Keep blogging Pearlie. Don’t give up

I have not caught up with my blog for one whole week, from last Monday till today Monday. 

And I almost gave it up. 

I thought I’d take a week off and not write anything but knowing myself, it would then spell the end of my blog. 

I will never come back. 

So I without another thought, I just started writing and writing and writing. I just kept writing. 

And now I am all caught up. 

It’s a good thing I keep short notes for each of the days, so that I have an idea what to write about and what’s so special about the day that I want to remember. 

So the thing is to just write even if you don’t feel like writing. 

One decision I am going to make however, is to keep away from Facebook for awhile, if not for ever. 

I find Facebook isn’t good for me, in many counts and in many ways. 

I do get updates about people I don’t meet anymore and even updates on news and deals, but it comes far and between. I think I will lay it off for a month and see if my life will improve as a result. 

I don’t use that much time on Facebook but it’s still quite substantial by my standards. I’d find better things to fill that time with. 

And I’d like to reiterate why I blog—it’s so I can mull and think things through, about life’s lessons for the day and stuff that God would want me to take note. It’s so I can remember important stuff that happens to me. It’s also so that I can see when I am really dry and need watering. 

Keep blogging Pearlie. Don’t give up. 


Praying the Psalm: Psalm 139

Psalm 139:1-24 ESV
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; 
you discern my thoughts from afar. 
You search out my path and my lying down 
and are acquainted with all my ways. 
Even before a word is on my tongue, 
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, 
and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
it is high; I cannot attain it. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit? 
Or where shall I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 
If I take the wings of the morning 
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me. 
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, 
and the light about me be night," 
even the darkness is not dark to you; 
the night is bright as the day, 
for darkness is as light with you. 

For you formed my inward parts; 
you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; 
my soul knows it very well. 
My frame was not hidden from you, 
when I was being made in secret, 
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; 
in your book were written, every one of them, 
the days that were formed for me, 
when as yet there was none of them. 

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! 
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. 
I awake, and I am still with you. 

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! 
O men of blood, depart from me! 
They speak against you with malicious intent; 
your enemies take your name in vain. 
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? 
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 
I hate them with complete hatred; 
I count them my enemies. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart! 
Try me and know my thoughts! 
And see if there be any grievous way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting!



How Christianity Changed the World

How Christianity Change the World
by Alvin J. Schmidt

I bought this book not long ago and decided to read it, as part of an initiative not to watch any TV today. 

And the book is good.

The book “is a survey of the vast, pervasive influence that Christianity has had for two thousand years on much of the world, especially in the West.”

The author quoted three reasons why he wrote the book and I quote:

1. There is a pronounced paucity of information extant and available regarding the influence and impact that Jesus Christ has had on the world for two thousand years. Yet, in a rather nebulous manner many of us “know” that much of our culture, especially in the Western world, bears prominent imprints of Christ’s influence. Much of that influence is still with us even in the ever-growing secular and religiously pluralistic milieu of today.

2. To provide a one-volume resource by which the average reader could learn about the magnanimous influences that Jesus Christ, through his followers, has had for centuries on billions of people and social institutions to this very day. This educational objective is especially important today because Christianity is not only poorly understood, but also maligned, especially by many in the mass media.

3. On the basis of the historical evidence, the author is fully persuaded that had Jesus Christ never walked the dusty paths of ancient Palestine, suffered, died, and risen from the dead, and never assembled around him a small group of disciples who spread out into the pagan world, the West would not have attained its high level of civilization, giving it the many human benefits it enjoys today. One only needs to look to sectors of the world where Christianity has had little or no presence to see the remarkable differences. 

There are so many areas of life in the world that was transformed because of Jesus: “In the ancient world, his teachings elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities and relief organizations, created hospitals, established orphanages, and founded schools.”

The author explores the transformation in the following chapters:
1. People Transformed by Jesus Christ
2. The Sanctification of Human Life
3. Christianity Elevates Sexual Morality
4. Women Receives Freedom and Dignity
5. Charity and Compassion: Their Christian Connection
6. Hospitals and Health Care: Their Christian Roots
7. Christianity’s Imprint on Education
8. Labor and Economic Freedom Dignified
9. Science: Its Christian Connection
10. Liberty and Justice for All
11. Slavery Abolished: A Christian Achievement
12. Christianity’s Stamp on Art and Architecture
13. The Sound of Music: Its Christian Resonance
14. Hallmark of Literature: Their Christian Imprint
15. Additional Influence: Holidays, Words, Symbols, and Expressions

I have only read five chapters today but I can see how we have forgotten or not realized how life had been before and if not for the changes that Jesus brought into our world, it would have so different and life would not be so good as we have it now. 


When a friend is most needed

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. 
~ Ann Landers

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. 
~ Khalil Gibran

Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend. 
~ Bill Watterson

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. 
~ Walter Winchell

The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when. 
~ Simon Sinek

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. 
~ Thomas Aquinas

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. 
~ Helen Keller

Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. 
~ Euripides

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
~ Colossians 3:12-14 ESV


Why everything matters

One of my favourite books in the Bible is definitely Ecclesiastes, and if you perform a search in my blog, I talk about and quote from it quite a lot. 

Today I felt I needed to read the book again, and so I started to re-read Philip Graham Ryken’s preaching commentary on Ecclesiastes. 

Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters
by Philip Graham Ryken

I remember reading the book in year 2012 and six years down the line, it’s time I read it again, and once more learn that whilst everything is meaningless, why and how everything matters. 

I did not blog about this book when I read it then but I did do a book review in 2015 on Thomas Nelson’s A Life Well Lived, A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

A Life Well Lived, A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes
by Thomas Nelson

And now that I am reading my blogpost Enjoy Your Life! again, I think it’s time I re-read Nelson after I finish Ryken’s. 


It’s so hard to find forgiveness

I learnt a big lesson about forgiveness today. Something happened and I realised how lightly have I taken God’s forgiveness. 

For one, I take myself too seriously at times and I don’t easily forgive myself.

And secondly, I find that people at work do not forgive, nor are they emphathetic when you make a mistake. 

With this, I realised how much I have taken the forgiveness of God for granted, that I don’t think too much of it.

But the things that I have done wrong and how I have sinned against my God is so much more in comparison to the mistakes I have made where forgiveness is so hard to come by. 

Imagine if God were like the people we encounter with everyday, who are judgmental and unforgiving, how can we live without God’s forgiveness?

I am now so grateful that God forgives. And I’m forever grateful for he died for me on the cross, in my place for my sin, so I may live. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
~ 1 John 1:9 ESV

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. [26] Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
~ Isaiah 43:25-26 ESV

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
~ Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV



What is the joy of the Lord?

When I am down, I would always recite to myself Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

I would regard this joy as coming from the Lord and with this joy that originates from him, it will give me strength to carry on. 

But this time, I thought a little further and realised that it’s the joy of the Lord and not joy from the Lord. 

That is quite substantially different, I thought. When it is the joy of the Lord, it doesn’t even need to be in me. The fact that he has joy is strength enough for me. 

But what is his joy? What does he have joy in?

The author gave four things that our God has his joy in, of which I will only state just one. I am not so sure about the other three but you can read it up and tell me what you think. 

His joy is us - God delights in us for he made us out of his love for us and gave his Son for us on the cross so we may reconciled with him. 

For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
~ Isaiah 62:5 ESV

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
~ Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

And this gives me strength because he rejoices in me and delights in me, and what more, he first loved me. And with that I rejoice in him, find strength in him and love him with all my heart, my soul, my might and and my mind. 


An Empty Cup

I hold in my hands an empty cup
I hadn’t known it to be so
But it was empty it was such 
Though I thought it overflowed
But nay it was empty still 
I looked and there was nothing
I thought I had it filled
It had to at least with something

The cup was once not empty it was not
It was full and it was brimming
With stuff so good I always thought
I’d always have it coming 
But alas it’s all drained out now
I hold on my hands an empty cup
I have to do something but how
What should I do to fill it up

I now see I have filled it with stuff
I thought will amount to something
But these stuff are all but fluff
It goes into the cup and becomes nothing
I thought they’d be good
I thought they’d be fine
I was wrong I was so wrong
I was totally out of line

I really need to do something
I have in my hands an empty cup
I need it filled with good things
I need it to fill it up
I need to go back to the good things
The stuff that I love so much 
The mulling, the thinking, the reading
To go back to them now I must

I have in my hands an empty cup
I now need to fill it up

Copyright © 2018 Pearlie Ng

The beauty and mystery of languages we don’t understand

We are planning for a more elaborated worship service tomorrow and it’s going to be a contemplative one with singing and Scripture and sermon all rolled into one. 

Amongst the special feature of the service will be the usage of different languages to instill in us the reality that God is mysterious and he will remain mysterious to us in his own way. And as much as he reveals himself to us, we should be in wonder and awe that he is so immense and wonderful we will never know him in full. 

Just like the languages we don’t understand, we still love to listen to the beauty of what we can only recognise as different sounds, in the same way when we could not understand God fully, we can still know and experience him as a good and great God who loves us immensely. 

We will be singing a song in Tagalog, Halina’t Sama Sama...

...and hearing Deut 6:4-5 in six different languages. 

Our church is so blessed in that we do have members who speak these languages, both native and learned. We could even have French, Spanish and Mexican but they weren’t around this week. And I would also add in Tamil, Malayalam, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew and more if I do not need to worry about timing. 

Maybe the next round, we shall do this again!


It’s not so much about the coffee anymore

It has been quite busy at work lately and it does feel like my plate is piled up high and overflowing. 

And so it feels and works well when we move out of the office area and have our meeting in Starbucks. 

If you think about it, cafes these days are not so much about the coffee anymore. 

It’s time and space. 

Work meetings. Friends catch-ups. Family gathering. 

We savor the time we spend together, catch up on each other, or settle issues and plan things as we sit together. 

The coffee’s just an add-on. 


Am I going through the five stages of grief?

It’s almost two months since my son has left for college. I’m managing it quite well though people I meet will almost always bring up the subject of me being in an empty nest and will start asking about him. 

With that, I find it a bit tough to move on. 

And today I think I am feeling a bit depressed about it and wonder if I’m experience any of the stages of the Kübler-Ross Model. 

Most people know the Kübler-Ross Model as the Five Stages of Grief and it was introduced by the author in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.

I am obviously not experiencing a death in this case but I think there is still some kind of grief I’m going through. 

The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are not linear and they do not have a predictable progression. The different stages can come at any time in any sequence. 

I think I’m in the denial and depression stage. It’s not serious but I feel it. 


Let the beauty of what you love be what you do

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process. 
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come. 
~ Dwayne Johnson

Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path. 
~ Phillip Sweet

It's all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family. 
~ Philip Green

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. 
~ Steve Jobs

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. [23] Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
~ Colossians 3:22-25 (ESV)

Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.
~ Colossians 3:22-25 (MSG)

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. 
~ Rumi


Work heartily as for the Lord

The sermon today was on Colossians 3:22-4:1, where servants or slaves (doulos) are to obey their masters and masters are to treat them justly and fairly. 

These verses were addressed to slaves of Paul’s time and in our application, the general commands of these verses would still apply, in that it is not enough to do just enough:
- work not only when our employers can see us but to put in work well worth our abilities and capabilities
- work heartily as for the Lord, not for men

This reminded me of a book I have read 4 years ago, which I need to read again. 

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace
by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae


The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician’s Nephew
by C.S. Lewis

As a result of going back to reading C.S. Lewis recently, I 
bought the Kindle version of The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection and read The Magician’s Nephew today. 

I know I read the book before when I read it to my son when he was small, but with me having a short memory and all, I couldn’t remember the story at all. 

What I do remember is that I wasn’t really captured by the story nor could I identify with it. 

But it’s different this time, very different. 

Louis Markos wrote in his book Lewis Agonistes that those “who read the Chronicles as a child solely for their stories, and then read them again as an adult [is] to be stunned into wonder by their deeper Christian message, a message made all the more real because it had already been experienced in childhood in a purely aesthetic way.”

Sadly, I have not read the Chronicles when I was young. I didn’t know about the books back then. 

But now that I am reading it, I am seeing the deeper meaning it holds. 

And whilst I am rarely moved to tears, this one did me. 

I don’t think I can put any quotes here. I will not do it justice. You will have to read it and experience it for yourself, truly. 


What to do when you get scolded for no reason

I sort of got scolded by someone for no reason today and I got quite frustrated with it. 

But I did these few things:
- I did react at first but stepped back after that to try understand it all
- I began to admit to myself that I am not very good in that area to begin with
- I evaluated the situation and realised (again) that I am looking at the wrong places for fulfilment

I then found this article How to Survive Being Scolded useful and I did do some of the steps suggested, but a few more I’d need to pick up and think about it more. 


Lost Cause: Managing Poor Performers

Managing the process and administration of employee performance is part of my portfolio at work. 

I have been looking for books on how to improve performance when I found this:

Lost Cause, Managing Poor Performers
by Xavier Zinn

This should be a good read to also look at the subject from the other side of performance, except that the Kindle book is not (yet) available for sale in Malaysia. 

I hope it will soon because I’d love to dig into it. 


Hiatuses can create new insights

I have been facilitating the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for three and a half years now, and after a break from it for about three months, I am teaching a class yesterday and today. 

And I realise that sometimes a long break is good.

I did think to myself that I have watched those videos so many times that I would have already milked them thoroughly for lessons and applications. 

I was wrong. 

As I was watching those videos again today, I am getting new insights. And I did use them quite well in my debriefs. 

Except that I can’t remember them anymore for me to include them here. What I need to do the next time I do it is to pen down my thoughts for I trust that I will get those insights again, or at least I hope I will. 

And that will be in the next month, in my next session.