The Super Duper Duplicator

Time has not permit me to think much today, let alone write. Work is piling on and I wish I could have Calvin's duplicator.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

© Universal Press Syndicate

pearlie

Melaka, Day 2

Grace Notes intently singing and ministering the good news of the Lord in music and song during the morning service. This is not all of us, the camera lens was not wide enough to capture the whole team.


Joanna gave some vocal lessons to some of the church members yesterday. We sang a song together in the service.




Chloe and Kristen.


After service, we were brought to savour the best cendol in Melaka.


Lee Mei with the auntie preparing the cendol.


A contented lot.


pearlie
Photos (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng (the first 4 shots were taken by Wong Jen May)

Melaka, Day 1

Grace Notes were invited to sing in the Taman Asean Methodist Church, Melaka tomorrow and off we went to Melaka today.

We all put up in different places. My parents and I with the kids were housed in Wisma Wesley. A bit too quiet and simple, but comfortable nonetheless.

View from our room. I think this is the Wesley Church's office.


pearlie
Photo (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

Free and easy

We have a day off today being Hari Raya Haji and I thank the LORD for a good day of rest. I took the opportunity to go to the nearest nursery to see if I can get some good shots. I enjoyed myself and manage to catch some photos of butterflies - my, they are not easy to shoot. They won't pose for you. Just when you think you got the right angle, poof! off they fly to another bloom.

I think this is my best shot, which is just so so.


pearlie
Photo (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

Do everything in love

I found this verse in 1 Corinthians today:

1 Cor 16:13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

I find it such an amazing verse - in that we need to be on guard all the time to ensure we walk in the Spirit, to stand firm in the faith no matter what happens and to be courageous and strong, having His Spirit in us. But the beauty is that we are to do everything in love. And I see this love to include His love for us, our love for Him and with this love to everyone else. It would not be enough to just stand firm in him, but also to live in this amazing love of God that was given to all through the cross.

pearlie

God is Good All The Time by Don Moen

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

If you're walking through the valley
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear, He will guide you
He will keep you safe and sound
'Cause He has promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you and His Word is true

We were sinners - so unworthy
Still for us He chose to die
Filled us with His Holy Spirit
Now we can stand and testify
That His love is everlasting
And His mercies - they will never end

Though I may not understand
All the plans He has for me
My life is in His hands
And through the eyes of faith I can clearly see

pearlie

The fears we face

Fears can be very real in our lives. On the outset, they seem irrational though. One of the ten most common fears is the fear of clowns, which happens to be my son's fear. He would steer clear of them. It does look irrational to others, but for those who has the fears, nothing can be more real.

What causes fear?

The way I see it, they usually arise out of past experiences. My son remembers when he was still small sitting in stroller being brought near against his will to the most hideous moving thing around, a clown. He must be only 2 or 3 then, but he remembered it. The odd thing is, even after you identified the cause of the fear, it does not get alleviated. It can even become worse.

How then can we overcome our fears?

I have nothing to give other than what is already given in Ephesians 1:13-14: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

And the old faithful Isaiah 41:10:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


pearlie

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

I was eager for a word from God today at church but he gave me more, amongst others he gave me a hymn and the witness behind it.



’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Hymn Author: Louisa M.R. Stead, c 1850-1917
Composer: William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 1:12,13


’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

    Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
    How I’ve proved* Him o’er and o’er
    Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
    O for grace to trust Him more!


O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

I obtained the following from Grace Community Church:
________________________________________
It has been said that a believer must learn to exercise such a strong trust in God's providence during the good days of life that, when the despairing times with their accompanying doubts come, which surely they do to all, trusting Jesus continues to be the normal pattern of living. Or, "You will not doubt in the dark, if you have truly learned to trust in the light."

"'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" was written by a most remarkable woman, Louisa M. R. Stead, out of one of her darkest hours—the tragic drowning of her husband.

Louisa Stead was born about 1850, at Dover England. As a youngster she felt the call of God upon her life for missionary service. She arrived in America in 1871, and she lived for a time in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1875, Louisa married a Mr. Stead, and to this union was born a daughter, Lily. When the child was four years of age, the family decided one day to enjoy the sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York. While eating their picnic lunch, they suddenly heard cries of help and spotted a drowning boy in the sea. Mr. Snead charged into the water. As often happens, however, the struggling boy pulled his rescuer under the water with him, and both drowned before the terrified eyes of wife and daughter. Out of her "why?" struggle with God during the ensuing days flowed these meaningful words from the soul of Louisa Stead:

    'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    just to take Him at His word;
    Just to rest upon His promise;
    just to know, 'Thus saith the Lord.'
________________________________________

Ephesians 1:12-13 ... so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit ...

pearlie
* (archaic) to experience

Thus saith the LORD

Zechariah 4:6
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Luke 9:23-25
And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

pearlie

Father I thank You



Father I thank You
For all that You've done
You gave Your Son freely for me
And I praise You for calling me
Drawing me near
Out of blindness
You caused me to see

Spirit of life
You are God's holy fire
You've kindled my heart with Your blaze
And I know You're refining me
Changing my life
And by faith You're revealing Your ways

Jesus I need You
As Lord of my life
I give all I have unto You
Lord I want to come
Under Your heavenly hand
And to praise You in all that I do

~ Steve Stewart

pearlie

Update 7 Nov 2015: I finally found a YouTube video of this song and have just included it above. Chords are found here.

A spring shut up, a fountain sealed

I read this from Charles Spurgeon's devotional this morning:

"A spring shut up, a fountain sealed."—Song of Solomon 4:12.
In this metaphor, which has reference to the inner life of a believer, we have very plainly the idea of secrecy. It is a spring shut up: just as there were springs in the East, over which an edifice was built, so that none could reach them save those who knew the secret entrance; so is the heart of a believer when it is renewed by grace: there is a mysterious life within which no human skill can touch. It is a secret which no other man knoweth; nay, which the very man who is the possessor of it cannot tell to his neighbour. The text includes not only secrecy, but separation. It is not the common spring, of which every passer-by may drink, it is one kept and preserved from all others; it is a fountain bearing a particular mark—a king's royal seal, so that all can perceive that it is not a common fountain, but a fountain owned by a proprietor, and placed specially by itself alone. So is it with the spiritual life. The chosen of God were separated in the eternal decree; they were separated by God in the day of redemption; and they are separated by the possession of a life which others have not; and it is impossible for them to feel at home with the world, or to delight in its pleasures. There is also the idea of sacredness. The spring shut up is preserved for the use of some special person: and such is the Christian's heart. It is a spring kept for Jesus. Every Christian should feel that he has God's seal upon him—and he should be able to say with Paul, "From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Another idea is prominent—it is that of security. Oh! how sure and safe is the inner life of the believer! If all the powers of earth and hell could combine against it, that immortal principle must still exist, for He who gave it pledged His life for its preservation. And who "is He that shall harm you," when God is your protector?

pearlie

So do you find it fulfilling?

A conversation that I had with a friend on Sunday in church is still fresh in my mind, but I just realised what words I used when I asked her about her work: "so do you find it fulfilling?"

It did not occur to me until this morning that I had actually used the word, fulfil. This explains a lot because I find that I am looking for fulfilment in all the wrong areas in my life, and finding none.

I cannot avoid the fact now that I can only find fulfilment in Christ.

But what is fulfilment in Christ? I know of many so-called standard answers, but what is it exactly in reality?

pearlie

The sinful nature - that is why ...

God certainly has a way with us. He knows us fully and comes to us in His own good timing.

I had directed many questions to him, particularly over the weekend. His word came to me very clearly yesterday via Calvin's Sunday School artwork, which carried the verse I posted here yesterday - Matthew 28:20b. God tells me surely he is with me always.

This morning, his word came to me again, and this time it is pretty loud and long. I need to spend much time reading through this passage and working it out.

Basically, I had asked him why is that while I know I trust in him, I cannot feel or experience the peace that is from him. I began to wonder if peace is only a feeling. But I am quite sure peace is either there or is not there. I can't orchestrate it. So something is not right since I did not have the peace that God is so willing to give.

He gave me the answer here in this passage from Romans.

From 7:25b, it is clearly stated that in my mind I am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature, I am a slave to the law of sin. At this present time until the Last Day when all is made perfect in Christ, we will have both this mind in Christ controlled by the Spirit and the sinful nature in us. Until and unless I release myself to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will be living in my sinful nature who will be narrating what I should think or do or feel. And I will not be with peace, the peace that only Christ can give (John 14:27) because, "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." (v.7-8)

There's more:

Romans 7:25b-8:17
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


pearlie

Hibiscus

I have not touched my camera in months. So I packed my stuff this morning and headed off to the nearest park. The sad thing is there is nothing much in parks here - I did not manage to get any good shots.

This is my favourite but I did not take it in the park, I took it at my neighbour's.



pearlie
Photo (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

The Smell of Books

I have not really gotten into reading e-books yet. The few free e-books that I have downloaded are either left unread or unfinished just after a couple of pages. But I am not sure if the problem are the books (since they are free and just nice-to-have ones rather than what I really want) or the medium. And I still could not part with my money to buy a book I really want in the e-book format, but I'd readily fish out my purse in the bookstore.

I found this quote by Rupert Giles, the librarian extraordinaire character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Anthony Head:
Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a - it, uh, it has no texture, no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.
So well said.

pearlie

What do you need to throw away?

I was clearing up some clutter in the house - well, maybe "some" is an understatement. I have this load of old stuff that I know I must throw away ages ago. And now that I did, I will feel better and much relieved that they are gone.

Isn't life like that sometimes, where there are certain things you just do not want to throw away but yet you know you should, like past memories you shouldn't want to bring back, old grudges, overdue expectations, archaic way of thinking, out-of-date love songs ...

What do you need to throw away?

pearlie

Meditation - the Christian's and the Buddhist's


The Foundations of Buddhism
Rupert Gethin

I finally managed to get a copy of this book. Apparently, it is the textbook for Buddhism, but a pretty small one at that. Now I can get back to reading and figuring out how to tackle my paper on this topic. I cannot even remember what the assignment question is! But I do know I wanted to so something on meditation.

I find the Buddhist meditation very interesting and quite unlike what I do in meditation as a Christian. I have only read the first thirty over pages of this book, but I remember Gethin saying that meditation is like attaining a state of altered existence - I may have gotten the words wrong ... but I think not. When I compare my meditation in practice with the Buddhist meditation, at least from what I read, I find that whilst I meditate on Scripture or on God, my aim is so that I can understand my God better. I desire to know Him more and enjoy His presence, and in turn know what I must and should do as His child.

For a Buddhist, it is the attainment of an altered state of the mind. It is a concentration on something or nothing, until the mind is free from externalities - that is what I think it is at this point of time. I have much more work to do to figure this out.

pearlie

Psalm 63 - what an amazing psalm

I was not feeling all that great this morning and believe me or not, I actually wanted to hear someone familiar - and I turned to Dick Lucas! The sermon that happened to be on cue in my thumbdrive was Psalm 63. I wasn't quite listening to him, just bits here and there, but I was quite enthralled by the psalm.

I spent a bit of time in the day ruminating about it, but I still could not get enough of it, and as such I could not pin down much things other than the fact that the psalm is just amazing.

I let it speak for itself here.

Psalm 63 (NIV)
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God,
      earnestly I seek you;
      my soul thirsts for you,
      my body longs for you,
      in a dry and weary land
      where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
      and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
      my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
      and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
      with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
      I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
      I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
      your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
      they will go down to the depths of the earth.

10 They will be given over to the sword
      and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
      all who swear by God's name will praise him,
      while the mouths of liars will be silenced

pearlie

The end in mind

I was listening to Dick Lucas' sermon on John 14 this morning and the one thing he said that struck me was that when Jesus began talking to his disciples about his impending death and the suffering they will be undergoing when he is gone, he not only began with exceptional comforting words but he began with the end.

Let not your heart be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. (v.1-4)

This is comforting because in whatever situations we find ourselves in, we only need to be sure of two things:

1. Our relationship with God the Father, in Jesus Christ, through His Spirit
2. There is a place for us in the heavenly abode, where God himself is

Soli deo gloria

pearlie

Andrea and Ashley

Ashley, my dinner companion ...

... the challenge was I have to communicate with her in Mandarin!
I think I passed ... with a 5-year old. We were at a wedding dinner.

Andrea and Ashley...


pearlie

Level Up!

Isn't life so much like a game?After you think you managed to pull through one troubled phase, you realise the game is not over yet. You are onto the next level. The more you advance the more challenging it gets. And there are two outcomes, you either complete all levels and crowned a victor or you're given the dreaded Game Over.

Unless of course you are playing Snake and Ladder.

pearlie

The Balance Between Happiness and Depression

It is not going to be easy but I think that to come back to a more sane journey in life for me, I need to be blogging daily again. Why? Because I find it therapeutic to blog. When I blog I tend to think more objectively, not ending up with whining and moaning in my own secret journal about how life practically sucks (pardon my language, I find no better word to describe it).
Interestingly, I read this article in Newsweek a couple of days ago: The Upside of Feeling Down. I am not disagreeing with it but I am not agreeing entirely with it either. As much as there is an unprecedented drive towards happiness in the happiness industry these days, and a call to value depression as a need in life as driven by this article, there must be a balance. One must get a hold on self and not go all out to gain that illusive happiness at all cost, and on the other side, one must not wallow in depression thinking that there is no meaning in life.

There must be a balance and striking that balance is not an easy thing to do.

pearlie