1 John 4:20-21

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

pearlie

Hell

Ann kept reminding me recently that there aren't any coincidences when it comes to God. Lately, I have been wondering about stuff that is happening to me. This is one example, it happened several times already: that is before I read the book-I-am-attempting-to-complete-before-the-month-is-over-but-unsuccessfully, there is almost always a precursor event or discussion over the topic.

Someone was just telling me about a pastor who boldly preached about hell in a wake service. When I was told of the context of the event, I understood why he was compelled to do so. And today, when I got back to where I stopped, the title of the chapter was, "Hell".

Kreeft and Tacelli handled the chapter extremely well and I was stuck to the chapter soaking in all they had to say about the dreaded subject.

And I like this paragraph: one of the issues at stake in the Doctrine of Hell, which I feel applies also to the other doctrines.

"If we drop hell because it is unbearable to us, that presupposes the principle that we can change whatever doctrines we find unbearable or unacceptable; in other words, that doctrine is negotiable. Christianity then becomes a human ideology, not a divine revelation; a set of humanly chosen ideas and ideals rather than propositional data. There is then nothing new or surprising to learn. Doctrine becomes a nose of wax to be twisted into any shape we choose. Try this principle out in any other branch of knowledge and see whether it makes a difference." (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Kreeft & Tacelli, 1994, p.283).

I find that most Christians I meet these days take doctrines and even Scripture as "wax to be twisted into any shape we choose". Some of us just could not accept the cold hard truth of God. God is not lovey-dovey but his love and justice comes together.

From my encounter with people, I find that amongst the most "dangerous" words to start a sentence when discussing about Scripture is "I think ..." as well as "To me ...". As much as we are called to "think over", "consider", and "reflect" on the Word of God (2 Tim 2:7), we need to be careful that we do it wisely and let the Lord reveal his Word to us rather than us digging into the words figuring out or even imagining what we think they mean.

Paul continues to say in 2 Tim 4:3, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions".

But having said this, I have also come to the stage where I find myself asking if I am missing something. I hear people saying that they have prayed to the Lord and that is what was revealed to them, but it just does not sit right with me. Am I missing something here?

Oh! how great is our responsibility in the studying, understanding and the applying of God's word.

pearlie

The wrong side

We've completed John 11 today tackling the last 2 sections of the Lazarus narrative: the raising of Lazarus and the prophecy of the death of Jesus not only for the Jewish nation but also for the children of God, to bring them together and make them one. We've highlighted that being people with a will to choose what we want, we may want to do what we want but in the end God's purpose will still be fulfilled. The only difference is that we might end up in the wrong side.

pearlie

Priya


My dear friend Priya complained I never posted a nice picture of her but instead posted a not-so-nice one once in my PhotoBlog. So I am doing her the honours now since I got this nice picture of her. Priya is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life, and in fact, she deserves more than just a nice picture.

pearlie

Psalm 24: He is the King of Glory!

I know it is not a good practice to flip and read the bible randomly. Do you? I do that with the psalms sometimes. Other than the more familiar psalms, I sort of have an idea where and what the psalms are though I cannot be all certain. Like this morning, I needed to read a psalm but I did not have a specific one in mind. So I scrolled through the psalms numbers and said, ok, I'll take this one: Psalm 24. I suppose if I were to have chosen any other psalm, it would speak to me as well, but this one certainly did this morning.

Words in italics are my response.

Psalm 24
A PSALM OF DAVID.


The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
   the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
   and established it upon the rivers.

         So why so downcast O my soul
         Hope in God
         For I shall depend on him
         He owns the earth and all in it


Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
   And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
   who does not lift up his soul to what is false
   and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
   and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
   who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

         The hill of the LORD
         There I humbly approach
         Are my hands clean?
         Is my heart pure?

         The presence of God
         I meekly draw close
         There I seek him
         There I seek the face of God


Lift up your heads, O gates!
   And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

         Lift up your heads
         All you people
         And into our lives
         Come in, O God


Who is this King of glory?
   The LORD, strong and mighty,
   the LORD, mighty in battle!

         You are the King
         The King of Glory
         You are strong and mighty
         You are strong and mighty


Lift up your heads, O gates!
   And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

         Lift up your heads
         All you people
         Lift up your hearts
         Come into our lives, O LORD


Who is this
   King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
   he is the King of glory! Selah

         Who is this?
         King of Glory?
         The Lord of hosts
         He is the King of Glory! Amen!


pearlie

Have you ever emceed in a wedding dinner?

I was invited to a wedding dinner and off I went without SH or Calvin. I missed the ceremony proper but I am glad I got to go see the wedding couple during the dinner. It was also wonderful to meet up with old friends and even relatives whom I seldom meet these days.

But as in all weddings, I worry for the emcees. They have one of the most difficult job in the whole wide world. I have yet to meet a competent one that doesn't make me cringe. The emcees for this wedding dinner however, was beyond me cringing. They have become quite comical. They were quite fun to listen to actually, and thankfully, minus the cringing. I do not envy wedding dinner emcees.

pearlie

Visitation



Some of us went to visit some elderly friends who live together in a home. We had dinner together, we chatted and sang some songs. They are really darlings and I hope to go pay them a visit again soon.

pearlie

Martha, Martha

We moved on to the portion of the Lazarus narrative today, where Martha and Mary met up with Jesus, in two separate accounts. One of the things that stood out in Martha's section was her proclamation of who Jesus is: Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world (11:27).

When Martha is mentioned, we always remember Jesus saying to her "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42).

But let her be remembered also as one of the few who proclaimed who Jesus is, i.e. the promised Messiah, the Son of God and the coming Deliverer.

pearlie

Coffee Grouses

I spent the whole day in a meeting room at work today, where there's a free flow of coffee, tea, and Coke. Coffee consist of the Nescafe-kind served through a coffee machine. I just wonder if the Nescafe people have ever tasted their own coffee served in these machines before - I really cannot stand it. I squeeze my face in disgust every time I take the first sip and as such I have given up on it. I have settled for hot cups of Peach & Passion Ahmad Tea or a cold can of the good ol' Coke.

But this is my favourite: Gloria Jean's Caramelatte.



pearlie

Book Review: Handbook of Christian Apologetics


Handbook of Christian Apologetics
by Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli

I am reading Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli's Handbook of Christian Apologetics under our church's Reading Programme 2009, and I am so glad I picked this book. It is an excellent compilation of the main topics of Christian apologetics.

I have about only one more week to finish the book before I need to pass it on the next reader under the Reading Programme. But at the rate I am going, I don't think it will be a problem even though I am only halfway through (I am a serious procrastinator and so I started late, obviously).

I am reading the chapter on "The Bible: Myth or History?" and this paragraph stands out for me:

This book is about rational, logical, objective apologetics, not about subjective psychological motivations. But it's important to know what is really going on in the soul of the person to whom apologetic arguments are addressed, and to know the irrational forces behind unbelief ... all arguments against all the doctrines of Christianity are rationally refutable. Having said that, the most important task remains still undone. Arguments destroy ignorance and irrationality, but the real enemy is sin. Sin can be destroyed only by sanctity, prayer, faith, hope, charity, the blood of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. (p.203)

And I thought this statement is true and creatively constructed:

God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world. (p.213)

If you need a succinct book that tells you all the major points of Christian Apologetics without going too much into the varied details, this book is for you. It will do well as both an introductory level material as well as a handy reference book on Christian Apologetics. Each chapter comes with quite an extensive list of "Questions for Discussion", and this makes it good for use in a group study.

It comes highly recommended -- in fact, a must-have and a must-read for every believer.

pearlie

Have you ever gone to the cinema alone?

I have never ever gone to the movies on my own before. Never could do it because I would have no one to share it with, no one to laugh or even cry with, and I would feel odd laughing to myself. But -- a very big but -- I wanted to try it at least once, to see if my reasons were valid.

So I went today - alone - to watch the Star Trek movie. But I cheated - in a sense - I already watched it with SH and Calvin last week. Both of them are Star Trek fans and would kill me if I went alone without them.



The movie was excellent, one of the reasons why I wanted to go see it again. I also wanted to see it from a different angle now that I know the plot and the storyline, and to catch the parts I somehow have missed (only an INFP would truly understand why!).

Alex gave a good review of the movie here. He is obviously a much, much bigger fan than I am, hence it would be great if I could get him to sit in front of me and feed me some of the interesting stuff with regards with this new movie in relation to the entire Star Trek universe, like for example, what has changed in the first few seconds of the movie that is so apparent to hardcore Trekkies? Hmmm.

Anyway, the alone-experience wasn't all that bad. I didn't laugh since I knew all the scenes, so in the sense my reasons weren't that much tested. I will try it again, a movie that I would love to go see, that SH and Calvin wouldn't care much for.

pearlie

Korean Dramas

What is it with Korean dramas, Cantonese serials or soap operas? I used to be quite into Cantonese serials but not anymore. I don't remember much of what I have seen and as such, they are a complete waste of time. Are there any good life lessons to be learnt out of them?

pearlie

Pearlie is having a migraine and so please leave her alone

I woke up with a very bad migraine this morning and I am now still in bed, not sleepy at all but head heavy and badly aching.

With nothing else better to do, I started catching up with blogs via RSS on my phone.

Times are so different these days compared to the good ol' days. If you have been around long enough, you'd have had penpals, the snail mail kind. And to catch up with friends, there'd be the good ol' dial telephone, the turning kind.

But I'm here instead reading up the latest with my friends and new found blogger-friends, with some I've "known" for more than 3 years now (I'm referring to you, Julia ;)

Oh, how the times have changed. We no longer write letters. We publish blogposts. It is no longer personal to recipients (though there's still the email) but open to the public, to whomever who'd care to take a read. And we "reply" with "comments".

Then there's the different breed between Bloggers and Facebookers. Which are you? Or rather, which is more you? And why?

I am not really into Facebooking but I'm there because I came to a can't-beat-'em-so-join-'em stage.

I'm still not active there, only checking in once every month, more frequent now with the FB app in my phone. I suppose I'm less there because I prefer to be more thought out than fleeting. I would rather spend half an hour, though sometimes it can take more than one, to write out what's in my mind or what's been happening in my day or in my life, on a more serious note; rather than spending one minute to type (Pearlie is) having a migraine and so please leave her alone.

Don't you see? I've spent the last half an hour and 8 paragraphs just to do that, to tell you that Pearlie is having a migraine and so please leave her alone.

Ah! Bloggers.

pearlie

We begin John chapter 11

We've spent quite a few weeks tackling John 10 with the Good Shepherd and the Door, with Jesus equating himself with the Father (I and the Father are one), and ending with the Jews accusing him of blasphemy, taking up stones to stone him.

Now we come to the crucial transitional chapter of the death and raising of Lazarus in John 11.

We learnt that whilst Jesus was very close to Lazarus's family, and would come to their help at a moment's notice, we see here that the one and only purpose of his action was the will of the Father, for his glory and so that the Son of God may be glorified by it (v.4).

And with that, we see the logic of v.5 and 6.

"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So (or 'therefore', NIV uses a less than accurate, 'yet') when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was."

NIV's "yet" is more logical on first look humanly speaking but if you think about it, the Greek preposition, oun, is better translated naturally as "so" or "therefore".

Why do I think so?

I feel that Jesus is not prolonging it so that Lazarus would be really dead when He arrives for the great miracle (though it is generally believed to be so but I've changed my mind in light of v.5-6). And it is definitely not because He does not have them in his heart with the prolonged mourning they are suffering through.

Instead, Jesus did it so that it is clear that his actions were because of the will of God. All the more he needed to do it because He was very close to the family. He was not emotionally driven but he purposefully acted on the will of God.

We, however, are usually (1) emotionally driven, and (2) "self-centered-ly" driven. We seldom have the patient or humility to seek God. Just listen to the prayers we utter. We find ourselves "instructing" God more than seeking Him.

Wouldn't it be better if we waited and "stayed two days longer in the place where we are" to seek God before we said, prayed or do anything.

pearlie

Pearlie in the Park


I am pleased to introduce to you my namesake, Pearlie, the fairy in the park. No doubt you have heard of the fairies that live at the bottom of the garden. But did you know that fairies also live in the big city? Of course they do! Meet Pearlie, the fairy in the Park. She has to make sure everything runs smoothly in the park, but one morning she wakes up to find everything topsy turvy!


I knew about these children books when I once googled my own name (don't you? Google your name, I mean). And so when Calvin spotted this poster in Borders, we were utterly amused. I bought a copy of Pearlie in the Park, since I need to keep track on what I do, and oh! I got the totebag too.

pearlie

Last Two Standing

I missed American Idol today because of Grace Notes rehearsal and so I caught up on the reviews instead in my AI review staple, http://www.foxesonidol.com/. Everyone has predicted Kris to leave but I'm saying that Adam and Kris will be the last two standing. Just couldn't see Allison's fans voting for Danny and according to the review of the performances, Kris was spectacular and Danny was dead last. I'll see if I'm right tomorrow and I'll be glued to the TV this Saturday watching the repeat.

pearlie

14/5/09 update: I was right!!! Woohoo!!! HaHah!!!

Books I read, books they write

I was out for lunch with Paul yesterday and when Paul and I get together, we talk God, we talk theology, we talk books. This round of lunch however, when one of our other colleagues walked passed us, we invited her to join us since she was without lunch mates. So Paul and I had to switch gears, and we ended up talking about movies and still, books.

What was interesting was that when I began to talk about my interest in the Harry Potter series --the subject came up because the 6th instalment of the movie is coming soon-- Paul had a worried look on his face. (I was once immersed in the books, not anymore, I got over it).

I started thinking, what should be our commitment as Christians in the books we choose to read? Should we read books like the Harry Potter series that delves into witchcraft, books by Philip Pullman that preaches atheism, books by Dan Brown that centres on controversies? Can we not read them for leisure? Or to be in the know so that we can talk about them responsibly? Another good question would be how matured are we to be in Christ before we open ourselves to these books? What about our children? Should we be allowing them to read books by Philip Pullman for example?

And more than that, should I be reading all the books before my son reads them? My son just finished the Lion Boy trilogy not long ago and I have no idea what it is all about -- just that this boy talks cat. And some time back, he was into this book entitled, The Pig Who Saved the World, which has some Greek mythology in it and he was telling me about a section in the story where there was no death -- living things just could not die, though they suffer.

pearlie

Games People Play, I'm OK—You're OK

As mentioned, I have become more active in my research on the topic of personality and psychoanalysis. I found these books in Borders yesterday and I bought them.


Games People Play,
The Basic Book of Transactional Analysis

by Eric Berne, MD
Ann first talked about this book in one of our chats and the title, Games People Play, got my interest. It was an old book, she said and so I left it be. Later in my course of work, I was reading up on Transactional Analysis only to discover that this was the book that started it all. I asked Ann to lend me hers but she could not locate her copy. So when I saw this in the bookstore, obviously I grabbed it, no questions asked. I am still reading it at the moment -- I must say that it is not an easy read. Berne tends to over qualify himself sometimes and he can get quite technical too and I have yet to get accustomed to psychology talk. And when he start explaining the games, I got quite impatient reading them. I need a stress-free day to slowly go through the games.


I'm OK—You're OK
by Thomas A. Harris, MD
Harris wrote this book three years after Berne's phenomenal success with his. Harris' proposition of the I'm OK—You're OK quadrant, based on Berne's Transactional Analysis theory, has become very popular. It is also been used in my course work. However, I find it very much misused and misinterpreted by people. And so, I look forward to digging into this book, when I finish with Berne's.

I look forward to my stress-free days ;)

pearlie

Psalm 34

OF DAVID, WHEN HE CHANGED HIS BEHAVIOR BEFORE ABIMELECH,
SO THAT HE DROVE HIM OUT, AND HE WENT AWAY.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help,
the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

pearlie

These guys are really good



I tell people that I had wanted to miss this season of American Idol but I couldn't. These fellas are really good. This week, they were down to the last four -- and to me, none of them deserve to go home. They're too good. Tonight was result night and I thought Kris would go home but he didn't! That was cool. With Kris safe, my next guess was Allison and I was right. Her last AI performance rocked the house! Way to go girl!

pearlie

Put on the whole armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

pearlie

Hard reading or soft reading?



Do you mind reading on the computer screen or better still, on your cellphone? Or would you rather read a real page-turning paper-crisp bound book?

I cannot decide.

I like to hold a real book in my hands, savour its story as I take in the aroma and sound of paper as I flip the pages.

But on the other hand, I like to have all my books with me at all times so that I can whip any one of them up and read it on the go.

I usually travel or commute with at least a book with me, to fill in the pockets of time and to get my reading going. On the flipside, I have also uploaded journal articles into my cellphone and I have by now gotten very used to reading on that thing.

My frustration is this: I could not find a better way to convert my books so that I can read them on my phone.

Any suggestions?

Buy e-books? Oh no! That is almost sacrilegious. Looks like whilst I am quite a techy, I am just not that techy yet.

pearlie
Photo from: Amazon Kindle 2

p/s links to some cool reads about e-books:
> How the Kindle and Its Kin Will Reduce Book Sales
> ebooks and the iPhone
> An optimistic observation for publishers around ebooks

Movie: Bridge to Terabithia



I can't believe I am actually blogging about movies three days in a row! The thing is, I am an outright couch potato this weekend. I caught several more movies on TV and this one might be worth a mention, though it did depress me quite a bit: Bridge to Terabithia.

It was interesting to find out that the movie was an adaptation of a book of the same title by Katherine Patterson, published in 1977 by HarperCollins. She drew inspiration from a real event when her son's friend was struck by lightning and died.

The story was about Jess, a fifth grader who befriended his new neighbour, Leslie. He loves to draw while she was gifted with an amazing imagination. The two children grew in their friendship while they created an imaginary kingdom in the woods near their homes. Here is where the story would remind us of C.S. Lewis's stories in the Chronicles of Narnia. As the story developed on, Leslie died in an accident, and Jess was left to face his grief, and guilt as well.

The novel apparently was the frequent target of censors and appears at number nine on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for the decade 1990-2000. The censor attempt stems from death being a part of the plot, secular humanism, New Age religions, occultism, Satanism, amongst others. (source: wikipedia.org)

I have not read the book but I think the movie may be a bit watered down in comparison but there is that death, as well as a scene where Leslie questioned the truth of the Bible and Jess's little sister giving a warped version of what Biblical truth is.

Well, not a movie I want to watch again nor a book I want to read, unless it is for critique's sake.

pearlie

Movie: The Jane Austen Book Club



It is a long weekend and I had not planned it well. I just did what I found myself doing -- if that make any sense. And I caught this movie, The Jane Austen Book Club, on TV. I have seen the book in the store several times but did not get it.

The book club was started by Bernadette, who was fiftysomething and a six-time divorcée. It happened when she mets Prudie, a prim, married high school French teacher in her mid-20s, at a Jane Austen film festival. Her concept is to have six members discuss all of Austen's six novels, with each member hosting the group once a month. The group consisted of 5 women and a guy: Bernadette, Prudie, Sylvia, a fortysomething housewife who recently has separated from her philandering lawyer husband Daniel after more than two decades of marriage; Allegra, Sylvia's 20-year-old lesbian daughter, Jocelyn, a happily unmarried control freak and breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks who has been Sylvia's friend since childhood, and Grigg, the only guy, a science fiction fan who's roped into the group by Jocelyn with the hope he and Sylvia will prove to be a compatible match.

It was interesting to watch them live their lives and how similar they were to Austen's characters in their reaction to their life events.

However, I read somewhere that "the screenplay is for the most part a dramatic departure from the novel". So, it looks like I have to go get the book after all. Or worse still, I'd need to first read all six of Austen's book -- I have them somewhere in the house ...

pearlie

Movie: X-Men Origins, Wolverine



Spoiler alert!
We took the opportunity of the public holiday to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We enjoyed it tremendously (forget the reviews, didn't agree with them), except that they should have done a better job with Patrick Stewart: he looked odd. Anyway, I was right about two things - the girl didn't die and the brother was working for the bad guy. To me, it was quite expected.

One of my favourite scene though was the log cabin high up in the mountains -- wow, if I could retire there right now.

pearlie