all the good that he has achieved, and how much better a person he was compared to others. He says, “I can say with total honesty that my decision to do good has produced great results. You know how much hard work I spent to help suffering people… But as I smiled, comparing myself with others, comparing my acts of goodness with their lazy, cruel neglect to do good… at that very moment, a horrible feeling came over me and I looked down… I was once again Mr Hyde”. At that moment, just when he has achieved his standard of being good and righteous, Jekyll transformed into Hyde again, this time without drinking any potion at all. Unable to control his transformations any longer, Jekyll killed himself.

The moral of the story is this: Covering up our selfishness and pride with lots of good works and kind deeds won’t make us less self centered. Instead they only feed into our pride and self righteousness. Jekyll becomes Hyde, not because he is bad, but precisely because he is good. If you define the purpose of your existence in terms of performance, you do good deeds motivated by self-interest (in order to get to heaven, escape from hell or to feel good about yourself, to meet expectation of others). In the end, the ultimate motive is still ‘yourself”. If you achieve it, you end up with self righteousness and pride. If you fail to achieve it, you will end up with despair and fear. Either way you still end up becoming Mr or Miss Hyde.

Here’s the difference:
Other worldviews: “Do good, obey the rules – then I will be accepted by God”.
The Good News: “I am accepted by God because of what Jesus has done – therefore I obey”.

Imagine if your Father hugs you and tells you, “Girl, you are my daughter. Boy, you are my son. I love you because you are my child. Not because of your performance in exams. No matter how you perform in exams, you are still my child and I love you. Therefore I want you to do the best you can in the exams.” How would that make you feel? Would you turn around and say, “Thanks Dad, since you love me so much, I’m gonna fail all my exams this year”? No, this kind of love releases you from fear and the crushing need to earn his love through performance. Instead it gives you a new motivation to perform i.e. because you are loved and want to please your father. You’d want to do even better. That’s exactly how God the Father accepts and loves us.

For the Christian, the purpose of life is LOVE – “  To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves”.  That’s why we obey God.  Not out of fear, but out of love. 2000 years ago, God Himself came into the world and became a man.  His name was Jesus the Christ. While we are still sinners, still disobedient and undeserving of God’s love, Jesus lived the perfect life that we should have lived and died the sacrificial death that we should have died. We should have died for our sins but the Lord Jesus laid down His life for us. This is the reason God came into the world. He came to rescue us.  He came to be crucified on the cross to take all our guilt, punishment and shame upon Himself. Because He loves us, He opens the way so that we can be forgiven and accepted by God. The Good News is: “You are accepted by God because of what Jesus has done – therefore you obey out of love, not out of fear”.

So the Purpose of life is not an abstract principle, a theorem, a set of rules and regulations you can find in a book. The Purpose of life is a Person. You can have relationship with this person, to love and be loved by God. The good news is Christ loves us more than we ever dare imagine even though we are more sinful than we’d ever dreamed of!
Not only that, on Easter Sunday he was resurrected from the grave! Jesus is the only Person to have conquered death itself. Death will not be the last word. It is not the end of everything. Because what God has done in Christ He will one day do for us and the rest of creation! Our physical bodies will be transformed to glory. The heavens and the earth will be renewed and purified. And this project has already started like a mustard seed in the world, ever growing and swelling and spreading. In the meantime, we are called to be the ambassadors of God’s kingdom on earth – in our lives, in our studies, in our worship, in our work, in our relationships to reflect God’s love to the world. We will say something more about this later. 

If you will place your trust on Jesus at the center of your being, and let Him shape your life, you will be transformed. You will love because God first loved you. You forgive others because God has forgiven you; and you serve others because God has served you. In a million years from now, you will have eternal life, caught up in wonder and awe in the presence of God forever. This is the purpose of life according to the Christian worldview.