Squeezed dry

I have been so busy at work I feel like I have been squeezed dry by the end of everyday. Not a very good feeling. I can't wait for things to taper down so I can get back to living again. But one good thing is that I am back here blogging, though I do need to spend a bit more time in the blogs that I follow, but I am getting there.

pearlie

Unforgiveness

Today's sermon was a pertinent one. Whilst the title went along the lines of Christian being taken captive to do the devil's will (2 Tim 2:26), the clear message was that unforgiveness opens wide the door to the devil's scheming in our lives.

Unforgiveness is a very human thing. When we see that something is done wrong against us, there is a barrage of emotions that would flood us. How we handle these emotions is very important. But in the heart of it all, we must decide to forgive--it is not an option, it is a command from God (Mark 11:25).

Forgiveness is a decision, even though we do not "feel like" doing it. We must decide and make up our mind to forgive and only then do we deal with our emotions. So first and foremost, we need to get past our raging emotions to obey and forgive. That is definitely easier said than done - the mind would be raging through all the unfairness, the injustice, the abuse, and the heart would be locked in unforgiveness. It would take time for the mind to unwind and think about it in God's terms (Matt 18:21-35) and be convinced that forgiveness is a must. After which, the heart will have to deal with all the lingering emotions of anger, hatred, and resentment to finally take on instead joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is not easy, especially when you really see the unfairness and injustice, and you feel that your anger is right. I don't know -- I feel that our anger can be righteous but we are not perfect and our anger cannot be wholly righteous. And even if our anger is righteous, we must not sin or let it last longer than a day (Eph 4:26). We need to be gracious in our anger, and work towards forgiveness.

Time, it takes much time. Healing needs to happen. Issues need to be resolved. There needs to be openness in all parties. But underlining it all, forgiveness has to take place. We are after all, forgiven folks - we are first forgiven by God, and who are we not to forgive others.

pearlie

A horrible day is a cupcake day



For the record, today is quite a horrible day. Nothing disastrous or devastating actually happened but the day left me with a horrible feeling that I find hard to shake off. Things people did, said and implied left a bad taste in my mouth. I did not have time for any dinner before I had to rush to class this evening, or it will be good if I can just have a cupcake to dispel it.

pearlie
Photo (c) 2008 Benjamin Earwicker

Letters to Juliet



Calvin completed his exams today and we spent the evening watching TV. One of the movies was Letters to Juliet. Kansas Bob reviewed it a few days ago. I am watching it for the second time and I am still loving it. It is sweet and predictable - not everybody's cup of tea but it's definitely mine.

The movie features a wall in Verona, Italy where women write letters to Juliet about their yearnings, questions and loss in their love life and paste it on the wall. A group of 4 women collect the letters every evening and reply them as Juliet's secretaries. Here is where Sophie who was visiting Verona with her fiancé discovered them and in the course of involving herself with their work, she discovered a 50-year-old letter written by a 15-year-old girl, Claire. Sophie replied her and here the story ensued with them looking for Claire's lost love.

Now you can see I am a hopeless romantic.

pearlie

UPSR 2010

The Primary 6 national examinations started today and Calvin said it was tough. When I met up with the other parents in my workplace whose kids are also taking the exams, I seem to be cool about it when they were all worried and flustered. I guess I have been cool ever since I was 11 taking my then version of national exams, followed by the SRP and SPM and STPM and university exams and I hope I can be cool throughout for all my son's future exams, but something tells me I won't be.

pearlie

Poetry to God

I learnt a bit about the Sufi when I took Ministry in a Pluralistic Context last year and we touched on it again today. I was reminded of my life as a Christian as well - there is a lot to learn from them. For one, the Sufi put themselves under the tutelage and guidance of a shaik or spiritual leader - it will be hard to find any such person in our churches these days whom we can call our mentors. They are ascetic, simple and quiet in their way of life. They were not content with just an exterior life of being a Muslim - it must also be lived out in their inner life.

They are also well-known for the poetry they wrote:
So long as we do not die to ourselves,
and so long as we identify with someone or something,
we shall never be free.
The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life.

~ Farid ud Din Attar

The Jesus of your spirit is inside you now.
Ask that one for help, but don't ask for body-things...

Don't ask Moses for provisions
that you can get from Pharaoh.

Don't worry so much about livelihood.
Your livelihood will turn out as it should.
Be constantly occupied instead
with listening to God.

~ Rumi, Mathnawi II:450-454

Go sweep out the chamber of your heart.
Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved.
When you depart out, He will enter it.
In you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties.

~ Mahmud Shabistari - 'Rose Garden of Mystery'

My joy --
My Hunger --
My Shelter --
My Friend --
My Food for the journey --
My journey's End --
You are my breath,
My hope,
My companion,
My craving,
My abundant wealth.
Without You -- my Life, my Love --
I would never have wandered across these endless countries.
You have poured out so much grace for me,
Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts --
I look everywhere for Your love --
Then suddenly I am filled with it.
O Captain of my Heart
Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast,
I will never be free from You
As long as I live.
Be satisfied with me, Love,
And I am satisfied.

~ Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya

And this has become my favourite:
O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with you.

~ Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya

pearlie

Recitations

This is not new to me but I am learning to appreciate it. The Arabic language is regarded as a highly perfected language. I have yet to really take in what it means to have a "highly perfected language" but I think it means a language that is highly developed, one that is pure and not borrowed, one that is beautiful and that has captured every sound.

I have grown up hearing the azan or call-to-worship every now and then as I was driven past mosques or when I watched television in my childhood days. With satellite TV though, there is less of it these days. For old time's sake, I went to check it out in YouTube and found this. Doesn't it sound lovely?



I also found this - a recitation of Surah 36:1-12 of the Qur'an. This boy's voice is wonderful and his recitation incredibly well done.



pearlie

TEE on full throttle

I have been blogging about my TEE classes as I went about in the past 4 years (oh my, have I really been blogging that long?) but ever since I went reticent in 2010, I have not talked about them - wish I did.

I am back into being more hardworking this year as far as my theological study is concerned. After the Ministry in a Pluralistic Context module I took in July/August 2009, the following modules I attended were Pastoral Leadership & Ministry in May 2010, 1 Corinthians in June/July 2010 and Biblical Theology in August 2010. I am about to complete my Pastoral Leadership & Ministry assignment but I have not touched anything on the other two.

And today is the first day of the Major Religion in Malaysia module. We had the introductory session today and it was really very, very interesting to learn about Islam in Malaysia. For one, it is one of the fastest growing religion in the world right now and one very important realisation about the religion is that to the Muslims, the Qur'an is the very direct word from God -- and therefore it is infallible, it does not need any analysis (like we do our Scriptures), or any criticism (talk about our textual criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, socio-historical criticism, and what-more-have-you!). It made me realise how different it is when they talk about the Qur'an compared to when we talk about the Bible. We turn it upside-down-inside-out to discover its beauty and truth whilst they simply treat it as-is being the very pure word directly given by God. And that to me is really very, very profoundly interesting.

pearlie

What have I been up to?



Some of you have been asking me in the midst of my blogging absence what have I been up to. In a healthy way, many things have been happening whilst in an eroding way, many things have also been happening. On top of that, there is going to be a huge change very, very soon in my life -- a good change -- and I am looking forward to it. I am not sure how it will turn out in reality but as my idealistic way of looking at life, I certainly hope it will turn out to be the best phase of my life. But I have learnt to not over expect anything and leave it to God to lead me in life that is everlasting in Him.

One thing is for sure, I really hope I will come back to a regime of daily blogging (but what is it that I hear tweeting and facebooking about the almost-demise of blogging?)

pearlie
Photo (c) 2007 Jef Bettens